Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Prayer for our Family of Origin

I thank You, for placing me in my family of origin, such as it is. (LOL!) You Lord, have given us much favor, pain, dysfunction, yet great love and even laughter, to get us through our days. I thank You for all You have brought me through: many abuses and hurts, yet You were always there. You are what keeps me going every day in every way---Jesus, my King.

You remember the little girl, who read Fairy-tales all the time. O Lord, I wanted a Fairy-tale life. You gave me a bittersweet journey. But to know You intimately, is a treasure better than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. To know You, to love You, to feel Your Father arms wrapped around a girl who has never known her real father’s love. What a reward and what sweetness to me. It’s true I can’t sing loud enough or long enough to show my praise to you. And for the husband, children and grandchildren You have given me, I say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

You will heal our fractured family, though all seems dark. You will show Yourself strong and You will be my strong help and fortress. I live my life to extol Your name, Jesus and to worship you. I am yours, Your creation, such as I am. You took a small, lowly girl from the South and gave her such favor to be amongst greatness at times. I have met famous people but have been most impressed by my loving, giving mother, who once even gave the coat off her back away. I miss her so but look forward to seeing her in glory where You will make all things right. I am forever Yours. A sister among you but a daughter of the King.

I pray a double blessing upon all who reads this today. If you are hurting, I pray that Jesus binds Your wounds and sorrows, if you think your dreams won't come true, I pray the Lord gives you a new dream, if you are missing a loved one either through death or estrangement, I pray you go back in your memories and find a good one to dwell on and thank the Lord for that precious moment. It may be that moment you held that sweet child in your arms for the first time and thought your heart would explode with love and that the world had stood still, you were so blessed. Write your own prayer of Thanksgiving and then give it to the Lord.

This blog was in response to this Bible Study, "Joseph, Beyond the Coat of Many Colors." (Mary Englund Murphy) that I am doing in my spare time, (LOL.) The assignment was: "With your own family background in mind, write out a prayer of thanksgiving."

I am always grateful for my husband, children, grandchildren, extended family, friends and the home the Lord has provided for me.

You may want to try this assignment today as it is a good way to get your mind on higher things and counting your blessings will never go out of style.

A wonderful song to go along with this theme is here:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daytona Streets, the Good, the Bad and the Beautiful

Sometimes if you read my blog long enough you will find me drawn back to the streets of Daytona. I find a lot of research for my book, Daytona Streets in writings by Lyda Longa. She writes with compassion but also the hard truth. Here is my take on a previous article she wrote:

It is hard to focus on one subject when there are so many people that need to be commended concerning the article by Lyda Longa, "An ex-prostitute's story: 'I've done it all for money'"

The first person I would like to mention is Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood. He has gotten a lot of criticism in the past, he is pretty blunt sometimes and probably that goes along with his job description. But people on the street realize that he is tough on crime for a reason; that they might be helped and protected. I don't know him personally and there are probably things we would disagree with, but it reminds me of the song that talks about Jesus being a friend to sinners. If a prostitute who has seen it all, lived it all in a painful way, yet sees that this man is approachable enough to want to call him and ask for help; well I would say he probably may be living out the scripture from Matthew 25:40 NIV. It says “The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me ..." and is one of my favorite reminders of how to live.

An excerpt from the article says:

"I've done it all for money," Betty said. Then one day this past spring after she decided to stop prostituting, Betty telephoned Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

"I had seen his name in the paper and I wanted to praise him," Betty said. "I also wanted to ask him for help."

The chief responded quickly, referring Betty to the Police Department's victim advocate, Sophie Vessa.

"She wrote me a letter and it was incredible," Chitwood said. "She sounded sincere."

Vessa met with Betty and knew this was the real thing.

But getting help for a woman who wants to escape the life of prostitution is challenging in the Daytona Beach area, Vessa said.

There are no halfway houses or rehabilitation centers that specialize in helping prostitutes shatter the mindset they operate under — selling their bodies to make a quick buck.

"When these women ask for help or they get arrested and are mandated to get help, they always get sent to a drug rehab," Vessa said. "Drugs are only a symptom of the deep-rooted problems most of these women have."

Vessa said many women who become prostitutes are victims of childhood sexual and physical abuse, and their self-esteem can be non-existent."

I think Vessa would be the next one to be commended and I thank her for being there for victims. And believe me, someone who had been molested in childhood, will have a victim mentality for a long time, until someone steers them on the path to true recovery. It is very true that there are a lot more resources for men than for women even in the addiction treatment areas and our city was not really willing to help support at the time the one home opened for prostitutes, Heaven's Garden some years back.

When I think about a woman working the streets I think that many people don’t really want to think about them and that they may have been childhood sexual abuse victims. They may have once been pretty but the hardness of the street life and the walls they have had to put up around their hearts have taken their toll. We are horrified to think our sons, brothers or husbands have “used” them. We forget that they themselves are “somebody’s daughter,” a woman who God loves and wants to redeem.

The next person I want to thank is Lyda Longa for always giving us heartfelt articles that draw us in, about the streets of Daytona. I still wish there was an update on some of the people she and Seth Robbins wrote about in “The City You've Never Known" about six years ago.

