Coffee Talk 2015: Week 10 {Feminist Influence Part 2}

Damsels in Distress
Biblical Solutions for Problems with the World
But What If I like to Have My Ears Tickled?
The Feminist Influence
By Liz Roeder

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

In part one of this blog, Martha stated that our challenge is to understand how we have been influenced by feminism and how we must change. Most importantly, Martha says only the Scriptures can guide us through the confusing maze of the influence of feminist thinking. (Page 140)

coffee talk online edition pictureAs you can see, the feminist philosophy flies in the face of Christianity.  It’s all about “me”–my needs, my significance, my rights, my worth, my full development, and my identity. (Page 142)  Betty Friedan was heavily influenced by the teachings of Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow, both avowed atheists. In 1975 Freidan was named “Humanist of the Year.” She did not have a Christian world view but was looking at life through the lens of humanism. (Page 136)

So how can we, living in this time and culture, change our thinking? With the help of the Holy Spirit and by God’s grace, as we study the Scriptures and mature in our understanding of godly thinking and beliefs, we will become more discerning about the wrong ways we have been influenced. Hebrews 5:14 states that our senses will be “trained to discern good and evil.” (Page 143)

God’s Word says that we are not victims; we are creatures created in His image for the purpose of proclaiming His excellencies. (1 Peter 2:9)  Our identity comes from our relationship and oneness with Christ. Martha states that “our responsibility as God’s creature is to glorify Him and serve Him as He desires. This is often in the biblical role of wife and mother. Whether we ever marry or not, we are to use the spiritual gifts God has given us and use them within the Scriptural role of a woman.” (Page 141)  We shouldn’t be having an identity crisis as Betty did because we are a child of the King!  What more could we ask for?

In God’s eyes, we are not inferior to men but equal. (Galatians 3:28) He has given us different roles and a “chain of authority” for our good and protection, and because it’s God’s plan for us, it is good!  We are to respect and be submissive to those in authority over us; whether it is our husband, pastor & church leaders, boss, police, or politicians– as long as they do not cause us to sin. God gave us His Word to help guide and direct us in these areas. Personally, the book of Ephesians has been a great help to me and others I have discipled.

Lastly, as Christians, we should be living our lives “others” focused. Our example is Christ as He came to this earth as a servant. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

Martha ends the chapter by giving us an example of what feminism tells us versus what Scripture says and how we can change our thinking:

The feminist belief tells us, “Perhaps it is only a sick or immature society that chooses to make women ‘housewives,’ not people. Perhaps it is only sick or immature men and women, unwilling to face the great challenges of society; who can retreat for long, without unbearable distress, into that thing-ridden house and make it the end of life itself.” (Quoted from The Feminine Mystique)

Martha says: We have been influenced by believing “we deserve better than this!”

How Scripture tells us we are to change: “Instead of dwelling on what I deserve, I should be thinking that I am to serve The Lord graciously, however He chooses. Part, but not all, of how I am to serve the Lord is by taking care of my family. What a privilege it is to spend my days training my children and caring for our greatest earthly asset, our house.”

So ladies, how have you been influenced by feminism (whether you realize it or not)?

How will you change your thinking and behavior?

What Scriptures proclaim who you are in Christ?

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 9 {Feminist Influence}

Damsels in Distress
Biblical Solutions for Problems with the World
But What If I like to Have My Ears Tickled?
The Feminist Influence
by Liz Roeder

coffee talk online edition pictureAs a child growing up in the 1960’s, one of my favorite television shows was Leave it to Beaver. It was about a traditional family: the dad, Mr. Cleaver, was head of the home; the mom, June Cleaver, was a housewife who happily did her housework wearing a dress and pearls; and their 2 sons, Beaver and Wally were your typical mischievous brothers. It was a stereotypical picture of the family at the time.

Changes were on the horizon. In 1963, the feminist movement was starting to gain some momentum when Betty Friedan published her book, The Feminine Mystique. The feminist movement began more than 100 years earlier primarily embracing voting rights and equality for husbands and wives in property ownership, but Betty had her own agenda. She was a mom and wife who was “frustrated with existing only for and through her husband and children.” She believed that a woman’s mature identity would not be achieved through marriage and motherhood but through her own achievements in education and career.

