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A Judas Kiss

 

In February when Danny and I were vacationing, Marie and Christian contacted us about the possibility of adopting a little boy named Noelan. They wanted our thoughts. Of course we know personally that adoption and attachment isn’t an easy thing, but we also know that in this Christian walk Jesus often calls us to do things that aren’t easy.

I personally do not believe that everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone has the ability to love a child that is not their biological child. There are different callings for different people. We knew that Christian and Marie were praying and asking God for His direction. So we answered them we are 100% behind them in following God’s call and would help in any way we can.

After Danny and I had picked up and transported Noelan to emergency respite care and before the Burtts had arrived from Romania, my daughter said something so profound to me. She told me that even if they were not going to adopt Noelan that they still would have been willing to come back if only to come along side their friends to support and love them during such a difficult time.

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That was the level of love Marie and Christian had for their friends. It is a Christ like love that lays down one’s life for a friend. Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13  Most people think Jesus is speaking about death, but actually that is not what it says….it says “lay down one’s life” and that’s what I saw Marie and Christian do hour after hour, day after day, month after month as they ministered to this little confused boy from Africa, working hard on his attachment and trust.

I actually think laying one’s life down in death could have been easier in some ways. To look back and realize that we led this child to believe he was a part of our family and he was secure makes us literally ill. If they had chosen to be honest with us we could have reminded him of who his parents were going to be and treated him in a more appropriate way for his well being. The pain is so great in betrayal. I liken it to emotional rape.

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As more and more unfolds it seems a web of deceit started from very early on. It appears to be a premeditated betrayal. As victims we somehow feel responsible, but each of us know that’s not true. A person isn’t raped because their skirt was too short, it happens because there are evil people in the world who purpose to hurt others to gain what they want.

Dear God, how can something like this happen? It’s called a Judas kiss. An act of affection under a guise with fraudulent, evil motives. It happened to Jesus so I guess we shouldn’t be so surprised when it happens to his followers.

Luke 22:47-48 tells us – While Jesus was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

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Jesus knew what was going down, He wasn’t surprised, He was simply calling Judas on it. And in our situation with Noelan I know that Jesus was not surprised either. He knew what was going to go down with this sweet baby boy and He still asked Marie and Christian to come and try to help.

We will never be the same. We can’t save Noelan, but God can. That’s one of the reasons I suggested changing the name of his page from #savenoelan to #prayfornoelan. Pray for a little boy who is now certain to struggle with attachment disorder since he has been so thoughtlessly messed with and emotionally abused. Pray for the Burtts as they prepare to return to Romania purposing to continue to lay down their lives for others. Pray for emotional healing of our broken hearts and for spiritual renewal. Pray Marie and Christian can continue to “reject fear and choose love”. Because that’s what Jesus did for us.

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Happy Birthday Sweet Eisley

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Well here we are Eisley, a whole year has passed since your birth. I still vividly remember your mama’s first birthday. She was dressed in a pretty yellow sailor dress with a little bow glued on her very short silky hair.

You however are dressed in the glory of God, far away over the rainbow, and we are left missing you and imagining what you’d be like.

It’s been a year of milestones. Instead of celebrating your achievements each 23rd of the month, we have been thrashing while drowning in a sea of grief. Grief is a song without melody.

The missing you, the sadness seems to overshadow everything. I feel guilty about that.

Sometimes I say silly or stupid things to try to compensate, but it’s like expecting an infected wound to heal with the aid of a colorful band-aid. It just doesn’t work. Walking through the painful journey is the only thing that helps. It is like scrubbing out the wound.

I need to stop comparing myself to other’s journeys and just walk my own. I need to be compassionate with myself and recognize that until I’m with you one day that I will always miss you in some way. That’s just who I am. I am your Grammie.

Grammie and Eisley 2

When your mama was turning one, I looked forward to that day, but Eisley I have to confess I haven’t been looking forward to this March 23rd. I feel the world’s pressure to be whole, to be done grieving, to move on as others seem to be able to do.

Maybe, just maybe, I can begin on this first birthday to shift my focus from my loss into celebrating you, sweet baby girl with strawberry blonde curls. See you running strong with joy with that great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us and keep cheering Pops and me on.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do. As I release your birthday balloon today, I will try to focus on the gift of knowing you and your Grammie will try to smile. I am thankful for the short time we had together. You have already taught me so much.

Run strong with joy sweet Eisley Hope and happy first birthday.

