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Corrie Mann describes herself as a 46-year-old woman who loves to write. Although not yet published, ministering to others with her writing is something she longs to do. A FaithWriters member since 2006, Corrie only recently began sharing her work publicly. Join interviewer, Lynda Schab, as she talks to Corrie about her family, her writing, and the many challenges she's faced in her life.

LYNDA SCHAB: Tell us a little about yourself.

CORRIE MANN: My childhood years were a blend of living in the city with my parents and sister to living in the country with my Grandmother, Aunt and six cousins.  Most of my fond childhood memories remain there, in a quiet little Town called Havelock.
 
When I was 14, one day while at my Grandmother`s, my parents called to say that my Mom`s nephew had been hit by lightening while on a boat trip with his friends.  He was just 20 years old when his life was tragically taken away.  That night, my Aunt Lois lovingly led me to the Lord. Even though at the time, I didn`t really understand much about salvation, it was then that my journey as a Christian began.

Whenever I was at Grandma`s, there was not much for me to do. She had a little television that carried just two channels, and most of the time there was not anything on that I wanted to watch. I retreated into reading books. I would read and read until I could not read anymore. Then I would write. The pen and paper kept me company and all the thoughts I held quietly inside of me came alive when I began to write. My thoughts seemed to be set free, somehow flying out of me like a butterfly and landing on the paper.  Writing out my thoughts gave my feelings a voice.

I have had a passion for reading and writing since I was a young girl. Writing, for me, is characteristic to the woman I have become.  If it is not a book in I carry under my arm, it is a pen and paper.  Though I use my laptop to write, as well, I do find myself favoring the pen and paper as my beginning point.


LYNDA: Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?

CORRIE: I do remember one day when I was about twelve, I was staying at my Grandmother's house, sitting outside in her yard, reading a book.  I was interrupted by two birds flying around together and chirping loudly, seemingly having a great old time.  It was so interesting to watch these feathered friends happily interacting with one another. I got the idea for a story from these two birds and their little performance.  I went in the house, came back out with a pen and paper in hand, and began to write.

 It is a story called The Purple Prince and it's about a little bird with attitude. His father is a blue jay and his mother is a red cardinal. Together they made this cute little purple bird and named him Purple Prince. Not only is he a cute little guy, he also has a big attitude and his parents don't know exactly what to do about it. He is defiant and talks back to them.  They try to teach him the way God would want him to behave but he is not willing to listen to anything they say.

 One day, Purple Prince falls out of the nest while his parent's are out getting some food for him to eat.  He wanders around at first, just having fun with his new-found freedom from his doting parents. Along the way, he realizes he is lost and cannot find his way back to the nest.   During the time he is lost, the Purple Prince has time to think about his attitude and how he had been disrespecting his parents. In the woods, he runs into a rabbit that he talks to about his troubles and how scared he is that he can't find his way home. This rabbit talks to him about Jesus and helps him find his way back to not only his nest and parents but to the God he has rejected.

To this day, my Daughter remembers this story as I told it to her often when she was really small.  I think it was her favorite story. She has often encouraged me to get it published.  It's something I have considered from time to time.


LYNDA: I have to say, I think that story sounds wonderful! I also encourage you to pursue publication!

According to your FaithWriters webpage, you started truly writing from the heart during a time of darkness and pain. Can you share about that time in your life?

CORRIE: My teenage years were confusing and quite turbulent. During that time, I became a young single mother to my first daughter Vanessa. For the next nine years, I raised her alone, praying fervently for a husband. In 1991 at the age of 29, I got married with all the hopes and dreams of any other woman, to have a complete and happy family life. As it turned out, my marriage experience was just the opposite.

During the five years I was married, I went through terrible abuse - both emotional and physical. The home that used to be my sanctuary and place of peace quickly became a place of fear and danger, not just for me, for my daughter Vanessa, as well. I feared my husband so much that I even wouldn't even think about trying to get away from him. Instead of what I thought would be a marriage of happiness, love and commitment, it was, for me, an experience of darkness and pain.

I was plagued with panic attacks so severe that I was getting seven to ten of them per day. In the end, I sought safety for my daughter and myself, and went to a battered wives shelter. Fear of my husband and fear of life itself had become my everyday existence. My faith was hanging by a thread, as I was. It seemed I didn`t even know the woman that stared back at me from the mirror anymore.  Shortly after leaving, I found out I was expecting with my daughter, Andrea.  

It's been 13 years since Andrea has blessed my world, and each year she gets older also marks another year that I am a survivor of domestic violence.  In the years that have followed, there has been much healing, not only in my life, but in the life of my daughter Vanessa who, sadly, went through it with me.  Vanessa went on to college and now works in the field of Early Childhood Education.  I am proud of her and how far she has come, as I have watched her grow into a woman.  She is also a survivor of a family home ravaged by violence.

Andrea is my light from the dark places of that time.  She is the gift God gave to us all. My parents and sister were wonderful supporters to me during my time of pain. They have been such committed, loving Grandparents to both of my girls and remain a constant source of support to myself and to them.

Forgiving myself was an extremely difficult part of my journey.  I felt responsible for stepping ahead of God and choosing the violent man that I married. The choice that prevented my daughter from feeling safe in her own home. I also felt sad for my other daughter because she was not able to know her Father.  After years of struggling in this area, I was finally able to forgive myself. But it took a long time.

