faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Eva’s Grandson

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19, NIV

Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when her family was sent to an Auschwitz concentration camp. Because she had a twin sister named Miriam, she and her sister were experimented on. 

Dr. Josef Mengele, known to many as the “Angel of Death,” would perform cruel and unusual medical operations. He was fascinated by twins, and they were often the subject of his torture. 

Often, Eva and her sister would be injected with various substances. One of these injections made Eva very sick. She heard Mengele claim that she would die shortly. That’s when she made a decision to prove him wrong and live in spite of her conditions.

After months of cruelty, Eva and her sister were rescued from the brutal camp. The girls eventually moved to Israel, where they finally felt safe for the first time in years.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Holocaust, Eva read aloud a letter of forgiveness that she’d written to the Nazis and those working with them. 

Rainer Höss heard of her letter and reached ohttps://amzn.to/3i0kQN5ut. He was the grandson of a top SS guard, and he wanted to meet her. The pair’s first meeting was at Auschwitz.

They stayed in touch and were friends until Eva died on July 4, 2019. Eva even described Rainer as her grandson, the two having adopted each other as family. 

God, help me to forgive those that have wronged me. Show me how to let go so I can live without hate or bitterness in my heart. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.


If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Brotherly Love

“But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”

(Genesis 33:4, NIV)

Esau and his younger brother, Jacob were twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. From the time they were in the womb into their adult years, they fought. The two had such distinct personalities that they were as different as night and day.

When he was hungry, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. He exchanged it for a bowl of stew. A temporary meal was what he traded for his heritage.

After time passed, Isaac aged. He was no longer able to see, and he knew his time on earth was growing short. He called for his older son, Esau, to prepare him a meal. And then he would bless him.

But Jacob disguised himself and claimed the blessing for himself. This enraged Esau, so Jacob fled to a distant country. For the next two decades, the brothers remained strangers. 

When Jacob went to return home, he heard that Esau was coming to greet him. He was terrified that his brother was planning to slaughter him and his family. So, he went humbly, bowing before his twin. 

Esau ignored the gifts and instead tackled Jacob in a hug. Together, they wept, and all was forgiven between the two. 

Do you have a sibling you need to forgive, or someone you long to reconcile with? Take a page out of Jacob’s book and pray over your reunion. 

God, You see what’s happened between me and (sibling’s name). I ask for healing and forgiveness over this situation. Please restore us to a loving relationship. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Not Getting Even

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

(Genesis 50:20, NIV)

Joseph was one of the first victims of human trafficking. His jealous brothers sold him, and he was taken to be a servant in a foreign land. 

The fear he must have felt as he traveled to a strange country had to be overwhelming. But what could he do? Thousands of miles from home and without any money, he had no options.

So, Joseph became a servant. He worked hard, and it wasn’t long before other people began to notice. Because God was with him, Joseph quickly advanced to his master’s right hand man. He was in charge of everything Potiphar owned.

Potiphar’s wife took special notice of Joseph and began harassing him on the job. When he continued to decline her advances, the woman eventually claimed that Joseph had assaulted her.

Joseph was sent to prison without a trial or defender. But even there, God was with him, and Joseph prospered. Eventually, Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt, serving directly under the Pharaoh. 

Years later, Joseph’s brothers were worried about retaliation. They came to him promising to be his slaves, and Joseph was finally in a position to pay them back. He could have ordered them and their families to be executed. He could have sent them to prison for what they did.

This is his moment for retribution, but Joseph never takes it.

That’s a simple way to tell if you’ve forgiven someone. Ask yourself, “If I had the opportunity to repay someone for the evil they’ve done to me, would I take the chance?” 

God, let me be like Joseph, who never sought to hurt his brothers for the evil they’d inflicted on him. Instead, let me focus on You and Your plan to redeem this situation for Your glory and my good. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: From Death to Life

“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.”

(Psalm 79:9, NIV)

Mary Johnson was at work when she learned her son had been murdered. She struggled through the next few months including the trial of his killer, Oshea Israel. Oshea was just sixteen years old when he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

At the trial, Mary said she forgave Oshea. But she carried around anger and bitterness with her constantly. 

She struggled with feeling hate toward Oshea. That changed when she read a beautiful poem about two mothers who were grieving over the loss of their sons. One had lost her son to violence at the hand of the other one’s son.

The poem sparked in Mary a vision for an organization that could help heartbroken mothers who had lost a child. But she knew she needed to work on forgiving Oshea, so she reached out to him in prison.

When the two met together, they talked for over two hours. Mary offered forgiveness again, and before she left Oshea asked if he could give her a hug. As she walked out of the prison that day, Mary felt all of the hate and bitterness leave her body.

