Author Interview and a Fun Giveaway! {Book Club}

Author Interview and a Fun Giveaway!

You already got to hear from her a few weeks ago in this post, but I’m so excited today to welcome Gina Butz to book club! Gina is the author of Making Peace with Change: Navigating Life’s Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace. I think we can all resonate with the themes of change and transition, can’t we?

Gina, thanks so much for taking the time to hang out with us in book club! Please tell us a little bit more about yourself.

I’m originally a Minnesota girl who married an adventurer. After two years working at the University of Minnesota in campus ministry, we moved to East Asia, where I first heard about Velvet Ashes through other expat women who worked there. After five years, we moved to Singapore and spent five years there. Then it was back to East Asia for what we thought would be another five years (but only ended up being three) before we moved to Orlando, Florida, where we currently live. I was pregnant with our son when we moved to Asia. We moved back to the States when he was 12 and his sister was 10.

My husband and I work at Cru Headquarters here where I serve in Global Leadership Development. Our son is now a sophomore in college and our daughter is a senior in high school. When I’m not writing I love watching our daughter play soccer (where I’m usually behind a camera capturing it) and walking our imported Asian mutt around the neighborhood.

Tell us about Making Peace with Change. What prompted you to write this book?

I started blogging when we lived in Singapore just to keep the grandparents updated. Life overseas was always interesting, so I shared stories of our crazy life there. It was a cathartic outlet. When we moved back to the U.S., I didn’t know what to write about anymore—no one ever tries to sell me a turtle at a stoplight here, so what is there to talk about? But the transition back to the U.S. was incredibly difficult, so I started writing about that, and people responded. I realized that God had taught me a lot through our many transitions that was worth sharing with others, so I started writing my book.

What do you hope God will do in the hearts of people who read this book?

I wrote this book for anyone who has experienced or is experiencing a transition that is challenging. I want to give them permission to slow down and linger with what God is doing in those messy places, rather than trying to rush back to feeling “normal.” I hope they will feel the freedom to be truly honest about the impact of change on their souls and find the grace they need from God and others to be at peace with it. I hope they’ll learn to give themselves so much grace and compassion that it naturally overflows to others who are struggling. It’s the book I wish I’d had in every major transition in my life.

How has God used the process of writing this book in your own life?

Writing this book helped crystallize the lessons God has taught me in every transition He has brought us through, and since I was writing it in the midst of one of the biggest transitions we’ve experienced, He challenged me to live out my own words, especially with regard to the practices of worship and gratitude. I think it also made me more aware of how God was at work in this new season, bringing good in unexpected ways. As I interviewed other women about their experiences in transition, I was so blessed to see evidence of God’s personal attention to each of us and His faithfulness to us in change.

We can’t let you get away from this interview without asking about book recommendations- this is book club after all! Do you have any favorites to share with us?

Probably my all-time favorite non-fiction book is Strong Women, Soft Hearts, by Paula Reinhart (I quote her several times in my book!). I think I read it five times when we lived in Singapore. I’m currently reading books for a spiritual formation program with Ruth Haley Barton including Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson and Opening to God by David Benner. 

Gina, thank you so much for sharing more about Making Peace with Change!

Do you have a question for Gina? Or does the topic of change and transition resonate with you? How has God sustained you and grown you in those seasons?

We are partnering with Our Daily Bread Publishing to give away FIVE copies of Making Peace with Change! To enter to win the giveaway, add a comment to this post before Saturday, March 7th at 9:00 PM EST. Winners will be contacted at the end of the giveaway.

What’s Coming Up:

Who’s ready for a little Jane Austen? In March, we will be reading Emma, and this delightfully charming matchmaker will hopefully amuse you with her imperfections. We will start discussing Emma on March 10th! Here’s the schedule:

March 10th: Chapters 1-14

March 17th: Chapters 15-29

March 24th: Chapters 30-43

March 31st: Chapters 44-55

Photo by John T on Unsplash

50 Comments

  1. Patty S March 2, 2020

    Can’t wait to read your book, Gina! I’m a firm believer in the transformative aspects of transition. I’m wondering if you see a correlation between transition and resiliency?

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      I think there definitely can be a correlation between transition and resiliency. I think the more we engage our hearts in transition and let ourselves be honestly grounded in relationship with God and others, we grow in resiliency. I see people navigate transition with a dogged determination to not be phased by it and then call that resiliency-I would call it hardness of heart. 🙂

  2. Anna March 2, 2020

    I would enjoy receiving a copy of the book!

  3. Ruth Callaghan do Valle March 2, 2020

    I’m so glad that there are great authors out there helping me make sense of transitions. I think I get so lost while going through them that I can’t even identify things that are similar or different to the last time it happened. I’m hoping that going into the next one with my eyes open will help, and help me learn what God wants to teach me through it!

