Category Archives: Robyns Blog

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.

Using the Rearview Mirror

What do you think it would be like not to use the rearview mirrors on your car when driving around town?  It would be precarious, at best, wouldn’t it?  We would not be able to see what was coming up behind us, how to parallel park well or even see someone coming to pass us, right?

In our personal “rearview mirror”, if we didn’t look back periodically, we would not be able to see from where we came from, how we had grown over the years, or what we had learned.  Things like a bad choice of behavior, a failed marriage, how we matured or not matured through the decades would show up.

I don’t think it is wrong to look back, but the trouble comes, when we GO back to familiar habits, behaviors and choices, such as addictions, sins, or unbelief in God.

Sometimes, when we have had traumatic childhood experiences, we try to NOT look at our “rearview mirror” and pretend those experiences never happened.  We don’t process through the damage and find healing;  we would rather just deny it even happened, but then can’t figure out why we have the deep personal issues we have year after year and day after day.

Looking back on our past isn’t easy or comfortable.  It can even be devastating and horribly painful, but it is a necessary step to healing as we work the issues out;  issues such as abuse of any kind, abandonment, betrayal, neglect, cruelty, etc.  If we don’t, we can identify and define ourselves by the horrible things we have experienced instead of defining ourselves by who GOD says we are and who HE made us to be.  “Then  you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  Wouldn’t it feel amazing to wake up one day and be free of the chains that have bound you for so long?

One way to find answers and begin to process through it toward freedom is to check into “Chained No More…A Journey of Healing for the Adult Children of Divorce/Childhood Brokenness”. (amazon.com)  It will help you explore and discover what lies in the dark spaces of your heart and help you work through them.  Life-changing!  There is a small group curriculum (participant book and leader guide) and also a self-discovery version for personal study.  Excellent resource.

Also, on Chained No More Talk Radio on Tuesday, my guest is Nanette Kirsch, the author of “Denial”.  Her topic will be “Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse”.  She will share her story, as well as the importance of finding healing from childhood sexual abuse of any kind.  Tune in tomorrow at www.toginet.com at 2-3pm ET 

You may also download the podcast beginning later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Don’t forget to check your “rearview mirror” occasionally as you drive forward into your future.  May you allow God to guide you every step of the way.

Hello and Goodbye

People pass through our lives every day.  Some are a quick hello and goodbye and some stay in our lives for a longer period of time.  We meet people of all different races, religious and political beliefs, those with blonde hair and some brunette and some redheads.

We see the exterior of each person and some we don’t notice at all.  After all, we are busy people and so is everyone else, right?  Occasionally,  someone comes along who is extraordinarily beautiful or handsome and we notice them.  What we may not see is what they are struggling with inside.   They may be reeling from a breakup with their spouse, or the death of a loved one, but the outside says they are just fine.

The same goes for those of us who go to church.  Many of us dress up, put on a happy face and step into the church, but no one would know that we just had a shouting match with our spouse or our kids before getting out of the car.  We say “hello” to the greeter at the door and force a smile and then greet many others on our way to our seat in the sanctuary.

The recent tragedy in a little church in Texas  makes me think of those congregants who hugged each other before sitting down and after worship, a deranged and bitter man walked into the church and ended the lives of over 25 of the members.  It just seems unbelievable that one minute they were saying hello and a few minutes later they were saying goodbye. Please keep praying for these mourning Texans as they walk through enormous grief.

Another tragedy is when someone loses all hope and commits suicide.  According to statistics, there are on average 121 suicides per day in our country.   Males end their lives about 3-4 times more than females.  How is it possible that suicides rates have risen more than 25% in 15 years?!  There is so  much anger, bitterness, and hopelessness in our world today and people just don’t know how to cope or find the answers to what troubles them.  We, as people look for connection, relationships, love and happiness, but somehow, many don’t know where to find them.

Jesus Christ is the only one who can soothe their soul and help them find the answers to what is consuming them.

