As we approach the holiday season in my ministry, I find myself steeling my heart against the busyness I know is coming. Thanksgiving will arrive soon, closely followed by Christmas, the New Year, and then what my husband calls Vision Sunday. As I am sure is the case for most pastors' wives, this season normally leaves me feeling exhausted and worn down to my bones. We put so much preparation into the end of each year and we have so many high hopes and expectations of how things will go.Read More
A wise woman once told me, “Bloom where you are planted.” I have clung to those words ever since, they have sort of become my life motto I guess you could say. At the time, my husband and I, newlyweds actually, had just moved from South Carolina to Ohio.Read More
We continue our summer guest series here with an amazing look at the wilderness times in our lives based on my sweet friend Dawn's time in Israel a few years ago. Dawn is a pastor's wife and a homeschooling mama to 3 sweet littles. It's especially exciting for me to have Dawn here at Simple Deep Life because she not only shared my college years at Cedarville University in Ohio, but was also a bridesmaid in my wedding! So grateful for her friendship and for her incredible commitment to Scripture as she shares her heart with us today.
Nine years ago, I walked through a desert, the wilderness of the Israelites. The ground crunched beneath my feet. As far as the eye could see there was no vegetation or water. I tried to wrap my mind around the thought of hundreds of thousands of Israelites traveling this land; babies, children, pregnant women, elderly, and animals. How could one survive in such barrenness?
The Israelites escaped the oppression of the Egyptians through unimaginable miracles and within three days of being in the wilderness they were grumbling because there was no water. God performed another miracle. He provided drinkable water in the middle of rocks and sand.
As they continued to travel through the wilderness, they grumbled. After all, they were in the middle of the wilderness. Where do you find food in the middle of a barren wasteland?
Every day, except on Shabbat, God gave bread that tasted like “wafers made with honey” rain down from heaven. Not only did God provide, He was creative in doing it!
The Israelites continued wandering, but God continued providing. He led them each step in a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. He gave victory against enemies. He provided quail in addition to manna. Yet, through all of these miracles and more, the Israelites grumbled.
I look at this story, this list of miracles, and wonder how the Israelites could be audacious enough to grumble. God had been faithful to keep His promises. He did amazing things and they did not see it! I wonder, however, had I been there would I have seen it?
I can be so blind. I allow myself to become consumed by daily chores, family needs, sports practice, music lessons, and church events. In the midst of the mundane, am I forgetting to look for the supernatural? God is always there and always working. In the middle of a narration of the wilderness years, Deuteronomy 2:7 says,
“For the LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing” (emphasis mine).
I have walked through my own wilderness. It may not have looked the same as the Israelites’ wilderness and I am sure it does not look like your wilderness. I have struggled and felt empty. I have grumbled and complained. I have wept in my wilderness. The truth is, though, God was always there. I have lacked nothing. He was my manna, my pillar of fire, my water. Did I notice?
Wilderness can be many different things. It can be loneliness, depression, a time of transition, waiting on God, fear, tragedy, struggle with relationships, and more. Sometimes these things seem endless and we feel empty. How can we get through our wilderness?
God is constantly working in your life. Do you see it? Are you grumbling through your wilderness? Are you acknowledging the miracles and working of God?
God is faithful. He provides. He gives you manna and leads with a pillar of fire. He gives you each step and each breath. You lack nothing.
Ask God to open your eyes, so that you may see His working. Take time today to look back over the last few days, weeks, and months to notice God’s provision. Do not let grumbling veil your eyes from seeing it. Write down the miracles in your life. Share them with your spouse, children, family, or friends.
Let your wilderness become a story of God’s miraculous provision.
“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” ~Psalm 78:4
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” ~Deuteronomy 4:9
If you'd like to contact Dawn, you can send her a note at email@example.com and we'll get it to her!
This summer, Simple Deep Life has invited a few friends to contribute to the blog and bless us with wisdom and a change of pace. We pray you are as blessed with these women as we are!
