Road Trippin’ with Tyndale and Beth Moore: Stop #12

Welcome to Tyndale Fiction’s Road Trip Scavenger Hunt! We’re so happy you are here. To participate, collect the key words through all 13 stops in order, so you can enter to win our grand prize giveaway!
Some details:
  • The adventure begins on Wednesday, August 1. You’ll have two weeks to make your way through all the stops (giveaways will close on Tuesday, August 14).
  • While you do not have to start at Stop #1, keep in mind that the grand prize giveaway phrase will begin with the word you collect at that first stop.
  • To complete your submission for the grand prize giveaway, be sure to collect the key word within each author’s blog post, submitting the final, completed phrase in the form hosted on this page.
  • Also, be sure to enter the giveaways these authors are hosting on their blogs!

Enjoy the journey—we hope you’ll discover new books along the way as you hear from Tyndale Fiction authors about road trips, the settings of their novels, and more!

Happy road tripping!

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I am very excited to welcome beloved Bible teacher and bestselling debut fiction author Beth Moore to the blog!

Beth’s novel, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus, took her main character, Jillian Slater, on an unplanned and shocking road trip to New Orleans. Here’s the story’s setup: “Only God knew why Jillian Slater agreed to return to New Orleans on the news that her father had finally drunk himself to death. It’s not like they were close. She hadn’t seen him—or her grandmother, the ice queen—in almost twenty years. But a free trip to New Orleans was too intriguing to resist.”

Talk about a locale with atmosphere and intrigue!

Listen to Beth talk about her first road trip to New Orleans and why she chose the Big Easy as her setting for this novel:

When I was fifteen, my little brother and I, the only two kids left at home, took a grueling two-day road trip with our parents to our cousins’ house in Florida. Houston reaches out to Florida with the long, skinny arm of Interstate 10, the only decent bicep of the route being New Orleans.

I have no idea what got into my father’s head, but he decided to trot the four of us right down Bourbon Street. We’d only recently moved to Houston from a small town in Arkansas, so we hadn’t even acclimated to crowds yet. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was going to walk his family into.

I would have told you I wasn’t naïve. I was no innocent adolescent. Our family had dangled on the precipice of hell for several years. But I had never walked by a strip bar in my life. Not sure I’d ever even driven past one. The pictures posted at the front doors were so explicit and disturbing that I couldn’t shake them out of my head for years. Dodging drunks, we finally made our way to Jackson Square,  past painters and sidewalk entertainers and palm readers. It was the wildest thing I’d ever seen.

Fast-forward many years, and my husband, Keith, and I would start going back to that city for anniversaries and bask in the deep-fried goodness of New Orleans’s brighter side. Still plenty spicy. Just not as seedy.

Fast-forward a few more years, and I was asked to teach the women of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church at their annual conference. I guess it was as close as I’ve ever come to love at first sight. That whole congregation accepted this white girl like I was one of them. We are blood kin in Jesus. To be loved and embraced by them is still one of the greatest honors and joys of my ministry life. My Bible study Breaking Free was taped in their auditorium. When my younger brother was transferred there for work, FABC also threw their arms open wide to him. He attended that wonderful, warm church until he was transferred again several years later.

New Orleans is second in my heart only to Houston. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why. I’ve had a complex relationship with it. But that’s just it. I’m somehow rarely drawn to simple relationships.

And that is just the kind of relationships you’ll find in The Undoing of Saint Silvanus. The investigation into Jillian’s father’s death quickly unfolds, and she is drawn into the lives of the colorful collection of saints and sinners who pass through Saint Silvanus. As Jillian walks into a web of spiritual and personal danger borne out of her family’s broken history, she finds that only God himself can orchestrate the undoing of all that is going on at Saint Silvanus.

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Here’s the Stop #12 Important Information:

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Before you leave–a chance for another prize!

Be sure to leave a comment here on Amy’s blog for a chance to win this small prize pack from Amy! The winner will receive a signed copy of Before I Saw You, and a farmhouse-style wooden arrow that can be hung on a wall or added anywhere you’d like in your home. Winner of this prize will be drawn at random the same day as the Grand Prize winner, August 14.


 

 

On the Opioid Crisis and the Church: A National Emergency for Us All*

* Full article published in More to Life Magazine.


Tracy* sat on the bed in front of me, her eyes wild and darting around the room. She looked a mess, her long dark hair in dingy kinks and knots. Sunken brown eyes and a pock-marked face made her look more like forty than the twenty-something she was.

Most disturbing of all was the way she twisted and squirmed in the bed, as if fighting invisible cords threatening to tie her down.

Indeed, she was fighting something.

Before she was admitted to the hospital unit where I work, Tracy had been using over $1,000 a week of heroin, and ways she told us she’d been paying for it were unspeakable. As nurses, physicians and therapists, we were helpless in the fight to keep her pain manageable, not to mention treat the raging infection that caused her admission in the first place.

One might assume Tracy’s condition extreme, but hospitals are overflowing with opioid addicts like her whose hearts—literally and figuratively—are being destroyed.

