Sunday, December 5, 2010

What message is your life portraying?

 October 4, 2009, a woman named Janna married John, the man of her dreams.
A beyond beautiful couple. 

On December 8, 2009, still a newlywed, Janna was killed in a bizarre accident.
Done with work for the day, she got out of her car in the parking lot of her apartment complex when a snow plow truck backed into her and took her life.
28 years old.
John's wife for only 2 months.
A groom who pulled into the parking lot as the ambulance was loading his beautiful bride into the back.
In a matter of moments John went from a groom to a widower.
60 plus days married, a life time ahead of missing her.

I didn't know Janna personally, but was so moved by her story that I contacted her Dad, Jon, by e-mail and we've talked on the phone a few times. One of the first things he wanted me to know about her was that his little girl has a passion for Jesus. Since she was young.
I say "has" because it's an eternal thing that only increases once you hit the floors of heaven and something that doesn't end with your last breath.

I joined the Remembering Janna Moore Morin Facebook page shortly after her death and have cried many times from the posts and pictures that people have shared about her. Especially the ones from her BFF's and her Dad, Jon.

I've also looked at her Facebook page. Unless you're her friend, you can only see the Info page.
I was amazed at what I read. Here's a little bit of what she had written...
In the "about me" section:
Religious views: John 14:6 "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me."-Jesus.
Favorite Quotations: 
*Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 

*Mark 13:13 All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 

*John 3:3 Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." 

*John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

*John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you. No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 

*Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

But this part is what got me the most under her Bio:

I'm a hairstylist that has never stopped moving. literally...I moved back  to 

Nebraska in February for my how husband after living in San Diego for a few

years. I got married October 4th, 2009 and am now living the life as a 

The Lord guides my steps in all I do, and my goal in life is to live a life pleasing in His sight. 
I will be in Heaven with Him someday...
Will you?

Janna and John's engagement photo...she had no idea her time with him as his wife would be so short.

When she was the center of attention at her Bridal shower, she didn't have a clue that she'd see Jesus so soon...

And when she became Mrs. John Morin that day in October she didn't know she'd die as a newlywed.

She didn't know she'd die before her 30th birthday, as none of us know the day we are going to die and leave this earth.

What Janna did know though with any doubt to even those who never had the privilege of meeting her, is that she loved Jesus Christ with everything in her and she had no shame in sharing Him.
From what I've read in her very own words and what I've heard from her Dad about her is that her love for Jesus was undeniable.

A beauty of a woman from the inside out with a message that Jesus Christ was Who she loved and lived for and she knew that one day, sooner than what anyone thought, she'd be with her Savior.
She even had Isaiah 53:5 tattooed on her arm. A tattoo her Dad said that she had put on her arm with purpose. When she was cutting hair and her client asked her about it she was able to witness to them.

What messages about your life are you purposely sending out?
If you have a Facebook...what is that people can without a doubt say about you just from your Info page?
Under "religion" do you mark "Christian", but then live a life that doesn't portray Christ at all?
Is Christ just another part of your life, or is He your life?
What unspoken message can be said of your life and your beliefs?
Christ was never meant to be your best kept secret, but to be shared with others.

"Knowing" Janna over the last year has made me more aware that I am the one in charge of how I portray myself. I'm the one who chooses what I want others to know about me. Do I get it right all of the time? No way, but when I feel immediate conviction over my choices, it makes me want to do better next time. And so I seek forgiveness from God and move forward. If there's one thing about me that I want people to know it's Jesus. Not that I'm a wife, mom or Grandma or that I love writing. Jesus. That's Who I want my life to portray.

Today, as I am, ask yourself...what message are people getting from my life?
If you can't honestly say Jesus, then I pray that you shift your priorities and make Him your #1 and if you don't know Him at all, I hope you choose Him.
He's not a choice of religion, for He's more than just saying that you're a Christian.
Anyone can believe in Jesus. The difference is allowing Him to live through you.

Please keep Janna's husband John and her family and friends in your prayers this week as they come upon the 1 year anniversary of her homecoming and their 2nd Christmas without her.

And today...make Jesus your choice above anyone and everything.
Allow Him to be the message of this short life you're living here on earth.

The Lord guides my steps in all I do, and my goal in life is to live a life pleasing in His sight. 
will be in Heaven with Him someday...
Will you?
~Janna Moore Morin~


Friday, October 15, 2010

Jesus is the Hero

I just read a post by my friend Nicki that is so bold and awesome about how the world views Christians called If You Want to Blame Someone, Blame Yourself. You must read it!
This is what it spurred in my heart just now though.

This week many of us witnessed the miners in Chili being brought up out of a dark pit.

