Step 1 —Look Upward

woman in a corn maze

In my last post, “It’s Time for You to Become the Woman God Created You to Be!” I shared a simple, yet profoundly important plan that can get you from where you are now—frustrated, lonely, insecure, and maybe feeling unloved— to where you really want to be spiritually, emotionally, and relationally in life.

We all want to be secure, fully known, completely loved, and empowered to be the very best version of ourselves we can be.

Every woman starts out on this journey unsure, weak, afraid, and in need of help.

Then, she meets a mentor who understands her plight and has been there and who can show her the way and give her a plan that can help her achieve success and avoid failure.

There is a specific path you will need to take if you want to become all you are meant to be.

The secret is Jesus. He is the One who can safely guide us on which way we should go. He has the plan. And not only that, He can give us the power we need to carry out His plan for us.

When women are whole in Christ, they are empowered by God to have divine relationship skills that greatly bless their marriages and other relationships.

There is a more detailed refresher of the 4-Step Peace Plan in the last post in case you didn’t get to see it, but here is the bare-bones version:

  1. Look upward.
  2. Look inward.
  3. Look outward.
  4. Look forward.

Most of us are used to looking at others, our circumstances, and ourselves. We are fixated on space and time. It’s kind of like we are mice in a maze. All we notice is what is horizontally in front of us at the moment. The walls, the openings, and the other mice right around us.

But what a different perspective we could have if we looked upward!

God is not inside of the maze of space and time like we are. He is not limited to each snapshot of a moment. He can see every day in the history of the earth as clearly as He can see today and He can see every future day equally all the time.

He is far above the noise and clamor of this world, but He knows everything that is going on. He can see the entire maze. He knows the beginning. He knows the dead ends. He knows the pitfalls and traps. He knows the enemy’s every thought, action, and strategy to thwart us. He also knows the way out. He did design life, time, and space, after all.

And He can see it from a much more strategic vantage point, which makes Him the perfect Guide for us.

We wear ourselves out running around the maze like crazy trying to figure it all out. But we keep getting frustrated and running into dead ends in our relationships and problems.

Why do we trust ourselves? None of us can see the whole picture!

Yet, if we would stop, be still, and look up, we would see Jesus, high and lifted up in the throne room of heaven reigning in majesty, glory, and authority over the entire universe. We would see myriads of angels praising Him continually. We would see a vast crowd of saints singing to Him and worshipping Him.

He is not a mouse like we are. But He knows our needs and He loves us and wants to provide well for us. He came and lived as a “mouse” on our behalf. He was fully man and fully God all at the same time. He lived in the same circumstances, the same maze. And yet, He made no wrong turns and He conquered the whole thing on our behalf, if only we will trust Him.

Now, He lives in all of His divine glory in the highest heavens with all authority.

Here is the picture we should have of Jesus as He is today—stop and focus completely on these words and imagine every detail in your mind’s eye:


Among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Rev. 1:13-18

Imagine that you were standing in front of Jesus and you saw Him like this and that you collapsed in awe and holy fear and reverence. Imagine that He put His hand on your shoulder and said these words directly to you that He spoke to John.

  • How important would His words be to you in that moment?
  • How significant would your problems on earth appear?
  • How difficult would it be to put your faith and trust in Him if you could experience His holiness so tangibly?
  • Would you have any doubt that His wisdom is greater than your own if you could see Him in all of His glory and understand who He is?

As we focus on Him and we see Him in His proper place then we also understand rightly our identity and who we are in Him. There is no room for pride here! No telling God what He better do. Only true humility and thankfulness.

We willingly, gratefully allow Him to be the rightful Good Shepherd of our souls.

We can also begin to see and hear His communication with us about the way we need to go each moment through His Word, through prayer, through circumstances, and through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, as we are sensitive to His voice.

We may not understand why He wants us to take a certain path at the time, but He is looking ahead to the end. He wants what is best for us in light of eternity and what is best for the kingdom. He, alone, is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. What an incredibly Good Father He is for us if we will simply look up in total faith and surrender.

We can trust Him completely.

What if you lived every moment with the knowledge of His presence in your mind and heart like this? What if you received all of Himself that He is offering to you and if you surrendered all of yourself to Him, keeping your gaze always on Him in your spirit?

