Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"It is for freedom..."

God has been gracious to reveal much to me as I prepare for the Living Stones Women's Conference, "Liberate." I will be addressing three areas: our relationship with God, men and other women. My goal is to proclaim truth in these areas that women would be liberated and stand in the Truth that makes us free. Specific areas of bondage make my heart heavy for the ladies of Living Stones: Discontentment, Comparison, and Performance-based living.

Discontentment is the absence of gratitude. It's a focus on what you'd like to have and an ungrateful heart for what you do have. It could be regarding your dating life, your home, your clothes, your body, children, spouse, money... the list is long. When our eyes are turned to what we have, the blessings God has already given, we can be thankful. It is difficult to be discontent when we are thankful. Discontentment is a cousin of comparison and jealousy.

Comparison, competition, jealousy, bitterness and covetousness are epidemics among women and disturbingly present in the church. James calls it demonic. Hebrews says it defiles us and Paul calls us to put it to death. Often we can be ensnared by them and not realize it. Competing with other women is manifested through body image, losing baby weight fast, thinner waistline, good hair, nice clothes, our husband's success, our home, material things, our children's behavior. We tend to compare these things and find our value based on who's got it better. Women can tend to be haters of others who've "one-upped" them and become bitter while drowning in jealousy. Has a girl ever walked in the room and you notice her shoes, outfit, hair, etc and a tinge of judgment pricks your heart towards her? You really only have issues with her because you're discontent with what you have and you covet what she has. It promotes this lifestyle of "sucking in." Women walk around with their gut sucked in completely fooled by the disillusionment that everyone else doesn't have a gut! We all got a gut, some are bigger, some smaller. If we'd all just let it out and see that she's got one, too...we'd be a little bit more free. (I mean this literally and figuratively) Many of us are captive in this area and we don't even know. It impairs our freedom of healthy, godly, female friendships. 

It is a constant struggle to cling to grace and not the law. Many women struggle with living by performance. "Am I good enough?" "Did I DO enough?" It's a dark cloud that looms over us and deceives us into believing our worth comes from our work. It veils the Truth that our worth is completely other than ourselves. We are to radically define our worth based on God's love for us in that He sent His Son to live perfect then be murdered and rise again thereby giving us His righteousness freely in exchange for our sin and depravity. Instead of standing and being free in this Truth, we live these lives of performance and law regarding our homes, our relationships with God and others. We foolishly base our worthiness of God's love and affection (and other's affection) on our own works: church attendance, prayer life, Bible reading and other good deeds. It bleeds into how we relate to others. We hold them to a works-based mentality as well. You do for me and I'll do for  you. 

What is grace anyway? It's getting what we don't deserve - completely unmerited favor. It's giving to others what they don't deserve. It's freely given to us to liberate us from the slavery of performance, the law.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lessons from Sabbatical: Compulsion vs. Calling

It's been forever since I posted the last blog. Harvey went back to work and Selah started Kindergarten. I thought for sure I'd have so much free time and I'd write on what I learned during Harvey's sabbatical. It seems I got busier. This is exactly why I am writing this next blog. I need the reminder! I forgot already and I need to remember what I learned.

Compulsion vs. Calling
Obligation vs. Doing what you like
Expectations vs. Living in the true self

I tend to be very performance-driven. I feel like I have to get my "rightness" by performing good deeds. I believe I attain some kind of position with others and God if I do a lot of good things and do them well. It's a form of living out of compulsion. Being performance-driven, means my life is dictated by others' expectations or what I think are others' expectations and even my own expectations, thereby abandoning my true self and living in a false self. 

Harvey did a sermon series recently, The Fight for Grace (watch sermons here). That is the story of my life! I have to fight off this demonic works-driven mentality and fight to let grace in and wreck shop all over my works and remind me that only the works of One amount to anything. I struggle with grace because it's totally other than me and what I've done. I pray grace will continue to wreck shop on my soul and cause me to grab on tight to it's beauty and perfection letting go of all the works I think define me. I want grace to break me.

This brings me to the lesson I learned. I learned I was living by compulsion - making choices based on what other people expected me to do or things I felt obligated to do. I performed for them. I was in a prison cell and I didn't even realize I could be set free. My life was dictated by the feeling of "Oh, I should do that." (key word: "should." If I use that word, it's compulsion) It was robbing me of joy of life and making me want to crawl in a hole because I was so exhausted from performing for everyone in order to be a "good mommy, good wife, good friend, good daughter, good little preachers wife." I was a slave to compulsion. I was a slave to other people's expectations or in some cases what I thought were their expectations. The tendency to live by compulsion made me a miserable person. I was not happy.

