Unmet expectations. This world is full of them. And somehow we seem to place more of them on ourselves than anyone else does. Or maybe that is just me.
For years, I felt like I had to hide my failures. My fears. After all, what if the people who look up to me as an example of a Christian were to see that I’m not perfect? What if that caused them to question, or worse, to fall away?
A few years ago, the Lord convicted me of that, and after a series of events that had left me fearful and paralyzed to the point that I couldn’t even verbalize a request for prayer, He brought to mind two passages of Scripture that I’ve shared with you before:
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
I printed these verses out and stuck them on my monitor at work where I would see them. And every time I would begin to panic, I would read them again and again and again and cry out to the Lord for peace and for help. And He heard my cries. By the end of the day, I was at a place where that peace He promised filled my mind despite the fact that my circumstances had not changed. Only my perspective.
The following night I was leading the ladies’ Bible study I was a part of and I allowed myself to be vulnerable and shared with the ladies what I had gone through. It was very hard for me to do that. Yet the result of my sharing, and telling these women how I was able to overcome, was transformational! One of the women there truly heard what I shared and it changed her life. She began to take her thoughts captive and change what she focused on and was like a new person!
So don’t be afraid, my friends, to allow others to share in your struggles and to help you carry your burdens. You just might be amazed at what God does with that.
Things Left Unsaid
by Courtney Walsh
Published by Waterfall Press
Publication Date October 30, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Michigan Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
An emotional novel of family, friendship and forgiveness from Courtney Walsh, the New York Times bestselling author of Hometown Girl.
Lyndie St. James is thrilled that her best friend, Elle, is getting married but unprepared for the emotional storm of the wedding week and returning to her childhood summer home of Sweethaven. The idyllic cottage community harbors some of her best—and worst—memories. It’s not only the tragic death of her childhood friend Cassie that has haunted her for ten years, it’s the other secrets she’s buried that have kept her from moving on.
But Lyndie isn’t the only one with secrets.
Cassie’s mother, father and brother, still struggling with the loss, have been drifting further and further apart. And Elle herself, the last to see Cassie alive, carries an impossible burden of guilt. Now reunited, each of them has a choice: to reveal the truths of that night or continue to live in its shadow. That means embarking on a personal journey of the heart—to escape the darkness and all its regrets and to finally come to terms with the past and, especially, with each other.
I would like to thank Netgalley for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Elle was about to become the wife of a wonderful man who just happened to be a pastor. And the son of the pastor of a huge and thriving ministry. Her mother-in-law-to-be was constantly sharing with her ways she should change and how important it was for her to live up to the standards of a godly Christian woman. Oh, how I was angered by Nora!!
The night Cassie died, the lives of her best friends took a tailspin. For Lyndie, Elle, and Tucker, guilt overpowered them and shadowed their lives. They all had secrets from that night and each felt responsible. If only they. . .
Things Left Unsaid highlights the pain that can result from not communicating. For allowing hidden guilt to grow and fester. The walls that they had erected in an attempt to protect themselves and the fear they carried at the thought that if anyone knew what happened, they would be rejected.
Each character had depth and resonated with me. I wouldn’t have liked Tucker much ten years earlier, but the way that he had changed gave me hope for him. He wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, yet he had developed a maturity and responsibility that had him headed in the right direction.
Once again, author Courtney Walsh created a story that packs a wallop, bringing her readers through an emotional wringer, yet not leaving them hanging out to dry. The changes that were wrought in that short week before the wedding were monumental, and yet the way they unfolded made sense and didn’t seem at all forced. I love the way that each of these friends saw the reaction to the truth of what happened that night and were set free. And I especially loved the way the story brought out how many of the things that had been assumed to be true were shown in their true light once communication began.