We can’t have beauty without ashes. We can’t have Easter without Good Friday. This Friday’s finds are a little different because right now I have several friends dealing with grief, life-threatening illnesses, mothering-frustrations, and general darkness. We have searched the scriptures together looking for hope and signs of the resurrection. I’d like to leave you with verses that have brought some encouragement to us this week. I also have a very cool shameless story below—God is working and women’s lives are being changed. Happy Easter!
Verses For Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Morning
Psalm 34:18- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit.”
Isaiah 49:13-“The Lord comforts his people and has compassion on his afflicted ones.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14-“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to hard you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…”
Zephaniah 3:17-“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Psalm 91:1,4-“He or she who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
Isaiah 31:17,18-“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” 
Psalm 139 (the entire thing, but here is verse 15)- “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Romans 8: 31-35, 38-“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also along with him, gracious give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died- more than that, who was raised to life- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Shameless Story: (provided by our Shameless Woman of last week, Heather Powell):  
I had an awesome roommate, Ellie, from Rhode Island. She was one of those soul-sister friends that you meet and instantly connect with even though our lives are totally different – all because God can do that! Anyway, she emailed me yesterday and I had been reading your blog right before that so I told her about it and how it’s all about being a shameless woman – not because she’s ever said anything that made me think she is struggling with shame or confidence – just because your blog is awesome and worth sharing! She just wrote me back late last night and I could not believe it…At the time I had emailed it to her, she was on the phone praying with a friend for 3 hours. Her friend was struggling and Ellie felt like there was major spiritual warfare going on with her friend. Her friend said, “Whatever is on your heart while praying, speak it out.” And Ellie felt like the root of the issue was her friend feeling SHAME. Her friend agreed- they kept praying. After they were done, she got my email with your blog and said she could NOT believe it! She immediately sent it on to her friend. Now there’s another woman (well, 2 actually) who can be encouraged of God’s shameless love towards her and that God CLEARLY wanted this person to read your blog last night! I am encouraged because it’s yet another demonstration of how alive God is, how well He knows His children, and how He unites us with one heart purpose.” 

Good News for Injustice and Trafficking in Chicago: Chicago is finally seeing young women as victims, rather than predators, and a pimp gets 50 years in prison. “No culture … worth emulation would tolerate this,” U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras said. “We don’t let you do this to our children.”…Datqunn Sawyer, 32, is among only a handful of pimps who have been convicted in federal court of sex trafficking. Such cases are difficult to prosecute because the victims are often terrorized by their pimps and reluctant to cooperate with authorities. In this case, six brave women (including a 12-year-old girl) testified against Sawyer at trial. Read the entire article here. 

 May you experience the shameless love of Jesus 
and beauty-from-ashes this holy weekend. 

Coming up: For the next few weeks, I will be featuring a series on men and shame. 
I have some awesome male writers helping me out—you’ll love it!
 Then, we will return to our look at Psalm 34. 

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