Monday, December 12, 2016

Being You Through the Hard Times

When I was asked if I’d be willing to blog again on Seekerville, I choked. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to appear in ‘public’ as an author, but I knew I had to step out again, and what better place to do it than with a bunch of lovelies who’ve been some of my biggest supporters over the years. Ladies, I love you, and I want to honor you for all that you give to the writing community. There is none comparable to you ladies. You are the epitome of high class and grace. You are Christ-like, and you are appreciated. May the favor of God shine down on each of you during this new year, in your families and your writing careers. May God, grant you each the desires of your hearts, and the reconciliations where it is needed. 

Bless you, ladies. 



When I first started writing, somebody, possibly an editor, told me that some of the best works are the ones with ‘you’ on the pages. I never fully understood that until I began working on edits for my first contracted book, which by the way, I sold through a Seekerville contest. As I read over notes and read the story afresh for the first time in years, I saw multiple little things of me, a me who had gone through what I had thought, and what probably had been, the toughest season in my life. 

The emotion, the scriptures God had laid on my heart, the hope, the forgiveness, the internal fight to keep my flesh from winning over the spirit man. It was all there on the pages of a book that I had been told would never sell. That was in 2013.

And like a snowball rolling down Mount Everest, life seemingly ran out of control. Through it, somehow, I turned in two more books. Maybe not quite as efficient as I’d hoped, but given the circumstances, I’m certain it was still an accomplishment, and yes, I allowed my emotions to ooze all over the pages. Fortunately, I had awesome editors who toned me down. ;)

But then after some major curveballs were thrown for my husband’s mom and her husband, leaving me physically and emotionally drained, I didn’t want to be me. 

In February of 2015, as I sat in the infectious disease doctor’s office with my mother-in-law waiting for her all clear, my father-in-law was at his oncologist’s office getting a clean bill of health. He was weak, much smaller than he had been, and still couldn’t eat more than a few bites of soft food, but he was cancer free and didn’t need to return for another year.

I exhaled the breath I’d been holding for the last year and a half. 

And I feared inhaling. Between all the craziness of those few years, I wanted to hold onto that exhale of relief for as long as possible. I even grounded my in-laws from any and all hospitals within a 60-mile radius. I’m not kidding. 

I hid. I hid from phone calls, from emails, from family, and from writing. Somehow, I thought that if I wrote, nothing but the yucky emotions I had experienced the previous year would come out, and that just wasn’t me. That had been me at one time, but I had moved beyond the whole woe-is-me, waiting for the other shoe to drop, person. Sooo, I just didn’t write, not with any intentional effort. Occasionally I popped my head into my writer’s hat only to happily be pulled out again by some tyranny of the urgent giant. 


At some point, I’m not sure when, I decided it was okay to start breathing and to quit looking over my shoulder. At some point, I decided that no matter what, I would carry the fruits of the Spirit. At some point, I knew beyond any doubt that God’s goodness was never, and would never be, dependent upon my circumstances. 

At some point, I decided it was okay to find me again, or to just be me outside of a hardened shell of fear. At some point, I decided it was okay to write again and allow my emotions, whatever they were, to pour onto the page. After all, an author can’t edit it a blank page, right? Besides, layering pieces of me onto blank pages made great stories, right?

At some point, I decide enough is enough, I was an author and I needed to write. So, I wrote. I went on an impromptu vacation with my parents and one of my daughters, and I breathed. I played in the ocean, and I breathed. I took pictures, listened to my daughter play her guitar while a homeless man sang House of the Rising Sun. I wrote, and I breathed. This was the me I loved. This was the me I wanted to be, the healed, whole, happy me after all the chaos of the previous years. 

We returned to Kansas, and I was ready to embrace my life and write full-time. Two short weeks after we returned, I received another phone call, but I knew. I had known before I even left. I think we all knew. My father-in-law, a man I had grown to care and love deeply over those years of his battle with cancer, had started coughing and it wasn’t a normal cough, and he’d grown weaker, this a short 7 months after his cancer free diagnosis. His doctor sent him home, and less than a week later he passed away. That entire week, as I sat with my mother-in-law and as I cared for my father-in-law in his final days, I wrote. In between family coming to say their last good-byes, I wrote. Through memories and blurred vision, I wrote. Through emotion, I wrote. Pieces of me filled blank pages. 

