“Aloha,” said the flight attendant as I hastily exited from the plane in January. “Be sure you have all of your belongings, and please wear your mask through the airport to baggage claim.”
At the time, I understood “aloha” as the mere Hawaiian word for casual hellos and goodbyes. I was excited to hear the word, of course, because it meant that I was officially on the envied island of Maui.
Maui (and the state of Hawaii overall) has enforced relatively strict policies over the course of COVID-19: negative testing prior to arrival, health questionnaires, temperature checks, mask mandates — you know the drill. Although they rely heavily on tourism for their state economy, they also comprehend the massive risk of an uncontrollable outbreak as an isolated island in the middle of the Pacific ocean. As a result, Maui has been able to maintain an extremely low number of cases.
To be honest, COVID-19 seemed to be nonexistent in Maui. For the first time in 10 months, I had the liberty of eating indoors, visiting popular tourist destinations and standing within six feet of strangers without my OCD reminding me of my upper respiratory issues.
Perhaps it was adrenaline. Perhaps it was God gracing me with a mental health break.
Our AAC women’s retreat, Encounter, is coming up quick! This year, Encounter will be February 19th-21st at the beautiful Osthoff resort. It’s going to be a special weekend of deepening our relationship with the Lord, learning from our speaker, Whitney Capps, and growing closer to friends.
Still on the fence about attending? Don’t quite know what to expect? Curious about how Encounter might look different this year?
To most people, spending the holidays away from family does not exactly sound appealing, but it's a reality for many of us this year. Although this season won't be the same as usual, you can save your tears!
Allow us professionals (pilot kids, military kids, service kids, etc.) to enlighten you. Here's how you can make the most of this odd holiday season even if you won't physically be with your loved ones.
With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it will await its turn for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness that filled my heart.
This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state.
How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time.
Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.
As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead.
A few weeks ago, I drove to the park and wept in my car.
I’m guessing you can relate. Maybe you’ve had your own moments of hiding in your closet or spending alone time in your car. Perhaps the stress of this year is wearing on you, too.
I’ll admit, the last 6 months have been a bit much. My aunt died, most of my family got Covid-19, I lost a friend to cancer, my work dwindled, relational conflict ensued while the pandemic had an emotional effect on my chronic illness and PTSD.
In truth, I’ve got a bad case of “2020 Fatigue”. I’m tired of the stress, tired of the mess, tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop. Each new circumstance cues my anxiety like clockwork.
Our AAC Women’s resource page is designed to give you tools that will help you have a better concept of God, His Love, and His purposes for you as a woman. Included on this page are recommended Bibles, devotionals, books on marriage and parenting, online resources, and links to blogs from AAC writers. There are so many great resources available for you to explore!
This year, we hope you have your fall fresh start whether it’s during Bible study or through a new devotional or online resource. Fall this year looks different than before, but it can still be a season of new beginnings.
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!
Sisters, when we take our focus off our own worries, we have the head-space and heart-space to think of others. While we have genuine and real concerns, many around the globe are struggling for their daily bread and for their very lives. In places hardest hit by the pandemic, our Alliance family is working to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of people. One place that is close to my heart is the little country of Kosova. The Kosovar people have limited health care, a struggling economy, and the emotional stress of a prolonged and almost complete shutdown. More than ever, they need to know God loves them and to understand the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.
One thing I’ve learned through 2020 is to still be looking for reasons to celebrate and find joy. With that, we want to celebrate one year (plus!) of publishing articles for our AAC women’s community! It’s been a vibrant first year of covering topics from motherhood, minimalism, blended families, recaps of AAC events, and leaving a legacy. Our women’s ministry team also wants to extend a thank you to the core blogger team that consistently shares their hearts and God’s truth through their gift of writing. Thank you Becky, Rachel, Katie, Nicole, Indigo, Elizabeth, Mindy, and our many guest writers!
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.
It feels like we’re moving from one season of fear and chaos to another without missing a beat.
Sin has been the main character on my TV lately. Over the last few months, it’s appeared in various forms like murder, assault, racism, violence, anarchy, arrogance, hatred, fear, selfishness, idolatry, greed, pride, slander, foolishness and the distortion of truth.
It can be difficult to know how to navigate the noise right now. The pressure to pick a side along a growing divide feels overwhelming and inescapable. It’s easy to get caught up in the screaming match or jump on whatever bandwagon happens to be driving by.
Normally that’s not a remarkable announcement. But these aren’t normal times, are they?
People—I went to Starbucks!!!! You know, that happy place where they toss strawberries in your Pink Drink and tell you to have a nice day. Where cake pops are shaped like unicorns and for some mysterious reason all the fiscally responsible woman of the world gladly slap down five whole dollars for a cup of jolly joy.
Divisions in our culture seem like they are at an all-time high. The media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out conflicting beliefs, ideas, and data. Even the experts in science and medicine can’t seem to agree. One look at social media reveals how dicey communication is right now. Friends are unfriending. Family members aren’t speaking. Comment spaces are getting nasty. Sprinkled all over with shaming and blaming.
I know what suffering can do to a person. Shock, denial, fear, confusion, uncertainty, and helplessness are common reactions to experiencing a traumatic event. If you’ve been feeling these emotions lately, you are not alone.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from trauma recovery, it’s this:
How you process your experiences will matter in the long run.
Gather- It’s a word that many like to use, but perhaps one that many of us have taken for granted. It reminds us of meals with friends, holidays with family, and coming together to worship.
Biblical festivals were a time to gather, but God instituted these gatherings for more than just providing a time to celebrate, laugh, and practice traditions. These festivals were created to remember the past. Why? Because too often, we forget.
This Holy week, when many of our Easter traditions are modified, my family is incorporating a new one.
Once again, the world is experiencing a pandemic. Only this time it’s our turn to encounter travel bans, cancelled events, stockpiling, and waves of uncertainty.
The response has been quite diverse. Some are waking up to a reality that has been looming for months. Others are running a “do not fear” campaign exhorting those who are anxious. Still, some are promoting conspiracy theories, dismissing preventative action, or downplaying Covid-19 as “just the flu”.
But for my family the threat is very real. I am one of those in the “at risk” category. As one who is immunocompromised, my actions could literally be the difference between health and hospitalization.
There has been a slow stirring in my soul over the past few years to investigate what it might be like to simplify. In the midst of a life that doesn’t seem to slow down, I felt drawn to minimize my things, time, and space, so I awkwardly jumped in headfirst.
Last fall I decided to wear a total of 30 clothing items for a solid three months straight. I spent hours researching strategy and then proceeded to pull my closet apart and reason over every piece of clothing I owned. Much to my surprise, I made it a full 3 months in the same 30 items, and in the end, I had some really positive take-aways.
In the spring of 2005, my husband and I were thrown into a state of forced minimalism. Having made some major life changes so I could stay home with our first child, we moved from a beautiful, 2000 square foot farmhouse in the country to two bedrooms and a bathroom.
Yep...just let that sink in for a minute. Three humans (one being a sleepless newborn), two bedrooms and a bathroom, totalling roughly 400 square feet.
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?
My daughter and I are reading The Book Thief. It’s a sweeping story of lives intertwined during a period of harsh book censorship in Nazi Germany.
Yesterday, glancing at the book sitting on my kitchen counter, I thought of the freedom of speech we enjoy here in modern America. And I thanked God for letting people like me write books and read books and generally explore any kind of literature or films or websites I want to.
The sun dipped below the horizon as the swelling crowds pressed in for a better view. We mingled with millions of other sweaty patriots armed in liberty foam hats, waving flags, and guzzling slurpees. Media cameras were posed. Famous news anchors reported a few yards away.
ONCE UPON A TIME, I was an active wife, mother and an aspiring writer. That's until the car accident. And the two cervical fusions, chronic migraines, and the face pain that became my new norm.
Despite these obstacles I was a dedicated mom, a full-time sales assistant, and I published an award-winning novel. Years later, after a Shingles outbreak, I was diagnosed with the facial nerve syndrome-disease, Trigeminal Neuralgia, sometimes called the Suicide Disease for which there's no cure. Treatments are aggressive medications which fog your memory, coordination and speech, and or a brain surgery that is not always successful.
I chose the fog.
Each day I pray for healing and Elohim calmly replies, "Linda be still and know that I am God."
Sometimes it’s hard to talk about anxiety. Many of us attach feelings of shame and guilt to our anxiety, making it an uphill battle to let anyone into our struggle. Suzan Myhre, who spoke at the AAC women’s May soul food event, brought a new atmosphere to the discussion of anxiety saying, “this is, believe it or not, one of my favorite topics.”
Okay, so let’s say the obvious out loud. We all have anxiety!
It’s important to get that out of the way, because otherwise we are very tempted to scan for whether we are normal or not. Mostly, we come up abnormal, right? Not today! Today we are all in the same boat.
I could see the balloon archway ahead. Although my wobbly legs were begging for just a moment of rest, I had to push through the final moments. 13 miles down, and .1 left to go.
Months of early morning jogs, two pairs of running shoes, and countless strawberry banana shakes had led me to the finish line. As I crossed and had a bulky medal placed around my neck, I felt a rush of pride in all my hard work finally paying off. But the rush didn’t last long and was soon replaced with okay, what’s next? I was a goal digger. I was ready for something new to add to my accomplishment list.
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”.
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.
As this bitter campaign narrows to a close, I for one am ready for it to end.
For months, many have used social media to fight for the cause leaving the rest of us feeling like collateral damage. Facebook makes me apprehensive with its onslaught of endless debates.
Fear and anxiety run rampant across the country. Americans remain divided and distraught over the options for commander in chief. Many believe the future of our country (along with our rights and liberties) may very well be at stake.