Service Schedule

Heading H2

Example Paragraph Text

Directions

Heading H2

Example Paragraph Text

Little devotions from the LAEFC blogging team to encourage you in your walk with God.

The Story of Who I Was: Week 6

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OA8er @ 8:46 AM

If you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

_______________________

 

Almost every day I pass an “Adult Bookstore”. Driving by, I would pray that God would burn it down, (or some other type of disaster – no injuries, just destruction). Slowly, I changed my prayer that God would change the hearts of the patrons that go there. God showed me that the building and the business was not the problem, but the desires are the issues. This past year, I started praying for the change in everyone’s hearts (especially mine!). While we all don’t struggle with the particular issues the building caters to, my eyes have been opened to my own lusts of this world (physical and emotional), and how my heart needs to be healed. I just love the God has used that building to show me His truth and then remind me to pray for His grace and forgiveness.

 

The Story of Who I Was: Week 5

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP12er @ 12:48 PM

If you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

_______________________

 

God Is Faithful

Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

The drastic changes in our lives started on May 16, 1991 with our 18 year old son, Jason’s, industrial accident. Though we were Christians, we were to find out how much we were to depend on God’s strength. The moment of his accident God was already at work. Jason was diagnosed with anoxic brain injury and was totally dependent on someone else for his care. His communication was through his eyes and facial expressions. After 14 months of hospital and rehab care we brought him home with nurses to help us care for him 24/7. Through the twelve years of caring for Jason and even at his death there were many miracles and “God” moments even though he was not totally healed. God carried us through those difficult times.

Three years into his care at home I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but thankfully only needed radiation treatments after my surgery. But why was I healed and not Jason? Why did I have to deal with this while trying to care for my son? These questions and others floated through our minds during those 12 years and long after his death on May 23, 2003. But it was only through the strength that God gave us moment by moment, day by day, that we were able to accomplish what He called us to do.

On August 10, 2012 our 40 year old son-in-law, Scott, was taken “Home” quickly with a heart attack, leaving my daughter a widow and my granddaughter fatherless. Again we questioned “why”? But God has been faithful through our grief journey with our son-in-law as well as with our son.

Our hearts have been wounded but God heals and we are left with scars as reminders of His great love. As you can see our story cannot fully be told with all the miracles and “God” moments in just 10 to 12 sentences.

 

 

The Story of Who I Was: Week 4

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP3er @ 3:06 PM

If you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

____________________________________

 

Recently my 9½ year old child asked me, “Mom, what were you known for in school when you were my age?” I had to think…she was asking me what defined me over 30 years ago. I replied, “I was athletic; a fast runner, I would race all the boys and girls in my class and I would win every time. Whatever feat they could do, I was sure I could do better.” It seems silly now, but for years, that’s exactly how I approached life; sure that if I tried hard enough, I would come out on top. I considered myself confident and capable to handle whatever life threw at me.

Fast forward my life to the birth of my second child when my life came to a screeching halt. God gave my husband and me a perfectly robust, beautiful baby boy who used his healthy lungs to scream almost nonstop from the moment he was born. Amazingly he never wore out or needed to be recharged. After that, life became increasingly difficult. Nothing had prepared me for parenting the strongest willed child I had ever met. Every day was a struggle and I tried everything I knew to ‘fix’ my child.

My strong willed child is now 7½ years old and some of the things I am learning are:

  • My strong willed child does not need to be fixed.  He is a blessing – a treasure that God created and is using to change me.

  • It is impossible to do things on my own strength.  I need Jesus.  In my weakness He is my strength.  I must continually seek God and depend on Him.

  • It is God’s love, patience, forgiveness, etc. that my children receive from me, not my own.  Mine ran out long ago.

  • My identity is in Christ and Christ alone.  My parenting skills do not define me.  My child’s behavior does not define me.  It’s Jesus who defines me:  I am a child of God and He loves me.  My identity is in Jesus.  Period.

  • God loves my son.  Nothing my son does, good or bad, in the past or in the future will increase or decrease God’s love for him.  I need to love my son like God loves him – unconditionally.

  • I will fail at times, but I’m a winner in this battle – not because of anything I have done, but because of what Christ did for me.

As I continue my story, I want to be like a surgeon’s glove. Apart from the Surgeon, the glove is disposable, but with the Surgeon’s hand inside, the glove becomes useful. I always need to be filled with Jesus.

