“Oh The Places We’ll Go!”

January 27, 2012

Last weekend, 45 women from TFC heard stories from six of our elders’ wives about the places God has taken them on their journey to follow Him.

If I had to choose one word to describe this weekend of stories, that word would be, “important”.  I hope that does not sound arrogant, because I don’t think that I, the elders’ wives, or anyone else there was the “important” I am describing.  What seemed important was the truth of the Gospel and the power of sharing it together in community.

The stories these women told were real.  They were raw.  They were honest, which is not always good (it can be self-focused and even damaging), but in the case of these six women, the honesty was full of humility.  They were honest about their joy, their pain, and deeply honest about their sin.

And even that is not what was important about the weekend.  But it led us to the important.  The important was that as these women shared what was true, they led us to their only hope–to their amazing, overwhelming, joyful hope of forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and new life in Jesus Christ.  Woman after woman shared ways God had emptied/is emptying them of everything they have depended upon, and ways they are being filled with the sure and certain hope of life in and dependence on Christ.

It changed THEM–even the process of writing and giving these talks gave them new opportunities to confess sin and receive grace and hope in Christ, which they were then able to offer to us.  It changed US–no longer did we see these women as separate from us or “having it all together”.  And no longer did we feel the need to present ourselves as such, either.  One woman said it well:  “The conversations I’ve seen happen this weekend are very different than what I’ve seen before.”  We went to places in each other’s hearts where the Gospel is needed, and where joy and hope replace fear, doubt, mistrust, and bitterness.

There’s one more thing that seemed important about this weekend.  We were unified.  The differences in ages and stages of life melted away, and we were a solid group, moving in the same direction–toward the cross, and then to each other in light of that.  And it didn’t stop there.  Saturday afternoon, an impromptu gathering on couches in the lodge became a brainstorming session for how we could do something to reach out to women in our community.  It was as if we had heard the good news, and our passion was newly aflame to share what we had heard and seen and experienced with others–to invite them into the life we were seeing afresh.

This important weekend was a joy to me, but not a surprise.  This is where we are as a church at TFC.  We are looking at things as they really are.  We are confessing sin.  We are asking for forgiveness.  We are seeing our need for the Gospel in new ways, and we are seeing the power and hope of the Gospel in new ways.  We are moving together toward the cross, and we are finding new life among us, life in Christ that we are eager to share in new ways with each other, and with visitors, and with our community, and with our world.
God is writing for us a corporate story, and our individual stories are small parts of that.  The stories told at the women’s retreat, not just from the elders wives but from all of us, help tell others the story of Christ and His Kingdom–and that is what is important.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director

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The First TFC Women’s Bridges Brunch

November 17, 2011

What is a Bridges Brunch?

Well, despite rumors to the contrary, it has nothing to do with a card game called Bridge!

A Bridges Brunch is women coming together to share a meal and their stories, so that any space between their generations is bridged by sharing their common hunger and thirst to know Christ more deeply.  Last Saturday, about 20 TFC women met at Cindy Pardue’s home, ate a delicious meal (more than enough ladies volunteered to bring dishes, so most just came and enjoyed!), and heard Anne Pickle tell us the story of how God is growing her heart to be more giving for His purposes than concerned about herself.

Several women responded with the group to Anne’s story and gave to us from their joy,  brokenness, tears, and laughter.  Age didn’t matter–we shared life, real life in Jesus Christ, with one another in ways that only grew our hunger and thirst for more of Him.  And we lingered long after the official ending time, over good conversations that continued to grow us together.

If you’d like to connect with women outside of your own age and stage in life, you might want to come to a Bridges Brunch.  We’ll have several of these each year;  watch your bulletin for our next one.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director


Being a Mom—A Divine Calling

May 6, 2011

G.K. Chesterton said this about mothers:  “A mother of young children is with a human being at a time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. How can it be an important career to tell other people’s children about mathematics, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? A mother’s function is laborious…not because it is minute, but because it is gigantic!”

For almost 40 years, I wasn’t a mother, and I wanted to be.  Then, on September 23, 1999, I was a mother.  I remember during my first week of motherhood standing over a screaming, colicky, jaundiced baby on the changing table.  My resume of advanced degrees and honors and career were completely useless to me in that moment.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I’ve never felt so incompetent in my life.

