Amy Wallace's DEFENDERS OF HOPE series is very special! Her latest book in the series, Healing Promises was a powerfully emotional journey for me! I hope you will enjoy my recent "chat" with Amy. The Lord is using her talents in a mighty way, and I'm very glad to share her thoughts here with you today! Welcome, Amy!
-- There is a movement taking place in some churches today that strongly leans on the idea that “if you have enough faith, God will heal you.” I know God is still performing miracles today, and I know He promises His people we can move mountains if our faith is just that of a mustard seed. However, many people seem to lay a HUGE burden on the sick and dying person – almost blaming them for not getting well because their faith isn’t strong enough.
I’ve experienced that toxic teaching and it’s awful when you’re the sick one who can’t seem to muster up enough faith. Talk about adding salt to a gaping wound.
--Sara and Clint’s faith in the face of cancer stands in stark contrast (in a much stronger way) to this, because they simply put their trust in God to see them through whatever lies ahead in relation to the illness. They trust HIS will to be done in their lives. Although it is natural in the human realm to ask “why” how do we get to the point of trusting God in the face of such an ominous enemy?
Experience is an exacting but powerful teacher. Many times, the Holy Spirit has used things I’ve walked through to help me remember the truth in a current trial. Sometimes it takes a lot of difficult circumstances for me to see God is totally trustworthy and good, even when life hurts so much that I don’t want to get out of bed. And from what I’ve heard from friends and readers, that’s often the case for many of us. It takes walking through trials and seeing God’s trustworthiness and goodness that enables us to walk through the next trial trusting Him a little more.
-- I appreciate the raw honesty you use to convey the pain of both Clint and Sara in the story – both in relation to Clint’s illness, Sara’s pregnancy and the ongoing FBI investigation. How difficult was it for you to capture these emotions? Is this something you consider a special grace from God as you write? How to you recoup emotionally after you write these scenes?
I so appreciate your kind words about the raw honesty in Healing Promises. It was an excruciating book to write because Sara and Clint’s emotional storylines grew from two gut-wrenching experiences of wrestling with God and doubting His goodness and trustworthiness. One painful time involved attending a friend’s funeral after three years of praying for healing from cancer. My faith was rocked to the core and I struggled to pray for a long time after my friend died. The second difficult season was that of losing a baby before becoming pregnant with my third daughter. Both dark paths took me to the end of what I understood about God. And as I worked on Healing Promises, I went back to those memories and poured into the pages all the pain of those moments as well as what God taught me and the grace He lavished on my wounded heart. Writing Healing Promises helped me see that God wastes nothing in our lives.
I also had the honor of mixing my tears and prayers with some amazing cancer survivors—my mother and three dear friends. Their transparency and willingness to share their stories enabled me to pour their heartache, questions and experiences of God’s goodness into Healing Promises.
As for how I recoup emotionally…good question. I have a group of people that faithfully pray for me and an amazing family who keeps me sane and laughing. In addition, I do the bulk of my writing on Saturdays so I can dig into the story, cry and then walk away at the end of the day. It helps that church the next day is a wonderful way to step back into the real world and be reminded of God’s goodness and grace.
-- Why do you think it is so hard for Christians to understand that life in this sinful, fallen world is going to be very difficult at times even though they have trusted Christ as their Savior? How do you help them understand that having Him with us during those difficulties helps to strengthen our relationship with Him and gives us the assurance of hope in Him?
I spent my first years as a believer in a church which taught that if you prayed hard enough and were walking close enough with the Lord your troubles would be few and nothing like what unbelievers faced. It was a rude awakening when I dug into the Bible and saw that was clearly NOT what Jesus had to say about life down here. And I think many believers weren’t taught the truth about suffering and therefore have a difficult time accepting that this life is hard and that following Christ isn’t a way out of trials.
With my children and the youth I’ve taught at church, I challenge them to get into the Word, and we talk about what Jesus, Job, Jeremiah, Paul and Peter had to say about trials and pain. Also about how running to God instead of away from Him is the best way to survive trials with our faith strengthened. I don’t shove the truth at them, but present it and let them see for themselves what’s right. Through fiction, I work hard to do the same thing. To show with raw honesty the reality of pain and struggles as well as the truth the Word proclaims—God is with us every step of the way and He is good. Always. What we do with that fact changes everything.
I pray readers will see that the God at work within the pages of my novels is the same God at work in their world too. And maybe by watching a character stumble through painful times and be strengthened through their trials, readers will see that God can do the same in their lives.
-- Can you tell us what we can look forward to in your next book? More Sara and Clint? A new challenge?
The third Defenders of Hope book, Enduring Justice, tells more of Michael and Hanna’s story and focuses on a painful secret and a racially motivated killer. When circumstances simplify the options to fight or fear, Michael and Hanna learn that the difference between executing vengeance and pursuing justice is their choice to heal.
Clint and Sara are key characters in this story as are Steven and Gracie from Ransomed Dreams. All three of these FBI agents and their families play important roles in each of the books. However, each book focuses on a different Crimes Against Children agent.
-- What exciting things is God doing in your life right now? Any words of encouragement you want to share with your readers?
God continues to challenge me to dig deeper in my walk with Him and stay honest in everyday life and writing. It’s hard and often painful, but there’s nothing like watching God at work and seeing His fingerprints in everything.
I’d encourage readers to hold tight to the truth that in sunshine and in storms, God is good. Always. And when we remember the truth and run to Him, He is always there with open arms and the perfect comfort our hearts seek.