October 23, 2017

Captivating: Chapter 12 – An Irreplaceable Role – The Power of a Woman’s Life

Mary responded, I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.    

Luke 1:38

IT ALL STARTS WITH AN INVITATION….  Invitations to the prom, the Christmas party, New Year Eve’s party, your best’s friend’s wedding, and even your own wedding.  Whether the question is ‘will you be my date’ or ‘will you dance with me’ or ‘will you marry me,’ things turn around upon your acceptance.

Just like a gentleman would ask you any of the above questions depending on where you are in life, so too does our God.  God does not bulldoze himself into our lives.  He invites us to the most important and irreplaceable role in this world; and everything depends on our answer.

Stasi Eldredge takes us through the life of Mary, a teenager who is betrothed to Joseph.  The Angel comes to her and gives her the news that she is to have a child—not just any child—but the Son of God.  Imagine with me how it was… First of all, the message is being delivered by an Angel—a heavenly being with wings and full of light.  Secondly, Mary is a teenager who has not yet slept with her fiancé, Joseph, (or anyone else for that matter).  And thirdly, this child she is going to have is the Son of God. How is it going to happen?  This must have been a conversation to discuss with your family at length before saying yes, right?  But not so with Mary.   “Mary responded, I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true” (Luke 1:38).

Most of us have received invitations to do something for God.  But, unlike Mary, we have and still continue to deliberate over our answer.  We ask ourselves “Is this really God?”  “What if I fail?”  “I am too young or too old to go on a mission’s trip.” “What will my family, and friends think of me?” The debate within ourselves goes on and on until we convince ourselves not to do it.  We hide in the words: “I have prayed about it and my heart is at peace.”  Wait a minute!  Your heart is at peace for refusing an invitation to do God’s will?

What would have happened if Mary said “No.” to the Angel?  If she had told him that she was too young to be a mother or that she was afraid that if she got pregnant out of wedlock the elders of the village would throw her out of the village and stone her to death or Joseph will divorce me if he hears I am pregnant.  All these were valid reasons to say “no.”  But Mary chose to trust God and said “Yes!” to the most important and irreplaceable role of her life.  She said “Yes” to become the MOTHER OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

My sister, you and I have an irreplaceable role to play in this world. God is waiting for us to accept that role so that He can use us for His glory.  You and I have the power to influence our world for God.  As our precious authors point out:

“There is much lifesaving that needs to be done yet, and someone needs to do it. Not in a pressure-filled, You’d better get to it kind of a way. Rather, an invitation. Your feminine heart is an invitation by your Creator. To what? To play an irreplaceable role in his Story. Isn’t that what your Lover wrote there? Some dream, some desire, something so core to who you are it almost hurts to think of it. The very longing is such a part of your being it’s scary even to give it a voice. You may not know the dream itself yet. But you know the longing to play an irreplaceable part. That is a good beginning.

Ezer is woven into the fabric of your feminine heart. You must live this out. What lives, what destinies are hanging on your “Yes” to God?”

My prayer is that we will all accept this invitation by our Creator in order to become who we are meant to be.  Our callings may be different.  Some of us are called to be mothers, wives, teachers, nurses, counselors, prayer warriors, leaders in the church or community, deacons, evangelists, preachers, caregivers, or whatever it is that you are called to do.  The most important thing to do is accept this invitation with faith and trust that God will prepare and equip us for this role.  Some roles may look like they are less important than others but in God’s eyes each role is equally important.  All we have to do is say YES and watch how God will use us.  WILL YOU ACCEPT HIS INVITATION?

In closing I would like to thank you so much for being with us for the past 12 weeks that we have been together on this journey.  It has been challenging and transforming but I have enjoyed every moment.  I hope your life is no longer the same because you now see yourself as CAPTIVATING.

I would love you to join us for the new study so we can take this journey even further with Lisa Bevere’s new book GIRLS WITH SWORDS.

LET’S PRAY:

Father, thank You so much for taking us through this Bible study.  You have taught us so many things throughout these 12 weeks and our lives have been transformed because we know how much You love us and how much You want us to know that we are Captivating and Irreplaceable.  May we live what we studied and be doers of Your Word.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

What is the role that God wants you to play and you have been putting off?

 

Be Blessed,

Jackie


Captivating: Chapter 11 – “Warrior Princesses”

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.  Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther 4:13 and 14

I love the story of Esther, I have read it many times, and I have watched the adaptation of the story in the movie that Tommy Tenney made “One Night With the King” countless times.  The movie was created beautifully, from the choice of actress to the setup to the beauty pageant and, of course, the colorful wedding of Esther to the King.  As much as everything else is beautiful, it does not take away the purpose of why Esther was chosen by God to be Queen.  She was to fight for her people and deliver them from Haman’s vicious plot.  After seeking the face of God through prayer and fasting, Esther used the only weapon that was available to her—food.  She prepared a feast for the King and Haman.  After they had eaten, Esther told the King what Haman’s plot was: to wipe the entire Jewish nation from the face of the earth.  Well, Haman’s evil plans did not succeed because of the courageous act of this Warrior Queen Esther.

