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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Thought I Did Forgive Him

When they put out those cute cards at weddings or bridal showers, asking for advice, I always write the same thing. Be quick to forgive.
He’s human. I’m human. We say stupid things—accidentally, of course. He can be an insensitive clout. I can stick my foot in my mouth faster than you can breathe. We’re going to crush each other’s spirits sometimes. It’s sad, but true.
So, in relationships—especially marriage—we must keep reminding ourselves to be quick to forgive. Not just to say the words. Really mean them. If we're not quick to forgive, we can ask God to heal our un-forgiveness.
When I pause for a second to consider what God has forgiven me of, how can I hold something against someone else?
But, what if, one day, God shines a spotlight on your heart—He’s really good at doing that—and suddenly you realize there’s a hurt tearing a little bit inside you each time you think of that awful thing your husband—or someone in your past—did? What then?
Saying “I forgive, I forgive, I forgive” like a mantra isn’t going to help. Well, you can try it. But, from experience, I can say it doesn’t help.
I’ve heard forgiveness—like love—is a choice. But there are some things that seem bigger than us. Like hurt. Especially hurts we’ve held onto—even unknowingly. Sometimes we make an agreement with our hurt. I’m entitled to be angry. He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness. He needs to pay. When the truth is, we’re the ones paying, because we’re clinging to our pain, nursing it, even rejoicing in past wounds to keep them alive, so we never forget.
I’m not minimizing your pain. Awful things do happen to good people. And I hurt with you over any hurts or losses in your life.
When God showed me I hadn’t forgiven someone in my past, it surprised me, because I thought I had. But now that He'd brought it to light, I knew it was time for me to let His healing begin. Of course, I needed to face it, and ask God to forgive me for holding something against someone, when He'd forgiven me of so much. In a moment, our Lord can erase hurt and loss and pain faster than any remedy humans can invent. It was like heavenly oil pouring over my soul. Un-forgiveness was a sneaky, cancerous wound, and I needed the fire of the Holy Spirit to consume the sin and make me whole. And He did.
There’s such a relief when someone forgives me. And I’ve experienced the sweetest peace when God in His love brought forgiveness to my own aching heart. It was all His work. A miracle of healing as great as any restoration of physical health.
Forgiveness  can happen in a moment or it can be a journey. The first step is allowing God's love and healing to pour over us. In Him is true peace--and a forgiveness that goes way beyond our own understanding.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Eph. 4:32 
(I’ll continue my journey-to-publishing topic next time.)
Check out Mary's new book "Winter's Past".

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrate with me!

I want to celebrate a huge dream that has come to pass in my life this week. My book has been published! Hurray! Please, rejoice with me. :)

Quite a few years ago, I started Winter's Past. Then I'd set it aside. Then I'd pick it up. Uh-huh, you get the picture. About four-and-a-half years ago, I quit my full-time job and immediately started working on Winter's Past on a daily basis. I did the rounds of trying to get an agent interested in my project. I attended a writer's conference. Then I decided the really big thing I needed to do was to get my story professionally edited.

So I did that.

By the time I thought I had all my ducks lined up in a row, my emotions took control, and I got discouraged. Maybe I wasn't a writer, after all. So I put my novel writing away for over a year. I was still working at youth theater and coming up with some lively material. But I hated that I'd stopped writing my novel.

During the summer I took a part-time job at a local library. And there were parts of it that I really liked. But in the end, I decided it wasn't quite what I was looking for. It was then that I felt I should plunge back into the waters of serious writing and editing. It was was the time. At this point, I still thought I'd go through the (what I thought was) proper channels to getting my book published--find an agent, wait a year, maybe get someone to cheer me on in the publishing world.

A couple of months ago, my son, who was also working on a writing project, started talking to me about the benefits and open doors available today with self-publishing. I know, that! Hahaha. The more he talked, and the more I read about the new wave of indie authors, the more excited I got about it.

But what about a small publishing house without the need for a go-between agent? you might ask. So did I. When I looked up a few that had been recommended to me, I found the waiting time for potential books to be published about two years out. What? I'd have to wait two more years to have my book in my hands? Yikes! I really didn't want to wait that long. Not after all the wasted time I'd already spent.

So I decided to take the plunge and give "indie" publishing a whirl. my next few posts, I'm going to share some of my experiences with you.

Yep--you can see I did it!
And there was nothing--nothing--like holding that book in my hand.
Stay tuned for more.

Check out Mary's book "Winter's Past"