We’ve Come this Far by Faith – First of the Last

secondhalfoftheyearday

It is the first day of the second half of the year. That’s right ladies, today we are entering into the last 6 months of 2015 – we’ve come this far by faith!

How many of you have allowed your New Year’s Resolution(s) to fade in the wash of daily living? Don’t feel bad because you are NOT alone.

Statistics show that a whopping 92% of New Year’s Resolution(s) fail within about 30 days of making them. Why? After doing a little research I discovered a few reasons. 1. Unrealistic goals (including too vague or too many) 2. Unprepared (ill equipped, lack of faith, little/no support 3. Unmotivated (wrong/negative intentions, resolving to stop bad habit(s), actions, gestures, etc.)

Now that we know the why, let’s follow up with a why not – why not, rekindle those New Year’s Resolutions? The year 2015 is only half over which gives you 6 months to beat the odds. Let’s resolve to be counted among the 8% that don’t fail because our determination stems from the One who has never failed – God!

 

Finish the Race, Complete the Task

run the race          Scripture Reference: Acts 20: 13-36
Paul, also known as Saul, lived a colorful life up until his conversion. Many remember him as the man who persecuted Christians before devoting himself to serving the Messiah wholeheartedly. In spite of all, Paul had a destiny to fulfill.

During his third missionary trip, he stayed a few days in Miletus. While there, he sent for the elders of the church in Ephesus. Paul had closely labored with these men, and anticipating that he would not see them again, he wanted to speak to them one last time. He had to make his farewell speech as he prepared to go to the next stage in his life.
In Acts 20: 22-24, Paul says:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, … the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Consider Paul’s words about finishing the race and your own destiny.

  • How would you know you were any closer to your destiny?
  • Like Paul, have you finished the race and completed the task?

First, let’s define a race.

  • A race is a contest of speed; any contest or competition; urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is short or a solution is imperative. Onward movement.

Therefore, when it comes to your future, you’re not just talking about pursuing something in order to obtain it; you’re talking about going after it — and quickly. When a deadline, goal, or event approaches, it takes on a different feel and look. You see it through different eyes. So, let’s consider the situations below and see if you find yourself in any or all of them.

7 CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRANSITION INTO DESTINY

  1. The Longer it Takes to Transition, the More Impossible it Seems. Remember Hannah? She wanted a baby desperately. I wonder if she ever had a moment of wanting to lose hope or give up. What about you? This is the stage of “Why is it taking so long?”
  2. While Waiting on the Next Assignment, You Serve with Great Humility and Tears. You believe something new heads your way and you anticipate the new start with eager excitement. However, you have yet to be released from your current position. You feel caught between rebellion and obedience, and this emotional struggle can lead to a sense of going through the motions. You keep serving through the tears, knowing the next assignment lies around the corner. Despite knowing the purpose of being where you are, you also can’t wait for that purpose to end so you can move on.
  3. Transitions for the Future Require “Now Actions” and Faith for the Unknown. Things can reach a place where even though you are still in a “now” situation, you have to start preparing for the “later.” That may involve setting time and money aside, having new experiences, taking risks, taking new assignments, developing new relationships, etc.
  4. Transitions Require that You be Weaned. (Emotionally, Spiritually, etc.) Here, you may start to sense withdrawal from a situation. YOU ARE NO LONGER THE SAME PERSON. When the time to move on arrives, changes within begin to happen. You must be prepared to let it go. We may need someone else to fill our shoes in a position or take over a responsibility so we can focus on other things, but we won’t let them because we are afraid of what we might lose.
  5.  Your Desires Will Have to be Laid Down for a Greater Purpose. Reminder. It’s not all about you — it’s about God. Whether in a now or later situation, your destiny will supply your needs and those of others. Sometimes we can’t move on when we want to because we have to complete the task at hand. It can be frustrating, but know that you serve a greater purpose. Remember, YOUR LIFE SHOULD TESTIFY OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S GRACE.
  6. Transitions Require that You Finish the Task at Hand Before Moving On. Are things in place for me to leave? Is the house in order? How is my attitude regarding this task? Am I complaining? Have you finished those projects? Have you trained people to fill the position you vacate?
  7.  Transitions Require a “Farewell” to Your Old Assignment and a “Hello” to Your New One. A farewell implies a goodbye and maybe a ceremony to show the transition of one phase to another. You will know when the time to say “goodbye” to your now and “hello” to your later arrives.

