Coffee with Friends: Mary

A Little Background

Something I have struggled with for a while is why as Christians we feel the need to put our own guidelines on what is Best. We think we know what is best for us. There are countless books written on the subject and we give “steps” or questions to ask ourselves in determining the Best.

Now I am not bashing these books. I have enjoyed these books and benefited from these books but I think we as Christians get confused. I get concerned when we start evaluating what God calls us to, by what we think is best for us. It is a wrestling match for me, because I get what is going on. We say we want to please God and that we want to do what He wants us to. But, then when He brings something to us that doesn’t fit those 5 things or 10 questions, we toss the baby out with the bathwater because it doesn’t fit our ideals.

Just before Christmas this last year I read something that caught my attention… it was about Mary, you know Jesus’ mom. Now you might say “Mary, Christmas was almost two months ago, why on earth has it taken you so long to write this?” The answer is simple. When something is triggered in my brain I need to study it out. I wanted to look at my friends in the Bible and see what the pattern was. And I did. I wanted to see if I could come up with someone for the antithesis of my idea… and I couldn’t.

Meet My Friend Mary

We don’t have a whole lot of background about Mary. We know that she was a Jewish girl in the line of David, which means in her lineage they are amazing women like Rehab (a Prostitute) and Ruth ( a Moabite woman). We are going to talk more about these two later in the story as well. AND let’s add in Jesus since he is a major part of this as well… Mary was probably between the ages of 14-17. Girls married young in that culture. We know that Mary was betrothed to Joseph, a Carpenter. She was a virgin and greatly favored. To be betrothed is more than an engagement. They were basically married but without the wedding.

One night Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and he had some big news for her. She was going to give Birth to a son and He was to be the son of God (paraphrase). She had one question “how will this be?” No virgin has ever given birth to a child before. It was a valid question. He explains how it will happen and her response was this, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” And then the Angel left (Luke 1: 26-38 NIV).

That’s it. She did’n’t take into consideration the financial strain. Or how about Joseph’s reaction. How about the reaction of the people around her. After all people got stoned for being pregnant without being married in her culture. What about her family. She simply trusted God, She had faith.

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1 NIV tells us EXACTLY what Faith is.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Mary trusted the angel and what he said. He promised that Jesus will… (Luke 1:32-33)

  • be great.
  • be called Son of the Most High.
  • be given the throne of his father David by the Lord God.
  • Reign over Jacob’s descendants forever. His kingdom will never end.

Now I know that she had an angel that showed up to her, which for me shows even more that her faith and trust was great. She said YES with no thought at all to what is best for her. Now I am sure as she began to show that she was pregnant she had concerns. GREAT CONCERNS! But her faith stood firm. She trusted God, even when the scorn was great.

REHAB, RUTH AND JESUS- no angels, no questions

So I know you can say, yeah Mary, but her faith was easy because she had a visit from an angel. But what about the countless others who fully trusted God and set aside their questions and inhibitions ad didn’t chose their BEST. Ok so let’s stop right now calling it the BEST. in reality it is what is safest. The least amount of strain, struggle and Pain.

REHAB a prostitute in the city of Jericho. She received two spies from Israel when they were scoping out the land to conquer. She hid them on the roof and then lowered them outside the city walls after nightfall. She asked for protection for herself and her family and the spies told her how to let them know where she was. She then lied about them when questioned. She hung the scarlet chord in the window when the day of conquering came and she was rescued. Due to her faith she became a part of the line of Jesus.

She didn’t ask how this was going to affect me emotionally, physically, financially or spiritually. She didn’t ask what else might she be trading it for. She did’t ask herself, is this was what God wanted for her life. For Pete’s sake (I know I know- WHO IS PETE?) she didn’t even really know the God of Israel. She had heard of the miracles surrounding the Israelites. She didn’t ask which was the safest or which had the biggest blessing attached to it. She just plain and simple made a decision and STUCK with it- she trusted the God of Israel. The God who devours armies with the Red Sea (Joshua 2 NIV). She had faith, and then OBEYED. She didn’t have to. She could have chickened out for the possible difficulties she could face. Like what if the ruler of the land had found out she harbored those spies and helped them to escape. What if someone saw the scarlet chord hanging from her window and started asking questions. Was she nervous about possibilities? Probably but she was human. Doubts are not a sin… disobeying God is. And for her faith she is blessed richly. She marries an Israelite man named Salmon… their son, Boaz, is an intricate part of the life of our next lady of faith- RUTH!

