Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Part XXVII-Choose Obedience August 31, 2012

As I write this I am sitting in my favorite summer spot. A picnic table at Indian Creek Campground. I am surrounded by cottonwood leaves that have already made their fall escape from the trees and rest on the ground. The leaves that remain green and attached to their trees clap around me, praising our Creator. Crickets chirp a morning greeting and the smell of last night’s campfire fills the air. Robins sing a beautiful song and a chipmunk dashes across the grass hunting for food.

This is our last camping trip before school starts. I wait with anticipation of all God has planned for the upcoming school year.

I need to back up and share with you some things God did in my life in the year 2011, aside from sharing with our families.

In April of 2011 I began submitting articles to various magazine.

I will never forget the day I opened my inbox and I had an email from an editor who was interested in one of my articles. I wasted no time and sent her the article to read.

In May my article, “The Five Be’s of Brokenness,” was published. You can read that article here. I don’t believe for a second it was an accident that article saw publication first. It is all about sharing your story of brokenness with others. I wrote that piece as an assignment for my Christian Writers Guild course. It touched a deep place in my heart and is my passion.

In May our church had a mother daughter banquet. As we looked for a speaker I felt God tell me to do it. I shared with the rest of the women’s ministry team what God laid on my heart. They were in agreement and I had my first speaking engagement in May 2011.

I sent an article to Proverbs 31 the same time I sent out my first published article. In July I finally heard back from them. They said they liked my article but wondered if I could make it shorter. Of course I said yes, I can cut 500 of my precious words. That proved harder than I originally thought, but I did it.

A couple of weeks later (the week before Labor Day, a busy week with getting my classroom ready and meetings) I received another email from them saying they liked the piece but wondered if I could make it a Christmas article and could I have it done by the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. That gave me three days, that were already jammed packed, to reshape the article to meet their needs. Again, I said yes. Proverbs 31 is a magazine I had prayed to get an article in and did not want to miss this opportunity.

Thursday night before Labor Day I sent the completely reworked article back to them. It appeared in their December issue. They have a print magazine so I cannot add the link but I hold in my hand two print copies of my article. God is good.

In November another article appeared in Power to Change. You can find that article here.

In December one more article appeared in the same magazine, Inspired Women Magazine, that published my first article. You can find it here.

I also committed to beginning my novel. I didn’t work on Fridays last year and spent that day working on my book. I finished the first draft in February and I am getting close to being done with my first round of edits.

I don’t tell you all this to brag on myself but to brag on my Savior. He is so good. I know I say that a lot but it is so true.

When you choose obedience God will bless you.

I believe all these articles were published because Patrick and I began to share our story and God received all the honor due to Him.

I wonder how many blessings we miss out on because we are not being obedient. Trust me, I know I am not always obedient and that makes me sad, what am I missing when ignore my Father?

God has blessings for you. Believe it, claim them. Choose obedience and see what good gifts your Father has for you.

I have to share a praise. If you took time to prayer for Sherri Johnson’s husband, thank you. That day he was offered a job.

Didn’t I tell you God was good?

Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’ John 14:23

Share something God has done in your life. How has He answered a prayer for you recently?

What’s your Genesis 5020? I know you have one but no one has shared yet. Remember you need to give God glory for what He has done in your life, what is stopping you? Send your stories to us at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com. You can remain anonymous if you wish, just let us know.

 

Write to the Point with Sherri Johnson August 29, 2012

Congralutations to Beth who won Henry McLaughlin’s book Journey to Riverbend.

This week we get write to the point with Sherri Johnson.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I am from Georgia and live there with my husband, who loves to fish and build guitars, my children, and two dogs. Our daughter is a wedding photographer and our son works in production at his church. I homeschooled for fourteen years and now dedicate much of my free time to writing. I love the ocean although I’m not a sunbather, eating ice cream although my waistline could use a break from it, and I love to laugh. I have been writing for practically as long as I could put words down on paper but fell in love with writing Inspirational Romance in my late teens.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was six years old. I grew up in a Christian home and going to church every Sunday was the norm. But one particular Sunday I remember a strong urgency to be saved. I asked my pastor about it and he thought I wanted a drink of water. To this day we don’t know why he thought that except he was hard of hearing. He tried to direct me to the water fountain and it wasn’t until I screamed at him that I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart that he realized I wanted the living water and not water from a fountain.

Your story makes me smile, maybe if we all got louder about wanting the living water more people would stop to listen???

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My newest book, Song of the Meadowlark, is a contemporary romance about a woman named Cora who has been abandoned by her husband after his arrest on drug trafficking charges. She waits a year for him to return and when he doesn’t she decides to go back home to Florida to mend her broken relationship with her parents. On the way there her car breaks down and she’s temporarily stranded in a South Georgia town, which is experiencing missing and murdered women occurrences. She falls in love with the town and the people she stays with while there. Little Susie O’Reilly finds an immediate place in her heart but her widower father, Rex, tries to stand in the way of the two bonding. After Cora is abducted, she decides to return home and that adds to Rex’s opposition to her since Susie is already attached to Cora. When Cora arrives home she finds the repair of her relationship with her parents and her ability to forget about Rex nearly impossible. Cora struggles with doubt, rejection, fear, and anger on her path to peace and forgiveness. I hope readers will learn that it’s okay to experience periods of doubt and confusion while searching for the truth. 

