This video comes from the Spring season of Words for Wives. After Jamie Herzog spoke about sex in marriage, we knew we had to devote at least one more event to the subject of sex. There are so many complexities when it comes to marriages, let alone our individual sex lives! Our goal with at this event was to have some wise women, in different seasons of marriage, share about their personal journeys. There is NO way to cover the entirety of sex in marriage, but, between Jamie Herzog’s talk the month prior, and this discussion from our women’s panel, I think there is some good ground covered!
I hope you take a listen and that it will be a blessing to you. Always take what people say and line it up with scripture for yourself. If you have a complicated marriage, it is always best to find a good Christian counselor, as sex is spiritual as well as a physical act! Seek God on this subject and good counsel!
Hello! Last week at Words for Wives, my friend Jamie Herzog shared about a very intimate subject…sex! It was so fun to listen to her share and even a little exciting, to have a Godly woman share on the subject in a confident way!
In this video Jamie shares about sex and intimacy within marriage. She talks about everything from the things that hold us back, the church’s view of sex, intimacy, and sexuality, as well as how the world views sex.
This served as a great reminder to me in my own marriage and I loved a lot of Jamie’s points! We ran out of time to take questions from the audience, but we plan on getting together to do another video to answer questions that came up from this talk. So if you watch this and have any, please feel free to comment below or email them to email@example.com so we can answer them in our video! Thanks for your support and I hope over time, my squad feels like you have women in your corner, cheering you on!
This past Thursday at Words for Wives, Michelle Quigley did what she always does best…she got real. One reason I am drawn to and love Michelle, is that she is always real! Whether on a stage in front of 142 women or one on one in her home, Michelle is always the same. She always shares from her heart, she always processes her journey with God in a raw way, and she always shares without fear of what I or other people might think.
I wasn’t the only one on Thursday relating to and getting teary eyed as Michelle shared about the hard season she has been going through. In fact, several women commented after on how they too have been in a hard season, how they too have felt a little angry, and how they too have been saying: “seriously God?”
I know you will enjoy listening to Michelle and getting to know her more through her talk. I hope over time my friends, my squad, really do become a source of encouragement to you. Michelle really is a such a gem, and although she is human and I know she isn’t perfect…sometimes I think Michelle is just the perfect combination of what a woman and friend should be. REAL. I hope her story and testimony of what she has been going through, encourages you right where you are today. Thanks for being a part of our squad!
In case you haven’t been able to attend Words for Wives in person or missed the last event…here is Beth Stohlmann’s talk. Beth’s message is so short and soooo worth your time this new year. Below is the link to Beth Stohlmann’s talk at WFW and how she found her heart in a calloused place with her husband. Her wisdom, wit, and advice is right on the money. Don’t miss this one! Link in bio…and the questions from her talk are below for our own personal reflection! Enjoy.
Questions to ask yourself:
Do you focus on your husband’s defects rather than on his strengths?
Do you dwell on how your husband is not meeting your needs?
Do you read articles about marriage and think, ‘my husband really needs to read this’?
Do you compare your husband unfavorably to other men?
Do you think that your husband is getting the better end of the deal in this marriage?
Questions to move forward with:
“What are you struggling with most in this situation?”
“How are you going to navigate that discussion?”
“Where do you see God at work in this challenge?”
“When can you two set aside time to talk about how you’re feeling?”
“How might you change your perspective about what happened?”
This is a dare to heal…a dare to begin the process. A dare to invite the Holy Spirit into your present reality, to ask Him to govern your feelings. A dare to trust that God is sovereign over the wounds in your life.
This dare comes from a spiritual mentor and friend of mine, Michele Oakland. I was humbled to listen to Michele open up about her present reality. A reality that is unexpected and new to her. Michele is in the midst of a storm that is forcing her to find healing.
I saw Michele in a new light as we talked. Normally Michele is the listening ear for other women and myself. She is a seasoned encourager, mentor, and friend. But this time it was different. I listened to Michele’s vulnerable thoughts, as she confessed some of her past mistakes, and the state it has brought her to today. I found it brave that Michele would be obedient to the Lord’s prompting to share with us.
Michele is willing to expose her story, in the eye of her storm, in hopes that it encourages you to start the healing process. This message doesn’t come wrapped in a bow, but rather, is a message to warn you, to come alongside you, and encourage you to take action in your own life. Together we hope this encourages you to examine your wounds, expose your secrets, and to seek God for your healing. We dare you to heal.