Enjoy this first guest post from Marcie Bullock, a speaker, writer, mom of 14, and full-time RV-living camp host! She's an amazing lady with an incredible heart for women.
As women in ministry, we seem to be required to be strong, unwavering, and faithful women of God. We are to be the ones with the rock-solid faith, consistent daily time with God, 2 hour bible study every day, etc. However, if you look deep within us there are shallow, weak spots all throughout; some we hope no one ever discovers. But despite these weak spots, the deep place where we find our roots, is what anchors us in the storms our place of refuge. This is our core, our solace, our unwavering foundation of where nothing can shake or falter us. This is where our roots are the deepest and strongest, despite any weak spots in other areas.
Did you know a tree's roots can grow to a depth of 20 FEET?? Colossians 2:7 says "Let your roots grow down into Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." Maybe you look inside yourself and see that your roots are not as deep as you thought. How do we "grow our roots down into Him"? The cliché answers are, "read your Bible, pray, etc." Those are definitely top-rated, but there is one that has almost become a lost art -- scripture memory. Psalms. 119:11 says,"I have hidden (memorized) your word in my heart that I may not sin against you." I can not tell you how many times the Lord has brought scripture to my mind in my weak, troubled moments. He brings scripture that strengthens my faith, encourages and comforts me, and challenges me. It is the sole reason why I am where I am today.
You not only want to water your roots with God's Word but also put them in the right soil. That "soil" is either going to enable your roots to grow deeper or keep them brittle and weak. Who are the top 5 people you spend the most time with? These are people that God has placed in your path that will do life with you and be able to speak freely to you, holding you accountable to what God’s Word says. We have different types of friends: 3 minute, 30 minute, 3 hour, 3 day friends. These would be your 3 hour/3 day friends. "The wounds of a friend can be trusted..." (Proverbs 27:6) Your transparency and being gut-honestly real with these few will not only allow you to receive wisdom and encouragement to keep your roots healthy, but will also enable you to do the same for them. Jesus had 12 of these friends, but don't let this number overwhelm you. If you don't have any, ask Him to send you a few and be on the lookout for them as they will probably be in the most unlikeliest of places.
God's Word in your heart and friends by your side will have a powerful effect on the enemy's schemes to discourage you and keep your roots shallow. This arsenal will carry you through all your triumphs, joys, heartaches and trials as you walk the path of your ministry journey.
If you’ve spent some time here, you’ve noticed the tagline of Simple Deep Life.
Learning to live simply and deeply to fulfill your life's purpose and calling.
Today, I want to begin to dissect that with you. What exactly IS purpose? How do we find our calling?Read More
We’re hearing it all over the Christian world right now. I believe we’re in a season of history where God is calling His Church back into the basics; simple things from the Word. One of those areas I am seeing be explored and emphasized right now is that of discipleship. As we’ve been digging into what healthy relationships look like for women in ministry, I don’t think we can side-step the uber-important relationship of discipling others.
To begin this look, I want to share a snippet by Jo Saxton, author, podcaster, and board chair of 3D Movements.
I want to take the next two sections of our talk and focus in on discipleship as women in ministry. Let’s face it. We’re all busy. We have about 1,345,987 different hats we need to put on, nearly every single day! Where do we fit discipleship relationships into the mix?!
These discipleship relationships are really going back to the second or third-tier of our relationship categories and we can see how they need their boundaries, but at the same time REQUIRE dying to ourselves and giving out more than we think we can.
My question for you as we begin is this:
What is your current “discipleship season” in life?
If you’re a woman in ministry, I’m going to go ahead and make the assumption that you’re an active disciple of Jesus and are being fed daily through the Word and prayer. If not, FULL STOP here and I want you to shoot me a message or text a friend who you know IS doing that to get accountability RIGHT NOW. My favorite definition of discipleship is “follow me as I follow Jesus” and sisters, we can only follow Jesus if we’re studying the words, commands, encouragements, and challenges in the Word and praying DAILY for strength to live them out!
