Christian Author Lorilyn Roberts' Blog

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An Adoption Prayer


An Adoption Prayer
By Lorilyn Roberts



Jesus said in John 14:18, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" According to the U.N., there are approximately 145 million orphans in the world today.

Can we be like Jesus, opening our beating hearts and stretching our empty arms across the oceans to help destitute orphans who need our love?  Can we not risk a little to sacrificially give these little ones the knowledge of the Real Hope Giver? Can we not love until it hurts? Can we not remove ourselves from our comfort zone of blackberries, iPhones, plasma TV screens, and Starbucks Lattes to feel an orphan's pain and hear his stifled cries for love? If only for a moment, can we enter into the movement of the Spirit of God and allow Him to stir our hearts and move us in ways not our own and give us a longing to love one more precious child? 

But not for the grace of God, go I. Without Jesus, we are all orphans. Let's show the world that Christians are indeed known by their love—enough to change the world one life at a time.

Pray that God would lead you to adopt. Pray that He would prompt you to open your wallet to help. Pray that He would show you how to get involved. Let Him touch your heart as He whispers to your soul. Someday, when you stand before the Heavenly Father's throne, when all else has been left behind but the souls for which Jesus died on a cruel Roman cross, you will be able to say, "I surrendered my heart and mind to the endless possibilities You gave me, Lord Jesus. I saved a child out of hopelessness, just as You saved me."

Don’t let it be, if only. 

“I was moved by Lorilyn’s story of her going to the ends of the earth to find her daughters.” Jerry B. Jenkins, Novelist & Biographer, owner, Christian Writers Guild.



To purchase Children of Dreams on Amazon:

October 17 through October 19, Children of Dreams will be free on Kindle as part of a larger Christian 100% off promotion. To learn more visit http://www.bodyandsoulpublishing.com/100-percent-off-christian-books/



Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Did I Write Seventh Dimension – The Door?


By Lorilyn Roberts




It’s easy to think of my life beginning when I was four years old. A torrential storm sent lightening daggers through the living room and thunder shook our tiny apartment. It was on that night, awareness of life and death became real to me. Fear entered me for the first time and made me realize how small and insignificant I was. In a home without a father, I sensed there was something big and all-powerful that would protect me if I asked. That was my first awareness of God.

Love growing up in a broken home was lacking, but when you don’t know any different, you accept what is without questioning. God filled in those gaps later. Out of depravity, God provides abundantly. Those who have great need later experience great healing and great love, poured out and overflowing. Every child born into this world God loves just as much as He loves His Beloved Son. That gives me hope that no matter what our circumstances, we can overcome. We will overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ.

We can defeat those voices that tell us we are no good, we can rest in the arms of Jesus Christ, we can embrace the truth through Scripture, and we can share the love of God. Despite all the obstacles that have hindered me, God is now giving me the opportunity to share my passion for writing.

How does one come to know Jesus Christ if one is afraid of other Christians, afraid of the church, afraid of rejection, even afraid to go to Sunday School? (I failed first grade because I couldn’t read and never wanted to read out loud after that).

God sent a dog named Gypsy to me. Sadly, shortly after arriving on our doorstep, she was taken from me and dumped some place far away. For three days, I did nothing but cry. I lay in bed listening to another violent storm outside my bedroom, wondering if she was okay. I feared I would never see her again. For someone who had never known the Savior’s love, or the love of a close friend, or the community of a church, she was my anchor. For someone who didn’t own a Bible, who had never heard the words, “I love you,” from the Source of all love, it was a scary world that offered little security. I longed for something , but I didn’t know what it was.

As we were getting ready to leave on a trip to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, I looked one last time up the hill from our small apartment. I dropped my pillow when I saw a speck of white on the street far away.  Was it Gypsy?  She was dirty and exhausted, but she was alive. We were reunited—never separated again until her death many years later.

That day, I learned something profound—God loved me and He would never leave me or forsake me. If He could return my beloved dog to me against all odds, He had to be real.

