Good evening, friends!  I know that it has been almost two weeks since I have blogged – so pull up a chair and visit for awhile.

Earlier this week, I made a decision to roll out of bed early on a Saturday morning to attend a Ladies’ Conference at Edinbrook Church in Brooklyn Park.  In consideration of the fact that those who know me know that recently, I’ve been struggling with some identity issues – it turned out to be a great decision.  It was a beautiful, if cold – morning, this morning – but was a great day to attend an event that made a strong psychological impact on me!

The keynote speaker was well-known radio personality, and Christian author Susie Larson.  Throughout the course of the day, Susie made three different speeches.  It was her early morning address that impacted me the strongest, though.  Her opening keynote address was on our “uncommon” value as women.  I didn’t take extensive notes on Susie’s speech, but a few minutes in she made a statement that the two biggest stumbling blocks to achieving the destinies that Christ has for us are inferiority, and insecurity!  That really resonated, with me.  Most of my adult life, I’ve thought of myself as a fairly confident, secure person.  As soon as she said it, the wisdom and the truth of Susie’s statement occurred to me.  As the Bible says, in the beginning God created man – and then created woman – so that man would have a “help” mate.  In Genesis, it says that He created us – and that His creations were good.  It seems that in modern times, however – we as women seem to develop inferiority complexes.  Susie went on to say that we each have a destiny in Christ – but that the only way that we’re ever going to achieve our personal destinies is if we believe, and profess – our value in Christ!  It is only once we truly understand that we are loved, that we can achieve success and greatness.  Christ does intend that each of us achieve success in our own stories!

Later in the day, I had an opportunity to attend a shorter speech – by little-known public speaker Stephanie Page.  Stephanie is a happily married, thirty-something mother of three young girls.  In combination with her husband, Chris – Stephanie teaches the 5th & 6th graders at Edinbrook Church.  Stephanie had (previously) prepared a speech entitled  “Comparing:  The Desire that Keeps us from Living Our Story.”  Stephanie’s speech was well thought-out and timely, for women in society today.  Stephanie spent a short half an hour dialoguing on the sin of comparison.  Stephanie opened her speech with some brief remarks about herself, and then made a comment about how earlier in her life, she had been guilty of comparing herself – and her life.  Then, she queried her audience about how many of them had ever assessed who they were, and what they have – and then compared their lives, their selves – to someone else.  I think that we’re all guilty of that, at some point in our lives as women!  It says in the Bible that we were each created uniquely – and that Christ has a destiny for each of us.  Stephanie stressed that we were EACH created uniquely, in His own image!  That he has a destiny FOR EACH of us!!  Christ doesn’t intend that we compare ourselves.  It says in the Bible that jealousy is a sin.  Later in her speech, Stephanie talked about how one of the other sins that we commit is the sin of not prioritizing Christ in our lives.  She spoke about how one of the other things that she had been guilty of – in the past – was not prioritizing Christ!  How easy it is to just “visit with” Christ – for a few minutes, here and there – whenever our schedules permit for it.  She spoke about how she used to believe that within any particular day, there were always certain things THAT HAD TO be done!  Whether dinner cooked – for a family that depended on her, or speeches written – to be presented at a later date, or calls that had to get made a certain evening.  Then she spoke of how Christ got her attention, a few years ago – and how since then she’s realized that the only thing that she really HAS TO do is to sit at the table with Christ.  Not pass Him, coming and going – but sit down with him and spend time!

It was a wonderful, encouraging conference – and although I woke tired this morning, and sorely tempted to roll over – God spoke to my heart, and told me that I needed to be there!  That he had some messages that I needed to hear.  And in the end, I was very glad that I had gone!!

On Obsessions and Contentment

Good evening, friends!  Here are my reflections for today – for any of you who are interested.      In recent weeks, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about things – stuff.  Mostly in relation to money – and my current lack of it.  There are so many things that I want – and mostly, only because I know that getting them will make me happy momentarily.  But then, I…

stop and think about what Jesus says in the Bible about contentment.  Why is it that – at times – it feels so important to have things?   In society today, we get bombarded from all sides by the media with television commercials, Internet “pop-ups”, and signs in shop windows stroking our egos and convincing us that we would be happier if we just had . . .  I’ve decided that in some cases, there is some truth to be had in this.  With careful financial management, I’ve had the ability to purchase some nicer quality (read – more expensive) clothes to wear to work.  Doing so has made a difference – as I find that the more “professional” I look, when I’m working – the better that I feel about myself!  That being said, however – in regard to other things, I try to be much more discriminating about the financial choices that I make and the benefit of whatever I purchase.    Financially, my husband and I have always done pretty well.  As a result, for years I haven’t had to be too careful about my spending.  More recently, however – times have gotten tougher and I’ve had to start being more discerning.  As I reflect on my financial state and my discontent, it occurs to me that my poor attitude is influencing my ability to truly worship God!  God has gifted me with so much – and blessings, besides – in the form of strong, and Godly friendships – that I should be profoundly grateful, rather than feeling dissatisfied and stressed.  Additionally, my husband and I know so many people who are out of work right now – and cannot find jobs for anything.  We know others, also who have always been very careful with their money – but due to a stroke of bad luck – or a series of (coincidental) events beyond their control – are having their homes foreclosed on.  As I bear their hardships in mind, and pray for their families the thought occurs to me that . . . . how much better off, and happier would I be in the future if rather than spending money on material goods, anytime that I am able to start accumulating a little bit of extra – if I started putting it into savings in the bank, so that I could “gift” it to those in my acquaintance who aren’t as blessed as I am, and could really use it!  It wasn’t until my husband and I went through a small-group Bible Study with our pastor, that I really got the true concept of generosity!  Oh, I had known for years what the word meant – but when studied “in-depth” and presented the way that he presented it, the concept suddenly took on a much larger meaning!   In modern society, until about ten years ago when the market suddenly took a plunge – it seemed that there were so many professions that paid very, very well and so many people that made significant amounts of money that I think it started becoming easy for us to become truly selfish, and not to worship God for the gifts that he has given us!  It seems that in society today, that’s just not the case anymore.  As we look around us at current economic trends, it is easy to observe that many families are cutting way back (or out, completely) on luxuries – and only spending money on necessities.   When we look at what the Bible says about caring for our Brothers, how much more so – then – if those of us who have more give out of our abundant riches ?  And how might doing so impact our self-images?    As these things have begun to weigh more on my heart recently, I’m finding that it is becoming much easier to be content with what I have – and to, as they say – give thanks, with a truly grateful heart!  Blessings to you and your families, friends – and I pray that God continues to bless all of you abundantly!!