Tag Archives: divorce

Praised Singer/Songwriter Josh Wilson Launches Website in Response to Fan Reaction of Latest Single “Fall Apart”

16 Jun

From The Media Collective: (Nashville, Tenn) June 16, 2011–Sparrow Records’ critically acclaimed artist Josh Wilson has a history of penning riveting songs that tug at the heartstrings of listeners. As with his captivating chart topper “Before the Morning” (Life is Not a Snapshot, 2009) and now his latest single Fall Apart(See You, 2011) testimonials from fans are pouring in explaining how the song has touched their lives and how God has pulled them through when they too had “fallen apart.”

Due to the influx of responses, Wilson has launched www.whenifallapart.com, where listeners can watch a touching video from Wilson and hear personal accounts of how their faith pulled them through tough times. Wilson’s hope is that the website can serve as an outlet and resource for those who want to share their story or be encouraged.

Wilson was moved to write “Fall Apart” after he witnessed a friend endure a difficult divorce.

“Right in the middle of it, we had this really amazing conversation, and he said that even though everything was falling apart, he felt God’s presence more than he ever had,” says Wilson.  “He saw how much he needed God. Hard times are a magnifying glass on how much we need him. That’s when we feel God’s presence the most.”

This fall, Wilson will continue to perform the single in addition to other songs from See You, as he shares the stage with GRAMMY ® award winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman and Andrew Peterson. For a full list of tour dates please visit www.joshwilsonmusic.com.

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Read Backseat Writer’s interview with Josh Wilson, “Seeing God’s Hope in Pain” and BSW’s review of See You.

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I Still Believe in Love

24 Aug

Before you write me off as a 30 year-old spinster with slight feminist sympathies, I want you to know that I still believe in love.  I believe in romance and my little girl heart longs for it—just not with a man.  I mean, it does, but at the same time I’m still shattered from my mom’s two divorces (read post).  I know that godly men exist, love their wives, teach their children about God, and desperately seek to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ.  I am fortunate to be acquainted with such men.  However, I am not intimately involved with any as either a daughter or a lover.

Oh, but how I enjoy a good romantic novel (I recently discovered romance novels with Christian characters have come a looooooong way since) or a chick flick!  I feel happy (and slightly jealous) when a husband professes his love for his wife or vice versa.  I do want to know that kind of love, even if my hard heart is fighting tooth and nail against it.

And, love, oh love—what shall I do with you?  I mean, I love my parents, my friends, my pets, and of course, God.  But those are different kinds of love than loving a man, than giving my self wholly to a man in the holy mystery of sex.  (Yes, I’m saving my stuff for the altar, if I ever reach it!)  For those of you who have been fortunate to find love, hold it close, even when the feelings fade and the commitment is what counts.  Be committed to being committed. Singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson compares marriage to “dancing in a minefield” in his latest album, Counting Stars.  Sounds scary to me.

There’s another reason I believe in love…and that’s because God is love.  God cannot separate Himself from love because that is what He is.  Love is His nature, His character, and His totality.  In fact, when I consider it, how can I know love at all?  God is so vast, deep, wide, and unfathomable—so love must be the same. We mere mortals try to tie it up with ribbons, flowers, cards, and boxes of candy.  But have you ever stopped to consider that simple expression we’ve seen a million times above the Salvation Army or slapped on the bumper of a car?  God is love.  If we take time to really let that sink in, it should change our entire view of God…and love.

And Love came down in the form of a helpless babe and Love lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again.  Love truly conquers all—it just depends on your definition of Love.  My definition of love is high because it is God.  I even believe in the clumsy kind that we humans mirror because we are made in the image of God.  I have to believe in Love, because I believe in God.

Divorce #2

29 Jul

I have been through two divorces—the ripping apart of one flesh back into two, the division of marital property, wedding pictures thrown into the trash bags along with the hopes and dreams ignited that day, a million tears falling on damp pillows in the darkest of nights.  Yes, I’ve been through two divorces.

The strange thing is—I’ve never been married.

The end of any marriage is a tragedy because marriages weren’t made to end.  But since the Fall of Man, nothing on this Earth follows its original design.  My mom will soon be officially divorced—twice.  I know the shame of having two failed marriages eats at her like termites slowly devouring the foundation of a house.  Sometimes a house needs to fall so its foundation can be rebuilt…and I have seen my mother’s life bottom out.  Now because of the grace and love of God and His people, she is setting a new foundation and rebuilding her life.  Go, Mom!  I am so proud of you!

