Intersection Column | When Someone You Love Needs Help

0 comments Posted on December 20, 2021

by Julie Klassen

Very early in my writing career, someone asked me to write a guest post about a hardship (physical or otherwise) God had helped me overcome, and I struggled to think of an example. And I remember sitting in a women’s Bible study many years ago when my kids were young, and a friend far wiser than I am said something like, “All of us go through trials and difficulties. If you haven’t yet, you will.” And I sat there quietly as an uncomfortable sense of foreboding prickled over me. At the time, my life was pretty easy. Relatively low stress. But I knew she was right. After that, I lived with an awareness, a “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

It dropped.

I don’t share this to garner sympathy. I know that most of us, especially in the last few years, have experienced loss or hardship in some form, and many of us have someone in our lives who is struggling with mental health issues, perhaps with addiction in the mix.

When someone close to us is struggling, it is natural to feel shame and guilt. It seems easier to keep quiet and pretend everything is okay. But that leads to isolation. I’ve discovered that when I’ve shared a little of our situation, others have opened up with relief and shared their own similar trials, and we are able to empathize and pray for each other. Transparency is scary, but it can also be healing.

I decided to weave some of our circumstances and what God has been teaching me into my new novel—in a fictional way of course. To hopefully bring something good from bad, and to shine the light of faith on dark days. I was also interested to research how mental health issues were dealt with in previous centuries. Thankfully, we have come a long way.

Shadows of Swanford Abbey is a romantic mystery, a classic whodunit in the Agatha Christie style, set in a Medieval monastery-turned-hotel rumored to be haunted. There, the main character, Rebecca Lane, is surrounded by shadows of the past—a handsome man who long-ago broke her heart, a brother who blames her for his desperate situation and a ghostly figure lurking in the abbey. Worse yet, she finds herself embroiled in a criminal inquiry when a famous author staying at the hotel is murdered—a man she and her brother had reason to dislike.

Beneath the novel’s mystery and romance, there is a deeper layer. Rebecca feels guilty and responsible for her brother, whose behavior has grown increasingly erratic, and she struggles to balance love and loyalty with justice when she begins to suspect he may have been involved in the murder. She longs to protect him, even though doing so makes her look suspicious.

If you can relate to Rebecca’s struggle to help someone who doesn’t think he or she needs it, I hope that subplot will be an encouragement to you. And either way, I hope you will enjoy the other family relationships, the atmospheric setting, the romance, the mystery and trying to figure out whodunit. The solution may surprise you.

In the meantime, I hope this verse speaks to you, as it does to me in these uncertain days:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
—2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

About the Author

Julie Klassen has written eighteen historical novels, which have sold over a million copies. She is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award and has also won the Minnesota Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more information, visit

About the Book

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue and romance. When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

Did You Know?

According to resiliency experts, healthy relationships stay connected rather than isolating. Shared experiences create relationship glue between you and those you care about.

  • Holidays are consistent touchpoints where family members communicate and celebrate life together. Each family develops traditions that foster a sense of belonging and connectedness. Weddings and the arrival of babies make each holiday a little different from the previous year.
  • Celebrations and reunions provide a bridge to reconnect for that family member who has drifted away or become offended. Relationship is the art studio, the laboratory, where people of all ages explore, grow, learn and experience love. Home and family are where God teaches us about Himself and polishes us into better versions of ourselves where He is clearly reflected.
  • By valuing shared time, family members pass on character qualities including appreciation, affection, integrity, honesty and honor. Though we don’t always agree, those who respect one another handle challenges as a team with calm problem-solving skills.

Whether plans are to get together physically or virtually, ask family and friends what one activity they would most like to do for the upcoming gathering. The goal is not to squeeze in every holiday tradition to the point of exhaustion, but to enjoy a delightful few that facilitate fun.

PeggySue Wells, The Ten Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make

Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore

“I love the ambiance in my local Christian bookstore. One of the employees does graphic design as a hobby, and she creates works of beauty that tie history to the products. Going there is a sensory experience.”

Angela Breidenbach, A Healing Heart


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