Since the day they were trapped, the desire to rescue them was intense and focused.
It would have been worthless to sit up here and just point fingers at whatever went wrong.
Condemnation was put aside and the rescue efforts were put in place.
And from the 1st to the very last miner, we rejoiced and praised as we watched each of them walk into the arms of a loved one.
Every single miner was waited for.
And every single miner was welcomed with open arms no matter how dirty they were.

There are many in the pit of darkness.
And as Christians, it is easy to sit in our pews and shake our heads at their lifestyle.
Does that mean we sit back and just let them live life out of control?
Of course not, that would be stupid and irresponsible on our part.
But there is a way to confront someone in love instead of pure condemnation.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying to be afraid of stepping on any one's toes, you want to speak truth into some one's life and not skirt around the issues they're facing. But to be truthful in love is so different. My Uncle Chris was just like that with me. He lovingly told me that I needed Jesus. That He was praying for me. And he pointed things out that needed to be addressed.
I knew my uncle didn't agree with my lifestyle, but not once was his finger pointing so hard at me that I couldn't see past his finger to his heart for me and more importantly, His heart for Jesus. 
That love is a tool Jesus used to save my life.

What are you doing..sitting around pointing fingers or are you cooperating with God's rescue effort?
Don't let it be mistaken that Jesus Christ is the Rescuer. 
He is the Hero.
Not us. 
Even though men dug the hole that provided the way out of the entrapment for the miners, the tube is what brought the miners up out of the earth. And just like with those lost, who don't know Jesus or perhaps do know Jesus, but have chosen to live life their way like I did...He will use us to share Him, to share His Word, but HE is the tube that brings them up out of the darkness. The tube brought the miners up and out to freedom while the men who dug stood around clapping and praising. And as Jesus brings those that are in any sin filled lifestyle into freedom, we stand or perhaps kneel...clapping and praising our Hero. 

Thank you Jesus for never giving up on me and thank you Uncle Chris for letting Jesus use your love for Him to love on your once Prodigal niece.
Have a blessed weekend. 
Next Tuesday I''ll post on chapters 3 & 4 from the book study of "It's No Secret".
Sorry I missed this week, but it was a crazy one.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No more being fake!

A block away from our home is the cutest house ever.
It almost looks like a little cottage out of a storybook and I've always loved the look of it.  
Back in the spring of 2003 the house was put up for sale and my mom, who has also loved it, wanted to see the inside of the home. 
She would call the realtor, but could never get a showing because as soon as there was interest, they would take it off the market. It was so strange. 

Watching the news one summer night explained why the For Sale sign kept getting taken down.
Neighbors had called the health department on the two women that owned the house. 
They were being reported for a smell coming from their home.
City officials responded and quickly removed 78 cats and 2 dogs from the home.  
Seventy-eight felines. 
In a small 2 bedroom cottage on the corner.

Recently I was visiting with my friend who lives next door to the former Cat Group Home and I commented on what a great job the new owners have done with the place. That's when she told me that when they began building their addition and started digging, they found graves of cats in plastic bags.
The health department again was called out and they discovered over 80 buried cats on the property. 
Little did I know all along I was admiring a cat cemetery, not a cottage that could be found in a
 Thomas Kinkaid painting.

My friend said that the new owners had to completely re-gut the house and put all new stuff in to get rid of the smell of the cat urine left behind. The paper reported that Animal control officers could smell the urine while standing 50 feet from their home.
I had never been that close to the house, instead just admiring it from a distance, so I had no idea. 
What my Mom and I thought looked good on the outside was actually unlivable on the inside. 

Don't we get like this sometimes? 
So worried about what the outside looks like that we forget about our heart?
We want to look good from a distance and can easily accomplish that goal.
So many of us can look like we have it all together to the naked eye, and the closer people get, the more they smell our stinking hearts. 
When we allow Jesus to take over, it won't be cats He carries out of our our heart, but instead things like jealousy, anger, pride...and so on.
Jesus wants to re-gut our hearts and fill it up with Himself.

When Jesus is what we're all about, the aroma of Christ will come seeping out of our hearts and our insides will match up with our outside appearance.
All because of our sweet Savior.
My girlfriend Lisa Whittle is much like this. What you see on the outside is what you see on the inside. 
Straight up beauty.
Pure Jesus girl.  
The real deal.
I just went to Lisa's blog so I could link her and read her post The Ugly Truth. Oh my goodness!!
 This is exactly what I'm talking about. Go read it. So worth your time.

Let's pursue Jesus Christ and let Him invade us from the inside out!

Join me next Tuesday for the next Yes to God study of Rachel Olsen's new book, 
It's No Secret front cover
 Get the book and join in anytime!
You don't have to be a blogger to join us.
Discussion of chapter 1 will be 
Tuesday, September 28th
See you here!
Click on the Yes to God FAQ's on the right side of my blog if you have never joined an on-line blog study before. 
And if you read this last post...I hope you are praying for the 3 women with cancer.
Thank you! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

3 women/3 cancers/ONE JESUS

Some people start dreading Monday's on Sunday and wake up every week with this attitude...

