Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

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You’re Invited to SMC Women’s Gathering

Come join us for an evening of worship, fellowship and sharing as we kick off our new series "Women of the Bible" at SMC Women's Gathering! Our own SMC Kid's Director Julie Giles, will be bringing God's Word alive to us through a fascinating woman you may not know much about but is a LOT like you! Operation Christmas Child will be there to offer opportunities for you to serve.Hope to see you there! Register TODAY!

WHEN: Thursday, November 2, 2017

WHERE: Atrium

TIME: 6:45-8:00pm

We hope to see you then and bring a friend!

It's not too late to register! Here's the link.

Connection Cures

Lately, a scene from the movie Poltergeist stays on replay in my brain. You know the one where Dana, played by Dominique Dunne, screams “What’s happening?” outside as she watches her house get eaten by ghosts? This is what comes to mind when I think about or watch the news. So much to be sad about. Too much, really.

My current focus seems to most often be related to the frightening speed with which drug overdoses in this country are becoming a leading cause of death. Last year, fatalities to drug overdose were higher than car accidents. Four of the nation’s top 20 cities of opioid deaths are in North Carolina with Wilmington leading the way at the top spot. Hickory (5); Jacksonville (12) and Fayetteville (18) were also on the list. In our state, opioids are killing an average of four people every day.*

Opioid overdoses are so prevalent that EMTs and police officers carry Narcan (naloxone, the treatment for a narcotic overdose). In many schools, nurses keep it in their office and students as young as 12 are taught how to administer the antidote. I read an article recently that stated Ohio currently has so many opioid deaths, morgues are having to bring in trailers to provide more tables to hold the deceased bodies.

So, what gives? Why are there so many people addicted to something: drugs, food, porn, smartphones? Johann Hari is a British journalist who did a fascinating TED talk, and decided to explore this question a couple years ago. He started by examining the work of Vancouver psychology professor Bruce Alexander. Alexander theorized that rats who were given two water bottles (one plain water and the other with heroin or cocaine) always took the drug-laced water because they were isolated in a cage. He created what he called Rat Park, where the rats could always eat, play and socialize. The rats still had access to both plain and drug laced water, but now, the rats almost always drank plain water. The idea is that everything needs to bond with something. The rats prefer to bond with others and enjoy life, but when that wasn’t available, they bonded with drugs. This is what we are seeing with people. Food, porn, smartphones and, especially, drugs are becoming easier to bond with than bonding with others.

Keeping Rat Park in mind, what if addiction is more of a social disorder than a chemical disorder? What if the answer to addiction were as simple as belonging and purpose? In this age of technological connection and interpersonal disconnection, it can be easy to fall into the trap of getting and staying lost in our own world. We might as well be that isolated rat in the park. This trap ensures we never bond with the people in front of or around us.

From the beginning of time, God created us to be together: The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I’ll make him a helper, a companion.” Genesis 2:18 (MSG). But technology has made it so we don’t need to be connected physically to be together. This is both a wonderful and terrible thing. Long distance? How great that not only can we speak (via phone call or text), but we can also see each other using video chat. In our current climate when we should be more connected than ever before, the opposite often happens. We are sacrificing our relationships for our stuff. And at a huge cost. I think about this on occasion: what am I not putting my phone down for?

I know I’ve been guilty of making my phone and technology a bigger priority than the people in front of me. Social media, games, emails, etc., etc. make it so easy to be and stay distracted. This is creating more isolation between people. Who hasn’t seen (or been) the family at dinner in a restaurant who didn’t interact or speak to each other because no one could take their eyes off their phone?

Philippians 2:4 (NLT) Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Yes, we are all busy. We need to take care of our family, friends, ourselves, work, the house… the list goes on seemingly forever, doesn’t it? Take just a second to remember a time when someone took a moment out of their day to focus on only you. How did that make you feel? When I have an experience with someone who gives me their full attention, is polite, upbeat and HUMAN, it stands out and makes my day.

