Friday, October 28, 2022

Love One Another

John 13:35 

"Your love for one another will prove you are my disciples."

Would you say this accurately describes your experience in the Christian family?

My answer is that it "mostly" does. Through the years I have shared my life with many lovely, remarkable people. I am thankful for my Christian family. However, some of my most painful experiences have been at the hands of other Christians. The arrows slung by my Christian family hurt deeply. The attacks always come as a surprise, and I am never fully emotionally prepared. I guess I expect better from the people who are supposed to have my back. 

The fruit of the spirit is described this way in Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

The fruit is available to each of us; it is given by our Lord. Christians aren't expected to be perfect, and we shouldn't hold one another up to an unrealistic standard, but we should never wallow in cruelty, dishing out anger and disappointment at those we should love. We can do better; we have the Lord. 

There is a lot of hatefulness in the world. It is most easily seen on social media. There seems to be no-hold's-barred kind of mentality there. When we are tempted to jump in and sling an arrow it is wiser and kinder to stop, take a breath and ask ourselves what God would have us do instead.

The same harmful and evil behavior we see in the world can be found in our churches, though we try to keep it hidden. 

One of the most painful experiences of my life occurred within my church. The sin unfolded in secret, and I believe manifested out of good intentions, but the enemy knows how to use our weaknesses and he is skilled in manipulation. 

When the evil was released and revealed it manifested in what I would best describe as spiritual abuse. Hunger for power and control was wrapped up in a spirit of self-righteousness and it fed flames of destruction that burned through our Christian family. A devastated church was left in its wake with wounded souls strewn about, some to never recover.

Even now, it grieves me to think of it. It took me a long while to sort it out and to release my hurt and anger ... and my disappointment. Over time, God helped me see what had taken place and replaced my hurt with love and forgiveness and a commitment to be aware of the wiles of the enemy and to pray for my beloved family. 

Because I am a writer, the natural way for me to release some of the hurt and doubt was by writing a book, The Heart of Thornton Creek. While creating the story I grew to understand that the power of the abuser is not different than any other kind of abuse, except the abuser uses the Word of God as a whip. Oh, how it must grieve The Father.

So, why am I talking about this now? We have been living through harrowing times and I believe the days are going to become more difficult, at least for a while. In the midst of hardship, it is easy to allow stress to rule and we sometimes strike out at one another when we're feeling afraid and uncertain. But we need each other now more than ever.

I encourage you to spend more time in The Word, more time in prayer and to be watchful for the enemy who prowls around like a lion in search of those he can devour. Let's not allow ourselves to become his prey.

Love and mercy are more helpful than a whip.

Grace and peace to you from God,



Monday, October 03, 2022


Ooph seems like a silly title for a blog, but it's what I feel right now. It is day ten since my surgery. I am grateful for a competent, dedicated surgeon and all the medical professionals who helped care for me before and after surgery. But ... I have to admit to hoping I'd be a little further along at this point. Still, I am glad to say that I am moving forward and getting a little better each day.

I can't wait to feel "normal" again. I hope soon. However, I'm doing my best to behave myself and living within my healing restrictions.

It seems a good time for reflection. What have I learned thus far?

  • Praying friends REALLY help. SO much went right, and I could feel the kindness of those praying for me and the situation.
  • A relationship with The Father goes a long way when facing a giant. I was especially aware of His presence when I was wheeled into the operating room and knew none of what was about to take place had anything to do with me. It was all in God's hands.
  • Good health comes at a cost, but ill-health brings a much greater toll. We need to take good care of ourselves. I'm educating myself so I can do a better job.
  • Worry is not helpful. During the months awaiting surgery I made a concerted effort to keep worrisome thoughts at bay. I practiced NOT THINKING about my cancer and the "what-if's" that came with it. Peace was always close at hand.
  • God is good and is always watching out for us. The tumor was growing while I was unaware, but God knew. Getting an MRI on my back was not an accident. The timing was perfect, pointing out the presence of that ugly little hitchhiker.
Psalm 91:14 - 15 says, "The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them."

Praise the Lord.

I have a way to go before I can get back to my garden, which in another few weeks, will simply be closing it down for the winter and preparing the beds for next season. I missed a few weeks harvesting time, but I'm happy with what I accomplished this summer and look forward to next year's season.

In six months, I will have a scan to make sure the cancer is gone for good. I'm already practicing perfecting my focus - trusting God. I am in His capable hands as are you.

Gracee and peace to you from God,

Bonnie Leon