In the early morning hours of November 17, 2015, I turned in the first real proposal I had turned in in a long while and then drove to my in-laws. It was evident when I arrived he wouldn’t make it through the day, he didn’t make it past noon. I stared out the picture window watching a lone male deer approached the fence line across the road through the misty fog as I listened to my father-in-law's last breaths.  

I sold that book, and purposely gave myself a tight deadline. I wasn’t going to allow the fear of being me own my life. I needed to write and I gave myself permission to breathe. My husband and I maintained our full ministry schedule, and I helped him through the busy Christmas season. One day we were driving down a road, and I told him that if all that we had been through the last few years was the worst we’d ever go through, we were blessed. 

There was peace, and a sense of accomplishment, pride, and excitement. We survived. And I hadn’t lost myself in those tough seasons. God had shown me that if I removed fear from the equation, I would be all right.

On March 15th, I turned in my manuscript and shortly thereafter, my husband started showing some signs of tiring. He’d been trying to keep the business running, full-time ministry, and doing all the things he could for his mom that his step-dad had done. We discussed closing the shop and I knew I needed to move more into a full-time writer mode, something I had tried and failed to do because I allowed too many things to take precedence. We never guessed, never really saw it coming, or maybe we did and chose not to see it, but on May 20th, after being treated for an ulcer, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. As I sat vigil during his times of rest I prayed, I read the Bible, and I wrote. On June 20th, less than a month after his diagnosis, he passed away. 

If I am to be honest with you, I’d tell you that I haven’t written much in the last six months, but it’s not because I am fearful of being me during this toughest season of my life. In fact, I’ve embraced me, the sad me, the missing me, the happy me, the peaceful me, the mother of somewhat orphaned children me, the widow me. I wanted to write, I needed to write. I burned to write. However, there are a lot of things that come with death, especially when a business needs closing, and your mother-in-law decides it’s time to sell her house and move out of state. May God bless her greatly. 


Man, we had a lot of tears and laughter in the last year, especially the last 6 months. I also tried to maintain the momentum of the ministry my husband and I were a part of because I knew the people my husband ministered to had loved him and grieved him. They were watching me and my daughters, but especially me. Every time I gave a message 'they got me,' no matter how many times I intended otherwise. One time I stood in front of homeless men hardened by life, ex-gang members, veterans, and addicts and I gave them me, the me who tried to be strong for the kids and the family, the me who wanted to cry but couldn’t, the me who wanted to hear ‘I love you’ one more time. There wasn’t a dry eye. Somehow my message touched their core and moved them. And that is what our writing should do for our readers. 

The week after my husband moved to Glory, I was asked by one of my co-pastors if I thought my writing would change and I knew the answer was yes. My writing is a constant evolution of me. When I evolve, and grow in the Lord, so does my writing. That is something I’ve come to understand and not fear. If I’m carrying myself in the fruits of the Spirit, it’s okay to be me through the hard seasons, just as it’s okay for you to be you through the hard seasons. The hard seasons have taught me to trust and depend on God in ways I never thought possible. The Lord is the biggest part of me and when I trust in His guidance and provision, my best stories are yet to come, especially if they have me all over them and create an emotional impact that ministers and sticks with the reader for a long while. 

We all have tough seasons. I want to encourage you to embrace them, to find rest in them, the kind of rest that comes from fully trusting God. 

If you’re a reader, what is one of the most memorable scenes you’ve read that has stuck with you? If you’re a writer what is one of the most emotional scenes you’ve written and where was it birthed from? 


Christina Rich art.
Christina Rich is a mother of four children, a grandmother of one, a romance author with Love Inspired Historical, Forget Me Not Romances, a photographer, and a painter, and she is currently working on several non-fiction books. She teaches writing workshops Writing for God’s Glory and classes on breaking word curses and breaking ungodly soul-ties. She is excited about a new adventure with P.E.R.K. Passionate Evangelicals Restoring Kindness and recently began Rich Ministries to carry on the legacy her husband began before he graduated to heaven, which focuses on reconciling people to God through Jesus Christ, helping equip the saints for spiritual warfare, and preparing them for the return of Jesus.

