The Forgivable Sin

Today as every other post, headline and news story is talking about the horrific law passed allowing abortion up to full term, my heart is deeply grieved because of this decision, but it also aches deeply for every woman and man that with each post and news story is brought back to a time of deep pain when they chose abortion.

No one chooses abortion lightly.

Fear is a powerful driving force and many are forced into making that decision. It’s never an easy decision.

I believe the best voices for the future of the unborn lies in the process of letting those that chose abortion know that there is forgiveness, wholeness and restoration available to them in Jesus Christ.

Once they are Restored – they will never want anyone to suffer as they have due to abortion.

Abortion affects people just like PTSD. It has long ranging effects.

Sadly, I have been speaking out about this to leaders and churches and communities and anyone that will listen, that abortion is as much a problem for the churched as the unchurched.

I did post abortion Bible Studies in my community through the local pregnancy center. More than half of those attending were daughters of Pastors, Deacons, Elders and Bishops … all forced to have their abortions due to the shame it would bring their fathers, families and communities.

They all either described how they worked and served hard in the Church trying to prove their good works afterwards or they simply left the church completely because of the hurt they felt because no one offered them anything other than judgement and condemnation.

The Worlds churches are full of wounded women and men sitting in congregations hurting deeply over this. Another Sanctity of Life sermon and Pro-Life rant will not heal them.

Almost all that I counseled were still holding onto their secrets and shame so tightly that many turned to various forms of counterfeit comforts – hard drugs, alcohol, pills or food to try to numb their deep pain. I was one of them too for almost 25 years.

Statistics show that almost 60% of female inmates in our prison systems have had an abortion.

Where there is a woman suffering – there is also many men suffering too.

Not every man is the driving force behind the choice to abort. Many men are deeply grieved over their parts or even lack of in the decision.

I once even heard of a young college girl that was adamant on choosing abortion and when asked why, she said that her Heavenly Father can forgive her but her earthly father said he would not forgive her if she didn’t choose abortion. Her earthly father was a prominent pastor in the community.

Today, as many people around the world are incensed by this decision, may we also be just as enraged and angry for God’s daughters and sons that have bought the lies that they are horrible murderers or people because of their choice to abort.

May we be led to help them receive forgiveness and wholeness instead of simply screaming about how horrible and wrong it is.

We ALL know how horrible it is – trust me. Oprah and Chelsea Handler and every pink hat wearer claiming rights to their choices and bodies will try to spin it differently – but it is never as simple or lighthearted as they claim it is.

May we be able to show them they are loved despite the choices they made and point them to the truth that abortion is not the unforgivable sin.

Shame can only survive in silence.

God forgave Moses and David for murder and He has forgiven me and will forgive ANYONE and EVERYONE that comes to Him and repents that have made that choice too.

Please hear me!

There is wholeness and life and life abundantly available after abortion.

We must shatter the silence and shame by allowing the Words of our testimony and the Blood of the Lamb to enable us to overcome and help others overcome.

We begin to repair our stories when we share our stories.

Yes, we must

Pray for the unborn,

Pray for the lawmakers,

but please don’t forget to

Pray for your fellow brothers and sisters that are suffering in shame and silence today.

Pray they reach out and know that they are worthy of love and forgiveness.

I am not here to say abortion is ok or that we don’t have a right to voice our righteous anger towards the killing of millions of babies every year …

No, please know and hear my heart-

I am here to say that we must do more – we can always do more than simply voicing our anger over abortion. We can be committed to help restore lives by helping anyone suffering from the affects of abortion to become forgiven, healed and whole. In doing so, we can help bring about great change to the very fabric of our Nation.

If one person is bound – we are all bound!

Contact me if you need prayer, resources, or help healing from abortion.

Together-let’s make a difference.

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

This book in the lead photo is years in the making and I hope – Lord Willing, it will be finished this year.

Restored Ministries

Catching Freedom

she was pulled out from the womb,

being enveloped in utter darkness

and pain wrapping her up,

in a cold, wet blanket;

miles and miles of memories

sewn tightly,

exposing no cracks between

day and night,

although they’ve been known to her;

she’s fed off lies and cries

burning the fire inside a body

full of tears that’s created an ocean

she’s been swimming in for years;

she’s built a small dock,

pulled herself up,

clinging on for dear life,

hoping someone or something

will find and save her

from the unjust days she’s been dealt;

her heart is still beating,

never quitting

cause strength is within her

and she refuses to fall

although her circumstances

aren’t promising of another day;

