Thursday, February 20, 2014

Comfort Spills - A Guest Post with Susie Finkbeiner

by Susie Finkbeiner

My in-laws live in Roswell, New Mexico. Yes, it’s a quirky place. McDonalds is built to look like a UFO and Walmart has an alien painted on the wall. Most of the town is devoted to the tourists who come, looking for evidence of extraterrestrials.

It’s a fun place to visit.

Fun, but dry. Desert spans for miles. It’s hard to tell how many. Blaring sun and dry sand make depth perception fail. The aridity wicks away all moisture. All day, the goal is to keep from becoming dehydrated.

During my whole visit, I was reminded of one very important thing: the desert is dangerous. It could mean death to someone ill prepared. To someone who is not mindful of its perils.

In my novel “My Mother’s Chamomile”, my character Olga Eliot finds herself in a desert of grief. A wilderness of loss. Dry and hopeless and isolating. She feels a kinship with the Israelites who wandered on their trek to the Promised Land.

The desert seemed to have no end. For her and the Children of God. In that desert, they question God. His love for them. His power.

My pastor reminds us often that, in the desert, faith either grows or dies.

I believe he’s right about that.

How many times have I been in a Spiritual desert? Too many to count. Feeling alone. Terrified. Near the end of hope. Wandering aimlessly, wishing for a little direction. Not knowing that what I needed more than anything was mercy. Comfort. A flood of relief.

That, not only did I required it, I would need to accept it. Not only for myself, but for others.

First Corinthians 1:3-11 is all about receiving comfort so that we can become a comfort for others.

When we walk through the desert, we are comforted by Christ. Often that looks like a friend bringing over a casserole. Or someone paying a bill we can’t manage. A kind word. A warm hug.

We drink deeply of mercy, having more than our fill. Let the oasis of comfort immerse us. Renew us.

Refreshed, we have the power, the resources, to let that comfort spill over. To wash over those around us.

And, in the cleansing, faith grows. 

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My Mother's Chamomile

Desperate for the rains of mercy...
Middle Main, Michigan has one stop light, one bakery, one hair salon...and one funeral home. The Eliot Family has assisted the grieving people in their town for over fifty years. After all those years of comforting others, they are the ones in need of mercy.
Olga, the matriarch who fixes everything, is unable to cure what ails her precious daughter. She is forced to face her worse fears. How can she possibly trust God with Gretchen's life? A third generation mortician, Evelyn is tired of the isolation that comes with the territory of her unconventional occupation. Just when it seems she's met a man who understands her, she must deal with her mother's heart-breaking news. Always able to calm others and say just the right thing, she is now overwhelmed with helplessness as she watches her mother slip away. Click here to order.

15 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for having me here today. I love this community of writers and readers.

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  2. Thanks for visiting, Susie :) Everyone, Susie is one of my favorite authors. If you like Lisa Samson, you definitely need to check out Susie's books.

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    1. Oh goodness, Dina. You know how much that touches my heart. Thank you.

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  3. I love this book. Love, love, love this book. Any story that can make me honest-to-goodness cry is something stellar. Glad to see you at the inkwell today, Susie!

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    1. Roseanna, I am so grateful to you and the whole WhiteFire team. You all do so much for your writers and readers. Many, many thanks to you for loving this book.

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  4. What a lovely post. Thanks so much for visiting. The book looks fabulous! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, DeAnna. I appreciate that encouragement.

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  5. As desperately dry as Colorado is, all I could think about during my one trip to New Mexico was that old "Take the Nestea Plunge" commercial... It was like being thirsty in every single cell, and yes, that's exactly how those spiritual deserts feel. Beautiful post, Susie, thank you for sharing with us today!

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    1. Niki, New Mexico was a trip for sure. I live in Michigan where we are almost always a little moist.

      Thank you for the encouragement. I'm so honored to be here today.

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  6. You know, I think it's interesting that we posted this right after Tamela Hancock Murray's post on tear jerkers. Someone said about Susie's writing something along the lines of "it will tear you apart and put you back together." She writes those hard books that are also full of hope, healing, and humor.

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    1. I saw that this morning, too! I think Roseanna's the one who coined that tagline for me.

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  7. I love this, Susie, and it's so sweet. I have been in that desert, and it's so awesome when we receive that gift of comfort. God is so good. Thank you, Susie, for visiting with us and sharing that.

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    1. Isn't it a blessing that we aren't alone in our deserts? God is with us and sends others along to help us through. Thank you, Suzie. I'm always happy to hang out with the Inkies.

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  8. Lovely post. We are all in the desert at one time or another, and the comfort we receive is sweet indeed. I appreciated this word today. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Susanne. It's when we're on the other side of the desert, tasting the sweet mercy that we can offer comfort to others.

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