Esther is a true example of the Warrior that we all are.   Just like Esther, each one of us faces battles in our everyday lives.  They may not be as enormous as preserving the existence of a nation, but we cannot deny that they weigh us down, causing us grief and many sleepless nights.

As long as we are alive, we will be required to put on our armor and fight.  We may be called the “weaker sex” but we are not weak.  We are warriors too.  We are in the war zone the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed and the next day is no different.  Some of the battles may seem mundane but still they give us stress.  We battle with our looks when we glance in the mirror; we battle with comparison just as soon as we walk out the door; we look at how others are dressed and we wish our clothes fit the same way.

Then there are battles that we face that are relational, such as misunderstandings with our families that distress us.  The workplace is no different.  We don’t agree with our colleagues, our bosses take us for granted, and we are overworked and unappreciated.

Throughout the day we are bombarded with decisions that we need to make whether we are at home, work, or school.  What happens during our day can make us feel great about ourselves or depressed.

So much of what happens in our day attacks our minds more than any other part of our body.  We need to guard what goes through our minds more than anything else.  Once a thought comes in, we think about it some more, it develops and the more we think about it the more it takes root and then it becomes an action.

No WarriorIt is so important that when we wake up in the morning, we should prepare for the battle that is ahead of us.  No warrior goes to battle without ammunition.  In the same way, we cannot wake up and begin the day without putting on the armor of God.  Just like Esther had to pray and fast to meet with the King, we, too, ought to prepare for what’s ahead of us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.   

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.    In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.    Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Ephesians 6:10-18

Prayer should be part of our lifestyle as Warrior Princesses; we need not wait for a situation to arise that is beyond us in order to invoke a prayerful attitude.  Just like a soldier takes instructions from his superiors, we too need to meet with our Maker to take instructions for our daily living.  Our enemy is real and he is not chained.  He is “…like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  If you are not dressed for battle then he will prey on your mind, body, and soul.

I pray that as we go through this chapter this week, we will be prepared to fight our daily battles knowing that we are more than conquerors.  Christ won the battle on the cross for us and we need not fear for THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD.  Face each day like a true Warrior Princess.  Not only are you beautiful, but you are also wise, cunning, strong, courageous, and victorious.

In closing let me leave you with thes words that Paul spoke to Timothy and permit me to change them to suit us Warrior Princesses.

“You then, my daughter, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.   Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.   The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this”   (2 Timothy 2:1-7).

Be Blessed

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You so much for giving me Your armor so that I can wear it in readiness for the battles that I face each day.  I will face each day knowing that the battle is already won.  May I seek Your face so that I may not be unaware when trouble comes.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Read Ephesians 6:10-18 about the full armor of God.  Take time to know what each piece of armor means and literally practice putting it on.

Why would Paul tell us to put on the full armor of God?

 


 GWSOur next Women’s Online Bible/Book Study begins March 24th!  

Click on the Girls with Swords book to the left, complete the registration process, and we will email you further details!  We hope you will join us for this amazing study!

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If you would like to send Jackie a private email in regards to this blog post, you may email her at:  Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 10 – “Mothers, Daughters, Sisters” – “The Long Road Home” (pp 168-173)

 

Adam named his wife Eve,

because she would become the mother of all the living.

 GENESIS 3:20 

If you want to understand any woman

When I think about the woman that I have become, I give all the credit to my mother.  I may not have been the perfect daughter, but I did my best to be who she wanted me to be.

Just like Stasi Eldredge, I went through different phases while growing up.  I, too, did things I am not proud of; and I, too, gave my mother grief during my college years and my early twenties.  When I was at home, I made sure I was doing everything as I was told but all the while hiding the things I was doing.  I wasn’t into drugs, but I portrayed myself as someone who wasn’t dating or going to parties.  However, no matter how hard you try to hide, things come out in the end and, in my case, they did. My mother was disappointed and threatened to have me withdrawn from college.  For a while I lived up to her expectations until I started working and began to live with my aunt.  Well, my aunt made sure she reported everything I did—if I came late from work, my mother knew about it; if I had a date on Saturday afternoon or if I didn’t go to church on Sunday morning, my mother would ask me why on Monday morning.

My relationship with my mother was restrained during this time, and it made me hide who I was from her.  I longed to be a good daughter…but I couldn’t be since all she heard were the bad things that I did.  My mum would say that “I needed Jesus.”  All the “bad” I was doing was because I didn’t know Jesus.  Well, like a daughter who wanted to be in the best books with her mother, I received Jesus at a major crusade that took place.  I stopped pretending that I loved the Catholic Church and started going to a Pentecostal church.  I broke up with my boyfriend at that time because he didn’t share my new faith.  My weekends were spent at church or at home if there wasn’t a church program.  I became someone who my mum and aunt were proud of.  The reporting slowly stopped and life was good.

I wish I could end here and say that things were like that over the years.  Unfortunately it wasn’t.  I wasn’t always the good girl and this wasn’t the last time I would hide or make wrong decisions in life and disappoint my mother.  However, despite my shortcomings, my mother was there to correct me and show the correct path.  My mistakes did not stop my mum from loving me.  She was there with me through the heartbreak and pain that I suffered in my relationships.  She always rushed to be by my side when I needed her the most.

