Monday, November 30, 2009

LIW :: Lady of Diligence

What does it mean to be a lady of diligence? Websters defines diligence as constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind. God wants us to be His diligent followers. I'm sure many (hopefully most, if not all) of us strive to be just that, but often work/school/friends/family/life gets in the way. As single women, we have the time to follow God persistently and earnestly...if only we so choose to.

As single (childless) women, we have much more time on our hands than that of someone who is married. We do not have a husband to tend to or children to look after. The only person we are responsible for is ourself. A married womans life is that of her familys. A single womans life is her own. We have been given the gift of time, it's time we realize it and put this gift to use. Too often we focus our time on achieving married life - finding the perfect guy, perfecting our hair and makeup, getting our bodies beach ready. Imagine the jewels we would be if we only took that time and focused it on God and on preparing our hearts and minds for Him.

Don't waste any of the God-given opportunities placed before you. Use the gifts and time God has given you in this season of your life to do His works. Every choice you make is a reflection of your devotion to Him. Are you living your life in envy of what you do not have? Or are you living your life diligently for Him?


'Be very careful then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lords will is.'
- Ephesians 5.15-17


God has plans for you. You may not see it. You may not understand it. That's okay, you don't need to. You need only to seek His will and follow His direction. I don't know what God has in store for you, or what He's calling you to do right now, but I can say with certainty that it is not to sit idly by until something happens to or for you. Make the most of your singleness. Honor Him in your daily actions and interactions.

"God has called me to live now. He wants me to realize my full potential as a man right now, to be thankful about where I am, and to enjoy it to the fullest. I have a strange feeling that the single person who is always wishing he were married will probably get married, discover all that is involved, and wish he were single again! He will ask himself, 'Why didn't I use that time for the Lord when I didn't have so many other obligations? Why didn't I give myself totally to Him when I was single?' "
- John Fischer

It may not be in Gods plans for you to be married. He may have another plan for you. Conversly, He may plan on you being the next octomom. Okay, probably not. The point is, you don't know what God has in store for you. All you can do is trust that there is a plan and follow His lead. Don't stay at home, fearing that which you cannot know. Use this time without obligations to focus on the Lords will.
Take all the time and energy you've been putting into finding a man and turn it to God. Focus on Him and on readying yourself for your heavenly prince. Don't put your life on hold just because you may not have someone to hold. Would you want a man who has done nothing with the single season of his life? Someone who has just sat idly by pining over different women, hoping that the next one will be 'the one'? No, you want someone who takes pride in himself, someone who has a strong faith and a resolute conviction. Or maybe that's just me.

As a lady of diligence, you would serve the Lord without distraction. Don't relent in seeking His will. Focus on what you can do rather than on what can be done for you. God has bestowed gifts on you, it is your duty to use them to honor Him. What gifts do you have? Are you using them or hiding them away? Would God be pleased with how you use them? Or would it make Him want to shake His head in shame?
'Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain'
- Proverbs 15.4


Take a look at your daily agenda. Where is your time being spent? Is it being wasted? Is it glorifying God? Give Jesus full reign over your time and you will not be disappointed. The heavenly rewards are great and the satisfaction you'll feel is like no other.

God understands that we are only human. We are easily tempted. We are easily swayed. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with people who support us. Prayer in numbers is so powerful. I always find such comfort when I know someone is praying for me and praying for the same things I am praying for. It's so easy to whine and complain about whats going on in your life. Misery loves company and it's no hard task to find people to sympathize with you. Next time you feel like having a pity party, why not find someone to pray with you instead? You may be surprised at how much better you feel.

Maybe you've been gifted with a ministry in writing. Sending a letter of encouragement could really brighten someones day. I, for one, absolutely love getting snail mail. Knowing that someone cares enough for me that they took the time out of their busy day to drop me a note letting me know that they thought of me, makes me feel so loved.

'A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed'
- Proverbs 11.25


Perhaps your gift is a ministry of listening. Sometimes all one needs is a shoulder to cry on. Just your presence can be healing for someone who is in pain. The knowledge that you're there and that you care for them can be much more powerful than any words you can say.

'Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart'
- Proverbs 25.20

Maybe a ministry of hospitality is your strong suit. A casserole can go a long way for someone going through a rough time. What a gift a simple meal can be to a new mother or a recent widower. You don't need to be experiencing a life change or trauma to appreciate a good meal. Cook a gourmet dinner for a few of your closest friends. Some of the best heartfelt conversations take place over a home-cooked meal.

'Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God'
- 1st Corinthians 10.31


A ministry of helps may be what you're being called to do. Helping a friend move, babysitting for a single mother, lending a neighbor a cup of sugar, giving someone a ride...what may seem like a small task to you can bring huge relief to those you are helping.

'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men'
- Colossians 3.23


How are you using your singleness? Are you ministering with the gifts God has blessed you? Or are you pining away for what might be?

Monday, November 23, 2009

LIW :: Lady of Reckless Abandonment

Jackie Kendall proposes that the first step in becoming a Lady in Waiting, is to become a Lady of Reckless Abandonment. I went into this chapter a little skeptical. Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for being a Lady in Waiting and am very excited to see what this devotional will bring -- the title of this chapter just threw me off a bit.

When I think reckless, I think, without care, with no thoughts for what may happen to you or to anyone else, dangerous, selfish...negative all the way. Abandonment doesn't bring about the most positive ideas either. So when Jackie proposed we abandon recklessly, I was a little perplexed. Luckily, I didn't just skim the chapter title, chalk it up to lunacy or a misprint and put the book away. Instead I delved into the chapter, mind and heart open.

By abandon, she means we need to abandon our former selves, our worldly selves, at the feet of Jesus. Ah, now I see where you're going with this. We need to leave ourselves behind, forsake our will for His will. We need to not only let go of our sinful ways, but of all that may lead us back to those ways. We won't be doing this all in vain. In place of all this, we accept God's love and the heavenly rewards He has promised us. We are accepting the gift of His forgiveness, through Christs death and resurrection.

This is not something you should ease into, inch by inch, until you're acclimated to this new lifestyle. No, you need to recklessly abandon yourself to Christ. Know that He is there for you. Know that He is God, the Father. Know that He will not leave you. Know that what He has for you is better than what the world could ever offer you. Know that when you trust in Him, He will provide for you. So leap without looking for a net, without testing the warmth of the water. Trust that He is there. He will not leave you.

Jackie defines reckless abandonment as following God with no expectations that someone or something else can fulfill you in the way that He does. We can be our own worst enemies. I know I have stood in my own way and in Gods way many a time. Our disillusionment can often keep us from giving ourselves fully to the Lord. We think a career or a hobby or a boyfriend or a husband can satiate us. None of these earthly things we'll satisfy you. Only God can bring you true and total satisfaction.



"A woman is not born a woman. Nor does she become one when she marries a man, bears a child and does their dirty linen, not even when she joins a women's liberation movement. a woman becomes a woman when she becomes what God wants her to be."
- excerpt from Learning to be a Woman

Jackie urges us to use this time of singleness as the gift it is intended to be. As a single woman, you have more time than that of a married woman. Use this time to do Gods work. Where a married woman is tending to her husbands needs, a single woman can be volunteering in the community. Where a married woman is tending to her children, a single woman can be ministering for God. Listen to what God is telling you. Go where he is urging you to go. Follow in
His plan for you, submit fully, and you will find true contentment.

No one, not even the man you will marry one day, can make you happy...only Jesus can.
- anonymous

God is the only one who can complete you...not a boyfriend, husband, child, job, money or any other earthly possession. You will never be complete without Jesus. Men and women were not created to complete eachother. No, we were made to compliment one another. A mate will not make you whole, only God can do that, but they can bring out the best in you. Completion is Jesus' responsibility - complimenting is a womans privilege. The feeling of incompleteness comes from a lack of Christ in your life, not from being single.

"I feel very strongly that marriage is not a higher calling than the single state. Happy indeed are those people, married or single, who have discovered that happiness is not found in marriage but in a right relationship with God."
- Gary Chapman


This chapter also speaks of breaking our alabaster boxes at the feet of Jesus. The alabaster box is a symbol of our worth, it is everything we are, everything we know, everything we have, everything we hold onto. Jesus is worthy of our alabaster box. He is the ONLY one worthy of it. When you break your alabaster box for Him, you are giving Him your all, so that you can follow Him with reckless abandonment.

Giving yourself fully, even to God, can be very difficult. To let go of everything and leap blindly is a true testament to your faith and to your devotion to Him. While it may not be possible to remove all sources of temptation from your life, there are ways to limit the things that may influence you. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow in Christ - not hinder that growth or stagnate it. That's not to say you cannot have any friends who are non-believers. It's important that you are in their lives so you can show them the light of Christ. Just be careful that advice you are taking from your friends is routed in His word.

