||December 3, 2011
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Stories For Christ
A family's public facade of the perfect life is crumbling fast.
The stress of playing the perfect American family in public, while in private their life is in shambles, threatens to throw the family into desperation. All they seem to be is teetering on the edge of collapse, and the destruction of the family would take each member down in its wake.
Cynthia is beautiful, educated, and secretary of the church. She is an accomplished hostess and the picture of Christian love. But her seemingly perfect life is but a mirage, a mask she wears to cover the truth of her unhappiness.
Michael is successful, well-educated, and a deacon of the church. Serving God is one of Michael’s greatest joys, but some days it doesn’t seem like enough to fill the emptiness he feels at home. The children are the victims of this war of neglect and attrition, bearing the emotional scars of a love soured by silence.
Michael stood looking out the office window. He knew he needed to start the drive home, but dread gripped his heart and seemed to immobilize him. Today was his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and the kids had a big celebration planned. The last thing he wanted to celebrate was twenty-five years of marriage to Cynthia. He called it twenty-five years of endurance.
The years hadn’t been all that bad; they just hadn’t been all that good. Michael and Cynthia had married when they were in their early twenties after both had graduated from college. Michael hadn’t been sure he wanted to marry Cynthia, but it seemed to be expected by everyone else. It wasn’t that Michael didn’t love Cynthia. They had the same convictions—or so he thought at the time. They had the same goals in life—although his changed after marriage. Cynthia was beautiful, talented and intelligent. Michael was often told he was a lucky man. He knew he should have been thrilled to be married to her, but there were obstacles no one else knew about.
Amazingly, Cynthia thought they had the perfect marriage and expressed her love for him daily. Several times a day she would look at him and say, “I love you, Mic.” She called him at the office and said things like, “Hey lover, how about a date.” At home, she touched him frequently when she passed him. She rubbed his back or cheek, ran her fingers through his hair, or kissed him on the head.
Church members perceived them as the perfect couple. He served as a deacon of the church. She was church secretary and treasurer. Their lives revolved around the church, and their friends were fellow church members. A small group of friends from the church fellowshipped in one another’s homes. Michael and Cynthia made it a point to celebrate special occasions with these dear friends. Michael knew the group would be a part of the celebration tonight.
Michael walked to his car, thankful the rain had stopped, although it had better suited his mood. He drove home trying to summon a party spirit. He knew the kids would spot his somber mood immediately. They had gone to so much trouble for this celebration and he didn’t want to disappoint them. “Lord, please give me a celebratory spirit. You know my heart and desires. Please make me a fit vessel for Your service.”
The children were Michael’s heart and soul and made his life fulfilling. When he and his children were together without Cynthia, his life was perfect. Everything he did was with their best interest in mind, which was one of the reasons he struggled with the decision of what to do about his marriage.
Karen, the oldest, bounded out of the house like a Labrador retriever as soon he pulled into the driveway. She had done most of the planning and was excited about this celebration. Hugging him, she said, “Aren’t you excited, Dad?”
“Yes. And in case I don’t get a chance to tell you later, thanks for all you did for this night. I know you worked hard.” He did his best to show enthusiasm, but knew it didn’t rise to Karen’s level. Of course it was difficult to be as excited as Karen about anything. She seemed to live in a permanent every-day-is-an-adventure world.
Karen was petite with long blonde hair and even more beautiful than Cynthia had been at the same age. She was a gifted artist with a budding career. The other two kids were just as talented. Kevin was the star quarterback in college and planning to attend law school after graduation. Kathy, the quiet one of the family, would graduate high school as valedictorian. Everyone who knew Michael knew of his pride in his children.
It was the children who had kept Michael in the unfulfilling marriage. He had grown up estranged from his father and never wanted his children to have the same experience. He had worked hard to develop a close relationship with them. They trusted him for emotional support and came to him with their problems, hopes, and dreams. He didn’t always agree with their decisions, but after some discussion, would support them. He had taught them to be confident and self-sufficient. He wanted them to be independent but know that he would be their safety net when needed.
Kathy met him at the door with a hug. “Better hurry, Dad. Mom is already starting to fret about the time. She has been in a snippy mood all afternoon.”
“Thanks honey,” Michael replied, as he headed to the bedroom to change.
