"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


A Day in the Life of a Writer

It’s a beautiful Florida morning and since I got to wake up at a Holiday Inn Express, I’m having a hot cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee. (A Holiday Inn Express does for cinnamon rolls what Krispy Kreme does for doughnuts.) ‘Nuff said. For those of us who travel a lot, you’ll know it’s the little things in hotel experiences we crave. I have friends who prefer hotels based on things like “does it have a gym,” (gosh, do hotels actually have gyms? Go figure!) If it has a pool, the close proximity to restaurants, you know … stuff like that. I go for the cinnamon rolls – sigh.

I’m nearing the end of a three week writing retreat here in sunny Florida. My WIP (work in progress) is coming along well. I’m at almost 60,000 words. This book will be approximately 90,000 words. I’ve been working at a friend’s home in Orlando, but yesterday I drove to the Clearwater/Tampa area to check in to this hotel. Today I am taping a TV show over at Channel 22. For those of you in the viewing audience, I’ll be on the HOMEKEEPERS program on the CTN Network with host Arthelene Rippy. I have no idea when the air date will be, but I’ll keep you posted.

I checked in early yesterday and gave my friend Angela Hunt a call to firm up the time we would meet later in the day for dinner. Lo and behold I connected with Angie at a time when she needed to play hooky and we spent not only dinner together, but lunch and the better part of the afternoon as well. The photo above was taken in Angie's house - don't we look - uh - literary.

Neither of us got any writing work accomplished, but God in His infinite wisdom knew exactly what we needed. He brought two friends together to hang out and talk about the stuff of life. Angie has posted a photo of me and her pony on her Blog today. A bit of an eclectic woman, she keeps her pony in the house and his name is Charley Gansky. They all think he’s a dog, but where I come from any animal that weighs 180 pounds must be a calf or a pony.

Well, I’d best hit the road for now. But first… a special thank you to our last Guest Blogger, Heather Gemmen. If you missed any of her postings, make sure to scroll down to the archives, you won’t be sorry. Heather’s gift of powerful pithy postings was a blessing to many of us!

Not sure how much I’ll be able to blog the coming week, but I’ll do my best. I return to Minnesota the first of May. Our next Guest Blogger who starts a week of postings on Sunday, May 7th will be author/speaker Michelle Medlock Adams.

And that’s what’s on my mind today,

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day Seven of Seven

"The choices we make change the story of our life." Reminds me of Freaky Friday when Jamie Lee Curtis calls out to Lindsey Lohan the very wise advice: "Make good choices!"

Embarassing for a high school student to have shouted out at her maybe, but still true! Isn't it strange how the simplest ideas are usually the most profound?

Love your neighbor as yourself.
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Laughter is good medicine.
No pain, no gain.
Home is where the heart is.

Maybe the reason we tend to use cliches is because they're true. (Don't tell any of my writing students I said that!) Repeating something often is a sign of its value. And making good choices is something worth reminding ourselves to do.

PS Even a child is known by his actions; get your kids started on making good choices right now. See these choose your own adventure books by Allison and Heather

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day Six of Seven

I recently received this email message:

"About eleven years ago, a woman at my church asked for prayer for her friend. I had no idea who the friend was, but my heart went out to this young woman, and I prayed every day.

Just recently, I saw your article in the Spark. I immediately recognized you as the woman I had prayed for. I read your book, and I'm so glad to see that you are now sharing your story to bring healing to many women."

It's true, Startling Beauty is bringing healing to people around the world—but only because people around the world were bringing healing to me all those years ago.

God doesn't always let you see the results of your prayers, but don't let that stop you from making a difference in the world in the most effective way possible—prayer. Your perseverance might be just the reason someone else takes a u-turn.

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day Five of Seven

It's not too late to make a u-turn toward a life of integrity.

Integrity is living out your beliefs; it is congruency between your profession of faith and your walk with God. I suppose it would be fair to say that a man who beats his wife and brags about it has more integrity than a man who pretends to love his wife but is actually cheating on her. (Of course, the man who says he loves his wife and treats her with dignity is the honorable man—his integrity encompasses the full meaning of the term: authenticity and goodness.)

If you are to live out your beliefs, you have to know what you believe. This takes work. To live with maximum integrity, you will need to be intentional about discovering what your purpose for life is (your mission), to sort out your desires and goals (your vision), and know what are the basic standards to which you hold (your core values).

