The Truth About Joy

Recently, someone commented to me her admiration for my joyful spirit and positive attitude. In that moment, there was no sense of flattery in my heart. I was thankful that she saw this in me, but deep in my heart, all I really wanted to do was to confess to her that my flesh was NOT joyful most of the time.

This is a reality of ministry life. We are expected to be joy-filled workers for Christ. We have nearly mastered the art of the “china doll” smile. You know what I’m talking about, right? That beautiful smile we wear, but that smile that is oh so fragile on the inside.

As a ministry wife, this smile, this type of “joy” is so difficult to wear. Our human nature so often wants to take over, and truly rips away at the back of the china mask. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. His leadership. His model of love and forgiveness. With Him, and only Him, we CAN BE all these things; however, that doesn’t keep us totally free from our sin nature. Honestly, how do you feel when you must show love to that person who recently ripped your husband to shreds? How do you want to respond when you’re tired from constant spiritual and physical battles that go along with church leadership? Joy is not a response I would choose for either of those or a thousand other situations in ministry.

So, how do we get past this “china doll” joy? I mean, at this point we should know the answer right? We should have it mastered, should we not? Come on ladies, don’t let the Enemy tear you down. We are not perfect! Just as Paul talks about in Romans 7, we will struggle, even when we know what is right. Our freedom comes in knowing that, and most of all in knowing the Father of freedom! Give it to God ladies. There will only be false joy in our lives until we do.

Unfortunately, ministry life thrusts us into glass houses, not of our choosing, but of our calling. We are expected by many to live unrealistically perfect Christian lives. We aren’t allowed, by many, to fail, or be angry, or be hurt, etc. We must carefully chose who we trust, who sees our tears and hurts, and who knows our frustrations. But we can live in JOY!

Joy is found in the freedom of the gospel! Joy is found by giving our hurts and fears to God! Don’t carry the weight of the world, His yoke is easy and His burden is light! He is our JOY!

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I’ve found when my true joy starts waning, that reading Paul’s writings help tremendously. (Philippians & 1-2 Timothy are my favorites from a ministry perspective.) He endured it…joyfully! He knew the source of his strength!

Oh, my sweet sisters, I pray JOY for you! I pray for freedom from unrealistic expectations that steal your joy. I pray for comfort in the arms of your Abba Father!

Be joy-filled!

-De

Some days we just need a little extra encouragement, don’t we?

The past few weeks, for me, have been tough ones for many reasons. But in the midst of it all, my Abba Father has been so faithful to speak comfort into my heart.

We are His children! He loves us more deeply than we could ever fathom!

Today, as I was praying over my quiet time, the Spirit drew me to James. I sometimes forget how much I love this book. Yes, there is encouragement here, but James also gives us many reminders to check-up on our heart attitudes.

When we feel wronged, it’s human nature to lash out. That’s not our Father’s nature, and we are to reflect Him.

I encourage you today, pray & read through this short book. Take a look at your reflection in God’s mirror. Are you reflecting Him or the world in word and deed?
I definitely need to do some polishing on my reflection today!

**Father, thank You for Your mercy! Thank you for love us and allowing us to be imperfect children, but also for reminding us to strive to perfectly reflect You! Help us to daily check our heart attitudes for anything that is not of You. Heal our brokenness and help us to live in the fullness of Your joy everyday! Amen!**

Be blessed!

-De

Writing Again

It’s been since college, since I felt motivated and inspired to write for fun. Recently, I’ve been praying for inspiration and wisdom from God’s Word. Truthfully, to regain a love for lyric writing that I once had. But, not only that, through writing, to share with others the things God is teaching me.

Last night, I found myself awake again. My mind filled with images, reflecting on how to explain a spiritual attack to someone. My mind narrowed in on a hazing practice I recalled hearing about in college. When a recruit is placed alone in a dark place and the “hazers” shout, relentlessly at them from the dark. Longing for them to break under the pressure.

Isn’t this exactly what the enemy does to us? When we aren’t on our guard or weak in our faith?  So, here is my doodle of a writing…there is no title as of yet. (I’m open to suggestions.)

How did I get here?

The darkness is overwhelming.

As I sit with my head on my knees and arms wrapped tightly around my ankles, all I can hear are their voices.

Each invisible one carries so much weight and pain. I can’t stand.

Their words tear at every insecurity like talons piercing my spirit and pulling me to the ground. Useless.

