Coming Alongside – 5 Helpful Hints to Successful Mentoring

She lived in a basement suite not far from campus. We chatted in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and I took my time choosing tea from a basket overflowing with options. A candle burned in the living room as we settled under cozy blankets and began talking.

Sue was the Director of Student Ministries at my university and I was undoubtedly nervous to be alone with her for the first time. I’d watched her from a distance my entire Freshman year and admired her faith, relational prowess, confidence, and strength. She was the woman we all wanted to be around – To learn from and laugh with. I secretly longed to know her and for her to know me.

And not just the me everyone else saw, but the me hidden under layers of hurt and secrets. I wanted her to pray for me, love me, and cover me with truth. I wanted to trust her, and for her to trust me.

Invitations for conversation over tea would become more of a norm over the next few years, as would chats in her office and walks around campus. She asked me hard questions and seemed genuinely interested in the answers. We kept in touch as she moved from singleness to married life and transitioned out of vocational ministry when pregnant with her son.

The life lessons Sue taught by simply allowing me to come alongside her were invaluable, as were the things I’ve learned and gained from other mentors in each season of change. There were teachers who invited me to babysit and stay for dinner during tumultuous and broken teenage years, Bible Study leaders who patiently answered my many questions in an effort to draw me closer to the Lord, and a pastor turned sister who has mentored me for over a decade. My life has been blessed by more experienced women coaching, instructing, listening, and challenging me along the way.

This is why I believe so deeply in the power of mentoring relationships and why I seek to come alongside others in their journey to Christ-centered wholeness.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the process:

1. Be brave 

Mentorship begins with boldness. See someone in your church community, Bible study or school social circle you’d like to meet with and learn from? Ask them! It might feel scary, but the worst that can happen is they say no or not now. Just think of the fruit that may come if they say YES!  I think it’s worth the risk.

And to those of you being asked, please don’t shy away from the opportunity and responsibility. Women are longing for your wisdom. Share it. Let them watch you and learn from you.

Do you know the Word well? Teach it! Read scripture together and model your study strategies.

Do you have the steadfast patience of Job in difficult circumstances? Allow someone going through a rough season to see how you do it. Tell them about your journey to deep, sustaining faith and let them be a firsthand witness to the Lord’s strength in you.

Have you raised children? Great! Share what you’ve learned and experienced with a mom of little ones who’s still knee-deep in the trenches, or one who is battling the teenage years.

I understand the fear and trepidation that comes with trying to fit one more thing into an already full schedule (really, I do), or the anxiety associated with believing you have little to give (yup, major hold-up here). Just know this: There is no prescribed method and you can create a relationship with expectations that work for both of you.

2. Be flexible and creative

When I was a young mom I often chatted with my mentor Vicky when she was driving. I’d put the phone on speaker mode and make lunch, wash dishes, or fold laundry while we talked. Before our relationship evolved into a more natural one, we had monthly scheduled meetings that included legitimate homework and tools to help hone my leadership and ministry skills.

During what I refer to as my striving season, Kim and I laid on the couch and listened to worship music or read scripture out loud because she knew it was just what I needed. She’d check-in throughout the week to make sure I hadn’t added more to my already overflowing plate, and came over to help me make chili and cornbread as we puttered around my messy kitchen reflecting on how best to balance (or get rid of) the expectations I’d placed on myself.

Fast-forward a few years and I’ve found myself in more of a mentoring role. I may visit a young mom and sit on her living room floor to chat and pray while her babies play and crawl around us. Sometimes we just text – unable to find a time that works, but unwilling to lose touch.

Morning walks or coffee dates are my current go-to for engaging with young women – The added bonus is that they know the BEST quaint cafes and have introduced me to some of the cutest spots in the city. My current role in women’s ministry allows opportunities for valuable time with sweet millennials, even if just for a quick one-time meeting at my counter, over coffee, or for a quick lunch.  They have SO much to offer, and I always leave more enriched and filled than when I came.

There doesn’t always have to be a schedule or process – Just a willingness to engage, grow, and be used. Go ahead and get creative!  The possibilities for getting together and learning from one another are truly endless.

3. Get real 

When beginning a mentoring relationship, be honest about your fear, time limitations, and even expectations. In a more organic relationship these conversations may come about more naturally, but they’re essential to sustaining ones that are more systematic and planned.

Once a rhythm and trust is established, I’ve found that the deepest growth comes when both people in the mentoring relationship are open and aware of their weaknesses. All of my mentors have been beautiful fruit-bearers whose lives testify to their faith and walk with the Lord, but they don’t pretend to be perfect. I love and admire that about them. My greatest lessons were learned when they shared dark moments, sad times, “not-knowing,” and even personal struggles – All the while believing God would give them the strength to overcome. The best mentors are aware of their inability and serve out of a deep-assurance that Jesus really is their everything.

4. Pray (out loud)

No, really. Do it. I didn’t understand or value the power of praying out loud for people until I was mentored. When Sue asked how she could pray for me, she actually DID IT. Immediately after I answered.

Vicky always ended our Wednesday afternoon calls with heartfelt prayer for me – Right there over the phone while I paced back and forth across the hardwood floor with open hands accepting her intercession.

It was and continues to be the most powerful part of our relationship – Inviting God into the mess or praising Him for provision. So now I do it, too. Anywhere and at anytime. Because that’s what they modeled, and my greatest hope is that the women I love and mentor will benefit from laying everything at His feet the same way they taught me to.