“Girls’ hearts flourish in homes where they are seen and invited to become ever more themselves. Parents who enjoy their daughters are giving them and the world a great gift. Mothers in particular have the opportunity to offer encouragement to their daughters by inviting them into their feminine world and by treasuring their daughters’ unique beauty” – Stasi Eldredge.

Looking back at my life now, I cherish the life that my parents gave me and my siblings.  We were given opportunities to excel in everything that we did.  My parents encouraged us to dream big and rejoiced with us when we did well in school and never failed to show us how much they loved and cared for us.

My mother went to be with the Lord last year after she lost her battle with diabetes.  She left behind a legacy of love, strength, and care.  She was always full of advice.  She was not someone who would embarrass you when you did something wrong;she would call you aside, listen to your side of the story, and tell you what you did wrong and what doing the right thing looked like.  My mother lived by example.  If she wanted something done, she would be the first to do it.  She was someone who would be the first and last to leave a room, making sure everything was fine.  I pray that I  become half the person that she was.

I know that some of you cannot say such things about your relationship with your mother because of the pain she may have caused you; but at the end of the day, a mother and daughter’s relationship is the most of important of all.  It’s the relationship that helps us when we grow up and become mothers ourselves.

My prayer is that no matter what went on in the past or if it may still be happening right now, we would look to the Lord to help us restore the relationship with our mothers.  My mother said I needed Jesus—and she was right.  Our faith in the Lord is what cemented our relationship.  Every time we discussed issues regarding faith, all our differences would melt away.  When we talked about Jesus, we were not mother and daughter but we were both children of the most High God, we were both daughters.  I enjoyed hearing my mother say “I am praying for you” because I knew that she meant it.

Be Blessed

Jackie

LET’S PRAY:

Lord, I thank You for the precious gift that You gave to me—my mother.   I thank You for the life that I had with her, and what she meant to me and my family.  I pray for my fellow sisters whose relationships with their mothers are not great right now, that You will restore it.  May they cherish one another and learn from one another.  May their relationships be Christ-like and forgiving.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

How is the relationship with your mother or daughter?  If you were given an opportunity to write about her, what would you say?  Please take time today and tell her how much she means to you.

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GWS

Our next Women’s Online Bible/Book study begins March 24th!

We hope you will join us.

Click on the picture above to sign up today!

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If you would like to send Jackie a private email in regards to this blog post, you may email her at:  Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 9 – Arousing Adam – Standing in Love’s Way (pp 148-153)

This is one of those chapters where if I happened to meet with John and Stasi, I would thank them for including this topic.

It’s so easy for us as women to blame the men in our lives for the pain that they have caused us over the years without knowing that they, like us, carry the same wounds. Such blame comes because we have not really gone to the basics to find out why men act the way they do.  It’s only when we understand the issues at play that we will begin to address our hurt.   The truth of the matter is that both men and women have wounds that date back to the time of Adam and Eve and, should we fail to address them, every generation will go through the same things.

There are so many misconceptions about masculinity that we have believed and embraced.  However, looking at our topic today, we can put some of those lies to rest.  Men just like women HURT and as much as they don’t always show this side to us, deep inside they carry childhood wounds.  They may act macho and have an “I don’t care” attitude, but they too have been hurt by their fathers who were also struggling with the same issues and did not know how to reach out to their sons.

How do we expect little boys who have grown up being told that “boys don’t cry, it shows weakness” to understand and comfort a woman when she is hurt and needs emotional support?  How will such a man relate to you when you want answers to these questions:  “Why won’t he talk to me? Why won’t he commit?  Why is he so angry? Why is he violent?”  The truth of the matter is the boy in him sees this type of emotion as weakness and probably thinks you are needy.

John and Stasi tell us that we won’t begin to understand a man until we understand his Question, his wound and how Adam also fell.  His search for validation is the driving force of his life.  The question that boggles a man’s mind is “Do I have what it takes? Am I the real deal?  Am I a man?”

We may love the men in our lives with everything we have got but we cannot answer this question for them.  This validation of a man’s soul only comes from knowing who he is in Christ.  In the same way, a man cannot fill the void that is inside our hearts no matter how much he declares his love for us.  ONLY GOD CAN.

Let us allow this chapter to help us heal the wounds that have been inflicted on both men and women.  Let us open our hearts and minds to allow God to validate our souls.  Only God can restore our beauty as women and strength to the men who we love and cannot live without.

Our understanding of this topic will help us build loving relationships and help heal the hurt that we have inflicted on one another because of lack of knowledge.  The bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My people perish because of lack of knowledge….”  When I understand what my husband or a boyfriend went through while growing up, it will help me understand why he acts the way he does with me.  Then it’s my job to pray for him, not try to fix him!

