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Today’s Christian Woman Articles

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Until recently, many of the articles at Today’s Christian Woman were available only to TCW subscribers. But this week TCW unlocked all the articles on the website, so anyone can read them. Several of my articles were in the subscription only category, but they are now unlocked. 🙂

Below is a link to my Today’s Christian Woman writer page which has links to each of my articles. Check them out if you’d like.  And if you want to leave a comment or share them with others, feel free. Just please be more kind than the commenter who spent about 8 paragraphs telling me I’m a terrible parent and my kids are headed straight to hell in the fast lane because they attend public school. I can totally handle constructive criticism and I am fully aware that not everyone will agree with my choices, but that one made my blood boil.

If you don’t feel like reading my stuff, just go to the page and check out the photo that goes with my “Backing His Wild Side” article. Most of the photos that accompany the rest of my stories are canned photos provided by TCW, but that one is all Corey Harms canoeing down some rapids.

I kind of love it that there is a photo of my manly man in Today’s Christian Woman.

Kim Harms TCW Writer Page

 

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Sanctuary For My Soul – The Devotion I Wrote to Myself

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January 6th was my deadline for my contribution to the TCW devotional book, Sanctuary For My Soul.

January 9th I found a lump in my breast.

January 20th I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My devotion quickly forgotten, (along with pretty much every other non-essential part of my life), I was shoved into a daily struggle to trust in God’s plan for me. I didn’t doubt God’s goodness or love for me on January 9 or January 20. But I didn’t like where he was taking me. (That’s an understatement by the way.)

Over the past few months I have felt sorry for myself on more than one occasion. And in those weeks when I didn’t know if the cancer had spread, I feared death. I didn’t fear where I would go in death. I am certain that my eternal destiny is with Jesus. I feared going now. The thought of leaving my family kept me awake at night. (Who will scratch the boys’ backs at bedtime? Will Corey be able to get the kids to all the places they need to go? What about cooking? Can he be mom and dad? How will Corey do life without me? How will I do heaven without him? Will I be here to see my kids graduate? Will Lewis even remember me?…)

I am still in the throws of this cancer thing; healing from major surgery (quite nicely I might add), looking to a second surgery sometime this summer and awaiting some test results and a comprehensive plan from my oncologist to take steps to lower the risk of the uninvited guest returning to my body. But I have made it through some very dark places, and I see a light up ahead.

Which brings me back to the devotion I wrote just before cancer.

I was assigned a chapter of scripture where David cries out to God in his distress and finds hope – (a pretty common theme for David 🙂 ) I wrote about what I considered to be the most difficult trial of my adult life. A miscarriage that occurred about a decade ago.

It was meant to help women find the hope in despairing circumstances. But as I read through the finished product that came in my inbox this week, I realized that God had me write those words for me.

This is how my devotion ends.

Each of us will go through seasons of great struggle and discouragement. It’s when we
find a way to hope in God and continue to praise him through our hardships that we experience a sweet communion with our Creator who “pours his unfailing love” upon us. 

And I can say from within a season of great struggle that it is most assuredly, a sweet, sweet communion.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Whys so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

An ebook is available on Amazon.

10-pack hard copies are available at TCW.

 

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Church Vs. Kid’s Sports: 5 Principles for Making the Tough Call @ TCW

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I love watching my kids play sports. I’m a quiet person by nature, but when a game gets intense sometimes I yell a little. And sometimes I grind my fingernails into Corey’s leg. And sometimes I think he’d prefer to sit with someone else.

As much as I enjoy watching my kids play, extra-curriculars on Sunday are hard for me. When I was growing up, Sundays were untouched by youth sports. In fact, they were untouched by pretty much anything but church and family. (I can’t think of a business that was open in my small hometown on Sundays.)

Our culture has changed, and we are faced with decisions our parents didn’t have to make. My article at Today’s Christian Woman today focuses on the dilemma we face when church activities and youth sports collide. The right answer for my family may not be the right one for yours, but I believe it is so very important Christian families think through how the can be involved in sports without pushing God aside.

Should I Skip Church for Youth Sports? 5 Principles for Making a Tough Call

I always thought it would be a simple decision to make. Church before sports. End of discussion. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But, as is often the case, the thought of making a decision and the act of making that decision are very different things.

My friend and I’d had a conversation over morning coffee about our decision to not let our children miss Sunday morning church services to take part in sporting events. That very evening I received an email containing my son’s basketball schedule for the weekend.

Two games were scheduled for Saturday and two for Sunday. The first Sunday game was slated for 9:30 A.M., smack dab in the middle of church.

