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women of the bible

Season of Romance

February 15, 2017

Hey Ladies! Check out this post by Asia Major-Waithe who was willing to share her story about God drawing her into Him in a deeper way as her Bridegroom and Husband. Valentine’s Day might be over, but our relationship with God can continually grow deep, even as single ladies!

By: Asia Major-Waithe

It can definitely be difficult to be single these days… sometimes it feels like you are the only one out of your friends, especially for me as most of my friends are married now. There are times where I really struggle with my singleness, and the enemy makes me question if there is something wrong with me.

The Truth is that Jesus is my husband and the lover of my soul. And to the Church, He is our bridegroom. Sometimes that revelation doesn’t necessarily bring the comfort needed- but it is true, and as believers we need to stake our lives on what is true rather than what we feel, think, or what Satan tries to throw at us.

I have been in a season where I’ve heard God say multiple times that He is the only thing that will truly satisfy my heart (Psalm 63:5, John 4:13). When you look up the definition of satisfy it literally means to fulfill a desire or need. It is ingrained in our DNA to be with God… It’s a deep soul thirst, and He truly is the one that can make things complete. I see shadows of this when I listen to moving music, see beautiful art, or stand in the midst of the majesty of creation. These aspects of life stir deep within me, but only point to the One that created it.

The Creator designed us to be with Him so intimately, that when we step into that place of intimacy…nothing else can touch it. Our world puts such a high value on the physical world of what is seen and felt like art, music, or nature- but as believers we need to live in what is unseen and known pointing back to Him. As you come to know this Holy Being that came and died for you, please consider the amazing romance He offers to you.

And He is the most Romantic… He left everything He had in Heaven, majesty and all. He came to a world that scorned and mocked Him. What bigger way is there to show His love? The world still turned its back and spit in His face- more broken than it had ever been… and yet the choice of Jesus was to Come, Teach, Serve, Love and Die all because He knew He needed to fulfill His greater purpose: to reconcile the ones He loved most to the Father, so that they would not live in forever brokenness and despair, but in Glory and Restoration.

That, my friend, is something beautiful and worth fighting for!

This last season I repented for being a “fickle wife.” Jesus is so tender and sweet, as He brings the hard things up not to hurt us but to heal us (Hosea 6:1). And in this season, He showed me my weakness, my sin, and my shame. He showed me when things got hard I would run away rather than toward Him. And he pointed me to a book of the Bible where this idea of running from my Bridegroom is so clearly illustrated.

The book of Hosea has spoken to me in many seasons of life, this last one I had the realization that I am Gomer, a prostitute taken in by her husband but left him to go back to her lovers, but her husband found her in the desert and wooed her back to himself there.

After reading Hosea, I realized that I am the one that gives herself to other lovers, other masters, other people. And He so lovingly and graciously draws us back to Himself by sometimes putting us in positions that are hard. He fences us in. He brings us into the wilderness where all we have is Him. (Hosea 2: 14) It’s in the lonely, tough times when you have to choose what you believe.

I thought my other ‘lovers’ (exercise and relationships) would save me, but the truth is those things only provided momentary comfort and were ultimately distractions from the greatest romance of all.

Ladies, my prayer for you is to seek the One whose hand stretched beyond the cross and into your life to be with you. Solely because He loves you. I pray that you come to know this Lover of your soul, this Bridegroom, this Husband of yours in a more real way than you ever could before. I pray that His pursuit makes your heart beat faster. And that His delight in you makes you overwhelmingly delight in Him. I hope you turn to Jesus when you are in the desert because He will sustain and romance you in a way that no man ever can.

Photo Cred: Rachel Crowe

 

Asia Major-Waithe grew up in Elmont, NY. She’s been an athlete her whole life and now trains other athletes. She loves Jesus and came to know him during her college years in 2010.

 

Trusting Completely

February 3, 2017

By: Danielle Kingsley

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. May it be to me as you have said.” – Luke 1:34-39 (NIV)

Mary must have been stunned by such a breath-taking appearance that delivered such an unbelievable message to someone so unsuspecting. Take a moment and think about a time that literally took your breath away, and multiply that by a thousand! I am not sure my response would have been that of Mary’s. Her trust in God was so evident in her words. I know, if I was in Mary’s place I would have stumbled over every single sentence, made some sort of awkward facial expression, followed by a million, long-winded questions, then I would have Gabriel go and explain this whole situation to my parents and fiancé. Then, alone in my room, it would all be followed by a whole Why Me God moment with all the waterworks. It wouldn’t have been one of my proudest moments.