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I blog a few times a week. On my main author blog I host authors and offer giveaways. I also chat about what’s going on with my books and their releases. I plan to add writing tips and possibly a devotional about popular fiction themes in the coming months. My other blog features things going on in my faith journey.

 Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

I love, love, love Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby. Recently I read Short-straw Bride and Wildflowers from Winter. Both of those books were great reads and I found them hard to put down. That’s saying a lot for me because I’m usually very distracted when I’m reading.

I read Wildflowers from Winter and enjoyed it very much, Short-straw Bride is on my wish list!

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

Wow! How much time do we have? J I lost my mother unexpectedly in 1993, almost died in surgery in 2000, lost my father to cancer in 2002, nearly lost my house in 2005 and had to sell many of my treasured material possessions. Then in 2009 my daughter broke her back in a car accident, which could have left her paralyzed. A few months later my husband lost his job and we went through nine months of daily dependence upon the Lord for our needs. In 2001, we experienced a suicide in our family and the loss of our home church through differences of opinion (this was not our first rodeo of the kind either). All of these things could have caused me and my family harm. Actually, some of them did. Satan would have jumped for joy to hear us turn our backs on God. But every single one of these events proved to make our faith in God stronger. He never left us during these trials. Through pain and rejection, loss and heartache, we grew so much closer to God as individuals and as a family. Even now we’re struggling through a period of unemployment again but giving God the glory for every single thing that happens.

One thing I know and cling to is that God is faithful. Readers, would you join me in praying for Sherri’s husband, that he would find a job soon? Take a minute and lift him up.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

This seems to change all the time but most recently 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, the Prayer of Jabez, has been a pivotal verse in my life.

Where can we find you on the web?

 http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com/

http://sherrijinga.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/swj_thewriter

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

My goal in writing Inspirational Romance is to encourage readers, to point them Jesus, and to offer them hope—while entertaining them and making their hearts turn a few flips in the process.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share with my readers, we sincerely appreciate it.

Readers, Sherri is giving away an ebook of her book to one commentator. Leave a comment by Sept. 4 at 5:00 PM to be entered.

 

Part XXVI-Freedom is Sweet August 24, 2012

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:53 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I now stood out of the boat that day after I told my abuser I forgave him. That day I saw the waves and started freaking out.

The day after I talked to my abuser I wanted to tell my parents and Patrick’s, but the timing didn’t work out. We had to wait a day. The day between, a heavy burden for my abuser overwhelmed me.

I felt horrible for him knowing he suffered abuse. He told us no one else knew, not even his wife. Oh, the weight he carried for so many years. I wanted to help, I wanted to fix him. I wanted to rush out and get a counselor for him.

I knew I couldn’t carry the burden, it would crush me. Instead I prayed. The next time I saw him I gave him the number for a counselor. God told me I did not need to carry his burden. God would do that when my abuser was ready to give it to his Savior.

Anyway, the waves were crashing all around me. I left a random message on my parents answering machine and told them Patrick and I would be over the next morning to talk to them about something. I assured them no one was dying, or pregnant or getting a divorce, I knew my dad would think those things immediately.

The next morning we dropped the kids off with my sister and drove to my parents house.

We gathered around the kitchen table, I grabbed a box of tissue.

We began our story. I told them I was abused and who did it and that I didn’t want them to be angry at the person. I forgave him and they should too.

I also told my dad that his words hurt me growing up. Honestly, I did wimp out here and didn’t say everything I wanted to, but my dad isn’t that man anymore. I have let go.

Mom cried, Dad didn’t. That surprised me. My dad is pretty emotional but he didn’t get emotional over our story. When we were done he even quickly changed the subject like he didn’t even want to talk about it. I wanted them to ask questions or something but dad didn’t. I am sure mom would have said more but before I knew it we were talking about the weather or something.

I think it was easier for my dad to check out rather than really deal with the truth. I believe that has happened in my life more than I even know.

Next we drove to Patrick’s parents. He was concerned his mom might not be so forgiving, he had me totally stressed about it. As a mom myself I can understand. Just yesterday my daughter told me some boys were teasing her and my momma bear claws were ready to come out. Moms protect their young, I would understand if Patricks mom had a tough time forgiving me.

We arrive and sit around their kitchen table. We begin our story.

Toward the end of us sharing I looked at Patrick’s parents and said, “I am so sorry for hurting your son.”

After I spoke those words I thought how many times have I needed to say those words to God. We have all hurt His Son, we sent Him to the cross.

We are so sorry for hurting your Son.

But just as our Heavenly Father forgives us, Patrick’s dad took my hand and said, “I forgive you.”

My body shook as I cried. Forgiveness, lived out in man. To see forgiveness given to me again and again by people, how much sweeter is the forgiveness of God. Forgiveness, so undeserved but freely lavished on me.

Patrick’s mom said something neither of us will ever forget. She said, “When Pat came home and told me he meet his future wife, I took that very seriously. I believe God has chosen someone for everyone. You belong together.”

I sobbed, of course.

My fears melted away in the warmth of her words.

I got out of the boat, I saw the storm, I became overwhelmed, I cried out to my Savior, He reached out His hand and rescued me.

Everyday He rescues me, I am forever grateful.

Freedom is sweet.

For my parents and Patrick’s parents to know me, completely, all my failures, all my flaws and still love me, utterly amazes me.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God is good. He has the power to break your chains. What chains are you holding on to?

