Women? YUCK. Part 1

When I first started going to our church, I avoided Women’s Ministry like the plague. I know I’m not alone, and I know some of you men avoid Men’s Ministry as well!

After a couple of years, I heard God firmly saying, “GO”. At the time, I had felt as though the ministry was for “pretty” OC Housewives. Coming from running my own company, I couldn’t relate. Didn’t God understand that?

I’ll never forget, when I heard the “Go” from Him, it was January. Each small group was asked to start the latest campaign that our church was doing. I had decided to join a Monday night study, hoping there would be both working women who I could relate to and young moms with kids, who I could also relate to now that I was choosing to be a stay at home mom. That wasn’t a lot to ask, right? I mean, with Him telling me to go, He could at least make it comfortable for me.

I decided to park far from where it was being held, so I could still try and talk God out of me going. That is how strongly I felt. Needless to say, I kept walking. When I arrived, there were some great smiles that greeted me. I also started listening in to conversations that were going on near the entrance with some of the, what looked to be leaders. They were all discussing how angry they were as they were being forced to stop their current study to start this new campaign. I went straight to God and said, “SEE! They don’t even want me here! You wanted me to come and to do this study and they don’t want us here!”

I continued in and was pointed to a table…not with the young women I had asked for…or working women…but with a group of retirees. What?!? What was He thinking???

The women were welcoming and wonderful. When I mentioned how great it would be to learn from their wisdom, they laughed and said, “I don’t know about wisdom, but we can share in all the ways we are doing things wrong. Hopefully that can help you!”

Through the study, I was able to get a peek in to their lives and them in to mine. As the weeks went on, they introduced me to the Women’s Ministry Leader. I LOVED her! After a short talk, she invited me to a Women’s Leadership Meeting. Now, hold on. I didn’t even want to be in a study, much less be a part of the leadership team! I prayed about it and realized that God had been steering me in the right direction, regardless of my thoughts and suggestions to Him.

I accepted the invitation and walked into the leadership meeting with my jaw all but dropping to the floor when I walked in and looked around. The long rectangle tables were set in a rectangle so everyone could face each other. Each either end, there was a leader of the studies being doted on by other ladies. It looked like a crazy sorority competition! Women adoring the individual leaders, petting their hair, etc… It FREAKED me out. As the meeting went on, I was called on a couple of times and mentioned how the room felt very segregated. The women’s ministry leader was trying her hardest to command attention, but you could tell there was a lack of respect. It was frustrating.

In a way, this was a new beginning for me on my journey. Though I wanted with all my heart to jump in with “leadership” lessons, and reorganize the way it was it done, I knew with all my heart, God was asking me to be still and only speak up when asked a direct question. That was a LOT to ask of a prideful leader. It was HARD, but I listened and I learned, a LOT.

The WM Leader became my mentor. She went through heartbreaking ups and downs for the next couple of years fighting indescribable hardships within the ministry. Through it all I was in awe of her relationship with Christ growing stronger and stronger.

Tomorrow I’ll share about one of the horribly prideful moments I had as I grew in that ministry, and how some of my mentor’s words stirred my soul and changed my way of thinking.

What I learned today…Not to forget the lessons of yesterday, and who taught them. And God’s direction is the BEST for us, regardless of how we feel in the moment.

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Worldly vs Eternal Families

If you gave a party for ALL of your aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, what would it be like and what would you do?

(Mine would look like a hot mess, and I would TRY my best to love everyone regardless of the arguments breaking out.)

What does the word family mean to you?

What are some of the benefits of being in a family?

What are some of the responsibilities?

How are the people in your family the same?

How are they different?

God’s family is like yours in some ways. If you gave a party and invited your church family, it would probably look a lot like the family that God gave you. Why? Because we are all broken. We are all someone’s daughter or son, mom or dad, brother or sister. Someone in your church family could act exactly like the ones do at your home party, but you know them in a different context.

If someone was looking at your life as a Christian, would they want to be a part of God’s family? That is a HUGE question for all of us. I remember hearing an old song growing up with a verse in it that said, “They will know we are Christians by our love”. Does someone know you are a Christian just by the way that you act? They should!

Do your best to watch your actions and words this weekend. INSIDE your house with your family, at church AND out in the world.

Be a great influence with your behavior.

