Tré Tailor: Women’s Day 2019 here at Brookland Baptist Church, our theme is F.I.G.H.T.—Faith Intensified By Glorifying Him Together.
It was important in this fight for us to have a forum in which we could really talk openly and honestly, bring in panelists, bring in those people who were experts in those fields to really minister, and talk to, and work out some things. If we can get healed, if we can get some healing, if we can work out our issues, then in turn we can help somebody else do the same thing.
Connected in Christ: Live at Brookland Baptist Church Women’s Day – Episode #149
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today we have a special episode that features a group of women from the Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Each year, this committee of women puts together an event called Women’s Day, where they invite church members and the community at large to take advantage of resources for women around health, finances, emotional issues and spiritual well-being. Each week before the event, the committee gathers for a weekly prayer call, where they pray for the event, hear each other’s prayer concerns, and read a devotional passage from Jesus Calling. We caught up with these ladies live at the 2019 Women’s Day and listened in on their panel conversation, in addition to talking with them individually about how being involved in the event and the weekly prayer call that has changed their lives.
God Is Always with You, Even When Life Changes
Tré Tailor: My name is Tré Tailor with Brookland Baptist Church, and I was blessed with the opportunity to become chair of Women’s Day 2019. It was nothing I’d asked for or even thought I wanted to do. But when I was given this incredible opportunity, I really prayed about what Women’s Day was going to look like this year.
I love my church and I love my pastor. And not only did I want to make the church and our pastor proud, I wanted to sincerely do something with the women not only of our church, but of our community. Because we’re all connected not only with our church, but with our community. We have sisterhood and relationships with people we go to work with, people from our families.
I also knew that all of those relationships are interconnected, and if we don’t reach out to our sister we know and the sister we may not know as much, only through that connection can we be strengthened as a people.
I knew that this journey had to have a spiritual background. And Norma had introduced me to Jesus Calling.
Norma, I don’t know how many years it was ago that we met at the Burger King right here and you just spoke so much life into me, and you gave me that Jesus Calling. Can you tell me why you did that?
Norma Brown: At that time, God just kind of showed me that Tré was going through some things. And I knew that that book helped me, so I really believed that that would help her too. I remember her sharing some things with me, and I just wanted to let her know that God was with her always. I always ministered to her that God has a special calling for you, and He has something special for you.
Tré Tailor: Norma is such a sweet person. She’s so kind, and so sweet, and so loving, and she did pour so much into me. I mean, she saw things in me that I really didn’t even see in myself, and I was so appreciative.
I don’t even know if I told Norma immediately that I was reading the Jesus Calling and what a change it was. But every day, every day, no matter what the reading is, it speaks to a specific thing that is happening in my life every day.
There were times during that time which, gosh, it started maybe about three years ago [when] you gave me Jesus Calling, and then [you] gave me Jesus Always. And there were periods at first where I would read, read, read every day, then I would stop and then I would feel such a void.
And it is challenging sometimes. Because when you go through a transition, you have to change, and people change in your life. You have people come in your life and go out of your life, and it is difficult. But it is so reassuring to know that God is there with you.
I’m just so thankful. I’m so thankful that whatever you saw in me, that you were obedient because God tells us to do some things, but we’re not always obedient. So I thank you not only for giving me Jesus Calling and Jesus Always, but for always pouring into me.
[Norma is] a praying woman. And when she prays and God speaks to her, she does reach out to you. And I’m so thankful for her in my life, and so thankful for her in my life. So thank you, [Norma]. Thank you.
I just wanted women to get what I was getting. I wanted to share with women what Norma had shared with me, because I know how it changed me, how it’s [still] changing me. It’s not that it just changed my life. It is an ongoing change.
Norma Brown: As I said when I read, it’s like Jesus is really talking to me, like He’s in the room with me. And to feel that comfort, I thought it would be amazing to allow other women to feel the same thing.
“The Lord will help me help them.”
Tré Tailor: Now Angela, I know that you were not particularly interested in reading yet another prayer journal.
Angela Hartwell: When I came to the first meeting for Women’s Day, we were discussing have a 5:30 Tuesday morning prayer call, and the center of our prayer call would be Jesus Calling. And I’m not a morning person. I don’t make any bones about it. And we were discussing times and they said 5:30 AM. I won’t be on that call, [I thought].
