Psalm 22:4-5

This blog is in response to Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study: Stressed-Less Living topic of “Trust”. I could not map the verse. Instead, I prayed.

“In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” Psalm 22:4-5 

My prayer:

Father God,

Trust is always a word that is special to my heart and soul because You spoke it to me. I have tried to follow You. I have tried to be obedient to You. As I tried to grasp Your words in this scripture, I just kept thinking…I have trusted You and I have cried (a lot this week…like EVERYDAY and more than once a day!)…You delivered me and saved me but right now, I am disappointed. Not in You, God. No…I know your plan is perfect. I am disappointed because I thought that You were guiding me and I went where I was led only to feel the familiar pang of hurt and rejection. It stings. I don’t know what You want from me, Lord. I have those familiar words weaving through my mind that I am a screw up…a failure…a monumental mess. You whisper that you love me anyway and I still am crying. I am disappointed in myself for risking all of what I have accomplished in You. I made a fool out of myself by trying to open a door that You closed a long time ago. The problem still remains that I thought it was You calling me to that door. Is there a purpose in this lesson? I am not sure what You are doing right now. I do not know how You are protecting me but there must be a reason why I glimpsed the door open and now it is closed. I will trust You. I will not shut You out. You are faithful to me. I will continue to cry to You because I do not understand where I am right now…but I don’t have to. I am not in control…YOU ARE. Help me to see You more clearly. Help me to know where You are leading me…what do you want from me now, Lord? Show me Your way.

In Jesus’ Holy and Most Precious Name,

Amen

Facing My Giant

I faced a giant just two days ago. It was not a giant of physical form but rather one of emotion and of spirit…Satan tried to tell me that I am worthless. I told him that I am a child of God. Satan tried to tell me that my sin will always make me the one that hurt someone else. I told him that my sin doesn’t define me, God does. Satan tried to say that I will never change that you can’t go back and fix things. I told him that anything is possible with God and I am a new creation in Christ.

I have been preparing my heart and soul for May 25 since the save the date card came in our Christmas card. I had to attend the wedding because my husband is very close with the family. We were the first ones to be seated as well, so we were seated up front with them. This means that I knew the man from my past could see me and I felt self-conscious. My internal coaching began. I came prepared to debunk Satan’s lies. He always tries to make me remember how I was so that I feel so unworthy. He always tries to make me remember what happened so that I feel guilty. I was not letting him win this time. The ceremony was very lovely and very short. I sat there twisting in my seat wondering how someone could ever say these vows before God and lose sight of them? Reality sets in and other things become more important. It is harder to live out the vows of marriage than to say them on the wedding day. I know that my marriage is built on a strong foundation…it wasn’t always that way and truly we are still vulnerable…anything can try to separate that which God puts together. My mind went back to that time when I was the person who hurt a marriage. I wondered what was going through the man’s mind…his wife’s mind???

The bride and groom walked down the aisle and then came back to greet their guests by releasing people from their pews. I hugged them and offered my words of congratulations but I felt exposed…standing now in the center of attention with the couple who were the focus… in front of the man and his wife. I remembered that where there was pain and bitterness, there is forgiveness. I remembered to think of something good and pure…God loves me anyway!

Then, trying to avoid unwanted attention from people I knew from that very same past…waiting and waiting outside for the bride and groom to make their exit. Bubbles in the air, mindless chatter and greetings, I was aware that I had something to accomplish with the man and his wife. I put my trust in God… I knew the Lord would make it happen in his timing. I didn’t know what was going to happen…I just knew something was.

There were hours of time between the wedding and reception. Nerves were building and I was comforted by my husband. The ride to the reception seemed like an eternity. There were no assigned seats! I scanned the crowd and saw a “safe” place to sit. I went to the beverage table with my husband. How difficult is the choice of water or lemonade? I couldn’t decide so I was taking both. I turned and the man was approaching the table to grab water. I made eye contact and smiled. We both said hello and he greeted my husband. I felt like a layer of ice was being chipped away…the final layer. The brick wall that I had built to protect myself was tumbling down. I sat down and realized I had misjudged my “safe” zone. I could now see them and he could see me from two tables away. I would pass that table what seemed a million times. I found myself avoiding…trying not to look at them or draw attention to myself because I still had no idea what God wanted from me.