 

 

 

The Story of Who I Was: Week 3

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP2er @ 2:04 PM

 

Again, if you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

____________________________________ 

(Originally posted on TheDropInTheBucket)

Once upon a time…somewhere around the end of high-school or beginning of college… I stumbled across a saying “What is ‘normal’? ‘Tis but a setting on my hairdryer.” And I yearned for that to be true. Because from my earliest reckoning I have known that I was not normal.

Normal people cannot, at age 4, instinctively know that a note is off-key.

Normal 10 year olds don’t write introspective essays on the abstract meaning of life.

Normal teenagers don’t aspire to be a missionary martyr when they grow up.

And I knew the way I dressed wasn’t normal for girls.

My hobbies (prose, poetry, working on my novel series, baseball, and making stop-motion movies on Dad’s camcorder) weren’t what girls did.

And normal girls certainly weren’t playing with Star Wars action figures or amassing an encyclopedic knowledge of Quantum Leap and Star Trek.



I distinctly remember being an awkward teenager who preferred the company of adults to my peers because they “got” me and could answer the questions I had. I couldn’t wait to be counted as one of their number. Because my young, foolish self thought that crossing an age line would suddenly expunge that feeling of not quite fitting in.

Fast forward to college. The closest I got to feeling normal, because I was able to surround myself with likeminded professors and classmates. And boys liked me for the first time. That was a good feeling. A thing that felt normal. Until I opened my mouth and was quickly schooled on the fact that intelligent females are the ones the guys will debate in theology class but never date.

But I found one who would.

Married him.

Like any normal person would.

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then…

6 years. 6 years and 6 kids. 6 years, 6 kids, but only 3 who drew breath. And from those 3, only 2 who lived past that first day of life. Normal wasn’t even on our radar anymore. Because, seriously, we couldn’t even answer the simple question “How many kids do you have?” without either having to lie or make the conversation horridly awkward.

In between compiling a medical file thicker than Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, I was also attempting to do the homemaker thing. Cooking wasn’t my forte. Dish washing was what happened when we ran out of spoons and laundry when we ran out of clean socks. And just when I swallowed the fact that I was never going to be Martha Stewart, Pintrest was birthed to remind me I’d never be that crafty, organized, fun mom, either. More like the mom who gauged stages of life by the British Literature I could read to my kids or the sci-fi and fantasy shows and movies they could watch. And the one who dreamed of one day tutoring them in Koine Greek and Latin.

By the time our second son was born at the end of those 6 years, my overactive mind was slowly going mad from the tedious chaos that is the life of a stay-at-home mom. Friends were getting their Masters’ degrees while I spent every two hours of the day and night nursing my tiny son so that he could shed the spectre of the “failure-to-thrive” label he’d been born under. Others were building solid careers while I  drilled sight words and became a soccer mom. The walls were closing in.

And I didn’t get it.

Because I love my kids – all of them – with such a deep, unfathomable love so why didn’t raising them feel as fulfilling as everyone said it was? Why did I feel like Sisyphus while others waxed poetic on the joys of motherhood and made housekeeping seem as if it were the pinnacle of a woman’s existence? Why did I crave time with dead languages rather than cultivating relationships with living people? Why couldn’t I be a normal wife? A normal Mom? A normal Christian?

And then 4 years ago, God began taking me on a journey. He started slow, because He knew that’s what I needed. And the work isn’t done yet but I get it now. And I’ve started to embrace the beauty of who He created me to be, quirks and all. I’ve started to reach out. To connect my corner of the world with others who are also willing to admit that life can be messy and beautiful at the same time. More and more I’m finding women who are a lot like me. And together we are building a safe haven to do life.

And though we may have different ways of engaging the world around us we can all agree:

The only normal thing about people is that no one feels normal.

There is no one type of wife.

Or husband.

Or mother.

Or father.

Or adult.

Or teenager.

Or child.

We are far too complex for the farce of normal.

And yet… we all strive for it. For that intangible thing that somehow proves we are a citizen of the human race. As if the label “normal” grants instant validation and a boost of self-esteem. As if homogeny were valuable and a goal to be strived after.

The truth is that the moment we exit childhood is the moment we begin crafting the first of a myriad of masks we will use to project “normal” to the rest of the world. But the only “normal” that exists is found on hairdryers and washing machines.

It’s time to start defying the farce of Normal.

To begin believing that what we bring to the table – our strengths and weaknesses – have intrinsic value.

To see the beauty in diversity.

To refute the lies whispered all around us and exit the masquerade.

Let’s stop pretending that we always make the right choices; that our houses are always spotless; that our spouses meet our every need; and that our kids never fall short. Or even better, let’s stop convincing ourselves that these are true of our friends.

