Author Francine Rivers shares how her latest inspirational novels helped her find answers about her own family's emotional journey toward love and acceptance.
Her Mother’s Hope began my odyssey of seeking answers regarding relationships in my own family, primarily the relationship between my mother and grandmother. Once very close, they were somewhat estranged when my grandmother died. Sometimes expectations get in the way of reality. While examining their lives (through my grandmother’s brief memoir and my mother’s many journals) I saw how they had different ways of living out their Christian faith. Marta (inspired by my grandmother) had to leave everyone and everything behind in order to achieve her dreams. She had her mother’s blessing to do so. Marta’s (and my grandmother’s) view of faith: God helps those who help themselves.
Hildemara is more like my mother who worked hard her entire life and never believed she measured up. She never felt she had her mother’s blessing or full approval though she was very accomplished in many ways. She would have said God loves those who serve. Long after retirement, she was still serving in any way she could find.
Her Daughter’s Dream continues Marta and Hildemara’s stories through the eyes of Hildie’s daughter, Carolyn, and grand-daughter, May Flower Dawn. Like me, Carolyn grows up in the 1950s, post-WW2 years of “happy days” and conformity, followed by the turbulent, counter- culture 60s and 70s, up to war-torn-and-weary present day. Carolyn survives a devastating childhood as well as rebellion and the indulgences of Haight-Ashbury. She believes God is dead until her soul cries out “God, help me” and she meets a man in Golden Gate Park. Her life transforms, but rebuilding her life takes all her energy. May Flower Dawn is pulled between Hildemara and Carolyn. Dawn contributes to their estrangement until she makes a mistake that changes the course of her life.
May Flower Dawn is my favorite character of the four. She has the best qualities of Marta, Hildemara and Carolyn, and God uses her to bring these beloved women together. We often repeat the same behavioral patterns of previous generations, but sometimes those patterns can be changed just enough to bring healing rather than heartbreak.
Each of the characters taught me something about walking with Jesus. One step at a time, one day at a time. I am still a work-in-progress, taking one step at a time, one day at a time through this life. Practice, not perfection, is the walk of faith on this side of Heaven.