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  • It is okay to be ordinary and let God be extraordinary
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    It Is Okay to Be Ordinary

    Is it okay to not make a splash by doing something recognizably great that leads to acclaim and social media notoriety? Why is there so much pressure on girls and women today to be powerful, to start and lead a cause, or to stand out above everyone around them by their success? Are you letting yourself down if you are just an ordinary woman letting God be the one who is extraordinary? Is it okay to be ordinary? That is what we will explore in this post. Not Accomplishing Anything? Several years ago, I read an Engage blog by Tiffany Stein called “Next Steps.” Tiffany wrote about the pressure she…

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    To Hold the Ropes

    We are about to transition from our busy spring schedules of graduations and end-of-year activities to an equally busy summer season. Mission trips are a big part of church and ministries’ summer schedule. In preparation for that, I suggest we prepare to “hold the ropes” for those who are venturing on mission adventures, church camps or even just helping in VBS. One of Christianity’s most compelling mission stories is of William Carey, called “the father of the modern missionary movement.” In 1792, William Carey, a poor English shoemaker, felt God’s call to take the gospel to the unreached in India. The mission society of his church appointed him to go,…

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    Guest post: How to Handle Church Hurt

    I vaguely remember my parents arguing about some friends from church. I was about 15 and did not know precisely the reason for the argument. I knew only that my mother was distraught. The arguments eventually led to our leaving the church we had attended for nearly eight years. Their friends had deeply hurt them.  This was not the only time that happened. Eight years ago, we left the first church our family attended as immigrants to Oman. The pastor had stolen church money, which led to many arguments, and the congregation splintered. The broken relationships caused so much pain, especially for my mother. Some of her friendships have never…

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    Are You Holding On for Dear Life or Living at God’s Speed?

    “Learn to live at Godspeed,” Mindy Caliguire taught in the Strengthening Our Soul soul care Collective I participated in this past Spring.  Her choice of words immediately brought me back to an illustration God gave me at another time when life was particularly full. I was two years into my ministry with my current agency and the pace of work started picking up. The requests came more frequently and the decisions were harder.  “I feel like I’m driving a wagon at full speed and it’s about to take off and drag me behind,” I told some friends, finally able to put words to my feelings. “I could devote more time…

  • Is Comparison Always Bad
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    Is Comparison Always Bad?

    “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I’ve been hearing that for decades. But is it, always? Examples of how true that is, most certainly abound. I recently read my friend Amy’s Facebook account of her college experience. A gifted singer, she was a jazz vocalist major at a university known for its excellent music program. The only problem was that she had a friend and classmate who was so much better than Amy. She used to go home on weekends and bemoan the difference to her parents, asking why they couldn’t be jazz musicians like her friend’s parents. She eventually changed her major to pre-med, which was easier in comparison.…

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    A Journey to the U.S. Mexican Border

    In April I took at trip to the San Diego border with Women of Welcome in partnership with World Relief. When I returned, my friends asked me how it was, and I couldn’t find an answer to that question with a word or phrase. It was an overwhelming trip. Many asked what we did while we were there, and I decided that the only way to answer was by writing from my heart: What did we do? We saw; we listened; we learned; we cried; and we prayed. We saw in Tijuana–  We listened–  We learned– Thus, we cried and prayed– God commands His people to “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13),…

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    The Office of Widow on the Early Church

    As I’ve done some speaking and writing about 1 Timothy 5, I’ve received requests for sources relating to widows as an office in the early church. Below is a short bibliography in chronological order by publication date. I recommend that you read the books in this order so you can see the development of the research: Gryson, Roger. The Ministry of Women in the Early Church. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1976. Martimort, A. Georges. Deaconesses: An Historical Study. Translated by K. D. Whitehead. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986. *Thurston, Bonnie Bowman. The Widows: A Women’s Ministry in the Early Church. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989. 117 pages. Elm, Susanna. Virgins of…

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    For the Love of Mothers and Others

    If upon meeting you for the first time I asked, “Who are you?” How would you answer? (Para español, lea abajo.) Perhaps you’d say: I am a teacher. I am a student. I am a wife. I am a business owner. I am a missionary. I am a homemaker. With the recent celebration of Mother’s Day, you might also identify with one or more of the following: I am an expectant mother, a new mother, an adoptive mother, a single mother, a stepmother, a divorced mother, an empty-nester mother, a widowed mother, a grandmother, a mentoring and disciple making, spiritual mother, I am a caregiver of my mother. Research A…

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    The impact of your story, and why you should tell it

    In isolation, the human experience can begin to feel unique.  In the spaces of silence, we can begin to feel ashamed by our struggles, and the silence will grow louder still. It’s not long before we believe that we are broken or undeserving of love because we are just so uniquely bad. The sacred act of telling our stories not only breaks the silence and connects people together, but it takes the name of Jesus far and wide. Rahab reminds us that stories of God spread among people and hearers are often moved to greater depths of faith, service and understanding of who God is. “I know that He Lord has…

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    The Importance of Pronouns

    Recently, I discovered an important lesson in the book of Lamentations from my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) questions. Upon observing the pronouns used in the different chapters of Lamentations, some things became clear in chapter 3 that impacts my life and how I live. Most scholars consider Jeremiah to be the author of Lamentations. So, in Lamentations 3:1-20, the pronouns “I” and “me” refer to Jeremiah. These particular pronouns occur 30 times in the first 20 verses of chapter 3. Furthermore, “my” occurs 18 times in these verses. The references to God in verses 3:1-20 focus on retelling the devastation Jeremiah has experienced from God’s hand. In summary, in the…