Sinking Under Circumstances or SOARING ABOVE Circumstances?

“Oh me, oh my….” she’d proclaim numerous, upon numerous times a day…

She was a glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl.  The staff at the nursing home, her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandchildren, and her friends could predict her woe-is-me words on a daily basis.

Sad, but that’s just the way she was.  I told her as much.  She’d laugh and say, “No I am not negative!”

To make matters worse, I’d blame her for making me that way…Whoa…let’s just come to a screeching halt, right there….No blame game allowed.

Every day, every day, E-V-E-R-Y day, we have a choice.  Yeah, not easy, but it’s the truth.  My perkier-than-he-needs-to-be husband wakes up singin’ country songs every morning.  (Surely there’s a law against that?)  I grumble ‘til I’ve had at least half a pot of coffee.

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Those of you who knew her, know that the “Oh me, oh my” lady was my Mother, God rest her soul. Confession: I fight sinking versus soaring above circumstances daily

This week we are going to close out the God Chicks by learning about the Whatever-It-Takes Chick.  It’s a great, friendly finale, however getting there may be a bit rocky.  We will learn how to soar above our circumstances…

The resource we’ve been studying, lo these many weeks, is Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  If you’ve missed these phenomenal chicks, you can find out more by clicking on The Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, The Champion Chick, The Friend Chick and The Party Chick

God Chicks

We’re going to learn three tips on how to be a Whatever-It-Takes Chick:

#1: “ A Whatever-It-Takes Chick takes care of what she has been given, stewarding it well so that her capacity will be increased.”  Jesus taught us this in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-28.  His desire is for us to be good stewards of what He gives us.

The Life Application Bible says, “God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities and He expects us to invest them wisely until he returns.  We are responsible to use well what God has given us.  The issue is not how much we have, but how well we use what we have.”

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Holly continues, “If we are committed to being whatever-it-takes chicks,…then we must spend time with people who help enlarge us.” (Grow our faith.) “Who are you spending time with?  Who are you having coffee with?”

She warns us about spending too much time with negative people.  (We talked about that in “What Kind of Friend Are You?  Faithful or Flaky?”…)  She encourages us to seek out mentor types.  People who are committed to doing, to loving more, forgiving more, giving more, THAT’s who we need to be meeting at Starbucks, walking with, eating lunch with, shopping with (oops…maybe shopping is a stretch, but I couldn’t resist. “Retail therapy”…)

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#2:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks must be great at handling pressure.”  There’s where our title, soaring above, vs. sinking under circumstances comes in. And here’s where two amazing real-life Whatever-It-Takes Chicks enter…

Both of these gals were extremely devoted wives and caregivers to their husbands, both of whom battled cancer valiantly. Those of us who are friends with Kathy and Joe Daniels, and Gwen and Mike Paten, still remember shuddering at the shocking news of their diagnoses.

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As friends observing from various distances, some from afar, some up close, we witnessed the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  Kathy and Gwen were Jesus in the flesh to their husbands.  They were Jesus in the flesh to their friends.  While many times we were speechless, their words soothed us. (Why is it when we attempt to comfort the bereaved, many times they end up comforting us?!!!  Sigh…)

Onlookers were blessed.  Young moms were encouraged.  The entire Ohio State football team where Joe coached was ministered to.  Nurses, doctors, janitors, and people beyond family members saw firsthand what “walkin’ the talk” looked like in Louisville, Kentucky and Columbus, Ohio.

By God’s grace and His outstretched arms, Kathy’s and Gwen’s faith never waivered.  Doubt wasn’t danced with. If we, as friends, doubted or feared, Kathy and Gwen would reassure us.

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#3:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks don’t look for what is the least they can do.  No, they GO THE EXTRA MILE.”

Two years ago, Lifeway’s Deeper Still Conference came to town. It featured three top-notch Bible study teachers and authors: Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. Several gals volunteered on the prayer team for the conference. Gwen was one of them.

