Something was wrong. I knew that now. Something was really, really wrong.
I’d just recovered from an overdose of pills, taken in a kind of desperate desire to escape the life I had: the life of a successful high-school student. Successful and happy on the outside, but battling the demons of despair on the inside.
Another student called me on the phone. He talked about God, about faith. I listened.
It was really just the first tentative step on a journey of faith, a journey out of bitterness and depression into life and hope in Christ.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I was born again. By then I had made a profession of faith, taken the label of “Christian,” but depression still hindered me. Nothing had changed in any fundamental way, except for this: I had a vague sense of where to go, where to look, when darkness squeezed me.
I joined a Bible study sponsored by a campus group. And when that group planned a retreat, I decided to go. It was a weekend getaway with cabins and KP duty and plenty of Bible on the menu.
Funny how it doesn’t really matter what part of the Word you’re in, the Lord can get your attention. We were studying II Timothy for the most part. What I really needed was repentance, redemption, regeneration, cleansing.
And that’s what happened. One night at bedtime I opened my Bible. I read this passage:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:1-2 KJV)
These verses came alive to me. I laid hold on them and obeyed them. Not in a psychological make-up-your-mind kind of way, but naturally, as if this was what I wanted all along.
I suppose today I could write about the meaning of those verses, how they fit into the context of Romans as a whole, and other details, but at the time, it was simply food for my soul. The next day I surrendered to Christ, to His will for me, and made a conscious decision to live for Him my entire life.
That was in January of 1979. I identified with Keith Green’s words in his song, “Your Love Broke Through”:
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
Until your love broke through
That’s what it felt like: I’d been wearing chains, dreaming a dream behind a dirty veil, and then it was all removed.
Back cover copy TSRnew
John Russell’s heart aches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences in background, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her? And what about his own failings?
Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?
“Lynne Tagawa transports readers into the faith and hope, and sorrows and fears of 18th century colonial America. While other books feature the raw grit of frontier colonial life, this book goes deeper and reveals the heart.” —Douglas Bond, author of numerous books, including War in the Wasteland and Hostage Lands.
“The Shenandoah Road is an authentic and engaging journey back to the challenges of settling in the Shenandoah Valley” —Laura Hilton, author of Firestorm (Whitaker House, 2018)
“Raw, realistic, and historically packed, this story will make you think. If you enjoy stories with deep theological themes, you will enjoy this.” —Amber Schamel, author of Solve by Christmas, winner of the 2018 Christian Indie Award
Lynne Tagawa, author of Sam Houston’s Republic and A Twisted Strand, lives in Texas with her husband.
Lynne Tagawa is married with four grown sons and four marvelous grandbabies. A biology teacher by trade, she teaches part-time, writes, and edits. She’s written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and two novels, A Twisted Strand and The Shenandoah Road. Lynne lives with her husband in South Texas.
Buy The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening from Amazon (kindle), Grace & Truth Books, or other major booksellers.