So… I saw Bad Moms, and I laughed.

In case you don’t have any clue what movie I am talking about, here is a promo shot:

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First, I’d like to admit right out of the gate I didn’t walk into this movie with naive expectations.  The trailers gave a pretty good indication that there would be some inappropriate humor.  Second, I am not planning on giving away any spoilers.  There were definitely some parts I thought the movie could have lived without, not only for the story line but even in the presentation.  Sometimes it could go too far.  Third, there were some parts of this that were REALLY unrealistic when you are talking about any group of moms.  Lastly, there were also a LOT of truths.

Overall, I laughed and I laughed hard.  At one point I laughed so hard (as I was taking a sip from my straw) that I pushed air through the straw, which caused a small tidal wave in my cup, and that resulted in my drink landing in my eyes.  Which just caused a whole other fit of laughter for myself and those sitting around me.  I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt.  Yet, there were some moments that I nodded in solidarity.  There were moments that were uncomfortable.  And, yes… as I said before totally unnecessary.

What I want to write about (and I’m up for conversation too) is WHY a movie like this not only resonated with moms but was drawing us in like moths to a flame.

My first thought is probably the most obvious, there is an enormous amount of pressure on moms to be it all, do it all, and do so perfectly.  Whether it is the perfect birthday party, bento box lunches, or simply making it to every school and sport activity… we feel the pressure.  We notice so much of what is around us, like the mom who has the perfect hair and make up in the parent pick up line… when we were struggling to get out of the house with a bra under our pajama shirt.  We see the kids with the perfectly styled hair, accessories, and sparkling white sneakers…. and we just spent the last 40 minutes looking for eyeglasses or a belt.  Other moms dropping their kids off early, and we are 10 minutes late because we had to go back home and pick up the flute that was left behind… or because our darling child took 15 minutes to brush her teeth.

How do these moms do it?  We cast shade in their direction, but really we are asking ourselves… why can’t I do it?

I think there are a number of moms who have run the scenario through their head of just saying no.  No to the requests by the husband, kids, school, coaches, etc.  An opportunity to just walk away from the pressure and enjoy life again.  To make the choice of not being the perfect mom anymore, and instead be the bad mom.

This brings me to my second thought, as you watch the trailers you see a group of women having fun. We are not talking bunko party fundraiser fun, but the kind of fun we had as teenagers  and young single adults.  The fun we had when we didn’t care what others thought, where it was ok to be silly, and there was an expected freedom in the general knowledge we were going to make mistakes and bad choices.  It takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to be an adult, and could just let loose and be free.

With motherhood came some sort of unwritten code of conduct, that we couldn’t be silly anymore.  We began to take everything too seriously, including ourselves.  Let’s face it, books and the advice of television “experts” reinforced this.  Reminding us over and over again that it was time to grow up, put away childish things, and get our heads out of the clouds.  As we did this, many of us sent fun sailing away for good.  We stopped smiling, we stopped laughing, and we stopped being silly.

The movie Bad Moms called out to that free spirit inside of us, that desperately wanted to laugh… and laugh hard.  So, it pulls out all the stops.  The women let loose in a way we couldn’t, and we live vicariously through them.  They say the things that roll through our minds & do the things we secretly wished we could.  (Ok, maybe not all of the things they say and do, but you get the point).

I also believe this appeals to Christian women so deeply because of the bar that is set for our expected behavior.  If other moms are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their every day life, Christian moms understand the additional expectations put on the Christian mom.  To have perfect children that love Jesus, quote the bible, volunteer with the elderly, and gladly donate all their birthday money to the missions fund.  To be women who are serious about the study of the Lord, leading small groups, inviting women over to mentor and pray together, to dress in simple clothes, and be ever diligent in our choices of entertainment.  There is a pressure that all of our time should be so seriously focused on Christ, that we can’t let loose and laugh until our sides hurt.

Confession… I saw the movie on opening night.  It’s taken me almost a month to admit I saw it, because frankly… I expected to be judged for it.  I was worried about what my church friends, my readers that look to me for wisdom, the women or leaders who are reading through my blog trying to decide if I would be the right speaker for their next women’s event… what would these people think of me?

