10 posts categorized "The Soul Saver"

The NEW Soul Saver is Out!

SUMites, I'm excited to tell you The Soul Saver is available again for Kindle on Amazon. If you've recently joined our family, you may not know that I started this story in 2008 just before my youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was finally published in 2012 and won the Carol Award in 2013. This story wound up being quite prophetic to what would unfold in my life and my family in 2008. You can read that story here.

But what I love most about this book is that I wrote it for our community, and it's dedicated to you, SUMites. I’m amazed by the letters I’ve received from readers sharing how profoundly this story has affected their lives and marriages. One reader even said The Soul Saver saved her marriage. That's God, my friends! He birthed this story in my heart and has spoken to so many broken hearts through it. 

I can’t think of a better way to serve God’s kingdom, my friends, than to impact lives for Jesus, who empowers us to do so through the Holy Spirit who dwells in and fills us. I ask for that daily. And as our beautiful community gives testimony, God works in all ways anywhere. 

This new version has some new goodies at the end, including an epilogue I think you're really going to like, and...it could be the launching point for a sequel. Plus you'll notice on the new cover that this is book one in the Prophetic Arts Series. Book two is done and about to go to my editor. So yes, it's looking like two different series will be branching out from this one book. God has done a lot of talking to me about this in just the past few days, and I am very excited to be on this adventure with Him.

So Lexie, Hugh and Nate's stories will hopefully continue—so many have asked me for that. And I have a suspicion Hugh's journey toward salvation will be symbolic of what God is doing in our own spouses, my friends. I can't wait to see that unfold. I'll keep you posted on that book. Maybe that story will be dedicated to all our spouses who have walked the same journey to faith as Hugh, 'cuz I'm thinking this next story may be his turning point. Now how cool would that be?

Dream big with God, my friends. It's a blast. And thank you for letting me share this story with you. 
Love you!

Celebrating 10 Years - God works in Mysterious Ways

IMG_0369It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later.

Fiona and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to Market Your Fiction Like a non-Fiction Pro” that featured four presenters: an agent who I knew of, an author who I was a fan of and two other authors who I didn’t know.

It was an excellent workshop spread over two sessions. One of the non-fiction authors shared a little of their journey on writing a non-fiction book about being married to a pre-believer. All of a sudden this workshop now had added meaning.

Yes, you guessed it that author was none other than our own, Dineen. Dineen, of course, is a rarity in publishing, being both an author of non-fiction and fiction. Her award-winning novel, The Soul Saver, is tremendous.

On the workshop ending, I was on my way to an appointment with an editor when I happened to notice Dineen waiting in the same area. She was by herself so I introduced myself and shared how I too was married to a pre-believer. We chatted very briefly, Dineen mentioned the SUM community and to my delight gave me a copy of “Winning Him Without Words”. She only brought two to the conference and I was the fortunate one to receive the second one. Talk about a blessing.

The Lies of the Enemy

Up to that time, one of my struggles in church life and faith was a belief that any ministry I undertook including through my writing would not be blessed because I was in a spiritually mismatched marriage.

As I sat in the workshop listening to Dineen, I was struck by the revelation that what I’d believed for so long was a lie. The scales of deceit shattered on reading the first few chapters of Lynn and Dineen’s book.

A few weeks later having read both books and explored this community’s blog, I genuinely felt a changed man. Have you ever experienced that? Having a lie that you convinced yourself of for years being zapped.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6 NKJV)

The above verse took on new meaning and continues to. Our perceptions can be so misleading. Hey, I’d carried that chestnut around for many years. In some ways I had come to believe my marriage and I didn’t deserve to be blessed. But no longer! 

God is good. Meeting Dineen and the Lord using her in that workshop and enabling us to bump into each other so soon afterwards was one of those moments I so cherish.

He certainly is mysterious.

10 Years

I joined (do we join?) the SUMite gang less than four years ago now. I’m a little envious of all of you who’ve been with Lynn and Dineen for longer. Our two dear friends are anointed. They share their anointing with us each and every week.

