Love Inspired: Stories of Faith & Love

for Every Reader

 

I’m super excited to be joining the Ladies of Love Inspired. I’ve been a Love Inspired author for a few years, and now I’ll be joining their blogging adventures.

Please check out Lenora Worth’s blog post on what’s coming up and also take a moment to look at the update website. I’m sure you’ll find a favorite Love Inspired author under the author’s tab.

 

Have a wonderful day.

It Is Well

I’ve received a few messages from readers looking forward to my next book. Thank you for your encouragement. It’s been a little harder than I believed it would be to write, but I’m pushing through life, the lack of motivation and time constraints. Even if I only type 50 new words, it’s progress, and each day it’s getting easier. Yesterday, I even spent an hour writing.

One thing that helps me write is listening to music. It sort of drowns out all other noises and the tyranny of the urgent calls from household chores.

I’m currently working on Dr. Benjamin Northrop and Ellie Sims’ story, supporting characters from The Negotiated Marriage. They’re both a hot mess, and it’s been a bit of a challenge to figure out the right balance. They’ve both experienced the joys of young love, but they’ve suffered pain, rejection, and loss. They’ve been disappointed by life. They not only fear, but also expect even greater disappointment. I want to torment them until they reach their happily-ever-after, but I don’t want them depressing, if you know what I mean.

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

I playing different scenarios around in my head, trying to figure it out when the song, It Is Well came on. I recalled the story behind the original hymn written by Horatio Spafford and the earthly tragedy that plagued his life. This song  sums up my season, it has helped me remember that no matter my circumstances, God’s goodness and grace abounds, and that when I fully trust in God I find rest and perfect shalom, the peace the surpasses all understanding, a place of nothing missing and nothing broken. I’ve been resting in and seeking to maintain this peace. But when the song began to play, it flipped on a light bulb where my story is concerned. It’s the victory and happily-ever-after I want to give Ellie and Ben. By the end of the story, I want my characters to be able to stand in the middle of a torrential life-storm, lift their face to the heavens and sing. I want them to know with assurance that no matter what they face, it is well with their soul. I want them to know God has them in all their circumstances, that He covers them and He will never leave them or forsake them.

For Horatio Spafford’s story, go here.

November Releases

Do you all like Christmas stories? Do you love Christmas stories? This isn’t an anonymous program. I know many of you wait all year long for the latest Christmas romances, and there is absolutely no shame in it.

If you’re looking for something good to read I have a Christmas novella available. Keep reading to discover the great deal.

Dear Author, a Christmas story set in the mid-1800s in the fictional town of Hopper Falls, Ks.

14468167_10210766282260301_9027131189025094288_oWhen Janie Mason agrees to write editorials featuring the eligible bachelors of Hopper Falls, she hopes for an opportunity to write about the injustices plaguing their free-state community and the man whose family is responsible for instilling fear in the hearts of good folks. She never thought she’d find herself in a compromising situation with the object of her disdain.

No stranger to the gossip-mongers, Alec Dunn knows the best course of action is to pay them no heed, but when the object of the town’s pointing fingers is cast from her home, his sense of honor demands he rescue her, even if it means taking her hand in marriage.

You can purchase Dear Author here, or you can purchase the entire collection of Christmas Love Letter Novellas, which released this week, for .99 here! .99!!!! Six stories, six great authors all for .99!!!

 

For a not so Christmas story, check out

The Negotiated Marriage

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…

 

You can purchase The Negotiated Marriage from your local stores, or from here.

For more information on the rest of Christina’s books you can find them all here.

 

A Heart to Heart

I really should be working on my current manuscript, but I have something that I need to say as a minister, as a wife, as a mom, and as an author.

First, I need to ask forgiveness to many. In our (mine and Cody’s) efforts to be about our Father’s business, we lost sight of some of the most important ministries God placed in front of us.

We all know that there are only so many hours in a day and so many hours in a week. And we all know time seems to fly. Every day we are faced with choices. Some of those choices are not easy to make unless God is doing the leading. I don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially people I love so very deeply. But I will not, disobey God’s leading, even if I don’t understand it. If God told me to quit writing I would, because I trust Him.

Several weeks ago, God specifically told me not to attend church. I did not understand it at the time, but over the last few weeks I’ve been gaining a clearer picture.

As many of you know, my husband graduated to be with Jesus in June. Prior to his illness and passing he owned his own business, some of the children worked with him, I came and went when I pleased. Clients stopped by and were ministered to, friends and family sought him out at the shop to be ministered to. Most of the time he was able to drop what he was doing and attend the needs of others. Owning his own business afforded him, us, that opportunity. If he would have worked for someone else that never would have happened. And if he had worked for someone else we wouldn’t have been able to spend the majority of our evenings ministering with our church.

Back to that night God told me to stay home from church.I argued with God. I honestly believed it was my own thoughts telling me to stay home, not God. But He gave me a Hebrew word, shama, which means to listen. Not just a little listen, but an immediate heeding, immediate obedience.

Hear (shama), O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4

Who was I to disobey? It was so strong, a warning resounding in my spirit man. I didn’t understand it. My mother encouraged me to heed God’s instruction. She suggested I spend the time in my secret place and beneath the prayer shawl. God had other plans.

You see, since my husband passed, the kids and I were trying to bring old patterns into a new season. We were trying to continue as we had for the last few years. Parts were working, but parts weren’t working. The jobs we had no longer existed. My role as a stay-at-home mom and support system to my husband had changed. My daughter needed to get a job, my other daughter took on more hours at her current job, and my daughter-in-law was scrambling to do what she needed to do, all the while my son maintained a job out of state to help us pay bills. Easy access to each other had completely disappeared. And the times I had available to spend with them that worked with their schedules was filled by ministry functions.

Not only were we missing the man who fulfilled so many roles in our lives and the lives of many others, but our tight-knit family was missing each other. The night I skipped out on church wasn’t filled with prayer in a solitary secret place beneath a prayer shawl. Instead, due to the desire and needs of one of my children, I sat down with three of my girls and played a game. We enjoyed each others company. There was absolutely no guilt, because I knew God had told me to stay home. He asked me to invest time into them, to enjoy them, to have fun with them, to love them by giving them my time. Whether anyone believes it or not, it was ministry, one of the purest and most enjoyable. I quite imagine it was like the pleasurable walks Jesus took with his disciples through a field ready for harvest. Here they were walking along on a Sabbath and naturally, like a child, picking the heads off the grain to eat in order to satisfy their hunger, when they were rebuked by the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:2).

In the weeks since, God has been placing on my heart the need to reach out to other family members as well. To spend more time with them and being Jesus to them. And I know that if Cody would have beaten cancer he would have wanted to spend more time with his brother and sister-in-law, and with his parents, and with my parents, and with my brothers and their wives with his son-in-law and daughter-in-law. He would have wanted to spend time being with them, and ministering to them. I saw that during his last weeks, and I’m crying right now, because I know he had some regrets where family was concerned. His very last communication to anyone on this earth was directed at my youngest brother and his wife. He loved them both so very much, and I know if he had a do over, his ministry would have been less doing by chasing and more being with those God placed in front of him. He believed everyone in our lives was placed there by God for a purpose and we would have spent more time with the family instead of talking about spending more time. For Cody, his time here ran out. God is cautioning me not to allow the same thing to happen.

The last few weeks haven’t been easy. There has been some warring. Not only internally but externally as those around me wondered why, and what was going on with me. At the time, I didn’t know. I still don’t have the full picture as God is unveiling bits and pieces to me on a daily basis. To be honest, I had wondered if my pulling back was because of grief, but one, I hadn’t grieved the way people thought I should because I trust God, and the voice of God was strong and the He began showing me extended family members. I believe these are family members, that Cody had prayed for while he was here on earth and is still interceding for right along side Jesus. Then I began hearing other people in various ministries say how God was leading them back to the family, some were folks I had only met.  And then, I heard my oldest daughter say that if she couldn’t minister to her own husband, how could she minister elsewhere. I was beginning to realize it wasn’t just me hearing this. God was surrounding me with folks commissioned to minister to their families.

