Dear Reader

,
Freedom is a wide space. The writer of Psalm 119 illustrates this in verse 45: “I will walk about in freedom for I have sought out your precepts.” The word “freedom,” as used in this verse, literally means “a wide space.” Within the 66 books of God’s precious Word, we find a wide place to run free from the chains that bind our hearts. In verse 32 of Psalm 119 the writer says, “I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.” The beautiful thing about the Word of God is that it transcends the boundaries of earthly confinement. It’s the heart that runs free regardless of our physical limitations or location. The writers for this issue have put hearts on the page. We pray you will find a personal treasure of God’s truth here that will enable you to hold your flag of freedom higher, with more certainty than ever before. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Up for a jog?  Peace,

Mary Ann

We appreciate hearing from our readers. Please let us know how this magazine has touched your life. You may send your e-mails to:
thejourney.betweenthelines@gmail.com

Between the Lines is a magazine of the Journey, a ministry of Christ Church Fairview Heights, IL. © 2013, Christ Church. mychristchurch.com Graphic Design by Michelle Sweeten

Between the Lines • Summer 2013 • Volume 3, Issue 3

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In the next issue: Love! This Issue’s Theme: Freedom Verse of the Season: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then,

and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).

Meet the Contributors
Emily Climaco, Ph.D., is a Journey Team member and the volunteer editor of Between the Lines. The wife of Phil and mom of Caroline, she spends her “free time” being silly with her four-year-old daughter and writing on her blog, www.commonplacesoil.com. Joanna Eckley has recently entered the world of blogging. She enjoys sharing through her writing what God is teaching her. She has been married to her husband, Brett, for six years. They have recently moved to Houston, Texas. She is embracing the new adventures God has called her to. www.teameckley.wordpress.com Sabra Nyboer has been in the Air Force for 25 years; she joined Christ Church in September 2009 after moving to Scott Air Force Base. She lives with her sons, Sean and Troy, in O’Fallon, Illinois. She attends Christ Church’s Collinsville/Maryville Campus, leads a weekly Bible study in her home, and also leads a Summer Smorgasbord study. Lindsay Tallman is a freelance writer who writes about family and faith. Her work has been featured in Thriving Family and Family Fun magazines. When she’s not busy writing or tripping over toys, she enjoys reading, traveling, and playing with her quirky kids. She and her family live in O’Fallon, Illinois, and worship at Christ Church. www.lindsayntallman.com Mary Ann Turner is the leader of the Journey Team at Christ Church. A former elementary school teacher, she is the wife of Mark, mother of two grown children, and grandmother to two precious little boys. She enjoys great conversations, hiking with her family, and encouraging others to grow in their Christian faith. www.maryannturner.com

For more information on the Journey ministry or to sign up for a free subscription to this magazine, please take a look at www.mychristchurch.com/thejourney.

Just a Little
by Mary Ann Turner

Over the
Edge
You are a new creation. And you are free. Over time you will become more and more like me, as you yield to my Spirit and learn my Word. The Bible is my Word to you; it has all that you need to help you to run freely within the spacious place of God’s good and perfect will. In my thirties and forties, as I matured, I experienced much growth in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I enjoyed the sweetness of his company as I read my Bible during quiet moments alone with him. I experienced many powerful answers to prayer and learned to recognize his gentle whispers speaking to my heart. Peace, beyond anything I could humanly comprehend, gave me rest. God also gave me many special opportunities to influence others for the cause of Christ. Somewhere along the way, without realizing it, I stepped back behind self-made prison bars again. I felt restless. I wanted something more. I prayed for months, asking God to