Trusting in God completely, like she did, likely cost Mary her reputation and more. She was young, unmarried and pregnant – and not only was she pregnant, but she was telling people she was carrying the Savior of the world in her womb. How could it be? Her life, as she knew it, would never be the same. Her future was unknown. Yet, she trusted fully in God and sang His praises:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” – Luke 1:46-49

Mary was told she was to be the mother of the King, but she did not know what came next. She rested in knowledge that her life was safe in the hands of the Lord- because she knew that nothing was impossible with God.

Growing up, I was always the last person to volunteer to take part in The Trust Fall Game. Whether it was in Sunday school or Girl Scouts, I had no desire to demonstrate my trust in that manner nor in front of a group of people. I would watch as my friends would start to fall backwards into the arms of others, but then eventually chicken out and not fully submerge into the fall. I sometimes still catch myself doing the very same thing to God. Do you? Trusting is hard. Trusting is a a daily journey of surrender. It is realizing we are not in control. Trust is where we simply place our lives in the hands of the One who is not only in control- but also knows what is best for us.

Having faith in God means we trust Him in the joy and in the sorrow. It means we trust Him in the little details and with our big dreams. Having faith in God means we trust in Him in everything because we know He is always working for our good. We can trust in our God because He is trustworthy. May it all be as He has said.

Is there something you need to trust God with in this season?

Maybe it’s a financial struggle.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s a broken relationship.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s your singleness.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s your job.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Lord, we know that You are a God of miracles. May our trust have no limits. May we have faith in You in every season for we know You are always working for our good. No matter the circumstance, and no matter the outcome – You are good. May it be as You have said. Amen.

 

Photo Cred: Jenn Richardson

 

Danielle Kingsley, a Southern California native, served as a missionary and worship leader for ten years at a growing church planted by her family in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2007, Danielle moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she was provided the opportunity to be the original vocalist to record the now popular worship song, Your Great Name. In 2013, she released her first EP Falling, that generated two #1 singles on International Christian radio.

Since the recent loss of her father to a brief battle with cancer, Danielle has been sharing her story about finding hope through loss and the peace that is found in Jesus at a variety of conferences across the United States. She is writing her first children’s book and devotional, and is currently on tour with Secret Keeper Girls. Check out her blog at www.DanielleKingsley.com. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter @DKingsleyMusic

Biblical Leadership

April 14, 2016

By: Rachel Brown

Often when we’re looking to hone our leadership skills, we forget that there are so many prime examples of strong female leaders right in front of us within the pages of the Bible. Join us as we take a look at some of the inspiring women in the Bible and how their actions and choices can influence us as we strive to be better leaders in our communities, our families, our schools, and our workplaces.

Tabitha (from the Book of Acts)

We first meet Tabitha in Luke’s book of Acts. She was a close friend of Peter’s and she played a significant role in the early church. When she appears in the book of Acts, Tabitha had died from an illness and the community was in mourning. Peter prayed and prayed for her, and God answered his prayers by resurrecting her from the dead. In Rachel Held Evan’s fascinating and informative post about women in the Bible, she paints the picture of Tabitha’s role in society and the importance she held in her community:

“A stalwart force in the first-century effort to restore the dignity of widows was a woman named Tabitha. Likely a widow herself, but with means, Tabitha lived in the port city of Joppa at the time when Peter and Paul were busy spreading the gospel throughout Asia Minor. She was a renowned philanthropist, known throughout the land for ‘always doing good and helping the poor’ (Acts 9:36). She was also a master seamstress, making robes and other clothing for the many widows in her care, presumably imparting on them the skills of the trade.”

Tabitha serves as an inspiration to us because she was a quiet, diligent leader who focused her efforts on serving others. She led those around her through her actions, and she gained respect in her community by pouring into the lives of those around her instead of solely focusing on herself. Tabitha’s attitude and behavior remind us to humbly serve the people in our lives, whether they’re in our neighborhoods or homes or classrooms or coffee shops. Instead of commanding the attention of others through power or accomplishments, let’s strive to earn the respect of our peers by serving them.

