All posts by Robyn Besemann

Hooray For Being a Woman!

I love being a woman!  There, I said it!  I love wearing pretty clothes and cute shoes.  I love having two hour lunches with girl friends.  I love cheering my girl friends on to be the best they can be.  I love to nurture, encourage, making them laugh, and holding them while they cry.  I love listening to a good story from a friend.  I love to go shopping with friends.  I love “chick flicks”. I love laughing until I cry. I love to drive to the coast with girl friends.  I love getting my hair and nails done.  I love dressing up for church.  I love wearing makeup.  I love pretty  jewelry and scarves.  I love beautiful flowers.  I love to go out to dinner.  I love to travel.  I love women’s conferences. I LOVE…BEING A WOMAN!

This Sunday is Mother’s Day; a day when mothers are honored, but not all women have been mothers.  Some long for that, some grieve because they have lost a child through miscarriage, death, estrangement or divorce. Many of us have lost our mothers now and are left with memories of years gone by.  My mom died in 1990 and I still miss her, especially on Mother’s Day.

When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mother and a singer, of which I became both.  I loved almost everything about being a mom and dedicated myself completely to that wonderful task God gave me.  Now that our kids are grown adults and have families of their own, my role has changed, but it still is a highlight to spend time with them and hug them, have conversations, laugh together and sit down to family dinners and celebrations.  I loved being a mom!

When I led Family Connections for 12 years, our single parent family ministry, I learned a lot about the sacrifices and challenges single moms had in raising their kids alone.  I highly respect all single moms, believe me!

I know many women who were never able to have children or chose not to have them. Emotional issues surround them.  I also know many who are adoptive and foster moms, as well as stepmoms.  They have made the choice to love children they did not give birth to and I am in awe of the dedication they give to the children.  There are also extended family members who, through crisis, have taken on the task of raising their grandchildren, nieces and nephews and sometimes just kids who need a home to be loved in.  I love and respect all women!

So, as we all walk into America’s holiday, Mother’s Day, let’s be grateful for the families we have, and show honor to all women this year.  We are all women, created by the Lord God and we are to love one another as He loves us.

If you still have your mother here on earth, whether you are estranged or not, remember that God asked us to “Honor your father AND your mother.”  Call her, send her a sweet letter or card, go to visit her, or at the very least, pray for her that she will find joy in her days.  Remember that God loves her as much as He loves you and He is a God of love, acceptance and FORGIVENESS. God loves all women whether they are mothers or not.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, Ladies!

The Balancing Act

Our world is spinning in every direction and can suck us into it’s spin until we are completely out of balance.

Many of us are trying to rock a career, while still attending classes, raising kids,. trying to have a healthy marriage, maybe caring for aging parents and still make enough money to live on.  So many demands on our time and from all directions, right?  How did we get into this place and how do we find more balance in our lives?  When do we get to relax our bodies and minds, take time to dream, and just breathe normally?  Help!

Definition of “balance” – “Mental steadiness or emotional stability, habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.”  Hmmmmm.  How are you doing with that???

I haven’t always been successful at having balance in my life. I give 100% of my self in almost everything I do, but what happens is that I will give my all to ministry and then my family life and health can suffer.  I can give 100% to my social life and helping people, and then our house and domestic things I need to do go by the wayside.  After all, there is no “eternal value” in vacuuming a carpet, right?

Maybe our imbalance is in spiritual things. We are so busy running kids from practices and games and performances, we just have enough time to throw some fast food in their mouths, press them to get their homework done, and then tell them goodnight. This happens three or four times a week.  By the time the weekend comes, we are too tired and behind on the laundry and other errands that we just can’t fit church in.  During a week, we are so pressed for time, that there is no time to spend in the Word of God or praying, besides looking up to God and saying, “HELP!”

In this techno age, every family member is looking at some sort of screen,  so eye-to-eye communication is rare. Did you realize that there are actually specialized therapists trained to help kids break addictions to electronics now?!  Talk about out of balance!

