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The thing is, I'm no mechanic

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash.

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash.

Last week we purchased a new-to-us vehicle. Nothing fancy, just something to get us from point A to point B. It’s funny how something like that can consume so much time and thought.

• How much should I spend?
• How many miles?
• The type: Truck, SUV, Crossover, Sedan???
• Automatic or Manual?
• Do I care what color?
• Craigslist or Dealer?

If you’re anything like me, some of these decisions weigh heavy on your shoulders. I want to be responsible and make the best possible choice. But the thing is, I’m no mechanic. I can listen to the motor, I can push on the brakes, I can even kick the tires (metaphorically speaking). But I couldn’t tell you a good find from a lemon.

There are so many decisions we face in a single day. Some are smaller such as, what to wear today or what to make for dinner. Others seem significantly more life altering such as, do I accept that job offer, should we purchase that home, or should I attend that college.

As I was doing my devotional this morning, this verse jumped out at me:

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

I am relieved that the car search is over. But even before that decision was made, another decision reared its head that could easily divert me eyes, and ultimately my heart, to temporary things. 

I am talking to myself as much as to you when I say, “Let us go through our days with an eternal view.” Yes, decisions need to be made and jobs must be done, but there is an unseen eternal world around us. Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit, who sees the unseen. Let’s not miss the eternal world around us filled with souls that need Jesus and hurting hearts that need prayer. 

Stacey Butenschoen
For Foothills Women's Ministry

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Shout it!

Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo!
    Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!
God Most High is stunning,
    astride land and ocean. (Psalm 47:1-2 MSG)

Thank God for the gift of song. When I was a teenager, I loved my music. This was back in the day, when micro boxes that fit in the palm of your hand had not yet been birthed. We carried the boom box – that was a double whammy eliminating my generation's need for Cross Fit because they weighed a ton and worked the biceps and calves while we walked around trying to look cool listening to our music.

Seriously, there are weeks and times in our lives where only a Psalm or a song will do. I want to encourage you today to read a Psalm the next time you are anxious and worried. We are weak and He is strong. His words are life giving. The Psalms remind us of who He is and puts our earthly focus in perspective. There is so much emotion in the Psalms that King David makes any woman with PMS look quite solid. Honestly, it frees me to be myself in my prayers with God, to tell him how I really feel.

So as Psalm 47:6 says, Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry Director

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New rhythms

I'm missing you ladies! Spring is a busy season for us women. There are college graduations, high school graduations, playoff games, mission trips, summer jobs, yards, and homes to prepare. There are plans to make, people to take care of, spring cleaning, and so much more.  The rhythms of life are changing for women whether we are single, married, have families to share the load with, or are doing it all on our own. I understand why we did not plan an event to kick off summer, but I'm regretting that decision. I enjoy our camaraderie and the encouragement you all bring.

Women's Ministry is busy preparing for next school year. We are hoping to have four to five large Connection nights and a one-day retreat at Foothills next year. We are dreaming and praying about Bible studies and ways to open the Word together so that we may know Him.

We can now all stay in touch through our women's Facebook page and Instagram. Be sure and click here to add yourself to the group.

As we adjust to new rhythms in our lives these next few months, I can't help but go back to Stacey's recent blog post about waiting. I know teachers like to occasionally use repetition to help us learn, so please focus again on Stacey's main points with a few modifications.  

• Lean In: God so jealously wants to spend time with us. The lists and distractions tug at us and can easily draw us away from Him. Setting aside time each day to spend time in the Bible helps keep us rooted in Him.
• Pray: Pray to know Him more. Ask Him to help you prioritize those busy days.
• Stay Involved: We need one another.

Some ideas to stay involved:

iServe is coming up. It's a great time to " be good for nothing," serve our community, and build relationships with fellow Footies. 
High Power Sports Camp for kids is an opportunity to serve and make life long friends. (email children's minister Judy Buss to get involved).
• Facebook: Use it to make a connection.

Lastly, it's a joy to serve in Women's Ministry because of all of you. I am filled with joy when I get to be a part of your smiles and enthusiasm, or when I see women sharing with, serving, and caring for one another. I love being at Foothills with all of you. May we continue to place our trust in Him and give thanks!

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. (Psalm 28:7)

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry Director
503-428-7827

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Wait. Be still.

I am a finisher. I like to make lists. I would say that I like to check the boxes, but I can’t seem to make my check marks look uniform enough, so I usually put an ‘x’ over the box. On any given evening, to look back over my day and see what I’ve been able to accomplish is very rewarding for me. 

However, there are things in my life that are not within my power and I just can’t seem to bring to completion. One example of that would be adopting my son. Coming this July it will be three years since Tyler and I began the process. As a friend said in her prayer this week, this seems to be the longest pregnancy ever. Some days go quickly with a deep sense of assurance that this wait WILL one day be in my past and he WILL be home. Other days my heart aches and wrestles with wondering WHY God is allowing this to take so long and WHEN will he be able to come home?

In these times of waiting, wanting to close the loop and check the box, what should that look like for us? I don’t have a prescription for you, but I can share some of what helps me:

• Lean In: God so jealously wants to spend time with us. Just as all the lists and all the distractions that tug at us can easily draw us away from Him, so can the waiting. Setting aside time each day spending time in the Bible helps keep me rooted in Him.

• Stay Involved: There were times in the waiting that I didn’t want to make any other plans or commit to anything that could possibly be interrupted by progress. I would get so focused on this one thing I’m waiting for that I would almost miss (or even entirely miss) what God had in store for me during the wait. 

• Pray: I have spent the last 141 mornings praying for a piece of paper. One piece of paper that will make only part of my wait over. Some days all I have in me is a one sentence prayer while other days my prayer is much longer. But each morning I am so grateful that I can trust that God hears me.

Today as I write this, I am still waiting. Today is one of those days that my heart just aches. Today as I write this a verse posted over my computer screen reminds me of this:

Moses answered the people, "Do no be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today... The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."  (Exodus 14:13-14)

Sisters, do not be afraid. Stand firm. The Lord WILL fight for you. Wait. Be still. His powerful Holy Spirit is at work, even if we can’t see it. Yet. 

Stacey Butenschoen
Women’s Ministry

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Sent by the Holy Spirit

Today I took out the garbage. I know, insert gasp here.

It was full, stinky and just plain needed to be taken outside. So I did it. And somewhere in the back of my mind a thought crept in: “Hey! Why is Tyler not doing this?!” Now this was not something we had talked about in premarital counseling. This is not something we agreed on or signed a contract about. But somewhere in nearly 15 years of marriage it became an expectation of mine: Tyler takes out the garbage.

Following up from where I left you in last week’s blog, there is another component of what makes up the Whole Church. The Whole Church is sent by the Holy Spirit. Ladies, that means you and I! Let’s be honest here though, we are expecting the Holy Spirit to send someone (anyone!) besides us. Or we are at the other extreme and expect the Holy Spirit to ask us to do something of Billy Graham proportions.

And yes, God may be asking you to go to Mexico, Haiti or East Asia. He might be asking you to take a meal to the family that just had a baby. Or, He might just want you to take out the garbage for goodness' sake. Sisters, don’t downplay the role or the step the Holy Spirit is asking you to take. Each one of us can do things big or small. Our faithfulness in listening to the Holy Spirit and going wherever He sends us will create a community of women that can be a Whole Church to this city, this canyon and further.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

Pause. Listen. Where is the Holy Spirit wanting to send you? Don’t assume that call is for someone else. May we all answer as Isaiah did!

Stacey Butenschoen
Women’s Ministry

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Off Track

Beautiful weather earlier this month almost had me tricked into thinking it was summer. I hope you were able to enjoy the warmth and soak up some Vitamin D. I also hope you have been able to see and be overwhelmed by the power and goodness of God. Just having the sun shine made me pause and take note of His power.                             

I took this photo while out on a walk last week. Something about the scene before me begged me to take the picture. The vibrant green grass on the left,  the freshly tilled brown dirt on the right, and the vast expanse of blue sky ahead all had my attention. And then there’s the road, dirtied by tractor tracks and headed up the hill.

We all are walking on different roads, one that is specifically paved for each of us. In Tyler’s sermon on May 7, he talked about how the sorcerer and false prophet Bar-Jesus had weasled his way into speaking lies in the proconsul’s ear. How quickly these voices can lead us off track and the road paved before us!

