This woman hosted me when I spoke at a school in Brazil last month. She prays. Oh how she prays! And the things God does through her prayers . . . here’s just a tiny peek at how He’s on the move as a result of her persistent asking and believing. Teach me to pray and trust like that, Lord!
In 2012, after completing the True Woman 101 study with three other women, Cindy Rast—a missionary in Brazil—just knew Brazilian women needed to hear this message. For months she thought about how to spread it to women in Brazil, but she always came back to, What can I do?
Still, she continued to lead group after group of women through True Woman 101—American women, Brazilian women; older women, younger women; divorced women, married women, single women—and she saw the same results over and over. Women were starving for this truth.
This message is in all of Latin America except for Brazil! “God, what do You want? I don’t have anything to offer.”
“We’ve let the world define us for so long, but when you look at the Word and see your Creator’s design, there’s something so affirming and beautiful,” she told me. “It’s not just someone’s nice idea. It’s what the Creator is saying! There’s the power.”
One day in December 2013, as Cindy was sitting down to lunch, she turned on Revive Our Hearts and heard Laura Gonzalez de Chavez sharing how God made her dream of starting Revive Our Hearts in Spanish a reality. As Cindy listened she thought, This message is in all of Latin America except for Brazil! She got on her knees, weeping, and cried out, “God, what do You want? I don’t have anything to offer.”
But then God began to bring to mind her connections . . . at TransWorld Radio, at the audio-visual company where her father-in-law serves as president, and more. So with trembling fingers, Cindy picked up the phone and left a message at Revive Our Hearts, sharing her passion. They’re going to think I’m a crazy lady! she thought.
When she hung up with Revive Our Hearts, she contacted Shedd Publishing and told them how much True Woman 101 had transformed her life. They don’t usually publish Bible studies, so they had no idea how consumers would respond. But after thinking about it for several months, in April 2014 they agreed to publish the workbook in Portuguese.
Cindy then went to work raising money to also publish the True Woman conference video messages into Portuguese.
“The Lord has done everything,” Cindy told me. “You wouldn’t know it, but I’m a high-functioning introvert. He’s impressed on me, ‘You be obedient, and I’ll do the work.’ It’s like this gear that has been greased so well and moves without any difficulty!”
Cindy believes the Lord will raise up a team of Brazilian women who are passionate about spreading this message. “I’m just the little match that’s striking the flame,” she told me.
Burn on, Lord, until every woman in Brazil has a chance to hear Your beautiful design for her life!
Should you hug that guy or not hug him? Is a front hug or a side hug more appropriate?
There’s nothing inherently sinful about a hug. It’s just that behind our arms, we house a sinful heart that can pervert even something good into something not good.
One of you recently asked me what I think about guys and girls hugging. Not an easy question!
I went to a public school where hugging guys was no big deal. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the Christian side hug years later—a “safe” hugging option designed to communicate affection while staying away from any potential sexual body contact.
Only, not every Christian is on board. For example,
One godly, married man I know wholeheartedly hugs women and unabashedly tells them he loves them, with his wife looking on.
Other godly men I know never hug any woman except their wife.
And then there are those who settle somewhere in the middle with the side hug.
So you and I are left to navigate this nebulous world of hugging. (Wouldn’t it be easier if we all wore tags that told whether we were open to hugging or not?!) Unfortunately, it’s not that clear-cut.
That’s probably because there’s nothing inherently sinful about a hug. It’s just that behind our arms, we house a sinful heart that can pervert even something good into something not good.
In my opinion, hugging has less to do with your body potentially being pressed up against someone of the opposite sex, and more to do with your heart and mind.
A hug can be as pure—or as impure—as your heart.
First Timothy 5 is clear about how we’re to interact with each other in the church:
“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (vv. 1–2).
We’re family now, if we have trusted in Christ and Christ alone to make things right between us and our pure, holy Father God. As family members, we are to treat older men as fathers and younger men as brothers . . . with all purity. Yes, we’re family, but we’re a holy, set-apart family.
