Seeing My Work Come Back to Me~Audrey

Each time child come to Bridgestone, something magical always happens. This time it was the night of the Ukrainian dinner. Each Saturday before the children leave, we host an authentic Ukrainian Dinner with borscht and pelmeni. We invite everyone to join especially post-orphans and their families.IMG_6564
At the dinner I got to spend time with a special post orphan named Vadym. He had come to Bridges of Faith two Decembers. You may remember that I wrote about him because he and God made him a special place in my heart. He was adopted by a wonder family and I keep up with his goings on Facebook.
The day of the dinner they came early to help with other activities. I was so excited to see him. He was also very excited to show me a new way to read comic books for free. We sat down and he walked me through on my phone on how to read them. It was pretty awesome and I love that we had bounded over being nerds.
We had dinner and I sat with the current children and a friend that I knew. I was trying to make sure that I didn’t hog Vadym all night. Plus, I enjoy seeing the kids eat their native foods. They always enjoy the night and get all dressed up.
After dinner, we headed to the chapel for a little service so we could pray for the children plus we got to hear from them their favorite part of the trip. This is always a special moment. I did sit with Vadym and his family and it was interesting to be on the other side with him. He knew how these children felt; he had bene there and done that. When it was time for me to leave, he begged, very quietly, for me not to leave (or so his mom says). So I stayed a little longer just to spend time with him. It was an honor to spend time with this child who we brought over and helped find a forever family.
The point of this story is to show that my work has meaning. This boy’s life was changed forever because of this program and my work with it. These children don’t disappear from our lives. I see a majority of them quite IMG_3290often. In fact, God brings them into my life and changes both of us. He doesn’t just make this a quick relationship; many I get to be in their loves for so much more than just thirty days.
Children like Vadym are why I do what I do. I watch him grow in a local school and see him loved by parents who would (and have) done anything for him.

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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Better Late Than Never -DaniGee

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I’m not sure if anyone noticed in the last  post, I mentioned moving to a new city with my fiancée. That was my first mention of ever having a relationship on Radical 7even and that’s because I was in a secret relationship for the past 8 years.

This is my coming out story…

National Coming out Day 2017 was October 11. I am late, as usual but I felt it was time to share and be open. Even as I am typing this, it is very hard to put into words. For the longest time, we denied the relationship, even hope the feelings would revert back and we could chalk it up to experimentation.

But it didn’t.

During my junior/senior year of College, I began falling in love with my best friend, who happened to be a girl. We’ve had this conversation before and we can never pinpoint the moment where we knew we liked each other. It was simple stuff like having lunch together at the café, started from one day a week to every day. She would walk me home from work. I would keep her company on her Sabbath. It just became a time where my day began and ended with her. I felt it was strange but it also felt very natural to be her.

Then, the first kissed happen. It seemed like time had stopped. Up until that point, I could chalk up my feelings to just my overactive imagination. The kiss made it real. Where do we go from here? It began as nice and fun, but she never wanted to be open and refused to even call it a relationship. That saddened me, but honestly, did I want to be in the open? Quite honestly, you open yourself to criticism and to actual physical pain.  I grew up in a world, the same world most of you grew up in, the world that said and still says same sex relationships are wrong and Hell will be your final destination.

I honestly never thought we would ever be known to the light of day. I had convinced myself that the feeling would one day stave itself off but it didn’t, it only intensified. One day, we were going through things and I felt like I was slowly drowning. I reach out to my best friend and asked her if I could tell her something. She said as long as you haven’t hurt my husband or my kids, there is nothing that you could tell me that would make me love you any less. A burden was lifted. Her words were a spark. I no longer had to stay in the darkness. It allowed me to share with my other close friends and family.

I wanted to let others know, falling in love with a girl and marrying her, makes me no less of a Christian. I love God and Jesus, with my whole heart. Everyday, I sin and fall short but HIS grace saves me for another day. I have been blessed to have wonderful people in my life, who have prayed, laughed, and cried with me.

