Livin’ in Limbo Landia

©I.K.Hadinger
©I.K.Hadinger

I’m where I don’t belong.  To where I do belong, I can’t yet go.  Yet where I don’t belong is where I’m from, and to where I do belong I’m a stranger, a foreigner.

Welcome to my world: Limbo Landia- a place where there is neither yes nor no, only I don’t know.  A place where suitcases and moving boxes are caught in a real life freeze frame.

Budget issues, then medical issues, followed by visa issues, now counselling issues.

Limbo Landia is a paradox, not a paradise.  It’s a treadmill existence of running the race.

We can’t just jump off this treadmill whenever we want but must wait until a change is effected.   We are in constant stationary motion.

We can all become loco in this land if not for the one thing that is…

Certain.

Unchanging.

Permanent.

GOD.

My God!   And His Word coupled with His people. His promises supercede Limbo Landia and his encouragement extends everywhere.   His prescription for pain and examples of others motivate the momentum needed in my heart.

I’m where I don’t belong.  To where I do belong, I can’t yet go.  Yet I know He is with me.  Wherever and whenever.  Even in Limbo Landia.

 

IlonaSignature

MK Essay – Votes Needed!

Featured Image -- 3074

 

We missionaries fiercely band together to root each others’ kids onward to success and victory.

I’m writing this post and sharing the essay below for that precise reason: to help  a missionary kid in Europe win a scholarship.

I voted for him and ask you to do the same. The link to vote is below his essay.

But treat yourself while you’re at it…by reading the essay! Not only is he a good writer, you’ll get a glimpse of M.K. life from his perspective, both the challenges and the triumphs.

And when you’re done reading and voting, pause and pray for him and for missionary kids around the world.

Because they are awesome!

 

My name is Stephen Gracza and I am a American missionary kid living in Budapest, Hungary where I was born. I have been integrated into the Hungarian cultural and educational systems since Kindergarten. At home I speak English with my family, but everywhere else I communicate in Hungarian.

Growing up overseas has enriched my life in many ways. Being bilingual since childhood has enabled me to live in two cultures at the same time, American and Hungarian. Europe is made up of many different cultures and traditions. Most European countries share a border with at least three or four other countries, which impacts their individual countries and communities. Due to the number of languages spoken in Europe, students are required to learn two foreign languages during their high school years. This has given me the opportunity to become conversational in German and Spanish.

I have visited Finland, Germany and Spain with my Hungarian high school through participation in student exchange programs. These experiences have greatly improved my foreign language skills. My parents work has allowed me to see all of Europe. I have met people from varied ethnicities and religious backgrounds. It has given me a broader view on life and the people who live around me, enabling me to be sensitive of their needs and traditions.

In general, European opinion of Americans is that they have been granted more possibilities in life and have an easier road. I have had to forge my own way and be determined since I was little to work against this negative stereotypical thinking. In Kindergarten my teacher did not want me to take part in our class play, because she believed I had an accent. In Junior high school I was given fewer opportunities and then told; “You are American and Hungarians have fewer opportunities in life”.

I have had to be dedicated and determined to be granted the same possibilities. I have grown firm but not aggressive. I am currently my class’ Vice President, my high school’s student body representative and team captain for both my school’s men’s Field Hockey team, and Track and Field team.

I feel that struggling against the preconceived understandings about Americans has enabled me to cultivate a lifestyle of tolerance and determination.

 

Click HERE to vote!

Voting ends June 30, 2014, so please don’t put it off ’til mañana.

Thanks!

IlonaSignature

 

God Leads Us Along

Music, namely worship songs and especially hymns, have a supernatural way of soothing and lifting my soul in the midst of life’s challenging seasons – such as our family, and I personally, have recently experienced.

Below are the lyrics I love of an old hymn by G.A.Young, which, after having shared it on a Facebook page last week, proved a healing balm to several others as well.

May the truth and power in these words touch your life today.

IMG_5759
©I.K.Hadinger

In shady green pastures so rich and so sweet, where the Water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads us along.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, sometimes in the valley in darkest of night, God leads his children along.

©I.K.Hadinger
©I.K.Hadinger

Though sorrows befall us and Satan oppose, through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads his children along.

Some thro’ the waters, some thro’ the flood, some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood; some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.

God leads His children along!

©I.K.Hadinger
©I.K.Hadinger

Like 

Divine Makeover Book Giveaway Winner

DiVineblogtour_3

 

I promised a book giveaway with my last post (see Divine Makeover – Author Interview and Book Giveaway.)

