“Oh, Jack,” she whispered, eyes shining
with the same steadfast assurance
he’d once espoused himself,
“you should know better than anyone—
there is no hope without forgiveness.”
— Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman
As most of you know by now, my new contemporary novel, Isle of Hope, is a story about forgiveness and how without it, there is no hope of reconciliation, no hope of healing, and no hope for hope.
And we all need hope, right?
I wrote Isle of Hope because of the invaluable lesson God taught me about forgiveness with my own father, so I hope each of you get a chance to read it because for me, it’s more than a novel that entertains. It is a life lesson in forgiveness — one that God not only proved true in my own life, but will prove true in yours as well.
A few weeks ago I got an email from a sweet reader friend by the name of Bethany Hanger, who allowed me to tell you what she wrote:
“The theme of the book as a whole was touching! My short but heartfelt journey throughout the book was awakening! Having all of the characters show some sort of forgiveness through each of their difficult tragedies showed me that forgiveness is always on the horizon through God’s timing! I have had difficulty forgiving a life long friend for betraying my trust and ditching me. While reading this book, I realized that I needed to forgive her and start over! I called her today asking to meet sometime soon so I could apologize and also give her the chance to explain. We are meeting next Sunday. Could you please keep this particular situation in your prayers?”
Could I??? Oh, you bet I could!!! And did, rejoicing the entire time that God had used my book to not only touch a reader’s life, but hopefully change it for the better as well. Trust me — there is no letter from a reader better than that!
Imagine my joy when I received this response from Bethany a while later:
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m blubbering like a baby right now because OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! What a testimony as to just HOW powerful forgiveness is and HOW each of us holds it in the palm of our hands, just waiting to be given away!
So … who do you need to forgive today? I challenge you to ask God to reveal if you are harboring any unforgiveness because if you are, I promise you it is restricting the full wellspring of peace, hope, and joy that God wants you to have. Trust me, I know.
Like Bethany, I also had a girlfriend who hurt me — over and over again — until I finally said to God one day, “Lord, I’m done. I do not want to be friends with her anymore.”
You know what happened? That Still, Small Voice floated through my brain while I was on my knees in my living room, and this is what It said:
“No, Julie, you are not done because I have anointed this friendship.”
I remember looking up at the ceiling in shock, saying, “You can’t be serious??!!”
But He was, so I got serious, too, about forgiving this friend once and for all, telling myself that although she didn’t (at the time) stack up to what I wanted in a friend, she was ANOINTED to BE my friend by the God of the Universe, so I accepted her and forgave her on those grounds. And you know what?
Today she is one of my dearest, closest friends today and an invaluable prayer partner who has blessed me immeasurably throughout my life.
So don’t let satan steal from you what God intends as a blessing. Forgive. Heal. And Love. Because our God does NOT want His kids holding grudges.
I urge Euodia and Syntyche to
iron out their differences and make up.
God doesn’t want His children holding grudges.
And neither do I! 😉
Hugs and Happy Forgiving!
HEY, WILL YOU CONSIDER DOING ME AND OTHER AUTHORS A HUGE FAVOR?
Nominations for finalists in the sixth annual Grace Awards are NOW taking place until February 28, 2016, so please consider nominating your favorite autors in various categories (one per category), and if I garner one of those nominations, I thank you!
Here’s the link where instructions can be found, but basically you nominate your favorite author in one or all categories, then send it in an email to the Grace Awards (email given on the Grace Awards page) along with the link to your website, blog, OR social networking site (Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Pinterest, etc.). That’s it, so here’s the link:
AND THEN … if you want to vote on the MOST SWOONWORTHY KISSES IN CHRISTIAN ROMANCE, HOP ON OVER TO GOODREADS TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVES!
Here’s the link, and you can vote for as many as you want, so GO CRAZY!!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU (especially if you vote for me along with other favorites!! 😉