 Esther

 Though Esther experienced what some may view to be a horrific life journey (she was forced to become part of the king’s harem, eventually becoming one of his favorite women and later a queen), she stands out as a brave, wise leader. Perhaps it’s in spite of her difficult story that she rises above her circumstance to become an inspirational leader, quietly overcoming obstacles with grace and faith. Esther was forced to participate in traditional beautification rituals as she prepared herself for the king, and all the while she obeyed her orders and took care in the preparations, always acting with humility and self-sacrifice. Most notably, Esther was courageous in the face of persecution and fear.

God had a plan for Esther, and even though her life appeared to be extraordinarily difficult and isolating, she lived each day with purpose and intention, using her actions to declare her faith in the Lord and His plan for her. We can take so many cues from Esther, learning from her behavior and demeanor and choices and especially her faith.

 Mary (of Mary & Martha, from the Book of Luke)

 Mary may not be a traditional example of strong female leadership in the Bible, but there’s a reason we think her role in the Bible is so influential and applicable to present-day life. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus comes to visit a woman named Martha, one of His closest friends and disciples, and her sister Mary. Martha busies herself in the kitchen to accommodate Jesus’s arrival while Mary plops herself at His feet to learn everything He has to share. Let’s pick up at verse 40:

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself! Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from here.’”

This example in Scripture seems so fitting in this day and age, a time where women feel more pressure than ever to hustle and lean in. It is good to be productive and efficient, no doubt, but there are certainly times when we succumb to being a Martha when we should strive be a Mary. We get distracted by our to-do lists and our cell phones and our future plans and our dirty dishes and we forget the most important things in life, allowing our focus to be on the minutiae instead of on the big picture. Jesus’s focus on Mary reminds us of the importance of being present, of the power of using our stillness instead of our busyness to demonstrate our leadership and priorities.

 

Photo Cred: Aaron Burden

about the authorRachel  is the Director of Project Development for Touch A Life, an organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of children who have been exploited and trafficked in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Though she loves working in the non-profit world, Rachel has always been passionate about writing, pursuing opportunities to put pen to paper outside of her day job. Aside from writing for Darling Magazine, she maintains a personal blog, Coffee & Tacos, where she connects with others through food, travel, faith & community. Rachel lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband and their adorably large English mastiffs.

 

{WM Spotlight} Bible Belles by Erin Weidemann

March 9, 2016

By: Juliandra Durkin

 

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Tell us about Bible Belles.

Bible Belles is a series designed to help girls battle back against what the world tells them they need to be in order to beautiful.

The series is based on five superhero women of the Bible: Hannah, Esther, Abigail, Ruth, and Deborah. Together, their stories represent the journey a girl can take to discover the true definition of beauty, God’s love, and her purpose in this world.

How did the idea of Bible Belles start?

On the way home from church, my husband and I were batting around some gift ideas for our niece’s birthday. We decided to make her a book about a woman in the Bible, and we were surprised that, when we gave it to her, she had no idea who the woman was. She and her sister could, though. name and tell us the story of every Disney Princess. We thought, if girls can get this excited about princesses, why not the women of the Bible? After researching several biblical women, we settled on five that represented inner beauty: prayer, patience, bravery, loyalty, and leadership.

Erin with Fam

Can you tell the readers a little bit about your story and testimony?

I grew up in the church, but I spent my high school years and college years decidedly separated from God. At 26, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it rocked me. It was the best blessing though because it was the “violent shove” that God knew would get my attention. After going through surgery, therapy, and then several recurrent diagnoses, I was confident that marriage and having a family wasn’t going to be part of my future. God had big plans though, bigger than I could have ever dreamed.

Erin and Rooney

What is the central message behind Bible Belles?

The initials of the Bible Belles spells out the world “heard,” and our message is that it’s time for girls to make #adifferentkindofnoise. The world and its narrative is loud, too loud at times for girls to hear anything else. It’s time to quiet down the noise of this world and start helping girls hear God’s voice. It’s the voice that says, “I love you. I created you, and I don’t make mistakes. You are more than what you think about yourself. You are more than what this world tells you about you. I had something special in mind when I made you, so hold onto that truth when this world tells you different.”

