It’s been a grueling couple of weeks. Without going into details, we moved suddenly and are headed to a vacation rental for a month to figure out our next steps.
That said, my life is upside down and sideways which has left me clinging to Jesus in a desperate and fulfilling way. He is good. We know he is doing good and bringing good, but in the meantime, I’m exhausted and need – oh, maybe a year – to recuperate.
Therefore, I’ve got nothing for this last post in August.
Except, to introduce you to an exceptional, new author on the scene who writes about food – his first love after my daughter and their kids. I swear I’m not biased just because he’s my son-in-love. He really is an incredible hobby chef and emerging author. I think if you check out his blog, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at his “tongue-in-cheek” writing as well as his food recommendations and critiques.
Even though I miss my beloved California coast, I love many things about Florida. For one, our freedom here to have life mostly back to normal which means we’re able to celebrate our God in worship as well as our nation’s independence. Every week our church is overflowing with new people longing for more of Jesus. That makes my heart happy.
Of course there are other summer fun things too. No matter where we live, I love summer fruit. Such an amazing plethora of sweet, summertime goodness. Like the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Abundant, leaves us wanting more, and so good for us!
Then there are our afternoon thunderstorms. Okay, so even though the thunder still makes me jump, even when I see the lightning and know it’s coming, the pouring rain washes the heat out of the day. After the deluge, a peace settles over everything. Like Jesus washing us in living water and giving us his peace.
Brendan and I have enjoyed a couple of outings now that I am able to do a little more. Our friend, Bob, is a gracious man who has treated us to some fun – like riding in his sidecar! A first for both me and Brendan.
And finally, who doesn’t love summer reading? Take a good book to the beach or the lake and escape into someone else’s world for a few hours.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that Where Blows the Wind is finally available in paperback! It’s been a long month trying to work out the printing issues, but it’s still in time for your summer vacation.
The really good news is that I’ve made it half price until August 15th. $8.99 is a great deal for those who prefer the feel of a book in hand and the smell of paper and ink.
It can be read without Book 1, but if you haven’t readWhen the Wind Blows and want to read them in order you can find it here. Most of my time this summer has been spent writing. Book 3 in the Winds of Redemption series, A Mighty Wind, is well under way and unfolding in ways I didn’t foresee. It’s on track for a fall release. I’ve also been working on the sequel toThe Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater – my first true non-fiction. (Even though it tells more of our story, it’s really a book about marriage.) My goal is for Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Collides with Reality to be available before Christmas.
We’ll see what God does. It’s up to him, I just let him use me. LOL
Tyrina longs for family, but doesn’t trust anyone. But when she meets the group of neighbors brought together by the previous year’s hurricane, she’s inspired by Dylan Davis’s story. Could God possibly help her find the siblings she lost contact when they were children? And what about finding love?
“Oh my goodness…I couldn’t stop reading it. I loved every minute of it! Laura Bennet has a way of using vivid language so that you can envision yourself right there in the room with the characters.” Cindylq
One post was by author Laura Thomas. Her post was so helpful and practical, I received permission from her to re-post it here. I hope you will find it encouraging as you seek ways to REST.
It happens every year. We ease ever so gently from the long winter season into the glory of spring, but then summer seems to land in our laps overnight. Hot, lacking schedule, and waiting like a panting puppy for all the fun to happen. While summer evokes dreamy visions of relaxation and rejuvenation, if we’re not intentional about scheduling SOUL REST into our plans, we could fall into fall exhausted and dried up. So, let’s contemplate the beauty and benefits of a “soul rest summer”…
“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” Charles Spurgeon
It’s true, REST revives the soul. Rest that reaches into our marrow and beyond, more than physical, mental, and emotional; that complete and utter rest for our battered, frazzled, hopelessly forgetful souls.
This summer, we may be caring for tiny tots or elderly loved ones or working a full-time job. We may be chomping at the bit to dive back into everything wonderful as pandemic restrictions loosen or we could be fearful to wade back out into the ocean of people and activities and unknowns. Anxious or antsy, here are SIX “S” words to help us savor summer soul rest:
SIMPLIFY: Let’s set hours, days, or even weeks aside this summer to unplug. Whether from work or social media or the bombardment of news or entertainment, summer is the perfect time to settle into the joy of being in the moment. Everything will still be happening as per usual when we return, refreshed and renewed. Avoiding constant phone notifications and social media posting pressure removes a whole layer of stress and makes life in the present so much sweeter and simpler.
