The Steps

stairswall

Steps so firm and sure

A call-so strategically marked

Everything so crisp and clear

Step by step moving forward towards destiny

Each move a battle

Every victory makes the next step solid

Finally the fight, begins to fade

Into rest

Inhale, exhale

Colors vibrant

Sounds strong

Ease begins to settle

fadedstairs

Suddenly

The steps fade away

Everything dulls

The path once strong, sure and firm

Gives way

New steps appear

Faded, lonely, unsure

Resistance

A reluctant foot takes a step onto the rocky stair

Will it hold?

Will the staircase emerge from the grassy confusion?

Will the journey be as treacherous as it appears?

Will the climb ever end?

Redefining Everything

Everything in my world is being redefined.  All understanding is shifting because after all:

“I am making all things new!” Revelation 21:5

We know that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn!  All separation was removed between God and men (…and women.  Just for the record, man is NOT the mediator between women and God.)  How amazing that He brought us in-to Him!

I am so happy that its spring, but one thing winter is good for, is some good object lessons.  (I promise, I’ll bring this back around.)  It snowed this year for us, and my favorite event was hearing it melt!  We had a few warm days where the sun was doing the melting.  Our backyard is surrounded by an 8 foot privacy fence.  The snow had cleared everywhere…except where the fence had blocked the sun.  It was so strange to look at!  There was literally a perfect line down the side of the yard:  grass on one side, snow on the other.  It was so warm, the snow shouldn’t have been there.  (I wish I had taken a picture!)

This is a picture of one of the choices we have as a believer!  We could bask in the Son!  We have been given direct access to its warmth and clarity, His perfectness!  If we decide to take one step to the left we will find ourselves under the shade of the fence (when we ONLY get our revelation from other people. Ie. Teachers, pastors, ect)  Our understanding of the Son, will have to be filtered through the blockage of the fence.  What a vast difference in the outcome!  The section in direct Sonlight is flourishing!  It is green and thriving even right beside the effects of winter.  The section under the fence is cold and dead and unable to produce life.  It’s not making the progress that nature should make when it comes in contact with the sun.  How often do we ONLY look to others to spoon feed us our revelation?

You have direct access to the Son!  He gave up His life to make this happen!  Why would we go back to the way things were before His ultimate act of love?

This is where I have been for the past 10 years!  I have been slowly realizing what teachings I grew up with that were under the fence.  I have direct access to Jesus and am learning to bask in His love.  He’s changing things!  He’s redefining for me even the definition of love!  It’s strange to look back because everything looks so different now.  I will never forget where I came from, but will always be moving forward!  This is what I want to share with you.  I want to share my journey of how Jesus is:  Redefining Everything!

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

It’s hard to post blogs when you’re in survival (or deployment) mode.  I’ve not been able to post as much as I’d like lately.  It’s been difficult to even share this with people.  I know that our words hold power to change worlds, so I also have wanted to be careful.  It also seems that not too many people understand what this situation is like.  So, I guess I’ll give this a go.

My amazing, wonderful, beyond-all-dreams husband has been dealing with some severe back problems.  They started with some incidents and injuries while he was deployed.  They got worse and worse, but didn’t affect him too much.  One day, something happened.  We don’t even know what it was.  He just woke up unable to walk!  It’s basically been a downhill journey from there.  It’s been a year and 3 months, since the initial-whatever it was.  He’s being “treated” by the military, and I use that term very, very loosely.  They are basically giving him no options for treatment, since they don’t do the type of surgery that would be the most beneficial for him.  He is also in need of multiple surgeries, which is why the type is so important.

Iaian has gone from being a top athlete, to having a handicap sticker, using a cane, and sometimes is not even able to get out of bed.  It has been so rough to see someone that I love so much go through something like this!  He is in constant pain, and there’s nothing anyone can do.

Here’s the kicker.  We KNOW that God heals!  We KNOW that Jesus provided for our healing on the cross.  We KNOW that it is NOT in God’s will that Iaian be hurt!  We KNOW that Jesus gave us the authority over sickness and demons.  We pray constantly, with all authority, for Iaian’s healing.  Iaian believes.  We all believe.

Most of my days have been spent “just trying to get stuff done”.  We’ve got 5 kids, and we homeschool, and Iaian’s been unable to move.  It takes all day to do all of the things I need to do.  This is what I mean by deployment mode.  I spend my time “getting stuff done.”  The only HUGE difference is that he’s not getting shot at, and he’s not going to die unexpectedly.  But it is so hard seeing someone you love in agonizing pain all of the time.

