As I played with my two-year-old grandson in the backyard, a noise caught his attention, and he turned toward the street.

“Get back here,” I called. “You are naughty and going immediately into time out for the rest of your life. Now, think about what you’ve done, and how you will fix it!”

Are you scandalized by my response? Understandable.

But how often do we think God responds to our choices and messes in this angry fashion?  

Of course, I didn’t speak those soul-wounding words. I came alongside as he toddled in an unsafe direction. “Hey, buddy. Let’s go back where you’re safe.” He turned into my arms, I scooped him up, and in that instant, he was safe. I carried him to the protected yard where we laughed and played.

When my child explores beyond safe boundaries, makes unwise choices, and disobeys, I don’t demand she grovel, do penance, or humiliate herself to satisfy my displeasure. But I am overjoyed when she hears my voice and turns into my embrace. Then I carry her to safety.

Somehow, I believed asking God to forgive included groveling and muscling myself into alignment with God’s perfect will. I thought I had to prove authentic sorrow and sincere desire for forgiveness.

But forgiveness is something so free and inviting, I can’t wait to repent.

Like me, have you ever wandered, stomped off in anger, drifted away in heartbreak, and become lost from relationship with God? When I’ve made a mess of my choices, my life, my relationships, and with God, there is no way I can fix or polish my problems. I can’t find my way back on track to God.

Knowing I am incapable of securing salvation, God is near with arms open in invitation and welcome.

Like my grandson, who simply turned into my hug, I repent by turning into God’s embrace. In that instant, I am safe where I belong.

PeggySue Wells, history buff and island votary, is the best-selling author of 29 books including Chasing Sunrise and Homeless for the Holidays.

 

 

 

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What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts 

and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (TLB)

People need hope more than advice. What a freedom to know that it is never necessary to have our life all in order before helping another. God does not expect us to be experts but He does call us to come alongside each other.

All human beings have two things in common. We all experience pain and we all need a Savior.

 A crisis can destroy someone or make that person stronger. How we face the crisis often depends on what kind of support we receive. Often the best comfort comes from one who has been there. Each of us has real life experience that could support another who is facing a crossroad.

We know from our own journey that comfort comes from large as well as seemingly small gestures. As we touch those who are in distress, we become a conduit connecting them with God’s unfailing love.

Life is a team sport. We have an enormous opportunity to be the hands of Jesus that reach out and bring hope and encouragement to a hurting world. As Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

 

Lord, as you say in 2 Corinthians 1:4, when others are troubled, needing my sympathy and encouragement, I can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given me.

 

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

Chasing Sunrise

Chasing Sunrise

History buff and island votary PeggySue Wells is the best-selling author of twenty-nine books including Chasing Sunrise, and Homeless for the Holidays.

 

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Forgive Well to Live Well. Meet Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

Patrick was a wild youth in England when raiders invaded and took Patrick to Ireland as a slave. Years later, Patrick escaped, reunited with family, and became a priest. But Ireland called in his dreams and he returned. The people of Ireland thought Patrick came for revenge. Instead, Patrick traveled the Emerald Isle telling his former captors their lives could be different.

Superpower

Reacting out of bruised feelings hurts those we most love. It’s an emotional Hatfields and McCoys when you are hurt so you hurt others who are hurt so they hurt you back.

Patrick understood there is no path around, over, or under the pain of having been deeply wronged. He knew forgiveness is the fastest way out of the life-draining, soul-sucking emotional vampire known as bitterness.

Forgiveness is not blind injustice. Never does forgiveness condone the actions of the person who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t release an offender from the consequences of his or her actions.

Forgiveness is healthy boundaries. Forgiveness is not remaining in an abusive relationship. Forgiveness never tolerates abuse, addictions, or affairs.

Forgiveness is our choice. Most people who offend you will never ask for forgiveness. Our offender has no power over our choices. We give forgiveness with no expectations of the receiver.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. Experiences are chemically burned into our memories. Forgiveness prevents the abuser from having power over you and frees you from being sabotaged by the past.

Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Forgiveness takes only one person. Reconciliation requires both sides. Reconciliation is not wise when emotional or physical safety is at risk.

Forgiveness is not a feeling. Like love, forgiveness is an action. You can act in a forgiving manner even when you do not feel like forgiving. Forgiveness is a courageous act of strength.

Forgiveness is not a magic wand. Those who forgive difficult spouses, parents, or children are not promised ideal relationships in the future. A challenging person frequently continues to stir friction.

Forgiveness is a lifestyle. Often the more grievous the offense, the more time required to experience forgiveness. Though easier to demand another person change, the only person you can truly affect for change is yourself.

Change can occur in a heartbeat.

Patrick’s extreme forgiveness of the people who had most harmed him had a deep impact on the Irish. The nation embraced Christ as Savior.

On March 17, we celebrate Saint Patrick’s world-changing example of living well by forgiving well.

Chasing Sunrise

Chasing Sunrise

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

History buff, and tropical island votary PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise.

 

 

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Our annual church Christmas pageant gave me the impression the humble barn where Jesus was born was a quiet setting. The Nativity scene was the crowning moment of each extravaganza. Dressed in bed sheets and their fathers’ bathrobes, the children sang Silent Night.

Then I moved to the country, got a barn, and had my own birth in the stable.Kissing a Horse

Drought forced a farmer to sell a soft-eyed, pregnant mare.
 “She’s like Mary,” my teens implored. “She needs a place to have her baby.”

So this innkeeper found room in our stable. A baby monitor let us hear what happened in the barn at night. Birds in the rafters supplied a cacophony of twittering and mice scampered through hay. Once asleep, the horses passed gas so loud we thought the mare was giving birth, and dashed to the barn at 3:30 a.m.

Following weeks of false alarms, the baby was born on a night I was too sleep-deprived to tiptoe to the barn. What an exquisite wonder that morning to discover a newborn in the stable.

That’s why this year’s Christmas pageant is my favorite. “Let’s have live animals,” the music director crowed.

Opening night staging was elaborate. “Joy to the world,” the audience joined the choir as words appeared on the overhead. “Let men their sons employ.”

Choreographed to mask the noisy rearrangement of animals on stage, the pianist’s solo was a wasted effort. The keyboard was unplugged. From behind the curtains, the audience heard the trainer smooching at the donkey who was reluctant to come on stage and more reluctant to leave. The wise men bowed before the wailing Christ child. Mary and Joseph tried to look holy while goats nibbled their robes.

Suddenly, a runaway sheep dashed about the little town of Bethlehem. Engrossed by the drama, the drummer forgot to drum. The conductor looked up and paled as the speeding sheep fairly leapt into his arms.

By the second performance the “g” was added to sons, the keyboard found the plug, and fencing was added for the sheep. The rest of the pageants were without hitch, but my favorite was opening night. It seemed a better reenactment of what probably happened years ago in that starlit stable.

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells has two horses (because horses are like potato chips and your can’t have just one). She is the bestselling author of 28 books including Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Connect with PeggySue and find her books at www.PeggySueWells.com.

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