Driven is a debut novel by Shellie Neumeier. Writing to teens, she captures the drama and angst of the age group as well as the durability of friendships and faith. Robyn becomes a leader of her prayer group simply due to courage shown under fire. Courage that eventually gets tested as well as her faith when two boys vying for her affections, a vicious reporter and difficult life circumstances would threaten to throw her off course. This book however does not only deal with the human side of life, but does an incredible job of highlighting the spiritual battle that goes on behind the scenes when someone steps up to obey God, and pray. With hints of C.S.Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, Ms. Neumeier captures the intensity of spiritual battle that even the most mature of Christians often overlook.
I found the book dynamic and suspenseful and the characters realistic. I would long for more Robyn’s in the world to stand in the gap and this character, while human, is a good role model in her honesty and struggle. Even as an adult, I find this teen and her story a good reminder of my own need to be praying and aware of the spiritual battle around me.
DRIVEN releases its Kindle version in time for the Holiday Season. Beginning December 1, you can join the fun by downloading it to your ereader, kindle, ipod, computer or phone.
Or you can pre-order it on paperback through Barnes and Noble (paperbacks are scheduled to print March 1, 2011).
This past Sunday, I got up at church to talk about how our Women’s Ministry had engaged in the battle against the slave-trade globally and locally. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the issue out there, but it is something, a step in the right direction. I believe I heard that one in four women is impacted by sexual abuse/assault of some kind. 25%. I fall into that category. I’m not proud of it and to be honest, it makes it harder to want to engage in the larger war. Not because it’s not worthwhile, it is. But because it forces me to open up a door that sometimes is more comfortable to keep closed and locked by shame. By looking and confronting global issues, I have to wrestle once again with my own pain, violation and what was lost. So if it took me years to come to admit that this global issue needs attention, how much more for all those others who have been impacted in some way shape and form? Amazing how messy we are in our humanness.
Let’s face it. The trading of human flesh (usually female) for the instant gratification of man’s baser needs (money, sex) is inexcusable. The slave trade now is larger than in the day of William Wilberforce. The numbers are staggering and I cannot get my mind around them. I admire the men and women of the International Justice Mission who, one life at time, methodically work the legal system to gain the freedom of so many, and places them in safe houses where they can be loved and recover from the trauma and find peace and hope in the ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ. IJM go into harm’s way to do their work. Evil does not like a light to shine into this darkness and will fight back ruthlessly. Please pray for these people. Support them if you can afford to.
Women at Risk, International also does good work in providing safe-houses and also micro-businesses for women to keep them out of the slave trade – and to help them when they are rescued. Buying the items that these women create out of their pain into something of great beauty is something to behold. These are just two ministries at work; bring people out of darkness and into the love and joy of God’s light. I follow them on facebook and rejoice with every ONE person who is rescued, while grieving that they were ever enslaved to begin with. But this takes place in the United States and we would be naïve to think that our sons and daughters are safe.
Locally we are working with an organization in the town where I live that is front line at the Emergency Room when victims of sexual assault are brought in. We provide practical love and care when they are done and we pray for these women. God knows their names and their need for His love in the midst of their pain. And we pray.
More does need to be done. If only we (and I include myself) could unwrap our little cocoon of safety to stretch ourselves out on behalf of those who cannot. It may mean facing some ugly stuff inside while facing the ugly truths of our world. But it breaks God’s heart – and it should be breaking mine too.