Fathers Day

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The month of June brings reflection about many aspects of life. During my childhood, the month of June signified the end of another long school year and the start of a great summer. During my high school years, the month June included graduation, saying good-bye to childhood friends, and saving money for college. The month of June during my college years signified the start of my life as an adult, saying good-bye to college friends, and venturing out into the world.

Lately, the month of June looks different. June is my father’s birthday and the end of this month is Father’s day. Growing up, I loved the month of June. I loved celebrating my father’s birthday and finding the best Father’s Day cards that would make my Dad laugh. However, five years ago, I lost my father and now he is safe in the arms of Jesus. The first few years without my father were extremely painful and difficult. Needless to say, the month of June…not my favorite month. I hated to walk down the aisle in the grocery store that contained all of the “Father’s Day” cards and the “Happy Father’s Day” cards. I have skipped church several times on Father’s day, and avoided any contact with anything remotely associated with that day.

The last two years I have noticed a slight change in my outlook on Father’s Day and even on my Dad’s birthday. Now I find my self reflecting on all of the wonderful years I had with my father. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with the father that I had all of my childhood and my early adulthood years. I now can think of my father on father’s day with joy, and gratefulness. Of course, I still have times of sadness and grief, and I know that I always will, even though I know that someday I will see him again. However, to be at a place where I can laugh at certain memories, and cry about other memories… I am grateful!

In addition, I notice that now when I attend church on Father’s day, I look out into the congregation and start to pray for all of the men in my church who are fathers. In addition, I have the privilege of watching my own brother work thru the joys and challenges of fatherhood. I have to admit, I love the fact that my brother is embarking on parenting a tweener and all of the challenges that lay ahead for him. However, I am thankful that I get to have the privilege of praying for him that God will continue to give him the wisdom and strength that he needs to be the best father he can be for his children.

So to all of the fathers that happen to read this blog….Happy Father’s Day! “I pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)

Blessings,

Valencia

Contributing Blogger for WOVEN

 

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WHO’S LOOKING OUT FOR THE SINGLE SISTER?

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 “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” I Cor. 7:34.     
There is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than serving the Lord. I mean, I love knowing that I am part in advancing the kingdom of God. The thing I love most as a single woman is my independence. I love the fact that I can come and go as I please without the demands of a family. And, yes, while I still desire to be married, I also appreciate where God has me now. In a future blog I’ll share about my journey to contentment. But as I said I love my independence and that I can use my independence to do more things for the Lord. I truly love that.

Other single women I know echo my sentiment. There is fulfillment in serving Jesus. In being able to do a little more because we do not have the demands of husband and children. And often times we serve without complaint. But I do have a complaint or “observation” I would like to share.

A few years back we had this pastor’s wife come to our church as a guest speaker for our ladies prayer breakfast. I had heard this speaker before and was impressed with her down to earth style and “realness.” A little too real as it turned out. She was in the middle of her speech when she dropped this bombshell. Single women should do more to help the married women in the church such as babysitting so that they (the married women) could spend more time with their husbands. That they (the single women) should offer to do more things to assist the married women around their homes as they had more time to devote to the things of the Lord. What! In fact some friends of mine went to visit this sister on their vacation. And while she, the pastor’s wife, was at work she had ask that my friends get her young children up at a certain time, comb their hair, start dinner, iron and fold the clothes and lightly clean the house!
I’m sorry but my life if more than being a maid. I have NO problem babysitting my married friend’s children when needed. But it is just that, a need and not an expectation. I know of other single friends who give, and give and give to the ministry to the point of exhaustion and at times no empathy. So my question is, “Who’s Looking Out for the Single Sister?”

Think about it. Single sisters (and brothers) carry the load and sometimes the burden of juggling a career, ministry, sometimes school, and other responsibilities without anyone at home to assist. And because there are no children or spouse to care for the single sister can do more ministry wise. But because she can do more, leadership must be mindful and prayerful not to “take advantage” or “overload” her. I have personally known single sisters who have served and worked in the ministry to the point of exhaustion. I do not believe this is honoring to the Lord.

