About a year ago, I stood in front of our (then) church and sang, “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” I sit here, now, thinking, “Man, I did NOT see that coming.” Sure, I meant it. It really was the cry of my heart but I thought I was saying, “God, I’m willing to be used by you”. I was not expecting to uproot and start all over.
My family moved from a town near Austin, TX to Clovis at the end of September. With that move, so much of my life changed: our schedule, our jobs, our finances, our friends, our weather, our very identities. My husband of 11 years had been in youth ministry since before we even started dating. He transitioned into teaching and coaching, which he loves. But, being a “pastor’s wife” is different than being a “teacher’s wife”. Life is different.
I wish I could say I handled all that change with grace but, the truth is, it shook me to my core. My faith was shaken and I’m just now picking myself up. I’ve been told, “it’s not the fall that defines you, it’s if you get back up or not”. We are human and failures will happen but we don’t have to let that failure define us if we get back up and keep pressing on.
You may have seen our announcements for the IF: Gathering. This year’s theme is Faith. It seems just like God to ask me to host a weekend for women on faith when my own faith has been through the ringer. That’s his way isn’t it, to use the least likely to appear qualified?
On Facebook, the IF: Gathering page posted a photo with the words, “Women are being brave and believing God could use them. It is the start of something.” I couldn’t be more excited to see what God is going to do with us and in us. Even if we take just one more step closer to him, it will have been worthwhile.
My prayer is that women in Clovis will see that God wants to use them right where they are to be disciple makers. You don’t have to go any further than your dinner table to find a place to be used by God. We just have to be intentional about it. A dinner with friends could be so much more than just a dinner. What if we used that time to talk about God, to ask questions of each other, to encourage each other to press deeper into the truth of God’s word?
We plan on doing just that after the gathering. Stay tuned for more information on these small group opportunities. If you would like to register for the IF:Clovis Gathering, I’d love to have you join us. Visit here https://ifgathering.com/gatherings/13178/ for more information or contact me, email@example.com.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) reads “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not seek its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
We’ve all read and heard this scripture so many times and, a lot of the time, we look at it as a goal to work towards. But, what if we looked at it knowing God is love? The Scripture would then read like this: “God is patient and kind; He does not envy or boast; He is not arrogant or rude. He does not seek His own way, He is not irritable or resentful; He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. God bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
To take things a step further, we (humans) are made in God’s image. This means we’re made in the image of love. It is imprinted into who we are. Just as love is who God is, love is who we are at the very heart of ourselves. If we then take that thought and turn it to the Love scripture, we could write a list that would read: “I am patient and kind. I do not envy or boast; I am not arrogant or rude. I do not insist on my own way; I am not irritable or resentful; I do not rejoice at wrongdoing, but I rejoice with the truth. I bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.”
So the next time you say something like, “That’s what that person gets!” (I’m guilty of doing that just 2 days ago) or “They don’t deserve that as much as I do” or “I’m just not a patient person”, remember you’re made in the image of God, the image of LOVE! It’s who you are!!!
Proverbs 18:21(ESV) says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Begin to speak your GOD GIVEN IDENTITY OVER YOURSELF! I guarantee your daily life will change. Be blessed friends!!!
Love Jesus, love people, love life!
Happy New Year, all! 2015 is upon us, new beginnings, exciting ideas, fresh inspiration, lofty goals and renewed motivation! Here we are, ready to pursue, push, reach and rush to accomplish our “better” life.
Awesome! Yes. Do it! But…
Freeze! Yes, you. Stop. Step on the break! Before we get right back to the busyness we continually create for ourselves, be still and take some time to look backward instead of forward.
Clovis is definitely crazy for weather. That’s the desert, right?! Just a few weeks ago, it was in the sixties now it is in the single digits and easily falling below zero with our lovely wind (sarcasm implied). We experience very harsh conditions and extremes here. The last couple of days have been no exception, very cold with some moisture, snow, ice and frost. This has caused some power outages, people to change their plans, vehicles not to start, an increase in sickness, discomfort physically and also some really beautiful sights!
God’s creation is absolutely captivating, causing us to stop and worship in awe of what He has done, even those that do not profess to follow Him.
As I have gone from place to place around town the last few days, freezing my tail off, (side note: I HATE cold weather. Give me eighty degrees and I’m happy!) I cant help but appreciate and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. The stage that could not have been set without the plan of the director using the harshness of the cold.
“The beauty created by the harsh conditions.” Hmmm. God had me thinking of all of the harsh conditions in my life this past year: extreme changes with a lot of valleys and mountains, wind and storms, darkness and light. All of these were difficult and yet all necessary to create beauty. Not that I know what that beauty is, but knowing that is what He is creating in me so that by my life people will be in awe and worship HIM by seeing the beauty He is capable of creating from those harsh conditions!
Think back on your year, not with regret of the past and don’t allow regret to be what motivates your future. Look back with thankfulness at the beauty created. Then, “let it go.”
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Photos courtesy of Karla Spurgeon Photography