AUTUMN_2017 volume sixty-four # one christianwomanmag.com
ROSITA HENDRY: BORN TO FLY I STOPPED SLEEPING WITH MY HUSBAND THE MAN WHO WAS BORN TO DIE
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contents... autumn twenty-seventeen
06 CHANGING LIVES Why These Children Cannot Go To School
08 MOVIE REVIEW Get Your Theology From The Bible & Enjoy The Shack
12 INSPIRING WOMEN Rosita Hendry: Born To Fly
13 STUDY The Man Who Was Born To Die
15 RELATIONSHIPS I Stopped Sleeping With My Husband
20 CHURCH HISTORY Lessons From History: The Vital Importance Of A Womanâ€™s Influence
17 PARENTING The Absent Father 4 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
INTRODUCING THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN PUBLISHING PROGRAM Christian Woman has partnered with global book publisher Ark House to help you see your dream of becoming a published author a reality. Visit www.christianwomanmag.com for more information.
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WHY THESE CHILDREN CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL WORDS: TANYA PINTO
“EDUCATION IS THE MOST
n rural Romania, Cristian’s parents leave him for days on end as they travel for miles to a rubbish dump searching for scrap metal to sell. Often they return home with their horse and cart empty, and Cristian and his brothers and sisters go to bed hungry. 40% of Romanian children live in poverty and struggle to get an education and one in eight go to bed with their stomachs empty. For parents in Cristian’s community, each day is just a struggle to survive and an education is an unachievable goal. As a result, Cristian has no one to encourage him to go to school, he does not read or write, he struggles to communicate and he is rejected by society everywhere he goes. As he gets older he will simply pass his experiences on to his children. Without investment in education, this cycle of poverty will simply continue as it has for generations in Romania. Education is the most important single factor for long-term sustainable development for a child, its family and
POWERFUL WEAPON WHICH YOU CAN USE TO CHANGE THE WORLD.” NELSON MANDELA
its community. Cristian and his siblings in rural Romania need your support to break the cycle of poverty Mission Without Borders is committed to helping thousands of children, like Cristian, to break out of the cycle of poverty in struggling communities across Eastern Europe. We believe that only long term investment in a child’s education, material and emotional support, plus faith and hope in Jesus Christ can create real and lasting change in a child’s, a community’s and even a nation’s existence. For every child and teenager we serve, the journey is long and difficult. But with your donation of just $25, for one child that journey can start now through the gift of a backpack filled with school supplies. Without
these essential items the children are not able to attend school. By donating a backpack to Cristian and thousands of other children like him in Eastern Europe, you will make a difference: 1. You will help Cristian and other children to fulfill their God-given potential through education, 2. You will contribute to making an impact on his family and community, 3. You will be part of God’s plan to tackle injustice in Eastern Europe. Cristian cannot do this on his own. You can help change his world. Right now, thousands of vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe cannot go to school because their family simply cannot afford the essentials. Generational poverty, war and broken families result in thousands of children having no school supplies and no confidence to make going to school worthwhile or even possible.
Mission Without Borders is a Christian, inter-denominational organisation, who for over 50 years, are serving children, families and elderly people suffering poverty and oppression in Eastern Europe. Mission Without Borders is committed to enabling long-term, sustainable change through our sponsorship schemes, family and child support programs and community care. Visit our website today: www.mwb.org.au or donate here: http://www.mwb.org.au/give-a-backpack/ 6 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
Get the latest faith-based films to rent or own today!
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Avraham Aviv Alush plays Jesus, Sam Worthington plays Mack Phillips, Octavia Spencer plays Papa, Sumire Matsubara plays Sarayu
GET YOUR THEOLOGY FROM THE BIBLE AND ENJOY THE SHACK WORDS: JONATHAN WIGGINS
y wife Amy and I haven’t had a proper date night for a little too long. So when she asked me to take her to watch The Shack – adapted for the big screen from William P. Young’s 2007 fiction book – I jumped at the chance. I am not usually interested in that particular genre of cinema (I think books are a better way to experience most stories. Still, Amy wanted to see it and I am totally interested in her). I walked into the theatre having 8 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
read the book itself, as well as the reviews both for and against the movie. I had read criticisms of the author’s portrayal of the Trinity, the gender of Papa (God) being that of a woman, and the near Universalist theology to which the book alludes. I also read reviews that celebrated the arc of the story of God’s kind invitation to Mack, his redemption and the deliberative journey he experienced through the process of forgiveness and healing in the face of
gut-wrenching circumstances. I walked into the theatre understanding the purpose of this book and the resulting movie was never intended to be a theological treatise any more than other fictional work that alludes to certain aspects of the Christian faith. I walked in thinking The Shack fits in a mostlynon-theological-but-faith-friendly category with other important literary works like The Lord of the Ring or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I walked into the theatre understanding the PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK and the resulting movie was never intended to be a theological treatise ANY MORE THAN OTHER FICTIONAL WORK that alludes to certain aspects of the Christian faith.
