Sister to Sister: Baby G…for Joy that a Man is Born

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In the hospital hallway just now, while waiting for a procedure to be completed, so I could re-enter room 9, I read a couple of crowded bulletin boards…completely. Anything for a diversion. I walked down a hallway a couple of times. I talked about trivia with my son-in-law. I chatted momentarily with a physician. I noticed that people had stopped saying “Good evening,” and had started saying “Good morning.” The night was fast passing. I did not want to think about the pain that was occurring in room 9. The procedure should have been routine with minimal pain, but a slight complication made it long and laborious and pretty painful.  I finally commented to Ben, “I cannot believe this is taking so long.”

But you know how the child-birthing nights are passed. Anticipation is the mode of operation.  Hope is the victory. The intensity of every pain, every contraction, every dreaded procedure, every injection is eclipsed by what you are  anticipating….You are going to have a baby when you leave that place. Right now is not what this is about. This is about a sweet reward. This is about tomorrow.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:20-22).

There is a spiritual sense in which our God labored in the birth of the church. He suffered anguish at Calvary to bring us the joy of redemption. His disciples shared the sorrow as they kept the vigil of persecution and sorrow in the leaving of the man-Christ and the infancy of the body of Christ on earth, the church. It was a long night of anguish between the time when Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and the time when Paul could write that the gospel had been preached to every creature (Colossians 1:23).

Jesus bore the suffering for the joy. That’s what Hannah has done through this long night. The sun is coming up outside this hospital window and we, like the others on this hall who have labored through the night, are excited about the possibility that this may be the morning of joy. It is to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or desire that we look this morning (Eph. 3:20). We see His new mercies this and every morning (Lamentations 3:23). May the man child that is born of this travail ever bring Him glory and honor.

 

Sister to Sister: An “Aunt Clara” Day

images-17Yesterday it was my privilege to speak to sisters at the East Main church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It was one of the best planned days of which I’ve ever been a part. Those ladies had anticipated just about every possible scenario and each transition had been carefully organized. I have never seen a smoother ladies event. There were 60 churches from four states represented.

I almost wished they could have had some trouble with the power point or with the sound system. Maybe they could have at least pitched a song too high or run out of food or something— because their perfection was a stark contrast to my repeated and public blunders throughout the day.

First I came in with two purses, one on each shoulder. Now one of those purses was the little striped purse that pretty much matched what I was wearing—the one that’s cute, but can’t possibly hold all the stuff that I need to take on a road trip. That’s the one I meant to bring in the building with me. But, in my preoccupation with getting my books and props in, I somehow  grabbed both the little striped purse AND the very big, very old, very full blue and purple paisley bag that definitely clashed with the grey and beige ensemble. Those two clashing  bags made their way through a lot of meeting and greeting as this “bag lady” proceeded through that wonderful group of women.

Then as I got up to speak, I somehow got that ear-wired microphone thing on backwards, so that, instead of being in front of my right cheek, that microphone was on the back of my neck. Having remedied that, at last, it was only a few more minutes before the whole microphone apparatus fell crashing to the floor, taking with it one of my dangle earrings, which bounced and rolled toward the right aisle.

Having received instructions to meet some ladies at a side exit following the third presentation, so that I could reach the fellowship hall before the crowd, so as to give me a little prep time for the upcoming Q and A session, I followed them to a large stairway, where I promptly dropped my purse (the striped one) which had become entangled in my microphone cord. The microphone dangled and fell, too. Then, while a sweet young sister was helping me get untangled, I also proceeded to drop my Bible which went flip-flopping down the stairs as papers fell from it and scattered all up and down the stairs.

The sweet girls helped me get it all picked up, proceeded to help me get some food and took me to the elders’ office (where my laptop had been placed so that I could take a few minutes to look over some notes)…This is where I spilled a big cup of lemonade and ice all over the elders’ desk and its accompanying notes and materials, and all over the carpeted floor.

And in that very office is where I accidentally left my laptop as I drove off a few hours later.

And finally, on the way home, I got into fairly familiar territory, and began ignoring the voice on my GPS, in deference to those phone calls I needed to return.  I got into a conversation with my sweet mother-in-law about my sweet Baby G and, before I knew it, about 15 minutes later, I realized I was revisiting every scene I had passed 30 minutes prior. Sweet Baby G had just waltzed into my mind again and taken all of my sense of direction and logic away.