We had a huge blessing the other day.  Some days have been better than others with Iaian, but they are never “normal” days (like he’s functioning the way he used to).  Something knocked him out again, and he was unable to even lay down without constant, make you scream, pain.  I was desperate.  I just threw it out of facebook, so see if anyone would be willing to come over and pray and worship with him.  We’re not talking about a begging session here.  We’re talking about power filled prayer!  I was just overwhelmed by the response of the people that said they were coming!  Our house ended up filled with people praying over him, singing over him, and just loving on him!  We had people praying around the world at the same time!  By the end of this two hour glory fest, HE WAS STANDING!!!  He hadn’t stood in two days!  What was the most amazing about all of this is that it’s not something we are going through alone.  A lot of the time, I feel like I am the only one that can help him.  But there are things that people can do!  I felt like I had a spiritual weight lifted off of my shoulders when they all came in!  Other people were standing in the gap for him!

I believe for a full recovery for Iaian-somehow.  I don’t know how it will happen, but it will!  He will be having some appointments coming up to reevaluate the situation.  It’s gotten much worse, since he was first looked at.  Now, I will have to take him to his appointments.  Now, I will be in the room with the doctor.  Let me just say that we WILL get answers!  Iaian WILL have a treatment plan.  This man joined the army running some crazy time for his 2 miles, and HE WILL LEAVE THE ARMY WALKING!!!  They owe him that much!

Well, I share this with you so that you’ll join in victorious prayer with us!  I share this with you to be real.  Not all things are sunshine and roses, but the things that aren’t, are intended to hurt us, and are NOT of God!  I know God works all things out for good…so if it’s not good yet, it’s not the end.

Submission-My First Thoughts

Aaahhh, submission.  The go-to concept when talking to and about women.  It seems that it doesn’t matter what the discussion is about, in regards to women, the topic of submission comes up.  The church has put submission on top of the list of godly character qualities for women, along with not gossiping and embracing modesty.  But just how important is submission?

Is submission biblical? Yes!  We have all been called to mutual submission (Ephesians 5:22-24), but is this really the number one goal for women, as it is taught in the church?

Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-2. And Colossians 3:18 all speak about submission.  That’s right, 3 out of the 31,102 verses in the Bible talk about submission.  Now, when you take a look at the numbers, all this talk about submission seems a little bit off balance here, doesn’t it?  You can definitely pick any topic that’s covered in the Bible and take it out of context and balance.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s how cults are started.)  You can also take the verses out of context, highlighting only the “rules” for women, disregarding all surrounding words.

If you take a look at these verses on submission, there’s always a corresponding command for husbands, and the husband is actually held to a higher standard!  Submission was never meant to be one sided!  One of these verses is a call to submission to be used as a “witnessing tool” to win over her husband to Christ!  These verses were written to cultures that were female dominated!  These passages on wifely submission are also intertwined with verses that people have previously used to justify slavery!  At least in America, we now see the error in justifying slavery with those verses, but the church is quick to mandate the ones for women, saying that the slavery verses were cultural, and the verses that talk about women were for all women, for all time!

Another common misconception about submission, is that submission means a complete denial of self.  It means a woman no longer has thoughts or ideas or sometimes even personality. This is simply not true!  God created you to be you!  Of course there’s always room for self-improvement, but if you are completely squelching all that you are, that’s the opposite of self-improvement.

Of course, this is not an in depth analysis of each of these verses.  (I do plan to do that later though.) My point to this is to say that the submission of a wife to her husband is NOT the number one character quality of a godly women, as stated in many circles.  Most of the women who have amazingly powerful stories in the Bible would be considered “Jezebels” in most churches today.  They do not appear submissive, in the least.  Yet, they submitted themselves to Christ, and the rest is history.  (If you don’t believe me, check out the stories of Abigail, Jocabed, Hannah, Deborah, Esther, Mary, ect.)  I think we have turned the concept of submission into an unbalanced idol.

I think this concept has been distorted.  I mean, if I go out with my friend, and we are deciding on where to go, and she has a real desire to do a certain thing, or if she is an expert in a certain area, and wants to make a recommendation on what to do, I listen to her.  I’m not submitting to her.  I just love her, and if she has passion about something, I don’t crucify myself and make it known that I’m submitting!  I just care about her and the things that are important to her.  How often this very scenario is used when talking about a husband and wife relationship.

I was thinking about this in my own marriage.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I “submitted” to my husband.  Even recently, we have had some pretty major life decision to make.  We are definitely on opposite sides of a few of them.  He laid out his case, and I laid out mine.  In the end, we ended up going with that he had wanted.  Most would call this submission, but it doesn’t feel like the submission the church has prescribed.  I made the decision to do something that he wanted to do because I love him!  It doesn’t feel like, and is not, anything other than that.  I love him and want the best for him.  If this decision is going to benefit him, I want to make that happen for him.  So, no, I don’t submit to my husband, I just love him.

