A Silent Lent Season

I do not usually devoutly participate in lent, but this year I felt a need to do it. I am about to graduate college, so as I prepare to transition to a new phase of life I wanted God to be incredibly involved, therefore I chose to do a lent fast. I was praying about it for a week before it started, and I felt God telling me to fast from music. “Whoa God, that’s a pretty big piece of my life. I listen to music a lot. Do You mean just secular music or rap?” No, God wanted me to fast from all music for 40 days.

So, for the past 40 days I have sat in silence. No music at work, no music in the car, no music while at the gym, etc. It was terrifying how attached I was to music. I needed something to fill the void of silence. I had learned that if I would just turn some playlist on, I would no longer have the mental capacity to think through my life and work out the things I had been putting off. Deep down, I was piling up things that I needed to confront or work out but, when I had music, I didn’t have to.

The first day of my fast, I jumped in my car and sat there for literally five minutes because I was frozen. I had no idea what to do. How do I drive to school without music? How do I even drive? (literally I had to relearn how to drive a car)

It seemed like days crept by because I was forced to sit in silence and contemplate my life. I had to open up things to myself and to God that I had stuffed down so deep – some things I did not even know existed.

I slowly started to be okay with the silence and embrace my new, extended prayer time with God. Now it is a wonderful time to me because there are no interruptions, just me and God talking about life.

I have learned a few things over this fast that I would like to share.

The first lesson I learned is that music is so ingrained in us. It goes so much farther than  simply realizing that some music is bad and some is good. Three weeks in to my abstaining from music, I went on spring break and my friends played secular music. It was the stuff I grew up with, so I knew every word, every beat drop, etc. But this time, I could not sing it.

I realized much of the stuff I loved was poisoning my soul and my very being. I was so angry at the sexualization of culture and how nothing was pure, but what about me? All the time I was fighting for holiness and purity in my life, I was letting these sexual vulgar songs creep in to my mind, just because I liked the beat. My real battle will be trying to get back into music without letting this vulgar entertainment have a foothold in my life and my mind. For this, I am still praying through and letting God lead me to the answer.

The next lesson I learned was that I needed to stop letting others sing my prayer for me. This applies to all the worship songs that I love so much. I realized I would just search for a song to sing because I wanted to worship God and open up to Him. In the recent weeks however, He made me realize that I was searching for someone else to sing my prayer. I was waiting for them to tell God how I felt. It is no wonder I walked away from church and worship nights feeling like there was something that I failed to share, because there was.

During my time of silence, I was forced to tell God everything. No song was there for me to search for and play. I had to confront my demons, my worries, everything that was going on within me and tell Him on my own. I still love worship songs so much. But I know now, when I need to tell God something, I need to turn the music off. I need to stop putting off my time with God and just run to Him first instead of a song.

The third lesson I learned is really about fasting. I have heard this taught before, but never have I realized it for myself: the Bible does not say “if you fast”, it says “when you fast”. So many times I have heard the excuse, and even given the excuse, that I do not have time to fast or I do not have time for God. God showed me during this fast that He commanded us to fast because he knows we do not have time. He knows we will not make time for Him, so He commanded us to fast so that we would make time.

I did not want to drive in silence the past 40 days, but He commanded me to, and I have no regrets. It was very, very hard and even lonely at times, but God spoke to me in new ways, ways He would not have if I had not made the time for Him. So many times, we want to read off a list of our prayer requests and assume God will just answer them, but do you forget it is a two-way street? He wants to talk to us too. He wants to tell us things and divulge information so rich that our minds can not fathom. Through this fast, I realized that I do not give Him the time of day unless I need something.

God is good, and He is for us, but sometimes we need rude awakenings because, in our selfish slumber, we will never see Him. He woke me up from this music slumber I have been in for so long. He woke me up from my selfishness so I could see Him for who He is, not my genie to grant yes’s and no’s. He is the God who created me and the world that I live in and He deserves so much more of me and my time. So, when He calls me to fast, I will do it. Not only because He has commanded me to, but also because now I want to. When God gets our attention, He is going to move, and you better have your pen and paper ready.

