As women we are constantly in a battle we feel we need to win. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I wants” and to self-analyze our every move. We want to be involved in everything; we want all our dreams to come alive right away; we want to never leave our minds idle; we want to live up to a big, long list of unrealistic expectations.
It’s okay to want things and to desire more. . . until it interferes with our pursuit of God.
In John 10:10 we are told that our enemy, the thief, comes only to steal, kill and destroy, so it shouldn’t surprise us when we’re being bombarded from every side. The list drags on, along with the stress. It wears us completely down and I don’t know about you, but I am simply tired of fighting. I want to be done with the struggles and expectations. I want to be done with the constant need to keep my armor on.
I believe God is simply saying, “Want more of Me; Be content.”
When I get to the heart of the matter; I want to want God like this. I want my soul to thirst for Him, my flesh to faint for Him. I want to praise Him all day long. I want to recognize His faithfulness and be filled with His joy. I want to lay at His feet. I want my soul to cling to Him. I want my every thought to be Him.
And at the end of the day, I just want to want Him.
Our earthly and temporary wants may come true, but to allow my soul to want God as much as He desires me? Oh, this is an honor worthy of joy. To be content simply means we are at peace at where God is leading us. We are at a place of rest. We can allow our souls to be quenched by God’s goodness and give Him the praise He deserves.
Contentment is magic to the heart.
We no longer have to fight this battle alone.
We’ve already won.
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 (NLT)
It is time for us to overcome the mountains we are facing by having faith in the One who can move the mountains.
As long as we are in this world as God’s children, we will be under attack. We will always have mountains to climb, hurdles to jump, and giants to knock down. The good news? We don’t have to do any of this alone. We have our Almighty Father walking with us and He is greater than anything the world throws our way. With Him, there is no battle we cannot win.
Perspective changes everything and if we choose to view life through God’s eyes and trust Him to provide, our problems won’t seem so big.
My prayer is that my petty complaints become prayers of thanksgiving for my brokenness because it is through my brokenness I most rely on Him. It is through our brokenness the glory of Christ is made known.
We are not, but Jesus is.
He is strength, courage, beauty and every ounce of love. He is everything I am not. Yet, He knows this and gives me grace daily.
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” – Ephesians 6:10-13 NLT
So, keep your beautiful chin up and maintain that fighting stance.
God has already delivered the knockout. There is no longer a battle to win.
We’ve already won.
Mallory Johnson is the Community Blog Director at Couture31. Her heart is for Jesus; her passion is creativity; and she can’t wait to combine both as she pursues His Divine plan. You can connect with Mallory on Instagram (@mlryjohsn) or through email (email@example.com).
If you are anything like me, you are a planner, a do-er, a list-maker. You love to spend quality time with people and in your heart of hearts you are a Mary, but truthfully, you have some Martha in you, too. Maybe you, too, have found that it is far too easy to turn the callings Jesus has placed in our hearts into a job… something to mark off the “too long to do” to-do list.
Unfortunately, Christian culture has come up with tons of adjectives to reinforce this kind of behavior… Maybe you, too, have been called a “pray warrior,” “lion,” “seed planter,” “kingdom worker,” or any other number of words that Christians use to acknowledge tenacity in Kingdom building. While our good-meaning friends mean to encourage us, the down-side to these words is that they make us forget it’s not at all about what we do–it’s about God and his good work.
I have had days where I have forgotten this truth lately.
I believe that God loves our heart and tenacity, but He wants more from us than marking things off his to-do list. He wants a celebration. To be showered with words of glory and praise for all He’s done, all He’s doing and all He’s yet to do. He doesn’t just want us to fall to our knees when we need something big, He wants us to crumble at His feet because we have started to come to terms with exactly how good He is.
And He is SO good.
Recently a family that I love had a couple of needs I wanted to see met, so I prayed about it, posted a facebook status and sent out a couple of emails. The response was staggering. I was overwhelmed, to be honest. Would you believe the responses haven’t stopped?!
As I was walking out of a late night class, I got the first series of responses, and instantly my mind started whirling. During the long, creepy walk to my car, I was so busy thinking about what my little role in this situation needed to be that I almost overlooked what God had already done.