We could also add running to fast food drive-thru to pick up dinner or grabbing a pizza or any other prepared meals, so we can sit in front of the t.v. at the end of a day and letting our bodies become more and more unhealthy. Out of balance?

Maybe it is time for us to all assess what our week holds as a whole and figure out where the imbalances lie. Are you stressed?  Depressed?  Over-committed?

Do you know what your purpose in life is?  What are some of your goals? What would it take to reach them?  Could you set aside some activities that just fill your time?  Are your kids over busy just to  KEEP them busy?  When they grow up, will they remember their childhood as chaotic, running here and there, or will they say their family life was rich, nurturing, and healthy?  Hmmmmmm.

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in  Your Truth and teach me, for You are God, my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:4-6  

BALANCE…BALANCE…BALANCE    Seek it, find it and live in it to reap more joy and freedom, beginning today.

 

The First Step – A Story

She walked through the big wooden doors of the church she had avoided for most of her life. She was greeted by a sweet, older woman with a pretty blue dress and a welcoming handshake.  “Good morning, Dear.  My name is Florence.  Welcome to First Baptist Church.”

Kimberly was skeptical about everything from Florence’s greeting, to the men in dark suits, to the pretty carpet in the foyer, to the pictures on the walls.  She felt like she was in a foreign land where nothing was familiar or inviting.

Kimberly’s world was riddled with abuse of every kind, a childhood full of pain and chaos, months in jail, homelessness, and addictions that overtook her for years.  She didn’t know where she fit in and this particular Sunday, she decided to take a huge leap and try “this religious thing”.   Nothing else had worked for her or made her feel happy, so maybe God was the answer.

She slowly made her way into the sanctuary and sat in a pew in the back of the room.  This place seemed huge, and as she sat in silence, she began to feel strangely safe.  Maybe it was the big wooden cross on the platform or maybe it was the silence that brought her peace.

The music began over the loud speakers and the song was familiar to her. “Amazing Grace” was a hymn sung at her grandmother’s funeral several years ago and it brought  Kimberly to tears.  “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”That’s ME”, she thought,  “I am a wretch.”  The song went on, “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”  The lyrics began to flood Kimberly’s spirit and she started to weep uncontrollably.  “I am lost and I want to see!”

Kimberly felt a touch on her shoulder.  She looked up through her tears and saw Florence, the woman from the door.  “Dear, can I help”? she said, as she gave her a tissue and sat in the pew beside Kimberly.  That was the beginning of a new life for this tormented young woman as Florence extended the arms of Jesus by loving and accepting her, and eventually discipling her.

There are many people who are struggling and looking for answers.  They are thirsty for something or Someone and need us to notice them, come alongside of them, and extend the arms of Jesus to them.

Look around you and let the Lord open your eyes and your heart.  Like my dad used to tell me, “Ministry is ministry.  Whoever or whatever God puts in front of you, give 100% and give Him all the glory”.

 

Family Patterns

“Have you ever found yourself sounding like your mom or your dad?  How about looking in the mirror and seeing a disturbing resemblance to someone in your family?  Maybe, in an argument with someone, they spewed out, ‘You are acting just…like…your…dad!’

Family patterns can be positive and give us a feeling of belonging or can be quite negative and give us a feeling of helplessness or distaste.  We may be angry at ourselves because we see that we are just like our parent.”  (Excerpt from “Chained No More”)

Family patterns can be anything from the way we butter our bread, make our beds, bite our nails, or wear our hair.  They can also include holiday traditions, religious practices or family recipes.

The patterns that we may need to look at and break are ones such as addictions, abusive words and behaviors, pornography, lack of integrity, making promises and not keeping them or lying.

Let’s look at a pattern millions of people suffer with;  the subject of confrontation. Maybe when you were a kid, you heard a lot of screaming, yelling, swearing, and endless putdowns.  As a child, I am sure you can remember how minimized you felt; even to the point of not feeling loved or valued.  It seemed like you could never do anything right and were always in trouble, right?

