Dear Karen, I just finished reading Sunsert the other night (with the most tears ever!) and after going through the journey of reading all your books to date, I have had so much to reflect upon, and I cannot be more thankful or verbalize how deeply your books have touched my heart and transformed my life. I know you have heard this many times, but I feel that you are 100% anointed by the Lord to write in such a way that drastically changes lives and uniquely glorifies Him - it truly is your gift from God.
I would like to share my testimony with you and how your books directly relate to the past four years of my life ( I am now 36). I discovered you as an author almost four years ago while visiting a friend on a much-needed vacation right after my then-husband first left me and our two children. I can't even begin to describe the pain, torment, anger and depression that was forming (or describe how I KNOW it was purely a spiritual battle), but as I was ready to leave for the airport to come back home, my friend offhandedly (almost accidentally) tossed one of your books to me so that I could read on the plane- that book was Redemption. I almost completed the book on that two- 1/2 hour flight! I was in such shock at how so much of it directly related to me and my situation just then- my husband had left and was having an affair. Even more, I could literally feel the Lord reaching out through the story to touch me and speak to my heart- even the verses that kept surfacing in the story- "Be still..."- they were verses that were very repetitive in my own life and I knew He was trying to get this across to me. At the time, I knew it wasn't possible for me to handle the situation as Kari did, although I knew it was Biblical- I was just too far gone at that point and kept believing that someday I would reach that point (if I weren't saved, I would've probably killed both of them!).
Well, I believe that day has finally come and I can't stop thanking Him for the healing and peace He's provided- much of it through the Baxters and Cody and everyone else! It hasn't been easy and I wouldn't wish what I've experienced on my worst enemy, but now looking back, I see what He's been doing with me and how far I've actually come in my walk with Him through the most painful, loneliest time of my life. Your books- every single one of them- have given me pieces to use in my transformation and in turn to relay to others. I just don't have the right words to describe how each story was in perfect timing when I read them, or the exact way God used what I was reading to grow, forgive, heal, understand and strengthen- between you and Joyce (Meyer), I feel like a new woman with hope and faith that is just known within the heart...at different points of reading your stories, the main issues would jump out and give me understanding on how to handle the situation at hand- and it was so ironic because sometimes I would take a break from reading or have a few to choose from when starting a new one- and I wouldn't usually read the summary- but it was ALWAYS exactly what I needed at that exact time! I have never read a fictional story where the characters feel so real- I know you've been told this a million times, but I believe your key to doing this is your gift mixed with also being realistic- its not always 'happily ever after, but with God, nothing is impossible- faith surpasses all understanding and logic'...this is where I needed the encouragement but it is now so embedded in my spirit that it's a part of me- I don't doubt for a second and I thank Him every other second!
When I finished Sunset, I knew deep in my heart that the Lord will one day provide me with another chance at marriage and that it WILL be like John and Elaine- it will be a direct plan from Him, and I cried such tears of joy, but some sad tears because I can't imagine life without the Baxters!! :) I truly hope they will somehow continue, and I would love for you to pray about writing a story like one of your stand-alone books about divorce/affairs and healing from a Christian perspective (but in an extreme, realistic sense), because we as Christians are not exempt from divorce, and I think it has to be one of the very worst things for any family to experience- it is more rampant than ever, it is sheer destruction and a wound/pain that can only be healed by Jesus Christ- I simply would NOT have made it without Him. I am hoping to eventually form a women's Bible study group that uses your stories to discuss key life issues. I am also now working on my master's in special education and even that aspect of my life has been touched by your stories- they have provided me with more sensitive insight and understanding for others. I've also been able to apply so many principles I read about in working with my own children and have developed a more sensitive heart for parenting and unconditional love and guidance. My son now prays for his father every night and we are in agreement that God WILL intervene in his heart at the right time- we are thanking Him in advance for his salvation! Best of all, I truly feel like I am able to forgive now purely by the grace of God, but in all reality, it has been the most difficult thing I've ever had to do- its not simple, quick, painless, or even something I always want (in the flesh I want to see them both suffer and feel pain like I did) -but your writing was like a silent counselor through it all, and so many times, resounded in my mind, spirit and heart.
Just know that for the past four years, you have been one of my biggest supporters without even realizing it- you have helped me through this journey, you have cheered me on, you have inspired me and lifted me when I couldn't bear another second of the pain and heartbreak...you cried with me and got angry with me when I needed to, and you helped me cry out to the Lord when no one else was there...you have been a true blessing, and an angel sent by the Lord to minister to my spirit and I am forever thankful to you, Karen. Thank you from the very depths of my heart. May God continue to bless you and your family abundantly. You have a forever fan in me :) I love you!!!
With much love and thankfulness, Jennifer S.