Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Hope Undaunted

I don't like using the word hate, but that's the only word I can use to describe my feeling for road construction. I know I'm not alone in that feeling. I resent having to take detours or to slow down when the road is reduced to one lane. I glare at the person holding the Slow/Stop sign who controls whether or not I can travel on this road, as well as those on the big vehicles that slow me down along the way.

I get edgy as soon as I see an orange diamond shaped sign warning me "Road Construction Ahead." As the signs let me know I'm getting closer and closer to the destruction, my hands grip the wheel more tightly, and I start to grind my teeth. It slows down my travel, messes with my schedule and overall just makes me mad!

Over the last month, the county was doing construction on the road to my mom's house. I had to travel it every time I wanted to see her! I made snide comments about them dragging the job out to continue making $30/hour, and argued that I hadn't noticed anything wrong with the road in the first place. But they finished last week, and I suddenly noticed how much smoother the road is on my drive. The road is a pretty (as pretty as black-top can be) ribbon with bright unfaded yellow stripes, and my wheels don't make the funny errrr noise I didn't even notice until it was gone.

It made me realize that I often have the same attitude when God decides to do some road construction on my heart. I don't handle change well, and I usually don't see (or refuse to see) the need for it. I get cranky when I notice things not going my way, when I have to slow down and change the way I'm doing things. I complain. I argue with God. I just plain don't like it. But later, often years down the line, I can see why my life had to change, why He did the construction, and I am glad that for it.

You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? "From now on I will tell you of newthings, of hidden things unknown to you. Isaiah 48:6

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43: 9

Doesn't that last verse just sound like road construction to you? Open your heart to any changes God may be bringing your way today, because I promise, in the end, the road will be much smoother!

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman is the first book in the Winds of Change series. It follows the romantic life of Katie, the youngest daughter in the O'Connor family of Boston. It you haven't read the previous series, Daughters of Boston, about the elder three daughters, stop right here, go out and read them immediately not because you have to to enjoy this story, but because they are outstanding romances! Katie is just eighteen and determined to live life on her terms. She intends to go to law school to defend women's rights and marry a wealthy man who will never boss her around or try to run her life. Jack seems to perfectly fit her goals, until one too many broken curfews causes her father Patrick to put her on confinement, including a summer of volunteering at the area orphanage/adoption center/girls' home. Furious not only at the "job", she's also angry and being forced to work for her former childhood rival, Luke McGee. Luke and Katie took turns annoying each other as children, but their antagonism creates sparks that Katie doesn't know how to fit in with her life plan. Mix in trouble brewing in Faith and Colin's marriage, Lizzie's pregnancy, and Marcy suffering from empty nest syndrome, and you have a drama-packed novel. I was up until nearly 3 am finishing this book, because once I started, I just couldn't put it down. Lessman writes the spiciest Christian romance (without being graphic) I've ever read! Her novels depict Christian marriage as a romantic and hot where the sex isn't just good for honeymooners. Patrick and Marcy still enjoy each other after thirty+ years of marriage, as do all of their married children. Lessman addresses issues of women's rights, husband/wife submission, and trusting God with our lives, all within the frame of a terrific historical romance. Sean and Steven, the unmarried sons are obviously the focus of the next books in the series, and I can't wait to read them.

Thank you to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review. Available in September from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group at your favorite bookseller.