Jesus, Labels, and Evaluation

Anyone else feel as if they  have been put into a washing machine on high spin for eighteen months and suddenly the machine has been turned off?

I’ve started this blog entry literally more times than I can count.  I’ve gone to this place in prior blogs, but I seem to be further along now….and still facing just as many questions.  Folks, this election has made me weary.  Just flat out exhausted.  So many emotions, over so many months….taking this broken girl and her heart and her beliefs on a very unplanned journey-well, not unplanned…a journey I was already on, but this election accelerated it.

For the record, we can mark in stone that I love Jesus. I believe He died and rose again on the third day. I believe in the sovereignty of God.  I believe that His Word is the period at every statement. I believe in the red letters of Christ just as much as I believe the sun sets in the west.  Yet, with all that disclosed, I am changed now….I’m different than just eighteen months ago.  I believe, I am changed for the better, or at least in the process of that direction.  Some, may wonder if I have fallen to the wayside, some may take my journey as an attack on where they are…and I certainly don’t mean for it to ever come off that way…it’s an attack on where I am…where I was for sure.

I’ve identified with the Evangelical label for as long as I can remember.  Maybe I didn’t know what that was back as a young follower of Christ, but I said I was a Southern Baptist, and Evangelical like a badge of honor on my chest.  Almost a “I believe what’s right, you believe what’s wrong” approach.  Then, somewhere along the way, I began to not feel as if I “fit”….questioned my salvation…God assuring me it was secure….so why did it feel so lost in what should feel like home?  I knew I didn’t agree with what was being touted as “feel good theology” so I knew not to go there.  I knew I didn’t agree with the new “prosperity theology”, so I knew it was equally as wrong for me.  I knew I believed fully in the red letters of Christ.  So, I began my journey there….seeking to figure out what that meant for me in a world I had become so comfortable in…my little SBC bubble of life.  That was probably six years ago….maybe seven.  No one knew….not  my spouse or my children. There was a period that I was literally broken in half…and at a crossroads.  Few knew….and few know to this day.

I went to church.  I served.  All the while, questioning why I felt so lost in what should feel like home.  Why I would leave on Sundays angry…I don’t mind leaving convicted, but I shouldn’t leave angry.  Isn’t the point to attend and leave challenged to be working to be more like Christ…to be a witness to a world seeking hope? (Please do not take my comments as not loving my church-I did, I still do.  Some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life. A man in the pulpit that loves Jesus with every cell in his body.  But this blog, it’s about my heart…my journey and the questions it has raised towards myself…towards an entire label.)

Then, we moved.  I was forced to leave my bubble of life….my comfort zone…even when I felt so uncomfortable sometimes, it was familiar…it was safe…it was mine.  I moved to an area where I couldn’t just look up a FBC in the phone book, go sit down and continue.  I moved to an area where my normal didn’t exist.  I moved where Jesus was loved, but church was far different…the pulpit was different…the mission was different and yet the same….everything was different and yet, with Jesus still center…the same.

During this period of adjustment, we landed in three churches before our current landing.  Meeting some amazing people, some of which I call “friend” today.  And like only our God can do, He tossed an election into my lap and said..ok, Kim, what about all of this?  Here I was, already deep into a journey of uncertainty of where I fit….and then He forced me to take in one of the ugliest elections in my lifetime.  One that broke every norm.  During the election, right when it was really starting to become nothing short of horrific to watch, is when we landed at our current church.  It was by chance we landed there at all, but then again, God isn’t into “by chance.”

Christine Caine was coming to speak at a local mega-church.  I am a huge Caine fan.  I had to go.  We “cheated” on our church at the time and went.  And it happened.  My heart, felt at home.  Still not sure what it all meant, but I knew with every ounce of Jesus in me…this was it.  This was what my heart was seeking….missing.  My heart needed Jesus presented with Biblical truth, but with a love everyone, love always heartbeat.  That attitude that before someone can really hear about Jesus, you have to meet them where they are..not where you want them to be.  That inclusion that still holds true to Biblical truth, but with a love that oozes from the pores of those giving out the love. Most of all, my heart wanted a pulpit based on Jesus, but far removed from politics.  My heart was weary…it was tired…and it was growing bitter.  No denomination on the door….just the Gospel of Jesus and the doctrine according to Christ.

