The Miracle of Steve Scalise: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Steve Scalise gives God the glory for the miracle of his recovery and tells how he prayed sepcifically and put everything into God's hands.

You probably remember three months ago when Republican House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, was shot down by a deranged man trying to kill Republicans. Scalise was practicing on a ballfield with other Republicans preparing for an upcoming congressional charity baseball game. Several others were also shot on that June 14 morning, but Scalise’s wound was almost fatal had it not been for the quick actions of fellow players.

Scalise sustained a single rifle wound, entering his left hip and passing through his right hip, also known as a trans-pelvic gunshot wound. The round did substantial damage to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. After extensive medial inpatient rehab, he returned September 29, 2017 to the floor of the House of Representatives, still on crutches. He will continue rehab now as an outpatient, so he’s still on the road to recovery. But following is how Scalise started his speech:

When I was laying out on that ballfield, the first thing I did once I was down and couldn’t move anymore, is I just started to pray and I’ll tell you it gave me an unbelievable since of calm knowing at that point it was in God’s hands. And I prayed for very specific things, and I’ll tell you pretty much every one of those prayers were answered and there were some pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God’s hands. But He really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something that you just cannot underestimate. [Applause] So I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen.” Listen to this live Steve Scalise on his return to the House of Representatives 9/28/17

What a testimony to the power of prayer as Mr. Scalise publically gives God all the glory for seeing him through this horrific ordeal, right from the moment it happened. He understands that his life was touch-and-go from the ballfield to the hospital, and if there had not been someone who knew how to give aid before the medics arrived, he probably would have died on the grass that day. But he didn’t die, and he knows it’s a miracle! Even more impressive, he’s telling the world that God still performs miracles!

Have you thought of that recently? Have you remembered all the miracles God has done in your life? He performs them every day. Have you told others about them? In Forsaken God: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I have a chapter “Honoring His Wonders and Miracles,” and in the Introduction, I write:

Memory builds faith.

Memories preserve the mighty works of God, but how many godly men and women failed to write down, or tell of, the miracles they saw God perform? How many works, deeds, and miracles has God done in your life … in my life … in the lives of our families … that we took for granted and never shared or acknowledged? Miraculous acts of faith lost to the next generation and lost to us when we need most to remember God’s goodness to help us through a trial or tribulation.

The power of prayer in mentoring relationships is remember how good God has been to us in the past.

Prayer & Praise Is An Integral Part of Mentoring

My tagline for mentoring is Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, the subtitle for Mentoring for All Seasons. Have you seen God at work in your life? Has He performed a miracle? Then just like Steve Scalise, share your story! Someone else may need encouragement in a particular season of life and walk with the Lord, or maybe needs to know that God is real.

A mentor, sharing her testimony and the power of prayer helps another woman discover the answers to her life issues are through prayer and the Bible. Mentoring is always a two-way relationship as they search the Bible together, pray for God’s guidance and wisdom, and wait for answers. Proverbs 3:5-7 (NLT) clearly tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

As a mentee learns to depend on God and His Word in her life seasons, through the guidance, prayers, and support of her mentor, she can then help another woman going through similar seasons. Thus, the cycle of life and mentoring carries down through the generations: God’s plan for the propagation of Christianity and the church.

Prayer and Praise Journal Helps Record Prayers and Miracles

I suggest that mentors and mentees (M&M’s) always pray at the beginning, during, and end of their time together. The Bible and prayer is the foundation of spiritual mentoring. In the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, prayer covers every aspect of the ministry and M&M’s are matched through intercessory prayer.

Sometimes a mentee might feel uncomfortable praying if praying a loud is new to her. That’s fine, the mentor can pray for both of them, until the mentee feels comfortable. All my books have a Prayer & Praise Journal. In Mentoring for All Seasons, you’ll find it at the back of the book to record prayers, as well as God’s answers. And that’s where you begin to see the power of prayer. So often, we forget what we prayed for when God answers or we forget to go back and thank God. Recording prayer requests helps us remember God’s goodness.

Another way to use the Prayer & Praise journal is to help the mentee start praying. She can just read the prayer requests and praises aloud.

The beauty of Steve Scalise’s testimony reminds us we all have an open door to God’s ear and He is the God of miracles. We don’t need a pastor or someone else praying for or over us. God hears the petitions of His people, on our own, or when two or three are gathered together in His name. When He answers, be sure you give Him all the glory.

Have you got your copy yet of Mentoring for All Seasons? It’s available now at all Christian bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon, and signed by me on our website shop. I’d love to hear how God is using it in your life and the life of your church to bring about a revival of mentoring and Titus 2.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and emailed me with answers to my questions about the Ketogenic Diet in last weeks post. I’m still stumbling through starting and am not in ketosis yet. It’s a huge learning cover for me, so if you have any more tips please share!

Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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What Do We Tell Our Churches about a Trump Presidency?

greatest-republican-turnout

If you’ve followed my blogs, you know I’ve been stumping for Trump, not because I think he’s the savior of America—no that’s Jesus—but because President-elect Trump represented the only platform that would lead our country back to God. Trump has his faults, like all of us (John 8:7), and the media, celebrities, elitists, Democrats, and even the establishment Republican Party, have relentlessly attacked him and his family. But President-elect Donald Trump stayed the course to victory . . . conservatives won this battle in the cultural war.

The “deplorables” outvoted the celebrities and the elitists. The liberal progressives didn’t think they needed you and me—everyday Americans, “little people,” and whatever else they called us because we weren’t going to matter anyway when they ruled over us. They thought we were dispensable.

How Did the Media get it So Wrong?

The night before the election, my husband and I rented the documentary Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party—a cross between sci/fi, horror, and tragedy—except it’s not fiction, it’s a true story. Even if you saw it at the theater, I implore you to rent it and listen to the extra interview with Jonah Goldberg to learn the significance of how God intervened on November 8th to protect us from the clutches of Democratic progressive liberalism. And Carol Swain, a black born-again Princeton and Vanderbilt professor with five degrees and former Democrat who explains how she, “came out of the darkness into the light,” and switched from the Democratic to Republican party when her research proved it was the Democrats who fought to keep slavery, founded the KKK, started Planned Parenthood to exterminate blacks, and now have them enslaved again.

