I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a sneak peek interview with Christine Hoover about her new book, With All Your Heart: Living Joyfully Through Allegiance to King Jesus. I always enjoy the wisdom, encouragement, and honesty that Christine brings to her writing, and I’m looking forward to digging into this new book soon. The book is releasing today, and can be found wherever books are sold. Here’s why she chose to write on this important topic.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m married to Kyle, who pastors the church we planted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2008. We have three boys, who are 16, 14, and 12, and I’m really enjoying parenting teenagers. In addition to writing, I’m passionate about studying and teaching the Bible, gospel community, and local church ministry.
When did you first start writing? What do you enjoy about it?
I started writing when I was a little girl, although it was never a conscious dream of mine to become a vocational writer. I did, however, always enjoy creative writing assignments in school and dabbled in writing in the early years of marriage, but becoming a writer felt like a far-fetched idea.
When my children were young, I began experiencing a strong compulsion to try my hand at writing and to learn all I could about the craft. My husband encouraged me to take one to two hours out of the week when he wasn’t working, head to a coffee shop, and write. So I did and, even though my writing was terrible, the compulsion only grew.
When I write and put words to what God has taught or is teaching me, it feels like a response of worship back to him. There is such joy in sharing what God has shown me and discovering that others connect with him through my own expressed thoughts and experiences.
Is writing ever difficult for you? How so?
Although I enjoy writing and am compelled by God to continue writing, it’s never been easy for me. I don’t think it is for anyone!
One of the difficult parts of the actual writing process is waiting for the ideas, thoughts, and words to come together—taking the long view of a project rather than panicking that I only managed to write a small portion of my daily word goal.
A writer’s audience is so often unseen and “somewhere out there” that it’s easy to lose sight of what success is or what results I’m working toward. I’m always fighting to remember that I’m writing as an offering to the Lord and to trust him to use what I’ve offered in whatever way most glorifies him.
And finally, on a day-in, day-out basis, I’m constantly looking for ways around the isolation that easily creeps into a writer’s life. I’m learning to seek out a sense of team, whether it’s cheering on another author, connecting with writing outlets, or using my God-given abilities within our local church.
What led you to write With All Your Heart?
In the past few years, I’ve experienced what I would call a wilderness period. Much like God took the Israelites into the wilderness for a time, he’s taken me through an extended time of uncertainty. And just as the wilderness exposed the hearts of the Israelites, God used that period to expose my heart. Specifically, he uncovered the people and things I was, in my uncertainty, turning toward for help and provision instead of him. I saw that my heart was divided in ways I’d never recognized before.
At the same time, in my personal Bible study I was reading through the book of Matthew and began noticing how much Jesus referenced the kingdom of God. It’s actually what he talked about more than any other subject. I took careful notice of what he said this kingdom is like and puzzled over what exactly he meant by his famous words, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
My imagination was stirred as I connected the kingdom of God to my own circumstances, because I began asking myself, If Jesus is my king, and he is, what kind of king is he and how am I meant to respond to him? Knowing I have a king and am a part of a kingdom led me to the language of allegiance and challenged me to consider all the subtle allegiances vying for my heart and mind, things like control and comfort.
I wrote With All Your Heart because I wanted to bring the kingdom of God to the heart level and challenge readers to consider where their hearts are divided in allegiance.
What’s the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?
False kings make promises to us of security, peace, and happiness, but they don’t keep their promises. They only take, and there are no exceptions to this rule.
But Jesus is a king who gives! Giving allegiance to him means we come under his blessing and provision within the kingdom of God. In other words, he gives us his allegiance in return. This truth makes my heart burst with joy, and I’m thrilled to get to share this message in detail in With All Your Heart.
How has writing this book affected your own life?
Writing this book has caused me to think about what I do and why I do it in terms of allegiance. For example, when I realize I’m comparing myself with others or I’m frustrated I’m not getting a response I’d like from another person, I’m learning to stop and consider where I’m bowing in allegiance. Do I expect achieving what that person has or receiving a specific response from someone is going to give me what these things seem to promise? Is this about my kingdom or God’s kingdom? I’m learning to apply the kingdom of God, so to speak, and remember that I have a king who readily and willingly gives to me the sense of security and approval I’m looking for.
For a sneak peek, here’s what others are saying about With All Your Heart:
Through vulnerable stories and candid confessions, Christine’s words had us nodding along. But she also gently beckoned us to evaluate our affections, giving Christ our full allegiance—the only one who can truly satisfy. These pages are truth-filled and encouraging! We’re grateful for this book. — Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, cofounders of the Risen Motherhood ministry and coauthors of Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments
Christine Hoover has served us well in tackling the important topic of the kingdom of God. In With All Your Heart, Hoover graciously helps us see how our allegiances with lesser things, lesser kingdoms keep us from true worship. As we fix our eyes on Jesus Hoover “calls us out to a greater kingdom and greater king.” You will be challenged and encouraged to draw near to Jesus through the pages of this book. ― Trillia Newbell, author of Sacred Endurance, If God Is for Us, and God’s Very Good Idea
Once again, Christine has pulled up a seat, opened her heart, and welcomed us into the very front row of her tensions. In a self-sufficient, driven culture we would much rather disengage, preserve our energy, and focus more on ourselves than lean into the tensions of growing pains. She challenges us to not only recalibrate our hearts with the kingdom of God but first start by openly confessing our desires to please ourselves more than pleasing the very God who saved our wretched souls. As a pastor’s wife, church planter, and a woman familiar with the exact struggles Christine has openly shared with us, I am deeply convicted and challenged to rethink and reassess my desires and priorities. This book will encourage, admonish, and lovingly remind us to realign our allegiance to King Jesus. — Elicia Horton, coauthor of Enter the Ring: Fighting Together for a Gospel-Saturated Marriage
Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife, mom of three boys, host of the “By Faith” podcast, and author of several books, including Messy Beautiful Friendship and Searching for Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time. She’s also contributed to The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, For the Church, and Christianity Today. Originally from Texas, she and her family live in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they planted a church in 2008. Find out more about Christine at her blog.