Praying BlessingsRead Now
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
2017 - We'd moved away from all of our friends and our church family to somewhere new. We were so lonely and so full of heartache and regret. So much had transpired in this quick decision to move…it felt as if it happened overnight. And to be truthful…it almost did. One day we had decided to stay and ride the storm out and find a new way to live in the middle of the mess I had made for our family and our church. I’d find a new job, we’d figure out what my husband was going to do…I mean, our whole lives were invested in this church and this community...how could we leave? But I had made some decisions I couldn’t “undo” and hurt people deeply. How would I even begin to pay for these “mistakes”…these sins?
Overnight, it became extremely volatile. We couldn’t stay. There was no room for us anymore and it was clear we weren’t going to be able to get healthy and healed in this place. So - overnight - we made the decision to leave town in 4 weeks and start again somewhere new, close to family so we’d have help and support to get healthy and healed.
4 weeks flew by and moved in slow motion all at once. 4 weeks wasn’t enough time to pack a house and say goodbyes to the people who still wanted to see us. 4 weeks was too much time to hang around a place we weren’t very welcomed. It was a small town…there was no hiding. 4 weeks and all our belongings were packed hastily into a u-haul and driven over 2500 miles to the other side of the country to start again.
We were in a new place with new faces and people who wanted to help and love us…there was no baggage here with these people…but I was stuck. All I could hear in my head were the voices of two men from our old, small town life and their judgement over me...their discouragement. Discouragement is a nice word for it. I’m not saying I didn’t earn it. I did. I earned all of their scorn and shame. I earned all of their disappointment and discouragement. I earned all of their disgust.
I just couldn't live with it.
We needed loads of help and forgiveness. We hadn’t earned it, but we needed support and love. And they just didn’t have it to give. Not to us. Not to me.
I couldn’t move on. It was tormenting me…their words running on repeat in my head day and night. We had been going to counseling, had marriage mentors, were living with family, and surrounding ourselves with Jesus and His Bride and I still couldn’t get healed. I was afraid of people…if they knew. If they saw me for who I really am…they’d say the same things those two men said. How was I going to break free from this? Every time I thought of those words, first - I would be crushed under their weight, and then - I would feel some righteous anger.
“How does this look like Jesus?”
“Is this how He would have responded to me in my time of need covered in my own sin?”
I found as I was moving out of my deep shame into forgiveness for myself, I still had a forgiveness problem…these two men. Every time I thought of them, something in me gave an angry shudder. My face would heat up, my heart would pound, and I couldn’t think of them without unforgiveness.
I was carrying the unforgiveness that had offended my heart so deeply when it was carried against me.
I went to the Lord…
“I can’t live like this. I need to move on and I just can’t. I’m scared and angry all the time. Will I be able to do ministry again without hearing their discouraging words? Will I be able to serve you again without feeling like a fake? I can’t live like this Lord!”
His response to that prayer? Pray for them.
“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28
Sunday mornings were the hardest for me. I felt like a fraud going to serve in the church after the life I had lived just months ago. I would hear the words of those two men echo in my head the entire drive to church and just cry. Who am I to be doing this? Why would God ever use me again? I’m a fake. I’m a fraud…
Pray for them, Lyndsay.
I began to spend my rides to church on Sundays in prayer. I’d pray for those two men by name and instead of praying for what I “knew they needed” I just began to pray blessings over them.
“Bless those who curse you…”
I’d pray for blessings of wisdom, finances, friendships, their marriages, their children, the churches they loved and served. I’d pray for blessings in their workplace and for the advancement of their careers. I’d pray for blessings over them until I parked my car at the church and turned off the engine.
It started out rough. I wasn't sure I really wanted to bless them. My heart wasn't fully in it to be truthful. But I began this journey of praying blessings over those who cursed me out of obedience to the Lord. I needed to give the Lord my yes after so many months of telling the Lord no. Look where that got me. So I said yes and prayed blessings. I did this for months. And over time, when I thought of those two men, the hardness of my heart had chipped away and I was honestly, truly, unbelievably so, tender toward them. I had no more anger or hatred or unforgiveness harbored in my heart. I can think of them without remembering their words - I don't even remember what exactly was said anymore. I can think of them and feel love for the good they did in my life for the time they were in it. And through those months of prayer for those men, the Lord removed my fear of new friendships, my lack of confidence in serving Him, and renewed in me the calling he placed on my heart years ago. I was free. Free of their shame and free of my anger. Free of my fear and insecurities.
“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29
When I had a forgiveness problem…
When I had a relationship problem…
When I had a ministry problem…
When I had a confidence problem…
My freedom was not found in people praying for me, some emotional or mystical experience in the presence of God, not deliverance, not anointing, not impartation, not anything except…
“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28
All of those problems stemmed from a PRAYER problem. And when I finally just took the time to meet with the Lord in prayer - not even for myself - but for those who cursed or abused me (I had done plenty of that myself too), all of my other problems seemed to fade away or solve themselves.
Whatever you’re going through right now, no matter how dark or lonely, how scary or confusing…your answer is prayer.
If you are struggling with forgiveness or bitterness - pray blessings over those who curse and abuse you. Pray them whether you believe it yet or not. Do it out of obedience…the Lord will change your heart.
If you are struggling with your calling…maybe you did something “unforgivable” and you think you can never serve the Lord again - your answer is prayer.
Prayer is treated as secondary so often isn’t it? We feel the need to DO something, not just say something to the ceiling. We need ACTION and we need it now!
Sis, prayer is letting the God who sees past, present, and future perfectly into your situation to work it out for your good and His glory. Prayer is admitting you don’t have the answers, but you know the one who does. Prayer is laying down your own plans to take up the perfect plans of your Heavenly Father who loves you. Prayer is heart to heart connection with the only person who can actually do anything to fix the problem, heal the hurt, or calm the situation. Prayer is our primary way to influence any situation we are in with all the power of Heaven. How dare we belittle our prayers...it belittles our God.
Whatever you’re struggling with right now…you don’t need action. You need prayer. You don't need answers, you don't need them to love you or accept you, you don't need change...you FIRST need prayer.
Let me pray with you, sis.
Lord Jesus, you see perfectly into our hearts and our homes and situations. You know our greatest needs when we don't even know them. Would you come and look into our hearts right now? Would you let us know what you see? Maybe my sister needs to be reminded that she has been forgiven. Or maybe that you have a purpose for her life. Or that man's words don't determine her future. You know what her heart needs right now. Would you just speak? Would you talk to us in the quiet parts of our hearts and let us know what we should be coming to you to get right now? You have all that we need. Help us to be quiet before you and listen to your voice. We love you. Forgive us for when we have belittled prayer. Forgive us for the times we turn to you last instead of first. Remind us of the truth that YOU hold our futures, that the world turns because you move it, that nothing happens without first passing through your hands. Thank you for speaking to us. We love you, Jesus. Amen.
Photo by Fa Barboza on Unsplash
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Right away, all the way, happy way.
If you’ve been around me and my children for awhile, you’ve undoubtedly heard me say this. And while I know it can be controversial (“It’s not right to expect them to be happy about obedience all the time!”) we make it a part of our DNA in our family. And no, I don’t expect my children will always be happy to obey what I’m asking/telling them to do. It’s not about their attitude toward the action, it’s about their attitude toward me.
“You don’t have to be happy about it, but you don’t have to be disrespectful either.”
“You don’t have to like it, but you know that I only ask you to do things that are for your good and betterment.”
“I don’t expect you to skip with delight over this, but I do want you to choose joy in the midst of disappointment.”
Obedience is an important value to our family. And obedience, while not always full of happiness, always brings joy in the end. It may be awhile before we see it, feel it, know it, but it’s there waiting for us to experience.
“If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” John 14:15
“Whoever knows me and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21
“Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will go to them and make our home with them. A person who doesn’t love me doesn’t do what I say. I don’t make up what you hear me say. What I say comes from the Father who sent me.” John 14:23-24
Obedience has such high value in the Kingdom of God. Obedience proves our love for the Lord. It is the primary way we show our affection and our gratitude to Jesus for all He has done. If we love Him, we WILL obey Him.
It doesn’t say perfectly, but I think it implies that our hearts are continually becoming bent toward obedience. We aren’t naturally that way. We are rebellious and self-focused people. It is the grace of God that has made us think of anyone other than our own desires. It is the grace of God that prompts us to obey. It is the grace of God that wins us over to JOYFUL obedience. We learn - through obedience - that He is trustworthy, that He is looking out for our best interest, that He knows what’s truly good for our hearts and souls and bodies. Through obedience we come to know His heart and what may start as skeptical obedience grows into joyful obedience.