“You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” Ephesians 2:19

What I learned today…Everyone I look at, every day, is a brother or sister. They were made on purpose, for a purpose by God. I need to start loving and respecting EVERYONE more.

 

Soft vs Sassy

When I first gave my life to Christ, I watched those at the church a LOT.
After I closed my business and became a stay at home mom, I thought I needed to become a quiet, soft, demure women to truly be a woman of God.

I tried and tried. I failed and failed.

Finally at one point, someone in my Small Group (people I meet with once a week to study the Bible, hold each other accountable, share life with, etc…) said, “Julie, why in the world are you not talking more? It feels like you are holding back”.

I was shocked and replied, “Aren’t I suppose to be submissive?”

Now, please don’t judge me, it is how I truly felt. I thought that good Christian women were the “bakers and meal prep” team. Needless to say, I feel like I was failing at all of it so was making a horrible Christian!

He said, “God made you sassy, be SASSY”.

Now he was being kind as up to my choice to give my life to Jesus, I had been a raging, conniving ____ (rhymes with witch).

Now someone was telling me I could still be strong? It was AWESOME. I felt like I had a huge weight taken off my shoulders!

I had to remember, that regardless of peoples thoughts and opinions, I need to remember what the BIBLE says. Who the Bible says I am.

Here is what I learned…Be strong in who God made you to be. Don’t listen to what others say about you, don’t listen to self doubt, only listen to his word.

 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

 

Why I am Misreable on Video

Okay…if I am truly keeping it real, I will now vent on how miserable it is when I am invited to be on video.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to point people to Jesus and remind them to do their best to live Biblically. The problem is being on video or recorded…

If you look at the pictures above, you will see I don’t hide my feelings very well. As I study, grow and learn from others, I recognize that I am not a polished speaker. I am authentic, but I have to practice looking in the mirror with my faces.

For example…all of the pictures above. Let me tell you what is going through my mind in a lot of them…(disclaimer, if you were an attendee for any of them, I apologize for the look in to my noggin. I am broken, but working on it).

20 Things I Think About When I Teach

  1. I hope I am not boring.
  2. I just pointed that person out…I hope they don’t get angry.
  3. Did he/she REALLY just say that?
  4. Man, that is Biblical. Now my brain is drifting to a whole teaching that could come off of that statement!
  5. Oh, Wait. I was supposed to be listening.
  6. Man, they are so put together. Should I change the way I’m sitting? Hold my hands different?
  7. Why does one eye keep blinking slower than the other. I can feel it.
  8. Holy Spirit PLEASE help them hear that it’s about Jesus.
  9. Oh, NO! I just saw the monitor! When did I get that FAT!
  10. Should I throw my shoe at the guy on the phone? Would that be rude?
  11. Jesus, bless that person. I know they are truly practicing what they preach.
  12. God, thank you for stopping that last comment from coming out of my brain in an inappropriate way.
  13. Why does it always look like I have “resting ‘wench'” face? I don’t want to have a lame smile and bobble head, but it looks like I smell something foul?
  14. WOW. I talk with my hands a LOT.
  15. I turn beet red when I want to respond with something and know I can’t.
  16. I am going to mention a sore subject I am sick of people whining about.
  17. Lord, let me not be fired for saying this.
  18. I ABSOLUTELY love these people!
  19. Lord, I am so out of my element.
  20. God, I hope someone got something from this. I am so thankful you bless me more than I deserve.

What I learned today…practice, practice, practice.

SO Rude!

I had a wonderful volunteer come in to talk to me. She was devastated and in tears. At her Bible study, one of the leaders had given her a dirty look when she walked in. I couldn’t believe it! How dare that leader give her a dirty look! I spent about an hour talking with this gal, sharing how I didn’t really like her leader either, and she isn’t kind to people, why do they even have her as a leader, EVERYBODY thinks she should just stop, and she doesn’t really teach that well anyway…

JUST KIDDING.

That is the way we SHOULDN’T respond as leaders (which we all are). Our job as a leader is to remember we influence at all times. Regardless of how I feel about someone, my job is to point people to the Bible, then straight back to their leader. I would NOT talk about the person…well, except to say, “Did you ever think, it wasn’t about you? That maybe that leader was having a horrible morning and/or hearing some miserable news from the people she was standing with?”