This Tuesday on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest will be Author Karen Dancey and her topic will be “Suicide:  How A Family Can Go On”. She will share her story of her husband’s suicide and other losses in her life and she will share what she learned about on as a family.  Join us at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com

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

Take a few moments and read Psalm 121 and know that this passage is for you today.  There is always hope in God if you look for it and receive it.

 

 

Pumpkins and Traditions

Halloween will be here next week and the stores are filled with costumes, mounds of bags of candy, and black and orange decorations of every kind;  some scary and some not.  When I go to church, the kids are telling me what they are going to “be” for Halloween.  Our church hosts a huge free Harvest Time event where families can come enjoy an evening of fun, bright lights, fun food, and activities galore to make positive family memories.  Jesus is shared in booths.  It is fun to go see all the families laughing, eating, playing games and enjoying the dunk tank and petting zoo.  Over 1,000 people attend this event every year at our church camp just outside of town. We took our kids when they were growing up and it is still going strong.

Now, on the other side of  the fun event on Halloween, there is a dark side to this “holiday”.  This “celebration” began in darkness that still continues today for many people.  This is the world of witchcraft, Wiccan, high priestesses, warlocks, ritualistic abuse, and every bit of darkness the enemy can lead.   The contrast between Harvest Time and this overwhelming darkness is blinding and heart-wrenching!  I think of the little children running and playing games in cute little costumes vs. what children born into darkness are witnessing on the same night.  “O Lord God, save them!”

On Tuesday, October 24, our guest on Chained No More will be a woman who was born into the home of a High Priestess of several covens in our area.  The horrid things this woman experienced throughout her growing up years is far beyond anything I can imagine  believe me.  She will share her story, being discreet about details of her ritual abuse, and the practices of this dark “religion”.  Halloween is the most horrid day of the year for her because it brings back images and memories that sicken her.  Today, she serves the King of Kings and shares how God has healed her and given her a calling to share her story so others may find healing in Him as well.  Tune in this Tuesday at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com and hear Lynn Huffman, author of “Quiet Waters” share how God has led her from deep darkness to His bright Light.

 

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

 

“For you were once darkness,  but now you are light in the world.  Live as children of Light, for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them…everything exposed by the Light becomes visible, for it is Light that makes everything visible.  That is why it is said, ‘Wake up O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Worry Warts and Nervous Nellies

Its a big world and can be overwhelming for all of us; especially for children.  We, as adults,  can watch a tragedy or crisis and be able to process it most of the time.  The exception for me, was the terrorist attack on 9/11.  I just could not wrap my head around that whole scene!  What in the world?!

Over the past few months, there has  been crisis after crisis in our world and in our country.  It has been incredible how one disaster led into another and another and another.  Hurricanes, tornados, another hurricane and another and another, forest fires, earthquakes, and now the fires in California!  It can be frightening, stressful, and unbelievable to us, but just think what all of this does to our kids when they see hours of reporting and images.  They can’t process like we can, and they can live in a world of chaos without even being there!

Another level of worry is for kids whose families are being shattered through divorce or the death of a parent.  They don’t know what is going on;  they just know that everyone around them is upset, yelling, crying and they don’t know where they fit in anymore.  I ministered to many families over 12 years where kids were reeling over their parents’ decisions to divorce.  I held them while they cried and tried to help them heal and get a better perspective through leading Divorce Care For Kids (dc4k.org) and The Big D…Divorce Thru the Eyes of a Teen” (sunsetpointministries.com).

Parents, try to keep the news off when the kids are around; especially in this political storm.  It is important to teach our kids that God sees all and is control, but the images are what stick in kids’ minds.

Keep them off your divorce battlefield and let them have some level of innocence and happiness, even in the worst of times  When kids are worried or scared, they feel insecure and unsafe.  Their childhood and their personal development is in your hands, so protect them as much as you can without stifling them.

Our guest this Tuesday, is Dr. Michele Bengtson, a neuropsychologist from Texas who will be discussing “Our World Today: Helping Our Kids With Anxiety.”  She will discuss how to know when your kids are worrying or anxious and how to help them.  Tune into Chained No More Talk Radio at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com. 