The one who came to my rescue was my mother.

When I came home from the hospital, my sister cooked and cleaned and helped in a million ways, but it was only my mother who could soothe Emily.  I would do everything I knew and, crying with frustration, hand her to Mom, who could hold her just right and walk just right and do what mothers instinctively do to quiet crying babies.

A few days later, I put Emily in the arms of her Aunt Daria and went to my bed to rest (translate: cry like a baby myself).  I remember my mom coming into my bedroom, sitting on the bed, rubbing my back, telling me that it would be fine and I would be a good mom, and doing what mothers instinctively do to quiet crying (big) babies.

Chesterton was right—motherhood is a laborious, and gigantic, job.   Mom was right (moms usually are)—it did work out fine, and most days I am a good mom.

Thanks, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director


Life Through The Lens Of Lent

March 25, 2011

I have grown to love the anticipation of Easter that comes during the Lenten season.  I love the sense of oneness with other believers, both in our church body (especially through the Lenten Devotional) and with Christ-followers from the early church until today.  And, strange as it may sound, I love the “giving up” and “taking on” of certain things that I (and many others) practice during this season.  I welcome the invitation to slow down and pay attention to the Spirit’s activity in my soul, where the Father’s love is always at work to conform me to Christ.

This year, I gave up weighing myself during Lent, because I, like many women, can let a number on a scale become too important, and when my mood rises or falls based on that number, it is definitely too important.  I confess that I probably picked something too easy, because after a week or so, I enjoyed the freedom of it and haven’t thought much about it since.  Lent isn’t over yet, though, so I may yet struggle with this.

The “taking on” part of Lent was, and continues to be, much more of a challenge, one I did not see coming.  I made the decision for what to take on during a conversation with a mentor and friend.  She and I were discussing John 17, and the necessity of knowing the Father’s love so that we can truly love others.  She said to me, “Diana, when I talked about knowing the Father’s love, the most profound look came over your face.  It was a look that said, ‘I don’t think I really know that love very well, but I want to.’ ”  And so, I decided that during Lent, I would set aside time each day to pray and ask God to awaken me to opportunities to receive His love.

And those times of prayer have been painful.  I have seen the unbelievable, silly really, stubbornness of my independent heart.  Why would anyone NOT want to receive God’s perfect, holy love?  What is wrong with me?

God knows.  I like being in control.  I hate being vulnerable.  I resist Him and He still offers love.  He hates my sinful resistance, but He loves my greater stubbornness—to know Him so well that He is more to me than anything else and my “resistance is futile”.

And I am receiving His love daily, in many and varied and unexpected ways.  Very little of what I am receiving is circumstantial—not nice compliments or a good parking place.  Much of it is from His Word, which comes to mind as I pray.  Always, it requires a repentance that moves me from painful grief to unbelievable joy.  And I trust, it is a repentance that is making me a different and better picture of Christ to the world.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)  I pray that during this season, God is showing you that life through the lens of Lent.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director


10 Things TFC Women Should Know About Tanzania

November 23, 2010

1. We’re going there in 3 months! Three trips are planned to hold women’s conferences in late Feb. and mid-March. Each conference will be teaching 50-80 women on the topics of Biblical Interpretation, Personal Spiritual Life, Health and Hygiene, and Conflict Resolution. All curriculum is provided by ALARM.

2. We’re in a partnership. We’re going with some really amazing women from Bent Tree Bible and Northwest Bible.

3. We get to model what God can do when women work together. As the first multi-church partnership like this for ALARM, we are women from various churches working together here and in Tanzania in the harmony of the Gospel.

4. You don’t need a seminary education to teach at a Tanzania women’s conference! Curriculum, training and preparation are provided.

5. A first-hand report is coming. Keith Hileman and Randy Pardue are there right now, and will bring back more information for us about what we can expect when we go.

6. You can pray and go, or pray and send/encourage.

7. The trip costs will be approximately $2800 per person. Two women from each church will make up the teams for the three trips.

8. Margo Gillory and Kelsa Waite are two of those women from TFC. Margo will co-lead a trip (with a lady from Bent Tree) in February, and Kelsa will co-lead a trip in March.

