Midday Connection

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Archive for the tag “women”

Midday blog: Sorry

The other day I watched this video and while I cheered, I also got a little teary-eyed.  I believe that most women can tend to apologize too much for things that aren’t their fault!  I left the house feeling confident and we went to a party.  As I entered the room that was loud with laughter and conversation, I immediately felt my introverted, shy self feel less confident.  I heard someone mention a cheese tray, which gave me something to look for and do, so I wound my way through the crowd, seeking cheese and crackers.  As I navigated the crowd, a man suddenly stepped back and waved his arms as he told a story and he ran right into me.  Immediately, I said, “Oh! Sorry!”  He said, “That’s okay.” and he went back to his story.  Sigh.  I was so disappointed with myself!  Why did I apologize when I’d done nothing wrong?  How did I so quickly step back into being a “Christian Nice Girl”, saying “sorry”?

This issue of being quick to apologize is bigger than “who’s right/who’s wrong” – it’s an indication of something deeper going on.  Why do I so naturally fall back in to apologizing for taking up space?  For most of my life, I’ve struggled with feeling like I don’t have the right to take up space.  I would often dismiss my own voice, feeling insignificant and unworthy of being listened to.  God has been healing me in this area over the past few years.  I want to live confidently and fully into how God created me, living as God’s good woman.

For one week, try to notice how often you and women around you say, “I’m sorry”.  Reflect on what you noticed and ask God if He might be speaking to you about that.

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Midday blog: Authentic Relationships, Part 1

All I wanted was a friend. A best friend. My family had just moved from Northern Maine to suburban Philadelphia after my 5th birthday. Friends, I thought, I‘d finally have friends. Who doesn’t want a best friend, or desire a lifelong friend? You know, the kind you make in kindergarten who stays loyal and true for a lifetime.

I don’t know about you, but I never found a ‘best friend’ or ‘lifelong friend’. As a Pastor’s kid who moved several times in my lifetime, most of my relationships didn’t move with me. In adulthood I have a tapestry of friends who are crisscrossed around the country. The deeper question, though, is how many of those who have woven themselves into my life am I authentic with? How many do I communicate with about the real stuff of life?

The deep heart cry of most women I meet has to do with relationships. Most of us have amassed a long list of acquaintances that we pass off as friends. We throw around the term ‘community’ yet I think a deep experience of it is elusive for most of us. So how do we develop authentic relationships? How do we know others and allow ourselves to be known? Just so you know, I’m a fellow traveler on this journey.

Going deeper in relationships takes risk. If you are new to a church or workplace the risk might be asking someone out for coffee. If you are already in a relationship that seems stalled, maybe it’s taking a risk to share something deeper about yourself that might open the doorway for your friend to start sharing. It might be committing to pray for a friend to come into your life. God does hear those deep heart cries. The work of friendship, yes work, also requires some action on our part.

What will you do this week that might move you toward developing or deepening a friendship?

Anita LustreaAnita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Midday blog: Poem reflection

maryAs we reflect on this holiday season, read this poem by Nicola Slee called “Fiat”. This poem is in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus:


I uttered myself
I claimed my voice
I was not afraid to question
I held my ground
I made my yes
looking straight into the angel’s eyes
(any slave girl could have been beaten or raped for less)
There was no mastery here
Nothing was taken from me
Everything was given
Here I am:
See me
As you read this poem, reflect:
How do you feel as you read this poem?
What most stood out in the poem?
Why do you suppose this poem is called “Fiat”?
Are you being shown a different perspective? If so, how do you respond to it?
Can you relate to this poem, personally?

Midday blog: Poem reflection

On September 23, 2013, Janet Davis read a poem by Nicola Slee called “Fiat”. This poem is in the voice of Mary, mother of Jesus:

I uttered myself
I claimed my voice
I was not afraid to question
I held my ground
I made my yes
looking straight into the angel’s eyes
(any slave girl could have been beaten or raped for less)
There was no mastery here
Nothing was taken from me
Everything was given
Here I am:
See me
As you read this poem, reflect:
How do you feel as you read this poem?
What most stood out in the poem?
Why do you suppose this poem is called “Fiat”?
Are you being shown a different perspective? If so, how do you respond to it?
Can you relate to this poem, personally?

