As a little girl, I used to lay awake under mounds of covers clammy-skinned, clinging to my dad’s old wooden baseball bat at my side. I was afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of the world, afraid of dying by some crazy intruder’s crooked dagger. My fear was as endless as my imagination.
I think back on it now with pity for my eight-year-old self, and too, I marvel at how knowing Jesus changed all of that. When he found me, he gave me peace and a hope I never thought possible.
Since then, I’ve come to find that often significant things have been marked in this cycle of seven. There's something beautiful about that number. Biblically it embodies the mark of completion throughout scripture.
Seven years. That is how long it took me to craft my first story. (Don’t worry, I've found my groove now and it does not take me nearly as long)! For most of those early years, chapters were written in between nursing babies and nap times. Let's get real...I'm pretty sure writing was the Lord's way of keeping me sane during the fresh days of motherhood when my imagination longed to roam free.
Story captivated me. So too, did life questions of faith and God’s character. So, at the direction of one particular author’s public advice to aspiring authors, I chose to write about those questions that most troubled me and dig for the truth in the story. I started with a question about the bounds of God’s forgiveness and the human ability to forgive oneself. It seemed impossible. How far did the grace of God reach?
It scared me then. Sometimes, it scares me now.
I walked hand-in-hand with my characters, throwing them into harrowing situations where human depravity stared us all in the face until I couldn't understand what to do with it. (Yes, these characters starred with me!) How could God redeem such a grostesque scene? Yet faith whispered, “Yes, He can. Yes, He still does. Remember Saul transformed to Paul. Peter denied Jesus and then became to rock upon which the church was built.”
So, I wrestled for years. How is that kind of forgiveness possible? Where does it come from?
I couldn’t make sense of it, but I also did not want to shy away from the tough questions.
Sometimes the brokenness we experience feels like our face is shoved up against shards of glass. It hurts. It draws blood. It leaves scars. Yet, if we get the chance to take a step back, we can see a bigger picture. God takes the shattered remnants and sets us broken pieces into the right place. At night, it may not seem like a glorious thing, but then dawn peeks over the horizon. The light streams in shining through us like a mural of stained glass made up of what we thought were only fragments of pain and regret.
It took time, but redemption wove its way into the lines, just like it has done in my own life. That's how Jesus works, right? He takes all of our fears and failures and weaves them into His grand story. This, dear reader, is why I write. I wrote to wrestle with the darkness, to understand God, and that is what I want to share with you.
Let's face the dark together.
-B. Taylor Lewis