December 11, 2017

A Cord Of Three Strands

“God does not intend that you experience mediocre relationships. He created you for far greater things. Building lasting relationships requires compassion, wisdom, empathy, kindness, courtesy, perseverance, and forgiveness. If it sounds like a lot of work, it is – which is perfectly fine with God. Why? Because He knows you are capable of doing that work and because He knows that the fruits of your labours will enrich the lives of your loved ones and the lives of generations unborn.”

 “30 Essential Lessons from Women of the Bible
Freeman-Smith Publishing

It’s Friday morning…the coffee is brewing, and the front door is open, and women gather together in my home.  We do life together and it truly is so much better.  I have to pinch myself sometimes because of how blessed I am to lead this community group. All of us have different stories and we all come from different places BUT we all have met Jesus and we have been changed.  And what better way to help each other than to share our stories of forgiveness and redemption.  Stories of hope that may lift another up from the pit of hopelessness. Taking someone else’s hand and walking them through the same things you have walked through.  Reminds me of the story of Ruth and Naomi. Here’s part of their story. I encourage you to read their whole story in your Bible.

But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me
to leave you or go back and not follow you.

For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.
When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her,
she stopped trying to persuade her.
Ruth 1:16-18

Have you ever been in such a deep pit that you really didn’t want anyone to save you?  Maybe you are so tired of the way your life is going and it seems like everyone else’s lives are moving forward…But not yours.  You are so down that all you want to do it sit alone and cry.  Well, my friend, that is exactly where the enemy wants you. He can speak so loudly to you there and you might start believing his lies. But God wants so much more for you.

See, He didn’t create us to be alone. He intended for us to walk this life together sharing each other’s burdens.  The reason that we go through some of the hard things is so we can give someone else hope that it will be okay and they will get though it…just like you did.  It’s time for us to step out of ourselves and start being available to others.  Pray earnestly for God to bring you a woman who you can guide and mentor. Someone who needs to hear what you have to share.  For there is freedom is sharing your story and the enemy loses his grip when we are open and honest.  Walls come down and we become a force for Jesus. This world can’t hold us back from sharing His good news!

So which one are you today? Are you the one sitting at home alone, isolating from the rest of the world? I encourage you to pray right now that God will guide you to a group of women or even one special one to share with you. Or are you a woman who has been a Jesus follower for some time and you have so much to share. You have really seen Jesus’s hand in your life and you need to share it with someone else. I join you today in prayer that God will bring you someone to mentor. Friends, let’s do this together!

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,
but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are so amazing and so full of love for us.  You are worthy to be praised.  We love You so much and we want to share the hope that You have given us so freely.  Lord, thank You that You have given each one of us a story to share and You have never left us in one place for too long. Give us the courage to step out and help another one of Your daughters who is hurting.  Give those who are hurting today the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and the courage to share their burdens. Bring us together, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tonya’s Journey to GCH:decaf!

Introducing……

GCH: decaf blogger Tonya Elliott

I have always known who God was. I can remember as far back as 4 years old, kneeling beside my bed, with my mom and dad on each side of me, teaching me how to say my prayers…you know how it goes: “Now I lay be down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…”. If my mother and father didn’t do anything else, they made sure that my sisters and I had some form of concept of who God was. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

You have to understand that my mother and father weren’t avid church goers, but my mother would consistently place my sister and me on the church bus every Sunday to go to church. In a way, I am so glad that she did that, because those wonderful ladies helped introduce Jesus to my sister and I more and more…more seeds were planted…”I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6). Thank you Jesus for the lovely women of Christ who took time out to plant seeds, while others watered and I can now definitely see God’s increase! God is awesome like that!

I spent most of my elementary and middle school years traveling back and forth between Germany and Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Ft. Campbell, Kentucky was my father’s home base. He was a Sergeant First Class in the Army…a Mess hall Cook. I LOVED my life growing up on the many military bases. What my sisters and I didn’t know was that our father’s drinking problem was starting to affect his work, and he was making more mistakes with his cooking.

I can remember coming home from school in the 8th grade, to my mom packing our belongings. I was used to packing and moving, but I knew that my dad was not scheduled to be transferred anywhere else, so I asked her what was going on. She replied that we had to move because my dad was being discharged because of his drinking. I was devastated! My world as I had always known it was coming to a complete halt!

How does a person…a young teenage girl comprehend all of that? To be honest with you, I had a difficult time trying to adjust to the news. I was angry, I was frustrated, sad, confused, all of the above. We ended up moving to Memphis, Tennessee, which was where my parents were from. We moved with my mother’s family and the saga began. I won’t go into details about all of that, but I will say that it was a very emotional time in my life. We went from having everything we wanted, to not having anything at all…well; at least we still had each other, right?

During this time, I met a lady who changed my WHOLE life around! She was my Young Life leader who would take the second baton of my Christian  growth and help me to run with it. She took the time to get to know me, share with me in my time of hurt, frustration, confusion, and anger, through the love of Jesus Christ. She took what was a horrible time in my life and helped me to refocus everything in my life towards Jesus. She loved me in spite of what was going on in my life.