This is to say The Shack, in many respects, represents something that is not particularly heretical when compared to countless other Christian-friendly, fictional works. I have seen this kind of thing before. Therefore, I don’t fear the premise of the story. I don’t depend on them either. Instead, I allow myself to profoundly enjoy and appreciate them while looking exclusively to the Bible for the foundations of my theology and faith. It had been a while since I read the book so the narrative of the movie was almost like new to me. Certain moments in the movie triggered my memory of when I read the book years ago. Those cinematic moments were coloured by that memory. Most were not. The movie was well-produced, well-written and powerfully portrayed in ways many faith-friendly films fall short. I appreciate excellence. What is more worthy of note perhaps, is that the premise of the story, theologically imperfect as it may be, reinforces and parallels my own journey of healing, forgiveness and “severe” mercy. The movie almost forces the viewer (at least this viewer) to dig deep into one’s own story to unearth and attempt to resolve the seemingly impossible
questions many of us have about God, pain and forgiveness. How can a good God allow terrible evil? Is God always good? Why do I need God to be the Judge rather than myself ? How can I forgive the “unforgivable?” Can we really know good from bad without God’s help? These are just a few of the questions The Shack tackles in profound and richly meaningful ways. These themes, to my mind, represent some of the truly useful philosophical themes – ones that perhaps still fall short of sound theology per se. About 90 minutes into the film I looked around the theatre to find at least half of the viewers sniffling, sobbing or crying to some varying degree of intensity. I got the distinct feeling that some in the theatre weren’t crying so much for Mack as much as they were allowing their own painful questions to surface. It felt to me as if some were trying to emotionally open up to the idea of a God that could actually heal them. It was a profound moment for me to observe as it seemed to be similar for many others in the theatre. As Christians, we must hold to biblical tenants of theology in our lives. No exceptions. I believe we can faithfully do so, while appreciating one author’s good-faith attempt at
answering some of the most basic questions, which effectively keep some unbelievers from accepting the fact that God is always good. After all, it is God’s goodness that calls many people to turn to Him. We can be faithful to God’s truth, while celebrating The Shack as a literary and cinematic device, which deals with deep issues (such as forgiveness, mercy, humility and the kindness of a God) that hold too many Christians back from experiencing God’s best for them. In short, The Shack is a theologically imperfect and extremely disarming invitation for millions of readers/ viewers to reconsider God’s goodness as well as our own complete inadequacy without Him. As a Christian pastor, I want to recommend this movie to everyone.
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I love that every day I get to wake up and do what is my passion, that I can travel the world, experience new cultures and share this passion with others and hopefully inspire them to pursue their dreams, however challenging it may be...
Rosita on the aerial rope (Photo credit: JP Rรถllin)
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Study. Inspiring Women.
ROSITA HENDRY: BORN TO FLY WORDS: JANET BALCOMBE
want you to meet Rosita. She’s no ordinary circus artist, dancer and musician – they don’t come much better. She is a woman of substance and character living her dreams in full technicolour on the eve of her graduation this month from the National Circus School in Montreal. For Rosita, the sky is not just the limit; it’s her natural habitat. She’s a Kiwi kid, the oldest in a large and remarkable Christian family from Auckland. She was homeschooled and always loved the performing arts, climbing, jumping and being airborne – to her mother’s horror. Rosita began preschool gymnastics at age 4 and it was obvious even then that she had skills. Her passion increased over the next few years as she began competing and eventually established herself as an elite gymnast, winning the New Zealand National Junior Championship for three consecutive years. A classic all-rounder, Rosita’s early investment in music lessons revealed she was also gifted in piano and piano accordion and excelled in her classical ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary dance training. After two years studying with the elite Apollo Theatre College, she graduated in 2010 with a Diploma
in Musical Theatre and went on to work as a professional musician and dancer. She loved what she was doing but always had a secret dream to join the circus (as you do!). Her love for music, dance and gymnastics makes a perfect mix for circus; however she didn’t consider this a real possibility until she attended her first aerial circus class. When she saw a contemporary circus show in Auckland, she realised this was a passion she couldn’t ignore. So, in 2012 she moved to Australia and in 2013 graduated from the National Institute of Circus Arts with a Diploma in Circus Arts. In 2014 Rosita moved to Montreal and flew through three years training with the National Circus School, specialising in Aerial Rope with a minor in Cyr Wheel. “I love that every day I get to wake up and do what is my passion, that I can travel the world, experience new cultures and share this passion with others and hopefully inspire them to pursue their dreams, however challenging it may be...” Rosita made a commitment to the Lord at a young age. Her journey has been in growing in her faith and learning to hear the Lord for herself. She offers her performances