5. It’s OK to end it 

Not even the best things last forever, and some (likely most) mentorships involve a season. When Kim agreed to meet with me, we knew I needed her skill and gift for a time – That when I had grown, changed, and developed the necessary skills to be more patient with my children and stop the unnecessary striving (spoiler alert – It’s all about a relationship with Jesus and staying in the Word), she would begin the necessary process with someone else. It’s not that we stopped loving or liking each other – She will always remain a cherished part of my life and I’m forever grateful for her influence – But her call was to mentor many women in the ways of Christ. It would have been selfish for me to hold on to her for longer than necessary.

The same is true for Sue. Her role on campus ensured she had dozens of mentees, and she continues to mentor women in her role as a counselor and lay-minister even today. I was blessed to have her for a time, and while I still love seeing her and count it a joy to talk on the phone or touch base online, Sue has other women to attend to. Her role was to guide me in my college years and I’m so very thankful she did.

Sometimes, mentor partnerships just don’t work out. You may have had different expectations, values, or learn that you don’t connect the way you thought you would. It’s ok. Really it is. Love each other anyway, appreciate the lessons you learned, grow from the experience, and find someone else.

Because here’s the thing, I’m a living testimony to the transformation that occurs through mentoring relationship. They work, friends. Really they do, and I want you to benefit from them as much as I have.

Fast-Forward

It’s been 24 years since I first met with Sue in her cozy basement suite. We talked on the phone the night I was writing this article and she prayed for me (out loud) and offered the sweetest encouragement (along with some much-needed guidance).  We don’t get to see each other much anymore, but I’m forever grateful for the influence she’s had over me.

And If you ever find yourself at my house for an impromptu or scheduled chat, I’ll likely offer a tea basket filled with a myriad of options, light a candle, and make sure there are plenty of blankets by the sofa.

For His glory –

Lisa

 

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

The World’s Best Mom

We can’t all be the “World’s Best Mom,” but Instagram paints a different story. Post after post this Mother’s Day stated that each person on the site had the “Best Mom Ever.” I asked my kids if we should do a vote online and get down to the bottom of this.  

What makes a great mom?  Is it the connection the mother has with her children?  Her ability to have fun, to listen, to give great advice, to provide… all of these?  There is an old saying that “you can’t do all things great, all the time.” Sometimes we pick and choose what we are going to focus on and what our kids need and put our efforts into these areas. When our kids’ needs change, we change with them.  But what do we do in the areas we are lacking in? Try harder, or let it go?

I’m probably not the world’s most fun mom, nor am I the world’s most organized mom, but I can sit and have a conversation with my kids like nobody’s business. I have always joked that my husband would have made a way better stay at home parent because he would have had the house whipped into shape and the kids would have had more routine and schedule. But I was the one to be there every day and by the grace of the Lord they somehow survived. The Lord blessed me with my three awesome kids and I did what I could do at the time with what I knew.  I always pray that the Lord fills in the spots that I missed or messed up on. Mom guilt is REAL. We all have regrets and there are areas that we are all going to mess up on. It’s one of the reasons we are in need of a Savior – To redeem broken things.

Glorify Christ

The best thing we can do for our children is to be in constant communion with God.  Our number one job is to glorify Christ in our lives and in our homes. When we glorify Christ the Holy Spirit is present.  Wow, that sounds so simple. Just glorify Christ and all will be well? Well, it’s simple yet difficult and complex. We need to have discipline in our lives that allows us to spend time in God’s word.  

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”.  A great way to study God’s word is to utilize the Inductive Bible Study Method (link here) We need to know God’s word to truly know and understand Him.  Be in constant prayer “Pray without ceasing” (Thessalonians 5:17), and live a life that points others to Him: “Be holy because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).  Simple yet difficult.

It is ok to remind our children that we are sinners in need of a Savior and forgiveness.  We will make mistakes. We are not the picture of righteousness, but Christ is, and we need to continually point our children to Him. Hopefully, our humbleness will be seen as a strength by our children and they will model this behavior.  2 Corinthians 12:9 says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Pursue Our Children

Reading through the Old Testament, it is almost shocking to see how many similarities I share with the Israelites. I quickly forget what God has done in my life as I start to fear and want to take control over so many areas of my life.  I have a short memory sometimes. God is so faithful as I seem to wander. He continually pursues me and pulls me back to himself. Sometimes this looks like a desert experience and sometimes this looks like straight up discipline.

Our Heavenly Father pursues us to bring us back to Him.  

Just stop and think about that for a second….

He could allow us to wander away and turn the other way.  We are needy and whiney and have a need for control at times.  He still loves us and brings us back to Himself. THIS is one of the major tenants of His love and we need and long for this.  

Much like our relationship with our Lord, our children are longing for us to pursue them.  Many times they don’t even know it.

I have teenage clients that struggle in their relationships with their parents and act distant or rebellious toward them.  The thing that I hear over and over again is the child’s heart to be close to their parent. They will convey how irritating their parents are but they want more time and attention from them.  When I bring the parent into the counseling room the parent will say something like, “I try to talk to them but they push me away and they want me to leave them alone.” I will ask the child directly if this is what they want and they will most of the time say “no”.  

