Kirill~Audrey

This is the first of a set of three stories about specific children that touched my heart during my mission trip.

 

On our first full day at the orphanage, I sat down at the craft table with the children. I sat next to a cute little boy who was so excited to show me his art work. They were using IMG_9499punch outs to create a cute little basket of flowers. As he glued his flowers to his sheet, he would peak at me and see if I was watching. Then he proudly displayed to me his finished art. I was lovely and I told him so.

I didn’t think much of the exchange. I went about the rest of my day. I went out side with
the kids and enjoyed being with them. He and several other children wanted to hold my hand as we walked to a nearby playground. Once again, I didn’t think much of it; there were new people and all the kids want to be around them. We were a novelty, and I didn’t think much about interacting with certain children or forming a particular bond (except one kid; but that’s another story). But that day meant a lot to Kirill.

That afternoon, after nap time, when I walked into the room, he came flying into my arms. This happened every time I came in. He would sit with me often and join groups I was playing in. I was so surprised by him. I hadn’t done anything special: I hadn’t made an inside joke with him and I hadn’t gone out of my way to do anything special for him.

But I think that is the point. Children just want someone in their life who is attentive and will give love. I didn’t do anything other than be part of his life and give him positive encouragement. This something the orphans don’t get. And they aren’t the only ones. This small story is just a big reminder that everything we do affects those around us. We have to remember to be good to one another; one small gesture can change someone’s life or change their perspective.

In the case of Kirill, he just needed someone to sit beside him and encourage him. I am so blessed to be have been one of the team members on this mission trip and to be able to do this for him.  Not only did he need it, but I did too.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

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Shelf-Shaming~Guest Blogger

I have suffered from trauma related to being let go from a job I had for a long time. As I come up on the one year anniversary, bad dreams, anxiety and negative feelings have plaque me. I have been angry at the way I was treated and beat up myself because I took their abuse. I couldn’t kick my distress with the situation until I am could admit: their behavior was horrible but it was my self-abuse that was the problem.

I loved my last job. I wasn’t big on some of my responsibilities or the way management treated the employees but I loved changing lives every day. It made me happy. I was happy with that but I was ridden with anxiety and depression because of the way the organization was being run.

I did see my fall coming. I won’t go into detail. It causes me anxiety but I never thought of leaving first. I could have but I decided that they would have to let me go and reap any consequences that would happen because of it. This was my control and, logically, the best for my departure. I was able to stand on my own feet and branch out. It was probably one of the best things to happen to me. I love my current job and my coworkers. I have less anxiety and depression. I am a different person, and I am happy. I still make a difference and change the world for the better.

So why am I still upset? They did what they did and they deserve whatever comes from their actions but I am no longer angry at them. Instead, I found that I am mad at myself! I am blaming myself for letting the abuse occur! I am doing what I did when I broke up with the boyfriend that always lied to me: I thought I was the problem!

You ladies know what I mean. We blame ourselves for believing their lies or putting up with their inappropriate behavior. We tell ourselves we should have known better. But here’s the thing: we can’t do that. We made our choices based on feeling and what perceived truth we had. I loved him and wanted to believe him so I did for the longest time. I loved my job and what I could do for others so I decided that passion was more important than their behavior. I keep saying I shouldn’t have let myself be treated like that.

While that has some truth to it, we cannot be blamed for their behavior. Quite often these traits are core to their personalities. I wasn’t the first girl he had lies to, and I sure wasn’t the first worker they mistreated. There was nothing about me that was the ultimate problem because even if I had been perfect, it would not have changed the way I was treated. Their actions are their fault. Maybe I should have quit a long time ago but everything has led up to my current situation. My current situation is happy and joyful.

So I have to wash off my self-shame and say thank you for getting to move on with my life. I wish no one any ill will, but I am not going to let them have hold on me anymore.

 

Peace, Love & Prayers

Hollywould

Holly Weitz changed jobs in 2015 and is living happily in a rural community. She loves animals and spends her time enjoying a variety of water sports

 

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Mission Trip: A Retrospective ~Audrey

I really expected that when I stepped off the plan in Kiev, I would feel like a stranger in a strange land, that my I would feel like a totally different person.

I am, of course, referring to my trip to Ukraine earlier this month as a missionary working

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The view out my plan window on the way to Amsterdam. with young children in an orphanage.

