Women’s Update (06/25/2015) |He Heard My Cry for Mercy

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He Heard My Cry for Mercy

By Liz Stevens

It is always amazing to me to hear the individual stories of how God the Father, the Good Shepherd, finds us and brings into His fold and then sanctifies us for His purposes!  I was very interested in Esther Servais’ testimony as I read it for the 1st time tonight.  I found many similarities with my own life experiences. I also was a sensitive child with many hidden wounds and unmet needs.  Our father was a missile engineer that worked at Cape Canaveral in Florida.  He was agnostic when the Bible was concerned and didn’t ever attend or take us to church.  My mother, a piano teacher, and housewife came to know the Lord later.  We moved many times with my Father’s job.  So, in my growing up years, by the time I graduated from high school, I had been in twelve different school and twelve different locations.  My last name was NEW, ironically, and so I was always, everywhere I went, “The New Girl” — Elizabeth Ann New.

One thing that fascinated me when I have had my first recollections of prayer and God (at about age 5) is that I was, like my Father, (a rock-hoard & gemologist) always interested in finding something of great worth in the natural world.  I would have never guessed that later God the Father would find me in my lostness and through His Work in His Son turn me, my life, my soul into something of great worth for eternity.

My very intelligent, older brother John, at age eight (I was then five) would try to explain to me the beautiful, quartz crystals that we found in our own Melbourne, Florida driveway.  He would go into the molecular structure that created these forms and I tried to understand.  Also, we spent endless hours on Cocoa Beach playing and finding shells that He would name and classify while I was secretly only interested in their beauty.  I once found a shell of unique form and worth, but it was stolen from me.

I, too, have a sense of the perfection of God’s original creation, but then the loss and brokenness that is the reality of life after the fall.  My parents were loving people, but through deficiencies in background and sin in their marriage it failed after 17 years eventually leaving scars of insecurity in all four children’s lives.  However, there was a miraculous beauty in God’s care and sovereign plan for the New Family.  My mother came to the Lord through a next-door neighbor’s women’s Bible study in 1963.  She was in her forties, I was eleven.  And, in November 1963 at this same time, a retired missionary, “Aunt Whinnie Smith”, came to our neighborhood Community Clubhouse and brought the gospel with her in a simple, direct way through “The Good News Bible Club”.  I responded.

God convicted me and drew me to Himself through specific scriptures.  The knowledge of God’s love and rescuing of me carried me through all the challenges of my teenage years as well as an anchoring of my soul through 5 years of Bible Memory Association.

I met and married the highest honors physics student at the University of North Carolina.  He also played oboe in the University Orchestra.  We started out in Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC but moved on into Reformed Churches in northern California, Washington D.C., and Chattanooga, TN.

There were great ups and downs of life in those middle years.  We had one wonderful child in 1976 and I found motherhood rewarding but I still longed to complete my education.  I finally graduated college in 1983 after (again) six major moves across the country.  I am so thankful for many happy and rewarding years settled in Chattanooga, TN. teaching art and other subjects subjects at Hickory Valley Christian School.  Then, I moved on to the challenges of an inner-city middle school where there was never a dull moment and your life and well-being were on the line every day.  God preserved and protected me.  My faith grew.  Also, around that time, He helped me heal and recover from a broken heart after the loss of my 16 year marriage to George Otto Schneider.  God, in his mercy and sovereignty provided me with fellowship, support, and wonderful teaching through Brainerd Presbyterian Church.  As I struggled financially, God, as a loving Father, always provided.  Again, I grew in faith, joy, and in artistic and teaching skills.  The Lord provided extra money through commissions and sale of paintings.

Through faith, I later answered the call to a new life in Fredericksburg, VA.  I was married in 1999 to Richard Stevens, a long-term friend.  I was 46, he was 50 and he had a long career in training at North Anna’s Nuclear Power Station.  He had never been married before.  I had many new friends already built into my new life through his work.  We attended a newer, small EPC church in Fredericksburg.  Bruce and Karel Seger became close friends of ours.  I taught for one half-year substituting for the art teacher at Hartwood Elementary then embarked on a more serious endeavor into an art career with portraits at the center of it.  My husband was in full support of me at as a full-time artist.  Thankful.

Here is where I connect with New Life: At about age 53,  I was diagnosed with a large brain tumor that required extensive & immediate surgery to remove.  So during the six-hour surgery, I experienced the Lord’s sustaining hand and the love and prayers of friends near and far.  People from six states called or sent cards.  The Segers and Cessie Howell sat with Rick and Jimmy through the entire procedure.  Karel Seger organized 14 meals from New Life to come to our home afterward and I met dynamic Christians like Shirley Dawson.  The Pastor, Doug Kittredge, came to see me a couple of days after surgery in the hospital even though at that time I didn’t even attend this church.  I will forever be grateful because as he rad all of Psalm 103 to me and my heart resonated with each of the verses, one verse stuck out and was and is to me one of the great themes of scripture: “He does not treat us as our sins deserve.”  God’s mercy and grace are real.

Later, there was a lot of difficulties from the scar tissue, anti-seizure medicines wrecked havoc with my body and emotions.  Anxiety took over for 2-3 years.  God’s plan was at work,  as I was downtown and ran into an elder at New Life and an old-time work colleague of Rick’s, Robert Rink.  He prayed with me right there on Caroline Street.  Then, he got me connected to Sam & Lisa Capitano for fellowship and support in their care group.

I can’t express to you the love and blessings of that group and the growing in grace of the many members.  And, for me me finally finding my way through art back to a place of usefulness and confidence.  I spent 5 years (2005-2010) wandering in a kind of wilderness, afraid of the pressure of commissions, not being able to paint in oil… Now, God has returned me the love and ability in painting fine portraiture and love of teaching, and set me in fellowship with a wonderful church.  Now, even my son, James, and beautiful daughter-in-law, Nasim, and granddaughter, Ellie, attend.  I thank the Lord.

