>Reaching Lives Through Literature

>Good morning readers! I am proud to present to you today a guest post from our friend Kim Ford, who blogs at Window to My World.  Have a great weekend!

“…Muriel told me our life is like a winding path with a deep ditch on either side…One ditch is our full-fisted rebellion. The other is our response to someone else’s rebellion. She told me, ‘The Devil couldn’t care less which ditch we fall into, he just wants us off the road.” (p. 353, Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth)

The Devil has successfully driven the women of Hosanna Home into the ditch of addiction. Meanwhile, the Lord has drawn me to minister to these women through a very unlikely avenue – Christian Fiction. How can fiction reach out to women bound within the stronghold of life-controlling of drugs, alcohol and other hellish addictions? I’m glad you asked!

More than three years ago I followed my husband’s lead to minister to women in our local rehab facility. I couldn’t fathom what I had to offer these ladies, for they had lived a life so foreign to my own I couldn’t imagine what we could ever have in common. At the same time I began my to volunteer my time, I was exploring the burgeoning world of blogging book reviews. I guess my enthusiasm and excitement spilled over into my conversation and snagged the attention of some of my new acquaintances.

Many of these women hadn’t picked up a book for years on end, and at the time I was crossing their path they were in such a mental fog they couldn’t really comprehend the pleasure I gained from reading so many books. As time passed and their minds cleared some of the ladies approached me and began to ask about the books I was reading. As I began to share some of the stories, I realized that the same pleasure and encouragement I received through these stories could be theirs as well! I began to share some copies of the books I blogged about, and it wasn’t long before I was receiving requests: mysteries, romance, historical fiction, suspense…the world had opened up to these ladies once again, and they were discovering the pleasure of a well-told story!

The world of Christian Fiction has grown exponentially in the past twenty years. I’ve found several impressively realistic stories from both sides of the addiction nightmare that have blessed me and the women of Hosanna Home. Mary DeMuth’s Defiance Texas Trilogy, Terri Blackstock’s Intervention, and Christa Allan’s Walking on Broken Glass are just a few of the stories that I’ve shared with the ladies.

And while the stories about redemption for those struggling with addiction are very powerful, there are none as moving as the stories within the pages of the Bible itself. When an author is able to draw upon these biblical characters and bring their stories to life, it makes a lasting impact upon the hearts and minds of the reader. Francine River’s story Redeeming Love was already required reading for the women in the program, and I was thrilled when I found another biblically-based story to share with them!

Tessa Afshar’s book, Pearl in the Sand, centers around the life of Rahab, and I was quickly able to draw many parallels between the issues that Rahab wrestled with, and the women with whom I interacted at Hosanna Home. Forgiveness, insecurity, fear and the difficulty of dealing with other’s judgmental attitudes are just a few of the issues that I knew these ladies could relate to, and I was eager to share this story with them all.

There are times when a fictional story can reach into the heart and mind in a way nothing else can. I’ve seen the door of understanding and atonement open wide within the hearts of some of these women because of something that they read in a story. I’ve also witnessed a bridge of communication being built between a recovering addict and someone called to minister to them with nothing but a love of reading with which to draw them together. I’m anxious to see what the Lord has planned for Tessa Afshar’s book and the ladies of Hosanna Home. We will soon begin discussing this story, and I know that my life will be forever blessed by the things I will learn along the way.

P.S.! Moody Publishers helped set Kim up with multiple copies of Pearl in the Sand so she could use the book to minister to these women, and we know there are many other ministries like hers out there! If you work/volunteer at a ministry (or have one in mind) that you think might be blessed by Tessa’s novel, please send me an email at steph.duncan.ssd@gmail.com telling me about the ministry and requesting a free copy.  Ministry libraries, shelters, mentoring programs, support groups, are all great ideas for reaching lives through literature, so drop me a line with any suggestions!

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  1. >Wow, great post!

  2. >Thank you so much for highlighting the Defiance, Texas trilogy. I appreciate it!

  3. >Thanks for your sweet comment over at Novel Matters. Your blog looks great! I am going to spend some time here this afternoon!

  4. >Good post! So glad to hear that good Christian fiction is ministering to these precious ladies. Thank you for sharing.Blessings,Karen

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