My search for a safe place

Renee Ann Smith —  November 28, 2011 — 41 Comments

All Carrie Courtland wants is to hide from a life that has brought her nothing but pain. Her quiet hometown seems just the place—-until a murder turns her world upside down. A woman who is afraid of life. A man who has seen too much of it. Can they find common ground in time to defeat a ruthless killer . . .

These are the first lines I came up with to pitch the book I wrote.* They’re supposed to help readers empathize with the heroine and entice them to pick up my story. Have you ever felt like Carrie? I wrote her character this way because I can relate—well, except for the handsome leading man and ruthless killer part!

In the past, when the chaos of this world pressed in, I sometimes found myself wishing for a safe place to hide. And when hiding wasn’t possible, I tried to keep my life uneventful and narrow it down to the bare essentials. In some superstitious part of my mind, I figured then I’d have less to lose when trouble came along.

How I picture the bookstore Carrie owns

I felt this way until about ten years ago when a coworker at my little Christian school contracted cancer.  Here she and I were “sacrificing” to be in ministry. The only way we could afford an apartment was to share one. All this young woman wanted was to teach a few years, then marry a man in uniform, and settle down to raise a family of her own. But her life ended at age thirty after months of suffering.

I remember saying to God, “Wait a minute. We have nothing—no fortunes, no families, no power, no prestige—only our lives. How could you let Satan or disease or disaster take the only thing we had to call our own?”

And that was my first mistake. I forgot that our lives are not our own. I’ve been bought with a price. I belong to Christ. As did my coworker. My second mistake was this: I forgot that the Lord did provide a secret place, not for our bodies but for our souls. Colossians 3 tells me that I’m hidden with Christ in God. Here’s the whole section . . .

A Ron DiCianni painting

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Isn’t that a great promise? It’s even better in the Message: “Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”

So whether on earth or in heaven, He is my safe place. And I praise Him for that!

***Today I’m linking up with Write on Edge!

How about you? Have you ever wanted to hide from what was happening in your life? How did you handle it? Any words of encouragement or praise? Please share with me!

*Are you wondering if Carrie ever learned the lesson of the safe place?  If God opens the door, you’ll be able to read her story for yourself! To keep tabs on my progress, you can sign up for the monthly newsletter I’ll be starting in 2012 at this link.

I’m linking up with the Monday Blog Hop, In, On and Around Mondays, Sharing His Beauty, Hear It on Monday, Use It on Sunday, Playdates with God, Write It, Girl, Soli Deo Gloria.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

41 responses to My search for a safe place

  1. Have I ever wanted to hide? Yeah, you betcha. Life can be draining. When I focus on me, its gets overwhelming. The times and I’ve wanted to hide are generally times when God is revealing to me that I must bear my soul about something. Every year in January, God has me speak on abortion. A very hard thing to do. But my words, trembling though they sound to me, give courage to others who have had an abortion. It’s how He Romans 8:28’s all the bad in my life.

    • You are so brave to be vulnerable and allow God to use you in such a personal way, Keiki! I believe that kind of obedience pleases His heart. Thanks so much for stopping in to encourage me 🙂

  2. First of all, your novel sounds intriguing! Secondly, this is such a word in due season for me. I so want my life to be hidden in Christ. He is the only safe place. There have been times, when it has been part of my spiritual formation to not feel His presence, but to believe He is there anyway. They have been the most terrifying times of my life. Not my divorce. Not times when I feared eviction. Not the death of my father. The times when I haven’t felt God have been more frightening than anything that I can imagine. Yet. He’s. Still. There. Whether I feel Him or not.

    • So true! I think it takes a lifetime to realize how often our emotions lead us astray. What a storm of trials God has brought you through! Even listing them here with such a hopeful attitude is a testimony. Blessings, kd!

  3. When I find myself overwhelmed it is mostly by the evil I see in the world around me and the parallels to Romans 1:18-34. It constantly bombards us no matter where we turn. So I go on a media fast and thank God for how He keeps His children and provides for us even when the world around us is falling apart.

