Stories of faith, life, and love

Tag: Historical Fiction

What I’m Reading: My First Historical Romance

I think a lot of people my age (and no, I’m not telling) probably read Janette Oke as their first Christian historical romance author. I did read read her books early on, but it was long before I was reading romance. She had a children’s book series I enjoyed. You’d think being familiar with her would have translated into choosing to read her historical fiction. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read any of her books in that genre. Maybe I should.

So, if it wasn’t Janette Oke, who was my first historical fiction author? My first experience with not only Christian adult fiction but also the historical romance genre was made possible by Lori Wick. I started with her Place Called Home series. It includes A Place Called Home, A Song for Silas, The Long Road Home, and A Gathering of Memories.

The series opens with Christine running from her home after her grandfather’s death. She’s facing a danger she doesn’t quite understand, and she’s doing it alone. She has no family or faith to guide her through. When she ends up in Baxter, she develops relationships that could evolve into a surrogate family and through their example Christine is introduced to God and what it means to live a life of faith.

The second book continues telling the story of the Cameron family in Baxter, Wisconsin, focusing this time on Silas. When he answers the need for a close friend, he realizes the girl he once thought of as a sister has grown into a woman he could love. But she’s been hurt before, and he’s not sure the change in his feelings would even be welcomed. Faith and family, again, play an important part in helping the main characters find their way.

The third book in the series takes a serious turn. After losing his new wife, Paul Cameron runs from everything he’s known including his family and the God he’s preached about. It takes an injury and the patient care of Abigail to open him up to the possibility that the end of one dream doesn’t have to mean an end to all dreams. God is faithful in the pain as much as in the joy, and He can redeem what’s been lost.

The final book focuses on the instant family of Silas and Amy after they take in five children who have lost their mother and are without their father. The oldest really isn’t a child at 18. When she consults a lawyer named Ross about a legal matter regarding the family farm, the young man can’t help feeling attracted to her. But another girl and Amanda’s lack of faith are roadblock’s to anything developing between them.

While this series is not my favorite from this author, it holds a special place in my reading heart. The stories are simple and sweet. Each book is a quick and easy to read, providing a great evening escape for the reader. And now that I’m reminiscing, I may have to visit our local used bookstore and add this series to my shelves once more.

What was your first experience with Christian historical fiction?

What I’m Reading: In Pursuit of an Emerald

I’ve got four amazing kids. I know, every parent says their kids are amazing. They’re probably right. I don’t know their kids, but I know mine. They are amazing. This isn’t to say they’re perfect. I can’t say I agree with all of their life choices or beliefs. And while those things matter to me and I spend time in prayer for them every day, my kids don’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

It amazes me how different they are from each other. There are physical traits linking them together, some more than others. There are looks and attitudes they have that mirror each other. But they are each very much their own person. They grew up in the same house. Their father and I had the same set of core beliefs we tried to instill in each one. But they still turned out remarkably different from each other, and I find that amazing.

Two are athletic. Two couldn’t care less about sports of any kind. All of them are creative though two focus more on the written word, one focuses on music and art, and one tends to put it all together. One is book smart, given to the role of student. The others are just as smart but not given to the strict structure of a traditional classroom. One has a natural talent to business that the others don’t possess. One is completely organized making lists while another flies by the seat of his pants. They are each their own unique person, and I love them for it.

A parent’s love and parenting style is as varied and complex as their children. Each child’s personality plays a role in how a parent chooses to encourage and discipline them. But a parent’s past can also make a difference in how they approach parenting.  Just ask Viollette McMillan, the main character from Jacqueline Freeman Wheelock’s book In Pursuit of an Emerald.

Viollette has a lot to overcome, not the least of which is parenting her child when her child believes Viollette is her older sister and not her mother. Emerald’s childhood years were spent as a slave on a plantation before the Civil War made her and Viollette free. Viollette’s decision to pass her daughter off as her younger sister was born of a desire for safety for both of them, but it has come with a hefty price of guilt.

As Viollette and Emerald struggle to learn what it means to be free in the post-Civil War south, they fight fear of the past, concern for the future, and long held prejudices. They even find it difficult knowing who to trust. Though it’s supposed to be a new world for them, many negative attitudes from the past still burn in those who could do them great harm.

