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Posts Tagged ‘anticipation’

mother & daughterLet’s keep rolling with opportunity #5…

#5 — MENTOR SELF-CONTROL
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us . . . to purify for Himself a people . . . who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:12-13).

Take a step toward happiness by learning to control your nature. In a fallen world, men and women must daily fight our natural tendency to sin. Parents in civilized societies have always known the wisdom of helping boys suppress two of their natural tendencies: strong sexual desires and a predilection to aggression or even violence. Likewise, parents in civilized societies have understood the wisdom of helping girls suppress their natural tendency to be ruled by emotions. Why is a woman who lives by her feelings and emotions less likely to be happy or content? What is the effect on others when a woman lets her emotions dictate her behavior? Visit Titus 2 for Life.

Resist following your heart. Ponder the following statements: “When it’s time to make a decision, I’ll trust my heart.” “He told me he loved me. The moment felt so right and my heart said ‘yes’”. “Some people say he’s not right for me, but I’m following my heart.” Can we trust our heart? What does God say in Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9; and Matthew 15:19? How can we help younger women train their hearts and minds? See Psalm 119:41-48; Proverbs 16:20; and Matthew 22:37.

Stay in training and run the race. St. Paul encourages believers to “run the race”, not “aimlessly” but with self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25-27). The world convinces women that we have the right to dress, speak, or act however we please. At what point do our “rights” hinder others? Can our lack of self-control put the faith of others at risk? A pastor’s wife used the ten-lesson Bible study I wrote entitled Dressing for Life: Secrets of the Great Cover-up with her volley-ball team at Christian camp (#LFLDFL, downloadable PDF from Concordia Publishing House). Her goal was to help the girls “exercise self-control in all things”, including their dress and behavior, so that they could be of help and not hindrance to young men who are also trying to “run the race” of faithfulness. Another resource for moms to use with daughters is Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (Amazon).

Prepare young women to practice self-control with the goal of guarding their body, mind and soul. Mothers of daughters will find a great deal of biological wisdom in the book Unprotected by Miriam Grossman, M.D. (Amazon). As a campus psychiatrist at UCLA, Dr. Grossman treated some 2000 young women whose physical and emotional lives were impacted by sexually-transmitted infections, depression, abortion, and fertility issues. Fed up by the feminist ideology that insists that women are the same as men, Dr. Grossman left her position to tell the world why a woman’s body is more vulnerable and how to avoid physical, psychological and spiritual harm caused by unnecessary behavior. Purchase copies of the book for your local pregnancy resource center and young women in high school and college.

Be faithful in times of waiting. It’s not easy to wait for something wonderful. Too often, times of waiting stretch out for months and even years. While we wait, we can choose to be foolish or wise. A foolish woman anticipates good things but is not prepared to wait and does not have extra oil for her lamp (Matthew 25:1-13). A wise woman anticipates good things to come by keeping her lamp of faith burning brightly. When the waiting gets long, she doesn’t need to fear darkness and despair because her hope is sustained by the means of grace, namely God’s Word and Holy Communion. She remembers her Baptism and trusts her identity as a daughter of God in Christ Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she lives for Him rather than herself. Why do you think that “patience” and “self-control” are fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? While a young woman anticipates something wonderful in her life—most especially Jesus’ second coming—how might an older woman help her bear “good fruit” in her attitude, work habits and love for her neighbor? Does your congregational family intentionally mentor from one generation to the next?

What’s Next?  #6: Mentor the Vocation of Motherhood

Ezer’s Handbook is a resource developed by
Linda Bartlett and presented at Titus 2 Retreats

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praying womanEzerwoman has sadly neglected her blog this year.  Two years ago, she began a project that had, in reality, been taking shape for twenty years or more.  Ezerwoman prays that the work will soon be completed.  If God so blesses the effort, then Ezerwoman will share the news with you.

An ezer is a helper.  This ezer strives to help and encourage men and women, but also the Church.  Would you please pray that this helper receives the help of the Holy Spirit?  Truly, the Holy Spirit is The Helper, Encourager, and Counselor.

