Wednesday, October 23, 2013
As I began studying the different stories of Jesus' encounters with women, one of the first accounts that came to mind was about the woman who had suffered with a hemorrhage for twelve years.
Twelve years. Think about it. That would be like having "that time of the month" for twelve years! Oh goodness!
The story found in Matthew 9 and Mark 5 records that she had been through many treatments at the hands of many physicians and nothing worked. Nothing worked.
I've been down that road before. Being critically ill and going from doctor to doctor, paying thousands of dollars for tests that were inconclusive - it can be so discouraging. There were many times before I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I wished I could physically do what this woman did to be healed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
She had evidently heard that if you wanted to be healed, you had to go see the rabbi Jesus. You need to understand something. This woman was considered unclean because of the hemorrhage. The last thing she could expect would be for a rabbi to lay his hands on her or have anything to do with her.
She was so desperate for healing that she came up behind him in a crowd and touched the fringe of his prayer shawl, reasoning that just touching his garment would bring the relief she craved.
She was right! She was immediately healed and probably quietly turned to head home even though she wanted to shout and dance. She almost got away with it. But, this is Jesus we are talking about. He immediately sensed power flowing from his body.
He turned and gave her the opportunity to fess up. "Who touched my garments?" The disciples couldn't believe their ears and reminded Jesus that he was in a crowd...he was touched constantly.
But Jesus knew this woman needed more than healing. She needed an encounter with him. He caught her eye and she fell down before him in fear, shaking because she had not had his permission to touch his garments. Before she knew it, the whole story came pouring out of her mouth. I'm pretty sure she was crying...
Jesus didn't get mad at her, or condemn her, or show disgust at her ailment or her daring action. He listened to her story, then he called her Daughter. Daughter. Like a loving father. And told her that her faith had made her well, that she could go with peace in her heart because she had been healed physically and could now live without any of the affliction she had suffered from for twelve long years. You don't have to see the words on the page - you know she loved him for the rest of her life.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
It's a beautiful rainy Fall morning, my favorite kind - no wind, just gentle falling rain. It's the kind of rain that reminds me that God sees me, loves me and covers me with His grace...wonderful life-giving, freedom-endowing grace.
I'm teaching Grown-up Girls at a friend's house on Tuesday mornings. It's a small group of gracious empty nest women who love the Lord. I'm used to teaching younger women, so this has been a stretch for me. However, it has been wonderful to connect with other moms whose children have their own lives apart from us. There is comfort in our shared heartache.
This particular friend who hosts this group is a designer and her home is gorgeous. Every week I come home and rearrange some little knick knack. I learn from how she uses things in unusual ways. One of the things that got some tweaking was the new blue tray on my coffee table that I found on the bottom shelf at T.J. Maxx. It makes it so much easier when little ones come over to pick up a tray with all the breakables and put it up where they can't get to it.
I gathered different fall items and things that fit into the color scheme of red, orange and brown (plus the one green bird planter) and arranged them on the tray. I messed with it all day until I liked the look of the tray from all angles. And, yes, I know it will look differently next year...
Jesus Cares About Women
We live in a world where still many times women are overlooked. I saw a documentary piece about a culture where women still are seen as property. I couldn't help but wonder what Jesus would do if He encountered those same women. We will take a look at some of the stories in the Bible about some real encounters. I hope you will be encouraged.
The first woman I looked at was the first woman in Jesus' life - His mother, Mary. Luke 1:26-38 is the story of Gabriel announcing the Messiah's coming to Mary, who would bear Him in her womb, then give birth to Him, raise Him and see prophecy fulfilled in His death.
God announced the most important birth in the history of the world to a young woman first. Think about that for a moment.
She was also at the foot of His cross as He was dying. I'm sure her heart was tearing into pieces as she watched His agony. I can't imagine such a horrific thing. But, Jesus loved her, looked down in His struggle, saw her and asked John to make sure to take care of her. (John 19:25-27)
Abba, thank You for sending Jesus to be flesh-and-blood unconditional love for women, as well as men. Help me as I teach to sound out that message loud and clear so those women who don't know or understand Your love will be set free to receive Your love and live in Your astounding grace. Amen
My honey doesn't like the sound of the name of this dip. He thinks it sounds like someone clearing their throat. That's not very appetizing! So we call it Red Pepper Bean Dip. Haha!
2 cans garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
3 roasted red peppers from a jar
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lemon
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
a few dashes of Tabasco
1/4 cup water
Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. If you like it spicier, you can add more Tabasco or some sliced jalapenos. Refrigerate.
This "dip" is delicious with any cut vegetables, crackers or chips.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
As soon as we got back home from celebrating our youngest daughter's birthday and loving on our grandsons, I rearranged some of the Fall decorations with some new things I had purchased. Have I told you how much I love Fall? Ha!
Since menopause, I can't remember where I put the decorations the year before so it's like starting all over with new stuff. Seriously... If I didn't know how much God loves me, I'd be a little scared. It also helps to have recently learned that it is completely normal and I can retrain my brain to begin remembering again. Let's just say that I've gone through a LOT of sticky notes!
My favorite Fall decoration is the pumpkins stacked in the urn on top of a Walmart Fall wreath (on sale). I purchased the faux pumpkins on sale at Hobby Lobby last year. This year, I put the urn in my dining room. I love the colors against the burgundy of the walls.
More Fall decorations next week...
Since eighth grade, I have wanted to be a published author. So this summer, when my book Grown-up Girls came out, you would think I would be excited that I had finally reached that goal. I was excited until I realized that women wouldn't just be reading the book and learning God's truth as they worked through its lessons; people would begin to expect things from me for which I was unprepared - like autographs and an instant off-the-cuff synopsis of the book. I'm a writer. I have to think about things and see them in print so they make sense in my brain before they come out of my mouth. I probably looked like a deer in the headlights. AH!!!!
I'm just going to be honest with you. It kinda freaked me out! I am naturally an introvert and my instinct is to hide away at home. Looking back, I can see how I have intensified one of my coping behaviors to handle the uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes, I do escape to a quiet place for a few minutes - usually a bathroom. But, more often I just start chatting away to chase away awkward silence.
Did you notice my absence from the blog? Um...yeah - hiding... I think I'm back, at least for a weekly post.
I've also encountered some spiritual warfare. The enemy has attacked, while I'm sleeping, with my old fears, waking me in the middle of the night - reminding me of my old insecurities, telling me that I can't teach because I can't remember things.
I'm so grateful that I can run to my Abba! He has gently encouraged me that the message He has given me to share is not about me. It's about how much He loves the women that will receive the message. And He has assured me that He will use me if I'm just willing - insecurities and all. I sure love Him!
I saw this recipe on Facebook and thought I'd give it a try since we like oatmeal. Oatmeal is best if it soaks overnight, so this recipe seemed perfect for us. We had it this morning and it was delicious. It was so nice to come out to a healthy hot breakfast ready to eat.
Layer in the crockpot in order - DO NOT STIR:
2 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups milk of choice
2 cups water
Cook overnight, 8-9 hours, on LOW
The sliced apples, syrup, cinnamon and salt:
All the ingredients in the crockpot ready to cook:
The cooked oatmeal - Yum!