Women’s Issues

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR YOUNGER WOMEN

by Debbie Huber

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  Titus 2:3-5

Time has flown so quickly that I find myself as one of the “older women” to whom the writer of this passage is speaking. It is a passage that I read with a combination of joy and fear. Joy, in that I love to be able to encourage others to love their husbands and children and to serve God in the way He has designed. There is also a little fear mixed in because this can also bring to my mind the regrets that I have, wishing I could do some things over again. But I know that God, in His wonderful kindness to me can still use even my weaknesses for His good purposes. 

I have come to see a “flip side” blessing to this charge to older women. There is a unique and treasured benefit that a younger woman brings to this mentoring relationship. I have witnessed several younger women seek out older women to help them and I have seen beautiful relationships develop and godly fruit displayed in lives. Marriages have been strengthened, mothers have been encouraged to seek God’s word instead of the strong influences of the world, and the Word of God has been the foundation. 

God has used a young mother named Samantha in my life in ways I had not realized were important. Samantha has chosen to make it important to show her care and love for me.  Knowing my children are far away she takes the time to hug me when she sees me, ask questions about me,  include me in family events, and send me pictures of her children via text or Snapchat. These small but very meaningful gestures have helped me when I am missing my own daughters. A cherished relationship of mutual encouragement has grown.  This has also spurred me to stay involved in her life so I know about her and I can pray for her and encourage her.

So younger women, God has chosen to use older women to encourage you in Godliness but in His wisdom He will use you in their lives too!  How do you find an older woman to be mentored by?  Do not wait for an older woman to find you to mentor you. Seek out godly older women and ask questions!  Get involved in service in church or in a small group and get to know the women there. 

And older women, do not feel shy about seeking to spend time with a younger woman.  Find out about their life and care for them!   If God has made this a charge to women than His purposes in it are of eternal value.

 

THE LIFE WE NEVER EXPECTED

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Book Review by Debbie Huber

“The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children With Special Needs”

Knowing that I have a special interest and love for people with special needs, Kyle bought this book for me to read on my Kindle. As an occupational therapist I want to have a better understanding for the struggles of families with special needs. 

But this book is much more than what I expected. I believe that what the authors have to say will help all who read it have a better understanding of the goodness and dependability of God and His sovereignty over suffering. 

The authors, Andrew and Rachel Wilson, have two autistic children. The children were both meeting their normal developmental milestones until the age of three when their development started going in reverse. This is called regressive autism. Their challenges are many and they share their pain with raw honesty however this is not just a book about children with disabilities…

This is a book about God. 

I was expecting anecdotes about being parents of autistic children.  But in the midst of sharing difficulties and humor, the reader is pointed to the Gospel.  They share their journey to find that God is all sufficient through it all.

For example, the Wilson’s ongoing, earnest prayer is to get a full night’s sleep. That has not yet happened for them which is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Andrew says that “I think the greatest single challenge to my prayer life has been the fact that so many prayers for sleep have gone unanswered.”  But he has learned that even when we do not know why God is not answering our prayer, we can still trust him and be thankful. 

Andrew was having a particularly frustrating and angry evening while praying for healing for his children and feeling that nothing was changing.  Not knowing where to go in prayer he started to pray the Lord’s Prayer. 

“I talked to God and meandered through parts of the Lord’s Prayer I had never seen that way before.  God heard me. I heard God.” He says, “I remember… that praying for healing and blessing at this point, after spending a while responding to God’s love, knowledge, glory, and beauty, meant that my prayers for the children were framed in a right attitude of trust and security, rather than a sofa-thumping anger and frustration.”

Their perspective of God’s grace is so encouraging.  Andrew and Rachel know that they have so much and deserve so little which brings them to a place of humility and gratitude. 

They have begun to notice even the smallest milestones or graces from God every day.  They have chosen to celebrate God’s grace in how much they have and how little they deserve so bitterness is rooted out and gratitude thrives. 

Sometimes we want to “redeem” the story, to write our own happy-ending, to glorify God in the way that WE think is best.  But God’s timing and His ways are often very different from ours. 