    1. Sharon T March 2, 2020

      “hope they’ll learn to give themselves so much grace and compassion that it naturally overflows to others who are struggling“ – wow that is sooo good!

    2. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      In my experience, Ruth, the more I have lingered in asking myself what God is doing and showing me, the more I learn to recognize it with each transition. But I agree-it can be hard to know in the moment!

      1. Ruth March 6, 2020

        Thanks for replying, Gina! That’s exactly what I’m hoping to do in the transition I’m going through at the moment, trying to slow down a bit and be intentional and aware of what God’s saying and doing through it. This is really new to me! I’ve been through countless transitions in a just trying to keep my head above water way, so this is a big challenge but will hopefully help me stay emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically healthier than before!

  4. Jen March 2, 2020

    Thankful for the encouragement to give ourselves grace & time in the transitions and not to hurry through them!

  5. Sharon T March 2, 2020

    “hope they’ll learn to give themselves so much grace and compassion that it naturally overflows to others who are struggling“ wow that is so good!

  6. Rachel March 2, 2020

    What a great topic that we all need to grow in.

  7. Grace L March 2, 2020

    We are already anticipating a transition back to the states at the end of next year. It will also be moving into “retirement” for us which is another transition. I like what you said here: [I wrote this book for anyone who has experienced or is experiencing a transition that is challenging. I want to give them permission to slow down and linger with what God is doing in those messy places, rather than trying to rush back to feeling “normal.”] It brings me some comfort and a bit of reassurance to realize that we do not need to rush back to feeling “normal” and to better understand that we will need to slow down and linger with God. Thank you, Gina. I look forward to reading your book before we head into this transition.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      We were told when we moved back that it would take 1 year to transition for every 3-4 years we’d been overseas. I think everyone experiences it differently, but that made me feel much better when it DID take me about 4 years to feel normal again!

      1. Grace L March 5, 2020

        Thanks, Gina. Oh my, we have been on the field for 14 years. That means a long time for transitioning and getting back to normal. I think that because we are already older (70’s), we will be facing a “new normal” rather than trying to get back to our lives as they may have been before moving overseas. All I can know and estimate is that it will take a complete surrendering and reliance on God for this next season of our lives. Looking forward to reading your book.

  8. Hannah March 3, 2020

    I am approaching year two in my ministry, and the transition has been challenging. Many aspects of the move I had expected, but other aspects caught me off-guard. I am looking forward to reading this book in the days to come, and to giving myself permission to slow down and sit at Jesus’ feet even more, to see what He’s doing in this season.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      I wrote a whole chapter on expectations because those definitely tripped me up too. I love the picture of sitting at Jesus’ feet in transition!

  9. JaimeK March 3, 2020

    I’d love a copy of this. I’m in transition right now, but definitely have not made peace with it. Soaking up every perspective and bit of encouragement I can!

  10. HJ March 3, 2020

    So good

    1. Annalisa March 3, 2020

      I would like to win a copy of the book. Thanks for sharing!

  11. KTEE March 3, 2020

    Transition is so incredibly hard…especially when leaving the mission field was not your idea or plan or dream.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      So true! I know so many people recently for whom that is reality.

  12. Linda March 3, 2020

    After 12 years overseas, it looks like change and moving to the States is on my horizon. It’s not my first choice, and I would appreciate any books and material that will help me navigate these season with grace.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      Linda-blessings as you move. We weren’t looking to make a move back after 13 years either, so I feel for you.

  13. Sherri March 3, 2020

    Your book is so needed! Transition, although challenging, can be a wonderful time for growth. I too love Strong Women, Soft Hearts…so much wisdom there!

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      Paula Reinhart has a new book out too that I just picked up. She’s a great author!

  14. Phyllis March 3, 2020

    Thank you for sharing here! We’ve actually been in less of the moving around, travelling back and forth kinds of transition, but I’m in a weird transition stage right now. I’ve finished cancer treatment, and I’m doing well, but the cancer isn’t quite gone. I loved this: “I want to give them permission to slow down and linger with what God is doing in those messy places, rather than trying to rush back to feeling ‘normal.'” Yes! I don’t feel like I can quite go back to normal life, but I’m not really sick anymore either. So, thank you. I will sit right here and call it good.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      Finishing cancer treatment is definitely a big change! I like your phrase “call it good.” It is good!

  15. Kris March 3, 2020

    I look forward to reading this book especially since I will transitioning back to my home country this summer. This transition isn’t what I want to do but what I feel I need to do. I feel at a loss to know how to process this transition & think this book could give me some great guidance. So whether I win the book or not, it’s definitely going on my “to read” list!

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      I hope you do win! 🙂

  16. sarah March 3, 2020

    thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Transition. i hadn’t considered the many transitions of our overseas life in this way, and it’s really helpful (and timely!) in my life. many thanks, and i would love to read the book! 🙂

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      You’re welcome!