A child wants to know that they are worth pursuing and that the parent is willing to risk their pride and being hurt to pursue the child God has given them.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there are boundaries that need to be put in place by parents, but many times a child just wants to be pursued. Think about your own childhood.  I can remember being upset with my parents and wanting them to just come in and say something like “I know things are tough right now, but I love you and I am here for you.” Just sitting silently on the side of their bed, putting a hand on their shoulder (even if they shrug it off), praying for them, or taking them by themselves to be with you.  This is something that needs to be done deliberately. It must become a priority when you feel your child drifting away from you.

Many times we don’t feel like being around our child.  Let’s get real, they can drive us out of our minds at times.  It’s important to take a break and set boundaries, but it is also important to maintain relationship with our children and pursue them.  In most situations relationship restoration rests on the parent as we train and guide them.

Hold fast.

Pray.  

 

About the Author: Kimberly Crum graduated from Western Seminary with a degree in Mental Health Counseling and is currently a LMHCA working at A New Life Christian Counseling in Vancouver, WA.  Kimberly specializes in working with women and young women in many areas of mental health.  She offers SITT (Story Informed Trauma Therapy) which is an evidenced based trauma therapy which brings healing to those affected by childhood trauma.  She lives with her husband of 24 years and has recently launched 2 of her 3 children.  She loves integrating her clinical training with biblical truths.  

Podcast 015 – “Though the Mountains be Shaken” with Stacie Campbell Waits

Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

 

What would you do if your world seemed to be falling apart? Where would you find hope? Who would you turn to?

Stacie Campbell Waits joins host Lisa DaSilva to tell her story of love, loss, and commitment to follow Christ even in tragedy.

About Stacie Campbell Waits: Stacie is a California transplant whose life journey has brought her to Vancouver, WA. She has been involved in ministry since the young age of eighteen and is passionate about people. One of her favorite things is sharing God’s love and showing others how they can find joy no matter what circumstances come their way. Stacie’s story of love and loss is a beautiful testament to God’s faithfulness. Her journey of being a youth pastor’s wife, having three children, widowed, single mom, remarried, step-mom (aka “bonus” mom) to two, widowed again, and now single mom raising teenagers has given her a platform of great insight to speak directly to the heart of women in various seasons of life. Stacie is a teacher by trade, speaker by calling, and currently volunteers in her church’s youth ministry mentoring young women. One of Stacie’s greatest strengths is her authenticity. She loves to hear people’s stories and encourage them in their season all while pointing them to the beauty of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

Equipping the Nicaraguan Church to “Stand Firm”

group photo of Nicaraguan women's conference

Arise Ministries Collective’s mission is to equip women in the church in Bible study so they are prepared to take the Good News to others. Most often Arise does this locally in Vancouver, Washington but this May seven women had the chance to travel to Nicaragua to equip the global church to be his hands and feet.

Managua, Nicaragua

The first thing to hit us was the heat. The air conditioning at the fringes of the Managua, Nicaragua airport, where people stood waiting, couldn’t keep up. The people in the waiting area were packed together like chaotic sardines, some asking if we needed a taxi, others with written signs.

After a full day of traveling from Portland, Oregon, we wearily wandered into the crowd looking for a familiar face. William, our Villa ride found us first, guiding us outside to Susie Miller and the two Forward Edge/Villa Esperanza vehicles parked on the overcrowded curb. After loading our bags in, we piled into the vehicles, thankful for the weak air conditioning, and absorbed the sights and sounds of Nicaragua on the long-ish drive to the Villa Esperanza.

The Villa isn’t a mission trip you may envision – it is a mix of serenity and exhaustion.

Once you pass the gates of Villa Esperanza you enter a peaceful space of mango trees and flowering bushes. Birds sing. The team homes have bunk beds and bathrooms with cold showers and blowing fans.

May is hot. So those fans do very little. The cold showers are nice though. And this may be one of the only times to rejoice in cold showers. Sleep can be hard to find but the food is always served with a gracious smile.

Getting settled in the Villa we began the process of figuring out what we were doing over the next four days. We planned to pack a lot into our four days on the ground. The main focus of our trip was to equip women in Bible study.

Holding Our Plans Loosely

We went prepared to do a two-day conference for women in local churches. Our conference theme was “Stand Firm.” We had workbooks printed in Spanish and English. We had our teachings about God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, holiness, and mercy prepared. We were as ready as we could be.

We also went with our expectations held loosely.

We had prayed for months for this trip so we knew that God was in control of how things would go.

We had a plan but God was going to be in charge.

It is hard to know what will happen on mission trips. I have been traveling to Nicaragua since 2008 and each trip has its own challenges, its own lessons, its own beauty, and tears.

Sometimes the lessons learned don’t really hit you until you are back home and can reflect.

In the last few weeks home, I have been thinking back over our six days in Nicaragua, reflecting on what God was revealing to me.

I think much of what God was using our team to do is reflected in a little home situated down a small street in a Managuan neighborhood.

 

Kenia and Sarah

We had been told the story of Kenia and Sarah before we piled into the bus that would take us to their home. The tragic events that led us to Kenia’s door pulled at all of our hearts.

Two years ago, Kenia was a normal mom. She had a husband, a twelve-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. Kenia’s daughter, Sarah, was a normal, active three-year-old when she needed some dental work done. Kenia and her husband were told they would need to have their daughter sedated and they saved money to afford the best dentist they could find.

At the dentist, things went horribly wrong. Sarah was very young and during the procedure, she was over sedated. The dentist and staff waited too long to call for help. Tragically, Sarah now suffers from permanent brain damage that has left her needing 24-hour care.

