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!

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

First of all, I want to begin this blog by saying that I am going to date myself as I write it.  Looking back into the “dark ages”, I remember when life was kinder, gentler, and a whole lot more fun and innocent.  At least, that was my childhood experience.

Being a kid meant we were taught respect for those authorities in our life such as parents, teachers, police officers, pastors and our government officials.  We were taught to stand up each morning and recite the Pledge of Allegiance before class began.  We played outside with kids of all races until the street lights came on or our mom called us in.  We were taught to help around the house, use “inside voices”, be kind to our siblings (most of the time), have face to face conversations instead of behind screens or by email, text, private messages of Facebook.  We learned to look someone in the eye when we shook hands and to speak with respect.  On Sundays, we would dress our best on the “Lord’s Day”, and go to the “Lord’s House”.

I loved going to Sunday School because I loved our teachers, loved to sing the cheery Sunday School songs, see my friends, memorize the verses, do the crafts, and have cookies and Koolaid. I loved to listen to Bible stories (no videos or DVDs), and about how much Jesus loves us.  Oh, and I REALLY loved the Bible Drills because I won a lot of them.  (insert grin)

When I got into middle school, I began to get bored with Sunday School, but really enjoyed our youth group activities.  Since my dad was the pastor, we were required to go to church whenever the doors were open.  This is when I got involved in the adult choir and became very involved in our youth group leadership team.

I remember being distracted by “that cute boy”, the fly on the wall, the birds outside, or any number of other things while the teachers were teaching.  What I didn’t realize until later, in my adult life, was that even though I wasn’t focused on what the teachers and my dad was saying from the pulpit, was that the Holy Spirit was permeating me with what they were saying.  I heard truths and concepts and stories from God’s Word that I still remember and use in ministry today.

I am glad today that I was required to go to church because the Lord has used all I have learned to what I do today.  Parents, I want to encourage you to please not give your kids a choice to go to church each week or not.  Yes, they would rather stay home and play videogames, sleep in, watch t.v. or go to a movie, but there is no eternal value in those activities.  We are called to raise our children in the Lord and their spiritual life could depend on how consistent we are.  Get them to Sunday School and youth activities!

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.”  Prov. 22:6

You may not have been raised in a Christian home or even in a healthy home, but this is your chance, Parents, to give your own kids a great chance to be healthier adults who love and live for the Lord.  It’s up to you!

 

Toxic Words and Conversations

What has happened in our country that people feel the need to spew out toxic words, whether it is about politics, being unhappy with an airline seat, someone cutting in front of them in a line,  they don’t like the way something was reported or shown on the t.v., or every word out of a famous person’s mouth, etc., etc. etc.?

I have never heard such hostility, meanness, intolerance, bigotry, and hatred.  Our country has an overabundance of toxicity and it divides us even more.  This doesn’t even include the toxic atmosphere in marriages and homes.  Our children are surrounded and permeated with toxic words and actions.  Anger builds, but underneath all of that anger is hurt and isolation.

Toxic words such as stupid, loser, idiot, begin in the home, most of time and send our kids out into the world “primed” to treat others that way too.  “Can’t you do anything right?”  “I wish I had never had you!”  “You will never amount to anything when you grow up”…..”WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!”  Does this sound familiar to you?

Why can’t we disagree, but still be civil and be friends?  Why do we need to verbally or physically attack?  Why do we judge?  Why do we make fun of those who don’t share our beliefs and values?

TOXIC:   Acting as having the effect of a POISON

POISON:  Something harmful to the happiness or well-being of another

“May the words of my mouth and the medication of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  Ps. 19:14

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.  Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.  Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.  Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.”  Prov. 10:11-14

Maybe now is a good time to evaluate ourselves as we move forward into 2018.  Here are some questions to begin:

What is the atmosphere in your home?  Is it encouraging or discouraging?  Is it uplifting or depressing?  Is it chaotic and angry or is it pleasant and peaceful?

Are you completely fed up with what is happening in our country that you are covered with anger, hatred and distaste?  Do you spew that toxic thinking on social media and many of your conversations?

Do you find yourself yelling at anyone for almost anything?  Are you fueled by your anger?  Who is paying that price for that in your life.?  How toxic are YOU?

When you feel like life is out of control…”BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”

When you feel like you are fed up with how you feel and act…”THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL”.  Let THAT neutralize your toxic thinking, actions and words, beginning today.

