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Love

Accountability… Who Needs It?

My heart hurts, I have a knot in my throat, and I want to cry.

 

I’ve just learned that a dear friend–one I haven’t talked to in a long time–is now leading a self-destructive lifestyle.

 

My heart hurts for her. I never would have imagined this. I saw a picture of her today and she looked…totally different from what I remember.

 

 

I know she is responsible–as are each of us–for our actions, but I’ve got to wonder… Where where her friends–myself included, her family, her pastor? Did anyone talk to her about the road she was headed? Did anyone even bother to ask her what was wrong? Even more, did she seek out help? Did she feel safe enough to say she was hurting? Did she…?

 

Dear one, I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. But it certainly reminds me of experiences in my life when I was hurting. Divorce. Depression. Trauma. Illness. Did anyone approach me and ask what was wrong? Did anyone say, “I’ve noticed you are having a difficult time. Do you want to talk about it?” Did my pastors counsel and encourage me? Even more, did I seek out help? Did I feel safe enough to say I was hurting? Did I take down my mask of seeming perfection and share my struggles with trusted friends? Did I…?

 

Some of these answers might be, “Yes.” Others might be, “No.” And yet others might be, “Kinda.”

 

Regardless, silence prolongs pain–mine, my friend’s and yours.

 

“When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (Psalm 32:3).

 

 

I know it can be awkward to approach someone about their personal struggles, but wouldn’t we want the same?

 

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path” (Galatians 6:1).

 

 

Dear ones, we are not meant to fight our battles alone.

 

“A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble” (Proverbs 17:17).

 

“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

 

 

If you are hurting, reach out to someone–a friend, family member, coworker, pastor, or a counselor.

 

If you see someone hurting, reach out. Please come alongside them. Please love them. A hurting person is just that–a real person, someone’s son or daughter, someone’s husband or wife, someone’s friend–God’s creation.

 

None of us is exempt from suffering. None of us is exempt from temptation. None of us is exempt from falling (1 Corinthians 10:12).

 

Accountability… Who needs it? We all do.

 

Come alongside… Are you hurting? What steps can you take to reach out? Do you know someone who is hurting? How can you reach out to them? Will you forward this post to them? Will you love them?


 

Music to Encourage You to Open Up

 

Playing Tug-of-War with Angels

“Right now, we’re just playing tug-of-war with angels.”

 

The doctor’s voice ushered in reality for us. Our NeeNee–the matriarch in the family–was dying. Doctors resuscitated her numerous times that morning–the day before  Thanksgiving.

 

It was now our decision: To sign or not to sign the DNR form.

 

My husband, his step-mom Tracy, and I. No one else in the family had made it to the hospital yet.

 

The three of us looked at each other, tears streaming down our faces.

 

“We hate to do this to you,” said the doctor, “but we need to know now.”

 

We knew NeeNee wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. She was ready to go home.

 

“Do not resuscitate.”

 

I walked behind the doctor to the room where NeeNee lay, Tracy beside me. My husband left to pick up family  members.

 

Our NeeNee lay motionless in the bed. I held her left hand while Tracy held her right hand. We cried alongside her, prayed over her, but most of all, we loved on her. She was non-responsive, even before the doctors disconnected the machinery. But we knew she could hear us.

 

Periodically, we watched her vitals, slowing with each passing moment.

 

Still, she held on.

 

A chaplain came and prayed with us.

 

We waited for the others to arrive. Minutes seemed like hours, but Tracy and I treasured every moment with our NeeNee. She took deep breaths every once in awhile, as we reassured her, “It’s okay. Go on home.”

 

I caressed her hair and rubbed my index finger on her cheek. Every once in awhile, I leaned in to kiss her and tell her I loved her. Her vitals would spike and then slowly decline again.

 

“It’s okay, NeeNee. Go on home.”

 

I held her hand and remembered the day I met her–a beautiful smile that welcomed me into her family. She knew no strangers and loved all who came around her. She was the family historian–a storyteller who could take a 5-minute tale and turn it into a 30-minute epic. She remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary and freely gave out of the little she herself possessed. Her heart was toward her family.

 

Now her heart was failing her. She was tired and ready–ready to leave this world of physical pain and enter into paradise with her Savior. Her sister, mother, and father would be waiting for her there too.

