Dear Reader: Guest Jennifer H. Westall, author of Healing Ruby

Jennifer Westall dives into Christian characters to explore her own questions of faith. Inspired by the life of her grandmother, Healing Ruby (2014) is the first in the Healing Ruby series, which delves into the mysteries of faith healing. She’s also the author of Love’s Providence (2012), a contemporary Christian romance that navigates the minefield of dating and temptation. She resides in southwest Texas with her husband and two boys, where she homeschools by day and writes by night, thus explaining those pesky bags under her eyes.

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Dear Reader…

As you open the pages of Healing Ruby and begin this journey with me, I pray that you’re encouraged by the story within. So much of our lives is surrounded with discouragement, whether it’s from the voices of others or our own voices of self-doubt and fear. But I want
to offer you hope and encouragement. As you get to know Ruby, I hope you’ll also get to know the Source of her compassion for others.
You see, I’m a follower of Christ, and the amazing woman who inspired this story was also a follower. She’d be the first to tell you that she was no saint, that she struggled to control her temper and her pride throughout her life. But she was also given an amazing gift for loving those around her; so much so, that they are still known to argue with one another over who was loved more. (By the way, it was me…just so you know.)
Whether you’re struggling with doubt, fear, anxiety, or the terrible sense that your life doesn’t matter, know that you have a grand purpose in this world. As you read through these pages, open your heart to all the amazing opportunities you have each day to love those around you who are hurting. Show them kindness with some small gesture, something that tells them they matter. And watch how a small seed of love, planted by you in someone else, will actually grow inside your own heart.

I hope you’ll enjoy Ruby’s story, and that you’ll love her even half as much as I do. But more than that, I hope you see the love and kindness of the God whom she trusts. That as she discovers the true nature of love and faith, your own heart will be strengthened.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with these words from Jesus in John 16:33. “I have told you these things so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jennifer H. Westall

About Healing Ruby:

Ruby Graves, a young girl in Depression-era Alabama, faces the hardships of poverty and loss with as much faith as she can muster. At only the age of thirteen, she’s already lost a younger brother to illness, and now faces losing both her father and the boy who’s stealing her heart to illnesses as well. Armed with her beloved Scriptures, she prays daily for their healing, only to have her tender faith shattered by her father’s death.

Through her pain, she’s able to connect with her long-lost Uncle Asa, who’s mere presence at his brother’s funeral brings murmurs of a scandalous past involving her parents and a prominent local pastor, Irwin Cass. When Ruby discovers that one of Asa’a many secrets is an ability to heal, and that she may be next in line for the “gift,” she vows to find the faith that has eluded her so far, a faith that could mean never losing loved ones again.

But faith and doubt can’t reside in the same heart, not according to her father, and doubt is Ruby’s constant companion. As she struggles to find the true meaning of faith, she’s opposed at every turn by the pastor who would see her family destroyed and a community that can’t see deeper than the color of one’s skin. Through her search for a faith that could move mountains and a true understanding of her gift, can Ruby trust in a God that may require the ultimate sacrifice?
A fast-paced story that will leave readers wondering what’s next for Ruby Graves. This soulful, often poignant novel explores difficult subjects such as death, racism and religious hypocrisy, while still remaining hopeful. One of its greatest strengths is its cast of well-drawn secondary characters, including the...vengeful preacher who tries to thwart Ruby at every turn. Ruby’s unlikely friendship with a cast-out African-American woman and her child is a particularly bright spot in this often heavy novel."
-- Kirkus Reviews

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