1 year old with Jesus

Until I hold you again in my arms and we worship Him together,

XOXO Grammie

Merry Christmas Eisley Hope

Dearest Eisley,

Your Grammie has been feeling sad all day. You’d think I would know better, to stop the stuffing of those sad feelings while plunging ahead working, fooling myself that by keeping very busy these scary feelings will go away. I do know better and that’s why I will stop right now and embrace the sadness. Writing to you helps me to work through it. That and chocolate…IMG_7007.jpg wink

It’s Christmas time baby girl. I’m trying to enjoy it. Your mama and daddy went to Romania and they will celebrate with your cousins Mercy & Addy and your Auntie Marie and Uncle Christian.  I am so glad they did. Last Sunday, Pops and I sat for the first time in the bleacher seats at church. You can see everything so well. What I noticed was the sweet baby girls in their Christmas dresses. My first thought was of you Eisley and I was so glad your mama and daddy were in Romania. I would have loved to have bought you your first Christmas dress.

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I am happy for those mama’s in church holding their baby girls, but it also at the same time it makes me feel so sad. Such conflicting feelings I have. It is the same with the move. Pops and I are trying to downsize and move into  Auburn. In the past week your mama’s artistic black and white checkered wall was painted and the growth chart in Grammie’s closet. It’s all so bittersweet, joy and grief mixed together.

Pops and I will celebrate Christmas with your uncles Aaron and Andrew, and your aunties Cacey and Casey, and your cousins Spencer and Emma. And for the first time in 30 years we will not be celebrating at our home and what’s really hard is that last Christmas I had no idea that it was my last time. Would I have done anything different? I don’t know.

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What I do remember doing last year was I finally took the time to mend and reattach the little teddy bear onto the “Baby’s first Christmas” stocking. My mama bought it for me when my first child was born. I’ve used it for every child and every grandchild. I knew you were coming, so I purposed to mend it before packing all the stockings away. That stocking is empty.

I decided this year to not open up any of the boxes for decorating. I have a few things that were in their own boxes that I put out. I have celebrated advent. I’m relieved that normal decorating is too much while we are trying to get the house ready for selling, I don’t think I could handle seeing that stocking this year, yet I’m embracing Christmas and it’s joy. Bittersweet.

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So please realize you are missed baby girl and not forgotten. I know you are whole and healthy, hanging with the others we love that have gone on before. Worshiping the King of Kings whose birth we will soon celebrate. But knowing these things doesn’t change the emptiness we feel without you here in our arms. I miss you Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson.

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If I learned anything from your short life, I think it would be to try to live without regrets and assumptions. To give myself a break. To be mindful and stay in the moment, enjoying each day. To forgive quickly as I don’t know if I’ll have a chance tomorrow to do it.

Thanks for being my teacher Eisley. Merry Christmas,

Love, Grammie

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Not all Christians are “HATERS”

I have met people from all walks of life that are haters. Years ago I was hated for being white by a racist Korean teen, I remember being shocked, she didn’t even know me!

It did though give me a tiny glimpse into the lives of those who are hated for no reason, other than being different from the hater.

I’ve been hated for being a Christian with strong convictions. Recently while trying to understand the gay movement I’ve read some of their blog posts and was shocked at the hateful things I read. Guess who their hatred was towards? Christians.

Why? My guess is people tend to hate those who hate them. Hate breeds more hatred.

haters

But here’s the deal – JESUS ISN’T A HATER. He represented the father while he was here on earth. He boldly said if you have seen him you have seen the Father. Like Father, Like Son.

If you really want to know what God is like just read the gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you will read the words of JESUS. You will discover that the one thing that really ticked him off was this – hypocrites and frauds. He called them out –

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”   Matthew 23:27 NASB

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and flowers bright, but six feet down it’s rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh.”   Matthew 23:27 MSG

God loves the sinner and the humble. He does hate sin, but not the sinner. That’s why He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins, BECAUSE of His love….um remember John 3:16-17?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.”

So if you call yourself a Christian and you are representing the Christian church as a hater, you need to stop and remember where you came from. Can you not have compassion for those who are broken and in need of a savior without stoning them? Um, Jesus did.

The world is full of hurting people and you certainly are misrepresenting the ONE who came to bind up the brokenhearted.

The answer is not in legislating the world. The answer is not in throwing a hateful temper tantrum when politics or court decisions don’t go the way you want.

You cannot hold someone to walk in truth when they have not been freed by the truth.

I suspect you have forgotten that God is in charge and His will be done…in His way and in His time.