SABBATH: Schedules might be skewed in this season but we can still set aside one special day each week to spend time with God, soak in His goodness, enjoy fellowship, eat amazing food, hang out with loved ones, get out into creation—less job and more joy, less hustle and more holy. Rich and rewarding nourishment for our souls.
SOCIALIZE: Even as an introvert, I know I need my people. We are made for connection, real connection with actual humans. We need laughter and deep meaningful conversations. We know our limits when it starts to be draining, but let’s fill our cups with life-giving relationships and allow it to be a true balm for our souls, especially after the year or so we’ve all just experienced!
SOLITUDE: Arrange some alone time. Pray with purpose. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Listen to music. Read a book. For my fellow booklovers, let’s make a list of books for summer reading that will stir our imaginations, challenge our intellects, make us swoon, grow our faith—whatever fills our souls.
SCRIBE: It doesn’t matter if you’re a “writer” or not, journaling our thoughts or prayers or devotions or dreams is a beautiful practice. It can help articulate or make sense of what’s on our hearts and in our heads. Making a gratitude list enables us to literally count our blessings and see all the good things minute and magnificent on the page in black and white. It can change our perspective and posture immeasurably.
SATURATE: Immerse our minds and saturate our souls with Scripture. This is time well spent, always. For we not only learn more about the heart of God, but we also find comfort, encouragement, love, acceptance, guidance, and refreshment beyond compare. We have the privilege of having copious versions at our disposal to read or even listen to. With so much out there vying to saturate our minds, only God’s Word can satisfy and give us the truth and peace we crave.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30
In these comforting and familiar verses, Jesus offers soul rest to all who are yoked to Him, who follow Him as believers. It results in much-needed rhythms of grace in our day-to-day lives. Breathing room for our souls. Peace in the depths of our hearts.
Friend, as I write these words I know I need to heed them myself. This summer is shaping up to be a busy yet beautiful season for us and I want to go into it carving out time for God, for others, and for my weary soul to find rest. I hope you will, too. Feel free in the comments below to share other ways we can encourage one another in this…
Have a glorious summer!
P.S. I’d love to hop into your inbox once a month with “Laura’s Letters”—my newsletter complete with a book giveaway, book reviews, recipe, and a little soul encouragement. Sign up HERE!
A few months ago, a mysterious illness infiltrated my body. (No, not covid.) The signs were subtle at first. Some swelling in my ankles and aching in my arms. It rapidly progressed through my body and currently holds me hostage with severely swollen, aching arms and legs and sometimes debilitating stabs of pain. Test results are all normal. I have no other symptoms apart from fatigue and an occasional headache. The doctors are stumped. I am on a three month wait for a specialist.
Whether I am afflicted or healed, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has made every day, and I choose to rejoice and be glad in it.
As Jesus believers, we pray each day for healing, believing and claiming that by his stripes, I’m healed. And I believe I will be. It may not be today or tomorrow that my healing manifests, but it will be one day according to his plans. Plans I don’t understand, but that are always good.
So far, I’ve learned to trust him more. I’m learning to wait well. My mind is a battlefield, and I can choose to embrace God’s presence, hope, love, and joy, or I can believe lies and be filled with fear, anger, despair, and self-pity. Each day, and sometimes multiple times a day, I have the choice.
Days are better when I choose Jesus.
Today I watched the memorial service for a blogging friend of mine who went home to Jesus on December 30th. He wrote a blog called Unshakable Hope and lived with ALS for 24 years after the doctors gave him three to five to live. I met him because of this blog. He has been such a source of encouragement and faith building to me. As his two daughters shared some questions they asked him, and played his robotic responses while he was confined completely to a wheelchair with no voice and no ability to move, I was once again inspired.
Bill talked about the passage in Scripture where Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh. He commented that our trials here are fleeting and temporary in light of eternity. Now as I wait on the Lord for healing to manifest, I am encouraged by this man’s incredible life. His wife, Mary, has been his caregiver all these years. Her grace and patience humble me. Bill reached tens of thousands of people through his blog that he wrote with eye recognition software. How can I live my life daily in this affliction so that it has eternal value?
How can I consider my current situation close to what he’s lived with? I only hope that I can live it with faith, grace, and unshakable hope like he did no matter how long it lasts. In light of eternity we live a fleeting moment.
Today is the only today we have. Tonight it will be gone, and tomorrow will come. What will we choose today?
