“Jesus had power over the storm because He didn’t let the storm inside of Him.” Joyce Meyer
It has been 1,105 days since we first got, the call. Baby Girl with no home to go home to. In the NICU. Micro-preemie. Born at twenty-five weeks, weighing one and a half pounds at birth. On a breathing machine and caffeine. Likely to go to adoption. That’s all the information we had. My heart said YES before I even had a chance to call my husband. As we drove to the hospital, I remember the reality starting to hit me. Panic set in. Wait a minute! I didn’t know how to work a breathing machine. What kind of issues would this child have? How would our three other children get the attention they needed? What would she look like? Could I do this? I also remember the immediate peace I felt with each question. It was like waves of emotions, followed by calm. It was like God just kept whispering in my ear, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay. You got this. We got this. With each question, I’d pray… then the peace would come. Storm. Deep breaths. Prayer. Peace.
It had taken us nine months to get approved as foster parents and about nine seconds for me to fall in love with this little bitty. The second I saw her face, my heart ached. It was like my heart jumped out of my chest. It was her. It was the vision I had been given as a little girl. She was tinier than my vision but just as beautiful. I always knew I’d have a lot of kids. I used to say, “I want a shoe full,” when people asked. I also knew I’d have a daughter. So, having three boys was confusing to me. I felt blessed but always left with the feeling that our family wasn’t complete. Then seeing her, even amidst the anxiety and unknown, I felt peace. There she was this little baby doll in what appeared to be a huge car seat with cords hanging out from her jammies. The nurse asked if we’d like to hold her and I snapped right back into reality. I remember hearing a fellow foster moms’ words in my head,” Ask the nurse as many questions as you can.” So, I began asking questions. I completely forgot what I was supposed to ask so I just asked anyway. I found out as much information as I could. The nurse had been told that I was a nurse, wrong. So, she then trained us on the machine and we learned all about baby girl’s history. This was a gift. This part I will leave out as I truly believe it is her story to tell, if and when she wants to. Then they let us take her home. Just like that. Well, nine months of paperwork and training then, just like that. Storm. Deep breaths. Prayer. Peace.
You may have seen the recent Women's Summer Events video both in the service and online. But what you didn't see were the bloopers. That's right, with every video we throw together there's a handful of moments that don't make it to the final cut, but are too good to not show. So, here they are:
Ok, so hopefully that gives you a good laugh, but there's also another point. They're willing to go through the torture of public speaking in front of a camera, just to help you stay connected this summer (they did this during the winter too, and there was another blooper video). Our ministry leaders are just flat out awesome!
by Joanne Sharp
Here's what happened at the Women's Retreat
A few weeks ago, two hundred and forty women gathered at Fellowship to retreat. We gathered to connect. We gathered to grow. We gathered to laugh and cry. We gathered well, to gather! Women long for connection, conversation and time to process things together. Our annual retreat is an awesome opportunity way for women to do just that. The last few years we’ve purposely chosen to host this event at FCC because it allows the affordability and flexibility we desire. Each year, we are amazed at how God grows and uses this event. We have seen Him connect women in a deep and meaningful way, learn about His character, His word and ultimately grow closer to Him. We are incredibly grateful to watch as he unfolds His plan each and every year.
For this reason, we felt led to create opportunity for women to chat more often. To connect on a deeper level and really get to know each other. We stumbled upon an activity called the IF: Table. It is simple in its design and yet very effective in connecting women. The concept is based of Acts 2:46 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” The design is to have a table of six women, answer four questions over a two-hour period. Ideally, these same women would meet each month and grow together. They would also share a meal together, take time listening to each other’s answers without interruption. That simple.
A conversation-based series for women
As women, our metaphorical tents are pretty full.
We often care for the many people and play several roles in life. We are wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and neighbors. Women balance many tasks and relationships throughout a given day. For this reason, it is important for us to stop, reflect and spend time with the Lord as well as other Christians to renew our spirit and minds. This renewal fuels and reignites us to continue you running the race that the Lord has set before us. “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. We need to be filled with the word, which gives us strength and be reminded that we are not alone. Generally speaking, women also seem to have an innate need for conversation. We tend to process more fully when we have had a chance to talk about it.
In women’s ministry, we have felt the need to create an opportunity for women to gather and grow together while providing ample time to connect. We believe the Propel Women program provides an environment in which women can focus on a theme based in scripture, connect with other each and be encouraged in their walk. This fall we have focused on Isaiah 54:2 with the theme of growth. By pulling key words from the verse itself, we have been able to have deep, meaningful conversations. We first began with the word enlarge. As Christians we are called to enlarge our tents. To make room for God and others. This takes time, intentional discipline and sometimes the willingness to be uncomfortable. Many women expressed that it can be difficult to fit God and others into their day. We challenged each other to create elbow room in our lives for God and to allow the spirit to move. If we are tightly wound and lack extra space and time, we end up boxing God out of our daily life.