Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pride: The Childbirth Method

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit,
but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves."

Philippians 2:3

God has been showing me areas in my life where pride has so easily and cunningly crept in to set up camp. The more I am sensitive to pride in my own the life the more I see it in everyone else as well (which can be both good- and- bad). Pride takes so many shapes and forms it is simply unbelievable.

A few weeks ago I was at Katie's baby shower and came home ranting to Joel about how pride and childbirth, when combined, can be so infuriating! First, though, a picture:

She is so CUTE pregnant!


Whenever you have a group of mothers together you will probably hear something about their children and chances are that sooner or later the topic of childbirth will surface. I am sure it has been this way for at least a couple thousand years. Now that I have been through the whole process of pregnancy, labor, delivery and five whole months of motherhood I can understand why it becomes the center of many conversations. It is an amazing and life-changing experience.

Yet, in everything, pride finds a way to wiggle itself into hearts and eventually out into conversation. We all have had our own experience and we want so desperately for others to understand why we did what we did in our childbirth.

Epidural vs. Natural. C-Section vs. Vaginal. Long labor vs. Short labor. Bradley vs. Lamaze. Doctor vs. Mid-wife. Formula vs. Breastfed. Hospital vs. Home Birth. And the list could go on and on.... and on.

It does not matter which side you fall on in any of the list above- you have pride about it! Those that did go all natural have pride that they did. People who did not go natural call those that went all natural the prideful ones and in that statement itself is a truckload of pride. I will spare you more of the types of comments I have heard from both sides! They are sometimes brutal!

I am not sure how to say what I am thinking without sounding incredibly harsh.

What if we, as women, learned to hold our tongue? What if we, when we feel slighted by another woman's childbirth story, would just listen? What if we applauded those who went all natural and listened to why some decided to have a c-section? What if we did not call people who get epidurals wimps and those who went without medication stuck up?

What if we prayed about all our decisions? What if we obeyed the Lord's will for our lives and then would confidently abide in His love? What if we were humble enough to just keep quiet?

When I think about my childbirth story I smile. I have so many precious memories in my heart and mind about that night. I am excited that God answered my prayers. I am incredibly thankful for my husband who cheered me on in the wee hours of the morning. And, I am SO grateful for a healthy baby boy.

There are some situations, like baby showers, where I wish I could tell my story without fear of being interrupted by those who have a different experience than me. I wish I could share my life without wondering what people would think. I wish I could give women advice without being seen as a childbirth nazi.

There are so many topics for women that we could discuss when it comes to pride. It may not be childbirth for you. It may be homemaking. Cooking. Time-management. Money. Appearance.

Take your pick.

Above all, I wish to see pride rooted out of my life because as a woman of God it has no place and is not welcome in my heart.

"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit,
but in humility
count others more significant than yourselves."

Philippians 2:3

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Online Self-Centered Mess

Maybe you do not have a problem, like I do, with being self-centered. Thinking of others might come more naturally to you than it does for me. If that is your story, congrats, you are more like Jesus and I want to be like you. If I guess right, though, you probably think more highly of yourself than you ought.

I stand in the middle of a grand stage.

::Facebook, iPhone and Flip enter stage right::

::Myspace, iPod and Blogger enter stage left::

I believe that we can use these modern tools for the glory of God. I believe we can take something that is used for evil and turn the attention to God. I am not an advocate of locking oneself in a closet and never touching a computer.

There are days when I really, seriously, want to delete my Facebook page. Today, as you guessed, is one of those days. How self-centered can we be?

"Hey, world, me, me, me, I, I, I, look at how cute I am, look at my cute kids, look at my perfect life that is not so perfect because I either hide the truth or make it look worse than it is, and oh yeah I love God, too."


Joel is teaching though Philippians with the Jr. High students on Wednesday nights. I was feeling quite self-centered yesterday and then remembered he was teaching on Philippians 2. Great.

No, adjust attitude, GREAT! The Lord needs to work in my heart. The Lord needs to work in the lives of these students. We must cultivate humility or we will be in danger of thinking that God feels sorry for us. We may begin to feel like we need the world to look at us and applaud. We may begin to rely too much on Facebook notifications to fill our hearts with a fake sense of acceptance. We may begin to think the world revolves around us.

Do you love Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything?

Do you love Jesus Christ more than you love yourself?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Body of Christ

I have been falling in love, all over again, with the Church. She is such a beautiful creation and I am grateful for her.

I am also so grateful for MY local church, Calvary Chapel Aurora, where I fellowship, serve and learn.

I am ALSO grateful for my pastor, Ed Taylor. He is imperfect, but we love watching him grow and obey the Lord! It encourages Joel and I to do the same!

