Today on my blog, I’m going to talk with Hope Williams, the heroine from Decision to Love.
1. Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?
Eight years after Tony and Hope’s affair ended, new problems arise. Jimmy has gone off to college, but returns home with a startling revelation that devastates his father and causes his final heart attack. Now Hope is grieving the loss of both her husband and their son. She tries to make sense of everything, and in the end she decides to love her son through the grief. More than that, she makes the decision to love whoever her son chooses to love, whether she agrees with his choices or not.
Tony’s life has its own disaster tearing through it. First, he is accused of killing his ex-wife, but he is soon released once the authorities realize he had nothing to do with it. The tragedy with his ex-wife led to some major changes in his life, however, and some soul-searching that ultimately turns Tony’s life around. While he is still adjusting to his new perspective on life, his long-lost daughter Nina contacts him and has some secrets of her own. He is overjoyed to be reunited with his daughter, but with their relationship comes an entirely new set of challenges.
Jimmy is confused about his faith, his life, and ultimately, whom he should love. After some severe trials knock him off what he thought was the right course for his life, he makes the decision to love himself enough not to be used by someone again. But will his decision protect him in the end?
2. What made you want your story to be told?
Well, when Jimmy started college and told me over Thanksgiving break that he was attracted to men, I knew his father would flip out, especially since he’s our only son. So I talked to other people and found out I wasn’t alone in this. Then when my son told my husband about his sexual preference, my husband had a fatal heart attack. I didn’t understand why this was happening. I mean, I raised Jimmy in a Christian home and he loved Jesus from the time he was five on through school. He was always praying for his friends and loved bringing them to church with him. Then…bam! He goes off to college and comes up with this startling revelation about himself and I started grieving immediately. It didn’t help that his father also died in the midst of our family conflict. So I had compounded grief. Then I blamed myself, which was stupid, but hard to resist. As a mother, how do you fix something that is so entrenched in someone’s identity? The truth I discovered, was I couldn’t change a thing. But I didn’t give up on my son and made the decision to love him and whoever he loved despite whether I agreed or not with the person he chose. Then my son breaks up with his boyfriend and starts hanging out with my ex-lover’s daughter? How in the world did that happen? But I guess God knew I needed something in my face to help me work through this situation. And ironically, God used a tragic time from my past to bring about some good. God’s ways are mysterious, but I don’t question Him anymore. I’ve learned to trust. Oh, and my story continues with a book title, Learning to Trust. Good one, eh?
3. What lead you to make the changes you did in your life?
If you’re talking about the decision I made to love my son regardless of his choices, then I suppose the fact that he’s all I had left in the world after my husband died was a major contributing factor. I kept thinking I’d forgiven myself, too, but then this brought everything back. It didn’t help that my son’s new best friend was Nina, my ex-lover’s daughter. Small stinking world, I’m telling you. But it happens.
4. In your life, what has empowered you?
The love I’ve received over the years from my husband gave me a lot of strength. His decision to forgive me despite my wayward heart eight years ago helped a lot. My faith has helped me get through a lot of tough times as well. I’ve learned that I need grace and forgiveness every day. I’m not above sinning and I need to remember that or I’ll be more vulnerable to spiritual attacks. Knowing that God is on my side and wants me to grow in my love for Him helps keep me striving for more of Him and less of me. It’s a good thing, though. And when I am feeling empowered, I can help my son. He needs me now.
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is going to sound crazy, but my weakness is for sexual contact with men. Now that my husband has passed away, I’ve decided to stick it out and remain single until I die, but it has been only eight months since he passed away and already I’m starting to feel super lonely and my need for skin to skin contact is growing by the day. I never would have strayed eight years ago if he had tried to work things out, but when he stopped touching me and loving me as a man should love his wife, well, the temptation became too great. It’s a wonderful thing, but I hate this intense physical desire at the same time. Now that I have no outlet that fits what my faith allows me to do (because I’m not married) it’s more like torture for me than a blessing. My strength is that I do have faith. I also have a son who loves me and I had a good marriage for many years. I am creative and a good friend. I love intensely and am devoted to the people I care about. I would never hurt anyone on purpose. I need to pray more for my friends, but I’m working on that.
6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.
What that means to me is I can be strong and confident if I remember that I’m not alone in this life. God has my back, and He’s given me people to love and who love me to help me through this journey called life. I’ve learned that I don’t have to make poor choices or do things that will hurt myself and my family. A self-rescue princess would stop before things got out of control and make sure that she’s strong enough to say no to things that are not good for her. I strive every day to be that kind of strong, confident woman.
7. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?
Don’t let despair trap you in a corner so you feel that there is no way out. Nothing good will come of this and you will only ruin your life. Know that God is for you and not against you, and you’ll make it through the tough times and come out stronger in the end.
8. Favorite quote or Bible verse.
Romans 8:11-13 (and I’ll paraphrase it, but the gist goes like this… If the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, it gives life to your mortal body.) This was what I had missing in my life before I had real saving faith. I couldn’t stop sinning on my own. I needed the power that raised Jesus from the dead living in me to empower me. He’s only a prayer away.
9. If your story had a theme song, what would it be?
Meant to Live by Switchfoot.
I love the line that goes… “We were meant to live for so much more. Have we lost ourselves?”
10. Will you be continuing your journey in written form?
Oh, yeah. My story lives on. I resist finding love again through this whole book, but in the end there is a hint that love will spark in my heart again for a certain man. The book this story will be told in is titled Learning to Trust and it will release next year.
11. Is there anyone in your life who will be sharing their life?
Yeah, the first book in the series, Never Without Hope, is my story about how my life got out of control. Then the second book, Their Separate Ways, features the year after. In Never Without Hope, you only get my perspective. In Their Separate Ways, my ex-lover’s perspective comes into play. Then the third book, Decision to Love, features my perspective, my ex-lover’s perspective, and my only son’s perspective. The fourth book, Learning to Trust, will add Nina’s perspective. She is my ex-lover’s only daughter. It’s a series full of complex characters, but the stories run deep and have many layers. The series is titled Sacred Vows, and so far there are four books. I’m not sure if there will be any more after the fourth book. I’ll play that one by ear.