Lastly, though, I thank Betty for having the courage to reach out for help and for learning that she can overcome her past.

Donna Collins Tinsley

PS Jed Linstrom and Let’s Go Ministry will be having Motel Church in December, ministering help and hope to those on the streets of Daytona.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fort Mountain: The Main Event

Have you ever prayed sometimes for years, and wondered if the Lord is going to come through for you? Have you ever wept for someone else that had a need, a desire, a want for a relationship and it looked like they might be waiting forever? Yet we cling to the promises of God that what two or more agree on touching the heart of God will be answered. Fort Mountain, Georgia, was where it started and Fort Mountain, Georgia was where we joined together to see an answered prayer.

We go on a home-church retreat to cabins at Fort Mountain State Park each year whenever possible. The scenery is so beautiful the cabins are great and being with friends and family just can’t be beat. We end each night with food together, prayer, worship, beautiful and glorious music and whatever the Spirit leads us to do or share. Some years back one brother had a burden for another brother, Mike, who was single and so wanting a wife. We gathered around this precious brother and prayed that the Lord send his help-mate, soul-mate and that he would find love.

A lot of times when we pray, we think, that’s it. We might even assume to know God’s timing, “Well, next year this time, Mike will have his wife,” we say.

That is our timing, but the Lord may have different timing as I well know. When Bill married me, he wanted a baby nine months after we got married and it took nearly eight years for that prayer to be answered but that is another story, for another day.

It was many years later that the word came to us that there was going to be a surprise engagement on the top of Fort Mountain. This year Mike had found the love of his life and she was coming from Puerto Rico to join us at the mountain gathering. To God be the Glory!

He wanted all of us to be there when he asked her the big question and to share in their joy! Oh the fun we all had keeping the secret, getting together and making the long trek to the top of the mountain overlook. When he got down on his knees with that unique jewelry box, she grabbed him and we weren’t sure if she was ever going to let go. Praise the good Lord; it did us all good to be a part of the joy that comes from the manifestation of the previous prayers.

Earlier in the day, I’m told that Raquel thought that Mike wasn’t ready to commit to a relationship yet. What she didn’t know was on his previous visit to meet her family in September he had asked permission for her hand. The lovely thing she told us later also was her whole family had been praying for this coming of her Prince Charming. And a special little niece had been praying since she was five years old! Wait on the Lord, I say, again, wait. He has good things for us all and He isn’t done yet.

For pictures go to my Facebook page:

Monday, November 5, 2012

This Woman has Spirit/Blogging while the Fort Mountain blog comes to me

I had a great time at Fort Mountain, Ga and have a blog in my heart, but need some time to process it. So, as I recently posted an old nomination for the Women’s Lifestyle SPIRIT Award, I want to feature another of my winners. Although I had never met Denise when I wrote the nomination; her story from the newspaper had gripped my heart.

I thank the Lord for this lovely woman of God and am really happy that the Lord got us together, two Southern women, sisters among you, who have some things in common, but mainly we just love the Lord. She is going through a hard time again right now, so I thought this might encourage her. Here it is as appeared some years back:

For about four years Denise Baklid lived through a story that rivals the one where two mothers came before King Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28) asking for a baby they both claimed as their own.

She and her husband, Ivar's only mistake was falling in love with a child that they had nurtured since infancy and were misled to believe that he would be theirs by way of adoption. Christian was born in October 2001 in Daytona Beach was in the foster care system soon afterwards. Denise and Ivar cared for Christian for sixteen months after his birth and endured a traumatic court battle to try and maintain the home for the child that Denise felt the Lord had given to her.

It takes resilience to live through taking care of a child while dealing with: work, court hearings, DCF or CBC intervention in your life, the child's emotional issues, trying to make a normal life for the child and your husband also. We cannot even begin to comprehend the depths of pain Denise went through. Sometimes in the fast-paced world we live in, a true mother's heart is overlooked, yet I believe it is something of great value and depth.
It takes resilience to sometimes just do the next thing in life when you carry pain in your heart as she did when Christian was taken away from her; then to be reunited only to have him taken away again.
After much prayer and pain she resolved to do what would keep Christian from enduring more emotional trauma; she gave up her dream to embrace him as her child and instead freed him in the hopes that one day they may be reunited in some way.

"We have to be Christian’s true parents to do this," Baklid said in reference to their decision (on Monday) they will not move forward with their adoption appeal to get back their former 4-year-old foster child, stating "there comes a time when we have to decide what is best for Christian." (Daytona Beach New Journal)
Denise's story spurred legislators on, to speed up solutions so that other children in the system don't have to deal with separation and emotional issues as Christian did.

Compassion and love exudes from Denise. Even though she has many a reason to become bitter she has maintained a Christian testimony throughout this ordeal.

The Baklid’s would like to help change the system and try to teach that each case is unique. The judges and DCF cannot continually look at cases and not realize these are real people and families, not just a case number or statistic. Each real person involved in the case has their own story, their own history that contributes to what works out to become what is in the best interest of the child.

She believes that there are countless horror stories of caring people who are just trying to help kids, which have gone untold. She is an overcomer and by God's grace portrays resilience.

Donna Collins Tinsley

PS Denise, I adore you, but I bet you already know that