The Day I Met Jesus {a book review and slight rant}

Unintentionally I have read three books about women and either the church or Jesus in the last month. We all have buttons, and as long as I don’t read about women and the church too often one of my major buttons doesn’t get pushed. To read three within one month, I know, I know, I know.

Here’s the thing, when I think about women and the church, I have to suppress a scream.

My questions are reduced to one agonizing word at a time. Why? How? When? But when I actually look at Jesus and women, I have the opposite response. Seen. Known. Loved. Valued. If you are in need of a little more Jesus and women Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth’s latest book The Day I Met Jesus is a balm. (Or here for $6.97)

9780801016851

Five women share about the day they met Jesus: the woman caught in adultery, the prostitute who loved too much, a desperate Samaritan woman, the woman with a flow of blood, and the woman whom Jesus loved (Mary of Bethany). Mary DeMuth writes a diary entry from the perspective of each woman.

Wait! 

If cheesy historical fiction makes your skin crawl and sappy, poorly written Christian fiction embarrasses you, me too. I did not once want to roll my eyes. And people, that is to say, Mary’s got skill. I see these women in a broader light than I used to. Afterward the diary entry, Frank explains the historical context and what each of these woman has to offer to us today.

Outside of historical context, here is why this book matters. On Thursdays I spend lunch with a group of international students at Denver University. Some stay afterwards for a free English culture and conversation class I help teach. Many of the international students are visiting scholars from China and Thursdays are my happy day right now.

I love Thursdays, I love Thursdays, I love Thursdays.

The week of Valentine’s Day another volunteer decorated the lunch tables with Valentine’s napkins and festive candy. Ms. Xiao has almost non-existent English yet faithfully attends both the meal and English class. On Valentine’s Day she sat across from me at lunch and for dessert picked up a heart-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Now, I have to admit, I get tired of hearing how sweet desserts and candy are. Yes, they are sweet. Stop eating them and commenting/complaining. Compassion and love, just like Jesus if he was channeling a cranky Amy.

So, when Ms. Xiao popped the heart candy in her mouth, I braced myself. Her eyes opened wider and wider with a look of what amazing thing have I put in my mouth. I smiled and said in simple English, “Chocolate and peanut butter. It is good, isn’t it?”

I doubt Adam had as much joy as she did as he ran around naming the animals. From now on when the verse “taste and see that the Lord is good” comes to mind, so will Ms. Xiao and her peanut butter cup.

In the English class we looked at Gary Chapman’s five love languages. I knew Ms. Xiao was missing a lot but hoped that with the handout she was getting the basics. When it came time for partner practice, I paired myself with her and another woman. I was surprised to see her tears. Not falling down her face, but welling in her eyes.

Class ended and in the midst of all the goodbyes, Ms. Xiao came directly to me, hugged me and proclaimed, “Amy, I love you.” The tears never abated.

Was she realizing ways she hadn’t loved her husband well? Or ways that she had been loved and maybe hadn’t recognized it as such? I don’t know. What I do know is she tasted and saw that Love is good.

Jesus didn’t just seek out five women years ago. He seeks out women today. Buy this book, read their stories. Tell yours.

I have a pretty amazing “I met Jesus story” from this week and will share it soon. How about you? Where have you met Jesus this week?

Know Any Women Who Could Use This?

I know you already know this.

You know that women on the field often suffer from loneliness and isolation. You know they’re hungry to connect and share with other women who understand their cross-cultural lives. You know how important this kind of connection is for women.

And you know the problem. Life on the field often makes this kind of connection difficult or impossible for women to have.

Until now. Velvet Ashes has created a way.

connectiongroups2015open

This spring, we’re offering a 9-week session of Connection Groups. These groups consist of a cross-cultural mentor and five other ladies who meet weekly via a video chat program and/or a private Facebook group.

Last spring we tested out a small pilot session of groups. We had two big questions. Is this something ladies want? And, would it actually work?

Learning from our pilot session, we launched our first full session last fall. Groups filled up in 27 hours, and we were flooded with requests to open more groups. Clearly the answer was “yes, women really want this.”

So did it work? Well, here’s just a snippet of what women have shared:

“My connection group has been fabulous for me. I felt like I was actually getting a real visit with friends every Wednesday.”

“Meeting with my Connection Group this fall has been the best part of my week.”

Our second question was answered. It actually works.

Our Connection Groups are for women in all stages of life, single, married, new to the field, and veterans. We also offer groups specifically for those on home assignment and those transitioning off the field.

Velvet Ashes offers a variety of times and time zones for ladies to choose from. Our mentors are carefully selected ladies with overseas experience who have a heart to encourage other women. And this spring they serve and live on four continents!

I want you to know about our Connection Groups, so you can let people know. I’ve spent a significant amount of time getting the leaders together, working on a Mentor guide for the leaders, and working with others behind the scene on the tech side.

To say I am excited and tired is to speak truth :).

Registration for our Spring Session opens Feb 24, 6pm EST and fills up quickly. If you know of women who could benefit from this, please share! And if you want to hear from Kristi who was in my fall group, you can read about her experience here.

Here’s to hoping all the spots get filled!

Amy

3 Ways To Offer Comfort That Don’t Lead to Feeling Violent

Comfort 1

“Amy, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about comfort this year.” Patty said during one of our editor’s meetings for Velvet Ashes. We were planning out the spring and talking about this week’s theme of “comfort.” Since her comment, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned in recent years about comfort versus what I […]

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Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

Year of the Sheep

When I was a kid and we’d go for Chinese food, one of my favorite parts was pouring over the paper placements and figuring what animal everyone according to the year they were born. I was a sheep (also translated ‘goat’). I loved it. To my American ears it sounded better than rat or dragon […]

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Valentine’s Day is for Everyone! {Said the single gal}

share love

With Valentine’s Day soon upon us, it would be easy to rant against Hallmark and other marketers. (Sorry Hallmark, I do so enjoy your commercials!). But all they’ve done is put a message out there …we’re the ones who’ve bought into it. Guess what, Valentine’s Day is about so much more than romantic love, Cupid, or […]

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Addictions: Lost in your own life

addiction

I’ve been asked to write again for LEAPAsia. This excites me because it taps into parts of me that might not seem to go together on the surface. Isn’t it just one of the best feelings when that happens?! They are currently running a series on communicating with students and I’ve been asked to write two […]

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Learning a New Language: The Dialect of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders

I’ve been asked to write again for LEAPAsia. This excites me because it taps into parts of me that might not seem to go together on the surface. Isn’t it just one of the best feelings when that happens?! They are currently running a series on communicating with students and I’ve been asked to write […]

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What I have learned from my dad this year

Light

“Tom, you do not need to worry about Marsha.” Dale and Ben assured my dad as he was dying. “We will take care of the house, we will help her when it is time to sell it. You do not need to worry. We value you and Marsha and we want you to know we […]

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My Manifesto For Member Care

member care manifesto

Member Care is a term used in the world of M’s and cross-cultural workers. You can get a master’s degree in Member Care or even a PhD! In essence, it’s a fancy way to ask “how can we provide care for our folks?” How can we support them holistically and not just use them up and […]

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Has it been a year? {This is our Passion Week}

Dad at Nuggets game

I know what I want to write. What I don’t know is how to start because we’re circling back. Where does a circle start? In Made To Stick, brother Chip and Dan Heath explore what makes something stick in such a way it catches on. They talk about the curst of knowledge and when you […]

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