she remains this way for longer

than time can tell

her to be quiet and listen

to the wind speak

peace to her current storm;

she is calm

unlike the voices of past

playing like a broken record,

repeating that she’s worthless

and no one will save her

from this tormenting pain,

but she refuses to listen

cause she knows

she’s worthy of freedom

even if it lasts long enough

to break the sky apart

to quiet the tears

streaming like a waterfall

over her face;

she is brave

fighting each moment

cause she knows joy

will come in the morning;

so many more years go by

unnoticed to those

whose ignorance bleeds,

but she doesn’t allow it

to break her;

one day,

her heart leads her to the edge,

the end of the dock

to show her promise

that’s unfolded;

she follows it

and sees a butterfly

dancing in the wind;

she bends down

to get a better look

and sees scars written

upon the wings

yet strength in the way it flies;

in that moment

she knows it’s time

to let go of the dock;

she jumps

to find that she doesn’t fall into the ocean

to her death,

but flies above depth

no longer her home

cause she is free at last.

~ Bethany Anne

Catching Freedom

You Can’t Sprint Through Grief

May Jesus give you time and space to feel your hurts, heal your wounds, and grieve your losses.

May He lead you beside still waters and restore your soul.

May He bring you friends who love you right where you are.

May you refuse to be cynical or jaded; instead, may you dare to dream again, right in the midst of the pain you’re in.

Don’t be afraid of lament.

You can’t sprint through grief.

But avoid self-pity like the plague.

You don’t need pity.

You have the promises of God!

You have the presence of God!

And He still has a powerful purpose for you.

You won’t stay in this valley.

You’re just passing through.

One honest step at a time.

You’ll get through it, and you’ll be stronger on the other side.

You can do this.

God bless you, dear one. ~ Fenich Jerry

http://www.poeticallyprophetic.com

My Battlefield Will Become My Harvest Field

Some may not know all the specifics of my medical history and how God has showed up and healed me in some pretty amazing ways.

I am still believing for more healings and to tackle taking better care of myself.

So here it is …I am laying it all out here…

At 20 I was diagnosed with Thyroid disease and put on meds. I was also diagnosed with Chronic fatigue syndrome.

At 27 I had a procedure done for removal of endometriosis and some adhesions.

At 28 I had a procedure to enlarge my bladder for interstitial cystitis after chronic bladder infections.

At 29 I had twins – 6 weeks early but weighing in at full term. I hemorrhaged twice afterwards with the C section and had some complications.

At 29 I was put on anxiety meds for post pardom depression.

At 30 my back was going out weekly and had to have steroid injections. I had some bulging discs and female issues that were later discovered.

At 31 I had a complete & total hysterectomy for an enlarged uterus, my gallbladder removed because it was completely non functioning and some adhesions removed all at the same time.

At 31 I was placed on high doses of HRT – by the time the anesthesia was wearing off my hysterectomy I was in full blown menopause about to lose my mind. Menopause with 2 year old twins!

At 34 after many years of steroids for my back and asthma and chronic bronchitis and just overwhelmed with a corporate job and twins I spent a week in the hospital due to a colitis infection due to extreme stress.

At 35 I left the corporate world to stay home with my twins.

At 36 my brother Toby died suddenly.

My drinking and smoking and eating

was out of control.

I was very depressed and angry at God.

My Dad also was very sick and hospitalized for 2 years at the same time. High stressful times but I found my way back to God and left all religion for a personal relationship with Christ.

At 37 I stopped smoking.

At 38 I suffered a stroke. 1.8.08 –

8 is my favorite number still!

At 38 I was told to stop drinking alcohol due to elevated Liver Enzymes and Fatty Liver. I didn’t drink again until 2013.

At 38 I was diagnosed Diabetic – couldn’t take meds – ended back in hospital with severe kidney issues and cellulitis infection on my face. Taken off all diabetes meds and within 4 /5 years reversed my diabetes and A1C to pre diabetic numbers, lost 65 pounds with a very strict diet and exercise.

At 39 had severe muscle bridging in heart detected after a failed stress test – had a angiogram / Heart Cath and the cardiologist couldn’t find it after the scans and other tests confirmed it. I had so many people pray over me before the test I know it was God that healed me! Has not returned and last stress test was perfect.

At 39 I went back to work part time.

At 40 diagnoses with rare eye condition Retinoscisis where retina is split down the middle in both eyes.

At 40 put on higher doses of thyroid meds due to Hashimoto’s and secondary hypothyroidism diagnoses.

