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.  https://www.openbible.info/topics/legacy

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!

Beth

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A Legacy of Kindness

1 When we talked about doing a series on legacy, I immediately started thinking of it in terms of what I would want my legacy to be.  As the mother of 3 small-ish kids, I think about this sometimes.  So many days feel like they’re spent rushing, yelling, disciplining, and wanting to cry.  Is this what I want my legacy to be?

Of course I want my children to know that their mother knows the Lord.  I try to talk about it and use otherwise ridiculous situations as teaching moments.  I remember the fruits of the Spirit, though they will probably never think of peace or gentleness when they think of me (especially this week).

The thing that I most want them to see in me is kindness.  Not kindness when it’s easy or when it’s my friend.  Kindness that we are called, as children of God, to show to everyone.  It’s not easy, especially for kids.

My oldest child is in second grade.  He’s a little awkward, a little more immature than most kids his age, and has some challenges in the classroom.  He isn’t always the recipient of kindness because of that.  It will come as no surprise that children can be mean.  So far, he’s kind of brushed it off, but he’s getting to the age where that will be harder to do.  The way I talk about kindness with him is a little different.  He is taught that your kindness toward others does not depend on theirs to you.  You don’t have to be friends with someone who is unkind, but you do have to be civil.

My daughter just started kindergarten and this whole concept looks different for her.  She is a pleaser.  She will fit in with no problem in any group.  She needs to know that she is expected to be kind even if her friends are not.  It’s easy to try to impress others by being rude or hurtful.  I’ll never understand this, and she has never been faced with it.  But she will.  So, I’ve already started talking to her about it.

Now what about me?  How can I show them what kindness looks like as an adult?  Honestly, it’s not hard to do.  They’re always watching so typically I don’t even say it out loud.  But a nice word to a cashier who is having a rough day can do wonders.  I hope they see that.  Getting an extra burger for the guy holding the sign near McDonalds is a small but sometimes powerful act.  My husband and I shave our heads for childhood cancer research every year.  I’ve had people ask me how I’m ok with my kids seeing me bald!  What I want them to see is that you give when you can with whatever you have.  It’s easy y’all.  And it can change people’s hearts.  If you can make someone’s day better, why would you choose not to?  You can show Jesus in Walmart.  And they need it a lot.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24).

Julie

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A Person Of The Cross

On the Wednesday before the Thursday where the bread was broken and the wine sipped, before the Friday when the world collapsed, before the Saturday when the world stayed still, before the Sunday when the world broke through, on that Wednesday, we do not have a record of what Jesus and his disciples did.

I have a feeling that Jesus was regrouping and gathering strength to complete this long arduous journey that had begun with a conversation between a young girl and an angel messenger in the hills outside of Bethlehem.

Wednesday, the day that Jesus may have been resting, praying, gathering himself in preparation of what he knew would take place.

And that is where I find myself in the year 2017. The Wednesday before Easter.

The journey began 6 weeks ago when many had a sooty cross of ashes drawn on their foreheads to remind them of their sinfulness and mortality and their need to repent.

This year I was in need to be reminded, daily, hourly, of my need for Christ in my life, so I added something.

When I saw the crosses drawn on Ash Wednesday, I saw it as a way of proclaiming themselves to be “people of the cross”. They were branding themselves, if only until they washed their face, that they belonged to Jesus.

I inked a cross on the inside of my arm. It isn’t permanent. I have to reapply the ink every few days as it is washed off, and every time I am brought back to my initial thought, “I am a person of the cross”.

I told no one and on one asked me about it.

Lent has been described as a journey to Jerusalem.

As I continue to walk that journey through the 40 days I find myself forgetting still, forgetting the degree of the sacrifice Christ made in the days preceding his crucifixion.

Forgetting that every day of this last week He was leading his disciples, as well as us, His followers, toward the cross.

Jesus was deliberately guiding the 12, and us, to understand the “why” of his last days.

I do not believe they understood, or if they caught a glimpse of where the journey would end, they could not believe that He would submit.

And I discovered that I am truly crucified with Christ, daily crucified.

And as I forget His crucifixion I also forget that I have been raised to resurrection life!

Resurrection life is what should be at the center of my life, but my human frailty keeps me living in the world.

2 Cor 4:8-10 speaks of crumbling when the walls of my little life come tumbling in, hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down BUT NOT in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed.

The words remind me that I always carry in my body the death of Christ, and in doing so, the life of Christ will be revealed.

I thought that observing Lent meant to give up something in order to create space for Jesus in my ordinary days, but this year I added something, a visual symbol of the death and the resurrection of Christ.

Gal 2:20 says to help me to remember that if I am truly crucified with Christ, I am also raised to resurrection life!

Help me Lord, to never forget that the purpose of crucified life is to walk in the power of Your resurrection with your life revealed in mine.

Amen and amen and amen.

Lovingyougood…sd