Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn

I am the wicked and lazy servant. Got your attention didn't I? Well God certainly got mine last night! I'm still reading my way through Live Deeply, a study of Jesus' parables, and this week's lesson has been the parable of talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. Last night was my fourth time reading through the parable, and while I wasn't exactly associating myself with the servant who received five talents and returned five more, I most definitely was not thinking of myself as the lazy servant.

However, when breaking down the parable, the authors pointed out that the servant said he was afraid. He was afraid of failing his master, so he buried his talent and never even tried. I never looked at it from that point of view before, and as I dug further into the possible reasons for his fear, I recognized my own.

God gave me an idea for a novel almost six years ago. I started writing it in a flurry, handing out chapters as I finished them to friends and family and receiving unanimous praise in return. As I passed the midway mark in writing, I started sending out query letters to agents. I read the guides and followed the rules for writing a query, and I never got so much as a nibble. I became so focused on my failure to write a good query letter, that I stopped writing my story, even though I had it completely outlined; all I had to do was commit it to paper. My fear stopped me from writing one page or even one word more.

Then our hard drive crashed taking with it the only digital copy I had. Thank God I had printed the entire book out! I put the pages in a three-ring binder with the intention of rereading it and editing as I went. Molly promised to type it back up for me. I made it through eight chapters before fear paralyzed me again, and the binder has sat tucked in a tote bag between my nightstand and the wall for close to two years.

My dad sent me an email recently telling me to go for it, that if I didn't finish the book and it was a gift from God, I was wasting it. I wanted to; I thought about it several times, but always came up with an excuse as to why I just didn't have the time. Last night as I wrote in my journal about the fear of the wicked and lazy servant, I recognized myself! I am not one of the servants who will hear "Well done, good and faithful servant," because I have buried my talent in fear of failure.

Last night after I finished my devotional reading and as I packed for my trip to Duluth today, I pulled the binder out of the bag and blew the dust off of it. It's sitting on the bed next to me now, and tomorrow while Doogie is getting registered at the college, I will be reading and editing my novel. It isn't about whether it gets published or not, it's about whether I use the gift God has given me to the best of my ability. 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. I will not be afraid; I will write.

The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson is a terrific romantic suspense novel from a debut author. Kenzie Thorn, the granddaughter of Oregon governor Mac Thorn, loves her job working in the prison helping inmates get their GED. Her professionalism is put to the test by the piercing blue eyes of new student Myles Parson, but when he kidnaps her and then swears he's an FBI agent trying to keep her safe, her whole world collapses. Kenzie is an incredibly feisty heroine without ever being annoying or strident. I love that she wants to find her would-be assassins just as much as Myles does. She's not overbearing, but neither is she the wimpy heroine crying as her hero gets knocked around. Myles is a terrific man of faith who is caught off guard by Kenzie's spicy spirit, and while he breaks more than a few bureau rules for her, the reader understands that he just can't help himself. If you're looking for a romantic read to bring to the beach this summer, this is the book for you!

I'm so proud of Doogie! He drove the entire trip himself, including across the bridge to Duluth (although he gripped the steering wheel so hard, his hands ached). The only time I nearly had a heart attack was when we were in the parking lot at the hotel! We had a great trip singing along to songs that Molly and Jesse hate and head-banging to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Tomorrow he has to navigate his way to the campus without me, so say a little prayer for his safety!