I loved Jesus so much in my twenties that I threw all of my record albums in the trash. I wonder if Jesus felt loved or if he thought I just went a little over the edge. Sometimes, in our zeal as new Christians, we go overboard. Instead of experiencing our freedom in Christ, we make a fence around our choices—only listening to Christian music, hanging out only with Christian friends, and rarely venturing outside our cozy prison cells. I have no doubt that Jesus knows that I love him. I never asked him if he thought I had gone a little too far when I tossed the albums. Based on what it says in the Bible, if I had asked the question, his answer may have sounded something like this: Mary Ann, I know you love me. You don’t have to prove your love by completely detaching yourself from the world. In fact, I want you to be in the world so that you can tell others about me. Because you have believed in me, my Spirit lives in you.
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take me deeper. I prayed for him to teach me something new. I thought perhaps I would find a new Bible study that would rock my world. Instead, I developed a severe nerve compression caused by a herniated disc and needed surgery. I found myself quieted before the Lord. My prayer had been answered in a way that I never would have imagined or chosen for myself. God showed me during this time that the one thing that would rock my world forever is to bow deeper in humility and to press even closer to Jesus through stillness and through his Word—not for how much I would know, but for how much I would know him. As we acquire more and more knowledge it is possible for us to become filled with spiritual pride. Pride truly is a prison cell. We build the walls ourselves and yet we can’t see them. During the time of my surgery and recovery, God was gentle with me

and I truly felt carried by him. He knows my heart. As I rested physically and spiritually, he stilled and quieted my soul (See Psalm 131). The restlessness was gone. He’d broken open the door to my cell. During the last nine years, since the surgery, I’ve experienced a new depth of freedom and love. I know beyond a doubt that Jesus loves me. He loves you, too. His love is more than we can grasp in this lifetime. Our freedom in Christ is a precious gift. Sometimes when I am at home by myself I dance around our living room with thanks to Jesus. It’s quite a unique combination of fun and reverence! Perhaps I should have kept those old record albums? No worries, I’ve got a few of my old favorites on CD for those times when I just need to go a little over the edge! Let the dancing begin!

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Held
by Lindsay Tallman
I met my dear friend Beth Baughan thirteen years ago in New Jersey. After four years, the Air Force sent us in separate directions. But in 2008, our paths crossed again here in Illinois. Last summer, Beth asked me to help her write her personal testimony as part of the fitness ministry she was starting. I was amazed by her story and asked her if I could share it with our readers. Hers is a testimony to the freedom that only Christ can offer. Beth just celebrated her fortieth birthday. She’s happily married and raising two kids in the suburbs. She’s living out her dream of helping people through her fitness ministry and personal training, health, and nutrition business. Her life is beyond anything she could ever imagine because it hasn’t been an easy road to get to this point. She says, “It’s a miracle that I made it to forty.” Tears fill her eyes as she tells me, “God has gone before me and already had a plan for my life.” Growing up a military brat, Beth recalls her childhood as mostly happy. She loved both of her parents and was devastated when they abruptly divorced when she was six years old. Despite her desire to live with her mom, Beth’s dad won primary custody. They started attending church, and she hated that she was forced to go. Today she is extremely thankful for it. She spent summers and holidays with her mom. At
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age thirteen, Beth spent Christmas with her mom and had to break the news that the Air Force was moving them to Hawaii. Beth’s mom was very upset, and on January 2 Beth received a phone call with the news that her mom had committed suicide. Devastated by the loss of her mom, Beth lived her teenage years in shock, denial, and rebellion. Even though she had accepted Christ, she spent her high school years partying and running from her life. Her escape from reality ended abruptly when she tragically fell out of a jeep at age seventeen. Despite the head trauma, she did not tell her dad about the accident, but found herself in a deep depression just two months later. Shortly after the depression set in, she had her very first manic episode. She was hospitalized just before her high school graduation and diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Battling with bipolar disorder presented many challenges during Beth’s college years. She was hospitalized multiple times and struggled to find medication to control her manic/depression cycles. After a failed suicide attempt, she was hospitalized at a facility that had a running group. She began running for the first time and found that despite many different medications, running was the most effective. In 1998, Beth met her future husband

