Don’t We Want the REAL Definition? {the truth of who a woman is}

 

Bible pageHave you ever looked up a word to find that the real definition was quite different than what you had believed it to be?  How did that change your understanding of the sentence or the verse?  Completely, right?

When we get the real, true definition of something it changes our perspective and can change us in the process.

The most significant surprises for me have had to do with God’s definition of….me.  I had struggled with who I was, struggled with insecurity and fear and many times felt like I was somehow not worth as much because I was a woman.

I found as I studied and prayed to understand that there was a lot that I’d been taught or had modeled for me as a child that simply wasn’t true, or it was a mixture of truth and error.

There are many things in the world that attempt to define us.  What are the main influencers in our lives? Our parents, teachers, friends; our church, community, education system, and traditions; our environment, media, workplace, and choices; our life experiences and words spoken by us or to us, all teach us about life.

The truth is that anywhere else we look to find out who we are, to find out if we’re acceptable or good enough, is always going to let us down.  Sometimes we are looking to our spouse, our friends, even our church to tell us we’re OK and approved of.  Those things won’t ever give us what we need.

The things of the world will leave us thinking about what we can’t do, can’t be, will never get over, or what we will never become.

Then what we’re left with is a heart that has grown heavy with wrong beliefs, fears, and hesitant, negative attitudes about ourselves that hide who we are really intended to be.

luggage heavy

Each of us has a belief system that has been constructed over the years of our lives and many of us have packed our life with what’s inside due to wrong beliefs about ourselves, others, or God.  The results are usually fear, inadequacy, unforgiveness, bitterness, self-doubt, rejection, low self-esteem – the issues we carry around inside ourselves.

We can have wrong beliefs inside, and even though they may be wrong, they will still guide our thoughts, feelings, behavior and life results — because we BELIEVE them.

What I truly believed will be lived out in my life. Romans 12:2 was written to believers.  “Do not be conformed to the image of the world; instead, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  This tells us that our minds are capable of being renewed and that God knew we would need that renewal to come into agreement with what He says is true. Do not take your blueprint or schematic from the world, but learn how God thinks and learn to think that way.

1 Peter 1:18-19 says, For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”  God doesn’t want us to live an empty life, but to live a full, intentional life of value and purpose, knowing who we are as His children.  We were created to make a difference and with a pretty big assignment!  Genesis 1:26-28 is still our assignment from the very beginning:

26 Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

Before we can fill the assignment given in Genesis to come alongside our husbands and brothers, we have to invite the Holy Spirit to lead us into what is true.  We have to pick up the Word, we have to make the truth our own.  We have to be willing for God to show us where we have inherited wrong beliefs or where we’ve been taught incorrectly.  We have to let Him ENTER INTO where we still secretly hurt over things that have happened to us or places that stink with guilt over what we’ve done to others.

There are places, especially in the South, where Christian women have been more influenced by culture and tradition than by the Word of God.  We have tended to either want to do what others do, believing that is best, OR become what others want us to become.  A lot more than men, women many times tend to allow others to choose for them what their life will be like.  That’s not what God intended.

This kind of believing about our identity can leave us with vacuums in our lives, feeling unfulfilled, but the Holy Spirit can fill these places of emptiness.  We begin to change by discovering our true identity and value.

How do you want to feel about your life?  What do you want to believe could be possible for you?  What dreams in your heart have been covered over or gifts and talents restrained because someone said it’s not “lady-like” or my favorite, “a woman is not permitted to do that”?   Luke 1:37 – “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Gabriel said that to a young lady who was going to conceive and gift birth to the Messiah.  God has always used women to do great works, not just men.

In Genesis, He gave the same assignment to both the man and the woman.  So why does it surprise us that He would have great things for us to do today?   God created with intention a purposeful, blessed team, an alliance.  He knew it would be too much for the man alone.  Genesis 2:18 tells us that He understood His creation, that it wasn’t good for the man to be alone, that he would need someone else, a strong helper.

genesis 1

Our Hebrew word for helper or help-mate is the word ezer –  e-z-e-r.

Ezer means strong helper, in God’s image or like God, one that aligns with God at every possible level to share His heart, love what He loves, and join Him in His work in the earth.

