In the Fall of 2005, I met a woman who changed my life. Introducing ourselves at a Mothers of Preschoolers group, Chantale shared that she was suffering from stage four lung cancer. The air became thick, and I knew this group would be different.
Chantale later asked if the two of us could meet together in her home. I was honored, but nervous about what I’d say. God reminded me of my gift to write poetry. When I was a child, I wrote songs and psalms to help me cope with my pain and fear. I decided to give it a try. I sought the Comforter for wisdom and direction, and put my pen to paper. Using soothing sounds and memorable imagery, I wrote Chantale a poem about God’s presence. She told me it gave her and her husband peace.
Poems became my regular offerings. I wrote about heaven, salvation, God’s perfect-timing, and other hope-filled topics. Months slipped by, and so did Chantale.
A month after she went to be with the Lord, I attended my first Christian writer’s conference. Several people encouraged me to turn my poetry into a gift book with quotes and Scripture. I went to work, writing, researching, collecting ~ and crafting everything to flow uniquely together. Five years from the time I started writing Chantale poems, my childhood dream of becoming an author came true when, Zondervan published “A Friend in the Storm.”
One of the themes of “A Friend in the Storm” is how God never wastes pain. I saw it in the life and death of Chantale. Christ redeems the past, and graciously turns it into something beautiful that will bless others!

Cheryl Ricker
Breezing Heaven’s Comfort