At first my husband didn’t want to watch Hillary’s America, but Dinesh D’Souza did an excellent job of portraying the roots and plans of Clinton to not just preside over America, but literally to own America, a goal she set out with her mentor Saul Alinsky in college.  My husband and I were back on our knees, where we had been fervently crying out to God for months in our private prayer time, in our church, our small group, with our friends…in our prayer closets. We prayed for Trump and Pence to win because, as you’ve heard me say repeatedly, they represented the conservative platform that would give us a chance to put God back into the public square. This was so much more than a political battle—this was a spiritual battle raging in the heavenlies—and continues to rage in heavenlies and now in the streets.

And that my friends is what the media missed. They didn’t poll us in our prayer closets . . . but God heard and tallied every prayer. There is power in prayer. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power when two or more gather and pray in the name of Jesus. If you doubted that in the slightest, God made it clear on November 8, 2016.

I laughed as the media scratched their heads in shock and tried to come up with every possible scenario of why and how they were so wrong.

They kept saying we missed the “silent Trump vote.” That had to be it. Perhaps that was part of it.

You Cannot be Silent Any Longer!

i-voted-trump

In the last few weeks prior to the election, more people on social media were willing to stand up for Trump, but prayer groups were “closed groups.” Few were brave enough to admit they were voting for Trump. Even Clinton in her concession speech told her followers to come out from behind their closed social media groups . . . and that was good advice for us too. Christians notoriously don’t like conflict. Who does? But our role model, Jesus Christ, never shrunk away from conflict when it was a case of right versus wrong or exposing sin or evil doers. Paul never avoided speaking the truth. John, Peter, James and the disciples went into all the world by foot and by sea to spread the Gospel.

We proved on November 8th that we are the majority, but we can no longer be the “silent majority”! We came out in force, but now is not the time to retreat behind our church doors, back into our homes, and safety of our comfort zones.

God gave Republicans the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Vice Presidency, and we’re going to have some conservative Supreme Court judges. This is a window in time, in history for a revival, but we can’t expect Trump and Pence to do all the work. We need to support them on the ground and we need to let them know the issues that are important to us.

Do not let fear rule you.

Do not let the Clinton followers intimidate you. They lost, you won.

That doesn’t mean you gloat, but it does mean you celebrate victory and give God ALL the glory. Let the world know where that victory came from. Be bold for Christ!

Now is not the time to be politically correct or “safe.” President-elect Donald J. Trump needs our prayers for protection, for picking a cabinet, for wisdom, and for success.

What to Tell Our Children

I’m baffled by the rhetoric of “What am I to tell my children about Trump winning the election?” You tell them God blessed America with a miracle and gave us another chance to get it right this time!

Tell them…

We can have righteous judges who will honor the constitution and not try to rule our lives and make laws outside their jurisdiction.

We can try to reverse a law that allows babies to be killed in their mommy’s tummies, even right up until the day of delivery.

We can have affordable healthcare.

We have a chance to try and take marriage back to the way God created it to be between a man and a woman only and to protect businesses who do not wish to participate in gay marriages.

We won’t have laws forced on us that men can go to the bathroom with our daughters or change clothes in their locker and dressing rooms.

We can put God back in the public square and maybe even back in the schools where He has always belonged.

We will have laws enforced and borders in place to stop people who want to do us harm, from coming illegally into our country.

God’s people spoke and were heard, and you my child and grandchild will have religious freedoms reinstated and protected like our founding fathers fought for and so many gave their lives for.

What Does the Church Do Now?

The Benham Brothers made a short video the day after the election, and it’s exactly what I was thinking. Please listen, it’s short and to the point. I’ve always said this was a spiritual and moral battle more than a political battle, and praise God we were victorious in this battle, but the battle is far from over.

So we don’t retreat and go back to business as usual, we armor up in the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Pray to support President-elect Donald J. Trump and VP Mike Pence, however God leads you and your church. My husband and I pray an Armor of God prayer from Dr. Charles Stanley* every morning that I encourage you to also pray and share, because it’s “Battle On.”

When you face opposition, and you will, as you see the progressives are not going to retreat quietly, then use the only thing Jesus used, the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Notice in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus didn’t get into long dissertations with Satan, he used Scripture. As the vulgarities and vileness spewed on my social media prior to the election, I started doing exactly that, and you know what…Satan retreated. Yes, I say Satan, because do your research, the heart of the progressive liberal agenda is progressively away from God as the foundation of the country—there’s only one force that would be at the heart of that movement and that’s Satan. Many cursing me were “proud progressive atheists.”

Now we have the hard work of not just making America great again, but reminding our fellow Americans that it will never be great until all remember that our country is founded on biblical principles. If we want God to bless America, we must remember “In God we Trust.” God divinely answered our prayers in this election and gave us another chance . . . let’s get to work to honor Him and give Him all the glory for the things He has done. That’s what I’m telling my grandchildren!

I Wrote My Last Book for Such a Time as This

Many have thanked me for standing in the gap and publically taking a stand for the outcome we saw on Election Day, but it needs to be all of us together. For everyone who turned that map red, we need to support our vote and support President Trump.

Who Will Stand in the Gap

Post-Election Prayer

We the people made our voices heard . . . but still the “world” isn’t listening. We need to speak louder. More than just a quiet X on a ballot. If you want our country to move away from the elitist atheistic “progressive” attitude, you must be an involved citizen. I’ve said this so many times, if I was speaking, I’d be hoarse!

I have been championing great authors and their books during this election, I would now ask my Christian brothers and sisters to read and put into action the book the Lord had me write for this very moment when we have seen victory. I’m not trying to sell books, I’m trying to move a sleeping giant into revival. To help the body of Christ now rise up and turn our culture back to God. There are study questions at the end of each short chapter, and reflection questions within the chapter. It’s a book for both men and women. We’re getting requests now for large groups to do Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten because now is the hour to claim America back for God. Won’t you join me?

“Trump gave nervous evangelicals a gift that many of them lacked—the gift of boldness.”–Lance Wallnau, God’s Chaos Candidate .

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten is also available signed on our website. *The link to the Dr. Charles Stanley’s Prayer is at the end of the Excerpt from Forsaken God?.

ForsakenGod.indd

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Love Your Body–Get Help with Overeating! By Julie Morris

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you written by author friend Julie Morris who truly understands and empathizes with the struggle to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Even as a nurse who knew better, she couldn’t help herself until she surrendered completely to God. Please take the time to read this entire blog and pray about how God would have you apply it to your life. It could save your life like it did for Julie.

I also wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking a break from my Monday Morning Blog for the months of July and August, when I’ll be speaking and finishing my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. So have a blessed summer and I’ll be back in September!

Somebody Help! I Can’t Quit Overeating!

By Julie Morris

My blood pressure gauge frantically tapped out the message I didn’t want to hear. While thoughtfully removing the stethoscope from his ears, my doctor said what I already knew: “You have got to lose weight!

After years of dieting, starving, and bingeing, I was fatter than ever. The harder I tried not to overeat, the more I found myself eating. I was the RN Supervisor of a large medical-surgical floor in the local hospital, telling people what to do to get healthy, and I couldn’t lose the weight that could kill me. Even though I was only in my 30’s, my doctor told me that I could have a stroke if I didn’t lose weight. I had dieted a thousand times before, but this time nothing seemed to work.

I woke up every morning and pleaded with God to help me to eat right that day. By lunchtime, with all the stress at work, I found myself saying, “I just need a little something to get through the day.” Those words seemed to magically give me permission to gobble up everything in sight.

Since I had already “gone off my diet,” as soon as I got home, I would yank off my uniform and run to the refrigerator muttering, “I’ve already blown it today, so I may as well eat.” Every night I fell asleep promising to do better and praying that God would forgive me for eating in such an unhealthy way.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Overeating?

When I stopped long enough to think about what I was doing, confusion overwhelmed me. Why was I eating like this when I knew there was nothing more I wanted than to get rid of these extra pounds?

I didn’t know the answer then, but research has discovered why many of us continue to overeat, even when we try not to. The secret? Endorphins—feel-good brain chemicals. These natural substances that our bodies make, increase when we eat. Some of us have a dramatic rise in endorphins when we overeat. They are the same chemicals released when an alcoholic drinks or a drug addict takes drugs.

As long as I could remember, I had turned to food to help me deal with stress. Eating always numbed my pain, but stress-eating like that caused a horrible vicious cycle: when I got upset, I ate something so I would feel better. My problems grew… and so did I. And because I overate every time I had to deal with stress, my problems didn’t get solved. They only got worse. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t stop because eating really did help me to feel better… at least for a while.

I called out to the Lord daily, begging Him to make me thin. And I complained bitterly to Him about giving me such a slow metabolism, but I knew deep down that my problem wasn’t my metabolism. My problem was that I ate too much and didn’t know how to stop. However, after my doctors scary words, that I could die, I was determined to lose weight and be healthier.

How Can I Surrender My Eating to the Lord?

I went to someone in my church and asked what to do. “You just have to surrender your eating to God, Julie,” she stated simply, as if there were some surrender button I could push. Oh, I wanted to. I knew I should be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But even though I had been a Christian for years, and prayed every day for God’s help, I couldn’t seem to surrender my eating to the Lord. 

These 12 Steps Helped Me to Surrender My Eating to the Lord!

I continued crying out to God for help and, finally, in 1982, I began to make progress when I went to my first 12-Step meeting. I realized that night that the 12 Steps were the structure I needed to help me to surrender this problem to the Lord. I felt sure that the steps would help me to draw closer to Jesus and plug into his power. And I began to understand that they would also help me to get to the emotional roots of my problem with food.

People try to make the 12 Steps complicated, but they’re not. The 12 Steps are just little baby steps, taken directly from the Bible, that help us to rely on God’s power when we lack will power. They are not just a list of 12 things that we do and then quit, but a way of living—surrendered to the Lord, being guided by him.

The steps I use were inspired by AA’s 12 Steps, but are different because mine focus on Jesus. Another difference is that we are learning how to receive Jesus’ help to stop overeating—instead of drinking. Later, I started using a shortened form of the steps to make them easier to understand. Look at end of this post for a summary of the Christian 12 Steps.

Jesus Tells Us Where to Find Self-Control!

While reading John 15:4, it dawned on me that Jesus is telling over-eaters where to find the fruit of the Spirit of self-control that we so desperately need. He says,

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Then later in that chapter, he says exactly what I had been learning—the hard way:

“Without me, you can do nothing!”

I Started Winning the Battle!

After Jesus’ words finally sunk in, I quit dieting—trying to lose weight using my own willpower—and I quit beating myself up for my weakness. Instead, I began to put my energy into drawing closer to the Lord. And, amazingly, I started winning the battle with the ravenous monster inside of me who could never be satisfied, no matter how much I fed him!

Since John 15:4 had been so life-changing for me, I began diligently searching the Bible for other verses that would speak to me about how to stop overeating. I was excited to find many of them, and I memorized a few so I could remind myself of God’s promises when food cravings struck. I started reading Christian books about weight-loss and learned a lot from people who had overcome the same struggles I had. I also decided to stop flirting with temptation, so I got all of my old comfort foods out of my house.  Another important thing I did was to start calling an accountability partner every evening to tell her how I had done with my eating that day.

Soon my cravings became weak and conquerable and the miracle finally happened: I lost my weight and have kept it off for more than 30 years! Not only that, I started helping others to lose weight.

I started a Bible study in my church to help overeaters to lose weight. It was so successful that a few years later I wrote Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss program for groups—published by Abington Press.

Guided By Him Is a Light and Easy 12-Step Christian Weight-Loss Program

GBH photo

A few years ago, I joined with my daughter Sarah Morris Cherry, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and we wrote Guided By Him—a 12-week lighter an easier version of Step Forward.

guidedbyhim

Packed with Bible studies, practical weight-loss tips and inspiring success stories, Guided By Him is perfect for individual Bible study, family meetings, Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, lunch breaks at work or friendly neighborhood get-togethers,

You can tell by these chapter titles that you’re going to have fun as you read the book and get to the roots of your overeating:

  • Tripped on a Twinkie
  • Are Donuts My Bread of Life?
  • My Refuge–the Refrigerator
  • Do Broken Cookies Count?
  • Resentments Are Fattening
  • Is Fudge My Fortress

 God Uses Our Weaknesses When We Surrender Them to Him!

It’s exciting to receive e-mails from readers across the United States and in many foreign countries as well, telling me what an amazing difference our books have made in their lives. Many say that, as a result of what my daughter and I have written, they are closer to God than ever and they have learned things that they will use for the rest of their lives.

God is helping them and they are helping others—turning their misery to ministry. He is taking their biggest weakness and using it for good as they surrender it to Him.

They are shrinking on the outside and growing on the inside as they lose the weight… and the worries that have weighed them down!

Soon You, Too, Will Have an Exciting Story to Tell!

Join me on this adventure and be Guided By Him… To a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You, and soon you, too, will have an exciting story to tell! The amazing thing is that weight loss won’t even be the best part!

Julie Morris’ Bio

Julie photo standing

Julie Morris is a popular motivational speaker and internationally recognized author of 12 books. She is the founder of Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss Program  and Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! . Guided By Him is a lighter and easier version of Step Forward.

Other books that she has written include From Worry to Worship and From Worthless to Worthy.

She presents seminars, retreats and workshops across the country that inspire her audiences to make exciting changes toward becoming the person they have always wanted to be.

Julie has worked as a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, Coronary Intensive Care nurse and the supervisor of a large hospital Medical-Surgical unit. She has been married for over 40 years to her college sweetheart. Julie is the mother of two adult children and grandmother of one very precious little boy.

Julie’s greatest joy is helping struggling Christians to overcome weaknesses by relying on God’s strength.

She would love to hear from you! Please comment below if you can identify with any part of her story. If you received this blog by email, comment here.

Also, please check out her website www.guidedbyhim.com  or e-mail her at julie@guidedbyhim.com if you have questions about starting your own group or if you are interested in purchasing books or inviting her to speak at your church.

Join her on Facebook at…

 

Summary of the Short Form of the Christian 12 Steps

  • Step 1 is “I can’t!” While taking the first Step, I finally gave up on the idea that I could lose weight on diets and willpower. I didn’t allow myself to stay stuck in the first Step “I can’t,” but when discouraged, would go straight to Step 2.
  • Step 2 is “God can!” While taking the second Step, I began learning how to rely on the Lord. I memorized his promises, thanked him for his help and praised him for answered prayers even before I had received them.
  • Step 3 is “I’ll let him!” While taking the third Step, I learned practical things that would help me to cooperate with the Lord one day at a time.

The first three Steps are the foundation for the others.

  • In Steps 4-7 we get to the roots of our overeating by looking back at things done to us and things we’ve done. We become willing to let go of them and let God change us.
  • In Steps 8-9 we ask for God’s help with our relationships—past and present.
  • Steps 10 and 11 help us to do a daily check to make sure we’re staying on track, learn ways to seek God every day and have a closer relationship with him.
  • In Step 12, we practice doing things we’re learning that help us draw closer to the Lord and we share with others the exciting things he’s doing in us.

God Does Tell Us How to Vote

Dr. Carson

I remember as a little girl hearing my parents warn: Never get into discussions about politics or religion—especially among family and friends. The basis of their warning was that people differ so much in their opinions that it will only cause disagreements and maybe estrangements. And it did!

That seemed so strange since as Christians of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20), we’re told to go out and tell the world about Jesus. And if Jesus is the most important person in our life, and our whole life centers on Him, how could we be silent? Wouldn’t our faith influence our politics? Wouldn’t fellow believers agree?

The adage of my parent’s time has become the “political correctness” of our time. Don’t offend anyone with your beliefs or they’ll label you a hater and bigot for opposing something the Bible clearly calls sin. Even all Christians don’t agree on what constitutes sin . . . or agree on much else actually.

In our culture, if we mention God, Jesus, or the Bible, we’re dismissed as religious zealots or troublemakers—sometimes even among fellow Christians.

How Is God Forsaken Politically?

In working on the title for Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, my husband suggested we put a question mark after Forsaken God? to make us stop and think if this could be true. Many Christians can’t imagine ever forsaking God, but it happens so frequently today—not intentionally, but unconsciously—that we may not even realize we’re forgetting Him. But it is happening right now during the elections. How often do you hear people including God in the reasons for their political persuasions and voting choices?

When I was writing Forsaken God? last year, I had no idea what the political arena would look like this year, or that it would be an example of the premise of the book. But what I did see coming was a steady cultural forsaking of God and embracing of the liberal abandonment of the Bible. Just today, I read about an owner of abortion clinics who said she was sure Jesus approved of abortions because she was raised as a “liberal Christian”—an oxymoron! I wrote in the Generation to Generation section of Forsaken God?:

The next generation is falling away from the church in droves or erroneously choosing a pseudo-gospel of compromise and feel-good theology. Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.

We cannot assume that all Christians will be voting the conservative agenda in a world that indeed is forsaking and forgetting the God of the Bible. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myth” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

God Does Tell Us How to Make Every Decision, Including Voting ….

As Christians voice their political opinions in conversations and on social media and in blogs, I seldom hear the use of Scripture or prayer as the basis for their choices and comments. One exception is Pastor Max Lucado, who broke the typical pastoral nonpolitical protocol to speak out about Decency for President because he’s alarmed at some Christians straying away from our core values and biblical roots as criteria for a presidential nominee.

Like Pastor Lucado, I’ve observed disturbing responses to the current political scene, which I list below, but God provides us an antidote and voting guide when we remember Him and His Word.

  1. We’re angry, disillusioned, want change—which are all legitimate feelings as long as they’re not the sole basis of our decisions or lead us to choices that go against our beliefs and values. We can personalize these verses when we consider how to vote and who we’re voting for:

Character: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Eph. 4:31

Language: “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” —Col. 3:8

Attitude: “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” —1 Tim. 2:8

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” —1 Cor. 7:17

  1. I want, I need, I don’t like, I feel, I believe—Self-centeredness is never a good basis for making godly decisions. Try personalizing these verses.

God help me remember when I vote to: “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” —Ps. 119:36 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” —Pr. 16:18

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”—Eph. 4:21-24

  1. Don’t talk to me about God or the Bible. You’re placing your faith in a very complex work written over a long period of time.” As Christians, we are to remember . . .

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”—Heb. 13:8

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” —Ps. 119:11

“I love God’s Word: I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” —Ps. 119:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” —2 Tim. 3:16-17

  1. God is in control, just be silent and let Him pick who is going to be PresidentGod never tells us to be apathetic, ineffective, or silent, and He uses His people to do His earthly work. How can He pick someone, if we don’t vote?

God says: “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” —Ex. 18:21*

Speak out for Christ: “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”’

Our part in the elections: “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” —Pr. 16:33 (MSG)

Christ has commissioned His Body, the Church, of which He is the Head, to effectively participate with Him in this world: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” —John 15:16

So What Do Christians Do This Election?

Republicans who stay home

We pray and then we go out and vote remembering that no man is perfect—Moses was a murderer, King David was a murderer and an adulterer, Paul was a persecutor of Christians . . . . But if we vote for the Republican conservative agenda and platform, then God can work through whoever wins the earthly mantel.

Max Lucado wrote a follow up blog post to his Decency for President post and he titled it Worried Enough to Pray?

Pray for God to:

  • Bring unity in His church and His people
  • Put a man of integrity and character who loves the Lord as President
  • Help us do whatever God asks to return our country and our culture back to God
  • God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
  • Add your own prayers:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14

Then we do our civic responsibility and privilege, confident that we have done what we can in the way that God called us to work with Him as Christians:

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 2 Cor. 1:12

*Bryan Fisher Host of “Focal Point” has an excellent article “The Bible Does Tell Us Who to Vote for” in which he explores in detail Exodus 18 and the criteria Jethro told Moses to use in selecting godly leaders. I highly suggest reading this well-written article.

If you received this blog by email, please comment here.

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A Glimmer of Hope for Your Prodigal

Watching child struggle through life

 

“Moms, you know how it feels when you see any glimmer of hope in your prodigal.” —A praying mom

Moms of prodigals will identify with that glimmer of hope. I know I did.

Praying Mother Alice’s Story

I recently received an email from a mom who had shared her story in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help, & Encouragement for Hurting Parents. On page 178 in the chapter “Confronting Our Own Mistakes,” Alice said:

*My daughter, Liz, has chosen to cut off her relationship with me. I made many wrong choices that hurt her. I’m so sorry and have apologized many times, but Liz refused to forgive me. I’m saddened by the wall she’s built to protect herself from being hurt emotionally again.

My guilt over Liz plagued me; I felt captive by her refusal to forgive me. I’ve beaten myself up for not being the perfect mother and not saying or doing the right things. Truth is I make mistakes all the time. I hurt people—not intentionally—but it happens when I’m thinking of myself and not of how my words and actions affect others. With God’s help, I’m working on changing that part of my character. In the meantime, I continue praying that God will soften Liz’s heart so she’ll be able to forgive me and any other person who has hurt her.—Alice

Alice sent me her heartbreaking story of the estrangement from her daughter eight years ago. I know many who identify with her pain and regret and the deep desire to restore her relationship with her daughter and to receive her daughter’s forgiveness.

Last week, I received an email from Alice with the subject line: Update on Prodigal Daughter “Liz.” Following is Alice’s update shared with her permission. I hope Alice’s openness and vulnerability encourages those of you who are still praying for a reunion with your prodigal.

The separation started 27 years ago when my “prodigal daughter” had completed college. She didn’t need my financial support or close personal connection anymore.

The separation gap widened four years ago when Liz told me she needed a break!

The break I imagined was time for her to sort things out that were plaguing her: divorce negotiations that dragged on, the decline of her dietician business with fewer clients, stress of raising a son as a single mom, and then there was “me.” I was the mother she felt was not there for her as a teenager when she was having major issues with her stepfather. It turned out that Liz wanted a permanent “break” from me.

My heart ached to see her and talk to her. That wasn’t an option open to me. What I could do during these past four years was to pray and wait until my daughter was ready to connect again. I prayed for a softening of Liz’s heart. I also prayed God would help me understand why my middle daughter wanted no part of my life.

As I wrote in my journal recently, I asked the LORD to give me a better understanding of what I was dealing with. He answered me with a clear example of my daughter as a person encased in ice—unable to move, feel love, or reach out for help. Liz was stuck in a frozen place where anger, resentments, and bitterness imbedded her mind and heart. She could not free herself.

My son sensed my pain of rejection and separation from Liz. Out of his compassion for me and the desire to have his nephew, Bobby, know his grandmother, he arranged a luncheon meeting at a restaurant this month to celebrate my 76th birthday. As the date grew closer, I prayed more intently that I would keep the attention on my daughter, her son, and my other two grown children who were to attend. I wanted to let our get-together be all about them—not me.

On the day of the family meeting, I brought peace offerings. I baked my grandson’s favorite Christmas cookies and took several pages from a photo album that had elementary school pictures of my three children when they were Bobby’s age. It turned out to be an “ice-breaker.”

As we met, my heart pounded then rejoiced when Liz was friendly toward me and open to conversation. After lunch, as Liz and I made our way to the restroom, she said that her son, Bobby, wanted to see me more and she was sorry that it had not happened before. She invited me to come to her home this coming Christmas for a few days to bake cookies with her son. Words eluded me but my heart sang for joy.

It took my prayers, the efforts of my only son, and the desire of Liz’s little boy—my grandson—to spend time with me that brought about a change of Liz’s heart. “And a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

Never Stop Praying

You’ve heard me say it before, and I know it’s so hard to do when your heart is breaking and you don’t see any change in the situation, but never stop praying for your prodigal. Alice prayed for 27 years. I prayed for six years for my prodigal. Previous blogs from prodigal Alycia Neighbours related how long her parents prayed for her return: Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal! and After the Party for the Returning Prodigal.

As Alice said above, many times prayer is the only thing you can do when everything else is out of your control. In the chapter on Praying Biblically in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, Alice told how she prayed scripturally for her daughter, which is how I also prayed for my daughter. It’s simply personalizing and paraphrasing God’s Word as a prayer back to Him (See 40 Days of Praying Scripture for Your Prodigal on page 313). Here’s how Alice said she prayed Scripture:

*I’ve learned to pray for my daughter by praying back the Scriptures to God. For example, I pray Ezekiel 36:27-29 for Liz’s heart to soften and for her to return home: “God, give my daughter Liz a heart of flesh to replace her heart of stone toward spiritual things. Through Your Spirit, move her to follow Your decrees and carefully keep Your laws. Help Liz to return home. Allow her to live in the land You, God, gave to her spiritual forefathers; may she be Your child, may You be her God. Save her from all her uncleanness.”

What has helped you maintain a “glimmer of hope” while waiting for your prodigal to return?

*Excerpts from Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help, and Encouragement for Hurting Parents.

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When God’s Gift is “No”

Our guest blogger today is a dear friend and fellow author and speaker from San Diego, California, Cindi McMenamin. Cindi and I met at Mt Hermon Writer’s Conference the year she got her first book contract with Harvest House and we’ve remained encouragers and supporters of each others careers ever since. She interviewed me for stories in several of her books, and the secondary infertility story she shares below is in my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?

I know you are going to enjoy what she shares from her new book–

When God Sees Your Tears by Cindi McMenamin

When God Sees Your Tears by Cindi McMenamin

Do you know what it’s like to ask God for something and to keep receiving a “no”?

I do. And it hurts. But I’ve learned through the years that God’s “no” is often a gift greater than what I had originally asked for.

Whether I was trying to get a book published, trying to have a child, or trying to pry open a door of opportunity, every time I received a “no,” I later learned what God was really saying was “Wait, I have something far better for you than you thought to ask for.” Yet all I could see in front of me was a rejection letter. More waiting. Another closed door. Discouragement.

God’s Gift to Hannah was “No.”

Hannah, a woman we read about in the Old Testament, knew that discouragement, too. She longed to have a baby. Yet we find twice in the first few lines of her story that the reason for Hannah’s infertility was “because the Lord had closed her womb” (1 Samuel 1:5-6).

Ouch! Now, I would feel so much better if that sentence about Hannah read, “because she was unable to bear children.” But that verse specifically tells us that the Lord was the One withholding from Hannah the one thing she wanted most in life.

We’d like to think God is behind only the blessings we receive in life and, therefore, we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the possibility that God would allow—or even arrange—certain difficulties to come our way. Yet, that is one of the primary ways He—

  • awakens our need for Him,
  • grows our dependence on Him,
  • shapes our character,
  • and draws us closer to Him.

In Hannah’s case, she became so desperate to have a son that she poured out her heart to God in prayer, promising to give her son back to God if He would finally give her a child. It was then, after Hannah came to that place of complete surrender, that we read God’s gracious, yet timely, response: “And the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son…” (1 Samuel 1:19-20).

Sometimes “No” means Wait

Hannah got her long-awaited son, but years later than she had anticipated. The apparent “no” from God was really “wait.” And the wait turned out to be the best blessing of all. Hannah didn’t have just any baby. She had a son named Samuel who became one of Israel’s greatest prophets and priests. He anointed Israel’s first two kings and helped turn the nation’s heart back toward God. Wow! Hannah simply asked God for a baby. But God wanted to give her—and a nation—so much more than she asked. So He waited and did it in His timing, not hers.

Scripture tells us that God can do “all things. No plan of (His) can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). Scripture also tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17 NIV). So if every gift is from God, and you’re praying for a “gift” and it’s not arriving, God is the One who is deciding to withhold that gift. And I have learned that some of God’s “gifts” are the very things He decides to withhold.

 

Sometimes “No” is a gift from God

God’s “gifts” sometimes take the form of difficulties, losses, frustrations, and outright pain. We don’t originally see them as gifts, but more like disappointments, aggravations, or even rejection. But they are gifts, nonetheless, that are given to us to grow us to a new level in our spiritual life or to prepare us for something better that God has in store for us; or perhaps to even help us see something extraordinary about God that we couldn’t see before.

I remember not wanting to accept one of the “gifts” God was giving me, primarily because I saw it as His withholding, not as His giving. I struggled with not being able to have a second child (what doctors now refer to as secondary infertility). It was a struggle because I remember “claiming” Psalm 84:11 as my promise that I would have another child: “No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly (NASB).”

“Surely another baby is a good thing, God,” I prayed. “Certainly You will not withhold.” And yet, God did. Apparently, what God considered a “good thing” in my life was not birthing a second child, but birthing a writing and speaking ministry, instead. Although, at the time, I felt that God was withholding something from me, I can today see His withholding as a “gift” in terms of a different life direction that He had for me.

Through the years, I’ve seen repeatedly that God’s idea of a good thing—and ultimately what’s best for me in my faith walk with Him—may be completely different than mine. Although my opinion has often differed from God’s in His early stages of withholding something, I have learned not to question the wisdom and actions of an all-knowing, all-loving God who is much more capable of managing my life than I am.

I do not have a second child today because the Lord had closed my womb. But I could also say, “I am living the dream God has placed on my heart through my writing and speaking because the Lord had closed my womb.”

Because the Lord had . . .

I could give you a lengthy list of other “gifts” that I have received at God’s hand, but didn’t originally see as gifts because they all included the phrase because the Lord had…

           I didn’t marry Mike because the Lord had changed his heart.

           I lost a good friend, because the Lord had taken her away.

           I went through a season of loss, because the Lord had shut the door.

There are other ways of looking at those same “gifts” (or withholdings):

          I married Hugh because the Lord had changed Mike’s heart.

          I was spared further hurt, because the Lord had taken her away.

          I can minister to women today because the Lord had shut that door.

What because the Lord had phrases have affected your life and caused your tears to flow? Are you a woman who is where she is today . . .

                       because the Lord had closed that door?

