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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Good Start

When I start reading a new novel, I begin with a sense of uncertainty.
Will I like the book?
Will the characters and their situations enthrall me?
What challenges will these characters have to endure?
But after I've finished, having been swept away by the story, the setting, the characters, the satisfactory conclusion, I feel drawn to read the beginning again.
Do you do that, too?

I love beginnings.
Especially when I know the end.
Maybe it's the sense that a new adventure is about to begin, but I know it will end well for the characters.

Because if I begin to care for the characters in the story, and if I am going to suffer vicariously along with them in the midst of their misadventures, I sure as shootin' want them to come out okay.

I suppose that's one reason why the histories in the Bible appeal even to people who wouldn't call themselves Christians. Everyone loves a good story, especially when it illustrates some redeeming quality about the main character.

Who wouldn't cheer for the son (Joseph) who gets sold into slavery by his brothers, then rises to great power in Egypt? And just in time to save his brothers from starvation, and reconcile with them? (Genesis 45)

And what about Ruth, who loyally clings to her mother-in-law even during a time of abject poverty, eventually to marry a wealthy, righteous man? (the book of Ruth)

 How about the youngest son of Jesse, whom Samuel anoints as King of Israel? He's the only man with the courage to fight the giant Goliath, and win. (1st Samuel, chapter 17)

Who wouldn't cheer for the pious Daniel when he gets thrown into the den of Lions but comes out the next day unscathed? (Daniel, chapter 6)

At first reading, the beginnings of these stories seem so bleak.
But God has a plan.
And good triumphs over evil.

Now that I know the end of these Bible true stories, I can relax the next time I read the story.
Sigh. It all works out okay.

I'm learning to relax a little more with my own story.
Because I know that God is good and that He has a plan—a good plan—for me.
I am only at the beginning of my story.
And even though I feel a sense of suspense about the adventures that may jump out of the bushes at any moment to surprise me,
I can rest in the fact that my ending will be good. Even glorious.
Because, just like with Joseph, and Ruth, and David, and Daniel, the same God who wrote their stories, also writes mine.

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance." (Psalm 16:5,6 NIV Bible)


  1. Dena, what a fascinating post and the way you threaded the Bible heroes into it. Always inspiring with breathtaking photos!

  2. Hi Dena -

    I rarely read a book more than once (except for the Bible, of course). With limited time, I'd rather move on to another story.

    Susan :)

  3. Hi Anonymous: Thanks so much. I appreciate your comments.

  4. Susan, I know what you mean. However, there have been a handful of books that I just love. So I re-read them.One of my favorite books when I was a kid was Mrs. Mike, a true story of a young woman who marries a Northwest Mountie, and her funny and sometimes tragic experiences. Read that one probably a hundred times.