PublisherNew Hope Publishers, 2012, 320 pages
Freedom. How much do you know about it; really? Do you even think about it; really? Most of us don’t think about it. We take it for granted here in our North American society. We know that some of our loved ones have and do fight to the death in wars to give us a life of privileges in our so-called free countries; but what else do you know?
For research for one of the books I’m writing, I recently proposed the questions “What is the first thing you think of when you hear 'Freedom'? What does Freedom mean to you?” to my Facebook friends, Twitter Followers, and Blog Fans. The responses I got were as interesting as they were varied. Some said “to do and say what you want, when you want as long as you’re not hurting others”, “to go anywhere you want without feeling fear”, “freedom of religion”, “freedom through Christ”, and “freedom is when others accept you as you are”. Yet others said “freedom is an illusion” and “we are never truly free”. Plus, a photo caption I saw said “Freedom is being yourself, without permission”.
The whole Freedom series by Kathi Macias, has been an enlightening and wonderful experience for me. As I reviewed Book 1: Deliver Me from Evil, and Book 2: Special Delivery I was exposed to a whole world that I honestly didn’t realize was there; at least not in North America. Human trafficking, if anyone had asked me before this series, I would have said was in third world countries. Certainly not here in Canada and the United States; the world’s most ‘civilized’ and greatest nations! I was wrong. It is here in our midst. People are being treated like commodities and slaves. They’re being abused, tortured, and murdered right here under our noses. If that isn’t bad enough, children, our most precious resource, are a large percentage of the victims. All this, for the almighty dollar and to satisfy the perverted needs of those that I struggle to call human beings.
Book 3 in this series, The Deliverer, tied up the story lines of the characters, that I fell in love, with perfectly. There were realistic happy endings without it being too riding-off-into-the-sunset-happily-ever-after-ish. The message of how God’s love is real and will always prevail if we just trust Him, was shown beautifully in a way that I could relate to the real world and my own life. Plus, I was left hoping there will be another series to look forward to in the future.
Ever have those nudges from God that feel like He’s giving you a good hard poke in the ribs? Well, early on in this book, I felt God doing just that. So many passages spoke to me about the issues I struggle with in my own life that I started a list. As I read, I wrote down all the quotes I could relate to, and I felt God was using to talk to me. By the time I finished this book, I had written down no less than 80 items. From there I went through the list noting the overall message(s) of each item. I found that the messages for the characters was the same message for me. God loves me, and He is in control. What does that mean? It means, He loves me even though I am very broken. Just like Mara, and the others in The Deliverer, He forgives me. Yes, He knows about all those sins that I feel so ashamed of that I don’t even want to tell those I love the most; and yet He loves and forgives me anyway. I am forgiven! God’s love means He is faithful. Mara wasn’t comfortable reveling herself or her past, in fear that others would judge her (something I can relate to). She feared God would do the same. She learned that nothing can make Him stop loving her. As a matter of fact, in our weakest times, He will take our burdens and carry us.
Truthfully, though I’ve heard that many times before, I never had a picture in my mind of what that could mean in the realistic world. God carries me? This means, He cannot and will not break His promises to give me everything I need. It’s not an accident that someone offers me a ride when I needed one. It’s not a coincidence that my friend popped up on Skype just when I felt I had no one to talk to. It’s not luck that I found a few dollars I didn’t know I had, when I ran out of money before I ran out of month. It’s not a twist of fate that I read the message of God’s forgiveness in The Deliverer, when I was in the midst of a struggle with it. He will take care of our every need.
He also loves enough to say ‘No’ to certain things, people, or situations that are not good for us. Young Sarah found that out herself, the hard way in this book. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and talks to our hearts in a peaceful, gentle manner. God’s love is so graceful and perfect that we cannot truly wrap our limited human mind s around it. After Mara was rescued from the brothel that kept her prisoner for so long, she had to find her way to Jesus in order to feel free of the pain she carried inside. God led her to Him, and then He took her burdens away from her. He loved her and had good plans for her future. He even promises to restore the years that were stolen. He loves me and you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us. God’s only Son who is perfect and has never committed a sin, left His place with God; and allowed people to hurt, torture, humiliate, and kill Him so He could save us. We will live forever with Him, if we just believe and commit to a relationship with Him. When I get to go live with Jesus forever, I won’t ever have another worry or heartache, I will never again feel unloved and rejected, not another tear will fall down my face. Now that’s freedom!
|My Over-all Rating|
|Author, Kathi Macias|
I was finishing up my previous fiction series for New Hope Publishers (the Extreme Devotion Series, dealing with the persecuted Church around the world) when Andrea Mullins (the publisher at New Hope) asked me what topic I wanted to tackle next. We discussed a few possibilities, and then she suggested human trafficking. I was aware of it and thought it was terrible but had no idea how widespread it was. I agreed to do some preliminary research and get back to her. When I discovered there are more than 27 million people held in various forms of human trafficking (sexual slavery, forced labor or military conscription, involuntary donation of body parts/organs) and that many of them are children (including an estimated 100,000—300,000 MINORS held in sexual slavery in the US today!), I was horrified. I was also convinced that I had to do everything possible to help educate others about this widespread horror and to call them to join the fight. Not only have I now written/released the Freedom Series on human trafficking, but I’m speaking on it everywhere/every chance I get.
