So I (Mandy) bring this post to you straight off the cuff.
Bear with me and the bumpy ride this may be. I am typing quicker than the thoughts are coming to my mind.
I just read a blog post about joining to gether in community. And I got excited!
I got excited because I have been feeling this stirring in my heart for years. But more recently it has been a burning passion deep in my soul (hello, melodramatics!) and the genesis of Deliberate Women.
I had a vision (not the prophetic, crystal ball variety) planted on my heart for ministering to women. And ministering to women in a way that is a little different than has been my experience.
Absolutely there are some phenomenal, talented, gifted women in this world and I certainly have my favorites...
But my desire is to be a speaker and an author (Lord willing) to share my story in all its gory detail to help others make peace with and reconcile their own. But after reading and listening to these women and others, I was crushed at the idea of never being able to measure up to them. For one, I am from up North and acquiring a soft, Southern lilt is just not in the cards for me.
Also, and more seriously, while I know their stories, I still feel like their lives today could appear to be wrapped up in a pretty bow and I can imagine other women feeling like I do...like my messy life just doesn't match.
So I have a desire to reach women by being real. Transparent. Authentic. And at the risk of over-using this phrase; Relevant.
I don't want to be SO relevant, however, that God's message completely disappears into the landscape of this world.
But I want to make people laugh. I want to make people cry. I want to make people say "Oh my gosh! YES! I know EXACTLY what she's talking about!"
I want to connect. I want to connect with YOU.
And I want ALL the glory to go to God!
That last one has been my prayer for so long.
And I got to thinking...surely this isn't a revolutionary thought. I'd like to think I am unique, but--c'mon! This idea has to have crossed others' minds...
So join me.
I'm not suggesting we all whip out a laptop and start typing up a manuscript or volunteer to be keynotes at women's conferences across the country.
But I am suggesting that we start being more like Jesus in the way He was in His time.
He was a revolutionary. He was a renegade. He bucked the rules of His culture and stepped outside the rules of convention.
Sign me up.
I am longing for more than the surface connections of potlucks and Bible Studies.
Don't misunderstand me...these are fabulous and have their place. But let's not stop there.
Let's reach beyond and move toward one another in ways that shatter convention and take us beyond ourselves.
Let's start stepping outside of our comfort zones and preconceived notions of what a "good" Christian is. Of what is considered "enough".
Let's start studying...really studying...who and what Jesus was.
His mission first and foremost was to serve and please God.
He willingly gave up His life-- and in such a painful and disgraceful manner--to obey the will of His Father.
I don't know about you, but I don't like to be uncomfortable. I don't like waiting. I don't like being told "no", and I don't want to suffer. At all. Ever. Not even a little.
But I want to please Him.
I want to connect with His children just the way He always intended.
I want to look beyond what is socially acceptable.
I want to reach farther than what is conveniently close.
I want to get my hands dirty.
I want to put myself out there.
I want to start loving and stop judging.
I want to share His love everywhere and with everyone without hesitation or pretense and without pre-qualifying.
And I'd love for you to do that with me.
Did you just do a mental inventory of your day-to-day and think there's no way you could ever do what I am talking about? Do you stay-at-home with your child(ren), wiping butts and noses, folding laundry, cleaning up (and cleaning up and cleaning up) toys, make 2,000 meals and snacks a day, and pray for a solid 5 minutes to use the bathroom uninterrupted?
Do you work outside of the home and feel like you're being torn in 37 different directions by your various responsibilities and know that you know that you know that you could never have time to contribute to something like this?
Are you more of a behind-the-scenes type of person who breaks out into a cold sweat at the mere thought of speaking in front of people or introducing yourself to someone?
Are you a new Believer who reads blogs like this one to learn more and get more confident in your faith?
Are you a seasoned Veteran who has been-there-done-that and served on every MOPS steering team, led 500 Ladies' Bible studies, acted as President of the VBS planning committee for 10 years straight and feel now is your time to let the next generation take the lead?
Are you a woman who has felt disenfranchised for whatever reason and the very idea of being part of a "ministry" makes you want to throw up because of the hypocrisy that surrounds so many who call themselves Christians?
If so...I understand. I do. I have felt the same way every. single. one. of. you. has felt/is feeling.
I have felt incompetent, incomplete, unprepared, green, scared crapless, annoyed, burned out, and dubious on many, many occasions.
And those same feelings still creep in from time to time.
Okay...all the time.
But I have decided that I am going to press forward. I am going to wear Christ the best that I can and pray that God will fill me with the spirit and strength and wisdom needed to let others see Christ in me.
I will screw up. I will fail. I will fall flat on my face.
But I intend to keep getting up and allowing Christ's strength to show through my weakness.
Our job here on Earth is to spread the good news to all creation. And then Jesus can come.
And I don't know about you, but I am ready to be in Paradise with Him.
And I intend to join all of you there.
If you're "IN" feel free to pray this prayer with me. Wherever you are.
I am guilty of so many things; pride, jealousy, disobedience, judgment, disbelief, and the list goes on...but one thing I am rarely guilty of is serving you wholeheartedly and being absolutely, completely, 100% sold out to You. Please work on my heart. Please open my eyes to what You see. Please soften my heart to how You feel about Your children. Please mold my will to Your own. Please change me. And please make me approachable to others so that they can see Your love in my life. I serve You and You only. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Feel free to comment and let me know you're IN this with us. Even a simple "IN!" will fill my heart (and His) with joy!