About Faith Forward Press
Faith Forward Press is a small imprint in the Nashville area that adheres to traditional, conservative, Christian content and values. FFP is founded upon the belief that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God and that Jesus is the one and only Son of God and Messiah. All fiction and nonfiction works are presented with the belief that God redeems all who choose to call upon the name of His Son, Jesus, for forgiveness of sin.
Lisa Heaton, Director of Stories and Big Dreams – Always busy with our next venture. See my info below.
Kimberly Lazenby, Outreach Coordinator and Content Development – The most loyal word-nerd who puts up with way too much for way too little compensation.
Kim, a Texas native, wife, and homeschool mom, has a heart for the truth and a passion to know Jesus more each day. She is a site contributor on many of the Daybreak web pages. Kim spends countless hours reading my too-fast-to-be-accurate page entries and scouring the internet for new videos and articles to keep you up to speed.
If all that wasn’t enough, Kim works diligently to get Daybreak into the hands of ministries and readers, anyone who will read and share the free ebook. It’s almost ridiculous how well she speaks of me and believes in the work I’m doing for our Jesus. I can speak just as outrageously over her heart for Him and still fail to paint an accurate portrayal of how devoted she is to Jesus and to sharing His love with others.
On a personal level, Kimmie has become my best friend and ministry partner. God did the sweetest thing by bringing together two girls from some eight-hundred miles apart. Kimmie joined my Zoom Bible study called the Gathering back in the summer of 2020. In the matter of a few weeks we began talking daily. Best friendship became true sisterhood. I’m the older, bossier sister, but Kimmie is pretty plucky herself.
Like me, early after the Covid plandemic began, Kim saw the massive deception in the world and remains intent on warning anyone who will listen. I can’t tell you how her encouragement has helped to keep me focused on the Prize this past year.
Amy Longstreth, Editorial Coordinator – Book lover with the patience to read second drafts without asking why the writer keeps making the same mistakes.
Amy began working with me on You. Are. Loved. and has since been the first round of eyes editing my newest manuscripts. Over the past years, Amy has and still is reading back through my old material to make needed editorial changes that help each story be all it can be.
Amy is a certified ASL interpreter and a gifted teacher. She’s a wife and mom and servant of the Lord.
Bob Pulley, Video Pro and Songwriting Partner – The guy who is always up for any of my creative madness.
I can’t say enough good about this retired-from-the-Post-Office buddy of mine. Bob has people pulling him in ten different directions to help them with videos, yet always makes time to help me with whatever video questions I have. He’s taught me enough to allow me to brave filming videos myself, but as a perfectionist, is likely embarrassed by my production skills. Sorry, Bob.
Bob is responsible for the beauty that became the You. Are. Loved. trailer, (Watch here) which, by the way is a book trailer inviting you to step into the journey of knowing and embracing the spectacularly-unbelievable love that Jesus has for you. A PDF of the book is free online here, along with some videos that allow me to journey along with you. (You’ll see why I said, “Sorry, Bob.” Filmed at my desk during the quarantine, in the video you will hear my dryer clanging and phone ringing.)
Jason Minton, Tech Guy – And the guy who won’t take money because he’s awesome and loves Jesus and feels sorry for a fledgling ministry.
Jason has a full-time job and large family to keep him busy. Since the first launch of my Lisa Heaton Books page, Jason has been a source of cheap and often free help when I don’t know what I’m doing. He was my first video guy, the infamous “Jason, Jason, Jason” of my Bloopers Reel (found at about the 3:30 minute mark of this video).
Kelly Heaton, Man with the Money – Believed enough in a dream to plant the original seed money and helps out still when expenses are high and the bank balance is low.
This guy does what he does as a contractor so that I can do what I do as a writer. It shouldn’t surprise me that I fell for a carpenter. 😉 I wouldn’t take anything in the world for FFP’s CFO and man who has my coffee made when I wake.
Faith Forward Press was established in 2013 with one book and a thousand big dreams. Years later, our list of titles has grown to include:
General Bio That Everyone Gets:
As an author and speaker, Lisa is a fresh voice in the genre of women’s Christian fiction. Because she did not grow up as an active believer, Lisa’s journey to her current life of faith was one filled with bumps and bruises, a fact that allows her genuine empathy toward broken believers and the lost.
“I love writing anything relational, especially the complexities after “I do.” I love the romance of new love but need to travel farther down the road with my couples and see what married life is like. It’s rarely easy since we all bring baggage to the relationship.”
The Personal Stuff Just for You
I’m a Nashville native, which makes me something of a unicorn in a city of transplants. I now live in a town nearby with my hubs, Kelly. We’re empty nesters, something way underrated if you ask us. We travel often to the Smoky Mountains and eat and walk and people watch. I can’t even tell you how good that man of mine is to me. We would rather be together than anywhere else, a surprising feat after twenty-seven years of marriage and after a really rocky start to that marriage. I’m blessed and thankful and never take him for granted.
My oldest son Adam lives in South Carolina and is a devoted family man. I’m so proud of the amazing strides this young man has taken over the years. He has a beautiful story of redemption and a hard-fought-for testimony of the power of God. Citlalli is my daughter-in-love and a wonderful mom to the world’s cutest kids, Ellie and Ayden.
The youngest is Zack, last to fly the nest. He works from home, a bit of a homebody like his mum, for a great Nashville based company. Zack has tremendous, God-given talent as a singer. From fourteen to twenty he was on the adult praise team and led us each week in worship. I’ll never stop hoping and praying that he steps back into his call to lead God’s people in worship. There’s an empty place in the kingdom as long as that boy forfeits his call. You can pray with me for his return.