I sat at the kitchen table waffling on the decision I had confidently shared with my friend hours earlier. Well, maybe it’ll be okay if he misses this one time, the little voice in my head reasoned. Weighing most heavily on my heart was the fact that I knew my son would be disappointed if he couldn’t play. Like most folks, I don’t like to see my children disappointed.

In the end, he did miss that game. He sat in church with his father, his brothers, and me while his team played a game across town. It was painful. Painful, I tell you.

But it was also fruitful. You see, my husband, Corey, and I didn’t tell our son outright that he couldn’t play that Sunday. The conversation went something like this:

“Hey, Owen, what do you think about that game being scheduled during church?”

“It stinks,” he answered. After a short silence he followed up with, “But I can still play the other games, right?”

He was disappointed for sure, but he knew without prompting from his parents what it meant to have a game scheduled during church. It was a proud mommy moment when I witnessed him come to that conclusion himself.

Making the Tough Call

The last thing I want to be is judgmental toward parents facing this common predicament. We all live in the same over-scheduled society where, in the great drama of life, church is often cast as the understudy and sometimes doesn’t even get a part to play. Christian parents are in a tough spot when it comes to church vs. sports conflicts.

It’s imperative that we think through our family priorities and make wise decisions about kids’ sports and other extracurricular activities. We are called to be a light to this world, and sometimes that light may shine brighter when it is missing from the basketball court. . .

Find the rest of the article here Should I Skip Church for Youth Sports?

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Boy Mom: 5 Tips to Communication with Your Son (@ TCW)

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My latest article went LIVE at Today’s Christian Woman. (Insights from my years of learning to communicate with the man-children God so richly blessed me with.)

You can start reading it here and click the link at the end to get the rest of the story.

Boy Moms: 5 Tips for Communication with Your Son

It’s 9:55 P.M. A lover of sleep, what I want to do right now is curl up in bed with my hubby and watch an episode of M*A*S*H on Netflix while I fall asleep on his shoulder.

Instead, I flip to Chapter 33 and start reading Unbroken (a book about an Air Force lieutenant in World War II). It’s just me and my two middle school boys in these final moments of the day. And though my body longs for sleep, my heart is full.

In this last half hour of the night, I scratch the backs of my ever-growing boys, and then we read. Together we enter a different world. Sometimes it’s fantasy. Sometimes it’s history. Sometimes it’s biography. And sometimes after we return from the book’s world, the boys invite me into their worlds, sharing their thoughts and dreams. Though these times are rare, it’s taken me a lot of work and learning to get to this point.

Here are a few key elements I’ve found to be necessary in order to successfully communicate with my sons.

1. Don’t Push

My sons’ worlds are not open to me all the time. In fact, more often than not, their thought lives do not welcome a visit from Mom.

In their early elementary years, this seriously bothered me. To counter it, I pummeled them with questions on the ride home from school each day: “How was your day? Who’d you play with at recess? How’d your spelling test go? Did you eat all your lunch?”

Their grunts and two-word responses didn’t satisfy my need for information, and my barrage of questions annoyed my boys. After completing seven long hours of school, the last thing they wanted to do was talk about it.

I had to back off…   http://bit.ly/1PEB1hs

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Today’s Christian Woman Regular Contributor

by KimHarms 6 Comments

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I had to screen shot this. That’s me right there next to Joni Eareckson Tada. What?!?

I know that all Today’s Christian Woman writers are just regular people like me who happen to love Jesus and the printed word.

But bear with me as I have a moment or two of awestruckness. Because every now and then a girl has to let her emotions take her where they may. And I think being asked to become a regular contributor at TCW warrants a few moments of walking in the clouds.

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Raising Strong, Christian Boys: 5 Ways I’m Building Up My Sons’ Character (@ TCW)

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My article, Raising Strong, Christian Boys: 5 Ways I’m Building Up My Sons’ Character, went live at Today’s Christian Woman today.

I love it that I am blessed with the opportunity to write for Today’s Christian Woman. Sometimes I can’t believe I get to write my heart, and get paid to do it 🙂 However, every time I write a parenting article, this little voice inside my head says, “Your kids haven’t grown up yet. You still have plenty of time to screw them up.” I silence it with prayer, and the knowledge that God is in control, and I am not.

Here’s the start of the story. To read it in its entirety, just click the link at the bottom.

Uncomfortable is a common state of being for me. I had newlywed dreams of rearing happy, calm little kids. They would play with blocks, color pictures, and maybe jump on the bed now and then. But they wouldn’t do things that made me wince.

Then I had boys. Three of them. I don’t think I deserve a trophy for birthing three male children, but I do think those of us moms who have successfully held our tongues while watching our daring man-children dangle precariously from tree branches have at least earned a box of chocolates.

I have learned the art of silently screaming in my head, Stop that before you break every bone in your body, while verbally saying, “Wow, buddy, you are the bravest boy I know.”

I want my kids to be safe. I don’t like emergency room trips. Stitches, staples, casts . . . none of those things bring me joy. But they come with the territory, and I have come to grips with that. The longer I live in this crazy world whose goal seems to be to tame the wildness out of boys, the more I want to encourage the wildness to thrive in mine. (Even if the stress of it shaves a couple years off my life.)

Strong and Courageous Men of the Bible

The Bible is full of courageous men who battle for what is right—men who are called by God to be strong and courageous in the face of some scary enemies. Moses stood up to Pharaoh (Exodus 3–12). David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Nehemiah and his men completed the wall with tools in one hand and weapons in the other (Nehemiah 4). And then of course, there is Joshua.

Joshua, who believed God when he told him he would cut off the waters of the Jordan (at flood stage no less) so his people could cross (Joshua 3). Joshua, who led the Israelites around the wall of Jericho and watched it crumble at the sound of the trumpet (Joshua 6). Joshua, who led the Israelites to conquer city after city, finally entering the Promised Land.

Sometimes I wonder what Joshua’s mom was like. She’s not mentioned in the Bible, but I know there was a woman who carried him for nine months, birthed him, and likely watched him play in the sand and catch desert snakes.

I am taking some creative license, but I have a feeling Joshua’s mom took parenting seriously. She knew for her boy to grow to be the man God created him to be she must be a supportive guide in that development—even if that meant allowing him some freedoms that made her uncomfortable.

My children may not lead such eventful adult lives as Joshua or those other men, but just the same, I want to use my role as mother to direct them down the road of the courageous and strong. I fear that beating down every semi-dangerous idea they come up with will send them in the wrong direction….

Raising Strong, Christian Boys: 5 Ways I’m Building Up My Sons’ Character

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Confessions of a Former Teetotaler: Drinking and Christianity

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This story was a hard one for me.

When I was given the opportunity by Today’s Christian Woman to write about where I land on the drinking debate and why, I knew doing so would reveal things about me that may change people’s opinions of who I am.

I would write a paragraph and think “this person is going to think I’m such a weirdo.” I’d write another and think, “Oh my goodness, that person is going to question my salvation because I like pina coladas.” And when I wrote a bit of family history I couldn’t stop thinking that maybe someone would feel like I unnecessarily shed light on a topic that doesn’t get talked about…I could go on.

I can’t read through this article without my heart beating a little fast. But not one thought made the final cut without extensive reflection and care.

Some will vehemently disagree with me on this one, while others will have a hard time believing how strongly I was opposed to alcohol consumption until recent years. But it is what it is, as they say.

I took the opportunity to write about something hard, and I decided that if two of my primary goals were not offending anyone and making myself look good, I couldn’t possibly write a true story.

So here’s the link. Take it or leave it.

Confessions of a Former Teetotaler

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Christian Kids in Public School at Today’s Christian Woman

by KimHarms 0 Comments

Here’s a link to my most recent article at Today’s Christian Woman.

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Christian Kids in Public School

The response to this story has been great for the most part. Except for one pastor who doesn’t approve of my choices. (I’m sure there are more, but he’s the only one who has verbalized it.) Oh well. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I am confident in the decision our family has made. Go Ballard Bombers!

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Five Things I Want My Kids to Know About Sex

by KimHarms 0 Comments

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Of all the things I’ve had published, this is quite possibly the most difficult one for me to promote for two reasons.

1. In it I shared a part of my private world, and that is more than a little uncomfortable.

2. My take on the subject matter is absolutely counter-cultural. I have no doubt that God’s plan for sex is the best, but I also have no doubt that some people who read this will think, “Wow, she’s a prude, isn’t she?”  But I choose to wear that label with pride.

Head on over to Today’s Christian Woman if you want to read what this prude-Jesus-loving-mama has to say.

Five Things I Want My Kids to Know About Sex

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When Your Child Doesn’t Like Church

by KimHarms 0 Comments

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My 10-year-old son does not like church. While my worship leader husband stands before the congregation singing and drawing hearts into focus, I stand by a boy who doesn’t even move his lips.

In the past this frustrated me immensely. I wanted everyone to see my kids following the rules and singing with smiles on their faces. I wanted them to see that the Harms family had it all together. But, as I struggled through my frustrations, I became aware of the sinfulness in my attitude. Like the cup Jesus speaks of in Luke 11:39, I was trying to look squeaky clean on the outside. But by ignoring my son Owen’s heart, I was unclean on the inside…

I recently had the opportunity to write an article for Today’s Christian Woman about making tough, sometimes counter-church-culture decisions while striving to guide our kids toward Christ.

To read the rest of the story head on over to the TCW link below.

When Your Child Doesn’t Like Church

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