Sisters: Let's take time this week to clear those voices from speaking lies into our own ears. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Read the Bible and allow God’s truth to speak to you. Maybe it’s getting up 10 minutes earlier for the rest of this week to read a chapter in Proverbs. Maybe it’s getting out on your lunch break and going for a walk with some worship music playing through your earbuds. We want to be a Whole Church, a church of women that listen to the Holy Spirit!

Psalm 16:11 says it this way: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Stacey Butenschoen
Women’s Ministry

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The goodness and power of God

This picture shows the Butenschoen family sendng in a first adoption payment in 2014. Stacey is praying to be overwhelmed by God's goodness as the family continues to wait for adoption progress.

This picture shows the Butenschoen family sendng in a first adoption payment in 2014. Stacey is praying to be overwhelmed by God's goodness as the family continues to wait for adoption progress.

Hello!

I want to take a minute and introduce myself. My name is Stacey Butenschoen, and, yes, I am Pastor Tyler's wife, but I also have a heart for women's ministry and have enjoyed being a part of the Women's Ministry team. I'll be joining Tammy Lucas in writing blog posts to encourage women and connect us together.

I am a mom of four kids (three here at home and one still in Haiti). I like to read, do yard work, exercise, cook, organize, watch my kids play sports, go camping and spend time with family and friends. I am an introvert and I will admit that the greeting time on Sunday morning is a little stressful for me. :) Maybe that’s why Tammy felt like writing a blog would be a good platform for me to share! Getting up on stage like Tyler does week after week is absolutely terrifying to me.

I am so thankful for our church and have really enjoyed being involved with Women’s Ministry this year. It has been wonderful to see women connect and enjoy Bible study and fellowship together. There is such blessing in living life together. I know I need women in my life to ask me hard questions, to encourage me, to be silly with and to just come alongside me and live life with me. I look forward to continuing to connect and share some of what God is doing in the life of Women’s Ministry as what He is doing in my life.

As I sit here and think of you all, each one of you will experience different joys and challenges throughout this week. A joy for me this week will be finishing up a project I’ve been working on. A challenge before me is yet another week of waiting and wondering if we will hear any news after more than three months of waiting for adoption progress. My prayer for us this week is exactly what Curt spoke about on April 30: That we will not be overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, but will be overwhelmed by the goodness and power of God. I leave you with this scripture that has been encouraging me over the last week.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
    or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
    and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
    and taught him knowledge,
    and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
    and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
    behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. (Isaiah 40:12-15)

Stacey Butenschoen
Women's ministry

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A yearning in our souls

I'm excited! My girls are coming home.

Some of you know what it feels like to send your first child off to college. It took a while for the feelings to sink in. It took time to get used to the fact that our oldest daughter was gone, even though she was nearby at Corban University. It's been fun watching and listening from a distance to how she is growing up.

I’ve also experienced a growing love for another young woman that God has placed in our lives. She is far from her home and culture. I am anticipating both girls' arrival at our home when school ends this month. I would take them out early just to celebrate the end of their first year together, if I could.

It makes me wonder. Does He, my heavenly Father, anticipate moments with me? Do I anticipate moments with Him? Do I feel giddy with excitement for my moments with Him like I feel now waiting on my girls?

 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
 So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63: 1-4)

Retreat was helpful for me. It gave me time to focus in and it renewed my thirst for more of Him. May I encourage you to thirst for Him. Anticipate moments with Him. I pray He puts a yearning in your souls for more of Him.

Next week, Stacey Butenschoen will be joining me to help write our weekly blog posts. We hope they are helping you feel more connected to one another and more in touch with women at Foothills. We hope they encourage your thirst for more of Him. Thanks for doing life with all of us in this community. Lastly, feel free to kick up your heels and do a little happy dance with all of us who are anticipating the arrival of our adult children.

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry at Foothills Church
503-428-7827

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Loving us in our leggings

My friend's legs at church the other day.

My friend's legs at church the other day.

Comedians, bloggers, mothers, men, and women all seem to have opinions about leggings. I'm a mother of daughters, so you can assume that the subject comes up in our home, too. I'm not a historian, but I think blue jeans back in the day also created quite a stir.

