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!

Win Or Lose

The Philadelphia Eagles pulled it off and are now the NFL Champions!  What a game it was!  One team had won several championships and one team had never won one.  There was a favored team and there was an underdog team.  Both teams had practiced, trained, won and lost games, and both took the field on Sunday ready to hold that Vince Lombardi trophy high.  Whether you are a Patriots or Eagles fan, it was a game well played.

This reminds me of life and how sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.  Whether it is a sports competition, at work, or in our personal relationships, there are comparisons and competitions. With that comes self-esteem issues, emotional highs and lows, jealousy, and can quickly turn into anger, bitterness and even hatred.
There is strategy of how to win, make points or make sure the “competition” loses.  We keep a running scorecard.  You know what I am talking about, right?

No one likes to lose.  It is much more fun to win, but with that comes someone who loses, right?  Are you a good winner?  Are you a good loser?  Do you find that winning is more important than the relationship, whether at work or in marriage?

Specifically in marriage, when there is competition, there is keeping score and that can be deadly to a marriage.  In essence, if you are working so hard to win an argument, you are actually working to make your spouse a loser.  Let that soak in!

Marriage is about “living as one”, and nothing can damage a marriage relationship more than keeping score of who did what, who did it last, bringing up “old business” from the past in an argument, etc.  Let’s look at a few examples:

“I’m not going to do the dishes because I did them last night!”

“I always give in to what you want.  You NEVER give in!”

“I told you I was right!  Why don’t you ever believe me?”

“You don’t care what I think; you just always want to be right!”

“I don’t care what you say;  I know what I am talking about!”

SOUND FAMILIAR????

If you try so hard to win, you are both losers and your marriage will suffer.  Is that your goal?  Next time you and your spouse have an argument, try listening and truly HEARING what the other one is saying. Look into the eyes of the one you say you love and value their opinion and hear their heart.  Ask yourself if this argument is worth your marriage, take a deep breath, delete the resentment from the past, (if possible), and work for a healthy resolution. This isn’t a game; this is a marriage worth protecting and nurturing.

“A gentle answer turns away wreath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.           Proverbs 15:1,2

The Eagles won and the Patriots lost and that game is in the books.  In marriage, it isn’t about winning or losing;  it is about working TOGETHER toward a loving and healthy marriage…day after day.  Get some marriage coaching, if needed.  Now, play ball in a different way and you can both win!

 

 

 

Kids! Kids! Kids!

I LOVE kids!  I love babies, young kids, tween kids, teen kids and millennial kids!  I love them all!  I am a mom, was a camp mom called Mama Hummer, and was “everybody’s  mom” when I lead a large single parent family ministry.  I led Divorce Care For Kids (dc4k.org) and a divorce class for teens called The Big D.

I have held countless devastated kids while they sobbed about their broken families, stayed up late sitting at a picnic table at camp while kids would tearfully tell me the hurts they had at home, and sit with teens by the hour at coffee shops while they wrestled with burdens on their heart.

On the other hand, I would sit at ballgames, concerts and competitions and cheer kids on at ball fields, schools and concert halls.  I have mediated parents and their kids to help them communicate better, forgive each other and help their families heal.

Today, I lead Chained No More, a class with a book I wrote for the adult children of divorce and other childhood brokenness ( robynbministries.com/chainednomore). Most of our participants usually grew up in horribly dysfunctional families, which included various types of abuse.  Sometimes I am amazed that they even survived!  They have defined themselves by the damage they carry and what a blessing it is to see them truly heal and find out who they were really meant to be, according to God’s Word.  Each session is emotionally hard work, and as they “unravel” the issues they have dragged through their lives for years, they see why they have had trouble with relationships, trust issues, anger, depression and the inability to trust.

Like I always say “Kids pay the highest price”.  They are born into families where maybe one or both of their parents have been abused in their childhood and they bring that forward to their own children.  I watched Dr. Phil today and cried as he unpacked the story of those 13 children who were locked up and abused their entire lives.  They found out that their mother had also been horribly abused, so she didn’t know how to be a safe parent.  None of their neighbors knew about it and their extended family just thought they were a “weird family,”  One of the police officers said that if we even THINK something is going on in a house, we can call child protective services and ask them to do a “well-check.”  We may be mistaken, but isn’t it worth it to save children from such destruction??!!

My heart soars when I hear babies and children laughing.  I love to see the excitement in kids when they do something well, make a basket or a touchdown, accept applause at a concert or just happy to hear they are going to Disneyland.  Jesus must find delight in that sound too.

Take time to talk to your kids and grandkids face to face, do fun activities with them, tuck them in, love them with unconditional love, and most of all, sit back and just listen to their heart.  They are kids and they need us as good role models, protectors, teachers, and examples of the Lord God.

“Suffer the little children to come unto Me…”  Let’s lead them.

Here is a great resource www.thesource4parents.com to help.  Awesome!!!

 

 

America, Where Do You Stand?

“God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her through the night with the Light from above….”

“America, America, God shed His grace on thee…”

Sobering lyrics at a time like this in our country’s history, aren’t they?  Our country is no longer the United States of America, but the Divided States of America.  Everywhere we look, whatever we read, hear or watch, there is division over how our country should look and be governed.  We have each taken sides, have closed our minds to any other way of thinking, and then we shut down or rise in anger.  We fold our arms, close our ears and turn away from differing Americans.

There are angry marches, violence in the streets, power plays in Washington, and the political gridlock continues and has for decades.  We name it democracy, which is defined as “government by the people, a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral vote.”

Wait! But what if I don’t like who was elected, which, by the way, has happened several times in my own life? What we see today is far beyond my understanding.  Yes, I get the issues and certainly understand the angst and hatred people have towards our president, but our American democratic way of election determined who our president would be, for at least the next four years.  Period.

Let’s look deeper at the issues and  our responsibilities as followers of Jesus Christ. First of all, “Be imitators of Christ, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us…”  Eph. 5:1,2  We are only responsible for what comes out of OUR mouth, OUR attitudes and OUR actions.  We answer to the Lord God first and secondly to everyone else after that, no matter how much we disagree or how angry we become.

God doesn’t need OUR help in sorting these things out and if His Word is true, He goes before us, is everywhere and sees everything. Nothing happens, NOTHING HAPPENS that He doesn’t cause or allow.  Whoa!  Nothing?  Nothing!  If He wasn’t in control, He would not be God.

He sees the turmoil in our country today and yes, He sees the brokenhearted, the frightened, the anger and hatred, and He knows all about the issues that are dividing our country and affecting other countries.  He sees the racial turmoil and division, the hungry children, the shattered families, the gender confused and diverse lifestyles.  The truth is, He loves every single person on this planet and sent His Son to save them and bring life and hope, if we would each believe and accept His love.

So, my question is…Where do YOU stand, America?  Do you stand on the side of darkness or Light? Despair or hope? Bondage or freedom?  Hatred or love?  The Almighty God or not?  The United States or the Divided States of America?

Do you trust God and His sovereignty or not?  If you do not, I understand your despair.

Let’s work for unity and weigh our words, thoughts, and actions concerning all of this.  Strongly considering how we communicate through social media and other connections is a good start. Can we even listen to an opposing opinion and belief to have a more balanced opinion?  Are we open to the Holy Spirit’s leading at all?  Who and what is filling our minds?

Are our words, thoughts, and actions toxic?  We answer to the Lord God first.  (“Be imitators of Christ as dearly loved children”)  Let’s be a part of the solution and not a  continued part of the problem. After all, Christians, we represent Christ to our world and our country.  God bless America!