What is one thing that you hope to tell your daughter when she is in high school or college that would encourage our readers?

Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse I will go to when her life gets hard. It’s the one I found myself sobbing over for the first time in a women’s study, the first time I ever felt a bible verse actually pierce my chest and enter into my heart. I broke down as I read it over and over. As women, sometimes we need to hear things several times before it sticks.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I will tell her the story of how I thought my life was over, how I thought I would die, how I thought I wouldn’t get to do all of the things I wanted to do in this life. I’ll tell her how I told her dad not to bother dating me, that I probably wasn’t going to be around for very long.

We’ll sit together, and I’ll tell her how right I thought I was. I thought I had my life all figured out. But God’s plans are not our plans, and what we think can or will happen pales in comparison to what He has planned for each of us.

 

about the authorJuliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

 

The King’s Table

February 4, 2016

By: Tekoa Manning

Saul’s grandson, the son of Jonathan, named Mephibosheth was crippled as a child. When he was five years old, a report came that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle and when the boy’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, the nurse dropped Mephibosheth, and he became crippled (2 Samuel 4). Oh, the tragedy if it all!

We don’t hear much more about this boy until 2 Samuel 9, when David decides to bless anyone left of the house of Saul, the greatest enemy he ever had. David approaches Mephibosheth now a young man and Mephibosheth says, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” How ironic that the name “Mephibosheth” means destroyer of shame, yet his crippled up legs had brought him just that, shame.

Have you ever felt crippled? Ever felt worthless, like a dead dog? Okay, maybe not that bad, perhaps you’ve felt like another Biblical person, a lady named Ruth.

In the story of Ruth, when the wealthy landowner, Boaz, noticed Ruth picking up the leftover crops and grains, Ruth 2: 8-10 says, “Boaz went over and said to Ruth, ‘Listen, my daughter. Stay right here with us when you gather grain; don’t go to any other fields. Stay right behind the young women working in my field.  See which part of the field they are harvesting, and then follow them…. And when you are thirsty, help yourself to the water they have drawn from the well.’ Ruth fell at his feet and thanked him warmly. ‘What have I done to deserve such kindness?’ she asked. ‘I am only a foreigner.’”

Have you ever felt like a stranger by people you know and have known all your life?

I can relate to these two people, Ruth, and Mephibosheth. Maybe you aren’t crippled in your legs or feel like a foreigner, but you feel crippled in some other way? Maybe its drug addiction that has crippled you, cancer, abuse, depression, or a nasty divorce or break up… whatever your illness is, I know one place you can go where all the hurt and pain disappears. “THE KINGS TABLE.”

Back in 2 Samuel, when Mephibosheth walked into a room he was noticed, not for his beauty or even his heritage as the grandson of an enemy king and the son of a mighty warrior, but that is not what people noticed; they noticed his hobbling bent up legs.

When David searched for Jonathan’s son, and brought him to the palace and placed him at his table, the Kings table covered his twisted legs that wouldn’t work right. The king’s table hid all his infirmities, he was under the shade of that table and he was fed delicacies. In one day Mephibosheth went from thinking he was a dead dog, to eating at the king’s table… What an awesome thing David did, showing kindness to the seed of his enemy!

I hope that if you feel like a dead dog right now, that you can see this crippled man hobbling, needing help up into a chair at the king’s table. Some of us need help climbing up to that table dripping with myrrh. Some of us need a David to come and say, “Mephibosheth, you shall eat bread always at my table,” 2 Samuel 9:10. We must remember that our Father is a King and that we have worth. We are worthy of love and our Father cherishes us.

Jumping to the other story, perhaps you relate more to Ruth. She felt crippled too, but in a different sense. She was a foreigner, a poor woman picking up the leftover scraps of barley; like my mother used to say, my barley was my waitress tips.

Things end well for Mephibosheth and Ruth, though they had afflictions, they were eventually able to climb up to the table and drink the wine Abba daddy had poured out for them. They hid by His banner, under the shade of His right hand, and favor was brought to them in their later years.

