We’ve cried and hurt.
We’ve felt lost, wounded, alone, misunderstood.
We’ve asked, “Why?” and “How do I survive this?”
And yet, we stand.
We make it to tomorrow. We see a new day dawn.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
The implication is this: we’ve been in need of comfort ourselves a time or two! And through that comfort we receive, we are equipped to minister to others who find themselves on similar rough roads.
Maybe you’re hurting and desire for your friends to understand what you need. Maybe you need to be a comforter. Here are a handful of helps that others utilized in walking with me through periods of heartache, the same “helps” that I have also drawn from to minister to others in their times of need:
HOLD HER UP IN PRAYER. There is no greater help, no greater privilege, no greater ministry than intercession. We are taking to God Almighty the broken pieces and trusting into His capable hands the healing, the help, the hope of the hurting.
HELP HER HEAR TRUTH. God’s Word will accomplish its purposes (Isaiah 55:11). Text her Scripture, read the Bible to her, write verses on cards or sticky notes for her. Undoubtedly she’s hearing lies and battling darkness every day. Shut out the deceit with the voice of Truth. Illuminate the shadows with the Light of His presence. Our words can fail … God’s cannot. Read More→
I feel like the writer of Hebrews as he comes to the end of the “Faith Chapter” (11): And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell… of Rahab and Ruth, of Naomi and the bleeding woman, Lydia and Dorcas, and all the other single ladies of Scripture! Somewhere in the Word, there’s a story that mirrors your own. Find your sister, listen to her testimony, learn from her journey. The trove of truth treasures is unlimited. Explore its depths daily!
As I wrap up this series on “Single Ladies”, I find myself thinking of you, of single ladies that have bolstered me in my own journey, and of the lessons I have learned personally. So this time, we’re drawing from present-day single sisters, those that we see face-to-face, those that walk this earth and this road with us now. Here’s what we can learn from one another:
First and foremost, be faithful to your Lord. You cannot expect to have real success or true joy apart from Him (Psalm 16:2). Spend time with Him. Listen to Him (Proverbs 8:34). Saturate your heart and mind with His truth. Walk with Him daily (Micah 6:8).
Be faithful to your family, not only in word and deed but in truth and love (I John 3:18). Church family, immediate family, extended family, and all those who are part of our realm of service and influence and support. Let us love one another! (Galatians 5:13)
Be faithful to your calling. God has gifted you and equipped you to fulfill a specific purpose in His perfect plan (Romans 11:29). Be strong and courageous and do the work (I Chronicles 28:20)! Read More→
She is… alone. World turned upside down, securities shaken, questions unanswered. Somehow, each day, she must survive. Breathe again. Scrimp and save and make a way. Somewhere, in the midst of it all, she must find something … or Someone … to be her Rock.
The nameless widows of Scripture – don’t overlook them. The Lord included their stories for our benefit, and He knows each of these women intimately. He didn’t see anonymity or ambiguity. He saw hearts, lives, faces. He heard their groans and cries and saw in each one the potential to reach us today. While each account holds multiple truths, let’s glean a single nugget that we can cling to from a few examples of extraordinary widows of faith.
Widow #1: The Zarephath Widow (I Kings 17:8-24) – When God Makes A Promise
She is asked to feed the prophet Elijah when she could barely scrape together enough to make a last meal for her and her son. But God speaks to her through Elijah, and something in those words moves her to obey without reservation. She makes a withdrawal from her last reserves of flour and oil and prepares food for the prophet and then for herself and her son. When God makes a promise, you can afford to give your all. And her supplies never run out. When God makes a promise, you can bank on it. He supplies her physical needs and her spiritual needs. And when life is snatched from her son, God hears her heart’s cry and returns the son to her. When God makes a promise, He doesn’t leave your side. Your famine may not be physical but spiritual. Revisit the promises of God. Find life and hope and every need met. Read More→
She’s unnamed, unwed, and used up. She’s been rejected, overlooked and scorned. Marriage had always failed her (five times, for one reason or another), and so she’d given up on it, too (for the man she was living with was not her husband).
To the water, apart from the other women, alone. Daily duty calls, and she expects nothing more than the routine, silent, dusty walk to draw from the well. She can already feel the weight of the return trip: heavy pots of water and scorching, high-noon sun combining to burn her shoulders inside and out. Not to mention the commonplace, condemning stares that will greet her as she reenters the town.
But it’s not every day. At the well … could it be? Another person? A man? A Jew?!?! Little does she know that she is walking into a divine encounter, and her life is about to be changed forever.
Mary, Mary, not contrary,
I see how your love flows:
with oil spilled and hair unbound
and a heart that the Savior knows.
Often compared and contrasted with her sister Martha, there is an act of the maid Mary that is “stand alone.” From it we can glean nuggets of truth-gold and fashion them into jewels for our own lives.
The account of Mary anointing Jesus is depicted in three of the four Gospels (John 12:1-8; Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). Read the passages to refresh your memory of the details. In brief, it looks like this:
- Jesus, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the disciples, and a slew of other people are gathered together in a home. We’ve seen a similar scene before.
- Mary comes to Jesus’ feet. Again, she’s been in that position before. But what she does next is surprising and somewhat strange.
- Mary breaks a jar filled with expensive, fragrant oil and dumps it on Jesus’ feet. And she’s not done yet!
- Mary unbinds her hair and uses it to wipe Jesus’ feet! Read More→
I am so excited to share about this single lady, I almost can’t sit still long enough to write her story! Through a Bible study and His Word, God uncovered for me several truths about Hagar that have placed her among my favorite Bible characters.