 

If you ever want to talk to us or need prayer for anything, do not hesitate to reach out! We would love to talk with you!

Lauren

Easter Treats

Happy *early* Easter everyone!  This is just a little bonus blog going up this week that we thought would be fun to share for any of you who may be having friends over for Easter or getting together with family and need snacks to share.  We’ve got a little something for everyone, so I hope these fun recipes will inspire you to make something new and festive to munch on this Easter.

Fruity Pebbles Marshmallow Treats

This colorful and creative take on rice krispy treats is sure to be a hit with adults and kiddos alike.  Not only are they an great finger food, but they’re fun to look at and look super cute in an empty egg carton.

Easter-shaped fruit cut-outs

This is a great option if you want something kids can make on their own.  Just get some easter-shaped cookie cutters and your fruit of choice and let the kids cut out their favorite shapes to munch on.  It’s also something that everyone can usually eat despite any dietary restrictions, so that’s definitely a plus.

Easter Egg Cookie Dough Truffles

These are also a great finger food option and, I mean, who doesn’t love cookie dough, right?  This specific recipe is definitely made from scratch, but if you were in a time crunch, you could also buy pre-made cookie dough from the store to speed up the process.

Easter Bunny Munch

This is the ultimate easter snack mix.  It’s sweet, crunchy, full of colorful “easter eggs” and is also fairly easy to make.  All of your family and friends are sure to enjoy this finger food.

Cream Egg Cupcakes

If you have a little extra time to bake, this is a super delicious and creative recipes.  The entire recipe is from scratch though, which in my opinion is definitely the best way to go.  If you do want to give these a try but don’t want to make the actual cupcakes from scratch though, you could use a cake mix from the store instead.

 

Happy munching everyone!

~Gaby

 

He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ (Luke 24:6-7) 

Cleaning house

It’s that time of year again where everyone goes through the house and deep cleans. We clean each room, bathroom, closet, laundry room and even outside. This is where we go through our clothing and other items around the house. We get rid of some things. This is called spring cleaning. We have these moments spiritually too. This is where we are living a certain way, watching certain movies or shows, and so forth and we feel convicted. Convicted enough to clean that action or thing in our lives out so that we can focus more on our relationship with God. Cleaning out areas of our lives that are not God honoring and may even be sin.
Recently I was convicted through the words of a good friend of mine. He came over for dinner with my family and we began talking about movies. My friend said he hasn’t watched tv for over 9 years because he didn’t like the way it made him feel. He spends so much more time loving people and growing closer with God. He has replaced all those hours of watching a screen, whether it is a computer screen, movie screen, phone screen or tv screen,  to being with people and being a strong disciple for God. He gives everything to God. Hearing this was such a conviction for me because I know I spend too much time watching Netflix, watching tv and movies. I also watch a lot of stuff i probably shouldn’t because in the end it doesn’t bring glory to God. A couple Bible verses that added to my convictions are Matthew 6:22-23, which states, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”. The second verse is 1 John 2:15-17, which states, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever”.
I want to spend more time loving on people whether it be family, friends, coworkers or strangers. I want to be a difference to them. I want to be God’s light to them. So instead of spending a lot of time staring at the screen I’ve been trying to spend more time being a disciple for God. I’m cleaning my house. I’m not getting rid of Netflix completely. I will still watch tv and movies but I have gone through my movies and have gotten rid of a ton. I also removed movies and shows off of my list on Netflix because they’re not uplifting. Psalms 51:10 states, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”. I want to give more time to God and more time to loving the people He loves. John 13:34 states, “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”.
Just because I cleaned house on the stuff I watch and the time I spend watching doesn’t mean any of you reading this have to do the same thing. We all have different convictions. I do encourage you if you’re feeling a small or large conviction about anything in you’re life that you’re doing,  don’t ignore it. Pray about it and trust God. Maybe it’s something you need to clean out of your house, your temple of God. No matter what it is, it’s important to remember that God is our Creator. He loves us and wants us to love Him back. He wants us to be disciples for HIm. If  you are His child, He especially wants His temple clean and shining for Him.
With love,
Hope

Books, Devotionals, & Worship music for Growth

Happy Wednesday and second day of Spring to all of our friends reading this! The theme of our blogs in March is growth/cleaning house in honor of Spring time! We wanted to share with you today some of our personal favorite books, devotionals, and worship music that has helped us grow in our faith. Since there are 12 of us girls on our team, we have a wide variety of different books & music so we hope this helps you all! Let us know if you read or listen to any of the suggestions! ❤

Favorite books: 

Uninvited: Lysa TerKurst

Sun Stand Still: Steven Furtick

Pursuit of God: AW Tozer

Unashamed: Christine Caine

Sandcastle Kings:  Rich Wilkerson, JR.

Goliath Must Fall: Louie Giglio

Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis

Breaking Free: Beth Moore

You’re Already Amazing: Holley Gerth

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church forgot about: Mo Isom

All of Grace: Charles Spurgeon

A Praying Life: Paul B. Miller

Divine Direction: Craig Groeschel

Favorite Devotionals: (Many of these are found on the YouVersion Bible App and can be done individually or with friends.) 

Renew: Romans 8 with Timothy Keller: Timothy Keller

My Utmost For His Highest- Holy Week: Oswald Chambers (Specifically meant for Easter week, but you could read it whenever!)

Live Love Lead: Brian Houston

The Sisterhood Devotional: Bobbie Houston

Joy-Strength in the Lord: Oswald Chambers

Crave: For King and Country

The Confident Woman: Joyce Meyer

Finding I am: Lysa Terkurst

Entrusted: Beth Moore

BeLoved: 14 days on Love, Loneliness, Relationships, & Redemption: Jordan Lee Dooley

Discerning The Voice of God: Priscilla Shrirer

Without Rival:  Lisa Bevere

How’s Your Soul?: Judah Smith

Favorite Worship Songs: 

O Come to the Altar: Elevation Worship

The Secret Place: Phil Wickham

Simple Gospel: United Pursuit

How Beautiful: Mosaic MSC

Sanctuary: SEU Worship

Scars: I am They

I’m still here: Mandisa

Grace Abounds: Laura’s Story

We Dance: Steffany Gretzinger

Street Called Mercy: Hillsong United

Great are you, Lord: All Sons and Daughters

Place of Freedom: Highlands Worship

Psalm 23 (Live): Shane & Shane

These are just a few of the books and devotionals we have read, and music we have listened to that have helped us grow closer to God. If you want a suggestion for any specific topic you would like to read more about let us know in the comments or contact us on our Facebook or Instagram (@_woventogether)!

Love,

The Woven Together Team ❤

 

 

 

Showers Before the Bloom

When you hear the word spring, what do you think of? I think of brightly colored flowers, lush green grass and beautiful landscapes bursting with signs of life.

But you know, that is not all that spring is known for. Because before you can get lush plants and vibrant colors, you need some rain.

I have a two year old golden retriever named Sawyer and, let me tell you, he hates rainy days. Most people (and dogs) do. The rain makes you cold and wet. It makes it hard to get out and do the things you need to do. Rain can make even ordinary days feel dreary.

But the rain is necessary to make the grass grow and the flowers bloom.

Have you ever gone through a rainy season in your life? A time when things were hard? When it seemed like nothing was going your way? I have. So I know that during those seasons, it is hard to understand why so many bad things seem to be happening.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his response to enduring a tough situation. “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and trouble that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Cor. 12:8-10 ESV).

Romans 8:28 says, “and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

These verses have comforted me time and time again, because they reassure me that God uses the hard times in our lives to strengthen both our character and our relationship with him.

In other words, the rainy seasons in our lives bring about spiritual growth.

So whether you are struggling with grief, depression, bullying, anxiety, doubt, mental illness, addiction, sickness, or some other trial, I want to encourage you to view this rainy season is an opportunity to grow closer to God.

Next time you are looking out a window at the rain sighing, wondering where the beauty of spring is (like my dog and I are right now), remember that spring rain is what makes way for the beauty and life that we associate with this time of year. Take heart in the knowledge that the sun will come out again.

