Category Archives: Women’s Community

The Pharaoh of Comparison

Yesterday at bible study I was struck deep in the chest about something.

Our women’s group is going through Priscilla Shirer’s study “He Speaks To Me”.  In her video session, she was encouraging us to be undivided in our worship. To not be distracted by the things around us.  To not be held captive by anything but give it all, everything you have, to God.

She spoke of the different captors in our lives, Pharaohs she called them, that keep us captive in our thinking and behavior.

My captor?

The Pharaoh of Comparison.

I believe a lot of us struggle with comparing ourselves to others. If you are a woman, this is especially true.  I find myself looking at other women and marvel at their abilities and attributes and I can’t help but start to question my own abilities and attributes.

“Why can’t I be as creative as Elizabeth?”

“I wish I could speak as well in front of people as my friend Bre.”

“I don’t have as much energy as so and so”.

“I want to write like Sarah. She is so incredible with her use of words and I’m not”.

Do you see where I am going?  When I do this, then I try to be like them.

Instead of trying to be myself. The girl that God specifically created and crafted with a specific personality, gifts and attributes.  I have passions of my own to use for God’s glory and for ministry.  But I get so lost in trying to be someone else that I put my own gifting on the back burner…or buried in some dark closet.

And then Priscilla said this and it shook me to my core and snapped me back to see just how unique God made me:

“If you are too busy trying to play someone else-who in the world is going to play you.”

Friends don’t be held captive by this captor. He is only as strong as you allow him to be. Allow the Holy Spirit to break you free and realize your own full potential, gifts and abilities to glorify Him and worship Him fully.

An undistracted worship for our King.

Blessings,

Tiff~

Oh To Not Be Lazy

I am going to let you in on a little secret.

Sometimes, I'm lazy. *gasp* I know. It totally shocked you didn't it.  

I apologize.

But the truth is I am just not that motivated of a person.  Oh, I can dream up big ideas and plans and to do lists.  I am very type A that way. And if there is a deadline that something has to be done or completed by, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be done way ahead of time.

Because I don't like to procrastinate. I absolutely, positively hate procrastination.  I don't need the extra anxiety in my life.

But when it comes to things like keeping my house clean, creating and sticking to a budget, creating a menu then following that menu plan for dinner….and all the other things I can think of in regards to keeping my home and family in order…I am one lazy gal.

I don't desire to be this way. But the truth is I am.  And I am working on it.

Last night, I spoke to the gals of Illuminate about the industrious, creative, resourceful spirit of God's beautiful woman (Proverbs 31:13-16).  I was so convicted in my study, to see how unlike her at times I can be.  This woman is not lazy in any sense.  She works with pleasure using her hands to create beautiful clothing for her family and for merchants to sell (Proverbs 31:13). She sets her sights on the merchant ships everyday to bring in delicious and nutritious delicacies for her family to enjoy as food (Proverbs 31:14).  And she didn't do this just once a day, but daily. She did not have the luxury of a refrigerator and freezer in her home. 

We see this beautiful woman get up really early before anyone else to supply food for her household and make a plan for the day, knowing that she only has so many precious hours to complete her tasks (Proverbs 31:15).  She didn't spend her time on the computer, text messaging her girlfriends or sitting on the couch watching Food Network (so guilty of this one!). She did not waste precious hours given to her by her Heavenly Father.  

In Proverbs 31:16, we see God's beautiful woman make  a business deal.  She buys a field and plants a vineyard. A VINEYARD!  I can barely keep potted plants alive.  Praise the Lord I can keep my children alive. I think that is even harder, especially when you have a fifteen month old who loves to climb on furniture and believes he is invincible and tries to dive off.  I pray that we don't see the ER anytime soon.  He is a stinker that boy of mine.

Sorry, I got off track.  I tend to do that sometimes.  ;).