The dancing had begun and I went to speak with my mother-in-law…I had noticed that she was standing next to the man and his wife. His wife repositioned herself and turned to me and we hugged. She whispered words I will never forget. “I am so glad to see you.” I could honestly say the same thing at that point. I stood awkwardly, making conversation as my mother-in-law was showing her arsenal of pictures…various grand children and in that mix were photos of my family. The man showed me the one of the four of us and I didn’t feel the need to be protective. I showed them two recent photos of my girls on my phone. The man put his right arm up and moved toward me to embrace me. I don’t know that we said anything to each other. I may have uttered a thank you but it really wasn’t to him…it was to God. God provided me with an opportunity for healing. It has been a long process and finally my heart and my soul felt relief. Chains were broken and I felt such joy at my freedom. I hugged his wife again as the conversation ended.

I scanned the crowd for my husband. Unchained Melody began to play. It is our song and we held each other close and I thanked God for knowing me so well to have given me THIS man…the real love of my life. We laughed and looked each other in the eye, sharing kisses. I felt like we were the only ones in the room. The man and his wife left and I had to attend to other business. I hadn’t thought about seeing the other people who I have been avoiding. During the emotional affair, I had considered my Bible teacher to be my mentor. She had hurt me and I felt it necessary to speak with her. I know now that I expected her to have all the answers. I realize that I have a tendency to place God-sized expectations on people. I felt like I set these people up for failure at that time in my life. I was so wrong. I also realized that we are all the same. We are sinners with a Savior. I felt an instant need to be apart of these people’s lives again… To teach them what I have learned about God… To tell them my story has a good ending. I am more than ok. The story the woman shared with me overwhelmed my soul. I felt like I was the one with the stronger faith…building her up which is what she had failed to do for me so long ago. Forgiveness happened in that moment and I felt compassion for her story. I feel God has placed a big task before me and I don’t completely know what that looks like right now. Somehow, what was to be (in my mind) an end for me signified just the beginning…God is starting something.

I woke up this morning, read the Bible study blog…first question was:

Have you overcome your giants?

Overcome…

We will overcome, by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony

Everyone overcome. 

God is Here

I believe that this post addresses each topic in some form or another…they are woven together: 1. Mapping the reflection verse, 2. God is Here-describe a leap of faith, 3. Goliath- my giant I am facing, 4. Blessings…

In previous posts, I have mentioned my journey of faith. I am constantly growing and changing. There are times when God speaks to my heart and it confirms what I already know to be true. There are times when the lesson is a difficult one to swallow. I have been a Christian all my life. I was baptized when I was eight. I grew up thinking I was strong in my relationship with God. Becoming a reflection of Christ has always been my desire (so that people would see Him through me and believe).
I still did things that were wrong and sinful. I still made bad choices but I don’t doubt that my relationship with God was the real deal. I just didn’t know Him very well and I didn’t allow Him into every aspect of my life. God represented a set of rules and I felt pressure to be perfect. I failed and failed, time and time again.
About two years ago, my relationship with God completely changed. He wasn’t just there to hear my prayers when something went wrong and I no longer felt ignored/abandoned. I had longed to hear His voice. He showed me the word TRUST emblazoned in the darkness and my life was forever changed. He began to tug at my soul in ways I never dreamed possible.
God led me down a path of forgiveness with people who I had hurt and those who hurt me. God spoke to me the words obedience, discipline, discernment, and repentance. The things He has revealed to me about my past and my life have just been amazing. I realized I could trust Him and He loves me no matter what I have done or will do. I carried so much guilt with me and finally I can release it because I know God’s Word. He meets me in my need.