An Egyptian slave in the home of Abraham and Sarah, Hagar had undoubtedly heard of God Almighty. She had also been taken from her homeland and placed into service. As we learn in Genesis, it wasn’t always a “happy home” in which Hagar worked. (Take a few moments to read her story in Genesis 16 & 21).
All of the characters in this saga reap some less-than-desirable rewards for their decisions and actions. Jealousy arises, disdain grows, abuse ensues. Out of the chaos and conflict, a son is born. Ishmael, the offspring of Hagar & Abraham, bears the name that means “God hears”. He’s born to a mother who has already fled to the wilderness once. And when Ishmael is a teenager, both he and Hagar are sent packing. Hagar is battered and bitter, rejected by the father of her child, a single mom, alone, hopeless.
Yet from the ashes of her life, Hagar offers beautiful treasures that span the millennia and bring richness to our lives today… Read More→
My apologies upfront for luring you in with thoughts of chocolaty sweetness. Maintain that picture if it helps (or grab a few to munch on!), but promise me this: you’ll not discount the message when you discover whose initials we’re actually representing.
For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of leading a women’s Sunday school class on Mary and Martha. (Was that a sigh I heard? I know their story is “over told” in Christian women’s circles, but hang in there with me! They have something to teach us about being a single lady, about being a Christian woman. Tradition and most commentaries do agree that neither woman married.) I continue to learn from and to be challenged by the things Scripture recounts about these two extraordinary women.
Our goal here is not to rehash service vs. sitting. We’re not trying to dissect intentions or personalities. What we are aiming for is nuggets of truth about relationship with Jesus as exemplified by Mary and Martha… Read More→
I need some goals. It is time to prayerfully make a plan and execute some follow-through…in my writing, in my day-to-day life, in my walk with Christ. Part of that plan includes this: a series on singles in Scripture and what we can learn from them. What better place to discover the guidance we need than the infallible Word of God! While my focus is “single ladies”, I am trusting God to bring about truths that will minister to any of you, in whatever circumstances you are facing.
Having just stepped out of the Christmas season, it seems appropriate to visit Anna as our first single lady. Not only that, her example holds some powerful truths for us! To refresh our memories, let’s look at her brief appearance in Scripture (Luke 2:36-38). Simeon had just prophesied over the baby Jesus (with Mary & Joseph looking on) when Anna comes on the scene:
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Read More→
It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Tens of millions of copies were sold.
Parodies and personal versions of the popular song flooded the web and YouTube.
Chances are a rendition has been performed in your very own home.
It is … Let It Go.
There are two main camps of opinion when it comes to this song:
* Those who love it and belt out every word with Elsa-like flair.
* And those who have heard it too many times for sanity and plug their ears or cringe or run away as soon as the first chord sounds.
Whichever camp you side with, I think all of us should – at least in part – sing Elsa’s song.
Let it go! Let it go!
When there are relationships in your life that are toxic or that distract you from your First Love … let them go.
When people slander you (Matthew 5:11-12) … let it go.
When you’re comparing yourself to others … let it go.
When you’re consumed with what people think … let it go.
When worry rules your life, when storms rage around you, when there are idols in your life, when youfeel like you’re never good enough or thin enough or smart enough … LET. IT. GO.
This is not a call to a lackadaisical approach to trials or a nonchalant attitude about conflicts or sin. On the contrary, it is a reminder about SUBMISSION, about SURRENDER. It’s not about giving up “stuff” or giving into “things” but about giving it all over to God. It’s about replacing the pseudo-control we think we have with the supreme and perfect control of God. It looks like this:
We cast our burdens on Him (I Peter 5:7). We flee from sin (2 Timothy 2:22). We wait (Psalm 27:14). We stand still (I Samuel 12:16). We surrender all (Proverbs 3:5-6). We let go of the things that hinder and entangle us (Hebrews 12:1).
Let it go, sister. Don’t hold on anymore to those things that quench the Spirit within you, that hold you back from God’s plan for you. Close the door. Move forward. Stand firm in all He’s made you to be: the daughter of the King.
Let it go!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joy Jochems has been in ministry literally her whole life. While Joy is actively involved with her local church as youth ministry coordinator and lends a hand at CWAHM as devotional coordinator and guest contributor, she recognizes that her primary ministry is in her home, to her children. You can contact Joy at email@example.com.
My special-needs son sometimes has obstacles in communicating his thoughts to us, and that occasionally leads to frustration for him. Today was such a day. His discouraged cries reached my ears, and I hurried to his side.
It wasn’t a time to try to “fix it” or figure it out. He just needed to be held. So I gathered up all 65 pounds of him in my lap, wrapped my arms around him, and let his tears soak my shirt. For those few, sweet minutes, I held him. Close, safe, loved. He relaxed (more like melted) into me and was soon ready to hop up and return to playing. Frustration forgotten, heart restored, love-tank full.
Are we so different?
Sometimes we’re misunderstood. Sometimes we’re hurt. Sometimes we don’t need someone to “fix it” or figure it out. We just need to be held.
As I held my son, I realized a longing in my heart to be held. Strong arms wrapped around me while I allowed my frustrations to melt out onto his shoulder. A place to feel close, safe, and cherished. Where I could get up with a refreshed heart and a full dose of love. But before I could feel sorry for myself, a faithful voice whispered to me:
I have held you before.
I hold you today.
I will hold you always.
I have someone to hold me. Correction: I have Someone to hold me. I can sit on His lap as long as I want, whenever I want. And He holds me so close. I am so safe in His arms. And I am so, so, so very loved. Read More→