For Kenia, the loss of her healthy child was compounded by the loss of her husband who abandoned them, her job, and her home. In many ways, Kenia is no longer able to be a mom to her older son, who lost his family as it broke apart.

It has been two years and Sarah is now five. Kenia and Sarah now live together in a room in her mother-in-law’s home. The mother-in-law graciously took them into her small three-bedroom home – probably less than 1000 square feet – after Kenia’s husband abandoned them. The now fourteen-year-old son also has a room in the house along with two other family members.

 

The God of Comfort

Praying over Kenia and Sarah

While she lives in her mother-in-law’s home, Kenia still has to provide for Sarah and she has no time to work. Sarah now needs full-time care. She requires a complex array of medications along with other needs – diapers, syringes, formula, physical therapy and more. Sarah’s father provides a little support but the fourteen-year-old son must also work to bring in money.

Kenia is stuck in deep sadness. She has lost her family and a vibrant little girl and her daily life reminds her constantly of her loss. She struggles to forgive. And she struggles to find hope. But in the midst of all this, she became a Christian searching for answers in the God who provides and comforts.

Kenia’s story was brought to the attention of staff at the Villa who are working to find out what she needs and how they can responsibly help. Our team came to her little street and into her bedroom with prayers, encouragement, and food but long-term Kenia needs the local church to encourage her broken heart and walk with Kenia on her journey with little Sarah.

 

Citizens of Heaven

And that is what God allowed our team to be a part of – equipping the local Managuan churches to stand firm in the midst of trials.

When 30-ish women from 15 churches showed up to our conference we didn’t know exactly what God was using us for – we didn’t know these women’s stories, we just knew we had been called to equip them to read Scripture faithfully.

Every believer is now part of God’s holy nation matter where they live (I Peter 2:9). We are citizens of another country. And we are called to proclaim the light of the gospel to the places we live.

Lisa said it clearly at the end of the conference when she stated: 

“We stand firm because God and God alone in all of His sovereignty, all of His faithfulness, all of His holiness and all of His mercy has given us the prize of heaven. One day we will get the crown. We are no longer citizens of this world. We are citizens of heaven.”

When believers in the church know the Bible, study it deeply and let it change our lives it also brings practical hope. Soaking in God’s character changes how we live with others as friends, neighbors, fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. We care about what God cares about.

 

God is the Center of Peace and Happiness

Nicaraguan woman studying her bible

And God cares about human flourishing. We are created in God’s image to care for creation and each other. Scripture commands us over and over to love each other and Jesus’ earthly ministry provided spiritual hope and physical healing to the broken.

In Matthew 9:1-7, a paralytic is brought to Jesus and the first thing Jesus does is to forgive him of sins. He takes care of his spiritual needs first before he takes care of his physical ones.

Poverty is a result of broken relationships between God and us. Our spiritual poverty leads us to darkness and eternal death.

When we truly love God we love our neighbor and we want them reconciled with God. We want to bring light. In the light of God’s love, new things grow. Peace. Joy. Grace. Forgiveness. Mercy. We often want to take care of their material needs, which isn’t a bad thing when done correctly, but as C.S. Lewis writes,

God cannot give us peace and happiness apart from himself because there is no such thing.”

 

Ambassadors for Christ

When the people in the church are equipped to have a proper view of Scripture we are able to properly fulfill our call to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20). It becomes natural to live lives filled with compassion for our neighbors like Kenia.

This means we serve outside of our comfort zone. We serve because Christ served.

When the church is equipped to read Scripture rightly it reminds us that all that we have is His and given to us by His grace – so, therefore, we can share it. Spiritual joy in God helps us abandon our comfort to serve.

We don’t live in Nicaragua. It is not our home. But God used us and our little conference to build the local Nicaraguan church and empower Nicaraguan women to more deeply understand God’s character and His word so they can bring light to the darkness in their own country.

The women who attended our conference had a lot to say about what they had learned and we were blessed by their prayers, their joy, their tears, their stories and their faith in the midst of trials.

Here are some highlights of how the conference impacted them:

“We are so grateful because God has chosen us to be his servants. Everything we have learned here is to respond to our merciful God and he forgives and is a good God to us.”
“When we know how sovereign God is, it’s easier to obey.”
“We know that the reward will not be here on earth. We can go through the fire knowing our reward is in heaven.”
“What I have learned is to be courageous and I have learned that from the word of God.”
“I feel so joyful because I have learned a lot. The Lord wants us to stand in the gap and be courageous and strong.”

We are truly blessed to be God’s hands and feet to strengthen the church globally.

 

Would you like to join us in our mission?

Please prayerfully consider giving to Arise Ministries Collective to equip and encourage women in the local and global church.

About the Author

Valerie Hooks photoValerie Hooks:  I like to write, read, drink tea, and research stuff. I am a passionate follower of Jesus. I have teenagers (pray for me) and a fantastic husband. I call Summit View Church in Vancouver, Washington the place I am loved, honed and challenged in my walk with Christ. 

 

Earthly Loss and Eternal Hope

I clearly remember a time in my late twenties when I was driving with the windows rolled down and had the music blasting as I drove the back roads.  I felt immortal and pretty comfortable with life.  At that time we had a sweet family of four and really, the hardest thing for me that I had walked through at that point was the loss of our sweet baby at 14 weeks.  Now here I sit a decade later with a family of seven, the sting of miscarriage behind us, with the windows still down, music going, and still taking the back roads, but more aware than ever of our mortality.  I’ve never had a more sobering year than this one as I experienced my very own Good Friday full of loss and confusion as we cared for my Dad in hospice and saw him off to heaven. 