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Out of the Tunnel

Have you ever felt like you were stumbling around in a tunnel and didn’t know how to get out of it?  Maybe you are unemployed and can’t seem to find a good job.  Maybe you have been in depression for so long that you don’t know any other way to live.  Maybe you have isolated yourself in your home and are afraid to step out in the sun and truly live with a higher quality of life.

For the last while, I have found myself not so much in a tunnel, but in the rut of just doing the same things week after week and month after month.  Oh, there was purpose in my days and joy in the journey, but I felt a stir that something else was out there for me to do for the Lord.  What was it?  Where would He lead me next?

Just when those feelings were getting stronger, God made it very clear what He wanted the next level of ministry for me to be.  I have learned over decades of serving Him, that I don’t have to worry about the details because God goes before me and will equip me in whatever I need.  Many times, I have said to myself, “I either trust Him or I don’t,  Period.”

Now, here we are at the beginning of the next level of Robyn B Ministries and Chained No More.  I am out of the tunnel of complacency and even boredom sometimes.  We are headed to the next chapter of ministry and I am beyond excited about what is in store.  Stay tuned!!  It is going to be a ride; an incredible ride of ministry.

The first thing I had to do was end my Chained No More Talk Radio show for now.  I have taken a year off to use the time and funds for new adventures and ministry growth.  I have had an incredible education from all of my expert guests, and will use what I learned for the next step.  The second thing was, I lessened my local Chained No More classes.  I will only do one set this Spring so I can focus on other projects.

Here are what the next steps will include:

  • Create a Chained No More DVD series so churches around the world will be able to hold Chained No More classes.
  • Speaking around the country at national conferences and events concerning Chained No More and the issues it was written for. (www.robynbministries.com/chainednomore)
  • Developing Chained No More women’s retreats and couples retreats where individuals and couples will be able to work through some of the issues that have affected them all their lives, be healed. and learn practical tools to move forward, free from the chains of the past.

We would appreciate your prayers, support and encouragement as we step out of the tunnel and run toward the Light of the World.

If your church might be interested in reserving a weekend for a Chained No More Retreat, or have me come speak and sing at your next event, please let me know by emailing me at robyn@robynbministries.com or calling (541) 953-5374.  I am ready to go, in the name of Jesus!

“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.”  Psalm 89:15,16

I encourage you to evaluate if you are stuck in a tunnel and want to find your way out to the Light.  It’s a new year and the time is right!  May God bless you and give you more freedom to be all He meant you to be. Let’s go!!!

Looking Back

Well, it’s over.  We made it!  Another year full of highs and lows, victories and disappointments, plus spiritual and personal growth.  This year, our country has been one of endless and debilitating political battles, causing much more division in America.  We have seen incredible natural disasters destroying endless homes and land.  There are “wars and rumors of wars”.

On the other hand, we have seen people step up and assist those in need with their time, energy and resources. In times of crisis, we seem to either run to God or we turn our back, thinking God has forsaken us when there are troubles.  What did you do this past year?  At the end of 2017, do you think you are closer to God or further away?  Maybe you are exactly where you were on January 2017.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:22, 23

On a personal note, 2017 has been a defining year for Robyn B Ministries.  I have hosted Chained No More Talk Radio for over 2 1/2 years on Toginet Radio.  It was another year of tackling issues that individuals and families struggle with, as I interviewed incredible expert guests week after week.  We talked about the many layers of divorce, grandparents raising grandchildren, being born into witchcraft, abortion, kids and grief, and so much more.

The Lord made it very clear it was time to take a year off from hosting Chained No More Talk Radio and take the next step in ministry, which is developing my national and regional speaking ministry, finishing two books, networking and bringing ministries together, instead of ministering in our own little “silos” around the country.  You see, I believe we, as the body of Christ, are stronger when we work together for His purpose.  I hope to see you on the road as we travel and take Chained No More on the road.

We will also be developing Chained No More retreats and conferences; one for women only and one for married couples.  More on that later in the year!

NOTE:  You can continue to download all of our Chained No More Talk Radio podcasts since 2015 by going to www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.  Just click on “View All Podcasts” and you will see the entire list.  We hope you will be blessed and encouraged by them as you listen.