I learned something from the movie though… my eyes were opened to how long it had been since I had laughed so much and so hard.  I realized how seriously I take myself and made the decision not to.  I embraced that silliness is okay and even healthy for my kids to see.  I made the decision that I wanted to laugh more, but with those whom I am the closest to… not a theater full of strangers.  I want that girl posse who has my back, in the most biblical way possible… and who will be silly with me.  Women who know how to laugh, smile, and stop trying to be something that is impossible to attain… perfect.

All of those parts of the movie that I thought were unnecessary, they don’t have to be part of my life.  But the good stuff… I welcome it.  We are all GOOD MOMS despite our imperfections and the times we muck things up… because we are LOVING MOMS.  In the end that is what matters.  The Lord didn’t call us to a life of misery, but of fulfillment and joy as mothers… and laughter.  So much laughter.

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Swept Away By the Lord & In Fellowship

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I am a big fan of Conferences and Retreats, they are places where we get to pull away from the every day and put all of our focus on Him.  There are no distractions, there are no interruptions.  They are an opportunity for total immersion into fellowship with your brethren in Christ as well as God himself.

This weekend, my home church held a women’s retreat.  We were blessed that a few other local small churches joined us for this time of fellowship and communion.

Speaker Michelle Howe pointed us toward having a “Swept Away” life in the Lord.   It is easy to be swept away by the world, the enemy… but it is a great thing to be swept away into relationship with God.  She suggested these daily actions:

  1. REJOICE (Isaiah 44:2) — the Lord has swept away our sins, therefore we have cause to sing for joy!  Rejoice in thanksgiving, prayers, song, praises, gratitude.
  2. REBUILD (Nehemiah) — when our walls are dropped, we rebuild them with HOPE that is found in the Lord and find we are restored.
  3.  RENAME (1 Cor 5:17) — we are a new creation in Christ, the new is here and the old is gone.  Our new name is Image Bearer, Christ Follower… not the labels of our oldself.

She then had the women at each table write their name at the top of a piece of paper.  Then, we were to pass them to our right.  As we received another woman’s paper, we were to allow the spirit to lead us to a word or statement about that woman… and write it down.  I’ve done this exercise before, but it has always been with a group of women that know me.  This time, with so many women at the event, many of us were seated among women we had never met or at least didn’t know very well.

After we received our paper back, we were instructed to circle 3 things… a statement that surprised us, a statement we expected, and a statement that we longed for.  What I found interesting was that the word I circled that surprised me, was the same thing I knew the Lord has been working on in me.  PATIENCE.  I don’t see myself as patient, but I have released my need to know and control the Lord.  It was interesting that someone would see that in me, a work that is coming to fruition.  The second word, was something I expected which was STUDENT.  I’m a student of the word in many ways.   But the third, the thing that I longed for someone to see in me was CHRIST.  In the past, when I’ve done this exercise… I’ve gotten a lot of great compliments.  But I’ve always longed for CHRIST LIKE to be in that list.  It’s been a “few” years since I’ve completed this exercise… and a woman wrote I was “light, like a city on a hill”.  It means my love for Christ, is no longer something that is inside of me… but a light that shines for others to see.  PRAISE GOD.

You can view Michelle’s full presentation notes here:  How to Live a Swept Away Life

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A member of our church then shared her testimony, and I’ll respect that sharing by letting her story remain her’s to tell.  But I wanted to share a few things that I took away from it personally.

