Returning to this place…

Rapha….to release…to let go….

It’s been so very long since I have written in this space.  So very long since my words have been released out into the ether for people to read.  

So much has happened over the last two years, and especially, over this last year in my life.  It has been one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  But so rich…so full of beauty and adventures.  I have been holding onto the stories of this last season, waiting for complete healing and understanding before I share.  Waiting to arrive at a destination of wholeness to start leaving bread crumbs for others.  

I am not there yet…

I begin writing from the journey not the destination. I am learning so much in the season, and I feel the distinct call of God to share it from this space.  Someone, somewhere needs to hear this and I need to write it…so here goes…today…this day of Thanksgiving…I begin. 

And I begin by saying, “Thank you…”

I need to take a moment to thank my pack….not my tribe…my pack (look for a post explaining that statement!) I have learned so much about safe spaces for full vulnerability.  I have learned so much about who to allow to speak into your life- who gets the opportunity to challenge your identity and your value.  I have learned so much about relationship and life. 

I lost myself completely.  In doing so, I lost so much….my faith, my relationships began to suffer, and in the process, I lost the guiding message of my life….that the ONLY entity that has the right and voice to speak to my identity and value is God.  I gave away that power to a person…and it nearly destroyed me. 

But God is faithful…and never leaves us…and He never left me in that season.  He spoke to me through the people He placed in my life to call out that I had run myself into the ditch.  People who continuously questioned my thinking and didn’t give up on me….even when I made mistakes…even when I acted out of character. 

I cannot thank these people enough.  These light bearers kept shining on me….wouldn’t leave me no matter how I pushed away.  And I thank God for them every morning when my eyes open.  Thank you for my friends, for my family, for my pack that gathered around me, that nursed me back to health, who prayed and listened and sat silently with me when I didn’t have words or the strength to speak.  They came for me not once, not twice, but over and over and over again…and I am here today because of them.  

I want to share what I have learned with you…leave bread crumbs along the path…I’m steering clear of labeling the journey because I think what I have to share with you is so applicable to life as a whole…so here we go…a return to this space.  A return to writing.  A return to sharing. 

I’ll be honest, I’m a little rusty. It’s been years since I’ve written anywhere other than my journal.  And I am scared to death to share this story with you.  But I am leaping anyway.  

Love to you all, 

How Time Heals

I receive a daily feed from The Henri Nouwen Society (he’s one of my favorite authors) and love the way he makes me step back and view the world from a perspective I other than my own.  Today’s post struck me as aptly timed in light of all the cries of injustice coming out of the Casey Anthony trial and the state of relationships as a whole these days.

I hear so often the words “forgive and forget.” I love what Henri says in this passage.

“That is not realing healing; it is simply ignoring reality.”

Healing takes more work than memory loss.  Forgiveness is not about forgetting, it’s about rebuilding.

“Time heals,” people often say.  This is not true when it means that we will eventually forget the wounds inflicted on us and be able to live on as if nothing happened.  That is not really healing;  it is simply ignoring reality.  But when the expression “time heals” means that faithfulness in a difficult relationship can lead us to a deeper understanding of the ways we have hurt each other, then there is much truth in it.  “Time heals” implies not passively waiting but actively working with our pain and trusting in the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation.

 

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

 

What do you think? Can you forgive AND forget?

Check out another great post on forgiveness here at Folks, Listen!

Do you have one? Share your link in the comments! I’d love to read them!

Book Review and Give-Away – You Are Loved by Linda Gomes

Today’s post is an interview with  Linda Gomes, author of You Are Loved.  i found this book an interesting, but frankly, difficult read.  Linda is open and brutally transparent about her life of childhood abuse and the path that she has been on to healing the wounds of her past, but I found the writing style a little hard to follow in places.  Even still, the story of her journey to healing and redemption is a powerful and inspirational one.  Make sure to comment below…one lucky commenter will win and autographed copy of Linda’s book.


What inspired you to write You Are Loved? And was there a pivotal point that changed your life?

My life and its past had always been a burden to me.  I tried to hide it, lie about it and pretend that I was just as “normal” as everyone else until I realized that my faithful life was being affected by not being myself! I made a decision to become a part of a class at my church called Wounded Hearts that was lead by the most amazing woman!  (You can read more about her in dedication of my book) after several hours of being a part of this group I was encouraged to write or journal and  that lead to asking for prayer and writing Monday Morning Prayer which I emailed to my friends.  It was very well received, much to my surprise as I never thought of myself as a writer!  Then one day I was thrust into a trial that I had no frame of reference to handle.  I thought that my attending my class was confidential until  I read an email from a pastors husband that once again tried to pigeon hole me by suggesting that my crying foul and not tolerating abuse in my life was somehow “because of” my past!  The exact words were “she must have some significant damage in her past to react this way” It had been the story of my life to not speak out when I was hurt, to not demand respect and to take the abusive behavior from others as just another part of my life as if I deserved to be treated less then.  The impression that was transmitted openly in a not so private email was that this man felt that he knew who I was, because of a class that I was attending! God hit me at that moment like a Mac truck!  I was keenly aware that this type of reaction and careless assumption was the reason I had hidden for years, taking me off of my path and “shaming” me back into hiding and away from the blessings God had intended.  I saw it so clearly at that moment!  I was working so hard to not be “pigeon holed” that I was not the authentic person that God was trying so desperately to use for His purpose.

I made the decision that day that I would use my life and all of its facets to speak out and not hide any longer.  I would not allow anyone else to “tell” my story!  I could no longer allow another broken person to define “who I was” and just cower in the shadows.   I realized in that moment that women hide from their abuse because they believe they will not feel loved by anyone if they tell their story.  The ignorance in one email brought me to my knees before God, begging to be relieved from the pain of the secret that was snuffing out my life and the gifts that He had intended me to be blessed with!

You are loved, was the message that I had to accept and then I had to allow Him to use my story to reach out to others!

How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life?

My hope and prayer is that my life will encourage other women to be brave in his name!  I exposed my life because I was living in a way that  the world had designed and defined and not the life that God was working to use to restore others. I believe that His plan is to shed the light in the dark corners where we hide our deepest pain.  My book reveals pain and fear that can control and lead a life into desperation and isolation, destroying His purpose!  As you will read in the first page of You are Loved,  Surviving is my History, Living is my Destiny,  the impact will be that my readers will finally know and believe that they are loved and that they are worth it!

What are your plans for the future in the publishing world? Think you have any more books in you?

I am in the process of writing new book called EMBRACE.  This book is a culmination of all the steps it took for me to be the woman God intended.  Embracing your life and all of its facets is a process, this book will bring you full circle, through the pain of your life to the joy that the healing that God creates through that pain, teaching you to walk in His Embrace in order to lead others to His salvation!

What else does God have you doing these days Linda, and how can our readers connect with you?

Embrace Ministries is the passion of my life these days.  I am still writing Monday Morning Prayer and the Daily Light Switch. You can find me atwww.embrace-ministries.net.  I am also on Face book at http://www.facebook.com/people/Linda-Gomes/1260573178#!/pages/You-Are-Loved/281441512624. Both of these pages allow feed back and support.

How can our readers purchase your book?

You can purchase my book on www.embrace-ministries.net.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).