The Freedom of Forgiveness


I apologize in advance for the “preachiness” of this post. But it contains things that a lot of people, including myself, need to hear often.

I have been trying to figure out what “forgiveness” means my whole life. It has not been an easy task, to say the least. Does forgiveness mean I just excuse people for everything and never hold anyone accountable? Does it mean I have to be a doormat and just let people walk all over me? Does it mean I forget it ever happened and trust that person never to do it again (even if they never apologized)? If a person NEVER apologizes or shows remorse, do I still have to forgive them?

These questions are so hard to answer. What is forgiveness, anyway? And is it really that important? Holding a grudge is a lot easier, and so is seeking revenge (plus seeking revenge can be pretty darn fun sometimes…).

The Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines forgiveness this way–

Definition of FORGIVE

transitive verb
1
a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult> b : to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>
2
: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon <forgive one’s enemies>
So basically, according to good old Merriam and Webster, forgiveness is composed of two things: A) letting go of resentment, and B) releasing them from what they “owe” you.
First of all, it’s important to note that this is what Jesus accomplished for us. He made it possible for God to forgive us of our sin debt against Him. We have disobeyed His laws in innumerable ways and our debt to Him is more than anyone, except Jesus Christ, could bear. HOWEVER, Jesus said that if we hold things against human beings, God will continue to hold our sins against us.

The hard thing is when someone has deeply, deeply wronged you in a way that scars you for life, and you feel like you did nothing to deserve it. You feel like you have never and WILL never do something that terrible and therefore feel a “right” to hold it against them. I have felt that way for a very long time, even though I know it’s wrong. It’s something that has to be worked through a day at a time and every individual handles it differently. If you’re going through this right now, I understand completely.

But the truth is, that mentality grows out of one thing and one thing only: PRIDE.

It is an entitled and arrogant point of view and one that I am extremely guilty of… and ashamed of. Who am I to act like another human being owes me something when I owed SO much to God that He had to send His own Son to die for me?? Until I let go of this point of view, there is no way my relationship with God can be anything but strained. How disgusting and repulsive pride is. It makes the regenerated part of me want to throw up.

So right now, I’m working on purifying my relationships and my feelings toward people. It’s going to be a long and agonizing process, but I can already feel God at work in my life and in my relationships with people who have hurt me. I’ve hurt other people too, so I’m trying to repair those relationships as well.

What I have discovered about forgiveness and letting go of your pride is, it’s so FREEING. It’s like a huge weight lifting off of your life and once you’ve forgiven someone, even though you know the offense happened, it doesn’t MATTER so much anymore. That’s in the past, and you’re willing to move on to a debt-free future. That doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself straight into somebody’s arms who you know isn’t trustworthy, though. Be cautious and discerning and avoid stupid mistakes.

Forgiveness is going to be a life-long struggle, especially if you come from a broken home. One song I love is “7 times 70” by Chris August (here’s the youtube link in case you haven’t heard it– http://youtu.be/n5-Q1zAhqpA ). It fits my life SO perfectly I almost thought it was written for me. Forgiveness really does heal, and it really does make a way to overcome the pain of a troubled past. Praise the Lord for His overwhelming grace and forgiveness toward us!!

Also PTL it’s FRIDAY!!!! Woooot! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend, lovelies!

~N.L.

P. S. ~ For my friends who believe against contemporary music or just can’t/don’t want to watch the youtube video, please at least read this testimony from Chris August and the lyrics of this wonderful song. It is truly powerful.

http://www.chrisaugustmusic.com/songs/7×70

P. P. S ~ Troll comments will be automatically trashed.

Progress Report on Siranai


I have not given an in-depth progress report on my pet project in a while, so I thought I should let you guys in on what’s happening here.

It started as a novel, and has now morphed into a TV series. I have found that writing in script form is easier for me and it’s not as daunting working on one episode at a time as it is working on a whole frickin novel. My original idea was to just go in chronological order, from Mati’s parents in Siranai and the takeover all the way to the end, but I think it might be more interesting to start with Mati as a 15 year old and have flashbacks to explain what happened in the past. There are a lot of episodes that are going to involve the Kurnalans’ royal past, so I think that will work well.

In case you have NO idea what I’m talking about, here’s the gist of the way the pilot’s going to go.

 

Siranai–Pilot:

Mati is introduced as a refugee princess on a secret island in the middle of nowhere. She is living with her mother, her “uncle,”  and the queen’s lady-in-waiting and her son.  Mati has become an excellent hunter and in the first scene, she shoots a deer. With Darek’s (the servant boy’s) help, she brings it back for dinner for the family. She is obviously being put to work on the little farm they’ve created, and yet she’s still treated like a princess by the servants.

During the course of conversation at dinner, we find out that Mati is turning 15 the next day and that means she’s becoming an adult. Jaimron, the uncle, secretly asks Sarla if she’s giving Mati a certain “necklace” for her birthday and if she knows “what it does.” We wonder what he’s talking about, and then–

15 YEARS EARLIER

King Renton (Mati’s father), younger Sarla, and baby Mati are introduced, and they are living happily at their palace in Siranai. Jaimron comes to visit and tells Renton that he’s heard some “strange murmurings” about a possible break out and attack from the rebels who have been banished by the kings of Benedaea to Maladi. Renton brushes it off as just a rumor, and doesn’t take him seriously. (P.S. Jaimron and Renton refer to each other as “cousins” at this point. Wha…? We thought he was Mati’s uncle?)

BACK TO THE PRESENT

It is Mati’s 15th birthday and Darek ticks her off a bit by jokingly asking if she’s “becoming a man or a woman” because of her tomboyishness (the fact that he feels comfortable enough to joke around with her makes us wonder. Isn’t he supposed to be the servant?). She is upset because she thinks he’s always seen her as just another boy to play with and he has to win her favor back by telling her that he DEFINITELY sees her as a young woman. (by this we see there is a spark between them, and they have obviously been buddies for a while) Then, to further make up for his foolishness, he offers to do her chores because “a lady should not have to do chores on her birthday.” (we thought ladies, and especially princesses, never had chores…?)

Sarla, Jaimron, and Omeyla (the lady-in-waiting) are talking in the kitchen, and we find out why Mati has to do chores. Jaimron injured his knee permanently during their escape from Siranai and Sarla and Omeyla have had to run the farm ever since they got there. Sarla found it to be a great learning experience for herself, so she decided that as soon as Mati got old enough, she would teach her how to run the farm, as it would make her more understanding toward the commoners when she “regains control of Siranai as queen” (so Sarla is training Mati to be a good queen… and believes Mati is going to be the savior. How does she know this? and what happened to make them leave their country?).

 

I could go on and on, but I won’t because I don’t want to give away too much 😉 I think this setup allows for more suspense and it poses more questions in the viewers’ minds that I have to answer, and I like that. That’s what I like about the shows I watch; wondering what’s going to happen next and why this or that happened. It’s what holds people’s attention and that’s probably the #1 key of storytelling! (and don’t worry, the pace will be faster than what it appears in this description and it will not be dull and mundane. I’m counting on some good dialog to make sure of that)

Have a happy Thursday, readers 🙂 Friday’s coming, and then the weekend!!

~N. L.

“I am a Writer” (short poem)


“I am a writer”:

I think deeply and dream.

I am a cat; rub me the right way, and I won’t scratch–

But God forbid you should ever wake me from a deep sleep.

 

I do not live in your world.

My world is a magical land filled with pleasure and promise;

Yours is dominated by money, mine is dominated by soul.

I like my world. I don’t like yours.

 

I stare into the invisible,

And you wonder what I’m looking at. You think it’s nothing,

But I am peeling back the barrier between this world and the next.

I am the history of tomorrow.

 

“I am a writer”:

I am not merely human.

I have tasted the riches of an invisible plane.

My soul is an ocean–and my body the sand.

 

~N. Lingarow

Conflicting Realities


“Holding conflicting realities in your head… that will drive you mad.” ~Mad Hatter, ABC’s Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time is currently my favorite show on TV. I have watched this week’s episode twice now. In this week’s episode, the “Mad Hatter” kidnaps Emma and holds her hostage, telling her she has to fix his hat and make it magical again. She concludes that he is insane, especially after finding out that he “thinks” he’s the Mad Hatter.  He tells her the reason he feels like he’s going insane is because he knows that his daughter from Fairy Tale land, Grace, is in the real world as “Paige” and is happy with another family and doesn’t even remember that he’s her father. He is stuck between 2 realities (possibly even 3, counting “Wonderland”) and it’s driving him literally crazy. He is desperate for her to fix his hat and get him back to the world he feels he belongs in.

After hearing this statement, I can’t help but reflect on myself as a writer. When I write, it’s like I travel to this transcendent, OTHER world. Then when I have to transition back to the real world, sometimes it’s rather jarring and upsetting. In the real world, I have pains, struggles, and troubles that I don’t have in my fantasy world. My fantasy world can be whatever I want it to be, but the real world CAN’T. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy trying to balance the two.

Is this really good for me? Is it healthy to live in two worlds at once?

Most people in their right mind would likely say “No, of course it’s not healthy. You’re killing your powers of realistic thinking and torturing yourself for no reason.” Some people would diagnose me with a mental disorder. Would they be correct?

The answer? Maybe. But maybe not.

Don’t we all have a fantasy life? Isn’t it something God created us with? Don’t we all  need to “break free from reality” sometimes? (Yes, that was a Kenny Chesney reference.)

I’m not saying that all people who are diagnosed with a mental disorder are actually “normal” people with a misdiagnosis. Some people literally are insane or psychologically troubled. But I think the rest of us just need a balance. What’s real and what’s not? How do we reconcile the two and how do we deal with it when the real world isn’t as great as our fantasy world?

Food for thought. And now I need some food for my stomach. So chow! I mean, ciao!

~N. L.

Fabulous…Monday?


Yes I know, the words don’t even belong in the same sentence. But behold, it is possible!

This is where I went today with the kids I babysit–

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It’s right there in their subdivision! Cool, or what??

 

We had a fantastic time today rocking out to the likes of “Beautiful Soul” and “Dynamite,” chasing bubbles, and getting WET. And it was perfect weather. And when work was over, I sped down the road with the music (and the bass) turned up. And now I’m chilling on a gloriously comfy couch writing this. And God is good. Put those all together, and it was a GREAT day.

Don’t worry, I’m still working on my various writing projects! I will start work on the Siranai pilot episode pretty soon, but first I want to know EXACTLY what I’m doing so I’m going to go beat it out. Like right now. So, later readers!

“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

 

~N. L.

My Story


I don’t generally follow trends, but seeing as how a lot of my friends have shared their life story and it has been an encouragement to others, I think I’ll give it a whirl. It terrifies me to think about digging so deep into my past, it’s not very pretty, (I’ve tried it before and just couldn’t get through it) but I think it might be helpful for me, and who knows who else it might help, so here goes. (Warning: it’s going to be long… There’s a lot to write about…)

 

My story begins in a seemingly typical fundamental Baptist family. 2 parents, male and female, married, church members, and pretty much middle class. I was a long-awaited first child, and my mom was so overjoyed when she found out she was carrying me that she spilled orange juice all over herself (do I think that was a foreshadowing of how clumsy I was destined to be? Absolutely). The first 9 years of my life went pretty smoothly; I almost always had a best friend, my music talent was discovered and I did a lot of singing in church, I learned to read at age 4, I came to Christ at age 5, and school was pretty much a breeze for me. My brother Christopher developed autism during that time, but honestly, (up until recently, when he got much worse) I loved him that way and wouldn’t have changed him for anything. My only major woes were 1), I had only brothers and LONGED for a little sister, and 2) I developed acid reflux when I was 7-8 years old, which has been a plague all my life. Unfortunately the second woe never got resolved, but I love telling about the way the first one did.

Up until I was 9, I prayed with my mom for babies to be added to the family. Every time I prayed, I got a sibling… and EVERY TIME it was a boy. THREE TIMES I got a boy instead of a girl, and by the time I was the oldest sibling in a house with 3 little boys, I’d had enough. I finally prayed for a SISTER, and lo and behold, I got my wish. Ariel Joy Singleton was born when I was 9 years and 9 days old and that was the day I learned about praying specifically. God wants you to pray what you mean and mean what you pray!

So I had a great life, in spite of some difficulties. Things could only go up from there, right?

Umm, wrong.

Around the time when I was 9-10 we started noticing something was wrong with the family dynamic, specifically with my dad. He was so angry all the time and just brought a feeling of general not-okayness to the household. My mom suspected something was up, but never was able to bring it to light until my dad confessed it. When I was 11-12, my parents began the long and agonizing process of splitting up, due to my dad’s adultery.

I will not go into gross details out of respect for my family, but I will tell you that this event was one of the most defining things about my life so far. To this day, I have trouble dealing with stress, trusting men, trusting people in general, opening up, believing in myself, and much more because of it. But I also feel like without this event in my life, I would not be who I am today. My feelings would not be as deep, my thought processes would not be as enlightened, and in general I would be a much more shallow person, incapable of understanding the traumas that other people face in their own lives. I would not trade my circumstances for anything in the world.

Because of my position as the oldest child in a single-parent home, I had to grow up really fast. Too fast, really, and I lost a portion of my childhood that I feel I can never recover. However, life did go on after the separation, and I had a couple of semi-happy years after my dad left. It was like a weight was lifted from the household and we could breathe again… but yet, at times, the grief from what I had just been through was overwhelming. I often felt a pull to the knife drawer, as if someone was telling me that killing myself would make it all better. I never attempted suicide, but it was a thought in my mind for quite a while after the separation and one that would come back to haunt me later in life when another “man” didn’t treat me very well.

Tragedy struck again 2 years after the separation. My grandfather on my mom’s side, Raymond Hayes, came down with pancreatic cancer when I was 14. That year was very hard for the entire Hayes family as we watched Granddaddy’s health decline, praying for a miracle but knowing deep down inside that there wasn’t much to be done. He was such a special person. Some people couldn’t understand why I was so devastated about his death, but there was just something about the way he treated all his children and grandchildren that made you feel like you were someone TRULY special. He loved it when I played the piano and always said he wanted to see me playing the organ in a church someday. Truth is, I hated the organ, but I wish I’d had the chance to learn it and play it for him now. I think he’d be proud of me for going into Music Ed. Sometimes I hate cancer for taking him away.

Granddaddy died while I was gone on a mission trip to New York City, and I hate to admit it, but I was bitter about that at the time. I thought God had failed me. After all, I was gone serving God and I begged God not to let him die while I was gone, but He did anyway. I spent about 2 weeks being angry at God for that, but then wised up and realized I NEEDED God right then. I missed Him, and it was in preparation for, during, and after that mission trip that I really made my salvation and my relationship with Him a surety. I know we have a relationship, because when something comes between us or I run away, I FEEL it. My mind, body, and spirit cry out in pain until I return to Him, and I can recognize when He’s calling to me.

4 weeks after Granddaddy died, I went to Music Camp at Northland Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin. It was the best camp week of my life, and it was there that I surrendered to God’s calling on my life to be a music teacher (I wandered from that for about 5 years, and have finally come back to it now because God just won’t let anything else work out until I obey Him… heh). I also learned while I was there from my counselor, Stephanie, that I wasn’t just a “victim” of God’s will for other people’s lives. Everything that had happened to me up to that point was for ME, so I could grow as a person in the specific situation that I was placed in. That has made such a difference in my life.

The next couple of years were full of friends, fun, and laughter. My high school years were not perfect, but I have tons of great memories with great people. I discovered in high school that I have talents in composing music and in writing, and it was a very exciting experience to feel like I could create something that other people could really enjoy. My first attempts at writing were… well to be frank, embarrassing… but it was obvious to everyone that there was both an aptitude and an interest there and ever since then, I’ve just had this feeling that I’m going to accomplish something big someday. The way my writing started was actually as a coping strategy for the traumas I had gone through in my Jr. High years. When I was overwhelmed with the sadness and the depression around and inside me, I would go off on wild flights of fancy in my head; usually about my favorite characters from my favorite TV shows. One idea from that time period has stuck with me up to the present day: Siranai. It was not called that at the time (and I have to give my friend, Danae, props for a lot of the original ideas) but the idea was born in that era and has grown ever since.

My life took on a dramatic twist when I met my first boyfriend online at age 17. It was a whirlwind cyber-romance, and 5 days after meeting each other we were boyfriend and girlfriend… and stayed that way, foolishly, for over 2 years. I alienated a LOT of people during that time in my life, and I can’t ever say how much I regret it. It was during that time that some of my depressive/suicidal thoughts came back and I wasn’t a very fun person to be around for a while, plus I refused to listen to a lot of smart people that told me to get away from him. However, I did break up with him about a year ago, and since then I’ve begun to pick up the pieces and I’m chasing the stars once again. I have to say this is another one of those events that in a way, I wish had never happened, but yet I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The experience I gained from being in a failed relationship has helped me to understand other people even more and I know it will be used greatly in my future.

Now, at age 20, I am so glad that my coping method for my depression and suicidal thoughts 8 years ago was my imagination. I am not ashamed at all to say I have never smoked, drunk alcohol, done drugs, or had sex (not that I think all of those things are inherently evil, but people in traumatic situations can easily become trapped by such things). God has been very gracious in preserving me from the addictive power of all of those, although I still have my own struggles. Things like overeating, severe anxiety, and a cutting/complaining tongue are HUGE problems for me, and while that may sound minor to some people, to me those are enough to keep me out of heaven had Jesus Christ not taken the punishment for my sins. I still struggle to believe sometimes that such an amazing story could be true, but I see the evidence of God’s existence all around me and cannot deny His love for me. He is real, He is involved with us, and He loves ALL of us enough to send His own Son. I pray that my life will become better and better at proclaiming that through the years.

My plans right now (subject to change) are to keep writing and composing as I simultaneously pursue a degree in Music Education, with voice as my principal. My writing will mostly be focused on a pilot episode of my TV-series-in-progress, Siranai, which I hope to actually sell within the next 5-7 years. What really happens in my life is all up to God. “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

If you made it this far, congrats, and thanks for reading this novel 😉

~N. Lingarow

Wow… That failed.


You know how I said I was gonna try to post every other day? Heheh… Yeah… Not gonna happen. Obviously. Oh well.

What I AM going to do is give frequent updates, though. I’ve got the ideas for 10 episodes written for Siranai. Pretty soon I’m going to start up again on the pilot screenplay, but first I’m trying to research and make sure I’m really ready to make something pitch-worthy. It’s time to get serious.

I am also working on a worship song based on my life verse, Psalm 28:7, called “With My Song.” It’s going to be a song for soprano and alto and it’s basically just a rephrasing of Psalm 28. Hopefully when I get it done it will be suitable for a duet or ensemble (and I might use some of my church friends as guinea pigs 😉 )

Happy Spring, readers! Hopefully I will have some exciting updates coming up in the next few months 🙂

~N. Lingarow