Character Interview: Phoebe Christner from Kelly Irvin’s Love Redeemed
I’m originally from Bliss Creek, Kansas, but my family moved to New Hope, Missouri, a little over a year ago to start a new district. I help out the teacher at our school, but mostly I like to play with the children. I’m good at games. Don’t get me wrong, though, I also help out home, cooking, baking, cleaning, doing laundry, sewing. I’m not the best cook, but my mother says I’ll get better. Practice, you know. My story has to do with falling in love and getting in a big hurry. I’m always in a hurry. That’s what my father says. This time being in a hurry to spend time with Michael turns into a terrible thing. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did and now I have to live with it.
You learned a valuable lesson but at such a dear cost to you, to your family, and to the man you love. I can’t imagine the pain of knowing that if you could only have one moment of your life back, it could undo something that you wish you could undo. Will you share a little about how you bore the pain and the grief?
At first, I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t eat or sleep or think straight. I tried to pray, but the words wouldn’t come. I truly wanted to die. I could hear my mother and father saying that they forgave me, but I couldn’t believe it. How could they? How could God forgive me? I did something selfish and self-centered. That’s the opposite of what my parents taught me. Always but God first and others second. I knew better. That’s what makes it so horrible. I only wanted to spend time with Michael and get to know him and see where we were going. Instead what we did drove us apart. It’s been a long road back, but we’re all getting there.
You weren’t the only one who held regret and felt the burden of guilt for what happened. You mother, your father, your sister, Michael, and Michael’s friend carried that weight with them as well. If you could speak to someone today who feels they are responsible for a horrendous wrong, what would you tell them?
God knows that we’re not perfect. We’re human. We make mistakes. We sin. His grace is so deep and wide it covers all of us. We have to learn from our mistakes, accept God’s forgiveness and go on. It will get easier to do that. With time.
The next verse that I want to mention is not one that I would pull out to offer comfort to someone newly grieving, but I believe that throughout your story, this verse, though not mentioned, played a big part in how your community handled the tragedy. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you find this to be true?
Yes. The bad things that happen to us hone our character. We pass through the fire and come out on the other side, wiser, more loving, more caring, more aware of how our actions affect others. If nothing bad happened to us, imagine how shallow and uncaring we would be.
Is there scripture or a biblical concept that you lean upon to help you through your crisis or a Scripture that might offer comfort to someone who has suffered the same type of loss?
I trust in God’s will and his plan for me and I encourage others to do the same. Give control to God and be obedient to his desires and not your own. Know that your loved one rests in his arms. Your loved one’s days on this earth are complete. Yours are not so prepared to do God’s will and rest in the knowledge that He will do the rest. I receive comfort from Proverbs 3:5-6, which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Thank you, Phoebe, for visiting with us today. I look forward to talking with your author, Kelly Irvin, on Wednesday.
Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing. Her latest release is Love Redeemed, set in Amish country in Missouri, which debuted March 1. She is currently working on The Beekeeper’s Son, the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors. You can meet up with Kelly online: her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
More About Love Redeemed:
Strong Enough to Heal
Phoebe Christner is thrilled when the families of her close-knit Amish community decide to spend a week at the lake. She feels she’s earned a break…and it doesn’t hurt that Michael Daugherty will be coming along. They’ll find ways to spend time together—she’s certain of it—and their romance will have time to blossom.
But when tragedy strikes, Phoebe and Michael are torn apart by their pain and the knowledge of their guilt. As they both cope with the loss of a loved one, they will come to discover that they can be forgiven not just by their community, but by God.
A tender novel of faith and family set in the heart of Amish country.
About Love Still Stands, the first novel in the New Hope series:
The New Hope Amish. In the first installment, Love Still Stands, a group of dedicated families leaves Bliss Creek to establish a new community in Missouri. Among them is Bethel Graber, a beautiful young woman with a passion for teaching. But after being disabled in a terrible accident, overseeing a classroom is out of the question…and romance seems a long-lost dream.
Bethel begins physical therapy, determined to make a fresh start. But that won’t be easy in the town of New Hope, where the locals seem anything but eager to welcome their new Amish neighbors. Amid growing intimidation from the community, Bethel must find the strength to face her many challenges and the faith to believe that God still has a plan–and a love–for her life.
If you enjoyed Kelly’s interview, you want to read Inner Source’s interview with Phoebe Christner, Kelly’s heroine from Love Redeemed.