Friday, April 30, 2010

Our Sale – His Control

Selling our home of 44 years was traumatic, but for me, selling our cottage that same year was even more traumatic. It was on Lake Charlevoix and the sale affected our children, their spouses and their children. Our home sold the morning the sign went up. Our cottage sold before the sign was up! We moved into a condominium and although it was not on the east side of town where we had grown up, it was close to our church and we had everything within about 10 minutes of our home. The ease with which everything happened made us feel in control, as if we were orchestrating the events of our lives.

However, when my husband had a stroke two years later we realized we weren’t in control at all. God is and He alone sees the Big Picture. God was at work in our lives, but we still didn’t consult Him or thank Him for the everyday things. As humans, we just want to be in control. We give the problem to Him and then try to do it our way. Although this is a natural response, it is wrong. We need to trust Him enough to allow Him to work in our lives the way He wants to.

Just as He took control of my living situation I need to let Him have control of me. I need to be thankful that He still blesses me and is with me during the hard times. Thank you, Jesus!

Annie-Laurie Robinson

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Want to be the Person the Dog Thinks I Am

I saw that quote this week and it made me laugh. Any dog person would understand! I have a sweet dog named Chai, like the tea, who thinks I am wonder women! She thinks I give the best belly rubs, play the best games, and am the most beautiful (even without makeup on). My husband laughs because Chai looks at me with adoration. When I talk to her, I have her undivided attention! She literally gives me eye contact and perks her ears to let me know she is listening. When just she and I are home, I will perform concerts for her. I think she enjoys these the most! She gets so excited, wags her tail and gives me standing ovations.

This quote though made me think a little deeper. I think I have it backward. It should be, “I want to be the person God thinks I am.” So who does God think I am? Well, first and foremost I am God’s daughter. John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become the children of God.” (Others: Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:1)

If that is not enough, God also refers to himself as Abba or Father. I am a child of the King! I am royalty … a Princess to be exact! When I think about this I always feel unworthy, but that is also backwards (why are we so hard on ourselves?). God, surprisingly, thinks very highly of me.

Psalm 139: 17-18a

How precious are your thoughts about me, Oh God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

What an encouragement! My Father thinks I am pretty great! No matter my behavior, or attitude, I will always be His Daughter. He will always love me and I want to make Him proud! What a challenge and encouragement!

Michelle Heriford

Monday, April 26, 2010

Women to Women

On Wednesday nights more than 100 women have been meeting at Trinity to get a deeper look into the life of Queen Esther. Author and motivational speaker Beth Moore leads us through what seems to be a weekly cinematic discovery into the culture and drama that unfolds in this amazing story.

I have found myself feeling like a CSI investigator trying to study this book — and so far it has been a lot of fun! Throughout the story we are presented with scenes that contain hints of circumstances and attitudes of the key characters.

While we all have agreed that we would like to be more like Esther, it has been interesting to learn lessons from the “villains” in this story. King Xerxes was a self-righteous, arrogant leader, who ran his kingdom trying to impress and please the people. His actions and decisions lacked sufficient boundaries, restraint and guidance of any sort. He seems to approach life with a “What’s in it for me?” type of attitude.

As a single woman striving to support myself and make tough decisions in life, it is challenging for me to pull out of the “what’s in it for me” mindset. After all, who else is going to look out for me but me ... right??? Wrong. That is the perception the devil would like me to have but the truth is we are never alone. God’s word says, “Behold, I am with you always” and “Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest” and “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, leaning not in our own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.”

Independent thinking apart from seeking God’s face and will can be dangerous stuff. One need not look any further than King Xerxes for evidence of this mindset.

Sheryl Patry

Friday, April 23, 2010


I love jigsaw puzzles. There, I’ve said it. Some of you will think I’m a geek. Some will know right off the bat that I’m single with no kids because you know you could never keep little hands from stealing pieces at your house. Some will wonder if you can come over to do one with me (yes, you can!).

One puzzle I find challenging is discerning God’s will. It seems like it would be so much easier if He would just give us all the pieces at once. A year ago, I felt God leading me to quit my job and start my own business. Crazy in this economy? Absolutely. But God sometimes calls us to do crazy things in this life. Business has been okay. Of course, there have been ups and downs, and every time I have to take money from my savings account to pay bills, I ask God if this is really the track I’m supposed to be on. He always assures me it is.

