You are Worthy

I grew up feeling loved by my Dad, and worthless by my Mom. I became a perfectionist in an attempt to pull some sort of affirmation from my Mom. I lived to make her proud of me. Sadly, it has never come to fruition and all I got from it is frustration and anxiety. I’m old enough to not be a victim or play the blame game for any bad behavior I can exhibit time to time, but it still gets to me after all these years.

My Dad has shown me such unconditional love over the years. No matter how mad I would get at him when I was a young girl, or when my mouth gets ahead of me as an adult, he still loves me. Despite the love I received, and still do, there was always this nagging voice in my mind that told me I would never be good enough or worthy enough. That’s where my perfectionism is rooted. This determination to one day be told I did something worthy of a mother’s love was my focus even when it wasn’t my focus. I felt like I was able to overcome so much of this when I was a stay-at-home Mom for almost 12 years. It was challenging at times, but I loved so much of it and felt like I was a success. I love my sons fiercely and unconditionally. I am always proud of them and their accomplishments. I’m also proud of them when they try and fail, because at least they tried!

When I finished my degree and decided to go back to work, this is when I saw that perfectionism and frustration raise its ugly head once again. When I work so hard and years go by without promotion, it brings me right back to feeling like I’m worthless. Realistically, I know I am not and I know my boss doesn’t feel that way, but it’s rooted so deep inside of me, I struggle to get rid of it. How is it even possible to feel accomplished, confident, and find success, yet still struggle with not being good enough?

This brings me to a turning point for me that still brings me to tears. I was at a Women’s Conference this spring at my church. Going to things like these are so out of my comfort zone as I struggle big time with social anxiety and awkwardness. Anyway, my church always has gifts and giveaways for these meetings and they display these gifts at the front, on the stage. I don’t normally win things, but as I look upon this big vase sitting there shining so brightly, I felt like the Lord told me I was worthy of this vase. Not necessarily this vase, but the meaning behind it was what this vase represented. I was shook. This vase was the Grand Prize. I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt God speak those words to me. As I drove home for the lunch break, I began to tell my husband about this and the emotion of it all brought me to tears. God said I was worthy. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth said I am worthy. I could barely get these words out. This revelation was slowly pulling on that root of perfectionism and unworthiness that was instilled inside of me as a little girl. After lunch, I went back to the Women’s Conference and needless to say, I did not win the vase, but it was still such a good conference and I won that vase in my heart with those words God spoke to me.

Shortly after this conference was my Anniversary, and very unexpectedly my husband walks into my room with this Vase! I assumed he went out and found a duplicate vase like the one at the Conference, but as the tears streamed down my face, he told me how he reached out to one of our Pastors to find out where she got it. After he explained what the Lord spoke to me at the conference, she let him know who won it and the woman who actually won it was more than happy to give it to him so that I could have it. I was absolutely shocked!

This vase now sits on my dresser in my bedroom as a reminder that I am good enough. I am worthy of God’s love. I am worthy to be healed. I am worthy of promotion. I do work hard and I do believe effort is also necessary. You’re not going to give 50% of yourself at a job and expect to get promoted. Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, or my husband to love me, or my family etc. In the same way, you don’t have to be perfect to feel worthy of being loved and appreciated. Don’t allow anybody else’s insecurities to tell you different. Sometimes God uses things like vases to speak to you. Listen to Him and understand who you are in Christ. God did not create us to feel worthless. He created us to be loved and to love because we are worthy of love!

Oh Naked Girl…Part 2

I almost don’t even know where to begin here. I am in awe of what has happened in society. I have people who very strongly disagree with me about nudity and think I am either a major prude, or plain old fashioned. I have my opinion, and although I am not always right, (Which my husband will too quickly agree with!), I do believe that society needs to take a step back and decide what we truly want.

fashion-1031469__340Recently Kim Kardashian posted a nude selfie on her Instagram claiming that she ‘just had nothing to wear’! How is this even something we do without cringing?! When I have nothing to wear, I end up sitting on my closet floor crying with half my clothes surrounding me. The first thought that comes to my mind is not to take a naked picture of myself and post it on the internet! I do wonder how somebody with a closet the same size as some people’s houses can’t seem to find something to wear. I can at least find socks and underwear!! Feminism has become extraordinarily embarrassing to us ‘regular’ girls. Now, if you want to walk around your house naked and you feel great about it, go for it. I have nothing against things like that, but when you decide that being naked in front of others takes precedent over how they feel about you being naked, that is a problem.