The thing is, loss is inevitable this side of heaven and it’s not so much “if” it will happen, but “when” it will happen.  Each and every one of us are faced with different kinds of loss as we live out life.  Loss of a friend, loss of a first love, loss of a job, loss of a life you imagined for yourself, loss of something you never even had, loss of a friends, spouse or a parent.  When something is taken from you before you are ready, there is this rub…a chafing of sorts. Your faith is challenged in such a way that bottom line, you are faced with the question, “Is God truly good in all of this?”  These experiences expose the doubting Thomas parts of our hearts that have never been faced with the real opportunity to fully rely on Christ in the emptiness. Life and breath is given from the Almighty and ultimately Romans 8 says, 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Can that be true in my current situation even though THIS doesn’t feel good to me?  Absolutely!  God’s purpose and plan was established before the beginning of time and our whole story is no surprise to Him. 

This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:30)

Each type of loss effects us differently, but the truths are still the same.  It exposes the doubt and unbelief in our hearts. The pain and discomfort reveal the greatest need we have, which is truly God Himself.  We can’t move forward just by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and conjuring up “enough” faith to do it, but we can move forward because of the object of our faith.  

“As believers God invades those hard things that we battle and though it’s still a battle by faith, it is in the object of our faith that we find our strength.” -Dave Leandre

We are never alone in our loss, though it can feel like some of the loneliest times.  Our God has first hand experience and knows exactly what the feeling of loss is like.  1 John 4:9 says,

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

God’s only son was given, and His earthly life was taken.  There was separation for a time between the Father and the Son as Jesus took on the sins of the whole world, but God came to redeem and He will come again to redeem the brokenness in this world.  He rose again the third day conquering death and the grave.  THAT is the power of the one true God, Praise Jesus!

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. (Romans 6:9)

So as believers, we have an incredible hope!  This hope is found in the resurrected King!  This means, as believers, that though physical death and loss still happens here in this broken world, there is eternity to look forward to and a spiritual life beyond the grave.  

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

He will swallow up death foreverand the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:8-9)

As believers we do not have to grieve over our losses like those with no hope.  We have a loving Father who understands our grief and never leaves us or forsakes us, but meets us in our unbelief and comforts us just like a good Father would.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (I Thes. 4:13)

It is human to wonder, question, and to not understand when loss and hardship come.  As believers, may we be faithful to take these doubts, fears, and tears right to our Heavenly Father.  We may need to do this over and over, yet He is gracious and quick to remind us of His truth that empowers us to move forward by faith. Though we experience earthly loss, there is great gain in eternity.  When you are faced with your good Friday, remember that the resurrection is coming and that because of Jesus and the gospel we have a hope that surpasses this life and reaches into the eternal life to come.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)

 


About Janell Sorensen: 
Janell is a follower of Jesus, a wife to her best friend David, and a mother to five gifts. She has a heart for women, women’s ministry, and the study of God’s Word. You can find her most days sitting at her farm table schooling her kids, telling punny jokes, and resting in the beauty and grace of her race because of Jesus. She occasionally writes at janellsorensen.wordpress.com.

Trusting God

“Trust me. I promise.” How many times have I heard, or even uttered this phrase? Why is it we have to convince someone to trust us, or, why do we need to be convinced? Trust is easily broken and hard to win back. Why? I believe, trust is evidence based. We choose to trust based on what we have experienced. According to Character First, truthfulness, or being trustworthy is “the act of earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.” We choose to trust someone based on what we know about them. What does their track record look like? Is it spotless, or does it look like a rap sheet? However, we’ve all been hurt by people that we’ve chosen to give our trust to again. I think we do this in part, because we know their heart.

How does God fit into this and how can we grow in our trust of him? You might feel like it’s really hard to trust God because you can’t see him. Or, like me, you’ve faced the unthinkable, you’ve survived the unimaginable, and you ask yourself, “How can I trust a God who would allow that level of evil to exist?” One of the beautiful things about God is that we can come to him with questions like that, with doubt. He wants you, he wants me, to come just as we are, asking him, “Why? Help me trust you. Help me see you.”

I believe when we come before God, truly seeking to know his heart, he is honored by our request and certainly will answer. But the answer doesn’t always come as we would like. Or as quickly. So, how does this work? Is there a magic formula, or a prayer to say? Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock, then the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8). For me, this is a matter of the posture of my heart. A humble recognition that I don’t know, that God does, and choosing to trust by coming to him with a heart that says, “This is hard; I don’t know, would you help me?” (ask). It is a humble search of his word to see his character, not scouring the pages to prove a point, but laying down our thought process to discover his heart (seek). And waiting for him to reveal to you who he is, what his plan is (knock). I often find myself saying during these types of prayers, “Help my unbelief!” God is never caught off guard or offended when we come to him asking to see. This process of spending time in the Word to see God builds trust. It is seeing the accurate portrayal of facts that builds future trust. God has given us an amazing, perfect piece of evidence of his love, his holiness, and his mercy and grace.