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This page from top: Performing with Apollo Theatre Company. Photo taken backstage by Angela Taylor; Rosita, multi-talented maestro; The Hendry family a few years back - Back row (left to right): Jesse, John (dad), Jaedon, Aaron, Caleb - Front row (left to right): Joshua, Serena, Julie Ann (mum), Rosita;
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to the Lord as worship and prays they will be anointed so people will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. She doesn’t ever want them to be entertainment for entertainment sake. Growing up home-schooled, her education was very much centred on character. Rosita’s mum often said, “Don’t allow your talent to take you where your character can’t hold you.” She’s seen so many Christians fall because they were not grounded in spiritual disciplines and their walk with God. The performance world can be a hard one and you can often feel all alone as a Christian. So many performers have their self-worth wrapped up in what they do. “Performing/ circus are part of my life and I love it... but my identity is not wrapped up in it. My identity and self-worth has been God-focused and I have sought not only God’s direction, but that my path would be ordered in the right time and season. When moving to a new country, no matter where in the world, I’ve always found a church home; maintained daily, my relationship with God, through the word and prayer and lived my life of faith, being available to the nudges of the Holy Spirit.” To support herself, Rosita plays piano accordion in the Metro in winter and outside in the summertime for 8-10 hours on the weekend. “The Lord has always provided enough, I’ve never had a fear of not having enough…” she says. Over the years she has performed in many events, functions and shows including TV
commercials around the world. Just to pick one from an incredible list of over 20 stunning events; the 2015 Cirque du Soleil/42 degrees Pan Am Games Opening Ceremony, as an aerialist and acrobat stands out. Rosita graduates this month and takes a well-earned breather. Not surprisingly, she’s been spoilt for choice with post-grad opportunities, and has accepted a contract with 45 Degrees/Cirque du Soleil for the summer. Following that, she has another contract with Cirque Éloize. I hope you loved meeting Rosita as much as I did. She gives us all permission to go after our dreams and proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that with Christ all things are possible. You can find Rosita on Facebook and at www.rositahendry.com and watch out for her on www.45degrees. com over the Canadian summer. You can also see Rosita in action on YouTube.
Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
THE MAN WHO WAS BORN
WORDS: REV. DR. KEN CHANT
e die because we are born. Jesus was born so that he might die. But what does that mean? Perhaps we can learn the answer from two thieves who were crucified on either side of him? The story is told in Matthew (27:35-44), and in Luke (23:35-43). According to Matthew, both thieves
cursed Christ as they were dying, which is no doubt true. But Luke tells us in his gospel that one of them, at some point in the tragedy, changed his mind. The penitent thief rebuked the other, and said, “Don’t you have any fear of God? We’re being justly punished for our crimes — we’re only getting what we deserve — but this man has done nothing
wrong.” And then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Why did that one thief change his mind? How did he suddenly recognise that Jesus is a king, and that
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Scripture gives us few facts about the life hereafter. But we are told at least this: there will be varying degrees of both punishment and reward. he would soon be enthroned? Perhaps he saw the sign nailed above the head of Jesus — “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” and was deeply moved by it? Perhaps he heard how Jesus asked the Father to forgive his Roman murderers, and saw how love, despite the awful anguish of crucifixion, still radiated from the Master. Perhaps he remembered something he had once heard Jesus say in a sermon? Whatever the cause, revelation poured into his heart, and he suddenly knew and believed ! He saw that Jesus is King! He was the only person on earth at that time who grasped this reality! The disciples were wracked with fear and doubt, but this man, against all appearance and seeming possibility, held firmly to his new faith. He alone had no doubt that Christ would triumph over the cross, establish his kingdom, and there was a place in it for this one-time robber. He saw that Jesus is “Lord”! He knew that the power of Christ is limitless — yet Jesus was hanging, seemingly impotent, upon a cross! Nonetheless, the thief understood that Christ would conquer death, pardon all his wrongdoing, carry him out of the grave, and award him a place in Paradise! He saw that death is not the end! Dead men do not inherit kingdoms 14 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
