Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Comparison is Killing the Daughters of God

This post is part of a series titled Redefining Biblical Womanhood. Read the heart behind this series here.

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comparison

Fill in the blank:
I wish I wasn’t so ___________________.

We all have something that nags at the back of our minds. Close your eyes. Write it down. Whatever it is, right now give it a name.

Great. Let’s go.

I tried to think about the first time I started comparing myself to other girls, and my mind went straight back to the first day of 6th grade. No matter how many super cool Arizona Jean Co. shirts I owned, the fact remained that you could practically French-braid the hair on my legs.

I remember looking across the classroom at all my friends in shorts, and I realized that I was behind the social maturation curve. I had my back-to-school apparel ready, but I had somehow missed the memo that hairless legs were the fashionable thing for 11-year-olds.

After school that day, I snuck into my mom’s shower for her razor, and spent an hour eliminating any form of follicle growth between my ankles and knees. I couldn’t bear to face the other girls at school again without looking just like them. I needed to be matchy-matchy {especially in my hygiene habits}.

I had no idea this desire to fit in would snowball so ferociously into adulthood.

As grown women, our comparison becomes more than fashion brands and hairstyles. It turns to career choices, family demographics, and diet practices.

We measure ourselves by each other’s extracurricular involvement, party-throwing abilities, and—sadly sometimes—ministry opportunities.

Hear this: There’s nothing wrong with trying to be healthier, wiser, or more responsible. An appropriate level of inspiration is a positive thing.

But when our comparison stems from a lack of confidence, our response to said comparison is rarely Christ-like.

We turn up our noses at one another. We make times for community awkwardly unbearable. We articulate a lot of assumptions about the hearts of our fellow God-fearing ladies.

And comparison is killing the daughters of God.

It’s not like the modern-day woman is the first to struggle with comparison. Leah and Rachel had quite a catfight going back in the OT.

Leah was always jealous of Rachel because she was more beautiful. Rachel always despised Leah because she was popping out babies left and right.

{If you’re new to the story of these ladies, check out Genesis 29-30. It’s a fantastic Biblical soap opera with lots of sex, drug use, and emotional hysteria.}

My point is that women have always looked on one another with a judging eye—and we do it most often when we aren’t happy with our individual selves.

There are few things more destructive than allowing another woman’s definition of worth determine your personal value.

That’s why we have to STAY in Scripture, my friends.

Live in it. Breathe it. Soak it up into ever piece of our souls.

If we aren’t dwelling in the Word, then we can’t break apart unfair measuring sticks. We can’t call out false messages. We can’t face diversity with confidence and gratitude.

Sisters, we’ll never be able to see the good in each other until we can see the beauty in ourselves. 

Take some time to dwell on passages like these:

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine…
You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 43:1, 4

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

The problem with negative comparison is that it handcuffs us. It tells us that we’re not good enough the way we were made, and that we’re no use to the Kingdom in our natural design.

And that’s just not a truth found in Scripture.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of activities, but the same God
who empowers them all in everyone….
as it is, God arranged the members in the body,
each one of them as he chose.

If all were a single member, where would the body be?
1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 18-19

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Comparison seeks to destroy. It’s a thorny weed that chokes out the life of a perfectly created, well-designed woman who is of great value to her family, the church, and the world at large.

My dear sisters, if you’re reading this and pointing a finger at someone who has made you feel inferior, take a look inward one more time.

Recognize the power you are placing into the hands of other women, and the inner peace you are keeping Christ from providing.

There’s no amount of makeup or personality shift or giftedness that is going to turn you into the woman you want to be.

The only way we will ever fulfill God’s design for us as women will be to draw every fragment of our confidence from Him.

That comes through opening our hearts to His word and through His miraculous ability to empower us.

And when we are confident in who we are and why we were made, THEN we can truly take on a posture of humility and servanthood.

We won’t worry about what the next woman is baking, sewing, birthing, or managing.
We will see our place at the table as an important one—and we will sit up straight to add our gifts to the conversation.

Our goal will not be status. Our goal will not be importance.
Our goal will be to see people come to know Jesus.

I have a vision of confident women, knowing who they are and Whose they are. Going into the world using their unique talents, loving and serving and bringing glory to God.

What a beautiful thing the Father wants to do in and through each of us.

I wish I wasn’t so _________________.

Look at that word, and let God take control of it. It’s not your cross to carry, friend. It’s not your burden to bear. God is bigger than our comparison, and He never seeks to kill.

The Spirit gives life.

Go and be encouraged.

 

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us,
but our sufficiency is from God,
who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant,
not of the letter but of the Spirit.
For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6

No Ordinary Days

Last week, I spent some time hanging out on Liz Griffin’s blog space, Lark and Bloom. I felt like I was jumping into her world–her heart, her dreams, her convictions. It was truly a refreshing, fun time drinking in her words. The following post originally appeared on her website on August 26, 2014, and it really speaks to so many of the feelings I had when I wrote A Letter to the Apathetic Church. Liz gave me permission to reblog her writing here, and I hope you enjoy! Head on over to Lark and Bloom  or find her on Instagram (@thelizgriffin) and meet a like-minded sister today. Thanks, Liz!

liz griffin lark and bloom

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I see Ferguson. I see Ebola spreading. I see ISIS terrorizing. I see poverty destroying entire countries. And yet, I dream. I dream of what the Church can be in moments like these…

The history of the earth is comprised by stories of men and women like you and me. Experiences compressed through time to make a greater story. This is our moment to tell our story.

Because like it or not, history will read the pages we are currently writing.

I don’t care if they know who I was or who you were. Most likely future generations won’t talk about which church had the most campuses or who toured the conference circuit. They will want to know our true story.

I pray. I dream. I hope that this – this is what our story is:

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They did something. The world around was falling apart, but the people of God did something. Their plans weren’t perfect, but regardless of failure they got up and kept going. The Church didn’t make excuses, they made progress. Their short-comings didn’t haunt them.

They didn’t gossip the Gospel, they lived it. They advanced it. Each one looking at the brokeness in front of them and responding. Big or small. There were no ordinary days. The people of the Church in that generation found their voice. A mighty voice that roared on behalf of the silent.

They were driven by a love for the Greater. They solved social problems previously thought un-solvable. When they grew weary they rested in the presence of God and drew from wells that never ran dry. The people of God never gave up. They sat around their kitchen tables dreaming into the Kingdom. While riding in their cars they called upon heaven to intervene on behalf of the disenfranchised. Miraculous things happened. There were no ordinary days.

Each one took the tools they had and worked. Labored – remembering the stories of generations before them. Holding to the testimony that has preceded them. The vision was greater than a fleeting pleasure and righteousness grew in their midst.

They risked everything knowing that Eternity calls their name.

There were no ordinary days.

History may have forgotten their names and faces, but a greater Kingdom knows them well. The fruit of that generation is still being harvested today. A group of courageous people who stood up when they didn’t have to. They did something.

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In the Kingdom there are no ordinary days. Let’s give the historians something to write about. Let’s do something.

Redefining Biblical Womanhood: Series Introduction

biblical womanhood series

Recently, I was in a dark place. I was feeling more trapped every day by the person I wanted to be and the box I was pushed into because of my XX chromosome pairing.

I was washing dishes one day, staring blankly at the tiles in front of me, while my mind raced through the contradictions of my female identity.

The world saw potential in me, while the church placed limitations on me.

At the same time, the world disapproved of my religious perspective, while the church championed me forward.

When the anxiety and inner turmoil began to bubble up turned into regular crying fits and difficulty breathing, I knew I needed to reach out for help.

I shot off an email to a mentor and Christian woman I respect greatly, and it went something like this:

It seems like the year of overseas preparation we had really focused on our personalities and their strengths and weaknesses. I felt fairly self-actualized walking into so many of our training sessions, but now I feel like I am just lost in a sea of lies about who I am and how God made me.

I continue to compare myself to others, wishing I could be quieter or wiser. And I am having a really hard time loving who I am in my loud, opinionated body.

I carry much guilt for wanting to work, for enjoying taking on projects, and for wanting to dialogue with the world about so many topics. Many days I think I should just want to stay home with my daughter and make homemade cookies or something. But this is not where I thrive.

I think all these feelings have somehow gotten mixed up with my theology, and I am not even sure God is pleased with who I am. That if I speak {especially when it’s bold} that I am out of line. And I feel so trapped by this feeling, because so many days there is this fire in my bones that is being quenched by my own fear of not being ‘wise’ like those good ‘churchy’ women.

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There it is. That’s what you need to know. In my darkest place as a woman to date, these were the burdens of my heart.