Single women need to know that appreciation goes beyond lip service. Demonstrate that love and appreciation through action. Let her know that she is a valued member of the family. Who is seeing to it that her needs are being met? Who is seeing to it that she is taking care of herself? Who asks her if she would like to have dinner with their a family? Or movie, pizza and game night with the family? In conclusion let’s look out for our single sisters. Just because she can do more doesn’t mean she should. Look out for her. Let her know that her services are appreciated and most definitely encourage her.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” I Peter 5:7 KJV

Denise

Contributing Blogger of  WOVEN

Anatomy of a Prayer Group

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Have you ever been part of a small group or prayer group? Have you ever had prayer partners? Well, we have! That is right WOVEN, the writers of this blog, are a long-standing prayer group. We have prayed, cried, and laughed together for over 10 years! Several years ago, we decided that we should start praying together on a weekly basis. Why did we start this group? Several reasons, first, we each had a desire to grow closer in our relationship with God. Next, we needed wisdom and discernment in several difficult life situations that included concerns about our families, relationships, churches, and professional careers. I started a prayer journal that included our entire weekly requests to follow God and watch how He faithfully worked in the many details of all of our lives.

I titled this blog “Anatomy of a Prayer Group” because the process of forming a prayer group and all of the dynamics that occur within the group shaped the course of our friendship over the years. I have never taken an anatomy course, but I do know that the process of learning about how the human body functions can be complex and challenging. Similar to an anatomy course, a prayer group incorporates similar processes. We have examined many aspects of our own spiritual and emotional parts of lives throughout the course of our prayer group. Oftentimes what we examine in our spiritual development can be painful, yet with the support of the sisterhood, we each have someone to walk thru difficult challenges, disappointments, joy, and triumphs. Now, I must be honest and share that our group has not always met and prayed consistently, especially during the last 2-3 years, however, we have not stopped praying for each other, and with each other. Have we had challenges in our group? Absolutely! Have we struggled spiritually with different aspects of our lives? Of course! Will your prayer group struggle, change, and grow? Definitely!

Recently, I ran across one of our old prayer journals. I could not believe the way that God has answered a variety of prayer request over the years. Some prayers He answered beyond our hopes and belief, other prayers He continues to remain silent. Nevertheless, we continue to seek Him each step of the way. Perhaps you are considering starting a prayer group with a group of friends. We want to encourage you to do it now! Do not delay! God has many blessings in store and He wants you to have a deeper relationship with Him. If you have any stories of your own prayer group experience, please share with us on our blog site!

Keep looking to Him,

Valencia

Contributing Blogger of  WOVEN

New Seasons

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Finally! A warm, beautiful, sunny spring day has hit the Midwest! We have had a long winter! However, today reminds us also of the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This week we introduced our new blog site and it’s a new season of ministry, growth and change for all of us. Each week we want to also pray for you as well. Our prayer this week will focus on those who are entering new seasons whether in your families, friendships, relationships, jobs, churches, or ministry. We pray this prayer for you:
“We pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And we pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church an in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Blessings,
WOVEN

“US” United Sisters

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Who Are We: We are more than just African American Women, we are saved, single, and serving sisters.  However, we are more than just Christian single women.  We are whole women of God who serve in our churches, work in a variety of professional occupations including higher education, mental health, church, and community service.  We are women who live life to the fullest, enjoy wonderful, solid relationships with family and friends.  We are all women with different personalities, temperaments, and spiritual gifts.

Our Purpose:  The name of our blog “WOVEN”  really represents the purpose of this blog.  All of our lives have been woven together by the hand of God, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalms 139:13-16).  We know that women are all going through various issues that attack the heart of who God designed us to be as women of God.  We realize that we all face various struggles, challenges, obstacles, and discouragement that can eat at the core of our self esteem.  We, as women, need to be encouraging to each other.  This blog will provide an honest, ongoing, authentic, and sometimes humorous dialogue that will address a variety of life’s issues.

Our Goal:  We want to allow God to use our various gifts, personalities, and talents to encourage, uplift, and empower women globally.  May we glorify God in all that we say and do.

*The writer’s of this blog are four friends who love the Lord and have a heart for encouraging, uplifting, and supporting women in their walk with the Lord.  We will also feature guests “bloggers” who have the same heart for encouraging women.