STRONG WOMEN

I saw a poster at a place recently that said, “in case of an emergency, keep calm, and go get a feminist.”

Several thoughts came to mind, I thought of the feminist movement that I think mostly originated because women were being treated unfairly, perhaps not cherished, weren’t valued, men at the time perhaps didn’t think they could accomplish as much.  There were so many bad, wrong thoughts about women.  Some women began this movement because they wanted improvement…a change.  Others wanted to take it really far, in my opinion, way too far.

I thought next about what I think God’s intention for women is and how many wrong thinking patterns exist in many a man’s mind still…and sadly, women too.  I reflected on different Scripture that speaks to God’s role for women.  I feel qualified to speak on the matter because not only was I a wife for nearly 11 years, but I am still a mom of 3 and I went to West Point and I love reading the Bible.  I was trained as a young girl by a dad that believed I was capable of doing anything.  I can honestly tell you there is no greater feeling in a little girl’s heart than to know, she can do anything her heart is set on and her daddy believes it!  As I believed his words, and had my mom’s absolute assurance and support, I was able to accomplish much.  My body and my brain cooperated with my heart.  And I truly believed without a doubt, I was capable to go to West Point.  4 years later after arduous work, I graduated in 2004.  Surrounded by extremely capable women, I realized that truly, women were capable of doing just about anything that their male counterparts were!

After graduation, and after getting married and starting my family, I felt a tug on my heart.  I still had the same drive and desire to accomplish and walk worthy of my 4 years at a very reputable institution, but now my mission had drastically changed.

But, I was not disappointed!  I realized that it would take even more strength to raise my kids. Especially with a husband who was fully committed to the Army and often gone as many are during this heavy cycle of deployments/tdy trips, command assignments and field assignments.

Yesterday, I knew without a doubt in my heart, God FULLY INTENDS FOR HIS WOMEN TO BE STRONG.  He made us capable of childbirth, long nights awake with crying babies, strong arms to accomplish our work (that is Scriptural too! Proverbs 31), and strong minds to wield off the Enemy’s attacks over our children’s hearts and our own.  God never intended us to be weak.

Today, I  face the reality that every time a woman is strong, it has an affect on those around them.  I want to be strong to be obedient to Christ, and I do hope my strength might inspire others to their calling also, but sometimes there are other outcomes/responses.  I must remind myself, that no matter what the response, God always intends for me to be strong.  Sometimes, boldly strong, other times quietly strong.  But always strong in mind, heart, and body.

Next week I am starting more serious training for my marathon.  The last few months have been 30min-1 hour of training, but now I have to train more to prepare my body for Nov 4.  I know embarking on this race without proper training will be foolish and painful.  My last one I trained up pretty well to run, but I came in late at night the night before and couldn’t find my way in the dark in the early morning to get to the race start line.  This one, I’m preparing for even more rigorously.  And I’ll be able to come in to the race location a day earlier.  I think the fact that I couldn’t run the race last spring makes me want to run this one so much more!

This is a life dream for me, a goal I’ve set for myself. I know I will need God’s grace and strength and protection all the more.  I’ve always seen this life as a marathon.  And the finish line like heaven.  I’ve always liked running. I will try and run my race with perseverance, running the race that is marked out for me.  I’m thankful to have a job with the YMCA for this year, to serve an organization that has stayed true to its Christian values over decades, and to spend time training in between my classes and dropping off/picking up my kids from school.  I’m thankful for a family friendly job and for the joy I have in my heart to work there and connect with the other awesome personnel that I’ll be working with who have similar passions/priorities.

I was reading about God’s COMMANDS in bible study this past Tuesday and in my personal devotions, this particular command: “BE STRONG and COURAGEOUS.”

I thought this was so pertinent in training for my marathon, raising my kids, and signing up to be a upward soccer coach for the fall at my church.  I’ve never run a marathon. Never coached a team!  I love the command to be strong and courageous, it feels to me as if I have no other option and that God has many blessings and rewards on the other side 🙂  I want to BE STRONG and BRAVE.

I pray my children might see the reward that comes with obedience to God’s commands now and throughout their lives.

 

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Standing Firm…Our strong deliverer is IN ACTION!

