To all Women on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are polarizing events.  They focus a spotlight on our intimate relationships;  for some women this is a joyful experience, and for others it is painful.  With this in mind, I hope to cautiously encourage all women as we approach Mother’s Day :-).

From what I have observed in my own life, and in the lives of women I serve and know, it seems that we women tend to tie our identity to relationships.  If we have a husband and children who are “successful” we bask in the glow of other’s admiration and derive our self-esteem from their achievements.  If we are married to someone who doesn’t “measure up” to our ideals or the ideals of our parents, our friends, or our church community, if our children aren’t as smart or outgoing or athletic or dedicated in their faith as we would like, we can go down the opposite path – trying to “get everyone to behave” for the sake of our own image and reputation.

The absence of relationships if we don’t have a husband or don’t have children, can also can make our quest for identity convoluted and rocky.

Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, I believe the need for caution is the same for all women.  We are always tempted to define ourselves by our relationships with other people rather than by our relationship with God.

A variety of circumstances sprinkled throughout my years of marriage and life with kids have made me personally aware of this tendency.  In His grace, God has continually reminded and convicted me that I will only walk truly in line with Him and in harmony with others when my identity is derived from Him.

When I am reminded of who God says I am and what He requires of me, I can enjoy and cheer on friends and family who are doing well, pray for and support those who are struggling, and allow room for people to grow truly in God’s image and grace in His time and through His purposes rather than falsely in response to my self-serving expectations.

Keeping my eyes on Him teaches me to ask, “What are you requiring of me, God, in this time and place?  What do you want me to learn, where do you want me to serve? How can I bring honor and glory to You today?”  This attitude enhances my ability to love and care for those around me while keeping my relationship with God at the center of my vision.

So this Mother’s Day, my encouragement is the same for all women in all circumstances: if you have a great marriage and supportive kids, or if you have a difficult marriage, aren’t married or don’t have children, thank God that your worth is defined by your relationship with Him and ask Him to teach you to love Him and serve Him better.

If you struggle in this area, and want to figure it out come talk to me or Thaleia; that’s what we’re here for.

My prayers are with you this Mother’s Day.

Kristal Toews
Pastor of Women

Anniversaries and Generations

PortraitMarch 12th was my Grandpa’s birthday. On April 11, 2014 it will be 13 years since both my grandfathers passed away suddenly and without warning, within 2 hours of each other. Seven months before that we had buried my grandmother. The milestones of that year stick in my mind.

I have been thinking about these special people a lot lately as the anniversary approaches and as I watch Northview families walk through grief. In my personal bible reading I am slowly praying through the Psalms, and was reminded of my grandparents again today as I read:

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.  Psalm 71:17-18

As I reflected on these words this morning I thanked God that He has taught me from my youth, and that He gave me grandparents who proclaimed His might to another generation.  None of them were particularly “hip”. They weren’t computer savvy (my grandma spoke with amazement about how we could purchase airplane tickets through the “intercom” :-)), they never learned to email and weren’t “up” on many of our day-to-day realities – the movies or TV shows we were watching or the books we were reading – BUT they were used mightily by God in our lives to proclaim His might. If you attend any class I’m teaching you will likely hear me reference their stories of faith and legacy.

Thinking of them makes me wonder if our generation is carrying on their tradition. In the past few weeks I have heard many times, from many sources, that women and men in my generation and older are shying away from connection with younger people. They feel a bit intimidated, as if they aren’t cool enough. They wonder if they are relevant, or if they have anything to offer. One of my friends spoke with the women’s ministry leader from her previous church who initiated a mentorship program;  20 women signed up – 19 of them were young women wanting to be mentored, and only one woman over the age of 50 volunteered.  Why is that?

With this question in mind, the purpose of this short blog post is to encourage those of you who may be my age (yes I’m 43 :-)) and older to consider the part that God has given you to play in the lives of those in other generations. At Northview Women events and studies there are several older women who participate, but there is always room for more.  Seeing tables of 8-10 people filled representatives from all generations is priceless; each of us has something to offer, whether its advice, time, a listening ear, or stories of God’s goodness and grace in the midst of everyday life.

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.  Psalm 71:17-18

Blessings on you today,

Kristal Toews
Pastor of Women

A Ministry Opportunity

Hello Everyone!

I want to let you know about a great volunteer opportunity coming up that might be for you or someone you know! Are you an experienced aesthetician? Would you like to donate your time and services to bless others?

Imagine Spa is a ministry to mothers of children with special needs who rarely get a chance to rest and be pampered. At Imagine Spa the moms are invited to come to the church for professional spa treatments, as well as a gourmet dinner, and a chance to meet other moms.

The Spa is currently looking for a volunteer to coordinate aestheticians, and help with set up and planning. If you love to use your skills in in this area to bless others, please contact us at women@northview.org for more info!

Merry Christmas from Snowy Northview! Interpreting Scripture, Women’s Weekend and more!

Merry Christmas from Snowy Northview!

It’s the last day before Christmas Holidays! Woo Hoo!

I thought I would take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas, trusting that God will meet with you as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Some updates from Northview Women are linked below:

Our latest blog post:
Can the Average Christian understand the message of scripture and interpret it well?

Our latest “Bonus” podcast:
“New Years Resolutions” – will be posted here soon.
We were joined by Ezra Okoti.  He answered the question, “How did you get here from Africa?”

