I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14
What do you see when you look into the mirror? A tired face? Eyes filled with sadness? A furrowed brow caused by stress? More wrinkles? Frowns instead of smiles? Faded beauty? Diminishing youth? Or do you see what God sees? Someone created in His image?
Did you know that He formed your inward parts and covered you in your mother’s womb? Before you were even formed, He saw your substance. He saw the woman and man your were meant to be. He knew the accomplishments you would make, the decisions you would weigh and the mistakes you would make. Nothing you do can diminish His love for you. David knew this and that’s why he concluded, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).
God loves you with an everlasting love. He said, “Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3). You are His masterpiece. The apple of His eye. When you see yourself the way He does, you will fully understand why He were are so precious to Him.
As parents and stewards of God, it is our duty to provide for, care for and protect our children. We are to impart wisdom and knowledge to them that will keep them safe and grounded in a world where they will encounter hardships, trials, temptations and challenges. We are to teach, guide, counsel, encourage and support them.
Most mothers try to be positive examples for their children, teaching them right from wrong and to how to develop healthy habits. They teach them how to be kind, loving and considerate toward others. They help their teenagers with their studies and transition into young adulthood. In fact, they do their best to raise their children to be upstanding citizens of society. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Sahdev’s mother, Vahini who spent her time drinking with her son.
Alcoholism became Sahdev’s vice. It consumed him to the point where he spent all of his earnings on alcohol and it his habit grew with such force that his mother was disturbed by it. She began to wonder if a wife would temper his addiction so she set about looking for someone for him to marry. She kept his drinking a secret while she arranged marriage between Sahdev and a young woman named Tanu, however, the bride soon discovered the family’s dark secret. From the beginning of their marriage, she was victim of verbal abuse and brutal, drunken beatings.
Vahini’s hope that marriage would soften her son was squashed but, sadly, she didn’t support Tanu’s efforts to change Sahdev. This was the opportunity to do what was right for her daughter-in-law and the grandchild that was on the way but Vahini sided with her son. This only made his alcoholism grow worse, resulting in liver damage. While Tanu braced herself for raising her child with a drunken father, her mother-in-law tried to find proper treatment for him but two months after his son was born, Sahdev died.
Instead of taking responsibility for her part in her son’s death, Vahini blamed Tanu. Tanu, now a widow with a child, received no comfort or support from her mother-in-law. When Vahini ordered Tanu to leave the house and she refused, she was beaten. Then, faced with raising a 2 month old child and no other options, the young mother returned to her parents’ home in the slums. This was the last place she wanted to be but her parents comforted her and encouraged her to stay.
Things were tough for Tanu. She found it hard to find a job to support her son and her family’s social caste limited her to jobs with long hours and low pay. Thankfully, she wasn’t under any pressure. Her father was a real trooper, very supportive. He provided for her and his grandson by working as a daily wage laborer. When the time came to put Aakar in school, the cost of his education was too much for the family. And Tanu hadn’t found a good job. She and her parents struggled to make do with what little they had. Aakar was enrolled in a free city school but the costs for his supplies were tremendous. And there was the nagging thought that if anything were to happen to Tanu’s father, the family would have nothing at all.
Unless something was done, six year old Aakar would be forced to drop out of school. Help came when Tanu talked to her neighbors about their children’s education. She learned that they were receiving help from Bridge of Hope, a Gospel for Asia sponsored program. The program supported, educated, tutored, provided meals and medical care for children from needy families like hers. Not wasting any time, Tanu enrolled Aakar at the centre.
Their lives changed when the staff not only provided for Aakar’s needs but showed compassion and kindness to him and hope sparked in Tanu. She saw that there was a very great possibility that her son’s life would turn out very differently from his father’s.
“I can see that my child is improving in his studies and learning good habits through the Bridge of Hope center, ” Tanu said. “I only wish that my child will grow up to be a good companion and never ever become addicted to alcohol or any kind of bad habits.”
