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Love that Never Forgets

DailyPS.com is committed to providing a positive Paradigm Shift in our culture. When one of their editors asked me to write on the recent New York decision to legalize full-term abortion, I paused and prayed about what to say. So much has already been said, yet this heart-breaking news weighs on my heart. I hope my response is both compassionate and a clear rallying cry to the unborn’s cause.

***

Never Forget. Americans rallied around that cry after the atrocities of September 11. In anger, we said that we would not forgive the acts of terror that cost so many lives, and more importantly, we would not forget the individual lives themselves. Yet every day, we seem to forget lives lost. In fact, we do them greater dishonor in not even acknowledging them as lives. Lives without a voice. Lives trusting us to care for them. Lives entrusted to us by God.

Instead of rallying around them, some make the choice to flaunt and celebrate their termination. We pass legislation1 that not only permits but encourages mothers to neglect responsibility instead of nourish new life, to condemn to death instead of cherish at the breast.

These victims have no voice. No one feels their agony or the screams they’re not permitted air to cry. In silence, they pass from life to death. Oh, America, how can we so rightly condemn acts of terror from outside our borders while justifying ones we commit daily from within?

How can our love be so selfish that it forgets?

We make excuses and justify ourselves. We label murder as “reproductive rights” and choose self-love over sacrificial love. Science confirms life begins at conception2, but we re-brand the baby as merely a “fetus” to satisfy our consciences.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

Yes, apparently women (and men) can forget the life forming in the womb.

But God does not forget.

  • He “fearfully and wonderfully” makes them. (Psalm 139:14)
  • He accounts all their members in His book, even while they are still forming. (Psalm 139:16)
  • He considers them a reward, not a mistake. (Psalm 127:3)
  • He calls them for a purpose while they are yet in the womb. (Isaiah 49:1)
  • He knows each one and sanctifies him for a calling. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Yet God is also compassionate, even when we are not.

“… if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Oh, America, are we too stubborn to repent, or can we yet find healing? Can we break the icy chokehold of self-justification? Can we learn to love life instead of take it, to sacrifice for it instead of squelch it? Can we fight for these unborn blessings and give them the single chance to suck that first stuttering breath—and cry?

~ Kristen

Notes

1On the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, New York legalized late-term abortion.

2“Why Life Begins at Conception.” NAACP.org.

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Thanking God for Closed Doors

When my older brother’s children would stay at my parent’s home, my mom and dad would often close some doors so that my nieces and nephews wouldn’t get into things they shouldn’t. Naturally, their little hands would reach for those doorknobs.

There’s something about closed doors that we inherently dislike. The mystery of what’s on the other side tempts us to pry open doors we have no business entering.

As a writer, I know my professional life will have its share of rejection letters, but recently, I’ve received nothing but them. Thank you, but our publishing house is changing directions. Thank you, but we’re no longer representing fiction. Thank you, but this project doesn’t meet our needs at this time. 

On the plus side, every one of the rejections has been positive. The agent, editor, or publishing board liked my writing and the potential to work with me  in the future… but not today.

Closed doors hurt, especially when we keep our noses too close to them. That’s why I had an honest talk with God. Why all these closed doors? What are You trying to tell me?

And then the truth smacked me: God is closing doors, because I need to focus on the amazing open doors staring me in the face. Next month, the last book in The Rogues trilogy publishes, becoming my sixth book published. Completing this project is a blessing and accomplishment, and I’m thrilled for my readers to enjoy The Reactionary, the final saga in Portia’s story (releasing February 19).

Beyond that, I’ve been praying over a decade to meet and marry a godly man. The dating road was strewn with disappointments, as many of you can relate. I’m thankful for my single years, but they weren’t always easy. However, as I’m preparing for marriage now, I realize it won’t always be easy either, but it will be worthwhile. According to Sacred Marriage, the union of two sinful people offers the greatest opportunity for sanctification possible. In other words, both singleness and marriage have their joys and challenges.

The bottom line is that God has answered my prayer for a godly husband in James, and this is perhaps the biggest open door of my life (apart from my salvation).

In fact, by closing so many writing doors, God is allowing me to focus on and enjoy the wonderful opportunities before me. If He had opened doors for more projects at this point in my life, I would likely become overwhelmed with all the commitments and unable to give myself wholeheartedly to what matters most.

