Monday, May 9, 2016

To the Kind Grandmother, Thanks for the Umbrella

Dear Caring Grandmother, 

I am quite sure that you are still praying for us since you left us in the rain with your umbrella. I don’t know why I feel the need to explain how I wound up fast walking through a rainstorm with a 3 and 4 year old on each hip, but I just know that you find me insane and want to defend myself. 

You see, I felt myself reaching a level of insanity after lunch today and when I was asked from the millionth time, “can I play a video game?” I shut my laptop and said, “that’s it we are going to the park.” After a good thirty minutes of picking out the perfect park outfits, cleaning spaghetti sauce off their faces and begging my three year old to please try to go potty, we were out the door. I got so involved in conversations about what slides they would slide down and what swings they liked best that I, unfortunately, failed to notice the dark storm cloud over our heads until we were half way down our street. At that point I did say, “oh, no we need to turn around and get in the car to go to the park incase it rains.” But my rational minded response was met by a four year old who insisted that walking was the best part of going to the park. How do you argue with that?

I did begin to pray a bit when the sprinkles of rain started hitting the sidewalk in front of us and the cars driving by had their wipers going. I did think for a moment that we should turn back, but then my girls laughed while holding hands in front of me - they needed this. They needed mommy to get away from the computer, to put work on the back burner and go out for an adventure. We probably shouldn’t have stopped to count the turtles in the drainage ditch, but there were more than we had ever seen before and just as we were counting the tenth one I saw the wall of rain coming our way. 

If you knew my three year old you would know that she has two speeds, run as fast as her little legs will let her or slow old grandmother (no offense) and it should be no shock to you because I think you’ve been in my shoes before that that child was in little old grandmother mode even as her hair become drenched in rain. So, I swooped her up onto my right hip then I thought, “I could go even faster if I carried Bekah, too.”  And that is when I went from a cute mom of two preschoolers to a hot mess running down the side of the road in the rain with a child on each hip. So, I know absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt why you pulled over and said “get in, I have carseats.” This is where a shake my head thinking back and wonder, “was I being stupid or smart?” refusing a ride from a grandmotherly type in a sedan. 

You see, there are two reasons why I said, “oh we are okay, we are almost there.” First, and oh I hate to admit this, but it’s true - I do not ask for help. I completely and totally suck at asking or accepting help from others. I have been told that it’s the curse of being a single parent for so long, but in a case like this I think “it’s not a big deal we will run up here under the edge of the clubhouse and be fine.” And that is exactly what I thought, there was no thunder, no hail, so we got a little wet - the three year old thought it was completely awesome. 

Secondly, and I blame Lifetime Television, the news and my mother (equally), I am not about to put my children in the car with anyone I don’t know, sorry. You looked kind, your car looked nice and clean, but really you could have been a crazy baby snatcher. Sorry. 

So I said, “thank you, but no thank you” and we made it safely to the covering of our neighborhood club house just steps away from the park and the end of our journey. As I was ringing out the girls shirts and pushing the wet hair off of their faces I heard a horn honk and Bekah sigh, “there is that Lady that you said no to.” That is when I knew you were most definitely a grandmother, when you yelled, “I have an umbrella, please take it.” As you place the umbrella in my hand I asked, “how do I return it to you?” Now, I know your response was something like, “God will provide” or hmmmm…I really can’t remember, I just felt in that moment that you were praying for the well being of my children and I blanked. I did say thank you multiple times and waived off another car that pulled up behind you. There was a run on caring people trying to help the insane woman out of the rain (that lasted less than 3 minutes). I didn’t mean that to sound snarky, sorry. 

I do thank you, thank you for showing your heart. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for taking time out for drive to help us. And thank you for leaving us with your cute umbrella. 