While learning to navigate the confusing times, Viollette yearns for the mother-daughter relationship to grow between her and Emerald. Stretching her wings as an adolescent, Emerald equally wants the mother she doesn’t think she can have and the ability to think and act for herself. Secrets and regret often cloud Viollette’s attempts to parent her child. She wants what’s best for Emerald. Everything she does is to better Emerald’s future, but the past keeps all the dreams she has for her child out of reach. With everything falling apart around her, Viollette has to face the past and embrace truth if she’s ever going to realize the dreams she has for the daughter who means so much to her.

By the Book: Parents, even the most well-meaning Christian parents, make mistakes. Our past experiences color the way we see the world and often impact the way we raise our children. Our sins, both those we’ve sought forgiveness for and those we have yet to purge from our lives, can create difficult circumstances to overcome in our efforts to be the best parents we can be. The influence of society can also be a roadblock to effective, godly parenting by telling us we need to do this or avoid that without any respect to what God tells us about the same subjects. But through His word, God’s given us what we need to be godly parents. He’s given us His Spirit to guide us in our decisions if we’ll listen to Him. And when we mess up, isn’t it great to know we are covered by grace and mercy? Our parenting mistakes can’t hurt our children beyond God’s ability to set things right. And if we have a heart to raise our children according to His word, God will be faithful to show us how best to parent each of our amazing children.

The Baby and the Bathwater

You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. I recently heard that it dated back to a time in early American history when washtubs were used and baths were taken in order from oldest to youngest. This left the baby to be washed in murky water that could lead to mistakenly throwing out the baby when you emptied the tub. A quick search of the phrase’s beginnings show this to be nothing more than the product of someone’s imagination and the willingness of people to believe everything they read on the internet. Aside from it being wrong, this story is also quite disturbing. What mother would walk away from her baby in a washtub for a long enough time that when she came back she wouldn’t remember the baby was in the tub in the first place? It doesn’t make sense.

No matter its beginnings, the phrase does carry an important lesson, and one I have wrestled with this week. Usually on Saturday I post a devotional review of whatever book I’ve read during the week. Today, I finished the book I initially thought would be the focus of this week’s post. I liked the book’s story and characters. I would recommend it to fans of historical Christian fiction, but I wouldn’t recommend it across the board.

I don’t pretend to be perfect. I’m far from it. I’ve been told my own book is missing one word. I’m not sure where, but I trust the one who told me though she couldn’t remember the passage either. As careful as I’ve been, I know there have been errors in my posts too. Mistakes happen. I understand that. I’ve found mistakes in books by my favorite authors which were published by some of the big publishing houses. It doesn’t bother me.

But this one did. Aside from formatting errors, which happened a few times, there were also missing or incorrect words in various places. But even those weren’t too distracting. What took me out of the story more than anything was the author’s use of phrases or words that didn’t seem to fit the time period of the book. A few I couldn’t let go. I had to look them up. One actually could have been used, though I still have serious doubts. The others were words out of time and place.

So I have questions for you readers out there. Do you let the errors stop you from reading what would otherwise be a pretty good book? How would you want a book like that reviewed? Would you even want it reviewed?

Now questions for the authors out there. Would you want someone reviewing your book if they were going to include the above information? If someone had to say they liked the story but…? Would you want a reader to contact you with the errors? Keep in mind this would be out of a desire to help them become stronger writers, not to bash them.

And let’s round it out with a life lesson for all believers. How many times have we been guilty of throwing the baby out with the bath water in our churches? When the going gets tough at church, and face it we are dealing with a group of people trying to function as one so there will be rough times, how do we respond? Do we pack up and move on? I’m not saying it’s never God’s time to leave a church, but it should not be our “go to” move every time something happens that we don’t like.

Or maybe you’re dealing with Christian people who seem to fail repeatedly. The temptation is to label them hypocrites. They aren’t true believers, and we don’t need to worry ourselves about them anymore. We spend our time and energy on those who get it right more often or at the very least fail in ways we find more palatable. There goes that baby again. Yes, there are true hypocrites, people who are willfully living in ways contrary to what they say they believe. They are nothing more than liars and fakes. But it’s good for us to remember there are sinful strongholds we all face in our faith. There are sins we may fight for years before we finally learn to conquer it. This doesn’t make us fake in our faith. It makes us weak. It makes us human. When we see someone struggling  (and the key word is struggling) with a sin or question of faith and belief, let’s not be so quick to slough them off. Let’s extend mercy and grace and love. Let’s help be the encouragement and example that can help them in their fight.

There are enough reasons to let go of certain things in our lives. Let’s learn how to celebrate the good and deal with the bad in godly ways instead of running or pushing away so quickly.

