“Sometimes, in the midst of my love for you, Patrick,
I tend to forget that He is my source, not you.”
—A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman
Guilty as charged.
And I should know—Marcy and Patrick’s marriage, the mother and father in the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series, is strongly based on my own. And you would be absolutely shocked just how many of their stories I’ve taken from 36 years with the love of my life.
I know my husband was. 🙂
I’ll never forget the look on Keith’s face when he walked into the kitchen one day with my latest book in hand (and yes, the dear boy reads every single one). Anyway, he holds it up (using two hands because they’re so long … just kidding!), brandishing it like a weapon with this look of complete shock.
“Julie—I can’t believe you did this—this is our life here!”
“Yes, dear, I know,” I say with equal surprise, sounding a little too much like Marcy to suit. He scowls, and immediately I go into damage control with a hug. “Come on, babe, this is actually a good thing.”
He doesn’t answer—just gives me one of those arched eyebrow, flat-smile looks, lips pursed for more “fiction” from his wife.
“Look at it this way,” I continue with a sincere blink of eyes, “I get to fuse all that lovely angst and drama into Marcy and Patrick’s life instead of ours, so think of it more as self-preservation of our marriage, yes?”
His eyes narrow, at complete odds with the tiny crook of a smile. “Which we obviously need right about now …”
“Besides, babe,” I say quickly, conveniently ignoring his snide remark, “nobody knows they’re stories are about us.”
So, what’s my point? And no, it’s not on top of my head. I’m simply saying all marriages have angst and drama, even the good ones, so what makes the difference when push comes to shove? For me—and Marcy and Patrick—it’s a relationship with God at the center, pure and simple, a message I strive to drive home in every single book that I write.
Pure? Yes, because it’s all about obedience to God’s precepts—whether in a marriage, in a relationship, or in one’s life—helping us to focus on Him instead of Self.
Simple? Uh, no, at least not for us human types, but God’s fixed that too, by giving us the grace, the energy, and the Holy Spirit to do what He’s called us to do.
For God is working in you,
giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.
— Philippians 2:13
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9
And thank God! Because this was a lesson Marcy and I had to learn in A Passion Denied, when Patrick shut her out of his life after a terrible argument. That subplot was loosely based on something that happened between Keith and me many years ago. Oh, the details are different, of course, but the feelings of loss, bitterness, hurt, and anger are very much the same, teaching me what Marcy had to learn in the scene below. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included a celebrity pictorial of Marcy and Patrick, compliments of a dear blogger friend of mine, Salyna, at Kissed Books blog, which I highly encourage you to check out because it’s a GREAT blog!!
Excerpt from A Passion Denied:
Mrs. Gerson took another sip of tea and smiled. “The same bitterness closing off Patrick’s heart wants to close yours, but you will not let it. You will fight it for the sake of your marriage because Patrick is too hurt to do so. Because you see, Marcy, the kind of love you and Patrick have is deep and abiding. A set of scales, if you will, with Patrick on one side and you on the other.”
She held out her hands evenly, palms up. “A choice, really. Do I love him enough to forgive? Or do I love myself more, wanting to hurt him like he’s hurt me?” She tipped her hands off-kilter, one up, one down, and then smiled. “The kind of love you and Patrick share always tips the scales in the other’s favor. Patrick can’t do that right now, Marcy, but you can.”
Marcy swallowed hard. “How?” It was a whisper, a faint surrender.
“Fourfold, my dear. First, you repent for any bitterness you’ve held up until now. Secondly, you learn from the Master. Once, when Jesus was asleep in a boat with his apostles, a storm threatened. The Bible says that Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. You will do the same. When bitterness comes, you will rebuke it in Jesus’ name, and He will send the calm.
Thirdly, you will put feet to your faith, because action speaks louder than words. And love, my dear, speaks louder than anything. That means you will demonstrate your love for Patrick—a love note, a favorite dessert, a kind tone—regardless of how he treats you. And finally, my dear, you will pray. Pray for God to soften his heart, to wrest him free from the grip of sin, and to bless him. And this, Mrs. O’Connor, is the most powerful step of all. Because if you are faithful to the first three, your prayers will unleash the power of Heaven.”