I married my fiancée on October 21st.

 

 

Until Next Time

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Social Butterfly -Renee

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I’m often amazed by the wide range of personalities that I am raising. With my three biological boys I knew parts of their personalities before they were born. As sick as I was with Darren, I remember his gender ultrasound and how I literally just came from the restroom getting sick as a dog and when he popped on the screen his hands were behind his head…chilling. Nothing seemed to shake him; same thing after our terrifying birthing experience. He latched immediately for nursing and once in my room the next day…smiled at me!
Daniel my first born…he’s emotional and dramatic. I remember leaving him in his bassinet at around 1 month old to take a 10 minute shower. When I got back he was howling like a coyote and had even busted a blood vessel in his eye…in 10 mins. I remember thinking…what did I get myself into. 7 years later…he still has knee jerk reactions that we are working on but he  is also a sweetheart. Thats the thing about him feeling things deeply both positive and negative.
Now Lennon, my rainbow baby (a baby born after a loss) he is…Lennon. it’s hard to describe my old soul child. He can make basketball shots on a 10 ft goal, can sing his alphabet and count to 20 (skipping 4 and 17) …but one thing Lennon is not is social.
Huge social scenes stress my little guy out and up until recently he’s avoided many of those scenes. But today…today Lennon started school.
We sang songs, we hyped school up… yet he howled and sobbed  when we dropped  him off. Adjusting is hard and I see so much of myself in him. The apprehension to speak up, the timidity when it’s time to step up.
I used to be so sure of myself and somehow that’s gotten lost. It’s time to become my little social butterfly self and teach my kids as well.

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Free-Trial Marriage- Renee’

The picture above was taken 24 hours after Darren was born. As you may know it was very  trying. I was blessed to not go through that alone.

When many people envision marriage the first thing that usually comes to mind is the actual wedding. Weddings are the celebration of two people joining together…a marriage is the verb of said commitment. 

What? You didn’t know marriage was a verb? Oooooooh yes it is the very definition of what a verb is. A marriage is a living breathing entity of two people who choose each other and for many bring forth life because of said union. 

Marriage is also a combination of you and your thoughts and ideas as well as what you’ve been exposed to and downloaded both subconsciously and consciously.

Mant times we don’t even realize our expectations are unreasonable until our partner is like…um that’s just not me.

There’s no 30day risk free trial in marriage. You say “I Do” and…you’ure.

In my almost 5 years of marriage Ive been blessed to grow as a woman. Growth comes with a very steep price  Ive been humbled more times than I can count. If you read some of my previous blogs you know I am in recovery for yelling. I’m sure it’s not a real thing but for me it should be  working on extending grace can be hard. Especially when you’re tired…I am not one of those people who functions well when tired. I’m irrated quickly when I’m  tired. 

But I’ve been working on not using that (being sick, tired, overwhelmed) etc. Instead I try and center myself for a few minutes. I find myself a quiet spot and just focus myself. My yelling has gone down quite a bit. Not perfect but it’s definitely decreased. 

Trials will come. That’s just life, but how you choose to deal with them…

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FML-Renee’

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I hope to highlight a goal or two a month until the end of the year.
This week I am focusing on debt. Last year, my hubby and I had a major hiccup. My car (that I just paid off) left me stranded on the side of the road…right after I quit my second part-time job. Yes, you read that correctly. I literally quit my job so I could spend more time with my family and ….boom. The great thing was I had been working on my credit over the past few years and I got a loan for pretty decent interest.  #Winning
Then my husband’s vehicle started having transmission issues. I would write fml meaning expletives and such but faith might leap is how I use that term now.
Meaning when you are faced with a situation that seems tough…that’s beyond just an inconvenience and you’re not sure what else could possibly go wrong. Think of it as a faith expanding exercise. Faith might leap…if you overcome…your faith will grow. If you can stay the course…Faith Might Leap
My husband and I made two vehicle purchases because we needed to do so. What we didn’t need was on the bells and whistles that came with them…or that car note. We made the decision to buy a cash car and get rid of a payment that honestly strangled our finances. It was and right now still is a sacrifice for our family but… we:
1. Prayed about it
2. Counted the overall cost
3. Agreed as a couple to this new undertaking
Sometimes too good to be true..is really not the best decision. I’m glad we got rid of one car note and are working to shed ourselves of another one. We seek peace above chaos and..this is one example I’m proud of.