Does that mean I’m no longer running the race set before me? No, absolutely not! I’ll be running just as hard if not harder, but my course is changing, possibly a little rougher, maybe not. I’m learning when God is in it things run smoothly. He’s definitely in this and I just need to rest in the trust I have in God. I realize this different course could very well mean I’ll be facing more ridicule, as a prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and his own family. (Mark 6:4) But as long as God is moving me in that direction, I have nothing to fear and nothing to worry over. My obedience to Him will bring about blessings to all. And I know without a doubt that when I see the lost souls, freed souls, even if it’s only one, of my family and Cody’s family come to the full knowledge of Yeshua-Hamashiach that there couldn’t be a more glorious day. After all, how can I rest in the knowledge that I chased ministering solely to strangers when members of my own family are facing the gates of hell? Especially, when God is moving me toward them?

God desires mercy, not sacrifice and knowledge of Him over burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6) I can sacrifice all my time for the sake of ministry, burning my time on the altar in the name of doing ‘good’ for the ministry, but there is no mercy in that toward my family, the ones God placed directly in my grasp. There is no sharing a true knowledge of the love of God. Not every God thing is a God thing for me and the calling God has placed on my life. And just because God has called one person to a specific need and area does not mean He has called me to the same, and sometimes God moves us forward. That doesn’t mean that the individual callings are wrong. We are many parts and one body. We should be working together and encouraging each other in the calling placed upon us.

Back to family. God is a father! He has a father’s heart. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not Abraham and Ur, or Isaac and the Canaanites, or Jacob and the Egyptians. Yes, I know we were told to go into all the world and preach the gospel, but somehow the church system lost the idea of making disciples through fellowship, and turned the pulpit into a Pharisaical idol and used it to mercilessly shame and condemn.

A SIDE NOTE:

Instead of drawing people to Jesus, the churches have somehow chased people away, and left ministers worn out and exhausted. I can recall the times when I was a Sunday School teacher and then the ‘director’ for a time. The enjoyment of being with the children turned into a constant burden. It was never meant to be that way. And while we are on it, the church should repent for the burden they’ve placed on pastor’s spouses, especially the wives. They were meant to support their spouses, never meant to bear the burden of all the places falling through the cracks. Not all churches all churches have been like this, but it seems the majority.

Now, before your thoughts start spinning in your head about how what I am saying is wrong, I know we can and should preach the gospel, the whole gospel, the truth of it. But you see, when they brought the adulterous woman before Jesus, He did not stand in front of her and drill into her that she was a sinner and how dare she behave in such a manner, the merciless shame came from her accusers, not Jesus. Instead, Jesus showed her compassion and kindness. His love wooed her. And then He told her to go and sin no more. And she sat at His feet while He taught. While He taught. While He taught. Who is your audience? Lost sinners, pharisees who should know better, the righteous, the hungry and thirsty?

God has shown me my audience in two parts: the family (first and foremost and He has been very adamant about this to me) and to the dry bones within the church system. Soon, my schedule will fill with God appointed appointments all over the United States. I know this. He’s shown me, He’s shown my mom. And I need to rest and prepare. I need to gather a team, who very well may be my brothers and my sister-in-laws and daughters and mothers. Aunts and uncles. Who knows except God. All I know is God has given me a bit of road map, seek Him first,  family second, and soon the world.

As God gave me in a dream a series of dreams over the last few weeks ago, I’m about to launch out into the world.

 

New Release

I’m excited to announce the release of my novella, Dear Author, an introduction to a fictional town set in Kansas and very close to my heart. It is also part of A Christmas Love Letter collection.

