I’m so excited to announce Hope (My Theme in Glory Book 1), a collection of short stories and poems crafted by authors from The King’s Daughters’ Writing Camp! It’s now available to purchase on multiple platforms! Praise the Lord! (Psst, a poem of mine is in it.)
About the Collection
“Hope,” I thought. “What a small word for such a big thing.”
The broken world groans. Oh, for a beacon of light! Where is something to live for—to kindle the spark of excitement, to calm the heart, to impart love, joy, and peace—and perhaps to shine the light of God’s glory on earth as in heaven?
In these twenty-two sweet stories and poems, experience the dawning of sure, unfailing hope. Join a plethora of relatable characters young and old in their journey through the heights and depths of suffering—a cancer diagnosis, a shocking accident, the loss of a dear family member. Wrestle with the agony of a missing loved one, an unavoidable mortgage, or a tough move. Experience the ache of rejection and loneliness, misunderstanding and oppression, and illnesses both physical and mental. Yet in the midst of each heartache winds a strong, undying cord of hope—that light in the darkness, that beacon, that anchor of the soul. As you smile, cry, and sigh through each heartfelt piece, perhaps you too will grasp ahold of your own hope again.
For our Saviour Jesus Christ is our glorious Hope.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, heaven is her only home. She desires to love Jesus and sow His seeds. Besides writing, she would be washing dishes, chopping ingredients into smithereens, and recording music.You can find her writing at TCKs for Christ and Light Unto Darkness.
Guess what? I’m excited to share with you about the special event, Truth4TCKs 2021, for Christian third culture kids! But first, who are third culture kids or TCKs?
A TCK is a person who has lived within two or more cultures during their developmental years. They’ve moved multiple times, and interacting with different cultures is a normal part of their lives. Do you relate to this? If so, you may be interested in Truth4TCKs!
Truth4TCKs 2021 is an online conference for teenage and young adult Christian TCKs, whether they be Missionary Kids, Military Kids, Expat Kids, Business Kids, Diplomat Kids, etc. The conference mission strives to bring biblical truth and encouragement regarding the cross-cultural and highly mobile life to TCKs – especially those that may not have easy access to uplifting care.
You may be wondering, “What makes this event special?”
Truth4TCKs is for followers of Jesus Christ that are also TCKs. The conference’s administrative team is made up of teenagers and young adults serving teenagers and young adults. It is not an organization; rather, an organic movement.
Theme of Truth4TCKs 2021
Many TCKs don’t have a sense of belonging to any country. Wherever they go, they feel that they don’t completely fit into the community nor does the place truly feel like home. Sounds familiar? Tackling those issues, the theme for this year’s conference is finding what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven.
As Christian TCKs, they are given an unchanging identity in Christ and a home in Heaven. Once they are grounded in Jesus, they can live their lives as global citizens while using their TCK gifts to the glory of God and the good of others.
You can find out more on what it means to be a global citizen of Heaven by attending Truth4TCKs 2021.
Dates for Truth4TCKs 2021
The conference takes place on May 22nd and 23rd.
Speakers in Truth4TCKs 2021
The amazing speakers have hearts for God and to serve TCKs like you. They come from diverse backgrounds such as diplomatic, military, business, ministry and more.
The speakers are Breanne Eckman, C.B., Melinda Clark, William Moore, Megan C. Norton, Chris O’Shaughnessy, and Kate Forbes (MSP).
Costs of Truth4TCKs 2021
Cheap and conveniently accessible from any country online, Truth4TCKs 2021 costs only US$10 per ticket and $17 for all access ticket, which includes benefits of standard ticket and access to recordings.
Registration for Truth4TCKs 2021
Interested? Register for the online conference here.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Read more posts from her.
What is the meaning of the word hope? If you look in your dictionary, it most likely stated that hope is an expectation for an object or event to occur. And if you look in your Bible, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV, Emphasis added).
We can place our hope in many things such as our career stability, possessions, family, friends, and ourselves. This hope, however, is fruitless because all of what is on earth is temporary and fallible. But as saved people, we have Someone whom we have hope in:
We have hope in Him even though we can’t see Him. He is our true hope. The whole world will perish but not Him. People will fail us but not Him because He is infallible.
And as we live in the world, we have tribulations, illnesses, and death because of sin. However, for those who love God, He turns difficulties into something good (Roman 8:28). And as we Christians trudge through our valleys, we find that darkness shrouds our paths and threatens to extinguish our hope.
Famous godly men and women from the past are susceptible to that too. One example is Charles H. Spurgeon. He had multiple depression periods throughout his life due to a traumatic event and other circumstances. Because of his sufferings, having hope in Jesus was precious to him. He said,
When the night gets darker, the light shines brighter. When our trials worsened, our hope in Jesus glows much more.
