• Erin E. McEndree


Adoption can be traumatic; there is no doubt about it. Adoptive parents, adoptees and biological parents are bound together with invisible tethers that cannot be broken, only managed. Although we lead separate lives, we affect one another even if we have never met. And if we do meet, a whole new set of issues are created to navigate. Each of us has a different set of issues to work out individually. However, feelings, emotions and actions are affected by the feelings, emotions and actions of the others in ways we don’t even realize. All three identities are unique and separate, yet bound together with tethers that influence our ideas about humanity, our self image and the depth of our spirituality.


Adoptive Parents

Maybe you made adoption part of your child’s identity by weaving the facts of their beginning into their lives from their beginning. This approach does not take away concern about possible future events. You often wonder if your child will search for their biological family. How will they be received? How will your child handle affection towards those ‘strangers’? Will their love for you change? Will the biological mother try to infringe on my relationship with my child? Fears about the unknown can hover like a dark cloud if you dwell on them too often. The cloud will just grow darker and intensify.


You may have kept your child’s adoption a secret. A looming cloud of worry is ever present no matter how far in the rearview mirror it resides. Recurring thoughts of the potential storm are right under the surface if your child finds out the truth. It is stressful year after year. You may secretly agonize about how your child will react to ‘being protected’ if facts rain down about the details of their beginning. Maybe you believe you can hold back the storm by withholding your child’s identity, but the silent, ever-present storm is always there for you. This method almost always backfires and leaves devastation in its wake.



This book encourages you to take measures to secure core beliefs early in your adopted child such as trust, independence, identity and openness so a far better outcome will occur when turbulent adoption issues arise causing emotional disturbances. You can release the tether of worry and put hope in its place.


Adoptees

Knowing you are adopted may help you understand why you feel a certain way. You may feel out of place in your family and a sense that there is something missing. You may feel like you don’t belong because physical attributes are not similar to others in your family. The lack of knowledge about your beginning may consume your thoughts. You may struggle with abandonment and rejection issues which created identity problems and hopelessness. You may have a lack of support for your search.


After meeting your biological family, you may feel like you don’t belong there either. Some meetings are a disaster. Constant feelings of abandonment can contribute to anxiety, depression and fear. Those feelings will seep into your relationships, your self image, your work habits and deplete your spiritual life.


This book emboldens you to build your life on a solid foundation irrelevant of others. It helps you establish your identity so you can feel secure and bold whether you know your biological family or not. In these pages you will come to understand that neither your biological family nor your adoptive family defines you. You can release the tether of being validated by others and put security in its place.



Biological Parents

You may have kept the pregnancy a secret from your friends, some family and community and still hold that secret decades later. Maybe your spouse and children do not know the deepest shame living in your heart. You may feel guilt and regret for your decision years ago when you were immature, unsupported and fearful of judgement. You may long to search, but are paralyzed with fear about how your biological child will react or if they even know they were adopted at all. You may agonize over questions like, “Does s/he hate me?” or “Did they have a good life?” You may have decided long ago to stay silent and suppress those feelings. The expectant shock and judgement from others is not worth divulging your secret.


You may be in reunion with the child you relinquished and have to navigate new and different issues. Confusion and judgement from family, friends and a whole new ‘family’ dynamic must be forged through uncharted, tumultuous waters. Overstepping boundaries is always on your mind. Wondering how much contact is too much contact eats at you night and day.


This book implores you to released the tethers of guilt and shame, forgive yourself and navigated a relationship with your biological child and their family with grace.


(Book: Release What Tethers by Erin E. McEndree)

(Website: www.steepedinpurpose.com)


  • Erin E. McEndree

Asking for help is one of the hardest things for so many people. Culture says that asking for assistance is wimpish. Society teaches we need to be self-sufficient at all cost. The world views being in need as poor, unintelligent, embarrassing and foolish. Giving control to someone makes people feel like they have lost their identity.


However, a biblical view of the word ‘weak’ is much different.

Paul said, “For when I am weak, then I am strong,”in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Paul considered himself weak so he could receive Christ’s power. He knew Christ was more powerful on his worst day on the cross than Paul’s best day feeling strong. He knew in Christ he could endure insults, hardships, persecutions and even being in sever need while in prison. He gave all he had to Jesus to open the door for Christ’s power to be revealed in him. Paul outsourced his worldly desires in return for eternal strength to deal with them.

