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Ida Maree AN EXCLUSIVE ON HER LIFE, LOVE AND A NEW SOUND IN MUSIC
HOPE FOR TODAY Thursday’s Babies founder shares her story
I WANT TO BE A PRINCESS
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CW contents: WINTER | 2013 06 Editor’s Letter 08 Family Matters Eating a meal together strengthens relationships. So why do our families continually get the left overs? Berni Dymet... 12 I want to be a princess When do we lose that imaginative child-like capacity to truly believe in ourselves? Where does it all go wrong? Corallie Buchanan discusses... 16 Hey Lady, your dress is on fire! The old adage states that if you play with fire then you’re going to get burnt. So how do we stop our loved ones from going up in flames? Lori Dixon investigates... 18 Hope for today How do you keep heart when your hopes are continually dashed? Catherine Sylvester shares her deeply personal story...
change the course of her life forever...
24 When ‘pink’ gets perverted One decision changed this former ballerina’s life forever and sparked a movement of like-minded women... Elissa Dowling 28 The cost of giving your word Tim Sisarich has his grandmother’s words still ringing in his ears...
30 COVER STORY: Ida Maree The magic of Ida Maree’s debut album is not just in the wealth of experience she brings to the lyrics but in the way she lives them... Wes Jay 33 Transient & Perishable Through the death of her elderly neighbour, Roxana Hackett ponders our earthly existence and the priorities that we place on things that will pass away...
20 Reflections on my mother For her twelfth birthday Jessica Clark was given a gift that would
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4 Christian Woman Winter 2013
Correspondence Australia PO Box 1321 Mona Vale NSW 1661 P: 02 9007 5376 | F: 02 9979 4880 W: www.christianwomanmag.com Correspondence New Zealand PO Box 47212, Ponsonby, Auckland 1144, New Zealand Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, copyright-1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. No part of this publication may be
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DISCOVER A DYNAMIC PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN YOUR PROFESSION & FAITH Choosing to study at CHC has given me the opportunity to grow my understanding and knowledge, strengthen my beliefs and reﬂect on what Godly leadership is all about. Perhaps there will never be a perfect time to start – but the journey is deﬁnitely worth the eﬀort.” – Felicity
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! Psalm 127:3-5 Welcome to the winter edition of Christian Woman. As a mother of three beautiful children, I am often finding myself putting down my glasses and stepping away from my computer, iPad or iPhone to ensure they receive my undivided attention. Sometimes it’s begrudgingly when I’m on deadline and they just don’t understand ‘how busy Mummy is’, but then there are those days when the news tells me of a child that has died, or a magazine tells me that a woman has struggled to fall pregnant
6 Christian Woman Winter 2013
and go full term. In those moments, I want to grab all three of mine and squeeze them, grateful that they are healthy, happy and alive. If you are reading this and have lost a child or are trying to conceive then know that my heart goes out to you. Catherine Sylvester is one woman who can attest to the heartbreak of trying to conceive and having lost lost multiple children. Her story is not hopeless though... you can read about her journey on page 18. In this issue we also feature
an amazing woman - Beth Baudistel. Beth thought she was making the ultimate sacrifice when she gave up her career as a professional ballerina and instead began teaching children to dance. What became of that decision has established an entire movement. Her inspirational story is on page 24. Another inspirational woman is our cover girl, Ida Maree (page 30). This ‘gutsy’ mother in her 40’s embarked on her first album Saving Grace, although it wasn’t without its trials and troubles. Her story will encourage you to believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and pray, pray, pray. I hope that as you read this issue that you too will be inspired and encouraged in your own walk with the Lord. Don’t forget to stay in touch online at christianwomanmag.com and on facebook/christianwomanmagazine. Stay warm this winter and we’ll see you in spring! Nicole Danswan Editor/Publisher
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Family Matters Eating a meal together strengthens relationships. So why do our families continually get the left overs? Berni Dymet reports...
8 Christian Woman Winter 2013
A Different Perspective.
There’s nothing quite like having a meal together from time to time to develop the bonds of friendship. We can meet someone at work, or in passing somehow, and think – I enjoy their company. But when we have a meal together, somehow, that takes the relationship to a whole new level. Because, let’s face it – we were all born into a family. And family matters. We’ve all had that experience – not quite sure what makes this whole eating together so important to us – but it is. It’s one of the primary ways that we form relationships. Perhaps it’s the fact that as we sit with someone over a meal, we have the time to engage them in conversation. Perhaps it’s the simple act of sharing food. Perhaps it’s the fact that often times, one of the parties at the table has put time and effort into preparing the
meal. Just the other night, some friends of ours invited Jacqui, my wife, and I out to their place for dinner. It was a simple meal – nothing fancy, and for about 3 hours we enjoyed their company. We were already friends with this couple, but somehow, having that time together in their home, eating a meal that they’d prepared for us, deepened those bonds of friendship. It’s a very special thing and in many cultures – the whole idea of a man and a woman dating each other places a lot of emphasis on going out for meals together. Eating meals together with other people – in almost every culture on the planet – is an incredibly important part of building and strengthening relationships. We kind of already know that – but just stopping to think about it and talk about
it – really drives it home, doesn’t it? So why is it then, that we’re seeing declining rates of families having meals together? In the UK for instance, one in ten families never sits down to an evening meal together. But that same study – which surveyed 3,000 families – revealed that two thirds of children yearn for a return to the traditional family dinner time. And four out of 10 children have even asked their mother or father to have more evening meals together as a family. A similar study conducted in New Zealand found that the majority of 15 year olds – 64.7 percent – reported that they shared a main meal with their parents around a table several times a week. That sounds great, until you realise that 35.3 percent – or just over a third – reported that they didn’t share a main meal with their parents around a
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A Different Perspective. Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.
