Charis Connections Fall 2013

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Hi Everyone,
It’s so nice to feel the temperatures dropping a little, at least in the mornings and evenings! I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I am. With this great season, we have our Charis  Connection Groups forming as we speak!! Registration is still available to all of you online.

You may not be familiar with this great opportunity for the Women of DSCC, so let me give you a little background. Earlier this year, we started Charis Connection Groups as a pilot program that ran from January through May. Each small group of women met on the first Thursday of the month in a predetermined host home based on where they lived. Each month, a different doctrinal teaching segment and a practical tip segment was discussed in a conversational format so women of all ages could share life experience and godly wisdom with each other. The pilot proved profitable, so we are going to launch a new session of Charis Connections this month. Now is your chance to get involved.

This form of connection is distinct because its topics of discussion are based on the scripture in Titus 2:3-5 where God’s Design for Women to be discipled and to grow in Godliness is laid out for us. From that passage a few strategic components jump out at me.

1. It’s very clear that women need to be teaching and learning from other women that are more mature in their walk than themselves.

2. We need to discuss a certain criteria of learning that Paul says is based on what is good: how to live in loving household relationships, how to live wisely, grow in purity and goodness, how to minister in our homes and live in submission.

3. All these things are to be learned from one woman to the next which shows relationships as vital to the process of growth.

Charis Connections was born out of the desire to be intentionally obedient to these commands. The small group design is to try to intersect women’s lives so relationships will form, which us always the most influential way for learning to take place.

I am praying very much that God will lead you as you consider being involved in this ministry. I read a quote recently that I believe is so important to keep in mind as we prioritize our lives and seek to live intentionally:

“Consumption without contribution makes for a stuffed Christian, Contribution without consumption makes for a shallow Christian”

I hope you will consider contributing to those in the group that need your maturity and experience and at the same time open your heart to consume wisdom from those in the group further along life’s journey than yourself.

Register online at www.dscchurch.com/charisconnections. Also plan to come to our kickoff event this Thursday, October 3rd from 7-8:30pm at the West Campus.  If you have already registered you should be hearing from the team to get your home assignment early this week.

May God’s will be done and may He be glorified!

In Him,

Tami Engram

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Grace for Adoption: My God Has Answered

After the staggering news that our chances were one in a million of ever having a baby, God began to open our hearts and minds to the idea of adoption. We had always talked about adopting children, but it had always been the plan to have our own biological children first. We began assembling a photo album to present to potential birth parents in order to depict our lives. We met with social workers, had more physicals, filled out endless piles of paperwork, and sat through interviews to determine if we had enough sanity left after the past three years to qualify to become adoptive parents. The rigor of the process and the disclosure of such personal information often left me feeling violated and frustrated at the unfairness of it all. It seemed okay that anyone past puberty could become pregnant with no questions asked and yet I had to over and over again prove my worthiness to become a mother. My frustration ignited my pride and it glowed with hot, burning embers, demonstrating to me how much sinfulness and selfishness stilled remained within my heart even after the past several months of such an intimate time with God. Does the clay question the potter as to what He makes with the work of His hands? I struggled again with my emotions of self pity, self hatred, pride, and anger. It seemed that when I got a handle on one, another would surface, thrusting me into another emotional tailspin.

The day came and we got the call. We had been chosen; but there was something we needed to understand. We had matched, but not been chosen. As we sat across from our attorney’s desk he explained that he presses the birth mothers to choose the adoptive family for their children. However, in our case, our birth mother had adamantly refused to choose, insisting that he do it. He said that he spread out the waiting applications on his desk, closed his eyes, shuffled them up and prayed, “Lord, show me which family this child is to become a part of”. As he opened his eyes, both of his hands were on our profile. Immediately the Holy Spirit whispered in my soul, “Behold, I am doing a new thing, do you not perceive it? I shall surely make you a mother. And when it comes to pass it will happen in such a way that you know that I, the LORD, have done it. I am the LORD, the LORD alone, and I will not share my glory with another”. I shivered knowing that this was it. The promise that God had given me six months ago was coming to pass. We were going to have a daughter!

