7.09.2014

Hope Deferred {Blog Tour}




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Hope Deferred


HopeSprings Books (July 1, 2014)


by


Elizabeth Maddrey





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.




Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.




She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.




ABOUT THE BOOK





Christian fiction for women.

Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?

June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage.
Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?




If you would like to read the first chapter of Hope Deferred, go HERE.


My Thoughts:

The second book in the "Remnants" series, Hope Deferred continues the story of sisters July and June and their husbands and their struggles with infertility. Author Elizabeth Maddrey does a masterful job of giving the reader a true picture of the difficulties couples face in this area on multiple levels. 

Both couples are faced with decisions of immense proportions, and Maddrey does an excellent job of exploring the factors involved from the perspective of the sisters and their husbands.  She also brings out the spiritual issues, marital conflicts, and medical dilemmas that can accompany the intense desire for a child.

There were a couple of instances of mild language that I was a bit surprised to see in a work of Christian fiction.  Also, while I realize that this book is the second in a series, I tend to prefer series books that entice the reader to finish the series while also being able to stand alone.  This book left things hanging a bit more than I care for.

Overall, however, it was a good, if somewhat heart-wrenching, read. 
 
Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Chalfont House and CFBA in exchange for my honest review.

7.02.2014

My Weary Soul Restored ~ Eight Years Later






I've waited for the tears to come all day. I was so amazed at my reaction to the day (or lack thereof)  last year, but wondered if perhaps it was all just a fluke. I expected it to hit hard today. I expected the tears to flow. I expected the anxiety to return.

I know the day's not over yet, but so far, there's been none of that. I did wipe away a few tears a bit ago, but they weren't sad tears.  They were tears of thankfulness as I read through blog posts from this same week over the last seven years and was reminded of how far God has brought us, how much He has taught us about Himself, and how incredibly faithful He has been every step of the way.


Trust His Heart ~ July 2, 2008




That's not to say there aren't hard days. I told a friend the other day that I've had some real struggles about the whole situation recently for various reasons.  That just happens from time to time. But as far as the whole "anniversary trauma" issues that were so hard in earlier years, God has replaced that with peace and thankfulness.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  
~John 14:27

Eight years ago today, our world exploded.  Life as we'd known it before was over; nothing would ever be the same.  We'll be dealing with aftereffects for the rest of our lives.  But...God heals. He restores.  He gives new life and growth.  He brings blessing out of brokenness.

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

Eight years ago this week, Billy and I were reeling, having no idea how to handle the situation our family had been thrust into.  At the time when making the correct decisions was more vital than it ever had been before, we were completely unable to seek counsel or help.  We realized that it was us and God, and we began to depend on Him in a way we never had before.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
~Isaiah 41:10

We had quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 for years.  Now we were living it in a way we could never have imagined. We learned what trusting Him with all our hearts truly meant, and what leaning not on our own understanding (or man's understanding in general) looked like.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. 

He never failed us...not once.  At every single step along the way, He made our path abundantly clear.  We prayed at every new juncture: Father, please give us no choice but the right one.  Make it so clear that there is absolutely no doubt. And at every point, He did exactly that.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
~James 1:5

There will always be "new layers of the onion".  There will come a time in the not-too-distant future when the peace of the last couple of years will be radically jolted by necessary circumstances. But the God who never changes will be faithful in those days just as He has been until this point.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 
~James 1:17


For now, God continues to heal.  Our children are thriving.  And we are thankful.

***
How has God answered His promises to you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments here or on the Facebook page.  Are you going through a time of anguish right now?  I would love to pray for and with you. Please message me through the "Contact Me" box in the sidebar.

***
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 
***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  

Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  
If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  
You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.   




7.01.2014

The Complete Index to Blogathon 2014 at Ponderings of an Elect Exile




I've gone round and round all day trying to decide whether or not to publish a post today.  On the one hand, it's July 1, I've posted 30 days in a row, and a break was certainly in order. On the other hand, it's July 1, I've posted 30 days in a row, and why lose the momentum?  Two sick children, a bunch of cooking to do, and more lawn mower issues almost decided for me.

I decided on a compromise: gathering all my Blogathon 2014 posts into one big comprehensive index for easy reference.

So here they are, in case you missed any, or perhaps want to re-read something. Enjoy!




