35 Seconds

    Dr. Nick Hudson is discouraged. His work isn’t satisfying. His marriage is falling apart. When he and his wife, Shayla, made the decision to move to Haiti as full-time missionaries, Nick had been sure that it was God’s will for them. The missionary hospital needed a skilled doctor. Plus the school nearby needed a good teacher. Both spoke French, having met in a college French class. The young couple had been drawn to missionary work since their teen years—long before they even met. Haiti seemed like such a good fit for them. The funding they would need came in easily for them. Surely it had been a “God-thing” that led them to where they were.

    Hadn’t it?

    Nick isn’t so sure anymore. He wonders if maybe he and Shayla were too young to really know what God wanted. Maybe they were just too eager to be used somewhere that they jumped too quickly into the Haitian mission. They really had no idea how difficult their lives in Haiti would be. “If you had known how hard it would be,” a young teen had asked the last time Nick and Shayla had been in an American church, “would it have made a difference in your decision?” They had looked at each other and smiled before Nick answered, “No one ever said doing God’s work would be easy. But seeing a family bring Jesus into their daily lives is worth it.” Now, though, Nick could see that answer for what it was—a rehearsed response, the answer that others wanted to hear. Was it really what he felt? At one time, maybe. But not anymore. Now he was almost certain that if someone had told him just how difficult his journey would be, he would have stayed in America. Even if he was unappreciated there, at least he would have a decent bank account.

    Shayla Hudson wants only one thing in life—to have a little one call her Mommy. It was a simple thing, something that she saw happen to other women all the time. Never did she imagine it would be so difficult for her. Getting pregnant didn’t seem to be a problem; in her ten year marriage, Shayla had been pregnant 4 times. Three of the pregnancies ended in miscarriage before her fifth month of pregnancy. The final pregnancy was full-term, however the child was stillborn. Shayla carried a picture of her baby—a little girl they name Chloe—with her everywhere. She would pull out the photograph often, imagining what could have been. Someday, she hoped, God would answer her prayer. She was sure that she and Nick would be blessed with a child to love and raise together.

    Shayla’s desire to be a mother was a big part of Nick’s problem. Sure, he wanted a child, too. He remembered how beautiful Chloe had looked, so much like Shayla. He still cried every now and again when he thought about her and about all of the things that she would never be able to do. There was an ache in his heart that he was sure would never, ever go away. He had never told his wife, but he felt like it was his fault. After all, he was a doctor. He should have taken better care of his wife and child, should have been able to keep her alive. Never mind that her death was caused by the umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck and that no one could have prevented what happened. Nick felt like he was somehow to blame. The pain had been etched on Shayla’s face every day for months afterward. Nick was so helpless to take away that pain. He didn’t want to ever see her go through that again. And if that meant no more children, so be it. He loved his wife too much to let her be hurt again.

    Nick’s reaction to the loss of little Chloe hurt Shayla as much as the loss had. She felt like she had let her husband down by not being able to give him a healthy child. Even worse, she felt like she was a constant reminder to him of what they had lost. She’d seen Chloe’s face. She knew how much that face resembled her own. And she knew that Nick had to have noticed the resemblance as well. It was the only reason she could think of for how distant he had become. She felt the loss of little Chloe all over again every time she tried to get close to Nick and he would push her away. Shayla often wondered if the baby had been a boy who looked so much like Nick, would she push him away the same way that Nick was pushing her away? She couldn’t say for sure, but Shayla really hoped she wouldn’t treat him that way.

    Six months after little Chloe’s death, Nick and Shayla are living more as roommates than as husband and wife.

Faith Through The Storm

This will start about 3 months after the end of The Ladies of Faith.

Rather than accept his resignation, the Faith Community Church board offers Shane a promotion to Senior Pastor.  He thanks for the offer but feels he must decline.  Again, he explains the reasons he thought resignation was the best option.  He is asked to please think about it and pray about it.  “We don’t expect perfection, but if you have taken your problems to God and are working through things in a Biblical way, we are willing to work with you.”

