Liz Charlotte Grant was an early-professing Christian, believing in Jesus at the age of four. She remembers being in her bed under her Sesame Street comforter and praying with her dad to receive Jesus as her savior. But she doesn’t believe a life of faith is just a one-time event. She believes it’s a journey. There have been several moments along the way where she has felt like she has stepped toward Jesus or He has stepped toward her.
Middle school was a hard season for Grant. She was in a Christian school and struggled with all of the hypocrisy she saw among her peers who professed to be Christians, as well as her own hypocrisy. She was also having a difficult time at home relating to her parents. When she was 13 years old, she went to a week-long Navigators summer camp where she heard a speaker present the gospel that was very impactful for her. After that talk, while she walked back to her tent, she looked up at the stars and for the first time felt like God was real. Looking back on that moment, the only way she makes sense of it is that it was a sort of baptism in the Holy Spirit for her. From that moment, she began to be transformed by Jesus. She wanted to read Scripture and pray and journal.
Another significant moment in Grant’s faith journey was when she met her husband, Jeremy Grant. She had recently moved out to Colorado and had been set up on a date with an old roommate of his. That date didn’t work out, but he invited her to a Bible study that her husband-to-be was leading. She showed up on his doorstep and they eventually fell in love.
Grant always enjoyed reading and writing but didn’t believe in herself as a creative writer until she got to college. She figured out she loved to write and had a lot of ideas so midway through college, she changed her major to creative writing. It was a pretty rigorous program, and while she knew she wasn’t the most talented writer in her program, she continued to love to write, so she kept at it.
Meeting Jeremy was significant for Grant’s writing journey, too. Because he is a talented visual artist (you can see his amazing work at jeremygrantcreative.com and @jeremygrantcreative), their relationship is very much centered on their art and work and creativity. She has learned a lot from his discipline as an artist and his ability to accept and learn from critique while also enjoying and valuing the process, regardless of the outcome. Grant’s husband reminds her all of the time, “Regardless of whether or not you make money or publish, the work you are doing is worth it. And God can use that work. Even if no one ever reads what you’re writing, you’re still doing what you need to do because this is what God has made you to do. This is a gift He has given you.”
Grant is about 10 years into her career as a writer and is just now starting to see some of the results she hoped to see when she started. “The success I’m seeing is not a $70,000 book contract. At this point, I’m getting published more often. My work is starting to appear in various publications, and some of these pieces have been waiting in the wings for several years. My two kids are in full-day school now, so I have the time to devote to my craft now that I didn’t have when I was a full-time caretaker for my kids. It’s exciting to be in this stage and have the time and opportunity to do the sort of writing I’ve wanted to do for a long time.” Grant is thankful that her work is being published more often now, but she knows being published is not the essential thing. She wants to create high-quality work she believes in and be committed to excellence and artistic rigor, and those things only happen if she divorces her writing from the outcome.
Grant says her faith and writing are connected primarily through her understanding of the beauty of God being an unnecessary abundance. She appreciates how the artist Makoto Fujimura talks about the passage of the woman washing Jesus’s feet with her hair and how she will be remembered by that act. Grant says, “It’s an act of reverence and beauty that was considered wasteful by the disciples in that moment, yet in many ways I think it mirrors the artistic life and practice. Sometimes as Christians we stick to what’s pragmatic and useful and I don’t think that’s always scriptural. The way God meets His people is the Scriptures is with abundance. Abundance of blessing and inheritance and identity and purpose. And the arts are another expression of that pattern. The beauty of God is an invitation into His abundance that is hard to get at any other way. We as Christians sometimes have a very narrow view of beauty. It’s a unique attribute of the God we serve, and all of my work comes from this desire to extend a gift to my readers—to give them a vulnerable part of myself in hopes that it will be humanizing to them—and also to awaken hunger for the beauty of God.”
Liz Charlotte Grant’s lyrical, raw voice beckons her readers to ask the toughest questions of faith and living. She has been published online and in print at Patheos, the Curator Magazine, Geez Magazine (forthcoming), and Dappled Things, among others. Currently, she's workshopping her memoir about going blind and reckoning with the healing power of God with Lauren F. Winner at a writing residency at the Collegeville Institute - and she's psyched about it. You can keep up with her on Instagram @LizCharlotteGrant or at LizCharlotteGrant.com.