But then by Friday their attitude has flipped and they feel like this...

Not all people are like this though. 
There are some who wake up like this most days...

Just choosing to praise God before the day even has a chance to get to her. 

Over the last few weeks I have found out that 2 women I have blogged with over the last two years and have had the privilege of meeting both in person are battling cancer. Then over the weekend I found out that a guy I know through high school is married to a woman who is also fighting for her life. 
All three daughters of the King, wives and mothers.
Let me introduce you to Elaine, Veronica and Amy.

When I look at the things I complain about I feel so silly to know that there are 3 of my Sisters in Christ waking up every morning knowing that they have something in their body that doesn't belong. 
And as I have read through each one's blog and/or CaringBridge posts they are all three looking like Elaine does in this picture...

They may be the first to tell me that it's not all it seems to be and that they have their bad days too. That's fine, they're human, but when I see a woman in the midst of a battle for her life and her belief in God hasn't wavered, but instead increased, the picture above is what they each look like.

Just letting their Jesus soak through them.  
My heart is heavy for each one of them. 
They have children and husbands who adore them. 
They have already or will soon lose their hair. 
They are physically weak and sick. 
But even with all they are physically and emotionally enduring, each lady is
praising, seeking and trusting in
Jesus Christ, their Savior.

I introduced the 3 of them over the weekend via Facebook and through tears, laughed as I read Amy and Elaine telling Veronica how she is "rock'n" the bald head look.

 They are encouraging each other and praying for one another and they are sharing their stories.
And they know the One thing besides cancer they have in common is Jesus Christ. 
Three beautiful women in different parts of the country. 
Three different cancers invading their body. 
ONE Savior.
Not one of them has turned away or stopped trusting Him. 
In Amy's CaringBridge post today she expressed her anger at the enemy and I loved how real she is. 

The last time I talked to Elaine was over the summer.
She had just written her first book and I called to congratulate her. 
Book Release... "peace for the journey: in the pleasure of his company"
So now that she is in a battle, does she toss her own book out or rely on all God has taught her up to this point? I mean c'mon, can one really have Peace for the Journey when it comes to cancer?

So what am I learning from these three beautiful godly women? 
So far, I have learned to embrace my Jesus. 
Praise Him all of the time. Not just when it's Friday. 
Seek Him deeply.

You may not have cancer in common with these women, but if you are saved then the One thing you have in common with them is Jesus Christ. 
And whether we have cancer or not, He wants and desires our praises. 
He doesn't want to be your god who you turn to in an emergency or on Easter and Christmas. 
He wants to be your God that you want more than what your flesh wants. 
He wants to be the God that you talk to about every little and big thing in your life. 
He wants to be the God you surrender completely to.
He wants to be your Everything when you are sick and when you are healthy.
He wants to be the reason you leave yourself behind.

These are women filled more with Jesus than they are cancer. 
And that's what life should be about. 
Many of us may never get cancer or any other life threatening disease.  
We may just seek Him out of convenience, not desire.
I think what is scary is that we can go through life and not ever really get to know our Savior.
And by choice we may never get to know Him past the baby in the manger.
I don't want to wait until life takes me to an unfamiliar place before I get on bended knee. 
I want to choose to daily surrender fully to Jesus now.
I want to be like these women and do it before anything dangerous comes my way.

From what I know of Vern and Elaine and what I've read about Amy, these women were praising and seeking their Savior prior to their diagnosis.
Now they've just taken it up a notch.
How many unbelievers will cross paths with these women? 
Doctors, nurses, lab technicians, volunteers...
How many lives will be changed watching them stay faithful to the Faithful One? 
Their love and passion for Jesus that no matter what, will not be surrendered.  

Amy woke this morning to see one of her children in bed reading her Bible. 
Not playing video games. Not texting, not watching television. 
Reading God's Word!
What a way to start your day off. 

Three women 
Three lives 
Three cancers

One Jesus who knows exactly what we're going through.

Please keep these women and their families in your prayers and go visit them...

Veronica (Vern) Hutcherson at her CaringBridge website.

Elaine Olsen at her blog Peace for the Journey and to order Elaine's book, click here.

Amy Bowman at her CaringBridge website or her blog New Nostalgia

*And all 3 are on Facebook.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shhhh....It's a Secret, I mean, IT'S NO SECRET!

