Alerts, we get them all the time. Whether we set them or they are naturally set, it is inevitable that we will have some kind of an alarm or alert that goes off during the day. You may have just one, the one for waking up, or you may have many, one for every shift in your day. Your dog or cat will alert you when they want to eat, play, go outside, and so forth. Your kid will alert you of a diaper changing, when they need to eat, or that a project was due yesterday. I have an apple watch and try to keep up with closing all of my fitness rings or goals everyday. If I am sitting for too long I get a notification that it is Time to Stand. When I saw that the other day I really felt impressed that the Lord was identifying a need within the body of Christ. He is saying to you, “Time to Stand.”
Some of you might struggle with standing, due to being out of alignment. You need some adjusting. When you are in need of a chiropractic alignment your first appointment with the chiropractor sets the tone for the kind of adjustments as well as the frequency. Once you have had some adjustments made because of muscle memory, sometimes the adjustments can make you feel worse than you did before you had work done to your body. Give it some time and future tweaking, your body will fall right into place and be the best it can be. Much like a chiropractor helps to get you in alignment, the Holy Spirit brings alignment to you. The adjustments are corrections, you might need minor correction and other times you need major correction. Have you met with the Father for the plan? Are you following through with the plan? Or are you ashamed to be the vessel the Lord works through? You must check in frequently with the Holy Spirit. If you fail to meet with him, you can still get by and do the work, but not to the capacity the Father has called you to. You might even think that you are doing the will of the Father. Have you stopped to consider that maybe you were meant for more or to do something else?
So what does this correction look like? The Lord is not short of creative ways to reach us. Consider the account of Baalam, found in Numbers 22:21-39. Baalam thought that he was going to do the right thing, but God was angry because initially He told him not to go with the men to curse the Israelites. God allowed Baalam to go with the condition that he would “...still do only what I tell you.” On his way Baalam could not see the weaponized angel of the Lord on the, but his faithful donkey could. Baalam was so mad about his donkey’s disobedience that he beat her 3 times. Then the Lord opened up the mouth of the Donkey and they carried on a conversation. Once that was done, Baalam’s eyes were open and knew exactly why his beloved animal dared not move forward. God’s correction to Baalam helped him to see that God was the one in charge and to really be aware of how important it was to say only what God told him. Because Baalam obeyed, it showed the king of Moab, Balak, and those surrounding the Israelites that God is the one who blesses His people. All glory to Him! When you are on the road towards your destiny, it may not be the path that God intended for you to go on, but because of pressure from others or your own desires, He allows you to go, but with condition. You must be careful to do all that He says to do. God’s glory from your obedience is much greater than what any earthly man might try to honor and buy you with.
Much like the way we correct our children, because we know our children, our discipline is done out of love. We know that if we yell at our toddler who is about to cross the street, they might not like the correction at first, but in the end you saved your child’s life. Some correction may hurt at first, but I would much rather suffer a little than to suffer a lasting consequence. If you allow yourself some honest feedback and time in the Word, in worship, or in prayer then you can learn to receive the small adjustments the Lord brings to your life. The Lord knows how to correct you and because God loves you, he will allow correction to come. Come into alignment with His word showing that your are a good steward of what belongs to the Lord; you will then see the moving of the Lord on your behalf. When you are in alignment, Jesus is first! Now it’s time to Stand! Stand for Jesus. Stand for your family! “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Joshua 24:15. Stand for what is right! Proverbs 3:12 says, “For those whom the Lord loves He corrects, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Be encouraged that the Lord loves you.
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: Mary Gough
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We got home from a two week road trip that was riddled with high temperatures and sudden thunderstorms. We were camping in a tent, so this made this rather difficult from time to time with all the setting up the tent, taking down the tent, cooking food, and entertaining the five and two year old girls (they are our daughters, not some random kids we picked up). When we got home, we originally had planned a week of relaxation, cleaning, and repacking because we were off on a two week mission trip to northeast Brazil (to the city of Caucaia). Instead, there had been a death in the family and so we washed clothes, repacked, and headed out of town again for a few days. After the funeral, we came back home and had about two days before heading to Brazil. We hadn’t packed anything!
We had to pack VBS supplies, gifts for friends, ministry items, bug spray, clothes...did I mention bug spray? The utter disarray of my living room, laundry area, kitchen table, and bedroom were stressing me out. I found myself walking in circles and not really accomplishing anything. Meanwhile, my husband was putting items in ziplock bags and distributing them between suitcases. He was trying to bring organization to all the crazy that was going on. Somehow, mostly due to my husband’s efforts, we got it all packed into four suitcases that weighed just under the maximum and got to bed at a decent time. This scenario happens in life so often. Things are chaotic, unaligned, crazy, wild, bonkers! And then suddenly it all just falls into alignment. And sometimes it falls apart.