This weekend, I am going to face a giant of my past. I am 99% positive I will be seeing a man with whom I had an emotional affair about thirteen years ago. I was 18/19 years old and he was about double my age, married, and with a family. I will be attending an event with my husband and it just seems that it is inevitable to be in the same place at the same time when you know the same people. In the past, whenever I would see this person, I would feel a huge weight like there was a large elephant in the room that everyone knew about but they just didn’t want to make a scene. I would feel like everyone is judging me. I would feel as if it is giving Satan a big laugh…to see us squirm. However, this time is going to be different. We have forgiven each other. I BELIEVE I am a new creation in Christ. God has shown me and taught me through His word and Bible studies that I have security in Him. I am not the same person I was then and that sin in my life has helped me to focus on God and serve Him. I have been praying for several months that the steps of forgiveness and the growth/leap of faith that I experienced will stand firm. I have been praying that when we see each other, we will see what God sees and not what Satan wants us to remember. I have been praying that I will behave in a manner that honors God and my husband (right down to what I wear and how I represent myself). In the moments that I worry and think of scenarios that could destroy all I have learned, God gives me lyrics of songs (“Forgiven”, “Voice of Truth”, “You Love Me Anyway”, “Strangely Dim”, and “You are More”, to name a few). He gives me words of encouragement. The reflection verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

He gave me that verse three times in one day. It was a scripture on a blog that showed up in my email, it was on facebook as a radio station’s scripture of the day, and I read it at the end of chapter seven of the book Stressed-Less Living. Coincidence? There is no such thing. When I think of bad things and the what ifs, immediately my mind travels to God’s words…think about truth, think about what is lovely and pure, think about praiseworthy things. I am not completely a fan of changing scripture but I had the urge to take out think and replace it with focus. Focus on the truth, focus on what is lovely and pure. Focus on something praiseworthy. You know, the only thing that is all of those things and so much more is the Lord. My spirit just rejoiced in knowing that everything (bad and good) is in His hands. My past, my present, my future has a purpose and I am promised His grace and mercy. That, my friends, is a blessing. So, with a big leap of faith, I am going to continue to trust God to lead me. I will focus on Him this weekend and I will have confidence that I am who He created me to be. I will be still in Him, dance with Him, and offer myself to Him. I will sit in His lap…to be held in His arms…fully relying on Him to get me through. I will accept His protection from the enemy and I will call on His name to remind me who I am, remind me of His promises, and remind me of His truth. After all these years, I know that my experience shaped my life and my brokenness has been the best gift. My broken places are the spaces that God fills with His mercy and grace. Over and over again, my soul melts.

Pride

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Within the last two weeks, I have been struck with two opposing concepts. 1. I seek affirmation and compliments and I experience internal chatter. “I am singing this part in the song and “so and so” will say they like it.” “She is going to hear me sing.”{insert feeling of excitement at what she may say} These statements may not seem bothersome but they make the song about me instead of the worship that I want it to be. Singing is just one example. 2. When I get a compliment, I have difficulty accepting it. I say thank you but because I have the internal chatter problem, I am instantly uncomfortable in my own skin.

