WRITTEN BY: LYNDSAY TERRY
Have you ever read all the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 Woman and all she does and accomplishes? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the to-do list that seems to emanate from her description? Can you even live up to this standard of woman?
Proverbs 31:10-31 (TPT)
10 - Who could ever find a wife like this one --
she is a woman of strength and mighty valor!
She’s full of wealth and wisdom.
The price paid for her was greater than many jewels.
11 - Her husband has entrusted his heart to her,
for she brings him the rich spoils of victory.
12 - All throughout her life she brings him what is good and not evil.
13 - She searches out continually to possess
that which is pure and righteous.
She delights in the work of her hands.
14 - She gives out revelation-truth to feed others.
She is like a trading ship bringing divine supplies
from the merchant.
15 - Even in the night season she arises and sets food on the table
for hungry ones in her house and for others.
16 - She sets her heart upon a field and takes it as her own.
She labors there to plant the living vines.
17 - She wraps herself in strength, might, and power in all her works.
18 - She tastes and experiences a better substance,
and her shining light will not be extinguished,
no matter how dark the night.
19 - She stretches out her hands to help the needy
and she lays hold of the wheels of government.
20 - She is known by her extravagant generosity to the poor,
for she always reaches out her hands to those in need.
21 - She is not afraid of tribulation,
for all her household is covered in the dual garments
of righteousness and grace.
22 - Her clothing is beautifully knit together --
a purple gown of exquisite linen.
23 - Her husband is famous and admired by all,
sitting as the venerable judge of his people.
24 - Even her works of righteousness
she does for the benefit of her enemies.
25 - Bold power and glorious majesty are wrapped around her
as she laughs with joy over the latter days.
26 - Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness
as loving instruction pours from her lips.
27 - She watches over the ways of her household
and meets every need they have.
28 - Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues,
and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms.
29 - “There are many valiant and noble ones,
but you have ascended above them all!”
30 - Charm can be misleading,
and beauty is vain and so quickly fades,
but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe,
and fear of the Lord.
She will be praised throughout eternity.
31 - So go ahead and give her the credit that is due,
for she has become a radiant woman,
and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired
at the gateways of every city!
I don’t know about you, but I only tick off some of these boxes and not consistently. It can be easy for me to read about this woman and feel inadequate or even ashamed. I long to be her. To love getting up early and staying up late until the work is done, to have children call me blessed because of the way I raise them and a husband who can only speak about me in glowing terms. I want to be someone who is virtuous and puts the needs of others always above my own. To be a woman who can laugh at the days ahead instead of being filled with dread. To bring truth to those living in lies, to be righteous for the sake of my enemies, to be filled with more than enough strength to conquer any obstacle, and to delight in the work laid before me.
I want to be her, but most days…I’m just not.
I don’t think the Lord inspired this passage to shame its readers or set an impossible standard in front of them to live in frustration. That’s just not his way…not without providing a way!
What if I told you this passage may relate more to the CHURCH than to an individual woman? What if I told you that, together, WE are all this woman?
The Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ. This passage says a few key things that point us to a heavenly husband rather than an earthly one…a heavenly marriage rather than one between just two people.
The price paid for her was greater than many jewels…
Her husband has entrusted his heart to her…
All her household is covered in dual garments of righteousness and grace…
Her husband is famous and admired by all, sitting as the venerable judge of his people…
Her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms…
She will be praised throughout eternity…
These parts of the passage seem to point to something bigger than just a woman and her husband. Something eternal. Something all-encompassing. Something so much bigger than us…
When we read this passage in the light of the Church, we can be filled with hope and inspiration to live in step with this kind of Church. We are called into an eternal family to help fulfill the role of the Proverbs 31 woman. It’s something to strive toward, but is not solely on our shoulders to bear. We cover one another’s weaknesses as we build up one another to be strong…stronger in those places of weakness.
It’s not all on you, sis. You have an eternal family of brothers and sisters in Christ to help you walk in strength toward these things as we fulfill the role of the Proverbs 31 woman TOGETHER. As a Church. The Lord’s Holy Bride.
I want to challenge you to go re-read this passage with new eyes. Read it as a description of the Bride of Christ. You’ll fall more in love with the Church. Read it while asking the Lord how he wants you to help fulfill the Proverbs 31 woman. Where is your weakness and who can help make you strong? Collectively, we have the mind of Christ. Collectively, we are clothed in strength and dignity. Collectively, we are the Bride of Christ.
Collectively, we ALL are the Proverbs 31 woman. Together.
There is a short story of a woman in the Bible and her conversion to Christianity. Her story can be found in Acts 16:11-15 - her name is Lydia.
So, setting sale from Troas, we made ad direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
Lydia was a seller of purple. Purple, in the ancient world, was luxurious and expensive. Not something that just anyone had the money to purchase.
Lydia was most likely a Jew. She met Paul on the Sabbath at a place of prayer near the riverside. She was with other women, who were probably also there to pray on the Sabbath, and they all began to listen to Paul sharing the gospel.
Lydia heard the good news of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of her Jewish faith, the reality of her Messiah, and came to full-faith in Jesus. She was immediately baptized and, what’s more, she gathered her entire household to hear the gospel and be baptized as well.
Afterward, she urged Paul and Silas to see if they judge her as faithful to the Lord and to come stay in her house.