Martha explains how Betty Friedan believed that women who stayed home and cared for their families never quite became all they could be; they were repressed and seen as victims in a male-dominated society. Men became “chauvinist pigs” and women were either “doormats or freedom fighters.” Betty believed there was inequality between women and men. Now there was some truth to this as far as women not receiving the same pay nor being treated equally as men in the workplace. But Betty took it a step further as her philosophy tickled the ears of women who perceived themselves as being taken advantage of and repressed. Betty was searching for the meaning of life and having an identity crisis.

During this time, everyone was reading The Feminine Mystique; it was the talk of television, newspapers, and women’s magazines. Feminism also started to infiltrate the church. Freidan’s philosophy helped to intimidate men into sinful passivity in their God-given role as the leader in the family (page 136). Women started questioning and disrespecting men’s authority including their husband’s; they were discontent with their roles as wives, mothers and homemakers, and also questioned their roles within the church. In the 1990’s, the acceptance of abortion and homosexuality became issues that we are still dealing with today.

Martha states that we’ve all been influenced by feminism-it’s all around us and no one has been spared. When this philosophy causes us to have an unbiblical value system, it becomes sinful and deceptive. Because many of these influences are subtle, our challenge is to understand how we have been influenced and how we must change.

In the process of writing this blog, I had to do a self-examination to see how I’ve been influenced. I grew up in the 1960’s and 70’s which was a time of rebellion in so many ways: there were demonstrations against the Vietnam War, rebellion against society and the “establishment” with the hippie movement (I was a “wannabe” hippie) and the NOW feminist movement. I find myself to have a heart attitude that at times wants to be independent, self serving, and not always obedient to the authorities in my life including being in submission to my husband. I regularly have to fight against my fleshly desires.

So, how do we “break free” of this feminist thinking? Join me for part two of this blog next week as Martha gives us some biblical solutions to this problem.

Coffee Talk 2015: Week 1 {Introduction}

Coffee Talk: Online Edition
Damsels in Distress by Martha Peace
Chapter 1

coffee talk online edition pictureI was first introduced to Martha Peace at a Women’s Conference in 2001.  As she gave her testimony, she shared what her life was like before she came to Christ. Martha was a young, independent, professional woman who was pretty much living life for herself and indulging in the pleasures the world had to offer her. She was unhappy, full of anxiety, and her marriage was headed for divorce court.

But God had other plans for her.  He put Katrina, a faithful, Christian coworker in her life who incessantly prayed for her and witnessed to her for over a year until one day God opened Martha’s heart to the Gospel and her need for Him.

Martha states in the opening paragraph of the book, “Shortly before I became a Christian, I had so many problems that it would have been difficult to name them all. Afterward, I realized that my biggest problem had been solved because God had cleansed me from and forgiven me for my sin. It would be wonderful to report that from then on I had no problems. However, that’s not true. Fortunately for me, God provided resources to help me either solve or cope with those problems. The resources were being a Christian, the Scriptures, learning about the character of God, and my friend Katrina.”

God has given Martha a desire and heart to disciple and counsel women and her favorite place to do that is around her kitchen table with her Bible and cup of coffee in hand. In this book, Martha wants to share with us what she hears around her kitchen table. These are all problems common to women. But she doesn’t stop there; she wants to encourage us that we aren’t without hope as there is a biblical solution and application for every problem we face.

You will be hearing from Gaila, Brittany, Christie and myself; four women in different seasons of life. We will share with you problems common to women and the biblical solutions God has provided for all of us. Some of these problems concern others such as gossip, manipulation, and hurt feelings; other problems concern ourselves such as vanity, PMS and legalism; and other problems deal with the world in general such as feminism, women’s roles in the church and trials.

So grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea and sit down in that comfy place and join us every week for this online version of Coffee Talk. Better yet, buy a book and follow along with us. Next week you’ll be hearing from Gaila about gossip and slander, one of the problems all women struggle with. We want to hear from you and have you join in the conversation, so feel free to comment at the end of each blog.

Lent: a Time of Self-Examination & Repentance

What do you think of when you hear the word Lent? Do you think of Fat Tuesday and eating paczkis, Friday fish fries with the family, or “giving up” something you really enjoy such as chocolate or sweets?