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (emphasis added)
It was FOR JOY that Jesus obeyed the Father unto death. He knew that obedience ALWAYS brings blessing and joy. We may have to go to hell and back before we experience the joy, but it is always waiting for us on the other side. And it’s greater than the trip to hell. It’s greater than whatever suffering we may endure. Suffering as small as not having candy for breakfast or as great as losing relationship with a loved one. If it’s done out of a heart to obey the Lord, there will be joy waiting for us.
And sis, I can’t promise when our joy will be made complete in all things. Some moments will be on this side of Heaven, but others will be when we see Jesus face to face. Either way, either grace we’ve been given, it is enough for us to obey having full trust and confidence that the Father is worthy of our obedience. We can have peace knowing that joy awaits us.
What area of your life are you struggling to obey the Lord? Think about it…
Do you have your answer yet?
Take as long as you need to remind yourself of past moments of obedience that brought blessing. Remind yourself of His goodness, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His heart for you, His sacrifice on the cross for you. If he spared not His son for you, why would He withhold what He knows is good for you? Obedience is the pathway to blessing. Obedience is the pathway to joy.
Right away, all the way, happy way - it’s the only way sis. He is worthy of our obedience.
No Ordinary LoveRead Now
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
The other day I was listening to a sermon that had nothing to do with this topic of “ordinary” but the speaker touched on something that struck a chord in me…
If God did not spare his own Son for you, why would He withhold any of the lesser needs or desires from us? That’s like buying an expensive Ferrari as a gift for someone, but not wanting to spend an extra $10 on a big red ribbon to put on the car. If you can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a gift, why not $10 extra dollars? That is practically nothing in light of the cost of the gift itself.
Is it not the same with the Lord? If He paid the cost of His only child, why would He withhold healing from you? Why would He withhold provision from you? Why would He withhold marriage from you? Why would He withhold (insert blank here) from you?
And yet, sometimes He does … there must be a reason, but what?
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (ESV)
God is always working for our benefit. If He says no to a lesser gift - the big red ribbon - it is because it will not be the greatest blessing to us. That’s a hard pill to swallow at times. Healing seems like the greatest blessing. Marriage seems like the greatest blessing. Financial provision seems like the greatest blessing. Whatever your heart sincerely longs for seems like the greatest blessing and yet sometimes the Lord says no.
Sweet sister, it’s for our benefit. It may not feel like it, but it’s true and He is trustworthy. His love is no ordinary love. He doesn’t give only what we want, He gives what is the greatest blessing to us. He doesn’t give based on what is happening right now, He gives with all of time in mind. He may say no to healing on earth, but He says yes to healing in Heaven - always. He may so no to marriage, but He says yes to a supremely intimate relationship with Himself. He may say no to abundance of finances, but He says yes to our daily bread.
All of these things produce more trust, more hope, more faith, and more love - no ordinary love - but fully reliant, fulfilling, steadfast love from us to Him and from Him to us.
I don’t have all the answers when it comes to this. I’m struggling with it myself. One of my dearest friends is terminally ill. They’ve given her just weeks. I’ve prayed for healing … we all have. The Lord has helped me understand something for the first time and has reminded me again and again when my heart just can’t stand it … Heaven is the greater healing. We pray for healing on this earth and when it just doesn’t come we often think we lacked faith. If we had just believed more or prayed more or trusted more … but truly, is not Heaven the greater healing? What a gift to pass through this earth and into the next with no more pain, no more sorrow, made completely whole, and in the arms of Jesus forever and ever.
So yes - sometimes God says no. And it hurts. It hurts so badly at times. But isn’t He good? Isn’t He trustworthy? Isn’t He worthy? His love is no ordinary love, sweet sister. His love is infinite and infinitely for our good and His glory.
Can I pray for you?
Jesus, help us trust in your decisions What to offer in blessing and what to withhold as a blessing. Help us to fully surrender our way for yours. Help us to see what you are doing and faithfully trust you when we cannot see. We love you. We give you our heart, our yes, our trust. You alone are worthy. You alone are faithful. We trust you Jesus.
written by: Lyndsay Terry
Consistency. In preparing for this article I started to think about my life and where I was consistent. I thought…and thought…and kept thinking…and then felt pretty poorly about myself. Am I consistent in my workplace? Mostly…sometimes. Am I consistent with our housekeeping? Ehhhhhh that’s a no. Am I consistent with our children? I honestly try to be but I’m no expert on that. Am I consistent with the Lord? If I’m totally honest, not always there either.