Paul says in 2 Timothy, that he indeed finished the race.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing

Paul finished — but he is not alone in attaining the reward, so will others.

He completed the task — finished the race.

There was much in store for him as a result of it.

What lies in store for you once you finish your race and complete the task?

 

The Reason in Any Season

the reasonKatrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)

Psalm 138:8 ESV – The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Several years ago if someone had told me that I would dedicate my life to Christ, have a blog site of my own, and serve in various ministries in different capacities, I would not have believed them.  Why? Because several years ago, I was a different person.  I was not into God or what He desired for my life, and definitely was not using my gifts and talents for His glory. Honestly, my focus at the time was simply going to work and enjoying relationships that would prove to be more destructive than words could ever describe.

Countless times I found myself seeking the attention of any man who gave it, thrusting myself into a “relationship” built on lust and low-self esteem, while compromising myself and whatever beliefs/values I was still clinging to. During those times, I was searching for love and acceptance…and purpose. I thought if I gave more of myself, my time, my money, and any other resource I had available, I would be deemed valuable to the men in my life.

If they liked it, I loved it. If they thought it was good, I thought it was great! Wherever they wanted to go, I was ready. Whatever they wanted to do, I did it. However, I very slowly realized that the more I gave, the more they took and didn’t offer much in return. In fact, the more they saw that I would give anything and do anything to please them, the more I saw myself slipping away.

Who was Katrina and why does something seem wrong with this picture?

After I rededicated my life to Christ, I realized some things about my “former” self and why I was so lost.

First, I had no purpose in Christ. By definition, purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. When you have purpose in Christ, you understand why you were created and know that you exist to leave some mark on this earth for His glory. The only mark I was leaving behind in my former life was confusion. Once I discovered my purpose in Christ, I knew that my mark on this earth was being left by my writing and creativity. I get to use them both in a variety of ways and I am so thankful to God for entrusting me with them.

Secondly, I had no idea what to do with what God gave me.  I’ve always been a creative person (arts, crafts, graphics, etc.) and one who loves to write, but had no idea that I needed to put those things to use or how to. I limited myself to the men I was interested in.  I spent a lot of my time chasing behind men (even after college) and was determined to make up for what I considered lost time (where I wasn’t being chased by men). I used my spare time to be “fast”, as some would say, and forced myself into ungodly situations. From time to time, I would entertain creative projects, but I couldn’t stay focused on them long enough to complete the tasks. I would always end up wanting to put projects down to be with the next man I was “hunting.”

Thirdly, I didn’t believe I could leave a lasting impression upon anyone. I truly believed I wasn’t special. If I couldn’t make the men I wanted love me, why would I want to try anything else? Who would think I was good enough? Who would want to stay with me or pick me? I had a lot of rejection issues to sort through? Also, I felt I was only as good as the relationship I was in at the time (which wasn’t a good relationship). Yep…issues!

Lastly, I was deeply insecure. I wanted to be with whoever I was with at the time so bad, that I gave up everything or stopped everything when they called and/or wanted to hang out. I wasn’t secure in the fact that if I said “no” that they would still be interested. I thought, “I must always be available.” It took me a while that to learn that you need security and confidence in yourself (and in Christ) to be in a relationship. You also need them to not be in one. It takes security and confidence to not be tempted to sacrifice yourself in order to get into a relationship.

So my beloved, my encouragement to you as I close this blog to is to remember that your purpose is not limited to a person or to a time frame.

In every season – you have a purpose. You have a reason for any season of your life and it’s meant to impact lives for the glory of God. Your value isn’t determined by where you are right now. There is so much more to your life than your  right now… As the psalmist said, HE WILL FULFILL HIS PURPOSE FOR YOU.