But what if the valley never seems to end? And what if our path seemed to be getting smoother only for it to drop into a pit? That is when our Shepherd wants us to wait. Waiting is hard. I understand how difficult it can be because I’ve been going through it. Waiting means that we have to persevere, continue to stay close by His side, and accept the situation and outcome we’re in.
From the book Found Faithful, Elizabeth Skoglund knew a lady who suffered with depression for years yet she still kept her hope in God even though He hasn’t healed her yet. He told her wait. Thus, she waits and continues to be close to Him. And, quoting from the book, “[f]ar from sinning, she has chosen to find meaning in her depression and to allow it to draw her closer to God.”
During our periods of waiting, the Bible will spur us on. When it seems that nobody can encourage us with their words, His Word will be the one that lifts us.
Furthermore, waiting is the best time to keep praising our Shepherd from our hearts. A Czech friend once told me that the best place to be when we’re down is to worship Him. I admit, it is an unnatural action for us to do when we’re going through hard times. But when we worship our Shepherd, we’re fulfilling our purpose on earth – to glorify Him. Because despite our circumstances, He is still God.
I know another Czech friend, who sings special presentations at my church in the Czech Republic. God had brought her through breast cancer before. She appeared to be out of the danger zone until a health check-up revealed that cancer was in her brain. Treatment got rid of that particular tumour; however, another check-up showed that she had more tumours inside.
And do you know what she did? She continued to sing specials at church until she physically could not. Her hope in Jesus did not die, God was glorified through her, and people around her could see Jesus in her.
Months after the aforementioned Czech friend passed on to heaven, I listened to her songs occasionally. Initially, they sounded sad because I was sad, then … over time, I realised that they were overflowing with hope.
Thinking back, I wonder how she could still sing when she was suffering so much physically? The answer lies in her Shepherd. He is her God of hope, just as how He is my God of hope and your God of hope.
If we continue to stay by our Shepherd’s side, we’ll have blessings in our valleys. For examples, being moulded and refined, growing closer to Him, and claiming His promises. Most importantly, the greatest blessing of all is having Him as our God.
He is our Shepherd who’ll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He had prepared a place for us to be forever with Him (John 14:3), a place of everlasting joy (Isaiah 41:11), a place where “… God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, KJV). How comforting that is!
My mentioning of the Shepherd and valleys probably reminds you of Psalm 23. I know that it’s a passage that most of us have memorised but go to your Bible and read it now. After you finished reading it, return to this post.
Welcome back! Did you find that the passage emanated hope? Now read it again, and listen to this song while you do so:
Friend, no matter how steep the path in front of you gets and how dark the valley can be, please don’t give up your hope in Jesus Christ. Because in Him, you can live victoriously through your challenges and claim His promises and blessings. And in Him, you will one day live without valleys for eternity.
May His grace, mercy, strength, joy, and hope be with you.
Reference Skoglund, Elizabeth R., Found Faithful: The Timeless Stories of Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, C. S. Lewis, Ruth Bell Graham and Others, 2004, Discovery House Publishers.
Hold on, the Seven Days of Hope Tour is not over yet!
The blog tour has two giveaways! You can find out more here.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.
We have a special post written by Angela R. Watts, a speaker at Diamonds 2021 and the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She shares how God was with her in her writing journey while being a caregiver of her chronically ill mother.
How God Helped Me Balance Caregiving and My Author Career
I’ve written stories since I was six years old, and after my mother became chronically ill, my passion for writing didn’t stop when I was a young teen. It didn’t slow down. It burned brighter.
Most authors I know grew up with their parents reading books aloud for them. I was the kiddo showing my mom the books, getting her permission that they were safe, and reading them by myself as a kid. Mom homeschooled us kiddos, encouraging me in my creative writing. I wrote short stories, drabbles, poetry, and fanfiction, and at twelve, I completed my first novella. I was fourteen (or fifteen, I’ve forgotten) when I completed my first novel. I was sixteen when I self-published my first book.
During these years, I juggled caregiving for my mom, school (straight A student, by the way, for those thinking I slacked. Except math. That was probably a fail. Or a B), housework, babysitting my nieces, farm life, karate, and more. Though I struggled, I focused on fiction as a means to cope and find comfort and hope. However, my dream of being a published author was not one I allowed to reach the surface until I was about fifteen. This is when I discovered the world of self-publishing and realized I could publish my novel.
It was tough, I won’t lie.
My author career has been trial after trial, some large, some small, but they all add up to one wild ride. God has been with me, every step of the way. When all I could do for months was handle life and helping my mom, He assured me that more was to come. When I finished a novel only to have it rejected by friends, God kept whispering, “Keep going, I’m not done yet.” I struggled with balancing my life and my writing, and on top of this. So, how have I learned to handle it all?