As for all the rest of you ezerwomen — you helpers of husbands, children, parents, siblings, friends and neighbors — may God grant you wisdom, desire for holiness, and strength to shine light into the dark places of this world.  Sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ anticipate His return for us but, while we wait, we affect the culture one life at a time.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (COLOSSIANS 2:8).

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Joanie was scheduled for surgery.  “I’m getting my affairs in order,” she told me.

Joanie had come into my life as an older, wiser friend not long after my mom died.  She became my mentor.  A reminder that God’s Word is all that matters.  A reminder that Jesus is that Word for my life.

“My surgery is to repair an aneurysm,” Joanie explained.  “It’s a routine procedure.  But, whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

A few days before the surgery, Joanie’s two daughters flew in to be with her.  Joanie called to tell me she had a grand idea.  “We’re going to have a joyful night on the town.”  Later, I learned that night was special indeed.  Over a leisurely dinner, Joanie and her daughters shared many memories.  They laughed, then cried, then laughed some more as they lingered over a single glass of white Zinfandel.  Later, they returned home to curl up in the living room where they continued their story-telling late into the night.  Somehow, I had no difficulty hearing Joanie tell her daughters, “I gotta tell you girls.  Whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

When Joanie’s son called to say he would drive down to be with her, she assured him there was no need.  “You stay with your family right now.  I’ll see you soon.”  Then she penned him a loving letter with words that can only flow from a mother’s heart.  The note ended, “Whatever the Lord’s got going here is fine with me.”

On the morning of the surgery, Joanie woke early.  She slipped out the back door to say good-bye to her two dogs, the faithful companions who greeted her this morning as they did every morning.  Coming back inside, she slowly walked through the rooms of the house, touching her lips and planting a “kiss” on the photo faces of her husband, children, and grandchildren.  She sighed, then picked up the bag she had carefully packed the night before.  With one quick glance over her shoulder back at the house, she walked to the car.  No one but her Father heard her say, “Whatever you’ve got going here, Lord, is fine with me.”

The surgery did not go as expected.  There were too many complications.  My friend’s body grew weak and could no longer fight the battle of life over death.  In the distance, she could hear the great choir of heavenly angels praising God.  “Whatever you’ve got going here, Lord, is fine with me.”  Then, a brief hesitation.  Did Joanie hear one of her daughters say, “We must let her go.”  Did she hear the other cry, “No!”  Joanie waited as if she were giving her daughter time to adjust her thinking and receive the same peace that was now flowing through the mother.  It was not easy, but both daughters agreed, “Mom is ready.”  And they entrusted her to God.

Days later, Joanie’s daughters opened the bag which their mom had packed for her hospital stay.  In it were all the things that a woman would take for recovery from surgery — a few toiletries, nightgown, photo or two of her family, books for passing the time, and well-worn Bible.  Looking through the items in the bag, they paused to remember the behavior of their mom the morning she left home for the hospital.  They heard her sigh and saw her lingering glance at the house.  They knew she had written a “good-bye” letter of encouragement to her son.  But, at the same time, here was a bag filled with the items one would need for life.

Joanie truly believed, “Whatever you’ve got going, Lord, is fine with me.”  She lived each day ready to do those things God had already prepared for her to do, yet she kept her eyes focused on the Savior who would one day carry her home.  In the time that I had know her, Joanie spoke with excitement about her eternal home with Jesus.  Yet, never had I met anyone more content to be in the present — loving souls and sharing the Word of life.

Joanie departed my life much too soon.  Plans had been made for her to spend a week in my home.  I anticipated that visit.  I needed more time learning at the feet of my mentor.  Learning how to adjust my attitude.  Learning to focus less on self and more on Christ.  That visit did not happen, but others will.  With all confidence, I anticipate daily visits with Joanie in our Father’s house.

With eagerness, Joanie expected Jesus to come for her.  She only hoped she would not stand before Him ashamed.  Therefore, whether she lived or died, it would be to the glory of her Heavenly Father (Philippians 1:20-21).

“Whatever You’ve got going here Lord is fine with me.”

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