The Bridegroom Comes

sky for bridegroom comes blog

Following a recent post where the ten virgins were mentioned, the Bridegroom came and they were not ready.

The Bridegroom comes and the virgins are not all ready
10 virgins when the bridegroom came

This is an analogy the people of the time would have understood far more easily than we do. It is based on a custom of the time.

After a betrothal was arranged the man and woman were considered married but the marriage was not consummated.

The only way to end a betrothal was by a divorce.

By the way, this knowledge answered a puzzlement of my young years when reading of Mary and Joseph.
I had not understood that betrothal was as binding as marriage itself.

After the betrothal the groom went to prepare a home for his bride. In some cases, it was a room he built on – added to – the family home. While the groom was preparing a home for his bride, she was making herself ready.

There were no sewing machines then, no dress shops where she could buy a gown to wear when her husband came to claim her and take her to the home he had prepared. There were no department stores where she could buy bedlinen or any of the furnishings needed. She sewed everything herself. This was her part of being ready for the bridegroom.

A date for the final part of the marriage, the time when she would be claimed from her family, was not arranged. Generally, it was approximately a year after, sometimes sooner depending upon what had been arranged in the marriage contract agreed before the formal betrothal took place.

According to my research into the period, the friend of the groom was the one who checked up to see how arrangements were progressing, and to ensure the bride was making herself ready. He was the one who gave warning to the family that the bridegroom would come in the next few days.

In those days it was usually something that happened at night, possibly because of the work hours.

Here is a possible reason why the ten virgins… or however many attendants the bride had, were to be ready to light the last part of the way to where the bride would wait.

“Behold the bridegroom comes!”

This was the signal that it was time for the virgins to take their lamps and run to light the way.

Image is of the Negev in Israel.

Imagine, only starlight… only moonlight – depending on the phase of the moon. If it was cloudy... neither.

There were no street lamp Is, no electricity in fact. Only oil lamps.

Of course, there is an analogy. Christ is the Bridegroom, His church, the Bride and He has gone to prepare a place.

I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14: 2 b

In researching for Hold the Faith… which became the Apostle John series, all these customs of the time revealed the spiritual meaning that was then applied to them in the parables. In fact, understanding the customs of the times made the gospels a lot more meaningful.

I must admit that when writing the series I often wished for even a landline telephone, so that Naomi had warning of 'surprise' guests.

A modern cooking stove would have made life easier, too.

Guess, thinking about what they needed to do, as well as the threats they faced, makes us appreciate what we have... or it should do.

Till next time,

Susan

P.S.

The cover is not updated yet, but The Light of Truth (book 3 in the series)  has won a Finalist Award in the Independent Authors' Network Book of the Year Awards.

Decisions

Dictionary definition of ‘decision’ in the sense I mean it for this post.
“The act or process of deciding; determination, as of a question or doubt, by making a judgment.”

This is a follow-up to a recent post on blame. Sometimes we blame others for a poor choice we have made. However, if we have the full information, the responsibility for the choices we make rest squarely on our own shoulders.

one kind of riches

As someone who never had much in the way of physical ‘riches.’  When I was young, I thought God was a bit unfair taking the ‘talent’ from the man who had been afraid to do anything with it, but kept it safe.
Matt 25.

Now, I am older, I can see the spiritual meaning.

I took it literally before.

The man who had been given five talents, used those talents and was praised for the result – because he made some wise choices, and increased the money.

The man who had been given two talents also make good choices; he also made a one hundred percent return on what he had been given.

We all have some talent.

Some have the talent of encouraging others. Some are talented singers, musicians, some find it easy to teach others.
Many of us say, “I don’t have a talent,” but I doubt it is true.
Even if the talent we have does not bring us the attention of others, we all are gifted in some way.

My former neighbor would not have thought she had a talent. But her grown-up family all queued up for her mince pies, her cakes and pastries. She was truly talented in baking.
Another person I knew was brilliant at organizing the home, and another at budgeting.

Talents are not always obvious, but each is important!

Decisions can be costly

Remember the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them kept extra oil with them, five made the decision not to take extra oil.

In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit… and if the parable is looked at in that way, then it is understandable why the five who had enough were unable to give to the others.