James 1:26-27 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

#NOMOREHATERS

 

Update in Romania #4 – Happy Birthday Bucharest!

The city of almost 2 million have been celebrating that it’s been 555 years since Bucharest was first mentioned in documents. On Saturday many of the local churches gathered in a park and made a cooperative effort at combining the celebration with an outreach carnival. There was face painting and games and puppet shows – it was all very fun. Our Addy was quite the hulahooper and Pops did a great job of catching these photos!

 Addy & hulahoop 2  Addy & hulahoop

Since the country is moving away from the orphanage system they have tried to place most of the healthy children in small groups with a caregiver (Doamna) that live in an apartment. In our sector of the city, Anchor of Hope Ministry (that Marie and Christian work with) have three apartments they are sponsering. Marie and Christian left the girls with us to join them at the park later while they picked up 5 children (ages 2.5, 4, 5, 5, 6) from an apartment to enjoy the carnival festivities. Their Doamna decided to come along!

Mercy and Mama 9-20-14   Addy 555 celebration 9-20-14

When Danny, the girls and I arrived, the first person I saw was Florin Soare! He, of course, was the official event photographer. Avery had stayed home with their new baby. It truly is a “Small World”. Most of the workers wore T-shirts with 555 on them that translated “Love Bucharest, Love your Neighbor” and they had pamphlets that were handed out. It was encouraging to see the local believers from different churches working together.

 Marie and Ionut and adi   Christian & Danny 9-20-14

We ended with treating the children to McDonald’s which was a big hit for everyone. Of course with seven children we have ice cream dripping everywhere and Christian says to Marie (who is the most fluent in Romanian) – “How do you say melting???? Their ice cream is melting!” Pops trying to help says (loudly) “MMEELLTTIINNGG…..”

Mercy and Ana 9-20-14   Addy & Cristina

This last Thursday I had the privilege of going to the baby hospital with two other workers from Anchor of Hope. It was really a long walk getting there and lots of physical work but well worth it. With travel time I was gone probably six hours.

One room held four babies all under two months. The youngest was a beautiful boy only two weeks old and absolutely perfect and healthy at this time. Another little guy had such trouble taking the bottle, very gassy and spitting up…most likely allergic to milk or has GERD. He made some good eye contact even though he’s only one month old!

There is a tiny part Asian girl only a month old who obviously has some sort of genetic condition. As I worked with her I was 95% sure she couldn’t focus or see. Later I realized her eyelashes were inverted and looking online it says that the condition can scratch and damage the cornea. She had a weak cry that sounded like a kitten, but she did eat well.

Last we had a very big guy only 2 months old without even a name. He was so huge we lovingly called him Gandalf. He responded well to the infant massage and gave me some wonderful smiles. However later when it came to the 2nd feeding, his bottle arrived last, so it was propped by the caregiver. All the volunteers hands were full with feeding the smaller ones whose bottles had already come. He was inconsolable after so much attention and refused to take his bottle.

As I held each child and fed them I would pray over them quietly and talk with them, make eye contact with them, stroke their faces and massage them with lotion. The other room held five other babies all around 6-9 months, two severely disabled. I am hoping to be able to go every Tuesday and will share more next week on these other babies.

While I was at the baby hospital, Christian took Danny across the city to a larger medical facility to have a CT scan. We go again to the doctor Monday morning and will request a MRI. We have been in contact with a doctor in the states, but to be honest, the care here has been excellent!

I believe they have caught a significant injury that some other medical staff in the states overlooked. We are having his films looked at by both US and Romanian doctors. The Lord has truly been good in His protection of us….had we never come here I think this would have remained undiscovered with the course of treatment he was taking.

We have enjoyed each moment here and it’s hard to believe that half of our trip is already past. I have been trying to memorize some scripture again. Several times a day when I see a bird- I try to quote and remember Matthew 6-

“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description,

care-free in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds!”

Update in Romania #3

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“Boppie, Boppie tickle my tummy!” So far, reconnecting with the granddaughters has been the highlight of our time….especially with Mercy as she was so little when she left last January. She absolutely is a fire-cracker, full of passion! She likes things tidy and matching. It’s so fun to see their personalities at a young age. I love watching Danny enjoy them. Here is a picture of Mercy’s help with the clothesline on the balcony where you have to be concerned with your underclothing being swept out on your hands and landing on the head of a stranger coming out of the grocery store 19 floors below.

