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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The Pit of (un)Forgiveness -Renee

Last weekend, I (and my husband) made a life altering decision. After months of attempting to work with a family member we decided that this person could no longer live in our home.

It had been coming for probably a year but we both overlooked or ignored certain things….but it all became too much.

I was initially just extremely angry. This person had lied to me for quite some time. And although a part of me always  knew that, I was hoping against all hope that this person would change. Not only did they not change, I also wasn’t apologized to.

Forgiving people who dont ask for forgiveness is a theme in my life. Is it one in yours? 

In blogs about 2 years ago, I wrote about another family member who also hurt me deeply and never apologized or even acknowledged their behavior. I spent 2 years icing them out until I could heal. Our relationship has never fully recovered but I hope some day it will. 

Now with this family member that was removed..this was their second strike. Second time I was used and lied to….to my face. It really annoys me when I present evidence and the person sits there doe-eyed and innocent..when I know they are lying…..the anger that creeps up my neck…its unreal.

In all honesty, the anger has ceased but saddness has creeped in. We are family..doesnt that mean anything any more??? 

But I know im required to forgive…forgiveness is so hard especially when you feel the person doesn’t deserve it…and in my case I feel doesn’t care one way or another. So…annoying LOL

I recently watched a video of a woman who forgave a Nazi doctor that performed several experimental tests on captives. She and her sister were not experimented on by this particular doctor…but still. She forgave someone who did horrible, despicable things. Forgiveness is possible. 

If Joseph can forgive his brothers for wanting to kill him, but selling him into slavery instead…just maybe I can forgive a thief of time, money and energy.

Im working my way through the pit of lies and very human emotions to get there…not there yet… but that’s what Rad7even is. 

A journey to destination of getting it right…

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On the Verge of Something Wonderful~Audrey

It’s the final year of Radical 7even. This year I will look back and see what I have become and make sure I am happy with what I have accomplished. What I see in the mirror will tell me this. For this year, I recycled many goals that have that I failed or only accomplished for a short period. The others are building off my successes of pervious year. I know I am on the verge of something wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what change has actually occurred.

“Here’s to the time we have”
“Lost And Found”, Train

1. Writing/blog

I have let my favorite hobby go. I stopped writing outside of work and some letters. I work on grants but nothing creatively. I haven’t worked on a short story in years and I even completely given up my own entertainment blog. I only post of Radical 7even whenaudrey it’s a work or goal update. My chronic illness blog gets updated like once a month. This is not acceptable, and I cannot let one of my favorite activities to go by the way side. My goal is to write in each blog once a month and track down my fairy short story and finish it.

2. Exercise

Exercise has been on my goals for many, many years. It’s hard for to stick to exercising for two reasons: 1. my illness makes it hard sometimes, and, 2. I don’t really want to do it. Currently, I go for walks with my cats but that’s maybe twice a week. I have videos for Pilates, chair yoga. But I don’t know why I can’t hype myself up to do them. My goal this year is to get into a real routine that benefits me and my health.

3. Be Myself

This last year I challenged myself to open about who I am and my thoughts and goals. I really felt freed and like I was making a difference. This empowered me, and I want to truly embrace who I am and not be afraid to hide it. I want to be fully me and hope that people embrace me instead of hiding what they might not like.

“Till I am a soul on fire”
“Soul On Fire”, Third Day

4. Spiritual

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your entire mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:26-28

IMG_0297I feel like I do a great job of loving my neighbor. My life and political philosophy is love they neighbor. But you know what I missed? The first part. I love Jesus but it’s not my default love. This year, I my goal am to get to that default and start following the most important commandment.

5. Take A Leap Of Faith

I’m not big on getting out of my comfort zone. I have taken leaps of faith before and been richly rewarded. But I don’t do it often enough. I feel like my fear keeps from things and sometimes I don’t care. I want to learn to take the right chances; not just jumping at everything, but making the right choices for my life as a whole.

“Been a prisoner of the past”
“Learn to Let Go”, Kesha

6. Forgive Myself

Part of my depression and anxiety is exacerbated by how I react. I have trouble forgiving myself. I have always said nothing you can say can be worse than what I’ve told myself.
For instance I got a date wrong for a court date in regards to not having car insurance. I IMG_3425spent all day beating myself up. I had to remember I had a very stressful two months as well as several illnesses. That always leads to my brain being messed up. Once I calmed down, I was able to enjoy time with my family and take the appropriate steps to rectify the situation.
This beating myself up has to stop. It doesn’t make the situation better and just makes me suffer more.

