I had an appointment at UCSF this morning that required me to be up and on the road to The City hours before the sun came up. I had no idea what the weather would be like today as I sped towards South San Francisco. Hours later, I emerged back outside to fog so thick I could barely see the parking garage across the street. Considering we’re famous for our fog, no surprise there!
As I drove home I reflected on how the last two years have been a bit of a fog. We’re doing our best to follow God’s plan, but man is it hard when we have to squint to see two feet in front of us! Much like our season of confusion, the fog went on and on; over the Bay Bridge, past Oakland and Berkeley, completely socked in. Suddenly, as I climbed the hill to the Caldecott tunnel, the sun broke through in a dazzling way. All the pink houses looking down on the Bay from Mount Grizzly were bathed in light. There was no indication it was coming, just BAM! Let there be light!
Blinded, and realizing I forgot my sunglasses, my heart lifted as I recognized something else – this is how our sunny day will come. One day the fog will just lift and we’ll finally know, KNOW just what it is God has in store for us. In the mean time, we drive on carefully through the fog, praying for direction, knowing God’s in control.
You can read more from Lindsey Heinemann on Facebook, Instagram, or at http://www.lindseyheinemann-christianlifecoach.com
I have had the privilege to write for the Encourage Squad for some time now and have so enjoyed my time speaking words of encouragement into the lives of wives and moms. What a beautiful, but also difficult path it is to walk in this world as a God honoring wife. I’ve recently written a book that is launching, today, November 14th and I’d like to share some parts of my life during the early stages of our marriage and the ways we lived on faith. Chapter 2 of my book “Chase the Roar: Becoming Faith Chasers in an American Dream Culture” (now available on Amazon) opens up with this quote by Sheila Wray Gregoire:
“I hope that when people look at my marriage, they don’t think, “She has a great marriage because she chose the right guy,” or, “He has a great marriage because he chose the right woman.” I hope they realize, “They have a great marriage because they both chose God.”
Beautiful words of truth that I can only hope and pray are reflected in my own life, and, most importantly, in my marriage. In this chapter within my book, I then go on to share:
“Just two short years after God redirected my career path, I stood at the altar, beaming at my 21- year-old college sweetheart. I basked in complete joy and was entirely unaware of what the Lord would ask of us in the following days.
As we were pronounced husband and wife, I took my first step of faith as wife to a man who had even more deep, trusting, gut-wrenching faith in the God he had called Savior for fifteen years.
At the time, the idea of living anywhere other than the southeastern United States was foreign. The call from God to plant a church was just beginning to take root in my heart and my husband’s heart separately. In my mind, it was a more romantic idea, rather than the “live by faith no matter what” way it was capturing the heart of my new husband.
In the early years of our marriage, we were so very poor. We were both finishing our college degrees while working as much as possible. We earned a total of $10,000 during our first year of marriage. People often talk about living on love, but we were 100% living on faith alone. Even during this financially challenging time, we remained faithful in our tithe back to God. There were days we would have a bill due and have less than $20 in our bank account. I would check the mailbox only to discover an anonymous check for the exact amount we needed to pay that specific bill. God is faithful.”
He is truly always faithful. He’s a giver of life. And I can truly say that faith in Him alone is what got us through the years of financial struggles and continues to get us through the struggles that constantly come. We all go through the valleys in between the mountaintops within our marriages. When these dark valleys come, what are some specific ways that we are clinging to God first rather than pressuring each other? My prayer for you today is that God would be your focus, not only in your times of joy within your marriages, but in the deepest lows as well! Take care dear one!
We have a saying in our house that we use when Michael is acting his age; we say he’s “in his twoness.” Being in his ‘twoness’ generally means lots of crying, whining and screaming. Oh, the SCREAMING! Unfortunately, when one screams, they all scream (we have three children). But their manor of screaming gives a bit away about their personalities.
Gabriel’s the oldest, so he doesn’t really have anything to prove. When he screams he generally does the least amount possible to still be heard. If Michael’s screaming at an 11, Gabriel screams at an 11.5. He asserts his dominance, but not in a painfully obvious way because he’s the clear Alpha.
JJ, however, when he screams an eardrum piercing, brain scrambling, physically painful to anyone within a ten mile radius screech comes out of his tiny eighteen pound body that makes you wonder if he might just explode. I’m not even exaggerating when I say my instinct is to cover my ears and cower. JJ, my friends, is an overachiever. He gets it from me.
But what does that have to do with striving, you ask? Well, JJ wasn’t always the expert screamer he is today. Once upon a time, not so long ago actually, he could barely be heard above his brothers. But then one day he decided he was going to be the best at screaming. An A+ with extra credit screamer, if you will. He strove to be the best, and he did it.
I know, striving isn’t always bad. Colossians 3:23 says to do everything we can to the best of our ability because we’re doing it for God. Proverbs 31 is all about a woman striving to be a godly wife, mother, daughter, you get the point. But somewhere along the line striving becomes bad – right about the time we start relying on ourselves instead of on God. When you’re working on giving your absolute best work, it’s easy to go from doing your best through the Lord who strengthens you, to doing it in yourself because after all, you’re the best! As with most sins, it comes down to pride. When you acknowledge it’s not your work, but Christ working through you, you’re humbling yourself to God’s sovereignty. When you take credit for the work you’re doing, that’s pride. At no point does God enter into that equation.