In 2010, when Oshea was released from prison, Mary threw him a party. The two now travel together and speak at events, sharing their story. Her organization is aptly named From Death to Life.

God, help me not to hang onto bitterness and hatred in my heart. I don’t want to drag this anger with me for the rest of my life. Help me to release this burden to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Completely Faithful

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

(Hosea 3:1, NIV)

One of the most striking examples of forgiveness in Scripture is the story of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet living in Israel during a time of great unrest. 

The king on the throne frequently changed due to various assassinations. The Israelite people were being heavily taxed by another nation and lived in fear of being conquered.

But God had a message of hope and restoration for His people. That’s why He commanded Hosea to marry. But He didn’t want Hosea marrying just anyone. Instead, He instructed Hosea to wed a prostitute by the name of Gomer.

After being with Hosea for some time and bringing kids into their union, Gomer leaves Hosea. Hosea goes searching for and buys Gomer back so he can restore her to a right relationship with himself. 

This was done to illustrate that while Israel (and by extension those who love God) may be unfaithful at times, God (much like Hosea) is completely faithful. He loves you, even when you are far from Him, and there’s no price He won’t pay to bring you home.

God, You have stood with me through everything. You surround and protect me, caring for me always. Thank You for Your constant faithfulness! In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Love Covers All

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

(1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Nobuo Fujita was a Japanese aircraft pilot during World War II. One of his missions was to drop bombs over the coast of Oregon. After dropping two bombs, he flew back to his military base. 

Thankfully, the forest area where Nobuo dropped the bombs had an unusually wet season. The ground was saturated, and while one bomb sparked a fire it was easily contained and no one was injured.

Despite the fact that no one was hurt, Nobuo felt deep sorrow over what he’d done. So, he visited Brookings, Oregon, the town that was just miles from where he’d released those missiles.

When he arrived, Nobuo brought with him a samurai sword that had been in his family for centuries. He apologized for his actions and gifted the town with the sword. Despite some controversy, most of the townspeople welcomed Nobuo warmly.

Over the years, Nobuo would periodically return to Brookings. On one visit, he planted a tree where he’d dropped the bombs, as a symbol of peace and friendship.

The town continued to embrace Nobuo, and in 1997 he became an honorary citizen, proving that forgiveness can be stronger than hate. 

God, help me to demonstrate Your love by forgiving those who have wronged me. Let me welcome, with open arms, those that need my forgiveness. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encourageme

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

General Book Stuff, Writing

Some Questions and Answers About BELIEVE IN ME

some questions and answers about believe in me

I recently received a Facebook message from a reader about my second chance Christmas romance novella, BELIEVE IN ME. I thought the questions and answers might be of interest to other readers – or potential readers – so I wanted to include them in a blog post.

Now, I’m reintroducing you to BELIEVE IN ME.

Believe in Me by Mishael Austin Witty

Q: I’m still confused as to why Walt kissed Trina’s sister back if he had no feelings for her? 

A: Walt kissed Trina’s sister because he was scared and confused about their relationship at the time. Insecurity…and she kind of caught him unawares.

Q: Why did her sister not attempt to get through to Trina more? Why did she really kiss Walt?

Trina’s sister kissed Walt because of sibling rivalry/jealousy gone really, really wrong. She wanted what Trina had – that true, real commitment. She just made a mistake in thinking she could get that with Walt herself. As to why she didn’t try to get through to Trina more… Trina wouldn’t take her calls and basically shut her out. Also, she felt guilty for what she had done, and you don’t usually make a major effort to contact someone if you feel guilty for hurting them – at least not until you come to a point where you’re ready to restore the relationship with them and sense that they won’t totally reject you.

Q: Why was her family not more angry about the situation?

Now, regarding her family… they were upset about it at first, but Tammy’s their daughter too. They wanted to forgive her, and they didn’t have nearly as much trouble with it as Trina did. Also, they knew Walt was sincere in his love for Trina, so they wanted to help them try to make it all work out so they could get back together.

This led to some followup questions and answers.

Q: But if Walt felt nothing for the sister why would he return the kiss, and he know Trina loved him and that this would be unforgivable? If Trina had not caught them would it have gone further? 

Walt wasn’t sure of Trina’s love at that point, and people who feel unloved do weird things.

[I didn’t answer the second part of that question in my message because I wanted to focus on the remaining questions and answers. But, FTR, I do not think it would have gone further. I’m pretty sure Walt would have stopped it. In fact, he did push Tammy away. Trina just didn’t see him do it.]

Q: I just had no sympathy for Trina’s sister. If you love your sister you do not betray them that way. I disagree to an extent as well. When I feel guilty, even though I feel ashamed, if I really love someone I would try to get through to them. To be honest, I don’t know if Trina should have forgiven both of them.