— yet, although he could see Jesus dying before his very eyes, the thief knew that somehow Christ would mock death, rise out of the tomb, and build a kingdom that would never be destroyed. He saw that he could claim a place in the kingdom! Somehow, he knew that Christ was dying for him, personally, and was willing to “remember” him, and to grant him an everlasting and joyous salvation. His gain was glorious! Yet think also about what he had lost — He had lost his life Somehow he had fallen into a life of crime, and was now reaping an awful punishment and death. He was savagely pinned to a cross. All chance of serving God and man was gone. Not even the Lord could restore those lost years. Indeed, we have only one life to live, and opportunity lost cannot be regained. Don’t leave it to your last breath, as he did, to call upon the Lord. “It is later than you think!” He had lost his reward Scripture gives us few facts about the life hereafter. But we are told at least this: there will be varying degrees of both punishment and reward. Indeed, each of us will be tried on two counts — our faith; and our service, because two things must be decided —
Our eternal destiny, which will be determined by whether or not we have believed and committed our lives to Christ as Lord and Saviour. This, the penitent thief could do, and that very day he entered Paradise and limitless happiness. He is an example of the truth that we are saved by faith alone, apart from any work of ours. But then, a second thing must be decided ‒ Our eternal state, which will be determined by the quality of service we have rendered God in this life. This the penitent thief could not do, so he had to enter Paradise with empty hands. Conclusion Unlike his case, let us rejoice, because today we are free to do both — free to believe in Christ, and free to serve Christ, and so become altogether winners, gaining both Paradise and a Crown!
Rev. Dr. Ken Chant is the founder and chairman of Vision Colleges, a distance education bible college since 1974. Vision Colleges now operate in more than 160 nations worldwide
I Sleeping With My Husband WORDS: HEATHER THOMPSON DAY
his has been a tough year for me. We added a third child into our family, I am finishing my doctoral program, and I have felt like I am running myself ragged at work. Not to mention that everyone in my family has contracted scurvy this year (I blame Jenny McCarthy). I’m popping Advil Cold and Sinus like it’s a street drug and considered showing up at my family doctor with a firearm demanding the hard stuff. Life has been hectic, and every relationship right now feels strained. My husband and I started doing something a few years ago that has deeply impacted our marriage for the better. We stopped sleeping together. Equilibrium theory says that in-
timacy and distance vary together. I know that this is true every time my husband continues watching an episode of Alaskan Bush People even after I have told him to stop. If I see one more clan member refer to “Brown Town,” I will set the television on fire. I burn holes through the side of his face with my eyes trying to will the remote into my hand like that child sorceress Matilda, all while sitting as far from him on the couch as possible. I am one of the only adults on this planet who has never smoked weed, and all those brain cells I preserved in high school start dwindling the second Bear and Snowbird ask Pa for a lick of the family lolly. Let’s turn on Sister Wives like the cultured
adults we are please? My husband and I tend to sit close to one another in the evening, but not during Alaskan Bush People. I’m seething. And equilibrium theory will tell you why, because intimacy and distance vary together. There are some days that we are literally ships in the night. I barely see him. In between running to and from work and errands today, I stopped by my house. He was standing in the driveway when I pulled in, and at the sight of me, he smiled. There was something really warm about the way his face lit up. After 6 years of marriage and 3 kids, he still blushes when he sees me. It felt like high school and I was Kelly Kapowski. I
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was on my way back to work, so I didn’t stay long, but for the rest of the evening my mind wandered back to that effortless grin he gave me. I needed that moment with him in a day that would be largely marked by his absence. Despite our terrible schedules this year, illness, and Alaskan Bush People, my husband and I made a choice a few years ago that I think keeps us intimately connected and I want you to try it. We stopped sleeping together. At 5am every morning we stop sleeping. We get up in the dark, fumble our way down the stairs, and we make coffee. Before we run off to our separate locations for the day and alternating commitments we have made, we have worship together. It’s our time to sit uninterrupted with no kids, no social media, and no television. It’s just the two of us, facing one another on the couch, bonding. Sometimes we sit in silence for
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an hour. Other times we giggle like teenagers. It’s not so much about the depth of the conversation, but the quality of the time. I look forward to each morning like it’s a romantic date, only it’s our living room sofa, and my teeth aren’t brushed. I can see how many couples suffer affairs. Life gets busy. We spend more time at work than we do at home, and equilibrium theory says that intimacy and distance vary together. You can’t live separate lives and expect it to not separate your hearts, no matter how meaningful your vows were. At 5am, before the sun is even up, my husband and I make sure to close the distance. We stop sleeping. At first it was hard, but now it feels easy. I can’t imagine going to work without first having sat across from him. When I am on my death bed, one of the memories from my life that will sit like fog in my mind is watching my husband read his Bible in that giant plush robe on our couch.
