Tag Archives: Christianity

A Home for Every Heart

My parents are ministers. My grandparents were ministers. I was raised in the church. And still, in my early 20s I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I’d definitely turned my back on organized religion.

I went to church with my parents sometimes, and I took my daughter to church sometimes, but I could have argued with the best of them about how the church was created for two reasons: money and the subjugation of women.
The lifestyle I lived could be classified as humanistic, I suppose. I was a “good” person. Enough said.
When an elderly customer invited my boyfriend to church one Sunday, I’m not sure why we went. Probably because they were expecting a new minister and the church was by the mall.
Whatever the reason, we went. And from the moment we walked through the doors, the church motto, “A Home for Every Heart” rang true. We weren’t judged. We were accepted. Everything changed.
My church made a point to minister to people with a world of hurt in their eyes. I think Letting Go started way back then. An idea I had to grow into.
So many people hurt today. And so often we forget the role of the church as my minister today says is to Love God, Love People. We get so caught up in life or work or what we need, we forget about others. I’m certainly guilty of that. Or we get so holy and full of our “rules” we think we’re better than others. I’ve been there, too.
Thankfully, God doesn’t expect perfection, but he did give us direction.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Today, I believe. I don’t clobber people upside the head with that belief. I don’t preach hellfire and brimstone. I don’t talk about the rules. I simply say God sent His son to die for our sins and He loves us unconditionally. He’s ALWAYS there, even when we don’t believe. ###

Find out more about my books on my Amazon author’s page. Letting Go by Mary Beth Lee available in kindle format and print.

***GUEST BLOGGER alert. Janet Brown will be guest blogging here tomorrow. Her story is so inspirational. Please stop by!

Forgiveness and Letting Go

I’ve got to forgive myself. I’ve got to quit limiting the grace of God. I’ve got to pray and ask for God’s help in this. —Letting Go, July 2012.

This entry from a prayer journal provides a central theme for my new novel, Letting Go. It’s funny how we limit God. How we think we’re not good enough for Him, or how we can maybe do something good enough for Him to forgive us. Forgiveness isn’t like that, though. It’s freely given. We just have to accept it. And then we have to let go of the guilt that sticks with us, constantly bombarding us, reminding us we’re not good enough for God, reminding us that we’ve failed.
Over the last few years we’ve studied forgiveness several times in small group. One of the most freeing lessons I’ve learned is that God knows we’ve failed, AND he fully expects us to fail again. He doesn’t expect perfection.
In Letting Go, Clarissa Dye has to learn this lesson. She’s not alone. Fortunately, someone steps up and shares his story of overcoming addiction, of the grace of God. And then he shows her by living a life of acceptance and love. He doesn’t preach, he doesn’t push. He’s there, though, and that makes the difference.
Letting Go is a novel, but I’ve seen that same acceptance and love make a huge difference in people’s lives so many times. The other day a friend said sometimes christians are christianity’s worst enemies. I think they were right. My minister says Love God, Love People all the time. I think that’s key. I know that’s something I need to remember.###

Find out more about my books by checking out my author page on Amazon. Letting Go available in kindle format and in print.

Photo by Ryk Neethling used by Creative Commons license.

Bravery

Watching the long lines of Syrian protestors from the safety of my living room TV, I can’t help but wonder if I’d ever be that brave.
These people know soldiers will fire on them. They know hundreds if not thousands of their fellow countrymen have already died. And yet, they still make their way to the streets where they march in non-violent protests of a government regime they feel is corrupt.
Pictures of torture inflicted on young protestors caught and then murdered break my heart.
I don’t know anyone in Syria, and yet, I watch.
I’ve been watching for months, ever since the Egyptians took to the streets to protest Mubarak. Or really, I’ve been watching for a couple of years off and on, since the protestors started marching in Iran.
The Syrian government’s response is something different, something horrible. Nightmarish.
And yet, the protestors continue to march.
And as they march I wonder WOULD I?
Would I be brave enough to defy an authority that has no problem mowing down scores of people in cold blood? Would I be there day after day crying out for freedom, hoping the world would see me, knowing every second there’s a chance my death could be seconds away?
I ask myself the same thing when I read my bible. The martyrs through the ages continued to preach the gospel even when faced with death for doing so.
It’s easy to organize protest rallies in Wichita Falls where the most danger you find is from some angry man who wonders why everyone is being so nice.
It’s easy to show a belief in God and Jesus and profess christianity in Wichita Falls where the most dissent you find is from atheists who feel christianity is filled with hypocrisy and judgment. It’s especially since 90% of the people in the area are christians.
I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to fight for freedom in the face of death. But I sure am glad the news is showing people who are. Those people challenge me. I hope if I’m ever confronted with the reality of what that kind of bravery takes I’ll be able to say yes, I AM THAT BRAVE. I’m afraid my answer would be no, leave me alone.
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Honor and Lies barely touches on the kind of bravery it took for the slaves of the south to run for freedom, but it’s there, especially in the character of James. I remember studying about the Underground Railroad in school and thinking how terrifying it must have been to leave the atrocities you know for the unknown that is freedom. I wondered then if I would be brave enough to take the risk when often that choice ended in death.  Honor and Lies coupon:  50% off for one month: coupon code is LH94Z.

Elizabeth Lee’s Smashwords Author Profile:http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/elizabethlee
Book page to sample or purchase Honor and Lies: http://smashwords.com/b/65497