Ruth- THERE is whole book about this woman of faith. Ruth was not and Israelite either. She was a Moabitess who married one of the sons of Israelite couple Naomi and Ellimelek. They were Israelites and the law very specifically told them NOT to intermarry with other cultures because those cultures would influence their relationships with God in a negative way. Well the men all died. Both sons and the husband and that left behind 3 widows Naomi, Ruth and Orpah. Naomi decided it was time to return to Israel and her daughter-in-law set out with her. But before long Naomi encouraged them to return to their country of Moab. Orpah listened to her bitter mother-in-law and returned but Ruth on the other hand made a few very famous statements:

  • Where you go I will go.
  • Where you stay I will stay.
  • Your people will me my people
  • Your God will be my God.

Her concern wasn’t about herself or her needs. She cared first about Naomi and God. She had no promise of even a home or really even food. She could have returned to her home, remarried and lived a fairly comfortable life, but instead her faith took her to an unknown. Her loyalty took her to a place of risk and selflessness. Was is easy? no way! She toiled laboring in the fields like many other foreigners in Israel. But her loyalty and faith made her stand out far above the rest. And Boaz took notice. Catch that name? NOW in this account we have a rare sight. In the final chapter of the book we get to witness someone who did count the cost of obedience to God. He was worried about his finances, and his home and his standing socially. And ya know what, we don’t know his name and he didn’t end up in the lineage of Christ. So Boaz and Ruth got married. And they had a son named Obed, the grandfather of David. Ruth became the great X30 grandma of Jesus. When we worry about what is best for us we can write ourselves out of God’s greatest blessings.

And then there is Jesus

Jesus is interesting because He is God and Man. By coming to earth, from perfect glorious heaven, Jesus certainly did not choose the best for Him. This perspective or choosing the greater purpose is seen throughout His life on earth. The first time we see Jesus make a choice that went against what “should have happened” he was 12 and got separated from his parents when he chose to stay at the temple and teach the priests. I cannot even begin to comprehend Mary and Joseph’s conversation. “Joe, what are we gonna do? God trusted us with Jesus and we lost Him. How could we have lost the Lord?” And then when they found him… Oh what joy they must have felt. Later we see him confront sin and Pharisees. Hypocrisy. lack of Faith. lack of love. All without considering the consequences of his actions. He didn’t agonize over decisions that could have cost him his life. Even in the moments leading up to the cross we see him asking His Heavenly Father to let the cup of crucifixion to pass from him but in the end he says “NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS.”

Not MY Will BUT YOURS!!

Surrendering our will- DYING TO SELF. That’s what real faith is. Trusting that God really does own the cattle on a thousand hills. That all things work together for good for those who serve the LORD. Even when things look impossible or horrible God can take ashes and make it absolutely beautiful. See we look at our lives AND our ministries and we say things like oh but I wanted to do this with my life. The problem is I cannot see the big picture like God does. Nothing surprises Him NOT ONE THING. and sometimes we have to travel a path to get to the place God wants us. When Ruth got married to the cute Israelite man, she never thought “Hey He’s gonna die before we have kids, and I am going to move back to Israel and take care of Naomi by working from sun up to late into the night picking and threshing barley and then I am gonna haul a crazy amount back home again just so I can wake up in a few hours and do it all over again.” And yet she chose to stick with her commitment even in hardship. Despite the fact that physically when she started she didn’t really have the capability to handle it. And yet God gave her strength.

I’m guessing when Mary said yes to Gabriel she didn’t have the financial ability to be a single ostracized mom .

And Rehab is perhaps the most amazing to me. When she said yes to God, she gave up her financial ability. You CANNOT say yes to God and still hold on to your sin. She had NO idea her home was going to be completely destroyed. Can you imagine the emotional strain she was under to give up her career and pick up a whole new culture after meeting two spies for less than 24 hours and not even having much interaction with them. PLUS the fear of being ostracized because A) the line of work she was in and B) she was not an Israelite. And spiritually, well she had zero. She didn’t meet the standards of her rescuers. So how on earth could this possibly be the best for her when at first glance NONE of this seemed to be in her best interest. And yet look at her legacy!

THAT’S IT: OUR BEST isn’t here on this earth, we may be able to to witness it but most of the time we don’t.

  • Rehab’s legacy- JESUS
  • Ruth’s legacy- JESUS
  • Mary’s Legacy- JESUS
  • JESUS’S LEGACY- all believers serving Him for HIS purposes INCLUDING ME
  • My Legacy- whoever is impacted by my choice to lay aside my comforts and desire- my willingness to die to self

And about our dear Mary, one more thought. Mary never once thought that saying yes to the Greatest gift-Jesus was also going to be her greatest sorrow. Watching the one she bore die. You know, the one promised to Reign over Jacob’s descendants forever. The one whose kingdom will never end, who would be given the throne of his father David. She watched her son, the Lord, die. Not just any death but the worst most shameful death a person could think up.