Did my dad ever stop drinking, I am sure that you are asking? Unfortunately no, he did not, but our relationship got better. I loved my dad unconditionally, even through all of the hurt and disappointments. I learned to see him through the eyes of Christ…and believe me, once I truly became a Christian, that wasn’t hard to do at all! My dad passed away in November of 1998 and I miss him so much, but I know that God has him in His care. I have learned so much since then.

Today I am a Young Women’s Coordinator for a ministry called Red Zone, which is under the Memphis leadership Foundation umbrella, here in Memphis. I work with youth in the inner city Memphis area. I work primarily with middle school aged youth, but I have been working with the youth in that particular area for such a long time, that I have youth who are now grown and some married. I know that this is what God was calling me to do. He wanted me to go through what I went through, so that I could see that trying Jesus really does work and that He could work for the youth too.

I was married for 14 years and I have been divorced for 2 years, and I have 4 AWESOME children of my own, who have faced all kinds of odds, which I will share with you a later date. Trinicia (19), Jonathon (15), Justin (14), and Carlia (12).

Smiling is my thing! It is one of my ways of encouraging others. I am crazy enough to believe that if you share your smile with others, especially those who may be having a bad day, you just might brighten up their day!

I found Girlfriends Coffee Hour and it has been the BEST thing that I have ever done! GCH has brought life back into my world, and I feel alive again! My desire is to come alongside teen girls through this new ministry and walk with them and mentor them and share with them the love of Christ.

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Please “like” our Facebook Community page here to stay up-to-date on all we are doing for teens over here at GCH: decaf: https://www.facebook.com/GCHdecaf.

Be sure to email our lead barista, Megan, if you would like to join a small group or if you have any questions about the study or this ministry. She would love to hear from you!  Teens@girlfriendscoffeehour.com .

Our first study will start October 1st!  We will be studying A Daughter’s Worth by Ava Sturgeon.

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Tonya Elliott is a 40 year old Memphis native…  but she was raised all over the world, Germany, Kentucky, Tennessee, etc…Her father was in the military for 16 years. She has 4 beautiful children, Trinicia (19), Jonathon (15), Justin (14), and Carlia (12).

Tonya met Christ when she was 7 years old and really began to walk along beside Him when she was 14 years old. She has always had a heart for youth ministry! She currently works for a faith-based organization called Memphis Leadership Foundation as a Young Women’s Coordinator, working with middle school aged girls, and she loves it!

She was married at 23 and divorced at 37 years old, but she is thankful for that part of her journey because it has helped to shape her into the woman of God that she is today.

She loves to read, read, and read!! Tonya also loves to learn new things and is currently seeking her degree in Human Services. She is eager to see where God is leading her.

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we just LOVE that Tonya is serving with us on our Leadership Team AND with your precious daughters! Please take a moment to leave her a comment and let her know how happy you are that she is answering God’s call eith GCH:decaf!!

The Resolution for Women: Purposefully Feminine

Memory Verse:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:30

This week we will take on a new resolution to champion biblical femininity.

What does biblical femininity look like to YOU?  

Enjoy this special message from Priscilla Shirer.

 

Please note that Girlfriends Coffee Hour is not endorsing the Crossroads Memberships mentioned at the end of this video.

There are many faces to biblical femininity, and I am so excited to cover this topic this week!  We, as women, have a very important role in this universe.  We have a huge responsibility not only to our husband, but to our children, our home, our church, our workplace, and more!  We are constantly in the spotlight, where the life we’ve resolved to live will either champion or demote the beauty of biblical femininity.

Are you ready?  Let’s get started!!

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Here is your reading assignments for this week:

Monday:  Since we only have 3 chapters to read this week, there is NO reading assignment for today.  However, you will want to come back visit our blog and comment on Christi’s commentary because she is offering another GIVEAWAY!!  🙂  You’ll have to visit us on Monday to find out what it is!! 🙂

Tuesday:  Read “Pretty in Print” beginning on page 32.  Come back to the blog and read Megan’s commentary, and leave a comment.  Then go back to the FB Group where you will find your daily activity!

Wednesday:  Read “It’s Good to Be a Girl” beginning on page 37.  Come back here, to the blog and read Kelley’s commentary, and leave a comment.  Then, once again, return to the FB Group where you will your daily activity!  These activities are great in helping us build our relationships, and think outside the box!

Thursday:  Read “Role Reversal” beginning on page 42.  Come back here and read Robin’s commentary on this chapter.  Leave a comment, and then head back to the FB Group for your daily activity!

Friday:  I will be gone this day, but Megan has graciously agreed to fill in for me to offer the Weekly Overview.  I am asking for your prayer this week for surgery that I am having done on my finger on Friday.  I may pop in later in the day, but we’ll see how I’m feeling first!   After reading Megan’s Weekly Overview, then once again, head back to the FB Group for your daily activity!

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Let’s pray:

Father God, we give you this study this week, as You teach us through this book what Your meaning of biblical femininity is, and how we can become purposefully feminine!  I know some women will struggle with this part of this book, and I ask You now Lord that You prepare their hearts to receive from You this week; that You teach them just what it means to feminine.  I thank You Lord for what You are doing in this ministry, and how You are touching each and every life that is represented here.  In Your precious Name, AMEN!