The current YES to GOD blog study that I'm "leading", or rather avoiding, has truly been the toughest. I didn't expect it to be hard and looking back I'm not sure what I thought it would be like. It's forced me to relive a part of my ugly past that I never wanted to return to. I've talked about my regret of choosing abortion over trusting God before, but I've never had to really look at my choice. Tomorrow I will blog on chapter 6&7 and next Tuesday, I'll wrap it up with the last chapter. I'm sorry to anyone who has been following it for my inconsistency to blog on time but one thing I realized about myself through this is that I would rather suffer in silence than deal head on with something so painful. The problem with stuffing such pain it's still fair game for the devil to use it against you. So, I will keep going and allowing God to slowly peel back layers of my heart that I would rather Him just leave alone. He never listens to me. So if you have been following along with that study, I will be posting tomorrow for sure. 

When I started the current study, I knew not everyone would be able to relate, thank God.
Knowing that it was near it's end, I've been wondering what book God would want us to do for the next YES to GOD blog study. And then along came Rachel Olsen of Proverbs 31 Ministries, unveiling her new book called
"It's No Secret" and it caught my eye. For the few women who have experienced love at first sight with their man, it was like that for me with this book, just by the cover alone. 
I mean, look at this and tell me you wouldn't be one of the first to order this.
It's No Secret front cover

I don't know if you can read it, but the red words say

Revealing Divine Truths?
Secrets about and from God? 
Lately my heart as just been longing for more of Him. 
I don't want to be one of those Christian women that keeps Him to myself. 
I want more.
I crave more of Him to the point my teenage son leaned over in church yesterday and asked me,
"Why are you crying?". 

Here are some things I found in Rachel's book and Sisters, this is just the intro...

In the pages of this book, you and I will find a dozen hidden treasures of wisdom Christ longs to reveal to us. These teachings run counter to what our culture tells us about successful living. I hope we will grasp each of these simple-yet-divine secrets for successful living in the kingdom of God, apply them, and share them with others. 

These God-sized secrets contain the keys we are looking for--answers to the issues of modern life, such as exhausting schedules, unpaid bills, relational conflicts, and unmet expectations. These secrets, and their Source, are the solution to the longings of our souls. 

God eagerly awaits to share with us great secrets from His Word.  

I want more of Him, don't you? 
He knows we need Him and He is never finished with revealing Himself to us. 
There's way too much of Him for us to ever be able to get to the point of being a "know it all Christian". 
There are just too many sides of Him that allows us the comfort of ending our pursuit of Him.

Not long ago, I found out after 20 years of knowing my husband that I didn't know everything about him like I claimed.
I knew Gene played basketball.
I knew he was good enough to be recruited and given a full scholarship to Nebraska in the 80's for football.
But what I did not know is that he was once a wrestler.
Once I got past the visual of him being in this sport, truth be told, it was rather exciting to find out this side of him that he had failed to reveal to me. For 20 years.
As exciting to my soul that it was to find out something new about my husband,
it can't compare to being revealed a side of our Savior we had no idea existed .
Yes, more thrilling it is to find out things about Jesus Christ than finding out your muscular, athletic husband once put a tight fitting outfit on and wrestled around on a mat with another guy.
Way more exciting!

Yesterday in church, we read Colossians 1:27 and it penetrated my heart  to the point of tears.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, 
which is Christ in you, 
the hope of glory. 

It was the reference to Christ as the hope of glory that got me. 
My past is part of Satan's resume, but to know that no matter what I have done, I have Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory in me is amazing.
And to think that it's right where He wants to be just floors this once girl gone wild.
The Hope of Glory
And He has things that He wants me to know about Him, even after years of calling myself a Christian. 
He has used Rachel Olsen to write
It's No Secret
to deliver twelve divine truths into our heart. 
Let's get what our Heavenly Father has for us in this book. 

Yesterday Rachel and I were corresponding through e-mail and one thing I said was this...
There's not a study I've hosted that God hasn't done some changing in me. 
So, I anticipate much from my King as we begin a new book study because I know enough about Him to know He's not about women adding a book to their library. 
He's about us changing and letting us get to know Him more.

If you are looking for a blog study to participate in, I hope you will join me for the next 
blog study starting on 
Tuesday, September 28th to discuss chapter 1 of 
It's No Secret 
by Rachel Olsen
After Tuesday the 28th, we will continue to meet here every Tuesday, discussing one chapter a week. 
If you have never visited Rachel's blog, click here and go see her.
(She even has where you can read the intro and chapter one of the book if you want to in the entry from September 7th).
I met her at the women's Christian writing and speaking conference, She Speaks  in 2008 and she is as wonderful in person as she is through her blog. 

Don't just go shopping for another book. 
Buy the book and look forward to God doing some amazing things in your heart and life. 
Go into this with anticipation of a King that doesn't know how to disappoint. 
Allow Him to change you from the inside out and reveal truths that we need to know. 

I'm so excited! 
So, invite a friend or 2 or 4 and join me on Tuesday, September 28th
If you've never done a blog study before, on the right side of my blog there are FAQ's about 

  Click here to buy It's No Secret and then get ready my Sister, as our

 Hope of Glory
 leads us to a place we've never been before with Him. 

If you are interested in doing this blog study with me, please leave a comment below and know you will be lifted up in prayer. 
OH, and I heard this song before church yesterday and it stirred up a desire in my heart that was really crazy to feel. She just sang what was in my heart.
 I love the Lord so very much...I really hope He knows that.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 5

Welcome, to 
on Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, my husband Gene had his 4th back surgery. I was in Omaha with him until Friday afternoon and now home helping him recover. I'll share with you this Friday the cool thing God did in a separate post, otherwise I'd be writing a book today.

This Yes to God study of Pat Layton's book, Surrendering the Secret 

has by far been the toughest for me to tackle.
And if you're anything like me, then when you don't want to deal with something you just stuff it. Over the last month of "leading" this study I have exchanged excuses for blogging. Some big things have happened, but I still committed to doing this with Jennifer and I have in no way done my part. If we were doing this in real life, I probably would have stopped showing up for the meetings. Because for a short period of time, when you stuff something so far down in your heart you can pretend that it's gone away. Until something happens to remind you of your secrets. Not a fun way to live.
So, no more excuses, no more avoiding the STS book, let's just let God get to it. 

SESSION 5: FORGIVENESS: A Giant Step Toward Freedom
Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

On the 3rd page of this session Pat has a section called: 
Objectives for this Session
*Increase openness to the concept of forgiveness
*Recognize what true forgiveness is an is not
*Understand the benefits of forgiveness and the consequences of not forgiving
*Separate the conscious choice of forgiving from our emotions
*Verbalize an understanding of God's forgiveness in our own lives

Then she wrote this...Put the burden of resentment in God's hands. Holding on to anger and unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for someone else to die from its effects. 

I've never thought until this study that I've never forgiven myself for my horrible choice and how that has effected my life. I'm drinking in my own poison and it's effecting so many areas of my life.

One of the things Pat does is tells us what forgiveness isn't...
Forgiveness is
NOT forgetting.~Forgiveness does not imply amnesia.
NOT minimizing the hurt.~Forgiveness calls the violation what it is just as an umpire calls what he sees.
NOT necessarily mean reconciliation.~Forgiveness recognizes that reconciliation may be neither possible nor wise following an abortion.

At the end of the session, Pat addresses forgiving yourself.
It's common for post-abortive women to feel that while God has forgiven them, they need to forgive themselves. But the Bible never identifies the need to forgive ourselves. The key is not forgiving yourself but accepting God's forgiveness. 

I always make things about myself and yet Pat clearly is telling me, "Once again Lelia, stop making this about YOU. This is about really accepting God's grace and forgiveness."
When we as Christ-followers say, "I know God can forgive me, but I can't forgive myself," we are elevating our ability to forgive over God's ability. True healing and freedom only occur when we can accept the forgiveness God so graciously wants to give each of us. In not completely accepting God's forgiveness, you're essentially buying the lie that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient to cover your abortion.

Can you even imagine standing at the foot of the cross back when Jesus was actually on it?
You've just watched Him get beaten beyond recognition, spit on and made fun of  by some dirty soldiers.
You've stood by in horror watching as they nailed his broken, bruised and bleeding body to the cross.
You watch as His helpless mother prays over her dying Son.
And then you walk up to His bloodied feet, look up to Him and wait until you have His attention and say
 "Not enough, Jesus. This isn't enough to pay for all I've done and will do. You got anything else?"

I think His mother Mary would've found the strength to take you out herself.
It sounds crazy, but this is what we all do when we don't accept His forgiveness.
What He allowed to happen to Him on that cross was, is and always will be enough for us.
More than enough. 
Our sins, no matter how big or small, were covered that day and continue to have complete coverage.
We just have to accept His forgiveness so our healing can begin.
Like Paul penned many moons ago...His grace is sufficient enough.

Please visit the lovely Jennifer for her insight to session 5. 
And visit the author, Pat at her blog, Surrendering the Secret.
Come back by in a few days, I have an amazing story about what God did last week.
He is just so worth this journey!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 4

I am beyond sorry for my absence from the blog.
I have been in correspondence with Jennifer and this has been a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. I have really stuffed this part of my life and opening it up, I almost feel like I'm walking around with vomit all over me.

See, with my abortion, I took "the pill". And the two anti-abortion girlfriends I had told about my pregnancy, I couldn't dare tell them that I had aborted, so I told them that I miscarried. So, I let my lie become my truth. And every time I would think about what I had done, I told myself that I had miscarried.

And so it made it a little easier. And when I would start thinking about how old my baby would be, I'd stop before the tears could come down. I reminded myself that "I had no other choice". Lie after lie I fed myself and swallowed every bit of them.

So a few weeks ago, my oldest daughter and I had to go to Bellevue, which is less than an hour away. When we were heading back to Lincoln, she made a wrong turn and there, right across the street from where she turned around, was the clinic.
The clinic where I was handed the abortion pill that would let me swallow my secret sin.

