Friday, December 16, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas, Day 4

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved
writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson,
Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as
each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during
this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form}
and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450
value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only
open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit and
see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities
that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider
purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one
of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.


Where is Comfort and Joy Found?
By Sandy Ralya

The year 2006 ushered unwelcome emotions into my life. My husband was
unhappy in his job, two of my grown children were making poor choices, my
mother-in-law was showing signs of Alzheimer’s, extended-family issues were
surfacing, and I was writing a book. Things only got worse. Much worse.

Early in 2007, I was asked to represent the mentoring ministry for wives I
founded, Beautiful Womanhood, and lead a women’s conference in Uganda,
Africa. My husband wasn’t sure if traveling to Africa was a good idea, so
we committed it to prayer. While we were listening for an answer, I sensed
God asking me to fast from spending, except for groceries, for thirty days.
Sometimes you know that you’ve heard God’s voice because you’d never
have come up with those words on your own. This was one of those times.
I’d never heard of a fast from spending. Tom needed no convincing that a fast
from spending came directly from the mouth of God. He still gets excited just
thinking about it!

During the fast, it became clear I had used spending as a way to gain a comfort

fix. When I was spending money, I felt carefree and lighthearted. Instead of
dwelling on the unpleasantness in my life, I was thinking of my purchases and
how they would bring me pleasure. Not until I stopped spending did I realize
how short-lived the fix really was. During the fast, when I felt the urge to
spend—to anesthetize my pain—I pictured myself running into the arms of
Jesus, the Great Comforter. Oh, what comfort I received!

One night, I told good friends my experience of gaining comfort through the
power of the Holy Spirit rather than money. I exclaimed that I had never felt
so comforted. One friend then told us about a dream he’d had shortly after
hearing about the invitation from Uganda. After the dream, he had awoken and
recorded the following thoughts:

“. . . this is for Sandy. Christ’s redemption of women is beautiful. Beautiful
Womanhood is a result of redemptive wholeness. The visuals the ministry uses
on the books, etc., are like a piece of beautifully veneered furniture. There is
something going on with the ministry to the brokenness of abused women. In
Uganda, there are hurting, abused women, and something is connecting their
need and Beautiful Womanhood. Though there is nothing wrong with veneer, it
is only the topping—the covering, and without good structure it is shallow and
will not hold up. It is time to add a new depth to the ministry.”

Then these verses came to my friend’s mind:

All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of
every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles
so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to
give them the same comfort God has given us. You can be sure that the more
we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through
Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NL

When my friend was finished sharing, everyone in the room broke down in
tears, praising God for His work in my life. I’d learned to listen and God had
spoken. I’d obeyed, and He’d acted. When He acted, I was changed.

Needless to say, I packed my bags and experienced some of the best days of my
life in Uganda—offering God’s comfort to His troubled women.

Sandy and her husband Tom have been married since 1980 and live near
Grand Rapids, Michigan. They have three adult children and a growing

number of grandchildren. When not writing and speaking, Sandy enjoys
shopping at yard sales for vintage clothing, cooking, travelling, and drinking
really good coffee (black is best) with her husband. For more information,
contact Sandy at Subscribe to Sandy’s blog
at Find Sandy on Facebook at Beautiful
Womanhood. Follow Sandy on Twitter @MentoringWives.

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