I am so pleased to welcome author Carol Round to Interviews & Reviews today. After retiring from a 30-year teaching career, Carol followed her dream. Her stories and essays have appeared in local, national and state publications and anthologies.
Without God’s continual nudging, however, she would not have begun her writing and speaking ministry. With His guidance, she has written one 500-word column each week since November 2005. Her column, A Matter of Faith, runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers, two online Christian publications and went international five years ago.
She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon, including three collections of her columns, a book and companion workbook on prayer journaling, a three-book series for children to teach them the importance of giving, saving and spending their money.
Two of her books, Journaling With Jesus and How to Grow Confidently in Your Faith were recently selected as Book of the Month Winners by our readers. Carol, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
I & R readers have spoken, and Journaling with Jesus was their favourite book of the month for January. What inspired you to write this book?
I began keeping a prayer journal around 1999. I was going through a difficult time and was seeing a Christian counselor who suggested I start a prayer (spiritual journal. Fast forward to 2007. I was asked to speak about prayer journaling to three different groups at a women’s retreat in a break-out session. In each session, I was asked at the end, “Do you have a book?” Fast Forward to 2012. “Journaling with Jesus: How to draw closer to God,” was published. During the five years between the first time I spoke on prayer journaling and the publication of the book, the women reminded me to write the book. So, I did. I felt it was God’s reminder through these women that I needed to put the practice of prayer journaling on paper and get it published.
Is a prayer journal a place for only writing down prayer requests or is it something more?
For me, it is a place to write down, not only prayer requests, but also to have an ongoing conversation with my Abba Father. I am able to pour out my heart to Him on the pages of my journal and then listen for that still, small voice. I write down what I feel His Holy Spirit is telling me in a different colored ink. For example, I use black ink to write my love letter to Him and then use a red ink pen for His responses. I’ve learned through the almost 20 years of keeping a prayer journal that God will answer if we will just get quiet. Prayer journaling helps me to focus on listening for His voice. It quietens the spirit inside that wants to think about my to-do-list for the day.
How long have you been journaling like this?
What have you learned from journaling?
Journaling has helped me to let go of the past hurts, rely more fully on God and develop a closer relationship with my Abba Father.
I understand there is a companion book to Journaling with Jesus. Can you tell us about it?
At the end of “Journaling with Jesus,” I was led by the Holy Spirit to include a covenant with the Lord, encouraging readers to commit to keeping a prayer journal for 40 days. I’d had women tell me that they would start strong but give up the spiritual discipline after a few weeks. When a friend read my book she said, “Carol, women love workbooks.” So, I created a companion workbook called “The 40-Day Challenge” to help women get started in prayer journaling through daily prompts. Feedback from women has been positive, both for the book and workbook.
When did God first have a strong influence on you, and how would you say your faith has impacted your writing?
I grew up in the church and attended faithfully until I married in 1973. I drifted away from the church until approximately 1983 when I returned because I wanted my two sons to have a Biblical foundation. However, I didn’t have a personal relationship with my Savior and Lord until after my 28-year marriage ended in 2001. I was lost. My identity had been wrapped up in being a wife, mother and high school teacher. My sons were grown and I was no longer a wife. My identity as an educator no longer satisfied. I began to seek the Lord. He answered. Since October 2001, I’ve continued to seek His face and His amazing grace. As I have moved from being a secular writer (My college major was journalism and English), to a Christian writer, my faith has grown and so has my writing ministry. I began writing a weekly faith-based column in the fall of 2005. It started running in one local newspaper and has grown to 16 Oklahoma newspapers. About five years ago, my weekly column was picked up by an online Christian newspaper with a worldwide reach. Since then, my column has appeared in publications in Australia, Great Britain, Ireland and France. I am amazed and humbled at the same time. God is so good!
What are you working on presently?
My ninth book came out last fall. It is called “Growing Confidently in Your Faith: A lifelong journey to becoming more like Jesus.” Written for women only, it is a combination 52-week devotional and journaling book. Since then, friends and readers have been encouraging me to share my testimony in a book. At first, I was reluctant. Then, someone reminded me that it’s not about me, but what God has done and continues to do in my life. My working title is “Singing a New Song: A story of love, grace and miracles.”
That is awesome! I'm sure many people will be looking forward to reading it. Thank you for stopping by Carol.
Thank you for this opportunity, Laura!
You can keep in touch with Carol through her website at www.carolaround.com
“Journaling with Jesus is a creative call to an authentic, intimate relationship with Christ through the art of prayer-journaling. Author Carol Round openly shares her own intimate journaling journey, initially borne of pain, and now bathed in promise—the hope of healing in Jesus. Let her sensitively guide you along your own prayer path through balanced scriptural support, stories from the lives of women transformed through the power of journaling, encouraging explanations about the benefits of journaling, and timely tips about how to start. Allow Journaling with Jesus to take you deep into the heart of God, by showing you practically and inspirationally how to bare the depths of your own heart on the blank page. As you fill your journal with words of honesty, God will fill your heart with the wonder of His love.” —LYNN D. MORRISSEY, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper IntimacyThrough Written Prayer
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect" ~ Romans 12:2
How can we become more like Christ? As women of God, we must recognize it's a lifelong journey. Interruptions and demands on our time can interfere with our desire to know Jesus more intimately. To become more like our Savior and Lord requires us to be intentional—intentional with what and who we allow into our lives. We have to set aside a time and place each day to meet with Him.
God's desire is for His children to become more Christ-like. To do that, we must make a commitment to continual spiritual growth. The deeper our knowledge of Christ, the deeper our understanding of Him and the more like Him we become. The outcome? We grow more confident in our faith.
What does this require of us? We must spend time in scripture, examining our lives through the lens of faith. It is my hope this 52-week journey you are about to embark on will do just that.
Are you ready to begin?