I felt like Aunt Clara. Does anybody remember that bungling, stuttering old woman from the 1960’s-70’s “Bewitched” sit-com? That’s who I was yesterday! The harder I tried to be  dignified and poised, the klutzier I became. The greater my determination to be productive, the more directionless.

Some days are like that. Here are some lessons that I need to learn from my “Aunt Clara” days which may possibly become more frequent as I embark on grandmother-hood (but let’s hope not—three out of every five is enough, already).

  1. Sweet sisters do not look at “bag ladies” and say “You sit down by my footstool.” They hug you and welcome you and, instead, say “You sit here in a good place” (James 2). And that’s a good thing.
  2. Fashion is far less important than getting the Word out there. (You can let the earring go ahead and bounce down the aisle, but you have got to get that microphone off the back of your neck and in front of your mouth.) The ladies at East Main were on target with getting the Word out. Five lessons in one short day on the things in our culture that are “all mixed up” was a Word-dissemination marathon! I loved it! We should all be on target about getting the Word in the “microphones” of our lives!
  3. Don’t use your Bible for a purse or a filing cabinet. My husband has said that many times to me. On that stairway, I wished I’d listened.
  4. If you are having an “Aunt Clara” day, choose water. It’s better for you on any day, but but if you are pretty sure you’ll spill it, it’s the best choice. (And always, ALWAYS choose THE water [Revelation 21:6] It’s the remedy for ALL life’s biggest messes.)
  5. Always re-visit every room you have visited before leaving a place and scan for lost items. That rule, applied diligently, could have saved a nice belt, a phone cord, and a diamond ring for me this year. But those are just things. Most importantly, before leaving the planet earth, we should all be revisiting our places of influence, constantly scanning for lost people and diligently trying to retrieve them for eternity.
  6. Don’t allow distractions to outdo directions. It’s just a very common spiritual mistake that we make. We start listening to the wrong conversation. We start allowing our minds to get fully engaged in what’s happening here and now and forget where we are going. We listen to the phone rather than the GPS. We start traveling away from the target destination of heaven rather than toward it (Colossians 3:2).
  7. If you are going to have one of those days, it’s nice to be on theme. At least the ladies day theme was “All Mixed Up”!

Have a great and focused day for Him!

Dear Baby G…

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Dear Baby G,

You make life exciting these days, never knowing at which moment my phone may ring and I’ll be grabbing my bags and heading south; hoping I will make it in time to be with your mom and dad in the delivery room. I’ve never been anywhere but in the bed in a delivery room. I’m not sure how I will feel there with your dad watching the little girl to whom I gave birth giving birth to you. I’ve been trying to tell that girl, your mama, not to be afraid. I think maybe the health professionals these days give a few too many classes. They have your mom wondering if the most natural things in the world, like giving birth to you and breast-feeding you and nurturing you are extraordinary feats requiring exceptional ability. But you and I are on the same page about this. We know that just because you will be a boy with exceptional abilities to accomplish extraordinary feats, that doesn’t mean that it really takes a lot of know-how to get you going. God will just keep on doing what He has done for about 60 centuries and you will, with His help, make your entrance into the world whether your mom and dad remember all the stuff from childbirth class or not.

Still I am glad they wanted to go. You are a very blessed little boy. The majority of children in America today do not have two diligent parents who are married to and in love with each other. About one in five pre-born babies, like you, are not even wanted by their parents and their lives are terminated before they ever leave the womb. You are wanted, loved and joyfully anticipated by two parents and two sets of grandparents, neither of whom can quite comprehend why all of their friends who are grandparents have lost some of their social skills and a great many of their “other” interests. (You know who you are, you “Mimi”s and “Lolly”s.) I mean they seem normal till someone brings up some funny grandchild-ism.  Then the conversation turns into a senior talk tourney where the object is to keep one-upping the tales of grandchild antics and the champion is determined by who told the last and loudest “little punkin”  funny before the pictures started inevitably coming out. I said we do not fully understand the grandparent games, but I did not say, Baby G, that we do not want to play on your behalf!

