Mary Southerland is an international author and speaker. She is also a survivor. Women identify with Mary because she has survived the road of clinical depression, infertility, adoption, full-time ministry, sexual abuse, chronic physical pain, and the daily stress of life. Through God’s power, Mary has emerged with joy, strength, and victory. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women with a message of hope and equip them with practical truths from God’s Word to live their lives with power and purpose.
Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God, Knowing God by Name, Fit for Life, You Make Me So Angry, Joy Journal, 10-Day Trust Adventure, You Make Me So Angry and How to Study the Bible. Mary founded Journey Ministry and is the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotional ministry for women.
One of Mary’s greatest pleasures is serving beside and teaching with her husband, Dan, an author, pastor and mentor of church planters. Mary relishes her ministry as a wife, a mother to their two children, Jered and Danna, and Mimi to her six grandchildren.
Mary’s goal is to leave it all on the playing field of life, skid into heaven with her hair on fire, saying “Wow! What a ride, Lord!”
March 20, 2021
Beale Memorial Baptist Women’s Conference
With: Sharon Jaynes
April 9-11, 2021
Girlfriends In God Conference
With: Mary Southerland, Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith
April 14, 2021
First Presbyterian Church of Midland
With: Sharon Jaynes
11 hours ago
I remember my thoughts and emotions swirling with questions. Friendships that I treasured were falling apart. No matter how many meetings and conversations we had, reconciliation wasn’t happening. I prayed in anguish, asking God to help me see clearly. It wasn’t a physical war, but every day felt like an inner battle during that season. I needed to respond to the hurtful words and actions of others. Knowing when to initiate and engage and when to pull back and stay silent were a significant part of the process. I needed God to deliver me from the internal battle in my thoughts and emotions, as well as the external battle of conflict. Have you ever found yourself in some kind of “battle”?
In Today’s Truth from the book of 1 Samuel we find the first mention where God revealed Himself in Scripture as Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He is our strength in life’s battles. I love it that God revealed Himself as the commander-in-chief over His angel armies to a woman named Hannah. She was a woman in the Bible who knew a little something about fighting battles. She was unable to have children during a time in history when women were defined by their ability to bear sons.
To make matters worse, her husband had a second wife named Peninnah who did have children, and she tormented Hannah in her brokenness.
God revealed Himself to Hannah with the Hebrew term Yahweh Tsaba, which often was translated into the Greek term Lord Sabaoth. Tsaba means “that which goes forth, army, war, warfare, host.”
Hannah found herself in a battle as she struggled against Peninnah. When Peninnah taunted and made fun of Hannah, we find the Hebrew word ra’am, which means “to thunder.” Peninnah thundered at Hannah, intensifying the storm that already raged in her heart because of her infertility.
We don’t have any record of Hannah retorting with an insult or fighting back. She could have told Peninnah that her husband loved her more or criticized Peninnah’s parenting. When someone hurts us, often our natural inclination is to hurt back. Instead, Hannah ran to the Lord. She prayed with such emotion that the priest thought she was drunk!
Hannah’s battle wasn’t against advancing armies but took place in her heart and home. She went alone to the Tabernacle and pleaded her case with the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Yahweh Sabaoth commands the angels and holds the stars in His hands. Hannah poured out her heart and believed by faith that she had been heard.
Sometimes the size and strength of our challenging circumstances can feel overwhelming. When we work through the logic and emotion, we don’t see how we can overcome our obstacles. It’s helpful to remember that often it’s a process that takes time.
As I battled my feelings and frustrations in friendships, everything didn’t work out overnight. Some battles are long and may not ever be fully reconciled. However, even though every relationship may not heal, our hearts always can. Our circumstances may or may not change, but our perspective always will when we take a posture of faith. Like Hannah, we can grow a bigger view of God as we behold Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
16 hours ago
Yahweh Sabaoth, You are the Lord over the angels. You know the storms I’m facing today. Help me to run to you instead of fighting back. Your power is greater than my mind can conceive. Help me to take every runaway thought captive. Protect me with Your armor and deliver me today.
In Jesus’ Name,
3 days ago
I grew up in a family whose finances were, let’s say, “slim.” On occasion, our church congregation would unexpectedly leave a box of much needed groceries at our front door or step in and pay our mortgage in times when we fell behind.
When I was four years old, my father was involved in a near-death auto accident which totaled our family’s only vehicle. I remember the day when Mr. Mitchell, one of the beloved elders of our church, came by to visit after my dad had healed. He handed my father the keys to one of his own cars. My father was extremely reluctant to accept such a generous gift. Sensing this, Mr. Mitchell said, “Joe, do you have a dollar?”
“A dollar, I have,” my dad replied.
Mr. Mitchell held out his hand with a broad smile on his face and said that was the exact price of the car!
What I didn’t realize back then as a child, but now recognize full well, is that I was being taught—first hand—the grace of giving that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Today’s Truth.
“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV).
Paul was imploring the people of God to sow their riches generously into the lives of their more needy brothers and sisters—for both parties’ benefit! In chapter nine of the same letter, Paul further encourages the Corinthian church goers with this passage:
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11, NIV).
The benefits of the grace of giving really do flow in both directions. Please let me be clear; what Paul is NOT teaching is some kind of prosperity gospel (sow some $ and you’ll reap more $). Rather, when Paul says of the giver: “You will be enriched in every way so that you can “in every way.”
What might these earthly riches (seeds to sow) look like? I believe they include the sharable riches of one’s peace, joy, time, talents, giftings, physical helps, wisdom, emotional strength, encouragement, and, of course, tangible and monetary gifts.
We have all been on the receiving end of the grace-filled giving when Jesus gave His perfect life in exchange for our sin-riddled soul. He graciously gave us the gift of salvation which none of us deserve or ever earn.
My dad drove that car for many years, but Mr. Mitchell’s example of what grace-filled giving will last a lifetime.
How might you be the reason someone offers thanksgiving to God today?
GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD Encouraging and equipping women in the love and truth of Christ. CLICK HERE to learn about the RISE UP Conf in Asheville, NC:
"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8