I pray that whoever is reading this, your latter years shall be greater than your former and that you eat at the King’s Table all the days of your life. I pray that you know that Yahweh has a plan for your life, plans not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future. I pray that you realize you are not a dog, but a child of the highest King, the risen MESSIAH, and the Great I Am!

Do you know how important you are to The Lord Adonai?

Climb up to the King’s Table and sit a while, sup with him and taste and see that the Lord is good! “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor,” Psalm 91:4.

 

Photo Cred: Anton Bruehl, Vogue, November 1941

about the authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com

What About Mary?

December 19, 2015

By: Juliandra Durkin

Every little girl who goes to church at Christmastime wishes she could be Mary. Age 9, 10, 11… Girls want to be Mary in the Christmas plays they watch and stories they hear. Mary, an innocent girl, chosen and well favored by God, to carry the baby Jesus, the Savior and Messiah. An angel visited her and she said, “Yes.” She went on an adventure with her new husband and even got to ride a donkey! We know the end of the story, and to us, to the little girls she is honored and venerated.

But what about the big girls? Do the big girls look at Mary and wish to be her, a chosen, favored girl tasked with an enormous responsibility and life change?

To be honest, I haven’t until recently. I wanted to be well favored and chosen for sure, but when it actually comes to living my life for God, as His servant and tasked with hard things, I cower. I ignore Him. I whine and complain. I make excuses for not stepping up in certain situations. And then to top it all off, I cry at night because my life is not what I dreamed it would be.

To be sure, in my heart, I’m God’s servant and loyal follower. I’ll volunteer and give my time and I’ll work wherever and do whatever for Him because I love Him.

But do I really with my actions? It seems I put up a fight when His plans and my plans do not align.

Mary was a teenager when she got engaged to Joseph. Perhaps, like other young girls throughout the generations, she dreamed of marrying this man of her dreams. Perhaps when he looked at her from across the street her stomach flip-flopped a little. Perhaps she pictured giggling with her friends and putting on beautiful attire on her wedding day. Perhaps she imagined their lives together, the children they might have, what they might name their kids…

Then, Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, came to Mary and told her that she was chosen. She stood out and God wanted her to be the carrier of His Child, whose name is already picked out. At this annunciation, she asked just one question, “how is this possible as I am a virgin?” The angel told her that all things are possible to God, “the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” (Luke 1: 35). And she responded, “may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

REALLY?! That’s it? No other questions? No complaints? No worries (at least not expressed in the biblical document we read today)? No “let me think about it, you’re asking me a huge thing, and I’ll get back to you”? No selfishness over this rather ginormous wrench in her plans starting out her life with her new husband? Perhaps if I were there, I would have said to her, “Girl! Hold on a second, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!” …Or is it?

I’ve done all of that and more as I’ve felt God pushing me to walk into daunting situations. And nothing so life-changing as having a baby!

I picture Mary at Christmas with my little girl eyes, walking across a church stage with Joseph, or sitting serenely in a nativity scene. With that little girl perspective, I wish I was so good and honored that God would choose me to do something big for Him! Then, with dubious “grown up” eyes, I wonder have I ever been that brave and trusting of God in painful, hard experiences? When He’s asked me to do courageous things, have I ever responded simply, “may it be as You have said” without questioning, balking, or looking back?

Mary was brave and honored, and not just through her experience of carrying the Son of God, but in her whole demeanor and total acceptance of His plan and of this “wrench” in her life. She loved Him more than her own dreams, reputation, and fiancé.

She recognized that His plan, Gabriel, the virgin birth were not a wrench in her plans, but exactly where she was supposed to be, at His time doing His will.

This was His plan; her life was not her own.

I see it even more in the song she sang to her sister-in-law, whom she visited soon after finding out about Jesus.

“My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name…” (Luke 1: 46-49).

Mary, at such a young age, knew that her whole reason for being was her God and her soon to be Son, Jesus.

Friends, you might not have an angel sit with you to deliver a message from God, but I encourage you to think like Mary this Christmas. If God asks you to do difficult things and join in on His plan with action, think about saying “yes” openly as Mary did. Be them hard or sweet, His plans are always good.