I had envisioned being overwhelmed and scared in a place where I didn’t know the customs or the language. I wasn’t too concerned with these feeling as I prepped; I had to worry about my health more and reserved any nervousness for the airport for my first international flight. I had visions of security hell and bureaucratic red tape (every story ever told me magnified by ten). While there was an issue in Atlanta, that was cleared up after ten minutes, and I never had another spot of trouble even when I flew home all by myself 9 days later.

Many will give a variety of reasons: I was at least familiar with the sounds of the language, I was with a group of people I knew and trusted, the landscape was somewhat similar to what I was used to. But I stand by this: I felt at home because I was where God was calling me to be. The first day was tough health wise, but I quickly learned from my own mistakes and made it through the week (I did suffer when I got home; my body was ready to shut down for a day to catch up lol).I was in Ukraine for a purpose, to reach out to his children who had been left frightened and alone. Because I stepped out in faith, he kept me safe and eased my path. In fact, I am still reaping benefits and rewards from him for stepping out in faith.

Getting on this trip was pure faith. I had to raise funds and didn’t quite reach my goal. My job graciously made it so I could go, and I will continue to pay them back with money and hard work. Getting my passport proved challenging but then it came back quickly and with no issues (two weeks!!). Everything started rough but easily smoothed out.

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In Ukraine with old friends and New

I will admit that while I was there was some struggle. I felt like I wasn’t spending enough time with the children and that I wasn’t being helpful enough. I was frustrated with my illness and how it limited me. But about half way through, I understood: God has sent me on the easy trip because he knew I needed it. He made sure I was on the trip that was the least taxing to my body. I had heard stories about lack of sleep and comfortable beds and even bathrooms. So I stopped complaining in my journal and in my head.

When I came back everyone wanted to know what my favorite part was. This is the most difficult question: I didn’t know. I loved the food, the orphanage, the city, the people, the kids, the culture. But in the end it was the passion for my work that was my favorite part. God used the trip to solidify the thoughts I have always had about my talents and he rekindled my passion for children. The normalness and the use of my gifts was the best part. It was like home away from home and I loved it.

Stay tuned for my next entries cataloging events within my trip and stories about the children.

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billingsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

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But Until My Moment Comes~Audrey

“Hope that you spend your days,

but they all add up
And when that sun goes down,

hope you raise your cup
Oh, I wish that I could witness

all your joy and all your pain”

 “I Lived,” OneRepublic

 

This year is the year of doing. Hears a mid-year(ish) check in!

Leaving for Ukraine Tomorrow!!

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Received payment for writing grants so that’s half way done!

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See a show-Not yet

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Walk a mile throughout the entire day! Now to see if I can make it one mile at a time!

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Reading the New Testament is right on schedule

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Speak conversational Russian-uh, er, I know some vocabulary words! lol

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Have four more of ten pounds to loose

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Fight or Flight or Freeze ***DaniGee***

fight or flight

I am always surprised by God’s grace and mercy. I  shouldn’t be but I always am. For the past 10 years, I have been wrestling with something that has literally have me between the flight or freeze  position. Either I would run from the feelings that I was having or I would freeze and deny that I was going through it.  But as always God has a way of bringing things to surface.

I was afraid. I was terrified that I would lose my friends, that  they would disown me. However, as always, my friends are awesome. They showered me with love and understanding. They have empowered me and showed me that they are truly in my corner.

Now, I am in fight mode. Fighting for my truth. Fighting for what I feel is right. Life is too short to fear life. Have fun. laugh. Surround yourself with beautiful spirits.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

 

Still Pushing,

DaniGee

 

 

 

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Lies I Tell Myself…Lie #2 “I’m Just a Baby Momma”-Renee`

baby momma

October 2009 was a life changing month for me. It was during this time that I found out that I was going to be a mother. I have talked extensively about my first born son, but I haven’t talked much about the insecurities that popped up as soon as that test read “pregnant”.

The day before, my son’s father and I got into a huge argument. Like one that makes you never,ever want to talk to that person again. I was over it and ready to move on..but first a “friend” suggested I take a pregnancy test. Randomly on my lunch break I drove to her house and took the test. I remember getting up to wash my hands and looking over and seeing that test turn from hourglass to the words pregnant in less than 30 seconds.