Midday blog: Art Reflection


As you look at this painting called “The Shepherd’s Star” by Jules Breton, think through these questions using your sacred imagination:

1) How do you feel as you look at her face?
2) What is she doing?
3) What is she thinking about?
4) What is she feeling?
5) What is her family like?  Does she have friends?
6) What does she do when she’s not working?  Does she laugh?
7) Do you sense God speaking to you about what you’re feeling or seeing in this painting?
8) Why do you think this painting is called “The Shepherd’s Star”?

Guest blog: Finding Her Here

As you read this poem, what comes to mind? What parts do you relate to?

Finding Her Here
by Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
who knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

Midday blog: Women

You’ve probably noticed this video of Dustin Hoffman circulating lately on YouTube and Facebook.  After watching this 2 minute video, what are your thoughts?

What do you think his comments revealed about himself?
How would you articulate what you think he means by being “brainwashed”?
How can we, as women, help men understand our experience?  How can men help women understand their experience?  Is that important?

Guest blog: My Mess, His Message

This week we’re bringing you an encore Midday blog post from Marla Taviano:

I took an extra-deep breath and walked into the restaurant, my husband and our three daughters trailing behind me.

“How many in your party?” the hostess asked, her kind smile tinged with pity. There was no hiding my red-rimmed eyes and tear-streaked cheeks.

I half-smiled back. “Our party is waiting for us.”

“Oh, yes! Follow me!” She led us to the back of the restaurant where four women (and one lone dude) were already seated.

My sweet Aunt Vicki, wife of my radio station CEO uncle, gave me a huge hug, and whispered “I love you” in my ear. I had texted her en route, so she knew we had just come from a rough counseling session and that I had cried the entire hour-long ride to the restaurant.

She introduced me to a gal named Shelly Lopez, sound engineer Josh, and the darling co-hosts of Midday Connection, Melinda Schmidt and Anita Lustrea. The purpose of our meeting? A pre-interview of sorts for the next day’s live taping of the show.

Shelly had to leave early to teach a class, so Melinda and Anita chatted with her first while I worked on my salad and prayed I’d be able to hold it together when it was my turn.

Well. So much for that.

I decided it wasn’t worth trying to fool Anita and Melinda into thinking everything in my life was hunky-dory and that I’d be a perfect guest on their show. I just laid it all out there, tears and all.

And if they were worried about me ruining the broadcast with my instability, they didn’t show it. They empathized and encouraged me and said things like, “This is good. We don’t need people who have everything all together. That’s not real. Let’s be real. Just share your heart, sweetie.”

I could’ve kissed them.

So, that’s what the interview was. Me, in all my mess, being real, sharing my heart. And praying like crazy that God, in all his awesomeness, would work out a way to get a whole bunch of glory through my junk.

(You can hear the October 10, 2012 program with Marla on the Midday Connection website.)

Marla Taviano is a published author, speaker and blogger. Her biggest passion is loving the poor, seeking justice, and sharing the hope of the gospel–in her city and around the globe. She and her husband and their three young daughters recently returned from a 5-week trip to Cambodia where they loved on orphans, helped fight human trafficking, and experienced God in amazing ways. Marla and her husband, Gabe, live in Columbus, Ohio and have three daughters—eleven-year-old Olivia Joy, ten-year-old Ava Marie, and six-year-old Nina Gabriel.  For more information, please visit her website.

Midday blog: For all the Bored Boomers

So what was up with those boozy old ladies of Titus 2:3?  Apparently on the Greek island of Crete, the older women were getting excessive with the wine. Why was this a problem for these women?  What were they trying to escape, cover over, cope with? Boredom, the pain of widowhood?

I’ve been in Christian radio too long to not know that some of you are using alcohol, let’s say, “excessively.” And, you’ve got your reasons: it was modeled for you growing up or perhaps you’re in a heap of pain or you just slipped into it. However, maybe you aren’t a drinker at all, but you’re wasting time with something else in your afternoons, much like the Crete women were. Clearly, they could stand some vision casting, and Paul gave it to them. “You’ve got a job to do – get that mentorship program going ladies!”

I’d like to echo Paul’s call: God’s got a job for you Boomers to take on with younger women. Research says they are hungering for an experienced woman to come alongside, and share their lives with them. Many struggle with their identity or purpose. These recent college grads are facing incredible unemployment in their demographic.

Here’s what you can do: listen, love on them, cook for them, get your nails done together, read with them, walk together, laugh together, share life with them. Listen for what comes out of them, and when it’s painful tell them, “I’m so, so sorry. You are fabulous and God has plans for you, and I believe in you!”

God had a more productive plan for our early church sisters who were enslaved to something lesser in Crete, and He has a better life for us, today. Let’s get busy and gather around young women, who are hungry for connection. They need us, and we need them. The Bible tells us so.

“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” (Titus 2:14, NLT)

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner.

Guest blog: Thai Culture

Dr. Pam Barger talks with me (Melinda Schmidt) about the complexities of Thai culture this week on the Bring To Mind podcast. After taping our conversation in her office on the campus of Wheaton College for Bring to Mind, I still had many more lingering questions.  Here, we continue the conversation as she briefly talks more with me about Buddhism,  sex trafficking and living as a Christ follower in Thailand.

MELINDA: We talked about “bar girls” and prostitution in the red light districts in Thailand. What is the attitude of millennial Thai women to this part of their culture?

DR. BARGER: For some Thai women, they view the bar girls as just someone earning their living for their family.  Some Thai women have pity on the bar girls.  Some find it wrong and maybe the bar girls are the ones who just had bad karma (or their family had bad karma) which caused them to end up in prostitution.  And there are women who enter prostitution by choice.  According to a study done by Chulalongkorn University (one of the top universities in Thailand), there are four types of sex workers:  1) those who are from the rural areas and are trafficked/sold into the trade and working under restraint; 2) single mothers/women with low education to supply money for their dependents; 3) young, attractive, entrepreneurial women who want to earn extra money; they work in Japanese bars and high-end establishments; and 4) women such as students who perform sex part-time to supplement income.

MELINDA: What is the general attitude of Thai people to evangelical Christians in Thailand?

DR. BARGER: Although it appears that Thai people are accepting to Christians coming in Thailand, there are many who don’t want them to be there, especially to evangelize the gospel to them.  Many wish the Christians would leave the gospel sharing alone because they are already Buddhists, so why need to change them to become Christians, especially a religion that they considered a Western religion?  Again, for the Thais, to be a Thai is to be Buddhist.  Many Thais do carefully watch at the attitude and the actions of the evangelical Christians to see if they “walk, the walk, and talk, the talk.”  They really are observant of the Christians there, yet they do appreciate the efforts of them helping out with outreach programs, English language training, medical help, combating trafficking, etc.

MELINDA: What is it like for a Christian to live and worship in Thailand?

DR. BARGER: Very challenging.  There are many Thai Christians who are nominal, in that they take elements of Christianity and combine them with their Buddhist background.  It is challenging in terms of the spiritual oppression that is there.

MELINDA: You were a Buddhist. What are the differences that came to your life after you decided to follow Jesus?

DR. BARGER: Matthew, Chapter 10 comes into my mind as I continue on my journey as a Christian. On one hand, I find assurance knowing that I can find peace through having a relationship with Jesus, but on another hand, I am realizing that the life of a Christian will often bring division to my loved ones and to the people of this world.  The life of a Christian is often filled with ironies.  However, the biggest difference that I realize as a Christian is that I have the Lord on my side, whereas before as a Buddhist, I was on my own, trying to live a good life and do the best I can, but at times, I fail.  I didn’t want to live in a cycle of birth and rebirth anymore.  As a Christian, I am glad to know that I have freedom in Christ.

You can listen to the Bring to Mind here: http://www.bringtomind.org

Pam BargerDr. Pam Barger is the ELIC (English Language Institute of China) Program Administrator and guest professor in the Intercultural Studies Department at Wheaton College Graduate School. Her research interests focus on internationalization, democratization, educational technology, spiritual capital, social justice, religion and gender in education with a specific focus in Southeast Asia. She has guest-lectured in seminars and graduate classes on perspectives on social foundations of education, history of education, TESOL, global outreach, educational research methods, interreligious dialogue, Buddhism, women issues in Thailand, and integration of faith, learning and social justice.

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a visionary who appreciates observing how the complexities of culture and faith influence one another. Her core words are freedom, orderliness, twirling, beauty and seed-planting ideas. For her, life is good when she is free to muse, express and—frankly—eat pizza or her homemade blueberry pie.

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