Aakar is off to a really good start. At Bridge of Hope, God is working through the staff members to give him a better future–one of hope. Surrounded by people who love the Lord, Aakar stands a better chance of growing up to be a good man who loves the Lord and others. He has a heavenly Father who loves him. He never knew his own father whose life was a tragic one because of an evil influence. Unlike his father, Aakar has a mother who wants what is best for him.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope – Jeremiah 29:11
Thank God for stepping in when things were looking dismal for Aakar and his family. Through Bridge of Hope, God has transformed their lives. Tanu didn’t know it at the time but the best thing she did was moving back home with her parents. It was while she was living there, that she experienced the love and mercy of God through a program which offered her son more than an education. It offered him a chance to have a quality life. Had she stayed at the home she once shared with her husband, life for her and Aakar would have been unbearable at the hands of her mother-in-law. God brought them out of that toxic environment and into a place where their lives have changed for the better.
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You – Psalm 33:22
Tanu’s story has a happy ending but there are other mothers who are struggling to raise their children. Faced with extreme poverty, their lives are filled with hopelessness. And many children in Asia never experience what it’s like to have a normal childhood. Instead, they are faced with situations and decisions that we can’t even imagine or have ever had to deal with. Please pray that God will intervene in their lives as He did in Tanu’s. And you can help to Aakar and children like him by sponsoring a child. If you are interested in doing so, click here. Help to transform a family’s life.
How many women can claim to be the wife of one Prime Minister and the mother of another? On Monday, October 19, 2015, Margaret Trudeau watched as the results came in announcing her son Justin Trudeau as Canada’s next Prime Minister. She watched as her son and his party went from being third in the long race to head the race and then make history as they won, garnering 184 seats, exceeding the majority of 170 seats. According to Michael Den Tandt:
Justin Trudeau, the eldest son of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, has resurrected his party, confounded his critics, defied the naysayers and trolls, overcome his own mistakes and resoundingly defeated two tough, smart, determined opponents who cannot have imagined anything like this outcome.
A minority was presaged by many polls. A majority, and a broad one at that, is beyond the Liberals’ wildest hopes.
In pulling this off, Trudeau, 43, has made history. Canada has its first political dynasty.
I can just imagine the pride that filled Margaret and no doubt, she thought of her former husband, Pierre and how proud he would have been of their son. When she held the infant Justin in her arms, did she ever imagine that he would one day follow in his father’s footsteps?
As I watched her with her daughter-in-law, son and grandchildren in their hotel room watching the results, I wondered who this woman was. What was her story?
Margaret was born in Vancouver to Doris Kathleen and James Sinclair, a former Liberal member of the Parliament of Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. She attended Simon Fraser University where she studied English Literature.
At the age of 18, when vacationing in Tahiti, she met Pierre Trudeau, then Minister of Justice. It seemed like she was destined to be in the world of politics. Interestingly enough, Margaret didn’t recognize Pierre and thought little of their encounter. However, he was captivated by this carefree “flower child”. She was thirty years his junior but that didn’t stop him from pursuing her.
When he became Prime Minister in 1968, Pierre was still a bachelor. After keeping their relationship private, he stunned the country by marrying 22 year old Margaret in 1971 at a private ceremony in West Vancouver. Not surprisingly, the age difference raised some eyebrows among Canadians but this behaviour was typical of the Prime Minister who “prided himself on his progressive views and youthful vigour”.
Pierre Trudeau was a Catholic so Margaret converted to his religion. When asked about her role in her marriage to the Prime Minister, she said, “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel.”
Life as the wife of a Prime Minister was not easy. It took some adjusting for Margaret. She wrote in her memoirs, “a glass panel was gently lowered into place around me, like a patient in a mental hospital who is no longer considered able to make decisions and who cannot be exposed to a harsh light.” They had three children, Justin being the eldest. They appeared to have a very close and loving relationship but the marriage soon began to fall apart. Margaret resented her husband’s frequent work-related absences. She was forced to raise their sons on her own. What a change this must have been for the woman who was once described as “carefree”.
Her publicity didn’t come solely from her high-profile position, unfortunately. She made headlines when she smuggled drugs in her husband’s luggage, made scantily clad appearances at Studio 54 and ripped apart a tapestry in the Prime Minister’s official residence in Ottawa because it celebrated “reason over passion”.
