Shifting Atmospheres

There’s a shift in the atmosphere today. A smell of snow in the air. The crunchy fall leaves have been laden with the damp that makes them droopy and dull. I think it might snow tonight.


Seasons. Short, too long, bleak, or exhilarating. The one constant is that they are always changing. 


If I could sit across the coffee shop table from a young woman of faith today, I would like to tell her


Live the season you are in. Don’t wish for another, where you could be doing more

for the Kingdom

for the church

for the world.


If you are a devoted follower of Jesus you already have everything you need. You are already changing the world

one little-runny-nose at a time

one spread-sheet at a time

one kind-word-to-a-stranger at a time.


Because, it’s not about doing. It’s about being. 

Being available. 

Being kind. 

Being exactly who God created you to be. 


What is your one priority in this season of your life? Is it your family? Your job? Your friends? Choose wisely and prayerfully. 

Then, be. 

Be all you can be in that one priority. See where that takes you.

You might just shift atmospheres.


********


I get up in the middle of the night and peek out of the window. Fresh snow blankets the lawn, giving a shimmer to the dark that wasn’t there the night before. Hello snow. Hello Winter. I wonder what this season will bring … 


“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” Andy Stanley


“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.”  Matt. 11:28-30

Guest Writer: Joy Bailey. A wife, mom, grandma, writer, and lover of all things

chocolate. You can find her at www.scrapsofjoy.com

 

Shine On


We all have a calling on our lives. Every. Single. One of us.  We all have a reason that we are here, a purpose for our daily rhythms. I am a big believer in God taking even the terrible situations we sometimes find ourselves in, and turning them into something good. Something beautiful that can bring glory to His name, if we let Him. I often find myself asking “what was the purpose of that?” and maybe I don’t hear the answer right away, and maybe sometimes we never will, but I believe without a doubt that if we open our lives to Him, He will use that event in some way. There is a purpose for your life. For what you are going through, if you let God use you, He will.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Not exactly anyway…

When you hear the phrase “This is my calling” you most likely think of a career or ministry opportunity. You were called to go on that missions trip, you felt lead to go to a specific event where your life was changed, you felt called to go into a profession etc. And while yes, I too feel a calling over my life in certain areas, I also know women who have no idea what their ‘calling’ is or would be and they feel like they are left out of the club. Or maybe you have a calling that is unreachable right now so as you work towards it (or don’t) you stay where you are saying “maybe one day…”, “that’ll be nice when…”.

I believe that I (and you) have multiple “callings”. That God has created me (and you) for great things. In John 14:12, the Bible says “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done and even greater works…”. Even GREATER works! I don’t know how much you’ve read the Bible, but Jesus did some pretty amazing things.

As Christians I think we often hear the word “calling” and sluff it off too quickly. Because the truth is that we ALL have a calling and even if you don’t feel called to be a children’s pastor, a police officer or a lawyer who does good work,  you are still called to do even GREATER works than Jesus did while He was on earth. We are called to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14) shining brightly so that we cannot be hidden. We are called to be children of light (Ephesians 5:8… but you should read all of chapter 5, it’s all on living in the light)! We are called to be salt (Matthew 5:13). That one is my favorite. You are called to be salt, not sugar. Not everyone is going to like you my friends, but stand firm in the confidence you have in Christ. It’s very obvious that in our society we don’t have the most popular of beliefs. Jesus never said this was going to be easy or that everyone would agree with the Bible. He didn’t say “It’s okayy if you only believe half of what I say. Take what you want and leave the rest… I’m sure it’ll work out”. No no, He says we’ll actually be persecuted for living a godly life (2 Timothy 3:12). But we are called to be salt. Not Sugar. Yea? Okayy back to our callings.

WE ARE CALLED.

I believe we all have one calling in common, and that is, to be a light in the darkness. To shine.

When you decide to live your life for Christ, inviting Holy Spirit into your life to lead you and counsel you, asking Jesus to be your friend and to walk with you, when you call on God the Father to step in and take over, you are taking on the name of Christ. And we should not do that lightly. You are now known as a CHRIST-ian. You carry His name along with yours. Let’s all just let that sink in for a minute. You carry Jesus, wherever you go. To the grocery store, into the mall to buy christmas presents, when you go to your neighbors house for coffee and when you sit at your desk at work, you are representing Christ. And who was He? The Light of the world (John 8:12).

