When we Hide
If you're not familiar with Jewish history and the Old Testament, bear with me for a sec.
In 1 Samuel 8, the Isaraelites ask for (read: demand) a king. They're not satisfied with having the Lord lead them. They are hungry for a flesh-and-blood ruler that they can see and touch. Samuel (the Prophet sent to speak to the Israelites) takes this personally, but God tells him that it's not Samuel who the Israeliets have rejected, but it's God directly.
In chapter 9, Samuel anoints Saul and officially selects him as king. The Bible tells us in that chapter that Saul is "an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites--a head taller than than any of the others" (Verse 2).
In chapter 10, it's time for Saul to be made king. This is it! It's the big day they've all been waiting for! Cue the confetti! Except, where's Saul?
Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”
Here it was...the big drum roll, the procession, the big Ta-da! Where was Saul? Hiding among the supplies. He was hiding. The original Hebrew for the word "hiding" is chaba', it means to hide onself, to draw back.
He was chosen, selected by God's own hand. He was anointed. And yet, he was so afraid and anxious, that when it came time to step into this calling, he hid. He withdrew.
The King James version uses the word "stuff" in verse 22 instead of "supplies." That one slapped me in the face. I get lost and hidden in my "stuff" too often. Sometimes I choose to be a "fixture" and fly under the radar instead of stepping out the way God has chosen me to.
Do you see any of yourself in that like I do?
How often do I feel called and know that I know that I know that God has selected me for something (big or small) and I'm so afraid to step forward in obedience...so I hide, I withdraw?
If you finish the story of Saul, you'll learn that he eventually stopped trusting the Lord altogether. He became self-absorbed and spent his days relentlessly chasing after David--the man he despised because Saul was jealous.
The Holy Spirit departed from Saul and he became depressed.
I'm wrapping up this lesson and spending some time meditating on it. I don't want to doubt. I want to trust and move forward despite shaking knees and quivering voice, trusting the Lord to meet me and carry me.
I don't want to "blend in" when the Lord calls me to step out. Whether it's to reach out to someone or stand on a stage in a crowd of millions, I want to be willing and available.
I don't want it said of me that I was found hiding among the stuff when the Lord had sent me out.
I locked the door quickly as I carefully balanced my giant coffee cup and my purse, rushing to start our day. I marched to the car where all of the kids were waiting to be dropped off, and caught a glimpse of an alert on my phone. Ugh. I rolled my eyes and silently prayed the prayer I do in those situations..."Lord, come quickly."
I'm sick of the sensational headlines that clog up my social media feed. I'm grieved at the tragedies that take place left and right. So much death. So much pain in this world. I pray for change. I ask God to either change the world or to return so He can take us out of it.
As I read yet another attention-grabbing, click-bait headline today in frustration, a thought came to me: Our job is to affect the world, one person in our circle of influence at a time. We can never change the world individually, but we can influence.
However, taking a closer look at my life, how much influence will I have over a world that I am comfortable in? Am I just enough like everyone else in my culture that I blend in and don't really stand apart?
Jesus was attractive because He looked different in the way He lived His life. He went to the sinners and the lost and ate with them, yes, but He never compromised who He was to fit in or to make Himself relevant. What was relevant about Him was that He was the missing piece to the gaping hole in the puzzle of their lives.
If I'm being honest, is that how I live my life? How much of what the world believes do I believe? How much of what the world holds sacred do I hold sacred. How much do I look like the world?
Will I truly influence anyone to be closer to Christ when more of me looks like the people I'm trying to influence than it looks like Christ?
If I want the Lord to change the world, I have to be willing and available and obedient to be used by Him. Just some thoughts going through my head today.
"Awaken" by Priscilla Shirer
Priscilla Shirer has a gift of presenting the Word in such a way that you feel both punched in the face and hugged fiercely. That type of presentation is my favorite.
I don't have a tremendous amount of patience for "fluff" writing that serves no greater purpose. I can rest easy that I will find none of that from Priscilla.
Ever since I read "FerVent" I understood that she knows the Word. Even more, she provides me with practical ways to apply the Word to my own life. She doesn't write simply to showcase her knowledge of Scripture (which is vast and deep), but also to aid me in understanding and applying it. And the best part (for me) is that she comes from the place of "me too" not "how to." She's personally experienced the struggles and trials that she writes about and shares what the Lord has whispered to her during those times--like one friend sharing with another.
Her new devotional "Awaken" uses the same exact in-your-face-yet-wrapped-in-grace-and-love presentation that all of her other books display. I love the setup of the bite-sized daily devotionals that are broken up into 90 separate entries with space to write notes. My book is bleeding yellow as I have highlighted so many juicy nuggets of wisdom.
