Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged encouragement
Drum Roll, Please...Ta Da!

Drum roll, please….. Ta Da!  Does anything look different to you here on our SMC Women blog? 

It’s simple and that’s the way we want to make things because often our days and lives are quite complex.  We know you probably already have a full calendar, complex relationships and hundreds of decisions to make, as you work at your job, take care of your home and family, uber kids around, attend meetings and try to fit in time to exercise and do things you enjoy with the people you like and love.  And if you’re like me, you NEED time to recharge.  You need time to put your phone down, sit down, take a breath, be still and know God is God.  If you’re like me, you need to relax and spend time with Jesus.  That does NOT want to be the last thing on my to-do list or something I’ll do only if I have time at the end of the day.

So, us writers here on our blog, understand the need and desires each of us have (but often neglect) to make time for yourself.  One of those ways, we hope is for you to be encouraged each week when we share some stories and hopefully something to reflect and ponder in the middle of your daily craziness.

With this new look, we’ve added a few new features and some will stay.  Here’s what stays:

* Most weeks of the year a new post of encouragement each Wednesday.

*You can subscribe to receive reminders on your phone or by email each week (if you haven’t already done that). 

* You can comment on posts as you are led.

Here’s what new and coming: 

*A clean and simple look

*A calendar to see upcoming SMC Women eventrs (coming soon!)

* Greater connection to SMC Women's Ministry Social Media outlets

* Exciting videos.

*AND SO MUCH MORE! 

We hope the stories written and told, and events SMC Women host are times when you get a lift, a rejuvenation and a moment for YOU to relax.  May this be an source for you to feel joy while being in the presence of our Lord!

Lord, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever”  (Psalm 16: 11 NIV)    

 Join us, share with us, worship and praise with us! 

Be inspired. Be honest. Be YOU.

P.S. It’s not too late to register to attend our SMCW Event tomorrow night, May 2 at 6:45pm-8pm in the Atrium at SMC! Register Here!

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

20170927_064241

Fully Known

This week on the SMC Women's Blog, we feature guest writer Dawn Avolio. Please enjoy this message from Dawn... Fully Known

I grew up in church.  At least until the age of 10.  My family attended The Salvation Army in Bristol, Tennessee.  My aunt was there pretty much anytime the doors were open and since my mom worked two jobs, so was I.  I attended Sunday school, morning and evening services and Wednesday night Sunbeams every week.  I went to every picnic at the local park, outings with the youth and trips to the Smoky Mountains.  I went to Camp Paradise Valley every summer for at least a week and I loved joining in the camp songs, crafts and nightly Vespers.  To miss one second of VBS would have wrecked my life!  I was in every Christmas play and attended every New Year’s Eve Watchnight Service.  I was a church kid.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NET)

 

When we moved to NC in 1990, things changed.  I didn’t attend church regularly for a few years.  A high school friend invited me to some youth events and slowly I became a regular attendee.  I loved it!  The church welcomed me with open arms and eventually I was baptized there.  I was active for a while, but then I let things come before church.  I wanted to spend time with friends that didn’t attend church.  I wanted to spend time working so that I could have money to do fun things with those friends.  I didn’t want to make time for church, my bible or devotions.  If I am being honest, those things just stopped being my priority.

Proverbs 10:23 The fool finds his fun in doing wrong, but the wise delight in having discernment. (TPT)

 

I hope you are still with me, because this is where I share how I found my hope in Jesus, in the most unusual way.  I’ve had a lot of loss in my life.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles, 3 fathers (biological, step and in-law) and a very close friend.  The ones closest to me suffered with illnesses before their deaths.  I was physically there for those moments with my 3 fathers and close friend.  I went to the doctor’s appointments, picked up medicines, made meals and supported other family members.  I held vigil by their bedside while Hospice (angels on earth) came in to bring some comfort to all of us.  I had the honor of holding my biological father’s hand as he took his last breath.  I will always be grateful for that blessing.

I know these don’t seem like moments of hope, but they are, for one simple reason.  Jesus showed up.  He always did.  In the most heartbreaking moments of my life, he was there.    He showed up when I didn’t ask him to.  I had spent my whole life keeping him at arm’s length and he still showed up.  He brought with him what I needed the most in each of those moments. Peace.

 

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

 

It was well into my adult life before I realized that Jesus was seeking more from me and wanted more for me.  Every day I am growing in the knowledge of what it means to follow Jesus.  I am shedding the insecurities and inadequacies that tell me I am not enough.  I am enough.  I am a child of God.  My heart is finally believing that I am fully known and loved by him.

Colossians 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (NLT)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xckDgX8xNfg

Your Sister In Christ,

Dawn Avolio

dawn