Thankfully, my mentor lady responded quickly to my outpouring of inner pain, and breathed some life into me.

She sent me straight to Scripture, and recommended what turned into a three-week study of women in the Bible.

Sarah. Ruth. Deborah. Abigail. Bathsheba. Mary. Phoebe. Priscilla. Lydia. Jael. Miriam.

Her list was more exhaustive, but the time I spent reading about these ladies again was formative for me. As were these words by my mentor:

Don’t let the ‘evangelical’ view of women get in the way of God’s view of women.

I soaked her words up like a sponge. And I set out to reexamine what God wanted to teach me about my identity and my role in the family unit, in the church, and in the world.

On the Myers-Briggs Personality Matrix, I am an ENTJ. This puts me in the rarest personality type among women. You can all breathe easy that there’s less than 1% of us firecrackers out there. {You can check your personality type out here.}

I realize that my competitive, driven, administrative personality gives me a unique perspective when it comes to defining the rules of Biblical womanhood. So I need to say this:

There’s no part of me that wishes to buck submission, and I have a high value for my heart being shepherded by the men in my life.

There’s no part of me that desires to lead a church. Goodness knows that every 28 days the whole place would blow up and burn to the ground.

But there is a huge part of me that wants to better understand God’s heart for women in modern times.

I have a pretty strong conviction that as a church, we need to take a second look at the roles God envisioned for women when He made us in His image.

I have a sense we all have fallen prey to the nasty effects of comparison, misunderstanding, and disappointment.

As Christian women, we have desired to be acknowledged, to be empowered, and to be involved in the ministry of the church.

We have been hungry for richer time in the Word. We have longed for clarity about our giftedness. We have wanted a real place at the table.

Above all, we have ached for our identity to be wrapped up in Christnot our babies’ spit up or our singleness or our husbands’ ministries.

That’s why I’m starting this series, which will eventually lead to a small group curriculum with videos, discovery Bible studies, and resource materials.

I’m on a journey to appreciate my gifts and my value as a woman, while still recognizing my place as a humble servant at the foot of the cross.

Anne Marie Miller once said, I believe in a sovereign God. He has made me woman and He has called me. The two can’t contradict.

I’m not a feminist. I’m not a footstool.

I’m a woman who wants to understand her place in the Kingdom, and I want God to be the one Who defines it.

If you are a woman and you have questioned your role in your family, your church, or the world at large, I hope you’ll join me in this conversation. Comment below or contact me directly—I want and need to hear your heart on this matter.

Will you join me? Will you share with me here? I have a vision of an entire community of women coming together to richly study the Word as we allow it to transform our identity in Christ.

Married and Single. Divorced and Widowed. Mothers and Childless.
Old and Young. Introverts and Extroverts. Corporate workers and SAHMs.

We are all women. Bible-loving, Spirit-seeking, Faith-dependent women.

Let’s not let the evangelical view of us get in the way of God’s view of us.

Becca KelloSeptember 14, 2014 - 7:01 am

I too have been there; I’ve struggled with the fact that I am more than a hollow shell of “womanhood”. What troubles me though, is how you can honestly engage with your God-given identity and still put boundaries around who he can make you be; is this truly possible, or will we just be rewriting the Evangelical Womanhood with more firecrackerness?

We will disagree, because I am a feminist, and I am a woman who is being called to serve in leadership of a church and I’m not worried about it going up into flames just because of how God designed my body. So, I’m not looking for an argument, but genuinely would like to engage with you about this, because I am proud of this push for a better version of what it means, but I am troubled that the way you go about it will only lead to more women starring blankly at their kitchen wall feeling trapped.

lmpinkston@gmail.comSeptember 14, 2014 - 11:18 am

Hi Becca – thanks for sharing your heart. I have no intentions of putting boundaries on who God has made me (or anybody else) to be. I think that’s why we turn back to scripture always–and not just the verses about women specifically. We have to believe that the whole Bible was written for us, too, and that we are held to the same standards of obedience and action as men. This will be the topic of next week’s discussion.

I’m sure there are lots of definitions of feminists out there, so I won’t chase any rabbit trails with titles. But I also won’t discourage you from serving in a leadership role in the church. Check out this post – I really like how she puts it. http://www.annemariemiller.com/2014/06/11/dont-feel-disadvantaged-woman-ministry/

The last thing I would ever want to do would be to stick women back in their kitchens staring blankly at the walls. I’m not sure you really caught my heart in this post. I hope you’re finding clarity in your own journey of identity in Christ, and discovering that tricky balance of liberty and servanthood. It’s a hard line to walk.

