As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of those living as refugees from war torn nations, those walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, those facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.

Galatians 4:31
31 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

 He Must Increase

John 3:30

He must become more important, while I become less important.

 

In every area of my life I seem to find something to make more important than Jesus...the unfinished project around the house, the unfinished conversation at work, the need to be right, my appearance, my failings, my weakness, my eating, my drinking, my being clothed...

Every day I go into a home to walk alongside of young women from very broken and hurt places; where they were used to meet the needs of others making them less important and where they learned the lessons of mistrust, selfish behavior and a me centered perspective.  Each day I have to put aside the unfinished, the imperfect, the need to be heard and to  be right,...to hear them, to give place for their voice, to live out "becoming less important" to make room for the voice of the Lord.  To emulate loving and living as Jesus...

There is a delicate balance when learning how to live this way and practice "self care"...In reality the more important He becomes...the paths He leads me on will meet my needs and lead me into continual, quiet fellowship with His Spirit that will strengthen, settle and work to perfect me in the fruit of His Spirit.  I do not have to fear crossing boundaries that will destroy my mind and heart because as He increases and I decrease the full armour is activated.  My mind is guarded by His salavation (I no longer have to work to be right), I can cancel out lies with His truth ( I do not have to accept being driven by anxiety, fear and worry), I can go into the heart of the matter with His word ( I will have the words in all situations for the women, the staff, my family), I am protected behind faith in His ability to protect me (I do not have to be confident in myself, only in the Lord Jesus), Ephesians 6:10-18....I have access to, and can learn to use the full armor I have been given as I place more importance on being a daughter of the King than any earthly role I am in.

 

May we know that we are sons and daughters who are no longer bound by limits and defining factors placed on us by others!we walk as those who are loved and valued and able to serve without fear of being destroyed!  May we put more value into seeing Him increase trusting that our need will be met! 

 

Matthew 6:32-34  (CEV)

32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.

34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

 Flower In Hand

1 Peter 2:16 (CJB)

16 Submit as people who are free, but not letting your freedom serve as an excuse for evil; rather, submit as God’s slaves

Definition of submit

submittedsubmitting
to yield to governance or authority
1a to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : surrender
b to permit oneself to be subjected to something 
  • had to submit to surgery
to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another
 
The struggle of freedom is so often choosing to use it, and choosing to submit perceived freedoms under authority.  So many of the day to day battles are around this point.  Tempers flare, arms cross, eyes roll, "I know" creates a shield of unyielded uncertainty...hearing a young woman say she desires to be free but seeing her actions dig her deeper into bondage and stubborn, bitter rebellion.   She is going after a cheap, unyielded freedom that says "I can do what I want, when I want, how I want" not wanting to submit to the process of restoration, healing, learning something new...submitting to authority that creates safety, security and leads to growth and change. 
 
At the end of the day if my will is not submitted then I am not free...
 
I am not free to be restored, to heal, to learn, to grow, to be in relationship with..
 
Am I...are we...willing to model this, to trust that our submission as people who are free to an ultimate, purposeful, loving authority is true freedom.  When I truly put my guard down, reflect what I see "mirrored" all around me...I see I have a long way to go.  Areas of pride, fear or rejection, indecision, restlessness, discontent that I do not want to submit to my Heavenly Father nor to the accountability of my peers...to allow myself to be seen, to be known, to be challenged.
 
Am I willing to be challenged in leadership?  Am I willing to concede I do not have the answers?  Am I willing to change my routine and habits for the good of another?  Am I willing to hold hard lines and clear boundaries?
 
Submission is a true act of freedom and one I must choose to live out daily.  Just as the ones we love cannot call on the name of Jesus unless they have heard [Romans 10] they cannot truly submit to Him if they have not seen it first in me.
 
May you be challenged to submit freely every area of you life on the inside and out!  May your example of submitted freedom lead many to the purposeful living out of faith in Christ Jesus! 
May we submit our will truly and freely to the will of our Father trusting the leading and guidance of His Holy Spirit!
 
 
 REST 1

The story of Hagar and Sarah has deep meaning to me and demonstrates the endless love and mercy of our Father God.  He has called us to be Sarah and to live as daughters and sons of the free woman and to no longer live as sons and daughters of Hagar, the slave woman.  I  feel called to write out the heart of God, to encourage and come alongside those called to walk alongside of those still in bondage.  Walking out the full freedom and inheritance we have received in Christ is not easy but it is possible.  We do not often realize our need to push into full freedom...we so often settle for a form of freedom unwilling and unknowingly continuing to walk in patterns and paths of slavery. Learning to walk fully in our inheritance as daughters and sons of Sarah is why I write. Galatians 4:31

 

A marker of living and modeling freedom in Christ is entering and setting our minds on rest.  The enemy takes many things; and nothing, in my opinion, is more crucial than REST.  We are promised rest.  We are exhorted to rest.  We have to be taught to rest.  Restoration, healing, discernment, wisdom, peace of mind and body, wholeness, strength and purpose are all found in rest. 

Without rest there is no freedom.  Without rest there is no joy.  Without rest there is no entering fully into the promise. 

The young women I have lived with and loved and those I am walking with now have been taught to fight against rest, against quieting their heart and mind to feel, to listen, to know, to yield. 

They run...they argue...they fight... 

Isaiah 30:15  (CJB)

15 For this is what Adonai Elohim,
the Holy One of Isra’el, says:
Returning and resting is what will save you;
calmness and confidence will make you strong
but you want none of this!

 

Am I any different?  I run, I argue, I fight...eyes fixed so often on the incomplete, the unfulfilled, the seemingly impossible.  I am asked to return and rest...to walk in calmness and confidence to model this within my home, my work and my relationships.  

May we choose to enter His rest, set our minds to rest, and deny ourselves anxious thoughts, striving, and the tyranny of the urgent.  May we be willing to model and live trusting Jesus.  May we by our example show the way to the dear ones running so far from freedom, from peace of heart and mind, from the place of hope and healing.

 

Exodus 33:13-15 (CJB)

13 Now, please, if it is really the case that I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways; so that I will understand you and continue finding favor in your sight. Moreover, keep on seeing this nation as your people.” 14 He answered, “Set your mind at rest — my presence will go with you, after all.” 15 Moshe replied, “If your presence doesn’t go with us, don’t make us go on from here.