Louder. They scream ever louder! Will they ever stop? It’s deafening. Will anyone help me?

A breeze…no…wait…  a Voice.  Did it say “ask”?

Oh please help! I can’t escape them alone! Please?!

“Stand”? I don’t think I can. The pain is too much. The weight is too heavy. Their grip is too strong!

Light? Is that light I see?  Again the Voice in the cool breeze whispers “Stand”.

Ok, here goes.

The weight seems lighter. Maybe I can stand. Slowly.

With each inch I rise, the dark voices seem to fade. The Light grows brighter. The Voice in the breeze grows louder and stronger.

As I reach my tallest stance, I’m engulfed by the fierce Rushing Wind. It is pushing the darkness away with Its marvelous Light. All the while, whispering to my spirit to stand firm and stand tall, and allow Him to battle the darkness.

Standing in the Wind is difficult. It takes focus and endurance and trust.

I could easily fall if I don’t hold on to the Voice within.

I must cling to It with every breath, for It alone holds the freedom from the voices in the dark.

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Be blessed!

-De

Reinforcing His Armor

This little blog of prayer is for all my ministry wife friends out there.

As I lay in my bed last night, jolted awake by some random noise outside, my mind focused in on all of you. You beautiful, often battle-worn ladies, my sisters in the fight, as we aide our men in their leading of God’s churches. So I began to pray, to seek God for what He was trying to tell me. Here is what He whispered to my heart.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NASB)

We all know to put on our armor everyday, and I know our husbands do too. But God was impressing upon me, that as my husband’s helper, I held the responsibility of helping to repair and reinforce his armor. After days on the front lines of a spiritual battle, he will need help. How do we help? Prayer. That may be quite obvious, I know. We all pray for our husbands daily, or at least I hope you do. But do we honestly consider the spiritual battles that rage around him. We are deceiving ourselves if we don’t think they are real. We’re their back-up ladies!

Father, as my husband has armed himself for battle today, I pray that you will strengthen his armor as he heads to the front lines. Strengthen his stance in You, Father. Fasten tightly Your belt of Truth around him as he studies Your word. Guard his heart with Your breastplate of righteousness as he strives to live for You. As my husband laces up shoes of peace, give him Your stability, Your peace amidst the enemy’s fire. Strengthen his traction as he moves forward to spread Your Gospel message. As he takes up his shield of faith, place him in line with Your other leaders on the front lines. Encourage them to link their shields together creating a stronger guard against the flaming arrows of the enemy, thus becoming an immovable force for You. Pushing through the front lines of the enemy together in full faith in You. Tighten upon him, the helmet of Salvation, Father. Do not allow the enemy to invade his mind. Protect him from the discouragement and negativity that abounds in the church and the world. Renew his mind daily to reflect Your own. Father, sharpen his Sword as he lives in Your Word daily. Bestow upon him Your wisdom through the Word, so that he may courageously and confidently combat the workers of the enemy. Finally, grow in him a deeper desire to be a man on his knees. Make his prayer life a most precious time with You! In this, he will be more alert to the schemes of the enemy and more focused and aligned with Your perfect will.

Protect him today, Father. Use him today, Father. In Jesus name, Amen.

This may be nothing new to you, I don’t know. I’m just sharing what God placed on my heart.

This world is a mess, ladies, and our husbands are called to no easy task. The war is raging in churches across our country, and we can no longer sit and observe from the pews. We must stand up. We must pray. We must join them on the front lines of battle and tend their wounds.

Praying for all of you and your men today!

-De

A Call to End the Silence

My heart has been so heavy over the past weeks…maybe months. I no longer have the desire to turn on the daily news. I barely ever want to peek at social media because in the desire to see what my friends and loved ones are up to, I’m bombarded with the craziness that is occurring in our world.

I’ve found myself wishing it would just all go away. (Yes, I know, lovely attitude there…just being real.)

As I sat in prayer this morning, God spoke louder to me something He’s been whispering to me for a while.

stop being silent

Church, we’ve been too silent for too long! What has our silence brought us? Just look around!

  • Churches across the nation are more divided than EVER…and NOT over things that matter.
  • Reaching the lost for Christ has become more difficult because too many “Christians” do not live out what they claim to believe.
  • Sin nature in our country has overtaken our culture partly because Christians have taken their focus off of evangelism & discipleship.

