Finding the Strength to Persevere [GUEST POST]


Some people, like birds, can be small but mighty. (Photo by David Mitchell, Flickr)

In the past seven years living and working abroad with a faith based organization, I have been struck over and over by the beauty and resilience of the human spirit. So many people in the world are suffering from grinding poverty, institutional oppression, and personal pain and loss. The history of Central Europe, where I’ve been living in Budapest for the past 5 years, is a long series of wars, subjugations, even genocide.

Some of this suffering, like the wars fought in Bosnia and Kosovo, is still very recent and people continue to suffer the effects of the trauma. I have friends who remember the bombing of their city, who were personally affected by these events we read about in the news.

There is also a much quieter but very widespread form of suffering caused by domestic abuse and child abuse within families, by broken relationships and internal depression and pain. Alcoholism and drug abuse are common. Human trafficking is also a widespread and devastating scourge in Central Europe, robbing people of their freedom and inflicting unimaginable suffering on them.

In the face of this massive amount of pain and suffering, it would be easy to give up, to curl up and turn inward, to ignore or become despondent. But what I have seen over and over is that people have the strength to overcome these horrors because of relationship, because of love.

I saw this personally in the late summer of 2015 at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe. Thousands of refugees came through the Hungarian border every day. They had been traveling for weeks, mostly walking. Often they had only the possessions they could carry in a backpack. Many had lost at least one family member to war in their home countries. A great number of them carried small children in their arms or on their backs. Those families had left to save their children. They literally carried them across Southern and Central Europe. As a mother, I completely understand that sacrifice. I look at the faces of my children and think about what I would do in their place. I would cross an ocean for them. I would carry them in my arms across Europe to keep them safe.

That kind of love is priceless when it comes to hope and healing. Love and relationship are the most valuable, most healing, most energizing things in the world. People can overcome incredible suffering and pain, they can persevere and be restored and transformed in loving relationship with others and in relationship with a power higher than themselves, with God. I’ve seen it over and over. We were made for relationship, wired for it, and in loving relationship there is all the hope in the world, there is a taste of the eternal and the divine.


When globetrotting photographer Magdalena Henry loses the only man she’s ever loved, she risks her stellar career to care for his widow and young children on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest.


Thomas Nelson

Free-spirited and fiercely independent, Maggie adores her life of travel and adventure. But she has a secret. She can’t let go of her first and only love, renowned architect Marco Firelli, now married to her best friend Lena.

When Marco drowns in a kayaking accident, Maggie rushes to the Firelli family’s summer home on San Juan Island. Once there she discovers that Marco was hiding something that could destroy his family. As fragile, perfectionistic Lena slowly falls apart, Maggie tries to provide stability for Marco and Lena’s three young children.

When Maggie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the world’s most prestigious photography competition, she thinks she’s found the answer to their problems. Then Lena makes a choice with unexpected and devastating consequences, forcing Maggie to grapple with an agonizing decision. Does she sacrifice the golden opportunity of her career or abandon the Firellis just when they need her the most?

Gradually the island begins to work its magic. A century-old ritual to beckon loved ones home offers hope in the midst of sorrow. And a guilt-ridden yet compelling stranger hiding on the island may offer Maggie a second chance at love, but only if she can relinquish the past and move forward to find joy in unexpected places.

This guest post was brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

Rachel invites her readers to visit her at her home on the Web at and follow her on Facebook.

You may order Ascension of Larks from Amazon, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble.

About Rachel Linden
Rachel Linden is a novelist and international aid worker whose adventures living and traveling in 50 countries around the world provide excellent grist for her stories. She holds an MA in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College, a BA in Literature from Huntington University, and studied creative writing at Oxford University during college. Currently, Rachel splits her time between Seattle, Washington, and Budapest, Hungary, where she lives with her husband and two children. Rachel enjoys creating stories about hope and courage with a hint of romance and a touch of whimsy.

One Response to Finding the Strength to Persevere [GUEST POST]

  1. Pingback: Rachel Linden, author of ASCENSION OF LARKS, on tour July/August 2017 | TLC Book Tours

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