A New Life
By Emilee Tinney
My story is very brief and to the point, but definitely needs to be heard. In 2003 I was an addict, I later got pregnant by my dealer and got clean. I have been 100% clean of everything including cigarettes and alcohol for more than 9 years. I had my son in 2006 and named him Zackariah meaning the Lord remembers you. I needed to know at that time that he was there because that was when the abuse started. Fifteen months later I had my son Isaiah. I wasn’t allowed friends or contact with my family, so I was hopeless and saw no way out.
I lived to take care of and protect my children from this inescapable monster, it was truly a miserable existence. When I reached the point of suicide feeling like I would rather die than live this life of daily mental,emotional, and physical devastation I reached out to my mother. We devised a plan for me not to give any inclination that I was leaving,get the kids ready for daycare, get ready for work, and leave everything, just run.
The morning came I was a fanatic, sat up all night feverishly praying. I will never forget these words. Because I meant them. “Lord if you just get me out of here safely with my kids I will lead a different life, we will live for you. ” Still makes me cry. I was in panic mode when I got up. I had tunnel vision, all I could see was my babies and the door. I stumbled,panic thick in my breath as I just kept praying the same thing over and over. “If you just get me out safely with my kids.” We made it here because I had a friend near by. My mother was supposed to meet me but fell ill and was hospitalized, but I was ready. The lord heard my prayers and lit me on fire. I was a woman on a mission. I got a great job, found a place to live, got my kids in school. So many doors of opportunity were opened for me because I finally let them. I am so very thankful for this gift that God has given me and my kids. I will be forever grateful to get this new life for him. I will also be forever grateful for the healed relationship with my mother and I and that I git to spend her final days loving her, and she passed knowing that I am safe, and I live for the lord now. She had cancer and passed March 24th. But now she is with Jesus of that I have no doubt because she was the most amazing person ever. I strive one day to be half the Christian and woman she was. Thanks for reading.
Getting to Know Your Neighbor Through the Eyes of an 8 Year Old
By Chrissy Grant
As LifeBridge gets ready to embrace our neighborhoods throughout Longmont and the surrounding areas, our son Daniel, who is 8 years old, came up with this ingenious idea. While I pondered how I was going to approach my neighbors during this project my questions were answered by our awesome little boy.
Daniel is still in search of his faith however he is the most empathetic, caring and spiritual little soul one would ever meet. He hears me speak of scripture at home, he hears me listening to Christian music, he knows I attend church each Sunday and extend my hand to those in need. I think he “gets it”. But I remain patient. Soon he will find Jesus and open his heart to Him. Little do each of us realize is that he may already have.
We were at Hobby Lobby today picking out some Valentine’s Day items. Daniel ran off to look at candy and I was just about to say, “honey, stay close!” and he excitedly said, “Mommy! Look! Lollipops with scripture on each wrapper! We can hand them out to our neighbors for Valentine’s Day and get to know them better!” I was stunned! He wasn’t aware of the “Get to Know Your Neighbor” mission. I think he’s ready to take…that leap of faith. I believe he has found his faith but if not, I will be there to help him understand the glory and overwhelming peace that will overcome him when he accepts Jesus.
So, that being said, we have marked our calendar to take an early Saturday afternoon, walk the neighborhood and hand out lollipops with scripture for Valentine’s Day.
I couldn’t be more thankful for Daniel. We love him dearly. He is an amazing soul.
I love when you hear God…
I love when God talks straight to you!!!… I have had a long road of my mother in law dying of her lungs filling up with fluid with complications to the flu and dying 8 yrs ago. I was pregnant with my second daughter and I started having panic attacks and it literally felt like I was having a nervous breakdown. I found God again through a wonderful christian counselor for ~6 yrs…. God definitely has a sense of humor because now I am conquering my unknown fear of drowning by taking scuba classes with my husband and a wonderful teacher that started his class saying this is going to be like an outward bound experience and truly help strengthen you. I didn’t realize how true it was until I wanted to quit the class; first, studying how to protect yourself from all the ways things could go wrong and you could drown to 2nd, getting in the water for the first time with snorkel, mask and fins and feeling like I was going to drown and literally freaking out as I thrashed in the water to try and get my head above water as I caught my fins on the pool bottom in the 5′ water. Anyway I knew I couldn’t quit even though this morning I woke up praying to God to help me decide if this was the right thing for me to be doing. Low and behold as I am driving to work, still praying to God about my fear of the next class tomorrow morning…The song that comes on the radio is “when the waves are taking you under….God will give you strength and be your strength” or something to that effect and I can’t find the song on google so I emailed Klove radio station where I heard the song. I know God was truly talking to me and I got chills and just started bawling in the car…”God will give me the strength”. I know now I can’t quit because this is about so much more than learning to scuba dive. I can’t wait to find this song and download it and buy the disc to play for the many times I am going to need to have the strength to conquer my fears!! Kathy
My relationship with Melissa and God
by Hyde Gillen
Growing up I was a fan of our church and of God. I served as an altar boy and it was an amazing experience in my life. As I grew older, I became more of a follower and was comfortable with my life and did not attend church, but if asked, I followed God. After going through a divorce, and my ex-wife being murdered, I was at a low point in my life. I met a wonderful person while going through all of this, and we became very close and fell in love with each other. Melissa has always been involved in her church and with God, and helped me through all of this. Once again, I felt complete and comfortable in my life, but still did not follow God or attend church.
