Living Life As a Woman In Ministry

Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

Daddy Is Home

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My mother created a culture in our home in which our family wasn’t complete until my dad came home. There was always a celebration, a feeling of security and warmth and love when my dad entered the scene. She taught us that he was important to our well-being.

She tells the story of when she was a little girl and her father had to work three jobs to make ends meet. When she would get up in the morning, her dad was already gone off to work and when she went to bed at night he was still working but she says that she always knew he had come home and that they were loved because he’d leave a treat behind. A pie, or pastry. Something to let them know that he was providing for his family.

It was these memories that have kept me thinking about Father’s Day and all of the appreciation of it. Father’s are critical to the well being of the home. A father, in his proper order, guides and leads a home with strength and character.

The latest statistic is that 43% of children are being raised in fatherless homes. Our statistics in America get dismal from there, click here to read statistics

Despite what anyone tells us as women and how we are capable of raising children alone, we simply lack something that dads bring to the table. Yes, we can clothe and feed a child, teach them manners, help them with their homework, love them beyond belief but children still know something is missing.

TD Jakes said in his message Crash Course in Fatherhood, “Anything a man loves he will take care of it, protect it, provide for it.”

Here’s the truth women. You don’t wait until a man loves you and marries you to have his baby. In fact, you’ll have two or three in the hopes he will marry you. Beloved, if he didn’t do it before babies, what makes you think he’ll do it after? Do you think love is sustained by a forced marriage? We all scream about arranged marriages, yet we have no problem backing up our sisters with the cry of ‘do the right thing’ to a man. How about looking her in the eye and speaking the truth in love? Although she may not need a man to help her financially raise a child, like it or not, she needs a man to help her raise a whole child.

I know I know!! This isn’t a popular message. I become a hater to society who says we must do things our own way but could it be that we, woman, are not embracing the biblical principles set before us, and setting up a house where life is complete when daddy is home? Where a man leaves security for his children on his way to making ends meet?

TD Jakes also said, “When a man has no authority, he has no potency. So when you shout, ‘I am woman hear me roar’, you may be roaring alone.”

We weren’t meant to do this alone. Wait for Part 2, ’cause I’m not done yet.

Despite It All

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Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.

I read a post on Facebook recently how happy posts were fake because people chose to post that their lives were good despite the fact that they had real problems. It made me think about how you can still be happy and positive despite difficulties, or you can judge others in your unhappiness. Not everything in life has to be a major catastrophe to your well-being.

I am in a really happy place right now. I’m sure my life, speech, and yes, Facebook posts show that. It took me a long time to get here and I am relishing in it. I was a pregnant teen who raised children to the age of 48. I had never had an adult life where it was just me. I had never written out a monthly budget that didn’t include children’s lunch or field trip money, a college fund savings, or a extensive food budget. I can leave home on a moment’s notice and not worry about babysitters or dinner. I can clean my kitchen spotless and know when I get up in the morning it’s going to be exactly how I left it. I can turn the music on as loud as I want to and dance without fear of someone saying, “Mom! Stop! It’s so embarrassing when you act like a kid.” I can buy tickets to a concert or a play and not worry about what is being taken out of the budget.

I have a man who loves me beyond measure and is close by my side. We like the same things and we very rarely even argue these days. It’s a peaceful season in our life. My job is going well. I have a lot to do but I’m no longer so driven towards it. I am enjoying the work that I do at a new level. I have a dog that I think is incredible, she is pure love and she is a total spas, who I think has the Young’s A.D.D. problem.

Do I have problems? OF COURSE I DO!! Everyone does. My problems big and small have always been there, not the same ones but isn’t there always something? I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes miss being a mommy. Sure, I like the freedom, but there are those days I want to watch Sleeping Beauty with the Princess Casey. The great thing is my age and life experiences have put them in perspective. They no longer rule my every thought. I’ve learned to be content. If you want to learn to be happy, click here for an article I found profoundly useful.

Here’s the problem with judging the heart of someone and determining their motives; you aren’t always right. A person can be happy in the midst of pain. A person can be upbeat even in the midst of chaos. Happiness is a choice. Be depressed, angry, resentful, or petty, if you choose to be, but don’t expect that everyone else will be. It’s entirely up to you. As for me, I’m going to live out this last little bit of life in happiness, I’m going to let go and plunge into the deep things of life and experience freedom, despite it all.

