Not Unredeemed

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


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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


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Wounded Extremes (On Girls Marrying Guys Like Their Dads)

Q

My dad and I don’t get along at all, and my mom says girls marry guys like their dads. Is that true?

A

Yes, and no. The short answer is the choice is yours, but it will require a lot of work and healing on your part.

The desire that many girls have to NOT marry guys like their dads comes from hurts and heart wounds (emotional pain) that their fathers have caused. Why would a girl end up marrying a guy like her dad, when our natural response is to run from characteristics that cause us pain?

Let’s step back for a moment and look at the fuller picture. Proverbs says that,

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Proverbs 19:2

We need to understand where wounds come from and the sin behind them, before we can understand why we sometimes do the exact thing we are trying to avoid.

Pure and simple, wounds create extremes. A wounded heart swings to an extreme in the haste to get away from the factor creating the wound. Wounds are circular, however, not linear. So when we run (without healing) we run right back into the original sin.
Wounded Extremes

Take a girl whose father is cold and aloof, resulting in the daughter never feeling connected to him or understood. She naturally avoids seeking a spouse with the same aloof exterior. She seeks a guy who seems vulnerable, softer, and shares everything with her, but before long she is back to feeling disconnected, not understood and alone. Why?

The men were very different but the core sin was the same. In this small example, the sin was insecurity, stemming from pride. While the dad’s insecurity made him put up walls he hid behind, the young man’s insecurity is displayed in a selfish neediness to be understood at the neglect (once again) of the daughter’s feelings and needs.

Understanding the core sin and heart issue (not just looking at the outward manifestations of it) is the beginning of knowledge that we need. A favorite professor of mine used to say – “your family of origin does not have to be your family of destiny”. Meaning we can change and break (by God’s grace) the sin patterns in our families.

Ladies it starts with us – the sin in our lives is what allows wounds to swing into extremes. (In the example above, the daughter, wounded by her father, tries to find healing in a man, rather than in Jesus Christ – allowing her woundedness to continue).

Only Jesus Christ can make our paths straight and not circular. <— Click to Tweet. Join me over at Kindred Grace today to discuss three reasons and areas that girls can find healing in with regards to their fathers and marriages? Click here to continue reading at Kindred Grace.

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Sacred Search – Review and Give-a-Way

Sacred SearchBut seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33, ESV)

What if we based our search for a spouse on seeking first the kingdom of God? What if our criteria for entering into a dating or courting relationship was not based on how we felt, but on our compatibility for serving the Lord and seeking Him together? In Sacred SearchGary Thomas asks these questions and more.

 Would you please join me over at Kindred Grace for the rest of the review and a chance to win a copy for yourself? Click Here 


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“Why” – Part #2 The Art of Guarding Your Heart

StewardThe reason “guard your heart” is a by word among young Christians adults today, is because we all have a vague sense we should do it. But on the other hand, most of us cannot articulately explain what it means to guard your heart because it is a multifaceted and multilayered concept. It’s not a process for the faint of heart –guarding our hearts forces us to take responsibility for something that is no longer ours. In many ways, learning to navigate and guard our hearts goes hand in hand with the process of maturity and sanctification.

Our hearts are a bit like a beautiful paintings, we are told guard and treasure. If we look closely at a painting we see that it is not made of one brush stroke but many.  Strokes of feelings add color, while discipline draws precise outlines and boundaries for the colors to fall into, grace blends the contrasting colors, while time and experience add a few stains and wrinkles lending maturity, value and beauty to the picture. We will look at many of the brush strokes our hearts individually, but before we get there, it is very important to begin with the foundation or the gateway to our hearts – the canvas.

The canvas is the “why”, the reason we guard our hearts. Without that we are but mere paint spills on disposable paper towels left wondering why ‘guarding our heart’ isn’t working for us. Continue reading


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The Art of Guarding Your Heart

“We have been trying to tell her to guard her heart, but I don’t know, it doesn’t seem to be working…” As I listened quietly on the other end of the phone, my heart stirred with compassion for both the mother and daughter in this situation.

“Have you tried explaining why it’s important to guard our hearts?” I gently inserted the obvious question, or “taught her how to guard her heart? She seems willing, but might not know the ‘how and why’”.

As I prayed for this family and teenager working through some tangled romantic relationships I began pondering my own journey and what it means to “guard our hearts”. In retrospect, I don’t know if I ever had a mentor, friend or parent explain to me what it actually meant to “guard your heart”. It’s a complicated concept and I wonder if the authorities in my life at the time even knew what it meant themselves, let alone being able to explain it to a struggling teenager.

In many Christian circles the phrase “guard your heart” is thrown around as frequently and liberally as we salt our French Fries. But what does it really mean to guard your heart, and more importantly, how and why should we guard our hearts? Continue reading


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Lead Me – 31 Days of Truth {Day 9}

“How do you want to be led? I hear girls saying all the time that they want guys to lead them, but what does that really look like?” As I looked up at him, compassion and conviction flooded my heart as I caught a small glimpse at the confusion in his. Its true, Christian girls (myself included) are always saying that we want a guy who is able to lead us. But what do we mean when we say that? I stumbled out some type of vague answer; one that I’m sure was not helpful at all, I know it left me with more questions than answers.

