He’s Making Diamonds Review & Interview with Author

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Hey everyone! This week I am very privileged to have the opportunity to review a book published by a friend of mine, Sarah Willoughby, and also to have interviewed her for this post! Without further ado, ladies and gents, may I present He’s Making Diamonds. 

As some of you may or may not know, I was the winner of Sarah’s giveaway a few weeks back. Having followed both her blog and her Instagram account for almost a year now, I was eager to read her book and was very excited to have won a free copy. (Not to mention the chocolate and bathbombs–great ideas for whenever I start hosting book giveaways.) It arrived in the mail about two weeks ago now. Since then I have read it from cover to cover twice, highlighting various passages in He’s Making Diamonds. Which, may I be clear on, has NEVER happened before with any book, not even my favorites! (I also don’t highlight books; this was the first time I have ever done so.)

I’ve never had chronic illness. I’ve never had Lyme’s Disease (though I had one of those ticks that carry it in my arm before). I don’t have multiple chemical sensitivities. And I’m not close to anyone who’s had any of these. (One of my cousins has had Lyme’s Disease, but I was never really close to her because of age difference and the Atlantic Ocean that lies inbetween us.) But, I think that He’s Making Diamonds, while originally aimed at those who struggle with chronic illnesses, can be read by just about anyone. Because even though I don’t have the same sensitivities as people who struggle with chronic illness do, I’m not immune from some of the things Sara mentioned in her book. I have anxiety. Depression. CSP. Those things aren’t new to me either. And, let me tell you, I have learned SO MUCH from this book.

Written by a teen, Sarah addresses the issues that all of us (especially as Christian teens) face, even without disorders and illnesses and mental disabilities. Questions like what does God have for our future, how can we trust Him when the world’s falling apart around us, how to get past the mental roadblocks that have resulted as a part of Adam’s Fall, etc. Sarah says she doesn’t have all the answers. Truth is, none of us really do. Yes, we have scripture, God’s inspired word. Yes, we have the wisdom and advice of our peers and elders. But some questions can’t be answered by those things. Some things we will never fully understand this side of eternity. S.G. Willoughby never tried to find all the answers to her questions because she knew this. And the answers she did find are so important. Things like God is bigger than the mountains we face, even though we can’t see to the other side through them. Things like God’s plan for us is so much more than we realize, even though our current reality may feel like it couldn’t get worse.

I have learned so much from this book and I would 10/10 recommend it to anyone, regardless if they have struggled with chronic illness or not. It’s one of those books that, while directed for a specific type of audience, can be read by everyone. It’s almost inspired me to write something similar–though I doubt that’ll happen for awhile.

Excellent work, Sarah! I hope you continue to write, whether it’s nonfiction or fiction. You have a gift and God is already using it to impact so many people. ❤

 

And now for the interview! (Her answers will be in bold

1. How long have you wanted to be a writer? 
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and as a kid the dream came an went like all the other childhood “what do you want to be when you grow up”s. But I first started writing seriously when I was about twelve, and on a whim my best friend and I started an online “magazine.” That first month we sent it to fifteen family members, but six years later, it’s still up and running, and my writing has just expanded from there.
That’s so neat! I started writing around the same age as you and several of my friends used to do a similar thing, writing stories once a month and then putting them together in a pdf. and sending it to all of us. 😀
2. What inspired you to write He’s Making Diamonds? 
It was sort of an extension of my blog. I started my blog because I’d learned things from being ill and I wanted to share it with other chronically ill people. I also wanted people to know they weren’t alone. And as I blogged, I found that there are so many more chronically ill young Christians than most of us realize. So I wrote a book for them and for me, based off of our biggest questions.
Gotcha. I found you on Instagram and then followed your blog soon after, a few weeks before He’s Making Diamonds came out in print.
3. Is there anything you learned when writing He’s Making Diamonds? 
Oh goodness, I learned a ton! But three things stick out to me especially:
a) the importance of prayer in writing — there was so much spiritual warfare.
b) to rely on God in writing. It’s hard to write a book when you’re chronically ill, and because of my brain fog I forgot so much, and some days I couldn’t even think in complete sentences. But by God’s grace, the book actually makes sense. I think. 😉
c) to be audacious! I was bold and daring and God did so much through it. That was how Jon Steingard, the frontman for Hawk Nelson, wrote the foreword. That was how the book was published on the anniversary of my getting sick — because despite time constraints, I was audacious, and it happened. It was ridiculous for me to write a book while chronically ill and for me to publish it so quickly and for me to hope someone cool would write the foreword. But God works in audaciousness.
Yes, I totally agree. God works in ways most of us would think are crazy, but to Him, they only serve to glorify Him even more.

4. Do you think you’ll write another book like it or a devotional based on it? 
For sure! In fact, I already have. I’ve written a devotional and two more books on similar topics to He’s Making Diamonds. They just aren’t published yet. But they’re heading that way!
How exciting! I can’t wait to read those as well. 🙂 

5. Do you think you’ll ever write a fiction story? 

Fiction is actually what I wanted to write. I didn’t plan on writing nonfiction, it just happened — probably because I had so much practice with is via blogging. So I sure hope I get to write fiction in the future. My wall is covered with outlines for various fiction books anyways. 🙂
Ooh, neat! That’d be really cool to see from you. 

6. Outside of writing and blogging, what are your hobbies? 

Reading? Lol. Well, I like to craft. Particularly, I like to make beaded jewelry. I also love outdoor adventures like hiking, swimming, horseback riding, etc. when/if my body permits it.
Nice! I love to go hiking too, especially in the spring or fall when it’s not too hot and humid. 

7. I know you have many great examples of this in your book, but what’s one thing you’d tell to someone who’s going through a period of hardship that you’ve found to be a comfort yourself? 

Can I say three things? I promise I’ll keep it brief. I’d tell them this. They aren’t alone. Not by a long shot. A lot of others struggle with the same hurts and questions — they aren’t crazy. I’d also tell them God’s grace is sufficient — even in utter weakness. Even in mental instability and physical limitations and relational struggles. And I’d also tell them that storms pass — it’s just their nature. Sometimes it’s not til Heaven, but our hope for “now more tears, mourning, crying, or pain” (see Rev 21) is reliable.
I love this and agree with you. It’s so hard to say you believe these things when times are hard, but it’s at those times when it’s most important. Revelation 21 has become one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because of that.
~~~
Thank you so much, Sarah, for letting me interview you! I continue to pray for you as well and I wish you all the best with your future writing. Like I said in my review, you are already impacting so many peoples’ lives through your words.
If you would like to buy your own copy of He’s Making Diamonds, here is the link for Amazon order.  You can follow Sarah’s blog here. And you can follow her on Instagram here. 
Just a heads-up, there will be no post next week as I will be gone at church youth camp.
Til then,
~ Gwyn

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