Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Story Behind the Covers - a Testimony by Author Christine Lindsay

Nothing could have amazed me more than the way the Lord arranged the front cover of Shadowed in Silk. It is one of the sweet love gifts the Heavenly Father has given me.

I have to go back 32 years—two years before I met my wonderful husband—to when I gave birth to a little girl. Not married at the time, I felt God urge me to relinquish her to a Christian couple unable to have children. I named my baby, Sarah, in the hope that one day I would see her again. 

That crushed me, but it was best for my baby at the time, as I wanted her to have a loving dad as well as a loving mom. I had grown up with a neglectful, alcoholic dad, so I didn’t really know what a father’s love felt like, but I sure wanted my child to experience that kind of love.

I also believed that God would answer my prayers that one day when Sarah was grown, He would bring us together again, and knit our hearts in a special birth-mom and birth-daughter relationship.

God was so good to me in the years following the relinquishment of Sarah. A year after giving up Sarah, the Lord sent me my sweet husband David and gave us our three children.

David and I in November 1980


Me and Lana--the daughter God gave me to keep in 1981.


Kyle when he was little. My Sonshine.

Our youngest, Rob, a number of years later, on holidays. Rob the apple of my eye.

Now skip ahead . . . twenty years later my birth-daughter, Sarah, and I were reunited. That was wonderful and yet terrible at the same time.

The day of the reunion for Sarah and I. Wonderful and difficult. This is Mark (Sarah's fiance), Sarah, me, Lana, and Rob in front. Kyle was too shy.

Adoption reunions are not easy for anyone in the adoption triad. After the reunion I began to relive my original loss of Sarah. It just hurt so much. She was my child and yet she was not my child. To my heart-break, it didn't appear that the long desired special relationship would develop.

I was so hurt, so angry with God for disappointing me. I had prayed so long and hard, trusting that He would give me that special relationship with Sarah.

A few months after meeting Sarah, my husband caught me crying on our living room couch one day. He slipped out and returned a while later with a brand new pen and journal. He placed these items into my hands and said, “Here honey, write it.”

That was the start. My journaling turned into books as the years passed. But always beneath anything that I write, is the understanding of loss and loneliness, heartbreak, and the healing and joy that only God can bring.

One day as I was reading my Bible, a verse jumped out at me. I understood a mother’s love, but still could not fathom a father’s love. It skewed my understanding of the Heavenly Father’s love. But the verse in Isaiah 49:15, 16 showed me.

“Can a woman forget the baby at her breast, and have no compassion on the child she has borne. Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See…I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”

I began to realize that none of my children, including Sarah, could fill that emptiness in my heart. As much as I desired a close relationship with all my children, I was designed for a close relationship with my Heavenly Father.

A few years later I felt the Lord encourage me to put the emotional and spiritual healing that He had given me into fictional stories to help others. The day came that my debut novel about the British Raj in India was about to be released—a story that has nothing to do with adoption.

My publisher, WhiteFire, and I were excited as we discussed the design of the cover.

 Me with a group of Christian students in India, 2010

Then I noticed the model they suggested resembled my birthdaughter. On a whim I suggested Sarah for the model, and the publisher agreed. Sarah was shy at first, but she pitched in on this step of faith with me, and I was grateful at the time for this budding in our friendship.

Sarah in the sari material I bought in India.

It wasn’t until later that I realized—that without my ever planning or imagining it—God had not only inspired me to write because of my sadness over losing my first child to adoption, but He then placed the face of my beautiful muse on the front cover of my book. 

Only our Heavenly Father can do something so intricately tender. But the Lord wasn't finished blessing me yet.

Sarah teaching hygiene in Africa

A few months after Shadowed in Silk was released, my birthdaughter Sarah and her husband Mark came to visit.  They want to tell us that they felt called to go into fulltime missionary work with Global Aid Network. They would be working with several organizations all around the world that specifically helps widows and orphans. 

 Sarah and Mark as Medical Missionaries

One of the missions in their sphere of interest would be the Ramabai Mukti Mission in India.

When I heard this I nearly fell off my chair in amazement.

I had never told Sarah, but the true-life Ramabai who started the Mukti mission in India was the inspiration behind my novel.