My prayer is that long after I depart this world, someone may remember something I wrote or something I created that brought a smile to their face or the peace of God to their heart. I pray that something I said or wrote would remind them of the precious love of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Beloved – what’s your reason in your season?

Attention: I Need MySpace… PART 2

my space 2    Katrina Hunter Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)

Picking up with where I left off last week…

The only thing my boyfriend had to say about the whole matter was that it was stupid and that he  would talk to his ex every now and then since he and I had been together, but he did not let her know he had a girlfriend. Surprise, surprise on that one!

This would be a great time to mention that this boyfriend of mine at this time was the same boyfriend I wrote about in a previous blog in which I shared how I went through his phone? Beloved, enough said.

The girl I met on MySpace eventually emails me a really nasty email saying I knew who she was the whole time and I did that on purpose because I didn’t trust my boyfriend, and it was my fault I couldn’t trust my man.  She was right about the trust thing, but I definitely did not seek her out intentionally. The whole thing was a disaster! I knew enough at that time to know that this didn’t JUST happen. This happened for a MAJOR reason. I sent her back an email saying I really didn’t know, but she was not buying it. At that point, Trina needed her Space from MySpace – permanently.

The MySpace incident happened well before I went through his phone, along with other numerous things, which leads me to this point: The place where the relationship was at that time should have been enough to get my attention to step away completely – but I didn’t. I shouldn’t have made it further into a relationship where I didn’t trust the guy, giving myself the opportunity to snoop – but I did.

Whether it’s time for something to end or begin, we don’t often have to look far for answers. Typically, it gets harder when we are trying to force something to work a certain way (our way) and it won’t. Wisdom was calling me and I wasn’t answering. Wisdom had been calling for a long time in this relationship and I knew deep down she was, yet I ignored her. In my insecurity, I stayed in relationship (no matter how bad it was) to feel secure. That’s never a good reason to stay anywhere!

Beloved, here are the points I desperately need you to take from this.

  • Know your value with Christ. He determines your worth.
  • If you know who Christ is and know His love first, you won’t have to settle for what comes your way. When you don’t know what true love really is, you won’t have a way to recognize the counterfeit; because all of it will look good.
  • Pay attention to warning signs (in any situation) and seek Godly counsel if needed.
  • Remember Proverbs 4:7 and seek it no matter the cost – Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
  • Give yourself space to seek God and listen to Him.

May you be blessed and secure in Christ!

Forgiving Yourself

Valerie Hayden Dropping Jewelsself

A few years ago, our local City Mission ran a program to help women get a fresh start in their lives. I was blessed to teach a class in the program where we dealt with the issue of abuse. Some of the women had just gotten out of prison and had nowhere else to go. Some were dealing with and trying to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Some were escaping abusive relationships. Some were dealing with all of the above. I have to tell you, I thought my childhood was hard until I heard some of their heart-wrenching stories of loss. Though each story was different, they all had to deal with one issue – forgiving self.

It didn’t take them long to forgive everyone else. It wasn’t impossible to think about forgiving God for something. Their problem was “I just can’t forgive myself!!!”

Self-hatred, or un-forgiveness of self, is common in our society today, especially in those of us who have been abused. I’ve ministered to many women from all walks of life. The issue is the same no matter where they came from or what they’ve done. Some women believe that hating self somehow pays for the damage they did to their families and loved ones, or to themselves. They beat on themselves over and over with this kind of negative self-talk: “If only I hadn’t done (fill in the blank) “If I didn’t ________ I wouldn’t have lost my kids forever!”  Or “I was such a horrible mother, I beat my child!” The list goes on and on and on. I’ve been ministering to my friend for the last twenty + years. She’s finally willing to talk about forgiving herself for the hurt she caused her children. She is not willing to forgive herself yet. The pain is real. The hurt is so deep we can’t see a way to ever let it out, even if we want to. However, our reality today is that we can NEVER go back and undo the bad choices we made in the past. Self-hate harms our self. It can never pay for the damage we did to others.

