So much more than I ever imagined…

“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Fourteen years ago a developmental pediatrician confirmed what I already knew to be true. My baby boy had autism. He then looked me in the eyes as he said, ”You need to accept that he may never speak, be toilet trained, or be able to participate in a mainstream classroom.

I took this picture tonight after shedding many tears watching him be the star of the show.

I recorded the entire play, but here’s the final act…

I have a couple of big things that I’m believing God for right now. My guess is that anyone reading this has some unanswered prayers of your own.

Guess what? Our God can do SO MUCH MORE than you can even imagine.

Minding the Gap

mind the gap

mind

verb (used with object)

  1. to pay attention to
  2. to apply oneself or attend to
  3. to look after; take care of; tend
  4. to feel concern at; care about.

gap

noun
  1. break or opening, as in a fence, wall, or military line; breach
  2. an empty space or interval; interruption in continuity; hiatus
  3. wide divergence or difference; disparity

A few weeks ago I was searching for a deal on flights to Serbia and the best fares all required at least one lengthy layover. One option was an eight-hour layover in London. I have a dear friend in England that has gotten married and become a father since the last time I saw him so I checked to see how much it would be to stay overnight. When I found that it was $400 cheaper, I sent him a text to see if they’d be in town, booked the flight, and began packing. My overnight stay with his precious family turned out to be a great decision. Besides falling in love with his sweet wife and the best-natured baby boy I’ve met, I realized exactly what I was traveling to Serbia for.

I had two hours of train (or “tube”) rides to get from Gatwick Airport to where they live in Essex and along my journey I quickly noticed that before each stop there was a recording warning those departing to “Mind the gap.” When I exited each train I turned and found signs on each car and tiles on the ground spelling out the same warning. I’ve done a little research on why the warning is given. The phrase was coined in 1968 to remind passengers to pay attention to the space between the train and the platform. Some of the platforms are curved and the train cars are straight. So, in some places the space between the platform and the train is quite wide and creates a hazard for passengers if they aren’t “minding the gap”.

After my quick visit with the Brits and a brief layover in Poland on the 100th anniversary of their freedom, I arrived in Serbia to be greeted by my brother Samuil. Samuil and I are cut from the same cloth. We are both gifted networkers, love Jesus, and we both attempt to squeeze every minute of purpose out of every day. So I knew from the moment I climbed in his car at Tesla Airport that the days that followed would be filled with adventure.

Twelve hours of sleeping off my jet lag led to me awaking on Monday morning ready to do whatever God had planned for me. As I prepared for the day I pulled the hoodie pictured above out of my luggage. I walked past it at Heathrow just before boarding my plane to Warsaw and impulsively went back to purchase it. As I lifted it from my luggage the words stuck in my head. They would replay in my mind throughout each day that I spent in Serbia. “Mind the gap, Kaci.”

On Tuesday my friend Pam and I spent the day with government officials, social workers, and several foster parents. The day began with an unexpected newspaper interview (If you paste the link into Google translate it will translate the entire article) in the same paper that has covered parts of our story in the past. We were there to discuss the way foster care and orphan care are done in the US and ways to better prepare orphans for independent living. The day was humbling and enlightening. The truth is that we fail in SO MANY ways to care for orphans in America and we aren’t doing any better than Serbia is when it comes to preparing the next generation for independent living. I quickly realized that everyone in the room had things to learn from one another. The day turned into more of a think tank on ways to “mind the gap”.

Tuesday night we had dinner at a transition house in Belgrade. Pam asked the youth living there if they could have dinner with anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be. One girl said that she would want to have dinner with the Aleksander Vucic, the Serbian President. She happened to be sitting right next to me and spoke English so I turned and asked her what she would ask him. Her response, “Does he care about the youth of Serbia and if he does what is he doing to keep us here?” This precious nineteen year old girl, that is stuck between a very hard childhood (her platform) and living out her potential is desperately looking for someone with power to “mind the gap”.

Wednesday we taught foster parents, social workers, and leaders of several NGOs on trauma informed care and fundraising. At the end of our teaching we had a Q&A time and once again it turned into a think tank on ways to “mind the gap”.

Wednesday night I had a drink with a friend that is a Colonel in the Serbian Army. On our walk back to where I was staying we briefly discussed his experiences with war. I quickly realized that little is done to care for veterans in a nation where military members have experienced more combat than this military wife can fathom. Noone is “minding the gap”.