It is tough to formulate these thoughts overnight or all alone. Take several weeks or months to think about this issue, chewing it over in the back of your mind as you continue your daily life. Read other people’s mission statements (which are often posted on web sites and blogs) to jumpstart your own thinking on the topic. Take a friend or pastor or spouse out for lunch once or twice to discuss these issues, and ask each one of them to help you see yourself more clearly. Pray regularly that the Holy Spirit will guide you as you lay out a life plan for yourself.
Write out your mission statement (getting help from another source like Franklin Covey is perfectly appropriate, especially if writing doesn’t come easy to you) and place it in a location you will often be able to view it.

Your desire to intentionally seek a u-turn experience will be honored by God. "If you look for [wisdom] as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God," Proverbs 2:4.*

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen.

Heather Gemmen -- Day Four of Seven

We are trying to figure out how to work the camera, and my husband is shooting away with his own. Incidentally, of all the pictures I have of the three of us (and I do have many), this is my favorite because here Larry caught our personalities: Allison is trying to get to the bottom of things; Mary sees it all clearly but will not interfere unless asked; I'm just having fun, sure it will all work out.

Every single person has a uturn story (or perhaps many)—and if you know Allison, Mary, and I, you know ours are significant—but we each respond differently to the situations God puts us in. I don't have Allison's pizzazz or Mary's gentleness, but I do have this innate ability to enjoy life even when things are not going smoothly.

Imagine it wasn't a camera that was malfunctioning, but a neighbor who was, say, dealing drugs: Allison would probably confront the woman, Mary would pray for her, and I would make friends with her. Different ways to handle the same problem—all of them good.

It's not personality that determines if we are on the right path; it is the attitude of the heart.

How's yours?

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen.
Picture taken by Larry Wilson.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day Three of Seven

Okay, so I cheated yesterday—I told someone else's u-turn story. Thank you, friends, for the gentle reminders. (Amazing what people will tell you via email. It used to be we would confess and confront around a campfire where no one could see our faces. Now we've got the internet.)

My first u-turn happened when I was twelve years old. I had always gone to church twice a Sunday, attended Sunday school classes, showed up at church during the week now and then, and attended a Christian school, so it wasn't that I really needed to learn anything else about God. Still, there I was in catechism class, arguing with my teacher. (Yes, I even argued back then.)

"You can't talk to God anytime you want, you know," Mr. Davies told us.

I couldn't believe that no one was arguing him. They were nodding their heads like brainless lemmings. I stood up. "Yes, you can!" I told him. "I talk to God all the time about anything I want, whenever I want. He's my best friend! Do you think you can't talk anytime you want to your best friend?!"

Everyone stared at me for a moment and then Mr. Davies cleared his throat.

"Umm...thank you, Heather. You are quite right. You can talk to God anytime you want. Thank you for illustrating my point."

I had heard him wrong. I had stood up and defended my faith for no good reason. Except this: for the first time I realized that this whole religion thing really was MY faith. It was not just the faith of my parents or my friends or my teachers. It was mine. And Jesus really was my best friend.

In that little temper tantrum I made a u-turn from caretaking to owning this precious thing called faith. And I've never turned back.

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen.

PS I guess I haven't ever made the u-turn from being a kid to being an adult, though. Check out these u-turn books that Allison and I wrote for kids. Fun!


Monday, April 17, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day Two of Seven

John became a sailor at the age of eleven—and you know what they say about sailors. John was no cherub-like do-gooder. After his mother died, he joined his father on six voyages before he was pressed into service on a man-of-war. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted—but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged. He was demoted from midshipman to common seaman. Eventually he was exchanged into service on a slave ship and became the servant of a slave trader who brutally abused him. In time, John was rescued by a sea captain who had known John’s father—but John needed another kind of salvation. He continued down the path of destruction, this time as the captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

John needed a u-turn.

One day, on a homeward voyage, while attempting to steer through a violent storm, John experienced his “great deliverance,” crying out to God for mercy when all seemed lost—and was truly saved this time. Physically, yes; but more importantly, his soul was saved. Gratitude overcame him, and for the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion. Today we sing with gratitude the great hymn “Amazing Grace,” which this "wretch," John Newton, wrote in response to work Christ did in him: “I once was lost but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

Thoughts posted by Heather Gemmen

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Heather Gemmen -- Day One of Seven

The last blogger introduced herself because Allison was off gallivanting to Montana. I'm introducing myself because our fearless leader is now tooling around Florida. The only difference is that Tricia was with Allison in Montana. . . Allison, wouldn't it be only fair if I joined you in Florida?