table several times a week. The newspaper, USA Today had this to say on the whole subject of family dinners: Family dinners help kids avoid risky behaviors and may even help them in school. But new research shows that the more frequent these dinners, the better the adolescents fare emotionally, says new research published this week in the Journal of Adolescent Health. “The effect doesn’t plateau after three or four dinners a week,” says co-author Frank Elgar, an associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montréal. “The more dinners a week the better.” With each additional dinner, researchers found fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors toward others and higher life satisfaction, regardless of gender, age or family economics. The study was based on a nationally representative sample of 26,069 Canadian adolescents ages 11 to 15 in 2010. Do we really need more studies and statistics to tell us what we already know – eating meals together is good for children, and good for families. Eating meals together stops people from falling apart and families from falling apart. And yet it’s something that in many countries – we’re doing less and less. It’s as though we’re hell bent on destroying our families. And our family contains the most precious people on the earth to us, right? What’s one thing – just one thing that you can do to stop your family from falling apart? Eat meals together as often as you possibly can. They’re important for children, they’re especially important for teenagers and they’re important too for husbands and wives. Over the dinner table in the evening – it’s as though we check in with each other. We find out what’s been happening 10 Christian Woman Winter 2013
in each other’s days. How are the rest of our family members going? What joys and triumphs did they have today? What sadnesses and disappointments? Time magazine puts it this way: Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use. “If it were just about food, we would squirt it into their mouths with a tube,” says Robin Fox, an anthropologist who teaches at Rutgers University in New Jersey, about the mysterious way that family dinner engraves our souls. “A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.” I want to encourage you to take this one thing in your family seriously. It’s all about being a family – providing a safe place for one another – not just the children, but also the adults. I’ve found that our kids need us just as much – differently – but just as much now that they’re young adults. And husbands and wives – make sure that you guys have a time on a pretty regular basis, where you can have dinner, just the two of you. Whether it’s at home, or going out on a date, it’s so important to connect. Seems that we’re so intent on connecting with the world through social media and email and all the other electronic relationship destroyers – that we’ve forgotten to connect with the people we love the most. This one thing is so simple to do. It’s so practical. Okay, perhaps it will require some changes to entrenched routines. Perhaps your children will raise their eyebrows or wonder what’s going on. But remember that study – most of the children on this planet long for a return to regular family meal time. And for you – it’s perhaps the simplest most practical
thing that you can do to stop your family from falling apart. Just sit down, once every day, and have a meal with your family. Can it really be that simple? Sure it can. If the studies are right – it’s worth a try. As I open my Bible – there seems to be precious little in it about sharing a meal together as a family. Or… is there? I guess back in the times when the various books of the Bible were written, there weren’t all the distractions that we have today to tear families apart. No cable television, or mobile phones, or internet, or social media. And yet it seems that God sees the family as the central piece in bringing children close to Him. This is what God says to His people way back in the book of Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Talk to your children about God. And to the church he says in Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Bring those two together into the modern day malady of families falling apart and the message is clear. We need to spend time together as a family – it’s good for us. It’s God’s will for us. And the easiest way to start is to do what comes naturally. Eat meals together. It really is that simple. CW
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Royalty. When do we lose that imaginative child-like capacity to truly believe in ourselves? Where does it all go wrong? CORALLIE BUCHANAN discusses...
want to be a
WHEN YOU DON’T REALLY FEEL LIKE ROYALTY Every little girl dreams of being a princess. Sparkly pink dress (complete with tutu), tiara, magic wand, shiny slippers. It’s the epitome of girlish childhood dreams. If only we could spend all of our time dressing up in tiaras and pretty pink dresses. But life is not like that. Somewhere along the line, our dreams of becoming a princess are thwarted. The innocence of imagination is lost in a world that doesn’t understand the beauty of being a princess. When we look at what we want to be, and what we really are, there is a huge discrepancy. When we look in the mirror, what we see is a picture of a Cinderella type girl dressed in filthy rags. We don’t see the Cinderella dressed up in a beautiful ball gown, eyes (and dress) glistening, as she goes to meet her Prince Charming. In fact, if we will admit it, we don’t even believe that she exists at all. We walk with our shoulders drooped and our head hanging low instead of our head held high in confidence. When do we lose that imaginative child-like capacity to truly believe in ourselves? Where does it all go wrong? 1 Peter 2:9 says, [Y]ou are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. If God says it, then it must be true right? So why can’t we believe it? What is it that stops us from believing that we are very treasured and incredibly valuable in God’s sight? There are times in my life where I feel anything BUT royal. Oh, I know in my head what God says I am, but I don’t believe it with my heart. I’ve been battered by the world and find it difficult to see anything positive in me. I will admit, I tend to be a serial pessimist. That has been working against me for quite some time. I’m a pessimist about other people, but especially about myself. It is no struggle for me to think the worst of a person, including myself. What I do struggle with is thinking of myself in a positive way. 12 Christian Woman Winter 2013
S OMET IMES I F EEL L IKE A PR IN C ESS LOC KED UP IN A DA MP, DA R K, M UST Y TOWE R . I MAY B E ROYA L BY B LOOD, B UT WH EN I LOOK AT M Y S UR ROUNDING S , DO I F EEL ROYA L?
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 13
I AM SE RIOUSLY CONSIDE RING BUY ING A TIARA AND WEARING IT AROUND THE HOUSE JUST TO MAKE THE POINT HIT HOME. Sometimes I feel like a princess locked up in a damp, dark, musty tower. I may be royal by blood, but when I look at my surroundings, do I feel royal? After spending awhile in that tower, does I even look royal? I am sure many of our readers are the same. Battered by life’s storms and told you are no good, you struggle to believe you are worth anything to anyone... especially God! But you are! You are worth more than anyone on this earth could ever show you. You just have to
agree with it, and take it into your heart (not just your head). Now I know it’s not that simple. I still haven’t managed to do it. But with God’s help, I am (slowly) learning to see myself as the princess I really am. I am seriously considering buying a tiara and wearing it around the house just to make the point hit home. Maybe you should do the same. After all, there is nothing like a little dressing up to make a girl feel special, right? Let’s all learn to let our hair loose
and be the girly girls we want to be, but are too afraid to because of the judgement of others. Like the little girl who walks around the shopping centre truly believing that her fancy slippers and silver tiara truly make her a princess. Give yourself permission to be a princess of the King. Even if you feel too grown up to be wearing a tiara in public, you can still be standing up tall on the inside. You are a princess of royal blood; the King’s blood has made you royal. Now you just need to believe it! CW
Full time mother and author, Corallie Buchanan, is a woman who writes from her heart. Corallie writes regularly for Christian Woman magazine. Sharing God’s message of love and forgiveness, and mentoring other young writers is her passion. Corallie is also the author of Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose; a book which won her the award of Young Australian Christian Writer of the Year in 2007. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioural Studies from the University of Queensland, and a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Malyon Baptist Theological College. She lives her with husband and daughter in Brisbane, Australia.