2014 Blogathon Posts:
 

June 1 ~ June 1, 2014 Blogathon, and Poor Planning on My Part

June 2 ~ Wrecking Balls, Rip Van Winkle, and the Journey Back to Transparency
June 3 ~ 10 From the Tabs
June 4 ~ Simple Woman's Daybook {Blogathon Edition}
June 5 ~ A Not-So-Simple Case of Blogger's Block
June 6 ~ Blogging at Ponderings of an Elect Exile: The How and the Why of It
June 7 ~ A Baker's Dozen of Favorite Posts from 2013
June 8 ~ Encouraging Words in Photos
June 9 ~ Word Cloud
June 10 ~ Empowerment for Women...Or Maybe Not
June 11 ~ ICAD!!

June 12 ~ Anne Ortlund: Legacy of a Heroine of the Faith
June 13 ~ Surrounded By His Sovereignty
June 14 ~ My Life Between Two Covers:  A Lifetime of Anne Ortlund Inspired Notebooks
June 15 ~ More Anne Ortlund, "Just Hanging Around", and a New Series
June 16 ~ The Church's One Foundation
June 17 ~ Tech Tuesdays: Social Media {Etc} For {Not-So} Techy People
June 18 ~ 10 From the Tabs
June 19 ~ Understanding in the Unthinkable: A Call to Action for the Body of Christ
June 20 ~ Fitness Friday: Never Say Never!
June 21 ~ The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Men
June 22 ~ Pew Ponderings: Tough Love!
June 23 ~ Prayer Ponderings
June 24 ~ Summer Reading List 2014
June 25 ~ Blogathon Wrap-Up 2014
June 26 ~ Thankful Thursday
June 27 ~ Do YOU Get It? Six Ways You Can Get It and Help Others Get It, Too
June 28 ~ Fitness Friday on Saturday...Lightbulb Moments!
June 29 ~ Pew Ponderings: Placing Ourselves Deeply
June 30 ~ Simple Woman's Daybook {End of Blogathon Edition}

Did you have a favorite post from this year's Blogathon? I'd love to hear about it in the comments here or on Facebook!


***
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 

***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  

Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  
If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  
You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.    
 
 

6.30.2014

Simple Woman's Daybook {End of Blogathon Edition!!}


It's the last day of Blogathon. I have to publish a post in the next five hours in order to be able to say I completed the 2014 June Blogathon challenge.  And this year has been a challenge for sure!  There have been nights I have blogged through sheer, absolute exhaustion, but I have made it, 29 days in a row.

And an hour ago I wondered if I was going to have to admit defeat 6 hours and one post before the finish line.

I used to have horrid migraine-intensity headaches quite frequently.  In the last few years, those headaches have happened much less often. Typically if I'm going to have one, I'll wake up with it.  It's rare for one to hit later in the day.

The last few weeks, though, the mid-and-late-day headaches have begun to strike again. One hit tonight...hard.  Today has been crazy...catching up from the utter chaos of last week (my mom's accident, my working for her, Billy being on vacation, etc., etc.), paying bills, and trying to get in a "real" workout at the gym, after the helter-skelter workouts of last week.

I got home from the gym, fixed a quick sandwich and salad supper for those who were home at the time, sat down in my chair and realized, "I could go to sleep right now."  I know that part of that is the heat...I don't do heat well anymore...and I also realized that part of it was that I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.

Even since I started this post, I've caught myself nodding off at my desk. But I am determined to finish out this month...I'm too close to quit now!  So...we'll wrap up this month's Blogathon with another Simple Woman's Daybook post, and then I'm ready for some quality time with my pillow! :)


30 June 2014
Outside my window...sunny and hot.

I am thinking...about this Spurgeon quote Bro. Gary shared last night:
It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.
I couldn't help but think about the timeliness of that reminder.  Eight years ago Wednesday, our world exploded. God hurt us deeply. More deeply than we could ever have dreamed. But oh, how He has blessed! Through the darkest of those days, He showed us Himself in ways I don't know that we could ever have seen otherwise.  He continues to remind us of His sovereignty, faithfulness, goodness, and love. 

And I am thankful...for the blessing of that hurt, and those constant reminders!

In the kitchen...once again, working on reducing our food waste. We get busy, I get sidetracked, and we end up tossing way too much. I hate it!!  And with the price of groceries going up every day, we need to be better stewards of our resources. 

I am wearing...black exercise capris and a black t-shirt

I am creating...I hope I'm going to do a better job of creating ICADS (Index Card A Day) in July than I did in June!  I'm hoping to do all 31 days in July.  I need the creative challenge!  Ammah Grace has been doing really well with hers, though, and I'm looking forward to posting pictures of hers soon!