He will often at the end of a service, when he is presenting the Gospel or challenging believers, feel like there is someone specific he needs to mention. It is usually something simple like, "I feel there is someone here that needs to be reconciled with their wife. You need to surrender to Jesus and make it right!"

He told an amazing story at the beginning of our service yesterday:
Saturday night at the end of the normal service he (Pastor Ed) felt the Holy Spirit was leading him to mention a specific situation that someone was facing in the church. He said that there was someone who was a believer that was doing drugs and needed to give it up. He said that the Spirit kept leading him with further descriptions. He said (something like), "You are doing drugs and, in fact, you are not listening on the radio or watching online, but you even came to church high tonight. You are in this building and can hear my voice. I feel the Lord is telling me you are a woman- a young woman." He then challenged the girl, whoever she was, to give up the drugs and fully surrender her life to Christ.

He said that he, lacking faith, fully expected to just get an email during the week with a "that was me you were talking about Saturday" type of message. He said that often happens when he gets specific like that in his challenge to people.

After service as he was talking and praying with people a couple came up to him. They said that when the girl he mentioned makes herself known that they would like to help disciple her. Pastor Ed said that he would let them know... and then he saw a young girl right behind them.
Now, before I continue, let me say this before you write this off as crazy, absurd or mystic: it's not. My church is not a coo-coo place where we put the Spirit to the test or try to fabricate these kinds of stories to make people cry or go "wow!"

I have a real pastor who just wants to obey the Lord.

Ok, now I will continue:
The girl stepped forward and said she was the one he was talking about. She said she had been down in the bathroom when she heard him talking about her. (We have speakers in the whole church that broadcast the message.) She knew it was God calling to her.

He felt the Holy Spirit was telling him she had the drugs with her so he held out his hand and asked her to give him all the drugs she had with her. He said they would go flush them down the toilet right now and connect her with people who would help her. She reached in her pocket and handed him the drugs. He paused and asked her for ALL the drugs. She reached in her purse and gave him the rest.

He handed them to a couple other pastors and they flushed them right then and there.
This is the body of Christ. This is faith. This is being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, how He works and then obeying!

So many people, including me sometimes, wonder why God is not "working in their lives." Yet, at the same time we keep God in a little box. We tame Him. We turn church into a social club, gossip session, compare my cute kids with yours day, duty and all around American past time.

It is time to wake up. The end is near and the Lord is calling YOU to step out in faith, like never before, and obey.

You know what you need to do.

Will you join me? Let's do it!

For the sake of Jesus Christ, His kingdom and HIS glory!

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Core of Proverbs 31

I think way, way, way too much.

And that is not the first, nor the last, time I will probably voice that on this blog.

There are days when I go over and over things in my head. It can be really simple thoughts like what I should do for dinner to in-depth ideas regarding the doctrine of predestination. The difficulty is managing both thoughts when they converge in my brain at the same time. Ask Joel, he's been there when it has happened.

Saturday night I reached a crisis of thoughts. I had SO much in my mind at one time I thought I was going to explode. I laid in bed for an hour thinking and thinking and, well, thinking. The end result, besides losing sleep, was a longing to escape by trying to figure everything out. I decided to get up and not return to bed until I had a peace from the Lord.

Sitting in my cluttered study, wanting so desperately to clean it, I tried to relax. The thoughts kept pouring in of all I want to do, all I want to be and all that just really needs to be accomplished.

And the Lord said, "Abide in Me."

The peace that washed over me in that moment was truly, "the peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 2). I opened the Bible and began reading John 15 and 1 John.

Abide. Abide. Abide.

There is a tendency, especially with the press regarding the Proverbs 31 woman, to live our lives in a chaotic fashion. Many of my thoughts bend towards needing to be the perfect woman because of the pressure that comes from what we associate with Proverbs 31.

The more the Lord requires from me the more I believe I must set my thoughts aside. I want to get to the core of Proverbs 31. Do I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman? Of course! Yet, although it is Scripture, it is not a direct command from the Lord. (I hope you understand what I mean.) It is not about having things organized, serving a beautiful meal or saving a few pennies.

He DID command me by saying, "Abide in Me." He did not say, "Be like the Proverbs 31 woman." My life is about abiding in the Lord.

Ah, there is so much more that I could say, especially when I think of raising children. I do NOT want my children to remember me as the woman who had an organized home, cooked great meals or managed money well. When they think of me I want them to see Jesus. I want them to remember that I loved Him more than anything else. I want them to remember that He was first and not a clean home. I want them to know that He was the love of my life and not a padded checking account. I want them to remember that our home was filled with the aroma of Christ.

Everything else is good and should be worked towards, for sure (I cannot think when the kitchen is a mess!), but comes second.

I want to abide in Him.