With love,

Faith

 

If you’re struggling through a rainy season, want us to pray for you, or just want to talk about Jesus, shoot us a message! We’d love to talk with you!

It All Points Back to God

Luke 10:27 “He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

This verse represents the one command that is so important to God. It’s so important that it’s commanded to us in all four gospels. God wants us to love Him and have a relationship with Him but God also wants us to love ourselves which enables us to love the people around us and have relationships with them. Whether it be a relationship with a significant other in marriage, engagement, or dating, a relationship with friends and family, with the strangers you pass by everyday or most importantly a relationship with God. The most important relationship in my life is the one I have with God.

My relationship with God began when I was 6 years old. In middle school I grasped a better understanding of God, life and death, and relationships which lead me to rededicated my life to Him. But if I’m being honest it wasn’t until the summer of 2016 when I fully and truly had a real relationship with God. Before that summer I had been in one of the darkest places of my life. I made several mistakes. Some a lot worse then others. I did not keep God at the center of my life  and I did not keep Him at the center of my relationships with other people. Because of that I destroyed some relationships completely. Others, through God, were able to be repaired. During this dark time in my life I stopped going to church, which I have never done. I had finally hit rock bottom to the point where I didn’t know why God created me. I didn’t know how He could love me. I didn’t even love me. God saved my life during that time.

My mom and sister finally got me to go to church with them one day. From there, I started meeting with my pastors wife. My family, the church community, and the pastors wife were all God’s light to me and showed me He was still there and He still wanted me. Even with my mistakes and all God still loved me and wanted me. I was able to love me and restore some of the relationships in my life. Most importantly I repaired my relationship with God. I rededicated my life to God again and got baptized. I’m still not perfect in my relationship with God but its something I seek and want to work on everyday. I want to show the world of His love.

Our God is an all-powerful and all-knowing God. He is our comforter when we are hurting. He is our healer when we are sick and broken. He is our provider in times of trouble and need. Our God is love and it’s His love that compels us to love ourselves and to love others. I just want you to know that God loves you for who you are and in return He just wants your love. Seek out a relationship with Him because it will change your life.

Rend Collective came out with a new song a few months ago called No Outsiders and the lyrics have some powerful and truth towards how God feels towards us.

“With no questions 

And no conditions 

When I was a sinner running from your grace

You called me friend 

You called me friend

There are no outsiders to your love

We are all welcome, there’s grace enough 

When I have wandered, Lord 

Your cross is the open door

There are no outsiders 

I’m not an outsider to your love”

If you know God but don’t have a relationship with Him and want to, then I encourage you wherever you are at don’t hesitate to just call out to God. He is there and He is listening. You can talk to myself or someone else on this team. We would love nothing more then to talk with with and pray with you.

If you know God and have a relationship with Him but life keeps getting to be too much or distracting. I encourage you to first reach out to God and then reach out to one of us because we would love to pray for you and with you.

If you are reading this and you don’t know God or have a personal relationship with Him but want to know more, again don’t hesitate to message us and we will tell you all about Him and pray for you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” – John 3:16

I pray that this blog has helped you in some way. We are always here to talk and pray for you! We love getting feedback from our followers, so don’t be shy!

 

Hope T.

 

Calling all the single ladies…

Going along with the theme of relationships, we wanted to highlight romantic relationships a few times because, after all, this is the month of love (Valentine’s Day). This week, however, we are throwing one out for the single ladies!

As I write this, about half of the people on our team are single, including yours truly.

Being single is definitely not the most exciting thing on earth, but I believe many people downplay their singleness. Many people, even I, at one point or another, have thought that those who are single are second-class citizens, somehow incomplete. My family and friends are constantly asking when I will find the “right one”. Cultural pressure and personal pressure really do build up and singleness can start to feel like a burden.

