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Forgotten or Chosen?

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What I Learned in October

October 31, 2016

I hope you have enjoyed reading the “Forgotten or Chosen?” Series. It truly was 31 days of sharing from the heart, my story of loss and God’s redeeming love. My newly found sisters read the series and let me tell you what wonderful women they are. There is something to DNA because the crafting gene runs thick in all of us. And so much love to share, I’m amazed.

A New Family Tradition

I’ll let you in on what may become a new family tradition: we are designing and decorating paper-mache houses for Christmas! The theme is Norwegian Christmas and each of us have a set of three houses from Hobby Lobby:

Paper Mache Houses Set of Three 12.5" , 8" and 6"

Stacie and her daughter Carley in Montana, Courtney in North Dakota, my brother Tony and his wife Regan and Greg and I, have challenged each other to come up with the most original and Christmas-like Norwegian village and on reveal day, we’ll share our creations on Facebook. The rules – everything homemade except the glue and the paint and oh, “yes” to battery operated lights and fire (I know, right?) Would it be a Norwegian Christmas without fire? I’ll keep you posted.

Christmas is just around the corner! Favorite Christmas Quote: I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. Charles Dickens

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

I’d love to hear from you.

Let me know that one thing your family did when you were growing up, that brings back the soft refrain of Silent Night and the sounds of your childhood echo in your heart.

What I learned in October:

  • Grandchildren are babies one minute and grade-schoolers the next. The pages of the calendar pass more quickly now.

  • God isn’t finished with me yet. Just when I thought He was done, He’s teaching me how to love my husband like he needs to be loved.

Forgotten or Chosen?

I Am Chosen

October 30, 2016
Forgotten or Chosen?

Installment thirty, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

God took ordinary days and moments to complete the purpose he had planned for me. He took the days and tied them together and gave them to me as his gift, wrapped in exquisite paper and tied with a frilly pink bow. God took the pain and made something beautiful. I will never forget.

I’ve given up my wounded heart and God is filling it with him. He has replaced the lies stitched in my heart long ago with a confident and fully-loved heart.

My Family History

My family history has been changed, I’ve given the “old pictures a new frame,” a frame of forgiveness and beauty. I know that whatever happens in this crazy life God is and will always be the one I can count on. As I put my trust in him, I no longer fear rejection and abandonment.

God’s word speaks life into me and fills me with hope. [Tweet this!]

I am chosen and full loved by him.

“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his wonderful grace.” Galatians 1:15, NLT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

Dear Younger Me

October 29, 2016

 Installment twenty-nine, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

I’m back again with more song lyrics that I hope touch your heart like they have mine. We sometimes regret our past yet it has made us who we are today. My past hurts help me have empathy for others who are now going through the same pain.

Listen to the lyrics as Mercy Me sings “Dear Younger Me.” But first, stop at the first video and listen to the sweet, sweet words Bart shares about his relationship with his father. This is a picture of loving like God loves us, unconditional love and grace. It will bless you today

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger…

For those who lived the fatherless life or lived with an absent father, what I hope you take away most is that we don’t have to continue to carry the burden of someone else’s poor choices, it does not define you.

What defines you is the truth in God’s word about who you are and who God is:

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139:3 NIV

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:15, 16 NIV

Be blessed today, feel God’s love for you deep in your heart, I pray, amen.

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

The Healing God Wants for Us

October 27, 2016

Installment twenty-seven, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

Healing through Jesus

Jesus bore the pain of sin on the cross for us. We don’t have to carry painful memories of the past. God promises more for us, here on earth.

The first step to healing is to identify those feelings. Then give your painful feelings to God and ask Him to heal them. God will help you truly love those who have hurt you and love yourself so you can close the door on the past.

I have looked for love in people, desperately needing acceptance and fearing rejection the most. I have only found that unconditional, everlasting love in God’s love for me.

