spirituality

Living Water JOY

Still counting.

Day 115

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John 7:37-39 (The Message)
Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.”

What a beautiful picture of the rivers spilling in all directions. The beauty of the the outpouring and overflow of the Spirit of the Living God. Perhaps that’s why many of us are so drawn to water.

Why Bother – Part 2

“It was rewarding to feel I had something to offer”.

Listen in as today’s post wraps up my interview with Linda.  (Click here for Part 1)

What was the most challenging thing about opening your home?

Linda:  It was not challenging for me at all.  I viewed it as helping people who were a bit younger than me. I felt it was my responsibility to help them because I knew more in terms of life experience and needed to share the knowledge.

What was the most rewarding thing for you?

Linda:  Looking back, because I had my own self-esteem issues, leading a study helped me to do something I felt I was good at. It was rewarding to feel I had something to offer. I was taught obedience early on. Perhaps it was the obedience that drove me. In my own salvation experience I was taught if I shared the right things, the people I shared with would come to know Christ. Seemed the priority at the time. Do it right. They will come to know Christ.

Did you lead these bible studies with a goal of long term relationship with women attending? 

Linda:  NOOOOOOOOOOO – I wanted to be obedient.  Probably because of that I wanted to do my job and move on – part of the arrogance.  My thinking was – I must witness because I will be accountable to God in the end.

If that’s what you thought then – what do you think now?

Linda:  I think differently now. In my being obedient, I have learned it is all about the relationship.  Learning to be the person standing ‘in the gap’. The one showing them Jesus.  It’s about relationship.

Why is it all about relationship?

Linda:  The best testimony comes from our story.  It’s what draws them to Christ. Truth. Initially it was all about following the rules – now – for me it’s about people. I’ve learned it matters to be real about who I am in my relationship with Christ. It is a constant invitation to others. I can let them see my struggles, and see where God impacts those struggles. And it makes a difference.

Did you have any idea you would impact the lives of younger women?

Linda:  No. To this day I don’t think I have any idea how others have been impacted. I consider myself a ‘sower of seeds’. I must learn to trust the seeds that have been planted. It’s ok to be the seed planter. It was because of the seeds I planted, that Karen asked how to know Christ. And because she asked, I was able to share in the journey with her.   

Please share why other women should bother to open their lives and pour into another.

Linda:  Pouring into others is an investment in myself in the most positive healthy way possible, if in fact I am (to the best of my ability) being obedient to God. There are blessings in just being obedient even when things don’t turn out as I hoped.

Linda:  Investing by sharing my story with others, I am reminded over and over again of the scripture in 1 Samuel 7:12:  ‘Thus far the Lord has helped me (us)’.

I am grateful to Linda for taking the time to look back with me.  To share with us why she bothered to open her life to pour into others, and what she has learned over the years.

We would love to hear your thoughts.

What one thing stood out to you in this interview?

Hesed JOY

Words on a page

Written by Carolyn Custis James

A Hebrew word used to describe “a bone-deep commitment – a loyalty, selfless…love your neighbor kind of love…”

“The way God intended human beings to live together from the beginning…”

This is the kind of love Jesus has for us.  The kind He exhibited for us in obedience to the Father.  It brings me JOY to think that He made it possible to love others in this way.  He calls us to live this kind of life.  Yet we struggle every day in our humanness to understand how to live it out.

Grace

JOY in my heart today…knowing there is grace as we learn day by day to live out this kind of love.

Discouragement will not take me down!

Not Worth It

I’m not worth it.

I don’t know if I spoke the words out loud or if they just reverberated to the innermost part of who I was. But I believed the words with all that was within me.

If I WAS worth it, my father wouldn’t have displayed his anger the way he chose to.

If I WAS worth it, my father would have wanted a relationship with me.

Of course, these were just the seeds that took root and later produced a wild mix of tangled weeds in my garden of life. It was pretty much a mess. And I knew the weeds would define me. I would tell people about my weeds before they had a chance to let me know they saw them. Lest they think I didn’t know how ugly they were.

Those roots had grown so deep rampant I had no idea how to pull them up.

Why would anyone want a relationship with me? I had nothing to offer. Nothing of any value. Because I felt no value. No worth. I searched for it from anyone who could validate me. By their terms. Not my own. I had none of my own. If I could just be good enough at anything, maybe someone would notice. Instead, they just seemed to notice where I fell short. And trust me…there was plenty to notice. I spent so much of my life feeling I should have some type of sign around my neck letting others know I really knew:

I was ugly
I was fat
I was stupid
I was too emotional
I was too needy

The effects of my past defined me. The choices I had made along the way defined me. Leading me to believe these lies. And more. Until I found myself drowning.

Then I met Jesus at the Cross where He hung for me!

The Master Gardener began to pull the weeds, one by one. He began to cultivate a garden in fresh new soil. Bursting forth new growth. Perennials. The roots of these plants grow deep. But perhaps the most exciting and hopeful detail about this new garden is perennials multiply.
Where once the weeds ran rampant – the new growth multiplies!

As I tend to the new garden, I find peace and safety. A new perception of who I am.

A conversation with a friend tonight broke my heart for her. Still does even as I write.

I remember all too well what it meant to be defined by unworthiness.
A weight too heavy to bear.
I want her to know He carried it for her.

