When The Rainbow Doesn't Appear

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's pouring outside. But it's one of those downpours where the clouds are moving and the sun is still slightly visible and you know it's coming. The promise. The rainbow.

So many times in my own Christian walk I have dealt with the rain. Turmoil. Complete and utter struggle. I am told countless of times, "Stand on God's word, hold fast to His promises, if you speak His will and you speak the right things He has to do what His word says He has to do."

This is true to my season now. I've been told, "Have faith! It's coming." Yet every month I lie in bed, weeping at the first of the month because I don't have rent money. The state assistance has run out. My food stamps cover enough for one week and one of my utilities gets cut off monthly and I have to pay re-connection fees.

Where is that darn rainbow?

I'm learning quickly as I grow in wisdom and seek His word that so many of us have twisted our view of scripture. Even myself. And we have done a really good job at encouraging faith and trust in areas that aren't even promises.

In fact I've seen people go so deep into their faith, on things they think are from God, that the situation really does seem to be working out. In faith, they haul out verses, you haul out verses about provision or healing or whatever's appropriate and fitting. The more you talk about it, the tidier the solution becomes, the better it sounds, the more it seems to fit. You pray like crazy, share it with people, plan accordingly. You're moving in faith. This must be God's plan.

Except it isn't. It's your plan. You're believing that God will fulfill a promise that He never made. And when He doesn't, your faith comes crashing down. You're confused, embarrassed, angry. We end up in a hole of disappointment realizing that it was simply our own hope, our own running, our own will. We have to deal with the shame and embarrassment of having to admit we are wrong, having to undue things that we've said and done to get "God's will" moving.

He didn't do what you expected--but He never said He would. You put words in God's mouth that He never said. And when your dreams didn't come true, you think He failed you.

So what do we say to the mother and father fighting for custody of their child? To the single mom who can't make ends meet? To the single person who thought they were called away when they were being told to stay put? What do we say to comfort the family who just lost a newborn son or to the child whose being abused?

The rainbow seems invisible.

And I want to challenge our thinking. Because YES! Romans 8:28 does declare, "And we know that all things work together for good to whose who love God, to those who are called according to HIS purpose." 

But what if the purpose we wanted is not what He wanted? What if His idea of good for us, is not our idea of good for us. It's really unscriptural to say, "Oh Meg! God doesn't want you weeping every month because He says that through Jesus we are blessed and highly favored."

But why does having my bills paid mean I'm highly favored? And what does that say to Job and what He went through? I wanted to encourage those today, and Christians in general, that there will be times in our lives where we are putting our faith in the wrong thing. We must exercise discernment. We must pray - immensely for the truth and we must stop believing that because we are in a tough season or a refinement of fire that we are not faith filled enough. Because all He asks is for our obedience.

When Joseph sat in that prison, he was being obedient to exactly where God had him. I'm sure the rainbow was invisible at times, but who are we to say that tough season wasn't God's will? We see from scripture it was and God's idea of good for him in that moment was that jail cell.

So encouragement for today, here are a few things you can do when you are not seeing the rainbow or when you are chasing a dream you aren't clear on if it's from God or not:

1. f you're thinking "God told me," ask yourself when He said so, and how you know that it was Him. If you're leaning on your feelings, or the clues you've gathered { this is not where in the world is Carmen Sandiago }, remember you're fallible. Scripture says our hearts are deceitful. You may be setting yourself up for a big fall.

       With that part said; if you are in the fall. If you've chased a dream or a purpose you thought was of God and it wasn't, and you are realizing this. It's OK. He still loves you. It's not too late. And He still has a great purpose for you. Remember Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in it's time..."

2. Use the correct measure of faith. Don't be impressed by how much faith someone puts in her own idea. Be encouraged by the person who submits to God's plan and in the person who knows that whatever God's good for them is, they are content because they desire His presence and fullness.

3. Pray less for your desired outcome and more for God's will. When I'm hoping for something specific, I pour my heart out to God about it. I tell Him how much I want it, and why. Then, because I know I can fall into this trap again, I spend more even more time and energy praying things like, "help me to pray the prayers you want to answer," "align my will to Your will," "I want your plan more than anything I think I want," and "put me in the center of your will."

Being very vulnerable here there have been certain things I've wanted in the last several weeks that I've gotten selfish and prayed specific prayers over. I constantly have to check myself. Because even though "I WANT" those things, God may have something more fitting for my future and my kids future.

Be encouraged today, friends. You may not see the rainbow right now. I'm not. But I know it's coming. It's still raining and just like Noah saw the rain for forty days and forty nights he still had to deal with the land drying. He didn't see the rainbow until he was OUT OF the boat. So, hold fast. You may, like me, still be waiting for the land to try.