Looking back on 2017, maybe it would be good for all of us to think back on what we learned and experienced and write a list.  It may be very encouraging or it may propel us to make more progress in 2018.  Look back, think back, and keep on going.  Here we go!

 

Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

Oh, the warm hugs of grandmas and grandpas!  No matter what is happening in a kids’ world, there is great comfort in the loving arms of these people in our lives.  I remember sitting on Grandpa’s lap for hours.  We would laugh, talk, watch black and white t.v., and sometimes he would read me stories. Grandma, with her apron, would hand me a warm cookie out of the oven and let me help her set the table for dinner.  So precious and so familiar.

It wasn’t long before we realized that my siblings and I could get away with a lot more with our grandparents than we could with our parents.  When it came time to go to church, Grandma and Grandpa would put on their “Sunday best”, as act of respect for the Lord and going to “His house.”  I do the same today.  We should always give our best.  Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma!

I followed my grandpa around like a little puppy dog and I loved to spend time with Grandma picking carrots and cucumbers in their garden.  We would get together with our uncles, aunts, and cousins and spend a whole day playing, laughing, eating and so forth.

Today, there are  millions of children who are being raised by their grandparents because their own parents are unable to care for them.  It may be addictions, incarceration, divorce, or death that makes this an option for families.  I HIGHLY respect grandparents who put their retirement and “golden years” aside for the sake of their families!  It must be a highly difficult decision, when they consider their age, health issues, the financial ramifications, and all the details of raising children.  Just the schedule of schools and activities is enough to send you to your rocking chair!

There are many things to consider and there are now some wonderful resources to help grandparents do this well.  How blessed are these children to have a loving family member provide a warm, caring home to live in, even though their family is torn apart.

This Tuesday, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be Connie Wills, part of the Legacy Coalition, and she will be speaking about “Raising Grandchildren Today and Other Stories.”  She and her husband have raised their grandchildren and will talk about the challenges and the joys they have had. She will share about how hectic and chaotic it can be, but will also talk about how it has been, as she says, “the most unselfish thing we have ever done.”  Join us LIVE on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com.  You will also be able to download the podcast later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore. 

Merry Christmas to you, whether you are with family or not.  We wish you a time to reflect on the meaning of this holiday and that your heart is grateful.  If your grandchildren are with you, don’t forget to remind them that over 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born and today, He will never leave them and loves them no matter what!

Unwrapping a Stepfamily Christmas

Well, the Christmas season has arrived and the hustle and bustle has enveloped our homes and communities. I make lists upon lists so I don’t forget anything, because the older I get,  the more I see the value of lists with extra details.  I told our kids that they need to give me a list of all the traditions we have so I can keep them going whenever they are here. Traditions like putting the little Christmas mouse door decoration on the side door, certain kinds of cookies and candies, making coffeecake for breakfast on Christmas morning, getting candy canes for our trip around town to look at Christmas lights, and apple peels, cinnamon and cloves simmering in water on the stove when they walk in the door.  Stuff like that.  Such pressure, but  family pressure with love.

I am grateful for our healthy family and I am especially grateful for my husband and our 44 year old marriage that is sweet and fulfilling.  Believe me, I don’t take it for granted at all! some of my greatest gifts from the Lord.

There are all kinds of families and endless family dynamics in our world today.  There are the traditional families with both parents and kids, single parent families, foster and adoptive families, homeless families wealthy families,  families with gay parents, Christian families and atheist or agnostic families.  There are also singles without families and those who have lost loved ones over the past year.

Each type of family have their own experiences during the holidays.  When families have divorced or separated, there is another layer of complications as everyone may try to please each part of their families by spending equal time during the holiday season.  Kids are taken back and forth between their mom’s house and their dad’s house, but they never feel like they are truly “home” anymore. Stepfamilies have an added layer because now there can be four houses to get to, and “handing off” the kids keeps everyone on alert.  Peace on earth?!  What is THAT?!

On Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio will be author, coach and international speaker, Laura Pretherbridge.  Her topic will be “Seeking a Silent Night…Unwrapping a Stepfamily Christmas”, which is the title of her newest book.  Please join us as she goes over this unique type of family and give valuable tips and practical tools to make this holiday season more joyful.

You can also download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

We, at Robyn B Ministries, wish you a peaceful, yet joyful holiday season and that you take some time to be grateful for the sweet blessings the Lord God has brought to your life this past year.