14468167_10210766282260301_9027131189025094288_oDear Author

When Janie Mason agrees to write editorials featuring the eligible bachelors of Hopper Falls, she hopes for an opportunity to write about the injustices plaguing their free-state community and the man whose family is responsible for instilling fear in the hearts of good folks. She never thought she’d find herself in a compromising situation with the object of her disdain.

No stranger to the gossip-mongers, Alec Dunn knows the best course of action is to pay them no heed, but when the object of the town’s pointing fingers is cast from her home, his sense of honor demands he rescue her, even if it means taking her hand in marriage.

Amazon buy now

I’m also super excited about what is coming in November. My first post-Civil War stdory with Love Inspired.

 

The Negotiated MarriageThe 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…

 

It is available for pre-ordering now

Treasure

I used to tease Cody about how he lacked romance. I’d say, “For a romance writer I sure did marry an unromantic man.”

*sigh*

But he always knew how to make my heart flutter. He often insisted on opening doors and holding my hand. We often slept holding hands.

And then he would do things like this:

I found a planner dated back to 2011 as I was cleaning off bookshelves. Treasures like this make me happy I’m a bit of a pack rat.

My Love,

FB_IMG_1468893160817One month ago today, I had no reason to believe God would not heal you. In fact, I remained on the outskirts and allowed others to tend you. Your mama combed your hair, caressing your head. Your daughters gathered around holding your hands, your son stayed by your side, your dad, Joyce, my parents, they all took turns loving on you. But I held peace, a peace that baffled those around us, and continues to do so. I knew God was going to heal you, even after you took your last breaths I knew. Even after we visited with the funeral home, I knew God would raise you from the dead and you would be healed. Even the day of your Celebration of Life I expected God to glorify His name by presenting you before the couple hundred of people whose lives you touched by your witness of Jesus Christ. But God’s ways are higher than our own, and I will not pretend to understand, but I will trust his will.
FB_IMG_1464244809927A month, and I realize that I never said goodbye, instead I told you to rise and get up. I touched your arms and your hands, still warm, not once cold in the hour after you departed this earth, and I told you to rise. I didn’t feel panic that I would never see you again on this side of heaven.I knew you would pull a Lazarus and rise, and we’d talk about the experience. Yours, mine. In all the knowing, the one thing that superseded was the fact that no matter the outcome, Jesus was the more. He was enough. He is enough.

I sorely miss you, and I have no idea what to expect when I get to heaven. I don’t know if you’ll greet me or if I’ll even care in the face of Jesus Christ, but I miss you. If i could have one more kiss, it’d be much more, one more hug that let me know all was right in this decaying world, it’d be more than a hug, one more caress, one more night to love each other as a man and wife, it would be so much more because I’d know it would be the last. But God in His graciousness and goodness, knew that, didn’t He? Because He knew that if I knew the very second you’d take your last breath I would have clung to every moment with everything in me. I would have focused on all our lasts instead of looking forward to all our eternal things.

FB_IMG_1464244782791Remember how we prayed just a few short months ago to love like God? To have the compassion of Jesus Christ? To know their hearts? Well, God showed me something today, but you know that already, don’t you? He showed me the deep intimate things of His heart, the depth of His love, a love that is incomprehensible to man. Pure and unadulterated. One that could only be known through the deepest of sorrows. One that we, mere humans, can’t even scratch the surface, not  a mother grieving her child or a wife her husband can fully understand the depth of God’s love and His sorrow for the lost. It is a love and a sorrow so tightly woven together that there is absolutely no separation. I would share more of this revelation, but it’s not meant to be revealed just yet. In due time.

Thank you for sharing your cup. It is an honor and a privilege to walk this out with you, and I will carry on the ministry of reconciliation, to see many come to the knowledge and revelation of Jesus Christ until His return or my departure, whichever  comes first glory be to God.

See ya soon,

Christina

___________________________________

Father, I ask that You touch every person who reads this with an understanding of Your heart. That they would know the depth of Your love for them. May they understand that the letter to my graduated husband is to stir their hearts closer to you. That they would know You!