Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: baby

Rahab’s Journal: Led

So much has happened in the last couple of years that I’ve had no time for writing.

We moved about eighteen miles south of Jericho to a delightful little town called Bethlehem. The whole family moved here with us: my parents and Elizabeth and Jonathan. Salmon and I have a small house with a courtyard that is fairly close to the well. That makes life easy for me, not so far to carry water. And that’s important, because¬†of the other thing that has kept me busy….

We have a son ūüôā

Our little one is called Boaz and he is the joy of my heart.

We weren’t sure whether I could have children. There are certain diseases in my old line of work that can make a woman infertile. It’s what you might call an occupational hazard.¬†So when I wasn’t with child soon after our wedding, I had my doubts. But my dear mum-in-law Elizabeth prayed. She never gave up hope.

I love our little Boaz. When I look into his big brown eyes, my heart just melts with love for him. I wonder what he will grow up to be, what plans the Lord has for him?

I am thankful for how God has led me, all the way from my brothel in Jericho, to a welcoming family, and here to our home in Bethlehem. He brought Salmon and me together and now we have our little Boaz. God has¬†led me out of the oppression of sex work and into a spacious place of blessing. I don’t deserve this, but I’m glad – oh so glad – that He has accepted me. He is healing me and making me whole from the inside out.

My faith is in the one true God, the only God. He has not let me down, and I know He never will. I love Him.

 

What’s That Smell?

When [my daughter] was a baby I used to carry her with her head on my chest and I would breathe in her baby smell and I remember offering her to another family member to sniff because she smelled so beautiful.¬†From the moment I took my first breath as a mummy, it’s my favourite fragrance in the world, matched only by that of her little sister.¬†

My friend Helen Murray wrote those words and they got me thinking….

To the Father, I smell like Jesus.

What does it mean to smell like Jesus? We’re not talking aftershave here.

Jesus: Scents of Justice and Mercy

Before Jesus came, God’s people had to offer animal sacrifices as a temporary payment for their wrong-doing. The payment for wrong-doing is¬†death¬†but God accepted offerings of sheep, goats and cows so that the people wouldn’t have to die and be separated from Him.¬†Such offerings¬†smelled of God’s justice and mercy and¬†are described as being a pleasant scent to Him.

CrossAll those temporary sacrifices pointed to the one perfect sacrifice: Jesus.¬†When He willingly gave Himself up for me, the Father saw it as a fragrant offering and accepted His sacrifice. Jesus paid for my wrong-doing fully. There’s nothing left to pay. And that smells good to the Father.

Smell Like Jesus: Live Like Jesus

The Bible urges me to imitate God.

Why?

Because I’m His beloved child.

How?

By walking in love. Love looks like what Jesus did, giving up His life. Jesus said that the greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends.

Smell Like Jesus: Love Like Jesus

For most of us, love¬†won’t look like dying for someone. Although it might….

It means thinking and acting more like a community than an individual. This is something my church is focused on at the moment, building authentic community.

For example, between Christmas and New Year our old washing machine died. Aaaaggghhh! What to do? Friends from church had recently moved into the area and happily gave me a key to their house so I could pop round and use their washing machine for the next eight weeks. There was some sacrifice on their part and lots of gratitude on mine.

Washing MachineSacrifice can mean having a little less ‘me’ time so I can focus on others.

Someone said recently that the opposite of love isn’t hate but selfishness. That makes a lot of sense.

When we love like Jesus, it smells nice to the Father.

Smell Like Jesus: Give Like Jesus

Jesus is my treasure. He has generously given me forgiveness, peace, freedom, love, joy. But best of all, He has given me Himself. I know Him and He knows me. I love Him because He loved me first and showed me what love really is. Jesus likes me. Wow! (Whoop! Whoop!)

The more I grasp this, the less I want to hold onto my money and the more I want to give because of this amazing God who loves me.

Yes, it’s important to be sensible and plan for the future.

But when we give joyfully and sacrificially out of an overflow of thankfulness to this wonderful God who loves us, it smells beautiful to Him.

Smell Like Jesus: Be Like Jesus

God says that His children are a fragrant aroma to people around us. Wherever we go, people get a whiff of Jesus.

The next time you squirt on your perfume or aftershave, remember that you already smell heavenly. You smell like Jesus.

 

Voice

Day two of my blogging through Lent on VOICE.

There’s nothing quite like cuddling a brand new baby only a few hours old. This is my friends’ gorgeous little son Lucas. As I held him in hospital a few days ago, I marvelled at his tiny weeny fingers and toes, his cutesy little nose (he won’t thank me for saying any of this when he’s older) and his perfectly formed ears.

As I keep cuddling, feeding, and soon¬†playing with him, Lucas will start to recognise my voice and we’ll both look forward to our visits.

But for now, there is one voice that will stand out above all others to Lucas.¬†By twenty four weeks’ gestation, his hearing had developed and he would soon recognise the voice he heard more than any other in the womb: his mum’s. Other voices will be familiar to him too: his dad’s and his older siblings.

Now that he’s here and having cuddles with lots of different people, there are other voices Lucas is getting used to. But when he’s hungry or needs his nappy changing or is just plain upset about something, guess who will be able to soothe him quickest – mum or dad. Because it’s their voices he is most familiar with and will associate them with love and food and security.

I too have someone to go to for love and security, for everything I need. I’m learning to know His voice and distinguish it from all the other voices and influences in my life. Jesus declared that His friends hear His voice. I love His voice because He speaks truth to me that gives hope and sets free, and He gives me peace and joy.

 

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