Now, as an adult, you find that you are treating your own children or spouse the very same way.  Your kids or spouse try to stay out of your way, there is endless tension in the house, and you really don’t know how to show healthy and nurturing love.  How were you supposed to learn that when you didn’t see an example of it????

If this is you, your children probably feel the same way you did…minimized, unloved and not valued, right?  Do you want to change that, so you can break your family pattern?  First of all, do you want to change it, for the sake of your family? Here are some steps to take:

  1.  Think back on exactly how you felt as a kid with a parent or parents who made you feel less than and hurt you day after day.  What have been the effects on your adulthood?
  2. Take an honest assessment to determine if you are carrying that pattern onto your own kids.  Ask yourself what they must be feeling too and if you want them to carry that onto your grandchildren.
  3. Now begin to think before you blast your kids, cuss them out, put them down, make fun of them, or even hit them.  They don’t deserve it and neither do you deserve to have kids who avoid their own parent.  Practice new ways of speaking and interacting with your kids.  P.S.  Silence isn’t a bad thing unless it is used as a weapon.
  4. When you feel you can do this, genuinely apologize to your kids one by one for the way you have been hurting them.  You can explain that you had a childhood like that and you are going to keep trying to be a better parent and encourage instead of discourage them. If you pray, pray with each child and connect your hearts and commit to working together for a better relationship.

The key to this is being consistent, think before your speak or yell, and keep your goal in mind…to break bad family patterns.  It will take some time for your kids to trust you again, but stick with it, give hugs and smiles and “atta boys” liberally.

This is YOUR life and YOUR family now and YOU get to decide how it will go.  Let God guide your thoughts, words, actions, facial expressions, and extend the arms of Jesus to your own kids.  They deserve it and you do too!

 

Do You Have a Voice?

“Children are to be seen and not heard.”  “Be quiet and listen.”  “I don’t care what you say; you are wrong.”  “Would you just shut up?!”

Sound familiar?  Many of us grew up in an environment where we didn’t have a voice.  It didn’t seem like we were smart or important enough to have an opinion or to voice it.

What happens when we grow up can go two ways.  Either we continue to shrink back, feeling like we are worthless or on the outside looking in, or we stand up with great strength and WILL make our opinions known, sometimes even if they are hurtful or inappropriate.

Many of our Chained No More participants come into class timid and hurt and have a very difficult time voicing their thoughts, feelings and opinions.  They think everyone else must be smarter, wittier, or more intelligent than they are, so they just talk very little.  It is up to the leaders to “draw them out”, give them value and encourage them to talk about what is on their mind.

What a joy, when they begin “to have a voice” and their self-worth begins to rise.  As they go through the Chained No More curriculum, they explore and discover how their past has defined them and kept them from being the best they could be.  They ARE intelligent, they ARE witty, they DO have valuable things to say and contribute!

Many times, their spouses have abused them in many ways and that also made them lose their voice; sometimes just to survive or not get hit again.  The control and manipulation of a spouse can shut them down from expressing any emotion and eventually, they can shut down emotionally altogether.  The damage is great, but healing can come as the participant realizes who GOD says they are.  He WANTS to hear them, loves and accepts them, forgives and will help them rise as they heal.  It is a stunningly beautiful process to watch in our classes.

www.robynministries.com/chainednomore

So, what about you?  Do you feel you have a voice in the environment you live and work in?  Do you feel valued?  Do the people you surround yourself with build you up or tear you down?  Do they encourage you or discourage you?  Do you feel the best about yourself in your home or somewhere else?  What needs to change and how can you change it?

Do you rely on others too much for your self-worth, or should you get into God’s Word and find out who HE says you are?

“I trust in Your unfailing love; my hearts rejoices in Your salvation.”  Ps. 13:5

“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works (that means YOU), are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Ps. 139:14

You have a voice, whether you did or didn’t have one growing up.  Speak up!  You need to be heard because you do have things to contribute, opinions to share and words of encouragement for others.  Begin with talking to God out loud and let Him know what is on your mind. He wants to hear what is on your heart today!

