"Is that what God wanted of me? Just to trust that He'd hold me up, take me where He wanted me to go?"
In Anne Mateer's debut novel, Wings of a Dream, Rebekah Hendricks is sure of what she wants: to marry airman Arthur Samson and live a life of adventure. When word comes that her aunt in Texas is ill, she takes it as a sign that God has blessed the union, bringing her within reach of the air force base. However, God's plans are different from Bekah's: it turns out her aunt has been the guardian of four children whose mother recently passed and whose father is fighting in France. And her aunt isn't just sick - she is one of the victims of the Spanish Flu pandemic. Suddenly Bekah is thrust into a position of responsibility she never expected, forced to care for the children until their father comes home - if he survives the War to End All Wars.
Every great once in a while, I read a book that speaks so clearly into my life, it was like it was written for me for just this time. This is one of those books. While I am not dealing with death or suitors or taking care of someone else's kids, I can relate to Bekah's uncertainty with the future - having plans and dreams and wondering why some things happen, yet others, no matter how strongly desired and prayed for, do not. I can certainly relate to Bekah's "What, Lord? What do you want me to do? Silence, as usual." If God would just tell me what to do, I'd do it; but instead it feels like I'm fumbling around without clear direction.
One thing that really spoke to me was Bekah's struggle with the why: why the bad things happen, why none of her plans work. She knows in her head that God will work it for good, yet she feels lost anyway. Though a simple statement, she reaches the profound conclusion that, "Perhaps understanding didn't matter as much as I imagined. Perhaps that was the true definition of faith." Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see; faith is not needing to know why or how things will happen.
As to the story itself, Bekah, though a trifle immature to start with, is no Scarlet O'Hara; she matures with responsibility, and even when she makes foolish decisions, she is a sympathetic character, easy to relate to, and never obnoxious. While yes, there is some romance, it isn't really the main focus of the story - Bekah's journey with God is. I especially liked, since it is told entirely in first person, that Bekah's choice of her suitors is not obvious at the beginning. Rather than a "how will these two end up together" kind of story, it is a "who will she end up with" story. It took until well over halfway before I could be sure.
Between the realities of death of loved ones and life with children, this is an emotional story that could tug at the hardest of heartstrings - though not without heartache, it is an uplifting tale. It begs us to question what are our plans versus our dreams, and to trust God when things go wrong or the way is not clear. Highly recommended! 5 out of 5 stars!