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Volume I, Issue 1: New Beginnings
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6
etter from the Editor
Welcome to the first issue of our new publication from the Women’s Ministry, Sister to Sister! We, the staff, are very excited and hope all of you will find something useful or uplifting. We encourage your participation and suggestions. Our goals are simple: Keep the ladies of our church family informed of opportunities within the Women’s Ministry; list any needs within the church family where we can reach out; get to know each other, really know each other! Since this is our first issue, we are “testing the waters.” We all hope you will find something interesting and uplifting in each issue. Many Blessings --- Martha Noe
by Diane Ellison; introduction by Martha Noe
by Nancy Anderson
“In January, anything is possible.” This was the first line in a recent newspaper article about gardening. However, it sums up how most people feel about a new year. Each New Year, people make promises and see possibilities that they do not make or see other times of the year. Beginnings seem to be full of promise, such as the beginning of a new job, the beginning of a marriage, a move to a new city. We as a society tend to choose New Year’s Day as the time to make promises to ourselves to make positive changes in our lives. After all, who makes July 1 resolutions? These beginnings are seen as a new start – a psychological break in time that allows us to put the old behind us and live up to the promise of the future. In God’s world, the time to make a new start is anytime. January 1 doesn’t mean anything to God; His calendar is totally different from ours. In Psalm 51:10, David asks God to “create in me a new heart, renew a steadfast spirit within me.” You can ask God for this at anytime and it will be granted. On January 1, February 1, or July 18. They are each the best time to start fresh with God.
I don’t think you will find a person in our church family who doesn’t know Jan Lira. She has been an active part of this family for years. About 8 years ago, Jan and her husband Danny made a prayerful choice….she would leave her full time, well paying job with Lancôme to take on the more than full time, non-paying role of Women’s Ministry leader. She felt God’s leading and because she and Danny trusted in Him, our Women’s Ministry is growing and reaching out to our congregation with weekly Bible studies, prayer ministries, visitation and many other areas. As Jan followed the leading of the Spirit, there aren’t many whose lives she hasn’t impacted in one way or another. Let me introduce you to my friend, Jan. Jan is married to Danny Lira and has two beautiful daughters. Mary is attending Harding University and Emily and her husband, Adam, live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Now you can get to know Jan… in her own words. Q: Since the theme for January is “New Beginnings,” I thought you might like to talk about your life’s new beginning in Christ. A: Sure, my favorite subject! Q: Knowing you were raised in a Christian family, what do you see as the turning point in your faith making it yours (not just how you were raised), giving you your personal relationship with Christ and a new life in Him? A: I was raised in a loving home and in a very conservative church. I began questioning some of the more legalistic views even while in college. (And I went to FreedHardeman.) I have always loved God and always prayed often. Looking back, my faith was very selfish. It was what God could do for me. Come on, God, I am doing ____ and I want Your blessings and Your help. I did not understand that I needed to be seeking what God wanted me to do until I began to hit crisis after crisis. The change came during the time of my second divorce, the death of my Dad and some other revelations that were even more devastating than the others. I became desperate enough and humble enough to cry out to God to show me the way. And, boy, did He! God came crashing out of the box that I had Him in and pursued me and loved me and forgave me and very clearly showed me His will for my life.
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Nancy Anderson Melanie Brunett Melanie Evans
Sister to Sister Staff: Sarah Bates Sharon Daniels Martha Noe
Barbara Brooks Diane Ellison Sallie Nurse
Inter view contd.
The miracles that came from letting God be in control could fill a book! The more I allowed God to work, the more He showed me. That is when my relationship with God became the most important part of my life. Living dependent on God and His Spirit might sound like a boring way to live, but let me assure you, it has been an adventure. Believe me, I do not always get it right, but I believe with all my heart. Examples of this adventure are the way that God brought Danny and I together, Danny’s business, and so much that has happened with our girls. Life with God has been the most fulfilling, fun, peaceful, rollercoaster of adventure that I could ever conjure up or imagine.
I hope and pray that others can know and love God without having to go through some of the devastation that I had to go through to start to understand God’s love. Q: What advice would you give to women just beginning their faith walk or struggling with their faith? A: First of all, I would say that God is ALWAYS faithful. If you go to Him with humility and a desire for truth, even if you are questioning, He will show you. I think that you need to be deliberate in your walk with Him. As you would with any relationship, you need to make an effort. I started with writing my prayers to God. I tend to be very A.D.D., and writing helps me focus. Also, because I was in a bad place, in the beginning, I started with writing to Him all the things I was grateful for that day. Then I would pour my heart out with all the pain and questions. I still write out my prayers or I get on my knees and talk out loud. When I have a big issue that I need a word from God about immediately, I will do a 24-hour fast, and I will write out what it is that I need His advice or help about. I have never failed to hear from Him in a big way when I took that step. I would also say that it is important to be in the Word daily. That is why I am always in a Bible study; it helps me to be accountable, and I am less likely to be lazy about that when I am in a group study. I also think that when you are in a group, you find out that you are not alone in the areas where you struggle. That has been one of the most rewarding things about the Bible studies - the way the ladies have reached out to one another with encouragement and help. It is always good to have a friend that you can trust to help you and have someone to vent to and bounce stuff off - just make sure that friend is in a good place in her relationship with God.