Dread and the Bad Haircut

haircut-834280__340Have you ever had a bad haircut? If you haven’t, you’re lucky. If you have, do you remember the moment of dread that comes before this experience?

You’ve signed in and are waiting for your appointment. Doubt flickers when the person who calls you looks like their own hair was cut with a weed trimmer. Still, you march bravely forward and sit in the chair. You show the stylist a picture of what you want. You’ve searched the internet for days finding the perfect style. You ask if this cut will work with your hair. You’re assured it will, and the stylist rattles off some simplistic description of your holy grail of hairstyles.

As the stylist picks up scissors to begin working on your transformation, she mentions something that doesn’t make sense.  No, you don’t want only an inch taken off. Your hair is down to the middle of your shoulder blades and the style in the picture barely grazes the shoulders.  On what planet is that an inch?

The tiny doubt you knew when you saw the stylist blossoms into dread. That dread is multiplied as you watch your haircut’s progression. How is this going to turn into the style in the picture? Can that even be possible?

The stylist you see in the mirror is the picture on concentration. And doubt. It’s the doubt that takes your feeling of dread to near panic. You know this is going south at an alarming rate, but there is nothing you can do about it. You can’t walk out mid-cut.  And there’s only so much hair you’re willing to lose.

Why did you come to this salon? Why did you agree to sit in this stylist’s chair? When are you going to learn? You give a weak smile. It’s too late anyway. You pay and leave. Once in the safe confines of your car, you pull out your phone and google how long it will take the bangs that are now two finger widths above your eyebrows to grow back. Then, you reschedule your family pictures for a couple weeks later than that. Next time, you’ll listen to that feeling of dread. Maybe.

Olivia, in A Desperate Love by Jessica McCarty, knows the feeling of dread that comes withMRP-A-Desperate-Love-360x569 poorly made decisions all too well. When her fiancé’s ship is attacked by pirates, Olivia mourns his loss while still maintaining the hope that he lives. When her father and mother decide it’s time she moves on into an arranged marriage, Olivia wants nothing to do with it. Desperation drives her to leave home in disguise. Her choice brings with it apprehension, but Olivia pushes through determined to do what she must to find her fiancé.

When her journey leads her to an inn filled with rough men, she feigns confidence and joins them in their gambling so she can glean information from them. She gets more than she bargains for when a strange offer is put on the table. Join the captain’s pirate crew to help them with a job, and the captain will help find her lost love. Instinct tells Olivia this isn’t a wise plan. She does it anyway.

In her time on ship, Olivia fights the demons of fear inside her, grows from skillful to masterful with a sword, finds bravery she didn’t know she had, and learns what life can be like when you allow yourself to lean on friends. But these revelations don’t keep the dread from popping up every time she’s faced with a new, less than moral choice. Olivia does her best to limit her involvement in the things she knows are wrong while living up to her end of the bargain she struck with the pirate captain. Learning to balance the two is the only way she can hope to save her fiancé.

Olivia faces her moments of dread after each step down the bad paths laid in front of her. While we may not face impossible choices with life or death consequences, I’m sure we’ve all known that catch in our spirit when make a poor choice and veer from the path God intended. It’s that feeling of heaviness that tells us we’re making a mistake. It’s God warning system for His children.

When Jesus was living on earth, He was able to show His followers how He expected them to live. When they made poor choices, Jesus dealt with it. When the disciples let fear steal their peace in the storm, He reminded them to have faith. When Peter denied Jesus, he went out and wept over his failure. When Jesus returned to them after His resurrection, He restored Peter. Jesus was with them to warn them and guide them back when they strayed.

We don’t have Jesus walking the earth with us, but He didn’t leave us alone. Jesus said He would send a helper to live inside every believer. The Holy Spirit would take up residence and work as our teacher, warning system, and the one to guide us back to the right path. When we make a sinful choice or a series of sinful choices, the Holy Spirit is there creating that feeling inside that tells us what we’re choosing is wrong. It’s a gentle nudge that if listened to can help us avoid painful consequences. That gentle nudge becomes a persistent sense of conviction when we stubbornly cling to our chosen path.

It’s not pleasant, but it can’t be. The Holy Spirit means to get our attention. He wants to keep us from sinful choices. It would be wonderful if we listened to the quiet prodding when we felt the first stirrings. Too often we don’t. Then, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict us of the sin we’ve let in. This dread or conviction is heavier because the situation demands it. But when we heed the warning and turn back from our sin, God restores and we are freed from the guilt and dread that weighs us down.

Full of Character with Cynthia Roemer

MRP-Cynthia-Roemer-Under-this-Same-Sky-360x570Today we’re going to spend a little time getting to know author Cynthia Roemer. Cynthia writes historical Christian fiction. I’ve read both Under This Same Sky and Under Prairie Skies. You can find my reviews of them and a Main Character Monday interview with Becky Hollister from Under This Same Sky in my archives. If I’m lucky, I may even get to sit down with Charlotte Stanton or Chad Avery from Under Prairie Skies for a new Main Character Monday interview one of these days. But for now, let’s find out a little more about their creator.

What character from the books you’ve read has impacted you more than all the others?

Probably Jo from Little Women.  I can identify with her tomboyish ways (I was also a tomboy growing up in the country with sisters.) and her resistance to change. I’m a stickler for tradition and find change difficult when it comes to those I love. I identify with her desire to keep her family together and unchanged, though we all know that isn’t possible or for the best. As with novel characters, growth and change in relationships are what keep life exciting.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never gotten around to reading Little Women. I need to add it to my TBR pile. What character you created was the easiest to write? The hardest?

Hmm. The easiest would probably be Becky Hollister from Under This Same Sky. I understand her emotions and tendencies. There is a lot of me in her. One of the most challenging for me to get into the skin of was the heroine of Under Prairie Skies, Charlotte Stanton. She was such a brat in the first book. It was a real challenge to stretch and grow her personality into someone I liked and admired. But I fell in love with her character throughout Under Prairie Skies as I sensed her vulnerabilities and why she acted the way she did early on.

Scripture is full of real people who had character to spare. Which one do you most relate to or enjoy reading about?

I dearly love the story of David. He had such a heart for God. I love his simple trust as he faced Goliath and his desire to honor God in everything he did. I also love the story of Ruth and her devotion to Naomi. She was committed to doing the right thing, no matter what. Both of these characters had hearts of compassion and faithfulness—two traits that I hold in highest esteem.

Do you plan your characters and their backstories before you begin writing or are you

as surprised by them as your readers?

A little of both. I start with a good understanding of who they are, but allow for God’s leading as the characters develop and change.

If someone wrote a movie about you, who would you like to play your character? Why?

Oh, wow! I have to think about that one.  First of all, I can’t envision someone making a movie about my life. LOL! Secondly, I’m not up on many modern-day actresses, but I would want a Christian actress (hard to find). The best choice would likely by Chelsea Noble (wife to Kirk Cameron). Though I’ve not seen her act, she is a woman of faith. That’s good enough for me.  =)

Before I let Cynthia tell us a bit more about her newest release and herself, I want to thank her for taking the time to participate in this interview. Feel free to leave a comment or a question for Cynthia below.

UNDER PRAIRIE SKIESBook Cover _ Under Prairie Skies (Final) (1)

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~

Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

AUTHOR BIO: 

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.Cynthia R

Contact Info:

Cynthia Roemer can be contacted at:

Website:  http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16785237.Cynthia_Roemer

Author Newsletter Sign-up: http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cynthia+roemer

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/under-prairie-skies-cynthia-roemer/1128471176?ean=9781945094446

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cynthia-roemer

Treasure

Bread and Jam for Francis. Along with a wide selection of Berenstain Bears books, that is the first book I can actually remember reading. I got it from the school library. That’s where I got most of my books until junior high.  I was one of those students who took home the book club order sheets and painstakingly chose which books I wanted. I didn’t get them all. I rarely got them, but I studied those flyers just the same. To be honest, I still love to go through them, circling all the best children’s books and wishing I had an unlimited supply of money.

I can’t imagine a world without books. I’m a re-reader. It is with great pain that I part with a book I enjoyed. If it was just me, I wouldn’t mind a house full of books. More book shelves than chairs? Not a problem. You only need one comfy chair to enjoy a good book. My husband and children do not agree. So, I’ve known the pain of downsizing my collection. I keep only my absolute favorites. That’s going to change soon. My oldest son is getting married, and I’ve laid claim to his room for a writing office. In my space I will be able to have as many books as I want. Victory!

Books are my earthly treasure. They’re the material thing I value more than any other possession.  Notice I do say possession. There are things I value more than books like faith and family. No matter how much a book has impacted my life, it will never be as important to me as those I love. There will never be a time when my passion for books is more important than people, not just those I love but people in general. My treasure has its place.