I wrote a piece called - Rain of Pain that describes more of my testimony about this time in my life.  I think it may be posted in the reprint section here (http://www.faithreaders.com/article-details.php?article=5605) .


LYNDA: On your webpage, you also mention that you have a heart for women and the issues they face. Do you think this comes from your own difficult experiences? And how does your writing play a part in ministering to hurting women?

CORRIE: I believe that the heart I have for women and issues they may face does directly come from my own difficult experiences from my past. I find that is what God does. He takes the pains of our past and wants to use us somehow to do His work here on earth.  It is my hope and prayer to minister to women through my writing in a way that somehow encourages them in whatever they are going through.  

 Many women feel alone in their battles and struggles.  They can be weary and afraid of the future, depending of what they are facing in their lives.  I know for me, when I was hurting the most, I read the writings of many other women who have overcome in the face of adversity.  Their writings encouraged and blessed my life by offering me hope for another day.  When I didn't feel like getting out bed in the morning because it hurt too much just to open my eyes and face the state my life was in, the encouragement from others made all the difference.  It helped just to know I was not alone. To know I mattered even though my life was a shambles.  I needed to hear that God loved me still.

I want to send the message to other women that no matter how hard things get, or what they are going through, to never ever give up.  God has a divine plan for each of our lives. We just need to be open to it and be prepared to do what I call "suffer to grow".  In the midst of my most tremendous suffering, I grew the most.  These times have been springboards that have placed me on the next path He wants me to walk.

During moments of great pain and anguish of the heart, it is not easy to see God's plan in all of it. I want women to know that even when we don't see his plan or feel his presence, that he is there waiting for us to come to Him.  He doesn't promise an easy road but He does promise to carry us across the road. 

I especially love to see women go from victim to victor. Becoming victorious over life's challenges and set free from all that may bind them, is something God wants for us all.  It is my hope to one day build a solid support network for women who are hurting. I hope to do this not only through my writings, but also through a physical support group.  I have been working on the beginning foundations for starting one in my area.


LYNDA: Have you had any of your work published?

CORRIE: Besides on the FaithReaders and FaithWriters site, I have never had of my writings published yet, though I do believe one day I will accomplish this. Since becoming a Faithwriters member I have become much more serious about my writing. The encouragement and support I have received here has helped me to understand more about myself and my writing life and what it means to me. I have been abundantly blessed since coming to faithwriters.  I just recently registered for a writing course in an effort to improve the craft of writing.

I think the main reason I haven't yet pursued publication is because I haven't believed my writings were good enough.  I suppose I thought that whatever I wrote would only mean something to me and no one else.  I am drawn to ministry through writing. I look forward to seeing what God will do in this area of my life in the future.


LYNDA:  Who are some of your favorite authors?

CORRI:  Lynda, now that is a loaded question I am laughing as I write the answer as I am such an avid reader I have a list so long there is not enough room to write them all!

Here are a few of my favorites:
Novels- Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, Dee Henderson, Coleen Coble, Tamara Tilley
Non-fiction:  Stormie Omartian,  Joyce Meyer,  Beth Moore
And, of course, I cannot forget to mention all the authors who are featured in the Faithwriters books.  I have enjoyed reading all of them.


LYNDA: Tell us more about your family.

CORRIE: My mom and dad's home is within walking distance from where I live with my daughter Andrea, who I mentioned before is thirteen. My other daughter, Vanessa, is 27 and is now married.  She and her husband, Morgan, have a son- my Grandson Cole, who is just turning two years old.  

Through it all, I could not have made it over the bumps in the road without my family or my God. Without my family and their never-ending support, and without my faith, I would not have been able to endure some of the hardships I have had to face.

It seems my daughter Andrea has a gift in the area of writing. She loves to read and write.  She has been blessed by the Faithwriters for kids section here (http://kids.faithwriters.com/).  It is wonderful to have a safe place for our children to go and post their writings. This site has been so beneficial to her young writing life.


LYNDA: What do you do to relax? And do you have any quirky or unique hobbies or collections?

CORRIE: I love relaxing sitting on my front patio with a good book in hand, listening to the birds chirping and all the sounds of nature around me. I especially like to do this near water. I often go to my parent's home and sit by their pool while reading a good book written by one of my favorite authors.

I also like going for walks with my two dogs.  They are a cute couple, my Bella and Koda.  Bella is my little girl who is a small long-haired multi color mix of black, tan and white.  She is all but 10 pounds soaking wet.  And my big guy is a Sheppard-Lab mix.  People often comment as we walk down the street on the size difference between the two dogs.  I find walking them to be a great way of clearing my mind, as well as a nice break from the busyness of life.

As far as quirky or unique hobbies or collections, I don't really have any of those beyond my interest in word games.  I suppose that can be a funny little hobby.


LYNDA: What are your goals for the future, both personally and writing-related?

CORRIE:
Personal goals short term - I would like to become more disciplined in the area of exercising. Apart from walking the dogs I don't consistently follow an exercise routine.  I do exercise a bit; just not as I should.
Time management is another area where I need to improve partly because procrastinating is one of my weaknesses.
Long term personal - To one day have a second chance at love. I would like to marry again if it is God's will for me. 
Writing related - To continue furthering my education and completing the writing course I am currently registered in. Also, write more consistently than I have been the past several months.
Long term Writing  - To get my writing published.

LYNDA: Great goals, Corrie! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your life. May God bless you as you continue to walk on the path He has set before you.

To read Corrie's work, visit her FaithWriters profile here: http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=20723


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