I end this testimony by saying with David, “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice: he heard my cry for mercy, because he turned his ear to me I will call on Him as long as I live.”  -Psalm 116:1-2.

About Liz:  Liz is a wife, mother, and grandmother of Ellie, one of the biggest lights in her life.  Liz loves to travel (in the U.S.) with Rick, paints, does shows, and teaches some classes.  She likes to attend ballet, plays, play a little chess, swims, is retired from climbing trees and writing poetry.  Liz loves the Christian fellowship at New Life in Christ Church.


Current Announcements:

EVENTS

  • All-Church Picnic | Sunday, June 28 following the morning service {Pavilions Near the Ball Field}
    The church will provide drinks, condiments, and paper products.  We suggest bringing enough meat and rolls for your family as well as a dish (side, salad, or dessert) to share.  If you are able to bring a grill, cook, help set-up tables and chairs (prior to 9 am Sunday School), or help clean up, please let the church office know. Contact: Church Office | 540-786-4848 | nlicc@nlicc.org
  • Financial Peace University | Preview Class on July 2 at 7 pm
    The class will officially begin July 9 and meet at 7 PM on Thursdays for nine weeks. There is a preview class on July 2 for anyone interested in more info and hearing testimonies.  The cost of the class is $100 (plus a few extra bucks for shipping). Contact: Dan Fischer
  • {RSVP By Sunday} 40th Anniversary Banquet | Saturday, July 11 at 6 pm
    Doors open at 6:00 pm and dinner begins at 6:30 pm.  Please let us know if you will be attending and if you are able to set-up or clean-up.  Please RSVP by Sunday, June 28 for catering and seating purposes.  Click here to RSVP.  Contact: Amy Auker
  • 40th Anniversary Service & Reception | Sunday, July 12 at 3 pm
    If you are able to bring something to share or help with our reception following the 3 pm service, click here. This special service will be in place of our regular 6 pm service; Sunday School and our 10 am worship service remain unchanged. Contact: Katie Crawford
  • Vacation Bible School (VBS) | July 27 – July 31
    Join us for our annual VBS — a wonderful opportunity to minister to children and their families. Look for invitations in the foyer and this week’s bulletin to invite neighbors/friends.  Registration is required and will be offered online June 28-July 19. Contact: Annie Page

 

INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

  •  Do you have a “Life Event” Photograph with Pastor Doug or Pastor Sean?
    If you have a photo of Pastor Doug or Pastor Sean officiating your wedding (or your own child’s or friend’s wedding) OR have a photo with either pastor after a new baby joined your family, would you be willing to pass on a photo of this milestone for the 40th Anniversary? E-mail Amy at amy.auker@gmail.com.

SERVING OPPORTUNITIES

  • {Update} Hostesses or Teachers Needed for Summer Pre-Teen Girls’ Study | Sunday Afternoons June 7 – August 9
    4 women are still needed to assist with any of following dates:  June 28, July 5, and July 26.  Please consider being a part of this ministry to our pre-teen girls! For more details and to sign up, click here.  Contact: Heather O’Hara
  • {New} VBS Food Items Needed
    Please click here if you are able to donate any food items for our annual VBS.  Several columns include food items needed for the children attending and one column includes food items for our volunteers.  Label ‘VBS’ and drop off in kitchen.  Contact: Grace Ethridge
  • VBS Assistant Teachers and Teen Helpers Needed
    Don’t miss out on this wonderful, once-a-year opportunity to share the gospel with children of all ages — children from our community and our own covenant children.  If able to help, even for a day, please contact Carrie. Contact: Carrie Verbosky
  • VBS Decoration Needs to be Borrowed
    Please label all items with your name and they will be returned to you: tube-style Christmas lights, lab coats/jackets, and any non-breakable science-themed items.  Drop off in ministry office by July 26.  Contact: Carrie Verbosky
  • VBS Craft Supply Donations
    Please label the bag ‘VBS’ & drop off in ministry office by July 26: toilet paper or paper towel cardboard tubes, aluminum foil,  3″ Styrofoam balls, assorted colors of Sharpie markers, and assorted colors of craft wire.  Contact: Dorinda McConnell
  • Church Kitchen Cleaning Volunteers Needed
    A deep-cleaning maintenance schedule has been created.  We suggest during the first week of the month, 2-3 people get together to clean & organize the kitchen. Sign-up with a friend or get to know someone new!  You can access the sign-up hereContact: Christine Fulcrod
  • Needs for Church Manses
    If you are able to donate gently used (or new) furnishings and new cleaning supplies, please click here.  If you have questions regarding delivery of furniture and/or specific needs listed, please contact the deacon on call.  Contact: Michael Prevost
  • Bulletin Folding
    Do you have a couple hours on a Friday afternoon you can spare?  Sign up HERE to fold bulletins after 1 pm some Friday.  Takes about 2 hours (faster if you bring a friend!) Contact: Dayra Rumbaugh | 540-786-4848 | dayra@nlicc.org

MERCY MINISTRY NEWS

  • No Baby Bottle Left Behind! | Return Any Remaining Bottles
    Please return the bottles to Eileen Roberts, Krystal Dowell, or to the church office.  Contact: Eileen Roberts
  • Food Pantry News
    Pancake mix and syrup, pizza crust envelopes, Parmesan cheese, pizza sauce jars, canned stew, bar soap, white rice, powdered detergent, and apple butter. Contact: Connie Both

WOMEN’S MINISTRY NEWS

Have a ministry need or idea for an activity? Contact us at wm@nlicc.org or find us on Facebook.

All for His glory,
The Women’s Ministry Committee

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