I could continue a nice long list, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we need to WAKE UP! We need to rediscover the urgency of the Gospel! We need to STOP attacking each other over things that don’t matter! We need to STEP UP and PRAY for our leadership (both in the church and the nation) before we open our big mouths to tear them down to others. And, maybe, let’s be a little more Christlike and NOT tear them down anyway, just pray and pray some more.

Christians, we need to UNITE & PRAY like never before. We don’t have time for our petty differences of opinions. There are lost people dying and going to hell at a faster rate than I’ve ever seen. We need to grab onto Christ, bind ourselves to Him and His mission, and GO for what is absolutely the most important ride of our lives!

We can no longer be silent about our faith. We must fulfill the great commission. We must GO! We must TELL! We must LIVE a life fueled by and filled with the LOVE of Christ!

Matthew 28:18-20

Ephesians 4:1-6

1 John 3:11-24

1 John 4:7-21

1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Be blessed & LOUD!

-De

 

A Little Bit of Worship

My hubby and I have had many conversations recently about worship.  (Of course, over the Christmas break we traveled 1800+ miles, so there was LOTS of time to talk.) Our observation is that the majority of Christ followers just don’t truly know how to worship God anymore.  Is it that we aren’t taught?  Is it that we’ve simply forgotten due to lack of practice?  Where has it gotten lost?

Worship goes beyond singing songs on Sunday morning.  (For those who actually participate in that part of the services.)  Shouldn’t worship be how we live our lives for God?  I love this statement from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary’s definition of worship:

All true worshipers must worship God in “spirit and in truth.” That is, true worship takes place on the inside, in the heart or spirit of the worshiper (cf. Psalm 45:1 ; 103:1-2 ). Worship pleasing to God must be unfeigned and transparent, offered with a humble and pure heart ( Psalm 24:3-4 ; Isa 66:2).

That doesn’t sound so difficult, does it.  Worship is simply our humble, heart-felt offerings to God.  Worship can happen when we are alone or with our church family.  Worship can happen while scrubbing the bathroom (crank up some praise music and offer Him your heart while doing that chore you despise) and during silent prayer in the middle of church.  Your heart is where it begins! 

When was the last time you were overwhelmed with the presence of God?  I mean that speechless place where no words or songs or sounds you could utter seemed worthy enough for Him.  But also that place when you knew that you were so wrapped in the Holy Spirit that you didn’t need to make a sound, and you simply lifted your heart and hands to the Father to offer Him your purest worship.

Oh, my sisters, that is a place I want to live!!  No, it doesn’t happen every day, but when it does…my heart cries out to my Abba Father, the joy of the Lord fills every inch of my being, and I offer Him the best of what I have to give…as unworthy as that may truly be.

Just offer ALL of yourself to Him.  Humble yourself & let Him lead you.  Pray that He will guide your worship.  Pray that He will free you to worship, if that needs to be your prayer.  And simply worship Him in spirit and truth!

Be blessed!

-De

I Will Be Audacious!

I just sat down on my couch after a blessed, blessed day! Our church hosted the Living Proof Live Simulcast today, & what a WORD God gave to Mrs. Beth!

Leading up to the event, I prayed for God to speak to the women who attended. To move in their heart. To prepare a word just for them. Here’s what I didn’t expect…He prepared a word just for ME!

Backstory: My hubby and I, for years, have prayed that no matter what, we would do what God calls us to do. Whether to go or stay and serve, just to follow Him & hear His direction. Now, for sometime now God has been building a ministry calling within me in addition to were He has me now. He has given me a great passion for worship leadership, & I adore preparing His church to approach His throne in worship. But, He has also been speaking a ministry of encouragement to ministry wives (and women in ministry) to my heart. My pastor hubby has been diligent in asking me what my hold-up is. Why haven’t I just stared DOING it? My answer has always been, I don’t feel prepared & most of all I don’t feel confident enough in myself to speak to these women. Fear ladies, it’s all fear. And we know who is the author of that fear!

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When Christ is the Supreme Romance of our lives, we can do ANYTHING!!!  Even face/conquer our fears!!!  Praise Jesus!!

Thank you Mrs. Beth (if by some miracle chance you read this) for calling me out! “Zero confidence in the flesh! 100% confidence in the Holy Spirit!”  Thank you for helping me realize that I can be Audacious! I am a mighty woman of God because Christ lives in me! Because Christ lives in me I can do anything that God has called me to do, or speak, without fear!!

“I’ve got the guts to give Him the glory!”

Be blessed & be AUDACIOUS!

-De