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The old adage states that if you play with fire then youâ€™re going to get burnt. So how do we stop our loved ones from going up in flames? LORI DIXON investigates...
Hey Lady, your dress is on fire!
16 Christian Woman Winter 2013
On a holiday, not too long ago, as I sat poolside watching the sunset, a beautiful young woman walked by. Her long dress swooshed as she sauntered through the resort like a pink peony swaying in the wind. Suddenly the corner of her scalloped hem came a bit too close to a tea-light candle. Glowing embers flickered from the melting poly-blend . . . soon a little flame, not much bigger than a birthday candle could be seen. I watched as she continued her walk along the deck. A gorgeous girl, all eyes were glued to her hot pink dress. It was hot alright! Waiting anxiously for someone near to pat out the fire or at least say something, I sat incredulously watching as the flame slowly crept up her skirt. Finally, a kind elderly lady leaning heavily on her cane shuffled over and managed to intercept her. Cupping her hand as if to whisper, her hard of hearing voice declared loud enough for all to hear, “Darlin’ your dress is on fire!” Glancing in disdain over her shoulder at the sweet senior, the clueless young girl shook her head in denial, dismissing the advice of the wise woman’s warning. Continuing on her journey, the flame was now rising up past the back of her knee. Surely she could feel the heat now? “Maam!” a pool attendant, busily folding towels yelled out from the cabana, “Your dress is on fire!” He waved a towel over his head, animating all the more his warning. Others, now empowered by his brashness, chimed in and all sounded the alarm. This time, still moving, she took a moment to look behind her to see why everyone was raising such a raucous. For a moment she almost saw the flame, but then, shrugging her shoulders, she continued on her catwalk. By now she was no more than three feet between me and the pool. With a yell like a linebacker, I rushed her and with one quick shove, pushed her in. Splash!
Rising out of the water, the look of shock on her face was priceless; mascara trailed down her cheeks, her carefully sculpted hair now hung in a matted mess. Leaning over, I came as close to her wet dripping face as I could and whispered, “Sweet thing, your dress was on fire.” Glaring, she swore and stomping up the pool stairs, (with what was left of the back of her dress barely covering her rear-end) threatened me with all kinds of legal action as she disappeared into the sunset. Crazy story, huh? Which is why of course, it never actually happened. But I have seen similar scenarios acted out again and again. Why? Because smart girls have been known to do very stupid things. Some of us women like to ‘play with fire’ and while a few ‘friends’ choose to turn a blind eye to our foolish choices, the others who do give warnings all too often are ignored or even chastised for getting involved. Arrogance seems to rule the day as we reject the advice of those who have gone before us. They are old. Or narrow minded. Or just don’t get it. Then, there are those of us who see the flames in other people’s lives but are so paranoid of ‘offending’ we allow them to burn rather than call their attention to the obvious! Besides, it’s so much easier to watch them ignite and then talk behind their scarred backs. How do I know this to be true? Because I have a whole wardrobe full of singed garments! I can be as stubborn as the girl in my story. And, sad to say, there have been times when I have seen my friends catch fire and instead of yelling, tip-toed around them in some kind of unGodly political correctness. No more. We need to stop playing around with fire. So often we think that what we are dabbling in is harmless. But, like the girl in the story, something that starts out tiny can slowly engulf us.
Thankfully, the Lord gave us some pretty clear instructions on how to help our friends when they are about to become an inferno. Matthew gives us step by step directions on what to do when someone’s flammable choice burns you in the process, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17 ESV) But what if their behavior isn’t hurting anyone but themselves? Paul tells us in Galatians, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galations 6:1 ESV) I love how the Lord reminds us that we shouldn’t be haughty when we correct our friends as we are in danger of walking too close to a flame ourselves. And the Old and New Testament is full of wise counsel directing us to go with a friend or two when confronting someone in order to have a witness. Just remember that he wants us to be a witness to those around us which means we are to be discreet and quiet and not gossip! Whew, He does know us, doesn’t he? I think there’s a little pyro in all of us. I promise you this, if I see you’re in danger of burning up in flames, I’m going to go to you quietly... then I’ll yell... and if push comes to shove, I’ll throw you in the pool. I pray to God you’ll do the same for me. CW
Lori Dixon is an award winning Canadian writer and speaker who has over 200 articles published, many of which are archived in the National Library of Canada. She describes herself as a ‘Mary’ struggling to meet Martha Stewart standards in a Marge Simpson world. Follow her ramblings which vary from humorous to hard hitting at www.LovingKindnessMinistries.ca or email her at LoriDixon2010@gmail.com. Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 17
HOPE FOR TODAY How do you keep heart when your hopes are continually dashed? CATHERINE SYLVESTER shares her deeply personal story...
