New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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dont give up

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy,
fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives,
filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit,
will brim over with hope!”
Romans 15:13 The Message

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ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added another “R” Word:

❤︎ Restoring Love ❤︎
“For I will restore health to you
And I will heal your wounds, says the Lord,
Because they have called you an outcast, saying:
This is Zion; no one seeks her and no one cares for her.”
Jeremiah 30:17 AMP

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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂 Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss
by Schwiebert and DeKlyen (Authors), Bills (Illustrator)

Linda Stoll describes it as:

tear soup 2tear soup“A rarity … a grief storybook for all ages that is calming yet impactful, simple yet profound. You can cuddle up and read this to your grandkids {I have}. Give to your mother and your daughter {I did}. Recommend to your friends and clients {I am}.

Soothing in its affirmation of grief’s roller coaster of emotions, this little story book is subtly educational. The most gorgeous illustrations are intricately delightful. And, thank heavens, no pat answers or easy 1-2-3’s line its pages. Absolutely must reading for anyone who’s traveling the pathway of grief … or walks alongside someone who is.”

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Hope Harbor

Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 

 Broken Vessel by Paula Wallace – In a 5-minute video, Paula Wallace shares her story of how God showed her hope, life, and beauty in place of the damage abuse caused her. 

♥ How To Help Your Wife Overcome Sexual Abuse – “Dawn Scott Jones, author of When a Woman You Love Was Abused, explains how she found emotional healing from childhood sexual abuse and how a husband can come alongside his wife who’s experienced similar trauma to offer her love and support.”

 How To Forgive When It Seems Impossible – “Another hurdle to overcome is the idea that forgiveness always occurs in a single moment and that our pain will instantly disappear. The truth is forgiveness is often a process of letting go. It’s okay to forgive someone to the degree that you’re able by God’s grace at that time. Then, as you move forward, your healing will allow you to forgive more, and your forgiveness will, in turn, lead to more healing.”

Nature Retreat

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is
to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone
with the heavens, nature and God.

Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and
that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple
beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature
brings solace in all troubles.”
~ Anne Frank

My brother and his wife live in Arizona during the winter season. Here are some of my brother’s photos. I hope no one freaks out with the lizard, but I find all God’s creatures fascinating. 🙂 It amazes me how God so uniquely equips each one.
Arizona spring

Arizona Spring

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Cactus Wren

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Gilded Flicker Woodpecker (Male)

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Desert Spiny Lizard

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➺ Abba’s Creations Photography – God’s Creation Captured in Fine Art Photography – awesome landscape photos you can view either singly or in a slide show

➺ Amazed by You Photography: God’s Creation – Stunning nature photos

➺ 21+ Animals That Want To Be Photographers – Ok, so this is a bit out of the norm, but it will bring you smiles. It’s so delightful to see how curious and smart even wild animals can be.

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Quotes

❤︎ Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

❤︎ “When we view ourselves through the lens of God’s Word, we better understand God’s love for us and the worth we have in His eyes.” ~ Elizabeth George

❤︎ “There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” ~ Betsie ten Boom

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restore

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Forgiveness Journey

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Then Peter came to Him and asked,
“Lord, how often should I forgive
someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied,
“but seventy times seven!”
Matthew 18:21-22

God wants us to forgive as He has forgiven us. And not just once, but over and over again. But it can be so difficult sometimes, especially when it comes to deep, personal, life-changing hurts that hit us at the very core of our being.

I haven’t always been open to forgiveness. I rebelled against it and didn’t even want to think about it. Concerning the pastor who abused me, I at one time thought, “I will never, ever forgive him.” When I first heard that he died of cancer and had a very painful death, I was secretly happy about it. I even thought – “I hope God never forgave him.” Are you shocked? To be honest, I’ve even thought worst things than that, and I’m so grateful God is so much more forgiving than I am.

Eventually, as I dealt with the abuse, God healed deeper layers of pain. As God helped me work through anger and grief, I became more open to forgiveness, but I still struggled, “Lord, I know I need to forgive, but I can’t. I don’t know how. Please help me forgive.”

One day when it was pressing so hard on me, I threw myself on my bed and cried, “Ok, God, I will choose to forgive.” I went through several people who had deeply hurt me by their slander or rejection and further on to deeper hurts. But finally, concerning the man who completely devastated my life, I said, “Ok, God, I forgive him, too.”

But it still hasn’t been easy, especially when painful memories are triggered. And I have to forgive again. And sometimes I beat myself up, because it feels like I have only forgiven with my mouth and not with my heart.

Part of what made it so hard to forgive is that I had a misconception of it. I thought if I truly forgave someone, I would be ready to trust them and to embrace them. But I now know forgiveness and trust are not the same thing.

