What would drive people from the familiar into the unknown? What would cause men to venture into a harsh wilderness, leaving their families behind? Or uprooting them?
For the Israelites, it was captivity in Egypt and the hope of freedom in a Promised Land that drove them from the prison they’d known for generations.
In the early 1840s, emigrants from the Eastern United States began traveling overland by covered wagon to escape grief, persecution, and poverty. Driven by desperation, curiosity, and greed, several hundred thousand people sold the bulk of their possessions, bid family and friends adieu, provisioned a covered wagon and took bold or timid steps toward what they hoped would be their promised land. A land of boundless opportunity. They’d heard stories of the wide open spaces, big forests, rivers and streams teeming with fish, flowers that bloomed all year, and abundant land for farming. Developing cities ripe for businesses. Gold, silver, and copper sat ready to be mined.
That is the backdrop for the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company in Prairie Song, Book 1 in my new Hearts Seeking Home Series. The women in the Saint Charles Quilting Circle—from The Quilted Heart novellas—have been devastated by the War Between the States. From the youngest to the oldest, they’ve lost brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers. Not only were their plans changed, they were crushed under the heavy weight of endings, some gradual and some abrupt. But their faith is anchored in a faithful God. Fresh starts await them on the horizon.
Carrying their friendships in their hearts, some of the women will travel west to rebuild their lives, in search of home.
Life is a journey. You and I navigate winding roads in our family life, friendships, schooling, work place, communities—in all our spheres of influence. And any journey carries with it a process of discovery in which we can learn in experience who we are in God’s heart, our true home, and what we’re capable of in His strength. We all find ourselves stepping out into the unknown. Taking leaps of faith. Or, most times, tentative steps into a new normal.
I write journey stories because exploring unwelcomed change and struggles tempered by God’s grace reminds us that we are not alone in our passages. Each of my historical novels and novellas feature a focus verse. For Prairie Song, its Joshua 1:9.
Have I not commanded thee?
Be strong, and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (KJV)
God was there…on the road with the Israelites. In their hardships, failures, and triumphs…providing for them.
Their job? To trust the Lord their God and to follow His lead.
Join Anna, Caroline, Lorelei and the others in their goodbyes in Saint Charles, Missouri, and on the trail as they make those discoveries for themselves.