How long have you been at CPC?
Well, I’ve been at CPC forever! Since its beginning in 1978.
How did you come to attend CPC?
When my husband Ken and I were newlyweds, living in a mobile home in north Laurel, we attended Knox Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Silver Spring. Ken’s parents had located the church when his dad was transferred to Washington DC for work. Ken attended Knox while home from college in the summer. I was from Chicago and it was natural for Knox Church to be our church together as I had discovered and appreciated an Orthodox Presbyterian Church while a student at Wheaton College. We attended Bethel Church in Wheaton, IL while dating during our senior year of college.
Knox Church began a daughter church in Burtonsville and since we lived in Laurel, we joined in with that church plant. At first we attended Covenant Church on Sunday mornings and continued working with Knox’s youth group on Sunday and Friday evenings. Later the focus was just on Covenant.
Eventually, Ken and I moved from Laurel to Columbia and joined with the group that began CPC out of Covenant Church, beginning with ladies Bible studies, Wednesday evening prayer meetings in our house, and a larger study held in Columbia a few years prior to the beginning of CPC in 1978.
Who lives with you at home (family, pets)?
Our house holds only Ken and me most of the time these days. Four children have grown up and are on their own with their own families – Kerrie Bjerkaas, Mara Johnson, Keenan Williams, and Mandy Asp. Our dear dog, Pretzel, was with us during 13 of the kids’ growing up years. For several years we also had 3 young ladies living with us off and on as we helped their father. So, sometimes I had 7 children! Now it’s “quiet.”
What do you do to relax?
What book, movie, etc. have you enjoyed lately?
These days I log on to Maryland’s Digital Library and look for books that might be interesting. Right now I am choosing biographies. I just finished a book on Steve Jobs. Now I am reading I Dared to Call Him Father – the Miraculous Story of a Muslim Woman’s Encounter with God.
A more “heavy duty” book that has given me fresh insights into Scripture and God’s design for restoring creation and the importance of Jesus resurrection to our theology is A New Heaven and A New Earth, Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology, by J. Richard Middleton.
What did you want to be "when you grew up?"
I wanted to meet “prince charming” and be married happily ever after! Little did I realize the challenges in marriage when 2 sinners join together! The romance books didn’t seem to mention that! My parents had modeled a very positive marriage and I thought it came naturally!
Thank God there is a lot of love, joy and happiness in the marriage relationship and we grow as persons through the challenges. I am blessed that Ken and I have partnered life together for nearly 50 years.
As to a “job” – I thought about being a dietician after working summers in a hospital kitchen, but the science courses required for that profession were too intimidating. I also wanted to be a secretary like my Aunt Mae but was nearly failing the HS typing class! So I chose Education for my college major and taught in PG County for 3 years.
I very much enjoyed my at-home mothering years (also involved in relationships with other ladies through Bible studies; church activities; holding a VBS in my home). Then I evolved into being the practice manager for my husband’s counseling group as my baby was starting school. That has been a rich and satisfying position for 26 years.
What is one goal that you have for yourself now?
My goal is to learn how to be retired, which began March this year, 2016 – to begin to check off the “When I retire I will…” list. Some of these items include: reading more “ought to” books, catching up with friends, being a resource of support for my children, giving my sister respite from her caregiver role for our mom, digging up and replanting bulbs in the garden, washing the venetian blinds, travel with Ken, and so on!
What is one issue facing women, for which you have special compassion?
I should have an answer to this, but no word pops out as an “issue” for my compassion. I think relationships in general, and with husbands and children in particular, are the areas where we need ongoing learning, reminding, practice, and self/God’s discipline. One aspect is noted in the next answer.
Is there a particular verse that God has shown to you that gives you strength and guidance?
Many years ago I was reading I Peter 3:1-6 – the famous “be submissive” section for women. Two phrases jumped out and they have been very important to me about being a woman and living as a wife and mother and
as a woman wanting to see God at work in meeting needs and desires for myself and others: “do not give way to fear,” and “who put their hope in God.”
Fear of what we think will be negative consequences (in many, many different situations) can control us. Our response is to become unhealthily, negatively, controlling women in order to avoid (we think) those consequences. Sometimes our controlling is because we are sure we are the sole person with the gift of knowing the “right and only” way. We should not fear that (his) idea isn’t how we think it should be done (husbanding, parenting, finances, driving, deco rating, scheduling, etc.). Actually, we might even find that there is another, equally good, and sometimes better way to meet the situation without the consequences we feared.
Fear>Control takes away our beauty – that of the gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth to God as well as of great value in our relationships. “Be beautiful, Mae Beth,” I say to myself. Wish I always was!
As I read the scriptures, I notice this theme of fear and trust in many other places. i.e.:
Joshua 1:9: To Joshua: Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you and will be with you wherever you go.
Isa. 12:2: Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
Jesus during the sea storm, to the fearful, self-pitying disciples expressing their concern that Jesus didn’t care for them and they would drown: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:35-41
The alternative to fear and control is to put our hope in God – his love, his power, his ability to resolve a situation. Give our concerns to God. Look to God. Don’t try to control. There is great release in giving the fear to God and amazing outcomes – first in yourself!
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