But I did join the call. And the call has blessed me because it gave me the opportunity to really get into reading Jesus Calling. Like Norma just said, it sounds like God is talking to you when you’re reading it, so it’s been a blessing.
We use Jesus Calling every Tuesday morning on that call as the basis of the foundation of the call. Then we do prayer requests, and we actually have a prayer time, and we have a discussion time. We read the scriptures that are coordinating with Jesus Calling, and it’s been life changing. And so we now use it every day.
I chose January 12th, which is my birthday. It says:
“Let Me prepare you for the day that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today: Spend quality time with Me.” – Jesus Calling devotional
I feel like that passage really helps me because I do have a lot of twists and turns in my life as a social worker. I see so much, I hear so much, and I carry that. And I know that if I spend time with the Lord, He will help me in the times when I have a family and I don’t have an answer [for them], I know that I can go to prayer and that the Lord it will help me help them. And sometimes that’s all I can do for some situation, is say a prayer to God. And that’s got to help them.
So Jesus Calling really helps prepare me for that workday because it asks me to get in His presence and go to Him and not to try and carry all of it with me. And you know, I would like to be able to have a road map to see that all the twists and turns ahead of me, but I know that I can’t. So I have to depend on God to lead and guide the way.
“Jesus Calling really helps prepare me for that workday because it asks me to get in His presence and go to Him and not to try and carry all of it with me.” – Angela Hartwell, Brookland Baptist Church
Tré Tailor: Well, I know it’s been a family affair for you too, because your husband is actually reading it also.
Angela Hartwell: Yes. I put it in a place that my husband and I both had access to it, and I didn’t realize that my husband was reading it. And when I moved it, he was like, “Why did you move the Jesus Calling?!” So I had to put the Jesus Calling back because he really began to engage in it. He used it as he was going through a really hard time, and he connected to Jesus Calling as well. So it’s really now a family between my husband and that we both read the Jesus Calling every day. It’s been a blessing to our marriage and to our family.
“I feel like I have backup.”
Tré Tailor: Speaking about family and sharing, Jayme and Johanna are here. They’re mother and daughter. And Jayme, you’re 15. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jayme Tillman-Bridgett: My name is Jayme, I’m 15. Jesus Calling, it was a reminder every morning that you need to believe and you need to let God be in everything that you do, through every grade that you receive. So it was more of a wake up call, and I realized some things.
Tré Tailor: So Johanna, as the mother of two young women, Jayme and Jayden, how do you feel connecting with them, especially a teenage daughter, through Jesus Calling? Especially when you’re going through stuff yourself.
Johanna Bridgett: Yes. As a single mom, this has really brought my daughters and I together because Jayden, who’s not up here, she has the Jesus Calling for Kids. So [Jayme and I] read our Jesus Calling first, and then she reads hers later, and [Jayden] can actually really contribute to the conversation. It’s brought it to her level. And we do our devotions in the car on the way to school. That way I have everybody set, everybody settled. No phones, no radio. They can focus on the Word, and I can get that prayer in and touch them before they get out the car.
“[Jesus Calling] has really brought my daughters and I together.” – Johanna Bridgett, Brookland Baptist Church
Jayme Tillman-Bridgett: It’s taught me to trust more in God and step back from situations and see through His eyes.
I was going through a little situation with my friends, and it told me to step back from where I was seeing the situation and to see it from His eyes.
Johanna Bridgett: Being a freshman in high school, there’s a lot of drama. So she usually calls me and I say, “Well, what did you read today?”
She’s like, “Mommy, this day helped me a lot.” And she’ll break it down for me as to why. So I’m very excited. I feel like I have backup. I have support, and a support system for when she’s not with me.
“[With Jesus Calling,] I feel like I have backup. I have a support system for when [my daughter isn’t] with me.” – Johanna Bridgett, Brookland Baptist Church
I’m a preacher’s kid, so I was taught you should pray and remember others. And I taught my daughters the five things to pray about when you “fill in the blanks.” That’s how I taught them to pray. It was automatic, it was programmed.
What Jesus Calling has done for me was just step back and have that relationship. I allowed Him to be my Friend. Not just my Savior, my Provider, all these titles. He became my Friend at that moment. I didn’t realize I didn’t allow Him in that space. And once I allowed Him, that is when I sleep so much better. I breathe so much better. I understand so much better. I didn’t reach out as much to other people for prayer. I just went and talked to Him.