Several months ago, I became jealous of another man that Melissa worked with, and made some very bad accusations that hurt our relationship. I was clearly at my lowest point, and that’s when I needed God in my life and the forgivness of Jesus. I started attending LifeBridge with her mother and friend. I believe God put Missy in my life for a reason, and I am truly greatfull to him for that. I know that without prayer and God I would fail. I have failed Missy and hope one day we can be strong again.
The tongue is a deadly evil that I have used in so many wrong ways, even when I thought I was right Ishould have bit down on it. I am glad I have a place to go and pray, and I have no problem putting my relationship in God’s hands and pray that Jesus will forgive me of my sins.
Susan recently gave me permission to tell her story. It’s not a story I want to tell. Actually, I’m a bit embarrassed to share her story with you. Not because of the content of her story, but because in telling it, I have to reveal that it took me too long to meet her.
I have the privilege of getting to meet with people who are baptized or become members here at Lifebridge. Because I’m new to the position, Susan was my first call. She’d recently worked up enough courage to approach Brian Mavis after he’d finished teaching a class on the book of Revelation, and ask how someone becomes a member here at church. See, Susan had already made several calls to the church office and somehow had slipped through the cracks. So, when she met Brian they talked and she became a member of our community. When I finally connected with Susan she was gracious and excited to get involved at LifeBridge!
The lesson with Susan is that she was persistent towards God. Susan showed her willingness when she asked someone her questions and sought answers. Susan knew this is where she wanted to belong and we are glad she made that choice.
Susan is now taking more steps within our community and starting to serve within and outside our church. Susan has taught me how great it is to declare that you want to belong to the family of God and how awesome it is to play a part at Lifebridge. Susan’s faithfulness encourages me to always be willing to step out in faith. I hope you feel the same encouragement from her story.
My Childhood was not one of the ordinary. I didn’t experience the love, joy and innocence of childhood. From the age of 4, I was being sexually abused by my cousins. I didn’t know it at the time. They used to call it “Playing the Game”. Life went downhill from that point. I was now being raped by some other cousins. I was bullied at school, called all kinds of different names. It was at the age of 12 yrs I only then comprehended what had happened to me in my life. I was going to tell my parents but I was threatened by them and even choked one night.
I became a living corpse from then. I was a living dead. I was cold. I was just an entity in a body. Nights on end I cried myself to sleep from my demise. I felt dirty. Constantly bathing, trying to cleanse off their touch from my body. I felt like someone poured acid on me; it was eating me away daily, bit by bit, piece by piece. I was full of hurt, pain, anger and rage. Years past, and the pains grew stronger. Nothing quelled the raging inferno burning inside me. Day by day I was becoming less human. I tried everything and nothing worked such as different religious prayers etc. Suicide was the only way out, the only solution to ease my pain. It would all soon go away I thought.
One night I put a tape around my neck, and I was going to strangle myself, but something pulled me back. My teacher had told me about Jesus. I had nothing to lose, I had already lost the will to live, was too tired fighting to survive and too weak from daily battling. So I closed my eyes and prayed to Jesus. When I closed my eyes……I saw Jesus himself and He was holding a door ledge. He grasped it tightly and was looking towards the sky praying. I said “Jesus, I need u in my life, I cannot carry these burdens again for they are too heavy, come into my life and take them and wash me from my sins.” Then I saw him kneel down in front of me and said “If you had called me earlier, I would have come.” I looked into His eyes and I cannot describe what I saw. It was so full of compassion, love, peace, joy and reassurance and most of all care. He touched me, and everything just vanished. All the pain, anger, hurt, broken heartedness, everything just vanished immediately, li
ke it never happened! What I was searching for all these years, Jesus came and did it in seconds.
