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Posts in Angela Hailey
Sisters & Sister-Friends Make Life Better

Heart-sisters God placed me in a family with a wonderful sister. I also have three brothers, but that’s for another time.

My sister is 10 years older than I, so I don’t have tons of memories of us together when we were younger. I mean when I was 7, she was going off to college. At the age of 10, I was a junior bridesmaid in her wedding. Through the years we’ve gotten closer, but physically we still live more than three hours away from each other.

I was a tom-boy as a kid and never really felt like I could relate as much to girls as I could to boys. I always seemed to have more male friends than female and at some point (the age of four or so) I can remember wishing I was a boy. Being more comfortable around guys was the case for me long into my adult life.

What I’ve learned in the past month is that I actually have an abundance of sisters in my life. IF:Gathering earlier this month was a great reminder of that for me. If you’ve never heard of IF, it’s a weekend event to resource women so they learn more about God and discipleship. It’s streamed online across the globe and the weekend includes many speakers and worship.

The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. Psalms 68:11 (NIV). This has become a new favorite verse of mine.

I can infer what throng means, but I wanted to be certain. Throng is a long, densely packed crowd of people (or animals). “The women who proclaim it are a MIGHTY throng.” I was incredibly fortunate to know each of my five sisters at the table. Two I’ve known about seven years, two more about two to three years, and one more about two years. As I sat there looking at my beautiful sister-friends, tears started streaming down my face. I realized how blessed I am for the mighty family (friends who’ve become family) I’m surrounded by. Each of them is such a strong disciple of Christ. I am better for knowing them.

As I’ve evolved, I’ve been able to recognize the value and gift of sister friendships. God keeps placing them in my path, at just the perfect time – the perfect person for me based on what He knows I need. True to His ways, I never even knew I needed it.

Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 12 …Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

And we can only imagine the strength of even more than three, like 18 or 24 (or more – a throng). Recently, I’ve begun scheduling time with my sisters. That may sound terrible (it does to me too), but this strategy has enabled me to meet with different friends regularly for two months in a row. Previously, it had been about 18 months since we’d seen each other.

Life gets so stinking busy and our calendars have pretty much become appendages that we rely on. This is probably why scheduling sister time becomes so important. If we don’t make it a priority on our calendar, it becomes easier to brush off. Days can easily become weeks, which become months and then years. Busyness and stuff can overtake our relationships.

I recently read an article about scientists proving that spending time with friends can increase life expectancy, lower instances of heart disease and also increase our pain tolerance. Of course, family is important, but friendship has other benefits. William Chopik, a psychologist from Michigan State University, found “in older adults, friendships are a stronger predictor of health and happiness versus relationships with family members.”

She is more precious; nothing you desire can compare with her. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:15-18

This is a wonderful way to describe my sister and sister-friends: Precious, a tree of life and being blessed when I hold them close.

Recently, some of my dear sisters rallied around me when I needed it – each in different ways. I have no immediate family in town, and I found myself in a difficult situation. Without asking, they were there for me. Making my heart grow bigger like the Grinch and feeling such incredible gratitude.

People don’t need to be blood to be related. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a situation where I’m surrounded by people who have become family. I know I don’t need to worry about my future because if I simply reach out, my framily will be there to stand in the gap when my family cannot.

Much love and peace,

Angela

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The Day After Christmas

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The annual anticipation has culminateFor at least a month many were elated

By the impending celebration of the birth of a baby boy

Or is that the real reason?

 

The trees, inflatables and lights galore

Stockings, sweaters and so much more

Shopping and Christmas movies 24/7

But now that it’s over what does all that matter?

 

Seems our focus is pulled in so many ways

We can watch TV or stay online for days

People might be all around us

But that doesn’t keep us from loneliness

 

As we begin to un-decorate from the season

Can we be intentional about our reasons

For the gifts, the cards and recognition

That we experience on Christmas

 

Perhaps as we return to the busyness of life

Our daily routines and unavoidable strife

May we realize that this is when the work begins

To make life better wherever we can.

