Blessings in Disguise
by Sandi Rog
After thirteen years of living in Holland, my husband and I moved back to America barely holding on to the broken pieces of our marriage, juggling three young children who had never studied in English, and climbing out of the refuse we had made of our lives. But one thing was constant, God . . . and my writing. Truth be told, writing had become my idol. I lived, breathed and ate it.
To make a long convoluted story short, after moving back to the States I was diagnosed with MS. This means that anything can go at any moment: vision, the ability to walk, the ability to speak properly, you name it. My biggest fear was waking up blind. By this time, I was facedown in the mud. What good was I? I desperately longed for my heavenly Father’s arms, and further lost myself in writing.
Just when I thought I’d had enough, after an MS attack of vertigo, they found a mass in my head (I wondered what the “bruise” was that never went away), and I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkins T-cell Lymphoma: Cancer. Truth be told. I was relieved! I was so exhausted from this life and so ready to go home. After all, my mother-in-law could do a much better job at raising my kids than me. Plus, my husband wouldn’t have any difficulty finding a replacement for me. Only thing I begged from him was that he’d choose a Christian. Of course, he “said” he wanted no one but me, yada, yada. Naturally, I didn’t believe him. I just wanted out. And cancer was my ticket out of this miserable, wretched existence.
But during cancer, God showed me my value as a parent and a wife. Who knew I was any good at the things that counted? It was as though God said, “You believe your mother-in-law (MIL) would do a better job at raising your kids than you? Well, have a seat and watch what happens.” I was so sick, my MIL came to America to take care of my family for a year, while I watched from the sidelines, unable to do anything. It was then that I realized I was the best person for my children. Not that she did a terrible job, by any means. It’s just that I had an understanding of them, a connection and bond that she, nor my husband, had. God revealed my value as a mom!
It was also during this time, God revealed that my husband loves me and needs me. You see, my husband and I are very opposite in personality. He isn’t often “spontaneous.” He’s a planner, he maps everything out, and doing anything without “thinking” doesn’t happen often. E-hem. Yes, I often do things without “thinking.” But as I was saying . . . One day during cancer, I was sitting on a chair in the bathroom as my husband shaved my head. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw this strange-looking fat woman with no hair staring back at me. How grotesque! How can anyone love this? But when my husband was done, on impulse, he bent over and kissed my bald head. I always thought he was good to me and took such good care of me during that time because he felt guilty, but in that one moment I knew that he truly loved me. I mean, who would do that? Who would spontaneously bend over and kiss their fat wife on her bald head if he didn’t love her? It was in that moment, God revealed that my husband’s love was true. God saved our marriage!
So, when I got better (which is another story that you can read about here: http://beatcancerwithb17.blogspot.com/p/my-win-against-cancer.html), it was difficult to get back into writing. I couldn’t focus. I used to write in chaos, ignoring everything and everyone around me, but now I simply can’t. I don’t want to miss out on any precious moments, no matter how petty. I was also afraid writing would become an idol again. Through much prayer, God has held my hand every step of the way, and while I now know how to put God and my family first, he’s allowed me to write again. I’m taking baby steps, but I’m back on board, and this time, I wrote a light, inspirational romance that won’t make you cry.
God is good. Through the bad times and the good. He also revealed HIS LOVE for me during all of this, and I praise Him! It was through cancer that God brought me from a miserable wretch who believed she was worthless, to a confident daughter of the King.
Julie here, and originally, I wasn’t planning on posting Sandi’s first chapter of her new book here, but honestly, it was so enticing, I just had to! You’ll find it after Sandi’s bio below, so leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Out of the Ashes.
Sandi Rog is an international and award-winning author of The Master’s Wall, Yahshua’s Bridge, and Walks Alone. Also a mother of four, she lived in Holland for thirteen years and now lives in Colorado with her husband, children, a cat, and too many spiders. Sandi can be found at her website and her many blogs: www.sandirog.com, http://sandirog.blogspot.com, http://thelordslady2.blogspot.com, and http://beatcancerwithb17.blogspot.com
JACKET BLURB FOR OUT OF THE ASHES:
A stranger. A kiss. A shotgun wedding.
AMELIA E. TAYLOR blows a kiss to a street rat. Little did she know, years later that kiss would follow her to Green Pines, Colorado. When a handsome stranger arrives in her hometown, she guards her heart from the stirrings this man ignites. Despite society’s disapproval of spinsterhood, she is determined not to marry, having witnessed first-hand the lack of love and horrors that accompany marriage. But will a shotgun wedding reveal blessings that arise out of the ashes?
FIRST CHAPTER OF OUT OF THE ASHES:
Green Pines, Colorado, 1882
Gun smoke burned Amelia’s eyes and her ears still rang. She blinked the tears from her lashes.
“Do you, Nathaniel Ward,” the preacher scowled, “take Amelia Taylor to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
Amelia’s father cocked his rifle and aimed it at the reluctant groom.
“I do,” Nathaniel said, his voice firm and unwavering. Despite her father’s threats, Nathaniel’s very presence exuded power, his raised chin, broad shoulders and wide chest unflinching against the barrel of the rifle.
Amelia didn’t dare look up at him. What must he be thinking? How many women had hoped to get him this far, and now, here she stood where most women dreamed of standing—shotgun wedding, or not. If only she could melt into the parlor’s wooden floor like the candle burning in the nearby lamp. Or disappear like the smoke. Disappear into nothingness, with no remnant left of her existence.
“Do you, Amelia Taylor, take Nathaniel Ward to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The preacher’s words rushed over Amelia like a gush of foul air.
She stood paralyzed, unable to speak. She’d vowed never to marry. How would she bear this cross? She’d seen enough loveless marriages in her life to know it wasn’t worth the heartache, despite the shame of spinsterhood. And now, to be forced on a man? What miseries awaited her? Abuse? Neglect? Slavery? Any man in his right mind would despise her for the rest of his days. It would be impossible—unthinkable—to procure his affection … his love.
The minister, still in his nightclothes, cleared his throat. His wife, holding up the lantern, glowered from behind him.
Amelia swallowed, darting a glance at her terrifying father. With a snarl, he narrowed his eyes at Nathaniel and pressed closer with his rifle. Would he put another hole in the preacher’s wall? Or Nathaniel’s chest?
“Amelia, girl.” Her father’s voice sent a shudder down her spine as it echoed through the quiet house. “You know, I always keep my word.” He’d threatened to kill Nathaniel if she refused to be his wife.
“I do,” she said, her voice small and trembling, quite the opposite of the man next to her. The horror, the shame. How did her life come to this?
“I now pronounce you man and wife.” The minister slammed his Bible shut and pointed it at her father. “Now get out!”
Shadows clouded Amelia’s vision, and her legs wobbled like those of a newborn calf. Her knees buckled, but rather than landing on the hard floor, she found herself caught in Nathaniel’s strong arms.
Now her husband.