Dena Dyer is such an encourager! Her ministry is for moms and women. She is an author, singer, performer and speaker. Her credits include Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms (Barbour), The Groovy Chicks Road Trip series (Cook, co-authored with Laurie Copeland and a lot of groovy girlfriends), and lots of magazine articles. A wife and mother of two precious boys, Dena is compassionate and thoughtful. Plus, her blog is where I got the idea of interviewing people for my blog, so of course, I had to interview Dena! Her blog is cool--please check it out.
Lorri: Dena, your faith has played such a big part in everything about your life, from your college choice and finding your husband to what you’re doing now. Has it always been easy to put your faith first?
Dena: No... I have had times when faith was incredibly hard to hold onto, such as when I was going through the loss of a baby early in our marriage. The people who were the least comforting were Christians. That was hard! I also went through a crisis of faith after 9/11. That tragedy was followed by more personal tragedies in some of my friends' lives, and it felt like the world was out of control, and God was nowhere to be found. But through it all, I kept being honest with God about my questions. Like Job, I just kept dialoguing with Him. After a while, I found that at my core, I couldn't let go of God. Or more correctly, He wouldn't let go of me!
Lorri: Thanks for your transparency. It encourages me that someone as "together" as you are may struggle from time to time, like the rest of us. Your ministry includes encouraging mothers. Why is it so hard for moms these days?
Dena: I think we’re really hard on ourselves (I know I am). We want to do it all, be it all and have it all. The problem is, none of us can! When I finally "got" that, I became a much more relaxed and confident mom!
Lorri: Why do you feel called to write?
Dena: I’ve loved writing since I was eight years old and read a story in front of my second grade class. They loved it—and I was hooked! And when I found healing from depression, miscarriage, and anxiety problems in Jesus, it increased my desire to write—to share with others the hope I have. I do believe I’m called, which to me means that I have a divine mandate to use my talents and gifts for Him and not for my own glory. God in his grace has allowed me to do something I absolutely love—that’s his assignment for me. What an awesome thing!
Lorri: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Dena: Be flexible, professional, and respectful. The business is very volatile and editors change jobs a lot. They are also under tremendous pressure to acquire books and shepherd those books through the publishing process. Then they’re supposed to go to writing conferences, where they look for new writers, teach classes, and nurture professional writers. I honestly don’t see how they do it all.
I have always tried to respect the time constraints my editors have and thank them for their efforts. And I try to meet my deadlines and not be too protective of my writing (taking criticism like a big girl). I’d also advise writers to not give up, if they feel they are "writers" at the core of their beings. This business is hard—and more writers try to break in every day. But if you’re dedicated to learning the craft of writing, and you are persistent in submitting your work (that includes learning how to submit and following publishers’ guidelines), then if you are talented, you will eve ntually get published.
Lorri: Which books have influenced you?
Dena: Okay, where do I start? Some of my all-time favorites are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, A Separate Peace, Brave New World, and Cold Sassy Tree. I love the Narnia series and every book C.S. Lewis ever wrote (ask me about my C.S. Lewis course in college-wow!) and I can't get enough of books by Anne Lamott, Kathleen Norris, Lauren Winner, John/Staci Eldredge, Ken Gire, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Beuchner and Madeleine L'Engle. Wish I could write like those people! The passion of Beth Moore, Joanna Weaver and Angela Thomas inspires me, and I love the occasional chick-lit novel as a "lite" break in my reading schedule.
Lorri: Dena, thanks so much for squeezing this blog into your busy mothering and reading and writing schedule! God bless your ministry!