Sigh. I guess I'll live vicariously through Allison by stepping into her shoes for awhile. Here's Day One of my venture onto her blog:

I grew up near London, Ontario, on a hobby farm where I hiked through corn fields with my faithful collie, swam in a water hole with the ducks, and shoveled manure in pig pens. I am the youngest of five children born to my Dutch immigrant parents, and I also had numerous foster brothers and sisters who made my life very rich. My parents are godly people who remain strong role models of the faith for me. I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan to attend Calvin College, where I graduated with two degrees—a BA and an MRS. ;)

After graduation, my husband became an electrician and I worked for Zondervan Publishing House. We had two boys together, adopted another, and welcomed our baby girl into the family (see Startling Beauty for more). After ten years living and working in the inner city, the mountains of Colorado began to call our names. Our family relocated to Colorado Springs where I took a job at Cook Communications as an acquisitions editor. I began my writing career by authoring children’s books, much to my own kids’ delight, and I continue to make editing and writing my career today.

In 2004 I began working from home—writing and editing for various publishing houses. It was the best move I made because it allows me to spend more time with my kids while still doing the work I love to do.

However, the decision was triggered by another change in my life, one not so good. After almost fifteen years together, my husband chose to end our marriage. Although I realized that our relationship was less than perfect, I desperately wanted it to survive. We had been through too much together to let it go.

The divorce left me devastated. I felt that I had failed God, my kids, and my ministry. God, however, offers his wonderful restorative love to everyone, and I clung to it. The Psalms became my refuge—and I realized that all the passionate praise given to that book is deserved. Those powerful words restore life.

Last spring I was invited to speak at a writers’ conference in Florida. There I met Larry Wilson, an author and editor from Indiana who was also on the faculty. We began chatting professionally and soon discovered we had much in common. After the conference, our acquaintance grew into attraction—and our phone bill proved it. When you meet the perfect match for your heart, you don’t ignore it. We got married in August (view wedding album) and finally I understand the clichés about love.

Praise be to God.


Monday, April 10, 2006


Thank You to Our Recent GUEST BLOGGER - Tricia Goyer

Greetings to All!

Wow! Once again I'm praising God for sending us another fabulous Guest Blogger! If you have not read the past seven days of postings from author and speaker TRICIA GOYER, then I encourage you to take some time to scroll down and read. Bless you, Tricia!

What an amazing heart this woman has. And wow, can she ever write! If you love historic fiction, I encourage you to pick up any of her novels...you won't want to put them down once you start (trust me, I speak from experience!)

And her completely transparent and totally helpful books on teenage pregnancy and her personal abortion journey are touching hearts and changing lives around the world. An amazing collection of serious work for one so young.

Join me in wishing Tricia Goyer the best in her upcoming adoption journey - and in her ongoing writing career. This is a Daughter of the King you will want to remember! You go girl!

I'm in Florida this week ... actually, I'll be here for the remainder of the month working on my second novel. I'll do my best to post regularly. However, in the event I don't get a chance to return this week - make sure to check back this coming Sunday when our next God Allows U-Turns Guest Blogger begins a week of postings that are certain to engage, encourage, and equip you! HEATHER GEMMEN, the author of Startling Beauty will be our next Guest Blogger. Tell your friends. Come back and see us, ya hear?

God's peace and protection.

And that's what's on my mind today.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Tricia Goyer--Day Seven of Seven

Thank you for spending this week with me. I feel privledged that Allison has given me this opportunity to share my life with you.

I've been eager all week to share one additional U-Turn that God has designed for my family. And I'm also going to use this final day to seek your prayers.

The newest news of all is that John and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China. We're just getting started with the homestudy and paper chase, but we're eagerly looking forward to opening out home to another daughter in a year or so.

Will you pray for us? Will you also pray for our daughter-to-be Alyssa? While we don't know who God has chosen to join our family, we trust He will give us this child in His perfect timing.

James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

We are blessed to have my grandmother live with us, and we are equally excited to open our home and hearts to a special little girl.

We are excited about what God is going to do in our lives through this child. The process is long and not without obstacles, but we are ready for the challenge. When Alyssa arrives home to us, an announcement will be posted on my website.

Until then, thank you for praying for our situation in this coming year! And thank you for taking the time this week to hear my story. May God receive the glory!

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer--Day Six of Seven

Over the past few days I've shared some pretty major U-Turns in my life. By seeking to "see what God was doing and joining Him" I've been privledged to help start a crisis pregnancy center, launch teen mom support groups, and write articles, non-fiction books, and novels. What an amazing God we serve!

Of course, to three of the four people who know me best . . . I'm just mom. They see me, faults and all, and love me just the same. I have some pretty cool things I can be proud of, but these kids for sure are my greatest joy. (Ahh . . .)

And so it's no wonder why the next biggest U-Turn in my life has the writing of Generation NeXt Parenting. I'm passionate about this project because I truly believe God placed us Gen Xers in a specific generation as children (80s rule!) in order for us to become a generation of parents designed to fulfill His chosen purposes.

