Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

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Are You An Influencer?

IMG_0848 With a cheerful “Good morning”, a gentleman held his hand out to shake mine with a big smile on his face.  “We’re so glad you’re here and so glad your son will now be part of our Elon family!”

We had received an email and invitation in the mail to come to the “Legacy Breakfast” before the Class of 2022 convocation took place under the huge, tall oak trees that shaded the couple of thousand chairs that sat under them on the oldest part of Elon’s campus.

Where did the time go?!  Our son, and oldest child, just moved to college – to Elon University – a few weeks ago.  Even though it’s a mile and a half from our house, our son is living on campus and he’s started a new chapter in his life.  Our family will never be the same.  And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing – it’s just going to be different.

But it was a little fun to receive the invitation to the Legacy Breakfast.  People who are former graduates of Elon College or University, who now have a son or daughter, or niece or nephew, or grandchild, beginning their start at Elon, were given special treatment.  Elon College is where I met my husband when I was his Orientation Leader when I was a sophomore and he was an incoming freshman.  It seemed like maybe just five years ago when I was a student there.  My husband and I are Elon’s class of 1996 and now our son the class of 2022!

Something I’ve enjoyed doing is helping older adults record their Life or Faith Story and the legacy they want to leave behind.  Reading their stories and looking at their photos brought comfort and joy to family members and were especially special to set out at the visitations from their passing and priceless Christmas gifts to grand and great-grandchildren.

By no means did I leave any kind of legacy at my alma mater and I’m not upset about it.  As each year has passed, I think a little more about what imprint I may have had on someone’s life, whether it be positive, negative or neutral.  And I know I’ve left plenty enough of the latter two.

Recently I stumbled across the book Only One Life: How A Woman’s Every Day Shapes An Eternal Legacy  by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee, a mother and daughter.

Not always, but most often, it is the women who have a directional and influential role in the way a society goes, because they are the ones most often taking care of that society’s most valuable asset: the next generation.

In a similar way, there are certain cultural and societal impacts that we women are uniquely gifted by God to make.

They endow the Christian woman with an amazing power, not to mention an immense responsibility. Our unique roles and gifts provide us with the opportunity to be influencers

As a woman, whether you happen to be a mother, you have an irreplaceable role in our society.

God created women with unique gifts and traits, and we all have an important role in passing on our legacy of faith.

I like how the authors say that all of us are influencers.  If someone spoke about me after I’ve passed from this world, whatever I have done has not been me or my legacy.  It’s been Jesus, who is in me.  All Jesus!

I don’t want to be accolated for accomplishments I nay have made, because God should receive the credit and glory for the gifts and way He created me for Him to use me to help point others to His Son, Christ.

Have you heard Casting Crowns latest song, Only Jesus?  Click here to listen to it.  I want to live like the chorus says to live:

And I-I-I… I don't want to leave a legacy I don't care if they remember me Only Jesus And I-I-I… I've only got one life to live I'll let every second point to Him Only Jesus

At the same time though, the Bible is packed full of instructions about how we’re to live a life of faith and pass it along to future generations.  Here’s just one, but you can find more here.

Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 12:28 ESV

So, yes, let’s be influencers who live with faith in our Savior and give him the glory for what gifts us with the opportunities to spread His love with others in the unique way He created each of us with special talents and abilitiesAs the mother and daughter wrote:

Our hurting world needs godly women leaders now more than ever.

We can lead. We must lead.

Future generations will bless us if we press through our obstacles, fears, and insecurities to meet the sobering challenges our families and communities now face, and invest in others.

Let us leave a spiritual, faith-filled, influencing legacy to the people Abba puts in our lives where it’s all about Jesus and not about us!





There's More Than One Way To Find Freedom

4th-of-july-america-american-flag-774316 Ahh…. July 4th. The day we Americans celebrate our freedom. Our clothes are red, white and blue; we gather with friends and family; we grill and we watch fireworks. As I plan and prepare what patriotic clothes I will wear and the menu for the cookout, I reflect on how much I appreciate freedom. I recognize how I am grateful for the vision of our forefathers to establish a free country where its citizens enjoy rights that shouldn’t be taken away.

