Moon Over Edisto and Forgiveness by Beth Webb Hart

What would be the most difficult thing to forgive?  That was the question I was turning over in my mind like a lemon drop on the tongue when the idea for my new novel, Moon Over Edisto, materialized.

Moon Over Edisto is about a young woman, Julia Bennett, whose best friend from college has an affair with her father, and the ripples of this particular betrayal expand like this:  Julia’s father divorces her mother, marries his young love, they have a family of their own before he dies very suddenly of a heart attack one morning while painting a landscape on their Edisto Island dock.  Then, the real action begins…

Because the back cover editor says it so much better than I do, here is the novel’s description, and I’ll follow up below with a few thoughts on forgiveness:

Edisto Island was where it all came apart. Can the Bennett girls ever be whole again?

Once, they were the happiest family under the sun, crabbing and fishing and painting on beautiful Edisto Island in South Carolina’s lowcountry.

Then everything went wrong, and twenty years later the Bennett family is still in pieces. Mary Ellen still struggles to understand why her picture-perfect marriage came apart. Daughter Meg keeps a death grip on her own family, controlling her relationships at a distance. And eldest daughter, Julia, left it all behind years ago, forging a whole new life as an artist and academic in Manhattan. She’s engaged to an art dealer and has no intentions of returning to Edisto. Ever.

Then an emergency forces Julia back to Edisto to care for her three young half-siblings. She grudgingly agrees to stay a week. But there’s something about Edisto that changes people. Can Julia and her fractured family somehow manage to come together again under that low-hanging Edisto moon?

So why did I choose to write about the need to forgive a parent and an old friend for a  particularly painful betrayal?  Well, I can tell you it certainly isn’t because I have the whole forgiveness thing down to a science, checked off my list of to-dos and folded neatly in a drawer next to the linen napkins.  Rather, it’s because it’s something I struggle with daily.  It’s completely counterintuitive.  It’s something I agonize over quite frequently because I know I am absolutely commanded to do it (and if I don’t, my spiritual growth is stunted)… and yet – oh my – it’s hard, hard, hard!  (Especially after you’ve nursed a wound for years, reenacting a painful scene over and over for decades in your mind.)

However, that’s what makes story such a safe and therapeutic place to redress old wounds, to confront injustice and ultimately, to ask God for the supernatural help to let it go.  And then, to reach out in love.

Like Julia I’m a broken, flawed, weak human being living in a fallen world where I’m surrounded by others who share my affliction.  I’ve been wounded and unfairly treated, and I’ve done those things right back at the people I loved most, even the most innocent.  Such is my condition, the human condition.  Such is my need for someone to rescue me from myself and the world in which I have no choice but to live in.

Julia finds a way through this, and she finds an utterly unexpected hope and joy in the most unlikely of places.  Love, in the end, covers a multitude of sins.  I know from personal experience, that this much is true.  Thanks be to God!

**WIN A COPY OF Moon Over Edisto!  One given away each day this week! 

To celebrate the release of Moon Over Edisto, Beth’s publisher is giving away 5 copies of the book (one each day)! 

To ENTER: answer the question of the day: Do you think forgiving those who have wounded you is crucial to your overall well-being?  Share your thoughts.

For more info.on Beth Webb Hart’s novels click here

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Do you think forgiving those who have wounded you is crucial to your overall well-being? Oh yes – as you said, Beth, we are commanded to do so. I struggle, not with forgiving though it’s hard, but with forgiving before my Father God and the person not knowing they are forgiven. Sometimes wondering why I am doing it if they will never know, or even know they NEED forgiveness!

    That’s my struggle – forgiving when the other person “has done no wrong”!! But my forgiveness comes in acknowledging I do forgive, and in praying for changed hearts and broken pride of someone who would say “I have done NOTHING wrong.”

    My life is filled with joy, faith, love, peace – none of which would be available to me from my God if I was harboring unforgiveness in my heart – so each day I speak forgiveness and receive God’s gifts gratefully! God bless you sweet one! Thanks for the post today. love, C

  2. admin says

    Claudia,

    I know exactly what you mean. Most people who have harmed us most, don’t think they need forgiveness at all. That’s hard. The good news is, that’s not our problem, I think. If we forgive and let it go, we trust God to do the rest. The person may never see, but our hearts are at peace and we know we did what we could from our end. There is a beautiful prayer called the 4 way prayer of forgiveness that I learned about in prayer ministry training and have used a lot. It goes like this:

    1. Name all the things the person has done to you that wounded you and release them to God.
    2. Name all the things you may have done to the person that may have hurt them and release them to God.
    3. Pray for what you hope for that person’s life and future and release that to God.
    4. Pray for what you want for your own life from here on out and give that to God as well.

    Can’t tell you what supernatural peace comes after this. Thank you so much for your honest, heartfelt insights.

    Wishing you peace in this and all things.