Decision to keep lamp burning

We each make a decision

 

  • Will we pray?
  • Do we choose to study the Bible?

In this current fast-paced world, finding time to fit everything in is difficult.
Is prayer and study one of the things we trim, or cut so we can do everything that is required of us?

While it may be understandable, in the long-term will there be enough oil in our lamps when the Bridegroom returns?

Just wondering.
It is an answer for each of us to seek out.

Till next time,

Susan

Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished… but

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

As often happens a minor waking in the night, becomes the end of sleeping.

Why?

Because my brain wakes up and clicks into gear.

Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished - but...

at four am it occurred to me there were more stories waiting to be told.

Although Hell Shall Not Prevail is finished, not edited yet, but finished... I could think of three 'novella' type stories rising out of this last book in the Apostle John Series.

Therefore, rather than start the new series (on a different subject) just yet, I am thinking of picking up the stories of three of the characters and giving them a life beyond the final book in the Apostle John series.

Although I did not like ALL of the characters... 

  • Each served a purpose
  • Each was necessary
  • I 'lived in the skin' of each of them for a while.

 

Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

I know the possibilities of their lives after Hell Shall Not Prevail. 

However, their lives went in different directions and it was not possible to continue this in Hell Shall Not Prevail.

 

Look out for more in the Apostle John series

So, look out for news on these novellas...

  1. Esther's story - which involves some of the other characters but focuses on her future.
  2. Giannis' story. Is there hope for him? Will there be a new love?
  3. Naomi. (Cannot say where this goes without it being a 'spoiler' for events in Hell Shall Not Prevail.)

All these characters have had a role in the series since book 1 Hold the Faith... but deserve a life after

Must not say anymore for the present.

 

Btw - Did you know the eBook version of Hold the Faith is free on Amazon? 

Use the link on the book page. Scroll down and click the 'Buy on Amazon link
http://www.susanprestonauthor.com/series-overview/hold-the-faith/

Just sharing ....

Susan

P.S

If you want to be first to know about these new novellas, sign up for the VIP Reader's group

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Hell Shall Not Prevail – the end

Apostle John Series book covers with Hell Shall Not Prevail
Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

As members of my VIP Readers group know… one evening last week I wrote, ‘THE END.’ Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John Series is finished.  

Yes, there have been many hiccoughs and delays with this final book in the series. It was supposed to be released sooner than this. However, I needed to do the other books justice. It is a 'capstone' on the series.

Now, I have finished going through it, line by line, so that it is the least amount of work for an editor.

Typing ‘THE END’ was a strange, but satisfying feeling.
(I never did find the missing Epilogue, but I believe the one it has now is probably better.)

Each of the other books in the series has finished with… ‘To be continued in…” (Whatever the next book was called.)

This one finished the series!

Sometimes it was 'odd' living between two time periods - but it was incredible what I discovered as I researched all I could about their time and culture... so that I could walk in their shoes!

I would not be telling the truth if I said I LIKED every character, but I did come to know them. I had to in order to 'live in their skins.'

It has hard to describe the feeling when I looked at those words 'THE END' on the page.  After five books!

There was a tinge of sadness that my late husband is not here to share the pleasure. I know he would have been delighted - he lived with the first few books.

Other feelings? Mainly there was excitement, joy, satisfaction, all competing for supremacy.… and I found myself wondering if God feels the same way when ‘one of His saints’ reaches the end of life.

Perhaps.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116: 15

It gave me an inkling of what He might feel.

But why?

Why is it ‘precious in His sight’ when his saints die?

And why does he take no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
Ezek 33:11

Perhaps it is because the race is run, and for the ‘saints’ THE END can be ‘stamped’ on a life lived well.

The death of a sinner is a different story.

Just thinking, and delighted that the Apostle John Series has ‘lived well.’

Teddy bear and red roses image

Thank you to all who have supported me through this journey through the lives of the people of the late 1st century AD.

P.S. To those who have asked, yes, another series is coming… a different one. But first, a rest, friends, family – oh, and a book award for Keep the Flame.

Thank you, readers, for your support. Stay tuned.

Tread softly

Susan

If you want to be first to know about what's happening with my writing, or have the opportunity to review the new books free, Sign up for the VIP Readers' group.

