Another summer is well under way and as usual, my kids and I sat down with a handmade calendar and pencil and began to brainstorm fun activities. In the summer, a lot of moms choose to be very intentional about how much time is spent inside the walls of their home. Maybe it’s because we’re awesome, creative moms. Or, maybe it’s because we recognize the fact that too much time spent in close proximity with all of our people will eventually have us catching a black eye trying to referee fights.
Either way. It’s summer, so off we go to VBS, library story time, parks, splash pads, zoos, ice cream parlors and whatever else makes it onto the summer fun calendar.
All of this just got me thinking.
What if we got together as moms and made summer fun calendars. Can you just imagine? We would be eating sushi rolls in our pajamas and sipping wine from mason jars with maybe Ed Sheeran, Dave Matthews, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Frank Sinatra, or Metallica playing in the background. Take your pick. (For your entertainment I have included the link to Scar Tissue, my personal fave.) We could have book clubs and bunco. I picture online shopping sprees, or we could even scrapbook the billion unorganized pictures we have shoved in a drawer. Bowls of our favorite candy would be within arm’s reach as well as the remote to binge watch Gilmore Girls or Prison Break.
Y’all. The possibilities are endless!
Back to reality. Seeing how those things will more than likely not happen, I wanted to at least set a goal for myself this summer to read a single book of choice. I was on the hunt for a book that would challenge and teach me. While flipping through a magazine I came across the book, My Brother’s Keeper by Rod Gragg. This particular book includes chapter after chapter of Christians who were willing to lay down their lives to protect Jews during the Holocaust.
It caught my attention for some reason so I checked out the local library to see if it was available. It wasn’t for about a month so I decided I would wait. Typically, once I get my mind set on something, I’m going to do it. After checking in a couple of times and it still not being available, I was tempted to stalk to the person who had it and call them to let them know it was my turn, but I refrained. Patience is a virtue or something.
I got the book and dove right in. I read it by my mom’s pool while listening to my kids swim. I read it at the baseball game during date night. I read it before bed. I read it whenever I had a few spare minutes because I couldn’t get enough of these faith stories. I was hoping for a book that would spur me to strengthen my faith and teach me and for heaven’s sake, this book was exceeding all expectations.
I learned about Hitler and his rise to power. I learned geography of which I unwillingly admit I had previously been clueless. I learned about hate in ways I could never have fathomed. Stories of torture, brutality, murder, and evil. But I also read stories of hope, courage, willingness, faith, selflessness, and obedience. Oh my gosh. I was blown away by the narratives of men, women, and families who chose to believe that “if you believe something is right, you have to be able to accept the consequences of it.” * There were countless stories of people who lived their lives right up until their own executions. These saints chose to stand strong in what they believed was right and take action against what they knew to be wrong.
I have also recently began a journey of reading through the bible again. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say that this will be my third time reading through it. In Christ I boast about that for sure, because Lord knows I would have dipped out after Cain and Abel if it were up to me.
I will continue to read the bible repeatedly until my granny eyes refuse to let me. My goal is to have a read through, prayed over, written in, and loved on bible to pass down to each of my kids.
As I started Exodus this morning, I read a story of two women who reminded me of the Holocaust heroes. Let me tell you, no matter how many times you have read the bible or heard the same stories, God’s word is truly alive and if you are attentive, he will speak to you every time. The story of Pharaoh killing all of the newborn Israelite males is one I remember hearing from a young age. This is the story that leads into Moses being placed in a basket and sent down the Nile only to be found and rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter.
The two women I read about this morning had me stuck for a while meditating on their faith story. The story takes up a mere six verses toward the end of Exodus chapter 1. Shiphrah and Puah were midwives. It is unknown whether the women were Egyptian midwives who helped Hebrew women or if they were Hebrew midwives. Whatever the case, we are confident that these women feared God more than they feared Pharaoh.
In verse 15, Pharaoh gave these two women an assignment. For each birth they attended, they were ordered to kill the boys and allow the girls to live. Verse 17 rocked me. “But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.” Pharaoh finds out and questions the women. They boldly respond that the Hebrew women have their babies too quickly and they just could not ever make it on time.
The women displayed audacious faith. They took a stand for what they knew was right but more than that, they took action against what they knew was wrong. Their courage was unbelievable. Their voice was loud. Their willingness to do what was right even if it produced great consequence proved beyond commendable. Surely if Pharaoh had found out the truth, these two midwives would most likely have lost their lives.
Their faith was not unseen by the very God whom they so lovingly feared. Exodus 1, verse 20 and 21 say, “So God was good to the midwives…and because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” (NLT)
What a mighty God we serve. No act of faith goes unnoticed my friends. No willingness to stand up for what is right in protecting God’s people will ever go without blessing.
God is doing a new thing in my life.
It is undeniable that he is calling me to a new faith. A faith that has no fear of what will happen when my obedience is risky and dangerous. I believe this is a time for faith revival. It is a time when each of us should ask ourselves how willing we are to take a loud stand for what is right. Are we willing to receive the consequences or persecution from others for our action against evil?
It is my hope that we would surround ourselves with those whose faith stories compel us to strengthen our own. Pursue stories that capture the breathtaking riskiness of those who have gone before us and left a legacy of undeniable faith. Through his spirit, may the God of our fearless ancestors produce in us the same type of faith.
May the spirit of God breathe into us breath that is unashamed of The Gospel at all cost.
GRAGG, ROD. MY BROTHER’S KEEPER: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust. S.l.: CENTER ST, 2017. Print.