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My Life As It Relates to Humpty Dumpty

Today, I am re-posting a blog that I wrote a few years ago.  While the circumstances of my life are different now then they were when I first wrote this, the truth remains – Jesus never lets us go and He is all that we need.  And He is always inviting us to draw near to Him.  I pray that wherever you are today, you will hear His voice calling you just as you are: broken and weary, content or full of joy.  His arms are open wide and His plans and purposes are for our good and His glory.  And there is always beauty to be found.  Even in our brokenness.

humpty-dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the kings men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

I lived a lot of years like Humpty. Broken and miserable, desperately hoping that someone could put me back together again.  

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the Cinderella life I was going to have. I used to watch those Hallmark type movies and I would literally fantasize about how I was going to meet a boy, we would get married, have 4 kids, live in a beautiful house, and live happily ever after. I put everything into making sure that dream came true. In college, I found “my prince” and had the perfect beautiful wedding (complete with a Cinderella dress). We started our lives together, and a couple of years later had a beautiful baby boy.  I was a wife and a mom!!! It was what I always wanted. During that time, I also developed some really amazing friendships with other young mothers. We would meet weekly for play dates (really more for us, not the kids!). Everything was turning out just as I had planned. Or so I thought.

As the months and years passed, I was completely disillusioned. I had everything I thought I ever wanted, but felt empty. I had a relationship with God and would have some times of deep connection with Him, but in general, it seemed shallow and lifeless. From the outside, my life looked great and people even commented on how I had everything together so perfectly. But I knew deep down in my heart that something was terribly wrong.

So, like Humpty, I looked to everyone around me to fix me. I thought that my husband, my friends, my family, my job, etc. would be able to give me what I needed to make me whole, to put me back together again. I poured everything into those relationships. When that didn’t work, I decided I needed to fix them. I began thinking that if, for example, my husband would just change a certain behavior or habit then everything would be just fine. Or if my kids would just start acting better, everything would be okay.

Nothing was working. I was desperate. I was sad, miserable, discontent, and exhausted.

Shortly after my fourth child was born, she was hospitalized with viral meningitis. As I sat in her hospital room, scared and unsure of what was going to happen, I knew I desperately needed more of God. This was my prayer:

“God, I just want to know You more. I feel like I’m missing something and not seeing you as You really are.

Whatever it takes I just want to really know You.

God heard my cry and He answered my prayer. And not at all like I expected. My world seemed to be falling a part around me.

  • A tremendously difficult season in my marriage

  • Major financial stress

  • A disappointing and scary diagnosis with one of my children

  • Strain and distance in some of my most important relationships

My world was spinning.  And in the midst of my pain, fear, and sadness, I did not remember the prayer I had prayed just a short year before. Instead, all I could see was the pain. So I was crying out to God and begging Him, “Please rescue me from this difficult place. My heart is broken and I am hurting. I feel like I can’t breathe. The pain, confusion, and uncertaintly is too much to bear.”

And then I heard Him …

Carrie, don’t you see, I am making you more like me. You told me months ago that you wanted to know me more. I know that you are hurting. I know that you are in pain. I know that it all seems like too much right now. But I am at work. I am reviving you. I am breathing My life into you.

I am molding you and shaping you. I will make you whole again.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,  “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.  But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:1-4). 

I had a great plan for my life that I was never in control of to begin with. And the more it played out, the more I realized it wasn’t working out the way I had hoped and planned. And the more the more I became aware of that realization, the more I tried to fix the problem or looked to someone else to fix me. “But all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

In His infinite mercy, grace, and love, God began stripping from my life all of the things that I turned to instead of Him. All of the things that were more important to Him. The things I worshipped. The things that, while good and precious by themselves, I had abused and placed above God. He began to reveal to me that my husband, my marriage, my family, my friends were idols in my life. I had placed most of my value, worth, and security in them. I had this little shelf in my heart with all these idols on it. God was even one of them. I was looking to them to do for me what they were never meant to do. I knew I was broken and I thought they could meet all of my deepest desires, wants, and needs.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light my strength my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace

When fears are stilled when strivings cease

My Comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand

Only Jesus can put me back together again. He alone can meet my deepest needs. He alone can give me the love that I so desperately need and desire. He alone gives peace in the midst of chaos. He alone brings joy amidst the pain.

