Another great book by one of my favorite authors! I have not posted about Debbie Macomber yet, so this is the first! I actually did not discover her as an author until I watched Hallmark (of course!). I’m always looking up actors and facts about the shows (but mostly the actors) as if I’ll remember much… What I think allowed me to find her was one of the Mrs. Miracle movies, which I’ve yet to buy/read now that I think about it. Bummer. All that to say, go read her books (there’s plenty out there!) 🙂
Multiple forms of abuse were in this read which is more of a trend now that so many have suffered as well as so many coming forward. The more we talk about it, surely the less we will see tragedy from it.
The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence.Psalm 11:5
How do we let our past experiences and trials effect our amount of bitterness? That was something prevalent in this book. I won’t go into too many details, but a good portion of it was being able to get to a state of mind, by God’s grace and wisdom, so that we can let go of those things that have hurt us and move forward. God gives peace in mysterious ways. It can be the little things. Forgiveness is one thing, but if we’re saying we’re forgiving, let’s also show that in our actions and attitude. Bitterness can come through so easily, but there’s so much peace that comes from letting go and moving on from it.
How are you doing with bitterness?
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.Ephesians 4:31
I don’t know what Shay meant by the above quote. Someone that’s made mistakes? Someone who has a criminal record? These are actually the people who need the church to come along side them and be like WE HAVE YOUR BACK. You’re not alone.
The church was made for imperfect people. We don’t simply go to church because we are perfect. We go to church because He is perfect. We need Him to guide us and teach us and what better place to do that than with our church family, worshiping together?
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.Romans 5:8
Do we sometimes reject hope we have? We’re often given outlets of hope, or for example, the greatest of all is Jesus. Sometimes it’s a matter of “forgetting” but other times it’s about believing we can work out our issues on our own. Again, pride and a need for independence can get in the way of what we were called to.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.James 4:10
Raise your hand virtually if you’ve had a “bad church experience” before? Many probably have. You can walk down the street and ask someone. So many people have been in the church but they’ve missed the message because of a barrier in which made it difficult for them to hear that. They leave before anyone can fill them in on that message and to not let that barrier keep them from the Good News.
On the other hand, if you’ve had a bad church experience, do you let that taint the attitude you hold toward church and even other Christians?
I can’t think of a “bad church experience” really, for me personally. There’s been many times I’ve wondered why people put so much effort into opinions on the little things in church though, especially recently. God is about the details, but does He care what color something in the church is?
Let these things go and trust God, not people.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25
I asked this question earlier – what would you sacrifice to save your sibling in a life or death situation? One of the characters, Shay, risked a great deal (and lost) when it came to bailing out her sibling from a situation. She showed so much love but at what a cost.
Another character risked losing a special community in his life because of His faith in someone else, his devotion to Jesus commands and acts of forgiveness.
Is there something you currently sacrifice, good or bad?
Good: What makes it good?
Bad: How can you change that?
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13
Is fear holding you back? When you hesitate on a decision, do you know what fear it is?
Sometimes I have really ask myself, what are you afraid of? Literally, why are you like this??
Fear could be a daily struggle. Fear holds you back from what you should be doing to spread the word. I still struggle with fears and sometimes I have to just breathe and remember that God is in control and whatever it is, He’s got this too.
Those spiders though… He can keep ’em.
… Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.John 16:33
This book was all about second chances. I love these kinds of books. There are two extremes for some people: either never giving second chances to others which turns many people away completely or always giving second chances (and more) and people taking advantage of that. How do you balance that?
Any Dream Will Do
When you’ve gone through a rough patch and you need just something to look forward to, set a goal. That’s what the characters did. It can be small, in fact, that’s what they encourage. Any dream will do. A dream could be having permanent housing, a car, a career and not just a job. Maybe it’s even smaller than that. Whatever it is, don’t stop dreaming!
It was inspiring to see the way things all worked together in this book. Set aside past abuse and bad church experiences, let go of the bitterness and pride, stand against the fear and be willing to also give second chances when we know that Jesus has already given more than that. All this means you have to sacrifice something. Is it worth it?
Jesus is always worth the cost. PTL.