It’s not sexy. It’s not even masculine. But when I close my eyes, it is one of my favorite images. I just want to throw this out there, there are few things in life more intimate, than kneeling beside someone in prayer. It takes vulnerability. I am not sure what the atheistic equivalent would be? Perhaps try meditating together. All I know is when I go to work after worship with him, his heart comes with me. About 3 years ago I stopped sleeping with my husband, and getting up while the world was still dark and my kids were still quiet. Life is busy. The day won’t just give you time for your relationship. You are going to have to make it. Heather Thompson Day is a lecturer for Southwestern Michigan College, Purdue Tech University, and Ferris State University. She is the author of 5 Christian Books and writer for The Spilled Milk Club. Facebook, or check her out on Instagram.
THE ABSENT FATHER… WORDS: ANONYMOUS
“Hurry, Mom! Dad needs you,” my son screamed. “He’s… not moving.” He never did. My husband of twenty years had just been unexpectedly ushered into the presence of God. He left a 14-year-old son, a ten-year-old daughter, and me – alone. Thus began a new and unwelcomed season in our lives, which caught us by surprise. But one that God fully intend-
ed for us to refine us in ways we could never have imagined. Single parenting was never God’s design. Yet, through death, deployment, divorce, or disabilities it’s often his individual plan for some. It’s not a punishment; yet, as the only adult at home it may seem so. Women understand the mothering part, but alone we’re given the added joy of being the father. Given
circumstances there might be grief, anger, or despair we want to hide from. Or perhaps ignore dad’s place, pretend nothing is wrong, or cloister our family until we suffocate them. But none of that is God’s intent. Once the initial knee-jerk reaction is over, we now have to start figuring out where to go and how to get there. We cry out in shock at the reality of what has actually happened. The
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marriage we’d planned on spanning several decades has vanished, along with the security that union brought. We realize what is missing, a dad, a husband; and now try to figure out how to replace him. If we are not too angry with God, a natural response he fully understands; we invite him to take the lead in our lives. We find he is ready and has even provided a wealth of promises in the Bible of his faithful support. Now we move onto adding fatherhood to our resume’. Dr. James Dobson’s excellent work, Bring Up Boys suggests a sur-
as we’ve usually just found a comfortable groove in our marriage, career, and ministries, and relationships. But change isn’t only possible; it’s seamlessly easy with God. First step in my re-creation was to discover a father’s perimeters. I was a gender spy who read countless books on every aspect of being a godly man. I coerced a good friend’s husband into getting his men’s Bible study notes and poured over seeing the Bible from a man’s view. With a son and daughter desperately looking to me, I had too much at stake to just hope for the best. I refused to let my husband’s death When your spouse is absent and absence become a crutch for your children must know my children. As a twentyyou can handle any disaster; year educator I’d personally or through seen the devastating negative imcontacting the right person. pact enabling parents made by using But that helper must be seen what I called ‘Exto work under your authority. cuse Cards’ for rebellious behaviour. Seeing you in charge is crucial. Their intentions may have been rogate father. That sounds wonder- from a desire to protect, but making ful, especially with manual tasks and or allowing excuses never develops unique guy perspectives. But for independence and maturity. Indeed, the majority of single moms it just the opposite always occurs. doesn’t happen. Therefore, I determined to stick Replacement dads are hard to to our original plan and raise godly, blend into a single woman home and well-balanced children. In stubborn carry their own complications. So un- faith I clutched onto God’s promises til a different scenario emerges, you as if they were, and they were, the alone must embrace what it means to very air I breathed. be a man, a dad. This is true whether Next, I uncovered my husband’s you have sons or daughters. specific dad impact. For our son, my For midlife women, like me it’s husband had coached four sports, especially difficult. After two decades led a boys’ Bible class, was a Boy 18 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
Scoutmaster, and taught trombone. Sports were my only option. I devoured sports biographies, videos, playbooks, watched ESPN with him, coaches, and organized boosters’ clubs. This secured communication, which kept my son’s bruised faith receptive to God’s voice. Beyond sports, auto mechanics and home repairs were tackled through two marvellous how-to book sets. Part to train my son regarding those manly things, part for economic survival. When your spouse is absent your children must know you can handle any disaster; personally or through contacting the right person. But that helper must be seen to work under your authority. Seeing you in charge is crucial. This is also where seeing you fully under God’s authority will either draw or distance your children from God. Then, understanding the father’s protector/provider role is crucial. I latched onto the absolute of demonstrating, that underwritten by my completely able God I could meet whatever catastrophe occurred. With my reliance on God I saw my children began to trust God again. To trust him not to take me as well. Panic was replaced by that trust as my children realized I did not have all, perhaps any of the answers to our hard questions. But I had unwavering faith in God. My faith was often a sore spot for my children, as they felt betrayed by God for allowing their dad to die. They questioned how I could just continue moving on and lean on a God who would hurt them so. This appeared an insurmountable obstacle making their return to God ques-