In this realization, life has not gotten easy. In fact, it’s still quite hard. But in the midst of the difficulty, there is an overwhelming peace in the realization that Jesus is my Cornerstone. I have fallen in love with Him and He is showing me that He is all I need.

Recently I read this prayer on a blog. “God, please don’t take me from this place.  Don’t take me from this unstable place that provides such sweet, stable communion with You (from goodmorninggirls.org).” Though not always easy, I am experiencing a fellowship with God that I never had before. He is taking me from a cognitive knowledge of Him to a real, experiential relationship with the Jesus.

In Psalm 23, God’s Word says that He chases after us with His love all of the days of our lives. He never lets go of His children (Hebrews 13:5-6, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:1-9). He is always molding and shaping us. In the NLT version of Jeremiah 18, it says, “the vessel He was making was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so He CRUSHED it into a lump of clay and started over again.”

That crushing can be so difficult, painful, and never ending. AND the truth is, if God is always molding me and shaping me, then His hands are always on me. He is always with me. He is working in my life for my good and for His glory.

So, I’ve said goodbye to the Cinderella dream of a perfect, “happily ever after” kinda life. I am beginning to recognize that it’s in surrendering to the process, to the great work of the Potter, that I find the peace, joy, and stability that I was looking for for years in all of the wrong places.

As Katie Davis says in her book, Kisses from Katie, “Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it and put it back together more beautifully. I am in love with Him. Period.”

I still recognize that, like Humpty, I’m broken and desperate. BUT GOD. He is writing my story. He shattered my dreams, and He is putting my life back together the way He sees fit. He is making me whole again. 

Anchored in Christ,

Carrie

** I am SO excited to invite you to join us as we dive into the Psalms through an amazing Bible study, Beauty and Brokenness, created by our Called by Such a Time team.  Focusing on the truths found in Psalms 27, 30, and 51, we get to see the beauty of who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing for us and in us even in the midst of our messy lives, pain, and brokenness.  He is offering each of us the healing, wholeness, grace, freedom and joy that we so desperately need.  I hope that you will consider joining us on this journey!  There will be several groups meeting in the Columbia area and an online interactive group as well.  You can find out more by visiting http://beautyinbrokenness.com/.

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My Life as it Relates to Humpty Dumpty

humpty-dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the kings horses and all the kings men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again

I lived a lot of years like Humpty. Broken and miserable, desperately hoping that someone could put me back together again.  

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of the Cinderella life I was going to have. I used to watch those Hallmark type movies and I would literally fantasize about how I was going to meet a boy, we would get married, have 4 kids, live in a beautiful house, and live happily ever after. I put everything into making sure that dream came true. In college, I found “my prince” and had the perfect beautiful wedding (complete with a Cinderella dress). We started our lives together, and a couple of years later had a beautiful baby boy.  I was a wife and a mom!!! It was what I always wanted. During that time, I also developed some really amazing friendships with other young mothers. We would meet weekly for play dates (really more for us, not the kids!). Everything was turning out just as I had planned. Or so I thought.

As the months and years passed, I was completely disillusioned. I had everything I thought I ever wanted, but felt empty. I had a relationship with God and would have some times of deep connection with Him, but in general, it seemed shallow and lifeless. From the outside, my life looked great and people even commented on how I had everything together so perfectly. But I knew deep down in my heart that something was terribly wrong.

So, like Humpty, I looked to everyone around me to fix me. I thought that my husband, my friends, my family, my job, etc. would be able to give me what I needed to make me whole, to put me back together again. I poured everything into those relationships. When that didn’t work, I decided I needed to fix them. I began thinking that if, for example, my husband would just change a certain behavior or habit then everything would be just fine. Or if my kids would just start acting better, everything would be okay.

Nothing was working. I was desperate. I was sad, miserable, discontent, and exhausted.

Shortly after my fourth child was born, she was hospitalized with viral meningitis. As I sat in her hospital room, scared and unsure of what was going to happen, I knew I desperately needed more of God. This was my prayer:

“God, I just want to know You more. I feel like I’m missing something and not seeing you as You really are.