You can connect with her on Facebook at Author Christina Rich and on Twitter @Christinainspy




The Negotiated Marriage

A Business Arrangement 

When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. But she's determined her agreement with the mysterious, dashing man—who's unlike anything the Kansas railroad town has ever seen—will remain simply business. 

Duncan Murray doesn't want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love…


Christina is generously gifting us for the holidays. Leave a comment today for your chance to receive, a copy of The Negotiated Marriage (two winners), Christina's entire Love Inspired backlist and her current release AND a print of Christina Rich art (one winner), Christina Rich art print (one winner). For a writer who lets us know they want it, a first chapter critique (one winner).

Merry Christmas from Christina Rich!

113 comments :

  1. Wow Christina you have had a time of it! And I'm reading through the tears, my heart aches for all you've been through in a short period of time. I know you didn't write this to gain sympathy (even though you have mine), but to share your raw emotions and how God has sustained you through all the heartache and meant this as an encouragement for us all. I can't imagine how I'd react or feel or anything really. I guess we wouldn't know unless we've traveled our own road of pain & grief so deep. I'd hope I'd cling even closer to the Lord, but I know in my own humaness I'd probably rage at Him for a time. But I pray I'd never lose my faith!! That would be the true tragedy, to walk away from the only One who can sustain me through it all. Please know my prayers go up for you straight to the Father's heart & I hope you continue to write through the storms of life. People need to read your words, people like me :-)

    As a reader, I can't specifically name a memorable scene I've read. I read so many books! I guess one thing I love to read in a story, is when the author takes one of their main characters (hero or heroine) to the very bottom of themselves, where there's nothing more to cling to, nothing more to turn to except God and they begin to realize who He really is and begins to turn their life over to Him....completely and whole-heartily. You know that character will never be the same again! That kind of conversion sticks with me :-)

    Thank you for your honest post today. It encourages me to keep pushing through my own hard times knowing God is right there by my side loving me, shaping and molding me. And to kick fear to the curb! :-) Thank you also for your generosity on the giveaway, I'd love to see your books on my shelf! I know I'd be in for a treat! Blessings.

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    1. Trixi, thank you.

      I never thought about characters being taken to the bottom of themselves. I like that image.

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  2. Christina, what a very powerful testimony--thank you so much for sharing your story, and reminding us how God sustains us by letting us see how He has held you during these storms you've been weathering. One of the most memorable scenes (which I think was real-life, since it was from Corrie Ten Boom's book) was of her looking back and ultimately coming to face one of her former guards. That whole book was such a powerful read, especially to a teen...

    Thank you for your encouragement as we go through our own seasons! And thank you for continuing to write the stories God places on your heart!

    --Fedora

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    1. Fedora, I haven't opened up a Corrie Ten Boom book in a long while, but I recall her gentle way. One of the hardest things for a human to do is to forgive atrocities. I think many would prefer to hold on to.anger and bitterness, but that is not what we are called to do.

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    2. I know we are called to forgive, but truly, that depth of forgiveness clearly comes from the Father! And I would love to be entered to win one of your stories or art. Thank you again for your generosity!

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    3. Fedora, you are right. When I think of Jesus on the cross and Stephen asking for the Father to not hold his stoning against his stoners, I know that kind of forgiveness is possible. It's the heart of the Father. It's His gospel of peace that rests our souls and keeps us free to love and bless our enemies.

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  3. Oh Christina, I write this through tear-filled eyes. Thank you for sharing your pain, love and strength. What an amazing testimony. May God bless you as you continue to follow Him.

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    1. Thank you, Jackie! He has poured blessing upon blessing on me.

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  4. Ecclesiastes 3 has always been one of my favorite verses. It keeps me on the upright road... "To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the heaven..."

