James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing through Trials & Temptations

James 1:2-18

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

Trials will come, count it all Joy.

Today you may be in the space between.  The, life happening, everyday normal stuff   place, between trial and tranquility, but trials will come.  Divorce, a loss of a parent or child, cancer, bankruptcy, infidelity. Maybe is not so obvious a trial you are facing, student loan, challenging pregnancy, unexplained food sensitivities, ungracious boss or coworkers, potty training or any of the other million little things that pile up as the days and weeks become months and years.  Life marches on and trials are a part of life.

This isn’t a warning or a threat, just a fact, just the reality of living in a fallen world.

And to make matters more complicated the Christian life is marked by trials because following Christ has a cost and Satan is going to try and collect.  He is going to do every little thing he can to make you stumble and fall.  Im not talking epic trauma necessarily, but changed hearts bleed sweat and tears. Repentance takes humility and dyeing to self and giving the grace we receive at the cross.  To be moved by the spirit means to be moved to generosity and surrender and that is the holy work of life with Christ at the helm. That is the hard labour of fighting for Joy in a broken world.

We all want to walk on water but once you get out of the boat you will be in the deep end.  So get ready to swim hard and when you get tired, when you think your about to sink that is when the Joy is found in the suffering.   That is when we have that outstretched, grasped hand, moment, in the mists of the waves.  That is when suffering meets spiritual growth and when the gospel is received and fulfilled.

We are to stand firm and remember that when trials come its not about focusing on the “unfair” but about the growing of our relationship with Christ and others.

In the passage above it seems like James is talking to the haughty and the prideful and giving them a reality check.  Like a sneak peek down the path of pride, and it isn’t pretty.  But in reality it is a message to us all.  We are all self centred and in need of a good dose of humility.  I get entitled and impatient, I hate to show my weakness and only like to pose for those to see my good side.  I am the Prideful and it gives me plenty to suffer over and grow from.

Don’t be blind to your own potential for struggle and suffering. To assume that life is just going to be a breeze will only set you up for disappointment.  But seek wisdom and ask God for it.  He is on our side for His glory.  Don’t forget that God is good in the mists of your struggle.

James hammers home the words “Trials” “Perseverance” and “Gives Birth”.  He is urging us towards wisdom and patience and focus in our struggle, not on our struggle.  Just like a woman growing a baby for 9 months, you know its hard work and we know you need to tell us all about it.  But weather you loved pregnancy or you hated it, no one stays pregnant forever.  Perseverance will give birth or your trial will take over.

Dont sink into your trial or it will rob you of the wisdom gained in the journey.  James is encouraging us to keep our eyes on Christ, so when the day of trial comes we will be fixed on the One with the answers.

Just like the wonder of nature follows the plow, also the promised Joy is found, after the struggle. We can see it in the reflection of His perfect prevision, as we recognize our deep need for our saviour, and His deep love for His Children.

 

 

 

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James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing when we Hear and Do

James 1:19-27

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

What isn’t covered?  Choices about self-control, behaviour, influence and action.  Meditation and study, practice what we preach.  James is laying the foundation brick by brick.

Therefor, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Like when I hear good teaching and think “So-and-so needs to hear this.”  My heart is not humble but I am tangled up with sin and evil and missing that conviction is for me, in  my heart.

Matthew 7:3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

The word is planted in ME and so I must overflow with listening, decrement, self control and long-suffering.  Dedicated to understanding so I can control my tongue and fulfill my calling.  This is how we can withstand the temptations of the world.

This is when we hear and we do, and the gospel is fulfilled, when we walk our talk.  We flourish when we find ourselves prepared for obedience to the love of Christ growing in our hearts.  Joy overflows as we consider others worth serving with the word of God.

The book of JAMES & the path to Joy and all Flourishing

I hope you are ready to join me for the next 14 weeks to take a closer look at the book of James.  I would love for you to share with me what the Lord is revealing to you through this book.  The book of James is all about a call to know Christ and have Him direct your life.  It is a call into the deep end of the pool.  So lets get or feet wet!

James 1:1                                                                                                                                        James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the 12 tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.

James is a little book in the New Testament that is packed full with goodness and wisdom. As I have studied and prayed and read and listened to others process through this convicting book, my heart has been moved.  Moved and broken and lifted up to renew my love for Christ and my love of His children.

It was written by James, the little brother of Jesus.  James was a relatively new convert but a long time observer of Jesus work and life.  It was written as a letter to the new emerging church, it is a recap of Jesus teaching. I believe it was meant to be an encouragement to Christians who were being prosecuted after Christ was crucified and ascended back to heaven.  It was a call to Keep the Faith and Stay Faithful to the Work of Jesus Ministry.

In the next weeks I will be breaking this book into smaller sections and looking at them much more specifically.  But first I encourage you to read the book of James right through, and see what pops out to you.  What words or themes stand out?  What makes you stop as you read and need to go back and re-read a little slower?

Humility;  That was the theme the Lord worked into my heart as I read through this book, just about a year ago.  I had a close friend who was studying through it with me and we just read it and met for our first session.  It has been a year and we are coming to a close on James.  But I feel a new chapter has been opened in my life.

A chapter leading me to pursue Humility and Grace and Understanding and how important and God is to our everyday lives.  How in my home and in my truck and with my kids, when I’m reading stories and going for walks.  When I lay with Jan and as I serve at church or just washing the dishes.  Theology is very important and it is for me and you and everyone.  Its not reserved for the preachers and the bible school students.  It is about Christ and its to remind us that He is the whole point and we are to grow in humility.  Less of me, More of Christ, again and again this was whispered into my heart.

As I root myself in the word and as I die to self, I will be drawn into the richness of life.  The life I was meant for, the person I am because of the image I was formed in, for such a time as this.

James is hopeful with promise and exhausting with the weight of death to self.  As we surrender,  Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit can fill us with Love and Longevity.  The message of James is the light at the end of the tunnel.  The light that chases away the darkness of self-centred living and places our feet on the perfect balance of Christ-centered loving.

This Is James.

 

If you are looking for resources to look deeper into James I have created an Inductive Word Study-cheat sheet, called Rooted in the Word.  Click on the link below to access it.

Rooted in the Word

Book review: Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace By. Sarah Mackenzie

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What an encouraging read! A weight has been lifted, Sarah reminds us that Gods has got this.  He has prevision even for my little home-school.  She wrights with grace and humility and gentle words, that we are not what is going to determine our children destiny.  That is Christ and we are to simply bring our gifts of love and offerings of time.  God will fill the gaps so we can stop stressing about or failings and get to the fun of teaching with peace and prayer in our hearts.

If you are normal, and worry if you have anouf to fulfill this huge task of schooling from home, then you must read this book.  I feel 10 pounds lighter having been reminded to leave my expectations at the foot of the greatest teacher of all time.  I am reminded that He loves my kids even more them I do.  So in the spaces that I struggle to fill, He is there with prevision and love and I am not alone.

This task of homeschooling is not mine alone but Christ has given me all I need and He will do the rest.

Teaching From Rest is a short book packed with so much encouragement right from the life of Christ.  Pick up a copy and read it before you lose one more night of sleep over all the things that steal your rest.  You will be blessed and so will your kiddies!

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Also Check out Sarah Mackenzie’s Blog and Join the Read-Aloud-Revival.  You will find lots of great encouragement and ideas to add to your homeschool! https://amongstlovelythings.com

The night we fought about Chicken-Tractor, Fung-sway

Communication….  Its hard.  With all this texting and tweeting you would think talking might come smoothly and naturally.  But nope.  And don’t try to pretend like you are such a expert.  We all want to be heard but the listening is the part that hooks us.

We work at it, read a book, implement some practices.  We all have the best intentions, so don’t be discouraged and give up.  Its just we struggle, Im not alone and neither are you.

But really, that my be the lesson in itself.  Its really not about me and truth be told, its not about you either.  All the conversations we are having out loud and in our heads don’t serve us much if they don’t either, honour the King or proclaimed His glory.

So the Trucker decided we should get some chickens and left me in charge of the rest.  I wanted to brain storm and plan out or little Hen Hostile together, but we just couldn’t seem to connect on the topic so with a will and a way I pushed forward and ran his toes right over with my Chicken tractor….  All for the lack of listening and articulating.

And how may others have been mowed down at the cost of productivity?  In our Churches and in our Schools.  We decide and we do.  We take over and sacrifice team work and delegating, just to save the meeting and the talking.  But how can we ever be known?  How will we ever know the Father if we can’t stop and sit at His feet and do our half of the communicating?

But that takes faith to be ready to obey.  Sometimes we only want marching orders, but not all the steps we are to take along the way.  I know its true for me.  I put off prayer till Im ready to surrender and then Ill bring it to the Lord.  But that will never stretch my faith, I will never grow that way.  It is the process of figuring out the procedure that propels us forward and into faithfulness.  When we are willing to obey we are willing to communicate.  When we are ready to admit “Its not my will, but Yours” That is when we Talk our Walk.  

Because sometimes the walking is the easy part, everyone can fake a good walk but to surrender our stillness, is the practice of patience and perseverance.  Some times I confuse Busyness with Holiness and I forget to stop and Pray.

I sacrificed doing life together for the sake of getting the work done and I had to repent over a Chicken Tractor.  What a stilly thing to have lost patience on. Here in my wanting to have it done and over and my way, I missed a chance to create and build and grow and dream with the one who I Love.

How much more do we miss our chance to operated with the Lover of our Souls when we don’t stop and pray.  When we miss what is truly important.  When we Martha our way right out of communion with Christ.

Stop and Slow and Savour and let the words sink in.  Some times marriage looks like staying in a hard conversation, 2 hours after the conversation has started.  Communication isn’t easy, that we know, but if I listen twice as much as I talk. If we take the time to allow our words to sink in and give grace and creativity a chance to grow.  We will Grow to.

Patience is tied to good communication and good communication always comes from a heart that is humble and ready to serve and sacrifice.  When we are truly ready to communicate we are truly ready to compromise.  That is the place were conflict flees.  That is the language of Love, living out Faithfulness to give Flourishing.  That is a conversation that Honours God.

 

Look In

I have been seeking and searching, pruning and purging.  Trying to skinny down the “must do’s” so I can fully focused on the one thing that is most important, today and every day.  Serving where the Lore has placed me.

My vision has been some what scattered.  My community, my church, neighbours, family, friends.  I feel like my heart is breaking in every direction and I can’t possibly be in service to all at once.  I feel inspired, overwhelmed, torn and then defeated.  And each time I pray the Lord say “Look In”

“Look in to your home, Jenny.  That is the greatest task I will ever give you, and you are being romanced by the dream of ministry….  Is not your family ministry anouf?” 

We all know it is but the needs of the many seem to outweigh the needs of the few in my mind.  So I commit to this, and volunteer for that.  I will just serve at this function and bring a meal every time there is call to help.  I think if they are all good things then I must be doing well to never say no.  I love to be creative and serve.  But at what cost?

This is not my encouragement to step back and do nothing.  It is my commitment to step up and do the right thing.  

1  pray pray pray and listen listen listen.  Not if I should serve…  I don’t need to ask God if He wants me to teach Sunday school or bring food to those in need.  Its a no brainer, YES!  But that doesn’t mean I must do it all, every time.  I must Pray and ask “will this yes make my number one task you are calling me to (my kids and husband) be neglected or dishonoured?”  My priorities must be prayed over.  There will be time I can serve and still be fully present to my family, so go serve. But there are times I go way over my capabilities and my kids get my leftovers and the trucker is neglected. So those are the time I must say no.

2 be okay with God filling the gap.  Because He can!  He has not called me to success and productivity, He has called me to rest in Him.  He has not asked me to feed the 5,000, He only asked for my 5 loves and 2 fish, and He provides the rest.  I can server faithfully and wholeheartedly when I remember that the success or failure of any ministry is not dependant on me getting it all done or figured out.  The gospel will move forward with or without me.  I am only invited to ride along, with my meagre offering, to join in the adventure when my kids allow and my husband is on board.

3 stop stressing about it.  God has made His will clear.  Go and make disciples of all nations. A wise friend recently told me, as we were talking about programs to get our kids involved in.  Sports, music, sunday school, day camp, VBS, homeschool Co-op, swimming lessons, the list goes on and we as moms antagonize, about what to do, what not to do.  She reminded me that all theses things are good things.  They all get a easy Yes!  But you can’t say yes to them all at once.  Likewise I can’t serve on the Church committee, plan events, volunteer at the ski club, lead a bible study, teach Sunday school, run wilderness play group and still expect to have relationships that foster flourishing and love with my family, let alone have any friends.

4 be nice… What is the easiest way to fulfill the great commission?  Love your neighbour as yourself.  What if we were just all in the zone of caring for our families and being nice to our neighbours, to our friends.  What if my Faith was make by kindness and generosity and not with productivity?

Now Im not picking those of you out there managing the non-profit or running the car-pool.  I don’t aim to live isolated and saying no to every service opportunity that comes my way.  But I do intent for my yes to be my yes and my no my no.

If my family ends up with the leftovers then I am out of my depth and that is the space where Jesus has prevision for my limitations.  If I can include my kids (not just drag them along) if it doen’t suck every hour out of my evening when, I could be culitavating my friendship and love with my husband. Then count me in!  But when it stretching me so thin you can see right through me, its time to step back.

As I have been more consistent about praying over my limitation before I commit. I see I have begun to commit to much less. But my family and I flourish much more.  My kids get my best offering and my husband doen’t watch me struggle to juggle and balance.  We have more energy as a family to just be nice and kind and generous.  The Gospel is still fufilled but Im not pretending Im responsible for the feast.  I just offer my loves and fishes and God dose the rest.

The Lord has called me to look in.  To look into my own home and see my children as worthy converts, to be witness to the love of Christ in mommy.  To look into my friend group and community and see where I really could serve from my heart and from my home.

Each day I walk out to the pasture to feed the calves and I look into our yard and I thank God He has asked me to “Look in” and has given me a congregation of family and friends to minister to, with my Husband and my kids.

Don’t feel Im telling you to quit what the Lord has in your heart just because it takes you away form your kitchen sink and own back your.  We are all called differently and in accordance to our gifting and abilities.  Serve with all your heart where ever you are.  But if your heart is being tugged, just as mine was, to “Look In”. Don’t be afraid to make a change and pray pray pray for His leading.  You will always be in ministry as long as you are nice and marked with the Love of Christ flowing out on those in your path.

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Book Review: Loving the Little Years by. Rachel Jankovic

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This is the perfect gift for any mom with littles at home!!  It is super short, so if you are a mom with kiddies running underfoot, there is a real chance you might actually get through it.  More a collection short essays, each chapter was packed full of tips, tricks and wise Godly encouragement for moms in the trenches!

I just finished it and have already tried out a few of her ideas and can see my kids responding to the conversation we are having around the topics of discipline, kindness, and controlling our emotions.  I plan to read it again right away. Thats how much great information was packing in this perfectly concise book for moms like you and me!

If you are a mom of littles or if you know a mom buy this book. It is a game changer!!  She is real about the struggle but firm about the rooting in faith it requires to do this mom thing with grace and calm.  I felt like the whole vibe of the book was a deep cleansing breath and my mind is more clear to deal with the sour cream that secretly got dipped into in the fridge door, or the planters that seem to keep up rooting themselves.

Whether is a sibling squabble, or my own ridiculous expectations of myself. Rachel has a wise word of calm, to move past each little rain shower, so you don’t get left standing out in a thunder storm.  She knows how you feel, right around 4:40 when your trying to get dinner on the go, your pre schooler wants to take on a complex art project and the baby is boy-cotting wearing a diaper.  This stuff works and Rachel has your back!

Book Review: Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

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Amazing!!!  Will read it again for sure.  Or I should clarify; listen to it again.

This book spoke my heart and soul, and everything I long to offer my children.  It took me back to my own childhood and my dad first fostering that relationship with the forest near our house.  He would take my brother and I on magical outings to adventure playgrounds and picking berries on the edges of farmers fields.  We would fill buckets and our bellies and mom would bake pies from our spoils!

We would walk along the Fraser River and throw handfuls of tiny rocks, for what felt like hours. Mesmerized by the sparkle it would make on the water.  I was given great freedom to ride my horse up behind our hobby farm where I would often see black bears and deer.  I had a view of the whole valley and could watch summer storms coming from miles away.

The little girl down the road and I spent hours “down the gully” at the end out our country road.  Clambering down the sandy banks into a whole different world of sun filter light, streaming through the trees. We would carry our shoes and cross the creek till we found our latest hid out and would build forts and have hours of unsupervised play wile we swatted bugs and collected rocks.  Later in life we would be each others back packing partners as we hiked the “West Coast Trail” and even up to Alaska to climb the “Golden Staircase”.

My work has taken me into some wild mountains and my farming roots have kept me close to the Land and the Dirt we have come from.

Who would I be without my connection to Nature and the Creator who has meant for me to dwell within it?

Richard Louv, (though not speaking from a Specifically Christian Perspective) Is asking that very question.

“What will happen to future generations and to the environment if we as parents fail to foster a love for the natural world in our Childerns hearts and minds?”

Time in nature is deeply important to Child development and Richard give essay upon essay as to how and why we need to be allowing our children to explore, experience, touch, see, smell, and play in nature.

I Love this book!!! I would recommend it to anyone looking for encouragement to get their kids out in nature. Or if you are looking for some practical advice on how to do that, in our ever changing world, where cation is king.  It affirms everything I was already feeling in my heart.  I purchased it on audio and would suggest that, as some portions were slightly dry.  (only because they didn’t really address the life stage I am in currently)  But still beneficial to listen to wile I cooked supper or washed the floors.

Seriously get this book and get your kids outside!! They will push their own limits and lear there own capabilitite and limitation.  It will stimulate their senses and help them to understand their value as a first fruit of Gods creation.

To be Spiritual is to be Amazed, and to be in Nature is amazing.  I always feel close to my Creator when I connect with His creation and it is my prayer that I will be able to offer that same opportunity to my children as well. This book gave me great advice, as to how I can put this dream into action!

Full Stop

We took a spring camping trip for Easter Week this April.  Up to a hot spring and Provincial Park, just south of the Yukon Border.  There is no cell service, no corner store, no mini golf, nothing you don’t bring with you.  Just the hot springs a little play ground for the kids and Gods vast wilderness.

Lately I have heard of the idea of a “Full Stop”.  Just putting down what is overwhelming you and taking a step back for a moment, a hour, a day, even a season.  I hear of woman having a “Year-of-Nope” and, though I love the idea, I can’t see it working for me. But Full Stop, thats perfect.

Wether its simply ending a school lesson with my kiddos before the waterworks begin or  taking a year off a committee a minister or a commitment.  The Full Stop is what I need to practice.

Ecclesiastes 1:8-9                                                                                                                                                                      All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Now this is not a self care concept exclusively, though it may help avoid burn out or screaming at your kids and husband.

No this can have much deeper gospel implications.  You see when I allow myself to step away from whatever it is I am obsessing over, or anxiously trying to control or even just cope with.  I leave space for the Lord to fill the gap.  I relinquish control and I rest in Gods prevision.  Because the truth is there are tons of great things to say yes to.  But with every Yes there is a resounding NO somewhere in my life.

When I have blindly said yes and not fully come to a stop to reflected on my choices.  I miss the bigger picture and sometimes I have closed doors I haven’t even considered, because I can only walk through one at a time.

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My family and I were lucky anouf to take an extended Full Stop, away from any commitments or connectivity and I came home refreshed and refocused.  I felt the weight of the No I have been saying lift a bit. When I took a step back and rested and took the time to pray over Gods leading and My own longings and struggles. I heard His voice because space had been prepared, for Him to speak and for me to simply be still.  So for now, I am newly resolved to listen to Gods leading, and stay focused on the Yes He is calling me to.

Also I am reassured that what has been, will be again.  What I mean to say is, just because you say no to a opportunity today doesn’t mean you will never have that chance again.  Good things don’t just come around once if they are your calling.  It may take a wile but God is always wooing us into His grand plan, to redeem His children back to Himself.  He will always have a role for you to play and a mission for you to sink into when the time is right.  But until that time is here, I am practicing prudence and choosing  my Yes more wisely.  This is the only chance we get at today and tomorrow will have many opportunities of its own.

So Fully Stop and rest in Gods goodness and generosity.  Wile you take a break He will hold down the fort, and give you room to lean in and hear His calling afresh.

Proverbs 8:12                                                                                                                                                          I wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

Have Faith, But be Faithful

I first learned about “Girl Power” when I was 3 years old.  My earliest memory was standing on the pier in Vancouver waving by-by to Daddy wile he rode away on a B.C. Ferry to the Island for what would be his last stay at Rehab.  He had a drinking and anger problem, and he loved my mom and us kids furosicousialy, so he was dealing with his issues.  My dad has been clean and sober for coming on 30 years.  He is a great dad and always has been.  But thats not the point of this story.

I still remember the feeling of confusion, “where is daddy going?” I remember wondering if he was coming back, and I will never forget how my mom stood looking out to sea wile her hair was teased by the ocean breeze.  The sun was setting pink and orange and she was beautiful, she looked like she could carry the world.  I didn’t know if we would see daddy again but I knew as long as we still had mom everything was going to be ok.

That was the moment I first saw Girl Power.  And my admiration for strong woman grew. Dads faviriot catch phrase was, “I like my tea weak and my women strong.”  I fell in love with Ma Ingauls from “Little House on the Prairie” and Michaela Quinn from “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman”  I wanted to be like them, strong, lovely, gracious and wise.  I wanted to have a voice and help the marginalized, I was going to make a difference.  My father encouraged me to be who I wanted to be, the concept of blue and pink jobs never entered my mind.  My mom was a leader in church with children ministry and contributed in spiritual conversations.  My value as a woman and my value in Christ was never questioned.  I was a image bearer and equal partner in the Great Commission.

When I graduated and left home, everything changed.

I was introduced to a extremely chauvinistic work environment and what you might call old school church structures.  I learned that I was just a little girl in a mans world and I didn’t have a voice or a opinion or equal opportunities.

Men with authority, in both the church and the work place spoke opinions and partial truth into my theology and by the time I had absorbed the teaching and terrible advice I had lost my holding to the Love of a Heavenly Father and was surrendered to a Dictating Man upstairs who taught Church was for men and if I wanted to participate there were always undesirable jobs for woman to do.

My Faith was solid, but my theology was flawed and far from functional.

But thats not the point of this story either.  It is to say for too many years I have struggled with certain teachings about woman and our place in the church.  I have not questioned the truth of the words.  But rather the Love behind them seemed like limitations on my service oppoturinities.  And I am not going to say more then that because in recent years I have plainly just gotten tired of the same old conversations and refuse to have them anymore.  I believe all scripture is God breathed and for our benefit and I will leave it there.  So here is the point to all this.

Recentally I felt compelled to pray into this area of unrest in my heart and the Lord convicted me deeply,

Our conversation went a little like this…

God: You say you believe woman can’t be elders or pastors but you don’t accept that this is a direction of Love…

Jen: Because I don’t understand how it is Loving?  Im my knowledge of you I know you do all things out of Love but I just fail to recognize the Love in this one….

God: You would see it if you did these jobs.  You just have to trust Me.  You don’t have to justify it, just to accept it graciously.

Jen: You know I don’t want to struggle with this concept.  I don’t go looking for things to dought….

God: But you know the world is always going to encourage your worldly reactions and perspectives…

Jen: But faith is complicated.  How could we ever expect anyone to become a Christian if the answer is “You will never fully understand…”  “Just have faith….”

God: But faith is the whole point Jenny.  If you had nothing to exercise your faith on in the easy times, what would give you any hope in the hard times?  Knowledge doesn’t convict a heart to trust when it is scared.  Having exercised faith is how you will know to remain in my prevision when things get rough.  This is how I teach you to trust My Good will.

Jen: I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way…

You see I have missed the blessing of Christ growing my faith for all these years.  I had all the experiences to resent the teaching of truth and love in regards to those 2 little limitations in Church Structure.  But I also had all the resolve to accept what the Bible tells us is pure truth.  But I have wrestled with this teaching for many years, and defeated, I accepted the Doctrine but not recognized the Love in my impression of what I saw as a Limitation.

It really wasn’t about woman and church and that Law…  It was about my willingness to have Faith and Obey when I didn’t like the taste in my mouth.

And how helpful has that been over the years!  In my marriage, the trucker and I love each other deeply,  but we are both still self centred and flawed.  I have practiced my resolve to honour my heavenly Father so therefore, I had a idea how to honer my husband even when its hard.  When the Lord has asked hard things of me, like no more babies, or embracing hard friendships and letting others go.  Moving north or selling our home to buy land and be homeless with winter coming on….  I can step out with action because God has given me practice is walking around in the dark parts of faith.  The places you know you are meant to dwell but you can’t nessarially see the the whole path ahead.

With time spent exercising obedience and faith, in the face of little understanding you can trust even the scariest situation.  No, I am not overly brave and I still struggle, but I was encouraged at the promise of God leaning in and building my faith all these years.  My head was in the right place but my heart just couldn’t reconcile.  And now to look back and simply see the truth never change but I did and God never withheld His love and guiding hand,  I just needed to wrestle through long enough to see it.

This is a celebration of Gods goodness to the faithful.

Be strong and courageous do not be afraid!  The Lord your God is with you and He is growing you and you will see the fruits if you can just stay in the fight!