One last note on submission.  As I was thinking about this, 1 Corinthians 13 came up.  The greatest of these is love.  I believe that LOVE is the perfect; LOVE is the goal, the ideal.  Just like divorce is allowable because of the hardening of hearts, I believe that submission is the 2nd best to God’s perfect will which is just plain love.  If we are truly love: we are filled with Love, embody love, and are being perfected in love, all else will pass away.  No longer will we need to make a conscious effort to submit, but we will just love.

Americanized Christianity

The American church has it made.  We are a totally different animal than global Christianity.  While we sit over here debating on Calvinism, Arminianism, dispensationalism, cessationism, complementarianism, and egalitarianism, other Christians around the world are having real problems.  They don’t have arguments about these things because they are humble and simply living all of the things that we are talking about.

American Christian women have it made!  God loves women so much!  He values us, and declares us equal.  He set us free from the worldly systems of patriarchy, and brought us in to His Kingdom, sitting us as co-heirs with our brothers in Christ!  Our American society lines up with this equality, and sometimes even practically speaking, surpasses our church culture.  We aren’t just considered equals in our hearts, and then sent out to participate in a society that sees us as less.  Our society validates and trail blazes women’s worth!

From the beginning of time, there has been an all-out war waged against women.  Satan went after the woman first, after the fall, patriarchy became the distorted version of family, women are targets of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and even in America, a working woman’s wages are generally not comparable to a man’s.

I believe that because of the privilege American Christians have, we also have a responsibility.  (Yes, men, I believe this includes you too!)  Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  This is one of the first verses that crosses my mind, when thinking about global woman’s issues.  We have been given so much, and there are so many women around the world that do not have the privileges we do.  The American church needs to stop fighting each other on the “roles” of women, the clothing of women, and the subordination of women.  We are eating each other from the inside out, when we are supposed to be providing food for those that have none.  We need to stop this, so that we can help the women that are truly not free!  They may be imprisoned by a different religion.  They may be held captive by a societal structure.  They could even be held by evil people that have no problem humiliating and degrading these precious women.  Our God holds these women in the highest regard!  They need to know how much freedom our Father gives them, how valued they really are.

I believe it’s our responsibility to help!  We have been given the freedom of a highly privileged life.  It is for freedom sake that Christ set us free!  We have been given the ministry of reconciliation!  We are to bring those that don’t know the Father’s love to His heart!  I don’t believe that our Americanized privilege is to be squelched on the “comforts of living”, but to do what Jesus did and free the captives!

Overcome Evil With Good

Have you ever read a “non-Christian” fiction book that contained spiritual truths that blew you away?  That’s what Lois Lowry’s book “Son”, did to me.  This isn’t a plug for her books, but I cannot stop thinking about what was so eloquently and profoundly depicted.  (Spoiler alert!)

Gabe is the son of Claire.  He was taken from her at birth.  She spends most of the book trying to find her son.  She is finally close to finding him, and has to make a trade with the evil Trademaster, to enter the community he is in.  She trades her youth for entry.  Trademaster only accepts trades of things that are personal to you (ie. Youth, humor, character, intelligence). Trademaster has bargained with many, and many people have given up much of who they are for something they either needed or wanted.  Gabe finally learns that Claire is his mom, but their time is about to be cut short because she is on her death bed.  Gabe must go fight Trademaster to restore his mother’s youth.

Gabe is the only one that can do it because he has a special gift.  He is able to feel what others are feeling.  Trademaster is always lurking close by the village.  Gabe only has to cross the river to meet the evil man.  Gabe is blown away by the pure ugliness Trademaster exudes.  Gabe doesn’t want to kill anyone.  He doesn’t know if he is strong enough.  Trademaster knows that Gabe cannot take his life.   He decides to use his gift.  He gets into Trademaster’s head.  Trademaster is hungry; he is starving.  This is why he is lurking by the river.  It positions him close enough to his victims to see their misery and pain.  This is what feeds him.  He is fueled by other’s suffering.

What does Gabe do with this information?  He uses it to kill Trademaster.  He begins to tell him about the lives of the people he has traded with.  This one woman is doing great.  Another man is doing well.  This other person is thriving.  Each time Gabe tells Trademaster of the positive outcome of a person that should be suffering, Trademaster dies a little more each time.  Finally, Gabe delivers the final blow, and Trademaster is dead!