And as I looked and studied these women and Jesus I stood in awe of what I saw, then I began to think about all the others, and ya know what I discovered? All the people across scripture who made a lasting impression on eternity at one point had to set aside what they thought best for themselves and chose to do the radical and crazy. Some took a little longer and we watch their journeys and wrestlings unfold, but in the end the ONLY way YOU can be USED for GOD’S BEST is to lay yours aside.

So here are a few questions in closing.:

  • What are we holding onto in our lives that we have sealed off from God? It’s usually something that we deem as ugly, and unmanageable, or too traumatic to deal with. The problem with that is we are holding on to what God wants to use and transform into a beautiful thing.
  • Have we REALLY died to self? Have we set aside what we think is best and chased after the things God has brought to us- EVEN IF it makes us CRAZY uncomfortable?
  • What’s diverting our attention (aka distracting us)? It can be a good thing. It can be a great thing. But if it doesn’t fit with the story God has given us, we can be hiding, running or ignoring the path and purpose God has for us!

Let’s chat! What is the person in the Bible that grabs your attention most when It comes to denying their selfish ambitions and what was in their best interest according to them?

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Happy Homemaker Monday- Hello 2020

2020

Hey There everyone. It’s been a crazy end of the year (2019) and a crazy beginning of the new Year…so here is my first Happy Homemaker of of 2020!

♥♥The Weather♥♥

This week is a little back and forth. We have a night that’s as low as 9 degrees and some of the days being in the lows to mid 40’ws. Now I can handle the 40’s but single digits are NOT my favorite things!

♥♥How I am feeling this morning♥♥

Well considering its night….LOL I’m almost ready for bed ( I do my blogging at night time because otherwise I get too distracted.

♥♥On my mind♥♥

I have a big to-do list this week. (when don’t I). But the kitchen is mostly back together after re-working the whole thing.

I also have a lot of friends and family going through hard things on my mind.

and Blog posts….lots of blog posts!!

♥♥On the breakfast plate♥♥

yogurt and granola

♥♥On my reading pile♥♥

  • Lists to Live By
  • Bare Bones Bible Handbook
  • Surprised by Joy
  • Choose Joy

♥♥On my tv♥♥

Facts of Life

♥♥On the menu this week♥♥

  • Monday- Balsamic Chicken and baked potatoes
  • Tuesday- Beef Stronganoff
  • Wednesday- Pizza Soup
  • Thursday- Shepherds Pie
  • Friday- Philly cheesesteak Casserole
  • Saturday- Leftovers
  • Sunday- Taco Salad

♥♥From the camera♥♥

What don’t all doggies build with Legos?

♥♥Looking around the house♥♥

The downstairs needs some general tidying/ weekly chores down and the upstairs has some more major things that needs accomplishing

♥♥Chore I’m not looking forward to today, or this week♥♥

My sewing cabinet threw up at the top of our stairs. Ive been avoiding it but it NEEDS to be done this week!

♥♥To relax this week, I will♥♥

Paint and write

♥♥On my prayer list♥♥

OH MAN. this one is Hard. I kinda already mentioned this but we have a lot of friends and family who are going through som really hard stuff.

♥♥Devotional/Bible Verse♥♥

I have been currently reading and studying my way through 1 John.

Yesterdays and todays verses were v 12-17 of Chapter 2.

Reasons for Writing

12 I am writing to you, dear children,
    because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.

14 I write to you, dear children,
    because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God lives in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

On Not Loving the World

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

For more Happy Homemaker Monday Posts Check out Diary of a stay At Home Mom


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Book Review (and Giveaway) Praying Women by Sheila Walsh

Praying
Praying
Praying

A Personal Struggle

When I saw the book trailer for this book I was excited because for the first time…..in forever (I know roll your eyes to the F®owen reference) I felt as though I was going to get some help for the frustration I experience during prayer. I know I know I have heard it a million times before BUT Mary You are a pastor’s wife you are supposed to have all this figured out. Well I am here to tell you I don’t and if I thought I did…God would be pretty much done with me. I Need to have a spirit of teachability- a willingness to grow beyond where I am currently at. Some days I get frustrated because it feels as though there are not enough hours in a day to pray for all the things. then there are days or weeks (ahem- like this last week) where all I can pray is HELP ME JESUS. And then there are those days that I just cannot focus to save my life. So can you see why I was so excited about this book!