You can also download the podcast beginning later that day, at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Parents, those precious children are looking to you for their security, example, and to show them how much you love them by how you protect them and guide them to their future.  In these perilous times,  it is scary out there, and they  need you!

 

Super Single Moms

When someone says “single mom”, what is the first thing that pops into your head?  Fatigue? Responsibility? Stress?  Strenth?  Was your mom a single mom?  Are YOU a single mom?  What are three words you would use to describe life as a single mom?

__________________    _____________________     ____________________

I led a large single parent family ministry, called Family Connections for 12 years, and I highly respect single parents for all they have to do and keep in order.  On top of all the responsibilities they have, they are also living their own trauma, heading to court for custody issues of financial issues, stay connected (or not) with their extended family members and work to make sure their kids’ hearts heal and to cope with all of the issues their kids have when their family shattered.

There are many reasons why women become single moms; death of a spouse, divorce, separation, spouse in the military, never been married, grandmother raising a grandchild, foster parent, etc.  The list goes on and on about all the responsibilities they have, keeping schedules straight, helping sick children, taking care of the family pet, keeping a budget, moving from house to house, endless household chores, keeping up with the kids’ school homework and activities, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  The list is endless and exhausting.

If we attend church, maybe it would be a good idea to look out for those single parents who come in frazzled each Sunday; usually late.  How can we help?  I remember single dads bringing their little girls to church with messed up hair because dads didn’t know how to make braids or pony tails.  The single moms would gather and fix the little girls’ hair and the single dads would help with car repairs for the single moms.  Family Connections was a wonderful ministry to help single parents connect, plus encourage and support one another and the kids.  I will never forget it!

Single moms, I know you are always looking for resources for your family and we have a wonderful resource for you on Chained No More Talk Radio tomorrow at 2pm ET at www.toginet.com (LIVE)  You can also download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

Our guest is author Linda McCutcheon and her topic is “You Too Can Be a Single Mom Survival Success.”  This vibrant women was a single mom for 12 years and has lots of useful and unique practical tools to help you have more success raising your kids in a single parent home.  You will love her, so don’t miss it!

Single Moms, you are stronger than you think, and like the Word of God says, “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.”  You’d better believe it, and your kids are counting on you, so stand up, listen to Linda McCutcheon, and keep going!

The Great Church Divide

The picture for this blog is all too familiar to me because my father was a pastor of several churches; a few that broke apart.  Those were horribly difficult times for my parents and for all those involved.  It was discouraging, frightening, hurtful, damaging to the church on many levels, and broke church families apart, much like a divorce.

I remember one time, my father came home from a long and very challenging church board meeting, where grown men and women argued for about two hours about what they should do with the church’s silver tea set!  Our parents didn’t usually share church conflict with us kids (grateful for that), but he was very discouraged that night and we heard all about it.

There were times when the head deacons thought they had the power to tell my father, the pastor, what to talk about, how to talk about it; and to change his beliefs!  Are you kidding me?!  How did they get that power and why did they even think they had the right to do that?!  The crazy thing was, they each had a Scripture to back up their opinions, even though they conflicted with each other, as well as my dad.

One of the biggest conflicts in churches now are about the style of worship music.  We want to bring in the “younger generation” and then seem to bypass the members who have supported and attended the church for decades.  I am a worship leader and it is possible to combine traditional and contemporary songs to bring the WHOLE church family to the Throne in worship.  It takes thought, prayer, preparation and love for the ENTIRE church family to do this well.  The problem comes when younger and more contemporary song leaders are brought in who only know songs from the radio or their own writing and then they alienate half of the congregation.  Resentment says, “The older generation need to just get over it, stop complaining and let us lead worship OUR way.”  Resentment says, “This isn’t worship to me.  The drums and the volume hurt my ears and it’s just too chaotic to worship.”  Many, many churches have split over the very thing that should unite a church!  Oh, how the enemy must grin because he won another battle.

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) live together in unity.  For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”  Psalm 133

Definition of unity:  “The state of being one; oneness.  A whole or totality, as combining all its parts into one.  Oneness of mind, feelings, etc., as among a number of persons; HARMONY OR AGREEMENT.”