Friends, I ask you, are you striving to do your best because you want to give God your best, or are you moving in your own power? Lets keep the Center the center.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
This week we’re covering some pretty weighty topics: fear, anger, and gossip. I chose gossip as the topic for my blurb this week because I think it’s the one we’re the most permissive of. There’s a reason why the stereotype of old church “Biddies” sitting around drinking sweet tea and gossiping exists! I’ve been to a number of different churches through the years, and all have a group known for gossiping. Men tend to call it “shooting the breeze.” It’s the same thing.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a new problem. Gossip was such an issue in Solomon’s day that he mentions it in the book of Proverbs 6 times. That’s a lot, when you consider Proverbs is only 31 chapters long, and Solomon dedicates two large chunks to quarrelsome wives and godly wives!
I’d like to report that believer’s gossip problem is getting better…but it isn’t. We can, however, be the change we wish to see! In the video I’ll give the little tool I use to determine if I’m engaging in gossip, but I want to share another one here: THINK before you speak:
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?
In my experience, if you can’t answer an unequivocal yes to the T, it’s probably gossip. Do everyone a favor and change the subject!
This is our last week together discussing this book, so I want to thank all of you for joining us! May God bless you as you continue the work of giving HIM control!
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
Whenever something less than ideal happens I try to take the time to ask myself, “Did this happened because I live post-fall? Or is God teaching me something?” Usually when God is teaching me…it involves control.
Case in point: this last week. I WAY over did it. It wasn’t a matter of my trying to prove anything, it was more my not trusting anyone else to do it. God got my attention by giving me a raging case of mastitis – which forced me to let my husband step in and help. He also gave my doctor some wise words for me, “You realize you’re asking an awful lot of your body, a very short time after major surgery, right?” Truthfully, that had never even crossed my mind, but it has now! She was telling me to BE STILL!
Being still and giving God control are closely linked in my mind. If I’m being still I can’t micro-manage, over commit, or refuse to delegate. Being still means sitting back, being quiet, and watching God do what he does best – make His perfect plan happen.
This week we covered chapters 5-9. If you have anything you want to add (I’m sure you do because these chapters were RICH!) please do so in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
Welcome to our latest Book Squad: Out of Control and Loving It! By:Lisa Bevere.
In this first section of the book Bevere digs into Isaiah 52:1-2, and the image of the Daughter of Zion.
Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. 2 Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. (NIV)
Bevere paints a vivid picture of Zion as a woman in bondage. A woman chained by her circumstances, and poor choices. She is letting her past control both her present, and her future. (How many of us are guilty of that?) But as she learns to put her trust in God, not her own abilities, Zion throws off the chains. She breaks free. She makes the choice to let God be in control, not whatever baggage is holding her down. She starts trusting God to do what he says he will – have her best interest at heart. It’s only when we trust God for everything that we can live in true freedom.
Unlike our last Book Squad, I’ve kept my video brief, just relaying my own experiences with the topic of each chapter. I think there’s great value in sharing our stories with one another, and learning from each other. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments. I would love to learn from you as well!
My prayer for you as you read through this book is that you will not only recognize what is holding you in bondage, but also that you will embrace the only way out – giving what is strangling you to God, and letting Him have control.
2016 was a year of crazy for me. At the beginning of 2016, my focus word for the year was Joy. I was striving to find joy even in the hard and when I didn’t “feel happy”. I told my husband that I’m not sure I succeeded at making this my focus all year; however, by choosing it right off the bat, I was constantly reminded of it and made an effort to make it my heart’s desire.
Last year was full of health battles, overwhelming schedules, focusing on family with more intent, church growth and struggles, more reading, more forced rest, and homeschooling for the first time, and I have long been debating what my focus word will be for 2017. What is the most important element that will relieve the stresses that are weighing on me and channel my focus to who I am in Christ?
Maggie has been speaking to me about January’s focus being centered around ‘control’…what control looks like for different women and how we’re battling that and giving it up. With that thought in mind, I am excited to share the focus that God has been laying on my heart for 2017.
This year I want to live with less doubt in myself and who I am in Christ. Likewise, I want to live with less doubt of who I am as a wife, mother, church planter, daughter, and very specifically, friend. I often doubt if I am enough for all of the people in my life, specifically women, that count on me. Do I “do” enough to show them I love them? Am I there enough? Should I have said this or that? What more can I do?
These are the doubts that flood my mind on a regular basis and, when it comes down to it, this is all due to my desire to “control” my own life in this area rather than turn it completely over to God.
So with the plan to have less doubt and, ultimately, less control comes the desire to have more of something to fill this place. More believing, more expectation, more…
More belief that I am God’s daughter no matter what anyone else thinks or says. I can have confidence that, while I’m human with flaws and errors, He loves me just the way I am. He is in control of what happens in my life. More expectation that He will do what He says He will, specifically related to our church plant. The expectation that God will grow His church and my shoulders do not bear the weight of this great task. 2017 will be our year for seeing Him move mountains like we’ve never experienced before.
And finally, this year, the power of certainty will arise. Oh, how much I question myself most moments of most days. This comes out in phrases like, “Are you sure?” “Is this ok?” to my husband over and over again until his nerves are shot. This also comes out in complaining about the situation I am in, thinking it will never end. The word ‘certainty’ means God’s promises are fulfilled and that He is in control of every situation, despite how hard I may work to put myself in that place.
Dear much loved woman, may you choose a focus for this year and be renewed in your spirit. May you analyze and recognize the areas of your life and give up just a little of the control you hold over a specific place or two. Oh, what a beautiful freeing experience it is to know that you can welcome grace and peace and certainty. Here’s to 2017 and making it our year!