God at work Archives

All This Time

Britt Nicole has a new song and it makes me cry every time I hear it. When it comes on the radio, I picture myself as a scared 14 year old girl alone in my bedroom crying against my window. I’ve just found out for sure that I’m pregnant and  I don’t know what to do.

God met me that day and every day since. It has not been easy or even fun sometimes, but he’s been there. Take a minute to watch and listen and know that God sees you and loves you.

All this Time on YouTube

Sharing Yourself

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting grounded in a solid church with solid christians all around me. Today’s is about sharing with others.

After building up a friendship or two, start sharing about your story. Start small. Maybe you still don’t share every wretched detail of everything. But share the main point and a lesson or two you’ve learned along the way. You may be surprised that when you are vulnerable enough to share, your friend is empowered also.

Several years ago my husband and I were on vacation with another couple. The gal and I didn’t know each other that well but the way the arrangements worked out, she and I were alone in a car for several hours that weekend. We spent time talking and getting to know each other. We had just had our first baby after years of trying, and she and her husband had tried for years but still didn’t have children of their own.

Normally I am very open about my first pregnancy, but for some reason I was slow to share that with her. Anyway, on the return trip, I took a chance and told her about my pregnancy at 15. What came out of her mouth next could not have surprised me more. She confessed to three previous abortions and was convinced that’s why they weren’t getting pregnant.

 Now, in that case I may have gotten more than I bargained for BUT I never would have known that about her if I had not taken a risk and shared. Because I had that information, I knew how to better pray for her and support her during all of her fertility treatments.

Forming friendships means taking risks. Start small and don’t get discouraged.

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Friendships

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some specific very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting grounded in a solid church with solid christians all around me. Today’s is about the importance of friendships.

It’s easy to isolate when we are dealing with our stuff. But as women we were made for relationship. We need them as surely as we need air.

So how do friendships work? I think it’s kind of like dating without the kissing. Well, look around and see who you see. Is there a woman in your Sunday school class that seems to understand that life isn’t always perfect? Is there someone in your small group that you really seem to click with? Invite that person to coffee or out to a meal. Talk about topics that interest both of you.

But please be discerning about what you share and how much of it. You don’t want to invite a new friend out to coffee and overwhelm them with every sordid detail of your life. They may not be a friend for long.

For a long time I depended on my husband to meet my emotional needs. When I finally matured enough to realize that his needs and my needs were very different, I looked for girlfriends. I didn’t have much practice being a friend, so it took several tries before I found friends that were willing to stick around.

My biggest hindrance to friendship was that I was not comfortable in my own skin. I had faked it for so long that I really didn’t know who I was. But then I finally started to relax and be myself, warts and all. And guess what happened? All my friends left! Yes they did. But it was okay because I learned a lot from those experiences. I learned to take risks. It gave me the courage to try again.

And I learned how sweet it was to have women love me and nurture me. So I tried again. And again. And I actually have friends right now who have lasted more than a year.

This kind of friendship takes commitment to communicate in a real way and to share our real lives. It also takes a commitment to spend time together. Facebooking alone is not real friendship. Just like we spend time with God to really get to know him, we spend time with our friends to really know them experientially.

Friendships with other women are vital. It takes a lot of courage to step out and be real with another person. Really real. The kind of real that may make them walk away. We’re all busy. But too many of us use that excuse not to connect with each other. We are stronger when we are together.

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A Book of Real People

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some specific very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting grounded in a solid church with solid christians all around me. Today’s is about developing that strong relational foundation with God.

Read the Bible. I know we hear this all the time, but if you’re going to pour your heart out to Jesus, this is the best way to hear from him. If you’re not sure where to start, I love the one-year Bible that reads portions of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs every day.

Reading the Bible may seem overwhelming at first, but you will soon find that just because a person is in the Bible doesn’t mean they had all their stuff together. One gal you will read about was named Rahab. She made her living at prostitution. But when men of God entered her city, she abandoned her practices and committed herself to their God in exchange for protection.