Now that we have THAT established, let’s go back to the question. I want to be so clear that the command to make disciples is always relevant, no matter where you are in life, but, the WHO and HOW changes. Your discipleship relationships will look very different if you’re a young mom with a newborn at home versus a seasoned grandmother supporting her husband in a pastoral position.
Did you get a chance to make that list of life-on-life friends? These are the first places to look for discipleship relationships. Prayerfully evaluate that list, if you don’t currently have an active discipleship happening with anyone. This relationship is going to be someone who can be invited INTO your life to receive a living example as well as “information” about walking this journey with Jesus. It doesn’t need to be complicated, formal, or exist solely within the context of a discipleship "course".
Ladies, if we aren’t intentionally discipling others throughout our lifetime, this generation will die and the next will be raised up WITHOUT a clear idea of what it means to walk with Jesus through the good and the bad, WITHOUT a purposed introduction into living life in a broken world while holding onto a HOPE that never changes. We see a vivid example of what this looks like in the book of Judges.
“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
I don’t know about you, but that is nearly the scariest verse in the entirety of Scripture for me! I look at my daughters, their friends, and the teenagers we’re around often and I think to myself, “What will happen if I spend my life investing in my own growth, my own passions, my own ‘calling’ and forget the highest calling to love the Lord and teach others to do the same?!”
Discipleship is messy, it’s not often (ever?!) convenient, and it certainly doesn’t speak to my strengths. It requires me to be vulnerable, humble, honest about failings, and CERTAIN about the truth that I believe. Yet, it’s not only a command, it’s the place where Jesus spent most of His time and the example He shows me of a life poured out in service to the Father.
What do you think about discipleship? Where is one area that you need to surrender to Christ in order to engage in intentional discipleship? Are you actively involved in discipling someone right now?
For me personally, I’m in a season where there are a few adult relationships that I’m entering as a discipler, but for the most part, I’m intentionally discipling my children at home through homeschooling and doing daily life together. It’s HARD! These girls watch me fail, become frustrated, and act completely opposite of Jesus every. single. day. Yet I have the opportunity to model going back to prayer and the Holy Spirit’s power as we wade through life’s messiness together!
Let’s not only be women in ministry, but women who are active disciples OF Christ and who are actively leading others TO Christ in an intentional way!
This is the crux of the matter: we NEED these kind of relationships. God has uniquely designed each of us with personalities, gifts, passions, abilities, etc. Without “inner circle” friendships, we’re going to miss some of those key parts of our divinely-designed makeup AND those areas where we tend to struggle and stumble a bit.Read More
So many of us have felt the sting of gossip and hearing something we told a friend “in confidence” make its way back to our ears. So what do we do with that? How can we be free and confident as daughters of the Most High in ministry yet be discerning and cautious with our own hearts?Read More
First, I want to recognize and AFFIRM the hurt that so many of you feel. Being in ministry is a tough job; it would be a lot easier without people involved, am I right?! There may have been words said, hurtful actions, neglected relationships, unfair comparisons, judgmental attitudes, and any number of broken friendships that have made you feel like it’s just NOT worth it.Read More
I "grew up military", as in, my Dad was a Captain in the US Coast Guard. Uniforms, discipline, 15 minutes early to EVERYTHING was part of my life. I have a deep respect for the men and women in uniform and the incredible circumstances they face as part of the 9-5 daily job.
When there's a war looming on the horizon, all the "extras" stop. There's intense preparation, strategic planning, and serious meetings going on. Even when the odds aren't in their favor, our men and women in the armed forces are ON TOP of the battle plan.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we read about such a moment in Israelite history where they received word from the enemy stating their intent to come in and WIPE OUT the community. The king at the time was a righteous man by the name of Jehoshaphat and he took that threat seriously... but knew they were completely out-maned.
My very favorite part of the whole entire passage is when he takes the threat before the Lord and says, "O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
CAN I just get a huge AMEN for that phrase?!