And, by the way, sweet baby…your parents are crazy (in a good way, but they are crazy)! Did you know that while you were stretching and kicking and pushing with all your might on those hip bones, your mom and dad were moving into a new house??!! That right! At 39 weeks, your mom was moving! Thanks to Brian and Beth Giselbach, Glenn Colley, Mike, Beth and Will Tidwell and the great crew from Apologetics Press (www.apologeticspress.org…you should go buy a book and tell them I sent you!), we got that huge truck loaded! But did you know that the huge moving truck broke down on the way to that house and that all your sweet little belongings had to kind of slide toward the back of that truck as it was hooked up to a massive tow truck!!?? It was the sort of moving-truck-tow-truck day that you will dream about experiencing when you are three, but it was a nightmare for your folks. And then getting to your new house was an adventure, too. It was  three days without water and four days without hot water!  Your grandmother has not had a hot shower for three days now. (It feels like a South American mission trip!) And did you know that we checked into three hotels in a ten hour period as we tried to shield your mom (and me) from the cough we inevitably get from smoking rooms? (You can thank us later for the low numbers on your richter scale in there.)

But I said they are crazy in a good way. The good way is that all their moves, their decision-kind of moves and their real-truck-kind of moves, are because they love souls. I really believe that. And I really believe they love yours the most of all. They are in the business of helping kids to heaven as they work with Lads to Leaders and as Ben preaches for the Lightwood church. You are blessed to be in a family whose craziness is about the Lord’s business.

So some wee small hours in several mornings have made your sweet little room come together…and at last, I even got to wash your clothes…with running water! You have to move soon, too, and now you have a home!  It may be the only room in your house that is “together”, but you have a bed, a changing table, a chair for being rocked and a closet full of clean clothes. You are blessed. I can’t wait to help teach you to say please and thank-you to your crazy mother and father. But, mostly, I’m excited to teach you to say thank-you to your all-providing, all-wise Father. He is the One who is always there in every wee small hour, making sure you have a forever home! I love you, Baby G!

Sister to Sister: One More About the New Study!

AlissaHanna(Remember that the Digging Deep t-shirt deadline is today (9/8) at noon. Several have contacted us asking about t-shirts ordered but not received. We do have to order all of the t-shirts from the company in bulk. Thus shortly after we have all of the orders in, we will place the order with the shirt company. Their turn around time is minimal since they already have the design ready from our previous order for PTP (the ones we gave away on stage and the ones purchased at the book-signing table.) So all of the shirts will be mailed at once within the next couple of weeks. We appreciate your patience. If you do not have your shirt prior to October 1st, please do let us know.

More importantly, we are blessed to have hundreds of women participating in the new prayer study. New groups, individuals and classes are popping up around the country and some even around the world.  One school teacher wrote to me and told me about a group of denominational girls who are studying along with her on Thursday mornings before classes begin in her local public school. What a great encouragement she is to me and what a blessing she is in that school! Another encourager is Alissa Hanna who lives in Grand Bahama. Here’s the letter she sent to her sisters to invite them. Perhaps you know someone whose life may really be needing prayer. You may want to send such an e-mail or letter to someone you know.

 

Hello Sister,

I am excited about doing the Digging Deep Bible study series this year. I hope you will join me.
Here is a link to information to get you started from the author of the study. Attached is a Word version of the study by month (converted from pdf) so you can type your answers using a different color text (or whatever format you would like).
I hope you will devote yourselves to the study. You will be blessed by it! There are live podcasts ( audio and video Bible Studies on the topics once each month) that we can do as well… all of which are mentioned in the “getting started” blog (link provided above). If you were looking for a way to move to the next level in your walk with God, this is it!
Let’s grow together.

In Him,
Shameika Alissa

Sister to Sister: “I’m New. How Does the Digging Deep Study Work?”

Digging DeepSeveral first-timers are asking for details about exactly how to do the 2014-2015 Digging Deep study. Some have invited others (yay!) and these very significant “others”are needing the format for the study so they can begin with confidence. It’s so easy that it’s hardly worth a post, but, just in case you are overwhelmed with back-to-school, home-schooling, PTP exhaustion, or, better yet, congregational involvement overload, here it is: the study in a nutshell.

