John 1:16 (KJV) And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
“Katrina, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Goosebumps surged along Katrina’s skin as the gulf swallowed her. She closed her eyes and imagined Jesus being laid to rest; then, three days later, being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. The tomb was probably silent enough to hear His heart begin to beat again, just as hers beat now. She opened her eyes, and for a moment, time froze. Her hair floated freely around her face, and tiny bubbles danced around her. A strong impression dove into the water and surrounded her. What was it? Closing her eyes and imagining the Savior’s feet touching the tomb floor, she knew. This was grace. Purifying, unearned, undeserved grace. I receive it.
I laughed the first time someone told me I should write a book. My name on the cover of a book that someone could actually purchase? Yeah, right.
Still, the thought grew on me, and I began to ask myself, “Why not?” I certainly had ideas, and I was willing to put in the work to bring them to life. There was no good reason for me to not take on this project except for fear, and I wasn’t about to play that game, so I opened a fresh Word document and began typing away. The thoughts that danced around in my mind spilled onto and filled page after page, and so began Grace for Grace.
Grace for Grace is a historical fiction novel set in the slave trade era. It begins with seventeen-year-old Katrina’s decision to stay in Togo, Africa after a three-month excursion from England. The novel is written in memory of my late mentor and friend, Katrina (Katie) Schwartz, who died from aggressive systemic mastocytosis in October 2017. Though I was in contact with Katie during her two years of treatment, the severity of the final days of her life did not allow for an official goodbye. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows how difficult that can be. Grace for Grace is my goodbye to my friend Katie.
In the novel, Katrina delivers and raises an African girl named Grace. Over the course of eighteen years, Katrina trains Grace in the ways of God so that the Togolese could someday become a Christ-abiding people group under her leadership. Her discipleship is cut short when she is forced to leave Africa due to an anticipated slave trade invasion. Katrina’s unexplained departure triggers an invasion of doubt in Grace’s soul as she begins to question everything Katrina taught her about the goodness of God.
The novel follows Grace as she endures the invasion, capture, and enslavement of her people. There will be no loss she will not experience, and no question she will not ask as she wrestles with the beauty of the gospel in the ugliness of what she faces.
Writing Grace for Grace has already been a remarkable experience for me. I’ve had so much fun getting to know the characters and wrestling with how they would respond to each other and their circumstances. It has also been humbling and sobering. Public school curriculum is the extent of my knowledge about slave trade in Africa, so there’s a ton of additional research required to accurately depict the reality of it; and both the research and reality are heartbreaking. Still, Jesus is bigger, and His light shines bright in dark places. This is the truth I hope for Grace to discover.
I look forward to keeping you updated on the development of this heartfelt piece. It truly is an outpouring of my heart and a project I believe will serve as a blessing for me and others. Follow me on social media and visit the Treasured Thoughts tab to keep connected with Grace for Grace and other projects I am working on!
Christ as my Anchor