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Let Freedom Ring, Now and Forevermore!

No one enjoys captivity of any kind, but it stings ever so much more when the captive is innocent of the crime for which he is incarcerated. This was the case of Joseph—a servant thrown into the dungeons after his mistress falsely accused him of rape. More than a decade later, his divinely bestowed ability to interpret dreams solved a royal conundrum and earned him not just his freedom, but the second most powerful seat of governance in the world’s largest nation at that time. Joseph’s tale has fascinated Christians and non-Christians alike for years. There have been many retellings of his incredible story, including my debut novel, A Divine Romance. As I studied the beloved biblical tale while writing my novel, it was not Joseph’s physical imprisonment that I found the most intriguing. It was his emotional and spiritual one—the prison in which the bitterness of his brothers’ brutal betrayal locked him. The jail from which nothing but absolute forgiveness could free him. Imaginatively exploring Joseph's journey to true liberty—through the eyes of his wife—was one of my favorite aspects of writing A Divine Romance.

I dare say there are maximum security prisons from which no prisoner can hope to escape, but they don’t hold a candle to the incarcerating walls that bitterness erects around a wounded soul. Small wonder that the Lord Jesus urges us to forgive “seventy times seven,” and warns us that if we do not forgive others their offenses, God will not forgive us ours (Matthew 6:15, 18:22). The latter seems a harsh standard, until we realize that Jesus exemplified it on the cross, with the unforgettable words, “Father, forgive them…” referring to the ones crucifying Him at that very moment! It also puts things in perspective when we realize He holds us to His forgiveness standard so that we do not end up going through life in the worst prison there is: the bitter soul. An existence which will only usher us into an afterlife eternally separated from the God who so loves us He died that we might live liberated forever.

Those of us who write fiction never know if the long labor of birthing a novel will be rewarded, nor do we know if anyone will appreciate our imaginations or the manner in which we wield words, so it is truly gratifying that my debut novel won two International Book Awards 2023—for Religious Fiction and overall Best Cover Design in Fiction.

I was designated a prize-winning poet over a decade before I became a novelist. And as a poet, I took the liberty of introducing each chapter of my award-winning novel with an original short poem—haiku, cinquain, etc. However, there is only one nonet in the book—the nine-line poem that opens its epilogue. It was inspired by Jesus’ admonishment in Matthew 18:22. If your heart is bleeding from betrayals, false accusations, or any such wrong-doings, I hope this nonet inspires you to let freedom ring, now and forevermore:

Falsehoods. Betrayals. Wrongs, great and small

“How many times must one forgive?”

Hark! The answer of heaven:

“Seventy times seven”

Let this truth resound:

Bitterness binds;


Sets one


P.S. As we celebrate the 4th of July, we remember that America's national liberty came at a steep price. But I’d also like to leave you with a poetic reminder that as humans, our eternal liberty was purchased at the highest price of all: the crucifixion of Christ. The stripes Jesus endured free us to shine forever like heavenly beings. Oh, what joy that we are indeed, what I titled my poem: Stars by Stripes. <--Click link to watch.

Happy 4th!

~ Lady I.

Photo: Ifueko Ogbomo at the Freedom Bell, Union Station, Washington D.C. (2014)

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