The verse that immediately came to me, when reading this, is Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Maybe this is what Paul meant when he penned this.  We spend so much time “fighting”, when maybe all we need to do is stand and say, “no, you meant this for evil, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, we are doing just great!”  It even reminds me of Genesis 50:20 which talks about Joseph after his ordeal, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

What if, instead of taking a fighting posture, we took a posture of standing?  Ephesians 6:13 “13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”  What if instead of “fighting evil” we took a position of perfect rest? It’s so important that a whole chapter in Hebrews is dedicated to it. Hebrews 4:1 says, “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.”

What would it look like if this is how we overcame evil with good?

My Writer’s Block

So, I’ll admit, I’ve had some writers block lately. I’ve had a few issues in my head that have been in the forefront of my mind. They are pretty much unrelated, but maybe if I get them out, I’ll be able to move on. This is not my full synopsis on these issues, I’m merely just getting them off of my chest.

1. The new anti-soldier, anti-war movement in Christianity. This may not actually be a new thing, but Christians are coming out of the woodwork taking a stand against war and violence. Now, you don’t have to agree with the war to support our troops! Regardless of your thoughts on our action in foreign countries, the soldiers that fight for your freedom, are people! They are men and women that risk their lives for you. All of the soldiers that have deployed have sacrificed something for you, some more than others, and even some lay down their lives for you! I have even heard it said that a freedom won through violence is no freedom at all. Are you kidding me?! This is a smack in the face to everyone in the world that does not have the freedom that we enjoy! (Did you know that there are people in this world that actually aren’t free?) Many of the proponents of this anti-war/violence message, simply leave out any views on American soldiers. By doing this, it leaves their followers wondering whether or not to support our troops. Most followers, quickly move into the category of anti-soldier. Let’s be clear: silence is a position. Let’s keep our focus here. You don’t have to agree with the war to support the PEOPLE that have experienced things far beyond your understanding. They are real people with lives of their own, families, dreams, and ambitions, they simply decided that your freedom was worth fighting for, and are willing to give up everything to ensure your freedom for years to come!


2. Modesty: oh dear, sweet modesty. I’m so glad that some people hit it big by writing blogs about not wearing yoga pants. I’m even happier that others are standing up to say how ridiculous this emphasis is. I mean, really! I’ve got to say, I’ve been in churches, all my life and can maybe count on one hand the amount of outfits I’ve seen people wear that have been immodest. I really just don’t think it’s a big issue (unless the issue is maybe, jealousy, insecurity, or a distrust in your husband). Most of the time, I think the real issue is vanity! People that preach the modesty message, spend so much of their time swimming in vanity. Even if you’re trying to dress like the Amish, if that’s what you’re always thinking about, it’s vanity. I think my biggest issue with all of this modesty talk, is that an unhealthy obsession with the covering of your body promotes a rape culture. This is the reason that victims can’t come forward when they have been violated. They are met with judgments. “Well, what were you wearing?” “What kind of signals were you sending off?” “Where were you?” It makes the judgment that if you were wearing yoga pants, you smiled or had a friendly demeanor, or walked down a street with a streetlight that was out, you were asking for it! Let’s be clear: Modesty has nothing to do with rape, it is the manifestation of the evil desires and sin of the perpetrator! The purpose of rape is not to live out some sexual fantasy, but humiliation and hatred being acted out!


3. What to do when discernment has left the building? I grew up in a fundamental church. (I’ve been using the word fundamental a lot more recently because if you look at the definitions, it describes it to a “T”) There was tons of emphasis on discernment. (Looking back, it’s a bit odd because everything was discerned as “wrong” or “bad”…but anyway, the emphasis was there). Since then, I have learned that for every counterfeit, there is an authentic. I’ve been spending more of my time pursuing the authentic. Much of this fundamental discernment was fear based. Fear is very linked with control, and the desire and need to control. I have seen many fear driven people, setting aside all discernment to pursue things that allow them to be in control. Strange, but true. Then, there’s the other side. There’s the people that “your momma warned you about”. I didn’t know they existed, but they do. It seems that much of the church is divided into two categories: fear based “discernment” or no discernment. (Just for the record, I have actually found a group of people that has merged the two: love of the Word AND the Holy Spirit.) But yea, I guess there are those people that are blown around by every word that comes forth, and end up dabbling in some very dangerous stuff! But what to do with this? That, I don’t have an answer to.

So, there it is. My writers block issues. I do feel better after getting all of this off of my chest, but the question is, was this just for me to get out, or is it supposed to post this on the web for all to see?

Books! Books! Books!

I thought I’d share with you some of my biblical egalitarian resources!  Sometimes finding theologically sound books can be difficult, especially on the topic of gender equality.  Warning: the first category contains books that are very long!

