They say the best way to inspire others is by being transparent and vulnerable. I tried that in Christian community and well…my perspective is as follows. When you are still healing, it may be best to share with a safe community of people. Once you are healed, the story can be shared with others. Why do I say this? Because humans do not always think about the impact of their words before they speak. Some can be in a place of desiring to be helpful and they are actually quite harmful.
I love safe people, don’t you?
I met with a dear friend yesterday for lunch, a mini trip to the spa, and took her on a local tour. One of the things I love about her is her ability to listen without trying to throw a scripture on everything.
She has suffered great loss; I have suffered great loss, and we both know the unintended un-helpfulness of sometimes well meaning people. They say, “You are so strong!” Or “You just need to trust God.” “You know God is working all things together for good.”
I sat across the table from a kindred spirit. Someone who understood grief deeply and did not see it as something to wish away, but something to walk through with God. Some days are incredible and there is great joy. Some days you do not desire to laugh, your heart is full of tears. Some days agony crashes upon you like a tidal wave and you pray earnest prayers for relief.
People around you wish for you to be better. Some will avoid you because they do not know what to say or they don’t want to be in the presence of a person overcoming grief or loss. It is rare to find the ones willing to simply sit on the boat with you, riding out the storm.
Why do we grieve?
We grieve because we have lost someone or something we loved. Love is the reason for the grief. Those who do not love deeply and do not attach, they do not understand grief. Those who have not lost someone they loved, are sometimes clueless how to respond to a hurting person.
God knows how to deal with grief. I also highly, highly recommend grief share and support groups for those hurting; groups where others have gone through loss or are going through loss. Having a community of people who get it is absolutely vital to not only surviving, thriving. I am so thankful for safe people.
Grief has taught me so many things and it has changed me profoundly. Have you gone through a painful experience that changed you?
I am not the same person I was a year ago. I stopped doing things that seemed like a waste of time. I am still refining my priorities.
I stopped caring what people on the internet were replying to my content. I started simply deleting negative and misguided comments instead of wasting time trying to explain myself.
I stopped trying to mentor people who were disengaged, not present, not putting forth effort, and not interested in pulling their weight. I have enough to carry. I do not need dead weight nor to exert so much effort into what is not valued or appreciated.
I stopped worrying about those “friends” who just disappeared. I moved on with my life.
I stopped trying to love people who kept rejecting or misunderstanding love or it was always one sided.
Grief taught me and is teaching me to stop wasting my life on things that don’t matter.
Grief taught me and is teaching me to take one day at a time and some days it is one moment at a time.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me to stop expecting people to get it and be compassionate. I must have compassion for myself. Self care is vital. Expecting people to see a need and respond is futile. I found safe people to ask for help.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me to rest more and stop pushing myself to be strong for others. I am human, not Jesus. I started cancelling volunteer events with no support. I stopped pushing myself to be the only person to show up.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me what matters and what does not matter. It has recalibrated my focus so things I used to do, I refuse to carry with me. I believe grief can be a powerful tool to shift our focus. What about you?
Grief has taught me and is teaching me who my real friends are. It has been eye opening the past 12 months. I am not angry nor offended by people, I simply have relationships that grew closer and some that disappeared.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me the importance of saying no. When people perceive you as strong, they forget you are a human with legitimate needs. So they come with their needs, their wants, their desires, and expect you to be strong for them and you. Well, no. I have said to a few people, “I would like for you to contact someone else.”
Grief has taught me and is teaching me an even greater importance of family. Friends can come and go, but family is so important.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me not to judge my life by the lives of others. “Oh they never have anything bad happen to them, what am I doing wrong?” I have learned grief touches everyone at some point in life. If it is not your neighbors turn now, it will be one day. None of us make it out of life alive or without any challenges.
I have learned I do not have to be strong, just because that is what others desire. I learned there are days I crumble into the arms of God exhausted from grief and I am the furthest thing from strong. I find comfort in being able to just be human. I look at this man named Jesus who was and is perfect in every way. He cried out to the Father in agony, “Why have you forsaken me?” Pain has a way of making the Father seem so far away.
I understand how Jesus felt. I understand how Mother Teresa felt when she wrote in her diary that she felt forsaken by God at moments in her life. It may seem blasphemous to some, yet I see no blasphemy in Jesus. He knew agony, grief, suffering, and His friends went to sleep. He knew betrayal by one of the ones He trained and loved. My encouragement is it’s okay to be human. We were not created to live in such hard place. We were created for paradise and sin brought and brings hell.