I’ll say it again…..freedom is sweet.

But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:30-31 NLT

Why do we doubt God? He never lets us down. What do you need to trust God with right now in your life? Please share, I would love to pray for you.

Share your Genesis 5020. Email us your story at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com. Do not send an attachment please, just write your story in the email. If you wish to remain anonymous just let us know, we would love to post your story on this blog!

 

Write to the Point with Henry McLaughlin August 22, 2012

This week we get write to the point with Henry McLaughlin.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I was born in Rhode Island. In November, my beautiful wife, Linda, and I will celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary. We have five children, three sons and two daughters. Our oldest son is in heaven. The other children are spread out among New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Missouri. We have one grandson and several grand cats.

After working in public child welfare in Rhode Island for nearly thirty years, I retired in 1999. My wife and I moved to Texas to be part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. I worked for the ministry in several areas, primarily human resources and the road crew.

In 2002, I became serious about writing when, after serious and complicated heart surgery, the Lord put it on my heart to write. Putting years of dabbling aside, I completed four years of courses through the Christian Writers Guild: Apprentice, Journeyman, and Craftsman, including a residency.

To improve my knowledge and skills, I attend writers’ conferences, workshops and retreats, and participate in online and local critique groups. I also belong to the Christian Writers Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and North Texas Christian Writers.

My bachelor’s degree in American History helped develop my research skills and an appreciation of the physical and spiritual greatness of this country. The post Civil War era and the settling of the American West have long been areas of interest to me.

Through my master’s degree in social work and years working in public child welfare, I learned insights into human behavior: what motivates people, how people cope in a crisis, and how lost they are without Christ.

My first novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel award sponsored by the Christian Writers Guild and was published by Tyndale House in January, 2011.

In September 2010, the Lord opened the way for me to move into full time writing. Now, I have four other novels completed and waiting for publication.

The Father has opened the door for me to mentor other writers one-on-one, to give to them the insights, knowledge and encouragement others have poured into me.

In addition, I teach writing at conferences and workshops and as well as a creative writing course at my church.

I am honored at this time to serve as President of Fort Worth Chapter of Word Weavers. This local writers group is part of the Christian Writers Guild and provides a forum for teaching, critiquing, and encouraging fellow writers.

In January, 2012, I began serving as a writers coach for North Texas Christian Writers. I oversee and provide direction, encouragement, and guidance to four writers groups.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

In 1974, my wife and I made a Marriage Encounter Weekend. During that weekend, we not only recommitted to our marriage, we had our first spiritual encounter with Jesus. He became Lord and Savior, not only over us as individuals, but over our marriage and our family, as well. That weekend launched us on a journey of knowing Him more and more and of serving Him through loving each other and becoming more active in our church life as well.

Tell us about your latest book. What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

Journey to Riverbend is a novel of historical suspense and romance. Set in the American West in 1878, it is a story of the prodigal with a twist: the prodigal son dies in the first chapter. Michael Archer promises to find the young man’s estranged father to attempt the reconciliation the son greatly desires. Complicating the matter is the father is not at all like the prodigal’s father in the Bible.

Michael meets Rachel Stone, a former prostitute who is a new Christian seeking to establish herself as a dressmaker. Their relationship is strained by Rachel’s desire for independence and Michael’s feelings of not being worthy.

Keeping his promise becomes even more difficult when the father is kidnapped by an old business rival. Michael decides to join the posse to search for the father and embarks on journey that leads to danger and death. At the climax, Michael must confront his darkest secret—he killed his own father—as he faces the challenge of having to kill again to save the kidnapped father.

Michael’s journey challenges him to face his darkest moments and to recognize the good in him and forgive himself. Rachel’s journey dares her to risk being loved. The father’s journey brings him face-to-face with his past and the hurt he caused numerous people and has him wondering if he’ll have time to right the wrongs.

The themes, the takeaways, of Journey to Riverbend are restoration, reconciliation, and forgiveness.

I have your book downloaded on my kindle. I can’t wait to read it!

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I blog on a weekly basis, on some aspect of writing and also on the spiritual journey I am taking with the Father.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

Just one? There are so many. From the craft side, a book I recommend to every aspiring writer is Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy because it teaches how to build characters and construct a story world that applies to every genre, not just sci-fi or fantasy. If we’re writing fiction, whether it’s historical, contemporary, or other worldly, we build a story world for our characters.

From the fiction side, I just finished Fifth Man by Randy Ingermanson and John B. Olson. Not only is it an exciting, edge-of-the-seat story, it is also a great example of how to have tension on every page.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

There have been two incidents in my life.

The first was the death of our eldest in a motorcycle accident in over the Christmas season of 1993. The Father showed His mercy and grace by opening the doors to get us to our son’s side in England when we didn’t have passports or the money for airfare. It took Him less than seven hours to get us on a plane. After our son’s death, the Father again gave my wife and me the strength and grace to support our other children through the grief. He gave us friends who went to our house at 6:30 in the morning so our children wouldn’t be alone when we called with the news. Those friends took care of our children until we could return from England several days later. Those friends were, and are, a shining example of the Love of Christ in action. Instead of the enemy hurting us, we walked in the cocoon of the Father’s love.

