TMC Alumna Writes from the Heart
By Bob Dickson
For 1998 Master’s College graduate Kristen Wells, the answer to her prayer for direction came in the form of a phone call from Tate Publishing last year.
Tate was one of the five publishing agencies to receive a copy of a manuscript she had been writing off and on for years. Its editors had read the story. They had walked the manuscript through the review process and now it was time for a phone call to the author. They wanted to publish it.
Moments after she hung up the phone, an “absolutely floored” Wells put in a call to her husband and most avid supporter, Greg (also a TMC graduate). She had so much to say, but the words wouldn’t come.
“I couldn’t even speak,” she says. “I was just crying.”
The news of her manuscript’s acceptance signaled the end of one journey for Wells and, she hopes, the start of another. She had received a pair of rejection letters before hearing from Tate, and she wasn’t sure if her vision for the book was what God had in mind.
“I had been in such prayer,” she says. “I was asking, ‘Lord, where do you want me to minister in my life?’ And then I get this call two days later. It was an unbelievable answer.”
The book, titled The Warring Soul, was published in January. It made its debut at a book party at a residence in Santa Clarita, Calif. Surrounded by friends and family, Wells praised God for the ministry He had given her and for the opportunity she would now have to reach out to hurting young women with the gospel.
The book began as a personal journey to catharsis for Wells. Its main character, Kate, is a young woman who is saved in college, but who struggles to reconcile who she was with the new person she has been called to be. It is a story about fleshing out one’s relationship with God – sinner to Savior.
The book gives readers a realistic glimpse into the sometimes-messy transformation of a young believer’s attitudes and behaviors. It is a practical metamorphosis – replete with doubts and setbacks – a journey Wells knows isn’t easy. It is a struggle she went through herself.
The Warring Soul is not purely autobiographical, but it does draw from Wells’ experiences. It also encompasses what she learned from her college counseling classes.
“There was a story that I needed to tell,” Wells says. “It was more of a story of closure for me. It was more of a personal thing I was writing. But as I got to talk to youth leaders, it came to my attention that there were young kids in high school and college – especially girls – who are suffering. They need people to let them know that they are not the only one going through hard times. There is hope in Christ.”
The thematic thrust of the book is that God knows you are not perfect, and that you don’t come to Him out of a spotless past. Wells uses the story of Kate to demonstrate the grace of God to restore and renew.
Wells believes too many Christians are so busy trying to appear perfect that they set a dangerous pattern of not recognizing their need for grace every day.
“The Apostle Paul edified members of the church to come alongside one another, but I think we’ve gotten good at hiding our sin today,” she says. “I think young people don’t want to come forward with their sin but they think they’re not supposed to have any. I think we need to be truthful.”
The Warring Soul also emphasizes the importance of approaching God from the right perspective – and with the right motives in mind.
“It’s not about using the idea of God to fix you. It’s about a relationship,” Wells says. “God is clear: ‘If you’re going to choose me, you have to follow me.’”
Wells transferred into The Master’s College as a junior. At the time, she had only been saved a month. Two years later she graduated with a degree in Biblical Counseling and a desire to help others mature in their relationships with the Lord.
“My Biblical Counseling degree is coming in huge,” Wells says. “It has played an important part in the book. I tried to use what I learned at Master’s on how to counsel girls. When they read it they’re getting a mini counseling lesson.”
She didn’t know at the time that such a ministry opportunity would come through her writing, but it didn’t come as a complete surprise, either. Wells has been a writer her entire life.
“I had always wanted to write a book,” she says. “I’ve been a writer and an avid reader since I was tiny. My idea of fun was coming home after school, turning on Mozart and reading and writing. But I never shared it with anybody. I have journals and journals of writing … it’s something very personal to me. It’s always been very private for me.”
Wells says the book was something she poked at for years while balancing her responsibilities as wife and mother. The project accelerated, however, when she realized that what she was writing could minister to others.
“I would write and write when the kids went to bed. It was a process,” she says. “Halfway through it went from closure for me to ministry for others. Once I saw it was a great ministry opportunity, that’s when I buckled down. Greg and I would go on date nights and I would just rant about the book. He was so supportive. Sometimes he would take the kids and leave me home to write.”
Nine months after committing to the book as a ministry, her manuscript was complete. Greg encouraged her to try to get it published. Wells says she had no reason to believe the book would go any further, but God had a plan … Tate Publishing.
The book has received good reviews so far. Fifteen readers have rated it on Amazon.com and it is averaging 4.9 out of 5 stars.
One reviewer’s comments from the site capture Wells’ intent particularly well:
“This book is such a good picture of someone struggling to turn their life around with God’s help who then realizes what they really need is a heart transformed by God’s grace.”
Wells says a sequel is already in the works. The Lord has opened a door for her to minister and she intends to walk through it.
Where it will lead precisely, she doesn’t know. But if she can encourage even one young girl in the faith, she knows it will have been worth it.
“This is more than I could have ever imagined for myself,” she says. “This is all grace.”
The Master’s College Alumni Relations program is dedicated to build lifelong relationships with its graduates. For more information on the Alumni Relations Department, click here.