God came crashing out of the box that I had Him in...
Q: What is the basis of your faith? In other words, why do you believe in God and Christ? A: I know that there are a lot of very intelligent people out there who spend a lot of time thinking about and showing proof of God’s existence. But for me to say that I did not believe would be as silly as saying I did not know if Danny existed. I know because I have a personal relationship with Him. I KNOW that God is who He says He is and that His Son came to this earth to die for my sins and yours. And I KNOW that when He went back to Heaven to live with the Father, He sent His Spirit to live in His followers to help us and guide us to Heaven. I KNOW that His divine Word is alive and Godbreathed. I KNOW all this because I experience it all daily. As my own transformation happened and I began to experience God and believe with my whole heart, soul and mind, I began to hear His call to me to start this Women’s Ministry. It is my passion on earth to be God’s vessel to show other women that they have help in God, and to be authentic and real and encouraging to one another and to love each other with God’s love.
Women’s Bible Study
Please join the ladies of our congregation for weekly Bible Studies lead by Jan Lira. These will resume on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 from 7 – 9 p.m. at Jan’s home. Or join us on Thursday morning’s beginning on January 27, 2011 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the church building. This session will be a study of the Book of John. Feel free to contact Jan for additional information.
NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO WEAR USED UNDERGARMENTS
Inspired by lessons during Pinnacle a group, led by Martha Noe and Myrna McGimsey, has organized a continuing ministry donating new underwear to the Center for Women and Families four times a year. There is need for men, women and children. Adult sizes should be larger, XL, XXL and equivalent. Please leave items in the large basket near the library book display just off the foyer. Please keep in mind there will be a continuing need so please remember us throughout the year.
MOMs, our church’s ministry to mothers with young children, exists to give women the opportunity to journey through motherhood alongside others just like them. Our purpose is to learn from one another, share ideas and struggles, and to encourage each woman to grow in her relationship with God and as a wife, mother, and friend. If you are a mother of a child aged newborn through elementary-aged children, we would love for you to come be a part of a fun morning with us! MOMs meet at the building on the 2nd and 4th Monday, September to May, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Childcare is provided by loving, experienced women. At our meetings we share in breakfast and a devotional together before enjoying a presentation on fun topics that relate to marriage, parenting, friendship, or household management. We also spend time in prayer and have fun together with icebreakers and small giveaways. Some of our remaining topics for the year are: The Ins and Outs of Housecleaning, Growing in Service as a Family, Pamper Me Day, and Navigating Difficult Relationships with Parents and In-laws. If you are unable to come to meetings on Monday but are still looking for ways to connect with other moms, please join us for our MOMs Night Out! They are scheduled every other month -- watch the bulletin for details.
MOMs: Sandi Haustien
Motherhood, Beginning Anew
by Sarah Bates
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 It’s my opinion that in the pantheon of new beginnings, becoming a parent ranks first as the most challenging a person will ever undertake. It’s far more mentally taxing than starting a new job. At least in most cases, new employees have the luxury of receiving hands-on training for the tasks they’ll be asked to perform. It’s also more emotionally grueling than moving to a new city. Cities are easy to navigate thanks to mobile device apps that provide everything from directions to restaurant recommendations. And while it’s true that parenting classes and apps abound, I learned very quickly that being armed with all the knowledge available on the World Wide Web does very little to soothe your rattled nerves when your infant is awake and screaming from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. I remember feeling calm and confident before our first child was born. I had read extensively on everything from the importance of establishing a bedtime routine to the order in which you should introduce pureed foods. I solicited insight from friends and family members whose parenting skills I respected and politely listened to the unsolicited advice of everyone who felt inclined to give it. Everything else, I believed, must fall into the category of common sense, and so trusting that my husband and I were proficient in that category, I felt adequately prepared to raise a child. I learned very quickly after our daughter was born that my confidence was ill-founded. I remember talking to a close family friend and father of three about our “plan” for teaching
...I became one of those bedraggled new mothers who can’t manage to take a shower.