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I can’t believe another week has passed. The time is flying by. We’ve been used in different ways. I was able to alter Addy’s school uniform SKIRT into a jumper (since it was huge, though the smallest size) and also take some tucks in her blouse and vest. It was great to be helpful and fun to recreate something using buttons and ribbon.

This past week we received the exciting news from Aaron & Cacey that we are expecting a new addition to the family this coming fall. WooHoo #5! You can read about our 2nd grandson coming from Ethiopia here at Aaron’s blog-

A Momentous Decision

Last night Danny & I ventured out on a date night and laughed ourselves silly as we were talking so much we couldn’t remember the metro ever stopping. Needless to say we had to get off and then walk across the platform and wait for a train and go back one stop to get to where we were heading.

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It’s easy being here. There is lots of grace. I now am confident that this is where we were supposed to be recovering from the accident. When we came, we came in faith, confused and physically hurting. Danny always says hindsight is 20/20. The interesting twist is that after we got here I realized that Danny had not gotten proper treatment in the states. In the US he was seen right away by a physician’s assistant in training and they did not do full back x-rays. Our improvement has been slow and steady, but his back and shoulder were such that we sought medical care here. There is socialized medicine for residents, and private care for others. The care has been excellent and we will see the doctor on Wednesday for all the test results.

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Today was Addy’s first day of big school – they start at what we would consider grade 1.                Our kindergarten level is part of their preschool. It was very interesting as the Orthodox priest was there at the opening ceremonies blessing their public education, incense and sprinkling water. Also every child brings the their new teacher flowers or a plant!

Mercy started her first day of preschool WITHOUT Addy and that was a big day! Grammie even wore a DRESS for the occasion.

Addy first day of school Mercy first day of school

It is really noisy here. We live on the corner of an intersection. Yesterday there was a major collision…but regardless there is constant traffic noise all day long, plenty of honking. When the traffic quiets at night then the zillion trillion dogs (OKAY maybe I am exaggerating) that bark constantly and the gypsy music starts. The music is not soothing to me at all, rather a frenzy type beat. Considering I am completely deaf in one ear I am surprised at how much I miss the quiet country. This picture is looking down from our bedroom balcony.

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However, we are privileged to be here and support our kids here. We are proud of them and the sacrifice they’ve made. If we can make their load a little lighter for just a little while then we will feel like we’ve accomplished something here in Romania. Their task seems huge and our bit seems small so I will end with this new favorite quote-

“I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.”

-Edward Everett Hale

 

Beaten With A Bible?

There is a feeling of shame after being abused, but there is freedom in acknowledging the abuse while working through it. I hate to admit this, but over the years, I’ve been beaten with the Bible. What’s even harder to admit, is that as the abused, I became an abuser. I shudder to think of those that I might have inadvertently or purposely smacked misusing this Holy book.

I am grateful I am a daughter of a loving Father who forgives my wrongs and wipes away my tears. I’ve known him since I was a young, lonely girl of fifteen years old, known Him intimately and personally, yet somehow I got off the path of just being in relationship with Him onto a crooked path of trying to do everything right. Somehow over the years it morphed into my righteousness being in perfect doctrine rather than the PERFECT ONE Himself.

How could a treasured LOVE LETTER that at one time I devoured and brought me PEACE turn into a weapon of mass destruction to my spirit? How could the book that holds LIFE bring such utter confusion to my soul? How could that beautiful leather volume that once I looked at with affection become to me a symbol of a rod, like the little wooden dowel rods that I disciplined our children with?

When a child sees the rod, they feel fear. I remember that fear. Is that really what our Father wants us to feel when we see His word? Fear rather than comfort? No wonder I have felt such confusion.

The last few years have been a rough road as I have tried to return to my first LOVE. I keep trying to do it in my own strength and I can’t. The LIES are etched too deeply in my mind. I have lots of head knowledge but I need the Holy Spirit to transplant it deep within my heart and soul.

There are those who will say, “You are not as broken as you think” or those who will say, “You were never abused”, but I know better. I have the scars to prove it, but I don’t have to prove it to anyone. He knows the truth and I just want to be restored. My hope is in the knowledge that I belong to the HEALER, I’m a part of His family, I am a daughter of the King of Kings and I believe with my whole heart the words Jesus spoke in John 10:10.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

JESUS didn’t come to make sure I had perfect doctrine, He came to bring life, life more abundantly. I really like the sound of that. No Bonnie, just Jesus. Him cradling me in His arms and doing the surgery removing all the tough scar tissue in my soul, making me tender again. It’s a lot of work….some of it’s been there over a decade, so it will take some time I suppose.