This is about all we know of Lydia. It’s a short story with few details about an interesting and mysterious woman.
Sitting down to write this article, truthfully, I don’t have much to say about Lydia, but the things that I think the Lord has drawn my attention to concerning her life have impacted my own and have challenged me to change my intentionality in opening my heart and home to the people in my path. My perspective on hospitality has changed. I pray that the Lord speaks to you about your life, your circumstances, and your calling as you continue to read these words…
Lydia gave of herself, her time, her talents, and her money to do the work God called her to - selling beautiful purple garments. What is so profound and impactful to me is this…in a moment, the moment she heard the gospel for the first time, she went from a purveyor of purple garments to a purveyor of the robes of Christ. Her time, her talents, her money all going toward doing a NEW work that God was calling her to…sharing the good news of Jesus.
She gathered her entire household, the people in her nearest reach, to hear the gospel - just as she heard it. She made sure they weren’t just covered with the beautiful clothing she sells, but with the righteousness of Christ. This was a woman who understood value. How expensive are the robes of Christ that have been given for us? The work God called Jesus to was to cover the nakedness of those too poor to cover themselves with a spiritual purple cloth - beautiful, expensive, luxurious cloth - the robes of righteousness. We could never be right with God by our own strength. We need Jesus to make us right with the Father. We can trade our rags for His robes.
Lydia had a heart of hospitality that extended far beyond inviting some strangers to stay in her home. For her, it meant inviting her household to make their home in Christ. This really changes my perspective on spiritual hospitality.
Whether it be the people who walk through my doors or the people who just walk in my path - am I inviting others to make their home in Christ? Am I purveyor of the robes of Christ to those too naked and too poor to cover themselves? Or am I too busy and too embarrassed to open my heart and my home to strangers, to those nearest to me, to whoever God puts in front of my path today? Is going about my business more important that going about the Father's business? Lydia understood what was more important, what was better, what had greater value...the invitation into righteousness and rightness with God through Jesus Christ.
Do I understand what's more important, what's better, and what has greater value than my schedule, my mess, my tiredness, my busyness? Do you, sweet sister?
So what is the Lord prompting you to do right now? Is it to open your home to that Bible study that needs a place to meet? Is it to start your own? Is it to invite your neighbors over for dinner and open the door for a conversation about Jesus? Is it to roll down your window and pray with the man on the street corner? What is the Lord prompting you to do when it comes to your own spiritual hospitality?
Things to ask the Lord…
Lord, help us to have open hearts and open homes to the people you put in our path. Give us wisdom and direction when sharing the gospel in word and deed, when opening our lives to the broken and needy around us, and when working to fulfill the calling you’ve placed on our lives. Make us like Lydia. Make us like you.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
Tabitha. Her story is an amazing one and I want to share something the Lord revealed to me while reading her story in Acts 9. Get your bible, we’ll read it together in a minute.
This story…there is so much in this short story and I want to share it all, but I feel the Lord saying, “Share this one thing.” I want to focus on one part of her life…the part of her life that led up to a radical miracle. The part of her life when she wasn’t alive at all. The part of her story when all hope was lost and it was all over. There was no coming back from what happened…
“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.” So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them.” Acts 9:36-39 (ESV)
She was dead. Tabitha’s widow friends and other people she served and loved washed her completely and readied her for burial, but didn’t bury her. I don’t know if they couldn’t bring themselves to do it, if they were waiting for some reason, or what, but they didn’t bury her yet. They put her in the upper room. I learned this recently about the upper room in homes during this era. The upper room was the place for intimate conversation. When you needed to talk about something really important or private or personal, you did that upstairs on the top floor. It was also the place for women of the house. It’s interesting to me that the place for intimate conversation is also the same place sort-of reserved for the women of the house to spend time. It was the place for private dinners, the place for communion. Tabitha laid dead, her body cleansed and prepared, in the place of communion.
The Upper Room.
“But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” Acts 9:40-41 (ESV)
Her friends and other disciples sent for Peter to come. The all wept and mourned and showed the handiwork of her love to him as he entered the house, but Peter sent them out. He postured himself into submission and prayed to God. What did that prayer sound like, I wonder? Did he ask God to raise her? Did he say, “God what do you want me to do?” Did he just praise God? That’s a question I’ll ask on the other side of Heaven someday. Whatever the prayer ended up being, Peter finished, then turned around and commanded her to come alive.
In this place of communion, the Spirit of God breathed life into a woman. In this place of communion, a woman submitted to God, cleansed before the Lord, was given new life. In this place of communion, hope was restored after all hope had been lost. In this place of communion, God made a way where there was no way. In this place of communion, a radical miracle was birthed.
Sister, I prayed about this, thought long and hard about this, then wrote and wrote only to erase most of what I had gleaned from this story in scripture. I feel the Lord is telling me to focus on this one part of her story…someone needs to hear this.
Tabitha was cleansed and prepared, laid to rest in the place of communion and then, through prayer, what happened? God did a radical miracle.
I feel the Lord is telling me, when you’ve done all you can do, come up to the quiet place of communion with Him. Cleanse your heart and prepare yourself for God to do what only He can do. Go to the Lord in prayer and then watch Him do a miracle.
Someone needs to do that today.
If you feel a tug in your heart, I’m writing this for you and the Lord is speaking.
