Scripture Text: Philippians 1:6 NIV: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Decorate the room with maps. Invite the women to put a color push pin in a map indicating where they were born or a place of significance in their life. Ask them to share what is special about that location.
Ask the women to pick a question from a bowl and share their answer to learn about the miles on her life journey. Some suggestions:
- Where were you born? Share a brief story you were told about your birth.
- Describe the family of your origin—the number of siblings, where you fit in the birth order, parents in the home, extended family in your household.
- Share a grade school memory that makes you happy.
- Other than your parents, who did you look up to as a child? Why?
- Share a significant milestone in your teenager years.
- Tell about a road trip you took as a young adult.
- Where is the favorite place you have traveled. What makes it your favorite?
- Recall a time in your life when you endured sadness or pain. How did you overcome that?
- Is there a song that could describe your journey with the Lord? Why does this song resonate with your experience?
- What is the farthest you have traveled from home? Share a reason for this excursion.
- What decision in your life may have changed the course of your journey?
Share The Video Song –“Every Mile Mattered”
In this song Nichole Nordeman says that life experiences can be a place of depth, helping to shapes who we are today. The song can be found on YouTube.
Every Mile Matters Game
Each phrase below has the word “mile” included in it. Fill in the blanks with the correct word to complete the phrase.
- A journey of 1000 miles must begin with a single (step).
- Give him an (inch) and he’ll take a mile.
- When you are traveling by ship, the distance is measured by (nautical)
- Having the same word for both blanks is a Mother Goose nursery rhyme that begins: “There was a (crooked) man who walked a (crooked)
- Traveling on the highway you will find your location by the mile (markers).
- Some people have a “to do (list)” that is a mile long.
- A popular tourist attraction in Scotland is called the (Royal) Mile.
- To practice empathy and to understand someone else’s experiences, it is said that you should (walk) a mile in their shoes.
- Someone who appears to be completely unaware of what you are currently saying may be miles away in their (thoughts or mind).
- If you are charmingly trusting, or easily duped, people might say they see you (coming) from miles away!
- (Eight) Mile Road is a northern border to the city of Detroit that holds cultural significance. It was also portrayed by a movie and song with the same name starring rapper Eminem.
- “Miles” is a popular male given name that means (merciful or soldier).
- The (speedometer) is a gauge that displays the instantaneous speed of a vehicle, showing the miles traveled per hour.
- Someone who understands a situation quickly, or who knows that someone is a phony is said to (see or spot) them a mile away.
- To travel by airplane many times might get one enrolled in the (frequent) flyer miles club.
- An American R & B jazz musician popular in the 1980s and 90s was Miles (Davis).
- Chicago has a famous shopping area in the loop called the (Magnificent)
- Three Mile Island was the site of a disaster at a (nuclear) generating station in 1979.
- If you live in the country, your closest (neighbor) may live miles away.
- In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus commanded His followers to “Go the (extra) mile,” meaning to give the extra effort and do more than expected.
More Than Just A Mile Game
Match the words that contain the letters “M I L E.”
- Apple scented flavored tea (Chamomile)
- The art of preaching (Homiletics)
- A resemblance between things of different kinds. (Simile)
- An exact copy or reproduction (Facismile)
- Shows distance at roadside (Mileage)
- Distance measured in miles (Milepost)
- Significant event in one’s life (Milestone)
- A facial expression (Smile)
Every Mile Matters
Life is full of ups and downs, good and bad decisions and memories that can make us laugh or cause us to cry. We can’t go back and change the course, make a different decision, or hit a button for a ‘do-over.’ We can’t turn back the clock to choose the other option—the one we didn’t take. We cannot live our life based on the “what ifs” and be stuck in the realm of sorry regrets. Our lives today are shaped by our past. Every major decision has made an impact.
As I reflect on my own life, where I came from, how I grew up and where I’ve gone, I am reminded more and more of the faithfulness of God and that not one experience was wasted. Pleasant and unpleasant circumstances occur in each of our lives. While we might want to only experience the enjoyable blessings, we often find our greatest growth in the painful and agonizing moments. Would I want to trade the pain in my life for only beauty? While that might sound nice, if I am honest, I see the value in the pain that led to a greater appreciation of the beauty. There are scores of testimonies of people who have experienced the greatest closeness to God in the darkest valleys of their lives. Patients who endure endless treatments to combat cancer, disease or addiction speak of the hope to which they cling.
A friend of mine for many years has written of her struggles with depression and the pain that accompanies it. She writes: “The gospels are full of accounts of miraculous healing performed by Jesus. Each healing is instant and complete. After each healing account, I ask God, “Why not me? You healed them; why am I left in my own brokenness?” I have to first understand suffering has no expiration date. There’s no stamp upon it to reveal that at this time, on this day, I will be healed. Does this mean God does not care for me? Has He abandoned and forgotten me?
Timothy Keller in his book, “The Reason for God” addresses this question. “Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue? As we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we know what the answer isn’t. It can’t be that He doesn’t love us. It can’t be that He is indifferent or detached from our condition. God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that He was willing to take it on Himself.”
How does this help me now? This knowledge does not take this suffering from me. I still carry it day in and day out. It doesn’t take it away, but it does give me hope to endure. God reminds me of His deep, deep all-encompassing, ever-enduring love for me—even in the darkest most painful places in my life. That assurance enables me to place one foot in front of the other day after day and gives me the will to survive as I cling to His love. His own suffering and death on behalf of sinful me is tangible proof He does care for me.
I’ve discovered within this walk through depression there is still purpose and work to be done. It’s the difficult task of becoming. The task of transformation to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the God who loves me with an everlasting love. He uses the tool of suffering to shape and draw and pull me deeper into His arms. He longs for me to plunge deeper and cling tighter to Him. He will use any means necessary to set me apart and consecrate my life and fill me to the measure of all the fullness of God. I must simply stop fighting against Him and no longer believe the lies of the Destroyer. I must surrender and surrender again, moment by moment. I must lay my weary, injured, angry, bitter soul at the feet of Jesus and wait. Wait no matter how long it may take. I must believe He is my refuge and strength, an ever present help (Psalm 46:1) in danger even as the battle rages within and without. I must seek and keep on seeking when He appears absent. I must ask and keep on asking when it appears He is deaf to my cries for help. I will continue to beat at the doors of heaven when they seem bolted shut. He has promised, “He who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and he who knocks the door will be opened to him” (Matt. 7:8). God simply does not reveal the “when,” so I wait patiently. During the wait, I must trust, believe, hold on, not give up even when I do not sense His presence. God is in the waiting. He’s fighting for our lives and He wants more for us than we can ever imagine.”
As my friend has shared her testimony, I recall the miles she has traveled to escape her darkness. I have prayed for her release from this depression, and I have witnessed her tremendous faith in God through the unrest. I claim the words of Paul when he says, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phi. 1:6, NIV).
God’s promise is that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). Every mile we travel in life matters. Helen Keller is quoted as saying: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to something that I can do.” We cannot change our past, but we can determine that from now and moving forward that our choices, decisions and experiences will not be wasted. For it is true: “that He who began a good work in you (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6).
Close in prayer.