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up close and very personal:

This week, I received a copy of a new book. I was particularly overwhelmed to receive it.

I met the author at an international artist's retreat. He and his extremely talented wife were in line with me to get food at a special luncheon for those of us who had served as online moderators in some way. I ended up at a table with Nick and Tina and grew to respect them more. Nick then spoke to our group. He gave a very heartfelt, honest and powerful message. What I "heard" the loudest, though, was that he was the same person in line, eating lunch or speaking.

As he spoke, he mentioned he was writing a book. And I heard that still small Voice saying, "Give him your cash and ask to purchase a copy of his first book."

My internal dialogue went something like this: Really, Lord? Again? You have me do the most awkward things. But it could be cool. But still. That's a bit much. He's going to wonder if I'm sane. Plus we're stranded out here and that's all the cash I have. What about my mocha? But what if it's a really great book and this would encourage him to write it?Yada yada yada....

But it's always best to obey that loving voice, so I handed him my 20 and a business card and asked for a copy of his first book. I think I told him I just wanted to spur him on. (Yikes.)

He was very gracious and accepted it.

I walked away with that adrenaline nervous feeling you get when you have to step out of your comfort zone. But suddenly, I really wanted a copy of that book.

Fast forward...

Last week, I received this book in the mail.

Inscribed in the front cover was a handwritten note that began, "Three years ago you gave me your business card and $20 and asked me for a copy of my first book. Here it is!!"

So here's the deal. All the previous week, I had been living in some pretty self-harsh condemnation of feeling that I had failed to give my dad the most loving care the last 3 years of his life. While I could forgive how hard my dad made it to do that well, I couldn't forgive myself for failing to do well anyway.

In that state of struggle, I opened the book to read the first paragraph:

"So, you have in your hand a book on forgiveness. My guess is it's for one of three reasons. You're either carrying the pain of something someone has done to you that you can't let go of, or our want to forgive someone and start to heal, or worse, you have done something terrible and you can't forgive yourself. There are few people on this planet, if any, who haven't experienced all three. Forgiveness, or more accurately, unforgiveness, is a universal human problem. Every one of us can benefit from doing the hard work to forgive someone who has hurst us and learn how to forgive ourselves too."*

Now, I haven't finished this book yet and I normally don't recommend a book I haven't read to the end. But the difference is that I have met the author. I'm pretty confident he will be the same in the line, eating lunch, speaking - and writing a book.

I spent 6 months earlier this year doing some very precious soul work, but I'm realizing I have some touch up work to learn. That's ok. God's got me.

But do you see what just happened here?

I obeyed the voice of my Father and I'm pretty sure I thought at the time that it was meant to just encourage Nick and Tina and spur them on. Little did I know that I was investing in the very thing I would need for my own journey! Surprise! I don't always get to see the fruit of these "random acts of obedience" but this one slays me with the loving kindness of God.

And here at Easter, I'm aware that there are many many who would call this situation the kindness of "the Universe." Me? I'm in love with the Maker of the universe, the one who did something the universe can't do. He let his Son die for me and - as crazy as it is to actually believe - rise again to conquer all my unforgiven things.

And, just now, I'm kinda chuckling. When you open a new text box in this program I'm using to write this newsletter, these words come up:

"What do you want your readers to know? Make your text stand out by customizing the font, style and format."

I forgot to delete them. But the question was there asking me what do I want my readers to know?

Really, I just want you to know that you are loved and that you are not stuck. You are never stuck.

There is hope for you, for me and even for those who could stand to love us better - even if that person is you learning to forgive you.

I'm willing to do the hard work to be free.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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