    Love,
    Beth Webb

  3. says

    What a thought-provoking post! I agree that forgiveness is crucial to overall well-being. I am one of those folks who gets over things pretty easily and quickly…and I think it’s part of my ‘people pleasing’ attitude. Sometimes that’s good–sometimes not. But, it’s so hard to live with hard feelings hanging over your head and in your heart. I know that bitterness and unforgiveness can hinder us in so many ways, especially in our walk with the Lord. I can’t control the other end of things, but I can pray for the Lord to help me on my end. However, even after forgiving someone privately before the Lord…the ‘reaching out in love’ part is probably the hardest.

    Can’t wait to read Moon Over Edisto!

    Blessings,
    Amy O’Quinn

  4. Lisa Wingate says

    So beautifully said, Beth! Yes, I do think extending forgiveness is crucial to our well being, both physically and emotionally. The body and mind have only so much energy to expend, and when we burn it up rehashing old hurts, we sacrifice something better that could be consuming our time and energy ;o)

  5. Sharon says

    I so agree that forgiving those who have wronged me is a key to my peace. But, how to get there? I think I’ve done it, but sometimes the old resentments just pop back up into my consciousness. I love your 4 point prayer, Beth. Instead of stewing over the past, I’ll pray right then.

    I love this book. I posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads because I hope to influence many other people to read and soak up your wisdom. Bless you!

  6. says

    Thank you so much, Amy, Lisa and Sharon.

    Amy: You’re right. The reaching out is the hardest. It was healing to write about someone reaching and going beyond what was normal to love an unloveable person.

    Lisa: So true. Why waste the energy on unforgiveness?

    Sharon: Thank you for your continuous encouragement of the story. The forgiveness thing is moment by moment, I agree. Just when you think you are over it, it comes back up again – and oh so quickly. Tgen it’s time to ask for help again. This keeps drawing us back the only One who can give us the strength to do it.

    Love to all,
    BW

  7. Virginia Rush says

    WOW Beth you laid your whole self out and vulnerable above….but isn’t that what we are called to do? You have it down to a fine art, one that you can teach on and know absolutely what you are talking about. Does it mean it’s perfected, probably not, because we are still taking the journey, learning and re-learning and praying we get it half way right by the time we meet Him face to face. But you can definitely teach others about forgiveness, the how, the why and the because….

    it’s definitely crucial to who we are, how we are and who we are going to be? although my dad didn’t have another family (that I know of), he definitely left us and didn’t look back….we lost him in so many ways before he died….I choose to remember who he was and know the rest was out of my hands. No one could ever take his place. I have enough sins of my own so forgiving is essential to life and well being…but it took me years upon years to learn that.

    you did good Beth….I can only beg for a sequel!!!!!!

  8. Pamela Hargraves says

    Yes I definitely feel that it is crucial to our well-being to forgive those who have wounded us, but oh so hard to do. If you don’t forgive the bitterness grows and we will never heal and if we can’t forgive others how will they be able to us. Such an imp0ortant concept.

  9. says

    Wonderful conversation on the porch today. Beth has done a brilliant job presenting a beautiful story wth Moon Over Edisto and encouraging us all to accept the challenge of true forgiveness. Good job, Beth!

  10. Katie Steiner says

    Yes, I definitely think that forgiving those that hurt you is crucial to us. I think the deeper the hurt the more important it is to forgive because otherwise you will most likely end up bitter and resentful and that will hurt you more in the long run than holding a grudge. It eats you up inside when you hold onto unforgiveness and whether or not it hurts the other person it ends up destroying you.
    That isn’t the most important reason though why we should forgive. Jesus forgives us. He that was no sin became sin so that we would be saved. Jesus who was pure forgives every single one of us sinners. No one but Jesus is sinless. If we don’t forgive its like telling Jesus no thank you for His gift that He died for. Also if we don’t forgive it will keep us out of Heaven and nothing is worth that. I’m not saying its easy to forgive those who have hurt us deeply but with God’s help we can do anything. I can do all things through Christ who strengths me. Philippians 4:13

  11. Velma says

    I know from personal experience that forgiving someone who had wounded you is definitely crucial to your over-all well-being. About three years ago, a woman who I considered a friend, told a horiffic lie that almost ruined my marriage and my life as I knew it at the time. Due to this lie, we were forced to leave the church that I had attended for years and where my husband and I met and were married. This one lie completely turned my word upside down. I was so hurt and angry that it was like poison to my soul. My husband and I were led to another church where we were able to start healing, both our own spirits and our marriage. I knew that if I wanted to continue to have communion with God, I had to forgive this woman even though she never (and still has never) seeked forgiveness from us or even admitted that she lied. I didn’t want bitterness to grow in my heart and to consume me. I saw that happen to my mother, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life hating someone. I knew that if I ever expected God to forgive me of my sins, I had to forgive this person. At the time, it was eating me up inside. I would not even take communion at church because I knew that my heart was not where it needed to be. I began by praying and asking God to help me forgive this person. I told God that within myself, I knew that I could not forgive her, but I knew it was His will for me to forgive, so I was making it my will to forgive. What I have found is that forgiveness is a daily process. No, I didn’t forgive this person overnight,but by continually taking it to my Father, I was able to release the hurt and anger to him. I was able to start healing and in turn my marriage was able to heal, and become stronger in the process. Three years later, can I say that I have forgiven her? Well, I can say that I no longer have thoughts of pulling her hair out of her head, and when I found out that she lost her business, I actually felt sorry for her and her family because I knew how hard she had worked to get it started. I still do not want to have any communication with her or for her to ever be part of my life again, but I wish her no harm, and my own heart does not ache over the hurt any longer. When my thoughts start wondering, and I find myself thinking about the situation again, I take those thoughts captive and instead praise God for how He moved for my husband, our marriage, and myself. By allowing God control, I witnessed Him move mountains and what the enemy sought to use the destroy my life, brought me closer to God and to my husband.

