Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Skull Man

Photo Credit:

Sometimes when we get caught up in a cause we forget to keep first things first. As Christians, regardless of how happy or sad, how busy or non-busy, how involved with other things or not involved with other things we find ourselves, the Great Commission remains the same...Be fishers of men.

I guess Father God was reminding me of that the other day when I got the nudge to 'make a sign.'

I was meeting with a couple of gals from The Adoptee Heart for coffee. A few hours before we met, I texted them asking their opinions on putting a sign at our table..."Ask Us About The Adoptee Heart". They were fine with the idea. My printer was on the fritz so rather than print out a sign, I found an old frame, put white paper inside it, and used a marker to write the message on the glass.

When we got together, I propped the sign-picture up against the window we sat beside. We talked and enjoyed our time and I actually forgot about the sign. Well, there was a man we'd seen at this location before and he was there with a younger girl. Actually, I'd seen him there on several occasions and had watched him from the corner of my eye.

This man wears a large skull around his neck and every knuckle is graced with a large silver-colored skull. His hair is cut. He is clean shaven and portly. He has a computer and he and his friend use the WI-FI at the establishment where we were. They travel by bike...bicycles, actually.

After we'd been there chatting for an hour or maybe more, the man stands and starts packing his backpack. He looks at the sign, catches my eye, and says, "Ask Us About the Adoptee Heart, huh?" Then he chuckled a little as he turned away, still getting his gear together.

We all smiled back at and chuckled with him and when he turned back around I asked..."So, did you want to ask us something about the Adoptee Heart?"

And you know what? He did.

He wanted to talk to us about the girl he had with him...has had with him over four years that he treats like a daughter and very quickly assures us there is "no incest or other stuff like that" going on. I have observed them often and she doesn't shirk away from him or act fearful, nor does she hang all over him...I believe he was telling the truth. He wanted to talk about her past abuse and his. He wanted us to know they are both going to college on line and that's why they go to this particular place every evening...because they 'behave' themselves and are welcomed there. He wanted us to know they are homeless and such experts at camping that they post camping tips on YouTube. He wanted us to know why he wears skulls, scare the bad guys away. The bad guys jumped him some time ago and dislocated his ankle. It wasn't the first time he'd been attacked. He wanted us to know he has a problem with anger and doesn't like to be touched. He has been touched in hurtful ways in both childhood and adulthood.

But every single time I've seen him, he's treated this girl kindly. His conversation to us is filled with the desire for her to have the best of life, unlike his personal life story.

We talked about Jesus, and he told us where he went to church years ago, a place we were all well acquainted with in Virginia Beach. But right now, he wanted us to know, he's mad at God. None of us blinked twice at that 'confession'. Nor were we dissuaded in our conversation. We told him God could take his anger. We talked a little more and he seemed to show some willingness to work things out with God. We talked about understanding abuse. We told him he'd be WELCOME in our church any time, and later we determined to watch for them just in case they accepted the invite. You know, to help with that 'I-feel-like-an-outsider-here' factor.

Now, listen. As much as I love my sisters, they are as ordinary as you and I. (Even though they are extraordinary in my heart.) We were just three women of the 'older' generation having coffee, listening to the whisper of God and putting up a sign to see what might happen.

Once upon a time and not so very long ago, I saw an empty church resurrected to a place greater than it's former self because 3 women got together to pray. So, I believe anything can happen when we gather together single-mindedly and God's in it. Anything.

You know, our new friends didn't ask us for or elude to a need for money once. Not once.

After a while, they left to meet another friend and we ladies just sort of looked at each other a few seconds. Then our wheels started turning and we got excited about what God might have been doing and what we could do in the future, especially for the young lady.

FAST FORWARD...Wednesday evening and our pastor is talking about just this sort of thing...diversity that certainly includes but also goes well beyond the idea of racism. Diversity God's way...inclusive of ALL who walk into our lives and through our church door.

You know, that doesn't mean that we pray for our church to grow, get new people in, make them comfortable as we get to know them a little and then decide we don't like they way they look, think, act, talk or smell after all. No. We make the decision to love every new and different person who enters and we stick to it and we stick to it by showing that love with more than a polite Sunday smile. And don't think for one second that people don't know when we're just being polite.

So, as we were lingering talking to folks after church, and as my hubby and I hadn't eaten, we mentioned we were going to this same place to get a bite. One of the other ladies and her hubby decided to join us and another friend who's wife was busy at another event. So, we all met there and I know you already know who was there. Our new friends! We talked to him a little while outside, then went inside and said hello to her.