To win, the reader had to leave a comment with their name following the author interview. With those names written on a folded piece of paper  and put in a small container, I gave the privilege of drawing a name to my hubby.

The winner? Kathy McGregor. Congratulations, Kathy! You will be receiving a copy of Divine Makeover  from the publisher.

DiVineblogtour_2

 

 

Divine Makeover- Author Interview and Book Giveaway

 

DiVineblogtour_3
Into a teen girl’s world ruled by selfies, and the illusive self-worth tied to them, comes Sharla Fritz’s Divine Makeover.

This is not a stuffy book that ignores or condemns the desire for acceptance through physical appearance and fashion, but rather puts that into perspective with the source of real beauty: a faith in Jesus Christ that makes us holy.

DiVineblogtour_2This fun and reflective Bible study can be read alone, with a best friend, or with a group of friends.

Would you like to win a copy? Read the  Q&A with author Sharla Fritz and leave a comment below by midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014).

Everyone who comments will be added to the drawing. (Winner will be announced Friday, April 25th!)

 

Why did God prompt you to write this book?

After my first Bible study, Divine Design, came out, I heard about some groups of mothers and daughters doing the book together. It was so exciting that women of all ages could come together and discover their true beauty in Christ. But I thought young women would enjoy having a book that taught the same principles while using examples of their own struggles. So I wrote Divine Makeover—essentially Divine Design for a younger generation.

What struggles do you see the younger generation having?

I remember as a teen thinking that no one would ever think I was beautiful, no one would ever love me. Almost all of us go through an awkward stage where we doubt our beauty and worth. (Some of us never outgrow that stage!)

Plus, in this age, the emphasis on physical beauty is greater than ever before. Celebrities are scrutinized for their hair styles, makeup, and clothing choices. Ordinary girls are slammed when they don’t wear the coolest brands. Every year hundreds of thousands of teens are so dissatisfied with their looks that they resort to plastic surgery.

I’m hoping that Divine Makeover will help young women discover their worth not in what clothes they are wearing on the outside, but on the clothing of their character.

How did you get the young women’s point of view for this book?

Admittedly, I am a long way from the teen years! So I met with some amazing teens at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois every week. They candidly shared their views and struggles. I was truly impressed with this group of young women who clearly loved the Lord. Their faith and commitment to serve was very inspiring. Some of their words and stories are included in the book.

You talk about some myths of modesty? What are they?

I think three modern myths of modesty are: Modesty is old-fashioned, modesty means wearing a burlap bag, and modesty means following a strict set of clothing rules.

Modesty is an enduring principle because the Bible tells us that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1Timothy 2:9). Because God’s Word never goes out of style, this advice is not just for women of Timothy’s day, but for us too.

We might think that if we dress modestly we can’t be stylish, but that isn’t necessarily true. It may mean that we have to adapt styles: wearing a camisole under a too-low top, adding leggings to a dress that’s a bit too short, or wearing a cute jacket or sweater over a top that’s too form-fitting.

I have seen sites and books that give strict rules for lengths of skirts and depths of necklines. But I think rules sometimes beg to be broken, so I think a better way to view modesty is as a way to dress with respect: respect for the beauty God gave you, respect for God’s Word, and respect for the gift of sexuality—which God has reserved for marriage.

What are some of the other topics discussed?

Divine Makeover is a “What Not to Wear” for the soul. It talks about hanging up the uniform and letting go of your inner control freak. It encourages young women to get rid of the handbag of worry and live with an attitude of trust. It tosses out the prom dress of pride, the boots of selfishness, the bitterness sweater, and anything the color of envy green. Instead, in Christ we can wear humility, love, forgiveness, and contentment.

You include some dramatic stories of teens who struggled with their self-image. Tell us about them.

Yes. Some young women graciously shared their stories with me. One young woman battled anorexia for a time in her life. When she looked in the mirror, she saw herself as fat, even though she definitely wasn’t. She bravely shared her story of how she eventually discovered that she had become obsessed with food and a totally skewed view of her body. Eventually she learned to choose to see herself as God saw her—His much-loved daughter.

Another young woman discovered she had alopecia. She lost all of her hair. In this society that worships thick, long manes of hair, she struggled to see herself as beautiful. She doubted that any man would ever love her. She has never regained her hair, but she has regained a healthy self-image because of her trust in God.

Both of these women are now in their twenties and happily married.

What practical tips do you share with readers?

