The story of the name

She had curly blonde hair, an adorable smile, a warm way of including me in her conversations, a healthy dose of realistic mothering, and a high level of skill with a tennis racket, and now she was interviewing me for a position on her team of resident assistants in my dormitory.  She was going to marry my admissions counselor, an intelligent guy with a put-you-at-your-ease way of introducing students to college life and rigors.  So now she needed a whole new team of replacement RAs for the upcoming school year.

“So, who are some of your favorite authors?”  she queried.  “I really like Grace Livingston Hill,”  I began, but her exclamation interrupted my lengthy list of favorites.  “My grandfather came to know the Lord under Grace Livingston Hill!!!!”  she burst out.  “He was one of the Italian boys in the settlements where she had her work in the big city, and she reached a lot of the youngsters for Jesus!!”

I was shocked.  Until now, most of my time had been spent reading and running through the woods at our rural home, and usually my peers were not impressed by or receptive to my love of reading, and seldom did anyone know about the books I loved, and never had I encountered a living relation of one of my favorite authors.

I thought, “Jesus is speaking personally to me!!!!  He knew how weary I am, and He sent a message to cheer me up and let me know that He knows I am here, and trying to serve Him.”

It wasn’t until years had gone by, and hardships had knocked me around, that I began to realize that the Spirit of Christ breathed Life into Grace Livingston Hill’s writing, and that breath flowed out to my weary soul and refreshed me every time I opened the pages of one of her books.  Hers is a rare acumen for comfort and a strong example for good, and the image of her heroines, frail but trusting in the strength of God’s justice to rescue them, has inspired me to reach for the beauty and wholesome sustaining nourishment of her example in my daily life.

What a relief to know with Grace that God created beautiful flowers and music to heal our souls, and He cherishes us more than any ever of Grace’s heroes cared for her lovely girl-brides.  And thank heaven for the centuries-bridging, generation-spanning power of the cross of Christ and the power of His Love and legacy to send a message to our lonely hearts that illumines faster than lightning but never exhausts His patience toward His dear ones.

With love, in Christ forever,

your friend Jeanna

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