Jennifer Slattery is back on Wednesday Writers today. Jennifer visited last year. If you missed her earlier posts featuring her other books you can click here and here. This time she’s talking about hurricanes, which is quite appropriate as a hurricane is the inciting incident in her newest book When Dawn Breaks.
Sometimes it Takes a Hurricane
After all the times my first impressions have been shattered, you’d think I’d learn. It certainly shouldn’t have taken a major catastrophe, but it did.
When we first moved to the deep south of Louisiana, with it’s mammoth churches filled with formally attired patrons, I thought for sure everyone around me was shallow. Overly formal. Dare I say… stuffy? Coming from shorts and flip-flop wearing California, where worship leaders could serve barefoot without anyone batting an eye, I found this new environment odd. I was accustomed to a much more laid back atmosphere. Formal choir? Had never seen one, except maybe on television.
But here I sat, listening to one of the best preachers I’d encountered, surrounded by starch, nylons, and suits and ties.
I felt a lot like my hero, Jonathan Cohen from When Dawn Breaks did when he attended church with his southern sister. And if asked about my casual attire, I’d respond much like he did when asked the same, “I thought we were here to see Jesus, not for a fashion shoot.”
Of course, no one asked me a thing. In fact, I was shown nothing but kindness and hospitality, often with the inclusion of a five-course meal. (If you’ve never been invited to dinner by a true southerner, you’re missing out!)
Needless to say, my initial misjudgments began to fade, even if I did continue to feel a tad out of place.
But when Katrina hit, it was all hands on deck as everyone scrambled to deal with the biggest catastrophe many of us had encountered in our lives.
And those “stuffy” Christians… they turned out in droves. In fact, they were the first ones to respond, ready to help their broken, fallen man. Any misjudgments and false assumptions that might have continued to linger were torn to shreds. In their place grew a deep admiration as I watched the love of Christ pour through these precious, fancy dressed men and women.
I learned something that day, something I knew all along but had somehow allowed myself to forget. To quote our Heavenly Father:
“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT).
Can you relate? It’s funny how easy it is to judge that which feels foreign or different to us. Aren’t you glad God looks deeper? May He help us to do the same.
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently on sale at Amazon for under $4 (print and kindle version)! You can get that here: amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do–
When Dawn Breaks:
As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution propel her north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. However, he’s dealing with a potential conspiracy at work, one that could cost him everything, and Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. Then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?
You can buy a copy here: