Submission & Sacrifice

Submission & Sacrifice

The concept of biblical submission is never a popular topic, probably because it’s one that has been so misunderstood and often abused. We live in a culture where, world-wide, there has been some form of oppression against women. This battle between male and female is not new, and it has been going on since sin entered the world.

Have you noticed that we live in a world of extremes? As humans, if something isn’t working for us, we try to counter it by going to the opposite extreme. You can see this in politics and social reform, in schools, in churches, as well as in families. Interestingly, people often blame the Bible for these divisions, unfairness, and it’s antiquated concepts. Unfortunately, the Bible has been misused to abuse others. However, it is the Bible that actually teaches us how we can live in unity and treat each other fairly.

I had mentioned that I have been struggling with my calling, because it isn’t one that is typically reserved for women. God has really been working on me to show me how He has used women in the past, and helping me undo all of the wrong thinking regarding the roles of women in the Church, and in general. One thing He has really helped me to understand is the concept of biblical submission. This concept is something that both men and women need to really “get” because taken out of context, twisted, or misconstrued, it can do, and has done, so much damage to women and to relationships between the sexes.

What submission is not:

1). Submission is not enslavement. It is not an enforcement of obedience or a means to enslave women. It does not mean that women do not have a voice, that they cannot think for themselves or make their own decisions.

2) Submission is not weakness. It does not make you less worthy or of less value than a man. It does not mean that you aren’t as intelligent or have as much to offer.

3) Submission is not optional. Whoa. I know, some of you are about to click “exit”. But in order to have balance, peace, and unity, God has commanded for women, specifically wives, to submit to their husbands.

Now before you completely disappear and write me off as some “crazy” extremist. Let’s talk about what submission is.

What submission is:

1). Submission is recognizing that God has placed the weight, the burden, of accountability on the husband. Have you heard that saying “With great power comes great responsibility”? Husbands will have to give an account for those they are leading. Knowing that burden falls on him, you work together as partners, and you make decisions together. Submitting is yielding to your husband as the final decision maker, as the one who will bear the responsibility.

2). Submission is part of a symbiotic relationship between husband and wife. Ephesians 5:21-33 discusses this relationship between husbands and wives. When simply observing these verses, you will see that wife is commanded to submit to her husband, and the husband is commanded to love his wife as his own body. The marriage relationship is a cycle of love and respect for each other. As sinful, imperfect human beings, you can see how this can go so wrong! How men can abuse the concept of submission by not acting in love, and how women would not be willing to submit under such oppressive circumstances. It’s not that the Bible is irrelevant. It’s that we aren’t following it properly.

3). Submission points to a greater picture. If you were to delve deeper into this passage in Ephesians 5, you would see that this marriage concept of submission and sacrifice is actually a picture of Christ and the Church. Jesus, out of his great love for us, took on the burden of our sin by sacrificing himself for us, and as a response we submit to him and follow his lead. It’s easy to want to follow Jesus because he has already proven his love for us. In fact, we cannot do this marriage thing without him. He not only acts as our example, but as we submit to Christ, he transforms us. Husbands are able to love more perfectly, and wives are able to allow them to lead. The relationship is three-fold.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I discussed the concepts of submission and sacrifice within marriage, but the passage starts by saying, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  We are all commanded to submit, men and women. I believe that if we applied this principle to those we encounter in our families, at church, in our community, and in our world, that would be a game changer!

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

Healthy Slow Cooker Southwestern Chili

Healthy Slow Cooker Southwestern Chili

I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the upcoming Super Bowl, but I just really wanted a nice warm bowl of chili. This isn’t a strictly vegetarian recipe, but it does not use any meat, and it is easy to make vegetarian if you want to by substituting water or vegetable stock for the bone broth. I made a batch of bone broth, and it seemed like an easy way to include it in a recipe.  It is super easy! Just throw all of the following ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 7-8 hours.

Ingredients:

2 cups Red Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed)

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

1 yellow onion (diced)

1 cup frozen corn

1 green bell pepper

1 jalapeno pepper (de-seeded and diced)

2 Tbsps chili powder

2 tsps cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp sea salt

1 cup quinoa

4 cups bone broth (water, or vegetable stock)

Top with your favorite garnishes. Mmm.. that hit the spot! Oh..and go Pats!!

The God Who Sees Me

The God Who Sees Me

God is still working, and it’s all good! It’s amazing how taking steps to obedience opens up the pathway to answered prayer. God is asking me to do some hard things, but I see how in obeying, God is beginning to answer prayers that I had been praying for years! I know that sometimes I get so overwhelmed in my circumstance, that I begin to wonder if God even sees me. Does He even care about this situation that I am going through? Have you ever felt that way?

I think of the story of Hagar. She was an Egyptian slave girl who served Sarah, Abraham’s wife. In those days, a woman’s worth was only as good as her ability to bear sons (we really haven’t come very far in 4000 years), and Sarah was infertile. Even though God had promised that she would have a child, she became impatient and thought that she would help God along, and gave her husband, Hagar, as his wife, in order to have children through her. Hagar became pregnant, and Sarah mistreated Hagar so badly that she ran away. So here is Hagar, pregnant and alone, probably without a clue of what she would do next. And God meets her there, tells her to go back, and promises to bless her. Genesis 16:13 says, “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,'”.

