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Grateful for the Pain by Normandie Fischer

GRATEFUL FOR THE PAIN

Normandie Fischer

 

Pain can shatter us, toss us off a cliff, and render us immobile. Or it can hone and refine us. I recently read the words of a man who discovered he had a horrible form of cancer. Although his disease was incurable and soon-to-be terminal, he rejoiced. He knew the end of the story.

How did he get from the pain to the joy?

One of my worst rejections forced me into the new and frightening role of Single Mother. I thought my world destroyed that day, my years of clinging to faith a mockery. I didn’t leap, as that man with cancer had, to show myself strong and full of grace. Instead, it took days and months and years before I could look up and declare a true thank You for the pain, one that I actually meant. The first thanks had been obligatory: one is supposed to praise, no matter what. To say, “Thank You,” before one feels the truth of it.

Have you ever been there? Been at the place where all you can do is question why? Felt unlovely, unwanted, ignored, cast out? Hurt physically or mentally beyond what you thought you could endure? And wondered what celestial game had tossed you out with the garbage?

What did you do about it?

Some of us dump God. Or church. Or men or women or friendships or….  The list goes on. We find anything and everything to blame.

And some, some few, grab the hem of His garment and hold on. Stand at the Red Sea, as it roils in front of us and the Egyptian Army gathers behind, and we say, “Thank You. Praise You. I trust You in the middle of this mess.”

And something happens. Maybe not immediately, but one day something happens. We may have to walk through days where failures abound and the world’s tilt leans away from us, but one day we do wake to find the pain easing, the hurt less, the heart full, and the New Plan unfolding in our life.

I’m living another New Plan now. But if I hadn’t faced the pain of that rejection, if I hadn’t become a leftee from marriage, I might never have known the joy that the Father had in store for me. A new day, a new life, and a best friend of my very own. We’re fifteen years into a life lived together with the God Who turned our mourning into joy.

 

Part of my New Plan was also publication. My agent actually sold two of my books, and now I have six on the shelves. My pain and my failures not only provided fodder for my made-up worlds, but they allowed me to climb into my stories and hurt with my characters, and I’m that much richer for the journey.

What about you? What are you doing with the hard places in your life?

Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field, moving from proofreader up the ladder to senior editor, honing technical tomes, creative non-fiction, and, later, fiction.

 

She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and on through the Panama Canal. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother and, whenever possible, enjoys her two grown children and two grandchildren. She is the author of six novels.

Sailing Out of the Darkness

Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.

When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

Journey with Sam over the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean. Sip and sup with Sam and Teo in Italian cafes. What happens next will keep you turning the pages as consequences escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Normandie’s links:

Website: www.normandiefischer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingOnBoard

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NormandieFischer/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI/

 

Sailing out of Darkness links:

https://www.amazon.com/Sailing-out-Darkness-Carolina-Coast/dp/0997185538/

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Sailing-out-of-Darkness-Audiobook/B076KZQ1H2

 

 

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The Hourly Taunts

Posted by Julie on June 30, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Yesterday I shared over at Christians Read that years ago I struggled with what I knew was a call on my life. It’s not only come to pass, it’s more specific.

I gave advice on how to avoid taking over and failing because we are not equipped.

What I didn’t say is how hard I’m struggling.

Early on I was so guilty of trying to save everyone. It never worked because that isn’t my job, and my health took a hit. A friend said, “Keep it up and it will kill you.” I have to hand the burdens over to Jesus. He fights for me. For the women I pray for. Not only does it have to be enough, it IS enough.

This year, even with that wisdom, I have been overcome with how unequipped I am. I battle guilt. I want to have the answers, the resources, the magic wand when they reach out to me. But the call isn’t any of those things. I’m only to pray and say as I feel I’m supposed to.

And guess what?

The silence is deafening.

He doesn’t want me to do a lot of talking right now.

In its wake, come the taunts. It’s not God’s voice and it isn’t mine. It’s the true defeated one, the one with so limited resources that he’s trying to convince me I’m the defeated one.

And it is a battle, my friends.

The hourly taunts drive me to prayer.

The hourly taunts drive me to prayer.

Surrendering not to the defeat but the taunts is draining. I’m a girl that wants to know why, and often with this prayer thing comes two things I hate and grieve, and deal with often. Loneliness and rejection.

Those things have been so intense this year I’ve thrown myself on the ground and just cried it out. I’ve realized there is power in tears, those are prayers that transcend language and I’ve got to get it out.

But it takes a lot out of me.

