The Bachelor Next Door by Kathryn Springer

I love Christian-based novels. They not only offer entertaining stories but inspire me to better living.

Take The Bachelor Next Door by Kathryn Springer (Love Inspired, 2014). It features home-based businessman and workaholic Brendan Kane. With ulterior motives, his mother hires Lily Michaels to paint the rooms of the family home. Much to Brendan’s annoyance. (Of course, that will slowly change. After all, this is a romance!)

Back to Lily. What struck me immediately about her is her cheerful willingness to go the extra mile for a friend. Shelby’s recent diagnosis of Lyme disease stirs Lily to take a few weeks leave of absence from her job in order to keep Shelby’s custom painting business afloat. Never mind that Lily is no painting expert. Or that she must secretly study technique as she goes. Or that Brendan doesn’t care for the necessary noise, distractions, and interruptions while he works. Lily steadfastly perseveres through each challenge.

Maybe you’ve never before considered steadfast perseverance to help someone as another facet of real life love. Nice to know though, isn’t it?

So, how about you? Have you stayed with helping someone in need in spite of difficulties? Has someone persevered to help you? Please share!

Love and Politics

I hope you don’t mind my sharing some very personal thoughts with you. Because the subject is touchy. Especially with elections coming up.

During a recent happy gathering, I heard a dear friend–one whom I love and respect–blurt out with vehemence, “I hate (she named a politician)!” It took me by complete surprise. Not that she expressed dislike, but actually said she hated the person.

And she’s not alone.

Gone are the days when voters discussed the issues, worked hard to support the candidate of their choice, but then gracefully accepted the outcome at the polls. Back then, I was proud of our country, its electoral process, and its citizens. Personally, I’d like to see us return to those upright and gracious times when we might hate the policies of a candidate or elected official, but we didn’t hate the person.

As Christians, we are called by God to love others, even if we disagree with them, even if we believe that what they choose to do might harm us. If Jesus could hang on a cruel cross and still say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” should we do less? He not only entrusted his life to his Father in heaven, but he forgave and prayed for his enemies on earth.

Am I trying to preach to you? Absolutely not! But I do want to remind myself of the excellence of gracious Christian love we are called live in the name of Jesus.

How about you? What are your thoughts regarding “Christian love and politics”?

Jane Eyre

When this popular classic novel first appeared in 1847, author Charlotte Bronte had no idea how deeply it would affect a young girl more than one hundred years later. Though my circumstances were nothing like its heroine, Jane’s struggle for love in a cold and cruel world grabbed my heart and stayed with me through the years.

One part in particular inspired me with the courage to live likewise. Maybe it’s done the same for you.

Jane’s long struggle comes to a climax. Finally, oh finally, she stands before the church altar, her heart bursting with happiness. She’s about to wed her beloved when the minister utters those fatal words, “If either of you know any impediment why you may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony . . .  confess it.” Jane expects no answer. She knows of no reason why she and her Mr. Rochester cannot marry.

But another does and declares that her beloved is already married and his wife still living. In utter shock, Jane turns to him. He doesn’t deny the charge. Discovering the heart-wrenching circumstances of his marriage brings understanding, but she still faces a horrible choice. Cling to their hard-won love and what happiness they can grasp, or do what is right. Her own heart breaking and knowing she is also breaking the heart of the man she dearly loves, Jane turns and walks away.

Because she chooses to honor God’s Word–even at great cost, God rewards her faithful love for him. Over time, he works circumstances so that Jane and her beloved Mr. Rochester can be reunited and married.

Through the years, I’ve found this to be true: Faithful love for God can be costly but, in the end, reaps great rewards with no regrets.

How about you? Have you found this true in your own life? What sacrifice have you made to remain faithful in your love for God?

I’m Beginning to Wonder

I’m beginning to wonder. What day goes by without a friend stopping in to meet a need? This time it was my dear friend Susan Baganz. Putting aside her own pressing needs to write, edit, and take care of all things mommy, she came from out of town to help me put up this blog. (I’m told writers should have a blog!)

So here I am, up and running due to Susan’s unselfish love for a friend. Forever grateful to her for her kindness, I’m also forever grateful to God for providing such a friend. One with whom I can laugh and be silly. One who understands this writing life and can talk incessantly about it with me.  What a joy! Also one who shares my love for God and the incredible depth of meaning He brings to a life, no matter what the challenges.

How about you? Do you have such a friend?