By Christina Berry, author of The Familiar Stranger
Welcome back to the new Moody Fiction Blog! Today we are continuing in the second day of our launch contest from Jan. 5-9th, and will be giving away 10 free copies of The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry! Read on for details…
Love keeps no record of wrongs, according to 1 Corinthians 13: 5b. This is probably the easiest verse to live out in the whole Bible. All of our relationships look like this, don’t they?
Or maybe not. Seems like forgiveness is one of the biggest struggles of mankind. Sure, God can forgive and remove our sins as far as the east is from the west, but we humans like to tally up points in a notebook of Wrongs Done to Us.
Lied to. Hash.
Cheated on. Hash.
Broken promise. Hash.
And the reason we keep track of all the pain is for a grand and noble purpose: to throw it back in the other person’s face when we have a disagreement. Or, gasp, when we mess up ourselves and need to justify our actions.
The Familiar Stranger, my debut novel from Moody, examines a marriage that is falling apart. Unbeknownst to Denise, Craig plans to leave his family, but when a life-threatening accident lands him in the hospital with a faulty memory, the two explore how to work through secrets that come up from the past. Denise especially must decide how to act/feel/think/pray after a grievous wrong is exposed and she has every right to end the relationship. The theme of the book—and the calling of my life—is to Live Transparently; Forgive Extravagantly!
Denise is a compilation of many strong women who I’ve seen give mercy where judgment and condemnation were deserved. However, many of her weaknesses and emotional battles come from my own struggle with forgiving painful, marriage-ending wrongs done to me. Again and again, those who are close enough to see the freedom from bitterness, the joy of forgiveness I enjoy in my life today ask how it is possible. Denise became my chance to show what God can do with a willing heart.
An interviewer asked why Denise tries to stand by Craig’s side when so many would urge her to ditch him at the first opportunity. I think it’s because she knew that obedience to God, despite gut-wrenching pain, would bring unthinkable rewards. There are Biblical reasons to leave a marriage. Denise had them, but in her heart she felt God calling her to something difficult and frustrating and holy and Christ-like.
Is every marriage called to this? Yes and no. There are times when a marriage truly dies. God will give a husband or wife peace about the decision when that is the case. In no way do I want to come across as judgmentally, across-the-board saying every issue in marriage must be covered by grace. But I do think we have a huge issue with trying to control others. When we give up that sinful instinct, our spouse truly rests in God’s hands, and grace is a much easier option.
To enter to win a copy of The Familiar Stranger, all you have to do is leave your comment below (along with your email–important for us to contact you if you are a winner!) answering the following question or responding to this post, and you will be entered into the contest. Winners will be selected at random and will be notified the day after their comment is posted. Good luck!
Today’s question: What fiction books have convicted you to live differently? What themes in literature have challenged you to change your lifestyle?
Craig Littleton’s decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise…if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, badly burned, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.
They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?
But what will she do when she realizes he’s not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?
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