It wasn’t until I pulled onto the interstate on the way home that it hit me… God showed up. His presence was with me, and I was missing it. I felt a little bit ashamed as He reminded me, gently, “Jessica, can’t we stop to celebrate what I did here? Do that tonight, and make your lists tomorrow.”
God saw the possibility to have so many more needs met, and He used seemingly unlikely people (good Samaritan style) and methods to facilitate it. He was just God being God. And I almost missed it.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13
The day following God’s late night whispers, I drove to visit my sweet friends, ordered a few pizzas and announced we were having a party. When asked why, I simply said, “God is good to us, and deserves a party.” These friends are needed reminders that God provides for his children and is worthy of CONSTANT praise.
Everything the Bible has taught me about Heaven has led me to believe it will be one big celebration of God and his infinite love. I don’t want it to be an adjustment for me, I don’t want celebrating Him to be something that I gradually get used to during the course of eternity. Rather, I want to celebrate Heaven like it’s here now. On days like today, when I remember to pay attention, I have to believe it’s coming soon.
“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6
Jessica Tincher lives, learns and blogs in Lexington, KY. What keeps her going every day is her joy for making children the world often leaves out feel included in God’s Kingdom.
We emerged out of the world.
We moved hand in hand towards that Cross.
We arose bold, matured and full of God.
We, the army, pressed in and said collectively, “Here we are! Send us” reciting Isaiah 6:8 to the Heavens. The words resonated beautifully with God and the Angels and we could feel their proud smiles closer than ever before as we pressed in. When our King said, ”Move” we started marching without hesitation. And so did He.
The ones who came lost, left found.
The ones who came found, left even stronger.
If our King says move and we obey, He will meet us on the battleground and do the hard work. Our burden is light in the name of Jesus. We came together to praise Him out in a random field in Kentucky, USA, and He was right there with us.
We are no warmers of the bench, we are warmers of the torch of Heaven.
We can’t afford to just praise Him in a church anymore. We will now go praise Him in a random field or on the streets or in a club because maybe the addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, homeless, orphans, broken and abused, the other man’s trash… maybe the random fields and streets of this world are where they will meet Jesus and become our brothers and sisters. His church is not some building protected by walls and adorned with beautiful, cushioned pews and stained glass windows…
We Are It.
And we are tearing down those walls. We don’t want a worldly safety because we have a Kingdom calling. The movers. The shakers. The ground breakers. The way makers. This Earth is crumbling around us and our cities are going down in flames. But we don’t mourn the bodies, we desperately mourn the souls. Were they saved? Did they know about Jesus? What if it was up to us to show them? Where were we?
So, we are urgently reminded to go when He says, “Move” and no amount of turmoil and destruction in the spaces to which He leads us can arouse in us fear.
“No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raise against you in court. This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me. This is the Lord’s declaration.” (Isaiah 54:17)
Joined together in His name with big expectations and no hesitation outside in a field miles away from any church building, we saw Heaven. And while it is sweet, the vision of our missing brothers and sisters was heart shattering. We are citizens of Heaven, here on loan from our Creator. And we have work to do.
We have to move.
We have to love in motion and go where called. Where we might not always be welcome. We have to go speak love where hate is the language. We were born different and we’ve always known. We are fiery, unafraid and unashamed. We don’t look to our left or to our right, we look up. Our pasts being merely boot camp for God’s great army. His promises came true when we let Him have His way.
When we invite him into our hearts, He refreshed what was already in us and put it to use for His good. And now we stand before Him ready. We are free spirits. We don’t fit inside the lines. Being outsiders is what ignites our fire and our purpose has never been clearer. Boldness is the standard. We freely throw up our hands to the Heavens. We humbly drop to our knees at the whisper of His Spirit. He fills us up and we drown in His grace. We can’t contain how good he is to us and we want everyone to taste and see.
Until the end of days, we will be like You, Jesus.
We don’t know how to be anything else.
We were made for this.
Clare Tucker is a 20-something living in Alabama fearlessly proclaiming the Name of Jesus. She writes for Angelic Magazine and seeks to know The Lord deeper with each day that passes. You can follow her on Instagram at @Ctucky.
James 4:14 tells us “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
I sometimes consider myself a new found Christian. I absolutely know that God has been writing my story and leading me to where I am now; however, there are still a lot of things I do not know about the Bible or our God himself.