It’s Been a while

It’s been a hot minute since I have done a book review and that is because of circumstances outside of my control (more on that in another Blog post). However this past fall an opportunity fell into my lap where I could yet again join a launch team for an author I Love. .Now unlike other authors I have had the opportunity to help launch their book babies I have never had the opportunity to meet or talk one on one with Sheila Walsh, however I have had the opportunity to hear her speak in person and on various other formats and this is NOT my first review of her books. You can check out my book reviews of her books Peace For Today and Loved Back to Life. I found both of those books to be of great encouragement so when I saw the chance to help launch Praying Women It was a no brainer.

The Book : Praying Women

have you ever sat down with friends over a cup of coffee (or tea) and hashed out some of life’s difficult moments.Well imagine that’s what this book is. Let’s be honest prayer is a tough subject.A lot of us have questions that we are too afraid to ask for any number of reasons. In this book zShiela so graciously deals with these struggles and helps us find the biblical answers and encourages us to have a thriving prayer life.

sShe herself is open to the personal struggles she has had and guides us through biblical responses to those struggles. Praying Women is laid out according to our struggles like Praying through God’s silence. I don’t know about you but this is very hard for me .

Here is just one encouraging thought from the book on this topic!

If you have been waiting for a long time and God has been silent, let me ask you this: Do you still believe He loves you? When answers don’t come, do you still believe He is for you? Jesus asked if He will find faith among us when He returns. Will He? Do you believe God is in control? Do you believe He has a perfect plan for your life? Do you believe His timing is perfect? Until we settle how we will wait in the silence, we will be unsettled in our lives. When we determine to trust God in the silence, our faith in who He is grows stronger. Our witness becomes more powerful. Like Angus we can say to those who wonder why we’re still holding on, “He’s never failed me yet!” When we choose to place our hope in God, we have been promised that this hope will not disappoint (Rom. 5:3–5).

nNot only does Sheila Walsh share her own personal journey and struggles but she also waves in the accounts of others journeys and struggles. Two such stories are that of Joni ricks Tada and Michele Cushatt. these women’s powerful testimonies and personal struggles help us to understand we aren’t alone even when our stories are so different.

My Review: Praying Women

I am a huge fan of this book and not just because I was chosen to be on the launch team. This book meets a desperate need in the hearts of women and answers questions people on a whole have been asking for aery long time.

Yes it is a serious book on Prayer but Shiela writes in such a skillful way that has you giggling one minute and in tears the next. I love that she speaks truth and hasn’t glossed over the reality of her struggles. She write from an honest place of struggle with depression.

if we all lived with this kind of honesty and transparency both with each other and with God our walks with Him would be uninhibited.

I give this book 5 stars!

My two biggest Takeaways

By the end of the book I realized that there are two things I need to do. The first of which is I need to make sure I am putting my whole Armor on- I want to write out my armor in my prayer notebook so it’s easily found I also would like to post an abbreviate version by my desk as a daily reminder.

The second thing Sheila said that really stood out to me was the need for a battle verse. One that when we struggle with doubts and fears and the enemy’s sneak attack jumps out of no where we can pull it out and remind ourselves who we belong to and whois fighting for us!

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!

Who is ready for a giveaway? Let’s deal with the technical stuff first, this is for U.S. shipping only. AND you only get one entry. Since I was so graciously given a free copy for review I thought that I would pass the blessing onto you. All you have to do is comment below and tell me what your biggest struggle is in prayer. For me it is getting distracted. So leave your comments below. Comments will close Sunday evening at 8 pm EST at which time I will randomly pick a number by using random.org and if I pick your number you are the winner of the book! I will contact you and we will work out shipping details.

Great big THANK YOU!

Thank You so much to Baker Book house for providing me with a free digital and hard copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions given in this review are my own and I am in no way compensated for a positive review. Thank you Shiela Walsh for writing this book. I cannot imagine writing it was easy but it was very much a huge blessing.

You Can purchase Praying Women HERE. (not an affiliate link)

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2020 Reading Goals

Hey Guys

It’s been awhile since I have posted about Goals of any kind and I can tell you right now THAT is about to change!

So I have tweaked how I have done my reading Goals for the last two years. Matter fact last year I set ZERO reading Goals…..and Heres Why…

Reading Challenge

A friend Challenged me to take part in THIS reading Challenge

It’s Called the 2020 Christian reading Challenge and the awesome thing about this is it gives you a theme and then you get to pick the books.

Last year I read about 27 books…..and that is awesome for me. This year I set my Goodreads goal at 35- I printed of the checklist and have already knocked off almost a third of the goal. But I wanted to tweak how I handled it this year so I pick 11 books THAT I ABSOLUTELY want to finish this year…All else can be on a whim.

