A Most Faithful, Compassionate Ally

This past summer, I saw the faithfulness of God in a very intimate way.

I published a post last July entitled “I Do Matter“.  The article referred to a conversation with my now grown adopted son that came about because of a book I was reading entitled “The Primal Wound.” Through this book, I was learning many kids traumatized by adoption (even those adopted from birth), don’t consider their adoptive mom as “Mom”, because they somehow innately remember their birth-mom.  It made me wonder what Evan would say, and because of a comment he’d made weeks before stating I never let him tell the truth, God’s Spirit prompted me to give him the opportunity to be real. However, I wasn’t prepared for his answer.

His response of ‘no’ (I never considered you my mom) along with all I was reading brought to the surface such crushing pain as I hadn’t felt in years. In the middle of the swirling flow of emotions that followed, I began to lose sight of my Lord, and felt very alone. Unable to rise above the overwhelming waves, even Sunday worship, a time where I’d normally find great solace, became difficult. One Sunday as I attempted to worship, my eyes filled with tears, and in that moment, I sensed God’s presence intimately, and uniquely.  I knew he’d heard my pleas, and wanted me to know he was there.  He cared.

During a morning walk days later, I remembered words I’d heard on the radio that morning, “Maybe the battle you think you need to win isn’t without but within”. As I recounted those words, I prayed, “Lord, I understand you may want me to fight this battle rather than remove it.  But, if you would, please hold me right now.  If you don’t think that best, I understand.” Suddenly, as though God heaved his own pain-filled sigh, his voice inaudibly spoke, “My child, if you only understood I’ve been holding you all along.”

“My child, if you only understood that I have been holding you all along.”

God is a faithful, compassionate ally.

Isaiah 42:1-4 ““Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
    He is my chosen one, who pleases me.
I have put my Spirit upon him.
    He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout
    or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
    or put out a flickering candle.
    He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
He will not falter or lose heart
    until justice prevails throughout the earth.
    Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. (NLT, emphasis mine)

Those verses were written hundreds of years before Christ was born, yet they speak of him.  They proclaim his compassionate faithfulness, even in the most desperate times.

My healing is coming slowly, and with it a depth of relationship with my faithful, compassionate ally that I never would have imagined.

Lord, I’ve seen your faithfulness, and know I’ll continue to see it.  Please, for those reading who feel like weak reeds nearly broken, and flickering candles nearly snuffed; reveal yourself as the one who never falters or loses heart as you care for your injured ones so compassionately.  Please show yourself faithful.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

With much love,

Robin <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fighting to Win…

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks or months when you feel like life is a losing battle?  Me too.  This past weekend seemed like that, until I stopped long enough this morning to ask the Lord what was going on.  I soon got an answer, and the day is going better.  But life and battles are rarely that easy.

As I thought about the struggles within this past weekend, and about this post, I was reminded of a battle about 3 years ago, culminating in a late night where wars raged more inside than out.

I was a fairly new step mom, and the boys and I weren’t doing very well adjusting to each other.  The normal new blended family issues, personalized for us.  This particular night, the war inside me waged severely.  My feelings for the boys at that moment were explosive, but I had no clue how to change things.  Those feelings had been building for many months, and I saw no end in sight.  I was helpless on my own.

I knew I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts desperately wanted to keep replaying why I had a right to feel as I did.  Fear for my interests and hatred from rejection pounded mortars through my mind and body.  After-shocks of anxiety ripped through me.  Yet through the noise, I kept hearing the Holy Spirit not so gently demanding, “Yield to me, Robin”.

Finally, my abilities failing greatly, I cried, “Okay, God.  I can’t keep doing this.  I yield.” And I meant it!  Literally, within seconds, the battle ceased, and peace settled like the silence after a hurricane.

To win the battle, I must be able to distinguish my allies from my enemies.

My ally is always God and his will. Because he is for us.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT – Jesus speaking)

At that moment, my greatest enemy was my own emotions, and the enemy of my soul who bombarded me with fear, anxiety, and hatred to keep me wrapped tightly in chains.

Yet in the middle of the onslaught, I was having a hard time distinguishing friend from foe, and in reality was getting the two mixed up.  It’s easy to do when emotions are high.

Ever been there?  Ever spent all your energy praying and fighting and trying to convince someone else, or change something else, only to find yourself spent trying to fix it alone?

Yet with 2 short words, “I yield”, God began to move.  Peace overcame the barrage, and slowly.  Carefully. Strategically things within and around me began to change, by God’s grace and power.

Is life all rosy now?  No way.  Is it better? Yes in many ways.  And, I haven’t had a night like that since.  God is working.