Something I deal with today is forgiving myself for the abuse my daughters suffered from their Dad. And for my grandson and granddaughter who were abused by their Daddy. I didn’t stop the cycle of abuse in my family. It continues through four generations. But the love of God heals my children and grandchildren, just like it heals me. They are all believers. I know God has a plan, hope and a future for each one of them.

Many years ago I learned to “walk in forgiveness”. Forgiving everyone of everything every day was a long, long process for me. It started with the baby step of being willing to want to forgive Dad who hurt me so deeply. What makes forgiving so worth the pain is the freedom I experience. Each forgiving step I take brings that much more relief. I walk in forgiveness every day, especially forgiveness of myself when I make bad choices. I love myself in the appropriate way God wants me to. I get my self-worth and value from my relationship with Jesus, and it is an amazing thing!

I end with one question for you today, dear reader:

What is the worst thing that can happen if you forgive yourself?

Forgiving God

Valerie Hayden Dropping Jewelbe still and know

Early in my healing journey, I ran into a big problem. It was something I couldn’t blame anyone else for, it was all mine. I was just too proud to admit I struggled with it. The name of my problem is pride. Not the proper pride if there is such a thing. Mine is the pride that will not bow before Jesus unless I deliberately force it with my will.

The depth of my pride was revealed in one of the two memories I have of Dad molesting me. I  begged God for years to ‘PLEASE make Dad STOP!’ I knew God could. I believed He should because I asked Him to. By the time I was nine or so, I was done begging. I remember screaming at Him in my head, “Fine, God, if you won’t make Dad stop, I’ll TAKE CARE OF IT MYSELF!!!!” Living in marriage number five today shows how well THAT worked for me. However, I will share what I have learned about my Father God after all of these years. Are you ready? Here it comes!

God doesn’t think like we do.

Isaiah 55:8 gives us a very clear picture about God’s thoughts. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”

Standing in my nine year old pride I couldn’t see the end of my Dad’s life like God did. I couldn’t see suffering as a child meant I would turn Dad in to the law as an adult. I couldn’t see that after ten years in prison Dad would surrender to Jesus. I couldn’t see God’s perfect timing in restoring the relationship between Dad and Jesus, between Dad and me, between Jesus and me. But God sees my end from the beginning, before I was ever born. His ‘timetable’ is for all  eternity. Yes, there is pain in this world. Yes, there is suffering in this world. Yes there is evil in this world. However, from God’s perspective, evil will be dealt with once and for all in about six of His days. “… beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8

Somewhere in my healing journey, I chose to forgive God for not stopping Dad. Maybe it happened when I finally realized that God used my suffering to bring one of His children home for all eternity. I also realized that, while shaking my fist at Him in pride, God still loved me. He saw me healed, strong and whole. He saw me writing this story. He saw it going out to you, the hurting woman reading this, to tell you He loves you. It’s impossible for Him to stop loving you because God is love. He wants you to know He has a plan for you, to give you hope and a future, even if you can’t see it today.

Will you let God reveal His love to you right now?

 

 

 

Greatest Love

greatestloveMy Dad went to prison for molesting my daughters and day care girls. I am the one who turned him in to the law. I did not do it for revenge. I turned him in because I had to protect the children. While he was locked up the Lord started working on me about forgiving Dad. Four months later I was able to start the forgiving process. Feeling very shaky, I wrote to my Dad. He even wrote back now and then.

Dad moved in with his sister in Kansas when he got out. We started talking on the phone. I learned right away that he had walked out of prison a new man in Christ. Dad was happy and he greatly enjoyed his freedom, both physically and spiritually. I actually enjoyed talking to him for the first time in my life because our conversations were mostly about Jesus.

Three years later I received a call from my brother. Dad had been hit by a car while walking across the street. I lived closer to him than my siblings, so I was first to arrive at the hospital. A severely broken leg, three brain-bleeds, and unconsciousness were the pressing problems for my eighty year old Father. He survived the surgery on his leg. If that wasn’t amazing enough, God healed the brain damage and Dad remembered everything but the accident when he woke up!