Reading the posts through the week is like an oasis. We all experience that loneliness of being the “single” one, not only in our church communities, but also often within our other various friendships and associations. Even though we’re mostly a virtual family it’s always special being able to hang out in a warm and safe place where there is much love, understanding and discernment.

On behalf of your SUM family, dear Lynn and Dineen, thank you. Thank you for honoring the Lord through your obedience in caring for us these ten years. We love sharing this journey with you both and each other and look forward to what the future holds.

And to all the SUMites, thank you for sharing your heart with us all. This family wouldn’t be what it is without all of our contributions.

I so look forward to reading more of your stories in weeks ahead.

Blessed to Wash Feet

3179092_sMy friends, many of you have sent me messages of congratulations on winning the Carol Award in the mystery/suspense/thriller category for The Soul Saver at the ACFW Conference this last weekend. Thank you for sharing my joy! To say that this is the realization of a dream is an understatement. I am so blown away at how God did all of this.

The amazing thing is, God did so much more than even this over the week I was there. He met my every need during this week. He affirmed me in every way and showed me like He never has before how much He loves me. I truly have never felt more loved by Abba than I do now. The award is part of this story, but there were so many other "awards" that came from this week. I want to tell you about one of them.

I shared on our Facebook page before my trip that I was in Indianapolis. A fellow SUMite, Jennifer Beckler, reached out to me to ask if we could have coffee while I was there. I looked at my work schedule (I managed the registration desk for the whole week—God's provision to get me there as being on staff took care of many of my expenses) and saw as small window of time Friday evening.

This didn't work for Jennifer as she is not only a homeschooling mom but a working mom too. I contemplated suggesting Monday but thought it might be too stressful to work out with my crazy schedule.

This year's ACFW Keynote was Robin Jones Gunn and on Saturday she told this amazing story of how a reader wrote her the last day of Robin's vacation on Maui and shared how one of Robin's book had brought her to Jesus at age twelve. Ten years later she wanted to share this with Robin and how Jesus had given her so many of the desires of her heart. But one she hesitated to ask Him for since she lived so far away on the island of Maui! Just hours before Robin was to fly home, she and this dear reader met.

My spirit was so stirred. I immediately reached out to Jennifer again to try to make our meeting work. I prayed for God to put the pieces in place to make it work. He would help smooth out the stressful places—why hadn't I trust Him for that to begin with? She messaged me back that Monday worked and we set a time.

Sunday evening after the awards gala, I had a chance to tell Robin Jones Gunn about this beautiful story and how her story had inspired me to try again. And Robin told me something so profound as she congratulated me on my award. She said she found that from a great blessing comes an opportunity to wash feet. I took that to heart as great wisdom from the Holy Spirit.

The next day, Jennifer and I met and she brought her precious teenaged daughter with her. We sat at a table with our coffees. Jennifer’s daughter listened to music while Jennifer and I shared our hearts with each other.

I heard a splash and realized her daughter had spilled her coffee, drenching her leg and the floor below. I jumped up and grabbed handfuls of napkins to help this sweet girl get cleaned up. Her jeans and her shoes were covered.

My hands stilled a moment as I realized—I was wiping down her shoes. Her feet.

My friends, even as I write this I am overwhelmed by God's profound goodness. I confess that at times I’ve still battled with feeling like I’d been overlooked or that God didn’t love me as much as everyone else. Now I truly know differently. He brings such precious wisdom, grace and meaning to our lives if we just stay in intentional awareness of His constant presence. And those tender places—He affirms at just the right time with His love and provision.

And He doesn’t stop there because He knows that the full benefit of the blessing comes when we are given the chance to share it and bless another, to serve another.

As Robin Jones Gunn shared this weekend, God doesn't show up. He's already there. 

And His love is absolutely relentless.

Love you all so very much,

Image credit: velkol / 123RF Stock Photo

News and Updates!