See not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant by a man who (at the time) already had four other children by three other women. So…I was the woman that other women would probably say was “dumb”, because you “knew what kind of man he was before”. He has a pretty bad track record already…and what made it worse were the twins born before our son were about nine months old when I found out I was pregnant.  So..single,pregnant lady.  The shame of that ordeal haunted me for awhile and (as I’ve stated before) I contemplated having an abortion. I didn’t think I could raise a life on my own. I felt unqualified because I mean hey…I didn’t exactly pick a 5 star situation to bring this person into.

So the battle with some of the most negative issues began. Shame, rejection and guilt were at the top of the list. Shame was really the issue not so much that I was pregnant, but what would others think. As I’ve stated before I was vocal about being a virgin just the year before…and it’s one of those things you don’t kinda announce when you no longer are…so the pregnancy would come as a shock. PLUS no one knew the dad. I never brought him up around my parents and rarely if ever around my friends because I already KNEW what they would say..so..

Rejection was an issue. I mean yes, I knew the dad and I had issues, but….now we are having a kid.  Should I try to make this work..will he even allow this? Is this best for our son. I mean it was tough to be pregnant by someone who… you knew didn’t really like you any more and who you weren’t sure if you liked or felt connected because you were carrying his kid.

It soon became very apparent which route I should take and even before our son was born I stopped even making up an imaginary image of a “family” in my head. Which lead to another battle with…..

Guilt. Would my son understand why I wasn’t with his father. Would he be mad at me for not trying? Does it make me a bad mom to not try?

It was a mix bag of emotions for probably three years and still some not so great times for two years. I wanted to protect my son from disappointments, from hurts, from emotional bruises…but the truth is I can’t. And honestly that shouldn’t be my focus. Yes, be cautious and do my part, but the most important thing I can do for him is prepare him. Life is unfair. Sometimes bad things do happen to good people. It’s how we deal with those issues that make us who we are. Going through what I went through (and honestly still go through) with his dad made me stronger. it made me value my current relationship with my husband that I probably couldn’t do without this experience.

So yes, I had a baby while I wasn’t married. But I am not “just” a baby momma and what does that even mean? Raising a kid is hard. I did it solo for a year and a half and was like this totally could use another person. I salute those moms (and dads) that are doing it on their own..Shame or embarrassment should never be a part of that equation.. heck there’s too much to worry about as it is.

Overcoming (and still working on) this issue is a lie that I constantly battle with. Their are a lot of judgments that fall on a mom whose not married and can I say this. Many times if a man is even slightly involved with his kids he is treated like a super hero. I always found the double standard so odd. Anyway that’s a subject for another time. Don’t let another’s opinion of you or your situation shake the value of what you are worth. Love on your baby(ies), stay prayed up and focused. I really hate the term baby momma, because it seems to denote that person to a single line of life. Plus the images that arise from that image….but we must pick and choose our battles.

I’m a woman of value…and…sometimes I lie and think that I’m not

Renee`

 

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What if? ***DaniGee***

testimony

Testimony- evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.

So today’s Sunday School lesson was discussing the faith and belief to help yourselves and others. The passage was on Mark 9:14-29. It discussed the story about a father who had come to the disciples and Jesus for his son to be healed from a demon. The passage that stood out the most to me in this lesson was Mark 9 Verse 23 “If you can? said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” (NIV) That statement just brought so many different ideas in my mind.

  1. How simple life would be if we truly believed God and the journey he has for our lives? For me, I worry incessantly. I worry that I am doing too much, that I am not doing enough. What if I just decided to stop worrying and gave my life truly to God? Let him truly fight my battles. How grand my life would be? I try too hard to be the author of my own life instead of giving the Pen to God.
  2. The father in this story searched for God and his disciples. He was desperate. He had a goal and he worked to see his goal come to fruition. Are we working for our goals? Daily. I can honestly say that some days are better than ever but I made a commitment today to be more consistent. A popular saying in sobriety is, “One Day At a Time.”
  3. What if our testimony isn’t only for ourselves? God is merciful. He gives us new chances daily. I am a big proponent of sharing my struggles and successes for the sake that it may bring inspiration to others or help them in some sort of positive way.I also believe that we as humans are connected to each other (even if we don’t always like it). I go through things with the idea that God is working on me to help strengthen my relationship with him but what if I go through things so others might see the goodness of his love. I think as Christians it is our duty to share our testimonies with others. Sometimes our testimony isn’t only for us but the person who may feel like giving up.

 

Cheers to a new week.

 

Still Pushing,

DaniGee

 

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