Bunco Ladies

Mom has played bunco with the same group of women for years now.These sweet, Southern Baptist ladies meet once a month for dinner, fellowship, and an extremely competitive game of rolling dice. They celebrate holidays together, dressing up in costumes for Halloween and exchange ornaments for Christmas. (Their ornament exchange is almost as intense as their bunco playing.) These ladies may get crazy, but they love each other fiercely.

They live life together – the good, the bad, and the ugly. They laugh so hard they cry (or pee their pants), and they mourn together over loss and hardship. They rally around one another in times of need, and they cover their sisters in prayer. It’s such a sweet thing to witness, and I’m thankful for these bunco ladies now more than ever.

Currently, they’re rallying around my mom. They meet her for lunch and occasionally take her out to dinner. Some are holding fundraisers to help offset medical costs. Others come over to the house to do crafts with mom. And the very brave accompany her to Target where she terrorizes unsuspecting shoppers by zipping around corners on a motorized scooter (I’m looking at you Annette Andrews).

Bunco ladies, I am so thankful for you. You are a beautiful example of both Galatians 6:2 and 1 Peter 4:10. You have all  used your gifts to encourage and support my mom throughout her journey with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Your love, helpfulness, and prayers mean more to our family than you will ever know.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace
1 Peter 4:10

 

 

 

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Beauty Redefined

“Something that everyone seems to find true – lasting beauty is in the heart of another. In the qualities that seem to bring out the best in others…Wrinkles conquer everyone. But a heart? That just gets more and more beautiful with Jesus and time.”

This was the response I received after asking a good friend how she would define beauty. And I found such truth in her words. You see, beauty is something so many women strive for, and these same women time and time again feel like they will never measure up.

The problem, however, is not that we don’t measure up. The problem is that we have allowed our definition of beauty to become so outwardly focused when that was never the way beauty was meant to be defined.

Do not let your adorning be external-the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear-but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4

Scripture speaks so clearly about this. Beauty is not defined by the clothes we wear or the makeup we use to paint our faces. Beauty is not defined by the pictures we compare ourselves to in the magazines we skim through at the grocery store. This outward, physical beauty that we so desperately continue to chase after – it fades.

Not only does our physical beauty fade, but it’s not what God desires for us to seek. God’s desire is that we would seek this “imperishable beauty”, this beauty that is inwardly focused and defined by your character. Instead of fixating on our appearance, God calls us to shift our attention to something deeper -the beauty of our soul.

This is why I found such truth in the words of my friend, Maegen. The qualities that deem us truly beautiful are found within and not without. The qualities that deem us truly beautiful are the ones created and stirred up inside our souls as we spend time both reading and obeying the Word of God – qualities like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control, truth, loyalty, humility, and so on.”

Charm is deceptive and beauty if fleeting,but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

 

 

 

Waiting on the Lord

 

I have found this season of life to be marked by waiting-specifically, waiting on answered prayer. For over ten years, my family and I have voiced prayers for my mother’s health and waited for the Lord to answer,so this concept is not foreign to me. But when waiting on God to answer prayer suddenly means waiting for my mom to receive a double lung transplant, it can become all-consuming.

With this waiting has come a flood of questions, fear, anger, and doubt. Does God hear me? Does he care? Does he know how long I’ve been waiting on him to fix this? Where do I find the goodness of God in this?

In the midst of my questioning, I can tell you is that God is doing work deep within my soul. And he’s accomplishing this work through a small community of a few young adult women who meet weekly in a coffee shop to read Scripture and speak truth into each other’s lives.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.
Psalm 133:1

Something beautiful happens when you experience this kind of community with other believers. There’s this element of vulnerability and transparent honesty that takes place. While this occasionally  comes in the form of an embarrassing ugly cry, I describe it as beautiful because it has been so life giving for me. In this season of waiting, God is using these precious women to speak to me.

God is using these women to remind me that yes, he hears my prayer, he truly cares for me, and yes, he knows how long I’ve been waiting.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-7

He is using these women to remind me that through the waiting and the struggle, God is shaping my character. And it is because of his goodness that he desires to draw me near and speak to me. God is teaching me to lean into him and to seek the joy and the assurance that only he can provide.

In a devotion by Wendy Pope, she writes, “Sometimes the wait is more about experiencing God than enduring the delay.” I love the truth behind this – the truth that God desires to meet with us in what can sometimes be our darkest moments, and that he brings light into these moments by drawing us nearer each other and nearer to him.