In the crazy way God works, Generation X has been chosen to parent the next generation of powerful men and women of God!

My goal in writing this book is to remind young parents that God knows what He’s doing. He has a perfect plan for giving us these kids during this time in history. Gen Xers need to remember that He hasn’t left us to do this job alone. And while readers may find many helpful suggestions in the pages of Genernation NeXt Parenting, my ultimate hope is that through the pages of this book they will build a deeper connection with God. Afterall, He can provide far more parenting help and guidance than any book ever could!

Until Generation NeXt Parenting hits the shelves in September I have a blog for Gen X Parents. It's for those of us born between 1961-1981, dealing with the unique challenges young parents face. If you're a Gen Xer (or just wish you could understand us!) check it out. Gen Xers love being real and building meaningful relationships, and I'm excited doing both through this blog and this book!

And as for the fourth person who knows me best . . . well, I'm excited to be in the process of writing Generation NeXt Marriage. After all, I love my kids best by loving their dad most.

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer--Day Five of Seven

I cannot share the stories about my novels without sharing my story of meeting the men who lived through these events.

It all started when I returned home from Austria in October 2000. I'd heard Martha's stories about the liberation of Mauthausen and Gusen camps and I wondered if any of the men were still alive.

I contacted the 11th Armored Division, and right away six veterans contacted me and invited me to attend their reunion.

A friend and I attending the 59th reunion of their division. From that one trip, over 30 men shared their stories and invited me into their lives. I keep in contact with them . . . and their stories were so amazing that my second novel, Night Song, is also about the 11th Armored Division!

Some of the men I first talked to are now gone. I’m just so thankful God granted me a chance to meet them first.

As I interviewed veterans, I soon discovered that the research I needed for my novels was only a fraction of the amazing stories the men shared. I have so many wonderfully, amazing stories that I've launched a new website JUST THIS WEEK in order to share some of these stories.

Please take time to check out Unforgettable Stories of World War II. And tell your friends! I will be posting new stories each week. For me, this is just a small way I can share the wonderful, true stories that have touched my heart.

I also encourage my readers to take time to listen to the stories of the veterans in their lives. In fact, on my website there are tips you can use to do just that.

The most important thing, of course, is just taking time to listen and care. Who knows what amazing, unforgettable stories you can discover among your own family and friends!

Tricia Goyer--Day Four of Seven

As a writer, I'd never planned on writing historical fiction. (I thought the research would be too much work!) But on October 7, 2000 a meeting with a historian led to a U-Turn in my writing career and changed all that.

I clearly remember my first sighting of St. Georgen, Austria. It was a small town with large white arrows as street markers. The autumn trees around town were thick with yellow and orange foliage. The town appeared old and quaint.

A friend of one of my traveling companions waited for us under a train bridge--a bridge I later learned was built by concentration camp prisoners during World War II. Martha, a schoolteacher and historian, led us to a tired building that had been recently opened as the town museum. In a stuffy room with low ceilings, she told us about the concentration camp that had once sat in the middle of town. This encounter was interesting, but I was more concerned with a hot shower and warm bed.

Then, Martha invited us to her home for tea. How could we refuse? As Martha prepared the tea, I scanned her bookshelf. I opened one Holocaust book after another and noticed they were signed in a similar fashion, "To Martha, much thanks for your inspiration in writing this book." My interest turned to intrigue.

As we sipped tea, Martha began to relate stories of the camp. She talked about the Nazi presence in St. Georgen. The barbed wire fencing. The thousands of men forced to work in underground tunnels, building planes for the Nazis. The women that were brought to the camp didn't live more than a few weeks.

Martha also described how conditions worsened as the war neared an end. There was little food and water, and the majority of prisoners were near death.

Then Martha told about the twenty-three American GIs who liberated the camp. The young men were on a recon mission, and they had no idea the camp was there. She spoke of the first person into the camp offering food to the prisoners. It was an SS wife, and she entered with her children. The woman's husband had fled for his life. At her first chance, she offered help.

I sat breathlessly. I was no longer only intrigued . . . I was inspired. I knew God had led me to this woman and this story. I knew I needed to share these extraordinary events concerning an ordinary Austrian village.

When I returned home, I had a sense this story was bigger than any thing I could accomplish on my own. I had to trust God. I've learned over the years to depend on His strength like manna--He provides enough wisdom and words for the day.

There have been writing days when I couldn't read another horrific account, couldn't write another word, yet God renewed me. He also provided exactly what I needed for the stories. From out of nowhere, I'd get a call from a veteran or an email from Martha with just the right bit of information.

