Author Archives: marilynnchadwick

Woman of Valor: A Fierce Fighter

I still marvel when I think back to the beautiful young mother I once met in a tiny country in a forgotten corner of the world. She was a survivor of the horrific genocide in Burundi that had exploded alongside Rwanda’s frenzy of killings.

I’d been invited to teach a group of women—church leaders and pastors’ wives—on prayer. All had survived war and poverty and were trying to help rebuild their country. They were no strangers to prayer.  Several told stirring accounts of God’s miraculous power during times of great danger.

Finally, the young mother hesitantly rose to her feet and began to tell her story. She had eight children and lived in the countryside. One day she was gathering vegetables when a worker rushed to tell her that her two-year-old son had suddenly fallen ill and died.

“Desperate and afraid, I remembered the story of how Elijah had prayed for the widow’s little boy who died,” she said. “The boy finally came back to life.” So I cried out to God, “You did it for Elijah—do it for me!” She prayed and prayed. “Finally,” she said quietly, “I could not look at my son any longer, so I went outside.” She paused—faltering for words.

By this point, I’m thinking of how to comfort her. But I was not prepared for what happened next.

“I went back inside,” she continued slowly. “But this time, when I put my hands on my little boy’s lifeless body and began to pray, he suddenly coughed and sputtered and sat up—he was alive!” A hush fell over the room. I was face-to-face with an ordinary mother who lived oceans away from me. But I knew I was in the presence of a warrior—a woman of valor.

Maybe you’re thinking, Perhaps her little boy wasn’t really dead. Or, Why God didn’t heal my sick child? A story like this raises many questions for which I don’t have answers. But I do know this: God cares for his children all over the world. And in a place like Burundi—where they have tasted death up close and where doctors are nearly nonexistent—believers experience a dimension of God’s grace I seldom see in my safe, suburban world. I’ve heard similar stories firsthand from war refugees in the Middle East and slum dwellers in India.

Such women remind me that faith is a fierce fight. A far cry from the woman in my corner of the world who once said to me: “Oh, I prayed hard a couple of times for something I really wanted and it didn’t happen. Guess I won’t ever try that again.”

I walked away from my encounter with the young mother from Burundi in awe, but also challenged. I realize God doesn’t always heal or deliver or raise someone from the dead. But I was inspired by the way she fought for the life of her child. She was courageous. Persistent.  And she encouraged me to keep on fighting the fight of faith, even when things look desperate—and never to be too quick to give up on God.

Adapted from:  Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).

 


What is a Woman of Valor?

Who can find a woman of valor? (Proverbs 31:10 Orthodox Jewish Bible)

I believe most women, deep down inside, long to be world-changers. Most of us can point to strong women who shaped our life and left their imprint on our character, our hopes, and our dreams.

The Bible has a beautiful term to describe this kind of woman. She’s called a “woman of valor.”  She is a nurturer. But she’s also a warrior. A “fighter” at heart. She fights not only for her personal world and those she loves, but also for the world around her.  I was surprised to learn that in Hebrew, the famed Proverbs 31 “virtuous woman” is better translated “woman of valor” I quickly became captivated by this strong depiction of biblical womanhood.

That’s why I wrote Woman of Valor.  I just had to tell the stories of strong and courageous women I’ve met in nearly forty years of marriage, mothering, and ministry. There’s  Anya (not her real name) who was raised as a member of the untouchable caste in India. Anya was set free by the life giving news of the gospel.  She eventually went to college and even earned her PhD.  Anya now works with Mission India bringing hope to other women. Or Barbara, who started a vibrant church in the very neighborhood where her husband had been killed in a drive-by shooting.

My African friends truly understand the woman of valor. They have a beautiful way of referring to all women as “mothers” whether they have children or not—married or single. They believe mothers can change the world. Thus, they believe “to educate a girl is to educate a nation.”

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share stories and teachings from the newly released Woman of Valor.  I’ll introduce you to some of my heroes. What are their secrets of strength and stories of joy? How are they making a difference in their homes, communities, and world?