Are you in a church family right now that has a divide in it?  Are you part of the problem or do you want to be part of the solution to bringing healing and renewed unity?

On Tuesday, October 3, our guest on Chained No More Talk Radio, our expert guest will be Dr. Rick Marks and his topic will be” When People Get Hurt in the Church.”  He will be discussing spiritual abuse, church division, the stats, reasons and possible solutions to the things the enemy uses to divide churches around our country.  Tune in at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com.  You can download the podcast beginning later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

“You Can’t Make Me!”

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom would ask you to do something and you would refuse to do it?  I don’t know  about you, but it rarely worked for me.  In fact, we would get double the chore if we were stubborn and disobeyed our mom.  It didn’t take us long before we decided just to do it the first time…most of the time.

Maybe you are raising at least one strong-willed child right now or you have memories of when you did.  The debates, arguments, yelling, crying, arms folded across their chest, glaring eyes and sticking out the tongue.  Am I the only one who remembers this?  It was tough, as a stay at home mom, to deal with that all day, every day.

I remember the day my husband came home and saw that I was counting to 3 before they would obey me.  He said, “Robyn, why are you allowing them to disobey and disrespect you two times before they comply?”  I stopped and realized that was exactly what I was doing.  I also found that if I looked them in the eye instead of yelling orders over my shoulder, that they would do much better.

I always wanted to listen to our kids’ opinions and even when they disagreed, but we needed to show them how to do that affectively and with respect.  We knew that someday they would need these skills in their adult life.  They needed to learn how to submit to authority, speak their mind with clarity and respect, and learn to negotiate and not try to control all the time.  Lots of lessons to teach as a parent and we all know it isn’t easy, is it?

So, do you have strong-willed children?  Were you a strong-willed kid yourself?  How did your parents guide you and teach you the lessons you needed to succeed in life?  Did they?

If you bucked authority with your parents, do you see yourself doing the same thing with bosses or even with the Lord?  “I will do it myself.  I know better how to make these decisions and I don’t need Your help, God.”  After another crisis or mistake…”God, why do these things always happen to me?  Where are You?  Don’t You care?!  Help me!” Hmmmm.

This coming Tuesday on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest,  author, speaker, educator, and coach, Cynthia Tobias, will talk on the topic, “Strong-Willed Kids: How to Parent Them to Be the Best they Can Be.”  You can also download the podcast later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

“Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.”  Heb. 4:7

Are you a strong-willed, stubborn child of God, or are you one who submits to the One who loves you the most and will show you the best way in His plan? Do you need to make a change?

Riding the Waves of a Hurricane

We have all seen the days and days of pictures, videos, and newscasts about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  Our hearts break as we watch the devastation;  children terrified, families losing their belongings and some even losing their lives in these horrendous storms.  It just seems unbelievable as we see the trees toppled, homes and vehicles covered with dirty water, and streets turned into rushing rivers.

I have been impressed with the preparation, warnings and instructions that come from governors and mayors as well as first responders.  “Get  out of your house and get to a shelter. This is going to be the biggest one we have ever had!  Don’t wait until the last minute.  We can’t save you once the storm hits.”  Oh, I remember those urgent warnings.

Thousands upon thousands heeded those warnings, but then there are those who said on camera, “Oh, I have made it through three other hurricanes and I ain’t goin’ nowhere this time either.  We will just hunker down and ride it out.” That is their choice, of course.

For me, if there was a strong suggestion to evacuate, I would be outta there!  Believe me!   Especially if I had kids.  Our kids trust us, as moms and dads, to protect them and keep them out of harm’s way.  They also look to us for an example of wisdom, discernment, and heeding official warnings.  Choices. Choices.  Choices.

I remember when Hurricane Harvey went through Texas, how devastating it was, but when the wind and rain stopped, there were thousands upon thousands of people ready to help evacuate, rescue and bring aid to those caught in the storm.  There were trucks, military vehicles, boats, rafts, canoes and people ready to carry people and their necessary belongings and pets out of harm’s way.  Churches, stadiums, and schools opened their doors to those who were misplaced, afraid, distraught and traumatized.  Charities “flooded” the area with supplies of food, water, bedding, clothing, etc.  Millions of us contributed to these charities to do our part from afar.