When we live driven by compulsion we are really not living in our true self. We are living out a false self that holds hostage our true self and all it's desires. It's exhausting. It's so freeing to know that I don't have to live that way. I can do what I enjoy. I can be true to myself. Obviously, there is a time and place to do what God has called you to do. For example, dress my children, care for my family, love my husband and serve them. There may be some days I don't "feel like" cooking for my family, but that doesn't mean I bail on that calling and let a 5 year old and 4 year old fend for themselves. I just order take-out! Also, there is a time when the Holy Spirit calls you to do something, maybe minister in some way to other people. It's important to know and be discerning of when He is calling.  

Much wisdom comes from the consideration of compulsion versus calling. I did many things purely from compulsion and this isn't fair to myself or even to the other people in my life. It lacks authenticity and sincerity. It's fake. After I picked up on this little lesson, I had to really take a step back and consider what I am called to do and what I am doing out of compulsion. I had to reevaluate my life. Sometimes it takes time to know if something is your calling. It's worth the time it takes!

Laundry, cleaning house, planning and making dinner, returning emails and texts, all these are not evil in themselves. They are in line, really, with my calling as a wife and mother and friend. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I'm not a slave to those things and it's okay, to do what I enjoy. For instance, the laundry can wait, I'm going to do a little painting. Or, housework can wait, I'm going to blog. It's important to know what you enjoy and to do them. Be true to yourself, live out your calling and be free to simply do what you enjoy. 

I want to live in my true self, my true identity and function out of that. I don't want to live out of my false self, a false identity which is enslaved to others' or my own expectations.  Once I know my true identity in Christ and know that He has freed me from any and all works and efforts to attain righteousness, I can be at rest. I am able to know myself and what I enjoy and make time to do those things. Also, I can know what I don't enjoy and not do those things. 

This all has been very freeing, but there's another component. It has taught me that I, too, have put expectations on other people and get frustrated when they don't "perform." See, I was so enslaved to this myself that I projected it on other people as well. I want to be set free from this slave-master, compulsion. I don't want others to expect me to "perform." Therefore, to really walk in the truth of this, I can't project performance on others, either. That would grossly abuse and pervert the grace I've been given. We've been lavished with the grace of God the Father in the works of Christ the Son. To enjoy this grace ourselves and withhold it from others is an abomination, an outrage. 

Maybe consider for yourself as well.....Are you driven and enslaved to compulsion? Do you do what you enjoy? Are you enslaving others to your expectations and withholding grace from them and looking for their perfect performance? Is your life defined by the grace of God? A grace where He accepts us and loves us only based on what He has done. Has grace wrecked shop on your soul and set you free from performance?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lessons from Sabbatical: The Beauty of Self-Clarity

Along with learning rest and the beauty of mindless things, during my husband's sabbatical, I learned a lot about the inner workings of myself - a great portion of which was unhealthy and functioning out of fear, shame and guilt. This lesson about self was a multi-faceted one, which was revealed to me over a long six months. I share a bit of it on this blog and I hope to get really vulnerable and blog about the rest of it!  My prayer is that my readers will see my journey and it may help them to live more by grace and love - two things that have completely rocked me to the core. 

I have this new-found knowledge of myself that has proved to be super helpful, especially in my marriage. I think it's called "Self-Clarity." This is the equation I made up:

SELF-CLARITY = knowing my THOUGHTS + knowing their PRODUCT (my emotions/actions) + knowing their ROOT (truth or lie).

This has completely altered my approach to my emotions, confrontation and communication, thereby changing my marriage dramatically! I will provide an example of a specific scenario for you to see this process applied.

Scenario: Angry at my husband and treating him like a piece of trash.

One day, I was planning out the schedule of my day. There were things I wanted to do, needed to do and things I didn't need to do. My husband, Harvey, had other plans and was working on a completely different schedule. I ended up doing the thing I didn't need to because I felt it was expected by others for me to do it. Later that day, Harvey came home and was helping me get dinner ready for the family. (The poor innocent unfortunate soul had no idea what was coming!) I was really irritable and rude to him and starting treating him like trash and being disrespectful. It was ugly. Poor guy, he had no idea where it was coming from.

