Forgetting the Past

By Tracy Ruckman

Some days are beautiful and sweet and precious – days you wished could last forever. Then there are days that you wish you could do over. Days filled with problems and worries you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies (well, maybe some of us wouldn’t, ahem.) Days – seasons of life – that seem to last forever, or perhaps just won’t go away.

Our pasts are like that too. Past failures, past mistakes, past choices that should have never been made. Although some pasts may be pretty, and filled with wise decisions, others – like my own – need a good washing in an industrial-strength machine.

But you know what? Paul wrote that we all sin, so all our pasts are actually dirty. So how do we handle all the guilt, shame, disgust associated with our past lives? How do we live a life that reflects joy and peace, and God’s goodness and mercy?

We must let our pasts go.

Seriously. It’s that simple. Or that hard. But we can do all things through Christ, can’t we?

Paul says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). We are to put the past behind us and put on the new self. Peter wrote about several qualities that we should have in our lives. He said, “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” and said that if we didn’t have those things we were forgetting that we have been cleansed from our past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Yes, as Christians, we are indeed new creations in Christ – Jesus went to that cross willingly, so that we might be free from an eternal death. Free from our past stupidity. Free from all our sin. He died for us. For you. For me. Period. No qualifiers, no exceptions. It’s done.

That is the message of this Easter season and that is the message of HOPE that we need to share with the world.

It is also the reason for Hope Tour 2012. My publishing company, Write Integrity Press, wants to take HOPE out into the world this summer, in a grassroots effort to connect readers and writers in a unique and fun way. Our purpose is to give HOPE to everyone we encounter, all along our journey. This world is dark enough – it’s time to share some of the Light.

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We need your help to make it possible though. The Hope Tour 2012campaign only has a few days left. Come on over and pledge a little or a pledge a lot to make this mission a reality. We appreciate your help, and hope to see you out on the road!

Bible verses taken from the New International Version.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tracy’s book, Love Letters from the Heart, isLoveLettersCoverFRONTFREE on Kindle today!

From the back cover:

Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you’ll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.
Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved – more than you can possibly imagine.
Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you’ll soon discover the answer.

Tracy headshot 0409 v2Tracy Ruckman is owner and publisher of two independent publishing companies, Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing. She lives in metro Atlanta, and in 2010, returned to school as a full-time college student. She’s already looking forward to graduation in 2014, when she will finally be able to breathe again.

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Guest Post by Author Shawn Lamb: Faith in Writing

We have the honor to be visited by Christian writer Shawn Lamb who will be sharing her perspective on how her faith influences her writing. She also has a new book that you should all check out.

“In several interviews I’ve been asked if I consider myself an author who is a Christian or a Christian author. My answer is the same – I am a Christian and I cannot compartmentalize my life. Who I am in Christ comes out in everything I do. I make no apology for the Christian influences or message in my stories.

When one is an author, or trying to break into the industry, there is a great deal of pressure to compromise, to make the story palatable to the reader. This can take the form of inclusion or exclusion according to the mandates by the publisher. Such was the case with The Huguenot Sword when I actively shopped it around to publishers.

Over the course of 3 years, the manuscript was bounced between 6 publishing houses. And I mean literally bounced. Four of the publishers were Christian, and when one door shut, the editor of a house recommended me to a fellow editor at another publishing house. Not a very common occurrence in the industry, to recommend a perspective author to a rival publisher, but that is what happened to me. For 18 months Bethany tried to find a way to sign me, but for one reason or another, it fell through. During these submissions, some editors wanted me to exclude historical facts and dumb down my language in description and dialogue. In short, they wanted to turn my well-researched historical fiction into historical light.

In the meantime, 2 of the Big Six in New York tested me with various requests before considering a contract. But they wanted the inclusion of sex and inappropriate material. Colossians 3:23- whatever you do, do heartily as to the Lord and not unto men. For me it was an easy decision to refuse. Yes, I lost a publishing contract, but I could sleep at night with a clear conscious of honoring God.

I learn a lot during this intense period – authors are at the mercy of publishers and often requests go against what the author feels is best for the story. The need for compromise is ever present in the choices we face each day. Where Scripture is clear, the choice should be easy. But in the gray areas, is where we falter. Authors have stories to tell, and must decide whether to honor God in our stories or not. To dumb down the language wasn’t a really horrible compromise to make, if I had agreed. But it was not God’s timing back then. Now it is.

With the advances in self-publishing and having complete control the content, after 35 years, I’m able to present The Huguenot Sword in its entirety. This is the first book I ever wrote when I was age 16, and by God’s grace, now is the time for it to see the light of publication. Enjoy!”

Shawn Lamb is the author of the epic Christian YA fantasy series Allon and once wrote for the animated series BraveStarr, produced by the same studio that did He-Man and She-Ra. She has won several screenwriting awards including a Certificate of Merit from the American Screenwriters Association.

Website: http://www.allonbooks.com

Her books can be found on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shawn-Lamb/e/B002LPYXF0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Connect with Shawn Lamb on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000208991898&ref=name

Join Naty Matos and 9 of her author friends at Women’s Literary Cafe’s Christian Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their e-books to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE! http://www.womensliterarycafe.com/content/december-2011book-launches