My yes isn’t ALWAYS my yes and my no isn’t ALWAYS my no. How do I write an article to help women understand and live in a space of consistency when I’m no good at it?
I had to laugh…and then shed a tear or two. There are other people far more qualified to write on this than I am. Far more eloquent. Far more experienced. Far more…consistent. But the Lord worked it out for me to write on this topic. Truly He did because I wouldn’t have picked me. I signed up for this week before I knew what our topic was this month.
What I CAN speak to you about is…I know. I get it. This is hard in so many areas of our lives. We are all going 100 miles an hour trying to please our bosses, our families, the Lord, and even ourselves. We fill up our schedules with really important stuff and then what? We are too tired to stay consistent. We are so busy that we run out of steam and we Just. Can’t. Even.
The advice I feel the Lord giving me for myself, first, and then for you, sweet sister, is this… He is inviting us to SLOW DOWN. Get into His river and flow with His rhythm. He isn’t so busy and fast-paced all the time. There are seasons, yes, but we aren’t meant to sustain those seasons indefinitely. We can’t stay consistent in making time for Jesus, one on one time with our babies, heart-to-heart time with our spouse, giving quality work in the office, and taking care of the home and things God has gifted to us if we are constantly going and never resting and restoring.
Slow down, sis. I’m in a season of finding out just how to do that. How do we do that?
I don’t have the answer but I know that my kids don’t need to be in every sport, I don’t need to say yes to every extra opportunity at work, I shouldn’t have something going every night of the week, I should have regular date nights with my husband, my kids should have fun moments with their mom everyday - no matter how big or small - they deserve the best of me, and I should wake up with Jesus everyday…my morning (or bedtime) should be spent unwinding with the Lord and getting into His river, asking what HIS agenda is for the day.
If we want to be consistent, we need to get into the River and flow with the Lord’s rhythm. Slow down.
Gomer & HoseaRead Now
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Hosea - can we all agree this man is a saint? If you know the story of Hosea and Gomer, then you know. If you don’t, here’s a quick overview, but if you want the whole story, all the amazing details and glimpses of God’s goodness, go read the book of Hosea. It’s short and sweet. You’ll love it!
Here we go…
God told Hosea that he needed to go marry a prostitute and have children with her. So he went a found a woman named Gomer…I just imagine, in today’s world, a righteous man traveling to some pretty seedy places and subjecting himself to some things he doesn’t want to see or hear or feel in order to find a woman who is so far gone, for whatever reason that led her there, and bring her with him to a life of wholeness and freedom and into the beauty of marriage. He would be a man committed to her, something she’s never known, fully and wholly. That is Hosea.
Next God tells Hosea to give his children names with very specific meanings as a prophetic sign of his intent toward Israel and Judah for the own sins of prostituting themselves to other gods instead of remaining true to the One True God. Hosea and Gomer’s children bore the bad name of Gomer and all her sins laid on them as well. Her actions were burdens on her children. Heavy burdens.
Gomer leaves her family to go back to her life of prostitution. She just couldn’t play the part of wife. It was so foreign to her and I can only imagine the shame she carried in her heart and mind as she tried to raise children and love a husband. She’d rather go back to the life she was familiar with…it was easier to not commit to love and settle for cheap imitations of it.
But Hosea…Hosea went to find her. His love for her was greater than her sin. He searched for her until He found her where, in that time, women were put up for sale for a “good time”. She was stripped naked for all the hungry men to see and then her value was determined by what these men would be willing to pay for her company…the only thing she knew that she had to offer was her company for a night. Was that all she was worth? Hosea found her there and bought her back…not for a night, but forever. He was committed whether she was or not. He was sold out to love her wholly, whether she could love him or not. He would love her even if she never stopped running. His love for her was pure and whole…perfect love.
My goodness…what a gorgeous picture of God’s unending, perfect love for us. We have run so far at times, haven’t we? We have run to other things that are easier. We’ve sold ourselves for less than we’re worth. We’ve left what was good for what was known…even if it hurt us. We’ve let our value be determined by other people and what we can do for them. BUT GOD. God found us in that marketplace, naked and vulnerable. He beat all the other offers and bought us with all He had, not for a night…not for what we could DO for him…but for His own love for us. His perfect, whole, pure love for us. No matter how far or how often we run, He is waiting at the market to buy us back. To bring us home where we belong. He is committed…are we?