The second was my heart surgery in 2002. In essence, I was near death several times but a praying wife and friends and church showed the power of God. The ICU nurses referred to me as their miracle patient when I was moved to a regular room.

Praise God. I am so grateful you saw the Father’s love in your life during those times.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

When we moved to Texas to serve in Kenneth Copeland Ministries, we left family and friends behind. My life foundation scripture is Luke 18:29 (NLT). “And I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

My writing foundation scripture is Habakkuk 2:2, 3 (NLT). “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a messenger can carry the correct message to others.…If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”

I am sure I have read the verse in Habakkuk but never applied it to my writing. What a great verse of encouragement.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.henrymclaughlin.org

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

To all the aspiring writers who read this, if the Father has called you to write but it seems so far away or too hard, don’t give up. Keep writing. Learn all you can about writing. Learn all you can about obedience to His call, and about patience, and the craft and art of writing. Be obedient and diligent and trust Him.

It took nine years and eight complete re-writes for Journey to Riverbend to be published. And if the Father will do it for me, He’ll do it for you.

Melissa, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview.

May the Father abundantly bless you as you continue your Journey in Him.

Thank you so much Henry, it has been an honor to have you on my blog.

Readers, leave a comment for Henry by August 28 at 5:00 PM to be entered to win a paperback copy of his book.

 

Write to the Point with Diane Graham August 15, 2012

Before we get to this weeks interview I just wanted to let my readers know I will not be blogging on Friday. I will be going to see Joyce Meyer and worshipping with Isreal Houghton with a great group of ladies. I am so excited! I will get back to my Genesis 5020 next week.

Congratulations to Judy and Pam who won one of Becky Lyles’ books from last week.

This week we get write to the point with Diane M. Graham.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I live with a certifiable (by me) hottie. He’s also known by others as Mr. Graham and I’ve had hold of him since we were both old enough to know love and young enough to fall into it face-first. Over twenty years later and I am thankful for the initial blind-stupid-love. It saved us from foolish ideologies of what love “should” be and allowed us to raise five children in the love of our own making. Currently, our brand of love resides on a small mountain in Eastern Oklahoma. I’ve been writing for almost five years.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

Hmm…I’ve always known Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Momma made sure and I can honestly say I never doubted. The real question would be when I stopped kicking and screaming for my own will like a spoil child that had been denied a lollipop? I’ll let you know when that happens.  

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

My novel I Am Ocilla was published in March of this year with Splashdown Books. My greatest hope when readers close the last page is that in order for them to find themselves in life…truly find themselves…they must find what they are in Christ.

Open your heart and mind to the simplicity and complexity of a name.

I know only my name. Beyond that is confusion, a void where fantasy and reality swirl together. Fairies, Giants, Elves, Dwarves, ancient Keepers, and…Dragons? A dark soul threatens the Five Kingdoms, but I am powerless to stand against him, overwhelmed by phantom memories, broken and lost.

Somehow, I must live. I must find my purpose. There are friends to love and battles to fight.

I know my name. Perhaps that is enough.

I am Ocilla.

This is my story.

 

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I blog when I feel like it. I know that is not the right answer us writers are supposed to give but it is the truth, and I always tell the truth. That comes out in my blogging, where I cover anything and everything in life, from sex to politics, to parenting, to faith and all the grey in between. I’m not afraid to breach the topics most are terrified of.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

I don’t think I can. There are too many. One of my favorite classics is Dickens’ Great Expectations. It was the first true novel I ever read. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times” will forever be etched into my mind. C.S. Lewis captured my heart with The Magicians Nephew and carried me through to The Last Battle. Madeline L’Engle twisted me in A Wrinkle in Time and didn’t shake me until An Acceptable Time.  Recently, I have been enamored with artists such as Kerry Nietz, Marc Schooley, Frank Creed, Kat Heckenbach, Keven Newsome, Paul Baines and Robynn Tolbert. Do you see a trend here? I love the wonderful, the dark, the deep and uber-cool. How can I name just one when the choices are this bountiful?

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

(Diane said her Genesis 5020 was a doosie, you her story by clicking on the links below.)

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/mountain-life/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mountain-life-2/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/mountain-life-3/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/mountain-life-4/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/mountain-life-5/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/mountain-life-6/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/mountain-life-7/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/mountain-life-8/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/mountain-life-9/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/mountain-life-10/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/mountain-life-11/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/mountain-life-12/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/mountain-life-13/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/mountain-life-14/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/mountain-life-15/

http://newauthors.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/mountain-life-16/

 

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

Life is so hard. Evil waits at ever corner to hobble our way. I remind myself that my Father sees all and He is in control.

Psalms 121:

1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.1

Where can we find you on the web?

I am at:

My page-  http://dianemgraham.com/

Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/dianemgrahamauthor

The New Authors Fellowship- http://newauthors.wordpress.com/

 

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

Every day I awake knowing the devil is out to get me. It’s what I signed up for. It’s what all of us Saints signed up for. I stand boldly on a foundation that cannot be shaken and that tends to give me a little more bounce in each one of my steps.

Thank you for having me, Melissa.  

Thank you for sharing, I truly appreciate it.

Readers, Diane is giving away your choice of paperback or ebook of her book. Leave a comment by August  21 at 5:00 pm to be entered.

 

Part XXV-Out of the Boat August 10, 2012

The Sunday before we talked to my abuser our Pastor spoke about Peter and when he got out of the boat. He was full of confidence at first but when he saw the waves he became afraid and started to sink.

