What I’m Reading: Full Steam Ahead

Early in my dating years, I met Tim (not his real name). Sparks galore and the giddy excitement of a new relationship surrounded us. Being young and inexperienced, I was confused when normal started to creep in. When I found myself intrigued by another guy (who had less than zero interest in me, by the way), I was even more confused. If I really liked Tim, I wouldn’t have interest in anyone else, right?

I broke up with Tim. Later, when dating someone I’d known forever, I realized that giddy excitement fades. Being comfortable with each other is okay. Sparks give way to solid friendship. I also learned being attracted to one person, doesn’t mean another can’t catch your eye.

After I ended things, Tim left the group we belonged to, though they were his friends first. I felt bad about hurting him, and the feeling intensified after I learned those later lessons in relationships. I’m not saying we should have stayed together forever. But I could have been more sensitive and understanding. Long ago, I asked God to forgive the unintended hurt I caused. He did.. And though the hurt was only a blip on the radar of his life, quickly forgotten, I’d still want to apologize to Tim if I ever saw him again.

It was a small small thing, but I regretted my actions. It didn’t make a huge difference in anyone’s life, and I still feel the twinge of disappointment in my teen self when I think about it. But not all our mistakes, sins, or failures are so inconsequential. Some reap life changing results.

But not all our mistakes, sins, or failures are inconsequential. Some reap life changing results.

That’s the case for both of the main characters in Karen Witemeyer’s Full Steam Ahead.¬†(Side note here. I’m just going to say, Darius Thornton is the definition of a swoon worthy hero!)

Nicole Renard is a force to be reckoned with, but doubt drives her to choices that should have been avoided. In an effort to save her family and prove her worth to her father, Nicole finds herself on the run with a family heirloom, no money, and a pair of evil men hunting her down. Hiding in the first place she lands, Nicole has to seek employment to fund the rest of her plan to make her father proud. Doing so puts her new employer and his staff in grave danger.

Darius Thornton can’t let go of his failure. It cost a life. Not only does this haunt his dreams, it makes him singularly focused on making things right. His scientific obsession could cost him his physical life. It’s already cost him his family and any chance of lasting friendships. Those sacrifices are the least he can do to pay for his failure.

But Nicole finds in Darius the respect as an intelligent and spirited woman that she’s craved her entire life. Darius finds someone willing to work with him and bring new perspectives to his work without shoving him to the side as the town’s eccentric genius who should be avoided.

But both Darius’s obsession and Nicole’s mistakes threaten to keep them apart despite their growing feelings for each other. Unless Darius can find freedom from the failure that drives him and Nicole can accept she doesn’t have to have all the answers, their deepening relationship will be one more victim of their guilt.

The guilt from our sins or failures can damage our relationships as easily as it did to Nicole and Darius. But God offers forgiveness and healing. Our physical circumstances may remain the same because actions have consequences. But God offers freedom from the guilt. He offers forgiveness from sin. And He can redeem any and every situation, using it for our good and His glory.

Isn’t it a relief to know that next time we’re plagued with guilt from sin or failure, we can turn it over to God, find forgiveness, and experience His peace?

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