And once it subsides, I want to process it. Is it something I’m going through for my own life, something within our family? Because this has been a year I feel like those are critical prayers where my voice is the only one. Is it for those I’m standing in the gap for? Because never before have I had so many women coming at once with heartbreaking needs that hurt to hear. I hate hearing women are hurting. I see so much potential and most of these situations are strong women believing maybe not today, but someday they won’t just survive, but thrive. If I have to go through the valley for them, I’d do it. But not knowing the why I am having these times is hard.

Trust me, there is a lot of good stuff going on. We pressed in hard for our son to find steady employment and gradate from high school. The Lord gave us a picture of what his life looks like to Him and it is happening. It’s a beautiful thing. Our daughter is enjoying a good stretch of health after a rough spring. I’m finally okay with my husband’s job change and working from home. There are two books out with my name on the front that God is using to speak to women. Those are amazing praises.

But I’m the one that vowed to talk about surrender and make sure before I challenge anyone else, I’m doing it first. To be authentic even if no one else wants to hear it, or understand. So here I am. Maybe I’m waving in your imagination. Maybe I’m collapsed on a rug with a mouth full of chocolate and tears. Whatever you see, I’m all in.

And by faith, I have to believe that’s got the gates of hell shaking.

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Surrender Story: It Isn’t About You, but Now It Is

Posted by Julie on June 8, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This is one of those posts that isn’t fun to write because it takes me back to a time I didn’t love and of course, I don’t come out looking too great in it. But I know I’m supposed to share it, and I believe it will encourage someone out there.

Our newlywed years weren’t normal or easy.  I had chronic pain because of a severe case of PCOS. There were many days I was in bed because of pain as soon as I got home from work. I had to receive shots in the backside that were not easy to give or receive. And then there was the baggage.

I came into the marriage with low self esteem and huge trust issues. I was a wounded person who usually felt better wounding others.  It wasn’t a good place.

My husband worked a new job with a lot of hours. He was in community theater. We were new in our church and wanted to be active there together. We grieved his kids not living in the same state anymore and trusted God had them and us.

When he had a bad day from any of these stresses or even something else, I had one thought and one thought only.

It’s me.

I’m the reason he’s upset.

It’s my fault.

It will always be me.

It will always be my fault.

When he needed time to chill, I took that as a personal rejection. I didn’t get that men need their cave time. When he’s ready to talk, he will. But my own emotional baggage couldn’t allow me to see that. So I’d chase him down, causing more stress.

And guess what?

Marriage-When It isn't About You, but then It Is

Marriage-When It isn’t About You, but then It Is

It wasn’t about me until I made it about me. And that’s when real conflict started.

I had a lot of problems then, and a big one I didn’t realize was one I think a lot of young women are also dealing with: you want your husband to be your savior.

Sorry, ladies, he can’t. He’s human and he’s going to fail. The harder you pursue him with that expectation, the faster he’s going to retreat. I tell you from experience. Then your pain is that much stronger because you’ve got another man in your life who has rejected you.

How did I get out of that spiral? It wasn’t easy or fast. I had to hit a rock bottom and realize even when his bad day wasn’t about me, I had a lot of healing to take care of. I had people praying. I read a lot from Chuck Swindoll to Sheila Walsh. I went through two Bible studies that changed everything—Believing God by Beth Moore and Captivating by Sheila Eldredge. I started to see my Savior was there to rescue me, He is Jesus, not my husband. And when I put that in the right order, everything changed.

My view of a Heavenly Father wasn’t healthy because I was envisioning someone with closed arms disappointed in me. Pressing in through my relationship in Christ and giving Him everything about me re wired my thinking. God’s arms are open wide even when I goof up and it is about me.

Now that I’m healed from those hurts, I don’t rely on my husband to be the source of all my happiness. I have the discernment to know when he’s having a bad day when to approach and when to wait. I no longer have those internal alarms going off thinking he’s upset with me.

If this is a struggle for you, I pray something in this post gives you hope to seek healing as well. If you are not part of a Bible reading, Christ centered church, I pray you find one and surround yourself with people who can pray for you. I’m rooting for you!

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Julie Arduini, author and speaker_edited

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Write for the Reader by BJ Bassett

Write for the Reader

B J Bassett

“You write for the reader,” Dr. Sherwood “Woody” Wirt, founding editor of Decision Magazine, said during our one on one meeting.

When I left, my feet didn’t touch the path at the Mount Hermon Conference grounds. Instead, I floated to my room. Dr. Wirt’s words inspired me then and they still do today. His encouraging words were unlike any I’d heard before.