  • We do not fool the believers around us.  Whether we speak up or not, believers can sense when we are struggling and will pray on our behalf.  The Lord brings our names to the attention of our intercessors in the church.  You have people praying for you, and you may not know it.
  • We swim at our own risk.  We may see the signs that the waves are dangerous, we know what lurks in the ocean.  We may dip our toes in the ocean of sin, slowly walking deeper and deeper.  There will be those of us who feel a little nibble, take heed, and return to shore.  Yet, some of us will continue to wade deeper, ignoring the bites.  We may not be paying attention to the waves coming overhead… or we are pulled into the riptide.  Taken deeper, unable to save ourselves from our circumstances.  Life may be a “swim at your own risk” event, but Jesus is the Life Guard who is always on duty.
  • Pursue the Lord in PRAYER, HIS WORD, IN RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM

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Speaker and Counselor, Amy Oliver spoke directly to my heart as she engaged us on the importance of seeking God directly in His Word, as well as a solid perspective on the Proverbs 31 woman.   Some highlights of her presentation:

  • Knowing who Jesus is, and being thankful for Jesus is not enough.  We must be in active submission to His Lordship.
  • Our prayer accepting Christ as our savior is not a stopping point, but a launching point.
  • The Word constantly and consistently calls us to RETURN TO GOD, to FOLLOW JESUS.
  • There is a difference between REGRET (being caught) and REPENT (broken and called to change).
  • His Word helps us to not only know WHO God is but to recognize the counterfeit that the world and enemy will try and sell us.
  • The fruit of our spirit is not a works based faith, but instead a natural response to act in obedience to the Lord.
  • In Christ there is REAL FREEDOM, in the enemy/the world there is an ILLUSION of freedom (but a price will be paid).
  • Good Christian things can become an IDOL in our lives if we allow them to take precedence first and foremost over our personal, devoted time to God.

A Proverbs 31 Woman is:

  • FIXED – she is rooted/grounded/secure in her role as an image bearer.
    • Women have a tendency to shift their identity as their circumstances or seasons of life shift.  If our identity is in Christ, then we need not shift but be rooted, so that no matter how things shift or change… we are still first an image bearer.
    • Women’s image or worth is not found in comparison with other women or the amount of likes a photo or story gets on social media.
    • Media tries to tell us who we SHOULD BE, God tells us WHO WE ARE.
    • The standards of the word are cheap, and they don’t last.
    • God knows our BEST, he is our MEASURE or STANDARD
  • FOCUSED – she is focused on HER mission, not the mission or calling of others.
    • Her success is not based on the success of her husband, her children, or her activities.  Her success is based on the mission the Lord has given her, thus what things we say YES to matters, why we say YES matters.
    • Requests of her time are weighed against her God given mission, she seeks the kingdom first.
    • Her life looks distinctly different from non-believers because she is mission focused.  Distinctly different, reflecting him, illustrating redemption.
  • FIERCE – she is fiercely dedicated to her task, she is not distracted or strayed.
    • She does not multi-task between her walk with God and the ways of the world, it is impossible to do so.  She is sold out for the better, kingdom calling… abandoning the world for Him.
    • She doesn’t have a guilty pleasure that is of the world, because she knows that it bears no fruit.  It does not set her apart from the world as a redeemed follower.
    • She does not repeat bad choices or behavior with a false expectation that this time it will turn out differently.  She knows the result of all sin is the same.
    • She wears the full armor of God, saturating herself in the Word.
  • FEARLESS – she is not afraid of this world, but fears the Lord.
    • Fear of the world = anxiety, depression, worry, etc.
    • Fear of the Lord = awe, reverence, worship, trust, etc.
    • Fear of the Lord casts out all other fears from the world.

When we have an encounter with God, we are changed.  There is a visible and noticeable difference.  How do we encounter God, how are we changed?

  • Know Him in His Word – evaluate the things in your life closely to know if this is something wasteful or worthy.  Anything outside of Jesus is fake, when we know Him through his word and our relationship with him, we can identify what is false and counterfeit.
  • Know Your Place in Him – Image bearer, then wife, then mother… and so on.  You are a priority to God, He gave his son for you.  Find your value and worth in knowing you are a priority to God, not based on what the world sells as valued.  Don’t try to be someone else, envious of their gifts and talents.  Instead, know what you are good at and DO IT.
  • Know How to Care for Yourself – your spiritual health is important, be intentional about your time with God, take a break away and invest in your spiritual health.  Jesus often retreated to be alone with God, to hear from Him and be away from the noise and distraction of the world.   When our spiritual health is in check we are mission focused, dedicated in prayer, deepening our relationship with Jesus.  Learn to set boundaries.  Find contentment with what the Lord has blessed you with instead of what others have that you lack.

Thoughts => Feelings => Beliefs => Words => Actions => Habits => Character => Destiny

(=> means influences, builds)

You can view Amy Oliver’s full presentation notes here:  Swept Away!

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This will be continued on Thursday with some take away notes from our breakout discussions/presentations.

#Write31Days – Post 9 – False Spirituality

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The lights come on, the camera is rolling, there is beautiful music being played, voices fill the air with their melodic song, and then the speaker delivers a powerful message.  We leave from that place invigorated and inspired to change our ways, to pray more and read the Bible every day.  We agree to hold each other accountable, to volunteer more, and to give more as we become better stewards.  Our lives are so affected and changed that each week we will invite more and more people to hear this person, this godly and spiritual gift from heaven.

This may go on for weeks, months, years and even decades.  Then it happens, one day we turn on the news and that gift is being splashed across the screen.  The person we held in such high regard has been accused or even arrested, or has stepped forward to admit and unexpected truth.  We try to deny it, but ultimately the truth always comes out.  We have to face the fact that this person, whom we held in such high regard, was nothing but a phony.

When I was a child, I remember watching television with my grandmother on Sundays.  There was one particular show she would watch, where a beautiful woman would come on stage… she would sing with such beauty and emotion that tears would stream down her face.  Her husband would then take the stage and preach a message that was convicting and life changing.  They were inspiring people, until the day his fraud was exposed.  People who had supported their ministry were devastated, and many became like me… a hardened skeptic.  I don’t fall for “shows” anymore, and I have learned to watch for the signs of hypocrisy and being disingenuous.

There are people who are REALLY good at faking it.  They may appear to have it all together, the perfect husband, kids and home.  They can spout out bible verses, speak in glorious ways that make them sound learned and wise, they pray out loud using fancy words and phrases, and they know the right lingo that will create an illusion of being holy and righteous.

Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Luke 12:3

Sometimes I will see right through a person, from the start.  Yet there are other times where it isn’t quite that obvious.  I may be suspicious, but without any evidence.  Or, the person might be really good at hiding their true self.  Humans are incapable of hiding truth for that long though, eventually we begin to see signs that things are not quite how they are being presented.  Then over time, particularly as the person becomes more comfortable with you – or confident in their ability to deceive – they truth beings to come to surface.  We can see through the facade.

The man who acts like a loving and caring father out in public, but verbally abuses his children or wife.

The pastor who gets caught in an affair or misusing tithes and church funds.

The woman who comes off as a sweet and kind woman at church, but in her home she screams and treats her family like they are nothing.

The ministry leader who prays for spiritual purity in the youth, while he is grooming certain students to be abused.

I am not talking about the person who gets caught up in a singular bad decision, where they lost good sense because of the temptation in front of them.  We are all sinners and have the capability of atrocious things.  I am talking about the person who is consistently and purposefully this way.  They put on a good show for others (and maybe they think it’s impressing God) but in their heart they are truly not changed, in their homes they are the exact opposite of what they preach or teach.

These are people who have a false spirituality.  They know all of the right words, all of the traditions, and how to present themselves in a way that sells their best characteristics.  But inside they are corrupt, manipulative, and deceitful.

Would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 44:21

God knows the heart, and He will shine light on the darkness.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

Luke8:17

These are people who will even try and garner your sympathies as they wallow in their own sin, but it’s just for show.  They are not really interested in changing themselves, they just want to make sure you can’t speak against them.  It’s a guardrail that they put up to protect themselves.  It allows them to speak their truth (sometimes harshly) by tagging on a “I am not perfect” clause as they critique you.  They will claim deliverance from this or that sin, so that after they have torn you down … they can build you back up in as their own image bearer.

People with false spirituality are not trying to make you look Christ-like… hardly!  What they are trying to do is to mold you to look more like they do, they are doing it for the glory.  They shout “LOOK AT ME!  Look at what I have done.  Come, be just like ME!”… and God is not part of that equation.

So, how do we spot “false spirituality” –

  • Pray for Discernment – ask God to give you the wisdom and the knowledge to see through those who are frauds.