Look Up

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When you can’t see another horizon you settle for current conditions. ~ Rick Hawkins

Why dear one are you starving? Lost in your depressed living under circumstances you were never born to be under? Have you forgotten the will of your Father that you are more than a conqueror, that you command angels who ascend and descend with prayers and petitions and answers and responses upon Jacob’s ladder, the one and only Jesus Christ?

Why are you beneath your circumstances once again oh Church of the Most High King, when Jesus clearly stated that the gates of hell would never prevail against His church? Yes, you were told that you would be persecuted and suffer but what has got you down? Did you forget that you are told you would never be abandoned? Have you forgotten the words of your Father?

Oh, I know what ails you today. Judah plows the ground in which the seed of promise is sown. You’ve not worshiped with anointing and intensity. You’ve not sought out your deliverer. You say you know where your help comes from, yet you persist to try to make it work by your own hand. Some things are better fought through the praise of the present help in times of trouble.

Look up dear one, there is provision coming. It will look like a battle but don’t grow weary because you will succeed.

Numbers 23:24 Look, a people rises like a lioness, And lifts itself up like a lion; It shall not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of the slain.”

A lioness works in a team, with eyes that light up the darkest night and she successfully devours her prey and brings the spoils home to her den. Sometimes when it seems as if there is no provision it is merely lurking in the tall grass. Stop grasping at what you think should be coming your way and free your hands, still your mind, and look out into the darkness for provision is coming but you will have to move from your current state of depression.

Deuteronomy 20:3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; 4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

You are made strong in your weakness when you have decided to relinquish what you thought you’d captured on your own because you see, it has merely captured you. A mirage, it looked like an answer in the middle of the desert, but it only proved to ensnare you in the trap of a gerbil wheel.

Look up to the horizon. It is fresh everyday and with it comes new challenges, yes, but also new blessings. Free yourself of the entanglement that the world tells you need and refuse to settle for anything less that what has been promised. Awaken from your deep slumber, awaken and look around. There is much awaiting you. Although right now it looks like a little cloud off in the distance that will not yield much, it is more than enough to water the seed of praise in your heart and to break every chain of bondage over your life.

2 Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–

We will prevail.

 

 

Rights and Responsibilities

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“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.” —John Milton

John Milton was on to something with this thought process. So often in our attempt to control and manipulate we think we know what we really don’t know. This is nothing new, it’s been this way since the beginning of time.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

You were made in the image of God so why are you struggling with the opinion of man? I never see God struggle with the opinion of man. God knows he’s God. You were created in His image. You are the manifestation of that image on the earth. We are kings of a King.

Yet, there is this allowance of opinion that infiltrates our mind, causing such an uproar to our lives. Often times, religious types are quick to judge that which they haven’t yet accepted authority over as a fact in their own life, thereby projecting their fear on us. Only we must remember that we were made in the image of God. I don’t see where God worried, or feared anything. Instead he took charge over it. Hell was not ever breaking loose in God’s realm and neither does it have authority in our realm. Unless we give it room to play. Why do we believe the opinion of man when it doesn’t mirror the opinion of God? Because we haven’t yet consulted our owner’s manual to find out how things work.

If you live for the approval of others you will die by their rejection. ~ Rick Warren

The kingdom of Heaven is not something that we are waiting for. It is something within you that is creating positive changes in your environment. It should be bearing fruit. So often there are hearers of the word of God who run around telling others how to live their lives but because they lack the ability to be doers of the word, there is nothing solid on which to build a foundation. When you listen to a voice who tells you are doing things wrong, first check to see if their lives are bearing the fruit of the word?

I know people who say they are followers of Christ but they have a bad reputation among the people. My husband is from Louisiana so he’s says things in a southern way, he says, “broke, busted, and can’t be trusted.” They talk a good game but it avails them nothing as there is no fruit that is worth eating on their tree. They are in violation of the third commandment of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Yet, they project their fears and ungodly opinions on others. What makes us take their word as having any value at all?

I know others who quietly live out their faith in little acts of authority and obedience that produce great results of winning others to God. They took their commission seriously and are making disciples. Want to know their secret? They are disciples. You can’t lead someone to discipleship if you refuse to be a disciple.

So what are your rights and responsibilities as kings of a King? You have a right to live freely among men and you have a responsibility to represent your King admirably, allowing his definition of you be the last word. You have a right to bind those things on earth that are not of God and you have a responsibility to loose those things on earth that produce kingdom results.