I don’t know what about some of the pains that you in the congregation have gone through, but I know what it is to be broken hearted, abused, alone and rejected. The thought of getting up after this sounds impossible. But I did it; I found my strength in Jesus. I encourage you, if there is any one here, whose burdens are too heavy and whose legs have given up, give your life to Christ and He will come and heal you and make you complete. I once thought that God had forgotten about me because he allowed this to happen but when Jesus came to me Himself and I looked into those precious eyes saw His undying love for me, I understood that He had to wait until I invited him. His love is unconditional, it is eternal.
He taught me how to love myself first when I hated what I saw in the mirror, how to forgive my transgressors when I only had hate for them and how to love His people, just as He loves me. This is my testimony, my testimony of truth of the great works that Jesus did in my life. He can do the same for you. Invite him in and accept Him as your savior if you haven’t yet. He is all too willing to come and carry ALL your burdens as He always care for ALL HIS PEOPLE. Accept God’s gift of redemption today before it is too late. I have a reason to live now…………….his name is JESUS.
Your brother in Christ. God Bless You always. Peace be with You in the name of Jesus.
God’s Many Faces
By Ashley Conklin
Throughout my life I have struggled to feel whole. I grew up in a non-religious house. I had nothing to fear but my parents. Over the years I kept finding myself meeting Christian people and I would feel a strong urge to become closer to them. It was a feeling I could not control.
Just when I started to feel a little comfort and hope I would stray away because of the negativity and abuse in my home. I questioned how God could ever let my parents treat me the way that they did. I was angry for many years.
After graduating I thought moving 2,000 miles away from my parents would make me feel whole because they couldn’t hurt me anymore.
After being gone for a year and a half I still felt something was missing. Despite all that I had been through with my family I moved back home because I missed them.
Shortly after coming home I was once again drawn to a Christian that I felt a strong urge to be close with. Actually I fell madly in love with him. Little by little he started answering my questions on how God could let me endure all that I did.
He suggested we attend Lifebridge. The minute I walked in I could feel my soul begin to ease.
We continued to attend Lifebridge. On June 21st we commited our lives to God and accepted Jesus as our savior through baptism.
We recently got married and live our marriage and life for God.
You never know when God will place the right person in your life at the perfect time.
I finally feel whole.
By Chris Ann Bass
I am mad—the kind of mad that grows out of anticipation of doing something that is uncomfortable, unfamiliar, and scary. I am not exactly praying—it is more like a threat muttered under my breath. God, if you are there, you have one last chance to show me. I am going in alone and unarmed. If this turns out bad, I will never enter one of these church buildings again! If this doesn’t work, I am not looking for You anymore. If You exist, please let me know.
I am sitting inside of my parked car looking at the scene in front of The Church of Aurora, a small neighborhood Christian church. The scene is just as I expected. I see perfect looking families, girls in dresses, boys in their Sunday shirts, older women in hats, older men in suits, and middle aged men and women dressed in casual-business attire. They collect in groups on the small grassy areas on each side of the wide concrete sidewalk that leads to two large open doors. People hug new arrivals, chat, and laugh. They obviously know each other well. I, on the other hand, am an intruder—an unhappy, nicotine-addicted, seven-month-pregnant, unmarried, living-with-the-baby’s-father, intruder. And I am about to trespass into their perfect world.
I made choices in my life that landed me where I never intended to be, but I don’t seem able to do much right to fix things. Life is heavy—very heavy. Over the last year I have done more crying than laughing. I don’t belong here at this church, but why not? I don’t have anything to lose. This is another attempt to make sense of life and maybe fix things.
My stomach sinks at the thought of heading up the walk and through the large doors. I decide to wait until most of the perfect people go inside before I make my move. My mind swims in fearful defensiveness. One unfriendly glare or righteously judgmental comment at my protruding belly, naked ring finger, or nicotine perfume, and I am prepared to react in prideful defiance. I am ready to wash my hands of the perfect people before I ever meet them.
By the time I make my way to the large doors, there is only an older man remaining in sight. I am certain he hung around on purpose waiting for me to reach the doors. When we meet he shakes my hand and smiles, and I do likewise. That wasn’t so bad, I think as I proceed through a second set of open double doors. I see there is a man already in front of the people talking. Everyone is standing, and all I can see is a room full of the backside of heads. I can’t tell where there might be an open seat. A woman close to my 24 years of age quickly perceives my predicament. She gestures to the older couple between her and the end of the isle. They quickly make way for me to pass, as the young woman motions me to come next to her.
The man up front stops talking and everyone sits down. In hushed voices this woman and I exchange names. I feel trapped! My deodorant cannot take the pressure and instantaneously flees its post, allowing perspiration to escape. Nervousness and being shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers causes beads of sweat to collect on my upper-lip. Stand up, sit down, what is next? I don’t know the routine, not even well enough to fake it. How long did this get-together last? I have only been here a few minutes and it seems like an eternity. This is definitely a bad idea. My thoughts are too loud to hear any of what the man on the raised platform is saying. Just remember to breathe until this is over and you will be fine, I tell myself.
