“Seen, Known, and Loved”
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Hello and welcome to the Safe to Hope podcast. My name is Ann Maree and I’m the Executive Director for HelpHer and the host of this podcast. On the Safe to Hope: Hope Renewed in Light of Eternity podcast, we help women tell their story with an eye for God’s redemptive purposes. All suffering is loss, but God leaves nothing unused in His plans. We want to help women see His redemptive thread throughout their circumstances and then look for opportunities to join with God in His transformational work.

Ann Maree
I’m excited for you to share this gift that you gave to your daughters.

This is just something I wrote for my girls one morning and I titled it you are seeing known and loved.

Ann Maree
I’m excited for you to share this gift that you gave to your daughters.

This is just something I wrote for my girls one morning and I titled it you are seeing known and loved.

Oh, girls, as you know, life is hard.  Sometimes overwhelmingly so.  The faithfulness of God and His care for us is easy to question even on our best days, let alone the days when the world is literally crashing in around us.  The pain is real; the weight is heavy; the fear is palpable, but this morning I was reminded that in spite of those realities, I stand in a long line of cherished and loved women of God….here are just a few that God laid on my heart.

Hagar…Genesis 21…powerless to decide her future and completely at the mercy of a master that had taken advantage of her in the most damaging of ways.  And now the life of her only child hung in the balance. She had no resources, no friends with influence, no ability to protect herself or the child she loved. So God met her when she was completely resigned to defeat.  In fact, God heard the cry of her little boy and moved on their behalf.  He provided for her child when she could not.  He saw her fear and defeat and powerlessness and protected her and the people she valued most.

Tamar…..Genesis 38…..at the mercy of men who would not follow through with their promises, she found herself doing things she would never have imagined.  Posing as a harlot, manipulating situations to save her life, trying to preserve a shred of self-respect.  It was not pretty and she was not without fault, and yet, she was blessed with twin boys who would become part of the lineage of the One.  She is one of only a handful of women named in Matthew 1 as part of our Jesus’ family tree.  She was misused and abandoned, but God saw her desperation and centuries later I know her name and see her part in a sovereign God’s perfect plan.

Abigail….I Samuel 25….she had spent her life making up for the foolish decisions of her husband.  He was “harsh and evil” and now he had insulted David and his men deeply and her entire household was at risk because of it.  The servants came to her because they knew she was both beautiful and intelligent….if anyone could help them, it would have to be her.  So she became the protector, the intermediary between her family and a powerful king-to-be.  She spoke words of truth but with grace; she risked her own well being to intercede for her family; she even took the blame for her husband’s folly.  I can understand the weight that she carried as she desperately tried to protect those she loved.  And God moved on her behalf.  Her courage to speak truth saved them…..and even more, God moved her into David’s household.  She no longer had to stand in the gap between those she loved and the evil man she was married to….the protector became the protected.  She opted for a life of righteousness, with no guarantee of the outcome, and God blessed her faith in ways she could not have imagined.

Mary, Jesus’ mother….Luke 1 and 2….she was so, so young.  So many plans and dreams ahead….to be married, to have a family.  Suddenly life became more complicated than she could have imagined.  She had not sinned; she knew that she was innocent, and yet, she was pregnant and her fiancé was ready to walk away from the whole big mess. From our perspective, we can see the amazing privilege of being the mama to the Messiah…but did she fully understand that?  Or did she just know that she was with child without having been with the man she loved and was now bearing a stigma that in some measure would follow her for the rest of her life.  Her faith was strong, but I have to think that there were moments of great pain and maybe even doubt. Why had God allowed such an incredibly good thing to come about at such a high cost to her?  Had she missed something? Done something wrong?  Why did she have to bear the consequences of a plan she had not set in motion? God met her in that beautiful, awful moment.  He gave her a safe place to go…gave her extended family that knew and believed that God was at work in her life….allowed her to graciously know the love and confidence of Joseph once again……and gave her the grace to see beyond that immediate moment to what God was working out in her story for generations to come.  And she was right… “from that time on all generations will count me blessed.”  He gave her an unprecedented and unrepeatable blessing in the midst of such a high cost.

Mary Magdalene….Luke 8 and John 20….her life had been so hard; miserable, actually.  We know so little about her, but I can’t help but think that her story fascinated the physician Luke.  How could someone consumed with dark spirits become part of Jesus’ inner circle of ministry?  How could she, who surely had been taken advantage of by men over the years become so restored that she followed a man and His disciples around the wilderness? And how much did He trust and affirm her character by speaking to her first after the resurrection?  Not Peter, not John, not the religious leaders, but a woman escaping a life of demon possession. She had been broken, caught in a web of darkness and pain she could not escape, but Jesus had met her and put her back together.  Her simple, but confident, confession to the disciples in John 20 … “I have seen the Lord” reflects so much of the healing that had taken place because of Jesus’ tender care.  He knew, better than anyone, who He had created her to be and would not relent in His empowering grace for the good works set aside for her to do.

The woman with the issue of blood…..Mark 5….we don’t even know her name.  That is how invisible she was to the community around her.  Even to the disciples who witnessed her healing….she was nameless.  She too, like Mary, had suffered long.  She had trusted people who were supposed to help and they had made it worse.  She had spent all she had…..she was at the end of her rope, without resources, without a way forward.  She was unclean and saw herself as not worthy….it had been years since she had been allowed to worship with her people or even be touched by another human.  And so in desperation, she reached for just His robe.  She didn’t dare believe that He would stop….if she could just hang on to the threads long enough to find relief.  But He knew.  He knew her desperation and loneliness and when she had no where left to go, He healed her body.  And more than that, in front of so many that had rejected her, He commended her faith and healed her soul. I cannot imagine her relief, her joy, her trust in the One who had done for her what no one else could do.

I see and hear parts of my story in these women’s lives and maybe you do too.  The pain was real; the scars would last; and in many ways they would never be the same.  But yet, they are living proof that even when life is the darkest, God is at work.  Sometimes quietly, sometimes miraculously, sometimes through years of heartache, sometimes through seasons of  joy.  We can know and walk confidently in the truth that the “darkness is not dark to Him” (Ps 139: 12).  When we cannot see the way forward and feel unsure of our next step….when we feel inadequate for the good works He created us to do……when the pain of this broken world presses in on our souls and our lives….There is Hope.  He is present, He is able, and He takes no greater joy than to walk alongside us and heal our hearts.  He has been faithful.  He has been good.  Women throughout the centuries bear witness of this truth and so do I.  Live with Hope today.

Safe to Hope is a production of HelpHer. Our Executive Producer is Ann Maree Goudzwaard. Safe to Hope is written and mixed by Ann Maree and edited by Ann Maree and Helen Weigt. Music is Waterfall and is licensed by Pixabay. We hope you enjoyed this episode in the Safe To Hope podcast series.

Safe To Hope is one of the resources offered through the ministry of HelpHer, a 501C3 that provides training, resources, and the people necessary in order for the church to shepherd women well. Your donations make it possible for HelpHer to serve women and churches as they navigate crises. All donations are tax-deductible. If you’d be interested in partnering with this ministry, go to help her resources.com and click the donate link in the menu. If you’d like more information or would like to speak to someone about ministry goals, or advocacy needs, go to help her resources.com That’s help her resources.com

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