"[S]eek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33). This scripture has become very real to me. In the spring of 2001, I gave my life to Christ after hitting what I call, rock bottom. I was at a place in my life where I would stand in front of the mirror and see a stranger. I had begun doing and saying things that I never imagined of myself. I found myself making one mistake after another, thus adding guilt on top of guilt. I did not like myself, and many times contemplated suicide. Yes, me a woman with two bachelors degrees, a masters degree, good credit, a loving family, and a promising career with the state of Ohio. I was suicidal. But God had placed two beautiful guardian angels in my life my children and I couldn't bear the thought of leaving them behind without a mother.
I hid my distress very well, thus neither friends nor family knew how emotionally unstable I was. Hidden beneath my smile and outgoing personality was a woman bound by depression, suffering from low self-esteem, and overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. Though I had grown up in a Christian church all my life, I still had a misconception about what it meant to be saved. First, I thought that anyone who claimed Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior led a very boring life. There appeared to be so many church rules and regulations it seemed like there were more don'ts than dos. By nature, I act silly and love to laugh, so I was scared of committing to Christianity because I thought my life would become even more miserable than it already was. Second, I didn't think I would have what it took to adopt Christianity as a lifestyle because Id seen others try and fail. Plus, my resume of sins seemed a lot worse than those who had successfully led Christian lifestyles. I thought surely they had not sinned to the extent that I had. I began attending church on a sporadic basis, but that was about the extent of it.
Despite my inconsistent church attendance, God was still imparting powerful messages into my life and unfolding the truth about Himself. One Sunday a friend invited me to attend church with her and I found that I could no longer deny the need I had for Jesus in my life. I asked Him to forgive me of all my sins and to save me. Since that day, I have never looked back. Among other things, Ive learned two very important lessons:
1.) Being saved does not equate to living a miserable life at all. I have more joy now than I had before. Truth be told, I probably act sillier now, too. 2.) Anyone who's willing to submit to Gods Holy Spirit can be successful in living a Christian life! There is absolutely nothing in this world that God is unwilling to forgive us for. Knowing this has freed me from the guilt of my past sins.
Many people have asked me how I began writing. For as long as I can remember I've always enjoyed writing poetry, but the idea for SOUL MATTERS wasn't laid on my heart until I started seeking God for my purpose in life. Initially, I rejected the idea of writing a novel. I knew I could write poetry, and even plays if need be, but I thought novels were out of my league. I had tried writing another story once, but later abandoned the idea after the first two chapters. After several failed attempts to make SOUL MATTERS a play instead of a book, I finally submitted to Gods will and began writing this novel.
I thank God for all of the support I received from my husband, and several close friends and family members along the way. Even though I had loads of encouragement, the key to my being able to successfully complete SOUL MATTERS was having a pure heart. I wasn't seeking fame or fortune. My deepest desire was to write a realistic, entertaining story that shared a message about God with others. When I started writing, I had absolutely no idea how it would get published. I didn't even know there was a market for Christian fiction. Still, I stepped out on faith and invested time and money into a story that kept pressing on my heart. Once I did, I saw God open doors of opportunities that I never imagined.
Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian, SOUL MATTERS was written with you in mind. I hope you enjoy and are blessed by the content found within its pages. Thank you for allowing me a chance to deposit something positive into your lives. May God continually bless you!
Yolonda Tonette Sanders, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and founder and CEO of Yo Productions, LLC.
Born and raised in Sandusky, Ohio, Yolonda moved to Columbus, Ohio after graduating from high school. She has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Yolonda was seeking to do something more purposeful in life when she began drafting her first novel, SOUL MATTERS. Her desire was to share a positive and inspirational message about God's love and forgiveness. Despite the fact that she knew absolutely nothing about writing novels at that time, she did so by faith, believing that God would open the doors for her story to be shared and He did. In 2004, she signed her first publishing contract.
Since the release of her first book, Yolonda has continued to flourish in her writing. She has traveled the country for various book signing events and speaking engagements, appearing on radio, television, and in nationwide periodicals. In 2008, Yolonda founded Yo Productions, LLC - a theatrical entertainment and literary services company - in order to launch a stage adaptation she'd written of her debut title.
Yolonda also consults with various print publications, businesses, and individuals in need of writing/publishing services and guidance. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, singing, and spending time with her family. To learn more about Yolonda and how she began writing, you are invited to read her personal testimony.
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