How many times have you been on that road trip and the directions are telling you to turn left at the fork in the road but you are thinking that one of your girlfriends told you that going right was quicker? Do you turn left because you actually took the time to print off the directions before you left home and your GPS is telling you to turn left, or do you trust that your friend would know because she has been that route dozens of times? Perhaps you are just going to sit right in the middle of the fork in the road and hope that after all the cars zoom by there will be a big neon sign that reads, “THIS WAY.”
There is an old phrase that became widely used in the 1950’s that had it’s origins as far back as the early 1700’s. The phrase was this, “The proof is in the pudding!” You may even hear this phrase used from time to time today. The meaning behind this phrase is simple; it is stating a basic truth. If you want to know how good something is, (something edible in this case), you must try it or experience it for yourself! Then you will know!
Do you ever feel exhausted from giving all of yourself to a world that still doesn’t see you as enough? Society has a way of telling women who we should be. They say that unless we are doing more than the woman next to us, we are not doing enough.
I wonder, what is enough? Is being enough…
It’s a concept that has flooded our culture and even my own thought processes and practices. And when I indulge in the $6 coffee or the new cardigan from Old Navy, I sometimes whisper under my breath, “treat yourself.” Because every now and then we should, in fact, treat ourselves. But today, as I sit and watch my youngest climb the furniture and terrorize the puppy, I’m struck with how the occasional Starbucks or frivolous spending does very little to actually propagate loving myself.
My life doesn’t look like I thought it would five years ago. In fact, I wear titles that I never dreamed I’d don. Titles that I’d always judged so harshly in others… assuming they’d done something to deserve the scarlet letter pinned to their chest. And that’s how it feels. Like a giant, red “D” is pasted to my forehead, announcing to the world that my marriage failed. That I am no longer a wife but an ex-wife and my children will now have to explain their parentage using the verbiage of “step” and “half.”
And the shame of it all! Shame that has tried to strangle and disqualify and bind and gag the voice that calls me worthy and beloved.
In James 2:13, the Word tells us that mercy triumphs over judgement. A sentiment I found so very hard to understand several years ago. The idea of God as King and Ruler and Master was so easy to fathom. He breathed the stars. His might evident in every ocean wave. I had even heard it said that God is as merciful as He is just. An idea I would have trumpeted for all the world if I hadn’t encountered the heart of His grace and mercy. Because while I’ve known Him for over half of my life, I’m just now getting to know Him. Knowing Him in the capacity of father and daughter is so much different than that of master and servant.
Not a license
Please. Hear my heart. God’s mercy and grace is not a license to sin, as discussed in Romans 6:14 and again in Jude 1:4. But if we ever had the ability to earn our way into heaven, I’m certain the cross and all of its violent glory would not have been necessary. And while some might believe that forgiveness simply excuses your sin and releases you from responsibility, I have discovered that love does not simply shore up my iniquity. It invites me into a relationship where to sin against the one I worship not only breaks His heart but mine as well.
And that’s it. This life-altering truth that shifted the way that I saw myself and in turn, others. After all, the greatest commandment was to love each other as we love ourselves.
The crimson robe of grace and forgiveness
Sometimes self-love looks like letting yourself off the hook. When Jesus confronted the woman found in adultery, this was His response,
“…I certainly do not condemn you. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin.” -Romans 8:11
As far as we know, that’s exactly what she did. And that’s what I’m trying to do. While there was no great iniquity or adultery to speak of in my own case, just miscommunication and little foxes, this crimson letter is still one that tries to define me. But mercy says that the only label I wear is that of “His.” And when the Father looks at me, He doesn’t see my failures or my mess ups, but the perfect blood of Jesus. And if that’s good enough for Him, it’s enough for me too.
So if you were looking for permission, here it is. Treat yourself. Buy the shoes. Wear the lipstick. But more importantly, love yourself. Give mercy her triumph over judgment. Go and sin no more. Dance. Shout. And instead of your scarlet letter, whatever that letter may be, wear the crimson robe of grace and forgiveness.
Trust me. It looks good on you.
Read also: The Judge who paid the price
One of the most beautiful trees of God’s creation that I have ever seen is The Weeping Willow. It looks so serene, peaceful and wise but it also has a haunting glow of sorrow. It reminds me of many elderly women that I cared for when I worked in nursing homes years ago.
The Weeping Willow
They have been through The Great Depression, The Civil Rights Movement and sent their husbands, brothers
Growing Solid Roots
They have witnessed and survived tragedy but through their journey, they have grown solid roots that sprout trunks and branches that sprout beautiful and
Today, many women use the term “strong” so loosely. But we women of today are just apple trees compared to these weeping willows. Yes, we have all had our share of trials and tribulations but we are still growing in wisdom, knowledge
True Definition Of Strength
These willows have been through the worst of times, yet survived and through their trials, they maintained eloquence, class and an attitude of gratitude, never whining and never complaining. They taught us that in the midst of their storm, fall to your
When they spoke, their words poured out wise instruction, encouragement and fair warning.