Instant sinking of my stomach.
It's so dirty looking.
You think they could at least take some of the money they make and pave the parking lot so their doctor has a decent place to park.

I said, out loud, "Oh my gosh, that's where I had my abortion". My daughter gave a sympathetic, "Oh" and off we went. There's a sign at the exit off of the highway to Bellevue that says "When a woman has an abortion, something inside of her dies". They should have that on the outside of this dirty building.
But as my daughter found the right street, I just did what I've always done when thinking about my abortion choice, and quickly stuffed it. Problem is, I  am supposed to be "leading" a blog study of this very thing and I don't want anything to do with it. It was so much better when I didn't allow myself to think about it.
Because not only as a mom, but as a human, what I did was horrible and everything in me wants this baby back.
WHAT would God have done with my situation had I allowed Him in and really took Him at His Word of being the great "I Am"?

Looking at this picture of the clinic, I wonder how many babies have been left behind.
And the thing is, I have always been so protective of my kids, that there is no way if this was a daycare that I'd leave my child there, but I did. The minute I let that doctor place that pill in my hand and watch me swallow it, I left my child there. To die. Oh Lord, I'm so sorry.

So amongst other things that have happened, I have chosen to ignore this blog. I like easy and it was easier for me to text Jennifer saying "I promise promise promise today I'm posting!" and week after week she'd text back encouraging me to press forward and trust God with this like she had to do when she first went through this book. I was really hoping she'd say, "Oh, don't worry about it, you're not ready", but she didn't let me off the hook. Instead, she lovingly prayed and guided me. I so love her!
Also, thank you all for your sweet comments and encouragement the last post. You're all such blessings!
If you are going through this book because of your own choice of regret, I will be praying for you!

So, I know I'm way behind, but instead of trying to play catch up, let's look at session 4 this week.
If you ever want to comment, but don't want anyone to know your identity, you can comment under "Anonymous". Your input is always valued.

SESSION 4:  A TIME FOR ANGER: Tearing Down the Roadblocks
Anything in blue is a quote from the book. 

I really love how the author, Pat Layton has included pages from her personal journal at the beginning of each session. This journal entry made me cry. She was told her abortion would take a few hours and she'd be back to her normal life. Instead, she stopped breathing and was put on a respirator due to an allergic reaction from the anesthesia. What was going to be her secret became her nightmare as she awoke to her parents next to her side in the hospital. Read her words...

"They" said there was "no need to worry" about the fever and the cramps that lasted five days after I went home from the hospital. As I grew worse, "they" changed their minds and said, "We are very sorry" and admitted me back into the hospital. "They" said, "During the emergency we encountered during your first procedure, parts of the fetus were left behind. We will need to repeat the procedure." 
I never even thought about the word "fetus" as "they" said it. 
All I could think was "baby." 
My baby. 
"Parts" left behind? 
Which "parts"? 
The heart? 
The hands? 
The parts of a boy or a girl? 
My God, 
which parts? 
Nothing "they" said was true.

I cannot even begin to pretend to know what she endured during and after that day. But what I do know is the book I am trying hard to go through is proof that God can take the hardest, ugliest, most selfish time in our life and turn it for His good.

Ephesians 4: 25-26
Laying aside falsehood, speak the truth each of you with his neighbor, for we are all members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger

So how do "be angry" and yet keep sin out of the picture.
I've always related anger with yelling, screaming, explosive behavior and yet that is not what God wants from us. So sometimes it seems easier to stuff it, but that's not what God says for us to do either. Verse 26 doesn't say, Be angry, and yet do not sin, just stuff it down in your heart and make things on the outside look as normal as possible.
Anger is a God-given emotion that helps us address issues, but it must be handled carefully. 

Pat takes us further into Ephesians chapter 4 when she takes us past verse 26 and goes to 32 where we learn what happens when we stuff our anger or let it out in the wrong way.

I've always heard, "don't let the sun go down on your anger" and have looked at that sentence as being more of a fortune tucked into the fold of a cookie at a Chinese restaurant instead of advice in my Bible penned by Paul.
 When I've been angry about something not only has the moon replaced the sun, but the lights have been turned off, the fit has been thrown, the words I can't take back have been spit out and the silent treatment has gone into effect.
And how many of these can I check off that I've done...
Explosive anger verbally attacks by screaming, cursing, condemning, name-calling, humiliating, or threatening. It damages self-esteem and trust and ultimately destroys a relationship when the exploder causes the anger recipient to retreat for emotional safety. 

