Ministry Insights from Motherhood

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Installment 1

Once upon a time, I was working in full time paid ministry. Along the way, we had our second baby. Something shifted then and I felt torn between whether I should be working outside the home or not. At one point as I struggled with this, God spoke clearly to me, pressing on my heart an assurance that He had called me to both {ministry and motherhood} and thus He would equip me for both. Little did I know at that moment that equipping me for my role in motherhood, and future ministry outside of our home, would very soon look like a season of being exclusively at home… I’m currently still in that season of being at home full time, and I don’t know when God will call me out of it. But I do know that corporate ministry is still engraved on my heart and that even while my primary daily focus is on my role as a wife, mother, and ‘domestic engineer’, He is regularly pruning me in my corporate ministry perspective as we move forward on this journey.

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Sometimes I feel as if every little thing I observe, I could turn into an analogy. Often, I do. Rarely do those make it out of my head. But this one has stuck with me… it seems really quite silly when I think that I’m publishing it, yet here I am, about to do so…

My girls and I each have “in between” hair…it isn’t quite ‘curly’ but it certainly isn’t straight. It isn’t overly thick or thin. It’s stuck in the middle. And it *must* be blow dried. So, there I am, blow drying my oldest’s hair, and thinking I’m doing a fantastic job. I’m pullin that brush through like a pro, I’m changing the angles on the blowdryer to get it just right, it’s shining and laying just so. I mean, it looks really lovely. …from where I’m standing, anyway. But then I look at her reflection in the mirror and it is clear to me that something has definitely gone wrong somewhere in this process. There are obvious fly-aways and it’s not framing her face the way that I thought it was…I’m not quite sure how it happened, how it can look perfect from one perspective but then so…not at all perfect…from another…and of course, that being the one that matters the most…

You see, my position was from above and behind…but I had failed to use the tool in front of me that showed me the head-on view… do you see where I’m going with this?

I think sometimes in ministry leadership, we get going along, and we’re rockin and rollin, and everything looks positively awesome from where we are…above and behind {the scenes} — we’ve got the inside scoop, we know what we’re doing…and we’re assuming it’s translating as it should, as we intend it to, because that’s how it appears from our viewpoint. But what we’ve failed to do is use the tools we have to assess our process and its outcome from multiple viewpoints…to really get a picture of how it’s being perceived, how it’s playing out in ‘real time’… we haven’t looked into the mirror of our ministry…

So — what is the mirror of ministry? How do we get a more accurate picture?

I believe that the best mirror of the internal workings of our ministries isn’t our first time guests or our new believers, and it isn’t our paid staff members…it’s our unpaid staff members…it’s those volunteers who pour their heart and soul into the work of the house, who dedicate hours upon hours of their time without receiving any compensation. They’re right there in the middle of it all. They know what their staff members are passing down, they have some insight into the high level leadership perspective, they know what it’s intended to look like, but then they also see the real view, how it translates — even beyond first impressions {though sometimes even those aren’t what we perceive them to be}.

So — how do we get their perspective?
That’s simple.
We ask for it.

Often I think they’re just waiting for an opportunity to share their ideas and frustrations. Sometimes they push them up one level but they somehow get lost in translation or fall through the cracks or the person above them doesn’t feel they have the ability to do anything about it…or they literally just can’t because of all the other expectations pulling at them and the balls they would have to drop in order to do so… I think going “two down” in our leadership structure, with genuine concern for their experience, is the best way to keep a good pulse on your ministry all around. Not to circumvent the person in between but to see how YOU can better serve BOTH of them. Keeping in mind that these aren’t the “my preferences” frustrations of those ‘testing out’ our church — these are the “I desperately want this ministry to WORK, I’M working toward that, and I believe YOU’RE working toward that, but here’s where we’re still falling short” frustrations — the ones you should be hearing. The ones you should be working on solutions for, together. The ones that get stuck in the middle. Couldn’t they just come to you with those issues and ideas if they’re that important? Yeah, maybe. Depending on your corporate culture. And sometimes, they will. But there are any number of facets that usually prevent this from happening — some just being accessibility! Regardless, I think it’s OUR responsibility as leaders to set up a system where we’re intentional about digging deeper. Where we pause the wheel of “Sunday’s always coming” and assess HOW Sunday comes and WHY it comes that way on repeat…WHAT we can do to help ensure it’s rolling in the right direction and not just spinning in place…

It’s never going to be perfect — we’re all people, that’s unattainable. But that doesn’t mean we should take it as an excuse to not do our best, seeking improvement where we can, where it matters most. And if we want to do our best, to honor the role that God has given us, and to steward well the people He’s placed under us,  I believe that looks like going to the middle and starting a conversation that remains open ended. It means not being afraid to look in the mirror as often as we can, while covering those conversations in prayers for discernment and supernatural insight, as we lead the way in filling all the gaps that may surface with trust.

The true reflection of our ministry is right in front of us — we just have to be willing to examine it and work with it to really achieve the results we’re aiming for. To really value the perspective of our sold-out volunteers, not just appreciate the work that they do. If we can honor them in their role, I believe we’ll fulfill the calling God has placed on our ministry to an exponentially higher capacity than we ever have before…we’ll go from making it work, to working better, to working it best. ❤

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The Law of Attraction

Over the past year or so, I’ve seen a lot circling around about The Law of Attraction…

Full Disclosure ::
if you’re not trying to live your life as a Christ follower, you can disregard this whole post {most of the posts on this blog, really} and carry on, unless you’re just curious 😉

So…back to the topic of the title…
In it’s defense, I’ve done very little actual research on this “law”.

I did watch a video recently where a famous actor said something along the lines of “ask any physicist…they’ll tell you — it’s real”… um… from my {albeit very basic} understanding of said law, I do not comprehend how it could possibly be scientifically based. Ask any philosopher — maybe.

Essentially, {feel free to correct me if I’m wrong} — if you want something, and really believe for it, you will receive it. You may be required to speak it, very specifically and using the appropriate verbiage, out loud into the universe in order to make it so, depending on who you ask…and I think repetition is key in this process…now, whether or not this describes the ACTUAL Law of Attraction {if it is in fact a real scientific thing — which, it could be, and I could see that, in a different context}, this IS the context in which it has been promoted in the circles in which I’ve seen it praised lately. So, this is the version of said theory {or law} that I’m addressing here.

There are some basic principles related to this belief that I do concede to be true — like attracts like, for example — that’s a pretty commonly accepted principle… you know — “birds of a feather” and what not… and also I learned a neat trick that if you get a piece of egg shell in your egg when you crack it, you can easily scoop it out with a larger piece of eggshell — the little piece seems to be attracted back to the other shell, and you know those shell pieces seem to repel from your fingertip, so — that’s a very scientific experience to back up this principle — and you’re welcome for the tip 😉
But it seems to me that overall, “they” take some basic principles that we recognize as general truths, and then sprinkle in this extra genie-I-believe-in-unicorns-magic stuff {not that I have anything against unicorns} and suddenly it all seems realistic and valid and like a new religion to be adopted…or worse, we tack on some scripture, invoke the name of God, and slide it under the umbrella of Christianity.

