by Elizabeth Ludwig
Seth Michael Ludwig.
I like to say my son’s name every now and then. It reminds me that he was real—that for three months and nineteen days, he was a part of my life.
The details of Seth’s death are foggy to me. Perhaps as some sort of defense mechanism, my mind has blocked out the more painful memories. I remember calling his name, in a quiet tone of voice so as not to startle him. At last, I put my hand to his back. That was the first moment that I knew something was dreadfully wrong…
I penned those words a long time ago—almost twenty-two years now. I never imagined that they would come back to me all these years later. Nor did I know when I set out to write a series of Historical/Romantic Suspense books for Bethany House that I would be writing about grief.
I knew I’d be venturing onto unproven ground—combining Historical Romance with Romantic Suspense. I spent numerous conversations with the marketing gurus trying to figure out the best way to promote these books. We talked about cover designs, titles that invoked a feeling of romance and suspense, even colors for my website, and for many weeks, marketing was my focus.
But as He often does, God had bigger plans, though He waited until all three books were written to reveal that information to me.
“What are these books about?” an interviewer asked. “Besides the romance and suspense, what would you say is the theme?”
Normally, I do all right in an impromptu interview, but the answer that rose to my lips surprised even me.
“Grief,” I said. “These books are about losing someone you love and finding the faith to go on.”
“Grief? Isn’t that sort of an odd theme for a romance?”
I shook my head. “Not really. True love, the kind that God gives, always involves sacrifice.”
After I’d had time to ponder that conversation, I realized deep down what I’d always known to be true. These books are about loss, but not the crippling, demoralizing, paralyzing kind. They’re about cutting away everything that hinders us from relying fully and completely upon Jesus. They’re about entrusting the people and things we love most in the world to Him. And they’re about learning to cast aside every unspoken fear and throwing ourselves on the infinite grace and mercy of the Savior.
Is there anything more beautiful, or more difficult, than that?
Like my characters, I lived through the death of a parent when my mother-in-law went to be with the Lord. And I understood the passing of a sibling when my mother found the courage to tell me of her miscarriage. Most devastating of all, I learned what it means to have my faith tried through the loss of a child. I experienced the guilt—the grief-driven condemnation that I poured upon myself—and the despair that threatened to wipe away every trace of hope and faith I knew.
But it was also through these trials that I learned what it means to have a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Over time, I tasted the goodness, grace and comfort of my Savior. I sensed His presence as never before. I learned to cling again to the promises of His Word. And I learned that love…true love…looks forward. It hopes. It heals. It gives sacrificially. Most importantly, it is modeled after the love the Father has for each one of us.
Was it not Jesus who said, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
And did He not, by His own example, demonstrate to us the beauty, the absolute purity, of unconditional, sacrificial love?
“These books are about grief,” I told the interviewer, “about losing someone you love and finding the faith to go on.”
What I forgot to add, but what I hope every reader finds within the pages of my novels, is that we never go on alone. It is with the Lover of our souls at our side…encouraging, urging, and always…always loving.
Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of No Safe Harbor and Dark Road Home, Books One and Two in the popular Edge of Freedom series. Her literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com. Contact Elizabeth: HERE