By Mitzi Egger
In his last letter before his death, the Apostle Paul reiterates his confidence in God: “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (II Tim. 1:12). Here Paul rests in his intimate knowledge of God through personal experience and trusts fully in God’s character and faithfulness. This knowledge and trust were forged through great trials and extreme suffering. In II Corinthians 1:8-11, Paul describes a specific affliction which he experienced. It is unknown what this event entailed, but it is clear that it was beyond what Paul felt he would physically survive, saying “we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death” (II Cor. 1:8-9). At the same time, God had a purpose for Paul’s suffering. By taking him to the end of himself and all human help, Paul was forced to utterly rely on God’s grace and power to deliver him. Paul knew and had experienced the sufficiency of God’s grace, “for power is perfected in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9). He understood the strength of Christ’s presence during his times of suffering, “but the Lord stood by me and strengthened me,” and he was also confident in God’s promise to “rescue [him] from every evil deed and bring [him] safely into his heavenly kingdom” (II Tim. 4:17-8).
In September 2023, a group of 19 women and a team of Mighty Oaks Women’s Program leaders gathered together at The Wilds in Ohio for the Mighty Oaks Women’s Legacy Program. Each woman came with a story, looking for hope and a way forward in walking through their own individual struggle, pain, trauma, fear, and disappointment. Each class during the session contained a common theme of helping these ladies better know and understand the character of God, His view of us as His children, and how He wants us to view ourselves through the truth of Scripture. In addition, the testimonies of each leader woven throughout the daily challenges and classes provided living examples of God’s presence and help throughout both past and ongoing pain and struggle.
As the session progressed, a camaraderie among both the small groups and entire team became evident, ultimately providing hope for these ladies that they were not alone. Not only could they, like Paul, cling to God’s promise to be with them through the waters, river, and fire of suffering (Isa.43:1-3), and strengthen them to fulfill the calling and purpose for which He designed them, but they now had fellow warrior sisters to help lift them up (Ecc. 4:9) through encouragement and accountability. Discouragement and despair began to transition to hope, courage, and determination as these ladies began to plan their next steps forward and implement what they had learned in the session back into the challenges of their daily lives.
As believers, we know and believe that God’s power “has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet. 1:3). We also know that Jesus, as our faithful High Priest, not only identifies with us in our weaknesses and suffering, but He also stands ready and willing to help us and extend grace and mercy to us in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). Thus, it is our hope that we all continue to become the Godly wives, mothers, daughters, and women that He created us to be regardless of our circumstances, ultimately leaving a Christlike legacy of faithfulness and endurance to those who come after us.
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