Sometimes people ask if I have a favorite of my Christian romance novels.
Many authors would tell you that “that’s like having a favorite child! No way!” I’m a little odd, I guess. Yeah, I have a favorite. The Carpenter’s Daughter still feels like the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit to my weary soul.
While this is a Christian romance novel, this book sank into me. Like deep.
Really deep. I haven’t moved past it yet.
As a caveat, before I continue, let’s just clear this one thing up: I’m not Sarah Sharpe. Yes, my dad is a carpenter type guy. But that’s about all the outward similarities I share with this character who has gripped my heart. Around here, we lovingly refer to any project fail as “a Jen project.”
Yep. I’m that good (read: terrible. I can’t even measure correctly. I try. Truly I do. It just doesn’t work out.).
Sarah is a unique character. Butch, (I know I could have gone in all kinds of questionable directions with that name. You’ll just have to trust me.) but only outwardly, she’s not a damsel in distress. At least, not in your typical female lead kind of way. She is strong. She holds her own in a world that is still very much dominated by men, no matter what you see on HGTV. And she is uniquely talented.
And yet very vulnerable.
Paradox? Perhaps. Aren’t we all?
The Carpenter’s Daughter is my favorite Christian romance (of the ones I’ve written!) because I love Sarah. Her struggles are raw and authentic…and very much mine. Every time Sarah asked, “who am I?” I heard the question echo in my own heart. Honestly, is there a woman on this planet who hasn’t searched for her identity? For most of us, we’d admit that the hunt restarts with every changing season in our lives. And so, in that, I am she.
I am the woman who longs to be seen and understood. I am the girl hoping someone would see past the shell I take on in life. I am the one who aches to be loved just as me.
I am the woman who wants to be okay with who I am.
But, for all that honesty, here’s where I come undone. I am the girl Jesus loves.
Sometimes it takes a mess for us to really grasp that, doesn’t it? We search for our place, trying to fit in all the wrong spots before we’re willing to hear that voice tell us what we are so desperate to hear.
He loves me.
Rest there, oh my soul. That is enough.
It’s life-giving. Life changing.
Maybe that’s why I haven’t moved past it yet. Maybe I’ll just stay.