Treasure for Alison Schuyler in Where Treasure Hides by Johnnie Alexander is found in art, not books. As an artist herself, Alison has more than just an appreciation for art. It is her passion. Not only does she value the old masters of the art world, she also participates in the creation of artistic works. Whether sketched in her notebook or painted on a canvas, Alison’s works of art are an outpouring of her connections to the world around her.

Alison’s whole world revolves around her passion. The family art gallery located in the Netherlands at the start of World War II has been passed down through the years. With everything in her life depending on and springing from the art she treasures, Alison has learned to place it at the top in her priorities. That belief is challenged as Hitler’s reach begins to extend into her world. Alison is confronted by the harsh realities of life for those around her. While trying to protect the beautiful works of art men have created, Alison comes to understand the need to protect the works of art God has created in each individual. Finding love and experiencing loss and life-threatening dangers grows in Alison an understanding that every treasure has its rightful place.

What we treasure shows in how we live our lives. In the New Testament, the Pharisees would say they treasured God above all else. Until Jesus came, everyone accepted this almost without question. They were, after all, the religious leaders. They should have known more than anyone what it means to love God. But they were wrong.

Time and again Jesus confronted the Pharisees with the idea that they were treasuring the wrong things. When Jesus healed on the Sabbath and they corrected Him, Jesus reminded them loving people is more important than specific Sabbath rules. At one point he basically called them beautiful looking graves full of death. His point was that they said they treasured God, but their real treasure was in rule making and keeping. When the rich young ruler in Matthew 19 came to Jesus questioning the way to eternal life, Jesus started where he was in understanding. Jesus pointed out all the basic commandments and ended with loving your neighbor as yourself. The rich young ruler assured Jesus that he had kept all these laws since his childhood. This is where Jesus turns the young man from what he understands to the deeper truth. He tells the man to sell all his goods and give them to the poor. The man leaves disappointed.

Why? Because he couldn’t take Jesus’ message that loving Him was more than living with a constant spiritual to-do list. I’m sure that for the most part the young man did keep the letter of the law. The law says don’t lie. I didn’t lie. I just didn’t tell the whole truth.

The man was following law, but he wasn’t following God in his heart. The heart goes further than the law. Following God in your heart is what Jesus referenced in Matthew 5:21-28. He pointed to the written law and then urged people to look at what the law really meant in relation to being right with God.  Jesus used these challenge to show them and us that following Him is about more than the exact written law. It’s about the heart. It’s about what the heart treasures.

By the Book: Read the passages referenced above. What do you treasure most?

Main Character Monday – Anne Carty

keeper of coinWelcome to Main Character Monday. It’s a little different than my regular blog posts, a little more lighthearted. But stick with it, and you just might find some characters you’d like to read more about. And even though it isn’t my usual devotional style, you may still come away with an encouraging word from the Word. I hope you enjoy MainCharacter Monday!

 

Today’s Guest is Anne Carty from Keeper of Coin by Mary Kay Tuberty. Thank you for joining me.

 

It is a pleasure to come to know you Heather.

What is your favorite book of the Bible from both the Old and New Testament?

Genesis, for sure.  Each evening back home in Ireland, my father read to us from the bible. He began with the first chapter of Genesis. We children heard the words so many times that as he began with ‘In the beginning…’ we recited the rest along with him. Ah my, that is one of my dearest memories of home. I can hear their sweet voices now.

In the New Testament, there is no question: the story of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. Father held it so special, he read it only on Christmas Eve, and we all treasured the words.

 Those sound like wonderful family memories. If you could meet anyone from scripture, not including Jesus, who would it be?

Jesus’ mother. I have always wondered about her. She was so young. Did her mother help her with the baby? Could she cook? And how did she bear the heartbreak of her sons’ death?

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about Mary that way. What kind of mother was she on a day to day basis? That’s a great idea to think about. Jesus had twelve disciples. Which one do you feel you are most like?

I suppose it would be Thomas. Like him, I am forever questioning. When my father said go to America, bring your brothers and sisters out to join you, I doubted I could accomplish the task. Unlike Thomas, though, I was afraid to ask too many questions and simply did his bidding. I am not sure which of us Jesus would prefer.

I’m so thankful Jesus understands both the questioner and the one who sometimes fears bringing the questions to him. And it’s wonderful when he answers the questions we’re afraid to ask.

Jesus says we are to be His light in the world. What does this mean to you?