When we are working “according to His purpose” (Roman 8:28) we are going to find out that things, no matter how crazy they might become, will fall into place. Now, they might not fall into the place you thought they would, but they will fall into the place they are supposed to. This seemed to prove itself true time and time again during this mission trip to Brazil. It is a lesson that I have to keep learning because I am just not getting it! As good mission leaders we make a plan. What we are doing each day. Who is in charge of what meals. Who is leading the team devotionals and sharing time. What supplies we need to accomplish our ministry goals. We have a plan. Insert 12 other people and this little thing we call “life” and somehow these plans turn into more disorder than anything else. But you know what? It all works out. Everyone gets enough food. We all sleep some. Devotionals and share times happen. Ministry happens in places and in forms we didn’t plan and it is beautiful and authentic. Lives are changed.
It’s like we could hand God this tangled up ball of junk we found in our pockets that we have been collecting for a while and he can make it into a beautiful work of art. And each time I just stand back and think, “Wow! How did He do that?”
I don’t want to minimize the pain that disarray can bring. When your children seem like they are running away from truth and Godliness as fast as they can. When your marriage might be on the brink of disaster. When mental health issues are weighing down on you so heavily that just getting up is cause for celebration. When loss and pain are breaking down the doors to your home. These things are serious. God sees them and he hears you. He loves you and he wants to bring you through these times. And your testimony of triumph in these times will be an amazing tool to bring others through similar paths.
Disarray isn’t always a bad thing though. Even the hardest times can be a beautiful mess that untangles in its own time. It can stress us out and confuse us, but it can also cause us to depend on each other and God. It can point us in a direction that we never thought we could or would go. And on the other side, where we find alignment with Him, we also find a beauty and peace that surprises us each and every time.
So, if you are sitting in a big ole pile of crazy right now, try to enjoy the mess. Make a mud pie. Smear it all around. Take a big whiff of it. Throw your head back and laugh loudly at Satan and tell him “not this time!”. Don’t let it turn you into a monster that is striving for impossible perfection. Then make sure that your goals are to His glory and find rest in the fact that it will all align itself with His help. Think of it as the shackles of bondage being broken, because that is exactly what it can be. Let the promises of scripture speak to your heart. Let them give you peace. Allow them to re-connect you with His purpose and alignment will come.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Written by: Angie Reese
I stumbled upon this interesting graphic as I scrolled through Facebook the other day. This cognitive neuroscientist I follow shared this image of feelings before you talk about them vs after you talk about them. The feelings before were all of these lines (noodles? spaghetti brain, anyone?) of all different colors all tangled up. The feelings after were neatly categorized by color and labeled: fear, sorrow, anger, etc.
And I loved that image and the caption she wrote to go along with it. She pointed out that we often "avoid talking because we think we will be a burden, or because we think we have to have a solution to talk about a problem.." and encouraged readers to talk through big or tangled feelings or thoughts "even if you don't have the right words or understand what's going on." [Dr. Caroline Leaf, Facebook]
I'm not exactly a verbal processor normally, but I recently found myself so overwhelmed and confused even by many thoughts, information that's come at me, opinions, and on and on that have been swirling around in my head. And as I quietly contemplated all of the things that were coming at me and that I was examining and praying over, it was like the things just compounded. Like, I would have moments of clarity and peace with the Lord. Shutting off social media helped me to walk undistracted. But.. it was like I couldn't even put my finger on what was going on inside because everything was just a big tangled mess. It was really heavy; at times, straight up oppressive.
It was the lens through which I was viewing everything, which is kind of like walking around with fingerprints smudged all over your glasses. You can see but there's this thing in the way or always in your peripheral. It's hindering your vision and how you go about your day.
So the Lord, I'm convinced, arranged for me to be walking with a specific group of women in this season of wrestling. I found myself word vomiting and sobbing all over the place; like all of the stuff I'd been holding in spilled up out of me. And it was just a mess; just a tangled string of words as I fumbled to find the words to explain the warfare that had been coming at my mind and amplified by fear and probably by keeping it to myself and trying to figure it out on my own.
There was the relief of finally having all of these things out in the open, however tender and vulnerable I felt. And then.. oh, then, there came a massive dismantling: 'Here's what's true and here are the lies that need to go. Where is this one coming from? What happened over here?' as they seemed to hold all of these threads in their hands, sorting and sifting through the mess with me.
Man, sometimes we miss stuff. We're too close to what's going on. We're just muddling through. We need our sisters in Christ to come alongside us to help us look at what we're walking through with a clear lens and a few steps back from it all. We need wise and seasoned and prayerful friends to not only help identify lies believed and point out truth overlooked; we need these sisters to pray with us and over us, ushering us right into the throne room when maybe lately it's felt like we've been crawling there on our own.
