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Surrender Story: Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard

Posted by Julie on February 4, 2016 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Julie’s Note:
My heart is to change the world through fiction, by creating characters who ultimately surrender whatever issue is holding them back from complete freedom in Christ. I love the premise behind Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard because there is definitely surrender in this story. I hope you enjoy the interview Terri shares with the heroine of the story, Heidi.

 

Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard.

Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard.

Heidi, was there any aspect of being at war that you did not anticipate?

 

The loneliness, or maybe I should say the aloneness. In Germany, we didn’t know who we could trust. We may have been good friends with our neighbors before, but during the Third Reich, we had to keep our opinions to ourselves. If our views did not agree with Nazi doctrine (and they didn’t), we could be denounced as traitors. If someone held a grudge against you, a trumped up charge might land you in a concentration camp with a good possibility of torture and death. Even relatives could betray you, intentionally or not. That happened to me.

 

What was your reaction when Hitler declared war on the United States?

 

Despair. Feeling sick to my stomach. Knowing for sure we’d lose the war. Being at war against England was bad enough. I didn’t know anyone there. But the United States! I knew a lot of Americans. And my generation bore the brunt of the fighting. That meant boys I’d gone to school with would be fighting us. Being at war with the U.S. meant no more mail service, so I lost touch with my American friends.

 

Why were you sure Germany would lose after the United States entered the war?

 

Common sense. Remember, I lived in the U.S. for three years. It’s a huge country, capable of massive manufacturing. America had already been helping the Allies with war material. Now they would work that much harder to supply themselves.

 

Hitler fancied himself a military genius, but his actions proved otherwise. When England refused to capitulate during the Battle of Britain, he quit the attack and declared war on Russia. If he couldn’t subdue one enemy, why should he think he could subdue two? Insanity. Pure insanity.

 

Your American friends urged you to return to the U.S. when the war began in 1939. Do you regret staying in Germany?

 

That’s a hard question. Life would have been easier for me. But what about my family? The children I helped care for? I believe caring for the children was my calling. I was able to do some good. What would I have done in the U.S., where I would have been an enemy alien? And if I had gone, what would have happened to Paul when he needed help?

 

Speaking of Paul, what about Erich? Do you think of him often?

 

Oh dear! I do wonder what life would be like if he still lived. I often think of how he died. That was so stupid of his commander. Diving their damaged submarine was suicidal. Why did he dive? He had no right to condemn his men like that. If he couldn’t face surrender, at least he could have allowed the crew to get off before he submerged. I would like to know what happened before they dove. Did Erich object? Did anyone? That still bothers me.

 

The Allies took command of the air over Germany in the years of the war. What was that like to see them overhead?

 

I was awestruck. That sounds horrible for a German to say, but it’s true. Those formations of bombers looked invincible marching across the sky. Oh, I saw some come down. A lot of them were shot down. But they kept coming. Since I spent much of the war in the countryside, I never experienced their bombing. Only one time was I under the bombs, and that was a British night raid.

 

You live in the States now. What are your thoughts about your homeland?

 

Germany lies in ruins, and that hurts my heart. So much was beautiful, and so much good came from Germany. The Gutenberg Bible, great hymns of the church. Now all people think of are the death camps. I don’t understand how so many people could work at those camps, agree with what they were doing. It’s unfathomable. What happened to people’s faith in God? Had it been destroyed by the Great War and its aftermath?

 

My hope is Germany will rise from the rubble, and work for peace, not for conquest. That great men like Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer will lead people in the ways of God.

Christian Library Journal, and Church Libraries

About Friends and Enemies

World War II rages across Europe, particularly in Germany, claiming the life of Heidi Wetzel’s husband. In a bid to escape her grief and the frequent bombings of German cities, Heidi and her sister flee Hagen to a farm in the German countryside, where they help care for orphaned children. While there, Heidi comes across an American airman, Paul, with whom she spent time when her family was living in Milwaukee during her high school years. When Paul’s plane is shot down over Germany, his only thought is survival—until he hears God’s voice guiding him to his late wife’s friend.

Terri_editedTerri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her occupied as an associate editor.


Friends and Enemies: http://amzn.to/1moxZkW
www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

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Sabbath Sunday: The Bridge

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This isn’t the best picture, but that’s why I tell people I’m an amateur nature photographer. I take them with my phone. And this happened to be while in a car that was going over a bridge on Chautauqua Lake in Upstate NY.

As you know, each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture along with a few encouraging words about God’s love for you.

What you might not know is this spot is my favorite visual when I travel back to family. It’s a 300 mile trip one way and no matter the season, I love what I find as I look beyond the bridge. My husband knows this about me, so when he travels without me, he’ll contact me and say I’m on the bridge. (He has a hands free device.)

But this picture doesn’t look so welcoming. It almost has a haunting look that can bring on a chill. The waters are frozen. That building looks isolated.

Who would sign up for a visit to that place?

But like I said, each time I drive over that bridge, it’s never the same. Last October it was 70 and I saw a lone boat streaking through the waters. In July there are water skiers. In November the trees become bare.

Isn’t that like life? If I knew everything that was coming around the bend, I wouldn’t sign up. But here I am. Some days are like summer—full of opportunity. Then there is the vibrant harvest. I’ve enjoyed the blossoms that my spring brings. But the harsh winter days of my soul? They feel like this picture looks.

No matter what you find when you drive past the bridge, I hope you put your trust in the One who makes all your days possible. He has purpose to every single day. Not to isolate and taunt you, but to grow and transform you.

