By Dinah Monahan
Do you ever wonder at the “God appointments” He sets up for you as you just wander through your day? Such was the “appointment” with a woman named Tammy Stearns. I met her at Heartbeat Conference this past April. It took about two sentences for us to realize we were kindred spirits. Tammy and her husband started a ministry in Nicaragua. They felt the Lord telling them they needed to move there to accomplish His purposes. I told her what I do with Breaking The Shackles of Shame retreats. Her eyes lit up and she said, “You won’t believe this but my ministry name is, “Unshackled!” I shared my book and, after reading it she asked if they could translate it into Spanish so they could take the message to the women they serve in Nicaragua. She works with prostitutes along with children and moms. The translation into Spanish is now underway. Tammy’s last e-newsletter shared their excitement at finally gaining the trust of the women from the brothels enough to invite them to the ministry home and serving them lunch in the courtyard of UnShackled, joining them in laughter and sharing the love of Jesus. The last line of her post says this, “Today left me breathless…Watching the shackles fall.” Tammy will join us for a retreat in March of 22.
When I think of women like Tammy or my dear friend Joy who travels to Ethiopia regularly to help the Muslim converts plant churches, who runs an orphanage for abandoned baby’s, who travels in the interior of Ethiopia on the back of a motorcycle I am in awe. Petty words, self-pity or giving up are not in their vocabulary. They are genuine, joyful! Christian women who are BOLD in the Lord! Contrast this with so many women who have been held back by their own lies of shame or the criticism of others who create boxes for them to stay in. Shame has kept us focused on ourselves, our failings, our mistakes and our failures, not accepting that Jesus paid for all of this on the cross. When we are unshackled, we can answer the call to go boldly in this sick and broken world and proclaim Christ’s message of healing. In doing this, we will be seen by many in the church as “too much and not enough.” But it doesn’t matter. Only boldly walking out His calling on our lives matters. I see this boldness in the women who come to the retreats. They want more. They want authentic and transparent and they want to make a difference. For so many after experiencing deep healing, taking Breaking The Shackles of Shame to other women who are bound by the lies becomes their calling.
Jen Joling went home after the retreat and shared her vision with her husband. His response was, “Let’s do it.” And so they are planning to put three large yurts (yes I said yurts) on their beautiful Wisconsin property to serve as retreat homes. Mary Covillo from Idaho has a large home with stunning lake vistas that she plans to host retreats and bring the life altering experience to other women. Vilmarie Fraser from Florida and Angie Norby from Minnesota are lining up Bible Studies and day retreats in churches. These are only a few of the many women who are excited as they leave the retreat and go boldly forward sharing Truth with other women! The Band of Beggars is on the move! ROBIN’S NEST IS BLESSED: Laurie Aalbach attended our 2nd retreat. We did not know she was an accomplished artist. At the end of the retreat she gifted us with a print of one of her paintings. It is very meaningful to our ministry…the woman who knew if she only touched the hem of Jesus’ robe she would receive healing. We had it framed and hung it in a prominent place. Thank you, Laurie, for your wonderful gift to all of us.