What was your original objective in writing these books, Deliver Me From Evil, Special Delivery, and The Deliverer? And, what are you hearing back from people who have read the books? How are they taking action?
Originally my plan was to see the books alert readers to this horrific crime and, hopefully, challenge them to get involved in fighting it some way. That seems to be happening, but on such a larger scope than I had imagined. The response from readers is overwhelming! Pastors have written to say they are challenging their entire church to get involved on some level, and I’m being invited to speak all over the country on this topic. I am thrilled to see the Light being shined in this terrible darkness at last! As for specific actions, pastors and civic leaders are inviting me (or others in this ministry) to come and speak to their congregations/groups to help educate them on this massive tragedy. Readers tell me they are posting about my books all over the net to help snag people’s attention. I’m getting invitations to speak on radio and TV as well. I’ve also been contacted by readers who are getting involved in setting up safe houses for rescued victims, which is a huge need. I was even contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and invited to participate in group conference calls on the topic. Overall, I’m thrilled at the way God is using these books to help sound the alarm and to “rescue the perishing.”
It seems there is always someone in your books who is an intercessor. Why is that important for you to include?
This is vital to me, and as you said, I almost always include an intercessor in my novels. I know there were intercessors in my own life who prayed me through some incredibly dangerous and difficult times, and I appreciate those heroes of the faith more than I can express. Highlighting their importance in my books accomplishes two things: it enables me to honor those faithful intercessors who often get no recognition in this world, and it also calls others to get involved in intercession as well.
You write books as you often call them, parables with a purpose, on topics such as human trafficking, the persecuted church, illegal immigration, and your Christmas 2012 book is about homelessness. Some might call you an advocate. Why is it important for Christians, and the church as a whole, to discuss these issues?
You’re right that I call my novels “parables with purpose,” because I believe Jesus is our example and that’s what He told to His followers—parables with purpose. He didn’t just tell them “nice stories” to entertain them. He told stories that would grab them right where they lived, and then challenge them to change their hearts, their minds, and their lives. The Church has always been at the forefront of serious social change, leading the charge to abolish slavery for instance, and leading the charge on these other issues is right where the Church needs to be now. The first step is to discuss the issues, to make people aware of them, and then to call them to action. I believe gripping fiction is one of the most effective ways to do that.
Will you give us a glimpse, a taste of things to come -- without getting too far ahead -- of what’s in store for your next series and books on the horizon?
In addition to the 2012 Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, dealing with homelessness in America, I will be releasing a new series starting in January. The first of the three novels is called The Moses Quilt, and it deals with a contemporary interracial romance, set against the background of a quilt that tells the story of the courageous, faith-filled woman known as Harriet Tubman. A contemporary novel dealing with the issue of abortion will follow, with the first woman doctor in America, Elizabeth Blackwell, as our backdrop heroine. The final book will be built around the much beloved Fanny Crosby, as we deal with the issue of people with disabilities. That series is from New Hope Publishers, but I also have a book releasing in the Spring of 2013 from B&H Publishers called Last Chance for Justice. It’s part of the multi-author Bloomfield Series, and I’m very excited about it.
You also write a devotional blog. Can you tell us what the focus is and where we can find it?
I started writing a weekly devotional several years ago, in response to a request from the then newly formed group CAN (Christian Authors Network). I sent it out as a group email and had about 40 recipients then. The devotional mailing quickly grew and expanded beyond the CAN group, with countless readers signing up to receive it. I also started posting it each week on my devotional blog (http://kathimacias.com/category/devotional-2/), which is part of my primary website (www.kathimacias.com), where you will also find my “Easy Writer” blog, which is more writing-related. (You can also sign up there to receive the weekly devotional in your inbox.) Over the years the devotional has been picked up by Crosswalk, Black Christian News, Latino Christian News (I offer it in Spanish as well as English), Believe.com, Christians in Recovery, etc., so the readership has mushroomed beyond anything I ever imagined. God is amazing, isn’t He?
Finally, we know you as an award-winning author, but you also enjoy speaking for women’s events, and other groups, as well. On what areas or topics do you focus your speaking presentations? How can a church or group find out more about having you speak for their event?
I speak on various topics, including the issues I address in my books, but on other topics too. One of my most requested topics is “When Passion and Purpose Collide.” That, along with several other popular topics, can be found in the speaking section of my website (http://kathimacias.com/speaking/). To see my current speaking schedule and/or to explore the possibility of having me come and speak, just go to http://kathimacias.com/speaking/speaking-schedule/ and click on the Christian Speakers Services button to make contact. You can also see some of my speaking endorsements at http://kathimacias.com/speaking/endorsements/.
For more opportunities for free copies of The Deliverer by Kathi Macias, please visit Facebook.com/CSSVBT.KathiMacias .
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).