Whatever it takes I just want to really know You.

God heard my cry and He answered my prayer. And not at all like I expected. My world seemed to be falling a part around me.

    • A tremendously difficult season in my marriage

    • Major financial stress

    • A disappointing and scary diagnosis with one of my children

    • Strain and distance in some of my most important relationships

My world was spinning.  And in the midst of my pain, fear, and sadness, I did not remember the prayer I had prayed just a short year before. Instead, all I could see was the pain. So I was crying out to God and begging Him, “Please rescue me from this difficult place. My heart is broken and I am hurting. I feel like I can’t breathe. The pain, confusion, and uncertaintly is too much to bear.”

And then I heard Him …

Carrie, don’t you see, I am making you more like me. You told me months ago that you wanted to know me more. I know that you are hurting. I know that you are in pain. I know that it all seems like too much right now. But I am at work. I am reviving you. I am breathing My life into you.

I am molding you and shaping you. I will make you whole again.

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying,  “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel.  But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:1-4). 

I had a great plan for my life that I was never in control of to begin with. And the more it played out, the more I realized it wasn’t working out the way I had hoped and planned. And the more the more I became aware of that realization, the more I tried to fix the problem or looked to someone else to fix me. “But all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

In His infinite mercy, grace, and love, God began stripping from my life all of the things that I turned to instead of Him. All of the things that were more important to Him. The things I worshipped. The things that, while good and precious by themselves, I had abused and placed above God. He began to reveal to me that my husband, my marriage, my family, my friends were idols in my life. I had placed most of my value, worth, and security in them. I had this little shelf in my heart with all these idols on it. God was even one of them. I was looking to them to do for me what they were never meant to do. I knew I was broken and I thought they could meet all of my deepest desires, wants, and needs.

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light my strength my song

This Cornerstone, this solid ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace

When fears are stilled when strivings cease

My Comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand

Only Jesus can put me back together again. He alone can meet my deepest needs. He alone can give me the love that I so desperately need and desire. He alone gives peace in the midst of chaos. He alone brings joy amidst the pain.

In this realization, life has not gotten easy. In fact, it’s still quite hard. But in the midst of the difficulty, there is an overwhelming peace in the realization that Jesus is my Cornerstone. I have fallen in love with Him and He is showing me that He is all I need.

Recently I read this prayer on a blog. “God, please don’t take me from this place.  Don’t take me from this unstable place that provides such sweet, stable communion with You (from goodmorninggirls.org).” Though not always easy, I am experiencing a fellowship with God that I never had before. He is taking me from a cognitive knowledge of Him to a real, experiential relationship with the Jesus.

In Psalm 23, God’s Word says that He chases after us with His love all of the days of our lives. He never lets go of His children (Hebrews 13:5-6, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:1-9). He is always molding and shaping us. In the NLT version of Jeremiah 18, it says, “the vessel He was making was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so He CRUSHED it into a lump of clay and started over again.”

That crushing can be so difficult, painful, and never ending. AND the truth is, if God is always molding me and shaping me, then His hands are always on me. He is always with me. He is working in my life for my good and for His glory.

So, I’ve said goodbye to the Cinderella dream of a perfect, “happily ever after” kinda life. I am beginning to recognize that it’s in surrendering to the process, to the great work of the Potter, that I find the peace, joy, and stability that I was looking for for years in all of the wrong places.

As Katie Davis says in her book, Kisses from Katie, “Jesus wrecked my life, shattered it and put it back together more beautifully. I am in love with Him. Period.”

I still recognize that, like Humpty, I’m broken and desperate. BUT GOD. He is writing my story. He shattered my dreams, and He is putting my life back together the way He sees fit. He is making me whole again. 

 

Lovingly His,

Carrie

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10 Reflections on God’s Calling for Your Life (Part 2)

10 Reflections on God's calling for your life

Please read part 1 first (here)…

6. Your calling will not be written on a neon sign

Sorry. Ain’t gonna happen. Rather your calling will be revealed through God’s Word (gotta read it) and through the Holy Spirit (gotta pray). Christ is calling you to a relationship with himself, the living Word. That requires actively seeking him and purposefully coming before your Savior. The more you know Jesus, the more clear his calling on your life will become.