I don’t know what the rest of my day or my tomorrows will be. We don’t even know how many tomorrows we’ll have. But today, I live for Christ in response to his love for me. No matter what comes, his love, his presence, peace, joy, and hope are beyond measure.
Will you choose him today? Whether you know him or you don’t, he loves you. He chose you. He has a plan for you.
In honor of my blogging brother Bill Sweeney. He chose Jesus.
The passage in John 11:17-27 tells the story of when Jesus found out his friend, Lazarus was dead. Had been dead for a few days. His sisters were lamenting and questioning his timing…
One of my former pastors and friend, Hilary Millikan penned this great post on hope based on this passage of scripture and graciously allowed me to re-post it here. Hilary is an exceptionally talented writer who gives us a great dose of “wow!” laced with humor. I hope you are encouraged by her words.
Let Hope Arise by Hilary Millikan
I had the privilege of writing and recording a message on Hope for the beginning of Advent at our church. Most of you know that hope is my main “lane” in life. There is always hope. But only because we have THE Hope. How filling it is to rehearse and articulate what we have lived and become convinced of in the Lord. May hope arise and re-arise for each of us…
Now hope… is tricky.
There’s that verse in Proverbs that says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is the tree of life.” So simple. So short. So catchy.
But anyone who has spent any time in the first half of that Scripture, who has lived out the carving of that first phrase is familiar with what a desperate, lonely, painful place hope can be.
The very presence of hope in my life means that I have unfulfilled promises, unanswered pleas, unhealed woundings. Especially right now, when my hope is basically on its “last leg.” The ropes that tether hope to my heart and keep it from flinging wildly away from my soul are strained because my everyday is now filled with unfamiliar and new “hopes” that I now have to navigate.
I hope my children come out of this pandemic emotionally unscathed. I hope this is just a cold and not something trying to kill me. I hope when I go to the store I don’t accidentally pick up an extra carton of COVID.
It’s hard to keep a “stiff upper lip” in my day-to-day, much less give any sort of trusting thoughts or faith-filled prayers to the deeper, longer-lived, farther away hopes. And as in this story, it is especially hard to hope when it is just plain too late.
I’m always struck by how Jesus asks Martha and Mary to trust Him even though Lazarus is ACTUALLY DEAD. There’s not much more to do here, nothing left to hope for. And yet, Jesus comes offering them hope–Hope in Me, can you trust Me, do you believe Me?
I don’t know how you’ve reacted to Jesus when He’s tried to touch your “too late” spot with His hope, but I’ve reacted much like Martha and Mary. “Lord,” they BOTH said, “if You had been here–if You had come when we called for You, if You’d answered us. You, Who we DO hope in, Who we DID hope in, because… You could have… I know You could have, if You’d been HERE where we are, where Lazarus was, where it was all going down, in that moment, if You’d been HERE WHERE I AM, then it wouldn’t have happened this way.”
The implication (at least in my heart) being, “But You weren’t. And I don’t understand why. I trusted You. I hoped in You. I put all of my hope in You. And You didn’t come when I needed You. It’s too late. You came too late.”
When things don’t go the way we had hoped, when things are so far away from what we believe would or should be true of our lives, it has a way of sometimes even making us question what is true of the Lord.
I remember a time when I just couldn’t reconcile the goodness of God with the gaping loss in my life. When I couldn’t put together this God that I had trusted my whole life and given my every moment with what had happened. How could He allow this to be? He could have stopped it. He could have fixed it. He could have… He could have… Why wouldn’t He… How can I trust a God who didn’t when He could have?
Jesus’ answer to Martha? Do you believe Me? Do you believe that I AM the life? Do you believe that I AM your hope? Not just something to hope in, but I AM hope itself? Do you believe this?Martha’s like “don’t come at me with all Your there’s-hope-in-the-end, it’ll-all-be-fine-in-Heaven stuff. That doesn’t help me NOW. That doesn’t help me HERE.”
Again, but before He has done anything, before anything has changed, Jesus stands before her and says, “Yes, but Martha… Do you believe Me?” Martha says, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are everything I hoped You were. You are God. You are my hope.”
The Lord asked me in my moment, “Do you believe Me?” And immediately my spirit cried out Yes! I believe You. I don’t know what to do with You, I don’t know how to trust You, but I know I believe You.
And it was enough.
Somehow the formation of what I DO believe quieted all the unanswerable questions that had caused me so much disbelief, and the faint whispers of hope began.