If you are looking to cross the line of faith, Michele would be open to talking with you. You can reach her @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever recognized the signs, like the smoke that comes before the flame of a fire, that come right before your world comes crashing down on you? Have you ever seen the signs before your friend’s world starts unraveling but you just stand by because it would be too awkward to speak up? Me too. Sometimes the signs are glaring and other times they are barely noticeable. In either case, it reminds me of the smoke that precedes a fire.
Two years ago, I watched a video on YouTube that had gone viral. The video was of a church Easter production with actors, music, and stage props. By the sound of the never-ceasing crescendo in the song, you get the idea that this moment is the hype of the whole Easter play. And rightly so. The actor who plays Jesus has his ‘resurrection moment’ and shows the audience the power of the real Jesus, by overcoming death. However, a problem occurs when the tomb catches onfire! Not just a small fire, either. The kind of fire you need to take seriously. In my opinion, it is hilarity at its best! I laughed so hard the first time I watched it. While the fire is growing the music keeps playing, the singer keeps singing with mighty gusto, the actors stay in character, and even actor-Jesus keeps moving around the stage…the show must go on, as they say! Finally a few men from the audience with real leadership skills step into action by trying to put out the fire. All the while, the audience begins with whispers, then oohing and awing, then clapping, followed by laughing at the ever-growing fire. The viral video is 3 minutes and 51 seconds of hot goodness. But, this Easter service gone wild got me thinking. You see, I love to look for the lesson in the midst of chaos. And this lesson is good.
I have so many questions for the people who were on stage. I wonder when the choir, standing next to the tomb, smelled the smoke!? Or the singer, who just keeps singing his song throughout the chaos, ignoring the problem. There is also the actor who plays the guard, guarding the tomb. You can tell in the video, that he was possibly the first to notice the smoke and growing flame. You can tell the guard wants to do something to help but doesn’t want to break character (or get burned), so he just stammers around instead. All the while the actor, playing Jesus, is inside the tomb with potential for legitimate harm!
As funny as it is to watch, it makes me wonder. How often is there smoke going up in our lives, ready to burst into flames, and we just tell ourselves the show must go on? Pretending as though everything is fine and we hope no one notices. Or maybe we are slightly unaware of how big the flames will get, because all we really smell is a little smoke? Our friends notice too, but it is easier for them to stand by and watch than to help put the fire out. Or maybe we are the one standing by, smelling the smoke in our friend’s life, offering no help or truth when the flames start to bellow. And when the flames do rise, and grow in strength…where are we? Where are our friends? Where are we for our friends? Where is our faith put into action?
James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
In the video, the audience starts to laugh, and as I mentioned before only a few people take action in dealing with the fire. It seems as though more people should have shown concern, especially those on stage, closest to the fire. I understand their hesitancy, I have hesitated to take action before too. I even get the laughing, I laughed too, but it parallels our reality a little too well. Often times, when we are going down a wrong path, very few people or friends take action to help put water on our problems. Maybe its fear of overstepping boundaries or simply not wanting to be involved. Sadly when it comes to ourselves, sometimes we aren’t willing to acknowledge the smoke signals…we ignore a loved one’s advice or don’t heed the truth the Bible offers us. When it comes to our friends, sometimes we even encourage bad behavior by remaining silent. Silence can be mistaken for approval, or silence can be taken for a lack of concern.
Silence can be mistaken for approval, or silence can be taken for a lack of concern.
The ironic thing is someone WILL get burned and someone WILL be laughing. If not the people around you, be sure that the enemy of your soul is getting in a good laugh when he destroys something in your life. Let’s not forget the enemy laughs just as hard at us when we stand idle, taking no action at all. He is counting on you and me to remain silent. He loves our apprehension. He is counting on people to remain comfortable and not get involved. He is counting on you and me to ignore our own problems…to ignore the few people trying to offer truth. He is banking on you and me to ignore the signs, toignore God. And the enemy laughs hard when we get burned!
