Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #2

WELCOME to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! If you’ve just discovered the hunt, be sure to start at Stop #1, and collect the clues through all 31 stops, in order, so you can enter to win one of our top 3 grand prizes!
  • The hunt BEGINS with Stop #1 at Lisa Bergren’s site.
  • Hunt through our loop using Chrome or Firefox as your browser (not Explorer).
  • There is NO RUSH to complete the hunt—you have all weekend (until Sunday, 11/6)! So take your time, reading the unique posts along the way; our hope is that you discover new authors/new books.
  • Submit your entry for the grand prizes by collecting the clue on each author’s scavenger hunt post and submitting your answer in the Rafflecopter form at Stop #31. Many authors are offering additional prizes along the way!
I'm delighted to host Jody Hedlund here on the hunt. Below, Jody shares a very personal and insightful connection to the themes of her new novel, Newton and Polly. If you've ever had a prodigal child, or if you've ever been one, you're going to find much to love in Jody's words. Welcome, Jody!

Here’s a summary of Jody's newest novel, Newton and Polly:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found

Now remembered as the author of the world's most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father—until the night he hears Polly Catlett's enchanting voice, caroling. He's immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John's reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever.

Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves? Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe.

Hope for Parents of Prodigals
By Jody Hedlund

Most Christians believe that if parents work hard enough to train their children in the ways of the Lord, that they’re guaranteed to raise up godly offspring. Thus when young adults leave the faith, often church members shake their heads and whisper amongst themselves, trying to figure out what those parents did wrong to have a prodigal. 

My husband and I did just about everything we possibly could to not only live out our faith but also to train, disciple, and speak God’s truth into our children. We memorized Scripture, studied the Bible together, worshipped as a family, spent intentional one-on-one time discipling our children, and on and on the list goes of all the ways we influenced our children for Christ.

But guess what? All that work wasn’t a guarantee. One of my five children abandoned his faith his senior year in high school.

During the midst of this heart-wrenching turmoil, I was in the process of writing Newton and Polly, which is the story of John Newton, the notorious slave-trader turned saint who wrote Amazing Grace. Talk about God’s timing. While writing about Newton’s youthful rebellion, departure from his faith, and eventual atheism, I was attempting to come to grips with my own son’s rebellion. Let me put it this way—the book was the hardest I’ve ever written because the themes were intensely personal and painful. Through writing Newton and Polly, however, God showed me that my son’s rebellion is NOT my fault.

If you’re like me dealing with a prodigal child, you will believe it IS your fault. You will take to heart those whispers of fellow believers wondering what you did wrong. You’ll spend countless hours analyzing what you could have done better or differently. You’ll cry and pray and cry some more. 
When the ultimate Deceiver crawls onto your shoulder and points the finger of blame at you, you will lower your head in shame.

But the TRUTH is this: We planted the seeds in our children, we nurtured and watered their faith, but we cannot make it grow. God is in charge of that. And even when God does bring about growth, our children can make destructive choices that will choke out life. 
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:11)

The words he should imply the idea of choice. After all the training, our children should walk in the way of truth, but they may choose not to. Instead of making wise choices and walking the path of wisdom, our children can choose to branch off onto the way of folly (Prov. 3). Eventually children have to make their own choices. While we pray they will choose THE Way, they have the option of going their OWN way.

If you’re dealing with a prodigal in your life, I pray that God will use Newton and Polly’s amazing story to whisper hope into your hurting heart.

Jody Hedlund is a CBA best-selling and award-winning author of fourteen books. Among a variety of genres, she especially loves bringing long-forgotten women of history to life. She is the author of Luther and Katharina, which was awarded the ECPA Book of the Year Award in Fiction. Her other novels have won the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christy Award. She resides in Midland, Michigan with her husband and five busy children.

Here’s the Stop #2 Skinny: You can order Jody's book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD or at your local bookstore! 
Clue to Write Down: matter
Next Stop on the Loop: Jody Hedlund’s own site!


BEFORE YOU GO, I'M OFFERING A BONUS PRIZE HERE! To enter, simply join Deborah Raney Readers Page on Facebook. The prize is the complete Chicory Inn Novels series (including the final book, Home at Last, when it releases in February). The winner will be chosen randomly from my reader's group members. (If you're already a member, you're already entered!) The winner will be announced and notified November 7 on my Readers Page group.