So I purpose to rest and let Him do surgery, probably multiple surgeries, I purpose to rejoice, even when its painful, that His Holy Spirit kept reminding me of His character. He kept bringing me back to that every time I was whacked with twisted verses proclaiming so-called perfect doctrine that started turning the precious Savior I intimately knew into a unfeeling robotic being.

I am starting to see more clearly, as grace and truth return to my heart.  He meets me at every corner, speaking to me so kindly. a card from someone or a hug or a song or a verse. When the road becomes too hard to walk, He carries me. I am overwhelmed by His unfailing love. I am His princess and He will restore me.

So I write this to say, I’m sorry. I’m truly grieved that I used His object of love and beat any of you with it. I pray that it has or will become to each of you what it is supposed to be…the God of the Universe calling out to us, as every story whispers His name and encourages us toward Him.

I’m sorry Danny, Aaron, Marie, Andrew, Sarah, Timothy and Isadora for beating you with a Bible. What is awesome is that I don’t even have to ask you to forgive me. I know you already have. Love truly does “cover a multitude of sin” and I will rest in the love of my precious family and my God’s restorative work.

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Merry Christmas from The Kleins

“…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…”

Romans 5:20B

Merry Christmas dear friends and family! I had the joy of chatting via text with my cousin Judy last week and she asked for a family picture. It prompted me to do a small order of photos for those we hold near and dear.  I have always enjoyed keeping in contact through annual Christmas cards, however we get to stay connected with many through Facebook now. Consequently a few of you will be receiving this in your mailbox, but the majority of you will receive it digitally online. It has been what I lovingly call a brutal and beautiful year.

That is why I chose the above scripture for this 2013’s Christmas letter. This “grace abounded much more” has been so true in our lives. If I’ve learned anything, it is that none of us know what tomorrow holds.

In February my mom had a stroke and she received an IV med called t-PA that had three possible outcomes: no change, fatal brain bleed or reversal of the stroke. The medication reversed most of the stroke and now Bethany lives in a new facility with fabulous, caring friends at “Hour Home Senior Care” just five min. away.

In March our daughter Sarah was such a confident, beautiful bride! It was our joy to welcome Tanner James Hutchinson to the family! Thanks to them we got an extra international visit from Marie & Christian and girls since they were all a part of the wedding. It was a wonderful time for all of their guests.

On Memorial Day weekend we launched “Klein’s Country Cottage” with our first guests. We have had so much fun working together to create a source of income for retirement! It has been consistently full. We have met all sorts of great people! If you would like to see it – here is the address: www.vrbo.com/472934

What was supposed to become our retirement income, the Lord saw fit to use to sustain us in the days ahead. The Friday before Father’s day, Danny was laid off of a “sinking ship” company. This was a blessing as he was the only one who received severance. Soon afterward, one by one, his co-workers left on their own accord.

In September Danny insisted I continue on with my previously planned trip to Moldova for three weeks to visit with Marie and Christian. I was able to reconnect with Mercy and took a train trip to visit Romania!

Speaking of Mercy, she is here visiting with her sister Addysen, along with her mama & daddy! Since our six children are grown and all doing well, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about each of our grandchildren!   Little Mercy (2 ½) has found her “voice” and is a little affectionate lover. She feels very strongly about things, let’s call her passionate! She calls me “Boppie” and no-one knows why. 

Emma (4) is my special girl and always has a hug for her Grammie.  She has an incredible smile and is getting tall! Addy (5) is already bilingual, speaking both Romanian and English. She critiques any Romanian word I try to say! Spencer (6) was big enough to participate in our church’s Christmas program. My heart did a flip when “Joseph” used ASL to tell his Grammie during the performance “I love you”. It is easy to enjoy your grandchildren when their parents are doing such a super job working with them and lovingly raising them!

Watson, our miniature schnauzer, just passed his AKC Canine Good Citizenship test. This is the foundation of him becoming a hearing dog for me! He already is alerting me to things I miss hearing. My next goal is to teach him to alert me when the cell phone rings. I often cannot hear it or tell where the sound is coming from.

We are starting a new business called Integrity Sales Consultants and are working out the final contract details to factory rep for six different companies. Danny will also be doing private consulting on a job by job basis.     I will be handling the financial side of the company and the VRBO. We enjoy working together! We are shocked at how the past six months have been so brutal yet beautiful. God’s grace has truly abounded more!