Ephesians 6:16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
I have seen people laugh at other people’s failures, and sadly I have participated in the past. Sarcasm used to be a close friend of mine. I laughed at the sarcastic jokes made up of other people’s failures, pain, and wrong turns. The old me felt more comfortable watching the fire, because I think a part of me knew I was burning too. I was a lost soul, ignoring the smoke signals, and sometimes I found it easier to stare at the flame. The flames can be enticing and mesmerizing. Praise be to Jesus that I had people in my life who were bold enough to take action…who didn’t stay idle. These people verbally spoke truth into my life, physically gave me books with God’s truths inside, and through the power of prayer, interceded on my behalf. People who take action represent the leaders and the warriors in God’s kingdom…or the guys putting out the flames in the video. The people in my life pointed me to a loving God, and by His grace I was saved. In God’s perfect timing, the flames that had a hold of me started to subside. My eyes that were once completely blinded and bound by years of lies, were opened and I could see. I could see because the smoke had cleared, once and for all.
I wonder who is ablaze in your life? Whose life is just starting to smoke and smolder? Who is being burned alive by the lies they are believing? Who is lost in their sin? Is it you?? Do you smell smoke but ignore it? In any other situation when we smell smoke, we look for the source, and make sure there is no flame. If there was a flame, we would put it out or call for backup. There should be no difference within our own lives or the lives of our friends. What if you are someone’s only ‘backup’!? We must pay attention to the signs and be alert.
1 Peter 5: 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Our laughter, our comfort, our silence needs to end. We have to take action. Real humans are being burned in their lives. Your friend who thinks it’s ok to leave her husband for another man…she will get burned…she needs truth. When you gossip, your reputation is burned, you need truth. Your brother who has a drinking problem…he needs your grace, concern, and truth. Your mom-friends who are struggling to feel enough, the ones who have joked about being depressed, they need you to remind them of their worth. Maybe you are caring a little too much about your weight, your style, or obsessing over your looks…you need to be reminded of your identity in Christ. Your sister who acts like everything is okay, but every signal says otherwise…she needs you to go to battle with her in prayer and remind her of our need for God. Your co-worker who has no friends, no outlets for hope, who only knows the pain of rejection…she needs you to speak up, to be inclusive. When you are so beyond busy, your priorities are out of whack, and your home is suffering…it’s time to take action and run to your Heavenly Father. Maybe you have overcome something hard and you see someone pained by the very same affliction; go to them, share truth, and serve them by being their mentor. Who do you need to forgive? We are all in need of our Savior, Jesus, and God’s truth. Why would we let people feel the burn of pain and suffering, if we could prevent it or stop it? I struggle with this as much as anyone. I believe God wants us to be better at receiving His truth and equally as good at sharing His truth.
Don’t ignore God’s wisdom and truth in your own life. Pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s conviction in your life leading you back to God. Don’t ignore someone else’s smoke signals either. Real people, with real futures and real families, are at stake. It’s fun to laugh at a viral video on YouTube and draw a few parallels, but it’s not fun in real life to laugh or sit idle alongside the enemy of our souls. Are we fanning the flame or helping lead people to Jesus, the living water? Let’s encourage one another to take action!
Pray this with me:
Lord, help the only fire in my life be one that burns bright for your Kingdom. Help me to see where I can offer truth, where I can help prevent someone from a bad decision, or encourage someone to see past their own sin and see Jesus. Help me hear your Holy Spirit gently pointing me to you. Help me stay alert to the enemy’s schemes in my life. Lord, if you point out the signs and sin in my life, let me run to you, my safe place. Amen.
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I showed up at She Speaks with my sister, Hayley, and neither of us knew what to really expect. In the early months of 2016, we both felt God speaking and placing ideas on our hearts, whether that be writing or speaking or putting on events. I told Hayley on the drive from the airport to our hotel, that I was literally just attending She Speaks to explore. With that said, I was VERY expectant to hear from God. Little did I know He would teach me a valuable lesson as well as the take aways from the event itself! I was attending to find more clarity about the ideas God had given me. I was hoping to leave with a clear vision for Words for Wives (the event I put on in my home town) and Encourage Squad (the website I started to encourage women featuring my friends, i.e., my squad)…both of which I started because I felt prompted to by God. So I just had this sense that God would direct me and answer some of my questions!
