Longing for Home in the Midst of Hardship... If it Rains by Jennifer L. Wright (Guest Post) #christianfiction #ifitrains #christfic @tyndalehouse

Welcome! I'm thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Author Jennifer
L. Wright today! Check that out as well as her new release below...

If It Rains
By Jennifer L. Wright
Christian Historical Fiction
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 382 Pages
July 6, 2021 by Tyndale


A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.

Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.

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Guest Post:
Where the Heart Is: Longing for Home in the Midst of Hardship
Jennifer L. Wright

As a military spouse, I am used to moving.

Every three or four years, the Air Force tells us to pack our things, say our goodbyes, and head off to a new assignment. It’s not an easy life, but after almost fourteen years, constant relocation has become a routine, if still sad, reality.

Nothing, however, could prepare me for a move during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the spring of 2020, in the midst of quarantines and toilet paper shortages, my husband received orders for a new assignment. We hadn’t left our house for weeks. The outside world was still a blur of uncertainty and fear. And now, apparently, we were supposed to go out in it.

I should have been used to it by now. Moving was standard procedure. And yet, something had changed within me during those weeks in quarantine. Those weeks when every news report streaming from our television was worse than the one before it, when everything closed down and nothing was safe. My house became more than my home; it became my anchor. Everything out there was scary and weird and different, but in here? In here, I was safe.

Until there was no more “here” in which to hide.

My debut novel, If It Rains, takes place way before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 1930s Oklahoma to be exact. But much like my military-mandated move, Kathryn, one of my protagonists, is thrust from her home—and her safety net—by forces outside her control: the Dust Bowl. Her family farm has been the one constant in her life of change: the death of her mother, her father’s remarriage, her sister’s wedding, even the rapidly disintegrating landscape. But now, to escape the drought, Kathryn must leave behind everything she has ever known, including the only thing that has ever remained steadfast: her home.

It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s terrifying.

It’s also full of grace.

Because through her journey, Kathryn learns what it took COVID-19 to teach me: God isn’t limited to one place. The longing for an earthly home—although understandable—is nothing compared to the promise of our true home in God’s presence.

Because of the uncertainty and rapid changes in the world around me, my peace had become tied to a physical location: the home in which I lived. It was only by removing me from that place that God’s truth became clear. It was never a building that made me secure. It was never even a place that kept me safe.

It was God.

Hardship often brings a longing for times past, for stability and stillness that existed before the chaos now in our lives. For both Kathryn and myself, it brought a longing for an earthly home to serve as a refuge against the harshness of the outside world. But this desire for a physical sanctuary only highlighted the yearning each of us harbors in the depths of our soul. We all have an aching for the arms of our Father.

No matter what your situation, our world is in a constant state of flux. Hardships will come. Change is inevitable. But we can take heart in knowing our shallow earthly roots allow for stronger spiritual ones. We never have to fear these rearrangements. Whether the ground beneath our feet begins to blow away as it did during the Dust Bowl or a pandemic renders the outside world stagnant as it has done during ours, the promise of God’s presence remains the same.

He is our heart and our constant. He is the answer to our longing. He is the home in the midst of our hardship.

About the Author

Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home. She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.

This one is on my list to read. Is it on yours? What connected with you in the author's guest post?

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