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Category Archives: Women Serving Christ

Turning Away from the Former Days

Today, I want to bring you a glimpse into the blog, Happy, Healthy, Holy Home. A blog written by our dear sister in the Lord, and young mother. I want to give you an idea of how she tackles our preconceptions to the ground and reminds us that God’s word is right, good and just.

Why the Former Days are Not Where we need to Focus our Sights

Turning away from former days | R16Sixteen.wordpress.com #R1616

In this article she is bringing to light our tendency to rely on “the good old days” as if they serve as a banner for what was right and good. But, we must be careful when doing such, because the former days may not be what we hype them up to be. When we, in the church, seek to rely on the old things, we miss that we live in the here and now. We may be missing that we are the church, not that we were the church. Jesus IS, today! We must work for today, because tomorrow isn’t promised, but yesterday is gone.

When we seek to rely on what the church was, how things were in the “good old days” we may tend to belittle, exclude, or push aside those who are young. If we do this, we may be pushing them aside, quenching their desire to work for the Lord. We should rather, seek to encourage, uplift, and work alongside them both as teachers and servants, turning aside from the former days and turning to the here and now, embracing the church of today, bringing praise to God today.

Turning away from former days | R16Sixteen.wordpress.com #R1616

They Weren’t the Good Old Days [Lessons from Haggai]

Below is a preview of Chantelle’s article posted at Happy, Healthy, Holy Home. To read the post in its entirety please click over to read all that this beautiful sister in the Lord is bringing to light on His behalf.

Ah, the “good ol‘ days,” when tea was cheaper, people were nicer, and nothing bad ever happened. I think every young person has had to sit and listen while those older than them tell them how terrible things are now, how wonderful things were in the past, and how they will never be that good ever again. Everything was better then.

There is no point in arguing. Those days were the best, and they will never be that way ever, ever again… or so we are told.

In my youthful naivety, I used to believe what they said. I believed that the youth today just didn’t care as much anymore. I believed that the church was dying. I believed in the depravity of the present. I believed that the past growth was unable to be replicated.

But I don’t believe that anymore. In fact, I have come to believe that this attitude of pining for the past and putting down the future is one of the very problems we have with moving forward and experiencing church growth today, and I believe I have the Bible’s backing for my beliefs.

There is a verse that every person needs to hear, young and old:

“Say not, “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” for you do not ask wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).

Solomon was an old man full of regret. If he were to look back, he could definitely say that the past was better for him, yet he said that this was an unwise thing to do. To paraphrase, he says, “It’s foolishness to talk about the “good old days.”

But why is it so unwise to dwell upon the “good old days? Well, when you look back and wish for the good old days, you have a number of problems that you face (as outlined by my amazing husband):

It wasn’t as good as you remember. You remember one thing, but the reality is in fact that those days were far, far different from what you remember. It’s like when you live overseas and dream of the food back home, then when you get back and eagerly order your first dish, it just isn’t quite right. Hindsight is not completely 20/20. It’s seen through rose-coloured glasses.

Even if it was as good as you remember, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t change your present situation. It can never be that way again. If you look backwards instead of forwards, you will never be able to grow as God has asked you to.

It is very likely the failings of the past that have led to the problems of the present. Okay, so those days may have been good, but there must have been something lacking for the next generation to be “so bad.” As small but important things get neglected over time, things change for the worse.

Dwelling on “the good old days” gets you nowhere. When you look back, you miss the beauty and opportunities that are right in front of you. As long as you are looking backwards, you will never see the opportunities you have today to further the Lord’s cause.

by Chantelle Swayne Read the rest it only gets better.

Have you met, either online or in real life, our dear sister Chantelle Swayne? She is a young mom to a gorgeous new baby boy. She is from Australia, married to an American, and together they are serving as missionaries in Singapore. I ask if you’ve met her online because that’s where I’ve been privileged to meet her, although I’m hoping that this summer I will be meeting her at PTP.

She is bravely, boldly even, serving the Lord both in Singapore and online. She writes on her blog Happy, Healthy, Holy Home, tackling the roles of womanhood, motherhood, wife-hood, and most especially Christianity. She is sharing the truth from God’s word in every aspect of her life. She inspires me, and spurs me on with her joy, and dedication to her work.

That’s why I wanted to be sure you knew about her. If you are a sister in the Lord, I urge you to pop over and be encouraged by her yourself. You might find yourself challenged. You might find yourself looking within and asking yourself some hard questions. But, you will soon discover that it’s right and good to reflect on your heart and learn, grow and draw closer to the Lord as Chantelle encourages you to do so.

