My guest author this week on For the Reader is Pat Jeanne Davis. I hope you’ll enjoy this personal story of God’s love in Pat’s life and also an excerpt from her debut WW II novel, When Valleys Bloom Again. **Stick around and enter to win a copy of her book!
This verse in Romans 8:28 is a favorite one of mine: “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 . . .”
During the early years of our marriage, my husband and I realized the chance of a pregnancy was small due to my age. This situation was further complicated by endometriosis. By my mid-40’s I’d had several surgeries to bring relief from symptoms but with little hope of having children. The last surgery removed one ovary and left me with a small portion of another.
“It’s not utterly impossible but it’s extremely improbable you’ll become pregnant,” my gynecologist told me. “You might wish to consider an adoption,” she suggested to us with genuine interest. My doctor gave us all the information on an upcoming adoption seminar that we attended.
At first, John and I weren’t certain this was what we wanted to do, but in time we became enthusiastic about this way of gaining a family. Since we were well above the age limit for an agency adoption, we retained an attorney who specialized in private independent adoption.
I clearly recall the afternoon I returned home from work and on an impulse attempted to contact the gynecologist who’d suggested adoption. I was hoping she might be of further help. I was told she had relocated and was now practicing in another part of our state. This news didn’t discourage me.“ What’s her number?” I asked, amazed by my determination. The desire to have a family was now intense. Having come this far, I was unwilling to stop now.
I called her new number and was informed she was with a patient. I left my name and how I could be contacted. When my call was returned, I assured my former gynecologist we’d completed all the requirements for a private adoption. She promised to let us know if she could be of assistance.
Ten days later the phone line we’d reserved for adoption calls rang. I silently prayed as I picked up the phone. “Jeanne, I have a baby for you.” My heart jumped. Our physician-friend was calling from her home. I was too excited to speak. She continued. “The very afternoon you called my office, a young girl and her mother came to see me. Tests taken later showed she was pregnant.” She paused. “The birth mother felt she would be unable to give her baby a good life. After I told her about you, she decided she’d like you to raise this child,” she said with excitement in her voice.
My physician-friend said the timing of my call that day and this office visit for a pregnancy test was a “remarkable coincidence.” I knew God was truly directing my path when I made that call. We could provide for this child exactly what the birth mother wanted—a loving, nurturing home.
With our newborn, my husband and I felt our family was complete. We were a happy couple caring for our little son. But, one year after the birth of Johnny, we were to discover once more that with God nothing is impossible.
For several weeks, I insisted I must have the flu. Occasionally I considered the possibility I might be pregnant. Could it really be possible? I’d soon be 48.
“I think I might be pregnant,” I told my husband. Even as I spoke, I found it hard to believe. But a pregnancy test showed positive! After the initial surprise and joy, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How will I cope with two at my age? Will this baby be healthy?”
My pregnancy was a smooth one. Josh was a full term baby, but in breech position, and I had to have a C-Section.
“This is truly a miracle baby!” my obstetrician said upon entering my hospital room. “One for the records, for sure. Your age alone makes it extraordinary.”
Abby, the heroine in When Valleys Bloom Again, frequently reminds herself of this promise in Romans 8:28 after she is uprooted from London and forced to return to a country far from her family and the life to which she’d become accustomed. Meanwhile back in England, her parents are under continuous aerial attack from the enemy, and on the battlefields of Europe, her brother and fiance face death daily.
As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her
father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger
passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave
God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.
Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in
England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope
for a happy marriage?
Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she
would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or
that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find
happiness with Jim?
Excerpt from Chapter 3 ~ New York, September 4, 1939
Finally, after sailing in a zigzag course to evade further U-boats, the Queen Mary slipped into the harbor. Abby emerged into the hubbub
on deck as they glided under tow into the shadows of the Manhattan skyscrapers.
She caught her breath as sirens blared from boats that accompanied them and water cannon spouted a raucous salute. Abby covered her ears as three thunderous blasts from their liner returned the greeting. Streamers of red and white and blue criss-crossed warehouses and the tall masts of ships moored nearby. American and British flags flapped an exuberant “Welcome” in the salty breeze as music from a brass band floated up from below.
Abby leaned against the ship’s railing, letting out a deep breath. She tried to see herself as a brand-new arrival, taking it all in for the first time. An undercurrent of sadness swept over her, diluting her gratitude and relief at a safe arrival.
Reality hit hard. No chance of returning now. Still, it wouldn’t be enough
merely to tolerate her stay here. She must take charge of her own affairs, and not simply react to circumstances forced on her. And she must put on a brave face for the sake of her family. Lord, I need your help.
The swirling mass on the dock below resolved into distinct faces, each searching for an answering look of recognition. Somewhere down there her uncle and aunt waited. Memories came flooding in of visits with her parents to Uncle Will’s vast country estate. She hadn’t seen Aunt Val in—Abby tallied them on her fingers—four whole years. She had always thought her stand-offish and hoped sheʼd improved in the
As the Queen Mary closed in, men in military garb holding rifles scanned the vessel, their heads in constant motion. Not here too. Policemen weaved through the waiting throng below, looking at papers and detaining one here, one there. Abby seized the railing and closed her eyes. Lord, help me to see this is all working to my good.
PAT JEANNE DAVIS lives in Philadelphia, Pa with her British-born husband, John. They have two sons. She has a keen interest in twentieth-century American and British history, particularly the period of World War II. Pat’s father-in-law served in the British Eighth Army during the war. When Valleys Bloom Again is her debut historical inspirational romance set in that era. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Pat loves to hear from her readers. www.patjeannedavis.com
Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/patjeannedavis
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-valleys-bloom-again-pat-jeanne-davis/1130351044?ean=9781948888929
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Cynthia Roemer’s PRAIRIE SKY SERIES: Stories of faith and resilience on the Midwest prairie Inspirational Historical Romance
UNDER THIS SAME SKY ~ BOOK ONE
UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES ~ BOOK TWO
UNDER MOONLIT SKIES ~ BOOK THREE
Now for our Giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below for a chance to win a your choice of a print copy (US Addresses only) or an e-book copy of When Valleys Bloom Again.