9. Trip preparations and team meetings begin December 5!

10. WHETHER YOU WANT TO GO, SEND, PRAY, OR ENCOURAGE, WE CAN ALL PARTICIPATE IN GOD’S WORK AMONG WOMEN IN TANZANIA! Find out how at our informational meeting on Monday, Nov. 29, 7-8:30pm at the home of Randy and Cindy Pardue. Randy and Keith Hileman will share from their recent trip and we’ll give many more details of the women’s trips. RSVP to Diana Calvin or the church office.

Diana Calvin
TFC Women’s Director
dianacalvin@trinityfellowship.org


TRAVELING THIS SUMMER?

July 16, 2010

We just got back from a great vacation, our first-ever family summer vacation, in Washington, D.C. I have a thing about vacations—I always try to discover one thing that I would like to do differently when I go back home. For instance, we had a full kitchen in our hotel room, but we did not rent a car, so we had to carry our groceries on the shuttle bus from the Safeway to our room. This made it necessary to buy only what we needed, and to use it all before we bought more. I loved it—it simplified life. Less choices means less stress, less temptation to spend or eat more than we should, less waste. And I have bought less at the grocery store since we’ve returned.

Another thing that changed on our vacation was the way I have been relating with my husband, John. Details aside, I’ve been even more controlling than usual lately. We called a truce before we left Dallas, but I wasn’t sure it would hold up with the built-in tensions of travel.

But God gave us a wonderful gift—the D.C. Metro system. The city has one of the best transit systems anywhere, and we used it like crazy to get pretty much everywhere we wanted to go. It’s easy for most people to navigate. I am not most people.

I would still be standing on the Red Line looking for the Union Station train were it not for John’s expertise with a map. God gave me a great gift—John’s navigational skills. He easily, quickly, and accurately led us around Washington D.C. without missing a beat (or a train). I, who had been in controlling mode back in Dallas, took great delight in changing gears, letting go, and trusting in John’s obvious superior abilities to get us where we were going. And he was pretty happy about that, too.

Less waste at the grocery store, less controlling—those were my trip souvenirs. The trip helped me “stop the madness” long enough to see a better way, a way more reflecting Christ in me. What will your summer travels help you see this summer? Hope you bring home some great faith souvenirs.

Diana Calvin
Women’s Director


Women’s Bible Study Plans for Fall 2010

May 21, 2010

This Fall, discover with us how the books of God’s Word fit together to tell His story as the women of Trinity Fellowship study The Amazing Collection. This multi-year study will take us through the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, with teaching from both DVD and Trinity women. Our small group time will continue to be a source for close connection and growth as we share God’s transforming work in our hearts, and pray together.

When deciding what to study this year, we asked the question, “Why do we study the Bible together?” Two answers to that question guided our decision.

One, we seek to know Scripture in terms of discovering the nature, character, will, and work of God, and how we rightly relate to Him. We study to know God, not just to know stuff about God. If we see our smallness and God’s bigness correctly, we will never graduate from this kind of Bible Study. If we see our sin, His merciful love, and our hopelessness apart from Him, we will never grow tired of Scripture, even those among us who have heard the story or studied the book a thousand times. What we know will only serve to show us how much more there is to knowing Him.

Two, we seek to grow from Scripture, and a small group is often the place where we can be changed by Spirit as we respond to the living, active Word of God. In a small group, we can quit hiding for a while and let a few who care deeply for us know our hearts. Their response (which we expect to be rejection but is often grace and love) helps open our hearts to the God of all grace, who sees everything, loves us perfectly, and is committed to growing us up in Him, to changing everything we hide, those things about us that don’t reflect His Word, in order to make us holy worshippers of our Holy God.

Put a little more simply: we study the Bible to know and to grow. We study to know Him, the power of His resurrection, and to grow to be like Him, to change from being focused on ourselves to being obsessed with Him. If these are our purposes for Bible Study, we will require not a particular study or teacher or method, but simply a Bible, and sisters in Christ.

Of course, having a great Bible study is a great blessing, and we think The Amazing Collection is just that. Join us to study the Bible, to know God, and to grow to be more like Him. Discover who He is and how He works in us as you connect with other women in our body. If you have not yet attended a Bible Study at Trinity, we especially welcome you to come and be a part of our Amazing Collection gathering this Fall. Studies will meet Wednesdays starting September 8 at 6 am, 10 am, and 6:15 pm.