So today, I’m thanking God for closed doors and ignoring the enemy’s whispers that God is through with my writing. Instead, I choose to celebrate the writing journey that is before me, and even more than that, the adventure of becoming Mrs. James Parnell.

Photo credit: Aja Skye Photography

Has God closed any doors for you recently? If so, what open doors might He want you to focus on during this time instead?

~ Kristen

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Skiing Life Lesson: Enjoy Going Downhill

Well, friends, I wish I could say my second time skiing began flawlessly, but it actually started with me falling as soon as I left the lift chair. The good news is that after half a day of practice, skiing started to click.

I transitioned from mental pep-talk that involved telling myself not to die to actually breathing and whispering, “Enjoy it.”

Yes, I’m all about self pep-talks, and I’ve discovered something: When we focus on enjoyment instead of failure, we relish the experience more. In other words, when we focus on fear, it steals our joy. When we focus on simply enjoying the moment, we do just that.

True, I did fall one other time when I was more relaxed, but for the most part, I anticipated reaching the top of the slope and starting the downhill descent. I looked forward to the challenge of practicing and improving my technique.

Skiing Parallels to Life

Isn’t that like life? I know for myself right now, I have two choices with wedding planning. I can get all tense and stressed, or I can take deep breaths and simply enjoy this special time of transition and preparation. I can focus on the unknown or all the expectations with anxiety, or I can gently take each moment as it comes and gradually enjoy the journey.

Now that sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes, the choice to let go and relax isn’t easy when my to-do list grows instead of shrinks. However, instead of anticipating problems, I can anticipate joy and focus on the blessings of today. That won’t mean problems will never come, but it does mean I’ll enjoy the process much more.

The Bible clearly speaks to where our focus should be and identifies two places: the present and the eternal.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount that we are to lay up treasures in heaven (eternal) and not on earth (temporary). We are also not to worry about tomorrow (the future) but live in the present (today).  When we do, we not only spare ourselves unnecessary worry but also live in obedience to the One who has a perfect plan for our lives.

Back on the slopes of Beech Mountain, I wanted to enjoy each moment of the ski run. Now, I want to live abundantly in the moment and make an eternal impact with my everyday decisions. What about you?

~ Kristen

Congratulations to our Bible Study winner, Faith! Please email me through my website this week with your mailing address so I can share this gift of God’s Word with you. May we all relish our time in the Bible more this year. Thank you to all who participated!

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Where Do You Find Inspiration?

Photo Credit: Kristen Hogrefe, Orvieto, Italy

A common question people ask writers is where we find our inspiration. Regardless of your trade or career, you find inspiration for your craft somewhere or from something. However, the source isn’t always remarkable and doesn’t have to be. Today, I’d like to share some places I find inspiration to help encourage you to seek out your own.

From Creation

The Genesis record of creation repeats the words “And God saw that it was good” multiple times. Although man’s sin corrupted God’s flawless design, we still see the intentional purpose God crafted into His creation.

No wonder when I run, hike, or otherwise adventure in this world, I constantly find beauty that stimulates the imagination. When I visited Italy last year and explored several settings in my upcoming novel, I was overwhelmed with the the colors, sounds, architecture, culture, and cuisine (including pizza and gelato)! As I said before, the experience doesn’t have to be international or exotic to provide inspiration. Wherever we go, God’s nature provides boundless possibilities for subject matters and settings.

From Conviction

This February, the final novel in young adult, dystopian trilogy publishes. Some people have asked why I decided to write dystopian since it can sometimes be a controversial genre.

The reason is that I felt convicted to write a dystopian thriller from a Christian worldview with an overarching message of hope. So many dystopian books are dark with bleak outcomes, and while mine still includes many common characteristics of the genre, it offers a twist. It suggests that for a futuristic society to survive and thrive, its people need to rediscover heritage and the Source of true hope. As a result of my convictions, this theme underpins an otherwise classic dystopian tale.

From Conversation

I’m not the only person who likes to people watch at airports or tune in to random conversations, am I? Sometimes, a mere word or phrase catches my ear and suggests perhaps a title, a unique character name, a nugget of truth about human nature, or a humorous story to tuck away for later.

Even if those snippets never find their way into my writing, they certainly make me a better observer, conversationalist, and listener–all of which are necessary for being a good writer.

Where do you find your inspiration? Please leave a comment and share!

~ Kristen

This post first appeared on DailyPS.com. For more inspirational posts, visit DailyPS.com.