I also have experienced times in the midst of my darkest, farthest, not-sure-I-will-make-it-out-alive places, when the Lord’s words and promises, it’s like they hurt. There was a time when I was so desperate, so close to the edge of myself, that I told the Lord, Enough! Enough promises! Stop. I can’t take one more promise from You. I can’t take the presence of one more unfulfilled thing that I have to hold onto. I can’t… I can’t do it. I can’t hope. I’m like Lazarus, Lord. My hope is dead. And I’m not far behind it. I can’t hold on anymore.
I need hope to hold onto me.
Sometimes we say to our souls–like Martha and David and so many others–“oh my soul, trust in the Lord, hope in the Lord! Let hope arise!” And our souls respond.
Sometimes we are like Lazarus himself, where there is not even the option to hope anymore. Still Jesus stands outside the tomb of our heart and calls us forth. He calls hope to arise from places that feel long gone. Because, He has been there. That’s why He is our hope.
He has been to hell and back again. He has experienced the utter betrayal and abandonment of the Lord. He has born our grief, our sorrows. He has been unable to lift even His head. He has been to the unimaginable edges of His heart and life. He has asked God why. He has even heard nothing in return. He has been here. He knows this place. But more importantly, He knows the way.
He IS the way to hope everlasting.
He is the life to our long-gone places. He is the truth that makes that way. He is our morning star, a promise in the darkest of our nights that MORNING IS COMING.
He IS coming.
Though you be bones in a valley, though you be a body in a tomb, though you be grieving an unbelievable actuality, though you be living a hell. Do you believe Him? It is enough.
And may He who IS our Hope arise in your heart, in your situation, in your soul, outside your tomb, in your yesterday today and tomorrow. May hope arise.
“God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” Psalm 46:5
An author friend of mine from California writes great blog posts about hope. I swapped with her this week since we both share our findings of hope in our world from opposite places in the nation. I pray you’re blessed by her wonderful post this week. You can read more of her posts, and see mine this week on her site at www.carolshope.com.
Blessing in an “Annus Horribilis”
By Carol Nicolet Loewen
In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of her succession, Queen Elizabeth II referred to 1992 as an “annus horribilis,” a horrible year. Many of us would say the same of 2020.
Our country is in the midst of an ever-expanding pandemic as we wait and pray for an effective vaccine. We have isolated, masked, attended church, family, and business meetings on Zoom. We are hitting new highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations and are cautioned against being together with family members for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa holidays. Fires and floods have taken lives, homes, animals, property. And our election results are still in question, with the media quick to step in with their interpretation before waiting for the final electoral vote in December.
We need hope. And out of that hope we need love that goes beyond our differences.
I heard a statistic recently that more than 80% of Americans–whether Democrat or Republican, Christian or non-Christian, church-goer or non-church goer–say they have no friends who see the world differently than they see it, politically and theologically. We prefer to stay in our own comfort zones rather than deliberately choosing to know and learn to love someone who is “unlike” us. And nothing divides us like fear. Fear of loss … of control, safety, rights, freedom, health, power, economic stability, and on and on.
We look for affirmation, security, and love in a variety of ways, many of which are not only unproductive, but potentially dangerous.
The sexually abused daughter who grows up to become promiscuous, believing physical intimacy is the way to gain security through the approval of men.
The son who has never been able to please his father, continues to push himself, trying ever harder to get an “atta boy”. He becomes a workaholic who is almost an absentee parent.
The tycoon who thinks his business success will buy him security.
The perfectionist who continually beats herself up because she could have “done it better,” never satisfied despite awards and recognition.
The rioters and looters who attack and destroy businesses of those they claim to defend.
What we’re looking for is a blessing. “Blessing” is defined as God’s favor and protection; a special favor, mercy or benefit. Three thousand years ago, God gave Moses a blessing for the people of Israel, which my lovely mother sang at my wedding. It still carries deep meaning.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Only in the blessing of God do we find unconditional love which remains constant, not because of who we are or what we do, but because of who HE is.
“Thy love is uncaused and undeserved. Thou art Thyself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved.” (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 97)
God has chosen to delight in me. What an amazing, life-altering fact! I don’t have to earn His love. I can’t. I simply need to receive it, bask in it, find my security in it. And when I am secure in His love, I am able to love others and fear begins to evaporate.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4:18
So then how can I GIVE a blessing to others? In a video, an impatient man is given a pair of “all-seeing” glasses. People who before were irritants or interruptions are seen through a new lens—recognizing one needs a hug, a woman just lost a dear friend, a man lost his job. Seeing their pain, the man responds very differently than before.