However, no matter how much it hurts the people I love, I have to be honest.  I’m still reeling from living through two divorces—the first occurring when I just turned 20 and the other just a few months ago.  While I pretend I am just fine, on the inside, it’s killing me.  See, after seeing how a man can ravage a woman through unfaithfulness (my father) and major abuse (my stepfather), I do not think I ever want to open my heart to a man.  I just don’t see how I could survive it.

To cover my pain, I joke about finding “Mr. Right.” For example, the other night when there was an impromptu fire in the dumpster on my mom’s side of the apartment complex, I joked that I should yell “My hero!” and plant a kiss on one of the firemen.  Of course, I was met with uproarious laughter because despite it all, I can still make ‘em laugh.  Like a clown without face paint, I can put on a good show.  The last thing I wanted to do was go near a man, especially a good looking one in uniform.  Even though it’s true, I do have a weakness for a man who can run into a burning building when everyone else is running out.  I’ve really been taken in by the whole “damsel in distress” myth.

If I’m honest with myself (and everyone else), my heart has been hurt by men who were supposed to love me, to show me how a godly man acts, and to guide me through the roughest times in my life with fatherly wisdom.  Why, then, would I want to marry a man who has the potential to wreck havoc on my life?  To destroy me in ways I’ve seen men destroy other women, particularly my mom and my best friend?

I understand that my view is not a particularly romantic or even a realistic view of love and marriage, but it’s the only one I’ve been able to witness firsthand.  Like I said, I’ve been through two divorces…and I’ve never been married.

The Church is a Hospital, Part 2

30 Apr

In my first “The Church is a Hospital” post, I talked about how the church should function as a hospital, but often does not.  I also introduced you to my friend, who was treated poorly by the church “triage” team.  While the church as an institution got it wrong, the Church as a people surrounded my friend with the love of God.  But sometimes the church gets it right.

My friend, while being initially mistreated by the triage team at a local church-hospital, found much support in senior staff members, who listened to her, prayed for her, and supported her as she continues through her difficult time.  The time these pastors, these shepherds, took with my friend impressed me so much that I decided to give this church a visit.  My heart, so broken and hardened in places, yearned for the closeness of God’s people and corporate worship.  Still, I was afraid.

After abandoning church (but not my faith in God) altogether in 2004, I developed a major fear of the church.  It was so bad that even walking in a church would cause major anxiety, usually developing into a panic attack.  I remember attending a wedding at my old church a year later, and I was choking back tears as my mother’s friends were united in holy matrimony.  Fortunately, one is allowed to cry at weddings, but I was trying to swallow my fear.  It was bad.

The Church did a number on me, that’s for sure.  However, I realize that I also did a number on the Church.  The foolish pride of youth, arrogance, and a know-it-all attitude made me just as a deadly a viper as the many I despised.  It took me years to realize that I was part of the problem.  Of course God could not advance someone who was not humbled before Him.  He had to bring me to my knees to show me how desperately I needed the Church.

So this past Sunday, I visited my old church, where I am still a member.  I also attended this church on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday with my mother.  (When did I become a C & E churchgoer?) If you put two and two together, you will remember that this church is the one that proudly displayed “The Church is a Hospital” on the back of their church bulletin.

And let me tell you that this church is a hospital, and it is also the hospital that has been treating my emotionally bruised and battered friend.  This church is a hospital.  All along I hoped it would be the church I knew it once was, I hoped its people would come along side my friend, and secretly I hoped I could believe in the Church as a whole again.  I was not disappointed.

What I didn’t realize was this—how the church-hospital’s actions would affect my own withered heart.  The Cardiologist (God) reached down and massaged my hard heart back to life.  I started crying as the pastor prayed for those in the congregation going through rough times.  I knew the sermon was one I needed to hear.  I knew the songs were ones I needed to sing.  I knew the church I left so many years ago was home.

The church-hospital is effective when it functions properly.  Even when one of its hospital staff falls short, the rest of the treatment team is there to cover his weakness with grace (and as a fellow Christian, should we not offer this person grace?)  It’s a funny thing though.  I sought help for my friend and found healing myself.  I guess I don’t have to live my life in the morgue of the church-hospital anymore.

I also want to mention a new organization called Throw Mountains, which is a group of authors/speakers making a case for 20/30-somethings to give the church another chance.  Sarah Cunningham, author of Picking Dandelions [read my review of her book] is one of the ladies heading up the effort.  Check ’em out at ThrowMountains.com.

