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Posts Tagged ‘women’

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my five favorite national or international missions or charity groups. I promised to follow up with local charities, but life happened…

However, I remembered this week, so here, in somewhat alphabetical order, are my #FiveForFriday favorite local missions or charities in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area. I’ve linked each one to their website so you can learn more.

Bridgehaven

Any charity or missions organizations I support with resources of any kind would have to pass the pro-life test – a deal breaker issue for me. Bridgehaven (formerly known as Aid to Women) was one of the first pro-life ministries I supported when we moved to Cedar Rapids. I knew many of the directors and volunteers – women (and men) who spend hours of personal time so young women are offered an opportunity to give life to their babies. The ministry has grown exponentially in the last few years, but as always, they offer free pregnancy testing and now, confirmation ultrasounds even for women who have taken a home pregnancy test. Bridgehaven has services that support young families, not just single women, including classes on life skills, family, relationships and spirituality…even post-abortion recovery and support.

They always have volunteer opportunities available, from cashiering at their second-hand shop (Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe) to client advocates and children’s ministry.

His Hands Free Clinic

Cedar Rapids is blessed to have many sources of free medical care but my favorite is His Hands Free Clinic. Started in 1992 (by my general practitioner Dr. James Bell), this particular clinic seeks “to honor God by helping the uninsured and underinsured in our community.” Check out their website to read their Statement of Faith. Volunteer opportunities include areas for medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses. They offer dental services so dentists, dental hygienists and assistants are needed as well. If you have no medical background, but still desire to help, His Hands uses volunteers as administrative assistants and prayer support.

House of Hope

Encourage. Equip. Empower. The mantra of House of Hope is near and dear to my heart. A number of years ago, when House of Hope was first getting started, I was privileged to serve on the board of directors. The founder was a close friend whose vision for a home for women who struggled with life issues quickly caught on with many people in the community. Though those first years were very lean (financially), we saw miracle after miracle as the House on 2nd Ave SE was transformed into a home. Now House of Hope offers life-changing and affirming classes, retreats, professional counseling, and even guest stays in their beautiful Victorian home. As always, volunteers are needed and appreciated in several areas including house management, hospitality and class facilitators.

Wind and Fire Ministries

Another ministry very close to my heart, Wind and Fire (or WFM) was birthed in the hearts of Ric and Christy Lumbard (who just happen to be the parents of my beautiful daughter-in-law) and is located on the WFM Missions Base on County Home Road in Robins, Iowa. WFM operates under three mandates: night and day prayer and worship; equipping forerunners and a place of refuge and restoration. WFM is also a leader in human trafficking restoration internationally. You can experience and participate in powerful prayer and worship at the main Saturday evening event called Encountering God Services (EGS).

Local church

Lastly, but probably most importantly, I love and support my local church. I won’t tell you about mine (though it is fantastic)…but urge you to volunteer your time and financial resources first in the church that feeds you God’s Word.

We should ALL volunteer outside of our regular work. Volunteering can give you confidence and help you learn new skills. If you struggle with self-esteem, volunteering for an organization makes you part of a larger community and helps you meet new people (all kinds of new people).

And of course, volunteering at an organization that supports the convictions of your heart will help you make a difference…which is what all of us want, right?

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I spent this afternoon in the company of a wonderful group of my heroes. Everyone left their capes home for the day but I recognized them anyway. They’re moms. Not just ordinary moms…but extraordinary moms. They have chosen to sacrifice paying jobs, adult conversation, daily affirmation and bathrooms cleaned by someone else so they can teach their children math, reading, geography, science, love, acceptance, loyalty, honor, exploration, patriotism…They home school their children every day. They don’t love their kids more than you do. But they have made the decision to educate their own children and it isn’t an easy one. There are no medals at the end of their day for finishing the race. They are not better parents because they home school but they have chosen a difficult, and sometimes frustrating path. I’m a home schooling mom alum and I know that what they do is often unseen and unappreciated. They probably don’t hear the accolades they deserve. Their rewards are usually big hugs and sticky kisses. Which, now that I think about it, is a pretty wonderful pay check. Thank you for allowing me to relive a few memories and make some new friends.

