Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Tears of the Crowphoto © 2010 Hartwig HKD more info (via: Wylio)
When I first started writing Leave Me Never in March 2005, I had no idea the journey on which I was about to embark. One month after I'd begun working on this story, my son was diagnosed with cancer and I became his full time caregiver. There is nothing that can prepare a mother's heart for such news and I staggered under the attack of fear. To get the best care for our son, we traveled out of state and there was precious little time for writing. I set the manuscript aside for a year and a half.

Over the months of my son's cancer battle, God carried me through an onslaught of emotions that sliced deeper than anything I'd ever experienced. Several months after God took our son home to Heaven, I pulled up the manuscript on my computer and stared at it. The characters were flat, the setting dull. I didn't know who those people were and I didn't recognize the story. The insignificant issues facing the characters paled in comparison to what we'd been through. The story no longer worked and I didn't know how to fix it.

A year later I attended an author's retreat where I took a workshop taught by DiAnn Mills on how to develop emotional depth in your characters. She gave us an exercise to do. First, she told us to close our eyes and think of the worst experience we'd ever been through. The first image that manifest behind my closed eyelids was holding my son's hand as he lay in a hospital bed and drew his last breath. Tears began to burn as DiAnn told us to open our eyes and write that scene. Was she kidding? She wanted me to find the words that described my emotions as I said goodbye to my son? My pen started moving and the emotions I had locked in my heart came pouring out. I filled two pages and could have kept going, but DiAnn wasn't finished yet. After several minutes, she told us to rewrite our opening scene and give those same emotions to our characters. It was an excruciating hour, but I learned that God never wastes circumstance. (Btw, I'll always be grateful to DiAnn for pulling those emotions out of me.)

A dear friend of mine speaks on a topic: No Wasted Steps In A God-Directed Journey. Our cancer journey taught me many things - the most important being to trust God when I had to take the next step in blind darkness. I also became acutely aware of the number of hurting people out there who desperately want to know that someone understands what they are going through. So I began writing Leave Me Never with my main character's raw emotions evident. My heroine, Tessa, learns to seek God in the worst of times and she discovers her worth isn't found in possessions or status. She explores the depth of God's love and realizes her value comes from who she is in Christ. I wanted to show that despite her grief and regardless of her circumstances, God would never leave her alone, nor would He expect her to walk where He hadn't already been.

Has God ever used adversity to teach you how deeply He loves or how worthy He is of your trust?


  1. Wonderful interview; can't wait to read a fellow Georgian's book!! I learned more of HIS love last month during hub's heart surgery. I had claimed Psalm 73:26 during my Mom's illness a few years ago, and was in awe when his heart doctor gave me his business card with the same scripture imprinted on it!! I knew then God was in control!

  2. Oh yes, as a caregiver for a relative who died of cancer as well. I've learned more about God's sustaining love than ever before.

    I'm so sorry for your loss, but in awe of how God can take our worst and make it into something that glorifies Him.

  3. That was an amazing post. Thank you for sharing the exercise and how it helped your writing. Very brave...blessings.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  4. This is a touching post. Thank you for telling your story.

  5. Connie,

    Thank you for sharing such an intimate post. You have made me think about the depth of my characters.

    Deborah M.

  6. Definitely. When there is no where else to turn, God is always there, waiting for me. He is awesome like that! Always there, never too busy.

  7. Dear Connie, Thank you for sharing this with us--I knew you'd lost your precious Son, but didn't realize he'd had cancer. What a testimony you are to others and what a blessing that you can share what you went through. My heart goes out to you. ~ In 2004 one of our daughters battled anorexia and almost died. She had to be hospitalized for an entire month, and it was a very difficult ordeal for our family. But the Lord has used that experience for good, and since then I've been able to help other Moms whose children are battling that sickness. And most importantly, my daughter witnessed to other young women in the hospital, and she later told me she believed that was why the Lord allowed her to go through that difficult time. Praise the Lord she hasn't had a relapse and has been quite healthy! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo

  8. Thank you, everyone, for your kind remarks. Please know that I didn't write this post to garner sympathy...on the contrary, all the glory belongs to Jesus for the way He carried us through that difficult time. As Erika said, He takes our worst and turns into something beautiful for His glory.