On the surface, nothing seems to change in this dull town-yet God always works beneath the surface. As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation after a scandal involving her parents.
Thirteen years later, her interest in an attractive single minister is bitterly opposed - unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside down.
Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness, and restoration, Varina Denman's contemporary novel will resonate with every woman who's experienced a loss of heart...and a thirst for hope.
“We simply think our young man ought to spend more time with those inside the church than those outside. No matter who they are.” (p. 285)
“God is capable of forgiving the darkest sins, and He expects us to do the same.” (p. 390)
Varina Dneman’s debut novel, Jaded, could have been taken from my own life story. These opening quotes sum up the vast ocean that divides congregations – small or large – when the spirit of religion takes the place of a heart of forgiveness. It is little wonder Ruthie and her family have little to do with the church who practically labeled them unclean and shoved them to the outer reaches of the town’s community. It is also little wonder that Ruthie and her family are immediately skeptical of the new pastor and his rather non-traditional family. Finally, it is very little wonder that the town of Trapp isn’t prepared for what the love of God can unleash in the hearts of people who are thirsty for the love and forgiveness that only God can bring about in the hearts of this very Jaded community.
The unforgiving, judgmental hearts of the people of Trapp have taken refuge in the lie of the enemy and believed that they have only the best intentions for the people of the town. The truth is, they are just trying to cover their own sin be crucifying one of their own when the opportunity presents itself. They will do almost anything to keep their secrets, including firing the new preacher when they begin to witness the powerful transformation that forgiveness begins to bring about in the lives of some of their most jaded town members.
I’ve seen this entire fictional tale lived out in bold color a few times in my almost 48 years on this earth. I’ve seen families – both blood related and spiritually birthed – torn to bits by those who allow the spirit of religion to reign in their hearts. I’ve also seen the transformational power of God’s love and forgiveness mend those broken hearts. Not without a great cost, but the healing does come in time. This is a beautiful story that captures all of the nuances of a small town and the intricacies requires to untangle the mess that has bound the residents of Trapp for decades.
It’s time to walk in the freedom of forgiveness, dear readers. Won’t you join Ruthie on her journey? A thought-provoking, well-written story that I recommend for those who want to be transformed by the love of Christ.
About the Author:
Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. She teaches creative writing and literature, volunteers in her local cooperative, and is a home educator to her five children. She resides with her family in North Texas. This is her first novel.