    When my seasons darken, I think of Christ, carrying that cross. I think of how that horrid crown of thorns must have hurt. I think of salty sweat in open wounds, and a lashing of whips.

    Does that sound dark? It's kind of supposed to because it jerks me back into a perspective of realizing my sacrifices tend to pale compared to his....

    Joshua 1:9 is our theme for New Year's Eve... to not let discouragement overwhelm us, to be courageous in all things, and Christina, you show this beautifully. Moms have to be courageous, even when they don't want to be because there are folks counting on us.

    And yes, I think hardship and loss change your writing. I think it strengthens it. And if you levy a dash of humor and a pound of grace, we build better stories that appeal to the race that knows Joseph. The simple, normal folk.

    Wishing you blessings of peace, hope and love! Thank you so much for sharing your story today, Christina.

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    1. Ruthie, Joshua has been my go to book. The Spirit prompted me to read Joshua over and and over and it started right before we knew Cody was ill. It's been a battle plan for me and what better words from the Lord. Be strong and courageous. I'll never leave you nor forsake you. GOD IS SO GOOD!

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  5. Bless you Christina for all you have been through and for sharing it with all of us. I am going through a season right now that is difficult and I do need to find rest in my Heavenly Father. Thank you for the reminder.

    I would love to be entered for one of Christina's books or art print.

    Many blessings to everyone today.
    Cindy W.

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    1. Father, I ask you grant Cindy that rest, Lord. May she sense Your overwhelming peace and joy during this season. May You cause her to well upnwith laughter due to her trust in You. In Jesus's name.

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  6. Christina, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I'm so sorry for the losses you've experienced, but thankful that God carried you through the storms. Without question, the words you've shared with us today, will help many. God bless you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Jill. I pray so. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. I'm all about helping folks be freed up from the h
      Things keeping them from worshipping the Lord.

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  7. Oh Christina, I'm so sorry for your losses and your pain. Grief is a lonely, painful journey. Thank you for sharing how it impacted your writing. I'm grateful you have the hope of Christ. It makes all the difference. (1 Thess 4:13.) I will pray for you and your family this Christmas. God bless you.

    And, I would love to be added for the drawing for a chapter critique.

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    1. Thank you much, Josse. I never thought about grief being lonely, but I know I've had my moments. I'm thankful for God's merciful kindness through all of this.

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    2. Amen. I guess, what I mean is that grief is intensely personal and though you may be surrounded by people who are also grieving alongside you, the loss each person feels is unique. I've been praying for you whenever you come to mind since reading this, which is often!

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    3. Thank you, Josee. Today is bittersweet as my husband would have been 45 today. We are going to gather at my mom's for cookies, which were Cody's favorite.

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  8. Christina what a powerful testimony and post. I will be praying for you.

    God is the only One who get us through the difficult times in life. I don't know how people who don't know the Lord can survive life and the hard times.

    Please enter me for a chapter critique.

    May God bless you this Christmas and all year long.

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    1. Thank you! I hope to soon be stepping into churches to release my testimony.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your story and showing us there is hope on the other side. Joy and peace. No matter what we are going through. God is there through it all.

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    1. Oh yeah! Most definitely. He has proven Himself over and over.

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  10. Christina, thank you for the encouraging words. So much truth in them!

    I'm so sorry for all you've gone through. Your strong love for the Lord is a beautiful testimony.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. Your words encourage me.

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  11. CHRISTINA, though my heart aches for all you've been through, it's wonderful to see how God carried you through and gave you the strength to shine for Him. What we experience enriches our stories and the emotion impacts our readers. May God richly bless your ministries and you and your family this Christmas.

    Hugs, Janet

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  12. Christina, thank you so much for being here and your transparency. I brought a lovely fruit plate and more coffee and lots of hugs.

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  13. Your new release is significantly different from your other books which were more biblical fiction. Where did this story idea come from?

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    1. Several years ago, while researching for another story, I came across some rich history in a quaint little town, which actually still exists, barely. It sits in valley on a river. The river is just deep and wide enough to need a ferry in order to cross. Well... one thing led to another and I thought 3 Billy Goats Gruff and amish, an old cantankerous man was formed.

