Monday, August 29, 2016

Angela Ruth Strong





Finding Christ in Christian Romance

I recently downloaded Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade to Audible so I could listen to it in the car while on a family vacation. One of the great things about audio books is that more than one person can experience it at a time, and though I hadn’t expected my husband to get into the romance, he seems to be enjoying it.
Saturday morning he said, “Let’s ride the Harley to a pastry shop for breakfast like Ty did in that last chapter.”
Then, over coffee: “Matthew McConaughey would play a good Ty.”
The next day we watched You’ve Got Mail where he compared Ty to Tom Hank’s character.
Yes, I’m married to the sweetest man ever. And yes, Becky is a great writer. But I also think there’s something magical about Christian romance that appeals to readers.
I know love changes lives, so I broke down the power of my own love story along with the beauty of every Christian romance I’ve ever read into three important parts: 
1.)    God is love, so without God, there can be no love story. Romance, yes. Chemistry, oh yeah. But love? The self-sacrificial act of putting another person first because we can see the big picture about how our lives are for so much more than simply getting what we want? That’s where healing comes from. That’s what brings restoration.
2.)    Characters are hopeless without Jesus. If characters are flawed (and they should be if readers are going to relate to them), then there’s no way they can earn the kind of love they desire. In order to accept grace, they have to honestly admit their failures and realize their value in the fact that Jesus considered them worth dying for.
3.)    The story doesn’t end at happily-ever-after. God didn’t create us simply to find soul mates. He gives us gifts to use to bring glory to his name, and he brings people into our lives who can help us use our gifts more wisely. When two people fall in love, that’s only the beginning to what God has in store for them. This understanding creates an abundance of lasting joy.
I’ve read a lot of romance in my life. Some good. Some bad. Some Christian. Some secular. But it wasn’t until this summer that I read a secular romance and realized how empty I felt afterward. It was well-written. It had good characters and a nice story arc. It made me laugh. But afterwards, I thought, “So what?”
There was no self-sacrificial love. There was no grace. And the story ended at happily-ever-after.
God compares the bride’s love for her husband to how we should feel for our savior. There should be no “so what” involved. There should only be a “THAT’S what I’ve been looking for.”
Love.
Grace.
Joy.
They are all meant to be mine.
This is what we are all looking for. And it’s why I’m proud to say I write (and listen to with my husband) Christian romance.

Finding Love in Big Sky, Montana:


Bright Star Ranch led him to her--but will he stay?

Josh Lake is forced to head home for the holidays after he’s suspended from his job in the city, but running into Paisley Sheridan could be exactly what he needed. Not only does she board him at her ranch in exchange for his advertising expertise, but spending the Christmas season with her in Big Sky brings more joy than he’s felt in a long while. Is he willing to give up the lavish lifestyle he’s worked for in exchange for the gift of love?
The last thing Paisley wants for Christmas is to spend time with Josh Lake—the guy who broke her heart in high school—but until her bank loan goes through, she has to take all the free assistance she can get. Unfortunately, Josh seems to want back in her life again, and the town’s quirky coffee shop owners don’t help by hanging mistletoe at every opportunity. Will Paisley succeed in driving him away, or will she find the healing needed to have hope for a future together?

About Angela:
Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her debut novel Love Finds You in Sun Valley in 2010. Six years later, she is rereleasing the novel as part of a series. Book #2, Finding Love in Big Sky comes out September '16 and will be followed by Finding Love in Park City in spring '17. Her romantic suspense novel Presumed Dead releases in February '17. She lives in Idaho with her husband and three children where she also founded IDAhope Writers to encourage other Christian authors. Find out more at www.angelaruthstrong.com.



13 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your review. Have a blessed day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lucy. What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

      Delete
  2. We have Angela's book, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, in the church library. Thanks for letting me know about her newest book.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great to hear, Library Lady. My Sun Valley book was dead, dead, dead--the publisher closed, the book went out of print, and I stopped writing Christian romance. But God has brought it back to life, and this sequel has been optioned for film! I'm so excited to share my new story.

      Delete
  3. My late husband didn't always like the audio books that I played when we were traveling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you watch sci-fi movies with him in exchange? :-)

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Melissa. I loved writing it. Because I didn't used to feel this way about Christian romance, but now it's my absolute favorite genre.

      Delete
  5. I read Christian fiction instead of secular because there are so many good Christian ones and I prefer to read something that is uplifting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I can't keep up with all those amazing Christian romance authors!

      Delete
  6. I totally agree with your points! Great meeting you at conference, Angela!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I agree - we have so much more than just a happily-ever-after and "the end". Thank you for a thought provoking post. I learn so much more in christian romance books than just a happy read. I have been convicted and much more!

    ReplyDelete