Marcy’s spirit quickened.
Mrs. Gerson rose to retrieve the tea, then turned at the stove with a sparkle in her eye. She stared straight at Marcy as if she could really see. “And do you know why?”
Marcy held her breath and shook her head.
A soft chuckle rumbled from the old woman’s lips as she hefted the teapot with an elfin grin. She toddled to the table, and Marcy could have sworn she saw her wink. “Because, my dear, like natural laws of gravity, there are also spiritual laws. Such as ‘the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ or ‘if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’” She settled into her chair with a peaceful smile and leaned forward. “Which simply means, my dear Marcy, if you do your part …” She nodded heavenward. “As sure as the sun rises … He will do His.”
And He does … abundantly, exceedingly more than we think, hope, or pray. And I’ve got 36 wonderful years of marriage to prove it!
But let me be clear—it’s not just about marriage. It’s about relationships. With family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, the person at Walmart who butts in front of you, whoever. No matter what, Jesus wants us to tip the scales in the other guy’s favor, His unconditional love in motion, if you will. And you what to know why?
So He can tip the scales for us … with blessings galore!
See, I set before you today life and prosperity,
death and destruction. For I command you today
to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him,
and to keep His commands, decrees and laws;
then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God
will bless you in the landyou are entering to possess.
— Deuteronomy 30:15-16
Happy weekend, my sweet friends, and Happy “tipping”!
MITCH & CHARITY CHRISTMAS NOVELLA RELEASES NOVEMBER 10 FOR ONLY $2.99! WHOO-HOO … I am very excited to announce that I am part of a Seeker Christmas novella anthology called Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection that not only features a story on Mitch and Charity, but novellas by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, and Myra Johnson.
In addition to this historical collection, The Seekers are also releasing a contemporary anthology called Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection as well, with stories by Audra Harders, Mary Connealy, Sandra Leesmith, Ruth Logan Herne, Tina Radcliffe Russo, and Missy Tippens, so be sure to check both out on Amazon at the following links:
Here’s the blurb for Mitch and Charity’s story, which is called A Whisper of Hope:
Christmas is the season of hope, which is exactly what Charity O’Connor Dennehy is counting on. Since the birth of her twins twelve years ago, she’s prayed and hoped for a houseful of babies to love, but it wasn’t meant to be. With a husband dead-set against adoption, there’s barely a whisper of hope to change his mind, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … could it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?
NOW – NOVEMBER 8, 2014:
ONLY ONE MORE DAY … to hop over to Margaret Chind’s blog, Creative Madness Mama, for an interview and giveaway of winner’s choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
NOVEMBER 7-14, 2014:
Come see me at Everyone’s Story blog where you can win your choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
NOVEMBER 14, 2014:
Join me on The Journey blog where you can win your choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
NOVEMBER 17, 2014:
Get lost in a story with me on the “Get Lost in a Story” blog where you can win your choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
NOVEMBER 24-DECEMBER 8, 2014:
Pay me a visit at the Artist Librarian blog for an interview and giveaway of winner’s choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
DECEMBER 1-7, 2014:
Join me on the Carole Jarvis’ blog for an interview and giveaway of winner’s choice of any of my books, including my latest release, Surprised by Love!
FREEBIES & SALES:
FREE Download of
A Passion Most Pure!
ACFW Debut Book of the Year & almost 300 5-star reviews can’t be wrong! See why some have read it 20 times!
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW IS FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED!! My Irish Christmas love story, A Light in the Window—winner of three awards—is ABSOLUTELY FREE on Kindle Unlimited, so do check it out. Here’s the video my hubby did for A Light in the Window with my daughter as the model for both the book and video, so take a peek to get you in the Christmas spirit. ALITW Video.