April VanceSeptember 15, 2014 - 9:11 am

I am in sweet Lauren! You are such an inspiration to a wide array of ladies, more than you realize! Just you sharing your heart & soul with us ladies here is an inspiration!!! Most of us would love to be able to speak/write as eloquently as you! Keep doing what you are doing and God will continue to use you to lift up other God-fearing women to become GREAT assets in His Kingdom!

RebeccaSeptember 15, 2014 - 10:50 am

Thank you for your heart! I’m looking forward to this study and the discussions to follow!

[…] This post is part of a series titled Redefining Biblical Womanhood. Read the heart behind this series here. […]

DeenaSeptember 20, 2014 - 9:17 pm

You remind me of a younger me. A woman with a voice! God made us this way for a purpose. Blessings on your journey!

The Role of White Privilege in Adoption

white privilege adoption

I’m no stranger to the White Man’s Burden.

It’s the guilt of having so much in a world where the majority has so little. It’s the motivator to do good for others who live outside materialistic pleasures. It’s the constant nagging question of Why Me?

Why was I the one born into a safe family? Why was I the one given the opportunity for higher education? Why was I the one offered good jobs and steady incomes and never-ending chances to climb up the rungs of socio-economic status?

As a white American from a middle-class family, I was always taught I had to work for my money. I see the value in making wise choices to get along well in life. I understand the life cycle of paychecks and debt reduction and investments.

But I’m also highly sensitive to the fact that I can’t take the credit for my comfortable financial, relational, societal state. Some of that comfort I was simply born into.

It’s not that my life has been without pain or grief. That comes with the territory of being human.

It’s not that there aren’t privileged persons in other racial demographics. Or that being Caucasian automatically makes you privileged. Come, now.

But the truth remains that I’ve never gone hungry because my parents couldn’t feed me. I’ve never questioned whether I could be successful because I was always told I could do anything I dreamed. I’ve never doubted my worth because I was taught about God’s love from the womb.

What a testimony, eh? It’s a sweet life I’ve lived.

It doesn’t take much reading or traveling to admit I am in the minority of the world’s population that can boast of such luxuries.

I’ve hurt, ached, and wept for those who sleep on dirt floors and drink unclean water and go without having basic emotional needs met.

If you resonate with any of this so far, then you’ve probably felt it, too.

The problem with the White Man’s Burden, though, is that we get all feely and forget to use our brains. Especially when it comes to the orphan crisis.

We want to open institutions, start non-profits, and adopt out every child to a loving family as soon as possible.

I can already tell you’re going to have to hear me out on this one. So go ahead and hear this:

When my own guilt of being a privileged white girl serves as my motivation for adopting, a child is at great risk of only being hurt worse by my *generous* efforts.

Because then…
The fatherless are my charity.
The abandoned are my ministry.
The orphans are my cause.

And NONE of these words bestow honor on the child that becomes a part of my family. Words like charity or ministry or cause don’t clothe a child in dignity.

That’s why our burden can’t be what motivates us to love others. At the end of the day, anything good done in the name of burden is still weighed down by a portion of selfishness.

Look at what we’re doing.
Look at our good works.
Look at how we love people.

Yes, our burdens ultimately drive a self-seeking affirmation that we’ve done something righteous after all.

Orphans deserve more than our guilt—they deserve our privilege.

What does that mean for us white, wealthy, adoptive parents? It means we recognize the power of our skin color and our money…both good and bad. 

It means we’re not playing rescue. We don’t exploit the poverty of our children’s birth countries. We aren’t waving our adoption flag like we’ve sacrificed the ultimate comforts as a family for a poor kid in need of a home.

We don’t use our money to push the lines of international law. We open our eyes to the dangers of promoting institutionalized care for the fatherless. We believe first in family reunification over adopting the children of poor mothers.

We don’t adopt because we have no other option. We don’t adopt because we feel bad that we’re rich. We don’t adopt because we want to play the savior.

We don’t adopt because we feel sorry for orphaned kids. We don’t adopt because we want to prove we’re not prejudiced. We don’t adopt because it makes us look good.

We adopt because children need families.

And we are, after all, families.