We continued over to the park and the girls slid down wet slides and swung on dripping swings, but they had the best afternoon. They needed that time, they needed that adventure out side of the walls of our house and the small rain storm made it even more exciting. I needed the reminder that people are kind and caring still even when I don’t know when to get out of the rain. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thankfulness - The Other Side of Post Abortive Healing

Yesterday morning I followed seven women and one man down the stone path to a pond, the same pond where my stones of unworthiness and un-forgiveness lay. As I saw them laugh together, hug each other and share tears of pain I could only think one thing, “Thank you Lord”. 

My Loving and Amazing Father, 

I don’t feel the words”thank you” even match the feelings for gratitude I have for the grace I’ve been given. And as if grace were not enough you’ve given the opportunity to take my stuff, my yuck, (with your amazing love added) and turn it into a story I get to share with others. You’ve given me the gift of words that flow so easily (at times) to share what you’ve done in my life. I’ve also received the ability to speak in front of crowds with pure transparency and oh man, I thank you for that. 

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be on the other side of post abortive healing, that this weekend I was given the ability to serve women just like me. And that brings me to a big prayer of thankfulness that you have given me the ability to cook and to cook well, “or so I’ve heard.” I got to use that talent to keep the comfort foods flowing this weekend as these seven women and one man started the journey to healing. The same journey I took less than three months before. Less than three, months - amazing. I have fit so much into the past three months, I have prayed my heart out and trusted your path for me. 

Now I ask you, father, what are we doing next? This servant is ready! 

Rest? (that is seriously what I just heard as I typed that question) 

I know you cannot mean rest from sharing this story, but maybe rest as in it’s time for some serious Sabbath. It’s time for some serious prayer about boundaries. It’s time to looks at where my energy is being applied and reconfirm that it is where You want my attention. It’s time to fix some cracks that crazy full living has put into my marriage, my relationship with my little people and my relationship with you. 

Lord, I just ask for your guidance, I ask that you shine bright lights on my paths. A neon sign with an arrow, maybe? Sorry, Lord, I am just tired and my eyes are swollen from exhausted crying that took place last night. 

The tears are filing my eyes again and I am filled with overwhelming thankfulness that I was there. That I shared embraces with people I barely got a chance to know, but know all so well. Eight completely brave parents who face the mortality of their children and at last, delivered them to you, for you to care for and for you to love. In doing so, they finally, finally, accepted your forgiveness, your grace. You strengthened marriages this weekend, You empowered women, You made some amazing leaders in the great commission. I know these are things you do everyday, all day, but for the past three days I got to see it with my own eyes, again. 

Thank you. 

With a heart overflowing with gratitude and love, 

Your Servant on this AWESOME Journey

Not sure there is much more to say than that this morning. I am beyond exhausted, the most tired I’ve been in awhile, but as my physical body is dragging, my spirt is jumping for joy! I could go on, but really all it would be is a list of words like: Awesome, Amazing, Awesome, Awesome, Awesome…

Monday, April 11, 2016

Find Bright Stars in Your Darkness

As I was driving to the studio last night I was constructing  (and deconstructing) what my answer would be the question that somewhat haunted me:

What would I tell someone who was listening about how to get out of the muck of their life? If I was talking to someone who had totally lost hope, what would I say? What is one of the steps to help them move forward towards peace? 

What a question; It does put a lot of pressure on someone, but then again what a privilege to be able to share what has helped me with others. 

Want to know what came up again and again like a broken record that I could not stop?




Loving Relationships. 

And want to know what God did with my thoughts last night?

He confirmed them (not sure why I just read that with Forrest Gump’s voice)

Yesterday, I was loved on and prayed over. Jesus’ love just oozed out of my friends, my congregation and my family. 

On the way to the studio my phone illuminated with texts from my groupies, sitting patiently in their cars with their radios already tuned in. Even, my mom, was poised with her iPad ready for the live stream. 

I could feel every ounce of love and every powerful prayer yesterday. 

Jesus has a big part in my story, but you all, my friends, the ones who love and support me have such a large part, too. 

I could not have made it this far with you. 

From, my dear friend, Emily standing in a park with me over a year ago saying, “Oh, I want to hear all of your story” to Sarah making me cry by reminding me that it was her turn to sit with a goofy smile on her face as my voice played. To my dear friend, Sandi, who adamant that she would not miss my lifestream. And, Casey, my awesome cheerleader who made this interview happen. 

(I feel like I am accepting some sort of award)

I could go on for hours listing names and telling you all individually what your role was in this journey. 

The holy spirit was even working through the men a block away from the radio station. As my nerves were at an overwhelming level partially because we were running late (it’s a Bahn thing - heehee) there was a group of men cleaning windshields at the last stop light before our turn. One of them came over with his squeegee and drew a big heart on the windshield in front of me. I wanted to jump out and just hug him! I should have, but the light turned green and did I say we were late? 

But in that moment, that heart was such a sign - I was loved. I was loved by all of you and I was loved by my heavenly father. 

So, if you were to ask me today, what is one of the keys to getting out of the darkness? My top answer would be surround yourself with people who love you and aren’t afraid to show it. Find a community of friends who illuminate Jesus’ love all over you! 

As a wise man said yesterday in his sermon, Even a dim reflection of God’s love is a bright star in a dark night. 

Thank you all so much for being my bright stars! 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Renewed Strength: Live Radio Interview Details

There is an Ellie Holcomb songs that goes, 

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint
And like a flight upon an eagle’s wings, He will give the weary strength

So lift your eyes up to the sky
To the one who hears you when you cry

It played this evening as I was driving alone. I found myself grasping onto the words, embracing what feels like are just hopes, praying for strength, praying to not grow weary, praying to not be faint. 

You see twenty-four hours from now my voice will play out through the radio waves in Houston and in Austin. My story will be shared with a listening audience of, wait for it, 20,000. 

20,000 people, seriously. 

And that is just the first night. My interview will re-play in Georgia and in Kansas and in Wisconsin. 

To be completely transparent with you, the Lord and I have been battling this for a good week now. While I have been knocking myself down  (telling myself that I am not capable, that I am going to stumble, I am going to choke - I am going to say the wrong things), God has been there urging me along. 

I can’t do this. 

Yes, you can - I am here and I will be there. Open your mouth and I will give you the words. 

But, more that 20,000 people? I am not qualified for that. 

I am not asking you convert a single soul, that’s my job. I am asking you to share the story I wrote for your life with them. 

It almost feels like I am typing a skit guy’s video. (love them)

2 Timothy 3:17 has played in my head over and over again this week - 

so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Why do I fight it? 

I will tell you that my purpose (I know for a fact - 110%) is to reach the women like me, to give hope to those who are sitting in a life that is drowning them in shame, grief, self-hate. God saved me from myself, over and over again. God saved me for this. 

But dang it, that fact doesn’t make this any less nerve wracking. 

Here in print, I am not as awkward (thanks to that delete key) than am live in person. I get nervous, I resort to inappropriate humor and pronounce things wrong. Oh man, I apologize for things that have nothing to do with me. I’ve been know to say, “I am sorry” for the sun that is shining. 

And can I just say that the world winsome has put such fear into me? I am shacking my head, it’s silly, I know. Of all the words in our language, winsome is one I have never used and seriously I never in a million years thought that would be something that could describe me. And that, ladies and gentle, is me beating myself down. This is the moment where just about all of my girlfriends want to shake me. 

When will I ever start believing that I am capable, that I can help so many, that my story is amazing? Umm, I am not sure, because even though I don’t feel an ounce capable, even though I feel just as Moses did:

Moses said to the LORD, "Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

I am so grateful for my story, what I have come out of, and I am thankful that just as he said to Moses

"Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say."…

He says to me. 

Oh, man, God is amazing - His timing is even humorous. I’ve had headphone in while writing this and as I have written these are the songs that have played. 