Piano music starts and the people again stand up. Like a good follow-the-leader player, I too stand. They grab songbooks from the backside of the benches in front of them. I opt not to. I don’t know the tunes and am not comfortable singing out loud. The young woman next to me is sharing a book with her husband, as is the older couple on my other side. A short way into the song the young woman passes her songbook off to her husband. She grabs another book from the back of the bench and flips through the pages. Stopping at the correct song, she opens the book wide and moves in front of me. I am involuntarily sharing a songbook with this politely persistent woman. It would be rude not to sing under the circumstances, so I sing.
When the song ends I am watchful to see what my next move is suppose to be. Are we going to sit, sing, pray, or pay? People begin shuffling pages in the songbook. No! We are going to sing another song. Once she finds the correct page, my neighbor once again dutiful places the songbook in front of me. Holding the songbook with both her arms extended towards me makes her stance a bit awkward. I reach my outer hand in her direction so that my side of the songbook rests in the palm of my hand, while she continues to hold the other side. It is a decision that immediately makes us both more comfortable. I do not sing during the opening of the second song, not until she points to words on the page. I take this as my cue.
Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well, with my soul… The words of the song are but whispers on my lips. But for the first time since my arrival, I hear something other than my own thoughts. The voices and words of the song fill me like a deep draw of fresh air. It is well, it is well… My mind is free of clutter and I hear only “It is well with my soul.” I am completely emptied and filled with words that immediately become my very sustenance. I cannot sing now for tears fill my eyes. A few drops escape. I am weightless. Outwardly, as the singing continues, I hear the words of the song from behind, below, above, and beside me. Internally, the words of each chorus become reality.
This is not normal. God, are you there? As soon as this mental question emerges, deep within my chest I feel heaviness being lifted, inching upward slowly. The heaviness continues to lift till it reaches my shoulders. From there it dissipates, till all heaviness is gone. You’re real! You’re real! Oh my God, You’re real!
The song is over and we are sitting down. My heart continues to race with excitement. You’re real! Now what? What do I do next? If you are real then the Bible must be true! What just happened to me is the most real thing I have ever experienced. Should I keep this our secret? Am I suppose to I tell someone? I don’t hear any words that are spoken for the rest of the service. Only words of the song and my excited thoughts fill my mind. Never again will I bear the weight of life’s heaviness alone! God is real and He is with me.
Over 1000 people have come to Christ — including witch doctors!
By Dick Herring & Joni Morse
Rick Rusawwas calling. “Hi Dick,” he said, “You’ve met Joni Morse, our missionary in Thailand. I know we can help him, but have you and he decided what we can do to help his ministry?”
The background to this question was that Rick had been meeting weekly to study the Scriptures with seven business executives, including myself. One day, Rick asked our group, “Would you be willing to do a short-term mission toThailand?” We agreed unanimously, and Rick asked me if I would be team leader. So, I phoned Joni that evening.
“Joni,” I asked, “How could LifeBridge better assist you in your vital work there?” Joni knew that ten percent of all giving at LifeBridge goes to missions, so he inquired, “Would it be possible to just send us money?” “Joni, I’m sorry,” I replied, “I have a team of high-energy senior executives. They’re do-ers who make things happen! I can’t tell them, “There’s nothing you can do but write a check.”
They Toil in Their Fields all Day in 90 Degree Heat
So Joni and I agreed that my son and I should fly toThailandfor a “getacquainted” visit. On our arrival in Chiang Mai, Joni took us on a tour of the local villages. I was deeply impressed by the Hill Tribe people. They have to work hard tilling the fields all day in 90 degree heat just to raise enough crops to feed their families for the coming year!
The villagers live in simple thatched-roof huts. Many huts stand on stilts up off the ground. Joni told us that they do that because local witch doctors have persuaded them that the ground belongs to the devil. Thus they fear the ground. Joni longed to see the power of Christ discredit those witch doctors. But he had no churches to attract the Hill Tribe people to Christianity.
After returning home, I told Rick and the others that Joni’s top priority was for us to build some churches. Next, we appealed for volunteers and got 20 others from LifeBridge to help. However, we still had a problem. I had worked in management for years, but I knew nothing about construction.
I had built only one thing—a chicken coop on my farm. So I asked some builder friends to teach me the basics of erecting and wiring simple buildings. That done, our team flew off toThailand. There we rented vans, checked our equipment and supplies, then drove out to the building site.