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Beware of buying online clothing – my experience

Buyer beware

Buyer beware!
Over the course of my life I have heard that so many times, and rarely am I ‘burned’ but it did happen. I post this, somewhat embarrassed, but as a warning.
So this post is called, “Beware of buying online clothing – my experience .” Sadly, there is more… but to my experience.

If you have a Facebook page you most likely have seen the adverts for clothing… dresses, tops etc. Most webpages now have enticing adverts, and if you have looked at something – as in clicked on it, you will continue to be ‘served’ ads about it.

One advert for a particular dress fascinated me for a long time, but I was reluctant to buy online. However, with time running short for a special event coming up, I thought it would be great to have one new dress. (It is years since I bought one.)

It was not a sudden decision. I give a great deal of thought to spending money. As most of you know, it is hard to come by and seems to disappear so quickly.

A couple of times I clicked on the advert, checked out the women’s clothing. I still liked that dress! I checked the sizing chart (I am not as slender as I used to be.) LOL – far from it.)

Delaying spending money online for clothing, I checked out the shops here in Perth. Where that did not work was because summer dresses have been in the stores since mid-winter and I wanted a dress for a cool time in the US… autumn, or fall as they call it.

Surprisingly (not) the advert kept appearing. They followed me around to many sites.
Those ‘tracking cookies’ are a pain.

Cutting a long story short, after several looks at the dress, checking my measurements I decided to buy it, using Paypal, which advertises their ‘buyer protection.’

Buyer beware indeed!

You might have seen the adverts – this was the one I thought would be a great choice for me.

And so it might have been.

I was a little concerned about the sizing, in spite of measuring myself, checking Rotita’s chart, so I did what I normally do, went for a size larger.

Oh, excitement. It arrived sooner than I expected.
I brought the parcel home, opened it.
Checked the size label – it was the right size.

Reality of Rotita dress, buyer beware

It was very crushed from being rolled up in a small parcel, so I put it on a coat-hanger for the crinkles to drop out. Mmm.

I tried it on, or attempted to, and gave up. There was no way this garment would fit. So I fetched my tape measure… no wonder it didn’t fit. It was wrongly sized. From Rotita’s sizing chart, about a medium size – although the label said otherwise.

By the way – when my care assistant arrived and saw the garment hanging from the wardrobe she laughed. “It’s ten feet tall,” she said.

Well, I do not think the dress itself is 10 foot. That wardrobe is 8 foot - still, she has a point. What size would the wearer have to be?

 

I went online to the Rotita website.
30 days easy return.

Hah.

Sign in failure

What those red words say is 'Sorry, login failure please check your username and password.'

I tried several times, all with the same result. I tried various ways to contact them, including their Facebook page – but all directed me back to the page where I was unable to log in.

In desperation, because I could not contact the company directly, I went to Paypal and contested the purchase.

Some progress...
The company offered it to me at half price.
Why?
What use is something to me that will NEVER fit? So, I refused it.

Paypal was a disappointment to me.
Eventually they said that I could return the garment for a full refund. To an address in China! And to send it with ‘tracking’ so Paypal could verify its arrival at the company.

I went to the Post Office with the garment. And brought it home. The cost of the package, postage and tracking was almost as much as the refund I was to receive.

As for Paypal – why am I disappointed with them?
Because I cannot contact them to tell them why I cannot send it back.

I have two options. Enter the tracking number or cancel the claim.

Buyer beware of refunds

Buyer beware indeed!

Learned my lesson!

Susan

P.S.
If any 10 foot tall, slender women out there want a dress, I have one!

Blame

pointing the finger of blame

So, who is to blame for the fact I have not had an Internet connection for days?

Does it really matter?

Perhaps.

There were many mistakes, as well as frustrations, but the start of it all was a choice I made.

Nearly every situation that goes wrong can trace itself back to a choice on our part or, in this instance, on my part. It should have moved smoothly but it did not.

Yet, pointing the finger and blaming someone else is not a ‘new’ phenomenon. The history of blaming someone else takes us back to the beginning of recorded human history.

 

Adam and Eve hiding, drawing

Most people know the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent… some blame the serpent, some blame Eve, some blame Adam.

Which of them was to blame?

My opinion?

We can rule out the serpent.

