Saturday, June 27, 2015

Confessions From the Woman at the Well



For my friends and family who identify as Christian, I want to give you my unsolicited word of advice. While the Bible clearly states that marriage is a sacrament created by God, marriage in the United States is, and has been, a legal institution. When getting a marriage license you go to a courthouse, not a church. The church has nothing to do with benefits of married couples, which include death benefits, social security benefits, health benefits, joint taxes, adoption, estate rights, hospital visits, etc. These are rights guaranteed under the law of the U.S. Constitution, therefore if any state passed laws to infringe upon people's access to these entities then it is unconstitutional, that is why the 14th Amendment was used in the victory decision. HOWEVER, make no mistake that unbelievers and those who have fallen away from the church are reading your posts about this subject. If our collective goal is to fulfill the Great Commission, I suggest we follow the example of the One we seek to emulate and face this issue with abundant, unconditional love...and a lack of condemnation. Be someone's blessing today heart emoti...and while I have your attention, I will give you this.

PS....while I have your attention, I will give you this.
This is me.
I am the woman at the well.
I am the person that pulled the trigger....over 15 times.
Amen.




Thank you to claytonjennings.com for speaking the words that are written on this 48 year old heart.



Friday, June 5, 2015

GraceHaven


I want to invite all of you to join me on my new journey.  The journey is called GraceHaven.
Please feel free to share this with your friends, family, and anyone who you think could benefit from the mission of GraceHaven.  Thank you!  As always, be Blessed. ~edh

~Welcome to GraceHaven~

A.  grace (greys),noun 1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice. 2. mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor.  3.the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
B.  haven (hey-vuh n), noun 1. a harbor or port. 2. any place of shelter and safety; refuge; asylum. verb (used with object) 3. to shelter, as in a haven. She was given a safe haven from the storm.

Our Mission:
To create a place of safety and refuge.
To create a place of protection from the dangers and distresses of life.
To fulfill our calling to serve others and to bear each other’s burdens.
To offer kindness.
To offer education and encouragement.
To display unconditional and non judgmental love.
To create real-world, real-time interaction with others in a spiritual counseling and/or life coaching setting in order to help those in a time of need walk through difficulty and darkness until they are capable of discovering their own spiritual strength and their own unique connection with God.
To foster the proliferation of Love, in all of it’s forms.
To stand in opposition to Hate, in all of it’s forms.
Lastly, to facilitate others in finding peace and self-appreciation that can only come through the acceptance of Grace; the unmerited favor of God which is not bound by any man made religion or denomination.

Providing public education as well as trained counseling and support to the religiously wounded and those seeking to emerge from abusive relationships.

email: gracehavencounseling@gmail.com





Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Caitlyn and Grace



I realize that I'm going to ruffle feathers, poke the bear, be labeled a "sh*$ stirrer" with this post.  Heck, I will probably loose some Facebook "friends" and followers over this one.  But what has become overwhelmingly clear over the last several years is that God did not put me here to nod politely, and be demure, and keep my thoughts to myself.  I tried to.  I really did.  For the first 35+ years.  I was encouraged to...strongly.  My mother's backhand to my face became my significant other's slap across my mouth or fist to my eye (or worse) when I would speak up or question or disagree.  As I recently said to one of my closest friends, "I have the RIGHT to remain silent, but I simply no longer have the ABILITY".  Nope.  I'm convinced before Baby Eliska was born, God whispered into my ear, "Lisk, I need you to go down there and, when you grown up, I need you to use that big voice of yours.  I need you to be loud...challenge people's beliefs.....challenge what they believe about ME.  Shake things up a bit.  Your going to make them really uncomfortable.  You are going to make more enemies than true friends, but that's ok. I've got your back.  I love you and I will never leave you."

So here it goes.


This all has been brewing inside of me for a while.  I don't know exactly when it began, but it was sometime earlier this year when the whole wedding cake/pizza/religious freedom debacle in Indianapolis began (which, by the way, was NOT about wedding cake, pizza, OR religious freedom). Then I found out that two dear friends of mine, a lovely married couple, who just suffered the devastation of their son being stillborn last year, were asked to leave a church because they chose to support one of their other children who, as a young adult, made the decision to live life as a gender he was not assigned at birth.     


THEY WERE ASKED TO LEAVE A CHURCH.  


