Going to church can hurt. Like really hurt. As in it can bring on a panic attack or tears and emotional soul wrenching.
The weight of years of partial truth on your shoulders pulls down in full force. There are triggers starting in the parking lot. Just making it inside the church building takes outrageous courage. You want to believe. You want to be there. The foyer starts to spin. Your heart beats faster and faster. People around you become a blur. The feeling to run overwhelms. The music and program format are all too familiar. You remember the past. It feels as though someone is slowly wrapping your body in plastic wrap. Before long, your whole body is tight and you can’t hear anything but the pounding inside your head and you finally give in to the desire to escape before your whole being explodes.
This is Part 3 and the Conclusion of the series, “DNA Testing and Unexpected Results - How should Christians respond when it happens to them?” What does God and the Bible say about processing this new-found NPE (Not Parent Expected) discovery?
Lives are being shattered and rebuilt because of questions being answered.
Frequently, people had a feeling growing up or just never felt like they fit in to the family that raised them. The girl who gave up her child for adoption has often wept and tried to find her baby. The boy who was mistreated by the family who raised him, but couldn’t figure out why everyone else was treated better than him now understands.
Some of the gut feelings or deeply agonized questions are getting answers because of DNA testing. For some, their DNA results literally shatter their lives. But for others, it’s resolution.
When a Christian is on the receiving end of surprise DNA testing results, how should they respond?
This is Part 2 of “DNA Testing and Unexpected Results - How should Christians respond when it happens to them?”
Families are being united and torn apart.
This is two-fold:
Someone discovers they are the result of a secret (affair/rape, donor conceived, etc.) or maybe there’s a different biological father and Mom didn’t even know. Perhaps they were adopted and have just discovered their biological family! Now that individual (NPE) must decide what to do. Their identity is shattered - who are they really? Do you tell your mom you know? How does this affect your spouse, children, aunts and uncles, grandparents and others in your family? Your family name, do you change it? Will people treat you the same? Why do you feel different?
Have you SEEN the news lately? DNA testing has caused one media frenzy after another. Ancestry, 23 And Me and other companies are leading the way in connecting our DNA with the world. There is even a non-profit established to help those with shocking DNA discoveries - it’s called NPE Friends Fellowship, founded by Catherine St Clair.
The traditional family structure is being challenged by folks locating half siblings, biological parents and other family members. Individuals are discovering that one, or both parents aren’t who they thought. People with this unexpected event are being called NPEs. NPE stands for Not Parent Expected, but it used mean Non Paternity Event by the genealogy community. As the discovery numbers have increased, both maternal and paternal surprises are happening, thus the switch in wording.
Mommy groups have never been my thing. I just never fit in. As a younger mom, I really tried to connect with other moms in my church and community. Whenever I tried, it just wasn’t natural. Everything was awkward. Finally, I stopped forcing myself into uncomfortable situations.
For years I thought something was wrong with me and I was just a social misfit.
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
— Proverbs 27:17
Happily, we announce that we've been given amazing, Godly, supportive friends who just "get" us. Those couple of gals who cry with us, talk until we can't talk any more, bring us a double shot frappe or come hang out even when the house is trashed.
This is awesome. This is needful. We all need a tribe. We need friends who accept the toys strewn all over the house and who fold the laundry piled on our couch all while telling us how impressed they are with how together we seem.
During my formative years, people in my circles primarily focused on the don’t’s of Christian living. An active, living relationship with Christ was suggested but never fully understood. Basically, a relationship with Christ meant following all the rules.
In my personal life, I’ve been guided by the Holy Spirit into a much healthier understanding of a relationship with Christ. Alive. Growing. An internal, personal focus versus an external one.
Hey friends, I’m excited to have been asked to guest post for Abby McDonald! Her blog is full of encouragement for Christian ladies as she helps you on your journey towards “Finding the Hope of Christ in a Messy Life.” I hope her words bless you.
Here’s an excerpt from my post, head over to Abby’s blog to read the rest.
After years of counseling, changing beliefs and thought patterns and seeking God's truth, the realization happened again, "I am broken. My family is broken. Will it ever end? I need help." My husband and I had just had a fight and my emotions were raw. Pain from the past and fear for the future was filling my heart. But then I heard, "We are all broken," inside my head, and the freedom of knowing this was a human condition, not merely a Rebekah condition calmed me. "I will always need help. No one can ever be perfect. That's why there's Jesus."
Brokenness is another Christian buzz word. Unfortunately, it's a word that has been used to control people and make us continue working to achieve God's approval.
Every once in a while, a book comes along that just grabs you. Something charming, witty, adorable and just plain GOOD. Michelle Pullins is both author and illustrator of Move Over, this is a book that will grab you too.
For over one hundred years women have been fighting for equality. Strong, brave women helped pave the way for us to vote. Gallant women endured much in the work place making it a safer place. I say, “Thank you,” to each of them, “Thank you.” Their sacrifices and courage have given women rights to their own bodies, lives and futures.
These are words that come to mind when the term leadership is tossed around. Hundreds of books, blogs and blurbs have been penned on the topic of how to be leader. Now it's my turn. *winks*
Through the years, I have observed and experienced many amazing Christian ministry leaders. Unfortunately, there were also those leaders who were in positions for the wrong reasons and those who's behavior was anything but Godly.
When I was growing up in church, this passage from Romans was paramount in the pulpit.
The not in the Bible phrase, “Be in the world, not of the world,” was basically a mantra. Unfortunately, this was wielded as a conformity weapon to bludgeon us into looking and acting the part we were supposed to play.
I gotta toot my own horn here. I’m good at thrifting. It’s been a lifetime in the making, but I’m good at it.
I find awesome stuff. Friends don’t go shopping with me, unless they’re ready to plunk down plenty of money, because I’m like a magnet to great stuff at great prices…and lots of it! As Monk said, “It’s a gift, and a curse.”
Out of a job for the second time in two years, I found myself thinking, “Why?” My husband has been faithful. He’s honest. He’s hardworking. He’s excellent at his job, top of his field! Why is this happening to us again? What did we do wrong? This job seemed like such an answer to prayer at the time, why is it being taken away from us? We were finally getting back on our feet!
As I sat in a small cabin in the mountains of New Mexico, it was snowing. About four inches of good, powdery snow. The air was crisp and invigorating. Wild turkey and deer were venturing around the property. Thankfully, no bear sightings.
While on vacation, and for a bit before that, I'd realized something. I'd starting to buy into a lie. "Live for the picture."
My husband and I are in the process of evaluating our lifestyle at home, too much clutter, too many meals out. We have recycled for a long time but recently started composting. We mostly shop at thrift stores and garage sales, (hey, I'm unique, not cookie-cutter and I can't pass up a bargain.) We donate or gift outgrown items. Our pets are rescued and our home is an older fixer-upper we are slowly DIY-ing. We are so dang mindful, can I get a high five?