As it says in Genesis 3: 1 
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…"

The serpent did not force either of them to eat the fruit of the tree they were told not to eat. He distorted what God had said, but first the woman chose to disobey God’s instructions, then Adam also disobeyed.

They each made choices, and neither of them accepted the blame for the choice they had made.

When questioned by God later… Adam excused himself by saying
“the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.”
Gen 3: 12

Interesting. Adam blamed the woman… and is there a hint of blame toward God? ‘The woman whom You gave me.’ Sounds a bit as if there is.
Adam also blamed Eve.

Yet Adam had been instructed by God before this incident.

Was Eve to blame?

She blamed the serpent. Her response to God’s question was ‘The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

Neither of them took responsibility for their own actions.

What about us?

Are we any different? Do we accept blame if we have made a wrong choice?

Each of us, individually, is the only one who can answer that. Can we do it honestly?

If asked, how would we respond if questioned about the actions we took, or chose not to take?

Food for thought

food for thought. Who would we blame

Me?
I am simply pleased to have the Internet back!

Blame? Yes, I complained and I 'got over it.' As I said at the start, the very beginning of the problem was a choice I made.

Mea culpa.

Susan

Choices have a far-reaching effect

Image of desert sands

We all make choices. Some we ponder over, weigh up the pros and cons, others require less time. Some choices are good, others – well, we wish we had made different ones.

There are many examples of people making good, and not so good choices in the Bible.

Remember, the people we read of in those Bible stories… and sometimes read over barely paying attention to, were people. We have the benefit of hindsight. We know what came as a result of their choices.

They did not. They had decisions to make. Unless the person was a king… or a queen, none of them would think their choices were recorded for the rest of us to learn from.

What a scary thought that is, that all are choices could be written in a book and read all over the world, all through the centuries.

In the Bible there are many examples - however,  because of a short message I listened to recently, I choose to focus on the choice of a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. (Genesis chapter twenty four.)

Abraham's choice of a wife for Isaac

Abraham wanted a wife for his son, Isaac – the 'son of promise.' For this son no Canaanite woman would pass Abraham’s standard. No, Abraham wanted a wife from his own kindred (family) for this God-given son.

Since Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born, he was not planning to go back himself to choose a wife for his son. Instead, he entrusted this task to the senior servant of his house. A man who had no doubt proved his loyalty over the years.

(Side note:  The servant was a man whom at one time Abram thought would be his heir since he had no sons ‘of my own body.’)

Gen 15: 3 and lo, one born in my house is mine heir; meaning either Eliezer or his son, whom he had made his heir, or intended to make him, since he had no child;
John Gill Commentary.

Cartoon of worried

Well, the servant did not refuse, but he did worry about the task.

How would he know the woman?

Abraham said God would send His angel before the servant.

The servant’s next concern… What if she refused?

Then he would be released from his vow.

Well, the servant made a choice to do what his master asked him and he took ten camels (and as we discover later in the chapter, some expensive gold jewelry.)

Did he worry about his task all the way? He might have done. When he arrived in Mesopotamia he made his ten camels kneel down – and he prayed.

 Part of his prayer, addressed to the God of his master, Abraham was…

“Now may it be that the girl to whom I say, 'Please let down your jar so that I may drink,' and who answers, 'Drink, and I will water your camels also '-- may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master."
Gen 24: 14 NASB

Whether he knew it or not, the servant entrusted with this responsibility was asking for someone who was kind, and who willingly served. Not only was the woman to fill her own water jar… but this man, a stranger was going to ask for a drink from her jar. More, he had asked that the woman would offer to draw water for his camels also.

Observation. Ten thirsty camels would have needed a lot of water

(When researching for Hold the Faith there was a point when camels were the chosen method of transport. They traveled without drink from when they set out, until they arrived.) I therefore conclude the servant’s camels would have been thirsty.

Rebecca came to the well.
Did the servant wonder if she was the correct one, the one the angel had led him to?

Checking if she is the choice of a bride for his master's son

Abraham’s servant asked her who she was, then if he could lodge with her family. (This was not as ‘cheeky’ as it might sound, in those days people would give accommodation to a traveler.)

Since she had fulfilled all the requests the servant had made in his prayer, first – he remained silent. ‘so as to know whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not.’ Gen 24: 21

Matters moved fairly quickly after this. She ran to those of her mother’s house. (Was her father dead? Probably, because the negotiations were done with her brother Laban.)