What Forgiveness Is

Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness. We grievously sinned against Him. Our sins deserved eternal condemnation, but He gave us a full pardon, purchased with His own blood.

When we forgive those who have wronged us, we stop focusing on what they have done and no longer hold their sin against them. We cast out resentment, that strong and painful bitterness and anger we hold in our hearts. We no longer condemn them or wish to punish them, but we give over justice into God’s hands.

Forgiveness is realizing the past is something we can never change and forbidding it to hold us prisoner any longer. As long as we don’t forgive, it is we who are bound in chains. When we forgive, we release the power our wrongdoer has over us. We gain back our control over our wrongdoer as we embrace who we really are.

“When we’ve forgiven, we choose not to call a person’s sins to mind against him. Yet until God’s healing is fully worked in our minds, the memory of the hurt and pain may overwhelm us again and again. Each time, we must write “Forgiven” over the person who hurt us. Even though we must sometimes recall painful memories for them to be healed, we must refuse to allow the enemy the luxury of salting them with bitterness.”
~ Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

“Even when we forgive, it can be really important
for the one sinned against to share
how the offender hurt or affected them.”

~ Mark Altrogge

What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness does not mean that what someone did to us is okay. It does not excuse them of their wrongdoing. Neither does it mean we should minimize the hurt and never talk about it again.

Forgiveness does not mean we have to trust. If someone has hurt us, it will take time to trust again and sometimes we never will be able to trust that person again. If someone has slandered us behind our backs, we might forgive them but that doesn’t mean we will trust conversing with them. If someone has abused us, we might forgive them, but that doesn’t mean we should associate with them. Boundaries need to be set to protect ourselves.

Forgiveness does not mean to continue in an abusive situation and make ourselves vulnerable to hurt again. I know someone who was being abused by her husband. She decided to open up to their pastor. He told her to forgive her husband and go on home. She was devastated and more alone than ever. Some years later, after some counseling, she finally realized Jesus would not want her to remain in an abusive situation.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. In order to heal, we need to dig up the pain and remember. Even after some healing, painful memory triggers can still invade our lives. Even further on in our healing journey, being able to recall how God brought us through the storms of life helps us to help others in similar situations. God turns our brokenness to beauty. Past incidents also strengthen us to make better decisions in future scenarios. Through past experiences we develop special antennae that guide us whether or not to trust a person.

“The command to forgive doesn’t mean that it’s easy or that we must forgive quickly. When we are sinned against, it can be devastating, life-shattering, disillusioning, disorienting. Some sins are easy to forgive, but others can take a long time, much prayer, and much help from God. When someone’s reeling in pain, the first thing they need is our compassion and sympathy, not a quick encouragement to forgive.”
~ Mark Altrogge

“Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat……Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established………Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.”
~ Wm. Paul Young, The Shack

Forgiveness Is a Process

A process is a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner.” (dictionary.com) Forgiveness is something we have to practice continually. Especially when we’re deeply wounded, painful memories can trigger unforgiving feelings, and we have to forgive again. And again.

I believe there are also changes in how deeply we forgive. Some time ago I heard of a pastor who had been wronged by someone. It was so devastating that he finally took a retreat. I was stunned that he learned to pray that God would bless that man. Now I think that’s a further step from letting go of resentment and ill will. Recently I heard of an even further step – to actually pray God will extend grace and mercy to that person.

God knows all our human frailties. Yes, He wants us to forgive, but He feels our pain and is so patient with us. No one can offer perfect forgiveness like Him. But the more we grow in grace in Christ Jesus, the more we will become like Him. The more filled we are with Him, the more deeply we will be able to forgive. And one day in heaven, we will be able to perfectly forgive.

“Losing” by Tenth Avenue North

Lord, please help us to forgive
as You have forgiven us!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews

The Living Stone, Rejected Because He Loves Us

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“Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.”
(1 Peter 2:4-5 The Message)

The Living Stone

Rock of our salvation

Rock of our refuge

Immovable

Unchanging

Everlasting

The source of life

And yet rejected 

So we wouldn’t be

Chosen by the Father

To suffer in our place

For our sins

Because He loves us

So completely

He longs for our hearts

Our lives

Mind, body, soul

To be building stones

Devoted to Him

To His glory

Can We Give Up All for Jesus? 

“But the Lord has become my High Tower and Defense,
and my God the Rock of my refuge.” (Psalm 94:22 AMP)

Rejection hurts so deeply

But we can be safe and loved

In our Rock of refuge

And remember

The Rock of our salvation

Who was rejected

More than all of us together

Even God forsook Him

So we would never be forsaken

By God and His forgiving love

Even if people do

Because we are His beloved

His cherished ones

Incomprehensible love

For you

For me

God so loved

Do you feel forsaken?

Do you struggle with rejection?

I hope you find beautiful soul rest in these truths!

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