The wisdom in pruning.

I”m starting to realize the wisdom in pruning.

John 15 has a lot to say about it, and one of the things that I find fascinating is that God doesn’t just prune the bad things from our lives, He might even prune good things so that we become even more fruitful.

I’ve adopted this thinking when it comes to my writing ministry.

God has created me to be a “one thing at a time” person, but I keep taking leaps into territory not made for me. It’s so much easier for me to nurture one thing to its fullest potential than to do five million while trying to keep my head from spinning.

BUT, I think I’ve finally gotten the memo (and printed it off and framed it for good measure).

I’m going to continue writing and posting my “podcast” through my website. But I’m no longer calling it a podcast. It truly is a recorded diary that I love sharing with you guys, but I really have no intent on becoming a podcaster. However, I’m still publishing my diary as a video series you’ll still receive in your inbox (it’s also available on YouTube). Just push play to hear my heart.

So I’ll continue to write my heart out and talk to God, offering it all up to the One who hasn’t failed me yet.


A poll.


This week’s posts.

Except pray.
My mental health journey as a Christian writer.

“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…”
– Job 13:15

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Except pray.

My thumb fans recklessly through all these years until I find her—blank-faced, the tears a silent delight, the stoniness the only thing that can keep the rough barbs of a thirteen-year-old at bay.

There she is. My mother.

And there I am, small and stupid, because what else would you call a reckless mouth and a self-centered heart? I am young and growing beautiful like a rose rooted in poisoned soil.

I don’t know any better, and isn’t that the sweetest gift a person can receive?

But one day, I do know better. I’m in my late thirties like my mother used to be. I hit the gym, and listen to other parents wax on about parenting. I take my dog for a walk and try not to stumble on loose pebbles. I’m reaching the age of “she used to be,” while I’m still firmly footed in the “she is.” What can you say when your biggest adversary sprung from your womb?

I shuffle back there again, my finger holding the page to look at my mother’s face. I’ve hurt her again, but to hear me tell it, I’ve never hurt her at all. I love her, that I know, but I must be going now because sixth, and seventh, and eighth grade, onward and upward, offer all the things a mother can’t. And she knows this too. Maybe that’s why her suffering is basking behind her steely resolve. What hope is there in hoping for everything you’ll never be able to change?

I think of my mother’s prayers, each one braided like flowers in my hair. Each one anchoring me in the ground as the angels watched me drink my life away. I wonder about their eyes, round orbs, watching my next move, waiting on God’s. What will happen to this girl who thought she knew everything, hoarding nothing at all in the back of her mind?

But I didn’t die, and I suppose it was my mother’s reckless heart, breaking through any bit of stoniness, her steeliness, her frank understanding that nothing can be done, so nothing she did.

Except pray.

And now here I stand, heart for God as if I’ve cut it out and offered it in my trembling hand. How powerful those prayers were. I shuffle through the pages, gathering all of them, hoarding them in my empty mind for my own daughter, her face not close enough to touch.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Breaking my own heart.

Yesterday, I deleted everything. I deleted my diary and these writing updates. I felt numb and questioned why I even write.

I considered deleting my blog posts, too but just left them fearfully clinging for their lives on this website.

It wasn’t a great day.

I haven’t had one like that in a long time. Today, I feel differently. After a friend commented that she couldn’t leave a comment on my post (because I had deleted it), I realized these aren’t about me. God is using me to give comfort to others. To show that they’re not alone. To make them see things differently, maybe from a Biblical perspective for the first time.

Who am I to tell the potter that enough is enough?

I’ve talked about self-sabotage before, how I’m the queen of it. I often second-guess myself, mired down in my own incapacities. Motherhood is hard. Motherhood of a teenage daughter? Even harder. And I don’t have a long history with children, how they grow and sometimes turn on you, and how your heart has to be guarded and resolved.

Thank God for…well…God.

There was a voice yesterday, small and still. It said there will never be a point where I’m perfect enough to do this. I just have to do this. And that’s all there is to it.

So here I am, doing this, whatever this is. Writing words, recording words, breaking my own heart, and watching God get to mending it.

