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Yesterday, while working our Chained No More exhibit table, we met a middle school girl who was tiny and very shy. She could barely look me in the eye. It is always is a welcome challenge for me to connect with a hurting child, so our conversation started.
Me: Hi, Honey. What is your name?
Her: Sara (made up name)
Me: What grade are you in?
Me: Wow! What school do you go to? How do you like middle school?
Her: It’s okay.
Our conversation went on for about 10 minutes, as I tried to draw her out. I found out that she had had an unstable mom, so she had been in foster homes since she was two years old. Two years old!!! Her sad little face told the story of not knowing where she belonged or who she belonged to. She wanted to go back and live with her mommy, but she was not allowed because of her mother’s unstable lifestyle. My heart broke for her. She came over and we hugged as her tears began to fall on my shoulder. I could have held her for hours and it wouldn’t have been enough to soothe her little soul.
Many of us also don’t really know where we belong. We didn’t fit in our marriages, we don’t feel “good enough” to get involved in church, extended family is spread out or broken apart. “Where do I belong?” Just like little Sara, the world is a big place and full of lots of uncertainty, isn’t it?
Find your Bible and read Psalm 139:1-18 THIS is where you belong! THIS is how much God wants to wrap Himself around you, hug you, absorb your tears and lift you up. You may not know your earthly parents or ever see them, but your Heavenly Father knows your identity in Him. He made you. He sees you. He loves you unconditionally. You belong to Him and with Him. Breathe and believe.
#godslove #hope #chainednomore
I am fascinated by jugglers. They usually begin with two or three balls and then add more and more balls until the balls are just a blur. I have seen people juggle chain saws, fruit, and any number of other unique items. I truly don’t think I am that focused, so I would probably get hurt doing this activity. Just sayin’….
Juggling life is something that is not just an “activity”, but is required to survive busy schedules and the demand of everyday life. In our modern day, we juggle jobs, school, homes, relationships, kids’ activities, church, personal health, etc. How do we do it?! Some of us have no problem with “keeping all the balls in the air”, while others of us get overwhelmed and sometimes just give up. Which best sounds like you?
Sometimes a crisis shifts life far one way and the rest of our “balls of life” get put aside. A health issue, divorce, death of a loved one, etc. can make us stop, take our eyes off all we are juggling and reassess. “What is the most important use of my time? How much can I handle? How do I get balance back into my life?”
Here’s an exercise we can all do to see where we put our time, and figure out which “balls” we can drop. Take a piece of paper and write down all you do during a week. Yikes! Do we have enough paper and ink to do this? Try it.
Write down the meetings, meals, errands, bills to pay, kids’ activities (all of them), phone calls, obligations to extended family and church, personal appointments, household chores, marriage stuff, parent stuff, quite times (if you have them) and anything else that fills your week. Now, prioritize them by numbering them 1- most important to 10-least important. Are you trying to juggle too much? Which activities can you let go of? Is all this pressure taking away your joy and making you cranky? What would people in your life say? Stop!
Take the time to evaluate and work toward more peace in your life. “Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalms “A heart at peace give life to the body.” Proverbs
How about taking a mini-vacay, if you can, and breathe deep so you can find some peace today? Drop as many “balls of life” as you can and enjoy.
Working with and ministering to single parents and their kids for over 12 years, my opinions have changed. I didn’t mean to ignore these families; I just didn’t see them. The more I learned about the lives of single parent families, the more respect I had for them and the more I wanted to come alongside of them as a ministry.
We began Family Connections, our church’s single parent family ministry, with only about 8 families at a family camp one summer. I listened to the stories of how churches had made them feel unwelcome and judged and how these families in crisis felt like God’s love and forgiveness was not for them. Directly after hosting that camp, I flew down to Houston to a single parent family ministry conference in Houston, TX. Going through the workshops, general sessions and speaking one-on-one with experts in this ministry field, my heart began to open and stir as I learned of the struggles these families face. There is the trauma of a destroyed family, court battles, children thrown back and forth between households, poverty situations, financial wars, child custody crisis and on an on.
I see the struggles of single parents trying to keep up with bills, schedules, car repairs, school supplies, extended family issues, legal details, devastated kids acting out, helping kids keep their grades up, house repairs, groceries, laundry, job commitments, childcare, etc. etc. etc. It is overwhelming, at best, and they don’t have someone else to share the responsibilities with on a daily basis. How do they do it?!
If you are a single dad or mom, I am talking to you….”I highly respect you for working so hard to be the best parent you can be. You may not have the cleanest house, but neither do I. You may not have the best and most nutritious meals all time, but you do your best to feed your kids. You may not be able to give your kids all that they want, but you make sure they have what they need. I am proud of you and all the effort you put into being a good parent for your kids. I am proud of you for looking for resources to assist you and your family. Keep going and let the Lord lead you through it all!
