Learn to ask “What?” in Life’s Times of Trials …

"In all things, give thanks, ...." Philippians 4:6

“In all things, give thanks, ….” Philippians 4:6

This past week I had an opportunity to discuss the journey that led me to grow my faith. Although I have just written about that journey in my self-published book, Asking What: No More Whys, this was yet another time to develop another area of my faith. The gathering was a prayer group of Baptist women; yes the label because that became very important as our interactions were relaxed and personal. The ladies were from multiple decades of maturity so questions asked and stories shared were representative of some who learned the same Southern Baptist mores that I had grown up being taught. Others were from the decade that allowed women to grow up with more flexibility. Having input from practices that were on opposite ends of a continuum was another layer of growth for me. The one thing that made this different was that one of my daughters, Deilia, had gone with me to make sure I did not get lost, and this was the first time one of my daughters was in the audience, in this case joining me at the table. It was a strange and necessary feeling to be able to reach down and put my hand on her knee when I referred to something that had been part of their upbringing in my evolving faith and journey of discovery. The Lord led me to talk with these prayer warriors about learning to “be of good cheer” (Luke 8: 43-48, v. 48) where the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years received healing because she reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, after twelve years of struggling with the illness. I chose Luke’s gospel to read from although it is reported in Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels, because he was a physician and that was important for this group of women who prayed for healing and the needs of the community. After discussing the need to be of good cheer when our faith opened the door of blessing for us to the delicate topic of “giving thanks” in all things (Philippians 4:6, NKJV). Explaining to a person who was new in her cancer survival journey and sharing how hard it had been for me to be thankful for the concurrent cancer journeys of my sister and I was a quiet segment for the group. After we acknowledged the difficulty of giving thanks about some of life’s burdens, we moved to the discussion of labels based on a discussion about what I know is my life’s ministry (the use of the word ministry was the Southern Baptist point of deliberation). Deciding to conclude with an excerpt from Chapter 5, Be Sure You Have on Clean Underwear …) it was exhilarating to acknowledge our goodness because God created us and proclaimed “it is good”. Most had made their beds, left no soiled dishes in the sink and all reported they had on clean underwear … and we all shared the light bulb moment as we discussed how these mental tapes had controlled our self-esteem and self-worth. Before the night ended, my daughter had shared about her reaction to my bilateral mastectomies and how we had grown through the difficult times of my recovery and her aunt’s lost battle. Indeed I was soaring on eagles’ wings as returned to our homes, because these prayer warriors had a beautiful ministry to the community and each other, and this mom had a new level of respect for the emotional and Christian maturity I observed in my daughter.

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