Ok, God, I’m Listening
God is Good!
I do not just mean in the sense “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” I mean God is good at how he deals with us. I once referred to God as a master chess player. This is an odd comparison since I have never played chess, but follow me. While we focus on our next move, God sees the board. God sees our strategy. He understands how we think. Ultimate strategist. (I personally find this super cool.)
I have been blogging, writing a little on my novel and have played with other ideas over the last few weeks while preparing for this connect group. Then as my dog, Luca, tried to crush me in my bed this morning, an idea came to me. God created us to be independently, dependent.
I proposed to my husband. There are many factors as to why, but at the end of the day people only hear that I was bold enough to propose. In our society it still sounds a little shocking for a woman to propose. It is an independent move. It requires relying on yourself to push through to the outcome you desire…in this case marriage.
Essentially, Ruth proposed to Boaz. The whole uncovering his feet and laying there on the threshing room floor, was as close to a woman proposing to a man as you would likely get at that point in history. We get caught up on a “love story” element with Ruth. I don’t know about you, laying on a floor where they have split wheat from the shaft at someone’s feet (gross) is not my idea of a romantic evening. There is an element of scandal to Ruth’s actions. Behind all of this, Naomi is guiding her and pulling strings, if you will.
Is there love in the story? Absolutely. When I read Ruth I see something more. Obedience, kindness, commitment and BOLDNESS. Ruth is the ancestor of King David and ultimately Jesus. How could she be anything less than bold? Kindness, loyalty, and the many traits we see displayed by a Moabite woman in only 4 little chapters is impressive. Would you want to see anything less?
Just this last week a friend posted she was looking for Christian Leadership books for women, written by a woman. There are books out there, she was looking for recommendations. As I started poking around looking for items I realized how overwhelmed we are with books on controlling our feelings and emotions. There is a great deal of value in these books, but I am always going to be a little unhinged – that is the way I am built. That is how my passion, love and dedication shows up…in my slightly off delivery.
I am starting research into leadership. Biblical first, we have great role models. Then I am going to look at the other areas I have learned leadership skills to see how they can all fit together. I do not know if this will be a personal growth only project or if God is directing me to something larger scale. I know he is moving the pieces on the board so I keep coming back to the same circle of ideas. He is good like that.
Now consider this quote: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War. I am speaking specifically to the ladies now. In our strongest, most dedicated moments we often seem our weakest. We are not trying to do this, it is natural. People perceive a crying woman as weak. A stay at home mother is perceived as weak compared to the husband going off to work. We are strong. We have children. We raise them and at some point, even the best child, breaks your heart. We take care of our homes, offices, churches and the list goes on. We frequently seem overwhelmed, frazzled and completely out of control. When we have to snap into action…we do. We rise to the challenges. God made us strong. We were forged from the rib of Adam. We were not made from a stray hair, a swatch of skin…we were forged from bone. There is strength in that. Thoughts for you to ponder.
I Cry…A Lot
When I started going back to church and began getting involved, I felt the need to deflect the fact I cried. I mean every service I cry. Right song comes on the radio…I cry. Read a passage of scripture or a devotional…I cry. I was ashamed that I cried so much. I embarrassed me to be honest. I started saying that crying was my prayer language. I think back on it and realize that sounded really, really lame on my part.
My Granny cried. If you did something nice for her, she cried. If she started talking about how thankful she was or sharing her faith…she cried. It was an honest, enduring element that I always recall when I think about my Granny Wheeler. She was a crier. I am done being embarrassed by my tears. If you see me crying in church, it is safe to assume the Lord’s presence touched me. If I try to share something with you and I tear up…know that the emotion is boiling up to overflowing. Truth be told, I seldom cry for sadness or hurt anymore. If fact most of the time when I am crying, I am really joyful and at peace.
It may appear weak to some, but my tears are a sign of strength. (Kleenex appreciates my revelation.) One last thing here, never mistake kindness for weakness. Some of the kindest people I have ever encountered are the strongest as well.
Stop apologizing for who you are! God made you and he loves you, quirks and all. We are not finished. We are growing and developing into all He has called us to be. We have a legacy of women who were bold, brave, and often lead by being Independently, Dependent. We have to stop making ourselves small, thinking that is humility. To accomplish all God has in store for us, we have to be everything He made us to be.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)