As you all know I love reading and I especially love talking to authors about how they write, their inspiration and their dreams. Today I’m delighted to welcome Joy Margetts to the blog for a guest post she has written about value – which fits in so well with my writing in my latest book, Valuable: Why your worth is not defined by how useful you feel.
Joy’s brand new book, The Bride, a follow-up parallel story to The Healing and The Pilgrim (see my review of The Healing here and my review of The Pilgrim here) is hot off the press, and I’ve had the privilege of reading an advance copy and endorsing it. Here’s what I think of this beautiful book:
“In The Bride, Joy Margetts has once again created an immersive and evocative story of love, power and faith set in thirteenth-century Wales. A parallel tale to her first two books, The Healing and The Pilgrim, we journey with Efa, ripped from the man she loves to be married for men’s own political ends. Efa’s story is one of not only of lost love but also of new purpose and the impact of encountering a God who loves her. The Bride is a page turner, but it’s also a place to rest for a while and soak in beautifully written words that will remind you of your own true value. I warmly recommend it.”Liz Carter, author of Catching Contentment and Valuable
UNLOVED AND UNLOVEABLE? Joy Margetts
The Bride may be set in medieval Wales, it might centre around the life of a woman who lived a very different kind of life to mine, but as in all my fiction writing the things that Efa experiences are drawn from my own life experience. I believe stories are powerful. Jesus used them all the time in His teaching, because they can carry deep life-changing truth in a really accessible way. That is the heart behind my storytelling.
AM I WORTH LOVING?
In my imagined story Efa suffers heartbreak and betrayal. She has to face the truth that human love is fallible and does not meet our deepest needs, when it comes to feeling loved and accepted. I so wanted to tell her story because all around me I see people who struggle with self-worth. They may be unhappy with the way they look, unfulfilled in relationships, striving to find their worth in behaving in certain ways (even in church), or increasingly measuring their value by the number of followers they have on Social Media.
The things we go through in life, the things that are said about us, how we are treated by others, our wrong assumptions about ourselves – all these things can work together to make us believe we are of little value. My story may be different from yours, but over and over again, I was fed the message that I was not enough. And I believed it.
PURSUED AND VALUED
The extraordinary truth is that I am immensely loved and valued. Yes, I do have people in my life now who love and accept me for who I am. But even if I didn’t I would know without a shadow of a doubt that God values me, loves me and sees me as lovable. How do I know this? Because He has told me so; it is written in His Word (Jer 31:3). And He has shown me by sending His son to die for me. He considered me, just as I am, worth it.
It is easy to see these things as truth, but not always easy to believe them for ourselves. To let the love God has for us to begin to transform the way we see ourselves. In The Bride Efa comes to understand that God loves her both as a Father, and as a Bridegroom. She allows those truths to change her heart, her life, and the lives of those around her.
The Father heart of God towards His children is so immense. He is our perfect Father and loves us so unconditionally. He made us, He wants the best for us, He protects us and provides for us, He delights to spend time with us, He even disciplines us when necessary (but always with love). I grew up seeing God as Holy, distant, and unconcerned with the minutiae of my life, but over time and with Holy Spirit revelation I began to see Him as a loving Father. I know I can never do anything to stop God from loving me, even when I feel at my most unlovable (Romans 8:38-39). When I wander from Him, He will still pursue me, watching and waiting until I return to His embrace, as the father did in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32).
LOVED AND LOVEABLE
But what about Him as my bridegroom? As a young woman I longed for romance. I read the books, I watched the films, I longed to be swept off my feet, and live happily ever after with a man who adored the very ground I walked in and found me completely irresistible! But of course that isn’t what life is really like. Life is messy, we are messy, and romance is not all it is cracked up to be.
In between the chapters of The Bride, are verses from the Bible, taken from a modern translation of Song of Solomon. They are there because they have become so precious. This book, which is a picture of the bridegroom King and his unworthy, unlovely bride, spoke so deeply to me on a personal level. Jesus loves me – even in all my unloveliness, and He showers me with His love, telling me over and over how lovely I am to Him, making me into His perfect bride.
In The Bride, Efa learns the truth, that even when human love fails us, the eternal, incomparable, unconditional love of God can never fail us. His love has the power to heal our hearts, and bring us to a place of accepting that we are loveable, valuable and precious. That our lives have purpose and meaning in Him. I know this, because His love has done that for me. I know that I am both loved and loveable.
Thanks for sharing so honestly, Joy. I know your words will resonate with many people – they certainly do with me.
You can get a copy of The Bride in all good online bookstores and your local Christian bookshop. It would make a great Christmas present – why not go ahead and buy the whole trilogy!