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  14. You are so right, it is only when we are genuine in our writing that we are able to reach out and touch readers. They want real emotion. It hurts to dig that deep to pull it out. But that is our job, right?

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    1. Most definitely! And when people realize that they aren't alone in their emotional experiences self-centered walls of pain begin to crumble.

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  15. When I saw that you were on Seekerville today, I had to come read what you wrote. Knowing what was coming towards the end, I sat here in tears. You have been through so much, yet you have come out stronger and even probably more compassionate (is that possible???) for anyone and everyone who crosses your path, whether in person or through the computer. You are an inspiration, Christina. Truly.

    Don't throw my name into the hat for a book. As you know, I recently read it. :)

    Be blessed, dear friend. And Merry Christmas! <3

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    1. Melanie, thank you for constantly being there and giving encouragement just when I need it.

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  16. What a beautiful and inspiring message, Christina! Thank you so much for your honesty in sharing your struggles and triumphs.

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  17. CHRISTINE, mother, grandmother, writer, artist, ministry leader--any tips for how to juggle so many balls?

    Janet

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    1. Unfortunately, my writing has taken a bit of a back seat for far too long. I'm learning to relax and not stress over the things. There are priorities, which right now is being a mama to healing children and being a grandma which helps heal me. God's timing is absolutely perfect. Our grandbaby was born two weeks before hubs graduated.

      I'm learning to find a new normal for me, and the last few weeks I've moved my writing time to the early morning hours, which is a total sacrifice. I'm a night owl by nature. But I am determined to write.

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    2. CHRISTINA, you have your priorities straight. Hope those early morning hours get easier!

      Janet

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  18. CHRISTINE, I love marriage of convenience stories. Yours sounds great!

    Janet

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  19. Your amazing and inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss, but it's good to know we are not alone. I will pray for you and thank you for your testimony.

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    1. Thank you,Jeri. We are definitely not alone. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me as He hems me in on all sides.

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  20. Wow Christina, you make my heart ache for you.
    We lost my dad in May after a long battle w/Parkinson's, but I can't imagine losing my husband too.

    I know a lady whose 5 year-old son was killed in a farm accident. A few years later, her husband was killed by a horse. I'll never forget her saying that when her son, died, she had her husband to lean on. But when her husband died, she had no one. That's always stuck w/me.

    You're a great example of how to put that emotion in writing. That takes a strong person.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Connie, I'm sorry for your loss.

      There have been moments when I've 'alone' in an earthly sense. My best friend, the one I could talk about anything and everything no longer exists in this realm and there are just certain things you can't tell just anyone, you know? And most people who haven't lost a loved one really don't understand the void.

      Praise God I haven't the experience of losing a child. I pray I never do.

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  21. Your post had me crying. I am so sorry for your losses. My grandfather died of cancer in 2012 at the same time my uncle was battling it (he finally beat it and is doing fine). That was a really hard time for our family. I hadn't started writing seriously at that time yet though and so it didn't impact my writing.

    Please enter my name for the drawing. Now excuse me I have to go find myself a tissue...

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    1. Also I would appreciate it if you put my name in for the chapter critique.

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    2. Nicky, bless you! Cancer is a nasty little demon, but I determined about a week before my husband passed on to Glory that it would not steal our precious memories, nor my joy. God was very gracious in that Cody only dealt with discomfort and pain a few weeks.

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  22. Christina, a great post. Your desire to bring glory to God shines through. I'm looking forward to how these deep experiences will impact your writing in the years to come.

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    1. Thank you, Jan! Me too!a and I'm already seeing some of it show up in my writing. I constantly pray that 'this' book will be my best.

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  23. Christina, my throat is tight as I came to the end of you post. Your beautiful you is shining through. You have been through so much, but I sense God's quiet peace through your words. Thank you, so much, for sharing your story. And thank you for the reminder of just how important and okay it is to be the real me.

    I'll be honest, pouring emotions onto the pages of my books has been my nemesis. This year, God's been showing me why it's so hard, and He's working healing in my heart. I find more of "me" comes out in my blog posts. These are a place where I can share my struggles and how God is working in and through me in the midst of them. My hope is always that my readers will be encouraged through the words I share.