There is a world full of people craving authenticity. Moms who want to post pictures of overflowing baskets of laundry (clean or dirty) without labeling it #EpicFail. Parents who know they are the guardians of fish who are asked by society to climb trees. People who are weary of shouldering the heavier loads of depression, addiction, and mental illness alone and crave a place where life can be messy without feeling judged.

The Good News is that grace abounds. That you are valued beyond comprehension. That the God of the universe came down to live in our dirty, messy world. He defied the perceived norms. Offered love and comfort and friendship to the marginalized. Introduced a whole new economy where those who seek to be first will come in last. Where those who would lead must first become servants.  And where our weaknesses become our strengths.

Where not being normal isn’t an issue.

 

Because normal never existed in the first place.

This essay and I are now part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir, “Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life,”  just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

The Story of Who I Was: Week 2

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP12er @ 12:45 PM

 

Again, if you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

_________________

I don't ever remember a time that I did not know who God was. I knew the days of creation, the Ten Commandments, the nativity story and the Easter story. I can count on two hands how many times I've missed Sunday church over my life. As a child, however, that was all Sunday morning stuff. Looking back I can't say that I trusted God with my life or sought His will. After having my first child I attended a Christian mothers' group, honestly for the food and to socialize my child. Every meeting ladies would share their testimony. I had never heard of praying over a situation or stepping out in faith! I began feeling convicted of many of my daily choices. One day I realized I would not be renewing my subscription to Glamour magazine. Next I switched my radio station to WJTL and after that it was giving up my soap opera (a serious family tradition and I had watched since birth!). I began praying before meals, submitting to my husband, studying the bible. God was wooing me and He became a part of my everyday life, my decisions, my motivations, my every breath. What freedom I found in my gracious God! It was baby steps along the way and I am a work in progress. I am so thankful to those that shared their testimony those many years ago. They made me thirsty. Jesus Christ, my personal Lord and Savior quenches my thirst! 

The Story of Who I Was: Week 1

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP12er @ 12:46 PM

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing stories. Stories of how God is moving in our midst. If you would like to submit your story, please email Karen.

_____

I have always been strong in Christ…even when I didn’t know I was. Seven years ago I met someone from your church who welcomed my family and I and mentored me for many years. A few years ago God called this family to minister in Africa. My life seemed to go down quick within the last two years they have been gone. But now looking back I realize they were put in my life for a purpose.

 

These past two years I have experienced GOD and witnessed him in my life more than ever (through Divorce and many other turmoils our family has endured). GOD felt I was learning and felt it was time for me to walk with him personally now. GOD has made me stronger.

The life wide open by Laura Zimmerman

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP2er @ 2:09 PM


From the original blog here. Copied with permission.

 

The life wide open

 
                 by Laura Zimmerman
 
  
I sat down to write this last night.  The kids were in bed, my fingers were itching to type.  I opened this up, wiggled my fingers in preparation, and then... they froze.  Along with my brain and my inspiration.  Then a baby cried, then an 8 year old wasn't tired all of a sudden.  And then fear set in.  I was afraid to write this, which gave me a clue that I NEEDED to write this.  I couldn't though...not last night.  So I woke up this morning, went to Bible study, and GOT IT.  The seal on this lesson in my life was pressed onto my heart.  The crying baby and the unsettled child came into clear view not as distractions, but as divine instruments.  The fear was definitely not from God, but I'm learning to see fear as a tool now.  If the enemy is trying to put fear in me, my God wants to do something bigger. 

I have lived my life for the cynic.  I have examined my life through the eyes of the-ones-who-cannot-be-pleased.  I have had friends who believe in me, friends who cheer for me.  But I have been in relationships with people who have not.  And those people?  The ones I cannot please?  They are the ones I tried hardest for.  My home was examined through their eyes, my children examined through their eyes, my marriage examined through their eyes, my body examined through their eyes, my very existence...examined through their eyes.  And I always found myself lacking, and I always wanted to be the person they wanted me to be.  After 33 years of this, I have found this to be true--  I CANNOT. 
I just can't.  After 33 years, I have also found this to be true-- it's ok.  It's ok that I cannot be who everyone else wants me to be because that is not who I was made to be.  Instead of examining my existence through the eyes of the critic, the cynic...what if I examined myself through the eyes of the Creator?  The One who knew me before I was formed, the One who lovingly spoke me intoexistence and the One who lovingly speaks to me today.  What if I allowed His voice to be the loudest and His gaze to linger?  What if HE was Who mattered the most? 