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ went through Calvary in order to restore the relationship that we had with our Heavenly Father.  At Calvary, Jesus bore our sins, including all the misconceptions that are there between men and women.  When He created us as male and female, He did not create us to inflict pain on one another but to love one another, enjoy one another and be One.  However, it is because of the Fall that we were cursed and have to endure the pain and suffering of this fallen world.  Jesus’ death and resurrection was vital for man’s existence because it validates our existence and answers the questions that He alone can answer.  It is through their relationship with Jesus Christ that men and women can truly love another and live in harmony.  I pray that this study will continue to draw us near to Him and, that through Him, we will embrace the relationships that we have with one another.

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LET’S PRAY:

Father, thank You so much for all that You did for us at Calvary through Jesus Christ.  His death gives us purpose and validates our existence on this earth.  It is only when we know You that we can embrace who we are and are able to truly love one another.  Restore in us that which was stolen when Adam and Eve fell.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

Ask Jesus to show you what you’ve been doing with your Question and how you have related to Adam.

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If you are interested in sending Jackie a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 8 – “Beauty to Unveil – The Essence of Woman” (pp 128-132)

But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Isn’t it amazing that when God created man and woman, He gave them different characteristics that are unique, but at the same time represent His nature?  When we look at the essence of a man, it is portrayed in strength. This is shown when men take their rightful role to provide for us, protect us, speak up for us, and shield us from emotional harm and spiritual attack.   A strong man represents the Warrior characteristic of God.

Stasi shares that strength is what the world longs to experience from a man.  “The strength of a man is first a soulish strength—a strength of heart. And yes, as he lives it out, owns it, inhabits his strength, he does become more handsome. More attractive. As the fruit of an inner reality.”

The Essence of a woman on the other hand is Beauty, which represents the Captivating side of God.  In the Captivating study guide Stasi notes that “Beauty is a hard subject for women to talk about.  Our desire for beauty has caused us countless tears and untold pain.  The world’s view of beauty is unattainable for the majority of women… and yet we long for it.”

1Sam16_7

Our longing to be beautiful has led us to compare ourselves with others.  We have bought countless magazines, tried every diet ever created, bought beauty products just because our favorite actress or model is advertising them, our hair has gone through different phases (some days we want it short and straight; other days we want it long and curly).  Still at the end of day we feel the same—we don’t feel beautiful enough, tall enough, slender enough, and the clothes don’t fit the way they did on the mannequin.

It is not wrong to look beautiful.   We decorate our homes and put flowers on the table. We wear perfume, paint our toenails, color our hair, and pierce our ears, all in an effort to be ever more beautiful.  However, much of our struggle to accept who we are comes into play when we have bought into the ideologies of the world which idolizes outer beauty.

The Bible teaches that every woman is made in the image of God.  Every woman bears His image in her heart and carries within her the very essence of Beauty.  Apart from God, beauty gets twisted, used, and abused.  Being beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean a woman has a beautiful heart.

I heard this profound statement from one of the sermons of Bishop T.D. Jakes, “What is happening on the outside is a reflection of what’s going on the inside.”

Girlfriends, Beauty starts on the inside—deep down your heart.  When you believe that you are beautiful from your heart, it comes out on the outside and it doesn’t matter whether you are wearing yesterday’s fashion or today’s trendy clothes.  Your beauty radiates on the outside and it is seen by the way you carry yourself, the smile on your face, the way you talk, and the way you view life.

Beauty that comes from the inside is what this world longs to see from us.  It is such Beauty that speaks and people listen, it invites others in and makes them want to stay forever.  It is beauty that nourishes, comforts, inspires and it is transcendent.   It is this Beauty that draws us to God.

I want to bring us to the verse in 1 Samuel 16:7.  “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.‘” God gave Samuel an assignment to go to the house of Jesse to anoint a king.  Jesse brought out seven of his sons and paraded them for Samuel to choose.  Jesse felt that they were suitable for the job but each and every one of them was rejected.  I am sure these men were tall and handsome, muscular, and probably had a military training as some had been part of Saul’s army.  As much as their looks and build were concerned,  they should have made the cut.  However, that’s not what God was looking for.  Apparently, there was another son, the youngest of them, who was out in the wilderness taking care of sheep.  No one remembered to call for him when Samuel arrived so they had to send someone to get him.  When David came, the Lord told Samuel to anoint him as king.

David was the least among his brothers and no one took notice of him.  But the Lord did.  The Lord saw David’s heart as he took care of the sheep, the way he rescued them from the lions and the bears.  David spent his time talking to God and getting to know Him.  This time was not in vain because it was what prepared David for the role of a lifetime, Israel’s king.

This may be your story, no one has noticed you and has not seen how beautiful you are.  You are the last to get the invitation to a party—if the invitation is even sent.  You are considered as a chaperone for your sisters, the least to be offered anything.  You long for someone to see the true you.  Do not be discouraged because the Lord knows and sees your heart.  He sees how beautiful you are and He calls you His beloved.  Let your beauty shine because that is the essence of who you are.

Beauty is the most essential and, yes, the most misunderstood of all the feminine qualities. We want you to hear clearly that it is an essence every woman carries from the moment of her creation. The only things standing in the way of our beauty are our doubts and fears, and the hiding and striving we fall to as a result.”  – Stasi Eldredge

Be Blessed!

