Conntecting the Dots

Friendship Friday — Author Interview with Jeanne Zornes

Meet Jeanne Zornes. This woman has prayed for me for years. Gene and I stopped by their home once and enjoyed a delightful visit. I know you’ll enjoy her thoughts about what happens when we pray for patience. Read on to learn how you can enter to win a copy of the book she refers to.

Real, practical, and funny, Jeanne has written seven books, contributed to almost forty others, published more than a thousand articles, and spoken to dozens of women’s groups. Her weekly blog of humor and inspiration is found at http://jeannezornes.blogspot.com. She and her husband Richard, a retired teacher, live in Wenatchee, Wash., and are parents of two young adult children, both married.

Q: What do you see as a big lesson for today’s woman?

A: I think the title of my second published book says it well: When I Prayed for Patience…God Let Me Have It! Go ahead and laugh. Some think that praying for patience is dangerous because it means life’s worst will be unleashed. Others think, “Well, God will just gently infuse me with patience.”

Q: So which is it, a dangerous prayer or character by osmosis?

A: I believe the answer is somewhere in the middle. In her As Silver Refined, Kay Arthur provides a wonderful word picture: that those disappointments or difficulties in our lives are filtered through God’s fingers of love. I’m encouraged and sustained to think of God’s all-powerful hands above, sifting the ugly stuff as He looks on me with incomprehensible compassion. Psalm 139:5 says God hems us in “behind and before.” His omniscience saturates every event in our lives.

Q: What tough lessons helped teach you patience?

A: When I was 31 and still single, I lost my earthly support system when my parents died six months apart. My grief reintroduced me to a God who cares and provides. At age 50, by then a mom of young teens, my family was almost killed by a drinking driver. The same decade, I was the primary care-giver for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease. That was my graduate school in patience.

Q: Back to the camel-knee illustration—what’s this have to do with patience?

A: Camels are said to have calluses on their knees from kneeling so much. Tradition says Jesus’ half brother, James, was nicknamed “Old Camel Knees” for his knees being so hardened from time spent kneeling in prayer. The school of patience doesn’t have desks. It has kneeling places. I’ve discovered that the discipline of praying for others helps the pray-er in exercising patience. Some blogs I wrote two years ago, about using a small notebook for disciplined intercession, continue to draw readers from around the world. The first entry is at http://jeannezornes.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html

Q: Why the big deal about patience? It’s just one of the “fruits of the spirit” in Galatians 5. There’s also love, joy, peace and all the rest.

A: John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers, called patience the queen of virtues. I wrote the book after marriage and motherhood came in my late thirties. In adding “conflict manager” to my mommy resume, I realized I had my own sins of “me-first.” I needed refresher courses in all the “fruits” of the spirit along with the many faces of patience:

*Longsuffering—a “meekness” or love under control. Psalm 37 is one scripture that nails the ways: “do not fret,” “trust,” “commit your way,” “be still.” Even when it seems bad people have the advantage, God’s still on the throne.

*Forbearance—“people patience,” extending to others a gracious tolerance of their shortcomings.

*Endurance—growing out of our “McQuick” demands and living in the pace of God’s grace.

*Perseverance—living with a sustaining view of eternity. We need to savor our glimpses of Heaven from scripture. Along those lines, I’ve self-published a booklet (Heaven: The Greatest Home Makeover) to encourage the dying and those of us left  behind.

Q: Speaking of “Left Behind,” the patience book had a foreword by author Jerry Jenkins of Left Behind novels fame.  How did that happen?

A: When I finished my master’s degree at Wheaton College, I was almost “left behind” in the crush of newly-minted graduates seeking jobs in a recession. Jerry was then editor of Moody Magazine, and risked hiring me. Years later, he wrote the end-times novels that made him a household name.

Q: Where can readers get your books?

A: From me: like every author, I have boxes of books piled next to the Christmas decorations and car polishes. Or, from internet searches that bring up virtual bookstores sites claiming “Buy Jeanne Zornes” or “Jeanne Zornes at low prices.” It’s humbling to be in the same low-price league as generic corn flakes. Like the “patience” book, these all have study questions for group use: When I Got on the Highway to Heaven, I Didn’t Expect Rocky Roads; When I Felt Like Ragweed, God Saw a Rose; and Spiritual Spandex for the Outstretched Soul.

Readers! Do you have a funny story to tell about learning a lesson in patience? Leave it in the comment section and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Jeanne’s book.

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