I have never dated and I have never had a man ask me out. I have to admit it is hard because I start to wonder if I am invisible and I wonder what is wrong with me that could cause me to be so overlooked. The more I grew closer to God, the more I realized there was not a problem with me at all.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

This is a famous passage that people often use. It does not go without cause here either. God has a time for everything and He has an exact reason for your singleness. There is nothing wrong with you or your circumstance, and there is nothing better about those already dating or married. Rather, it is just the way your life has been laid out.

You are beautiful, you are desirable, you are loved. Your worth is found in the one true God who loved you before you were even aware that He existed. Jesus loves you more than anything, and sees you exactly as Psalm 139 describes. With Jesus, you need nothing else. You are at 100%, nothing less.

Your singleness does not define you, nor does it belittle you as a person. God is using you every day to further His kingdom and show the world the love He has for it. You are a beacon, reflecting the light and love of God onto this Earth. No relationship status will ever change that. You will be used by God then, just as you are used by God now. Today, know that you are beautiful, and you are worthy, in the name of Jesus.

I have come to terms that singleness is not a label (except on taxes), rather it is a gift. Sometimes it is a lonely place to be. But I know God makes way better decisions than I do and His ways are always better than mine. If I were choosing my own path, I would not even be close to the joy and fulfillment in life that I have today. I have tried searching for people to fill my desire to be in a relationship. But it never works out and thankfully it never did.

I may have periods of loneliness now, but I turn to God who knows me fully and is always with me. Realistically, marriage does not fully solve that loneliness problem. Yes, I would like to not eat alone, but if I have to search for people to fill a void, they will always fall short. There is a difference in fulfilling loneliness and fulfilling the void where God should be.

God is truly good and if you just trust in Him and His plans for you, you will find true peace and fulfillment. One day I may get married, but, honestly, I may not. All I know is that God is for me and I will trust Him.

Being single also allows me to focus solely on falling more and more in love with my first love, my Jesus.  I do not have to worry about splitting my affections and attractions because He has my whole heart.  That, in itself, is a gift.

My delight is in the Lord and I pray that one day He will fulfill my desire to be married. My motto has always been that worrying never got anyone anywhere. So start living in the fullness of your singleness! Embrace it with joy and peace (Isaiah 55:12)!

I pray that this blog has helped you in some way. We are always here to talk and pray for you! We love getting feedback from our followers, so don’t be shy!

 

With love,

Lauren

A Matchmaker Named “Kris”

Every girl makes a list of what they want in a guy. Whether in her mind or on paper, it is there. You might even say, “Hah, I’m not that girl!” I said that same thing. But one day my best friend and I sat down and really thought about it. I ended up filling up a whole page, front and back!