Questions like: Who am I God to start a website? Won’t people laugh at me? I am unqualified to take on these ideas…everyone else will think I am too. God…I don’t think I have what it takes…so will you please give me direction? Lord, being a wife and mom feels hard enough…I think I should quit doing Words for Wives, and delete the whole Encourage Squad website…afterall God, its only been ‘live’ for like a month. Holy Spirit how do I know if I heard you correctly…you’ve been a little silent lately, now I am feeling confused? God will you give me clear vision? Should I place this all in someone else’s hands? Am I supposed to lead this God, or just be the facilitator behind the scenes?
In the months leading up to She Speaks, in my quiet time, I heard God say:
I am who qualifies you. Just keep walking, take small steps, and I will keep directing you. Acknowledge me. Your husband and kids need to come before Words for Wives and Encourage Squad. Don’t worry about producing content, I know this feels overwhelming, come to Me. Only post content when it is genuine. Your husband and kids must come before anything else. This is not about finding followers, this is about who I want to encourage, amongst who is already following. Keep taking small steps…walk towards me. Hold all of this with an open hand. Just keep moving forward, I am with you. Family first. Patience.
In the months before She Speaks, I was definitely feeling clear about my family being first, but was still unsettled. I kept taking tiny steps, and have continued to, but something in my soul, the 6 weeks prior to the conference, was restless and unfulfilled. 2016 has been ‘one for the books’ in regards to my faith. I have felt such an excitement about learning about God, hearing from Him, and wanting to share about Him. My faith has never felt more real and more mine…unique to me and God. (Because that’s how he loves us…uniquely!) For whatever reason, unbeknownst to me at the time, those 6 weeks were just different compared to the amazing year I was having spiritually!
She Speaks was top-notch from registration, to the dessert social on the last night. The first morning of worship music led me to serious tears as I sang and soaked in God’s kindness to me. The fact that I was standing at She Speaks, with my sister (who I rarely get quality time with), with 800+ women who have similar passions, singing about how good God is…I just lost it. Tears and mascara, running down my cheeks. Hashtag..not part of my makeup plan for the day! The conference started with me recognizing God’s goodness to me. Like seriously, who am I…nothing good in my life I have earned or deserved. It’s all gifts and grace and God’s mercy. Period. (Thank you Lord!!)
Second, during the same opening worship session, God spoke very clearly to me as I sang those sweet songs. He said: you need to ask Me for forgiveness. You need to ask Ryan for forgiveness, too. These past weeks you have been contemplating, obsessing, and searching after 3 things. These things have been spiritual warfare…a distraction from My will for you. You would not have labeled or identified as such, but I am telling you these three things were warfare. They took your focus off Me and pitted you against Ryan in small ways. You didn’t spend time talking to Me about these things. Repent and seek forgiveness.
This wasn’t what I was expecting to hear from God, but He was crystal clear in that moment. The three things He was referring to…I would have never identified as warfare unless the Holy Spirit, himself, told me so. Here they are:
Obsessively looking for a puppy. Countless hours wasted looking for a puppy to fill the unsettled part of my soul. Masking itself, as me needing something else to nurture…something just for me. Literally over a span of six weeks, I obsessed, contemplated, tried to talk my husband into it (he wasn’t open to it because we already have 4 other animals and two humans) and I ultimately talked him into a begrudged ‘yes’…only to get my dream puppy for cheap off of Craigslist, only to find him a new home 24 hours later because of the contention it brought into my marriage from second 1! I felt like the puppy was my third baby, i.e. super needy when my own kids needed to be my proirity…and our oldest dog wasn’t into him. I messed up. I should of known better, but I still felt defensive about the whole thing until that morning at She Speaks! I tried filling a void that I should have been filling with God. **Any void we feel should make us aware of our need for Jesus!
I seriously considered joining Beauty Counter, a really cool skin/body/makeup company that has a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Basically their products are sans toxic chemicals. Beauty Counter is a multi level marketing business model that I was thinking I could make some extra cash doing on the side. At one point during the six-week contemplation period, in prayer about it, I even heard God say ‘no’ about me doing it…but I stubbornly didn’t acknowledge Him and continued to think and read more about it. When I offered the idea to my husband, I got another ‘no’. This brought some more contention to my marriage that I continued to ignore.
One week near the end of the six-week period. I thought, “I know…I will go back to work. Just one day a week!” I moved my ‘goods’ back into a salon and called it good. I didn’t ask for Ryan’s approval because I told myself he will be fine with it/happy that I will be contributing a little cash. I did not ask God if this was His will or spend any time in prayer about it.
Aren’t they silly? I am embarresed to say those 3 things took my eyes off of God, my family in small ways, and off of the visions/ideas God has been asking me to take steps toward! Here is the lesson I gained, at She Speaks, after defining what made this warfare. One, I hadn’t gone to God first. I wasn’t seriously praying and asking God for his will, blessing, or direction. God is very clear in His word about seeking him first.
Second, I was abnormally feeling down and a restlessness in my soul. I needed to fill it. For some reason I saw the 3 things as harmless, because in essence, they were pretty harmless. But God pointed out to me that I was filling a void in my soul with a petty search for fulfilment from worldly things. I already have a mission…my family and encouraging women. Why was that not good enough for me in those weeks? The negative oppression I was feeling was the enemy of my soul saying: you have your faith, but there is nothing wrong with these things over here. The devil is crafty y’all! I thought I could fill the void, that I could end the restlessness on my own. The enemy had me seriously distracted with the stupidest things!!
Third, the biggest way I can look back and be in agreement that this was warfare, is that it was taking up majority of my thought life. Not to mention, my TIME. If the enemy can’t steal your faith, be assured he will try to steal other things from you. Like time with things that seem harmless…such as a puppy, a new job, social media, etc. Romans 12:2 / Proverbs 28:26
Fourth, God highlighted something SO simple. If the things I am seeking are in any way, shape or form, bringing contention into my marriage, pitting me against my husband…then “that” needs to be looked at closer and identified as spiritual warfare. Especially when the very thing that is bringing contention, hasn’t been brought before the Lord in prayer. My seemingly harmless ideas and discussions-turned-arguments with my husband seemed minor, but they weren’t. He was feeling manipulated (come to find out) and ignored. Even though the arguments were brief and un-noteworthy, we were not on the same page. I even thought my heart was in the right place. Looking back, I was being foolish and I didn’t realize that until I was singing worship, day one of She Speaks.
I knew instantly this wasn’t just me and my thoughts, and was indeed God. He was right. I would of never labeled the things He was referring to as spiritual warfare. It had, in small subtle ways, pitted me against my husband. While the worship finished, I thanked God for helping me identify this. I asked for forgiveness. I realized the 6 weeks leading up to She Speaks, I was spiritually unfocused in comparison to the first half of the year! Yikes. How easily I was derailed!
The event carried on as women buzzed around with excitement and headed off to classes tailored to writing and speaking (of which I divided my time between both). I didn’t show up to She Speaks feeling called to any one thing, but as the days carried on God opened my eyes to the possibility of both. I still don’t feel “called”, per say, to write or be a speaker…just that I am to stay open to where God leads as much as be open to when God says no or wait.
Hear are the top three things I heard God highlight to me at She Speaks:
1. I must get a prayer team in place around Words for Wives and Encourage Squad.
2. I need to be more disciplined in my prayer life, specifically over my own family, as well as be in God’s word more.
3. I must place my husband and kids at the forefront of all and any of my efforts. They must come first, second to my relationship with God of course.
Luckily, these three things felt more like confirmation to me than a new marching order or a list of to-dos. The biggest question in my heart was: God, do you want me in front of Encourage Squad or behind the scenes as a facilitator? That’s the only question I left She Speaks with, unanswered. What I did hear God say to me is that this will all take time. Like years…and will be dependent on me staying in His word. I feel strongly I am to walk this out, in tiny steps of obedience, in a slow pace, trusting in God for my direction. Which is awesome and feels like a weight off my shoulders. I’m not looking to perform or post content just to have content. I am good with taking tiny steps and keep walking towards where I think God is calling.
The very last thing I was inspired to do after She Speaks, was to memorize Ephesians 6:10-20. Spiritual warfare is all around us. Sometimes its pure evil, sometimes its easy to recognize, and other times its masked in a scheme to take our eyes off our heavenly Father…or pit us against our spouse. I am thankful to be extra aware of this for now. Lord help us keep our focus on you, amen!
Truth: Our hearts are designed for God to fill!