tionable. Then, I stepped out in blind faith and claimed that healing for my children and was amazed at the verses he led me for assurance. Only the Holy Spirit deserves credit for the calm I received from the Bible during this long valley. The more I sought the face of God in his word, the more he revealed himself to me. Soon I saw his face and not my trials. Now, to my daughter’s needs. My husband prized his little girl. He coached her sports, played piano so she could rehearse her ballet and tap, read her to sleep, and listened to endless school recitations. Weekly she joined his choir practice because she loved to hear her father sing. She joined him in perfect harmony and would even correct his pitch. In an effort to steady her shaky heart I took piano lessons, coached soccer and tennis and directed the oral language program. Most importantly I sent her yellow roses for every special occasion. That was there secret father/daughter code. She wept an hour when the card read, mom. But her thank you relieved me she was starting to heal. With my children on the path toward a restored peace with God I was able to clearly see his handiwork. With every success his mark was there. His faithful presence and words sustained me as a tightrope walker relies on the net. Two years later I wondered if I should consider dating and bring a real dad into their lives. Every time I tried to pray about dating Isaiah 54 leap from the page. God was my husband, thus my children’s father and I needed to lay this issue to rest. I did. Years and examples pile up with
how God transformed me and comforted my children. He perfectly met our every need and many of our wants along the way. He was the central figure of every trial, standing a warrior ready to defend my little home. Then, some serious challenges came with finances and those teenage years. I knew God had not deserted me, but began to wonder just how much more my shoulder could bear. Then I realized I had been trying to carry the burdens only God could. Several months on hard roads with both kids and the very real possibility of financial failure I finally took Gideon’s tact. I started thanking God in advance for meeting our needs and walking away. The kids accused me of being unrealistic. I accused them of being pessimistic. After a dozen situations where God’s hand alone snatched us from a grave outcome my kids begin to think maybe God and I knew what we were doing. At one point when my washing machine exploded my son hollered, “Mom! Better thank God in advance for a new washer.” The sound shook the house, but the power behind my son’s words stole my breath. Yes, I’d thank God in advance, for a victory of restoration had just taken place in my son. The same day, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of asthma and the effects were not good. Again, I sought God’s face, refusing to bend to the deceitful, distracting whispers of the enemy. In the doctor’s office I thanked God for the treatment he would provide. Within minutes of taking the medicine she was breath-
ing normally. With the kids outside the doctor said only one is ten thousand who have this form of asthma respond to medication. Had I not kept my focus on God’s face the miniscule percentage of success the doctor quoted might have made me dizzy. But my eyes were fixed on God. Many times I felt like I would stagger under the role of protector/provider. But with each challenge God stepped in to fulfil that role through me. Finally, my son is thirty-three, married five years with a two-year son. God has blessed him with the kind of wife a mother’s prays for. My daughter is twenty-nine, a gifted teacher and seeking God’s fulfilment of a husband. Both make my heart tight as how God has blessed them and where he’s brought them. At first learning to balance the role of dad and mom was like eating broken glass – tastefully. Pouring over what the Bible had to say about husbands/wives, parents/children however gave me clear directions how to proceed. Only a mighty God could have brought about this transformation. One, I’m forever grateful and humbled that he did. All praises to Him alone!
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20 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
LESSONS FROM HISTORY: The vital importance of a woman’s influence WORDS: CORALLIE BUCHANAN
ehind every good man is a good woman. This phrase was first used in the Port Arthur Newspaper in February 1946. The quote reads: “As he received his trophy, the plucky quarterback unfolded the story of how he ‘came back’. He said, ‘They say behind every great man there’s a woman. While I’m not a great man, there’s a great woman behind me.’” 1 A much used and well-loved phrase, but how often do we pause to think of the implication of such a statement? As women, we tend to devalue our role in society (especially if we are a full time housewife, society tends to devalue us even more!). We are taught the ideals of feminism, that in order for women to be just as influential as men, we need to be doing the work of men. While the idea is supposed to empower women, it seems to have had the opposite effect. Women are constantly measuring themselves up to the men of their society and finding they come up short. Comparison is the enemy of happiness, and we women are doing ourselves a disfavor if we are constantly trying to be something other than what we are. While feminism has its positive aspects, it can also have its negative influences as well. Over the course of history, there have been many influential and revolutionary men that have graced the world’s stage and impacted society 1 “Merryl Frost: Most Courageous Althlete of 1945,” The Port Arthur News, 1945.