I am wondering...if I'm really going to finish this post by midnight, lol!  Tonight has been full of interruptions, and my brain is mush to begin with.

I am reading...working my way through this list of books. I'm hoping my head settles enough to get in a bit of reading before bed.  I'm a bit behind, with June almost over!

I am hoping...all is well across the street. As I was typing this post, we heard sirens, and suddenly there were four fire trucks across the street and down a couple of houses. However, there aren't any visible flames, and the firemen don't seem to be moving with urgency. Hoping it was a false alarm or a small kitchen fire that was easily doused. 

And hoping that we are done with the excitement around here for a while!  The police have been here twice this week (they got the wrong address when they came to arrest a neighbor at 3:45 a.m. the other morning, and then were back the next day when our mower was stolen right off our porch.) Craziness!

I am looking forward to...celebrating Independence Day on Friday! 

I am learning...a lot about the science of exercise/fitness! I've mentioned before that I'm a researcher at heart, and anytime we start something new, I dig into the research. :) Right now it's all about weights, physical fitness, and fueling the body before and after workouts.

Around the house...catching up from our "vacation" week last week. :) Enough said!

I am pondering...plans for the second half of 2014!  Not only am I working on plans for the new month that begins tomorrow, but I'm also making plans for the rest of the year. I hope to share more about that soon!

A favorite quote for today...

"It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me." 
~Martyn Lloyd-Jones via Scotty Smith

One of my favorite things...watching Bay prepare for VBS.  She is lead teacher for the 5 year old class this year, and she has worked so hard putting things together. Makes me teary sometimes to see the work God is doing in her life! :)

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Helping Bay finish the last of her VBS plans
TKD Tuesday and Thursday
Normal chores, school, and church stuff
Gym at least 3 more days
Independence Day cookout with our church family Friday :)

A photo to share...

Emlyn and I both got our ears pierced Friday. :)  We'd both had them pierced before, but for various reasons, our holes had grown up.  We'd been talking for a while about having them re-done, and Friday we made a rather spur-of-the-moment trip for new holes! :)

It's 9:19 p.m., and I'm just about to hit "publish" on the last post of the June 2014 Blogathon.  Can I get a WhoooHooo????!!!!  I would do a happy dance, but my headache is trying to come back, so I think I'll just say "YAAAAAAYYYY" without moving my head at all, or even making very much noise. :)

What's going on in your life this week?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments here or on Facebook!

***
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 
***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  
Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  
If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  
You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 

Linking up with the Simple Woman's Daybook. Thanks to Peggy for hosting!
______________________________

6.29.2014

Pew Ponderings: Placing Ourselves Deeply







From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
~Ephesians 4:16 


Ephesians 4 is just one of those super-meaty chapters that you could spend months delving into and still have more depths to plumb.  It covers topics such as our calling in Christ, heart attitudes, unity in the body, salvation and grace, the importance of sound doctrine, putting off sin and being made a new creature, wholesome talk, grieving the Holy Spirit, and our behavior toward one another.

Whew!  Much to chew on there!

Verse 16 compares the church to the body, and says that just as the body is connected by "every supporting ligament", so the body of Christ is joined together.  The body grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.  What a picture!

Spiritual growth doesn't happen in a vacuum.  I've been doing research lately on physical fitness and weight training. One of the important things to remember when weight training is to work the body evenly.  If you work certain parts of the body and not others, you end up with all kinds of problems!  Not every member of a church body is going to grow at exactly the same pace, but ideally, we should all be growing together.
 
Last Sunday I introduced a new Sunday series, Pew Ponderings, as well as the book on which I'll be basing the next few posts, Love Me With Tough Love, by Anne Ortlund. Anne opens chapter one by explaining the three priorities her husband led their church to adopt:

1. to put God first, individually and as a church,
2. to put each other in God's family second in priority, and 
3. to put the needy world third.

(We'll look at those priorities themselves in more depth in a later post.)
 
She shares some of the "together" memories from their church body over the years, living by these priorities, and then asks,


Have you got a headful of "together" memories? Christians all around you are waiting for your input, lonely for your love, hungry for what you know about Christ that they don't yet know.

I am blessed to have a headful of those memories.  I could do a whole post (or a whole series of posts!) on those memories. I started to add a few here, and then realized I couldn't begin to limit it to just a few. Maybe someday!

