Weaving the Spiritual Thread into Your Story

It’s time for a book release! 

Softly Blows the Bugle is the third installment in my Amish of Weaver’s Creek series, stories that are set in an Amish community in Ohio during the American Civil War. 

Weaving the Spiritual Thread into Your Story

Since this book is the third in the series, there is a lot going on! Not only do the series-long threads need to be wrapped up, but Elizabeth’s and Aaron’s stories need to be told in full.

How many story threads are there?

First of all, there’s the romance. Boy meets girl, there are problems and fun times, they fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Then there’s the external plot – Boy meets girl, things go wrong, things are fixed, we come to a resolution.

We also have a few secondary plot lines, a secondary romance (or two,) and an antagonist.

By the way, you’re really going to hate this antagonist!

But when you write inspirational romance, there is another thread that can not be forgotten: the spiritual thread.

I like to think of this thread as the foundation fabric that all the other threads are woven upon. Like a piece of even weave fabric in a cross-stitch project or a tapestry, the finished piece – the story – would fall apart without this thread.

Weaving the Spiritual Thread into Your Story

What does the spiritual thread look like? Well, it depends on your characters!

1) Option one is when both the hero and the heroine are believers. In this case, the spiritual thread could be when your characters’ faith is tested, or when they are called to put their faith into action. There are many other ways to keep this type of spiritual thread moving through your story.

2) The second option is when one main character is a believer and the other one isn’t. Many successful books start with this premise. The unbelieving character comes to a saving faith part way through the book and the hero and heroine move on to their Happy Ending.

3) The third option is when neither character is a believer. Each of the characters come to faith separately. You can decide if that happens before or after the romance turns to love.

In “Softly Blows the Bugle,” neither Aaron nor Elizabeth are believers at the beginning of the book, but neither one is a stranger to the gospel

Elizabeth grew up in the Amish church but left it to marry a non-Amish man when she was in her teens. After she became a widow, she joined the church. However, it wasn’t because of her faith, but an effort to erase the years she had been married and return to the ways she had been taught as a child. It is only when she realizes that she can’t relieve the burden of her guilt on her own that she understands the gospel and comes to a saving faith.

Aaron, on the other hand, was never Amish. His mother, who had passed away when he was a young boy, had taken him to church, but he had never attended church since her death. What draws him to faith in Christ? It is the hymns he remembers his mother singing in their home. Hymns like “Rock of Ages” and “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy.” Hymns that he rediscovered during the war, in the evenings when men would gather to worship. In the smoky campgrounds lit by dozens of campfires, the fragrance of wood smoke drifting in the night air, he would listen to the familiar hymns before the bugle would softly blow taps.

In this story, the spiritual thread is ever-present – guiding, tugging, and calling the characters to a belief in God and His work in their lives. Most of the time it is in the background, like the fabric in a tapestry.

That, I think, is where the spiritual thread is the most effective for the readers. Instead of “preaching” (which is really just telling,) a powerful spiritual element in the story is subtle. Shown, not told.

What do you think about the spiritual thread in inspirational romance stories? Do you have an example of a book where the author handled that thread particularly well?

Share your thoughts with us, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of “Softly Blows the Bugle!”

Weaving the Spiritual Thread into Your Story
Jan Drexler has captivated readers with her heartfelt tales centered around the Civil War. In the final installment of The Amish of Weaver's Creek series, Drexler offers another tender story full of hope, renewal, and love in Softly Blows the Bugle.

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband’s death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. After a disastrous marriage, she is determined that she will never marry again, even if it means she will have to give up her dream of having a family of her own.

Two years later the Civil War has ended and her brother returns home with a visitor. Aaron Zook has lost both his home and his leg during the war. He is ready to put the past behind him and find a new future out West. But, he never imagined that the Amish way of life would be so enticing—especially a certain widow he can’t get out of his mind.

Yet, life has a way of getting complicated even in the simple Amish community of Weaver Creek. Aaron soon finds that he must put Elizabeth’s welfare before his own and risk sacrificing everything if he wants to win her heart.