They despised lies, gossip, back-biting and foul language because they understood that life and death were in the power of the tongue and if you didn’t tame it, you got a switch to your back-side and a bar of soap in your mouth. You sat down at the dinner table saying your grace, and asking to be excused before you got up. School was a privilege not a burden and work came before fun.
The Anchors In Our Lives
They are the anchors in our lives, a glimpse of the flickering star of hope that we still have a chance to get it right by modeling them in their fight for faith, hope and the restoration of the family unit. They are the true definition of strength.
Let us not forget
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Read also: The promise to Sarah
I recently came upon this quote that read, “Those girls are not your competition. Remember, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Stand with those girls and fight evil with good.” Does this sound all too familiar to you?
Paul tells us in Romans, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NIV)
Euodia and Syntyche
Hearing this quote reminded me of the two women from the Bible in Philippians Chapter 4. Their names were Euodia and Syntyche and they were from the church in Philippi. In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, he called upon Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony and reconcile their differences.
Paul states, “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner [Syzygus], to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 (NLT)
Never again do we come across the names of Euodia and Syntyce in the Bible. However, the quick mention of these two women, in these two verses, speaks volumes. All of Scripture is God-breathed and the Lord has much to show us through this situation.
Losing sight of the most improtant thing
Paul doesn’t describe what actually took place between Euodia and Syntche. But the reason behind their fall out, their broken relationship, and their continued quarrelling doesn’t really matter much when you get down to it. The point is that they allowed sin to crack the door open and Satan was given the opportunity to creep in. In turn, this created chaos and division between the two women. Often anger, bitterness, and resentment can quickly rear its ugly head in a circumstance such as this, and take root in the heart if conflict remains unresolved. Euodia and Syntche, once fellow warriors in the proclamation of the gospel, lost sight of the most important thing – JESUS and telling others the Good News! It’s very possible that they began looking at themselves and at each other. This often creates strife and causes individuals to fight against one another and relationships are sadly destroyed or terribly broken. Soon they forgot that they are on the same side, part of the same team, and aiming for the same goal.
Lysa Terkeurst describes this very nicely when she said, “In God’s economy, people do not stand on opposing sides of the conflict scale. People stand on one side and Satan stands on the other. When we dump into another person’s lives, we are not leveling the conflict scale. We are just weighing down on the side of the scale. Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other. The secret to healthy conflict resolution is not a-you-against-me-stance but realizing it’s all of us against Satan. He is the real enemy.”
Scripture is clear when stating, “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13 (MEV)
A wonderful gift from God
Let us not give Satan the opportunity and the great pleasure of observing us tearing each other down. We really need one another. A church body, a congregation, is a wonderful gift from God as Paul describes it so beautifully in the letter to the Corinthians.
Paul states, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body, that’s who you are! You must never forget this.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-31 (MSG)
Don’t fall for the enemy’s lies
So let’s be sure to edify one another and continually build each other up. By using our gifts and talents that we have received from God, we can join forces, come together, and use them to honor and glorify His precious and holy name – this is our purpose – to glorify Him in everything. We must ensure that we don’t lose sight of this through the cunning and deceptive tactics of Satan. We must always be on guard and must always be aware of his wicked ways. Know the Truth so you don’t fall for the enemy’s lies. Do not forget that we are a unity in Him – Our lord, our Redeemer, our King, our Savior Jesus Christ.
In closing, I want to share with you from Philippians 2: 1-4, “Is there any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any compassion and mercy, then fulfill my joy and be like-minded, having the same love, being in unity with one mind. Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each other esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own
Read also Being part of a messy community
What comes to mind when you think of your father? What was he like? Do you have fond memories of a loving childhood or do you rather not think about it? Father God is unlike any earthly father.
In my quiet time this morning, as I was praying, asking the Lord what I could share in this blog, I had to think of all the nations and people She Rises reaches out to through the Internet. What a wonderful opportunity this is, but at the same time … what a challenge also, because people who follow She Rises come from many nations and cultures. It is important to be aware that how we think and express things is not always the same as the way in which people in other countries would do.
Imagine: You are walking in the mall when you see someone from church, the person passes you but doesn’t greet you. The radars in your head start to work, “Is she angry with me?”, “Did I say something wrong the other day?” You start filling in your own story, your mind takes a walk with you and often it is in the negative realm. Do you recognize this?
I love to teach about Gods word, so the children in my class know their teachers favorite subject: Religion. And last week we talked about the great commision Jesus gave His disciples and how He tells them they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on them. And they will be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Matthew 28:19, Acts 1:8). We talked about how amazing it is that without the internet, airplanes and television, the gospel was spread and nowadays there are over 2 billion Christians. So these disciples did a pretty good job in sharing the good news. We talked about how important it is to share your faith with others, it can literally change peoples lives.