  4. The only true “hiding place” is in Christ! No matter what happens in our lives, we are secure with Him. Thanks for linking up today!

    Blessings, Joan

  5. I have wanted to hide for most of my life…the older I get the more I try to remind myself that through the purification of trials endurance follows! I still feel like hiding sometimes, but try to remember that God is my hiding place, and run first to Him.
    I can’t wait to read this book! I am already getting anxious in waiting 🙂

  6. This is so exciting! I am so proud of you and am so excited to read this in the (hopefully) near future!!

  7. I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. Life isn’t fair, and while God has promised us joy and a happily ever after in eternity, that doesn’t mean we will have that in this life. Our years on this earth (whether only a few or seventy plus) are a brief flash, a moment in eternity. We’re here to bring others into His kingdom. To be a light in the darkness around us. And sometimes, accomplishing His purposes for our lives mean that we won’t get the life we expect. I deal with this hard concept in “For the Sake of One Lost” a book I hope to see published one day. Thanks for sharing, Renee.

    I can’t wait to read your book! It sounds amazing. Thanks for letting me know about your newletter. I’m signing up!

  8. Such a powerful post, Renee Ann. I know you miss your friend very much. Like you, I often long for a place to escape or hide and writing has been that place for me. I am so thankful God built that into my life at an early age. It’s been such a solace for me. Your Carrie sounds so intriguing as does your story premise! Praying we get to hold your story in our hands soon. Thanks for being here faithfully.

    • Thanks for sharing your sweet words here, Laura! It’s neat that your writing has not only been a solace for you, but also has allowed others to lose themselves for a time. What a blessing you are to us!

  9. He is the only safe place – oh how wonderful that place is!!

    I just loved this!! I don’t know that I have ever read this verse in the message “Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God..” Your new life which is your REAL LIFE – oh to keep that prespective in all things!!

    Thank you Renee for stopping by!

  10. So glad I found you at Write It, Girl! I am a fan of literature and look forward to checking out some of the things on your blog!

  11. I’m hiding a bit right now but have been convicted of it and am working on it. Even planned a Christmas party. If I invite people here, i can’t back out , right? Sometimes we have to put hurts behind us and step out in who God has called us to be.

    • That’s the right perspective, but it can be so hard! I loved reading through your blog, Shanda. What a relief that all came out well with your health. Thanks for all the blog hops and wonderful posts. I’ll be back to visit soon. Blessings!

  12. I think that everyone hides at one time or another, whether they want to admit it or not. Even the super popular – student “stars”, celebrities, among others – have times that they hide even in plain sight. We all need to find a place where we feel safe to let others in, but I think the only one that can help us find that safe place, who IS our safe place is God.

    I have stopped over from Follow Us Monday Morning – and I am your newest follower. I will be back often to see how your writing is going – sounds like a very interesting place to be.

  13. Wow, your book sounds like quite a cliffhanger!

  14. well, your pitch worked with me! leaves me wanting more, Renee. This post has such wisdom. I love that verse from Colossians. Definitely something to hold onto during difficult times.

  15. I can definitely relate! I’ve always wanted a safe place and learned that Jesus is my only safe place… I’m glad you wrote about this.. =)

    Sounds like a great book by the way!

  16. I can relate to wanting to keep life small. My hometown is also a very small one, a rarity these days.

    I’m sorry to hear about your co-worker. God is so mysterious in His ways. Sometimes all we can do is trust. Trust in His goodness, even when evidence seems to the contrary. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

  17. “He is my safe place.” Those are comforting words and even more comforting reality. Love this.

  18. That pitch hooks me! Yes, of course I know that longing for a place to hide and the attempt to live small and narrow in an effort to avoid pain. Lots of things today keep pointing me back to the Psalms, so that’s probably where I need to hide myself away right now.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, even 10 years past. Thank you for sharing the comfort God gave you. It was lovely to visit you here from Laura’s list today. Grace and peace to you, Renee. Godspeed on that book, too!

  19. “A safe place not for bodies but for souls…”

    That is so beautiful! I love that you linked up with Write It, Girl.

    May God bless you as you continue this story! It will bless many!

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