We decided to put God first by offering thanks to Him for challenging us to try to live our “lives on loan” from Him. We started off with a worship service. All of us gathered together on a big concrete slab. There, Rick preached a message. Next, came translations into two different languages. We sang worship songs in Thai, then in English.
The next day our two teams started building, and by Friday we were done. Later some local leaders came out to see our work. They were amazed that, in just five days, we had constructed two church buildings—each with electricity from a generator.
Previously, the Hill Tribe people had no place to worship. But once a church was built in their community, many villagers began inviting friends, and they in turn started coming to Christ! In addition, the headmaster of a nearby school told us, “Every week I must turn away students due to lack of space.” In response, we were able to build him more classrooms.
Multitudes of Villagers Have Been Liberated from the Power of Darkness
Also, a local school asked us to build dormitories for their students. What happened next was amazing! Committed Christians were assigned to be dormitory counselors. Through their influence, almost every student in those dorms became a Christian. Many have since become evangelists. Thus, a lot more villagers are hearing God’s good news!
Over the last eight years, LifeBridge teams and Engineers Without Borders have built a total of four churches, three school dormitories, five educational facilities, and a medical building, plus numerous water pipelines from the mountains so that villagers no longer have to carry water for drinking. In addition, one village tripled their crops after our team installed the necessary irrigation.
Joni Morse summarized the impact that LifeBridge teams have made among his Hill Tribe people. They believe that God must love them very much to send His servants around the world to build all these improvements. Joni said that multitudes of villagers have been liberated from the power of darkness.
Over a thousand people have come to faith in Christ. Even witch doctors, after seeing the futility of their ways, are turning to God. Entire villages are accepting Christ! In gratitude to the Lord, many of these dear people are also choosing to live their ‘lives on loan’ from God!
Challenge from Pastor Steve
By Mollie Schmitz
We were challenged on Sunday to come forward and pick up a Challenge envelope that would ask us to be a blessing in our community in someway. My envelope asked me to do something for a middle school student. My idea wasn’t hard and it wasn’t time consuming but I hope it blessed a student. I just simply went to the school and wrote a check for lunches and asked if they would apply it to a student who needed it. Pretty easy, pretty boring but it’s a blessing to be the hands of Christ.
By Tyree Rohrbaugh and Randy Erbstoesser
I rarely take risks, but when Pastor Rick spoke about taking one during the Ignite Service I felt like it was time I did.
On Saturday evening the plate was passed down the isle and I took an envelope. My husband, Randy, and I opened the envelope a few hours later. The card read; “Support a grandparent caring for a grandchild.” When I read the card I told Randy that he wasn’t going to believe this, but I had been thinking about this very issue earlier in the week. I explained I had been thinking and praying for my friend who had recently been given temporary custody of her two small grandchildren. In addition to taking care of two grandkids, she also has two teenage boys. At the time, I felt so compelled to give her money to help with the kids. As I thought about it what come to mind was, “Would Randy approve of me giving her money to help her?” In the end, I decided not to say anything to him and I just let it go.
Then three days later, we are at church, listening to Pastor Rick talk about taking risks and helping others and I picked this card. I knew at that point that God had put that card in my hand as a reminder to what I had been thinking and praying about earlier in the week. I knew at that point that we had to help.
In the end, Randy and I went to Super WalMart and purchased a gift card and dropped it off at my friend’s house. I asked her to open the card after we left.
Inside the card I explained that this wasn’t a Christmas gift, but it was something that Randy and I wanted to do to help her in this time of need.
Needless to say, she was so happy to receive the card, especially so close to the holidays. I hope that her grandkids can have a Merry Christmas knowing they are with people who love them.
I truly believe that God meant for us to help her and the family. Why else would I have picked that card out of all the other cards inside that plate that night if it wasn’t meant to not only help my friend, but to help a family in need.
It was something that was meant to be.
I’m glad I took a risk
My Gumball Family
By Cheryl Kouns
Garrison Kiellor reminisces on one of his radio shows about when he was a boy and he and his friends wondered where babies come from.
Not that ‘where babies come from,’ that they knew! It was the how-did-that-baby-go-to-that-woman, where do babies come from?
So, what they decided was there must be a ginormous bubble gum machine in heaven with all the babies in it, and as a baby was conceived on earth, the next baby would just roll down the chute, and that’s where babies come from.
I tell you all of this so you don’t look at me like I’ve completely lost it when I say that half my gumballs went to Korea.
I have two daughters. One came to us through the miracle of birth. The other came through the miracle of adoption. She may not have been born of me, but she is my kiddo—all the same.
