Tuesday, June 25, 2019

When you're trying to do one of the most difficult things

Today, Anaiah Press author, Laurie Wood guest posts with a powerful piece on forgiveness. A Canadian author, she's written  about a polar bear scientist in her fascinating book, Northern Deception. Welcome to One Ringing Bell, Laurie.

“Forgiveness does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” Lewis B. Smedes - Theologian



Forgiving those who’ve hurt us is one of the most difficult commandments Jesus gave to us. It’s so difficult to forgive people. I’m willing to bet most of us gloss over it during that part of the church service when the pastor or priest calls us to remember our time of confession. And yet, in Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus told us: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sin.”

Jesus is being black and white here. There’s no wiggle room! So, how can we deal with those things that seem unforgiveable?

As a young adult, circumstances surrounding my parent’s divorce caught me by surprise and I found myself dealing with unforgiveness.

Many Christian friends harped at me–yes, I felt “harped” the right word choice–to forgive. And to do it instantly.

I remember some days were so hard--an extremely emotional situation.

My response was to throw myself into my Bible and do a word study on “forgiveness” in both the Old and New Testaments. I determined that I would seek out commentaries and concordances until I absorbed what the word meant and could use it to help heal my heart.

First, I learned forgiveness is a process. While Matthew makes it a commandment, Jesus knows how hard it is, and He knows we’re human and aren’t always going to do it instantly.

Psalm 130 says: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.”

The first part of the forgiveness process is to give the situation to the Lord. Tell him about your hurt, your suffering, your inability to forgive on your own. Pray about it or journal it out and leave it on the page. This will get it out of your mind and “out of your system,” as a wise friend of mine told me at the time I was going through my parent’s divorce.

The second part of the process is seeing if you can repair the situation with the person who’s hurt you. This may not always be possible, especially if the situation involves abuse of any kind. But see if you can meet with the other person to talk through what’s brought you to this hurtful situation. You will know quickly if the relationship can be repaired.

The third part is the realization that the other person may not care about your feelings or the harm done to you at all. And you may have to live with that knowledge and the consequences of the other person’s actions on you. If you need to get outside help to deal with that, please do! There’s no shame in it. God works through other people to heal our hearts and minds.

Finally, realize that you may never, ever, hear an apology for the wrong done to you. The healing part of the process is that when you forgive someone–the burden of how they’ve hurt you will be lifted from your shoulders. They may carry on as they are, and they may carry on without you in their lives, but YOU will be the stronger person for it.

In Northern Deception, Kira Summers has an enormous amount of forgiving to do–both of herself and for someone else who’s done something terrible to her. She runs away from her situation both physically and emotionally and misses out on years of what God had planned for her.
Northern Deception available at Amazon

Reunions can be deadly.
 
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
 
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.

Laurie Wood is a military wife who’s lived across Canada and visited six of its ten provinces. She and her husband have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood, and their son and daughter are a wonderful blessing to their lives. Over the years, Laurie’s books have finaled in prestigious contests such as the Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis. Her family lives in central Canada with a menagerie of rescue dogs and cats. If the house were bigger, no doubt they’d have more.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

When you don't know what to do next




Sometimes the path seems fuzzy.
 
 
 

We long for definite direction—a message in a dove’s beak or . . .
 
A few days ago in Streams in the Desert, I read an excerpt from F.B. Meyer, “Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask him to shut against you every door but the right one… In the meanwhile, continue along the path, which you have been already treading. Abide in the calling in which you are called, unless you are clearly told to do something else.”

Oswald Chambers says, “Do the next thing.”

So, we continue even if the road narrows to a barely discernible trail in a dense wood. We take the next step in the light we have.

It’s good to know that even if our way at times feels like a dead end road to nowhere, across it falls the shadow of two cross members.
 
 

Early in last century, Jessie Pounds wrote these lyrics:

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this . . .
The way of the cross leads home.

Jesus goes before us, and his way leads home.

Consoling words for confusing times.

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him… “(Psalm 37:5).

(edited repost)

Consider visiting the Beverly Varnado Amazon Author page HERE where all my books are available in print and ebook format. My blog is also linked to this page.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A Father's Gift



The childhood of this little boy born months before the event we historically see as the beginning of the Great Depression bridged some of the darkest years our nation has ever known. His mother gave birth to seven children before his arrival, and buried four of them at various ages. The son of a sharecropper, his meals often consisted of a biscuit for breakfast, a biscuit for lunch and supper (as Southerners have called the evening meal) would be whatever the family’s farming provided.