- Meg

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Digging Deeper

Friday, May 15, 2015

The last several women's conferences I've attended were the same. I walked in to find big white or gold balloons hanging from the ceiling or placed on tables as table scapes; tables stocked full of "BE-YOU-tiful" or you "are enough" products being sold at ridiculously expensive prices. There are tables full of mini cheesecakes and other fatty and wonderful desserts adorned with flowers and jewels; all beautifully intricate details to appeal to a woman's eye.

And it does appeal. And the messages are positive and up lifting. "You are chosen, you are the one, you can make a difference." Most of the messages deal with identity and self worth and they are beautiful and poetic. Many women cry, hold each other, and rock side to side with one another as they tearfully listen to stories of woman who struggle with feeling enough and wanting good relationships with God and people.

Then the conference is over. We head back to our routines and our cooking and our daily lives. We have lunches to pack, our men to take care of, and kids to feed. What many haven't realized is that we haven't hit anything below the surface and so we also head back to affairs, and porn addictions, and secret drinking and drug use.

You don't walk into a women's retreat to find tables on how to deal with porn, or how to deal with anger towards your children; or how to, with scripture, deal with the inability to be satisfied in your sex life with your spouse. You don't see tables on how to manage your home well, and in love, or how to effectively talk to your teenage son who thinks he might be gay. You don't see single moms standing behind tables with information and resources on where to go for help, or healing, or even just to talk.

It's a tragedy. Women's ministry has become a big "how can we make you feel better today," program. What many women's directors and Pastors have failed to see though is that making these women feel good in the moment isn't going to help how they've felt for a lifetime. The pain from their past, the shame and dirt they feel is smeared upon their sinful faces. Who is going to help them recover from addictions, or help them trust a spouse who has hurt them or help them flee an abusive relationship? You sit in a service and you see beautiful woman talking to you and many of these woman in this service say privately to themselves, "I can never fully be that, because I can't even fully tell anyone what I'm really going through."

So. I stand before you asking you to take up the cause with me. Lets break this. Lets revamp women's ministry. Lets go to the heart of issues and go away with the roses and the tutu's. Being beautiful is not about fancy tables or overpriced merchandise, it's about wholeness and an intimate relationship with Jesus and those God has placed in our lives to walk with us, like our spouses. It's time we look beyond the make up, beyond the pretty blouses, and pray for one another, deep prayers. Prayers of healing and restoration. We cannot continue to open wounds, bring up topics, and then not deal fully with them. Many women need counseling and daily encouragement and accountability - we have to help them better.

Jesus understood the importance of a woman's heart. In John 4 we see that Jesus went out of his way to go through Samaria, and it says in verse 6 of John 4 that "being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour." It was around noon time. And if you study scripture you know that women went to the well together in the early morning. Possibly to catch up on town gossip or simply because that was custom. Regardless the woman at the well, came hours later, because she was ostracized from the other women. She was a social outcast, forgotten, and most likely mistreated; and so she avoided people as much as possible. One day though, at this meeting at the well, she could not avoid a man who would not allow her to avoid her past.

Not only was Jesus waiting for her there, sitting there, but He spoke to her. Normally men did not speak to women in public. Jewish men did not speak to Samaritan men let alone Samaritan women. Jewish men would also have nothing to do with a woman known to be living in sin. Yet Jesus broke all barriers, all rules, to speak to this woman about eternal life. He saw her. He believed in her and He knew that His father and Him had a gift to offer that she didn't even realize would change her life.

Jesus dug down into this woman's heart and brought her sin into the noonday sun. She had been married five times and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. She had experienced love and loss, and it seems she had turned away from marriage completely, preferring to live in sin because the thought of another loss of marriage, another hurt from a man that didn't seem to want her or even just another marriage ending, was too much to bare. But Jesus taught her about Himself, Herself, and how His living water could change her life forever.

What if the women in her city would have dug a little deeper? What if those women would have asked the hard questions, tugged the heart strings, and helped her deal completely with her pain and sin. What if we would step out of the normal rules and regulations and love and live and boldly deal with issues like Jesus did.

The woman at the well; I am her. You are her. We all have dealt with sin or hurt so deep it seems that we must hide ourselves in the noonday sun instead of being vulnerable in the morning to one another. I know personally that before I realized the importance of vulnerability and of true authenticity that those "feel good" women's conferences helped for a weekend. A week after. Even sometimes a month.

But I also realized quickly that I needed more than just a quick fix. I need open heart surgery and the tender touch of a surgeon so lovely and detailed that He puts my heart entirely together again and doesn't leave my chest open and exposed; and my body bleeding.

Lets be different in how we handle women's ministry. Lets break the barriers and start dealing with issues, completely. God desires to see women free, women whole, and I desire the very same thing. My heart hurts for you ladies. My heart yearns for you to experience the beautiful healing that comes with vulnerability; and I am here to offer help.

In His Love,


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