God began to speak to my heart that all of this has something to do with pride. Even before I knew of Week 6 topics, this blog was a draft. I just couldn’t make sense of this problem. I kept editing and it just wouldn’t make sense. I couldn’t wrap my mind around all the facets of pride. I really didn’t understand my conflict until I read a portion of chapter 6 of “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles: “Each of us has different circumstances, problems, challenges, and stressors, but if we really think about it, our inability to overcome those stumbling blocks often derives from one major problem: pride.” (p.130) I didn’t allow this statement to mean too much until I read… “Do you tend to put yourself down frequently or have difficulty accepting a compliment?”(p.131) Ouch! I just experienced a scenario where a very close friend told me that I am doing well teaching/leading a Bible study. I didn’t have happy feelings about it and the thank you that I texted to her seemed so fake. I ended up telling her that I don’t take compliments very well within the next text message just a few seconds later. I felt torn between enjoying what was said and being guilty for liking the way it made me feel…as if the Bible study is of me and not of God. I stared at Tracie’s words and the light bulb finally went on. God was confirming that I am struggling with a form of pride. Another passage touched me…
“Even if your heart is not full of self-worth but instead full of self-doubt, that is still a form of pride. Pride is a complicated feeling and a tricky game of emotions…Pride is not only giving ourselves too much credit for the good things in our lives but also giving ourselves a lack of credit for anything.”(p.132)
I hovered over the word pride and the kindle dictionary definitions floored me. Although slightly different, dictionary.com outlined several definitions and uses of the word. (Please forgive me for including all definitions but the fact that one word has so many meanings is just amazing to me and a very real part of my discovery.)
“1.a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
2.the state or feeling of being proud.
3.a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.
4.pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride.
5.something that causes a person or persons to be proud: His art collection was the pride of the family.
6.the best of a group, class, society, etc.: This bull is the pride of the herd.
7.the most flourishing state or period: in the pride of adulthood.
8.mettle in a horse.
9.Literary. splendor, magnificence, or pomp.
10.a group of lions.
11.sexual desire, especially in a female animal.
12.ornament or adornment.
13.to indulge or plume (oneself) in a feeling of pride (usually followed by on or upon): She prides herself on her tennis.
Idioms
14.pride and joy, someone or something cherished, valued, or enjoyed above all others: Their new grandchild is their pride and joy.”
Seriously??? Fourteen definitions attempt to capture one complicated word. I really felt drawn to the synonym and antonym section:
“Synonyms
1. Pride, conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory imply an unduly favorable idea of one’s own appearance, advantages, achievements, etc., and often apply to offensive characteristics. Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect: Pride must have a fall. Conceit implies an exaggerated estimate of one’s own abilities or attainments, together with pride: blinded by conceit. Self-esteem may imply an estimate of oneself that is higher than that held by others: a ridiculous self-esteem. Egotism implies an excessive preoccupation with oneself or with one’s own concerns, usually but not always accompanied by pride or conceit: His egotism blinded him to others’ difficulties. Vanity implies self-admiration and an excessive desire to be admired by others: His vanity was easily flattered. Vainglory somewhat literary, implies an inordinate and therefore empty or unjustified pride: puffed up by vainglory…boast.
Antonyms
1. humility.”

One antonym. Humility…this word stings. God wants me to have a spirit of humility. I can honestly say that I am at war within myself. My two areas of pride are at constant odds. I thought I was balancing my ego with some humility but I have discovered that I am actually feeding more pride. I question, is there a healthy amount of pride or should it not exist? I am going to study humility and trust that the next passage is true of my God:

“God not only sees our flaws, mistakes, and insecurities, he loves us despite them. He sees a deeper beauty and worth in us than what anyone else can see, even more than what we see in the mirror every day.”(p.132)

I pray that God uses me for His glory…not my own. I pray that He will be exalted…not me. I pray that I would put my need for affirmation aside and be concerned with God’s purpose. I pray I am concerned with how God sees me and not the perception of people around me. The answer to laying aside pride is prayer.

A side note:
I have struggled with feeling like I must be perfect…being Christian means being perfect. Pride and perfectionism to me go hand in hand. It was exhausting putting up a front and it was exhausting to hide my sins. Caring what people think of me and wondering how they are judging me is always a concern. God is helping me to embrace my past so that I can help others. I am not perfect but I learned I can make progress…baby steps is all it takes. It took me a long time but I have learned that I don’t have to hide who I am or what I have done because talking about how I am a sinner that has a Savior may just save someone else.

Blessed

On this Mother’s Day, I am focusing on my many blessings. I woke up this morning and read the end of Chapter 5 in the book “Stressed Less Living”. As the author described her own marital problems, I could definitely relate. Tracie Miles described how she went to God and felt defeated but God spoke to her. She spread His Word all around her and He told her that she was in His lap. What a beautiful and comforting image! At church this morning, the sermon was titled “Lap of Love”. I don’t believe in coincidences. I started to reflect on all the times within the last two years that God has spoken to me. He has been very direct and I have been stubborn. Today, I am recognizing that I am very blessed to have a relationship with my Creator. He cares for me and all my circumstances. He cares about my feelings and has stepped in to hold me in His lap. He gives me peace and joy. I am blessed to have a Savior that set me free. He died for me and my sins are washed away. He conquered death so I have hope of a life with Him. I am blessed to have the Spirit. He convicts me and comforts me. He reminds me that God’s Word is alive and applicable to my life today. He fills my heart and soul with an incredible feeling that I cannot begin to describe with mere words. He guides and helps me to bare fruit. When I fail, I am reminded that I am forgiven.