our infant to sleep peacefully through the night. He smiled knowingly as I referenced a book that had been given to me by a friend whose own children were champion sleepers, and when I had finished, he quietly responded, “The problem is, the baby hasn’t read that book.” As it turned out, very little of the advice I gleaned from books proved effective in my earliest days as a mother. Not only had my little bundle of joy not read those books, but she very rarely exhibited any “typical” infant behaviors, and so the books went out the window. At my lowest point, I became one of those bedraggled new mothers who can’t manage to take a shower. After wondering for years what was so difficult about plopping a baby in a swing or crib for 15 minutes, I learned exactly what was so difficult about it. Namely, the baby never cooperated. Since my daughter’s preferred napping spot was on my chest, showering during naps was impossible. When not sleeping on me, my daughter demanded my undivided attention and was quick to voice her discontent if she didn’t have it. When faced with the choice of listening to my daughter scream her head off for 15 minutes or being clean, I often chose to simply slap a ball cap on my head until my husband got home to relieve me. After weeks of sleepless nights and exhausting days, I began to question why in the world God had entrusted me with a child. Having been largely unsuccessful at following the wonderful advice I’d received, I felt like a supreme failure as a mother. Added to that selfdoubt was the stress precipitated by my rapidly approaching return to work. Almost everyone I had talked to before my daughter was born had extolled the benefits of having the baby on a “schedule” before returning to work. It allegedly made life easier for everyone, yet I had failed to execute even that one seemingly simple task.
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It was in that frame of mind that I began sifting through the mail one morning. After several weeks of a steady stream of good wishes, our daily delivery had returned to its more normal array of catalogues and credit card offers. But on that day, one small, hand-addressed envelope stood out from the rest. I slit the envelope and pulled out a single note card. In sprawling script across the card were the words “Can’t wait to see that baby!” At the top was printed, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
The words were like salve to my wounded spirit, and tears rolled from my eyes. The Lord knew my pain, and He had sent that message from Tom Meadows to reassure me, to build me up. My strength and faith in myself restored, I returned to the work of being a new mom with more confidence and joy than I had felt in weeks.I even managed to establish a “routine”, if not a by-the-clock schedule, before I returned to my day job several weeks later. And so, as we begin a new year, let us all resolve to encourage new parents as they embark on the journey that is parenthood.
I am Martha Anne Elkins Noe. It would probably surprise some of you to know I have been at this church (off and on) since birth. I have three wonderful children, Anthony – age 35, Laura – age 34 and Erika – age 31. I have two precious granddaughters, Brianna – age 13, and Katie – age 6, with two more grandbabies on the way. If you have been around awhile, you might remember my kiddos. They were raised here. Brianna is an active participant in our Youth Group. I have been single for about 25 years now. So what’s my story? Here is the one that brought me home to Westport Road. I thought my professional life would be smooth sailing until retirement. I was wrong. It began to crumble in 2005. Over the next four years, the downward spiral continued. In June of 2009, while indifferent in my faith, I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my job without another job. I really thought it was the right thing to do but talk about anxiety. I decided it was time to ask for help. I sent a message to a few friends I knew would stand in the gap and pray for me. One was to the Lira family. Well, within ten minutes of hitting the send button, I got a phone call from Danny Lira... “Can we talk?” The rest is in the history books. I started to work as Danny’s office manager in July 2009 and so started this leg of my life’s journey. After four agonizing years, I was finally where God needed me to be so He and I could take the next step.
I tried to walk with God, but needed to learn how again…to trust Him with 100% of my being. As a control freak, that is hard! I needed to take the time to listen to God. Though I tried, I failed! So the trials of life kept coming…and coming…and coming. Why was all this happening to me? I just didn’t understand. I was trying so hard. I was going to church regularly. I was spending time with God daily. Why, why, why? I was lamenting about my trials…having a bit of a breakdown. Slowly the realization came; I was fighting a spiritual battle. I pleaded “God, please bring me some hope. I need some assurance so I can have peace. I can’t take this any longer!” I opened my Bible, looking for some “sign”! Well, wouldn’t you know it, at that very moment on my deck, in Oldham County, Kentucky, the God of the universe spoke to me…me. My bible opened to John 14. I began to read as Jesus comforted is disciples. Verse 27, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Verse 30, “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me.” God’s peace came over me, the peace that passes all understanding. Yes, it is a spiritual battle. Satan is alive and well and living close by. But “he has no hold on me.” I am a child of God and He will fight for me. How does my story end? I will continue to have trials and struggles in this world that is not ours. My story ends when I see my precious Jesus and he welcomes me, His Child.
Women’s Ministr y Leaders
Bible Study – Jan Lira Singles – Carol Leigh Food Committee – Carol Gilmour Crafts – Raegan Lalli Sister to Sister – Martha Noe Prayer – Jan Lira, Myrna McGimsey Greeters – Nan Swanson Children’s Ministr y – Connie Pape Events – Diane Ellison MOMs – Sandi Haustein Preschool – Faye Holley Visitation – Blenda Fields, Gina Miller Wednesday meal prep – Nan Swanson Note Writers – Linda Engler Showers – Tara Baldwin MDO – Erin Simmons
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