By Laurel Strasshofer
I am a natural “retreater”. Seriously.
Give me a little dose of misunderstanding – or even some genuine hate from the opposition – and my first instinct is to retreat in my wounding; ask, “Why don’t they like me, God?” I might even call a close friend for consolation and commiseration. But mostly, I would hide.
Yeah. I am a runner.
But, truthfully, I am also aware if I honestly believe the vision and mission I am pursuing is God-inspired (and that the actions bringing criticism are aligned to that vision and mission), this ought not to be my behavior. I am so grateful He gives me regular opportunity to work on this! (more…)
By Elizabeth Ryan
Have you ever watched a performer spin plates? It is so captivating and impressive to watch as they add another plate, then another… All eyes on them, astounded by their ability to spin so many plates all at one time! How do they do it? How do they keep them all going without any crashing to the ground?
They are so amazing, right?
Does this sound familiar? Are you a plate spinner? Have you ever asked yourself why? (more…)
By Christian Bonner (learning2surrender.today)
Thank you for joining me on my blog. My name is Christian. I am a SAHHSMWDCOG. For those of you who don’t know current lingo, that stands for Stay At Home, Home Schooling Mom, Wife, Daughter, Child of God. Okay, so I added a few extra letters to that abbreviation and could probably make it a lot longer. Anyway, starting our relationship off with a confession, it has taken me entirely way too long to start this blog.
I have avoided starting for quite a few reasons. One of them is that I like to have a plan. I wanted all my blogs to be ready, researched, and perfect before I got started. But those are just excuses and most likely topics we will address in the future. If I’m going to continue being honest with you, I should tell you that the real reason for delay is that I struggle with my own surrender to God. (more…)
By Dr. Deb Waterbury
I was having lunch with a beautiful young lady the other day, and we were commiserating on our individual inabilities to remember birthdays and holidays. She was telling me of a funny time when her mother had broken a cherished bowl. She found a replacement at the street fair one day in late October and determined herself then that she would buy the bowl and give it to her mother for Christmas. She forgot, decided to give it to her for Mother’s Day, forgot, and subsequently gave it to her mother for Christmas the next year. The problem was that she had placed a note in the gift wrapped box that was dated the year before her mother actually got it! Caught red-handed!
I do that sort of thing all of the time, as I’m sure many of you do too. I buy things or cards and put them away with full intentions of giving them to a special someone for their birthday or a holiday, only to not just forget where I put the gift or card, but to often forget the special day altogether! I forget dates, occasions, calls–you name it, and I’ve forgotten it. My young friend and I laughed together as we named ourselves “Time Capsule Friends”–that is, friends who give gifts late or make calls late so that we serve as a sort of “time capsule event” for the one getting them. We excused our lack of memory as a sort of service instead.
Of course our conversation was all in good fun, but I came face to face with the reality of my behavior while having coffee with another dear friend shortly afterward.
Understand that I am a busy woman. We all are! Kids, work, the house, our spouses, our church: Women are more often than not overworked and over-extended in most areas of their lives. Consequently, my friends and co-workers in ministry are generally very gracious with me when I don’t return calls or occasionally re-schedule or even cancel coffee dates or lunch. Sweetly they will say, “It’s okay, Deb. I know you’re busy.” And I am, just as you are and they are and we all are. However, is that always a good excuse? Do we allow our undeniably busy lives to interfere with ministering to one another as friends and loved ones? Is a busy life an excuse to selfishly ignore the needs of others?
As I alluded to, I had coffee shortly after my lunch with another dear friend. We had talked for a while, and I noticed that she was stammering a little, obviously trying to figure out how to tell me what was really on her mind. Suddenly and without warning, she began to weep right there in the coffee shop.
“I’m sorry, Deb, but I need to see you sometimes. I need time with you, not often, but occasionally.”
I stopped short. You see, this is not the first time I’ve heard this, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard this recently. I get so caught up in my work for the Lord that I had begun to forget the work of the Lord. I write and minister and speak and counsel, and often I think this is the bulk of what I should be doing. Unfortunately, I sometimes also ignore that all of those things are absolutely nothing without relationship, without love and friendship and really ministering into one another’s lives.
Jesus, the one person in all of eternity who truly had an excuse to maybe cancel a few coffees and lunches, never did so. Right after teaching the Sermon on the Mount, He didn’t hesitate to heal the leper or go to the centurion’s house to heal his servant or to heal Peter’s mom or hundreds of others. He was busy. He was about the Lord’s work, but our Savior knew that this work was accomplished in relationship and giving time to individuals.
What excuse have you given for not meeting with a friend or a woman who needs you? Is it your children or your grandchildren or your job or even your ministry? Sisters, please don’t do what I’ve done and think that it’s somehow a service or even adorably quaint to be a “Time Capsule Friend.” It isn’t. God has called us to pour into one another’s lives and live in the love exemplified for us by our Savior.
Needless to say, I’ve made a few long overdue calls lately and paid a few long overdue visits. My work can wait. After all, it’s really meaningless if in it I am not showing the love of Jesus to the people around me.
Do you need to pick up the phone?
A Poem by Cathy Letkeman
Nothing beneath me,
Can ever move me
from Your love.
Your steadfast love
dispels my fear,
and whispers comfort in my ear.
It quiets me with Heaven’s song
that You sing over me
all day long
How great this love
you lavish on me
as Precious Daughter
I can come freely
to Your throne
and seek Your grace
and rest in Your divine embrace
Yet this love I hold today
Cost more than I can ever pay
With filthy rags for righteousness
I’ve naught to give, I do confess
All my works, tainted by sin
but like a hero, You rushed in
You gave Your life, You shed Your blood,
You took my sin, and gave me love.
You bore God’s wrath and rescued me,
and from death’s prison set me free.
No one could ever love me more,
Nor love me better, I am sure.
So in return, please take this life
That You’ve redeemed for such a price,
and use it any way You please.
May Your glory never cease.
Let the love You poured in me
flow out to others so they see
that Your great love is now a gift,
and when received will heal the rift
that stands between them and the One
who loves them even though they run.
Catch them, Lord, like You caught me;
caught now for all eternity.
For that I humbly give You praise,
and will thank You all my days.
(by Dr. Deb Waterbury)
I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Some of us even read it to our children at Christmastime. It’s a good reminder for us to get our minds off of ourselves and onto others at this time of year. It’s a classic.
However, it just scratches the surface, doesn’t it? Poor Ebenezer Scrooge is pitied by the audience because he has so obviously missed what his nephew and the Cratchits know, what Dickens portrays as the “true meaning of Christmas,” but what really happened to Ebenezer was isolation and loneliness because of a hurt he suffered a long time before.
Remember the story? He wasn’t always cold and heartless and unkind and ALONE. He was mistreated as a child by his father, and then relationship upon relationship began to falter, because of greed and malice and pain, until he became the curmudgeonly man we all love to hate in Dickens’ story.
The truth of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge goes all the way back to relationship. It goes back to the breakdown of relationship between him and someone he loved, and this is unfortunately an age-old problem. It’s a problem for men and women, but as the sex who lives a veritable life based on relationships, this issue often permeates our lives–the lives of women. (more…)