He attended a schoolhouse with several grades in one room and pulled close to a pot-bellied stove to keep warm in the winter. 

Just out of high school, he imagined his life would be spent working in the local textile mill, but circumstances led to his joining the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Later offered officer’s training, he declined because he was home sick.

On his homecoming, he learned about the GI Bill. It’d be hard with a family to support, but for years he worked full time at the textile mill and went to college.

I’d be there to stand with my dad as we had our picture made just after he received his college diploma. I was four, and it is one of my few early memories, but I recall a sunny day and the green grassy slopes surrounding the community college nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

My dad eventually became a banker and provided the financial resources for both my sister and me to attend college. In his seventies, he ran for county commissioner, won, and served his community for several years. He never became well known beyond that community, but I am grateful for the sacrifices he made for us, his desire to serve, and the example of perseverance in the midst of hardship he established. He is definitely a hero in our hearts.

A Sunday school teacher for dozens of years, he has now gone on to be with the Lord. In his later years, sometimes the memories grew as faded as the photographs, but on a birthday a few years before his death, I discovered precious ones remained, as my dad passed another lesson on to me.

I knew it would be an uneventful birthday, because I was out of state with Jerry while he was having radiation treatment when he had prostate cancer. We’d already planned to celebrate as a family when we returned, so, Jerry and I tried to make the best of an odd sort of Sunday. After an early church service, as we sat down for lunch, I noticed a cell phone message from my dad. I pressed play:

“Beverly, it’s ten o’clock on a Sunday morning. So many years ago, you were born on a Sunday morning about six-thirty. And I called to wish you a Happy Birthday, today.”

As the tears rolled, I pressed play again and let Jerry listen.

“How many Dads remember what day of the week their children are born on?” Jerry asked.

“I’d almost forgotten I was born on a Sunday.” The only reason I ever remember at all is the little poem about birthdays. I liked my day. “Sunday’s child is full of grace…”

How many Dads would remember? I don’t know, but mine did. He remembered a Sunday morning baby just waking to the world. He remembered she weighed ten pounds, eight ounces, and that she dwarfed all the other babies in the nursery. He remembered and it made my birthday so many years later a special one.

I made a note to remember for my own children’s sake—to tell them the stories that have shaped their lives. The details matter.

My dad’s caring gave me a greater understanding of my Heavenly Father, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:17-18).

God remembers and unlike our finite earthly fathers, he is always thinking of us. Nonstop. For those like me who are without Fathers because of death or some other reason, that is good news.

No matter the circumstances concerning your earthly father, remember God the Father has his eye on you.

May your Father’s Day be blessed.
 
edited repost 

https://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fashion-District-Beverly-Varnado/dp/1633571203/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522872109&sr=8-1&keywords=Faith+in+the+Fashion+District
 
 

“As a Ford model during the 1980’s, the New York fashion world was my world. Beverly’s encouraging stories of how God moved in that sphere help us realize that no matter where we are— even on Seventh Avenue--God wants to use us for His glory.” Nancy Stafford Actress (“Matlock”), Speaker, and Author
Faith in the Fashion District by Beverly Varnado
 
 
 
 
 
 
A key can open more than a door. 
The Key to Everything by Beverly Varnado. In print and ebook.

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Good news and where to find it


I’d been waiting a while, as all writers must to hear about a sequel I wrote for my novel, The Key to Everything.

One email and six words pivoted the situation, “You will be receiving a contract . . . “

Don’t you love good news?

A wise man once wrote, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land” (Proverbs 25:25) and “. . . good news brings health to the bones” (Proverbs 15:30).

In my mind, I see a splash on the face from a mountain stream on a hot day.
 
 
Good news is like that, bringing refreshment and new vigor. As to the health to the bones aspect, I have significant bone loss issues, so I would like to immerse myself in a well of glad tidings.

But where in this world do we find a never-ending flow of positive dispatches? Yes, we get those emails or phone calls that occasionally lift us, but we can’t count on a steady stream and the evening news certainly won’t do it for us.

In the original Greek, the word gospel means God’s good news. The gospel is the only source that will never run drythis revelation of what Jesus has done for us.

My husband Jerry is fond of saying in his sermons, “People don’t like good advice, but they do like good news.”

The gospel is not good advice; it is all caps, huge font, and front page news.

It is the best message we will ever receive.

So, let’s immerse ourselves in God and the truth of His word.

My new book is called A Plan for Everything and God’s good news is like that, a plan for every circumstance.

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