Facing my abuser was me climbing out of the boat. For all of my life I lived safely in my boat. In my boat I didn’t have to be brave. Now God gave me a clear command: Get out of the boat and trust me.

I left of last week with all of us (my husband, my abuser and me) sitting around the dining room table as I prepared to read my letter to my abuser. Below is the letter I read. I have edited out some parts to protect my abusers identity but for the most part it is the letter in its complete form.

Dear (name removed),

This letter has been a long time in coming. But I know it needs to be written.

I am writing you this letter to tell you I forgive you. I forgive you for sexually abusing me as a little girl. I am assuming you thought I didn’t know, or had forgotten. I never forgot. But I didn’t understand what happened to me until I was in middle school.

The truth is I dismissed it as my fault and I must have done something to make you do that to me. I made excuses for you and I thought it had no impact on my life. I was wrong.

Of course after I became a Christian I thought God would just automatically heal me and I even game testimonies in the prisons about being healed. (Side note-I was in a band with Patrick and we traveled to prisons) I was deceived, I was not healed because I never sought healing, I just assumed.

My marriage wasn’t good. I constantly looked for attention from other men. I see now I had done this since I was a little girl. I learned not to trust men, even my husband. I wanted power because power had been snatched away from me for as long as I can remember.

So I had emotional affairs. I even reached the point of wanting to leave my marriage in 2005. But Pat wouldn’t let me go. We didn’t seek counseling which was a huge mistake. But I got pregnant with Kieran and things were good for a few years.

Then I got on Facebook. I knew that is was a dangerous place for me and it didn’t take long for me to become friends with someone from my past. I shared about the sexual abuse with this other man, which was odd, because at that point only three other people knew. I was sharing too much but I couldn’t stop. I wanted love so bad. More than that, I wanted power.

This time it went beyond an emotional affair. In June of 2009 I had a physical affair. It was short and fast. I fell fast and Pat found out fast. But I wanted out of my marriage. I was ready to throw my life away for this other person. I am so glad God stopped me, I would be so totally miserable. Pat fought for me. For the first time in my life I knew what true love looked like. I never knew. My dad’s love was based on me being good all the time. I felt pressure to be the perfect child or I wouldn’t be loved.

I saw Jesus through my husband. We finally sought counseling but I didn’t even want to share about the abuse because I didn’t want that to be an excuse and I thought it was. I thought I did the things I did because I was bad, not because I had scars. But I did have scars.

Because of the sexual and verbal abuse I had some pretty messed up ways of looking at things. I didn’t know how to set boundaries since boundaries were crossed when I was a child. I wanted power over men because men had been having power over me all my life.

I finally found the healing I needed for years. And I finally could forgive you and my dad. I do forgive you. Totally and completely, just as my Heavenly Father has forgiven me for my sins. You are forgiven.

I share this now because God is urging me to share my story with others, so He can be glorified. He keeps whispering in my ear when I get nervous about telling everyone, “For me Melissa, for me.”

I am done keeping secrets. God gets no glory if I remain silent. I don’t know what He has planned for me but I will be silent no longer. I wanted to talk to you first because I want to be able to tell my parents I have forgiven you completely and that I have spoken to you about this already.

If and when  I speak about this publicly I will not say who sexually abused me. I do that to protect your family, no one else needs to be hurt by this.

If you have been carrying around the weight of this sin I pray that God will release you from it. The enemy would like nothing more than to make you feel about this. Please don’t. I forgive  you. I know God will redeem this, He has already. He is leading me to write, which has been my dream forever. I am also able to relate to other sexual abuse victims and I wouldn’t be able to help them if I hadn’t gone through it myself. Genesis 50:20 has been the verse Pat and I cling to though all of this: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”

Joseph spoke those words to his brothers when he told them he forgave them for selling him into slavery. When I hear those words I don’t of the “you” in that verse as “you” (name removed) but as the enemy, the devil, who used you and then used me to do things to hurt other people. I don’t believe your were thinking about hurting me. I believe you were/are broken. I can only imagine how you have been hurt and the pain and confusion have been overwhelming for you. I believe you did what you did out of your brokenness, your desire to feel loved or maybe your desire for power because you felt you had none. The enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy you and I.  I pray that you allow God to come in and heal any places you need healing. He longs to, he has been searching for you all of your life. He is the Father you long for. He loves you with an unfailing love, He is dependable, unrelenting, trustworthy. Your Father longs to hold you.

God is good, He does redeem, I believe it with all my heart, I have seen Him do it in my life with everything. I have asked God why all of this stuff had to happen to me. He asked me, “If being abused and having an affair was the only way you could really love me and have the relationship you have with me now, would you let it happen all over again?” If I am honest, I would have to say I wouldn’t trade any of it for the relationship I have with my Heavenly Father. Every tear, ever heartbreak, every moment of shame was all worth it to rest in the arms of my Savior.

I hope you believe God redeems all things. He longs to redeem your wounds.

More than anything please take away that I love you and your forgiven, but more importantly Jesus loves you and forgives you, more than you could ever know.

In Christ’s Love, Melissa

Silence.

Would he just stare at me and say, “Okay”? Would he deny it?

My abuser crumbled before me. His head fell forward and he sobbed. He said three words I never expected to hear, “I’m so sorry.”

