She is Strong

Mom she is strongI heard the news that I was going to be a mom in a rather unconventional way.  My husband and I were waiting to board a flight when we decided to call home to check the answering machine one last time.  There was a new message waiting for us and when it hit my ears, it grabbed my heart. The adoption agency we were using to start our family had left a very short message.  It simply said, ‘Please call us back.  We have identified a baby girl for you.’  The call I had waited years to receive had finally come!  It was the moment that changed my life forever.

Because of the path I walked on my journey to motherhood, I love to read about women in the Bible who walked a similar path…Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Samson’s mom.  Notice something different about Samson’s mom.  We are not given her name.

Samson’s nameless mom received the news that she was going to be a mom in a very unconventional way!  She was met by the Angel of the Lord with a message that after years of wanting a child, she would have a son.  She would be the mother of the next deliverer, a strong man who would begin the path to freedom for his people from the Philistines. It was a dark time in Israel’s history.  The Bible says the days were evil and everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes…

…but it was at that time in history that God raised up a woman, and called her to be a mom.

Raising history’s strongest son would require a strong woman, strong in her faith, strong in the Lord.   Proverbs 31 tells us that one of the character traits of the virtuous woman is that she is clothed in strength.  The GNT version of the Bible simply says ‘She is strong’.   Samson’s mom showed a strength that each of us as women today can learn from and live out today.

Strong women believe God.

When approached by the angel of the Lord with news that the impossible was on its way, Samson’s mom believed God. Where others may have given way to fear or doubt, this woman heard the Word of the Lord, believed it and acted on it. She did not waver in unbelief but ran and told her husband what the Lord had said.  Her strong belief led to an active faith.  Samson’s mom believed God.

Strong women obey God. 

Raising the future deliverer of Israel came with some very specific instructions. This child had a specific purpose and in order to raise him for His purpose, she would need to instruct him in ways that were counter culture.  She chose to honor God in her obedience, giving Samson the structure and direction he needed as he grew according to God’s law.  Samson’s mom obeyed God.

Strong women create an atmosphere of worship where the presence of the Lord stays.

Later that day, not wanting the Angel of the Lord to leave, Samson’s mom and dad asked Him to stay. They prepared an offering as an act of worship, creating an atmosphere where the presence of the Lord was welcome. Samson’s mom created an atmosphere for worship and the presence of the Lord stayed.

Strong women trust God. 

Samson’s mom believed God, obeyed God, and welcomed His Presence, but when it was time for Samson to leave her home, Samson chose to go his own way.  He left the ways of his God, the ways of his mom, to live and behave like the world around him.  Samson’s mom had to trust the Lord like never before.

Samson’s sin and disobedience led to his eventual capture by the enemy, but in his darkest hour, blinded and bound, Samson remembered the God of his youth, the God of his mom.  He cried out a powerful prayer as the walls were preparing to fall down around him.

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘Sovereign Lord, remember me again.  O God, please strengthen me just one more time’.  Judges 16:28

God remembered this strong woman’s son and strengthened him one final time.   When push came to shove, what had been sown in his heart by his mom rose to the top. This strong man, raised to be set apart, turned back to the God of his mom. His physical strength and his spiritual strength were renewed and the enemy was defeated.   In one final act, Samson fulfilled his purpose, defeating more Philistines in his death than he had in his whole life.

A strong, nameless woman had been behind the scenes each step of the way, believing, obeying, worshipping and trusting. While the world called her nameless, Samson called her mom.

Are you in the middle of raising children, feeling nameless as you do the day in and day out? God has called you for this time and place to raise strong children for Him. The world may not recognize you, they may not know your name, but be strong, be obedient and keep your home a place where the presence of the Lord stays. The One Who called you knows your name.  Stay strong.

Have you done all you were called to do yet your child has gone his or her own way rather than following after God.  Trust that the Word you sowed into the heart of your child will grow and flourish. What you sowed was not sown in vain. Stay on your knees. Stay strong.

Are you a woman who is a mentor to others?  Are you faithfully sharing the truth of His Word with those coming up behind you? Keep encouraging the next generation to stay the course, to go against culture in their pursuit of following Him.  God is using your life to make a difference for the Kingdom!  Stay strong!

Our world is shifting. As in the days of the judges, everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes, opposed to doing what is right in His.

It is at this time in history that God is raising up a woman. That woman is you.

This is not the time to shrink back in weakness. It is time to stay strong.  We can be confident we will have the strength we need because the One Who has called us IS our strength and the One Who has called us is faithful.

Clothe yourself in His strength today. Believe, obey, worship and trust.  Follow the example of Samson’s mom.  Sister, stay strong!

‘She is strong’

Proverbs 31:28 (GNT)

Come Here and Listen

come here and listen 1As women who seek to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, hearing the still small voice of God through the written pages of His Word is something we crave.  There comes a time in life when hearing anything other than His voice is no longer enough, a time when we long to be in His presence, when we need to come close and listen to His voice above all the distractions and chaos of life.  In those moments, God calls us from where we are, to where we will be.  For me, that moment was in the winter of 2011.