Now, let me go back to before…and during all of this…the election came.  What I haven’t brought back up today really is how during all of this…even now…I was/am struggling to my very core about the word Evangelical.  The election just highlighted that struggle in my life.  Things were said and done that were so far removed from what I believe Christ wants in us as people…towards our fellow man, my heart just reeled.  Triggers took place that brought up childhood incidents that I thought were long buried.  Then…in all of it…I saw Christian leaders I admired come to the defense…fall on the sword to defend…for what, to me, only seemed like  man desperate for the power that would come with a result.  So much was the polar opposite of what I had grown to believe over a lifetime as to what Christ expected of us as human beings…what he so called out for.  I grew increasingly confused, increasingly angry…increasingly counting down the days to Sunday morning or Wednesday night where I could be reminded….not all are falling on the sword….not all are telling me it’s my duty as a Christian to fall in line.  I saw people I care about deeply hurt by words so offensive that they had to be “bleeped” on national TV.  I saw entire groups of people called out in such hateful ways that I grew even more angry.  I’m one of the “Evangelicals” people are talking so poorly about…I’m a member of this group that is supporting such hateful words.  How can that be?  I don’t agree with any of these words.  I don’t agree with the agenda of Jesus as a political tool for power.  Maybe, I’m not an Evangelical.  Maybe, I’m not the label.

As I said earlier, I’ve blogged about this before, but today feels different.  Today feels certain.  Today, my heart is not burdened with the label.  Today, because of a church that fed my heart words of truth in hope and love….because of a horribly nasty election, because of a son in the arts, because I never felt my heart fit….I can say with a peace I don’t take the label anymore.  I don’t want it.  I want to love Jesus…and love others.  Please know, this is my journey and is certainly not directed towards anyone but myself.  With that said, I won’t lie.  I don’t get it.  I don’t get why more didn’t speak out in loud voices….why the seat on the Supreme Court was more important than speaking out against the words that hurt so many.  It sent such a mixed and hurtful message to a lost world watching our actions.  We have worked so hard to stand in Biblical truth….then when in front of a world audience…we stood silent.  At least it seemed that way by the words by leaders and people of influence.  I’ll never forget the day women such as Beth Moore spoke out so directly against sexual assault or the words that implied it.  I’ll also never forget when we came out in swarms to eat one of our own, Jen Hatmaker, when she spoke her views.  Those that counsel her spoke to her in private…why did so many of us take to social media to literally eat her alive….and discard all the good she had done for women, lost women…prior to a statement that use the word “Holy” when well..what I think of that is so complex, it’s a blog post on its own (I support and love those I know in that community and that’s all that needs to be said.)…but I’m not going to tar and feather a woman that has been such a light to so many women. No one forces us to buy books or attend conferences with any speaker….show our disagreement by no longer supporting the work…but attacking someone so ferociously on social media was heartbreaking to watch.  I’ll also never forget the words of Christine Caine on our role as Christians towards Syrian refugees.  I will also forever remember being reminded that God puts angels everywhere…and what if He has placed angels among those refugees…and the tears He must shed as we, as a nation. turn them away out of fear. What if God is sending us a nation to show the love of Christ to…and we shut the door from fear? A fear we are told not to hold in our heart. What good is our “pro-life” stance, if we turn away the least of these out of fear, how is one life more valuable than another?  Dr. Russell Moore, James McDonald (post advisory board), Bill Hybels, Steve Carter, so many female authors and speakers….literally I cannot, even now, get enough of their wisdom on Jesus…the Bible, on how to be more red letter….

I’m still angry, but less angry each day.  Those stages of grief seem to apply to almost every facet of change in our lives.  I have to think I’m more to the “sad” stage…..far less questioning of my personal “what label do I want, if any”….and more a question of trying to understand how I got here…and trying to understand where others are in their journey. Sad, because I don’t understand.  I want to….but right now, I don’t.  I sense less anger towards all of it today than even just 24 hours ago…certainly less than three months ago.

I’m processing Romans 15 these days….trying to grasp that when we were told to welcome, embrace…it wasn’t with conditions….it was certain.