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY:

Dear God, You are beautiful and I believe I bear Your image.  But You know that I don’t feel very pretty let alone beautiful.  Would You please come to this place in my heart…this core place…and reveal to me Your own beauty?  Please heal the places in my heart that have been assaulted and hurt regarding beauty, and establish Your truth here.  Do You think I am beautiful? How? Why? Please help me, Jesus.  It’s in Your name that I pray.  Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

When we speak of strength as being the essence of masculinity, we are not talking about big muscles.  In the same way, when we speak of beauty as being the essence of femininity, we are not talking about a woman’s outward features.  If God dwells in your heart by faith, and God is altogether lovely, what does that say about your new heart?


If you are interested in sending Jackie a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Chapter 7 Romanced – Longing for Romance (pp 111-113)

Jeremiah31_3

I remember the first time that I heard the above words some few years ago.  My sister, who was staying with me at the time, had just gone to visit my parents in another city.  I felt so alone that evening and I decided to listen to music in order to drown out the silence that was in the house.  I had just bought a new praise and worship CD which contained a song based on Jeremiah 31:3. “I have loved with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with my loving kindness.” The song was so overwhelming; and I felt like God was speaking to me directly.  God LOVES me with an everlasting love.  I can’t express the exact feelings that I felt then but every fiber of my body felt that love.  I was so in awe of God for reaching out to me and telling me how much He loves me through that song.  My loneliness was replaced with God’s presence; it was an experience that I will never forget.

Each one of us wants to feel loved and to be romanced; we want to know that we are special to someone.  There is something about love that changes the way we feel and look at ourselves.  When I am first in love with someone I see things differently…I tend to smile at anything…what could easily annoy me does not bother me at all…the way I walk and carry myself…the time I take to look beautiful…happiness bubbles from inside my heart waiting to burst.  The day dreaming and secret messages that are shared with my loved one all seem to make my world beautiful—like I am on top of the world and nothing can touch me.  I feel special, worthy, and beautiful!

I have come to the understanding that I don’t need to wait for a man to feel special, worthy and beautiful every day because there is Someone who already makes me feel these things and so much more.  His love for me is eternal.  His romance is for eternity.  The romance that the Lover of our Soul, Jesus, has for us.  This romance is ours to experience every day.  It began long before we were born. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).  Yes, that’s how much God knows (and loves) you and me.  He pursued us way before we came to be and He will never stop.  Like the great lover that He is, He woo’s us with everything that He has created: the flowers and vegetation, the beautiful sunset, the blue skies, the glorious mountains, the enormous lakes and oceans.  Everywhere we look, we are enchanted by the beautiful things that He has made for us to enjoy.

I always wondered why the Song of Solomon was in the Bible until I realized that it was a love message from God to us.  God is so romantic that He dedicated a whole book for romance.  Wow, that’s something not to be taken for granted.  This book beats all the romance novels that you and I have read by far.  The way the writer uses words to describe different animals to reflect the beauty of a woman is intriguing.  The love that is shared between the two lovers is mesmerizing.  I hope you find some time to read this book and embrace its uniqueness, and experience the romantic side of God.

Stasi Eldredge writes, “God longs to bring this into your life Himself. He wants you to move beyond the childlike ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’  He wants to heal us through His love to become mature women who actually know Him. He wants us to experience verses like, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her” (Hosea 2:14). And “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride” (Song of Solomon 4:9). Our hearts are desperate for this. What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about His heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? This is, after all, what a woman was made for.” (pg 113)

Jesus is our Bridegroom and we are His Bride.  I pray that you will accept Him to romance you the way your feminine heart needs because YOU ARE HIS DARLING!  “How beautiful you are, my darling” (Song of Solomon 1:15).

Be Blessed,

Jackie

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LET’S PRAY:

Lord, how wonderful it is to know just how much You love us.  You loved us even before we came to be, and You are coming to take us with You as Your bride.  May we experience this romance with You every day.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:

How comfortable are you with the idea of Jesus being your “Bridegroom” and you being His Beloved?  Is this a relatively new category for you to think about in your relationship with Him?

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If you are interested in sending Jackie a private message in regards to this blog, please email her at: Jackie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Captivating: Weekly Review – Chapter 2 – What Eve Alone Can Tell

Weekly Review – Chapter 2 

Monday, Jackie took us back to the beginning of Creation!  Wow, the way she described this in her blog was simply beautiful!!  All this beauty was created as a place where God’s own image would dwell.  This would be the home of Adam and Eve.  The beauty of all the trees, birds, flowers, rivers, and such; and then God added two more things:  man and woman.  Jackie reminded us that the creation of Adam was different to the way God made the world.  He said the Word and it came into being but with Adam, He formed him from the dust of the ground and then breathed life into him.  How awesome this is to know that we were created differently than everything else and that we bear the image of God.  And when God created woman…WOW!  She is so perfect.  This first WOMAN! So beautiful, with flawless skin, long hair, the eyes, when she first set them on Adam. Talk about her body, her arms and legs….  A beauty to behold!  Jackie closes her blog with this reminder:  “Dear girlfriend, you are Eve, the crown of creation.  It’s no wonder you feel the way you do, the way you long to be the beauty or the princess in your story.  I pray that you will allow the Lord to restore what has been lost so that you can take your rightful place.”  What a beautiful reminder!

