Monday, September 27, 2010
If you have read any of my prior blogs, you know that I am ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive). I was diagnosed in the seventh grade before it was the "in" diagnosis. (I think the signs were just so blatantly obvious and couldn't be ignored and that's why the doctor so easily diagnosed me.) Many believe this is a hereditary type disorder. I would tend to agree. (Have you met my father? Read my prior posts on Red-Neck Snow Skiing!) Throughout my growing up years, my parents worked diligently with me to overcome and compensate. We also utilized medication from time to time. So, to say that I get distracted would be a minor understatement. Last Christmas we bought my daddy a t-shirt that says, "They say I'm ADD, but I'm really not…Hey, look at that chicken!" I just think that is hilarious because that is so how we think.
Last week, Patrick was out of town; Erin had a doctor's appointment and I had to take Pearce; and I had a case in federal court on the criminal side. This doesn't even include the normal weekly activities of helping the kids study for school, grocery shopping, doing laundry, cooking supper, mentoring on Wednesday nights, and going to soccer practice. During these types of weeks, I have learned to say "no." "No, I can't meet with you." "No, I can't add that to my list." "No, I can't pick your child up." These are also the kind of weeks that I tend to get easily distracted and side-tracked. I'm just proud that I got the kids to school every day having had breakfast and had lunch with them. I'm proud I remembered to pick them up, and so are they! Hahaha.
With all the tension of testifying in court because you never know what the defendants' attorneys will throw at you, my muscles were knots on top of knots. So, I knitted to try to relax. Fortunately, I finished a scarf for my niece (do not tell her).With everything that was going on in my life last week, why is it that I can't get distracted to have a quiet time? I can get distracted by a woman trying to get the marshals to allow her to bring her little dachshund into the federal building, but why is it that I can't be distracted or be reminded to spend time in prayer? And there are times when I am working on praying or having my quiet time, and I get distracted by something going on outside, by the buzzer on the dryer, by the boy being too quiet, or by anything or nothing at all. Why is that? Yes, I get frustrated with myself.
Have you ever been on the phone with someone, and they start a conversation with someone else that is there where they are? When that happens, I think they are being rude or they are lacking in attention as well. I am so thankful He doesn't lack in His attention for me. I am so thankful that when I come to Him I have His devoted attention and time. I am so thankful that He wants a relationship with me and that is why He doesn't wave His arms or throw a tantrum when I fail to spend that time with Him. His relationship is based on perfect love, and as we know from the Bible, perfect love casts out fear. Since I know He has perfect love for me, I don't have to fear entering into His presence. I don't have to fear reprimand or vengeance because I was otherwise distracted, but isn't it nice to know that when I realize how I've missed that time that I can grab His Word, crawl up in His warmth and spend time with Him. I am so thankful.
P.S. The two guys in federal court were found guilty on my case and will be sentenced in January of 2011.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Do you know what makes a good mentor great?
- Being authentic – Be real. Be the woman God created you to be. Be willing to share your flaws and how God is working in your life. Be willing to share how God's grace pulled you out of a similar situation. When a young woman comes to her, shares her heart, and you have a similar story and you fail to share it – SHAME ON YOU! God is sending this young woman to you in order for you to give the glory to God, and here you are holding in the glory meant for Him because of your vanity and pride or fear. Shame, shame. Mentors are not perfect: they are forgiven. One more thing – when we are willing to share our vulnerabilities with another woman, she is more likely to open up and share more with you because this is how trust is formed. By sharing the ugliness that God has redeemed, that young woman realizes you won't be judging her for where she stands now. AND ISN'T THAT WHAT YOU WANT?
- Being filled with the Holy Spirit. In Luke 2 the Bible said Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. There is no better way to encourage another woman than by being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking the words that He gives you to speak into the life of that young woman. When we operate out of our own ability the results are humanly attainable, but when we operated inside God's ability and guidance, then anything is possible. Luke 2 says, "For nothing is impossible with God."
- Being humble. Elizabeth asked Mary why she had chosen her to be the one to receive the honor of her visit. When the world around Mary probably didn't believe her story, when her fiancé wanted to put her away, when Mary needed a mentor, she went to Elizabeth who was humble and accepting. How do you receive others? Do they feel or see God's love in you?
- Being encouragers. Elizabeth encouraged Mary in her faith in verse 45. Being the person in a woman's life to say, "God is going to get you through this. You can make it"-- instead of condemning as many might.
- Being approachable. Do women feel they can come to you and not be judged? Or are you all business? Are you cynical and harsh? Are things black and white, right and wrong without any room for compassion? Ladies, we need to get over ourselves and ask God to allow us to see others through His eyes. Thank goodness He doesn't see me through the harsh lens of right versus wrong, but rather He sees me through the blood of His only Son standing as His redeemed daughter.
Do you know what can prevent a woman from being a mentor?
Addiction? Not hardly.
Abortion? No, ma'am.
The answers are:
- Unrepented sin – It is important that mentors have dealt with their "stuff" -- whether the stuff is sin or other issues -- before they begin to mentor another woman. I encourage every woman to journal because sometimes we don't see God's hand moving in our lives until we have moved through the difficult time and look back. It also allows us to see how there are natural consequences to our sin, especially unrepented sin.
Sin puts a wall between us and God. Remember we needed the cross to break down that wall and receive redemption that's eternal, but we can still be outside of God's will as Christians.
- Unforgiveness – Unforgiveness means we don't have a contrite heart because we are choosing to make ourselves more important than obeying and submitting our fleshly wills to God's instruction.
When we forgive, we grow in depth in our spiritual relationship by leaps and bounds.
There are a few quotes from Spiritual Mothering that I really like. "Protection is a fruit of forgiveness." We are protected because we are submitting our will to God, and we are under His protection.
"A woman who has not dealt with her hurts in her life and forgiven those who have offended her will have roots of bitterness and anger that will render her ineffective in entering into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory."
"Refusal to forgive puts us under the domination of the person who has offended us, and that enslavement robs us of the freedom to have healthy relationships."
And my favorite is, "Forgiveness is a life-style of grace." A life-style of grace – oh that I might live a life-style full of grace.
Unforgiveness is something you choose to pick up every morning when you get out of bed along with any other sin or problem like guilt or worry.
So, where do you stand? Are you ready to mentor or be mentored? Have you dealt with your stuff? Do you need encouragement to get through your stuff? Are you ready for an authentic, real relationship with a godly growing woman? Let me know.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
As many of you know, I'm working on my Master's at seminary, and this semester my online class is "Women Mentoring Women." There are other women in the class, but as a part of the Master's curriculum, I have additional reading or assignments. The additional reading for this class is Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt. OOOOH! It was so good. I loved reading it and soaking in it and learning from it. I highly recommend this book to those interested in mentoring.
My lesson this morning was on mentoring. I know this is something God has been leading me to for some time for the women at Calvary to participate in, but He hasn't been in any real great rush…ya know what I mean?
Part of my assignment this past week was to come up with some advice considering 1 Timothy and the way Jesus mentored the disciples, and this was my answer:
We must be an example and a reflection of our Father. We must have an intimate, growing relationship with Him in order to be an example to others in...
- how we speak -- the words we choose and the tone in which we say them choosing to admonish in love and compassion (After all, Jesus admonished Peter in love when they were away from everyone asking Him three times if Peter loved Him.)
- how we live -- sharing our lives transparently and spending time with those we mentor (this includes admitting our failures and what we learned from them)
- how we love -- our husband, our children and others
- how we believe in our faith -- teaching the mentee lessons we have learned and are currently learning being sure to ask questions of the mentee to prompt them to participate and grow as well
- how we maintain purity -- by showing mentees how to have time alone with God and how to cultivate that intimate relationship with Him.
Are we perfect people? If we were, we wouldn't be dying in need of the cross. But to mentor means we allow other women into our lives, live transparently before them and show them God's grace in our lives.
If you had a sixteen year-old daughter who came to you and said she was pregnant, what would you do? I have not had that experience. My daughter is only 9, and I don't dare say that I won't ever be face with this because she hasn't made it to adulthood. OR what if your teenage son said his girlfriend was pregnant? I can only begin to imagine the stress and tension in the relationship and in the home. Now what if you lived in a country where girls her age could be stoned or put away for getting pregnant out of wedlock. There are places that is happens. Now ladies, what if your daughter told you the Holy Spirit had come upon her and that is how she became pregnant. Think about the strain and stress that would happen in the household.
Mary was young, unwed and pregnant. She was living in a time where abortion was not an option. She was living in a time where she could be put away or severally punished. Her reputation was obviously at stake. We don't know what happened in her home with her mom. We don't know if her mom believed her. We know Joseph didn't. We don't know if she was ridiculed or if she even told anyone, but what we are told is she went to see Elizabeth. In Luke 2, Elizabeth who was and barren and beyond age-bearing years was now pregnant. She was six months pregnant when Mary made her presence known. The Bible said the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped and then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth as a mentor was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then next words out of her mouth are, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Vs 42). Do you think those words were like a balm to Mary's heart? Elizabeth is encouraging Mary. She is believing and knowing that God has worked a wonder in Mary's life. How did she know? Because she was filled with the Holy Spirit!
Something else I want you to consider is in verse 38. When Mary was told by the angel all that was going to happen, she said, "I am the Lord's servant." She took the control of the reigns and any possible desire to possess this moment, this baby and placed it squarely at her Lord's feet. She knew she didn't have possession of this event. She knew she wasn't in control. She knew this was God's baby to rock. Ladies, when we release our need to control and our need to possess what occurs in our lives and in our relationship and place it all squarely at the feet of Jesus, there is liberation and freedom like you have never known. Things and people who would normally hurt you, you simply pass on to God allowing you to be able to continue to serve God, honor God and love God's children as He instructed. Lord, May I be so bold as to say, I am your servant.