and her life took a dramatic shift. God had answered her prayers for a man who would love her unconditionally. God also helped her discover that exercise, nutrition, and medication kept her balanced and healthy. She remained healthy until after her children were born when she tried going off of her medication in the hopes that she had outgrown the disorder. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and she ended up in the hospital again after another failed suicide attempt. During all of the ups and downs of her illness, Beth continued to pursue a relationship with God and grow in her faith walk. She now begins every day with prayer and her Bible. This practice has changed her life completely. She has found freedom and new life in Christ. She is healthy, happy, and sees her bipolar disorder as a gift that allows her to see how important it is to balance physical, spiritual, and mental health. Her unique perspective allows her to help others who are struggling to find balance in their lives. I asked Beth how sharing her story with other women has changed her l i f e . She says, “Shari n g my story has made me freer.” She’s been amazed at how God has used her testimony to minister to the many women silently struggling with depression or bipolar

disorder. Someone told her after hearing her testimony that she transforms lives. She was quick to reply, “I do not. God does.” Beth hopes her ministry to others continues to grow, but she is at peace knowing that God is in control and will get all the glory for anything he does in her life. She ends her testimony with the following words: I surrendered 100 percent to God. I was super hard-headed. God never stopped pursuing me. I have been in some crazy hard places. God has delivered me. If you met me on the street today, you would never know all these things about me. I am blessed. I am in relationship with Jesus. I will never walk away again. It took a lot for him to get my attention. He never gave up. I am His. And because I am His, I am free. If you would like more information about Beth’s ministry, contact her at fitnessinmotion@gmail.com or www.fitnessinmotion.net.

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“. . . to give his life as

Photo by Julie Crask www.works4water.blogspot.com

a ransom for many . . .” ~Mark 10:45

What do you think about when you hear “freedom”? Being free to do what you want? Have you ever wondered how someone in jail or prison can be free, while others live normal lives but are not free? People in jail can be free because they find Jesus, the only one who can set us free! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). And the more we know Jesus the more we seek to know the truth: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The struggle for most of us is to stay free and not go back to our old ways: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). The Journey Team and Prison Ministry Team at Christ Church have joined hands in starting a pen pal relationship with the women in the St. Clair County Jail. Why is this an important part of freedom? Think about a time in your life when you hit rock bottom. Did anyone encourage you? Pour
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scripture into you? Pray for you? Or maybe, like me, a friend introduced you to Jesus. This would be one way to give someone a new kind of freedom they have never known before. We hope to offer the women in the jail encouragement and freedom through these pen pal relationships. We believers know the power of Jesus and what he can do. We hear testimonies every day of the way Jesus works that we can’t otherwise explain. Think about living in a bad situation but finding freedom and a new life—a joy you have never known before! Believe in Jesus; trust in Jesus! So today, what keeps you from enjoying your freedom that Jesus died for? Do you trust Jesus? Are you encouraging others to find freedom in Jesus? Jesus, we thank you for the freedom that only you can provide us! Keep us focused on you and your Word. We believe that you are all we need, and we can do anything with you in our lives. Amen!

was sent “. . . to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free . . .” ~ Luke 4:18

JESUS

said to his followers, “. . . If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free . . .” ~ John 8:31

holds all authority, and “. . . What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open . . .” ~ Rev. 3:7

completely saves: “. . . For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him . . .” ~ John 3:16-17 -EC
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Journey Fall

Conference
October 19
9:30 am - 2:30 pm Christ Church
(October Conference Ad)

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Melissa Bishop The cost is $10 Lunch is included Childcare will be available Buy tickets at mychristchurch.com/events

Keynote Speaker:

