Top 3 Reasons I'm Glad to be on the Seminary Dropout Podcast

 click to here about reclaiming eve, the beauty and mystery of mutual submission, and how god is freeing up women to serve alongside their brothers!

click to here about reclaiming eve, the beauty and mystery of mutual submission, and how god is freeing up women to serve alongside their brothers!

3. Seminary Dropout is my FAVORITE podcast [subscribe here], because Shane Blackshear (@beardonabike) is down-to-earth, honest, and insightful—and is always challenging our assumptions by interviewing followers of Jesus on so many topics many evangelicals rarely discuss. #raceandthechurch #genderreconciliation #doubt and so much more.

2. You guys, it is like Shane takes us to seminary each week . . . for free. No cash dollars, but plenty of value!

1. Missio Alliance, who hosts the podcast, has reenergized so many of us with a "third way," a call to lean into loving our neighbors, sharing the whole gospel with the world, and building Jesus's Kingdom. And empowering women, and featuring their voices, is one of their priorities. That's why I was thrilled to talk with Shane about Reclaiming Eve in the church, the home, and the world. Check out these recent posts: "How Not to Defend Women in Ministry" by Alexis Waggoner and  "Why I Left the Band of Brothers for the Blessed Alliance" by Frank James. Check out Missio's SheLeads one-day conference in Chicago on October 29, with simulcasts in LA, Nashville, Kansas City, Dallas, and more to come. 

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for group studies! Order here.

Sermon Audio: "Ecclesiastes Shatters Our Illusions" by Suzanne Burden

I suppose I have never preached a more personal sermon. Amidst the turmoil and the violence unfolding around us, the puzzling book of Ecclesiastes has a timely message to share. 

There are things in life for which there is no solution. We cannot puzzle life out, make the pieces fit, or seize control when some of the pieces are missing altogether. We don't always have answers.

But we do have a Redeemer. One who is right here, present, and working. Even in the midst of injustice, unfairness, and violence. Join me for a deep dive into this mysterious book of the Bible. Hear our personal story of hope following adoption loss. May our illusions be shattered—every last one—that we might embrace the reality of hope in Christ!

(Don't miss the rest of the series on our podcast at 3rivers.church.)

Revisiting #ReclaimingEve: Cara Strickland's story

cara

Personal Note and update: The book Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God and the Small Group DVD continue to stimulate discussion and impact both individual lives and the Church as a whole. Cara's story was posted over a year ago, but for some reason my new squarespace blog removed it. Her story touched me, because gender reconciliation has been and is such a huge area of first pain and now healing in my own story. Read an update to her ongoing story here.

The whole series of can be found here. And many thanks to Cara, who shines light today on those aha moments that lead us to go about reclaiming Adam even as we are reclaiming Eve. Cara Strickland is a writer, editor, and food critic in Spokane, Washington. She writes about singleness, food, feminism, and the way faith intersects life (among other things) on her blog Little Did She Know. Come say hi to her on Twitter. She likes making new friends.

What would it take for me to believe that men are the beloved of God?

When I started reading Reclaiming Eve, I didn’t expect to be confronted with complicated feelings about the Eden story. I’ve always felt a certain compassion for Eve, and I clad myself in these feelings as I flipped through the pages. There was only one problem. I might not have a problem with Eve, but I do have a problem with Adam. 

I’ve been through a long journey, through many kinds of churches and theologies. I was uncomfortable with female leadership in church until late in my college career before slowly picking up pieces of the beautiful heart God has for women, and finding freedom in how I saw myself and other daughters. But though I had started attending a church whose senior pastor is a woman, and begun to find healing from many hurtful ways of thinking I’d gleaned in my youth, I still hadn’t forgiven Adam.

In those churches from my formative years, I was taught that men were there to protect and defend women. I learned that women were weaker and smaller and slightly less important. But in Eden, I saw no sign of that sort of man in Adam. He didn’t even seem to be the main character in the story of the fall, and he certainly wasn’t looking out for Eve.

I read about the ezers on an airplanethe Hebrew word used for Eve indicating she is a strong power—and as I did so, I wept. Step one, for me, has been learning that women are beloved by God. Step two seems to be learning that men are, too.

My father is not a terrible man, but he learned to parent from imperfect people. As a result, I learned from a very early age that I am too much or not enough. For a time, my father was also my pastor, further confusing my young mind about how God felt about me.