Many years ago, I had prayed for the Lord to give Sarah and I a special relationship. It took a while, but He knit our hearts together in the respective work He gave each of us to do.

We have to remember that we serve a God who delights in working with little people and small things—a shepherd boy, a few smooth stones. A babe in a womb that rocks the world.

Sarah with the children she loves

When it came time to release Captured by Moonlight Book 2 of the Twilight of the British Raj I had to have my daughter Lana—the daughter God gave me to keep—as the model on the front cover. 

Here are a few photos of that wonderful, happy day. And my joy at seeing my two daughters as bookends of joy in my life. Thanks to our Awesome tender-hearted Heavenly Father. 

Both my beautiful daughters on the books God inspired.

About "Captured by Moonlight"

Prisoners to their own broken dreams…

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women flee to the tropical south…and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancĂ© is the owner…and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home?

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

Kobo link for Captured by Moonlight
About the Author: Irish-born Christine Lindsay writes award-winning historical novels. In Shadowed in Silk and Captured by Moonlight, Christine delights in weaving the endless theme of the Heavenly Father’s redemptive love throughout stories of danger, suspense, adventure, and romance. The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home.

Christine Lindsay would love to connect with you on her website www.christinelindsay.com
Christine posts inspirational articles 3 times each week on her blog www.christinelindsay.org
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Friday, June 21, 2013

When God Proved Himself Through the Storm - a Testimony by Author DeEtte Beckstead

I have been asked why I write Christian stories. The answer is easy:  because I am a Christian, and my life experiences come through in my writing. I can't help it, it just comes out!

I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't love the Lord. I was told that even at two years old, I was excited about Jesus. My parents were Christians, as was my maternal grandmother. I was raised loving Him.

I had some experiences as a young teenager that let me know I was precious to the Lord, and kept my faith strong. But it was when I was in college that I realized I had to decide if I was really going to commit my life to God or not. I attended a home Bible study group with college kids at my pastor's house when I prayed to make that commitment. I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and a fresh wave of peace come into my heart. I didn't love Jesus any more than I had before, but I had the peace that I truly was forgiven and had the confidence that I had been made new in Him.

The next year, 1973, my good friend and I were going to drive about 150 miles from Salt Lake City to a small town in eastern Utah to witness to a friend. This was before the freeway went through the canyon. Now it takes about two and a half hours to get there.

Lesley called our friend Mickey the night before and told her we would be there about 9:30 the next morning. We planned on leaving my house at 7, with a driving time of two and a half hours. I was very familiar with the road, and I thought that was a bit of a push, but Lesley had hung up the phone before I could tell her.

That night it snowed, nothing unusual for late April. There was only about an inch or two in Salt Lake, and my dad asked me if we were sure we wanted to go that day. Both Lesley and I looked at the sky and decided we would still go, it would be okay. We hopped in the car and started driving at little behind schedule at 7:30 am. It was fewer than five miles till we were in a blizzard in the canyon. Both of us were nervous, and we started praying. The road was slick and there was little traffic on what was normally a busy road. At the summit we had to make a hard right turn down a steep hill into a small mountain town. As I started to turn, the car started to slide sideways down the hill. All I could say was, “Father, our lives are in Your hands!”  Immediately the car went into perfect control. I did not have to steer, it was being steered straight down the hill, and at a perfect, safe speed. As the sky cleared, we continued a few more miles to another town and stopped to relax and grab some breakfast. We stayed there 30 minutes.

As we were getting back in my car, some people who had just arrived commented that my car looked like we had gone through what they had just gone through. They had come from the direction we were heading, but it wasn't snowing where we were, so we decided the storm had probably passed and we continued on.

A few minutes later, a few snowflakes danced on the windshield, then more, and in moments, we were again in a white out and the road had a couple inches of ice covering it. If you have ever driven in the mountains, you know how dangerous the roads can be in storms. There are often drop-offs or the road is cut from the mountainside and there can be a solid rock wall. There was nowhere to turn around, so we decided to continue on in the white out. I told Lesley to watch for oncoming traffic while I watched for the snowplow posts on the right side of the road. We were near a reservoir, and were climbing the hill on the far side of it. The drop off to the water was at least three or four hundred feet. We crept on, praying all the time. I did notice a blue car a few yards behind us that kept up with us all the way. We were only travelling 5 to 10 miles per hour because any faster and we would slide. We drove on and on, praying so hard we were immersed in His presence, unaware of our surroundings. There was no fear, just peace.