God’s irreplaceable love is waiting for you if you just ask.  God will fill your heart and mind with his love and give you a peace you have never known.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 NIV

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” Acts 2:28 NLT

 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

The Pain of a Present Parent

October 26, 2016

Installment twenty-six, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

I’ve talked with women of all ages and so many identify with my story. What about you? Did you live the fatherless life or does the sound of my friend’s story echo in your heart and mind?

“I grew up in a nice house with two parents and a younger brother. From the outside, we looked like the perfect family. But once you came inside you would have noticed it – the silence, so thick you could walk on it. Dad worked long hours, work became his life. He rarely spoke. When he did, his eyes were distant like he was looking past me to something else.

Mom was unhappy; I realize now she didn’t know what to do. The clearest memory I have of Mom is the back of her pretty dress beneath the neatly tied bow of an apron, standing at the sink washing dishes. Although Dad was there every night for dinner, he had checked out long ago.

The icy silence continued and I couldn’t wait to leave.  On graduation day, Dad was in the garage. Mom called from the kitchen and said she didn’t want to be late. He hollered back “I’m not going.” He turned the corner of the garage and saw me standing there. Expecting an excuse to justify his absence he simply said, “I have things to do.”  I left home in August and never looked back.

Today I grieve the wasted days going through the motions of life, the same empty motions that marked the years of my lonely childhood. Searching for the love I longed for – in all the broken places, hope shriveled up as I watch my children walk the same lifeless path I walked.”

Did you grow up in the same house with your father, but still feel abandoned? Was your house as quiet as a church but without the security and peace God offers? Were you that little girl? 

God wants to wrap you in his arms and show you the irreplaceable love you have longed for. He wants you to know you are priceless in His eyes.

Talk to God and he will hear you. There isn’t anything he wants more than to have a relationship with you!

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:10 (NIV)

 

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

A New Perspective of My Father

October 25, 2016

Installment twenty-five, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

[Father’s Day, 2016]

God’s given me a new perspective of the father I never knew. I’m grateful he is more than a black and white picture now. He was a dad to my half-sisters and did all the things dads are supposed to do.

I wouldn’t be here without him.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

 “Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes.” – Elisabeth Elliot

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou

[September 2016]

It came in the mail today, a small department store box. Wrapped in expensive wrapping paper, pink and purple polka dots, the frilly, bright pink bow covered the top of the package.

I read the card and anticipation filled my heart.  I pulled off the paper and saw a black bag with white lettering and the word “Kjaerlighet” written on the front. Attached was a yellow post-it note from my half-sister, Stacie, where she had written “Kjaerlighet means Love in Norwegian.” My heart trembled.

Love traveled through our father to someone I didn’t know a year and a half ago. This love from a father after a lifetime of never knowing him.

God took my hand and led me through the middle of every intricate detail of this reunion.

Healing is within reach, as God takes mistakes and transforms them into something beautiful.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

Deceit and Pain of the past – LOVE wins

October 24, 2016

Installment twenty-four, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

The lies and deceit of the past have been covered by Love; reconciliation blossoms like the fragrant blooms of spring.

Our last day together we drove south to West Seattle, Alki, to our cousin’s house. My brother and I hadn’t seen Justine since she was about three. We walked up 41 steps to the front door. I turned around and the view of a ferry crossing the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island took my breath away.

We were the first to arrive and to meet Justine’s husband and their son. They made all the favorite brunch foods, set out on the bar in the kitchen. Justine had also used our grandmother’s Krumkake iron to make the traditional Norwegian waffle cookie.

Soon, our half-brother and his wife arrived. I was surprised, he was shorter than my brother but did resemble pictures of our father when he was older. We hugged each other and I gave him the photos I had copied for him. We took pictures of the five of us together and I stood with my arm around him.

Our generation put their lives on hold to reconcile the past and repair the wrongs made by a father we never really knew. We talked for hours and poured over pictures, each of us filling in the gaps of our family history.

What would the adults responsible for the five of us have thought?

