This is the fourth of six planned guest posts by blogging friends of mine on Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering, a book I will be releasing on Mother’s Day (8 May 2016). Each of the guest bloggers reflect on one quote from #LoveEmbraced that spoke to them the most.
Today, we welcome Jennifer L. Lane as our guest blogger, who I have been so blessed to get to know better ever since the Write 31 Days challenge. She is a writer, home school teacher, Bible teacher, and podcaster. Jennifer is a regular blogger at jenniferllane.com. She and her husband James Lane have ministered at Citychurch in downtown Amarillo for 18 years. Jennifer also co-hosts a bi-monthly podcast with her friend Kaylie Hodges called The Re:Podcast, and can be found on Twitter (@amajennifer and Facebook). This December, Jennifer released her first book, an eBook called Faith Adventures: Stories of Learning with an Unseen God on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. You can find my review of this beautifully encouraging book here: He is there in the Deep End with You, and an interview I did with Jennifer about it here: Faith Adventures are Awaiting Us All.
Welcome, Jennifer, we are so pleased to have you here and thank you so much for your invaluable encouragement, shared publishing expertise, prayers and support these past few months.
One of the joys of finding community online with other Christian writers, is that you form such unlikely, precious friendships. One such friendship is with the tenderhearted and kind Anna, who makes a home with her family of four in the Netherlands. Anna is actually not Dutch, but a transplanted, self-proclaimed “kiwi,” hailing from the beautiful country of New Zealand.
Our online friendship began as we both attempted our first blogging challenge, Write 31 Days, this last October. Anna agreed to read my compilation of the challenge turned book. Her encouragement was paramount to me as I turned my month of writing into a full-fledged book.
When Anna decided to compile a book herself, I knew I wanted to read her words and encourage her in her writing in every way possible.
I finished reading her new book Love Embraced back in March. I had set out to encourage Anna, but instead, her writing encouraged me.
My favorite idea from the book is an idea that is closely related to our adoption. We have been waiting to adopt from Ethiopia for almost three years now. During our waiting, I have read books and listened to seminars about attachment, trauma, and other adoption parenting topics.
Anna shared in her book, Love Embraced, about her adopted brother who was added to their missionary family at 15-months-old from an orphanage in Romania.
When I read this portion of Anna’s story, I was deeply moved.
“Only He truly understood the hurt, the broken shards that pushed this little soul to rebel, to repel the arms that sought to love him. My little brother, suffering from the severed bond with his birth mother, fought against those closest to him, just like all of us who are traumatized by our severed bond with God through sin do. But His Saving Grace has the power, through transformational love of restoring and healing us through a reunion with Him. And so, only our Heavenly Father could have taught my parents to see beyond the rebellion to find the little soul crying out for love, perfect love: a love that is patient, kind, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, that doesn’t keep track of wrongs, doesn’t rejoice in evil but in the truth, always protects, always hopes, always trusts, never gives up, never fails (1 Corinthians 13: 4- 8).
— Anna Louise Smit, Love Embraced, Chapter 17
The idea that we have trauma separating us from our bond with God is something I have never considered.
This is a beautiful example of the universal human experience. We are suffering from a trauma that we try to deny, because we have been torn apart by sin from our Loving Father.
Anna shares so genuinely about her family, but also her experience with loss, rejection, suffering, PTSD, and grief.
She takes these hard places and shows us how God has faithfully replaced her fears with peace, has given her comfort, filled her with hope, and deeply embraced her with love.
“And so, in those moments I feel His Peace being stolen from me, He has the Power to restore it to me. All He asks is that I lean into Him, that I believe Him at His Word. And even then, He tells me that where I struggle to trust, He will not abandon me, yet patiently teach me because “saving” me is all His idea and He will bring it to completion (John 6: 35-40). And in teaching me He is, ever so patiently, yet also firmly, reminding me of the Hope I have in Him that can never be shaken. A Hope overflowing into an abundant peace.
— Anna Lousie Smit, Love Embraced, Chapter 38
Love Embraced will be released on Mother’s Day, May 8th, as a dedication to Anna’s mother. You will be able to find it on Amazon and CreateSpace for purchase. I hope you will add it to your “to read” list, and let it be an encouragement to you this Mother’s Day.
MORE ABOUT LOVE EMBRACED: A JOURNEY IN AND THROUGH SUFFERING
Not one of us is immune to suffering. So many of us have experienced loss, rejection, trauma and/or deep hurt. But often we decide to keep working, to keep going and to keep numbing that which we are terribly scared will break us into tiny little pieces. Love Embraced records the author’s own journey through such suffering, in: caring for her mother dying of cancer, grieving her mother’s death, her diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and working through repressed childhood memories.
But, it also reveals how in starting to face that which she was too frightened to face, she began to embrace and be embraced by a mighty God into: freedom, hope, comfort, peace, strength and deep joy.
Annas’s dear friend Emily Stephenson is also promoting the book with beautiful handmade jewelry, inspired by #LoveEmbraced. Below is an example of what you can find at The Wildflower Heart: