In the Word, Lifestyle

You’re Not on the Struggle Bus Alone

One of my favorite things about community is that God allows  us to be transparent with one another. If you’ve been blessed with a community that allows you to share real life, you know what a treasure you have.

It takes time to build trust in order to be transparent, amen? As we all know, showing who we really are and the real things we’re going through isn’t easy. So how do we get over this hurdle? How do we open up to people who may judge us or see us differently?

From my experience, something magical happens when one woman decides to share deep. She shares that she isn’t perfect, she doesn’t have it all together… she has struggles and sin and brokenness. Once one woman does that, the rest of the group has freedom to do the same.

It’s a hard place to get to, but it’s freeing and biblical and beautiful.

So, today I want to share some of my struggle because I don’t want you to feel alone. I don’t want you to think you’re the only woman out there who feels like you’re not holding it all together in a Pinterest-worthy way.

Well, here we go.

Last night, I had a mini-breakdown and cried in my husband’s arms for reasons that I couldn’t quite communicate.

I believe Satan’s attacks are so real, and he loves to attack me through my thoughts. I’ve been riding the struggle bus when it comes to balancing all of the wonderful things God has put before me… marriage, church planting, health, blogging, work… and I came to a point yesterday where I felt broken and guilty for struggling in the midst of God’s goodness and faithfulness to us.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever felt so thankful for God’s great goodness, but also broken because you can’t handle it all perfectly?

This has described me to the T lately. I’ve been battling with the enemy. I’ve been struggling with sin. I’ve let myself wallow in guilt and shame mentally, while physically trying to look like I’ve got it all together.

As I cried last night, unable to explain what was going on, Brady picked up a Bible from the coffee table and started reading me Truth. (I thank God for this man all the time!) After that, he brought us to the Lord’s feet, prayed for me, and prayed that the enemy would back off.

It was the perfect reminder that I needed. When I’m feeling broken, I HAVE to turn to Jesus. There is no other option.

We are not promised that life is going to be easy. In fact, Jesus tells us that it’s going to be hard. But in the midst of the hard, we have the Creator of the universe to turn to for peace.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Friend, if you are on the struggle bus with me, I encourage you to turn to Jesus. Open your eyes and mind to Truth so that the lies flowing around in your head become more obvious. Talk to the Lord. Bow down at His feet and cast your burdens on Him. Cry with a friend. Let it all out, and let those who love you walk with you on this journey.

When I opened up my Bible this morning it flipped to the exact Scripture my heart needed:

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right Spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:9-12

The Lord cares for us deeply and hates to watch us struggle. And guess what? One day, the struggle bus won’t exist anymore. HECK YES!

Lord, we praise you for your goodness, no matter what our circumstances are. You are always good, and you are always taking care of us. Please restore to us the joy of your salvation, and uphold us with a willing spirit. Use us to bring glory to your name, even when we feel broken. In your perfect name I pray.

Lifestyle

Vulnerability is Contagious

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

My Monday nights consist of small group with a variety of people from my home church. We meet in a living room, discuss Scripture and talk about how it applies to our lives, and end the nights praying for one another.

I have loved getting to know this very random group of people over the past couple of months, but it wasn’t until this week’s meeting that I felt a deep connection to them.

One of the ladies in our group is struggling. Heck, we are all struggling. But this particular friend decided to be incredibly vulnerable and share the current hurts in her life with us.

The ladies of our group sat around her on the floor in a back room of the house. As she shared her struggle, a couple other women shared how they struggle with very similar things. Vulnerability is contagious.  

As these sisters of mine were sharing hearts and tears were being shed, I felt a sense of peace. No, I wasn’t excited about the hard things life brings, but I was very excited about the picture of community I was witnessing.

As we sat there, I thought to myself, “This is exactly why Jesus wants us to be in community. This is why He gave us the church.” We are not meant to carry burdens with our strength alone. It is a gift that we get to share our burdens with one another.

Community is beautiful. Personally, I believe it is one of the most amazing gifts God thought to give us. And with every good gift that comes from the Father comes a battle with the enemy to make the gift ineffective. The enemy wants to squash the beauty of community. He wants us to be scared of vulnerability. He wants us to think we must have all of life together in order to be accepted. But these lies are so far from truth.

Let’s not let him win.

As a member of the church, how can you help establish an environment of vulnerability and truth?

Father, I praise you for the gift of community. Thank you for giving us the church to share our burdens and joys with one another. I pray that you will help us be real. Help us share life so that we can bare one another’s burdens and celebrate in one another’s joys. Please help your Kingdom grow because of the way we do life together. In your name I pray.

 

 

 

In the Word

The Heart Behind the Name

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com·mu·ni·ty (noun): a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

For the majority of my life community has been a gift I’ve taken for granted. When I look back, I see the Lord’s provision through different friend groups in each stage of my life, where it was easy to find fellowship. It wasn’t until I entered a major transition period — moving back to the States from overseas– that I realized what a gift the ease of community had been thus far. Not that I was completely on my own, but finding a group of people in the same life stage as myself was a huge challenge that left me feeling dry, discouraged, lonely, and craving relationships.

Have you been in that place before? 

Through that season of life, I learned how easy it is for us to take God’s good gifts for granted. I grasped the importance of why God created us to live as a body and not on our own. I started praying desperately for a community again.

Since then, the Lord has been so sweet to me in answering my prayers. (Thank you Jesus!) He is providing me community in a way I never expected and through new and old faces that I’m so glad are part of my life. Through this process, he has shown me the value and need of community, and put a vision on my heart to provide this gift to as many woman as possible.

I adore the passages in Acts that tell about the first body of believers forming. We are told that they were together, that they had all things in common, and were of one heart and soul. (Acts 2:44, 4:32) Although it is a couple thousand years later, I believe God has the same desire for his people today. You and me. His chosen ones.

We aren’t meant to do life alone. 

Along with all of this, a passion for honoring God through health has grown like crazy in my heart. Living a healthy lifestyle has improved every area of my life. I feel more confident to branch out and be who God created me to be. I am letting go of a sin issue with gluttony that I’ve struggled with my whole life. I am learning to honor the temple I’ve been given for the Holy Spirit to reside. And I’m learning to have grace for myself in the process, because it is far from perfect.

I started to ask, If we aren’t meant to do life alone, then that includes health… right? Are other women struggling to find community here, too? 

As these passions have grown, I’ve loved seeing them collide in full force. I started praying for vision. For a community for women to grow in health together. And with that, the Lord led me to 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

We are chosen. We are His people. And we are called out of darkness into HIS marvelous light to proclaim His excellencies! Pursuing this calling with a community gives me the chills, friends!

With this, a mission statement was born.

Called Into Light is a community for women to honor God in all areas of health together; spiritually, physically, and emotionally. 

The exciting yet nerve-racking thing with a vision and a dream is that God doesn’t lay out every single step for you right away. But with that comes the journey of following the Lord, stepping out of your comfort zone, and living in faith. I’d be honored if you would pray for this community. That we would seek the Lord in all we do and be reminded of our purpose in every effort. 

If you are seeking community, fellowship, accountability, or motivation in your health and life, Called Into Light is here for you. Please email me if you are ready to find your place!