Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …


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Motherhood of a Different Kind

Motherhood begins with life. Life is birthed, awakened, revived, nurtured, and identity is called into being all under the call of Motherhood. C.S. Lewis in the Great Divorce, describes a woman whose spirit deeply inspires and stirs me. The call to Motherhood (not smotherhood, there is a difference) is one of nurturing and vision. Read on:

If I could remember their singing and write down the notes, no man who read that score would ever grow sick or old. Between them went musicians: and after these a lady in whose honour all this was being done . . . only partly do I remember the unbearable beauty of her face.

“Is it?…is it?” I whispered to my guide.

“Not at all,” said he. “It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.”

“She seems to be…well, a person of particular importance?”

“Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.”

“And who are these gigantic people…look! They’re like emeralds…who are dancing and throwing flowers before here?”

“Haven’t ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.”

“And who are all these young men and women on each side?”

“They are her sons and daughters.”

“She must have had a very large family, Sir.”

“Every young man or boy that met her became her son – even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.”

“Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?”

“No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.”

“And how…but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat-two cats-dozens of cats. And all those dogs…why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.”

“They are her beasts.”

“Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.”

“Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.”

I looked at my Teacher in amazement.

“Yes,” he said. “It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough int the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.”

Motherhood of a different kind is more than physically bearing children – it’s about partnering with the Father to birth things in His children. Hoping, seeing, calling out, awakening, and believing – these also are marks of the mission of Motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day

There is joy


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Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship

Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship – A Guest Post

When practicing any sort of self-defense, weaponry, etc. the goal is to practice so often that your movements are reflexive, instinctual. Since I was a kid, my dad taught me how to break out of someone’s grip. For around 10 years he had me practicing. He would hold my or my sibling’s wrist and have us break away by focusing our movement through their thumb – the weakest part of their grip. Now, if he or someone else did grab my wrist, I wouldn’t even think about what I was doing, I would automatically just do it.

So what am I getting at? There are situations when in the moment you may not be able to think clearly or fast enough to make a decision that could save yourself and others. In those times your decision already needs to be made. What are you going to do? What do you expect?

What I have to say comes from being that person who didn’t make the decision beforehand. I didn’t know I should have. So I want to share with you, why I didn’t decide and why it’s important.

In my romantic heart I believed in the soul mate, the “one”. I believed God write’s your love story. I really wanted to only be in a relationship with the man I would marry. I kissed dating goodbye. (I’m not here to knock any of those things; they can be debated at another time.)But even if I only believed in one of those things, I can still see my brain, and many others’ not making this one decision beforehand.

Plan to say, “No”.

See, in my mind, if I didn’t date, if I waited for a really great guy, if I got so close to God that the guy would have to pursue God to get my attention; why would I ever have to say, “no”? If I did all those things right, then he would take care of me, he would have my best at heart…he would love God enough that he wouldn’t do anything that I would have to protect myself against.

Ladies and gents, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not true. I did all of those things, and did not have saying “no” to him even in my mind…it wasn’t even a thought. I thought that we would talk about our boundaries and that would be that. We would agree on them and he would respect that.

It’s easy to lose the clear lines of who we (each of us as individuals) are, when in a relationship. But at the end of the day, or the end of the relationship, you are still you. You as an individual. A son or daughter of the King. A saint and citizen of heaven. Worthy of respect and respectful treatment. I encourage you, be a proactive, prepared individual. While you do deserve to be treated with respect, it is your job to communicate that to people. If you can’t treat yourself well, how do others know to? Do you respect yourself enough to look people in the eye? To speak clearly and express your thoughts to others? To learn how to become emotionally healthy? To put boundaries into place?

While we are redeemed as Christians, we still sin at times (commission and omission). Even if the guy or girl is a passionate Christ-follower, they will mess up at times.

It’s tempting to think that life somehow changes in a relationship, but life cannot be put into a box or formula. We absolutely cannot think that because we’re running through a field of daisies,  that everything will commence in an assumed way.  Gain all the wisdom and knowledge you can; but keep the recipe and box out of it.