Note: This was cross-published on AtypicalMusings.com.

The Church is a Hospital

17 Apr

Recently, I attended a local church. As I read the bulletin, I noticed a mission statement of sorts on the back that started out stating, “The church is a hospital.” Immediately, I wondered if the mission statement was inspired by the late Mike Yaconelli who wrote in Messy Spirituality, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” The church is a hospital…hmm…. Sadly, often times I think of it as a morgue.

I am asking God to help transform my mind from this dour way of thinking. I mean, we all know the Church has her problems, right? Obviously! Because she is composed of flawed people made perfect by a righteous Bride Groom. Still, that does not mean the Church can get away with shirking her responsibility either. “Sorry, I’m sinful” just doesn’t cut it.

Now I don’t recommend this, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we could rate the care programs at churches the way we rate hospitals? For example, Lehigh Valley Hospital rates high in heart and cancer care, while St. Luke’s is known for its ever-changing technologies. So, I imagine I would choose LVH if I needed a heart transplant and St Luke’s if I needed, uh, something cutting edge. Should we choose churches the same way?

It seems to me that all churches have their strengths and weaknesses, but they should all be about the business of heart care because it seems that Jesus was always about the business of heart care. Why, then, do so many churches seem to sacrifice the heart in sake of the law? For example, why ignore the needs of unwed pregnant teens when Jesus’ own mother was an unwed pregnant teen? (Shout out to TastyFaith.com!) Or why do women continue to live in abusive situations because verbal, spiritual, physical, financial, and sexual abuse are not “biblical” grounds for divorce? (Don’t worry, I have a ton to say on these issues in coming weeks.)

Yes, teens shouldn’t get pregnant and marriages shouldn’t end in divorce, but guess what? That’s life here on planet Earth. I think if the Church can get off with imperfection, her people should be doubly excused. And anyway, isn’t it our sins that drive our souls to the E.R’s of the church-hospital? Isn’t it when we are at the very end of ourselves that we often come crawling to God and out of desperation we go back to church? I think so.

Someone I love dearly was recently treated poorly by a member of the triage team at a local church-hospital. I kept thinking to myself, “The church is a hospital. They have to help my friend. She will not make it without them.” Unfortunately, the church as a institution came up short…again. But the church as a people (especially in the form of other women) have been tremendously supportive. I hope one day the institution will catch up with her people because that’s where disillusionment begins and ends.

The church is a hospital for everyone, not just sinners, because sometimes the saved take it in the heart. And sometimes the Church shoots her wounded.

[This was also posted on Atypical Musings.]

Book Review:: Love and War by John & Stasi Eldredge

10 Feb

“And they lived happily ever after. The End”

By Donna Savaki Isn’t that the way the lovely new bride and her bridegroom prince begin and end their wonderful life together?  Just where was John and Stasi Eldredge’s new book, Love and War, when I was a blushing new bride in 1977?  No one was there to tell me, “Marriage is fabulously hard.” And it really is hard.  Very hard.  Somehow marriage meshes two wounded, imperfect people into one. Maybe that is why my first marriage ended in divorce. We did not understand the spiritual battle that was being played out in our lives and our marriage.

In Love and War John and Stasi Eldredge share  the difficulties and joys of their own  marriage of 25 years.  As I read about their God-ordained partnership, I felt as if I were sitting with the Eldredges in their cozy living room as they spoke of the great mystery unfolding in God’s plan for marriage  John and Stasi vulnerably reveal hurts, mistakes, romantic moments and loving caring so that others will benefit.

Love and War begins with material covered in previous Eldredge books (Wild At Heart, Captivating, Waking the Dead). If your heart and mind were challenged by these books, then your concept of the marriage union is now about to be enlarged and challenged.

Reading this Love and War helped me understand God’s true intentions for marriage. After being remarried over five years ago, I discovered needed perspectives on the epic battle being played out on my new marriage. I highlighted passages, read pages aloud to my husband, and called my daughter to proclaim how much I was learning from John and Stasi. If you are planning to marry, are married, or have been married, if your marriage is in a happy place or if you feel like divorce is the only answer, if you care about the marriages of your friends, if you want a God-view of marriage, then you must read Love and War. It will speak to your heart and change your perspective on marriage–this “Great Affair” into which God tells the love story of His own heart.