The Bible is an entire book of promises made and promises kept. Perfectly. No changed minds or fingers crossed behind his back. No “I didn’t mean it that way…” God’s Word is proof to us that he is worthy of our trust. But, we have to use it. We don’t grow in trust just from having Bibles in our home, or even by just attending church on Sunday, though this is very important. Think of it like going to the gym. If I go out and get a gym membership and never use it, I won’t get stronger. If I go meet with a trainer once a week, but don’t do anything they instruct me to do, I may feel like I am getting stronger, but I’m really not. It’s only when I start to actively participate and follow the wisdom of the trainer that I will build strength. Trust is like a muscle. It has to be tested, challenged to be strengthened and grow. Trust and faith are intertwined. We use our knowledge of God from his word as evidence that we can trust him. God doesn’t change, nor does he lie (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17).

Trusting God feels hard because we live in a fallen world. Because we have been lied to by Satan that God is not good, that we cannot trust him (Genesis 3:1-5, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:3). We have a choice. Every day. I have a choice to make, will I trust God, or will I choose to believe, against all the evidence God has given me in his perfect word, or that it is me who knows best? Infinite, all-knowing God vs. finite, limited Sarah? I’d like to think I always choose the former. But sometimes my arguments are really convincing. And I believe the lie, I choose based on feeling, or emotion, rather than rooting myself in the truth. But, God is always good. He doesn’t leave me, he doesn’t throw his hands up and walk away, frustrated that I did it again, even though I break his trust. He forgives. And I stand righteous, holy and pure, blameless before him through Jesus. He loves me. Praise God!

Join me, will you? Ask yourself, who am I trusting? Anything other than God will disappoint. Maybe not today, but eventually. Trusting God is not easy. We have an enemy whose purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. He does that by wrecking our trust in God. We must choose to trust, even when we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). God is the perfect father. He has given us everything we need to know. We have to trust him with the rest. We must fight the “need to know” with the contentment that comes from knowing the one who does. This is a journey. But God is gracious. He accepts you where you are. But he wants you to grow. Dive into the Word. Right where you are. You don’t have to figure anything out first. Talk with God about your trust, or lack of it. Spend time getting to know him by reading about his character. You will not be disappointed.

The Psalms are a wonderful place to begin, or the Gospels. Jesus is the exact imprint of the nature of God (Hebrews 1:3). If you want to know God, spend time studying Jesus. Remember, God is for you. He wants to be known by you. As you seek to grow in the knowledge of him, your trust grows naturally, you won’t have to force it. Yes, there are times when we are called to step out in faith, when we don’t see and it is terrifying. But, it is our trust in who God is that carries us. Press in. Trust allows us, in the moment of doubt, to make the decision to press in. To remember who God is. Knowing who he is allows us to take steps of faith, to go where we would never have gone on our own. He has gone before you, he made the way. He is worthy of your trust. All of it.

 

 

About Sarah Glassett: 

I am a wife. Mother of two beautiful girls, inside and out. I am passionate about loyalty and authenticity. I love quiet moments, gardening, good books, and the beach. Laughter is of the utmost importance. I am always learning.

I love to share how the love of Jesus has made me brave.

Podcast 014 – “Trust” with Sarah Glassett

 

“Do I trust God?  Is He worthy of my trust?  Is He really good?”

In this episode of the Arise Ministries Collective Podcast, Lisa asks guest Sarah Glassett for help and clarity answering some of these questions. We hope you’ll find this conversation both helpful and challenging as we talk about trusting God together.

Noteworthy Quotes

“Our trust in people can be broken, but our trust in God is never broken.  Even though we’ve broken that trust with God, He’s steadfast and never changes – which is why we can trust him.”

“Trust is a choice.”


“The Word comes before trusting our gut.”


“God hasn’t given us everything – every bit of knowledge.  He’s given us everything we need to trust Him.  We just have to choose.”


“The more time I spend in the Word, the easier it is to step out in faith and trust.  Ultimately we need to remember the Bible is a book or promises made and promises kept.”


“Not once have I regretted stepping out and trusting that God would lead me, maybe somewhere I didn’t want to go, but that He was going to do beautiful things, to glorify Himself in that circumstance.”


“Trust isn’t about ourselves or building a name for ourselves, or making ourselves strong.  It’s to glorify God.”


“When we spend time adoring God’s character I feel like we can grow in His trust.”


About Sarah Glassett: I am a wife. Mother of two beautiful girls, inside and out. I am passionate about loyalty and authenticity. I love quiet moments, gardening, good books, and the beach. Laughter is of the utmost importance. I am always learning. I love to share how the love of Jesus has made me brave.

Little by Little

She spoke quickly and in a language I couldn’t understand – Intensity growing with every word. My new friend repeated one line over and over again, louder and with a sense of urgency until I found a translator to help.

“She wants to share the gospel with you,” the interpreter said.  “To show you that she understands.”

I had just finished teaching a session to a group of native Bengali women and was headed to a fifteen minute break – Selfishly looking forward to samosa, tea, and conversation with the few other English speaking women I’d come to know and love over the previous days.

But God. He has an uncanny way of interrupting our plans with His own, and what followed in the next few minutes would leave an impact I won’t soon forget.  

When given the go-ahead by the interpreter, her face broke out into a relieved smile – Eyes alight with hope. She spoke with passion and authenticity – Pausing only to let the translator catch up and relay what she was saying.

I was in complete awe.

