I remember hearing the horrible news on September 11, 2001 clearly. Per our normal routine I was "driving with purpose" toward the Saturn Road Church of Christ Preschool because we were running our habitual five minutes late. Savannah was not yet a year old, so she was not yet a student. The other three kiddos, however, were on their way to a wonderful day with their precious teachers who helped me keep my sanity. (Now before you judge me, you should know that we had four children within less than five years - not a set of twins in the mix. My eldest Scarlett had prayed for her baby sister after the fun of brothers only sixteen months apart.)
Back to my story....
We were listening to the local Christian music radio station FM 94.9 KLTY as I "drove with purpose" to the preschool. As I look back, I am so thankful for that little decision! Because that particular radio station's claim to fame is that they are "family friendly," they were extra sensitive in how they reported the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. They said that it might be an attack on US soil, but it was not with inflammatory words or emotions. The information flew right over my little ones' heads.
I dropped off my precious older three a little confused, assuming a terrible accident had occurred. Then I drove my baby straight home to sit in front of the television for the rest of the day to weep for our nation as the heavy truth of what was happening in front of my eyes seeped into my soul. Fear threatened to invade. Should I go get the kids? What if churches are next on the list? Saturn Road is a big church. What if snipers are out there waiting for people to go pick up their kids? In the end, sticking to the routine seemed to make the most sense.
I was the coordinator of our Wednesday AM Ladies Bible Class at the time, so my phone began ringing. The committee and I had to make a difficult decision about whether to cancel our Bible class the next day or to be brave enough to stand up for Jesus. We decided to trust in our God. I have never regretted that decision!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
That's how I memorized it. However, look at the New International Version's translation of this same verse.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
But look at my favorite translation of this verse! This is the New International Reader's Version. Basically is the the NIV on a 4th grade reading level. I use it a lot on those passages that frustrate me - those long Paul sentences that go for like ten verses.
God gave us his Spirit. And the Spirit doesn’t make us weak and fearful. Instead, the Spirit gives us power and love. He helps us control ourselves.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIRV)
Soooooo on that Wednesday fourteen years ago, the Spirit inside me and the Spirit inside my mentors on the steering committee helped us stand firm. These ladies stood behind my decision to ask fearful ladies to climb into their cars and take a chance on God's will for their lives. We studied our Bibles with a renewed fervor because we felt like someone wanted to take the right away from us. We loved each other more sweetly because we realized that we could easily have been traveling on one of those planes. We learned of connections many of us had with those missing and with those spared due to weird schedule changes, such as taking a personal day instead of going to work at the Pentagon that day. Our heartfelt, tearstained prayers cemented our hearts and souls together inside the Saturn Road chapel that Wednesday.
Now, today, we have more craziness, and there are still mamas trying to raise their babies to be full of the Spirit's power, love, and self-control. I was blessed as my children were growing up to have loving encouragers in my life as mentors. These women encouraged me and loved me - just as I was! I want this for every single woman - mother or not - trying to navigate this insane world.
Today I have GREAT NEWS to every woman 18 years old and up, living in the Dallas area! I want to share a FREE opportunity to be loved and encouraged by Christian mentor women called Heart to Home. This ministry was started by Dr. Joneal Kirby. You can learn more about her Heartfelt Ministries on her website by clicking here. This Sunday, November 22nd, 2015, is the deadline to sign up to be a part of this once a month event, which will kick-off January 30, 2016.
In your Heart to Home Group, you will be a part of a dozen other ladies called Heart Sisters living in your similar situation...just trying to figure out this crazy world. In addition to the dozen Heart Sisters, there will be about three to four Heart Moms who will love and encourage you each month. These Heart Moms will invite the group into their homes and pamper the group with dinner, acceptance, love, encouragement, advice when needed, and most importantly - a Bible study. Imagine getting to really share your heart in a safe environment of love and acceptance! No kids and no dudes are allowed....Praise the LORD! (Believe me, when your husband sees how refreshed you are - he will be thrilled to watch his own children for a couple hours! Please don't get me started on the "if you can help make them, you can help raise them...." conversation. Just trust this man to be a dad. If he needs to work, trust a babysitter. I can hook you up. Babysitters saved my marriage!!! Shout out to babysitters! )
If this concept sounds familiar, check out Titus 2.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderersor addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
Paul probably knew those women would have looked side-ways at him if poor Titus had strolled over there and started instructing them in the art of loving their husbands and kids. How would it go over if your husband's best buddy started giving you parenting or, better yet, wife-ing advice? Yep, that kind of advice and encouragement needs to come from someone who has been there!
Friends, my older girlfriends helped me so much! I want that for you. When my boys cut off all of Savannah's beautiful hair, my sweet friends laughed it off with me and told me how cute Savannah was as a 20 month old punk rocker. When Scarlett busted her face open on our coffee table doing the "twirly dance" and needed stitches done by a plastic surgeon, my sweet friends were just as angry as I was when the insurance company wanted to know whom they could sue. When the babysitter (who was an elder at our church's daughter) called on Valentine's Day to say that she "had already put out the fire," my friend laughed and told me about her son throwing a package of firecrackers into the fireplace inside the house. Your stories might not be quite as crazy as mine, but they will be your kind of crazy and just as close to your heart. Don't you want someone to tell you it is okay and normal and that your kid isn't as bad as you fear? I totally needed to hear all of that and more.
So if you want to join one of these Heart to Home groups in our Dallas area, comment below. You don't need to attend my church to be a part of this program, and you don't need to bring anything other than yourself each month. But you do need to sign up by this Sunday, November 22nd! I get to be a Heart Sister for four more years. You better believe I'm going to enjoy every second I can! Will you join me?