At 41 had a bike crash – broke 3 ribs, collarbone, collapsed lung – damaged an adrenal and went back into menopause with 13 year old twins and was put back on HRT meds. Menopause round 2 with teenagers!

At 42 left working outside the home to go into full time ministry.

At 44 due to a family history of breast cancer and many issues myself and biopsies I was taken off all HRT Therapy. Biopsies all clear.

At 45 diagnosed with another rare eye condition called Poly Choroidal Vasculopathy

(PCV) after losing all eyesight in my left eye for several months. I have since regained sight but limited – but am still believing I will be healed completely and sight fully restored.

At 46 while getting prayer for my eyes I was prayed for and told that God wanted to give a new Thyroid – I laughed but said I will take it!

I have been off all Thyroid meds for 2 years!

Praise God my hypothyroidism / Hashimoto’s and secondary hypothyroidism was all healed!

At 47 – last December, I ended up in hospital for 4 days – tests upon tests ran – 7 biopsies – 2 came back inconclusive for Celiac and Chrohn’s. They also ran my thyroid numbers daily trying to disprove my story that my thyroid was healed by Jesus after prayer. They couldn’t find a thing wrong with my thyroid. They had me on 7 different pills and 2 injections until I refused all meds those last days because they were making me sicker and they were just throwing stuff to see if it stuck without a diagnosis coming back.

I was very discouraged and wanted a firm diagnosis – it didn’t come.

God said don’t let the diagnosis define you – been there done that bought the T-shirt for far too long – He said it’s about trust and surrender – UGH! 2 things I have a hard time with! Of Course!

Now at 48 – I take no RX meds.(years ago I took almost 6 RX meds daily!)

My A1C has creeped up slightly to 5.6 from 5.4 (which is a far cry from 9 at the time of my stroke 10 years ago) my cholesterol is elevated but mainly due to hereditary type and my poor diet choices. I stopped statin drugs after 10 years and refuse to go back on them.

I have gained 30 pounds back of the 65 in the last 10 years – (on top of the 20/30 I still needed to lose so actually I have gained and lost this same 30 pound over and over the last couple years.

Even using some drastic diets that totally changed how I carry the weight and wrecked my muscle tone. But I did have an amazing fasting experience and lots of downloads – you can see our blog for those.

So I have a good 50 pounds I need to lose now.

I stopped running in 2013 – and stopped really consistently exercising at all in 2015 and have struggled to get into a better exercise routine since.

I have done some amazing things in my life and in Ministry – I have awesome kiddos and a jackpot of a husband. I wrote and published 9 books in less than 2 years. I even recently published 3 the last month for friends.

I run a non profit Restored Ministries full time.

Life’s been really good! I wasn’t eating or not taking care of myself because life was bad.

I just stopped planning or worrying about it and ate way too much take out while the hubs was traveling the last year or so.

I share All of this to say ….

Still – some days a counterfeit comfort feels more powerful or soothing to me than the Great Comforter Himself.

I know what to do… But I don’t always do it.

I can get into moods where I put everyone and everything else first but me.

I carry others burdens that are not mine to carry.

I know the steps – I know it works if I work it ( my recovery) but sometimes rebellion wins over my recovery.

I abstained from all alcohol since 2013 because I am not a one drink kinda girl and have chosen to abstain now for over 5 years. (Except recently I drank a beer and knew that with one beer – it would set me back if I did not make the choice daily to abstain completely.)

I help lead a Ministry for recovery for emotional eating and still I struggle after 10 years letting God fill the voids and not Cheetos. I am not a hypocrite – you can help lead others while you are struggling.

It’s called Keepin It Real. Progress not Perfection.

I love God immensely and know He is able but I also have to do my part. Which I have not been.

I find myself here now – again – flabby and fat and dreading the work I know it takes to regain my health. But I know God doesn’t love me any less when I fall short, Or more when I am thinner.

On August 4th I started Plant Paradox.

Initially as a way to keep my Thyroid in top shape since Kelly Clarkson said that is what healed her Hashimoto’s and helped her lose almost 40 pounds.

In 12 days I lost 11 pounds and the hubs lost 6 (he didn’t have weight to lose but agreed to do it with me) we were super excited with the results and then we went on Vacation for 12 days. I didn’t follow the plan even though I wanted to and had every intention of doing so.

I thankfully only gained 4 pounds but quickly lost 2 of the 4 the first week back.

The last few days the 2 pounds are back and I have allowed some life issues and emotions to drive me to the bread instead of the Bread of Life.

I really would prefer a magic pill but God continues to deal with me about counterfeits and putting my Health first and to find a better Balance. I must honor His Temple better.

My Journey may not be a perfect one –

OK – So, I know it will not be a perfect one.

But it’s my journey and God’s to figure out.

So I Keep Keeping On Folks – It’s worth it because I am worth it. You are too!

You are never too far gone to begin again.

The devil is a liar. God’s will is to heal us.

He wants us restored and whole –

Mind Body Soul!

So I am declaring:

I am Healed

I walk in Divine Health

My body is being restored and transformed.

(I am also committing to the work it will take to do my part)

I am not buying the lies or beating myself up.

I am hoping my “At 49” is going to be pretty amazing!

Until then – I got some work to do!

Will you agree with me and pray for me?

I just keep things real because that is the only way we can heal.

Being in denial will never deliver anybody.

Hope my being real and raw – showing my vulnerability will encourage you to make a change if you need to too!

So slap that cake right outta my mouth if you see it!

~ XXOO Michelle

The image is by Dana Jarvis- I so receive it!

My Battlefield will become my Harvest!

Restoration Stories – Erin Stella

The picture of me in white is exactly from 3 years ago.

3 years ago, I was hurting and so lost. I was desperate for a real relationships with people and filling the void with horrible relationships.

Parties and bars, attention from men that only wanted one thing, “friends” that were only there when I was ready to shine for them.

I think I was even a little tipsy in this picture and I know I took this pic for a guy I was seeing at the time.

I was unengaged in the world around me. Fighting for a breath of fresh air. Drowning in a sea of confusion and chaos.

Fast forward to today. That doesn’t even look like me anymore. My eyes are alive. My spirit is alive. I know I have value and worth. I have true friends and I know God has the perfect man for me…and I’m happily waiting on him. Saving myself for my forever.

I know who I am. More importantly, I know who HE is. I know my savior in a way I never knew was possible.

I still have my struggles and trials and tribulations; but on the inside, I know exactly who I am. I know exactly whom I was made to be. I receive my identity from my maker, God.

Each day, I come closer and He meets me where I’m at.

I give up what I know is bad for me, knowing that God has something that is so much better than my “what if’s” and my expectations I’ve put on a person and situation.

Everyday, I say yes to believing there is more and there is better. Everyday, I make a decision to step forward. Even on the days I’m tired and I do nothing. I’m still doing something.

Everyday, I step into the presence of God and open my heart to his love.

Everyday.

Day by day.

If you know someone that is struggling, be their light. Show them some mercy and meet them where they are. Plant seeds of love and not of condemnation.

~ Erin Stella

Connect with Erin Here

Romance

Romanceit is what women long for and what men fear, for women are looking for men that will make their lives an adventure, not a tragedy.

So, men, how do we live in such a way that our daily lives are an adventure, not a travesty of justice?  What makes life interesting?  What gives life flavor?  What compels us to get up each day and face this cruel world?

Men, it is your greatest fear – relationships.

We would rather jump out of airplanes, climb frozen mountains, or work 16 hour days to build empires that will someday crumble than to invest ourselves in the tricky, unpredictable world of relationships.  This is not entirely without reason.

Failed relationships hurt; friends can betray us; people often need way more than we can provide.  And we often feel that we don’t have that much to contribute to relationships.  

Also, who can depend on the return on the investment?  It’s like a crapshoot; some days you win; some days you lose.

Fortunately, we have a personal coach.  He’s actually living inside us teaching us what to think, what to say, what to do, and what to pray.  Without him we would be sunk.

With him, we win.  Every time.  

Acceptance or rejection, friendship developed, or acquaintance lost, we win.  

We win because we had the courage to play. We win because, ultimately, nothing good is ever lost.  

Every kind word, every extended hand, every dollar loaned – it all comes back; it all pays dividends; it all makes us richer.

The only real danger is the temptation to quit – to quit loving, to quit giving, to quit trying.  

For when we do, our resources dry up; loneliness and fear set in, and despair starts trailing us, waiting to pounce and steal our hope.

You may have heard it said that the spiritual armor provided to every believer is primarily covering our front side.  We are to be in the battle, ever advancing.  Even when we must retreat a few steps, we keep our eyes focused on the coach, and our ears tuned to his voice, waiting for his next command that will turn the tide of the battle.

Make no mistake, our Coach knows how to win, and his undying determination is to create a team of winners!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Restoration Stories – Heidi Krieghauser

March 12, 2015 began just like any other day. I woke up next to Bill, my husband of nearly 25 years. Bill, was my favorite person. He was everything to me. He was my rock and my comforter. Even after having raised 2 kids, and having seen one another through all of the challenges and victories in life, we still really liked each other.

Bill was one of those very rare men who you could count on always in all ways. He was big and strong and very, very dependable. That paled in comparison to his love for our family, his kindness, impeccable character and willingness to indulge me with a courtesy chuckle at my bad jokes and puns. If Bill was there, you just knew everything was going to be okay.

We were a very typical family who lived in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia. Bill worked for the Federal Government in a position he worked hard to attain. I had been in Real Estate for years and had a career that was considered to have been successful. Our two amazing children, 24 and 22 years old, were both out of the house pursuing their education and dreams of their own.

Both Bill and I were believers in and followers of Jesus. We had served in ministry our entire marriage and had a ministry years before this fateful day called, Christ Stalkers. It was a youth ministry and over the 10 years we were its overseers, there were more than 4,000 youth who came to know Christ as their savior. We had planted churches and raised our family in church. Ministry and a relationship with God was no stranger to our family.

But by the end of that day that had begun like so many of our more than 9,000 days together, my beloved had gone home to heaven. In an instant he was gone. In fifteen minutes Bill went from saying he, “didn’t feel quite right” to taking his last breath as I held him in my arms. He was gone. My everything was gone. He was 49 years old.

After the doctor told me they were unable to revive him and did, “everything they could”, my son, who was home on Spring break, went to call people and I was left alone in that ugly, little room. We all have seen that room on TV where they take the family to break “the news” that looks so Hollywood-inspired, for dramatic effect, but is quite real. I tried to process all of this.

He had ankle surgery and had been in the hospital but was given a clean bill of health. But an oversight by the doctors, who did not prescribe blood thinners, and he died of a blood clot, taking everything from me and our kids. Not Bill. Are you sure? MY Bill? Things like this just don’t happen to people like us!

Who was I now? Since I was 21 I had been his wife. It was painfully obvious to me that I no longer held that distinction when they handed me his ring. The ring that belonged on HIS finger, not in a little bag in MY hand.

He was everything to me! How can I get through this life without him?

For a quarter of a century it had been Bill and Heidi. When people thought of me, they thought of him and vice versa. We were fine on our own but we were much, much better together.

Now, without him, who was I?

And our kids! How can I be everything to them that they needed him to be to them?

The immediacy of the pain was overwhelming and took my breath away.

So, I sat alone, in that ugly little room. Or perhaps it was quite pretty, I don’t know. And THAT is when God, although already very real to me, simply invaded my life in a whole new way.

I opened my mouth and my own words surprised me. Through tears, I whispered, “God, I NEVER questioned you when you were blessing us. I will NOT question you in this.”

HE gave me the grace and the wisdom to speak those words. I am not that gracious or that wise. He is.

I was a Christian for over 30 years but it wasn’t until I was suddenly and unexpectedly widowed that I became a TRUE Christ Stalker. It was in that moment, God ran to me and I to Him.

I needed God for every breath. I had trusted Him before but I had never had to trust Him like I did now. And in the midst of my pain and the vast absence of my Husband I found what I had longed for all my life, the unconditional love of Christ. And God had finally gotten from me what He had put me on this planet for, the absolute reliance on and unencumbered relationship with Him.

Over the last three years, there were times when the only movement forward I was able to muster was an army crawl, on my stomach, in the muck and the mire.

And times when I thought the pain on Bills loss was so overwhelming that I was surprised that I woke up because I thought the physical anguish alone would have killed me.

But in all of that, I pursued and consumed Jesus like never before. And He met me. He never left me. He was pursuing me as I was pursuing Him.

It has been, at times, a heart wrenching journey and I have cried more tears than I ever thought one person could create. But in all of the pain and uncertainty, Jesus has revealed Himself to me in a way I never thought possible!

My life now is a true fulfillment of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The love God has shown me in this journey is like no other. He carried me when I needed to be carried. He held me when I needed to be held. Gave me strength when needed and has become all things to me always, in all ways.

It is difficult to pick out just one scripture that got me through. God used every verse to speak to and comfort me. But Joshua 1:9 is probably my favorite: Have I not commanded you to be bold, strong and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you will go.

What a beautiful promise!!

There is one song that I put on loop whenever I felt like I could not even get through the next second. Some of the lyrics that gave me great hope were found in the song, It is well:

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe

Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me

Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

Through it all, through it all

It is well

Through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

It is well, it is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him

The waves and wind still know His name.

~ Heidi Krieghauser