An ezer is a theologian, created to know God and make Him known.  Created to reproduce the likeness of God in others.  An ezer is created to walk alongside others in authority, protecting and co-ruling in a Kingdom way to advance the influence of the Kingdom of Heaven where they are.  An ezer is a disciple, a mentor, a leader, one who serves, one who brings their spiritual gifts into fullness.

Ezer is a military term, therefore, an ezer is a warrior, called to action in every relationship, season, neighborhood, and walk of life.  An ezer is a staunch ally in the life of faith, not in the background of everyday activities, but in the foreground where leadership, prayers, and decisions happen.  The word ezer declares strength!

In fact, the word ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament.  Out of the 21, 16 of those references describe how God comes alongside Israel as a very strong Helper in times of trouble!

You’ll find ezers in every aspect of life – the home, church, workplace, community, and government.  An ezer is part of a powerful union, a team, an alliance formed and purposed by God.  Are you ready for it?

An ezer is a woman.  That word translated ‘help meet” or “helper” – yeah, that word is ezer.  That is you.  God said “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will create an ezer for him.”

This little word, ezer – just 4 letters – is the beginning of you knowing who God created you to be.  This word that God chose gives you identity, value, legitimacy, and permission to walk in the life He created and dreams for you.  It’s the definition of who you are in the Kingdom of Heaven AND in the earth.

We are ezers from birth.  Marriage is just one major area where the ezer stands with the man in battle, but it by no means exhausts the possibilities.  Neither man nor woman are limited by where God can call them and use them to be a blessing and bring the Kingdom of Heaven’s influence.  Being an ezer is the core of who a woman is and as such is not dependent upon season of life or circumstance.

blessed alliance bibles

In Genesis 1:26-28, if the call to rule and subdue the WHOLE EARTH means anything, God calls the ezer to join the man in every sphere of life; not in COMPETITION, but to COMPLIMENT each other.  It takes the man and the woman together to learn to display the full image of God.  Each one is an image bearer in God’s likeness with different attributes.  In other words, we need each other.

God’s plan to reveal Himself to the world involved both MALE & FEMALE.  Adam needed Eve’s gifts and strengths to fulfill his calling, and she needed his gifts and strengths, too!  She was called to enter his struggles, bolster his faith, encourage his obedience to God.  Each was called to promote the faithfulness of the other in a relationship of equality and blessing where they reproduce more ‘image bearers’ that today we call disciples.

God’s never thrown out His original blueprint for men and women to bear His image together.

So…in our search for meaning and significance, this definition is the beginning of who you are.  This is the real definition of who you are.  This is not an angry-liberal-feminist voice.  We weren’t made for that – we don’t need that.  We just need to do whatever God calls us to do, knowing He will strengthen and equip us to do it.  So jealousy and competition can be things of the past.  God is doing a new thing among women today, just like he did about 2,000 years ago.

When Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would give birth to the Messiah, she said, “May it be unto me as you have said.”  The literal interpretation of that would read…

“May the Word of the Lord be created in me.”

That’s my prayer for each of you.  That the Word of the Lord would be created in you, that the truth of your identity, value, and significance would begin to replace any false ideas of who you are, or what you’re capable of, as a woman, made in God’s image.

We are God’s image bearers, we are ezers.  Chosen by God to soldier and live alongside our brothers as a Blessed Alliance, advancing Christ’s Kingdom in the hearts of people all around us, bringing change in our families, churches, communities, and world.

There is no higher calling than to be who God created us to be and bring the influence of His presence where we are, in the way He calls us to carry that out.

If this is who we are, what are we doing with it?

Do we remain where we are, like we are, or do we pour into others what God is pouring into us?

We can choose.  We can remain in the box that others want us to stay in, but wouldn’t you rather live with enthusiasm and experience more of who God designed you to be?  Wouldn’t we rather live expecting God to do miracles and amazing things through us who are here on the earth?your story isnt over yet

We MUST gain a larger view – of ourselves and of the Kingdom of God – of what is possible through our lives as God empowers us to carry His love.  We are half the church and our story is not over yet – it’s just beginning.

We get one life, you and I.  Don’t you want to know more of who He created you to be?  God’s definition of us carries in it all the identity, value, and significance we will ever need.

We just have to learn to believe it. Your story isn’t over yet.

