Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what He has spoken to her!
Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I found myself very blessed this week by an amazing group of women. Over multiple occasions I was empowered, supported and loved from a variety of different women. The circumstances around each incident was radically different, but the one thing that all of those moments had in common was a desire from each of those women to love and support me. Interestingly enough they are all mothers and some of them grandmothers. Like Elizabeth speaking to Mary in the scripture above, these women spoke into my life love and a great deal of joy.
There is a natural instinct in women to love. We were created with the purpose of supporting and loving our families. What was beautiful and amazing to me this week was to see all of these different women step in and love on me, and only one was family. Three of these women I met for the first time this week. There was something so lovely in these experiences. It is truly beautiful when we as people step in to each others lives to strengthen one another. I got that in spades this week. I didn’t even realize how much I needed it until I was feeling all that support. There is this idea in our society that women can be catty or bitchy, and don’t give me wrong we can be, but that is not who we are at heart. We were made for something so much more. We were made to love. We were made to empower and strengthen. Society rises or falls on the backs of amazing mothers and daughters and sisters and girlfriends and wives and aunts and so on.
I came across a quote today that said “behind every successful woman is a tribe of women.” I don’t know who originally said it, but I believe it to be true. Let me tell you a little about some women in my tribe.
The most influential woman in my life has been my mother. That is not surprising because that is the case for most of us. For me, my mother is also my best friend. I’ve told her before and she doesn’t really believe me, but it’s true, she is the person who taught me what love is and showed me the heart of God. The way she did this was by living it out every single day. I don’t know another person who has sacrificed so much for the people in their life. She would give up anything for her family. Every step of my life I have had her supporting me. She is not perfect, she is riddled with flaws, but who isn’t. She is so sincere and generous and has a strength in her that she isn’t even aware of. Despite all of her anxieties and her fears, she was able to build in me an understanding of my worth and a sense of hope and decency. She’s always telling me how smart and capable and talented I am. She told me again this week! She knows how to empower others and I hope that when she reads this she will feel empowered as well.
She’s not the only amazing woman to come into my life, I had this grandmother who we all called our prayer warrior. She was down on her knees every single morning, and I mean physically down on her knees, and prayed for her family, her friends and the world. She was very faithful and very strong willed and she knew how to love and be loved by God. One of the things I found most inspiring in my grandmother was she was a woman who knew herself well. Again, a woman with many flaws, but she was confident in who she was. I see that confidence passed on to my sisters. Both of them had that same type of light like my grandmother, this inner strength and determination that I’ve always been amazed of, and admittedly a little envious of. She was another woman who knew how to build up her family and friends.
I have been lucky to have some astonishing family and friends come into my life, and sometimes they also go out, but while we were in each others lives they never failed to be there for me. My sister Kim always encouraged me to stand strong. My sister Sheril has only ever wanted to see me happy. My nieces, more like little sisters to me, each one bring life and trouble (sometimes good and sometimes bad) into my life. The numerous friends who laughed and cried and rabble roused with me, many years may have gone by, but their words and actions still linger, influencing me to this day. Over the last few year‘s God has been building a community around me and it continues to grow with beautifully authentic women. I have seen God‘s love in each and everyone of them and they remind of my value and my purpose.
Our lives are filled with amazing people who come in and build us up. Our lives are also filled with those people who need to be strengthened and built up. I look around at the people in my life and I see so many who need the kind of love and support I experienced this week and that I have been blessed to experience in my life. I pray that I can step into these lives and be who God designed me to be. Our lives intertwine and mingle and we leave an imprint and I just want to make sure that my imprint is eternal for everyone who crosses my path. I want to take the strength, the grace and the love of all those dazzling women and let the light shine out. This Mother’s Day, honor those amazing women in your life and pay it forward by empowering all those God brings onto your path.
"God created us for a relationship with him and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God."
