|From the Editor
||A Woman's World
Chick Chat with Criss
By Criss Bertling
"Good morning, ladies. Welcome to Celebration of Learning! Stand up and hug your neighbor."
The new Director of Women’s Ministry choked back a chuckle as she observed her "chick flock" from the stage. The word transformation did not begin to describe the sum of her life experiences. Old photos of a slender young feminist bore no resemblance to the pudgy, menopausal blonde now responsible for the spiritual development of hundreds of women. "Let’s pray." She would share her story soon enough.
Her conservative childhood, rebellious youth, and failed marriage formed the bedrock of an obsessive drive to succeed. As a professional, few were better. As a mother, friend, daughter and sister, she was abysmal. Relationships were secondary and that priority took its toll. Her son became a face on a milk carton and her 18-year-old daughter married a stranger. Then her second husband announced, "I’m in love with someone else." Her world imploded and she crashed.
After weeks of sleeping all day and crying all night, she picked up her father’s old Bible. Could God forgive her? Would He hear her prayers? Did she even care? But still she read. She tried to pray. She continued to wallow in her pit of depression and self-loathing. Suicide was scary but how much longer could she live this way? God, are you there?
The incessant knocking at the door became louder. Just leave me alone! Day after day her persistent friend knocked at precisely 5:10 p.m. She would continue for five minutes and then ultimately give up. But she never drove away without leaving a note of encouragement, a Bible verse, and a container of food. Doesn’t she know it’s useless?
Hours blurred into days. Loneliness and despair tightened their grip. Yet that tattered Holy Bible kept calling to her. So she read. Then one rainy afternoon a silent whisper spoke to her heart: Talk to your friend. Go with her to My House. I am waiting for you.
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Church bulletins and newsletters are an unending source of chuckles. This month's humor comes from Church Bulletin Bloopers:
Notice: Low Self-esteem Support Group will meet
Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
This morning's sermon: "Jesus Walks on the Water."
Tonight's sermon: "Searching for Jesus."
And my personal favorite:
Ladies’ Bible Study begins Thursday morning at 10 AM.
All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
By Tina Mitchell
At the tender age of 16, and upon the advice of my Mother, I began to pray for a mate. Marriage was far from my thoughts cluttered with friends and plans for college. I knew Mom was right, though, and so I added that petition to my prayer list. The years of my youth sped by, the petition dropped off the list, and as I turned on my heel I found myself over thirty and unmarried.
A lifelong learner at heart, my thirst for knowledge and grandiose goals took me down many paths, yet none of them led to matrimony and family ties. When asked, my reply was, "Of course I want to get married and have children. Doesn’t every woman?" All the while my mother’s voice whispered to me, "For a woman, there is no higher calling than motherhood." Yet I remained single and childless.
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Are you a Medi-ciner?
Confession is good for the soul. How long has it been since you read the expiration dates on your prescription bottles, or your aspirin or antacids?
Uh-huh. Take a deep breath and head for those shelves or drawers full of I-just-can’t-toss-them medicines. Take 15 minutes to read those pill bottle labels this month – throw out the old and make a list of what to restock.
Always-Have-Basics: aspirin; ibuprofen; antihistamines; throat lozenges; sunscreen; antacids; Epsom salts; band-aides, adhesive bandages; a thermometer; a good multivitamin; Neosporin or cortisone cream; hydrogen peroxide.
Okay, Chicks, Just Say Yes!
A Lesson in Ability
By Teresa Lee Rainey
Our Nebraska morning started at 3am as I was stirred to the sound of music playing softly in the distance. I thought, "I must be dreaming." John was lying beside me snoring softly, so I brushed off the sound and tried to fall back asleep.
Ring…Ring…Ring. Now I knew this wasn‘t a dream. John jumped up, searching for the phone in the dark. He answered "Hello" groggily, but quickly became wide awake at the urgency of the call. There had been a fatal accident involving an Assisted Living resident and his presence as CEO was required. The nurse told John they had tried to reach his cell phone but received no answer.
"Oh," I realized, "that was the music I kept hearing."
I can …
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By Criss Bertling
Have a Happy Dee Dah Day!
Are you a joyful person? Do you have lots of what John Ortberg calls "happy Dee Dah Days?" Perhaps you believe joy is something experienced only by those who have everything you’ve always wanted. Do you think joy is a feeling only people with no problems get to have? Maybe you believe joy is a deep spiritual thing that does not necessarily mean you are happy, just that you have "soulful peace."
According to C. S. Lewis, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." The apostle Paul tells us to "Rejoice in the Lord always…." Lewis Smedes believes that, "To miss out on joy is to miss out on the reason for your existence."
I love that – joy is the reason for our existence! Think about that for a moment. God felt joy when He created us. He created us to experience joy in our relationship with Him. Joy is the reason for our existence.
Every day is filled with opportunities to be joyful, to feel happy. You can choose to recognize and celebrate them, or you can choose to reject joy and be controlled by life’s hardships and disappointments. John Ortberg says, "The problem with people…is not that we are too happy for God’s taste, but that we are not happy enough."
Whatever your circumstances are today, choose to practice joyful celebration. Decide to be happy. Put on a smile until it becomes your natural 24/7 expression. Lay your disappointments, heartaches, and regrets at the feet of your Heavenly Father. His joy is in carrying your burdens for you so that you can freely experience His abundant love.
I challenge you to set aside a "happy Dee Dah Day" each week where you do something you truly love. Make it a point to hang around people who love life. Thank God for all of the things He has given you. Celebrate joy! Don’t "miss out on the reason for your existence."
Criss Bertling is published author, freelance newspaper columnist, inspirational speaker, Director of Women's Ministry, and Director of Communications. She is a mother, grandmother, "auntie" to numerous children, and mentor to some pretty spectacular young women. Criss resides in South Florida, where a 24-hour day is never enough time to work, play, read, write, rest and pray as much as she'd like. But somehow God makes it all come together in His perfect way!You can find out more about her at www.crissbertling.com.