When it came to writing about the Holocaust, I thought . . . Why me? I'm a young mom from Montana. Yet when I questioned God about this, I felt Him telling me, "Each person is locked behind gates of bondage. Each without hope. I am the great liberator who frees the souls of men and grants new lives." If you've read my previous guest blogs, you know that was something I could write about.

Writing about war is a big issue that touches deep places in my soul. I try to take in the pain, the heartache, the despair. I also try to share the hope and light of God experienced even in dark places.

And God never fails me. Even this week as I'm working on a The Spanish Civil War Chronicles, I've recieved emails from veterans and historians helping with my research. Veterans who volunteered to fight for Spain in the late 1930's are in their 90s now! How cool is that?!

Amazingly, I've discovered that I love writing these historical novels. After From Dust and Ashes, Moody Publishing has also published Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. Arms of Deliverance will hit the shelves July 2006. All of the books are getting a great response, and Night Song even won ACFW's Book of the Year 2005 for Long Historical Romance.

But while I enjoy recieving rewards, it's the individual letters from readers that touch my heart the most. After reading From Dust and Ashes, one person wrote and said, "I'm going to stop living the easy way, instead I'm going to live the right way."

It's notes like these that prove that God knew what He was doing all along. I'm just thankful to join Him on this journey of sharing these historical stories that Reflect Reality and Honor Truth.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Tricia Goyer--Day Three of Seven

In the last few years as more of my books have hit the store shelves, I'm often asked to share my "secret" of this success. I'll do this by sharing my story of how God chose to use me.

In 1999, I was twenty-eight years old and had already published over one hundred articles for national publications. I'd also been contracted to work on two book projects for well-known publishers. Still, I felt far from successful. For five years I'd labored full-time on my own book projects with no luck.

My agent didn't understand. "These are excellent proposals," she said. "I don't understand why they're not being snatched up."

I just have to try harder, write more, I thought. It didn't help.

Around that time, I started going through the workbook Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. I learned one phrase that kept going over in my mind. "Look to see what God was doing and join Him."

The premise is this: if you're doing something that doesn't work, put what you're doing aside and see what God was doing. I made a U-Turn from my own goals, dreams, and striving, and I decided to follow wherever God led. I soon discovered why all the doors had been shutting on my dreams . . . God had different plans than mine!

First, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. I invited him into our home. Between doctor's appointments, hospice visits, taking care of my husband and three children, there was little time to pen prose. My grandfather passed away after only four months, but inside I was changed. It was as if my heart had been rubbed raw with sandpaper. My eyes were opened to pain, and I had a new appreciation for helping those in need.

A few months after my grandfather's death, my pastor and two women in the church approached me about starting a Crisis Pregnancy Center. (There wasn't one for hundreds of miles.) I didn't want to do it, but I told my pastor I'd pray about it.

The next morning I did pray. I told God. "Lord, I can't help with this center. I'm a writer and my articles are helping people around the country."

His response was (I felt it deep in my heart), "Well, what about the people in your own community? What are you going to do to help them?" Ouch.

Obviously this was something God was doing, so I joined Him and Hope Pregnancy Center was born.

Soon, I was using my writing and organizational skills to create community newsletters, to write radio commercials and grants, and to introduce our services to the community. In one year, we had a huge center (given to us for free rent), forty volunteers, and we were reaching hundreds of women. We even received a $13,000 grant to teach abstinence education in the schools!

Even though it was clear God was at work, at night I often felt drained by the number of young women who needed assistance--who needed hope--yet, I also felt a renewed sense of satisfaction. Obviously God was at work. I was glad I'd joined Him.

After that, I started getting new assignments for magazines, writing about pregnancy centers, finding forgiveness after abortion, and other related issues.

When our center was two years old, we hired a director who oversaw everything. I focused my time on working with the young moms. We had helped these young moms make a decision for life, now I knew we needed to help them with their parenting. I started a support group for young moms called Teen MOPS. It's part of the bigger MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) organization. While working with these young moms, I tried to find Christian resources just for them. I couldn't find any! So I worked on a proposal, registered for the MOPS convention, and my agent set it up for me to meet with a few MOPS editors while I was there.

That first convention in 2002, I attended alone. I remember sitting among 3,500 women and saying, "One of these days I want to be on that stage talking about Teen MOPS." In 2003, just one year later, I had a contract for Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Teen Mom. I've also written a FREE leaders guide for those who work with teen moms. As a bonus, Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion book award. Is that just God, or what?

Obviously God was at work. I'm just so glad I joined Him! But that's not all God was up to...

A year after I helped launch Hope Pregnancy Center, I was invited to take a trip to Europe with my two writing friends. One day, after visiting Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria, the true events of WWII inspired a new novel idea.

