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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Before I Go, I Need You to Know. . .


Mike snapped this photo above Oda on one of our first hikes in Norway

Beloved Friends,

 

It’s almost game-time…we leave for Norway tomorrow.

 

Some of you know that Mike and I have had the privilege of doing interim pastoral work in this beautiful Nordic country twice before – the autumn of 2019 and spring of 2022.

 

As I post this letter to you today, we are just 24 hours away from our third trip where we’ll spend several months as volunteers at North Sea Baptist Church in Stavanger, located in the southwestern corner of Norway just a few miles from where my Wallem grandparents grew up.


We’ll be filling in for NSBC’s multi-gifted senior pastor David Fresch, who travels widely assisting other churches in his role as Executive Director of MICN, the Missional International Church Network.

 

Mike will be preaching while David is away as well as leading the men’s Bible study and co-leading the growing Young Adults group with me. I’ll be involved in the morning and evening women’s studies, and will speak at their March 8 International Women’s Day event along with an April multi-church women’s weekend retreat.

 

You’ll see photos of some of our NSBC friends sprinkled throughout this letter.

Vi gleder oss til å se dem igjen (We are eager to see them again.) How dearly God loves them!


With KP & Rachel, who lead the Young Adult group; Lisa H, our hostess on Syttende Mai, & Kristy who works with women's ministries

 

And can you grasp right now how much He loves you, too?  Please answer me true: Do you feel loved?

 

It’s a flawed question, isn’t it. What do feelings have to do with fact? They flirt with it, maybe, acting like they’re partnered with truth while instead they’re entertaining all manner of wild notions in some side room of the mind.

We are wedded to our feelings, but they consistently cheat on us. We think we’ve got our emotions under control only to find they’ve betrayed us. We smile and assure others we’re fine – thanks for asking! but inside we’re pushing down depression like a willful child who refuses to sit at the table.  Or the mind, which should be boss, finds itself answering to feelings even though they’re interns new on the job every day. 

Jesus asked a lot of questions, but I’m not recollecting one along the line of, “So how are you feeling today?”

 

He cared about personal well-being, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5), and scriptural authority, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” (Luke 10). 

 

Jesus was concerned about spiritual understanding, “Do you still not see?” (Mark 8:17), and faith, “Why did you doubt?” (Matt. 14: 29-31).  And he cared deeply about our very human fears and failures: “Why are you so afraid?” (Matt. 8:26).


Women's evening Bible study in the parsonage apartment

God is concerned about our emotions, our beliefs, and our capacity to comprehend his creation, but he never instructs us to respond based on feelings that are fickle at best and deceptive at worst.

 

Does my cat feel loved? She’s safe and warm and well-fed, and she permits me to pet her. I might even hear a faint rumble that sounds like contentment.  I don’t know if she feels loved.


She only comes to me when she wants something.


She disappears once she’s satisfied without a backward glance of appreciation.


She is haughty, picks fights, and pollutes our home with messes emanating from both ends.


But I love her, yes, I do. She hasn’t done anything to earn my love; she doesn’t have to. I love her just because.


And you know what? Someone loves me that same way too. And He loves you. Whether you’re feeling it or not does not change what is truer than true. . .


Typical Norsk breakfast: heart-shaped"vafles"

GOD LOVES YOU.


Too often we behave as if He’s here to serve us rather than the other way around. We ignore Him until we want something. We make messes and then expect Him to clean them up.


But He loves us, oh yes He does.


Just because.


Sending you so much love today, friends.

Maggie


PS – There was an unprecedented interest in last week’s giveaway of the new book Praying Personalities, by best-selling author Janet Holm McHenry. Congratulations to Laura G of  Leicester, NC, who won this month’s drawing. Watch for our March and April giveaway opportunities.


Maggie Wallem Rowe is a speaker, dramatist, and essayist who writes from Peace Ridge, her home in the mountains of western North Carolina. The author of This Life We Share and Life is Sweet, Y'all, Maggie takes her readers with her when she travels, tucked securely in her heart and prayers. Her Norwegian maiden name is said to come from Valheim (Heaven's home.)

 

 

 

 

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