Christianity Leaves Where Facebook Begins

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It’s not as simple as deleting a post or tweet. – Jake Iversen

I took a break from Social Media at the end of the year. I couldn’t take the whining and complaining and the perfection of selfies anymore. Not just others either, my own. I found myself wanting to respond in a negative way and it was no longer fun, nor good. Social media tends to leave manners at the door, and I was no exception. I have gone back on now and I’ve decided not to engage the meanies nor be one either. Some hot topics I will reserve for dinner conversations, live and in person because I have an opinion but sometimes I need you to hear my tone.

In church for the past month my husband has said every single Sunday, that if we have an issue with a brother, we are to go to that person as directed in the bible, not to Facebook. These are the kinds of things that people see and read and cause them to call us hypocrites.

They’d be right.

We can defend nothing.

We use people like pawns, those people who know nothing about the situation rush to the defense of the person who wrote the “cryptic” message, making the writer feel justified. Those who know what’s going on begin to text and call each other. Sadly it sets up a battle right in the middle of the congregation.

Which is exactly what the person posting wanted to have happen.

They won’t go face to face and confront but

anyone can be an attacker.

And it’s not just the church I attend, or the one you attend, or the one your friend attends, this is acceptable behavior in the Christian community, just as it is in any community these days. Only for us who call ourselves followers of Christ it’s not scriptural nor does it follow the example of Christ. And we think we invoke Jesus justifiably. We’ll preface it by saying, “I’m waiting on God’s will for this situation”, or “Is God trying to tell me something?” “I’m praying about what to do.” Then we proceed with the modern day Holy War. 

So when I took my social media break, I thought about not coming back on. I didn’t want to contribute to the negative stereotypes of Christians and because I have a sarcastic sense of humor and very opinionated views, it doesn’t always translate well on paper. Even more than that, I didn’t like how it made me feel and react.

We need to weigh our words. They aren’t anonymous and you can hurt people with them. You become a publisher and it’s more than ink on a page. It’s there for as long as the Internet is around, and right now, it isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

Parents Shouldn’t Be A Financial Burden

 

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Proverbs 13:22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

We’re a nation of consumers and that isn’t news nor is it going away. Reverse mortgages, check-cashing loans, credit card debt are rampant means of getting extra cash. Gone are the days in which we live within our means.

Have we stopped to consider our children in these situations?

Your average 21 year old comes out of college with a debt of $32,000 in student loans and $4,000 in credit card debt, according to the Dave Ramsey crew. How is that student going to pay that off when an entry level job isn’t going to pay anywhere near the money it will take to make a dent in that amount? As parents if we are not set up to help take care of these costs, we must rely on loans, grandparents, and family members to foot the bill.

With these statistics it is imperative that we should not take from our children nor be a burden to them. We need to begin wherever we are to save for our child’s education and their future. My godmother and I were talking recently and she said to me that as soon as I find out I am having a grandchild, I am to put $20 per week aside for that child’s future. So that ends up being about $20,000 with just simple interest. if I invested it, it would be more.

Do we even comprehend that $20 is one fast food meal skipped per week? 

I don’t profess to be a saver. I love a sale as much as anyone, but we have an emergency fund and funds set aside for our future. I don’t want to be a burden to my kids. The bible says we aren’t supposed to be. Could it be that this is why the Lord makes such archaic statements in the bible?

Save! Don’t consume all that you have.

Proverbs 21:20 There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.

Give freely but don’t be a borrower.

Psalm 37:21 The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.

We have to set this thing up better for the next generation or they won’t be afforded the life we were. We have to begin to look at the consequences of the whole picture and not look at what feels good right now. We love our children, and I believe that we do love our children, but are we looking out for them or are looking out for ourselves? Are we leaving them with a legacy of slavery to a system and a life of indebtedness or are we teaching practical principles like delayed gratification? We have got to do better for our next generation. Setbacks happen to everyone but there is a difference between a person who can’t recover and one who won’t.

Work and savings aren’t ugly words. My grandfather worked three jobs to give his kids a leg up. My parents both worked to give us an education. We worked to give our kids the things they needed. We didn’t always have new stuff but we had what we needed and we didn’t work a system, we worked to be free to make decisions.

