Saturday, September 25, 2010

Francine Rivers - Book Review Her Daughter's Dream

 Francine Rivers, best-selling author, drops in today to discuss her latest book, Her Daughter's Dream. The emotional conclusion to Her Mother's Hope, spans from the 1950's to the present and explores both the beauty and trials of relationships between mothers and daughters.

It is an honor to host Francine. Her writing has influenced me as writer and a believer. She has the ability to weave a great story and cause me to plumb the depths of my own heart as I examine my relationship with God. 

Questions/Answers from Francine Rivers
How has exploring the relationship between your mother and grandmother helped you understand yourself?
This is a question I would love readers to ask themselves at the end of Her Mother’s Hope. I realized early in the story that I have many of my grandmother and mother’s character traits, both good and bad. They both had tempers. So do I. They both had low self-esteem. I’m always striving to “measure up”. They both chose spouses who respected them. So did I. Both women had strong faith and servants’ hearts, something they encouraged in me. My mother extended grace to others -- a trait I want to cultivate to the end of my days. By holding onto her anger, Grandma lacked the peace and joy she could have had in her last years. I tend to relive past hurts. Writing about Marta made me decide to let go, forgive and move on. For whatever reason, Grandma couldn’t and missed out on so much joy in her last years. Sometimes people deeply hurt as children take offense where none was intended. Holding a grudge causes suffering, especially for the one who won’t let go. Jesus said to forgive one another as He has forgiven us. Forgiveness frees us, even if the other person refuses to join in the process of reconciliation. As I examine my own life, I see how much I’ve been forgiven. How can I not extend God’s grace to others? The best way to experience the fullness of God’s presence in my life is to surrender it to Him. And in that surrender, we are made more complete and joy-filled.

Mother-daughter relationships are often complicated and fraught with emotional land mines. What was your approach to exploring the complexity of those relationships in a fictional setting?
Questions, lots of questions! Every time I told someone I was working on a book about mother-daughter relationships, people wanted to share their family stories. As I wrote Her Mother’s Hope, I wanted readers to see through each woman’s eyes, and understand how the past shaped each in the way she responded to her mother. Hildemara doesn’t believe her mother loves her, but it is out of Marta’s pain and loss that tough-love techniques were forged. Marta wants to strengthen her daughter for whatever lies ahead. Sometimes what we view as rejection can actually be an act of

sacrificial love. We seldom know the experiences that shaped our mothers, the deep hurts, traumatic events, broken relationships. I hope women who read this book will want to share those things with one another.

After readers finish this series what do you want them to remember? What questions and feelings do you want it to provoke on a spiritual and emotional level?
I hope and pray readers who have had difficult relationships with their mothers or daughters will let go of the pain and anger and allow God to work in their lives. God can work all things together for good for those who trust and love Him. Following Jesus’ example changes the way we see people. It changes the way we relate to one another. Even when the chasm is too deep to cross, we can decide to forgive. Some people wear grievances like a dirty coat. With God’s strength, we can strip it off and be free. When people finish reading Her Daughter’s Dream, I hope they will want to extend God’s grace and forgiveness. I hope they will tear down their walls and use their life experiences to begin building a bridge.

Where may we connect with you further or to purchase a copy of HER DAUGHTER'S DREAM?
I would love for you to visit my web site at, browse through the various events and other resources available, as well as sign up for my mailing list. You may also join me on my Facebook page, please click here.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Oz God

I could barely watch the original Wizard of Oz movie as a child. I sat with eyes alternating between wide open or squeezed shut, hardly breathing. I totally understood the lion's lack of courage. 

When Dorothy and her new friends crept before the Wizard my heart pounded with theirs. The green phoenix seemed to hold all of the power but had no compassion for those he ruled. 

Many people today see God as some kind of cosmic wizard--somewhat like the one pulling the levers in the green world of Oz. 

He manipulated. He kept his subjects cowering in fear. He did not care about his subjects--only himself. 

Sadly, today, many recoil from any mention of God because they only see him as a cruel master dishing out random pain--for his own amusement. 

When I hear, "What kind of a god could allow that?" I have to agree. Not the one I know. 

It is difficult at times to reconcile pain and the goodness of God. A friend lost her husband leaving her with three children: 8, 2 and 8 months. As she sat at the hospital reeling from the news a friend, recently widowed, arrived. Her only words were: "If you can't trust God's hand, trust His heart."

There are no easy answers but we can put God to the test. When the pain he allows in our life makes no sense, look at His character and heart--not the events. Ask Him to show Himself to you and comfort you. 

David of the ancient Bible times cried out: "God when will you comfort me?" He often expressed doubts and dissatisfaction to his God. And he was known as a man after God's own heart. 

An old testament description of God is: the LORD your God who carried you, as a father carries his son. 

The new testament name for God is: Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.  

Is He the Oz God, randomly pulling levers behind a curtain? Or is He a loving heavenly father who cries with us, saves our tears in a bottle and carries us through our pain. Don't take my word for it. Ask Him. 

He will show Himself to you in amazing ways.

Join Spiritual Sundays for more weekend refreshment. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Were You on 9/11?

Each year as 9/11 approaches we relive that day in 2001. "Where were you when you heard that America was under attack?" is the common question. 

A day in August a few weeks before September 11, 2001 is more vivid in my mind each year. My father celebrated his 68th birthday and I hosted the party. I decided to have all of the grandkids play a game called How Well Do You Know Grampa?  Even those across the country played by email.

We all had the opportunity to answer a quiz about Grampa's life. We did not get many things right but we learned a lot of fascinating Grampa trivia that day. 

