Tuesday, June 12, 2012

God Had More Than a Novel in Mind

Guest post by Jennifer Slattery.

Life is full of never-intendeds. I never intended to go to El Salvador. If not for the persistent nagging … uh … encouragement of my husband, I never would’ve boarded the plane. I hate, hate, hate to fly. Actually, it’s not the flying I hate so much as the constant awareness that I could spiral to my death at any moment. But hey, at least I’d go fast, right? Minus the free fall.

I never intended to eat papusas, iguana, and fish with it’s head—and eyeballs—still attached. Okay, so I never actually ate the iguana, but I kissed the man who did (my husband).

I never intended to fall in love with an orphanage full of giggling girls who loved nail polish, futbal, and dulce (candy).

I certainly never intended to write a novel that mirrored my phobia-ridden experience.

But you can’t spend time among the “least of these” and walk away unchanged.

While in El Salvador, a story began to unfold. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. And yet, could I pull it off? What did I know about El Salvadoran culture? I’d been there a week! But I sensed God wanted this story written, so when I returned home, I found help and started what turned out to be gut-wrenching research.

Sitting in my air-conditioned office, with a full belly and access to all I could need, I read articles on extreme poverty. I read reports of child labor and sex-trafficking. Of families living on top of garbage dumps and children sleeping in the streets.

Children, like my daughter, and like the sweet, giggling orphan girls I fell in love with—28 girls who would one day age out of the system.

Closing my computer, I went on a long walk. Broken, I poured my heart out to God. “Why did You show me all this?” I wanted to know. “What can I do? Surely you didn’t break my heart just so I could write a book about it, because that’s not enough!”

I wanted to DO something! Only the problem seemed so immense, I felt powerless. How could I begin? And would it even matter? Seriously, what could a Midwestern housewife do?

Even more frustrating was the fact that God seemed to remain silent, and yet, in His silence, I sensed His heart. He had shown me but a small part of what He sees every day. What must He feel, as a Father, listening to the cries of His children while watching the rest of us live in abundance? If only there was a way to redistribute things—to make a tangible difference in the lives of the impoverished. To break this devastating cycle of generational poverty.

A few days later, God sent me an answer via a Facebook post. The post linked to a Fair Trade organization that was making a positive difference in the lives of the impoverished. I realized I could help these organizations help others by changing the way I shopped!

Suddenly, the problem didn’t seem so enormous because now I knew how to be part of the solution. A small part, perhaps, but God showed me I wasn’t alone.

You see, we’re all part of to Christ’s body, and each of us has a role. God has countless others doing their part, working together in seemingly small ways, which combined, produces huge results. Results like freedom for the oppressed, food for the hungry, and hope for the hopeless.

And today, I invite you to join me. It’s a big, sin-filled world out there, but with God’s help, we CAN make a difference. And you can start now by helping me win a charity makeover contest.

Pop by the Mary Kay website and voting for my not-so-lovely mug shot. If I win, Mary Kay will donate a total of $5,500 to two orphan ministries, GoThreads (http://gothreads.org/) and the Raining Season (http://www.therainingseason.org/). As an added incentive, Mary Kay consultant Sharilyne Cochrane is giving away $10 gift certificates and free makeovers (in person or via Skype) to everyone who votes then lets us know they did so in the comments of this post.

Jennifer Slattery lives in the Midwest with her husband of sixteen years and their fourteen year old daughter. She’s passionate about seeing lives changed by the radical love of Christ and prays to be a grace and truth filled ambassador for Christ. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, Internet CafĂ© Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. She’s also written for numerous publications and has placed in numerous writing contests. Connect with her on Facebook to find out more.

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local food movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughter.

Her first published work, a novella, was released in the collection Rainbow's End from Barbour Books in May 2012. Visit her website and blog to glimpse inside her world.

Interested in more about fair trade foods? Jennifer guest posted Who's the Oppressor? on Valerie's blog yesterday.

So what are you waiting for? Scoot over and vote for Jennifer, knowing your ballot will make a real difference in the lives of orphans. Then come back here to this post and leave a comment to claim your Skype makeover from a Mary Kay consultant. Thanks!


  1. I've voted, but I don't want a make-over -- it's too late! Thanks to Jennifer for her compassion and her determination to help.

  2. I voted too, but don't need a make-over. My daughter sells Mary Kay. I love the way God has given you a passion for these girls. May he use you in a powerful way.

  3. Alice and LeAnne, thanks for your vote. Did you ladies want the $10 gift card? Sharyline's giving one away to EACH voter. :)

    Valerie, thanks for having me!

  4. Sure. I can use the gift card. Thanks

  5. Hi Jennifer, I voted too :) There are so many needs and it can seem overwhelming - it's great to see you've found a way to make a difference. I'm in Australia so please gift the makeover and gift voucher to someone who will appreciate it. Thanks!

  6. I voted, too, and forgot to mention it. Thanks, Jennifer! I don't need the giftcard either. Some might say I need the makeover, but I'll pass.