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PART TWO: What about the Mommies?
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What About the Mommies???
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Generations of Love
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What Are You Laughing At?
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The Bat Attack: 3 Ways to Conquer Fear

PART TWO: What about the Mommies?

HELP WANTED: WOUNDED HEARTS

Most women, including myself, carry around HELP WANTED signs when it comes to our hearts. Some carry scars from an abortion, others from a divorce, death of a child, addiction, suicide of a loved one, financial difficulties, loneliness or just the stress of everyday life.

How as women can we help each other with our wounded hearts? Below are some practical ways we can help one another.

    1. BE REAL!!   Let’s be real and honest with each other. Quit playing games and hiding behind masks of perfectionism. If you are alive, you have a wound of some kind. Let’s not flaunt our wounds but let’s talk! Many times our wounds and what Christ has done in our lives to heal us of those wounds are the very stories that will lead another woman to Christ or help her heal!Remember what Kristi shared last week, what you hide in the dark can’t be healed by the light of Christ.
    2. BE CONFIDENTIAL!   When a woman dares to be honest and vulnerable with you, keep her story confidential!!! It is her story. Don’t even share with someone else as a prayer request!
    3. DON’T BE SHOCKED! Also, when a woman opens up to you, keep the shocked look to a minimum! It takes a lot of courage and bravery for most women to open up and share about their wounds.
    4. BELIEVE THERE ARE NO COICIDENCES!   A few days after Kristi Nolan sat on my back porch years ago and told me her story, I found a young woman crying in church. She had an abortion and was struggling with guilt and shame. I called Kristi and asked her “Are you ready to share your story to help another?” Kristi was ready!!!  Kristi and that young woman were connected quickly. AGAIN……NEVER SHARE SOMEONES STORY FOR THEM!   But do know God uses our wounds to help others heal.
    5. BE PROACTIVE!!   Be a part of the solution in your local body of Christ. Volunteer to offer support groups for wounded women. When support groups are offered make sure it is done with the utmost of confidentiality….probably not best to locate “Surrendering the Secret” (a bible study for women who have had abortions) on the same hallway as the other bible studies your church offers.
    6. HAVE A FILTER! When you are hanging out in a large group of women and the topic goes to something like Planned Parenthood do not throw around terms like “baby killers”. Most likely if you are in a group of 8-10 women, one or two of them have had an abortion or someone they love has had one.
    7. BE LOVE!   And finally, just love women with the love of Christ. Every woman has a story. Every woman has a past. Every woman needs Jesus. I believe there are no accidents in my day. God brings women into my path all the time that I know just need a hug, need someone to listen to them, need someone to encourage them. Be love to those around you!!! BE JESUS!

Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4

Thanks for sitting on the back porch with me Kristi Nolan!

What About the Mommies???

Welcome to the back porch at Rocky Top, Kristi Nolan! Kristi is a dear friend of mine, passionate follower of Christ, faithful wife of 18 years, and mom of 3 precious children! Today Kristi challenges us to think through a subject that not many of us want to talk about. Yet, Kristi has lived through this nightmare and has come out victoriously because of who her God is………Faithful, filled with grace, mercy and love!

You can’t turn on the TV or get on any type of social media right now without seeing the news of Planned Parenthood and the stomach-turning revelations of what they are doing with body parts of innocent children. The Pro-Choice/Pro-life debate and the statistics for these aborted babies are being bounced through our airwaves like ping pong balls.

Yet, there is a statistic that we don’t like to talk about………Many statistics reveal that almost one in four women have had or will have an abortion in the United States. So take a minute and look around your Bible study group or just look down your pew at church, most likely at least one woman has had an abortion.

They have walked into a clinic with a womb filled with life and walked out empty. Some of these moms pretend it isn’t life so therefore it isn’t a big deal. Yet, there is the mom who hides in shame for fear of what others would think if someone discovered her choice of abortion.   There are moms who are riddled with guilt and stricken with fear and end up suffering from addictions, anxiety, depression and even suicide because of One Choice they made on One Day in their life.

For my friends sitting in my Bible study group or for those who sit on the church pew with me……….

I am that mom; I am that woman.

I was old enough to know better. I was raised in church. My daddy was a deacon. My parents were leaders in the youth group. I had stars beside my name on the attendance chart in Sunday School. At the age of 24, I became the one in four!