Outsourcing weakness to supply yourself with an even better outcome is actually very smart. But, only someone ready to deny himself, surrender his will and give up his natural tendencies can experience the strength in weakness. Webster says that outsourcing is to send a job to be done by another. Some things can only be outsourced to Christ alone.

Outsource Worry

How can you outsource worry? Prepare. Have a plan. Decide beforehand how your will react in upcoming situations and what you will say. Luke 21:14 says, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”

Intentionally decide you will give the situation to God. No matter what happens or someone’s reaction, you will let God battle for you behind the scenes. Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

In an interview, a 93 year old lady was asked what her secret was to looking so young. She said that 30 years ago she decided not to worry about anything.

What worry can you outsource to Jesus today?

Outsource Offense

Being offended starts it ALL!! A comment triggers you and you strike back. A photo sets you off and you resent the sender. Your boss treats you unfair and it shows in your work and attitude. Your husband did not listen and your feelings are hurt. Political parties use unfair, unethical practices and you debate and argue. A company puts out a lewd commercial. Someone ignores you and you feel rejected. Someone calls you names for believing something contrary to their beliefs.

How can you outsource offense: Give grace in all situations. Be kind always. Forgive regardless. God gives you grace and not what you deserve. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved …”

Extend grace as you have received it.

In the book The Bait of Satan by John Bevere, offense is the bait. Oh how we take the bait because we have not predetermined we will not be offended.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances…”

Let the Lord fight your battles.


Outsource Selfishness

How can you outsource selfishness? Have the same mindset as Christ. He looked for opportunities everywhere he went.

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Intentionally look for someone to help everywhere. Prepare to help someone everywhere you go. Be creative.

1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

Outsource Pride

Pride is a feeling that you are important and better than others. You feel like you deserve things you haven’t even worked for. You also feel like rules don’t apply to you.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

We all know people that try to tell a bigger and better story, but there is another pride that is even more destructive. Psalm 10:4 says, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek [God]; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”

We all know someone who thinks they don’t need God. What they don’t realize is what Matthew explained in 25:12, “But [Jesus] replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’”

I am saddened by pride that forfeits the soul for pleasure on earth for little while.

Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Outsource pride. Give it up to the One who can give humility.

Outsource Hope

God has a bigger picture behind the scenes we know nothing about. Job 13:15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

God is always with you. You have to decide if you are with Him and where your trust lies.

Daniel 3:17-18 says, “If we, [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego] are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They outsourced their hope to God.

Outsource hope in the Supernatural where your true inheritance is waiting in eternity. It’s hard because he is invisible.

Asking for help from Jesus, even though you can’t see him, takes faith and perseverance in a messed up world that seems to thrive on worry, selfishness, offense and pride.

Colossians 1:17 says “He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” In Christ Alone, all things hold together.

Asking for help and outsourcing all your needs, feeling and problems to Jesus gives you more in return than you ever thought possible. Abundant hope is waiting right after you lay it all at Jesus’ feet.

  • Erin E. McEndree

As moms we can find so much to fret about. We feel like we have the weight of many responsibilities on our shoulders. We wear so many hats. Some we place on ourselves. Some are placed there by others forcefully because we cannot say no. Some we take on because we think no one else will do it.

Let’s look at a verse that is misquoted and misunderstood often!

Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Doesn’t that sound good? But attainable?

This verse is about being content in all things. It is about God giving you strength to be content during these troubling times: masks, government overreacting, riots, no contact with elderly in homes or family, schools online, church online or not at all, a mountain of laundry, 17 socks in the living room that no one picks up, crusty dishes and so on!

This verse does NOT mean you can do all things. You cannot dunk a ball if you are 5’’ 2’ if you just practice hard enough. (I’ve tried. Everyone does not have the gift of aerospace engineering like my niece. Everyone cannot speak to a group with ease.

Some people have the gift of writing. Some have the gift of accounting. some have the gift of listening. Some have the gift of teaching. I wish I had more of the gift of technology and organization.

So, applying the verse by looking at its context, with God‘s strength, we can ALL master being content in our life. This is one gift he gave everyone. But, do you tap into it? Do you find contentment or do you marinate in your worry, What Ifs and struggles?

I want you to tap into strategies I have found to be content.

It doesn’t mean everything is fair. It doesn’t mean I get everything I want. It doesn’t mean that justice is served. It doesn’t mean the world is perfect. But I have found how to be content in this turbulent, unpredictable time we live in.

You may not have all gifts, but I will teach you what you already have that can bring you contentment! We have so many choices. I read we make 35,000 decisions and choices a day.

There is ONE big choice you can apply in every situation that lessens stress, anxiety and frustration: GRACE!

Put these strategies into practice to find contentment.

  1. Serve Others with Grace

Philippians 4:18 “I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.”

Serving others can look like so many things. This is a response I made to someone about masks.

“I wear it for the 86 year old (and many other elderly) at church because if I (we) didn’t, she and others would not come. I refuse to be the reason someone does not come to church, whether the mask works or not. Same with the grocery store. There are so many elderly. Way back, before all the hub bub, I came around the corner without a mask, and met an elderly lady with a mask. She backed up so fast and hit a shelf and knocked all the almonds tothe ground. Again, I don’t want to be the reason someone gets hurt or knocks over a display because of their fear. Romans 14 says the strong should not treat the weak with contempt or put a stumbling block in their way. 15:2 we should please our neighbor for their good.

The world is messed up but I will do my part to bring peace to someone who has weaker faith or weaker immune system and wear a mask if I must. Has nothing to do with the government, it has to do with my heart.”

Contentment comes while serving others. There is no struggle in my decision. The opposite must justify with worldly reasons and it battles in their mind. To serve others is not a battle; it is grace in action.

Philippians 2:3-4 “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”


2. WORDS full of grace bring contentment!

1 Timothy 6:6, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Right above that are the characteristics to NOT be content.

1 Timothy 6:4-5

“they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”

Wow! I see these characteristics on social media and news all the time. Almost all have to do with our words. I purposely follow very positive people, watch positive shows (no news) and listen to good music. Do you need tounfriend some people for your contentment to grow? I’m not talking about being uninformed. I am very aware of issues and agendas, but I get that in about 15 minutes a day; not 4 hours of negativity a day.

Do you engage in quarrels? Evil suspicious? Constant friction?

Do these offer contentment? Put no stock in controversy, believe God. Remember, Revelation predicts all this so why be shocked, worried or dismayed?

Words are subjective depending on the user; don’t quarrel. Don’t give anyone a reason to talk maliciously about you.

Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of GRACE, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (caps mine)



3. Loose yourself! Be last!

Denying yourself is one of the hardest things to do that brings the most contentment.... with the right heart attitude.

Luke 9:23-25 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?””

Matthew 20:16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Give GRACE!

That also means: LET IT GO! (Jesus did that for me!)

Here lately I have been giving GRACE out loud.

I say, “Give him GRACE!” When I pick up socks out of the living room. Or wash his dry, crusty bowl I reminded him to wash while wet so I don’t have to soak it.

I give GRACE when she forgets to do the cat litter. Or fur balls as big as cats form because she hasn’t swept.

I give him GRACE when he falls asleep every night in his recliner and I go to bed lonely.

I could list 100 more examples.

They have no idea how much I give GRACE around. I don’t want to be the women in Proverbs 21:9.

Proverbs 21:9 “It is better to live on a corner of the roof than to share the house with a nagging wife.”

I really don’t want my family to remember me always nagging, griping and complaining. I know they see that from me already and it saddens me to think that is all they see mom saying.

I wish we were all a team and did our part to help one another out to bear some of the load esp. now that I work,too (and do the shopping, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills, make appointments.. but I digress). You see, we all have our responsibilities. Yes, we all have our tasks. Yes, we all have a plan of action around here. Yes, I still remind them. And yes, is mostly does not work.

But, so does Jesus wish his children listened, too. But He gives GRACE when we mess up and I want to have the same heart as Jesus. Jesus took on the whole load! Then he sat at the right hand of God, CONTENT that he made a way to save his co-heirs from their foolishness.

Try giving grace today and everyday. It just might be the key to contentment you have been looking for.


One last thing: Apply! Apply! Apply!


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