Please note: If you want a lighthearted discussion, choose the “Just For Fun” questions. If you want to dig deeper and discuss the spiritual issues and themes raised in the novel, choose the “Going Deeper” questions.
Just For Fun:
- Which character do you like most in this novel and why?
- Which character do you like least and why?
- In what ways do you relate to Tammy?
- Did you learn anything new or surprising regarding organ donation as you read the book?
- In what ways do you relate to Nick?
- If you were Tammy, how would you have dealt with her ex-husband?
- This novel is set in a fictional city located in the Midwest. Have you visited or lived in the Midwest? If so, what did you like about the area? What did you find challenging?
- Early in the novel, Nick has a difficult time finding something his kids want to eat, and he ends up giving them food they can, in essence, play with. For those of you who have children or have spent time caring for children, can you relate? Do you have any weird or funny kids-and-food stories you can share? What about when you yourself were a child? Were you a picky eater, and if so, what foods did you avoid? What about now? What foods do you absolutely hate?
- Describe your feelings toward the babysitters Tammy interviewed. Were you surprised Stephanie turned out as she did?
- What is your favorite scene in the novel and why?
- Tammy and Nick shared many special memories from high school, which included getting large sodas and candy from their local gas station. Did you have routine places you and your friends liked to go when you were in high school?
- Tammy and Nick reconnect after a long separation, and in high school they were exceptionally close. It’s always special when we can reconnect, or better yet, remain connected with special friends. Are you still friends with any of them now? What has kept you close over the years?
- When did you realize the truth about Nick’s father and what clues helped you figure this out?
- In the opening chapter, we see a marriage that has completely fallen apart, and we learn Tammy’s husband has been unfaithful. Discuss the problems and prevalence of adultery in today’s culture and ways couples can guard against this destructive sin. Why is sexual sin so harmful? (Consider reading 1 Corinthians 6:18.)
- Psalm 1:1–2 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night” (NIV). What does it mean to meditate on God’s law (Scripture)? In what ways did Tammy do this in chapter one? In what ways do you meditate on Scripture and how does that help you?
- Throughout this novel, we see Tammy guard her words about her ex-husband when she’s around her children. Why do you believe this is? Why is it important for believers to guard what they say about others? Consider reading Philippians 4:8–9 and James 3:2–6. How well do you guard your tongue and when do you find this to be most challenging?
- Throughout Intertwined, the importance of paternal involvement is stressed, first in regard to Nick and the difficulty he faces when trying to interact with his children, then the deep ache he feels in the absence of and search for his father, and finally, we see the ache Tammy feels whenever her ex-husband displays a lack of interest in their children. Why do you think the author made fatherhood such a prominent part of her novel? In what ways are fathers important to the emotional health of a child? In what ways can the church help fathers become involved spiritual leaders in their homes?
- Throughout the novel, both Tammy and Nick must learn to interact with individuals who have hurt them or caused them harm. Can you relate? What are some ways you’ve learned to deal with difficult people? How might viewing them through a grace-filled lens help, and how does one do that?
- Throughout the novel, we’re reminded of the brevity of life, both with encounters Tammy faces because of her job and the tragedy Nick endures. In what ways does death help center our thoughts and hearts on eternity? Do you have an example to share of when you’ve seen or experienced a tragedy or difficulty that led to eternal mindedness?
- Tammy faces a great deal of tension in her job because of her faith. She feels compelled to share the hope of Christ with the donor families she encounters, and yet, she also fears repercussions from her boss. Do you believe this is a common struggle for believers working and living in a secular world? Is this something you’ve faced personally, and if so, how do/did you handle this tension?
- The inspiration the author had in creating Tammy’s character who is passionate about her job as an organ procurement coordinator and as a believer in Christ, in many ways, stemmed from a statement made by the author’s pastor. He said believers working in secular jobs were on the front lines of the faith battle. Have you considered your job as a mission field? What are some things you can do, this week, to share Christ with your co-workers?
- In the beginning of the novel, Tammy feels as if her parents are overly involved in her life. How does her views regarding them and their interaction change by the end of the novel, and why do you think this is? For those with adult children, how can you show active love to your children without making them feel judged or inadequate? For those with involved parents, how might viewing your parents through a lens of love and grace reduce tension in your relationship?
- Throughout the novel, Tammy struggles with two equal yet opposing ministries—ministering to grieving families through her role as an organ procurement coordinator and her role as a mother. Can you relate, and if so, how? How do you balance job, family, and ministry responsibilities?
- Forgiveness is a major theme throughout this novel—forgiveness for others and for one’s self. Discuss both. What are the dangers of harboring unforgiveness in your heart? Does forgiveness come easily to you? If not, what are some steps you can take or have taken to grow in this area?
Consider praying together or individually over the following:
- Ask God to show you how you can share His love, grace, and truth in your workplace, neighborhood, or sphere of influence. Ask Him to give you the courage to speak truth when necessary but also the discernment to hold your tongue when the Spirit nudges you to do so.
- Pray that God will show you one person He wants you to touch, and then develop a plan to become an active instrument of grace in their life.
- Pray that God would reveal to you any bitterness that has taken root in your heart and ask for the help and strength to forgive others as He has forgiven you. If one person in particular comes to mind as you pray, ask God for the strength and will to forgive that person.