My biggest fear in the whole adoption process was having to meet our birthmother. I was secretly glad that she did not want to meet us.This was a new type of relationship that was uncomfortable and foreign to me at every level. I didn’t really have any friends to go to for advice. I would wake up having nightmares about it. Our social worker gave us an article written by a birth mom sharing her story of meeting the adoptive parents of her child. She spoke openly of her fear of being rejected and wondering if they would even want her baby. The LORD opened my eyes that day to my own self-absorption. I was so worried about her rejecting me, that I didn’t even realize the levels of brokenness that a woman unable to care for her child would experience. I began to pray and ask God to show me how to minister to our future birth mother- to give me the words to speak to her.

That night the LORD woke me up at exactly midnight. I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to go downstairs and open my journal. In a sleepy stupor, I fumbled my way downstairs, turned on a table lamp and opened it up. I picked up my pen and the LORD gave me the most beautiful poem. Within five minutes the entire thing was written. I woke up the next morning barely remembering what it had said and smiled at the way God has so wonderfully answered my prayer. The day came for us to meet. A friend of mine wrote it out and mounted it into a beautiful shadow box and I gave it to our birthmother. She cried, but I knew they were happy tears, because she smiled as she read it.

The next several weeks seemed to fly by as we prepared for Eliana’s arrival. We painted the nursery, ordered the crib, attended showers, and took an endless number of trips to Babies R Us. The day of her birth came like a flash. Her due date was Mother’s Day, but her doctor decided to induce her on April 28th. As I held her in my arms, the joy I felt was indescribable. I was walking on air. She seemed to fit perfectly into the crook of my arms as if she had been made just for my embrace. It was a moment of pure grace.

Our birthmother’s aunt pulled us into the hallway shortly after Eliana was born. She told us something so tender that she shook as she said it. “Twenty five years ago this month I aborted my son. I know God has forgiven me and I know he is in heaven. But until today, after helping my niece with this decision to choose adoption, I have been unable to forgive myself. Today is the day of forgiveness. Today is the day of making all things new”. Again the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Behold I am doing a new thing, do you not perceive it?” A new thing. I had been disappointed that Eliana wasn’t going to be born on Mother’s Day, but now I understood why she had been born in April. May was to be the beginning of a new thing in our birthmother’s aunt’s life.

Several hours later after our birthmother had some time to recover, she called us all into the room so she could hold Eliana for the first time. She looked at her tenderly and told us what parts of her looked like her father, her sister, and herself. She looked up at me with the kindest expression and handed me Eliana. As she raised her up to me she said with a smile, “I really wanted to be the first one to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day”. I hugged her fiercely cradling Eliana between us. At that moment I think we could see into one another’s hearts with such clarity and compassion that a hug was the only way to communicate all that we wanted to say.

Eliana means my God has answered. We chose that name because she was an answer to a promise. A promise of hope given to me. A promise of forgiveness given to her aunt.  A promise of healing given to her birthmother. My prayer is that her life will continue to be a testimony that our God keeps His promises. Every last one of them.

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LOVE, Erica

The Backyard Carnival

Come one, come all!

Bring your entire family to Jen Silvester’s Backyard Carnival Party sponsored by MOMS Ministry. The aroma of fresh buttery popcorn, the sounds of excited giggles from the carnival games out back, and the sight of true fellowship will be sure to draw you in. This is your opportunity to make memories with your family, as well as meet new friends.

MOMS (Making Other Moms Savvy) Ministry is a way for moms to connect with other moms and share words of wisdom, pray, laugh, and fellowship. The hope is that meaningful relationships can be built as we encourage each other in the exciting role God has placed us in. And this is the very first event of many to come!!

The Backyard Carnival opens at 10am. Drinks and snacks will be served. Games will be played & new friendships formed. Check out the flier below for all the details. And make sure to RSVP!!

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