The afternoon of opening night I got a phone call. My friend Jane said, “Are you sitting down?” To which I replied, “No…I’m getting dressed, putting on make-up, and drinking tea simultaneously.” Jane did not laugh at my pityful-poor-multi-tasking humor. She paused… “Well, sit down.”

I sat.

I can’t recall how the rest unfolded. I just remembered crumpling up in a chair and wondering how in the world we’d all pull it together to attend this conference.

Her words went something like this: “Docs have told Gwen that Mike may live two more weeks.” Keep in mind he was only diagnosed two weeks prior to this very day.

Somehow we made it to the conference. And there, on the front row, with her “prayer apron” on, was our Gwennie. Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.

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Equally mind-blowing, upon Joe’s death, Kathy rose to speak at his funeral. She made sure the entire audience knew who Joe’s friend was who carried him and their family thru’ his journey.

She said, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Joe’s friend, Jesus Christ.” She also presented the Gospel, glorifying God in the most amazing way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire church.  Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.

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They both were a picture of Job when he said  “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b)

Like my friends Gwen and Kathy, Holly Wagner says the Whatever-It-Takes-Chick “doesn’t buckle under pressure. She lets the pressure propel her to the next level.

Soaring ABOVE her circumstances, not SINKING under them.

Holly closes with a final challenge: “Just be faithful to be the God Chick in your corner of the earth. And the truth is, it’s actually not just about you. Your actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone…and it just goes on and on.”

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She pleads, “Don’t hide behind fear or anger or a lack of confidence. The just-b-u chick, the princess chick, the warrior chick, the champion chick, the friend chick, and the whatever-it-takes chick ALL reside in you…You were put on the plant for ‘such a time as this.’ C’mon, you can do it!”

Ann Voskamp’s entry to her blog this week is entitled  “Why You Are Where You Are: For Such a Time as Now” .  Exactly what we’ve been talking about, including the most amazing story. Check it out: www.aholyexperience.com. See the June 18th entry. May we all be encouraged.

Let’s pray:

Lord, you know the wimps we tend to be (!!!). May you equip us to go the extra mile. To soar above our circumstances. To trust you relentlessly. To QUIT WORRYING. To shine the light of Christ onto others. To recognize those in need. I praise you for strong Christian women, God Chicks, if you will, who touch our lives, bringing us along behind them. Keep pursuing us! Amen and amen.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to two of the most amazing Whatever-It-Takes Chicks I know: Gwen Paten and Kathy Daniels. Mike patiently endured cancer thirty-three days. Joe patiently endured cancer five and a half years. Gwen and Kathy burned the midnight oil and were exemplary wives and caregivers. We rejoice that Mike and Joe are in Heaven with the Lord. We rejoice in the witness that Gwen and Kathy are still giving to God’s goodness. They are living out Romans 8:28 which tells us: “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Thanks, girls. God is smiling on you both for your steadfast faith. May He hold you tightly and continue to comfort you.)

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7 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Friends, Life Lessons

7 responses to “Sinking Under Circumstances or SOARING ABOVE Circumstances?

  1. Pingback: Losing a Loved One—Overnight? | Worship with Words

  2. Jane Chilton

    These are such encouraging & stretching thoughts that bring back memories & evoke praise for both Gwen & Kathy’s faith that has been for me tangible proof of God’s faithfulness & the difference He makes in living in all situations. Elizabeth, I thank God for letting me travel the road of life with you! Your words bless me & lead me to praise of our Savior. Let us all be like Gwen & Kathy & be women that others can say, “doubt wasn’t danced with.”. Blessings & love, Jane

  3. Kathy Daniels

    My precious sister in Christ and in life…sweet, sweet Elizabeth,
    Thank you so much for blogging to the world the gospel of Jesus Christ. You are one positive God chick; you know that I love you dearly. I am so thankful that God introduced us in the halls of Dunn some 20 plus years ago. God’s ripples aren’t random. Thank you for using Joe’s cancer journey and his death to reflect the majesty and faithfulness of our Lord God Almighty. Your beautiful words bring blessed assurance that in life and in death Joe and Mike carried and are carrying the light of Jesus. The greatest legacy Joe left us was his faith in Jesus. The Lord be praised in life and in death. It is only by God’s amazing grace that I move forward one day at a time.