No pressure!

So what on earth am I talking about? What does this mean? Let me give you 3 examples of what this calling means in your life, today. How to ‘shine on’ if you will.

1. You release light wherever you go.

When I was young I remember walking into a little shop with my mom downtown, Saskatoon. I have no idea what was in it or what it was called but I can remember entering through the door and feeling a weight hit me. I felt heavy and dark and I didn’t know what to do with that feeling. I left immediately and told my mom that shop wasn’t right, it wasn’t okayy to go in there, so we moved on. Even as a young girl I could sense the darkness. I didn’t understand it, but I knew it was there.

The only difference between that young girl and who I am now (okayy there is actually a lot of differences thank you Lord!) is that now I know in whose authority I walk in. I know that if I were to walk into that shop today, I would be releasing the light of Christ into that place and it would no longer be dark, because we all know that where there is light, darkness can no longer be! Praise GOD!  

You are called to walk with Jesus every step of the way sister! So take His hand, and walk confidently knowing that He, the one who loves you so much that he gave His life for you, is walking with you and has your back. That makes me so excited! Are you walking with Him today? Is your Shine on?

2. You can pray into any and all situations, right now.

Prayer can sometimes be this intimidating thing. Like we don’t know the right scriptures to use or the right “christian-ese” phrase for something so we just stay quiet in hopes someone else might pray. But how are we ever supposed to get any better at something if we don’t start from where we are today? Just. Start. Praying. Let Holy Spirit (who lives IN you and has obvious connections to the big guy) lead you, and even if you start small with one or two sentences, that's enough. Father is waiting to hear from you, His beloved daughter.

Pray with your boyfriend. Husband. kids. Mom. Grandpa. Best friend. The teller at your bank. The homeless man on the corner. Your waitress at dinner. A prayer doesn’t have to be 10 minutes long, although sometimes we need a good long chat with our Dad. He hears you. He sees you. Pray, talk to Him, thank Him, give Him the glory. This small step will grow your relationship with Him stronger and stronger daily.

I remember the first time my best friend and I prayed for a headache in the middle of the hallway at our high school. Her hands touched my head “In Jesus name, I command this headache to be gone”. That was it. It even started out as almost a joke, like “as if it works like this, but wouldn’t that be cool?!” and then I froze. Because that horrible migraine I had been facing all day was gone with the snap of a finger. Lifted. I was free. It was like Jesus whispered to us “I am right here, just ask” and we giggled and ran away with Joy.

You are called to do GREATER works than Him. Jesus turned the water into wine and healed the crippled walk, he can absolutely take away that headache. But you have to first call on Him. You have to have a relationship with Him. Just. Start. Praying. Don’t wait until you are in the safety of your home where no one else is around! You bump into someone at the mall who complains of being sick, Is your shine on?  

3. You share it with the world.

Matthew 28:19 says “...go and make disciples of all the nations…”! He doesn’t say “If you feel called to be the lead Pastor, speak from the pulpit once a week and hope the word spreads!”, can you imagine? He says “GO!” You sister, are called to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ with the world! For some of you that may mean traveling across the world and for some of you it might mean stay in this city and be Jesus to those around you! Make disciples. Walk with Jesus and help others do the same.

THAT, is your calling. That Is my calling.

So dear sister, that leaves us with one question. Is your shine on?

Xo

Guest writer Julia Friesen. warrior-mama.ca

Photo Credit: Lovely Roots Photography

Finding Freedom

Where are you?

Who told you that?

What are you seeking?

Why are you afraid?

How much MORE?

The first time God asked these questions was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had just been deceived by the serpent, and had eaten the fruit. Before then, they were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 3:5). Living FREE in who God created them to be. With eyes completely focused on their father. But then they ate the fruit ...

 and the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Then [they] heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from [Him] among the trees of the garden.

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 

He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” 

God said, “Who told you you were naked?

One moment - SECURE in their identity. Eyes focused on their creator. Living out their purpose in the freedom they had been given.

The next moment - Their identity compromised, eyes focused inward, ashamed of their 'nakedness' that had become a part of them.

And so began the fight to recover our freedom.

What a love story.

I spent much of my late teens and early twenties desperately trying to discover my identityI loved Jesus, but I was more consumed with trying to fit in and look the part rather than seeing His outstretched hand calling me to just sit and be washed in His love and truth. I made it more complicated than it needed to be. I gave Him pieces of my heart but clung desperately to other areas of it - for what? For fear that I would lose control? For fear that I would be left with nothing? If I'm being 100% honest, I held on because I didn't fully trust Him...yet.

I was so good at getting in the way of my own advancement. My insecurities and fears kept me from living fully in who God created me to be. I allowed the world to define me and slap labels on me that didn't belong -- but I accepted them as part of myself and became hidden under the weight of trying to keep up appearances. Without fully realizing it, I let the enemy’s lies cycle on repeat in my mind -- accusing me of being less than, not worth it, unimportant, easily forgotten.

If the criteria for being one of His chosen was 'have it all together at all times' I would be a lost cause. I am so thankful for grace. For His patience with me as I've slooooowly discovered Whose I am and stepped into FULL freedom. It's taken me a good 30 years to finally rest securely in my identity. To stop searching and looking for acceptance from outside sources, to release EVERY. SINGLE. THREAD. of my heart to the Creator of all things.

                          So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)

Freedom

I didn't fully understand FREEDOM until just recently. Sure, I understood the concept. I claimed it and lived in it, but only in pieces. We sing about it in church and know we have been freed from the curse of sin and death (Rom 8:2) but FULL FREEDOM?! THAT is a game changer.

FULL FREEDOM means -- Confidence in your identity in Christ. It means loving FULLY the woman God created you to be (yes, every part of that woman). It means being so sure of Whose you are and who you are that comparison, judgement, insecurity, inferiority -- anything that would cause you to see another woman as a threat rather than a blessing loses its grip on you. It means not caring anymore what other people think, not being weighed down by the fear of being rejected by people, because you're so completely set on the heart of the Father. Full freedom means letting go completely of old mindsets and patterns of thought. It means releasing the limitations you've placed over yourself, letting go of needing to be in control, and stepping into the sweet purposes God has prepared you for. When you've experienced this freedom in FULL, you know it.

'What are you seeking?'

'Why are you afraid?'

I was only ever seeking more. More of Jesus, even though I was clinging to pieces of my heart I didn't want to surrender. I wanted freedom. I needed freedom. Still, parts of me were afraid to fully step into the abyss and free fall until He caught me, because I didn't fully trust Him yet. But I kept asking for MORE.

'How much More?'

MORE

how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!(Matt 7:11)

Because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.(Matt 7:8)

My journey towards freedom has come in small increments. He walked me through an eating disorder, saved me from myself and gave me freedom from it. He challenged the lies I had accepted as my truth, lies like 'I have no voice, I am insignificant, I am unlovable’, and replaced them with His words of affirmation. Even after ALL that, though I didn't realize it at the time, I was still living prisoner in other areas

Often, the path to claiming our freedom doesn't look the way we had anticipated. I would have been totally ok if my freedom had gone like this:

Me: Jesus. My mindset sucks. I'm so homesick for You. I'm tired of caring what people think, of feeling like I'm not good enough. I'm tired of being a prisoner to insecurity and comparison.

Jesus: waves His hands in the air *Freedom Granted

That's not exactly how things happened.

I remember specifically praying for freedom in a particular area where my health was involved. My dad called and told me he had been praying for me, and really felt like God was saying I needed to stop running. I was an AVID runner. Like...6 days a week, at LEAST 5 km a day. I didn't just run because I loved it, I ran because I was afraid of what would happen if I stopped. I heard what my dad said, but I shrugged it off. I distinctly remember thinking 'if God is actually speaking and telling me to stop running, He'll tell me Himself'.

Here ‘s the thing, there will ALWAYS be room for pruning, for refining. When He answers our prayers, often it’s in a way we weren't expecting. When we don’t keep our hearts teachable and trainable we risk stifling our growth by rejecting the life raft He sends for us. But the truth is, God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. So when we say "no thank you" to His answer, if it's something that is for our benefit, you better believe He will get our attention to prune that thing out one way or another.

A week after talking to my dad, I tripped on my own feet and broke my arm.

I couldn't run for six months.

By no means am I saying ‘God broke my arm’ but just as he allowed a large fish to swallow Jonah to get his attention, I know he allowed my feet to get caught up in my laces to get my attention. It's hilarious to look back at my hard headedness now, but that moment started the catapult of transformation and surrender of all the little pieces I was holding to so tightly.