Grace for the journey,

Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC – May 2016 (originally posted August 2014)

Sources: All books by Carolyn Custis James at http://www.whitbyforum.com/; Grace Church Ezer Women’s Ministry at http://chrystiecole.com/ezer-body-matters/; Why Women Matter by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton.  Loren Cunningham is the founder of YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

 

What to Do When You’ve Failed Again

So you’ve messed up again. OK, we all do. We’re all fixer-uppers.

{Only look at your sin, mistake, wrong words, whatever it was – only look at it long enough to bring it to Jesus and ask forgiveness. Then BELIEVE YOU ARE FORGIVEN, receive His grace, and take the next step forward.}

There is danger in staring at our faults, our weak places. Whatever we focus on grows bigger, for better or for worse. Focus on the now, with your eyes on the Lord Jesus, and the future brightens, and the moment given becomes a gift.

And yeah, walking through that thing you did, it may have its consequences, but even this experience pays forward. You will be strengthened when you place your life in God’s hands. Only He can weave it all together for good.

Grace for the journey,
Robin

(c) Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, August 2014
What to Do When You've Failed Again

Prayers – a new page

Flowers organgeI have created a new page on this blog with some basic prayers and teaching.  My goal is to provide for you some basic tools for your spiritual toolbox that you can share or use as you minister to others.

In the future, I will add more to this page.  Feel free to copy and use as needed.

  • Lordship Prayer
  • Prayer of Forgiveness {with a link to a blog post about forgiveness}
  • Prayer to Cut Ungodly Soul Ties

To view, use the menu bar at the top of the blog and click on Prayers right next to Letters Home.  {Thank you to Ellel Ministries International for the outline and scriptural basis of these prayers and their desire to be a blessing.}

(c) Robin Lawrimore, December 2012

Forgiving Ourselves & Forgiving God

After I wrote something of forgiveness basics last week, a friend asked for more about how we forgive ourselves and God when necessary.

Forgiving Ourselves

In the process of healing, forgiveness is like the master-key, a spiritual turning that unlocks us from what has us bound and allows us to then walk free and become healed.  God has done beautiful work in my life when I have forgiven or have extended forgiveness.

We can spot the sins of others where we know we’ve been hurt, and then with God’s help, move towards forgiving, but what about our own mistakes?  We may recognize our own sin, but, like spotting a body along the roadside while continuing to walk, we don’t take steps to do anything about the problem.  One myth we need to remove from our mental page before we go any further is that if we’ve asked for forgiveness from God once, then we don’t need to anymore.  That is simply untrue.  Every time He reveals truth to our hearts, we need to come to a place of agreement with Him about it.  He’s not out to condemn us, but to free us and bring wholeness into our lives.

In my life, because of the wrong high level of responsibility I assumed, it’s been hardest to forgive myself of things I did that caused others pain, especially my children.  Those times where my decisions had caused their lives to be hard or where, looking back I saw the disappointment and pain that had resulted, were heavy to carry, and yet impossible to put down on my own.

I came to realize I had asked God to forgive me, I had asked children to forgive me, but was still holding some things against myself anyway.  I was holding judgment against my life, long after God had extended His grace and it was placed under the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice, covered red.  Holding onto that unforgiveness was hurting me.  Holding onto it and not extending myself the same grace that had been extended by God said my standard of my not being a “perfect parent” was above His.  Because it also shouted loudly without a word that Jesus was not enough, it left the door open for the enemy to hammer me about my failures again and again.  It built a wall up in my life that had separated me from the fullness of peace the Lord wanted me to have.

The harboring of anger, resentment, bitterness, or judgment that lie buried within, even if it seems justified, creates painful, rotting deposits that need God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and healing.  When I realized I was living with self-condemnation that would jump up and slap me with an over-reaction of pain if something about the past came up, I quickly went to God who gladly relieved me of it.  Jesus touched the wounded places and brought healing.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  ~1 John 2:9

Faithful.  Just.  Will forgive all.

Forgiving God

But what about forgiving God for things that have happened?  Isn’t He our Father?  Isn’t He our protector?  Then why has He allowed hurtful things into my life?

Sometimes we feel angry and blame God for what was actually the work of the enemy.  This always reveals more of the condition of our hearts and of our belief system.  If I am holding God responsible for the choices of someone else or the work of satan, then I am saying He is not trustworthy or faithful to His word. It is evidence that I need more understanding of who God is!

