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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guest Post - Mona Hodgson: Normal, Not a Word in God's Vocabulary

Normal, Not a Word in God’s Vocabulary
Mona Hodgson
Several years ago Patsy Clairmont, one of my favorite people, wrote a book titled, Normal is Just a Setting on Your Dryer. Not only was it a great book title, but it’s so true.
If I’ve ever experienced “normal” in my Christian life or in my ministry as a writer and speaker, I’m sure it was a fleeting figment of my imagination. I entered the ambiguous world of publishing twenty-five years ago, writing short devotionals for The Secret Place. Thus began my journey as a writer for various periodicals. But even that wouldn’t have been considered normal. While my colleagues focused on a particular genre or two, I was writing devotionals, short stories, poems, profiles, personal experience and how-to articles, and book reviews, for fifty different periodicals, and a weekly newspaper column.
For the past seventeen years, I’ve been writing children’s books, twenty-eight of them published. But is it normal to write whimsical picture books for four-year-olds while also writing stories for emergent readers and devotional nonfiction for adolescents?
About twenty-three years ago, while walking down a dirt road, I discovered a deserted and dilapidated cabin not much bigger than my dining room. My imagination immediately began planting seeds from which the premise for a novel sprouted. Since then, I’ve taken countless novel-writing courses to learn the craft of writing fiction. In 2008, my historical novel set in an 1890’s copper mining camp in Arizona won first place in the Genesis Contest Historical Fiction Category at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference.
My debut novel isn’t the story set down that dirt road. Nor is it the historical I started fifteen years ago.  
“Normal” would be for a writer to conceive an idea, add flesh to its bones, and birth a story. Then look for a publisher. On March 31, 2009 a fiction editor at WaterBrook Multnomah contacted my agent. The editor needed a not-yet-published novelist who could write historical fiction set in an 1890’s gold mining camp in Colorado. What happened to me in that phone call and since isn’t normal.
Twice a Bride, the fourth and final book in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, will release on October 2nd.
Here’s what I know about normal. Like the word perfect, the word normal doesn’t accurately reflect our earthly reality. Instead of striving for normal, I say we choose God’s normal as our “norm.” Like Him, God’s normal is unpredictable, surprising, mysterious, dizzying. God knows how to grow us, shape us, prepare us, equip us, and delight us with His extreme plans and for His perfect purposes.  
We were created by an extraordinary God and in His “abnormal” image to reflect His amazing Light. That’s what I aspire to do as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, and writer. 
MONA HODGSON is the author of more than thirty-two books for adults and children, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek SeriesTwo Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride (October 2012). Her children’s book titles include: Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional, Bedtime in the Southwest, and six princess and desert I Can Read books. For more information about Mona and her books, visit her website at You can also connect with Mona on her blog (, on Twitter, and on Facebook at
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