Poetry by Kay Cude: In Trials We Are Not Alone

Poetry by Kay Cude. Used with permission. Click to enlarge. Artist’s statement below.

NOT FORSAKEN, NOT ALONE

Artist’s Statement:

Sometimes the trials we go through seem never-ending! It often appears that they are gathered together and perched atop a high place just waiting for an “exacting” moment in which to unleash themselves. Even worse, they seem to multiply in force, if not line up one-after-another like a hoard of paid hooligans determined to batter us down into hopeless and “fruitless” Christians–or worse as assassins, prepared to annihilate us completely!

As they strengthen the tactics of those “assaults,” we can be assured that God remains in control, from the start of the trial to the very end. He will not forsake us–He will grow us!! He provides the “weapons” we need to endure and overcome, as well as prepares us by the renewing of our minds through His Word! The battles are His. Trusting and relying on Him enables us to learn, endure and overcome! Trusting and relying on our “flesh” enables disastrous consequences.

When at our lowest point, that point of exhaustive weakness where we become more vulnerable to fleshly speculation, we must not permit ourselves to wonder if we are alone. We are not!! And we know this!! We will remember that our weakness is exactly where it must be; for in that weakness, our strength is Christ! Through difficulties, trials or persecution, God is present and He is working. He never abandons His beloved redeemed–He teaches and strengthens us! We must allow Him to mature us and stop employing our “fleshly” reasoning and efforts!

We will remember Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11: 9 “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for (A)power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather (B)boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore (C)I am well content with weaknesses, with [b]insults, with (D)distresses, with (E)persecutions, with (F)difficulties, (G)for Christ’s sake; for (H)when I am weak, then I am strong.”

We will remember that it is God who sovereignly allows our tempering as fine gold through the many refining fires of trials. Therefore, let us be refined into the golden metal of God’s mettle. And in our trials display the strength of character with Spirited determination that marks the mental and emotional character unique to those matured through the purposeful workings of the Holy Spirit of God in us!

YES AND AMEN!! GOD’s eternal purpose for us IN CHRIST will not be thwarted! What joyful hope and assurance we have obtained!

Exposing or ignoring the ignominious blemish in our husbands

Our pastor is going through Jonah. It’s a great series. Naturally I got interested in reading Moby Dick, the Great American Novel, by Herman Melville.

I’m to the part in Moby Dick where narrator Ishmael is signed and shipped aboard the Pequod. They are about to set off from Nantucket in search of whales for their oil, which at the time, lit the world.

The character of Ishmael, who is ‘narrating’ this whale story, waxed philosophical about a particular quality in chief mate Starbuck, namely, his courage. Ishmael spent a good while extolling it, called practical, since mere man will soon face leviathan in his own element, the rolling deeps of the great cetacean.

At this point in his introductions, Ishmael said of Starbuck,

But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck’s fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valour in the soul. Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man.

The paragraph reminded me of the verse from 1 Peter:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8).

It’s wedding season. Marriages are vowed before God and two become one. Wives, the Bible says, love your husband and submit to him. (Ephesians 5:22, Titus 2:4). Though Christians are saved and our souls have been regenerated, your man will still sin. When they do, –

that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes

Wives, are we hesitant to expose the ignominious blemish? Do we rush to our brothers, husbands, fathers, to cover it with our costliest robes? Or do we grumble about it on Facebook? Complain to our friends? Manage to get in a snark through some backhanded compliment? “After 20 years, the hubs finally bought me some roses! Way to go hon!”

The undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man is felt so keenly by the husband himself, yet the disagreeable wife sets up a neon arrow pointing to it. The agreeable wife rushes to cover with her costliest robe.

Love covers a multitude of sins. As far as possible, wives, overlook insults and injuries, and be ready to forgive him. It’s hard. Injustices and insults pile up and our natural flesh will want to rebel. (Genesis 3:16). Resist this.

love covers

It is easy to get married. It is hard to make a marriage. One difference you can make, wives, is determining which path you’ll take on behalf of your husband: rush to expose? Or rush to cover?

