Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

Luke gave me this book for Christmas.  When I opened it I wasn't quite sure what it was...a hint?   I jokingly said something about it and he said he had heard several people say it was good. So, I opened the cover and read testimonies from people like John & Noel Piper, Mark & Connie Dever and Dennis & Barbara Rainy-I quickly got excited!   
I hope to give a small run down of the chapters here and what it is teaching me.  Currently in my life there are limited places for me to meet and talk with other young mothers.  Sometimes when I'm around other mothers I still feel a disconnect...I wish there were more conviction to their mothering and less worldly concerns if that makes sense.  This book has been a huge encouragement and I hope you will pick up a copy for yourself.

CHAPTER ONE: Transformed by Titus 2
First, if you haven't read or are not familiar with Titus 2-you should read it!  
Titus 2:3-5 "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.  They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled"  She writes of Elisabeth Elliot encouraging older women to teach younger women how to keep a quiet heart.  She also makes the point that the relationship between mother and daughter is so important because we are the ones teaching our daughters how to love their future husbands, future children, to be self controlled, pure, kind workers at home and submissive. 
-I think we so often focus on things that don't matter.  People want to "keep up appearances", but they forget that we are teaching our children to be double faced.  The things our children see at home are so important.  We have to remember that we are training them, preparing them and always teaching.  It is so important that we do not neglect the authority God has given us. 
She also says in chapter one "People don't necessarily want to know what we believe about the Bible-They want to see if it makes a difference in our lives." 
-This is so true.  I recall times we've met with search committees and I've been so fearful having "unholy rehearsals" (as a friend calls them)...I think they'll ask me questions like: "Can you please quote the entire chapter of Matt 1?" or "Please give a brief rundown of Israel;s History from beginning to end." or some other random questions regarding my Biblical knowledge....but, I do remember taking note of how people responded to our children and their behavior, our response to them, etc....They,  committees & people in general, are looking to see if we actually live out what the Bible teaches.  It is comforting because I know that my hearts desire is to be exactly who Christ has called me to be.  That is so important, even if I mess up...No, even WHEN I mess up HE will work through that. 
The thing that most stuck out to me in this chapter was her closing statement, which is just a reflection of scripture, but it is reassuring that HIS opinion is what matter and I have been clearly instructed on what to do.
"Consider the loveliness of a woman who passionately adore her husband, who tenderly cherishes her children, who creates a warm and peaceful home, who exemplifies purity, self- control, and kindness in her character and who gladly submits to her husband's leadership-for all the days God grants her life."
So, be encouraged and be confident in who He has called you to be!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being Free...

Luke was telling me about this video.  When I first watched it, I laughed....but then I thought "How sad!"  If I had been in the congregation I wouldn't have though he was meaning "midget"....but those of us in the ministry know that someone would've thought that and the poor guy would've received emails telling him how insensitive he was being.  It's so hard to always live in the glass house.  We all know the feeling of constantly being under scrutiny by some of our church members.  I know we are all blessed to have those members who will stick with us through thick and thin.  I also know we have those people who constantly tell us how we can do nothing right.  Even as a write this I'm thinking "What if someone in my church sees this and it makes them mad?"....Where does that nagging thought come from?  I'll tell you where: Experience.  When I surrendered to the ministry at the age of 16 I didn't know what that would mean exactly.  I thought how wonderful it would be living a life dedicated to God's service and leading people to know and understand Him.  As time in the ministry has taught me, it's not quite that simple.  The times where I'm walking with women who are learning and growing are the highlights of ministry.  Seeing someone come to know the Lord gives unspeakable joy.  

I recently found Leading and Loving it.  I joined a VCG and watched the JustONE conference yesterday.  Julie Richard spoke about rolling around in freedom and being who we are in Christ.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  My husband and I have been married for 8 years.  In those 8 years we have had some really terrible experiences in the ministry.  My outlook had gone from being excited, passionate & anxious, guarded and fearful.  The church we are at now is wonderful.  We have been here for 9 months and we really love the people!  We have a really solid core group of people who love the Lord and love others.  We are blessed to be here and are so glad that God placed us here.  Though we are in a loving church I still find myself being anxious, guarded and fearful because of past experiences.  I know without a doubt that one things I've learned from those experiences is that I have to trust God.  He still reminds me when I get anxious about something that I need to PRAY about it.  I know many of you reading have these same feelings and I want to encourage you to turn to the Lord.  He knows our fears.  
Recently I had to call a woman in our church about something and I was very anxious about the call.  I had nothing really important to discuss, but she always takes offense easily and it is discouraging for things to turned around when I was intending good.  I prayed about it a long while before I called and the call was fine.  There have been times that I would've just worried and obsessed about it, but not taken it to the Lord.   I just have to constantly remind myself that I'm being who God wants me to be, know my heart is pure and my intentions are good.  The judgements that people make on me can't always be controlled.   I'm sure there are things along these same lines that we all struggle with.  What is it that you struggle with in ministry?  How has God taught you to get through these situations?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Whirlwind year...

I haven't posted in over a year...There are many reasons for that, all good excuses, I assure you!  After my last post we had an upheaval in our ministry.  There is not way to describe it accept it was the perfect storm.  The pastor we were serving under started spreading a lie about my husband and some other people.  The people who could confirm it true were out of the state on a business trip for several months.  It really only confirmed everything that God was teaching us.  1) Stand firm, no matter what 2)You are always being watched 3)My Word is your guide.....
Stand Firm...We knew the accusations were false.  There were many in the church who also knew them to be false, but the pastor had rallies with an influential, albeit spiritually immature man in the church to concoct the lies.  We boldly proclaimed the truth, cried a lot of tears, and found out who our true friends were.  We could've fought it, but the damage was done and the church was already falling apart. This brings me to the second point
You are always being watched...We had the unique opportunity to minister to those who were supporting us.  We read scripture together, prayed, encouraged trust in God, and tried to assure them bitterness and anger towards these people would only harm us in the end. Of course preaching it was the easy part, living it out was very difficult.  My husband was in a meeting one night with all of the deacons.  I was crying in the doorway of his office.  The pastor (who started all of this) walked by and said "I'm not going to walk past you with out saying anything."  That really dumfounded me that he wouldn't be "rude" to me in the hall, but he'd destroy our lives with a lie.  I said "We are telling the truth.  It's ridiculous that you are letting this lie destroy everything."  I mean really, what else could I say "Hi, how are you?"  "It sure was hot today"....His statement to me described him exactly, always oblivious to the obvious.  Later I found out some ladies in the nursery heard my statement.  I hadn't thought of it at the time, but I was glad I didn't lash out, which of course is what I wanted to do.  If I could've made him spontaneously combust at that moment I would've done so, only the Lord in me stayed calm.
My Word is your Guide...When all of this happened were could we turn?  God was the ONLY place to go.  Our friends and family had encouraging words, but the only true guide we had was God and His Word.  We saw God being faithful to us as we really tried to do what He wanted us to do in this situation.
The 6 months that followed this time was the most trying time of my life-I'll write more about this sometimes this week.  Be faithful in all you do...