Pat encourages us to get rid of explosive anger and replace it with a healthy outlet.
It's so weird, because I don't walk around screaming and yelling like a mad woman, but when I let it out oh my goodness, even Kane the dog wishes he lived somewhere far away from me.
And sometimes the anger just rises up so quick from out of no where.
Post-abortive women often react to thing sin ways they don't understand. They find themselves overreacting to events and circumstances in ways they don't expect---sometimes with anger, or other times with great sadness or hurt. Now that you are on your healing journey, you can begin to make sense of these uncomfortable emotions. 

By doing this study, it has really forced me to look at the choice that I made. The choice I convinced myself had to be done. The choice to end my baby's life. The choice to not give God a chance. The choice to face myself in the mirror and allow myself to grieve.
The choice I wish I was sitting next to right now.

It was no coincidence that my daughter missed the turn and I sat in the car looking at the building I entered years ago. I think God allowed that to happen on purpose so I would stop putting up walls around this part of my heart and give Him permission to invade me.
I hadn't seen the clinic since I walked away from it that day. I didn't even return there for my post abortion  follow-up appointment 2 weeks later.
I just wanted that day gone, but somehow God has different plans for me.
I wonder if this is what He means when He tells us in Isaiah 55:8
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
       neither are your ways my ways,"
       declares the LORD.

Please visit Jennifer at her blog,  Spirit of Truth 
and read her insight to session 4 as we share different things from the chapter.

Join me next Tuesday, session 5: 
Forgiveness: A Giant Step Toward Freedom

I'll be back Friday to share with you some exciting things that have been happening. 
Our God...He is somethin' else, as if you don't already know!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 2 & 3


of the book
 Surrendering the Secret

Last Tuesday, I was to post on session 2 and today on session 3. I have to be honest here and tell you, I'm having a hard time working through this book. 
I can blame it on being busy with work and family, but truth be told, what I thought at first was a great idea of hosting this study, has turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. 
And like Jillian Michaels says on her video, "when you begin to hurt, it's pain leaving the body". 

So, I'm late and I'm sorry for that, but here are a few things from sessions 2 & 3. 

SHARING THE SECRET: A Spring in the Desert
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book. 

In the journal entry from Pat's journal she is nudged by God to share her story with her BFF, Ann. 
She was so nervous and scared to do so and wrote these thoughts:
Although I am dreading it, I had to tell Ann about my abortion. The secret swelled so fiercely in my heart that I was about to burst! Yet turmoil and panic gripped my chest because I had no idea what Ann would say or how exposing this dark part of my past would affect our friendship. Ann and all my new friends at church seemed so godly and good. What would they think of me? What would they think about the awful thing I had done? It was time---to break the power of secrecy...

Isn't this so true to think no matter what our secrets hold? 
I've talked before about being at a women's conference and thinking, "if only she knew me". 
And surprisingly, when I've shared my past with my friends, they have shown me grace. 
And my sister Michelle. Oh my goodness, God knew exactly who I needed.
 I couldn't have designed a more perfect friend/sister. She has been so incredible. 

In this session, Pat talked of buying into lies. 
If Satan can keep us feeling worthless, keep us feeling guilty, or keep our minds and hearts under his influence, he can keep us out of the glory God intended us to live in and the intimacy God wants us to share with Him. That's why the deceiver continually whispers lies about who we are, who God is, God's heart toward us, and  intimacy with God. 

Continually whispers lies. 
And I continually believe my enemy. 
This cycle of destruction has come to an end. 

Session 3: WALK IN TRUTH

What if when you went to the clinic to get your abortion they took you into a room and told you what you would really feel afterward? 

On page 45, Pat talks about how after having an abortion, the first emotion most women have is immediate relief. Research indicates, however, that this relief is short-lived and is soon replaced by guilt, shame, secrecy, sadness and regret. This strong letdown experience is commonly referred to as Post-Abortion Trauma. 

On my way home from the clinic, I got a phone call asking to serve at church for Easter Sunday that year. I felt so much shame, but quickly regrouped. 
I had to remember that this was MY secret. 
My pregnancy was the result of an affair my husband didn't know of yet, so I had to be careful not to do anything out of the ordinary. Which meant walking around crying. 
So, I stuffed it and went on with my life. 
And tried my hardest not to EVER think about it. 

But after my husband knew and showed so much grace, the guilt and shame would really kick in. And wouldn't you know, Satan stayed around and had fun with this new emotion too. 
He just loves to keep us down and useless. 

This is one decision that we hope we are alone in, but the truth of it is, many many women have had an abortion. We are everywhere...women who have bought the enemy's lie that abortion was our only hope, our only choice, and what we "had to do". 

Okay, that's all I can do for now. 
I will be praying for all of you silently joining this study. 
We are not alone ladies, and our God. 
Our God loves us as is. 

Please visit my co-host, Jennifer on her blog 
for an amazing word. 


*Next Tuesday, August 3rd for Session 4: A Time for Anger: Tearing Down Roadblocks

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

YES to GOD Study: Surrendering the Secret/Week 1

Welcome to the summer YES to GOD study of Pat Layton's book 
Surrendering the Secret.  