Occasionally, we hear about stories like hers in the news. We catch a headline about a dozen people overdosing outside a local shelter. The evening news reports yet another city adopting a needle exchange program because if communities can’t control the drug use, maybe they can at least save an addict from contracting Hepatitis C or HIV or both.

What we don’t hear about so much is where the church is in the midst of the opioid crisis...click here to read the full story in More to Life Magazine.


On birthmothers: Loving well in the messy middle. A conversation with Michelle Thorne, and a book giveaway.

CONGRATULATIONS to Margie, who won this giveaway! (6/5/18)

And thank you so much to everyone who visited!


Today I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend Michelle Thorne. She is a wife, mom, birthmom and the author of three books on various topics on adoption, and she lives in Qingdao, China. You can find her at http://www.michellethornebooks.com.

I met Michelle online when I was doing research on modern day birthmothers for Before I Saw You. I read Michelle’s book, Delivered, and was so moved by her story of what the synopsis describes as, “the forgotten, or perhaps hidden, piece in the beautiful triptych of adoption…Raw and revealing, Delivered gives a voice to an otherwise silent population who call themselves birthmothers and inspires others to consider that the giving of life to one has a ripple effect, bringing life to many.”

I reached out to Michelle with questions I had about creating an accurate portrayal of the birthmother experience in and around my protagonist, Jaycee. She was beyond kind to respond and take the time to help me create and review a story that will hopefully reach birthmothers–and anyone who reads Before I Saw You–with hope.

I won’t waste another minute … thank you so much for being here today, Michelle!

*****

Writing is not easy. Writing about a subject that almost everyone on the planet has an opinion about is practically impossible. If you think about it, everyone is pro-life; it is a matter of whose life they are in favor of that divides the argument. As a birthmom, which is a woman who chose to place her child for adoption, I am passionate about what gets said about unplanned pregnancies and the people involved in them, and as an adoption professional, I want to protect little ears that might hear the conversations. So, when Amy began talking to me about my experience with unplanned pregnancy, I was cautiously optimistic.

Could anyone describe the sharp contrast involved, the deeply emotional polarized pulls, and the jump from a self-centered life to the total and complete care of another human in the time it takes for a pregnancy test to register a reading? I just wasn’t sure.

However, as I began to sit with Amy’s lead character Jaycee and watch her live out what I knew so well, what I lived, I got swept. I fell in love with Sudie. I swooned over Gabe. I wanted to punch Bryan and kiss Reverend Payne, if such things were appropriate.

Being in an unplanned pregnancy is a time to mourn and to rejoice, to regret and to wonder. It brings a variety of people who are accepting, reluctantly accepting, disgusted, helpful and not-so-helpful. People give you advice you didn’t ask for, and because you didn’t plan it, some can feel fear and rush to rescue you and help you figure it out, whether you want them to or not. Then, there are those saints, who give you the freedom to make your own choice, feel your erratic feelings, and aren’t bothered by the revolving door on your life. Amy portrays this so beautifully in Before I Saw You.

The story is inspired in part by Moses’s Israelite mother, Jochebed. I love this woman. I feel like I know things about her that others don’t. Like how she must have wept over her decision, and longed to be more than just his wet nurse. I feel like I know the torture of separation and the relief of choosing life.

If we think about Jochebed’s story without knowing the ending, we have a woman who can’t care for her child because the government has deemed it so. When she hides Moses for three months, we name her selfless, not selfish. When she puts him into the very same water that was killing other Israelite newborn sons, we call her faithful, not insane. And when she remains part of his life as his wet nurse for his childhood, we rejoice that they are together instead of being afraid it will damage Moses in some way.

Jochebed’s decision to save Moses’s life saved millions more. It affected generations. We know this, and so we don’t begrudge Jochebed for putting Moses in the basket and sending him down the river. We don’t say, “Moses was abandoned.” With the clarity of hindsight, we agree with Jochebed’s choices instead of wonder at them. The soothing story of Moses’s success numbs us to the gravity of Jochebed’s situation.

In Before I Saw You, Amy doesn’t let us off the emotional hook. We see Jaycee struggle and question. We know her guilt and regrets. We feel her shame. But we also get to feel her being loved by other characters. We feel the excitement of that first ultrasound and the joy that new life brings. In reading her story, we can’t deny the humanity in it, nor can we avoid the divine.

If I can encourage you in one thing regarding this amazing, well-written book, it is this: Learn from Jaycee and her experience. Facing unplanned pregnancy is hard. There is not one right answer. When you encounter a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, don’t make assumptions about her or what her decision should be. You may not know the “right thing” to do, but God does. Trust that God loves this woman more than you do. Trust that He can help and trust that when the story is told in 40 years it will look different from what you can see from here.

Women facing unplanned pregnancy need to be loved right where they are, in the messy middle of the story, before the redemption is realized. Let go of the protest sign; hold a hand. Advocate for women through relationships, not just through the ballot box. Strive for stronger connections, not stronger convictions.  Loving these women well is loving these children well. Love big, my friends, and enjoy Before I Saw You.

*****

…anyone who comments on this post between now and the release date of June 5 will be entered to win copies of both Delivered and Before I Saw You in a prize package!