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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

redemption, part 2

Just a warning, this is very long. Warning #2, it would be helpful to start here.

Sometimes when I have a point that I desperately need to make to my children, I will get in their face and hold their head in my hands and say, “I entreat you. Stop ________.” I save this plea for really serious situations or scenarios where I want to scream at the top of my lungs, but I know the message is too important to mess it all up in the delivery.

As I’ve been blogging for a while and I’ve tried to find my voice, I’ve realized that while I love to READ wisdom-filled, teaching blogs – that is not the purpose of mine and not something I need to be doing. Do I have a million soapboxes I’d like to stand on? Yes. Do I have big issues I’d like to semi “teach” on, yes. But it’s not where I’m at right now, and I don’t feel like anyone has given me the authority to teach anything. This season for me is about learning and growing. However, this post is slightly different.

It is a heartfelt entreaty, an earnest plea concerning an issue that I feel the Lord has begun to teach me about – primarily by showing me my own sin and opening my eyes to the gross effects of it. It’s an entreaty for believing women and I hope I’m hearing it as loudly as I’m typing it.

I was at a women’s retreat recently and I can honestly say I’ve never felt the Holy Spirit so powerfully at work. At certain points, it seemed as if Jesus was there, physically stirring up hearts with a spoon. Confession, forgiveness, honesty, and freedom were all flowing freely and it was beautiful to watch, to be a part of. It was beautiful and a little exhausting for sure, to see so much laid bare in others and to experience the freedom that Christ was exploding in my own heart. At one point, I escaped for a few minutes to talk to the women I do accountability with and I was really thankful for the ability to talk in disjointed sentences and descriptions because they already knew my yuck. We’ve been laying it bare for one another every other week for a while now and so before I even told them, I’m sure they could’ve seen how the messages and sessions were working on me. The thing that bothered me, however, was when I considered other women… did they have people they could confess to? Did they have women who had already pointed out some of these issues, so it didn’t feel so wrecking to hear it at a retreat?

And then I got to thinking about community and women. And mind you, not specifically my church – but all women and how we interact with one another. What do we usually talk about? Our lists. Our things that we need to change or want to change or see in one another or want for ourselves. How do you get your toddler to eat so many different things? Where did you get that sweater? Oh, you write your husband sweet notes –that’s awesome! What is your recipe for cinnamon bread? Which parenting book are you reading right now? How did you make those sweet curtains? Your schedule is so busy – you’re superwoman! You don't have your quiet time in the morning?!

At least in my stage of life, I feel like the bulk of what I discuss with women, whether in a healthy or unhealthy manner, is extrabiblical lists. The things that are good to do, but not necessarily the most important.

Now, time for a disclaimer: I think managing your home is BEYOND beneficial. I think managing your life, if you have no kids or sixteen is very profitable. Of COURSE sharing these tips, tricks, and admonishing one another is helpful and sometimes – definitely necessary.

But are we missing the key of wisdom like Luke 11 says? Are we loading one another with burdens that we can’t bear and missing the only real task – which is seeking after redemption? If you’re one of my closest friends and I know all your favorite recipes and don’t your hot button sins that need accountability, I think there is a problem. We need lightheartedness and joyfulness in our lives, for sure but when women make those the building blocks of our relationships – we’re doomed. Christ alone is the cornerstone of our lives. Why is He not the cornerstone of our friendships?

This all of a sudden also feels super important for me to figure out as a future church planter’s wife. Nick and I have already discussed a lot about what my role will look like and it will absolutely not be the first lady of the church, the director of the children’s ministry, or the face to help support his image. I would miserably fail at all of those. My role is going to be to support and serve him as I do now, and especially when the church is small – love the women and ask the Spirit to help me set a godly example for them. Not be their hero or their guide or anything close to perfect, but an example. So it feels like an important decision to make. Will I be the wife with the clean carpets, brilliant and clean children, tight abs, delicious meals, and a private faith? Or will I be a humble participant in redemption, learning and being comfortable with the grace God has given me for the day.

Here’s where I’m starting. If you’re a close friend, I’m done judging or coveting your clean bathrooms. I may admire (and even compliment on) your hair – but you better believe I’m going to ask how your heart is doing. Let’s talk about tips and tricks to learn the abc’s and let’s apply the gospel to our disappointment with ourselves when we get behind. I promise to make my best effort to put comparison, pride, coveting, and wistful longing aside and I will instead ask the Spirit to guide me in love, admonishment, encouragement, truth, and spurring you on.

I will no longer put burdens on women that they cannot bear. I will no longer miss the key of knowledge.

Please join me, I entreat you.


Marilee said...

go girl! Love the way you wrote this and the heart it comes from- but mostly the One who laid it on your heart. I love you JAC.

Annie said...

Wow, I don't know exactly what the Lord is doing in me right now but you and your words are a part of it. A little devastated but needing to be. Love you and thank you for being so bold.

Danielle S. said...

Wow, AMEN. You really got me thinking. Thank you for being so honest and transparent.

Anonymous said...

feeling prideful that your my sister. repenting of that. feeling a lack of wisdom in comparison and repenting of that too. feeling really really blessed that I get to do calls to you whenever i want and you have to answer bc your my sister and my best friend! Praising Him for that.

I love and adore you and Im so greatful that redemption is ours, deliverance is promised and victory is sure. Thats just good coffee talk. K

Brooke Turner said...

I just want to jump up and down and say "YES YES YES!!!!!!" This is what it's all about - this is such a passion of my heart and thankfully God has surrounded me with women who have the same heart (ur sis being one of those!)
Just what I needed to read this morning!

kim said...

YES! Jessi, I feel like I've been watching Jesus stir your pot like crazy while cooking on HIGH. This was so good to read, especially today, and I am THANKFUL for the clarity and articulation the Holy Spirit has given you in sharing this with us. AMEN!!! I have a lot more to say about this, but for now, I love you and I'm so glad that the Lord placed you in my life. ;)

Cameron said...

I have so many Christian friends from CHILDHOOD that I NEVER talk about this kind of stuff with. Why are we so afraid to go there? Thank you for putting this out there and for encouraging us in community to be really authentic, not just acceptably so.

Mellu said...

thanks for your post Jessi!!

kellybollman said...

I join you, friend.
Be encouraged, you're already an example, there's fruit all over this post, and I love you even more.