I’m thinking of Matthew 5…when Christ gave his Sermon on the Mount.

I’m thinking of how incredibly heartbreaking it is that any life on this earth needs a hashtag to be heard or seen.

I wonder how many fellow “Evangelical” folks are out there that have been on this same journey I have been on….even before the ugliness of 2016.  I’ve seen more women than men based upon folks I follow.  Why is that?

Would I have gotten this far in this journey without the move…without the election?  It’s pointless to even try to say anything but, no.  What idols have I allowed to be covered with the weaponization of Jesus?  Who have I hurt by views formed from life in a bubble?  Non-Christians, fellow believers?  Are my words today possibly words another person can take as hurtful to maybe where they are in their journey?  Please know…this is my journey.  I’ve likely made far too much of it public over the past two years….but I want to be able to go back two years from now and say..ok…progress has been made.

God has blessed my beyond measure with girlfriends who know my heart and my struggles and love me anyways….just as I love them in return…even when we  may be on polar opposite spectrums on so many things.  My tribe has always loved me in spite of me.  Just as Jesus does…in spite of me…He still loves me.

I’m thankful for this season and the conviction and necessity to really work on what Kim stood for..who Kim is as a Christian.  Realizing one walk will never look like another walk.  Realizing it’s ok to question things….ok to step outside your bubble and jump in…to the coldest pool on earth…trusting there is a warm hand waiting.

My son, my gifted musician, has been more of a catalyst than he can ever know.  His circle, his footprint on the world, forced me more than almost anything else before the move to dig deep…question…consider the idea that maybe many of my beliefs/routines were more man made that Christ made.  I’m forever grateful for this influence.

In a way, I am now in the dryer after being in the washing machine for so long…and on high speed for that last several months….hopeful that maybe when I come out…a few less wrinkles in place and a clean heart ready for this new stage.

And for those reading thinking Kim has gone over the edge…nah…..can’t go over what you went over years ago!

 

 

 

 

Beth Moore, Friendship, Woman of God

LPL

This past weekend our church hosted the Beth Moore Simulcast of 2014.  Women from around the world gathered together in different venues, homes, etc as Beth communicated the following truths to each woman in attendance:

  • Blessed is SHE who believed. Luke 1:45
  • You ARE a woman of God.
  • YOU have the greatest story!
  • You are woman enough because of Him!
  • ALL of Heaven rejoices over just one lost woman found!
  • Every woman is well able/equipped to share how Jesus is changing her story!
  • Lesson in friendship

First, let me say that if you are reading “Beth Moore” and going “who is that”, I want to encourage you to do a simple Google You Tube search and just watch some of her clips.  Beth has a God given gift on how to communicate to women in Biblical truth.  She is a true scholar of the Bible, but she is real-you will identify with her as a woman.  She’s just like the woman you would love to have coffee with at Starbucks.

Our church had almost three-hundred women in attendance.  It started at about 8:30 AM on a Saturday and on a Razorback game day, so that attendance folks-well, that’s a God thing!  Women of all ages, all backgrounds gathered to worship and hear Beth communicate the message God had given her for this event.  Across the globe, on that one day, over 190,000 women were listening.

One thing about Beth is this-she is FUNNY!  She can be leading you into a deep passage of scripture and how it applies to your life and then suddenly…it’s a funny story or life event that she had to share at that very moment.  Again-real.

Three sessions, each with a different message but with one overwhelming theme-Blessed is she who believes.

I mostly want to just share with you today some of my notes-my little tidbits from the day.  Every woman there probably has totally different notes-as the message spoke to each of us in a very unique way.

Not part of the message, but one thing that stood out to me that day was her telling us how her foundation they used for the broadcast lighting smelled like dough-nuts.  I now have this compelling desire to figure out the brand just so I can smell for myself…..ok…now back to the meat of the day!

beth moore woman

All across the world, we were ONE gathering of many women yearning for God to speak.

Jesus changes the story of every woman He meets.

God is not only wanting us to hear what He has to say, He wants us to RESPOND!

Sometimes to heal a hurt/broken heart, you have to take off the binding and open it back up. (She used an awesome illustration of wrapping her hand in an ace bandage.)  Ya’ll this is a hard one for me….I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that feeling of your hurt/broken heart being exposed to the air. I want to protect it…BUT…I also heard the TRUTH in her message that I can’t keep it hidden forever.

