Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Page 29 of 97

The Secret to Contentment

What one word can prevent debt?

Fight off jealousy and anxiety?

Change the world?

Enough.

 

Good Friday: Guns, Sheep, Surgery and Love

I helped facilitate mission trips to Juarez, Mexico during the summers of my college-days. The teams built homes for half the week and led Vacation Bible School the other half, taking a break in between to take a hike to a huge cross.

There wasn’t a trail for the hike, but none was necessary since the cross was visible from anywhere in the area. As we trekked up and down the small hills, inevitably a few chaperones would tucker out and one of us would stay back with them.

On one such trip, it was my turn to stay back with those that couldn’t make it any further. We chatted while the group finished their ascent up to the cross. As they began climbing down, my boss called me over our walkie-talkies and asked for me to stand up and wave so he could lead everyone in our direction.

A few seconds later, a man approached me. He startled me since I’d never seen anyone on those hills outside of that poorest village. He soon pulled out a gun and pointed it at me. He reached for my walkie-talkie. Now mind you, I’d been trained–had it drilled in, actually–to guard that walkie-talkie at all costs. So, being the highly intelligent person that I am, I entered into a hand battle with an armed robber over a walkie-talkie.

Yes, intelligent. Let’s write that off as shock.

Finally, I let go. I mean, he had a gun and I didn’t.

He grabbed the walkie-talkie, took a few steps towards where I laid my fanny-pack, picked that up, and took off sprinting. Now he not only had my walkie-talkie, but also my credit card and drivers license. So I once again showed those chaperones my high level of intelligence:

I started chasing after him.

Perhaps I could have caught him, but before I did, one thought struck me:

He had a gun. Maybe it was loaded. Maybe it wasn’t.  I really didn’t want to find out.

So I turned around, empty-handed.

I share this story on Good Friday for a reason. It was illogical. Why would I even entertain the thought of chasing someone to fetch a walkie-talkie (especially one I later found out was insured!)?

But here’s a scripture that is even more illogical:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Let’s start by looking at how outrageous it sounds for a shepherd to give up his life for an animal. I mean, baahhh. It’s an animal!! How much more valuable is human life?

But, it gets even crazier.

Jesus spoke those words. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This wasn’t just a shepherd–someone who would’ve been considered some of the lowest ranked of society. This was Jesus, the One who gave up the sweet communion of being in His Father’s presence in order to walk among our grime.

But not just walk in our filth. To get soiled by it. To take it all upon himself. To lay down his life so that we could gain it.

Why? Was he crazier than I was chasing someone down the hills in Juarez? Not for a second. You see, the entire Bible tells of God’s great love for us. Jesus’ willingness to take our sins upon himself wasn’t one of insanity, but of tenderness.

Most of you know I had sinus surgery last week. By all accounts, it was elective surgery, as I wasn’t rushed to the hospital needing an operation to save my life. I could have chosen not to undergo the knife, but I knew if I didn’t, I would continue having sinus infections that last 3-6 months each.

I did it because the long-term goal–the joy of being able to spend more time with my kids rather than being in bed–outweighed the pain.

He did it because the long-term goal–the joy of being able to spend more time with His Father’s kids by making a way for us to join Him in heaven–outweighed the pain.

Oh Precious Jesus, I truly can’t understand why you would choose to lay down your life for me. I will never be able to fully grasp that, yet in my lack of understanding, let me still say thanks. Thank you for seeing me–us!–as your joy, the reason you endured the cross. Jesus, I love you.

 

Would You Love Enough to Let Go?

True confession. I know Carrie’s story (you’ll hear part of it in her guest post below). It’s wrought with pain, heartache, selflessness, love and rebirth yet I’d never considered it to be an Easter story, but that’s exactly what it is. The quickest summary is that Carrie and her husband adopted an older child. They loved him with all of their might, but his many years of not being loved made it hard for him to accept that which they lavished on him.

He couldn’t bond with their family. Try as they might, he just couldn’t. Reactive Attachment Disorder. That’s what the pros called it. Me? I probably would wager it was just sheer exhaustion, heartache, disappointment and self-doubt.

But amidst the many emotions, one prevailed: love. As their adopted son finally began bonding years later–to another family!–they had to ask themselves the unthinkable question:

Will You Love Enough to Let Go?

This weekend we celebrate how that question was answered on our behalf years ago. And now you get to hear how Carrie answered.

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So many things have been written about Easter! We all have memories of Easter’s past.
Here’s a video retelling of Easter 2009 from my kitchen to yours:

I wrote my story three years ago, as therapy for my broken heart and exhausted spirit. After hearing, “Memoirs don’t sell” countless times, I put the book away and tried to write a self-help book. During this time, I wrestled with my confidence and thoughts of not wanting to write a book, just for the sake of writing a book. I could not ignore the burning in my soul about writing my story.

I believe God resurrected this book, because my story is powerful! I decided to sit down and write it again, the book practically birthed itself!

As time passed and my wounds healed, I realized my story isn’t just a memoir. It’s a MEMOIR with a MESSAGE. A message that needs to be heard by…

*foster, step, and adoptive parents-you will feel understood, heard, and find strength.

*those who have been adopted-you may relate to the feelings you’ve always struggled to understand.

*family and friends of foster, step, and adoptive families-they need you to understand what’s happening in their homes without judgment. They need support.

*counselors, doctors, teachers, pastors, judicial workers, social workers, and those in the system-please learn about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Please understand what happens at home is not what you see in public. Please give support to these parents, especially the moms. They are trying so hard, and can’t seem to figure this out. They are giving to the point of exhaustion, and they need help, not criticism.

*those who have or are currently struggling with infertility or miscarriage-you are not alone, and your grief is real.

*struggling parents-it’s such a tough job! Things don’t always go the way we hoped, but you will get get through it.

Easter…the time of death and resurrection.

God has given me a new life. I hope my book will inspire many to continue even when it feels like life is over, even when you don’t think you can take one more breath. Keep going. God has a plan. It may not look like YOUR plan, but he has a plan. It will be good again. It will even be great!

You can pre-order Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go here:

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

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© 2017 Stacy Voss