Beginning at an early age, the words I’d heard were, “Not good enough.” “Stand up straight.” “Don’t slouch.” “Why can’t you be like Linda?” “Four eyes.” And “Loser.” I was labeled a daydreamer in school because I’d rather gaze out the window than pay attention during class. Today, I’d probably be considered as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If, in fact, I was ADD, I learned to live with it. Yes, I was a daydreamer. Is it any wonder I became a writer? I was primed for rejections. And I got them. Lots of them.

In high school I daydreamed about writing for the school paper. What was I thinking? My spelling, grammar and punctuation were horrific. After I was married and raising a family, the death of my brother in Vietnam was the catalyst that changed my life. I’d read somewhere that sometimes when you lose a loved one, you take on one of their characteristics. My brother, Danny, enjoyed writing.

I felt the nudge to take a writing class. The instructor discouraged me. Those familiar words of my youth echoed in my mind, “Not good enough.” “Loser.” I didn’t’ give up. Living on a tight budget, there wasn’t any money to invest in my passion. Fortunate to live near a large library, I checked out every book and magazine on writing. I devoured them, took notes and eventually began to write. I started a critique group and began to submit my work. I amassed a heap of rejections.

I was persistent—a lesson I learned from my dad. Before my dad became a building contractor, he was a carpenter who wanted to work for a big name builder in Beverly Hills, California. So Dad knocked on the builder’s door—once, twice. The third time Dad asked for a job, he was hired.

A personal experience piece I wrote about my daughter’s anorexia received twenty-two rejections before Focus on the Family published it. After publication, it continued to receive rejections. It’s also been reprinted in a dozen publications.

I’m a jack of all sorts, master of none. I write articles, book reviews, curriculum, devotionals, features, greeting cards and books. As a writer, speaker and teacher, my forte is to inspire others.

Like my anorexia article, I have other favorite projects. One of those is my historical novel, Lily. And like my anorexia piece, Lily was rejected over and over again. Words that brought tears to my eyes were when my daughter Melanie said, “If Lily isn’t published during your lifetime, I’ll make sure it gets published after you’re gone.” Melanie believed in Lily as much as I did. Maybe I’m selfish, but I wanted to see it in print during my lifetime.

Lily was self-published as a result of a horrific car accident. I used the money from an insurance settlement to publish it.

  Writing a book is hard. Promoting one is harder. Recently I told Melanie, “I’m not making any money from Lily.” Her response, “Mom, you didn’t write Lily to make money. You wrote it for the reader.”

She’s right. Her words remind me of what Dr. Wirt said all those years ago at the writer’s conference. “You write for the reader.”

BJ Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher and speaker.

Her books include a historical novel Lily; A Touch of Grace—The G.R.A.C.E. Ministries Story, and coauthor of My Time with God which sold 55,000 copies while in print. Her recently released contemporary romance, Gillian’s Heart, is now available. Visit her at www.bjbassett.com.

She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon and at writer’s conference. As a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she tells her story of rejection and acceptance, not only in life, but as a writer as well. She also offers book talks, including discussion questions and shares the journey—from the seed of an idea to a publisher book.

She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, knitting, munching warm scones oozing with butter and strawberry jam and sipping earl grey tea. A native Californian, she now lives with her husband of 57 years in Roseburg, Oregon.

GILLIAN’S HEART

In Gillian's Heart, BJ Bassett knew to Write for the Reader.

In Gillian’s Heart, BJ Bassett knew to Write for the Reader.

Abandoned as a child by her alcoholic parents, Gillian Grant was raised by her grandmother in a beach house in California. As an adult, in tribute to Gram’s memory, Gillian wishes to restore the house to its former splendor. But she can’t do it alone, and hires Dusty Bradshaw to help her.

Gillian and Dusty have nothing in common, except the restoration of the house. Gillian suffers from anorexia and is in denial. While she has a strong faith in God, Dusty is an unbeliever. Add to the complicated mess Gillian’s confusing feelings for Josh and the sudden, unwanted appearance of Gillian’s mother Betsy, who claims the house is hers. And she intends to sell it.

Gillian always dreamed of her wedding in her grandmother’s garden overlooking the Pacific. Will there be a wedding? Who will capture Gillian’s heart — her stable, longtime friend Josh — or Dusty, a new Christian, who has kept secrets from her? And who holds the deed to the house?

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Crushed, Shattered, Growing

Posted by Julie on April 27, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

The year isn’t even half over and I’m ready for it to be done already. Nothing terrible is happening, yet, it’s draining all the same. I call it the crushing season, for me, a time I’ve discerned is God’s doing to grow me. Take me to the new place in Him.

But it will crush and shatter me in the process.

It feels like you’re in a vise and the handle keeps turning. Everything that can be squeezed out of me is. Although a good thing—I definitely want less of my selfishness and more of Christ, it’s hard.

You’ve been there.

