I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today, I interview Gretchen Saffles of the Well-Watered Women ministry about her new book, The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith. It releases on April 6th, and its accompanying The Well-Watered Life devotional journal releases on April 15, 2021. You can pre-order it today!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Like all women, I wear many hats. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, a big dreamer, Bible teacher, and business owner. But most importantly, I’m a follower and friend of Jesus. I live in Atlanta with my husband, Greg, and our two sons, Nolan and Haddon. I love going on adventures with my family, gardening, cooking tasty meals, baking chocolate chip cookies, painting, reading good books, and teaching women to know and love Jesus.
I’m the founder of the global online women’s ministry Well-Watered Women where our mission is to create Bible study tools and resources that will help women read the Word with Christ at the center and apply the gospel to everyday life. Some of these tools include the Give Me Jesus quiet time journal, Bible studies, guided Scripture journals and now, The Well-Watered Woman book.
As a wife and mama, I have learned firsthand that just because your hands and days are full doesn’t mean your heart has to be empty. Through Christ, we can live a fruitful, well-watered life right where our feet are planted.
When did you first start writing? What do you enjoy about it?
I have always loved the art of stringing words together in creative ways. When I was in elementary school, I was always coming up with songs and poems, and imagining short stories. In middle and high school, I had an English teacher who made us flex our writing muscles every week through writing essays, stories, and poems with titles he provided for us (which wasn’t always easy, but it helped me think outside the box!). My senior year I had to write a novel over the course of the year, and that sparked a desire in me to continue writing words that could impact someone’s heart for Christ!
In college, I dreamed of writing a book for girls encouraging them to wait on the Lord and live faithfully for him. I actually wrote that book after I got married and submitted it to a publisher, only to receive a rejection letter. I self-published it, and that is how I got started writing and sharing without fear!
For the past six years I’ve been writing and sharing online through different mediums—articles, blog posts, Bible studies, social media, and video teaching. Over the years, God has continued to keep the message of the well-watered, gospel-driven life as the central theme of all I write and teach about. Though it took me about two years to actually get to the writing part because it wasn’t the right season, God brought it to completion.
Is writing ever difficult for you? How so?
Depending on the season (and even on the day), I either have too many words to share, or no words at all. I started journaling in middle school and found the act of journaling as a space to process my thoughts, record prayers, and write down ideas. Journaling is usually where my initial writing process begins, and God has used it to stoke the fire in my heart to write content that will point to Jesus.
I have found that creative ideas and inspiration often don’t come when I sit down to write, but rather when I am living everyday life—caring for my children, having coffee with a friend, connecting with my husband, running errands, etc. In those moments, I jot down any creative spark, idea, or thought on the Notes app on my phone to pull out at a later time.
There are seasons, though, when I go through a writing dry spell—my journals remain blank and the cursor on the screen blinks on an empty page. Most often those seasons are refining, preparation seasons. During these times God calls me to set my pen aside, seek him, and trust him to provide the fuel to write again when the time comes!
What led you to write The Well-Watered Woman?
I wrote this book for the woman who wants more of Jesus in her everyday life because, to be totally honest, I am that woman! I’m the woman who has run tirelessly in a race for a prize that is out of reach and unsatisfying.
But I am also the woman, by God’s unmerited grace, who aches to spend my brief, numbered days here on earth chasing Jesus, the only prize worth pursuing in this life (Ps. 90:12; Phil. 4:12).
I have been the dried-up woman, and because of Jesus, I am the well-watered woman . . . and so are you. This book will take you on a journey from the dried-up life to a well-watered life that is abundant, whole, and free in Christ! This is the life he came to give, and this is the life he equips you to live.
What’s the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?
My hope is that women will close this book and open their Bibles, not just once but every day. I hope they will be set free from unrealistic expectations they’ve placed on their spiritual growth and walk with God to pursue him freely and fully right where they are. I want to show women that following Jesus isn’t a three-step program; it’s a lifestyle and it’s the road to full joy in our lives.
How has writing this book made you think or act differently about your topic?