Over the years, I have dated people who were a lot like my impression of Adam: not quite the main character of the story. I have looked and hoped for a wonderful man to partner with in marriage, and have been disappointed many times. As I read about the way adams and ezers are meant to ally, I realized that I haven’t believed that this was possible. I have given God credit for making the daughters of Eve full of potential and Image, but not for doing the same with the sons of Adam.

I’ve spent many dark nights crying out to God, wondering why I’m single still, after all this time hoping. I’m beginning to think that the hurt I felt as I read this story again might be why.

I have spent time frustrated by my feelings of being on the outside as a single, childless woman. Those panes of glass often exist, of course, but the wives and mothers are not always putting them up by themselves. After all, they have chosen to love and partner with people that I have difficulty trusting. That makes it hard to trust those women, as well.

This all leads back to God, as everything does, sooner or later. I don’t know what to think of a God to whom I attribute the creation of the sort of Adam I imagine. I cry out for a lovely man to partner with, but I haven’t believed that one exists. This is the tragedy of the fall. Not only did sin alter the way the sons of Adam thought about and treated the daughters of Eve, but it changed the daughter’s of Eve’s perception of the sons of Adam, standing in the way of the partnership God intended, trickling all the way down to me, so many years later.

Since I read them, these words have been continuing to resonate in my mind: “For him [Jesus] if something were to be perfect, it would fulfill the purpose for which it was created.” (87) I let out a deep breath at that, reaching all the way to the bottom of my perfectionist soul. For so long, I’ve been trying to do the right thing, to check all of the boxes. It is easy to think that it is the failure to do these things which stands in the way of the life or relationships I want. It is not so great a leap to think that those imperfections are keeping me from my vocation, from my purpose. If only I always said lovely and affirming things, then I might be considered worthy to be a wife. If only I were more traditional, or nurturing, or soft-spoken.

But I have a few ideas about the purpose for which I am created, and it looks a lot like the easy yoke Jesus describes in Matthew. I sighed because though I’ve read similar things over the years, they haven’t ever struck me like this. The freedom to be exactly who I am, turns out to be exactly what I need to remind me that God dreams of that freedom for everyone, woman and man.

On #

ReclaimingEve

: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”

— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author,

Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece.

Order here

.

Q&A with #Mentor4Life author, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

Do you know my friend Natasha? If not, you should. Find out more about our story of friendship and mentoring here

And now, with a great drum roll, and a burst of applause, I'm introducing her new book Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship

With depth, insight, and leadership skills and experiences fired in the engine of real-life ministry, work and relationships, Natasha offers a valuable gift to the church: her book on what it takes to successfully implement a discipleship ministry in your local congregation. Her thoughts are especially poignant to me because I've watched them develop through years of skype calls and heartfelt conversations. Through Natasha, I have grown in my desire and thirst to see everyone grow to love Jesus more, and to do it intentionally.

Visit Natasha's web site here and read her full bio. Audio and video from Natasha available here. And don't miss her Seminary Dropout interview here. (More on why Seminary Dropout is my favorite podcast later.) Finally, you can begin following Natasha's leadership and mentoring insights on twitter today.

Enjoy this Q&A with one of my best friends in life. And find her book here

What inspired you to write your new book, "Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship?"

Natasha: Writing “Mentor for Life” was a process. It wasn’t something I set out to do. In the end, it was a result of me being obedient and responding to what God put in front of me. When I was living in Maryland, I was leading a women’s small group ministry with five other leaders. Then God moved my family from Maryland to North Carolina. Our realtor in North Carolina happened to be the women’s ministry director at the church we eventually became members. She asked me to consider starting a mentoring ministry for the women at the church.

I just chuckled, because my heart was already prepared and longing for an opportunity just like this. I felt like God had been doing amazing things in Maryland and that was only the beginning of what He wanted me to continue doing in North Carolina. I prayed about this new opportunity, confirmed a ministry partner, we prayerfully got a team together, and began the ministry (featuring some of the learning and practical experiences I have outlined in the “Mentor for Life” book).

I participated in that ministry for approximately four years and somewhere around the second year, the editor of Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, an online magazine for women called to ministry, asked me to write about the ministry work that I was doing, because she felt like it was needed in the church. The article turned into a five-part series on mentoring!

After writing the articles, I began to receive comments, emails, and social media responses from women saying, “I wish there was something like this at my church,” and single women were saying, “I don’t feel like there’s a place for me in this thing called ‘women’s ministry.’” I also heard from women leaders, asking me if I had “something” that they could do with their women’s groups in their churches, or if I had a curriculum to offer.