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because when he/she has stood the test, he/she will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:24
#chainednomore #hope #divorce #singlemom #singledad
Valentine’s Day is all around us. The hearts, chocolates, flowers, balloons, cards, and on and on. For those of us in healthy, loving relationships, this is a fun time of year to celebrate the romantic love we enjoy.
For many of us, however, it is a season of loss, disappointment, and loneliness. Just walking into a store, filled with pink and red reminders, can send us “over the edge” and make us want to turn on our heel and leave the store.
Scrolling through our FACEBOOK postings can just be torture, as we see how everyone else seems to be happily married or in love. Their life may be a “bed of roses”, but ours feels like a bed of thorns.
If you are having a difficult time with Valentines Day, here are some suggestions to maybe make it a little better.
1) Ignore it
2) Take a friend on a fun road trip
3) Go to a movie (not a romantic one!)
4) Take your kids out bowling or roller skating
5) get a bunch of friends together and do something fun. (Don’t go to a romantic restaurant)
6) Write letters to some of your loved ones
7) Visit a nursing home, animal shelter, homeless shelter, etc. and share God’s love
8) Have a spontaneous party at your house and have everyone bring some finger food. Play games, watch a funny movie,etc.
Above all, remember that the love we may miss here on earth is immensely inferior to the love the Lord Jesus Christ has for us. His love is unconditional, fulfilling, all-encompassing, fully accepting and not performance based. His love is forgiving, which is something missing in human love. Most of all, God’s love is for YOU, so, Happy Valentines, in the name of Jesus!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”
#chainednomore. #godslove #best #love
Where did I come from? Why am I the way I am? Why do I act and talk this way? Why can’t I have a healthy relationship? When did I begin living in fear and mistrust? Why can’t I just get over “it”?
Personal questions like these can be depressing or it can propel you to dig deep and figure out who you really are. They can help you accept yourself as you are, or it might even make you want to find answers for healing the deepest hurts in you.
Many times our struggles begin with the parenting we had and traumatic experiences we had a children. We try to push them aside and “just get over them”, but for some reason, we still struggle. We just don’t see the connections.
“We are all a product of our parenting, good or bad. Some of us had caring parents, whether they divorced or not. Some of us had abusive parents or neglectful parents. There is nothing you or anyone else can do to change that now, but it is important to explore the parenting you had and how it has affected you up to this point in your life. When you do that, you can make the choice to continue those patterns or break the chains for generations ahead. You no longer have to sweep them under the carpet and say, ‘That’s just how I am’.
It is important to evaluate where your attitudes, beliefs, actions and feelings come from. This is not meant to blame or disrespect your parents, but it is a tool to understand the issues you have in your life and how they may relate back to your childhood and had such power over you. Your parents had or have their own issues they can explore. However, you need to dig deep to discover your own issues. It may just open the door for you.”
From the book, “Chained No More” by Robyn Besemann http://www.robynbministries.com/chainednomore
#divorce #hurt #healing #Godslove
Do you think your past experiences have given you a filter so you might not see things clearly as they are? Do you see marriage with a filter of your own broken relationships? Do you see happy families through the filter of your own broken family? Do you see others’ financial success through your own filter of money problems, which can raise envy and jealousy in your mind?
We all have experiences which can cloud our mind and judgment. For women, a past of abuse by men may make it impossible for women to fully trust any man, no matter who they are. She can look at a pastor, boss, father figure, news anchor, fireman or cop and “see” abuse, control, anger, betrayal through the filter of her past experiences with men. She can’t give a fair chance to a possible new relationship with a man because her issue of hurt and mistrust is the filter she looks at any man.
Another place where filters of hurt can rise is at church. The pastor is talking about accepting God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance. He is talking about the Heavenly Father and how we can trust Him and should put our faith in Him. Our filter of hurt will say, “Yeah, so, the last time I heard the world ‘love’, it included abuse and abandonment.” “The word ‘Father’ conjures up painful memories of a father who beat me time and time again and sexually abused me for most of my childhood. Trust a father? No way!”
Do you see how we make our present pay for our past? The love of God is not a human love; it is free and unconditional. Look at what God’s love is all about in I Corinthians 13.
“Love is PATIENT, love is KIND. It does NOT ENVY, does NOT BOAST, it is NOT PROUD. It is NOT RUDE, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING, it is NOT ANGERED. It KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS. Love does NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL, but REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH. It ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUST, ALWAYS HOPES, ALWAYS PERSEVERES. LOVE NEVER FAILS.”
THIS is the love the pastor is talking about; not the flawed and abusive love you may have lived. Your abuser has probably never experienced God’s love either, so brings their filter with them as well.
Look at those verses again like a baby seeing the world for the first time out of the womb. Open your eyes and heart wide, drop your filters of hurt and know that God’s kind of love is for you too. Receive His deep, deep love and wrap yourself up in it.