It was at middle school church camp where I first really felt the love of Jesus. I went down for prayer after a sermon, and I was overcome by the feeling of love. When my dad asked me about it, all I could say was, “Jesus loves me.”
That may sound as simple as a song you learn in Sunday school, but experiences like this are what showed me God is real. Of course, knowing something and feeling something are two very different things, and through the abusiveness of life, I forgot what God’s love felt like.
As an adult, I stumbled upon a verse that reminded me of the emotion. To this day, I still cry when I read Psalm 18:16-19 (MSG).
But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
If God revealed his love to me thirty years ago, why am I so surprised today? Maybe because feelings fade. Maybe because I mess up a lot and don’t believe I deserve love. Maybe because other people stopped loving me, so I assumed I’m unlovable.
Jesus rescued me from many painful situations like a hero in a romance novel. His love changed my life. And it’s no accident that I’m writing Christian romance now. Jesus showed me his love multiple times because I needed to be reminded, and I want to recreate that feeling again and again for my readers for the same reason.
Even if you’ve felt God’s love before, I want my books to help you experience afresh how He’s reaching down from heaven. I want you to open my stories as an escape from the way life hits you when you’re down. I want my heroines’s journey to include wisdom that directs you to a better place. Then I want you to arrive at the ending of my novels like you’re arriving at a surprise party. In the same way you see the pieces and parts of the fictional romance come together, I want you to stare around in wonder at your own life and the way God orchestrated a rescue just for you.
If you’ve never had a surprise party, you can watch this one we just had for my daughter. I flew her big brother in from college to be part of it, and I believe the way she ran into his arms is how we run to Jesus when we feel His love.
Whether you ever read one of my books or not, I pray you will open God’s word and let Him surprise you with how much you are already loved.