Hi Prayer Warriors!
My name is Joanna, and last week I joined the Abide team as the Director of Marketing. Abide's mission is to help people draw closer to God through prayer, and I'm humbled to be apart of this effort. We have such a wonderful Abide community, and I hope to find more ways we can connect and support each other. I can’t wait to develop this blog more as we share our prayer break throughs, prayer insights, and more. Today I’m officially starting “Joanna’s Story Corner” where we’ll share Abide member stories, devotionals, prayer tips, and more. Fun times are ahead! =)
A little more about me- I was born and raised in San Francisco’s Bay Area. I’ve lived in different parts of the US and world, and I have a passion for connecting with people from all walks of life. Growing up in a Christian family, I accepted Christ at a young age. However, I would say college is when I made the deliberate choice to follow Him. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, and I don’t understand a lot of what happens in life. Yet, God has always remained constant- even in the moments when I’m completely confused, angry, and alone.
My prayer life is a work in progress, and some days it’s easier than others. I use Abide because it creates the space to allow me to connect with God. Life can be demanding, as I feel pulled in different directions. As a woman, there are so many societal pressures we face- to be the perfect mom, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, etc. And we have to do it all while making things look effortless! Abide reminds me to slow down and talk to God. I especially relate with one of the recent prayers in the “Rescue Me” guide.
The prayer above references John 8:1-11 “A Woman Caught In Adultery”. The Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. According to the law, the woman should be stoned to death, and the Pharisees wanted to see how Jesus would react. The thing is, I can relate to both the Pharisees and adulteress in this story.
I’ve been the accuser and been accused. At times I can be self-righteous. “I CANNOT believe she did that. I would never do that. I’m so much better than her.” While I may not say these things aloud, I can think them in my mind (if I'm being completely honest with you). And on the other end, I’ve also felt incredibly ashamed for things I’ve done. I've yelled hurtful words, acted in regrettable ways, and told blatant lies to loved ones.
The thing is, Jesus meets us in both of these circumstances. Jesus isn’t here to condemn or criticize us. He sees our flaws and knows the horrible things we’ve done- cheated, lied, acted hypocritically, and more. Yet, he accepts us and loves us for who we were.
"Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”* (v 10,11)
How do you relate to these verses? What speaks to you in the story of Jesus and the adulteress women? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As you listen to the prayers and spend time with God, I pray God meets each of us where we are at. I pray we experience the freedom and joy that comes from being loved by our Father.
Anyway, that’s a bit about me and my heart. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to getting to know you!