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Study Bible Giveaway! Grow Closer to God in 2019

Each new year is famous (or infamous) for people setting resolutions. I’m not one for resolutions, per se, but I do believe in setting goals and prayerfully seeking God’s best. That said, what better growth goal can we set in 2019 than to know God and His Word more?

That’s why I’m so excited for this first giveaway of 2019. Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible feature over 15,000 verse-by-verse study notes, helpful commentary, historical context, and culture notes–all designed to deepen our understanding of Scripture.

Aside from the burgundy-colored leather exterior, which is absolutely lovely, opening the Bible reveals the wealth of study resources available. There’s a guide on how to study the Bible, followed by listings of articles, charts and diagrams, and word studies. Each book of the Bible begins with an introduction that explains the author, background, theme, outline of the book, and more. The print itself is a comfortable, easy-to-read size, and the full-color images add interest throughout.

I have ONE copy to give away, and I can’t wait to see who will receive it! There are several ways to enter this giveaway:

  1. Subscribe to the KristenHogrefe.com newsletter by clicking here. This is my monthly newsletter that features book news, details on more giveaways, and encouragement for your everyday life.
  2. Share my giveaway post on social media. You can find and re-share ones I have on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to tag me so that I see your post!
  3. Leave a comment below, sharing a New Year’s goal and how this Bible could help you achieve it.
  4. Do more than one to be entered multiple times!

The giveaway is open through Saturday, January 19, and I’ll announce the winner in the following week’s blog. Please note:  Since I will be mailing a physical copy of this Bible, the giveaway is only open to those in the United States.

Wishing you a year in which God’s Word becomes dearer to you than ever before!

~ Kristen

 

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and the Blog About Blogger Network for hosting this giveaway and inviting me to share it with you. 

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Theme for 2019: Choose What is Better

Hello, dear friends! Even though we’re a few days into 2019, I still want to wish you a happy New Year. In fact, these “extra days” I’ve taken to consider a theme for this year reflect the theme itself.

The Kristen you know is a planner, an organizer, a deadline-driven achiever. The Kristen of 2018 would have made sure she sent out her monthly newsletter on January 1, because that’s what her calendar said she should do.

I think the Kristen of 2019 is going to be different. Especially as I prepare for my wedding, I’m realizing there are just some things I can’t control and some things that need more time. Merging two lives is wonderful, miraculous … but also messy. I’m learning to re-prioritize as I pray and prepare for a godly marriage and home with Christ at the center. I’m hoping for courage to be selfless and sacrificial, which may mean giving up what I want sometimes for what is better.

This is the lesson Martha had to learn the hard way. When she offered to host Jesus in her home, she immediately became task-focused. She lost sight of loving people and listening to Jesus in her obsession with preparing the perfect meal and being hostess of the year. When she saw her sister Mary simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, she “lost it” and in her to-do list tunnel-vision, demanded that Jesus tell Mary to help.

Jesus had to remind her what was better:  

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41 NIV).

Choose what is better. That’s my prayer and theme for 2019. I truly believe I am called to write and continue this ministry, but I have other callings as well: to my fiancé/future husband, to family and friends, to teaching, to my church, to the people and opportunities God places in my life. Oftentimes, I can’t “plan” for what these responsibilities may require. So if the blog doesn’t post on schedule, and the newsletter runs a few days late, I’m going to be okay with that.

May God bless your 2019 with wisdom to choose what is better over what is simply good.

~ Kristen

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Young Adult Fiction’s Universal Appeal

I’m honored to talk about young adult fiction on the Inspired Prompt blog today. Hope you enjoy this re-post! Leave a comment and let me know what you think: Why does young adult fiction holds such a universal appeal?

Inspired Prompt

by Kristen Hogrefe

There’s something irresistible about a young adult on a mission, whether it be saving the world, conquering a coming-of-age crisis, or embarking on a journey of discovery. As I’ve transitioned from the young adult to adult age bracket, my interest in this genre has only increased, and I don’t think I’m alone. Why? There are a few trademarks qualities of the young adult fiction genre that contribute to its universal appeal.

#1: We all love an underdog.

Have you ever read a young adult novel where the teenage hero or heroine is on top of the world? Even if page one opens with that scenario, you can expect that moment to get snatched away, and the character to spend the rest of the story fighting to restore or reclaim what’s rightfully his.

In Nadine Brandes’s Fawkes, the story opens on the eve of Thomas’s color ceremony…

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