He travelled the world in his engineering job and we learned that he had been to over 30 countries. Delivering papers earned him his first paycheck. He remembers horse drawn carts delivering ice blocks to his back porch icebox

Most telling was his memory of the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Only eight at the time, his memories were sweet and sad.  

That day two of his older sisters' celebrated a shared birthday. With four teenage girls in his home, he was the only boy. After cake, candles and singing the girls all left to go to the picture show downtown with friends. 

My father stayed home with his parents while they listened to the radio. They heard President Franklin D. Roosevelt make his famous radio announcement of the Japanese Imperial Army attack on Pearl Harbor.  

My father remembered his mother's tears - something he had never seen before. He didn't fully understand what it all meant because Hawaii was so far away. But, he knew it must be terrible. He wondered if he should be crying, too. 

His father walked to town to retrieve his sisters because everyone belonged together at home on this day. Then, his dad went to work at his newspaper circulation desk. There would be an extra edition out that night. 

As I sat watching the events of that tragic 9/11 almost sixty years later, I remembered my father's story. We had marveled and rejoiced  that America remained safe and peaceful for all of those long years--until now. 

My children aged 16, 14, 8 and 5 saw me cry as I could not pull myself away from the television all day. We watched in real time as plane after plane crashed into buildings killing so many innocent people. We did not know what would happen or where they might attack next. 

We lost more than lives that day. We lost our sense of peace and security and even some of our innocence about life. America lost its trust of other nations, religions and people groups and we still struggle to know who our friends are. 

Our children can no longer say that they live in a nation that has not been attacked on its own soil in their lifetime. They too lost some of their innocence about life. 

Whatever your memories of 9/11/01, you were changed. We lost much. I'm still evaluating what I learned and possibly gained. Perhaps, it is that I value time spent with those I love, more. I appreciate the sacrifices of firemen, policemen and servicemen more. 

Every year I pause and remember and re-process the events. Ground Zero is still empty as no one knows exactly what to build to properly memorialize it. Americans, too, are still mixed and undecided as they consider the whole experience. There are still lessons to learn--the story isn't finished.

Be sure and check in at Spiritual Sundays for more spiritual insight. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holy Moments

What makes a moment sacred? Is it a time of awesome worship? Or is it a season of deep prayer in which we totally commit ourselves to God?

Moms often feel that they can never "do" ministry. Once they finish wading through the stacks of dishes or the piles of laundry, there is little time left to be used by God. They may even find it difficult to stay awake long enough to talk with Him. 

When my first child was born, I went from business suit to spit-up-covered warm ups overnight. I worked until the day I went into labor.  

The adjustment was abrupt although I anticipated it with excitement. The first week after the baby was born, my husband returned to work and my mom went home. I was solo and honestly, the moments seemed to crawl by although I could never point to a completed to-do list. 

The tasks were often mundane. Feed the baby, change the baby, wash clothes, cook, feed the baby.... and the list went on and on. Unlike the board meetings I was used to where tasks were discussed, delegated and then later applauded, I was working in obscurity. Often, I could point to few real accomplishments at the end of each day. 

Did my tasks have value? Did they matter to God?

And whatever you do in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father 
through him.
Colossians 3:17

Moses' life plan included 40 years of watching sheep in a wilderness. David's early years included a solitary life of singing Psalms to God and the sheep in his care. 

I think of the last night of Jesus' life on Earth. He didn't find it too mundane to wash the feet of those He loved. 

If we consider our daily tasks of childcare and husbandcare, they are acts of service for those He has placed in our lives--as mundane as these jobs may seem, at times. 

They are also acts of worship to our Heavenly Father. They are indeed most holy moments. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

What is that Perfume You are Wearing?

Savannah closed her eyes, breathed in deeply and smiled. 

"What are you doing?" asked her mother. On an errand to Grandma's house the mother and daughter stood in the bedroom. 

"I'm smelling Grandma," replied the little girl.

"What does Grandma smell like?" Mother asked with a chuckle. 

"Like Jesus!" was Savannah's quick reply. 

When I first heard that story I thought Savannah would say pancakes, cookies or flowers. But she said, "Jesus." I am not a grandmother yet, but I already know that I want Savannah's grandmother to give me lessons. 

Children speak so honestly. Actually, "smelling like Jesus" is a worthy goal - a Biblical one. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that God is "manifesting through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  Verse 15 describes believers as being “a fragrance of Christ … among those who are perishing.”

For those of us with school age children, fall marks the beginning of a new year with the start up of teams, clubs, lessons and numerous opportunities to meet people. Will it be just another busy schedule or an opportunity to bring a refreshing fragrance to those who have never had much use for Christ or His church?

Have you ever wondered what you smell like to the receptionist at your child's school? Would that be the fragrance of a sweet bouquet or the stench of a forgotten lunch pail left in the locker over the weekend? 

To your child's coach, are you aromatic Old Spice or reeking old gym socks? Do the PTA parents dodge you like stinking Limburger cheese rather than seek you like fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies?

I don’t think religious words or piety are the fan that sends the fragrant aroma.  I don’t think Savannah’s grandmother shared theological platitudes or flew off the anger grid with lectures of correction. It was her actions and the interest she showed in her granddaughter’s life that smelled so sweet.
No matter how we act, if we claim to be Christians and attend church, our behavior will be associated with His.  How does Jesus smell?  Hopefully like you and me. 

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read
by just looking at you.
Christ himself wrote it--not with ink,
but with God's living Spirit..."
2 Corinthians 3:3