Without even thinking about what I was doing I stood, went to him, wrapped my arms around him and cried along with him. “I forgive you.”

We held each other for a long time. Years of silence, shame, heartache, found peace, rest.

After we calmed down he shared with me that he had been abused when he was younger by older boys.

I hit the table with my fist. “I knew it.”

I did. Hurt people hurt people, he was a mess inside too. The mess was reflected in the horrible choices he made in his life as well.

We talked awhile longer. Patrick and I really wanted to make sure he felt loved and knew he was completely forgiven.

I know not every person will be able to face their abuser, or tell them they forgive them. I also know that even if you do you might not get the reaction you hope for. That is why you need to be in a place where you don’t need anything from your abuser. They let you down once , they might do it again. You wanted something from them before, love, acceptance, I know I did, and it got all twisted. You can’t expect anything from your abuser.

But you can expect to receive all you need from your Heavenly Father. Only He can give you all you need, He will not let you down.

I stepped out of the boat when I spoke to my abuser. Now I needed to stay out and talk to my parents and Patrick’s.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage!  It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14: 27-29 NIV

Have you ever gotten out of the boat? What happened?

What’s your Genesis 5020? Share with us at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com

 

Write to the Point with Becky Lyles August 8, 2012

Congratulations to Rita who won B.J. Robinson’s book Last Resort.

This week we get write to the point with Becky Lyles.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

Though I currently live in beautiful Idaho with Steve, my husband of 38 years, I grew up in wonderful Wyoming, where we raised our three children. We have three grandchildren, ages six and under. I started writing 35 years ago, while my oldest was napping. I’ve written articles, short stories, nonfiction books, newsletters, devotionals, etc., but my first novel was published this year. I also edit for nonfiction as well as fiction authors and publishers.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

My father worked as a roughneck on oil rigs during my early years, which meant we traveled around the West following the drilling action. But when I turned six, my parents decided it was time to settle down so that I, their oldest child, could attend school. They purchased a house across the street from a church-going family, who soon invited me to attend Sunday school with them. One Sunday morning in a tiny basement classroom, the teacher asked those who’d never invited Jesus into their hearts to raise their hands. I raised mine. She asked if I wanted to pray to invite him in, and I said, “Yes.” Not long after that, my mother became a Christian, and we were baptized together. Eventually, my father and my four siblings also accepted Christ as their Savior. Praise God for Sunday school and children’s ministries!

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

“Winds of Wyoming” was released in January, and I just sent the sequel, “Winds of Freedom,” to the editor. Both books feature heroines who were previously incarcerated. Serving with a prison ministry taught me that women behind bars have the same longings, dreams, hopes, fears, issues and hang-ups the rest of us have, and more. My desire is that women on both sides of the bars who read the books are reminded of God’s love, faithfulness, power, forgiveness and acceptance.

I had the honor of being part of a band that did prison ministry. We only visited men’s prisons and I saw the same thing as you. Men who needed to believe there was still hope for them, men who had longings and wanted somethings beyond those bars.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

I have three blogs, but I have to admit I’m an infrequent blogger. When I’m in the midst of writing a book or editing for a client, I have a hard time convincing myself I can stop to write a short article or two. But I keep promising I’ll blog when I get a break, like now, while I’m waiting for a return email from the editor. 😉

http://www.widgetwords.wordpress.com [Wordsmithing Made Fun]

http://www.howgreatisthelove.wordpress.com  [Lavish Love: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (I John 3:1 NIV)]

http://www.grandmagonegranola.wordpress.com  [Simple, Inexpensive Tips for Healthy Living from Becky Lyles]

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read?

What a hard question! Recent favorites are “Havah” by Tosca Lee, “Captivating” by John & Staci Eldredge, “River Rising” by Athol Dickson, and “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. As a child, I loved, Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames mysteries, “Christy,” “The Boxcar Children,” “Heidi,” “Black Beauty” … and so many more. 😉

Havah and Captivating are two of my favorites as well, great books.

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

I’m in the midst of a couple heartbreaking family situations that have brought me to my knees and shown me my spiritual weakness. Yes, my heart hurts, but through his Word and his Spirit, God has brought me back from the brink of bitterness again and again—and reminded me that his Spirit can and will work in places I could never go and ways I could never accomplish.

My heart hurts for you , that you are in the midst of heartache right now. I am grateful that God is showing his goodness to you, even through the pain.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

I love scriptures about hope. “God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (NIV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Where can we find you on the web?

http://www.beckylyles.com

Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles

Twitter: @BeckyLyles

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

For those who enjoy true stories featuring individuals whose lives have been miraculously changed by God, I have two such books available online—“It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships” and “On a Wing and a Prayer–Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry.”

Thanks, Melissa, for interview questions that made me stop and think about how good God has been to me. I appreciate the opportunity to have my books featured on your blog and look forward to giving copies of either “It’s a God Thing” or “Winds of Wyoming” to two of your readers (their choice).

Becky, thank you or being transparent with my readers and letting us get to know you.

Readers, as Becky stated, she is giving away a book to two commentators, your choice of Winds of Wyoming or It’s a God Thing, and you can also choose paperback or e-book. Yay!  Leave Becky a comment by August 14 at 5:00 PM.

 

Part XXIV-Facing my Abuser August 3, 2012

Filed under: Melissa's Genesis 5020 — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:50 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

As we sat with our life group in the spring of 2011, we knew the time to share with our families neared.