Our Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Unalienable is defined by Merriam-Webster as “incapable of being alienated, surrendered or transferred.”

Living in the United States of America allows me the ability to do what makes me happy – within reason of course. I’m able to pursue happiness and for me a big part of my happiness comes from being able to worship God in the ways I believe are true and right. This past week, I attended Johnathan Creek – a Christian camp in Kentucky for students from 7th through 12th grade. I was privileged to be one of the leaders for the SMC group. It was a moving experience that I will never forget. I was reminded of the sacrifice of Christ that gives us freedom in Him.

Freedom in Christ is a little different, but perhaps it delivers even more powerful results. As Christ-followers, we are called to walk in love. In all situations. “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 (NLT)

I grew up in the Catholic church which has rules for the rules. On top of that, my Dad was in the Marine Corps. More rules. I. Am. A. Rule. Follower. I find it very difficult not to follow rules and sometimes it’s also hard for me to be around rule breakers. I don’t understand them and they REALLY put my love walk to the test. I am learning that relationships are more important than rules, but after nearly 50 years of living rules, this passage is difficult for me to follow.

But God gave us Christ so we could be free from law. “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” Romans 6:14

That good ol’ grace that this human sometimes finds difficult to achieve. It’s almost impossible for me to wrap my head around God’s endless grace. It seems unattainable for me to emulate at times.

But as Christians we do have certain laws to follow. Think 10 Commandments. And it’s not just rules and laws. In Matthew, Jesus told the Pharisees important commandments not found in the original ten. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39. We are called to be in relationship with Him so we may become one with Him. There is no other way to love Him heart, soul and mind.

“They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Peter 2:19

In 2018, what does control us? We have MANY options to choose from. Does Christ have our hearts, souls and minds? Have we become a slave to Him, or is it our phones; money; food; clothes; sports; our children that take first priority? Ironic, isn’t it, that when we give over our life to Christ and become obedient to Him, that’s when we become most free. When we allow THINGS to control us, instead of our walk with Christ, it becomes a negative thing.

We arrived at camp Monday afternoon. Soon after, the leaders took phones away from the teenagers until Friday night. It was important for them to devote their time and stay focused on God and His word. When asked, my group of 14-year-old girls didn’t really miss their phones. In fact, I think in many ways, they were happy not to have the pressures of social media on them constantly.

Have you ever felt like there was something that was put on your heart to do? An idea or thought that wouldn’t go away and you couldn’t shake? What if that is God directing you to your calling? What if in those thoughts or ideas we were to find our true purpose? Further, what if in that calling, we were to find complete freedom in life because we were fulfilling our purpose? Pursuing and ultimately finding, our true happiness.

We know God loves us and wants nothing but good for us. One place we learn of this is in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.”

The saying freedom isn’t free is not only true for our country. Being a Christian is hard and it comes at a price. But when we devote our lives to Christ heart, soul and mind, the freedom that follows will bring us to our heart’s desire.

Peaceful blessings, Angela Hailey


How Is Kindness Like Snow?

Last week, the day after our wonder-full, snowy day, I was scrolling through Instagram and sawa picture of one of my daughter’s friends, who was throwing a handful of snow in the air, added

“Kindness is like snow – it beautifies everything it covers.”

The kindness of God covered a small group of people about 4000 years ago and here’s their names and a little bit about them:

• Eliezer was Abraham’s head-honcho servant because he trusted Eliezer the most. So much, that if Abraham had never had a son, Eliezer would become his heir. They had a good relationship due to years of being together and the promises they gave each other were honest and sincere. • Isaac was Abraham’s son • Rebekah was a young woman who would become Isaac’s wife • Laban was Rebekah’s brother who spent some time with Eliezer.

God made sure this happening made it into His Book, the Bible, to use as a teaching moment for generations to follow and I think one of the main lessons is about kindness – simple and sincere acts of kindness.

