HERstory: Eternity

Written By: Keri Harvey

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For death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2b  (NIV)

This verse found me a few years ago. My mom had just passed away after a gruelling battle with cancer. I heard it when I was struggling to make sense of the remainder of my life. I couldn’t imagine my life without my biggest fan, my greatest coach, my dearest friend.  

Somewhere in the middle of my grief, I realized that an important part of grieving was to return to life.  This one life that I had been given was marching out in front of me and I needed to merge back into the parade.

Within a few years, that parade brought my husband and I four children in 2.5 years. That is a story in itself, but you can imagine that some days are pretty crazy around here.  Sometimes, in the middle of the laundry, the cooking and running kids around,  I need a reminder to fully live;  to actually engage in a meaningful way with the people around me.

A timely reminder came recently, when within 24 hours, I went to a wedding and a funeral.

I can only imagine the thousands of memories that flash through the parents minds as their children stand at that altar. First words, first steps, swimming lessons, first day of school, first heartbreak, summer holidays… so many moments in the very full chapter of life that happens between birth and young adulthood.

The ceremony is full of tributes from those closest to them and almost always, a slideshow that takes us by the hand to show us how cute those chubby cheeked, spaghetti covered little ones were when they were sitting in their high chair.

All of those frustrating parenting moments…”Brush your hair, brush your teeth, make your bed, stop touching them!” Those moments get swallowed into this bigger moment and none of that stuff actually matters at all.

What a parent never imagines is that they will host a funeral for their child.  

Another ceremony, with speeches and slideshows from those closest to them.

The ceremony I attended was for a young woman, just 24.  She had lived those 24 years with much laughter, but also heartache and deep struggle with invisible enemies that had tormented her from a young age. We celebrated her and sat relieved that she had entered into eternal life with Jesus.

That ceremony reminded me of the first time I felt eternity collide my world. My mom, with laboured breathing, took her last breath on earth and walked into forever. It was so close, so beautiful, so vibrant.

I wanted to go too.

It made everything here, even the brightest colours, so grey and pale. I knew then more than ever, that we don't really live "time to time" but we live "moment to moment" inside time are the moments that actually matter.

Life is full of beginnings and endings, we should be good at both. Weddings, births, funerals, they all remind us of what really matters. We need to notice moments when they come, so we don't get swallowed up in the business of the chronological monotony.

When you can laugh until you hurt, do it. Don't hold back. When you need to cry for sentiment or grief, open the floodgate and let the ugly tears fly.

Chapters open and chapters close. Death so often teaches me to live.

That is what makes the death matter. What their lives taught us becomes our textbook and their memory gives us the courage to do things we may have never done.

Whatever we focus on, grows. Our thoughts bring us closer to heaven or keep us wrapped up here on earth. I pray that we could focus on eternity and let the Lord magnify His reality in us. Let us live, fully live, every day of our lives.


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LeadHER: Don't Forget Rahab

Written by: Bonnie Pue 

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She roamed and waited for business. Her skin and her posture were her advertisements. She knew how to work the room and she sold her feigned affections to pay the bills and satisfy her hunger. She was Rahab of Jericho.

You might know the story of Jericho; the people of Israel were getting ready to cross the Jordan River and begin the invasion of the land of Canaan, the land God had promised to give the Israelites hundreds of years prior. Joshua was the newly established leader at this time and secretly sent two young men to spy on the barricaded city fortress of Jericho, which was the first on their to-conquer list.

While exploring the city and watching for weak spots that could be advantageous, the royal court heard of their presence and became suspicious. Rahab somehow found them and offered to hide them up on the top floor of her condo, which was built into the wall of the city.  They agreed and we read her bold speech in Joshua 2 where she honored their God as the true God of heaven and earth. She then requested that in exchange for her act of hiding them, they spare the lives of her and her family. The two agreed, snuck out her window, down a scarlet cord, and stole back to Israel, reporting all that had happened to their commander Joshua.

Weeks later as Israel launched their first ever attack in the Promised Land, Joshua remembered Rahab and ordered that she and her family be protected.