As broken humans we are very self-involved. We think everything is about us. It isn’t. Once this gal realized I would not take part in her pity, finger-pointing, gossip fest, she stopped to really listen to what I was saying. Now, please know that she didn’t intend it to be a pity, finger-pointing gossip fest. She truly was coming in with a hurt heart. I was so thankful she had come to me so I could help her with the situation.

After we talked a bit she was able to realize that her own insecurities were coming out and she needed to confront the situation right away so she didn’t continue to harbor ill feelings towards the leader. AND she was given a good example of how not to gossip.

She ended up talking to the leader and finding out that it had been an absolutely horrible morning for her and this leader didn’t realize how much it showed. She didn’t even remember seeing my volunteer and apologized.

Have you ever done that? Been so consumed with a thought you don’t recognize some of the faces as you walk or talk. I did that and thankfully the gal who I had unknowingly ignored brought it straight to my attention. I had to apologize as I remember the 15 things I was thinking as I passed the area she said she was in when she tried to get my attention, but I didn’t remember hearing her.

What is something that has happened in your life that you felt hurt by? Have you taken it to the source? Not condemning but questioning if it was intentional. Regardless you will learn something.

How do you deter gossip? How do you redirect people to remember to see what the Bible says about the situation they are in, or to go straight to the person they have a problem with?

What I learned today…We all need to be reminded, whining, gossiping and commiserating will get us nowhere. Go to the source. Period. It saves a LOT of time, emotions and energy.

People in the Bible Get It

Here are some of my go-to verses. Take time to look them up and underline them if you haven’t already.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

 ..being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, And joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:11-12

 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

 As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16 

Reading through the Bible we see so many others felt exactly the way we do! They needed encouragement, too!

Take time to pray and ask God to show you someone in the Bible you can learn from. Someone you might not have thought of before.

If you STILL don’t want to open your Bible, check out Drivetime Devotions by Pastor Tom Holladay. Walk through one of the 10 minutes (ish) sessions with him. It’s a start. 🙂

What I learned today…The Bible constantly has something new to teach me. Even if it’s a verse I have read 1000 times.

 

Rotten to Healthy Fruit Part 2

Okay, lets get back to the fruit of the Spirit.

So far we know –

Love – what we need to do all the time, even to the people who we don’t quite like.

Joy – is a choice. Don’t fake it, but do your best to choose it.

Peace – in relationships, at work, in your own mind, is key. Always strive to keep peace in all you do. It’s not a weakness, it takes determination and strength.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”     Galatians 5: 22-23

4. Patience -The thing we are taught not to pray for. Why? Because when we pray for patience, God will give us the opportunity to practice it until we really get it! I love what Matthew Henry has to say, “Cast not away your confidence because God defers his performances. That which does not come in your time, will be hastened in his time, which is always the more convenient season. God will work when he pleases, how he pleases, and by what means he pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but he will perform his word, honor our faith, and reward them that diligently seek him.”
It’s all about God’s timing. Though, as we wait, we have a hard time seeing why God would make us wait so long, HE is in control. We also have a hard time believing He could ever want better for us than we can plan, but He DOES. When I need to remember to be patient, I look to Romans 8:28 “And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” If you believe in Him, you need to believe He does want good for YOU. The one who loves Him, who He loves. Remember this….

waiting

5. Kindness – This is a challenge for people. Kindness means “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself,” Philippians 2:3 IF you are thinking of others, you are opening doors, helping carry items, stopping to talk AND listen, writing notes of encouragement, etc…etc… Sometimes it can be as small as a look, word and touch. Our pastor calls that ministry. Look someone that might be having a bad day, IN THE EYES. Say a word of hello, encouragement, SOMETHING. Then touch their arm, hand, back – NOT IN A CREEPY WAY, but in a “I SEE you” way. How can you be kinder EVERY DAY?

6. Goodness – How to define goodness? I always thought if you were good that meant boring. However in “The Goodness of God ” Tim Temple writes “theological definition of the goodness of God is the collective perfections of His nature and the benevolence of His acts.” As I think of the words ruthless and determined, I can understand those them. When I think of the word goodness, I think I get thrown. Good…lacking bad. Just good. I forget who at work, but someone just brought up the fact that God used the word good when he was finished with creating the earth. He didn’t say “great”. The Bible reads, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” Genesis 1:31a In this way, I can strive to be good in every way. I know God already looks and me and sees who I am through His eyes. I can only pray I can become better at being good each day and show goodness to those around me. How can you be better at being good?

7. Faithfulness. – Okay, faithfulness I get. I am an extremely loyal person to those I believe in and I have the upmost faith in God. Though I may whine, I am faithful and know God has everything under control. Currently we are in a difficult season, and I am thankful I have yet to feel fear as I know He has something better for the situation planned. I just need to show faithfulness to Him. How can you show faithfulness to God today?

8. Gentleness – There seems to be quite a lot of these that I have trouble with! We are in a society where being ruthless wins. The harder you are the more you will receive. That is counter to the culture Jesus teaches. He teaches the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30). We need show gentleness to all. In words as well as spirit. Sometimes, even with our family, we forget to be gentle. We subconsciously thing they HAVE to put up with us. Well, the people around you don’t have to. They do because you are loved. If you have anger issues…make a conscious decision to be nicer today. To be gentle with those God has put around you. Even if it’s hard. Call on the Spirit to help you!

9. Self control – This says it all for me…

Lord keep your hand onWhat area of your life do you need help with self-control? Substances? Porn? (Ladies, that is not just for Playboy, Romance novels count too). Anger? Eating? (That is eating too much or needing to eat). Self-control is needed when you are too controlling, too.

Sometimes you have to have self-control to NOT control everything. I’m working on going to God with EVERYTHING so I make sure He is in control of all, not trying to take it on myself.

What I learned today…There is SO much in the Bible I need to read and re-read. I also learned that I need to pray for the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. For God to help me remember fruit is GOOD for me.

Rotten to Healthy Fruit Part 1

Fruit of SpiritWhat is your past like? Mine isn’t very bright and shiny. I have done many things I am not proud of. Paul wrote about some of them in Galatians 5 :19 – 21 ” The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Though I hit those sins and more, I can take comfort in knowing that the Bible also says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have become a new creature. I have to constantly renew my mind against the old ways, and work on becoming a better me.

What do I work on? Well, by reading the Bible, having accountability partners around me in friends and my small group, plus through the Holy Spirit, I work on praying for the fruit of the Spirit to become evident in my life. The fruit of the Spirit is found in Galatians 5 as well –

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”     Galatians 5: 22-23

A girlfriend pointed out the other day…it says FRUIT of the Spirit not fruitS of the Spirit. I hadn’t caught that! I had always looked at it as a list of separate things, not one whole.

I will process that more for awhile. For now let’s look at each section of the ONE Fruit.

  1. LOVE – Jesus said the GREATEST commandment was to Love God and Love Others, so of course this would be the first on the list. Another great passage that points to love is –  1 Corinthians 13
    “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” …              For me, it is HARD to love everyone. But it shows my spiritual maturity, when I do my best to change my heart so I can love everyone. When are some times YOU can choose to be more loving?
  2. JOY – I am naturally a fairly joyful person. But I have to fight HARD to not let the darkness of depression and self-doubt over power that. Also, have you ever noticed, some people get irritated with joyful people. When I am joyful, it’s not because I’m a clueless “Pollyanna”, but because I’m CHOOSING to be joyful, sometimes in spite of difficult circumstances. How can YOU choose to be joyful more?
  3. PEACE – I have written before on how I feel about peace. I was always a natural instigator. Whenever there is injustice, my anger gets riled up and I want to move instantly to action. Instead I have to remember to keep PEACE in my mind and soul. To wait for God’s direction so I know if it’s righteous anger or personal anger from my own brokenness. Now, at times, I have seen “peaceful” people as weak. The ones that let people walk all over them. That is NOT what this means. It means that regardless of my feelings about anything – God is in control of everything. I can’t jump in and want to fight everybody about everything because of how I feel. I need to pray more for peace in my heart, soul, and mind. Where can you bring PEACE to your life? Your family? Work? Your schedule? With your kids?
  4. PATIENCE –

We’ll have to be patient, as I’ll have to continue with patience tomorrow. 🙂

What I learned today…There is so much more to process regarding the fruit of the Spirit! It will be a constant challenge to get better with each throughout my life.

 

What I look for in a Leader.

Here are 10 attributes I consider valuable traits when looking for new leaders:

Concern/Love for others – You can’t lead people effectively if you don’t genuinely love people. I’ve seen people in positions who have great power, but they don’t appear to love others. These leaders often produce followers well, but they fall short of reproducing leaders.