Here’s a summary of Genesis 24, but I suggest going and reading all of it after reading this. Abraham wanted to find his God-given son, Isaac, a wonderful wife, so he asked Eliezer to assist him with this endeavor. Abraham was very serious about Isaac having a godly wife, so he was serious when he had Eliezer give an oath to do as he asked. Eliezer didn’t give this oath begrudgingly because Abraham had always been kind to him and he wanted to return the kindness. To promise Abraham that he’d do his best, Eliezer put his hand underneath Abraham’s thigh and swore he would. Yes, I think it’s kind of strange, but maybe they’d think us shaking hands as an agreement is odd.

So on a camel, Eliezer took off to find a wife for Isaac with 10 other camels and servants to assist him. When they arrived at the town of Nahor, he had the camels kneel down near the well, where women came to gather water.

Eliezer was not only Abraham’s servant, but he was also a man devoted to God. Just in the one chapter of Genesis, he praised God and prayed several times. He prayed to God before he made any actions. He asked for God to direct him in this endeavor and that God would receive the glory for whatever happened. He prayed, “Oh Lord, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” (24:12) In that prayer alone, it shows the kindness he had in his heart praying for Abraham and his family. God returned his kindness by answering Eliezer’s specific prayer.

Before Eliezer finished praying, he saw a young woman (Rebekah) at the spring and when she finished filling her jar with water, Eliezer asked her if he could have a small drink of her water. With kindness in her voice she said, “Yes, lord…and I’ll also get water for your camels”. Now let’s do the math. There were ten camels. One camel often drinks up to 20 gallons at one time. Now multiply that by 10. That would add up to be at least an hour of hard work. She didn’t have to offer that kindness but she did.

The kindness of God, Eliezer and Rebekah flowed out like water pouring from a jar into the mouths of thirsty men and camels.

Eliezer had no idea she would offer them water as well. But he offered her jewelry and asked her if her family had room for him to stay the night. She said there was plenty of space and he of course could come and stay. Before he took the first step to follow her, he prayed and praised God for answering his prayer. “Praise to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness…as for me the Lord has led me on the journey here.” He gave God all the credit.

Once arriving, Eliezer met Rebekah’s family, including her brother Laban who loved his sister. Kindness must be in their blood because he invited Eliezer to stay the night, provided a place for the camels to rest and water for the other servants who traveled with Eliezer to wash their feet. Laban then fed all of them. He opened his home as a place to stay the night and fed a bunch of strangers. That, my friends, is an act of kindness. As they ate, Eliezer just had to tell them how God was so good and answered his prayers and how all of this fell into place because of God’s faithfulness and goodness.

The next day Eliezer was ready to head back to Issac and Abraham, but Rebekah’s family wanted her to wait for ten days before she left. Eliezer was persistent saying he really wanted to leave that day. Rebekah replied to everyone, “I will go.”

One of the most remarkable things about Rebekah is her total willingness to leave all to be with a bridegroom she has never seen. Her words “I will go” are worthy words of faith. Haven’t we also heard many others in God’s Word who have said those same words? I think Jesus has the desire for us to say that to Him, too.

At the end of this holy encounter, Eliezer and Rebekah arrived close to home, and Isaac, who was meditating out in a field, saw them approaching in the distance. His heart skipped a beat and with excitement imagined what she looked like and wondered if she would love him. But he trusted the Lord because He was good to his father Abraham, and had faith that God would bless him, too. I can see Rebekah, with a veil over her face, gracefully being lowered off the camel with a humble smile on her face as they saw each other for the first time. I like to think that they fell in love at first sight. The got married and Scripture says, “Isaac loved her.”

So what are we to take from that? Most of us don’t ride on camels for transportation, have servants who live in our house and manage it, or get married a few days after you meet someone.

For me, it’s been a lesson about kindness. It’s about being humble to our authority and to others. It’s about the kindness of the Lord who bestows blessings on those who praise Him and give Him the glory for all things. It’s about the kindness of being respectful and kind to strangers. It’s about being sincere and selfless instead of selfish. And kindness and love are a match made in heaven. Kindness IS a beautiful thing.