Since my walk with Christ has become more evident, one of the most common things I hear is how God is in control and how God knows things before we even know them ourselves. That itself can be hard to wrap our minds around sometimes, yet it amazingly keeps our hearts bursting with faith, hope and love.
Sometimes it is easy to accept that you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Or you may be like me and have every hour planned out on your calendar…
Reading James 4:14 has opened my eyes in this very moment.
I am a vapor.
How many times have you heard that one? I am here only for a little while and then I vanish away.
While I was in Central America the biggest thing that I would say I struggled with was being there. Obviously I was there physically, but sometimes mentally and emotionally I was not. My seven weeks in Central America was just that… a vapor.
As I sit here, I think about what is next to be done on my schedule and how sometimes I’m only living for the end of the day, or the week, or the month, in hopes something better arises. I can’t help but ask myself…
What is better than this moment we have right now? This moment that God has given us…
Nothing is better than this moment.
“Instead, you ought to say ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’” James 4:15 NASB
Lord if YOU will, I will live in Your name and do this or that, that You have called me to do.
This life I’m living is for God, given by God.
When I feel my soul becoming selfish and wishing time away, that is when I begin to realize that my main focus shouldn’t only be on myself or earthly things. God has promised each of us more than just the earthly things. God has promised us, His sons & daughters, a life eternal.
We are a vapor on this earth. On His earth.
“This is the promise in which He Himself made to us; eternal life.” 1 John 2:25 NASB
Mackenzie Thomason is a lover of Jesus and His people. She just recently returned from a seven week mission trip to Guatemala where her heart was reignited for the Kingdom of God. You can follow her on Instagram at @mackenziethomason_.
So often there is a gap of time between the promise and the promise fulfilled.
Lately, I have been intrigued with the heart of Hannah. In 1 Samuel chapter 1, Hannah is a woman who has been praying for years in hopes of a child. The people around her have been speaking doubt and hopelessness over her life, yet she clings to the promises of God.
She is a woman whose heart never stopped believing God for the things He said He would do. A woman, who in her barrenness, never once stopped pouring out her heart in prayer. She immersed herself in hope when the very thing she desired most appeared to be lost, barren and nowhere in sight.
It has been so easy to lose hope and be filled with doubt when I find myself in a season of waiting. Whether that’s waiting for a promise to be fulfilled financially, relationally, spiritually or vocationally (just to name a few).
It is so easy to step into the doubts of this world and cling to the empty words of those around us instead of immersing ourselves in the promises that God speaks over our lives. It is so easy to drown ourselves in the barrenness in front of us instead of quieting our hearts and listening to that still small voice that says, “I see you and I know you, Child. Lean into Me. Press into My Love. I am faithful.” When no one else sees our pain or knows our hearts, He does.
For years, all Hannah wanted was a son, and for years all Hannah received was criticism from her family. When she was crushed in spirit, Hannah slipped away to a quiet place and continued to pour out her heart to God.
“…she pulled herself together and slipped away quietly.” v.9
I think it’s in our seasons of barrenness that Jesus enfolds us and reminds us that He is everything. His Grace fills the crevasses of our emptiness and His grace lacks nothing—we are constantly full.
In her season of sorrow, Hannah never once stopped seeking God. When He was silent, she prayed. When the world around her spoke doubt, she spoke truth. She continued to pour out her heart even when there was nothing left to pour.
“Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God… ‘I’ll give him (her son) completely and unreservedly to You. I’ll set him apart for a holy life.’” v.9-11
And God reminds me over and over how He sees me, how He saw Hannah.
“And the Lord remembered her, and in due time she gave birth to a son “ v.19-20
In due time.
In His time.
And He remembers us. Not only remembers but seeks us out, and not only seeks us out, but fills our emptiness and prepares our hearts for the blessings to come.
When God was silent, Hannah never stopped praying and believing. When people around her spoke doubt and hopelessness over her life, Hannah never stopped pouring out her heart, or stopped believing with hope for what God could do for her and promised to do. Oh, how I desire to be a woman who pours out all I have even when there is nothing left to pour!
When my heart is empty, may I be a woman who intentionally chooses to be brave and take my empty pieces and with a heart full of hope, lay them at the feet of Jesus.