First, I want to tell everyone who has left messages of encouragement and letting us know that they're praying, THANK YOU so much! What a blessing you have been!

Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Prior to each session is a page entry from the journal of Pat, the author. She shares how at the age of 23 she was alone at the clinic. I love what she says here about God: "He's rescued  me from despair and shame, transforming the messes of my life into a beautiful ministry of grace and healing". Her testimony is amazing and to be led through this journey by someone like her through her book, is an absolute privilege.

One thing that Pat mentioned in the beginning of this session is God is here, and He has brought you here. He has a plan for you but cannot take the journey for you. You must take one step: a step of faith to begin walking the path with Him. 

When I first found out I was pregnant, I told two of my friends. Both cried with me and prayed for me and both women begged me not to have an abortion. The only reason they would both bring up abortion is because being married, the baby was not my husband's. I promised both of them that I would never do what I was always so against. It would be years before I would tell them the truth about my "miscarriage". Both forgave me, but the shame I carried was at times unbearable.

Some think God couldn't care less about our pain or that He condemns us for past mistakes, but the Book of Jeremiah gives us glimpses into God's real heart. 
They dress the sound of my people as thought it is not serious, "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. 

Pat goes on to share with us the story in the Bible of Hagar found in Genesis 16. 
If you have never read the Bible before, Genesis is the very first book of the Bible. And let me tell you, some of the stories in here bring out more drama than the writer's of Desperate Housewives could ever dream up.
There are three main characters in this story: Abram, his wife Sarai and her servant Hagar. 
Sarai hadn't been able to give Abram any kids, so in all her womanly wisdom, she tells Abram to sleep with Hagar. 
And he did. 
Hagar became pregnant. 
And Sarai became ticked off and treated Hagar horribly. 
And Hagar did what any pregnant mistreated servant would do and she ran away. 

Shame. Guilt. Shame. Running from the situation. 
Sound familiar? 

The day I was driving home from my regretful time in the clinic, I received a phone call from a guy at church asking me to be a greeter that Sunday for Easter service at the front doors of our church.
"Sure" I said in a forced happy tone while tears ran down my cheeks.
Needless to say, I didn't show up. 

Getting back to Hagar, this is where it gets really good. 
Let's pick up at Genesis 16:7-8
The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, "Hagar, Sarai's servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?" 

I LOVE that...where have you come from, and where are you going
Just think of what God has brought you out of and think of where He can and will take you, if you allow Him to do so. 
From a seat in a clinic that left me with shame and complete surrender in all areas of my life. 

Continuing on with Hagar's story, I love this next part. 
The angel told her to return to her mistress and submit to her authority. The he continued to tell her all that God promised to do with and to her. And this was her response to God, "You are the God who sees me." She also said, "Have I truly seen the One who sees me?"

How special she must have felt that day! She ran away in shame and the Lord met her right where she was and HE made her feel special and loved. She knew without a doubt that He saw her.
WHAT a Savior!

So, what does this have to do with us? 
Pat goes on to explain that abortion is a response to panic
Just like Hagar, when we went to the clinic, we ran with a cloak of shame covering our shoulders and more than likely we ran in panic. I know I did. I felt there was no other way out for me. 
And in all of my selfishness, God saw me. He saw me the day I walked into that clinic all alone. He saw me as I sat in the waiting room wanting to run out the doors. He saw me when the cold hearted doctor handed me the pill to end my pregnancy without even looking up at me. God hears your heart's cry! He sees you and feels your pain. He longs for you to look back on this time in your life and ask with Hagar, "Have I truly seen the One who sees me?"

Where have I come from?
A life full of decisions that effected not only me, but so many people I love.
A heart of regret and shame.

Where am I going?
My hearts' desire is to go wherever the Lord wants to take me.

It's time to trust in the God that sees and loves me whether I'm sitting in a chair in an abortion clinic or I'm sitting in a chair in church. 
Regardless of where I'm at in my life, His love for me is endless and unconditional. 
He has forgiven me for taking the life of my child and now instead of keeping me down in the pit of shame,  He wants to use my regret for His glory.

Question is...will I let Him?

Work through this study ladies.
Tough stuff, but let's allow God to break down your secret and let Him take you to new heights.

Please visit my co-leader Jennifer to read what she has written about this week's session.
She has been through this study and is a leader in her church. And what a heart she has for us.
Click here to go to her wonderful blog, Spirit of Truth. Oh, and if you haven't read her poem that she wrote called Out of the Darkness, oh my goodness, you have to read this.

Check back during the week so I can introduce you to some other women that have had an abortion, but have also made the decision to let God use this horrible choice for His good.
Let's tap into the hope we have in Him... 
the God who sees us!

Love you,