The Bible describes yielding moments by saying,

“The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

This week we will continue to look at the issue of ‘Perspective’, in regards to how to “Fight to Win” by embracing God as our greatest ally.  I’d love to hear your stories – for I can’t do this alone!

With love,

Robin <3

The Gift of Choice

Advent, Week 4, Day 4 – The Gift of Choice

God has given us all the gift of choice.

We can choose to accept his gifts, or reject them.

God’s gifts are sometimes discovered within wrappings we may not have chosen for ourselves – but the gift within houses the most enduring, trustworthy, powerful love we could ever imagine – awaiting to be discovered in relationship with the God who made us.

His gifts will sometimes be discovered within wrappings of rejection from people.

Joseph and Mary faced rejection from men, but they knew the approval and love of God as they birthed and raised His Son!

As we face rejection from men, we too can find the most beautiful acceptance, and perfect love from the God who formed and fashioned us.  WHEN we choose to allow him to become our greatest love in the pain. (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)

His gifts will sometimes be discovered within the wrappings of uncertainty.

Joseph and Mary had no idea what they’d face in Bethlehem, but in the uncertainty – they heard of heralding angels, met worshiping shepherds and foreign wise men who’d followed a star bringing extravagant gifts from the east for their son, and heard from a man who’d waited his whole life to meet their son.

As we face uncertainty, we too can discover a God who is completely trustworthy. He won’t fail. WHEN we choose to believe that he is good, and rewards those who diligently seek him, while we wait for his answers through pain. (Hebrews 11:6 NLT)

His gifts will sometimes be discovered within the wrappings of needing to face evil.

Joseph and Mary had to face the fact that their son had a price on his head, because of a maniacal tyrant, but God protected them by sending the wise men home another way, and warning Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt.

As we face evil, we too can discover there a God who faced evil for us and won, and therefore is able to give us strength and victory over the evil we face.  WHEN we yield to his plan rather than our own. (Matthew 6:5-15 NLT)

With love,

Robin <3

Hope In the Midst of Rejection

I happen to be the 3rd mom to all three of my boys, and Gary the 3rd dad to Evan, so blending our hearts is taking a lot of time and patience.  I’ve heard it said blended families are more like crock pots than microwaves.  It’s true.  Gary and I both lost our first spouses to death; and for our 3 sons, they have each lost 2 mothers over the course of their lives – first by adoption and second by death/2nd adoption.  Evan has also lost 2 fathers, one by 2nd adoption, and one by death.  We have each struggled with incorporating the other into our worlds.  Understandably.

Because of this, holiday seasons have been a lot of “difficult”, so I understand how the feelings of rejection can hijack what is supposed to be a time of great enjoyment. None of the boys asked me to be their mom, nor did they understandably want it.  They had no choice in losing their mothers/father. Over many years of first blending with Evan, and now blending with Gary’s son’s, I’ve had to work through feelings I care not to admit, including anger and great pain.  I’m very grateful that now is a season of beginning healing, ever so slowly.   None of us ever imagined suffering the losses we’ve endured.  But, as I head into another holiday season, I am comforted by knowing I can run to Jesus no matter what happens – he never turns me away.  I am also becoming more confident in seeing over time, God is truly changing them and me.

Evan, is growing into a caring man who is, I think, beginning to understand that his mom isn’t trying to purposefully irritate him. I don’t always understand how the mind of a person with autism thinks; nor can I imagine what it is like to have lost 2 moms (and 2 families) and never be able to talk about it (as he is mostly non-verbal).

I’m learning I have so much to learn.

I mentioned in a post a week ago, that we hosted Thanksgiving Dinner with my oldest step son and his girlfriend.  It was very special, revealing that healing is taking place. Today we had a meeting at school with my younger step son and the friend he has chosen to live with.  It was very cordial, and in the midst, my step son handed me a gift, prompted by his friend.  A beginning, I hope to healing.

I am learning that in the midst of swirling feelings of rejection, to heal I must choose to:

Dwell on Christ’s love and acceptance rather than the pain

Relinquish what I want and embrace Jesus and his plan

Yield to God rather than trying to fix it myself

Along with counseling, a new book written by Lysa Terkeurst, “Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely” has greatly impacted how I’m healing .  If you or a friend are struggling this holiday season with the pain of being “uninvited” in some aspect of life, I’d highly recommend this read.

Thank you for joining me this week as I have attempted to open my heart and home to you. I do hope it helps in some way to make the season more doable.  Your  comments are certainly encouraging me.  Thanks!

I look forward to “seeing” you again on Monday!