Different people react to situations in different ways. And damaged people react out of their brokenness. Hurt begets hurt, but there is hope once you’re able to see past the hurt.

Q: Should Trina’s parents not have been more annoyed that Trina and Walt caused such pain in the family? Should they not have been wary of trusting Walt with their daughter’s heart after the betrayal?

I believe anyone can be forgiven for anything. That’s what I hoped to bring out in the story. One of my favorite quotes is this:

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

~Lewis B Smedes~

Unforgiveness doesn’t do anything to hurt the person who hurt you, but it does a lot to hurt you inside. Seeds of bitterness get sown, take root, and sprout into a nasty weed that chokes out everything good in your life.

I wanted BELIEVE IN ME to be a story about love, forgiveness, and freedom… not bondage to hatred and bitterness. That’s why I had my characters work everything out the way they did.

I really love hearing from readers, and I’m so glad that reader took the time out to express what was on her heart and mind. If always welcome interactions with readers.

If you read one of my books and have questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me. I can’t promise, though, that it won’t inspire a blog post – especially if I feel it might benefit other readers.

Book Reviews, General Book Stuff, Writing

BELIEVE IN ME: The Story Behind the Story

In recent weeks, following the amazing free Kindle download days for BELIEVE IN ME (June 1 and 2, 2013), I’ve gotten several new reviews on it, including two one-star reviews from people who seemed to not really get what I was trying to do with the story. I thought the story description – especially the tagline – said it all: Reconciliations can occur. Broken hearts can be mended. If you believe. But maybe I was wrong.

 

BELIEVE IN ME is, at its core, a story of RECONCILIATION. The dictionary definition of “reconciliation” is “the condition of being reconciled”…which is not very helpful unless you understand what “to reconcile” means. The Merriam-Webster definition is this: “to restore to friendship or harmony”.

 

Why would a friendship (or, in this case, a marriage) need to be restored? Because something’s broken. Something destroyed it, and now it needs to be repaired…or else abandoned altogether. People in today’s society are often way too eager to abandon a marriage (or, indeed, most ANY relationship) when it ceases to “work” for them.

 

The fact is that people are imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes. And when you put two imperfect people together in a close relationship like marriage, you’re going to have problems. Ultimately, it’s how you deal with those problems that dictates the success (or failure) of your marriage. You have to be completely committed to each other – and to the relationship – no matter what the personal cost.

 

Here’s what one of the one-star reviewers said (in part), “Everybody is basically self-centered and doesn’t do anything with any common sense. If my mother sided with my husband and sister and treated me like I was the bad guy, why would I go to her house for Christmas? Didn’t take too long to read but I stuck with it hoping for someone in the family to come to their senses; didn’t happen”.

 

I mean, maybe I didn’t do a good job (as the author) of explaining the obligation. In the opening scene, Trina didn’t want to go to her mother’s house, and she certainly didn’t want to meet with her sister. But she felt a certain sense of duty that pulled her into that situation. The family relationships were more important to Trina than her own desires…so I find it particularly interesting that this reviewer thought every character was being self-centered.

 

The other one-star review? I seemed to really touch a nerve with this person. “I am so pissed at this family that I am trying to see where the sweet romance is going to come in. Unlike Steve Harvey, I believe once a cheater always a cheater. Besides, the mother sets her up, has her drive 5 hrs for Christmas without telling her the soon to be ex-husband is also staying for the holidays! REALLY, you would do that to your own kid? That would be one ex-mother for me!” An ex-mother? Once a cheater, always a cheater? Seems like this person really doesn’t understand the meaning of the word forgiveness.

 

And that’s what BELIEVE IN ME really is. It’s a story of love – real, sacrificial love – and forgiveness. It’s a tale that shows the magic that occurs when two people realize that they both played a part in making a bad situation worse, but they can both change their attitudes and turn things around to make it right again.

 

This book is a romance story, but it’s not a romance in the traditional sense of the word. There’s very little sex (really, none at all), but there is a happy ending. Sort of like a fairy tale with no real heroes/heroines and a very Christian message (even though there is some mention of adultery and premarital sex – big “no no’s” in the Christian market).

 

As the author, I can honestly say that it hurts that these two individuals didn’t like the story, but I loved the fact that they hated it enough to share their thoughts on it. At least I elicited some emotion from them. Still, I can’t help wondering if I failed in some way by not getting the true message of the story across in a more completely.

 

Now that you know the story behind (and the true theme of) the story, maybe you’d like to view some excerpts of BELIEVE IN ME. Those can be viewed by clicking here. Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Just leave me a comment (or a review on Amazon, if you’ve already read the book).

Mishael Austin Witty