In case you can’t tell, I love history—both reading it and writing about it. I especially enjoy learning about local history. This beautiful resort, The Hotel Ottawa, once stood near the Lake Michigan beach where my husband and I walk every day. It was featured as a setting in my novel, “Waves of Mercy,” which takes place in 1897.
The hotel was a popular tourist destination in the late 1800s when steamships brought guests, like the heroine in my novel, across Lake Michigan from Chicago to vacation at the beach. Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in 1923 and wasn’t rebuilt. The only thing that’s left is the brick pumphouse that once generated electricity for the hotel and nearby cottages. The pumphouse is now a lovely little museum that features a display of the hotel’s guest book and other artifacts from that time period.
Last week I was asked to speak at the Pumphouse Museum as part of their summer lecture series. The warm, enthusiastic audience listened, on that beautiful summer evening, as I spoke about my book and my journey as a writer. The story of my writing career and how I got started is really the story of God’s faithfulness over the years. Each time I tell it, I’m reminded of all the hard times and all the little miracles along the way—as well as the lessons God taught me through each one. He used the ups and downs of my writing journey to draw me closer to Him, and so each time I tell my story, I’m really telling about His goodness and love.
My goal as I write about the past in my novels is to help readers grow in faith to face today’s challenges. The Bible says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). It’s speaking about the written scriptures, but I think it’s also a good reason why we should read and study history. It gives us hope. History helps us see the bigger picture behind world events and God’s hand in them. And that helps us put the challenges we face in clearer perspective. We begin to see that, great or small, we all have a part to play in God’s plan.
When you look back at some of the events in your life, where do you see Gods hand at work? How does that give you faith for today’s challenges?
The advantage in being over 70 is the perspective I have gained. No experience has been wasted. God’s Truth becomes richer as I reflect on choices that have been made over the years. His ways prove to be the best.
This is quite a bit off topic, but I wanted to compliment you/ask some questions about the Historical Novel you wrote, “Return to Me.” They’re pretty scattershot as I’ve just been jotting down notes as I listen to the audio-version at work:
-First off THANK YOU for novelizing an under-preached-through section of scripture. I’m going to start re-reading through Ezra and Nehemiah today. As a Christian writer, I’m sure that makes you happy (are you hearing cha-ching in your heavenly register? : )
-Second how did you decide to make Iddo’s children unfaithful. It’s a heartbreaking but sound authorial decision, IMO.
-Loved that you didn’t skirt the not-very-P.C. stoning of seers in the Old Testament.
-Your M’drash on God’s promise to Adam and Eve that they would die being fulfilled in spatial dislocation was very interesting. Did you get that from some Rabbinic teaching?
Again, Ma’am, thank you. Also, please let me know if there’s a better forum to post any future comments/questions where I wouldn’t be derailing blog posts!
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