It’s time to obey. It’s time to stop. You’ve done all you can do right now.
Go to the Upper Room. Cleanse your heart before the Lord. Prepare yourself for a miracle. Go to communion with the Lord in prayer. And then just watch and wait, sweet friend.
Sister, if we are women, submitted to God, cleansed before the Lord, communing with Him in the Upper Room of our spirits, God will birth radical miracles.
One of you needs a radical miracle today. It’s time to go to the Upper Room.
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
What was your biggest betrayal? I don’t want to shame you at all, but those are moments we never forget. We carry that forever. We don’t have to carry the shame (and if you are still carrying shame, please reach out to us), but we can’t just forget the time we betrayed someone. Maybe you betrayed a friend’s confidence and hurt them deeply. Maybe you broke your marriage vows. Maybe you weren’t there for a parent when you should have been. Maybe, maybe, maybe. The list could go on and on, but somewhere in there, you know what your betrayal looked like, felt like, sounded like.
I can never forget my biggest betrayal. I broke the bonds with this precious, precious person and our relationship was never the same. Initially it was worse…so much worse. But the Lord did an amazing miracle in our relationship and now it’s better than it was before the betrayal. What we’ve built together since then is deeper, wider, more beautiful than before. It’s still a work in progress and it’s hard work at times, but we are doing it together and there’s peace and forgiveness there now.
But it all started with a recommitment to them and our relationship, a new promise, and a greater resolve to fulfill that promise everyday.
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember how I hurt this person, but now there’s no shame carried in that memory any longer. All that’s left is a beautiful reminder of what God saved me from, how he pulled me out of that pit, and the work he’s done in my life since that time. Instead of bitter tears of regret, I am filled with tears of joy and gratitude. I’m so thankful for the forgiveness of God and the forgiveness of this precious person.
I never fully understood the weight of God’s grace until this betrayal, forgiveness, and restoration. Grace so heavy I can hardly bear the weight of it.
Isn’t this such a picture of what it looks like to be restored back into a right relationship with God? We were in the garden and suddenly we found ourselves at the crossroads…remain faithful to our relationship with God or betray him for a fleeting pleasure, for something that tasted good, but would never last. We’d betray him for a promise of something better that would create a hell on earth.
But then GOD! He made a way through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of that betrayal, and restored us to God our Father as if the betrayal never happened.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
Many of us have been saved from our betrayal and been made right with God, but we don’t even recognize the small betrayals that we commit against God all the time.
I don’t have time to read scripture today. I’ll get to it tomorrow.
I’m so tired. I think we’ll stay home from church today. It’s been such a busy week and I can worship God here at home. c anyway.
I do so much for other people during the week, I just want to go to church and worship, listen to the sermon, and go home. I don’t want to sign up to work in the nursery or help with communion.
We betray our relationship with God. I’m not here to condemn, I’ve been guilty of some of these (or others) before too. I’m just here to call attention to areas in our lives that we haven’t fully COMMITTED to God.
How can we say we love God so much if we hardly take time to listen to what He has to say in His precious Word? Do we love what God can do for us? Or do we love Him for who He is?
Scripture is pretty clear we shouldn’t forsake meeting together. Do we love our sleep more than His Bride? Do we love our comfort more than His Church? Do we love what we’ve built with our family more than what God is building with HIS family?
When did we let the lie slip into our heads that we don’t have to serve the Church - God’s family - because we do all kinds of stuff outside of the Church during the week? God gave all of us a role to play in HIS body - HIS Church - and He says that when we don’t play that role, we hurt His Church. We hurt the Lord.
I think it’s time we recommit ourselves to our relationship with God. It’s time to own up to our quiet, small, seemingly insignificant betrayals.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
It’s time to RECOMMIT to His Word. If you want to hear the Lord speak to you, you are guaranteed to hear the Lord through what He’s already spoken to you in scripture. Open your Bible today and recommit to meeting him everyday in those living and active Words.
It’s time to RECOMMIT to His Church. If you want to feel the move of God in your life, if you want to experience more of His presence in a deeper way, if you want to help change the lives of people around you, you’ve got to recommit to His Body. You’ve got a role to play and the Church needs you. We hurt when you don’t show up. We are less effective when you aren’t here. And I don’t just mean physically in the building, but working alongside other believers in Kingdom Building ministry inside the Bride. Ask how you can serve this week and recommit to His Church.
It’s time to RECOMMIT our time and attention. Do you have your head up? Are you looking for opportunities to share the gospel, to minister to someone hurting, or to help someone in need? Or does it have to slap you in the face for you to take notice? Do you start your day asking God, “What do you want me to do today, Lord?” Or do you start you day, like so many of us, rolling out of bed cranky and immediately busy busy busy? It’s time to pay attention to what God is doing around us and what He wants to do through us.
How are you spending your time? Are you maxing out your time limit on social media everyday? Are you binging your favorite TV Shows every night? Are you going from school to soccer practice to grocery store to dinner to bedtime routine without spending much time in prayer or the Word? Lift your head and turn your heart toward him today and recommit your time and attention to the Lord.
How have we betrayed God with our time, our money, our affections? It may sound small to us, but that is just because we’ve rationalized things for so long and our culture has conditioned us to believe Christianity is a part of our lives when really…it IS our life.