If you are a Christian I ask that you sit with that for a minute. If the house of God is not a place you can be to deal with these kinds of issues, where are you suppose to go??


Then, about 24 hours ago, the whole Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner thing turned the internet on it's ear and I foolishly read many of the comments that were being made by friends and family and Christians I respect.  As a very "live out loud" Christian, I realized that by staying silent on this issue many people could assume that I feel like other Christians who have taken to the airwaves and internet to share their unsolicited opinion. 


It's important to note at this point that one of my favorite quotes, one that has influenced my life greatly, is this one from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".  This is, in part, why I feel the need to throw my unsolicited opinion about this into the overcrowded ring today.  It's not that I'm "right" or "good" and anyone who believes differently than I do is "evil", but what grinds my gears about all of this is the people who are proliferating half truths to make their point.  They are not trying to educate others with balanced information and allowing people to come to their own conclusion about these issues.  And what really pisses me off is when people use Scripture, usually chopped up and taken completely out of context, to make their point.  When did being "right" trump educating people and trusting that the Holy Spirit would convict that person as He sees fit??


In an effort to bring education and understanding,  I proceed.


Most Christian’s arguments against transgender are rooted in Genesis 5:2: “[God] created them male and female.”  As a clinician, I want you to know that you need to understand that there are medical conditions: Gender Dysphoria, Klinefelter syndrome (two or more X chromosome in males), and Intersex people (those persons who have physical and genetic variations that do not allow them to be strictly designated as either male or female) as well as a host of others that could be at play here.  Am is saying "God made a mistake" when He made these people?   NO!  And neither should you!  We live in a fallen world (that bit is at the beginning of The Book) and if you are going to continue to be armchair theologians, you need to figure out where these other real medical issues fit in to your theology: 


"According to research conducted by Anne Fausto-Sterling of Brown University, one in 100 children are born with “bodies that differ from standard male or female” biology. This includes those children born with both a penis and a vagina, as well as those with vaginal agenesis, ovatestes, or genetic disorders such as Klinefelter syndrome. Apparently, God sometimes creates humans both male and female or neither fully male nor fully female. Intersex persons offer a critique of those who believe that gender is a static binary assigned from birth and divinely ordained. For example, what about a person who is a sexually “mosaic,” which means they have mixed gonadal dysgenesis such as the development of both ovaries and testes? It’s hard to say because Christian commentators almost never acknowledge the existence of these individuals." (from "Transgender Issues are More Complicated than Some Christians Portray")

http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/08/19/transgender-issues-more-complicated-than-some-christians-portray/"

1 in 100 children.  That makes for a LOT of potential people reading your social media posts and/or sitting in the pews of your church waiting to see how YOU respond to Caitlyn Jenner.


Would they be welcome at your church?  Do we treat people who are different, people who's issues we don't understand, like modern day lepers?  What happened to the idea of Christians being "salt and light" in this world?  By the way, salt was used in biblical times, as it is now: a flavor enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavor of the food it seasons, the followers of Christ stand out as those who “enhance” the flavor of life in this world. Christians, living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ, will inevitably influence the world for good, as salt has a positive influence on the flavor of the food it seasons. Where there is strife, we are to be peacemakers; where there is sorrow, we are to be the ministers of Christ, binding up wounds, and where there is hatred, we are to exemplify the love of God in Christ, returning good for evil (Luke 6:35).


RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL.


So lets break this down:  If you like it, love it.  If you don't want to love it, love it.  If it hurt you, love it.  If you don't understand it, love it.  If it's your enemy, love it.  If you love it, love it some more.  


Where is the Love my brothers and sisters?  Some of you are so wrapped up in fearing "tolerance" and a watering down of God's Word that you have literally rendered yourself completely ineffective at the most important job He gave us: to LOVE (See below).  You are trying to do work that is above your pay grade.  It is not your job to judge or convict or be the critic.  His light, His LOVE shining through us is suppose to draw others to Him.  I love this quote from Billy Graham, “It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love.”


How close do you think the lost will get to God's Word and the Holy Spirit if they are feeling judged by you?


In the end, my unsolicited opinion is worthless.  So I will take a little of my own advice and leave you with God's Word and ask that you read it and sit with it and question how you can walk out The Most Important Commandment.  Be Blessed.