Side note :: If I’m aiming for success, is it really wise to focus on attracting likeness? Don’t I want to be around others who have gone before me, who have been or are currently, where I want to be, so I can learn from them how I might get there? There’s no real growth in attracting sameness… but I digress…

My main problems with this Law of Attraction trend are two ::

ONE
The focus seems to be primarily on material gain, or worldly acclaim. I’m no theologian but this seems to me to be exactly not at all what the Bible teaches our focus should be on. We attach some Bible verses and the name of God to it so we can feel good about it. Except that as I study scripture, these things are in opposition to a Godly lifestyle. Not having them necessarily, but our desire being fixated on attaining them, absolutely. Seek your reward here and here is where you shall have it, no?
The challenge for most of us, since the beginning of Christianity, has been are you willing to walk away from the things of this world? Not, are you willing to believe for them enough to receive them…

The basic *truth* of this principle, however, {and yes, I believe there is some truth to it} isn’t in some cosmic gifting of success, it’s in the apprehension of self-motivation. It’s really the law of ACTION. You believe for it and so you go after it harder. I don’t really think anyone sitting around in their momma’s basement willing their hot partner, designer home, 2.5 kids, hypoallergenic rescue pup, and fancy car into existence has ever been successful by sheer willpower of the DREAM — that has to translate into motivation to actually go out and get it, to seek it, to work for it. Not to mention to sustain it once it’s attained.  And I’m not opposed to hard work nor reward. What I am opposed to is self-centered and self-fulfilling goals being veiled under spiritual jargon.

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TWO
What we’re called to as Christians is LOVE. Of others. PEOPLE. And while I don’t think it’s bad to meditate on this concept, the ONLY way it’s brought into existence is, again, through ACTION. Love is a VERB and we have to ACT on it, not just dream about it. We’re called not to be served but TO serve {Mark 9:35}. And if we were to apply this general theorized concept to our actual mutual calling, would it do anyone any good? Do the hungry get fed because we will it into existence? Or because we DO something about it? You know the old saying — where there’s a will, there’s a way…so sure, manifest some good will — if you need to meditate on it first, I get it, it can be hard to focus on others — but then you have to make the WAY. Which I believe to also be true for your own worldly success.
The point here is that we’re called to be DIFFERENT from the world {John 13:35}, defined by our LOVE for one another, not by our wealth or acclaim. Our focus is called to be on giving rather than receiving {Acts 20:35}. And we know that what we focus on is what GROWS. So when our main focus is on bringing our own personal gain into existence, we’re in disunity with our spiritual calling… our passion is fixated on earthly treasures…

Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth…But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven…
— The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness — how deep is that darkness! — You cannot be slaves of God and of money. 
{excerpts from Matthew 6:19-24}

What do you have your eyes fixed on? What’s your vision driven by? We’re all slaves to something — but we get to choose to what we enslave ourselves…what we attach our hearts and our vision to…

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. 
{1 Timothy 6:10, HCSB}
…not love, not money — love of money. evil.
ouch.
Love of people is where it’s at. And that, of course, overflowing from our love relationship with the Lord. {Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 25:40, 1 John 4:19, John 15:8, Romans 13:8-10}. We can’t love people too much…

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In short, here’s how I’m feeling about it ::
Material gain is not a manifestation of your destiny — no matter how you believed for it — in fact I’m starting to believe more and more that it’s often a distraction from it.
So, 1) the focus in and of itself bothers me {not that I’m perfect or holy or don’t also find myself wanting things like a nice home and public praise — but the idea that this is what we’re promoting rather than working against} and then 2) who is glorified in the realization of said aforementioned success bothers me. {James 1:17}
If it didn’t come from above, do I really want to spend so much energy trying to attain it?

Just some things I needed to put out into the universe…

A Decade of Love & Learning

My husband and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage today… 15 years of falling in love.

I’m not entirely sure why 10 years gets so much attention — maybe it’s because you’re entering into double digits. Maybe it’s because it has this new name that sounds so accomplished — a DECADE — … Maybe it’s because when you’ve been living with another person for a DECADE, you finally start to feel like you’re possibly beginning to get the hang of it a little bit. For us, celebrating 10 years is a big deal because it’s not 6 years or 8 years — those were hard, HARD years for us — but we made it, and we’re stronger, and we’re happy about it {and also happy that we’re not in year 6 or 8 anymore 😀 }. Maybe we’re able to focus on celebrating a little more because we’re not changing any diapers this anniversary… though, you know, there’s still a chance someone will wet the bed tonight… 😉

It is true that fifteen years is a long time to invest in someone; Ten years is a long time to be voluntarily bound to someone. We’re lucky that our marriage is fun {for the most part} and that we’ve come to be on the same page about a lot of things — those factors make it easier to enjoy life together. Though I’m not sure lucky is a very accurate word — we’ve put in a lot of hard work to get here. And I’m sure there’s much ahead of us. That’s something I feel like no one tells you about marriage. It’s hard. But also very much worth the hard. We tend to either get this picture that marriage is one long romantic comedy or that it’s the end of the world as we know it and something to be terrified of. I’ve found it to be not much like either.

Here are a few things we’ve learned during this first decade of marriage… things that at face value may not seem worth celebrating but OH. ARE. THEY. EVER. Many of these are things we pray our daughters learn BEFORE they get married. Though some can only be truly realized through experience. If you’re not married yet but think maybe one day you possibly might be {careful writing it off too quickly there — at 16, I didn’t plan on ever getting married…I also met my husband at 16…ha. ha. ha. 😉 } — I hope you’ll take these things to heart. If you’re currently married, and you’re in a season of HARD — I hope you’ll find encouragement here at least in knowing that you’re not alone. If you’re in a really fantastic season of marriage, I hope you’ll tuck these away to draw strength from when it gets tough. Maybe your marriage will always be a bed of roses, but that’s not our story…unless you consider that the gardener forgot to remove all the thorns before making that bed we’re laying in… 😉