I think that sometimes when we pray that we don’t even wait for an answer. This month, God has shown me how to listen. It’s funny because I would probably put listening on my list of strengths. Only now am I realizing that my lack of patience has not allowed me to slow down enough, or to be quiet enough, to actually listen. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) has much more meaning to me now. He sees me. He has always seen me. He was just waiting for me to be still, listen, and obey.

Amazingly, God would visit Hagar again, in a similar situation. He would comfort her and remind her of the promise He made to her. If you are in a situation that seems impossible, a circumstance that has you wondering if God is listening, know that God sees you. You matter to Him. Call to Him, and then be still, listen, and obey.

A NEW Thing!

A NEW Thing!

January has been a journey. As it turned out, saying “yes” was the easy part. But saying “yes” to this thing, meant I had to say “no” to other things. For the past week, I wrestled with God, I tried negotiating what I would sacrifice, but he wanted it all.

I ended last year so excited for the strides I was making in my business. I was finally connected to the right people, and it seemed everything that I had been working toward was finally going to fall into place. Then January 1, 2018 around 6 am, God reminded me that he called me to something else. As the month went on, it became increasingly clear that I had to let go of this dream of mine. So in a small step of obedience, I shut down my Facebook business page. That was easy! After all, Facebook algorithms were making it increasingly difficult for anyone to see what I posted there anyway.

Then, God had me look at my web site. He wanted me to let go of my business. I removed the option for taking consultations. That’s not too bad. I wasn’t getting many appointments yet anyway. Done! And, what about your products and affiliates? I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper. What’s wrong with that? It’s passive income. I don’t even have to do anything. But I knew He wanted that too. And reluctantly, I removed those as well. There’s still one more thing. My heart ached at the thought. Not yet, Lord. I can’t yet. 

The truth is, He has been trying to get me to let go of this one thing for two years. TWO YEARS! It would have been easy to do it two years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with my youngest. I had an easy “out”. He told me again a year later (during my October 2016 social media fast) to let it go. I kinda did, but not really. I stopped “working” my MLM business for a few months, but then I tried to start it up again. I knew God told me to give it up. Here’s what I did. I quit my MLM business, and launched my own fitness coaching business. God must have been looking at me, shaking his head. I am so thankful for His patience!

Sometimes, as a good parent does, God let’s us try our own way for a while. I did. The last 6-7 months were so frustrating and stressful, because I was trying to make something work, pouring effort and now, money, into this thing that God had already said “no” to. I started to move away from fitness to focus on other things, but over the course of the last 3 years, coaching these women made me feel like I had a purpose. Having moved to another country, losing my connections and family, being a part of this group made me feel less alone. Helping them made me feel like I was doing something good. So I thought, I’ll just keep this small group, because I need them. God told me that if I don’t let go of this thing, then He can’t bring me to the next thing.

So yesterday, I let it go. I still can’t think about it without tears. The truth is I just feel empty. Empty. Exactly. Now, you are ready for what I have for you. 

Now you are all caught up. I have no idea what is ahead, but I’m choosing to move in obedience, wherever it leads. That is called faith. Welcome to my journey.

Step by Step

Step by Step

The month of January has been a big long story, and it’s not even done yet (January, nor the story). Today, has been the most difficult so far, but I can’t talk about today yet, I still have to catch you up.

With each step of obedience, God reveals the next step to me. This is how it has been since I said “yes”. For someone who is slightly Type A, and a planner, this has been a lesson in patience. The first week of January was very exciting, the second week was filled with confusion, and overall just very difficult.

January 10, 2018:

I didn’t sleep well at all. I felt like the Spirit was trying to tell me something, but I didn’t understand what it was. I just kept hearing “Wanza”. Am I supposed to reach out to her? I don’t know. I’m tired and sore, even though I am up, I don’t think I’m working out today. 

And I didn’t. I laid down on the couch in my workout clothes, and fell asleep. Before I did that, I did a little research. Wanza was a woman in a business mastermind group that I am a part of. At the time, I didn’t really know what she did, as I hadn’t gotten a chance to know her yet. I looked up her site, and I saw that she helps people write and self-publish books. Am I supposed to write a book? About what? I’m not going to ask questions. I’m just going to obey. So I booked a consultation with her for the following Monday. I figured God would give me some clarity before then. He didn’t.

In fact, the rest of the week was just hard. The devil was really hitting me with everything, and I started to doubt everything. A cloud was just hovering over my head and I couldn’t shake it. The interesting thing was Becky was going through the same thing. We both knew that we needed to obey, and that this was a sign that we were headed in the right direction.

Finally, Monday arrived, and so did clarity about so many things, including the book. Monday I got clarity, Tuesday I had an entire book outlined. God gave me the vision for this book. He gave me each of the chapters, but He wouldn’t allow me to fill it in until I obeyed the other things he has asked me to do.

That hasn’t been at all as easy to do. Today, with many tears, I surrendered the last thing that he asked me to give up.