7. Your calling isn’t going to look the same as anyone else’s

SO STOP COMPARING! Even if you are both called to motherhood, start a blog, serve at a homeless shelter, teach Sunday School, adopt, or go to Africa- no two people will live out that calling exactly the same. God will use your unique talents, experiences, and strengths to accomplish his purposes in only a way YOU can.

8. In order to say “Yes” to God’s call, you will have to say “NO” to something else

We all have limited time and resources. You can’t do it all! Having a clear sense of God’s direction will help you prioritize. It will help you when the multiple opportunities come your way to say “Not right now.” It is very freeing actually. I used to struggle with feeling guilty when I couldn’t do something someone asked me to or serve in a certain ministry. I soon realized I couldn’t say yes to everyone.  This past year, I felt like God was actually calling me to step down from several ministries that I was in charge of to focus more on serving my husband and children. That was very hard for this type-A overachiever. But after the fact, it brought much freedom and peace, knowing where God wanted me to be.

Knowing my calling is to be like Jesus is freeing and has brought me great peace. For His yoke is easy and His burden light. Once I stopped trying to put on yokes He didn’t want me to carry, I could better carry the one He did.

9. Whatever God has called you to, He will equip you

Carrie wrote an excellent post on this topic (here), so I won’t go into too much detail other than to say: What God is calling you to do is probably overwhelming. You may be wondering how you are going to do it. THAT IS THE POINT! If you could do it in your own strength that would lead to pride and independence. Rather, when we get to the end of ourselves, God shows up. Our faith is increased as we see him work and realize WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! Your strength will fail you, but Christ’s never will.

10. Submitting to God’s will is always what’s best for you

So this probably seems like a no-brainer. Most Christians would say they totally believe this, but when the rubber meets the road, this is actually a hard pill to swallow.  Because if we are all really honest, we like to be in control. We think we know what is best for us. It is often whatever is easy, painless, and makes us happy. But God’s will is often something completely different that what we ever planned or imagined. Carrie shares about this realization in her own life (here).  The path may be hard and broken, but obedience will lead to joy. As it says in Deuteronomy 10:

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good.”

God’s commands, his will for your life, are FOR YOUR GOOD.

What is he calling you to do for such a time?

Julie

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A Different Kind of Valentine’s Day

 valentines-heart

I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with Valentine’s Day. I determined from an early age that this was one of the most important days of the year. As a little girl, I would dream about celebrating Valentine’s Day with a “love” and couldn’t wait for that day to come. As I got older, I valued myself and the success of the day based on whether or not I had a boyfriend with whom to celebrate. Many years passed and I was alone. I was sad, disappointed, and felt totally worthless. Not celebrating Valentine’s Day seemed a tragedy.

On the day I married my “Valentine,” I thought most assuredly that I would never again spend another Valentine’s Day alone, not celebrating the fantastically romantic day. Interestingly, my husbands perspective of this “holiday” was quite different than mine. His view: Valentine’s Day was created by Hallmark to fill the void between Christmas and Easter. He thought it to be a totally ridiculous and pointless day.

Needless to say, we bumped heads a little on this issue. From the day we married, I expected roses, cards, and romantic evenings to celebrate this glorious day. Year after year, that just didn’t happen. I threw numerous fits, shed many tears, and felt totally disappointed. Why didn’t my husband love me the way I wanted him to love me? Why didn’t he love me the way I loved him?

Clearly, the issues were much deeper than the lack of celebration of this day in February. I just couldn’t see that. I didn’t understand what in heaven’s name was wrong with my husband? Why wasn’t he being the loving, romantic, doting husband I had always dreamed about? The ones from the Hallmark movies?

As I’ve written before, (My Life as It Relates to Humpty Dumpty), these thoughts as well as many other frustrations began to well up inside of me. What was happening to my “happily ever after” that I thought I’d gotten on July 24, 1999 when I walked down the aisle with my husband??? I had everything I ever wanted, but days like Valentine’s Day were quite common. I was so disappointed with the way my life was turning out. I felt empty and in my heart I knew something was terribly wrong.