In the book Spiritual Mothering, Mrs. Hunt makes the point that mature women "must be willing to allow a younger woman to look into her life and learn from it." Does this mean you have to be perfect? PLEASE! What it means that you have to be willing to open your life up to another person for them to see how God's grace has affected you. We have to be real. As one of my friends said "authentic." As mentors, we must throw away our fear of being judged, fear of being found incompetent, or fear of being rejected. If God brings a young woman into our lives who shares a heavy burden with us and we don't share that we have been there too and show them how God's grace worked it out in our lives then SHAME ON US! Satan is using your fear to impede the work God wants to do in your life as well as in the lives of the women around you. SHAME ON YOU! God did not give us the gift of timidity or fear. Time to get your big girl panties on, slap fear in the head, and show that young woman what it's like to live a victorious life because of God's grace. Ladies, if God brings a woman to you for you to share your story, THERE IS A REASON, and if you will just be obedient, that young woman will find you to be sincere and authentic, and she is more likely to come to you again and again with her burdens. And isn't that what we want as mentors?
Will there be times when the person we are mentoring rejects the words we have spoken? Good chance, but is that your problem? Nope. It's God's. That's why every time before you meet with your mentee you need to be meeting God, seeking His face, reading His Word because you don't know what situation or problem the young lady is going to bring up, and there is simply no way to prepare. BUT, if the Holy Spirit is upon you, He will give you the words to say. We are not to try to control the relationship or the outcome for those are from the Lord.
I did not EVEN begin to cover the subject adequately, but I'm totally okay with that because we had some great discussion and some wonderful time encouraging one another.
Over the next few weeks, I'll blog the rest of my lesson. Can you tell I'm passionate about this? We have missed a whole generation of women who are now in high school and college and starting careers – these women need "truth sayers" in their lives. The world is giving them version of the truth, and they hear it loud and clear. We need to be obeying our Father and speaking His Truth into their lives. Now is better than never.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Confession is good for the soul. James 5:15-16 reads, "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Confession brings healing in many forms, so this blog is my confession.
As some of you know, I am in seminary. I know that I know that I know that I am supposed to be in women's ministry full-time. God has not revealed the where, then when or the how, but I know He will when His time is perfected. So, what am I doing in the meantime? I'm preparing. I completed three hours towards my Master's in the summer, and I am working on four hours for this fall. (I'm eager to get done.)One of my courses this semester is an online class on mentoring, and being the only Master's student in the class, I have additional, required reading that I have to blog about on the seminary's website. The book on which I blog is Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. God has put a calling in my heart for women mentoring women, and He is now equipping me and putting women into my life with that same heart and passion, so I know that a mentoring "program" of sorts is on His horizon for our girls and women. This excites me a lot. I love the definition the author of this book uses as to women mentoring women – "When a woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory." I just love that.
At any rate, my confession has to do with chapter two. It hits me between the eyes. It hits me in what I'm sitting in. I have wrestled with the issue of control. (Anyone else out there with the same issue?) I have learned over the years that I don't have control and that control is an illusion. When I couldn't even control my own body in order to become pregnant, when we received the call the mom had stage 3 cancer – I realized I do not have control…never did. I found there is comfort and freedom in not having control because I trust the One who knows my yesterdays and holds my tomorrows to guide me and protect me. On occasion, I have to revisit this lesson.My current issue has to do with possessiveness. My ministry, my calling, my "self." Mary when the Lord spoke to her identified herself as a servant and relinquished control of all rights to her "self" to God. She could do this because she had God's favor, His grace. "Neither her good works nor her outstanding abilities had prepared her for the mission of being the mother of the Messiah, but God's undeserved grace bestowed upon her was the power-source within her" (pg 28). Truth is this is not "my" ministry: it's His. Truth is this is not "my" calling: it's His calling on the life He has given me. When I realize it isn't about my "self" and understand He will do what He wills when He wills it, then I can breathe, not take things personally when it may feel as if I'm under attack. I can put it squarely on the One who is responsible for the ministry and the call. There is freedom and liberation by taking my "self" out of ownership of the office, the title, the ministry and the call because I know it is He who will work it all out. What am I supposed to do? Simple. I am to obey. "When a woman is absorbed with God's glory, she will interpret her life according to His truth" (pg 33) and not by what "self" requires to be validated – this would eliminate a lot of hurt in the body of Christ if we could operate in this frame of mind and heart. (Am I feeling convicted? You betcha because my purpose is to glorify God while I'm on this earth, and if I'm worried about "self" then I'm obviously not worried about being absorbed in His glory, am I?)
Psalms 86:11-12 "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever."If you struggle with the issues of control, possessiveness, "self," vanity, or ego, or if you get your feelings hurt easily, I'd like to challenge you to complete this assignment today (This is in the book on page 35). "Write the statement 'I am the Lord's servant' at the top of a piece of paper.
- Under that statement, list any hurts, expectations, disappointments, etc. that you are struggling with
- Now ask God to enable you to interpret everything on your list in light of His will for you. Ask Him to show you how each person, circumstance, or event is your platform to reflect the glory of His grace that has been poured into you.
Ask the Father to help you discover the treasure He has for you in your" life where you live.His Repentant Daughter,