The apostle Paul reminds us: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 (NLT) and in 1 Corinthians 12:26 “If one member suffers, all suffer together. If one member is honored, all rejoice together.” And this powerful gem in 1 John 4:20 (NLT): If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

Connection feeds the soul. And connection with God is immeasurable, and He thinks connecting with others is equally important. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus said that loving your neighbor as yourself is a second, equally important commandment to loving God with all your heart, soul and mind. The Bible teaches us that God is love. If He made us in His image, isn’t connection an incredible way He shows love to us? So how can we be love to others and connect with them? Any way that tugs at your heart, really. Prayer, phone calls, texts, visits, cards, notes, your presence, giving presents. LISTENING. Asking others about themselves. Giving smiles, giving hugs. Whatever and wherever God leads you. Often, it will involve turning off a screen.

No doubt connection can feel more difficult on the surface than it really is. What if the answer to addiction IS as simple as disconnecting from that which can create isolation? I came across an article entitled “The Opposite of Addiction is Connection.” I completely agree. Now excuse me. I need to go love on and bond with my family.

Angela

*written by Billy Liggett - The Opioid Epidemic – 3/3/17 - The Rant – News Out of North Carolina * written by Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S in Psychology Today 9/30/15

Receiving The Blessing

If there were a list of things people have ever said about me, I can assure you this would not be on it: “That girl? She really has it together.” Hot mess express? Check. Maybe a little nuts? Probably. You know those people who just exude a sense of balance and peace? I am not them and I will never be them. Thank God, however, I know some of them. When praying about what to write, I ended up at Mary and Martha. I did not want to end up there. What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said? I tried to go somewhere else, but here we are. Most of us know the story from Luke 10

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I think a lot of times, as women, we’ve thought about which category is ours. I fall somewhere in the middle: I’m just over here spinning my wheels but still not getting anything done. It’s almost a cliché to say that women try to do it all. And we don’t want any help with it. Receiving help means we couldn’t do it, and that’s the same as failing, right? Sound familiar?

Some of us are Marys and some of us are Marthas and some of us are an unfortunate mix, but we were all created by this amazing God. And it was not an accident that we ended up the way we are. Maybe it’s a gift that God can use, but we have to let Him use it.

A few months ago, two of my girlfriends got together, came to my house, sent my husband and I out to dinner, and organized my downstairs. They kicked us out of our house so that they could work in peace. It was really hard to turn loose and let them do this. Why can’t I just be more organized myself? Why do I need help? But these girls were not taking no because they knew that I needed it. And I did. I cannot tell you how great a blessing it was when I was finally able to let them do this. They didn’t want to do it so they could judge my mild hoarding issues. They wanted to do it because they love me and wanted to help. We were all blessed by this, both in the giving and the receiving. If I hadn’t let them do this, we would all have missed the blessing.

I was reading “Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People” by Nadia Bolz-Weber (FYI, this book is not everyone’s cup of tea. Language alert), and she talked about blessings. She asked how she could be Christ to someone today, but then she realized that that’s not the right approach:

After meeting Bruce and struggling with what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world when I am so prone to pride, I looked harder at Matthew 25 and realized that if Jesus said “I was hungry and you fed me,” then Christ’s presence is not embodied in those who feed the hungry (as important as that work is), but Christ’s presence is in the hungry being fed. Christ comes not in the form of those who visit the imprisoned but in the imprisoned being cared for. And to be clear, Christ does not come to us as the poor and hungry. Because, as anyone for whom the poor are not an abstraction but actual flesh-and-blood people knows, the poor and hungry and imprisoned are not a romantic special class of Christlike people. And those who meet their needs are not a romantic special class of Christlike people. We all are equally as sinful and saintly as the other. No, Christ comes to us in the needs of the poor and hungry, needs that are met by another so that the gleaming redemption of God might be known. No one gets to play Jesus. But we do get to experience Jesus in that holy place where we meet others’ needs and have our own needs met. We are all the needy and the ones who meet needs. To place ourselves or anyone else in only one category is to lie to ourselves.

Love on people. Let people love on you. Do both of these things often because maybe sometimes you can do it all but sometimes you need to not do any of it, and that’s ok. Sometimes we’re Mary and sometimes we’re Martha, and sometimes we can’t remember who we are. A few months back, my husband was out of town and (of course) the kids were sick. I got a text from a girlfriend just asking for my address. I gave it to her but told her I was fine (I was not). Then she said there would be pizza at my house at five and it was already paid for so I couldn’t say no. Dominos has never tasted so good. I would have said no if she’d asked first, and we both would have missed the blessing.

That day Jesus was in the pizza delivery. How fun is that? You never know where He’s going to be, but you have to receive the blessing to find out.