by Jennifer AlLee
Try not to be jealous. I had the great honor of reading Impressed by Love when it was brand spankin' new... before it had even been sent to the publisher. Of course, I was impressed by the story, by Lisa's skill as a writer, and how she wove a deep, spiritual thread through a tale of adventure. I wouldn't presume to tell you what Lisa intended as the spiritual takeaway for this novella. But I can tell you what resonated with me.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to Alden's? Not so perilous, to be sure. I pray none of you have ever been conked on the head and forced to serve upon a French ship of the line. But surely you've found yourself in situations you never expected. Perhaps you volunteered to serve on a committee, only to find yourself sitting next to someone who constantly rubbed you the wrong way. Or you rather than land your dream job, you took the only one available, one that was more like a nightmare job.
Look back about 5 years with me. The location is a hotel in Dallas, where I was attending my first ever writer's conference. I had stumbled across ACFW, stumbled across the conference... I did a lot of stumbling in those days. But I felt positive that I needed to attend that conference. There wasn't a doubt in my mind. Not only that, but I felt the need to volunteer in some capacity.
In order to understand the enormity of this, you need to know something about me: I'm an introvert. Being surrounded by hundreds of people I don't know and needing to make small talk is akin to having bamboo shoved under my fingernails. Without thinking it through, I had thrown myself into the biggest basket of bamboo I could find.
By the end of the second day, I was a mess. I'd chatted and smiled for hours, certain that I looked and sounded like a blithering idiot the whole time. Between the time change and stress, I'd had very little sleep. And to really round out my conference experience, I'd had a traumatic meeting with an editor that ended with me sobbing in my room, sure I'd made the biggest mistake of my life. It's no surprise I had the headache from hell at that point. I wanted nothing more than to burrow under my bed covers that night. And I would have, too. If not for one thing...
I'd volunteered to work in the bookstore.
The last thing I wanted to do was go down to that bookstore. I was this close to blowing it off. But I couldn't. You might say, God impressed upon me the importance of keeping my word and showing up. So down I went, prepared to have the worst night ever.
By now, you've figured out that God had something amazing waiting for me in the last place I wanted to be. Yep, there was another gal scheduled to work in the store that night... Lisa Richardson. We talked. We laughed. We commiserated. Then when our shift was over, we took a shuttle to the mall and grabbed some dinner. It was, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
|New friends Jen & Lisa at the ACFW banquet.|
Gee... I was thinner then...
In Impressed by Love, Alden and Phoebe find themselves in terrible places and situations. All they want to do is to escape. But God uses those awful places, those untenable situations, to create something amazing. Of course, that's what God does every second of the day.
Lisa's my best bud, the sister of my heart, my writing partner... we even share the same birthday (although she is considerably younger than I am). And I would have missed all that if I hadn't let God take me, in all my discomfort, to a place I didn't want to be.
How about you? Have you been blown away by how God took an undesirable situation and turned it into a blessing?
JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 11/07), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and the upcoming A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). She's thrilled to be working on her first historical series with the amazing Lisa Karon Richardson. Eureka! is the first book in the Amazing Love series, to be released in 2013 by Whitaker House. And... as if that's not enough, her novella Comfort & Joy will appear in the Christmas anthology, Mistletoe Memories (Barbour, 9/13)She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.