The editor said to me, “Natasha, I think you’re onto something here. I think you have enough to write a book.” So this was the natural progression of doing ministry work, which led to sharing about the ministry work, which led to questions about the ministry work, which led to the book project. I never set out to write a book! It was not on my bucket list of things to do. I really view “Mentor for Life” as my offering to the church, because I believe that the church needs it, mainly because people have told me they believe it is a necessary resource for the church, and because the church leaders, pastors, and seminary professors who have already read it have affirmed the same.

How do you think the church will benefit from the message of your book?

Natasha: I think the church will be challenged by Mentor for Life, specifically because it is not a how to book. It is a book that calls us back to the priority of our primary calling to make disciples who follow Jesus with their entire being by laying down their lives for the sake of the gospel and this great kingdom mission God has set before us. I think the church has relevant concerns and challenges in today’s culture, but we are not without hope in this world. I believe in the vision of the Lausanne Movement: “The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world.” We can do that whether we are going out as missionaries to other parts of the world, or whether we are faithful and credible witnesses to the various people groups God has already put in front of us. Any devout believer wants to make disciples of Jesus, yet in our daily lives we become distracted, and what this book does is it resets our priorities and challenges us to allow everyone to overflow out of Jesus’ prayer for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. Mentor for Life challenges and equips the church to focus on the gospel and Jesus’ simple call to “follow me” and we do that by making disciples through relationships in an intimate small group of intentional learning.

Why is mentorship in the church important?

Natasha: In the book, I refer to mentoring as “intentional discipleship.” How we as Christians use the influence God has given us to shape the life of another person is unbelievably important. I believe mentoring in the church should be approached from a communal, relational context. When you think of mentoring, you probably automatically picture a one-on-one scenario. While there is definitely value in one-on-one mentoring relationships, I’ve seen both in my own life and in my studies through the Bible that God may connect you with many mentors who will all play a part in shaping your life.

What we know from the Bible is that it is an Eastern book. This means culturally and contextually, the Bible is often referring to what is happening within community, family, people groups, and what is best for the whole. It’s not an individualistic thing at all. My model for mentoring as intentional discipleship is inspired by Jesus’ relationship with His twelve disciples. When we see Jesus interacting with and teaching His disciples, He’s doing this with them as a group. Even the more intimate relationship He had with The Three (Peter, James, and John) was still with a small group! Not to say that Jesus didn’t have one-on-one relationships with each of His disciples! The Bible just doesn’t seem to highlight that importance. It instead focuses on what Jesus wants the disciples to learn as a group, for the purpose of shaping and changes the nations who cry out to God.

Think back to the creation story and the birth of Adam. The only thing God says isn’t good (before sin) is the fact that Adam is alone. What I think is critical to see is that God was present with Adam in the garden, and the garden was originally a sinless environment. In that good and perfect (or sinless) environment, God still sees Adam’s aloneness as a bad thing. Adam being paired with someone compatible is something God valued, and he still values today for His children. We need to understand that God was very intentional in saying that it’s not good for Christians to be alone and isolated in this world.

There are many issues I believe need to be addressed in the church, but one of the bigger ones is the “80/20 rule,” which is the idea that 20% of people in the church are doing 80% of the work. Pastors and those that have been identified as leaders in the church are often dealing with burnout. This is mainly due to the church not adequately training or equipping other leaders. It is because of this phenomena that I believe mentorship and discipleship in the church is everyone’s responsibility.

The mentoring framework I share in “Mentor for Life” is three-tiered: knowing and loving God, understanding and affirming our identity in Christ, and loving our neighbors. If we are raising up, through mentorship, people in the church with an understanding of their purpose and identity in light of who God is, we will find ourselves with more leaders. When you have more leaders, you have more sharing of the work that needs to be done. According to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, when the body of Christ works together, the work of the kingdom of God goes forth. This is why it’s so important for those in the church to understand their purpose in life and their place in the body.

So why wouldn’t you mentor in the church? Seeing the results of not prioritizing discipleship well should alert us to the fact that the church is not fully empowered and not fulfilling the complete work that God has called us to. 

###

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for fall studies! Order here.

 

Easter Monday maintenance

The other day someone in my church office said I was a very organized person, and I didn't take the time to tell her: sister, I am not all that good at maintaining things.

Instead, I am telling the whole world through my blog. Go figure.