I am blessed to have parents who raised me in the faith. I am blessed to have a “little” brother (over 6 feet tall now). I am so so so blessed to have a husband who chases after God. He listens and studies God’s Word and is an example of faithfulness and trust. My husband and I have not always had an easy marriage but I love him even more now for having survived and thrived through our trials. He is so strong in his faith and I pray we continue to grow together in the Lord. We are going to celebrate our eighth anniversary in July. We just realized about two years ago that we needed God in the center. We just recognized that the covenant we made on our wedding day meant so much more for us. I am so thankful that we know and can make small steps of progress each day in an effort to do God’s will. I am so blessed to have the two most beautiful and sweetest little girls. God gifted them to me and I know I have my stressed out moments but these two girls are so worth trying to be a godly mom. I want to teach them the lessons that I learned so late in my walk. I cherish our family group hugs. I enjoy celebrating their successes and I encourage them to walk into prayer to praise God in good and bad times. My husband models this too so they know that their parents are imperfect people trying to listen to God.

God has given and taken away many friendships over the years. Some people walked through my life and some people stayed. Each one has been a blessing even when I don’t understand what went wrong. In regards to the friendships that have ended, I know the purpose they had in my life was to bring me closer to God. I remember the fun times and count them as blessings. The friends that are currently apart of my life are so cherished as I remember them in prayer and encourage them in their walk with Jesus. I do wish that I had done that more in my past. Things may have been different but God has given me what I needed when I needed it.

 God has blessed me with two jobs which challenge me in my walk with Him. They supply financial needs and health care. They are the means to our other blessings such as our home, cars, and luxuries that we take for granted. I am trying to be a good steward of all that He has given me. I feel very strongly that the places of my employment are my mission field. Sometimes, I feel like a failure there too but I rely on God to train me and teach me to do His work. I long for people to see Christ in me. I long for His light to shine through me.

I am so thankful for each of these blessings. My life is so rich in Christ. He is my treasure.  

 