I do need to back up a second. I told my sister my story in April of 2010. I felt God laid it on my heart to tell her. On the outside I always appeared to have it all together. My sister had made some poor choices and hers weren’t as easy to cover up as mine. We were once best friends but some things happened that tore us apart. God nudged me share with her so she knew I was not perfect and I had made some very bad mistakes too. Once again, I shared and wounds healed. I am happy to say that my sister and I are rebuilding our friendship and God is definitely doing a Genesis 5020 in her life. (I am so proud of you girl!!!)

When we asked our life group to pray about the timing of everything Patrick turned to me and said, “Well, we will need to talk to your abuser first.”

I froze. “What?”

“You thought we wouldn’t talk to him?”

“I hoped not.”

“We need to.” Patrick wrapped his arm around me.

The tears slowly built behind my eyes and spilled out. I knew he was right. But the thought freaked me out. I never wanted to deal with my abuser, but I needed to.

By August the time had come. I wrote a letter to my abuser and pictured many scenario’s. Maybe I could send it in the mail. Maybe I could hand it to him and run away.

But that was the wimpy way out.

One evening in August Patrick called (I made him) my abuser and invited him over the next day. I knew he would think this was weird because we never had him over, but he didn’t ask for an explanation.

The day my abuser was to come over, during my devotion time, God spoke so clearly to me. He brought me to verses that met me right were I sat.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

I read those verses again and again. I travelled a dark valley, anything could happen, but God walked with me. Wonderful comfort.

In the devotion I read that morning,  it told me to look at John 17:1 and replace the word “Father” with my name. This is what you get when that happens:

“Melissa, the hour has come. Glorify the son so he can give glory back to you.”

Wow. The hour has come. Jesus was going to be glorified that day. Chills……

God pressed on me that I needed to be prepared for the abuser to deny what he did. I should not expect an apology, I should expect nothing from him. I was only to forgive and know that God would take care of the rest.

At 4:00 that afternoon my doorbell rang. We shooed the kids off into another room. Patrick answered the door and my abuser entered my home. He looked nervous, uncomfortable. We assured him we weren’t going to try to sell him anything.

We lead him to the dining room table and the three of us sat down, tissue box in the middle of us.

Patrick said what we were about to share wasn’t easy but needed to be shared. We had a story to tell him.

I decided that I would read the letter I wrote to my abuser. I unfolded the letter I never thought I would write, let alone share with my abuser. My hands shook as I grasped the paper in my hand. I began to read.

Next week I will share the letter with you and what happened after I read the letter.

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him, I will guide him and restore comfort to him. Isaiah 57:18 NIV

What’s your Genesis 5020? Share your story at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember you can remain anonymous if you wish. Once we’re done with our story we would love to share yours with the world.

 

Write to the Point with B.J. Robinson August 1, 2012

Congratulations to Jo who won Bonnie Leon’s book Joy Takes Flight.

This week we get write to the point with B.J. Robinson.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

I’m from Louisiana and a Florida transplant. I’ve been writing and publishing since the third grade, if you count a story about my pet dog my teacher submitted to a local newspaper that was published all those years ago. I’ve had short stories, poems, and devotionals published as well as novels. I have two grown sons and two grown daughters living in Louisiana and a daughter in Maine. They’ve all made me a grandmother multiple times, and I have twelve grandchildren. I’m blessed with children, grandchildren, my hubby, two dogs that are like family, a golden retriever and a golden cocker spaniel, and faith.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I was baptized many years ago as a child and again as a young bride at a First Baptist Church when I rededicated my life. Mother reared me on superstitions and Bible verses, quite a combination. I never had the close, personal relationship I now enjoy with my Lord until I was older and found myself spending more time reading His Word. I lost my youngest sister to an eating disorder and my mother to cancer six years apart, and I think this loss personally affected me so much that I began to devour scripture. I missed my mother and sister so much, and I was glad to know I’d see them again one day. I wrote about this in Last Resort, my debut novel.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

Whispering Cypress releases August 11 from Desert Breeze Publishing and will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, etc. I hope readers will see the theme of forgiveness and realize things always work out the way God has planned, even if it takes a few years. It’s His timing, not ours. He always has a reason for events we might not understand. What we see as tragedy may happen for a reason known only to Him, and we may never understand this side of heaven. Bad things happen to good people just as they do in the novel, but believing in God is what helps us get through, just as scripture helped me get through the loss of my mother and sister. God used that tragedy in my life for good because I was weak, but my belief in Him and in His Word made me stronger and brought me into a closer, personal relationship with Him.

It’s set in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  After a decade of no contact, a woman purchases the campground a man from her past dreams of owning and hires him to repair and remodel the cabins. She discovers she still has feelings for him, and the sparks are still there — smoldering like embers from a left-over campfire, but a young girl is attacked, and he’s arrested. You’ll never have peace here. Leave the past where it belongs, or it will ruin you. Spring Showers stared at the cutout newspaper letters pasted on a sheet of typing paper. Her heart pounded harder than any nail gun, and she placed her hand over her chest as if to still it. Nothing about the rundown campground prepared her for such a threat. Who could possibly care if she restored it?