I am tired, so exhausted. And wondering where we go from here.

I have a feeling He’ll let me know.


For my paper people.

I thought long and hard about it, and I’m still giving away my books for free. BUT, I know there are those of us who like the smell of paper and ink, so I will be continuing to offer print copies of my books through Amazon. I have lowered the prices so be sure to check those out if you’re interested. I only offer my ebooks through my bookshop which you can access here.


This week’s posts.

The dust of ourselves.
Taking hold of my writing future.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
– Psalm 34:18

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Embracing scary…again.

Not too long ago, I recorded a diary entry where I talk about embracing scary as a writer. This “scary” for me was leaving Amazon KDP forever to start my own bookshop on my website. I then backtracked and decided that was a bit too scary and left my books on Amazon.

But I’ve never felt settled there, and I think the main issue is that KDP gives you this nice little screen where you can see your book sales, and I’m just not into that anymore. As I’ve opened up all the doors and windows of my life and have asked God to take over every inch of it, I’m learning more and more about my sinful tendencies. And one of those tendencies is to see results ASAP.

Results aren’t necessarily bad. Assessing where you are in a process isn’t bad either. But what if that process was never meant for you in the first place?

Staying on KDP started to feel like how staying on social media always felt for me. I knew I didn’t belong there either, so every day that I continued to fire up my accounts and anxiously scroll was another day spending my time and energy in a space not meant for me.

KDP is the exact same thing.

So I’ve decided that it’s okay to go where I’m being led even though it seems a little strange. And as much as I’d like to sell my books, God’s been asking me to give them away for free.

I know.

A few months back, I was listening to a book called Angry Conversations With God. It’s a really great memoir about a Methodist woman who has to confront the fact that her image of God isn’t the true God of Scripture. She’s an actress, and there’s a part where she realizes God wants her to act “for fun and for free.” This makes her pretty upset considering she’s quite good at acting and all her friends get to be paid for it, so why not her? But she realized her path isn’t the same as everyone else’s. And that line? “For fun and for free”? It’s been plaguing me all these months.

And I know that was God speaking to me.

So I’m giving away my books in ebook form in the spirit of “for fun and for free.” I’m no longer weighed down by sales and marketing but get to do what I love and share it with some really great readers who have blessed me with their stories and struggles and have given me the opportunity to look outside myself and pray for them.

In exchange for free access to my books, I am asking that you subscribe to my blog. That’s it. Just enter your email below, and you’ll receive an email with a link to my free books. You can also directly download your books here.

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NOTE: If you’ve already subscribed but haven’t received the link to your free books, please contact me. You can also always purchase print copies of my books on Amazon.


Because story is necessary.

A while back, I started a series of testimonies that in-person and online friends sent me to publish. Life happened, so I didn’t continue the project, but recently, a good friend of mine wanted to share her story and asked me to help her with it. I suggested I lightly edit it for her and post it in this series.

It reminded me how important it is to share our stories when sharing Christ. And now that I have time devoted to my online writing ministry, I’d like to officially start this series back up again. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me. I can either chat with you and write your story myself as I did for this testimony, or you can write one and send it to me, and I can edit and publish it.

All I ask is that this a redemptive piece that shows how God has been walking alongside you all along, even in the times you’ve forsaken Him. Because it’s in our weakness that His glory is revealed to the world.


This week’s posts.

Like a flower breaking earth.
How self-assessment can heal your heart.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Like a flower breaking earth.

You’re still here in all your flesh

and memory serves to correct me

on the little details caught up

all around me like dead skin in dust.

How often I look at photos memorizing

the ghost lines of a gone face,

paying my condolences to an empty casket

and curled consciousness, yellowed with the wear

of bringing you out and setting you in my sun.

And grief is a cruel mistress, keeping the dead alive,

or maybe the living just dead enough for me to still own you,

take your future captive,

to tell stories to my friends of the used to be,

ignoring that there is a right now going on in a universe

I don’t belong to.

And it’s only when I set my heart on my Portion,

On the lone One who knows the intricate weave of all the cells

I can’t see,

That I can see my right now, too, how it doesn’t have to be

darkened by the once was.

