MIRIAM

MIRIAM. With a name meaning “bitterness,” Miriam has taught me that not dealing with our emotions can cause a train wreck of epic proportions in our lives.

We first meet Miriam in Exodus 15, in the story of her youngest brother, Moses, when her mother assigns her watch duty over him as they “hide” him in a waterproof boat in the Nile. Miriam was obviously quick thinking, for when an Egyptian princess pulled him out of the water, Miriam offered to find a wet nurse for the child, aka. his very mother!

That whole scenario, watching her brother grow up in the lap of luxury obviously left a bitter root deep within Miriam, ministering as a prophetess and singer amongst her people, yet still a slave.
Somehow Miriam felt overlooked despite her giftedness. Yet that bitter root didn’t show up until much later in her story. She and Moses sang one of the most beloved songs in Israel as they left Egypt. Her brother Aaron was Moses’ right hand, and instead of focusing on being part of His plan for redeeming her people? Miriam allowed that bitter root to become full blown jealousy and spurred Aaron on to rebel against Moses while he was up on Mount Sinai receiving the 10 Commandments for their people. Her rebellion not only cost Israel thousands of lives, but God’s displeasure and the most embarrassing visible sign of that displeasure – leprosy. (Numbers 12:12)

Leprosy would have immediately caused her to be an outcast, and have a lot of time on her hands to face the consequences of what she had done.

After a week, when Moses and Aaron prayed to God on her behalf, God healed and restored her body. What we don’t see is Miriam returning to ministry after this life altering incident.

How many times have I held on to a real or perceived offence due to jealousy, and caused myself inner harm as I strained a relationship? Miriam reminds me that a bitter root left unchecked can derail me from what God has for me, and to take every thought captive as soon as I can!

#SheBelongs #sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

Sonday Worship Hymn

🎵”Come Thou fount of every blessing tune my ♥️ to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let Thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering ♥️ to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my ♥️, oh take & seal it, seal it for Thy courts above. Here’s my ♥️ take & seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” 🎶

#Sonday #worshipHymn

Furriendship

🎵”You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again. Winter❄️, spring🌿, summer 😎 or fall 🍂, all you have to is call. And I’ll be there, yes I will. You’ve got a furr-iend.”🎶

#weeklymeow #Caturday #ladyjane #ohhenry

HANNAH

HANNAH. A name meaning favor, or grace. Both of which might have seemed further from her when we first meet her in 1 Samuel 1. But God had other plans…

Hannah was the wife of Elkanah. And likely because she was barren, he took, as many men before him, a second wife. This wife had children, and rubbed it in to Hannah every chance she could. Likely because their husband loved Hannah dearly, despite her barrenness.

Each year, they made their way to the temple to offer a sacrifice to God, and every year, this second wife tormented Hannah by reminding her that God had not given her children. This went on for many years, and reached the point where her husband commented, “Am I not enough for you?”

So even going into God’s presence was painful for Hannah, and the one she loved most of earth didn’t understand.

This particular year, the Bible tells us that Hannah went to the temple, inconsolably “crushed in soul.” She began to pour out her broken heart in prayer with her mouth moving but no sound. (I don;t know about you, but if I was that overwhelmed, I would be likely concerned that I might lose it in public and enter hysterics – so I get where she is coming from here.)

The priest on duty, Eli, observed her for a while, decided that she was likely drunk and went to confront her. She defended herself by stating she was praying her heart out, as she was deeply unhappy and in such pain. (She didn’t mention her barrenness, just how it made her feel.)

And then Eli did something unexpected to me, given how he snapped to judgment on her behaviour only a few moments earlier. He sent her out with the expected blessing (Go in peace) but added to it, “May the God of Israel give you what you have asked of Him.”

By faith, Hannah accepted those words as truth. She had not only been seen and heard, but God gave her an answer.