On Thursday I climbed in the EUS (Samuil’s organization-Evangelical Student Organization) van and drove to Novi Sad for a conference on human trafficking that was organized by my friend Marco. The conference was amazing! SOO many people showed up to learn and lend their voices and I could not be prouder of what has been done in Serbia to “mind the gap” for victims of trafficking since my last visit in 2011.

Friday morning I overslept and awoke to my friend Mila at the door (with breakfast-because she’s a hero). She made me coffee while I threw my clothes and face on and after a much-too-short catch up on all that she has been doing to “mind the gap” by opening a crisis pregnancy center and helping women who’ve experienced abortion find healing; my friends Bojan, Rachel, and Marijana arrived to drive me to meet Sofija’s biological brothers.

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Y’all, my time with these men who share my daughter’s blood was priceless. They were kind, welcoming, and honest. They are good men (both in their thirties), and they want to know Sofija. Their Mother’s story is one for another day and there are two more siblings I have yet to meet, but sitting in their home and seeing my daughter’s eyes, and smile, and ears, and hands was one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. I also met Sofija’s sister-in-law and niece (both incredibly beautiful). These people are Sofija’s family which makes them OUR family.

Friday afternoon was spent shopping with my friend Tatjana that started the transition homes that brought me back to Serbia and then attending Samuil’s birthday celebration. On Saturday I flew home.

I missed church on my first Sunday home because.. jet lag. And I missed this last Sunday because our family caught a nasty cold over Thanksgivin. While sniffling and fighting a fever I sat and watched a sermon via Facebook live from the International Christian Fellowship in Belgrade. It was their tenth anniversary and it only seemed appropriate that I watch the ten-year celebratory service of the community of believers that gave me all of the friends I was able to connect with on my trip. Jonathon Lamb was the guest speaker for the service. He is an author and minister from Oxford, UK.

In the middle of his message, Jonathon quoted 1 John 2:6 “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” It is one of my favorite life verses. In fact, I believe that all of 1 John 2 is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible and I highly encourage you to click the link, read it, write it down, read it some more, and make it your daily challenge. Trust me! Trying to live it out WILL be a challenge. But if each of us who calls ourselves “Christian” would actually make it a daily challenge to live our lives as Jesus did, we would never have to question whether or not we’re “paying attention”, “applying ourselves”, “taking care of”, or “feeling concern for”; the “breaks or openings”, “empty spaces and interruptions in continuity”, or “wide divergence or disparities” of this world.

Mind the gap.

 

Adoption = Loss and Gain

novi sad
Beautiful Novi Sad showing off her fall colors for me.

I have been asked often in the last nine years, “Why Serbia?” Sometimes people are just curious and sometimes the question is asked with judgment and usually followed up with, “But there are so many kids in America who need families.” My reply is almost always, “God.” That response is the truth. God chose our family for a little girl who happened to be born in a nation more than 5,000 miles away from America. When we learned about her we weren’t even looking to adopt and we didn’t know where she lived. And when we did find out that she lived in Serbia we had to look on a globe to see where exactly Serbia is. But, in all honesty, there was a reason we never even discussed adopting domestically in the many discussions we had about adoption in all the years before we found her. I knew too many people who adopted domestically that had messy situations with their child’s biological family. I did not want “messy”. I always thought that IF we adopted I wanted it to be with no strings attached. If only it worked like that…

April 2010, at Sofija’s adoption ceremony, a social worker handed me a genogram of her family. I was stunned and had no clue how to process all of the information on that piece of paper. I had the names, birthdates, and last known location of her three brothers, her sister, their fathers, all six of her aunts and uncles, and her grandparents. I tucked the paper away in our dossier folder and waited a long time to pull it out. As the months passed after bringing her home I quickly learned that the information I was given was a rarity. I don’t know any other Serbian adoptive family that has received so many details about their child’s biological family.

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One day I was sitting on the floor with my baby girl and playing with her cute toes (yes, she painted them herself in that picture) and all I could think was, “I wonder if they look like her first Mom’s?” And then I started wondering if her brothers and sister were tall and athletic like her. So… I pulled out that piece of paper and opened my laptop and began searching Facebook. Within minutes I was fairly certain I had found her siblings. For the next two years I would just randomly stalk their profiles and look through their photos for some connection. Someday I should probably thank them for not having all of their photos and information private. 😉

During one of my photo stalking escapades, I came across a picture of her oldest brother with his feet propped up. They looked EXACTLY like Sofija’s. I laughed and then I cried and then before I could think it through I typed out a few sentences that had been running through my head for a while. I sent them in a message, and then copied and pasted them into messages to the other three siblings. And then…. crickets. For THREE YEARS. I stopped stalking and let it go. I didn’t want “messy” and I wanted to respect their rights to not be in contact.