This Sunday my heart was blessed by the friend that wore leggings (gasp) to church. She had planned to drop off her children and then fit in her run. But when she started running, the Holy Spirit started whispering and by lap two she obediently ran her legs into the service, sweat, leggings and all (repeated here with permission).

I am so proud and thankful for this church body, that we are a body that loves, that our friend could obediently come into service, sit and worship in non-traditional church attire and know she was OK to do so. I am thankful this church body lets me come as I am, sometimes moody, tired, and weary; sometimes ready to love and give, but never judged.

My brothers (sisters), show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4)

I'll conclude with two thoughts. Thank you church, not for your perfection, but for your true desire to seek Him, know Him, love Him, and love others. Thanks for loving us in our leggings, metaphorically and literally.

Second and final thought on leggings is that Darcey Pokorny's running group starts this week. Feel free to wear leggings. :) If you love to run, or want to learn to run, join Darcey for a time of strengthening your body and connecting with other women. We will stretch, pray, and go. Walkers are welcome to join. This group meets 8:05-9am, Wednesdays, at Sublimity's Church Park (across from Sublimity Elementary). The group starts up Wednesday, April 26, and runs through June 19. Contact Darcey for more information.

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry Director
503.428.7827

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Weathering storms together

Today I am home sick. It's gorgeous outside, and all I want to do is keep moving but my body is not allowing it. Nothing around me slows down and all the schedules in this household do not allow for this woman to have a sick day. I assume if you are reading this silly little post, you get it and you understand.

At retreat, our speaker Pam Teschner showed us this image of the Redwood Forest. Underneath the tree's mighty trunks lays a network of roots that grow and fuse into one another. It's the trees togetherness that helps them weather the storms. We were meant to dwell together in unity. 

I suspect I will be over this cold and back to my normal pace in another day. I am thankful to the friends that have shown me grace, and my daughters for their extra help. If only all our trials were so quickly overcome. There are women in our body that are enduring very strong winds and storms. I hope they feel safe enough to reach out to our Foothills women. I hope we are sensitive enough to one another that we are willing to reach out as well.

I want to encourage you to reach out. First let's pause and pray; ask the Lord to lay a woman on your heart; ask the Lord to prompt you in how to encourage her. It may be a quick text or note. It may be a coffee date, walking date or weeding party. Don't forget about phone chats, meals or play dates. It may be something really unique; listen to the Father and then step out.  

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)

We would love to hear how you are reaching out. It would be fun to have a blog post of pictures plastering the page with women joining together in love and unity! Send your pictures or thoughts here to my email address

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry Director

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First Comes Friday

Note from Women's Ministry leader Tammy Lucas: This week's blog post is written by a guest blogger. He is our self-professing Women's Ministry's Mascot. He is a leader of men, women, and children. He is a follower of Christ. He is a father to girls, those that Lord gave us through the birth process and those that he brings to our doorstep through love. He is also my husband, Matt Lucas.

Good Friday is coming, and while all those who are in Jesus live on other side of Easter, we still inhabit a world shadowed by death. We see it in the changing seasons, in the wriggling worm at the end of our shovel, in the wake of a marital affair, in the headline of breaking news. We find it in our gossip that assassinates someone’s character, in our entertainment that consumes our free time, in our hearts that crave dead and decaying things to feed our souls. Death surrounds us, which is why we love Easter—spring sunshine, baby chicks and an empty tomb. But first there is Friday and I can’t run to the empty tomb and bypass the cross. I find it difficult to linger at the cross; not to treat it as simply a signpost on the way to the resurrection. The truth is that the cross is not a directional marker, it is a place of pain and anguish. It is never beautiful and always heartbreaking. Fortunately, we serve a God who knows this well, not as an observer, but as a participant. 

