Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview with Christian Author Jessica Zondervan

In her early twenties, Jessica Zondervan experienced an unthinkable amount of pain and tragedy. During that time, she grieved the deaths of several loved ones, including her mom and dad, her college professor, both of her dogs, her grandpa and grandma, and a very close friend. After years of struggling with grief and depression, Jessica experienced complete healing and now dedicates her time and energy to helping others break free from depression.

I fell on my face and wept. I prayed for healing. I didn’t want to dwell in my misery any longer. I wanted to breathe again, feel again, live life again.” - Jessica Zondervan

Hello Jessica. I can tell this is going to be a very touching subject for this week. Please tell us about your new book.

Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One deals with death: its timing, its existence, and the magnitude of its life-altering impact. In my book, I share my grief-story and how I coped with losing both of my parents, my grandparents, my two dogs, my college professor, and a dear friend - all within a few years of each other. I walk the readers through the challenges that I faced - regardless of how painful, ugly, and unglamorous those challenges were. The beauty that flourished from my many grief-experiences/challenges, allowed me to re-establish my faith in Jesus and the outcome was beautiful healing and complete restoration. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

What inspired you to write this book?

Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One was written out of a longing to share my grief-experiences with others who were and who are grieving. I wanted to equip readers with a faith-filled hope that would resurrect their passion for life after surviving the loss of their loved one(s). I’m not necessarily trying to answer a particular question or give a remedy for grief—I’m trying to make a connection. I want to comfort those who read my book as they themselves question their experience with death and their belief in (or need) to find God. I want them to know that they are not alone. There is hope and healing for them in Jesus. Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One provides readers with an honest approach and a vulnerable perspective on what it means to walk through the grieving process with peace.

You have touched the lives of many people, Jessica. A Reviewer wrote, “I wish this book had been written when I lost my brother. It would have made my family’s loss a lot easier. I cried a lot of healing tears. Breathing on Purpose is from the heart! It’s a must read for anyone who has ever lost a loved one.” Do you receive letters concerning the way you’ve helped others through your book? If so, can you share any with us?

What a great question. I have received a variety of encouraging and inspirational letters that have moved me to tears. The most encouraging letters I receive are usually from strangers. I once received a letter from a woman – same age as me, who experienced the unexpected loss of her parents – just like I had. Our stories were so similar; God had brought us together to talk about what we had gone through. It’s humbling to know that my story touched the heart of someone else – someone I’ve never met. To this day, I still find myself being comforted by the letters I receive – from both strangers and familiar faces. I know that in the end, the precious Lord has a plan for everything. Losing my parents was part of that plan; my being able to help others deal with their grief has made my journey a lot easier. I know for certain that I am where God wants me to be, and I will forever be grateful for those experiences because they have led me to where I am today. (Jeremiah 29:11)

What does your family think about your writing?

I am extremely blessed to have such a supportive family. In fact, my husband is the one who encouraged me to write. He is my biggest supporter and has believed in me from day one. This book would not have happened without his unending support and encouragement. Before I wrote, Breathing on Purpose: Surviving the Death of a Loved One, my husband would tell me (on several occasions and numerous times each week), that I needed to write down my feelings and put my grief-experiences into a book. After a year or more of listening to his pleas, I gave in and wrote Breathing on Purpose.

Wow! What a wonderful, supportive husband! Yup! He’s a “Keeper”! Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I love football – both college football (Iowa Hawkeyes) and the NFL (Philadelphia Eagles). There is nothing better than being with my family and friends, eating food and watching football. Family, friends, food, and football = the perfect day for me.

A female author who loves football? Well, how about that! And that’s right… food and family makes the perfect day. Thanks for this wonderful interview, Jessica. I hope you touch many lives with this book.


J Hernandez23 said...

Jessica, What a strong woman to endure the loss and tragedy you have gone through. Your story is an inspiration to many people who have lost someone or something in life. Stay strong.

Des Moines Iowa

Princess Amy said...

Jessica is an amazing, caring and tender woman! I am reading her book now and I can't wait to be able to write a review of my own. Jessica's compassion and her selfless love of others just radiates from her. Jessica doesn't know it, but she is an amazingly strong woman. She has endured more emotional pain than anyone should EVER have to endure and she still gives Glory to the LORD.

Jessica and her book are touching people in ways she can only imagine!!

Princess Amy said...

P.S. She is signing books in Des Moines at the Jordan Creek Mall Barnes and Noble on Dec 10th from 1-3pm -- come meet her in person!!

Kelly said...

Not only is Jessica a fabulous writer, she is a beautiful spirit inside and out and I am blessed to call her friend. This book is an excellent read for anyone dealing with grief!

Shawna said...

I would really like to read this book. What an extraordinary journey she's had and calling to share her experiences to help others. When my husband went into palliative care for his liver cancer we read a great variety of books from many sources on death and dying. I wish I had found more books on grief. I was completely unprepared for the grief and loss process. It was 8 years ago and I still have not completed that journey. I would really like to hear about how someone else has gone through the process - it gives me hope. Thanks for the quality reviews, Linda!

anmlvrami at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

This sounds like a good read.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Shawna! You are the winner of this wonderful book. Knowing what you have had to endure, I hope it helps you in your life. Take care!