Friday, October 21, 2016


 “We each carry a certain amount of pain from our very birth. If that pain is not healed and transformed, it actually increases as we grow older, and we transmit it to people around us. We can become violent in our attitudes, gestures, words, and actions. “ Richard Rohr from, The Inner Witness.

This statement makes sense, and it is the reason why it is so important to forgive those who hurt us, not so much for their benefit as for our own. After enduring seven years of abuse from my ex-husband, I often reacted with anger when I felt threatened, natural under the circumstances, but certainly not healthy.

Through numerous counseling sessions, I worked through the pain, the fear, and the anger. Then, my counselor dropped a bomb. Forgiving was the next step. I tried, struggling on my own until God showed me how in a vision. He transposed His face over my ex-husband. Immediately, my anger dissipated. I felt weightless and joyful. Colors seemed brighter, no longer tinged with the grey of depression or inflamed with anger. 

Forgiving didn’t mean forgetting, or staying in the abusive relationship, it meant not hating him, not holding the pain in my heart and projecting it onto others. 

Richard Rhor’s statement explains the trend in our society to be judgmental and hateful to anyone we disagree with. If we already carry pain inside, and life adds more, then we become overburdened and lash out.

We can’t fix others, but by healing our pain, altering our reactions to the violent attacks of others, not replying in kind, or nursing resentment, we can make a difference. The ripple effect would encapsulate our families, our workplaces, our communities and eventually spread out to cover the entire world. We would have the tools to practice the soft prophecy I wrote about in a previous post.

Gandhi proved none violence can make huge changes, if enough people practice it. But it is so hard to not reply with anger when attacked, especially if that attack is not justified. The angry comments on a social site, the rude driver, the ill-mannered woman in the checkout line, try our patience. Even though we may not openly react, we often seethe for hours, sometimes days after the event. It festers, limiting our tolerance in other situations. If we add in major crises and trauma, our tolerance collapses. 

If we follow the example in my vision, seeing God in everyone, perhaps we can be more compassionate. It would be a start. After all, Jesus initially called only twelve disciples, and through their faith, they changed the world.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Soft Prophecy

One look at social media tells a sad story. People spew hate, even going so far as to condemn family and good friends over a difference of opinion. These differences are mostly over politics and faith. These people often claim they are more tolerant than those they disagree with. What they really mean, they are tolerant of anyone who agrees with them. Disagree, and they crucify the dissenter while shouting tolerance. 

In sharp contrast, look at the impact Saint Francis and Mother Teresa had on our world. Saint Francis of Assisi is particularly known for his vow of poverty, his humility, his love for all of God’s creation, and of course his faith. I have heard stories of how he “spoke” the Gospel by good deeds rather than preaching. Sister Teresa also preferred compassion to preaching. No one can deny the influence of both these humble saints. Hundreds of lives were changed. 

Father Richard Rohr states, “Rather than criticize the evils of his time, St. Francis simply lived differently and let his lifestyle be his sermon.” This is so counter culture by our current standards. Many Christians feel it is their duty to reform the world not by kindness, or even living the faith as Jesus instructed, but by screaming the Gospel at anyone they feel lacking. What a shame. No wonder many cringe when they hear the word, “Christian.” 

Imagine the results if we followed Saint Francis’ example, and rather than judging and ranting at those we call sinners, we invoked the “soft prophecy” of kind words, deeds, and love for all of God’s creation. The word, Christian, would conjure up someone other than a mean-spirited, judgmental individual pounding others with a Bible.

Jesus told us to love God with all of our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves. He didn’t say go scream at them for their political opinion or any other differences. He said those without sin may cast the first stone. An old proverb reiterates you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, yet we still use hateful words. 

We cannot control anyone, except ourselves. We can however, be examples and inspirations to others. We can alleviate suffering with compassion, one poor soul at a time. We may not be able to go to the slums of India, or live in a cave in Italy, but we can treat our neighbors, our co-workers, family, acquaintances, and strangers, both on social media and in person, with compassion, instead of hatred. We can simplify our lives by not giving into frivolous indulgences and over the top consumerism. If we concentrated on the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, we would have more to give to others, have more peace of mind, more satisfaction, and less stress. 


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Why Would a Christian Write Dark Stories?

The answer is simple. Dark things happen to good people, and God isn’t as concerned about our earthly happiness as he is about the state of our soul. 

We can’t ignore suffering. We can try to avoid pain and discomfort, but those closest to God know suffering is part of our faith journey. 
While I am not in the same league as God’s great spiritual warriors, I have been in pits of fire and on spiritual mountaintops. I have taken these personal experiences and spun them with a little fiction with the hope of to illustrating that God never leaves us alone or without hope, as long as we cling to our faith.

One reader recently told me this: “Your characters’ faith strengthened mine and helped me face my own challenges.” 

Those words are what every writer lives to hear. 

And so, this is how a happy, non-violent Christian can bear to write dark novels. It’s really about sharing miracles, faith, and hope in the midst of the most supreme trials. Having done this in the first three books of the Lions and Lamb series, I am branching out. My soon to be released novel, Without Strings, is much lighter in tone, with faith still being its core value. 

There will be a fourth book in the Lions and Lambs series titled, Of Lions, Beasts, and Lambs, and possibly a sequel to Without Strings. After that? I don’t have a clue, but God has always guided my writing. I am sure he has more plans for my writing, and if my previous experiences are any indication, he will let me know without any uncertainty. This next time, I intend to respond quickly, and avoid his not so gentle persuasions... (See: Lions, Why I Write )