     Not long after this list making, in a girls bible study class I took, my teacher suggested that we start praying for our future husband. So that night I did. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to say. How do you pray for the guy you long to meet and know you will end up spending the rest of your life with?
     “Dear Lord, I thank you for the man You will one day give me. I ask that You draw him nearer to you everyday, bless him in all he does, bless his family and keep him safe wherever he is. Thank you God, amen.”
     That is basically what my prayer sounded like.  I tried to make it a point to say something to God about him every night. Not as if to say, “hey, don’t forget about me over here… you know the single one!” Rather, thank you Lord for the wonderful man I know You will send me one day.  Help me to be patient.
     “Be patient,” is the hardest thing for a girl to hear! Especially when it comes to wanting a relationship, it is not easy.  So for a few more years I was patient and lived my life as one friend from high school after another got married. My best friend can attest, and with that I decided to be the best version of me I could possibly be! It was not until a year ago my world flipped upside down.
     In December, 2016,  I met a wonderful lady at my brother’s homeschool basketball game. I was talking to some friends in the lobby when I heard, “Hi. How old are you?” Without a thought I turned around, looked back and said
     “Me?” pointing to myself.
     “yeah you!” she said!
     “21” I answered.
     “Perfect!” she said, “My son is 21, very good looking, has a great job, loves sports, huge baby blue eyes, tall, dark hair, knows how to do a back flip, I don’t know if you care about that sort of thing but he can, loves the beach and dogs…” Etc…
     “Well he sounds nice.” Not really sure what to say back as I was now in shock over what had just happened. No lie, I was looking for video cameras!
     Long story short we talk for about an hour, which lead into this very nice lady, Kris, texting Luke (her tall, blue eyed, dark haired, backflipping son who was living in Philadelphia at the time) a bunch or different things about me, and him responding with more about himself. Time went on, we said good bye, and decided to stay in touch through Instagram. “The ball is in his court now, lets see what he does from there.” Kris said. Right, I thought as she left, we’ll see…
     One week later I heard from Luke! Are you kidding me?!? This strange guy from Philly I had never even met actually took the time to find me on Facebook and say something? Yep, he did. Over the next month and a half we talked through Facebook messenger, and then one day he finally asked, “So do you really think you’d want to meet me in real life? Could this work?” To which I responded, “You could have asked me that a long time ago and I would have said yes!”  Two more long weeks later on January 27th, 2017, Luke drove to Lynchburg from just outside Philadelphia for the evening to take me out on our first date.
     Now, back to the part about the list making. On the top of that list, besides the good looks part, and the “has to love Jesus” part, was that I wanted to feel safe around him. The moment I walked into the restaurant to meet Luke, and I stood beside him saying the typical “hello, how are you?” things, I felt safe! I knew right then that if something bad or crazy happened at that moment, nothing would happen to me, because Luke would not let it!
     Two weeks ago on January 27th, 2018 (one year to the day from our first date), I married Luke Wagner! As we dated this past year, he went through eight months of Police academy training and has become a Police officer. Not only does the love of my life make me feel safe all the time, but it is also his job to help others feel the same.
     Do not give up on God hearing you, because He does. Don’t give up on being yourself, because you never know who’s mom you’re sitting next to.
“Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
– Olivia
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Finding Hope With Anxiety

The theme this month is vulnerability, which is ironic because it is something I struggle with a lot, especially this past month. Being vulnerable is not an easy thing. You don’t want other people to see that side of you. It is scary but I believe that being vulnerable helps us connect more with God and with the people around us.

In the spirit of vulnerability, I am going to share what happened to me this month with all of you reading this. I used to have very intense and frequent anxiety but for the last year I have handed everything over to God, trusting Him, and my anxiety attacks have basically disappeared. This month, however, has turned out to be a difficult one for me.

It started with work. Everything was being thrown at me at once. I was training three people on top of my other daily tasks. I felt like I was being rushed everywhere I went and I didn’t have time to just take a moment and breathe. Work kept scheduling me on Sundays so I was missing church on top of that and my time alone with God kept slipping. I was feeling completely drained.

Then one day at work I had to appear in court, which is not a new thing for me because part of my job involves going to court to testify against people. This time court was different and much more serious. It was Circuit Court, which is a lot like how movies portray it. Witnesses have to sit in a chair next to the judge, face the audience and get questioned by the attorneys. If you know me at all then you know I was freaking out about being in front of people like that.

I started to doubt and feel vulnerable. I let the defense attorney who questioned me get inside my head and I was filled with horrible thoughts that continued into the next day. When I got to work the next day I went into an anxiety attack right in front of my coworkers. I have always kept them a private thing, so I felt embarrassed and vulnerable again in a different way. I even tried to deny the fact that it was an anxiety attack to my coworkers out of fear that they would see me in a vulnerable place.

I learned two things from this: firstly, it is okay to be vulnerable and most importantly,  keep God first no matter what. I kept pushing God to the side instead of handing over everything I was feeling and going through to Him.

A few days after this happened I opened up to my mom about it and what I was feeling. She sent me a verse that’s a great reminder when it comes to vulnerability. 2 Corinthians 4:7 states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”

This is a great metaphor that can portray us when we feel vulnerable or broken. If a jar of clay gets cracks in it, it becomes more fragile. Thankfully, as believers, what is inside is eternal. Even if the jar were to be dropped and shattered, the treasure inside it cannot be broken. Broken, frail, feeble jars of clay allow God to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

God will take care of us and mold us into what He wants us to be. No matter how vulnerable or broken we feel we just need to remember who our God is and trust Him. God also sends us people on this earth that will love us and care for us. People we can be vulnerable with that will not judge us but be a support and pray with us, reminding us that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and our Comforter.