Tuesday, Tonya reminded us that God is relational.  God is relational. So are we.  God has a heart for romance. So do we.  God has a desire for intimate relationships. So do we.  God longs to love us. We long to love.  God longs to be loved. We long to be loved.   It’s time that we embrace the heart God placed in each and every woman. A heart that is created in the image of God’s heart.  We were designed in His image, this is why we are so in-tune with the relationships we keep. It’s not a weakness. It is another part of our heart that is created after Gods. God’s heart. Eve’s heart. Our heart.   There is one relationship that should be held higher than any other.  She reminded us that our relationship with God should never take the back-burner!  It should always be the most important relationship we have.

Wednesday, Carissa reminded us that we can be someone’s “Ezer” with just a smile, a positive comment, a loving remark.  I have to constantly remind myself that every day!  God gives us the opportunity to be someone’s Ezer with friends, co-workers, family, and even strangers.  You never know what just a little smile can do—you may have saved someone’s life! And that’s the beauty in you! That’s you, acting in God’s image, and loving a hurting world.  To be an everyday Ezer Kenegdos…that’s our mission!  She also reminded us that We, as women, are beauty incarnate.  She closed her blog with this reminder:  You are beautiful.  You are created in the image of God.  You are essential.  You matter.

Thursday, Michelle reminded us of our beauty; that We are created in God’s image.  Think about that.  Out of ALL the things that God created, everything, it is us that He decided to create in His image.  What an amazing honor. Jeremiah 29:13 it says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He has confidence that if you truly get to know Him, you can’t help , but fall in love with who He is and want to make that relationship grow.   She reminded us of how beautiful we are because we are created in His image.  She reminded us to treasure the beauty that God created, and ended her blog with this reminder: There is a radiance in your heart that the world desperately needs.  Shine bright, ladies!

Today, I would like to close with this.  You are a special unique creature.  God created YOU for His pleasure.  He created YOU just as you are…no more, no less.  You are beautiful.  There is no doubt about that!  He created YOU in His image!   YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made!  You are exactly who God designed you to be.  Meditate on that!  Allow God to speak to your heart through this message this week!  Allow Him to show you the beauty that He created.  Allow Him to open your eyes to see the creation that He created!  Allow Him to teach you to LOVE this creation, just as you are!

I love you!  God loves you!  And until next week, as Michelle said, “Shine Bright!”  

Christi

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Captivating: Chapter 2 – What Eve Alone Can Tell

 

“And the Lord God cast a deep slumber on the human, and he slept, and He took one of his ribs and closed over the flesh where it had been, and the Lord God built the rib He had taken from the human into a woman and He brought her to the human.”  (Genesis 2:21-23 Alter)

Girlfriends, our journey today is going to take us to the beginning of creation, when God created the world that we see and marvel at.  The world before sin and destruction altered it.

Before it all came to be there was darkness, everything was formless and empty. In the midst of this darkness, a voice speaks and then there was LIGHT.  What a difference light makes in a room.  When it’s dark it seems as if the room you are in is small and empty but when you switch on a bulb or light a candle, you see everything as it supposed to be.

When Light came into the world it set in motion the creation of everything that we see, water, dry land, plants, trees of all kinds, the sun, moon and stars, animals, birds and fish of all kinds, big and small, long and short, beautiful and not so beautiful, creepy and even scary ones.  All of them were created and placed in their habitats.

Can you just picture how it looked like in the Garden of Eden, the grass was so green, the trees heavy with all kinds of fruits, the flowers were so beautiful, talk of the roses of all colors, lilies, daisies, name them they were all there beautifying the garden.  The lake was so full of fish that you love.  The animals were all in one place like a picture perfect zoo or national park. Picture the lion living together with the lamb and the zebra without thinking of them as food.

I could go on and on about this beautiful Garden which has a river with 4 river heads running through it.  I can picture how it was like seating down at the beginning or ending of a perfect day, watching the sunrise or the sunset.

All this beauty was created as a place where God’s own image would dwell.  This would be the home of Adam and Eve.

“The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  (Genesis 2:7)

“It is nearing the end of the sixth day, the end of the Creator’s great labor, as Adam steps forth, the image of God, the triumph of his work. He alone is pronounced the son of God. Nothing in creation even comes close.  Picture Michelangelo’s David.  He is … magnificent.  Truly, the masterpiece seems complete. And yet, the Master says that something is not good, not right. Something is missing … and that something is Eve.”

The creation of Adam was different to the way God made the world.  He said the Word and it came into being but with Adam, He formed him from the dust of ground and then breathed life into him.  How awesome this is to know that we were created differently than everything else and that we bear the image of God.

Now Adam is in the Garden, he has seen everything, marveled at the beauty of it all, played with the animals, probably swam in the lake, ate a fruit or two.  He has met his creator and everything is just wonderful.