  • Pray for Transparency – pray that God will reveal their hidden truths to you, or the public as a whole.

  • Be Observant & Listen – you will begin to notice things that don’t feel quite right, or they will say something that will cause you take pause.  The more you are around them, the more frequently this will happen.

  • Look to Others – let me be clear, I am NOT advising you to gossip about a person.  What I am saying is see how others act around them.  Are there people who seem to have modeled themselves to be just like this person?  That’s a clue.  Just as much on the other side, do you notice that the wise people in your church or community are avoiding them like the plague!  That’s a clue too.

  • Who Do They Credit – when there is blessing or praise to be given, who does this person credit the glory to?  If they are constantly looking for the pat on the back, the attention, the credit, the glory … be careful.  “Look at what I did…” is just as bad as “Thank you Lord for allowing me this success….”.  In both cases, this is a person who is working in their own strength, on their own agenda. 

No one is going to be perfect, and if you are not careful you can discount just about anyone from being in your life because they are failing or sinful SOMEWHERE.   A genuine person isn’t going to put on the act of spiritual superiority, they are more interested in trying to address their own sin issues than trying to solve everyone else’s.

I recall a woman I was speaking with was sharing a ministry vision, she wanted to create a website where Christians could essential log their community service hours.  She wanted the world to see the good that Christians are doing, so they would see that we are not hypocrites and that we are actively striving to make a better world.

In theory, that sounds good.  But is that biblical? Is that actually a ministry?

Not really.

It was just another way to get a pat on the back for doing a good job.  It was another way of saying “hey, look at me and what I do!”  It didn’t allow God to get the credit, it was a place where instead each person would be able to get the credit they felt they deserved.

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:2-4

This is also an great example of “false spirituality” because it gives an appearance of godliness.  When we boast about ourselves and our accomplishments for God, we are actually boasting only of ourselves.  If we truly wanted God to have all the glory, we would leave our names out of it entirely.  We are warned that as the days draw closer to Christ’s return, false spirituality is going to be on the rise as much (if not more) than sin and decay in the world.  When we encounter false spirituality, we must flee from it so that we are not corrupted by it.

But know this:  Difficult times will come in the last days.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of godliness but denying its power.  Avoid these people!

For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of truth.

2 Timothy 3:1-7

 

HAUNTING WORDS

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A friend of mine is a photographer, and she had asked me if I wanted to get a headshot for the blog.  Of course, I said YES.  First, I think it is nice to put a face to the words we read.  Second, she’s a great photographer & I knew that she would do an amazing job.  She told me that she had a great spot in mind and we began to work out the schedule.  I asked her what she recommended that should I wear.  She threw out some suggestions for colors and then said those haunting words “Wear something that makes you feel beautiful.”.

Ugh.  Beautiful.  I can’t tell you the last time I felt beautiful.  Maybe on my actual wedding day, when people were doting on me.  The perfect dress. The perfect hair.  The perfect nails.  The perfect make up.  Quite possibly, that was the only day I have ever felt beautiful.

Sure as a kid there would be people who would say I was cute or pretty, but I can’t recall someone calling me beautiful.  Not even a high school boyfriend.  Not a friend, not even a member of my family.  I don’t remember it, anyway.  Maybe someone did, perhaps it was eclipsed by all of the negative comments I would hear over the course of my life.  The few compliments lost in a sea of cut downs.   I simply never felt beautiful, and on the few occasions where someone out of my peers threw me a compliment, I didn’t believe it.  I figured it was sarcasm.

I was picked on for my hair color (red)… my skin color (or lack there of)… my shape (a slow developer)… and my weight (too skinny).  Oh, to have the problems of youth again!

There comes a point where there are so many things you are being picked on for, that you wonder if there is anything good about you… let alone beautiful.

Oh the names I was called, just  over the color of my hair and skin.  I was always looked over when guys started talking about girls, I wasn’t on anyone’s radar.  Girls would say that they hated me because I was so skinny, and then there were the anorexia rumors.  I tried to hide the way I looked.  Hair back, tied up tight.  Let no one see it.  When I got some spending money, I immediately headed for the hair color aisle.  Brown.  Black.  Green.  Anything but red.  If I wore long sleeves and long pants, no one could see how pale I really was.  Baggy was better, to hide my frame.  Wearing nothing that drew attention to myself, that was the plan.

I figured if I couldn’t stop them from picking on me, I could hide myself.  The words of my peers and others have haunted me all of my life.

Fast forward 20 years…. married to an amazing guy, three beautiful girls…  yet I still have moments where I feel less than beautiful.  Ok, more than moments, more like seasons.  My body isn’t the same.  My clothes don’t fit the same.  I have an illness that literally makes my body fight against me.

I still don’t feel beautiful.  I wonder how my husband even finds me attractive… at all.  I pray, “Lord give me the eyes to see myself just as my husband does”.    I hit the gym, hire a personal trainer.  I start taking friends clothing shopping with me to help me find what works, because I obviously don’t know how to shop for THIS body.

“Wear something that makes you feel beautiful”, my friend said.

So I did.  I grabbed the one pair of slacks I thought I looked good in.  Bought a new shirt.  Showed up for the photo shoot.  She complimented me, saying that the shirt was very flattering on me.  I smiled.  She took photos, I smiled… while on the inside I felt ridiculous.  Did I feel beautiful, not really.  But, I did feel better.  At least I wasn’t in mom jeans and a frumpy t-shirt.

She took the photos, showing them to me as we went along, and I couldn’t help it… I saw some of them and cringed.  Maybe those were not the right pants after all.  Maybe I should have picked a different shirt.  All those words from my past coming back to haunt me, coupled by the ones I have added myself over the years.

But then… then I saw it.  The photos where my personality was bigger than the image on the screen.  Where what I was seeing was not a physical body… but seeing ME.  Who I was, not what I looked like.

There she was, someone who was beautiful.  My beauty isn’t, and never has, been my physical body.  My beauty lies in the hands of God, who made me.  He sees me beautiful, just as any parent looks at their child and thinks “you are beautifully and wonderfully made”.    Our beauty lies in that exact moment when Christ shines through us, and the very air around us becomes electrified by His presence.

The words of my youth may still try and haunt me, from the shadows.    Yet, I will stand in the light… where the shadows can’t touch me.  I will see the beauty God created in me, an image bearer of God.  I will see myself through His eyes.  And others will see Him through me.

Words may haunt from the shadows.  The Son is brighter.

Photography Services Provided By:

gen131photo

Thank you Jenna, for helping me see the beauty God sees.

WHO ARE YOU?

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For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no make and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  – Galatians 3:26-28

In the last few weeks I have had an opportunity to read a few different books, all from authors I had never heard of before.  Each of the books were published within the last year.  The topics covered everything from diversity within the church to international missions.  Yet, there was an underlying theme in each one, that I could not escape noticing.  Maybe, it was because I was reading the books in succession, and if there were more time between them, I wouldn’t have caught it. Or, perhaps, God is laying something on the hearts of His people.  Each delivering this message in a different way, to a different group of people.

This underlying theme was all about identity.  How do you identify yourself?  Who are you?

If someone were to ask you those questions, how would you answer?

I am a teacher.  I am a woman.  I am a mother.  I am a doctor.  I am a wife.  I am a dreamer.  I am an artist.  I am a writer. I am a leader.  I am Hispanic.  I am a volunteer.  I am a student.  I am an advocate for victims.  I am a speaker.

And while all, some, or just one of these statements may be true about you; that is not all you are.  In fact, there is something that is even more important.  You are a Christian.  You are an image bearer of God.

Too often we can allow ourselves to get so root in our position, platform, or passions, that we allow that to become our identity.  We become known for our words, skills, dedication, gifts, spouse, kids… and not the God who gave those things to us.  We unknowingly begin taking credit for it, and our identity in Christ takes the second or third rung.

In the book UNIFIED, in regard to diversity, the author states that we should be identifying as brothers and sisters in Christ first, before our ethnicity.  This is what unifies the body, despite our difference in skill color, culture or traditions.