18 Christian Woman Winter 2013
or sorrow. He’s a loving God, whose “Hope. Such a little world. Four drugs, and miscarriages. Relatively new in my walk with thoughts are toward us, not against small letters. One syllable. Spoken on an exhalation. Effortless utterance. God, the journey to expand our family us. But don’t take my word for it, take Hope. Beautiful sentiment. Promise to more than me, hubby and the cats, His. Lamentations 3:33 tells us that of reward. Positivity declared. Hope. challenged every part of life. Emotions ‘He does not willingly bring affliction Mentioned 159 times in the Bible. – tested. Relationships – tested. or grief to the children of men’ (my Hope. Friend of faith and love. Aspired Physical limits – tested. My faith – emphasis, NIV). The Message version of the Bible says in Lamentations 3:22to. Precious. Hope. Expectation and tested. “Everyone will suffer in their 24 that ‘God’s loyal love couldn’t have desire for a certain thing to happen. To want something to happen or be the lifetime – Christian, non-Christian. 1 run out, His merciful love couldn’t have Peter 4:12 (NIV) tells us as much. ‘Do dried up. They’re created new every case. Hope. How I hoped, longed for, desired, not be surprised at the painful trial morning. How great Your faithfulness! and expected to get pregnant easily. you are suffering, as though something I’m sticking with God (I say it over and Each month, twenty-eight days after strange were happening to you.’ over). He’s all I’ve got left.’” By March 2007 we had suffered I last hoped for my miracle, I would Though all will encounter times of hope once more that every time I went trial, the beautiful, hope-full difference two miscarriages, and undertaken two to the bathroom absolutely nothing for those who know Christ is that ‘the cycles of the fertility drug clomiphene. God of all grace, who has called you To see a little six-week old heartbeat would happen. Fourteen or so days after that hope to His eternal glory in Christ, after you fluttering in utero truly seemed was crushed, I would hope that the have suffered a little while, will Himself miraculous to us. Seven days later, we special, intimate moment my husband restore you and make you strong, firm stared blankly at the same ultrasound and I were sharing would result in and steadfast’ (1 Peter 5:10, NIV). machine as the sonographers’ futile more than just a precious memory, I love this verse, as it promises that search for the same small heart came but the fulfilment of the desire of my heart ...we stared blankly at the same ultrasound machine as the nine months later. I sonographers’ futile search for the same small heart came to an end. hoped and hoped and continued to hope till day twenty-eight rolled by and again after a time of trial (unfortunately not to an end. Three weeks passed before specifying the exact amount of time my heart broke as I miscarried baby – crushed. Staring at a positive pregnancy that trial will take, which I would’ve number three. There are many times in life we’re test, I hoped, believed, and wanted found very helpful if it had!) God – the precious life inside of me to keep God Himself – will restore, strengthen, faced with a choice; a choice to turn and growing; to stay tucked up warm, safe, and make us firm and steadfast. What run, or to hang on by our fingernails. and snug inside for forty weeks till it a beautiful promise of His faithfulness, I chose the latter. You see, I knew the Truth, and once you know the Truth, was time to make an appearance. Four grace, and love.” Pain, heartache, and trials often you can never “not know it.” Did my times over two years I hoped that this life would flourish. Four times over knock the young (in faith) Christian heart shatter? Yes. Did I question God? two years hope was stomped on and slightly off-track. The truth however is Yes. Did He prove faithful to me even that the Lord gives us ample warning when I lacked so much faith? Yes and kicked out the door. Hope. Fragile. Precarious. in his Word that we would indeed amen. Just as Joseph assured his brothers Delicate. Tender. Hope. Exhausted. encounter valleys, sufferings, testing. I am immensely grateful that he did not in Genesis 50:20 (NIV) I felt the Lord Strained. Elusive. Expired. Hope.” Married for six months, the leave it there. Time and again, we’re reassure me that what was intended to beginning of 2006 saw my husband reassured that he will never leave us or harm me, he in fact intended for good. Julian and I start trying for children. forsake us; that with the testing he will I knew without a doubt that he would We were full of excitement and provide the way out; that his love for redeem our situation. And although possibility. Dreaming of midwives, us is never-ending; that he will uphold we went on to lose one more precious baby through miscarriage, he birthed Dopplers, and ultrasounds with tiny us with his righteous right hand. “I think it’s crucial to acknowledge something else in my heart that year. heartbeats, we were met instead with the nightmare of blood tests, fertility that God is not the giver of grief, pain, He birthed Thursday’s Babies. What Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 19
There were tears and tantrums and whining, to be precise. But His shoulders are big and strong, and He was able to take it.
Catherine Sylvester was born in New Zealand and spent her first seventeen years there before living overseas in various countries and studying acting in Australia. Putting to use the skills she learned, she hosted various TV shows and a radio show. Catherine has been married to Julian since 2005, and they absolutely love and delight in their girls, Estella and Skyler. As a family they are always keen for an adventure. Since experiencing fertility issues and recurrent miscarriage, Catherine has had the privilege of ministering to others who find themselves in a similar situation through Thursday’s Babies, which she founded in 2007. (www. thursdaysbabies.com) It’s Catherine’s honor and privilege to host Night of Hope events specifically for couples struggling to conceive, or who have lost a child or children at any stage after conception. Catherine’s first book, A Common Thread – 16 Accounts of Faith, Fertility Issues, and Miscarriage was published in 2011. Her second offering, Hope for Today, is now available through Koorong. It is Catherine’s passion to share with others the restorative and redeeming love of a Father who forgives all, loves all, and can do all things. To contact Catherine please visit the Thursday’s Babies website.
20 Christian Woman Winter 2013
started out as a call to other women to pray and believe for their children to come has grown so much over these past six years. We now correspond with hundreds of couples in seven countries. We hold Night of Hope evenings specifically for couples struggling to conceive. I have written two books. As we hold on to him for dear life, he is able to do more than we can ask or even imagine. The summit view from the particular mountains we are challenged to climb in life may differ greatly to others. Our mountains are specific to us. But he who helps us to climb and guides us along the way is faithful. He will not desert us on the mountain. He will be with us every step of the way. “There were many times I could’ve given up, but in repeating (the scriptures extolling his unconditional love for us) (often through tears), He gave me the strength to keep going – not always gracefully or full of faith – but running, limping, hobbling my race nevertheless. Reminding myself of those scriptures allowed God to move and reveal to me in the deep way that only He can, the Truth of His never-ending, unchanging love – even if the process was not the prettiest on my behalf. There were tears and tantrums and whining, to be precise. But His shoulders are big and strong, and He was able to take it. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV) says that he has ‘loved us with an everlasting love; (He has) drawn us with loving-kindness.’ I love that! Not only is His love everlasting, but I can imagine Him drawing us. He’s not tugging and yanking and demanding, but drawing us in; gently, kindly, lovingly, tenderly. He knew and knows the fragile state of our human hearts. He understands the pain we go through, the despair and the turmoil of trying to figure things out. He is patiently, strongly continuing to draw us to Himself, no matter how much we buck and protest at times.” I am continually amazed by the tenacity
of the human spirit, the human heart, particularly when it’s deeply intertwined with the heart of the Creator of all life. As we continue to put our hope in God, in his Word, and in Jesus, rather than in our circumstances, we discover strength with may not have known existed within. And as we allow ourselves to be carried by his love in our darkest times, we are somewhat surprised to emerge alive, breathing atop our mountains. Remember, “The One who called you is completely dependable.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, Message). You can trust in the One who loved you so very much he did not with-hold even his own Son. You are bought with a price. A nonreturnable, non-negotiable price. He truly will never leave you nor forsake you. Please remember, even when we lack faith, when we doubt, when we’re discouraged, his faithfulness never waivers (Romans 3:3-4). “You are stronger than you realise. Strong because of the Lord’s strength dwelling in you, strong because of how He made you. But you are also strong because you still get up every morning, even when your heart is breaking. You’re strong because you smile at least once a day, hold a conversation, get dressed (most days), and keep breathing… You are not only strong, you are also brave. You face each day. Full stop. You are brave because you dare to hope and dream and love… The Lord sees you as valuable, precious, unique, exquisite. I hope you can see that too.” CW
Extracts taken from Catherine’s new book ‘Hope for Today’ available in Koorong stores across Australia.