And then, in July of 2015, I woke one Sunday morning to messages from all of them. One of them had found my message in his “other messages” folder, contacted his siblings, and they all had a million questions. They did not know she existed, much less that she had been adopted and was living in another country. I soon received friend requests from aunts and cousins spread out all over Europe.

For the last three years we have been in contact and tomorrow I will meet her oldest brother and his wife and baby. Tonight, I am a bit emotional and if you’re reading this you are welcome to start praying that I am able to contain my emotions so we can make the most of the time we have together.

I will not lie, I went through our entire adoption process with completely selfish intentions. I wanted this little girl that I knew was supposed to be my daughter to be mine alone. I did not want any other family in the world to have any claim to her. But that’s not how it works.

My daughter lost everything when we adopted her. No matter how badly I wanted to believe that she gained the world by becoming a part of our family the truth is that she lost every single thing she ever knew and was taken away by complete strangers. The truth is that when she was left at the hospital after birth and then transferred to an orphanage at ten days old, she lost a mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and dozens of extended family members.

But…the minute I opened that first message and a connection was made, I gained family. Sofija may have my blood type and my eye color, but she shares their blood. For several weeks the chalkboard in my house said, “You will never look someone in the eyes that God does not love.” I put it there in an attempt to break the political tensions in our house and remind each of us that political views do not define a person. Only God gets to do that. We are all His creations. We are all family. But God’s creations that I get to meet tomorrow have blood running through their veins that ties them to the little girl that calls me, “Mama”. And that’s kind of a big deal.

 

 

Lessons from a Squirrel & FINALLY back in Serbia

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After a lifetime of lessons being learned through Old Testament like experiences, I have found that asking God to show me what I need to know through simple observations is MUCH LESS painful and exhausting. And because He is truly good and kind, He has obliged my request.

See that squirrel up there running along my porch rail? Throughout September and October I watched that squirrel, day and night, busily working to build and fill her nest. She would pull twigs and dates from the trees on one side of my porch, run to her nest in a tree on the other side of the porch, deposit her findings, and run back to collect more. For a week or so I sat and watched her thinking that she had lost her mind. You see… we live in south Florida. While the temperatures may drop a little in the winter, there is still rarely a day that isn’t warm enough for shorts and flip-flops. The palm dates that the squirrel was gathering will continue to be produced throughout the coming months. Nevertheless, she diligently did what she was created to do.

After I realized that the environment the squirrel happens to live in had no impact on her motivation to fulfill her purpose, I became fascinated with her. I spent weeks sitting on my porch watching her work. She would sometimes pause to look at me, but would never stop for more than a few seconds and she always continued on with what she was doing. And then Hurricane Michael formed in the Gulf of Mexico. As the weather deteriorated on October 9th and 10th, I watched her through my kitchen window. She would brace herself on the porch rail during the gusts of wind, but as soon as the wind slowed, she was back to work. And when the winds grew steadily strong, she climbed in her nest and waited for the storm to pass. The morning after the storm I went to check on her. Her little nest was badly damaged, but by the end of the day she had made great progress in rebuilding it. She just continued diligently doing what she was created to do.

Which led me to here and now.

Remember my post back in June about the transition houses in Serbia? Well, when I first learned about them in April of 2017 I connected the founder Tatjana with my internet friend Pam that founded Connections Homes in Atlanta. Because God’s networking is a little mind-boggling, He sent someone from Orphan’s Promise to visit the house in Belgrade and that someone contacted Pam and asked her to visit and long story short, we are both in Belgrade this week. Today we met with government officials, social workers, and foster parents. We discussed how to care for children who age out of orphan care and how to best prepare them for independence. We also did a news interview. Tomorrow we will be training on trauma-informed care, fundraising, and how to recruit families to become mentoring families for life to those who age out.

HOP House dinnerBut tonight… we were invited to one of the transition houses for dinner. The young people prepared a beautiful meal for us and spent some time allowing us to get to know them. Y’all, they’re amazing! And filled to the brim with potential. But also… the needs to support them as HOP is preparing them to live independently are huge.