How often do you think she felt unworthy and discouraged because of her past? How often do you think the devil accused her in her head? She went on to give birth to an important person in the Bible, a man who would eventually foreshadow the Messiah.

Reading the Bible is an adventure. It is filled with real people who made real mistakes. And it helps us better know the heart of Jesus.

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Get Connected

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting my feet grounded in a solid church and with solid christians all around me. Today’s is about establishing a solid foundation.

Get connected. Are you part of a church? A bible study? It’s important to receive regular Biblical teaching. It helps us grow our faith and opens our eyes to what God may be doing in our own lives.

It is also where we meet other women who believe the same things we do. Some will be stronger in their faith and further down the road. Others will be newer to the faith than we are. Many women will be dealing with issues similar to ones you have and will be trying to find healing with God’s help. Why not join them?

After college I had such a hard time finding a church. It seemed to me that church was a place people went in their nicest clothes and prettiest smiles. While I was involved in a church in college, starting out on my own seemed like a whole new thing. I bore the scarlet letter of an unplanned pregnancy whether or not anyone else could see it. But I persevered and finally found a place I fit in and was able to grow my faith.

Get connected. Try out churches. Visit Sunday school classes and Bible studies. And then commit to one place and put down roots.

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Let God heal your Past

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting my feet grounded in a solid church and with solid christians all around me.

Tell God everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I know how tedious this sounds. But go with me for a minute. You’re not going to tell him something he doesn’t already know. He knows all about you – he created you -  and is crazy in love with you regardless of your faults. But he wants to hear it from you. It is amazing the power that is taken away from our deep dark secrets when we speak them out loud. Name your sins to God. Call them for what they are. Repent and start a new path. Take some time to tell him.

Where to start? Set an amount of time – an hour – and stick to it. Set a timer. I am a big fan of talking out loud to God. I do it all the time. It might feel funny at first, but trust me it will get easier fast. Just tell him what is on your heart right now. Don’t worry so much about the ‘right’ way to pray. He would rather you speak from your heart than follow some religious model.

Name your sins. Name your hurts. Name the people who inflicted the pain on you. Scream, cry, yell, whatever is most appropriate given your situation. Get as much out at a time as you can. You may need to rinse and repeat this step as many times as necessary to get it all out.

Then stop and listen. Just be still. Silence can be deafening at times. But be still and know you have been heard. Let the angels pray over you. Let the Lord whisper words of hope and healing to your heart. Give yourself time to recover before moving on to your commitment.

Tell him everything. No matter how small. He wants to know you intimately and wants you to rely on him for every thing.

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Mitch Albom’s Have A Little Faith

Another review, but I will admit I cheated on this one. This review is based not on the book of this title, but on the movie made from the book with this title.

“At what point is someone disqualified from the pulpit?” asks Mitch Albom of Henry Covington, a preacher who has lied, cheated, dealt drugs, lived on the streets and been an addict. Indeed, what disqualifies any of us from walking with God?

The answer is…. nothing. Nothing can disqualify us. And as Mitch learns through the course of the movie, faith looks different on different people. Through his relationship with his childhood rabbi, he learns that faith looks like a preacher and teacher who is actively involved in the lives of those in his church. It looks like one who has devoted his life to his church and to the study of God’s book, the Bible.

Through his relationship with the reformed preacher, it looks like a man who is relying on God to keep his church afloat, to literally keep the roof from caving in. The relationships with these two men of God take Mitch down a road of discovery that finds him more fulfilled in his life.

I’m sure the book is better, but this movie was really amazing.

Accessibility

I have a friend who is wheelchair-bound. We are neighbors and everytime she comes up to my house, I feel bad that she can’t come inside because of the steps. My house doesn’t have a ramp and since everyone else I know can walk up and down steps, we don’t need one.

What if something as simple as steps kept us from God? What if there were things we had to obtain or hoops we had to jump through just to catch a glimpse of him?