Reflections on my Mother For her twelfth birthday JESSICA CLARK was given a gift that would change the course of her life forever...
My mum is amazing. By the time she was my age she had twin daughters (one of them me) and another baby girl all under two. She went on to have two more little girls, making five children in total! But despite how busy and overwhelmed she must have felt, my enduring memories of mum are of a dedicated Christian woman, engaged with her church and passionate about social justice. When I was 12 years old she gave me a Christmas present that would change the direction my life was to take. She linked me in with my first sponsored child – a little girl the same age as me who lived a very different existence in a
small village in Uganda. For the next three years we wrote to each other and I began to understand that not everyone had the same opportunities that I did, that not everyone had a voice. It was a gentle journey, and the lessons I learned were learned through friendship and shared letters. When I was 15 my mum made the brave decision to take me, and two of my sisters, to Uganda and Kenya to see firsthand the gritty reality of poverty – not your average family holiday! As I write this I can still recall the smiling faces of the many children we met and smell the Nairobi slums we walked through.
My sisters and I met the children we sponsored through Baptist World Aid and we played netball and did puzzles with the local kids. It was a very ordinary afternoon on one level – however it was life changing on another. It was a real ‘road to Damascus’ moment for me. The experience made me realise the very real and tangible difference our family had made in the lives of these people. It made me realise that ending poverty is not some unachievable problem happening ‘out there’. Instead, even a school girl from Australia like me could chip away at injustice and inequality and be a part of God’s heart for the poor.
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 21
BE ENCOURAGED. AID WORKS! DID YOU KNOW, SINCE 1990... •
People living in extreme poverty (less than US$1.25 per day) has HALVED from 43% to 21%
12,000 less children under 5 are dying EVERY DAY!
Over 2 billion people have gained access to SAFE drinking water
Since that amazing trip I have taken a journey that has seen me come full circle. I am now blessed to work at Baptist World Aid – the very organisation my mother first partnered with to teach me the importance of responding to Jesus call to love our
neighbour. And it is a call. Loving our neighbour is not some fuzzy, wishywashy response that we as Christians should ‘feel’ in response to seeing people in need. Loving our neighbour is actually a full on biblical directive! Last year I read Scott Higgins book “The End of Greed”. It explained that the Old Testament has a vision of a community where everyone has access to land, to a livelihood and to well being. This explains the continual call on the Israelites to be generous. There were laws on debt release (Deuteronomy 15) on allowing the hungry free access to fields to eat as much as they desired (Deuteronomy 23:2425) and on leaving a part of the fields unharvested for the poor (Leviticus 19:9-10). Sadly, the Israelites failed to be generous which lead the prophets to declare God’s anger to the rich and call them to enact justice for the poor
MATCHIN G GRANT 2013 THIS END OF
AR FINANCIAL YE
By giving before June 30,, we’re making your gift go further through the Australian Government’s Matching Grant. That means your support will literally get behind the changing of children’s lives, their families and whole communities. And that means, together, we’re actively getting behind the end of extreme poverty. For a world as it should be.
You + Your Gift – BEHIND IT –
– BEHIND IT –
Visit behindit.org or call 1300 789 991
22 Christian Woman Winter 2013
The End of Poverty
(Isaiah 1:1-17, Amos 5:11-13 and 8:2-6). Jesus himself declared that he had come to proclaim the good news to the poor, liberty to the oppressed and wholeness to the disabled (Luke 4:1819). He came to offer forgiveness to the sinful but he also crafted a community committed to sharing their resources so that no person should go hungry, thirsty or naked. A community where wealth is used to care for those in need (Luke 14:1-4) and where faith issues in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving water to the thirsty and visiting the imprisoned (Matthew 25:31-46). So central was this message to the new community that it is spoken of as the basis for judgement! It’s not that these works save, but they are the evidence of faith. Jesus went on to declare God’s judgement on those who are rich and neglect the needs of
Today, as in Biblical times, the poor are not only materially deprived, they are neglected, exploited, vilified and ignored.
the poor (Luke 6:23-25 and 16:19-31). After Jesus’ resurrection the early church sought to be witnesses to this type of community that God wants everywhere – places where Jesus is proclaimed, burdens are shared, hospitality is practiced and wealth is used to meet the needs of one another and the poor. John went as far as to say that the person who sees someone in need and doesn’t use their resources to help does not know the love of God (1 John 3:16-18). James declares a faith that does nothing in response to another’s poverty to be dead (James 2:14-17) and “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). We are instructed over and over again to remember the poor. It is powerful and frightening stuff! Poverty is a priority for God and ought to be a priority for his people. Today, as in Biblical times, the poor are not only materially deprived, they are neglected, exploited, vilified and ignored. The gospel declares to the widow and to all the poor that they are not forgotten by God. Rather God empathises with them and sets Himself against the people and systems that marginalise and oppress them. Our calling is to join God in this mission of love, compassion and justice. I give thanks to God for my mother. She took seriously her responsibility to raise her children in the way of
righteousness along paths of justice – starting back when I was just 12 with my first child sponsorship. Now, as an adult, I have thought long and hard about my biblical responsibility to the poor, such as those kids I met all those years ago in the slums of Nairobi. We are called to give – but we are also called to give wisely. Not to just handout ‘welfare’ but to invest in community development so the poor are offered dignity and are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty. Working at Baptist World Aid I see every day stories of how much difference this sort of ‘wise giving’ can make in real people’s lives in some of the poorest nations on earth. In the lead up to the end of the financial year I encourage you to consider giving to Baptist World Aid’s Matching Grant Appeal. At ‘Matching Grant’ time, the Australian Government will contribute millions of dollars to Baptist World Aid projects – but to utilise these funds we must raise $1 in supporter donations for every $5 the Government provides before June 30. It is an amazing opportunity to push your gift further which ends with the financial year. Send your tax-deductible gift before June 30 and together we can be Jesus hands and feet and really get behind the end of poverty. For a world as it should be! Sponsor a child today. Call Baptist World Aid on 1300 789 991 or visit our website www.baptistworldaid.org.au.
