My latest release, The Vow Between Us, is a little different from my usual books, in that it falls into the Christian Fiction category rather than the romance genre.
The Vow Between Us was challenging to write. Not so much for the content, but for the questions that the story raises. How strong is my faith? What does complete surrender to God's will look like? What does forgiveness look like? What would I do in a similar situation?
Without any spoilers... When Andrea's entire world comes crashing down, she finds it hard to discern the truth from the lies. As the weight of devastating secrets comes to light, she must discern between her own desires and God's will. She's left picking up the pieces of her perfect life and questioning God's plans for her future.
When someone wrongs us, it's our human instinct to want to lash out and demand retribution. We hurt, because someone hurt us. And for some reason, we like to hold on to that pain. A little keepsake of the time someone betrayed our trust.
But when someone hurts us, Jesus commands our forgiveness.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22).
Forgiveness is not a once-and-done thing. It's a conscious decision, every day, to cancel a debt. To not let the hurt and anger fester and dictate our emotions or actions. It's a lifelong process to choose each day to keep no record of wrongs.
We forgive, because He forgives us. We forgive, because He gives us the capacity to do so. It's not in our own strength, but only through His, that we can do this. God asks us to forgive others, and then leave the rest up to Him. We're not responsible for how someone receives our forgiveness--that's between them and God. But we are responsible for our own actions and the choice to forgive those who have hurt us.
It's not easy. But it's a choice we must make to live our lives for Him.
As I was writing some of the scenes in The Vow Between Us, I felt Andrea's struggles - the wrestling between doing what was easily accepted in the world's eyes, versus doing what God was asking of her. Her resistance is something I've struggled with, and I'm sure you have as well. It's that moment of holding onto something tightly, not willing to let it go for fear of what might happen next. (I picture a petulant child, not wanting to let go of their favourite toy.) Until God, ever so gently, prises open each of our fingers, and we relinquish total control of our situation to Him.
Surrender is hard. Surrendering to God's will is even harder. But as Christ-followers, that's what He asks of us. There is peace and freedom in that moment of total surrender--submitting our will to His, having confidence because He loves us and cares for us.
We don't always know what lies ahead. The mountains in front of us may seem insurmountable. The storm surrounding us may seem relentless. But we can have confidence knowing that our God is a mountain-mover, a storm-calmer, and He knows all of our tomorrows.
He is unchanging, and His plans are always for our good and His glory.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who Love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:29).