Read an Excerpt from The Church Sign

Ever have moments in life when you wish God would speak directly to you? Moments when you’re talking with him and all you want is for him to talk back? Kirkdale Press’ newest release, The Church Sign, is about exactly that feeling. Alicia Zimmerman trusts the wrong man; seeking refuge, she escapes Canada and flees to Prescott, Arizona. She starts to rebuild her life and finds that maybe she can move on and forget the past. But before she knows it, her past starts to catch up with her, and she realizes that her secrets are more dangerous than she originally thought. The story revolves around church signs that Alicia sees at pivotal points in the story—signs that seem to be more than just coincidence, but rather answers from God himself.

The Church Sign was written by Dr. Anne Robey-Graham, a wonderful woman who worked in higher education for over 20 years and had over 30 years of experience in ministry. We’re sad to say that Anne passed away last December, leaving behind her husband, five children, and five grandchildren. But we’re grateful to have been able to publish her novel and ensure that readers hear her message—“I’d like them to see God’s goodness in everyone, not just in certain leaders.”

Here’s an excerpt from The Church Sign:

Alicia bowed her head and prayed that she would not cry, not here in front of these strangers. She didn’t know them. She didn’t know how they would respond if she did what she craved—if she fell to her knees sobbing, beat her fists on the floor, and begged God to forgive her, again. If only she could pray enough that He could forgive her foolishness.

Even in the quiet of her efficiency apartment, she could not bring herself to let go like that. She was not sure how you were supposed to pray to a God you had disappointed. Would He even listen to her anymore?

She looked around at all the other heads bowed so quietly. Some people had folded their hands politely in their laps, as if prayer required a proper pose; or perhaps their consciences were so clear that they were comfortable with God, like they were chatting with an old friend. Others sat stiffly with their heads titled slightly to one side, not completely bowing to God, but at least giving Him a nod. Others were bent over, their heads almost touching the pew in front of them.

Alicia wondered what all these prayers sounded like to God. Who was pouring out his heart? Who was desperately begging for something she wanted, believing that if only she had it, she would finally be happy? Who was trying to negotiate a favor from God? Who was crying over the sin that weighed him down as if it were strapped to his back? Who touched a lump or a sore spot as she begged for better test results? Who begged for a love to return, or grow, or cease to fade?

What did this cacophony of prayers sound like to God, who listened to every heart and heard every prayer? As Christians all over the world gathered to worship on Sundays, there must be millions, or perhaps billions, of prayers and hearts just like these rising to God.

Just then, a young boy peeked around his mother’s shoulder, stared at Alicia, and stuck out his tongue. She quickly pulled back in her seat and closed her eyes, just in time to hear the pastor say, “And we thank you for your goodness, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Soft murmurs and rustles signaled the shift from prayer time to another song. She had missed her opportunity.

As Alicia stood with the congregation, she reached for a tissue from her purse. As she moved, a sunbeam shining through the stained glass window glinted off her purse. It was just like she had hoped when she drove by the church last week. She smiled as she watched the dust motes dance in the light, and she reached out to touch them. Maybe God really did hear her prayers—at least those about dust motes and sunbeams.

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