First, I’m constantly focusing on my reasons why.
Am I writing and working to serve God or serve myself? When I help my mom get meals, housekeep, shop, etc, am I doing so out of love, or am I having a stressful day and allowing my attitude to be abrasive? Am I reminding my family how much I love them, or am I so focused on work that everything else is drowned out? I’m the sort of person who gets on a mission and doesn’t stop till the mission is finished–but as a caregiver, that trait was bashed with a stick many times.
My mom, however, is a graceful woman and she constantly reminds me that I need to balance it all. So, my first step to balance my life is to refocus on my whys. If they’re off track or turning selfish or muddled, I snap my sights back on God’s will and find comfort in this above all else.
Second, I’m a pretty hard-working individual, and don’t mind long hours.
I work for myself as an author and editor, so scheduling my workload is very important! I set myself deadlines for my work and I stick to them as closely as possible. Then I have my clients, and I schedule my editing jobs similarly! I enjoy having a list of things to do each day and it helps me track my time better.
Third, I listen to my mother!
She constantly reminds me to eat, drink water, exercise, play with my pup when I’m stressed, and rest when I need it. I overwork myself because I find immense joy in my work and accomplishments, but that doesn’t mean burn out is okay. The past year or so, I’ve strived to balance my work and rest, as well. Despite my expectations, it didn’t slow me down. I was able to rest and take care of myself and still write a few novels, publish a novel, pitch and sign a contract for a novel, publish a short story, and take on brand new epic clients!
I’m constantly learning something new in my life and career. I like finding better ways to do things. I love working with clients. I love seeing my readers scream over my novels.
However, I wouldn’t be where I am without God’s goodness.
God pushed me through every bad day, every tough week, every stressful month. He showed me the beauty in pain. He constantly reminds me to look back at how far I have come. Middle-school me would have never dreamed of putting myself out there and pitching to a publisher, but in 2020, I signed with my dream press.
I refuse to allow my circumstances to weigh me down. I refuse to allow my trials to do anything but make me focus on God more than myself. I refuse to view my life as nothing but a struggle. I spent years surviving, years begging God to spare my mom, with fiction being my only escape. I’ve grown a lot since then. My mom is with me, I’m focusing on living, and I’m a bestselling author.
None of this would be possible if I had not heeded God’s will for my life and took it all step by step. If you have a dream or a goal, and life is keeping you down, hold on. God is not done yet. Give yourself grace, give yourself small baby steps, and keep fighting on.
If you’d like to read more posts like this, or you want to check out my novels or editorial services, you can find me online or on my website, angelarwatts.com!
Angela R. Watts
Angela is the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She writes bold fiction that glorifies Christ and has published over seven books. She lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she loves traveling. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but when she’s not writing, she’s probably raising animals, painting, or working with her amazing clients.
P.S. What is Diamonds 2021? Diamonds is a conference for chronically ill Christians. If you miss my previous post, click here to find out more.
Diamonds is an annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Millions of chronically ill people battle impossible trials every single day. But so many of them feel so alone. The speakers of Diamonds 2021 want them to know they aren’t — not by a long shot. The theme for Diamonds 2021 is Purpose in Affliction — all about our identity and worth in God, and how our illness can strengthen our relationship with Him.
When is Diamonds 2021?
Diamonds 2021 occurs the second to last weekend in January — from Friday the 22nd through Sunday the 24th. You can join live for free, and if you miss anything you will still be able to view the recorded version by purchasing the all-access pass.
Who is speaking at Diamonds 2021?
This year, we have twenty speakers from around the world, and each of these amazing people has a special message of hope and compassion to share with you out of their own experiences with long-term illness.
What does Diamonds 2021 cost?
Because we know that many chronically ill warriors face burdensome medical bills, and because our goal is to uplift instead of adding just one more thing, Diamonds 2021 is 100% free while it’s live.
After that, you can purchase the all-access pass to gain lifetime access to the conference content along with some exclusive bonuses.
Stay tuned this week for a special guest post by a Diamonds speaker and best-selling author Angela R. Watts!
Very Sincerely Yours, Clarissa Choo-Choo Train
P.S. Why am I supporting this conference when I don’t have chronic illness? Actually, my dad has a rare chronic illness called CIDP, an auto-immune disease. The body’s immune system attacks the nerves which deteriorates the muscles.
To maintain his muscles, my dad is receiving treatment IVIG, a transfusion of antibodies to suppress his immunity, every month on top of medications including steroids to boost his muscles. If you know about Guillain-Barre syndrome, CIDP is the chronic version of it. You can read more about CIDP here.
Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.