Today, I'm so happy to welcome one of my best friends--and gifted writer--Jessica R. Patch! She's not only taking over my blog, but she's also generously giving away her Christmas novella to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. Take it from me, this is a heartwarming story, so I hope you sign up!
Thanks so much for having me today, Jill!
We all struggle. We all fall short and miss the mark for sure. In my Christmas novella, Hope Under Mistletoe, my hero Knox Everhart thinks the heroine is perfect. She’s a widowed pastor’s wife, a single mom, and she’s still trying to meet the needs of the church congregants. To top that off, her father drinks too much and she’s constantly dragging him out of Knox’s bar. Here’s a small excerpt:
“My dad left when I was just a kid, Eden. Some days I can’t even remember his face. No brothers and sisters. Just Nathan—and he…he had you,” he murmured. “The people in that bar, they became my family. And I liked the feeling.”
Eden’s heart exploded into a million jagged fragments.
Family. No judgment, just unconditional love. That’s what Knox craved. Didn’t everyone? She clutched his black-and-gray scarf. “That’s what the people in the church are for me.”
His sight trailed over her head, then he met her gaze. “Even the gossips? It’s no secret Betsy Davis knows everything and tells everything in the name of truth.”
“But do you know that Betsy Davis gives thousands of her hard-earned dollars to help missionaries and orphans? Did you know her husband Leonard gives free legal aid to single moms who can’t get the child support they deserve?”
“Knox, none of us are without sin. We’re not perfect. We’re progress. Betsy struggles with her tongue. But she loves the Lord. So we get irked,” she snickered, “and we pray and confront her in love, and we extend mercy and grace. That’s family.”
“I think you’re perfect.”
She’d have laughed in his face if he wasn’t so serious. “I am far from perfect. My struggles aren’t on public display. They’re here.” She touched her heart. “And here.” She pointed to her head.
Like Eden, many of us struggle more on the inside than the outside. We wear big smiles, we fix our hair, match our scarf with our shoes and purse. We can easily look put together, can’t we? And on the inside, we’re miserable. Hurting. Suffering.
I think sometimes Christians are labeled hypocrites when really we’re just imperfect people working our way through this thing called a saved life. We slip up. We say things we shouldn’t. We sin in our anger. But then we repent, and move forward again. Oh, there are a few hypocrites—who know they’re acting opposite of how they should, they don’t repent, don’t care but never have trouble pointing the finger at someone else. Those few have a way of spoiling the good things about being about Christian for others.
At the end of the day, what Eden says rings true: “We pray, we confront in love, and we extend mercy and grace.”
“Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.” James 2:13 MSG
Whatever you’re going through, these words of Christ still hold weight: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
I’d love for you to subscribe to my Patched In Newsletter. And to say thank you, you’ll receive this exclusive Christmas novella!
A rowdy bar owner. A widowed pastor’s wife. And Christmas Hope that brings them together.
After widower Eden Snow’s church almost burns to the ground, she’s compelled to find a temporary place to hold services and Christmas cantata practices.
Has-been hockey player, Knox Everhart, has a reputation for being fast on the ice and with women. Except Eden. She’s always been a fascinating mystery to him, which is why he agrees to let her use the back room of his bar—with one rule: No converting his customers.
But when Eden brings the church to the bar, it offers something the bottle can’t. Hope. And he finds himself falling in love with a woman and a Savior he feels unworthy to pursue.
|Jessica and I at ACFW a few years ago. This is one of my favorite pictures!|
Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with ice-cold Perrier and adventurous trips in the name of research. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or teaching the new & growing believer's class at her church, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to wonderful dishes she'll probably never cook. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.
Thank you SO much for being my guest today, Jessica!!
When do you put up your Christmas decorations?
Have a lovely day!