We had recently moved into a new house and I was trying to establish a new routine.  I know many of us have been there.  Boxes, boxes and more boxes were piled up crying out to be emptied while at the same time my family was crying out for food, laundry and some normalcy in life!  So many things were calling out for my attention, my focus.  The chaos in life was loud.   I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and just plain exhausted.

For years, I have had the habit of spending time with God first thing, early in the morning.  It has been a priority in my life that I treasure. Time set apart with Him before I have time with anyone else, including Facebook, texts and email, has been critical for direction for the day and developing a deeper relationship with Him.  Continue reading “Come Here and Listen”

Gaze upon the Cross

GazenowordsEver gone star gazing?  I mean not just stepping out into the night and casually noticing the stars, but really intentionally star gazing.  There is something extraordinary about the stars that turns our gaze up.

Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to spend some time living on a sheep farm on the coast of New Zealand.  During the day, we spent our time on shepherding excursions, but at night, when the sun went down and the stars came out…and so did we!   Led by a professional New Zealand star gazer, we were taken to the pinnacle of a cliff on the coast and what a magnificent display of God’s creation we saw!  Against the dark of night, millions, if not billions of stars were visible to the eye as our gaze was fixed up.

Our guide pointed to the sky, naming constellations and connecting their stars with a very high powered laser pen.  I watched, amazed, as I considered the stars.  Each constellation seemed bigger, or clearer than the next as he drew across the sky in front of us.  When he came to the final constellation to our right, our guide set his laser on a set of very bright stars.  He said, ‘Do you see these five stars that are shining the brightest?’  It was not difficult to see these stars.  He used his laser pen to connect the dots…to connect the stars…into a very familiar, powerful picture.  One by one, these stars created a cross shining brightly in the dark New Zealand sky.  And then he went on…. Continue reading “Gaze upon the Cross”

A Shaken House

Unshakeable:  Not capable of being toppled or swayed, not given to trembling or falling down, not fit for wavering.  Every day I see more and more evidence around me that while this life can shake us up, we can rest unshaken in the arms of Jesus.

One of the women in the Bible that I have studied the least is Rahab, but the more I study her, the more I see a woman just like me, just like us.  I guess I would prefer to be Esther, a princess, or maybe Ruth, a kindhearted woman who gives it all up to help another grieving woman and spends her time gleaning in the fields to meet her kinsman redeemer.  Those stories, even with their hard times, sound like the woman I want to be or become.   Their stories, though tough are ‘prettier’.

But Rahab…we all know her occupation, her past, her story.  Pretty sure I have never said I want to see myself in Rahab, but I was wrong.    Continue reading “A Shaken House”

Kick it Up, Princess!

Psalm 62:6  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Back in the spring, Dan and I joined a gym and we love it!  We are empty nesters now so the gym has been our connect, the place we go together in the afternoon.

While I have worked out for many years now, I have never taken strength training very seriously.  I enjoy cardio but have always stayed away from the weight section of the gym.  Weight are scary for me.  They are just too heavy! But this year, in this new place, I have taken on the weights and I love it!  I wake up in the mornings with good pain in muscles I didn’t know I had in my arms, quads and abs.

The other day we were doing bicep curls at the gym and I was feeling pretty good.  I had been using the same size weights for a while now and I was smiling because, wow, I felt like I was pretty strong!  What used to feel really heavy to me Continue reading “Kick it Up, Princess!”

One More Thing

 

One of the first gifts my husband gave me was a suitcase.  I remember unwrapping it, not knowing what it would be, even though the shape and size should have given it away.  He is a pilot, so I suppose a new suitcase is a gift that a pilot’s-wife-to-be should have expected!

While it really was a nice suitcase, I immediately thought it must be my ‘carry-on bag’.  It must be what I will put a few extra things in while the majority of my luggage is packed in a larger bag, checked to its final destination and traveling in the cargo compartment of the plane.

This bag was nice, brand new shiny wheels, a cool pull up handle…but it was just so small.  The few times I had traveled prior to this, I had always used a bigger suitcase, one that was able to hold whatever I might need.  Continue reading “One More Thing”

Moonbow

500x319xlunarrainbow-2-jpg-pagespeed-ic-imsschwxcbI am laughing as I board a plane today.  When my husband purchases our airline tickets, he always chooses the exact same seats every time we travel, without fail.  I don’t have to look at my ticket when I board a plane or give it to the flight attendant.  I can tell her where my seat is located!  Dan books it the same, every trip, every airline, every time…faithfully!

So, I am currently seated in my ‘assigned seat’.  My seat belt is buckled, my carry-on luggage is stowed, and I am on my way home now from a truly amazing adventure in Africa.   Continue reading “Moonbow”