    I'm praying for you during this "first" hard Christmas season, Christina.

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    1. Jeanne, back in April I taught a workshop on breaking ungoy soul-ties. One of the sections had to do with holding ungodly connections to departed loved ones. We had several ladies who'd set their loved ones up as idols. It's okay to miss and grieve but when the grieving controls you day in and day out... well anyway, it was shortly after that Cody showed signs of being ill. Needless to say, I had to choose whether or not to stand on God's word and walk out the teaching or to become offended at God and hils on to bitterness.

      God doesn't wish amy of us to be in emotional bondage. I'm glad for your healing and working through this thing.

      Thank you for the prayers.

      Bless you!

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  24. Christina, your faith-filled life is an inspirational testimony. Thank you for sharing your heart and for the reminder we get through difficult times by relying on God's strength.

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    1. Sherida,thank you for the encouragement!

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  25. CHRISTINA, this is raw and "rich," no pun intended. And so appropriate for December, when everything is magnified, for better or worse. It's hard for me to show emotion, either in person or in print, it's a New England thing, but I know it helps others. Thank you for this. Please enter me in the drawing for the critique.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. Kathy, I know me some New Englanders so I understand, but New Englanders have a lot of other things to put on the page that makes up for emotion like cozy hearths and warm chowders.

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  26. What a heart felt post and wonderful reminder. I know there have been many books and scenes that have stuck with me and taught me new things as a Christian. That is one of the reasons I keep reading these books!

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    1. I think, and I may be a tad bias, but Love Inspired havs the best emotional draws and lessons.

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  27. Hi y'all. I have the honor of chauffeuring my mother around this afternoon. I can't wait to get back to you all.

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  28. Monday's are busy days. Especially near the holidays. We get that! Have an egg nog latte with mom!

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  29. Christina, thanks for sharing your beautiful and inspiring testimony! I will be praying for you! Please enter me for your book!
    Blessings~~~
    I am an avid reader...as for memorable scenes..I especially loved Terri Reed and Glynna Kaye's newest books!!

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    1. I'll have to check them out. What did you like about them?

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  30. Christina, I've been praying for you. The other Seekers have been as well. You've walked with Christ to Calvary. God bless you and keep you strong. May you find comfort and peace as you use your pain to touch others in need. The Lord brings light to the darkness, which is evident in your life. Sending hugs and love.

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    1. Debby, I have felt thise prayers. I know they've sustained me and continue to do so. I keep encountering people who say you'll go through this grieving step or that. I don't even know what the steps are and I refuse to be labeled. I guess I better research research for the fictional version of Weddings, Funerals, and Crazy In-laws. ;) The first lines go something like this.

      "Mom tried to kill you with a fork."

      "At least we can blame it on the meds."

      "Are you sure about that?"

      No, no she wasn't.

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    2. Ah yes, "the steps." Everyone is so different. I went through each step (and in order!). But I know people who skipped right over some and have stayed stuck in others for years and years. At the end of the day, keep clinging to Jesus and let him carry you when it feels particularly dark—he's got you.

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  31. Hi Christina:

    Your theme today brought to mind a series of famous quotes, all in the same vein, (pun intended!) of which I believe this one is the most apropos at this time.

    In the 1946 book “Confessions of a Story Writer” Paul Gallico wrote:

    It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. If you do not believe in the characters or the story you are doing at that moment with all your mind, strength, and will, if you don’t feel joy and excitement while writing it, then you’re wasting good white paper, even if it sells, because there are other ways in which a writer can bring in the rent money besides writing bad or phony stories.

    In a way, it would be hard to write any fiction, even when copying a famous author's style, that did not place 'you' on the page. The trick is getting the 'you' that you left to be of universal significance. For example, I think Mark Twain is on every page of everything he ever wrote. And he always had something to say.

