Surrendered by Julie Arduini
When I surrendered my fear of rejection and what others would think and promised God I would write for Him, it didn’t take long before I knew surrender would be the center of everything I do. When my fiction life moved forward I decided to make that my brand. Every reader can relate to a surrender issue, so each of my stories has one. Entrusted focuses on surrendering fear.
Entrusted shares a lot of my life with my husband. Jenna Anderson moves from Youngstown, Ohio to the Adirondack Mountains after one phone interview. For us, we were living in Upstate NY and the financial effects of 9/11 hit our area hard. His job transitioned from salary to commission with no benefits. My job ended. We had a kindergartner and a newborn who was chronically ill. Tom got a call from a company based in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and after ninety minutes, they basically offered him the job. We had to surrender everything and everyone we knew. I’d never moved far from home. My dad was terminally ill. Our baby was very sick. It meant new doctors. Finding a school for our oldest. A new church. The ability to leave at a moment’s notice to be back for my dad. Fear? I was bathing in it.
Jenna’s fear is wanting to belong. She moved quickly and once things slow down she realizes she’s homesick. She learns there is a culture shift she isn’t prepared for. Her stable car needs to be sturdy for Adirondack winters. Most Speculator Falls residents access the internet through the library. The church dress code is casual. It isn’t comforting when the only one who seems to understand her is Kyle Swarthmore, the mogul from New Jersey. Every time Jenna and Ben clash he reminds her of the one thing that unnerves her—she isn’t one of them.
Ben’s fear is change and loss. He’s had a lot of transition in a short amount of time. To him, it’s easier to shut down, literally. The senior center represents everything he lost, and too much change. If he never enters the doors again, he’s fine with that. With Jenna in the picture, he’s challenged. She runs the place he hates. The last director broke his heart. On top of that, he’s trying to follow his grandfather’s final wish and expand the store his grandparents started together. But that means more transition in an unstable economy. Jenna’s presence messes with him on several levels. She appears to have courage to try new things that he doesn’t have.
What I loved about writing Entrusted is there is a faith message that isn’t banged over anyone’s head and yet the truth that God can be trusted with our fears is evident. I believe readers will walk away encouraged because are funny and touching moments that will make them think about their own lives.
As for us, the day we moved to the area our daughter, delayed by illness, pulled herself to stand for the very first time. We claimed that as confirmation we had done the right thing, as scary and hard as it was. It’s now been over ten years since that move. I still have my Upstate NY roots but I can’t imagine any life but our Ohio one. God has done such a work in our daughter. Our son is a teen with solid friends and a great school. My husband loves his work and is choir director at church. Had we not yielded to His call, we would have missed these blessings.
And that’s my challenge for readers. As scary as it is, I promise trusting God with your fears is the best choice. He will take care of you. What He starts, He will finish.
I’m living proof.
Julie Arduini is an author with a passion to encourage readers to find freedom through surrender. Her first Adirondack contemporary romance, Entrusted, gives readers hope to surrender fear. A Walk Through the Valley will soon be available as an infertility devotional with five other authors. She blogs every other Wednesday at Christians Read and is a frequent contributor to Jasmine’s Place. To learn more about her writing and love of chocolate, visit http://juliearduini.com. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.
Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Speculator Falls with a busted GPS, arriving in town as the new senior center director. She has only one goal—that of belonging no matter how out of place she appears and how angry she makes town councilman and grocer Ben Regan.
Her new life is so rural there are no traffic lights, and when she learns her car isn’t equipped to handle the mountain terrain, Ben’s grandmother offers her late husband’s vehicle, further alienating the local businessman.
As she endears herself to the seniors at the center and creates a vision full of ideas, programs, and equipment, she ruffles Ben’s plans to keep Speculator Falls void of change, including the store his grandfather built.
The two work through community events and shared heartbreak only to face off in a town council meeting where Ben publically rejects her proposal for the senior center, causing Jenna to react out of her fears about belonging.
She returns to Ohio where she realizes she needs to surrender her plans for the center and fears about belonging and trust her Heavenly Father when facing fear, change, loss, and love.