Through a series of events, God mercifully began to show me that I was more in love with the idea of being in love than I was with my husband. The concept of having the perfect husband, who would meet my every need, and having the perfect children, house, etc. had become my idol. I was looking to those things to give me the hope and joy that could only come from Christ.

they worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).

In the book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller, describes what an idol is. “It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” He goes on to say,

“Every human being must live for something. Something must capture our imaginations, our heart’s most fundamental allegiance and hope. But, the Bible tells us, without intervention of the Holy Spirit, that object will never be God himself. If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God Himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and break our hearts.”

Idols: They can be subtle and dangerous. They can be good things … that seize our time, hearts, and attention, maybe without us even realizing it. They are the things that become more important to us than God.

Children

Spouse

Job

A desire for something

Money

TV/Electronics/Video Games

Sex

A Position

Social Media

Desire for approval

Religion

Love

Success

Until God opened my eyes, I had no idea that I had elevated the God given gifts in my life to a position of idolatry. One day, as I spent time with Jesus, I was overwhelmed with grief for my misplaced affections and disordered attachments. In that moment I sensed God’s deep love for me. A love so great that He sent His only Son to save and redeem me.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us His children, and that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

As I think about just how much I love my children, I am in awe that God’s love for me is like that, but even more than I can imagine with my human mind and heart – His love is perfect, strong, and unconditional. It’s a love that delights in me, regardless of my failures and inadequacies. It’s a love that is never ending and never failing. It’s a love that chases me all the days of my life.

Last year, I began praying specifically for a greater awareness of God’s love for me. As I studied His Word and spent time in fellowship with Him, something amazing happened. TRANSFORMATION.

A Different Kind of Valentine’s Day

I spent years dreaming of the perfect Valentine’s Day. Why? Because Valentine’s Day is about love. And I desperately wanted to be loved. In realizing more and more God’s deep love for me, I am being changed from the inside out. I am falling more and more in love with Jesus. I am looking to Him to meet my deepest needs; to give me meaning, hope, and joy.

So, Valentine’s Day looks very different for me than it used to. First and foremost, it’s a day that I celebrate the love of God and my sweet and deepening relationship with Jesus.

We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

It’s this Truth that allows me to love my husband and children and the others with whom I am in relationship in a Christ-centered, God honoring way. I love them out of the overflow of what He has given me.

Though for me the concept has changed, I still love Valentine’s Day. This year, it’s filled with the hustle and bustle of the kids passing out Valentine’s cards, chocolate, and even a special date night with my sweet husband. But I’ve changed. I’m no longer desperate to be filled up with the things this day offers. Because my true love is Jesus Christ: the perfect source of all I need.

Lovingly His,

Carrie

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Happy New Year!

new year

From all of us at calledforsuchatime, we wish you a happy New Year! We look forward to posting new content on Monday. In the meantime…. here are some of our top posts from 2013! Thanks to all our loyal readers. We love you!!!

1. True Hospitality

2. Pain and the Sovereignty of God

3. Do You See What I See?

4. When the Call Isn’t Clear

5. Five Lies About Married Sex

6. 5 Thoughts For When Sadness Creeps in Your Life

7. My Orphan Heart

8. My Life as it Relates to Humpty Dumpty

9. Called Out of Fear

10. One Thing

 Philippians 3:12-14

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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1 Peter 3 ~ Submission

calledforsuchatime.com

Let’s be honest. There’s an elephant in the room. A controversial topic that can be really difficult to talk about. One that has spurred great debate for decades.

SUBMISSION

Ladies, I’ll be honest. This is a hard subject for me. It’s one that I have spent several years studying and about which I have sought God’s heart because, frankly, I have felt very confused about it at times. In my almost 16 years of marriage, I’ve read many books with views on submission from one extreme to the other. So what does God’s Word, particularly this passage in 1 Peter, say about submission? And what does that mean for me?

Submission is defined as “the act of accepting or yielding to the will or authority of another person.” Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to submit to God, each other, and to our spouses.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).

Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1).

