Dec 252011

Yesterday morning after stretching class, my combination lock somehow reset itself (I could feel tumbler resistance when it happened) and I couldn’t open it.

Since lockers (what a fitting name!) at this all-women gym are day use only, bolt cutters are kept handy, but none of the all-women staff had the strength to vanquish my resolute padlock. At one point, me and two staffers ganged up on it, but to no avail. What a pitiful sight – all the grimacing and grunting – as we put no more than a small dent in the shackle.

The Master Lock website aptly describes its shackle: “Made from hardened steel for maximum resistance to cutting and sawing.”

Women-only gym; absolutely no men around; car keys securely in the locker; – a desperate need for some muscle! I could picture one of my brothers, or just about any guy for that matter, grabbing those cutters and, snap, the lock would be off.

My best friend and I were just about to give up and call for a ride, when we decided to try the cutters ourselves, with quiet faith in the power of two believers united in heart and purpose.

“Two are better than one,

because they have a good reward for their labor.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Our daily reading recently brought us to Judges 6 and the Gideon story. God’s people had fallen under Midianite oppression after turning away from the Lord and worshiping other, so-called, gods. Things got so bad, the Israelites were hiding in caves and dens.

Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord,if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord,how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.

Faced with an unyielding obstacle, I, like Gideon, initially doubted the power available to me. God reminds us in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit…” God also encourages us at the beginning of that great spiritual armor passage in Ephesians 6, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

So it is never my might, and yet, sometimes, God “might” ask me to exercise His power within me, as He did Gideon.

Well, I’ve kept you waiting long enough, yes, you guessed it; the two of us, with focused intent and a unity of spirit forged over years of mutual submission and focus on God’s truths, were able to pool our might (and perhaps our ministering spirit angels pitched in too!) and snap! the stubborn shackle yielded; it was glorious!

I cleared my locker and walked away with a fresh sense of victory and power.

Who might you partner with, as a Thinking Christian Woman, to unlock the mighty power of God and break some shackles for His kingdom?

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

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Jun 302011
Illustration from 1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Apologies if you’re a Wicked (the musical) fan who sees Elphaba (aka Wicked Witch of the West) as a misunderstood victim, but there’s a wonderful line in the Wizard of Oz, right after Dorothy throws a bucket of water to douse the fire on Straw Man’s arm, accidentally soaking WWW.


The dissolving green meanie screeches,

You cursed brat!
Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!
Who would have thought a good little girl like you 
could destroy my beautiful wickedness!”
A Thinking Christian Woman never aspires to be a cursed brat of course. In fact, a wise balancing truth advises, “if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men,” (Romans 12:18, see also Hebrews 12:14). Even so, might there be some redeeming value if the spiritually wicked consider me a cursed brat?

In many passages, God characterizes attitudes, values, words and actions as either “righteous,” or “wicked.” Those words mean more than “good” and “bad.” Here’s a simple summary of the subtleties:

Righteous – being in a right relationship with God, people, or any other created thing
Wicked – being in a twisted relationship with God, people, or any other created thing

Have you ever been rejected? It usually hurts for sure, but if someone who is out of right relationship, rejects us and sees us as an enemy, can that actually be a good thing in some ways? After all, we are, in part, defined by those who exclude us and seek to eliminate us from opportunities, relationships and power.

Jesus talked about a kind of decluttering, or pruning, that gardener God does in a life to make it more productive. “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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2)

What if rejection and exclusion are rebukes of life that can sever us from unproductive attachments and help steer us in new and more fruitful directions?
It’s not pleasant perhaps, but being what some might consider a “cursed brat” at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason (such as to destroy wickedness), is something the Thinking Christian Woman might lovingly choose to confidently embrace.
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved
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