Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Living Out Her Purpose - Linda Russell

life purpose, stories, faith, author, writer, blogger, calling
You can tell by her picture that Linda Russell is quite the character.  I chuckled often during our interview, amused by her self-deprecating humor, and her honesty about being unsure that God knew what He was doing when He called her to action...

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I live right outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  I've been married 38 years, and I have four grown children,  11 grandkids, and 3 great-grandchildren.  I'm a writer and a speaker, and I do volunteer work for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Abused Children).  I also spend a lot of time with my grandkids.

What would you describe as your God-given "life purpose"?
Mine is a story of pain, a message of hope, and a call to surrender.  I believe God has called and equipped me to tell my story by writing and speaking.

You often read or hear stories in which people share about how they've suffered, or how they've been abused or victimized.  But you don't often hear stories in which people are also willing to share about their own sinfulness.  God has given me the grace to be able to do that.  To be able to say "This is what I went through.  And this is the mess that I made of my life, and other people's lives.  This is how God dealt with it, and this is how God has repaired the pain and the hurt."

It's easy to play the victim.  But it's not so easy to see your own faults.  We all have them.  We just don't want to admit it.  My desire is to help others in seeing their own faults, and in being able to forgive.

How did you discover that this was your life purpose?  What did you do to live it out?
One spring, when I was in school, I dropped out of an English comp course, because I wasn't doing very well in it and thought I was going to fail.  So imagine my surprise when shortly thereafter, I felt an urging from God to write a book.  I said to Him, "You're funny.  You can't be serious!"   I reminded Him of the class I had almost failed, because I thought that maybe He had forgotten.  I am the world’s worst procrastinator and I have little patience. I didn’t think those attributes ranked high among the qualifications for writers.  I was scared to death!  I thought, "What could I possibly write about that anyone would be interested in?"  He told me,  "Just tell your story, Linda. You have hurting brothers and sisters who need to hear it. And tell them I love them." How could I argue with that?

I went ahead and signed up to retake the English Comp course that summer. 

After I submitted my very first paper for the semester, the instructor came back to me and said, "Linda, this is really good.  You should see about getting this published".

So that was the beginning of an unpredictable, frustrating, thrilling, life-changing adventure...

author, writer, blogger, calling, life purpose, stories
I wrote my book, Why Surrender is NOT a Four Letter Word.  At first, I took it to a Christian self-publishing company.  But they didn't do a great job of editing it, and I didn't do a great job of promoting it.  I didn't know what I was doing!

I often whined to God, wanting to know why He had directed me to write a book, when I understood nothing about the process that would ensue. I often felt that I had failed Him because everything seemed to be going wrong.  Nevertheless, each time that I encountered a roadblock, God placed people in my life to guide me, and a lesson, a bit of growth, and a sprinkling of trust always followed. 

My book will likely never rank among the New York Times best sellers.  Even though it's been rewritten and edited, it has been rejected by every publisher that I've sent it to.  On the other hand, many people who have read it have told me that it has touched and encouraged them.  At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. God is saying, "Don't worry about the outcome.  That's My responsibility".  So I'm letting things happen however they're supposed to happen. 

What's the next level to which you'd like to live out your purpose?
In February, I started a blog geared towards discussing how faith relates to day-to-day living.  Your faith is not just something you spend an hour doing on Sunday, and then when you're done, get a card punched to say you're finished.  It should be incorporated into your day-to-day living, where God can explode into it, which He often does.   

Also, to my utter amazement, the publication of my very imperfect book led to some speaking engagements – a notion that I found incomprehensible at first, since I had never felt the slightest longing to stand in front of an audience and reveal my true self. The very idea of speaking to a group of people horrified me, and I wanted to slap myself silly for saying “yes” without consulting my more reluctant and private persona. Now, I doubt that I will ever be an internationally renowned speaker either. But, every opportunity I have to share my story I find exciting and come away blessed for the experience!  People usually tell me they are most surprised by my honesty about my own failings which gives them courage to confront theirs. How cool is that?!

At the end of the day, I have grown to realize that it is the journey not the destination that matters. This is not my book, it’s His. It’s not my plan, it’s His.  In the process I have encountered God’s consuming and extravagant love to the degree that I can’t wait to shout about it to anyone with ears to hear.

What words of encouragement do you have for others who are still seeking out their life purpose?
Be like Abraham! Just get on your camel and ride (Genesis 12:1). We can trust God when He says to us, “I’ve got the map. I’ll take care of the details! Just go already".  Trust, and don't be afraid.

author, writer, blogger, life purpose, calling, stories
The joy of Linda's life is her family.  Her greatest delight is writing and speaking about our awesome, extravagant, outrageous, radical God, and how He has turned her "mundane" life upside-down. If you would like to follow Linda on her escapade, you can find her at   Her book, "Why Surrender is NOT a Four Letter Word" can also be found at 

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your story here, at Unstuck and Unstoppable.

And to the readers, I say, "Let's follow Linda's advice.  Get on your camel and ride!"


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