Rachel shares a lesson which stood out to me in a new way: 

“So I have to remember: the story is not mine to save.  The pressure to write a story that makes sense of what has happened to us, as acute as it can feel, must be resisted; God is the great storyteller, the divine happy-ending maker, and I’m not.  I am a character in God’s story, not the author of my own, and it is God’s responsibility to redeem all things, to make all things work together for good…(including)every single thing that the curse of sin has touched or tarnished.”

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to love and trust our God more. 

STOP APOLOGIZING FOR GOD!

by Debbie Huber

Are you apologizing for God?

Do your children see and hear that you love God and there is no higher priority in your life?

I am sure that most of you hope so.  But we may not be aware that we, as parents, can come across as “apologizing for God” to our children.

Our children can perceive that God is a lesser priority in how we communicate his importance for our lives.

Are you afraid that your teenager will be bored in church so you feel guilty for bringing them?

Do you give up on family devotions before school in the mornings because you feel sorry that your children will be too tired getting up early?

Do you allow sports and sporting events, birthday parties, or sleepovers to keep your family from being in church together because you feel bad since “they will be left out”? 

 

Do not apologize for the things of God! 

Rather be excited for every opportunity to be with the family of God, to worship Him, to read His word, and to love Jesus more.

The Christian life is an adventure! 

Following Jesus will not be easy but let your family know that it is worth ALL of our life and our devotion.  We “get to” go to church!  We “get to” read the Bible so know who God is! We “get to” be around fellow believers!

We will not regret the sacrifices we made for God but we will regret the “apologies” we made for Him.

 

TOO DESTRUCTIVE TO IGNORE!

Destruction is a word we use to express radical loss.

Destruction is a fearful word for good reason, and destruction is an accurate way to describe the consequences of pornography.

Pornography is a monstrous problem in our culture, in the church – and perhaps in your life.

If you don’t struggle with pornography, you know many people who do!

A struggle that was thought to be mainly a problem for young men, has now seeped into every corner of the culture, affecting men and women – young and old.

Tim Challies regularly provides excellent articles and resources on the subject of pornography through his blog @Challies

In time for Valentine’s Day, he gathered 10 of his best articles covering many aspects of this plague. There are articles specifically geared for men, women, and parents. His list contains a brief synopsis of each article to help you choose which to read.

At the end of the post, Challies gives his suggestions on the most beneficial books to read on purity and pornography, for men and for women.

Pornography is too destructive to ignore.

 

WOMEN’S RETREAT!

by Debbie Huber

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39

There are a lot of things that seem fearful in this world. Concerns for our family, our finances, our world…. How do we respond to these fears and pressures?

Many women tend to control things by attempting to fix them. We listen to the untrue voices telling us that we must take matters into our own hands. But God’s love speaks loudly to our fears and our desires to control life.

This year at Greentree Church’s annual Women’s Spring Retreat, our guest speaker, Trish Donohue, will be teaching from Romans 8 to help us see that God’s love is worthy of our trust.  We will be encouraged to love God’s truth to counteract the persistent lies that bombard us.  

And as we grow in our trust, we are called to reach out to other women to sow this love and truth of God, to build His kingdom.

Our retreat, “A Love We Can Trust”, is at the beautiful Inn at Mendenhall in Chadds Ford, PA, The hotel is nestled on an historic Brandywine Valley road between Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Museum.

If you have never attended a retreat, you are encouraged to consider coming this year. Our retreats are a unique and wonderful way to connect with other women and with our God. If you need to be matched with a roommate, we can try to help you! 

And if you have been before, look to invite someone new!

Registration is open on the church website

You must reserve your hotel room separately for you and your roommates by calling the hotel directly and requesting the Greentree Church group rate. Details are on the church website.

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS FOCUSED ON CHRIST

by Debbie Huber

When Kyle and I began raising our family we both brought Christmas traditions from our childhood together to make our own family traditions. Some of my traditions revolved around baking Christmas cookies and decorating the house. Kyle brought the traditions of creating a Christmas countdown calendar for the children and allowing the children to open their stockings in their beds when they woke up early on Christmas morning. The memories of these traditions are priceless for our family.