In my experience, particularly as it relates to spouses, people tend to take one of three positions on the subject of submission: pretend it doesn’t exist, approach it extremely, or very passively.

Perhaps we become extreme or passive about submission and the verses which address this topic is because it’s easier to either ignore it or choose one side or the other rather than sitting in the tension of not fully understanding it. To understand it, to live it out the way that God has called us to do so, requires that we be deeply connected to God and His Word.

Submission is a place of vulnerability where we are asking God, “How do I submit to my husband in such a way that is honoring and representative of You and Your Word?”

How do I model submission in the way that Jesus did when He humbled Himself, took on flesh, and became obedient to the point of death on a cross?

Here’s the tricky thing. Submission to my husband, boss, or friend may look different than submission to your husband, boss, or friend. Submission requires that we press hard into Jesus and ask Him what to do and how to be submissive in each particular situation. As we seek Him and His will, He will show us. And what He says to you or to me may not be written in some book. It may not look exactly like your friend’s marriage, because your marriage and  your walk with God is unique.

Walking in submission means walking intimately with God.

It means listening to the voice of your Shepherd. It means crying out to Him and asking Him for wisdom and guidance. And it may mean doing something that you don’t want to do.

When Jesus was in the garden right before His death on the cross, He cried out to God. He begged Him that if it was at all possible, He would not have to endure the horrible death that faced Him. And yet He said, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).  Talk about intimacy! Perfect obedience. Beautiful submission. This is the example that Christ has set for us. Seeking God and being obedient to His will and His ways for our lives.

In my journey of learning how to submit, I am amazed to see that as I have surrendered to God’s leading in my life and in my relationships, letting go of control and following His will and His ways, He is doing great and amazing things. He has written my story and He is the only one who knows how I need to submit in each and every relationship in my life.

To be clear, GOD NEVER SPEAKS AGAINST HIS WORD!!! This is one of the reasons we so desperately need community! We need people in our lives to help point us back to the Word of God if we ever get off base in a direction that it seems we are being led. If you find yourself in this place where it seems that you have heard God tell you something that is directly against what His Word says, I highly encourage you to seek some strong, trusted, Biblical counsel before moving forward.

Just like the Law, I believe that submission was designed to point us to Christ. We are helpless to know how to be submissive on our own. Jesus is the perfect example of submission and shows us clearly how to have the attitude of Christ.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8)

LET US THEN

 “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Living a life of faith and trust is at the core of submission. And, ultimately, submission is about the attitude of our hearts.

Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

The point here, I believe, is that submission is not about outward appearance. It’s not about certain behavior. It is not a checklist of doing certain things in an attempt to be submissive. It’s about trusting in God. Submitting to Him. Asking Him, “Search me O God and know my heart! Try me and now my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me…” (Psalm 139:23-24). It’s about putting on love (Colossians 3:14) and pouring out this love on each other the same way that Christ has lavished His love and grace on us (Ephesians 1:8).

Some of you may be in relationships where that seems utterly impossible. I get it. And here’s what I know to be true. You cannot do it in your own strength. But God! He will mercifully and graciously empower you by His Spirit to submit and show love one to another.

“To sum up, all of you, be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).

This is the heart of it. God calls us to live in peace with one another as much as it depends on us (Romans 12:18), and to treat each other with kindness and respect and love, here’s the kicker, regardless of how they are treating us. SO THAT God is glorified. SO THAT when people look at our lives they see the power of Jesus Christ living in and through us. This is only possible when we set Jesus Christ apart in our hearts. When we know Him and are submitting to His will and His ways. Then, we “will be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks [us] to give an account for the hope that is in [us]…” (1 Peter 3:15).

Friend, I hope that by God’s power, you will see today that submission is not a scary, law-driven act. It is a beautiful invitation. Jesus is calling you to come to Him and seek His heart. To surrender to His will and His ways. And as you come to Him and He meets you there, you will find joy inexpressible, guidance, wisdom, mercy, and grace. I encourage you today not to get caught up in the do’s and don’ts of submission that may get stirred up in Scriptures like these. Press hard into Jesus and ask Him how He is calling you to be submissive in your relationships today.