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  1. Love is a VERB. It takes action. True love {and no I don’t mean Disney fairy tale princess love where your eyes meet from across the room and suddenly you live happily ever after…or, having never met you, he kisses you while you’re sleeping, and you live in some deranged world where you don’t wake up and knock his teeth out for the audacity…okay, sidetracked}… TRUE LOVE requires action. effort. work, if you will. You may even find yourself feeling like you are literally fighting for it. My best advice is to get on the same side and fight for it together.
  2. Being High School Sweethearts does not set you apart on a pedestal of romantic hierarchy. Nor does it doom you to misery, as some would have liked to convince us was our future. But for us, it definitely meant extra work. Because as grown as I thought I was at 16, 17…22…I was not. We both had a lot of growing, self discovery, and change ahead of us that we were not prepared for, independently nor to walk through together. I honestly believe it would be in the best interest of everyone’s hearts to not get romantically involved until you’re in your mid twenties and you’ve hopefully really discovered who you are and what this life has to offer. It’ll be a different kind of hard to meld 2 lives that are well established, but that brings me to my next point… FullSizeRender (4)
  3. “You Complete Me” is a load of {you fill in the blank with anything that smells unpleasant} destined to lead your heart and your relationship into {you fill in the blank again, still unpleasant}. DO. NOT. attempt to “find yourself” in someone else. Do not walk into someone else’s arms while attempting to find yourself. While I 100% support and encourage having friends and mentors who walk alongside you as you discover who you were created to be and determine how you’re going to embrace that, it should be a primarily independent seek & find adventure, at least in terms of who you’re committed to {or distracted by}. If you have tied your heart to another before you have found yourself as a complete person, you will {possibly inadvertently} tie your identity to that person rather than to your destiny… see below ::
  4. Your identity, and the confidence you walk in, should be defined by your Creator & Savior. No one else can rescue you. And really, expecting them to is unfair to both of you. Trust me, I’ve been there. I was broken… he seemed strong, made me smile, built me back up…so I put my faith in him. That was wrong. I set him up for failure, set myself up for disappointment. He is a person. and people will always let you down. It’s not an excuse, just a reality.  We have let each other down many times over the course of 15 years. I’m confident we will let each other down in the future, try as we may to avoid it. But we have also learned along this journey where our faith, hope, trust, joy, and ever present help come from — and it’s not one another. There are a lot of things we can, should, and love to do for one another. Filling the role of Savior should never be one of them.
  5. Unspoken expectations are the ammunition of a loaded gun, waiting to be fired. If you’ve been within 50 feet of relationship advice, leadership advice, interacting with people advice… you’ve probably heard “communication is key” — it’s truth. That’s why “they” say it. all. the. time. Set aside time to be open and honest with one another {when you’re not in the heat of a spirited debate} about your needs, about the expectations you have on yourself in this relationship and how the other person sees those, what you want to be and may need help with, what you feel like you need from your partner, what you would love to see, experience, what you dream of doing independently and together. Approach this time prayerfully and with as much of an open mind and spirit of grace as you possibly can. Your relationship will be richer for it. See point 1 ❤
  6. Connection is the other key. Without connection, communication is cold. Marriage is so much more than a contractual agreement. Remember why you wanted to marry this person in the first place. Reflect on their charm. Remind them of it. Give yourself space and permission to discover new things you love about them. Find something you both enjoy to do together — and make time to do it. Invest in your relationship the way you would when you were dating. Love on them through their favorite things. Has it been a while and you’re not so sure you know what his/her favorite things are? Ask. And then follow up with action.  If you don’t know your spouse’s primary love language(s), figure it out! It’s an easy place to start — and could be a great date night focus. Kindling connection will keep the spark alive and help to burn that fire around which you can enjoy authentic communication.
  7. Your marriage bed is sacred. This is a hard one to put out there on the internet. In the world of acceptable Christian issues, this one is still pretty scarlet. Listen to me, I believe this is ESPECIALLY important BEFORE you are married. It is of course equally important having entered into marriage, but I think too often we discount the things that happen “outside of marriage” when we weren’t married at the time. This is mostly directed at those of you who are young and maybe even think yeah, yeah, you know, you’ve got it. Or maybe you’re searching for the why and struggling to understand it in the heat of your relationship. For those of us already married, or already having “given up” this sacrament, read on to #8. But for those of you who hold it, whether intentionally or by circumstance — hold fast. Maybe you don’t find the Bible making a convincing argument. That’s fine. I didn’t either. So hear mine. EVEN IF you marry the person you are intimate with outside of marriage, in my experience, there is a whole world of emotional baggage you could avoid, both in your inner personal battles, and in your relationship, pre and post marriage, by abstaining. We use the word intimate for a reason. It is a deeply personal connection that is filled with vulnerability. There are plenty of other things that will be messy and require your emotions — don’t let this be one of them. Let it be beautiful.
  8. This one applies to so many aspects of life but I also want to highlight it in reference to those of us who feel the pangs of guilt when reading #7, — and not as a permission-giving excuse to those addressed there {because I promise you it is just. not. worth it and there are always consequences that ensue and must be carried}, but — our God is a great redeemer of ALL things — and I believe this to be no different. Surrendered to Him, He will make it new. He will heal the hurt. We may carry scars but He brings beauty from ashes. And this to all realms of our relationship — bring your hurt, bring your troubles, bring your doubts, bring your struggles, and surrender them at His feet. I pray, so hard, that you are able to do this together as well. That your marriage will be unified under a loving Savior and great Redeemer. Yes, there are times, many times, to come to Him personally, but coming to Him together as well brings a whole new level of strength to your relationship. I believe He wants you to walk in freedom and in unity and though I may not know you, I am praying that over you with hope today. ❤ FullSizeRender (7)
  9. Community is priceless. Your relationship NEEDS other relationships. Growing together with others you relate to personally, and learning from couples who are a few steps ahead of you, one day imparting wisdom on those coming behind… being embraced in an encouraging community can be such a powerful catalyst to the growth and development of your marriage!
  10. Never stop learning. About each other, from each other, for each other. If you’re going to be invested in this relationship, learn to love it. You will never arrive there. Encouraging, right? We are multi-faceted creatures, ever changing, planted in an ever turning world where influences come and go and grow and wither… these lives we’re living never stop changing, and we are encouraged to never stop growing — but growing comes with pain, it comes as a result of effort and investment, it comes bearing beauty and strength — and in a marriage, there is someone next to you, with whom you aim to be intertwined, who is also changing, and hopefully growing — and you can either get tripped up in the process, irritated by their change, distracted by your own, or you can make the choice to be better together — by learning to love the process and to process the love. Wash, rinse, repeat. Keep your relationship in the light of Grace, allow it to be watered by your community, and learn to love learning to love.