Follow Chantelle on Facebook: Happy, Healthy, Holy HomeHappy Healthy Holy Home

Team Member – Renée

 

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Join the Challenge: Learn to be a Martha with a Mary Heart

Are you a woman who struggles with finding a balance between being a godly woman seeking God through study and prayer as well as fulfilling your role of being a homemaker, wife and mother? Just hearing the question may bring to mind the example of our Sister Mary and our Sister Martha and their story of how they chose to spend their time with and for Christ.

Join the Challenge: Learn to be a Martha with the Heart of a Mary | R16Sixteen.wordpress.com #R1616

We all struggle with that balance. For them, well, they were two women. We, however are one. But the reality remains we want to choose the better part, but, we also have responsibilities. So how do we keep a clean and orderly home, provide meals for our families and still find time to study, pray, and serve the Lord within the church?

Our team member Sharla wondered the same thing. Then she came across this book: “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way, 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul.” by Sarah Mae. You can read more about the book here:Are You Mary or Martha?

Sharla discovered through this book that our goal should be to have an inviting home filled with love. The book is a guide to help you find the way to develop balance by offering you daily challenges, a Mary challenge and a Martha challenge.

So Sharla decided that it would be both fun and encouraging to start an online study group where women could encourage each other through the challenge.

“It’s really going to be a simple study and a simple house cleaning mission. I think the main purpose is to get everyone in the habit of reading their Bible and cleaning their house. It will also help women to not put so much pressure on themselves to think their house has to be perfect.” Sharla Orren

If you would like to join Sharla’s challenge group Join the 62 Day Bible & Cleaning Challenge.

It should be noted that while this book is written from a “christian” perspective, the author is not a member of the church of Christ. Sharla says that to join the group you are not required to purchase the book, but you may if you feel it will be beneficial to your ability to find this balance.

 

Posted by Team Member – Renée

 

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To Foster, Guard and Train Up

A Mother’s Heart: When Mothering the Child of Another

A Mother's Heart for Selfless Love, encouragement for the hearts of foster, adoptive or guardian parents.

There are times when a Christian woman may come to understand that God is opening her heart to mother a child who has not been born from her own body. Often these mothers are women in waiting, who find they are unable to bear children. Other times this desire grows in the hearts of moms who find they simply have more love to give. Either way, the work before them is filled with love, joy, stress, and at times a burden so profound that it makes it difficult to sleep at night.

These women seek to honor God by providing a home to a child in need. They do this through foster parenting, being a legal guardian, working in a children’s home as a house parent, or through the act of adoption. Regardless of how they come to it, the hill is rarely an easy one to climb. The support available is limited, at best, and friends who can truly understand are seemingly non-existent.

A mother who chooses to build her family by bringing children into her home and loving them regardless of any struggle that may come, has a selfless heart. It’s not easy.

Children who come into foster care, or group homes, or even are adoptable do so because, generally speaking, they are coming out of a difficult situation. Sometimes these children have been in abusive homes, neglectful homes, or have parents who are ill, in jail, or even deceased. These children are often struggling to breath and are overwhelmed by the circumstances of lives that they have no control over and suddenly they are removed from whatever bit of normalcy they know and are dropped into homes of complete strangers. While the strangers might appear to be nice, the child will wonder if they can be trusted, struggle to attach not knowing or understanding why they are there in the first place. Often, the child has no knowledge of what has taken place.

While children can be resilient, the fact is, they are innocent and tender souls who are hurting. They need loving, understanding arms and hearts, but don’t know or trust the ones that they are suddenly expected to live with and obey. They will test limits, rules, patience and love. They will distrust, rebel and disobey. They may have health struggles, mental illness or addictions that will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. And then, there is always the bit of niggling fear at the back of the mother’s mind that wonders, worries or even faces the reality of having to send a child back, back to their former life, back to their biological parents, back to their previous situation.

A Mother's Love & Protection encouragment for the hearts of foster, adoptive and guardian mothers

 

It’s not easy. In fact, it is hard. For those of you reading this who are IN this place, If you are a mom who prays through the night over a little soul that is hurting,  if you are a mom who falls to her knees in fear that the child you’ve grown to love is in danger of being pulled out of your life, if you are a mom who has a broken heart because your child has a broken heart, or if you are a mom who weeps over the pain that your little one is in, either emotionally, physically or spiritually, then we offer you a small measure of encouragement.

Encouragement for a Mom’s Heart who Seeks to Love These Children

But you dear sister in the Lord, are safe in the arms of the LORD your God. He loves you, knows you and can comfort you. He is your Strength, your Rock, your Shield. He is a High Tower who protects you and those you love. You CAN do all things through Him who gives you strength. Your sacrifice is not without merit because you are loving souls and seeking to train them up for His glory.

Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My loving kindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.

Psalm 144:1-2 NJKV

You Are Not Alone

There are times when you will feel isolated, alone and as if no one understands. But you aren’t alone. Even though each situation is unique there is a commonality in the selfless act of extending love during heartache. There is fellowship in knowing that someone else has experienced a similar struggle. Here at R16:16 we have several bloggers in our directory who have become mothers through foster care, or adoption and we want to share their sites with those of you who need some encouragement.