The book concentrates on our inner beauty, but does have some fashion fun. Every chapter ends with some Fashion Finesse: a few words about finding the right clothes, building a wardrobe, and looking your best. Some of the practical tips include choosing a cute yet useful purse, finding your best colors, and discovering the best style of sweater for your shape. After the chapter on the prom dress of pride, I included seven tips for a fabulous formal.

What one thing should potential readers know about this book?

I pray that every girl who reads this book will take away one important truth: that in Christ she is beautiful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we always look lovely in God’s looking glass. Our heavenly Father sees us not as we are, with our mammoth mistakes, our messy sins, our major bedhead. He sees us as we will be—perfect. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Tell everyone a little more about yourself.

I’m a Christian speaker and author who loves to communicate the truth of God’s transforming grace. I love meeting women around the country at retreats and conferences.

I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, who is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Together we shared the adventure of homeschooling for 15 years with our two children. They are all grown up now and moved away from home. My daughter moved far from home—she now lives in China!

In my other life I am a church musician and piano teacher. I love traveling (especially to China!), going out to lunch with friends, and reading. If I’m not sitting at the piano or my computer you might find me at the thrift store stalking fabulous fashion finds.

Anything else you’d like to share about this book?

Divine Makeover has eight chapters with each chapter having five days of devotions and Bible study questions. A girl could read it on her own, with or without doing the questions. But it would be even more fun to do with a group of gabby girlfriends!

DiVineblogtour_FB

Don’t forget to leave a comment before midnight Thursday, April 24 (2014) for a chance to win a FREE copy of Divine Makeover. Winner to be announced Friday, April 25th.

Also, for a chance to win a Divine Makeover basket, visit the Sharla Fritz Divine Makeover Blog Tour page on Facebook and share your makeover story. Winners of that basket will be announced there on Facebook on May 2.

Book Excerpt: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage

1781750_10202979912521067_137392855_n

Elisabeth Corcoran’s new book, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage, released on Valentine’s Day.

Here is an excerpt:


Who Am I to Judge?

Question: How do you confront your husband when he’s in sin?

The same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time and very, very carefully.

Somewhere along the way, I got the impression that it wasn’t my place to confront my husband.  For two reasons.  First, I had it in my head that a man should do it.  I have literally no idea where I came up with that one. And secondly, I thought, “Who am I to judge him? I’m a total nutcase, a complete mess.”  Another reason some might have that keeps them from speaking up is fear of what will happen if they do.

I no longer believe that only another man can speak into the life of a husband.  I believe part of what God meant for us when he calls us the “helpmate” is to come alongside our partners and help them live holy lives.

Sara Groves expresses this beautifully in one of my favorite songs, Different Kinds of Happy:

It’s a sweet, sweet thing
standing here with you and nothing to hide
light shining down to our very insides
sharing our secrets, baring our souls,
helping each other come clean

In fact, I even played this song for my daughter and niece and told them to look for this quality when choosing their husbands.  Being able to ask each other the hard questions is part and parcel with a healthy marriage.  You are allowed to ask anything.  If you’re not, that’s a red flag.

I totally get where I was coming from on the judging part though.  None of us are sinless.  But if we wait until we’re completely without sin to point out something to someone who is going down a dangerous path, no one would ever hold anyone accountable for anything.  If you are doing your best to walk with God and if you are as current with him as you can be as far as your own faults go, you have the obligation to help a fellow believer see the error of his ways.  If your spouse is hurting you, someone else or himself either physically, emotionally or spiritually, it needs to be called out.  Just make sure you’re prayed up and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the right words and to give your husband a softened heart to accept your concerns.

If fear of fallout is what’s holding you back, that should tell you something.  Though there are definitely topics of conversation that are harder to bring up than others, you should never be fearful of your spouse.  If you are, that signals a bigger problem.  If this is the case, then ask someone to have this difficult conversation with you, like a counselor, pastor or friend of your husband’s.  It needs to be someone you can trust and someone who will make sure that what you have to say is heard.

Listen, going to someone to tell them that they’ve hurt you or are hurting themselves is never easy.  But it’s part of what God wants for those of us living in community and trying to become more like Jesus.  It’s a burden but it’s also a sweet, sweet thing.

Secrets and cyphers
there’s no good way to hide
there’s redemption in confession
and freedom in the light
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid
-Sara Groves

_______________________________________________________________

1011676_10202979914041105_1570950043_nElisabeth Klein Corcoran is the author of Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage and Unraveling: Hanging Onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage, along with several other books. She speaks several times a month to women’s groups, and is a member of Redbud Writers’ Guild. She lives with her children in Illinois.

