Today, I am so excited to introduce our guest blogger, Laurel Garver! Laurel is an author, editor and woman of God! To learn more about Laurel, and get information about her books, be sure to read her abbreviated bio and book descriptions at the bottom of this post! Well, get ready...you are in for a blessing!
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
When tough circumstances come, they tend to test our usual ways of coping, whether it’s relying on our ability to work hard, our intellect, or our willful determination to be always optimistic. Bitter trials will prove our meager skills and strengths to be quite inadequate. If we look only to ourselves at times like this, hopelessness will naturally follow.
But God never meant for us to face our trials alone. He is the God who comes near, who promises to never leave or forsake us. He wants us to come to Him, to listen to His voice. And He gives us His Word as a special gift, pointing our eyes to what’s true.
Think of Jesus, tempted in the wilderness. It was God’s Word he drew on to defend himself against false promises and lies. In following Him, we also need to look for wisdom in God’s revealed teachings so we can know what is right and true.
Jesus also models for us the importance of absorbing scripture, of committing it to memory, so that it’s woven into our thinking. When you cross-reference the verses Jesus speaks in that meeting you’ll find they’re all from the book of Deuteronomy. They draw on a larger story of God’s determination to rescue His people from slavery. Jesus knows this and draws hope from it.
The verse I began with, from Romans 15, draws attention to this hope-giving power of scripture narratives. Our ancestors in the faith went through tremendous difficulties, and we have their stories as patterns, showing us the myriad ways God has been faithful to His people.
When I sat down to write contemporary Christian fiction for teens, it was these ways of drawing hope from scripture that I worked to weave in. In each story, the heroine Danielle faces a difficult trial and makes impulsive mistakes, but again and again it’s recalling scriptures she’s memorized that helps her see the truth and hang onto God’s love. Not only that, but she also sees parallels between her own difficulties and those of characters from the Bible, and draws hope from it. In book one, Never Gone, it’s the story of Jonah, reluctant to reach out to an enemy, that parallels her story. In book two, Almost There, it's the story of Daniel, who has to be faithful while in exile.
My novels aren’t manuals of life lesson, however, but dramatic stories. Readers walk with Dani through longing, turmoil, broken relationships, confusion, and doubt. She has to come to grips with who God is, and with how she must grow and change in order to become her best self. But what she does model is how it can look when scripture permeates your life—it will work powerfully in and through you.
Blogger Bio: Laurel Garver is an editor, professor’s wife and mom to an arty teenager. An indie film enthusiast and incurable Anglophile, she enjoys reading, playing word games, singing in church choir, and taking long walks in Philly's Fairmount Park.
Blog: Laurel’s Leaves http://laurelgarver.blogspot.com
Fifteen-year-old artist Dani Deane feels like the universe has imploded when her father dies. Days after his death, she sees him leafing through sketches in her room, roaming the halls at church, wandering his own wake. Is grief making her crazy? Or is her dad adrift between this world and the next, trying to contact her?
Seventeen-year-old Dani Deane is certain a magical trip to Paris will cure her widowed mother's depression. But when Dani’s tyrannical grandfather falls ill, they must go to rural Pennsylvania to deal with his hoarder horror of a house. In the midst of crisis, can Dani trust God to bring hope and healing?
For more information and buy links, go to http://laurelgarver.blogspot.com/p/books.html
Until next time, let Him heal your soul!
Your Sister in Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving me access to you through your Holy Word. Point me to the scriptures that contain the hope I need. In Jesus' Mighty Name I pray, Amen.