More choices - family discussion

Although it takes thirty more verses to reach the point, Rebecca had less than twenty-four hours to make up her mind. Abraham’s servant wanted to settle the matter and leave the next day.

She accepted. Good choice. She became the grandmother of the twelve tribes of Israel. From one of these, Judah, came Jesus Christ.

Interesting how choices have effects down through the years. Yes, choices have a far-reaching effect.

Perhaps we should be like the servant and stay silent after it seems something we have prayed for seems to have happened. Just to wait and know whether it is the Lord who has done this. Thus increasing our chances of making a successful choice.

Just thinking,

Susan

How often do our plans go wrong?

Plans – how often do our plans go wrong!

The poet, Robbie Burns expressed it in one of his verses. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…” ‘
(From: To A Mouse on turning her nest up with a plough.)

Translation: gang aft agley...  basically = go wrong.

Many times in the last few months I have muttered that sentence ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…

So many of my carefully thought out plans either went wrong, or did not work out as planned.

Still, some of these plans that ‘gang aft agley’ work out for the best.

I had to make an appointment for a minor procedure and work out how long my doctor appointment, at another location would take. The person who would do the procedure was not working the day I rang to make the appointment, so the receptionist said the therapist would ring me the next day.

Well, the next day came and went – with no phone call. Yes, it was a bit of an annoyance, but my appointment was booked… and I received a confirmation of the appointment from someone else.

The day came… and off I went early in the morning – doctor appointment first, then fill in the time until driving to the appointment for the procedure.

By now you might be wondering what this has to do with mice and plans.

The plans were already made…

... here come the mice’s ‘gang aft agley’ – maybe.

My doctor was not running as late as he often is. So, I had allowed more time than needed.

There is only so much time can be spent in a small shopping centre, although I did have a cup of coffee and a birthday muffin from the franchise and accepted an invitation to sit with another lady on her own. We had a pleasant conversation.

Then, off I went driving into unknown territory. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am not ‘good’ at finding new places. Yes, I had looked it up on the map… but as with a trip earlier this year, found it did not give as much detail as I needed. Forget GPS! That is another story. Suffice it to say it took us to a sand patch – the freeway extension.

So, I was early for my appointment. The therapist came and apologized she had not rung me the previous day and she needed to go over some ‘things’ with me before proceeding.

Plans about to go ‘agley’?

Questions about medication. ..
Oops.

Then, “Are you on any blood-thinning medication?”

“Yes, two different ones.”

“Oh, that is a contra-indication for the treatment.”

I was there… so we had a ‘talk’ about my blood thinners and possible complications. She decided she would start and see if I bled excessively.

Off she went, and I said a prayer.

She started the procedure and  to her surprise, I did not bleed too much.

Plans going wrong that work out for the best...

If the therapist had been able to contact me the day before, I would have been told not to come because of the blood thinning medications.

As it was, it worked out well.

However, it was a long day, and I was exhausted by the time I came home. (It is hard work lying on a ‘treatment table’ for three hours!) LOL

At home, aching hips, aching feet, worn out from a 5 am start I discovered I had left the vegetables at the supermarket checkout.

I rang them, I was too tired to go back… then had a ‘reverse breakfast’ instead of dinner.

The next example is not exactly plans going wrong, but the benefits from them not working out as planned.

First, the memory trigger...

A news item...

It was either on the news, or the current affairs type programme. There was a segment about a man with silicosis.

(Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work.)

The man was on oxygen 24/7 and his life was confined to his small flat. He is not very old, and previously fit… he had been a bricklayer, he was ‘not happy’ about his current life, which he knew would never improve.

What my late husband had was pulmonary fibrosis, a different condition, but both terminal. The man's life was confined to his lounge and his bedroom.

Memories of a change of plan...

hospital bed, at home
oxygen concentrators at home

Before my late husband's discharge from hospital, a motorized hospital bed with a ripple mattress was delivered and set up; a pair of oxygen converters were delivered, set up and I was taught how to balance them.

One on its own would not provide enough oxygen for my husband.

A thirty metre oxygen tube was attached so he would be able to move around the unit while receiving oxygen from the linked pair of machines.

