All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

Jenn is a wife and mother, sister and daughter, chef and artist, pastor's wife and friend. She loves reading, cooking nutritious food, doing her art, helping new mums with their bubs, having a good heart-to-heart conversation about the important things in life. She is in awe of the Lord's workings, inspired by His sheer amazingness. She was born & raised in Canada, educated & started a family in the United States, and now lives & loves in Australia. It's all a big mish-mash, and it's all good.

The Lord Provides!

News flash: the Lord provides everything we need for us! Ok, given the aim of this blog and the likely audience reading this article, that probably isn’t news to you. (How blessed are we to already have this notion in our consciousness!)

Having grown up in the New Church, I’ve known this concept – intellectually – for much of my 45 years; it’s only within the last few, though, that I’ve paused to reflect on it, let it sink in a bit, and really see it in action in my life. I’ve been astonished by how things just work out! For example, I enjoy cooking and spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen, which probably explains why I’ve noticed a fair number of provisions there:
– I needed 1/4 cup of flour: there was exactly 1/4 cup left in the jar!
– I needed 1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk: between the frozen 1/3ish cup in one can + what’s left in the other = 1 1/2 cups!
– I needed at least 3 cups of cauliflower rice: the riced stub of cauliflower left in my produce drawer = a generous 3 cups!

These are very material, natural examples of how the Lord has provided for me; I can only imagine how He is wonderfully providing for my spirit. Seeing these tangible examples, though, encourages me that, hey, if He’s providing for these little things, presumably – hopefully! – He’s providing for the bigger, more important ones, too. (Maybe these little obvious ones are His way of pointing them out to me, to draw my attention to the fact that He really does provide all things?)

It’s easy to get bogged down in worldly things, especially in these weird times we’re experiencing in our world today. The Lord tells us repeatedly in His Word that we need not worry so long as we do His will and trust in Him. Whenever we’re in doubt, let us be encouraged by His words to us!

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-end)

“When the Lord is with someone He leads him and makes provision so that all that happens, whether sad or joyful, may bring him what is good. This is Divine Providence.” (Arcana Cœlestia 6303)

(These are but a couple such instances; if you want to read more about it, I suggest you check out Arcana Cœlestia 8478 for an explanation of this quote from Matthew; Arcana Cœlestia 8455 and Divine Providence 179 are great, too!)

I’ll leave you with this psalm, rejoicing in the Lord. Let us all remember that He is looking out for us, every moment of every day – let us rejoice in Him and His loving providence!

“I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise You and extol Your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends Your works to another; they tell of Your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty—and I will meditate on Your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of Your awesome works—and I will proclaim Your great deeds.
They celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 
The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.
All Your works praise You, Lord; Your faithful people extol You.
They tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might,
so that all people may know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations. 
The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does.
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfils the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise His holy name for ever and ever.”
(Psalm 145)

Rebekah

Last August, a group of women gathered for our first Australian New Church Women’s Weekend together. That was such a success that, in early March this year, we did it again! Both times we shared delicious home-made meals, fun ice-breaker games, insightful instruction on a woman from the Bible and other spiritual topics, relaxing & enlightening meditations, a charitable project, fresh air & sunshine and down-time to develop relationships with old friends and new acquaintances. The woman from the Bible whom we studied this March was Rebekah. Below is the essence of what was presented; it’s kind of heavy, but hopefully informative. It might be helpful to read Genesis chapters 24-27 to familiarise yourself with the different parts of the story as it is presented in the Bible.

The internal sense of this story is about the process of conjunction of good and truth in the Lord’s Divine Human. Rebekah represents the Divine truth that was to be conjoined with Divine good (Isaac) of His rational. Rebekah, before they were betrothed, stands for the love of truth from doctrinal things, in other words in thought but not yet in action.

Rebekah’s drawing water for Abraham’s servant’s camels and giving them to drink has to do with enlightenment in a person’s natural level, i.e. gaining factual knowledge. Her being sent away from her family (going with the servant) is about truth being elevated and separated from the natural, which happens when a person doesn’t look from truth to good any more (knowing what is right and doing it), but from good to truth (doing it because she loves it, and recognises it as true). Here’s a concrete example: ‘don’t hate’: first we do it because we know we shouldn’t, and eventually we truly love and believe and live it, not because we’re told but because we love it; it’s lifted out of the natural.

Continue reading Rebekah

Nothing

When I was little, I told my mom, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to be just like you: nothing.” Some people scoff at these words, but I think moms get it, I think moms understand. Those simple words didn’t mean that my mom was a nobody, that I didn’t respect her or that I wanted to grow up just to stay home and watch soaps and eat bonbons all day (goodness knows, my mom didn’t!). I was expressing the desires of my heart: not be be a career woman, but to be a MOM, just like her.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to bear children and be a mom. I’ve always loved babies. I’ve had other career goals along the way – archeologist, architect, nurse (baby nurse!), doctor (baby doctor!), graphic designer, midwife – but what it all ever came down to was that I wanted to be a mom. You can imagine my EXCITEMENT when my husband and I decided we were ready to start trying to conceive!!!…..

…..Then you can perhaps imagine my utter devastation when my period came, month after month after bloomin’ month. [Who ever expects to deal with infertility, growing up?! I sure didn’t.] We were fortunate to have the means to eventually attempt IVF, and we were gloriously blessed with success on the very first try!! Our son is now 13 years old, and I try to remind myself how so very, very blessed we are to have him.

Continue reading Nothing

Invisible Prisoners

I recently visited Cuba for the first time, with a few extended family members. We were there for my cousin’s graduation from med school, and we took some time to see a few sights too, in and around Havana. It was my first visit to a communist country. It was eye-opening.

Having grown up in Canada, Cuba has figured very low on my ‘awareness radar’. Everything I knew about the country, prior to my trip, I’d gleaned from my right-winged American husband. I gathered that Fidel Castro was ‘bad’ and America was ‘good’. I didn’t come across much about Fidel in my first few hours on the island, but during the medical school graduation ceremony I was introduced, albeit in a foreign language (of which I could only eke out a few words and implications!), to what looked to be the Cuban perspective on former president Fidel Castro. “Viva Fidel!” Long live Fidel! (or his ideology, as the case may be, as the man himself is deceased.)

Speakers venerated the man in their addresses, we saluted and chanted “Viva!” in response to their prompts. Wow, what a benevolent leader he was, creating this tertiary institution to benefit the people – which students attend and from which they earn their bona fide title of ‘doctora’ or ‘doctor’ free of charge! In that moment I realised that the image I’d formed in my mind of the oppressive Mr. Castro was incomplete: I’d only gotten half the story, up to that point, the other side, the American side. “Ok, Cubans really do love their leader. I was naïvely fooled into thinking that he was the enemy!” I felt some shame at having developed an opinion without learning the whole story. The rest of that day was spent rejoicing with the graduates and feeling good about their unique opportunity, and about Mr. Castro.

Continue reading Invisible Prisoners