|Sarah in one of many images taken for the front cover of Shadowed in Silk.|
Nothing could have amazed me more than the way the Lord arranged the front cover of Shadowed in Silk.
I have to go back 32 years--two years before I met my wonderful husband--to when I gave birth to a little girl. Not married at the time, I felt God urge me to relinquish her to a Christian couple unable to have children. I named my baby, Sarah, in the hope that one day I would see her again.
That crushed me, but it was best for my baby at the time, as I wanted her to have a loving dad as well as a loving mom. And I believed that God would answer my prayers that one day when Sarah was grown, He would bring us together again, and knit our hearts in a special birth-mom and birth-daughter relationship.
God was so good to me in the years following the relinquishment of Sarah. And I believe I have seen an aspect to His love for us in losing a child in this manner. A year after giving up Sarah, the Lord sent me my sweet husband David and gave us our three children.
|David and I in November 1980|
|Me and Lana--the daughter God gave me to keep.|
|Kyle when he was little. My Sonshine.|
|Our youngest, Rob, a number of years later, on holidays. Rob the apple of my eye.|
Now skip ahead . . . twenty years later my birth-daughter, Sarah, and I were reunited. That was wonderful and yet terrible at the same time.
|The day of the reunion for Sarah and I. Wonderful and difficult. This is Mark (Sarah's fiance), Sarah, me, Lana, and Rob in front. Kyle was too shy.|
Adoption reunions are not easy for anyone in the adoption triad. After the reunion I began to relive my original loss of Sarah. It just hurt so much. She was my child and yet she was not my child.
And to my heart-break, it didn't appear that the long desired special relationship would develop.
I was so hurt, so angry with God for disappointing me.
A few months after meeting Sarah, my husband caught me crying on our living room couch one day. He slipped out and returned a while later with a brand new pen and journal. He placed these items into my hands and said, “Here honey, write it.”
That was the start. My journaling eventually turned into books as the years passed. But always beneath anything that I write, is the understanding of loss and loneliness, heartbreak, and the healing and joy that only God can bring. A few years later I felt the Lord encourage me to put the emotional and spiritual healing that He had given me into fictional stories to help others.
The day came that my debut novel about the British Raj in India was about to be released---a story that has nothing to do with adoption.
My publisher, WhiteFire, and I were excited as we discussed the design of the cover. One day I suggested the sari material I had purchased in India on a missions trip. Roseanna and David White loved the idea but said to hold off on mailing the silk across the country as it was pretty heavy with gems and beading.
|Me with a group of Christian students in India, 2010.|
It was then I noticed that the model they suggested resembled my birthdaughter. On a whim I suggested Sarah for the model, and the publisher agreed. Sarah was shy at first, but she pitched in on this step of faith with me, and I was grateful at the time for this budding in our friendship.
WhiteFire wanted two costumes—-a western one for 1919 and the sari that my character Abby wears in the novel.
A friend loaned me a straw boater hat, and I was sure I had a tan linen skirt up in my closet. But when I went to look . . . it was gone. I’d forgotten that when we moved last year, I’d given the skirt to a charity. On another whim I decided to go to the local second hand store to search for something similar.
As I walked across the parking lot I prayed the Lord would help me find the perfect skirt. I was not five minutes in the store, walking down the aisle and I found my very own skirt which I then purchased back for $9.99.
I could go on and on about the details that just seemed to come together---the background photos taken by a friend in India...and so much more. I’d asked the Lord to put His fingerprints all over it, and He did.
It wasn’t until later that I realized—that without my ever planning or imagining it—He had not only inspired me to write because of my sadness over losing my first child to adoption, but He then placed the face of my beautiful muse on the front cover of my book.
Only our Heavenly Father can do something so intricately tender.
But the Lord wasn't finished blessing me yet.
|Sarah teaching hygiene in Africa|
A few months after Shadowed in Silk was released, my birthdaughter Sarah and her husband Mark came to visit. They want to tell us that they felt called to go into fulltime missionary work with Global Aid Network. And that they would be working with several organizations all around the world that specifially helps widows and orphans.
|Sarah and Mark as medical missionaries|
One of the missions in their sphere of interest would be the Ramabai Mukti Mission in India.
When I heard this I nearly fell off my chair in amazement.
I had never told Sarah, but the true-life Ramabai who started the Mukti mission in India was the inspiration behind my novel.
|Sarah serving in South East Asia with GAiN|
Many years ago, I had prayed for the Lord to give Sarah and I a special relationship. It took a while, but He knit our hearts together in the respective work He gave each of us to do.
We have to remember that we serve a God who delights in working with little people and small things—-a shepherd boy and a few smooth stones. A child with a lunch of fish and bread for one. A babe in a womb that rocks the world.
|Sarah with the children she loves|
When it came time to release Captured by Moonlight Book 2 of the Twilight of the British Raj I had to have my daughter Lana---the daughter God gave me to keep---as the model on the front cover.
Here are a few photos of that wonderful, happy day. And my joy at seeing my two daughters as bookends of joy in my life. Thanks to our Awesome tender-hearted Heavenly Father.
|My daughter Lana in the role of Laine in Captured by Moonlight as a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corp. 1921|
|Laine Harkness (character) in her 1920's dress and 1920's hair and makeup.|
|Such a beautiful model.|
|I love the flow of the white voile dress.|
|Front and back of Captured by Moonlight. Look close on the back to see Hector the tiger cub.|
|My immediate family at Lana's wedding to James. All my kids and their spouses, except for Rob who is not married as of the taking of this picture.|