We take the most humble place as the parents of an orphaned child, considering it an honor to love another family’s child as our own.

We recognize the loss and grief that saturates the adoption process, and we are sensitive to our adopted children’s emotional needs.

We put ourselves in the shoes of any mother who’s chosen to give up her child, and we mourn along with that mother for her loss, too.

We acknowledge the mess the world makes of race, but we don’t dwell on it or fight about it or make our children an example of it.

We remind ourselves of our own adoption, as sons and daughters of the King, and we allow this theme to flow throughout our family dynamics.

We act justly, we love mercy, and we walk humbly with our God.

Our white privilege isn’t going anywhere. But it doesn’t have to do harm.

We can use our resources, our networks, and our education to make sure we are doing everything in our power to adopt ethically and honorably.

And once we welcome our babies into our homes, we can continue to love them with the same love that was given to us through Christ Jesus.

Not a love that says, How can I help you?, but a love that says, Child, you are worthy.

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’”
Romans 8:14-15

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I must state the obvious here: There’s no way an essay of less than 1,000 words can touch the surface of orphan justice issues. Please follow the links in the post for books and blog resources.

This post was not specifically pointed to transracial, international adoption because I believe all adoptive parents need to ask hard questions about the dynamics of their faith walk and familial growth. That being said, I’m also not claiming to be an expert in this field. Our dossier is hanging out at our agency’s office while we wait for one last background check. I have so much more to learn about becoming an adoptive mom. BUT, I’m putting my motivations through the ringer now because I want to do this thing as well as possible.

Can we be respectful in the comment section? I have hives thinking about what the lovely people of the internet will do with this topic. Anything non-constructive will be deleted. Well-meaning, further-educating remarks and links are welcomed. 

DeniseSeptember 9, 2014 - 11:45 am

Lauren,
Thank you for this post. In my IG pic of the quilt top, I said something about supporting a great ’cause.’ I’m sorry if that was a misstep on my part; I meant no offense. I look forward to more education as you walk through this process.
Blessings,
Denise

AprilSeptember 9, 2014 - 3:41 pm

I am thankful there are people that go through all the stress, paperwork and who knows what else to bring a motherless and fatherless child into their family and raise them as their own child. I do not feel called to do that but appreciate those that do. It is a courageous thing to do. I would imagine I would have all these same thoughts and worries that I would want to be sure I was doing this for His glory first and for the child second and not put myself into the equation other than to be sure I could support and provide the basic needs and emotional support for the child. I do think that it would be such a pure joy moment to be united with your adopted child though. And you should not feel anything bad about wanting to get to that point!

lmpinkston@gmail.comSeptember 9, 2014 - 6:51 pm

Denise – This is just the most beautiful example of an open heart. Sometimes there are no better words to use for this thing we’re all trying to do. I think there’s loads of grace to cover us through that. I am right there with you in the educating ourselves. I’m thankful for your desire to walk this path with families!

lmpinkston@gmail.comSeptember 9, 2014 - 9:36 pm

April, Thankfully there are many ways to support orphans other than adoption! Those who can’t adopt can still support community efforts to help families prepare themselves financially to welcome their children back home and be able to provide for them. Many children in orphanages still have a mother and/or father who simply can’t afford to care for them. My husband and I are looking at support Arise and Shine Uganda (http://ariseandshineuganda.com), as they focus first on family reunification, then local adoption, and then international adoption. All that said, I am so excited to welcome our second child into our home! I get so giddy thinking about it, and ache for him on a regular basis. I don’t feel bad at all about wishing this would happen so soon–like tomorrow!

I’m Not Entitled to Comfort

My husband and I have been busy mapping out the next year of our lives. Places to go, conferences to attend, visitors to welcome.

Life is different for us in Southeast Asia.

Slower-paced, yes.
Fulfilling, yes.

Sometimes lonely…yes.

So I made up a sheet of paper with boxes for each of the next twelve months. Our goal was to have one thing to look forward to each month for the next year. To our surprise, the boxes started filling quickly.

I jumped on a Skype call with my parents and we talked about the potential for their first visit in our new home. When Christmas started to look like a possibility, I tried not to get my hopes up, but there was an obvious pep in my step.

We discussed travel dates, work schedules, and preferred airports. I quickly wrote our travel agent for a quote.

When her reply started with I was afraid of this, but…I knew the tickets would be too expensive. And they were, outrageously so.