Within a year, Hannah gave birth to a baby boy, naming him Samuel, which means “God heard.” When she returned to the temple the first time, the family gave a costly offering to give thanks. When Samuel was weaned, she gave him back to God to serve Him full time.

An extravagant gift, joyfully returned to its giver.

#SheBelongs #sharingHope
#hopefortheharddays

HAGAR.

HAGAR. A name meaning ‘flight,’ and what an appropriate name for this woman we find in Genesis 16 & 21.

Hagar was an Egyptian slave who served her mistress, Sarah. (Chatted about Sarai/Sarah yesterday in case you missed it.)

Serving such a wealthy mistress would have been the best she could have hoped for as a slave, yet her story ended up taking flight in an unexpected direction.

Her mistress, in a desperate move to force the promise God had spoken over her to come to pass, insisted that Abraham take Hagar as a surrogate. So any child to born to Hagar would technically be Sarah’s.

Imagine being a slave and elevated to the status of concubine or 2nd wife to the wealthiest man in the area. Quite the jump in circumstances.

And then, Hagar becomes pregnant. And in doing so, it becomes blatantly obvious that Abraham is able to sire children, and Sarah wasn’t.

This mind shift for Hagar caused her to forget her place in the overall situation, and as the Bible states, she ‘begins to despise her mistress.’

Not sure what else Sarah expected by causing this situation, but it became clear that Sarah didn’t like the resulting changes which occurred. (Also clear, Abraham also didn’t help by following Sarah’s suggestion to sleep with Hagar. He too seemed to have taken his eyes off the Promise Keeper by agreeing to Sarah’s plan.)

In retaliation, Sarah began to mistreat Hagar, who fled to escape her worsening situation.

Taking flight in an unknown country with nowhere to go, while leaving your child behind would not have been an easy choice for Hagar to make.

Yet, God sent an angel to meet her in the desert, giving her her own promise for a good future, with numerous descendents of her own.

Reminding us that God not only sees each of us in every situation, but can help us navigate our way through the hardest of days.

God again sees her in Genesis 21, & makes a way for her & Ishmael after they are cast out with the birth of Isaac.

He sees everything, friend. The injustices, our hopes, the pain & anguish we can encounter. Hagar reminds me that no matter how our story starts or turns, God can give us a fresh start.

#SheBelongs #sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

SARAI

SARAI.

Given the name which means both “Princess” & “Quarrelsome,” Abram’s wife had quite the roller coaster of a life.

We first meet her in Genesis 11 when she marries Abram. It isn’t much longer before he hears the call to go, and Sarai becomes a nomad. Along the way, she is given to a Pharoah because not only is she beautiful, her husband was too afraid to admit she was his wife, not his sister. In a miraculous show of might, God closes the wombs of all in the palace until the truth comes out. (Imagine if that which is most painful to you becomes blatantly obvious through that miracle – your inability to carry a child.)

Many years later, God has blessed Abram & given both he and Sarai new names, to represent their calling to parent the new nation God is shaping.

Yet in this newness, Sarah is still unable to conceive. She takes her eyes of His promise, gives her handmaiden to Abraham to be her surrogate, and her pain becomes even more heightened when Ismael is born, for the problem is now obviously her. (More about Hagar tomorrow.) Tensions become high, words and tempers flared, and the promise seemed even more unlikely than ever within Sarah.

And yet, God had not forgotten His Word.

Three visitors show up one day, and remind Abraham (with Sarah listening on) that the promise is still going to be fulfilled.

Sarah, now quite past the age of childbirth, laughed at the thought. Which the visitor immediately addresses, by reminding her that the Word is going to come to pass.

And it did.

Sarah ended up miraculously giving birth to Isaac. The dream she never thought possible came to pass. The barren woman carried a child in the womb she had believed would always remain empty.

Friend, Sarah’s story reassures me that God’s Word will come to pass. Even if it doesn’t on my time table. His Word is pregnant with promise, and I can trust that He has a good hope and a future for me, even when I can’t see it in the middle of my wandering or pain.