I have google calendar, and I have a paper planner, and I have file folders, yes. But I also have way too many pictures and file folders on my macbook. And some stacks of books on my office floor. I have a business to-do list on my home office wall that is taking too long to get to. I bought an ebook on Evernote (the program that saves your articles & notes & stuff) and have been planning to read it for 4-5 months. 

In January, I made my list of intentions for the year: 

Live loved.
Practice rhythms of rest.
Create.

As far as maintaining those goes, it's funny:

Jesus keeps me broken enough that I'm always listening for his voice of love. As a pastor, anytime I preach or teach or serve Communion to someone at the hospital, I am always pointing back to our Belovedness. I simply cannot live without this realignment, thank God.

Rhythm? Rest? For a month or more, I was working 6-7 days a week, without a real Sabbath Day. I knew this had to end, that I had to grab a few hours when I could to connect with God, and so this crazy season is now ending and opening up into the next one. I am longing for my rhythms; I am leaning into what my new spiritual director calls "noticing God with you" as you do all of the things that make up your days: loving, teaching, preaching, exercising, serving communion four times during Holy Week (!), writing, cooking, cleaning, calling your mother, biking with your husband and your French-teenager, texting a friend when you really, really want to call but have no margin at all. Yet. Oh, how gracious Abba-God is to bring us a bit of rest even when life feels like too much. 

Create. The word stares back at me from the list on the wall and I sigh, and I wonder why I was given this word this year in this season. Create now? Father, you have directed me to this word, but I do not think it means what I think it means. In all seriousness, I have come close to crossing out the word multiple times, telling myself it would be easier to replace it with "Delight." Delight I could handle. And yet. Out of the rubble of so many dashed dreams, new words and ideas are springing forth. Some come out in sermons and Bible studies; some are shared on a podcast; others rise up over the dinner table with my husband and the 16-year-old exchange student; and then there were the three book ideas that I wrote down within the space of a week—right in the middle of working 6-7 days a week.

I tell myself that I can only create when I can get away to a secluded place. That I can only make something good when I have hours to allow God to speak to my mind and heart, to make sense of all that is happening. I have used the excuse that I don't have enough time to read, so how could i write intelligently? I am waiting for just the right clarity to dawn. 

Except that I am not waiting anymore at all. The other night I was wrapping up our church's Reclaiming Eve Bible study—the one where 30 women showed up, desperate to commune with each other and to grow in their walk with Christ.

A week ago, I looked out over their faces. I listened to their testimonies of going from "I am not worthwhile" to "I am gaining so much strength by realizing how much God values his daughters" and "I now see Eve and women in a different light," several of us ended up in tears, and I read Ephesians 2 out of The Message Bible over them.

I am part of creating a home in which God himself can dwell. I was reminded of this as I read Paul's words in paraphrase, those beautiful words that reminded the church in Ephesus that BOTH Jews and Gentiles were in on the action, that the dividing wall of hostility between all of us was torn down in Jesus, that something beautiful is being built through us:

 "That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home."

Brick by brick, stone by stone. You and I, the Jesus-followers, are watching it take shape each day. We are part of this creating. And so, somehow, out of the overflow of the abundance of the Kingdom, I create.

I may not create all that I want to or others think  I should. I may choose to create things of Kingdom-value which seem insignificant in the eyes of others. My productivity is not measured by the number of words typed, the number of articles or books written, or even the number of people I can love and disciple through our little church.

I am creating because God is building us into something bigger, the bigger story of the reconciliation of all things.

I am creating because I long for others to know the goodness and the abundance of the Kingdom of Jesus.

I am creating because I cannot be silent; I cannot leave the agency God gave me as his imagebearer unused and untested; I don't want to flicker out of this life without marking it with the goodness and glory of God. 

This is my Easter Monday maintenance. To recognize that all of the moments I offer to God are redeemed somehow. To circle back to those moments of rest. To count all of the moments as part of the process of creating; to rest in knowing for sure that I have been given all of the energy to do all that God has called me to do on this one day.

I may not be all that good at maintaining things. But the Risen Christ is with me; he goes before me and behind me. In him, all things hold together. Even my list of intentions. In this knowing, I can rest.

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for group studies! Order here.

 

Better Together: Radio Interview with friend & author Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

She was beautiful and powerful, this young woman sitting alongside me. 

I didn't know her at all, really, but the conference session unfolded, and I learned she was thinking about going to seminary, and that she worked for the Department of Homeland Security, that she was wondering about God's plans for her.