Wait! Did you hear that something is missing?  Yes you heard right! God says “It is not good for that man should be alone.  I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Every living creature was made together with a partner and when Adam was given the task of naming them, there was “not found a helper comparable to him.”  Wow, for the first time Adam realized that he was alone.

Looking at this situation some people have concluded that Eve came as an afterthought but I don’t think that is true.  Eve’s creation was not an afterthought but a well thought out plan and God wanted Adam to appreciate the Woman who was brought to him.  Where am I getting all this?  Well from what the Lord did, He caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and took a rib from him to create Eve.  Imagine the surprise and wonder of Adam when He woke up and saw Eve for the very first time.

I am trying to create a picture but I know I won’t do justice to her.  She is so perfect.  This first WOMAN! so beautiful, with flawless skin, long hair, the eyes, when she first set them on Adam. Talk about her body, her arms and legs….. A beauty to behold!

Now Eve is brought to Adam, he hears Eve speak for the first time.  I am sure Adam stammered in reply.  Was this a dream, no Adam, you are awake and this is your Woman.  No wonder he made this statement.  “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh…”

“Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, His piece de resistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, Ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.”

Dear girlfriend, you are Eve, the crown of creation.  It’s no wonder you feel the way you do, the way you long to be the beauty or the princess in your story.  I pray that you will allow the Lord to restore what has been lost so that you can take your rightful place.

Be Blessed,

Jackie


LET’S PRAY

Father, I am in awe of You because of the way You created me.  I am thankful that I wasn’t created as an afterthought, but as a crown of creation.  Help me to embrace this truth and live my life with this in mind. In Jesus Name. Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

 Before reading this Chapter, did you think that because God created woman second to man that women are second to men in the heart of God?

What does your heart do with being called the “crown of creation”?

 



If you are interested in joining this amazing online Bible study, click HERE to sign up.

Once you are registered, you will receive an email with further details.

If you would like to send Jackie an email in regards to this blog, please send it to: Jackie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

Captivating: Chapter 1 Review — The Heart of a Woman

 

Gen1_27

How are you after reading this first chapter? How are you feeling about who you are as a woman created in the image of God? So many emotions went through my heart as I read this chapter. Some of them were raw and some were just those emotions that you could not describe because they are mixed.

A couple of things jumped from the pages of the book straight into my heart. Let me just highlight one or two things that I found to be fundamental while read this chapter. “God created you as a woman. “God created man in his own image … male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Whatever it means to bear God’s image, you do so as a woman. Female. That’s how and where you bear His image. Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities-as a reflection of God’s own heart. You are a woman to your soul, to the very core of your being.”

“Every woman in her heart of hearts longs for three things: to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. That’s what makes a woman come alive.”

 

With that said let us go through our review. There are so many things to take away from this first chapter alone.

Monday: Introduction: I (Jackie) started us off by telling you what this book is not about – what we are failing to do as a woman.

• I also talked about the stereotypes that we face as women and that we should not be defined by them. Whether I relate more to Cinderella or Joan of Arc, the most important thing that I should embrace is that I AM A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.

• Lastly, I shared about the expectations that have been placed upon us by our families, cultures and churches. How the Proverbs 31 woman has impacted on our lives.

Tuesday: Unseen, Unsought, Uncertain – The Heart of a Woman: Tonya pointed us to the reality that most of us women avoid dealing with matters of the heart and how she feels like a failure because she cannot live according to the standards of a woman.

• Tonya shared this profound statement and I quote “One night, a while ago I was reading this verse and I realized that I need not guard my heart from outside influences but I also need to guard my heart from myself; from my mind and from my words, from my self-imposed standards. I realized that what I say to myself can do just as much damage as what others may speak into my life.”

Wednesday: To Be Romanced – Beauty to Unveil: Carissa took us to the movies as she talked about how love transformed Lizzy in Pride and Prejudice. She highlighted the reasons why most of us women are ashamed to show our desire to be seen, wanted and pursued.

• Our culture tells us to be ashamed of such desires. • Women don’t want to show that they are vulnerable and helped by being romantic.

• Most of us have hardened our hearts so that we do not show the desire to be the Beauty because we feel like the Beast of the story. Carissa also noted that a shared adventure does not necessarily have to be shared with a man. It simply involves people.

“I know that God has a great adventure in store for each of us – and as women, it’s our duty to seek it.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We must seek Him to discover these desires – the desires that He’s laid on our hearts from our very creation.”

Thursday: By Way of the Heart:  Michelle looked at how we were created as men and women.

• Men want a battle to fight, adventure, a beauty to rescue; women want to be romanced, to play a role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. “A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man; it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero.”

• Michelle also highlighted the fact that as much as we have these desires “the reality of all this is that many of these desires haven’t been met, hopes or dreams have been broken. And that is okay for now. This is why we are here. This is why we draw close to God. We don’t want to live that double life where everything is fine on the surface, in front of your friends, family, and church; but when you go home and are alone, it doesn’t feel fine. It feels like something is missing. God doesn’t want us in this place. He will meet us there, and He will bring us to where we are meant to be.”