I want you to get to experience Him, His love, His presence, and His provision more and more every day of your life. There is no greater Gift. There is no greater Love!

He is the Pearl of Greatest Price.

He is worth giving up all else for and sacrificing everything here on earth for so that we can have Him close to us now and forever!

HOW DO YOU LOOK UPWARD?

  1. See who He really is. Examine His character and attributes. Build your entire understanding of God from the truth of the Bible and reject any caricature you may have developed of him in your mind.
  2. Repent from everything that grieves His heart. Turn away from your wisdom, your sin, and anything/anyone else you put on the throne of your life to try to meet your deepest needs for security, identity, fulfillment, love, and empowerment.
  3. Yield completely to His Lordship in faith from this moment on for the rest of your life. Leave everything else behind in your heart and mind and follow Him wholeheartedly with love.
  4. Respond with a life of worship— joyful reverence, awe, love, praise, faith, thanksgiving, and holy fear.

Then— His heart will be filled with joy! He loves to have close fellowship with you! He gave up all of Himself for you. Now you give all of yourself to Him.

You will be blessed to abide in His presence, love, grace, mercy, glory, and beauty. Being close to Him is the best place to be in all existence.

When you look upward like this:

  • God changes your perspective to be more and more like His eternal perspective.
  • God transforms your mind to become more like Jesus.
  • God gives you a new heart, nature, and Spirit.
  • God opens your eyes to see your problems, your trials, other people, and yourself in divine ways.

Problems, trials, and painful things begin to look so tiny and small as you see how big, strong, and mighty He is.

Like the old hymn says,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

When you look upward, as a child of God, you avoid so many toxic things.

When you keep your gaze on Jesus in worship, love, and surrender, you can’t be filled with fear, worry, anxiety, despair, depression, or frustration.

When you look upward:

  • His perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
  • There is no need for worry, anxiety, or frustration when you know who God is and you know who you are in Jesus. (John 15:9)
  • There is no place for despair because you serve a sovereign Lord who has all power, all wisdom, and whose every motive toward you is love! (Phil. 4:6-7)
  • There is no room for discouragement because His promises to you are all true in Christ. (2 Cor. 1:20)
  • You know that there is no condemnation for you (Rom. 8:1).
  • You know that nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord! (Rom. 8:1, 38)
  • You know that He will use all of the problems and difficult things in life, as well as all of the good things, to conform you to the image of Christ and for your ultimate spiritual good and His ultimate glory. So you can’t lose. No matter what happens in this life, when you are in Jesus Christ, you win! (Rom. 8:28-29)

You can choose to have a saving relationship with Jesus today to begin finding life-changing spiritual healing and hope. 

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

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What is the Lord speaking to you today about this topic?

Why do you think looking upward is a critical first step for a hero to take in her journey?

Do you have a word of encouragement for others?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Godly Femininity – Part 2

 

 

enjoying a sunny afternoon

 

 

If you have not read Part 1, please read that to get started. 🙂

Can you imagine if you had witnessed godly examples of femininity at home as you were growing up, in your church, at school and in your community? This is what God desires – for children to be immersed in godly examples of masculinity, femininity, marriage and family thousands and thousands of times as they grow up. Then, godliness will seem “normal.”

For those who did not have godly examples (and that includes all of us to one degree or another), there is a lot of work to do in dissecting out all of the ungodly examples we have experienced that programmed us to think that those things were “normal” so that we can consciously reject them and choose God’s ways. It is my prayer that our children will get to experience each of us living out a godly example for them by God’s power working full blast in us. 🙂

It is my prayer that even though recent generations dropped the ball and we as a culture, even in the church, have veered hundreds of miles off course – that God might cause OUR generation to rise up and become a holy generation that will leave a godly legacy for those who come behind us. We have the power and treasure of heaven at our disposal. May we spend our lives for Christ, demonstrating godly femininity to everyone around us for His greatest glory!

Jesus Christ has set us free! The world says that freedom is the right to do what we want. But the freedom we have in Christ is the power to do God’s will. We have the power to choose not to sin when His Spirit is flooding our souls.

  • The only power we lose when we obey God and fully submit to Him as Lord is the power to destroy our marriages, ourselves, our husbands and children and others.
  • We gain the power of heaven to breathe life, healing, blessing, joy, peace, faith, kindness and goodness into our families.

GALATIANS 5:13-18

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF GODLY FEMININITY THAT GOD WILL CULTIVATE IN A WOMAN MORE AND MORE AS SHE ABIDES IN CHRIST AND HIS WORD ABIDES IN HER (these are all very brief descriptions):

AS A WIFE

  • She is a helper to her husband. (Genesis 2:18)
  • She brings all of herself – her personality, her talents, her gifts, her intellect, her emotions, her ideas, her desires, her vulnerability to her marriage. She cleaves to her husband. (Genesis 2:24, Proverbs 31, Song of Songs)
  • She is authentic – but she is not her old sinful self anymore. Some wives say, “I want to be free to by myself in my marriage,” but what they mean is, they want to be free to be their sinful selves. That is always a destructive choice. A godly wife has the power and ability to be her new self in Christ. She lost the destructive power of her sinful nature because her sinful nature died with Christ and was buried and now she counts herself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. (Romans 6-8)
  • She respects her husband genuinely and finds the good in him to appreciate (because of her character and the Spirit of God filling her soul – not because he always “deserves” it) and she honors her husband’s God-given leadership, allowing him to make the final call if there is a disagreement and trusting God to lead her through her husband even when she doesn’t understand and can’t see how it will work out “for good” from her current perspective. When he asks her for something, she makes it a priority to try to do what he has asked of her with a godly attitude. (Ephesians 5:22-23, 33, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:3-5, I Corinthians 11:3 – If a husband is asking his wife to clearly sin, please check out the post Spiritual Authority for more info.)
  • She does good to her husband all the days of her life, not evil. (Proverbs 31)

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  • She is open and receptive to her husband. (Song of Solomon)
  • She studies to understand her particular husband, what speaks respect to him, his needs and the things that most bless him. (Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-33, I Peter 3:1-6)
  • She assumes the best about her husband, not the worst. (I Corinthians 13:7)
  • She is loyal to her husband and doesn’t badmouth him to others. She never bashes him to their children, extended family, coworkers, church members, friends or on social media. (Ephesians 5:22, Proverbs 31, Ephesians 4:29-30)
  • She deals with any sin in her life before approaching her husband about sin in his life. (Matthew 7:1-5)

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  • She is affectionate with her husband. (Titus 2:3-5)
  • Her presence, attitude and respect for God and her husband speak much more loudly to her husband about her faith than any words she could ever say. (I Peter 3:1-2)
  • She has a gentle, peaceful spirit that does what is right and does not give way to fear that is of great worth in God’s sight. (I Peter 3:1-6)
  • She comes to her husband humbly, gently and respectfully with his sin privately first, and only if he won’t repent, does she involve a godly male mentor/pastor to help them if there are serious problems. She does not smear him to family and friends or ream him out on Facebook. (Matthew 18:15-17) (How to Confront Your Husband about His Sin)
  • She seeks godly, biblical help if there are very serious issues in her marriage, but she rejects ungodly and unscriptural counsel and seeks God and His Word and His Spirit above all else. (Matthew 18:15-17) She is prepared to separate from her husband and trust God, seeking His wisdom and wise, biblical counsel if her husband continues in severe unrepentant sin and she or her children are truly not safe. She prays for reconciliation if they must separate, and she focuses on her walk with Christ. (A Peaceful Separated Wife, A Peaceful Divorced Wife, The Bible and Divorce)

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  • She depends on the wisdom and power of God to know how to respond to her husband’s sin and she is sensitive to God’s Spirit and responsive to what He leads her to do in a given situation. (Isaiah 30:21) (Portia’s Story)
  • If her husband is an unbeliever, she shows the power and love of God to him without words but by her respectful attitude and by honoring his leadership. (I Peter 3:1-2) ( Spiritual Authority, When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God, My Husband Wants to Go Where?)
  • Her husband feels safe with her spiritually, emotionally, sexually, physically and in every way – and he knows he can always trust her. She is never violent toward him. She doesn’t yell, scream, cuss or make threats. She is not scary, intimidating or threatening. She does not bully him. (Proverbs 31:11)
  • She is her husband’s crown. (Proverbs 12:4)
  • She learns to speak her husband’s language and to become fluent in his way of relating and speaking and learns to interpret him accurately and to understand his heart with compassion. She seeks to see him with God’s eyes and love him with God’s love. She wants to treat God’s beloved son well. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