As we prepare our hearts for Easter, Joni Eareckson Tada explains, below, that Lent should be a time of self-examination and repentance.  As we see our sin the way God sees it, we can be all the more thankful for what was accomplished for us on the cross on Good Friday.

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The season of Lent is a time of soul-searching preparation before the celebration of Resurrection day. Only an honest view of our sin will give us a full appreciation of God’s mercy. Only when we understand how lost humankind really is, do we then grasp how great is our salvation.

‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:12-13

The season of Lent can be summed up in one word: repentance. That’s why my best companion during Lent is my old Book of Common Prayer. Just listen to the Collect for the beginning of Lent:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

If that prayer sounds a bit out of fashion, it may be we aren’t reminded often enough that our sin is a stinking offense to God; that we were once poor and miserable sinners plucked out of a miry pit. As an old Puritan once advised, “Sit close to self-scrutiny.” It’s the best way to fully appreciate what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.

Remember, Christ did not simply die for the general sins of the world, He died specifically for your specific sin.

Joy in the Morning: My Outer Beauty

You’re going to lose your hair.” Those were the words my oncologist said to me as he was describing my treatment plan. He glanced up at me to see my reaction. I didn’t freak-out or cry but swallowed hard knowing that this was just another step in my treatment to get my body healthy again.

Ladies let’s face it, our hair is important to us. It’s one of the few ways we can dramatically change our appearance that doesn’t cost a lot of money. We can color it different colors, wear different hair-styles, grow it long, cut it short. It can even affect the way we feel about ourselves; hence the term “having a bad hair day.”

1 peter c3v3 4One of the young women at church asked me if I was going to wear a wig or “rock the bald look.” Somehow, I wasn’t quite the type to wear the bald-look but it gave me a chuckle.  My beautician and friend, Jane, helped me make the transition to becoming hairless. She cut my hair into a short pixie and accompanied me to a wig salon where she helped me pick out my first wig. We settled on a blonde “bob” that was similar to my own hair. It was to become my new companion and friend over the next few months.

As my doctor predicted, three weeks after my first chemo treatment I was pulling clumps of hair from my head and piling them up next to me in the shower. I just wanted to get this over with and at that point it became a mission to accomplish. For awhile I looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings with my few strands of hair on my head. It was not a pretty sight.

Not only did I lose the hair on my head but I lost all my body hair. Since there was nothing I could do about it, I thought I would make lemonade out of lemons. I actually found some benefits in my hair loss: I could get myself ready in the morning in less than a half hour since I didn’t have to style my hair, I didn’t have to shave or tweeze anymore, and I was saving a lot of money by not going to the beautician. I was able to try different hairstyles and hats that I could never wear before. Bruce said he never knew who was going to show up that day!

I also went to a local hospital to participate in a makeover class for cancer patients. They showed me how to “draw on” eyebrows and how to make the most of my thinning eyelashes. I sat around a table with 5 other ladies who recently lost their hair. We were just trying to feel somewhat normal again as this disease had robbed us of more than our hair–our self-image.

One day when I was packing away my curling iron and hair products,  I was thinking about what defined my beauty and the Lord showed me through His Word that it wasn’t my hair.

Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

Join me next month as For part 2 of this post, My Inner Beauty.

Joy in the Morning: Acceptance & Hope

On my way to my first chemo treatment.

On my way to my first chemo treatment.


In the early days of my lymphoma diagnosis,  I was experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are God-given emotions that we all experience. It was a daily battle to not let these emotions control me. The temptation was there to let it paralyze me and to spend my days on the “pity pot.” But as a Christian, I knew there was a purpose in my cancer and that God had a plan for me. He didn’t give me this cancer so I could lay around and be depressed, but to use it for His glory. I had to choose to think on truth. That is why doctrine is so important.

In the months preceding my diagnosis, my pastor had been preaching on having an eternal perspective and to not be consumed by the here and now. Little did I know that in God’s providence, his excellent teaching was preparing and equipping me for this battle. If the Lord chose not to heal me, I knew He was preparing a place for me in his heavenly kingdom. In that I could rejoice. One of the verses Pastor Matt gave me to focus on was 1 Peter 1:3-9  (see below).