A huge oxygen cylinder and some smaller ones were provided as backup in the event of an emergency power outage. They would last him until an ambulance could come and take him to hospital.

I looked at that man on TV, and his surroundings. Yes, I cried for him; yes, I prayed for him. I know what he is facing. I also saw why it was good that my husband had only been at home 2 weeks before going back into hospital then to the hospice.

What I saw on TV could have been my husband’s fate had things gone as planned.

God’s plans are better plans

We might not see it at the time.

 

Just sharing some musings.

Now, excuse me. I have to go see if John is alright on Patmos, and check in and see what is happening with Esther.

(Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John series, if you think I am babbling with that last comment LOL)

God bless, and tread softly,

Susan

P.S.
If you want to see the full poem by Robbie Burns - with links to the meaning of some of the words...

http://www.robertburns.org/works/75.shtml

Then come back, and wander around here. No cameras, no admission fee. Just come and enjoy exploring the site.

 

The Lord’s Prayer?

person sitting alone on a rock

Something that keeps coming to mind lately… the wording of what is generally considered the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ – the fact it is not, I will mention later. No, I will explain now.

What is generally considered as the Lord’s Prayer, and I grew up saying every day in school – (wow, that dates me doesn’t it ), is actually the ‘model prayer’. Jesus didn’t pray it. He responded to a request from one of His disciples…

One day in a place where Jesus had just finished praying, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11: 1

image of the 'Lord's' prayer in open BIble

Now, this scripture does not say what Jesus had been praying. It says when He finished praying… Nor does the scripture say that He had been praying near them. Most of the accounts say something along the lines of Jesus praying privately.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5: 16’

withdrew to a lonely place to pray

Having used almost two hundred words to say little – please forgive me. I will continue...

This prayer that most of us know as the 'Lord's Prayer' is actually a model prayer.

 

Why talk about this Lord’s model prayer?

Well, it has been occurring to me more and more that in this ‘self’ society. Self-actualizing, self-sufficient, self-esteem, self-help, self-discipline, self-improvement… self-centered.

This started off – this self-awareness, to help us improve, but from this old lady’s point of view it soon developed into the ‘me’ generation.

 

Contrast...

Selected lines… (not an instruction <smile>)

  • Our Father who art in Heaven. OUR Father – not my Father.
  • Give US this day OUR daily bread. – not give me this day my daily bread.
  • And forgive US our sins (trespasses, debts) as WE forgive OUR…
    (you see the point, I know.)
  • Lead US not into temptation… not me
  • Deliver US from evil (or the evil one)

As I am sure you noticed it is totally opposite to self-focus.

Just thinking…

And these thoughts lead me to looking at the life of Christ.
When did He ever say,
“I am not in the mood,” or "I am tired, leave me alone for a bit” – or “I need some ME time,” I could not find any such examples.
He did need time alone. He rose early and went off to pray…

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1: 35

When He rose from His prayers, He went back to teach, to heal, and to face the criticism He invariably attracted.

Sometimes I feel very lonely.
(I miss my best friend, my human best friend, my late husband.)

But when I think of how lonely Jesus must have been, well, I am glad I am never as lonely, misunderstood and rejected as He was.

In school I muttered those words of the prayer obediently, not understanding – now I can see they are a framework for bringing before God, in prayer, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I wonder if any of you remember the ‘thing’ that went around the Internet a few years back about the ‘special needs children’ who were in a race. One fell, the others came back and helped the one who had fallen… so they could all cross the finish line together.

This YouTube video is a modern version of it

 

Interesting?
Yes. I think so.
We are not in a competition against others.
It is not ‘me’ against everyone else.


We are family, we don’t always like what the other members of the family are doing… but that’s family life.

Remember - it is OUR Father in heaven!

Just thinking,

Susan

P.S. While you are here... I invite you to look around, read some of the other blogs... explore the other pages in the website.

Second Chance Love

LOL - No, I am not running a dating agency. 'Second Chance Love' is the title of the blog written by this week's guest author, Sharilee Swaity. Her book is called Second Marriage: An Insider's Guide to Hope, Healing & Love. 

Welcome Sharilee.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Susan! I am enjoying your first book, so far.

