Life & Faith Beyond the Storybook Image with Speaker & Writer Brenda L. Yoder
“Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who doesn’t change like shifting shadows” James 1:17 (NIV)
This weekend I’ll be speaking to a group of women in Wisconsin on James 1:17. The verse couldn’t be more beautiful and twinkly for a Christmas tea celebrating the Father of heavenly lights and all good gifts.
But the verse also talks about a Father who doesn’t change like shifting shadows. Are things changing around you like shifting shadows? When change happens in your life, how do you respond?
Some people embrace change but a lot of people resist it. Change includes unknowns, bringing fear, anxiety and doubt. We even doubt God. When change doesn’t feel good, it’s hard to accept the circumstances as a good gift. It’s hard to believe that the gift-Giver is good.
Does your perception of God change depending on what you’re going through?Read More
My hometown is beautiful at Christmas with twinkling lights and picture perfect decorations. It mirrors the image of Christmas. A season of great expectations.
Unmet holiday expectations are disappointing. How many children are disappointed because they don’t get the toy they wanted? How many people are disappointed because family relationships aren’t what they hoped for? The Normal Rockwell family sitting around the fire singing Christmas carols is an unspoken expectation during the holidays. Does your home pale in comparison?Read More
Eighteen years ago, I gazed into the eyes of my unbelievably beautiful first-born. I sat in the hospital room alone. It was the first of many nights, many years, that I would spend parenting my son alone. It wasn’t long before I found myself curled in a ball in the middle of my cold, bathroom floor, crying hysterically. I was convinced that no one could possibly understand the depths of my pain. When would this misery end? I was broken. I was exhausted. I had no money, few friends, and no hope. How was I going to raise these children alone for 18 years? How could I make it financially? Would my circumstances every change?
That is my story – the story of a lonely single mom, living on government assistance, running from God, and feeling I couldn’t push through. The next several years brought a winding road of highs and lows, victories and defeats. But I did push through. I made it through those early years of parenting alone.Read More
“I struggle with it,” she said, looking me in the eyes. She was struggling with judgment, but also with grace.
I’ve wrestled with judgment and grace. Have you?
Judging others when they broke rules you thought you had to live by to be accepted.
Wresting with grace because you didn’t really know what it was.
I did. Then, I learned.
I learned we box people in to make ourselves and others feel comfortable.
I learned we box God in when we don’t understand Him or His grace.Read More
It’s my privilege to share the inspiring story of a friend of mine, Dee, who shares her journey with a mental illness. As a service provider of mental health, I am honored she is sharing her story. We need to understand the shame that goes with mental illness.
Thank you, Dee, for sharing your story.
I’ve been in the hospital. Again. And as much as I’ve preached the whole “bipolar is just a chemical imbalance, much like diabetes” gospel to others, I felt very much ashamed at having “come to this” once again.
Let’s be honest, psych ward hospitalization is far different experience from the average patient who finds him/herself in the hospital. There’s the stripping, for one. The stripping of earthly goods, shoes, purse, jewelry, belts, shoelaces, all potential means of self-harm are removed along with cellphones and any other electronic devices. Even the phone for patients’ use in the hallway had a scant 6 inch cord connecting the handset to the base. The assumption of harm to self or others is inescapable. Of course, there’s the literal stripping,Read More
And never again will my people be shamed…Joel 2:26, 27
I looked out on the sea of faces, men and women, black and white, young and old, and saw their eyes. Eyes that a few minutes before were downcast, but now were intently listening.
Never Again Be Shamed.
I’ve seen faces of shame before in my role as teacher, counselor, parent and friend. I’ve known shame before others and God. I’ve also known freedom from its grip.
Have you ever felt shame? As a child, were you shamed by an adult that was demeaning or undeserved? As an adult, do you feel shame because of insecurities, weaknesses, or choices you’ve made? Does shame cling to your conscious, whispering condemning truths in your ear?
Shame recently visited me with a vengeance. I didn’t like it.
Shame is a tool of the conscious that keeps us chained to our past.Read More
I’m catching up from the Arise conference that I’ll be sharing about soon! I have two other speaking engagements this week, so I’m honored to have Tracy Teppler of My Daily Walk in His Grace and Encourage 24/7 share today! I wonder if you can identify with the story! Also, congratulations to Katy for winning the giveaway of Michelle Howe’s book, “It Is Finished!”
As I was hanging the washing up the other day, I was mulling of the closeness, or lack thereof, between myself and my daughters! I felt wounded because I want to be close to my daughters as I was never close to my own Mom. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom. We’re just not close!Read More
The last week has been monumental in many ways. As a counselor and educator, some days are discouraging, bleak, leaving you desperate for change in the lives of kids. But in the midst of those feelings, God works.
Where have you seen God work this week?
I’m reminded when we look at the circumstances around us, it’s easy to be distracted by negatively and discouragement. As we look to Him asking for His perspective, responding in praise, the circumstances don’t change, but our countenance does.
When you see good things God has done for you, are you sharing what God has done?Read More
Dads, do your children like to play video games?
If you have video games in your home, then the answer is most likely a YES!
I know, I know. Many parents are firmly against video games and some don’t even have a TV in their home. I respect that. In our home, we have chosen to allow video games to let our children unwind from their active schedules and to have fun. That’s right, I said it and admit it, we allow video games.
A word of caution.
Once you open Pandora’s Box, it can be hard shut.
As a father of 5 boys between ages 6-12,I can tell you that there can be a STRONG desire for video game time once your children get a taste of them. For boys, the louder, bolder, butt-kickin’ games the better. Boys are built with a warrior instinct inside of them and games bring it out in a big way.
So whats the problem?Read More
I sat across from her. In the glow of the restaurant, she looked away and spoke from her pain. She was honest with me. I heard and understood her.
The book of her life opened. It began making sense to me. In it, I saw layers of pain, remorse, grief and regret.
How often I only looked at the cover of the book. And how often I judged her.
Have you ever judged someone based on what you see on top, not knowing the layers below, the chapters of their story?
This past weekend I spent twenty-two hours on the road by myself. I thought about hurts, people, and layers. In my work as a counseling professional, I see lots of layers where people only see the top.
My conclusion is that instead of judging others, we need to honor their stories.Read More