I don’t blame everybody for wanting to hop on an airplane to spend the holidays with the people they love. I don’t blame the airlines for jacking up the prices. I’m just not particularly joyful about being an entire hemisphere and a $3,000 ticket away from my family during my favorite time of the year.

So I broke the news to my parents, and stared at the December box trying to ignore the fact that it was large and empty. I would need to put on my big girl pants and give myself the Die to Self talk once more.

I choked back my emotions a few times last week when friends asked if my family would be coming to visit. I smiled graciously when my neighbors offered to be my relatives here.

But on Saturday, I drove along our village road and caught a glimpse of a family relaxing, playing outside together in the heat of the day.

In a flood of nostalgia, I was in the back yard of my parents’ house, drinking sweet tea under the stringed lights still hanging from my wedding. We were stuffed after a huge spread of summer vegetables and fried pork chops. I could hear the laughter of my siblings as they poked fun at each other, and I imagined their joy as they soaked up the giggles of my one-year-old.

All the memories flooded my senses so vividly. The smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of crickets and pond frogs, the taste of summer squash.

I forgot that my life is now comprised of dodging potholes and smelling grilled pork intestine and cleaning up the mess of a leaking roof.

And in that moment, I hated it here. I looked at that family on the side of the street and felt an overwhelming surge of jealousy.

It must be nice, I thought. And my feelings bubbled over into a talk with God.

Why me, God? Why did it have to be me?

Why couldn’t I have been chosen to stay home? To live in the comforts of America alongside my family?

Are you REALLY going to do something here? Is it really worth it? Do you have a place for me? 

What if this is all in vain?

It was honest, and I really questioned Him. I don’t think this was wrong.

But when you ask honest questions of God, you better prepare yourself for honest answers.

He took me to the book of Joshua.

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The people of Israel had crossed the Jordan River. The walls of Jericho had fallen, and the Lord had been with his people throughout all of these triumphs.

But when Joshua sent men from Jericho to spy on Ai, they were driven out—defeated—and several dozen men were killed.

The Scriptures tell us that the hearts of the people melted and became as water. What a word picture for the fluidity of our faith.

Joshua tore his clothes and fell on his face before God, begging for answers.

Why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all? Are you planning to destroy us at the hand of the Amorites?

We were just as happy to stay on the other side of the river!

Will you keep us safe? Won’t the Canaanites surround us and cut off our name from the earth? 

And what will You do for Your reputation here?

Then the Lord revealed to Joshua the sin that was amongst them.

Get up. Why are you groveling? Israel has sinned: They’ve broken the covenant I commanded them; they’ve taken forbidden plunder—stolen and then covered up the theft, squirreling it away with their own stuff.

The People of Israel can no longer look their enemies in the eye—they themselves are plunder. I can’t continue with you if you don’t rid yourselves of cursed things. (Joshua 7:13)

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The Spirit’s voice was almost audible as I read this passage. He begged to carve out the disobedient parts of my heart and fill the holes with the Father’s loving care.

I must get up—stop falling on my face. I’ve broken a covenant.

I’ve been harboring what isn’t mine—the entitlement to comfort. And the Lord has convicted me to expose it and get rid of it.

I’m nesting in a tent of provision, but hidden under my mattress is a fear of pain and the grief of loss.

I have no doubt that my grief is justified, nor do I believe that I should squash my feelings under my heel until they disappear.

But my questioning has no place before the throne of the Almighty, for He has never backed out on a promise.

He WILL be present. He WILL provide hope. He WILL do something great here.

And He can’t continue with me until I rid myself of the entitlement to comfort.

It’s a lesson in settling my soul in His provision instead of the happiness this world tries to offer.

It’s a daily walk, of which I often fail. And tomorrow there will be something new to throw on the altar.

For now, though, I’ll close my eyes and dwell in the memories of those I love. Then I’ll recalibrate my focus on a vision of the Kingdom.

He’s brought me across the waters, and He didn’t do it for nothing.

After all, He’s got a reputation to protect.

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To my family:

Daddy, Mommy, Ansley, Ryan, Meredith, Grant, and my incredible In-Laws, too.

Praying for focus and wisdom doesn’t mean I don’t ache for you daily. No amount of distance will ever take the place of the love I have for each of you. Thank you for supporting us; it would be unbearable to make this transition without having you on our team.

Love you, love you, LOVE YOU.

family