He asked me what was wrong. He asked why I was acting like this. In the "old days," I would have revved up my pride and stiffened my neck and told him how everything was his fault and he just didn't understand me and didn't care. I would probably yell and get him fired up because usually that's what disrespect does to a man. It would completely ruin the whole night and I would probably go to bed giving him the silent treatment and the cold shoulder, thereby making his life miserable, our kids life miserable and my life miserable. But this time was different! After Self 101: An intensive study of the inner-workings of Rachael Turner, I was able to process this in a new way. Self-clarity began to prove it's beauty.

He asked me what was wrong. I'll be honest, I didn't repent right away and apologize. It took a minute because I'm new at this. At first, I looked at him and sternly said, "I don't know." Really, this is a big step! Though I didn't repent, I was admitting I didn't know, which meant it wasn't HIS fault! He went outside and I began to process: Why am I treating him like trash? I allowed myself to dig deep down into the inner workings of myself and figure it out. Six months ago, I would have never EVER tread that ground.

I began to think through my day. It dawned on me that I did the thing I didn't need to or want to do solely functioning out of living by compulsion and doing things because I believed other people expected me to do them. (note: this process is an entirely different blog, which I will post soon) I miss-appropriated my time after I swore I wouldn't do that anymore. I began to feel guilty about giving in to compulsion. I realized I was really angry because I didn't plan well or implement my day like I wanted to. I was angry at myself because I didn't stick to my plan of not doing things I don't want to do, not living out of compulsion.

In the meantime, Harvey planned his day well and had a great day. That irritated me and made me resent him because I was swimming in self-disgust and anger and was completely miserable. He wasn't miserable and it was irritating. 

My Thoughts: "My husband is a jerk and selfish because he had a good day and I had a bad day and didn't plan well. He doesn't care about me and my day. He should pay for that."

My Emotions/Actions (the product of my thoughts): I believed these thoughts, so I was angry, bitter and resentful of Harvey. I took out my anger on him and disrespected him, was short with him and rude. I treated him like a piece of trash.

The Root (Truth or Lie?): Lie. I was functioning from the guilt of living out of compulsion. Also, I believed it was Harvey's fault that I had a bad day. I believed I could take out my frustration, feelings of guilt and anger on him. My emotions were not truth but, I allowed them to dictate how I treated my husband. 

After I dug down deep to the root and figured out I was believing a lie, I went to Harvey and explained everything. It was so freeing to know myself like that - to be able to stop, process, dig down and see what's really happening in my inner man and then choose to walk in truth. I was no longer a slave to my emotions. I was living free. I cannot tell you the joy and peace I get from this self-clarity. It's hard to explain, but I do know that I feel free. I am free. I know myself on a whole new level; therefore, I am living a new life.

I am definitely an amateur at this whole thing. However, I am totally committed to the process of self-clarity and practicing it in my marriage, friendships, parenting and relationship with God. Maybe this process could challenge or help someone else to desire to know themselves better. Know their thoughts. Know their product, emotions. Know the root of it all. Stop believing a lie and not be a slave to emotions. And live FREE!

I bought this art recently because it perfectly describes this new journey I am on. :)

The Holy Spirit has been the power behind all of this knowledge and self-clarity. He is the one who penetrates down into my inner man and draws out of my heart's intentions and the truth about the state of my soul. With thanksgiving, I continue to pursue truth in my soul and I am resolved to submit my emotions and actions to truth. The truth will set you free!!

"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Psalm 139:23-24

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lessons from Sabbatical: The Beauty of Mindlessness

As I mentioned in my last blog (find it here), I was recently gutted out. God showed me so much during my husband's 6-month sabbatical. All of it is changing how I live and how I view my relationships with God, my family and my friends. One of the 19 things I learned was the beauty of mindlessness.

Though I didn't realize it, I lived a law-based life. The law was discreet and disguised as good works and To Do lists. I tended to be list-driven and find my value for the day based on what I had accomplished off my list. I would struggle with shame if everything wasn't completed. 

I was law-driven in that I believed my relationship with my husband was based on things I did. I felt I had to please him with a clean house, great meal and sweet kids that day and be a good wife or he'd be disappointed in me. I felt I had to please God with a good quiet time, prayer, or my list of good works. I felt if I wasn’t doing something “valuable” I was being irresponsible and sinful. I would feel shame, which usually birthed irritability and anger. I didn’t have much joy because I was like a hamster on a wheel. It was exhausting.

This last season was full of a lot of really hard things. Sometimes it was hard to get to sleep at night because I couldn’t turn off my brain. I started playing this random game on my phone. It’s where you match up the jewels and blow them up and get points. I would play it mindlessly until my eyes were so tired I had to put the phone down and I’d fall asleep instantly. In the middle of the day, I'd pick up my phone and play for a while. It was a release and it meant nothing. But I enjoyed it and it mysteriously gave me peace. 

I began doing other mindless things, too. For example, I would get my coffee in the morning and sit and stare. Not do anything. I also picked up a novel and started reading it. It was mindless because it didn't give me a list of ways to be a better wife or mother. It was just a story. For someone who was so list-driven and got their value from being productive, this was a huge step! I had to let go of the false notion that I always had to be doing, doing, doing (law). It was ok and a good thing to be still (there's a knowledge of grace in the stillness).

God showed me how much I was living by law, "do, do do", and truly I was believing those works brought value and worth. I believed they contributed to who I was. Without them, I would feel shame. I placed myself in the law, but it also bled into how I related to other people, too. I expected my husband to not mess up, if he did I was so judgmental. I put the law on my kids and expected them to obey all the time and be good. 

I began to see deeper into the reality of grace and what it means for my life. God taught me the beauty of mindless things. He shattered the false concept that my works or accomplishments contributed any value or worth to who I was.  He began to show me a much more fulfilling life - a life defined by grace. He began to teach me the value in what Christ had done - He did it all perfectly and completed his To Do list - that is what defines me. His completed To Do list (coming as a baby, living a perfect life, dying on the cross and rising from the dead) is what brings me value and worth. It's not my list, not my works, not my accomplishments. I am justified by GRACE, through FAITH, in CHRIST.  

As as for the feeling of shame that inevitably accompanied those incomplete To Do lists: 
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of LIFE has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son...he condemned sin. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  Romans 8 

This newfound outlook on my life changed the way I view God and what He thinks of me. It's changed my marriage and relationships. It’s brought so much more enjoyment to my life because I’m not frantically trying to be productive and earn value or goodness. I have entered His rest that He provides through His grace. There’s rest, in these mindless things, that I didn’t have before. There’s a knowledge of grace in the mindless things. I found the rest to which He was calling me. Literally, he called me to it. This is one way the dreams I mentioned in my last blog became a reality. 

It is easy for women to live out this law-based, list-driven expectation of productivity and accomplishment. We have so much on our plate to care for the home, our husbands, our kids, our bodies, the meals, friendships....etc. Maybe if you see this as something that has a hold on you, try doing something mindless today. Pick up a novel. Maybe even just sit in your chair with your coffee and say, "The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing." Say it over and over for 10 minutes and drink in His goodness and grace. It's refreshing. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lessons from Sabbatical: Gutted Out and Rebuilt

I wrote the last blog (find it here) in February. The next day our family went head-on into unforeseen trials. My husband hit a wall physically, emotionally and mentally and he agreed to a strongly-suggested six month sabbatical. Over the next six months, I was forced to live out everything I posted the night before.

Harvey returns to work tomorrow. We are renewed, our souls are re-calibrated and we are living life differently, much differently. The sabbatical was not only for Harvey, but God used it to show me SO MUCH! I made a list of 19 things I learned that have changed how I view God, myself, my family and my life. It’s been a dark season of winter, but spring is blooming in the Turner house and I’m so grateful for both the winter and the spring seasons of the soul.

Two Foretelling Dreams
We travelled out of town a lot. During the beginning of this experience, I had the same dream three times in one night. I woke up to a very familiar voice calling my name, "Rachael. Enter into My rest. This is for you. Enter my rest." Three times I woke up in the night to that voice. It confused me because I wasn't the one who needed rest, it was Harvey. 

The next night, I had another dream three times. I had a dream that someone was gutting me out. They were actually cutting a circle out of my core and removing it completely. I would wake up holding my abdomen, frantically thinking to myself, "What am I going to do? I can't live without my core? I need that!" 

The next day, I told Harvey I felt like the Spirit was calling me to read Hebrews. 
"Do you think I should read it?" 
He said, "Why would you read something else if you feel the Spirit telling you that?" 
I explained that I think of Hebrews like I do Romans. You kind of got to be in the right mindset to be able to plow through it. It's just different, a bit heavier. 
He just shook his head and said, "You should probably read it." 
Here are bits of what I read and the dreams from the two nights before began to make sense.

"Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test...As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest. Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God....' And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.....So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."  Hebrews 3-4

There it was! He was calling me to His rest. A rest I hadn't experienced yet fully, but was about to learn it and live it. There were those who were disobedient and didn't enter his rest because of unbelief. I prayed, "God, I believe. Help my unbelief!" His word is a sword and pierces the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.....guts you out!

