Blessings, Christian Testimony, Declaration of Faith, Fear, healing, Uncategorized, wholeness

God’s New Puzzle

I have heard so many people talking lately about God putting the pieces of their puzzles back together again. But, my circumstances happened a little bit differently.

After my divorce many years ago I was shattered into a gazillion pieces and had no idea how I would survive. One Sunday morning I was singing in the choir and we sang a song about God putting the pieces of our puzzles back together again. I remember I was crying profusely and asked God, “Dear Lord, how can even you put all the pieces of my puzzle back together again when all of the pieces were not there anymore?”

God answered me, not in a still small voice, but in a gentle quiet voice and said, “Child, I’ll simply build you a new puzzle.” And he did just that. My life today is nothing like it would have been with the power of God in my life.

Dear Friends, if you are feeling shattered today, don’t give up or give in to the fear. Give your fear to the one who said repeatedly in his word, “Fear Not”. Jesus is still the answer, the only answer, to whatever you’re heartache is today. Regardless of how your life was shattered, God will make you whole once again.

Learn more about God’s healing in my new book, Pathway to Healing, recently released by my new publishing imprint, Hat Rack Books, LLC. and available on Amazon.

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Blessings, Christian Testimony, Declaration of Faith, Education, Employment, parenting, Uncategorized, wholeness

What’s Wrong with Being a Girl (or a Boy)?

Everywhere I look in the news and on Facebook lately, I see articles about people proclaiming that they are a different gender than the body they were born with. Others proclaim their right to make such claims. I see articles of parents who insist that it is good to raise their children as gender neutral. Supposedly they can raise children, with definite gender specific bodies, with no gender training.

How is that even possible? Boys and girls are different. I’m not talking about what colors they wear. Male and female bodies grow differently. When they approach puberty, those differences become even more noticeable. How do you not teach them about those differences when their bodies are changing differently than their friends? Children and teenagers are curious by nature. How do you convince them those differences are in flux when they are not? And, how can any parent subject their children to medical intervention to stop puberty? That is simply medically dangerous to a child. That is abuse.

But, today, rather than debate something that neither side will budge on, I’d like to approach this subject from a different angle.

What is wrong with being how you were born? What is wrong with being a girl? I don’t mean that a girl has to be frilly and lacy. A girl can wear frills and lace or she can wear jeans and shirts, or even suits or dress pants made to fit a female figure. Male and female anatomy are different after all. She can wear her hair long and curly or she can wear it short. But, she can still be a girl and everything that means. She can be a stay-at-home wife and mother or she can have any career of her choice. And she can still be a girl and everything that means.

What is wrong with being a boy? I don’t mean that a boy has to be all macho, rough and tough without any artistic talents or nurturing instincts. A boy can wear jeans and t-shirts, or he can wear suits and ties. And he is still a boy. I don’t think I can go for a boy wearing dresses and such, because well, he is still a boy, and male and female anatomy are different. A boy can wear his hair long or short and still be a boy. He can work a hard physical job, or work in a corporate office, or work in an artistic career. And he is still a boy.

All of this talk of people thinking they are a different gender than they were born is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong being who you were born. How can you expect others to accept you if you can’t accept yourself?

I am not a frilly, lacy girl. But, I am a girl. I like being a girl. I liked being a wife, except for the abusive behavior of my ex-husband. But, if I found a good man who loved God and loved me as Christ loved the church as the Bible teaches, then I would love being a wife again. I love being a mom. I bore and raised two wonderful kids, a boy, and a girl. I taught them how to be the man and woman of God that the Bible taught me. I wear pants, but they are women’s pants. The same goes for shirts. They just wouldn’t fit a man’s anatomy. I wear my hair short, but it’s a haircut that accentuates my face, not whatever is the current fad. Once in a while, I wear a skirt or dress just because I choose to do that, not because I’m required to wear one. No one has ever mistaken me for a boy. Yes, I dealt with gender inequality in the workplace. But the solution isn’t to change my gender. The solution is to fight the discrimination by fighting for gender equality. My generation has won great victories in this even if we haven’t won all of them.

But, seriously, what is wrong with being a girl or a boy? Why do people have to be so contrary? And raising a child without teaching them your faith is bad enough, but not teaching them how to understand their bodies is just plain abuse. Our bodies are different for a reason, meant to work together. The human race needs both male and female, real male and female, not those who are surgically manipulated to be one or the other, in order to survive and thrive. After all, medicine and science teach us that two males or two females cannot produce a child independently. It’s just not medically or scientifically possible.

And, once again, what is wrong with being a girl or a boy? I don’t mean just accepting that you are a girl or a boy, but celebrating that you are a girl or a boy.

These beliefs that there is no such thing as a gender, inborn from conception, is simply not realistic. Regardless of whether you believe in God, which I do, it is a fact that when babies are born they are born either male or female. And, no teaching can change that reality. No surgery can change what a person is at the chromosome level, and all the surgery in the world can’t change your chromosomes.

I’d like to see real women stand up and celebrate that we are women. We are smart and talented and unique and gifted and beautiful in our own individual way.

I’d like to see real men stand up and celebrate that they are men. They are smart and talented and unique and gifted and handsome in their own individual way.

We don’t have to be something different because society is pushing a different belief. We need to learn to be tolerant of one another as we are individuals, but we need to be totally intolerant of teachings that feed poison into us regarding who we were born to be.

When a teaching says that who you were born to be is wrong or is not enough then that teaching is harmful. It’s not supporting you. It’s insulting you.

I encourage everyone to take joy in who you born to be. I was born a girl and rejoice in being a girl. I don’t need a psychologist to help me deal with that. I don’t need surgery or medicine to make me something else. I don’t need to make myself over into something else to please anyone. And if anyone expects that of me then they don’t respect me as a person.

So, one last time. What is wrong with being a girl or being a boy?

Blessings, Book Review, Christian Testimony, Contemporary Fiction, Fear, healing, wholeness, Witnessing

The Masterpiece – Book Review

My daughter gave this book to me as a Mother’s Day present. She does know her mother well. Over the years I have read many of Francine Rivers books both fiction and non-fiction. Her newest book, The Masterpiece, is one of the most riveting books I have ever read. Two people who seem so different on the surface, yet have much more in common than they ever thought possible, come together in this book to discover what God has in store for their lives. Each has their own dark past. One hopes for a better future, while the other has given up believing that hope is possible despite a hunger that can’t be denied.

Roman Velasco, a well-known artist, formerly a teen gang tagger, has a near-death experience while on a road trip with his personal assistant Grace Moore. Although he’s only in his mid-30’s he has a sudden heart attack on a restaurant sidewalk. While others work to bring him back to life, he experiences the terrifying grasp of demons pulling him down to the depths of hell. After just discussing Jesus Christ with Grace, Roman screams for him to save him. The next thing he experiences is seeing a bright light and feeling Jesus take his wrist and pull him to safety while telling the demons to release him.

That scene alone overwhelmed me because many years ago, after escaping an abusive marriage and finally finding healing in Jesus Christ, I asked God to show me what he did in me so that I could help someone else. God gave me three visions. One of those visions was a similar, though not exact, scene that Rivers describes with Roman. Even now, more than twenty years later, I can still hear the demons taunting me. I can still feel the heat from their grasping fingers trying to pull me off that sharp cliff. I can still remember trying to hang on by my fingernails feeling that I was lost. I can also remember Jesus Christ coming to my rescue and demanding that the demons release me because I was his child.

If you have ever doubted that God is real. If you have ever wondered if Jesus will really save you. Whether you are new to the faith or have never had the gospel shared with you, you have to read this book. Rivers writes stories that are realistic, putting her readers in the midst of the story. I promise that once you start this book you won’t be able to put it down until you reach the end. Even though it’s more than 400 pages, I finished it in two nights of reading. Get your copy as soon as possible.

Blessings, Book Review, healing, Historical fiction, wholeness, Witnessing

Book Review – Together Forever (Jody Hedlund) by Mina R Raulston

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because it is an interesting way to learn about history. Much more interesting than simply reading a history book. Stories about the orphan trains of the mid-1800’s give us a view of the challenges of people to survive during a time of great economic struggle. The first book in this series, With You Always, told about something new to me, that of single women going out on the same trains as orphans, but to obtain employment since there were no jobs left in New York City at that time. This second book tells about the actual orphan trains and the agents charged with placing out children who either had no families or whose families gave them up for one reason or another.