Photo Cred: Joecy Mijares

 

about-the-authorJuliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

Turtles and Tamar

October 19, 2015

By: Tekoa Manning

Everything God created was designed with a covering. Trees have bark to protect their sap and spices. Many animals like lobsters, crabs, and turtles, are encased with their own suit of armor. We humans have our own casings as well.

A turtle is designed with a shell that is attached to its spine and its rib cage. A turtle is naked even when it is in its shell because its backbone (Exoskeleton) is located outside the body rather than inside. If trauma occurs and the shell is ripped off, death will happen immediately. We women are similar.

My husband and I were at a ceremony the other day and I noticed a young girl there with her parents. When I say young, I am guessing she was around 14 or 15 years of age.  Not that age matters because this message is for women of all ages. What I noticed first about this beautiful young lady was not her silky blonde hair, her flawless complexion or her startling sea blue eyes. No, what I noticed first were her long attractive legs that went on for days.

This young lady had on a navy blue and red striped dress. The dress had three quarter inch sleeves, a round, modest neck-line and then sadly the length stopped just past what I would consider the crotch area. These dresses are called babydoll dresses and some are shorter than others. This one was so short it needed pantalets underneath it, like Shirley Temple wore, and the high spiked heels only added to the picture.

The young lady with the sparkling blue eyes had the attention of many men in the room. They all would remember her more than likely for one reason… her legs. Even at her young age, our Heavenly Father has already picked out the perfect husband for her. This young girl’s legs will belong to him one day. Any part of her body in a sense, is already taken and there should be a “No-Vacancy” sign lit up.

Love is a word often misconstrued today. Would this young lady be angry if her father would have made her put on more modest attire? Would she consider him mean, uncool and unloving? Truth is, it would be better for him to make her mad now then to allow her to face a spiritual death later. Her father may have to watch her marry a man, later on, who loves her outward body (her shell) but knows nothing about her inward parts or their sacredness. Remember the turtles shell is attached to its inward parts. The bible says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

Shouldn’t we be guarding our hearts and what belongs to our future husbands? Even the men who sometimes seem harmless can cause us harm.

There was a man in the bible named Amnon and he fell in love with a beautiful woman named Tamar. The bible says he eventually became obsessed to the point he made himself ill. He had to have her! “She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.” 2nd Samuel 13:2 NIV.  He wanted her so badly he acted as if he were sick. Amnon, asked his father King David, to send Tamar to bake him food so that he might feel better. Once he had her alone he began to seduce her, but she begged him not too. Her virginity and inward parts were sacred to her. Virginity is something almost absent today. Many times, us women think that if we dress a certain way perhaps the men we are interested in will notice us and of course they will but possibly not in the right manner. Many feel pressured to sleep with them in order to keep them.

The startling end to this story is a message that speaks loudly. After Amnon had his way with her the scripture says, “Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!” 2nd Samuel 13:15 NIV.

With his actions and his words he had ripped her tortoise shell off and left her with a grieving spirit. She begged him to make things right and marry her, but he continued to yell for her to leave. The next verses our heartbreaking!

“He called his personal servant and said, “Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her.” “She was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.” 2nd Samuel 13:17-19 NIV.

Tamar ripped off her ornate robe because she had just lost her virginity. She lost it because it had been taken from her, not because she gave it away. She was keeping herself covered. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” NASB.

What can you wear on the outside that let’s men know you are holy and set a part?

 

Photo Cred: Chelsea Steller

 

about-the-authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com

{October} Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 10, 2015

By: Juliandra Durkin

Have you ever been sick? Have you ever dealt with pain in your body or mind? Have you ever seen a loved one suffer, or maybe even die?

This might sound heavy, but take a deep breath and hang in there with me, because sometimes it is important to talk about heavy things.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Around the nation, people raise awareness about breast cancer, helping to erase stigma for the disease, and encourage early detection of the disease for treatment.

A study and article posted on the American Cancer Society website says that “an estimated 60,290 new cases” of breast cancer in women will be detected in 2015.

As we move through the year and find ourselves in October, it is important that we at Wonderfully Made address the pain and fear that women (and men too) find themselves in when diagnosed with cancer, disease, and illness.