Realization hit me while I was on the table. Guilt and shame consumed me the moment I got back into the car. The enemy began a successful assault on my heart and mind. He convinced me that God’s grace didn’t go that far. He convinced me that I didn’t deserve children so God would never give me anymore. Once God proved him wrong, he tried to convince me God’s plan was to give them to me just so he could take them from me as a punishment. More than anything, he convinced me that it was better to keep it a secret. Anything the enemy convinces you to hide, well…….it stays hidden from the healing light of Jesus. Unfortunately, many times the Church helps him in that campaign.

Yes, abortion is murder, BUT calling women murderers doesn’t fill us with godly sorrow, it fills us with shame. My God…….He is not about shame. He is about repentance, restoration and redemption. Please do not think I am proud of my story. I am not. Every time I think how far the Lord has brought me, I am filled with awe and humility. I have no pride in my sin. I have confidence in the testimony of what the Lord has done and is doing in my life.

So what about the mommies? Being pro-life is not just about saving the lives of millions of innocent babies but it is also about advocating for the lives of mommies to not live in guilt, shame, addiction, and depression. As a follower of Christ, we also need to offer women who have had abortions the love and compassion of Christ.

My prayer is that by sharing my story I will not only save innocent lives from being taken but would also save any woman from walking through life in shame or fear of being found out. It is my prayer that the Body of Christ would be a place of love and healing for moms like me.

He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. Psalm 103:10

**Next week: Part 2: What Can We do to Minister to a Wounded Mommy?

Generations of Love

I’m sitting on the back porch today at Rocky Top contemplating the last 35 years! Whoa…that is a long time! Yet, that is the number of years I have been married to Preacher.

Remembering our first date at Wendy’s and a movie, this blonde haired, blue eyed guy caught my heart!

After sitting on a swing at Baylor University for several hours talking, I knew he was “The One”! I ran upstairs to my dorm room and proudly announced to my roommate, “I’m going to marry, John Avant.”

And two years later, we walked down the aisle of Miller Chapel at Baylor and pledged our lives to one another and began a wild adventure.

During those 35 years we have lived in four states, eleven apartments/houses, served seven churches and one denominational mission agency, been on mission together in 7 countries, raised 3 children who are now all married, and have two adorable grandchildren. Wow……I’m tired.

We have also in those 35 years experienced death of parents, a grandchild and dear friends; experienced sickness and surgeries; and there were times that we might have called our marriage quits if not for the fact Preacher would lose his job if our marriage failed. Does that shock you?? It shouldn’t!

A good marriage is hard work! BUT a good marriage is full of joy and fun!

It is fun to dance with my husband knowing he has chosen me over and over! It was a blast to dance at each of my children’s weddings with the man who helped me bring them into this world and helped to parent them. And it is a joy to watch my husband throw his grandchildren up into the air as they laugh and squeal with delight.

But I do have regrets and there are things that I want to grow in as a wife to this blonde haired, blue eyed guy who I truly adore…even after 35 years.

If we don’t grow, we regress and eventually love grows cold.

So in celebrating 35 years of marriage I want to leave you with some wisdom from some women who have been married longer or almost as long as I have.……..collectively this wisdom comes from almost 150 years of marriage being represented!  Here are some great ways to grow in your marriage!

  1. Love Jesus first…..He is the only one who can truly meet all your needs!
  2. Show affection to your man and have lots of sex!…….Get over your body image…he chose you and thinks you are beautiful. But do choose to take care of yourself…he wants you around!
  3. Keep dating…….choose to have time alone each week without kids!
  4. Go on adventures together…..experience new things together.
  5. Keep communication lines open……..talk it out!
  6. Never forget the bigger picture…working on your marriage is about creating……..GENERATIONS OF LOVE……..and that will ultimately change the world!

What Are You Laughing At?

I’ve been told pictures are worth a thousand words.   I took the above picture on our vacation.   Preacher and I were blessed to take time off to refresh our minds, bodies and souls!  Laying in a beach chair I snapped this picture.   I wasn’t sure what the Lord was saying to me. I knew He was speaking through this picture, but the meaning eluded me until I returned home and opened His word to continue my slow study through Genesis.

So as I sat on the back porch this morning with His word opened I read in Genesis 18 about the Lord coming to Abraham and making the announcement that Sarah, his wife, would have a son in her old age.

When Sarah overheard this proclamation, she laughed! She laughed at the Lord’s promise. She was old and barren…..way past childbearing age. In her limited understanding, having a son through her own body was impossible…….not logical and certainly not probable. So Sarah did the human thing…….she laughed!