I went to an elementary school that was mostly Jewish, and so my school friends were Jewish. I was jealous they had that sense of community that I never had. Why couldn’t I have been born Jewish? My mother had recently married Gene Roberts and I asked my new father to take me to Sunday School. On Sunday mornings, he would climb out of bed and drive me to a church nearby we had never attended. There I learned about Abraham and Moses. I felt Jewish because I was learning about the Jewish God. For my eighth birthday, I asked for a Bible. My new father took me to the store and bought me the King James Bible.  I proudly wrote my name in the only Bible we owned for many, many years.

When I was twelve, I had a good friend with whom  I spent the night. Before she went to bed that night, she asked, “Do you mind if I read my Bible ?” I had not grown in my faith since I was younger as we had moved. My parents did make an effort to attend church a few times, but the fights they had on Sunday morning were horrendous. Much to my relief, we quit going.  The Sunday morning tirades  turned me away from believing in a powerful God. Satan seemed too strong for my family—where there were often scary confrontations that left me insecure and worried. My birthfather having left me, I feared my adoptive father might, also.

God never quit loving me, but I lost touch with Him until I met my friend who read her Bible.

I went home and started reading mine. I read Job first – I could easily read that name – followed by Proverbs. Then I decided to read something from the New Testament. Why not begin with the first book—Matthew?

I became a born-again Christian reading about Jesus in bed late at night under a tiny light when I was supposed to be sleeping. His profound words rung true with what I knew— the Old Testament prophets and the proof-texts. The Jewishness of Matthew resonated with me because of my past. His compassion for the poor, his willingness to risk everything, and His death on the cross when He had done nothing wrong overwhelmed me. I cried, humbled by His compassionate words that spoke to my heart.

I must have asked Jesus into my heart a hundred different ways. Fearful I didn’t do it right the first time, I did it over and over. When one is insecure and has little knowledge of the things of God, fear plays too big a role. Fear convinces you uttering the sinner’s prayer is insufficient for salvation. When you have lived in a world of conditional love and performance-based acceptance, it doesn’t seem like enough after all God has done.

My insecurity and low self-esteem kept me from growing as a Christian. I looked for value in worldly ways. I excelled academically, making straight A’s through high school. I became an accomplished classical guitar player, performing at major events. I was first runner-up in the Junior Miss Pageant for Cobb County, Georgia. I never smoked a cigarette, never drank, never hung out with the questionable crowd, never was promiscuous, and never once took a risk that would have compromised on my very personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

But deep down, I was hurting. As a perfectionist, I struggled to believe people would like me if they knew how “bad” I was. A flawed and distorted image of value crept into every aspect of my thinking. I wouldn’t read out loud, wouldn’t pray in public, wouldn’t do anything that could draw attention to myself outside of my academic and musical accomplishments. My fear kept me from becoming the person God created me to be.

At nineteen, I met the love of my life at the University of Georgia in chemistry class—who psychologists would call a rescuer. We later married and I put him through medical school, hoping when he finished, I could go back to college and get my degree and pursue my dreams of writing.

When I was thirty, he walked out on me after getting his girlfriend pregnant. Those dreams of writing crushed, I dropped out of the University of Florida and went back to the horrid world of court reporting, which I hated.

But something did change – I found a Bible-believing church, a Christian Counselor, and Christians in the church reached out to me with the love of Jesus Christ. I pulled out that dusty Bible and discovered the Book of Romans. I threw out those pills I almost swallowed after God spoke to me on another stormy night when I lay in a muddy creek bed. The Creator asked me how I could take my own life when He sacrificed His beloved Son for me. How could I stand before Jesus Christ if I committed this awful deed? His love for me compelled me to give up that “right.” That was in 1985.

Since that time, many of my prayers have been answered. My mother and Gene, who later adopted me, found Jesus Christ and started attending church (without fighting). Gene died a humble man fifteen months later after a valiant fight with brain cancer. I look forward to seeing him when I arrive at heaven’s gates. My brother and sister found a church and became believers. My family is no longer just a moral family—they know Jesus Christ. I believe God’s great work began with a stray white dog that found her way into my heart so long ago. She was lost but she found me and wouldn’t let go—just as God found me and wouldn’t let go of me either.