 

“Separated by sin…”

“God in His great mercy…”

“Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit…”

“Suffering, He did not struggle…”

“Our eternal life because of His great sacrifice…”

“Guided by the Spirit in wisdom and truth…”

“Until Christ returns…”

 

I took her tiny frame and enveloped it in my own.  “I’m so proud of you!” I declared, and meant every word.

For women to study, learn, and know the Word of God in Bangladesh takes more sacrifice than many of us in North America can fathom.

Christians make up a mere .5% of the country’s Muslim majority. Many women are rejected, ostercised, threatened, shunned, and sent away by their community and family when they claim Jesus as Lord. Husbands may divorce them – Leaving limited ways to care for themselves and their children. Some can’t read or write.

So how do they do it?

Little by little.

Precept upon precept.

With great urgency.

Under the guidance of a mentor.

And, often times, in secret.

 

Unsung Heroes

I wish I could show you pictures of the local teachers – of the Bangladesh locals and missionaries who tirelessly give themselves to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple others in the Word.

I long for you to see the pastors and their beautiful wives – The ones who travel hour after hour by bus, on foot, by boat, rickshaw, or even horse-cart to love, disciple, and equip fellow followers in villages that were unreached only a year ago.  

I wish I could publically boast about the men and women who put their lives and reputation on the line every day as they step out in obedience and sacrifice. If I could, I would put their pictures up on church mission boards so we could all pray for them by face and name.

I so desperately want to share images of the rescuer who runs a program for women coming out of a violent and volatile sex trade industry – Who provides a training center and safe place where they learn their value, the Truth of a Father who absolutely adores them, and where they receive compassionate care, education, and work experience.  

I want you to see the faces of the women who have experienced true freedom because another woman said “yes” when God asked her to rise up.

The truth is, these pillars of strength and beacons of light may never receive earthly recognition for their effort and sacrifice. It would be too dangerous.

Nor do they need it.

Every one of the teachers and leaders we met are beautiful examples of Matthew 6:1  – Humble servants whose righteousness is practiced in secret – Their reward in heaven far greater than any they could gain here on earth.

They are content to simply walk out their knowledge of the Word and love for their Savior.

Every day.  

Step by step.

Mile by mile.

Chapter by chapter.

Verse by verse.

Little by little.

 

Revival

We recently finished a study series about spiritual disciplines in church. Our pastor spoke boldly about how many look for supernatural encounters and seek revival by the masses in an effort to relive an Acts 2 experience. He reminded us that the beautiful manifestations of God are not always in the extraordinary, but rather in the ordinary. The ordinary IS the extraordinary – Study and meditation of His Word, diligent prayer, fasting, confession, silence and solitude…  The sacrifice no one sees.

Be assured of this: There is a revival in Bangladesh – The slow, steady, authentic kind that happens when believers cram themselves into one-room homes and sit cross-legged on the floor – Eyes closed with hands lifted in praise.

When voices rise together in prayer – surrendering the needs of Christian brothers and sisters with genuine compassion and faith that God desires their freedom.

It’s the kind of revival that begins by understanding the power of the gospel and the necessity of discipleship. Studying the Word with heart, mind, and soul – Even if it costs them everything.

It’s a revival where fervency and knowledge of the Word will change a country and a culture for His glory – With great discipline.

One woman at a time.  

Little by little.

 

Also To Note

Freedom Challenge is a community of women who push their bodies to extremes in an effort to raise funds for women and children living enslaved or under oppression.  They summit mountains, trek for days, and do all kinds of other things to raise awareness together – Praying, praising, and reflecting on scripture the entire way. Their mantra, “Your Challenge, Their Freedom, resonates deeply with me. It’s why I jumped at the opportunity to represent Arise Ministries Collective and journey through Bangladesh with their small team. 

You can read more about these stories in a recent article published on the Freedom Challenge website: “Witnessing Transformation for Women in Bangladesh.”

Also, the Summit View “Rhythms” series speaks to the importance of developing spiritual discipline.  You can watch and listen to the sermon where Pastor Michael Hearn refers to the ordinary in the extraordinary by clicking here.

About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  

 

Write It On Your Heart – Memorizing Scripture

Have you ever wondered how many scriptures you have memorized?  I have lots of pieces running through my head. I can be heard saying things like “There’s a verse that says something like…….. And I think it’s in the book of…….”  But If I’m honest I don’t have many complete verses and references memorized. I actually want to sit down and write them out and keep a log of them, but I haven’t done that yet.  

Towards the end of last year I had this renewed nudging to memorize more scripture.  Like many things in my life, scripture memorization has ebbed and flowed. In January I decided my family would learn one scripture a month and I would learn two.  I was trying to make reasonable goals that could be accomplished, but goals nonetheless. And here it is the beginning of February and we haven’t fully memorized one piece of scripture.  Oh we’re at the point where we can help each other out and together we can piecemeal it together, but it’s not fluid. And so, I write this for motivation for myself and I hope it will be for you too.

Why Should I Memorize Scripture?

We may think we don’t have any need to memorize.  Most of us have multiple Bibles sitting around our homes and in various translations.  We have Bible apps on our phones. We have Google for goodness sake! Scripture is always at our fingertips.  

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

Having His word in our hearts and minds (not just buried in the Bible) will help us keep His statutes and commands at the forefront of our minds so that we do not sin.

“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19

This one convicts me.  Are His words impressed on my heart and soul?  Can I teach them to my children when sitting around my house or when I’m walking (driving) down the road?  If His word is in my heart and mind I’m much more apt to be ready and able to share it in the midst of our everyday conversations.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16-17

We gain so much when the word is within us!

