Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blessings Through Adversity--Real Life & Fiction

One day my dh looked at me as I was planning a new story.
I use a spiral notebook to write out my hero and heroine personalities, backgrounds, motivations and challenges.
He looked at it and said, "You're kind of like God."
I was speechless for a few moments. Then I asked, "What do you mean?"
He said, "You plan their whole lives and know what will be best for them."
He got it.

When I plan a story, I create realistic characters, meaning they have problems, troubles from the past, and something to learn. That's the tough part--on them. As the author, I can't go easy on them. I have to keep throwing things at them, that demand change and growth. If I'm too easy on them, they won't change and they won't be prepared to receive the blessings (love) God wants for them. (And I won't have a story anyone including my editor will enjoy!)

Sometimes I will actually be too nice to my characters. I mean I'm not a mean person and I hate pulling out rug after rug from beneath my heroes and heroines. But if I'm nice, there is no story.

In my second Love Inspired, NEW MAN IN TOWN, I planned that my heroine's grandmother who raised her was deceased before the story began.

Imagine my surprise when in chapter two my heroine started driving to town to visit her grandmother at the local nursing home. I grabbed the steering wheel and said, "Hey! She's at the cemetery!"
My heroine wouldn't give in and there she was going into the nursing home. Then I knew why I had tried to rid my heroine of her grandmother, her "Mommy Dearest" grandmother. The grandmother was the villain!

And I didn't want her messing with my hero and heroine's lives. And interestingly, that book brought me the most readers letters. Every woman wanted to tell me about a manipulating, conniving, self-centered women in their lives. So without Grandma Dearest the story would not have had the impact it did. It wouldn't have forced my heroine to see her grandmother for what she was and to begin to have a relationship with her dad and his second wife and her half-sister. And she wouldn't have been ready to have a grownup love with the hero.

I don't know what challenges are in your life right now. Illness, unemployment, prodigal children, mourning. Life is never easy for anyone. I've learned over the years never to look at someone else and say--"Oh, she has it easy."

We all have our public faces and our private suffering. EVERYONE. No one gets through this life without paying hefty dues.

The secret is that if you love the Lord, the suffering is always for a purpose.

He doesn't torture us for the fun of it. He loves us enough to force us out of our comfort zones and sometimes He's pretty rough with us.

Especially if we resist change. Better to go with Him and find out in the end what the purpose of the present challenge was.

A friendly warning--learn whatever truth or change is necessary the first time you're confronted with it. Don't make God give you a make-up assignment!

"For we know that all things work together for good for those called according to His purpose"!

God loves us enough, not to let life be so easy we remain immature. He loves us enough to make us grow up! And be more like Him.


  1. Great post. I could totally relate to what you were saying about the grandma. She was to be dead, but the story took hold and dictated otherwise. Crazy-insane, isn't it? But good.

    I love how you summed this post up: "God loves us enough, not to let life be so easy we remain immature."

    That's so true. I never changed without something happening in my life. Both good and bad. It made me grow...it's just God chipping away at me to mold me.

    Great post today!

  2. Thanks, Lynn,
    I always remember James saying that we should rejoice in adversity and count it a blessing. I'm still working on that!

  3. Wow! Great post Lyn...and so true. I can look back now on certain times in my life that were SO difficult, but now I see clearly how the Lord's hand was at work, and how He's used those situations (I've been able to actually help others because of my own experiences). ~ That was amazing about your character "letting you know" about the grandmother- - thanks for sharing that! Blessings, Patti Jo

  4. Lyn -- I love how your character took hold and changed your story. And, you're right, a live villian is much more compelling than a dead one!

  5. Excellent post, Lyn!

    Now I have to go torture--I mean challenge my characters some more. I think I've been too easy on them. :)


  6. I really enjoyed this post! God and writers know the beginning and the end and everything in between that is most needful. Being purified never seems delightful while we're in the fire!


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