Thank you Sharilee, I hope you keep enjoying it. LOL

 

Susan Preston, image

Great to have you on my blog...
 Please introduce yourself to my readers.

Sure, first...

Sharilee Swaity, author
Sharilee Swaity

A Little About Me as a Writer and a Teacher

My name is Sharilee Swaity. My background is a certified teacher. I have a Bachelor of Education, with a major in Secondary English Education. My favourite part of teaching High School English was enjoying deep, philosophical discussions about novels with my students.
Although teaching high school was my favourite, I ended up teaching other levels through the years, all the way from Grade Two up to adult education. This last year, I was privileged to be able to take a full year off from and just write. During this year, I managed to finish my first book.

Considering that I was trained in literature, it may seem strange that I ended up writing Christian self-help books but there is a reason behind it. Before writing my book, I was involved in writing several online articles on a site called Hubpages. I found that the articles that seemed to resonate the most were very personal, about relationships and going through difficult times.

This was one of the reasons I chose this genre. This book is very personal but I guess I put my life out there in the interests of helping others. My main goal as a writer it help and encourage people through some of the difficult parts of life. I think it’s because I have been through some pretty tough time in my own life and I want to help others who are hurting, as I was. It is my way of giving back and feel that the LORD helps to give me encouraging words to help those who are hurting.

I also really enjoy researching a topic in-depth and doing interviews. So, my book involved a lot of research into the studies surrounding divorce, bereavement, marriage and stepfamilies. I also interviewed three couples who where in a second marriage and had done well. Their stories are intertwined throughout the book.

My First Book (And Only One So Far)

My book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is for couples whose first marriage ended in either divorce or bereavement.

For most couples, after their marriage ends, they are very reluctant to do so again but in time, they gain the courage to walk down the aisle again.

After they are married, there are several issues that come up that are unique to second marriages. For example, they must be willing to leave the past behind in order to embrace their new life. This is not always an easy or automatic process. My book helps people work through this process.

 

As well, many in second marriages and stepfamilies feel marginalized, like they are the only ones that have gone through this experience. Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love is designed to help people realize that they are far from alone in this situation, and to encourage people to reach out and find support.

I am a Christian but I did not write this book just for Christians. It is meant to be an outreach for anyone in this situation. I endeavoured to show the Christian principles of love, forgiveness and grace that can help people heal in their marriages. I have references to the Bible in my book, including a chapter on how Jesus forgave those who had hurt him so badly.

Second Marriage and the Believer

As Christians, remarriage can be especially difficult because we appreciate the importance of marriage. We want to have the ideal of “happily ever after.” God uses second marriages, though, as an opportunity to minister. If we are a stepmom, we have an opportunity to minister to our stepchildren through caring for them and praying for them. We are often entering into a broken situation and God can use us to bring healing to those in our new family.

Future Works to Come

Right now, I am working on a workbook to go with the Second Marriage book, which should be out by the end of the month. There is also an audiobook scheduled for the end of September. As well, I am putting together an accompanying journal for those in second marriages. The journal will give readers more room to reflect on the issues talked about in the book. My goal is to have this journal out by the end of October.

About the Author

Sharilee Swaity, author


Sharilee Swaity lives with her husband, Vern, in the boreal forest of Manitoba, Canada, with two cats. Sharilee has a Bachelor of Education and worked as a teacher for ten years. She helps out her church with their social media presence and recently directed their Vacation Bible School program.

Sharilee, it has been a pleasure to host you and share your book. 

Because you have 'been there- done that' your book, and coming workbook will be very valuable to those who find themselves in a similar situation. While it is not an ideal situation by any means, because of the past  hurts,  to 'blunder' into another relationship without taking the time to evaluate sets us up for failure. We need to deal with the 'baggage' we carry with us. Your book will be an excellent step in doing that... dumping the baggage and moving forward.

Thank you for sharing your book, and your life with us.

You can connect with Sharilee...

On Facebook
Sharilee on Facebook

On Twitter
https://twitter.com/prairienomad

On Pinterest
https://au.pinterest.com/sharilees/

On Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/lifeinwoods/

And for her blog - Second Chance Love -
http://secondmarriage.xyz/

I trust that you have found this week's blog encouraging and will join me in thanking Sharilee for her time,  and commitment to helping mend the 'broken' - God bless

Susan