Next Anne shares a list of 13 ways the New Testament tells us to communicate with each other as Christian believers.  I'd love to do a printable of these to keep close by always! They'd make a great Bible Study. Or maybe a blog series someday. :)   Here's the list:

1. Suffering together: 1 Corinthians 12:26
2. Rejoicing together: Romans 12:15
3. Carrying each others' burdens: Galatians 6:2
4. Restoring each other: Galatians 6:1
5. Praying for one another: Romans 15:30
6. Teaching and admonishing one another: Colossians 3:16
7. Refreshing one another: Romans 15:32
8. Encouraging one another: Romans 1:12
9. Forgiving one another: Ephesians 4:32
10. Confessing to one another: James 5:16
11. Being truthful with one another: Ephesians 4:25
12. Spurring one another on toward good deeds: Hebrews 10:24
13. Giving to one another: Philippians 4:14-15

As you read this list, do faces and memories pop into your mind?  Some bring back more "together" memories than others for me, but all bring back at least a few.  They are also quite convicting to me!  Am I communicating in each of these ways with those around me: my family, my friends, my church family? Not just the ones that come more easily to me, but all of them? 

Anne wrote this at the bottom of her list:

"Have I placed myself so deeply within a living, functioning local body that I myself am functioning in all these ways, and so living as a well-rounded, healthy, contributing member of the body of Christ?" 

Let's look at that for just a minute.

1.Have I placed myself deeply within a living, functioning local body? There's a lot to consider right there!  First, am I in a local body?  Not watching services online, not a group meeting together watching some far-away preacher by satellite, but a local body with an onsite preacher who preaches the truth of the word and a church family who holds each other accountable and ministers to each others' needs.

Second, and going right along with the first, is it a living, functional body?  Does the pastor truly preach the truth of the Word? Is he a true under-shepherd of the flock? Does the body truly function as a body, worshiping together, fellowshipping together, praying for one another, and ministering to one another's needs? More on those topics later, but this part's important!

Third, have I placed myself deeply within that body?  This is more than just sporadic attendance or even showing up for worship on Sunday morning.  This is digging deep, loving hard, and being transparent.

2. Am I myself functioning in all these ways, and so living as a well-rounded, healthy, contributing member of the Body of Christ? 

We need to be in a living, functioning (not perfect!!) local body, and we need to be assessing constantly if we are functioning in these 13 ways within that body.  It's easy for us to see where others may not be functioning in those ways toward us, but a bit harder sometimes to assess how we are (or aren't!) functioning in those ways toward others. (Very often, when we are living those things out toward others, we'll see more and more of others living them out toward us!)  I have a long way to go in many of those areas.

As Anne says, "You have to 'place yourself deeply' within a living, functioning local body to begin to give and take at deep levels."

Anne talks about making sure you are in a living, functional body to begin with, and then adds,

"On the other hand, don't be too proud or too shy or too preoccupied to receive life when it's there! Or perhaps it's truly there, but undisclosed.  Many church people are like that alabaster vase of perfume in Mark 14:3. They have the true  Gospel of Christ in their hearts; they're full of potential; but they're tight and closed up, not knowing how to love each other.  

We need to learn to love!" 
I'm actually only halfway through the first chapter, but that's a lot to ponder (and hopefully act on!) for one post.  We need to learn to love.  We need to learn to minister to others, and we need to learn to allow others to minister to us.  Both can be hard at times! We need to learn to be discipled, and to disciple others.  

More on all those topics in posts to come! In the meantime, what are your thoughts on today's post?  Are you in a living, functioning local body?  If not, do you need help finding one?  If so, have you "placed yourself deeply"?  Do you have "together" memories? Are you functioning in those 13 ways within the body? 

I'd love to hear about any or all of those things either in the comments below or on Facebook, or via the contact box in the sidebar.  

***
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 

***
  Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  

Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  
If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  
You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.    







6.28.2014

Fitness Friday {On Saturday}...Lightbulb Moments!





Never, ever in a million billion years did I EVER think that I would be one of "those" people for whom working out at the gym was a stress reliever.

Never.

And then today I found myself explaining to a friend that I had been frazzled all day...until I got to the gym.

*Lightbulb moment*

I am one of those people!

*Gasp*

Working out at the gym is relaxing for me.

Who would have thought???

Certainly not me. Or pretty much anyone who's ever known me. *Giggle*

Don't get me wrong. It's not easy. It's hard work. But working out is not only making my body healthier, but improving my mental health as well.

As I mentioned last week, my plan is to work out at least 4 times a week. I got a good start this week; I made it to the gym Monday and Tuesday, despite our schedule being seriously out of whack. Then Wednesday and Thursday the calendar was just too full and there was no way to work it in. (I was working for my mom after her fall and Billy was on vacation this week, so we were really off schedule!) I was okay with that, however, because that left Friday and Saturday, so I'd still be good.

