1.10.2017

A Gut-Honest Look at Love

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)

Today I’m feeling so challenged to look at love a little differently. Sometimes in the gut-honest quietness of my heart, I look at love through the eyes of what it will offer me.

I hold out the little cup of my heart to the people I love, “Will you fill my empty spaces? Today will you do that one really thoughtful thing and make me feel like I’m the most noticed and special woman in the world?”

Then I hold it out to my children, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you do something today that makes me look really good as a mom so I’ll feel a little more validated?”

Then I hold it out to my ministry, “Will you fill up my empty spaces? Will you provide something today that makes me feel more significant?”

Maybe today seems like an odd time to consider such things.

But as we start a new year I actually think today is the perfect time to hit the reset button on my sometimes frail heart. Love is a tricky thing. Our hearts were created to crave it. God proclaims that love is greater than hope and greater than faith.

Amazing.

God also proclaims that love never fails. And in the quietness of my heart that verse from 1 Corinthians 13 makes me squirm a bit. I see love failing all the time. Or do I?

If my only view of love is what it will give me, love from others will fail me every time. It’s not that love fails. It’s that other people were never meant to be my God. Even a wonderful family and a thriving ministry can never truly fill me up, right all my wrongs and soothe those deep insecurities.

No, I can’t read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 with eyes hungry to see what love should give me, and then demand it from those around me. I should read those steadfast Scriptures with the realization: This is the kind of love I can choose to give.

I can choose that my love will be patient. My love will be kind. My love won’t keep a record of wrongs. (Ouch — that’s a hard one, right?)

I can choose that my love will protect and persevere.

And I can choose to lay the cup of my heart at Jesus’ feet and stop twirling, twirling, twirling, hoping — no, demanding — that those around me do things for me they were never meant to do.

Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world. Love is what I have the opportunity to give.

Sweet friend… if you’re trying to figure out how to let God provide the love your heart is aching for, I want to invite you to check out my new Bible study, Finding I Am. With this study, you’ll learn to:

• Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment from knowing who Jesus is.
• Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
• Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.

On January 23, we’re starting a FREE online Bible study of Finding I Am through Proverbs 31 Ministries. And I want you to join in. To find out more information and to sign up, click here!

12.28.2016

Facing the Impossible

Whenever I’ve stepped out to do something I felt God calling me to do, the voices of criticism and condemnation have been there to greet me.

Early on in ministry the voices were loud and cruel: “You’ll never be a speaker.” “You are not wanted.” “Look at you. Do you really think God could use someone like you after what you’ve done?”

Sometimes I measured myself against other people. “She’s so clever. She’s so educated. She’s so connected. Who am I compared to all that?”

Gradually, I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right. Polished on the outside — yet completely undone on the inside.

Eventually the Lord called my bluff.

I was simultaneously going through the books Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. Often I would have tears stream from my eyes while attempting to get through the lessons. But one day, it was more than just tears. It was sobs pouring from a chest so heavy with burdens I thought I might literally break apart.

Down on my face, I asked God to speak to me. What I heard in reply was one simple yet life-changing question: “Will you share your story?”

“Yes, I will share my story. The good parts. The parts that are safe and tidy and acceptable.”

But safe and tidy and acceptable were not what God was looking for. He wanted the impossible.

Totally impossible.

Absolutely impossible … in my own strength.

But God wouldn’t drop it. He met every one of my arguments with Scriptures about relying not on my strength, but on His.

He untangled my need for approval with the challenge to live for an audience of One. He helped me see where the voices of doubt were coming from and challenged me to consider the source. And, quite simply, He kept whispering He loved me over and over again.

The first time I shared my story was nothing but an act of absolute obedience. I kept my head down and my guard up. I expected the ladies listening to all start stoning me … especially when I got to the part about my abortion. The shame of all the abuse and rejection was nothing compared to the shame of my choice to abort my child.

I’d wept over that choice.

I’d repented.

I’d gone to God hundreds of times and asked for forgiveness.

I’d laid it down every time there was an altar call.

But nothing brought the redemption that this day brought. As I stood shaking at that podium, I shared exactly what and how God asked me to share.

And then the miracle happened.

When I finished and dared to look up at their reactions, tearstained faces were looking back at me. Mouths were whispering, “Me too. Me too.”

In that moment, I finally understood the idea that “what Satan means for evil, God can use for good” like Genesis 50:20 tells us.

Seeing God use the very thing that made me feel utterly worthless to help others changed everything. I was finally breaking free from Satan’s chains of shame and could see his lies for what they were.

In that moment, I felt victorious — not in my own power, but in the Lord’s strength and ability to use all things for good. Without that decision of obedience, I would not have been able to see how God wanted to work in the lives of so many women that night.

This is our heart at Proverbs 31 Ministries — to help women dismantle the lies of the enemy with the truth of God so they can walk in freedom. Because when one woman finds freedom, she is able to help countless others discover freedom in Christ!

Will you prayerfully consider partnering with us? We want to continue providing free biblical resources like our daily devotions, First 5 app, online Bible studies, and more but we can’t do it without your help.

If Proverbs 31 Ministries has encouraged you and helped you hold God’s Truth closer, we invite you to join us in continuing to bring the Gospel to women all over the world! You can do this by contributing financially or through prayer. All donations go right back into the everyday operations and expansion efforts of the ministry. Click here to give to Proverbs 31 Ministries today!

12.25.2016

How To Really Adore Him This Christmas

Oh come let us adore Him.

ADORE.

Jesus, this is the cry of my soul: I want to adore You. This Christmas, my desire is to…

A– Accept You into that place of my heart grown distant and resistant.

D– Decide to reverse the script of old by saying: Yes, there is room for You here, Jesus. Move in. Change me. Rearrange me. Heal me.

O– Order my steps toward forgiveness and away from bitterness.

R– Renew the lovely and beautiful inside of me. Jesus, whisper reminders of life, humility, grace, gentleness, and the assurance of Your forever love.

E– Even when circumstances beg me to grow cold, Lord, help me keep the flame of my first love burning so brightly that people are forced to consider how real You are. And as they walk away from me might they dare think, Now there’s a girl who has spent some time with Jesus.

It’s been a year full of extreme highs and lows year for my family. So these reminders are good for my heart to soak in this Christmas. And I hope they speak to you too. I’m praying that you experience the love of Christ more than ever this season.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!