Writing a book revealed my frailty, inconsistencies, and total dependence on God. The humbling process shined a spotlight on my soul, showing me how in-progress I am as well as how beautiful, sustaining, and real the gospel is in every moment. I’ve always struggled with a desire for perfection, and as I studied the well-watered life made possible through Christ, God brought great freedom and understanding to my heart.
For a sneak peek, here are some quotes:
“Dying to yourself doesn’t mean missing out on true life; it means embracing life as it was always meant to be—worshiping God, serving others, and living for his glory. Dying to yourself isn’t the loss of who you are as a person; it’s discovering who you were meant to be—a servant, a sacrifice, and a recipient of God’s grace.”
“Worldly comforts always fail us. Bigger homes, softer beds, nicer clothing, and overflowing bank accounts will never be true comfort when suffering strikes and all of life swirls around us. It’s a dead end. Jesus came and showed us the way of the Cross, which leads to eternal comfort. Though the cross of Christ is not comfortable, it is comforting, and that’s what we truly long for.”
“God’s Word isn’t just for the seasons when life is going well; it’s for the seasons when life seems unbearable too. It’s for the times when suffering sucks the joy right out of you. It’s for the times when sorrow steals your passion for life. It’s for the times when loneliness leaves you feeling isolated. It’s for the times when exhaustion leaves you discouraged. It’s for the times when anxiety causes you to tremble in fear and doubt. Miraculously and graciously, God’s Word is the way those unbearable seasons become bearable . . . because God’s Word bears us up.”
Here are some endorsements:
“For years, I’ve watched Gretchen lead and lean into the mission of encouraging women to dig deeply into the Word of God. I’ve seen her model it, share vulnerably through difficult seasons, and consistently point others to God’s faithfulness. God’s written a story in and through her that is not about her, but about God’s tending and care. And through these pages, Gretchen will lead us again and again, back to the only source for life and godliness—the living water of God’s Word.”
— From the foreword by Ruth Chou Simons, author of Gracelaced and Beholding and Becoming, founder of GraceLaced.com
“Over the years, Gretchen has been a gift to us. Her honesty, vulnerability, and commitment to follow Christ in life and ministry has encouraged us in our own. The Well-Watered Woman is an overflow of Gretchen’s life and a new beginning for any soul that feels barren, parched, or unsatisfied. Gretchen’s story and words will cause you to love God more and stir your affections for him.”
— Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, coauthors of Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments; co-founders of the Risen Motherhood ministry
“We all know that beautiful, flourishing gardens—and lives—don’t just happen. Gretchen combines rich, biblical insight with transparent glimpses into her own journey to help dry, parched souls become thriving, life-giving springs. You will find great hope and encouragement in this book as you encounter Jesus in a fresh way.”
— Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author and founder/teacher of Revive Our Hearts
“If you’re weary of the try-harder, do-more, be-better pressures of daily life, don’t miss Gretchen Saffles’s new book. Gretchen writes with warmth and humility, graciously illuminating our need for the good news of the gospel. This book overflows with scriptural truths that will refresh your heart, nourish your soul, and point you to Jesus.”
— Melissa Kruger, director of Women’s Initiatives for The Gospel Coalition and author of Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests
When will The Well-Watered Woman be coming out?
If you had an afternoon to do whatever you’d like, where would we find you?
You’d find me with my family enjoying God’s creation outdoors on a hike or bike ride, or in our backyard while my boys laugh and play games while I dig in the dirt and tend to our garden!
Gretchen Saffles is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to drink deeply from the well of God’s Word and find their identity and purpose in Christ. She is the author of The Well-Watered Woman: Rooted in Truth, Growing in Grace, Flourishing in Faith, and the founder of Well-Watered Women, an online ministry that reaches women worldwide with the hope of the gospel. As she shares from her life experiences, Gretchen writes with authenticity and boldness, encouraging women to seek Christ right where they are and live in his abundance. Gretchen lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg, and two sons, Nolan and Haddon. You can follow Gretchen on Instagram, and you can follow Well-Watered Women on Instagram and Facebook.