    As someone who has taught classes in negotiations, I am looking forward to reading "The Negotiated Marriage". However, I must say that that's not exactly the most romantic of titles. : )

    I favor titles like "Swept Away in a Sea of Passion" especially for Christian fiction. Cf. " And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be swept away in a sea of passion driven to the shores of the land of true love." (I guess that's my 'you'.:))

    Thanks for sharing again today.

    Vince

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    1. Lol! I have missed you and your humor, Vince! For some reason they didn't like Derailed by Love.I'm kind of glad I'm not solely responsible for choosimg titles or I'd end up with things like Love in A Cabin, or Shot by Love.

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  32. Christina, thank you so much for sharing you powerful testimony. I too am learning how to be me during hard seasons.

    May the Lord continue to surround you and your family with His Presence.

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    1. Thank you,Caryl. I think one of the hardest things is the pressure to keep so many things the same, but the see saw has tipped and there isn't a partner to help put me in the air, or there's no cheese for the macaroni, and Cody was full of cheese. He loved teasing and making silly jokes.

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  33. Christina what a beautiful and powerful and brave blog post.
    God bless you.

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  34. I'm drawing a blank about what I've written that's powerful.
    What pops into my head probably isn't exactly what you mean.
    But there is a moment in Doctor in Petticoats where Mandy McClellen, saddled with a worthless husband, all her possessions in a rented hand cart, heading out on a long, long, many day long walk to the land she and her husband had just homesteaded, when she sees a campfire and calls out, knowing if it's decent folks, they will let Mandy and her husband sleep by their fire and eat at their camp.
    And out of the darkness, blinded by the firelight, steps Belle Tanner.
    I don't know if it works for anyone else, but to me, at that moment, we know Mandy is going to be all right.
    For her to find this one woman, means everything is safe now. She's found help.
    That is a powerful moment to me based in the established character from another book.

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    1. Mary, your stories have raw grit. I can't think of the name, I think it's The Husband Tree... that opening scene where she is burying her husband... fabulous.

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  35. I'm like Trixi...and read so many books. However, I am sure to need a box of kleenex with me if I want to delve into one of Karen Kingsbury's books. I haven't even read one of her latest books because I wasn't ready for it.

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    1. Marianne, I'm going to let you in on a little secret, but don't tell anyone. I've never read Karen Kingsbury. Sounds like I'll have to try.

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  36. Christina, I can only thank you for sharing your and your brave and humble soul. I pray for God's provision and continued blessings as you continue in your ministries.

    I am glad that you are writing again and gave us your time and example.

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  37. Hi Christina Thank you so much for posting today in Seekerville. What an honor and thank you for your precious prayers. We always need them.

    I so ache for you as I went through all that caregiving also and it is just plain tough. My writing suffered at that time, but like you, I think it deepened my writing when I went back to it. God uses every opportunity smile I'm so glad you were able to write through the pain. I think writing is very therapeutic. smile

    Thanks again for joining us today.

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    1. Sandra, it's nice to come across other caregivers. They get it.

      Here's to rich writing and bestsellers.

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    2. Thanks Christina. Back at you. I know God is going to use you also. Have a blessed Christmas.

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  38. CHRISTINA, I misspelled your name twice. I know it's Christina but was hurrying. I'm sorry.

    Janet

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    1. :) it's all good, Janet. Half the time I don't know how to spell my own name.

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  39. Oh my goodness, Christina -- you had me blubbering at the first paragraph, and the tears poured all the way through! This is one of the MOST inspiring and poignant pieces I have ever read, so I can only imagine how wonderful your books must be! Sounds like I NEED to read them!

    My heart hurts for all the pain you have gone through, but rejoices over the intimacy with God it has wrought because that's the bottom line in this world full of hopes and tears.

    You've been on my prayer list since I first heard about your hubby, my friend, and will stay there for a long while while I continue to pray for God's grace, strength, and blessings.

    Hugs and more hugs!
    Julie

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    1. Julie,with you all praying for me I'm bound for high favor.

      There have been many intimate moments with God while I interceded for Cody,some I don't think people would fully understand, but one day I'll write those too.

      How is your grandbaby doing?

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    2. Oops looks like my post disappeared.

