Shannon here: Janet Chester Bly shares a devotional on relationships, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Contemporary Western Mystery Romance, Beneath A Camperdown Elm, Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill Series. Comment or answer the question in any post dated Oct 1 – 5 to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of paperback (USA only) or PDF edition. Dealine: Oct 12th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Janet:
5 Reasons Relationships Are So Tough To Do by Janet Chester Bly
I watched two friends of mine find different ways through their relationship ordeals.
Evene struggled to the point of deep depression when her husband left her. One day after returning home from her church, she decided to get back on a spiritual track.
“I opened my Bible for the first time in a long while. So many Scriptures came alive to me in new ways. I pored over the places I’d underlined and highlighted in happier days. I thumbed my Bible to ragged edges. Out of these precious moments, I eventually released my husband to the Lord and trusted he was in control of it all. I still have hard times, but God keeps giving me strength, peace, and love for others in spite of my agony.”
Then, there’s Kathy. In the despair of several messed up relationships, Kathy felt she’d lost God. No one could console her. Her limited knowledge of a heavenly Father grew from concepts she’d grasped as a child at Sunday School, her dysfunctional experiences, and a scatter of Bible verses she recalled.
Now God seemed unreachable.
Yet she craved a deep river of peace—a way out of her inner turmoil and outer chaos. She wanted God back. Then He sent her a new friend, Mavis, who reached out to her, stuck with her through the rest of her trials.
Mavis suggested she read Psalm 77. She did, over and over. In the midst of her pain, anger, and confusion, she finally allowed God to bring his peace that transcends all understanding (Phillipians 4:7).
Praying for God’s wisdom, she broke down the many issues she faced into bite-size pieces. When she received insight from on high, her mind cleared. With Mavis’s encouragement and support, Kathy reached out to someone she knew she had hurt the most. And God worked a wonder.
Above all, God graced Kathy’s inordinate pride with humility.
I’m surrounded by imperfect people. How about you? Jesus stated, “In this world you will have tribulation.” So true. I don’t always have a peaceful, care-free kind of life. Complications and on-the-verge of chaos circumstances sometimes seem rentless. Especially when it comes to messy relationships with pesky people.
I became a woman of faith, partly because of the challenges of relationships. Married for four years with two babies, I suddenly realized I didn’t know how to do marriage or parenting. Searching for help and advice, I wondered if really, truly God existed. If so, what was he like? And would he be willing and able to guide a needy gal like me? The drive to know led me to him as my heavenly Father.
Dealing with relationships also shoved me into writing. I had to journal about the drama and the delights. I wrote about being my mate’s best friend, attempts at becoming a good mom, and the challenge of forever friendships.
One thing I know for sure, relationships are the toughest thing we do. That is, if we care about them and are serious about making them work. But why? Here’s five reasons to consider.
- Close relationships, such as marriage, provide the ultimate invasion of privacy.
- Working at relationships challenge the core of our me-centered default domain.
- We erect resentments because of jealousy. Feeling overlooked. Rivalry at every turn. A lean toward lust. More than a grain of greed. This evolves from a lack of true satisfaction, always wanting more.
- Some folks not only have a nerve, they hit one of ours,big time.
- It’s hard to forgive some offenses. Betrayal is one. Lies and deceit are another. Or triggers we don’t understand ourselves, such as unresolved issues, habits learned from childhood, past experiences we never worked through. We harbor a deep root of bitterness. Sometimes we carry a thin layer of civility over a volcano of unresolved anger. Or it can be as simple as, who gets the stuff? The reading of a will and a divvy up of the inheritance tests many families.
The most wonderful feeling in the world is to be free from all double-dealing, to be an open window to the world. To live without regrets of words left unsaid or deeds left undone. But to achieve that in relationships requires conscious efforts to care, to persevere, to make bridges over chasms. Or relationships can stagnate or die.
Our most trusted support group forms from those relationships we tough out through the lifelong haul of enduring trials and sharing sorrows.
When we release the toughest relationship drama to Him, and really mean it, He surprises us with the unexpected. Perhaps there’s total healing and blessed bliss. Or the change may only happen in our own hearts.
Either way, God gets the glory. We become honest, groping pilgrims, rather than the people with all the answers.
Adapted from Grace Spilling Over, to be released 2020, © Janet Chester Bly
About Janet: Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. Together—his, hers, and theirs–they published more than 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids (8-12 yrs). Her newest solo adult novel release is a contemporary western romance with a zing of mystery, Beneath A Camperdown Elm, Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill Series. Learn more and connect:
About the book – Beneath a Camperdown Elm:
Reba’s scary stalker is locked up in jail. She finally snatches a rancher fiancé. Her runaway mother returns home. Reba has everything she ever wanted. But Grandma Pearl has disappeared! Is Reba about to lose it all? In August 1991, at Road’s End, Idaho, three generations of women travel separate journeys of the heart. Reba Mae Cahill brims with joy. Her life’s perfect. She’s finally bringing her prodigal mother, Hanna Jo, home to Road’s End from a Reno mental institute.
With them is Jace McKane, her fiancé, who promises to help fight the unjust lawsuit that threatens the family ranch. He wants a new start, away from his unscrupulous father and all his drama.Just as Reba’s getting Jace trained to become her rancher husband, she discovers Grandma Pearl betrayed her once again, in a way that also harms her mother. Reba believes she’s lost everything—her career, her identity, her lifelong pursuit, and her main reason for marrying Jace. When Jace returns to California to bail out his father and pursue Quigley, a psychotic killer, who escaped from prison, she wonders if he’ll ever return to Road’s End?
Then Hanna Jo claims she sees alleged wild horses in the mountain valleys as she learns her son and ex-husband’s fishing boat sank in an Alaskan sea. Can Reba keep her from flipping out for good?As Grandma Pearl struggles with guilt, health issues, and finding purpose for the rest of her life, will the new church building project provide an answer?Meanwhile, twenty-one-year-old Scottish twin tourists, Archie and Wynda MacKenzie, mesmerize the town with their trick biking skills and charming accents. Reba’s not sure they’re all they claim to be. And someone harasses Reba with letters and phone calls. What are they really after?Will any of the answers be found in the mysteries of an old Scottish elm?
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Question for Readers: What is one thing you learned through experiencing a tough relationship?
Come back Oct 4th for Janet’s excerpt from Beneath A Camperdown Elm!