It's not quite a quiver full, but it's a start!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Call to Encourage

When I was a young child I went in front of our church and accepted a call to ministry. At the time I didn't know what that exact calling was, but I had just returned from my first mission trip to Duson, LA and I knew I had a calling on my life. I always assumed that the specific calling would be revealed to me at least by the time I was finishing high school, but it wasn't.

From middle school until college I devoutly attended church services, youth events, and went on several more mission trips. I led praise and worship at school and for our youth and was very verbal about my life as a Christian. 
During that time I led many small groups and found myself mentoring a small group of girls and began to think maybe I was called to youth ministry. In college I continued to lead praise and worship, led several Bible studies, and was even planning on moving to another state to begin being mentored by a wonderful woman of God and learning the art of her woman's ministry. The funny thing was this "great calling" I felt on my life still had not been revealed to me and I continued to bounce back and forth between ministry callings.

When things fell through for me to move it was at the exact moment I met my husband. Still not feeling a "clear" call on my life I decided to take a semester off of school and never went back. I continued to search for my calling. I tried my hand at real estate, banking, and even played around with the idea of cosmetology. I just couldn't seem to find my "call". Have I found what my call to ministry is yet, I don't know. But I do know that God has taught me that with every mission trip, with every song, with every spot that I was in my life I was called to minister in that moment. So maybe I haven't found my "ultimate" ministry calling. But I've learned that the "little" callings are just as important .

When I started this blog three months ago  I was at a point in my life where I was just getting a grasp on the idea of these "little" callings. I was beginning to notice the importance of every single thing I do. That every action has the ability to impact the kingdom of God. That every day holds the opportunity for a life changing moment. When I began getting so many messages from pregnant friends (which to all of you who messaged me about your pregnancy before you told everyone else you have no idea how much of an act of God it was for me to keep it a secret! I am the worst secret keeper ever, so thank you for teaching me the art of keeping my mouth shut!) and other mommy friends asking for encouragement through different situations the idea of this blog was planted in my spirit.

By the time this blog was put out to the public I had asked around 30 people- pregnant for the first time moms, other Christian moms who were at the same point in life that I am, and even a few men- to take a look at several blog posts that I had written. The feedback was so amazing, the energy level was high, and I knew in my Spirit that this was what the Lord was calling me to do at this moment. So imagine the frustration, confusion, and hurt that came when at the very first post such personal attack began to happen.

Here's what I have taken out of all of this.
#1 is that the world will reject a message of truth. 1 Corinthians 2:14 and John 15 are very clear at what the world's reaction to us will be. I think the problem was that I had surrounded myself with such a strong group of Christian influences for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to be confronted by the flesh in such a strong way. Is it wrong that I have such a strong support system of women who hold my same beliefs? Absolutely not! In fact, it is vital. But my problem is that because I had the ability, I had been able to completely remove myself from the world in a way that left me unprepared to witness in it.
My ministry calling through this blog is to Christian women, but that does not mean I do not have to deal with non-Christian women at the same time. And I was completely caught off guard at this.Sometimes God doesn't give us all the details of what will happen when we answer a call, He just expects us to answer.

#2 people are messy. We all have our past which has raised in us "flesh patterns" that are almost impossible to break. We all have made mistakes which can easily bring up in us a spirit of defensiveness. And we all struggle with our insecurities. When I had began this blog it had never occurred to me that some would see it as a "judgement" call. I never once considered that it would cause some women to feel the need to become defensive. Why? Because when I started this blog it was out of the call of Romans 8. In Christ there is NO condemnation. vs 9 says, "You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you." Going back to vs 5-6 it says "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. " I poured into this blog with a Spirit of God, not out of flesh. With a mind set on bringing life and peace to fellow mothers. The problem is, not everyone came into reading it with the same goal. And that's okay, it just wasn't something I was prepared for.
I had prepared myself for a group of women whose minds were all set on one common goal through the Spirit.

#3 When something has the ability to be great Satan has to get his mess all up in it. As stated in Romans with God there is no condemnation, but Satan sure does like to come in and make it feel that way. In fact Satan doesn't attack us by coming in the opposite direction as God, he comes at us from the side. He is just close enough to make it "appear" like a godly thing at the time because he knows that if he came at us in such an obvious way he would be defeated every single time. We would reject the devil flat out. But sometimes it is hard to recognize where our feelings are coming from. But I assure you God meant the Scriptures to encourage not condemn, to build up not tear down, to give you strength not to make you feel weak.

Our problems as humans is a thing called guilt. There are two kinds of guilt that are so closely related it's hard to see where one begins and where one ends.
But the difference is one is a true guilt from God. A prodding of the Holy Spirit to direct us to follow His will. The other is the false guilt from the devil. This false guilt taunts us, condemns us, and brings us shame. It brings in us a spirit of defensiveness rather than openness. It hardens our heart to the word rather than softens it. And it puts in our spirit a sense of blame rather than forgiveness.
2 Corinthians 7:10 says, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan is a lion who prowls around looking for someone to devour.

My friends, I speak out in the name of Jesus, do not let Satan turn these words of encouragement into words of condemnation. Do not allow guilt of your mistakes to take over the hope you have through forgiveness. Let these teachings bring love to your spirit not anger, peace not hurt, joy not sorrow, patience not frustration, kindness and goodness rather than defensiveness, faithfulness not questions. Do not allow Satan to distort the truth and turn it into lies in your heart.

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Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you found encouragement and joy from my posts. I would love to hear what you have to say! It is my responsibility to make sure all of the content is uplifting, respectful, and true. Any comments that are viewed as personal attacks, false accusations, and any use of profanity will not be tolerated. Thank you, and please leave a comment that I will be able to post so others can be encouraged through your words as well!