And so He asks,

Where are you? Who told you that?  -- as if the God of the universe doesn't know where we are. But in His gentle love, He pursues us and lets us choose whether we answer Him or not. He gives us grace to share where our hearts are. He whispers,“Where is your heart, beloved?”And when we answer, with what we have allowed to steal our focus, what we have allowed to become apart of our identity, He swoops in gently and asks -- who told you that?

The reality is, if He didn't speak it over us, if it can't be lined up with His word, it has no place taking residence in our hearts and minds. This challenges me to live a life unhindered by cover-ups. To live in the fullness of the life we've been gifted with. To throw off the criticisms and opinions of others and keep my eyes FOCUSED on my truth. To keep my heart tender and renewed in His promises.

When you know Whose you are, when your identity is fully rooted in truth, when you experience the freedom that comes when you can finally LOVE yourself FULLY in all your perfectly imperfect ways -- look out world. A woman who is steadfast in her identity and confident in her Christ-given ability is a woman who changes atmospheres. Let’s choose to be those women who are so confident in His love for us and our own beauty that comparison and judgement are foreign concepts to us. Let’s choose to be those women that can embrace another woman's calling and influence without questioning our own.

You are on purpose.

Created for a purpose.

Planted where you are to fulfill that purpose.

You are not an accident, an afterthought, or an 'extra'

Your turn:

Where are you?

Who told you that?

What are you seeking?

Why are you afraid?

How much MORE?

My word will not return to me void [useless, without producing any effect] it will accomplish that which I please and purpose. It will prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

You will go out with joy and be led forth [by God himself and his word] with peace. (Isaiah 55:12)

 

Sisterhood Soul Roots

She stopped me suddenly and clenched my sweaty hands in her strong ones. I’ve come to appreciate the clasp of aged hands; they mean wisdom is being lavished.

Her crystal eyes penetrated with concern. She said, “You are going to burn yourself out if you don’t slow down. I know how it is—you are new and you want to prove you can do it all. Don’t do it! I’ve been there, I’ve experienced it and I don’t want it to happen to you…”

The day before, I sent a quick text asking a friend for help setting up a party. She graciously and wisely said no, and gave a suggestion for another avenue I could take. She knows the voice of Jesus and her highest aim is to walk in obedience to Him. She listens and moves in rhythms of grace and believes Jesus when He says:

“Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – MSG

She lives a grace dance with her soul roots stretched in grace ground.

Too often, I have kept moving because I thought I needed to … but I am learning that my utmost need is to be found at the feet of Jesus. Bowed low in surrender, listening, clearing clutter to get close to His heart.

Later that same day, a coffee shop table held cups of conversation –my friend Genny oozed new passion for wholeness and health. Her eyes dazzled as she explained surprises Jesus keeps leaving on her path, like a little girl on a treasure hunt, she described finding shimmering gifts and the joy of abiding.

Prayer before saying “yes”.
Knowing the wise “no”.
Risk-taking boldness.
Accessing The Holy Spirit for strength.

I want to know when to say no.
I want hands hard at work in response to God’s leading and timing.
There is rest here.
There is space to move and breathe and be sustained by Father God.

On October 29th, Sisterhoodyxe presents Restore My Soul, an event where God’s rest and His commission to care can beat together. After all, the world is transformed one heart at a time.

You are invited to participate as we expand, with many hands, the Kingdom of God in our city. Come with expectancy and tampons. (Yes, you read that correctly!) In fact, bring any of the following: tampons, pads, bars of soap, deodorant, small hand sanitizer, package of plain underwear, make-up remover wipes or a $5 Tim Horton’s or McDonalds card. Before the event, we will prepare individual, woman-to-woman, packages for girls in need in our community. These will be distributed through EGADZ Youth Center as a tangible expression of God’s love.

So come, those who are thirsty, and settle your soul roots in grounded grace and let love grow.

Get Your Hopes Up

Get Your Hopes Up

I've been listening to this song called "Get Your Hopes" up, for the past few weeks. I really like it, it's positive and up beat. I want to believe the things that it declares, but I will admit that there is a part of me that always says in the back of my mind, "Being hopeful is good, but I have to be realistic. The chances of ... happening are really unlikely."