The dark places in life have taught her this much—some things simply cannot be forgiven.
Cheryl Thompson learned over a decade ago to guard her shattered heart with a veil of cold indifference. Life since that day has been an endless cycle of detachment and loneliness, followed by superficial relationships. Break up, rinse, and repeat. Until something in her snaps. This life…she can’t do it anymore. She returns to her childhood home in the Colorado Rockies to help her Nana, only to discover a man capable of thawing her iced-over emotions—a man she knows she doesn’t deserve, so she pushes him away. But he keeps coming back.
Brock Kelly lived high as King of the Slopes in the world of snowboard cross racing. Medals. Money. Fame. But after a visit to an orphanage in Mexico, he gave up his adrenaline-packed lifestyle to follow a calling from God he didn’t know he had—helping kids who’d been damaged emotionally. When his best friend’s baby sister returns to town, he recognizes the hollow look in her eyes and sees the pain beneath her icy armor. It seems God has issued new call on his life. One he is not prepared for.
Falling in love with a woman who keeps secrets is dangerous all on its own. But when Cheryl finally tells Brock what she’s never told anyone else…no wonder she is the way she is. It would take a miracle to heal that wound, and a love bigger than Brock had ever imagined to walk with her through the process.
I didn’t see this one coming. Honest.
As I was going through the final editing stages for Blue Columbine, I got to the scene where Cheryl leaves Andrew in his downtown loft—livid, frozen, and completely unlikable. Something whispered to me, “She has a story.” Probably that “something” was Someone.
Great, I thought. Series sell, so let’s do it. What’s Cheryl the Ice Princess’s story?
I fiddled with some ideas, sketched out some plot possibilities.
Nothing stuck. That was okay. I was in the middle of completing The Carpenter’s Daughter, so it could keep.
A few months down the road, my hubby and I somehow managed to snag a night on our own, and we decided to watch a movie. I’d purchased October Baby over a year before, but honestly, I knew the story, and on the rare nights that we could choose our movies, that hadn’t made it to the top of the list. But my hubby doesn’t do reruns that well, and it was one of the only movies we had in the house that we hadn’t seen. And so we began…
There is a scene where we see the birth mother. Most remember her as cold, stiff, and indifferent. That wasn’t what grabbed me. Truly, of that whole movie, what I remember most vividly was the ten-second sequence of seeing that woman shatter.
Her, the Whisper said. That’s Cheryl, and you need to tell her story.
Truth? God couldn’t have laid this story on a more unqualified woman. So I argued. I don’t know anything about this. I don’t want to do this. I will completely mess this up.
But Cheryl…she wouldn’t leave my mind.
There was nothing easy about this story. I found myself shredded through the process of research—something I usually love to do. Sitting down to write her story came with a sense of heaviness and a strong dose of fear. Still, her story would not let me surrender.
I am so thankful. I loved when Brock said that his life was shifting. My paradigm has shifted too. I don’t write so that I can preach. I write so that I may be changed.
I am definitely not the same. (We) cannot escape the demands of deep compassion. Truth. And it has opened my eyes.
Sometimes, as we saw with both Brock and Cheryl, you have to be willing to look at the brokenness and to allow another’s pain to break your heart before you can truly learn compassion.
Thanks to Cheryl, my heart has been shattered. I am better for it. Because of that, I am so thankful for the things that I hadn’t seen coming.