top of page
  • Writer's picturemtlmagazine

Intersection Column | We Are Not Alone



by Pepper Basham

 

Historical murder mystery romantic comedy?

 

Yeah, that’s a lot of words to describe my Freddie and Grace Mystery series, but all those words make up the “heart” of this series as a married amateur-sleuthing duo find themselves in various unexpected adventures. With a hint of a more lighthearted Agatha Christie, this series looks at relationships, faith, forgiveness and courage while wrapped in the guise of a humorous tale of mystery and mayhem.

 

But how can such a set of stories so disconnected from our present day impact us?

 

C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we are not alone.”

 

Stories provide a look into characters’ lives and how those same fictional people worked through very nonfictional difficulties. Fear, loneliness, hurt, grief, brokenness are not merely emotions for characters on a page but are real reactions and consequences we all understand in various ways…because life in a fallen world is hard.

 

In my most recent release, book three of The Juliet Code, there are several elements from my own experiences incorporated into Freddie and Grace’s adventures, but one in particular was Grace’s struggle with faith after almost dying in book two. The trauma from her near-death experience leads to Grace having night terrors, a very real possibility after any sort of trauma.

 

Frederick, her darling husband, comforts Grace by not only listening to her fears but also reminding her of truths. He tells Grace that she is not alone, not only sharing stories from others he knew who had similar experiences, but also becoming vulnerable to her about his own fears. This sense of not being alone gave me hope when I experienced panic attacks in the past by reminding me that other people had felt this fear and overcome.

 

Another thing Freddie does to comfort Grace is remind her that her fear is an overarching sense of a human’s response to tragedy. I have the tendency to try to just push through the pain or fear, but wounds have real human consequences because we are mortal, so Grace’s physical response is not a sign of lack of faith or weakness. Her response is a very real sense that something so uncommon, extreme and/or tragic had happened to her that her body wasn’t prepared to handle. So…her body is responding in an “extreme” way.

 

Grace’s struggle with the idea that she must not be “trusting God enough” because she has these attacks reflects my own heart struggle when I first started experiencing panic attacks. But, like Freddie shares with Grace, I had to remind myself of truth. Because we live in such a hard and sinful world, we must bear the consequences of not only our own behavior, but the hurtful and, maybe even evil behavior of others, and those wounds sometimes leave scars behind.

 

But Freddie and Grace do not leave the conversation there. The real point within Frederick’s advice is that we are God’s and our lives are in His capable and loving hands. Words without truth have no power for broken and hurting souls, but God’s Word brings comfort and the power to bring peace. Being reminded that our lives are in His hands, our days are preciously written in His book, each second of the universe must bow to His authority, and He is working all things for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory is a call for our tremulous hearts to find peace.

 

I love to also remember that just as we can read fiction to know we are not alone in our heartache, we can also see what God does through the characters’ lives for their own good and the good of others. We find characters overcoming, becoming braver, securing their identities in Christ, embracing the power of forgiveness, celebrating the grace of second chances, healing through unimaginable brokenness and basking in the beauty of love. And in Christian fiction, these stories reflect the greater Story of the Bible, so that they’re not merely powerless words on a page but represent the Author’s heart for His people no matter what they face, what they feel or where they are.

 

Our fictional friends may only have power to relate to us, but, as Christians, our Heavenly Father promises actual faithfulness for eternity. All our fears and scars find ultimate healing in Him.

 

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

 

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28

 

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” Psalm 23:4

 

We are not alone.

 

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance “peppered” with grace and humor. Writing both historical and contemporary novels, she loves to incorporate her native Appalachian culture and/or her unabashed adoration of the UK into her stories. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she is a wife, mom to five great kids, a speech-language pathologist and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats and Jesus. With over 20 published books, Pepper is constantly humbled and grateful to get to create more stories to bring hope and joy to readers. Speaking of readers, she loves to connect through social media outlets like Facebook & Instagram. You can learn more about Pepper and her books on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com.

 

About the Book

Frederick and Grace Percy finally make it to Italy to enjoy a delayed honeymoon and explore the beauties of the historic city of Venice. To their surprise, their friend, Detective Jack Miracle, is also in the city, investigating a series of art heists starting at the house of eccentric millionaire, Laraby Covington. Drawn into a world of boat races, mysterious houses and parties of the rich and unusual in Venice, Frederick and Grace learn of the existence of the Juliet paintings, which are rumored to hold a secret code to an underground vault of similarly treasured artwork.

 

Did You Know?


Emotions—such as fear, worry and anxiety—can be stored in our bodies, adding to the stress and making it more difficult to process what we’re feeling, no matter our age. But there are steps we can take to help our bodies release that emotional tension:

 

  • Step away for a break. The noise and chaos of the world can amplify emotional stress. Find a comfortable spot in a cool, quiet, dark place. Curl up with a warm or weighted blanket. (Children may appreciate a favorite lovey.) Allow yourself to rest in the Father.

  • Get moving. Movement loosens muscle tension and helps our brains to focus better. Go for a walk, a run or a swim. Do some stretching. Whack a tennis ball against the wall. Get up and dance to your favorite playlist. If a little one (or a big!) is struggling with anxiety, go for a family walk. Avoid talking about the worry during this time. Instead, actively practice gratitude and simply enjoy being together.

  • Soak it out. Taking a hot bath is a well-researched intervention for relieving the muscle tension of anxiety and fears. Let this be a time of intentional relaxation, keeping thoughts positive and prayerful.

 

Jesus knew this world’s stresses would take their toll on hearts, minds and bodies. So let’s allow ourselves to accept His invitation to come to Him, with all our burdens, and find rest.

 

-Michelle Nietert, LPC-S, and Tama Fortner, God, I Feel Scared 

 

Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore


“I absolutely love shopping at Christian bookstores! I enjoy supporting businesses that are supporting Christians to bring the Word of God to a hurting, lost world. I also love my local bookstore. I want to hold the book in my hand, feel the quality, and read a bit of the content as it makes a huge difference regarding where my hard-earned money will go, knowing it will make a difference in my life or the lives of others!”

 

-Lee Ann Mancini, Raising Kids to Follow Christ 

74 views
bottom of page