Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Author Connie Stevens Shares About the Scars We All Bear

Today's special post is from author Connie Stevens.

Have you ever wanted to hide? I’m not talking about playing hide and seek as a child or crouching behind furniture and jumping out to yell “Surprise!” to someone. I’m not even referring to ducking behind a display in a store because you just spotted your nosey neighbor and didn’t want to be engaged in an hour-long gossip session. There are some people who have found themselves in a dangerous situation and attempted to hide for protection, and of course we see news reports all the time about those who commit crimes and hide from the police.

In my latest book, SCARS OF MERCY, the main character, Everett, wants to hide. He’s not in trouble or danger. He doesn’t want to surprise anyone. His desire is to be alone. In fact, he wishes he could hide from himself. As this story unfolds, Everett loathes his own reflection. He survived the boardinghouse fire, but lives daily with the marks left by the flames. While he is grateful for his new-found faith, he doesn’t understand why God would allow the disfiguring scars, and he assumes he is destined to live a solitary existence.

We all live with scars—some are physical and visible. Others are emotional and known only to us. Regardless of whether other people can see our scars, human instinct drives us to hide those scars from the world. There is a deep, indwelling longing within us to be perfect, and when we aren’t, misplaced shame and humiliation compels us to seek a refuge. But where do we go to hide? Do we build a wall around ourselves? Do we withdraw from people? Sometimes painful experiences can motivate us to do that. It’s a defensive mechanism many of us have used at one time or other. Whatever our purpose, such actions always result in the same thing—loneliness.

In SCARS OF MERCY, Everett’s refuge was self-imposed solitude. Despite his loneliness, he might have been content to shut himself off from the world except for one thing—Tillie O’Dell. This feisty young woman sees Everett’s scars as noble and heroic, and she wishes she could make him see himself the way she does—the way God does. In trying to do so, she finds herself falling in love with Everett, changed from the hurtful, arrogant man he was to one redeemed and restored. This is much the way God sees us when we give ourselves over to Him.

I am reminded of the story in Jeremiah, chapter eighteen, in which the prophet went down to the potter’s house and watched the potter working on a vessel. But the vessel was marred—flawed—in the hands of the potter. So he started over again and remade the vessel into one of beauty and usefulness. This is a story of hope and second chances. The potter didn’t destroy or discard the clay. He reworked it. The flaw didn’t matter because the potter knew how to work around it. There was no need to hide the flawed vessel because the potter made it beautiful.

SCARS OF MERCY is a love story, but not just between Everett and Tillie. This story is an invitation to see God’s mighty, unwavering love for us, and how He wants us to hide ourselves in Him. Scars--whether visible or invisible, real or imagined, physical or emotional or spiritual--don’t have to be debilitating, because we have a God who hides us in the hollow of His hand.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You
are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light
about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You.
But the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Psalm 139: 7-12 (NKJV)

SCARS OF MERCY releases this month with Heartsong Presents, and is the third book in the Willow Creek series.

Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-eight years, John, and one cantankerous kitty. She and John are active in a variety of capacities in their home church. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, sewing, reading, browsing antique stores, and collecting teddy bears. An avid Atlanta Braves fan, don’t call her while there is a game on. Visit Connie’s website at www.conniestevenswrites.com

Everett Behr turns away from people to hide his disfiguring scars. A budding friendship with Tillie O’Dell eases his loneliness, but asking her to endure the humiliation of being with someone like him is out of the question. Tillie sees past Everett’s scars to his heart. His courage and compassion make him a man of character, but how can she convince Everett his scars are beautiful to her?

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Scars of Mercy, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, August 29th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!


Lauralee Bliss said...

Wonderful title and great cover. I'm sure the book is even better! So sad Heartsong is closing.


Judy said...

Connie, congrats on being married for 38 years! Without God that is nearly impossible. I love hearing about marriage and lasting love for couples.

I think the cover is adorable. It reminds me of me and my husband!

You are a new author to me and I can't wait to read your books! It sounds like you are putting your God given talent to good use! Praise Him for that. Good Christian reading. Love it!

I would love to win a copy of "Scars of Mercy". Thanks for the giveaway.

karenk said...

a great posting...thanks for the chance to read this story :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Erica Vetsch said...

Beautiful! I love the title, the premise, the book cover, and the truth expressed here.


Raquel Byrnes said...

This was so sweet and uplifting! The cover is so heartwarming. Love the colors and dreamy quality.


Charlotte said...
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