And honestly as I have reworked my entire kitchen I have listened to so many books. I finally finished the Wizard of Oz series . Two Peter Pan books ( the third is not on kindle) All while washing the dishes and cleaning out cabinets..

Top 11 books to read in 2020 (in no particular order

A few words about these books I have not currently started this books with the exception of one and it’s the first but I am going to go back and start from the beginning.

reading
This book has been o the to read pile FOREVER! I am preparing it for Bible study and will dive in the beginning of March
reading
Because sometimes Ya just need a laugh (and it’s a category on this years reading list
reading
This is the second book on Joy well it’s actually about Philippians but the theme for Philippians is JOY
reading
Oh another Joy book- can you guess what I’m studying AGAIN this year?
This is my chosen book on Identity this year
reading
Because this is an ongoing theme in my personal life and I am still working on my own material Influence
reading
Again because it’s about JOY!
reading
This has been on the reading bucket list since Bible College and I’m FINALLY getting around to it.
reading
Because I feel like my heart is in need of this book currently.
reading
I’m not running on empty right now BUT I want to be prepared the next time!
reading
This book is about Joy but it id also to challenge myself. This is not my typical reading style so this is to spur on GROWTH!

Don’t worry these aren’t my only books either. I currently have 8 in my currently reading on Goodreads and my bookshelves are just chock full of titles longing to be pulled off the shelf and my Kindle is full loaded as well.

Are you interested in going me on my challenge?

Let me know if you decide to join in the fun.

Blessings

Mary

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Happy New…..MONTH??

Happy

Why hello there I have not been around since OCTOBER???? My goodness Life has a way of taking over, doesn’tt it? Well that is what happened. Life took over. And then it spiraled out of control and that my friends is how we have landed here. I do have some posts that will go o their appropriate dates. And those will slowly start to pop up here and there.

I wish I could say this next year was going to get easier and that there would be more time for blogging but I want to be honest and real- THAT”S JUST NOT THE SEASON I’M IN RIGHT NOW!. But I think that me being realistic with myself has brought a new sense of freedom.

What Happened Between October and now?

WellThe biggest thing fir me was I wrote my first play for our church. I have directed the play for years but this year I really felt like God wanted me to write it. So I started in May Yep In a better of two weeks I had two thirds of it written and then summer happened. I killed my ankle, I got pneumonia and in the midst of all of that I lost the notebook I had handwritten the play in (Yeah that’s just how I roll). Well I will be honest that took quite the mental toll and I wrestled with God over it well into October. But I did send screen shots for about 1/2 of the play to my stage manager. But this whole process takes a while. By Thanksgiving it was finished so then we bumped the play performance back two weeks went into an insane play practice schedule and by the Grace of God it was amazing. Christmas was a blessing but not nearly as peaceful as usual. Notes for the future !

Attack of the Stomach bug

Well the morning after the play both Hubby and J woke up puking their guts out, and within a few hours almost the entire group of kids I had in the plat were doing the same. For whatever reason it had attacked almost everyone EXCEPT the adults (minus Hubby). I didn’t get it as bad but New Years was spend eating crackers, sucking down ginger ale and praying to God that it would all be over.

I never got the full thing hubby did my stomach hurt. Before we knew it break was over and school was back in session. In the middle of all this hubby got an abscessed lymph node (weird right? never even heard of that before). well that is still a thing but it’s not bad.

Two weeks ago I woke up feeling fine and by mid-afternoon I had a decent fever. 3 of us got it. three of us didn’t. Even now J is home sick with a fever. talking g with the school nurses there are multiple things flying around all the schools. things like Strep, flu, stomach bugs and a few other virus-y things.

Looking ahead.

I wish I could sit here and tell you what this next year will look like. BUT I can’t. I know that March 1st marks our 11 year anniversary being here is our church as their pastor. I don’t foresee any ministry changes within our church but there are somethings outside of church that will probably be changing.

I will be honest God and I had a lot of serious talking sessions with God about the future of this blog…and then something happened!!! Content started pouring into my head and heart and I have made some significant changes in my morning routine.

Happy to say For now the blog is here to stay

So as content continues to come and it is coming rapidly, I going to start writing again. As God and I have wrestled this out, this is an act of obedience on my part. I will explain later in another blog post entitled “a Year of Words”. But that is for another day and another time.

Happy Vantine’s Day!

So since there was no Marry Christmas and no Happy New Year I’m gonna start out 2020 by saying Happy Valentines Day (Psssst That’s this Friday!)

I look forward to chatting it up with you guys this year!

I pray that we can grow closer to God and each other this year!

Blessings,

Mary

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