As a friend and I were busy checking in our usual horde of active, middle-school students, we were reflecting over our week as the mothers-of-teenagers. The conversation shifted to the recent tragedy of an Alaska Airlines crash, along with the rumor we’d heard about a woman attempting to share Christ with her fellow passengers as the plane went down. Alas, we decided, the rumor probably wasn’t true because the flight attendants would be busy giving emergency instructions.
“I know what I’d do if I were on a crashing plane,” I said, reflecting on the past week with my teens. “I’d write, ‘Dear Kids—I love you. All is forgiven. Mom.’”
We laughed—and what began as a wry bit of humor suddenly struck me as profound truth. What would I write if I had one moment to share my most profound thought with my loved ones?
And then it occurred to me—God has written mankind just such a note. Just like the fathers in this story, He loves, He cares, He mourns when His children leave Him out of their lives. He wants us to know He loves us and has forgiven our neglect of this all-important relationship.
And so the story was born. I wrote the first draft–the story of the reporter, the note, and the recipients–and sat on the edge of my bed and realized that a first draft of only 28,000 words wasn’t going to cut it. I was missing something. I was missing a LOT. So I went back to the drawing board and began to explore Peyton’s character. I delved into her past, into the secrets she had buried away, and realized there was a far more important story waiting to be told.
And that’s how the story came to be.
Tomorrow: the research