It drove me nuts after the death of Roy Rogers; the media made sure we all knew that “Roy Rogers’ adopted son” was the spokesman for the family. We were told how many kids he and Dale Evans had and how many of them were adopted. Now, I didn’t live with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, but if they are anything like the parents I know, they had kids—period! Not two columns, these are the adopted kids and these are the biological kids (as if adopted kids aren’t biological), but that’s subject for another rant. It’s as if they’re saying that kids who are adopted cannot possibly be as loved or cared for like children born into a family.
People adopt pets all the time, but when you run into them on the street you don’t hear them say, “This is my ‘adopted’ dog, Fido.” If you did, tell the truth, you’d probably avoid them like the plague.
You can adopt a new creed, but you don’t say, “This is my ‘adopted’ new outlook on life.”
The process of adoption means that you make it your own. I see signs everywhere about people who have adopted a highway—don’t laugh, because what does it mean? It means they treat that piece of land as if it’s their very own. They clean it up and make sure it looks good. They care for it—and that’s just a mile worth of road; imagine what it’s like for parents who open their hearts and adopt a child!
But for some reason, people (usually outside the family) feel the need to make a distinction. Adoption is a process by which people expand their family. There are different kinds of births, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “This is my cesarean section son,” or “These are my multiple birth daughters.” Why do we say this is so-and-so’s adopted child?
If anyone should understand the concept of being adopted, it should be people who consider themselves Christians. Adoption is in the Bible. Nope, we aren’t the first people in history to take someone into our hearts and homes and they become family. The apostle, Paul, specifically talks about God adopting those who accept his Son.
I am a child of God. He got me through adoption, and I am his, period!
I live in Berthoud and there is a tree that reminds me of my family. Well, it’s kind of two trees; see, there are these trees growing in this yard, and when they were young someone put a wooden plank between them. Over the years the trees have grown around the plank and made a bench; if you wanted to get rid of the plank you’d have to destroy both of the trees.
Some people stay at home to have their children. Some go to the hospital. I happened to be one who went to the airport.
By the way, if you run into me on the street, stop me—I would be happy to introduce you to my two daughters.
Faith, Love, and Perseverance
By Patty Kee
Back in 1991, my husband of over 12 years and I were finally pregnant. Four other friends in our church were also pregnant that year. What a wonderful time it was. We were all due to deliver about four months apart. We couldn’t wait! Then in August, I lost my baby. Everyone else still had babies coming. We were broken-hearted. Why did God allow our baby to be taken away after so many years of wanting a baby?
It was a time for reflection and a time to renew our commitment to God. Then in November, I was talking to a friend at work. She asked me if we were still looking for a baby to adopt, and of course, I said, “Yes!”
In January, I met Kathy over the phone. She was 16 and pregnant, and due to have a baby in January. This would be her second child. The baby’s father had beaten her and sent her packing. She felt that she just couldn’t handle another child. So, over the next couple of months, she kept in constant contact with me. Shortly after, she decided that my husband and I should raise her baby as our own.
Leslie, our daughter, was born on Super Bowl Sunday, January 26, 1992. We fell in love with her instantly, but then came the hard part. The birth father had not given up his “rights” yet and Kathy did not want to take any chances he might get her. So we sent the baby to a foster home. Because we were interested parties and took the advice from the social worker and became foster parents ourselves, we got visitation rights. One look at her, and we knew that no matter what happened, we wanted her with us. Within a few days, we were able to take her home with us as our foster child. What a joy Leslie was! Grandmas and grandpas were thrilled.
Within a couple of weeks, the social worker began the process for the father to relinquish his rights to the baby. The court system gave him every opportunity to prove himself. So began the long process of trying to make him into a parent. They would set up classes for him, followed by a court date. He would not attend the classes, but show up in court and say that he would attend next time. This continued month after month, hearing after hearing.
During this time, prayers were going up for this situation to be settled. My husband kept reassuring me that all would be well. I kept having nightmares that someone was taking my baby away. Night after night, the nightmares continued. Time marched on. Leslie’s teeth came in, she learned to laugh, walk, and talk. She got the chicken pox, you know, real life stuff. We prayed, we believed God, and we trusted Him.
Then, another miracle happened. I became pregnant again! Once again we had to trust in God. Things went much better this time with the pregnancy.
In September 1993, after many months and many frustrating court dates, the judge finally terminated the rights of the birth father and Leslie officially became ours. The judge cried during the ruling. I was five months pregnant with our second daughter.
Afterwards, the whole family turned out to celebrate the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Today, we are a busy family of five. Leslie is 16 years old and a junior in high school. She is a beautiful young lady who loves the Lord. We also have two other children, ages 14 and 12.
Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and goodness and for blessing us so greatly.
