As I prepare my heart for Easter, I tend to experience it in three parts: the trauma of the crucifixion, the silence of the burial and the joy of the resurrection.
Usually, I skip over the “Silent Saturday” - or Sabbath day as it was known. This is because nothing seemed to be happening. With Jesus’s last breath, any hope of rescue was silenced. No more accusations or pleas fill the air. On this particular Sabbath, there was nothing to do but sit in solitude with empty, hopeless, confusing and consuming sorrow. “Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of Jesus) were sitting across from the tomb and watching.” Matt. 27:61 NLT
This year, I was drawn to it, this Silent Sabbath, or Saturday, as we call it.
No longer young. No longer middle-aged. Not quite elderly.
Life feels much more…temporary. Fragile even. Long-term planning and dreams of the future, my future, seem at times irrelevant.
But still I ponder my future. I continue to ask myself the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” As I look ahead, my answer is no longer just “…a teacher, an explorer, a president, a mom!”
It’s not that these types of goals are wrong- not at all! In fact, goals like these are necessary for all of us, and yet, there should be more. We need something else that is able to take us across the finish line of life with a flourish. Now my answer is qualified with, “I want to be faith-filled. I want to be a blessing to those around me.”
Faith-filled. A blessing.
As I have spent time around the elderly, (which is fast becoming my peer group!) I have noticed many bitter, depressed, cranky old people. And I get it. So much has been taken from them.
“How do you handle if you work hard long hours and all your husband wants is sex when you get home?”
As a wife of 38 years, try answering that one in front of a church-going crowd. It didn’t help that a mom and her two kids got up and walked out at that point.
This was the scene just last Sunday at our quarterly “Fire Away” where people ask live questions on a particular topic, and in this case, it was on marriage. And sex. And it was directed to me, Pastor’s wife, while sitting next to the Pastor in question.
I was told there were a lot of questions about sex and they only pitched one of them to us. But why shouldn’t we talk about sex from the pulpit? It’s important, and it's God’s idea!
Well, I was unable to ...ahem… answer very clearly, but the next day, the following article by Shaunti Feldhahn landed in my email. I think it perfectly answers the question: How do you respond when your husband wants sex right when you come home- even before dinner?
I believe the gospel writer of Matthew gives us some strong hints when he records Jesus’s genealogy. Matthew writes about the Christmas story by beginning with a list of names- 40 men and 5 women in order to prove the royal bloodline of Jesus.
The fact that he mentions 5 women in this lineage of 40 men should cause the reader to stand up and take notice. Another Gospel writer, Luke, did not mention any women in his version! Why are they included in Matthew’s account? Many have pointed out that these five women have all been tainted by sexual scandal or abuse.
Women love beauty! Beauty is important to us as we decorate our surroundings and adorn our faces. It seems hard wired into us. Somehow beauty makes us feel valued, wanted, and even powerful.
I don’t believe our desire for beauty is a bad thing. A truly beautiful woman is meant to display the attractiveness and desirability of the Gospel, and in turn men should be able to illustrate its power and strength to change lives.
Walking by faith, we have carefully, prayerfully, and thoughtfully made our plans- the result being a different look for ministry and connection. It could be difficult, uncomfortable, and not "normal”. Instead of throwing up your hands in frustration or despair, we only ask that you give God an opportunity to see what He can do in your life during these unprecedented times in the most unusual ways. His purposes for you are unstoppable; His love unfathomable! Corona is not king... Jesus is LORD of all!
Verse 10 tells us that God is found sitting on His throne. Note His posture. He is not pacing nor wringing His hands in powerlessness. He is sitting as King over all. He is communicating that He is confidently in charge. All honor and glory and power are ascribed to Him alone, not the other things in our world that we may find impressive or intimidating.
“You keep track of my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8).
All Scripture is God breathed, and the book of Psalms can be especially powerful as we face difficult times. The Psalms reflect a wide range of human emotion from complaint to praise; fear to faith, and sorrow to joy. Sometimes all in the same refrain!
What is Advent and why would a few books about Advent help me this Christmas season?
Advent is traditionally known as the period of four Sundays and four weeks before Christmas and means “Coming” in Latin. You know, as in Christmas is coming- I better get the gifts, bake the cookies, deck the halls, and …why am I doing all this? With this type of “Advent” I need more than four weeks! It helps my perspective when I remind myself that my hospitality mentor and Christmas décor muse Martha Stewart did end up in jail for something that may or may not have been related to Christmas preparations.
Of course! This seems rather obvious, but it does raise at least two other important theological questions: What does the Bible say about work, and what does the Bible say about women who work outside the home?
This week our women's team wanted to share a post from one of our favorite Christian blog sources, Desiring God. In this post, Michele Morin shares her own experiences with parenting and her desire to be putting Christ on display through how she loves her children. Check out a snippet below, and see the whole article here.
Our blog has been up and running officially since February 2019! Our writing team comes from various backgrounds and circumstances, so hopefully we can speak into a broad range of topics that affect the women at AAC.
Some of you have asked if we would take contributions from you as well. The answer is “yes!”
We all want to make a difference in this world, but sometimes we feel so small and insignificant. Here at AAC we want to encourage women that you were indeed created to make an impact.
I want to introduce you to Lori Loux: She is a wife, mother, daughter, friend, neighbor, and she attends AAC. Lori recently joined the AAC staff part time as an administrative assistant with Global Connections.
Cheryl began working on staff at AAC in 2007.That was also the year doctors discovered Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer in her body. Cheryl had three months of radiation treatments that seemed to take care of it, but in 2010 a remaining tumor was discovered above her left eye.
What do we do with circumstances or people that legitimately cause us frustration, anger and sadness? We can’t go around putting on a happy face and pretend everything is ok. Grumpiness can’t be stuffed! (I personally think that would make a good bumper sticker.)
An important part of Women’s Ministries is helping women be the moms God has called them to be. I can’t even begin to tell you how controversial that gets.
It has nothing to do with “predestination or free choice”. It is not even a “feminist issue”. Instead I have noticed the irony that one of the most loving and life-giving roles a woman can have also has the ability to drag her into some of the most potentially vicious, isolating and divisive conflicts. Yes, I am talking about the “Mommy Wars”.
We have many godly older women at our church that have encouraging faith-filled stories to share with us. This is the testimony of Marion Koepke as we interviewed her about her life. May it inspire you as it has me.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FOR YOU AS A WIFE AND MOM IN THE 1960’S?
I was married to a successful businessman in November 1959 and we had 3 children. During the 1960’s most women did not work outside the home unless they were divorced or single, so I stayed at home with my children. Don was gone a lot for business and I was left to raise the children practically by myself. Not only that, but the business world proved to be a big temptation for Don and he became an alcoholic.
I love to read. I tend to have a few books vying for my attention at any given time. I think the books we read reveal a lot about our passions, dreams and personalities.
I realize not everyone likes to read, but when it comes to ministry it is rather important to keep up on our reading so we can stay fresh, informed and motivated as we seek to minister to the people we are called to.
Having said that, I thought it would be interesting to get the top three books that have impacted some of our ministry staff. What are they passionate about? What books have influenced their faith and ministry? What would they recommend?
I received a lot of great information and I came back wanting to read everything on the list! So many books…so little time…
It’s one of the most popular book series among women and the movie seems just as popular. Some people are saying it is harmless sexual fantasy to encourage intimacy and ultimately healing, while others are saying it promotes violence, abuse and pornography.
As a woman desiring to be a Christ follower, what should my response be?
I believe God designed sex to be enjoyed in marriage and that you can be both godly and sensual but do we know what a healthy, sexual relationship looks like? Does 50 Shades hit the mark?
Some of you are familiar with Lysa Terkeurst and Proverbs 31 Ministries. For those of you who do not recognize her name or the ministry, we have used a few of the materials from both Lysa and Proverbs 31 in our Bible Studies.
Lysa’s latest blog post reveals a very painful personal crisis in her life, namely a difficult divorce involving infidelity and substance abuse. There are always two sides to every story but she says she did all she could do to save her marriage.
It is important to be discerning with everyone. However, let’s remember that discernment requires humility and Scriptural support. Judgment usually involves legalism and pride.
While the Bible speaks strongly against divorce, because of the pain and brokenness it causes, it does allow divorce on a few Biblical grounds. Matthew 19:7-9 provides a Biblical reason for her divorce but doesn’t make this any easier.