Grief has taught me and is teaching me the closeness of God even when He does not say a thing. He speaks in ways that sometimes are not heard, but they mark us. I laugh sometimes because as silly as it sounds, I think God is filling up my Pinterest feed. It’s one encouraging picture after another.
I want to encourage you, those who have suffered loss. I am sorry for the silly and lack of empathy/lack of compassion things people say. I am sorry if you feel you must always be the one towing the superhero line. God does not expect us to pretend loss does not hurt, nor to put on the fake Christian mask, “God is working all things for good! Rejoice in the Lord always.” Let’s be real. Let’s be honest. Some days there may be a song in your heart. Some days there may be tears streaming down your face. Be human. You have permission to be human and invite God into your humanity.
I personally don’t have time for pretend. There are several things in my life/family that require a miracle. I am real, raw, and do not care how others feel about the process.
God is with us on our best day.
God is with us on our worst day.
God with us is how we make it through the turbulent storms without drowning.
Let’s be real, honest, and inspire others to do so as well!
You are prayed for and so deeply loved!
“He comforts those who mourn and binds up the broken hearted.“
We hit year 7 next month! Wow how time flies.
When I prepare bookbags and sammies for our homeless friends, I pray over each one that the person will feel the love of God, encounter God’s heart, and feel seen by God.
One man we met grabbed a bag and could not stop hugging it. I asked him why. He replied, “I am getting some good vibes off this bag.” He would not stop smiling and hugging the back pack.
I saw him months later riding his bike through the city. He stopped me. He said, “Thank you for my bag and the things inside. I have been reading what you gave me and it blessed me. Thank you!” Once again his face filled with a loving smile.
Love is this incredible force that says, “I see you. You matter. You are significant. Your life is not a mistake. You have infinite worth.”
I would love to tell you I am always excited to go. I am not. Sometimes I am tired physically, emotionally, or mentally. I think I have nothing to give here. Yet feelings are not truth. In those moments when we press past our comfort zone something magical happens. People encounter God’s love through us. God is simply looking for a partner, a conduit. He loves to love through us.
It’s not about me or the team. It is God’s love through us. If we can do it, anyone can do it. From the ones who say, “I thought no one cared and I planned to kill myself today,” to the ones who say, “Before you stopped me, I was on my way to shoot up on heroine,” to the ones who say, “I have not eaten in days.” There is Jesus walking amongst the least of them whispering over and over, “I see you and you matter. You were worth dying for and I LOVE you.”
So you set aside your feelings or even uncertainty about reaching out to strangers. You get low and sit with the hurting, broken, bruised, abused, victimized, forgotten, lonely. You wrap your arms around the addict, the prostitute, or the PTSD suffering veteran. You pursue honor for the ones who smell like urine, booze, or vomit. You hold hands with another human being and declare, “You have a friend in me.” You listen to stories, songs, and poems even. You wipe tears, and try to provide hope for the hopeless. You ask God to flow through you so someone encounters Jesus.
The sick are often made whole through His love and power. The suicidal change their minds. The addict finds comfort. The invisible are seen.
You see Jesus in the faces too ashamed to cross the threshold of a shiny church. You do what you can and sometimes weep because you wish to do more.
We cannot do everything. We can do something. If I can, someone who tests 78% for introversion, anyone can. Why? Because love compels us to do more than talk about problems. We become part of the solution. I believe the church, not solely the government is called to social justice.
Here is a snap shot of our team today! Youth to young adults out serving the least, last, and lost.
Operation God is Love #LoveLooksLikeSomeoneJesus
First Photo: Pinterest
Found of Operation God is Love
These are the speakers & panelists for the first annual Confident & Free Event in Columbus,Ohio!
Erin Lamb, Laurie Coffman, Dr. Sandra Weppler, Hilary Lynne, Patti Navis Hathaway, Kristin Reeg, Shannon Hair Hodges, Jeana Borkholder, and Lynn Jones.
There will be three keynote speakers (top row), three activation speakers (middle row), and additional panelists (last row). Worship will be led by Lanita and CJ Gaul. They are absolutely wonderful prophetic worshippers. Prophetic Art will be done by Velma Butler.
We will have 2 panel discussions; One focuses on breaking out of limiting beliefs/legalism/religious mindsets. The other focuses on hearing from God, testing what you hear, true seer gifting, discernment, and growing in the prophetic.
Excited to give these ladies an opportunity to share their heart and experiences with growing in godly confidence and freedom. It’s a journey with Jesus.