Not only did God give her a new name, He gave Sarai the deepest desire of her heart, and exchanged her grief for joy.

And what He had done for Sarai, Sarah? He can do for you and I as well.

#sharingHope #hopefortheharddays

Straighten your crown

You may have wondered why I didn’t post for #internationalwomensday yesterday.

I believe that although an annual day to shout out about a need for equality and justice can be of great benefit to spread the news, it’s the 364 days in between where we need to move into action.

I walk alongside women for that reason. Through the separations and divorces where they feel abandoned or ‘less than.’ Through the parenting journey of highs and lows, sometimes on the same day. Through the loss of a loved one, and the why’s which now shout loudly within. Through the job stressors when they don’t know if they are in the right place and the right time anymore.

To the Esthers.
To the Marys.
To the Joannas.
To the Sarahs.
To the Hagars.
To the Ruths.
To the nameless ones who are in crisis. Need justice. Feel lonely. Heartbroken. Whose burdens are so heavy they can’t carry them without great pain. Whose body is betraying them through the wear and tear age, cancer, post child birth. To the homeless, disoriented in a necessary but painful move.

He sees you.
He knows you.
He hears you.
He adores you.

That’s right. You.
Right where you are at.
And just like He met each of the women above in their stories, He will not leave you abandoned in yours.
He will make a way.
He will provide.
He will answer your prayers, even if you can’t see it yet.
He will shine light and hope on your situation.
He will guide you as you lean into His embrace.
He will strengthen you when you ask for His strength.
He will give you joy again in the morning, along with fresh mercy & grace.

These next two weeks, I will be highlighting some of the amazing women God has included in the Word, and why they matter to both you and I.

#SheBelongs #sharingHope
#hopefortheharddays

Self Care Sunday #3

Part of #selfcare is giving yourself healthy things on a regular basis.

Dr. Caroline Leaf made this list of “5 Things to Give Yourself Today & Every Day” which I had been doing (but unable to put so eloquently into words!) this past year.

What other healthy “thought” are you doing to take care of yourself?

#SelfcareSunday #sharingHope

#TGIF

Last night was a brutal one for me in terms of sleep. I had too long of a cat nap yesterday after work, and my inner rhythm decided to be wide eyed and bushy tailed until 1am. Despite lying in complete darkness since midnight.

So more but less sleep than usual. 😂

Extra thankful for an earlier shift today, and waking up to a sunshiny morning!

What are you thankful for this Fri-yay?

#TGIF #readyfortheweekend

Chatting about not limiting yourself

“I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.”

Dolly Parton

I used to shrink back within myself in certain circles. Maybe you can relate. I have found over time that being me is not acceptable to some people.

I had a situation come up where I was verbally bullied in front of several loved ones, and not one of them stood up for me. I excused myself, went in to the washroom and asked God to take this situation out of my hands.

He directed me to stand up and refuse to be bullied any longer, after He lead me to forgive the one who hurt me, and to break off the lie that I was not able to do anything in the moment.

I could have kept carrying on in the same old way around this person, but prayer lead me to a healthier way.

This quote by Dolly Parton, recently shared by Grit & Virtue, reminded me of this truth: I am not like everybody else. I am able to do a variety of things, & that may come across as intimidating or stir up insecurity in other people.

With all the kindness I now say to them, not my problem.

Your life may not be the way you want it to be. Sometimes circumstances outside our control can hinder our goals, our dreams.

But you don’t have to stay there.

You too can rise up, shake off the dust of the past and choose a new path.

You do not have to stay small by following what others think you should be doing.

I never thought I would be doing so many things I loved at this age & stage in my life. I am very thankful that God has been leading me into pleasant spaces & places as I follow Him.

He is more than willing to do the same for you too, friend, as you tune out the negative voices & focus in on what He has for you. For the One who created you knows where you will flourish!

Both you & I can be ourselves, & that’s a good mindset to walk out every day, yes?

#sharingHope #livepresent