The Word calls us to comfort others with the comfort we have received.

I hope I somehow reflected having spent time with the Gardener.

I want her to be comforted by how God sees her.

By the beautiful weight of the gospel upon her life.

I am angered by the reality of the enemy and his reign on this fallen earth.

I want more for those I love and care about.

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Eb & Flow JOY

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Day 80 of 365 days of JOY

It’s amazing to me what comes to mind as I pay attention to what brings JOY to my heart.

I am finding that not only do I find JOY in the little things, and capturing them in photographs, but I find I am often surprised by what these photos bring to mind.

As I stood at the ocean edge today I thought about the Eb and flow of my walk with the Lord.

The thought of the eb and flow of my relationship with the Lord used to drive me crazy – feeling like i might never get it right. I used to think I would reach a maturity in my relationship with the Lord and hold steady. Instead, what I have learned through paying attention is I cannot trust my emotion to lead me in my relationship with God. Often my emotions mislead me. I must choose to hold to what I know as truth in the times I am in a wilderness, questioning God or just plain weariness.

Three truths I can hold to:

– He will not leave me (Deuteronomy 4:31)

– He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

– The Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12)

What truths do you hold to on times of Eb & flow?

Mentor Survey Says…Day 7 & Book Giveaway

This is day seven and the final day of the Mentor Survey findings.

The question: As you were seeking to find a mentor, what characteristics were you looking for in a woman who would invest in you?

Much insight has been given from the hearts of these young women representing the age group ranging from twenty-five to forty.

MT SAYS – “Characteristics I look for in a mentor: Honesty. Someone who will tell me not what I want to hear, but what is true. Someone who always seeks and encourages reconciliation. Someone who encourages me to pray and seek the Lord for an answer ininstead of simply giving me one.”

What does it take for us to offer this to a younger woman?

It takes a personal growing relationship with God. An understanding that Jesus died in order to reconcile us to Himself.

A woman who is at home in her relationship with God will have something to offer because of that relationship. A friend said to me many years ago…you eat a bit of the Word, and then you give it away. The simplicity of the sharing gospel-centered life is found in understanding all we have to offer another is what God Himself pours into us.

And it is sufficient.

The women we have heard from will settle for nothing less than uncompromising authenticity. I dare say they speak for many in their generation.

Tempted daily by the life this world offers at the touch of a remote control, or the flip of a magazine page. Disconnected and isolated in many ways from one on one relationship due in part to the increased overstimulation of social media and technology. Young women today long for real relationship that leads to a very real God. They yearn to know how to live in a way that the gospel comes to life. And they do not want to do it alone.

How have these young women’s words impacted you?

What will you do in response to what you have heard?

Please share your heart.

Beginning this month I will be offering a book giveaway!

I recently finished reading Kisses from Katie – The story of a young woman who has surrendered her life to the Lord to live in the midst of what most of us would consider mind blowing circumstances. As she shares her story you will be drawn to her unwavering dependence on a very real God.

I will do a drawing on April 30th from all who leave comments on any of the seven days posts.

Thank you!

Click here to read day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, and day 6

Karen

Finding joy

Today it did not well up within me.

Yet – I chose to find JOY in:

The red clay roads on the pages of Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

Her abandon to God with all that she has and all that she is

She challenges me by how she lives the very definition of surrender.

Thank you Nancy for the volumes your heart spoke through your eyes as you reminded me it would change me

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Mentor Survey Says…

It’s familiar to most of us. The longstanding game show – Family Feud – currently hosted by Steve Harvey, presents the contestants with a survey question. Once a team wins the right, the huddle to come up with the most popular answers begins.

The question?

As you were seeking to find a mentor, what characteristics were you looking for in a woman who would invest in you?

Years ago when I met the first woman who would invest in my life in an intentional mentoring relationship, the word mentor was not part of my vocabulary. I recognized a need within me. A need to understand how to live this new life I had surrendered to. A life given up to my Lord and Savior. I sought hard after it in this new friend who I saw living in such a way that showed me she was living for Christ. With her life.

Women today battle epidemic spiritual hunger and loneliness for healthy relationships.

I have witnessed a tremendous desire in younger women to have those who have gone before them share life with them and offer support, encouragement and life experience they have gained along the journey.

My hearts desire is to see women risk engaging relationships across generational lines, because when we become real with one another it offers a safe space for personal growth.

Some women have the ability to articulate what it is they are looking for in a mentor or friend who might be willing to share this type of relationship with them.

Others do not have words to adequately describe what their heart longs for.

With a yearning deep inside, many women have shared their stories with me. Stories of how they have prayed and still wait to see who might be willing to intentionally invest in them.

For seven days I will share with you the answer to a survey question I asked seven young women age twenty-five to forty. Initially my intent was to tally the results and present the top answers, but once the answers were collected, though some were similar, I made a decision to present each to you in hopes you might see the heart of each individual woman.

The survey today says: “As I was seeking a mentor I was looking for someone who possessed willingness, genuineness, loyalty, honesty, authenticity, boldness, kindness and compassion”. JM

Are encouraged by what you read?

Encouraged, perhaps, because this helps you to see the needs of those around you.

Encouraged because you are already investing yourself in this type of relationship.

Encouraged because you see character qualities you possess listed.

I would love to hear your take away.

If you would like to answer the survey question please send it in an email to