In the book, widow Elenora Watkins is an independent woman. After being under the rule of a mean husband and then an overbearing father, Elenora wants some freedom. She packs up, heads across the country, and puts her savings into becoming a partner in a thriving mercantile owned by Miles Rutledge. Only he doesn't know she is a woman and refuses to allow her to be a partner when he finds out.
What I loved about Elenora is her independence and strength to do what women didn't normally do back in those days. Instead of running home to Papa, she opens up shop across the street, becoming the competition to Miles. Maybe I like her so much because I want to be like her...independent, confident in my abilities, unafraid to step out and try something new.
The problem comes when our independence gets in the way of seeing things clearly. It becomes all consuming...it becomes an idol. We want to be seen as invincible. We want to be the best. We want to win all the time and show others we are just as good - if not better - than everyone else.
Elenora faced that very thing. She felt like she had to prove herself in almost every aspect of her life...her business, her violin playing, and even in her shooting skills. Doing so caused a rift between her and Miles, because even though they had growing feelings between them, pride on both sides made them compete even harder.
I could see myself in Elenora. I tend to want to prove to others I am capable, that I am skilled at many things, that I can be counted on for excellence. I compare myself with others and strive to be as good...or better. But really, all I want is to be accepted and appreciated, no matter what my accomplishments and giftings are.
And here's the kicker. I AM loved. I AM accepted. I AM appreciated...by the One who really matters. God loves me with an unconditional love. He is the One who has gifted me and enabled me to do the things I do. He would love me just as much even if I couldn't do a single thing! I just need to accept that love and revel in the beauty of it. I don't need to compete with others. I just need to be me and be open to the lover of my soul...my Lord and Savior.
Don't you love it when a piece of fiction like A Bride Opens Shop speaks truth into your heart? Stories have a way of showing us God's truths in way that really hits home, rather like the parables that Jesus told.
When God places a story on your heart, write the words boldly, knowing that God will use them to bless His kingdom. The stories you write will speak to encourage, to motivate, and to strengthen. They will be words of life to those who read them.
What have you written lately that you knew was from God? Or what have you read recently that touched your heart?