 

Infallible Hero

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Recently at a bible study someone dared to say that one of our beloved bible heroes acted like a spoiled brat. The women immediately were up in arms. Bible heroes are heroes and therefore we overlook their flaws and make them somewhat godlike, but come on, truth is truth, and it’s actually beneficial to see the real person in the scheme of the heroic act.

You all know I am a huge Dr. Laura fan. I’ve been listening to her for almost 30 years. So it was no wonder that I imagined Jacob calling into the radio program as I studied the life of Joseph.  As he gives Dr. Laura the background we hear, Jacob is in love with Rachel, but marries her sister Leah and has a tribe of kids with her because Rachel can’t get pregnant, even though (Dr. Laura gets impatient with these words) he doesn’t love Leah. Finally Rachel has a son named Joseph and the bible tells us Joseph is Jacob’s favorite kid. Joseph, as a teen, has a dream that one day his older brothers will bow down to him. Joseph, dressed in this flashy coat, goes out to the field to tell his brothers about his dream. Now right about here is where I’m thinking this is one dysfunctional family.  So Joseph’s brothers take Joseph out on a walk and lose him and then go back home and tell their dad he was killed.

So I can hear Dr. Laura saying to Jacob, “What the hell were you thinking was going to happen?” At which point I usually think to myself and take a deep breath, “Buddy, do you ever listen to this program?”

You can actually do this with all the bible heroes. Moses’ parents and Dr. Laura, “Don’t have them if you won’t raise them.” Then to Pharoah’s daughter: “Give this child to an intact, two-parent home. Adopt an older child.”

To David’s parents: “I know you’re trying to raise your boy to be a man, but sending him out to places alone where he has to fight a bear? What the hell are you thinking?!”

Parts of these stories look so heroic that it’s easy to overlook the dysfunction they went through as children and only see the good these men did with God at their side. It’s easy to then say we have too much to overcome to get to a spot of actually making a difference but the bible shows us these thoughts are merely excuses. Everyone has stuff to overcome. The difference is in those who will do something despite their circumstances, and those who will wallow.

Which will you be? A Hero or Victim? It’s interesting, every Comic Hero that I can think of had a crazy childhood only to come out victorious. So what’s holding you back? You aren’t any different. Go out and do something heroic with your life. Teach a child to be a person of character, go out and feed some homeless people, go out and teach a class or coach a sport. Make a difference. The world is waiting for your gift.

I Want To Marry You

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The  most precious thing you have in your life is time.

You can’t get moments back. You have to make sure that your life is heading in the direction of forward progress toward your goals.

I recently spoke to a woman who has dated her boyfriend for five years. She wants a ring. Her boyfriend is happy with the way things are. He’s not in a rush and says it will happen ‘one day’. This causes an argument. So I asked her why she was waiting and why she thought he was THE ONE.

She loves him.

She sees herself driving his kids around in a minivan.

He has a good job.

He loves God.

They have a lot in common.

They love jogging together after work.

They attend the same church.

Their families get along.

They believe the same things.

WAIT!!!!! WAIT!!!! WAIT!!!!

I had to stop her right there.

They have a ton of stuff in common. They love to talk to each other. They love to spend time together, and although all that is true, I have no reason to believe she is lying to herself or to me, they aren’t heading to the same place. You see, even though they have lots of things in common, they are not headed in the same direction. Even though they love each other, their destination is different. She wants marriage, he still hasn’t figured out he needs a wife. She can whine, stomp her feet, and give him an ultimatum and he may cave, but they both will know they manipulated a situation and that is no way to live.

Neither of them is a bad person. Neither of them is wrong. The only problem here, and it’s the deal breaker, is they don’t have commonality in the goal. So this relationship needs to end. Why? Because all we have is time and wasting it in the push and pull of trying to get someone to go your way, only delays your destiny to find the person who really is the one for you.

I once heard Bishop T.D. Jakes say about letting go of relationships, “Don’t abort the future on the altar of your past.” This isn’t just good advice in a romantic relationship. This addresses all relationships. Not everyone is going with you and you’re not going with everyone no matter how much we love them and how much it hurts to part. There are people in your life with whom you are at a fork in the road with and some are going your way, and others aren’t, don’t change your destiny in a compromise. The misdirection will waste time and cause resentment over time.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed. NKJV

No one is evil, it’s just that their destiny is parting from yours. You never know if this is a forever thing, or for a period of time, in either case, choose God’s will rather than yours. In time, you’ll see why it wasn’t meant to be.