Donna Savaki is a retired teacher (over 30 years of teaching kindergarteners was enough).  She has one daughter, Amy, who is the head honcho of Backseat Writer.  She lives with her husband and two dogs, Katie and Clifford, in Pennsylvania.

*This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.*



Take 10 with To Save A Life’s Randy Wayne

22 Jan

Randy Wayne is definitely crush material.  So don’t be surprised when the teen girls in your life gush about this personable actor after seeing To Save A Life, which releases in theaters nationwide on Jan. 22.  Randy plays Jake Taylor, a popular basketball player with a cheerleader girlfriend, you know, the typical kid that all the guys want to be and all the girls want to date. When Jake’s childhood friend commits suicide, Jake suddenly realizes he’s living in a dream world and desperately searches for answers.  To Save A Life gives  touches on important topics such as cutting, teen pregnancy, marital dysfunction, suicide, peer pressure, and the sometimes high cost of fitting in.

Randy, who affectionately refers to me as “Backseat Writer” and then “B-Dub,” was kind enough to chat with me about To Save A Life.  And I must admit, it was a very fun chat. Listen to our banter below::

For more information on To Save A Life, go to ToSaveALifeMovie.com.  You can also check out the Randy’s soon-to-be-fabulous website at randywayne.com (and friend him on Twitter like I did- twitter.com/randy_wayne.)

To Save A Life–the Movie & the Sonic Kitty

23 Oct

On Thursday evening, I attended a pre-screening of TO SAVE A LIFE, a film that delves into the lives of teenagers in crisis (suicide, pregnancy, divorce, cutting, bullying).  For now, all I will say about the film (which releases in January 2010) is:: it’s pretty good, has the potential to get teens (and adults) talking about crucial issues, and I love the kid who pours bacon bits on his ice cream cone while on a date.  Plus, the promo items, which include recycled pens made from wood and slap bracelets were top-notch.

Also, exciting was the opportunity to meet my pal, Lori Lenz, who I’ve been working with for quite a while, but never met face-to-face, until tonight.  I made her a scarf and she wore it all night!  Lori is ABSOLUTELY adorable, and if you get a chance to catch her at one of the TO SAVE A LIFE pre-screenings, you should give her a big hug from me!  And tell her that you love her scarf.

Lori and me!  Look shes wearing the scarf I made!

Lori and me! Look she's wearing the scarf I made!

Before we headed to Philly, Sarah and I made a pit stop in Levittown.  She had to do a work thing and dropped me off at the Super Wal-Mart.  After people-watching for an hour in the store, I decided to go outside to savor the beautiful fall weather.  I walked and walked and walked until I ended up at a Sonic clear across the parking lot.  As I sat down to read, I noticed a young tabby several yards away.  We eyeballed each other, and deeming me safe, the cat crept closer and closer until it was only two feet away. I beckoned the feline closer, but it maintained its distance.  Finally, I stood up, and it ran away to hang out in Parking Spot #1.

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

Philly Phever has even taken over Chik-Fil-A

So I asked two Sonic employees about the cat and they told me that it was there unofficial mascot.  Apparently, they called the humane society and other rescue organizations, but no one would come to take away the cats.  Cats?  You mean there’s more than one?  Yup, a whole family of felines lives in the weeds.

An old ship along the water front.

An old ship along the water front.

Over at Parking Spot #1, Miley the Cat (I named it Miley because “Party in the USA” was playing) was looking hopefully at a new family of diners. The poor thing probably survived on scraps thrown her way.  I considered ordering her a hot dog, but decided against it.  I knew I couldn’t take her with me, so I called my mom and asked her to pray for Miley the Cat.  My mom, who knows my love for animals, asked God to care for this sweet cat—that it might know the love of a family.

Be a hero & save Mileys life!

Be a hero & save Miley's life!

I don’t know what else to do, but tell you about Miley, show you his/her picture, and let you know where to go to claim a beautiful kitty that needs a home.  Miley the Cat is located at the Sonic along Route 13 in Levittown, PA at the Levittown Town Center Shopping Center.  If you can’t make Miley yours, please let someone know about  her/him because you can save a life.

Jon & Kate Plus the D-Word

22 Jun
Illustration by Maggie Wong, CNS

Illustration by Maggie Wong, CNS

Until tonight, I never watched a full episode of “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”  Then again, the stakes were never so high.  Would they stay together or not?