After arriving home, I poured the story onto the paper, writing from the perspective of a Nazi wife forced to witness the horrors of a death camp, yet felt powerless to do anything about it until she finally took one step of faith. The story was different from than anything I'd written before. It was so much deeper, heart-wrenching. It expressed a young woman's helplessness and pain--things I'd recently learned about on deeper levels.

Within nine months, my agent called. I had a contract for my first novel, From Dust and Ashes (Moody Publishing). It was released January 2003. More novels and other books followed . . . but I'll save those stories for the upcoming blogs.

Before Experiencing God, I wanted to serve God with all my heart. After Experiencing God, I asked God to show me His heart and I submitted my desires to Him.

I don't think these successes are a coincidence. For years as freelancer I thought I was doing it all right. I followed all the formulas and kept "pounding out the words." And although those words sounded good on paper, something more was needed before they became alive on the page.

God knew for me that something more was to experience "God at work" with those hurting and in need. That was the U-Turn He'd planned for my writing all along. It was only then that I had something worthy to share.

Today, my sandpapered heart now bleeds onto the page, and I'm able to connect in a new way with readers who often find themselves helpless, hurting, and in need of hope. I've also come to learn that God's plans for my life does not center around writing or publishing. That's simply one tool He chooses to use. God's plans for my life is instead centered around His desire to reach people for Him. I'm just thrilled He's allowed me to become part of the process.

If God were to close the doors to all my writing and publishing, then I can honestly say I'd trust Him with that. He's shown me that He has big dreams and big plans for those who follow hard after Him. And I'm going to follow wherever that leads!

Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer--Day Two of Seven

I sank into the rocker, and my fingers trembled as they touched my lips. The television news was reporting the murder of a little girl. A photo of her beautiful face flashed across the screen, and my heart pounded. I didn't know the victim, yet the newscaster's words echoed through my thoughts.

It seemed he was no longer talking about the girl, but about another helpless victim - the baby I aborted in 1987. In my heart he was speaking directly to me: "She was innocent. She didn't have a chance to fight for life. Her future was snatched from her."

Pain coursed through my chest as I was unwillingly taken back to my sophomore year in high school and my secret sins - the shame of getting pregnant, the denial that I held life within my womb and finally the abortionist's clinic.

Yesterday, I shared about facing teen pregnancy and having a baby at age, seventeen. But before that pregnancy there’d been another one—one in which I’d made a different choice.

Like many women who seek help for an unplanned pregnancy, I was told there was no baby - only a blob of tissue. I was told an abortion would be best. It would be over before I knew it. I was told my life would go on as normal once the procedure was done.

How wrong they were!

And, how wrong I was to succumb to the lies, believing I was having a simple procedure and would soon be free.

If an abortion promised freedom, why did pain shackle my heart? Why was I ashamed to tell anyone of my choice? Why was I silently suffering?

The pain and shame I experience that day in front of the television was not uncommon. It occurred many times in many ways. Ten years later I was married to a Christian man and had three beautiful children, but all the good in my life couldn't erase the mistakes of my past.

In my Bible Study group, when my friends spoke out against abortion, I put on a strong face, guarding the tears that desired to break free. I was sure they would hate me if they only knew - after all, I hated myself.

Some nights, images of my moments on the doctor's table flooded my head like evil voodoo dancers-spinning, growing, mocking me. I was a Christian, and I knew God had forgiven me. But could I ever forgive myself?

For me, healing started the first time I attended a post-abortion Bible Study titled Forgiven and Set Free. It was there that the U-Turn came to my personal healing.

In the study, as I looked around at the beautiful women, I was amazed that there were others like me. Even though I knew the statistic that one in four women have had an abortion, I felt as if I was the only Christian woman dealing with this. Breaking my silence made all the difference. When I sensed understanding - and even love - as I shared my story, the chains of fear that had held me prisoner for so long were finally broken.

Instead of living under a burden of guilt and pain, I realized I was forgiven. Jesus’ sacrifice was enough. Jesus had good plans for me—a hope and a future.

Today, I am thankful for the peace that has replaced the pain in my heart. I have come a long way from the woman who used to hide her heartache and tears from her closest friends. I now recognize the lies and have embraced the steps to healing. Because of Jesus, I no longer silently suffer.

If you've had an abortion and answer yes to any of the following questions, you may need help dealing with Post-Abortion Syndrome.

