Trading doubt in myself for the fear of the Lord.

Doubt. Fear. Questioning.

As I sat there holding my new nephew, I was hit with an onslaught of negative emotions causing the tears to fall down my cheeks. In my arms, my nephew sighed contently, blissfully unaware of the turmoil that was suddenly raging through my heart and my mind.

Was I actually good enough to make this my career? I’m not good enough. I’m going to make a fool of myself, embarrass all of those who have stuck their neck out as a reference for me and my work. What was I thinking taking this on?

With each tear that fell, I felt the fear rising up again and again like waves crashing against the security walls surrounding my confidence.

Where this came from is clear enough. Satan hates dreams. His are selfish and solely focused on dominations and destruction, through any means necessary. Dreams that God gives us are in direct conflict with Satan’s schemes. The dreams that come from God are those that don’t serve to uplift that individual, but make tremendous impact on the Kingdom of God. They are selfless and never self-promoting. They focus on God and His wonder and glory. They are a form of worship.

My fears were regarding my dream of being a professional writer and speaker. I found myself scared of being made to look a fool despite my assurance that this desire was given to me by God.

So I did what I do in times like these; I wrote. I wrote my prayer—the cry of my heart. I wrote this post—a processing mechanism to empty my brain from the roller coaster of emotions and thoughts.

This—writing—is my God-given method of processing and worshiping. This is my dream, coming alive with each letter that is typed, each post that is published, each heart that is affected by the sharing of my story.

If the fear of the Lord is my strength, I need not fear anything else.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 ESV)

I can have this assurance because I know without a shadow of doubt that I am a child of God. I was chosen and created for a specific purpose. The process of refinement can be tedious, but the end result is the culmination of my dream: that God be glorified through my life.

We all have this assurance. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. That love which surpassed even supernatural limitations when God sent His son to live a perfect life and then serve as the intercessory for all of mankind. The penalty has been paid in full and by the blood of Christ Jesus, we have been saved and can now be called children of God.

All that we are, all that we long to be, is by the grace of God alone. Through His love. Through His mercy. Through His sacrifice.

My fear is built on lies from the pit of hell. My self-doubt is Satan’s attempts to sideline me from all that God has called me to do—for the glory of His Kingdom.

  • What fears do you find yourself dealing with, and sometimes succumbing to?
  • Knowing that your identity is built in Jesus, what confidence can you take to stand strong on the dreams that God has given you?
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A letter to the church girls.

**I know I already posted this week, but this has be mulling over in my mind for a little while and feel like it needs to be shared today. Please share this with your friends, moms and dads-share this with your daughters, pastors-share this with your students. They need to hear it and believe in their role within their faith and church community. If our girls can’t be confident in their roles within the church, how on earth are they supposed to be able to be confident in their role in the world? It’s time to empower our young ladies the same way we empower our young men. They have a purpose and a calling on their lives and they need to be confident enough to believe in it.**

“Let no one look down on you because you are young.” –or because you are “just” a girl.

To all of the church girls,

It’s occurred to me that we have done a great disservice to you. While I may be only slightly older than you, I am just as responsible for this as those who have come before me. We have allowed our girls to fester in confusion in understanding what our role looks like within the church.

The feminist movements, both in America and around the world, vary widely on what is motivating them. Is it actual freedom from persecution and a lower class? Or is it a method of undermining a God-ordained system that may seem archaic and out-dated?

You need to know that I struggled with this as I was growing up. I was always (overly) confident in who I was as a girl and as I grew up into a woman. But I had no idea what that actually meant when translated into the “church community.” Was I supposed to be more submissive or was I given a voice to speak out? No one ever told me.

Let me justify that with a clarification that my parents always supported my tenacious nature. They nurtured a strong-willed little girl and encouraged me to learn how to harness that gift to be able to use it for God’s glory—not my own.

When I say that no one ever told me how this translated into my faith, I am referring to the church as a whole.

You see, girls, we are being pulled in two very drastically different directions. Like many other polarizing topics, the church doesn’t always do the best job in guiding us as the Bible leads.  There are some views that would tell you that a woman should never speak in the church. After all, there are verses that appear to support this stance. There are others who stand by the cultural norm that views male leadership as something that was only in place to bolster the male ego and that women should take over with force if men aren’t willing to give up that leadership role.

But it’s not that simple. God did establish a hierarchy between men and women, but not to diminish the importance or capabilities of women, rather to encourage it and replicate the hierarchy that is between Christ and His church.

So where does that leave us? I believe that it leaves us with a bunch of amazing female leaders who are too scared to step up into the roles of leadership that God has specially designed for them.

YES, women can lead men.

YES, women can be given a powerful word that is relevant to more than children and women’s groups.

YES, God can (and will) use women to affect the hearts of many, including those of men.

We are blessed and gifted in so many ways. YOU are blessed and gifted in so many ways.

