The Thirsty Girl: Part 2 in a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

The Samaritan Woman at the Well: The Thirsty Girl

Read: John 4:1-29

Israel, March 2015. The coach pulls to a stop, the doors open and we all spill out, cameras at the ready. We are British and America tourists, anxious to capture a photograph to prove that we’re standing beside the famous Jacob’s Well.

It wasn’t in the middle of a field, as you might expect. The well where Jesus sat, over two thousand years ago, and had that holy conversation with an unknown Samaritan woman, is now located in a church which serves to preserve this holy site.

We dropped a stone down the deep, deep shaft, and heard it splash 135 feet below. It was Betsy who turned the crank to wind the bucket back to the surface. And she tasted that water. I tasted that water. My sister tasted that water. We all tasted that water: the very same water that Jesus drank, all those years ago.

Don’t you think that’s incredible! After more than two thousand years, Jacob’s Well is not dried up. The water is still flowing. And if that’s not a picture of God’s never-ending, everlasting, soul-quenching love for us, I don’t know what is.

Let’s find out more about our Thirsty Girl…

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What Happened at Church This Morning…

A few days ago, a young man stepped into my husband’s office. It’s not unusual. Our church stands on the edge of a city. Many people approach him for help. But this young man didn’t ask for money. He asked to be baptized.

He’s going to be baptized this Sunday, my husband told me excitedly.

We were so excited. Of course we were! We love baptisms! We love it when babies get baptized, and my husband carries them through the congregation to meet their new church family.

But as beautiful and special and meaningful as infant baptism is, it’s the parents who request that for their babies. When a grown man walks in off the street and requests that for himself, you simply know that God is at work in powerful ways.

But would he actually show up? I wondered if he would be brave enough to come, early on Sunday morning. Continue reading

The Young Girl: Part 1 In a Seven-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

Mary: The Young Girl

Read: Luke 1: 26-38

Scholars believe that Mary was only about twelve years old when the angel Gabriel appeared by her side and gave her news that would rock both her world and ours.

What were you doing at twelve years old? I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t thinking about God much, or angels. I was thinking about boys, and what I might wear to the school disco. But yet I know God was thinking about me, just like God was thinking about Mary.

I was Mary’s age, just twelve years old, when I knelt at the altar rail with my sister and invited Jesus into my heart. I remember feeling special as I rode home on the bus that night… like God knew me. Continue reading

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors. And the Children…

It’s the first time there’s been no room for me to sit on the steps with the children as they gather to hear me read.

I look around, at all those little ones peering up at me, and somehow, it feels totally appropriate to kneel, in front of them, under the cross and flame. You’d think, with all those children, I’d be in a huge United Methodist church, perhaps in the big city of Grand Rapids. But I’m not… Continue reading

Esther: The Prayerful Girl- Part 7 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on the newest book in the Love Letters series. If you made it this far, congratulations! We are now half-way through and, as a thank you, at the end of this post you’ll be able to enter a five- book giveaway of Girls’ Love Letters from God.

Esther: The Prayerful Girl

Read: Esther 2-8

I just saw a funny photo on Facebook. It showed a room full of little girls, all of them dressed in pretty pink, wearing tiaras and tutus, except one. She was wearing a batman cloak and mask. The tag-line read:

In a world full of princesses, dare to be batman.

It reminded me of Esther, who, even though she wore the crown, was brave enough to be herself, and to act as a true superhero who rescued generations of Jews from extinction.

 

Let’s meet Esther, The Prayerful Girl…

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The Servant Girl: Part 6 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

The Servant Girl

Read 2 Kings 5:1-16

Last week I saw an amazing movie called Hidden Figures. If you haven’t seen it yet, GO. It tells the untold true story of three brilliant African-American women, who served as the brains behind one of NASA’s greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film’s tag-line is:

Meet The Women You Don’t Know. Behind The Mission You Do.