When I look at verse 16, I believe this woman had a big dream.  A dream she shared with her husband.  She wanted to make sure it was his dream as well.  They dreamed together of building their family and of making profitable and beneficial decisions.  I am sure as she planted and tilled and worked with her hands in her vineyard, she dreamed of all the possibilities this vineyard had.  Of what it could possible do her for her families well being and future.  She longed to make them secure and happy and well off.  She sacrificed and worked hard in order to make those dreams come true for her family.  

Oh how I desire to be like this beautiful, creative and non lazy woman.  I am going to work so much harder, using the gifts and talents and hours God gives me in order to make my dreams come true for my family.  

Will you join me? =)

Tiff~

She Does Him Good

"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

We have such a vague idea of what a good wife looks like.  According to the media, internet and a zillion other sources we could do our research, a good wife is loving, honest, cleans the house, cooks for her husband, loves the children and doesn't yell at them (there goes about 85% of us..ha!).

But I believe God's word gives us a better view of what a good wife looks like.  

Because I desperately want to be God's beautiful wife.  

I loved this concept from Elizabeth George's book Beautiful in God's eyes: that "God's beautiful wife is intent on lavishing good, every possible good on her husband. She lives to love him and she does him good at every opportunity."

But where does it come from?  How does a woman, in a selfish, self absorbed world, lavish such goodness on the man she is called to be one with for the rest of her life.  How does she offer goodness and care to him when sometimes he flat out annoys her!

Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

If we look at the Fruit of the Spirit, one of the characteristics is "Goodness". When we remain in Christ, continue to walk in obedience with Him and are in His word daily so that we may know Him better and we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, then the Fruit of the (Holy) Spirit is what will spring forth.

Ladies, we must be walking in obedience to God.  If we truly want to be wellsprings of life to our husbands, remaining in Christ is so essential.  Elizabeth George says it best when she explains that a wife does not show goodness to her husband because she has to, but "because she desires to obey Her Heavenly Lord as well as her earthly Lord."

That to me is powerful.

I want to obey God.  So by obeying Him, I will be good to my husband. I will obey  my husband because God commands me to in Ephesians 5:22.

I will be my husband's biggest cheerleader, support and backbone.  While he is out slaying dragons for our little family so that we can have a roof over our head and food to eat, I will root for him. Pray for him. Provide a safe and quiet home for him.  I will not withhold it just because he makes me angry and disappoints me. 

When two sinful people are joined together, disappointment is inevitable!

Ladies, we are the one person who can truly be there for our man.  When he is out in the world trying to take care of us, there will be folks who will try to tear him down, rip him to shreds, emasculate him and say he is not worth anything.  Will you be the one person in his life that he knows has his back?  

Because you may be the only person. 

Nothing is more painful than seeing a man who is beaten up and defeated.  Will you put your big girl panties on when times are tough and encourage him.  Give him everything he needs to succeed? Sacrifice your own wants at the time to make sure he can do what God calls him to do? This isn't easy.  Trust me, I know this!  We aren't always going to want to do good to those who sometimes hurt us.  But if we are living by the Holy Spirit and we desire to obey God….then we will. 

"The wisest of women builds her house, 

But folly with her own hands tears it down."

Proverbs 14:1

All The Single Ladies

I am loving our Women's Community at Illuminate.  I have met some amazing gals who have decided to become more invested in the group and dig deeper in to God's word with other women.

It is what I am praying for and more for these gals.  I can't wait to see what else comes our way.  All I can say is bring it!

Last night, Dan spoke on what the gals should look for in a future spouse.  When I was single, I had a list of about 40 to 50 things that I wanted my future husband to be.  Some were non negotiable (like not marrying someone in ministry *ahem*) and some were superficial, things I knew that could change.  What I learned was that God was ultimately in control of my list and that I needed to allow Him the ability to take away and add to my list as He saw fit.  To place things in or out of my life in order that His will would be done for it.  It isn't an easy thing to do.  Hence, when I was dating Dan and he said he was going into ministry…..HELLO! 

