T. Windahl will be the first to tell you that her life has been no walk in the park. It’s been turned upside down and inside out in more ways than can be counted on both hands. But because of, and in spite of, her trials, she’s found a way to encourage and remind others that the fierier the trial, the more beautiful the stone on the other side.
Her new book, Abiding Hope, began as a simple idea to write reflections once a week. After Windahl had a stack of paper about 2 inches thick, she knew her writing was not only therapeutic for her, but could also be helpful for others going through tough times.
About three years ago, Windahl began working with a publisher to refine her ideas, reflections and experiences into a story that would help others find inspiration in their trials. Abiding Hope was published in November and is the compilation of these experiences. “My goal all along is to encourage others and bring them hope,” Windahl says. “The book is stories from my life with lessons I’ve learned woven in, shared in short stories and personal reflections.”
Abiding Hope takes readers through Windahl’s four cancer diagnoses in 10 years, from stage four ovarian to breast cancer, through losing her father to cancer along the way. She also chronicles marital issues, trouble conceiving and a miscarriage. “I’ve been through many fiery trials,” she says. “And the lessons I’ve learned from them are really gems. I’ve tried to focus on the good that came out of them.”
As she reflects personally on her trials, Windahl says she has noticed how much her life and perspective have changed, which inspires her to keep writing and encouraging others. “I’m such a grateful person now, and I wasn’t before,” she says. “My husband said to me when I was sick that there’s always someone worse off than you are, and I think that’s a great perspective during hard times.”
She’s also encouraged by how her son, Zach, now 29, has grown in spite of the family’s hardships during his early childhood. “He has such a compassionate and giving heart now, and I think it’s because of what he went through and the things he saw as a 4-year-old,” Windahl says. “I remember praying that he would not remember the bad times, and the crazy thing is, he honestly doesn’t remember them.”
Windahl credits her religious faith with her ability not only to survive hard times, but also to find the silver lining and shore up others in times of trouble. It’s also the inspiration for her book title. “Abiding Hope is not a ‘wishful thinking’ kind of hope,” she says in a promotional video for her book. “Rather, it is a hope based on God’s promises and on who He is. It is a hope that is permanent, steadfast and continuing without change.”
Windahl says she has loved the process of having her work published and enjoys connecting with readers. “It’s been just great,” she says. “I love the book signings, where I can actually meet people and talk with them; seeing it all come together and seeing the actual book in my hands has been my favorite part of this whole process. It’s been such a huge blessing to see that people are encouraged by the book.”
T. Windahl will sign copies of Abiding Hope on Saturday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Seedlings Gifts and Books, 521 West 78th St. in Chanhassen. For more info, call 952.974.8084 or visit the website here.
Abiding Hope is published by Tristan Publishing and is available locally at the General Store of Minnetonka, as well as amazon.com. Visit twindahl.com for more.