Becoming a godly woman

It is a daily struggle…the spiritual warfare affects me deeply. I have always struggled with wanting to exhibit Christ likeness and my inability to actually live it out. I want to live my life the way that others may come to know Jesus through what they see in me. But I fail. I fall short. Day in and day out, my past and my present is littered with choices I made and things I did (which are more of the world than of God). I have been wrestling with several things lately. 1. How does my attitude in my home model a love for Christ to my children? 2. How does my marriage reflect the relationship of Christ and the church? 3. How has my role in my own past sins/mistakes effected today’s choices? (How I represent myself in outward appearance, how I relate to people/avoid conflict, my general attitude) 4. How can I prevent Satan from making me feel less than…unworthy? 5. Why is it difficult for me to take a compliment…trying to avoid pride?
In previous blog posts, I have mentioned my emotional affair with a man. I was 18/19 years old and he was married with a family of his own. It really bothers me that we both considered ourselves Christians at the time. I thought that I was very strong in faith. I became perfect prey for Satan. I expected myself to be perfect. I was on this personal vendetta to lose flab and went from 5’9″ tall at 167 pounds to 137 pounds. I was running a mile a day to try to focus on God or so I thought. I believe that I was just running away. Sure, it had the façade of being healthy and motivated but deep down, I was living this fantasy life that didn’t belong to me. I was not popular in high school and had enjoyed my “good girl” reputation. It felt safe. College presented a means to maintain that good girl lifestyle and still invent myself because everything was new. I felt like people were watching to see if I would slip up on my list of “not to do’s”. I ended up feeling discontented and alone. It made me more vulnerable and I sought Christian wisdom which set me up for failure. I quickly enjoyed the attention which turned into wonderful conversations which evolved into discussions that should not have been. Inevitably, I found myself dressing in tighter clothes and trying to turn heads at church. I wanted to win the heart of a Christian guy and be married someday. I do not consider myself to be extremely attractive or drop dead gorgeous by any means but dressing sexier boosted my confidence as I flaunted my new figure. I enjoyed feeling power over a guy if they showed an interest. In a huge way, I was just a tease. I never wore make-up or much jewelry so I always prided myself in a natural beauty. I really missed the point though. Beauty really is from your heart and my heart was filled with jealousy, pride, and misguided dreams.
I have been pondering these things because of a suspicion. I suspect that in the very near future, I will see this man. This sin, we shared, has changed me forever. I was very insecure and struggle even still. It is difficult for me to take a compliment and not turn it into something prideful. I am very self conscious in every circumstance and feel it necessary to dress a certain way to hide my body because feeling good about myself makes me feel guilty. I detest tight clothing and I hate short shirts…long and over the hip is best. I chastise myself if I feel sexy and I often wonder what others think of my looks, my talents, etc. I am constantly second guessing myself. I have been able to walk through steps of forgiveness with this man over the last two years. As God reveals His purpose through the pain, my journey has become exciting and I rejoice at the thought of how far I have come. But it is not over. I am still learning and I still struggle with thoughts and I feel very screwed up at times. Thinking of the upcoming event, sends my brain into anxiety overload over something as simple as getting dressed. It isn’t all that simple and I didn’t understand why. Given all that God has done in my life, I am STRESSING over this future meeting because I am out to prove that I am okay. I don’t know if that is appropriate or not. I feel that I must show that I have changed. I have changed from bitter and angry to thankful and joyful. The unforgivable has turned into forgivable. My comparing and hauntings of this man and my sin have turned into prayer and worship of our most awesome Savior. But my turmoil remains… I have no idea what to wear to this event. I am married and want to look good with my husband but are my motives pure and in check? Have I protected my heart and mind to stand against the reminders that Satan is going to deal out? It was difficult for me to explain why this is such a problem for me until last week. I was listening to Pastor John MacArthur’s sermon titled “God’s High Calling for Women”. The scripture is taken from 1 Timothy 2:9-15. He said, “So, the point in all of this is that the world of that day and the world of this day has always had a preoccupation with the adornment of women. And there are always women who want to put themselves on display. And it’s a very delicate balance and a very fine line for a godly woman to know when she is properly dressed to demonstrate the grace and the beauty of womanhood, to show her love for her own husband and submission to him and yet to avoid being the center of attraction that causes people’s thoughts to turn away from God to those things which are shameful.” Ummm…I could not believe my ears. So, wait a minute. I am not alone in this struggle? I definitely wanted to be on display back then…I fight the urge now. People’s opinions are still very important to me as well as affirmation in any form. It is a very fine line and I am constantly considering how I might be affecting someone’s thoughts. I do not want to turn this particular event into something about me or to turn someone’s thoughts toward something shameful! I desire to attend this particular event and feel normal. I don’t want to be paranoid that someone is looking at me and reading me like a book. I don’t want my past to define who I am. I want God to define me. How can I clothe myself to represent a dignified woman? How can I dress to please my husband? What will I choose to please God? I am praying that what I wear that day and my actions expose my new found identity in Christ. I pray that I will become a confident child of God.
Another piece of the sermon series spoke to my heart just today: “Now look at verse 14… ‘And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.’ We talk about the Fall of Adam, and rightly so because in Romans chapter 5 that is the way Paul refers to it as in Adam all died, and so forth. We talk about the fall of Adam because Adam, his name represents generic man, if you will, his name represents the race. He is the head of the race and he did fall. But we have to keep in mind that he didn’t fall first. First the woman fell and her fall confirms what verse 13 said, that woman needs a head. She needs a strengthener because when she got out from under the strength of Adam and tried to operate independently in conflict with the enemy, she was…what?…deceived. And the intent of what the Word is saying here is that woman needs protection. That she has a certain vulnerability. She was designed with the need for a head. She was designed with the need for a leader. She was designed with the need for a protector and a savior. But woman…woman who is designed by God to be under a head and a leader and a helper and a protector and a savior, when she stepped out on her own and acted independently of the headship of Adam, when she acted without his leadership, without his counsel, without his protection, she became vulnerable. And it is inherent in the nature of woman that she should not find herself in that position of ultimate responsibility. For woman has a deceivability when out from under the headship of a man. So the woman then in verse 14 was deceived. She showed by that her inability to lead effectively. She met her match and more than her match in Satan. She shows an inability to act independently of her protector. And by the way, the term for being deceived is very strong, it is stronger than just a common word for deceived, it is a word that means because it has the addition of a preposition on the front of it, it means to be fully deceived, to be thoroughly deceived, to be completely deceived. So we conclude then, beloved, that when a woman leaves the shelter of her protector and savior, provider and nourisher, she has a certain amount of vulnerability because she is designed for protection. That’s true even in the physical sense, isn’t it? So the Fall then was the result of not only disobeying God’s command not to eat, but the Fall was the result of violating the divinely appointed role of the sexes and woman acting independently of man. Woman assumed leadership, and you know what man did? He messed up his role and then he instead of maintaining the leadership acted in submission to whom? To the woman. And the whole reversal was part and parcel of the Fall. So subordination of women in the church wasn’t invented by Paul, it is rooted in the nature of the sexes and it is confirmed in the Fall. Now may I say to you that a woman is not more defective than a man? Please. She was deceived and he subjected himself to her deception. The weakness of a woman is that she needs a head. The weakness of a man is he needs a woman. We are not less defective than women, we are differently defective. We’re defective in different ways. We’re temptable and vulnerable in different ways. So that’s the reason that we have affirmed the leadership of men, is in the creation and the Fall. And no daughter of Eve should follow the path of Eve and lead to tragedy by entering into the forbidden territory of rulership which was intended for man.”
I know that I have had a very bad tape replaying in my brain for over twelve years. Every thought I had of myself were based on deception and lies. God has changed this mentality in me. In order to continue to hear what God says about me and to focus on His promises, I know I need the protection of my husband. I remember the first time he ever held me in his arms and I knew that he was the one. I felt safe and complete.
This sermon was packed full of information and I have even more questions but I also feel relieved to identify the source of what I have been up against. I am going to pray about my vulnerable feelings and that I may be taught to submit to my husband’s protective authority. I do not want to fall victim to more of Satan’s lies and deception. I pray that my anxiety will cease and God will show me what is honoring and pleasing to Him. My life is in His hands. He does not fail.