      There have been many intimate moments with God while I interceded for Cody, some people wouldn't quite understand, but one day I'll write those too.

      How is your grandbaby doing?

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  40. Christina, sending you hugs. Don't be a stranger. Seekerville loves you!!!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. I hope to be more active all around, especially here on Seekerville.

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  41. How rude was I. Sorry Christina...I do want to welcome you to Seekerville, and I'd love to win your novel! Is sounds amazing!

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  42. Hi, Christina! What a powerful post! Prayers and hugs. I look forward to reading THE NEGOTIATED MARRIAGE.

    Please enter me in any of the drawings.

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  43. Christina, thank you for this touching post. I'm so sorry to get by late today! I've been gone almost all day.

    Thank you for being so open about your struggles to keep writing. We can all learn from your example of strength and faith.

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  44. Bless you and your ministry, Christina. My goodness. I'm kind of in awe here...

    Thank you for continuing on and relying on the Lord and His goodness.

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  45. Christina, your post touched my heart. I read your posts on Facebook this past year. They would move me to tears and prompt me to pray for you, as I did many times. May you sense the Lord upholding you as you grieve the loss of your beloved husband and as you discover what He has in store for you as you travel the new path you're on.

    Cancer is a terrible disease. I ached as I watched my beloved mother-in-law battle it. Her fifteen-year battle with breast cancer came to an end back in 1997, but I still miss her.

    I dedicated my second LIH to Mother. That story features a strong mother who is dealing with cancer, her loving son and the compassionate young woman who comes to care for her. I infused that story with much of the emotion I'd experienced. There are two scenes that move me to tears each time I read them.

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    1. I'll have to make sure I read that book, Keli. God was very gracious in that Cody only suffered a short while. God was very gracious to me. There were some moments that will probably never leave my memory.

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  46. Thank you for sharing these private thoughts and emotions. I am in awe of your ability to write through and after these life altering events but I Am Sure that God will use your words to give comfort and enjoyment to your readers. May God bless you!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Connie. I pray He does use me to bring comfort.

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  47. So sorry to hear about your husband. Merry Christmas!

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  48. May God's peace be with you, Christina. Thank you for sharing and blessing us.

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  49. I am sorry for your year.
    As a reader, I just finished The Life I Never Expected. It is written by a SN family. The opening scene describes one of the authors days. . that spoke deeply to me. I saw some of my days in her writing and that was hard, but good at the same time. I connected with her suffering. Her openness touched me deeply.
    Becky
    PS I enjoy your books and would love to win.

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    1. The Life I Never Expected sounds like a good book. I'm always looking to expand my reading pile.

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  50. Christina, I'm a day late in commenting, but wanted to say thank you for sharing your heart with us. You and your family are in my prayers---especially during this holiday season. God bless you, precious lady.
    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

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    1. Thank you, Patti Jo. Yesterday, would have been my husband's birthday. The family got together for cookies and I saw my husband's best friend minister to my brother. It's exactly what Cody would have done and beautiful. So thank you for those prayers.

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  51. I'm late coming to the party, but I wanted to thank you for your beautifully written post. May God bless you and keep you and your family. Thank you for your inspirational message. Have a hope-filled Christmas and blessed New Year.

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    1. Thank you, Renee. Many blessings to you.

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  52. I'm late coming to the party, but I wanted to thank you for your beautifully written post. May God bless you and keep you and your family. Thank you for your inspirational message. Have a hope-filled Christmas and blessed New Year.

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  54. Praying God will bless you and give you strength during this time. Thank you for sharing with us. <3
    As a reader, I guess one of the most memorable scenes that has stuck with me would be in Marian Well's book, Jewel of Promise, when Olivia is told that Alex has been killed in battle and then miscarries her unborn baby. The next morning, when she wakes and dresses, Marian describes that the dress that had hugged the swell of her growing baby, now hangs loosely, a reminder of everything lost. I can't help but cry every time I read that story. But it's such a beautiful story of God's Promises, it's really worth the read...and re-read!

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    1. Oh wow! I can see why. I'll definitely have to read this book. Thank you for sharing.

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