Sam Houston’s Spiritual Journey — Lynne B. Tagawa
I’m excited to welcome author Lynne B. Tagawa today as she shares the spiritual journey of one of our brave men of history, Sam Houston. Read through to the end and find out how to enter to win a free copy of Sam Houston’s Republic (US only, please). Simply answer the question.
Mother was away, and his older brothers were occupied. Young Sam Houston’s palms sweated against the pistol he carried. He’d catch it for sure if they found out, but the frame of the cellar door beckoned, and he just had to know.
How tall was he? For a lad of only thirteen the length of his lanky legs was truly amazing. He stood against the doorframe, laid the firearm on top of his head, and pulled the trigger.
Raised by a godly woman who was widowed about the time of this escapade, Sam Houston was a man of extremes. He later described his mother as a “heroine,” but resented his bossy brothers who attempted to keep him in line. Eventually he ran away to live with the Cherokees where he could translate the Iliad in peace.
Later, as governor of Tennessee, tragedy struck him when a first marriage failed through no fault of his own. He began drinking heavily, and thoughts of suicide even flitted through his mind. But he heard of goings-on in the Mexican province of Texas, and soon mounted a homely horse and made his way west.
Chaos ruled. American settlers who had pledged their allegiance to Mexico were outraged when the cruel dictator Santa Anna cast aside the Mexican Constitution of 1824. Many were terrified and fled. Houston saw this unrest through the eyes of an attorney and statesman whose father had fought in the Revolutionary War. He sat the leaders of Texas down and made them write a Declaration of Independence before he would take up arms against Santa Anna. He would not fight unlawfully. The tyrant was soon defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto by Houston’s ragtag men.
His life was now knit to the nascent republic. But Sam Houston was also lonely. When he met young Margaret Lea several years later, a mutual bond quickly formed. But her family had doubts. True, he respected the Scriptures, but he was known to drink heavily at times. And what about that first marriage?
For her part, Margaret was a devout believer. But she thought she could be a help to this amazing man.
And she was. Houston welcomed her godly example. He began to read the Scriptures and pray as a daily habit. His drunken sprees were curtailed by her domestic influence. They eventually had eight children together.
Finally, while attending church in Washington during his years as senator, the Word of God found a true lodging in his heart. With the counsel of a minister, he overcame his doubts and came to faith in Christ. He was baptized in a creek in Independence, Texas, in 1854.
I wrote Sam Houston’s Republic chapter by chapter for my students. They needed something more interesting that a “normal” Texas History textbook. What if I could write it like a novel? True history in a narrative form? Aside from one or two vignettes that are carefully labeled as “might-have-beens,” the book is nonfiction.
A couple of things made this book a joy to write. First, Sam Houston’s spiritual journey. Naturally, secular textbooks omit the gospel in relation to Texas, or Sam Houston. Even the better biographies don’t say a lot. Primary source material—some of which just recently came to light—aided me in reconstructing Houston’s path to salvation.
Second, so much abounds on the history of Texas—memoirs, letters, and so forth—that even important conversations have been recorded for posterity. Sam Houston’s Republic contains the conversation between Houston and Santa Anna after the latter was captured. No need to make anything up or guess!
So yes, my first book is technically a nonfiction curriculum. But it was still storytelling of a sort, and served as a great segue for my next projects. A Twisted Strand in in pre-publication. It’s a modern day Medical Romantic Suspense—set in Texas. But my current project is truly my first love: history. It’s a historical romance set in the days of the Great Awakening.
It was a warm, wet spring in the swampy bayou country of east Texas. A tall man with clear blue eyes sat astride a huge gray stallion; alert, both were watching what neither of them could see.
The man urged his mount slowly forward. Behind him, a scraggly army marched, silent but eager. Ahead, beyond a slight rise of tall grass, lay the unseen camp of Santa Anna and his army. The tall man, Sam Houston, knew that the Mexican dictator had received reinforcements just the night before. The men behind him were now outnumbered.
But numbers weren’t everything. The Mexican reinforcements were tired; they had to be. Many of Santa Anna’s men suffered from dysentery; they were far from home and their supply lines were long. It was now mid-afternoon and the shadows were beginning to lengthen.
Houston knew about the Mexican custom of afternoon siesta and he also knew that Santa Anna, the self-styled “Napoleon of the West,” was overconfident. Perhaps the diminutive dictator was napping in his tent.
It was the Texans’ only chance. Some of these men did not even have shoes, only the determination to avenge the slaughter of the Alamo. Feeling the aches of old war wounds, and knowing that bravery alone did not win battles, Houston was realistic; he had retreated many miles to find a chance for his men.
Suddenly a rider galloped through the lines.
“Vince’s bridge is down! They can’t get away, men! Victory or death!”
Lynne B. Tagawa is married and the mother of four sons. She attended the University of Hawaii where she met her husband and obtained a degree in secondary education. The Tagawas live in Texas where she teaches part-time.
She writes both educational materials and Christian devotionals; she is especially inspired by the lives of great men and women of faith.
author, Sam Houston’s Republic http://graceandtruthbooks.com
My editing services: http://www.lynnetagawa.com
Question: If you read non-fiction, what makes a book come alive for you? And if you don’t read non-fiction, is credibility important to you regarding historical facts and figures and why? Or why not?
Leave a comment, and we will choose one winner randomly to receive a free copy of Sam Houston’s Republic.