{May 14, 2017}

 

May 14 -May 20, 2017

 

{Sit With Us: Vulnerable and Valuable}

By Jenny Palmer

I always knew I would become a Mom. The "when" and "with who" were a complete mystery that hadn’t even begun to unravel yet, but I KNEW. I did know, however, that I would have one boy named Max and a girl named Alex. By the time they were born, I was going to already have a well-established career as a psychologist by day and be a best-selling novelist by night. Yep. It was all figured out and I was going to be so happy and financially secure it was going to be ridiculous. Oh . . . and a really hunky, sweet, loving and kind husband . . . that part is also pretty important. I pretty much had it all figured out by the time I was about 12. Hey, I’m a planner!!!

Funny how life’s spontaneous torrential rains and winds have the tendency to capsize our dreams and best laid plans. Funny how "life happens", whether it be the result of poor personal decisions or unfair or challenging circumstances. Or sometimes both. Okay, so it’s actually really not funny. It knocks us to our knees, it tries to suffocate us, it sometimes even has the magnitude possible to make us feel like we simply have nothing left. We have all been there. We’ve all felt it. The crushing hopelessness, the blinding fear, the unrelenting loneliness.

You see, my "perfect plan" capsized.

I never did have the beautiful and romantic "happily ever after." Instead, at the age of 29 I went back to an old ex-boyfriend who, despite the infinite number of reasons he was wrong for me, filled the void inside my heart. I was always searching for someone to fill all of my empty spaces with all I never got from my father. It always seems like the right thing to do at the time, right?

So about three months later, I found myself in my bathroom trembling, holding a positive pregnancy test in my hands. I was pregnant! I was finally going to be a Mom! But my boyfriend (who a few months later became my husband) was incredibly emotionally and verbally abusive and every day with him was worse than the one before. It didn’t help, either, that I sometimes find myself dealing with self- esteem issues because I use a wheelchair. That in and of itself has made life challenging enough. And now, this.

I stayed for years because I thought I HAD to. The years were torture, but the days were even worse. Until the day when he did my daughter and I the huge favor of walking out the door on his own. The constant screaming and insults were gone. So, to was the financial head of household. Capsized all over again. Terrified. Humiliated. And so lonely. The story gets much, much worse later with some mind-blowingly destructive personal decisions he made. I will spare the details.

Despite this continual avalanche of despair and pain, I refused to be a victim. I am a MOM and had to keep moving forward. And do you know that my daughter doesn’t even see my chair? All she sees when she looks at me is her Mommy who loves her more than any human being on earth. And a Mommy who doesn’t give up. Ever. I cried for a long time and did stay in despair for longer than I like admitting, but eventually the rain stopped soaking me because I finally realized that God never left. He never stopped loving me, and he had tough but critical lessons of strength for me to learn. God’s love, along with amazing friends who reminded me that I was NOT what happened to me. But that I was Jenny. Always Jenny. Always a fighter. Most importantly, I am the fierce and brave woman I hope my precious daughter will become, as well.

{sunday 5.14.17}

Read Isaiah 40:31

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Have you ever experienced finding strength in God? What is your story? Where are you getting weary and need God to meet you?

Miss the Sunday teaching? CLICK HERE to watch now!

 

{personal reflection and bible reading plan}

As you read the verses each day, make notes of questions you have about what you’re reading as well as answering the reflection questions below. Grab a friend or two to discuss what you are learning and what God is doing in your lives.

CLICK HERE to check out our latest video resource from Seth Davidson, The Journey Continues. It connects the dots from the past weeks’ readings to the current readings.

 

{monday 5.15.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 14:20-35

Observe, Reflect, Apply: In N.T. Wright’s The Kingdom New Testament translation, he writes “God is the God, not of chaos, but of peace” for 1 Corinthians 14:33. What causes chaos in your life? What gives you peace in your life? How can you help create peace in other peoples’ lives?

{tuesday 5.16.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 14:36-15:2

Observe, Reflect, Apply: What “good news” is Paul talking about? How something is shared can make all the difference to how someone receives it. Plenty of people have “heard the good news of Jesus” but it doesn’t sound like good news because of how it was presented. How can you share with other people in ways that present your experiences honestly and positively? If you are not sure that Jesus is good news, or even 100% sure that Jesus is not good news, what about the story of Jesus bothers you?

{wednesday 5.17.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-16

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Paul is very clear that if there was no resurrection for Jesus, then everything about Christianity is false. Resurrection was believed in even less before Jesus’ time than we think about it now. We’ve had 2,000 plus years of hearing about it in regards to Jesus. Why would God pick something as difficult as resurrection to pin the entire story of Jesus on?

{thursday 5.18.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 15:17-28

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Take 5 minutes and write whatever comes to mind about the word “death”. The only guidelines are: 1) Do NOT stop writing for the entire 5 minutes. 2) Do NOT self-edit as you write. If you feel comfortable doing so, share what you wrote with someone else.

{friday 5.19.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 15:29-41

Observe, Reflect, Apply: N.T. Wright has titled this portion of scripture as, “Resurrection Gives Meaning To Present Christian Living”. It’s easy to get caught up in dreaming about what is unknown, and that can be a distraction. Heaven and transformed resurrected bodies are not what’s important. What is important is that it gives meaning to what we are doing now. We need meaning, not distraction. What gives meaning to your life? What in your life serves as a distraction? How can you engage more with meaning, less with distraction?

{saturday 5.20.17}

Read 1 Corinthians 15:42-58

Observe, Reflect, Apply: Death can be an overwhelmingly terrifying thing. It shapes us. It shapes the world we live in. We try to escape it and we punish those who willfully cause it. Paul is telling us that Jesus overcame it and we will too. Death will lose its sting. What about death scares you?

{group discussion ideas}

We weren’t meant to experience the life of Jesus alone, so we encourage you to rally a few others to discuss what you are hearing, reading, and reflecting on together. Whether you are meeting as an Heartland group, talking with a few friends throughout the week, or bringing up spiritual conversations around your table at home, feel free to use some of these questions as conversation starters for The Journey.

  • Can you name an ‘takeaway’ or challenge from the Sunday message?
  • How has that been relevant, challenging, or meaningful to your life this week?
  • What have you observed about God, Jesus, yourself, others, or God’s plan for you from these readings?
  • Where do you need a breakthrough from God this week?
  • Who do you need to share what you’re learning about God with?

 

{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get a free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

 

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© 2017 Heartland Community Church 12175 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062 (913) 341-5820.

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