Not everyone in the church feels the same way, however.  Some are loyal to Wade Davis and his ideas.  They don’t think the church should allow a man “unable to control his sexual desires” into the building, let alone consider hiring him to lead the congregation.  These same people are the ones who are treating Morgan badly because of the breakup of her marriage.  They are also questioning Lorna’s decision to take care of Claudia’s baby rather than putting him in foster care as her husband has demanded.

Morgan is still trying to adjust to life without Donald, and thinks she is doing a pretty good job of it.  Though she is not fighting the divorce—”I’d rather be alone than be with a man who wants to be with someone else”—she is fighting for a fair settlement.  Donald has agreed that Morgan can keep the house and her car, but he thinks she should get a job and support herself rather than receive any alimony from him.  It is a very large house and Morgan thinks that it is more than just one person can handle alone.  She invites Lorna, Todd, and baby Ethan to come live with her after they are asked to leave the parsonage.

Lorna is shocked by the kindness that Morgan is showing her.  After all, she was one of the first to turn her back on Morgan after Donald left.  Since Claudia’s funeral, she has had very little contact with her husband and does not exactly know where he is.  Wade said only that he needed to get away from the “humiliation” of Claudia’s actions.  He has refused to forgive his wife for choosing to raise their grandson, even though he wants nothing to do with the child.  It was not an easy decision for Lorna to make—she loves her husband very much.  But she feels like following his harsh commands cost her precious time with her daughter.  She doesn’t want to make the same mistakes with her grandson.

Frankie is still feeling conflicted.  She is not handling her parents’ separation and pending divorce nearly as well as her mother is.  Still, she is committed to trusting God to work everything out for His good.  At a Bible study meeting at Morgan’s home, she looks at Lorna with baby Ethan and Abby with baby FaithAnn and comments that maybe the large house should be used as a home for single mothers.  Though she is only half serious about it, Frankie’s idea catches on like wildfire.

Abby gave birth to her daughter, little FaithAnn Hope, three days after Claudia’s funeral.  She has found living on her own more and more difficult.  Financially, she is doing OK, but not great.  She has been living off of savings and the life insurance policy her husband left behind, as she was having trouble finding a job while pregnant.  Now that the baby has arrived, she is looking for a place where she can make use of her social work degree.  The idea of leaving FaithAnn with a sitter, though, terrifies Abby.  She is even having trouble sleeping at night, afraid that the man who raped her is going to find her and try to take FaithAnn away.  Every day, she finds it a little harder to be at home alone.  She loves the idea of opening a home for young women in her situation, and is anxious to work for Morgan.  At least that way she would have people she knew she could trust helping with FaithAnn while she worked.

Emily is also behind Morgan’s plan.  She and Abby begin working together to write a business plan, file paperwork for permits, and apply for funding grants for the project.  She is really unsure about Shane taking over as senior pastor of Faith Church.  She thinks the stress level might be too much for him—for them—to handle.  No matter how hard she tries, she is having a lot of difficulty forgiving and forgetting the porn issue.  Her self-esteem is at an all time low.  She looks at how her body has changed after having given birth to two children, and thinks she looks terrible.  If Shane would rather look at those women with their perfect bodies, maybe he would rather be with one of them, too.  When she is not helping with the plans for Claudia’s House (the name Morgan decides to give to the new project), Emily is at the local Y.  While her kids are in tumbling classes and swimming lessons, she spends her time on the treadmill or on a stationary bike.  She also takes an aerobics class one night a week.  In her determination to keep her husband thinking of her as sexy, Emily begins to change her eating patterns. 

Just when Morgan begins to feel excited about Claudia’s House, she receives some troubling news.  While on a business trip out of state, Donald is critically injured in a car accident.  She and Frankie head out to be with him.  Morgan goes because she is still his wife and feels obligated to be with him.  Frankie goes to keep her father from manipulating her mother.  On the way, she talks to Frankie some about forgiveness.  Morgan is angry, but that doesn’t mean she wants to treat Donald badly.  That is not how Jesus would handle the situation.  And even though he has violated their marriage vows, Morgan refuses to do the same. 

