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Beaten down. I am getting pummeled from all directions. I stand up. I get knocked down.

I turn my cheek and I get hit in the gut.

And while down it is one kick after another.

Our God lyrics

NO ONE! No one can stand against me because my God is for me. So though I’m being beaten, spit upon and pummeled I know I just have to hold on for that one more second because my time will come when I will stand tall and victorious.

Though it is getting easier I am still dealing with that ‘challenge’ I speak of, though it’s taken second fiddle to my friend’s son being in the PICU. David, the 11 year old, is still in need of a miracle. We need movement. Reflexes. Something. Pray for even a twitch. God’s will be done.

persecuted but not destroyed
But what I received last night at midnight I didn’t expect. My publisher emailed me and feels that her company can’t publish REDEEMED unless I take out the parts that are ‘Catholic’.

“That would involve taking out or changing the mention of Jesus hanging still on the cross, Mass, rosaries, the Pope, infant baptism, praying for people who have died, and them praying for us.”

I understand we, as Christians, all have various ways in which we might choose to practice our Christian faith and it doesn’t bother me to read a book and hear a person explain mention a Sunday service or other experience that is inherently a part of who they are when it enhances the story. What I write about in dealing with overcoming past abuse and rectifying intimacy and boundary issues in a marriage is universal. The fact that my Christian faith helped me is a part of me. I can’t take it out. And I would’ve thought that though not everyone reading the book would be Catholic that they would take that experience and see how maybe their own faith could do the same for them. In whatever context that would be.

So, now I am faced with the question – do I publish REDEEMED? Because publishers (Catholic or not) really don’t look at memoirs anymore. Is it worth it? Does God want me to?

This makes me think of our next stop on my pilgrimage in Israel and Turkey. Even though we left off at the Garden of Gethsemane we took a trip the next day to Bethlehem.

The entry into Bethlehem.

It’s not what I pictured the birth place of our Lord to be. Heavily guarded keeping Palestinian Christians inside the gates. On the other side of the gates we met with a Palestinian Christian man who gave us the tour of his city (once a ‘little town’ but now much resembled a bustling city.) He explained that Palestinian Christians are only allowed outside of the gates into Jerusalem twice a year. Christmas and Easter.

The division and oppression is heartbreaking.

My mom and I at lunch in Bethlehem. The doorway to the church where they have the manger of Christ's birth. And our group waiting to go down the very narrow path into the lower part of the church where the spot of the 'manger' was...(or there abouts)

I know the issue of the division in Israel is complicated and not one that I could begin to grasp or answer the ‘why’. But a division in our own Christian denominations is befuddling. I personally do not believe it is in the will of the Lord. But, till the day we come together as one, I will respect others beliefs and hold true to mine.