There have been times in my life where I expressed my anger to God for what He was allowing or the path He had placed me on, but after I emptied my heart of its angry contents, I was able to feel His comfort and hear His truth about my life.

When someone else makes a choice that hurts me, it’s not God’s fault.  When something bad happens, do I continue to blame Him?  I can, but it won’t be based in truth.  I believe God protects me more times than I am aware of, but He also allows me to learn.  The difficult times that come not only increase my trust in Him, but also help me to become more surrendered to His Lordship.  Then I am able to comfort others with how the Father has comforted me.

Watch for signs in your emotions and reactions and let those be a map to where there is undetected brokenness and wounding in your life from unforgiveness so that Jesus can heal it.

In answer to Peter’s question about the number of times one must forgive, Jesus said “Seventy times seven” and in effect means “Peter, stop counting and just forgive!”  We continue to forgive until the pain is healed.  If Jesus forgives me, then I must forgive myself, and stop blaming God.  Forgiveness brings peace and wholeness and opens the way for Kingdom life to go forward.  And isn’t that what we want?

(c) September 2011, Robin Lawrimore

Forgiveness – What it is & What it is not

Most people struggle with forgiveness.  I know I have.  Depending on the level of relationship, the depth of the injury, or the amount of loss, I have struggled deeply for years on some fronts.

This one thing I have learned: forgiveness is key to healing in every way.  OK, so how do we get there?

Usually the reasons people struggle are due to wrong beliefs about forgiveness.  We don’t always understand it.  After all, how could I forgive deep betrayal?  Does that mean that now it somehow doesn’t matter?  It matters!  So help me out here, God!

What Forgiveness is Not:

  • Forgiveness is not condoning or minimizing what happened or saying it doesn’t matter
  • Forgiveness is not a blanket statement of approval of what someone did
  • It is not excusing or justifying or covering up what someone did – usually a trip wire because the other person was treated badly as a child, for instance
  • It is not forgetting what happened – it doesn’t erase memory!
  • Forgiveness and reconciliation are not always the same thing
  • It is not saying you trust the person again – new boundaries may be needed
  • It is not denying what they did or denying the feelings of hurt, pain, or anger you may have – it’s not pretending we are now suddenly OK
  • Forgiveness is not saying the sin is unpunishable, but rather that Jesus has taken the punishment on Himself for ALL our sins and hurts against each other

What Forgiveness is:

  • Forgiveness is a choice, a decision – not a feeling, at least at first, but an act of the will – we recognize the need to forgive and make a decision to do it
  • Forgiveness is being aware of what someone has done and still forgiving them
  • It means granting a person mercy they don’t deserve
  • It means freedom from the bondage of holding something against a person
  • It means giving up our desire for revenge and punishment, releasing the person from judgment
  • It is refusing to tell others about what happened and what they did – it’s being gracious when even what you could say is true – a rare act of grace!
  • It means choosing to keep no records of wrong doing – not mulling it over
  • It is letting go of bitterness and resentment so we can receive God’s healing for what has happened  – it truly is a key to receiving healing!
  • It is taking a person off your hook, and putting them onto God’s hook for Him to deal with them in the best way
  • Forgiveness is knowing that what has happened is not the bottom line
  • Forgiveness is an inner condition – an act of the heart – Jesus said to forgive from our hearts those who have hurt us – If Jesus had waited until His enemies felt guilt for their words or actions before He forgave them, He would never have been able to forgive most of them
  • It is extending to someone the same mercy I have received from the Lord for my wrong doing
  • Confidence toward God is ultimately what total forgiveness is all about; He is the one I want to please at the end of the day – Forgiveness is about my relationship with God and keeping that in right standing

Jesus makes it pretty plain that if we are not willing to forgive, He is unable to forgive us.  In Matthew 6:12 (AMP) He says, “Forgive us our sins as we also have forgiven (left, let go, have given up resentment against) those who have sinned against us.”

So these lists and scriptures have helped me, but with some people and some circumstances, it has taken me years to work through a process of forgiveness.  Just recently, the Lord asked me to give him a certain time period of my life as an offering.