In the book MADE FOR MORE, in regards to women, the author states that we should identify with our brothers and sisters in Christ first, before our gender.  I am a Christian woman not a woman who is a Christian.
We are Christians, who are parents.  We are Christians, who are missionaries  We are Christians, who are teachers.  We are Christians, who are Pastors.  We are Christians, who are African American.  We are Christians, who are advocates for victims of domestic violence.

When we begin to acknowledge that first in ourselves, and others, it can change everything about how you think, act, and serve.

Father God, I praise you for the wonderful Creator that you are.  You have made us all so different, yet unified us as members of your family.  I think you for our gifts and the passions that you have laid on our hearts.  May they be used to serve you, and for your glory.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This Devotion was written by Gena McCown for the TC3 Women’s Ministry Devotion Website.
 

BOOK Review: Made for More by Hannah Anderson

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The buzz on the street regarding the book “Made for More” by Hannah Anderson was strong, so strong that it actually caused me to shift my reading list.  I had planned to read something else this week, but I couldn’t resist. I had to read this book that I was hearing was one of the most important books written for women.  Who wouldn’t want to read that.

In Regards to the Author:  Hannah Anderson

Anderson is a female writer I can get behind.  Her style is very easy to read, but also very direct and to the point.  She doesn’t use a lot of filler or unnecessary illustration to get her point across.  This book was not a thick book, but I found myself taking extra time to read it (and even re-read some passages) because of the content.  Her vision in her writing is clear, her execution of that vision is on point.  Her language and content structure makes this book a great read for anyone, women and men alike.  Men will appreciate her straightforwardness, as much as I do.

In Regards to the Book:  Made for More

The overall theme of this book points our attention that we are made in God’s image, and for his purposes… which is MORE THAN WE COULD EVER IMAGINE ON OUR OWN.  In “Made for More” we are reminded that our identity should be rooted in Christ before anything else.   I am a Christian, who is also a woman… not a woman, who is also a Christian.  I am an image bearer of God, and thus I need to really take a look at myself in the mirror and evaluate how good of a job I am doing.  It is easy to allow our identity to get caught up in our position, who we are married to, our children, our hobbies, our volunteer service, ministry, ethnicity.   When we do that we are taking the attention off of God and putting it onto the thing we do & who we are instead.

As we learn more about our status as image bearers we can begin to give the same gifts to others that God has given us…. grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, love……

I can’t recommend this book enough, to all women… but men as well.  While it is written toward women, there is a lot men can glean from it.  How you will not only view your identity will be changed for the better, allowing you to walk forward with confidence in God and his plans for you.  It changes you at a foundational level, and everything built upon that will be all the stronger.

Highlights from the Text:

“In order to know yourself and exist as you were meant to exist, you must live in dependent communion with Him; you must be in loving relationship with others; and you must exercise creative care over creation.  And when any of these elements is off-kilter, you will experience a loss of identity and feel disoriented simply because you are not existing as you were created to exist.”  (Made for More, Hannah Anderson)

“When we turn from God, when we refuse to base our identity in Him, we are compelled to find it somewhere else because we must reflect something.  And when we do, we sin.”  (Made for More, Hannah Anderson)

He is calling you to faith.  Faith to believe that He made you to be so much more than your momentary desires.  Faith to believe that He made you to be more than your brokenness, more than your sin.  Faith to believe that authenticity means  faithfulness to the deepest part of His nature.   Faith to believe that you were made for glory. ”  (Made for More, Hannah Anderson)

There is no forgiveness; there is no redemption.  No public apology is sufficient.  No attempt to pay back is enough.  No acknowledgement of guilt or repentance will ever be adequate.  And we wonder why the people closest to us – in our homes, churches and schools – have a hard time acknowledging their own failures.  Could it be that we’ve faithfully demonstrated to them that there will be no grace when they do?”   (Made for More, Hannah Anderson)   (honestly, I could have quoted this whole chapter -Gena)

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Made for More, Hannah Anderson)

 

Purchase Information

Made for More

Hannah Anderson

Moody Publishers

ISBN # 13:978-0-8024-1032-0