But I have no regrets about that. I love being in ministry with Dan.  

In meeting with the girls last night, I tried to stress the importance of being a woman worth pursuing. A Godly woman.  So often we create a list for the characteristics and qualities that we believe someone else should have, yet when we get down to the nitty gritty  we can see we don't exactly possess godly characteristics ourselves. We fall short but expect the other person to have it together.  

I want to encourage you girls, if you are single, it starts now.

Be a single woman who pursues God with her whole heart, soul and mind. Who loves Him more than anything. Serves Him and desires to obey Him.  Trust me when I say that men who love the Lord will notice a woman who loves the Lord.  

I asked Dan to say specifically what he loved about me.  He told me it was my love for God and that I spent time in His Word and serving His Kingdom. His answer reminded of how important it is to nurture and appreciate singleness.  To not waste the time pining away for a boyfriend.    To spend those quality moments at the feet of God and know Him through His word.  To be serving in the church.  To be head over heels in love with our Savior. 

In Proverbs 31:30 it says "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  We may be good looking and charming and smart and all of those things the world values.  But God says that a woman who loves the Lord is far more beautiful and praiseworthy.  

My prayer is that you single girls, while it is okay to desire a husband, seek first the Kingdom.  

Blessings,

Tiff~

Dreaming Big Dreams

Last night we kicked off our brand new series "I Do, Until" at Illuminate.  I have to say that it was amazing to meet so many new faces. Faces of people who really wanted to know how to have a godly relationship and marriage.  They were tired of the same thing the culture has offered us for so long and without real results.

We know God provides and that His way is better.  But sometimes, it is just hard to live it out.  I hope with this series, men and women will see just how God's design for marriage is truly better than anything Cosmopolitan magazine, Access Hollywood and all the reality shows could ever offer us.  

We also launched our Communities for the men and women.  I have been praying for something like this for a long time.  To be able to provide a place for the guys and gals to invest in fellowship and in God's word…to dig in just a bit deeper.  To learn to read God's word for themselves instead of just relying on the Pastor to feed them. To have accountability and a place to share our hearts with intimate friends. I had so many things to share last night, but I am just not as gifted speaking as my husband. I am far better with the written word than my audible voice. So here it goes:

I have big dreams.  

Last night, I felt discouraged because it wasn't as "big" as I would have liked it.  I was afraid that no one was as excited about the community as the leaders and I were.  Because we were pumped!  

But after last night, after sharing my heart for the community I felt some peace. It wasn't because of my amazing speaking skills (because the Lord KNOWS it wasn't that), but because I felt that the girls understood what this was about as they settled into their life groups and got to know one another.  Relationships take time.  No one is going to poor out their entire life story in one sitting.

And for women especially. When so many of us have experienced the sting of betrayal at the hands of a woman we thought was a friend.  When our hearts are bruised, it can take years for it to repair. For a woman, trust is such an intimate and precious thing in our eyes that if it is broken, it can be lost among us for what can seem like an eternity.  We then begin the downward cycle of mistrusting everyone that comes in our path.  It is the result of sin on this earthly planet, filled with sinful people.  Relationships will never be perfect. But we can find friendships that are beautiful, meaningful and godly.

And that's what I want for this community.  For the girls, myself included, to see the beauty of female relationships. That while we have experienced pain at the hands of our own sex it doesn't always have to be that way.  That we can have a group of women we call our girlfriends. Who will carry us, pray for us, eat cupcakes with us, laugh at our drama and lovingly correct us when we need correcting.  I desire that type of friendship with my girls and I pray that those who attend the Women's Community at Illuminate desire the same thing.  

We weren't meant to walk this journey alone.  We place our faith and heart in Christ. He makes us brand new. He provides people, resources and His grace and mercy to move in this life. To share the gospel with those who need to hear it.  And we get the opportunity to do it with other women.

In a community. 

Tiff~