My dear husband sat me down every morning and we started our day reading through John Piper’s devotional, Don’t Waste Your Cancer and looking at my cancer through God’s eyes. The book consists of 11 short devotionals, each of them dealing with Scriptures that illustrate God’s hand in the cancer of one who has trusted in Christ alone for their salvation.

My pastor’s wife, Kim, gave me the book, Future Grace, also by John Piper. He stated that the root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus. As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety.

I started to journal all of the things the Lord was showing and teaching me. I believe He was slowing me down so I could sit at his feet and learn more about him as I now had the luxury of spending hours in the morning reading the bible, books and devotionals. When I would become fearful and anxious, I would look through my journal and focus on His promises for me.

I had gotten to the point of acceptance-that I have cancer and that it could take my life. But as a Christian, I also had hope–hope that if the Lord chooses, He could heal me; and if not, He has given me the gift of salvation and a hope of being with Him in eternity forever.

Fear and anxiety was (and still is) a battle I fight everyday. It’s faith versus feelings; it’s truth versus temptation; it’s God’s Word and promises versus self-pity and despair. But through it all, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for each day and in that I rejoice.

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Following are some Scriptures that have helped me fight this battle. I pray they will be a help and comfort to you:

Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. (Philippians 1:12 NASB)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NASB)

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NASB)

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NASB)

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. (Psalms 56:3 NASB)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NASB)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6, 7 NASB)

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NASB)

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NASB)

Psalms 33 and 34.

If you are suffering with a disease you must live with or with chronic pain, then I pray these passages are a comfort to you as you meditate upon them.

Joy in the Morning: The Battle of the Mind – Fighting Fear & Anxiety

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{Read part 1 here}

It was December and the world around me was busily preparing for Christmas, but I felt totally alone. I was not alone in the sense no one was with me, but alone in that I was the one with cancer and not them. My husband was right there by my side, but yet it was my life that was in question, not his. He stated he wished he could fight this battle for me, but it was mine to fight. At that point I asked God, “why me”, but then my next thought was, “why not me?” What made me so special that I should be exempt from this trial?  The Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

My feelings of being in a bad dream and denial were slowly being replaced by a reluctant acceptance of this is the way things were going to be. This is my “new normal.” Things that were of great importance to me yesterday, no longer were. In a sense, life had stopped for me.

My world had now become one of doctors and hospitals as I had a bone marrow biopsy and various scans to determine what stage my cancer was in. They say the time between diagnosis and prognosis is one of high anxiety. It was. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin when I had to see my doctor to receive the test results.  After what seemed like an eternity, I heard the words from his mouth that I was between stage 1-2.  My cancer was localized and had not spread to other parts of my body. Praise God! He commented that he was surprised it wasn’t elsewhere. But I knew otherwise, as I saw it as an answer to prayer and God’s mercy upon me.  I truly believe the prayers of the saints got me through that appointment as I had many people praying for me. God’s grace was sufficient in my time of need.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NASB)

195074_4384825993328_1646828521_oThose early days after diagnosis were filled with many emotions including fear and sadness. I was fearful of the unknown or the “what ifs”, fearful of the chemotherapy and what this poison would do to my body. I was fearful of dying, leaving behind my family, not knowing my grandchildren. My son and wife were expecting a baby girl in March and I wanted to be there and hold her in my arms. I felt great sadness just thinking about leaving them. Bruce and I shed many tears and had our times of “meltdowns.” Our rule became only one meltdown a day. I remember telling Bruce that I didn’t think I would ever be happy again.

I was also experiencing a lot of anxiety. I had difficulty eating and sleeping. I was losing weight and Bruce was concerned if my body would be strong enough to undergo chemo. Waves of anxiety would come upon me at unexpected times. When the anxiety hit, I felt like it was telling me, “don’t forget, you have cancer and this is now the reality of your life.”

So how did I begin to cope with this new reality? Join me next month for part 3.

Joy in the Morning: Trusting God and Finding Purpose in my Cancer

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with lymphoma last December. I have recently completed my treatments but my journey is not over nor will it ever be, as cancer has changed my life and the way I live it. My “new normal” is living in a world of doctor appointments, follow up PET scans and periodic blood work.