Another problem that we have, is that we are living in an over-sexualized world. We complain about being our inability to breastfeed in public, but how can we be upset with those who are uncomfortable with it when society has taught us that seeing a partially or fully exposed breast on its own is more normal than seeing a baby nursing a breast? We have been programmed by media and magazine covers that sexiness is partially or fully exposing yourself. I nursed my babies and I at times would go into the bathroom to nurse and sometimes I covered myself in a restaurant and nursed. I loved nursing my last three sons and it felt so natural and the connection I had was incredible. I recently saw a meme on Facebook that made me chuckle, but as I thought about it, I realized that I have an argument against it (But of course!). Cow nursing

It is funny, I admit it, but cows haven’t had years and decades of conditioning telling them that their udders are sexually appealing. The bull isn’t waiting to see the exposed udder so he can feel like he got a peep show! You may say that is ridiculous, but that is what our world has come to. An exposed breast is considered pornographic and no matter how much you lecture people how natural it is to nurse, it is going to take time to recondition people to think a different way.

Pornography is a big deal. Pornography has infiltrated the world like a violent hurricane and it leaves nothing but devastation in its path. The church has fallen victim to it as well as the world. It’s enticing and we begin to tell ourselves that different things are okay as long as we do this, or don’t do that. We are taught through television and books that sex isn’t fulfilling unless something else is brought into the equation like pornography, or other people, or any other sexual perversion. We are taught that being a conservative Christian who has been married to the same spouse for decades is unnatural and crazy, while believing you are of the opposite gender and cutting your genitals off is courageous and normal.

Moving on…pornography is something that brings guilt, shame, and embarrassment. It destroys marriages and it hurts more people that the one consumes it. It affects your spouse, it affects your children, and it affects every aspect of your life. Don’t think I am saying that seeing a woman breastfeeding leads to pornography. I am saying that instead of judging and criticizing, we begin to turn into a culture that isn’t so sexualized. Why don’t we celebrate women on the cover of the latest magazine covers? Why don’t we celebrate the woman, and not just her spectacular body?

And for those liberal feminists out there, power doesn’t come from being naked. You feel power because you feel like a man can look at you, but he definitely can’t touch you. That isn’t power. Feeling empowered is when you see your child helping another hurt child for no reason than to want to help. Feeling empowered is when you realize that you got that promotion because of your brain and NOT because of your body. You cry sexism all the time and demand that you be seen as smart and strong and capable, yet you continue to sell sex as your main qualification. Stop it….just stop it please!

Political Manipulations

flag-1075125__180I am a hugely political person. I have chosen up to this point to not write about political things, although those who know me personally, know how I feel about so many different things in the political realm. I am clearly a very conservative woman based on all I have written about up to this point. I believe in the Bible first and foremost. I make my decisions based on the Word of God. I believe every person in this nation needs to do their own research on each candidate. We cannot merely believe that our media represents us or that manipulation is not happening all around us. Politics has become more about manipulating an audience, manipulating our emotions, and manipulating facts than about desiring to continue to build a nation on the original foundation that we once held dear.

I truly get disgusted by things that are stated by both parties. As I said before, I am conservative, but that doesn’t mean that a Republican, or Libertarian can do or say no wrong. What has made me most angry this week that has pushed me into writing this, is the statement that Madeleine Albright made with Hillary Clinton. “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” [Madeleine Albright] She made this statement in a speech with Mrs. Clinton eluding to the fact that if we don’t support Hillary, we will have a special place in hell. Apparently hell is very segregated.  Over the years I have heard about special places in hell for different races, genders, and classes of people from all sorts of men and women trying to shame and manipulate.