But it gets better!!! The day of battle arrives and Jehoshaphat makes a decision that literally knocks the breath out of me every time I honestly stop and think about it. When he gets his army ready, he does something pretty unconventional.
He sends the worship team to march along ahead of them and SING praises to God.
Think about that in modern day. Our guys are in Iraq, blazing down the desert in their tanks and humvees and in front of them is Hillsong Worship on a flatbed truck singing What a Beautiful Name.
Why on earth would he do that?! It just seems CRAZY. Well, let's back up a few verses.
In verse 13, we see that BEFORE the battle, the entire assembly gathered together to come before the Lord and seek His face in this impossible battle. Then, something only the God of Israel could do happens... He speaks directly TO His people through the voice of a single individual among them.
A Levite by the name of Jahaziel stands up and says these incredible, amazing words:
"You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you."
So what we see here is a HUGELY foundational truth! Jehoshaphat and his people could send out the praise team ahead of the army because THEY KNEW THE OUTCOME. They already knew that the Lord was going to win the war.
Let's shift this to us as #womeninministry.
I know so many of you are facing impossible battles. I know that there are circumstances, people, family situations, financial struggles, relational devastation, marriage crises, ministry obstacles, and so much more going on right now. I KNOW because I'm also a #womaninministry and I FEEL IT TOO.
Sisters, we can step confidently into battle WITH A SONG OF PRAISE as we face our enemies because we serve a God that has ALREADY WON THE WAR. There might be battles lost, sicknesses that remain unhealed, relationships that go sour despite our best efforts, and finances that just don't seem to meet the end of the month, BUT WE KNOW THE END OF THE STORY.
And let me tell you something. Singing and filling my heart with praise literally shifts something deep inside of me when I'm facing a battle. I don't care if you're a musician or couldn't care LESS about the latest Bethel music album... God delights in the praise of His people and He MOVES when we acknowledge His authority and majesty.
What battle are you facing today? Are you just WEARY of the war before you? Rest. Remember Jesus' words to us: "I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world." (John 16:33)
Enjoy this song of praise and sing it before your enemy today. There is so much GRACE awaiting you at Jesus' feet. Go there and REST. Let God fight this battle for you.
As we enter a new year, many of us have been working on goals. Ministry, family, health, personal development, household management, all of these areas are subject to scrutiny and adjustment.
My question for myself this year has been this: How can I lean in to the ETERNAL goals and build my year around things that are lasting and Kingdom purposed?
Ok, so the laundry has to be done. The meals have to be cooked. The bills have to be paid on time. Those are temporal things that sustain us through this temporal world. We can’t throw every temporal thing out the window!
I was hopeful for a minute.
But seriously, as women in ministry, we are constantly needing to balance things and keep the balls up in the air, right? As we evaluate and make goals for 2018, have we considered HOW we’re working towards Kingdom things?
I know that I need a shift. I have always been someone who wanted to know the WHY of what I’m doing. Even as a kid at home, if my mom didn’t explain to me WHY I needed to dust the living room (we have company coming for dinner tomorrow), I had a hard time feeling like that should be a priority in my life.
Jesus is pretty clear with us as His followers, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33).
How can I apply that to myself as a woman in ministry? If I’m honestly keeping His Kingdom first, what does that look like for laundry, morning routines, and deadlines at work?
Let’s dig into the Greek a bit in this verse. “Seek” is the Greek word zēteō which means I’m thinking, meditating, inquiring into and reasoning towards something. “First” seems obvious, but the Greek word prōtos means that this thing is first on EVERY list of things I have to do and is of utmost importance in every area of my life. The kingdom (Greek basileia) has to do not necessarily with the actual place or thing, but more with the right or authority to rule. Specifically, Jesus’ right to be King over every domain in my heart, family, ministry, life, world. The righteousness (dikaiosynē) is what Jesus has secured for me, what now identifies my life, what should be the filter and “glasses” through which I make every decision.