Hope you join us for prophetic worship, soaking time, teaching, activation (you get to do something-not just watch), mentoring, Q/A time, and hear about how God is transforming the world through ordinary people called to extraordinary things!!
We all get to play as John Wimber would say.
We will also have areas where you can learn more about ending human trafficking and get involved in missions.
Men are welcome & encouraged to attend!!
Right now registration is discounted with an early bird rate of $89.
You may register at https://www.empowered-free.com/book-online.
You may also read speaker and band bio’s via the link above.
Morning Notes: When Familiarity Leads to Dishonor and Disrespect. Pride Breeds Dishonor, Disrespect, Rebellion, and Lack of Genuine Appreciation.
I believe every person is worthy of honor because they were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Honor does not mean complete agreement, nor worship. It is the ability to see the worth of a human being and treat them as though they matter. Honor is also seeing through the lenses of God and having the ability to assess someone by the spirit.
There is a proverb that states familiarity can breed contempt. I believe familiarity can breed dishonor, or lack of value for someone or something. When Jesus began ministry, some of the people around him stated, “Isn’t that Joseph’s son?” They had no grid for Jesus as Messiah. So they treated him with dishonor, disrespect, and disdain. They could not see who Jesus was because they had their own ideas and concepts.
Pride breeds dishonor. Why? Because pride is an elevation of our opinions above God’s. Pride is not just puffing our chest out and being cocky. Pride is an exaltation of self above of God. Dishonor says, “I know who this person is and I will treat them according to my assessment.” The problem with this thinking is that God values everyone and often has a different opinion that we do. Jesus stated, “Whatever you have done to the least of them, you have done unto me.”
Dishonor can also be a manifestation of an inward lack of value for self. We can only give away what we possess. If I view myself as royalty in the eyes of God, then I will honor others as deeply cherished by God. If I view myself as a bottom feeder, possess insecurity, then I may struggle with seeing the value of others because I do not value myself.
Pride pretends to be a friend, yet it is our greatest foe. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. God works on behalf of the yielded and surrendered to bring forth even greater honor. It is the person who elevates God’s opinion above theirs who receives more honor.
We see in part and know in part. God sees everything fully. God knows our end from our beginning. God knows who we really are. God knows who our neighbor is and the gifts/talents He placed inside of them. God sees clearly.
It can also be quite easy to not value what is familiar. Oh that is just Susie, she will always be here. It is possible to lose value for someone or something that is steady, constant, and available. Sometimes the best way to appreciate something or someone is to go without it for awhile. Sometimes our greatest appreciation comes in hindsight.
Regardless of how we feel, a Kingdom principle is honor. The bible says the following.
Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another,~Romans 12:10.
The key to honor is abiding (remaining) in Jesus and receiving the love and honor God has for us. We give away what we possess. If we have not received the honor God gives us, we cannot give that away. May we know how much God loves us and then honor/love others.
Weekend Devotion: God Created Women in His Image to Be a Source of Strength & Power Where Men Are Weak. Her Divine Design Was Not Maid, Slave, Blindly Obeying Man’s Desire, Nor Lust. Ezer Kenegdo is Poorly Translated As Helper.
This weekend speaking on ending modern day slavery. 80% of the exploited are women; 50% under the age of 16. Part of the issue is women are viewed as objects to serve the pleasure whims of men, instead of people to be loved.
Eve was NOT created to be Adam’s play toy or slave. Ezer Kegnedo which is poorly translated into English as helper, means an equal but opposite complement that is strong, provides power, where the other is weak.
God did not tell Eve, “It is your job to please this man and serve him. Be sure to obey him and follow him.” He told both Adam and Eve both to have dominion on earth (see Genesis 1). Both were created in the image of God.
The fall of mankind produces a fracture in the male female relationship. God did NOT say, “I want your husband to Lord over you.” He said, “Because of your choice (eating the fruit), your desire is going to be to please your husband (be a people pleaser essentially), and because of your choice he will seek to lord over you.” It was NEVER God’s design for men to dominate women nor treat them like sex objects or slaves or servants.
Jesus stated the greatest among you will be your servant, when the disciples were fighting over who would be the greatest (Matthew 23:11). The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).
God created relationships to flow from love! Love does not seek someone to meet it’s selfish whims. Love seeks to serve. Paul told husbands to love their wives the way Christ loves the church. Love comes to give, serve, invest, empower, help, celebrate….love is NOT a consumer that uses people like Kleenex. What is so radical about Ephesians is people ignore Ephesians 5:21 which says “Submit (be willing to yield to what honors God) to one another out of reverence for God,” and “Husbands love your wives the way Christ loves loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).