SO our future hope is to grow the company, possibly hiring another salesman, and eventually traveling to Romania during the summer months. We have a deep desire to go and work alongside the Burtt’s and help them in any way they need. In September, I had the privilege of helping one afternoon with abandoned babies.

Unless a volunteer comes, these little ones have diapers changed only twice and propped-fed three bottles a day. I held a little curly dark haired girl (3 mos.) that was smaller than any of our newborns ever were. It was sobering to me that Isadora’s first years were in a similar environment without any volunteers. It was surreal.

This is the message the Lord has placed on my heart for these children. There is brokenness everywhere in this world….but where that brokenness abounds, His grace abounds even more! This we know is true. Merry Christmas! Danny & Bonnie

I have a Maker, He formed my heart. Before even time began my life was in His hands.

I have a Father, He calls me his own.  He’ll never leave me no matter where I go.

He knows my name, He knows my every thought.

He sees each tear that falls, and hears me when I call.

He Knows My Name by Tommy Walker

Christmas cards 2013 web

Are you a Strong Woman?

In Munich on my layover traveling home from Moldova, I was honored to find this Facebook post by my daughter Marie:

“she is one of the reasons I am a strong Christian woman today. love you, mama. miss you already. ♥”

Marie & me 2013

Still jet-lagged from 20 hours of traveling my mind swirls with thoughts, “How can that be true when I feel so weak?” I realize that my feelings aren’t reality. I am also a strong woman.

I have been blessed with three daughters; Marie, Sarah and Isadora.

Did I really raise them to be strong women? I hope so now. There was a time when I thought that would not be a positive trait.

I have had the privilege to come along side some women who have been told that being a strong woman is a terrible, sinful thing. There is nothing new with that lie.

So my mind swirls with thoughts and I want to define the term. I safe-search Google images for a strong woman image for this post….can you guess what I find?

Large breasts, more breasts…hmmm that really struck a nerve after just watching the award winning documentary “Nefarious – Merchant of Souls”.

Take two minutes to watch the preview link. This is about the enslavement of women, even right here in the states, not just across the world. Sweden has come up with a solution that is working. It’s amazing.

http://nefariousdocumentary.com/

These enslaved women featured in this film didn’t know they could be strong.

These are women that have been emotionally and physically used by selfish men.

These are women not too different than the women I have come along side of.

They too have been used by selfish men and told for years by the church that it is wrong to be strong. I would like to say that is a LIE.

I THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT WE RAISE STRONG DAUGHTERS WHO KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

Out of hundreds of Google images, I finally found one that is Biblical:

strong woman

This is from Proverbs 31. How can she laugh without fear of the future?

It’s because she is clothed in strength and dignity. She knows who she is.

So I challenge you- Do you really know who you are?

Please take 3 minutes and watch this video:

Who you are: A Message to All Women

And ask yourself, “Do I really believe this?”

It is true simply because of JESUS.

Here is the link: http://youtu.be/uWi5iXnguTU

Stand with God and His truth. Be like the midwives in Egypt.

Read about these awesome women here: http://bible.com/111/exo.1.17-21.niv

Be strong and glorify God with your strength!

Today I celebrate LOVE.

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Danny and I have been blessed to have been married 38 years today. It truly is a gift to have my husband be my best friend and also to be loved sacrificially.

What does that mean? It means that over the years when I was unlovable my husband still chose to love me. I know that wasn’t an easy choice, but when he did…it made it easier for me to love him in this same sacrificial way too.

It is a glimpse of how God loves us through Jesus…sacrificial LOVE.

You see it in John 3:16-17-

“For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did NOT send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

BUT to save the world through him.

It doesn’t mean we haven’t struggled. It doesn’t mean it’s been a bed of roses…let’s be real here, we had six kids and those blessings live with you and divide and conquer!

Years ago we were challenged to start each day in prayer together. It was really hard at first. It was humbling. BUT it was the thing that started to knit our hearts together in the most interesting intimate way. It caused our LOVE for one another to grow as we exposed the hidden places of our hearts.

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The past ten years have been difficult as we have watched marriage after marriage crumble. We have observed one thing…it takes BOTH husband and wife to make a marriage work. It takes commitment on BOTH sides. It takes communication on BOTH sides. It takes sacrificial love on BOTH sides.

One person can’t make a successful marriage. We know many who have tried and they are tired and discouraged. I hope today they can rejoice with us and rest in the sacrificial love Jesus has for them.

 Hatred stirs up trouble, but love forgives all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

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