 

For isn’t that the reason God came to earth

And came to life in human birth?

To make us one with Him

And make life better for those around us?

 

‘Tis true it’s better to give than receive

But can we for one moment truly believe

The work Jesus started in His 33 years

Will drive out darkness and many fears

 

There are no limits when we expand and grow

What He started in us so long ago

Let’s bring peace, harmony and love

And make this world more like heaven above.

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Peace, love and blessings,

Angela Hailey

 

What’s Your Costume this Halloween?

pump Good ol’ Halloween!

When people dress up for mischievous, mayhem and other shenanigans.

Seeing the latest costumes (I haven’t picked mine yet) and yard ornaments, I see manufacturers have really upped the gore game. More macabre than ever before. The obvious ghouls and goblins are so easy to avoid. But what about those seemingly innocuous monsters??

You know. Things like pain and grief, failure, unforgiveness, betrayal. What about those monsters called addiction, depression, shame, isolation, despair?

I’ve recently had to renew my massage license. Part of the requirements to do so is 24 hours of continuing education every two years. One of my classes was The Mind/Body Connection: Deep Feeling, Deep Healing; Mind/Body Wisdom for Bodyworkers. The premise is that the author, Andy Bernay-Roman, recognizes that past pain that has been repressed (consciously or subconsciously) manifests in the body in other ways. In order to heal or move forward, the body and soul has to FEEL that pain and work through it.  “The ignored heart remains at the core of disease and the reclaimed heart remains at the core of healing,” Bernay-Roman says. “Suffering is the result of not feeling...Funny how allowing oneself to feel pain halts suffering.” He adds that we have within us all that we need to move past our monsters.

When I think about Christ, I often think of how He would go away for periods of time. He removed Himself from distraction in order to get close to His Father and find clarity and healing. I don’t know about you, but while this idea is so very appealing to me, it feels nearly impossible. My daily schedule seems PACKED! Between myself, my husband and our boys, how in the world do I have time to get away? Our society has become a go fast society and often the busier we are, the better. How many times do we stay busy in an effort to avoid difficulties?

But perhaps the question should be how do we not MAKE time for solitude to happen?

In the Bible we are told the importance of protecting ourselves: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23

While we immerse ourselves in distractions (busyness, TV, work, social media, etc.) and numb ourselves from pain (shopping, eating, alcohol, etc.), we don’t seem to be taking very good care of ourselves. We certainly don’t seem to be guarding our hearts in order to fulfill what God designed for us.

Think about it for a moment. I’m as guilty as anyone of believing issues will just go away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? But in my CE class Bernay-Roman said, “When pain is repressed, it doesn’t just go away, it goes in.” In addition, he states “how paradoxical that the path of feeling one’s pain leads to the healing of the suffering heart.”

With this, it’s important to remember God is always with us. The Bible tells us 365 times to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

God is greater than our feelings, and He knows everything. 1 John 3:20

In addition to my massage CEs, I’m also really learning the importance of being intentional in my walk with God. I’ve always heard that God tells us everything we need in the Bible. But through my reading and spiritual growth, I’m finally at a point that my experience is showing this is true.

In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us about the whole armor of God. He said putting it on allows us to stand firm against the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:12-13

Both the apostle Paul and Bernay-Ramsey remind us that we have to be intentional when fighting the monsters in our lives. Preparing for and feeling them is the best way to guard our hearts so that we can live through our suffering. We prepare by growing our relationship with God and we get through them by feeling and facing them.

When we do this, then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

So, this Halloween, remember monsters won’t always come out where we can see them. Often, they lurk in the dark, within the deep recesses of our minds, souls and hearts. Don’t be afraid, God will give us all we need.

Oh! And I finally figured out my Halloween costume – gotta go put on the whole armor of God!

Peace and love,

Angela

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