There was a 3 year period from 2003-2006 when I lived in a travel trailer because of being manipulated out of my home.  With now 5 years between that time and the present, I’ve had lots of opportunity to work through what happened and how I felt about it.  Forgiveness was terribly hard for I lost much – everything I called home, my relationships with my children, my closest family and friends and more.

One thing I didn’t realize was that there was some left over pain and bitterness deep inside.  With a need for home being so dear to me, when I would think about it, the Lord would warn me not to complain.  About 2 weeks ago, the Lord asked me to offer this time to Him as an offering.  At first I could not see how this would in any way resemble an offering, right?  Because we give our best to God, right?  So what is this, Lord?  How is this something good to give You?  He asked again.  So I said to Him, “If you want these years I spent in that travel trailer as an offering, You can have it.  I offer it to You.”

Immediately I felt a piercing in my spirit and inside a moment, bitterness and pain started to be released, like it was leaking out of me.  That offering, that response of giving to Him what He asked for, made it possible to be healed of such rancid stuff still held inside – that I didn’t know I was carrying around – that I have felt amazing healing come into me to replace what was still there.  This healing took place over several days and now my only emotion is of thanks and amazement!  What I was unaware of, God was certain of and could see the need and provide the solution.  I will not think of those days in the same way ever again – they have now become an offering, something beautiful because He asked for it and in His hands, all things become as new.  The enemy now has no hold on that time of my life because of God’s leading me to give it to Him.

What are you holding onto?  Where do you feel pain as you read this simple blog?  If you are not aware of any unforgiveness, would you be willing to ask the Lord to reveal it to you so that you might be healed as well? Take another look at the lists above and ask the Lord to help you make a forgiveness list.

And I’d love to hear your story.  In the telling of the story is much healing, so feel free to offer yours here.  Jesus and a friend will listen and He promises to help you through to healing.

Prayer of Forgiveness:

When you are ready, you may use a prayer like this one to forgive those who have hurt you.  Don’t feel pressured if you are not ready.  Ask God and He will help you get there.

Thank you, Jesus, for dying that I might be forgiven.  By an act of my will I now choose to forgive those who have hurt me.  (Quietly speak out the names of those to be forgiven.)

I release each and every one of these people into the freedom of my forgiveness.  Father, I am trusting You for the healing I need.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

(c) Sept. 2011, Robin Lawrimore

“I’m Just Venting”

We’ve heard it, said it, felt the need for it, and done it.  “Venting” is the term coined that allows us to have less self-control and be OK with it.  Venting is being able to blast out emotions any way we want.  So is that really OK?  In the Old Testament, the Israelites did a lot of venting.  God called it sin.  But are our emotions sinful?  Sometimes, depending on how we express them.  But no matter how we “feel”, we are to take that first to God.  Think about it.  If the other ways we are created are about our relationship with Him, what about our emotions?

The Bible is loaded with examples of people “venting” to God.  Look at some of the things King David wrote in the Psalms, and God was OK with that because David was saying it to Him instead of hurting others with his words.  Even Job didn’t think twice about telling God how he felt about losing everything, and in the last chapter, God says Job has not sinned with his lips like his friends had.  God has a problem though with grumbling and complaining.  Plain and simple, it’s ingratitude and can lead to other stuff like fear or idolatry.  Face it, when we’re not happy and get into complaining, we want something to fix how we feel.

So many times we want to feel justified, when we need to forgive and go on.  Even if that means letting others feel or believe they are right.  We don’t always have to address a problem the way we may want to.  And in reality, if we jump ahead and do that, we are sinning in our anger.  If we are angry, we need to handle it God’s way and first take it to Him.  He can handle it.  And then, if we need to go to someone who offended us, we won’t hurt them with our words.  We will be able to talk about what happened in a way that is honoring to them and to God, and in a way that values relationship.  If we choose to just take it to the Lord, He will help us leave it with Him.

Then we rest.  Honesty, forgiveness, and releasing it to God always leads to rest.

 

Redemption

I am my own opposition
As hard as I might try
The same old sin I do again
Without an alibi.

It seems I can’t be faithful
To the only One
Who loves me without question
No matter what I’ve done.

He takes my face into His hands
When I come to confess
And cleanses me and dresses me
In robes of righteousness.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, 2008
Romans 7:14-15, Luke 15:11-24