Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novels are Masquerade and An Unlikely Suitor. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and and her historical blog:



Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
let your mind dwell on these things.
                                                                             Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

I’m a wimp. When one of my kids scraped a knee, I could do my motherly duty, but if it needed stitches, I called in stronger stomachs. I know that words are merely puffs of air, yet when I hear a cuss word, it’s a needle in my heart. And movies . . . I have a vivid imagination. I don’t need to see the details to get the gist of what’s going on.

Which is my point. We are sometimes confronted with offensive sights and sounds. We all know how to avoid such intrusions: don’t watch the TV show, don’t read the book, don’t listen to the comedian, lock yourself in a closet. But it’s not always that easy. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we have to deal with the distasteful. What do we do then to “guard our hearts”?

As a writer I go to seminars and classes to find information that might enhance my work. At one such talk, a county medical examiner had been invited to explain the amazing advances in scientific pathology. Perhaps I was naïve. Perhaps I expected a Quincy-type character to speak to us, to explain in a fatherly soft voice how forensics let the dead speak.

I was so wrong.

The ME brought slides, so we arranged our chairs so we could see the screen. The first slides were educational. Lists. Words. Details. But the next ones . . .

I was shocked to see a vivid slide of a man who’d died in a hit-and-run. I quickly looked in my lap.

I can’t see this. I pretended to take copious notes.

Surely, the speaker would flip through such slides, realizing what was normal for him was horrifying to the rest of us.

But he didn’t. In fact, he seemed to take special pleasure in showing examples of his “patients.” He joked. He teased. He acted as if these people were as inconsequential as a box of paper clips or a coffee mug.

These people were somebody’s son, somebody’s wife.

I looked toward the exit. With misguided enthusiasm, I’d positioned myself front and center. In the cramped room I’d have to weave my way through the entire audience to leave. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t look. And I couldn’t escape.

My hand started writing. “Guard your heart . . . guard your heart. ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life’” (Prov. 4:23 NIV).

“. . . now this man was stabbed fifty-two times . . .”

Good thoughts. I needed good thoughts. My husband. Our kids. My brother’s wedding the previous weekend.

“. . . you can see there were two different knives used . . .”

How beautiful when my brother and his new wife were married in the garden, the sun miraculously appearing after days and days of rain.

“. . . one brother accused the other brother of doing the killing, but we found . . .”

The glow of happiness on my brother’s face. The fun of singing around the piano at the reception.

I glanced at the people closest to me to see if they were fighting the same battle against this brutal reality. Other eyes met mine then looked to their laps. I was not alone.

“This one looks like he’s asleep, doesn’t he?”

Sleeping in the living room at my parents’ home, the house full to overflowing with wedding guests. The sounds of Mom clattering in the kitchen, making a breakfast casserole at 5 AM. The joy of holding my new sister-in-law’s twin nieces, so innocent as they slept through the laughter and hum of wedding voices . . .

Finally another voice. “I’m afraid that’s all the time we have tonight. Perhaps our speaker will consent to come back and finish his presentation.”

A few people murmured their enthusiasm. Most remained silent.

When I reached my car, I felt drained. The tears started. I let them flow, knowing they were more important than any complacency and professional detachment I might feign. I cried for the evil in the world. I cried for the need for autopsies and medical examiners.

And I cried for the “patients.”

As the tears subsided, I thanked God for the happy events that were a blessing in my life, and I prayed that those memories would quickly override the negative images I’d seen.

Unfortunately—realistically—I know I will face this challenge again. For we live in a fallen world. But God and goodness will prevail: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6 NIV).

God’s glory and Christ: Darkness doesn’t have a chance.


Nancy Moser