Calming the Storm was my debut novel, released in August of 2014. Brandon and Rachel's story came together over the course of many years before I chose to focus on my writing and make it one of my priorities. But even when I would put it on the back burner for a while, the story was always close to my heart.
In Calming the Storm, Rachel faces a number of challenges. Her sister is killed in an accident and she's left to raise her young niece, Kendra, all on her own. She has no job and soon, they won't have a place to live, either. On top of all that, some distant relatives of her niece's father want to get custody. With no home and no job, Rachel knows keeping Kendra is going to be a long-shot, but she's the only family Rachel has left.
At this point, Rachel's feeling more than a little overwhelmed, she feels like she's drowning and fast.
I think we've all felt that way at some point in our lives. If you're like me, it's been more than once. I feel like I'm huddled on a little lifeboat in the middle of a giant ocean while a storm rages around me. Every time I think I'm making progress in one direction, the waves crash into my boat. I'm tossed around, confused all over again, and just praying I don't drown in the process.
It can seem pointless and never-ending. And very lonely.
Finally, the storm clears and my little lifeboat approaches the shoreline. I crawl onto the sand and collapse, exhausted.
"God, why did I have to go through that? Where were You?"
"I was with you all along, child."
I blink. Didn't He just see what I went through here? "Then why didn't You just say a word and calm the storm? All that time I spent at the mercy of the waves... Why didn't you spare me?"
"Did your boat capsize? Did it break apart into pieces against a rock in the ocean?"
"Ummm. Well, no." I pull myself to my feet and look around me.
"Are you not on land now instead of still waiting in the middle of the ocean?"
The sky is blue and the sun warms my shoulders. Green trees line the beach, ripe fruit hanging from their branches. And not far away, I can see fresh water glistening. It wasn't what I'd expected or planned, but it's looking pretty good right now. "You're right. I am on land now. But why the storm? Why couldn't I just row here and be done with it?"
I'm pretty sure I heard God chuckle.
"If you'd had clear weather the whole way, and rowed in the direction you wanted to go, you'd be in a very different place. If it weren't for that storm, you wouldn't be where you stand now."
Understanding begins to dawn. "Then you were watching me while I was being tossed around in the storm."
"No, I was holding you. I may not have calmed the storm, but I was there with you. To help calm you as you traveled through it."
Tears flooded to my eyes. "Thank you."
"I love you, my child."
When I look back on every challenge I've faced in my life, I can see the truth in this. Whether it's the loss of a loved one, our struggles with infertility, illness, or just days I feel overwhelmed, I always come out on the other side. I may be exhausted, and I may not be where I thought I should have ended up, but there are always blessings and experiences to be thankful for. Ones I never would have recognized if I hadn't gone through that particular storm in the first place.
If you're going through a storm like that in your life, remember that you're not alone. God may not be calming this storm you're battling, but He's holding you close until it passes.
Calming the Storm
is on sale for $0.99
now through March 16
A marriage of convenience isn't exactly what Rachel Peters had in mind.
What else can she do if she wants to raise her young niece, and give her a more stable home than she and her sister grew up in? Rachel is at risk of losing custody of her last blood relative, and she needs to prove she can provide for her niece and raise her in a nurturing environment.
Professor Brandon Barlow is invested in his college students’ lives, wanting to ensure their success. When it is clear that Rachel is struggling, he takes a personal interest in trying to help her. But can he keep his heart from getting involved in the process?
Brandon reaches out to Rachel as he tries to break through the walls she has built up over the years. With love and patience, Brandon hopes to help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she isn't always alone.