“But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
When I arrived in Chicago I was immediately drawn to Tatiana. Her captivating accent and her gospel humility led me to believe there was a real story to be heard. Her story led me not only to developing a relationship with her but also to search out where she was from—Odessa, Ukraine. I knew I had heard of it before, but for a moment I could not remember when.
Her story centered on how God had used the church there and particularly women’s ministry, to bring the hope of the gospel to her heart. It was at that moment I remembered Susan Hunt’s trips to Odessa, Ukraine. God used Susan to train the women that had shared not only the gospel with Tatiana, but also their lives. A grace connection! Fast forward a few years to a not so ordinary Friday night at the TGI Fridays restaurant in Indianapolis. It was an extraordinary Friday night, because it was over a meal in that restaurant that I got to connect Tatiana with Susan face to face. What a foretaste of heaven that God would bring a young woman over 5,000 miles to meet a person who had impacted her life for the very first time.
I have lots of interesting conversation pieces in my office, but one I reference every day is a little brass hinge that is framed on my desk. What, don’t you have a piece of hardware framed in your house? Sure, it may not be a piece of art, but it is still glorious and significant. It reminds me that my calling is to be a hinge. A hinge’s utilitarian function is to attach or connect two things such as the hidden gap between a door and a cabinet. I desire to be a hinge between people, churches, generations, resources…really anything that needs to be connected to one another. It is in that gap where grace connections happen. There is no greater joy than when I get to connect people to the gospel…but even sweeter when we get to share life together.
But we can’t all meet around a table at TGI Fridays or sit down for a cup of coffee at Starbucks …but wouldn’t that be awesome? This week we begin the enCourage podcast. Our aim each week is to encourage the hearts of women with the hope of the gospel. I often stand in wonder at the multifaceted gifts and graces of the women of the PCA. As I interact with these women my first thought is always, “I wish everyone could hear what she is saying.”
So, have you got 20 minutes to spare this week? Want to take a walk around the block with Melissa Kruger and learn about contentment? How about washing some dishes while you listen to Nancy Guthrie talk about a peace God can bring that will wash over your soul in the midst of our suffering? Carpool line been a bit mundane? Then I invite you to take Courtney Doctor around the school parking lot as she casts your eyes upward to the bigger picture of God’s story. And if you are interested in cultivating gospel friendships like I have with Tatiana and Susan, then taking 20 minutes over coffee with Christina Fox might be the very thing that will encourage your heart.
I am praying 2018 will be a year where we share the gospel and our lives together in a new and refreshing way. That He might use something as insignificant as a podcast to be the hinge to the grace connection you really need. That His gospel might knit our hearts together, and we might be ONE. So, take a listen. Pass along what you are learning with a friend. And let’s walk out I Thessalonians 2:7-8 together this year sharing not only the gospel but also sharing our own lives with one another.
The enCourage podcast will release each Tuesday morning. You can subscribe to the enCourage podcast at iTunes or connect to it via our website http://encourage.pcacdm.org/
About the Author:
Karen serves as the Coordinator for PCA Women’s Ministry, where she seeks to connect women and churches to one another and to sound resources. She is also having the time of her life serving alongside her husband Chris, Senior Pastor at Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, IL. Chris and Karen have two children, Anna Grace (23) and Haddon (20) that round out “Team Hodge.” It is from the perspective of a wife, mother, leader, and fellow pilgrim that she hopes to offer insight from God’s Word to women concerning how she and they can most effectively learn to enjoy and extend God’s Glory.