Not a complainer – Candidly speaking, leadership encounters complainers regardless of what we do. I certainly don’t want to add complainers to my team of leaders. A positive attitude will get my attention every time.

Teachable and open to suggestions – A person who thinks they have all the answers will repel other leaders. People with no desire to keep learning rarely find their place on my team of leaders.

Excellence in following – This is a biggie for me. I try to follow people I lead, because there are times they know more than I do. Many times. Someone who isn’t willing to follow is seldom ready to lead.

Reliability – Leadership is about trust, and trust is developed over time and consistency by doing what you said you would do. I look for people with that quality.

Interest – The people with a burning passion for the church or organization often make great leaders. You can train someone to lead others, but you can’t easily train them to have interest.

Good character – Character counts. Not perfection. Not flawless. But, good character is necessary to be trusted on a team. Integrity. Honesty. A humble desire to always be improving as a person. That kind of character.

Potential – God always saw potential in others they themselves couldn’t see. I try to have eyes to see that in others.

Confidence – Leaders have to move forward when others are ready to retreat. That takes confidence. Not prideful, but a genuine willingness to lead through the hard times; to do what others aren’t willing to do.

People skills – This goes without saying, but you can’t lead people if you can’t communicate with people. You don’t have to be the life of the party (I’m a strong Introvert), but you do have to be able to engage people and make them feel a part of things.

What I learned today…I have to continually hold this list up to myself as well!

Instagram & a Peak Into My Thoughts

I love it. I do. So this morning I’ll walk you through some of my thoughts as I scrolled through it. Now this is unfiltered, coming from me…and I’m broken, so don’t judge. AND, for the comments sent to me regarding appropriateness… I am not promoting or recommending or agreeing with any of the Instagram profiles. I follow them cause, well, I do. If you don’t want to, don’t. 🙂

Insta 16

WOW! What an amazing picture! It must be cool to be in space for a year…and confining…and lonely…and cramped. Never mind.

Isaiah 66.9  5

I NEED to remember this one. And remember it. And remember it again.

 

Insta 13

I absolutely love this post-er! These shots are so fun to watch. I sure love soccer.

 

Insta 3

EEEEWWWWWWWW!!! Brussel sprouts. UGH. I can almost smell their nastiness.

Insta 1.1

This is so cool. I need to look in to it more. I wish everyone had a mentor to go to when they are young.

Insta 2

BOOM! No it is not! Reminder: don’t get in a rut believing this is it. God wants the best for us.

Insta 1.3

This, is creepy. I’m sure he is saying something brilliant…but it is creepy. It looks like he is speaking truth to the darkness. Still creepy.

Insta 1

TRUTH! I love it! I wish more people would just do what they are built to do! They’d find the success they crave by enjoying a good day’s work.

Insta 5

UGH. I do. I know. UGH.

 

Insta 7

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

 

Insta 1.2

Man I love the water. I wish I looked that “fierce” playing in it. HA! I crack myself up!

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Wow. I have seen quite a few people post this lately. What if everyone posting it, really truly changed their life so they put it in to action. They started loving their enemies. What a difference that would make! I am so glad God worked on this with me. I can’t imagine life without the people He has softened my heart for.

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BOOM! That is right!!! I wish more believed this!!! (God, help more of your people to see that they are the true movers and shakers in faith. They just need to answer your call!) – I had to stop and pray there. Then

Ooooo, look how cute those girls are! I miss being cute.

Insta 9

That is RIGHT!!!! Learn it, Live it, THEN share it. Otherwise shhhhhhh.

Insta 8

That is so me! I’ll have to show Chad. I love that he (my hubby) is so funny. Can I count laughing at his jokes on my fitness pal? Is that cheating? Could I eat more calories? Hmmm.

Insta 4

WAAAAAAAAAA. I want to travel!!!! Oh, well. Heaven will be pretty remarkable so I won’t have missed anything.

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And then I posted this.

This is the way I want to start each day. Not walking in to it, but praying and running in ready to do whatever God asks me to do with all the strengthen I have!!!!

There was a scary walk in to my mind as I journey through Instagram.

What I learned today…I am encouraged, discouraged and challenged by social media. And it’s okay.