Freedom to Be the Woman God Made You to Be

When I was 20, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I wanted to have it ALL. I wanted a successful career and a large house, full of kids.

God has taken me on a circular journey of sorts: dashing my dreams of what I thought I wanted (in my 20s, I thought it was career and financial success; in my 30s, I thought it was full-time homemaking and homeschooling) and bringing me to a place of total dependence on his plans for me.

This is a hard post to write because I have spent the last two decades chasing after something I wanted with my whole heart. And therein lies the confession and the stumbling block: my whole-hearted devotion has been focused on the wrong things.

Why did I want to become a famous newscasater? Public adoration, praise, and accolades for my talent and skill. Why did I want to become a full-time, academically and theologically rigorous homeschool mom? Public adoration, praise, and accolades for my “obedience” to God and subsequent churning out of great kids (though no guarantees, you know).

Within the last two years, though, God has brought me to the end of my assumptions about his plans for me.

I’m discovering the freedom in Christ that allows me to be the woman God made me to be, and I’m realizing she’s not much like the woman I had been pursuing.

That’s because God has called me to something else—a hybrid of all those characteristics. God has made me an entrepreneurially-minded, creative woman. I love my family to the extent I’d throw myself in front of a train for them, but too much “togetherness” and I begin to disintegrate. I despise housework (and am not good at it, to boot), but I love reciting the Catechism with my kids. I don’t have the affinity nor the attention span to glue together popsicle sticks to make wooden replicas of historic buildings, but I love navigating the hard topics of religion, politics, and—yes—sex, on a second-grade level with my daughter. I hate playing outside, but I love encouraging my kids in how to confidently shake hands and speak to adults.

The women of the Bible possess these types of complexities, I believe. I see the widow in 2 Kings 4 as having these various complexities: interests and abilities that are both creative and entrepreneurial. God meets this woman in her time of need by revealing his power through his prophet and through her.

How has God gifted you?
How has God used your gifts to meet your needs and bring glory to himself?

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Photo credit: dee from morguefile.com

The Role of the Ordinary in the Story of Elisha and the Widow

I told you about how I named this blog in yesterday’s post. I told you the story of Elisha and the widow from 2 Kings 4.

One of the most important aspects of the passage—I believe—is the role of the ordinary.

What’s more basic than oil and jars?

God’s all about using the ordinary to do extraordinary things.

I believe that God chooses to operate against the backdrop of ordinaryness so that his glory shines forth that much more.

What are some ordinary things that God has used? Some of them include:Role of the Ordinary in the Story of Elisha and the Widow. God uses the ordinary for extraordinary purposes.

  • a baby in a barn wrapped in rags
  • water, wine, bread
  • words and language to record his glory and revelation

Recently in my Sunday school class, we talked about Jesus’ miracles. My teacher noted that Jesus could have performed miracles everywhere, all day long. But he didn’t heal everyone who was sick. Jesus’ miracles were specific and purposeful in establishing himself as God and pointing toward his ultimate miracle: Resurrection and salvation for those who believe in him. He also always accompanied the physical miracle with the spiritual miracle (conversion of the person).

I thought about something else, as well. Had Jesus gone around healing everyone and performing all and any  kind of miracle, wouldn’t that, in a sense, have diluted the effectiveness of his message? Wouldn’t persons have come to expect such of him? Wouldn’t that have “cheapened” his grace in some manner?

As it was, we have these incredible miracles on display against the backdrop of ordinary people—chosen by God—for healing and saving. The deliberate choices of these select few make Jesus’ power all the more great.

And the deliberate use of the “ordinary” for God’s purposes makes them all the more extraordinary.

Seeing The “Ordinary” in The Story of Elisha and the Widow

In the story of Elisha and the widow, she had all she needed (by and through God’s power, of course) right inside the walls of her own house. She had the ability, the possessions, and the help within her grasp.

What ordinary things in your house can be extraordinary in God’s economy?

photo: supafine at morguefile

Elisha and The Widow in 2 Kings 4: What Have You in the House?

Elisha and the Widow in 2 Kings 4: What Have You in the House?

Elisha and the Widow’s Oil
2 Kings 4:1-7

4:1 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

2 And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

3 Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. 4 Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.”

5 So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

~~~

“What have you in the house?” Elisha asks the widow in 2 Kings 4.

Since hearing a talk on this passage many years ago, I have not forgotten its power.

Elisha could have offered any number of solutions to this woman’s predicament (God used him to bring the dead to life). Instead, he calmly asks her to look in her house.

The widow is facing terrible circumstances, isn’t she? She has no husband, lots of debt, and no money. She’s certain her sons will be taken from her, too.

Yet God chooses to save her, her family, her reputation, and her future through his prophet Elisha and some common household goods.

I love this passage for its simplistic picture of God’s extraordinary power in the “ordinaryness” of life. I love what the passage teaches me about my need and how my God can and will meet it.

Look in your house.

There you’ll find:

  • Your priority.
  • Your passion.
  • Your provision.
God comes to us in the very ordinary, every single day, in the most basic ways.

What do you need?

Look in your house.

(And that’s how I named this blog.)

Look in your house. There you’ll find your priority, passion, and provision.

photo: ladyheart at morguefile.com