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The Courage of A Mother | by Seana

Photo by connieriggiophotography.com

She told me over the phone that she was pregnant. I swallowed. “How is she going to take care of this baby? Is she still using drugs? Is she going to abort? Dear, Lord, please don’t let her abort.”

With a thickening pause she added, “Don’t worry. I’m going to put it up for adoption.”

Relief released my tension, but then came the complex emotions of sadness and joy spinning together, making me nauseous.

“Can you help me find a program or place to live while I have the baby?” She asked.

By God’s grace and favor, we found her a pregnancy home to stay in. She remained sober through the birth and we dreamed together, as we did in the park as children years before, of what this young child will be when he grows up. As children we imagined having husbands and homes, not being homeless and pregnant.

During the following months, her love for her unborn son cultivated. We talked about what giving birth is like and what to take in your hospital bag, but instead of shopping through baby registries, she combed through parent profiles.

How do you choose a parent for your own child? Selflessly, bravely.

This week I read the beginning of Exodus, Moses’ birth story. During the time of Moses’ birth, all the Israelite parents were forced to leave their baby boys in the Nile to die by exposure, drowning, or however else babies left in the wild die.

I picture Moses’ mother. She just pushed her last exhausting push with joyful relief, but the next words meant life or death for her child. “Please be a girl, please be a girl,” I imagine Moses’ mom thinking. Instead, the word “boy” turns the beautiful moment into one of fear and angst.

However, Moses’ mom was brave. She saw that Moses was different and hid him for three months. Then, when she could no longer hide him, she makes a special basket with tar and places in along the Nile. What was she thinking, I wonder? The Bible does not say, but as I watched my friend offer life to her son, I can imagine. I believe she was heartbroken for the life she could not give Moses, but prayerful and hopeful for the life her son could have if she gave him away.

I held my friend’s sweet, perfectly health baby boy the day he was born; such a gift to the world in a small, totally-dependent package. I prayed over him and asked God to be with him, no matter what, no matter where, all the days of his life. I cried. I too lost the joy of knowing him as he grew up.

What I see from Moses’s mother… what I see from my sweet childhood friend… is the courage it takes for a mom to lay aside her own dreams, desires, and life itself, to offer her child to another for the sake of that child.

And in the case of my sweet friend, the birth of her son eventually brought her heart to a tender place to receive the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s one and only Son.

Whether women raise the child they did not birth, or birth a child they do not raise, it takes much courage to give of our selves so another may live.

Live courageously, today Mamas! God has a plan for your life and all the kinds of children He brings into it.

-Seana

Walls Fall Down by Dudley Rutherford | Book Review by Patty

walls fall down book

Walls Fall Down – by Dudley Rutherford

Have you ever heard the expression, “I have hit a wall”? I grew up saying this when I was exhausted, tired or had done all the work I could do, and no more progress could be made until something else was done. I had hit the wall. I could not go any further. I wonder where that expression came from anyway? … maybe I’ll look it up later.

But along the lines of hitting the wall, and waiting for something to be done, I will transition to the Battle of Jericho- the lesson we all learned in Sunday School as kids, which has been retold from a unique perspective by Dudley Rutherford in his book, Walls Fall Down, 7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome any Challenge.

Rutherford sets the stage for one of the greatest moments in history by drawing you into the lives of the people that lived it: the people of Israel, the people of Jericho, the soldiers in the army of Israel, Rahab the prostitute, and Joshua himself.  Each chapter begins and ends with a historical fiction account of what could have happened in the lives of each of these people in the 7 days that Israel marched around the walls of Jericho. It is the perfect balance of story telling and real-life application that anyone from any background can relate to. We all know how the battle ends. Walls Fall Down is about how the Battle of Jericho begins. It is about knowing that God is bigger and stronger than the challenge you are facing. With God all things are possible.

When I first learned about Walls Fall Down, the title of the book, “7 Steps to Overcome Any Challenge”, left me a little skeptical. I tend to over analyze things anyway, and in true form, I was skeptical, and thought it a little risky to claim to have seven steps to overcome any challenge. After all, there are so many complex issues in the world. How could any challenge be overcome in just seven steps? I took the book home and stared at it for a few days, preparing myself for another well intentioned, self-help book making great promises that it couldn’t possibly keep.

Finally, I started reading the book.  And I was so wrong. This is not a self-help book at all! But a call to believers to humble themselves before the Lord, and ask Him to go before us and to claim victory over the impossible for us in His name. That is powerful!

Each chapter I read left me feeling encouraged and eager to keep reading. Rutherford’s unique style combines Biblical teaching with contextual understanding to help the reader connect with the scripture, and testimonies of real people to help the reader make a personal connection to the message that he conveys.

There were two personal testimonies that really stood out to me: the story of Raul who was abandoned as a child and overcame incredible odds, and the second is the harrowing story of Louis, a WWII Veteran and POW. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say this: these men overcame unimaginable obstacles and impossible circumstances only by the power and grace of a God whose power knows no boundaries, and whose strength knows no weakness. Their testimonies are powerful reminders that no matter the battle you face, God will be with you; you are not alone.