What Should I Memorize?

Pretty much anything!  

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all scripture is inspired by God.

During different seasons of our life, we may cling to different verses.

Are you going through a trial? James 1:2-5

Do you need Hope? Romans 8:18

We should always be praising Him and giving thanks.  Psalm 100

Do you want to be more prepared to share the gospel?  Memorize the “Roman Road” (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13)

There are over 23,000 verses in the Bible, so really, it’s almost endless.

How Do I Memorize Scripture?

I learned one of my favorite ways from my mom.  She taught “Children’s Church” when I was young and often used this method.  (Raise your hand if you went to “Children’s Church” while adults went to “Big Church”).  My mom would write the verse out on a chalkboard (I like to use a whiteboard). She would point to each word as we all read it aloud.  Then she would erase one or two words and we would read it again with the missing words. Repeat over and over until the board is completely erased and you can still say the scripture.  This is very quick and works so well with children.

Kay Arthur of Precepts International suggests writing scripture on a note card and reading it every time you eat a meal.  By the end of the week you should have it memorized!

Make your verses beautiful and hang them on your walls.  Looking at them, and reading them, every day will commit them to memory.

For a bigger portion of scripture, read it every day for 30 days.  By doing this you’ll also discover new truths you may have missed the first time.

Singing scripture is one of the most effective for me.  So many can be found online in song form. The only problem?  If you ask me to repeat it to you I may have to sing it back to you. This is also how I know the books of the Bible in order.

A Word of Caution

Scripture can easily be misquoted..  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a scripture on Pinterest or Instagram and thought to myself “hmmmm…..that doesn’t sound quite right.”  I look it up in my Bible and find out that words may have been eliminated or added. If you’re going to memorize scripture, make sure you’re learning the accurate words.

Scripture can be taken out of context.  I bet many of you know Philippians 4:13.  “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  This one is often used to encourage people to take on something big or go for the gold because you can “do all things.”  However, when we look at it in context we see that Paul is speaking about being able to be CONTENT in every circumstance because Christ strengthens him.  Taken out of context it means something very different.

Use reputable translations.  This goes for all of your Bible studies.  Do your due diligence and research the translation you wish to memorize from.  Use one that is close to direct translation from the original Greek and Hebrew in order to be true to the Word of God.

One More Thing

I seem to be able to memorize, but have difficulty in retaining.  This is one reason I want to write down memorized scripture so that I can be diligent in reading them over and keeping them committed to my memory.  My daughter, Anna, made scripture cards to help with this process. Consider memorizing these, then printing them, cutting them out, and putting them anywhere and everywhere that will help you retain them! Click on the image below, or download the file here.

I would love to hear from you.  What scriptures have you committed to memory?  Which ones do you pull up in times of need or times of rejoicing?

 

Lee Anne HeadshotAbout the Author: Lee Ann DeRoos – Arise Ministries Collective Board Member and Treasurer

“I’m a simple girl. I love jeans and sweatshirts, decaf coffee and dark chocolate. I am a servant. Learner. Worshiper. Gluten-free baker. Hobby Farmer.

I am a wife, mom of two, and daughter of the King, always striving to get out from under my bushel to let His light shine.”

 

 

 

Chosen

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of of him who called you out of the darkness and into his marvelous light.”

I remember the first time I ever felt utterly rejected.

Ugh. It was the worst.

There were small little moments on the playground, in the neighborhood and at Sunday school – when kids were just being kids. Ideally, those small life moments are supposed to prepare you for the bigger ones, but I don’t know that life always works that way. Rejection never gets easier, as we get older the stakes seem to get higher.

I know we have all felt it. Whether it was a parent leaving, a best friend moving beyond you, your first break up… your last break up, your boss firing you, your spouse being unfaithful… We all have these wounds, hidden shame, and deep hurt that comes from exposing your heart and soul – the essence of who you are in a vulnerable way and being left feeling like you are unworthy, never enough. Forsaken.

You and I are familiar with the sting of rejection.

We also all truly desire two things – to be known and to be loved.

This morning when I woke up and began to lick my wounds, reciting the same story that has been haunting me for awhile – God interrupted my pity party and spoke to me.

You are CHOSEN.

When the enemy tries to remind you and I of all that we are not – we need to push back even harder with the truth of who we are.

We are chosen.

If you belong to Jesus, YOU ARE CHOSEN.

Not just as a favor, not out of pity, not because He has to choose you – but because He delights in choosing you.

He knows your innermost being – and he still chooses you…

He knows your darkest sin, your deepest festering wounds, and the ugliest part of your soul and every single morning His mercies are new for you – He claims you, chooses you, and hand picks you to call as His very own. At your best and at your worst you are His prize. When He looks at you and I He sees all that He put in us. He sees works of art. He sees us covered in the righteousness of Jesus.
He knows you have been forsaken – and He knows exactly what it feels like. He was rejected and forsaken too in the most unjust way known to man. If anyone knows the feeling it’s Him. If anyone has the authority in your life to speak the truth of who you are it is also HIM.

So today, fight back.

When the enemy screams what you are not – speak out loud the truth of who you are. Tune your ear to the still small voice that continually speaks over you, you are mine – you are chosen, you are made perfect in me… come out of the darkness and stand confidently in my marvelous light and shine.

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