Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Today, I welcome author Marilyn Turk. She’ll share a little of her story and Who makes her Strong and Courageous. Welcome, Marilyn!
More than a Conqueror
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
While doing research for a Bible study about strong women, I surveyed over a hundred women. The survey asked what areas they felt strong in, weak in, and who they knew that were strong women. Overwhelmingly, they thought their mothers or grandmothers were strong women. What I realized is that the women they thought were strong probably didn’t think that about themselves. They just dealt with life as best they could.
Are you a strong woman? Chances are, your answer is “no.” We never think we’re enough of anything, do we?
I’ve had to face situations where I felt incompetent and weak. My former husband was an alcoholic, so housekeeping, home and yard maintenance, childcare plus working a fulltime job fell on my shoulders. Challenging, yes, but I had to take on the responsibilities because there was no one else. Many times, I felt that the burden of juggling work and my three sons and their needs was more than I could manage. And I’m certain that if I hadn’t started every day with prayer, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the load.
At the same time, I was one of the few women in my field, and I often faced intimidation and harassment. In my career, I had pressure from all sides, from customers to management to the people I managed. But thank God, I survived. Quitting was never an option. There were times when some of the people I worked with were unbearable, but I trusted God to get me through one day at a time. And miraculously, He would remove those people, so they were no longer a problem for me.
And then my mother died the same year I got divorced. Then our dog died. Then I lost my job of twenty-five years. For almost a year, I looked for another job, using up my severance pay, then dipping into my 401K. I lived in Atlanta and faced losing my home if something didn’t change. Daily I sought God’s help and waited for answers to my situation. But the doors had closed for me in my area, and I realized I had to move away.
Once I accepted that fact, I began to look for work out of state and put my house up for sale. Soon I was offered a job in Florida, so I put a deposit on a home there. While training for my new job, I lived in a hotel in Alabama during the week, commuting to Atlanta on the weekends. The naysayers told me I’d end up with two house notes, but I told God He had to work things out because they were out of my control. And He did.
Some people thought I was strong, but I wasn’t. I knew my strength came from the Lord, that I was living through His strength and not my own. Looking back now, I understand that God pulled the rug out from under me, so I would be totally dependent on Him and not on myself. After moving to Florida, I met and married a godly man and finally understood why God moved me.
Two years ago, God called me to direct a small Christian Writers Conference for our geographic area, the Florida panhandle and lower Alabama. He led me to the location where it should be held, a place used for church retreats. As a result, I called the conference a retreat. Those who attended the first year told me it really was a spiritual retreat for them as well as a writers’ conference.
Someone asked me recently what made me think I could handle such an event on my own. My answer was that I didn’t. I never thought I had to do it in my own strength, because God wanted it to happen and He was responsible for making it come to fruition.
So, back by popular demand, the second Blue Lake Christian Writers’ Retreat (http://bluelakecwr.com), will take place May 2-5, 2018. Obstacles may occur, but with God, I am more than a conqueror. I am strong.
Has there been a special time that stands out to you when you’ve depended on God to provide the strength to be a conqueror?
Marilyn Turk writes historical fiction set on the coast. The Gilded Curse, a World War II novel, published in 2016, won a Silver Scroll award and its sequel, Shadow of the Curse, will be out in July 2018. Rebel Light was the first book of her Coastal Lights Legacy novels which feature stories with lighthouse settings. The second book in the series, Revealing Light will come out in 2018. In addition, Marilyn’s novella, The Wrong Survivor, will be in a collection called Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides coming out in November 2018. She has also written a book of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions. She is also a regular contributor to the Daily Guideposts devotional book. Find her at http://pathwayheart.com where she blogs about lighthouses and writing.