Once upon a time (AKA. before I had kids) I worked in a crisis pregnancy center as a receptionist and a lay counselor. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve had a heart for the hurting, especially for women and babies, so this job was a perfect fit for me. That little clinic was such a wonderful place to work. It ran (and still does to this day) on God’s grace and the love of all the employees and volunteers who dedicate their time to being the hands and feet of Jesus. We prayed to be a blessing to the clients who walked in, and most of all, to make a lasting impression on them.
I often witnessed God at work in that clinic, but one particular incident stands out in my mind all these years later. There was a client, a young woman, who came in looking as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Her shoulders literally drooped, and her countenance was sad and withdrawn. She came in to confirm her pregnancy—the test was positive—and to discuss her options. Our counselor, a sweet older lady, talked with her, answered her questions, and prayed with her. I didn’t know the specifics of the client’s situation, but I imagined it wasn’t good. Once she left the clinic, all we could do was pray and wait for God to change her heart.
And change her heart, He did. :)
The following week when I welcomed a woman into the clinic, I thought she looked familiar. It took me a minute before I realized it was the same client, except that she looked nothing like the woman from the previous week. This woman had walked in with her head held high, a purpose in her steps, and a genuine smile on her face. I asked one of the nurses if this was indeed the same client, and she confirmed it was. With the support of her counselor, the woman had decided to keep her baby and was coming in for her first prenatal appointment. Wow, what a transformation! It was truly a privilege to witness God change her heart and save a life.
I love reading stories where characters have “heart changes” because these are the kinds of characters we can relate to and root for. As an author, I want to write stories about growth, which means I have to put my characters in difficult situations because (unfortunately) those times push us to grow. This is what I did in my latest release, Love’s Choice, a novella set in the First Street Church Kindle World.
Here’s the blurb:
Missy Clark left small-town life and her first love when she went away to college. Five years later, she returns to Sweet Grove with a secret that’s sure to tarnish her reputation.
Nate Dawson never stopped loving Missy when she left home. Answered prayers have brought her back into his life, but the consequences she bears may destroy their future.
Can these high school sweethearts regain the innocence of the past and find hope and healing in the Lord to move forward?
This book was inspired in part by my experiences working at the crisis pregnancy clinic. I put poor Missy through the ringer in this story, but I also provided a childhood friend, Nate, to support her. They both experience heart changes as they grow closer to one another and to the Lord. I just love their sweet relationship.
Here’s an excerpt from Love’s Choice that highlights their closeness:
When they pulled up to her house, Nate stopped her before she exited the vehicle. With his hand wrapped around hers, he confessed, “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Missy pursed her lips in concern. “Is everything okay?”
He took a deep breath, unsure of where to start. “You know how you couldn’t decide on which couple to choose from the adoption binder? Maybe it’s because you already have the perfect couple right in front of you.”
“What do you mean, Nate?”
“Us. You and me, Missy. We can raise the baby together.”
“What?” She looked at him like he was crazy. “I can’t ask you to do that. You’re supposed to have your own family one day. You can’t take care of one that’s not yours.”
“But I want to. I want to be there for you and Mini Miss.”
With her hands resting on her round belly, she stared out the front windshield. Yellow, red, and orange leaves from the tree lining the sidewalk fell onto the hood of the truck. The moment was still and silent except for the rushing wind outside. When she finally faced him, her eyes were moist. “Nate, today was an amazing day. I never expected to be so accepted by the people at church. And now, you—you’re like all the best toppings on top of my favorite flavor of frozen yogurt. You have truly shown me what a real friend is. And I’m so, so grateful, but I—”
“No more buts.” Feeling impatient, Nate cut her off. “I care about you, Missy.”
“I know you do. But I don’t want your pity, Nate, or anyone else to pity you. I don’t want you to resent me or the baby one day for taking your life away.”
“You wouldn’t be. You and Mini Miss would be adding to it.” He brought her hand to his lips and placed a kiss on it. “I love you, both of you.”
Her eyes widened. She shook her head and pulled her hand back. “I love you, too, which is why I have to say no.”
With those words, she slipped out of the truck and hurried quickly into the house. As the front door closed, Nate had the sinking feeling he just lost his best friend.
What difficult circumstance have you grown from? How did God change your heart through it? Please comment below and let me know. I look forward to reading your answers.
Giveaway: I’d like to give away one digital copy of Love’s Choice. One winner will be randomly chosen from the comments below. The giveaway will remain open until midnight on Sunday, December 10th.