Let me conclude our review with this from Stasi. “God did not place these longings in our hearts to torment us. Rather, they reveal the secret of who we truly are and the role that is ours to play. There is so much hope here, hope to become the woman you secretly long to be, the woman who is romanced, irreplaceable, and utterly beautiful.”

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LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You for this week. Thank You for helping me understand who I am as a woman and that I should not be ashamed of the desires that You have placed in me. I was created for romance, I am irreplaceable and beautiful. Help me to allow these truths to sink deep in my heart so that I can embrace my femininity. In Jesus Name. Amen.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

There so many things to take away from chapter 1 and I have just reviewed but a few. Share in the comment section below statements, quotes or Bible verses that have left a mark in your heart from this chapter.

Be Blessed,

Jackie



If you are interested in joining this amazing online Bible study, click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, you will receive an email with further details.

If you would like to send Michelle an email in regards to this blog, please send it to: Jackie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

Captivating: Introduction

 

Stasi Eldredge

 

 

Welcome Girlfriends,

It’s time to begin our journey through Captivating.  Are you ready? LET’S DO IT!

I must say that I was happy to read in the introduction that Captivating is not another book about all the things that I am failing to do as woman.  In this book, we are not going to go through 12 steps or 10 ways or 5 things on how to become Captivating.  No all of such books are bad or not worthy of your time but I am sure you and I have read a number of such books and like our author Stasi Eldredge, you have been left feeling like “you are not the woman you ought to be.” 

I am pleased to note that femininity cannot be prescribed in a formula.  So this means that I should not judge myself if I don’t love playing dress up, tea parties and china or if I shudder at the thought of women who love to hunt or go hiking through the mountains.  As a woman I have to be happy with who I am whether I am a professor, an athlete, a mom, a secretary or a social worker.  Whether I relate more to Cinderella or Joan of Arc, the most important thing that I should embrace is that I AM A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.

It is sad that as women we tend to fall into stereotypes, if we don’t fit a certain group or clique, we sideline one another and this puts so much pressure on us to conform to a particular lifestyle.  We need to know that although we may have different lifestyles or likes or dislikes, we share something deep and true, down in our hearts.

Through this book we will find out what is at the core of each woman’s heart? What are our desires? What did we long for as little girls?  What do we still long for as women? And how does a woman begin to be healed from the wounds and tragedies of her life?

 

We are going to find that precious thing that has been lost –

OUR PRICELESS FEMININE HEART.

Do you remember when you first knew in your heart that you were no longer a girl, but had become a woman?  Was it high school or college? Or when you got married or when you become a mom? Like our author Stasi, I don’t either.  I have gone through all the phases of life as a girl and then as a woman but I cannot really pin point the exact moment when I can say wow, I feel like a woman now.  I sometimes look at myself in the mirror and still see the little girl in me.  The little girl who still wants to play with a Barbie doll, or the teenager who wants to stay indoors and read the romance books that the adults around her are reading or the first year student who wants to curl up and talk hours on the phone about the college guys or gossip about who is dating who or who got humiliated at the fresh man’s ball.  When I got married I couldn’t wait to join the women’s clique and talk about our husbands and children, share the secrets about how to treat your husband with respect or how to raise godly children, how to take care of the home and all sorts of things that we as women talk about when we are all gathered in one place.

In each phase of life, there are expectations that are laid upon us by our families, our churches and our cultures.  There are reams of materials on what we ought to do to be a good woman.  But that is not the same thing as knowing what the journey toward becoming a woman involves, or even what the goal should be.

As Christian women, most of us have been told that “you are here to serve.  That’s why God created you: to serve; in the nursery, in the kitchen, on the various committees, in your home and in your community.”  We are expected to be sweet, helpful, disciplined and composed.  Not a hair out of place.

Most of us look to the Proverbs 31 woman as an example of how femininity ought to be.  The more we try to do what she did, the more we fail.  In the end we become tired and disgruntled.  How did she manage to do all that she did and have time for friendships, for taking walks or read good books, our author asks?  Is this the measure we are to use in order to be characterized as godly women?

Let’s take this journey together to get the answer the above question and more.  Let us recover together the things we have lost. Most of all let us come to the point where we accept that we are CAPTIVATING.

 *****

LET’S PRAY

Father, thank You for being with us as we begin this journey together.  I pray that we will allow You to remove the things in our lives that have hindered us to become who we truly are.  Help us to embrace our true femininity and not the stereotypes that we have accepted in our lives.  Most of all lead us to the place where it all begun, in our heart.  Begin anew with us.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

 *****

YOUR ASSIGNMENT

Let us get to know one another by sharing who we are by identifying the characters that we relate to? Are you a Cinderella or Joan of Arc, or Mary Magdalene or Oprah?  What delights you tea parties and china or are you the adventure type or woman who loves to hunt, mountain climbing or parachuting in the sky?

 

Read Proverbs 31 and tell me your thoughts on the Proverbs Woman.  In what way do you relate to her?

 

Be Blessed,

Jackie

 



If you are interested in joining this amazing online Bible study, click HERE to sign up. Once you are registered, you will receive an email with further details.

If you would like to send a personal message to Jackie in regards to this blog, you may email her at: Jackie@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.