My Story of Failure and Faith
In my early years I wanted to be a published author way more than I wanted to be a good writer. I was a decent storyteller but a novice in style and understanding of the mechanics of writing. A few times I drummed up enough courage to send something to a literary agency, then waited with the hope that someone just might recognize my greatness, or at least my potential. Each time I received a generic rejection letter, it never occurred to me that my writing was the problem, that maybe I wasn’t great at all. I know now that when receiving those early manuscripts, an agent couldn’t possibly get past the poor writing to even appreciate my story.
Over the course of nearly a decade this went on with months, sometimes years between new submissions and subsequent rejections. I quit at least twenty times–maybe more. I swore I was done after each rejection and felt a little smaller and a lot farther away from my dream with every new dashed hope. Eventually, an agent took an extra few minutes to tell me I needed some writing classes. I can’t remember how he phrased it, but I thank you, Steve Laube, for going that extra inch. That was really all I needed, just something besides a form letter saying no thanks. Your honesty forced me to admit the problem was never the agents; it was the writer.
I kept writing and writing and kept believing that I had stories to tell that were worth reading. I still lacked understanding over the mechanics, but at least my style was getting better. When I finally wrote Unmending the Vail, I did submit directly to one Nashville publisher since I had a friend who worked there. This time the rejection letter included an invitation to try their self-publishing division.
Self-publishing?! That was out of the question for me since I needed to be validated and reassured that I was good enough. Didn’t self-publishing mean you were a total reject and failure? At a time when brick-and-mortar bookstores were closing across the nation, signing on as a new author with a traditional publisher was becoming less and less likely.
Within weeks of the rejection of Unmending the Veil, I knew the Lord was guiding me to, not self-publish but faith publish. What began with Abraham’s story of being called to a place he didn’t know led to my own faith forward press toward a career that would require me to learn to write for and seek the validation of an audience of One. I still had much to learn and a skill to develop, but those steps of faith were exactly what this just-okay writer needed to take to become one stronger and more grounded in her relationship with the actual Founder of Faith Forward Press, the One who called me to go to a place I didn’t want to go, then blessed me beyond measure for going anyway.
All these years later, I’m so thankful the Lord gives us what we need to grow us and stretch us and build our faith rather than what we want. I now have a growing business and ministry that allows me the freedom to maintain my voice in my writing. I’ve been told countless times how different my fiction work is compared to the Christian norm. I dig into the messiness of life that traditional publishers often won’t. I only now realize that’s part of the blessing. If I had signed on with a publisher, I would have allowed someone else to mold me into what’s more common in the industry. That’s the beauty of following Jesus, the Word, the original Storyteller. He has been able to sculpt me and the stories I’ve written without third-party interference. He is and always will be the Author of my faith.
Before walking with Jesus, I was a messy and damaged young woman. Sin dominated my life for many years, but isn’t that what we expect of a life apart from Truth? Because I experienced sexual abuse as a very young child, my early adulthood was lived out with a terribly skewed view of love and sex. My way of viewing the world and getting my misshaped-heart’s needs met led me to make many mistakes and painful choices. I can’t count the things I would go back and do if given the chance. But I also can’t count the ways that God has used those very mistakes to minister to others through me.
When considering what I would write here, I had a long list of admissions in mind. I wanted to purge all the worst of me so that I would never be called a hypocrite since most things I call out now as sin are the same sins I was once guilty of myself. There are things in particular I felt I should tell. I asked in prayer if those things should land here on the page, absolutely willing to spill the beans. That very morning the Lord led me to Isaiah 54 for something that I thought was unrelated to the question I had laid before Him. Then there it was, a verse that He has used many times in relation to this very topic of my past. “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more” (Is. 54:4). I do understand that, in context, this verse is spoken to a returned Israel, but I also know He has used it to speak to me personally at least a dozen or more times over the years when I remind Him that I have no business in ministry.
He’s often assured me, deep down in my spirit, that my past and the sins representing the broken woman I once was have no bearing on this new creation in Christ that He’s formed me into. What my past sins do allow is for the delicate hands of the Potter to sculpt the characters I write, ones still in process like me, like us all. I write about broken people because I was broken “people.” I paint portraits of redemption because I’ve known great redemption.
I would never expect you to reveal your before-Jesus past to the world for you to be qualified to minister to the broken and to the lost. If your service and ministry are true and genuine, and the fruit of that reveals the new creation you are now, why do I need to know? That would be between you and your Redeemer.
All this to say: A day may come when someone says, “Did you hear that Lisa Heaton did this or that?” Whatever they tell you, it just might be true. I did a whole lot of this and even more of that. So your response can be, “She prolly did. Isn’t Jesus good?” I can only praise Jesus, the One who fixes broken things and uses them in spite of their cracks. Am I still cracked? In this human body, yeah, a little. I’ve come to find, though, that vessels whom Jesus uses to pour very often have visible, Spirit-glued cracks since the perfect vases tend to sit on the shelf pointing porcelain fingers. The one who is forgiven much loves much. That’s a thing, says Luke 7:47.
After many years of healing, I’m more thankful for my cracks than regretful. Without them I might just be a pointing finger rather than one willing to tell the broken that the Potter loves and mends broken things.
Need the Potter? If you or someone you know has suffered childhood sexual abuse, I would love to offer you the ebook of Deceiver at no charge. The overall story does not dwell on Casey’s abuse and is not a devastating read for victims. Only a couple of later chapters address her healing. But the story does depict how a misshapen heart will make many wrong decisions based on childhood experience. Send me an email at Lisa@LisaHeatonBooks.com and tell me your first and last name and that you would like to read Deceiver for free.