I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear, so I can bless those around me … with a warm smile, a listening heart, a “thank you” to store clerks, health care professionals, and others. I want to intentionally affirm those I love and those who need encouragement.
I have needed a blessing these past weeks. Have you?
What choices will you make this week to receive and give the blessing? I’d love to interact with you at carolshope.com.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17b-19
Carol Nicolet Loewen writes of hope from the depths of her own loss. She resides in San Jose, California with her lovely second husband and their dog, Paige. Marrying a wonderful man at age 36 and losing him twenty years later taught her to value every moment, that we can survive loss, move ahead and even love again. It also allowed Carol to experience God’s faithfulness during the hardest time of her life. She is working on her first book, a historical novel of hope set in Bolshevik Russia, and loves to connect with her readers at carolshope.com.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”John 3:8
When my last book was in its finishing stages, I sensed a stirring in me to write a sequel. I’ve never been a series writer, and haven’t considered it before, but the wind blew this mysterious woman into the end of When the Wind Blows, and I knew I had to tell her story.
Her name is Tyrina Lousie Duvall, and her story isn’t easy, but it will offer hope and healing to someone.
It’s interesting how book ideas materialize. No sooner had I thought about the mystery woman, than I realized Bailey Crenshaw, a twenty-year-old character in When the Wind Blows would need a book of her own as well. So a third book in the now series will follow Tyrina’s story. The two characters will end up being intertwined so how could they not both have a book? Besides, some who have finished When the Wind Blows want to know more about how Jessica’s character has changed too. She’ll pop in here and there in both books.
But the two new books, Where Blows the Wind – Tyrina’s story and Winds of Change – Bailey’s tale (the current working titles that may end up changing) were added to a list of books I’ve already started. I’m pretty sure the word I sensed from the Lord was prolific writing. Wow. Here we go!
Faith’s Song, based on the best friend of Sara Matley in A Deadly Silence, walks with Faith when she receives devastating news and can’t seem to rally her faith to handle it. How will she deal with the ramifications of this shocking news?
And then there’s The Fisherman’s Wife. Simon Peter is impulsive and brash, spending long hours fishing in often stormy waters. When Jesus calls Peter to follow him, how will Abigail handle another one of Peter’s crazy plans – this time to leave her for an undefined time? A couple of readers mentioned that they hoped I’d write more along the lines of Rachel’s Son. Here you go.
Bed and Breakfast isn’t what it seems. Two activist inventors clash in a contemporary romance when they each believe they have the perfect answer to create housing for the homeless. Can they combine their talents and innovations to alleviate one of the world’s worst problems?
And that’s not all! The list continues…oh, my!
On the back burner is Silk Stalkings, Out of Egypt, a possible yet-to-be-named sequel to Voices of the Past, and a couple of middle school series featuring Perry Trotter and Justin Case.
Not to go crazy or anything about book writing, but Beyond the Miracle: When the Fairy Tale Meets Reality, the continuing saga of my Aussie husband, Brendan, and me is also in process.
That said, let me take a survey. I”m curious. Of the books I’ve mentioned here, what would be your first choice? Anyone who responds will have their name entered in a drawing for a signed print copy of A Deadly Silence. Let my know in the comments below that you submitted your vote.
Thanks for participating! From my desk chair of piled notes, proof copies of books, and computer manuscripts, I thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and following! It means so much.
In a world of so much division and hatred, I thought I’d share a little short story that reflects how we might choose to handle life. This week, I want to be one that shows the love of Jesus in my reactions.
I’ve also made October the month of FREE books. With fall moving in, don’t you want to curl up with a good book and a cuppa (Aussie for tea, coffee, or hot chocolate)? Even here in balmy Southwest Florida, we’ve had a few nights of “cooler” (70 – LOL) weather. So after you read this little short story, head on over to Amazon where you can pick up the Kindle edition of Voices of the Pastthis weekend. It’s FREE starting yesterday, October 9 until the 13th.
New Release, When the Wind Blows, will be FREE October 20-24th. That’s a month of great reading! Starting with the story below. And don’t forget to show a little love…
Joy Wurshop yanked on the handle of her rolling briefcase. For the last time. The handle came off in her hand. The impact nearly threw her off her black high heels. Walking was no longer an option. She’d have to call a cab now. Ten minutes before her meeting started. Only a miracle would get her there.