How I can bury you whole and still breathe,

watching you breaking through all my wrongs

like a flower breaking earth.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay

You might also like…
Forge me anew.
The elder’s wife.


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Learning to push pause.

I’m officially calling it. I’m pausing on writing my novel. I have quite a bit on my plate right now, which I’m loving, but having a huge looming project like writing a novel over my head isn’t helpful at the moment. BUT, I know summer will be here sooner than later, and instead of waking up super early to take my daughter to school, I can instead wake up super early to make myself some tea and get to writing and editing.

I think I’m learning not to strive for perfection. I’m learning that it’s okay to hit “pause” and to realize what season I’m in. And I’m also learning a lot about myself as a writer. I love reading fiction, and I’ve felt convicted to write a few novels for the Lord. But I feel there might be a shift in what I write after my next book. I think maybe instead, I’ll be thinking about writing a nonfiction book. I have no clue what that will look like, so can you do me a favor and pray that God confirms my next steps?

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. 
Psalm 90:17

I did want to mention I finally have a schedule down. Monday (blog posts), Wednesday (diary episodes), and Friday (updates like this one). Planting away and watching God grow this thing!

P.S. – If you’re wondering where you can listen to my diary, you can do so on YouTube.


Love edgy Christian fiction?

I’m doing a promo with a few other Christian novelists and thought you guys would love to check it out. These are Christian fiction reads that aren’t your typical Christian fiction–right up my alley! Click the button below to check out where you can purchase them! Click here to check out this promo.


This week’s posts.

Making changes, finding routine.
Finding faith through parenting.

“In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalms 4:8

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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The peace I feel is surreal.

If you’ve been following the saga that is my life, you’ve probably been aware that peace isn’t something that I’ve had the past several months. I’ve been bogged down by my writing, the idea of marketing it, and this in turn has led to a ton of headaches and dead ends that have exhausted me.

But in truly submitting (and I mean TRULY submitting), I’ve seen God’s redemptive hand, and I’m blown away.

He’s blessed me with a diary (or my random ramblings into my iPhone), a blog I love, a book I won’t stop writing, and beautiful readers and friends who keep reaching out.

I’m starting to realize what my head and heart were so stubbornly set against for so long–the beauty of being in the journey and watching God transform my stupid mistakes into something that finally makes sense.

I have to decrease for Him to increase. And the fruit of something like that is amazing to watch blossom.


A little housekeeping…

I’m full-time on WordPress now, friends. I’ve created an updates section on my website, so instead of a Mailchimp newsletter, you’ll be seeing updates like these every once in a while. You can also read my creative posts on my blog and listen to my writer’s diary.

I do have a list of my email subscribers I’m able to download, so for book releases, I’ll be sending you a personal email from support@erickaclay.com.

Finally, a rhythm.

Thank you for all the kind words about Chapter Twenty-One of my novel I sent last week. I’ll send out the link to another chapter soon in one of these updates so be on the lookout!


This week’s posts.

Forge me anew.
My ultimate goal as a writer.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Forge me anew.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m still three. I’m sitting on my grandfather’s lap, and he’s feeding me sips of his beer from his bottle cap. My grandfather’s hair is black and shiny and smells of V05 hot oil, and I’m the most important person in the world until my mother comes and takes the bottle cap away.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m still five. The boy across the street comes over, and we swing on the swing set in my backyard. I’m swinging higher and higher and he twists and he twists his swing around until he sets himself free, and I see the trainwreck in the width of a second. He hits me hard as I fly high, setting out into the ether with no one to bring me home except the solid weight of gravity and the sick thud of my body against ground. My father shuffles him out to the tune of my wailings. I never want to see that awful boy again, and my father pats him lightly on the shoulder, knowingly nods, and in a quick glance, offers a lifetime of sympathy, knowing himself the shrill sound of the girl you hold in your heart.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I sit shell shocked as my mother leaves us at the chicken sandwich place. My father and I gape, two fish at a table, the checkered tablecloth covering the nervous bounce of my knee. She’s never left me. She’s never walked away. And it’s only years later with a husband and child and two dogs that bark a nervous twitch in your eye that you understand the art of wanting to leave and the grace of coming right back.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m a stupid teenager who did stupid things and loved a boy and lost all of it like the time I was three and I dropped the crystal bowl at Jones department store after my mother firmly told me not to touch. Everywhere there are shards of it, bits of story and one-liners, and lost smiles, sunflowers growing wild like weeds and every bit of happy I’m sure I’ll never have again.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I’m a grown adult who spits in Your face. I do it like rhymed verse and broken characters and swooping storylines that lead to nowhere, and my hands are invisibly inked with the pain of wanting to lose yourself tub-deep but not even having the guts to start the faucet.