The focus is wives submit to your husbands which in study I found is not in the orginal text as written. Wives submit was added based on what translators felt would fit. It was submit to one another, likewise for wives. Wives were already forced into submission in the culture.
Paul emphasized husbands treating their wives the way Jesus loves the church. Jesus makes the church a coheir, serves the church, prepares a place for her, adds value, treats her as a part of Him, nourishes the church, takes care of the church. This was RADICAL because men in the culture treated their wives like property and walking reproductive organs. The guidance of Paul for men was radical. Women were not treated as coheirs the way Jesus treats the church. Yet thousands of years later you still see hyper focus on women be submissive and little on men submitting (Ephesians 5:21) and loving the way Jesus loves (Ephesians 5:25, John 13:34-35, 1 John 4:8). Paul said without love we are just making noise and we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13).
I truly believe one of the ways we can end some of the horrible crimes against women is to stop teaching that women are just supposed to submit to the desires of men. Women are not children created to aimlessly follow men. Eve was created because it was not good for Adam to be alone. Adam had a need. Adam had a problem. God provided someone who was created to be a source of power and strength where he was weak. They were to complement each other.
God even refers to Himself as an Ezer to mankind. He provides strength where we are weak.
When women are viewed as people not walking reproductive organs created for man’s pleasure, I think things will radically shift.
When lust is addressed as anti God and sin, and we help people get delivered, I think things will radically shift.
When love enters the hearts of people, and people are seen as someone to love not an object to use-things will shift.
When the adult film industry loses clients (it fuels human trafficking), things will shift.
When young girls are taught they are not pleasure pods created to please men, but created to be loved as a person not a service-things will shift.
When “boys will be boys” is removed from our vocabulary as excuses for poor behavior, things will shift.
When we address the things God spoke about relationships instead of hyper focusing on women submit, things will change. God created women to be a source of strength and that had nothing to do with her ability to please him physically.
Women were created different from men on purpose! Women have the ability to use both sides of their brains in ways men tend to be single focused/minded. Each gender is gifted and adds value to the other. The brain of a woman in complex and different. It is not inferior.
My prayer is we (culture) get to know the heart and love of God. Love fulfills the law because love does no harm to it’s neighbor (Romans 13:10)! Love does not sell people or use them for their body or forced labor. Love does not treat people like servants. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants; I call you friends (John 15:15).”
Love comes to serve. Love is pure. Love comes to honor God.
Having the desire for physical intimacy is not sin; desiring to use people, get those needs met outside God’s design, seeking to be pleased instead of love…that is selfish and sinful.
People were created by love (God), to be loved, then to love. Without love, it’s not God. God is love (1 John 4:8). Those who do not love, do not know God.
Lust is not love. It is selfish and greedy. It comes to be served, not serve. It comes to consume, not give. It comes with demands, not a heart to honor. Jesus came and took the lowest place. He did not boss the disciples around, “Serve Me peasants. I am the King. I am the Lord over you.” Nope. He washed feet. He gave the disciples an invitation into relationship and led them by love. Leader=servant of others in the eyes of God. The leader is the one who sacrificially loves. Jesus laid His life down for the church. Jesus did not boss people around. He loved them.
May we see people the way God does. Women were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). I won’t even touch on how 50% of the victims of human trafficking are under 16 years old. Some are as young as 3 or 4 years old. Children are being sold for forced labor or illicit sexual acts. It is beyond disturbing. Men were not created for lust. Men were created to love like God. Love does NOT harm children.
Here are some organizations you can support who are addressing human trafficking.
International Justice Mission (ijm.org)
Extreme Love (extremelove.com)
And there are so many more!
I will be speaking this Sunday at 10:30am on Ending Modern Day Slavery.
You may watch the live stream from Vineyard Christian Church Live Stream.
May you and I be the change we wish to see in the world!
Lamb Enterprises LLC just released our Freedom Key collection and He Knows My Name Initial necklaces. Check out our new line.
Freedom to Soar is pictured below with our antique bronze heart charm. The back side says love.
Check out the Golden Heart Key!
Get your initial in gold with a decorative flare. You are sure to love He Knows My Name.
These will only be available for a limited time so get yours today! They make a great holiday gift! I know it’s September, yet why not cross that special person off your list right away! 😉
Only available at the Empowered & Free store. Click here->Empowered & Free Store! ✨
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