I’m writing to you all today because some things have really been on my heart to share. And some of this is so new and fresh, I have been mulling them over for weeks, and then for some reason last night God gave me a verse, and that verse led to a second verse. So this morning, I dug in, and I am going to attempt to share what he has given me through these verses.
As moms, I think about what we do, and honestly I think we can all agree we deserve superhero capes. When you think on it, it actually doesn’t even seem humanly possible that we achieve the things we do.
It has been on my heart lately that the support mothers have, the people around them to help them in the every day looks so different than it did in past generations. I’ll give you a couple of examples of what I mean. When my Grandma was young, and she was having my Dad (she has been in very poor health her whole life) she got really sick and they thought my Dad was going to be stillborn. So a neighbor was watching my Aunt when she went to have my Dad. Obviously since I am writing this my Dad was born, but the important part of this example is the neighbor. My Grandparents trusted their neighbor enough for my Aunt to stay with them for a few days. When my Mom was a young Mom, her Mother, my Aunt Sandy and many cousins and sisters would all get together every year and make Christmas candy. They would get together and can vegetables from the garden. They would even make an assembly line with sewing machines and make dresses for themselves and their children.
When I think of these memories that have been passed down to me, I can’t help think– WOW. It’s not like that anymore is it? Would you trust your neighbor to keep your only child for a few days…especially when you think you aren’t coming home with another baby? Do you have a gaggle of women in your family get together and support each other and watch each others kids while you do your thing? Does your family stop by unannounced to bring food, a book, a magazine or your favorite coffee? I’m guessing most of you, like me, would say no. In the time we live in, this just isn’t the way it is anymore. Seeing as how this isn’t the main point, I will tell you that, if you feel like me and you feel lonely, scared, inadequate or disconnected I want you to know that it’s ok to feel those things because you don’t have that support. It is ok, you know why? Jesus.
You see, I have sort of been on a soul searching mission for the past 4 years. I have been trying to deeply connect with the God, in scripture and prayer. And some amazing things have happened. I have seen redemption, renewal and grace upon grace. It has been wonderful. But you know what I still felt? I still felt a little lonely! Now isn’t this strange? How can we feel alone when the God of the universe put his Spirit in us and it’s with us everywhere we go? I could not answer this. And I could not understand why I didn’t feel fulfilled. So at the beginning of this year, upon God’s urging, I stopped spending as much time on social media and other outlets online and I started spending A TON more time in the word. I started feeling a shift. Then, I bought a new book by one of my favorite authors Jennie Allen called Nothing to Prove. A short ways in, I realized that this book, and the scripture behind it was making some changes in me. Then, I decided even though I wasn’t being encouraged by anyone else besides the Holy Spirit, I was going to host a condensed bible study over the companion resources for the book. The bible study was called Proven. Working through that study, praying over the women who joined me, and being connected with God and hearing his truth daily revved me up to say the least. And I have been wanting to share those truths that I learned since then, but I haven’t really been able to connect it all or have it all make sense, and maybe I still am not making sense. So let me recap a bit.
1/ As women we often feel alone in motherhood.
2/ This is ok, because Jesus is enough.
3/ We as believers are the salt of the earth and because we BELIEVE, rivers of living water will flow from us.
4/ Jesus is ALWAYS enough.
So let me explain number three, and finally get to the point already (geez Sarah!). First, the salt. This is what God gave me last night. I had no idea. And honestly when I dug in, I thought I was taking this out of context, and really not reading it right. I thought it must have been a mistake that this was somehow connected.
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. -Matthew 5:13
Now, I’m sure MOST of you have heard or read that verse. But, if you are like me, you hadn’t heard this one very many times, if at all.
Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. -Mark 9:50
Woah. Such similar passages, but we get a whole different meaning. So let me tell you something that I didn’t really understand until the last year in terms of reading the bible. It is so important to see where you are when you read scripture. Especially in the four Gospels. The reason why is because each writer of the Gospels had a very different audience and purpose for writing what they did and interpreting what Jesus was saying. So by digging in to background, you can learn so much!
So for my purposes, since I wasn’t understanding what this verse was saying, looking at Mark and Luke’s version was important. And reading the notes and commentary from other bible scholars was also important. In Mark’s version the commentary said, “Protect yourselves from corruption” and “Speak graciously and judiciously”. Also, “Be at peace with one another recalls the controversy disclosed in vv. 33-34. The members of the community are exhorted to avoid rivalry and self assertion.” (If you remember the controversy was the “who is the greatest?”) Ok then, well how many of you just thought, they are totally talking about the comparison game? We so often as women look side to side and think we aren’t good enough based on what someone else is doing. And then when we are done looking side to side, we feel alone. That is not a good combo. And yet, that’s not what God expects of us. God expects us to be standing shoulder to shoulder cheering each other on. Because looking side to side and comparing steals our joy doesn’t it? The God given, fulfilling joy that he intends to have us share with everyone around us. “You are the salt of the earth.” That is a call you guys. That is a call for us to share the Gospel. To share Jesus. As moms, as believers, that is our most important mission. And because Jesus is right here with us, our support system isn’t the main thing. It’s not what we need the most. It’s not what fills us up. So I want you to think about seasoning for a minute. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The seasoning brought life to the dish.” Well, if not that is ok, but what I want you to understand is that Jesus is the salt. He is our salt. And when he is in us, that’s what makes us the salt. When he died on that cross, and we chose to believe in him, the Holy Spirit entered us and gave us NEW LIFE. Jesus gives us new life. Anytime we turn to him, pray with him, commune with him. He fills us up when no one else can.
Speaking of filling up, how many of you walk through the day to day feeling like your cup is empty even though you go to church on Sunday and you are a believer? I have felt this too friend, many, many seasons of this feeling. But you know what I have been feeling lately? The missing link to my cup being empty, or being overflowing…is me. Or rather, my lack of connection with God. Am I turning to him? Am I praying and communicating with him? Am I putting other things before him all day every day? Or does he come first NO MATTER WHAT? If everything I love on this earth washes away like sand, will I be overflowing with his joy and goodness because I have him and he is all I need? Friends, this was a GUT CHECK for me. It knocked the wind straight out of me.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and drink. Whoever BELIEVES in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37
You know what that is? That is very black and white, cut and dry scripture right there. “Come to ME and drink.” So who/what are we turning to when we are thirsty, when our cup is empty? Do we go to him every time?
God forgive us for deciding what it should look like to follow Him, for suggesting that fulfillment comes more from the life we build here than in the life that waits for us with Him. The nearness of Jesus is enough to infuse joy in the midst of everyday experiences. But why don’t we live as if we believe that? I think we often go to Jesus for salvation but daily miss that Jesus is offering us the extravagant rich blessing of presence with Him…what is the secret? When we do not have enough or feel enough, we believe Jesus is enough. -Jennie Allen
You know what I love about Jennie Allen? She is also cut and dry, she doesn’t mess around with small talk. She just says it how it is. And it shows the spirit God gave her. Also, when Jennie is being cut and dry, she wastes no time to tell you that our time here is short. This life is passing away, and we have one shot to live this life for the glory of God, and bring as many people to his kingdom as possible while we are here! Isn’t that amazing?
Of course it is, but you know what? It. Is. Hard. I’ll say it. I say it all the time. I tell you that this life, motherhood specifically, is one of the hardest things we will ever do. But do you know the one thing that makes it joyful, fun, and worth it? Jesus.