Books that cover the “hard verses” and topic of women in life and ministry.

 

Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy

Gordon D. Fee

Women in the Church

Stanley Grenz

Man and Woman, One in Christ

Philip B Payne

Why Not Women?

Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton

Powerful and Free: Confronting the Glass Ceiling for Women in the Church

Danny Silk

Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Diving Destiny

Kris Vallotton

Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women

Carolyn Curtis James

Books in this category that I haven’t read yet, but plan to!

Make Room for Her: Why Companies Need an Integrated Leadership Model to Achieve Extraordinary Results

Rebecca Shambough

As Christ Submits to the Church: A Biblical Understanding of Leadership and Mutual Submission

Alan G. Badget

Man as Male and Female:  A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View

Paul K Jewett

Equal to the Task: Men and Women in Partnership

Ruth Barton

What Paul Really Said About Women:  The Apostle’s Liberating Views on Equality in Marriage, Leadership, and Love

John Bristow

History books and books written by historical women!

Daughters of the Church

Ruth A Tucker and Walter Leifeld

Revelations of Divine Love (EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS-This is basically Julian’s diary of how Jesus revealed Himself to her!  It was written in the early 1400’s to the language is beautiful!)

Julian of Norwich

The Diary of Margery Kempe

Margery Kempe

If all of these seem too heavy to handle, these are a good place to start

The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules

Carolyn Curtis James

Lost Women of the Bible: The Women We Thought We Knew

Carolyn Curtis James

Ruby Slippers

Jonalyn Grace Fincher

Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World

Lisa Bevere

Girls with Swords: How to Carry Your Cross Like a Hero

Lisa Bevere

Nurture:  Give and Get What You Need to Flourish

Lisa Bevere

You Might be a Femi-Ninja if…

After finishing the “in the beginning God did not create patriarchy” mini-series, I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit.  We have already discussed that Biblical egalitarian doesn’t equal femi-nazi, but I’d like to talk about a different type of women.  I was thinking about many of the women I know, and I came up with a title for these certain special women:  Femi-ninja!  The key to being a femi-ninja is recognizing your freedom, and walking in your freedom.  You know that Christ set you free from all expectations the world imposes, and more importantly, all of the misunderstood expectations of religion.  Let me paint you a picture of what a femi-ninja might look like.  They come in all shapes and sizes, all ages and marital status’.  Actually, you just might be a femi-ninja!

You might be a femi-ninja if…..you are a single woman, and you understand that your time is probably better spent on other things, than figuring out whether or not to wear leggings, as a Christian.

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are single and are pursuing the dreams and ambitions that God put in your heart, rather than sitting around waiting for your Boaz.

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are a wife, and realize that even though the two have become one, doesn’t mean that you disappear completely.

You might be a femi-ninja if…you love your husband.  Like, actually, love him and want the best for him, refrain from using psychological manipulation to control him, enjoy being around him, and even enjoy and look forward to making love!

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are free to love your kids.  You are free to raise them, clean up after them, cook them dinner, cart them around to their activities, be the soccer mom, not because it’s expected or because that’s your “highest calling”, but because you are free to love!

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are free to be a tom boy!  You understand that you are not stepping on men’s toes, by enjoying the things you enjoy: shooting, hiking, camping, ect.

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are free to be feminine!  You understand that you are fully capable of doing the girly things you like to do: crafting, baking, scrapbooking, knitting, and just because you enjoy these things, doesn’t make you in the least bit weak.

You might be a femi-ninja if…you have believed all of the lies that the church tries to sell to women, and have overcome!  You have literally looked around inside until you found yourself again, took that girl by the hair and stepped back into her.  You realize you are free to love yourself!

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are divorced and still kicking!  You know and have realized your strength and what it takes to keep on moving!  You understand that your divorce doesn’t define you!  You have even been able to see past some unsavory comments from your churchy friends.

You’re actually a super femi-ninja if…you are a military wife!! (‘nuff said!)

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are a stay at home mom!

You might be a femi-ninja if…you are a working mom!

You might be a femi-ninja if…. you are a work from home mom!

You might be a femi-ninja….if you laugh in the face of all that Satan has tried to throw at women…and you just keep on moving!

You might be a femi-ninja…if you understand that your highest calling is following Christ, being in a relationship with Him!

You might be a femi-ninja…if you are reading this….and are pretty sure that you might be a femi-ninja!

You might be a femi-ninja…if you know that Christ set you free and you are walking in that freedom.  In that freedom you have the ability to do whatever you want!  You are able to wear any hat you choose.  You are free to pursue whatever position you feel that God has for you.