  1. Every first day of every month beginning now, a new portion of the study will appear on the Digging Deep in God’s Word facebook page. That’s the place to find a concise copy of the current month’s study and the place to discuss the dig with others all over the world. Go there and see the discussion already happening! This year’s study has also been made available in a couple of forms in it’s entirety. (Thanks Joy Jensen.) Unto Thee O Lord
  2. Be sure and join the Digging Deep for Encouragement facebook group as well. That’s the place for any prayer requests that are unrelated to the study. (It’s hard to find prayer requests that are totally unrelated to a study of prayer, BUT we will still try to put all of our news and prayer requests on this page for encouraging each other.)
  3. Try your best to pace yourself throughout the month so that you can finish each month’s study by month’s end.
  4. Keep your notes digitally or get a Digging Deep notebook. Either works fine. You just need someplace for notes!
  5. Near the end of each month, there will be a live podcast discussing the month’s study. You will be able to type in your comments and questions in this chatroom and we will discuss them together: http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women   All podcasts will be archived on this site, as well, so if you can’t listen live, you can listen later. It generally will occur on the last Tuesday of each month, but we will let you know the exact schedule well in advance on the podcast and on both of  the facebook pages. (If you want to go and listen to podcasts from other years, you may do that, too.)
  6. You may optionally subscribe to this blog which will often, but not always, be an addendum to the study. It generally posts twice a week, usually on Mondays and Thursdays: http://thecolleyhouse.org/
  7. The last podcast of the year will come to you live from ‘Polishing the Pulpit”during that annual conference that occurs each August. Those present who have completed the entire study will be recognized there and, this year, we will also have a special Digging Deep prayer session at PTP.
  8. I’m also excited to tell you that you can order a 4 CD set which complements this reading schedule. The CDs contain tips and tools for getting the most out of this study, as well as an exegesis of the Hebrews writer’s admonition to be carnivorous (meat-eaters) in our study. Just call House to House/Heart to Heart at 1-877-338-3397 (toll free) and ask for the Digging Deeper CDs by Cindy Colley. The PTP team has put together this set, especially for the Digging Deeper Group, for only ten dollars. Several have already ordered and I understand the sets will ship immediately. Be sure to say that you would like the Digging Deep 4 CD set from 2011. This might be helpful but it is totally optional. The study does not depend on this set in any way.
  9. Anyone who wants a Digging Deep t-shirt, be sure and order by next Monday at noon at: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/~/product/category=7007069&id=39322979

We are always indebted to the elders at the West Huntsville church for their support and oversight. We are thankful for Jennifer Benavides for tech support and for every woman who co-hosts on our monthly podcast. But we are especially thankful for those of you who are committing to, persevering in and inviting to this year’s study. It’s not too late to invite friends. Most of all, we thank the Father through the Son for this great study from the Holy Spirit!

There’s a blessing in prayer—in believing prayer—when our Savior’s name to the throne we bear. And a Father’s love will receive us there. There is always a blessing—a blessing in prayer!

Sister to Sister: Kick-Off Time Is Now!

West Huntsville Church - Keep Calm and Dig Deep PROOF2It’s a red-letter day for Digging Deep. We officially begin our fourth year of studying together today as we kick off our brand new 2014-2015 study of prayer, “Unto Thee, O Lord”.  You can find the study here: Unto Thee, O Lord.  The first podcast will be on September 30th at 7 pm CST at http://new.livestream.com/whcoc/for-women. Many of you have told me that you are glad for the topic this year; that it has come at a needed time or that it is something for which you have been wishing. I  am among those who really need this study. I want to no longer need to set alarms and MAKE myself pray.  I want my DESIRE—my LONGING for prayer to increase. I want to pray more frequently, even if some of my times with my Father are shorter and more intense. I want to truly pray without ceasing. I know I can do this. This group holds me very accountable and that’s a good thing. I have been richly blessed by that accountability. I will be in prayer that many and sincere souls will be making this trek with me this year. I believe this dig will bring us at last to a mountaintop next August. I believe we will be better able to look at the big picture of His Providence and better able to look over and see the promised land where many of our loved ones are already waiting. I just believe we will have a greater faith and that we will live more confidently as praying Christian women. I really want that for all of us. Let’s do this!

Some of you have asked about the T-shirts that were given to those women who completed last year’s study AND were present at the live podcast in Sevierville. They are available at http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/~/product/category=7007069&id=39322979. They are $10.00 and I will be placing the order one week from today as I shoot for a quick turn-around time of 2-3 weeks for those who order.  Several of you have already ordered, but if you want one, please order by noon on Monday, September 8th.

Here’s a photo of our live podcast and those women present who had done every last bit of the 2013-2014 study prior to the podcast. I am so blessed by them and all of you who completed the “Knowing God”study. It was a tremendous dig for me with many unexpected treasures emerging. I love the Word!

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