Six years later, we have both graduated from separate seminaries. We have endured untold losses and some wonderful wins, too. God has given us untold joy in celebrating the other. And thank God, we have done it side-by-side. We have mentored each other in Jesus through thick and thin.

The other day we had the pleasure of doing an radio interview about our friendship, and one of the hosts stopped and said: "I can see you two are very different from each other."

Listen to the interview here: http://toginet.com/podcasts/girlfriendit
Leading and Mentoring with Suzanne Burden and Natasha Robinson (air date: 2/11/2016)

And it made me want to laugh, because it's so true. Natasha is an amazing leader, with resolve and purpose and courage. I am more sensitive than she, more pastoral, and we come from very different backgrounds and places. We often see things differently, and yet as we've journeyed together, I'm amazed at the Kingdom-mission we have in common and how our journey together shapes both of us.

This is how Natasha put it in her blog post today: "Whenever I speak with this dear sister, share my heart, hear her prayers of intercession, and her affirmation of my personhood as an image bearer of God, daughter of the great King, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, I know that I am known and loved by God because I am known and loved by her. We mentor each other, and we mentor for life together."

I feel loved by God through Natasha over and over again through her words, her truth-telling, and her advocacy for me. I am infinitely blessed to have a friendship like this one in my life.

Today, I am proud to announce that Natasha will release her first book,  Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship on March 1. Her leadership journey informs the book, and her real-world experience leading a women's mentoring ministry for lasting change shows it is possible to be formed in Jesus through intentional community with each other. Read with me and discover how we can  become more like Jesus on purpose—through the vision he gave us. We truly are better together. #Mentor4Life

***

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for fall studies! Order here.

Read my article on a Dutch couple who saved 60 Jews during the holocaust

This last week, my December 2015 feature in Christianity Today magazine went live on their website. So now there's no excuse: you can read Diet Eman's and Hein Sietsema's inspiring love story—a story that led them to stand up against the Nazis and rescue Jews during WWII all because of their devotion to Christ—right here.

On a personal note, it gives me great joy to see this story shared with thousands around the world. Just as Diet scrawled "Lo, I am with you always" into the wall of the Schevingen prison during the war, I have been challenged to acknowledge God's steady presence and help during the hardest of times in my life through meeting her. And now, I've been challenged by 95-year-old Eman to memorize Psalm 27, which sustained her during the war. She quoted part of it to me in early December, testifying to God's sure and steady help even today. Will you join me in memorizing this Psalm in 2016?

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"

***

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for fall studies! Order here.

Your turn: How did Diet and Hein's story impact you?

My Obligatory Top 3 Posts of 2015

It's been a kicker of a year.

Speaking at two Christian university chapels, starting part-time pastoring at our church, new business opportunities, an article in Christianity Today, meeting a great hero of the faith, taking in a French exchange student, an adoption loss and numerous other things—too many to mention.

I can't say I've felt compelled to write about all of my activities and emotions, or even to process how my theology is evolving, how my life is becoming more richer, more rooted, and more sustainable. 

But if I had written a Christmas newsletter this year, I am happy to say it would have contained the most essential thing we need in life and faith: HOPE.

***

Tomorrow morning, on New Year's Eve, my eyes will be positioned under a powerful laser. My extreme near-sighted vision, weak since third grade, aided only by powerful contacts and heavy glasses, will hopefully be corrected in four minutes. I am still in awe of this fact. 

Apparently, in these precise moments (moments that provoke what I would call nervous excitement), I will also be aided by two valium and a benadryl, so I'm sure I won't fully appreciate this small wonder until a day or so later. 

Thus, I am posting my top posts of the year now. I hope you enjoy them and that as we all enter 2016, our vision will become clearer in ways we have yet to even anticipate. Not that we won't see the broken and hard things, never that—but that as we do, the relentless light of redemption will remind us the darkness has been, is, and will be overcome by Jesus Christ. Oh, let us have eyes to see.

Post #1: "Leaning In to Our Grief: What Sheryl Sandberg teaches us about tragedy" on Christianity Today's Her•meneutics. 

Post #2: "The Unclean Woman: From hope lost to hope found"  audio at Cornerstone University Chapel, April 2015

Post #3: "Reclaiming Eve" video at Taylor University Chapel, November 2015

As you set words and intentions for 2016, may the light of Christ lead you, may you know that you are loved, may your heart fill with hope, heavy with anticipation and moments of delight. Oh, may we have eyes to see.

For more personal thoughts on spiritual formation, men and women in the Kingdom of God, and my personal writing journey, sign up for my monthly newsletter today on the right.