I followed my recipe; I put my relationship and God in that box, and it turned out so very different than I thought. I really assumed that if I followed God’s leading to a guy, the guy would never hurt me *, or that I wouldn’t need to stand up for myself. But I did. He did hurt me, and I did need to stand up for myself – for the both of us. If I had done that from the beginning of the wrong, it would have changed the story line drastically. I would have been communicating honestly and drawing a firm boundary of how I expected to be treated. If he/she chooses not to respect that line, it is absolutely okay for you to end that relationship. I mean it. You mean business. If this is something that you have to take a stand on, don’t step down because someone doesn’t agree. (Disagreement comes in many ways: verbally, implied, etc.) *I did realize that he wouldn’t be perfect and would at times say something mean, etc. But I didn’t realize that he would do more harm than that.

I would also encourage you to tell an accountability partner, mentor, or friend what your decision is. It’s easy in the moment to want to please your counterpart and not rock the boat. But if you have made enough of a decision to verbally share it and tell someone else, you’ll be that much better off. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just pertain to the physical, but the emotional and spiritual as well. All three of those areas, boundaries need to be made and held. The physical is just the most prevalent and obvious area.

While Nancy Regan spoke in reference to drug use, “Just say no” works in this case just as well. What are those areas you will, “just say no”, to? Take this time as a single person to cover the areas that are important to you, and make your decisions. Pull someone alongside of you in this, they can temper and give advice.

In summary, please plan to say “no”. Not because you assume the worst of the other person, the failure of the relationship, or any other pessimistic thought path. But because there is a reality of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. Someday we will be walking our beautiful streets of our redeemed earth, but until then become a prepared realist. If you don’t get to the point where you have to say “no” there’s no harm done. But if you do have to say “no”, you are prepared to do it.

Being present and fully alive, doesn’t just stop at singlehood! 😉 It continues into your future relationships, just tweaked to include another person in your life. As we choose to live life fully now, take this time to also choose life to the fullest in your future relationship.Planning for success, (even with a “no”), in a prepared and realistic way fosters more life!

-Guest Posted Anonymously

Today's the Day: Being Single and Fully Alive Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship” is a guest post and part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Replaced

“The worst part is that I guess I just feel replaced…”

Replaced. Hmmmm. I zoned in as she continued “but I guess, man if I feel this way, you must feel so much worse, right?”

I had to think about that one for a minute before replying. We were chatting about some people close to us who had recently gotten engaged and then kind of fell off the planet if you know what I mean? They become  M.I.A. (missing in action) or in their own little world – I often quote the old Bambi movie and call this stage “Twitterpated” when I see it. (See the cute video below – email readers, try this link)


Ruth, this blog post is for you, as we arrived at our destination tonight before I could reply (and thanks for giving me a topic for today!). I can definitely relate to feeling replaced in close friendships! I don’t know that I feel worse than you do though. Yes, I’ve been ‘replaced’ many more times, but I also think that I learned a few skills which have helped me process it, so it’s actually gotten easier, and not harder for me. So don’t despair!

When your close friends or siblings start dating or get engaged and you are suddenly pushed out into a less central place in their heart and lives, here are a few tips that have helped me over the years (and that I still have to practice on a regular basis!)

 Emotions:

  • Have a good cry. Yes, this helps! In many ways you have been replaced and it’s ok to grieve your loss, even if you are happy for the other person’s gain.
  • Recognize that you can feel two emotions at once – joy for them, and pain for you. Know that it’s a good thing that your spot in their lives has been ‘replaced’. If they are getting married and you still held the closest spot in their heart next to the Lord, than it would be a very bad thing.
  • While your spot and role in their life was replaced, You as a person have not been replaced. They still need you, and you need them. How you interact in each other’s lives is just going to look different from now on.

 Choices:

  • A really important question to ask yourself is:“Is this relationship important enough to me to wait for them?” You have a choice, to close up and move on, or to stay and wait around till their core relationship is formed with their spouse or future spouse. I never yet had a couple NOT reappear after a few months or a few years (the time span varies on their personalities) needing friendship and support from their friends and family.     two way street                                                            Couples need bonding time. As a friend, one of the greatest gifts you can give them is this time to establish who they are as couple. It will be painful to you, and a big adjustment, but if the friendship and investment is worth the wait to you, the friendship on the other side will be all the sweeter and stronger for it. Love is a two way street, but it’s also the sacrifice of a one lane road while the other lane is under construction.
  • You also have the choice to talk to the friend in the relationship and express your needs in the friendship. This can be very tricky to do without coming across as needy or making the friend in the relationship feel guilty. While it can be helpful sometimes, I would approach it with caution and love.
  • Choose to include the person you are feeling replaced by. This can be a tough one, but looking into the future, if you want to continue a friendship with your friend, get to know the person they are in the relationship with. If you have had a close friendship for many years, the new person entering into the relationship with your friend could easily feel threatened. You have the opportunity to bless this couple by becoming friends with both of them. The dividends of this investment will be more than you can comprehend.

