It’s been an interesting month of link ups with Mrs. Disciple for #FridayFive. I love taking the time to reflect each week on a specific subject. Healed Wounds is a subject I’m processing daily these months. Lessons From The Wilderness has been a project of learning and healing for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself through a season of wilderness in the past few years.
When we moved to the mountains, God began to pursue me on a deeper level. I’d spend 10 years carrying other’s people’s definitions of me as name badges. In the mountains, God began to press me to wear the name badge HE gave me, not the ones from humans. It’s been a HARD process. As I’ve shed other’s labels and taken on God’s deep wounds, have healed. Here are five of them.
Your words have no value: I remember it like yesterday. I was sitting with a new woman in the area. She was upset over her life not falling perfectly into place with her structured plan. I began to share my personal experiences, and she stopped me. “You know, you just a stay at home mom. I can’t consider your experiences. They don’t apply to my life.” The thing that stunned me mostly was that I wasn’t talking about being a mom. I was talking about my relationship with God. It was a hard conversation. I shut my mouth immediately and rarely offered her advice after that. When I did, I’d remind her of her words and question why my advice mattered. She never apologized or backed down from her opinion either.
The sad thing is that her words wounded me so deeply that it trickled into other relationships. I had a fairly flourishing ministry with college women and post graduates in the area. She was a fringe member and yet her words and actions carried weight. I became hesitant about the advice offered. I began to wonder why anyone would seek me out for advice anyway. Even when I re-entered the workplace her, words ran through my head.
Within the first few weeks of living in the mountains a woman who is now a dear friend told me her perspective on how awesome being a stay at home mom was. I’d heard all the words before, but this time I could receive them. As she reminded me of how much our kids flourish when we stay home with them and how doing so has not made me a lesser human I heard and accepted it. Psalm 19 is my go to now when I begin to doubt other’s words over me.
Psalm 19:13-14: 13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be [a]blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock, and my Redeemer.
You are ugly: Girls can be so terribly mean. I look back now and cringe at my behavior in Jr. High. That being said I never expected into my twenties and thirties the mean girl mentality would still surround me. There was one woman in particular who never failed to comment on my terrible hair, awful makeup, cracked nail or whatever made her feel better about herself. At one point she lost a significant amount of weight and made a point to tell me repeatedly (2 months postpartum from having my second kid in 20 months) how much I also needed to lose weight.
For some reason, I decided her words were more valuable than anyone else. I don’t know why this pattern has continued to arise in my life, but it has, and it’s been a hard one to break. Eight years later from her words, I’m 80 pounds lighter, and I still have a hard time seeing myself as beautiful, especially in God’s eyes.
Psalm 45:10-12 10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; 11 Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor.
You are not welcome: Our entrance into Southern IL was not a smooth one. On a regular basis, we were asked where our home was, who’s house we now lived in and why we were there. The hardest thing was when this happened at church. It was hard to feel welcome in a community that referred to our home as being someplace else and questioned our presence. This passage has always brought me comfort and reminded me that I am welcome.
Thankfully our new community has been the exact opposite of our previous one.
Matthew 19:13-15 13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “[a]Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.
You are not qualified: Working in a collegiate setting can be interesting. There are so many degrees floating around that it can feel intimidating. It can also feel very disheartening when you are old a degree is holding you back. After a season of flourishing women’s ministry on our campus in IL, a job came open. As people who would be recommending me read the job description, it was something I was clearly suited for.
As I went through the application process, an interesting thing happened. I was asked for my transcripts. I’ve never had that happen at an interview before and having been a part of that campus for seven years I was also aware it was not a policy the college held to. ]
Interestingly enough, what I was doing as a volunteer, I was not qualified to be paid for because I didn’t have a master’s degree. This was pretty surprising to me since the previous two people who had held the job also didn’t have master’s degrees, but none the less that was what was communicated to me.
By this point in my life, I knew God had a specific call for me. The fact that I would now need more schooling to accomplish that goal was devastating. With two small children and school loans still being paid off taking on more debt was out of the question.
When we moved to the mountains, I was approached rather quickly about leading women’s ministries. “But I don’t have a masters degree.” was my response. The confused look on the Director of Spiritual Formation’s face was surprising to me. I couldn’t get my previous experience out of my head. I delayed stepping into my role for a year. I let fear control my decisions. Now, I co-lead a flourishing women’s ministry for our campus, and when I think about my delay, I know it was disobedience.
1 Timothy 4:11-13 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
You are not worthy of God’s love I’m sure you aren’t completely surprised to hear the lie I told myself over the years. The people around me seemed to reinforce it with actions and words of their own. “I remember saying God loves you enough to answer prayer requests, but not me.” As I owned that phrase, it became hard to hear God’s voice. That’s what happens when we cover ourselves with lies. We are reminded throughout scripture we are God’s chosen people, Peter seemed to say it best.
1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Have you heard this awesome song? No Longer Slaves Bethel Music We sing it at church often, and it’s been in Sirius radio a bunch. If there is anything that will remind your heart you are a child of God and worthy of His love, it’s this song. I LOVE the interview story behind it. I felt like their words were mine as well.