Visit her online at http://www.elisabethcorcoran.com/difficult-marriage-divorce/ or https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethKleinCorcoran.  She is the moderator of two private Facebook groups: one for women in difficult Christian marriages, and one for Christian women who are separated or divorced. Email her at elisabeth@elisabethcorcoran.com if interested in joining.

Elisabeth is a proud Member of Redbud Writer’s Guild and has been featured on Moody’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, This is the Day with Nancy Turner, and Midday Connection with Anita Lustrea.

In Sickness and in Health? (When Marriage Vows Are Challenged)

http://thereallifeadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/strained-1.png
photo credit below

There are factors that put a strain on marriage. Some are internal ones like pride, selfishness, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc., while others are external ones like finances, (un)employment, sickness, etc. (Both internal and external ones can or do occur mutually!)

Many have used the traditional vow in their marriage ceremony:

“I, (________), take you (__________), to be my lawfully wedded (wife/husband), to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”

The negative part of each of those vows (worse, poorer, sickness) is hardly considered at the altar, for typically a couple’s dreams are floating on their present state of mind and emotion.

But what happens when that couple finds themselves in an unplanned storm of worse, poorer, or sickness? Suddenly the vows take on new weight. And for some, it is overwhelming.

Each one of those factors deserve attention, and can be addressed extensively, but my focus today is on the “in sickness and in health” part of the vow.

The marriage commitment is put to the test when a spouse becomes seriously ill, diagnosed with a disease, or develops an incurable condition. Many pass the test and their love and commitment grow stronger, while for others it seems to be the beginning of the end of their marriage. (We have walked through this with my husband’s diagnosis of epilepsy nine years ago.  That valley (everything that occurred as a result  from his first tonic-clonic seizure in another country) shook us, but our commitment to each other and especially MY commitment to him, emerged fortified.)

Worse for a marriage than a spouse becoming ill is when a child is struck with a life-threatening illness or is born with a serious medical condition. From what I have read and been told, it seems that most of those marriages fall under a stress that eventually fractures the union entirely. (If you know of any studies in this area, please leave a comment. I’d be curious to see factual statistics.)

This is heartbreaking on so many levels.

I said most, not all. In the book Between Heaven and Healing, author and pastor’s wife Melanie Boulis shares the story of their daughter’s diagnosis and battle with cancer, and how it affected their marriage:

“Kevin and I were starting to fight a lot over Danielle’s care. The stress was building and we were taking it out on each other. The tension was awful. Caring for Danielle became a 24-hour a day job.”

Even spiritual leaders are not exempt from the stress and strain of this type of battle. The good news is that the Boulis’ passed through that storm, and are still together. The sad news is that their daughter passed away.

A friend who is walking through a difficult time with her sick child wrote me, upon my request, with the top ten ways to pray for parents of seriously ill children. The first request on the list was for the marriage:

“Most couples I know from the hospital are divorcing or their marriage is shaking badly. I would ask for prayer for the marriage, and time for couples to continue showing their love. Before the child, you are a couple; but when you have a sick child you forget that… and if the child dies there’s not much to rescue if the couple didn’t have time for each other.”

I think it’s both brave and wise of her to share that, and to make it the top prayer request. If you know of a family in this situation, would you pause momentarily and pray for their marriage? Also feel free to leave a comment below with the names and current situation of a family with an ill child, so that we can pray for them as well.

 

Photo credit:
http://thereallifeadvice.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/strained-1.png

 

 

 

 

 

Loving the Least (or the Greatest?) of These: This Two Yr. Old Champion Needs Our Help to Survive

We don’t live in Chihuahua anymore, so we have not had the privilege of meeting him yet, but everything I read about him amazes me. He’s empathic with others. He encourages his parents. His smile lights up whatever room he is in. He touches lives wherever he goes.

And he is only two years old.

His name is Mateo and he has was born with kidney failure.

69f437af-1d08-4767-9664-0bf1d01c2418_profile

He has already undergone eight surgeries in his short life, and is scheduled for a kidney transplant soon in Mexico City….

...IF they have enough money for the surgery. He has a donor (his grandmother!), but not the funds.

Can you help save his life? 179743_10152265835496549_1544472386_n

His mom, uncle, and grandparents are personal friends of ours from Chihuahua, Mexico. In fact, among the many times they blessed us and helped us out, one of the most urgent one was while I had an emergency C-section and they took care of our three sons, delivering meals, and doing whatever they can.

For us as foreigners without family close by, they were family.