Jeremiah 2:13, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
Proverbs 2:1-5 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Allow me to introduce you to my friend Michelle Quigley. Michelle is a wife of 7 years, mom of two, a friend to many, and a leader in our community. She currently serves on her church council/leadership team and she did Youth With a Mission (YWAM) for 12 years before getting married. Michelle has traveled to over 35 countries and even lived in South Africa for four years (on mission) with YWAM. I am really honored to count her as my friend and just as honored that she wants to be apart of Encourage Squad. She loves teaching and encouraging women and will luckily be a repeat personality on the squad.
On Friday, I had the rare chance to have one on one time with Michelle. We were able to chat for three-whole-glorious hours, kid free, over a cup of coffee. Can I get a Hallelujah!? It was so fun to catch up, open up, and be real with each other. Best of all, we got to hear how God has been moving in each other’s lives.
Near the end of our chat on Friday, she told me she thought she had something to share with Encourage Squad. So we prayed and then made this off-the-cuff video that we both hope will encourage and inspire you in your faith. This video was so unplanned, that I wondered if it would make sense to anyone watching who doesn’t know Michelle or me. This morning I realized that all weekend I had been thinking about the heart of her message. I realized that I so often can identify the areas of my life that are wrong and sinful but I simply stop there. I hope (whether you know us or not) that when you hear this message you are reminded to get back to the simplicity and basics of your faith.
I hope you enjoy Michelle’s message and can hear her heart in this video.
“Lord, thank you for using other people to point me to you. I ask that you would help me be mindful of the areas in my life that are sinful…but do not let me stop there. Please help me to keep going. To repent of those sins, to ask for your forgiveness, and then receive your forgiveness and freedom. Help me to take action, so I don’t stay in stuck in the same place. Amen.”
Well ladies…that’s a wrap! I don’t know about you but I have been so encouraged by this book! I’ve sincerely enjoyed the reminder to live out God’s calling to be wild and free. My hope is that, like me, you will want to include other women in your life who are on the journey to find freedom too.
“She knows what a boxed-up life looks like, and she knows she’s never going back, and she’ll be darned if she’s going to see her friends live there either.” Page 219 Wild and Free
Friends nothing is sadder to me and more so to God, when someone is walking their path alone. We have an important role in each of our communities to keep our eyes open. To seek God and ask him to notice when someone is walking the path alone. In our humanness we will miss the people around us who are aching for friendship and freedom. We have to stay connected to our Heavenly Father and ask him to give us a holy awareness. An awareness of the people right under our nose who could use a friend, a meal, encouragement, or be invited into a larger group of community.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Proverbs 11:24-25 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Don’t you love those truths? On this journey of walking wild and free, I want us to be mindful of the community of women around us. I want us to be mindful our own husbands, our children. What can we give? This past week, I had been holding back forgiveness from my husband. I had been holding back a gift for a friend that the Holy Spirit prompted me to give back in December! I let my busyness come before God. I let my stubbornness come before the freedom in my marriage that comes with forgiveness. The good Lord knows how I am prone to stay in my ways, yet He keeps calling me to stay in a place of freedom. God is gentle, forgiving, patient, loving and kind. Hold onto the truths about God’s nature because it is those truths that will always lead us back to a place of freedom! Let’s help each other stay accountable and remind each other that we only have to live for today!
Let’s remember that God is good. That we can not keep him in a box. That with God, life is not about performance. He simply is a good daddy who is loving our process of finding Him. Let’s remember that trust is the opposite of control. Let’s release our innate tendencies to be in control and instead trust in God and his word. Let’s be in prayer for our own faith, our marriages, our children, and our nation. Let’s remember Ephesians 6. That we are not wrestling against flesh and blood (i.e. Each other), but against the rulers, against the authorities, and against the spiritual forces of evil. Let’s armor up as Ephesians 6 calls us to. Let’s be diligent to claim the freedoms God has given us. Let’s not just read God’s truths, let’s wear them. Let’s be in community with each other, encouraging each other. Let’s find older and wiser women who will mentor us on this journey. Let’s make our life about bearing fruit for God’s kingdom. And lastly let’s rest on God’s assurance that comes from our faith in his son, Jesus. We are free, because Jesus paid for our sin and shame.
I didn’t want to post questions for this last post. Instead, I thought that reading and memorizing one of the following verses would have the most impact in our lives. Pick one that speaks to you. Write it down, put in a place where you will repeatedly see it. But more importantly, make a mental note to yourself. This is truth to wear. This is truth that is alive. It is a seed that will deposit freedom.
Romans 6:6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved.