With Love and Prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read:  I Do Matter

Worship Re-Orients My Thinking

Advent, Week 1, Day 3

When I was struggling to survive during the Christmas season, the traditional music of the holidays didn’t always comfort me.  I could enjoy the music for a while, but eventually, the songs began to blend together into the “wah, wah, wah” of a Charlie Brown movie short, as my aching soul longed for a life raft, not a Christmas Party.

So, every Wednesday during the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas, I will share one or two You Tube selections that will hopefully throw out a life raft in the form of a song to re-orient our thinking from how we you are feeling, to who Jesus is.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philipians 4:8-9

When Norman’s cancer, or later my being alone were my quickest thoughts, I played the Christian radio station almost constantly.  At moments when I needed it most, the song playing would come to the forfront of my awareness, and God would use it in a most specific way that very moment.  It happened over and over again.

Below you will find a song to redirect thoughts of “I’m not accepted, to I am embraced by the Prince of Peace”.  Click on the link to hear the song on You Tube.  Below are the lyrics, should you wish to ponder them throughout the rest of the week.

Prince of Peace, by Hillsong

My heart a storm, clouds raging deep within
The Prince of peace came bursting through the wind
The violent sky held its breath
And in Your light I found rest

Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of peace met me there

You heard my prayer

Hope like the sunlight piercing through the dark
The Prince of peace came and broke into my heart
The violent cross, the empty grave
And in Your light I found grace

Tearing through the night
Riding on the storm
Staring down the fight
My eyes found Yours
Shining like the sun
Striding through my fear
The Prince of peace met me there

You’re always there
And You hear my prayer

Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war
When night screams terror, there Your voice will roar
Come death or shadow, God I know Your light will meet me there

When fear comes knocking, there You’ll be my guard
When day breeds trouble, there You’ll hold my heart
Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there

Again and again
Oh, be still my heart
I know that You are God

Oh, fear no evil
For I know You are here

And my soul will know Your love surrounds me when my thoughts wage war
When night screams terror, there Your voice will roar
Come death or shadow, God I know Your light will meet me there

And my soul will know When fear comes knocking, there You’ll be my guard
When day breeds trouble, there You’ll hold my heart
Come storm or battle, God I know Your peace will meet me there

Oh, be still my heart
And my soul will ever know that You are God
And You heard my prayer

Songwriters: Dylan Thomas, Joel Houston, Matt Crocker
© CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind
With love and prayers,
Robin <3

When Christmas Won’t Be Christmas, Because of Rejection …..

 

Advent, Week 1, Day 2

Matthew 1:18-25  18-19 The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.”….

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. (The Message Bible)

God made us social beings, and so rejection hits our very core.  I recently read that the pain of rejection runs along the same neural pathways as physical pain, and is experienced by the body in the same way as experiencing a broken arm.  In addition, experiencing rejection may include the added pain of loneliness and uncertain about the future.

 Mary was engaged, but not yet married when she became pregnant with Jesus at God’s command.  Joseph was obviously not the father.  In her culture, becoming pregnant outside of marriage would have been seen as adultery, punishable by stoning.   (John 7:53-8:11)  Unless the husband-to-be took her to be his wife. (I assume then that this meant that Joseph claimed the child as his own.)  Because he chose to marry  Mary rather than bringing her disgrace, did Joseph then take the brunt of hostility from the community for her “breaking the laws of God”?  (Bible History Online)

These were good, law-abiding Jewish young people, probably in their teens.  They’d done nothing other than obey God.  Think for a moment of the implications of their obedience. Great blessings, at tremendous cost.  They must have understood rejection.

 Jesus also experienced great rejection as he grew up.  We read in John:

John 1:10-11 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.

 His own brothers refused to believe he was the Son of God until after his resurrection, and so made fun of him, calling him “crazy”. (Mark 3:20-21, John 7:3-9)

Because Jesus understands the pain of rejection, he is able to comfort us.

Isaiah 42:2-4 spoke of Jesus:

He won’t call attention to what he does
    with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt
    and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,
    but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right.
He won’t tire out and quit. He won’t be stopped
    until he’s finished his work—to set things right on earth.”… (the Message)

Where can we go as we deal with the pain of rejection?  We can run to Jesus who understands the pain of rejection!

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Bad Luck or…….Totally Planned?

Seeing Clearly
Seeing Clearly

June 2, 2015

The teenage boy had been asked by dad to go check on his older brothers out tending the sheep. One minute he’s a favored son sporting the beautifully adorned robe his father had gifted him; the next minute, robe ripped from his back, he’s being thrown into a dry well to await who knows what!  All at the hands of brothers gone mad with jealousy. They’d seen far too much lavish attention from their father as he doted on the boy, and had heard one too many stories about Joseph’s wild dreams.  “One day you’ll bow down before me.”  Arrogant kid!  Now they would put an end to their misery!