Well then, that's a different life altogether, isn't it?  It's the life wide open, the one where He sets my feet on the high places of old, the one where He wears the crown of victory and places one on my head as well.  It's the life where my chin is lifted and my head is held high.  Not in pride, but in assurance of my position...through HIM.  He is the One Who gives me my status, He is the One Who I allow to speak over me.  And if His words are to be a standard, then that affects how I speak to people, and how I allow myself to be spoken to.  Beth Moore has blessed my life in ways that I do not think I will ever be able to articulate, but let me just say...today, in our study of James, I was given the freedom to simply say, "No thank you."  I will not receive expectations from others that I simply will never be able to meet... and I do not want to be the person that sets another up to fail.  I'm going to stop listening to the old voices that tell me I've messed up too much and I don't want to be that voice to others.  Because here's the thing... the scary, messy, senseless thing-- I can't mess up too much, and neither can you.  That is the grace of God that covers it all.  Because I HAVE messed up.  And so has anyone reading this.  But God's grace is the scary, messy, senseless thing.  It is not the easy thing, but it is the thing of freedom. 

So a call to action, then.  To turn to the God Who will "abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7), so that we may "...go out with joy and be led forth with peace" and see that the "mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you. (Isaiah 55:12a)"  I want to see that, don't you?!  Listen to what He says in His word...

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.  Behold, I will do something  new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."  Isaiah 43:18-20

So I can't.  I can't run myself down trying to meet expectations that can never be met.  I can't keep calling to mind the former things when God is trying to show me this new thing.  And I don't want to be that voice for another, either.  My heart is to see the new things, and to see them with others is so much greater than seeing them alone.  Oh, does He have STUFF for US to SEE! Let's go then.  Let's live the life wide open.

A Mom in A Mall by Laura Zimmerman

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP1er @ 1:44 PM

(Reposted from Laura's personal blog, PlantedShards)

A mom in a mall
               by Laura Zimmerman

 
The other day, Josh and I took our Laney on a special day.  It included a trip to the Apple store for dear old mom and dad to look into getting a new computer.  Laney loved this place, because she loves screens.  There were iPads everywhere just waiting for her to play, and play is what she did.  As Josh spoke with the salesperson, I decided to take Laney for a walk and check out the mall we were in. 

I used to frequent this particular mall on a regular basis before we were married and I had money to spend on clothes.  I loved it there.  There was a rush I felt upon walking into the mall...the possibilities were endless!  I could get some new clothes, semi-loathe myself but realize I still looked cute, get some Starbucks, browse for hours...HOURS.  But now, as an exhausted mom to three very active girls, time spent on myself is lacking.  As a woman who is recovering from actual self-loathing, a mall is like a minefield.  I braved this minefield with a 4 year old who is still innocent enough to pirouette (literally) through it.

So many of you head to the mall on a regular basis, and that's totally fine.  For me...for us, we've unintentionally but kind of intentionally chosen not to make mall trips part of life.  For our young girls, there are all sorts of blaring messages they don't have the capability of processing appropriately.  For me, it's a way to prevent discontentment with myself and with what I have (or really, don't have). On this day, my girl and I wandered through a few kids stores before I finally headed into one of the stores I frequented quite a bit. 

It was immediate for me.  The smell of the store brought back SO. MANY. FEELINGS.  I could recall some of the clothes I bought, the sizes they were, who I was with when I bought them.  I could remember wearing said clothes to events and the motivation behind my wearing them.  Literally, a catalog of memories was flung wide open.  And here I stood 10 years later... 3 kids later.  1 husband later.  ___ pounds later.  Gray hairs later.  All of a sudden I was at the top of a slide that I did  not want to go down.  In one big whiff, the lies began... "You were so much prettier then.  You had so much more to offer then.  Look at you now.  Look at all of the other moms in here who look so much better than you."  Even as I write this, my heart tightens in my chest.  And I looked at my little girl, impatiently waiting for me, and I realized that I don't have the time to entertain this crap.  I don't have the time to listen to this junk and believe this junk and I hightailed it out of there with my bouncing little girl.  We walked back to Josh and I repeated things I know to be true... "You are strong.  You are beautiful.  You are loved."

My girl bounced through the mall, oblivious to the wrestlings in her mommy's brain.  What a contrast we were.  Her innocence, bouncing past huge photos of impossibly perfect women...her not noticing because she just didn't care.  And me...trudging past those photos recovering from a full mental assault, not wanting to notice those photos because I care too much.  I would so love to say that I don't care at all, that those photos don't bother me.  There are days when that might be true.  But lately, they've been bothering me.  And it's ok for me to say so.

