When I first started writing Redeeming Love, I thought about beginning the book when Angel was already a prostitute living in a brothel in Pair-a-Dice. I realized quickly that readers would not empathize with Angel unless they knew her back story and how she came to be so blind and stubbornly resistant to the love being offered.
The first rendition of the Child of Darkness section evoked no real feeling, no horror or sympathy. Why? Because I didn’t want to feel what she felt. I didn’t want to go where she had been taken against her will. Still, I sent this soft version of Angel’s back story to a writer-friend I admire. She asked me if my church was getting in the way of my writing in my usual style. It was a startling question and the answer was a definite no. I’d received nothing but encouragement from my new Christian friends. She told me bluntly that I was holding back and telling the story rather than showing it. So I pitched the pages and started again.
I have never known abuse. I grew up with loving parents. I have a loving husband. How could I possibly get inside someone who had experienced the kind of horror this child would suffer in order to mold and make her into Angel?
I happened upon an article about missing children, some of whom reappear in pornographic films. There were three pictures of the same girl. One picture showed a very pretty, blonde, innocent child of five or six. The next picture showed the same girl terrified and crying. The last picture showed her a few years later as a seductive pre-teen girl smiling coldly and defiantly into the camera lens. The article said the girl was never seen again and most likely dead. Just looking at those pictures tore at my heart. Was she still alive? What happened to her? Where was she now?
I pinned those pictures on the bulletin board right in front of me and looked at that child every day that I wrote Redeeming Love. Although I wrote the novel as my statement of faith, I also wrote it for her. I wanted that little girl to know God loves her. No matter what has been done to her or what she has done, God can lift her out of the pit and set her feet upon the Rock. Jesus died for her and offers her a love and joy beyond her wildest dreams. He offers her new life, hope and a secure future with the Father who will one day bring her home.
Little girl, wherever you are, know you’re my sister and I love you, too.