I am brainstorming ways to best support them and asking YOU to please pray! Pray for wisdom and God-given guidance tomorrow in every word that we speak. Pray for no time wasted in pursuing the wrong avenues of support. Pray for the young people and those who are working with them as they navigate the process of becoming independent adults in a society where there is little hope for dreams coming true. And also pray for Tatjana. Just before I boarded my plane last Friday I received a message that her Father had died unexpectedly. Her plate is full and her heart is heavy.

This is who you’re praying for… HOP2

Thank you for being on THEIR team and for being the team of people who remind me to diligently do what I was made for!

I can’t wait to share more…

 

URGENT NEED!

When we adopted Sofija in 2010 , our eyes were opened to many needs in Serbia. One of those needs was the lack of life skills children had as they transitioned from orphan care to independent living. Those who spend their life in an orphanage enter adulthood with very few independent living skills. And… There are A LOT of orphans entering adulthood without finding a family.

The need for transitional care weighed heavy on me, but after a few inquiries it was made clear that Serbia isn’t a fan of privatized care of their citizens being done by outsiders. Eight years have passed and Serbia is  now a member of the Hague Convention. Joining the Hague Convention greatly improved orphan care, legalized and legitimized the adoption process, and provided an extra layer of protection between orphans and traffickers.  Even so, for the last eight years, what happens to all of those who “age out” has continued to weigh heavy on me.

Fast forward to the spring of 2017…

I had lunch in Orlando with several coordinators of Operation Christmas Child distributions throughout Serbia. I took some time getting to know everyone around the table and saved the lady to my immediate right for last. Her name is Tatjana (Tanya). When I asked her what she does she replied with, “Well, I have to tell you the back story before I tell you what I do.” I responded by bringing my hand to my chest and smiling as I said, “Oh, we’re going to be friends!”

Tanja then told me that she has four biological children and that she and her husband decided a few years ago to foster a child who was about to age out. They then learned just how many children were getting ready to age out and they desperately wanted to help more than one. Because there is a limit of five children in the home for foster families, they decided to open a transition house. From their desire to love big, HOP (pronounced “hope”) House was born. It stands for House of Opportunity. 

Before Tanja had finished telling me the story, I knew I had to partner with her. I’ve learned SO MUCH about the odds against a child who ages out and has no transitional care. It’s U.G.L.Y. We’re talking about real, precious humans who are filled with nothing but potential that mostly just disappear. Their lives are lost to suicide, drugs, trafficking… Being accepted into one of the houses is literally the difference between life and death. The kids at the HOP Houses are going to school. They are working. They are learning to cook, and budget, and care for a home, and play instruments, and make crafts and candles that they sell at various venues in an attempt to support themselves. More importantly, they are learning what it means to be safe, live in a family setting, and to be loved unconditionally. They’re not just finding hope. They’re experiencing Jesus.HOP Houses are in urgent need of support! The houses currently have enough funding to carry them through July and they will close in August without an influx of money. Below you can see the exact cost of keeping the houses operating and what their current needs are. If you would like to help, you can contact Tanja or myself and we’d be happy to tell you how to get money to them. 

I hardly know a person who hasn’t been outraged by some aspect of the situation with families being separated at the US/Mexico border. I’ve seen countless people on social media ask how they can help. Here ya go… If you want to make a difference in the lives of children who’ve been orphaned or separated from their families, this is a great opportunity.

Nine Years!

I have no makeup on and I’m about to go to sleep, but I have to share this post before June 18th is over. See that rut in my neck? Well, there’s a story behind it. Today I celebrate. 

June 18, 2009 I paced my kitchen and wiped up every single fingerprint and crumb I could find.  Willing the phone to ring.  Willing the phone to ring.  Why wouldn’t the phone just ring?!?!

The call I was waiting on was one of those fork in the road calls.  After two years of living with thyroid cancer, I was about to find out if my summer would be spent undergoing surgery plus more radiation and isolation, or celebrating freedom from the big “C”.  The phone finally rang and the doctor said something like, “I can’t explain it, but you’re cancer-free.”  God will always get the glory for that moment.  I was healed.  I am healed.  I am cancer-free.