Triumph through Tribulation
by Joanna Eckley I don’t remember a time in my life when I did not struggle with worry and anxiety. From the time I was a young child I would allow my mind to fixate on different concerns until I was trapped by them. This became a pattern that repeated itself so frequently that I did not realize that I was living in a prison of my own making. The simple pattern of worry and doubt continued throughout the years until my junior year of college when my anxiety became crippling. I began to suffer from debilitating panic attacks. These attacks would last for days at a time and ultimately resulted in a leave of absence from college. Over the course of the next few years God journeyed with me through a very dark place. While there were times that I was very lonely, I was never alone. God gave me his Word daily and filled my life with a wonderful earthy support system. He gave me his Word that says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zeph. 3:17, ESV). While anxiety is still a very real struggle in my life, I have come to know that God is my sustainer and there is absolutely nothing I fear that he cannot overcome. It is in these darkest places that Christ’s light has shined so brightly, lighting my way out of the dark corners of my mind and into the healing recesses of my heart where Christ dwells. I am so thankful now for having been forged through these difficult periods, being refined for the new adventures God has in store for me. Joyfully, I was able to return to college and complete my degree—this time in psychology—with a dream to counsel those who struggle with like anxieties. Do you struggle with fear and doubt? God has promised us in his Word to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6). Invite Christ to dwell with you in all areas of your life. He has the key to unlock the prison that seems to contain you, and he can free you to experience true joy and peace.
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Prison Break!

by Emily Climaco

As I drive across town to pick up my daughter from preschool, I realize I don’t have my cell phone. In the rush of leaving the house—and bringing some bread for the geese at the park—I’ve left my phone at home. It’s too late to turn around, so I drive on. As I go, I become unsettled, then jittery. This is a weird feeling. What makes me so nervous about spending the afternoon without my phone? My mind begins to reel. What if I need to call 911? In my entire cell phone history, I’ve called 911 only once, after witnessing a car accident. Before picking up my daughter, I go for
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a walk in the neighborhood near her school. Is it safe to walk without my phone? In broad daylight? Is it really a safety issue? No, it’s an issue of addiction. How will I check my e-mail? What if someone tries to call me? What if I want to take a picture? What if I get bored? Restlessness, irritation, flitting from thought to thought: these are classic withdrawal symptoms. We had a great afternoon at the park, but I reached for my phone many times. When we got in the car Caroline asked, “Mama, can I please have your phone?” She likes

to watch Curious George on it. I told her it was at home. She wanted to know how I could be in the car with my phone at home, as if it were a vital medical device without which I may die. My explanations did not satisfy her. “Addict” has a revealing etymology: its Latin root, addictus, means assigned or surrendered. I’d become assigned, surrendered—let’s just say it: enslaved—to my phone. And this wasn’t my phone’s fault; this was self-surrender. Who in her right mind would put herself in slavery? One could argue there are worse addictions, and certainly there are more traumatic and health-altering ones. Yet where my treasure is, there’s my heart. “How can you drive the car with your heart lying on the kitchen counter?” Caroline’s confusion implied. God created us for freedom. Paul advises the Galatian church to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). That is, I am to be the captor vigilantly guarding my heart, not the prisoner to my phone. God is merciful—he’s not our captor but our liberator, our redeemer. Christ came that we might be free, no longer enslaved, assigned, or surrendered to banal junk but redeemed and transformed for things of greater eternal value. Former

slaves become heirs by virtue of adoption: “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Gal. 4:7). Paul is writing to his own people who are confined to the law—enslaved to things that are less than God. These passages also may apply to those already in Christ but enslaved to addictions whether seemingly harsh or mild. He continues: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God— how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Gal. 4:8-9). Of course not! What free person would willingly return to slavery? I’m calling for a prison break, starting with my attachment to my phone. For me, it boils down to attention. Will I give more weight to momentary distractions, such as e-mail, calls, Facebook alerts, or to the things that really matter? My first step is to be conscious of the object of my attention, setting my heart on things above and on the people in front of me (Col. 3:1). Join me? Let’s throw off the chains we willingly wear like jewelry and seize the freedom that’s ours in Christ.

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