When Victoria said she was going to write about Rizpah, I confess that I had forgotten this little known biblical, but strong woman. Here’s Victoria:
Cassie O’Rourke is a single mother with a wayward son. She’s also the heroine of “Home Again,” my contribution to the Love Inspired Historical Mother’s Day anthology entitled In a Mother’s Arms. I loved writing about Cassie because she gave me the opportunity to work one of my favorite Bible stories into a book set in 1890 Colorado. Like Rizpah from the Old Testament, Cassie would do anything for her son. Even when he’s at his most unlovable, she fights for him.
Here’s Rizpah’s story: She gave Saul two sons. When Saul got in a war with the Gibeonites, it was left to David to make things right. For retribution, the Gibeonites asked for the death of seven of Saul’s sons. Rizpah’s two sons were in the lot. The Gibeonites put them to death and hung their bodies from trees. For five months, Rizpah stayed with the bodies of all seven men. Every minute of every day, she chased away the buzzards until David allowed a proper burial and she could lay her sons to rest.
Rizpah was a concubine, a woman at the beck and call of others. She didn’t have the social capital to see to the burial of her sons, but neither did she back down. She protected their bodies as best as she could. That’s what mother’s do. They fight for their children. They love them even when they’re damaged and broken.
I first heard the story Rizpah several years ago in church on Mother’s Day. Ever since, I’ve wanted to work it into a book. The opportunity came with this novella. Cassie has many challenges, among them a twelve-year-old son who throws rocks through windows. When he ends up jail, she comes face to face with Deputy Gabe Wyatt, the man she jilted fourteen years earlier.
I’m not spoiling anything if I tell you Cassie gets her “happily ever after” with Gabe. How they get there is the story, and Luke is a big part of what draws them together and pushes them apart. Anyone who’s ever dealt with a twelve-year-old boy will recognize the conflict. It’s my deepest hope that anyone who’s ever loved a child will also recognize the love.