Let us return to our first love. Let us recommit to loving his letter. Let us return to the intention and purpose of the relationship. Oneness. Wholeness. Righteousness. Holiness.
Our relationship with God doesn't just end at Salvation through Jesus... that's only the beginning. There's so much MORE for us through working out our salvation with fear and trembling. I don't think that means being scared and the trembling is from that. I think the fear is a reverence for God in all His glory and the trembling is because we get to LIVE in His glory as we work out our salvation! How beautiful and what an amazing gift we've been given! There is MORE.
Do you remember what He saved you from?
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
This is the season of Advent. An aching, heartsick kind of yearning for the great finder of lost sons and daughters, the fulfillment of every longing, the redeemer of broken people, the healer of painful pasts, the Savior of the world. Our Jesus - the Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father. Our friend, our helper, our strength, and our perfect parent. This is the season of hope deferred and the heartsick sinner.
I love the season of Advent. It’s such a beautiful picture of who we were as ones once lost in our sins, awaiting a savior, and the fulfillment of prophecy and desire coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This season extends beyond Christmas time. We all find ourselves in this spiritual season at one point or another when our hope is deferred, held in waiting, far away, dragging along, and our hearts are aching, longing, reaching for hope. In those moments, we stand at the crossroads of doubt or anticipation. I’d like to suggest to you that conscious choosing of anticipation over doubt, belief in God’s goodness and rescue over fear and negativity, is the beginning of our longing fulfilled.
I’m thinking of the mother of Jesus tonight as I write this. Earlier today, my mind was unable to let go of the mother of God and all of the questions I had for her…all of the questions she must have had after the angel came to tell her what the Lord was going to do, who she was going to be, who she would raise as her child, and what he would do. At first I wondered if she was filled with doubt, but then I remembered her response to the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” Luke 1:38 How after Jesus was born, she treasured the stories of the shepherds coming to learn about Jesus’ birth and their coming King. She thought about them always. This doesn’t sound like a doubting woman to me.
I immediately thought, “See that’s why the Lord didn’t pick me to be the mother of God.” I would have doubted what my eyes had seen and ears had heard. I would have wondered if I imagined it all. I would have questioned if God chose the right person. As far as it’s recorded, Mary entered into this waiting season with anticipation, not doubt. She took God at his word and believed in his goodness. She chose trust and that anticipation was the beginning of her longing fulfilled. The anticipation gave her life and made room for her to flourish and thrive in her God-given role as the mother of the Christ.
Doubt tends to make us feel like we are suffocating under its weight. We can’t see what God is doing, we can’t hear his voice, and we struggle to put one foot in front of the other because we don’t know if we are going the right way. Doubt pushes that hope, the longing, further and further into the distance and drains the life right out of us.
Sister, what are you hoping for? What are you aching and longing to see come into your life? Can I just encourage you, in our season of advent, choose anticipation. Believe in God’s goodness and trust that he is at work in your life right now. The answer to your hope may not be what you thought it would be, but God will answer you and he will fulfill the longing. When thoughts of doubt or fear or “what ifs” enter your mind, change your thinking, tell yourself to bless the Lord and anticipate his arrival, hope fulfilled.
As we remember the coming of Christ and our own redemption, as we look ahead and wait and ache for total healing and completion in the day of Christ’s return, lets choose joyful anticipation. For Christ is coming. Our hope will be seen. Our longing will be fulfilled. And we will be filled forever with eternal life in the Kingdom of God. In the presence of our hope and salvation, Jesus Christ.
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
My mind has been flooded with a million different things the Lord is doing in my life and how that all relates to unbelief/trust. Even just this morning during our pre-service prayer time, the Lord was prompting me to pray for help with my unbelief. He was urging me to pray that my doubts would be met with an answer - Him. Following the close of our church service today, I went to talk and pray for with a dear friend and the Lord was continuing to nudge my heart about belief and trust in the middle of the unthinkable for the absolutely unbelievable.
I sat down to write this article and couldn't quite figure out where to start. As I said, my mind was flooded. Stories and information and emotions were swirling around so much so that sifting it out and sorting it out and making any sense of it all felt almost impossible. So I went to read some scripture to re-center myself. That is when the Lord made it clear me...
"... they don't need your wisdom, beloved. They need mine."
Today the Lord reminded me early in the day that while godly counsel, pastors, friends, books, and advice are all good - if I seek those things before I seek the Lord then they are out of place and I've made them an idol.
I could write some things the Lord is teaching me and share some of that wisdom with you and that would be all well and good and often times that is what the Lord wants me to do, but tonight, I would be disobedient to the Lord doing that because some of you need to go straight to Him. You've been running to a girlfriend or a preacher or teacher or your counselor or co-worker or even your spouse - all before you run to the Lord. When you do that, you build your trust in your own understanding and begin to lean on that rather than the Lord and his ways and his wisdom.
So I'm just going to give you scripture tonight. Get somewhere quiet, get out your bible (so you know I didn't make any of this up), and get in communion with the Lord. Run to him FIRST. Let this time build your TRUST in Him instead of your trust in your own understanding. Let him help you with your unbelief. He is the answer to your question, dear one. He is ready to speak to you in the middle of your mess, your questions, your weariness, your "whatever", and he is ready to help you trust him more tonight...