Sometimes in the space of my ribs or the span of my arms, I let go, my pride like broken diamonds crushing into the soles of my feet, and all I can see is the bright lights of the megachurch above my head, and that deep water, that filled tub, that turned faucet, and down I go, buried with You, until somebody’s strong arm brings me back, and I’m there again where I started, only it’s not the same place in the slightest.

And there You were, all in the thick of it, even when I couldn’t see You. I sometimes wonder, why didn’t You stop it? The hard parts, the pain, the constant whine in the back of my spine? That voice that licked at my ears and broke my heart? But then I know now, You were there, on Your knees, broken shards stabbing through the skin of Your palms, picking up my lost pieces, holding me close until it was time to forge me anew.

© 2023 by Ericka Clay


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Watered-down wine.

She looks at me through the same lens I once looked through to find my mother. But maybe that’s not at all accurate.

After all, we’re now knee-deep into the twenty-first century. Who am I to her but an old relic who likes to whip out the macarena when waiting in line?

She just loves that.

But when I look at her, sitting in the car with the music blaring, us singing our lungs out to all the music I used to listen to (because originality is not something our culture values), I look at my hands on the steering wheel. How old they’ve gotten. And then I look at her in the passenger seat and think, “Who are you?”

“And where is my mother?”


My mother has dark brown hair and warm skin and freckles, and therefore, I look nothing like her. Whereas my nose has been stuck inside books, hers has sat defiantly on her face, waiting for someone to make the wrong move. She’s all heart and smile otherwise, but there’s something instinctual inside her I’ve never had. I think maybe it’s her Latina side, a brush stroke of passion God has given her that was weakened genetically like watered-down wine by the time that I was born.

I only tend to get perturbed when my library loan expires.


In the car, we’d sing to Stevie Nix and Carol King and Carly Simon, And sometimes we’d invite the boys, humming along to James Taylor and Chicago. I used to live in the seventies in a 1990’s GrandAm, wondering what it would have been like to be my mother at the exact same age.

But then I remember the story of when she first moved to Saudi Arabia and showed her ankles off to the guards stationed at the airport, an openly defiant Latina-American, and I break out in hives.

It would have been heart-stopping.


I used to love hearing about the boys my mother loved because they were like stepping stones to my father. Here’s a bit of life that’s gone broken, the pieces and ash swept up by God’s own hand, and look—there he made something new, a man that loved her enough to not even think about breaking her.


The seatbelt got tighter and my legs grew as long as hers. My legs are my mother’s legs. I remember trying to elliptical them off in our basement, striding like a gazelle while watching Shakira on MTV. “Lucky I have strong legs like my mother” I’d sing, trying to believe the luck in it.

We’d still sing sometimes in the car, but I’d usually be in my boyfriend’s, head against his passenger side window, wondering what life was like beyond small towns and front yards filled with sunflowers.


When she was supposed to die, she didn’t. Even when my faulty grasp on prayer was hinging on nonexistent, I still kept frantically yanking the net back in for a catch of God’s answers. I couldn’t be sixteen and alone with nobody to sing to.

She remained alive, body intact, and it won’t be until years later that parts of her go missing. My miracle cat with nine lives and counting.


My daughter has inherited her father’s voice and we laugh about it. We sing long and loud in my car now with my ancient hands grasping the wheel, but it’s no longer the seventies. We find ourselves on the cusp of the new century as the Back Street Boys sing about wanting it their way, and I think about how much I love my daughter.

And how much I miss my mother too.

© 2022 by Ericka Clay


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