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. (Proverbs 10:12, KJV) – Barnes Notes says: First hides, does not expose, and then forgives and forgets all sins.

Women, what say you? Can you do it?

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Nautical Trivia

Trivia #1: In old mariner lingo an unlucky sailor is called “a Jonah”.

Trivia #2: Wikipedia says the ‘coffee chain Starbucks was named after Starbuck, not due to any affinity for coffee, but because the name “Pequod” was first rejected by one of the co-founders’.

Trivia #3: Starbuck was an important name in whaling being a prominent whaling family from Nantucket. Starbuck Island in the South Pacific is named for this family.

Trivia #4: from American Whaling:

The stench of processing whales was so strong a whale ship could be smelled over the horizon before it could be seen. Crewmen on American whaleships came from all over the globe. Their work was hard, dirty, smelly, dangerous, lonely, and poorly paid, but some still liked it better than their prospects ashore.

Why is Wonder Woman a better role model than Beth Moore?

Even though one is a supposed Christian and the other is a fictional comic strip character?

In seeking to answer that question, first, please forgive me for making a cultural comparison. I know the swells of film-going euphoria are riding high right now at the genial and solid presentation of female derring-do in the form of re-booted Wonder Woman, and apparently I can’t resist.

Anyway the short answer is that Wonder Woman is capable, teachable, and single-mindedly focused on serving humanity and doing right. Beth Moore isn’t.

yuppie

The long answer is, I grew up on the original 1975 Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. In an era of M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons, and All in the Family, it was refreshing to this teenager and her friends to be able to identify with a capable woman, unattached and unembedded in a family, out there and doing stuff. Mary Tyler Moore was the same. /cue throwing hat/. It was the era of feminism and bra burnings, after all.

That was the message we received back then. You girls can do stuff, you can be strong and feminine (blue skirt suits with bow at the neck notwithstanding), you can be accomplished, strong, and capable.

I’m not agreeing with feminism, I’m just relating the times and the cultural message I was bombarded with during my formative years.

Now it’s 40 years later, I’m a late-middle aged woman, and I’m saved by the grace of God through faith. I follow Jesus and His statutes now, not the world’s philosophies. I look forward to His kingdom. The world isn’t something I identify with any more.

According to the Bible, I’m the daughter of the King. I’m capable of doing anything within His will because I have the Holy Spirit in me. My affections are for Jesus as Groom and His ways in His strength and power, which is infinite. I’m loved, affirmed, chosen, nurtured, protected, and guided. I have an eternal home, an important job on earth, a fulfilling future, and the most solid promise in the universe: He will keep us with Him forever. That is who I am as a woman. It is very positive.

According to Beth Moore and her spiritual daughters who teach like her, their incessant message is that we women don’t need to be the emotional wrecks we are. We don’t have to be the hand-wringing ninnies we are that need a ladder to get out of our pit. We can avoid being sunk by our funk and we don’t have to keep dragging all that baggage. It sounds like a positive message, but in fact it’s very negative.

As an aside, you might notice that after relentlessly reminding us women that we’re emotional wrecks, Moore is here to provide the ladder, give us our affirmation, and help us live fully for our purpose. She has the key, and she provides the answers. In that way, she becomes our supposed savior. Have you noticed?

Anyway. I was reading a movie review Wonder Woman in The National Review,. The author of Run, Wonder Woman! The Feminists Are after You! was commenting on modern feminism. Far from the strident, aggressive, “I’m strong like a lion hear me roar” feminists I grew up hearing about 40 years ago, the philosophy has currently reduced itself to “today’s weird brand of obsessive, woe-is-me ‘feminism’ ” said the author.

This resonated.

Thanks to so many false but prominent female Bible teachers, don’t we now have a brand of obsessive, woe-is-me Christian women? False Christianity mirrors the culture, because both are from satan.

The movie review author said,

Please, for everyone’s sake, avoid buying into the idea that women are fragile creatures who need 1,000 different obsessive gender-based affirmations just to make it through life.

This resonates again.