So as we continue to prepare our hearts during Lent, it is healthy to remember that death pervades our world and lurks in the corners of our lives. Nouwen captures this well when he writes,

Mortification—literally, "making death"—is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as if it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying. I do not mean this in a morbid way. On the contrary, when we see life constantly relativized by death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift. The pictures, letters, and books of the past reveal life to us as a constant saying of farewell to beautiful places, good people, and wonderful experience. . . . All these times have passed by like friendly visitors, leaving [us] with dear memories but also with the sad recognition of the shortness of life. In every arrival there is a leavetaking; in each one’s growing up there is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss. All living is dying and all celebration is mortification too.  (Henri Nouwen, A Letter of Consolation)

Thankfully death does not get the final word, and the joy of Lent is knowing that death does not win in the end. But first comes Friday!

Matt Lucas

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Yielding to the vinedresser's pruning

Spring is here. As I look in my yard, I can see trees and bushes starting to bud. One of the trees has this crazy branch growing lightning speed ahead of the others in the wrong direction. Definitely time for some spring pruning in my yard.

This morning I was having a conversation with my husband about leadership. He's such a gifted encourager (wink-wink). He said, "Leadership is all about being personally refined and pruned."  "I am tired of being refined and pruned! This is painful and hard!" I replied.  He ended with the words that have been stuck in my head all day, "Don't you want to grow?"... Oh, ouch, yes, no, but yes, yes, Lord I do.

 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)

One of the prayers we have been praying for our ladies' retreat is that we would have a readiness to be refined and pruned. Father, give us the strength to want this. Help our hearts to soften and prepare for you to speak into our lives. Lord, we want to bear fruit.

I look forward to retreating with many of you soon, and my hope is that together in Him we will bear much fruit in the coming months and years as we live in community with one another.

Tammy Lucas
Women's Ministry Director

 

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What pulls your heart strings? What moves you?

The first time I saw this unique green toned pottery I was not attracted to it. The second time I saw it was after I had experienced the sights, smells and people of Indonesia. As I fell in love with the people of Indonesia, I grew to love the green and brown toned pottery that can only be found there. Each piece is unique and each piece calls me back to the people and their stories, laughter, faces, faith, loves, and hardships. I miss their beauty and their culture. Every piece of my green toned pottery reminds me to pray for these people I love.

You have loves. Some of you are getting ready for Mexico and Haiti. It's fair to say many of your hearts are pulled towards those countries and those people. We are so blessed by an amazing God that moves us to love and then equips us to do so.

What pulls your heart strings? What moves you? 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all love, each other deeply..."

As we prepare and put the final touches on our Women's retreat, please stop and pray for our women. Pray for those going and for those staying at home. We want to love deeply. We need the Lord's help to do this well. Our selfish hearts soften to love one another when we hear others' stories, laughter, and loves. Those of you praying for us from home are loving one another as well.

If you're still thinking about whether to go to retreat, then come with us! It's not too late to sign up here or donate here for retreat. We have a few spaces left.

May the God of heaven pull your heart strings to love one another. May we encourage one another and lift one another up. Thank you, Father, for first loving us. Amen.
 
Sincerely,
Tammy Lucas
Women's ministries
 
P.S. Thank you, Larena, for donating from "Aunt Bee's House" all the sweet gifts like the one pictured near my pottery. We will use them to bless women at our retreat. Thank you for loving our ladies in this way.

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Skip the Energizer Bunny

Tammy shared this image with us at church recently: The picture of a woman refreshed and blessed by a retreat and time spent drawing closer to Jesus.

Tammy shared this image with us at church recently: The picture of a woman refreshed and blessed by a retreat and time spent drawing closer to Jesus.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28)

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have the Lord's energy? Skip the Energizer Bunny. I pick the Creator of the ends of the earth. I am so thankful He does not grow tired or weary and more than that, if you read on further in Isaiah, you see that He will renew the strength of those who wait on Him. We serve an awesome God!

It was so good to be with you all at The Connection last week. Now I am looking forward to being with many of you at our women's retreat (registration link here if you need it). It will be a nice change of pace to have someone taking care of us. How often do we women get that opportunity? It will be refreshing to pause and focus on our relationship with the Lord, to be energized and have our strength renewed, to encourage other women and to be encouraged ourselves. If you can't go this year, there is another way that you can be involved. Will you consider blessing another woman who would like to go but can't afford it? If you can help, attach a note to your donation stating it's for women's retreat. Then take it a step further and pray for this mystery woman who receives the blessing. 