Vasanthi’s story “My name is Vasanthi and this is my story. I am from a poor family. I was not able to continue my studies and I was married young. I have three children and I do not want them to be the same. I do not want them to struggle daily doing labour like me. Only if my children are educated can they go where they want to go and live a good life in the future.” Like every loving parent, Vasanthi wants her children to live in a world where poverty has ended. What she desires is God’s heart for every person on the planet: to see an end to children missing out on education, an end to families starving, and end to dirty drinking water and lack of medical care. When Baptist World Aid, and their local Sri Lankan partner LEADS, came to Vasanthi’s village they were able to initiate life changing programs for the entire community. “LEADS have helped us in many ways,” Vasanthi says. “They have fulfilled our basic necessities like drinking water and toilet facilities. They have provided sewing machines for people’s self-employment. They treat us like their own people and care for us and our needs. With regular seminars, they increase the education support for our children and now we have many educated people. Everything is because of LEADS.” Empowering communities to lift themselves out of poverty is a long term solution to get behind the end of extreme poverty.
To be involved, please give to Baptist World Aid’s Matching Grant appeal before June 30. Call 1300 789 991 or visit www.behindit.org. Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 23
When Beth Baudistel first gave up her career as a professional ballerina and instead began teaching children to dance, she thought she was making the ultimate sacrifice. ELISSA DOWLING shares her story...
WHEN ‘PINK’ GETS PERVERTED... AN AUSTRALIAN WOMAN’S BATTLE TO REDEEM DANCE
Five little girls, each dressed in pale pink, giggle as they pull faces in front of the full length mirror of a dusty ballet hall in rural Queensland. But a hush falls on the class as “Miss Beth” enters the room. It’s been more than 30 years since Beth Baudistel awed audiences on the international stage, but she still carries with her the air and grace of a professional dancer. And to these tiny pink ballerinas, 24 Christian Woman Winter 2013
she’s their dreams come true. And in a way, they are hers. When Beth first gave up her career as a professional ballerina and instead began teaching children to dance, she thought she was making the ultimate sacrifice. But, God had other plans. Today, it’s a decision that has seen her travel the globe, sharing a unique curriculum that offers a much-needed alternative in today’s sexualised dance
culture. “Many parents have been really shocked to see their little girl shaking her body up on stage dressed in a very skimpy outfit,” Ms Beth said. “It’s not just Christians wanting something wholesome – there is a whole movement away from the sexualisation of children – especially in dance,” Ms Beth said. Beth learnt ballet as a child and began dancing with one of Australia’s
...she felt God leading her into teaching and once her daughter was born, she began writing a curriculum that was based on Scripture and the revolutionary dance style she had learnt in France.
Teachers Testimony top ballet schools, Halliday’s Sydney Dance Group, as a teenager. At 17, she won a six-month overseas scholarship to France. This turned into a three year dancing contract with a professional ballet company, giving her the opportunity to perform in many parts of Europe alongside some of the top ballerinas of her day. At 18, she was promoted to soloist. Not long after, Beth suffered a knee injury and came home to recover. Initially, she was devastated but looking back, she says she can see God’s hand at work. “I became a Christian during that time. I read Jesus’ words – that he came to give life and give it more abundantly – and I realised that was what I needed,” Beth said.
“I soon realised that God was not here to help my plan. I was here to be part of His (plan).” At 21, she felt God leading her into teaching and once her daughter was born, she began writing a curriculum that was based on Scripture and the revolutionary dance style she had learnt in France. In 2007, after 30 years teaching experience and establishing a dance school in Toowoomba, Beth put the finishing touches to the Living Dance International curriculum. At the time, many parents were pulling their daughters out of dance schools after seeing them perform in “very dark and sensual” concerts but were then stuck with where to send them, Beth said. She decided her curriculum was something she could no longer keep to
Beth Baudistel with her students
MICHELE EDWARDS (Bundaberg, Queensland) Michele began ballet as a young child. But after thirteen years of dancing Michelle gave up her love of ballet to pursue a career in medicine. She became a doctor and was later blessed with four beautiful daughters. She says it was her daughters who brought her back to her first love of dance. “My daughters loved to dance and I wanted to encourage them, so we started attending a few different dance schools. However, at each one we were unhappy with the culture of dance and the teachers were simply not role models we wanted for our daughters,” Michelle said. Michelle finally removed her girls completely from ballet, but her mother’s heart still desired to see her children dance. She began to pray and ask God for someone to teach her children. Just half an hour later, she discovered the Living Dance curriculum website and began corresponding with Beth Baudistel. Michele said she loves every element of the Living Dance curriculum. “The curriculum encourages each child to be who they are and who God made them to be. At the same time, the music teaches them about Jesus.” “God created dance, but sadly, like everything else, it’s become polluted by sin. This curriculum is about redeeming dance,” Michele said.
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 25
God is raising up some exceptional people who have a heart for the lord and a high level of dance experience and training. herself. She believed their needed to be an alternative to what she saw as the perversion of innocent children. “Dance has become corrupted, but we are seeing God redeem it,” Ms Beth said. News of the curriculum has begun to spread. The Living Dance International curriculum is now being used in government schools in Edinburgh, by teachers across Europe, as well as by many dance schools in Australia and New Zealand. In the past 12 months, Beth has flown to Singapore, Switzerland, Scotland and
recently had invitations from both North and South America. “God is raising up some exceptional people who have a heart for the Lord and a high level of dance experience and training,” Beth said. “It’s very exciting! Little did I know when I gave up dancing that I would get to be a part of this!” However, it’s not just about training performers and professional ballerinas. “Many churches are now moving into the arts and realising how beautiful it is to be expressive to God,” she said. Beth said there were also many opportunities for dancers to work with ministries such as Project Dance
and YWAM, who stage outdoor performances as part of their outreach. “This is so different to every little girl just wanting to be a star on the stage,” Beth said. “We aren’t meant to be the star. We are meant to be the light and salt of the earth and as more and more people look to the arts, dance can be a part of this.” And for those five little ballerinas with stars in their eyes? “I hope they learn just how big God’s dreams are for them,” Beth said. CW
“Equipping and inspiring you to bring the light of Christ into your community” Desley Millwood Director - Communications Churches of Christ in Queensland
www.cofcqld.com.au 2012-11-19_ Christian Women Magazine_180mmx10mm_art_mks_v1.indd 1
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Living Dance International focuses on:
Above: Beth Baudistel with her students
Teachers Testimony JANINE FELT (Port Headland, Western Australia) Janine was classical ballet trained to Major and later became involved in a Messianic dance group as well as the International Christian Dance Fellowship. She was recently employed by a secular dance school in Port Headland and approached them about training in the Living Dance curriculum. After looking through the curriculum, the staff not only enthusiastically encouraged her to attend a Living Dance seminar but also asked her to begin implementing it in their school! Janine will be teaching the lower grades of ballet and is excited at the opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of these young children. She said she loves the fact the curriculum gives a fresh focus for ballerinas. “Living Dance is not about ‘me’. It teaches us to focus on God as well as focusing on honouring our bodies,” Janine said. “It gives such a point of difference in the values and morals we need to teach these children. Secular parents are seeing their children honoured while being taught good manners and social skills at the same time.” Janine said her Cecchetti ballet background had presented ballet as very severe and very “me-focused”. She said Living Dance instead trained children to become strong dancers from a young age, resulting in fewer injuries than other methods. “Living Dance offers an amazing alternative, that is still very disciplined, but has been developed to produce far less injuries,” Janine said. “Other ballet schools tend to focus on achievement, rather than the enjoyment of dance. But if we bring back that enjoyment, we will get the achievement.”