You know what he told us then? Again, how he wanted this girl to have a better life and that he was doing the best he could but if there was a better life waiting for her, (and he indicated that he meant among women like us and our church), he was all for it. Then he said if we would want to meet with her on a regular basis there, he'd be all for that, too.


So, if any of you other local ladies involved with The Adoptee Heart want to meet with us as we meet with this girl in the very near future, the opportunity is open. As she seems a little shy and maybe even a little overwhelmed by our attention, I'd really like to get her used to us in the next week or two and then maybe add more to the equation. And if you have friends who you believe God would work through to love this young lady, they'd be welcome, too. Let me know!

I don't know if our new friend will ever want to walk through our church doors. He's badly bruised. But maybe if some of our men would rub shoulders with him a bit and show genuine friendship towards him...maybe he'd become more receptive. He did speak of visiting another church sometimes. And the truth is, I'm not so interested in him having to come to 'my' church. I'm much, much more interested in his having a way to work through some of the things he talked to us about. I do believe men of true Godly integrity are a part of his answer and I happen to know several men like that attend the same church I attend. But I know men in several area churches that would extend heartfelt greeting to him as well. Let God decide all that...our job is merely to fish.

Jesus said He'd make us fishers of men. He's given us the heart. He's given us the opportunity. He's given us plenty of bait, found in His Word and our sincere care...So there's only one thing left...

"You get a line an' I'll get a pole, Honey!
 You get a line an' I'll get a pole, Babe!
 You get a line an' I'll get a pole,
 We'll go down to the fishin' hole,
 Honey, Sugar-Baby, Mine!"

~Cindy <3

Friday, August 19, 2016

Holding the Trigger Finger at Bay

Pet peeves are those little things that get our goat. Things that often don't mean a hill of beans to the next guy but can keep us up at night thinking about it. Truth is, if my peeve is that big, it would be better labeled as a trigger.

Triggers make our guns fire. Sometimes we aim at others, often we aim at ourselves and that translates into something horrific like a night of tossing and turning, overeating, or chewing our nails to the quick. Or worse...drinking until drunk, over-medicating from the medicine cabinet or outright getting high from illegal drugs. Cutting. Fighting. Closing ourselves off. Even sleeping around.

And then there's the not sleeping at all thing. Torture.

Except for the last item, which is a result of an overly wound up nervous system, all of these reactions are an attempt to numb pain so we need to understand the difference between a peeve and a trigger. Peeves aggravate, triggers activate. Sometimes a peeve can turn into a trigger. I think most, if not all the time, we have some say in whether or not that happens.

A few days ago, I was peeved. It could have become a trigger, but because I knew I was close to letting it become a trigger, I countered to keep from over-reacting to the imbecile who isn't adopted, isn't a first-mother and isn't an adoptive mother, talking to me as if she knew what she was talking about when it was clear to me at word five that she was...well, as I said, an imbecile.  

We were speaking of my recent illness, (which she announced before the entire produce section of the grocery store). I ignored her rudeness and figured since we were going public, I'd use the opportunity to get in a plug for the need of adoptees to have access to their history. I told her I had just recently discovered via my birth dad that I have a genetic predisposition for the particular illness I'd suffered. 

Think, whiny voice:
Her: "Oh...thaaaat's riiiiighhht...I forgoooot you are adoooooooooopted." (In the sense she is speaking, I am not adopted; I WAS adopted. See my former post on the importance of this semantic.)
Me: Smiling nicely for all the grocery store people: "Yes, and it's really important that access to records..."
Her: "Well, I can see that access to meeedical history could be necessary..."
Me: "Yes. It IS necessary...for more reasons than medical...Oh, look at the time! Did you see those Cotton Candy grapes they're selling? Gotta go get me some of that! -See ya!"

A quick wave and 25 deep breaths later, I'm fine.
Except for now because I'm hashing it all up again. I guess I better forgiiiiiiiive her. (Really, I promise to...In fact, I'm already there.)

My pseudo friend honestly didn't have a clue and was really only concerned with pulling off the facade of being wise and get her worthless two cents worth in. My counter? To smile, politely nod and quickly end the conversation so I could continue my shopping without losing any more precious energy.

I've been learning a lot about expending emotional energy and gauging whether or not I'm up for it, and more importantly, whether God would have me engage. See, if I left it up to me, myself and I, I'd always be engaging...hotly, most likely. But He gave us these fearfully and wonderfully made bodies that He programmed in such a way as to recognize stress...if we'll listen...and avoid when necessary. 