In my position as shop girl in Dempseys Bakery, I endeavor to treat each customer who comes through the door as a child of God. I must say it is not always an easy task. Thank you for reminding me Heather, I will begin early tomorrow morning, attempting to be Jesus’ light.

If you could give one message to those reading this interview, what would you tell them?

Leaving my brothers and sisters behind in Ireland and sailing off to America felt like ripping away parts of my skin, surely it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I work hard to fill every moment of my day or else I would be in a constant state of weeping for missing them all.

Sounds like you really have a heart for your family. I wish you well in your efforts to bring them to you in America.

Just for Fun:

Dark or Milk Chocolate?  I had never tasted chocolate until I came to America, but Mary Dempsey’s dark chocolate frosting is a wonderful thing to behold. When I have an opportunity to taste milk chocolate, I’ll let you know my favorite.

Roses or Daisies?  Daisies bloom in profusion everywhere in St. Louis. They are so cheerful and colorful I just love them. Though my customers tell me many ladies in the city grow roses and some compete to cultivate new varieties, I have seen but few of them.

Salad or Soup? Soup. Thanks to our wonderful cook, Mary, we often enjoy tasty soup here at Dempseys. Salad is another new taste I am only now beginning to appreciate.

If you, Anne Carty, could describe Mary Kay Tuberty in three words, what would those words be?

Serious and hard-working, like her great-grandmother. However, I do believe she is more accustomed to idleness and frivolous pursuits than I’ve ever had an opportunity to experience. (Sorry I’ve replied with more than three words. I am an Irish girl, you know.)

I want to thank Anne Carty for joining me today. If you would like to find out more about Anne’s story, Keeper of Coin by Mary Kay Tuberty is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book forms. While you’re there, you can also pick up the other two books in the Carty sisters trilogy, Keeper of Trust and Keeper of Flame.

 

Waiting for the Other Shoe

Have you ever found yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop? If not, count yourself blessed. If you have, count yourself blessed anyway. No, I mean it. Do you know how many scriptures there are pointing to the ways God uses problems and pains in our lives to make us more like Him? To better equip us for the purpose He has for us?

We live in a sin filled world. We live with sinful people, just like they live with us. Because sin runs rampant all around us, bad things happen. Because the world is not the perfect garden God originally created for us, bad things happen. Hard things happen too. Unfair things happen. Things we can’t even begin understand happen all the time. It’s simply a fact of life on earth.

But our merciful, loving Father chooses to use those things. When we let Him do His work, God redeems those horrible things. The pain and confusion may not subside. We may not ever even understand the whys, but God will use those situations in our lives.

Temperance Tucker from A Moonbow Night by Laura Frantz understands hard times. Life would be full of trials for anyone living in unsettled Kentucky in the late 1700s, but Tempe has been dealt a pretty bad hand. Her father is on the run after killing a man leaving her, her mother, her brother, and Paige to run the Moonbow Inn by themselves. Her fiancé has been killed, and Tempe struggles to find reason not to join him in death. War with England has stretched the already strained relationship between colonists and Native Americans. Danger lurks everywhere Temp turns. It couldn’t get any worse for Tempe, but then it does at the whim of her own father. He sends her to act as scout for a group of surveyors. A woman alone with a group of strange men in hostile territory. If she manages to live through the adventure, will she be able to salvage her reputation? Will she be able to forgive her father for making this demand of her? Though the author doesn’t put it this way, Tempe must learn to embrace the lesson of Joseph.

Joseph knew about hardship. He went from favored son to hated brother to slave to prisoner to pharaoh’s right hand man to the means of salvation for his people from drought. Unjustly sold into slavery. Unjustly accused of trying to rape his owner’s wife. Left to rot in a jail cell. A lot was done to Joseph that wasn’t only out of his control, it was unfair and cruel. Just one of the things that happened to him would cause some people to throw in the towel. But not Joseph. At the end of it all, Joseph was able to look at everything that happened to him and say, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”(Genesis 50:20) Our own situations may not preserve life for a nation, but we can still adjust our attitudes and be able to say God used each situation for good in our lives.

By the Book: Adopting the attitude that sees everything in our lives as something God can use for good is not easy. It doesn’t change the situations. It doesn’t erase the pain. But it can change the way we pray during and handle those times. Read the story of Joseph in Genesis and Philippians 4. Ask God to use the negative situations you face to bring about something good, and ask Him to help you keep a godly attitude while you are going through it.

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