Since that summer day in 2009, I have had the opportunity to share what I learned on my cancer journey with a few other people battling it themselves.  The first thing I always say to someone recently diagnosed with cancer is this… If cancer doesn’t change your life for the better, it was a waste.  Hearing that I was cancer-free was a defining moment.  Hearing that I had cancer was a refining moment.  That’s what cancer should always be.  It should refine you.  For me, the physical healing that was confirmed on June 18th was simply a reflection of the spiritual and emotional healing that had taken place over the two years between my diagnosis and that phone call.  God used cancer to clean out my junk.  He took away layer after layer of scars and wounds until I was something worthy of being used by Him.  And then He set me on fire for purpose.  I don’t want to ever again lay my head on my pillow and wonder what my purpose was for the day I just lived.  Be it parenting, loving my husband, writing, cooking dinner, or weeding my garden, I want to live a life of purpose.

Now… all that gooey life-changing for the better stuff aside.  Here are a few unexpected bits of wisdom that came with thyroid cancer.

1. radiation + sunshine = instant age spots

2. iodine is in almost everything you eat (thanks to the 3-week low-iodine diet required before my annual scans)

3. What I once thought was my highest weight… Not even close!

4. I now know the exact weight when my muffin-top appears.

5. I now know the exact weight when my bought and paid for chest is a size bigger than I bought and paid for…. And two sizes bigger.

6. Without synthroid it is actually possible to gain a pound a day while eating absolutely nothing.

7. The rut left in your neck when your thyroid is removed can actually help disguise all the weight gain mentioned above.

8. Every dentist office has a thyroid guard that can be used to protect your thyroid during x-rays.  Yet…not a single dentist I know of actually asks if you would like them to use it. ~ Soapbox moment: Federal law only requires dentists to have a thyroid guard in the office. There is no law requiring that it be used.  Helloooo?!?!

9. Once you’re placed in the cancer corral, you will forever hear a little voice suggesting that every ache or pain or odd feeling just might be….

10. There’s a lot of other really awesome people in the cancer corral that I may have missed out on if I had never been placed there myself.

Happy NINE YEARS CANCER-FREE DAY to me!

the show…

If you’ve been anywhere in my personal bubble in the last five months, you’ve likely been introduced to the movie The Greatest Showman. If you haven’t seen it yet, please stop reading and watch it NOW. It’s packed full of life lessons, memorable quotes, and inspiring music. One of the more memorable quotes comes from the opera singer Jenny Lind in the scene above. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone so I won’t give the context of it, but she says, “When you’re careless with other people, Mr. Barnum, you bring ruin upon yourself.”

Six years ago, on Mother’s Day 2012, our family walked away from the church community that we had poured ourselves into for the previous four years. It had been less than a month since I buried my grandmother, six years since I had buried my Mom, and we were five months into the investigation that nearly destroyed us. If I had been outside of the situation looking in, I probably would’ve advised myself to just stay put until the rest of my life was a little less painful. But I wasn’t on the outside.

When our family moved to the DC area in the summer of 2008 we quickly began looking for a church. After visiting a couple that didn’t feel like home, my sister called. She had been to a church in Baton Rouge, LA that morning and heard a pastor from Jacksonville, FL talk about a new church in Alexandria, VA. DC Metro Church was planted by a couple from Louisiana. I’m a Louisiana girl. They went to LSU. I went to LSU. The church was less than a year old and met at a movie theater. Cool. I found their website, sent a message, and the next morning received a phone call that led to another phone call, and then another, and by that afternoon dear hubby and I were walking to a small group at a neighbor’s house. The people we met that night are the people who walked with our family through cancer, a deployment, and adopting our daughter. They are the people who God used to teach me how to have healthy relationships with women, how to be bold about my faith, how to chase my dreams, and how to live in community. Many of the people we met that night will forever be considered family.

Because of several circumstances, it was nearly two months before we met and heard a sermon from the lead pastor of DC Metro. By that point we were deeply planted in our little church community. I really didn’t care about the meat of the messages and I didn’t bother to ask questions about oversight and accountability. The people we were living life with on a daily basis were doing a phenomenal job of pastoring our family. Because of them, I have no regrets about any of the time, energy, or resources we poured into DCMC in the years that followed. I could never put a price on the relationships, growth, freedom, healing, and purpose that we found there. But… there were countless red flags about the church leadership. They were our friends. We got to know them pretty well and I can still say with sincerity that I love them. Because of my love for them, I prayed. Like on my face, on the floor, snotty crying prayers. I prayed for health. I prayed for humility. I prayed for freedom. I prayed for open eyes. As I witnessed carelessness in dealing with person after person after person, I began to pray for God to intervene. Eventually the carelessness came around to hurting my family. It turned out that adopting a little girl with disabilities didn’t fit the desired image of the church. Neither did a woman who repeatedly asked for leadership decisions to be explained Biblically. For many months we felt like we didn’t belong. Outside of the building, our community of people was still ours, but every time we stepped foot in the building we felt like square pegs in a round hole. On countless Sundays I cried for the entire drive home. I didn’t want to lose our people.