Why do they have to attempt to shame people? What about that special place in hell for those who murder little baby girls in the womb without repentance? or boys? or black babies? white babies? every baby that is murdered in the womb? Why don’t we stop with shaming people into voting for you? We saw the same type of thing with President Obama when he was running. Many people believed you were a shame to your race if you didn’t vote for him because of the color of his skin.

I beg of you, American people, please do not vote unless you have done your research. Look candidates up and read from multiple web sites. Look at their records and history. Do not assume that what people say is the truth. Do not assume what the media tells you is the truth. I love my country and I want my children and their children’s children to live in a nation that still believes in the Constitution and that God is truly in the very foundation of this nation. This nation was birthed in order to be different from the rest of the world. Why do we want to now copy the rest of the world? Why do we allow such a small percentage of people in this nation to instill such a fear in us that we cannot speak Biblical truth any more. We have a political correct culture that dictates would we should say, what we shouldn’t say, what we have to say.

It’s time we stand up and not let this nation slide into more of a moral abyss than it already is. Revival begins inside each one of us. Let us remember that this isn’t one physical church that is going to do it all. This is a Kingdom BIG vision. Churches need to stop their elitist attitude and understand that we all have the same vision. We all want to see every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. We all want to see nations bowing down before their one true King; King Jesus. It will happen one day as God’s word states it already.

Philippians 2:9-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

old constitutionLet’s be smart about this. Vote what you feel is the best. Remember, nothing comes free. Everything has its cost. Always do your research and understand that our founding fathers put things into place, such as our Constitution and Bill of Rights, in order to protect us from the very things that are trying to overtake us in this time. These are truly God given rights. We are all equal and we all have a right to protect ourselves. We have a right to religious freedom and no true leader should ever even want to take these freedoms away. Don’t let guilt or shame dictate who you vote for. God is a sovereign God, but He also gave us free will to make our own choices. What choice will you make?

The Church

What is the church to you? Depending on where you are in your walk with Christ, this answer will vary. God has called each of us to a church where we will be helped, loved, tested, and trained. I can’t say I’ve found in the Bible where it says to go to the church where you feel blessed the most, or that gives you the most. Sometimes God calls us to step out of our comfort zone and be trained in another area of our walk. I think my husband and I can say we have been to churches where we have learned what to do and how to do it, and we have been to churches where we have learned what not to do.

I think one of the biggest areas where we are tested is in submission. I realize this isn’t a word that the world likes at all and even some in the church despise it. I can’t tell you how many Christians have told me they don’t answer to anybody but God! The world has turned submission into a four letter word. It suppresses women they say. Submission is another word for oppression in their minds. Submission is not a bad thing. When I submit to my husband, I am coming under his protection as the head of our home. When we submit to our leaders, we are coming under their protection as the leaders God has put in our lives.

Church is a training ground. We absolutely need to help people get over hurts and gain complete freedom in their lives, but we also need to be trained to become the warriors that God has called us to be. There is a reason that God calls us to put on the His full armor. This life is a battleground, but we must also remember this;

detail-knight-armor-sword-31277170

Ephesians 6:12New King James Version (NKJV)

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

If you can’t submit to any authority in a church, you are in rebellion. If you cannot submit to one church and would rather go place to place each week, you are in rebellion. Church is also a place where we have to be accountable. God calls us to one place, even if it is only for a season. God has called us to be a part of the body and when you cannot submit or commit to the body He has called you to, you are not only affecting yourself, but you are affecting your church.

So let us rise up and take our place in the church and stand together in one accord. We must come to a place of understanding that we aren’t in battle with each other in the church. One church is not better than another. This is Kingdom Big! We are all part of the army of the Lord! Find the church where God wants you to be and submit to it and grow in all ways. Trust God and trust that He has placed people in your life that you can trust and submit to. Let’s become the army of God He has called us to be!

Where is the Fear of the LORD?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

My husband and I were talking about this just today. What has happened to the fear of the Lord? I can’t say that I have complete understanding of every scripture in the Bible, but I feel like I understand this scripture in my own way. I would love any sort of feedback from all of you if you have anything to add to this!

