Divine Restraint – a work in progress

Have you ever heard of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month @ http://www.nanowrimo.org)? It’s an online community who challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November each year. My son-in-law was the one who introduced the challenge to our family. In high school, he took the challenge along with my daughter. They both accomplished the feat!

Being the home school mother that I was, I made the Nanowrimo challenge our language arts assignment the following November. My husband and I joined our three children and wrote novels with them. It was a great month of discovering the joy of writing characters into existence, creating conflicts and resolutions, and sharing both new and old stories with one another. I, personally, realized I loved to write. Since then, I’ve participated in over nine Nanowrimo November writing challenges and have written rough drafts of six novels.

I love classic nautical literature. Captain’s Courageous, The Old Man and the Sea, Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, and The Sea Wolf are some of my all-time favorites. This year I’m working on a novel I began, but did not complete, last year. In this book, like so many classic novels, I’d like to communicate the idea of Providence in the lives of people throughout history. Divine Restraint tells the tale of four characters spanning history: Melanie a 21st Century college student; Erik, a 16th Century cabin boy; and Andrew and Simon, brothers and fishermen in 27 AD.

As the month of November progresses, I’ll be posting parts of the story as it unfolds. I hope you enjoy it.


After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth of the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Revelation 7:1-4, New American Standard Version of the Bible)


She sat on the sandy shore gazing thoughtlessly out at the horizon. The pounding of the waves on the shore was soothing – a familiar voice lulling her into her reverie. The clouds were low in the sky touching the horizon just beyond the breaking of the waves. Grey met grey. She didn’t notice the light raindrops on her hair, her brow and her eyelashes. A rush of cool air wakened her just enough to cause her to draw her legs into her shell – but not strong enough to  force her to rise. From the water her form blended naturally into the autumnal colors which made up the shoreline. Her golden raincoat got lost in the tamaracks shedding their needles.


The chill began to deaden feeling of her toes within the canvas sneakers she wore. Her cheeks reddened from the gusty winds bouncing off the surface of the water, but she remained motionless. She accepted the loss of feeling in her extremities as an extension of the numbness of her heart. The hurt had been so great, the pain so persistent, she built walls around herself until the walls became all she was. Now, at the water’s edge, even in the cold, she began to let down her defenses. Just as the powerful waves crested and then relaxed as they rolled onto the shore leaving a film of foam, her bitter anguish was losing its grip on her heart – she unclenched her fingers, the places where her nails dug into her palms white returned to a fleshly tone.


She looked at her hands, they were long and thin and her nails were manicured. She remembered a girl at school once commenting she could be a hand model. She looked around to see if anyone was watching her. Turning palms up, she raised her sleeves to examine her wrists. There were faint scars, hardly noticeable, but they bore a memory which made her shiver. She quickly shook her arms and the sleeves of her slicker slid back down.


Turning her face to the cabins lining the shore, she considered rejoining the group. They would be getting ready to go to the lodge for dinner. The thought of pretending made her queasy, but it was easier than the alternative. What was she afraid of? She didn’t imagine anyone here could understand the kind of life she lived the past eighteen years. Blending in was better than having people know the truth or perhaps reject her altogether. Yet in this large group of college students, she felt so alone. These people called themselves Christians, weren’t they supposed to accept her? The question remained forefront in her mind as she shoved her hands into the cold sand and grabbed handfuls letting it slip between her widening fingers. The wind made her eyes water. She stood, brushed the sand off her jeans, tucked the loose ends of her braid behind her ears, and walked slowly toward the light. She felt neither hope nor despair.

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