Hosea 6:6 says, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
I read that and I just think…God desires for us to really know Him, not just do things for Him. We can DO for God and still our hearts are far from Him. We can play the part and still be found in the marketplace. BUT GOD. He wants us near, not to do things for him, but to know Him. To be committed and connected to His heart. He wants mercy…mercy on us.
Sister, if you’ve run so far you’ve lost your way back…He is waiting for you in the marketplace of your life. He will buy you back, bring you home, and have mercy on you. He wants you to know Him, to love Him, to be connected to His heart. And He’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back to where you belong. He doesn’t want you to be nearly so concerned with DOING things for Him as he wants you to KNOW Him.
It’s time to stop prostituting ourselves to other things…even if they are good things. If they are taking our attention and time from the Lord, we are selling ourselves to a lesser love. It may be a relationship, an activity, our phones (oh mercy, yes), television, our need to veg out, whatever. If it is causing us to withhold our attention and love from the Lord to give it to a lesser thing, we’ve run away.
Pray and ask the Lord how you’ve been running from Him lately. He’ll show you the marketplace in your heart where He’s waiting to bring you back. Let Him.
Photo by Dasha Yukhymyuk on Unsplash
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about a woman who is only mentioned a couple of times. Her story has so greatly impacted my life and the way I view the ordinary, boring parts of life. Look at 1 Kings 10…
"1Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with riddles. 2So she came to Jerusalem with a very large caravan (entourage), with camels carrying spices, a great quantity of gold, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about everything that was on her mind [to discover the extent of his wisdom]. 3Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he did not explain to her. 4When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house (palace) which he had built, 5the food on his table, the seating of his servants (court officials), the attendance of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, his stairway by which he went up to the house (temple) of the Lord, she was breathless and awed [by the wonder of it all]. 6Then she told the king, “The report which I heard in my own land about your words and wisdom is true! 7I did not believe the report until I came and saw it with my own eyes. Behold, the half of it was not told to me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard. 8How blessed (fortunate, happy) are your men! How blessed are these your servants who stand continually before you, hearing your wisdom! 9Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, He made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” 10She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again did such an abundance of spices come in [to Israel] as that which the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon.
Such a small moment in this story hit me so hard…she noticed the stairway up to the temple and that was one of the things that brought her to the Lord. All these other things - Solomon’s wisdom, the way his servants and wives treated him, their happiness, their clothing, and his wealth - I understand. Those are impressive and very noticeable…but a stairway?
A few chapters earlier, we read all about the building of the temple and how ornate and beautiful it was. Every part of it. We read about what materials were used in what areas and the kinds of carvings put into the walls and the undressed stones and the gold in the room for the Ark of the Covenant. You know what we don’t have detailed descriptions of? The stairway. It’s mentioned, but it’s not clear what it looks like or what it’s made of. It’s almost unnoticed…mentioned in fleeting. But you know who notices it 4 chapters later? The Queen of Sheba.
The only reason I can think this woman would see the staircase and be so impressed, so moved to know this God of Solomon’s is that this staircase must have been made with an impressive level of craftsmanship.
Friend, when you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter, that you aren’t making any kind of important contribution to the Kingdom of God, when your calling goes unnoticed, or your life feels small…you may just be building a staircase. And your staircase, while quiet and mundane, can be built with such an impressive level of dedication to beauty that spiritual (and maybe literal) kings and queens will be drawn to the Lord by your work. Yes, God will use the mundane and ordinary done with excellence and beauty for his glory and the redemption of people around you.
The Queen of Sheba didn’t come for the staircase. She came for the wisdom and riches, but she stayed for the staircase. She came to know God because of the wisdom, riches, AND…a staircase.
So build your staircase, sis. Build it with a dedication to beauty and the glory of God. Clean that toilet, raise those kids, serve in your church, work for your boss, love your husband, build your staircase for the glory of God. Your work, your dedication to craftsmanship and beauty in all you do, will win others to the Lord.
Your staircase is important. And the Lord sees its beauty.
