Emotional Survival Isn’t Living

emotional survival isnt living Praise and Coffee

Galatians 4: 4-7

4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Orphanages have an overwhelming task of caring for young ones that need individual attention but lack the numbers of loving arms to adequately meet the needs of all the children. A child raised in an orphanage usually suffers from some level of attachment disorder due to neglect and sadly there are times of abuse. This means they do not get the necessary bonding with one loving adult, so they struggle with relationships. If they have not found the world to be trustworthy to meet their needs they will not let themselves be vulnerable, instead their instincts tell them to provide for themselves and control their world as much as possible to avoid the pain of rejection. They turn on an emotional survival switch in their brain and respond with whatever means possible to get their needs met, be it; anger, rage, charm or manipulation.

Many Christians have this same experience in our journey of faith. We begin our walk with the Lord though a set of rules and regulations and possibly even spiritual abuse or neglect. We build a relationship with God on our good behavior and works all the while struggling to grow closer to the Father. Often we don’t even realize this until we notice that we’re overwhelmed with comparison, jealousy and/or fear. We won’t let ourselves be vulnerable to God or others and will go to great lengths to avoid rejection. Many of us find ourselves like a gerbil on a wheel of performance and obligation that keeps us busy but never provides the peace we are lacking.

We won’t let ourselves be vulnerable to God or others and will go to great lengths to avoid rejection.

Just like orphans with attachment disorder, we need bonding. We are God’s own children, Daddy’s little girls. He wants a relationship with us that brings us peace, comfort and rest. A child learns to bond by trusting in a loving caretaker to meet their needs, over and over again; then slowly releasing their grip of control (which is really no control at all, only fear) until a mutual love is shared. Once a child can learn to rest in that love, they will heal and grow naturally.

The same goes for our relationship with the Father. There is no magic prayer to experience a deep relationship (attachment/connection) with Him, it is a result of leaning hard into Him…and letting Him love us over and over again. No more running to empty vices or emotional fixes, no more performance (DO-ing for approval) and good deeds to give us false satisfaction. Emotional survival isn’t living. Unconditional love poured out by God and received by us. Resting in His amazing love is the only way to build a deep and authentic relationship with the Father who loves us more than we could ever imagine.

Would you say that your current relationship with the Father is one based on rules, guidelines and survival or is it built on trust and resting in Him?

Is God Your Hero Or Your Father?

Drowning

Imagine a little girl, 8 yrs. old, swimming at the beach and suddenly she goes underwater. She’s drowning. A lifeguard runs to save her. He pulls her little body out of the water, rushes her back to shore and gives her CPR. She chokes and sputters and starts to breathe. He’s relieved and the crowd around him cheers. He’s done his job, he’s a hero. He hands her over to her family and after a little applause, high fives and fist pumps from the crowd he goes about his business.

Now imagine that same little girl swimming, she goes under water and her father realizes that she’s missing. He dives into the water frantically searching for her, screaming her name. He looks under the water and sees her, he pulls her limp-lifeless body up into his arms and races to shore. He instinctively breathes into her tiny lungs and she spews out water and takes a breath. Overcome with emotion, he pulls her to his pounding chest. He embraces her, kisses her and wipes the hair from her face.

I think that he could not hold her close enough in that moment. He would envelope her in his love and never ever want to let her out of his sight again.

He’s not a hero, he’s her father. He didn’t rescue her because it was his job, he snatched her back from the clutches of death because he loves her. She is his child and he does not want to lose her.

The lifeguard represents who Jesus is when we make a simple confession to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and then dutifully attend church and live a good little life. He’s like a lifeguard that rescues us but that doesn’t mean that we live in His love or that His love changes us.

But the Father, represents our God…he rescued her because of his love for her. The Dad represents the love that compelled Jesus to the cross for us.

Knowing God as our Father, believing that the Bible is a letter of love to us and not a list of rules, this is what makes the difference and takes us from knowing him as our hero to our Father.

Moms, What You Are Doing Matters

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 in West Michigan with Tommy and Brook

Last week as I spoke to a MOPS group I looked at the tired eyes of those moms who feel buried in laundry and overcome with planning dinners and driving to practices and doing homework (on the way to school because the night before they said “no, mom I don’t have ny homework”), and I just want so badly for them to grasp how important their roles are in their child’s life.

I have 4 kids, three are grown and we adopted our youngest and she’s 8 yrs old.