in ways that have continued until this day. President Theodore Roosevelt brought reform to the structure of the US government, single-handedly changing the face of the “executive office” and instituting practices that are still followed today. He was a state assemblyman, cowboy, member of the United States Civil Service Commission, New York City police commissioner, assistant secretary of the navy, served in the SpanishAmerican war, Governor of New York, Vice President and eventually President of the United States. Yet how much do we think about the women behind these influential men? Edith Roosevelt was President Roosevelt’s second wife following the death of his first wife shortly after childbirth. Edith continued to build upon the First Lady’s history of entertaining the President’s visitors. She brought about a major institutional change when she became the first First Lady to hire a social secretary. Not only that, but she increased the number of social events that were held at the White House, and worked hard to ensure that Washington was the cultural center of America. Edith is also thought to have exerted a certain level of subtle influence over her husband, including the areas of politics and legislation. Historians believe her most important contribution occurred when she acted as the liason between her husband and British diplomat Cecil Spring Rice, through which Teddy gained unofficial information
regarding the Russo-Japanese war. As a result of this information, Teddy was able to negotiate a treaty that put an end to the conflict, an action for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Edith knew that her influence, while subtle, was nonetheless just as important. Another great man in history (though rather neglected in modern literature) was Augustus Johann Wilhelm Neander (1789-1850). He is considered by historians to be one of the most beloved and influential church historians/professors of the 19th century. Formerly going by the name of David Mendel prior to his conversion to Christianity, he was born of Jewish heritage to parents Emmanuel and Esther Mendel of Gottingen, Germany. Shortly after her son David’s birth, Esther Mendel left her wayward husband and removed with her five small children to Hamburg. There she attempted to raise and provide for her children as a single mother. As a result, the family experienced a great deal of poverty. However, Neander cherished this period in his life, and described it in endearing terms as “men in all ages who…have been indebted to their pious mothers” for planting the seeds of faith in their hearts.2 This period in Neander’s life assuredly had a profound effect on both his personal faith, and his attitude towards life in general. Neander was 2 Augustus Neander, History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church (Philadelphia: James M Campbell & Co, 1844), 217.
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In an era when women were not valued as events of history; he was contributing anything of value to society, an extraordinary hero of the faith whose influence Hannah offered up her most precious extended into both gift: her life. Without Hannah’s care and the political and social devotion, Augustus would not have been arenas of Germany able to achieve anything of significance. during the 19th century. Her subtle influence over her brother’s life He was friends with both was just as valuable and important as his the highest and lowest members of society, and contribution into the lives of millions of was beloved by all who German citizens. knew of him. Neander invested inordinate hours into the well-being often described as ‘wide-hearted’, of his students, at one stage even ‘truthful’, ‘sincere’, ‘free from all the stuff of vanity’, ‘affectionate’, selling a priceless manuscript from his ‘innocent and pure of heart’ 3. His personal library to fund the medical dear mother Esther Mendel was care of a student. Unfortunately, as described as being a respectable, Neander was plagued with multiple pious, and agreeable Jewish woman, social and mental issues (he had two and Neander’s personal qualities other siblings who were declared were most certainly received through insane), he needed a constant live-in carer. This is a role which his older his mother’s direct influence. Neander himself was a rather sister Hannah Neander (12 years unusual sort of character with a his senior) took upon herself gladly, passion for reading, writing, and forsaking marriage and devoting her history. The most famous of all his life to caring for her ailing brother 4 5 books was his series titled “General with “modest devotion” . Instead of a wife, God gave History of the Christian Religion and Church”. The series was comprised Augustus Neander a ‘true female of five volumes which chronicled companion in the person of an the rise Christianity from its earliest beginnings to Neander’s present day. As Professor Extraordinaire at the University in Berlin, Neander was the first and foremost authority on matters relating to church history, and spent a great deal of time writing many books and lecturing at the university. However, his writing was not merely limited to recording the 3 “Recollections of Neander,” Littell’s Living Age 30, no. July-September (1851): 163; Hogg’s Instructor, vol. 7 (Edinburgh: James Hogg, 1851); Schaff, “Reminiscences of Neander,” 138.