That’s why it’s important to examine your heart before you reach out for that hug.
When You Hug Him:
1. Is there a guy(s) you want to hug more than others? If so, why?
2. What message are you hoping to send him with your hug?
3. Are you purposefully trying to arouse him with your body contact?
4. Do you hug him just as you would any guy? Like you would your dad or brother?
5. Would you be ashamed if people could read your thoughts as you hugged him?
6. Are you hugging him in public or in private? If the latter, what are you trying to hide?
7. If he’s married, would his wife be comfortable with you hugging him like this?
When He Hugs You:
8. Is this a man who cares for you in a pure way?
9. Is there anything inappropriate about his hug?
10. Is it a quick hug or a longer-than-necessary one?
11. Does his hug make you feel uncomfortable in any way? If so, why?
When His Hug Makes You Feel Uncomfy
If his hug makes you feel uncomfortable, depending on the seriousness of the situation, here are some ways to stop it:
1. Leave some space between you as you hug, and quickly pull away.
2. When he reaches out to hug you, turn and give him a side hug rather than a front-on hug.
3. When he reaches for you to hug you, give him your hand instead. It might be awkward for a second, but he’ll get the point.
4. Tell him you’re not comfy hugging him.
5. Tell a trusted authority that you’re not comfy hugging him.
I’d love to hear from you. Has hugging been an unclear issue for you to navigate too?
One of the saddest comments I ever read on this blog went like this:
I go to a Christian school, but we’re at the stage where Jesus is irrelevant and a joke.
After spending a week at a Christian school, I saw firsthand the kind of peer pressure (or is it persecution?) that takes place from other students at Christian schools.
I don’t share this with you to discourage you; I just don’t want you to be shocked or unprepared when you walk into your Christian school . . . or even your local church.
Because this is a fact: Lots of people who claim to be Christians aren’t. Jesus is clear about this in Matthew 7:21–23,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
So what can you do about this?
1. Make sure that you know that you are a genuine follower of Jesus.
If you’re not positive, begin by reading “Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?” Then pick up your Bible and read the book of 1 John (you can do it; it’s just five chapters!). As you read, ask God to help you know whether you really belong to Him.
2. Don’t expect everyone in your class to be a Christian just because they’re at a “Christian” school.
In fact, I think it’s wiser to assume that “Christians” don’t know Christ—until the “fruit” of their life proves otherwise. (For more on that, check out “Treasure Trove or Garbage Dump?”)
This October I’ll marry a “rich” (in my mind, anyway!) CPA husband. Money has never been a big priority to me; I think I always imagined marrying a poor seminary student.
So I’ve been pleasantly taken back by this surprising twist. Truth be told, I’ve looked forward to mooching off of him, to not having to put in forty hours at the office each week, to benefiting from his labors.
But then I read this in The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian:
“Show me how I can help increase our finances and not decrease them unwisely.”
What an intriguing concept!
I mean, I’d definitely imagined blessing him physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually, but . . . financially? Not so much.
Turns out, marriage is not an excuse for laziness.
I’m a little slow. I should’ve already known that from Proverbs 31, right?
“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”
In other words, she herself makes her husband rich.
But just because she herself offers her husband precious value doesn’t earn her a get-out-of-work-free card. The passage continues,
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” (emphasis added).
If you’re skeptical that this gain could include actual physical, material wealth, keep on reading:
“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. . . . She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household . . . She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard . . . She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night . . . She makes linen garments and sells them . . . She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:12–27).
So I have a new aim: to bless my future husband in every area, including our finances.
How about you? Is there a way you can help increase your husband’s finances while still “looking well to the ways of your household”? Or, at a minimum, are there ways you can take care that you’re not decreasing your husband’s finances unwisely?
(Singles, this starts right now, with what you do with your money even before you meet your someday husband!)
Am I the only one, or does anyone else out there need to repent of a mooch-like attitude?
Let’s get to work, ladies, and bless our husbands in every way. Yes, even financially.