I took on the responsibility for Dad’s health, so we transferred him to a rehabilitation hospital in my town. I received an early morning call from a nurse one week later. Dad was back in the hospital with a very high fever. The doctor told us that Dad had pneumonia. I had to tell Dad that he could never go home alone again. Dad decided he was done living here on earth. I heard his prayer as he asked the Lord to stop his beating heart. He spent the rest of the day in prayer. That evening Dad said he wanted to tell me something that he had never told another living soul. He finally shared pain he had carried alone for so long. Dad’s older brother molested him when he was a child. Dad told me, the daughter he’d tried to choke to death. He told me, the one who testified against him, who made sure he went to jail for his crimes. He told me, the one who hated him for so long. He told me his death-bed confession! Four short days later, Dad moved home to Heaven. I still miss him.

I knew my forgiveness was complete when God moved it all the way through me to compassion. Dad and I were just two pilgrims walking on the path to Jesus. It took a very special kind of love to teach us to walk it together near the end of Dad’s life. A love so big, so perfect and tender, so true, so far outside of our humanity that we will never understand it. God, Creator of the universe, God my Father is this Love! He is the Greatest Love.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

Valerie

Infallible

/inˈfaləb(ə)l/adjectiveinfalliable1

not capable of making mistakes or being wrong

never failing; absolutely trustworthy

certain to succeed

unable to disappoint

 

Dear Make-Up Industry,

I fell in love with your products! Your marketing strategy is pure genius. The way you use imitations of perfection to promote your products is almost infallible itself. It is incredible how you hire professional make-up artists to glamorize celebrities and then pass those products off as top of the (drugstore) line quality. As if that’s not enough, you then photo-shop the images to add yet another layer/dimension of flawless perfection.

Just one problem – it’s not true. You see, I have a daughter, nieces, and a ton of other family, friends, etc. who are girls and women. Some of them are so broken by life circumstances that it has left them with little or no value of themselves. They look to any and everything to “fix” themselves and your product offers a hope that it can’t fulfill.

Your products are incapable of being infallible. They will never look like what is portrayed as the unblemished models and celebrities used to promote your products. You profit from their pain, the pain of not feeling like your pretty enough, the pain of always needing someone’s approval, the pain of perfection that cannot be obtained through lipstick, foundation, or eye shadow.

We are full of flaws, we are imperfectly perfect. Covering our imperfections and blemishes further enables the pressure to be flawless at any cost – which is a set-up for failure because perfection, among humans, does not exist.

Imitations of hope produce hopeless insecurity. Girls think infallible will come through with its promise of certainty. Disappointment sets in and lack of confidence follows. The cycle repeats itself because a mother can’t teach her daughter what she does not know herself – she is made beautiful therefore she is beautiful. Period. Unfortunately, you can’t make money off that truth, therefore deception is conveyed. Tearing down her value and worth with false guarantees that your products will bring her the beauty she has desperately desired in magazines, television, and online. You see dollars signs, I see tears, depression, hopelessness, low/no self-esteem, and sometimes lost lives because it was all too much to handle. Constantly being hung up on the appearance of perfection is mentally exhausting and spiritually draining, it’s an unattainable goal.

If you aren’t on board with instilling values and morals in our girls, how is it expected of them to grow up to be women of noble character, passing integrity down to the following generations whether they’re wearing make-up or not?

No, you are certainly not the only company that operates this way, there are many. My question to you is will you take the lead in making a change?

Confidently,

Takiela

Hope For The Hurting

hopeforthehurting1“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 How can we think about hope when our hearts are shattered into a million pieces? All we know is the pain. All we feel is the pain. Pain that consumes us until we’re convinced that even God can’t take it away. Pain that makes us plan to end our life so we don’t have to feel it any more. Who can think about hope in such dire pain? Not me. I had a plan to make the pain go away. I was going to take enough of my migraine pills to put me to sleep forever. God stepped in at that moment.