22 Christian Woman Autumn 2017
4 “I am proud to bring my tribute of gratitude to … this co-author[ess} of the ‘Church History’ – Hannah Neander, the most devoted of sisters, who gives up to her brother her whole life in unwearied love, in thoughtful attentions – who, with touching assiduity, has kept away everything which would have disturbed the writer of the ‘Church History’ – everything that would have given him care or uneasiness - Hannah Neander, who so thoroughly sympathizes with the inward life of Augustus Neander – Hannah Neander, whom, therefore, I am perfectly right in calling the true [co-authoress] of Neander in his immortal ‘Church History,’ long life to her!” H.B. Smith, “Neander’s Last Birthday,” Hours at Home: Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation, 1869, 442. 5 Schaff, “Reminiscences of Neander,” 141.
unmarried sister’. Apart from attending his daily walks, she entertained with friendly hospitality his guests and students. Sharp of wit and full of lively humour, the Neander household was one of mirth and true companionship. Their door was always open, as were their hearts. During their formative years, Hannah had been like a second mother to her brother Augustus. Of those who knew them, nobody could think of one of them without the other, thus leading to their wellknown nickname of the “Neander children”. Hannah, being in herself a very sensible and practical person, became her younger brother’s nurse and housekeeper, thus supplying to her brother what was lacking in his own person. When she brought him water, Neander knew he must be thirsty; when she gave him medicine, he knew he must be sick; when she gave him a new suit, he put it on (that is unless she forgot to take away the old one). She is even credited by their dear friend Strauss as having contributed considerably to Neander’s most popular title, General History.6 All in all, without his companion, Augustus Neander was lost. Hannah Neander knew not to underestimate her duties as her brother’s ‘nursemaid’ and ‘live in carer’, for she was humble of heart and knew that her simple but powerful devotion to her partner in life was her most beautiful offering to God. To the world, Hannah’s sacrifice may not have seemed very 6 Philip Schaff, “Reminiscences of Neander,” in Saint Augustin, Melancthon, Neander: Three Biographies (New York: Funk & Wagnalis Publishers, 1886), 141.
important. In an era when women were not valued as contributing anything of value to society, Hannah offered up her most precious gift: her life. Without Hannah’s care and devotion, Augustus would not have been able to achieve anything of significance. Her subtle influence over her brother’s life was just as valuable and important as his contribution into the lives of millions of German citizens. “The grave of Hannah Neander has sunken in; no cross tells the name of this devoted sister; but so long as Augustus Neander is remembered by grateful hearts, Hannah Neander will not be forgotten.”7 In the same way, our most precious gift as wives, mothers, and women of God, is to offer our lives. While we sometimes feel as if our small contribution in our families is of little importance, it is just as important as the work of worldwide evangelists (or other people we see making what we feel is an enormous impact for God). We need to have the same courage of conviction that can be seen in the life of Hannah Neander. Though to the world’s eye our contribution as wives and mothers may seem insignificant, there is no difference between us and everybody else. We should never underestimate our influence. Why else would God give Adam a helpmate in the Garden of Eden? It was not to make woman a lesser being than man, rather, it was to strengthen the man in his weaknesses. Think of the joists inside the roof of your house. You cannot see it, but they are supporting the entire roof above you, preventing the roof from caving in on you. That roof protects you from the heat of the sun, the cold of night, the rain and hail from
the storm, it keeps you safe from those who would harm you. Without the internal structure of the roof, it would collapse. Our role as wives and mothers are much the same as this. Remember your influence. Though it may not be seen by others, that in no way makes it less important. Your influence upon your family is what keeps it strong, and protected from the world outside. Your ‘roof ’ provides a safe haven for your family. Your role as a wife and mother provides a safe place for your children to be nurtured, and your husband to be edified. Never underestimate your power as a woman. Your family can’t afford it.
Sources: Hogg’s Instructor. Vol. 7. Edinburgh: James Hogg, 1851. “Merryl Frost: Most Courageous Althlete of 1945.” The Port Arthur News, 1945. Neander, Augustus. History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church. Philadelphia: James M Campbell & Co, 1844. “Recollections of Neander.” Littell’s Living Age 30, no. JulySeptember (1851): 163–69. Schaff, Philip. “Reminiscences of Neander.” In Saint Augustin, Melancthon, Neander: Three Biographies. New York: Funk & Wagnalis Publishers, 1886. Smith, H.B. “Neander’s Last Birthday.” Hours at Home: Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation, 1869, 346–52, 438–45.
7 Smith, “Neander’s Last Birthday,” 444.
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