    Again, I am looking forward to reading your new novel. I have read all of your previous novels and have enjoyed them immensely. May God continue to breathe on your talent.

    • says

      What a story, Velma. Thank you so much for sharing it. What a process… and that’s exactly what it is most of the time, a long process. But drawing near to Him every time it creeps back up and wishing your enemy no harm – I’d say He has transformed and healed your heart, friend. Thanks be to God! And to you for showing us how it’s done.

      Love,
      Beth Webb Hart

  12. Rachel Hauck says

    BW, great post. Yes, I think it’s critical to our overall well being to forgive others. Holding them in prison puts us in prison. In many ways, gives them control in our lives and they can continue to hurt us.

    Besides, God forgave us a huge debt! How much more should we forgive others!

    Rachel

  13. admin says

    BW, wise woman, you have given us another treasure packed story. I enjoyed it and can’t wait to talk about Friday when my number comes up .:))) Blessings!

  14. karenk says

    Beth,
    What a powerful posting…thanks for sharing your heart & soul.
    Forgiveness should be so easy…but sometimes it’s so very hard.
    It has taken me a long time, but I learned that if you do not forgive,
    the bitterness in your heart speads and hardens your being…not
    a healthy lifestyle.
    I cannot wait to read your latest masterpiece.
    Blessings :)

  15. Sheri says

    I love the description of the book . . it sounds like a great book with some difficult family issues. I definitely feel that forgiveness is important because it will take over your life if you let it. Of course, that is easier said than done.

  16. Cindy barriga says

    Yes, I do believe forgiving those that have hurt us is important for our mental and physical health. Hate is like a slow eating disease on the body and it is best kept out of our system.

  17. Cyndi W. says

    I agree… forgiveness is essential. The bitterness that comes with unforgiveness poisons and destroys ME, not the focus of the unforgiveness. I totally agree with the earlier comments!

  18. Beth says

    I definitely think that forgiving those who have wounded you as crucial to well-being. You can truly get past something until you’ve forgiven that person. How can you get over the offense without forgiving the offender? At least that’s how I think about it. Plus, Christ forgave me for everything that I’ve done & yet to do. Just my two cents :)

    Beth

  19. Sandi Caton says

    Forgiveness is essential to your well being – physically & mentally. Harboring a grudge can cause many diseases and ruin your overall mental health. The grudge is always there to grab you when you least expect it – waiting to ruin any peace, joy and love that you may find along the way. There is a freedom realized when we forgive – whether it is deserved or not. Did we deserve Christ’s ultimate forgiveness? No, He gave it without our even realizing we needed it.

  20. Jean Smith says

    Yes i believe you should forgive those that hae wounded you. Wouldn’t you want them to forgive you. I would love to read your book.

  21. Deb says

    I’m excited. I have read Lisa Wingate’s books and loved every one of them, I haven’t had a chance to read you other 4 authors. I am always looking for authors that write good moral books so will happily look into all your books.

    Thanks to each of the women that have shared their hearts and thoughts. Forgiveness is very hard, but I’ve found that unless I am willing to forgive my healing doesn’t begin. I think we forgive 1st because God has called us to forgive those that hurt us and 2nd so that we can let it go and be healed from the hurt that someone else caused.

  22. Alicia says

    I believe that one should always forgive as commanded but I admit that I still have to forgive someone that I just can’t……

  23. Shyeyes says

    Absolutely, through personal experience I can say once you’ve carried a deep hurt for a long time, and you are finally able to give it to God, and in your heart know you can forgive the person for what they have done to you, it is a huge release in your heart and soul. The sunshine is peaking through the dark clouds that have shrouded you for too long. Your emotional and spiritual being are inseparable, they are one, and when you are at peace you are truly well.

  24. says

    “Do you think forgiving those who have wounded you is crucial to your overall well-being?”

    I do think it is crucial but isn’t it ironic that sometimes I put it off even when I know better. I even know that I’m really hurting myself more than anyone and yet my pride just begs me to hold onto it rather than humble myself and make it right!

    “However, that’s what makes story such a safe and therapeutic place to redress old wounds, to confront injustice and ultimately, to ask God for the supernatural help to let it go. And then, to reach out in love.”

    One of my favorite things about fiction is the power it has. You can tell a story and convey truth in a way that would be offensive in person…but as part of a storyline truth has such power.

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