Another tradition that we started as a family was to read the biblical account of the birth of Christ together before any presents were opened. This kept the focus on what was most important.

In her book, “Treasuring God in Our Traditions”, Noel Piper emphasizes the importance of our traditions to demonstrate that God is at the center of all of our lives.  

“God is the reason that we have anything to celebrate.  He is the ultimate source of our celebrations. As we read in James 1:17, ‘Every good gift and every gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.'”

How would your favorite Christmas tradition change if you looked at the people you are sharing it with and thanked God that He created them, that He chose this day for them to share it with you?  We might want to plan a time to pray specifically for those people.

How would the focus of our traditions change if we looked at them to strengthen our ultimate hope in Jesus?  Do others see our joy we have because of Christ’s birth?

Let us pray that our traditions will reflect Christ and increase our delight in God.

AVOID THE AFTER-CHRISTMAS-LETDOWN

 

by Debbie Huber

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday…I had my shopping plans for these special shopping days.  I bookmarked the special Black Friday Deals website to know where all the BEST deals were to be found.  I kept all of my coupons and found all of my Promo codes.  I was ready to have a successful and bargain-filled Christmas shopping season!

Unfortunately, things like this can dominate our lives from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve.  Gift lists are made, shopping days are planned, Christmas parties and concerts are put on the calendar. Somehow we have to wrap the gifts, make the cookies, send in the teacher’s gifts, and find a way to have everyone dressed nicely for a family Christmas picture.  

Our lives are hectic right up until Christmas Day and then on December 26 we have the “Day-after-Christmas-letdown” where we are surrounded by tired and cranky family members, empty boxes, and bags of torn wrapping paper. 

It is easy to allow the hectic schedule and the “planning” to dominate your families’ lives at Christmas.  The buildup and expectation of Christmas and family is a wonderful blessing from God, but without the celebration and thankfulness for what it meant for Jesus to be born, there will be a letdown until next year. 

Jesus is Emmanuel, God With Us!  Our God was born as a baby so He could live on this Earth like us and experience the trials and temptations as we do and yet without sin so He could be sacrificed in our place for our sins. 

Jesus should be the foundation of our plans, our expectation, our celebration, and our joy of Christmas. 

Make it a priority to have Jesus and the celebration of what He accomplished as a result of being born as “God With Us” be the foundation of your family’s Christmas season.  Read about it in the Bible, sing about it at home and in your car, thank God together through prayer, and celebrate with each other about the amazing reality of what Jesus has done for us. 

Do not let a day go by without rejoicing in your heart and thanking God for the wonder of the incarnation of Christ.  Share with the unsaved people in your life about it the glory of Christmas and invite them to church! 

There may be some tiredness after Christmas, but there is no after Christmas letdown because the gospel is a reality in our lives for eternity!

WHY DOES PRAYER SEEM SO HARD?

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by Debbie Huber

Many of us struggle to pray even though we say we believe that God hears our prayers and that praying to Him is a good thing. 

There are a lot of reasons why Christians have difficulty persevering in prayer but a significant reason is that we really do not value it enough to make time for it.  We are too busy so we just say, “God help me”, or “God help them” and then we are on our way.  Does it really make that much of a difference anyway?

God has used the examples of others in my life to encourage me to see the great value of prayer. 

I can say with complete conviction that nothing has had a greater impact on my marriage than my husband’s commitment to prayer.  I remember the time, years ago, when Kyle committed to worshiping God in his prayer time and witnessing his growing desire to love and know God more because of who God is and what He has done.  And this has made our marriage relationship grow.  When I struggle with prayer, God reminds me of this evidence that God meets us in our prayers.

I have a dear friend who pursues me to persevere in prayer.  She has been battling recurring Cancer, and has family problems and financial difficulties, yet she never tires of lifting up the concerns and difficult circumstances of others in prayer.  I see her take joy in praying for others and trusting God in her prayers.  In love, she pursues me to pray with her which strengthens my desire to pray.