That day, avoidance was necessary. In fact, I'm finding most days, it's necessary. 

So, yes... a peeve for me is a person spouting off about adoption when they've never experienced anything to do with it. Or maybe they've dabbled on the fringes without actually diving in to see what it's all about. They have all the conventional answers and the conventional answers that peeve me the most are those that come from white-washed walls painting a white-washed picture of the truth and then spreading the tall-tale to others. 

And when these energy-suckers clash with my daily day, I have to choose not to engage in battle. Sometimes, depending on the person, their mood and mine, I'll tell them about Adoptee Heart. Other times, when I know they won't listen because they already know all they want to know, I just smile and go buy the Cotton Candy Grapes for $4.99/lb. Expensive yes, but it held my trigger finger at bay, kept my blood pressure down, and I've rationed the grapes daily, so I still have a few more left for tomorrow. (OMGranny, they are some kind of good!!)

Here's to you, my friends...Keep those triggers tamed! <3

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Adopted I was. Adopted I am.

I have decided to make a conscious effort to speak about my own 'state of adoption' differently. Yes, I will always be an 'adoptee' in one sense or another. Even if I weren't adopted by flesh and blood people, I am adopted by God.

But there is this little difference... Here's the thing...

I can live in a constant state of, "I am adopted" or I can live in a constant state of, "I was adopted".

The words, "I am" implies identity.

My human adoption is not where my identity lies. It is not who I am.

My identity lies in Jesus Christ. He is in me and I am in Him. I am because He is.

And so, my current and future efforts are to speak of my adoption(s) in this way:

In speaking of my human adoption, I will say, "I was adopted." Yes, this is most appropriate, I think, because when we speak of human adoption, it is an act that took place in the past. Yes, it is a legality that expands into the emotions and intellect, but is an act that took place in my past. It is not definitive of who I am and so I need to speak accordingly.

In speaking of my relationship with God, my Father, I will say, "I am adopted!" And this, too, is most appropriate because this is my eternal state of being. This adoption is not a legality, created by man's frail efforts, it is an absolute created by God's love.Man can try to imitate it, man to man, but only God is the author of the true adoption that can only take place between God and man through Jesus.

I was adopted by my adoptive parents.
I am adopted by God.

"I was adopted."
"I am adopted."

If Yoda were humanly adopted, he might say it this way:

"adopted, I was; Adopted, I am."  (Think about those capitals.) ;)

To the average American Bear, this is nothing. A play on words. Possibly even nonsensical. But to those humanly adopted, I believe it's one of those little thing that counts.

So in keeping with my new manner of speaking, let me re-introduce myself according to my human adoption...

Hello, I'm Cindy and I was adopted.

Scholarships for Adoptees and Foster Children

They say, "There's an app for everything." Well, it looks like there may be a scholarship for everything as well. Wish I'd known about this AGES ago!

Yes, it's true. There are scholarships for adoptees. I haven't checked these out yet, but am on my way now...I would love to finish my degree and this just might be the ticket...?

 So, just click this link and explore:   SCHOLARSHIPS FOR ADOPTEES!

I just had to share this, even though I'm just about ready to write a completely different post...

Some things just can't wait.

Blessings and love,

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pretty Pretty Package


Pretty, Pretty Package

Oh, pretty, pretty package
Mysterious to me
I ask today with trembling,
"From whence came ye?"

I know you hold my secrets, 
Perhaps some horrid truths,
At least that's what is whispered
From lips that are less loose.

When asked, my momma tells me, 
And Daddy tells me, too,
"Just leave those secrets in there,
That's what is best for you."

But I'm older now, and wiser
With Jesus at my side
And I'm opening my package...


Your paper oh, so pretty, 
Your bow so lovely, too!
But why are you so tightly sealed
In red tape and Gorilla Glue?

I know you want revealing;
You want your wrappings off!
But there are those who will not talk
While others only scoff.

But wait, I'll find some scissors,
And sharpen them and cut
Through screws and nails and anything
They use to keep you shut.
Because you see, I'm 'special'
And I can do great things
(At least they say things like that 
    When I trade my horns for wings.)

Just watch...I'll claim my package!
Just watch me tear inside!
Just watch me turn from wood to flesh, 
Before their very eyes!

I'll find my real beginning
Beyond the Sea of Lies
I hardly give a flying squirrel
About the questions why.