Sweet girl, hear me when I say, that you can make a difference for the Kingdom of God. It’s what you were created to do. Women in the Bible, while culturally submissive, were strong and vitally important to the story that we read and that we are still a part of.

Without Esther standing up for her people despite the risks, the Hebrews would have been destroyed at the hand of a selfish and spurned man.

Without Rahab, the spies would have never made it out alive.

Deborah was a prophet, judge, and a strong leader.

Priscilla was monumental in helping build the early church.

Believe in your calling. Know that God will equip you to serve Him in amazing ways. Stay humble before Him and be gracious to the male leaders who are trying their best (I promise they really are doing the best they can).

Don’t shrink back from opportunities to speak truth as God leads you. Trust Him to create your platform and know He can overcome any prejudices that exist. But always act like a lady and respect everyone, no matter how they treat you.

I am praying for all of the future female leaders that are in the church. I am so excited to see how God uses you to reach your generation. You can be beautiful and humble and powerful all at the same time.

Love from a fellow church girl.

Jesus=Everything-Nothing

Being complete in Jesus.  It’s more than just a nice idea, it is essential to Christian living.  You see, Satan has allowed society to tell us that there are an endless number of ways to feel “complete.”  Having a career, having lots of money, getting married, having kids.  Most of these are, in themselves, good things that add to life.  But none of them on their own can sustain us.  None of them can offer eternal life.

Jesus=Everything-Nothing

I grew up in a wonderful home, with a loving family and firm foundation for my faith in Jesus.  But somewhere along the way, I developed a fear of being alone.  At the time, I didn’t realize that this was in fact my fear, but several years (and many mistakes) after the fact, it became clear.  I had this fear that if I lost all the people close to me (family, friends, boyfriends), I would be lost.  But in fact, I had everything all along.

I adore my family.  They mean more to me than anything else on this earth.  But I know that if (God forbid) something should ever happen to them, I am not alone.  I can have everything that love torn away from me, and I still have everything because I have Jesus.

I love my family. I love the opportunities I have to work with youth.  I have great dreams of becoming a writer and a speaker professionally someday.  I have dreams of creating an organization that will serve as a resource for teenage girls in their faith walk.  All of it is nothing.  Solomon, said to be the wisest man who has ever lived said this,

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.

“Everything is meaningless!”
He had everything. Literally.  Wisdom, money, power, women…everything he could ever want and despite that, at the end of his life, he realized that without God, you have nothing.  Only Jesus can satisfy.  Only in Jesus can you find that complete satisfaction that your soul longs for.
Billy Graham said,
You will never understand who you are until you understand who God is.
Do you know who God is?  Do you know that he died for you, that you might live?
In the end, this is all that matters.

I am…

Over the past few weeks, my church has been doing a series titled “Irreligious.”  It’s one of those series that I imagine in the hands of another pastor, another perspective, it could be incredibly “PC.”  But one of the many reasons I love and appreciate my church (and its leadership) is the wisdom that they are able to use in approaching a topic like this.  The reality is that Jesus was “irreligious” by the standards of the “religious leaders” of his day, but neither was he “PC.”

I am grateful for series like this because I find that it challenges me in how I have approached my own faith.  My beliefs aren’t going to change, but how I present them to others or how I understand the truths that I know can grow and adapt as I learn what it means to be more like Jesus.  I can know what Jesus said.  I can know what scriptures tell me are true.  But am I living in those truths.  Do my actions show those things that Jesus said as how I live my life?

With that in mind, and with the inspiration of the skills and talents of my wonderful husband’s work, I have found myself writing poetry/spoken word.  It focuses around the concept of “I am.”  Who I am, who the I AM is, and how to live the life that represents him.  Below is a piece that I wrote a little while back.  Because it is written as a spoken word, I’ll try to record how I read it and post it as soon as I get it, but for now…here it is:

I am broken.
a mass of bones pieced together in intricate detail and yet,
it is dying.
in the same way a flower sprouts from the ground, reaching toward the light of the sun only to wither in it’s heat.
you see I am broken.
continually failing to achieve
that
next great accomplishment to
achieve that next great accomplishment to
achieve nothing better than sounding like a broken record.
I am broken.
living in a broken world where
broken people break.
but where I am not able to put these broken pieces back together
I AM can.
I AM made me
not to be broken, but to
look to he that formed me
in the depths of my mother’s womb,
unseen by man,
knitting together bone and flesh,
for his glory.
I am broken,  but I AM created a way to unbreak all that has been broken.
for I AM became man to live among his broken creation.
He broke bread and healed broken bodies.
he allowed his perfect body to be broken
to heal souls.
but in the same way that I am not enough.  I AM is.
He overcame death to reclaim the pieces of his broken world
to piece it back together piece by piece
put together with two pieces of wood and three nails.
put together with a love so strong that even death could not hold him in the grave.
I am broken,
but I AM has made me whole.

The revelation to accompany the promise.