The marriage disintegrated. This led to an affair with U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. She associated with Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger, members of the Rolling Stones. She suffered from stress and bouts of bipolar depression. In 1977, she separated from her husband. She became a jet-setter and gave many “tell-all” interviews to Canadian and American magazines. She even appeared in two motion pictures. Pierre Trudeau won custody of the children and did not pay spousal support. Margaret had a difficult time earning a learning after her marriage. She wrote Beyond Reason, a book about her marriage. On the eve of 1979 Pierre’s party lost the majority of seats in the House of Commons. At the same time, Margaret was at Studio 54 in New York. A photo of her was featured on many front pages across Canada.
The Trudeaus divorced in 1984. Not long after, Margaret married Fried Kemper, Ottawa real-estate developer. They had two children. Unlike her first marriage, Margaret was able to disappear from the public eye. In 1998, Margaret experienced a devastating tragedy. Michel, her youngest son with Pierre, was killed in an avalanche. This led to another major depressive episode which ended her second marriage.
In 2000, when Pierre died Margaret was at his bedside with their sons, Justin and Alexandre.
Just because our marriage ended didn’t mean the love stopped – Margaret speaking of Trudeau.
What is Margaret up these days? She is the honorary president of WaterAid Canada, an organization in Ottawa, dedicated to helping the poorest communities in developing countries to have access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation. She has written the book, The Time of Your Life: Choosing A Vibrant Joyful Future in which she offers insights into how women can live healthy, happy lives and provides stories about her own life..
Notes to Women would like to commend Margaret for the work she has been doing since she announced in 2006 that she had been suffering from bipolar disorder. Through speaking engagements across North America, she has advocated for reducing the social stigma of mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder. She is an honorary patron of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She wrote about her personal experience with bipolar disorder in Changing My Mind.
She now resides in Montreal so she can be closer to her sons Justin and Alexandre. She was there in person to celebrate Justin’s historic win with him. Margaret Trudeau is not just the wife of Pierre Trudeau or the mother of Justin Trudeau. She is the voice of those who suffer from mental illness. She is an inspiration for women who have battled and are battling mood swings. She has shown that with the right doctors and right treatment, women who suffer from mental illness can rebuild their lives.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about bipolar disorder, visit this link.
TORONTO, ON- MARCH 25 – Margaret Trudeau has written a new book,The Time of Your Life….about enjoying a joyful old age .She is seen here in Harper Collins office downtown Toronto at in Toronto, March 25, 2015. Colin McConnell/Toronto Star
Is there love and respect in your marriage? Is your husband the head of your home? Do you sometimes try to take over his role as leader? Do you find yourself challenging his decisions or trying to undermine him? What happened to the marriage vows you exchanged with him?
Your husband needs your support and encouragement not your criticism and resistance. It’s not easy being the head of a home. There are times when he has to struggle to pay the bills, work overtime and deal with problems at work. The last thing he needs is to have to deal with an unsupportive wife.
When important decisions need to be made, you can help him by offering suggestions, recommendations but leave the final decision up to him and no matter what he decides, support him. Be optimistic. And if things work out, celebrate and if they don’t just be there for him.
When you have disagreements or arguments, take a moment to cool down so that you don’t say something you might regret. Always be respectful even if you don’t feel too loving at the moment. He is your husband, the man you pledged to spend the rest of your life with. He ought to have your respect regardless of how much he upsets you or rubs you the wrong way.
Don’t go to bed angry. Try to work things out. Don’t allow your anger to escalate to the point where it affects your relationship and causes a rift between the two of you.
I read this inspiring story and just had to share it.
A Life of Influence
Elizabeth Kimongo was born into a traditional Maasai family in Kenya. In her culture girls are expected to marry soon after their twelfth birthday. Women have little to say about their lives, but Elizabeth refused to leave school to marry. She had a dream.
While home for vacation before starting high school, Elizabeth learned that her father had arranged for her to marry an older man. With her mother’s blessing, she escaped and returned to her Adventist school.
