A Living Legacy

redwood-treesMuir Woods was one of our favorite places to take visitors.  The awesome beauty and majesty of the redwoods surrounded by the mossy trails always brought a sense of peace and inspiration.  What a testimony of God’s marvelous creation! Looking at these magnificent trees, truly the largest living thing on earth, provides inspiration enough, but knowing the mystery behind these trees reveals so many spiritual  lessons for all of us.

First of all, the redwoods require an abundant supply of water. They must take in plentiful nourishment on a consistent basis or they will fail to thrive.  As believers, ignoring our need to drink daily from the living water is certain to stunt our spiritual growth, but resupplying our spiritual roots daily through prayer and Bible study keeps us vital and effective.

BF475A3A-AF20-41E2-A85A-DE88B3479195-4589-00000B040CC61B3F_tmpSecondly , the redwoods are highly resistant to fire, indeed seemingly indestructible.  Their cones, which may take only two years to mature but contain up to 200 seeds, await heat from a fire to open and release their seeds. This produces regrowth within a year. Believers are told to expect fiery trials which will test us (I Peter 4:12), and the fire will reveal our work for what it is (I Cor. 3:13). In this is the divine plan so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (Jas. 1:4). What a perfect opportunity to use our trials to become the catalyst for maturing us in Christ and grow us in new ways~to use our scars to tell our story.

Lastly, contrary to popular assumption, the roots of the gigantic redwood trees do not grow deep but spread under the surface as much as three times the height of the tree, intertwining with the groping roots from the other redwoods in the grove. After a couple hundred years, these root systems are so interwoven, there is no way a tree could fall down. Such a significant parallel to our need for fellowship, indeed unity, among believers. As David ascribes in Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Or as Paul urges in Galatians 6:2 to “bear each other’s burdens,” by which our love provides strength to hold each other up.

This was the true testimony of the OPWF Inspirational Weekend 2017~a beautiful grove of redwoods~400 strong holding up their sisters in Christ. Oh, may we continue to grow unified in strength and maturity and love.

 

An Open Letter to Elisa

Dear Elisa,

As difficult as it may be to put into words exactly how we were impacted by the OPWF Inspirational Weekend 2017, I will attempt to share my thoughts, along with so many others who provided feedback.

What a foretaste of heaven to see so many women from this area together in fellowship and prayer in a true spirit of love and oneness. This provided new insight into the heart of God for all of us.  The vision of our OPWF leadership team was realized as women found encouragement in their walk and their desire for extending their ministry~whether across the street or within their church.  Elisa, sharing your life experiences created a safe atmosphere for women to be honest before God and confess their own brokenness and desire to see themselves as God sees them~beauty-full in all their brokenness. How God-ordained that you would be the one to speak at our inaugural event and start us off on a path of acceptance which we hope will culminate in doing what we can with what we have where we are.

Special comments from some of the women:

Elisa, I found you to be engaging and challenging.  You were open and honest in sharing your brokenness with love, truth, and grace.

I felt challenged to step out of my comfort zones and reach out to those who don’t fit in my “circle.”

Average is beautiful.  After the discussion, I would choose beautiful, and I’m putting a sign above my bathroom doorway BEAUTIFUL!  Just a daily reminder of what God sees.

The teaching session reached several of my hurting places, ie. adopted kids who have been difficult and permission to do what I can versus overdoing.

I have felt God’s nudging to do things in my neighborhood and church, and this weekend was the final push to proceed.

I loved the fellowship!  I’ve been a Christian since I was four, but the Lord showed me areas that I need to grow in my walk.

Since I am super-involved in women’s ministry and worship at my church, it was lovely to be ministered to and just relax and take it in.

I am not going to listen to the HISS because I am HIS!

God used this weekend to reaffirm His love and His calling on my life.

Being a 70-year-old woman dealing with cancer, I was feeling like there was not much left for me to do in this life.  I don’t feel that way anymore!

Elisa, I loved your story at the end about God howling for us when we walk away…..instant tears.

Makes me want more!  I will attend again.

A Time to Heal

Martin Luther King, Jr. said the worship hour on Sunday morning is “the most segregated hour in America.”  In his December 5th broadcast, Scott Pelley covered the healing that is taking place between two churches in Macon, Georgia, in the aftermath of a shooting in Charleston last year.  The churches had split back in 1845 when the black slaves who attended outnumbered the white slave owners present.  Two churches a block apart who have had nothing to do with each other for over 100 years. His story tells of the unity these two churches are experiencing as they dialogue and fellowship together after so many years of distance and division.  Albeit, their initial separation was over racial lines, churches all across this land and throughout the world divide over theology, styles of worship, prayer, as well as very insignificant issues, such as clothing, versions of the Bible, difficult people . . .  and on and on it goes.  One of the pastors in the video comments, “We wouldn’t worry so much about that one hour a week of being divided if we weren’t so divided the other hours of the week.”  There are certainly many issues that Christians will never all agree on and we will choose to worship at different churches, but the truth is that our testimony before the world comes when we experience harmony as the body of Christ.

How much God desires that we “dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1).  There are more than 60 verses in the Bible that talk about unity.  In the Apostle’s Creed, we proclaim “the communion of saints.”  We read in Romans 15:5, “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The vision of Olympic Peninsula Women’s Fellowship is “to be a catalyst for unifying and encouraging Christian women on the Olympic Peninsula through Biblically-based annual events.”  Over the the past couple months in our discussions with women from many different churches, we sense that same desire.  We are praying that many women across the peninsula will plan to attend our inaugural event in February to sing and pray with one voice and listen to Elisa Morgan bring a challenge from the Word to make a difference in our own communities and spheres of influence.