Today’s feminist needs safe spaces to hide from the gender oppressive partiarchy. They need trigger warnings, AKA advance notice that something in a syllabus or lecture might trigger unhappy memories and hurt their feelings. They make strident demands so they can cower wimpily. They want no negative repercussions for their emotional hand-wringing. The 1960s-1970s feminist strode out to take over the world. Today’s feminist retreats from the world because some words in a lecture hurt their feelings.

As the movie review author said, today’s feminism is just “a giant, manufactured angst magnet!”

Isn’t Beth Moore a giant, manufactured angst magnet? Aren’t her studies aimed at making more giant, manufactured angst magnets? The comparison is immediately apparent. The National Review author continues:

About that, though: Even though I grew up before seeing the supposedly life-changing new Wonder Woman movie, I always believed I could pursue whatever career I wanted, as long as it wasn’t professional bowling. (Trust me. You do not want me on your bowling team.) I had both male and female role models as a child, and no one told me I had to see my exact facsimile in a job before I could pursue it. When I heard about the new Wonder Woman movie, I thought, “Hooray! It looks like a fun and well-executed summer blockbuster, rather than a giant, manufactured angst magnet!” This is because I’m a fairly normal and well-adjusted person who hasn’t yet let modern feminism melt my brain.

As a Christian women who hasn’t let feminism or its Christian-y counterpart, women’s Bible studies melt my brain, let’s take another look at Edith Bunker, Louise Jefferson, Margaret Houlihan…these 1970s TV show characters I was told not to model myself after. Is there anyone stronger than Ma Walton or Caroline Ingalls? Women who held their families together through extreme financial hardship, often during lengthy periods when the husband was off at a long-distance job?

Or Edith Bunker showing how to stay married to a difficult man? Or Margaret Houlihan, regular-army head nurse of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital who was a leader of a large number of personnel, in war?

Or Louise Jefferson, a woman who raised her son and worked alongside her husband so hard that the two of them “made it”, as black people penetrating the racial layer of the upper crust of NY City’s East Side and settling into financial security and professional recognition?

None of those women needed a safe space. None of them were “in a pit” loaded down with “insecurity”. They were too busy getting on with things.

I know these women on TV and movies are just fictional representations. But they’re messages too, and our girls absorb them whether we want them to or not.

I’ll repeat to us Christian women what the author of the Wonder Woman review had said in her essay, just to a different audience. “Please, Sisters, for everyone’s sake, avoid buying into the idea that women are fragile creatures who need 1,000 different obsessive gender-based affirmations just to make it through life.”

Any woman who has been married for any length of time knows how hard it is. Any woman who has become a mother knows how hard it is. Anyone who has to keep a home and work outside the home knows how hard it is. Anyone who’s single and struggling to make ends meet alone knows how hard it is. We don’t need any version of Feminism to buck us up nor any wimpy women’s Bible study to buck us up either.

Jesus is our All in All. He gives us the wisdom, strength, provision, and the everlasting Word to rely upon. We don’t need the world’s messages to lead us like wounded deer from safe spaces to peer at the big bad world through our insecurities and baggage. I’m not in a pit, Jesus already went to the abyss. I’m not weighed down by baggage, He already carried our sins to the cross and threw them as far as the east is from the west.

I’m tired of the feminist message, be it the 1970s version or today’s. I’m also tired of these ‘Bible’ teachers perpetuating the lies that mirror the feminists’. Sisters, all we need to do is focus on Jesus of the Word, and the rest falls into place. Whether you’re taking a Bible study or whether you’re simply reading the Bible, the simple truth is that we are who we are: sinners, saved by grace and forever cherished with the power to slay sin, resist the devil, and serve the Most high with honor and dignity. That’s a Wonder Woman

The takeaways:

1. The false teachers will always mirror the world, because they are of the world. It takes discernment to parse where and how.

2. Worldly philosophies change. The racism of today is not the racism of the 1960s which is not the racism of the 1920s. Feminism has already undergone three waves, and some would argue we are in or about to start the fourth. The false teachers’ messages morph also.

