True Confessions


He told me everything I ever did.”

Samaritan woman at the well.   John 4:39

Remember this was the woman who Jesus took the time to converse with when she went to draw water, hoping no one would be around.DSC_0186

 

Jesus offered her “living water” or a life of freedom, abundance and no condemnation.

And after their little conversation, in which Jesus revealed that he knew the truth about her messed up life- that she had been with a number of men including those not her husband and she had been hiding out in shame – she realized that he was someone special. Important. A prophet. Or better yet, the Messiah!

She had believed that someday the Messiah would come, and when he did, she was ready.

There was no condemnation in Jesus telling her the truth about her life, only freedom.

Isn’t it a relief when something we’ve hidden comes out in the open?

We don’t usually think of our sin or shame being uncovered as a good thing. But Jesus confronts us to free us, not to shame us.

Because of everything I had done and everything done to me, I was entangled and trapped by every kind of fear.

Recognize any of these?

  • I was afraid of making people mad and what they would say about me.
  • I was afraid of not being loved.
  • I was afraid of a failed marriage. Again.
  • I was afraid of never being good enough for someone.
  • I was afraid of making mistakes.
  • I was afraid I wasn’t submitted or committed enough to live up to God’s word.
  • I was afraid of being abandoned.
  • I was afraid of losing my children because I couldn’t support a family on my own.
  • I was afraid nothing in my life would ever turn out right.

Quite a list, huh? My fears kept me so stuck, I couldn’t see the truth.

Like the woman at the well.

So when Jesus plainly spoke truth, she breathed a sigh of relief. And couldn’t wait to tell people!

Francine Rivers has a new book out, Bridge to Haven, in which the main character, Abra lives this very battle. Circumstances create lies in her young mind and heart, and she clings to the lies rather than believe the truth. Because of those lies and the fear they create, she makes choices that entangle her even more, until her life is such a mess, she can’t imagine it ever being worthwhile.

I can relate.

Next week, I’ll share a couple of other things that kept me stuck in a mess. But until then, may I pose a few questions?

What are you afraid of? What truth do you need to see or hear? Has someone who loves you tried to tell you, but you were stuck or unable to see?

See you next time for more True Confessions.

Getting Well Part 4 – Can You Ask for Help?


We were never intended to figure out life on our own.IMG_3524

I had been one to isolate myself, but this wasn’t God’s plan. When Jesus asks us if we want to get well and offers to instruct us in the ways to healing, he doesn’t say,

Great! Good for you. Have fun figuring that out.

His intention is for other people to be part of our life. Relationships help us in and through our struggles. He wants us to seek people who truly want our best and are willing to tell us the truth even when it may feel painful to us. Only those who are willing to walk alongside us without their own interests, judgments and conclusions will benefit us in healing. Jesus is patient, kind and merciful so we will find the most help through those who treat us like he does.

I had a terrible time asking people for help.

When I was young, a prevailing sentiment in our home was that no one needed to know what went on there. Granted, no one wants to announce to the entire world the intimate workings of their home life. But when secrets are kept due to their inappropriate nature, we may learn to gloss over the truth or simply keep quiet. To tell someone about what happens in our home may feel betraying to us. For me, some things were too shameful to talk about. Other situations were not taken seriously by those whose protection I needed. As a result, later in life, it felt wrong or ineffective for me to ask for help. Even from someone I knew I could trust.

Wasn’t I burdening someone if I asked for their help?

I assumed that people would be too busy to have me bother them. But that wasn’t true. Naturally there is a boundary for inconsiderately calling someone anytime about everything, but choosing to take help that is offered shows wisdom and humility. I had to learn the difference and be willing to seek advice from those who offered to give it.

There are great benefits from getting help!

Trusted friends were able to:

  • Pray on my behalf—especially when I was too overwhelmed or weary.
  • Keep me accountable in the areas I wanted to change.
  • Share their stories of healing that encouraged me.
  • Give me different perspectives so I could think in better ways.
  • Cry with me when I was suffering.
  • Remind me of God’s greatness and ability to do what seemed impossible to me.
  • Celebrate with me when God did great things and led me in new freedom.

Some people may think they have all the answers for us.

They base their advice on what they expect or want for themselves rather than what is best for us. When we’re used to unhealthy relationships, it may be difficult to discern those situations. But someone who truly loves us will put us first; ask how they can serve us; offer suggestions while allowing us the freedom to accept it only if it fits for us; support us in every choice whether they feel it’s good or bad; listen much and talk less; and tell us the truth about who we are not who they want us to be for them.

Learning to get the right help will enable us to get well sooner. Having genuine support makes the journey more bearable. I’m so thankful to those who gave of their lives to make mine a better one.

What about you? Is there someone who truly helps you? Are you still learning to ask for help? Can I help you?
While nothing can replace spending time with an actual person, I still have found these resources to be a great source of help in my journey of healing:

The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson

When the Woman You Love Was Abused by Dawn Scott Jones

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (fiction)

The Bible – nothing is as powerful as God’s word 🙂

 

Writing a Novel


I wrote my first novel in high school.

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Well, okay, so I didn’t exactly write an entire novel; it was more like twenty pages and a little character development. The idea, birthed from my addiction to romantic fiction, sprang from my pencil (yes, pencil) onto the lined pages of my spiral bound notebook (my writing tool of choice). Give me a break. That was in 1975! Who knew one day we’d have laptops and iPads??

I didn’t know anything about writing a novel except from what I’d read. I knew I longed to grace a page with words that would thrill, inspire and change lives. But what began with lofty dreams ended the moment I became stuck with technicalities. How could I create a scene to scene plot that made sense and moved the reader into the story and through an adventure? Even as I learned about rising action, climax and resolution, I had no clue how to make it work in the context of an actual manuscript. My creative beginnings ended as abruptly as they commenced.

Sometimes I feel as lost now as I did then.

I’ve attended novel writing classes at Mt. Hermon (thank you James Scott Bell!) and studied my notes from numerous workshops. CD’s have poured forth wise words of writing technique while I’ve driven to various meetings with fellow writers. My eyes and ears remain open and attentive as I listen to authors share their secrets of hard work (thank you Sherry Kyle, Karen O’Connor and Susanne Larkin). I peruse author sites and read the Writer’s Guide. But sometimes, I feel like such an amateur still. I guess I still am.

I want to write a really good novel.

I always said I’d never write a novel until I could write as well as my favorite author, Francine Rivers. Her books change your life. I’ve never read one that didn’t bring me to tears of revelation, healing and joy. In a novel! To write like that takes dedication, hard work and the hand of God. But I guess every author has to start somewhere.

So I’m writing a practice novel.

Since the only way to learn to write is to actually put the words out there, I decided to try. The plot overall is easy enough to create, but I get hung up with the scenes. I tend to tell too much, I think, instead of letting time pass and jumping into the story like one might have leapt onto a slow moving train in days past. Sometimes the characters run away with the story and do things I’m not ready for which leaves me questioning whether I know what I’m doing at all.

I guess the point is that being a writer means writing. Yes, learning all I can is helpful, but unless I put into practice that which I’ve learned the learning will be pointless. I love to hear the stories of other writers’ struggles. It makes me feel less an amateur. Care to share?

What are your novel writing experiences? What inspires you or discourages you?