    Gwen, I am honored to know you, to be a witness to your courage and faith in the Lord, to watch you soar above your circumstances and to be highlighted along side you and Mike in Elizabeth’s post for Jesus. Elizabeth, God has given you the gift of words; you are a Romans 8:28 soaring God chick and a terrific writer. Our journey is just about Jesus, and yet, there are those times in our lives when we lose sight of HIM as our omnipotent source. It is through sisters in Christ, Bible Study, church, blogs, and Christian writings that we receive the encouragement and knowledge to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Seven years ago today (June 20) my best friend and wonderful husband was diagnosed with cancer. One of our many miracles…Joe lived 5 years, 5 months and 20 days after hearing the words “months left.” Thirty-three years ago tomorrow (June 21), Joe and I were married. I miss my best friend/boyfriend and “superman” husband, but because of God’s promise that HE will never leave me or forsake me, because of “Whatever -it- takes chicks,” and because of prayer and prayer warriors, I refuse to quit. Elizabeth, thank you for encouraging and reminding me through this post to soar in all circumstances. Always hold me accountable. God’s timing of this post is perfect. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    Elizabeth, thank you for prompting us to be more like Jesus and for remembering Joe in such a special way. Again, you have found your God purpose. Your gift with words encourages and lifts the spirit. Love you tons and tons…Loved every precious one on one minute that we shared.

  4. Gwen Paten

    Oh Dear E, I am so humbled at your kind generous words. Thank you for honoring Mike’s memory with such a beautiful & timely post. Also honored to be in the same post with dear Kathy who I admire & love so much. All I know is when I was weak & tired the Lord provided his “Holy Anethesia” to help me see a glimpse of eternity in the journey of releasing Mike to him. The peace & comfort is something that cannot be put into words only expressed through love for him. My prayer was that my testimony would bear witness to how great our God is…in the best & worst of times. He is so faithful. You are such a great writer…love your heart dear friend. Hugs.

  5. Betsy Heady

    Thank you dear E for your ability to be REAL..and “spot on”. It is not easy to soar above the circumstances, but it is the only way to see The Lord in the midst. Gwen is a beautiful example! Thank you for sharing your sweet and wise words!

  6. Naomi Rhode

    Precious Elizabeth…how rich I am to call you my sweet sister in Christ!! You are an amazing reflection of our loving Father…and your words are wise, Holy Spirit filled, and tenderly cut through the dross…to the heart of life’s challenges! I love you for you…and for the ‘you’ that Jesus speaks and loves through!!

    Now…i am also so very glad that you celebrated with my dear Katherine!! My mother’s heart soared!! She has given up her close contacts with friends to work….and I know that! As a mother, I wish that were not needed, but I also rejoice that ‘certain’ friends know that, and reach out to her in her harried life!! You bless me greatly by blessing my beloved Katherine!!

    Loving you,….is there something I can pray for you for????? I care and love you, Naomi

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Sent from my iPad

  7. Nancy Aguiar

    Oh me! Oh my! Oh Anita! Oh what a precious phrase! Oh how I love to read and rejoice in these great, inspiring, timely posts! And again thanking God for AMAZING women like Gwen and Kathy! Love the realness of Christ in their lives! A reunion beyond words (and emotions that these bodies could simply not handle!) awaits the faithful!!! stay the course! Eyes fixed on Jesus! Blessed, Elizabeth! When can I hack into this place and write something about YOU???? Greatest encourager of all time!!! Love you!