Jesus so deeply desire to know who I am…NOT who I am not!

Here and now, based upon what I know, start meeting needs!  Don’t keep waiting for some big sign.  Just like Lisa Harper said at WOF, folks, sometimes we have to simply act and not go home and pray about what to do-ACT!

Satan is out there every single day…every moment of the day trying to put tags on us as women.  Other people are in this world doing the same thing, because of Satan.  Oh he is a crafty one.  He knows our weak spots and knows how to rip off that scab and make the wound bleed again.

Your dignity is NOT for ANYONE to take from you!!!!  YOU ARE HIS!!!!!

Sometimes we need a clean sweep to remove the yuck around us so we can see/hear our direction.  (Another great illustration as Beth swept with a broom across the stage.)

A women’s joy is not the same without girlfriends to share it with.  (Ain’t that the truth)  But ya’ll, this is where Beth communicated a truth that WE ALL need to apply and really absorb-We have TONS of contacts, but FEW connections!!!!! OUCH!  So, let’s get this one down now.  Our 1200 Facebook friends or twitter followers are NOT our friends/connections.  It’s the people we make time for-the people we have face to face interaction with.  Those are the ones we must have in our lives as women for joy!  Joy is meant to be shared.  We, as women, are having a hard time connecting the dots between joy and our girlfriend deficit.  We are to make our joy complete-share it!

Ya’ll now this is when Beth started getting to some tough stuff!

  • Can you rejoice with other women when they have gains???
  • You can’t out-love someone’s insecurity.
  • Insecurity pokes a hole in your heart.
  • Competition and Comparison breed insecurity.  We have head this ten thousand times, so why are we as women still doing it!  STOP-Don’t do it!  No more-what if we all said NO MORE!  No more Mommy-competitions.  No more one-upping.  Proverbs 24:17-Do not gloat when your enemies fall.

I have said this before…I could NOT be a young  mom in today’s world.  Social media and the constant barrage of pictures/status updates about my child is better/my party for my child was better/oh look at such and such….I would have walked around with FAILURE across my chest if I had to walk in that muck daily!  Ok…back to topic!

We need to fight for one another-not against one another.

Beth wanted to give us three items to help us identify “bad friendships”…not that these can’t be fixed, just some red flags for us to watch for as women.

  • Exclusivity
  • Possessiveness
  • Jealousy

(Her illustration here was do you have that friend you have to hide your activity with other friends from?  Ya know-keep a picture off of Facebook, go to movies in secret…etc..)

So, let’s add friends, set boundaries, and learn that we can have healthy conflict if we have healthy resolve!

At the end of the day, it was still about turning to Jesus for our hope, our joy, our identity.  Some days, we will simply take a step and breathe….but we are working towards progress.  Stop the Mommy competition, stop the Woman Wars….gather in unity and say no more-I am a woman of God!

2014 Final Commissioning:

My Beloved Sister,
Jesus drew you to this day
To call you to respond.
What will you do
With what He has said?
God chose you and gifted you
For this very generation.
You are the exact woman
Jesus came looking for today.
Stop telling yourself
This is about someone else
You are the one He wants.
You’re not too young.
You’re not too old.
You haven’t strayed too far
Or waited too long.
Let Jesus step fully into your story
And write a narrative for your life
That does the world good
And gives God glory.
People out there need what you have to offer.
Quit listening to your fears and insecurities.
Stand up and step out and meet some needs.
You are my sister.
I’ll cheer you on.
I will support you and love you
I’ll stop competing and comparing.
I want to be a woman women can trust.
Let’s do this thing side by side.
We’re so much stronger together.
Sister, stay in His Word
Fight for love and keep your faith.
Follow hard after Jesus
All the rest of your days.
He will never do you wrong.
He will never reject or betray you.
He will make something beautiful
Out of all your pain.
In every loss
He will be your gain.
A lost world is waiting out there.
The darkness is aching for light.
Get out there and serve with all your might.
Because, my beloved sister.
You
Are
A woman
Of God.
Go show somebody what she looks like.

So, let’s be better women….we ARE all WOMEN of GOD!

Kim