Now I talked about fear a couple of days ago and I pointed out that we are to no longer have fear; that Jesus took it up on the cross with Him and we are freed from it, but this ‘fear of the Lord’ is a different fear. This fear is in reference to utmost respect and love and reverence toward Him that we are in absolute awe of Him. This fear is complete abandonment of our former sinful lives and nature, and trying to live our lives Christ-like. Christ loves us; all of us, unconditionally, but He will never change His mind about sin.

When we look at the news and the world around us, the world wants us to see ‘progress’. When you read your Bible, does it say something anywhere about one day in the future, how God will throw out all His laws and commandments because society has progressed so far that we just don’t need them; we don’t need HIM? I know mine doesn’t say that!

I believe many in the church who have compromised their morals and lifestyles in the name of progress have lost that fear. I believe we live in a ‘God will forgive me’ society that lacks repentance. I can’t say that I am sinless. I struggle with things often, but I will forever bind His word to my heart. I will learn even more so, to fear my God because He is a Worthy and Holy God. I think we humanize God and try to make Him like us so we can understand Him better. I know I have found myself in the past doing this. I would ask myself, “How does God forgive so quickly and easily?” Well, because He is God!

God gave us a will so we can choose Him. I will choose Jesus over immorality in the name of progress every day. I encourage you today, get to know Him. Spend time with Him.

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come!

Raise Them Up…

We hear that scripture all the time. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I pray this for my children. I pray that my husband and I are doing everything we can to train up our children to be Godly men when they are older. We want our sons to understand that the world will not like what they have to say, but we must stand firm with what scripture states.

I am in awe at how the world twists things into what they want. They determine a baby is only a clump of cells and a woman has a right to abort it if she so chooses. They determine that ‘love is love’ whether it be between a homosexual couple or a heterosexual couple, or even multiple partners. The world wants to quiet the church because they don’t want to hear that what they have ‘decided’ is morally corrupt. What the problem has become, however, is that the church is willing to compromise their beliefs in order to feel acceptance from the world. The church is willing to look at scripture and God the way the world does; incorrectly! Now, I don’t want to say that all churches are compromising what the scripture tells us, but there are too many who are. When the scriptures talk about the truth setting us free, I am pretty sure it doesn’t mean what the world tells us will set us free.

As parents, it can be so easy to assume we are sending our children to Sunday school, or children’s church and they are learning what they are supposed to, but we must remember that our family is our first ministry. If we aren’t ministering to our families, then we have no right to be ministering in the church. I am talking to myself here too. I can get real lazy when it comes to certain things with my boys. Sometimes it feels overwhelming just to get them bathed, dressed, and fed!

I want to decide today for myself, and maybe you all can make the decision with me, to raise our children up right; without compromise. Let’s talk with them about how abortion is murder no matter what the world will tell them. Let’s talk about how we need to love homosexuals, but their decision to live in sin without repentance is wrong. God hates the sin, but He LOVES the sinner. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but if we repent before God, and turn away from the sin, that is when freedom happens. Let’s talk to our children about how we need to work hard for what we want. Yes, the Bible talks about doing everything as unto the Lord. That means everything!

I want to raise my sons to understand love and forgiveness, working hard at everything they do, knowing that sometimes the world thinks things are okay when scripture is clearly against it, understanding purity and how to treat a woman, how to love their wives like Christ loves the church, how to be a good husband, how to be a good Dad, how to cook, how to clean, how to worship, how to pray, how to fight, how to be angry and do not sin, and once again….how to love and forgive. This is my prayer for my sons.

Leading Worship

I have many loves in my life, but one of my great passions is worship. I love to worship and to lead worship. I’m not talking about singing a couple of songs and being done. I am talking about singing and playing a worship song that I am passionate about and using that passion as a launching pad to take His people into the inner courts of heaven. You see, when the veil was torn in two in the New Testament, that means that we can boldly come before the throne of God. He wants us to have a deep and personal relationship and experience with Him.