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; Help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psalm 37:3
In God, whose word I praise - in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest n the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD. Proverbs 16:20
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. Psalm 118:8
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10
The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delight sin him. Psalm 37:23
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. Psalm 27:3
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6
Lord Jesus, I pray for unshakable faith for my sister reading this right now. You know her heart, you know her struggles and her triumphs. You know her desires and her fears. You know her better than she knows herself and Lord you love her unendingly. I pray her faith blossoms like a flower in spring, opening wide to face the Son and let the light of his face shine up on her - bringing life to her weary soul. I pray you would give her the gift of faith... that she would believe for the outrageous in the middle of the mundane. That she would believe for the unbelievable in the middle of the unthinkable. That she would trust you like a little child. That it wouldn't matter all the surrounding factors or circumstances... she would just believe you at your word and be quick to obey you. Build her up. Make her a mighty daughter. Help her learn to run to you FIRST - before she runs to your resources. Help her listen to you guiding her and watch for your footsteps. Make her a lover of your word and not just a hearer, but a doer. May you be honored in her life, Lord, and in mine.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
I am a mother of three - an 8 year old son, a 6 year old son, and a 2 year old daughter. I work full-time in ministry AND I get to be with my kids full-time. Oh - and we also homeschool. To put it lightly, I’ve been tired for a long time now. Especially since we had our third baby, Abigail.
Abby is precious and sweet and a ball of sunshine, but she is also bossy (hello future leader), strong willed (every hill is a hill to die on in her estimation), and sassy. She has me in tears of joy and tears of frustration most days.
Abby’s older brothers are starting to experience to full spectrum of brotherhood meaning they don’t always get along anymore and it can get pretty heated and wild between those two. Trying to teach the value of patience and compassion can be exhausting.
I recently came to a breaking point. I felt I could no longer carry on in our family’s current state and keep it together. I was snapping at the kids and getting really grouchy quickly. I found myself comparing myself to my husband and feeling the irritation of unmet expectations and honestly, things not being done my way. In my desperation for rejuvenation and peace in my heart, I reached out to the Lord in prayer again.
“Help me, Lord! I can’t go on this way. I’m becoming a mom I don’t want to be. I’m frustrated with everyone in my home all the time! No one is helping me. I’m drowning! Help me, Lord!”
Then I felt the Lord impress on me Colossians 3:23 “…do everything as unto the Lord.”
I had been doing it all for my kids, for my husband, to impress other people, and most of all… for myself. From that moment, I dedicated my heart to doing everything in my home as unto the Lord. If my husband didn’t do chores my way, it didn’t matter - I was doing chores for the Lord. If my kids made a mess, I was helping them clean it up as for the Lord. If there were a massive amount of dishes to be done, I was washing dishes for Jesus. If I had a mountain of laundry, I was washing the Lord’s clothes. If I needed to scrub a gross toilet, I was purifying my home for the Lord.
The atmosphere of my home began to change so much so that other people could feel it when they came to my house. While I have always struggled as a homemaker, I began to delight in sweeping my kitchen floor, making dinner for my family, helping my kids clean up their rooms, decorating my living room… making our house a home, a haven for my three children and husband to retreat to, to tuck themselves into its safety, to get covered in peace.
After all this change and a renewed spirit to do all the mundane with energy and joy, I sat in church one Sunday and thought about the atmosphere of our home changing from disorder and irritation to one of peace and comfort for my family… then I heard the Lord ask, “What about the atmosphere of my home - your heart - for me?” I went to inspect my heart and I felt the Lord affirm that HE was beautifying it and that beautification began with my dedication do you everything as unto the Lord.
Friend, if you are tired and need an awakening, emotionally or spiritually or mentally or physically, it’s time to dedicate yourself to doing everything as unto the Lord. I know I talk about obedience to God all the time, but the decision to say yes to the Lord births so much intimacy, enables us to hear him more clearly, ushers peace and joy into our life by the armful, and gives life to our mortal bodies.
Understand, obedience in and of itself is not the thing that makes us holy and happy - that would be by our works. Obedience moves the heart of God. Jesus said in the gospel of John that if we love him, we will obey him. FOUR TIMES he said this in just one chapter… it is that important. Obedience opens our heart to be made holy by God. 1st Peter tells us to be holy as God is holy… that’s BE holy, not DO holy. God brings transformation to the atmosphere of our hearts when we open ourselves to him through obedience… our declaration of love.
So friend, ask the Lord how you can obey him today and then dedicate yourself to doing everything as unto the Lord. It will bring life to your body and awaken your spirit.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
My husband, Josh, and I have been married for 11 years now. We’ve lost some of that fresh, bubbly, butterfly-inducing romance. We have three kids (8, 6, almost 2) so we are tired all the time. We both work full-time and homeschool our 2 oldest boys. We are both very active in our church, in bible studies, and try hard to stay connected to our friends on a regular basis.
It’s really normal that the longer you are in a relationship, the more familiar you become with your spouse, the more the infatuation and butterflies fade away. Some of us can kind of resent that shift in the relationship and then begin to pull away from our spouse. We feel hurt that maybe they aren’t quite the same as when we were dating…
“You used to stay up all night just to talk to me - even when you had to work the next day!”
“You used to snuggle me on the couch all the time!”