Taking a step back, I want to shift your attention from our world today to go back in time about 2,000 years. Let’s look at one woman who struggled with disease for 12 years before finally finding healing through faith in one Man…

“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, ‘if I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.’” (Mark 5: 25-28)

Now I want to take a moment to explain a bit about the culture of Bible times. Women were not considered equal to men, but deferred to them in the patriarchal society that fathers ruled their households, including their wives.

This woman was single, which already puts her in a vulnerable place, and on top of that, for 12 years she sought medical help for a blood hemorrhage. That meant that she spent her entire wealth on doctors to try to get healing, which left her in a worse spot. When this woman met Jesus, she was penniless, sick, and no one was on her side.

She didn’t have medical insurance. She didn’t have a husband to support her. She didn’t have people raising awareness for her. No one started a campaign to helping with the stigma of bleeding for 12 years. She didn’t have specialists she could travel to all over the world, when the doctors she consulted didn’t have an answer.

She was destitute and desperate. And when it came to meeting the most important, popular, and reputable Rabbi of her time, she couldn’t even approach him to tell her story.

She only had one thing, and that was her faith to just touch him. And now, her story is not forgotten.

“Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my robe?’ His disciples said to him, ‘Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, “Who touched me?” ’ But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.’” (Mark 5: 29- 34)

Jesus never changes, and to this day He wants to heal our bodies, minds, and souls. He wants us to know Him as our Savior and Healer. He wants to call us daughters and for us to seek Him when we need help, medical or otherwise.

As you think about Breast Cancer Awareness this month, and the many who have suffered breast cancer, are seeking help now, or might be diagnosed later, know that their stories matter. Their stories are important to the Father who sees and knows suffering to the point of healing a penniless, unnamed woman of the Bible so long ago. He calls these women His daughters, and He is ready and able to grant peace and healing.

So have hope, my friends, like this sick woman from the Bible. Keep the faith to look up and out. To not give up getting help. To just grasp on the fringe of His robes that He will save.

Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. ~Mathew 9:22~

If you want to learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or get involved in a deeper way, Komen is a national non-profit, with other great resources, centered on breast cancer.

 

Photo Cred: Paula Biggs for Frog Prince Paperie

 

about-the-authorJuliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs, these experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

Selflessness

September 14, 2015

By: Tekoa Manning

I inquired about a friend’s daughter not too long ago and the response was, “She is planning to go to such and such college and she’s going to major in __. The answer was not really about her well-being, but about her future career. We don’t hear too many young women say anymore that they want to be mothers and the ones that do are often met with a response of, “That’s all?” The stress to land a high paying job and do well on SAT’s is overwhelming today. Young children are being taught that education is their golden ticket for success. Many parents hope that their child will win a scholarship to help with the cost of their schooling. This at times only adds extra pressure to the already mounting assignments and AP classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about education, but I want to tell young women today that it doesn’t define you or your worth. I see young girls who have their whole lives mapped out, running to get the degree. At times they pick a field of study due to what it pays instead of following their heart and the Lord’s voice. Often, once they attain the degree, and a career actively working in their field, they become deeply depressed. They received all the accolades from family and friends for their accomplishments and they even landed the job, so why do they feel so unfulfilled? Because The Lord Adonai doesn’t measure us by our successes. 1st Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” NLT.

When your titles are stripped away what is left?

I want to share with you a story about a woman who did nothing to enrich her own life. Actually, she put herself last in order to help someone else and by doing so God gave her the desires of her heart. This woman’s name was Ruth. After her mother-n-law, Naomi, lost her husband and her two sons, she was very bitter and downhearted. Naomi had been living in a foreign land called Moab, but now she was headed back to the land of Judah and to her people. Both of her daughter-n-laws wanted to come with her; one was named Orpah and the other Ruth.

Naomi continues to tell them to turn back. She informs them that she cannot give birth to more sons for them and even if she could, would they wait for them to become old enough to marry?

Orpah kisses Naomi and tells her goodbye but Ruth clutched her tightly. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”

But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” Ruth 1:15-16 NLT.

