The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple.
Psalm 119:130 AMPC
It feels like everywhere I look
women are being championed to greatness.
Sure there’s all the usual
anti-women junk but the pro-women stuff seems to be getting louder and louder
with each passing day.
We’re in the era of self-made
And in the vast and treacherous sea
of all the ways the world has found to make women less than ______, being a
self-made woman sounds like a gloriously freeing reality. One that any woman
would be insane not to aspire to.
Indeed, it would be the perfect
ideal…if self made woman. But self didn’t make woman. Self doesn’t make woman.
God did. God still does.
God made woman.
God made women.
With all this self-made women
rhetoric, I find myself constantly asking – what does it mean to be a God-made
What does it mean for me as a
woman…as a Christian woman…in this progressive age to find my identity in
It only takes one degree of error
on a compass to land you thousands of miles from where you were supposed to be.
It only takes one degree of error
in the midst of ninety-nine degrees of truth to create a version of you that is
nothing like who you’re supposed to be.
I have no qualms admitting that
Christianity hasn’t always been the best home for women to find their place in
life. Particularly when the version of Christianity in question is one that
defines God, woman and their relationship through the warped lens of self.
I also have no qualms admitting
that Christians – both men and women – have used the word of God against women –
when it should have been used for God’s purpose for women.
Yes, there has been much wrong.
So. Much. Wrong.
Actually, the older I get, the more I accept just how little I truly know and understand about God, life and humanity. All the more, I never want to be so wise in my own sight that there is no room for the understanding that the Spirit of God brings.
So this is what I do know.
God loves me.
God loves women.
God wants His absolute best for
each of us as women.
Just because the world…and the Church…and the Christians…haven’t always done such a great job taking care of us doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to do a perfect one in their place.
Best case scenario is that we get a reality that’s better.
Yet, having a good life and having
a God life are nowhere near the same.
God’s best isn’t something that we can put in a set of templates that we find fitting based on our dreams and preferences. It’s infinitely far more precious than our ability as women to imagine and establish it.
I can’t settle for a self-created version of a good life knowing I can never outdo God’s love for me.
But I sure can embrace His love each day as His goodness and His mercy chase me down.
I can put my hand in His and let Him lead the way to a life that is beyond my wildest dreams.
As I count all the ways I am blessed to be woman, and cherished as His.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
Hebrews 11 is the hallmark of
faith in the Bible. It’s one of my favourite passages in the Bible because the
subject of faith has a special place in my heart. I’m endlessly fascinated by
the dynamic of faith in the relationships we have with God as believers and the
wrestling wrought within us.
Especially since faith and logic
are not fair weather friends. It’s not that we cannot reason with God as some
presume. If anything, God makes a clear invitation in Isaiah 1:18 – come, let
us reason together. The key thing here, and where we often get it wrong, is
what level the reasoning is happening on.
We want God to come down and reason
with us on our level. He wants us to come up higher and reason with Him on His
level. It’s how we grow in relationship with Him. It’s how we get to know His
heart, His mind, His nature. It’s how we become more like Him.
Allowing God to bring us up to His
level often means surrendering our right to be right. It means embracing a wisdom
that is not of this world, a wisdom that looks like foolishness to the world, a
wisdom that will never be in agreement with the world.
So faith will always require us
to go into unknown. The very essence of learning is getting to know something
new, something that up until that point was unknown to us. If our faith tended
to our comforts and served as our security blanket, it would defeat the very
purpose of its existence. It must nudge, pull and if necessary, drag, us into
the unknown where we can encounter God afresh.
It takes faith to have a testimony.
We have to stop pretending that faith makes life easier. Your faith doesn’t make it easier, it makes you stronger.
Being on the receiving end of a testimony
will always be infinitely easier than being the one in the middle of the test that
In our wrestling with and for faith, doubt isn’t the real enemy, just the face of it. It’s the expression of something deeper – fear. Fear of looking bad. Fear of losing out. Fear of being wrong. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of not having enough.
Faith will always falter where fear has gotten a foothold in your life. Until we take a step forward, we’ll never know the love of God that’s right behind the fog of fear. His perfect love for us which casts away every fear from us.
As a believer, you can’t run on
other people’s testimonies forever. It’s like having a relationship with God by
proxy. It’s as ludicrous as liking someone, then asking your best friend to be
in a relationship with them on your behalf.
You need roots deep enough to
ground you in your relationship with God. We can debate all day long about the
Bible, doctrine and other Christian matters. But you can’t argue with me about
what I’ve seen with my own two eyes and experienced for myself.
As ironic as it may be, there’s a
faith, an evidence of the unseen, that comes by seeing God do certain things
for you. There’s a surety you get in who God is by experiencing it for
It takes faith to give a testimony.
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
But the day I listened to Bill Johnson speaking on this verse forever changed my understanding of testimony.
A testimony is a prophetic
decree. It bears witness to who God has been in the past and in so doing prophesies
who He is in the present and who He will be in the future. Because He’s a God
who doesn’t change.
When you give a testimony,
however big or small you think it is, you’re not just giving a nice story. You’re
speaking the power of Jesus into the lives of everyone who encounters it.
It takes faith to receive a testimony.
Typically, our response to
testimonies as believers (especially in a church setting) is to cheer and
applaud in the moment then promptly move on to the next thing on the service
Here, I’m not just talking about
the cute testimonies like getting a job or a car. And I don’t call them cute to
degrade them. They’re just as vital as any other to our walk with God. But many
of them are a well-put together version of events that don’t require much
stretch in your imagination to see how things turned out that way.
I’m talking about the jaw-dropping,
what-happened?! kind. The kind where your mind cannot make heads or tails of
what you’ve just heard but your spirit is leaping with joy because something in
you recognizes the hand and heart of God all over what’s been shared with you.
We have so many of the former and
not enough of the latter. Because we’re not accepting God’s standing invitation
to have more of Him in our lives and in our world. Yes, He’s a God of
provision. But have you read the Bible? There’s so much more He can do.
One of the amazing nuggets I got
from Bill Johnson’s sermon was the ability to receive a testimony on someone
else’s behalf. You may not be in need of what the testimony is praising God for
accomplishing. But you probably know someone who does. And by faith, you can
stand in the gap for them and receive that testimony, that prophetic decree on
their behalf. I get excited thinking about the possibilities of all the ways
God can move in this way.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Hebrews 11:39-40 NKJV
Really think about the
implication of this verse. All these men and women have their eternal promise
on hold because God wants us to be part of the party. He doesn’t want us to
miss out so much so that the likes of Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Moses, Joseph,
Rahab, Gideon and David are in a cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we run
our race like they did during their time on earth.
Our story is incomplete without
theirs. But their story is incomplete without ours too. Every morning we rise
is an opportunity for us to step out in faith and witness God’s glory just like
they did. I never want to lose the awe and wonder of being loved by the Creator
of the universe. I want to see God. Again and again and again and again. For
all my days on earth and every day in eternity thereafter. I never want to miss
an opportunity to see God.
And so, my prayer for you, is that you will never settle for yesterday’s manna (miracle) or merely be content with sharing your neighbour’s manna.
May your pursuit of God only be rivalled by His pursuit of you.