During a difficult season of our marriage, my husband and I began the deep work of healing which involved a significant investment in our mental health. Recently in one of our sessions with our therapist, we did as we always do: We checked in with how we were feeling.
When Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he began his letter by saying that he was “a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle.” The word called in this verse carries a sense of purpose, intent, and direction. When Paul heard God’s divine call on the road to Damascus, he was flooded with a powerful sense of destiny.
There are a variety of human responses to pain. Some people, when faced with suffering, soar. But for others—maybe even for you—suffering can drive our faith into the ground. It deeply impacts our walk with God, and not always in a positive way.
It took me a little while to accept that I am a leader. Our pastor and director of Jesus Culture,
Banning Liebscher, would call me into his office and challenge me to grow in certain areas. I
would complain and push back, upset that I felt like more was being required of me than others
on our team. He would say, “Yes! More is required of you because of your leadership calling!”
I would concede and push and stretch myself towards growth.
So much of our social media frenzy is fed by filtered pictures and half-truths, meant to arouse envy, provoke anger, or inspire greed. Looking back on my own social media history, I wince at how self-focused, prideful, and image-obsessed my posts were, prior to God’s searing conviction to use any influence He gave me for His glory.
I’m reminded of how good I’ve got it with my friends every time I manually sign into Twitter or Instagram. I think for a second of the passwords and realize they’re not my own creations. My friend Rebecca made up my Twitter password. My friend Hayley concocted an Instagram password for me...
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself wishing away my present season in attempt to launch into the beautiful, life-giving spring season just around the corner. Maybe you don’t do this because you’ve perfected living in the moment with a content heart…(if so, teach me your ways). As for me, I’m still on the journey—but if there’s anything I’ve learned through the mud, misfortunes, and muck of my 24 years of life, it’s that seasons can’t be rushed.
Then God said, “let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over every living creature that moves on the ground…So in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them….“—Genesis 1:26, 27, 28 (NIV)
What do you want to be when you grow up? I’d sit with wide-eyed wonder when I was a little girl dreaming of fulfilling God’s plan for my life. I grew up in the church––attending summer church camps and purity conferences on the regular. At a young age, I received the call for ministry and began to develop a passion for worship leading.
My husband and I recently moved, and as we packed up our bookshelves, he made an off-handed comment about how many “self-help” books I had. Feeling sheepish, I grabbed the one in his hand and said “I’ll handle packing these, thank you very much.” But as I picked up where he left off, I realized my husband was right. I am a self-help book junkie.
I have spent the last three years studying, writing about, and living through a season of lament (crying out to God.) It’s been a season of ill health, grief, emotional and physical pain and more. But I have come out on the other side knowing that God is good, that God does good, and that God wants good for his beloved daughters.