Synopsis – Ivory Shores: Book One – by Tonya Weeks

An unlikely group of six vastly different women journey together to a secluded, southern beach known as Ivory Shores. Not one of them knows just how much impact she will have on the others through the life experiences she brings with her into their tiny beach house. As friendships grow, bonds strengthen, and individual stories unfold, each woman — no matter how bold, bitter, or broken her heart is — begins to find her own place in the great story of healing and restoration.

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Camille – by Tonya Weeks

This will not only be my first time to go on an all girls’ beach trip, but it will most likely be my last. At the age of 44, I am way too young by this world’s standards to be facing my own mortality. My life has been good, my sweet husband loves me with all of his heart, and my two children are everything a proud momma could ever wish for. My career has taken me to wonderful places where I have gotten to meet and minister to women all over this country.

As a women’s ministry speaker, I have had the honor of teaching, encouraging, and loving on women through their many struggles. Troubled marriages, wayward children, strongholds of addiction, sickness, and devastating abuse are just a few of the stories that run rampant in their everyday lives. Even after all my years of doing this, every story from every woman still touches my heart to its very core. It has been my absolute pleasure to advise them, pray with them, and help them in any way that I can. And I’m sure that the Good Lord will allow me to continue my ministry in the coming days with the five lovely women with whom I am going to the beach. The tough part is that none of them has any idea of the struggles going on in my own personal life.

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In addition to my parents and my brother, my husband Dan and our semi-grown children are the only ones who know. My symptoms and outward signs have been minimal thus far, so it’s been fairly easy to keep it to myself. As much as I believe that God is my Healer, my Protector, and my Comforter, the human side of me is so very scared. And so is my family.

Dan and the kids have been so strong for me, but I hear them crying in the other rooms when they think I am out of earshot. Adam is trying to be a man, but as a twenty-year-old – still living at home while taking summer classes at a local college and working a part-time job – this has really added to his emotional stress level. And my sweet Brooke is just trying to be a normal teenager. She and I are very close, and I am already seeing where she is pulling away from her other relationships. Her friends don’t know what she’s going through, and they certainly don’t understand why she is so sad lately. It breaks my heart to know how much they are all struggling.

When we first learned of the news, we had so many questions: How can this be happening? How will this affect my ministry? Why isn’t there anything that can make this go away? How do we go on acting normal when our lives have become so uprooted? And how do I explain to my friend Suzannah that I can no longer go on the beach trip?

I had already said “yes” quite a while back about going with her and the other ladies, but that was before we got the news. I was ready to back out right away. There was no way I was going to leave my family for that long, but Dan wouldn’t have any of that. As much as we want to spend every last day together, he continues to insist that I also live as many experiences as I can. We have always lived a married life of no regrets, and he has reminded me of that time and time again as I flip-flop back and forth about this trip.

I have never been an it’s-all-about-me kind of person, and I refuse to begin now. Drawing any sort of attention to myself or to my own worries this coming week is not an option. It’s not who I am, and it’s not who I want to become. My primary focus is to set my own concerns aside and be a blessing to these ladies.

Of course, I also want to have fun with them and laugh until my belly aches. I want to feel the sand between my toes and hear the waves crashing against the shoreline. I want to forget all my cares for just a few days.

So here I am, the night before I leave for a trip to the beach, packing my bags, and trusting that God has brought me to this place for a reason.

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