All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

Jenn is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, homemaker, artist, chronic volunteer, pastor's wife and doula-in-the-making. She loves reading, word & number puzzles, cooking nutritious food, planning fun surprises, looking after her family, helping people connect, having good heart-to-heart conversations about the important things in life. She is learning more and more about the Lord's workings and is 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.

Walking in the Light

I take my dog for a walk just about every morning. It’s good exercise for both of us, it gets us outside and into the fresh air. The sun has officially risen by the time we set out, during the wintertime, although it’s just peeking over the tops of buildings on the last stretch of our walk – heading toward the east, it’s shining right into my eyes, when there aren’t clouds obstructing it.

As I walk that last stretch along the sidewalk in our residential neighbourhood, I love to feel the sun shining down on me. Since it’s quite bright, sometimes I close my eyes, but I keep walking – it started out as a bit of a game, counting how many steps I could take along the [very straight] sidewalk before running into the grass on either side. First it was about 10 steps, then 20, then even 30 and a bit more – chuckling to myself all the while, thinking about how I must look like a bit of a ninny to any who witness me walking like a drunkard down the street at 7:30 in the morning!

More recently, though, I’ve chosen to let go of some of the stress that I noticed I’d begun to feel as I did that – worrying about walking off the path, tripping, counting steps, besting my previous accomplishment. I choose to just go, just be, to trust that I’ll be fine (and anyway, it doesn’t matter how many steps I take). To enjoy the sunshine on my face and closed eyelids. As I do that, I can’t help but think of the Lord, bathing me in His wisdom and love.

“….Wow,” I thought – “That’s a great comparison to how we ought to live our lives!” How many times have we been advised to ‘Let go & let God’, to trust in His Providence? Feeling the warmth of the Lord’s love, seeing – understanding – the Lord’s truths, really trusting that, with Him – turning to Him for guidance and living a life of love as He longs for us to do – all will be well. Amen to that!

In the spiritual world there is a sun. The Lord is in the center of that sun. From it He flows, through heat and light, into the whole spiritual world and into all the people there. All the light and heat there come from that sun. The Lord also flows from that sun, with the same heat and light, into the souls and minds of people [in the material world]. That heat, in its essence, is the Lord’s divine love; that light, in its essence, is the Lord’s divine wisdom. (True Christianity 641.2)

They who trust in the Lord continually receive good from Him; for whatsoever happens to them, whether it appears to be prosperous or not prosperous, is still good, because it conduces as a means to their eternal happiness.  (Arcana Coelestia 8480.3)

[As a bit of a post-script, I’ll add that, when the clouds do cover the sky and block any view of the sun, it’s fun to remember that the sun is still there – it hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s as close as ever! – just like how the Lord is a-l-w-a-y-s there for us; even when we can’t see or feel Him – well, we aren’t truly without light nor heat on such a day, similar to how we are never truly without His love & truth – even when it seems to us that He isn’t there, He really is, there are just some things in the way to our perceiving Him fully. These obstructions come from us, from our faulty natural inclinations,…. but that’s a story for another day!]

He Loves Them, Too

Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my plea!
Answer me because You are faithful and righteous.
My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You.
Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.
Rescue me from my enemies, LORD; I run to You to hide me.
In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes,
for I am Your servant.
(Psalm 143:1, 3, 8, 9, 12)

This psalm of David’s carries a familiar theme: crying out in anguish, praising the LORD, calling on Him for help.

After reading this psalm, I pondered it for a while, then formed my own prayer based on David’s. “Please guide me in Your ways, LORD, and destroy my enemies.” Even as I said these words, though, this last bit caught in my throat: “destroy my enemies” David had said it, right there in the last verse of the psalm: “Destroy all my foes.” He was begging the LORD, as I then was, to take the hells away. ….But did I really want Him to destroy them?

I pondered this a bit longer: these hells that I wanted the LORD to destroy, who were they? They were people, too. I pictured some dirty, scary, evil-looking beings like what I might’ve seen in an illustration somewhere. These were people, though, who’d made poor choices and ended up in hell. Nevertheless, they were part of His creation. And if they were part of His creation, and He doesn’t create anything inherently bad, He only creates what He loves – that is to say, He loves everything that He creates,….. then, by definition, He loves these evil spirits, too. I’d known that, theoretically – “The LORD loves everyone.” It had been a bit of a platitude up to that point, though, because in that moment it dawned on me how He loves everyone. Equally. He doesn’t just like some, love some others, and kinda not really like others much at all, and He doesn’t only like us when we’re behaving well: He loves us ALL, each and every one of us, 100%, all the time, passionately, unconditionally. WOAH.

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Sisterhood

Since mid-2019, New Churchwomen in Australia have taken to gathering for women’s weekends twice a year, in person when feasible and virtually when not. This is adapted from a session I presented at our April ‘22 weekend, just as applicable to this audience as to that.

When I think about our women’s weekends, I think about our group of ladies coming together, from various corners of the country (or world!), from various generations and various walks of life, and I think about the bonds we form, a sort of sisterhood, despite the lack of any blood ties.

Thinking about sisters in the Word, not many sister-sister relations come to mind. There are a number of sisters of men mentioned – Moses and Aaron’s sister Miriam, Absalom & Amnon’s sister Tamar, Laban’s sister Rebekah (Isaac’s wife) and King Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba are the prominent ones. The only two sister-sister relationships that I thought of are Mary & Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, and Rachel & Leah, Jacob’s wives.

Mary & Martha are most well known for their interaction with Jesus when He visited them in their home: Martha spent time getting things ready for the Lord, while Mary didn’t seem to do anything except sit down at the Lord’s feet and listen to Him. Martha complained and Jesus chided her, saying that what Mary was doing was very important and that she must be left alone to do it. (Luke 10 / John 12)

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Give A Hoot

“Give a hoot – don’t pollute!” You may recognise this as the cry of Woodsy the Owl in public service announcements for the U.S. Forest Service in the 1970s. Woodsy had a great point: don’t litter! Don’t be callous! Take care of the environment around you! This article isn’t an environmentalist plea, however; at least, mostly not. It goes deeper than that, and feels like a good way to start off a new year.

In a discussion with friends after church a while back, it occurred to me that Woodsy’s is a great all-around motto. “Give a hoot, don’t pollute __” – you can fill in the blank with just about anything, and it works. Don’t pollute your physical environment with litter or garbage. Don’t pollute your head-space with selfish or lustful thoughts. Don’t pollute your relationships with accusations or anger. Don’t pollute the air waves around you with foul or hurtful language. Don’t pollute any environment with any kind of garbage.

To think of it another way, ‘put the needs of others before your selfish wants’. The Heavenly Doctrines offer valuable spiritual perspective on this concept. ‘Pollution’, in the Writings, is held in contrast to ‘purification’ and is used in reference to a person’s regeneration – which is useful but doesn’t really address our effecting of pollution. If we consider that not polluting implies being kind and not selfish, we might find more to substantiate this notion:

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