 

A Mother's Heart, encouragement for the soul of Christian Mothers

A Mother’s Heart

This is the first A Mother’s Heart feature that will be available on the R16:16 Blog. We hope to encourage and support Christian mother’s in their roles and daily work. You may find blog features of women who write about motherhood, or articles of encouragement for various phases of motherhood. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas in comments.

Article written by: Renee Aleshire Brown, R16:16 Team Member

 

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Undeserved Service

When Service Looks Unimaginable

unimaginable Service

Our roles in the body are complex. We have many parts to play. Learning to prioritize our roles can sometimes be a daunting task. But, perhaps, only because we make it so.

1 Corinthians 14:33, NKJV

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints”.

If we simply obey His word, put first things first and follow where He leads, we can’t go wrong.

We are called to be obedient to Christ, to worship our Father through Christ, to honor our roles in our families. Husbands are to be the head of the wife in love, wives as submissive to husbands, loving our children and being keepers of the home. Within the church we are to be submissive to our elders, working with our deacons, hospitable, loving and kind in fellowship within the body. In the world we are called to be lights of Christs love to others speaking truth in love.

For some the call to serve is in the mission field, for others it is in the local congregation and still for others it remains in the home training up children for their future service of the King. But, what if the place you are called to doesn’t at all look like what you imagined it would look like?

Lisa Smith from the blog Quirks and Chaos shares her thoughts on service when it doesn’t look like what you may have thought it would. Be sure to click See More to read through the entire post. It is a beautifully written post from the heart of a mother.

What did I do to deserve this?

Originally posted on Quirks and Chaos, Thursday, January 9, 2014 by Lisa Smith

What did I do to deserve a kid with special needs?
What did I do to deserve a kid that cannot express himself well enough to have a conversation?
What did I do to deserve a kid who cannot reciprocate my feelings of love?
What did I do to deserve a kid who can only think literally, a kid who never “gets” a joke, a kid who can never think “outside the box” or understand an idiom unless it is explained to him?
What did I do to deserve a kid that cannot empathize or sympathize with others, a kid who will never be able to see someone else’s perspective?

 See More…

Undeserved Blesssings

The Lord knows our hearts, after all He created it. He knows what we are capable of and where we can best serve within the body. He knows how we can best be of service to others and in what ways we can be glorify Him more than we know ourselves. He places us in just the right place and circumstances at just the right time. All He asks of us is a willing heart to be obedient to His will in our lives. Lisa understands this and chooses to see joy in the service of her King, even when it isn’t what she deserves.

Lisa SmithLisa Smith is a minister’s wife and the mother of seven children ranging in ages nine to twenty-five.  Lisa is a graduate of Harding University and writes Bible class material for Hanna Publications.   Her blog called “Quirks and Chaos” allows Lisa to share her experiences in parenting her two youngest children who have special needs.  Her readers are both entertained and educated as they discover what it means for a family to live with autism and ADHD.

~This Post Written by Team Member: Renee Brown

 

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In the Sowers Spotlight: Maidservants of Christ

Sending forth Christ’s Message of Unity

In our current spotlight we are featuring Maidservants of Christ.

Blogging about God's Truth

This blog is a collaborative blog by two friends Helene and Melissa. They met when Melissa started dating the best friend of Helene’s husband, she eventually married him.

Melissa now lives in Tennessee and is the mother of 3 children. Helene lives with her husband and 2 children, whom she is homeschooling, in Asia where they teach English as a second language.

While these sisters in the Lord live on opposite sides of the planet they are working collaboratively, along with occasional input from another friend, Jane, to bring focus on unity in Christ. They seek to encourage women in the word. They seek to be examples to other women that God’s desire is for us to be one in Christ and not divided by petty differences. Their goal is to provide a safe place on the web where women can discuss the truth of the word regardless of spiritual backgrounds so that they can turn the focus to Christ and his word.

Philippians 4:2-3 (NKJV)

 “I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And  I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.”

Just as the Apostle Paul encouraged these women from the congregation at Philippi, so too does Helene and Melissa seek to tell the truth with no sugar-coating, but in much love for souls.

Women's Blog for God's Truth

It isn’t always easy to reach out to others. It isn’t always easy to speak truth even when the truth leads souls to heaven. In a world where so many people deem that they have the right to seek their “own” truth opening the word in such a public was as a blog c

an be very uncomfortable. Yet that is the very goal of these sisters who are dedicated to honestly sharing the word, revealing Christs forgiveness of their own sin, and the promise the He has given through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Crown-of-Thorns

How can you help?