One of my favorite passages in scripture is 2 Corinthians 12:9 -10 which states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV).

One last thing I am going to share with you is lyrics from one of my favorite songs titled Great Things by Elevation Worship.  The lyrics ring true with this topic.

“Through the fire and the flood You have never let me go

And my soul will sing, You have done great things

I am weak, You are strong, You will always be my hope

And my soul will sing, You have done great things”.

If you are feeling broken physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually I encourage you to be vulnerable with the people around you who love you and in your prayers to God. God loves you. He will be there with you through anything and help you through it. Remember to keep Him first. As always, if you need someone to talk to or need prayer for something we are always here and would love to hear from you.

-Hope

Vulnerable and Victorious

Vulnerability.  It is a word that makes most people, myself included, at least a little bit uncomfortable.  The definition of vulnerability, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, is “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage.”

Have you ever been vulnerable with someone?  Was it emotional vulnerability?  Physical vulnerability?  Did your hands shake?  Did you have to take a few deep breaths before you could begin?  Was your stomach tangled in knots?

Was the discomfort worth it?

Sometimes, doing hard things, like being vulnerable can lead to a changed life, a changed heart, or even a changed world.

“Really, vulnerability is going to change the world,” you might question with an eyebrow arched and eyes skeptically squinted.

Well, I can think of one case where that was true.  It is the story of a young girl, who was simultaneously scared and brave.  She was vulnerable with the people closest to her, and who put her trust and her hope in her Heavenly Father.

This teenage girl was engaged to a nice young man who had a good job.  She was loved.  Her future was secure.  She was probably excited about the days and years to come, looking at her world the same way a high school graduate regards the world after walking across the stage: full of promise, full of possibilities, and full of adventure.

When an angel appeared to her, our girl was “greatly troubled” (Luke 1:29).  He told her that she would soon give birth to a child, and not just any child, a son who would sit on David’s throne (Luke 1:31-33).  The girl, named Mary (as you have likely discerned by this point), was probably running through all the problems with this scenario in her head.

I’m a virgin, I can’t have a baby.  What will people think?  What will my fiancé think?

The angel explained that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, would put the baby in her womb, reminding her of miraculous things she had witnessed and ensuring her that with God, all things are possible (Luke 1: 35-37).

Mary replied boldly, “I am the Lord’s servant,” consenting to the miracle with humility, faith, and courage (Luke 1:38).

Mary knew that this act of God would require vulnerability on her part.  She would have to be vulnerable spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Were her hands shaking as she ran to her relative Elizabeth’s house to tell her the unbelievable news (Luke 1:39-45)?  Elizabeth, expecting her own son despite her old age, was going through a similar situation.  Mary’s vulnerability in sharing her story with Elizabeth lead to bonding and encouragement between the two women.

Did Mary have to take some deep breaths before she mustered up the courage to spill the beans to Joseph? She was opening herself up to attack, both emotionally and physically, since Joseph could have easily divorced her or had her stoned (Matthew 1:18-19).  But the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him that Mary’s child was of the Holy Spirit and that he should not divorce her (Matthew 1:20).

Mary’s vulnerability was necessary to pave the way for Jesus’ coming.  She trusted God’s plan through the pain and worry that accompany vulnerability and something wonderful happened.

You do not have to share something as miraculous and world-changing as being the mother of the Son of God to practice vulnerability.

God has given me dear friendships where vulnerability about similar struggles has strengthened and encouraged us both.  God has drawn others to him when I have been vulnerable in sharing my testimony.   I have been edified by countless speakers, preachers, authors, and bloggers who have been vulnerable in sharing what God has laid on their hearts.

Being obedient to God in vulnerability brings about good things.  Is God is calling you to be vulnerable with someone?  It you can get past the nervous feeling that your stomach is tangled in knots and step out in faith and obedience, that vulnerability just might be the way God is going to bring about something good.

 

Love always,

Faith