My two girls were in bed, my husband was at work. It was time. I went to the kitchen cupboard to find my pain killers. My bottle was not there! I searched high and low. I looked in places they wouldn’t normally be found. Where are they?!! I know I took one last night, so they should be right here! I finally gave up the search, went to bed, and somehow slept through the night. The next morning I opened the dishwasher door to put dishes away. There, right on the top shelf, in the middle, upside down, was my empty bottle! No drugs left, not even the lid.

Twenty-six years later in God’s perfect timing, I get to share my story with you. I believe, I know that God, the Creator God of the universe, sent His angel to dump my drugs down the drain to save my life. When I was at the end of my rope and let go, the Lord’s hand was there to catch me. He is ready to hold you right now. He is there to give you hope when you feel you can’t go on. All it takes is one wobbly little baby step toward Him, believing that He might have your answer. He is waiting for you right now with His arms open wide.

Will you enter into His loving embrace?

Valerie

Christmas Time Trial – TODAY

Years after the tragic loss of our infant baby boy…God continues to bless our family (husband and first born son in image below).

Merry Christmas,

Starlet and Family

4ChristmasStarlet2014

Sparkles in the Son

sparklesinthesonI don’t like snow. It’s messy, cold, and such an inconvenience.

As a child, I enjoyed it. Making snow angles, snowmen, and having snowball fights were all some of winter’s exciting benefits.

Now, as an adult, I have little to no tolerance of it.

Until one day, things changed.

We had a blizzard on a Sunday night. Because I jump at every opportunity to spend time with my children, we all hoped Monday would be deemed a snow day by the school system.

Bright and early the next morning, our kids jumped in our bed, rejoicing over the closing of the schools. Right when my husband and I joined in the celebration, we heard the phone ring. It was my husband’s co-worker notifying him that the Air Force Base had shut down due to weather and only emergency personal were to report to duty. We cheered and praised God for a snow day for my husband too. We were all screaming and jumping on the beds, thanking God for snow days.

As the day progressed we knew our little ones would want to go outside and play in the snow. Sure enough not a minute later they came down the hall toting snowboards, sleighs, and snow-boots.

Secretly, I wondered if this snow day was going to be as fun as I hoped.

Okay, okay…I grabbed a book and jumped in the truck with my family. They were giddy and I was…blah. We arrived at the infamous “hill” all the kids in the neighborhood flock to whenever it snows. Terry and the kids jump out of the truck. I opened my book and started to countdown 3…2..1…”Mom, you’re not playing with us? Nooo. Awe, Mom please? Daddy’s going to come (as if that mattered)” and the numerous other complaints came as expected because I refused to get out the truck.

“I’ll watch and take pictures” knowing this would not appease them, I closed my book and took out the camera as proof. It worked. Inwardly, I celebrated.

I watched and waved as my husband pushed and pulled our children around on the fresh blanket of snow as I snapped pictures. When I thought it was safe, I returned to my book.

A few pages later, I looked up. The sun was shining. The light from the sun reflected off the snow. I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the brightness. When I felt it was safe to return to my gaze, my eyes revealed something that went completely unnoticed over the years – the snow was actually sparkling. That picture perfect view left me in awe of the Lord’s splendid creation. It was as if God blew heavenly glitter from His glorious throne and I had a front row seat to the revealing of His masterpiece.

Anything that was in the path of the fluttering flakes when they landed now glistened (including my family).

Immediately my mind compared the sparkling snow to the mercy of God. Although each of us was created in His image, sin caused us to lose our luster. However, when Christ took our place on the cross, He died for us to shine…in Him. We were dull, inevitably doomed but God drizzled His mercy on us, now we shimmer, infallible sparkle. We absorb His light and reflect it to world – sparkles in the Son (of God, Jesus Christ).

Needless to say, my perspective of snow changed that day. I gladly got out of the truck and enjoyed the snow with my family. When the Lord uses trivial situations to teach critical lessons, as He did in the Bible, it should reassure us of the love He has for us. He wants us to “get it,” His desire is that we learn of Him and walk in His ways. God used a rooster to get one disciple to repent; He can certainly use snow to help us grow (gracefully in Him).

