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Intersection Column | Don’t Underestimate the Part You Play

by Jenny Erlingsson


Over the years, my roles have flowed between visible, public positions to hidden ones. When I first moved to Iceland several years ago, I struggled with the new season of not being in full-time church ministry. In my new setting, I was mostly at home, helping my family find their footing in a new country. Though my job was vastly different, what I needed to do wasn’t any less significant than what I had done in the States.


Sometimes we can underestimate the significance of our part to play in God’s story, especially when that role is somewhat behind the scenes. But when I consider what Paul wrote about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:27, I am reminded that some parts of the body are not always visible. But the value and importance of those parts is not diminished by their hiddenness.


I wanted to portray that concept in the story that unfolds between my characters. In Her Part to Play, readers are introduced to Adanne, a make-up artist who had dreams of becoming successful in her career but sacrificed those dreams to take care of her dying mother. As a result, she lost her job in Hollywood and never believed her background role would be seen or noticed.


Adanne finally returns to work, but working with John, the actor who got her fired, is not the way she wants to earn much-needed income. But she finds beautiful redemption in hidden places, and so does John. Every day that she works to prepare him for his scenes, God works on both of their hearts, resulting in an amazing transformation.


We often do things that aren’t noticed by anyone. We don’t always receive applause or praise for the gifts we are trusted to steward, but sometimes we impact another person’s life by our simple actions. Sometimes we can change the atmosphere of a room because of the One who is in us and with us.


I love the story of Mary of Bethany, who broke the alabaster box at Jesus’ feet and anointed Him.


Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

—John 12:3 NIV


What really captures me in this story is that Mary’s focus remains on Jesus. She is faithful in her worship and releases a fragrance that fills the room. How far the fragrance spread was not her responsibility, only her obedience.


We may never know how the fragrance of our love, care, nurture, or faithfulness fills the lives of people we are privileged to know. Even in our most unseen seasons, there is value in what we do. You don’t always know whose life you’re affecting and what is being strengthened in you as you obey the Spirit.


Her Part to Play is a glimpse of that “fragrance of obedience” demonstrated through a charming romance between two people with different roles, but they both have a need to be known and loved not just for what they do, but for who they are.


I hope you remember how much you are loved for the child of God you are, no matter what season you’re in. When you are anchored in that knowledge, what you do reminds others of the hope, healing, and belonging they can have through Christ Jesus.


About the Author

Jenny Erlingsson is an author and speaker of Nigerian descent. After twelve years working in junior high and women’s ministry, she moved with her family from Alabama to Iceland. When she is not running after her four kids or ministering alongside her husband, she can be found writing romantic fiction and creative nonfiction to inspire deep faith in diverse settings, as well as encouraging other writers. Her writing has been featured on (in)courage, Life Original, Velvet Ashes, and more. Learn more at


About the Book

Desperate for extra income after her mother's passing, Adanne accepts a last-minute job as a makeup artist for a movie filming in her small Alabama hometown. She's working to save her parents' legacy and help her brother, but the money hardly seems worth having to face the actor who got her fired from her last job in Hollywood. Sparks of tension—and could that be attraction?—fly between them, but can these star-crossed lovers find their way to happiness?


Did You Know?

Scientific studies have discovered that when you forgive, your health improves, including a lower risk of having a heart attack, improved sleep and cholesterol levels, and a reduction in blood pressure and pain. Plus, your stress, anxiety and depression levels drop significantly as well.


As Christians, we know we’re called to forgive because of Christ’s work on the cross, but the act itself can be hard. In my romantic suspense, Justice Delayed, my hero and heroine wrestle with forgiveness. Here are some simple steps to help you forgive for your heart and health.


  • Think about the event or person you need to forgive. Don’t shy away from examining your emotions both during and after the event.

  • Empathize with the other person, trying to understand what happened from their perspective. Even when you think they are in the wrong, it’s important to consider their point of view.

  • Forgive because you know you’re not perfect. As believers, we’re called to follow the example of Jesus, but we’re also to forgive because we’re redeemed sinners. Also, forgive without expectations. Don’t say you forgive someone because you want to change them or the situation. Don’t forgive because you expect a particular reaction from the other party.


Forgiveness might be difficult but with practice and prayer, we can become a more forgiving people—and more Christlike as well.


-Sarah Hamaker, Justice Delayed


Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“Shopping in bookstores is like exploring a treasure of knowledge and wisdom wrapped in creativity. The plethora of titles and topics and new approaches to age-old themes never ceases to amaze me. One glimpse at the shelves encourages me to continue learning. So many resources easily available provide every opportunity to keep me from growing stale.”


-Grace Fox, Names of God 


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