The author of more than fifty published books, Sandra Byrd has received numerous awards and accolades for her writing. She has been honored with the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Award nominations, Library Journal Best Book selections, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list.
Sandra lives in Seattle with her husband. Her adult children live nearby.
If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?
Creative. It extends to writing, of course, but also cooking and party planning and ways to reach out to those who need encouragement.
The Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
Many times. I’ve come to enjoy those detours because when God shows up in an unexpected way, in a way I could never have imagined or expected, I know He’s paying close attention. Those unexpected paths remind me that He knows things I could never know and can solve things in a glorious way I could never have imagined. He is the ultimate creative.
Have you seen this poem? It’s been floating around for years, but I love it, and I think it speaks of those Divine Detours.
A Tandem Bike Ride with God
I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.
But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn’t know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting.
When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at breakneck speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”
I was worried and anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again.
He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages.
And I am learning to pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus. And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says . . . “Pedal.”
— Author unknown
That’s delightful! Let’s talk about your new book, Heirlooms (Tyndale House, July 2022). What inspired it? What faith lesson do you incorporate into the story?
That God plays the long game, and if we can help ourselves stop focusing on the short game, as most of us do, and trust that He really will bring good for everything in one way or another, life will seem less fragile. That it’s okay to be angry with Him. That it’s okay to falter in your faith. That faith is best seeded and germinated in honest soil. That He faithfully answers prayers, even though it may not always be in our lifetime.
I love the intersection of one generation impacting the next—positively or negatively, knowingly and not. I wanted to bring a broader understanding of the intrinsic worth of every person. I wanted to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and bring home in our money-driven world that the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life are the most valuable of all.
How do you hope it will inspire others to live out their faith?
One character asks, “What are you doing today that fulfills the hopes and prayers of someone yesterday?” Each of us might consider that, and if the answer isn’t readily at hand, adjust our lives a wee bit.
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Potato chips are my kryptonite. Happy? Let’s eat chips and clam dip. Sad? Let’s eat chips and ranch. Super celebration? Lay’s with crème fraîche and caviar. You get the idea!
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the superheroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’m definitely the girl next door, 100 percent.
Thank you, Sandra! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
~ ~ ~
For more information about Sandra, visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
To order Heirlooms, log on to: