Purpose in Our Pain, by Dr. Michelle Bengston
I’m excited to welcome my friend and author, Michelle, as a guest writer today. Giveaway details about her new book will be announced at the end of this post.
Tears of Pain
The auditorium was alive with the worship of thousands of women who had come to receive a fresh encounter with God that weekend. Each hungry and in need of more of Him, but corporately their voices meshed into a beautiful chorus of symphonic praise that must have delighted His heart.
It was dark high up in the balcony where I was seated, save for the lights reflecting from the stage many levels below. I was ready to receive whatever He had for me that weekend at our church’s annual women’s conference. Snuggled in the midst of 5000 of my closest female friends, we were all ready for a fresh encounter with Him.
August 25, 2016 at 9:00 am | Uncategorized
Let the redeemed of God tell their story. (See Psalm 107:2)
As long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of words. It’s true in speaking. So, I entered my first oratorical contest in the fourth grade. Yes, way back. I went on to thrive in high school speech class.
Then and now, I love moving an audience to emotion. Tears. Laughter. Surprise. Deep reflection. It’s a passion for me. (Check out my blog’s speaking events page.)
During a few college semesters, I did some soul-searching for the right field of study. Still, communications rose to the top and became my major and degree.
The rest is history. “Communicator” is stamped across my forehead. Have you noticed?
Yet, there’s more heart-stirring love for words. In 2014, I embarked on a writing journey. Pen to paper. Keyboard to computer. Words to readers. The power of story.
But when I discovered real love. And when I found my voice to tell my story. Then, words held power. Because they came from a powerful source.
Is God Real? My Story.
August 18, 2016 at 10:41 am | Uncategorized
In an uncertain world, there’s an undeniable hope in God’s love and mercy. An unshakable anchor for your soul.
A frenzy of emotions strangled my spirit. Tears soaked my face. Joining my husband on the screened-in porch, I fell into a chair and conveyed the frustration.
“Mike, I told the Lord to please end the madness. To stop the hard stuff from happening. I can’t handle anything else. I can’t take any more bad news. And if God’s allowing me to go through harsh circumstances for writing material, then I have enough. I’ll gladly write about fluffy things. Fun, happy, and smiley parts of life.”
A pastor, Mike was sensitive to my hurting heart. “Karen, it’s difficult to try to understand why bad things happen. The Lord already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. But He wants you to tell Him. To cry out to Him.”
After I bared the rawness of my soul, the words seemed to hang in the warm summer air as if I could reach up and grab them.
What caused the sense of hopelessness?
August 11, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Uncategorized
Do you believe?
My plans for a blog post today had nothing to do with this topic. But my plans often turn topsy-turvy in the middle of life.
Recently, I’ve seen social media posts and received chain letters. Each written from the premise of a promise. If I believe in karma, then something good will happen today to make me happy. An angel will come to watch over me. The man upstairs will bless me.
The bottom line is based on forwarding the message to ten or fourteen friends including the sender to secure the deal. And posting as your status on social media. If you want the promise to come true, you must act fast—within minutes. And do not, I repeat, do not break the chain.
To set the record straight, I don’t believe these promises hold any power or hope.
I don’t believe in karma. But I do believe…
August 4, 2016 at 10:18 am | Uncategorized
There’s power in story.
“Two babies?” The surprise birth of twin girls. My parents didn’t know. The doctor didn’t know.
But God knew my sister and me from the beginning. As He knit us together in the womb, He began writing our story.
Double bottles, double diapers, double everything, including double trouble.
But one day there would be a double blessing.
Events shape our stories. Words frame our perspective. Yet our hearts reflect.
- Event: Our parents part ways and we stay with our mother. For a few years, my father is absent from my story. Heart Reflection: Am I lovable?
- Words (from a teacher): “That’s not good enough.” Heart Reflection: Am I good enough?
- Event and Words: My father, an atheist, comes back into my life proclaiming, “There’s not a God.” Heart Reflection: Is there a God? Am I good enough for God to love me?
- Words (promising rewards): “If you’re good, then you can….” Heart Reflection: I disappoint her. I let him down.
At sixteen, my sister and I met the one true God—this was the double blessing. God’s real and He loves me. I became acquainted with God as my heavenly Father. In knowing God, I discovered attributes of His character.
God is hope. God is just. God is holy. God is love. God is good.
July 28, 2016 at 8:30 am | Uncategorized
I’m traveling to a writers conference today, She Speaks, to meet with publishers and attend sessions. Excited to introduce you to a talented writer friend for today’s guest post. I know you will enjoy his heart. Karen
By Paul Phillips
The stuff of earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver
Of all good things. *
I have known the little boy’s father since he was the same age his son is today. The boy is not so different from his father.
The lad’s father and grandfather have come to haggle over a guitar. I will ask a price and they will offer much less. Sooner or later, we’ll meet somewhere in the middle. Or not. Most times, we get there.
Dickering takes time, so as we haggle, the lad, perhaps three years old, sits down to play at the little table we keep for just such occasions. He selects a set of toys, a variant of Legos called Duplos, to work with.
The centerpiece is a train track, along with the components for an engine and freight car. Most of the children especially like the little human figure which can fit on top of the engine—looking, to their young eyes, like a real engineer.
With a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his big eyes, the child begins to build his railroading empire.
He is content. At least, that is what I believe.
July 21, 2016 at 9:00 am | Uncategorized
Founding of this club dates back to the beginning. When God said, “Let us make man.” (See Genesis 1:26.)
If we spent more time conducting surprise inspections on our own barracks, we could measure ourselves against the standard of Scripture instead of gauging by comparison.
It wasn’t a military barrack inspected by a drill sergeant. Still, a huge honor to win the cleanest barracks award for cabin inspection at camp. Especially for neat freaks.
Founding Club Member
I like things in order. A place for everything and everything in its proper place. According to Karen’s standard. My house will never appear on the cover of Southern Living. But I’m not at peace with an undone house. Beds unmade. Clothes and shoes in disarray. Dirty bathroom and kitchen. I admit, I’ve snubbed my nose at a few unkept houses along the way. Even my own.
During hectic seasons in my life, I contemplated hiring a maid service to clean our home. It never happened. This housekeeper’s problem? Before the help arrived, I’d want to pick up and clean.
Not wanting someone—whose job is to clean—to see my dirty floors or windows. God help me if they noticed the refrigerator with rotten food, or worse, sticky residue on every shelf from a sugary juice spill. A mess no one cleaned up. Not even the someone who likes things clean. The prideful shame of a dirty rotten mess.
I couldn’t let go of appearances for appearance sake.
July 14, 2016 at 10:25 am | Uncategorized
Sometimes a girl just needs to borrow Superman’s cape. Any girls or guys relate?
Shoulders back. Head and chin up. I trust it will fit.
A few heroines sport capes too. However, those won’t do. There’s a need to stand tall. To fly. To take on something bigger than my wildest dreams and shoot for the moon. I’ve never hit the moon.
But, a daily selection of wrinkle-free capes already hang in my wardrobe.
Independent cape: You won’t find want-ads in the local newspaper. I work alone. I’m not part of a superhero team. No sidekicks or aspiring heroes necessary. Besides, I can save myself, save you, and save the day.
Comic book cape: My life’s captured and illustrated on colorful pages. Children and collectors everywhere marveled at my cape-wearing stories. I performed heroic feats and villain knock-outs then received the adoration. Hero worship.
July 7, 2016 at 10:27 am | Uncategorized
Bible = truth
Since last week’s blog post, 10 Truths for the Atheist Who Said I’m Brainwashed, the tweets have poured in.
A few supportive followers have retweeted and confirmed belief in God’s truth. My case for truth—in every scenario on this earth—comes from Scripture. I won’t apologize for it.
Over the past week, the atheists have been relentless in calling me out. Bashing remarks about my belief system and the Bible as “poppycock.” Loaded questions and words as tweets:
- “With your brainwashing experience, do you think that children should be brainwashed into accepting evolution, and why/why not?” ~ Straw Atheist
- “You do know Jesus Christ is a fictional character, right?” ~ Douglas
- “Did you include Exodus 21 (gods rules on slavery) and Numbers 31 god has babies killed (boys only). You pray to a baby killer.” ~ Chris
- “Your ‘truths’ = opinion.” ~ Mark
This comment came in on my blog post (reference to podcast by John Piper), “Tried listening to ‘how do we know the bible is true.’ At no time was there anything compelling to show how we can know the bible is true. Classic pseudo babble. Circular nonsense. Do better or stop wasting my time with lies.” ~ Robb, Heathen-Guru.
And more. A dozen more comments and questions on Twitter trying to get a rise out of me. I’ve continued to post the article and convey truth. Yet, I have remained silent in my direct response to them. Why?
God doesn’t need me to defend Him.
He’s the great I AM.
June 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Uncategorized
“You are brainwashed, Love.” #atheist
The blistering comment caught me off-guard. Tweets of Christians publicly mocked by the Twitter account, Brainwashed.
Are Christians brainwashed?
The tweeter’s cover photo, “Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” Atheists attribute the statement to Mark Twain. But, research doesn’t confirm they’re Mark Twain’s words. Whereas, several sources note it as one of the quotes he didn’t say.
Regardless, I wouldn’t argue the meaning as falsehood. Religion, my atheist friend, and Christianity are dissimilar. The first, puts confidence in man and religious rites. Christians hold confidence in One man, Jesus Christ, God incarnate who came to abolish religion. His death and resurrection overcame sin and provided freedom from the bondage of religion.
One definition for brainwashed, “to effect a radical change in the ideas and beliefs of a person.” (dictionary.com.)
Do I desire to be radical for God? Yes. Have my ideas and beliefs changed since coming to Christ? Yes.
So, please call me brainwashed by God. Label me a Jesus freak. You see, it’s a compliment.
My father, an avid atheist for years, was blind to truth until he met The Truth. Jesus Christ.
10 retweets by our atheist friend and God’s truth.
June 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Uncategorized