This week I interviewed for a part-time job. The opportunity came up so I decided to at least go for the interview. As I spent the rest of the day thinking and praying about it, I wondered if this was God providing or if this was a test of sorts. God finally led me to the conclusion that if I believe He led me to quit my job — and I do — it wasn’t so I could cobble together several part-time jobs. I need to stay on the straight path of pursuing the goals He has laid out for me. I felt as if He had revealed the picture on the top of the box. I’m so grateful that in Psalm 16:11 He promises to “make known to me the path of life” … even if it is one piece at a time.

Patty Dextrom

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Body and Soul

After suffering for 14 years and having six surgeries for endometriosis, my body had finally reached its limit! I had my sixth surgery at age 41, which left me with one failing ovary and tons of scar tissue. I wasn’t sleeping and was still having chronic pain and experiencing some serious mood disturbances. My family doctor’s advice was Prozac and yoga. I knew in my heart that wasn’t the answer. My heart was telling me to stop working and focus on my health but that was scary for me. However, I felt that if I didn’t do something different I was going to fall apart at the seams.

I took an unpaid medical leave of absence at work and sought out medical practitioners who would support my desire to deal with my health issues from a natural, holistic perspective, focusing not only on my body but also my internal thoughts, attitudes and mental energies. Ironically, I had written a bunch of “positive attitude” quotes to my husband on the walls of a bathroom destined for remodeling: “The good news is that the bad news can be turned into good news when you change your attitude” and “God chooses what we go through; we choose how we go through it.”

During all of this, staying positive has sometimes been tough. The hormones are helping but so is listening to my body and my heart tell me what I need to do and selectively seeking out those who support that decision — family, friends and medical professionals. Being thankful every day for little improvements and letting myself off the hook on those days that aren’t so good is also helpful. Most of us just do what it takes to survive. We learn behaviors, thought patterns and beliefs based on that need to survive. The real trick is sometimes choosing to go against the flow to do what we need to do to reclaim ourselves, healing both our bodies and souls.

Sally Hall

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Power of Three

There’s something appealing about the number 3! God blessed my husband and me with three kids, so that seems like the perfect number to us. A basic chord is made up of three notes; Plato thought the soul had three parts; and in baseball, you get three strikes before you’re out. Even children’s stories feature lots of threes — the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and The Three Pigs, to name a few.

The most important three is the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If God Himself is three, it has to be a number of beauty and perfection. So there are lots of reasons to value the number three.

One of the reasons I love the number three is because of SHE Follows, Trinity’s mutual mentoring ministry. SHE Follows equips women to form groups of three (triads) to pursue Jesus. We don’t form the groups for you, but we will give you instructions and a journal to get you started. You ask the Lord who He wants you to meet with, then invite them to join you in a friendship focused on increasingly loving and obeying Jesus.

SHE Follows is based on a few (okay, I admit it, four!) important principles. SHE Follows encourages women to follow Christ through

1. transparency and accountability

2. personalized study of the Word

3. intentional spiritual transformation

4. replication — each member committing to take on two more women after a triad comes to an end

I’ve been in two triads for a while now, and the women I’m with are so precious to me! We explore God’s Word, pray together, encourage each other, and grow closer to each other and to Jesus through the joys and challenges life brings.

Just as three notes produce a pleasing musical chord, three friends who pursue Jesus together create a harmony lovely to His ears and ours! And as He reminds us in Ecclesiastes, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

For more information, contact Kerri Kuzera or Michelle Harper, SHE Follows coordinators, at or

Anne Cody
Director of Group Life, Trinity Church

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Long Way Around

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. Exodus 13:17-18
Have you ever felt certain that God was leading you the long way around on a journey? I hope it will encourage you to know He’s been going the long way for thousands of years.

When He led the Israelites out of Egypt, freeing them from years of slavery, He took them the long way around too. God knew if He took them the shorter way there was a chance they might turn back. They might stop following Him and would miss out on His plan for them. God knew something they did not know, so He led them the long way around.

Surely, it was not for lack of compassion that God made the Israelites walk longer. He knew they were weary from their years of servitude. He knew they would grumble about not having food and water. He knew they would be fearful and complain about the wandering. But He would provide. He would lead them with pillars of cloud and fire. God knew what the Israelites needed — though they could not see — and He was faithful to deliver exactly what they needed. He was faithful to deliver them to the Promised Land.

