I admit it—I love reading my books . . . after they’re published. During the writing and editing process I can get so overwhelmed with every word, every sentence, every piece of dialogue.
But when it arrives, bound, pretty, and finished, it’s done. I can’t fix it any longer. So, I sit down and savor it. (Part of that is choosing to ignore any mistakes I find!)
I also take a highlighter and underline my favorite parts. Why? Because now that the angst is over, I can see God at work in the story. I spot all those nuggets He was trying to teach me through the story, and finally, the story becomes something outside of myself, to nurture me. In fact, sometimes I forgot I wrote it — and just soak in the story, the lessons, the emotion.
Here are some of the nuggets that jumped out at me as I read It Had to Be You this weekend (wrapped in my blankie, with a cup of hot cocoa—the best way to read a wintery book)!
“You don’t have to change the world to earn the applause of heaven.”
~ Ingrid Christiansen to her daughter, Eden
“You can blame God for your circumstances, get angry and turn away, or you can lean into Him and let Him turn this to blessing.”
~ John Christiansen to his son, Owen
“God really doesn’t care if you play hockey at all, Owen. God’s only concern is what you do with the life you’ve been given.”
“We expect God’s love to be all nice and neat packages. But He’ll do what He has to in order to draw us to that place where we need him. Know Him. Are overwhelmed by His love for us. Satan’s plan for our suffering is the destruction of our faith. God’s plan is for life. For love.”
~ John Christiansen to his children
“When life seems to go south, we feel like God doesn’t love us. But . . . Maybe we have to start by redefining how we understand God’s love. My dad says that hope is one part confidence in God’s love for us, and one part our delight in Jesus. And that when we start to hope, it changes us, sets up apart. Makes us see life more clearly.”
~ Eden to Jace Jacobsen
Jace couldn’t shake the sense that he lived a mediocre Christian life. Caught in the no-man’s land between God’s grace and God’s favor. After all, how could God truly delight in a man who had lived Jace’s violent life?
“God’s love simply is. We can’t sin it away — our only option is to accept or reject it.”
~ Eden to Jace
Jace didn’t truly understand grace. Maybe that’s what made him feel like he had to keep checking, keep finding the limelight. Because he couldn’t get his head around the fact that he already had it. A fresh start, in God’s eyes, every day.
And finally, a word the Lord gave me for this story:
“I see you, and My heart breaks for you. I long to heal you. To comfort you. For you to rise up and know you are Mine. I am proud to be your daddy.”
Just for fun . . . here are a couple of my favorite romantic lines in the story.
What Eden had just invited into her world was anything but normal. In fact, she might as well admit it. Trouble just sat down next to her for a five-hour drive.
I hope the story offers you nuggets of hope, grace, and laughter as you read it. Thanks for being a reader, friend, and for sharing the story with me and others!