CHARACTER Biblical Principles, such as forgiveness and kindness, are emphasised through expressive routines and movements students learn each year. PURITY The curriculum cherishes and upholds the purity of dance and character, ensuring all elements, including Jazz and Contemporary classes, are free of any movements and music that reflect a sexualised culture. CORE STRENGTH The curriculum focuses on finding the body’s core strength and enabling all other body movements to flow out of this central line, resulting in an ease and fluidity of movement as well as fewer injuries when compared to other dancing techniques. EXPRESSION Dance expression is developed at the same time as technique, with 25% of dance time dedicated to developing expressive qualities, using art forms such as mime and drama. For more information you can visit the website www. livingdanceinternational.com.au.
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 27
The Cost of Giving Your Word MODELLING THE TRUTH TO OUR CHILDREN
started to write this article in the few spare minutes I had between a couple of meetings. I was actually hoping to get it started last night as I sat waiting to pick someone up from the airport, which didn’t happen; nor did it happen when I got up early this morning, before everyone else turned up at the office. To be completely honest, I found myself thinking of all the excuses I could give our great and very understanding editor, as to why I wouldn’t be featuring in the Winter edition. And I had some pretty good ones too. But as I was running through all these, I realised something scary. Is this what we do . . . as parents, I mean? Do we make promises to our kids, with the best of intentions, and then spend the rest of our lives making great excuses as to why we can’t make it to the school play, to cricket, to the first few days of the family holiday? It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family.” But is that true in every instance? I mean, could the way we are living actually be shaping our children to believe that it is in fact ok to be just a little dishonest?
TIM SISARICH is the Executive Director of Focus on the Family (New Zealand), who has his grandmother’s words still ringing in his ears...
28 Christian Woman Winter 2013
Make no excuse I only knew one of my grandmothers, my Baba... She was not the most maternal of woman, but she loved her yucca and cribbage, and she taught me to love those times with her. And it was during one of our games she taught me something that has stuck with me for life (apart from the odd time, like the lead up to writing this!). She said that there was one thing that, when you give it, you should never take back but always keep. It was cryptic to me for a long time, until she finally told me what it was... your word. When you give someone your word, you should
...Could the way we are living actually be shaping our children to believe that it is in fact ok to be just a little dishonest?
never take it back but always keep it. If you commit, you commit—no matter the cost. You know why I share this? I share it because it is not just for us that this is important, but for our children. As I know I’ve said before, children learn far more from what they see than from what they hear. It seems that a lot of parents feel like they have lost the power to mould, model or shape their own children. I hear lots of reasons for this and lots of blame being cast here, there and everywhere, but never back at themselves. Maybe, just maybe, those children are simply not seeing the right kind of modelling. They are seeing excuse after excuse after justification after
justification. Maybe, just maybe, more of us parents need to take stock of the wisdom of a grandma who was born before the first car appeared on local roads. Maybe we do need to start really keeping our word to our kids. Maybe we need to show them that sometimes there is a cost to keeping our word. The truth at any price King Solomon put it this way: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Pr 22:6) If we are to teach our children the importance of honesty, we have to train them. It might not be ‘PC’ to state it, but our children are most definitely no angels. In fact, the Bible is pretty clear
that we are all born with a sinful nature and with the desire to sin. And that is why it is so key that, as parents, we model the right way to live, in every area of our lives. At the end of the day, if we have a problem with our kids speeding, yet we speed, or if we have a problem with our kids smoking, yet we smoke . . . whatever it is, we need to model for them the best way to live. I think that my kids are worth at least that much. They’re worth more than any career or deal or party or whatever else seems to get in the way of me showing them that truth is truth at any cost and at any price. Isn’t that the example Jesus left for us to follow? CW
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â€œMy winter was a lengthy process dealing with personal doubts and insecurities, busyness, being a mum, working as a singing teacher, and finding the right producer. It wasnâ€™t easy. 30 Christian Woman Winter 2013
As WES JAY found out, the magic of Ida Maree’s debut album Saving Grace is not just in the wealth of experience she brings to the music and the songs that she sings, but in the way she’s lives them.
WHEN WE TALK about “female ballad singers”, we often equate the term with the divas from the 90s – Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Shania Twain. But when we use the term today, we’re talking about singers who enjoy melody and can interpret a song without resorting to random shrieking throughout their range. Melbourne singer Ida Maree loves expressing her art and faith through ballads and worship songs. She’s a professional singing teacher with broad music industry experience performing with Daryl Braithwaite, Reba McEntire, and The Stylistics in concert, and on national TV shows like Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Good Morning Australia and In Melbourne Tonight. Her key songwriting partner and record producer is Grammy Award nominee, Phil Turcio. The magic of Ida Maree’s debut album Saving Grace is not just in the wealth of experience she brings to the music and the songs that she sings, but in the way she’s lives them. Saving Grace reveals her vulnerability, empathy, compassion, and passion for God.