Many days I’d read, and it tells me, “Be ready. Be prepared. I’ve got you.” And I’d walk right into that situation at work and I said, “Well, I’m already ready. Bring it.”
Tré Tailor: Yeah. Because you’ve got that knowing to God. You’ve got that knowing.
“God can heal me where I am.”
Tré Tailor: Josephine, I know that this has been an incredible time for you because the very first meeting that we had, you shared with us what the theme meant to you, the theme being F.I.G.H.T.—Faith Intensified By Glorifying Him Together.
Josephine Smith: As you all know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks prior to coming into the meeting. I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to tell the people, but I did. I’m glad that I told them.
When I was diagnosed, I said that I was in the fight for my life. And that theme meant a lot to me to sit down at that table and see the word F.I.G.H.T.—Faith Intensified By Glorifying Him Together—and then to be on the Tuesday morning call. I needed that. I needed that at that time.
And so I knew that I was where I was supposed to be, because I was hesitant about joining the Women’s Day, but I knew that I was where I was supposed to be at that time when I sat at that table.
Tré Tailor: And then several months later, the last Sunday in February, you said to us . . .
Josephine Smith: There were no cancer found on the PET scan.
They took me off of the harsh, taxing drug that was just wreaking havoc on my body, but I went through it. I went through it. And people said, “You don’t look like you’re going through what you’re going through.”
And I said, “I cannot take credit for that. I have to give credit to the One that is due. And all credit and praise is due to the Lord.”
I have a strong faith. I’ve gone through some things that God has seen me through, so I know what He can do. And I don’t know if it’s to give somebody else some faith who wouldn’t have any.
You know, people told me, “You need to go to the Cancer Treatment Center of Atlanta or Philadelphia.”
And I said, “The God that I serve can heal me from right here. Right here.”
People just always tell me when I tell them I had breast cancer, because some people don’t know in the church and I tell them, and they’re like, “I didn’t know.”
And I said, “I kind of suspect that you know because of the wig.”
And they were like, “Well, yeah, I do.”
But I said, “I can’t take credit for the way I look. I have to give all credit to Him. He is preserving me. He is keeping me.”
I just feel like we have a real bond, and this Jesus Calling, again, that 5:30 prayer meeting just cemented that. It’s cemented that for me.
I have September 8th. And it says:
“Accept each day exactly as it comes to you. By that, I mean not only the circumstances of your day but also the condition of your body. Your assignment is to trust Me absolutely, resting in My sovereignty and faithfulness.
On some days, your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives—giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you. You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl out of the mire of discouragement. I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me by relying on My empowering Presence.”
And for me, when I first started chemo, I was not able to come to church on Sundays. I didn’t like that. I don’t like missing church. And the last three chemos that I’ve done, I’ve been able to come to church because the Lord has strengthened me, and I think it’s because of this particular reading that I did on that day, that I rely on Him. I can’t do it in my own strength, but I can do all things by Christ who strengthens me.
The Women’s Day group has been so gracious and loving to me, and I know that’s because they have God in their life. I know that is because we are taught at church to be loving to one another. Our church, the foundation is based on loving one another. And y’all have shown me that, and the Jesus Calling book has shown me that God loves us, no matter what. No matter what. Through it all, He loves us.
”Jesus Calling has shown me that God loves us, no matter what. No matter what. Through it all, He loves us. – Josephine Smith, Brookland Baptist Church
Narrator: To find out more about the ministries of Brookland Baptist Church, please visit BrooklandBaptist.org. If you’re interested in starting your own prayer and devotion group, you can find resources to get started at JesusCalling.com/groups.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we visit with country music legend Randy Travis and his wife Mary. In July of 2013, the man who had sold 25 million records and had 16 number 1 hits had a stroke that nearly took his life, and for a time, his ability to speak or sing. Mary shares about how she clung to God in this time.
Randy & Mary Travis: We leaned hard on Him. We leaned real hard on God. I know I spent a lot of nights over in my little hospital cot, or chair, or whatever was there talking to God and saying prayers. There was a newness in me as far as my faith, and I always asked Him, I said, “God, just please give him back to me.” And He was faithful. God was faithful.