Oh, pretty, pretty package,
Wait just a moment more
The new day dawns and soon will come
When you're an open door!

The gift that you hold patiently, 
That gift that I know waits for me,
That gift of truth the world will see
Is what I've waited for.
Yes, what I've waited for.


Have You Been Shredded? (Or, Another reason Why I Love Compost)

Of course you have. We all have been left in a heap after someone runs us through the shredder for the sake of their own relief. That's the kind of shredding I'm talking about...and anyone, (not just those involved in the adoption triad), who has ever had to deal with the 'Big R', (Rejection), is doubly susceptible to the the wounds shredding leaves.

How do we put Humpty-Dumpty together again?

Picture this: A pile of shredded wood lies beneath the wood shredder. The shredder, relieved of  it's dreadful deed, now stands still and silent. The pieces of wood beneath try to gather themselves back into what they were before the shredding, but they don't even have the energy to move. They are still alive, but in different form.

All the kings horses and all the kings men can't return this pile into the tree it once was.

As the pieces lie there confused and wounded in thousands of places, they begin to break down. They were created to be able to heal and so they focus their energy towards that, but to the naked eye, no healing can be seen. The pieces panic inwardly, fearing their final death.

But it is not death that awaits.

It's transformation.

This is the kind of transformation that can only come of being shredded. Of breaking down from one form and becoming a new form. I believe this transformation begins best and most truly when we invite Jesus to be our Savior. He's not a king with king's horses...He's THE KING with HIS HORSES, and there's a universe of difference between the two.

A lot of people think when we ask Jesus in, everything just...BOOM!...changes overnight. But anyone who's walked through depression and anger and the host of other negative emotions as a Christian, knows there's some kind of wrong thinking in that thinking. While our spirit does change immediately, our problems, or others that come to take their place, will always be in our world as long as we're a part of this world. And if we choose to leave this world of our own accord, there will be no relief...SO, we are left with this mind-numbing problem... We have to deal with being shredded. (UGH!)

What? Someone else maliciously shredded me and I have to deal with it?
Uh...Yeah. Bummer, right?

But you see, our Maker made us in such a way, that He can work in us even while we're lying in what we think is a 'useless heap', torn into thousands of tiny bits and pieces. And if we just sit still and trust Him, some amazing things will happen organically, because with Him in our lives, we can reform into what He intended from the beginning...way back before He placed this spirit He created that I call 'me' to be in that womb... (Because you see, He knew us BEFORE He put us in the womb. ~Jeremiah 1:5a "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...")

Let's go back to our shredded wood pile...

At first there seems to be no real difference, but give it a few days, then plunge a hand into the middle of it. What do you feel? (If you're a gardener, you already know.) You feel heat. This 'dead' wood is producing living heat. With time, the heat grows in intensity. If the shreds could talk, they'd probably scream out in pain...and yet, they don't move. They stay there, they allow the heat. If they could think, maybe the self-conversation would go something like this: "I have to stay here until the process is done. I have to stay here through this nearly unbearable heat. It won't consume me, even though it feels like it will. If I want to become what I am to become, I have to let the heat do its work in me."

After a while, the heat grows so intense that there IS outward evidence of something taking place within...Ah! There is life, after all! Walk by the pile on a cool day and the evidence permeates the very air around it as visible steam rises from its midst. Yes, the evidence is there...something is happening on the inside. And the ironic thing is that we can pull such hope from that understanding, yet the reason for that visible sign is the breaking down of what's beneath the surface of that pile.

Knowing this, we maybe take a second look. Maybe all that steam isn't so great after all, especially if what it signifies is something becoming less. Isn't that what breaking down does to us...makes us less?

Yes, it does.

So, do we rethink our views on the greatness of the visible steam or do we rethink our views about breaking down? We are at the cusp of something important here. The choice we make in our thinking matters. Immensely.

If we choose to believe that the steam is not evidence of something good; if we choose to believe that breakdown is bad, then that shredded wood is indeed, useless. Might as well burn it, right?

But if we stand on our belief that the steam is evidence of breakdown and breakdown is good because it produces something of value in the end, the whole picture changes, doesn't it?

Did you know that the same thing going on with this shredded wood pile happens with cast out and piled up manure? In time, the heat produced by this 'useless' product turns it into something else...SO MUCH SO, that when the process is completely finished, the manure has a pleasing aroma. (If the smell is bad, the product is not finished, so don't gauge the accuracy of this analogy by the stinky stuff you may have bought in bag from a source that's in a hurry to make money.) The truth is, you can't hurry perfection.

