Sometimes, there is so much brokenness in the world, it’s hard to see the light. I get overwhelmed by the sadness and heartbreak and downright evil in the world. Just this morning, I was notified that a young father of two in my circle succumbed to incurable brain cancer, while two weeks ago a 13 year old boy from nearby did the same. An author that I admire greatly just lost her son last weekend in a tragic accident where he was struck by a vehicle. A teacher died on her way to school. A mother had an asthma attack that ended her life.
School shootings, car accidents, war and atrocities, cancer, cruelty, natural disasters and more. All of it threatens to wear me down and wash away my hope.
My God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28b
When I’m surrounded by darkness and hurt, I funnel that into my writing. Which means, sometimes my characters walk through some pretty hard stuff. But one of the reasons I love Christian fiction (and romance in particular) is the ability of the story where I find escape and entertainment to also point me toward the God that I cling to.
“We have this (hope) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…” Hebrews 6:19
Hope in God’s promises is a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul”. Inevitably, as I write the story of a character facing the dark — I seek the Light and help my character find it too. While nothing is a substitute for reading God’s inspired word in the Bible, reading stories that also point me toward God’s promises are such an important part of my life. They encourage me, strengthen me, teach me, and (sometimes!) convict me.
And that’s exactly what I strive to do with my stories for others.
I’ll never forget one of the most heartbreaking messages I have received from a reader. She said:
Your books got me through the first wave of flashbacks (after my trauma). Whenever I get stuck in my (anxiety and depression) loop, I read your Minden books… I’m alive and your writing helped me get through the dark places. Even if it helped only me, I hope you feel like it was worth it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve teared up reading her messages in the three years since she first reached out. Not because of the kind things she went on to say about my books, but because of the darkness she experienced and the knowledge that God used my words to help her see the light through the dark and remind her of the anchor she could cling to. It was (and remains) incredibly humbling.
Another note I got said this:
I am going through cancer treatments with my husband, he just had his third surgery to remove more cancer from his brain. We know GOD has guided us through this whole journey and don’t know the outcome of it. I just finished (Longing for Lily), I have no words on how much it helped me.
This reader was 100% grounded in her faith and God’s promises of eternity, but my books spoke to her in the midst of an uncertain journey.
I could go on, sharing examples from other authors or books, or times when my own faith was strengthened because of the faith of a fictional character. But, instead, I’d like to hear from you.
If you can think of an author or book that helped you through a dark time, share what you’re comfortable with below. Even better — take a moment to go to that author’s website and send them a quick note on the contact form letting them know the impact their words had.
And if you’re walking through a dark time, pick up God’s Word and lean into His promises. And then, maybe grab a novel from an InspyRomance author that will shine a little extra light as well.
We can always use a little more. Afterall, it’s dark out there.