Saturday, August 16, 2008

Heartbeat of the Home

There is a woman whom I suspect is an angel in disguise.

Her name is Cynthia Ruchti.

Last fall, I met her as I was waiting for the shuttle to the airport in Dallas after a writer's conference. We talked about the writing journey and her eyes sparkled as I shyly told her a new concept that I was playing with for a novel. She instantly "got it" - and encouraged me in my unusual idea.

Then last winter, out of the blue, she emailed and said, "For some reason, God has put on my heart to pray for you today. You might think this sounds weird, and I don't know if anything is going on with you, but I wanted to let you know I'm praying for you."

Very kind; but hardly remarkable, right?

Wrong. That very morning as I read that email, I was about to go to the hospital for an angiogram--and based on my earlier tests, the surgeon was preparing us for the possibility of bypass surgery. I was trying to muster my very feeble courage and her email reminded me that God was very present. (By the way, when they roto-rootered my arteries, they didn't find the expected blockage - hooray!)

I heard from Cynthia again the day before I left for my road trip to South Bend a few weeks ago.
She had read an early galley of Stepping Into Sunlight and sent this email (snippet shared with permission):

“After finishing it, I wanted to press it into the hands of everyone I meet and say, ‘THIS! This is what my God is like! This is where you can find hope! This is what it means to live for Christ even when things are horrifically ugly around you. This is healing. This is what it looks like to hurt and to heal.’ No pious platitudes. Reality Faith.”

I printed out her email and brought it along to help bolster my courage for all the drop-in visits to stores, and the television interview. She didn't know how precious her timing was. She also didn't know that I'd been confronting some intense discouragement in recent days.

Then she did something even more remarkable.

She told me about the magazine her ministry puts out, and asked if she could feature info about Stepping Into Sunlight in the Fall/Winter edition, which will come out in October.


See what I mean about suspecting she's an angel constantly on call to jump in and bring encouragement?

Bethany house created a GORGEOUS page for the magazine.

I got a glimpse of the mock-up for the upcoming magazine, and it's jam-packed with articles and photography and scriptures of hope.

Please check out the website of Heartbeat of the Home. You can also find out if you are in the listening area for her radio program at that site. And you can learn more about the magazine and access back-issues. You can also read some of Cynthia's thoughts on her blog, Splashing in the Deep End.

In the novel Stepping Into Sunlight, Penny is led to do a small step of kindness for a new person each day--as part of her journey toward healing.

Cynthia reminded me again that when we take a risk and reach out to do something kind, God can use us to make a tremendous difference. Pain, discouragement, and suffering feel like overwhelming enemies sometimes, but
God's grace is ALWAYS bigger - and sometimes He lets us be part of offering that grace to others. I'm so grateful Cynthia was a conduit of God's grace in my life through her kindness.

Sharon Hinck


Carrie Turansky said...

Wow, What an awesome story...Cynthia is a sweetie, isn't she? Sounds like she is listening to the Lord and "on call" to be used to encourage you when you most needed it the most.

Your book sounds wonderful! I am so excited to read it. I am on the influencer list, and I praying for you and the book.

Thanks for faithfully following God's call to write. I know He will use this book to bless many.


Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Carrie!
Yep, Cynthia is an inspiration.
THANK YOU for your prayers!
It means SO much.

everlastingscribe said...

I had a similar experience with author B.J. Hoff. This remarkable lady wrote a series all about the Irish and their persecution and migration to the United States, I believe it was called the Emerald Ballad Series. Anyway I read it when I was a teen ager and Christ used her writing to fuse a love for the people of Ireland into my own heart. Subsequently I spent three months there as a missionary reaching out to a people with His love. Upon returning to the states, several months later He impressed on my heart to just write an e-mail to her and let her know what part in my going to the mission field her books had.

I felt a little silly doing so, I mean she was a well-known Christian writer and here I was a little person she would probably never meet but I wrote her anyway.

Several days later I got an e-mail back, and from B.J. Hoff herself. She told me that I wouldn't believe it, but she had been wrestling with the Lord about some things and if she was making a difference for Him, which was her heart's desire.

That evening, my e-mail found her.

Working in a Christian bookstore I see the impact that authors have on readers day in and day out. I've had them impact me too and often wonder if I should write and let them know what their words have done for me. I take that incident as big fat *YES*

So Sharon be encouraged, your words matter, your work matters, He is using your books like He used B.J. Hoff's with me.

Young women are encouraged, young writers are inspired, and "So we who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." Romans 12:5NASB

I wish with all my heart that the writers and readers of Christian books, non-fiction or fiction could connect and communicate better with one another. I get to hear the stories, and I'm working on being more diligent on passing them on to the writers, but it is a dazzling and marvelous thing watching what Christ does with those who are willing to serve Him with their pens and keyboards.

In Christ,


Sharon Hinck said...

Oh, Michelle, this was SO beautiful!!!

Thanks for sharing your story of encouraging a Christian writer at a timely moment . . . and for reminding me of all that God is doing (that we often don't see or think about).

Sonya said...

Can't wait to read Stepping into Sunlight. Loved Secret Life of Becky Miller.