Happily Ever After requires intentional investment. There’s a slew of helpful resourcing out there, and even this is a list I’m sure I’ll be coming back to myself, because no one’s got it all together, least of all me. In learning to love actively, I have to remind myself to find my completion in my Creator, to kindle the connection with my husband, to cultivate open communication, to engage in encouraging community, and to celebrate the freedom found in the constant truths of Christ and the beautiful change of established growth. It is such a beautiful journey ❤

 

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All Her Miracles

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I find myself finally here, now that there’s a fresh burden of pain on my heart… forcing myself to deal with the last, though it still feels so fresh. Our small family of friends is facing a second healing miracle gone unanswered, for which I currently have no words, no sliver of understanding. The only comfort I can find is the belief that it will come in time and that the fruition of its redemption will be revealed in comfort to those who need it the most. And so for now, I’m drawn to only what I already know. To recounting miracles that the Lord has laid on my heart in the wake of our previous tragedy.

When all I wanted to ask was why her? Why now? Why this way?
I felt Him pressing into me about all of the other times in her story when we could’ve asked those questions but didn’t. Because we favored those outcomes.

When He hasn’t brought the miracle I most hoped for, He’s instead asked me to cherish the many many miracles of the life she shared with so many.

So, here’s the start…I’m sure there are so many gaps. So many things I’m not remembering. So many things I don’t know the whole of. So many miracles I was neither witness to nor recounted. So many stories that aren’t mine to share. I hope those who have loved her through her life here and known the many miracles of it will feel comfort in adding their accounts to this, even if only in their hearts.

Perspective is so precious.

And when a loving God asks you to shift your perspective, you do your best…

When I reflect on her life here, the very first miracle that comes soaring to my mind is that she knew Him at all. Her upbringing didn’t “set her up” well for it, so to speak. She has faced many battles, not the least of which was the emotional turmoil of her birth family. That God made Himself known to her, and she threw the arms of her soul around His spiritual shoulders is such a beautiful miracle in and of itself. He carried her through the rest of this life as she daily surrendered to what He had for her.

Her relationship with her husband was a miracle. For someone who felt so broken to be able to connect so wholly with another individual was nothing short of the miracle of her allowing God to fulfill all of those broken spaces and redeem His daughter into a mutually loving, supportive, and protected relationship.

Each of her children is a miracle, from how they arrived in this world, two of them barely, to what they’ve brought to their parents, to the good plans I believe God still holds for them. No one who spent any amount of time with this family, who had any conversation with this mother, could ever doubt the immense love she showered on these three children of hers. They were miracles for each other.

She allowed her story to be used to the benefit of others. She didn’t shy away from the burdens she carried but rather highlighted them when it could be helpful to another carrying something similar.

She dove into serving the local church — someone who could’ve easily been “too busy” taking care of her own family and running her household instead worked tirelessly and selflessly — she trained countless volunteers, loved on them, served them, supported them. She hugged countless children, encouraged them, taught them to sing praises to their Creator & Savior, gave them a safe place where they were always loved and valued, and poured her heart into helping their families sprout seeds that will one day grow to be established roots of unshakable faith.

I speak often of the importance of the little things, the little moments, connection in community, doing life with others — within our little community, she truly brought joy. Knowing her story, it is evident without doubt that she CHOSE joy. Every day. Did she struggle to find it some days? Sure. Was she honest about that? Yep. As she sought to find it. She never stopped seeking. Never stopped choosing. The miracles of her daily life are too many to number — she continually allowed God to work through her, to use her for His glory, to show Himself mighty in her life.

The definition of a miracle being an extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause; such an event or effect manifesting or considered as a work of God; a wonder, a marvel; a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality — this woman’s literal entire LIFE was a MIRACLE.

Did we get the miracle WE were praying for? The earthly healing she so desperately wanted to be able to continue to care for and cherish her family here for as long as possible? no. we did not. But even in those last few weeks, God allowed small miracles to be known. When I couldn’t understand why He would leave her hanging on if she were ultimately coming Home to be with Him, her family had an emotional breakthrough to be able to begin processing the possibility of her loss and hang on to a few precious moments in her presence before she went to be with her Savior. Their community was able to step in and love on her husband and kids in a way that let them know, they weren’t just here for her, they weren’t just here for loss, they were here to walk alongside each of them in the journey, to sit in the valley, to hold through the rain.

Perhaps we are surrounded by far more miracles than we realize. I do believe God still heals physically, in astounding ways that baffle the medical scientific community. But I’m also being taught to see that the way He heals souls is just as astounding, and perhaps even more powerful. Because healed bodies make a headline but healed souls leave a legacy.

She allowed her broken body to be a vessel that carried her healed soul — and the impact she made will outlive us all.
She has truly achieved God’s best for her — she is worshipping at His feet, completely healed, with no trace of emotional or physical pain — while we would’ve loved more time with her, and I can think of a million reasons why that would be “best”, I’m resolved to trust that the God of the universe knows what He’s doing, to be thankful for her eternal joy, to be prayerful for the fruition of those good plans set in motion for her children before their sweet souls ever graced this earth, and to be mindful of the legacy she left for us, the many pebbles she so intentionally rippled into the waters of eternity, without ever knowing how far they would go, and the call to choose joy in the midst of our broken world — may we be bold enough to not only choose it, but to share it.

 

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Testify

It was less than 2 hours from the time I hit publish, declaring to the world that I choose to hold onto Jesus regardless of what unravels around me.
And oh how it unraveled.
I answered the call of a favorite friend I’d been playing phone tag with, and almost instantly she broke down. The aching of her heart carried through the phone across state lines. This war with cancer still wasn’t over, it had come to battle again, waging harder than ever before. The tears streamed down our faces as we choked through questions, vague answers, and remnants of hope.
This woman who brings so much JOY to the world around her I sometimes feel has been at battle her whole life. I don’t understand it. I can’t pretend to. It’s moments like these that test my faith the most. The things that are out of my control. The things that don’t make sense. The things that are unfair. The things I can’t explain.
I’ve never hit my knees more desperately so many times for the same cause.
And to be honest, I’ve never been more confused about prayer…
I’m dedicating my Bible study right now to trying to discern the role(s) that prayer should play in my life, the posture with which the inerrant Word of God tells me I should approach the throne, the expectations I should and shouldn’t hold onto, the power that it’s wielded throughout history as an example of our opportunities to engage it.
But at this moment, I’m unsure whether or not I believe that it really has an altering affect on the physical world.
What about the healing miracles Jesus and the disciples performed?
I don’t know.
I can’t reconcile those accounts with my experience thus far.
I want to believe.
But I have believed with all my heart’s expectancy for a physically healing miracle four times now {the first two in different situations} and each time the hope of that certainty has crumbled down around me. Each time I muster my faith and courage and belief again, it seems it falls harder. Free will and predestination are at odds in my prayer life. I know God isn’t a genie to be used  but I struggle with the point of bold prayers that fall flat, taking my heart to the bottom of the pit with them. I struggle with not seeing Him move in ways that seem so obvious to me will bring glory and praise to His name, evidence of His power to those who are watching from a distance, harboring disbelief at the possibility that if He even exists, He could be loving.
Maybe physical healing is reserved for those who have yet to believe… but then I have seen and heard of it happening in the lives of believers…so what gives?
I don’t. know.
And yet, while I feel I have no ground to stand on in the physical world, I am fully confident that prayer wields supernatural power in the spiritual realms.
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I have sensed it. I have felt it. I have seen it. I have experienced it.
And it is with that assurance that I again go to battle, in the spiritual realms — without regard to worldly physical realities.
Knowing that in this world we may have trouble but we are to take heart because we are co-heirs with the one who has overcome the world.
What He allows in this place is but a vapor — it pales in comparison to the hope we hold of a secure future — And from that, we are able to pray with bold confidence, knowing Whose we are and what we have to look forward to, calling forth an unshakeable joy in the face of worldly storms. This is not our home, we are called higher than this world — its troubles are but reminders of the sorrow-free future we hold, nothing compared to the glory that is to come.
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These are the things the Holy Spirit reminds me of when I’m calling out, not sure if I’ll receive an answer I can handle. It’s from this place that I cover my dear friend in prayerful petition — for a PEACE that passes all understanding, for confidence in her HOPE and future and that of her husband and children, knowing that they each rest in the hands of a loving God who cares for them more than we can comprehend and Who will do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine, for restored JOY that laughs in the face of the future, secure in its source, and for an overwhelming presence of LOVE in her life, that communicates louder than any other voice at play in the corners of her mind — that she would hear the whispers of her loving Father louder than the distractions of doubt and fear. That she would have the courage to whisper back from a supernatural place into the physical realms of this world that her battle is already won; That He would embolden her with confidence and security and assurance, to cry out even without understanding, to command victory over her afflictions, to testify His faithfulness and draw strength from what she can be certain of.
That regardless of the circumstances surrounding us in this broken world, we have a hope, a rock, a defender, Who cannot be shaken. The God of angel armies, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of our souls, the Redeemer of all things, never leaves nor forsakes us. and He is greater.
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In the same way that they overwhelm my faith with doubt at times, on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is the things that are out of my control, the things that don’t make sense, the things that are unfair, the things I can’t explain, that overwhelm my faith with wave upon wave of belief as God delivers blessings, restores the broken, offers second chances, and makes all things new in ways I couldn’t have fathomed. Though I am hopeful for healing on this side of heaven, I am resolved to praying for miracles that transcend the physical world.  💚
#MyHeartIsHeavy #MyHeadIsBowed #MyHandsAreLifted #MyHopeIsSecure #ItIsWell #ItIsWellWithMySoul #ChoosingJOY #ConfidenceInTheChaos #RepeatUntilComplete #CompleteEndurance #GodlyConfidence
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A New Creation

There are so many facets to this small but meaningful piece of my story I’m about to try to share, that I say try because I don’t even know where to start.

A little over a year ago, God led my husband and I to a new town, in a new state, just a few hours away from the place we had spent much of our childhood and called home for the past 7 years.

So many things were at play with this move, which I will begin to share more of later…I started to write them out but they’re not all directly relevant to the point I’m trying to get to here so, I copy/pasted them into a different draft for a different time — you’re welcome 😉

One of the biggest things God pressed on me in this new season was to really study the Bible, independently, {meaning not as part of a devotional or a sermon series, but just for the sake of reading His Word, with fluidity, and seeing what He had to speak to me personally}, and to begin to discern for myself what true faith looked like, what being a follower of Jesus really meant, and what He intended for the church to be about.

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You see, I grew up in church, with all of the traditional stories and hymns, and I thought I knew what my faith was based on, thought I knew the Bible, thought I was “doing it right”… {you can read more of my testimony here}. I had faithfully attended and served the church since college {there was an interesting familial turn of events in my high school years that resulted in me getting a weekend job rather than attending church, thus the gap until college}, and I was even on staff for a few years at the church we moved away from last year. It was at that church that I began to face some of my demons, that my perspective was shifted on some important issues, that I worked through some fresh wounds, that I was for the first time a part of true biblical community, and that I grew exponentially in my faith and in my understanding of both biblical truths and church design. As a result, I believed that *this* was what church was supposed to look like.

Church — literally, a movement of God.

As if you can put God in a box labeled {name of church} and determine this is how He moves best, anywhere and everywhere. Naive I know — but I think there are many who have struggled with this misunderstanding, coming to and falling away from their relationship with God in direct correlation to their perceptions of a particular Local Church — a group of people meeting in a building, under the leadership of a smaller group of people.

I had a large amount of trust for the leadership of our home church, and I still do, despite some hiccups in our journey. They are laser focused on reaching people far from God, have a heart to really hear from Him and to be fully obedient, and they’re not lacking in wisdom and discernment. However, they’re still people. Not Jesus. Not God. Not perfect.

As God’s humor would have it, we ended up finding a church here in our new home state that was basically the exact opposite of the church we came from — not in their quality but in their strengths and weaknesses as an organization. They are still laser focused on reaching people far from God, have a heart to really hear from Him and to be fully obedient, and they’re not lacking in wisdom and discernment. They just have a much different method for accomplishing the same goals. As they should — they’re in a different community, with different needs. However, the needs of ours that had been met in our previous church were left wanting here, while the needs that had been left wanting in our previous church, are being met here. And I certainly think that’s intentional on God’s part because He’s teaching us to lean into Him more than we lean into a church. Ouch. But we were {at least I was} absolutely guilty of that previously. I leaned harder into the work of/for God than I did into God Himself.

So here — He challenged me to really get to know HIM. Not just His church. Not just the perspectives of the teachers and shepherds He’s appointed. But first and foremost, HIM.

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I’m sure I’ll also be sharing more about that journey {that’s lifelong and has really only just begun} but the primary, and I know obvious, ways of going about this were through reading His Word and surrounding that, and other facets of my life, in prayer, while staying active in our local church.

He speaks.
I just have to be an active listener.

I also read a couple of books {namely Radical and The Explicit Gospel} that really rattled what I thought I knew — and I found them {sometimes to my disappointment} to be backed soundly by scripture as I continued to study God’s Word.

And so I found myself faced with this question — do I really want to be a follower of Jesus?
When I really begin to understand what that looks like, when I dig into scripture while also expanding my world view beyond American Christianity, it’s astounding how much more there was to what I thought I knew, and how much heavier it weighed.

To be completely honest, for a moment in time, I really wasn’t sure.
I wrestled with the whys and the hows and the what ifs of it all. I struggled with feeling like I really didn’t understand what I was getting myself into when I declared myself a Christian however many years ago and I wasn’t sure I wanted everything that actually came with it.

