Songs of Salvation – Beth K. Vogt

Posted September 16, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Songs of Salvation /

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And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

Revelation 12:11 NLT

Reconciliation is one of my favorite words in the Bible – the truth mentioned in Colossians 1:20-22 of how I was separated from God and He chose to reconcile me to Himself through his son Jesus.

So, with such an intense gratitude for the reconciliation that God accomplished in my life, it’s odd … disconcerting, really, that I’ve been estranged from my family of origin for the past six years.

Reconciliation. Estrangement. Yes, both are part of my life.

It was never my intent to turn my back on my parents and siblings – two brothers and two sisters, including a fraternal twin sister. They might see it differently, since I was the one who sent the e-mail letter – the catalyst that caused an emotional explosion that still has relational repercussions years later.

My motivation for the letter? To establish a much-needed healthier boundary between me and my family. I was trying to say, “I want a relationship with you – but not this one. I can’t continue like this.” Instead, sending the letter was like throwing a match on kerosene-soaked charcoal. Anger and accusations flared – and I retreated, refusing to respond.

At the time, I was writing my novel Somebody Like You, which contains the plotline of two identical twin brothers who’ve been estranged for more than a decade. This was a very carefully planned out plot point. I never thought I’d become estranged from my family while I wrote that book.

But God knew.

There were days I struggled to write my imaginary characters’ story because what was going on in my life was too real. Too painful. There I was, figuring out ways to make things work on the pages of my novel, and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t fix the relationships with my family.

And then I realized that God understood estrangement. That’s what biblical reconciliation is all about – God healing spiritual estrangement between Him and mankind. The book I was writing? It’s a modern-day retelling of Jacob and Esau, two brothers whose relationship broke down over a pot of stew and a birthright. And no, I didn’t realize that fact until I was deep into editing, while struggling with the heartache of being separated from my family of origin.

Romans 12:18 (NASB) says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men …” I remind myself of this verse multiple times a week – sometimes multiple times a day. I’ve come to realize I can’t resolve this estrangement. The verse clearly states you aren’t always going to be able to achieve peace with other people. You do what you can … and then sometimes, the only thing you can do, is realize that a relationship with someone else is not possible.

Does this mean that I’m happily estranged from my parents and siblings? Of course not. Look closely at the word again: eSTRANGEment. It’s a strange, peculiar, wrong state of being. Holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. To be honest, there are moments each day that hurt.

But peace … reconciliation … cannot be forced. Or faked.

Which brings me back to where we started: to believing in a God of reconciliation. A God who is still working in my life and who isn’t finished with my story yet. (Philippians 1:6). I put my hope and my trust in Him – and I know that even when it looks like nothing is changing, when I find myself in a place I never imagined, He is still accomplishing His purposes in my life – and in others’ lives, too.

About Beth K. Vogt

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind doors marked Never. The Best We’ve Been is the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters series with Tyndale House Publishers, following Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget.
Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA Award finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Weddings series by Zondervan. Having authored ten contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.
An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Academy and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people.


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