Anchored in Christ,

Carrie

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Singleness

being single calledforsuchatime.com

There are a lot of people who say a lot of things about singleness.  So this is what I have to say about it.  From my experience, it’s been hard, fun, confusing, frustrating and scary.  Hard because there’s a deep unmet desire in me to spend the rest of my life with a man.  Fun because it can be a sweet season of self discovery and enjoying myself and God in ways I wouldn’t be able to with a mate.  Confusing because growing up, there were unspoken messages that I had to be content with my singleness in order to be gifted with a mate.  So then my struggle became a weird mind game with God where I told him I didn’t care about getting a husband so that He would give me a husband.  How strange to pretend I didn’t want something so that I would get it.  Yikes.  It doesn’t seem logical and it doesn’t necessarily line up with scripture in which God tells us he likes it when we ask for things we want/need.  Singleness is frustrating because there’s not a whole lot I can do about it and scary because what if I spend the rest of my life alone? Terrifying.

With all the differing emotions and complex struggles singleness has brought, there’s one aspect I want to camp out on.  The most helpful thing I have learned from my experience of being single is that I can be content in God and still want.  Just because I want something doesn’t mean I’m necessarily doing anything wrong.  It can be such a hard tension to live in.  I see girls and guys both beating themselves up for wanting something or for not being content in singleness because they want to be married.  It is almost as if we don’t like the feeling of pain or sadness or fear that singleness gives us so we blame ourselves.  I wonder if self blame is a way of feeling in control.  If we can blame ourselves for feeling something unpleasant, then we feel like we can do something about it.

Instead of trying to fix myself so I wouldn’t feel a certain way, I learned to lean into the feelings.  I tried to escape the feelings of disappointment by admitting I wasn’t satisfied in God in order to give me the illusion of control over my feelings. The scary thing is that as Christians we sometimes justify beating ourselves up by calling it humility and believing it to be the right thing to do.

As soon as I started to grieve the loss of something I didn’t have but deeply desired, I became more free from feeling stuck in my sadness.  Also it just freed me from the shame I was putting on myself that I shouldn’t want something.  Now I try to examine my self talk and make sure to validate myself, “it’s okay to want something and its okay to feel sad about not having it. AND God is still good to me.  He does know what he is doing and I still trust Him even though I am sad and still left wanting.”

Paige Benton Brown wrote an article called Singled Out By God For Good she says:

“I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me. It is a cosmic impossibility that anything could be better for me right now than being single.”

Culturally, we like to think of things being one way or the other.  Either I’m content, happy and trusting God or I’m sad, not being a good Christian by not trusting God.  I’m proposing that it’s both and we get to tend to our hearts with God’s voice of grace and love and compassion.  Have compassion and give yourself permission to be honest with yourself and with God.

One of my favorite books is called Celibate Sex by Abbie Smith.  Her book has been very helpful for me in my journey of being single.  I want to end with an excerpt from one of her chapters, “Involuntary Singleness,” She says:

A friend of mine relates singleness to disability.  If you’ve ever met secure physically disabled people, they will typically tell you that although their impairment wouldn’t have necessarily been their choice, it’s become an integral part of them and their story.  Many will actually say their disability has made them who they are.  Similarly, I believe that singleness, like any other “thorn in our flesh” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7), has the capacity to eat us alive or become a bridge for us to truly live alive.  We can drown our sorrows brought on by singleness, blaming and busying ourselves, acting out of its felt voids, or we can face the reality of this lot we’ve been dealt, including its pain and loneliness at times, and seek God in the midst.  If He’s really the Godhead, Savior, and friend He’s proclaimed himself, His sufficiencies will not fall short for a soul who is single.  You’re not going to die if you stay single, and I’m not going to live happily ever after if I get married.  Never having sex won’t kill us, and having sex every day from now till our graves won’t bring us to life.  Getting married will not cure loneliness, and neither will a commitment to celibacy.  Making love will not cure lust, and neither will masturbation.  A spouse will never fully satisfy desires for intimacy, nor will a solo existence permit ultimate ecstasy.  We were made for more.

Give yourself permission to want something you were created to want, AND hope in God’s goodness and unfailing faithfulness to bring about your ultimate good for His glory.

-Hannah

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