 

The Pastor’s Wife

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October is the month we have Pastor’s Appreciation Month and I know it’s April, but actually, we need to be praying for our pastors all the time because they have a tough job. While not being physically exhausting most days, it’s mentally challenging and emotionally charged. And while you’re there, pray for his wife too. That’d be me.

Today I woke up with the burden of the Pastor’s wife on my heart. She is in a unique position. She watches her husband from a vantage point that no one else really gets to see. She watches as he walks the line that is unpopular in our culture. She watches as people from the outside presume to know what he is about. She watches as his critics swim like sharks who see chum in the water. Most days, she’s able to pray and walk forward with her day. Other days, she is exhausted at the prospect before the day even gets started. She shares her life with a man who has a calling on his life. It’s not like a job where he can go home and let it go. It follows him everywhere. She watches as he paces the floor in prayer and wonders what the stress is doing to his body.

Yet her life is blessed as she stands secure in the fact that her husband follows the One true desire of her heart, Jesus. She has that in common with him as they move the Kingdom forward. She loves her church family with her whole heart. She rests in knowing that they have placed their trust where she has and that is a big obligation he carries. She understands that although her church needs her, her first duty is to her husband. She knows she must keep him healthy, keep him loved, keep him in her prayers and undergird his desires.

Recently someone said to me that I didn’t understand what she and other women had to go through.  They have been hurt, they had been stabbed in the back and that they have had words spoken over them that they didn’t feel they deserved. I smiled and offered to pray. Inwardly, I wondered what makes her think I don’t go through this stuff? Some of the things a Pastor’s wife is told would make your hair curl. The criticism thrown at her, her children, and her husband would be laughable it it weren’t so painful. Just because she isn’t publicly bleeding doesn’t mean she isn’t wounded. She chooses to suck it up and move forward because the One she follows had a lot of heartache too, but recognized a short time frame when he saw one. Unfortunately, I’ve seen my share of wives get off the ride and decide to do something else because of the stress and pressure on her marriage and her family.

So today, my hat is off to all of you who are married to a Pastor. It’s a blessing to know you. It’s a blessing to pray for you. More importantly, it’s a blessing to be counted among you. I truly love each and everyone of you. May God continue to fashion you into His leading lady.

 

Stay In Your Own Movie

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Drama.

Some people are magnets for it. For the rest of us, we have enough drama in our own lives that we don’t need to go looking for more. I mean honestly, if you wanted a Emmy winning Lifetime movie you could look no further than my own life and I’m sure yours too. We’d have these nail-biting scenes where we wonder if I’ll ever get back into those jeans or not,  these amazing dramatic love scenes, break-ups and tears, and love and passion, then treacherous relationship that would make most soap operas look like amateur hour, and of course those scenes that look like blooper reels. Our own movies would be blockbuster hits!

So what makes us steer our car over to the drama of others and insert ourselves into their scenes? What makes us think we can do better?

EGO

We think somehow their drama is fixable, not like ours of course, because we are professionals. We think if we just share what we know, we can make it all better. Only let’s be real, what is it that we really know?

I love how Oprah does her famous question dramatically, “What’s the one thing you know for sure?” Then her guest look like they didn’t know the question was coming and they have to think about it. Trust me, if I were interviewed by Oprah, I’d know this question is coming up so I already have an answer. Are you ready?

“The one thing I know for sure, is the longer I live, the more I don’t know anything at all.”

But I guess that’s why I probably won’t be interviewed by Oprah. So her guests answer her question with pretty much a version of, “Well, Oprah the one thing I know for sure is that there is a force within us and we will return to that force one day.” And yeah, well I believe that too. Only I call my force Jesus.

EGO- I learned from a Wayne Dyer book that EGO can be an acronym for Edging God Out. In other words, when we come into the scene in rescue mode, often times we play God and none of us is fit to fill that position. Sorry to break it to you, when we act from a place of the mind, what we know, instead of spirit, what we don’t really know but discern from God,  we Edge God Out. I can hear some of you screaming “BUT WHAT IF”. My response is, “Even if”.  Stay in your own movie. Don’t go photo bombing someone else’s scene. Smile, close the door and know that if they will access Jesus they will work out a solution. Give advice when asked but please stay in your own movie.

 

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