Photo by Justin Chrn on Unsplash
The Good PortionRead Now
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Names are powerful. Names are so often prophetic of our callings, destinies, and identities. We see this over and over again in scripture. Even times the Lord renames people to assign their new identities or destinies.
Simon - Heard - changed by Jesus to Peter - Rock.
Simon went from hearing the truth to his new name - Peter - his belief in Christ as Truth being the whole foundation the Church was built upon.
Jacob - supplanter - was changed by God to Israel - to wrestle with God. His fathered the entire nation of God’s chosen people.
Abram - high father - who, at this point, only had a child with his mistress because he had become impatient waiting for God to fulfill his promise of children with Sarai - to Abraham - father of multitudes. God gave him the destiny of generations of God’s chosen people. And he cemented this destiny in his very name - his identity.
Sarai - princess - was renamed by God to Sarah - noblewoman. God renamed she and her husband when they had lost faith in God’s promise and went their own way to create their own destiny. God promised her children, but it had been so long and she was so old. She began to believe she needed to make a way for herself. After she failed and fell flat on her face, the Lord showed up to remind her of his promise and gave her a new name to cement her identity and destiny. When I read her transition from Princess to Noblewoman, it gives me a picture of a woman straightening her shoulders, standing a little taller, and having greater influence.
These are just a couple examples of the importance of names to our God. Names have power.
I want to touch on the story of a woman who often gets a bad rap. She is seen as “less than” so often when we share her story because she is compared to her sister. If you have a sibling, you understand how frustrating and devastating it can be to be compared to your sibling…and super annoying. This woman has two other prominent siblings in scripture and she’s often only remembered for one bad moment. I want to look at her story…her name…today.
Martha - lady of the house.
You probably already know the story I want to focus on…Mary and Martha when Jesus came to visit their home. You can read it in Luke 10:38-42. It isn’t long, but it is powerful.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha’s NAME, her identity, her calling, her destiny, means “Lady of the House”. It is her role to tend to the Lord’s needs and the guests in her home. To serve them, feed them, and care for them. Her role is beautiful and important. Jesus didn’t diminish her. We so often read this passage with that tone. That Mary had it right and Martha was just a busybody. But Jesus didn't diminish her...and He doesn't diminish you.
Listen…Martha was serving the Lord. Serving the Lord is necessary, a command even, and she was taking that very seriously. She was fulfilling her calling and living true to her identity.
So then how do those two things add up? If she was doing a good thing and even the right thing, why was Jesus saying Mary was in the right place and she wasn’t?
Martha had become overwhelmed with all the serving. She was anxious (have you felt that way in your ministry to the Church?), she was troubled (have you felt that way in your ministry to your family?), she was so busy (have you run yourself ragged?).
So often we read this as though Martha’s problem was that she was doing too much. I don’t believe that was Martha’s problem. You see, it’s not was you DO that burns you out. It’s what you DON’T do.
Martha was so busy serving the Lord, she forgot to spend time with the Lord.
Sis, when your work FOR the Lord replaces your intimacy WITH the Lord, you will burn out, become anxious and troubled about many things, and, like Martha, miss out on the good portion…sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing his voice.
Yes, you’ve been called to this ministry and that ministry. Yes, you need to do the laundry and make dinner and bathe the kids and love your spouse. Yes, you need to do your job and care for your friends and connect with family and build your life. Yes to all of the above. But…
If those vital things become a replacement for your time sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing his voice, then you’re missing out on the good portion and you’ll burn yourself out.
Martha just needed a moment of realignment. She just needed to be called back into His presence. She just needed the Lord’s voice. She just needed to lift her head.
Sweet friend, this is your moment of realignment. This is the Lord calling you back into His presence. It’s time for you to hear his voice again. It’s time to lift your head.
Lord Jesus, speak to your daughters here in this moment. We need your presence. We need your voice and your teaching. We are so busy, so tired, so dry. We need those rivers of living water that come only from you and only through time spent with you. So here we are, ready to listen, ready to be still, ready to rest at your feet. Renew us, refresh us, and revitalize us with your Spirit so that we can fulfill our calling, destinies, and live out our identities in you with passion and purpose. But we don’t want to forget WHY we do this and WHO we do this for. It’s because of you, Jesus. It’s all for you, Jesus. We don’t want to miss the good portion. We don’t want to miss you.
Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash
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.
Heart of Hospitality - LydiaRead Now
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: The Upper ROomRead Now
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
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