Your turn: What is your favorite post of 2015?

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for fall studies! Order here.

The Brutally Honest Truth about Christmas

The Brutally Honest Truth about Christmas

I AM EXPERIENCING THAT BOUNCEBACK NOW. TODAY, SOMEONE TOLD ME I AM A PERSON WHO SEES THE GOOD IN THINGS, WHO IS HOPEFUL ABOUT LIFE. SMALL WONDER, I THOUGHT, AFTER REVIEWING THE LAST MANY YEAR'S CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTERS AND FINDING WE HAVEN'T BEEN FULL OF WHAT I WOULD DESCRIBE AS HAPPINESS SINCE 2010.

Read More

Behind-the-scenes look at Christianity Today's "The Resister"

 after researching the story for over a year, i had the privilege of meeting and interviewing dutch resistance worker Diet eman in august 2015.

after researching the story for over a year, i had the privilege of meeting and interviewing dutch resistance worker Diet eman in august 2015.

Diet took a bobby pin and scratched the words of Jesus into the prison wall: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end.

It's not everyday a girl gets to meet a contemporary of Corrie ten Boom, or to have the distinct privilege of sharing her story with an international audience. See "The Resister" in the December 2015 issue of Christianity Today magazine, available in stores, or by online subscription. (A partial look at the feature here.)

Biggest lesson learned: never give up when the justice and love of Jesus are at stake.

In researching this story and meeting Eman, it soon became clear that God gifted her with a keen mind and a sharp wit that prepared her well to do what some would deem impossible. Indeed, I believe she wouldn't be here today without real miracles occurring as she sheltered over 60 Jews in the Netherlands, aiding up to 2,000 as a spy and worker in the Dutch Resistance.

In June of this year, Diet was scheduled to go on another missions trip to the Dominican Republic when she broke her leg. All was not lost, however. Those cheering her on were happy to know she had been honored by the reigning king of the Netherlands just days before. Such is the life—and the adventures—of Diet!

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[Sign up for my newsletter in the right column to receive my next issue on December 7, in which I'll attempt to share an audio file or two from our interview.]

Ten years have passed since I first heard the story of Holocaust Survivor and Dutch Resistance worker Diet Eman. I sat across the table from a friend who told me Diet would often drop by his office to deliver bananas. At the same time, he mentioned she was teaching him how to forgive. That same friend, John Evans, would go on to produce the documentary The Reckoning: Remembering the Dutch Resistance, featuring Eman and others.

Little did I know I would pick up her book Things We Couldn't Say years later, and that her story would become an illustration in my first church sermon on Psalm 91. A few years ago, I saw a musical reenacting her life and watched Eman take to the stage at the end, her trademark humor and wit captivating the audience. 

As I began to research her story for a book of biographies, I was wowed at the skill (read: she knows at least four languages) and the sheer daring this precious woman has displayed throughout her life.

Although she kept her story quiet for years, it was her friend Corrie Ten Boom's willingness to speak that eventually convinced Diet she must share her story. That was in the 1970s—and to tell the truth, she's still "telling of the good things God has done."

Though her health kept me from meeting her for over a year, our recent visit brimmed with laughter, dead-center honesty over what she has experienced, and how she keeps going amidst post-traumatic stress.

You won't want to miss this six-page article in December's Christianity Today that includes other recommended resources. Meanwhile, Eman first inspired me to memorize Psalm 91, the psalm of protection, after reading her book several years ago. This year she challenged me in person to memorize Psalm 27, a psalm that carried her through the horrors of prison and concentration camp stays. "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?" Diet Eman inspires a new generation to faithful discipleship. How thankful I am to tell her story, that the world might know.

I remember some of her parting words to me: "God has given us two gifts," she explained. "The first is the gift of faith. The second is the gift of humor, that we might get through the hard things." My life and faith have been forever impacted by the spunk, daring, faith, and obedience of Berendina "Diet" Eman. 

For more information on Diet's story, visit her book website at thingswecouldntsay.com. A perfect Christmas gift, written with the talented literary writer James Schaap.

Your turn: How does Diet's unusual story of courage inspire you in your walk with Christ? How might today's generation benefit from her example?

On #ReclaimingEve: “I recommend this resource for every daughter of Eve!”
— Nancy Beach, leadership coach, speaker; author, Gifted to Lead: The Art of Leading as a Woman in the Church

Reclaiming Eve Small Group DVD sample here. Includes print Bible study piece; great for fall studies! Order here.