  • When abortion is mentioned, do you find your body reacting physically?
  • Do you avoid talking or reading about abortion?
  • Do you struggle to turn off the feelings connected with your abortion?
  • Are you depressed, sick or accident-prone at certain times of the year such as the anniversary date of the abortion or the time of the would-be due date?
  • Have you experienced any nightmares, flashbacks, or hallucinations related to the abortion?
  • Did your relationship with God or your concept of God change after your abortion?
  • Do you have trouble accepting His forgiveness or forgiving yourself?
If you’ve answer “yes” to any of these . . . be sure to check out Linda Cochrane's book Forgiven and Set Free: A Post Abortion Bible Study.

Over the next five days I’ll be sharing more about my family, my writing, and other ministry opportunities God has allowed me to be a part of, but without a doubt all of these were only possible because of the inner healing I received through Christ.

In your life, do you feel the doors are shutting concerning your dreams and plans? Maybe it’s because God is asking you to do some inner work before you look outward. In my case, God needed to transform my heart before I could ever consider ministering to others.

But once I did the hard inner work . . . whoa. I discovered that God had His own dreams and plans that were greater than anything I could have ever hoped for or imagined!

Tricia Goyer

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Tricia Goyer--Day One of Seven

My U-Turn:

When I was a young girl, I would dream of some day being a wife and mother. I would lie in bed at night and imagine of my future family, thinking about the first time I’d tell my husband I was expecting. He would come home from a long day at work to a white house with green shutters. I’d have a candlelight dinner waiting. I even knew what I’d serve: baby back ribs, baby carrots and baby peas.

I would be glowing—not from the candlelight, but from the “joy of expectancy.” My husband would glance at me from across the table and cock one eyebrow. I would nod enthusiastically. We’d embrace, and then we’d head to JcPennys to pick out our first, baby outfit. It would be perfect.

But what really happened, years later, was quite different. I was riding home from the doctor’s office with my mom. We were both silent. As we drove, I saw a familiar car heading in the other direction.

“There he is.” I said, pointing.

My mom turned the car around and we followed him to the McDonald’s parking lot. There was another girl in the car. I jumped out and motioned for him to join me. She looked the other way.

He followed me to the brown-topped, garbage can. This person had, not long before, professed his love for me, yet as I dared to look into his eyes, his gaze was as cold as ice. After dating for three years, things had not been going well lately. The girl in the car had something to do with that. But my own longings for that “ever-lasting love,” which couldn’t be satisfied in him, also played a part.

“I’m pregnant,” I told him.

His expression didn’t change. “You’re lying. I don’t believe you.”

My hands protectively covered my stomach. “Fine, don’t believe me. I don’t want anything to do with you any way. I don’t need you. This baby doesn’t need you.”

That was one of the last times I talked to him.

I was seventeen. One day I was your typical high school senior. I was an honor student, a cheerleader, and a yearbook editor. I worked part time at McDonalds to pay for gas for my used Dodge Colt. The next day, I discovered was a mother-to-be. My life as I knew it was over. And I was ashamed.

The Shame of Being a Teen Mom

I see girls like me every day. They’re young. They’re pregnant. Sometimes, like in my case, their boyfriend is out of the picture. Their friends soon follow.

That’s what happened to me. My best friends moved on and enjoyed their senior year. My boyfriend was definitely out of the picture. I couldn’t face going to school pregnant, so I dropped out of regular high school to attend a community school for troubled teens. And inside I was very troubled. I was also lonely and scared. Me a mother?

When I work with teen moms, I can read their faces. I know what’s happening inside them. They have chosen to give life to this child within, and most of them feel as if they’ve sacrificed their own life in the process. These girls cry themselves to sleep at midnight with Jay Leno laughing in the background. They wake up a noon to soap operas, and wonder why they can’t have someone like that cute guy in the movies who always says and does the right things. I was there. I was that girl.

These pregnant teens also tune in the radio, hoping to drown out their sorrows. Yet the songs talk about everlasting love, about relationships, about commitment. And they wonder if there’s such a thing.

Most of all, these girls hate going out because they always get “the look.” You know, “The look.” I remember how it felt. My sin was before me everywhere I went, literally. There are many sins you can commit and no one will ever know. Teen pregnancy is not one of these.

These young pregnant girls wear their shame like a chain-male cloak. And it’s a heavy cloak indeed. I remember. Yet, thankfully there was a group of women who shared their love and offered me HOPE found in Christ.

Looking back now, there was nothing unique about that group of women. They were Christian friends of my mother and grandmother. See, I grew up in church, but then I strayed. I'd wanted to do things my way. My pregnancy was just one of the consequences.