Ruth arrived in Bethlehem and she went right to work to feed her mother-n-law. The poor people in those days would pick up scraps in the fields behind the hired workers. She didn’t have to make such a selfless sacrifice, but she did. Ruth gets noticed by one of the wealthiest landowners in the region named Boaz. What made her outshine all the other women? Boaz approach Ruth and gave her honor and the entitlements of his hired workers. Ruth said, “What have I done to deserve such kindness?” “I am only a foreigner.” “Yes, I know,” Boaz replied. “But I also know about everything you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband. I have heard how you left your father and mother and your own land to live here among complete strangers.”

Ultimately she becomes his bride and all the land and servants belong to her as well. God opens her barren womb and gives her a son named Obed. He was the great grandfather of King David.

Look around today and see who God has placed in your life that needs a Ruth. This woman only had hands to give and feet to follow. Her attention was not on her own needs but the needs of others. Her field of study landed her in the field of her redeemer, Boaz. A broken woman named Naomi who had lost her husband and her sons gets a happy ending.

“The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer… May he become famous throughout Israel! For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Ruth 4:14-15 NIV.

How can you give to and love others this week?

 

Photo Cred: Chelsea Steller

 

about-the-authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com

Miriam: Critical Spirit

June 19, 2013
by Raquel Rodriquez

While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us, too?” But the Lord heard them. So immediately the Lord called to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam and said, “Go out to the Tabernacle, all three of you!” So they went out. Then the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: 

“If there were prophets among you,
    I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions.
    I would speak to them in dreams.
But not with my servant Moses.
    Of all my house, he is the one I trust.
I speak to him face to face,
    clearly, and not in riddles!
    He sees the Lord as He is.
So why were you not afraid
    to criticize my servant Moses?”
The Lord was very angry with them, and He departed. As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy. Miriam was kept outside the camp for seven days, and the people waited until she was brought back before they traveled again. Numbers 12 

Miriam is Moses’ sister. She played a major role in his survival when Pharaoh’s daughter found Him in a basket. Later, alongside her now grown brother Moses, she led God’s people out of Egypt. When the parted sea collapsed on their enemies, it was Miriam who led the women in worship. Miriam as well as her brothers, Moses and Aaron, were prophets of the time. She wasn’t perfect, but she was chosen by the Lord to do great things.
As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. Ecclesiastes 10:1
 
Miriam, like many of us, spoiled great wisdom and honor with just a little foolishness. Her imprudence was none other than a critical spirit. She was an expert at finding fault and focusing on it. Taking it a step further, she spoke her criticism to those around her. Out of the abundance of Miriam’s heart, her mouth spoke. (Matthew 12:34)
 
A critical person has an excessively negative attitude with harshness in judging, faultfinding, and complaining. Critics feel a sense of significance and power when they criticize. The heart of a critic is not the heart of God. “But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Romans 12:10,13
 
Miriam isn’t the only woman I know that is critical of others. Though I considered myself to be a positive and encouraging person, God revealed an ugly side to me. I condemn people and their actions. I am harsh. I focus on faults and ridicule others. I tear people down and their opinions when they don’t meet my standards. Truth is I am a lot like Miriam. In light of all the good that God does and speaks through me, I don’t fail to throw a dash of foolishness to spoil His work.
 
God revealed my repulsive attitude through the help of a book called “Counseling through the Bible” by June Hunt, through the chapter brilliantly titled Critical Spirit. God is awesome, when He reveals wrong in us He also provides a way of escape to the path to righteousness. If you’re anything like Miriam and I, confess your sin to God and to a trust worthy friend.
 
June Hunt’s way of escape to the path of righteousness:

“Identify your shortcomings – Psalm 139:23-24

Practice compassion for others – Colossians 3:12

Draw out the heartfelt needs of others – Proverbs 20:5

Offer acceptance to others – Romans 15:7

See the God-given worth in others – Luke 12:6-7

Praise the positives in others – Philippians 4:8

Refuse to wound others with words – Colossians 3:16

See the unmet needs of others – Philippians 4:19

Rely on God’s Word and God’s Spirit for wisdom – 1 Corinthians 2:13

 

Is there anything that could totally eradicate all judgmental attitudes–every single critical spirit? Yes! If every person would live out these few words of Jesus: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ Matthew 7:12.”

 
I believe that God makes all things new. I believe that a critical spirit can be redeemed into a caring spirit, when aligned with God’s Word and controlled by His Spirit.
 
 How do you guard yourself from being critical of others?