On to my daily dose of “giving up.”

Day 4 – Give up Comparisons

When I first started running (11 months ago), I found it tempting to look at the Facebook posts of my friends who are runners. One young friend ran every day and posted the most amazing (to me) times and distances. I would get discouraged a bit comparing my pathetic times with hers. Another guy would post something like – “Took a quick 5 mile run after dinner. Not as fast as usual, but ok.” He would show a picture of his Garmin display with a 9 minute/mile pace. Seriously? Not as fast as usual? Who does he think he is – the Roadrunner? I was struggling to finish 2 miles at 11 minutes/mile and felt pretty good about it…until then.

My second 5K run last summer was a timed race and I stood at the back of the group at the finish to review the results. I was floored by how much everyone compared themselves to each other. By this time I had learned it was silly for me to compare myself to anyone else when it came to running. I was getting out there, I was meeting my goals and I was happy with my results. Comparing my results to any other runner wasn’t going to help me get better or faster. It would only be a source of discouragement and frustration.

kids-comparing-height

I learned the “no comparison” lesson with running but it’s a never ending battle in other areas of my life. I still find myself looking at others in regards to my weight, my parenting, my choices, my teaching style, my prayer life, yada, yada, yada. Probably have some deep psychological issues of insecurity but those can wait for another post.

My point is comparing ourselves to others can only be debilitating. You’ll either judge yourself lacking compared to someone else’s success or you’ll determine you’re better than everyone else and become judgmental. Either end of the spectrum is faulty and damaging. My goal isn’t to judge myself worse or better than you…but to encourage you, build you up. Praise your successes – pray for you during your struggles – come alongside you in the good and not-so-good times.

So today I’m definitely making the decision to stop comparing myself to anyone else. I’m not going to use your accomplishments or your efforts as barometers for my own. I’m the best ME I can be and how you live and make choices doesn’t affect that fact. And the same goes for you.

Say this out loud to yourself.

I’m. The. Best. Me. Ever.

Now get out there and be amazing!

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guilt-and-unworthiness

Day Three – Packing Up My Feelings of Unworthiness

I have to admit I have a pretty healthy self-image. I don’t really struggle with feeling unworthy of love. But I know a lot of people who do – women and men. Maybe it’s because I received a lot of affirmation as a child and even now as a middle-aged adult (Hey – I’m going to live to be 110, ok?). My parents always told me they loved me, they hugged and kissed us as kids (and adults). My dad constantly told me I could do anything I put my mind to. I receive a lot of encouragement from my husband, friends and employers. They seem to have faith and trust in me, and I try to show the same to others in my circle of influence.

But maybe you don’t have that support. Why do some of us feel unworthy of love and acceptance? Maybe you didn’t have anyone show you love or tell you in ways you understood (see “Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman). Maybe we’ve judged ourselves unworthy because of what we see on the outside, using cultural standards of beauty. We buy into a false reality when we believe what the magazine covers and cosmetic ads tell us about beauty. If we believe the romance novels and the movie plot lines, we would never feel “good enough” to be worthy of anything.

In case you don’t realize it – Your identity comes from what God has done for you and He says you are worthy. Here are a few things you need to remind yourself of…and saying them out loud helps a lot!

*I am accepted.
*I am secure.
*I am significant.
*I have value.
*I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
*I have been chosen by God.
*I am God’s friend.
*I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
*I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus.
*I am born of God.
*I have been given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
*I am God’s workmanship.
*I am a citizen of heaven.
*I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
*I am being transformed into Jesus’ likeness.

This whole list is in Scripture so if you want the exact references, let me know. There’s a whole bunch more too!

So – remember this. Your identity, your feelings of worth, do not come from your name, your heritage, your circumstances, your children, your job, your talents (or lack), your address, or what people say about you. God says your beauty comes not from your outward appearance but from your inner self, “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:4)

Oh boy – I really need to work on that gentle and quiet thing.

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