“You used to dance with me in the kitchen…”
“You used to tell me how beautiful I am every day…”
Or sometimes, we mistake that the lack of butterflies means we are falling out of love with each other. We start looking for a way out or another person to make us feel that way again.
The other day, I was kind of noticing how “blah” things have been in our marriage. We are so focused on our kids, on our work, on our ministries, that at the end of the day we are both too tired to connect heart-to-heart most nights of the week. I pulled out my phone for whatever reason and went through my photos. I began to see photo after photo of my husband doing what he loves to do most - be a dad. There were pictures of him holding our baby up near our tree so she could touch snow for the first time, pictures of him playing in the water with our kids at the beach, building sand castles, snuggling sleeping babies, being silly with our boys, the two of us out at a restaurant together, teaching our boys the value of hard work by cleaning gutters in the back yard or power washing the house or raking leaves. It was photo after photo of my man in his happy place.
I found my eyes welling up with tears and my heart filling up with butterflies again. I sent him a text while he was at work to let him know how much I loved him and couldn’t wait for him to get home. The focus of my day shifted from all the things I “had to do” to waiting for my darling man to come home to me.
I got to thinking the other day in the car about this shift from infatuation to familiarity and the Lord brought to my attention that familiarity is what makes way for intimacy. Intimacy is knowing someone inside and out. It is knowing the secret places of someone’s heart. It is that unique and private relationship with someone - something only the two of you have together.
You can’t get to true intimacy without going through the familiar.
Isn’t it that way with the Lord too? We are saved by Jesus and we are on fire, crazy in love, passionate believers, then something happens. It can take some time, but as we become more familiar with God, oftentimes we become a little lazy in our relationship with Him. We let the busyness of work, family, church-life, and other things crowd in His space in our heart and at the end of the day, on most days, we are too tired to even connect heart-to-heart with the Lord.
This moment is when we need to pull out our spiritual photographs, those snap-shot moments of precious time seeing the Lord doing what he loves most… working in your life. Look at that miracle baby, that restored marriage, that prodigal child coming home, that moment when you had no money for food and a check came in the mail, that time when you were going through crisis and friends showed up to clean your house and bring you a meal, when you couldn’t make rent and someone paid it for you, when you became a gentler spirit through the Word of God, the Sunday morning when it felt like the pastor was speaking directly to your heart, your moment of salvation by Jesus, the quiet moments of loneliness when the Lord came and sat with you, the grief you didn’t have to walk through alone, the friendships that came when you needed them most, the patience and grace shown to you when you didn’t deserve it…
These are all snap-shot moments in my life. These are all my photos of the Lord. And when I take the time, in my weariness, to sit down and remind myself of these memories, my eyes start welling up with tears, my heart fills with passion, and I want to lean into the Lord more instead of being resentful of our changed relationship or thinking his love for me has faded.
Familiarizing myself with the Lord is what makes way for more intimacy with Him.
So, my sweet sister, remind yourself of the goodness of God today. Pull out those snap-shot moments of the Lord working in your life and let your heart fill with passion, your eyes well up, and lean into His heart more today.
written by: Lyndsay Terry
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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.”
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
Be strong and take heart, and have no fear of them: for it is the Lord your God who is going with you; he will not take away his help from you.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16
It's one of my favorite phrases in the Bible, but sometimes I have struggled to understand it. What does it really mean? How can I lay hold of something that feels far away at times? What does taking heart practically look like? And still, I have been desperate to take heart in times of trouble, pain, or confusion.
The Lord has been bringing my attention to this phrase again and again over the past week or so. I've had conversations with friends who are grasping for answers or searching for hope and while we are talking, I hear the voice of the Lord whisper to my own heart, "Take heart." I feel courage well up in me as Lucy did when Aslan whispered to her, "Courage, dear heart," in Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia). Their ship is heading into the dark, deep, misty clouds and the whole crew is filled with fear. That is when Lucy smells the fragrance of Aslan's breath and hears him whisper, "Courage, dear heart." She can't see him, but she knows his scent and his voice. She knows he is near.
In order to smell the sweetness of someone's breath, we have to be incredibly close. To hear a whisper, we have to almost feel the whisperer's lips brush against our own ear. As I write this, I keep thinking, "Am I that close to the Lord? In my own times of trouble and fear, am I close enough to be aware of the presence of the Lord? To hear his quiet whisper? To feel his breath on my skin? To smell the fragrance of God?"
Keep that in mind as we dive into "take heart" throughout the Bible.
What does it take to "take heart"? How do we quit waiting for courage to come upon us and instead reach out and take hold of courage? Take hold of heart?
In order to take heart, to not lose heart, we have to stay soft towards the Lord. We have to keep fighting. We have to be interested, enthusiastic, and concerned about the things of God and the Lord himself.
When we let heartache, pain, anger, frustration, discouragement, or even busyness surround us and begin to drown out the voice of God, dampen our zeal for him or even crush us under its weight, we can become apathetic. It’s easier to numb ourselves, isn't it? It is so much easier to quit hoping, then we won’t be so disappointed when it doesn’t work out. It's easier to become disinterested because then we can’t be discouraged. It's easier to lose our enthusiasm so we don’t look foolish when things fall apart. It's easier to lose our concern, to quit caring so much, to stop paying attention to what God is saying or calling us to so it doesn’t hurt when it’s so hard. Maybe we even quit caring for His bride, the Church, or the people of God so they can’t harm us.
