Overview: A woman meant to serve, a child in the dark, a man standing apart—can these three souls embrace a God with new plans for them?
On a small Kansas farm, Christina Willems lovingly shepherds a group of poor and displaced individuals who count on her leadership and have come to see the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor as their home. But when a fire breaks out in the kitchen leaving the house uninhabitable, she must scramble to find shelter for all in her care, scattering her dear “family.”
With no other options, Christina is forced to approach Levi Jonnson, a reclusive mill owner, to take in a young blind boy named Tommy Kilgore. Levi agrees with reluctance but finds himself surprised by the bond that quickly grows between him and Tommy. As obstacles to repairing the farm pile up against Christina, she begins to question her leadership ability and wonders if she can fulfill the mission to which she's dedicated her life. And when an old adversary challenges Christina, will she find an unlikely ally—or more—in the aloof Levi? Can Levi reconcile with the rejection that led to his hermit-like existence and open his heart and life to something more, especially a relationship with a loving God?
"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." - Proverbs 16:9
My Review: Wow! What a sweet, sweet story! Kim Vogel Sawyer has such a way with words. All of her books leave me feeling happy and more secure in my faith. Christina Willems has been a servant of the Lord her whole life. All she knows is giving of herself to others. And she loves it. She is fiercely protective of her residents at the poor farm and is absolutely devastated when the fire causes them to be dispersed amongst the town. Can her faith help her through this rough time? Levi Jonnson doesn't want anything to do with anyone. He thinks he is saving himself from more hurt and heartache by hiding away himself. So why does he allow Christina to talk him into taking on the care of Tommy? And how did he let Tommy - and Christina - slip past the wall he had built around his heart?
The story line was fantastic! As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer makes the characters emotions jump from the page. After several things go wrong, Christina begins to doubt her life's work and dedication. She also begins to question her faith in God. As the story progresses, we see Christina's struggle to maintain her faith in herself, as well. Her father gives her some good advice, that she doesn't take to heart immediately: "When in doubt, Christina, go to the Father. He alone has the answers to life's ponderings." "Worry is telling God you don't trust him." Levi's struggle is more internal, but no less real. The romance is very subtly done, and super sweet! The side stories of Cora and Tommy add an amazing depth to story as a whole. When Cora comes to know the Lord as her saviour, you rejoice right along with Ma Creeger.
The main message of the story, simply stated in the book, is this: "Whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God." Sometimes it's hard to remember, especially when praise for your good works is coming in, to give thanks and praise to the One who gives you the ability to do those works. And the testing of your faith only makes you stronger. God didn't promise the road would be easy, but He did promise that "no matter how dark the night, God's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness."
**I received a free copy of this book as part of the WaterBrook Multnomah Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.**
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