She is also the author of P&R titles: Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone, A Steadfast Heart: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Life’s Storms, The Afternoon of Life: Finding Purpose and Joy in Midlife, and coauthor of You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children.
- Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.
I am a Southern California girl through and through. I was born in Los Angeles in the 1950’s and apart from a brief and uncomfortably cold stint in Chicago as a 3 year old, I’ve known nothing but the sun and surf of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean my whole life. My husband, Phil, and I have been married for nearly 45 years and we have 3 married adult children and 6 grandkids nearby, whose sporting events occupy most of our free time. During the summer I love going to the beach and riding waves on my body board. It’s always a test of God’s grace to see whether I can fit into my wetsuit another year and so far, He’s been very good to me. When it isn’t beach weather I love to swim laps or take long walks everyday. The SoCal lifestyle is lived outdoors . . . and I do love it.
- Question #2—Have you always enjoyed writing?
I’ve met people who love to write, who find great joy in James Michener’s “swirl and swing of words”, and who love nothing better than constructing a sentence that’s such a work of art it makes one cry. That’s not me. What I am is a person who senses that there is something that needs saying and that I’m the one to say it. That’s probably why my writing is more didactic than poetic. I wouldn’t say that I’ve always “enjoyed” writing. I believe that over the years I’ve gained some skill and there are certainly days that I love being able to communicate truth, but even though I’ve written a couple dozen books, I still wouldn’t say I “enjoy” it. It’s simply a tool for me to use to fulfill the Lord’s call on my life and I am grateful for that.
- Question #3—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic?
“Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises” I chose to write about doubt because although Jesus’ disciple, Thomas, is most famous for it, when we’re honest we admit that we all should be. No matter how strong our faith or how long we’ve walked with the Lord, we all have times of doubt. That’s the distressing truth I wanted to drag out into the light so that it would lose its power to condemn or fill us with guilt. I also wanted to encourage my readers that faith doesn’t mean 24/7/365 complete certainty. It simply means a bedrock assurance that the God who is there loves us through Jesus Christ . . . even though there are times when we can’t figure out where He is or what He’s up to. I also hoped to demonstrate that there are good reasons to maintain faith, though sometimes it’s really weak and barely hanging on by a thread. I want to encourage women and men to believe that they are loved and welcomed by the Lord who understands our frailty because He lived it, and who is also strong enough to sustain us even when we feel like we’re freefalling into confusion, despair, and unbelief.
- Question #4—Do you have a specific spot where you enjoy writing most?
Because Phil and I are empty-nesters, I have an entire room in our home that I’ve claimed for my office. And in that office, aside from beautiful bookshelves, I have a brick red leather recliner . . . and that’s where I write, nestled in with my laptop, coffee or tea, and most of all quiet. I know that there are people who like to write with music but I can’t. I’m so easily distracted that I have to have utter quiet and even then it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to settle down enough to start thinking about what I want to say. So, for me, it’s comfort and quiet and long (5-6 hours) of uninterrupted time.
- Question #5—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?
This is a really hard question because I do have several favorites that I re-read fairly regularly. But I suppose the one at the top of the stack has to be Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Obviously, he’s one of those writers who loves words and finds enjoyment in structuring sentences and describing events in such detail that you feel as though you’ve been there yourself. And to think that he wrote it all with a quill pen! Perhaps that’s why his work is so beautiful? The aspect of Les Mis that I really love is the conflict between the law and the gospel that’s woven so artfully throughout. The clash between Javert (the Law) and Jean ValJean (the Gospel) is an unrelenting portrayal of the tension between law/justice and grace/forgiveness that plays itself out on a daily basis in every believer’s life. It continues to ask whether I will try to strive to stand in my own righteousness and law-keeping or submit to the righteousness of Another and receive undeserved forgiveness that causes me to love my neighbor? That’s the question at the heart of every Christian’s life and the pulsating battle lived out on Hugo’s pages.
- Question #6—Favorite food?
Because I live in SoCal, my favorite has to be Mexican food and in particular, fish tacos. When I’ve been busy writing all day and have no clue what to make for dinner, fish tacos or machaca burritos are my go-to. A perfect day? Sitting on the lawn at Del Mar, watching the surfers and the sunset, eating fish tacos. Yep. That’ll do it!
- Question #7—Favorite animal? Why?
I love dogs. We’ve had a number of them throughout our life, but our favorite was Taz, a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix. She was intensely smart—I wouldn’t have been surprised to find her reading a magazine in the evening when there wasn’t anything on TV she liked. She was the dog of a lifetime and we miss her dearly. Sadly, I’ve developed significant allergies since her death and can’t really tolerate them anymore.
- Question #8—The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?
Lord of the Rings. Aragorn. Seriously though, the deceptive allurement of the Ring of Power, the way that its influence twisted its wearers, is a perfect analog to the struggle we all have with the deception of sin and temptation. The difficulty in trying to destroy it and the way that it penetrated the heart of any who wore it should serve as a warning to us.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
- Website: www.elysefitzpatrick.com
- Twitter: @ElyseFitz
- Facebook Page: Elyse Fitzpatrick
- Instagram: Elyse_Fitz