Just a couple of updates, dear friends. See below:


From Dineen: So many of you participated during the week of The Soul Saver unveiling. Well... (drum roll please) I've written three new scenes as part of my new e-book, The Making of The Soul Saver.

Just like DVDs have that extra disc with special features, The Making of The Soul Saver has lots of extras. Some you've read, much you haven't, like those three new scenes about what's going on in Hugh and Lexie's life now, how Nate is doing in China and what's happening with Jenna and David.

It's my gift to you for signing up for my mailing/newsletter list. This is a separate list from our SUM newsletter and good way to keep in touch with me about what's going on with my fiction writing. That way I don't take valuable time and space from our SUM site here.

Just click HERE to join my news list (I promise to treat your information with complete respect and only send an occasional newsletter), confirm your email address in the email you receive (California requires I do this), then you will be taken to my thank you window which has the link to download the e-book.

I hope you love the new scenes! Let me know what you think! 
Love you all dearly!


From Lynn: I'm still traveling and missing you all! Monday I have something profound to share about how God sees us as His priests on Earth. Do you know who King Melchizedec was and why he matters to us today? Come back Monday and be prepared to have your socks knocked off (if you're wearing any. Grin!) I can't wait to share this with you!
Love and hugs!


And the Winners are...



Monday: KarenW (email contains the letters "kred")

Tuesday: Joanne (email contains the letters "cupof")

Wednesday: Christine (email contains the letters "fly")

Thursday: Donna (email contains the letters "verd")

Friday: Christy (Cedney25)

Congratulations, ladies!!! And a very sincere thanks to everyone for sharing this incredible week with me. You've made it very special.

Our SUM community is incredible!

Love you all dearly!

The Stories Behind the Story

SoulSaverHello again, dear friends. First, I want to give a big hug and shout out to Lynn for letting me monopolize the blog this week to share this story with you. She rocks!

Second, I want to thank you again for sharing this with me. It’s the culmination of a dream that started in 2009 and the SUM community is a very important part of it. I’m so excited to share some additional tid bits about the birth and progression of this story with you.

How The Soul Saver turned out to be almost prophetic in my life.
When I started writing the story in 2009, it was just a glimmer in my heart and mind. I knew the basics. I knew Lexie was a believer. I knew her husband, Hugh, was an atheist and a physics professor at Stanford University. And I knew they’d lost a child to a brain tumor.

With a short synopsis and the first few chapters in hand,I went to a writers conference that September to pitch the story to some editors and see what kind of reaction I would get. I left this conference without any doubts that I was to write it. Not because of anything said by an editor, but because God made it clear that was His plan.

Here’s where it gets a little “strange.” About two weeks after I got home, we found out my youngest daughter had a malignant brain tumor. We were sent to Lucille Packard (love the folks there!) for her surgeries. Her radiation treatments were to be done at Stanford Hospital, which is attached to Lucille Packard AND Stanford University.

Because of where the tumor was, Leslie’s radiation treatments had to be designed so as to treat the area and not bombard the rest of her brain and eyes. This treatment was carefully designed by a physics professor at Stanford University.

God-bumps anyone?

And all the weeks we were driving back and forth to the hospitals became my research for the book. Can you believe it?

What made me nearly give up on Lexie’s story.
Being a writer isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, and you get a lot of rejections. In the fall of 2010, I was so hopeful that we (my agent and I) had found a home for Lexie’s story. I believed that The Soul Saver and Winning Him Without Words were a perfect match, like Fireproof and the Love Dare. (I wished our publisher of Winning Him handled fiction, but alas they don’t. Regal and our precious editor there, Kim Bangs, have been our greatest champions in getting our message out.)

Needless to say, I was pretty upset when the rejection came. But the final blow was the suggestion this publishing house made to make the story more of a fit for them—take the spiritually mismatched element out.

I was crushed. That was the heart of my story. It needed to be told and I knew God wanted me to tell it!

God bless my wonderful agent who stood by me and encouraged me not to change the story, to just hang on a little longer.

I went to God in prayer and laid The Soul Saver and even writing fiction at His feet, asking Him to take the desire to write it away if I wasn’t supposed to. It was too painful.