Today, I thank God for the opportunity to write and share His great love with a world that is desperately lost. Especially as we watch the news on television and the internet and see the scars of hurting people because of sin, unbelief, and godlessness. We have hope because God is a God of all hope.

While the Seventh Dimension – The Door is a Christian fantasy and fiction, many of the ideas come directly from my life. Today, God is still working out His perfect will on many levels—the birthfather I am estranged from, my desire to write full-time, fueling the passion in my daughters to have no other god but the One Living and True God. The world’s lure is great and I will never grow weary of praying for them. God, who brought them here from the other side of the world as orphans, has a wonderful plan for them. As a single mother, I know the battle for my children’s souls is great, but if I didn’t believe so passionately that God as our heavenly Father can fill that void of earthly fathers, I wouldn’t have adopted them. With one hundred and fifty million orphans in the world, God chose them. I am humbled and honored to call them my daughters.

For every young person who struggles with doubt, for every child who has been bullied, for every kid who comes from a broken home, and for every person who longs for the seventh dimension—Seventh Dimension – The Door is for you.


God does not leave us if we come to Him. Seventh Dimension – The Door is written for those who will not hear of God’s love in church because they don’t attend, or through Christians because they don’t hang out with them, or through the Bible because they don’t own one. To know the King, it helps to know His Jewish roots, so there is a strong Jewish element within the pages. Seventh Dimension – The Door is the book I wish I could have read when I was a teenager. Seventh Dimension – The Door is now available on Smashwords and Kindle. An audio version is on my website (free download for a limited time).







Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chapter One from Seventh Dimension - The Door, by Lorilyn Roberts




Prologue

A diary entry many years later:

“Long ago, a magical king was born in a kingdom where animals talked and intellect sparred with spirituality. It was a time when truth transcended culture, forgiveness won battles, and love conquered a young girl’s heart.

But lest I get ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning—which happened a long, long, long time ago. So long ago, I barely remember the beginning of my journey to the Seventh Dimension.



Chapter One

The Dark Secret of Shale Snyder


I hid in a closet underneath the stairs—my safe house. Nobody would find me in here. It wasn’t used because the ceiling was too low. After the accident, the closet became my friend. I wanted to avoid Judd, who came over to visit Chumana. She was not my sister but we lived together.
Guilt overwhelmed me. The door creaked as I turned the handle. I held my breath and peered through the tiny slit. Moving shadows darkened the room. Judd, Rachel, and Chumana stared into a small brown shoebox.
Chumana burst out crying. “I hate Shale.”
I cringed. She already hated me anyway, ever since we moved in with them a few months earlier.
Rachel stood and recited a Jewish prayer. “Barukh shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed. Blessed is the name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever.” With her unkempt hair, puffy red eyes, and flushed face, I barely recognized my best friend.
“Why are you praying?” Judd snapped. “We aren’t here to pray.”
“Accidents happen,” Rachel said.
“She should be cursed,” Judd exploded.
“Don’t say that,” Rachel said.
 “How do you know it was an accident?” Chumana asked.
I looked away. I couldn’t listen. My whole body quivered—what kind of curse?
Judd’s voice cracked. “I demand she tell us what happened.”
The three twelve-year-olds sat silently for a moment before Rachel responded. “She fell down the stairs with Fifi and she’s afraid.”
I swallowed hard.
Judd pulled his uncle’s Atlanta Braves cap over his eyes and clinched his hand into a fist. “I hope Shale never has any friends—for the rest of her life.” He covered his face and sobbed.
I bit my fingernail holding back tears. I’d never heard a boy cry. Could his curse come true?
Chumana’s red hair matched her fiery temper. “That’s not enough of a curse. She already doesn’t have any friends.”
“I’m her friend,” Rachel said. “Accidents happen.”
Rachel lived two buildings down from us in the Hope Garden Apartments. Would she still be my friend if I told her the truth? I didn’t just fall—it was what I was doing when I fell. I was too afraid. I rubbed my swollen ankle, a reminder of my foolishness. The doctor hoped it would heal, but Fifi lay in the box.
Probably God hated me, too. If I told the truth, everyone would hate me. I couldn’t even tell my mother. My father—he left me long ago.


