Do you walk around looking perfectly fine, but feeling deeply wounded? Are you nursing spiritual, physical or emotional wounds that no one else can see? Have you ever felt guilty or overwhelmed by your doubts and questions about God’s goodness: Where is He? Why would He allow this suffering? Fear or shame keeps you quiet. You live alone with your invisible wounds. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, God designed us for community. He isn’t afraid of our raw honesty, frustration and desperate questioning. He just wants us to come to Him. When we seek the Healer instead of the healing, our painful journeys will lead us to freedom, joy and the unshakeable hope that heals. Hope that is not dependent on a result or an outcome. Hope that doesn’t disappoint.
Today I am sitting down with Melinda Means, author of the book ‘Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting’. Melinda, can you please start off today’s interview by giving the audience a bit of insight as to what precipitated you to start work on this book?
I have been struggling with “invisible wounds” in isolation for nearly 20 years. I look fine, but I wage a daily battle with chronic pain. My son also wages a battle of his own with cystic fibrosis. Like me, he looks like the picture of health. And yet … I lived with my pain mostly in isolation. I didn’t want it to become my identity. I figured others had bigger problems that mine. I questioned God. I fought anxiety and depression. Then this year, I hit a particularly brutal patch in my pain journey. I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I felt God prompting me to share my story. As I did, the response was overwhelming. I had already written one book. I knew this had to be the next one I’d write.
So this book was really chronicling your own life journey towards working through your physical and emotional pain and your connection to God.
Oh my yes! A lot of it is my story, but I also interviewed seven other brave women who have different types of invisible wounds. These stories are powerful testaments of how God can work through pain.
On top of these personal stories, did you also undertake research to make sure you were clearly communicating these pains and stories?
I read others writings on pain and suffering and dug into a look of biblical commentaries.
Were there any consistent themes or threads you pick up from all of these personal stories and biblical perspectives that you have interwoven?
Absolutely. I tackle the themes of isolation, embracing the reality we’ve been given, telling our stories and wrestling with God’s role and goodness in the midst of suffering. These were all important issues I’ve dealt with in my journey. Regardless of whether you have a physical, emotional or spiritual wound, I think these are common themes that many people in pain wrestle with.
As this really is very personal to you, you must have had strong feelings during the development of this book. What was the gratifying aspect for you?
Watching and experiencing God use it as part of my healing process. Of seeing Him show me how to put all my scattered thoughts together, knowing He would use them to encourage and bring healing to others.
Did it take you a long time to meld all of the concepts that you wanted to include in this book into a single manuscript?
I played with ideas in my head for the past 10 months, but I really started writing in earnest over the last 5 months.
And during those last five months have you used any strategies to help you write?
I TRY to write everyday. It really keeps my creative juices flowing. Even it’s only 15 minutes, writing everyday is important.
Do you just fire up Microsoft Word each day and start typing?
I used Scrivener and it was the best decision! Much preferred over Microsoft Word!
I haven’t used Scrivener myself yet, but I have heard many recommendations from writers. Do you also try to edit every day as well? Or did you edit while you wrote?
I wrote and wrote and tried not to self-edit through the writing process (so hard for me!) Then, I had an author friend give feedback, hired a professional editor and had my husband read it (he was a great proofreader/editor!).
Did you also try and think of a cover to match your work, or did you have a designer tackle this for you?
I had a very specific vision for the cover. I have some design skills so I designed it myself and then had a designer make sure it met all the technical specifications.
And once you had written, edited, completed and received a review for your book how did you feel?
It’s a great feeling! Love knowing that my words touched someone else.
Being able to produce something that has been worthwhile for your readers must be a fantastic feeling. Do you have any tips for anyone else considering self-publishing their own work?
Don’t be afraid! My first book was traditionally published. It seemed scary to self-publish, but I have loved the experience.
Do you think that self-publishing is going to be a dominate way to release books in the future?
I think that self-publishing is going to continue to grow, while traditional publishing is going to struggle. There are so many options for authors these days to get the word out besides going through the traditional process.
Now that you have completed your writing process with this book, have you started on your next work?
I’m working on a 30-day devotional to accompany Invisible Wounds that will release in January.
Good luck for you devotional. I haven’t asked you earlier in the interview, but are you one of the lucky few who writes for a living?
Yes, I’m a freelance writer, professional writing coach and Women’s Director at my church. All those experience hone my skills and give me great experiences and insights for my writing.
Do you also find that your favourite authors have shaped your writing style?
I love Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wendy Blythe, Suzie Eller … a few that come to mind. I love their transparency and that’s what I try to communicate in my writing.
Are you reading anything at the moment that communicates this kind of transparency?
Honestly, nothing at the moment, outside of my Bible every morning! I just launched my own book and I’ve been consumed with that.
Where there any novels when you were little that you think also transformed your writing?
I loved the Little House on the Prairie books! :)
Unfortunately, that this all that we’ve had time for today. Melinda, thank you for being very kind and sharing your personal and writing experiences today. I wish you the best of luck with your promotion of ‘Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting’, and I hope that your work on your new devotional book goes well.
Want to connect with Melinda? You can find here here: