When You’re Sad on Mother’s Day


Isaiah 30:15

Today is Mother’s Day. I remember when this holiday was a jumble of emotions and the work that it took to contain them all. First, there was the grief of my mother’s death. I thought that pain would never subside. By the time I had children of my own, the world was less than kind towards the ache I felt in my heart.  As if I should have been over it long ago.  I was given the message that Mother’s Day was only for happiness and joy. So I wrestled to keep my emotions in check.

I tried to focus on the positives, like the fact that I got to be a mother. And being a mother has given me tremendous joy! I love, love, LOVE being a Mom!

The second grief was unknown to most of the world. It was my secret that I kept locked up in my heart. God tells us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  But my wellspring was muddied by the secrecy of the abortions I had gone through when I was 17.

I kept these secrets hidden in my heart and I didn’t let anyone in for fear they would discover what I had done. Mother’s Day was a warfare for me because it attacked my identity in Christ.

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. The Bible says to confess your sins to one another and pray for each other do that you can be healed.

I had to get over two main stumbling blocks to get to a place of peace and joy on Mother’s Day and in life.

  1. Truly grieve the loss of my mother.
  2. Truly grieve the loss of my first two children.

I was in a Mothers of Teens class several years ago and the teacher recognized & called me out on my unprocessed grief from my mother’s death. I didn’t see it coming, nor did I appreciate when she pointed it out to me in front of the whole class. I had made some remarks and in the process mentioned that my Mom had died when I was nine.

It was not long after that experience that I spent an entire summer paying $125/hr to sit and cry in a counselor’s office. I cried and grieved my mother’s death and all that went with it. It was difficult work. I had not known how freeing it would be to face the pain, resolve it in my heart, and be able to stand up and move forward.

God truly heals broken hearts! I know because He did that work in mine.

The second stumbling block for me was the grief wrapped up in the loss of my first two children. This was hard in a way that I can’t find words fitting to express.  I had to come to terms with the truth of what I was capable of and what I had done. I had aborted my first two children.

I went to a place called Carenet and they walked me through a Bible study called Forgiven and Set Free, by Linda Cochrane. The study lasted eight weeks. Each week there was homework for me to complete. Every time I sat down to do my homework I was met with grief.  It came out in anger and deep sobbing groans and moans. When I finished my homework I would wipe my tears, take a deep breath and put on a fresh face. The important part is that I allowed myself space to grieve.

This season began a new kind of warfare for me. There are many (way to many) people who share the same secret. Those people rose up against me. They made all sorts of excuses about why abortion isn’t so bad in certain circumstances. Honestly, I believe  my coming out threatened some of them. Whenever we see another person overcome adversity, it silently speaks to us suggesting that we too could overcome adversities.

The very thought of overcoming overwhelming odds and circumstances in and of itself can be a threat. It gives rise to the resisting and negative thoughts that tell us we’ll always be stuck and wounded.

The Bible says there is a season and a time for every activity under the sun. If you discover that Mother’s Day brings up a jumble of emotions for you, ask yourself if you have any unprocessed grief to work through.

This is my story. Each of us walks our own path.  There are so many reasons why a holiday like Mother’s Day might not be a joyful celebration. It could be that you no longer have a mother, never knew your mother or have a bad relationship with her.  Perhaps it’s not about your mother.  Many people walk down the path of infertility or the loss of a child that died. There are so many reasons people may be sad or mad or find they want to avoid the holiday altogether.

My take away point is that healing is possible. The Lord heals in many ways. God heals with His Word. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20  God heals when we confess our sins and pray for each other.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Healing is a process that usually takes place over time.  For me it took a long time. This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15

Ecclesiastes 3New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8 

 

 

 

Don’t Quit

This post is all about perseverance. I want to encourage you to keep going when you want to give up. There are three things God directed me to do.

1. Pray

2. Read God’s Word

3. Fellowship With Other Believers

Before I surrendered my life to Christ I learned a lot about perseverance. I carried a poem in my pocket called “Don’t Quit.” I wrote this out one day for my kids because it has so encouraged me over the years.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, When the funds are low, & the debts are high, And you want to smile but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit– rest if you must but, don’t you quit. Success is failure turned inside out, The silver tint of the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit– It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.  Author Unknown

But honestly, this poem didn’t cut it for me. Then one day I was given this picture

Some days I feel like the frog. I showed it to my friend and she laughed out loud and said,

“Okay Alison, go be the frog!”

That’s when I began to cry out to God and I had other people pray for me too!

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

He directed me to his word. The word of God is alive and active and it has power to transform your mind. He is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from Christ We can do nothing.  There is so much hope in God’s word to encourage us. Here are just a few verses that have encouraged me.

Proverbs16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Joshua 1:5-6 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

2 Chronicles 15:7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

Lastly, it is important to gather together with other believers. We need to worship together, hold each other up in prayer, study God’s word. The Bible says,

Do not forsake the gathering of the saints!

What about you! What do you do when you feel like giving up or quitting?

Running My Race


Since God called me to live intentionally for Him, I have been running this race called L.I.F.E. Living for God has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. God has given me direction and purpose which has proved to be exciting and at times daunting. I have had to learn to fully depend on God, which has been the most difficult lesson of all. My race has proven to me where I am strong and where my faith runs up short.

I’ve been watching the world around me as I go and it has become quite apparent who is walking with God and who is not. I wish I could reach into the lives of some very lovely people I know who are tormented by all kinds of fears and anxieties and give them what God has given me. But I can’t. I cannot open the way for another person to believe, #OnlyGod can do that. So, I continue on in this race. I see the news reporting on politics, violence and basically anything they can find that will stress a person out. I run and I watch and I run and I pray. I pray that all people who don’t know God as their Father and his son Jesus as their savior will come and be blessed with a peace which surpasses understanding despite their circumstances.

Philippians 4:7-8  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Bring Your Bible To Church

img_6847It’s time for church & I’m hungry! God’s word is my food! John 6:35 At my church the Bible’s are kept out in the hallway. It’s really inconvenient if you forget to grab a Bible before sitting down. Imagine going to a dinner and being delighted by aroma of the food. The food entices you, but you sit there starving because the food is out of reach.

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Life in this world is filled with all sorts of troubles but God’s word is filled with all sorts of goodness. Now I’m in the habit of  bringing my Bible with me almost everywhere I go. Why? Because I can, and why wouldn’t I? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6 He set me free & He will do it for you too! John 10:10

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

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Do Not Abort Your Mission

Do Not Abort Your Mission 1

 

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

It’s a challenging question. When I was a little girl my mom was dying. She knew she had a very short time to instruct me in the ways I should go. She told me not to have sex before I was married. She told me that when I got married, I should stay married for the rest of my life. Then one day she looked me in the eyes and said,

“Alison, you can do anything you want to do in life. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there is something you cannot do.”

I looked at my mother lying there in her hospital bed. She was thin, her skin hung loosely on her bones. Her head was bald and she could no longer walk. But her spirit, her spirit was alive!

I had watched my mother suffer under the burden of breast cancer for as long as I could remember. The chemotherapy treatments had caused her to vomit until there was nothing left but green bile in the pit of her stomach. And then she would lay on our couch dry heaving and gagging until she drifted off to sleep.

She wrestled with big questions  like, “Why me?” and “How could a good God allow this to happen?”

I was nine at the time and the youngest of three kids. I was sheltered from a lot, but so much of it could not be hidden.  The last week was the worst. The doctors had not been able to take my mom’s pain away. She slept for days and the doctors said she might not wake up. She was restless and would moan in her sleep.

One night my Mom started lifting her hands straight up in the air.   She was reaching up towards the ceiling.  She kept doing it for quite a while. My Mom’s friend Mary and my sister were in the room. Peace came over her face. After awhile she laid her arms back down on the bed.

In the morning my Mom told Mary,

” I was there.”

Mary asked where my Mom was, and my Mom said,

“I saw Jesus.”