Joshua 1:5-6 (NIV) says, “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.”

What an amazing promise!  Walls Fall Down reminds us that we can go forward with confidence because the battle is the Lord’s. He has promised us the victory; it is up to us to put one foot in front of the other, and trust that He is big enough and strong enough to overcome.

So maybe you’re thinking, “Who is this book for? Why is a blog geared towards mo, of course, but I mean out of the home) and recently moved my family to a different state and am trying to figure out what the new norm is for my family.

I spent 5 1/2 years shaking my fist at God, asking when He was going to give us another child only to be blessed with two children within the same year. Life has not turned out the way that I thought it would, but I have seen and conquered my share of Jerichoes, and I can tell you that whether you are wandering in the desert wondering where the heck this promised land is or have just found your Jericho and have no idea how to conquer it, this book is for you.  There is a saying, “If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”  My friends, this book will give you the hope and encouragement you need to face whatever impossible challenge you are facing and make those walls fall down.

If you would like more information about Dudley Rutherford visit theshepherd.org .

For more information about Walls Fall Down, visit the official website wallsfalldownbook.com or find it on Amazon.com.  If you’re visual and you like trailers, click here for the promo video.

Blessings,

Patty

Life’s a Rocky Road | by Julie

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Life’s a beach or is it? From a young age we buy into the fairy tale of life. We dream of becoming rock stars, walking the red carpet or playing first base for our favorite professional baseball team. As we grow older, our dreams become more “realistic.” We set our sights on marriage, 2.5 kids, a big house, a dog and a successful career culminating in a happily ever after. And once you get it, you know that you have won at the game of life. The end. Life’s a beach filled with fun, love and don’t forget money. Until . . .

. . . you wake up from the fantasy that we’ve been duped into believing and trade in your dreams for the hard-to-swallow pill of reality. Life’s not a beach. Happiness isn’t a box of chocolates. And even if you do manage to get everything you’ve ever dreamed of, something’s still missing because life’s a rocky road for sure.

For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer, get married buy a house and have kids. I don’t know why I wanted these things. I just did. That’s what you do. And I was confident once I achieved them all, I’d coast into old age happy, happy, happy.

But that’s not exactly what happened. My college degree didn’t win me a high paying, newsworthy career. Even once I snagged a senior editor position, I could barely afford my car payment and roomed at my parent’s house. My prince charming didn’t come riding in on a white horse the minute I graduated college. In fact, my younger sister beat me to the altar. And even once I did walk down that aisle in a beautiful white dress and gave birth to two beautiful boys, picture perfect isn’t exactly the adjective I’d use to describe the life I was building.

But, but, but . . . I’m a Christian. I gave my life to the Lord at a young age. I did everything right. I never ditched school, not even once. I married a man who loves Jesus. I pray with my kids before bed and so on and so on. Where’s my perfect life? What happened?

In John 16:33 the Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” There it is. Right there in black and white. It never says that our earthly lives will be filled with our heart’s desires, free from trouble, easy or even happy. Our lives are not like Hollywood movies wrapped up in a neat and tidy package. Satisfaction isn’t found in others or successes.

We’re chasing the wrong happy ending!

If instead, from the moment we were born we lived our lives focused on our eternal destination we could find a joy and peace unsurpassed by anything this life has to offer; a reality that blows all manmade fairy tales away. The prize isn’t the material offerings of this world, the fantasy of the American dream, but the majesty that awaits us in Heaven.

But we have to travel the rocky road of disappointment, divorce, poverty, cancer, loneliness, depression, childlessness, abuse, failure and so much more to get there. The sooner we accept it and look beyond ourselves Heavenward, the sooner our eyes will be open to the real happily ever after.

I’m 42 now. Gained a few pounds . I fight with my husband over his dirty clothes laying on the floor and rent my home. My kids are less like angelic cherubs and more like escaped zoo animals. I doubt my parenting ability and don’t’ really have many friends. I’m often paralyzed by anxiety and feel inferior, unaccomplished.

Yet, tomorrow I’ll laugh till my belly aches at my 9-year-old’s silliness. I’ll be completely content when he snuggles beside me on the couch. I’ll smile when my almost teenager shares his excitement about skateboarding and girls. I’ll look admiringly at my husband as he goes off to work at a sometimes thankless job. And I’ll walk outside my front door and see God’s majesty in the bird’s chirping and the kindness of a neighbor. All the while, I will be filled with the hope and faith God has embedded in my heart, which will not, cannot die unlike the fleeting dreams of this earthly society.

Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” EVERYTHING we have ever wanted is within reach. We’re just looking in the wrong place. It’s not in the here and now, but in the hereafter. And if we simply put our life in God’s hand, set our course on his path, the reality God has prepared for us will greatly surpass our dreams and the disappointments of falling short in this lifetime.

Life isn’t about worldly wealth, fame, popularity, success, or even us. When we refocus our dreams away from the earthly desires ingrained in us by our society and open our Bible to discover what our creator truly designed us for – simply to love God and love others – we will find meaning, purpose and JOY in all circumstances.

Life’s a rocky road. Might as well eat ice cream!