What road are you traveling today? Does it feel too long? Are you tired of walking? Do you wish God would show you the short cut? Be assured — God knows what He’s doing. Keep following where He leads!

Karen Hossink

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

She Knows

Remember the days when young girls would gather together in special groups and “talk”? You know the kind of talk where their heads would be close together and their eyes would turn slightly to the side to see if anyone was listening. Life as an adult hasn’t changed much. I still see women in their special groups peering from side to side and hoping above all that they will be in the know!

Recently I was in a church community group studying the Israelites. Remember the stories of these people living in Egypt and praying every day that their life of slavery would change? When Moses came into leadership, life definitely began to change. Plagues of all sorts were falling upon Egypt, including the plague of hail and lightning and thunder, which destroyed the fields and anything or anyone who was outside. It didn’t take long for Pharaoh to plead with Moses to ask God to make this horrendous weather stop. So he did and this is what he said, “The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” (Gen. 9:29-30)

Pharaoh was now in the know. He knew that his surroundings belonged to God and that God was in control. He also knew that he didn’t want that in his life; he wanted to be in control. I have to ask you, what do you know about God and His plans and desires for you? Are you spending time with Him? Are you talking to Him every day? Are you letting Him control your life? One of the verses I live by is John 17:3, “Now this is life eternal: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”

I hope that as you spend time with your groups of girlfriends that you will talk about knowing God. Knowing Him is the only way that you will truly be “in the know.”

Cathy Bytwerk

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Number 14

It was the early 1940s and we lived on a farm. I received a horse for my 14th birthday. She was a retired jumper and was 20 years old. I was thrilled! I had a horse! However, there was a catch. I had to promise I would clean the stall and feed her.

My grandson celebrated his 14th birthday recently. He chose where we would eat and his parents gave him a cell phone. His mom made up poems and different members of the family called him on his cell phone to recite the poems. He also received a fishing vest, a date with his dad to hit golf balls and a membership in a local gun club. He was thrilled!

Although my grandson and I turned 14 in different times periods and we had different needs and wants, we both had parents who loved us and wanted what was best for us. They gave us gifts out of love.

God wants what is best for us too. He loves us and gives us a gift that is free. However, there is a catch. We have to accept His gift. Sounds easy, but we also find it is easy to ignore Him and get on with our worldly lives.

I wasn’t always available to clean the stall or feed the horse, but daddy did it for me. With God it doesn’t work that way. He works in us but we have to do our part and He can’t do it for us. We have to accept His free gift of salvation and recognize we are all sinners saved by His grace. He gave it out of love.

My horse died at age 30. The cell phone will wear out. God’s gift will never die or wear out!

Annie-Laurie Robinson

Friday, April 9, 2010


Lots of changes for me lately! I recently graduated with my master’s degree and became a nurse practitioner. I then left a job of five years that focused on cardiac emergencies and very aggressive, heroic medical care, to work with terminally ill patients. I also had a big birthday last month — the big 3-0!!!! I am learning a new role, new job, and doing all this while trying to figure out how to be a young professional woman — not just a young lady. Oh, and going to start a family here soon!

Changes are tough. The changes in my life have taken me into uncharted territory, and I will admit I have had some moments where insecurities and doubts get the best of me. But the one thing that stays constant and secure in my life is God. God does not change. The truths about Him are still the same: He is good, faithful, merciful and powerful (just to name a few). God’s word tells me that:

James 1:17 — Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Hebrews 13:18— Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Changes are inevitable! My life will continue to change (I have heard children change your life) but I know that I can trust in the ultimate constant that will never change. His mercies are new for me every morning and He is always with me, in this I can be secure. Thank You, Jesus, for being my rock!

Other references: Psalm 90: 2-4, Psalms 102:27, Malachi 3:6, John 8:58

Michelle Heriford

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Introspective Perspective

When I was asked to write for this blog, I was concerned that I didn’t have anything “deep” enough to share. Five years ago, I would have been able to come up with all kinds of deep, meaningful, and spiritual nuggets. I began to ponder why I wasn’t as introspective as I used to be. God gave me the answer.