I glanced around the hospital room not really looking at anything.  I was trying to wrap my mind around everything I had heard. Mom had confirmed what my sister had said. Mom was going to be with Jesus in heaven. I asked my mom,

“If I wanted to fly, could I?”

My mother drew me close and breathed,

” Yes, yes, yes! Alison! If you want to fly bad enough, you will figure out a way!”

That was one of the last conversations I had with my mom before she died.

When I was seventeen, I graduated from High School and set out to achieve my dreams.  The first thing that I wanted was a family. I had spent seven years cooped up in a children’s home and that was not right.

When I discovered that I was pregnant I was so excited! My boyfriend on the other hand did not share my enthusiasm. My friends started asking me questions about how I was going to support this child.

Was I prepared to be a single mom? Where was I going to live? Who would take care of the baby when I went to school or work?

Fear got the best of me and I had an abortion. I didn’t know it at the time but women who have gone through an abortion often get pregnant again not long after. So the cycle continued and I had a second abortion later that same year.

For the first time since my mom died I doubted.

I went on to have five more kids who are all thriving beautifully today. But I suffered two divorces, financial disaster which caused me to lose my house and deep suicidal depression.

Like my mother, I started taking some of my big questions to God. I was angry and I wanted answers. I had seen too much injustice and I shook my fist at heaven declaring,

“You are God! You could have stopped this! My life is a mess and I can’t fix it! You are God, you fix it!”

Up to that point I had always believed in Jesus but I had never fully surrendered my life to him. It was a turning point for me. That was sixteen years ago and since that time God has worked many miracles in my life. He has provided for me in unfathomable ways.

A few years ago I went to my old neighborhood. As I was driving down the street I saw a house that I had driven past every Sunday on the way to church as a little girl. The house has five dormer windows at the top. Every time I passed the house I would count the windows, one, two, three, four, five.  I want five kids, one for each one of those windows.

As I sat there looking at the house I was stunned. I had forgotten that I had wanted five kids from the time I was a little girl.

“Lord, I praise you Father. After all I did you still blessed me with five children. Thank you!”

I will never forget that day. I was reminded that with God, anything is possible!

I still have fears and the voices of doubt still raise their ugly heads but I have learned to settle myself. I spend time with God, I ask him what He thinks. I tell him my fears and my dreams. He talks to me with his word and gives me peace. He picks me up when I stumble. I love Him.

The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. It also says that God is love.

What are your dreams? What do you want to do with your life? Do you know this Jesus I have spoken of? He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother? He rescued me from the depths of despair and he will do it for you too!

What would you do if you were not afraid? What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? Do not abort your mission!

 

 

 

 

 

3 Things Disciples Need to Know About Following Jesus

 

    Disciples Take Note!

image


 

When you truly surrender your life to God, you are going to have to say goodbye to some people, places and things. God will refine you and test you.

When I am exhausted, it is a red flag to me that I’m striving to please someone other than God.

Don’t be afraid to change. I’ve had to change my friends, the places I hang out & the things I do.  I’ve changed my clothes, my attitude, my calendar. Seriously, people do not recognize me. I am a stranger here.

Change is hard but good. Every step has been against my human nature, and God has strengthened my every step. He will help you too! A lot of my prayers have been,

“Help! Grace! Mercy! Thank you! I Love You!”

God’s ways are different than ours. Don’t try to understand when He doesn’t make sense. If He tells you to do something, just trust Him. He has a good plan for your life! Old habits die hard. Change is good if it’s for God.

You are a new creation. Butterflies don’t crawl on the ground, Butterflies FLY!

  • 3.  Narrow is The Way! Matthew 10:36 It is difficult to love some people.Pray for them and remember, their minds are darkened. Ephesians 4:18 God will give you grace to love them.

 

Are You Reading Your Bible Yet?

Bible

When I was going through my first divorce I was in the habit of calling my Dad whenever I was having a hard time coping. Which was basically every day. I was ill-equipped at handling the storms in life and by the time  my marriage was crumbling, I was barely keeping my head above water.  I would call my Dad crying about my problems of which there were many. He would always ask me the same question.