 

And yet, the angels tugged at her. We tugged as well.

 

Pulse.

15-0.

15-0.

15-0.

 

Outside the room, I heard a noise. Turned around to see some of our family members. “They’re here,” I said.

 

15.

0.

0.

0.

0.

 

I bowed my head and cried. She waited. They arrived. She let go of the rope. Quietly, peacefully, she entered eternity. No more pain, no more exhaustion. God, in His mercy, extended her the ultimate gift–not only the freedom from pain and exhaustion, but also the gift of Himself.

 

But why grant me such a gift? Why would God grant me the gift of ushering a beautiful soul into His presence? To witness the passing of a Godly woman–a daughter, a sister, a wife, an aunt and friend to many? Why would He have me share this life-changing occasion with Tracy? Why?

 

Love.

 

The love that took NeeNee home is the same love that shone down on me that day. It’s the same generous love God shines down on me every moment, every day (Psalm 84:11). God’s perfect love transcends suffering and pain–NeeNee’s and mine.

 

In death and in life, we play tug-of-war with angels. In death and in life, I want to let go of the rope.

 

We love you, NeeNee, and we’ll see you soon.

 

NeeNee

 

Come alongside… In what ways are you playing tug-of-war with God? How can you let go of the rope?

 

Adoption is Final

Some of you know that my husband and I are in the process of adopting. We’re in the final stages of our training and are starting to consider and pursue specific children.

 

Throughout the ten weeks of training, I’ve learned many things.

 

  • There are 107,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted.
  • If these children reach adulthood without having been adopted, they will undoubtedly face difficulties coping with life’s demands.
  • Like all children–orphans want love and acceptance from a family–their forever family.
  • Instead, they are bounced from foster home to foster home, many times for no fault of their own.
  • If they are matched with a family, the fear still lingers–they might be “sent back.”

 

Truth is… They can’t be sent back. Adoption is final.

 

Dear one, God wants to adopt you.

 

Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what He wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. Ephesians 1:5-6

 

Isn’t this wonderful news? God decided before the foundations of the earth that He wanted us to be His.

 

  • He chose us!
  • He chose me!
  • He chose you!

 

But there’s one other thing I’ve learned in adoption class: Adoption is a mutual selection. That’s right. My husband and I can choose to adopt a child, but that child must also choose to be adopted by us. It’s the same with our Heavenly Father. He’s already chosen us; all we have to do is choose Him.

 

Have you chosen to be adopted by Him, my friend? Have you accepted His blessing of love through Jesus Christ and become His son or His daughter? If you have, then celebrate! Your adoption is final!

 

  • If you have not accepted His love…
  • If you have not acknowledged at some specific moment in your life, “Yes, I choose to be adopted by you, God, through Jesus Christ’s love on the cross” …
  • If you have not made the adoption choice a mutual one…

 

I invite you to do so.

 

Once you’re part of God’s family, you will never be alone. You will never be fatherless. You will never be without His love. You will not be sent back.

 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

 

Dear one, take this moment to make it mutual. Say a simple, heartfelt prayer to God:

 

God, I’ve been fatherless. I’ve sought love and acceptance in many ways that have grieved you–my Heavenly Father. But no more! Today, I choose to be adopted by you. I choose to be your son–your daughter. I choose to be part of your large family through Jesus Christ. Today, I choose You–my one and only Heavenly Father.

 

Thank you that I am no longer fatherless. Thank you that I am no longer alone. Thank you for blessing me with brothers and sisters to come alongside me every step of the way. Thank you that even after I die, I will live with you forever.

 

Thank you for Jesus!

 

Love, Your new son or daughter.

 

Congratulations! Your adoption is final!

 

I hope you will join your new brothers and sisters in a Bible-believing church. Use Church Angel to find a good church wherever you live.

 

By the way, welcome to the family!

 

Come alongside… Tell us your story of your spiritual adoption. Who needs to hear that they have a Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters waiting to welcome them to His family? Will you share this post with them?

Bathing in God’s Love

Have you bathed lately? I’m not talking about taking a quick shower—in and out. I’m talking about enjoying a long hot bath.

  • A bath that relaxes you into its sweet embrace.
  • A bath that wraps itself around your body and warms your soul.
  • A bath that paints a faint smile on your weary face.
  • A bath, yes, a bath that overwhelms your very being with complete and utter gratefulness.