“Taxi!” She scanned the crowded street for yellow while attempting to shove the bag’s handle back in place.
You’ll have to be aggressive in the big city. The unsolicited advice from her previous boss incited her to take a step off the curb. Without looking. A cab screeched to a halt inches from her black pencil skirt. Joy’s free hand flew to her mouth while her purse slid off her shoulder and down the grey and pink floral silk blouse adorning her arm.
“Lady, what the heck’re ya doin? Trying to get yourself killed? Do you want a cab or a coffin?”
“Cab, please.” She let the coffin remark slide. Gripping her broken briefcase and purse, she fumbled with the door handle. The driver turned, facing her, and yelled out the passenger window.
“Come on, lady. I ain’t got all day.” His booming expletive carried over honking horns blaring behind him.
Joy threw her belongings through the door and slid in beside them.
“Where to? Where to? Let’s get a move on.”
“27th Street. The Town Center Building. Please hurry. I have a meeting, and I’m already late.”
“Oh, miss fancy-pants wants me to hurry now. Dawdled getting in my cab, and now I’m the one to get her to her meetin’…”
Joy closed her eyes against the pooling tears as the man carried on. Not what she needed. Not today. Not when her career hung by a thread.
Drawing in a deep breath, she dug in her purse for a tissue, settling for a wadded piece at the bottom. By the time she removed mascara smudges and reapplied lip gloss, they turned onto her street. Joy prayed she had enough cash for the fare.
Flipping through all her cards, her heart plunged. Bank, credit, medical, pharmacy, Sam’s Club, library. Nothing. Opened her change purse. A couple of folded up ones and two pennies. They were pulling up to her building. Praying for a miracle, she peeked in a little, side pocket, fully knowing she never kept money there.
“That’ll be $17.50. No charge for not runnin’ ya over back there.” He howled a laugh.
Tucked inside the pocket was a folded bill. Thank God! But when she pulled it out, the sight elated and crushed her. A fifty. Since when…she never had that kind of money. But she knew what she needed to do. She closed her eyes with a sigh. A moment later, she opened them and handed the bill over, offering a shaky smile.
My latest novel, A Deadly Silence, soon to release, tackles the subject of pornography, sexual addiction and its potential for leading to domestic violence.
This deadly force lurks in darkness and silence. Only by speaking about it, can we find hope, healing and redemption. Families are being destroyed, and while we might focus on the spouse of the addict or the person struggling with the addiction, our children reap dire consequences as well.
This letter reveals how much our children suffer. First seen and re-posted from Faithit.
I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this affects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well.
I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing.
Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.
As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.
As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face.
When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.
I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.
If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us.
Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.
*This has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic.*
Look for A Deadly Silence coming soon!
When Sara Maree Matley uncovers a box of questionable material while unpacking after their family moves, she’s forced to examine the ideal life she’s fought so hard to portray as perfect. Surely her successful, popular husband, Brad, can’t be the owner of the contents. But when Brad’s behavior continues to digress, and Sara deals with her own past, life unravels, and Sara must make one of the hardest choices she’s ever faced.
Today I have the pleasure of re-posting an impactful message written by my dear friend and mentor, Janie Garber. Janie is a life and health coach who has pastored churches with her husband, Ken, been a missionary in France and walked with hundreds of women through challenges in every area of life. I highly recommend connecting with her!
We all live in such a social media driven society today, where our daily lives are often on display for the world to see.
I’ve noticed in talking with people the last year in particular, that comparison to others is a bigger trap than ever before. It taunts and mocks, saying things like…
“You can never get to where so-and-so is…”
“You aren’t worthy of good things in your life like they have…”
“It will take way too long to accomplish so-and-so has done so don’t even try…”
“It is too much work to make changes to better yourself…”
“So-and-so has been given everything on a silver platter and has had it so much easier than you…”
What we are actually doing when we compare ourselves to others is measuring up our inside with what we see of their outside. We don’t know their struggles and pains as intimately as we know our own.
Ultimately, comparison keeps a person feeling driven and alone in many ways.
If you struggle with comparing yourself with others, I’d like to encourage you to remember that YOU are unique and so wonderfully made. Your own life experiences and the places of your heart where you’ve grown and been healed are just what someone around you needs today.