I remember with (as I fondly refer to them) ‘my first batch of kids’ how I felt like the house keeper, room service and chauffer. I was a taller, blonder, unshowered Benson that lived in the suburbs in a house with so little heat that we put up a blanket in the stairway to keep ourselves warm all day. I didn’t feel like my role mattered except to keep the kids from killing each other and putting a few groceries in their busy little bodies.

Fast forward a couple decades and my oldest is married and second son is engaged. This past weekend we helped our son and his new wife move. Watching my grown sons interact and seeing how they treat their wife and fiancé ….it made me so thankful and I realized even more how much moms matter. Thankfully, I also thought about how little all the mistakes I made along the way, mattered. We’re real moms, we’re not perfect but being there for our kids, taking care of all the mundane tasks that we must do…it really matters.

I just want to tell moms (and dads)…that what you’re doing…this sometimes exhausting and seemingly thankless job…it matters. You are nurturing and raising the next generation.

No matter the age, whether your kids are picking up everything they see and putting it in their mouths or sassing back with the same lips a few years later, your role in their life matters.

If they are biological, adopted, foster or step children, you matter. You make a difference.

It wasn’t until we adopted Lauren that I came to understand the depth and power of attachment in a child’s life. It was a rocky first year with a little girl that spent her first 26 months in an orphange, and the several years since have been a learning experience. Even though she’s strongly attached, there is still a glimpse of that “survival” tendency in her that keeps me on my toes.

So when I saw this on the wall of her school, my heart melted.

feb 2013Yup, it matters.

Give yourself a break Moms, you’re not expected to be a perfect mom. Be a REAL mom.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: What you are doing matters!

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Until We All Come Home {Giveaway}

And the winner is… Kelli Wommack!!!

 

Have you heard about my friend Kim de Blecourt’s newly released book yet?

“When Kim de Blecourt and her husband decided to adopt a child from Ukraine, they knew that the process might be challenging. Nothing, however, could have prepared de Blecourt for the twisted nightmare she would endure. During her year-long struggle to extricate her newly adopted little boy from that post-Soviet country’s corrupt social service and judicial systems, de Blecourt was insulted, physically assaulted, and arrested. Worse, her months of loneliness, worry, and fear drove her to the brink of spiritual despair. But God had no intention of abandoning de Blecourt or her family. Her amazing story-culminating in a spine-chilling race to freedom-offers dramatic proof that God’s light shines on even in the deepest darkness.”

Kim and I have talked at great lengths about the challenges and blessing of adoption but nothing compares to the harrowing events that took place as she tried to bring her little boy home from the Ukraine. We met at a writer’s conference a couple years ago and have been friends ever since. Kim shared her story at our local Praise and Coffee event to a mesmerized crowd of women. I think the highlight was when Jacob came in at the end of the evening and ran through the crowd to get to his Momma. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
Their story will touch you deeply.
I’m giving away a signed copy to one of you that comments to this post.
If you live in the West Michigan area, I also want to invite you to come out to our Praise and Coffee event on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at the Plainwell Coffee Mill. Kim will be there signing books.
717 E. Bridge St in Plainwell, MI.
7-9PM
Our guest speaker for the night is Maranda from WOTV 4 Women!
More details for this event here:
Praise and Coffee Night
I will announce a winner of the book on Monday, November 12, 2012.
Leave a comment to enter and check back Monday to see if you won!

Thank You to Lauren’s Birthmom

I don’t know your name or what you look like. I imagine that you saw the tiny disformed face of your new child and it brought you to tears. You opened her pink lips and saw that the cleft was also inside the roof of her mouth. You may have feared this with every tiny flutter those months you anticipated seeing your precious baby. You knew the immense cost and care that would be needed, and understood that the only hope for a good life would be in the hands of someone else. Perhaps an American would lovingly care for this daughter that your country would punish you for birthing.

I imagine that held her tight as you carried her quietly in the night and gently laid her on the steps of the very busy Buddhist Temple knowing someone would soon open the doors and find her. You kissed her one last time and your heart broke as you slipped away from that tiny piece of yourself.

She was found “red and crying” by the monks. Still very much in need of a mother.

I thank you sweet woman for giving life to the little girl of my dreams. I kiss her everyday for you.

I tell her that you left her where you believed god would help her and God made sure that she found her forever home in our family, learning that she was created by Him, on purpose.

I will probably never see you in this lifetime but please know that you did the right thing, that she is safe and loved and that all her needs are met. She turned 8 years old today.

I can’t hug you, so I hug her.

 

Thank you.

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