I didn't know how much I would get out of this weekend conference, until I was sitting there soaking in everything that was being taught alongside some pretty amazing women. It struck me that everyone that I was surrounded by this weekend was from my initial small group that I had been a part of when I first started attending The Crossing. The thought crossed my mind of how much I have changed since I walked into that room for the first time. So many emotions in becoming a part of a church that I know feel I can call home. Meeting friends that I know I can count on, that aren't going to gossip about me the minute I turn my back, and would drop whatever they were doing in a moment's notice if I needed something. As I listened and soaked in our conversation it made me realize just how thankful I am for God's hand in my life. Not everyone believes in a God orchestrating our lives, but when I think about the different places that I have been, the people I have met, and how they have changed my heart and life... I know that God is real, and working.
This weekend's theme was from Genesis 18:14, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?"
Jen Wilkin, one of the best teachers I have heard led so well. She taught from the Bible, making sure that she dived into the truth of the Word.... and I am SO thankful that she did!
We discussed three women... Rachel, Leah, and Rahab.... here are my thoughts.....
How am I Rachel? I want to control EVERYTHING! Not just the things that directly involve me, but the things that don't. Even tonight watching the olympics, I wanted so badly to help those athletes that fell. I wanted to be able to go back, and let them not make any mistakes. Isn't that what control is about? Sometimes for me I don't know what God's promises are specifically for my life. I struggle with understanding if God is slow in fulfilling His promises to me, or did I just get His promises wrong? How do I interpret His promises? How do I make them something that is real to me without trying to be in control. How do I pray when I don't understand His promises for me?
I think that is the hardest part, and I don't know that I have the right answers, even right now. But I do know that when things get frightening, when I don't understand what God is doing....I trust that God will keep His promises to take care of me, to always love me, and to lead me through whatever journey He has for my life. Nothing is too hard for Him, right? He sees my struggle to understand His promises, and He wants to walk alongside me guiding me and directing me. He is in control, and that IS the BEST way for things to be.
I want to control, but I also want to trust. That's the battle that I believe I will continue to fight with forever. So, one day at a time, I give up my control, and try to trust. I understand that me being a bit too much isn't my defining role. It isn't what God sees when He looks at me. He sees His daughter, who needs Him to show her His Resurrection Power.
How am I Leah? Oh... this one hit the nail on the head. I have never been the "beautiful" one in my friend group. I am not the one that gets asked out all the time, or the one that guys flock to. More often than not, I am the one that guys befriend, so that they can ask out my much more "beautiful" friend. The one that guys see as their buddy, their confidant. The one that will be there for them, but never in a romantic way. So, in many ways I completely understand how Leah felt. To not be loved by her husband, to be looked over again and again. To be in a marriage where she never felt loved. To be in a family where she never felt loved. My heart breaks for her. My heart breaks for the moments I myself have wasted chasing after the love of men that would never return that love. But it isn't just in the relationships that I have done this. It is in friendships as well. Wanting so badly to be loved by people that will never return that love. For one reason or another they are not able to give that love back. Yet I have continued to give of myself, love beyond all measure, and allow myself to believe that I am not enough... for what? I haven't gained anything by those feelings. and thoughts. I've only lost. I've lost out on knowing people that would see me as a worthy created being. I've lost out on community that I could have been part of.
I want acceptance and love. Especially because our society, our culture puts such high value on marriage, and parenting. It seems that even within the church if you have not done either of these things, then you are not enough. You are looked down on, seen as someone that needs to be "fixed." Why is that? If we were all looking to God for acceptance, then I think that we would cease to judge others so harshly on where we think they don't measure up. So, when I start going down that path of listing the reasons that I am not enough...I am going to remember that I don't have to be..... because just as Jen said.... Jesus is enough, and that's all that's needed.
Here's where things might get a little dicey. So, I will understand if you don't want to keep reading at this point. Rahab's story struck me SO much especially as Jen was talking. How am I Rahab? I am a woman that has been seen as an object. I am a woman that has been used in ways that I wish I hadn't. I am a woman that has been judged because of words that were spoken about me that were untrue. I am a woman that has lied and manipulated. I am a woman that has given in to sexual desire when I shouldn't have. I am a woman that has been thrown away, seen as nothing, trampled on, and misrepresented. I am a woman that has had things taken from me, that I can never get back. I am a woman that has been accused of being too vocal, too independent, not a Christian. I am a woman that has been harassed, called a slut and a whore. I am a woman that has been used for sex. I am a woman that has had to block numbers because men won't stop calling or texting me after I have said no. I am a woman that has said yes, because I didn't think I could say no. I am a woman that has chosen non-Christian men because the Christian ones seemed to only want a submissive, non-opinionated, stay in the kitchen and don't speak kind of woman. I am a woman that has been hurt by words that were spoken by men that say they are following Jesus. Words that put me down, put other women down, and should never be used by someone who claims they love Jesus. I am a woman that was told I wasn't pretty enough, by a Christian man to see as anything beyond friendship. I am a woman that has been viewed only as a sexual object by men, Christian men, men that claim Jesus. Men that would never admit this out loud.
These are the ways I connect with Rahab. But you know how I also connect with her? I believe in God's promises. I believe that God will do what He says. I believe that His purposes in my life are far greater than anything I could ever imagine on my own. I believe that He has given me a desire and passion to preserve the life of His people. I believe that it is my role on this earth to intercede for others. To share His love with them, no matter what that might mean for those around me that don't understand that. I believe that there is nothing that I have done or will do in the future that will disqualify me from the love of God.
So... yes I probably connect with Rahab the most. But I am not ashamed of that. I have struggles, and sins. I have cycles of sin that need to be broken. I have allowed myself to be in situations that I shouldn't be in. I am working on all of that. But you know what I learned today.... I learned that God knows all of that, He meets me in it, and He sees me through it. He doesn't love me less because of it. He doesn't put me in the category of outcast. There is never anywhere that I can go that is going to be out of His grasp, out of the reach of His love. My life is worthy, I am worthy. I was created to be more than an object. I was created to be more than someone's wife, daughter, mother. I was created to worship the Creator, to know Him more, and to share His love with those around me.
I am sure as the weeks go, there will be more things that I learn as I ponder read and pray. For now these are what's on my heart. Thanks for reading. May you know that there is nothing too hard for the LORD.