Newsletter – Volume 33

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Newsletter – Volume 33

February 12, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Alex and Alexus...

For Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to share a black sheep couple’s story. Enter Alex and Alexus Hendon. If you were at their wedding this past January, and you didn’t know the back story, you would have probably said, “O what a cute couple, don’t they look great!” And they are a cute couple and they are excited about their future. But it was a long and bumpy road to get to this point. Here is a snippet of their story. Enjoy!

I (Alex) grew up in Austin. I was adopted as a baby and grew-up in a loving Christian home. But as a young man I got caught up with the wrong crowd and was in/out of trouble. I became addicted to cocaine and made a series of poor choices. I was raised in church. We were there every Sunday and Wednesday night. I knew right from wrong. But I always had this thing pulling at me to do my own thing. And I did it. Eventually my parents had enough, and they gave me an ultimatum, I could either go to rehab or figure it out on his own. I thought rehab was better than the streets and so I decided to opt for rehab. On the way there, my parents told me it was a faith-based program. I remember thinking, I already knew about God, so how would this help? But I figured it had to be better than fending for myself.

I (Alexus) grew up here in Round Rock and I too was raised in a religious home. I grew up Catholic. My parents were kinda religious, but we only went to church sporadically. I never got into drugs, but I was definitely a party girl. I sought attention and affirmation from all the wrong kinds of guys and ended up in a really dark place. I was depressed and broken. It wasn’t until I met Alex that I really understood what it meant to do life differently, and a large part of that had to do with getting reconnected with God.

While in rehab, I (Alex) began to put my life back together. I thought I knew what it was like to have a meaningful personal connection to the Lord. I was wrong. I knew about religion, but I didn’t really know Jesus. But when that became clear, I began to move to a better place. I wish I could say it was once and done. It wasn’t like that. Recovery is definitely a process, and it certainly was for me. I relapsed several times going from bad to worse. Then I finally got serious about the work I had to do and slowly but surely got on a more serious recovery track. I found a good job in construction and then met Alexus.

Because of the hardships of our past, we had a rocky relational path. It was a real mixture. We enjoyed each other’s company a lot. We helped each other find and keep faith. But we also argued incessantly. We broke up several times. Made more poor choices. When we met Pastor Piet, he took us under his wing and mentored us. We met regularly over coffee and talked about all the things that go into having a Christ-centered relationship. We are so grateful for that investment and we are excited to see what God has in store. As Pastor Piet likes to say, we are now Black Sheep Messengers, and we look forward to watching God use our story as an encouragement to others who find themselves in a similar place as where we were.

Word of the Week

Restore

Verb:  return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position.

There is a wonderful image in Malachi 4:2 that speaks of the freedom and joy that comes with God’s healing touch:

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.  And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.”

Perhaps you are waiting on something that you hope God will heal and restore.  Sometimes it is hard to wait. But every day is a new day. God is always at his work. Maybe the fulfillment of his promise will be realized this week.  Are you ready to dance?

A Book I’m Excited About Reading

Politics For People Who Hate Politics

A Noteworthy Sentiment: As long as anger, paranoia and misinformation drive our political debate, there are unhinged souls among us who will feel justified in turning to violent remedies for imagined threats. ~David Horsey

When I first heard about the event, I wasn’t immediately excited about it. But a good friend asked me to attend, so I decided to go at her request. I am not into political conversation – especially as it is engaged today. But after hearing Denise speak, I was pleasantly surprised. Denise Grace-Gitsham is a devoted believer. She has been active in politics for years, and she is attempting to inject some civility into this otherwise contentious conversation. This book is centers around the practical outworking of Paul’s admonition to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). After hearing her give an overview of her thinking, I am excited to explore further by reading this book. Guess I know what I will be doing on my next plane ride.

A Personal Request

My Latest Bladder Cancer Report

Pocket Prayer: Might you provide a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…

This past week, I had my bi-annual cystoscopy. This is a test that scopes my bladder to check for new tumor growth. I was praying for an all-clear. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The typical protocol would be another surgery, but I am feeling inclined to explore other options. After 7 similar surgeries, with a return of the tumors (each time), I feel like I am on that insanity wheel of doing the same thing over and over while hoping for different results. I am going to make another attempt to visit the folks at MD Anderson for a second opinion. Would you consider praying that the Lord would open the right door and grant me favor to connect with the right people and that they would provide either confirmation that we are on the right path or provide another approach with potentially better results. Thanks!

The Rest of the Story

Pocket Prayers At Red Lobster

Last week I told you about a friend of mine who left her Pocket Prayer devotional at Red Lobster. When she called the next day to ask about it, they were reluctant to give it back.  Jennifer was confused. The hostess said, “We’ll give it back, but only if you get us another copy, because we’ve all been reading it on our breaks!”. So, this past week, I sent her another copy of the book, and I got an enthusiastic text back, “Thanks Pastor Piet! We love it!” Who knows what God will do with it now that it resides in their break room.

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