Our Bible heroine for this week is also a hidden figure. She is largely unknown. We don’t even know her name. We’ll find her with a broom in her hand, sweeping floors, preparing meals, making beds, serving quietly in the household of the commander of the Syrian army. But this quiet, unassuming, insignificant girl has the power to change lives.

 

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Hannah: The Hopeful Girl- Part 5 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Hannah: The Hopeful Girl

Read: 1 Samuel 1:9-2:1

I have two adorable grandchildren who live 2000 long miles away. I see them about twice a year. Last time we visited, I distinctly remember what the weather was like the day we said goodbye. It was really cloudy and gloomy and rainy. I felt like the dark skies matched my mood.

But as we flew high above the clouds, the sun was waiting to greet us, shining bright and strong and cheerful on Mount Hood’s spectacular snow-covered peaks. It was a gorgeous sight. And it reminded me that in every sad or hard situation, there’s always hope, even if you can’t see it.

Sometimes you have to climb up to find hope, and sometimes you have to go down. And that’s where we find our Hannah… down on her knees, in the temple, literally crying out to her God of hope.

 

Hannah was desperate. She was desperate for the one thing in life that had eluded her… Continue reading

Deborah: The Strong Girl- Part 4 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Deborah: The Strong Girl

Read: Judges 4:1-16

In 1939 a motivational poster was produced by a British company to boost the morale of its citizens as they faced news of impending war. On a bright red background, five words in capital letters stood out clearly, and proclaimed a bold message to the world: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. 

It’s a message that the heroine of our Bible story, Deborah, would have worn as a billboard around her neck. Except that in her case, I’ve a feeling it would say: KEEP CALM AND MARCH ON.

Let’s set the scene:

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Rahab: The Brave Girl – Part 3 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Rahab: The Brave Girl

Read: Joshua 2: 1-21

So, I have a confession to make.

I sometimes run on the treadmill in my dressing gown. Wait a minute… make that jog on the treadmill in my dressing gown, or maybe it’s more like a trot… a slow trot.

I love my dressing gown. It’s warm, and comfy, and cozy. But, and here’s the thing, when my body warms up, and I finally manage to throw it off, I do SO much better. I even look like I’m running sometimes.

And when I wrestle that thing off my shoulders and throw it on the ground, I always think about the writer of Hebrews who said:

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

That’s just what our brave girl, Rahab, did. She threw off everything that was holding her back and ran, straight towards God.

And what does she find? Continue reading

Miriam: The Trusting Girl – Part 2 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

Miriam: The Trusting Girl

Read: Exodus 1:22-2:10

I’ve been on the Nile River. It’s huge. It’s very long. It’s very wide, and it’s very deep. And you’d have to be completely, utterly, hopelessly at the end of your own resources to ever, ever consider putting your baby in there, even if you did coat the basket with tar. But that’s what Moses’ mom did. It’s unbelievable.

This mom, after hiding her precious baby boy for three months, realizes that she cannot save him from the murderous Pharaoh, and chooses to put him in the river. Hear that again. She chooses to put him in the river.

It’s the ultimate lesson in letting go.

And it’s my story.

It’s not just my story because I wrote it. It’s my story because I lived it. There I was, one day, standing in an utterly desperate, utterly hopeless, utterly terrifying situation with my son.

For those awful, several years I lived in the land of what if? where all my moments and all my days were consumed with worry about all the dreadful things that might happen to him. I don’t know about you, but I’m an expert in imagining what might happen. I’m so good I could lead a class in it.

And one day, when I had come to the absolute end of my own resources, I simply had to let him go, and trust God instead. I had to place him in that basket, my precious son, with his long legs hanging over the edge, and let him go…

I wonder what Miriam thought might happen to her tiny, defenseless baby brother when her mom chose to let him go in that little basket, down in the huge River Nile?

I’m sure that any one of these awful scenarios ran through Miriam’s mind. She must surely have thought, what if…. Continue reading