But sweet friends, notice in these passages, along with “take heart” He says that trouble will come, but in HIM we have peace. It doesn't say in the world we have peace. It's not in things going our way, nor in everything working out the way we plan or hope. We can have peace when our marriage is falling apart, when we are experiencing financial ruin, when our health is failing, and when our children lose their way. We have peace when we find ourselves IN the Lord Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. We don’t need our life’s circumstances to be peaceful in order to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. His peace will guard our hearts and minds. His peace will make us whole. His peace will protect us.
It also says to wait for the Lord. The waiting is the hardest part for me. It has been hard my whole life; waiting for my first kiss, waiting for my college acceptance letter, waiting for a proposal, waiting to get pregnant, waiting for opportunities to come knocking, waiting for God to move me to the next thing, waiting for stability, waiting for new friendships to be forged, waiting for healing, waiting, waiting, waiting. And I haven’t always waited with patience. I often remind my children that patience is “waiting without whining.” That is something I have to remind myself too. The Lord wants to develop patience in me through my long-suffering. He doesn't want me to just learn to suffer for extended periods of time, but He wants me to learn to wait for the Lord to do what he has promised to do - without complaining or whining because he isn’t moving at my preferred speed or in my preferred fashion.
Part of taking heart is waiting for the Lord - expecting him to come through - and when I have that sincere expectation and the real, true belief down in my bones that he will come through in his perfect timing, I can wait without whining.
The last thing I want to touch on is the phrase “all you who hope in the LORD” in Psalm 31. It can be so easy to lose hope - a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. I had a friend say something to me the other day that hit home for me, “I’m afraid to hope.” Have you ever felt afraid to hope for something? Afraid to hope that a problem would meet the solution. Afraid to hope that things would work out for the best? Afraid to hope that someone in your life would come to their senses?
Afraid to hope for a miracle?
Hoping for those things is scary - and rightly so. Those things will always fail us. People fail us. Problems may go away for a time, but new ones crop up. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to. Some people never come to their senses. Sometimes God says no to the miracle we are praying for. Does that mean we should shy away from hope?
It means we need to stop putting our hope in what God can do and start putting our hope solely in God. We don’t need answers. We don’t need solutions. We don’t need miracles. We need the presence of God. Oftentimes those answers, solutions, and miracles come along with His presence, but even if He doesn’t bring those with Him, His very nearness is enough, sweet friend. His very nearness is enough.
Being near to God, we can have peace when everything fails. We can have comfort when our life is so disturbed. We can rest in Him when we are surrounded by chaos. His presence is all we truly need.
HE is our light in the dark. HE is our comfort in pain. HE is our peace in the storm. HE is our friend when we are alone. HE is trustworthy when we are betrayed. HE is near when others are far. HE is everything when we have nothing. HE is our fill when we are so empty. HE is our life when we are close to death. HE is our hope when we are facing despair.
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.
Psalm 33: 20 - 22
He is enough.
So courage, dear heart. Don’t lose heart, sweet friend. Grab it with both arms around the waist and hang on for dear life. Don’t let hope slip away. Take heart! He has overcome what you are facing. And there is grace enough for you and what you are facing today. You can be filled with HOPE that his very presence is enough to see you through.
Remind yourself: When I am facing fear and trouble, pull in close enough to the Lord to hear his whisper, feel his lips brush against my ear, and smell the fragrance of his breath.
Take heart, dear heart.
I wrote a song years ago that has been ringing in my mind and heart for a few days now. I wrote this song when I was going through a bipolar episode and was struggling to hang on. I was struggling to trust God to see me through. I was struggling with a will to keep living. It was a terrible time in my life and I really don’t like to go back there in my mind, but I think the Lord is bringing me back there - not to revisit past pain and sin - but to offer hope and maybe even an anthem to those suffering right now… If his presence is enough for me, it is enough for you.
This valley that’s in front of me
Feels so dark and lonely
Open up my eyes to see
Just where you’re leading
And Even if you don’t
Even if your answer is no
In your grace I’ll boast
And I will ever trust you
When I’m looking for answer
And when I’m grasping in the dark
When the truth is all I’m after
Please speak to my heart
And Even if you don’t
Even if your answer is no
In your grace I’ll boast
And I will ever trust you
‘Cause in the darkest night you’re bursting forth with light
Your hand of rescue comes we will ever trust you
Your voice breaks through the cloud
Your love comes crashing down
Our hearts are bursting now we will ever trust you
I'm praying for you today, sweet sister, that whatever you're facing, you would be so buried in the Lord that you hear his whisper, feel his lips brush against your ears, and smell the fragrance of his breath surrounding you. That you could face your fear and trouble filled with hope in the Lord alone and peace that only comes when we are IN Christ Jesus. It would be such an honor to pray for you specifically. Feel free to email me @ email@example.com or send a message to us on our Instagram or FB page.
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
For more from Lyndsay, visit her website: www.lyndsayterry.com
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Lately, I’ve been reading my way through the minor prophets. To be honest, I have a hard time following many of the books without a commentary to help clear things up a bit. “What is God really getting at here?” “Is there any hope for Israel?” “These are terrifying consequences for their disobedience; how are they not turning back to God sooner?”