And when that promise was fulfilled and Hannah bore a son, she gave that promise right back to the Lord. She devoted her son to the Lord before she received the blessing. She fully understood the purpose of the promise.
And maybe that’s it. Maybe all of the things we are blessed with and the promises fulfilled are just additional blessings. Gifts given by a gracious Giver. And we get the Giver of gifts everyday.
We get Jesus.
He prepares our hearts in the waiting, so when the time comes for the promise to be fulfilled, we are already holding the blessing with open hands. Ready to give it back to Him. And when we hold it with open hands, we get to watch the Gracious Giver multiply and resurrect what we thought was dead, and find what we thought was lost.
So when you find yourself in a barren land—
That job just won’t fall into place. The doctors say there is no cure. The world around you speaking doubt and failure over your marriage and relationships. The baby that won’t come. The broken relationship in front of you seeming hopeless with no restoration in sight. That addiction that won’t leave you alone—
May we be women who intentionally decide to live in hope and be brave during our barren seasons. May we cling to the words God speaks over our lives, and drown out the empty voices around us that have no substance. May we stand firm on His promise that He alone re-kindles our burned out lives with fresh hope every morning.
With hearts full of expectancy, may we hold our broken pieces with open hands and watch the gracious Giver make something beautiful out of them.
Killian is the Lead Photographer with Couture31 and lives with a heart that constantly overflows. She currently works with Lightforce International, an organization that seeks to bring restoration and freedom to women caught in the sex industry. Connect with her on Instagram at @killianrose.
On the first night of summer, a friend asked me if I wanted to watch the sunrise at Red River Gorge the next morning.
Being the chronic agreer I am, I accepted immediately.
As we drove to the gorge, and proceeded to get lost, we were even more lost in conversation. As we hiked up the trail, we got to know each other. And as we gazed upon the sunrise, we were able to enjoy one of the most peaceful mornings I had ever experienced.
I remember thinking as I got home, “This is going to be the summer of a lifetime.”
I had no clue what I was in for.
As the days passed, I settled into the life I would be living over the next three months.
I had awesome roommates and fun times ahead… But I had something even bigger waiting patiently, Someone I had no idea was watching me – God.
As people had walked into and out of my life throughout my junior year, I struggled. I struggled with my confidence, self-worth and direction. I had no concept of who I was or where I was going.
Then, different people started knocking on my door.
These people I hardly knew started to ask me to hang out or come to events – to be honest, they peaked my interest. So, I started to spend nights at friend’s houses or exploring Kentucky, instead of at the bar or parties.
I started to understand how stressed I had allowed myself to get, and how little it did for me.
I started to see a lifestyle I had no idea existed… And I started to enjoy life more than ever before.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” -Galatians 5:22-23 MSG
Since that trip to the gorge, I have gone to Haiti, been baptized, made friends that challenge me, while keeping my best friends that make me better, and through it all, I have become the happiest person in the world.
That climb was the beginning of an amazing summer, but more importantly, an amazing life.
Yesterday, I climbed to the same spot to watch the sunrise again. As I sat there, I was in awe. The beauty of the sunrise was amazing. The conversation with my friend on the way up had been refreshing. And as I sat there, taking in one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen, I realized how different the girl that had sat there two months ago was from me.
I wasn’t focused on the pictures we could take or what I was wearing. I wasn’t thinking about a guy I had been talking to the day before. I wasn’t planning what I was going to do for the rest of the day.
Instead, I was there.
I was taking in the sight, thanking God for such a beautiful morning.
For the first time in a long time, I watched the sun come out… And it was different; just like me.
That morning, I walked up the same path. I wore the same shoes. I sat in the same place. But, I enjoyed the most peaceful, beautiful, life giving moment of my existence yesterday… And it was all because I hadn’t come alone – I brought God.
The Lord has filled my life. He has taken away my insecurities, worries, and shame. With Him, everything is different. My life is better. Everything finally makes sense.
Open your eyes to God.
He will show you a different world… And believe me, you don’t want to miss this.
Allee is the Public Relations Director for Couture31, but more importantly, she is an amazing friend and beautiful daughter of the King. She loves hugs, lives in Kentucky, and volunteers with the incredible organization, DanceBlue. Connect with her on Instagram at @allee_girl.