I was about to embark on a journey where He truly did gut me out, removed my core and rebuilt me rightly. I was about to sort through all the sin and unhealthiness that created me to be who I was. I was about to be gutted out. I had no idea what lay ahead.

Six months after those dreams, I can tell you that it happened. Truly, I was gutted out. It has been intense, to say the least, but praise God for His staff, His goodness, His power and His rest. I have been rebuilt and my life from here out will look much different than it did before.

"You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!" Psalm 30:11-12

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Builder or Destroyer?

This blog is written from what I've learned, how I fail and how God is gracious to show me His way and His goodness.

I was recently rocked to my core by Proverbs 14. It starts out with a bang and then continues to rip you a new one verse by verse. Wisdom is compared to folly and I was forced to take yet another self-exam. This one: Am I a builder or a destroyer?

"The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down." Prov. 14:1

I had to stop and consider the implications of both of these women. I knew I didn't want any part of the latter, tearing my home down. I challenge you to consider these women and honestly ask yourself if you're a builder or destroyer. Careful, this gets personal. First, we must consider the importance of the home and also the power of the gospel.

Whether your husband is a pastor or works outside the church, the home is the sending ground for the man. It's also his hideaway from the rest of life, the epicenter of his life. What happens in the home affects everything he does. I could be building him up or tearing him down, which affects him as a man and what kind of man he is when he leaves my house, which inevitably affects those with whom he comes in contact including, but not limited to his co-workers, the church body, his believing and unbelieving friends, the lost in our city. Everything that happens in the home, in my marriage, behind closed doors has an affect on the kingdom.
How I love and care for my home and my husband can either have a detrimental or beneficial affect on the gospel advancement in Reno. 
This is not something I am about to take lightly. As wives and mothers we have a very powerful role. Yes, our husbands are called, biblically, to lead the home, but we must recognize the truth that we set the tone of the home. We have such power that with our own hands we can build our home or tear it down! Through building it up in wisdom, we can equip our husbands with encouragement, respect and satisfying his desires sending him out strong and confident. Through tearing him down, we rip him apart with our words, disrespect and selfishness leaving him ill-equipped, discouraged and half the man he could be with little to give to others.

God came to earth, made himself nothing, became a servant, born in the likeness of men. Lived perfectly. 100% God, 100% man. He was tempted, but didn't sin. Jesus chose to become sin, a curse. He was beaten, mocked and murdered and gave up His spirit to lay down his life. The penalty for our sin is death. He paid that debt and brought us into relationship with the Eternal Holy God. He rose from the dead and it is in His life that we live and are made new. He accounted to us His righteousness, wiping us clean, white as snow. His righteousness is ours.

It's out of this gospel that we function as wives. It's the only power that makes it possible to be the former woman mentioned in verse 1. It's so freeing to know that it's not possible for us to be the perfect wife, or even a good wife!
But it's also freeing to know that God promises to use our failures as wife and mother for His good. For His glory. (Romans 8:28) The pressure is gone to perform!
If you lose sight of the gospel or if it has never truly collided with your soul and brought Life, everything goes sour - your soul, your perspective, your attitude, your marriage, your home. The wisdom referred to is not wisdom of the world, but "a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God; we preach Christ crucified, the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23, 24, 2:7)

We must preach to ourselves the Truth about what Christ did, the Gospel, everyday. We must preach it, believe it and view our spouse through it. The power it holds changes everything.

"PICK UP YOUR CROSS" - death to self
Know this: the role of wife and mother is a distinct picture of this gospel.

Christ died to himself. "...though he was in the form of God [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." It's easy to believe the lie from the pit of hell that often hits me in the face: "You're a victim. You have to do everything for everyone else. You come last. No one takes care of you. No one appreciates what you do." The truth is, we have this great opportunity to live out what our Lord did for us, however, on a much, much smaller scale. Laying down our life for the ones we love. When you consider and apply the gospel, everything changes!

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."          Mark 8:34-35

Consider that as wives and mothers we can chose to lose our lives for Jesus' sake and for the sake of the gospel. What a noble eternal cause, eh? And in so living out this servant, humble lifestyle, Jesus says we save our life.....though we are losing it! Chew on that for a bit!

The following blogs will be looking deeper into the verses in Proverbs 14, which force us to self-exam and consider honestly if we are building our home or destroying it. It's painfully fulfilling and challenging.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What you trippin' on?