Frankie is torn between admiration for her mother and total disgust at her actions.  She had hoped that setting up Claudia’s House would keep her mother so busy that she wouldn’t be able to be sucked in by her father again.  But when the doctors say he is well enough to leave the hospital but not well enough to be on his own, she knows what is coming.  No matter how she tried to convince her mother otherwise, Frankie finds herself helping her father move back into her mother’s home.

Lorna thinks that Frankie is right about Donald coming home.  Yet, she has been trying to put into practice all that she has been learning about forgiveness.  Her relationship with her sons, especially Todd, has been very strained since Claudia’s death.  The only reason Todd has stayed with her, she knows, is because he wants to be near Ethan.  Slowly they are learning to get a long again.  Lorna is amazed to see the depth of her younger son’s love for Christ.  After all that has happened in their family in the recent past, Lorna finds that she has trouble relying on Christ all the time.  Todd, though, doesn’t.  Watching his example begins to draw Lorna closer to Christ again as well.

The Invisible Man

Reese Winters met the love of her life when she was 12 years old. Mark finally asked her out four years later. The two were inseparable from the moment of that date on. After high school graduation, Reese enrolled in a local college while Mark enlisted in the Marine Corps. The summer after she completed her second year of college, Mark proposed. They were married July 29, 1998, just two months after Reese completed her undergraduate social work degree. The newlyweds made their home in North Carolina, where Mark trained as a helicopter pilot. Their lives changed dramatically after 9/11. With the military on heightened alert, Reese and Mark lived with the reality that he could be shipped overseas at any time. Just before Christmas, Mark learned he would be shipping out to Iraq in the middle of January. They traveled back home to Michigan for Christmas, and enjoyed spending as much time together as possible before he left. In early March, Reese was shocked and pleased to learn she was pregnant. She was able to tell Mark about the baby in a phone call. He was as thrilled as Reese, and hoped to be home in time for the child’s birth. Less than a week later, Reese received the news that Mark had been killed in combat. The day after his funeral, she miscarried.

    Avery Roberts has never really felt like he fit in anywhere. The youngest of three children, he lived with the knowledge that he was the reason his parents divorced. To his face, his mother said it had nothing at all to do with him, that she and his father had just grown apart. But he had often overheard her telling others that her husband had wanted only 2 children—one son, one daughter. When a third child was born, he couldn’t handle the financial burden and walked away from the family. Avery had been too young to even remember his father. He grew up without him in his life, never actually seeing him face-to-face until he was 14—the dad who had not been a part of the family did make a point to attend the funeral of Avery’s older brother, Logan, who was killed by friendly fire during the Gulf War in early 1991. From then on, Avery was constantly compared to Logan. He never felt like he measured up. His mother turned her grief over Logan’s death into a life-long crusade against the military. Some conflict arose between Avery and his mother when he chose to help with the repairs at the Pentagon rather than go to New York City after 9/11. Avery felt that he was honoring his brother’s memory while Mrs. Roberts felt he was bringing dishonor to his brother by supporting the government that caused his death.

New Books in the Works!

Hello there!!! It’s been a while since I’ve updated. My apologies for that. I’ve been battling a horrible upper respiratory infection for nearly a month now. I’ve not done too much of anything other than just sit here and stare at the TV. When I can keep my eyes open, that is!

I have been doing a little writing, though. NaNoWriMo 2010 is coming up. And I am so up to the novel in a month challenge this year! In the past, I have been excited to start because there was a story in my head that just couldn’t wait to be told. This year, it’s a bit different. This year, I have THREE novels in my head that are begging to be told! I’ve been working on some background stuff for them. My hope is that knowing a bit more about the characters and what each one is going through will help me decide which one I want to write. I think I know which one I want to do. One of the three seems to be screaming louder than the others.

Still, I thought I might try to get some help!! I am going to post the character sketches for all three novels I have in mind here on Lynn’s Corner. I’d like to hear what people think about my characters and to know which ones my readers would like to hear more about first. Comment on them, and we’ll see what happens!!! There might even be something special in store for one comment poster!!