Too many people see God as this far off being that is angry all the time and punishes people all the time. While God is a just God, He is the very definition of Love. God is Love and when we show love to others, we show them who God really is. When I worship, I begin to move away from my wants and desires and move into a place where it is all about God and nothing about me. When we worship God, we are giving Him what He is due; like tithing and following His commandments. All these things are showing worship to God, but in this moment, I am talking about that moment that you are worshiping Him with everything that you have, and you cross into His inner courts and it is just you and Yahweh. He is everything you need and you are all that He wants. He is jealous for us; for our attention.

When you lead a church into worship, I don’t believe it is a simple 3 praise songs and 2 worship songs, then the end. It’s about taking God’s people to a place where they can worship God like never before. There are so many times in worship, even when it is just me at my keyboard in my own room, that God reveals even more of Himself to me and I get so emotional. There is nothing wrong with becoming emotional when you are in the presence of God as long as your emotion isn’t taking the focus off of God and placing in on you. I can’t help but want to praise and worship a God who loves me as much as Jesus does. I don’t think we can even fathom what His love truly is until we are in that place of truly worshiping Him. His love is exquisite, perfect, magnificent, and overwhelming.

As a worship leader, you can’t just move immediately into deeper worship; at least in most cases. There are times where the people of God are more than ready to truly worship Him. There have been times where I just want to jump right into the river of God and flow right into His throne room and lay at His feet and worship Him, but as a worship leader, I get the opportunity to bring as many people as I can into His presence. I truly do not want anybody left behind. Sadly, it seems there are too often those that cannot take their focus off themselves long enough to follow, but there are so many who are able.

While I am no Kim Walker-Smith, Jenn Johnson, or Darlene Zschech, I am who God made me to be and I believe that we are to use what God gives us. I love to worship and I have gotten so many confirming prophetic words about leading worship and singing songs of heaven, that I know I am on track. I know that I know that this is what I am called to do. I have been a worship leader before for several years. I know that one day, in God’s perfect timing, that He will raise me up to lead worship once again. Until He does, I am called to lead worship in my own life and my home. That is always our first ministry. I will obediently worship Him as I am called to do, whether in my bedroom alone, or in a church, or on a stage in a whole new setting.

Just Doing Nothing

I am one of those people whose mind is constantly going; never stopping. I second guess myself all the time. I study for tests and even though I memorized everything I should, I find myself second guessing if I am really remembering it correctly. I listen to a sermon on Sunday morning and by that evening I fully believe that I am that person who has horrible motives and simply cannot be trusted to do anything! I don’t really know why I am like this, but I don’t want to be. I have found in the last few years, that I have second guessed myself into doing absolutely nothing. If I want to do something, I am ambitious. If I feel a need to do something, I have bad motives. 

I know there are times we all struggle with wrong motives, or become too ambitious in the church. If I am honest, I don’t think that is where I am at today. I have attained the position of, “I can’t do anything right; I am not right; I must be doing something wrong; I am thinking wrong; I have dreams that weren’t really from God.” The list goes on and on. I am sitting here just doing nothing. I realize I have become a person of extremes. 

I don’t want to put myself out there and make new friends because it will look like I am up to something. I keep quiet at church things because if I say that I want to sing or lead worship sometime, I must have bad motives. I feel like I have been in this place these last few years where I am actually missing out on life. That is not what God intended for my life. It’s not what He intends at all. He wants me to live life. He wants me to follow my dreams; the same dreams HE gave me. Now, I will follow the counsel of those wise people God put in my life, but I will no longer be afraid to live, to speak, to dream. I will no longer be the person that sits there just doing nothing. I will trust God and trust that I am in His perfect will. If I step out and fail miserably, He will pick me up and He will love me just as He always has because He is love. Don’t allow the enemy to steal your dreams or your life.

“The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come that they may have life, and life more abundantly!!!!” John 10:10

I’m Leaving!!!

Imagine your kids, or someone else’s kids for that matter, stamping their feet, yelling and running to their rooms; slamming their doors. We roll our eyes. We discipline our kids when they throw tantrums. We sometimes ignore them to teach them that there are other ways to get attention. We assume that those children that aren’t ours, must never get disciplined. 

