Sunday, October 18, 2015

different kind of woman.

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman."

That's a zinger to read. For me, it was. The above quote was spoken by Elisabeth Elliot, one of my all time favorite women in the history of forever. She was a pioneer for the Bible and she was madly in love with the Creator of the world. She knew her worth was found in God and she walked in that.

I went to an ultra conservative, small, private CHRISTIAN school my entire life. All 12 years. And I adored it. I still talk to my middle school and high school Bible teachers because they made such an impact on my life. I made it my mission, so to speak, to be the girl who loved Jesus. I wanted people to love Jesus, too. Almost to a (worldly) fault. It cost me a lot of friends walking away from me. I was never invited anywhere because everyone knew I didn't drink or smoke or participate in whatever they were participating in. The most adventurous thing I did every year was go to the smokey mountains on a youth retreat. And I don't regret a moment of living that way. I've written about it a lot--my testimony. That I simply don't have a big one. I've just always loved the Lord. I've always been really good at telling others that they are worthy and beautiful and amazing in the eyes of the Lord. It's so much easier to tell other people these truths than it is to stand in your bathroom every morning and fight with the person you see looking back at you because for whatever reason you don't feel worthy enough.

So, what do we do? Even as women of God? We hold back. We play small. We pass by opportunities because someone more worthy, someone more beautiful, someone more appealing is behind us and they deserve those opportunities. I've lived this way many times. But, I don't want to. Because regardless of the hateful comments on social media, regardless of the ugly faces people can make at me, regardless of the denial and rejection I face as a person, I DO know that the Lord cherishes my heart and my time just as much as I think he treasures the next girl. It's time to really accept that we are different kind of women because of our maker. We know WHO we are because of WHOSE we are and we need to claim that more, and live that way more. It's crazy exciting how much fulfillment and how much peace comes when you surrender to the will of the Lord. 100% surrender. I thought I had surrendered when I wanted to make Nashville my permanent place of residence. I wanted to march right into the music world and show people you can love God and music. And, while that is absolutely possible, that wasn't the calling placed on my life. Going to Hawaii and learning how to fully surrender and experience the call on my life has been the most freeing and the most rewarding season of my life. I fell in love with Jesus all over and He started really telling me the type of woman He's called me to be. To share His name more. To show people His love more. To respect myself more so that I'll be more confident to share with others what He's done in my life.

Another quote from Elisabeth is the following: "I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it."

It's that simple. That's my desire. That's my mission, that's my calling. I use to measure my desires by the type of man I wanted to marry, the city I wanted to live in and the kids I wanted to dress in monogrammed outfits. Those are all lovely desires and they have a place in my heart but they've all taken the backseat. Jesus calls us to be interested in so much more than a relationship or city or car. He calls us to go and love people like He did. I've gotten so many emails from sweet girls saying how brave I am for moving away again for six more months and how they could never do that because their boyfriend or best friend or whatever wouldn't allow them. And, my heart breaks for these souls. It's my prayer that if being a missionary is your calling that you wouldn't let anything stop you.

I've made decisions before based on an imaginary outcome of situations that have only left me hopeless. People change their minds. People leave. People hurt you. Life isn't a grand fairy tale. Not to be depressing but we have to place our joy and our hope FIRST in the Lord. Then, He will always lead you to the people who you need in your life.

I've tried to make "my" calling the calling that God had for me. And, while my mission to help people wasn't a bad mission, it wasn't the Lord's mission for me. I remember one night in Hawaii listening to a speaker that had literally given EVERYTHING for the name of the Lord, been in jail, survived bombings while at church because of her faith, etc. and I remember thinking-- wow. and I thought sitting in an office was my calling. I'm not saying that everyone's calling is to go to Nepal or Iraq or wherever and share the love of the Lord but I am saying it was that moment I knew it was mine.

And back to the emails about being brave, etc. I am not a brave soul. I am terrified. There's a possibility that I'll die. But, at the same time, there's a possibility every day of my life that I may die. That cannot be the deciding factor of ignoring the calling the Lord places on my life. I am working on being more brave and more confident because I feel like a lot of people are waiting to unveil their true calling but maybe they're scared. And I don't want you to be scared. I want you to be brave.

There's a Jimmy Needham song that is called "Hurricane." Some of the lyrics are: need You like a hurricane, thunder crashing, wind and rain, to tear my walls down, I'm only Yours now. I feel like I need more of a hurricane encounter with the Lord. I've put up walls where people have hurt me. I've put up all these walls when I fail at something because I don't want to experience defeat again. I build walls instead of stepping out in faith, I cower down in fear because I'm doing the right things but I'm too afraid to just stand up and be vocal about it. Another line of the song says "I don't want to be safe tonight." And, that's where I am. I want to be a recklessly in love, devoted woman of God. I want to be different. I want the Lord to use me and call me to the ends of the earth. I want you to be brave too. There's nothing exciting about being safe.

 I remember in worship one night in college a song played called "by your side." And that's been my anthem for the past few weeks. The lyrics are powerful. I've been using it as a prayer and Jesus has been wrecking me with the song. A powerful section says "why are you looking for love, why are you searching as if I'm not enough?" Okay. Woah. The truest form of love is God. He will lead us to the right people. Lord, I'm so sorry for forgetting sometimes that true LOVE comes from you. Another line says "please don't fight these hands that are holding you, my hands are holding you." So, this (as all my posts are) is an all over the place post. But, I've been fighting the hands that are holding me. I've not surrendered 100% that going back to Hawaii for discipleship school is what I'm going to do. I know that is where I'm suppose to be but I'm fighting it. Because it's far away from Montevallo. Because my family is here. Because my nieces will grow up while I'm gone and everyone will change and everything is scary and uncertain. But, in the midst of all the doubting, God whispers "I love you, I'll never let you go. All of this will be here when you come back. Trust me." Trust him, friends. It's beautifully and exhilarating and passionate when we do.


Several of you have been asking how you can donate to my schooling and 3 month outreach trip so my sister helped me set up a gofundme that I'll link below. If you are reading this and feel called to share or donate, please know that I'm SO thankful. Also, more than anything, please pray for me. For the strength to leave comfort for 6 months to be uncomfortable for the best reason possible. If you've been on a journey like this before and have fundraising/partnering tips, please share them with me, too! Happy Sunday Friends!


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