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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why does it have to be so hard?

by Cyndi Coleman
As my “I-don’t-do-mornings” and “I-don’t-love-school tween” and I were racing to school one morning she moaned, “Why does school have to be so hard?” Granted, this was our first day back after Thanksgiving break, and none of “my people”  (who live under my roof) felt up to our day’s demands; but her complaint disguised as a question deserved an answer. So, as we waited on a red light to turn green, I began, “Well, baby, it’s only hard because it’s all new. Next year, this hard stuff will be easier, and there will be new challenges. But ya gotta get this stuff nailed down first, so you’re ready.”


Isn’t all of life similar to this? As I look back over my life, I can see God leading me down dark and seemingly desolate paths. Those times were scary and full of new challenges (or opportunities depending on how you look at it); and  those times prepared me for what was ahead. Of course, there were times, on those paths, when I darted away from God’s guidance. Those were undeniably the most devastating and destructive times, for I had truly lost all direction. Each of those times found me caught in an entanglement of hopelessness crying for my Savior.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Moment of Mercy

by Cyndi Coleman
Sometimes, we may see disaster on the horizon and we spend time praying it will not happen to us. However, there are other times when disaster approaches so swiftly that we are only able to sit back and take in all the shock and hysteria that has come our way after it has passed. Still there are other times when we see that potential devastation has been averted. These are the times we should recognize that God has chosen, out of his sovereignty, to bless us with a moment of mercy we did not even know to ask for. As an illustration of what I’m writing about, I feel compelled to tell you about a time that still causes my heart to sink. I’m talking about a time when the potential devastation we avoided was only by the hand of God.  It was a moment when he chose to show my family mercy. A moment we could have never seen coming.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Prayer

by Pam Roth
Have you ever noticed how the Lord works in mysterious ways and how relevant His word is for us?  Today, I found a prayer that I wrote over 30 years ago. Little did I know, when I wrote this prayer, that my children would be in their 40’s and that my husband and I would live 900 miles away from some of them when I discovered this prayer, again. 


Heavenly Father,
As I think about the Thanksgiving season, help me to be thankful…I mean really thankful.  I am truly grateful for your provision and my family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Change the Channel!!!

by Cyndi Coleman
A few days ago Catheryn, our youngest daughter, lost the remote to her tv. This was not the first time; it happens frequently - at least once a week. So, once again, Catheryn was lamenting the lost  remote. She was frustrated because she could not change the channel - it was stuck, and she was, too. As I was plundering under stuffed animals and between Barbie dolls, trying to help her find it, I heard her exclaim, “I know! I can borrow Sissy’s remote!” Within 30 seconds she had asked her older sister, changed the channel, and was back to enjoying her TV time.

Do you ever feel like that? Like your life is stuck on the wrong channel and you’ve lost the remote? I know I have felt this way many times. Sometimes, I know that I get my heart stuck on something and I cannot seem to change it. No pun intended, but I’m definitely channeling something and it’s not positive! I get frustrated and get even more stuck. It can be a vicious and depressing cycle. 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just the slightest shift, part two

click to read part one

by Naomi Widmer, guest writer
As I reflect back on when I first recognized a “kiss on the cheek from God,” I would have to say that it came on a frustrating August morning when God nudged Pam to call me. Unbeknownst to Pam, I had been silently calling out to God, asking for clarity and wise counsel. I am forever in awe of how God gently works with the wounded - sending one of His surrendered servants to reach out to help pull stuck feet out of the pit of despair. 


Psalm 40:1-2, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Just the slightest shift, part one

by Naomi Widmer, guest writer

We are happy to introduce Naomi Widmer as our guest writer for the next two weeks.  Naomi, along with her husband, Mark, have served faithfully in ministry for over 35 years.  Naomi is a gifted musician and teacher.  She has also served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic with her husband and currently they are serving in a Christian school in Romeoville, IL.  Welcome Naomi to the Relevant Women blog!

Recently, I was asked the question, "Naomi, what is one thing you might be able to shift in your life this week to lighten the heaviness you currently have in your life?   And, when you figure it out, send me an email!" When I got off the phone, I sat there feeling perplexed.  I had no idea what could shift, short of quitting everything I was involved in, and hitting the road to find an illusive cabin in the woods!

As I sat there, I soon realized I had to get rid of all my pat answers or "christianese" statements.  The truth is, I literally had to sit this one out by being still, leaning into God, and listening for His still small voice.  This was the beginning of becoming aware of how God would perform these subtle shifts in my life. Honestly, to sit still and wait on God's gentle moving in my life is the opposite of my personality.  If I see a problem, "I" want to fix it - solve it in three easy steps and be done with it!  But from where I was sitting that day, it was evident my three-easy-step plan wasn’t going to work this time.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finding peace in troubled times


Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Have you found yourself saying, “I’m so tired of all of the negative news?”  And then, there is the concern of life threatening diseases and constant financial concerns.

Gratefully, I am reminded that I do not need to be fixated and troubled by the unknown; but I need to be focused on what the Lord wants to teach me during this time.  When I am alone and quiet, I find myself asking… “Is this a wake up call for me, for America?”   “Am I putting too much trust in other things and not enough trust in God?”  “Do I value my possessions more than I do my relationship with God?”  “Where is all of this going?”  And, “What will our lives be like in five to ten years from now?”  These are hard questions, but questions I need to ask myself.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Decide to be near to God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I was reading on our back patio when I came upon a chapter about prayer and being near to God. Immediately, a particular Bible verse began to drift through my mind, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).  While I paused to reminisce on this verse, I lifted up a half-hearted, weak prayer that went something like this, “Lord maybe you should come near to me, so I know where to find you.” I was not expecting an answer, but I got one. It was a shocking thought that consumed the rest of my afternoon. I felt God whisper to my soul, “You must come near to me because I am always near to you.” Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Since this caught me off-guard, I spent the next several hours contemplating and praying through this contradictory thought. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Quenching Allowed!

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
“Do not quench the  Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Those who know me well would likely - no definitely - agree with this self-assessment: I am a very zealous person! Whatever I am passionate about consumes me and flows freely from within me. Since I am an extrovert, sometimes the things that are swirling inside of my head come gushing right out of my mouth. This can be both good and bad! And trust me, this has gotten me into, and out of, a lot of “interesting” conversations.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Much Appreciated Sabbatical

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Pam Roth
Just about this time, several years ago, my husband and I took off for a week-long working sabbatical.  The cabin we stayed in was nestled in the woods near a lake.  Not far from the front porch of the cabin, you could see the lake on this beautiful piece of property.  So one day, we took a pair of Adirondack chairs down to the shoreline to rest and watched the sunlight dancing on the lake.  It was a picture perfect afternoon, and a great beginning to our little get away. 


Have you ever felt the need to get off of the “carousel of life?”  Does it seem like your life is spinning out of control?  Or maybe you feel like you are just walking around in circles, not accomplishing anything.  Perhaps you are exactly where we were.  Nothing was really wrong – life had just been pulling us in so many different directions that it had been hard to stay focused on any one particular project.  Specifically for me, the most important aspect of my life – my continued relationship with the Lord needed a time of renewal and both of us just need to find a quiet place to retreat.