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Hope~Audrey

Over the weekend, Hurrian Nate hit the Gulf Coast. Ahead of that, thunder storms roared into Central Alabama. At about 8 p.m., my phone alerted me to a tornado warming. When I looked into it further, I learned that there was rotation in my area. I sat by the table watching a movie on my lap top in case I needed to duck under it with my cats. By 8:30 all was clear and I was back in my bed. I thanked God for safety and didn’t think much more about it.
The next t day, I saw that there was so much more than my little house out there. The nonprofit I live and work at was building a brand new gymatorium. The tornadic winds lifted the pots out of the ground and then plopped it back down, leaving the supports shattered and a tree through the roof.
But the building was so much more than a gymatorium; it is also a memorial. Sasha came to Bridges of Faith as part of the August 2016 group of orphans. He arrived as a fifteen-year-old, shy young man. As time progressed, Sasha emerged from his shell. Several families expressed interest in adopting Sasha, but nothing ever worked out. Four months later, while visiting his biological mother, Sasha was killed when alcohol and anger made a deadly combination. Sasha is why Bridges of Faith exists–to help the 100,000 orphans in Ukraine whose life consists of violence, crime and sexual trafficking. By giving them a chance to net worked with families and experience a new culture, BOF gives hope to these poor souls. The gymatorium will stand as a reembrace of Sasha and an icon of the work the organization does.
I was devastated. I couldn’t save the boy and now his building was in shambles. I thought it was a horrible omen; I thought all was lost. I felt the same guilt that I first felt when Sasha was killed.
But there is so much hope. This is a building. We can and will rebuild. Sasha’s memory will live on. We can’t give up. We don’t stop brining children because we lost one and we won’t stop with the building.
Thanks to volunteers from the area (especially those in Birmingham), we have already begun cleaning up. In fact, cleanup is going faster than we could ever imagine. The response of hope and love has overwhelmed us.
I am no longer devastated. I am centered and focused. I won’t back down.

 

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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Baptism~Audrey

As I think back on my two years at Bridges of Faith, I often think of specific children and how they changed my heart. The second group of orphans I worked with was special; it was mostly teenagers and God showed me that, despite my misgivings, I can work with teenagers. But I wasn’t the only one changed that month. In July I was honored to be part of a milestone in on of these orphans life; I saw one of the girls become baptized
This is what I said about her two years ago:
“The second teen’s effect on me was more subtle. She did have a drama streak, but she wanted so much to connect with people, to be included and loved. She would help me up and down stars. If she missed helping me, she would be sad and apologize. She loved freely and laughed often. She wasn’t afraid of tears. She totally changed my mind that all teens were all self-centered. She realized to be loved, she had to give love.”
Since then, she has been adopted and is living a very American life in Tennessee. She speaks English very well and has even been back to volunteer with the orphans. In July, Lena was baptized by BOF founder Rev. Tom Benz in our pool at Bridgestone.
I talked to her before her baptism and she confided in me that she was nervous. When I inquired why she told me she was scared that she would break her promise and she would sin. I told her baptism was a promise that we believe that Jesus was our Savior. Jesus knows we will sin. It is our job to try not to and when we fail ask forgiveness. She would not fail her savior just because she would sin at some point.
I was one of just a few people there to watch her make her commitment to Jesus. It brought tears to my eyes. I had seen her mature and grow into a Christian and I thanked God for allowing me to be able to be a part of this.

 

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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