What's amazing (yet not surprising) is how I can open up to any given day and find exactly what I needed to hear from the Lord. This devotional isn't Priscilla professing to be the Lord and sharing what she thinks the Lord is saying...this is the Word delivered in a way that anyone can understand.
If you are looking for Scripture-based encouragement from the Lord, his book has it. Each reading took me no more than 5 minutes, and that includes writing notes and highlighting. You can absolutely spend more time that that (and I encourage you to do so), but this would be the perfect devo for having at work or in the car while you wait for dance or soccer kiddos to finish. In fact, I have it on my desk at school right now. I try to read first thing in the morning as I'm preparing for my second grade students to arrive, but often I will flip it open during my conference period just to get an infusion of encouragement. Stay at home? This would be perfect to read while the littles nap and you're in-between cleaning and laundry. I recommend this devotional for all!
You can purchase your copy HERE at the Lifeway website.
I received this book for free from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of their Lifeway Bloggers Program. I was not obligated to write a positive review.
Can I Tell You a Secret?
I'm thinking about doing something with this website that I considered almost 2 years ago but didn't. <--- Waaaaaaay too long of a story to tell now.
It would be a big deal for me, but I'm not sure it would be for you. That's why I'm writing.
You see, in 2012, after much consideration, Deliberate Women was born. It was a shaky fantastic time that I limped my way through while finding my feet and my voice.
What started as a group of women writers has slowly dwindled to just me. I've co-written 2 devotionals with 2 others, but mine is the only voice on this site now. I've spent much time mourning what this space used to be and lots of time dreaming of what it still could be.
I've grown so much in the past (almost) 5 years in my relationsip with Jesus and I'm feeling compelled to share that with all of you. To that end, I'm thinking of a name change.
While Deliberate Women is a strong moniker, ever since the Lord laid this other name on my heart, I've wanted to make the change here. But I didn't because I was too chicken. I listened to marketing 101 and decided that it would be crazy to change the name after years and hundreds of thousands of women coming to this site seeking women being deliberate in their faith.
But today, I'm this much closer to biting the bullet and making the change.
The new name isn't really all that new around these parts, but it will be a better representation of who I am and what I hope to share here.
I love the idea of encouraging and supporting DELIBERATE women, but with the release of my first solo devotional Selah: On Your Road to Damascus, I realized that I could possibly have some things to say to men as well.
I wouldn't presume to be any kind of authority, but I believe the Lord empowers and entrusts women with valuable insight and wisdom to be shared with all...not just women.
I believe that He has been preparing me for this next move. Albeit small to most, it's huge to me.
So, it may be very soon that you see the title on this site and on it's accompanying social media channels changing from my beloved "Deliberate Women" to "She Heard".
Yes, the same name of DW's first for-purchase devotional.
I love telling the story of how that name came to me, and maybe that will be for the first official post under the new name, but for now, it really captures who I am and what's happened to me in my life.
Jesus met a broken defensive Samaritan woman at the well and forever changed her, removing the shame about the divorce and fornication in her life. He did the same for me. As a result of being treated with grace and dignity, that woman ran and told her village all about this man Jesus who "told me everything I have ever done." Because of her boldness and lack of pride in sharing Jesus, many in her village believed and were saved. They said to this woman who they had treated as an outcast for so long, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
I've heard this as well. Jesus really is the Savior of the world. And I want to tell you, like the woman who left her water jar behind as she ran back to her village, undoubtedly with joy bursting within.
I'm excited at this, tenderly nudging one toe forward, reaching toward what could be while quietly and softly letting go of what was.
I'm so grateful for all who are a part of this community and invite you to stay. I'm still the same person who began this journey so many years ago, just more aware of who it is I serve.
Let's do this together. Let's be women--people--who HEAR and tell others about Jesus our Savior.
When We Nurse the Wound
The enemy of our souls would have us believe that our pain is central. It's sacred and must be nursed at all expense, he tells us. But that's a clever lie to keep us focused on ourselves instead of turning our focus outward and upward. When we take our eyes off Christ--whether to focus on our pain or on the one who caused it--we lose sight. We lose sense of direction.
When we hold onto pain, and stroke it like a soft kitten, we're ignoring the roaring lion that is planning and scheming ways to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Satan fell from Heaven because he was focused on himself over the Lord(1). His MO is to direct our eyes inward to our own struggles so that we'll be so consumed with ourselves that we won't pay attention to God.
We believe that by nurturing our hurt and holding it close, we'll heal faster. In fact, by not giving it over, open-handed to the Lord, we will never see true healing or restoration (Psalm 55:22). Instead, we'll continue to build walls and live life seeing others and our situations through the lense of a scabbed-over, but still broken heart.
If we listen to the father of lies (John 8:44) we'll remain broken and bleeding. If we listen to the word of Truth (John 14:6), we will truly be set free.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word,you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Learn more about Mandy HERE.
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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