I can't tell you how thankful I am that God provided these women as an answer to many, many cries of desperation. I know that He guided me and sustained me as I sought His will and His Word but I can't help but feel like He intentionally chose these friends to answer my prayer for clarity.
How beautiful when the Body operates as intended. This is only a small glimpse of that: women following hard after Jesus, devoting their lives to the work set before them, emptying themselves and making themselves available to the needs around them. Kingdom-minded women, submitting themselves to the transforming of their minds and the conforming of their desires to those of the Lord's. Small and yet mighty acts of submission and vulnerability and obedience.
We need these relationships; wow, can they serve as another step in the laying down of our self-sufficiency and self-absorption as they fill very real needs perceived with eyes wide open.
And I found that when the noise of my circumstances threatened to drown out the truth, their collective pointing to Jesus quieted all of the noise and brought Him to the forefront. These friends helped turn my mental and spiritual disarray into alignment with the Lord and what He says is true.
What a gift.
How about you, sis? Have you ever not asked for help because you were afraid of being a burden? Have you ever been so overwhelmed by what you were walking through that you just didn't even know where you would begin? What steps could you take today, to either reach out for help in your time of need or to reach out to a friend who is walking through a hard season?
If you currently are without a 'tribe' in this season- will you let us be just that for you right now? Will you let us know how we can rally around you and pray over you in whatever you're facing? It would be a privilege- certainly not a burden.
May any and all confusion and disarray be untangled and reconfigured completely so that you may walk freely in alignment with the Lord.
Written by: Olivia Caldwell
There were two runners in a race. Each runner was given the instructions of where to finish farther down the beach. The runners were informed that they would not be judged on how quickly they got to the finish line, but rather they would be judged on who’s line of footprints were the straightest from starting point to finish line.
If you grew up in the mid-nineties to early 2000’s you are sure to have seen or heard this very illustration at some point and know how it ends.
The starting gun shot goes off, runner one carefully takes a gentle step on to the sand with her left foot followed by a precise step of her right foot placed toe to heel making sure to be in alignment with her left foot. Then again, another step being careful to stay as straight as possible and continued down the beach to the finish line in the same fashion. Cautiously, placing one foot in front of the other painfully aware of how straight her footprints were going to be all the while determining her next step by the alignment of the previous steps, looking up occasionally and aiming for the finish line accordingly.
Runner number two, hears the starting gun shot and without hesitation looks up, locks eyes with her target, the finish line, and runs…
At the end of the story we come to find out that the runner who carefully and precisely measured her steps ended up swerving and weaving all over the beach before she made it to the finish line. Her line looked more like a traveling snake than a line at all. She was so focused on the tiny steps she lost track of the big picture. She would lose sight of her final destination and instead measured her success from each individual step.
But runner 2…
She was so focused on her destination, her finish line that her path was completely straight…
Have you ever heard the phrase “If you aim for nowhere, nowhere is where you will go.”?
I love that illustration of the runners above. I believe that it brings so much clarity and hope to my soul when I remember it. I don’t know about you, but there are definitely times throughout my life I can look back (sometimes I don’t have to look very far, ha) where I may have been a little to focused on the “things” around me and not had my eyes so perfectly locked with Jesus. I allowed the busyness, chaos or just plain life around me distract me from the very things I knew God was wanting me to focus on. Those things were not inherently bad, sometimes those “things” were my family, my business, my volunteer hours or time spent at church, cleaning, cooking, kids activities, you name it. The problem wasn’t so much what I was doing, it was that I had allowed myself to drift my focus from where it should have been, over to the checklist of my to-dos. I was too focused on those single steps in my life when I should have just lifted my eyes and stayed focused on my target, my Jesus.
Have you ever known those people that even with all chaos, crazy schedules or even the unknown surrounding them, they are still at total peace? You know the ones I mean, they are genuinely at peace, not shaken or stirred easily. Maybe there has even been a time in your life where that was you. If that was ever you, I would like to invite you to look back and ask yourself, ‘Where was my focus?’
How many times do we get so wrapped up in making sure that those individual tasks are accomplished, correct and completed that we miss our mark and have to back track and redirect ourselves?
How many times do we seek and ask God what He would like us to be doing, He gives us a direction and then off we go. Often times we get so focused on being a human doing instead of being a human being? Um, guilty…
You know the really amazing things about those two runners? They both still made it to the finish line. They both ended up where they were supposed to be. There was no shame in the first runner having to realign to make it to the end. They did it.
That is the amazing thing about God our Father is He is always ready to help us realign when we look up. In fact, I believe He is calling out, trying to get us to look up to help us to know to realign ourselves. There is no shame. No guilt. Just love.
Is there something you need to look up from today? Do you feel the Father trying to get you attention today? Look up sis. Keep going. You can trust Him. Look up.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
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