“Where have you been?” Cynthia greeted him angrily. “You knew I wanted you to come home early. You always do this to me.”
“I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
“Everyone will be here in an hour. You should have been ready by now.”
“Is there something you need me to do before the guests arrive?” Michael asked with a sigh.
“No, I just don’t like waiting to the last minute.”
“Last minute for what?”
“Just get ready,” Cynthia snapped. “I wish we weren’t doing this.”
“The kids had their hearts set on it.”
“Well, I just prefer privacy. I wish we were having a quiet night with just us and the kids.”
Michael went into the bathroom to shower. As he closed the door, he prayed for strength to make it through this night. It seemed to Michael that while in the bathroom, he spent more time praying than anything else. Sometimes he went into the bathroom just to be alone. When he heard a preacher talk about the importance of a prayer closet, he always wondered if a prayer bathroom would be acceptable to the Lord.
Fiction That Ministers
Fiction that ministers July 28, 2012
By Tracy Krauss
Triumph Through Trial - a Story of Renewal by Theresa Franklin follows the day to day life of a seemingly happy couple on the cusp of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. On the surface, they appear to have the ideal marriage and family, but this is far from reality. Even though they are Christians they are not necessarily happy or even satisfied with life. So what should they do? Much of the book reads like a diary of day to day living and a lot of the conflict centers around their internal conflicts.
Reminds Us of God's Restoration
Reminds us of God's power to restore relationships January 21, 2012
By Inspirational Books
So often the beauty of life surfaces among the thorns of pain. Triumph Through Trials walks the reader through the stages we face in relationships, chapters of life, and common episodes--so often, taken for granted and unappreciated. Until the day adversity rocks our senses and we're forced to take a second look, wake up to the value and often, for the first time, see life through the eyes of love. Triumph Through Trials reminds us of God's power to restore relationships and rekindle dreams.--Janet Perez Eckles
A Story of Renewal
A Story of Renewal January 4, 2012
By CBM Book Reviews
"Triumph Through Trial, A Story of Renewal" by award winning Christian author Theresa Franklin is an endearing story of the Owens family who went from discord, contention and strife to a new life full of renewal and triumph. Romans 8:28 states (NIV), "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." We can rest assured that even though there are trials, tragedies and hardships in life, if we live our life according to God's plans and purposes, He will work everything out in our life for good. Get ready to sit down, relax and enjoy this beautifully written book full of hope, encouragement and faith through the story of one family that overcame life's adversities through oneness in Christ.
Author, Theresa Franklin does a wonderful job in administering to the heart of families and encouraging families to stick together in love through this fictional short story. We all know what our lives look from the outside. But when we examine our family life from the inside, more than we like to admit, one will find dysfunction in the home. When we come to a place of acknowledging our sins and confessing them to God, God can work on our behalf. The author asks these important questions and urges us all to spend, "...time in front of God's mirror and try to see what those who know you best actually see? Are you a Christian? Have you accepted Christ as your savior?" In that, the author is asking, are you walking the walk and talking the talk? So many people profess to be Christians, but as Christians we should be exhibiting love, respect and service to our families in the home as well. If not, this book will lead the way to a new path of wholeness in Christ for families.
Driven by emotions, control, negativity, judgment and perfectionism, Cynthia is in complete denial of her behavior towards her family members. Severely affected, the husband is miserable, and her children avoid her as much as possible. Inevitably when there is dysfunction in the home, the author states, the stress can be measured in emotional and physical illnesses. Although the book is a fictional story, the author has described a very real and believable picture of how life is in our own families sometimes. The Owens family is torn from the inside out, due to stresses from the contention and discord caused by one family member suffering from deep emotional wounds caused from her own dysfunctional childhood.
This book is truly a blessing to families and the body of Christ. The author, through the use of scriptures and examples of family life, paints a wonderful picture of how life can be through the love and redemption of Jesus Christ. The author promotes family in this story of healing and encourages others, that "...love covereth a multitude of sins." Families will find solace and comfort through this book. Theresa's Franklin's writing style flows smoothly making for an easy read, keeping the reader fully engaged. This book will minister to all families that are "less than perfect." A highly recommend, encouraging read that will impact others for Christ. God can work in any situation, as the author illustrates, even the impossible ones.
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