On Friday, however, Ammah Grace had a bad headache and didn't feel like going, so I ended up staying home with her.

By today, I was desperate!

The older kids had a birthday party to go to this afternoon. The gym closes early on Saturdays.  I had to take Bay shopping for a gift, but Billy said he would take the big kids to the party so I could take the little girls and go to the gym.

Wasn't that sweet?! Actually, unless you know Billy well, you probably don't realize just how sweet that is. Billy is not a party person. Group activities in general are not on his favorites list, particularly when they involve a lot of people he doesn't know/barely knows, as this did. He loves me. :) And I think he knew I was about.to.snap. ;-) 

We ended up getting there almost an hour later than I'd planned. We didn't have enough time to do what I really wanted to do today, but I was determined to make the most of it.

I did an abbreviated version of my planned routine in the weightroom, and then half an hour in the pool.  I realized halfway through the weights that although I was "feeling the burn", the tension of the past few days was gone.

Another lightbulb moment during the past couple of weeks is that some nagging pain issues I've been dealing with for years are much improved. Although it's possible that my last bad flare is just on hiatus, I am definitely seeing some correlation between regular visits to the gym and my pain level. After three days "off" this week, I told Billy I was going to have to get there today or I wasn't going to be able to walk by tomorrow!

I know that is answered prayer, because many times over the past 9 years when I've attempted various types of exercise, it's made my pain worse instead of better.  Something about the weight machines and the water exercise is just working for me this time. And I am thankful! The pain relief from working out is major motivation not to miss more than one day in a row!

I'm still doing some research on various fitness-related issues both for myself and to share with the kids as part of our health study this summer. I'll be sharing some of that research here over the next few weeks. I'll also be sharing some of my "plan" once I get it down in writing.

As I told a friend today, between my injury earlier this month, my mom's fall, Billy's vacation, and jumping into this rather suddenly at the first of the month without a plan ready, I've pretty much just been doing whatever I've had time for that didn't aggravate my ankle. But I need a plan! Desperately. :) So watch for that soon.


As I said last week, I'm excited about this journey, and also excited (if a bit nervous!) about sharing it with you. :)

Have you lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off?  I'd love to hear how you did it!  Do you have tips for gym newbies? I'd love to hear those, too.  Leave me a comment here or on Facebook, or message me through the contact box in the sidebar. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If a post or posts on Ponderings of an Elect Exile has been a blessing to you, would you do me a huge favor?  Please share the link to Ponderings with your friends using the social media share buttons below or the "pin it" button above.  Thank you! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email. 

6.27.2014

Do YOU Get It? Six Ways You Can Get It and Help Others to As Well

All too often scripture is distorted in order to justify the blind embracing of those who have sexually victimized children. Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf
. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.LM1EL3ml.dpuf
. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.LM1EL3ml.dpuf
. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.LM1EL3ml.dpuf



"At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a 'changed person' in Jesus. Even if that were true, Christians must understand the fundamental difference between an offender’s changed position before God and the fact he/she is still the same person who committed an abhorrent offense against a child that comes with lifetime consequences."
~ Boz Tchividjian

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I know I've posted on this subject very recently, but Boz Tchividjian's article 4 Lessons We Can Learn From a Church That Hired a Sex Offender demanded to be shared today.

I've had conversations with two different people this week about this very thing. The "lessons" in the above article are SO important.  PLEASE, if you are involved with the church and/or children in any way, shape, or form, PLEASE click over and read this article even if you've never clicked on a link I've shared before and you never intend to again.  It's that important. 

But What About Forgiveness?

As I said recently on my blog, we must "[r]ealize that forgiveness and restoration do NOT equal 'everything going back to the way it was before'.  Even when a perpetrator expresses true repentance, that does NOT mean that contact with the victim or victims is in any way appropriate.  In rare instances it may be, but generally only after much time and healing have occurred.  Victims (particularly child victims) and their families should not be expected to have contact with the perpetrator, even (or especially) in the setting of the church." 

And I didn't add there, but I've said it elsewhere...NEVER, EVER, EVER should a person with a history of child sexual abuse (which would include those involved in child pornography) be put in a position to have access to children. EVER. Some sins have lifelong consequences, even when true repentance and forgiveness have occurred.