 

Hear My Voice!

Hear Me!  Do I Matter?  Are You Listening?!  Do You Care What I Think?!

Kids are crying out with anger, fear, disappointment, and confusion these days.  I can’t imagine the fear of having to go to school, not knowing if you will come home at night.  Looking over your shoulder in the lunchroom, listening to every sound, etc.  I REALLY can’t imagine being a parent and living the same thing parents are living today?!

Our kids are grown and gone, but if I let myself imagine, just for a moment….YIKES!  Teens are seeing their friends and fellow students being shot down as they have to run away from a madman with a gun, the weapon of choice right now.  Yes, there are bomb, knives, bats, etc,, but for some reason, kids and young adults are able to get their hands on an automatic rifle of varying kinds.  How is that possible and how do we stop it?!

Please keep your political views on the back burner while you read this blog because the issue is what our American kids are living at a rising pace.  Our politicians can continue to argue all day ad protect their partisan views, but let’s stop and look at our kids and the lives that are being taken.

“HEAR MY VOICE!”, our students are saying.  Many of them live a home life of chaos and crisis every day, and going to school used to be a haven for many of them.  Many students live in an environment of cyber or school bullying and this is just another layer of drama for them to try and endure.

Is it any wonder that the suicide rate has been steadily been increasing with our youth.  Families are shattered because these kids had no hope that life would get any better.

Well, they are tired of it and they are standing up with their voices, signs, and frustration. They walk out of school, take to the streets, walk inside government buildings and are trying to make a difference by demanding the grownups who have let them down, do something about this before another school is in lockdown or worse.

We need to listen to their voices and hear what they have to say, so we can absorb the pain they feel.  Yes, we have more wisdom (usually), as adults, and we also know how complicated things are in Washington,DC.  It takes FOREVER to get laws changed, but these kids can’t wait any longer for more of their friends and family members die.

So, what can we do, as ordinary citizens?  Here are a few steps:

  • Take the time to sit and listen to a teen, or a small group of teens, where they can share their fears and anger and ask questions.  Speak FAR less and listen FAR more.  “The more we listen, the more we will learn.”
  • Don’t bring your political views or personal biases into it.  They don’t care, at this point. They just want it to stop!  Only give advice when asked for it.  Help THEM work it out in their own minds.
  • Ask them what solutions they think would work and how they can get involved in a truly effective and positive way. Maybe give them suggestions and give them resources. Help them become part of the solution and not just protest.
  • Don’t forget to end the conversation with each of you praying so you are unified.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”   I Timothy 4:12 

Let’s not look down on the youth in our lives, but guide and build them up in God’s principles.

Our American kids are devastated and angry over all these school shootings.  Instead of putting them down, or just ignoring them, let’s encourage and help guide our teens to be good, strong leaders in our country;  one nation under God.        

 

Side By Side

When does racism begin in a person’s life?  It certainly is not in the womb or directly after we are delivered into this world, is it?  Babies may see a difference in skin color, however, they don’t think they are better than that other little baby, so not there.

Depending on the environment at home, kids may hear family members talk about racial issues, or see something on the news about the racial unrest in our country.  In school, kids will learn about the horrific years of slavery, the racial wars of years past and maybe see that as part of history.

Depending where we live, there can be much stronger opinions about the differences between the races, built on past racial issues, and a child’s opinion begins to be  formed.  They may learn to only play or go where “their” race goes, do what “their” race does or form political opinions with “their race” controlling their beliefs.

We don’t live in an area where there is a lot of talk publicly about racial differences, but there are still many who suffer from racial slurs, verbal attacks, and an overall sense of differences instead of seeing the common bonds of human beings.  To tell you the truth, next to people hurting children, racial prejudice makes me horribly righteously angry.  I cannot tell you how deep this goes for me, Readers!