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
- Proverbs 13.20

We often mirror those who influence us. Who is influencing you? Is it someone who has a strong faith? Someone who strives to follow God's lead in their lives? Or is it someone who is self-serving? Someone who lives for the moment with no regard for Gods will in their lives?

Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'
-1st Corinthians 15.33

There is truth to the old saying - you are the company you keep. Your closest friends should be cheering you on in your commitment to Jesus. A good friend should be someone who encourages you to follow Gods way and someone who calls you out when you stray from the righteous path or when the choices you make are leading you to temptation.

Sometimes big changes are required to bring about spiritual growth. These changes are not always easy and can seem to be some of the most difficult things you'll ever do. You may need to stop hanging out with certain people. You may need to change your job. You may need to move. Pray and ask God what changes you need to make in your life in order to follow Him closer. Seek counsel from devout followers, believers and leaders in deciphering what He is saying to you. Often you will need to step outside your comfort zone to show reckless abandonment for Christ.

Take all the energy you use to get to know a new boyfriend, all the energy you usually use to please that boyfriend, and turn it to God. Imagine if you used that energy to learn about Him. To learn from Him. To get to know Him. How much more fulfilled would your life be? How would your life change if you took Gods will over yours (or your families, or your friends, or societies) every time? How much fuller would your life be if you took all the time you know use to pine over a significant other...or lack thereof...to fulfill Gods plans in your life?



'Marriage teaches us that even the most intimate human companionship cannot
satisfy the deepest places of the heart. Our hearts are lonely til they
rest in Him.'
-Elisabeth Elliot

Christ will give you comfort, healing, direction, purpose...if only you'll let Him. Will you let Him be your all in all?

LIW video intro


video

the links I mention in the video are ::

my tokbox

Amy's tokbox

You can also friend Amy, Desiree or myself on facebook (or the the group, of course!) by clicking below.

facebook group

Amy's facebook

Desiree's facebook

my facebook

If you're interested in getting the book, Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall, you can find it for under $15 on amazon.com or check out jackiekendall.com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

LIW bible study

As I mentioned in my last post, Desiree, Amy and I will be starting a new bible study using Jackie Kendalls book, Lady in Waiting. We'll be doing it using tokbox.com, which is basically a video im site that compiles your friends lists from gmail, aim and msn messenger, as well as any friends you add through the site itself.

We're opening our study up to any single woman who would like to learn how being single is a gift from God, gain community with other single woman, strengthen their relationship with God and/or learn how to become God's best while waiting for Mr. Right. You can join us in person or online. If you're in the Tampa or St Petersburg areas, email me (click on 'me') and I will let you know how to get to either Amys or my house. If you're out of the area, or would prefer to just log onto our chat, you can friend either Amy or myself on tokbox.

We've also started a facebook group. We'll be sending out weekly evites to the study as well as posting discussion topics for each chapter. I'm really excited to get started. I hope you'll join us!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lady in Waiting

For my birthday this year, my good friend, Desiree, gave me an awesome book -- Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall. Des and I have become quite close over the last several months. She is an amazing christian woman who radiates the light of Christ. We have had quite a few heart-to-hearts...most of them revolving around men, relationships and the difficulties of being single and being a good christian.

Desiree and Amy (another good friend of ours) did this bible study a few years back and it really changed their outlook on being single. Due to my transportation issues, or lack there of, and the fact that I now live over the bridge, we decided to this study in a new way. We're going to do it over the internet. With a webcam on their end, and one on mine, we'll conference in once a week and discuss our thoughts on the chapters. I've never done a bible study, or anything else for that matter, via live webcam so hopefully it will work out!

This book focuses on how being single is a gift from God, and what you should be doing with this time in your life. It's not a how-to on getting a single guy or anything like that. It's about focusing on you. The tagline being 'Becoming God's best while waiting for Mr. Right.'

I am really excited about this study! Desiree knew I had been looking for a good study to do for single women for myself and my friend Cassie to do together. I did pick up one of Priscilla Shirers books, but I didn't feel it was really what I was looking for. Lady in Waiting looks perfect! I've only read the back cover so far...Des and Amy forbade me to open it until we start our study. But so far, so good!

I can't wait to start!