Yes, to read! I brought along three books and finished them all. Thankfully, I loved two of them (the third, not so much. I left it in Cancun!). The first book, Maid to Match, by Deeanne Gist, one of my favorite authors, delighted my heart. It's a wonderful story about a maid in the Biltmore (Vanderbilt) Mansion in North Carolina. I'm writing a story set in the gilded age (1890's-1920) , and Dee's writing, always eloquent, always so well researched, delivered me into that era flawlessly. If you are looking for a delicious beach (or, okay, cozy fire) read – check out Maid to Match.
I also read a book sent to me for review by the folks at Hachette that just might be the best non-fiction self-help book I've read all year. It's a simple book, with straightforward biblical thinking: Power to ReInvent Yourself by Jason Frenn. The subtitle reads: How to break the destructive patterns in your life.
Thankfully, God has long been at work breaking the destructive patterns in my life, but I found this book to be a refreshing reminder of the freedom in which He longs for us to live. Although I knew many of the principles, the accessible way he delivered his message awakened my mind to the transforming power in Christ that I often forget about. So often, I listen instead to lies — things Satan wants to put into my life to deflect me from reaching out to God. "You're too busy to eat healthy and exercise – just give into the truth. Go ahead and use that credit card – everyone else does! Or, the worst…yes, you desperately need new shoes, after all you have nothing to wear!" (okay, those are just a few, but the ones that seem to come back to plague me).
When I construct books, I often use the concept of "lies my character believes" to launch them on their journey…and in the end, the truth sets them free. A simple, easy equation. So why couldn't it work in my own life?
I believe God is in the business of breaking us free of lies. And He's given us the book of truth to accomplish it. I've long been in the habit of writing down truth (verses) from my daily bible study and posting them on my cupboards, my computer, on my bathroom mirror. It seeps in, then, and breaks apart those lies. But the biggest lie I think I – and others – grapple with is the lie that if we break free from our destructive habits, there won't be anything on the other side as enjoyable to fulfill us. Think about it – people don't give up their credit card because they fear God won't provide. They don't give up their chocolate chip cookies because they believe God can't satisfy. They don't give up their bad relationships because they believe there is no one else out there for them.
And that lie can only be broken with a recognition of God filling you with Himself. Delighting you…and delighting in you.
As I go into thanksgiving, it's a great opportunity to look back over the year and see the truth. To write down all those moments in 2010 that God has provided. That God has delighted. That the truth has won.
To give thanks for a God who doesn't give up on us, ever, who breaks us free, and reinvents us every. Hey, that sounds a lot like Isaiah 61!
I'm very excited to announce my new book – Nightingale! It's about exactly this concept…God breaking us free from our prisons. It's about a scarlet woman trapped in her past, who meets a wounded warrior trapped by his future, and how divine fate frees them both. It's a historical, set WW2 Wisconsin, written in part in letters. I hope you enjoy it.
May you see the truth this season, and may it set you free.