The whole idea of Jesus coming to earth in the form of a baby still baffles me. I mean, why would you leave the perfection of Heaven to come to this place? And if you did, why would you choose to be born in a dirty, smelly stall filled with animals? And yet, he did. He chose to be born not in a palace or a mansion that would be hard to gain access to, but in a dirty, smelly stall that may not have had a door and definitely didn’t have any steps to climb.

Instead of guards blocking the way, there were angels and a star to guide the way.

In the typical ‘nativity set’ you will find livestock, angels, wealthy wise men and young Mary and Joseph. Quite a mixed bag of people. When my children were born, I had my family and friends around me who pretty much all looked like me. I was in a clean, sterile hospital with people attending to both me and my baby. The doors of the hospital were locked so no strangers could come in and take a child that didn’t belong to them.

But not Jesus. He had all kinds of complete strangers come from far away places to give him gifts and bow in honor. There were the shepherds who worked long hours for little pay and little respect. But then there were the friends of the king himself who came to bring gifts that cost more than the shepherds made in a year or more.

Jesus is all about accessibility. He doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done. He doesn’t care if you are rich or poor. He loves you. He wants you. In this season of Christmas, I just wanted you to know that.

Angela Hunt’s The Debt

Over the years I’ve heard great things about this author, but I’m not sure I’ve actually read anything by her. So I randomly picked up this book in our church library and was not disappointed. In fact, I was shocked that the main character was a birthmother who had never told even her husband about her unplanned pregnancy or subsequent adoption!

But the more interesting storyline was how her son, a street minister, impacted her life of televangelism. She and her husband had spent their married lives building a huge church with 10,000 members, a television minstry that had the capacity to reach 40 million viewers, and church programs that could easily have kept church members busy every day of the week.

But were they missing something? Had they lost their capacity to relate to anything outside of the church bubble?

That irony was really eye-opening to me. Am I so caught up in my squeaky-clean church-friends-only existence that I’ve missed the bigger picture? Jesus lived in the world and yet still did not sin. I have been nurtured and fed in the church and can follow Jesus all by myself. But am I willing to get my hands dirty? Am I willing to go where he leads even if that is a ministry outside the church?

While fiction, I found this book to be very challenging. Ms. Hunt delivers very real characters that made it hard for me to put the book down.

The Gingerbread Man

Ooooohhh I just love this time of year! I love everything about it. I mean seriously, what other time of year has its own food, its own stories, its own movies and its own soundtrack?

One story that really has our attention this year is The Gingerbread Man. For those not familiar, let me quickly recap what happens. A mother is making cookies with her son. She thinks it would be fun to make a cookie in the shape of a boy. After putting the cookies in the oven, she runs out for a quick minute but before she does she instructs the boy to look after the gingerbread man. “We do not know what he may do.”

Well, the boy quickly tires of watching the cookies and steps away from the oven. As soon as he does, the gingerbread man leaps to life, hops out of the oven and runs away. The rest of the story is about all the people trying to catch up with the little man. Run, run, run, as fast as you can, he taunts, You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man!

Such a silly little story, but a good reminder that I can’t outrun who I really am. Warts and all, Christmas is still coming. It doesn’t matter if I’m ready or not. It doesn’t matter if I feel  up to it or not. There is no denying the fact that Christmas is just around the corner.

So how do I cope? Do I run through the holiday season like the gingerbread man, only stopping after the first of the year? Or do I saunter through the next month only to be devoured by the wolf at the end? (Oops.. spoiler alert too late!)

Neither actually. As a wife, a mommy, a birthmom and all the other things that I am, I do what I can do. I enjoy the season and participate as much as I can without wearing myself out. I recognize that this is a tiring time of year and I allow myself breaks, naps and times to just watch a movie or read a book. There are so many options right now on top of my regular responsibilities. It’s still okay to say ‘no’ to some things.

How are you getting through this season? How are you enjoying Christmas while still taking care of yourself?

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