The crushing for me has been a constant onslaught on my mind. Things that I know are lies, but they are before me, running through my imagination, on a loop. It is draining. I’ve had to increase every step I take in my normal faith journey and even add more. I listen to Christian music all night just to combat it. It’s hard.

Growing times for me always involve increased rejection and loneliness. I don’t have a squad like Taylor Swift, and that’s okay with me. The precious few in my life are trusted and invested not in what I can do for them, but how we can encourage each other together. When I’m hurting, it is twice the fight when I only hear from folks who only think of me as their prayer connection. It is an honor, don’t get me wrong, but there is nothing in their thinking that says I am a friend. I don’t hear about their good news, nor am I contacted just because. I’ve joked before I am their prayer Pez Dispenser. And it hurts.

The good news about these things is they are a season. I’ve been through enough of them to know I come out better on the other side. Usually there is crazy God favor that defies definition. Good stuff just happens, and I know it’s from Him. There is a new level of faith. I’m learning and applying what He’s showing me. It is worth every tear, and trust me, I shed many.

I share all this to say this month I’ve focused on the crushing process in my weekly e mail called Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate. It’s a brief encouragement to start your week right, and I always include a chocolate mention. If you’re feeling the pain of crushing that includes rejection and loneliness, I pray these issues help you.

Let Sunday's Surrender and Chocolate Encourage You During the Surrender Process.

Let Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate Encourage You as You’re Being Crushed, Shattered and Growing.

Subscription is free and separate from my other free resources, my monthly newsletter filled with updates, surrender tips, Reader of the Month profile, contests and more, and the as needed book release/discount e mail alert.

I’d love for you to subscribe and tell others. Let’s get through the surrender journey together.

Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate Weekly E Mail

Surrender Issues and Chocolate Monthly Newsletter

Surrendered Scribe Book Promotions: Book Release and Discounts Sent As Needed (Infrequently)

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Saturday Confession: I’ve Ghosted Before

Posted by Julie on August 29, 2015 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Saturday Confession, surrender |

I try as a mom and mentor of sorts to stay on top of the latest terms, crazes and technology. Not to be the cool middle aged lady, but to know what’s out there trying to harm my kids and children I care about. I’d love to say I always know the latest, but often I’m still behind the times.

Like when I heard the term “ghosted.” It was in a picture I saw of Scarlett Johansson. She was accused of ghosting Sean Penn, someone she had been involved with but no longer was. The commenters felt she was icing him out, treating him as if he wasn’t even in the room.

Apparently, that’s ghosting. It’s ignoring the relationship, whether in person, texts or calls. It can be romantic or friendship.

And I’ve ghosted long before it was a thing.

Years ago, I mean YEARS ago there was a boyfriend who disappeared. He went off to college but never said goodbye. I was angry more than anything else.  Everyone had their theories but months later, he came calling. As if this never happened. Talk about ghosting. He flat out disappeared. And when he returned, he asked for my number.

And I gave him the wrong number.

And he knew it.

His last words to me were, “You don’t want me to call you, do you?”

And I said nope and drove off.
Memes.com
As an adult, I’ve been ghosted and I’ve done the same. There’s no good excuse because when it happened to me it was almost as painful as losing my father. I ached. It was a loss that took me a long time to process.  Choices needed to be made outside of my power and who I am and how I live were outside the parameters. Someone had to go. I was an easy elimination to be rid of. I was obviously not as valued as I had valued them. That fact just about did me in.

When I’ve ghosted as an adult, it was never malicious or fun. I simply was at a loss. Either the relationship ran its course and I didn’t know how to communicate beyond what I’d already done, or, the other person required more out of me than I was able to give. Sometimes I ghosted because I gave and gave and gave and nothing changed because the other person was content to stay as is and keep coming me for changes. There were times I backed off because it was too draining, too high maintenance for me to handle. I also became invisible when I realized the relationship wasn’t what I thought it was. I was a crystal ball of sorts, the go-to when there was a crisis or a prayer request. When I was in need of prayer and support, I stood alone against the people I eventually ghosted. Lastly, I ghosted because trust had been broken and we knew it, but I didn’t have the courage to say so. I closed my circle in tighter and moved on.

I’m not proud of it and yet if I had to do it over again, I can’t say I’d act differently just yet. That’s the beauty of Saturday confession. I’m working on it, but I’m not perfect.  I’m simply being transparent enough to share my confession.

Right now in any of those situations I don’t have words that would be comforting. I’d create more hurt with honesty, and I definitely don’t want to lie. So like my wedding song, I Say Nothing at All.

Ghosting. Have you done it? Has it been done to you? Don’t be invisible. Share in the comments.

 



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