Wow, nearly the end of January already! The days just scoot by so fast. It feels like no time since New Year’s Day.
How are you going with your New Year’s Resolutions? Well, I hope, and celebrating your successes!
I didn’t do my usual list of resolutions this year, though I do still have intentions for this year. Most of all, I want to live so I experience more of God’s peace and joy.
And there are things I know God wants me to do differently this year. Especially in my relationships with others, and even more especially with my husband.
You’d think the people we love the most would be easiest to live with, to forgive and feel compassion for. Nope! Instead, it feels like the people we are closest to can annoy us the most! But God keeps reminding me, those loving relationships are also where He blesses us with the biggest opportunities to grow.
Back in December, I started working on a new romance story, and the heroine reminded me so much of Pollyanna, I needed to go back and read it again. Oh my, I could see why I needed it! The book might be usually seen as a children’s book, because a child is the main character, but there is so much in there grown-ups can learn, too!
It’s all about living a joyful, loving life, exactly what God wanted to teach me this year. And there was a wonderful section in it that showed me how I need to do things differently with my husband – and with myself, too!
When the town’s minister meets Pollyanna, he’s miserable, and about to prepare a harshly critical sermon. But she introduces him to the idea of the “rejoicing texts”, all the times in the Bible we’re commanded to rejoice and be glad. Before he speaks to Pollyanna, Reverend Ford, would probably have said his unruly congregation didn’t deserve joy. But after talking to Pollyanna and reading these lines in a magazine article — “Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues…. When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good — you will get that….” — he tears up his harsh sermon and instead preaches on one of her rejoicing texts, inspired to lift up his church members and encourage rather than criticize them.
The verse he preaches on is the King James Version, but I love the paraphrase below that also takes in part of the previous verse:
…abiding love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. So rejoice in him, all those who are his, and shout for joy, all those who try to obey him.
Psalm 32:10-11 TLB
God is asking me to obey Him by loving my husband better. By encouraging and supporting more, and criticizing less. By being more patient and accepting. By simply listening, not giving advice or telling him what he “should have done”! By focusing on all that he does right, not on what he does wrong.
So much so I ended up writing a devotional based on Pollyanna, and put the story on hold. Lessons from Pollyanna: Using her Glad Game to grow spiritually & have more joy in your life releases today at a special 99c release week price for the ebook. It includes the full text of the original story, plus discussion questions for book groups, suggestions for playing Pollyanna’s “Glad Game”, a Bible-based devotional for each chapter to dig deeper into the lessons in the story and personal journaling suggestions. There’s also an accompanying print journal.
I learned so much and gained so much that will help me in my relationships through writing this. I pray that readers are blessed by it too!
Have you ever reread a beloved childhood book and been surprised by the wisdom in it? And what is your biggest relationship goal for 2017?
I have one print copy of the Lessons from Pollyanna Personal Journal for a randomly chosen comment on this post before 5th February.
Also – Love’s Sweet Surprise, a wonderful 7 book boxed set including previous published contemporary Christian romances from some of your favorite authors is FREE on Amazon till January 30th! Happy reading!