And then, in May of 2012, through very clear channels, God released us from DCMC. I won’t lie. Leaving was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. I grieved. Our entire family grieved. My kids were angry and it was really hard to help them direct their anger. I kept telling myself and everyone I talked to that no matter what church we attended, we were all one family. We ARE one family. Nevertheless, we lost people. The loss hurt.

I’ve joked about writing a book on how to leave a church because I honestly believe we did it as well as it could be done. Once we knew we were leaving, my dear hubby scheduled a meeting with the pastor and told him. Me being me, I wrote a letter and mailed it to their home. In the meeting, dear hubby promised that we would not be divisive, but he also said that we would not lie if anyone asked why we left. We upheld that promise. Many people who were very close to us still have no clue about all of the decisions that were made that negatively impacted our family or how uncomfortable we were for the months leading up to our departure. They didn’t ask, and we didn’t tell. People were told to stay away from our family and people were told outright lies about why we left. It was a big huge yucky mess and each time something got back to us, we were just grateful that we were no longer under that leadership.

Fast forward to the spring of 2017. I awoke to a text message early one Sunday morning telling me that I might want to watch the DCMC livestream. I’m pretty sure I sat with my mouth hanging open and tears running down my face as I watched the Stines step down from leading the church.

“When you’re careless with other people, Mr. Barnum, you bring ruin upon yourself.”

I would like to add to Jenny Lind’s quote. You can’t step out of your own ruin until you at least attempt to reconcile the damage done by your carelessness. You have to make amends. You have to apologize. You have to humble yourself and accept responsibility for your actions or you will continue to live in ruins.

It was brought to my attention this week that the Stines are launching a new social media based ministry. Again, I’m pretty sure I sat with my mouth hanging open and at least a few tears in my eyes. Because our people have remained our people, I am certain that no reconciliation has taken place. No amends have been made.

My dear friend Julie wrote a piece Thursday in response to the news of the new ministry. It’s a powerful open letter. You can read it here. Before she published it she gave me the honor of a first look and had a discussion with me about her “why”. That discussion gave me great conviction. She explained that she feels a responsibility akin to those who are sexually assaulted and live in silence while the assailant goes on to assault others. Her “why” was the hope that by speaking out on a public platform she may cause someone take pause. This post is written with that same hope.

The six years between our leaving and the news this week of the new ministry gives me a unique viewpoint. Although I cannot count the number of people who I care about that were treated carelessly in the years after we left, my family was in a very safe church environment with healthy leadership for those years. We had the time to heal and to actually dig into the Bible and figure out what God says His Church is supposed to look like. However, around the time that the Stines stepped down I had a realization. As much as I thought I had healed, I had become a cynic about all things related to church.

cynical 

adjective

1. distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic.

2. showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, 

especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
3. bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.
Here’s the thing about cynicism. It drives me crazy! It’s one of the least attractive attributes I see in other people. I love sarcasm. I hate cynicism. Cynicism is ugly.
To quote Bob Goff, one of my favorite authors, “I’ve never met a courageous cynic.” It’s true. You can’t be brave and be cynical. The two just cannot coexist. Cynicism is just a scared coverup for unhealed wounds. So when I find myself being cynical about anything to do with church, I have to start looking for what bitterness I’m harboring and what wounds I haven’t dealt with. I just have to. Or I’ll live out my life as a scared, bitter person. Nobody wants to be around a scared, bitter old lady.
Which leads me to my second hope for this essay… if you’ve been hurt and you’re struggling with unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, pain, or fear… please deal with it. God wants SO MUCH more for us than to live out our lives miserable because we’ve been hurt by the people who hand out crap in His name. If you find yourself being cynical, spend some time with Him. Write down what hurts, ask God to heal it, and then LET IT GO. Life’s too short and there is way too much work to do for you and me to hide at home in fear, or go out in public with anger.
Also, don’t be careless with others. Just don’t.
One more thing, for those like me, who had a moment of fear or panic this week over the thought of the new ministry and more people being hurt in God’s name, remember this…
Revelation 3:7 “…what He opens no one can close and what He closes no one can open.”
Trust me. I’ve tried to force doors back open after God closed them. It’s never pretty.