Miss Independent by Trish

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Self-sufficient, go-getter…a “boss”. These are all terms used to describe today’s modern woman. Anyone close to me knows that I carry within my heart great passion to see my fellow sisters not survive but THRIVE! God has given us incredible ability to be creative, productive and add value beyond compare!

We know that true favor shows up in a man’s life when a wife steps on the scene. (“He who finds a wife, finds a GOOD THING and obtains FAVOR from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22). God downloaded power into the DNA of a woman…power to rock a man’s world with some serious favor! That makes me shout just thinking about it!

From as far back as I can remember, my Mom instilled lessons in me to build strength. It was important to her that her baby girl knew how to stand on her own two feet and not rely or depend on people to care for her. She taught me to seek God for the direction of my life, to trust Him for every need and to never be afraid of the path ignored by most. She was strategic in her parenting in not allowing average to ever be acceptable. What was permissible for others was not for me. In doing so, it was her aim to raise an independent woman.

This independence fuels me to be better, think creatively and be innovative. While I have great admiration and appreciate for women who have lived up to this standard, I find it equally important to maintain the elegance of a lady while cultivating the strength necessary in being independent.

For me, I find that balance in the “God factor” in my life. As I look at the ultimate “Miss Independent” or “Boss Lady” found in the character of the Proverbs 31 woman I marvel at her power and her meekness. For example in Proverbs 31 verse 16 it says “She considers a field and buys it. From her profits she plants a vineyard” (NKV)

This is one bad woman.  She is married and yet she has not neglected her specific calling. I love that this verse says she “considers” field and buys it. She is not impulsive. This lady has the money in the bank she has what it takes to do what she desires but this woman takes the time to consider her purchase or investment rather.

Just because you have what it takes be it financially, intellectually or by position does not mean the wise woman should act upon impulse but rather take time to consider or count the cost. Now we know that this woman is married because this chapter references her husband. What I admire about this power-house of a woman is that while she has the skill, the money and intelligence to “run the world” so to speak,  she has maintained a  level-head and exercised meekness or bridled strength and we know that in all of her doings, she has kept one of the most greatest treasures of all….the respect of her husband. This text tells how he not only praises her but his heart safely trusts her (Proverbs 31: 11)…POWERFUL!

This example teaches us that it is possible to walk confidently in our role as women and embrace our calling without trampling those around us in the process, including the precious men God has entrusted to care for our hearts and appointed to be our covering.

Ladies, please allow me to share two important factors I’m learning about as I dig deeper on my personal journey in becoming a Godly woman.

 

1-      Submission

Of course it is going to be assumed that this is easy for me talk about since I’m not yet married but quite the contrary. I cannot tell you how many times I desire to express my “independence” as a single lady and in those moments I feel God whispering to my heart that while I’m not yet submitted to a man in a covenant, I am submitted to Him and I don’t have the luxury of doing whatever I feel like. Oh, I could if I really wanted but the Godly woman knows that true freedom is in the protection of boundaries.  In the verse quoted earlier, Proverbs 18:22, it says “He who finds a WIFE finds a good thing…” This implies that before I am married I must be marriage material.  So the rules of submission apply to the single as well as the married. There are decisions I have to think about as if I were already married. In doing so, I’m honoring God and putting practices in place now that will better equip me later. Miss Independent knows she can do anything but her willingness to submit teaches her how to go about it, if at all.

 

2-      Servant-hood

Ladies, please maintain a heart of service no matter how high on the ladder of success you climb. Nurturing a heart of service keeps you humble. While being a “boss” is great, being a leader is EFFECTIVE! I’d rather show people how to do something than to demand they do it. I once worked for a boss who was President and CEO of an organization. Working for him was more than an addition to my resume’ but rather a season of priceless mentorship. He would come to work and tell everyone that he worked for me. Now, we all knew that certainly wasn’t the case however, I learned valuable lessons from him that supported where that statement came from. You see each day he would either come in the office or call asking how he could help or serve me. He put responsibilities on me that made me come out of my comfort zone but never demanded something from me he knew I could not provide.

He never exercised his role as “boss” to lord over me but rather lead me. His heart of service showed me it was possible to be in position but never out of touch. I once heard my Pastor say “if you have tell people you’re the boss, you’re not really the boss”. He had an understanding that in serving those around you; you’re making an investment with a guaranteed return.

 

I have heard countless stories of how ladies have had to fight their way to the top and I commend those of you who did it the honest, hard-working way. Once you get there, please remember the purpose of the platform and choose to use your role to serve others.

 

Be blessed ladies, put on your heels and go change the world!

 

Photo Credit:  Dreamstime

 

God-Centered Spouse by Sonya

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As I went through this book with my husband on “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas, it caused me to think in a new way about my spouse.  I learned that marriage comes down to being a God-centered spouse. Our love for each other should come out of our love and reverence for Christ. If we were to both live our life for Christ and act on that throughout our marriage then that would change the way our looked. I know for my marriage it has changed the way I have looked at my husband because I am looking at him through God’s eyes. This is an area I am still working on because I would be happy to do nice things for him when he treated me good. On the other hand, I would not want to do things for him if he treated me bad. This was selfish of me because I would do things only if it was reciprocated back to me and what pleases me, which I had become a selfish spouse. That was no way to live out my marriage.  Then I would do the opposite and try too hard to do things to make him happy and put all my focus on what pleases him the result would be emptiness inside. I would fail every time because I am imperfect trying to please an imperfect person.