Another thing I didn't add in that article, but which I've also said elsewhere: If a perpetrator is really, truly, sincerely repentant, they won't ask or expect to be put in a position with access to children.  I firmly believe that God can change hearts and lives even of perpetrators.  I also firmly believe that part of that change in this type of perpetrator is a willingness to never again be put in a position where they could harm a child.  We are all capable of falling back into sins for which we've confessed and for which we've been forgiven.  In this particular situation, the risk is too great.  It is protection for both the past offender and the potential victims.

Moving in the Right Direction, but Still Not There

I am thankful to know pastors and church members who do "get it".  I am thankful for those God has put in our lives who get it.  Those who get it are definitely out there, and I am thankful that their numbers are growing.  But many, many in church leadership and the church as a whole still don't.

What Can We Do?

How can you help?

1.Be educated. "Get it" yourself.  I've posted several articles here on the blog with resources to get you started. Child Protection Resources and Understanding in the Unthinkable: A Call to Action for the Body of Christ both contain links to excellent resources.

2. Be involved. Know your church's policies and procedures in the area of child protection, and make sure they are being followed.  If there aren't appropriate policies and procedures in place, initiate conversation with your pastor and church leadership about instituting some.

3. Be aware. No one wants to think about child sexual abuse.  We would all rather put it out of sight and out of mind.  But we simply can't afford to do that. We must be aware that there is no way to identify a perpetrator by sight.  This article contains several links to articles about protecting children from abuse and identifying offenders.

Also be aware that while tools like background checks, security systems, etc. are helpful, they are just that--tools. They can provide a false sense of security that can lead to devastating consequences.  Background checks only identify perpetrators who have been caught and convicted. Investigations...particularly child pornography investigations...can take years.  And perpetrators often have many victims before being caught.  Don't allow the fact that security measures are in place keep you from appropriately supervising and protecting your child/children.

4. Be a voice. Share this post, and Boz Tchividjian's post linked above, via social media. 
Speak up when topics related to child protection arise. Make sure your children have age-appropriate information about safety issues, and particularly make sure they know that ANY time anyone tells them to keep a secret from mom and dad, they are to immediately come and tell you. (The exception to this in our home is a parent or siblings planning a surprise for  mom and/or dad.  Anything else is to be spilled asap.)

5. Be in prayer. Pray for your church leadership regularly and faithfully.  This is a given regardless, but so often they are dealing with issues in the church that we are completely and blissfully unaware of.  Pray for wisdom and courage and compassion for them as they deal with these situations.

Pray for families in the church who are dealing with this type of trauma.  You may think you don't know any families in this situation.  I will almost guarantee you that unless you are a total hermit, you probably do...you just aren't aware of it.  We don't have to know names or details to pray.  God knows who they are. 

6. Be ready to minister.
 "This is such a huge area of need in our churches...ministry to children and families touched by abuse.  There are many more families dealing with this than we sometimes realize, in many different ways: families in which one or more children have experienced abuse, adults who experienced abuse as children, families who are fostering or have adopted children who experienced abuse in their family of origin, and others."
 ~From Awareness to Understanding to Ministry
The articles Understanding in the Unthinkable and  From Awareness to Understanding to Ministry both contain information to help the church minister to families who have been devastated by abuse.


Do you get it?  Will you spread the word and help others get it as well?

Today was supposed to be Fitness Friday here at the blog, but I felt this post took precedence. Besides, our week has been crazy and I've not known what day it was all week, so it's only appropriate that the days should be topsy turvy on the blog as well!  I'm planning to post "Fitness Friday on Saturday" tomorrow, and hopefully next week I'll be able to keep my days straight here and IRL. :) 

***
Suggestions? Questions? Other thoughts? I'd love to hear any feedback you might have on this post either in the comments here or on Facebook, or via the comment box in the sidebar. 
 

***
Welcome to Ponderings of an Elect Exile!  Whether you are new here or a faithful friend and regular reader, I'm glad you're here!  If you aren't already following, I'd love to have you join us for the 2014 Ponderings.  It's easy to do, in a variety of ways!  You can follow via  Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest, or  find me on Instagram as Jenbh68. You can also sign up in the sidebar to receive new posts by email.  


All too often scripture is distorted in order to justify the blind embracing of those who have sexually victimized children. Though the interim pastor proudly states, “We are firm believers in the Bible”, he provides no scriptural basis for his “belief” that past offenses of a sex offender should be forgotten. He provides none because there is none. At the time this offender arrived at the church, many obviously believed his words that he was a “changed person” in Jesus. - See more at: http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/#sthash.AVsJlwxE.dpuf