This morning, as I listened at PWOC and prayed with other sweet ladies, I sensed God wanting me to stand firm.  There has been a lot of spiritual warfare going on lately in my heart and home and as I cried out for His help, Christ asked me to stand firm.  I pondered what “standing firm” meant, and taking each thought captive to Christ and standing firm in His Word came to mind.  He wanted me to guard my heart and mind from the enemy and refuse any ground to Him!  My identity in Christ flooded my mind and I rebuked much of the thoughts that have been coming into my head.  I can be depressed at the thoughts or simply rebuke them, saying, these are not my thoughts, these are the Enemy’s!  I learned once again, the importance of being a Warrior Princess for Christ—learning how to fight in a battle that seems and is too big for me, but not for my Savior.  It is wonderful for Christ to achieve victory for me when I am in those times of intense spiritual warfare.  I am asked to resist and stand firm. He literally does battle for me!  I am weak and He is strong, and I am called to RESIST!  And that takes a lot of strength in the midst of battle.  His strength is un-ending.

His blessings are being poured out–

I am delighted to see a PWOC study for this Spring that is exactly where I am headed spiritually: “To Live is Christ, to die gain.”  It is wonderful to have confirmation that I am headed the direction that God wants me to go spiritually.  There are so many verses, so many directions, many of them so wonderful, I am thankful for His direction and guidance and to hear His voice clearly, so I can pursue the path on which He wants me to be.

I am so thankful for this amazing time with my husband and family to adjust and settle in before his course begins.  It has been an incredible blessing for us.  He has been home often the past few months with an easy work schedule before we left and in-processing the past few weeks upon arrival….I cannot fathom what I would have done without him…God has poured out his blessing and grace to us and we are so thankful.  Brian starts his first graduate class tomorrow.  He is excited to begin “work” again.  Although, this job is going to be very different—he will have to read a lot of books!  Then he starts his ILE (intermediate level education) course the week after.  My heart feels settled and secure now.

I am thankful for so much.  I even had a chance to clean this beautiful home for the first time tonight!  I love the look and feel of a clean home 🙂  And I loved making smoothies with Brian and the kids afterwards!

I loved eating at a wonderful Korean restaurant here with Brian on our date night the other night.  We are trying to get as much time together as possible before this baby arrives 🙂  6 more months or so until he or she arrives!  We love our time together, but can’t wait to meet this little angel 🙂

I love seeing little Hannah blossom into a ‘little mommy.’  It has been my greatest delight.  She loves taking care of her babies, giving them baths, brushing their teeth, singing to them, reading them books, and rocking them to sleep.  Hannah is longing for a sister.  And buddy is longing for a brother…but would be happy with another sister too!

I love seeing Lewis’ heart get settled now.  He asks about his friends in Sandy Basin a lot..and wishes they could come visit, but he is making new friends and loves his new room, and new home.  I love seeing him grow in obedience and really take ownership and be so proud of himself when he listens and makes right choices.  He loves building others up right now and it is so precious to see.  We see strongholds that have been a battle for him for quite a while being demolished.  Prayer is so powerful–his prayers (he prayed on his own at the dinner table tonight to have a heart like Mary’s…so humble and obedient…) and our prayers for him…and THIS is Brian and my delight right now—to pray for strongholds in our children and our lives to be demolished.  God is so quick to answer such prayers!

WE ARE PRAISING GOD FOR HE IS OUR STRONG DELIVERER!!!!  WHILE WE STAND FIRM…HE IS IN ACTION, FIGHTING THAT BATTLE FOR US!!!

 

 

 

 

Strong Woman.

What makes a strong woman?

I’ve been considering it for a bit…The proverbs 31 woman is pretty strong!

I’m going to list a few characteristics of what makes a strong woman to me right now…:

*Turns to and Trusts the Lord wholeheartedly with everything

*Relies on the Lord for her strength

*Lives for one audience and one alone

*Speaks truth over lies and adverse circumstances

*Optimistic

*Healthy boundaries (from Psalms, ‘my boundary lines fall in pleasant places’)

*Good understanding of conviction vs. guilt

*Good at managing emotions (focusing on the facts, not the feelings!)

*Efficient and Organized (but only to reduces stress, not make it)

*Communicates needs well

*A Gentle, Quiet Spirit (a surprising addition to this list, but a HUGE requirement for a strong woman)

*Graceful and Delicate

*Commends Love and Respect from her Husband and Children and the Community around her

This list is ongoing, so as this subject is on my mind, I am going to add to it!

Holy Spirit’s Return

Some days I feel as though I don’t feel the Spirit’s guidance as much…and it always makes me sad.  I wonder why.  I wonder where He’s hiding 😉  I wonder when He’s coming back….I pray, pray, pray and repent and seek…I know that some days are just going to be like that.  However, today I realized that when I don’t feel His presence, or feel overwhelmed by sorrow or stuck in a rut of sin…the quickest way for me to feel His Spirit’s return are for me to do the following two things:

1) Speak God’s word over the areas/thoughts I am struggling in. (Memorize, speak, and Pray His Word)

–usually it is a thought pattern that I am getting stuck in and cannot seem to break…I need to find the verse that defeats the Enemy’s lie to me and speak TRUTH…and keep speaking that truth…until the lie goes away…sometimes the Enemy lingers because He thinks I’ll give up speaking the truth after a bit and start believing that lie again.

2) Make a right choice, regardless of my feelings.  (Obey His Word)

–I find that once I make a wrong choice, I get stuck in a cycle of making more wrong choices until I am feeling quite defeated.  Sometimes, the Enemy gets me stuck here by telling me to try to reason my way out of it…but the truth is, I use the wrong reason and draw the wrong conclusions and get stuck deeper and deeper into that cycle of wrong thinking (I usually reason by playing the blame game or trying to understand why I am doing something).  My husband advises me oftentimes with my son, “Don’t ask why, he doesn’t know why he did it!” Sometimes, we just don’t know why.  We can’t see the spiritual battle taking place…and asking why oftentimes leads us to draw the wrong conclusions in the moment when we are clouded with emotion. The Lord, in time, shows me the error in my thinking…but I simply cannot figure it out in the moment oftentimes.   The best thing I can do is cast it all away and make what I know to be a right choice based of the Word that I’ve read or memorized or know from past experiences and NOT from my feelings.

Would you know that once I do these two things (and the third below) and do it faithfully, the Spirit almost always returns?  He can see that I have passed the test and won’t give away to my flesh’s desires, but will choose Him, regardless of my feelings…and He energizes me once again.  Mind you, the Lord will not forsake me and will never leave me, but sometimes, I just cannot “feel” His presence.  And during these times, the two decisions I make above, as well as the one below, restore me to the Lord and being filled up by Him again.  This last one is similar to the first, but is a good one to do again after the Enemy is defeated to prevent Him from coming back.

3)  I fix my thoughts on heavenly things/uplifting things (Speaking/Thinking/Meditating/Praying His word):

–The last thing I do, in order to fill the hole (once those negative or frustrating thoughts leave, there is a hole to fill) that might be in my heart that day for some reason (only God’s Word can fill that hole, lest is be filled with something else that is never enough to bring lasting contentment), is to live out Philipians 4:8:

 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I ask the Lord to fill my thoughts and heart with things that uplift my spirit and things for which I need to be thankful.  I focus my heart on them and the wonderful feelings and words come back associated with those thoughts.  What a beautiful and helpful verse.  I am really starting to see the power of the spoken word and thoughts that lead to those words.  Words can have the power to destroy (remember the Enemy is listening to your words and can decipher his method of attack more easily from what you reveal to him through your words).  And words can have the power to uplift and heal.  These are OUR words!  Can you imagine what speaking God’s word can do?  Wow.  I am excited to put this plan into action more often.  It is a deliberate effort that I have to be reminded of again and again.  This is my part and I want to do my part!

I am learning out here in the desert, more than anything else, how to fight the spiritual battle.  Speaking God’s word out loud when attacked, memorizing it (storing up that good for the moments where it is needed), praying God’s word (saying His word back to Him), and using it to help other people in the moment’s God provides to teach, help, encourage, uplift, etc.  It is all about HIS WORD.  We must continually pray (for ourselves AND other Christians), with His word in mind/mouth, and use God’s word to fight this fight.  Remember:

10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  -Ephesians 6:10-18

 

1 Year Anniversary: The Battle

Our Battle is with the Enemy and We have the Sword of the Spirit
This past Thanksgiving was our one year anniversary of being in the desert here in California.  I reflected that morning about God’s purpose for me and our family here in the desert over the past year.   It has truly been a time of testing and refinement.  It has been a time where the Enemy has attacked.  It has been a time where we have been shown how much sin there is in our lives.  It has been humbling, challenging, lonely, and a BATTLE. 

If there is any one word I could use to describe this past year for us…it would be a BATTLE.  I have been battling making the right choices.  Parenting our son has been one long 3 year battle…(ok 2 year battle…).  I have questioned so much and God has clarified…but in a painstaking way!  Most of His answers to me have been to wait, surrender, or trust and obey.  He has shown me His hand to me in the past and how things would have been a little different if I would have made better choices in the past…but He is also showing me His amazing grace and redemption right now and for the future–that there truly is nothing that can separate me from His love.  God is stripping me of everything and rebuilding me from scratch.  He is teaching me some really important lessons here.  It is so painful! 

The Storm Wages, but His Grace triumphs and makes our steps graceful and smooth. He paves the Way.