7.Spread the Love

I recently heard that a man that I met back in June died. He had spent the majority of his life in Crimea working with orphans. But he was one of the rudest older gentlemen I had ever met. I tried to get past that and see his service as his true heart. After being kicked out of Crimea when the Russians took over, he was sort of wondering the US. He died from Stage 4 cancer and we had no idea. His body was shipped to California to his mom. I was grateful he had family, but people who talked of him said they didn’t know any of his friends. I know personally, that he was divorced and spoke harshly of his ex-wife. The story of his death implied, to me, the same as his post Crimea life, he was very lonely and don’t have any roots. I don’t want to be that way. So my goal is to appreciate my loved one and try to get along. To let them know they are loved. Let them know they have a person to come to. If I do this, I know I will receive the same in return.

 

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New to Third Degree *DaniGee*

Hey Hey!
This has been a week of firsts. I’ve moved to a new city, in a new apartment and started a new job. Renee always encourages us to blog in the moment, when emotions and thoughts are fresh. I decided to write about my first week at my new job and being in a new city.
Week 1 Day 2
I meant to do one for Day 1, but I was tired and Snicker bar hungry. I don’t see myself as a person who’s doing extraordinary things. In all honesty, people have to sit me down most times and remind me that I am indeed a dream chaser. One of my goals for Year 7 was to take more risks. Well, I decided I would start off with a bang. Last weekend, my fiancée and I packed what we could in my and her car and we got keys to our new apartment in Birmingham. I started my new job Monday and she had her final interview (she got hired!) I feel a bit overloaded but I am excited about the new opportunities.
Day 3
Traffic is something that I have to get used to. It can be frustrating. I am still amazed that I am here, that I really, like real deal moved. Everyone at the new job has been very nice and accommodating. I am learning new things everyday and I am happy to know that I get to continue my mission of being a helper and helping women and men empower themselves to become independent.
Day 4
Today has been awesome. I was able to get a tour of my work site. It’s great to be able to be with a program where it is in its first beginning stages, to help with its foundation. They are currently making a way for some new things and I am excited for them to come to fruition.
Day 5
TGIF!!! This has been a great first week. I have been able to have a great week of fundamentals. I am a big advocate that if you give an employee a good foundation to stand upon, it is beneficial in retaining employees. I used today to complete trainings and read through information.

The first week of Many!
Happy Monday!!!
Keep PUSHing,

DaniGee

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Choose God- Renee’

Being a parent, I now understand the references to The Most High being our father. So far I’ve only had very small children so questions of their obedience was few and far between. As my boys grow I realize how much control I dont have. I cant pick their friends, I cant make them pay attention in class….they will have to  want to do those things. I can encourage good behavior and choices and discipline bad ones but ultimately my boys decide if they will do right or do wrong. 

That scares me a little bit. I don’t want my babies getting hurt in any way and if they dont listen the likelihood of that increases

It makes me wonder how much it must hurt Him when we go our own way. He knows the hurt that awaits and desperately tries to sway us. It’s a pain I only understand minutely now. 

As Fall nears I always tend to look back over the year. I’ve seen my missteps and I’m hoping to correct my thought process  soon so I wont have as many missteps.
The only way to do that is to choose TMH truly and completely.  Here I go…

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Year 7even Goals-Renee

It’s been one wild journey trying to seek after The Most High. I’m excited to see what He will do next! I decided to do seven goals which are basically an accumulation of my goals over the years. …so without further ado…. Year 7 Goals:
1. Eliminate debt:

Proverbs 22:26-27   Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take your bed from under you?

I am ready to make employment decisons based on only the Call TMH has  on my life and not just worrying about paying bills. I’ve been blessed to work by following my heart but..that also means I haven’t always had the highest pay. I’ve been really doing some research on minimalism and really trying to simplify some things and maximize experiences. The combination of sheding unneeded things will help free up cash to pay off some debt.

Take more risks:

 Matthew 19:26  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

I tend to be overly cautious and rigid. Having four boys has taught me that anything can and will happen. It’s not the  what it’s the how. How will you handle new situations or stressful situations. I’m ready to do more and stretch my potential.

Travel

This is recycled from last year. I want to take the boys a few places this year but I also want an adult get away. It’s important to explore the world around you. 

Read a book a month 

Again…pretty simple. I think I’d be further ahead in life had i read more. I have to stay focused to get this task completed.

Find a church home: 

Hebrews 10:25King James Version (KJV)

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Since moving to Birmingham I’ve went to church a handful of times. This saddens me because I was once so active. I know tje benefit of setting aside a day just for God and I miss the communion.

Increase social interactions: 

I tend to stay home alot. Which is new. This is a result of being sick for months on with HG. Home gets comfortable but I need to grow and do more. 

Read the Bible all the way through:

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Again I said I’d make this a goal until I complete this task. So here’s hoping this time I complete it!

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