During high school Elizabeth took her stand for Christ and later was baptized. When she told her mother that she wanted to study at the Adventist university, her mother encouraged her to go.
Elizabeth is majoring in agriculture, a field that will help her teach her people how to preserve their land and provide a better life. She works on campus and receives some scholarship funds to help her pay her school fees. Sometimes she must take a semester off to work full time to earn the money to continue her studies.
Elizabeth’s example has helped her younger sisters stay in school and avoid early marriage. Her father, once angry that his daughter would refuse to marry the man of his choice, now accepts her decision. But he pressures her younger sisters to marry this man. Elizabeth encourages her sister to walk close to God and continue their studies to make a better life.
Elizabeth urges other Maasai girls to study hard and trust in God. “Don’t allow life’s circumstances to steal your life away,” she says. “Satan wants to destroy you. You must trust God and not let Satan have his way.”
Elizabeth is old enough now that her community will not force her to marry. They accept her as an adult woman who can make her own decisions. “I want to teach my people by example how to produce better crops for a better life,” she says. “The village has given me a piece of land that I use to plant crops so that my fellow villagers can see for themselves the success they can have by following my example.”
Elizabeth is grateful for Adventist schools that have prepared her to live a life of influence among her Maasai people. Our mission offerings and Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings help these schools reach young people in all walks of life, including Maasai girls in the heart of eastern Africa. Thank you.
Elizabeth Kimongo will soon complete her studies and return to her village to work for her people and share God’s love among them.
It takes great courage to follow Jesus Christ and to stand up for your faith. At times it costs people their relationships with family, friends, their jobs or even their lives. For this young Kenyan woman, following Jesus was worth whatever the cost it took to do so. She knew that God had bigger plans for her life than entering into marriage she didn’t want. Education was more important and God’s help and her mother’s support, she was able to achieve what she set out to do. As a result she could now be a blessing to her community and a role model for young girls and women. God, through Elizabeth, was showing the Maasai people that He can do marvelous things among them and give them a bright future.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Like Elizabeth we too can make a difference in our community and reveal God’s love in the process. You too can be a beacon of hope. Don’t let fear, insecurity, opposition, doubt or Satan prevent you from pursuing your dream. Continue to put your faith and trust in God and watch Him do wondrous things through you.
What is stress? For some it is trying to prioritise the many projects they have undertaken and making decisions. For others it is moving to another apartment; raising a family; going for a job interview; meeting their future in-laws. Stress is knowing that the deadline for an article is fast approaching and you just can’t seem to find the time to sit down and write it. Stress is having to wait another 15 minutes for a bus because the first driver did not stop even though he saw you dashing across the street, your arms flailing.
Then there is good stress like having a child; getting married or getting that promotion you always wanted. These are stressful because they are big chances. For each there are greater responsibilities and a lot of adjustments to make.
Stress can result from an overactive imagination. Take Susan for example. She invited her boyfriend for lunch for the first time. She worried that she wouldn’t get home from church in time to prepare the meal. She worried that he wouldn’t get a parking space. She worried that he wouldn’t be able to eat chicken or turkey because she wasn’t sure if he was a vegetarian. She worried that she would be so nervous that she would spill or break something. Well, her boyfriend got a parking space as soon as he arrived. Not only did he eat the chicken and the turkey but he had seconds. Lunch went very well. The only setback was that it was not long enough. Susan had allowed herself to get stressed out because she imagined the worst. Stress robs us of a peace of mind and rest.
Many of us have spent sleepless nights because of stress. We lie awake worrying about that presentation we have to make to very important clients; a job interview or final exams. A lot of times stress is self-induced. We worry and fret unnecessarily and only succeed in giving ourselves high blood pressure.
How do we cope with stress? Taking time out is always a good idea and doing something else such as going for walks in the neighbourhood or in the park. Around this time of year it is especially nice because of the changing colours of the leaves and the air is fresh. Fresh air helps to clear the mind. Exercise is another option. Walk off the stress on the treadmill or pump it out of your system as you lift weights. Read a book or flip through a magazine. Pick up the phone and call a friend. It helps to talk to someone.