Finally the storm just stopped; it was like driving out of a room of snow into the blue sky and sunshine. I noted the little gas station right where it cleared. It was the only one on that stretch of road. We breathed a prayer of Thanksgiving and drove on. It was beautiful on that side of the storm! Another thing I noticed was that the blue car behind us was no longer there. It had not passed us, and had been right behind us to the end of the storm. It was just gone!

We continued our drive to Roosevelt in awed quiet, wondering at what had just happened to us, and knowing how God had protected us in that terrible storm. We arrived at Mickey's house at 10:30 am. Now, Lesley had told her we were leaving at 7 and would arrive at 9:30, two and a half hours driving time. We left at 7:30, half an hour late, and spent another half hour in the restaurant. That made the total driving time two and a half hours! We found out later that the Highway Patrol had closed the road just after we had passed through (or did we go through unseen?).

The next day on our way home, we measuring the distance from the little gas station to where we knew the storm had started the day before.  There were 23 miles of storm in that canyon. That was just the second part of the storm! If we were going 10 miles an hour, that 23 miles would have taken us two and a half hours to go just that far. And if we had been going 20  through that 23 miles, that still would have been one and a quarter hours! That entire trip today from Salt Lake to Roosevelt, with the freeways, still takes two and a half hours! You explain to me what happened!

I knew beyond a doubt that God had our lives in His hands, and He protected us. Did He transport us? I don't know. Did He stop time for us? I don't know that, either. What I do know is that the experience of the blizzard solidified my faith that He would always be there for me, through every kind of storm. Since then, there have been numerous “storms” in my life, and every time He has been there for me. I have felt His arms around me when my heart was broken. I have heard His voice call my Name. I have heard Him tell me I am His princess, no matter what anyone else or even I think about myself.

So why do I write Christian stories? Because that's what I am. I am a Christian.

More About the Author:
Author and blogger, DeEtte Beckstead started writing in 2007 when her son challenged her to get involved in the National Novel Writing Month, known by the acronym, NaNoWriMo. The manuscript sat untouched with several others until January of 2012 when a good friend encouraged her to seek publication. The Christmas Visitors is her first published short story, and her current novel, Victory is also her first.

DeEtte spent much of her childhood playing the piano, clarinet, and guitar, reading, and making up stories. She was active in Girl Scouts, which gave her a  variety of experiences. While in college, she was on the University of Utah Synchronized Swim team, and taught winter camping and survival skills for Girl Scouts. She has spent many years working with people with disabilities.

Originally from the state of Utah, currently DeEtte lives in New England where she writes full time and works on the editing team of Master Koda Select Publishing. Her other interests include swimming, crocheting, reading, traveling, history, and her grandchildren. In addition, this devoted mother of six and grandmother of twelve has been a concerned participant in dog rescue services for many years.

AuthorsdB pagehttp://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/66-deette-beckstead 

Victory on Amazon

Victory is the story of a little girl, and the town where she lives. The town of Victory has a history of patriotism, faith, and friendliness. The little girl, Brown Eyes, orphaned when her missionary parents were killed in a fire, lives with her only known relative who does not want the girl. When The Guest comes to town, the people open their hearts and town to him, without knowing who he is or what his motive is. Shortly after his arrival, The Stranger appears, much to the discomfort of The Guest. Slowly, the town loses its freedoms as one of the men takes over little by little. When there is a face to face showdown on the mountain, the life of the child and the future of the town are at stake. Who will have the Victory?

The Christmas Visitors on Amazon

It's Christmas Eve, and Sam and Ellen are driving home for Christmas. A blizzard and a paranormal sighting cause an accident on a lonely country road. The couple and their small children seek refuge at a nearby farmhouse. What they experience there with the elderly couple that live there will change their lives forever.