Sometimes the Spirit talks in a way that gets my attention. Sometimes I'm stubborn and disobedient and turn a deaf ear to His voice. This week he got my attention with "What you trippin' on?"

My husband travels a lot with work. This week he left on Wednesday and was gone through Sunday. I love that he is doing work that has an eternal affect. He's pouring into people, leaders and helping churches get healthy, which in turn people get saved. The destinies of peoples' souls are being changed.

Tuesday night before he left, I started to whine a bit about being a single mom the rest of the week. Whined just a little about missing my husband. In the middle of the night, after being awakened by a little girl, I got back into bed and made a bitter comment, "I wish I could go to the city and hang out for a week with a friend."

It was 3:30 am when I said that. I woke up the next morning around 7 and Harvey was already up. He had been up since 3:30. He couldn't sleep because of what I said. He told me he was second-guessing what he was doing this week. Maybe he shouldn't go since I'm having such a hard time with it. Maybe he shouldn't be the Acts 29 Regional Director for Nevada, California and Hawaii.

The Spirit in that moment got all up in my grill and said to me, "What you trippin' on?" Before I could answer in my heart, He told me what I was trippin' on. "You trippin' all over yourself. Focused on yourself and your poor-me victim mentality. You are so trippin' on yourself that you are knocking other people over. Are you good with that?'

I wasn't good with that. I was mortified that I had been so blind to my flesh. The whining the night before seemed harmless, just a little self-pity. In the middle of the night, my true bitter heart came out and punched my husband in the face. I was so caught up in myself and being a poor victim that it caused my husband to consider not doing what God has clearly called and equipped him to do.

No, I wasn't good with that. I knew I needed to change somethings. Turns out I had already learned earlier that week that I don't have to be a victim to my flesh. A victim to my emotions. I was totally playing the victim. Newsflash to myself and all ya'll who be trippin' on yourself: Being the victim is a choice. As long as the evil one can get us to choose to be self-centered, focused on ourselves, he's deceiving us to choose self. Choose flesh. Choose destruction. Choose death.

Nope not gonna let him win this time, either. I so enjoyed the last victory I had, by the grace of God, earlier that week! (see previous blog) I'd really like to see that happen again. I could not let my own ignorant, sinful, deception pull my husband away from what he had been called to do. You know, as a pastor's wife, we can't qualify our husbands for what they are called to do. My intelligence and spiritual maturity doesn't qualify him. (though it helps him  A LOT I'm sure!) However, you better believe that I can disqualify him. I could be the weight that eliminates him from the race. I can make him ineligible.

In that moment I saw that potential and I hated it. No way did I want him to step down from what God has called him to. No way did I want to be responsible for his disqualification. I was thankful to have a godly man who's work is truly Kingdom work. What he's doing changes lives. What he's doing is so much bigger than me and my self-pity.

In that moment, I had to choose truth.
Consider truth in the midst of deception and lies and the evil one's tactics don't stand a chance!
  1. My husband loves me. I can truly say he loves me biblically like Christ loves the church. 
  2. I know for a fact that I come before the church. Harvey's priorities are: God, wife, family, church. In that order. He wasn't putting the church before me by leaving on this trip.
  3. God provides for me and takes care of me while Harvey is gone. Harvey being gone doesn't leave me alone, vulnerable, weak, or less off. I'm not dependent on my husband for my well-being.
  4. The truth is, I love Jesus Christ. I love His bride, the church. I love that lives are changing in Reno and in the region. I love that God has called my husband to be a part of His incredible movement. I love that Harvey chose to serve as Acts 29 regional director. Heck, I told him to do it.
I chose truth that morning. I had to confess to Harvey and apologize for being so self-centered. I told him the truth about my heart for him and what he is doing. Honestly, it scared me a lot that my sin and victim-mentality came close to having a detrimental effect on his ministry. It is true that our sin doesn't only affect us, it's ignorant and small-minded to think that way. Our sin and selfishness is far reaching to so many other people than we even realize! My sin in that moment would've affected people in San Francisco, Sacramento, the middle of California and beyond.

No way am I okay with functioning out of filling sorry for myself and making my husband pay for it. I chose joy and chose not to feel sorry for myself. It was a hard week, but good. The girls were sick and I lost a lot of sleep, but I refused to let it pull me down and make me bitter. Bitterness, resentment, self-pity are all choices. Love, support for my husband, trust in the Lord, gratitude and joy are all choices. Walking in the Spirit is a choice. By the grace of God, I chose the Spirit this week and my soul was blessed. God is good.

What you trippin' on?