Luke 10:25-37New Living Translation (NLT)


The Most Important Commandment


25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[a]

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan


30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant[b] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[c] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How You Can Keep On Hoping for What Seems Impossible



What kind of blogs do people who write blogs read?  A blog like the one I am sharing with you today. The blog, A Holy Experience, is written by Ann Voskamp. Goodness...when I grow up, I want to BE Ann Voskamp. ;)  She is a true "writer's writer" and a beautiful light.  I wanted to share her most recent post with you because I expect that, like me, there are those of you who really need to read this message.  You need to feel it's encouragement wrap around your shoulders like a comforting, fuzzy blue blanket on an especially cold winter's morning when you have almost forgotten what the warmth of the summer sun on your face feels like.  It can be easy to forget.  Sometimes you get use to something, you forget anything is possible.

Be blessed.

Link:
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2015/05/how-you-can-keep-on-hoping-for-what-seems-impossible/?utm_source=email+marketing&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email



Saturday, March 7, 2015

THRIVE

My final project for my Psychology class.  Very happy with how this turned out and pray it blesses you as much as it blessed me to work on.  I still stand in awestruck wonder at all God has done in my life in a just few short years.  He is Amazing.



Click here: THRIVE


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Looking for His Hands and Feet



Hi Everyone!

I have always said that God has blessed me with the most amazing, diverse, and talented group of people for friends. You are spread over 3 continents and have been my adoptive family, my prayer warriors, my true supporters in life, and that is why I am coming to you now.  As many of you know, in January, I am set to finally begin my last full semester at Liberty University Online. I am scheduled to take 18 credit hours. In June I will begin my last 8 week class and do my Internship (125 hours in a clinical setting) and then write my final paper. Upon completion, I will have my degree in Psychology/Christian Counseling with a concentration in Crisis & Trauma Counseling. This area of work is one I have felt called to for over 10 years. I know I can make a difference in the lives of people who are hurting.

This is where I really need your help. Due to my struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and other Autoimmune diseases, which included me having to completely pull out of school two years ago when I was hospitalized for septic pneumonia and pleurisy, I have exhausted my grant and student loan money. I will receive help with my tuition and some of my books and materials for the my final Spring/Summer 2015 classes. What I will need assistance with is the books/materials my grants/loans will not cover, the bulk of my cost of living expenses from January-July 2015 while I complete my degree. Any other monies that come in over my set goal will be used to cover expenses for me to train for and compete in the US Adult Figure Skating Eastern Sectionals in Pittsburgh, PA in March 2014, and the US Adult National Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake City, UT in April 2014. This is a dream I have had since before I was diagnosed with MS in 2009. I was told I would never skate again due to my illness, but God had other plans. I got back on the ice two years ago and have not looked back. 

I will continue to teach skating part time, but the rink here in Morgantown closes at the end of March and, now that I am on my own, I am looking to move to a town with at least one year round facility so I can continue to train myself and train other skaters while working toward graduation.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for considering to help me reach the goals I have set for 2015 in one of two ways: (1) a monetary donation of any amount (truly, no amount is too small and will be cherished) and/or (2) praying for me, my health, and for this GoFundMe campaign so that I can reach my goals and live my dreams in 2015. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering this, sharing it with your friends and family via social media (people do not have to know me directly to donate or pray). In return, I promise you I will do my very best to be a light in this dark world and a helper to the hurting.

Again, thank you. Blessings to each of you and to all whom you love.

Eliska

Just click the link below and it will take you directly to my GoFundMe page.  You can donate anonymously if you prefer:

http://www.gofundme.com/eliska


~Thank you for the blessing and for being His hands and feet in my life. I love you. ~



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Scared



If you want to know what truly scares you
Just identify the thing you
Can not
Under any circumstances
Imagine yourself living
Without.

For me
That would be
You.

No pressure.

Somewhere you know that
I know
That your self deprecating humor
Is just a facade because you
Are just as scared
As I am
And somewhere
Deep inside
You know that fact is the
Exact same reason
Why I love
You.

This is the
Test
Of time.

This
Is the stuff
Dreams and
Heartbreaks
Are made of.

I always prayed
For real
Love
Above false
Comfort
But I nothing under
God's Heaven
Prepared me for
You.