Because one day those frozen waters will melt, and people will line those buildings and waters.

And it won’t feel so alone.

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Sabbath Sunday: The Bridge

565879_10151332376971940_1392913060_n

This isn’t the best picture, but that’s why I tell people I’m an amateur nature photographer. I take them with my phone. And this happened to be while in a car that was going over a bridge on Chautauqua Lake in Upstate NY.

As you know, each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture along with a few encouraging words about God’s love for you.

What you might not know is this spot is my favorite visual when I travel back to family. It’s a 300 mile trip one way and no matter the season, I love what I find as I look beyond the bridge. My husband knows this about me, so when he travels without me, he’ll contact me and say I’m on the bridge. (He has a hands free device.)

But this picture doesn’t look so welcoming. It almost has a haunting look that can bring on a chill. The waters are frozen. That building looks isolated.

Who would sign up for a visit to that place?

But like I said, each time I drive over that bridge, it’s never the same. Last October it was 70 and I saw a lone boat streaking through the waters. In July there are water skiers. In November the trees become bare.

Isn’t that like life? If I knew everything that was coming around the bend, I wouldn’t sign up. But here I am. Some days are like summer—full of opportunity. Then there is the vibrant harvest. I’ve enjoyed the blossoms that my spring brings. But the harsh winter days of my soul? They feel like this picture looks.

No matter what you find when you drive past the bridge, I hope you put your trust in the One who makes all your days possible. He has purpose to every single day. Not to isolate and taunt you, but to grow and transform you.

Because one day those frozen waters will melt, and people will line those buildings and waters.

And it won’t feel so alone.

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Character Confession: Freedom

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Each Sunday I try to share my own nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you.

I’ve never seen a limp flag, have you? Even on a non windy day I think our flags still represent so many strong themes. Freedom. Sacrifice. Heroes.

Freedom in your life will never be a weak victory. Choosing Christ to help you conquer fear, anger, the past, and more will never be the crutch or loser decision the world would have you believe.

Freedom in you is like this flag.

Regal. Majestic. Strong. Inspiring.

May freedom in Him be yours today!

Julie Arduini picture at Riverside Gardens, Youngstown

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Sabbath Sunday: I Got This

Each Sunday I like to post one of my amateur nature pictures along with a thought about God, in hopes that it encourages you on this day of rest. You can love it, hate it, agree, disagree, but know this, you didn’t find this post by accident.

I shared a couple weeks ago on Facebook about my lack of peace regarding something in my life that has burned me and left me emotionally scarred, if you will. My something is most likely different than yours, but when this thing comes to my attention, my stomach tightens, my mind reels, and my peace is gone, by my own choice. I stew, worry, fret, and spiral into a depression and pity party.

In the midst of this, I was in the car alone and just shared my thoughts. If you think I’m a formal praying person, you’re wrong. I’m not in religion, I’m in relationship. God is my Father, Jesus is my friend, and the Holy Spirit is my teacher. They are my life, and I’m honest with them. They can handle it, so no fancy, dancing around the topic for me. I laid it all out, and questioned why this keeps happening.

Three words came to mind.

I got this.

Instantly my mind kicks into overdrive. I got this, how empowering! Yes, I got this. I’ll call here, demand that, write here, send there….and in that deep place in my heart where the deepest love and wisdom from above flow, all thoughts were disrupted.

“Not you, me. I got this.”

Every worry that started to form immediately halted with those three words. Dental bills-I got this. Flexcard-I got this. Co-pays? I got this. Child’s future? I got this. Direction? I got this.

God wants you to know He's got this

Julie Arduini, my daughter, my sassy darling—I. Got. This.

I’m neither a scholar or a kook, just a surrendered Child of God always willing to hear His voice, and He doesn’t disappoint. God is not a cruel taskmaster, nor is He a puppet master, laughing it up as He pulls strings. He wants relationship, to share with you. Reveal things, love you, tell you serious things, tell you funny things. All you have to do is ask. Know that the bridge I show above is a visual for me—that I have the connection with God that I do because I believe Him. I don’t just believe in Him, I believe Him. I believe His Son is that bridge that gives me access to see from His perspective, because I ask. I’m still human, I make mistakes, I doubt, pout, and everything in between.

But make no mistake, I hear his voice.

And if you’re willing, so can you.

If worries have you without peace today, trade my name in the sentence for yours.

(Your Name), I got this.

And with a mustard seed size faith, so small I can barely hold onto it when I touch such a seed, believe that He does.

And watch that peace return.

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Sabbath Sunday: New Roads

Each Sunday I share my own amateur nature picture with a few thoughts on God’s love for you.

This is Upstate NY in Autumn. Breathtaking, isn’t it?

It’s part of a 300 mile journey I take each time I visit loved ones. The trip is nearly a few turns and probably over 200 miles of straight highway. The road is known for bumps and construction.

Just like life.

I got so used to the straight road in my life that when a turn came, an exit I didn’t see coming, a detour I wasn’t planning, I let it throw me.

I fought it.

But beyond the curve was a new road full of color and opportunities, a journey I never would have known without the detour. The change. The unforseen. The unplanned.

When transition comes, and it is such a theme for this year, I try not to be so against it. I pray for guidance, that I’d see from God’s perspective all that awaits.

And to never take any of the roads I’m on for granted.

This month guest bloggers took over my blog to share their thankful posts. They are so inspiring and powerful I hope  if you missed any you check the archives. There are also subscription options at the top of the site. This month is my favorite here, I think it will become yours, too.



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