Tag Archives: Beth Moore

Following the path

Pro tip: Don’t ask God to confirm something if you are not prepared for an answer you may not like

That may sound like an ominous way to start a blog post, but I have to admit it’s been a whirlwind few weeks–which tends to happen when you start out on a quest to resuscitate something you feel you have lost. You poke at things you thought were pretty sturdy only to watch them tumble like a Jenga tower. The falling is bad enough, but the noise is enough to startle you into confusion.

That’s pretty much my headspace at the moment.

Or, as Beth Moore puts it in her new book Chasing Vines:

“Nothing can get more confusing than feeling planted somewhere you’re sure is home and then getting uprooted and transplanted somewhere else. Without warning you face the prospect of having to start all over again. You had […] your sense of place, you thought you knew how this thing was going to go, your future seemed clear, your people were near and now you feel like a stranger …”

There is nothing more disconcerting than feeling like a stranger where you once felt like you belonged. An overwhelming sense of discontentment can be disorienting and, quite frankly, painful as you fumble your way through.

It’s the prayers in those moments that you send heavenward, hoping that that feeling will maybe just go away, or at least settle into some kind of contentment that your purpose only floundered for a hot second…until you realize that the seeds of discontentment might actually be God’s prompting to a new purpose.

And that all the hurt feelings and alienation were actually little ways in which God was answering your heaven-sent pleas.

Whether you like it or not.

Photo by Blake Weyland on Unsplash

Because let’s be honest. Change can be hard, especially if there is not a readily evident reason for making the change. Trying to explain it to other people is, well, tough. So you begin the arduous task of laying it all out on the table–these little pieces of evidence that God has confirmed to you so that others can rally behind you in this new quest.

I haven’t gotten to that last bit yet; I’m still gathering my evidences and working through it with the Lord on my own before I start bringing others in. But I can certainly feel it inching closer and the choice will have to be made: do what is comfortable, or do what God is saying to you.

And I pray I have the courage to follow through and obey the simple words of Genesis 31:16b:

“Now then, whatever God is saying to you, do.”

Because we should not, as Beth Moore says,

“Confuse fruitfulness with felicity.”

Walking in God’s will doesn’t mean we will live “happily ever after.” Life is not a fairy tale, and happiness shouldn’t be our number one goal regardless of what popular culture will have us believe. No, if we want to live purposeful lives, we must live in obedience to what the Lord commands and listen to his commands, whatever they are. As Deuteronomy 5:33 confirms:

“You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you…”

Sometimes we may feel like strangers.

Sometimes we may have to change our lifestyle.

Sometimes we may experience pain and rejection.

But always we will LIVE and LIVE WELL if we are following God’s path–even if we can’t see exactly where it might lead.

Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash

It’s Tough Being a Woman…

This is the title of one of my favorite Bible studies by Beth Moore (Living Proof Ministries). If you have the opportunity to participate in this study at any time, I highly recommend it. This week I started studying Esther, the book of the Bible the study focuses on, and I realized how much Biblical hope the book gives us—even though, ironically, God is not mentioned in the book—ever.

So why is it tough being a woman?

If we were honest, we’d probably say it’s tough being a human, but I know more about being a woman, so I’m going to focus on that.

  • It’s tough being a woman when you feel like the whole world rests on your shoulders alone.

The struggle of modern womanhood is feeling as though you have to do it all—24/7. The feminist movement had a lot of positive outcomes, but one of the negative effects was this belief that to show weakness and dependence on a man—or even other women—is a bad thing.

But to be weak is human.

We all have weakness. Men do, and so do women. Neither is “better” or “worse” kind of weakness—it is dependent on the individual—but the fact of the matter is we are all weak. And we might as well start admitting it to ourselves, because as much as we want to believe that we are all Wonder Women, eventually those gold bracelets and white boots get tarnished and dirty. Some of us do a great job of proving that we are…for a while. And then we get tangled in our own lasso of truth. We can’t DO IT ALL. Humans are dependent on one another and we might as well admit it.

Now, I’m the pot, and I’m calling the kettle black right now. I know this to be true because this week alone I was trying to be about 6 people: I was a teacher teaching and grading research papers (4-5 a night baby), I was a “synchronized swimming participant” (we had practice this week for the talent show next week!), I was a program volunteer for Winston Salem Writers (organized and executed a program; 20 attendees, thank you very much), I was a Sunday School teacher (Found a great new lesson book, but I have to modify it, because it’s just not 100% right for my kids), I was a granddaughter/daughter/niece (had a family dinner before my grandfather’s surgery), I was a devoted granddaughter (visited my grandfather in the hospital), I was a Key Club Sponsor and UNICEF fundraiser ($930 dollars raised so far toward our $2000 goal), and I was a writer (not a very good one; I only wrote about 1000 words this week blech).

Okay, 7 people. And now I’m tired. Because it’s tough being a woman.

  • It’s tough being a woman when your destiny seems out of your hands.

As I was reading Esther 1 this week, I looked specifically at Xerxes and his party hardy attitude. SO he holds this party that lasts for 180 days (that’s a school year btw) which is totally insane and he invites not only the nobles, but all the military leaders, and I think anyone involved in the military would agree with me that there are some really fine military officers out there, but there are also some notoriously crude military officers out there. Not to mention the spoiled brats that would have been the princes and leaders. So when I put it into this context and the fact that “as much wine as he wished” is mentioned 3x I wonder if Vashti’s refusal is  more than just being tired of her trophy status–I wonder if she isn’t terrified. Do I really believe that all the men would be polite in this kind of setting–especially the King? After all, this is the man who takes all the beautiful virgins of the kingdom into his harem later.

But that’s not really what they’re worried about. They’re upset that she refused, but they’re more upset that other wives—their wives may follow her example and refuse them as well. OMG! What if MY wife refuses MY demands?! They think. And I see that this isn’t a story just about power, it’s a story of finding our own feminine power (not in a let’s stop shaving our legs way–but in the sense that we have a purpose in God’s kingdom as well). Because what they are really afraid of is a feminine rebellion and that is typical for the ruler Xerxes who was having a hard enough time keeping control of his military holdings, the last thing he needed was domestic uprising. That would just add to his fear, thus, I suppose his irrational decisions.

Vashti and the other women are dependent on the men and their decisions and when they make their own decisions, the men start acting like spoiled children. And that, my friends, is tough.

And sometimes I’ve felt that other people are in control of my destiny. Obviously I have a lot more freedom than Vashti and the other women of Susa, but I’m still dependent on a lot of things in my society. I teach in a public school and I have to depend on the elected officials in the NC House and Senate who are fairly clueless as to what it is like in the school system to make decisions that affect my entire fate—and I’m not just talking about pay. They also determine class sizes and resources and curriculum. And that is tough. I get emotional, upset and angry and yes I can vote against the people who are doing things I don’t like, but then usually they are for something else I don’t like and so I’m caught it this perpetual state of inner conflict about what the right choice is for the greater good. And that is tough too.

At any rate, I don’t know why Vashti refused. Maybe she was just being a spoiled brat. Maybe she was scared. Maybe she was tired of being shown off. Regardless, what it shows us is that men and women—humans–need to communicate and they need to do it with clear heads and minds. If they don’t things become muddied very quickly.

  • It’s tough being a woman when society’s expectations are too high for you to live up to.

I’m not really going to expand on this one much, because I think it speaks for itself. Society expects a lot from women and it’s why we have a multi-billion dollar beauty industry. It’s exhausting.

So, my point: It’s tough being a woman—it’s tough being a human, but we just keep trucking and every once in a while we find those beautiful moments that make it all worth it.