***

Two Years Later

I felt a hand reach underneath my blue skirt. I spun around on my toes. Students in the crowded hallway blended into a blur of anonymity. Hurried bodies shoved past. Am I going crazy? Did I imagine it? I scanned faces and froze each one, like a snapshot with a camera.
“Shale, why are you standing there? Come on or you’ll be late to class.” Rachel was waiting at the hall lockers.
I walked towards her as the bell rang.
“Are you okay?” She furrowed her brow.
“I’m fine.” I smiled, pretending nothing had happened. I’d think about it later. “Did you finish your analysis of As You Like It?”
Rachel’s brown eyes bulged. “Is it due today?”
“Here’s mine. You can take a quick look if you need to.”
“Oh, thanks, Shale. I hate Shakespeare anyway. No copying, promise. Just a peek.”
“It’s no different from reading Spark Notes on the web,” I quipped.
When we walked into English class at Garden High School, I sat in the seat closest to the door and stared out into the darkened hallway. Who did it? What would I do if I caught him? Mrs. Wilkes’s voice brought me back to reality as she recited from a Shakespearean play.

“All the world’s a stage.
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts
His acts being seven ages.”

What was my part? At fourteen, did I have one yet?

***

Later in the afternoon, I tripped while stepping off the school bus. My books scattered over the ground. My bum ankle from the accident two years earlier would catch at the worst possible moments—what I considered my eternal punishment.
Scrambling to pick them up, I wiped the red Georgia clay off my math book. The bus waited long enough to make sure it wouldn’t run me over before pulling away.
“Hey, wait up, ya’ll.” I walked faster to catch up as Rachel stopped, but Chumana and Judd kept going. We still lived in the same apartment complex on the south side of Atlanta—had for years.
“If you used a backpack, you wouldn’t have dropped your books,” Rachel chided me.
“Mine broke.” I scanned Rachel’s back. “Where’s yours?”
“I did my homework at school. This is all I needed.” Rachel waved a thick book with strange-looking letters in the air.
“Can you read that stuff?”
“Sure,” Rachel laughed, “but I don’t know what it means. You could too if I taught you.” Rachel flipped to the first page. “You start on this side.” Her finger pointed to a line of Hebrew and she ran her finger across the page from right to left.
 “Really?”
“Yes.” Rachel giggled. “So who reads backwards, the English or the Jews?”
 “I’d say the Jews. I can say that since I’m not Jewish, right?”
“Why not?”
“Writing would sure be easier if English was right to left. I wouldn’t smear my words.”
Rachel nodded. “I forget you’re left-handed. It’s crazy, isn’t it—like the Brits drive on the left side and we drive on the right.”
We walked for a while not saying anything. I glanced at my friend with her striking olive skin, almond brown eyes, and brown hair. “Do you like being Jewish?”
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t know any different.”
 “I wish I was Jewish.”
“Why?” Rachel asked.
“It would be neat to be able to say I was something.”
“You could go to church,” Rachel suggested.
“Mom and Remi would never go. Every time they talk about God or anything religious, they end up fighting.”
Rachel flinched. “That’s too bad. By the way, thanks for your help with English.”
“You’re welcome.” I switched my books to the left, thinking how much I hated the long walk home, especially since we now lived farther away. The new unit we moved into when Remi and mother married was at the very back by the woods.
Rachel frowned, noticing my musings. “What’s it like having a father now?”
I bit my lip hesitating. “At least I have my own bedroom and don’t have to share with Chumana.”
“That’s good,” Rachel agreed. “How did you ever end up living with her anyway?”
“Mother didn’t have any money when we moved to Atlanta. She found an ad that Chumana’s mother placed in the Atlanta Constitution looking for a roommate. It was a cheap place to live.”
I eyed Judd and Chumana ahead of us. “What are they talking about? They have been spending a lot of time together.”
Rachel lowered her voice. “I know.”
“Maybe they deserve each other.”
Rachel edged up even closer to me and spoke in a whisper, “You never knew your father, right?”
“No.” I clutched my books that now seemed heavier. “Mother couldn’t wait to marry Remi after being divorced for so many years. Then she cried all night when they returned from their honeymoon in the mountains. I couldn’t sleep. I wondered why, but was too afraid to ask.”
“Maybe it was a bad honeymoon,” Rachel chortled.
“Silly you. How can you have a bad honeymoon?”
“I don’t know,” Rachel replied. “I’m sure it’s happened.”
“I hardly knew Remi the day they married.”
“It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be at your own parent’s wedding. I mean, it might be funny if it could happen,” Rachel said.
“Like Back to the Future?” Then my thoughts darkened. “How would you like having a stepfather you don’t know?”
Rachel shook her head. “I wouldn’t.”
I’d never confided in anyone about my past but now I couldn’t stop. “Presents arrive twice a year from North York. I don’t remember anything about my father. One day he left and never returned.”
“I can’t imagine what that would be like,” Rachel said.
“Sometimes I get angry.”
Rachel’s eyes widened. “About what?”
“Mother didn’t ask how I felt about her remarrying.”
We walked in silence as my words hung in the air. I kicked a rock on the sidewalk and it skipped into the gutter. Rachel’s warm nature was comforting. She came from such a perfect family, or it seemed. I’d tell her things I wouldn’t tell anyone else.
Voices from the past mocked me. “Do I walk like a chicken?”
Rachel laughed. “No, you don’t walk like a chicken.”
“Do I have big lips?”
“Big lips?” Rachel stopped and stared at me surprised. “No.”
“You don’t think so? Every time I wet them with my tongue, I worry I’m making them fat—so I was told.”
Rachel examined my fair face. I pretended not to notice. “You’re beautiful. Who would say such mean things?”
I didn’t want to tell her. What was the point in making him look bad?
“I love your green eyes and long brown hair.” Rachel reached out and grabbed a couple of strands, flipping them over my shoulder. “I wish mine wasn’t wavy with all the humidity. I use an iron to straighten it but it doesn’t stay that way for long.” Rachel giggled. “Guys love long, straight hair.”
“Remi wants me to call him dad, but that seems weird.”
A few feet in front of us, Chumana knelt on the sidewalk.
Rachel squinted. “What are they looking at?”
An earthworm wiggled on the sidewalk, barely warm from the late afternoon sun. A few weeks after Christmas, it was the wrong time of year for creepy crawlers.
“It’s probably cold,” I said.
Judd lifted his foot to squash it.
“Wait,” I demanded.
Judd glared at me.
“Why kill it?” I asked.
He leaned down and picked it up, dangling the worm a few inches above the sidewalk. “Have you ever dissected one of these?”
I shook my head.
He stiffened. “I should make you squish it between your delicate fingers.”
I stared at the worm. Judd dropped it on the sidewalk. As he started to smash it again, I leaned over and shoved him. “Just leave it alone.”
Judd’s face turned beet red. “Don’t ever push me again. You hear me?”
I nodded. My knees spasmed like a jack-in-the-box.
“You don’t like squishing worms but you killed my puppy.” His icy eyes ripped at my soul.
Rachel said, “Get over it. You sound so hateful.”
Chumana glared through her thick, black-rimmed glasses. “Judd is right, though, Rachel. Don’t you remember?”
“I remember,” Rachel whispered.
My heart raced as I picked up the worm—its slimy body was cold to the touch—and stuck it in my pocket.
Judd shook his head and stomped off.
Ruefully, I urged Rachel and Chumana, “You two go on. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Rachel nodded. They continued walking, leaving me alone.
After wrapping the worm up in some brown leaves, I placed it on a warmer corner of the concrete. When I lifted my eyes, I saw the white dog for the first time. She sat nearby wagging her fluffy tail.
As I approached her, she stood and limped backwards. The scruffy creature was dirty and mangy, with floppy short ears and almond brown eyes. If she belonged to someone or was lost, the owner wasn’t taking very good care of her. A fuzzy feeling warmed my heart. Did she like me? Before I could get too close, the dog turned and ran away.