Southern Superstitions is my most recently published novel, a romantic suspense set in Louisiana. I want readers to take way the power of prayer and faith in God from this one and realize God is in control. A Favorite Line: It was faith in God that would bring her husband home. Even a lucky penny or a dime declared, In God we trust. It’s getting great reviews on Amazon. Here’s a short blurb:

Prayer versus Southern superstitions when a woman’s husband mysteriously disappears in the swamp on a deer-hunting trip. As steamy as the hot, thick, sticky heat of Louisiana, this page-turner will keep readers in suspense, as the author spins a tale of love, loss, superstition, pain, heartache, and faith in God. Reviewer Kathy Boswell says, “Very good! She never gives up hope that Andy will return to her someday. She puts it all in God’s hands like she’s done every crisis in her life. She knows He will take care of this for her.” God and the power of prayer versus Southern superstitions. Through belief, faith, hard work, the power of prayer, and God’s help, this powerful, moving story is a thought-provoking Christian romantic suspense about a young couple who fall in love, but have to change her mother’s mind in more ways than one, if their relationship is to survive. Can Andy convince June there’s more to their relationship than friends? Will he win the approval of Mrs. Myrtle, her mother, and can love survive strawberry season and an April flood? Will June be able to give Andy a child?

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog? My blog is mostly a book review blog at this point, but I’m considering a devotional blog as well. Presently, I read and post reviews of the books I’ve read and enjoyed on my blog at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com, and I also post updates and information about my books. I may start blogging about writing as well.

Can you share with us a favorite book you have read? I’ve read many great novels, but the most recent best one I really enjoyed was River Rising by Athol Dickson. Lynn Austin’s All She Ever Wanted is a favorite, and I’m a fan of Nicholas Sparks. My writing mentor, Eva Marie Everson, has some great novels, and she has a Cedar Key series set in Florida. Naomi Musch is one of my favorite Desert Breeze authors. Her novels are plus ones, and she has the Empire in Pines series containing: The Green Veil, The Red Fury, and The Black Rose. Her novels run deep, and that’s what I love. There are so many great Desert Breeze authors it’s impossible to share them all, but Shawna K. Williams also has novels I really enjoyed. June Foster is a new Desert Breeze author, and I loved her debut novel Give us This Day. Nike Chillemi has a series, and I’ve read her first two novels and enjoyed them. Regina Andrews has awesome books, and Anne Patrick does, too. I’m an avid reader and passionate writer, and I devour books I love. Michelle Sutton has over a dozen novels. My two favorites of hers were Danger at the Door and In Plain Sight, but depending upon a reader’s tastes, she has various types and selections from which to choose. As you can tell I’ve read many of my fellow Desert Breeze authors books, and I can vouch that they’re worthy reads. Sadie and Sophie Cuffie better known as the Cuffie sisters also have excellent books and spend a great deal of time on their research for theirs.

Can you share with us a Genesis 50:20 in your life?

God used the loss of my mother and sister six years apart for good because I was weak, but my belief in Him and in His Word made me stronger and brought me into a closer, personal relationship with Him. The enemy could have made me give up on God and ask why my youngest sister had to die before me. I’m twelve years older than she was, and I never thought she would go first, but she did. Her death really hurt. I’d lost Mom six years prior to cancer, and I thought it was so unfair that I was losing my youngest sister only six years later. I lost my father when I was four on Christmas Day. I’d seen too much death in my immediate family, but I didn’t give up on God. I think this helped me to create Whispering Cypress. I had a character lose his entire family. I think this came from my loss of Mom, Dad, and my sister, though I didn’t handle it the way the character in the story does, but I drew upon my own personal losses to help create the character and his loss. I also used their loss in my debut novel Last Resort. I lost my youngest sister to an eating disorder, and I wanted to write about it in some way to warn others and hopefully help them before it was too late, like it was for my sister. Even with the tragedies in my family, God used it for good to bring me closer to Him and His Word. In Whispering Cypress, God uses the man’s loss to show him what he had and didn’t appreciate when he had it and in the end, to make him a better person. We see him turn weak, but we also see him strong enough that he does not give him to evil in the end.

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

1 Thessalonians verses 4:16-18, because it helped me when they passed ‘…the dead in Christ will rise first: After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.'”

 

Where can we find you on the web? https://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorBJRobinson, http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/BJRobinson/Page.bok, https://www.facebook.com/barbara.robinson.773, http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com/.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

Book Trailers for Last Resort, Southern Superstitions, and Whispering Cypress:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juwF0dLLX6M&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNoo962DbF0&feature=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFSVAPKrmKU&feature=youtu.be

What early Readers Had to Say…

“B. J. Robinson’s Last Resort is an inspirational romantic suspense story that keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat — both to see if the villain is overcome and to see if Matt and Faith end up together. You don’t want to miss this one with its twists; it’s a great read!” Deb Haggerty, Author and Speaker

“The warm, sweet romance, yet insightful story, will touch your heart with its simplicity and charm.” Janet Perez Eckles, Author and Speaker

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Resort-ebook/dp/B005CQ7JQK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310918473&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Superstitions-ebook/dp/B006X8GAWA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342642713&sr=1-1&keywords=southern+superstitions

Southern Superstitions is only $4.61 at Amazon–snag it!

 B.J., thanks so much for sharing with my readers, I sincerely appreciate it.

Readers, B.J. is giving away an ebook of Last Resort. Leave a comment to be entered to win by August 7 at 5:00 PM.