 

After I kept failing, I learned there is more to marriage than just trying to please my spouse but loving my spouse the way Christ loves them. That love is sacrificial where we give it freely no matter what they do to us in return. Love, I believe, is an action and requires us to work on it every day. If love were a feeling we would fall in and out of love everyday. This new way of thinking is the God-centered spouse approach.  I realized God designed marriage to make us holy and to give Him all the glory.  Romans 15: 5-7 describes it well “May God… help you live in complete harmony with each other-each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God.”  In marriage you each have differences but understanding and celebrating them will unify you as a couple for the glory of God. As we look through God’s eyes, our spouse is God’s son and daughter and we are to show them respect and love with the attitude of Christ. Now, it causes me to rethink how I treat my husband and I need to ask myself the question am I treating God’s son with the attitude of Christ and love? Wow that is powerful because I am to look at my spouse through the lens of Christ.

 

Our main purpose in marriage is to please God and him alone. I truly believe marriage shapes us into the image of Christ. He desires to make us more holy through marriage.

So my question for you is does our marriage reflect Christ? I know at times our marriage doesn’t but I do know my husband and I are working and striving daily to have a Godly marriage that glorifies HIM. We can’t do this though without the Holy Spirit guiding us to be a God centered spouse. “….But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” Romans 8:6. Being controlled by the Holy Spirit will lead you to being a God-centered spouse, which causes you to please God in your actions towards your spouse and in your marriage.  My prayer is that we all have life and peace in our marriage and our marriages will be better as we align ourselves with God being the center in our marriage.

 

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Survivor by Kenika

 

 

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Every once in a while something happens that causes the bottom of our lives to seemingly fall out.  Whether crisis, job loss, family problems or whatever, there comes a time when we scratch our heads and wonder if we’ll ever make it out.  If it hasn’t happened to you already, just keep living.  The world is full of bumps, bruises and set backs that are all designed to slow us down or stop us completely in our pursuit of God and His perfect plan for our lives.  What we have to stop and ask ourselves is if this is going to be “the big one”?  Are we going to allow the situation or problem to knock us out completely, or will we adapt or do whatever is necessary to keep going? I learned my answers to these questions from a plant.

A while ago I purchased my first home and I was so excited to do so. God had blessed me in such a way that it was the perfect home, in the right neighborhood, at the right price.  There I was a single female with the paperwork to my very own home.  I started right away converting this empty shell into something warmer to dwell in.  During this time, there were some amazing people in my life that gave me gifts to help me celebrate. One of those gifts was a beautiful rose bush.  When I was younger my mother showed me how to do a lot of things, but unfortunately I did not inherit her green thumb.  I didn’t know what to do with it!  I didn’t want to plant it in the ground, because I had plans of redoing the landscaping anyway, so I found the biggest pot I could, surrounded the bush with topsoil and continued to water it.  For a while it didn’t seem that anything was happening, and throughout the winter months I almost questioned if it was even still alive.  Paying no attention to the fact that there was little movement, I continued to water it and moved it when necessary to ensure that it was getting the proper amount of light.

Fast-forward two years, and I am now prepared to do the landscaping.  I go back out to move my potted rose bush as I’ve done many times before, which is now in full bloom by the way, but this time I experienced some resistance. After a couple of tugs, I tipped it over and looked underneath to discover the roots had pierced through the teeny tiny hole in the bottom of the pot into the ground.  I was completely amazed by this.  I put the rose bush in a habitat that really wasn’t conducive for continued growth, but it found a way to maintain by breaking free to get the nutrients that it needed to survive.  I suppose all of life is a sermon because I was immediately encouraged by the tenacity of this bush.  Even though life (or me in this case) had not provided it with the proper room to grow and become all it needed to be, and even though all the elements and odds had seemingly turned against it, it still managed to persevere.  Instead of rolling over and dying, literally, this plant decided it would be best to adapt, to become adjustable, to connect, to do whatever it took to thrive.  It wouldn’t give up, it wouldn’t stay confined, and had to break free from its current environment in order to keep living.

 

 

Photo Credit:  Dreamstime

Beautiful Scars by Bombi

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The other day I was at a routine Chiropractic appointment. I noticed that for the past couple of years, my right hip seemed a bit tight when I tried to exercise. I asked the Doctor why this was happening. He told me it was scar tissue that had built up from a prior injury or injuries on that hip.

He asked me if I’d hurt it. I told him I had a couple of falls by slipping on the ice during the winter. He confirmed that it must be it. I responded with “Dang, scar tissue is dumb”. I hate that I have this now? He replied with, “I see what you mean, but scars are God’s way of having the body remind you to not hurt that part of your body ever again. It’s for your protection.”

Well this got me thinking about my attitude about pain in general. I remember in my teens and early adulthood there would be times I would hear of others that survived life’s storms. Honestly, I cringed at the thought that I’d ever bear the scars of any wounds. At that time, I wanted so much to come out of life completely untouched. I wanted to tell the world that I had been spared the trials of this life. Can you smell the funk from that attitude? Really, who did I think I was? Looking back at this, I can say that this clearly was pride. Why even Jesus, God’s own son was not spared pain. Yes, Jesus was hurt and abused. Jesus was scarred. And you know what? He didn’t hide His scars. When Thomas doubted that he had risen after His death, He appeared to Thomas and beckoned him to touch His hands and side, to feel and see the scars. He challenged him to believe, and went further as to say in John 20:29
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (NIV)

Friends, have you been trying hard to cover up your scars? Have you worked overtime to make sure that no one sees that they are there? Are you embarrassed of your hardships? I am here to encourage you that God never wastes a hurt. When God heals you, even though scars are left behind, the pain is gone. Those very scars can stand as a testimony of God’s healing touch bringing others to believe in Him. Let your scars tell your story of redemption and how He brought you back to life. Each scar is a reminder of God’s grace. Each scar is a sign of His protection. One day, if not now, you may even see your scars as He sees them…beautiful. “He has made everything beautiful in its time” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

 

Photo Credit:  Dreamstime