My prayer is that as He shines, you sparkle.

Takiela.

Christmas Time Trial (continued final)

warefamily in2008As I mentioned at the end of last week’s article, George and I argued about how the other was ‘handling’ the stress of our baby’s diagnosis. It was a very stressful time in our marriage. I may not recall exactly what we did for Christmas that year but with Brandon in the home for Christmas, my regular way to celebrate with him was to have him read Luke 2, Jesus announcement of birth and the Shepherds arriving.

After reading the verses, he would open one gift on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas day. I remember trying to keep peace around him so as not to stress him out.

George and I grieved and processed separately. I remember being on my own to pray, cry, process. A friend of mine was very near death during December and when I got word he was in his last few moments, I remember asking if I could come over and see him. I wasn’t allowed to because his family didn’t want anyone to see him looking so bad. I was devastated because my thought was to go over and send a message through him to God asking him to save Miles. I cried good and long for not being able to get that message to this man’s ear to take with him to Heaven. I knew I was praying and lots of others were praying but I still wanted to get the message to God through one of his mighty warriors. My friend died in December 2007 and my Miles was born in January 2008.

My scheduled date came, January 23, 2008. I was induced. We waited and waited. I don’t dilate much so we had to do a C-section. We had a room full of people waiting anxiously. My sister and Mom were among them. Friends brought my Brandon from school to the hospital.

Miles Ethan Ware made his debut at 9:41 AM. He lived a little less than two hours. He was loved by many in his life, my prayer is he drew many to Jesus his loving Savior!

God bless you this Christmas May you seek goodness in all your days!
 
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Starlet

Christmas Time Trial (continued)

Last week, I talked about our high risk pregnancy where we were asked if we wanted to carry our baby  to term or have an abortion. We, of course, chose to carry to term because this little life had a chance so long as God was on his throne and we prayed and had others praying in agreement with us.

babyangelAfter the doctor’s appointment was over, I went back to work and sent an update email letting everyone know how to pray specifically for us and our baby. The response was so encouraging and amazing. People forwarded my emails on to their praying friends and family and sent up prayers on our behalf. I was so thankful we were covered with prayers because my George was having a really, tough time dealing because he blamed himself for the diagnosis.

He felt like his choices were the cause of our baby’s health issues. Isn’t that what we do? We do have consequences for our sins but I don’t believe we are powerful enough to cause sickness in an unborn.

Ezekiel 18:20

The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.

As our pregnancy continued, we had many debates, arguments because George thought I wasn’t ‘sad’ enough and he felt since I already had a child, I wasn’t really concerned. I would explain over and over that I had put Miles into God’s hands and whatever the outcome was, it would be OK with me. I did pray a lot during this time that God would allow a miracle so the doctor who didn’t know him would witness the miracle and accept Jesus.

Hang in there with me, I will tell the rest of the story next week.

God’s ways are higher than our ways and He is in heaven doing what He wants to do,
Starlet

Christmas Time Trial

I have had wonderful Christmas seasons and some not so wonderful. I recall a time 6 years ago, I was around 8 month’s pregnant (due in January 2008) with my husband’s first baby. We were informed at our 20 week ultrasound that our baby was a boy. However, the ultrasound holdingbaby1technician hurried out of the room and when she came back, we were told we had an appointment set for that afternoon at a High Risk Pregnancy Doctor’s office. We asked why and we were told the doctor would inform us once there and he had a chance to look at the ultrasound.

I went back to work, sent out a mass email for prayers and then George and I went to our 1 PM appointment. Dr. T (not his real name) looked over my records and me and informed us our child had a lethal diagnosis: Trisomy 18. He also had Diaphragmatic Hernia, which would require surgery at birth if he lived. What a shock to our ‘happy 20th week appointment to discover the gender of our baby.’ As we absorbed all this information, the doctor discussed our options. We could continue the pregnancy or have an abortion.