It’s so easy to become offended and upset when we feel we have been replaced! It’s ok to grieve the loss, but it’s not ok to let it destroy your relationship with your friend. (Please note the other person always has a choice too – but we are responsible for 31 DAYS OF Being Single our own choices and how we respond to them).

How do you think 1 Corinthians 13 applies when we have been replaced in a friendship? (Please read it slowly).

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Replaced” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read the pervious post please click here.


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Pulling Back the Shades {A Book Review}

Spanning from the deep edges of black to the translucent edges of white are many shades of grey. Some hues are dark and easy to discern, others nearly white and invisible. As it is with grey, so it is with our sexuality. In their newest book, “Pulling Back the Shades; Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart,” Dr. Julie Slattery and Dannah Gresh address the spectrum of women’s sexual longings and why we have them.

Originally written as a rebuttal and answer to the popular series “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James, Pulling Back the Shades goes deeper and answers the question why women (Christian women too) are attracted to and reading the newly termed genre of “erotica” (romantic fantasy). Quickly becoming an emotional version of pornography, erotica’s lead seller, The Fifty Shades of Gray series has sold more than a million copies world wide. Pulling Back the Shades addresses why the series went viral, as well as why women are attracted to watching and reading romantic fantasy. The book also covers the positive and negative sides to erotica.

When I was given “Pulling Back the Shades” to review from Moody Publishers, I was excited as I respect both Gresh and Slattery’s work. When they decided to write a book together I was thrilled. Only I had never read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, so I wasn’t sure if the book would be interesting or apply to me at all.

 It did.

In deciding to write a book that would address the growing obsession for erotica, Gresh decided to not read the Fifty Shades of Gray series, while Slattery did. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the book was that both women brought two entirely different experiences and perspectives to the table. The book is written in alternating fonts as each woman shared her perspectives on the different issues they address. It’s probably one of the most balanced books that I’ve read that addresses a specific issue (Fifty Shades of Gray) and a general topic (erotica).

This book is a great resource for anyone wanting to be able to converse with fellow believers and the world on our sexuality. Erotica is a growing phenomenon within the church – witnessed by the number of Christian romance novels. Are these books wrong? Probably not in and of themselves, but why do we have the need to keep reading them? What drives our longings? Dannah and Julie take an honest, real approach to answering these questions and more.

 “The fantasy of erotica inspires one thing – the longing for more . . .You will never reach contentment reading something that is intended to make you long for more”. Pg. 36-37

Our longings were given to us for reasons, good, healthy reasons, but they won’t be satisfied in the pages of erotica, or viewed before us on a screen. Gresh and Slattery do an excellent job of addressing some of the dangers of erotica, while still conveying the excitement and joy of healthy, godly sexuality. This is not a “how to” or legalistic book that comes down on sexuality in any way. It’s balanced, thought provoking, and filled with grace. “Pulling Back the Shades” dives bravely and deeply into areas of a women’s heart that the church really needs to be talking about.

This book is for you if you:

  • Have read “Fifty Shades of Gray,
  • Are curious about cultural trends
  • Work with women and teen girls
  • Or you want to know more about your own longings.

If you have not read “Fifty Shades of Gray” like myself, or the co- author, Dannah, this book is still very applicable and challenging. We all have longings, but do we know why? Or know what to do with them? – Pick up a copy of “Pulling Back the Shades” and find out!

 

In Short Review: Dannah Gresh’s book “Get Lost – Your Guide to Finding True Love”, is a great practical, book that beautifully and tangibly looks at how to have our longings fulfilled in Christ. I would recommended it as a follow up to “Pulling Back the Shades” or “What are You Waiting For“. In short, Get Lost, is the practical application to Dannah’s other books! 


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Walled In

I heard nothing as I listened to him talk, or watched him walk around. That is – my spiritual ears heard nothing – nada. Silence to a discerning person is very eerie and unusual. It’s like the modem from your spirit to heaven stops sending and receiving data, and all connectivity ceases. I had become unplugged when around this person. Why?

Offense.

I was offended. And then I was offended to learn I was offended! Last summer the Lord took me on a very revealing growth journey with offense – what it was and how to deal with it. Although I’m a passionate person, I’m also very easy going, so I would never have thought of myself as someone who could be offended. I wasn’t bitter or angry with this person, but I was walled in around them.

