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Capable Arms: A Mother’s Story



For the last year I’ve walked the decks of a ship that now rests two miles down at the bottom of the ocean. The passengers of the Titanic seem more like friends than people from the past. I suppose that’s what fiction does. Within the pages of a book you have a chance to live a different life, in a different era … especially if you’re the writer.

I think about those last moments during the sinking of the Titanic when husbands stood bravely by and boarded their wives and children onto lifeboats. I think about mothers who passed their children on to others, begging strangers to give their children a chance at life.

I especially consider this last thought. I try to imagine what it was like for Winnie Troutt. She was a simple woman, working as a waitress and as domestic help when she was asked such a thing. Winnie was traveling to Auburndale, Massachusetts, to be with her sister who was nearing the end of her pregnancy. When Winnie set out from Southamption, she had thoughts of a baby — a niece or a nephew soon to be born. But it was another child thrust into her arms on April 15th, 1912.

“Please, Miss, won’t you save this child?”

I wonder what Winnie thought about as she clutched her toothbrush, prayer book, and 5-month-old child as the lifeboat rowed away from the sinking ship. Did she know the baby’s name? Did he cry for his mother? Her arms delivered Assad Thomas to safety. Maybe that was her ultimate purpose for that dreadful night. To press the baby’s cheek against her wildly pounding heart and protect him despite her fears.

I’ve thought of Winnie a lot. Maybe because a precious child was placed into my arms. A young mother longed for a good life for her child, and she chose John and I to adopt and raise her daughter. Although Winnie’s care for Assad only lasted until they were rescued by the Carpathia, John and I stood before a judge and promised to care for our new daughter Alyssa for life. The weight of the responsibility strikes me at times. The sacrifice of another mother does, too. I pray for God’s wisdom and strength as I hold my daughter next to my beating heart. I pray that I can give all that was expected — even more.

I don’t take my role lightly. And I’ll always be grateful to realize that sometimes true love is handing an innocent baby into what you believe are capable arms.

True love considers what can be given … and sometimes you receive a precious gift in the process.

Enter Our Giveaway!

We have a copy of Tricia’s historical novel By the Light of the Silvery Moon to give away. To enter for a chance to win it, leave a comment. We’ll choose a winner using’s Integer Generator.

One additional entry can be earned for each of these:

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This contest closes on Monday, April 16th, 2012, at 12 a.m. Our apologies to our international readers, but it’s only open to those residing in the United States.

This contest is now closed. We used’s Integer Generator to choose our winner. Congrats to Paige & Mark.

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Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Beside Still Waters, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit for more about Tricia and her books.

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Capable Arms: A Mother’s Story

by Tricia Goyer time to read: 3 min