Great minds think alike! Robin Lee Hatcher’s latest book shares a title with one of my WWII stories. I’m delighted to introduce you to her and her book today.
When Robin Lee Hatcher’s marriage ended in divorce, she was devastated. “I’d been so convinced God had promised me that He would save our marriage,” the author says, but she quickly learned that sometimes God answers prayer in the most unexpected ways. In the following years, God used the pain of what appeared to be a failed marriage to draw her closer to Him. In A Promise Kept Hatcher draws on that personal pain to craft a story about a woman married to an alcoholic, a woman who has to learn the value and importance of surrendering everything to the Lord.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about A Promise Kept and specifically how your own life inspired this story?
A Promise Kept opens as Allison Kavanagh arrives at the house her aunt Emma bequeathed to her — a log home in the mountains. Her marriage of more than twenty years has ended in divorce because of her husband’s alcoholism. She was so certain God had promised to save her marriage, but obviously she was wrong. Now she is moving from Boise to Kings Meadow to start life afresh and find a way to heal from her heartbreak.
Like Allison, my marriage ended in divorce because of my husband’s alcoholism. I was devastated because I’d been so convinced God had promised me He would save our marriage. I had believed His promise through many difficult times, but it hadn’t come to pass. I knew God didn’t lie. Therefore, I must have misunderstood.
But God had many things to teach me in the following years, including that He answers prayers in totally unexpected ways and in His own time, not mine. One of those unexpected ways was realized when my husband and I were remarried more than five years later. God used the divorce to save our marriage!
Q: How does your husband feel about you using aspects of your lives in a novel and speaking openly about it in interviews?
Thanks so much for asking this question. In order to honor my husband, I made certain from the very beginning that he was on-board for me to write about and talk about our marriage — which would mean talking about him and his battles with addiction. His response was, “If my story can help someone else, use it.”
Q: How much of your main character’s situation is based on your own and will readers see a portrait of the author in your heroine?
While my characters are never me — I allow them to be individuals and allow their lives to unfold in their own way — there are always pieces of me in them. Allison’s life is not the same as mine. I didn’t retreat to a mountain cabin nor have an aunt whose journals helped me discover truths I needed to know, nor did I withdraw from God during the depths of my grief as Allison does. But every lesson God teaches me eventually makes its way into one of my stories. That was certainly true of A Promise Kept.
Q: What would you say to someone who feels like God has abandoned him or her or forgotten His promise?
Hold onto Him no matter what. We only see such a tiny scrap of reality. God sees the whole picture. He knows you intimately, and He loves you extravagantly. He hasn’t abandoned you.
Faith isn’t about feelings. We cannot trust our feelings. The Bible warns us that the heart is deceptive. If you are feeling abandoned, get into God’s word and do a study on His character. When you know His character, you will cease to fear that He might leave you alone in your trials.
Q: What is the most important thing God taught you during your own period of refinement?
Not the most important but certainly the most surprising was when I realized I had reached the place where I could thank God for my marriage to an alcoholic and mean it. Because of what happened in my marriage, my faith was deepened and strengthened. I learned to hold onto the foot of the cross so tightly that I could feel the splinters in the palms of my hands. No matter what comes, I’m holding onto the Lord, from where my help comes.
I consider my life lesson to be this: Nothing, absolutely nothing, enters my life that isn’t caused or allowed by God, filtered through His loving hands, for the purpose of making me more like Jesus.
Salvation happens in an instant when we trust in Christ. But sanctification is a lifelong journey. We travel it one day at a time, and the refining process is always part of it. None of us wants to step into that fire so the dross can be burned away. We don’t want to be pruned with those spiritual clippers. But it is for our eternal good that we submit to it.
In the end, I want to be like Jesus more than I want to avoid the discomfort of the refinement process.
Robin Lee Hatcher will be hosting a Facebook party on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM EST to chat with readers about A Promise Kept, give away copies of the book and reveal the grand prize winner of a social media giveaway. More details will be available on her Facebook page.