Love was the bridge that brought us together, not a careless, easy love. We made a choice to cross over and I’m so grateful we did.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NIV

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.               1 Peter 1:2 NIV

 

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You

October 23, 2016
The Heart Jesus Gave You

[If you’ve missed previous days from the Forgotten or Chosen? series, click here]

Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You,” by James G. Friesen, E. James Wilder, Anne M. Bierling, Rick Koepcke and Maribeth Poole. Copyright 2013, Shepherd’s House.

We are all broken people, living in a sinful world. [Tweet that!]

This book introduces The Life Model* as a unifying approach to ministries of substance abuse recovery, counseling, pastoral care, prayer ministry, inner healing, body life and health. The Life Model is a combination of healthy spirituality, intellectual insight, a need for community and friendship to help us become transformed.

The authors focus on getting past what is in the past, how to be authentic and willing to acknowledge how things really are so God will help us discover how to be life-giving people.

People need God to recover. God’s work includes all the redemptive areas: salvation, sanctification, deliverance, and healing. It is our responsibility to mature in Him.

The Heart Jesus Gave You

When we are living from the heart Jesus gave us, we are being the person He specifically designed. There is an inner directive that, if governed by the Spirit of God, keeps us on a path that is spiritually attuned to who we are and how God is leading. When God is there, we experience the freedom and power to be the persons He created us to be.

A central theme in Christianity is that God works good in all things for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Wholeness comes as we let Him lead us through the storms in life.

I recommend this book for anyone who is struggling to get beyond the suffering and pain of your past. Ask God to come into your life and heal your pain and give you hope.

Consider this verse:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

Heavenly Father, to the reader today give grace and love. Let them feel the Hope that is theirs if they believe in You. Point them to you Lord, draw them in. This is my prayer today.

*Trademark

Forgotten or Chosen?

Yesterday’s A Closing Door

October 22, 2016

Installment twenty-two, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

Yesterday’s a closing door, you don’t live here anymore

I’m back again with more song lyrics that I hope touch your heart like they have mine. This song speaks of the journeying we’ve done together. It talks about the kind of pain that hits you like a blow to the head and you don’t think you can go on. This pain, this pain drops you to your knees and you don’t know which way to turn.

I’ve felt this pain and you have too.

This is a song by Danny Gokey, listen to the song lyrics and focus on the strength and grace God wants to give to us.

Shattered, like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
Words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

(Chorus)
Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of Grace
  Yesterday’s a closing door
  You don’t live there anymore
  Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning, just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up and take step one
Leave the darkness feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun

Let every heartbreak and every scar
Be a picture that reminds you Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment Heaven’s working everything for your good

And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again, beat again
Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

 Do you see and feel the hope? In this moment, God wants you to see the hope you have in him when you believe.

Consider these verses in Psalms and Ephesians:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 NLT

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 NLT

 

Forgotten or Chosen?

The Gift from My Father

October 20, 2016

Installment twenty, in a 31 day series, Forgotten or Chosen?

[If you’ve missed previous days, click here]

A Gift From my Father

Stacie and Courtney were able to connect with our father’s best friend, Larry, and he came to our hotel to meet us. At eight-five, he easily recalled details of their high school and college days, singing together in a quartet, Mood Indigo, and the time served in the military.

I asked, “Did you know our mother?”

Larry said, “I knew her, but not well. I can tell you this, when your mother walked up the aisle at their wedding and Ken sang-”

I Love You Truly,” I said.

“Yes, there wasn’t a dry eye in the church,” he said, as his eyes filled with tears. Larry went on to explain through his own persistence, he had kept in contact with our father over the years.

As we parted, Larry hugged me and kissed my cheek. I saw in his eyes the unspoken words, “Here’s something your father should have given you.

***

My Heavenly Father’s love illuminates the steps on the path ahead. Faith turns into trust and I feel his embrace.

He loves me with an unconditional, everlasting love:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

God’s word speaks to my heart, he is drawing me to him. As he draws me in, my life is changed.