But through the grace of God, I realized that even if somehow it ended up being all wrong, if at the end of the day, at the end of the universe, we really are just one big cosmic accident and all of the miracles and life change and beautiful design we see as evidence of a living and loving God are fabricated in our coincidental minds, the effort and the sacrifice and the fulfillment of trying to honor Him and display His glory is all worth it. That this is what I want from my life, more than anything else I could dream up. That I’m willing to trade in a feel-good, self-centered, ego-driven, culturally-relevant worldview for what I believe to be a universal truth — regardless of what anyone around me believes or supports. That I don’t have to have all the answers. That I don’t want to serve a God I can understand. And that the risk is worth the potential reward. Yes, even just the possibility of one day kneeling before this God I have come to love and know that I am loved by, Who has shown Himself true so many times in my beautiful mess of a life, is worth giving up all other ground for.

Once upon a time, I thought I knew what I was doing. As a  seven year old seeking approval and “fire insurance” {and I’m pretty sure church membership}, I went before a congregation and was baptized in a white robe signifying a choice to believe in Jesus. And that experience told me that I had made the decision to be a Christ follower. Not that being baptized had saved me but that in a way, if I followed through with baptism, then God must believe that I really meant that prayer I desperately prayed over and over again as a child — that prayer that was supposed to save me.
That’s what I held onto until it unraveled. That’s what I stumbled over as it fell apart.

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A few weeks ago, after having spent several years falling in love with the character of God, and several months questioning and studying it, I surrendered to the redesign of what had formerly unraveled and allowed Him to pick up the pieces and begin weaving a new tapestry that’s beyond what I can imagine. I reconciled in my heart being okay with not knowing what He’s doing but just wanting to be a part of it, and went out into the bay with my husband, before just our 2 daughters, to be baptized in murky, cold water, solidifying my decision to strive daily to die to myself and rise in Him. For Him.
This time, the experience was the result of having made a fully aware decision to follow Jesus, no holding back, no turning back. This was the snapshot in time when I declared that I really believe in the God I pray to over and over again as His child — that He has done so much more than save me,  that He continues to redeem me, and that He is what I will choose to hold onto, no matter what unravels around me, no matter how I stumble or what falls apart. He alone is worthy.

I always considered baptism to be like a wedding band, an outward symbol of an inward decision, meant to show the world that we’re bold enough to display what we believe. But in this decision, I called forth the example of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8, who didn’t have a congregation to stand before or a camera crew there to record his symbolism, send photos to his loved ones, and upload this evidence of life change to Facebook.
This moment wasn’t for anyone else.
{Though, yes, I do hope that our daughters can look back on it and it will help them on some level in their own walk to know Jesus, and I do pray that sharing my story somehow helps others along their journey}.
But this moment.
This was a declaration before the Lord that I am willing to forsake all else. That I choose Him. That I was drawing a line in the sand of my own personal shore. That I don’t desire the option to turn back. I have fully activated my free will and determined I don’t need worldly balance. That my greatest joy comes from belonging to Him. That He is greater than all of my fears. That He is greater than all of my blessings. That He is my beginning and that my end is safe with Him, and but a beautiful new beginning. ❤

Hear me — I don’t believe that this baptism {or my first} saved me — any more than I believe that there’s a magical prayer one can pray to secure eternity. I don’t even consider this a ‘rededication’ of my life, as I have been seeking to follow Christ, and growing in my relationship with Him, for many years now. But there is a world of difference between that little girl in a baptist church, and the woman who today proclaims Jesus as her Savior. My understanding of what it means to be a Christian has completely shifted, over the course of several new revelations from college through this year. And though I know I’ll continue to grow and learn and struggle and overcome, I also realized that what I thought I knew when I was baptized as a child was nothing of the Jesus I know now, the one I have surrendered my life to — and I want to be obedient to the call of the gospel in being baptized as a result of choosing to follow Him, now that I truly know Him.
Then, I was checking a box. Now, I’ve stepped outside of the box. ❤

If I’ve stirred up questions in you with what I’ve written, I would love to talk to you about it. I don’t have all the answers but I also know it’s so hard to put into one post every bit of what I mean, and the last thing I want to do is leave someone confused. I’m also lucky enough to be connected to a lot of people with more wisdom and knowledge than myself if you have complex questions I’m not able to answer personally 🙂

xoxo

 

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:: to the one struggling to feel like you are enough ::

This “open letter” concept seems to be pretty popular in the blogosphere — and since it works well with an issue that’s been tapping at my heart lately, I thought I’d give it a go — with a topic that’s probably not going to be quite so popular…

But. Here goes ::

Dear individual feeling like you’re not enough,

You are not.

Now breathe a deep sigh of relief with me.

Because you were never intended to be.

***

You see the images and the statuses plastered around your social network, well intentioned and meant to encourage you, telling you that YOU. ARE. ENOUGH. !.

You want so badly to take heart with that mantra, to find empowerment and belief in yourself through it…but instead, you find yourself wondering…am I?
What makes me enough? What am I enough of? And to whom?

You’re weighed down by the questions of how many aspects of your life this should apply to? And where does that leave personal development? Should you stop trying then? Or is it in your trying that you’ve reached this nebulous state of being ‘enough’? Who is determining the enough that you are?
If you are enough socially, culturally, then why don’t you feel like it?
If you are enough individually, then why are you still struggling to own it?

Sometimes it’s not even enough to just be enough.
You are occasionally given the assurance that you are *more* than enough. !

I don’t know about you, but I was finding it difficult just to wrap my mind around the concept that being enough of anything or everything to anyone or everyone was something actually attainable. Which makes this idea quite intimidating that I’m surrounded by powerful individuals who aren’t just enough. They’re more than enough…
How do they do that?!
I don’t even know how to be just enough or what I’m supposed to be enough of or how many people I should be enough for. Just myself? My husband? My kids? My extended family? Friends?

And what happens when the notion that I should be enough collides with the realization that I can’t possibly be everything to everyone?
Why does the idea of my perceived ability to be MORE than enough leave me feeling more like a failure than a fortress?

Instead of empowering me with freedom and independence, I find this concept chaining me to the perfection complexion I’ve been battling for what feels like my whole life, encouraging me to think that I am fully capable of being everything I want to be to anyone I want to be it to… and then feeling completely deflated when that comes crashing down around me because it just. isn’t. true.

Maybe I’m the only one who’s struggled with this.
But just in case I’m not.

I thought I’d share with you the clarity that I’ve received over why this  “You Are Enough” movement has been bothering me.

It’s not the people  I see promoting it — they are loving and encouraging and beautiful and talented and driven, trying to be a positive force in a broken world!

But if you read the memes and you feel less than encouraged, then this letter is for you.
Even if you love the memes and you have the tattoo and you totally get what’s trying to be said, this is for you too. Because my guess is that at some point you will come to feel like you aren’t measuring up or like you don’t even understand the standards by which you are being measured, let alone how it is you’re doing.