These next few months I would like to share with you the things the Lord has shown me and taught me through my cancer and tell you of the many blessings I’ve received (yes, even in cancer) because we have a Savior who is rich in grace, mercy and compassion.

Hearing the Word No One Wants to Hear

It was the Monday after Thanksgiving, 2012. I had just come back from our condo in Fox Lake where I spent the weekend with my family doing some holiday shopping and baking Christmas cookies. It was a fun-filled weekend as I started getting ready for Christmas.

liz and family 2012

I had been dealing with a swollen left leg for over 2 weeks and was told by a family member who is a nurse to have it looked at when I got home. I thought that maybe I had a blood clot so I was somewhat concerned. I went to work that Monday morning and was able to get into the doctor that same day after work. Little did I know when I left work that day, that I would not return for 6 months. My life was going to change in an instant as God had a divine appointment for me.

As I was laying on the examining table, my doctor found a large, hard as a rock mass in my groin. He tried to calmly tell me that it could be a number of things, one of which was the dreaded “C” word. With some urgency in his voice, he gave me orders to have diagnostic testing done that week along with a consultation to an oncologist (cancer specialist). I started getting that sick feeling in my stomach as I knew in my heart that I was dealing with something more serious than a blood clot.

After a long sleepless night, I had an ultrasound the next day. The tech told me that the mass looked very unusual and that he needed to talk to the radiologist right away and call my family doctor. Now I used to work in radiology so I knew by his actions that something was seriously wrong. As the tech left the room, I remember calling out to Jesus telling Him I needed Him to get me through this. Again, I had that sick feeling in my gut.

After a CT scan the following day, I received a call from a surgeon saying he was taking the mass out the next day. I was just thankful I was getting this thing out of me and I would finally know what I was dealing with. I was still holding on to the hope that it was something other than cancer.

The following Monday after the surgery, I met with the surgeon for the biopsy results. In a matter of fact tone of voice, he told me the biopsy came back showing lymphoma. At that point I think my brain shut off as I could hardly comprehend everything he was telling me. In my daze, I heard him say we needed to find out if the cancer had metastasized and had to see what stage I was in. I’m so thankful my husband, Bruce, was there as he was able to grasp what the doctor was telling me. As I checked out with his receptionist (who I happened to know), I remember her saying to me, “Oh no, not you too dear. Do you remember so and so, well she just died of cancer.” Then she wished me a Merry Christmas.

In a daze, I slowly walked over to the cancer clinic which was right next door to the surgeon’s office to make that most dreaded appointment. I felt like I was in a bad dream and just wanted to wake up and have everything back to “normal” again.

December was an absolute blur. It was full of doctor appointments, 2 more surgeries, and more tests as I prepared for my first chemotherapy treatment right after Christmas. It was definitely a Christmas I will never forget.

{read part 2 here}

Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter

“Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter
Girls as sharp as her are somethin’ rare
But it’s sad, she doesn’t love me now
She’s made it clear enough, it ain’t no good to pine.”

Those were the words Peter Noone of Hermans Hermits sang as he strolled up and down the stage at the Wisconsin State Fair, serenading all the 50 something women who were reliving their teen years. I was one of those women sitting in the crowd swaying back and forth to the music on a warm summer’s night. For those of you who never heard of Hermans Hermits, they were a pop band from the 1960’s British Invasion.

What is it about music that can take you back in time and make you feel young again?  The songs he sang brought me back to the summers of my youth where I was sitting in my bedroom with my best friend, Sandy, listening to “records”. It brought back memories of laying on my bed looking at my Davy Jones poster and the feelings of that first crush,  fantasizing that I would meet him one day.  As the warm evening air blew against my face, memories of going to a Peter Frampton concert singing, Baby, I Love Your Way filled my mind.

Peter still had the long “Beatle haircut” and was pretty cute from afar, but I was wondering how he looked up close and if he really looked like he was 65.  Did I say 65!

As I looked around the crowd, I saw mostly men and women with gray hair, wrinkles, and the middle age paunch. I asked myself, “Do I look that old?” In my mind, I was still that young girl, but my body was telling me otherwise.  After all, part of me couldn’t comprehend where all those years have gone and that I could be as old as those around me.  Boy, was I in delusion!