I was five years old when I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My parents sent me to Vacation Bible School that particular week and the teachers talked about inviting Jesus into my heart. That night I talked to my mom about it and she explained to five year old me what Jesus was all about. I asked her to pray with me. That was the first time I gave my life to God. I can’t necessarily say that I experienced God or felt like God was revealed to me in some blinding light, but I knew something in my life had changed, a focus, a purpose had arisen in me even at that tender young age. Throughout my childhood it’s very evident that I was seeking a deeper understanding of God. I wanted more of Him. I was the one that dragged my mother to church. I was reading the Bible and memorizing scripture and asking questions. I sincerely wanted to understand who God was. I’ve always believed, even before I accepted Jesus into my heart, that there was a God and I knew that He loved me. Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich explain it like this, “Some people at this stage clearly and completely experience God first through their senses…we simply experience the presence of God.” God revealed himself to me through my faith and by creating a connection. His presence was felt even without the aid of a talking donkey.
There are some amazing stories of those fantastical moments where Jesus appears and shakes everything with His presence (Daniel 3, Matthew 14, Acts 9). Each of these reveals something new about our Savior. But, I think one of the most important things to take from this is how personal and specific each of these incidents are. Jesus reveals Himself to each of us in a personal way. To me, it was simply letting me connect with Him and sense His presence in my life. For Paul it was blinding light. How did Jesus first show Himself to you? How does He continue to do that in your life? How have you encountered Christ in the past 24 hours? What is your story of God’s presence in your life? I truly want to know. How did you meet your Savior? How did you, when did you, and where did you accept Him into your heart? Maybe God has revealed Himself many times, and maybe you’re still on a journey seeking that moment. Open your heart and mind to Him now. Let Him show His heart for you. Whether it’s a big shake up or quiet and steady touch or some where in between, God has something incredible and intimate just for you!
The Bible is full of stories of encountering God, people experiencing and reacting to the ultimate realization.
Sometimes they worship:
Along the way, Jesus suddenly appeared in front of them and said, “Rejoice!” They were so overwhelmed by seeing him that they bowed down and grasped his feet in adoring worship.
Matthew 28:9 (TPT)
At other times they simply obey:
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
Mark 1:17-18 (NLT)
There are those who weep:
Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
Luke 7:38 (NLT)
And those who ignore:
Excitedly, Mary told them, “He’s alive and I’ve seen him!” But even after hearing this, they didn’t believe her.
Mark 16:11 (TPT)
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world...
Have you stopped and thought about what that will be like? Jesus’s return will happen someday. It’s a day that is talked about in churches, but do you ever take the time to think about it. Admittedly, I haven’t done much thinking about it years. Due to an incident in my childhood I avoid thinking about it. When I was a kid I had a nightmare that Jesus came back. As I was swept up to meet Him in the sky, I looked back and noticed certain people, that I very much love, weren’t coming. I could see them standing on the ground and I tried to reach for them to bring them up, but I couldn’t reach them. I was very young when I had that dream and thinking back on it now it still turns my stomach and makes my heart race.
I have allowed fear to rule over this beautiful day for far too long. Fear gripped me as a child and stripped from me all the joy that can be found in reflecting on that day. My Jesus is coming back! I will get to experience something beyond imagining! The son of God is going to call us to Him!What does that look like, I don’t know. But, the truth of it is that this world is not my home and Jesus is going to take me to my home. It’s going to be a beautiful and amazing day when He comes. He loves me so much that He cannot leave me on this earth any longer He’s going to bring me to my real home.
This may all sound cliché, but it is far from it, because it is truth. Jesus loves you and one day He’s going to take you from this earth and you will get to be with Him in a way beyond your current understanding. Your heart, mind, body and soul with Jesus forever. What does your heart feel when you think about it? Are you like me, are you worrying about everybody else? Have you not really put any thought into it at all? Are you afraid of that day? Why? Maybe you have a picture in your head, what does that look like? Jesus has provided everything that we need on this earth so that we can get the tiniest glimpse of heaven. And one day, one amazing day, He’s going to give you the full on experience. “Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7 (NLT)). Close your eyes, shut out the world around you, just let your heart feel and let it imagine the experience of Jesus’ return when all will see the splendor and glory of the Lord. Don’t hold back, lean into it. “My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (VOICE). If you feel fear or trepidation or anxiety, hand it over to God and just let your soul soar with Jesus. Take all your anxiety to Him, so you may be free to relish your time with your Creator, the one who will someday come back and bring you to your real home. How can you reflect on that today? Where can you find joy in these truths?