Tuesday, November 20, 2012

an open email to the sisters (and brothers) in Christ

I have been so blessed to be leading a prayer group for moms at our school this year. When I was approached by our principal about it during the summer, I was fairly terrified of saying yes, however after prayer, nudging and confirmation from my Father, I did say yes. This email is one of several I have sent out to my Moms in Touch prayer group. We meet each Friday to pray for our school, our children, and so each Thursday I send out a reminder email and try to throw in some encouragement or something that the Lord has put on my heart to share with my praying momma sisters. This particular email came in response to a particular situation in my life that He compelled me to share a portion of, and as I heard back from a couple ladies, it's not a struggle that is mine alone. That being said, I feel the need to share this letter here as well, to encourage my sisters in Christ (and any brothers that may be reading). We are in this thing together, yet we each have different roles to play, as intended by God... I won't rewrite the email up here... just know it was written to a specific group of ladies, but the majority of it applies to the entire body of Christ:

Hello praying mommas!

I hope you are having a good week with the Lord. Even if the week has not been so good, my prayer is that you've felt His presence all the same, if not even more. I am sad to say that I will not be able to pray with you tomorrow, as I will be spending the day with my mom and my aunt, however I leave you in the sweet and capable hands of Melissa Khan. There will be a few others also I already know cannot attend, so those who are able please come. I'm sure the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will be blessed by your prayers over them. Our attribute of God this month is that He is our strength.

If you were wondering why the whole "don't let anything steal your joy and therefore your strength" thing was so heavy on my heart last week, you weren't the only one. I knew there had been some frustrations in my week, some letting go of my joy, and therefore my strength. I've come to know that last week was preparing me for this one, involving a very discouraging Tuesday. I can say by that afternoon, my joy was gone without a trace - and so my strength went right along with it. I won't go into details here because they aren't for sharing, but I do want to share with you what has happened in my heart since praying with a wonderful, wise, loving mentor on Tuesday night. God is using this to change me.

"Comparison is the thief of joy." ~Theodore Roosevelt

I'm not talking about clothes, cars, jewelry, houses, waistlines or any of that, although we all know that these types of comparisons can and do diminish our contentment and cause us to focus on our lack. I'm talking about something much deeper, something lasting. I'm talking about our spiritual gifts, our ministries, what the Lord leads us to or calls us to do and about how hurtful it can be to have our's compared to another's. This kind of comparison can make you feel small, ineffective and worthless to the cause of Christ. I understand well the feeling of being passionate about something, and I know it's easy to want your passion to be contagious - so that others share the same passion. But when we read Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 12, starting in verse 4, we can see that God's plan is not for us all to have the exact same passions:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

When we compare what God has placed in our lives, on our hearts, what good deeds He has given us to do with what He is doing through others, it takes away from the overall goal we all do share which is making much of Jesus. What if instead of making comparisons we celebrated our different callings, leadings, gifts, passions and encouraged one another in using them for His glory, so that much may be done in His Name? What if, instead of attempting to impose our walks on others, we could simply say to one another, "I see what He's doing in you and through you. Isn't He amazing?" being free to celebrate that and then go about the perhaps very different purpose he has for us?

You know by now about me that I love to scour blogs for encouragement and wisdom. Now make no mistake, I realize no blog writers can impress into my heart wisdom like the Word does, but I can say that He has spoken to me through plenty of blog posts. Here's a bit of what I discovered last night on

"It doesn't matter how many people you lead or influence, if you ever see the fulfillment of your dreams, or if you measure up to some perfect standard. It matters most - and to the most important people - that you are faithful in the unseen, in the daily things. Those things matter because they add up to a God-filled life." {from a post titled Enough on 11-9-11}

"...Which is best? They're all best. There is no mold, no right way of showing Jesus for where the Spirit is, there is freedom. And He has made us all different, combining us to all make a collage, that when you step back and look you suddenly see: It's Jesus! {from a post titled Different Strokes on 4-1-2011 where she compares the body of Christ to the different mediums involved in art}

Again, this may only be something I'm currently dealing with, but I imagine that all of you will at one point or another if you haven't already.

So let me say to each of you, I may not know a specific good deed that any of you have done for the Lord lately, and I may not know what He's led you to accomplish with Him, or what He has caused to be a passion in your life. But I have seen glimpses of each of your hearts as we pray together for our children, and my dear sisters, I know full well that He's working through you. And I celebrate that with you right now! Let's support and encourage one another, for we are each a part of His plan, a part of His story. Let's use what makes us different to make much of Jesus...

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. {Hebrews 10:19-25}

And borrowing from Christine Hoover at
www.gracecoversme.com again, "You there, with your unique talents, passions, and gifts. Go in grace and freedom. Tell them about Jesus with your life."

Choosing His joy and strength,

PS A few things on strength:

"Really - if nothing can separate me from the Love of the Lord - can anything separate me from the Joy of the Lord?
If the joy of the Lord is my strength, then why let anything steal my strength?" -Ann Voskamp

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:13 {MSG}

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. 2 Samuel 22:33 {NIV}

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:10-11

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place. 1 Chronicles 16:27


These Three Kings said...

WOW!!!! Amen sister!! I'm looking forward to making a least a couple of those prayer times before I start school in January. Thank you for sharing this. I needed this reminder today!!!!!

Nicole King