Sadly, the answer is no (full story).  After Jon and Kate said they were going to separate, a message appeared on the screen—a last minute edit—notifying viewers that the Gosselins had started legal proceedings for divorce.  Of course, no one actually used the word “divorce.”  That nasty, ugly D-word.

The first half of the episode felt like an infomercial starring the Gosselin kids and their new playhouses, while the last half seemed like I was listening to a conversation that should be taking place in the marriage counselor’s office, not on national television. The Gosselins talked about how the kids come first, how they have to do what’s best, how painful this and that will be, and how they don’t hate one another. Kate bravely shared that she would be strong and she would do what’s best for the kids.  Jon said he might even get a job, but he doesn’t really know what’s going to happen next.

It’ll be hard, but as long as no one uses the D-word, things will be OK.  Unfortunately, reality is much crueler.  The kids will wonder what they did to cause Mommy and Daddy’s marriage to fall apart.  Was it because we weren’t good enough?  Were there too many of us?  Perhaps they’ll become little matchmakers, hoping against hope, that somehow the spark of romance will be rekindled between their parents once again.  They once loved each other, right?  Can love just die?  So many questions will run through their little minds.

Everyone thinks that the younger a child is, the easier a divorce will be for him or her.  I don’t care what “they” say; it’s simply not true.  Divorce hurts kids…a lot.  If her parents couldn’t even stay together—the two most important people in a young child’s life—then what hope can that child have for future relationships?  Every fight with a friend becomes feared abandonment.  Everyone can walk away from a relationship, just like mom and dad walked away from one another.

There’s also the church to consider.  I mean, do these two have biblical grounds for divorce?  Clearly, it’s no one’s business, but that doesn’t mean people won’t ask and condemn.  I remember being asked the question myself when my own parents got divorced.  I mean, who cares whether or not it was biblical—at that moment, I needed someone to listen to my heart, not give me a discourse on marriage and divorce.

Will Kate’s book Multiple Blessings continue to sell?  Will she be asked to speak at church events?  Really, what is her witness as a child of God in these circumstances?  And how will the church react to Kate now that she’s going through the D-word?  Should the show even continue?  Do we really want to see “Jon Plus 8” and “Kate Plus 8”?  Isn’t part of the show watching Jon and Kate raise their kids together?

We probably don’t like to say it—DIVORCE—because it’s ugly.  Legal proceedings, separation, time apart—those sound better; those don’t sound so cold and so final.  My mom once told me that marriage is when two people become one flesh, and when she divorced my father it literally felt as though her flesh was being ripped in two.  That’s the raw, unscripted, unrehearsed truth about the D-word.    Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce and we are invited to be the voyeurs.  It’s time to turn off the TV and let the Gosselins live their lives—we don’t need to see another American family become a statistic.

Only the Lonely Give Thanks Alone

16 Nov
Poor Big Bird.

Poor Big Bird.

The holidays are fast approaching, and I always anticipate them with a sense of dread–because I hate the day after Christmas.  There’s all this excitement in the air and then it’s over.  I hate that “over” feeling.  It sucks the life right out of me.  But this year, I’m not looking forward to the holidays in general because of my fractured family.

When I was 20, my parents got divorced.  Then both of my parents (for lack of a better term) got remarried to someone new.  Now mom and dad have “new” families and I’m left out in the cold.  So this year, mom is spending Thanksgiving with her husband and his children while dad is mostly likely spending the day with his significant other and her children.  As you can see, that leaves me without family on the day where everyone supposedly sits around the dining table with family gorging themselves on turkey, stuffing, and cranberry concoctions.  I know I’m not alone in being alone on Thanksgiving.  (At least I’ll see both parents on or around Christmas Day…some people don’t even have that).

So I’ve come to think of Thanksgiving as a day of strategic planning to get the best early morning Black Friday deals.  I scour the ads, make a list, and execute a strategy that will enable me to get the best presents at the best prices.  Plus, my best friend/roommate will be home on Thanksgiving, so I’m not technically alone.  We’re just without our families…on a day when family has come to mean everything.  Or at least it would seem from all those Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole commercials.

It’s a bit early to be giving thanks, and I do have a lot for which to be thankful.  However, right now I’m not thinking about that; I’m being brutally honest because I know someone out there feels the same way.  Whether or not you are caught in the in-between of step-families or just in the lonliest time of your life, I hope you know that you’re not alone.  Sometimes it’s enough to just know someone else feels, thinks, experiences the same thing.

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