Sincerely,
Tammy Lucas

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Encouragement dished out

Foothills women encouraging each other to run on a recent morning in January. 

Foothills women encouraging each other to run on a recent morning in January. 

Are you excited? Excited for what, you ask? Excited to gather again for The Connection on Tuesday, March 7. I’m tempted to tell you all that we have planned, but nope, I'm not going to do it. We are putting the final touches on the evening and looking forward to connection with you.

I am thankful for the encouragers in my life. There are many of you. Encouragement is dished out in a variety of ways. It’s a powerful lifter of our souls. A necessity in our lives. I am thankful for the type of encouragement we receive Sunday after Sunday.

In Romans 15:4-6, the apostle Paul writes,
"Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I look forward to being with you on March 7. Keep being life givers ladies! Keep being bold and listening to the Holy Spirit. Follow his promptings and encourage away. Thank you to the many that speak words and actions of love.

Tammy Lucas 
Women’s Ministry

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A woman who is loved well

"Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever."

– Psalm 136:26

I am sitting here enjoying the new coffee mug I opened Christmas day. It has the perfect handle, weight and size. I love drinking from a handmade cup that was once an ugly brown piece of clay sitting in the potter's hands. It fills me with hope! It reminds me of who I am and who He is.

"I am a woman that is loved well." These words were spoken from the oldest member of our women's ministry team. Powerful when you realize that these words were in response to a question about identity. I've been ruminating on these words for the past three weeks during the Christmas season. I've been noticing all of the ways that I, too, am loved well. I've been contemplating how we as women describe ourselves and how we think about ourselves when it comes to our identity. Last night I had the privilege to pass on sleep and instead listen to my 19-year-old daughter talk about life. She is on the opposite end of the pendulum; she is an emerging young adult and she is being shaped by the potter's hand.

Ladies, we are loved well! You may be young and full of life, hopes, and dreams. You may be somewhere in the middle just trying to keep up with the daily routine. You may be closer to the end, taking more time to reflect and wishing you could tell others to slow down and enjoy the moment. In whatever stage of life you're in, take time to rest in the fact that you are loved well by Jesus. This morning I am thankful for the work that God is doing in my life, my daughter's life and in the lives of the women at Foothills. His steadfast loves does endure forever.

Tammy Lucas

Upcoming events:
-Women of Foothills New Year's Run, 9am, Saturday, January 7. More details here.
-Spring Groups at Foothills start January 22. Register here online.
-IF: Gathering is February 3 and 4 at Church on the Hill in Salem. Register here online. Tickets for this event sell out, so sign up ASAP. Email Janci Burns if you are interested in attending with other women from Foothills.

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Loud and powerful

I love Christmas! Yes, it's a busy time of year, but so much fun. I love it all! Thank you, Bart and the worship team, for starting off Christmas music last Sunday with my favorite worship song in the mix: "Glory in the Highest" by Chris Tomlin.

You are the first, You go before
You are the last, Lord, You're the encore
Your name's in lights for all to see
The starry host declare Your glory

Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest

Apart from You there is no God
Light of the world, the brightened morning star
Your name will shine for all to see
You are the one, You are my glory

Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest

And no one else could ever compare
To You, Lord
All the earth together declares

Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
To You, Lord, to You, Lord
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
Glory in the highest
To You, Lord, to You, Lord

All the earth will sing Your praise
The moon and stars, the sun and rain
Every nation will proclaim
You are God and You will reign
Glory, glory Hallelujah
Glory, glory to You, Lord
Glory, glory Hallelujah
Hallelujah

As I sing, I imagine every nation proclaiming, "You are God and You will reign, Glory, Glory, Hallelujah..." It's going to be loud and powerful when the whole earth sings. The beauty of all the different tongues and accents praising Him will be like nothing we have ever experienced.

Speaking of music, I wanted to remind you that on Tuesday, December 13, 7-8:30pm, Michelle Kuenzi and her team will prepare a space for Foothills women (and friends) to come into His presence and sing our hearts out in worship! This night will be simple. No food and no frills. Come in your work clothes or your work out pants. This night is a simple gift to you. An opportunity to focus our hearts and minds on Emmanuel. I look forward to standing, sitting, or perhaps kneeling shoulder to shoulder with you and worshiping our King. Merry Christmas ladies!

