Local author, Jan Edith Taylor, introduces her most recent book on faith’s impact during times of trials and struggles.
By Matt Schepeler
Jan Edith Taylor loves a good story and wants to make sure the best of them is preserved for future generations.
Taylor, a devout Christian, penned her first book titled Heritage of Hope: Lives Touched by God’s Transformative Power, which centered on stories of people’s lives, as it applies to their faith years ago. She knew after finishing Heritage of Hope that there were more stories to be told.
Taylor said this was affirmed when talking with her friend, Betty Blue.
“She started telling me her story, and the struggles she and her husband faced as adoptive parents,” said Taylor.
“I kept running into people telling me their stories, telling me how God has done a miracle in their lives. I would ask them, ‘Have you told your children?’ and they would usually say ‘No.’”
“I thought, ‘these stories need to be published’,” adding that Psalm 78 specifically directs that stories of faith be shared with future generations. (more below)
Thus, her second book titled Called to a Living Hope: Inspiring Stories of Faith was born.
As the title indicates, the book shares the stories of several individuals and their struggles and victories through Christ. Taylor touches on a variety of subjects in the work, including stories of being a single parent, dealing with sexual abuse, prayer, captivity and freedom as told through the lives of real people dealing with hard issues.
In a chapter titled “A Light in the Darkness – Betty Blue,” Taylor writes of the difficulty that Blue faced raising her adopted sons, who struggled in coping with life’s hardships:
“My husband and I did all the things parents do in situations like ours: we went to counseling; we tried to talk with our boys, but talking did not work,” Betty admits. “The hardest thing was the rage and the disrespect. I did not know how to help my sons. Of course, I experienced anger about things from time to time, but their anger was beyond anything I had ever seen.” Looking back, she believes her sons were deeply wounded by the fact that their birth parents let them go; they felt abandoned. They began to stay out late and used drugs. “I didn’t want to tell other people about my problems with my boys. I felt like a failure.”
But it was through difficulties that Betty became closest to God. And Betty Blue, who has touched countless lives through music and teaching, ended up inspiring thousands before dying in 2019. (more below)
“There is one story in this book called An Answer to Prayer. This is of a young man, and his story is that he was raised in a pretty rough environment, but he had a grandfather who was a Pentecostal minister who prayed for him,” said Taylor.
The man led a hard lifestyle, “but always had a feeling that God was pursuing him, and he finally gave over to the Lord.”
Because of going through those hardships, the man is now able to minister in a way that helps people going through some of the same difficulties. He has become, as Taylor’s book title highlights, called to a living hope.
Some of the subjects in the book will be familiar to local readers. Taylor said she is especially pleased with a story of Louis Weitzel, the well-known Deacon at St. Rita’s who survived flying over Nazi Germany during WW II.
“In a way, my audience is for people who believe, so it is a message of encouragement,” said Taylor. The world needs that right now, she believes.
“God is still on the throne and is working in the world in a powerful way,” she said.
Anyone wanting to get a copy of Called to a Living Hope can get a signed copy on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a book signing at Callaghan’s Coffee Café, 109 S. Main St. in Brooklyn.
Called to a Living Hope can also be found on Amazon.