BUT, where there is a battle…and if the Lord is involved…there is VICTORY!!!  This is the sweetest part of this past year.  God is giving me victory over so much sin in my life.  He is reforming my perception of so many things.  He is giving me glimpses of the future, but then testing me to wait.  I kept saying all day the past few days to Him, “I want to pass your tests!  You are going to help me pass your tests!”  I am so tired of falling prey to the Enemy.  I am so tired of his age old ploys to tempt me to be a slave to sin.  I don’t want to sin anymore.  I am so sick and tired of sinning!  I don’t want to be easily tempted.  I don’t want to be fickle or weak.  I want to be STRONG in Him.  I want to be lovely, vulnerable, delicate, graceful, and gentle and quiet…but STRONG!!!!!  This is my greatest desire right now.  I don’t care what test the Lord has for me right now.  I want to pass it.  I don’t want to complain.  I don’t want to have pity for myself.  I don’t want to think about all the “whys”, “if onlys” or “what ifs” anymore.  I want to be CONTENT in what He has for me right now.  I want to focus on Him and what He wants me to do RIGHT now.  He will help me with how to process the past (in good time) and how to plan the future (all the things that He has planned for me).  I know He is going to help me and carry me.  I know His love for me is unfathomable.  Now is the time to trust.  Now is the time to have faith.  Now is the time to be resolute.  No challenge that comes our way is going to take our eyes off our Savior…by His grace.  NOTHING can separate us from HIS LOVE.  NOTHING. 

He will go before me and pave the way.  He will make my steps graceful and resolute.  And when I cannot go any further, He will pick me up and carry me.  He is my King.

Be all your King has planned for you to be.   Trust in Him.  Hooah 🙂

What it really means to be a Strong Woman

Our Strength comes from the Lord
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  -Romans 8:38-39

Yesterday, I had a tough day.  A good day, but full of work to be done.  I had so many things that really needed to get done that day.  And when they really need to get done, God provides the opportunity to get it all done.  However, as much as God filled me up that day (lots of quality time…and enjoyable time with Lewis, great naps times for Hannah, the energy to get it all done, and good behavior on the part of the kiddos), I STILL had a tough time with my thoughts at the end of the day.  I could tell I was worn out…and the Enemy started to knock.  I am thankful though…because I am starting to see where the Enemy tries to get me.  I can see my areas of weakness by the ways Satan tries to tempt me.  So, really it is his lost battle!  Because, now I know and I am going to seek the Lord’s will even harder in those areas of my life.  You see, he fumbled by being SO obvious as to where I struggle.  You see, even when we are tempted and struggle in the battle, God can still use it for our good!  There is really nothing that can separate us from his love. 

Yesterday, the Enemy tempted me to think that I am just a workhorse.  He told me that I just exist to clean up messes, do the dishes, clean and fold clothes, clean the house, cook meals (constantly!), and to meet everyone else’s needs.  He tempted me to think that the Lord would not meet my needs.  I felt like I was going to run out of steam and that everything was going to suck the life out of me.  With my husband gone a lot here, I often have to carry the extra weight.  And some days it feels like a heavy burden.  BUT, I KNEW these thoughts were not from the Lord…and that they would not lead me anywhere good or beneficial.  I also KNEW how to fight the thought battle!  I said, out loud, “I am very worthy unto you Lord.  I will not run out of steam because YOU fill me up.  I know I am the daughter of a KING and the work you give me to do is glorifying unto you.  I also know you have a GRAND purpose for me to fill…but even the little things I do to glorify you bring you joy and honor.”  I felt my spirit lift instantaneously.  The Enemy had lost the battle.  I CHOSE to not dwell on those thoughts (no matter how convincing they seem at the time) and replace them with Scripture-based thoughts.  I couldn’t think of actual Scripture verses at the time (I often cannot when I am overwhelmed with emotion…), but I spoke words I knew were Scripture-based and I literally felt Satan flee from me.  Isn’t that an incredible feeling?  The Lord is ready to help.  He will fight the battle for us…we don’t have to fight the Enemy and his ways.  All we have to do is cling to His word and to HIM.  He knows it is overwhelming for us.  That is why He tells us that He will carry us through it (this is all over the Bible!).

I am learning that to really be a STRONG woman is to recognize how really weak I am and then rely on the Lord for EVERY SINGLE thing.  As I have learned to do that, I become stronger and stronger.  It is the opposite of what the world will tell you.  But, I know it to be true for my life.  I know how weak I am, and His power is made PERFECT in my weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)  His GRACE is sufficient for me!  The more I surrender, the more His grace becomes sufficient for me.  I am so thankful.

Fight the battle fellow warrior princesses 🙂  Watch the Enemy flee.  Remember, your battle is with the Enemy, not anyone else.  Just focus on the Lord and keep your eyes on Him and do what He tells you to do.  He will take care of the rest.  I love that.  It is simple enough for little me 🙂