Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Struggle

Man looking in broken mirror

In the Mirror Moment

Sometimes I wonder if fiction mirrors life or if life mirrors fiction. Currently, I’m in the process of plotting book number five, tentatively titled, The Marquis’ Pursuit, which is the story of Max, the son of the Duke from The Duke’s Refuge. Novels typically have a similar structure. The story opens with a character going about their normal life. Then, an incident happens to change their course, which sets them on a journey either physically, spiritually, mentally, or all three.

James Scott Bell noticed a common factor in most books and movies. Around the midpoint, the hero or heroine is confronted with a disturbing decision to change or die. He calls this the mirror moment. In most cases, the death doesn’t mean physical death, but a psychological death to an old self, a dream, goal, or status. The main character realizes he or she has to fight because there is no running from themselves. Essentially the characters have no choice but to Cowboy Up.

We see this in Star Wars, A New Hope, when Han Solo, whose plan was to leave to pay his debt to the bounty hunter Jabba the Hut, decides he’ll stay and fight with the rebels. In The Proposal, the mirror moment is when Sandra Bullock’s character realizes she is starting to adore Andrew, her assistant and fake fiancee, and his quirky Alaskan family. She second-guesses the farce because it will hurt the family, yet not getting married would end in her deportation.

We are all on this hero’s journey. Before Covid-19, we went about our normal lives, but then the pandemic hit, interrupting our normal and forcing us into a new journey—physically, spiritually, and mentally. Now we’ve reached our mirror moment where we have to decide if we are going to grow stronger, become wiser, strengthen our beliefs, or are we going to suffer a psychological death. It’s okay to take a moment to mourn for the future that would-have-been, the missed graduations, large weddings, school proms, the canceled high school football season. (My boys are upset over that last one.) However, we can’t stay in the mourning phase. We need to look in the mirror and be strengthened, knowing that God fights with us and for us. We aren’t alone and we aren’t the underdog when we are on the side of the One who created the universe.

To quote Kyle Idleman from Southeast Christian Church“We aren’t going to act like we don’t have hope when we have The Hope of the World. We aren’t going to act like we don’t know the way when we know The Way. We aren’t going to act like we don’t have light in the darkness when we know The Light. Jesus is whom we put our confidence in.”

Fire extracts the impurities out of gold. Just as how trials refine our faith pulling out our selfishness, doubts, and fears where they’re exposed to the light. The pressure, heat, and stirring things up can be agonizing, but in the end, when we look in the mirror, we’ll see the reflection of Jesus.

1 Peter 6-7“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly blog by clicking here: Lorri’s Blog.

Silhouette of man and woman

Would You Want to Be a Character in a Romance Novel?

Silhouette of man and woman

We might relish the thrill of the hero and heroine’s gazes holding a tad longer than appropriate, the quickening of pulse as their fingers brush, or the intimacy of their mingling breath as a loose strand of hair is tucked behind an ear. We might sigh with longing at those romantic moments, but my answer is a firm, no, thank you. Granted, I may have a different perspective as a writer. I spend hours creating emotionally traumatic circumstances to force my heroine and hero to endure. When they think it can’t get worse, another peril presents itself.

In The Sugar Baron’s Ring which released this week, the hero, Bradlee, must return to England with his research in time to face the dons and pass his final exams, because his father is under the presumption Bradlee has already graduated. However, a drunken captain runs the passenger ship aground on a reef. When Bradlee stops to help a man, he loses his spot in the lifeboat. The vessel, then, breaks apart, and before he plummets into the dark, swirling water, a man yells, “Shark!” And that’s just the first chapter.

If writers aren’t spiteful, ruthless people, why do we need to torture our heroes and heroines? Holding a reader’s interest isn’t the only reason. We torment our main characters because, through their struggles, readers fall in love with the redemptive story. When the black moment hits and all is lost, readers experience how hope prevails.

We see similar suffering-to-redemption examples from the Bible. Naomi, in the book of Ruth, relocates to a foreign land due to a famine, her sons marry outside of their religion, and then Naomi’s husband dies. When it seems it can’t get worse, Naomi’s sons die. Let’s look at Joseph. His jealous brothers throw him into a pit and then sell him as a slave to passing traders. Joseph works hard and tries to make the best of a bad situation, but then he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into jail, and forgotten. And then, there was the Apostle Paul, he was arrested for being a Christ-follower, but during his transportation to Rome to stand trial, a storm sinks the ship. He helps the crew and captives swim to the island of Malta and build a fire, wherein another almost comical stroke of bad luck, a snake bites Paul’s hand as he’s warming them.

snake with mouth open

If we didn’t know the ending, we’d think God had it out for Naomi, Joseph, and Paul. In our own lives, when things take a turn for the worst, we may wonder if God is punishing us. However, we must remember the full story. Because of those trials, Naomi’s joy was redeemed through her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and she became a grandmother in the lineage of Jesus. Joseph became Pharaoh’s righthand man and saved his family from starving to death. Paul had an opportunity to heal and witness to many of the Malta islanders.

In our black moments, we may cry out to God and feel like it falls on deaf ears, but don’t give up hope, because hope hasn’t given up on you. In those bleak times, we must remember the redemption story, not the ones from fiction novels, but from history, where Jesus faced his darkest moment on the cross and took our sins upon him so that we may have life and live it to the full.

Or as I call it, happily-ever-after.

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly blog by clicking here: Lorri’s Blog

Struggle vs. surrender

The Struggle is Real

Struggle vs. surrender words

With my second book, The Merchant’s Yield, launching, I feel like a mother sending my young son to his first sleepover or off to his first year of college (which will happen sooner than I realize). My nerves are twisted in knots, and all I can do is pray it will be received well. You never feel so helpless than when you have to surrender up something you love.

But I couldn’t imagine a better place for it to be than in God’s hands.

Fanny Jane Crosby, the composer of the well-known hymn “Blessed assurance,” was born blind. Not only did she write over 9,000 hymns, but her life was also an example of trusting God and walking by faith. Despite the hardships of being blind, she considered her blindness a blessing:  

Hymnals in church pews

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” (Franny Crosby: America’s Hymn Queen, Christianity.com, April 2010)

Franny Crosby never started writing a hymn without praying first.

I was recently asked why God wasn’t stopping the coronavirus. Tough question. I mentioned about the earth being cursed. When sin entered the world, so did death, but then an awareness hit me. I questioned if they’d prayed to God to stop it?

At that moment, I had to check myself. Sure, I’d prayed for protection over my family and friends, but had I asked God to put an end to the virus?

James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you have not asked God.”

You better believe I’ve started asking. Can God stop the coronavirus tomorrow? Yes, He could. God’s arm is never too short. Will He stop it tomorrow? That, I don’t know, but I do know the prayers of the righteous avail much, and if we’re praying, God will be merciful.

This, too, will pass, but in the meantime, God will use it to draw His children to Him. The virus is a reminder that this is not our home. We are temporary residents—missionaries on a strange planet. Our home is in heaven, where there is no sickness, death, or disease.

I saw written on a T-shirt, “The struggle is real, but so is God,” and I couldn’t help thinking, how true. I have blessed assurance because I know God is real. He never wastes a hurt, and He certainly isn’t about to overlook this one.  

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly blog post by clicking here: Lorri’s blog

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén