Faith E Women

act justly, love mercy, walk humbly

It’s the time of year where I think “Hey, I should dust off the blog and be better about writing this year.”  So, we’ll see how far I get with the writing but here we go with a fall kick-off post …

School’s starting, pumpkin spice lattes are making their appearance, cooler weather is surely approaching and it’s time to think about fall Bible study.  Some things never change, but this year I want to invite you to experience Rooted at Faith E.   

What’s so special about Rooted?  In many ways, Rooted is a typical discipleship study filled with foundational truth designed to connect you with God, the Church and your purpose.  At the same time, Rooted really is so much more than just another study.  It’s an opportunity to sit at the feet of our Savior and engage both our hearts and our minds in community with other disciples.  Through daily reading and reflection questions it’s a time to slow down, be honest and examine life a little more closely, beginning with the roots of your faith.  

Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a gardener by any stretch.  If my family is reading this, by now they are laughing because they know that, in fact, I struggle to keep even a single basic houseplant alive.  However, I do know that roots are important.  They provide stability for the plant, keeping it anchored and upright.  The roots carry water and nutrients to the rest of the plant, bringing life and growth.  Hidden under what looks like healthy soil, sometimes roots become susceptible to fungus that causes them to rot and otherwise healthy plants to die. The roots can’t be taken for granted.

The same holds true with the roots of our faith.  When the soil of our heart is healthy, our faith grows deep and flourishes.  The only way to have healthy soil is to tend to it regularly, which is where the rhythms of Rooted become invaluable to our spiritual growth. Daily devotions, prayer, and repentance keep our roots from rotting and keep our faith anchored to the Savior.  With healthy roots we can live generously, serve and share our story of Jesus with others.   

As I journeyed through Rooted, it was one of those seasons in my life where the Father and I did a lot of work together.  As I dug deeper into the soil of my heart, the Master Gardner tended graciously and gently to the rotting roots that needed to be taken care of.  He reminded me of His great love for me, called me to deeper surrender and strengthened the roots of my faith.  

Sharing our stories and setting aside intentional time with others was a favorite part of Rooted.  It reminded me that I am not alone and allowed for a safe place to discuss the ways God was working.  By God’s grace He has created us for community and Rooted groups develop that gift as we share life together. 

Without a doubt, jumping into a Rooted group will be an adventure.  It will likely have some uncomfortable moments and it does take an investment of time.  I am also certain that Jesus is worthy and He will walk with you as He transforms your life.   

Don’t miss the adventure. Take the risk and join a Rooted group today! 

As long as we’re bringing this blog back to life, let’s bring back What I’m Loving Wednesdays!  One of the things I do love is to share resources.

Have you read this article?

Did you hear that podcast?

Have you heard this new song?

So, today, what I’m loving is this blog from Scotty Smith that I first started reading occasionally a few years ago.  But over the last several months, I’ve read it on most days because it almost always reminds me of who I am and what my position is in Christ.  It elevates my thinking of who God is and it reminds me afresh of the riches I have in His Son.  I find that it challenges me to think differently of my circumstances and it often leads me to convictions of my thoughts and actions.  I love the way he describes the Father and it reminds me of the gospel-centered life I want to live.

I hope it encourages and challenges you as well!  I’d love to hear some of your favorite resources too, please share them.

Struggling to shower on a regular basis?

Craving routine?

Feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster of emotions?

Missing community?

Overwhelmed with worry about health, marriage, teaching children, financial pressures,
loneliness and the future?

Surely it’s not just me?  I’ve got a friend in this boat too, right!?

Suffering of every kind, even from social distancing and quarantine struggles, reveals our misplaced allegiances. Let’s come together as sisters to feed our faith, not our fear! Let’s allow God to use suffering to produce good in us, especially in these unusual times.
Join us as we virtually link arms and dive into the book of James starting this Wednesday, April 15th at 9 AM via Zoom.  You can log on to Zoom from either a computer, ipad, or smartphone and just click the link here: faithe.org/meeting

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 NLT

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Not long into this new social distancing season, my thoughts turned back to this blog.  After all, our original purpose was really to hear from local women walking out their faith in Jesus Christ.  I’ve known for a while that God intends for me to testify about a recent personal season of what could have been despair but is being redeemed by God in a million different ways.  So, seeing the world spinning out around me, He’s made it clear that the time is now.

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For the past several months, my husband and I have been walking through difficult life circumstances that at times felt like the waves were enough to swallow us whole.  In many ways, we’ve already been in a season of self-quarantine as we pulled in close and purposed to continuously apply the Good News of the Gospel to our marriage, our family and our future.  Literally on our knees together, we have spent countless hours in prayer before our Father seeking Him and Him alone.  I have had a painful yet beautiful vantage point from which I have watched the Master Surgeon heal deep wounds in my husband.  Where once he carried shame and self-hate, he now carries the truth that he is chosen, holy, and dearly loved by God who created him with a purpose for His Kingdom.  Where once I had a husband who was fine with the ways God was using me, I now have a husband who is truly a ministry partner willing to be used for the good of people and for the Glory of God (who, by the way, gave his full blessing to share this).   Where once we said goodbye in an airport as he bitterly went off to war, we recently said goodbye in an airport as he joyfully went off on a mission trip.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been more in awe of God than I was as I watched him genuinely smile at me when he went through security on his way to Honduras.

There are many parts of our journey worth sharing, but at the start of this particular Passion Week it seems fitting to talk about how deeply personal the cross is.  Our willingness to bow before our Savior in our brokenness, to turn our gaze to Jesus on the cross, to allow His sacrifice to again move into our hearts has transformed us.  Sitting at the foot of the cross for an extended period of time brings hard work to be done in our hearts and minds. Despite the suffering, I am confident that a surrendered life allows Jesus to bring us into spacious places of freedom that turn our hearts to worship Him.

His tender compassion and unfailing mercy brings healing in ways that are still a mystery to me.  Yet I know it to be true and I pray you do as well.  This list could probably be endless, but here’s a few ways where the LORD has shown Himself to me over and over again.

When doubt creeps in, He’s there.  Ask Him to help our unbelief.  (Mark 9:24)

When fear rears its ugly head, He’s there.  Cry out “Abba, Father”.  (Romans 8:15)

When the future is uncertain, He’s there.  Remember His steadfast love. (Psalm 31:7)

When your mind hears lies, He’s there.  Focus your thoughts on His Word, it is truth.  (Romans 8:1, Ephesians 6:12)

When isolation is closing in, He’s there.  Ask His people for help. (Galatians 6:2, James 5:16)

When we don’t know how to pray, He’s there.  Ask His Spirit to intercede on our behalf (Romans 8:26)

As we shelter in place during this Passion Week, may each one of us personally return to the foot of the cross.

Where my sinful soul is counted free. 

For God the Just was satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.

 

This past semester, we had a group of women who completed an in-depth study of Revelation Chapters 1-4.  At the close of our time together, about two weeks ago, Wednesday Tryan summarized what we learned with the following.  I can assure you there weren’t many dry eyes in the room as she shared it and the tears have welled up every time I have read it since.  I’m sharing it here as a timely reminder of the impact Scripture can have on our lives today.  We don’t run alone, we need Him and we need each other.  Thank you Wednesday for sharing this application of Rev. 1-4  … I’m grateful for your insight and obedience.

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What does it look like in our Christian life to overcome?  Many of us have probably heard our Christian walk referred to as running a race, but it doesn’t take long to see that this race is a marathon not a sprint.

Think about how we all start the race.  We start with the desire to “overcome” – to hold fast our faith (to the end).  We start out excited, we have this new friendship with the Lord.  We are ready to run our hearts out for HIM.  But then the race gets harder, we may feel like we’ve hit a wall.  We may even notice people around us dropping out.  All of us, at some point, will hit a wall.

In marathons (from what I’ve learned) when training, you have to prepare yourself for hitting a wall.  This wall typically happens around the 20th mile.  You feel as though, that’s it.  You have given all you’ve got; you can’t go any further, people start dropping and you have absolutely nothing left.

As Christians we also prepare for our wall and that’s why we are here – learning, studying and applying God’s word.

In the Boston Marathon, this point (wall) is called Heartbreak Hill.  It is a steady incline of hills throughout the last 6 miles of the race.  It is a continuous climb that just gets higher and higher.  Finishing the race seems impossible.  In that moment, you can’t look too far ahead, it is too overwhelming, so you trust your training and you fix your eyes on just one step at a time.

My daughter, Amanda, started running a few years ago.  As she puts it, both she and her dog had gotten a little lazy over the winter.  So, in an effort to get them a little exercise she started running.  She soon discovered that she really liked it.  Around that time, she met Jourdan, a fellow teacher (who also had a dog) and together they began running.

Last April, they ran the Boston Marathon.  So, I asked her about Heartbreak Hill, and this is what she said…. “We thought we did Heartbreak Hill before we did Heartbreak Hill.  We got to the top and Jourdan said ‘okay – that was it, we did it’.  Then someone running next to us said, ‘nope – it’s coming up now, but don’t worry, you got it’.  She continued, “Mom, it was really hard, it was one hill after another.  People were dropping out and fainting all around us.  But there was a lot of encouragement the whole way.  When we got to the top, a person gave us a purple otter pop, and that saved us.”

And they finished the race – together – like they have every race.  They train together, start together, run together and finish together.  Every race.  When I asked Amanda why they do that, she said. “Mom, we always say running is what started our friendship and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without each other.  It wouldn’t have been as fun or meant as much as finishing alone.  She understands what it took to train and get there.  She is the only one who has experienced the race, who knows what I’ve ran and knows what lies ahead because she’s run it too.”

There is a picture of the two of them (Amanda and Jourdan) crossing the finish line together, with their hands clasped and their arms up in the air, smiling. I just love that picture, and not because it’s my daughter (although that’s pretty cool) but because of their faces.  You look at their faces and you don’t see all the pain it took to get there, all the hills they didn’t think they could climb, all the steps they didn’t think they could take.  All that is in the past, it doesn’t matter anymore, they had finished the race, together. And all you see is the joy in their faces!

Now I tell you all of this because that is how I picture us, as we finish our race – as overcomers – holding fast to our faith till the end.

You know, we are all in different places in our marathon. Some of us may have just started the race, so excited about this new friendship with the Lord.  Never stop your training, be prepared.  Keep studying, keep learning, keep growing and keep applying God’s truths to your life, even when you begin to see others drop out.  While, there are some of us that thought we did Heartbreak Hill, only to realize that – “Nope, it’s still ahead.”  And then, there are those of us, who know someone who is in the middle of their Heartbreak Hill, and we need to ask ourselves, how can we come alongside them to strengthen and encourage them. To remind them that they don’t run the race alone.  Because we, like Amanda and Jourdan, have a running partner too. One who’s friendship started when we began running our race. One who trains, runs and finishes with us.  Only the running partner we run with, is the One who overcame first.  Our running partner is….

The One who holds the 7 stars

The One who walks among the 7 lampstands

The First and the Last, who died and came to life

The One who has the sharp two-edged sword

The One with eyes like a flame and burnished bronze feet

The One who has the 7 Spirits of God and the 7 stars

The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David

The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness

The beginning of the creation of God

 

And our prize, well our prize isn’t a purple Otter Pop.  Our prize is……

The tree of life in the paradise of God

The Crown of Life

We will not be hurt by the second death

We’re given hidden manna, a white stone, a new name

Authority over nations

The Morning Star

We will walk with Him, clothed in white garments

Our name confessed before the Father

Our name will not be erased from the Book of Life

We are made a pillar in the temple of God

We are given a seat with Jesus on His Throne

Happy Monday!

I can’t believe it is September already…and nine days in at that! Where did the time go?

I must admit, time has been flying by for me and I have been in a grade A funk for a good portion of it. While I am not 100% exactly sure why the funk has set in, I do know it has been a shadow that has been hard to shake. It has impacted everything – from my parenting to my marriage, from my joy over a new job to starting school again, to my general state of well-being…it can be a tough space to live in. It is not a good feeling to have your life fly by all while you’re on the down side of things.

I don’t know where the start of this week finds you. Maybe you are like me, in a funk and on the cranky side (or, like me, a lot on the cranky side!). Or maybe you have the Monday blues. Maybe you find yourself complaining. Maybe you are stressed, overwhelmed, or tired….or all three! Or maybe you are in a great space; happy and excited and ready to take on a new week…

Regardless of where you are on this Monday, sisters, we have work to do!

We need to intentionally lean into Him and be nothing but full of gratitude. We are all in desperate need of Jesus and some serious awareness and gratitude and awe of what He has done, how He has moved, and how He will continue to move. That should be driving us to worship, to overflow joy, and to be a shining presence wherever our day to day finds us.

We are meant to be light in this world. So today, I am dusting off my light and taking some time to re-prioritize with some time to reflect, pray, worship, and just be with Him.

Whether you are happy or sad, down or ecstatic about everything…in every season of your life, every day, every hour…it’s always time for Him. It’s always a time to shine.

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Pre-register at faithe.org/women.        Begins Sept. 10 & 11

Here we are again … summer officially comes to a close and fall is upon us. I’m one who waits all year long for summer. I love the sunshine and the long relaxed days and my flip flops. Bugs are the about the only thing about summer that I don’t love. So when it’s over, it takes me quite a while to adjust to the new rhythms of our routine.

 

This year though, I find myself particularly excited to get started back at Bible study. Wednesday mornings at Faith E have been a part of my schedule for close to two decades now. As a newcomer to the studies on Wednesday mornings, I started showing up with knees knocking and toddlers in tow. As I committed myself to learning, I discovered the power of God’s Word and soon I found that I was in a community of women who were committed not only to the study of Scripture but to each other. These dear women used Scripture to encourage me as a young mom and wife and they walked through many seasons of life with me. Often times, I suspect they didn’t even realize the impact they were having on my faith.

 

That’s the beauty of studying His Word together. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. As we allow the truth of God’s Word to move into both our minds and our hearts it transforms our lives and we grow in sanctification.

 

That’s why I am particularly excited to get started studying together this fall! Even though I no longer have toddlers in tow, I am freshly aware of my own need for His transforming power to work in my life. When we study together and allow the Holy Spirit to work deeply, I believe we can experience His Truth in a way that will radically change us. Whether you are a veteran of Bible studies or you’ve never been a part of a group study before, it’s truly my privilege to invite you to join us at Faith E.  Come, just as you are. Let’s open His Word together. I have no doubt He will reveal Himself to us in the pages of Scripture and we’ll never be the same.

 

 

 

 

 

Hi!

We’re back.

You may have noticed, it’s been awhile. As with anything new, there are growing pains. Challenges.

Not to mention, we are trying to imperfectly point to the ultimate of perfection.

Yeah, there are going to be bumps – thank you, for tagging along and hanging in there as we figure this out. We appreciate it!

Praying for a blessed week for you all – full of grace, prayer, peace, and presence.

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Because it’s a Monday and we’re still waiting for spring to really settle in, let’s have a giveaway!  I have copies of Jen Wilkin’s books None Like Him and In His Image for two lucky winners.  All you have to do to enter is like this post and tag a friend so they can get entered too!

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