Five years ago I got married at the age of 38. Before marriage, I would spend time with Jesus at night. I’d snuggle into bed, quiet down for the day, and the Lord and I would talk. No matter what I was going through, I felt completely wrapped in His love. I was also a missionary on the home front; I was a single woman with purpose! Ministry forced me to be introspective and open to hearing from the Lord. I used to ask him constantly to keep me humble, in love with Him and His people, and open to His leading. It was all my heart wanted.

Enter husband. I had to adjust to sharing my space and time with someone 24/7. No longer could I come home from work and just flop; I had wifely duties. My focus really shifted. This week, however, I’ve been reminded of a verse: 1 Corinthians 7:34

… An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs; her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world — how she can please her husband.

So, it has begun to click for me. Those many years of being single were a blessing, a very special time. Being married is also a blessing. I believe it’s an act of worship on my part to care for, love and take care of my husband and home. What I need to learn is balance. Writing this article has caused me to be introspective, at least for today. I’m encouraged to begin to take the steps needed to get to that sweet place again. I realize it’s going to look different than it did back in the day, but that’s okay because this is my journey, and I’ve invited the Lord to be a part of it.

Sally Hall

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

I recently spent the day with my two nephews. Eighteen-month-old Kade and I were getting ready to go down the stairs to the basement play room. As we got to the first step, Kade reached up for me to take his hand. He didn’t even look at me, just reached up that little hand trusting I would take hold and steady him as we navigated the steps.

It struck me that this is how it is with God and me. I get to a difficult place in life and I naturally reach up. I don’t even have to look because I know He is there. I know He loves me and will protect me and I can trust Him completely to get me through the hard stuff.

The part of the story that challenged me was when we got to the bottom of the stairs. Kade let go the minute his feet hit a flat surface. He was off and running on his own, his favorite aunt forgotten. [He has two other aunts but I’m sure I’m his favorite :-) ] I thought that, unfortunately, his behavior again paralleled my relationship with God. Once I get through the challenging landscape of life, it is easy for me to let go and handle the easy parts on my own.

Proverbs 3:5-6 in The Message says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Wouldn’t it be nice if I listened for His voice in everything I did so that when I get to the top of the steps I’m already holding His hand? And what precious time we would have together if I didn’t let go during the smooth places in life!

Patty Dextrom

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Weekend Services Information

We hope that you have been enjoying the first week of SHEBlogs! Thank you for visiting the site! We would like to also invite you to join us for Easter at Trinity Church. The service times are listed below along with a map link.
Easter Services
Saturday, April 3, at 5:00pm and 7:00 pm 
Sunday, April 4, at 9:00am and 11:00 am.
3355 Dunckel Rd.
Lansing, MI 48911
Phone: (517) 272-3820
(Left click on Get Directions, type in your address and click the Get Directions button.)
For all the authors and contributors at SHEBlogs, I hope you have a blessed time with family and friends this Easter.
He is risen,
Autumn Clack

Friday, April 2, 2010

Is there an App for that?

This past week I was able to upgrade to one of those new fancy fandangled cell phones. While there was a bit of excitement at first, I quickly found myself sucked into browsing the millions of free applications of additional features that I supposedly “could not live without.” Do I really need an application to remind me to feed my cat the newest kind of cat food? ... umm … not really. The only worthwhile application I found useful was an NIV Bible application. Quite honestly, it was the only true product that would show me what my life really needs in order to find direction and happiness (much more useful than even MapQuest!).

Here are 5 reasons why God’s word is better than phone applications:

  1. It makes promises and is guaranteed to deliver – it never crashes!
  2. It is relatively easy to share with others (does not require an “in network” connection).
  3. It gives directions that are proven to be reliable (Beta tested and approved and 24-hour tech support!).
  4. It is designed by an engineer who understands the public’s true needs.
  5. It assists in prioritizing daily activities.

… all this and MUCH, MUCH MORE!

I’m not sharing this to completely bash technology and applications, but rather to pose the suggestion that God’s word is able to provide many similar things that are our heart’s true desires. As women, we are inundated daily with concerns and worries of our families and friends. We feel these needs deeply. I tend to over-think and run to quick-fix solutions (like phone applications) that clearly do not begin to hit the true needs of these problems.

What “applications” do you tend to run to in your life that are substitutes for God’s word? Are you willing to seek these same answers through daily “browsing” and application of His truth?

Sheryl Patry