Paul Miller says in his book, A Praying Life, that many of us “struggle to learn how to pray because we are focusing on praying, not on God”.  The difference that I see in Kyle and in my friend is that they see prayer as relationship; and the focus is on getting to know God.  Consequently, as our relationship with God grows, we get to know our own heart as well and He changes us.

Do not wait until you feel like you have it all together to pray.  Paul Miller says to “come messy…come overwhelmed with life, come with your wandering mind.”

 

Greentree Church Women’s Ministry is hosting a live simulcast of a nationwide prayer event, “Cry Out!”, presented by Revive Our Hearts on September 23, 2016. On this night hundreds of thousands of women will gather in thousands of locations to seek the Lord together . . . for such a time as this!

What could be more vital at this critical time, than for women to get on their knees—together—to cry out to the Lord for mercy and intervention.

This three-hour prayer meeting will focus on 5 areas of prayer emphasis: 

personal, families, churches, our nation, and the world

Each segment will be led by a different keynote speaker and will include Scripture reading, a short devotional message, corporate interactive prayer, and worship.

Praying together with other believers in Christ will encourage and strengthen your personal prayer life as well as draw us together in unity and love for our God.

We will meet in the Learning Center meeting room at 6:30 with the prayer event to beginning at 7.  For more information and to register online use this link

AN IMPERISHABLE BEAUTY

I Peter 3 4 Ritaby Debbie Huber

 

Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.  I Peter 3:4

The “hidden person of the heart” that is referred to in this verse is our true self.  We are to adorn this true self with a gentle and quiet spirit.  In her book, “True Beauty”, Carolyn Mahaney conveys that this simply means to trust.

A gentle and quiet spirit is a woman who meets hardship, insults, sickness, rejection, and loss with trust, or a calm confidence in God.  She trusts because Jesus has proven trustworthy when He suffered on our behalf. There is no situation where we cannot trust His love for us. 

When she is facing unkindness, even if it is unjust, she does not hold onto bitterness or strike back.  She knows and trusts that Christ endured unjust suffering – in our place – so she can endure when she is sinned against.  When confronted with fearful situations, she trusts because she knows He holds all frightening things in his hands.

The gentle and quiet spirit promotes the beauty of Christ as she adorns herself with good works.  She does not rely on her good works to improve her standing before God because we are able to stand before God only because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  She does good works because she has received forgiveness, not to earn forgiveness.  She is unafraid to step into the messiness of the lives of others because she desires to extend the love and grace she first received from Jesus. 

This trust and good works reflects the heart of God and shines His beauty to a lost and dying world.  And this imperishable beauty, “in God’s sight is very precious.”

TRUE BEAUTY WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

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by Debbie Huber

 

“Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”  I Peter 3:4

It is reported that Jennifer Aniston spends $140,000 a year (or $8000 a month) on her beauty regimen. She is a very beautiful woman and obviously works hard at presenting herself as beautifully as she can, trying to “hold back the hands of time”. 

While very few people will spend nearly that much on our beauty regimen we still are very concerned about how our outward looks appear to the world. But as we all know outward beauty does not last forever. 

We live in a world where a woman’s identity is often defined by how she looks, what she wears, or how she feels about herself.  The Bible speaks to us about an imperishable beauty that should shape our identity: true beauty beholds and reflects the Glory of God.  We reflect His glory as we gaze on it and become completely satisfied in Christ and His beauty. 

Greentree Church is presenting a Women’s Conference entitled “True Beauty”.  The conference is scheduled from 6:30pm to 9:30pm on Friday, April 29 and from 8:00am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, April 30.  

This free two day conference will focus on who we are in Christ and challenge us to reflect His beauty to a world that seeks beauty that is unsatisfying and fading. Whatever your season in life, beholding the beauty of our Savior deepens our love and satisfaction in Him alone.

All women are invited to attend this conference. There will be Biblical teaching, worship, and small group interactions. A special continental breakfast will be served on Saturday morning.

Invite someone to come along with you!  This is a great opportunity for you to invite an unsaved friend or someone in our church who needs to be connected. A personal invitation can make all the difference. 

You must register online and can do so here

Registration deadline is Monday, April 25.