This group of women could have condemned me. They could have ignored me. Instead, they invited me to their weekly Bible Study that was held at my grandma’s house. After months of sitting at home bored, I went because I had nothing else to do. When I got there, I headed straight to my grandfather’s Lazy-boy and kicked up my swollen feet. They gathered around me and studied God’s word. I would love to say that my knowledge of the Bible grew during this time, but it didn’t. Instead, I’d promptly fall asleep.

Even though I snored while they studied, something else was happening in that room. First, there was prayer. Thinking back now, I often wonder now if they circled up around while I was drooling on the headrest. I can almost guarantee it. These were praying women.

Second, they welcomed me. They loved me. I was important to them. I had no idea why, but I was. These women gave me a baby shower when my son was born. They visit me. They checked up on me. I felt special.

Third, these women were an example to me. They loved each other, loved their families, and they wanted to live the right way. Most of all they loved God. The same God I had turned my back on. And they showed their compassion in a real way.

One theologian is quoted as saying, “What value has compassion that does not take its object into its arms?” I was that object.

These women took me into their arms and their lives. Because of them, and because I believed in the Jesus that shared, my life did a U-Turn.

When I was six months pregnant, I gave my heart to Jesus. I prayed, "Lord, I've screwed up big time. If you can do something with my life, please do." As you can see from yesterday's bio, He has been faithful! (Praise Him!)

Helping Others on the Same Road:

Now, seventeen years later in Kalispell, Montana, where I live, there is another group of women who remind me of the dear ones I just spoke of. They are welcoming. They are loving. They are accepting, and they also pray.

The ones I’m talking about are those in our Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) steering teams--the groups that I helped to launch. These two groups of women come from all walks of life, yet their desire is the same. They long to show young moms God’s love, and they do it by giving their time and their compassion.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always easy loving these young moms in our groups. When they first come to us, they have walls erected around them, pasted with big “Keep Out” signs. They’ve been hurt too many times, and they don’t want to risk it again.

Most of these moms are involved in the party scene. Most are high school dropouts and come from bad families. They’re usually pregnant by an older guy—and he usually has more than one kid. The girls cuss, they smoke, and when they first come, they often roll their eyes and cop a 'tude. Yet they tolerate our devotions, where we share how God is working in our lives, and they allow us to pray with and for them.

Mainly they show up. Just like I showed up at that Bible Study. I needed something, bad—even though on the outside it only seemed like I needed a nap. These girls need something too. They need to know they’re special. Just like I needed to know.

I wish I had the time and ability to meet face to face with every one of the one million teens every year who discover they are pregnant. To give them a hug and share the HOPE that can be found in Christ. While this is not physically possible, God has given me the opportunity to do so through my book, Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom. Through this book, I speak to the heart of a pregnant teen--as someone who has been there.

What about you?

I can't end this blog without encouraging you to consider who, in your life, needs to feel the love of Jesus through your care, your smile, your open arms.

After all, you can never imagine the type of U-Turn possible . . . but God can. He knows how lives can be transformed from heaps of ashes into displays of beauty.

I understand that too . . .

Welcome Guest Blogger -- Tricia Goyer

Greetings from Montana! My name is Tricia Goyer, and here's a little info about myself. (Clearing throat . . .)

Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. In 2005, her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion and her novel Night Song won ACFW's Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction and non-fiction books.

Yet those things pale in comparison to Tricia's love for her family. She's married to the love of her life, John, and they have three great kids whom she homeschools: Cory (16), Leslie (13), and Nathan (11). They make their home in Northwest Montana with their dog, Lilly.

Tricia's first novel, From Dust and Ashes (Moody) was inspired by true stories from World War II veterans. Tricia heard so many great stories from veterans she embarked on a second novel Night Song (Moody), released September 2004. Tricia's third novel Dawn of a Thousand Nights (Moody) was released Fall 2005. Her fourth novel, Arms of Deliverance, will be released July 2006.

Out of her own experiences as a teenage mother, and her work with young moms, came Tricia's passion for Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan) and her monthly column for Teen Moms. She also recently completed a book for Gen X'ers (people born between 1964-1979), and Generation Next Parenting (Multnomah) will be released September 2006.

Her merriest book to write, Ten Minutes to Showtime (Tommy Nelson), was inspired by the types of stories she loved reading to her own kids.

Tricia is currently working on a three-book fiction series on The Spanish Civil War and another book for Gen X'ers: Generation Next Marriage.

In addition to being a guest blogging for God Allows U-Turns, you can also read Tricia's blogs: Gen X Parents and It's Real Life.

See you tomorrow!

Tricia Goyer

P.S. I'm introducing myself today because Allison is in Montana too!

In fact, my family and I drove 2 1/2 hours yesterday to surprise her. Here's a photo of me with Allison and Judy Miller--fellow CAN (Christian Authors Network) authors.