“Our Marriage Was an Emotional Roller-coaster”
By Christina Tyre
When I was 19, I moved to Longmont with my family. It was a difficult move for me. It was hard to meet anybody my age because I was not in school. About two years later, I met a guy named Shane and we began dating. Three years later, I had convinced him we should get married. But after about two months, Shane felt confined by married life. In our first year of marriage, we would fight often and he would go out with his friends and many times would not come home. He left me several times during the first year of our marriage.
We tried counseling. One day while driving back from the counselor’s office, Shane told me he did not love me like a husband should love a wife—and he wanted a divorce. I was shocked and confused. That day he filed papers and moved out. I was so hurt that I did the only thing that I could think of to numb the pain; I began drinking and found ways to forget him.
In Just Two Days, Our Divorce Would Become Final
Our divorce would be finalized in 15 days. We had run into each other and began talking a little. He had not seen his father for about seven years and we agreed on taking a trip to Texas to meet him. It was a great trip. We laughed and spent time with each other, we had missed each other. We returned from our trip only two days prior to our divorce being finalized. The following day, we went to the court house and signed the papers to stop the divorce.
Afterwards, we decided we would not be able to bring new beginning to our marriage in the same place that it had fallen apart for many reasons. So, we decided to begin a new life together and moved to Texas with his father and step mother. Shane’s father and his family invited us to visit their church. We were not Christians and neither one of us grew up in a Christian home, so at first we were reluctant. But going to church led to a wonderful turning point in our lives. We accepted Christ as our Savior. Four weeks later we had a wonderful surprise, I was pregnant.
We were excited and overjoyed about having a baby! But then we were scared and afraid. Shane’s father the man that brought us to the Lord and showed us love and kindness changed. He became angry and resented me for being pregnant. He felt that I had trapped his son.
Shane and I were very upset and we did not feel so good in Texas anymore. I had spoken to my step father, and he and my mom were very concerned for us. They sent us some money so we could come back home to Colorado. When we returned to Colorado we new we needed to find a church. Shane’s grandmother and her husband were attending LifeBridge and we decided to try it.
He Never Gave Up On Us
Soon after we started attending LifeBridge, we discovered what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus. We started worshipping weekly, and committed ourselves to be baptized.
Today, we have been married for ten years and have three wonderful boys, Dayne (7), Kaleb (6), and Connor (5).
Our marriage is so different from what it used to be. Shane and I have become something more. We have become a vessel for God—the one that never gave up on us. We are more involved, and want to be used to tell of his grace and share his love with others.
We love the Lord for never giving up on us, when ‘we’ gave up on us.
God is amazing in his work! We are completely different people, and our marriage has changed. It was hard for our friends and family to believe we are who we are today. With that said, many of our friends did not think our marriage would last. They were concerned that our relationship and faith would be fake. But today, those friends are involved in there own church family and some have even made the decision themselves to be baptized.
Even if you don’t think God is there for you, he is. You may not have asked him intentionally to come into your life, but perhaps someone prayed for you.
Somehow, the door was open for him to come into your life and saved you. God is good!
The Doctors’ Bad News Dramatically Changed Our Lives
By Lew Cox
About10 years ago, my beloved wife, Gayle, began to experience a series of major health issues. Her sufferings included back, neck and gall bladder problems, congestive heart failure, plus other complications.
In our deep pain, we began crying out to God. He responded by giving us the strength, grace, and courage that we needed daily to cope with these crises. Gayle was an RN so her experience helped her understand her condition. She quizzed her doctors on how long she might have to live. They said, “Anywhere from a few months to a year.”
So she set some goals that she wanted to accomplish in the time she had left. It was very difficult for her, but God gave her strength for a ministry of caring for and helping other people. That strengthened her character and it was a testimony to all those who knew her.
What a Difference the LifeGroup Made in Our Lives!
Before Gayle’s health issues developed, some people from LifeBridge called to invite us to a new Bible study (now called LifeGroups) they were starting. In light of the crisis in our lives we said “yes.” We yearned for the support of other Christians and the comfort of the Scriptures.
In LifeGroups, people share both their joys and sorrows with one another. They can laugh together, cry together, and pray for each other. At first our group rotated from home to home. But by the end of that summer Gayle’s condition had worsened. Thus it was too hard for her to attend the weekly Bible study.
We continued to stay in touch with our group. And three of the couples often visited Gayle in the hospital, then at our home. With every passing week we became more like family. I am sure that our coming together was God’s plan for us.
Soon we decided to meet together at our home every Tuesday for Bible study, prayer, and dinner. Others in our group brought meals. But sometimes I cooked. What a HUGE blessing it was for every one of us to share a meal together! And all of our friends knew that our top priority every Tuesday night was the Bible study.
Gayle’s witness touched all of us. As her illness worsened, her pain increased, yet she never complained. She never asked “why is this happening to me?” Instead she sought to learn more about the teachings of Scripture –and to care for her family and friends.
During this period, we came to see that God never promised His followers lives without pain and suffering. –And it helped to remember that our Savior, Jesus Christ, never did anything wrong. Nevertheless, He endured horrible pain and suffering to pay the penalty for our sins so we would not have to do so.
In the weeks preceding Gayle’s death, our LifeGroup members kept visiting her. That gave me a chance to get out to run errands. This meant a lot as I was feeling stressed at times. Gayle really looked forward to their visits. Near the very end, when she was back in the hospital, the members of our group visited her every day. They also vowed to Gayle that they’d spend time with me after she passed away.
I realized that we’ve “been put here for a while to be part of God’s story.” John Eldridge, in his book “Epic,” said something that helps me. He wrote, “We have been put here to be characters in God’s story. Each of our lives is a story. When we let others share their story and we share ours, it can encourage us all.” And everything that happens in our lives shapes who we are.
Consider all the good and bad things that have happened in your life. Think about how all those things together build your character and your faith in God. That encourages me when I think about the terrible pain I feel in grieving the loss of my wife of 47 years.
The past year has been very tough for me, to say the least. But I often gain strength and comfort in remembering how God brought our LifeGroup together –and what a difference they’ve made in our lives! As I’ve met with them weekly, it has comforted me tremendously to be able to openly share my feelings of grief. It’s helping to heal me of the deep hurt of grief.
Truly God has used those friends to greatly bless us. Gayle touched a lot of people with her courage and love, me included. Now my goal is to continue to set an example, like Gayle did, for our children, grandchildren and friends.
Praying Through the Storm
By Rich andVictoriaWalston
Signs of Grace
In January 2002, our family committed themselves to Christ through baptism at LifeBridge. All but one of our three boys joined us. Our oldest, almost 16 at the time, was not behaving like he should have been. 3 months later, Mathew (the almost 16 years old) was in a horrific car accident in Longmont. Many may remember. It was April 17th. Mat had ditched school with his girlfriend and another girl. On the way to bring him back to school, the driver lost control and plowed through a power line then slammed sideways into a huge tree, pretty much hugging the tree with her car. The first sign of God’s grace was that Mat has his seat belt on (he usually didn’t wear it). The second sign was Mat was in the front seat; he usually sat in the back.
The scene looked grim for all three kids. Mat was flown by Flight for Life to St. Anthony’s Hospital. Before he left the ground, the flight nurse didn’t think he was going to make it. But something told her to quickly react and she placed tubes into his sides.
While all this was going on, Rich and I were returning from work. We had gone to the office to finish up when the phone rang. “Unknown name and number” flashed on the screen. We don’t usually answer those, but by the grace of God, Rich did. It was the Chaplin at St. Anthony’s. “Can’t go into detail” she said, “but you better get here now.”
Nothing Could Be Done for Him
My sister drove us to Denver. Just like on the television show ER, they rushed us to the trauma floor. Our son laid there, a
million tubes and wires coming out of his body. “He’s very bad,” the nurses said. The trauma surgeon came out and described all of his injuries. His lungs were severely damaged with 10-20 holes in each lung, his spleen had ruptured, he had bleeding and swelling on the brain, and a broken pelvis. It was about 6 p.m., they needed to do surgery to remove his spleen. “It shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 hrs,” his surgeon assured us. At midnight, after losing him twice, the doctors came out. The nurse came and got us from the waiting room, telling us, “he’s not going to make it, you need to be with him.” We were back in the trauma room, again with tons of people and tons of wires and tubes. The lung surgeon literally threw up his hands and said he was done, there was no more he could do.
Prayer, the Only Hope
Through all of this, we virtually had everyone we knew and even some we didn’t know praying for our son. LifeBridge was praying, friends had their kids praying, who had their friends praying; even people out of state were praying. We NEVER gave up. We never lost faith in our Lord. We knew God was there with him., He had given Mat the best doctors and the most caring nurses. We prayed and prayed over Mat. Then again, only by God’s grace, Mat started slowly taking a turn for the better. Mat, from that day forward, never had a setback. We were told he may be in the hospital for months, then in rehab for months.
How Sweet God’s Grace Is
Mat was out of the hospital in 28 days, had to stay in rehab for 2 weeks, then went through about 6 months of daily rehab after. Now, 6 yrs. later, he is about to become a father! WOW! How sweet God’s grace is. Our faith has grown tremendously through all of this. Rich and I have talked about this to so many people as a testimony to Gods great love for us all. It brought us closer to God through church, Bible Study, and classes at church. –And more importantly, showed us that even through the storms, to praise Him with everything we have.