Sunday, April 25, 2010

COURAGE--By Guest Blogger, Laurie Alice Eakes

Hello, my name is Laurie Alice Eakes and I’m a coward.

Whew, that’s out and now I can sit down and say nothing more. My heart can stop pounding and I can surreptitiously wipe my sweaty palms on my skirt. Eventually, the nausea will recede, but I may never get over crying in front of everyone.

That’s me—the coward. No, it’s not fear of public speaking. I’ve been up in front of fifteen hundred people with only a tremor in my knees and on TV without a blink. Put me in a small group or crowd, however, and I want to run like a mouse for the nearest hole. James 5:16 is inconvenient to me. I have to confess my weaknesses, my shortcomings, my sins to others? I want to vaporize.

I can’t admit to weakness. I’m supposed to be perfect. People will stop liking me if my hair isn’t so and my clothes just right, my words witty and my prose exquisite.

Worst of all, God won’t like me if I’m not sinless.

Wait. Something is definitely wrong with that picture.

Once upon a time, I joined an organization of women. They were kind to me, but not friendly, except for one woman. She was downright. . .spiteful. I couldn’t figure it out until it all came out over a seating issue at a banquet when I had to stand up in that crowd of women and say, “Hello, I’m hurting here.”

It was one of the hardest things I ever did, and one of the most rewarding. I learned why these women were standoffish with me. My formal dress at meetings turned them off, made them feel inferior because I came from an office job and they came from home. I could have changed my clothes, but I’d put on my armor of sophisticated professional. Armor so powerful it fended off friendship. I didn’t have the courage to be vulnerable, expose my flaws, my weaknesses. Weaknesses are weapons others can use against you.

They are also a gift. Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

I have to step back and think about that one. God doesn’t despise my weaknesses. God uses them like a sacrifice. He wants my brokenness. Does that mean if I am too much of a coward to admit my weaknesses, if I don’t have the courage to be vulnerable before God, I am denying Him something he wants?

Well, duh, if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need God’s grace, now would we? Of course He wants our brokenness. We are human. And, although some people are ungracious enough to use our vulnerabilities against us, most want to be connected with people who have the courage to stand up and say, “Hello, my name is Laurie Alice Eakes and I have the courage to be flawed.”

Christine here--Dear Laurie Alice, how your words have encouraged me today. Thank you so much for sharing this on my blog for my readers. And now I want to share what I thought of your latest novel, which was also of apt spiritual blessing to me exactly when I needed it. God truly does use your writing.

Whether a book is a huge omnibus or a slim volume, good writing rises to the top like cream. Or should I say, with the clarity of unsullied glass. This is the case with anything Laurie Alice Eakes writes, but today I'm focusing on her latest novel The Glassblower, newly released by Heartsong Presents.

With the universal truth that there's nothing new under the sun, I get excited when an author comes up with a totally fresh concept. This is true of the gentle hero, Colin Grassick, a master glassblower. In 1809, Colin comes to New Jersey to make his fortune so that he may eventually bring his impoverished mother and siblings over from Scotland.

Colin's heart is soon captivated by the daughter of his employer. The lovely Meg Jordan's soul is as transparent as the purest glass Colin has ever crafted. Their hearts are quickly melded together as Meg tries time and again to open her school for the poor children of the area. Colin works overtime to craft windows for her school, but vandalism continues. And suspician grows in Colin's mind. Who is trying to shatter Meg's hopes, and arrange the accidents meant to bring him harm?

But as love develops between these two young people, they must not declare their mutual feelings to each other. Meg is promised to a wealthy landowner. But Meg never made the promise; her father made it for her. However, it soon becomes apparent to Colin that the man Meg is promised to does not deserve her.

The stakes are high enough in this gentle romance to keep me avidly turning its 170 pages. This is a book I can pass on to a girl or a woman of any age who prefers a story without any disturbing or graphic images. I found the historical detail mesmerizing. The author has the nack of invisibly setting the historical details of the era and of the craft of creating glass into the story.

In addition, Laurie Alice Eakes encourages me in a scriptural truth without the slightest trace of preachiness. On days when my life feels dark, the characters of The Glassblower allow light to penetrate.

If you'd like to purchase this book, click hereThe Glassblower,


Roseanna M. White said...

A wonderful encouragement, Laurie Alice! Thanks for posting, Christine.

Keli Gwyn said...

Laurie, I appreciate your honest admission. I wrestle with doubts and often lack the courage I admire in others. God's been teaching me, though, that the deepest connections I make with people are through my weaknesses, not my strengths. So, these days I'm learning to be more comfortable living life authentically as a "cracked pot" and letting others see my imperfections.

Thanks for your review, Christine. The Glassblower sounds like a wonderful story. I'm off to add it to my wish list.

Jessica Nelson said...

What a good post! And reminder. Thank you ladies.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words and for Christine's lovely review. I'm still learning that people will like me if I have dirty dishes in the sink and a bad hair day. But it's not easy after growin up thinking I had to be perfect to be loved.

Golden Keyes Parsons said...

Laurie Alice,

Thanks for your vulnerability. We share a commonality - I can speak in front of hundreds or thousands or on tv without a second thought - but one-on-one or in a small group? I begin to feel myself withdraw into my cocoon of reservedness, and I suddenly don't know what to say or how to say it.
Strange phenomenon, isn't it? I thank God that he keeps working on us to conform us to his image.

MaryLu Tyndall said...

Laurie, thanks for the inspiring post. Aren't we all so incredibly flawed? It's so much easier to accept others when you realize that. Anyway, I already own this book and it's wonderful!! I highly recommend it.

Sandi Rog said...

Beautiful words, Laurie Alice! I so needed to hear them. I'm always afraid to show my weaknesses, and this has taught me not to fear being myself. Thank you!

Kathleen L. Maher said...

Lovely snapshot of a great book and its very talented author. Each interview is different, but this one makes me want to take off my own masks and be vulnerable with the people God has placed in my life. Thanks for modeling courage.

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...


I love your new photo. I'm glad you shared this.