Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Fighting words
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Recently a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post about where she finds her value, and it hit me pretty hard.  I was having a bad day when I read it, and I was pretty down.  It’s easy for me to get in that spiral of self-doubt and let inside chatter take over.  Where do I find my value?  Do I believe that I am who God says I am?

This is a hard question.  If I don’t believe it fully, I’m doing something wrong, right?  Where does that leave us when we get inside our heads and let the enemy creep in?  I’ve started a new medicine that makes me gain weight, and somehow that has really bothered me.  It seems like such a silly thing to be bothered by, but it’s where I am.  My weight is, for lack of a better term, weighing on me. 

But I’m told that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.  God didn’t mess up when he made me.  As a person who lives with mental health issues, I have to remind myself of this often. I’m not broken; I just have a different set of challenges. 

The first verse lots of people learn as children tells us that God SO LOVED the world that He gave His son.  I’ve been in church since I was a baby so there’s no way to count how many times I’ve heard that verse.  God SO LOVED me!  That changes everything.

1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  Children of God!  How amazing is that?  But do we live like we believe that?

We’re told in Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.”  There’s just something about that one that I love.  The imagery of being rejoiced over with singing is so beautiful.

“I have called you by name; you are mine,” says Isaiah 43:1b. Ephesians 5:8 says, “You are no longer darkness, but light in my Son.  Walk as children of light.”

We’re called so many things. Light of the world. A witness and a worker.  A citizen of heaven.  Ambassador for my Son.  Chosen. Saint. Victorious.

So why do we forget all these things?  I don’t have an answer for why. But I do have the answer to combat the problem.  Put these words somewhere.  In your heart.  On your bathroom mirror.  In your journal.  In your car.  Somewhere, so that when the enemy creeps in, you’ve got a thing or two to say to him.  For me, it’s often music.  I like to get a song in my head to fight back.  My favorite is Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns:

 

 

But the waves are calling out my name

And they laugh at me

Reminding me of all the times

I’ve tried before and failed

The waves keep on telling me

Time and time again, “Boy you’ll never win,

“You’ll never win!”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story

The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid.”

The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”

Out of all the voices calling out to me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

 

Sometimes I just need that song.  Or a verse.  Or something to get me through the fight.  I’m talking to myself here when I say that the next time I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see or find something about myself that I don’t like, I’m going to say “Oh yeah?  Well I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So take that!”  I hope you will too.

Julie 

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Give Me Jesus


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The Devil (as told by Mary Marshall Hardison when she was 4 years old):

 

The Devil is tricky and he will steal your joy, but you don’t have to worry because Jesus kicked him out of heaven a long time ago.

Spiritual Warfare boiled down so a 4 year old is informed of the enemy but knows that Jesus is the one to go to fight him off. 

In Ephesians 6, Paul gives only one offensive weapon in his description of the full armor of God. 

It is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. 

The devil can not withstand an assault of the Truth, or the name of Jesus.

 

My granddaughter does not give the devil a single thought because she has the child’s faith that he may be tricky and he can steal her joy, but Jesus…

But Jesus.  It all boils down to Jesus.

In his song “Give Me Jesus”, Fernando Ortega echoes Mary Marshall’s child’s faith:

 

            In the morning when I rise

            When I am alone

            When I come to die

            GIVE ME JESUS

            You can have all this world just

            GIVE ME JESUS

 

As adults we have collected spiritual bumps and bruises.

Lysa TerKuerst identifies us as “the hurting heart, the disappointed soul, the devastated dreamer”.  The ones that say “It’s not supposed to be this way”

We are on the spiritual battlefield, but as Beth Moore says, “we live our lives not simply according to what we know, but what we really believe”.

GIVE ME JESUS.

 The Breastplate of St. Patrick is a Celtic prayer for protection.  This is my surcey to you today as you leave and enter the battlefield of your life.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me.

God’s eye to see before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me.

God’s host to save me

  against snares of devils,

  against temptations and vices,

  against inclinations of nature,

  against everyone who shall wish me ill,

  afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

  against every knowledge that corrupts

  man’s body and soul.

Christ be with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie down,

Christ where I sit down,

Christ where I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

And may everyone say…”AMEN”.

lovingyougood…sd

 

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Living In Ordinary Time
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It was on Good Friday when I allowed myself adequate time to accomplish my writing task.  Although it was only April 19th, which was slightly more than one full month before this post was due, I was already beginning to feel anxious.  My anxiety was raging and warning me that I would fail and not get this job done.

I sat down and began the seemingly arduous task of writing.   I placed my fingers on the computer keyboard and as I did so, I could hear the television that was turned on in the other room.  I quickly became distracted by the sound of the many weather advisories that were being reported every few minutes. A front of potential severe weather including thunderstorms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds along with heavy rain and hail was being predicted for my community. The severe storms were expected to arrive in a few hours.  

In spite of my concern of the approaching storms, I was determined to complete my project. I had been praying about what to write for the last several weeks.  But I still could not seem to come up with a super-fantastic and spiritually-enlightening idea. Recent posts to the SMC Women’s Ministry blog were very well written and seemed to be spiritually significant.  Thinking about this served to add more fuel to the burning anxiety I felt inside. That rainy morning I stared at my blank computer screen wondering why I had chosen May 29th as the date I could write for this post.  

As I struggled searching for ideas, I began to get fixated on my struggle.  What WAS I thinking? There are no major Christian events or holidays in May to write about.  I was feeling lost, frustrated and inadequate for the task ahead of me. I wondered what I could write on this day, Good Friday, which is such a extraordinary day of the Christian year, to be published on such an ordinary day in May?   

What I needed in that moment was something to inspire me that was extraordinary.   But May 29th is just another day. It is like vanilla ice cream. I felt what I needed was more like chocolate chip mint, rocky road, or cookie dough flavor - something exciting, awe-inspiring and relevant. I kept asking myself, “What can I write on this Good Friday, such an extraordinary day in the Christian calendar, to be posted on May 29th - just an ordinary day?”  

I looked up from my computer and glanced out my window again.  I could see that the trees had now begun to sway frantically from the increasing winds.  Leaves and small branches where breaking free of the trees and scattering across the yard as if they were trying to escape punishment from the storm that mother nature was about to unleash.

As I stared out my window, I watched as the trees began swaying with a vigor that matched the increasing winds.  Then suddenly a small brown bird landed on the windowsill looking for food. The day before, my husband had taken down our bird feeders in preparation for the liklihood of storms.  Nevertheless, this little brown bird was searching the windowsill looking for seed that might have fallen on the ledge. I had seen this ordinary-looking, little, brown bird before. His sudden appearance on my windowsill and his search for food provided yet another distraction  taking my mind away from my writing. As the wind blew, the trees swayed and the rain began to fall, this little, brown bird paused from his search for food to bless me with his beautiful song. As I listened to this bird sing his song of joy, I could feel my anxiety dissipate and the fear leave me.  I continued to listen to this small, ordinary bird.  It was then when I realized it is in the ordinary moments of life that God speak to us in whispers. Then I heard a voice say to me, “Why are you here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13)

“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord Was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord Was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 King 19:11-13)

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?

As I sat contemplating my responsibility, I asked myself, “Why am I here?”   We are all here because God uses ordinary people to spread the extraordinary love of Christ to the world. We sing songs, tell stories, and write for blogs.  We even, at times, whisper. The storms passed, the rain stopped, there were no tornadoes, just a little bird singing a song of love. I will continue to be just an ordinary person that helps to “make Jesus famous”!

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Susan Bowen, Guest Writer