Anger Gone Wild

Deaf to his cries for help, they plotted their younger brother’s demise…. “Do we kill him and make it out to be an accident, or ….no, we’ll make some money from the deal and sell him to the traders coming up the road!”  Covering their actions, they dipped Joseph’s robe in animal blood.  “We found his robe, Dad.  Wonder what happened?”

So begins the tale of a 17 year old Jewish boy who lived a very long time ago.  Even now, through him I learn how to handle life’s winters.

One Bad Thing After Another

Nightmares of his brothers’ faces as he cried for help.  Recollections of his father, worrying what he’d endured. Shackled.  Helpless, he’d been sold to a prominent Egyptian named Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh, Captain of the Guard.

After being sold, Joseph’s life was nothing he’d known before.Once a favored son of a prominent shepherd, now an Egyptian slave with a despised past.

The Bible says in all he did, God blessed Joseph.  He learned the language and prospered. He learned the social customs and prospered.  He learned how to run his master’s estate well, and prospered, so much so that his master saw God’s favor, and eventually put Joseph in charge of all he owned.

Joseph remained true to serving God, rather than becoming bitter.  Rather than bowing down to the multitude of gods the Egyptians worshiped. He chose God and honoring his master even above his own safety.

Joseph knew his master’s wife wanted him.  She’d daily made her intentions known, but he refused to shame God or his master.  One day, she called for Joseph and enticed him once again.  When he ran, she grabbed his cloak.  With pride well trampled, and rage at his refusals! When her husband returned home, she produced the cloak and swore she’d escaped Joseph’s grasp.  Joseph was immediately thrown in prison.

While in prison, Joseph prospered as God continued to train and hone his son into one who would exhibit humility, honor, and integrity in the face of extreme hardship.  One who’d long ago left behind the spoiled son of his father, Joseph persevered and learned his lessons well, choosing to trust God.

Turn of Events

When he was ready, God gave Joseph the opportunity to accurately interpret the dreams of 2 of Pharaoh’s servants, also imprisoned.  One to the servant’s demise, and the other to the servant’s elevation, returning him to the courts of Pharaoh.  Two years passed, and Pharaoh himself had 2 very disturbing dreams.  The servant whom Joseph had assisted, remembered Joseph, and told Pharaoh of this young Jewish slave who could interpret dreams.

Pharaoh had Joseph brought to him. Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, warning Pharaoh the world would soon enter a famine so great that eventually all food supplies for hundreds and possibly thousands of miles, would be destroyed. God wanted Pharaoh to know there would be seven good years followed by seven bad years. After Joseph also shared a plan to save Egypt, Pharaoh realized that the “spirit of God” was in Joseph, and so placed him in charge of all of Egypt.

Joseph’s strategy for saving Egypt, brought about by years of hardship and unknown training, saved not only all of Egypt, but eventually his own family.  His brothers eventually traveled to Egypt for food for their families.  When they saw this Egyptian leader, not knowing it was Joseph, they bowed low before him, just as he’d dreamed as a teenage boy.  In time, Joseph was completely restored with his family.

The names of Joseph’s two sons, born to him during this time were Manasseh and Ephraim, both Hebrew names. Manasseh’s name meant, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” and Ephraim’s name meant “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”  Both telling statements of all that he had gone through, and all that he had given God credit for accomplishing in and through him.

God Has A Good Plan

Joseph’s ability to pull off the task of ‘saving the world’ required a lot of preparation and training.  Amazing since Joseph didn’t know he was going to need such preparation! Saving the world wasn’t really in Joseph’s long-range life’s goals, and neither had his life seemed to be pointing in that direction.

Joseph must have had a lot of hard, unanswered questions.  Enduring circumstances that must have made him reel in anguish.  Yet, Joseph continued to trust God and recognize his abilities and gifts were from God and not his own strength and intellect.  He maintained a teachable attitude, so much so that his masters recognized that God was with him, and so each elevated him in position.  Joseph’s humility allowed him to bless those over and around him.

Am I willing to do the same?

Can I trust this time didn’t surprise God, even if it did me? Can I acknowledge he is and has been with me, even in this? Am I willing to thank and cling to him, trusting for that which I can’t yet see?  Will I bend my knee and continue to yield to him as I wait on him to deliver me? 

Note:  This is my rendition of Joseph’s life, a true Biblical character.  You may want to read it from the Old Testament book of Genesis, Chapters 37-50.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

With love and prayers,

Robin <3