What? Abort? My brain may have been fuzzy thinking over all the things they had told us but I was definitely certain abortion would NEVER be the answer. Our answer was absolutely and emphatically NO to aborting. We chose to let him have all the days of life God chose to give him even if it was only through the pregnancy.

Next week, I will continue our journey through our high risk pregnancy. “Even in the midst of bad news, there are always reasons to be grateful.” Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts.

Be grateful,
Starlet

THANKFUL: Identity Crisis Solved

Years ago, I would have stolen someone else’s identity if I could have. Why?

Because I didn’t love myself and hated who I was.Identity-in-Christ1

Being me was never good enough or even “ok.”

I wanted so desperately to be told who I was. Why?

Because I didn’t know. I didn’t know what that looked like.

I had no concept of anything such as an “identity.”

So, I learned to rely on and took in too often the opinions of others (that were not Godly opinions and full of blessings). I became who I needed to be for those people in order to say I had an identity or because it brought attention to me that I desired so deeply.

  • If I needed to deny things I liked in order to fit in- ok!
  • If I needed to give and give until I had nothing else to give – ok!
  • If I needed to be the used and abused – ok! Sign me up!
  • If I thought it (whatever it was) would make people (especially men) love me – I was all in.

 

So, in order to get an identity – I did what I knew best at the time.

I decided in my own strength, that I would fix the situation.

Have you ever done that? Tried to take care of a situation yourself and failed.

Looking back on my life (Before Christ), I can see patterns and behaviors that screamed “I don’t know who I am and whoever this person is that I am – I hate her!” I overdid and under did things. I overdid to get recognition and under did because I didn’t want to overdo it and then “be too much to handle.” There was no balance.

The pain of rejection still hurt at times. I tried so hard to work for what I called “acceptance” and unconditional love by doing anything necessary.

Unconditional love and acceptance  can only come from God.

With everything, it’s not what you do, but your reason behind it.

I didn’t understand that. My reasons for doing a lot of things had been wrapped up in pride and brokenness of heart. (Anytime you make decisions as a result of a broken heart, it will always leave you more empty than you were before.) One of my favorite teachers often says, You can take that one to the emotional bank.

No group, no job, no organization, no nothing can accept me nor you like Christ. No person can give you your identity, purpose, and unconditional love.  It took me a long time to know that that’s the role of Christ and the authority belongs to Him. He was the one who formed us in the womb!

Thinking of times I wanted “in” to a group or a special relationship – yet wasn’t selected or “chosen” often haunted me.

What’s wrong with me? Why don’t they want me? Why won’t they love me?

My self-esteem was so low. I didn’t like the way I looked or dressed.  I often asked God, “Why did you make me like this if no one was going to like me or love me?” I felt like Romans 9:20-21 that says,

“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

I wonder if any of you have you ever met people who, at times, come across as though their identity is wrapped up in someone or something, like a job or their status in a group? As though it made them? These people take offense at the simplest thing when they feel ignored and can demand that people respect them. These people often feel mistreated, overlooked, and are often on the defensive (and paranoid if you will, as if someone is out to get them (and most of the time, they are not.)  These people (who are deeply insecure), sometimes, believe they can only get respect by constantly reminding people that they are in charge or in control. It makes them feel important. When I meet people like this, I wonder… “Who gave you your identity? Surely it’s not in this job, this person, this thing, etc.”

These people spend a lot of time waiting for someone or something to give them a purpose that God has already given them…if they seek Him.

The bottom line is that we can’t force people to love us the way we need to be loved. We can’t force people to see the beauty and value in us. If we tried to do that, we would be let down and angry all the time.  (That was my issue)

We can’t even force Christ to love us.

As a result of God’s love for us and our love for Him, we will show compassion and do works on this Earth, but those works alone can’t save us or make Him love us more or less. We can’t sweet talk Him into loving us, but He does, even in our sin. Then, He delivers us from our sin.

Who wouldn’t want a love like that?

Who wouldn’t want someone like that to give us our identity?

I know I would want it. What about you?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8

Set free in Christ,
Katrina