3. Feminism is counter to Biblical Womanhood.

4. Beth Moore is a false teacher.

Back when I was first began researching Moore and her teaching methods five years ago, it was extremely hard to find anything comparing Moore to scripture and less so to find a piece pronouncing Moore as anything but wonderful. In 2013 an excellent analysis of Moore appeared on a blog called The King’s Dale. It was the first discerning piece I’d read about Moore. I was so relieved. Here it is.

Beth Moore – False Teacher

Movie Review: Autistic Driving School

I published this on The Quiet Life, my personal blog, earlier. But with so much negative news out there, such ugly discernment fighting, so much false teaching, dispiriting politics, and just general hate, I thought a breath of fresh air was needed, and I’d post this here too. Because it’s positive, inspiring, and heartfelt.

Autistic Driving School is a 2010 one-hour documentary on Netflix (and perhaps other places too) highlighting Julia Malkin’s founding of a UK driving school that caters to teaching autistic people how to drive. Malkin is autistic herself.

With a driving license comes freedom, something most people want. For autistic teens and young adults however, the challenges of learning to drive safely can seem insurmountable, especially if receiving an instructor with no knowledge of how to teach to their special needs. As was stated in the movie, Autistic people are literal, so there’s no saying ‘take the next left’ because they’re likely to wind up in someone’s garden. Some autistic people do not take instruction or correction well. While some can become excessively distracted, following anything and everything that interests them like a rabbit, others hardly notice anything around them, both of which are a problem when driving. The possibility of becoming overwhelmed and having a meltdown while driving is real. And more.

In comes Julia Malkin.

A woman with autism herself, Julia suffered through years of bullying in school, attempted suicide twice, one at age 16 and another at age 18, suffered through a nervous breakdown at 18, and lived as an adult by subsisting on dead end jobs…until….

Her diagnosis at age 40.

Since then, following her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, Julia started up Excel Driver and Instructor Academy, which expanded rapidly and now helps people with autism learn to drive, provides education support and offers counselling, is still the only one of its kind in the UK.

She has achieved highest honors for her profession as the safest driver in England, earning an OBE, which is “The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry; rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the Civil Service.”

According to the information given at the link, Julia attained four degrees in six years at two separate universities between 2008 and 2015 and became a Doctor of Philosophy, and founded another course of training to train Driving Instructors to teach autistic clients. The UK National Autistic Society shortlisted her as one of three finalists for the National Autistic Society’s award for outstanding achievement by a professional with an autism spectrum disorder.

Wow.

If you listen to Julia on the documentary it’s obvious she is brilliant. She is articulate, passionate, and her powers of observation are astounding. At one point during the movie, she’d been asked to speak out loud what goes through her mind as she drives down the road…her observations of her surroundings combined with lightning fast sifting of that information was remarkable.

The documentary wasn’t about Julia directly though. With sensitivity and compassion, several youths were featured in their process of the two-pronged driving training they must go through to attain a license. There is the book test and the on the road test. Several candidates were followed. Each student spoke of the special challenges unique to autistic drivers, according to the student him or herself, or according to their parents. One young main has set a goal for himself to become a Military Transport driver, so of course passing his first license test was important. But a wrinkle to his story is that his doctor had recommended taking a certain prescription medication for his OCD, but if one is on or has ever taken such a drug, it would immediately disqualify him for ever entering the military in the UK. He had a dilemma. He decided to forego the medication, but the result was he’d have to work even harder to manage his condition while he was on the road.

A 22 year old mother had earned her licence a few years prior, but had lost her nerve to drive. Another, a set of twins, create crafts and wanted to found a business of traveling town to town to fairs and such, selling them.

They all wanted freedom and independence that a driving license would provide.

I found the documentary instructive and interesting. It was produced and edited in such a way that you pull for the students and cheer the inspiring story of Julia. With so little attention paid to adults with Autism, and with so few generally inspiring stories around, this was a documentary I’d recommend as a DON’T MISS!

This is part of the documentary, ‘Autistic Driving School’ which was broadcast on BBC3. It tells the story of Julia Malkin, the most qualified driving instructor in the UK. It shows her battle with autism and her mission of inclusion in education both inside and outside the driver training industry.