“How do I want to be lead? What does that look like not just in theory, but in every day life?” And most importantly, “Am I in a place (willing and ready) to be led?” I can’t ask a guy to step up in his God given masculine role, without first being willing to respond and call out more femininity in myself.

Over the course of this past summer, I had three guys whom I look up to and respect ask my opinion on what I thought it would look like for a “guy to lead” in relationships (while only another man could teach and lead that by example, as a woman I can give you an opinion and tell you what that would look like for me).

And so my dear brothers in Christ, after a lot of thought and prayer, this blog is dedicated to you. Thank you for your heart to seek the Lord and to honor women. I am privileged to know you and call you friends.

Lead me (us) by:

Knowing. Know who you are in Christ. You were created in His image. How do you uniquely reflect the Lord? Which of His attributes did He entrust to you? While I can love and appreciate a guy, the most exciting thing is falling in love with Jesus in that guy. The way you reflect the Lord is what makes you different from any other Christian guy.

When you know who you are in the Lord and are secure in Him, you won’t be looking to us to fulfill you. Believe it or not, incredible freedom is found when the pressure is off of you to find a girl who will meet your needs. You are then free to lead us because you are looking upward and forward, not inward.

We were created to be your helpmeet. Part of knowing who you are in the Lord, is knowing what the Lord has called you to in life. That knowledge makes it easy to say “Hey Babe, want to join me?” We aren’t going to want to follow where we don’t see at least potential for direction. I’m not saying you have to have it all figured out – we are all works in progress, but be in progress. Seeking, not drifting. Knowing what you were created for, or whose image you were created in, frees us of the confusion surrounding “helpmeet”.

Lead me by knowing who you are. And knowing who you are starts with knowing who He is. In the practical sense, leading by knowing, means seeking the Lord first in every area of your life. Any woman worth her salt will gladly take second seat to the Lord. Make Him a priority and you are leading, because He will lead you.

 Learning.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1Peter 3:7 ESV)

While you may not be a husband yet, you are in training! And the good news is, you have friends, sisters and mothers you can practice on. “Live with your wives in an understanding way…” What’s an understanding way? In the Greek “understanding” is translated from a word meaning “know”. Lead me, by learning me. You cannot lead what you do not know. What are my ups and downs, what makes me tick, gives me life and moves me to tears? How do I like my coffee? Does doing the dishes or simply sitting with me, speak love to me?  Every woman is different, I’m sure you’ve realized that by now! And while the basics of love are the same, the practical will be very different. That’s why it’s so important to understand your wife or your girl. Understanding her is leading her, showing her honor as the weaker vessel.

Picture a house. The glass in the windows in weaker then the 2×4 studs next to it, but they are what make a house beautiful and full of life. A house without windows would be a dark smelly box. Break a window and it gets boarded up. Not much gets through a boarded window, even prayers.

Learn how to polish and care for the glass window. When you lead by learning, you know how to lead because you know what you are leading. You have the intense pleasure of helping us shine the brightest we can be or on the flip side suffocating us. Leading by learning means stewarding the relationships God has given you and cultivating them knowing them and helping them reach their fullest potential.

Following. This is perhaps the simplest, hardest and most important point. The most effective way you can lead is to follow.

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord….. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:22 & 25)

I think one of the most important qualities in a guy “leading me” is a man who has a surrendered heart. I can submit way easier to a man who knows submission himself – because he is submitted to the Lord. Husbands are supposed to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How does the Lord lead you? Lead me that way! In it’s barest, simplest, form, leading means leading me the way Christ loves and leads you. How does He lead you? Answer that and you will know how to lead any girl. He has given you the master manual in His Word.

I could talk a lot more about intentionality, definition, curtsey, humility, and dying to self, but I think you get it. Lead us the way the Lord leads you. Knowing Him is the answer to all of our questions.

Ladies – No worries I didn’t forget you! Two questions to leave you with:

(1).  You say you want to be led. Do you know what that means to you? He can’t meet undefined expectations.

(2). We were created to be helpmeets and also imitators of Christ. How does Christ help us? What does He do for us?

Today’s tidbit of Truth: Leading is about following. 

Blog inspired today by conversations with friends and hearing “Lead me” by Sanctus Real. Listen here.

This is also the last day to enter to win a copy of the eBook “Pain Redeemed”. Enter here.


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Someday I’ll Dance with You

Someday I’ll dance with you.  But I’m not waiting for you. I’m taking lessons from the Master – you know Him too. He’s whirling me around, and teaching me the dips of life’s ups and downs. I wish you were here. I wish we could practice this dance together – but I will not wait for you.

Some days I’m tempted to sit on the sidelines and mope. But I would never wish that for you. I pray you are learning this dance as well, but I’m not waiting for you.
He beckons me to higher levels, to more complicated steps, the stretching intensifies, but so does the beauty and grace of the dance. He is a partner like no other. I cannot wait for you.Is this dance lonely? Yes, but only when I focus on waiting for you – instead of His face. His face I will seek. I’m not going to wait for you.

Someday I’ll dance with you – there is a time for everything, even a time to dance. But now my time, your time, is to learn that dance. And I will not wait for you now, but instead will learn the dance.  I will not wait for you, but I will watch over His shoulder for you. Because someday I will dance with you.

Dear friends, don’t wait for “someone” to dance with – the dance begins now. The Lord of the dance, now He is waiting for you.