“Are you reading your Bible yet?”

I wasn’t reading my Bible. I always had my reasons.

  • I’m trying to raise two kids here!
  • I’m working 24/7
  • I’m just trying to survive!

One day my Dad made an abrupt shift.  He said,

“Alison, you need to read your Bible. Now go and read it, and don’t call me back until you do!”

Then he hung up the phone! That was it, straight and to the point. To bad for me I didn’t heed the warning. If only I had listened I would have learned a valuable lesson that God has for all of us in Ephesians 6:1-3

 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

Adventure

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, Psalm 107:2

It’s been almost a year now since God spoke to me and encouraged me to start telling my story on a blog. If I could use one word to describe what this last year has been like I would say……. ADVENTURE! 1. an exciting or very unusual experience. 2. participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure. 3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. I didn’t know I was going on an adventure but that’s where I’ve been and my husband tells me that’s what makes a story. So here I am. It’s a new year, a new day, a new beginning. If you’ve been following my blog it’s probably been pretty easy. I discovered that I don’t do blog posts when I’m on an adventure. Now I’m hoping for a season of quietness so I can recount the adventure God has written on my life. He’s given me a story to tell and it looks a lot like a mountain that needs to be moved. My approach for moving this mountain. 1. Pray to God for his will to be done, and for faith. 2. One step at a time…

He replied, “…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
 

 

False Start

I have a plaque I keep in my home which reads. “If You Can’t Be A Good Example You’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning!” by, Catherine Aird 
I laughed when I saw it and knew I had to have it. It’s been the story of my life.

I wish I could write in this blog about all of the mess ups I’ve been through and how God pulled me out of them…..OH WAIT!!! I am doing that! I wish I could sit here today and say it’s all good, my problems are in the past. 

The truth is as long as I’m on planet earth I will have problems. Jesus tells us this in John 16:33. But he also followed it up with an encouraging word. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

