Today marks the official release day of A Promise Kept. It seems I’ve been waiting a long, long time for this moment. I hope it’s a book you will read and enjoy and derive hope from. Please, if you do read it, I would be very honored if you would take a moment to review it on Amazon and/or Goodreads and/or your favorite online retailer’s web site.
Below is an article that I wrote for the January issue of Family Fiction magazine. I also sent it out to my newsletter subscribers last week, but I wanted to share it with readers of my blog as well, just in case you missed the first two opportunities.
Novelists borrow tidbits from their own experiences all the time, but every so often a story comes along that demands more than a tidbit. Such was the case with A Promise Kept.
On an evening in 2011, as I talked with my dearest friends and confidants, sharing what God was doing in my life, I knew I would one day write a story about how God kept His promise to heal a husband’s addiction and save a marriage—and how He healed and saved them through divorce. It was, after all, how He healed my husband and saved our marriage.
That “one day” arrived a little over a year later when my editor sensed the desire of my heart and encouraged me to set aside the book I was then working on to write a new and different kind of novel.
A Promise Kept is my attempt to glorify the God who answers prayers in His own timing and in unexpected ways. It is my attempt to encourage other believers who trust in God’s promises but don’t see those promises manifested in their lives in the way they expected—or at all—to keep right on trusting in His promises.
Sharing a deeply personal story in novel form can be tricky.
First, of course, I had to know my husband was willing for his life, as well as mine, to be opened up to others in interviews and articles and a note to readers at the back of the novel itself. I want to honor him in his journey and am grateful for his trust and support.
Second, I had to allow my protagonist, Allison, to be Allison and not me. I had to allow her story to unfold in its own way without having to mirror mine in every detail. There are many similarities between Allison and me, quite a few scenes in the novel that I lived through myself, but A Promise Kept is not a memoir. It is, if you will, a parable (by definition, “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson”).
I am amazed at how God can take painful experiences in my life and turn them to good. Because of those painful experiences, I have learned to hold onto the foot of the cross so tightly it’s as if I can feel the splinters in the palms of my hands. I hope that through the words I write I can encourage others to hold onto the cross in the same way.
I consider my life lesson to be this: Nothing, absolutely nothing, enters my life that isn’t caused or allowed by God—filtered first through His loving hands—for the purpose of making me more like Jesus.
And because I believe this life lesson to be true, it allows me to be open and vulnerable—as a woman and as a writer—in order to offer hope and encouragement to others. When my marriage ended in divorce, I thought it was an end. I thought it was “The End.” My heart was broken in a way I thought could never be mended. I was wrong.
The God of the Bible is a God of second chances and a God of miracles, and He is not confined by an ending. He isn’t contained by any boundary that He hasn’t set Himself. Which is why, when Jerry and I were reunited in marriage five years after the divorce, we were able to declare together: “This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23 (NASB95)
There is hope, even when there appears to be none. So hold on and keep trusting in Him.
PS You can read an excerpt from A Promise Kept by following the link to the book’s page here on my site.