The Truth is….God made each one of us in His own image.  He created us uniquely, gave all of us gifts and talents to use for His purposes.  His love is unconditional for all of us, no matter what color our skin is.  Period.  Who do we think we are that we would believe for one minute that one race is superior or inferior to another?!!

“For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son; that WHOSEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16 

Do you see any reference to color of skin or any differences in ethnicity in that scripture?

“Love ONE ANOTHER as I have loved you.”  John 13:34  Any reference to a person’s race?

So, how can we do our part to help change this racial prejudice in our communities?  First of all, remember that just because we don’t live something doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  Here is what I mean:

  1.  “I don’t see anyone singling out a black person at the store and ‘keeping an eye on them’.”  Believe me; it happens a lot and I have been witness to it, even though it doesn’t happen to me personally.
  2. “No one talks to a Hispanic in a mean way.”  Believe me again;  I have heard white people say, “Now, maybe they will go back to their own country and leave us alone.” (not political)
  3. “Employers don’t not hire someone because of their race.” Believe me!

Let’s open our eyes and look around us.  Include people of all races in our activities, our churches, and lives.  Segregating is the enemy’s way of dividing God’s children and we can do our part to unite, extend the arms of Jesus to all, and build  a better world.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with ME.”

 

 

 

 

Where Do I Go Next?

It’s a big world out there, isn’t it?  Just when we think we are settled and know the path we are taking, something happens to stir us up and move us in a different direction. It seems more difficult to be content in our careers, our marriages, our churches, and life in general, these days.

Things are very uncomfortable politically in America and on the worldwide stage at this point, and we don’t know what direction we are going or what will happen next.  I feel that too.  Such hatred and biases, with very little grace or tolerance for anyone who disagrees with our point of view or beliefs.

In our homes, there can be a lot of discontent, as well.  It is easier to end a marriage than it is to compromise and negotiate, or find the help we need to bring our relationship back together.  Kids pay the highest price and see an example of broken vows, anger, bitterness and don’t learn how to have successful conflict resolution, which they will carry into their own relationships and marriages.  These devastated children are certainly saying, “Where Do I Go Next?”

I find myself asking that question at the present time.  My question comes, however, from a different place.  God has called me to this ministry to hurting individuals and families and is moving us to a more national and global space.  We are beginning to expand Chained No More to national conferences, online classes, “plug and play” curriculum availability for churches, and also powerful and life-changing Chained No More Retreats.

I don’t know what the next steps are specifically, but He is opening doors all over this country now and I will follow Him with every step and into every single venue.  I will not run ahead of Him or “jump at every shiny thing.”  We have seen the amazing healing in our Chained No More participants over the last five years, whether they were women or men from age 18-87 years old.  God is the Healer and we follow His lead now to bring His healing in this unique way, around the United States and beyond. “Where You lead me, I will follow.”

 

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You; who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.  They rejoice in Your name all day long;  they exult in Your righteousness.  For You are their glory and strength…”  Psalm 89

 

Are you feeling restless and like there is something more ahead of you, but you don’t know what it is?  Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to guide you.  Dig into His Word and then sit and listen to what He puts in your mind.  I have just done that again and it is making my path seem clearer now.  Read Prov. 4:23-27 and let Him speak to your heart.  Where Do you Go Now?  Let Him lead, and don’t settle for anything but His best and His perfect will.  He’s got plans for YOU, friend.  Don’t keep hanging onto your old plan, because you might be missing the joy of following his PERFECT plan.  Listen to Him!