So how long does it take, this process of becoming something useful from something discarded? In nature, we call the process 'composting'. Composting shredded wood takes a minimum of three months, but that's when we're pushing the hurry button. Six months is better, and a year is better, still.

I don't know that as humans, we're ever completely done 'composting'. But with patience, our shreds will be transformed into something useful for the nourishment of others. Of this, I am certain. And when the time is right for this to begin, there will be signs and others will recognize the signs as a confirmation to us of what God's Spirit is speaking to our spirit.

Back to the pile...
What happens in all this heat? Oh, the amazing things that take place!!
Bugs that were in the wood when it was in its former form as a tree, die.
Viruses that plagued the tree, causing it to turn its energies toward the same problem over and over and over again, die.
This 'slow fermentation' intensifies the mineral properties of the wood, bringing out the best of its DNA.

It becomes something it never could have become if it had stayed a tree...if it had never been shredded.

NOW, after going through the heat, it has become a product of great value. People will come in groves and pay good money for just a little bit of it. Why? Because now, it has special properties it didn't have before...

~It protects the precious plants in gardens from...get this...heat. And yes, cold, too.
~It helps keeps water in during dry spells and absorbs excess water during wet spells. (Protects against excess.)
~It imparts nutrients into the soil.
~It builds the soil.
~Eventually, it breaks down so completely that it is what we commonly call, 'dirt'. But everyone who gardens has a different name for this particular type of dirt.... To us, it is so valuable that we call it 'Black Gold'.
~By the time it's life truly is spent, it isn't really spent because it has become a part of the soil it has enhanced, the plants it has enhanced, maybe even another tree that will one day go through the shredder and face the heat.

But that new 'tree-shredded-to-chips' will make it through the heat because it has good DNA.

Just like me. Just like you.

Because no matter what our roots, (and I'm not in any way undermining the importance of knowing our roots), whether we know our roots or not, whether we discover them to be 'good' or 'bad', we all have, at our root of roots, the best DNA known to man...and that's the DNA of our Maker.

As we journey through the sawing-downs of life... some call it 'carrying our cross'...we have to face shredding in one way or another, we have to face heat in one way or become who we are to be. It's a necessary thing, but we don't have to do it alone. In fact, it's in the trying to go it alone that we may make that awful choice to burn our chips rather than have them become 'black gold'.

My last 'shredding' took place in March. It was awful. I cried out to God in a way I haven't in a loooong time. I haven't had to. But someone I love dearly had, out of their own pain, thrown me into their high-powered shredder. I found myself in a thousand pieces on the ground as that person, like the shredder that had done it's job, walked away seemingly unscathed. (I say 'seemingly' because no matter how much we want to believe we can, we cannot bring harm to others without also harming ourselves.)

Funny thing, my pastor had told me just weeks before that I needed to be ready for battle because the enemy (satan) would hate and try to keep "The Adoptee Heart" from 'becoming'. [<My word.] And funnier thing, the attack had come as a direct result of my following Jesus into a place I didn't want to go in regard to my own adoption story. It took every last ounce of courage God gave me and I still nearly balked. Then, as He walked me through obedience, the hail!

But my Savior saves me all the time. He saved me from despair through His Word during that phase of my composting. The heat was so intense, I was tempted to give it all up. The hope and dream of helping others through the rip-tides of this 'adoption thing', the reality of what the truths of adoption mean to me and millions of others, the desire to bring awareness to the world and the Christian world in particular.  I KNOW there's more heat ahead, but He will be faithful to bring me...and you...through to that place where we turn into gold.

I printed and carried the words God gave me that day,( through my open Bible that I did not remember opening to that page), in my purse for over a month. Every time the temptation to fear and lament over the words that had shredded my core rose up, I pulled out those words and read them. Initially, God gave those words in comfort to the Israelite nation in speaking to them of their beloved Jerusalem, but that day, the words and comfort were for me. Today, I feel strongly led to share them with you. I pray as I write this that your heart will see the meaning God saved for your understanding TODAY through His words :

Isaiah 66: 9 and 11-14a

:9 "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the Lord.
"Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.
:11 "For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance."
:12 For this is what the Lord says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.
:13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted..."
:14 "When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants..."


So, how do we put Humpty-Dumpty together again? We don't. We let THE KING re-form Humpty into something maybe, scrambled eggs and cheese...minus the hard outer shell.

May His peace be your peace today!