The Lord immediately said to me, “Donna, what are you laughing at?” There are some situations in my life that seem impossible……….people I am praying for and circumstances that seem totally unrealistic!

Even the state of our nation…..well, it seems impossible for spiritual renewal and revival in our nation.

Am I laughing? Do I doubt the power of my God?

Genesis 18:14 gives God’s response to Sarah’s laughter, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

The Hebrew word “too hard” is “Pala”. It is the first time this word is used in the entire Bible. Zodhiates in the Complete Word Study of the Old Testament says “He does things beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations. It is not merely the unusual act or even the degree of astonishment but the clear-cut exhibition of God’s capable care of Israel.”   WOW!

Do I believe this? Or am I laughing? If I am laughing, it is called disbelief or doubt!

If I am believing God is totally capable and nothing is too difficult for Him, that my great and mighty God is totally capable of taking care of me, my family, my church and this crazy world, it is called FAITH!!!

So back to the picture, Donna, walk through the rope out onto the sand and into the mighty ocean of life. I, your Adonai (name for God meaning Master/Lord, same name that Abraham called God in Genesis 18:3) am totally capable of parting the waters when they need to be parted. Nothing is too difficult for me when you call me Adonai………Master/Lord.

So………what are you laughing at today?   Does anything seem totally impossible, illogical, and improbable?

Call HIM Master and Lord……Live as if He is your Master and Lord!!! And watch Him part the waters!

“He divided the sea and led them through…”Psalm 78:13

The Bat Attack: 3 Ways to Conquer Fear

I’m reposting by request and because it compliments Preacher’s sermon Sunday on fear!

It had been raining for days on Rocky Top so my brown rocker outside had been eluding me.  The forecast last night had given me hope of sunshine for the coming day.

I woke up suddenly to thuds against my windows. I sat up and said loud enough for the Preacher to wake up…..What is that noise?? He did wake up, stumbled out of bed and peered through the wooden blinds….It’s just some birds hitting the window. He then plopped back into the bed to sleep until his alarm went off in 15 minutes!

His explanation didn’t satisfy me…..especially when the thuds grew more frequent.

I walked over to the window and looked for myself. Oh my word….Preacher…this isn’t birds….those are bats…..hundreds of bats were flying on my precious back porch, encircling my brown rocking chair…..NO it was not raining but Bats were attacking my home!!!

I went and looked outside the rest of the windows…..bats everywhere!!! They were flying on the front porch, the side porch, the basement porch. We were officially under bat attack!!!

Ok…..think Donna…..you must get rid of these hideous creatures. Not totally sure why they have chosen my house to attack…..but they are’t welcome here. And I refuse to allow them to rob me of my back porch and rocking chair today. I will not live in fear of BATS!

1.  I walked around the house and turned on every outside light we had. The sun had risen but due to the clouds and mist, it really was’t that light outside. I remembered from basic science that bats don’t like light…… FEAR doesn’t like light either. When I am fearful, just saying HIs word out loud, declaring His truth drives fear out!

2. I also turned on all the outside ceiling fans. Those bats will have a hard time flying into air that is blowing in the opposite direction. FEAR can’t exist when the wind of the Spirit is blowing. Fear envelopes us when the Holy Spirit is being quenched in our lives.

3. Then I waited patiently. I trusted that the sun would eventually come out and shine brighter. FEAR is no match for faith……a faith that waits patiently for the promises of the Lord.

By the time the Preacher opened the garage door to head off to work, the bats were almost gone! There were a few casualties lying dead on the downstairs back porch……but the rest flew off to find some other home…..a dark cave to sleep in until the sun went down.

When my mind is a dark cave…..void of His truths, His wind of the Spirit and faith…fear will reign. But fear, like bats can’t tolerate the light of His word, the wind of His spirit and a steadfast faith.

Choose to know His Word and speak it out loud on a regular basis…..and watch fear dissipate.
Feed His Spirit within you…..sing His praises out loud, serve others with joy and watch the wind of His spirit blow through your fears! And choose faith….even when it seems dark and dreary in your life…..trust Him, wait upon Him! He is faithful and true!

Bat attack:  Fear attack…Conquered!  John 8:12; John 1:1-5; I John 4:18; James 1:22-25; II Timothy 1:7;  and  II Samuel 22:29

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