What do we do when this happens in the church? When people get mad or offended, they do the equivalent. They stamp their feet and they say they’re leaving because of this reason or that reason. The people leave hurt and the people left in the church are hurt. The Pastor/Head Elder is hurt because that is their child; their sheep. The church has lost a family member. Whatever happened to, “God sent me to this church and I’m not leaving, no matter what happens, until I wholly believe God and my leaders in agreement, send me elsewhere? 

When our children throw tantrums, it is out of rebellion and manipulation. In essence, what many people do in the church is the very same thing. Sure, we may not be slamming doors and stomping our feet, but we are acting in rebellion and manipulatively. We didn’t get our way, so we run to the door. That will teach them! If God wants us somewhere and we leave, we are acting in rebellion. Suppose I feel like I am going to get that Worship Leading position, and suddenly, the leaders of the church put somebody else in that position. How I react to this turn of events is going to show my maturity or lack thereof. If you don’t deal with your issues, you will keep following this cycle of immature reactions and keep hurting others as well as yourself. 

We need to be truly honest with ourselves and our issues. We need to understand our place in a church. If you think you deserve a position or something else in a church, then you don’t understand God’s word. If we got what we deserved, we would all be burning in hell. Good behavior and loyalty does not get you a position in a church. We, as Christians, have callings and giftings that God gave each of us. You may have a gift of worship and music on your life, but that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed that Worship Leader position. Perhaps you need to take your instrument or voice to the streets and be a Worship Leader there. 

We need to trust God and trust the leaders, as Fathers and Mothers, that He placed in our lives. We need to check our hearts and motives when we feel that little voice inside telling us we deserved something that we didn’t get in the church. If we leave churches because we always get mad, or don’t agree, we will soon become unteachable if we aren’t already there; and that is a very concerning place to be as a follower of Christ!

 

Expectations

Even when you see that word; what does it bring to mind? We all have expectations. The problem comes when our expectations are unrealistic. When we get married, what do we expect from our spouse? Do we expect our husbands to always help with the house cleaning? Do we expect them to always meet certain financial requirements for us? Do we expect them to meet our every need regardless of whether they like it or not?

How about husbands? Do they expect us to always maintain a certain physical appearance? Do they expect sex at least once a day? Do we meet their every need whether we like it or not? 

Expectations are difficult for me. I put high expectations on myself, but is it fair to put those same high expectations on my spouse? When I said my vows, I said for better or worse, in sickness and health, rich or poor. That pretty much sums up what our expectations should be in our marriage. Through anything and everything, I will stand by you; because I chose you and I love you. Of course that doesn’t mean we should gain 200lbs in our first year of marriage and spend every penny that is in the savings account. Things happen in marriage; in life that make it difficult. That is what those vows are about. Those vows aren’t about standing by your husband, or wife, in those great easy times where it is literal bliss. Those vows are meant to help you when your husband loses his job because of downsizing; when your wife puts on extra weight because the baby she is carrying in her womb is causing so much nausea, all she can do is eat to make it not hurt; when one of you gets bad news at the doctor’s office. This is when those vows and those expectations are truly put to the test. This is when I expect my husband to stand by me; when my husband expects me to stand by him. Marriage isn’t about what we can get from our spouse. Marriage is about what we can give to our spouse; how we can serve them. 

What about all these expectations that we have in other areas of our life? Are those realistic expectations? What do I expect out of my church? One of the problems with our expectations in church, is that we expect to receive so much from our church. How many areas of our life do we expect to receive rather than give. 

Society has become all about me me me and what I want and need. Listen to how you talk to your spouse and your friends. Truly listen. Do you complain because your expectations are realistic, or are they so unrealistic that you could never possibly be happy. 

Be realistic with your expectations in every area of your life. Are you the person that you expect others to be? Be the person that God made you to be. Be who God expects you to be. He expects us to follow His commandments; I think that is a really good start. Love your neighbor as yourself. He expects us to love. So today, give His love away, because He freely gives it to you!