Northview Women’s Weekend: January 31 to Feb 2, 2014
Join us at Stillwood Camp from January 31 – Feb 2nd.
Bring your daughter, niece, mom or friend! (ages 13 & up)
Promo video coming soon!

Register On Line: Here
Schedule and Information: Here

Monday Night Bible Study: An Overview of the Bible
Begins January 13, 2014
Register On Line: Here

MOM’s
Begins January 14, 2014
Register On Line: Here

Wednesday Morning Bible Study:  4 options to choose from
Begins January 15, 2014
Register On Line: Here

Merry Christmas!

Kristal Toews
Pastor of Women

Christmas: A Solution for Rebellion

We all have different tactics for dealing with rebellious, angry people.  Some of us try desperately to change people’s behaviours and thoughts, and others pray desperately for God to do this.  What should be our approach?  I’ll explore both below:

Option #1 – Our efforts:

After 12 years of leading the Israelites, Nehemiah was at his wit’s end.  Witnessing their disobedience, he admitted, “I rebuked them and called curses down on them.  I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair.  I made them take an oath in God’s name…” (Nehemiah 13:25)  Ouch! He was mad!

Nehemiah had invested years attempting to reform the Israelites.  He travelled to Jerusalem to help them rebuild the city walls, and fend off attackers.  He lead them in a ceremony of confession and restoration of their vows before God and, after all this was completed, returned to his job in Susa.  When he came back for a visit, he found that all the reforms he instituted had fallen apart;  the temple was neglected, the sabbath was being desecrated, people were intermarrying with foreigners and he was beside himself with frustration. Despite his best efforts, he simply could not “make them” behave because their hearts were not inclined towards obedience.

Option #2 – God’s efforts

Throughout the entire Old Testament, we read of God’s faithfulness and human fickleness.  Time after time, people pledge their allegiance to God and then fall.  Eventually, God unveils His solution to our disobedience.  Ezekiel 36 records this promise:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

“You can’t and won’t obey”, He says, “So I will help you.”

Which option sounds better to you? If we expend our time and energy trying to change people’s thoughts, actions and behaviours we will end up frustrated like Nehemiah.  If, however, we recognize that God needs to give people a new heart and new spirit before they can obey, our effort will be spent in prayer instead.

Why am I telling you this now?  Because its Christmas time and Jesus came to make these changes possible. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus instituted a “new covenant” between God and man;  a new relationship through which God’s law could be in our minds and written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and through which we could receive the Holy Spirit.

This Christmas, thank Jesus for coming to give you a new heart and a new spirit. If friends and family members are still rebelling against Him, don’t pull out their hair (!! :-)) but pray for them;  they need a new heart too and only God can provide it.

Blessings on You

Kristal Toews

Pastor of Women

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Want some more input and ideas this Christmas?

The Christmas Praise Night at Northview is tonight at 7:00 pm.

Come out for the Christmas Home Tour this Sunday from 1-6 pm.

Check out Rhonda Fast’s blog – a woman from our congregation who is also thinking and reflecting on Christmas.

This week’s podcast on “Christmas Angst” was recorded yesterday and will be posted soon. Check back to this page to find it!

 

 

 

Updates & Opportunities

Hello everyone, here’s some updates on Women’s Ministries, and some opportunities to get involved,

New Podcast with Kristal, Thaleia and Brandie

Kristal, Thaleia and Brandie have started a bi-weekly podcast! You can listen to the first episode here.

Christmas Home Tour

The Women’s Christmas Home Tour is on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Participants pay $10 each to tour through beautifully decorated homes between 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. All funds raised will be donated to Your Pregnancy Options. Your Pregnancy Options provides tangible support to people in the community facing an unplanned pregnancy. They provide free pregnancy tests, peer counselling, community referrals and supplies to support youth, women, and men.

The Christmas Home Tour team is currently searching for people who are willing to put their homes on the tour. If you would be open to allowing others  a glimpse of how you prepare for Christmas, or if you have a unique idea on how to present the gospel message in your home at Christmas,  contact Anita Geertsma at christmashometour@northview. org.

Women’s Missions Trips 2014

Northview is sending a team to Odisha, India from February 7-23, 2014.

The team will have the opportunity to fellowship with believers in the Indian cultural context, connect with local ministries in prayer and encouragement, and serve alongside local ministry leaders in ministry events including a Women’s ministry conference.

Women from all skill sets and backgrounds are welcome and needed!

For more information, email women@northview.org

Northview Women is also sending a team to Mexico in the Spring of 2014. Doreen Schellenberg leads women on short term (10 day) trips to Mexico every Spring. The trip will include leading kids’ programs at an orphanage, ministry to single moms, crafts and painting, sewing and doing outreach projects in the community.

Contact: Doreen Schellenberg, women-missionstrip@northview.org

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is an orphanage in Uganda that Barb Giraud raised funds to build by selling banana bread. One loaf for one brick! Visit Barb’s blog for more information about the ministry.
Now Barb is looking for some donations to help furnish the home.
 Below is a list of the items that they could use.
 – large area rugs
- coffee tables (2)
- bedside tables
- living room set

If you would like to donate, email Barb at jaajabarbshomeofangels@gmail.com

Northview Women’s Weekend

The Northview Women’s Weekend is coming up from Jan 31-Feb 2 at Stillwood! Mark your calendars, registration will be available soon!
We’d love to hear from you, feel free to email us at women@northview.org :)