Let Joshua’s example be a sticky-note reminder of the value that God places on all the Rahab’s of the world. These are the women with scarlet cords hanging out of their windows. She fears the Lord and desires salvation, but she may not know the extent of what she is allowed to hope for. It is our responsibility to remember her and to remind her of the redeeming strength of our Savior.

Don’t Forget Rahab.

She is the one embarrassed of her past.

In Jericho’s culture, I suspect that her job may have been more likened to a porn star, because it seems that she still had strong connection with her family as well as a voice of influence with the city guards. Yet because she was violating her own design as a woman, we can be certain that she felt the sting of loneliness and the insecurity of wondering if a man would ever want her for more than what she could do for him sexually.

When she was rescued and then brought to live with the people of Israel, her richly-painted lips and tinkling-anklets made her feel out of place among the bright-eyed culture of chastity that was now prized among Hebrew families. The enemy of her soul would have been all too happy to whisper in her ear that she didn’t really belong.

Shame always tries to keep her from the place where it can be broken, so she needs to hear from us, “We are glad you are here. There is a place for you in the seat right next to me. You don’t have to get it all together before you are welcomed into the throne room of heaven.”

Jesus isn’t shocked by her past and we need not be either.

She is the one who fears the future.

After this dramatic transplant from paganism to monotheism, from prostitution to the laws of God that outlined sexual abstinence and fidelity, I wonder how many nights she lay awake wondering if her dreams could come true.

“Would her new friends reject her if they knew who she used to be? Would a noble man ever want to marry her if he found out her past?

We need to be trumpeting a clear message, “Purity is not just about the history of your body, it is about the direction of your heart and affections towards the Lord Jesus.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the outrageously good news that no matter who we used to be, the Spirit of God has the ability to make us into a new creation. Old things are dead and buried in the waters of baptism and if we preach a gospel like this, men and women become free to dream of and enjoy healthy marriages and families.

Jesus brings our dreams back to life.

She is the one who lives on the outside.

While living in Jericho, we see that Rahab lived on the edge of society. Though she may have had a nice view of the surrounding landscape, she was also perilously placed in the line of enemy attack. Not only was she geographically on the outside, she also had trained herself to interact with humanity based on what was on the external.

A lie in our culture says that our primary value is in our sexuality, in external features, and in our performance. This performance hinders true intimacy and trust and we have become one of the loneliest generations in history.

The beautiful thing is that the Bible records a progression in the life of Rahab. Joshua 6:23 speaks of Rahab and her family outside the camp, but just a few verses later we see that she moved to live in the midst of the Israelites. Finally, we see in the book of Matthew in the genealogy of Jesus, Rahab came to marry an Israelite man and became the mother of Boaz and the great grandmother of King David.

We cannot risk forgetting Rahab, because God sees royalty within her.

Jesus welcomes the one who once lived on the outside, and invites her to live in His presence.


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Pray for The Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut

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This year we have been celebrating 150 years of our great nation. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for. God has given us a rich inheritance in our bountiful land. This month our prayer focus is on The Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

  • Pray for wisdom for the leaders of the Canadian Territories: Sandy Silver (Yukon), Bob McLeod (Northwest Territories), and Peter Taptuna (Nunavut).
  • Pray for the children of Nunavut who have markedly worse health than children in the rest of the country. Specifically, they experience more severe respiratory illnesses, hearing problems, and seizure disorders.

  • Pray for the mental health of those struggling with suicidal thoughts and plans. May God’s love reach out to each one, letting them know they are loved and valued.
     
  • Issues of food and housing security result in unsettled economic systems, medical supports, and educational facilities. Pray for stability and provision of healthy, sustainable food that will provide a safe and nurturing foundation for children and families.
     
  • Pray for a unification of people’s hearts and minds. Ask for God’s forgiveness to reign and for his mercies to be renewed.
     
  • Church leaders require renewed strength and vision for ongoing ministries that will reach the people in each community. Pray for passion and perseverance in building and maintaining church and community programs in the North.

God keep our land glorious and free. In Jesus Name. (2 Corinthians 3:17) 

Thank you for joining with other women across Canada in prayer.  
The Prayer Team in partnership with Sharon Reece, Resident Family Medical Doctor, Nunavut