Proverbs 18:19 says that:

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

I always read that verse with the idea that if I had offended someone they would be harder to win back than getting into a walled city. Offense creates walls in both the offender and the offendee. I was the one that was walled into my frustration and distrust of this person. Offense had walled me in and shut off my spiritual gifts. I saw the person who had wronged me only for what they were not, rather than for who they could be, or were in Christ.

Offense takes on many forms and looks very differently in each person, but we are all exposed to opportunities to be offended every day. In Luke 18, Jesus even tells us that offense will come! So how do we respond when they do?

John Bevere wrote a book called The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense, and in it he walks through what offense is and how to handle it in a way that free’s both people. The Lord used this book to radically change my life last year, and I want to pass that opportunity onto someone else. I’m giving away a copy of The Bait of Satan, over at Kindred Grace. Will you join me over at Kindred Grace to win a copy of the book and read a short  review? Click here. The book give-a-way ends on Thursday 3.13.14 at Midnight.

 


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Validate Him

Just because you won’t date him, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t valiDATE him, honoring him in your heart and with your speech. <—- Click to Tweet. I’d be a millionaire if I got $1 for every time I’ve heard a girl say “there are just no good guys around here”. I used to say it myself until the day I saw the destruction it caused. Defeat, anger, and pain flashed across my friend’s face, as I watched him react to the knife this woman’s careless, lamenting words had driven through him.

He was a good guy, a godly guy, he just wasn’t her guy, nor did he want to be. At almost 27 and not dating, I’m aware of the dating issues in our culture caused by both men and women not stepping up. At the end of the day though, it doesn’t matter who is or isn’t stepping up, or if we feel there are no good “guys or gals” left around. Christ calls us to love and respect each other – in EVERY kind of relationship and interaction. Validate Him

We love, respect, honor, and are gentle with each other because we love Jesus and He loves us. That’s it. Honor, love and respect have little to do with other person’s merit. The way we treat each other should be based on the Kingdom of God, not on how we feel about the other person.

There are good guys out there. I’m honored to know quite a few of them. When a guy is told that there are “no good guys” left, it can crush their desire to become more of a godly man.  It dismisses who they are now, and the potential they have in Christ.*

Ladies, even if we never say “there are no good guys left” out loud, thinking it WILL effect the way we relate to the guys around us. Thinking there are no good guys left might seem like a natural response to hurt we have received, or to the lack of dating activity in our lives, but quite frankly, it’s sin.

This sin is something the Lord has convicted me so strongly of in the past few years. It’s sin, because it does not encourage or build up our brothers in Christ, and in our minds, it puts us as above the guys around us. We would be terribly hurt if our worthiness as a women or wife potential was constantly belittled to others. Scripture is clear about how we should treat each other:

encourage one another and build one another up…” 1 Thess. 5:11

Thinking there are no good guys left, keeps us seeing guys for what they are not, rather than who they are. They are redeemed sinners, loved, heirs of Christ – WITH US! Critiquing guys in general because we do not have one sets us in a place of judgment. To judge another man’s servant is not for us to do. If we know at least one Christian* guy, than there are good guys left.

I realize that when we as women, say that there “are no good guys left” what we are really trying to say is that we do not know anyone right now whom we would consider dating or marrying. Well that’s ok, because there are different stokes for different folks. There are a lot of good men, and we will most likely only marry one. So let’s honor all of them? Because the rest are other people’s future husbands, brothers, sons, and fathers. And most importantly, lets honor and validate them in our thoughts and speech because that is how Jesus does it. All of our relationships and interactions should be about one thing – The Kingdom of God.

For practical tips on how to validate the guys around us, continue reading
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Perspectives on Longings

“A hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Psalm 13:12

In September, I wrote a blog series on Longings (view them here), and then shortly thereafter was asked to be a guest on the She Says podcast, to talk about longings. She Says is a once a month sermon length podcast  that one of my dear friends hosts. It’s a group of women who candidly talk through life and what the Lord is teaching them, topic by topic.  I was thrilled and terrified to be asked to join them. It was my first experience with podcasting (though I am serious sermon/podcast listener). The ladies have since asked me to be apart of the team, and it’s been a wonderful blessing to learn from them. I thought you may enjoy hearing their perspectives on longing as well. The podcast is a great wrap up to the series.

Listen here