Wanda’s Journal

Fear of the Unknown

In my novel, The Sugarcreek Surprise, the main character, Lisa, faced a terrible tragedy at the age of seven, when her parents and paternal grandparents were killed, along with their driver. Lisa was the only survivor of the accident. She was sent to live with her maternal grandparents, who lived in another state. Despite their loving care, Lisa became an introvert and feared the unknown. It was difficult for her to form a bond with anyone, fearful that something tragic might happen to them. Do you think this was a normal reaction? Have you, or someone you know, ever been in a similar situation when you’ve gone through a tragedy? If so, how did you cope?

Assumptions

A few weeks ago, while I was doing a book signing in Florida, an Amish woman came up to me and said she didn’t think she could read my books because they were fiction and not true stories. I explained to her that although my books are fiction, they are based on true-to-life situations, and said it’s my hope that the stories I write will help someone going through a difficult time. I also mentioned that I incorporate Bible verses in my novels to show how God can help us through unexpected or troubling situations. The woman’s face softened, but then she pointed to the cover of one of my books lying on the table. “I don’t like the fact that you have Amish people on the cover.” I explained that the cover models are not Amish, but professional models dressed in Amish clothes. She seemed surprised and said she had just assumed the people on the covers were Amish. The woman thanked me for answering her questions and explaining things that she’d never realized before. Then with a smile on her face, she bought two books and asked me to autograph them for her.

Have you ever assumed something and then later found out that what you had thought wasn’t true? Or has someone you know ever said they had thought something about you that wasn’t true? How did you handle the situation?

When We Think We Can’t

Have you ever felt incapable or unsuited to do certain things? In my novel, A Cousin’s Promise, Wayne lost his leg in an accident. He became depressed and had trouble coping with this loss, so he broke his engagement with Loraine. Wayne believed that because of his disability, he was less than a man and could no longer provide for a wife and family.

In the Bible there are many accounts of people who seemed incapable or unsuited for their calling, but God used them anyway, in spite of their disability or lack of confidence. All of us are here for a reason, and if we trust God, seek His will for our lives, and do the best that we can, He will provide the help we need. Often times that help will come from others, or with God’s guidance we may learn how to meet some of our own challenges, as Wayne did in my novel.

Do you know someone who is struggling with a disability or lack of confidence to do certain things? What are some ways we can offer help and encouragement to others or ourselves?

Keeping the Faith

My husband and I recently attended Half-Stitch the Musical, in Sarasota, Florida. This delightful musical play is based off my novel, The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club. There were six people who attended Emma Yoder’s quilting classes in the story. One of them was Ruby Lee Williams, the wife of a minister. Due to some problems they were having in the church where Ruby Lee’s husband pastored, Ruby Lee wanted him to leave the ministry. Is leaving the best answer when a preacher feels that the congregation is displeased with him? What are some other choices a minister might make instead of leaving a church he has felt called to shepherd?

Did Ruby Lee support her husband by suggesting that they leave? Could it be that she felt as if she was near the end of her rope and saw no possibilities of a positive outcome? What are some ways we can keep our faith strong when going through trying times?

Our Future

When an old year passes away and a new one takes its place, we tend to reflect on the past and focus on our future, which we hope and pray will go well.

In my novel, The Healing Jar, Lenore became discouraged and felt frustrated about her future and her desire to be married and have a family of her own.

Have you ever become impatient with God’s timing and plan for your life and tried to work things out your own way? Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn’t see clearly which direction the Lord was leading? If so, what did you do about it?

One thing I plan to do during the upcoming year is to spend more time thinking and praying about new insights, reading the Scriptures, and considering how to incorporate the things God reveals to me into my life.

The Most Important Gift

With Christmas coming soon, many people have begun thinking about gifts — what to buy for family and friends–and what gifts you might be hoping to receive. Some people may even wonder, “Is it better to give a gift or receive a gift?”

The greatest and most important gift anyone could receive is the gift God gave the world when He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world. Romans 6:23 it tells us that the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you have not already done so, I hope that you will receive God’s gift this Christmas season. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. (KJV)

Relaxation

One thing I’ve noticed about most of my Amish friends is that they like to read. Many have often said that they enjoy reading because it takes them to places they’ve never been able to visit. Reading is also a good way to relax, and it allows us to be drawn into the lives of the characters in the book. Taking time out from our busy days for a bit of relaxation is good for our health.

In addition to reading and writing books, there are some other things I like to do that helps me to relax. Here’s a short list: Walking on the beach and looking for shells; getting a massage; walking or sitting in our yard, while listening to the birds; sitting in a quiet room with candlelight and pleasant music playing.

What are some things you do to relax?

Ways We Can Help

In my August 2021 published novel, The Walnut Creek Wish, Orley and Lois Troyer, an Amish couple who own an antique store, enjoy selling and refurbishing vintage items. However, their main focus is on mentoring and praying for any people who come into their store and seem to be burdened with some kind of a problem.

Have you ever found help or been counseled by someone you didn’t know well, because of a chance encounter?

What are some ways we can help others who are troubled and need a touch from God?

Back on Track

In my recently-released novel, The Walnut Creek Wish, Rhonda and Jeff did not communicate well and were struggling with their relationship. Jeff was a collector of antiques, which was one cause of dissension between them, because his hobby was expensive. Rhonda’s job as a hotel manager had become stressful, and she sometimes took her frustrations out on Jeff.

What do you think is the biggest reason some married couples don’t get along? Is there anything a married couple can do to prevent marital problems?

When Jeff and Rhonda’s issues first started she had wanted him to go with her to see a counselor, but he’d refused. Do you think it’s possible for a couple having marital problems to resolve their issues without professional counseling? What other things might they try in order to get their marriage back on track?

Forgiveness

In my novel, The Storekeeper’s Daughter, Abraham Fisher’s friend, Jacob Weaver, reminded Abraham that God’s ways are not our ways. He encouraged Abraham to pray for the person who had kidnapped his young son, Zach. Do you believe that healing can only occur when one forgives?

Do you find it difficult to forgive someone who has wronged you or some member of your family? What does the Bible say about forgiveness? Do you have some favorite scriptures that gave you insight during a time when someone hurt you?

One of my favorite verses that deals with the topic of forgiveness is found in Matthew 6:14 (KJV): Jesus said, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”