These are the questions I find myself asking throughout these books. So much loss. So much pain. So much sin. So much disobedience.
I just wrapped up the book of Jonah. I felt a sense of relief as I finally jumped into a book that I could understand without consulting a theologian immediately. As I was reading, the Lord opened my eyes to see Jonah’s story in the light of loss and expansion…
Most of us who grew up in the Christian Church know his story. He was the guy who was told to go to Nineveh and ran way instead. Somehow, he got into the belly of a giant fish and stayed there for 3 days - ALIVE. When he was spit up on the shore, he finally obeyed God and went to Nineveh to preach. Nineveh was saved.
That’s the gist of it. That’s what I understood for much of my younger years. That was the whole story, I thought. Well - save a few key pieces of the story. How about Jonah being thrown out of ship into stormy waters? How about when Jonah was angry that God was going to save Nineveh?
Something that hit me differently while reading it this time was the part of the story when Jonah found himself in that boat. They came upon a huge storm that was growing worse and worse. It was such a terrible storm that the boat was almost ripped apart! I can’t imagine a storm that terrible. I don’t want to imagine it.
When I was a teenager, I went on a cruise with my family. One night, on the ship, we hit a huge storm while at sea. The ship was rocking so badly, all the furniture on the deck was flying off into the ocean. Everyone was rushing to get back to the safety of their rooms, however the storm was so wild that we all had to crawl to our rooms - no one could stand to walk! I sat in the window sill of my room and pulled the curtains closed around me so I could see the ocean. Wild, angry waves were crashing everywhere. It was a terrible sight, but I knew we were safe. Our ship was so much larger than the waves.
Sometimes, when life’s storms hit, we find ourselves in a tiny boat, like Jonah. It is so much smaller than the waves that we are threatened to be crushed and smashed to pieces by the storm. Our boat can’t withstand it.
This is where Jonah found himself, but initially, he wasn’t aware of how much trouble was surrounding him. He was sleeping down in the bottom of the boat. Who could sleep in a storm like that? Everyone on the ship was praying to their gods, hoping that one of them was real and would stop the storm. Someone went to wake up Jonah and yelled, “PRAY TO YOUR GOD THAT HE MAY SAVE US!” Jonah realized why they hit this storm. It was his own disobedience. He had been running from the Lord, he was living in sinful defiance to God. He was faced with his own reality and that his sins were going to be the death of everyone around him if he did not do something about it. He told the men, “This is because of me. Throw me overboard and God will end this storm.”
Hang on. This is where I was stuck. How in the world was Jonah able to say, “This is my fault; throw me overboard.” That was as good as saying, “Go ahead and kill me.” Then I heard the Lord ask me, “Lyndsay, do you feel the gravity of your sin the way Jonah did? He recognized the true consequences of sin. He FELT that death was the payment. Do you feel that?” Immediately, I felt conviction. For all my “regular, everyday” sins, I don’t feel that kind of grief. I don’t feel what those sins really cost to cover. I don’t feel the weight of what Jesus has done for me when I gossip, when I stretch the truth, when I lash out in anger, when I am deceitful, when I am lazy, when I am gluttonous. That is a loss I don’t allow myself to feel very often. I don’t think about what those “small” sins really cost. Someone has to be thrown into the wild and angry ocean to pay for those sins. And I deserve that. Like Jonah, I should be thrown in.
YET GOD. He didn’t allow Jonah to die. Jonah proved his heart in that moment; he knew what he had done and how it had grieved the heart of God. He knew he sinned against the LORD. He knew the cost of his sin and he was ready to pay. He wasn’t going to run away anymore. The LORD saved Jonah - in an unconventional and uncomfortable and unlovely way, yes - but He saved him nonetheless!
There’s so much more to unpack here in this story of Jonah’s life, but we’ll just hang out here today letting it all sink into our hearts and spirits.
How are you running from God?
Do you feel the weight of your disobedience?
Do you really know and feel the cost?
God is gracious and merciful. Just like He prophesied to Israel time and time again, if we would just turn our hearts back to Him and quit running to other lesser gods. If we would just praise His name again and obey Him again, He will save us. It may be a big, smelly fish, but it’s still salvation. It may be unconventional, uncomfortable, and unlovely, but it’s still salvation. It may be a baby in a manger to a poor family and an unwed mother, but it’s still salvation.
It wasn’t until Jonah was ready to lose his life that God saved him. It wasn’t until Jonah was ready to give his life that God saved everyone else on that boat. And not just physically either. When the storm stopped, the men realized they had been worshipping false gods all along and have now seen the TRUE God. They bowed down and started to worship the LORD. Even in Jonah’s sin, God was glorified. Even in Jonah’s disobedience, others were made right with God. But it took Jonah owning up to his sin, bringing to light his disobedience, and committed himself back to God for the others to be saved.
What might God do with your life when you quit running from him, bring to light your sin, and commit yourself back to Him?
How might people around you come to believe in the TRUE God because of your repentance?
How might the Kingdom of God EXPAND because of your obedience?
Jonah was ready to lose everything. Jonah really felt the loss. And it was that LOSS that made way for EXPANSION.
The men in the boat were saved. Then the whole city of Nineveh was saved from destruction. All because Jonah decided to quit running and start obeying.
Will you quit running today?
WRITTEN BY: Lyndsay Terry
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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