Then I let it be.

A couple months later, God released me from doing any more design work—something I’d been praying about letting go so I could write full time. Up until this time, I kept hearing, “Not yet.”

So why now? It didn’t make sense. Nothing had changed. I could only assume that He had something in mind, and I would need more time for the SUM ministry and our Winning Him book coming out in a few months.

This “release” happened on a Saturday. My agent called Tuesday to give me the unbelievable news that a publisher had made an offer on The Soul Saver.

How God opened the door for The Soul Saver in a place I least expected.
Publishing houses have certain “tastes” in the kind of books they publish. The Soul Saver seems to cross genres a little with a story that fit women’s fiction, a thread of danger that fit suspense stories and a supernatural element as well. One house even said they liked the story but didn’t know how they would market it. Publishing Christian based fiction and nonfiction is a ministry AND a business.

So when the offer came from a house I had already assumed wouldn’t be interested, I was floored.

But isn’t that so like God? Like Gideon defeating 120,000 Midianites with just 300 men, God wants us to know that it’s Him who brakes down barriers and opens the door to the impossible.

Not only had God opened the door in the unlikeliest of places, He brought us to a publisher that allowed me to keep our Winning Him Without Words book in the story as part of Lexie’s journey. And not only that, they let me have a page in the back of the book so I could tell readers the Winning Him book was real and that an entire ministry existed for the spiritually mismatched. (Thank you, Becky Germany and Barbour Publishing!)

How you can help get Lexie's story out there.
This is the part I almost left out, but after seeing some of the unexpeted responses to Lexie's story already—a request for information about starting a small group like Lexie's, a comment that reading books where the husband was a believer was too hard, and newcomers finding our site!—I decided it would be okay ask for your help.

Buying or downloading the book is always good (and I am so grateful and humbled when I hear from you that you did), but also requesting it at your local bookstores and libraries goes a long way to getting it out there. The more places people see it, the more people will one, know that there are a lot of us Lexies out there, and two, reach those Lexie's who are still walking this journey alone. That just breaks my heart to think about it. (You can alos mention the Winning Him book too since they work together.)

So, my friends, that concludes this incredible week of sharing one of the greatest adventures of my life with you. I cannot thank you enough for joining me, because sharing this with you all is part of what I have looked forward to the most.

Remember to leave a comment. On Sunday, I will announce the winners!

In my book (wink), you all already are.

Praying and believing,

Let's Have a Little Fun

Have you seen book trailers before? I love them, as long as they're short and sweet. My publsiher did a really great job on the trailer for The Soul Saver. So, for fun (and another opportunity for you to win a book, so leave a comment!) I'm posting it here for your enjoyment.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the stories behind the story. Get ready for some God-bumps...

From the Backcover:

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out

On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

An Interview with Lexie Baltimore, Part 2

Welcome back, everyone! Here's the second half of Lexie's interview.


Okay, here’s a tough one, Lexie and I hope you don’t mind us asking, but I think it’s an area we should address. How did you wind up handling your feelings for Nate?

First of all, I went to God and confessed them. I had to, you know? God not only forgave me (of course He would), He also helped me understand that I wasn’t really “attracted” to Nate per say but was drawn to what I perceived to be a man of faith and envied that. That is what I truly had to repent of, envy and comparing. I’m learning to be content in my marriage and how to love my husband just as he is. God takes care of the rest.

What suggestions do you have for those times when things just seem so hopeless? Being mismatched can cause a marriage to be a roller coaster emotionally and spiritually. How do you combat those low times?

I stay close to God. Always. Even if I don’t feel like it. I find that a heavy heart is always uplifted by those precious words in the Bible. There’s so much in there, so many who have struggled before us and God put their stories and struggles right there for us to read and learn from.

Plus, it’s really hard to lose hope when God puts it on your heart to help someone who needs help or prayer. That helps me keep things in perspective. And the small group I’m part of is such a blessing in my life. These ladies are mismatched too. We pray for each other and hold each other up though it all.