So, in a nutshell, we are to be seeking Jesus’ rule in every area of our lives and ministries, and living out of the identity He has placed on us. As Jess Connolly says in her book, Dance, Stand, Run, we GET to live out this identity in Christ. It isn’t something we have to try and attain or conjure up in our hearts.
Now, let’s take this back to the laundry and the ministry. As I make plans and goals for 2018, how am I inviting Jesus in as Lord and King? Is it just a quick addition to my prayer, “Lord, may You be honored in this ministry”? Or am I honestly sitting in this place of abiding, waiting on my King to direct and lead?
As I do the laundry and manage the house am I living out of an identity that allows me to be “hidden” in what I’m doing because I know Whose I am? Is He truly King of my laundry room and the carpool line? Am I learning to let go of perfection, of expectations, of “have-tos” because He is calling me deeper, simpler?
How about you? Where is an area in your life, perhaps a goal you’ve set for 2018, that is less about living in the identity of Christ’s righteousness and more about performing well? Where do you need a shift in your kingdom thinking?
One certain way to "transform your thinking" is by "renewing your mind"! You can join the Simple Deep Life community over on Instagram or Facebook as we read through the Bible in 2018 using the She Reads Truth reading plan! Join us?
I want MORE of God's Word and prayer in 2018!
One of the ways I'm going to implement that goal in my life is to use the She Reads Truth Bible reading plan, which you can see here, or on the She Reads Truth app. This past fall, my mom actually gifted me the BEAUTIFUL new She Reads Truth Bible and I'm SO excited to dig into that in 2018!Read More
This past summer, while I was on my trip to Peru, I received an email from a staff member at IF:Gathering. She invited me to consider and pray about the opportunity to join an extension of the IF:Gathering ministry right in my own state. I was asked to consider whether I felt the Lord leading me to step up and gather women in leadership around me, serve them, and equip them to boldly lead right where they are.Read More
One of the things heavy on my heart in this transition season is the devestation happening all over the country with Hurricane Harvey, the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, and Irma heading right into the heart of Florida. I'm praying so fervently for family there, sweet friends, and all those emergency and necessary personnel who don't have the option to leave.
Today, as I was praying, God gave me a phrase that led into a few lines that turned into a poem. I haven't written poetry since I was a little girl... but this was just something that seemed to flow out of my prayer time. I wanted to share it with all of you as the Lord laid it on my heart to give away.Read More
For me personally, the point that I felt my strength break and the tears began to come was when the tractor pulled me out with some of the other women, we were taken to a safe place, and I realized that my husband wasn’t there yet. I instantly began to look for him and ask the others if anyone had seen him.Read More
Outside, we began to hear other voices getting louder and we could hear, "We need to evacuate, now! More water is on the way!" Marlon came back in and said, "Ok, let's go. We're getting out." We went out together with the baby and the others and immediately saw that the water had risen a great deal.Read More
Suddenly around midnight, there was a loud explosion behind my house and people began yelling “The wall broke!”. My heart started beating very quickly and in my mind I could only think “God, help me get my daughters out!" I ran to get my youngest daughter who was sleeping but it was difficult for me to carry her. The water began entering my house quickly and forcefully.Read More
The beautiful thing is this. I’m learning through all of this that I don’t need to know. I don’t need to figure it out. As I pressed into Jesus, He held me and whispered back, “Just be with Me. Just learn to know Me. I’ll take care of the rest. You don’t need to figure it out. Be faithful in walking daily where I direct you, and you’ll end up where I want you to go.”Read More
Who are the people you text or call at all hours of the day or night just to tell them about the homemade bread you attempted, or how your kid just ran into a wall and busted his head wide open, that you’re on the way to the ER? If you dropped Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat… who would be left in your life? Does that answer frighten you as it did me? Oh, sweet sister, let it sink in.Read More
There's something to be said about face-to-face relationships, isn't there? In our world today there is so much attempt to relate to one another from behind a screen. I'll be honest and say that for me, it has grown concerning.Read More