Today, we're talking to the author of a nonfiction book, Jo Franz.
I have never done so, but I’m thinking of trying.
What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I am passionate about living by the Spirit’s power—that’s the only way I can do all I do with multiple sclerosis. Having MS has kept me in this place of seeking the Spirit’s strength and wisdom, so I’m grateful for it (though I certainly prayed for miraculous healing and eventually claimed God’s sovereignty over the disease as well as all of life). I love sharing how the Spirit has worked through my weaknesses, and how we can know God as our Abba Daddy! With every difficulty I’ve experienced, I’ve been reminded that God brought me through something before, so I can trust Him again. And because every difficulty has brought me closer to Jesus Christ and my Abba, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Tell us about your family.
After my first husband (a pastor) had an affair with an older teenager and divorced me, I was alone for several years. Then I met Ray, who fell head over heels in love with me, but needed to go through a period of struggling with the uncertainty of MS before marrying me in 1987. Then I realized Ray was emotionally and verbally abusive. God had a plan for us, though, and we bonded tightly together as we overcame things together. I became an “instant mom” to his daughters, eight and ten, whom he had raised alone for seven years. We have three granddaughters and a grandson!
Have you written other nonfiction books?
I have stories in 8 compilation books:
The One Year Life Verse Devotional
Bounce Back Too
Teatime Stories for Mothers
Heart Stirring Stories of Romance
Stories of God’s Abundance for a More Joyful Life
God’s Vitamin ‘C’ for the Hurting Spirit
I’ve also contributed to the writing of:
The Art of Helping
The Tailor Made Marriage
Come as You Are
Actually, I wrote one of the devotions in the One Year Life Verse Devotional book, too. What other books have you written, and where can the readers of the blog find them?
Soar Unafraid: Learning to Trust No Matter What is my first.
Do you have any other books in the works right now?
I’m at work on several ideas.
Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
book sales: www.soarunafraid.com
What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love to read, travel, sight-see, view wildlife, jeep in the Rockies, (all while spending time with my husband, Ray!) I only gave up downhill skiing with helps for the disabled and tandem cycling six years ago due to arthritis (from using my crutches for the MS since 1981).
Audiences have requested my story in book form since 1984. When they picked up one of the compilation books I sold at speaking events, they would ask, “Is this your story?” and I would have to answer, “It has one of my stories in it along with those of others.” I tried several times through the years to write my memoir, but knew it wasn’t time. Four years ago I heard, "Soar unafraid as you write" and I began reading journal entries from the 1970s up until then, compiling experiences and even conversations I’d actually journaled (in order to make sense of what was happening to me, what my part was, and what, eventually wasn’t mine to claim.) My life has been full of joy and thanks, learning to rejoice in all things and live adventurously, but I’ve also had so many varied difficulties, anyone can relate—it’s not just about living with a chronic, unpredictable illness; infertility, divorce, remarriage, step-parenting—there’s so much more! I have always admitted my mistakes and how I needed God’s grace in order to grow. I’ve been told my story is an inspiration, and I wanted to get it out there to touch hearts, to bring people to Christ, and to a closer walk with Him. The feedback I’ve been getting brings tears to my eyes. Since I am a certified peer counselor and inspirational speaker for the National MS Society, a portion of all sales is being donated to them.
What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
With Christ we can joyfully overcome anything in our lives. That living in fear does not have to be the norm, it can be conquered by living according to the truth—truth we find in God, and the truth we must learn to tell ourselves based on God’s Word. When we make the choice (often through painful growth) to follow him, a heart of thanks and rejoicing in all things gives us wings to soar no matter what happens to us.
Thank you, Jo, for spending this time with us and sharing about your book.
Readers, as always, leave a comment if you want a chance to win a free copy.
Check out the other interviews, too.