  17. Nikki March 4, 2020

    My life has been one transition after another—this book sounds very helpful!

  18. Sheila Yarick March 4, 2020

    I’m really wanting to read this book since our team is in a time of transition.

  19. Spring Davis March 4, 2020

    My question for Gina would be what things helped you in your transitions? I have been told by our counselor that it takes about 4 years to settle into a new place. This feels like a long time. It also is a longer time than some have overseas or in one place. I don’t think it is wise to try to speed up that process. I am just wondering if there are any tips?

    Thanks for sharing the lessons God taught you in this process.

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      I think everyone’s heart is on its own timeline. It definitely helped our family to get connected quickly to community, but that can be hard to do when you’re in transition because it requires initiating and that’s tiring. So my caveat is that we do need to take steps of faith to set down roots, but we also need to give ourselves grace for the days when we just don’t have the energy. I have heard that it takes 1 year for every 4 years of being overseas (in terms of coming back from an overseas assignment). I found that to be true for myself. As for moving overseas? I think it probably depends a lot on your situation-how different is the culture? Who do you know and connect with easily? It’s helpful for me to remember to be conscious not just of what takes up my time, but my relational and mental energy. That can be draining and make the process of transition take longer.

  20. Kim McHugh March 4, 2020

    I am still working through transitions that have happened in the last 4-6 years, and grieving a recent death in my family. I think both books mentioned, “Making Peace with Change”, and “Strong Women, Soft Hearts” sound like they would be helpful for my journey.

  21. Kimberly March 4, 2020

    “I hope they will feel the freedom to be truly honest about the impact of change on their souls and find the grace they need from God and others to be at peace with it. I hope they’ll learn to give themselves so much grace and compassion that it naturally overflows to others who are struggling.”
    I’m currently in the process of transition back to the U.S. (59 more days…) and am having to remind myself that it’s okay to stop and feel and, as you said it, recognize the impact of change on my soul and find the grace I need from God and peace in it. That’s not so easy, especially with so many mixed emotions!
    But I love this journey with God and how He is always with us in the changes. ❤️

    1. Gina Butz March 4, 2020

      59 days! I hope you are able to fully enjoy the rest of your time as you also allow yourself to grieve what you’re leaving. Such a mixed bag of emotions when we’re making a big move like that!

  22. Bayta Schwarz March 4, 2020

    So relevant, even though I’m not actually moving! Change is still there, on every level, so this still feels like a season of transition. Excited for this book!

  23. Lauren March 4, 2020

    Really looking forward to reading this book as I enter into a big transition this summer!

  24. Stephanie March 5, 2020

    I’m so excited about this book! Gina, I listened to your talk about transition from staff conference and knew I had to read this! I’m transitioning out of 7 years overseas next month and I have you book on my “reentry must read list”!

    1. Gina March 5, 2020

      Wow-next month! I hope this last month is a good time of saying goodbye well and smooth preparation for the next chapter.

  25. Hannah Rudolph March 5, 2020

    Wow, I hope to one day read this book! I have gone through so many transitions in the past five or six years and my longing has been to become resilient. However, I still usually find myself hating transition with a passion. I would love to hear your perspective on the topic.

    1. Gina March 5, 2020

      I don’t like transition either! But I hope this book can help you see how God is at work in them to redeem them.

  26. Brianna March 5, 2020

    I would be honored to receive a copy of this book! We are within our first year overseas and change is still hitting us each and every day!

    1. Gina March 5, 2020

      Bless you-the first year can be so hard!

  27. Kelsey Vensk March 6, 2020

    I am currently in month four of transitioning back to the U.S. after living overseas. I knew it would be messy and overwhelming, but it’s been even more so than I expected. I love the reminder here to slow down, embrace the messiness, and look for the good God is doing in the midst of it. I am looking forward to reading the whole book!

  28. Rachel March 6, 2020

    I just moved to my field about 9 months ago and am still very much in the transitioning stage. On top of that, I’m working towards finding healing in other areas of my life, so there’s a lot going on emotionally! The book sounds like it would be super interesting and helpful!

  29. Suzy L March 7, 2020

    Your book sounds interesting and has gotten me thinking that maybe, after two years in Central Asia, I am still going through transition. Maybe I’m experiencing new aspects of it. Thanks for the prodding.

  30. Elisa March 7, 2020

    My oldest daughter is heading to college this fall and we will return overseas. It’s difficult to imagine how we will transition to daily life without her near. Her siblings are starting to realize it too! And she has never lived in the US. So this is a big transition year for all of us. Looking forward to reading this book soon. Thanks for sharing your experience, Gina.

    1. Gina Butz March 8, 2020

      You’re welcome, Elisa!

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