Can I tell you a secret?
A beautiful assurance that at face value seems harsh but brings with it so much grace and beauty…

You are not enough.

And that is okay.
In fact, it’s more than okay.
It’s intentional and God-breathed and it may be the most freeing realization you’ll ever have.

Are you independent?
I’m sure.
Can you do hard things?
Absolutely.

But you were not meant to do this life thing on your own.

You were designed to be in relationship with a loving Creator, merciful Savior, empowering Holy Spirit, all sustaining God. !. Called to a higher purpose than you can achieve alone, meant to walk this life in community with others — pulling the best out of one another, holding each other up through the hard times, celebrating together through the good times, learning to love like Jesus more and more each day, and all for the glory of God. To be a disciple and to help disciple — to love and to be loved.
In a culture that worships independence, it’s a radically counter cultural mindset — it is intrinsically relational. We cannot do it alone.
That weight is man made.
It is not for you to carry.
Only HE is enough.
And only through Him will you ever find the fulfillment and satisfaction and wholeness you crave.

I would love to see a movement that tries to teach our sisters and our daughters — ourselves — that WE are HIS and THAT is ENOUGH.

I am not enough.
but —
I’m with Him.
And He is ALWAYS enough.
MORE than enough.

He is the Alpha and the Omega.
The Beginning and the End.
The Creator and the Sustainer.
The Author and the Perfecter.
HIs name should be bold on the binding *and* inscribed within.
This is HIS story.
It’s by HIS grace we are saved.
By HIS hand we are delivered.
By HIS Holy Spirit we are ordained, anointed, appointed, and fueled.

That is a truth worth declaring.
Louder than any other declaration my heart longs to make for itself.

It can be a struggle, to get out of my own way and to give HIM the glory and the honor and the power. But that’s why I need a tribe who isn’t afraid to tell me that I’ll never be enough — and to show me how stunningly beautiful that is. So today, I hope to be that person for you — who helps you to walk in the freedom that there is a Redeemer Who is more than capable of supplying all your needs and of doing more than you could ever ask or imagine on Your own. His grace is sufficient for you. His power is perfected in your weakness. You don’t have to be enough. He’s got you covered. ❤

ENOUGH

Shifting Seasons

This morning, it’s suddenly cold enough for winter coats…
I’ll never get over how short the gorgeous fall season is around here.
We probably have a few warm days to go, interspersed amidst the crisp and the all too chilly ones, as it nears the end of October.

This time of year has often seen our family settling into new seasons of life change. Not every year, but often enough that I looked toward this fall with wonder, expectation, and curiosity over what it would hold. With so many shifts over the past few years, I couldn’t fathom what could change that much for us, and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try.

But instead of a shift into a new season, as the weather around us is so eager to do, it seems God is willing us to settle into a season instead. To hunker down, to get under it, and to allow it to do its work in and through us.

To be honest, my heart is longing to step into a future chapter I feel God has woven the desire for, that from my perspective seems it should be coming sooner rather than later — but that’s not what we’re getting to do right now.
He’s also called us to something different in the here and now that I believe He wants us to focus on first. That doesn’t mean we’re letting go of the desire He’s seeded in our hearts for our possible future — on the contrary, I believe that this isn’t a season of merely waiting, but of preparation for what’s to come — really doubling down on a few things He’s pressing into us about as we await the opening of new doors.

However, He’s also called something seemingly unrelated out of this current season, something that is to be sharing our focus and commitment as we diligently prepare for Him to say GO to our next steps and whatever they may hold. In this present season, He has beautifully and graciously aligned us to really uncover what discipleship in biblical community looks like. To learn to study His word more thoroughly, and to discover how to effectively teach others to do the same.

It’s something that, from a bird’s eye view, and from the perspective of those who know us well, we’ve been told seems like such an obvious fit for us — but it’s not something we’ve ever intentionally pursued before, especially at this level.

And it’s scary.

It’s crazy to me how something so close to what you’ve seen yourself doing practically your whole life and assumed would just come naturally, can kind of terrify you as it’s actually beginning to come to fruition…

It’s not the big audacious visions I’ve had, though those are scary in their own right, they still feel far enough off… It’s the calm, intimate, ‘small scale’ callings that are really showing themselves to be what will have the monumental impact and joy sparking capability in our lives and in the lives of those around us. And so I see simultaneously such beauty and such weight in the reality of what this chapter is bringing.

It’s not a monumental shift our world will watch and comment on, it’s more of a strong & steady progression — something internal being poured out as it’s stirred up. It’s intense and deeply personal.

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While we may be settling into a season, what is shifting is my perspective on that season — allowing Him to help me view the work He has called us to, not through the lens of the world and its shallow praise, but through the lens of His Kingdom and the joy of bringing Him glory in any and every facet of this life  — not just the big stuff, not just the stuff we display, not just what our community at large sees — but the relational stuff, the hard stuff, the messy people in a broken world stuff. Because at the end of the season, of the day, of the month, at the end of this life, isn’t that what we want to be able to declare? That it was all for Him? Not just that we did the big things, that we shouted from the rooftops, but sometimes I think even more importantly, that we honored Him in the little things — in the things the world may not shine focus on — because isn’t the world upside down without His presence to filter our priorities through? Maybe what matters most in our ministry is what happens on a small scale…not because the big, bold stuff isn’t important — we absolutely serve a big and bold God — but because there can be so much substance in the “in between” moments, in the personal connections — and we also serve a personal, relational God. I don’t know about you, but I often find those to be the things that are the hardest to focus intentionally on, to work through, to glorify Him in — because they really take the most investment. The things that tend to get the most attention in our culture are the big splashes, temporary and fleeting, but I’m learning to see more and more the immense value in swimming upstream to reach people at a heart level — and to invest my priorities accordingly. The things that really make the biggest impact are the ones that are carried through the shifting seasons, side by side, hand in hand. The ones that have a name. A story. That require the writing of pages together. Sharing this life is about giving and receiving — what I give to others, and how I receive them. I’m starting to believe that ministry isn’t primarily about what we give to others — but that they see Jesus the most in how we receive them — into our circle, into our home, into our moment. Though the situations and depths will vary, I believe that truly serving others is more relational than donational. {and yes I made up that word 😉 }.

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Regardless of what I think I have to give, an open hand and heart may be the most effective tools I can possess. It can be easy to get caught up in the going and doing — but who are we really *being* with? That’s where discipleship happens — which is the commission Jesus left us with. And following His example, there’s a lot of togetherness in the building of disciples. So that’s the challenge I’m undertaking in this season. Not something new, or shiny, but something authentic and, for me, a bit uncomfortable — in the most convicting and fulfilling way.

