Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins … who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion.
WHOO-HOO!! DRUM ROLL, PLEASE …
THE WAIT IS OVER—A Love Surrendered is now in the bookstores!!!!!!! If you don’t have your copy, why not??? This is the finale to the O’Connor saga, so if you have to beg, borrow or win it on a blog, I strongly encourage you to do so along with purchasing a box of Kleenex. And for those of you who cannot afford the $9.16 for the Kindle version or the $10.19 for the paperback or even the $15.59 for the audio version, have I got good news for you!!
Right now Revell is giving away FIVE copies on The Book Club Network, so here’s the link where you can leave a comment to win one:
Or, you can check out one of the several giveaways I have going on right now on my website calendar at http://www.julielessman.com/julies-calendar/ where you can not only win A Love Surrendered, but your choice of any of my books, including Love at Any Cost. PLUS … you won’t want to miss my Seeker post next Wednesday entitled KISS-OLOGY 301, part 3 in my series on how to warm up the pages with romantic tension, WHICH includes the famous “Caveman Kiss” as well as snippets of favorite love scenes from some of my favorite authors!!
You can also check out the link in my calendar for a Fall Scavenger Hunt beginning October 25th in which there will be a grand prize of a Kindle and copies of brand-new releases from 31 of the following top CBA authors, plus exclusive insights into their books and a separate giveaway from each one!! HINT: My giveaway will be choice of my books, a $25 gift card and having a character named after you in my next book …
Liz Curtis Higgs
Robin Lee Hatcher
R. J. Larson
Kim Vogel Sawyer
So … moving on, I guess you’re wondering just what today’s Scripture quote is all about, right? Well, let me tell you. Revell put together a blog tour for A Love Surrendered, so I get Google Alerts when one of these bloggers posts their review on their blog, but trust me, after this review I read the other night, I’m tempted to yank Google Alerts off my computer.
As many of you know, between the emotional month I’ve had with Aunt Julie passing away coupled with countless deadlines/edits/promotions for my three books coming out within six months AND desperately trying to write the next book, I have been exhausted and pretty darn close to TILT. But never, unfortunately, more so than this last week.
You see, that’s when I found a review for ALS that all but broke my heart, literally causing me to break down and cry. Keith and Amy heard me, so they rushed in and suffice it to say that I was SO emotionally drained at that exact moment that I was more upset than I have ever been over a review before. Keith and Amy comforted me, of course, even though Keith was pretty ticked, too, because this person not only attacked my book, but me, my husband and my marriage. Now many of you know I’ve gotten some pretty colorful negative reviews in the past (i.e. “This is simply a horrible book” or “scum reading”), but none of them attacked me personally more than this reviewer did on her blog and let me tell you—I had half an e-mail written to her when Keith shook his head. “Don’t do it, babe. You just need to pray for her.” “No!” I said through red-rimmed eyes, “I refuse to pray for her!” a statement in total contrast to what I ALWAYS normally do when people hurt me (i.e. “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” — Luke 6:28). Keith and Amy immediately prayed for me right then and there, and then I contacted a few close friends to do the same.
That night as I got ready for bed, I stared in the mirror and FORCED these words through clenched teeth. “God, forgive me for my anger and losing my temper. I ask you to help me forgive this woman who obviously has a lot of anger and bitterness toward me and help me to love her. Bless her, Lord, and please draw her closer to You and heal the hurt she has inside that my book obviously triggered.” I then brushed my teeth and went to bed, getting up several times in the night for a powder-room break, during which I continued to pray for this reviewer each and every time.
What happened next is nothing short of a miracle. I awoke the next morning, expecting to have to battle the anger all over again and you know how you tentatively open your eyes and verrrrry slowly test your thoughts to see if the bad feeling is still there? Like when you tentatively dip a toe in the water to see if it’s cold? Well, that’s what I did, carefully edging toward the memory of that review to see if the hurt and anger would sweep through me again. And you know what? It didn’t. Nope, not one, tiny, itsy-bitsy bit of anger or hurt or frustration or revenge or malaise remained—NADA!! The only thing I felt was peace and hope and I know you all are going to find this as hard to believe as I did, but, yes—love!
All at once I felt a swell of love for this woman who Jesus loves with all of His heart, and in the blink of an eye, I saw her through His eyes—a human being for whom He not only died, but who is the “apple of His eye,” just like you and me. Our precious Jesus sees the hurt in her soul and for one brief, heart-wrenching moment, I did too, allowing me to open my heart to her and pray for her with a fervor I wouldn’t have believed possible the night before. And I know this is going to sound really strange, but I feel like this person is a friend. A hurting friend, to be sure, but a friend I choose to embrace and pray for like I would for any of my other dear friends. If you would have told me the night before that this would have happened, I would have thought you were crazy. And I’m a woman who has applied these precepts of praying for those who hurt me for almost 40 years!!
What’s my point? Well, today’s Scripture was my daily reading this morning, pretty much confirming to me—again—that God’s Word is true and faithful and powerful and as Hebrews 4:12 says, “alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Because as today’s Scripture states, Jesus “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.”
Oh, my. What a God a we serve! What a Lover of our Souls! What a Healer of our pain! If only we choose life instead of death—choosing to act according to His precepts instead of our own anger and pain!
In closing, I’d like to ask each of you reading this today to join with me in a prayer for a beautiful friend of both mine and Jesus—let’s call her Wounded Spirit—to ask God to bless her and draw her even closer to his heart and ours. And while we’re at it, let’s say one for ourselves. Because the truth of the matter is that I suspect each of us have been in both her shoes and mine at various times in our lives, and neither situation is fun. But we are, after all, flesh and blood and rife with emotions, hurts and pride, and I dare not cast stones lest I hit myself square in the eye.
All I can say is—thank GOD for a God who forgives … and God help us, PLEASE, to follow His example.
Hugs and more hugs,