Women today are losing wars we should be winning. Families are hurting. Children lack direction. Marriages have a 50% fail rate. Communities grow more fragile by the day. Our culture groans. Who is this woman of valor and what can we learn from her? Surely we’ve never needed her more than now.


“Trust Me” -God

Trust.  It’s hard to earn and easy to lose. Who do you consider to be truly trustworthy? In our fast-paced world, dominated by social media, it’s easy to create a friendly facade.  How much harder to maintain trust.

The Bible talks a lot about trusting God.  Our relationship with Him is based on trust.  So if we struggle with trust, we probably struggle with God.  That’s nothing new.  People have struggled with trusting God since those fateful days in Eden.

I remember several years ago when I had one of those “mother moments.”  It all boiled down to this: I was having a hard time trusting God with one of my children.  Ever been there?  I was letting my imagination run wild with “what if'” scenarios.  I carried the anxiety to bed with me.  I was still worrying in my sleep, when an audible voice whispered these words: “I can be trusted.”  First person, singular.  “Who was THAT?” I wondered, now half-awake. Continue reading


Endure with Joy

I’ve long been inspired by the vibrant faith of believers in China’s underground church. No one is sure, but some think there may be over 60 million believers in these secret house churches. Astounding when you consider all the forces over the years that have tried to stamp out the Gospel in China!

Chinese believers are known for their steadfast and joyful faith in the face of intense persecution. A man who had just returned from visiting members of an underground church was asked how the believers were able to cope with the continued trials.

“These brothers and sisters know this is not the end of the story,” he explained.  “They EXPECT God’s glory to come at the end of their trial.  They believe the trial will end. And they expect to be victorious.”

Are you wrestling with a tough problem? Maybe it feels like your trial will never end. Perhaps we don’t suffer the same kind of intense persecution as Chinese believers, but we fight the same devil. James urges us to “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).

Peter also challenges us to join the “resistance:” Resist him [the devil], standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8).

We can draw strength from the example of Chinese believers. They remind us that our trial “is not the end of the story.” They inspire us to “expect God’s glory.”

We strengthen our own faith when we encourage each other to stand “firm in the faith.” Joy in our journey comes as we team up with other believers.

The Christian life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.  So daily, let’s ask the Lord to help us find joy while we endure!


Worry Robs Our Rest

Don’t worry about anything.  Instead, pray about everything…(Philippians 4:6 NLT).

Do you have a problem with worry? Maybe you’re exhausted from worrying about everything from your family to the elections, to the economy, to the condition of the world.  But here’s some good news:  The Lord has given us a secret weapon to use against anxiety. He tells us we can overcome worry through prayer.

Now, I happen to be a world class worrier. I didn’t have to learn how to worry. It just came naturally as a by-product of an overactive imagination, a curious mind, and a relentless memory. Marriage and a family only brought more responsibility, and therefore more things to worry about.  I agree with my friend who defines worry with the acronym: W.O.R.R.Y:  Worry-Only-Robs-Rest-from-You. It’s true. Worry is exhausting.

 So as one who is prone to worry, I’m inspired by Paul’s letter to some persecuted Christians in the town of Philippi. They were always in danger of getting killed, and therefore had lots to worry about. “Don’t worry about anything,” he encouraged them. “Instead, pray about everything.”

I’m struck by that word instead. Paul didn’t just say to stop worrying. He said, instead of worrying, to pray.  He tells us to redirect all that furious, anxious energy into prayer.  To make worry work for us instead of against us!

I get that concept.  It sounds a little like a trick I learned back in high school when I took karate in between sports seasons. I was taught to use the enemy’s energy against him. A violent attack could be redirected to incapacitate my attacker.  The Bible reminds us that daily, we are in a spiritual battle.  So, in a similar way, prayer is one way to use the devil’s energy against him.

When we use all the energy (that we are not using for worry) on prayer,  we can begin to experience gratitude and peace, instead of anxiety.  Paul puts it this way: “Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Then, “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT).

Reminder: When you are tempted to worry, try redirecting all that energy into prayer!

(Adapted from Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning How to Hear the Voice of God,  By Marilynn Chadwick, Howard Books, 2012).