THE JOURNEY GROWING older is not something we can all do well. But Ida Maree does it with great grace and class. She’s a seasoned professional whose looks and bubbly personality deceive her age. Her beautifully unblemished face, shoulder length silky hair, stylish clothes, and childlike laugh make it tough to realise she’s not the 25-year-old she appears to be. “I remember when I was a teenager at school. It would take me 15 minutes to put on my make-up, do my hair, get dressed and walk out on stage to sing at one of my weekend floorshows,” says Ida during a recent concert in Melbourne. “In my 20s, it took 30 minutes. In my 30s, it took considerably longer. Now I’ve reached my 40s (a fan yells out “no way” at this point – Ida laughs) it takes me all day!” she says joking. But for the Australian born singer songwriter, growing up isn’t necessarily a curse. Physical maturity goes hand in hand with spiritual maturity. “You want to grow, you want to mature, but you don’t like the process,” she confesses. “But there are bittersweet changes in knowing and understanding God better.”
Ida tackles the process on Butterfly, the lead single from her debut solo album, Saving Grace. …as the seasons change/Bringing new life/Coloured with love and faith/ Dance in the light/To your lullaby… Butterfly is a ballad she’s co-written with producer Phil Turcio and Robert John Sedky. She sings it with passion and eloquence. Asked why she’s just now releasing her debut. She smiles and says “I couldn’t write before, because I didn’t have anything to say. Now I have. God birthed these songs in me.” “Just as caterpillars go through a miraculous transformation to become butterflies, there’s no set time for them to emerge from the chrysalis. It can take several weeks in summer, or several months in winter. “My winter was a lengthy process dealing with personal doubts and insecurities, busyness, being a mum, working as a singing teacher, and finding the right producer. It wasn’t easy. “I had a few health scares with my thyroid and lost my voice for five weeks. This was brought on by anxiety towards the latter stage of recording - just what one needs!
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 31
“God used these moments as backdrops to my songs. Every one of which I lived through, before writing. So every song is a true story.” “My grandfather unexpectedly passed away and my father-in-law was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s. I sat by his bedside and watched him pass away. My family and I experienced challenging times with someone close to us suffering with clinical depression. “God used these moments as backdrops to my songs. Every one of which I lived through, before writing. So every song is a true story.” All that being said, Ida believes she just wasn’t ready to write and record her album earlier. “God’s timing is perfect,” she says encouraging aspiring musicians to prioritize the things of God in our lives. “Your relationship with the Lord has to come first,” she suggests.
32 Christian Woman Winter 2013
“Build that relationship when you’re young, before you start building relationships with spouses and children. Listen fervently to that still small voice, make God your priority and you cannot fail to be satisfied. “And if you’re going to be involved in music as a career, be prepared to sacrifice your own personal vision for God’s. “There was a time when I lost my passion for singing, so I stopped performing. It was like being in the desert. God showed me there’s water in that desert when we use our gifts to glorify Him and worship Him. Now, He birthed a whole new thing in me.” With Saving Grace comes a new focus for Ida’s career. Ministry is the
number one priority. “It’s not about me anymore,” she confesses. “It’s about the journey I’m on, and the people travelling with me.” Ida’s magic lies not only in the way she captures people’s hearts with her songs, but her powerful voice and the manner she uses it. Listening to her songs is like she rips off the outer layers of her heart and gives listeners and concert goers an in-depth look at the person behind the persona. CW
For more information on Ida Maree or to purchase her new album see instore or visit www.idamaree.com
Through the death of her elderly neighbour, ROXANA HACKETT ponders our earthly existence and the priorities that we place on things that will pass away...
Irene... She was my elderly neighbor three doors down from me, never got to know her, and now she has passed away. My only memories are of her walking with small frail steps to her mailbox and back, and watching her drive gingerly down the street. She didn’t have any children, her husband died a while back, and I blame myself for not going to her house in the eight
years I lived near her, and welcome her with a cake. I somehow grew accustomed to watching her from the distance, leading, what seemed, a solitary life. Last weekend an estate sale was held, and I finally went to her house for the first time. I entered it with a heavy heart. There was a flurry of people in it, prodding at her things,
scrutinizing her belongings, searching through her cabinets for cups and plates, examining her personal things on the fire place mantle. I found it very disturbing, and invasive. The air smelled reminiscent of a nursing home, probably old age pheromones, mixed in with the hand cream she used. Just like that, the house she once owned was no longer of value to her,
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“We are all just PASSING through, and that’s why it’s imperative to REALIZE that our time on earth is short and only a speck COMPARED to the realm of God and our eternity in heaven.” and new people were about to move in replacing her memory. But that is the natural course of life. This experience brought to mind James 4:14: “How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while and then it’s gone.” We are, after all, transient and perishable. We were created by God to be this impermanent and momentary for a reason. He doesn’t want us to get attached to this world, but longing for Heaven instead. The word transient, derives from Latin ‘transire’, which literally means “to go across”. We are here for a little while, in our expiring perishable bodies, and then we go across to a better place. 1 Corinthians says in 15:54, “For our perishable bodies will be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.” I don’t know if Irene had a life full of meaning, joy and purpose, if she served others, if she was kind, generous, Godly, or made a profound
impact on other lives, or if she led any people to Christ. All that I know is that she was here and then she wasn’t. I do hope her memory is cherished by many. We are all just passing through, and that’s why it’s imperative to realize that our time on earth is short and only a speck compared to the realm of God and our eternity in heaven. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon imparts great wisdom on us, as he apprehends that no matter how many huge houses he built for himself, or how much affluence or success people achieve, nothing really lasts. It all expires. He eventually discerns in chapter seven that wisdom, sorrow, good reputation, and patience are more important in our life on earth than riches and achievements. He determines that most things are meaningless, like chasing the wind. We can enjoy prosperity, as long as we give glory to God and expect hard times because they highlight our awareness that nothing is certain in this life. We have one chanceat this one life, and we should perceive our existence
as an ongoing conduit for God’s word, and live with the urgency of spreading the Good News of salvation to all the people around us. The Bible makes it extremely clear in acts 14:12 that “There is salvation in no one else. There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on”, other than Jesus.” He says in John 11:25-26 , “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.” That may seem radical to some people, but it’s a good radical. God is good and loving, and sacrificed his priceless son, so that we can have eternal life. Who doesn’t want that? After all the aimless pursuits, all the lamenting, searching, and wondering, Solomon declares: “Here is my final conclusion. Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing whether good or bad.” We can’t take our houses with us when we expire on this earth, but we can take salvation. CW
www.mychristiandaily.com 34 Christian Woman Winter 2013
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Welcome to the Winter edition of CW magazine. Articles on faith, hope, parenting plus bonus link to Find a Christian School magazine. Be ble...