Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I wish I could say that I don’t have adversity in my life, that everything always sails smoothly, that since becoming a Christian I have lived a charmed life. But that’s not true. The last decade of my life has been replete with pain, both physical and emotional. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” He told us that if we’re to follow Him, we’re to take up our cross and follow him. That’s not a very good PR slogan, if you think about it. He’s basically saying, “Pick up the instrument of your own death, and drag it with you as you follow Me.” Jesus told us we would not be immune to the suffering in this world, and that image illustrates it more than anything I can think of.

Over the last several years, I’ve had occasion to be on my face crying out to God to resolve some of my issues, from the devastating struggles a family member is experiencing, to having daily chronic back pain that alters my life. I’ve tried all sorts of “formulas” to make God act now. I’ve prayed for wisdom, then made mistakes, and I’ve prayed in faith and been disappointed. What does it all mean?

First, I know that God hears all my prayers and has answered them. Some of those answers haven’t yet become apparent to me. God lives in a different time dimension than I do, so what seems to take an eternity to me may be already done. Second, I can’t manipulate God. He knows what I need better than I do, and He’s building muscles in me that I’ll need later. Third, I know that God wouldn’t let my suffering continue if it didn’t serve some purpose in my character, in the depth of my faith, in my understanding of Him, or in my books. That’s why my writing is so therapeutic.

Often, I have my characters ask the heart-wrenching questions of God that I ask, and as I write through their stories, God teaches me about His broader purposes. When I get letters from a reader affirming that God worked in his or her life through that story, I know that none of my pain was wasted.

In my book Twisted Innocence, I have an unmarried character named Holly who has lived a messy life, and she’s just given birth to a baby. Her past consequences catch up to her in a way that endangers her child, throwing her life into turmoil. I really relate to Holly because of her remorse and her sincere desire to change. I’ve had those feelings before, where I wished I could rewind my life back to one key moment, and make a different decision. Where I felt that one choice had set my life on a course that couldn’t be corrected. But through Christ, it can be corrected. He can even use the mistakes for good. I’m really hoping that my readers will see that Christ doesn’t see them as disgusting failures. He sees them as works in progress, beloved children, joint heirs. He has big plans for those who trust Him.

I have a feeling that I’m going to have trials as long as I’m a writer, because those trials give depth to my writing and help me reach my readers. God will give me what I need to continue that. But He gives me what I need to accomplish my work each day. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She is the winner of two Carol Awards, a Christian Retailers Choice Award, and a Romantic Times Book Reviews Career Achievement Award, among others. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri spent the first twelve years of her life traveling in an Air Force family. She lived in nine states and attended the first four years of school in The Netherlands. Because she was a perpetual “new kid,” her imagination became her closest friend. That, she believes, was the biggest factor in her becoming a novelist.

In 1994 Terri was writing romance novels under two pseudonyms for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, Dell and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening prompted her to switch gears. At the time, she was reading more suspense than romance, and felt drawn to write thrillers about ordinary people in grave danger. Her newly awakened faith wove its way into the tapestry of her suspense novels, offering hope instead of despair. Her goal is to entertain with page-turning plots, while challenging her readers to think and grow. She hopes to remind them that they’re not alone, and that their trials have a purpose.

Buy link for Twisted Innocence

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