The worst thing to do is to isolate yourself. I used to do that too. That’s where the enemy gains power and control in your life. We need other Christians to stay strong, I understand that now. Especially in a mismatched marriage.

But I’m noticing that the roller coaster is becoming more like a boat ride now. We have smooth waters most of the time, choppy waters occasionally. As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, things smooth out and we sail along.

What are the strongest words of encouragement you ever received related to your situation?

You’re not alone. When I found out there were others out there like me, my whole world began to change. Being with other women who were mismatched—it was like we didn’t even need to say anything. We just knew and understood each other. That literally freed my soul from the lock down the enemy had cleverly put in place.

Can I share one more?

Sure, go ahead.

Abby talks a lot about what we go through as preparation. That encouraged me so much because one, it meant God had to put His seal of approval on everything we go through, which two, means that He views it all through His eyes of love and chooses what will help us and allows only that. Trusting God is where we experience the greatest freedom. That never stops surprising me.

Wow, thank you for sharing that, Lexie. That is very encouraging. Okay, we’re at the final question. Are you ready?

Shoot away.

Lexie's husband, Hugh
Lexie's husband, Hugh

Where are you and Hugh headed now?

(She looks off in the distance with a whimsical smile.) We are on an incredible journey right now of rediscovering each other. God is doing some pretty cool stuff in Hugh’s life too. He and Jeremy still read the story of Noah’s Ark at least one or twice a week. 

Sounds like progess?

We’re getting there. Slowly but surely. That was God’s plan all along.


Well, that wraps up Lexie's interview. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, leave a comment for another book drawing, and be sure to come back Friday for some behind the scenes secrets, like:

  • How The Soul Saver turned out to be almost prophetic in my life.
  • What made me nearly give up on Lexie's story.
  • How God opened the door for this story in the place I least expected.

Again, thank you for sharing this journey with me, my dear friends! Means to world to me.

Praying and believing,


An Interview with Lexie Baltimore, Part 1

My friends, I had a lot of fun (and shed a few tears) doing this interview with Lexie. You spend months and even years with these characters and they become almost real. I thought you’d like to see the picture I used to help me visualize Lexie too.

So, without further ado, here’s Lexie.

LexieLexie, when did you first start having these visions of where God wanted to send you and did He have you sculpting the face of the person you were to help even then?

It started not long after we lost our daughter Mandy. At first I thought I was going crazy! I’d just starting reading my Bible again and praying. A lot! I resisted at first because of my doubts but then that first time... I knew the place well, my bank. But the face God had me sculpt, well, I didn’t recognize him at all.

I did what God asked and I went to the bank that day, but I wasn’t expecting to really see this man. But there he was. Shoulders slumped, waiting in line with his hand clenched around a piece of paper and a wad of bills.

You see, he’d planned to give the teller what money he had in the hope that it would be enough to stop the foreclosure on his home. Then he’d planned to commit suicide in a way that would look like an accident. He figured his life wasn’t helping his family so maybe his death would.

Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. I just knew I was supposed to go up to him and tell him to hang on just a little longer, that God had something very special coming his way.

Truly, it was more like a scene from a movie! (Lexie laughs out loud.) As I’m talking to this man, and he’s crying because he really doesn't want to die, just wants to save his family, the bank manager walks over, recognizes him and tells him the bank made an error. There were seven mortgage payments that hadn’t been reflected on his account. He was actually ahead in his payments. The foreclosure was canceled.

(She leans forward, face beaming.) Don’t you just love it when God comes through in a big way?

Yes, yes, I do! Love it! Is God still using you and your sculpting to reach people who need help? 

Yes, but not as often. I will tell you, I’m so relieved Hugh knows now. To be honest, I was so afraid to tell him, because I didn’t know what he would think of it. Of me. I had to let go of that fear and trust that God would help me handle whatever happened. When I did that—that’s part of my story—it really taught me how to be confident in God and step out in faith when He calls me too. God really and truly does have our backs. Abby told me about that Scripture in Isaiah 58 that says God is our rear guard. He really is!