Power Surge

Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. Exodus 15:6

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
 
POWER- There is something about that word that excites my heart. Partly because I have been known to enjoy having power or control over things in my life. I have discovered that the feeling of power is often a farce. I am certainly not in control of my circumstances, problems, or people in my life. I feel that I barely exhibit self-control. So, just how powerful am I? I know I don’t need to control and I don’t need to hold the power because God is the all powerful one. With Him, I can do amazing things. Without Him, life is empty and chaotic…lacking purpose.

Then stress enters the picture. Just this past August, I was suffering from sleepless nights. My mind was concerned about the world…our nation…Christians being labeled as intolerant and anything with God or a Christ centered focus seemed to be targeted to destroy. (Yet, we are intolerant?) After debating issue after issue, the song by Casting Crowns “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” spelled out a different way. I don’t want people to trip over me. “What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did?” Those words echoed in my mind as a reminder to me that in Jesus there is no condemnation.

Yet, I also faced another kind of problem. The enemy got great at tearing me down. He tells me that what I have done is unforgivable. He says that I am not good enough. He says that I am not worthy. But that is when I hear God’s Word and His promises. I am a new creation. I am His masterpiece. He will work together all things for His glory. You see, the end of the story has already been written. Jesus overcame. The saints win in the end. Another song tugged at my heart: Jeremy Camp’s “Overcome”. I heard the lyrics just when I needed them…a reminder that this world and all my problems are temporary. “Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame. Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name, You overcame. We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony…”

I am in awe of what God is teaching me. I recently sat in a meeting with my best friend and our pastor. The three of us had an interesting conversation but I must admit that I did most of the talking. I described some concerns, I voiced how God is moving in my life, and I shed tears while releasing my worries. My pastor encouraged me to not let Satan remind me of my past and torment me with shame because I am a new creation in Christ. God is all powerful and Jesus is the Light of the world. Through His power, I am saved. I can see because I am walking in the Light. I have hope. I can have peace in Him.