Honestly, I was pitying myself. Not throwing a big pity party, but definitely feeling bad for myself and for our family.
A brand new nephew had just been born and we were all absolutely delighted. We’d been looking forward to this day for so long! A cousin for our children, a new baby in the family; what could possibly be more exciting?!
"In this world, ye will have trouble. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 33:16
In March of 2008 I stood in a little bathroom in Honduras, the white light stark and harsh on my features as I stared at my face in the mirror, baffled by how normal I looked. I expected something to be different. Something to show that my world was falling apart and the happy future I had taken for granted had warped and then vanished into a void of unknown fear and pain. My eyes looked darker than usual. Slightly puffy from crying. But now, I had moved to a place beyond tears. My main emotion was horror. And yet, the sadness in my eyes was almost unnoticeable, even to me. I braced myself and left the bathroom, trying to settle my mask even more firmly so the sadness didn't show because my siblings didn't know yet what was going on.
What is it about the coming of Spring that makes us throw open all the windows in the house and commence to scrubbing everything from the ceiling down? We become invigorated by the notion of a spotless house and we're spurred on by the warm scented breezes flowing through the trees. We can't wait to purge our belongings to eliminate unwanted or unused junk. Cabinets get organized, the windows are washed sparkling clean, and the refrigerator no longer has science experiments lurking in the depths. We collapse onto the sofa, clutching our favorite coffee drink, and we breathe a deep sigh of relief and contentment. Finally, our home is purified. We can relax and enjoy life.
In the second half of this two-part series, Dorcas guides women to the root of the issue of control. Where does it come from? How does it manifest in our lives? Sharing her own experiences and wisdom from years of seeking the Lord, Dorcas identifies the matriarchal spirit that is devastating the lives of so many women and their families, and provides answers for healing through Jesus Christ.
Years ago in a distant land lived a young family. This family was probably very similar in many ways to my family or yours, just a husband and a wife and several children living together in a cozy house. One day a visitor came to see them and shared with them the beautiful plan of salvation. Although it was the first time they had ever heard this message, both the husband and the wife received it and invited Christ into their hearts and lives.
I Kings 19 tells the incredible story of a man who did amazing things for God. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, proving to everyone watching who the True God is. As a result of that victory, Jezebel vowed to kill him. All of that part of the story is familiar to me, told to me often in my childhood. Look at the awesome power of God shown through a Godly man! But there is more to the story, a part often left out. After Jezebel threatened him, Elijah fled. He ran to mountains, and then he prayed to die. This holy man of God, used to show God’s power, was so full of despair he asked God to take his life. This is the part of the story I was so rarely told, but has become vitally important to me.
“It’s cancer.” Those awful words that no one ever wants to hear. My mom’s voice came through my phone as she spoke of the diagnosis the doctor had just given my dad. My dad. He was my strong rock, my hero, my protector. I could not begin to imagine life without him. My world rocked and tilted and was forever changed from that moment on.
When the Romans in the first century were trying to figure out magnification through glass, they probably had no idea how popular that concept would eventually become. But they should have figured it would become popular because we, as humans, are born with the desire to magnify something.
"He goeth before!" There is music in that line. To the redeemed, this is a song of praise and triumph for in it lies a definition of our relationship with Jesus. He, like an older sibling showing a younger one how to succeed in the middle of adversity, has gone before us to show it is possible to live a life of fulfillment in difficult circumstances. It is Jesus, the Firstborn, who has gone before us. We need only to follow in His steps. That is all.
“Man hu? Man hu? What is it?” I can almost hear the voices of six hundred thousand people poking their heads out of their tents and asking together, “What is it?” The old men blink and rub their eyes wondering if their eyesight has really deteriorated to this. Parents exchange startled looks while children jump up and down. “Man hu? Man hu? What is it?”
While created to be a "help meet", how does a Godly woman function in a position of leadership ? How can she lead strongly, yet graciously? And how may she remain tenderhearted and meek while “on duty” and “in-charge”? I don’t know where you are in your journey, but if currently serving in a position of leadership, how do you find rest? Where do you go with struggle? Perhaps you find yourself feeling weary, alone, useless, and wondering if you even matter. Don’t give up. You’re invited to take a short break from the strains of responsibility and “follow” along for a glimpse into a few examples of feminine leadership.
When I was asked to do a guest post on this blog, initially, I wanted to just say no. I don't feel like I'm a natural blogger, or great at putting things into words like many bloggers I know. However, I felt God nudging me and saying, "Maryann, This has nothing to do with your abilities. Don't you have anything to share about what I'VE done for you?" So here's my attempt at putting a small part of that into words.
I have class every day at the University that I attend. Unfortunately, the parking lot my brother and I park at feels like it’s about eight miles away from everything else. I clocked it once and it’s a little over half a mile from the nearest point of interest, and that point is still quite a ways from where my classes are located.
Walking half a mile is easy if you know how to handle boredom, but that was not the problem.
The problem was the 20lb backpack I carried every day.
Gretta Coates spent five months in the Moria Refugee Camp in Lesvos, Greece, serving refugees through i58, a ministry bringing relief to thousands of displaced people there. These stories from Gretta's time in Greece are eye-opening and moving; a personal glimpse into the tragedy, laced with hope, that she encountered there.
We’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about. You’re standing with a group of friends talking about life and one friend shares a cross that she is currently bearing. You nod sympathetically and murmur, “You have so much strength. I don’t know how you do it. I could never handle something like that.”
Probably one of the biggest problems we face as Christians today has to do with the debatable word, “offense.” What makes this issue so tricky is that it has two opposite components. On one side, we hear terms like “Be yourself,” “Ignore the haters,” and “Do what it takes to reach the top.” Over the past forty to sixty years, our culture has become more and more self-focused and independent of each other and stopped singing together as a choir in pursuit of grabbing the best solos. We have now reached the point where we are only accountable to ourselves, and if someone has problems with us, it's their own fault. In other words, we do not care whom we may offend in the process of reaching for the stars.
Hungry soul, I have just a few words to say to your desperate heart. You long for something deeper. You know there must be more to life than what you are living. I know that feeling. It’s the kind of desperate longing that makes you scared to be alone.
This message is for you. Father, do the work you said you would do and make truth come alive by the convincing power of your Spirit.
God is love. God is good.
I’ve heard it since childhood. I never questioned the truth of these statements. Not really. But lately I’ve been wondering whether I’ve moved these basic truths from my head to my heart.
My sister-in-law alerted me to the crook in my thinking this week and I trust her judgment. Lavina was my co-teacher for four years before my brother drastically altered her life. Now I live with them thousands of miles from home in the lovely land of Paraguay. I am teaching my second term here and just agreed to another term.
I was reading through a new favorite blog when my eyes came across something that caused the all-too-familiar feelings of inadequacy to well up inside of me. I think you know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s been labeled the “Comparison Syndrome” and for good reason. We have the ability to peek into so many different people’s lives through blogs and social media and those little squares can sure be intimidating. This time though, I began to understand something that has changed my perspective on my position in life as well as other people’s position.
Life is hard. Ever since Eve took that first bite mankind has been struggling to find his way. We sweat and toil physically and emotionally we are screaming for deliverance. Our feet have become mired in the mud of circumstance. Do you feel like you are straining for that outstretched hand, desperately wanting to be saved before the mire sucks you under?