At the Cross (Love Ran Red) by Chris Tomlin: There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless, where my heart has peace with God. 

Forever Reign by One Sonic Society: You are peace, you are peace when my fear is crippling

None But Jesus by Hillsong United: When You call I won’t refuse

Then, Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin

And just incase, Him speaking to me through music wasn’t enough, I get a text from Pastor Schultz (who will be interviewing me tomorrow) that says, “Blessing on your thoughts. May your evening be one of peace” right in the middle of all those songs. it’s as if  God is saying, “take a deep breath, I’ve got this.”

These are the events that leave me sitting in front of my computer, hand over mouth, just ugly crying all over my keyboard. These are the moments when I am amazed, taken back and overwhelmed by the amazing love that I never for a single minute deserved, but received through grace. 

So, 800 words later I am at peace. Even after hearing that I will be video taped and my video will also be shared, I am at peace (though rummaging through my closet in my mind at this very moment - what will I wear?!?!)

Here are the details about tomorrow (Sunday, April 10th): 

If you are in the Houston area I will be on KKHT The Word, 100.7FM Houston from 7:00-8:00pm (central time). 

The broadcast will also play live in Austin on KTXW (AM 1120). 

Or you can listen, through life stream here: (click “listen live” in the upper right hand corner). 

My interview will replay on these stations on these days, times:

WFAM (AM 1050) Augusta, GA - Saturday, April 16th at 6pm
KCNW (AM 1380) Kansas City, KS - Saturday, April 16th at Noon
WJYI (AM 1340) Milwaukee, WI - Sunday, April 17th 6:30pm
KLNG (AM 1560) Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA - Saturday, April 16th, 10am
WITK (AM 1550) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA - Wednesday, April 13th at 6pm

Also, next week you can find my interview on Evangelical Life Ministries’ website:

Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers. 

I don't feel I can end this without share the amazing blurb (I know there is a more educated word for this, but it's lost in my mind) that an truly amazing, truly winsome, friend wrote for me: 

Dana Bahn lives a modern-day resurrection story with many Biblical parallels. Her choices, which tore at the fabric of morality, left her condemned, alone and broken. Yet, she has a welcoming, forgiving, and healing God. It has not been easy, but through the powerful work of Jesus, she has been restored with confidence, guided to a loving husband, gifted with three beautiful daughters, learned the incredible forgiveness of God and given a platform to share her renewed life with many. Join Dana with host David Schultz to hear of her redemptive story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cardbord Testimony: I Was Not Alone

After a long day of work I hope to find words to best describe my feelings about this video. 

I sat in the pew Sunday morning with Matt and Shelby on each side of me. As the video started playing on the gigantic screens in front of me I grab their hands. Shelby gave me a reassuring, “it will be okay, mom” as I squeezed her hand. 

In reality this video had already played in four services that morning, over 1,000 people in attendance on Sunday morning had already seen it and many of those people I exchanged pleasantries with during Easter morning brunch, but this time it would play with me sitting right there. The people around me would be able to say, “oh that’s her.” 

In reality they could say that about all of us. We pretty much all were in the same service that morning, I shared my fears, my butterflies, and my tears with my dear friends (old and new) who sat scattered throughout the 11 am service. I wasn’t alone. I knew I had a friend three sections over crying just as I was, when her statement flashed on the screen. I knew I had another friend who also was crying and had the unique pleasure of returning to the stage to sing after the video - she did and she did amazing. And another who shared a secret she kept out of the public for many years. 

And I think that is the key: I was not alone. 

I shared this experience with 12 amazing people, but I also share it with 2,000 (and that number will continue to grow). In the growing, we will each realize, accept and experience the overwhelming peace in the truth that we are each not alone. Though, our stories are not identical, we each had struggles that God has lead us through and now we sit on the other side. 

And as a roar of claps and cheers radiated from the audience Easter morning, my hope is that each one of my dear friends felt just how amazing grace is, how it can bring tears to your eyes (as it is doing to mine now), but still make you exude with happiness. 

This was special, this was good. Oh I am so happy right now and I am also happy that I got to watch the video again. I remember leaving church that day thinking, “wait, I was crying so much, I missed parts of it.” 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday: the Weary, the Worn and the Weak Sitting Next to You

It’s quiet, the sun has not risen and neither has my family. It’s just me, the dog and the guinea pig, oh and Nicole C Mullins. Yep, It’s Easter Sunday Morning and you can tell in my house because My Redeemer Lives is turned up loud on repeat. 

I know, That I know, that I know, that I know, that I know
He lives
my redeemer lives
Because He lives I can face tomorrow

I can tell you right now that Matt isn’t even up yet, but he is irritated. While he agrees with every line my favorite Easter song, he cannot stand the song, at all. So, I play it more and louder. 

I mean, come on, how can you not belt this out this morning?

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I'm broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Again, I don’t believe it’s the message that Matt dislikes as much as the vibrato. That or me turning into a Southern Baptist Choir singer over and over and well, over again. I just cannot help myself. This song. This day. 

As I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking what I wanted today to be, what I wanted to make sure I shared with you today. While we are all in our best clothes posing for family pictures which in my house will line my stairwell for years come, what do I want you to see, to learn today. Now, let me just say my goal for life is not to “teach you” something every day, I would go mad living in that pressure. But today an idea was laid on my heart. 

hold on I have to hit replay

And whoooo-ooo showed the moooon where to hide till eveninnnngggg. 

Ahem, an idea, on my heart…

While I would love and adore to say “take this song, embrace it and shout it from the roof tops, ‘MY REDEEMER LIVES!’” I don’t remember, even once, an altar call rush on Easter morning. (now, altar calls are from my upbringing and really aren’t something practiced in the Lutheran denomination) That’s why I think today you need to sit. Today, I want you to take in somethings. I want you to embrace some truths. 

The weary, the worn and the weak from the lyrics above includes the woman sitting on the end of your pew in her gorgeous purple dress with matching shoes and accessories. 

The weary, the worn and the weak includes the pastor that paces the stage in front of you. 

The weary, the worn and the weak is the family who appears to have it all together, who sit almost perfectly three rows back from you. 

As you sit in service this morning, I want you to know that we are all on the same playing field. We are all broken. We all sin. There is no “perfect” in God’s house this morning. The only perfect person of this world is the one we celebrate today, the once who conquered death and brought US ALL victory. 

When I was a child and attended church with Meme on Easter morning (she is the woman in complete purple - even her eyeshadow and lipstick were purple, God love her she loved that Easter assemble - man, I love her) I remember sitting (with all the seniors) and watching Pastor J. Don George and his family. To me that day, and for years to come, there was no weariness, they were not worn and they were not weak, they were absolutely perfect. Now, I cannot say if their goal was to make everyone around them believe in their perfections - I would pray not, but I have also not heard him confess his weakness to the thousands who attend his services each Sunday. (wow, I am not meaning that to be tacky sounding)

What I am trying to get across to you is I don’t think today, is the day to join a church (if you are not already a member) and don’t think today is the day to say the sinners prayer and request to be baptized. Take that pressure of yourself today. Today, I want you to take it all in, but don’t believe the lie that everyone around you isn’t weary, worn and weak just like you. Today is the day we strive to look perfect, but brokenness is lying just beneath the fabric on our Easter best. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

His Wounds, My Ransom and also Yours.

Six years ago, I attended my first Lutheran service. It was Good Friday (I guess it’s not exactly six years since Easter bounces around some). The guy I was dating (who is now my husband) took me to his church. I was 31 and had never experienced a Good Friday service, but thinking back on it, Matt may have been up to something. Normally, you leave somberly from a Good Friday service, it’s quiet, not a lot of speaking - it was a great time to bring a new girl friend to a small church you’ve attended since you were a teenager. Well played Matt, well played. 

Easter, outside of chocolate bunnies and big hats, always seemed a bit depressing to me growing up. Why do we celebrate the horrible things, this poor man went through? I saw Passion of the Christ in my early twenties, in the theater, I walked out shocked with mascara running down my face - it was horrible. It was hard to see the bigger work that had been done through the violence and hate that occurred that day. 

So, what exactly happened on Good Friday? My father in-law (JAGdad) shared this in an email to our congregation. 

Jesus is tried, convicted, sentenced and sent to be crucified.
Jesus is nailed to the cross between two thieves.
Jesus forgives, calls out in prayer, declares that his work is FINISHED, gives up his spirit, and dies.
His body is taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed tomb.

This morning as we wake to prepare for egg hunts and assure our Easter outfit is perfect, it is FINISHED. 
As you add the last minute items to your children’s Easter baskets, know it is FINISHED. 
As we place a glaze on our ham tomorrow morning, it is FINISHED. 
As some of you may grumble, that your favorite store is closed when normally open for Sunday afternoon shopping, it is FINISHED.  

It has been finished for 1,983 years, but we still need this yearly reminder. 

Do you know the story? Even if you’ve heard it over and over, it’s time to remind yourself. This morning before the busyness of your day I invite you to open your bibles (or click one these links) and catch up on what happened yesterday: 

I personally prefer John 19. 

 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“‘It is finished.’” The debt is paid. 

“He bowed his head and gave up his spirit”

Your heart changes when you realize, though brutal and horrible, He did this for you. His wounds were the ransom for my life. 

Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away

Can you live today as if your sins have been carried far away? 

Oh, I will be honest, I held tight to those sins through many, many Easter celebrations. Six years ago, as I started a relationship with a pastor’s son I kept my long list of sins hidden away in hopes they would never see the light of day. I knew, just knew, with all my heart that if just one of those sins came to light that it was over, my picture of my perfect family would never come to fruition. Just about every Easter since my first Lutheran service, I would walk the doors of church (where my father in-law lead worship) and suck in a deep breath knowing that God was going to do business with me. As I sat in the pew, I wrestled over my determination to keep my yuck, my mess just between me and Him. Normally, you’d find tears tricking down my cheeks because I knew just what He paid the price for, I knew the sins that were forgiven that day. 

But this year, almost an entire year after I began living transparent with you here, I feel I can finally walk through today as if all my sins have been carried away. I surrendered to His will for my deepest secrets and I live in his mercy. 

Now, I am not saying, that you should spend today listing all your laundry online for the world to read, but I am telling you that 

if you’ve given your body, your purity to someone prematurely…
if you’ve let addiction take over your life…
if you’ve taken someone else’s life through an abortion…
if you’ve ended a marriage…
if you’ve been unkind to those who love you…
if you’ve been unfaithful to your spouse…
if you’ve caused someone else’s marriage to end through an affair…
if you’ve lied to everyone around you…

Even if you feel your sins are too horrible to even utter…


He did this, not just for me, the girl who sits in the front pew each Sunday, but He did this for you! 

You my love are forgiven, your sins He has carried away. 

Rising He justified
Freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh, Glorious Day

Please, for me (and for you), take all that in today. My hope is that tomorrow as you walk through the doors and sit in the pew, that your heart will be at peace and you are not distracted by wrestling with your sins. Lift those up to him and breathe the beauty, the feeling of “freely forever” that Easter brings. Girl (or guy), even if you are a card carrying member of the C & E club, breathe it in! 

Now, I am off to make bunny pancakes for my Littles. And prepare my voice to belt out my husband’s favorite (NOT) song tomorrow morning! 

Lyrics above are from this song. And FYI…it’s not the song I belt out every Easter morning, you’ll get that tomorrow.