Would you take a moment and share love generously with a family in desperate need? It takes as much time as ordering your carmel macchiato at Starbucks and less time than ordering your burrito at Chipotle.

Click here to bless Mateo.

We did.

Thank you for giving. Mateo and his mom, Lizzie Mateo and mom, Lizzie, having fun. 1209038_10152445151396549_1011613518_n About the photo above, Lizzie writes: “My son offering his hand to another boy; I love his empathy! One of the best moments in the hospital, one of the greatest lessons of the year.” 1493218_10152701760636549_648362233_n In the photo below you see how this medical procedure is explained to a toddler. Lizzie writes, “Explaining dialysis before inserting the catheter. When I finished explaining it to Mateo, I asked him if he wanted to do it; I told him I was scared and my eyes filled with tears…and he reached over with his little hands to hold mine and said, “Shhii  (yesh).” 1800275_10152743135691549_437770726_n

If I Should Quit

The poem below was written by the late Charles E. Greenaway, missionary to Africa and Europe in the mid to late 1900′s. I had the privilege of being in a service and listening to one of his powerfully compelling messages shortly after I was married.

I could tell he was a man of insight and wisdom. After the service, he told my husband, “You have a good wife there, take good care of her.”

May his poem’s message encourage you today….

©I.K.Hadinger
©I.K.Hadinger

If I Should Quit

If I should quit, what would the gain be?
Would the battle be lost? Would I really be free?
No, the door would not close, nor the battle cease,
because God would have another to stand in the breach if I quit.
If I should quit, what would I do?
Seek shelter from the heat, forget the cry of the lost?
Would I be happy for a time, then find I was through—
And spend my time praying for something to do,
saying, “God, why did I quit?”

If I should quit, I would find that God had not;
the battle would still rage, the church would march on.
The wind would keep blowing, the Spirit infilling,
only I would be farther and farther behind,
unwilling, wondering, “God, why did I quit?”

If I should quit, what could I say to God who called me;
and the people who sent me,
and the pagan who trusted me to show him the way?
And the Spirit’s urging day after day? God, I can’t quit!

If I should quit, let it be when I am dead.
Not while I’m alive, nor when I’m dissatisfied,
nor when I’m criticized, or minimized, or ostracized,
but please, God, let quitting time for me be-
When I am dead!

Our Time, with God (Managing Our Time the Smart Way)

One of these days...

When it comes to time, there are those who would say they don’t have enough of it. How absurd!

I’m one of them.

It’s an absurdly ambivalent truth, for we all have the same time given us although it seems to run short differently for each of us. Some may not have enough time for exercise, study, or sleep, while others may not have enough for their kids, their spouses, or their aging parents.

Have you ever made a list of everything you wish you had time for but don’t? Oh, of course, you probably don’t have time to make a list like that. Neither do I. Which is why I started to make one, and you should too. The incredible irony in it is seeing what’s worth our time and what isn’t.

Managing your time, not making it.

Why do we say, “I need to make more time for ________?”

We do not, nor can we, make time. We make dinner. We make babies. We make decisions. We make a mess of things. We make vows. We make friends. But making time? No, it’s not in our power. No action of ours can produce more hours in the day, or create time, for it already is.

Eph 515,16

The best we can do is manage it– and that, wisely, introspectively, and most importantly: prayerfully, with God’s help.

The worst we can do is manage it like we think others want us to, like our friends and neighbors do, or like we believe society pushes us to do.

The list I began making reflected in part what I wished I had time for based on what I saw (or perceived) others to have time for. Comparison mentality will always trip us. Admiration for others will not. May we learn to draw that fine line between the two.

God created us uniquely with differing personalities and talents, and we live with varying circumstances, yet he has given each of us the same amount of time. How we manage all that together is our individual challenge– and it is a challenge! Are you a solo-tasker or a multi-tasker? Are you married or single? Do you work full-time or part-time? At home or outside the home? Are you healthy or perhaps dealing with physical or mental illness? Are you sanguine or melancholy? Are you a leader or a follower?

The Bible says to be careful how we walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of our time, understanding what the will of the Lord is and finding out what pleases him. (Ephesians 5) That’s good advice in discovering what’s worth our time and what isn’t. The one who created us certainly can help us uniquely and wisely fulfill our time here on earth– most importantly in pleasing him and understanding his will for us. Because we are each wonderfully and fearfully made and because we each have a unique life path on which we walk, our time management should mirror that.

When it comes to time, there are those who’ll seek God’s help with it and thrive. Not absurd!

I’m one of them.

How about you?