By Valerie Comer
Anyone out there struggle with boldness? Oh, I have no trouble telling either a total stranger or a close friend why they shouldn’t eat junk food or drink pop, but put me in a situation where I could share my faith, and I often freeze up.
This is the polar opposite of how I was brought up. My parents were both born and raised in conservative Mennonite homes in southern Manitoba, Canada. In my dad’s case, in particular, “religious” things weren’t really spoken of. Faith was private. Even in the home, it was assumed that it would be absorbed by osmosis. My dad was a teenager when his mother died. About the last thing she said to him was that she hoped she’d see him again in heaven one day.
My father began searching for answers. It wasn’t enough for him that he’d been baptized into the church as a 12-year-old. That had been about rules, not repentance. He didn’t know if he was going to heaven. He didn’t know how to know, but he was determined to find out. When he and my mother met, they saw in each other a parallel spiritual hunger. They’d both had enough of vagueness.
A group of Mennonite families, including several of my dad’s brothers, decided to move farther north to get away from the worldly ways invading their culture. My parents, now with three little girls, chose to move with the group–not to fortify themselves against the new community, but to reach it for Jesus. My parents started a Sunday School in a nearby town. My dad met many people as he delivered eggs door-to-door, and he spoke to them about their need of salvation.
As you might imagine, this didn’t make them popular with the status quo. When Daughter #5 (that would be me) was 7, my parents left the Mennonite church just before they were kicked out. They joined a mission to the Canadian First Nations people and continued to reach out. Three of their daughters became career missionaries and raised their families overseas. Three of their kids are now following suit.
All this because my dad, once he had found the truth, proclaimed it to anyone who would listen. So why am I shy to do the same?
I don’t have the answer to that, but I did explore a related situation in a contemporary romance novella that releases May first. It’s called “Topaz Treasure” and is part of Rainbow’s End, a 4-in-1 volume in the Romancing America series from Barbour Publishing.
I gave my heroine, Lyssa, a father who handed out tracts on street corners. I made him practically obnoxious, something my own dad was not. I made Lyssa into a closet believer, someone even more cautious about sharing her faith than I have ever been. And then I put them in a situation where those traits brought things to a head. As an author, I always find it interesting to see what happens next!
Closet believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event. She’s not expecting her former humanities prof–young, handsome, anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy–to be at the Lake of the Ozarks at all, let along in a position to provide sponsorship to the treasure hunt. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?
Kirk’s treasure hunt takes him down a path he hadn’t intended as he searches for opportunities to connect with Lyssa and her intriguing sparkle. How can he convince Lyssa there is more than one kind of treasure? And can she remind him of the greatest prize of all?
Valerie Comer‘s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local food movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Check out her website and blog at http://valeriecomer.com.
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Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”