Have you bathed lately?

 

*****

 

This week, I have bathed in God’s goodness like never before. I didn’t plan it; in fact, I never saw it coming. With all of life’s daily cares, sometimes it’s easy for me to overlook all God’s blessings. But this week, oh this week, God’s love overtook me. Everywhere I went, God’s love surrounded me. It pressed on my chest with a rejuvenating charge. My entire being wanted to spread my arms and shout, “Thank you!” But all I could do was bow my head in gratitude and give him a humble, “Thanks.”

  • Thank you for being Almighty God.
  • Thank you for creating this beautiful earth.
  • Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me.
  • And for forgiving my many sins.
  • Thank you for being patient with me.
  • Thank you for strengthening and protecting me.
  • Thank you for guiding me–step by step.
  • And for lifting my burdens from me.
  • Thank you for making beauty from ashes.
  • Thank you for family members—new and old.
  • Thank you for friends–my adopted family.
  • And for my job—yes, my job.
  • Thank you for doors—opened and closed.
  • Thank you for my church and pastors.
  • Thank you for my health–renewed.
  • And for opportunities to share the Gospel.
  • Thank you for our shelter, our home.
  • Thank you for our finances.
  • Thank you for our daily bread.
  • And thank you for my husband. Thank you for giving me my Prince—a man of leadership and servanthood, a man of strength and tenderness, a man of love and faithfulness—a man of God.

Yes, I’m bathing in God’s goodness—the abundant gifts He has bestowed on me, His daughter.

  • A bath that relaxes me into His sweet embrace.
  • A bath that wraps itself around me and warms my soul.
  • A bath that paints a faint smile on my weary face.
  • A bath, yes, a bath that overwhelms my very being with complete and utter gratefulness.

Have you bathed lately?

I’m bathing in God’s love.

 

Come alongside…Are you bathing in God’s goodness? How can you thank Him today? Will you ask Him to bathe you in His love?

 

Embracing my Uniqueness

Dogs descended on downtown Lakeland yesterday for the Dog Days of Summer Pooch Parade.

 

  • Poodles.
  • Miniature Dachshunds.
  • Irish Wolfhounds.
  • Great Danes.
  • Yorkies.
  • And my favorite – Basset hounds. No, I’m not partial.

I was simply amazed at the uniqueness of each dog. Even dogs of the same breed differed from one another.

 

  • Black.
  • White.
  • Red-black brindle.
  • Blue merle.
  • Chestnut.
  • And my favorite – orange and white. Again, I’m not partial.

My husband, my basset, and I snagged a bench to rest and to people-watch–one of our favorite pastimes. Yes, our dog loves it too.

 

As I observed owners and their dogs, I was intrigued at how freely people approached one another to love on the dogs and to start conversations with their owners. Even when we approached owners and their dogs, we marveled at the uniqueness and beauty of each pooch. Although owners were surely partial to their own dogs, they didn’t seem to let that stop them from approaching and getting to know others. They embraced their dog’s uniqueness and the uniqueness of others.

 

That made me wonder…

 

Do I accept and celebrate my uniqueness in Christ? Do I accept and celebrate the uniqueness of those around me?

 

 

For years, I hid the natural textures of my hair; I wanted straight hair–not wild curls. As I grew in my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I came to believe that He made all the delicate, inner parts of my body–including my kinky curls. He knit me together into a wonderfully complex being. I am His marvelous handiwork (Psalms 139:13-14). Yes, there have been other things I’ve wanted to change about myself, but suffice to say that God made me like no other person on this earth.

 

Dear one, God made you like no other person on this earth. You are wonderfully made! There may be things you want to change about yourself–such as your hair, illness or disability, the color of your skin, your size, even other parts of your body. Yes, there are things we could do to take care of God’s temple–our bodies–but God loves you and knows everything about you–down to the last detail–even the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30)! You are not humdrum. God is enthralled by your beauty (Psalm 45:11).

 

God is enthralled by the beauty in each of us. Marvel at His handiwork–at home, at work, at church, at the homeless shelter and the street corner. Embrace your uniqueness and the uniqueness of those around you. I’ve embraced mine.

 

Come alongside…What have you been trying to change about yourself? What can you do to accept and embrace your uniqueness? What can you do to interact with those who differ from you? How can you share this good news with others?

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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