It was a line about 2 minutes and 45 seconds into a live feed of this next song that spoke to me in reference to this post ::

“so many hopes and dreams — I can think of a thousand things, that I’m waiting for — but that doesn’t change, who He is to me. No it doesn’t change who He’ll always be”<3!!! and in another version “your leadership is perfect in my life” — what amazing truths to hold onto!

{You can view that first video recorded at a night of worship here :: https://www.facebook.com/lisabevere.page/?pnref=story }

But if you find yourself in a season of waiting without clarity and your heart needs encouragement, just take 15 minutes to connect with God about it and allow this video to speak to you ::

ps I love you

She crawled up into the seat next to me and looked up into my eyes with a sparkle in hers. I brushed a whisp of hair off her face, over her cheek, and something about that moment overwhelmed me with the need to tell her I loved her. She hadn’t done anything special, it was as ordinary a moment as any, an in-between moment even, but with her attention fixated on me it welled up inside me just the same and I felt compelled to make sure she knew.

As a parent, I think there are few things we want more than for our children to rest securely in our love.

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And as a child of God, I couldn’t help but wonder if those little things He does for us, the things that might seem trivial or insignificant to others but remind us of His presence, are His way of brushing the hair out of our face and whispering “I love you”…

I know that she knows. But the more I can remind her in the simple but genuine moments we share together, the more she’ll remember when she’s walking a difficult path and she feels alone, discouraged, or overwhelmed — and the less room there’ll be for doubt.

Maybe the more we draw close to God and seek His face with eyes of wonder and adoration, the more we’ll hear Him assuring us in moments He carves out just for us — the ordinary moments that He makes special with His touch — and we’ll be better able to hang onto that still small voice amidst the crashing waves to come.

 

Leading Ladies

*** The struggle of female leaders and non assertive husbands ***

I’ve been studying the Old Testament lately.

Before I go on, I feel like I need to give you a little background on my marriage.
I know — that got real deep there for a minute, but hang with me.

Actually — let’s take it way back {just for a sec}.

Growing up in the household that I did, circumstances combined with my personality and produced a feminist.
That word doesn’t tend to go over so well in the baptist world I was raised in — so there may have been terms like rebellious tossed around a bit too.

Fast forward a few years and when my husband and I said “I do”, our relationship was {gasp} not built on a firm foundation of faith, collectively nor independently.

See — we’re already to the marriage part 😉
Moving right along then…

I, being a newly empowered and free woman, and he, being the knight in shining armor who had rescued me from my captive state {yes, I see the paradox there. But — it is what it is. What can I say? I’m a complex woman ;P } — we had a rough start. I was constantly asserting myself, and he never wanted to hurt my feelings or offend me.
But deep inside me was still a broken girl longing to be swept up and cared for — hard to see when you’re projecting independence and strong will. And deep inside of him was still that warrior knight wanting to protect and guide me — hard to do when you’re pretty sure she’s gonna kick and scream. It took us a few years, many fights, sleepless nights, and ugly cries, to realize what was really going on.
{And, to be honest, it’s an ongoing struggle for us because, I’m still a leader and a fighter, and he still loves to make me happy far more than he desires to fight with me…so, there’s that…}

The point is! Two of the things I’m learning as we’re studying the Old Testament are that 1) on the broader spectrum — nothing is new. We have no new sin. We have no new issues. Someone else has already been there and done that. And probably worse. Yeah — you should read the Bible — you’ll likely feel a lot better about your own life — crazy stuff in there! and 2) more specifically — this issue that we, my husband and I, have in our marriage, is not new.
And that really makes me feel a lot better about it 😉

What do you mean it’s not new?! you ask.
Because if you were raised similarly to the way I was, men were the head of the household, they were the leaders, they called the shots, and women were submissive, end of story — and this was all founded in the Bible.

But a funny little quip I once heard one of our favorite pastors share at a conference was that you want to pray for a Godly marriage, not a biblical one — the marriages of the Bible were pretty much all jacked up.

Let’s take for example the very first husband and wife to walk the face of the earth :: Adam & Eve.
Eve was the first to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
She didn’t need her man tellin her what to do!
And he wasn’t about to either!
Because the Bible tells us he was right. there. !.
Did he try to stop her?
Nope.
There’s a chance it was Fantasy Football season and his iPhone was dinging and he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on right in front of him — but since it’s not detailed and I’m pretty sure they didn’t have smart phones then, I can’t fully draw that conclusion. All we know is that she could simply turn to him and offer him what she had — she didn’t have to go searching for him — he was already with her. And yet — being in that close proximity, she didn’t seek his counsel before she acted. And he didn’t intervene.
Now, we don’t know why or how it all went down but my guess would be that he kinda liked her. And you know what they say about the wrath of a woman…

So literally since the beginning of humankind, this has been an issue — it was present in the very first marriage. And it’s present in mine.
I may not be trying to lead my husband into sin but I’m not necessarily trying to let him lead me anywhere either.

And tracking through the first few books of the Bible, we see bits and pieces of this pattern continuing to peek through — men continuing to listen to their wives instead of God, women telling their husbands what to do, and the husbands listening {not that this is always a bad idea 😉 }. Husbands condoning their wives poor choices.
{Abram and Sarai, Rachel/Leah and Jacob, Samson and Delilah, Solomon and his many wives…}

Now – I’m not trying to bash wives here, or husbands — I’m simply telling you why it makes me feel a little better about one of the biggest struggles my husband and I have personally had in our marriage — to know that we’re not alone — and maybe you’re not either 😉

The most important take home point I think I learned from these history lessons God has given us is that each of us needs to be certain that we’re listening to God’s voice above any other — even {and sometimes especially} our spouse’s {because it can be the hardest one to ignore!}.

I make a lot of good decisions, and I’m sure you do too. And it’s certainly wise for husband’s to listen to the discernment of their wives. But at the end of the day, I know that my husband is the one who will answer for the way he led our family — and  I don’t want to be a stumbling block to his call to do just that. I am continuously working on allowing him to lead our family spiritually and otherwise {without constantly trying to interject my opinion first — I’m learning to ask for his instead}, as he continues to work on loving me as Christ loved the church — even when that means redirecting me.

It’s okay to be a leading lady.

But it’s also okay to let my husband lead.

And I kinda like it when he does 😉

I am a strong woman.
A perfectionist and a control freak who wants things my way.
But I also desire a strong man, who will stand up to me when he knows that what I want isn’t what’s best. Who will seek God’s approval first, even above mine.
Sometimes that means arguing with me.
He doesn’t like that.
I don’t blame him.
But the good news is that when I know that his heart is pure and that he’s coming from a guiding perspective, I tend to fold quickly {these days anyway — it hasn’t always been that way! haha} 😉

We’re still learning to navigate this thing called life together and sometimes it’s just nice to know that other people have sailed a similar storm. Especially when you also see how greatly God used them in spite of their imperfections ❤