My life is a beautiful mess!  think I’m a mess and God thinks I’m beautiful! I keep trying, trying, trying and messing up. God continues to faithfully help me when I cry HELP! I SCREWED UP AGAIN!
It’s been impressed on me that I need to live my life with purpose and passion. Not my purpose and passion alone, but I am to live out the desires that God placed in my heart long ago that line up with his will.
When I got out of the children’s home I remember I had a deep desire to go get educated so I could return to help. Even as a child I could see the brokenness in the system.
My plan was to take the traditional and worldly path. College, career, Help people. I made my plans but in the end the Lord determines our steps. He gave me free will and let’s just say…..I made the wrong choices.
I was a believer back then, but I had such a young faith. I was an easy target for  Satan. I did not read my bible, or go to church or spend time with other believers.
Trouble was, I was easily distracted. I was listening to God’s voice, going down his road. Then, when I started to stray God started  giving me sign posts……. warnings that I ignored.
These warning often came from people in my life. People in the church, who loved me and wanted the best for me. But I didn’t listen. I took the apple. I saw it was good for food and I ate it.
I was warned not to have sex before I was married. Not to live with my boyfriend……..I could go on and on.
God told Adam and Eve you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” When they did, their eyes were opened and they saw they were naked.
YUP!
So what did they do? They hid. Ha! Like any of us can actually hide from God!
But ya know, that’s exactly what I did. God showed me his way. I chose “MY” way and then I walked away. I knew I had disobeyed God but by that time the devil had a foothold in my life.
The good news is this. God takes people back! He loves us. We are made in his image. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how far you’ve strayed. We have a shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to go back for the one who is lost.
PRAISE GOD!
Just the other day a friend of mine was trying to warn me that I might not possibly be listening to God’s voice and this was my response…”I’m not worried, if God wants to tell me something, he’s God, he’ll let me know.”
 Oh, here we goooooo………
There is a story in the bible about a man who is going down the wrong path. God warns him and of course, the man ignores God.  Then God sends and angel to redirect him. The man is riding a donkey and the donkey keeps stopping because he can see the angel in his path.
But the man cannot see the angel blocking the road. He gets frustrated and eventually beats the donkey. Finally, the donkey speaks and pleads with the guy to stop hitting him. I’m serious, it’s true.
It’s a good story. You can find it in the book of Numbers. But my point is this, God speaks to his children and his children hear his voice and if we happen to be ignoring our heavenly Father, he will even go so far as to make a donkey talk.
Right after I told my friend that I wasn’t worried, I felt my heart quicken. Yikes, wait! I don’t want to go down the rough road so I took it to God. I asked him, God what do you think about this?
God doesn’t speak to me audibly, although he could….he is God after all.
God speaks to me with his word. I can tell when I’m in the right place because I am at peace and he shows up BIG TIME! He’s worked miracles in my life providing for my needs in supernatural ways.
The truth is this, there is an enemy of your soul who wants to confound you. He wants to cause division in your family, in your church, in your heart. He’s sneaky.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
It’s the same old story from the beginning of time. Adam and Eve ate the apple and now we just line up waiting for our turn to discover that we are naked and ashamed.
Think about it. Are you going through something and you have no peace? The Lord we serve is the author of peace. The bible says we can have peace despite our circumstances.
God’s children hear his voice. Scripture says if you draw close to God, he will draw close to you. God is not hiding from you. Could it be that you’ve wandered away?
Satan will do whatever he can to lead you astray. Whose voice are you listening to?
Are you seeking God’s voice? Do you spend time with God? Have you spent time with your savior? If you want to know peace beyond your circumstances, then this is what you do. First of all ignore the idea that you don’t have time or understanding or whatever.
It’s not about you being good enough, smart enough, or having enough of anything. It’s about your willingness to have a relationship.
Satan will do whatever he can to distract you, to discourage you. He will lie to you and make you think his lies are true.
Here is the truth. If your thoughts lead you to places of anxiety and stress they are not from God.
In Philippians 4:8, God tells us what to think about.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I named this blog An Orphans Battleground because I want you to know the truth. If you want life and peace and joy….you can have it! It comes from accepting Jesus as savior. The battle has already been won. Jesus died for you and me. He came to earth so that we could have life!

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

My Dad’s version of this blog post is much simpler: If you are having troubles read your bible. And don’t call me back unless you’ve been reading your bible.

It seemed harsh at the time but oh my if only I had listened. He’s in heaven now anyway, Praising Jesus!

Now this part of this post is for all of my friends who warned me way back when, and for my friends now who have recently learned about when I fell. I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME! Now here’s the hard part.

WAKE UP YOU SLEEPERS!!!! Don’t be in the church fight club. Don’t be in any fight club. Let’s keep short accounts. Forgive, don’t dwell.  God has decided that I’m purified, renewed and clean so let’s leave it at that!
God did not save me and redeem me for myself. I am reaching back to comfort people with the love I myself received. The Lord himself goes before me. He will defend the cause of the orphan.  This is what God says,

If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Galatians 5:15

I know you are used to me being a screw up. But it is you yourselves who gave me hope and told me to believe. I trusted God. I’ve been redeemed, saved, transformed and changed. Don’t let Satan now lead you astray.

I know who I am. I am God’s beloved daughter, cherished and washed clean! Satan is under my foot and we both know it! I am praying for you all.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. Matthew 12:25

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25

Let’s be nice to each other. What kind of a testimony are we living to those who have no hope.
Please don’t bother calling me and telling me that you are innocent and tell me of all of your business. I’m well aware of who has shut me down, closed me out and pointed a finger. More than that God sees it all. He’s got me busy doing some work he’s planned for me to do all along.
Since my birthday on March 28,2012, not a day has gone by where I haven’t received an email, a phone call, a text message, a face book message, a knock on my door of someone looking for hope.
I wasn’t the only one in that children’s home and the global orphan crisis goes way beyond the Illinois Masonic Children’s Home. Let’s just all get along.
OUCH! That was a painful post to type. I do love you all!