Welcome a New Writer!

I have invited a guest writer to my blog and although she will introduce herself in the coming days and weeks and she shares her story and her heart, I would like to take a moment to say a few words about her and to welcome her to Tears in A Bottle. 

A few years ago when my life seemed to unravel I often thought; “I’m so alone! No one else gets it!”

And then God brought Cynthia into my life!! And though our stories may be different there is a common thread that runs through them.

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Cynthia is a talented writer, a wife and mom and a dear friend. She sees, not only with her eyes, but with heart and spirit.

She writes about the invisible grit, the soul parts that we feel but can’t see. And she does so with gracefulness, honesty, and whispered words of faith.

She is a gift to me.

Cynthia’s honesty challenges me. Truly. And yet, her honesty shows me grace, not shame.

I am grateful for that about her. Over the last couple of years as I’ve come to know Cynthia and have read what she writes, I kept thinking; “this has got to be shared!”

 

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And so from time to time I would mention this blog and ask if she would consider writing and sharing her story here…..because I know there are many who need her words of encouragement, life and yes, even challenge.

It’s a scary thing to write on a blog, but she was willing to listen to God’s voice…and in His timing move forward in faithful obedience…knowing He’s right there beside her.

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Really, for all of us, whether it is with a pencil or a paintbrush or a mixing bowl or a microphone or a dust cloth, an empty page, a blank canvas or a sheet of music.

They are tools….and we are called create.

Friends, for each of us, it’s time to peel back the layers, remove the veil and find the art – the gifts – deep within. Uncover them. Dust them off. They are yours. Unique to you.

And like Cynthia, in His timing, we use them. I encourage each of you, use your gifts to influence those around you. This is your art.

You will find that Cynthia writes with feeling, depth and truth. You will see glimpses of her heart through her words, her writing is her art.

Beautiful

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I hope that you will welcome Cynthia and read her words and hear her heart, because through them God will impact your life.

Thank you Cynthia for saying “Yes” to the invitation to share your heart.

Thank you for your obedience Cynthia and the legacy you’re leaving. Thank you for sharing with us your art. 

Where have I been?

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I checked my email this week and found an email asking me how I am doing? Where have I been?
I know I have sort of vanished from this blog….for a few different reasons, some of which I will share here.

 

If you have followed my blog you will know that my marriage hit a hard place a couple of years ago….it was a very difficult, painful and personal time. Thankfully we continue to work through and face some issues in our marriage….it isn’t perfect, but then neither are we, but we are progressing and together caring for each others hearts while choosing to heal, personally and together.

Amid the trouble, I shared some things here on the blog….but soon found I needed to set up a security password, mainly to block one person from reading. Why? Because it happened to be a person that was part of my church, and someone who used what I shared against my husband.

Not helpful when you are working through things in your marriage.

I may never understand why this person used my own words to twist and bend them to support their own “agenda”.  It hurt me very deeply and it caused me to feel unsafe…..especially in my own church.

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Fellowship with believers can be one of life’s sweetest desserts. There’s nothing quite like being with a group of people who love you, warts and all. There’s great peace in sharing life with folks who are there to weep when you weep and to rejoice when you rejoice. In times of discouragement, you can rest in the comfort and prayers of sisters and brothers who will help bear your burdens. In times of weakness they will be there to lift you up.

I’ve yet to experience that kind of church, as in a specific body of believers, meaning a church as in being something you can go to as in a specific event, location or organized group.

I think Jesus looks at the church quite differently. He didn’t talk about it as a place to go to, but a way of living in relationship to him and to other followers of His. And in this way I have experienced it.

But what about the flip side.  The glory of fellowship among believers makes its failures all the more painful. It always hurts when somebody is mean to you, when someone wounds you.

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And if that person happens to be a  brother or sister in Christ, then the pain is magnified several times over.

One of the essential and wonderful characteristics of fellowship is vulnerability, the opening of your heart to others as they open their hearts to you.

But vulnerability can come back to bite you painfully.life4

The word “vulnerable” stems from the Latin meaning “capable of being wounded.”

If you’re vulnerable you’ve let down your guard, which means unkind words and deeds don’t bounce off your shell. Instead, they pierce your heart.

Some of my most traumatic times in life have been in the context of the body of Christ.

And this grieves my spirit.

So after some time I did what Jesus asks us to do when we are sinned against by another brother or sister in Christ.

I confronted…in love….my heart motive was love.

The definition of confrontation is: to “regain” (the Greek verb means “gain” or “earn”) the one who wronged you.

Jesus could not be more obvious about the purpose of the confrontation. It isn’t about getting even, or, worse, getting revenge. It isn’t about putting the offender in his or her place. It surely isn’t about punishment. And it isn’t about winning an argument. Rather, it’s about winning a person. It’s about rebuilding a broken relationship with the one who sinned against you. The goal of confrontation is genuine reconciliation.

But this goal can be very hard to keep in mind when you’ve been hurt by someone. My flesh wanted its own pound of flesh. I wanted to make the other person pay, or at least grovel for a while. But if I go to confront someone with motives like these, I will be unable to do what Jesus asks of me, to reconcile and forgive.

Forgiveness is deciding that I won’t get even, that I won’t punish the offender either through my actions or inactions.

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Jesus is not asking me to pretend as if the hurt has completely disappeared. This sort of healing process takes time, and forgiveness contributes to the healing, but it’s not the same as feeling better.

Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, though it is almost always part of reconciliation. Forgiving someone is giving the offense and hurt to God. I can do this no matter what the offending party does. Reconciliation, on the contrary, requires that the other person own the wrong and repent of it. Reconciliation, therefore, is dependent on the other person. Forgiveness is not.

The command to forgive is a very hard command to obey, isn’t it?

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If someone has really hurt us, the last thing we want to do is to forgive. We’d much rather hang onto our pain as a means of self-protection. We’d much rather grovel in self-pity than regain relationship with the offender. Yet Jesus couldn’t be much clearer. He says that if you have anything against anyone – and that’s pretty inclusive, don’t you think? Anything against anyone! – you should forgive. Period. Forgiveness is scary because it means taking down the walls that protect us, and we’re understandably afraid to do this.

And so in conclusion, I have forgiven…..but, that does not mean I trust this person completely or even at all. And I need to do what I can to guard my heart. Which in this case for me, right now, means choosing to not blog…..

Do I miss blogging? Most definitely, but at the same time my life took a turn after our marriage began to heal that threw me for a loop…..changes, some for the better, and some that caused my faith to waver….I am still wading and trying to stay afloat through the life events that rocked my world.

So, will I continue this blog or shut it down…..I’m not sure…..it is something I will pray about in 2017.

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