I always pray for the clergy involved whenever there is a catastrophe, that the Lord will guide them and give them the emotional and physical strength they will need to minister.  Wow!  What an experience that would be, huh?

Now, THIS is what America is about;  neighbor helping neighbor, all races helping all races, lifting up the elderly, children, the sick and the lame.  People opening their homes to whoever might need shelter.  People, with a heart for animals, helping them get to safe ground and be fed and watered.  My heart swells when I think of all of this because THIS is the America I pledge allegiance to, stand up for, and rise in pride for.  “God bless America; my home sweet home.”

May we all look at the last couple of weeks and think of ways we can keep moving together as an American people, despite our differences.  Let our love and compassion for others overshadow hatred and bitterness in tangible ways.  May we reject and not engage in toxic words and actions that seek  to divide and destroy. May we follow God’s Word in Eph. 5:1,2  “Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We answer to God first for our actions and words, before we answer to our country or political party.  We need to breathe and start over, America.  Today.

This Tuesday, September 12, our guest on Chained No More will be author, speaker, humorist, and coach, Kathy Carlton Willis.  She lives in Beaumont, Texas, the worst hit area during Hurricane Harvey.  She and her husband are still digging out from that storm and will share their experiences and also her inspiring perspective.  You can hear her interview at 2-3pm ET at www.toginet.com.  You can also download the podcast anytime later at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.

For those of you who “rode the waves” of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma or had loved ones who did,  may God bring peace back to you as you rebuild and comfort those around you.  We have been praying for you and will continue as you move forward. 

“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are brokenhearted.” Ps. 34

 

 

What’s a Parent to Do?

Parents and kids arguing

Parenting can be one of the biggest blessing in life and something many of us have thought about and hoped for most of our life.  Some moments can be so precious that we weep with joy.  Sometimes parenting can be highly frustrating and you wonder why you  ever decided to have kids!  Come on, Mom and Dad.  You know what I am talking about, right?

Most of us have thought about having our own families someday; cuddling that infant in our arms, teaching them endless things, taking them to Disneyland, watching them graduate from high school and then going to college. Nice dreams, but did they come to reality for you?

You might have a home that is pleasant, where everyone shows respect and demonstrates love in a healthy way, OR you may be struggling with kids who are argumentative, maybe they are struggling with an illness, sibling rivalry, or refusal to do those never-ending chores.  The atmosphere in your home may be tense,  filled with loud voices and slamming doors.  Your older kids may be hanging out with “the wrong crowd”, or just ignoring you and staying in their cluttered  room.  What happened to that dream of a happy family?  What are you supposed to do to turn things around or is it even possible at this stage?

If there has been a divorce in the family, the tension runs higher and the children act out the devastation they feel inside.  More slamming of doors and more isolation.  Everything seems to be a debate and nothing seems to get resolved.   “How can things begin to heal and change in our family?!”, you ask.

This Tuesday, on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest is author, speaker, actress and mom, Wendy Speake.  Her topic will be “Triggers: When Kids Do Wrong, We Can Still Do Right.”  Wendy will talk about the patterns that can affect the atmosphere in the home, how kids use manipulation to get what they want,  and how to change patterns, so your home is healthier and can thrive.  Tune in Tuesday at 2-3pm at www.toginet.com to learn just what parents can do. 

Parents, look at the following Scriptures with Mom/Dad eyes to see where our family stands at this moment and where you might focus to make it the home God would want it to be.  Nobody is perfect, but we can sure strive to teach our children how to live well.

“The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal. 5:22

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”  I Cor. 13:4-8

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

Parents, another school year has begun.  Now may be a good time to assess your family, using these Scriptures,  and see where you can all work on to make it healthier, happier and a place you all love to be! Maybe take one of the concepts at a time for a week/month and all work on that one thing and then move onto the next concepts.  Kids could make pictures of each concept to bring it to life and get involved.  Be creative and make it fun and see what happens!  After all, you’re the parent, right?  Blessings on your family.