Sooo…I know it’s been a while, but I’ll skip right over all of my excuses why I haven’t written.  Besides, it’s a long list and it’s late (again, I know…it’s not that late, it’s 10:00 pm but both girls are in bed and the longer I stay up the more “munchie” I get).

ANYWAYS…

A little while back you may remember my run with God.  (If you missed it, go read it here, it’s actually a pretty good one).  So one of the promises that was made to me was an anointing on my family, but I had to find peace with God exactly where I was (am).

So, I have my resume posted in a couple different places that have the potential of being seen by prospective employers (Linkdin, Career Builder).  Ones like linkdin are recent with hopes of remaining updated as well as creating opportunities for me to network when an opportunity arises.  Ones like Career Builder are remnants of when I was actively looking for a job (2008-2009).  Well, it was the latter that I got contacted about (which means they were working off of a nearly 5 year old resume…oops!).

I got an email from DMC (a marketing firm in central Florida) last week.  I seriously did not think much about it.  I mentioned it briefly to Kyle and then just ignored it, never followed up, never responded.  Then this afternoon, I get a phone call.  It wasn’t my most professional phone interview, but then again, I was taken back a little bit and not quite on my “get a job” game.  Either way, I must have answered the questions well enough that they asked to schedule an introductory interview tomorrow morning.

Holy cow, that’s a fast turn around.  I go ahead and agree, thinking it can’t hurt to at least go and see what the job actually entails (something about marketing, building key accounts-face to face, and refining into management to start up another location).  Then I started to think about it.  Really think about it.

You see, here is my opportunity.  I didn’t search it out, it found me.  A full time job that would probably pay well enough that I could afford to work (childcare throws off a lot of budgeting ideas).  I could help us earn enough to knock out the last of our debt, deepen our savings, and start additional oh-my-goodness-I-now-have-not-only-2-college-educations-to-pay-for-but-2-weddings savings.  All in all, not a bad turn of events, right?  I mean, I like marketing and I think it’s a skill that I could utilize in my “dream job” scenario, without a doubt.

Then another thought popped into my head.

Is this job worth putting my girls into day care for?

Do I really care that much about this job that it’s worth taking away the time I would have with my 6 month old and 2 1/2 year old?

The answer to that was pretty simple.  No.

No, this is not a job that I really want.  No, this job is not absolutely needed.  No, I do not want to give up the time with my girls to go back to work for this job.

So I emailed them back, apologizing but explaining that I would not be able to make the interview and wished them well.

It’s not what I expected when God told me to find peace in my situation, but I think that is exactly what this has done.  I don’t think this was a “test” to pass or not, it was simply an opportunity where I got the chance to see what my priorities really are.  I like to say that they are following God and loving/spending time with my family.  This time, I got to show it.

Running to the answers.

I love that I serve a God who works in ways that I don’t understand.  Why?  Well, it’s pretty simple really.  You see, I don’t see the point in serving (worshiping) something I understand because if I get it all, what’s the point in putting that thing/person/being above myself?  I know that I am broken and a hot mess, so if what I am serving is no better than my mess, what hope is there?

Here’s my point.  God works in great and mysterious ways.  And as His ways are better than my ways, I need to get past my broken self and look to he that can put me back together.

God and I went running tonight.  That may sound funny, but I’m serious.  I hate running.  I know, I know, you shouldn’t hate, but I really really hate running…with a deep simmering passion.  It hurts; it’s not fun; and quite frankly, no matter how much I run, I still suck at it (I’m ecstatic when I can run a mile without stopping…I’m such a hypocrite as a coach but oh well).  But as I went out for a run tonight after fighting a migraine this morning and coming off of 3 nights of very minimal sleep due to a 6 month old with a cold, I wasn’t expecting much.  I wasn’t expecting to really run, I was just getting in some semblance of exercise.  After the first 1/4 mile, I laid it on the table.  I told God that I have talked a lot lately.  I have complained, I have petitioned, he knew my heart and those things that were heavy on my heart so I needed to stop talking and actually take the time to listen.  For the next part of my run, I was literally just running with God.  I felt his presence with me and we just jogged together.  There was no amazing revelation, but it was time basking in his glory–even while doing something that I typically despise.  Then he spoke.

God began comforting me, giving me words to guide me and ultimately give me a prophesy for my family.  The stress that this week and weekend had built up melted away and I was able to find myself in the presence of my Savior and my King.

There are still things that I must do to see the blessings that God promised, but as I seek him, he draws nearer to me.  As I rest in Him, he will take my burden.  As I find peace in Him, the path and direction that we are so desperately seeking will be made clear to us.  And in turn, God will anoint our family.

I have an answer and I know that I have a long way to go, but more than anything, I know that my God is with me.  I know that I am a living temple for the Spirit and he has poured his Spirit out on me.  And for that I can rejoice and be glad.

All glory to GOD in the highest and peace be to men.