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Here we are half way through Summer, and just about to wrap up this book. I feel oddly proud to be finishing a book this time of year! Good job, girls. My favorite part about reading this book right now, is that it has been a constant reminder to walk in freedom.
Living in the state of Montana, with kids, I always feel like I am carrying a ‘load’ anytime I venture outside in the cold weather. I have to get myself ready, my boys, bundle up x3, shovel snow off my car, and hope that I remembered to start the car early enough for it to be heated before we get in. I have to mind the road conditions and often drive SO slow. I have to walk a little slower when the street is slick and when you have kids in tow, it just feels like a load to carry! The heavy jackets, the heavy boots, the beanies, the slow pace…sometimes it puts me in a mood. Don’t get me wrong…I love the winter here, its beautiful and glorious at times. There are just moments throughout the winter where I just feel bogged down, both figuratively and literally!
When I think of freedom, I think of Summer. Less clothes, no crazy road conditions, no fear of walking and simultaneously slipping while holding my child. The sun on my shoulders, a summer tan, ice tea, beachy-hair, sandals, and the sweet memories of growing up in California while I watch my kids enjoy the heat of the sun. It’s the best. We can walk out our front door and just go…I don’t even have to put my kids shoes on prior to leaving the house if I don’t want to! They can be barefoot until we get where we are going because there are no frigid temps in the Summer. I can just plop us in the car and go. Windows down, music on…I feel light and free! The only bummer is the Summer season is so short in Montana. If I think of how fast the winter will come, I can hardly enjoy the day-to-day of Summer! It ends as soon as it feels like it starts.
That is what freedom in Christ can feel like too. Freedom can feel great for a season, and then as soon as the season changes, or life gets hard, we feel a heavy load again. Whether that load is defined as financial burden, a season of discontent, a health crisis, un-forgiveness, shame, or sin…our freedom can feel fleeting. The only way to claim your freedom is to focus on Jesus daily. You can’t stay focused on the past or take too long thinking about the future and what is to come.
I’ve enjoyed reading this book this Summer, because normally, I am so busy trying to soak up my favorite season, I tend to leave God out. I go to church less, because we are camping a lot. I tend to find less community with my favorite women because we are busy traveling here and there. I read less in the summer and overall just tend to get caught up with the figurative noise that is going on around me! This book has helped me remain connected to the freedom God calls us to.
I love that in chapter 9, Jess Connolly, redeems the word: wild. Our culture, myself included, has taken that word, diluted and glamorized it. I can remember kids older than me identifying me as the ‘wild one’ in my family, as if that was a good thing. I remember believing the lie that wild meant free and that to be wild, I needed to forge my own path. In my past, being wild meant being a free spirit, partying, absorbing ideas from different religions. Wild meant risky behaviors in every sense of the word. Looking back, that type of wild left me SO insecure, confused, anxious, depressed, judgemental, and untrusting. I felt that way while I hid under the banner of being the world’s version of wild.
Whether you can relate to my past or if you have never felt a wild hair in your body, I am so thankful this book has defined a new kind of wild. Wild can be freeing when we don’t compare to our culture’s version of the word. I have never felt more free in my life as I have in the past year. I want that for all of us, for every girl, young or old. I thought about a few things that I think have brought me freedom this past year…make sure to watch the YouTube video for this week’s discussion!
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Chapter 9 & 10 Discussion:
What’s your take on the word: wild? Did you like how Jess Connolly redeemed the word? What would living wild look like for you/ what is your take on living wild?
On page 166, Jess writes, “You were made wild in your creation and restored in salvation; it’s nothing you have to put on or muster up.” Do you find this truth as confusing or relieving? Explain.
How could you show more tolerance to the world around you while simultaneously sharing truth?
On page 185, Hayley Morgan writes, “It takes calculated energy and heart focus to throw off the things that have been weighing you down.” Share with us (or write in your journal) one thing that weighs you down, that you need to be intentional about letting go of.
Finding freedom and living in it, is something to focus on daily. Is anything blocking you from accepting the truth, that in Christ, you are free? Is it your doubt, your past, a label that has been placed on you? Or through reading this book, are you starting to fathom and accept the freedom that God has for you?
As we are nearing the end of this book, how has it impacted your view of God and his freedom for you? What is your biggest concern or question about this idea of living wild and free?