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“Lord, help me to know where you have gifted and motivated me to serve, so that I might be more fully used by you.” This had become my heart’s cry, yet as I began to sense the direction of the Lord in my life like never before, the doors of the church seemed to close. The words were different each time but the message was always the same: “There’s no place for you ... woman.” Women. The very word has become a dirty word in society: drugs, sex, parties, rock’n’roll, women. While my husband and I served as missionaries in Brazil, my heart wrenched in agony at the pornography so openly displayed on all the street corners of our city. The pictures were always of women, distorted and disfigured. For the first time in my life I became indoctrinated to the fact that womanhood carries an inherent sense of shame in our world. Something about it hurt me to the very core of my being. Those women in the pictures seemed so different from who I am, but they were, after all, women, just like me. Read more
A wise man once told me, “Chose carefully which hills you are willing to die on.” When I first heard that statement, I was not sure what it meant, but as years have passed, I now know well what that man intended to tell me. My story began as a 9-year-old girl growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One day after school I was standing on top of the jungle gym at the school playground down the street from my house. (I always stood on the top because I thought I was closer to God there.) I was the only person there, and as I looked up at the sky, I sensed a deep longing from within me to be used in some way — in whatever way God wanted — to change people’s lives. I believe God heard the prayer that came from a small girl’s heart, and years later, when I was home for a weekend away from college, I returned to that playground. At that time, I began to feel God’s pull on my life to begin work in ministry. Read more
My world changed in 2008 when I listened to a Namibian woman speak about her experience of being raped three times as a teenager. I was aware that violence against women was an important issue, but it had not affected my heart. I felt God challenging me about what kind of world we had created—a world of broken relationships, in which many women suffer horrific violence and some men commit crimes against them with apparent impunity. Read more
Forgiveness is at the heart of the good news of the gospel, isn’t it? Last summer I took a Bible class called, “What’s Good About This News?” because I liked the positive emphasis. Our assignment during the two-week course was to prepare three messages on passages from the Gospels that expressed the good news of Jesus Christ. I chose to write about a passage on forgiveness. Then I got a call from my mother with news that devastated me. Read more
Going down the stairs on that last day, I intentionally kept my hand on the rail, trying to burn the memory of its feel in my mind. This would be the last time I would ever go down these stairs — the last time I would touch this railing. Beginning the weeks and days before, the weight of what I would be losing grew and I wanted to hold on to whatever memory I could. Read more
Imagine waking up one day without sensations in your body. You make a cup of hot tea and drink it without noticing the burning to your hands, mouth and throat. You sit through a long meeting forgetting to shift in your chair, because you cannot feel the loss of circulation in your legs or back. Dr. Paul Brand noted the devastation of patients living with leprosy, a crippling disease that robs the body of its capacity to feel pain and therefore protect itself. Read more
This has been a painful issue of Mutuality. We have known that biblical equality isn’t just a crucial topic for the United States — but it’s also sorely needed around the world. We had a vision of exploring this concept, as well as honoring the dedication of those who work to communicate the message of equality internationally, often with additional cultural, political or religious challenges. Read more
Because attitudes and actions begin as an idea, Paul reminds us to “take every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). What have been the attitudes and actions that have resulted from the church’s teachings on male-only authority? Few Christians today deny the equal value of females, yet when Scripture is used to justify the unilateral submission of females to males, it is hard to avoid the conclusion (conscious or unconscious) that females are less valuable and are even inferior to males. To require male authority throughout the whole of life not only devalues females, but it also places them in positions of dependence and vulnerability. To exclude women from positions of decision-making in their lives and in the lives of their children also places far too many at risk for abuse. For this reason, abuse is often an unavoidable issue in churches and Christian communities because biblical ideas regarding authority and gender have daily consequences.  Read more
Slavery. Domestic violence. Sexual harassment. Child-trafficking. Little words. Big sins. And especially cruel when they apply to you or your loved ones—a job denied, a frantic trip to the emergency room, a child lost forever. Our misuse of power and manipulation of others is one of the oldest patterns of human behavior on the planet. Read more
In the counseling room, I often hear women say, “I never saw it coming….” Or, “I saw the signs but didn’t act on them.” When it comes to spiritual abuse, what are warning signs we can look for? How do we recognize spiritual abuse, and what should we do about it? Consider these examples.  Read more

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