But the more I thought about it, I didn’t know if I’d want to go back in time. Those were years of  insecurities as I tried to “find myself”.

Through the years, the Lord has brought a peace of mind and contentment that I didn’t have in my teens, 20’s and 30’s.

As I sat on the beach this summer, I felt “comfortable” in my 50ish body, soaking up the warmth of the sun, as I made sand castles and played “swamp monster” with my three year old grandson, Ian. I wouldn’t trade being grandma for my youth. Yes, life is good and I thank the Lord daily for His blessings.

If she finds that I’ve been ’round to see you
Tell her that I’m well and feelin’ fine
Don’t let on, don’t say, “She broke my heart”
I’d go down on my knees but it’s no good to pine

Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter
Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter
Mrs. Brown you’ve got a lovely daughter

Perspective & Grace…Friendship

Reflections from The Afternoon of Life: Finding Purpose and Joy in Midlife by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Do you have a friend that no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen them, you just pick up where you left off and it’s like time hasn’t even passed? Well, that is the case with my friend, Sandy, whom I’ve known for 43 years (I can’t believe I’m that old!) I usually get to see her at least once a year when she comes to Milwaukee to visit family. She’s now a “southern girl” as she has lived in Dallas for 20 plus years. We talk on the phone occasionally but not as much as we’d like to–it just seems that our busy lives get in the way.

My first memory of Sandy was when I was 14 years old, hanging out in our backyards, sun tanning our bikini clad bodies. We would always slather ourselves with baby oil, spray Sun-In on our hair, and bake ourselves till we were golden brown. (Sounds like a recipe, doesn’t it!)

We have a lot of history between us: we met our husbands in high school, both got married at age 19 and stood up in each other’s weddings. After marriage, our lives took a different turn. Sandy moved away to Chicago where her husband, Mark, was climbing the corporate ladder in an international company where his uncle was the CEO.  My husband, Bruce, was at the time working in a factory. From a socioeconomic point of view, we were living in two different worlds. When we did get together, our husbands didn’t have much in common other than sharing a beer together.

From Chicago, Sandy and Mark moved to Atlanta and then Memphis. While in Memphis, I noticed some changes in Sandy as we talked on the phone—she kept talking about Jesus which made me somewhat uncomfortable. When they came to Milwaukee to visit Mark’s family, they were continuing to talk about Jesus as they told their children bible stories before bedtime as Bruce and I sat on the couch and listened. We were starting to notice something was different about them.

In the mid 1980’s they moved to Dallas to be closer to Sandy’s parents. About that time, by God’s grace, Bruce and I came to know the Lord as our personal Savior. I remember talking to Sandy on the phone and rejoicing with her about my newfound faith in Christ. As Christians and sisters in Christ, our friendship took on a whole new meaning. Now we were praying for one another and talking about our bible studies and churches as Christ became central in our friendship. What was even more exciting was to see our husbands sharing that same common bond. Remember that socioeconomic division I talked about earlier, well that was slowly dissipating.

Shortly thereafter, we took a family vacation together to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It was there that Mark encouraged Bruce to go to bible school as he could see Bruce had a gift for teaching the Word. Years later when Bruce was ordained as a minister, Mark and Sandy flew to Milwaukee for the occasion. What a work of grace the Lord did in our friendship!

Since those days, we’ve shared many of life’s joys and sorrows: we’ve seen our children grow up and get married, we’ve become grandmothers, we’ve seen our husbands go through job losses and ministry/church heartaches, we’ve watched our parents get old and die, and we’ve suffered health issues and many surgeries between us. But through it all we’ve been able to be an encouragement to one another as the Lord has been our strength and the glue that binds our friendship together.

We’ve seen our friendship change and mature these past 43 years. We’re no longer those 14 year old girls who were so focused on “looking good”.  We’re comfortable with who we are as women and how we look. We can laugh with each other as we talk about getting rid of those extra pounds we’ve put on in menopause or how we just spent the last hour talking about our aches and pains. The Lord has given us a contentment with our lives and our friendship. That reminds me, I need to give her a call!