                        because the Lord had changed his heart?

                        because the Lord let you get cancer?

                        because the Lord had not healed her?

Oh, my friend, God has His reasons for why He has allowed or prevented something from happening in your life. And it’s not because He wanted to punish you or make your life miserable. It’s not because He didn’t love you or didn’t care about you or didn’t hear your prayers. It’s very possible that He wants to bless you from another angle. And it’s very possible He wants you to realize that the one thing you need the most—your one missing piece—is Him.

 

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the best-selling author of When Women Walk Alone(more than 120,000 copies sold) and a dozen other books including When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and her newest release, When God Sees Your Tears, upon which this article is based. For more resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and relationships with God and others, see her website: www.strengthforthesoul.com.

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindi

After The Party for the Returning Prodigal . . .

Last month, Alycia Neighbours wrote a guest post, Never Stop Praying for Your Prodigal. In that article, Alycia shares her prodigal daughter testimony that touched many of my, and her, blog followers.

 
I opened that blog explaining that in my book, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, Alycia’s mom, Chris Adams. shares the story of praying for her prodigal daughter. While I was writing the last chapter of the book, Alycia reunited with her family and I was able to include an excerpt from Chris’ journal of their reunion.

 
I asked Alycia if she would share what it was like when she returned after being gone for eight years, and how her twin-sister Amanda, felt about her return. Today Alycia and Amanda share with you the emotional rollercoaster of welcoming home a prodigal. As I read Alycia’s article, it confirmed everything I wrote in Section Five of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, “Welcoming Home Your Prodigal Daughter.” Remember, that everything in the book, as well as Alycia’s suggestions, also apply to a prodigal son.

Alycia Neighbours prodigal home cartoon.= website

The prodigal has returned. Hugs, parties, and fatted calf are over—and now everyone sits back wondering, what next?

Not Everyone is Celebrating

In the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31, Jesus tells the story of the brother who wasn’t happy watching all the celebration over the return of the “black sheep.” After all, he had been there all along, probably comforting his family, picking up the missing brother’s slack, and being the good reliable son.

I can’t tell you much of what happened after that Scripture story, but I can tell you that when I returned home as a prodigal, it wasn’t all parties and celebrations. It was hard for all of us. Major trust had been broken that needed restoring. There were hurt feelings that needed soothing. Anger needed releasing; forgiveness was going to be a long road.

I had changed. I was different. I was humbled.

I wasn’t trusted. I had set off a grenade in my family and things weren’t going to just fall back into a normal pace—despite my desperate desire to be back in my family.

My twin sister was thrilled I was found, after she had made many dead-end searches; but at the same time, she was furious that I was home

“It was trust. I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t run again, and then I am left with my parents destroyed AGAIN. She had run all her life. She had lied. What made this time so different? I couldn’t trust her, no matter how normal she seemed to be. I was the one always there for my parents. I did most everything right. Why were they so willing to accept her back? I was angry at her actions and her trying to prove she was a different person. She was missing for eight years, but she had been running long before that. I don’t know the pivotal point that made us closer again; but sometimes we fight (because we are sisters) and that anger and fear comes back.” – Amanda Dugger, my twin sister

Amanda and Alycia small

Amanda and Alycia

Restoration Takes Time

I couldn’t tell you the pivotal moment either. It just happened over a span of about seven years. It took years of being true to my word. The only time I ran was from my abusive husband; but this time, I ran to my family. I didn’t do everything right; there are many things I wish I could have had the foresight to see so I didn’t trip up again.

Many times since returning, I have had the urge to run again, but in a different direction. Now I run to my family and to God. Those I trust, believe in, and love.

There is a plot twist though. When my parents adopted Amanda and me, we had an older sister who remained with our biological family. I tracked her down, along with the rest of my biological family. I ended up hurting her too because I was hurting and needed to lash out at someone, and she was in my path at that moment. Presently, all relationships have been restored, but we will likely always be working at strengthening and learning to fully trust.

Twins and older sister

What I Want You To Take Away From My Story:

• Trust and restoration is possible, but it will take time. Be patient and honest with your feelings. Communication heals hurt. Your prodigal will want to prove herself/himself, but she/he is hurting too.
• Establish acceptable boundaries from the moment your prodigal comes home. Let her/him know what behavior is expected and not permitted.
• Expect the restoration process to be time consuming and emotionally consuming. Prayer is the only way to combat unexpected feelings that arise.
• Siblings and other family members affected by the prodigal should be encouraged to reunite on their own timetable. We all arrive at trust when it feels right and we feel God’s nudge.
• Just like the prodigal in Scripture who came groveling to his father, your prodigal is probably humbled, ashamed, and emotionally distraught over her/his actions. Show compassion because just like your heart is broken, hers/his is too. At first, be gentle even when you don’t feel like it. Later, you can discuss the tougher subjects. Just love your prodigal.
• Triggers that caused them to run in the first place may make your prodigal feel the need to run again. Try right away to identify these triggers, respect that they are an integral part of your prodigal’s psyche, and work as a team to acknowledge, validate, and work through the triggers so she/he can feel secure that she/he has truly found her/his way back home.

__________________________

Thank you again Alycia for your openness and willingness to share your story to help other parents and prodigals. You can read more of Alycia’s story in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter.

Hug An Infertile Couple This Week

 

Dear-God-Why-Cant-I-Have-a-Baby11-200x300

You may not have April 20-26 marked on your calendar as National Infertility Awareness Week, but 1 in 6 couples check their calendar frequently to see if they’re pregnant or how long it’s been since they filed adoption papers or when will the infertility tests be back . . .

An Ignored Group

With millions of couples experiencing infertility, a large percentage of the population feel shunned. Yet, you probably know someone dealing with infertility in your neighborhood, your church, your family, your friends, your co-workers . . .Maybe it’s you struggling to become a mommy or experiencing secondary infertility and know what it’s like to feel invisible in a group.

Many of the “mommies-in-waiting” sharing their stories in my book, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey expressed the sorrowful complaint that they felt ignored by friends and family, even in the church–especially in the church.

Often we ignore the infertile couple because we don’t know what to say to them. Or the infertile couple doesn’t talk about their painful situation because people say hurtful things.

People Say The Darnedest Things!

Your loved ones will say all the wrong things. All of us who have gone through infertility agree on this point.—Laurie, A Mommy-in-Waiting

Dear God,

People keep asking when we’re going to start having children, as if I’m making a conscious decision not to! I try shrugging it off with an answer that we probably will “someday.” Inside, I’m dying. Why are people so insensitive and why do they feel it’s ok to ask something so personal? Everyone seems to think they’re a doctor and they know the answer to my infertility. Then the advice . . . the number one thing everyone seems to say is, “Oh, you just need to relax.” Or “You’re young; you’ve got plenty of time.” UGH!!! Help, God, they’re killing me!

Wounded by Words, Kim

Kim is my precious daughter whose struggle with the heartache of infertility was often intensified by well-meaning—yet wounding—words. Many infertile couples’ stories mention how thoughtless and hurtful people’s comments and advice can be. Debbie wrote, “I’ve experienced people in the church say some of the worst things ever to me with every good intention. Probably one of the most insensitive and painful is, ‘Maybe God never meant for you to have children.’”

You can be sure thoughtless, hurtful comments aren’t from God, who instructs: “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim” (Proverbs 15:4 MSG).

10 Things Not To Say or Do To Someone Experiencing Infertility

I believe in the front of every church directory there should be a list of things that you shouldn’t say to people during times of grief, just like emergency preparedness in the front of the phone book.—Debbie, A Mommy-in-Waiting

Most people don’t mean to be hurtful: they innately want to say and do the right thing. They offer a cliché or something that minimizes your situation or feels patronizing because they’re uncomfortable being around someone suffering. Here are ten helpful tips from Mommies-In-Waiting:

DON’T…                                                                               DO…

1. Talk about people you know with infertility.                    1. Let me talk about mine and listen

2. Tell me God is in control, or has a plan.                            2. Show me God’s love.

3. Tell me to pray harder.                                                      3. Pray for and with me.

4. Pity or patronize me.                                                          4. Show compassion.

5. Avoid me. It makes me feel rejected, different.                5. Keep normal contact with me.

6. Tell others, unless you have asked permission.                 6. Honor my privacy.

7. Offer unsolicited advice or suggestions.                            7. Support my choices.

8. Resent how my infertility affects you.                               8. Remember, this is about me.

9. Ask personal questions or give advice.                              9. Curtail curiosity.

10. Assume it’s a “female” problem.                                     10. Respect it’s personal.

Suggested Responses for the Infertile Couple

We will speak the truth in love.Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

Following are frequent unwelcome comments and suggested responses. Non-satirical humor often defrays uncomfortable situations. Your goal isn’t to offend or embarrass the person. The responses shouldn’t be said sarcastically, defensively, or angrily. Use this as an opportunity to be a good witness:

1. “When are you two going to start a family?”

Response: What makes you think we’re not trying?

2. “You just need to relax, take it easy, rest more, or take a vacation.”

Response: Then I might have two problems—no baby and no job!

3. “You aren’t getting any younger!”

Response: Are you fishing for an invitation to my next birthday party?

4. “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”

Response: Time is the one thing we have too much of now.

5. “You should take________”—they name some food, herb, or drug.

Response: I’ll check with my doctor about that.

6. “You should try_______”—they suggest some sexual position.

Response: You mean we’re supposed to have sex?

7. “We need grandchildren.”

Response: We need to be parents first.

8. “There must be some hidden sin in your life.”

Response: Jesus forgave my sins when I became a Christian.

9. “You aren’t praying hard enough.”

Response: Are you offering to pray for us?

10. “If God wanted you to have children, you would.”

Response: Ouch! That hurts.

Remember: Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose (Proverbs 18:21 MSG).

*Some excerpts from Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey

Kim's family 2014Daughter Kim’s family today! Thank you Lord for these 3 precious blessings

Worry’s Growl

Thanksgiving is barely over when the pressure of Christmas and the month of December descends upon us. This seemed like a perfect time to introduce my readers to my dear friend and fellow author, Kathy Collard Miller, and her new book Partly Cloudy and Scattered Worries.

Partly  Cloudy

By guest blogger, Kathy Collard Miller

I headed out on my jog, evening the storm clouds that threatened rain above me. Oh, I so want to run, and I can’t run tomorrow. I’ve got to do it right now even if it rains. But by the time I’d run a mile, the drops started and got bigger and bigger.

Oh. I’m so disappointed, I mourned, as I turned and headed back. But then, a new resolve overwhelmed me. By golly, I’m going to run even if I get wet. It’s just too important for my health.

I continued running and the drops fell continually but were not drenching. As I ran, the rain slackened, yet clouds off in the distance were a dark, threatening color. Will it hold off? By the time I’d passed my three-mile mark, the sprinkles stopped, and when I looked up at the sky, the dark clouds were gone. Where did they go? I turned to look for them, but they had dissipated, though the sky was still overcast.

For the next two miles, no rain fell. As I reached the last half mile, the storm clouds opened up again and my clothes were reaching the wet category. But I didn’t care that my hair was wet; it had been an exhilarating run. Walking for my cool-down, a few rays of sun broke through the clouds, splashing the luscious, colorful hues of a rainbow across the sky. Wow. I would have missed it if I hadn’t risked getting wet.

My run could have been a really unpleasant experience but the warning of rain had turned out to be a worse threat than the actual rain. In the end, I was rewarded with a beautiful rainbow that I would have missed had I not run.

That day as I ran, I saw an analogy to worry. Its growl is worse than its bite. Worry can easily cause us to focus on disaster while taking away our ability to trust God. Yet even if what we fear happens, it’s often not as bad as we thought it would be. We might even experience the “rainbow” of God’s blessings in some unexpected way.

BOOK SUMMARY AND AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

It is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you’re facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers a conversational style, personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God’s hand in her life.

Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author. Her passion is to inspire women to trust God more. She has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries. Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson) and she blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.blogspot.com. Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 43 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats.

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