Hedlund uses the tale of the orphan trains to tell the story of two agents, Marianne Neumann, sister to Elise Neumann from Book 1, and Andrew Brady, a teacher, and pastor. Marianne is searching for her youngest sister Sophie while Andrew is escaping a painful past. As the two of them travel west on the train, attempting to find suitable homes for the children in their charge, they learn about each other and about God’s provision in their lives. Hedland tells a wonderful story about history and about God’s unconditional love for his children. I have already put Book 3 in this series, which tells the story of Sophie, on my wishlist for its release later this year.

I want to thank Bethany House for the opportunity to be one of their early readers and obtain books from them in return for posting honest book reviews. For an avid reader, this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

Blessings, Christian Testimony, Declaration of Faith, Uncategorized, Witnessing

Thanksgiving

Many people have been sharing the things for which they are thankful. My heart is full indeed. I have many things to be thankful for, provision, protection, promotion, instruction, lightness of heart, freedom of spirit, and fullness of heart.

But, the greatest blessing God has granted me is my two children, their spouses, and my four wonderful grandchildren.

My childhood home was not religious. My parents were not happy for me when I married, nor were they very pleased when I announced coming grandchildren. My mother said she only saw the upcoming burdens of adding children to our home since we were already struggling financially. My mother-in-law decided to copy her mother-in-law and say that she had too many grandchildren. Frankly, I’ve never heard such as thing as too many grandchildren. God’s word says that children and grandchildren are a blessing both in our youth and our old age.

My father was orphaned as a child and grew up in an orphanage, so much of my ancestry has been misplaced in various public records. I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the time or the resources to find any of my Grandmother Mina Frost’s history or her family’s history. I know I’ve enjoyed having her name, my only connection to her. I’ve always loved her father’s name, unusual to my generation, but probably common to his. My great-grandfather’s name was Major Frost.

My mother’s family is large, but was never close, at least not close to us. My ex-husband’s family was not loving or kind, at least not to me and my children, especially after the divorce. We were forgotten to them.

Many in my former church family were not supportive of me and my children after the divorce. I can’t worry about them. They must walk their own path. But, there were a group of brothers and sisters in the Lord who stood with me and my children. Some of those have gone to be with the Lord in Heaven. But, those who remain have stayed as true friends to me and my family. Thankfully, God has also blessed us with many brand new friends in the last year.

But, in all of this, I am most thankful that God received this little girl from a family that wanted no part of him. He called me out of generations of unbelief. He made a place for me in His family. Then, despite the fact my husband and the father of my children also rejected him, God blessed me with two wonderful children. That son and daughter married. My son and his wife have three children and my daughter and her husband have one child. Now, it is not just me standing alone serving God. Now it is me, my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren, standing together in the Spirit of God and serving him. We may be in different geographic locations, but we stand in agreement in our service to God, our Father.

 

Blessings, Book Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Promise of Dawn

Lauraine Snelling has kept readers coming back for more ever since she started writing books about her Norwegian ancestors. After writing about Norwegians who settled North and South Dakota covering several generations, she has moved her story to the woods of Minnesota with a brand new family, Rune and Signe Carlson. After working and scrapping to save their money, then accepting fare money from their relative in America, they arrive in New York City. They are shocked at how different it is from previous immigrants’ letters home, but they are determined to succeed. As always, Snelling tells a compelling story of how these early settlers overcame unimaginable odds to build a new life out of the wilderness. This heartwarming story offers yet another lens into the lives of the people who settled America and made it their own.

Disclosure: Bethany House Publishers provided me a copy of this book to do an honest review.

Blessings, Book Review, Christian Testimony, Declaration of Faith, Witnessing, Writing

Book Review

As a mother and grandmother, I am always on the lookout for a good devotional for mothers. I found just that in, Praying for Girls, Asking God for the Things They Need Most, by Teri Lynne Underwood. She offers a devotional and prayers for a daughter’s identity, heart, mind, relationships, and her purpose. She then speaks a little wisdom to mom for herself and how to speak to her daughter whether she’s a little girl, middle girl, and older girl. She finishes it off with two special sections just for Mom, something many devotionals don’t consider. I’ll be gifting this book to my own daughter and her little girl.