In the book, you come face to face with evil—Tobias? What was your perception of him? At first, I really thought he was Nate’s friend. But something just wasn’t right there. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but I think God was trying to get me to see with my “spiritual eyes.” Plus, I got this horrible headache every time I was near him. I finally put two and two together that day at the hospital. (Lexie shivers in her chair.) I’d really rather not explain that one again. Can your readers just read it for themselves?

Sure, Lexie. Not a problem. I totally understand, considering I wrote it. (I laugh.) What suggestions or warnings would you give someone in a mismatched marriage to avoid unfaithfulness, not just physically but emotionally?

Oh wow, that’s a big question. Hmmm, well, I can only share what I’ve found to be true in my marriage. I truly thought at one point that infidelity would rip us apart. What I learned through it was to stop focusing on the faith issue in my marriage and just love Hugh as he was. That’s what God wanted me to do all along.

I think when we focus only on what’s not there—that spiritual connection—we tend to withdraw from our husband. I know I did at times and it created a gap between us. Plus it made Hugh feel like I didn’t love him sometimes and that I was rejecting him. Not a good thing! So I’m very careful about making sure my husband knows I love him, and more importantly—especially to him—that I respect him. Just as he is.

Isn’t that what your Winning Him Without Words book talks about too? Love that book. That and Abby saved me so much heartache. Abby’s such a great mentor to me. So thankful for her.

Friends, come back tomorrow for the second half of Lexie's interview. I hope you're enjoyed getting to know Lexie as much as I did. Thank you for sharing this journey with me and remember to leave a comment for the book drawing!

Praying and believing,

A Story and a Surprise!

DineenI have a story to share with you. And a surprise.

The story is about Lexie and Hugh Baltimore. Lexie is a believer who God uses in a very unique way to reach the lost. Her husband Hugh is an atheist. In the aftermath of a terrible loss, she’s trying to live out her faith as she raises her son Jeremy to know God, even though her husband doesn’t like the idea of her taking their son to church.

Then there is a battle waging all around this marriage. The enemy recognizes how profound an effect Lexi’s faith can have on her husband, and he is not about to give up now. He’s cemented Lexie’s husband firmly in his atheism and is determined to make sure Hugh doesn’t switch sides.

Sound familiar?

Many of you may not know that I write fiction—that fiction is where I started writing seriously. In the fall of 2009, God put Lexie’s story on my heart, a story about a mismatched couple and the battle waging to keep her husband from knowing God. And I knew He wanted it to be a compliment to our Winning Him Without Words book. (In fact, it's even mentioned in the story!)

SoulSaverThe Soul Saver is officially releasing this week, and it’s not only a story I want to share with you, my dear friends, it’s a story I wrote FOR YOU.

On the second page of the book is this dedication:

For all the “Lexies” out there.
Remember, God is faithful.

I am so excited to share this book with you. I have so looked forward to revealing my little surprise for you. I will share with you that at one point I about gave up hope that Lexie and Hugh’s story would get told. Many publishers didn’t want to deal with the “niche” of the spiritually mismatched but God knew there would be a home for this story and He didn’t let me give up. In fact, He did some pretty cool stuff bringing this story to fruition.

This week I will be sharing the stories behind the story. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for a two day interview with Lexie. There are some questions I want her to answer for you, things that aren’t in the book.

And by Friday, you will have the full “skinny” on how God moved very visibly in this story and in my own life and family at the very same time. Some God-bumps are coming there!

Each day that I post I will give a way a copy of The Soul Saver. Leave a comment to enter each day if you’d like. If I had my way and the means to do it, I’d give you all a copy of this book of my heart because it’s our story, my friends.

We are all Lexies and we have a story to tell to encourage and help others walking the path of the spiritually mismatched. My prayer is that Lexie will inspire you to step out in faith and trust and realness even when everything around you is telling you otherwise.

Remember, God is faithful.
Praying and believing,