 

See ya on the road!  This summer, we will be in several cities and towns in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, George and Colorado. If you are interested in having me speak or give a workshop at your convention, conference or coming to lead a Chained No More retreat in your area, please email me at robyn@robynbministries.com.  Let’s join hands and hearts to bring the healing arms of Jesus to your community.  Now is the time!

www.robynbministries.com/chainednomore

A Man Called Home

Well, Rev. Billy Graham was finally called home to be with His Lord and Savior, whom he served during a lifetime of ministry.  His purpose was clear, his ministry was a calling and he was the same man whether he was with his family in the backyard or at a pulpit before thousands of spiritually hungry souls.  One of the quotes I liked most from him was, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”

I remember when I was about 10 years old, that our family went to the Billy Graham Crusade in Vancouver, B.C.  My dad was a pastor, so we got to sit near the front and my father got to lead people to Jesus as they came forward to receive salvation.  It is vivid in my memory that after the crusade, I was backstage with my family and here came Rev. Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea, and Cliff Barrows.  They all greeted us and then I asked each of them if they would sign my little red autograph book.  I remember them talking with my dad for awhile and as I looked up at these four “giants” of the faith, it felt like I was looking at true men of God.  That made quite an impression on my little heart and I carried that little red book with me wherever I went and showed it to everyone I could.  Another step in God preparing me for ministry.

As I grew up, I was able to sing in the Crusade Choir and hear him passionately preach the Gospel with his Bible high above his head.  I will never forget singing “Just As I Am” as thousands would fill the aisles and come forward to receive salvation.  I remember crying as I saw broken people slowly make their way forward; many of them weeping.  Another step.

The moment I heard Rev. Graham died, the picture came to mind of him opening his eyes and seeing Jesus Christ face to face.  What a glorious picture!  The God he served for so long, welcomed Rev. Graham into the perfection of Heaven.  His family members were there, some presidents, and the millions upon millions who were led to Christ through his ministry.  I’ll bet the angelic choir was singing like never before and they welcomed this man of faith into the Kingdom.  The beauty of this thought is that each one of us will be welcomed the same way when we step into the presence of God!  I love that!  We all have a calling and a purpose here on earth and all are valued the same in the eyes of the Living God!  Hallelujah.

Goodbye, Rev. Billy Graham.  We will remember you with great respect and love and are grateful for the example you were of being faithful to our Lord God for a lifetime.  We will carry on here and see you again in the Heavenly Realm.  “This world is not my home; I’m just passing through.”

Well done, good and faithful servant.

 

Celebrating THAT Day

Here it comes…THAT day.  Valentine’s Day!  For weeks, we have seen stores covered in red and pink hearts, cute stuffed animals, endless boxes of chocolates and red, pink and white roses.  There are Valentine’s Day cards for everyone from your boss to your pet.  We just can’t miss this day of hearts, flowers, and love, right?

For my husband and me, this year on February 14, it is our 44th wedding anniversary, so it truly is a day to celebrate for us.  When our kids were growing up, I would make a big deal with pink pancakes to love notes in their lunches, heart boxes of cheap chocolates and fun stuffed animals.  It was schmaltzy, but I was one of THOSE moms.

As I began to minister to single parent families, I realized that there was another side to Valentine’s Day.  Their marriages and families had been shattered and the question about what love really means began to raise its ugly head.  The concept of vows and commitment came into question, and unconditional love didn’t apply anymore.

During this time, our own kids were grown and gone, so I began to focus on our single parents and their kids, by having our own Valentine’s Day celebrations.  We made cute crafts, played fun games, talked about the love of Jesus and tried to help them make positive memories even though their hearts had been broken.

There are millions upon millions of people who dread Valentine’s Day because either they are alone or because their relationships are anything but “happy”.  They try to stay out of the sea of red and pink, and try to ignore this upcoming day of inward pain and loneliness.

Love is so subjective to our experience, isn’t it?  Think about it.  Have you ever felt truly completely loved and accepted?  Millions of us have and millions of us have not. Do you FEEL the love that God has for you or do you merely know about it?

This Valentine’s Day may be a good day to begin to look into God’s Word and truly absorb how much HE loves you.  He made you.  He knows you. He treasures you. He sees you and His love is that unconditional love we all want in life.  Go buy a little journal at the dollar store and begin to explore His Word and write down every verse that talks about His love because His love is for YOU today and right now and it always has been.

“I will praise You, O Lord my God, with ALL my heart; I will glorify Your name forever, for great is Your love toward me…”  Ps. 86:12,13

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!