Tammy Lucas

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Pray hard , pursue the word hard, and listen hard

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." - Matthew 6:33

I'm feeling thankful and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Thank you, Elena, for speaking from the heart at our first Connection night for women last month. Wehad about 95 ladies that were able to make it out that evening. One beautiful little lady said, "It struck the right cord of casual and inspiring." It was heart warming to step back and see women enjoy one another. It really was an encouraging night. Some hearts were touched to reconnect, join Foothills and even start a Bible study with coworkers.

Elena talked to us about God's recent story being worked out in her life. Along the way she had a few twists and turns that kept me listening on the edge of my seat. I'm thankful for her humbleness in sharing. I think we can all relate to hanging onto jealousy, bitterness and hurt, as well as wanting to please others. I'm thankful for a formula we can all comprehend: Pray hard, pursue the word hard, and listen hard.

Enjoy the selfies from that evening and let them be a reminder of God's blessing. It really was fun spending time with you all. May our unity bring Him glory. Together, may we encourage and inspire one another to love well those around us. May we seek Him "hard" as Elena would say.

Tammy Lucas

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Love one another and unify

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” - Isaiah 52:7

The Connection is almost here. It's coming up on Tuesday, October 25 at 7pm. What is the Connection you ask? It's our first large women's gathering of this year. Come – you will be blessed with an opportunity to sit with other women, enjoy a yummy snack, connect with others and listen to an inspiring story from a woman in our midst.

Our hope is that you will walk away blessed and refreshed. Women's ministry exists to encourage women to walk with God. Something special happens when we choose to come out of our shells and connect together. This will be an easy task for some of you. For others, this will be an action step that might feel like work or a lot like anxiety. Please know you are not alone. I challenge you to take a step forward. If you can let one person know how you feel and ask them to sit with you that might offer you a little relief.

Speaking of taking a step: Pictured today are our speaker's feet. If I was a southerner, I'd say, "Aren't they just precious, just look at those sweet pink shoe laces." Our mystery speaker has a little spunk, I think. She's someone that will perhaps feel a twinge of anxiety to be behind the microphone and up in front of us. She's choosing to not focus on that but instead focus on the story God has asked her to tell. She is excited to share with us!

May God reign in all our lives. May His spirit fill our auditorium. May His desires for us to love one another and unify bring us together. Amen.

-Tammy Lucas

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Some encouragement, an apology and a little news

Some lovely ladies of Foothills sharing an "intergenerational" moment together.

Some lovely ladies of Foothills sharing an "intergenerational" moment together.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are." – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thank the Lord for encouragement! Let me remind you that we all need it. Dave Buss, one of our elders, stopped me on my way into church and said something along the lines of, "There is so much life in the women at our church."  Others have used the words excitement, a buzz or an anticipation of things to come. We have presence women! Let us continue to seek unity with one another, encourage one another and speak words of life over one another. Not so that we can be noticed but so Jesus will be noticed! So that our love for one another reflects Him.

I need to clarify and apologize to all our local college age women. In my nervousness up front a few weeks ago, I blurted out one particular university's name when I was inviting women of all ages to come to our events. In reality, I want all of our college-age women to come. Your hearts and brains are bursting with good questions and passions. Intergenerational relationships are good for all involved. It can be a little awkward getting all of us blended, but I am confident we will all benefit from the results. Keep working hard in school and at your jobs but do remember to carve out some time to join us.

Our news as we continue to prepare for The Connection on October 25th: We did have a last-minute speaker change due to the fact our original speaker (who rode a skateboard and is terrified to fly over the ocean) must go fly over an ocean. I'm not sure if she will ride a skateboard once she arrives, but we do hope to hear God's story in her life another time. Meanwhile our new speaker weighed 5 pounds at birth. Her first job was as a newspaper carrier and she really hopes to see the Northern Lights in person. I assume Alaska not the cheap theater in Salem. Pray for this mystery woman as God works out His story and passion in her now. I just know we will all be blessed to hear it.

Lastly, if you want to be involved come join the fun and help us get ready for The Connection, please contact me, Tammy Lucas.

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