This world is not a gentle place for a momma who is full of love and bereft of "me" time.  There are photos and songs and all manner of things that make us feel "less than" for choosing what we have.  And it's OK for those that have chosen differently than I have.  Really. It all goes back to the repetitive line in my life, spoken by my husband all those years ago..."This is your story, not their story." I'm still learning this, to let theirs be theirs and to embrace mine.  (I cannot tell a lie.  I have, from time to time, asked the Lord to please allow my story to include fabulous clothes and a trim body. Some of it I have a say in, some of it I don't.)  But just like theirs, my story is a rich and layered one.  One that is not defined by my size or my clothes, but by my love.  I want to have loved well. 

We left the mall that day, and I struggled with my thoughts for the ride home before finally talking to my husband about them.  He reassured me of his love, of my worth.  My girls remain oblivious to the body image stuff.  The f-word (fat, that is) is never used in our house.  They worry about things like secret sister handshakes and memorizing "Frozen" and jumping rope backwards.  I hope they can stay like this for awhile longer.

Grace and Thanksgiving by Laura Zimmerman

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP12er @ 12:43 PM

This entry is reposted from Laura's personal blog, plantedshards with permission. May it bless your heart.

Grace and Thanksgiving

                                    by Laura Zimmerman

 

Lately I've been battling the voices in my head. Don't pretend like you don't have them... We all do, we just don't let people know it. My voices most assuredly are different than yours. Mine replays unkind words spoken, perceived slights, mistakes I've made...and they tell me I'm not enough. They tell me I'm not a good mom (because if I was I would have life all figured out and move through it without the slightest hiccup). They tell me I'm not a good friend (I'm not nearly involved enough or caring enough or present enough). They tell me that a messy house is the sign of a messy life. That if I could just clear the clutter, all would be well.

 

A friend reminded me last night of a very basic thing... "Laura, listen to the truth." My husband tells me this all the time, of course, as he is the one I talk to often about these things. He knows my limits, knows me wholly...he knows what else is going on, and how exhausting our life can be. He has taken care to truly know me, to study me, to go into the messy with me. This morning, God told me to read a specific portion of His truth, the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.

 

"And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food (gave thanks for it) and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied." (Mark 6:41-42, addition and emphasis mine)

 

I recently read a book called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She wrote about the importance of giving thanks, and used this scripture as a powerful illustration. We worked through a study of Gideon in our women's Bible study at church, another story of God taking what seemed like not enough, and making it enough.

 

So this morning, all of these roads intersected for me. And I sat in front of my fireplace, and I thanked God for not requiring perfection of me. There is so much more grace to live in than I can ever know! He sees my shortcomings. I thanked Him this morning for my own little basket...Lord knows it's meager. But my heart overflowed because of one thing...I know the God Who takes little and makes much of it.

 

 

This is my prayer for myself, and my prayer for you...that we can live in the messy...that the reel of doom, those voices that defeat, would be silenced. And this...that we would not add to the reel of doom in another's spirit. Our words hurt or heal. There is no middle ground. I have crossed lines and hurt, and it is a terrible thing. May we offer the grace we wish to receive, and may we never cease to give thanks for what He is doing.

I See You by Heather Donmoyer

Posted by Heather Donmoyer on OP2er @ 2:08 PM

I See You

by Heather Donmoyer

With respects to Christina Rossetti, Louisa M. R. Stead, and a dear friend.

Who has seen the Wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when our hearts hang trembling,

The Wind is passing through.

 

Who has seen the Wind?

Neither you nor I:

When little hearts bow down their heads,

The Wind is passing by.

 

I see Him in the answers for the questions not yet asked,

In the beauty of the night sky,

In the fullness of a laugh.

 

I see Him in the silent ones who labor not for praise,

In callused knuckles, hands careworn

Their stories shout His name.

 

I see Him in the healing balm of mercy and of grace.

In lips that speak the truth in love,

In feet that walk with me through shame.

 

I see Him in the ones who stand upon the battle lines.

Healers. Mothers. Fathers. Shepherds.

Instruments of love Divine.

 

I'm learning how to see outside the boxes men create.

The unexpected, unsuspected,

Journeymen upon the Way.

 

I'm learning how to tune my ears to whispers passing by.

Heed the nudges. Proddings. Promptings.

Then through weakness let Him shine.

 

Who has seen the Wind?

Those with eyes to see.

The ones who know that life is hard, yet glimpse eternity.

 

Faithful Father.

Jealous Lover.

Gracious Saviour.

Steadfast Friend.

 

These and more He has been for me,

 

Will be with me to the end.  

1, 2
Email A Friend
From Name
From Email
To Name
To Email
Note