  • Visit Melissa, Helene and Jane on their blog, Maidservants of Christ, and join in the conversation on their regular posts.
  • Pray for each of them in the work they are doing with their families and on each side of the world in the communities in which they live.
  • Pray for the work they are doing to seek and save the lost souls who may happen to land on their web page, or those who also are regular followers.
  • Pray for their courage to be strengthened and that they will speak with all boldness of spirit, knowing that they are seeking a greater good for the lives of their readers.

Acts 4:31

“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
~ This post written by Team Member Renee Brown
**Photos are not actual representation of the two bloggers mentioned in the article.
 

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Creating a Winter Beverage Station & Instant Hospitality

In 1 Timothy 5:10, we read about how the widow who was worthy to be helped needed to be “well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.”  Showing hospitality is listed with showing kindness and bringing up children so clearly it’s an important quality that we can all be working on.

In another example, Romans 12:13 includes “seeking to show hospitality” in a long list of Christian attributes. Showing hospitality by extending your home to others is an excellent way to really connect on a personal level and to show how much you care.

Winter Drink Station or Bar is perfect for company.

You can show hospitality in many ways, but I’m going to share a quick idea that also keeps with our monthly organization theme and will have you ready to serve last minute guests.

This simple Warm Beverage Station was definitely Pinterest inspired.  You can do a quick “hot chocolate bar” search and you’ll see all kinds of ideas for how to organize one and what kind of goodies to include.  The best thing about it is that you can leave it set up all winter to be enjoyed by family and friends.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to set up a beverage station. I used a tiered basket that I’ve had for years and a set of $8 canning jars, dressed up with a little ribbon.  You can make this as simple or elaborate as you want.  However, I’ve found that most people prefer the basic mix-ins like marshmallows and creamers.

I included Russian tea, hot chocolate and coffee in mine, but you could add cider and other flavored teas.  If you have a Keurig, it would be super simple to add all kinds of beverages.

If you want to expand this idea of being ready for last minute guests, keep a ready to serve pie or cookies in the freezer.  You could also keep a roll of cookie dough in the fridge at all times, but that would be dangerous at my house.  🙂

To read more about how I set up my beverage station and get an amazing, highly addictive Russian Tea Mix recipe visit my blog, Imitation by Design.

jen

Jennifer is a wife to Alan and mommy to 2 young boys.  She stays at home most of the time, but also helps with the family business.  She is a member of the R:16 team and blogs about her favorite recipes at Imitation by Design. 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Home, Homemakers, Service, Women Serving Christ

 

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Elevating Homemaking to its Rightful Place

Home is where Hearts are Shaped for Eternity

Homemaking is Holy

I washed the dishes with a huff and a sigh, feeling grumpy and anxious about all the other (more important) things I needed to do.

The look on my face must have given me away because my husband asked, “Do you even like being a homemaker?”

My heart sank.

I felt crushed. But it was obvious that my displeasure had been clearly visible for quite some time.

The sad part was, I did like being a homemaker, but had fallen into the trap of busy and piled so much on my plate that I no longer found much joy in anything, only stress and worry.

Preparing meals had become an after thought and inconvenience; why did people have to get hungry?!

Cleaning was something that also made me crazy. I had deadlines to meet!

If the kid’s bedtime dragged on too long I began to feel antsy.

There was just so much to do and not enough time to do it.

My husband’s question was a wake up call of sorts. I began to reflect on how I was spending my time, and more importantly, how I was thinking.

I’d forgotten that homemaking is holy and that home is a mission field.

Besides weeding out the things that were keeping me unnecessarily busy, I needed to renew the view I had of myself as a homemaker. The tasks at hand in this time of life were of no less value than those trekking across the world as missionaries.

Homemaking is holy.

Elevating Homemaking

Every dish washed is an act of service to God and to our family.

Our daily sacrifice of self is a fragrant aroma, pleasing to the Lord.

Home is where hearts are shaped for eternity and a dedicated mother can change the world.

The homemaker who focuses on cultivating a warm and loving place for her family, is not only raising future generations, but impacting those around her. The love and faithfulness she has for her family shines a light for Christ.

So, why am I telling you this embarrassing story?

I’m telling you because I want to remind you of the value of homemaking. If you’re finding that homemaking is merely a back seat project in your life and really more of an annoyance than anything, perhaps it’s time to rethink things a little.

I’m not suggesting you do everything yourself or that you can only cook and clean all day long, I just want to encourage you to make room for homemaking. View your position as a homemaker as the valuable role it is.

Elevate homemaking to it’s rightful place, a holy place, an act of worship and obedience. 

Give yourself to homemaking and it just might bring you the joy and satisfaction you’ve been seeking.

Stacy KThis guest post is written by Stacy. She is the wife of a preacher and homeschool mom of three kids. She blogs at A Delightful Home where she shares tips on natural living with God at the center.

 

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