—–

  • Her focus is on Christ not self. She has no insecurity – because she trust in God not self or worldly things. Her security is based on heavenly realities and truths and the promises of God in His Word. (Romans 6-8)
  • She doesn’t have to argue – she has way more powerful methods of communication at her disposal than arguing, nagging, criticizing, complaining, condemning or humiliating her husband. She knows exactly how ineffective and destructive and sinful those things are and they do not even tempt her. She knows how to use her power and influence for good, how to share in a respectful way and how to submit to Christ and to her husband even if they lead her in a way she did not anticipate. (A Real Life Example of Biblical Submission)
  • She does not submit to her husband if he clearly asks her to sin. She submits first to Christ. (Please see Spiritual Authority for more detail in this.)
  • She doesn’t try to control or change her husband, but seeks to bless him. (Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-33)
  • She builds her marriage and family up and does not use her words, attitudes and actions to hurt or harm anyone. (Proverbs 14:1)

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  • She appreciates and values her husband’s headship, covering and protection over her. (I Corinthians 11:3)
  • She joyfully gives herself sexually to her husband whenever possible and seeks to meet his sexual needs (even if they are greater or less than her own biological desires at the time). (I Corinthians 7:1-5)
  • She honors her sacred marriage covenant and does not threaten to divorce or seek divorce. (Matthew 19, Malachi 2)
  • She trusts God’s Spirit to work in her husband’s heart to draw him to Himself and does not attempt to verbally drag her husband or force him to God, she knows her  words are not the most important or effective tool. (I Peter 3:1-2)
  • She values and appreciates her husband’s masculinity. She sees and admires the good things about her husband’s manhood and supports him being a man, she doesn’t try to make him be more feminine or think more like herself. She marvels at his strengths and protects his weaknesses. (Song of Songs, Proverbs 31)

—–

  • She is comfortable in her own skin and feels beautiful even if she doesn’t meet the world’s current definition of beauty. (Song of Songs 1)
  • She enjoys being attractive for her husband in a healthy way. (Song of Songs and Proverbs 5:19)
  • She smiles often. She is a delight for her husband to be around.  Her beautiful attitude, contentment and joy in Christ draw him to her. She is not needy, clingy and desperate for his attention. (Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She is glad to talk with her husband about things that interest him. She loves to learn about his masculine world and perspective. She rejoices in his uniqueness and his masculinity and does not shame him for being different from her. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She is ready for adventure with God and with her husband (Exodus – a  picture of God leading His bride through the desert to the Promised Land)

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  • She is willing to wear a hat/scarf as a tangible symbol of her willingness to honor her husband’s God-given leadership at church/during prayer. (I Corinthians 11:3-16)
  • She supports his leadership even when she doesn’t agree. She shares her heart, concerns and needs respectfully, then trusts God to lead her through her husband. (Spiritual Authority post at the top of my home page and Submitting under Protest, Biblical Submission, as well as Biblical Submission Does Not = the Husband is Always Right)
  • She brings her husband comfort. (Genesis 24:67)
  • She brings beauty to her home and to relationships. (Genesis 2, Song of Songs, Acts 9:36-39)
  • She desires to make her husband look good that he might receive honor from others. (Proverbs 31)
  • She doesn’t look down on her husband (or anyone) but humbly acknowledges that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. There is no room for her to boast or brag in anything except for Christ and what He has done for her. (James 2, 1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 22:4, Philippians 2:1-11, Ephesians 2:8-10)
  • She is not abusive in any way – physically, sexually, verbally, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc… (1 John 4:20-21)

AS A MOTHER

  • She values, cherishes and nurtures any babies or children that she has before and after birth. (Isaiah 49:15)
  • She seeks to train and teach her children to know and love God and His Word. (Deuteronomy 6)
  • She loves them with the very love of God. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)
  • She desires to be a godly example to them. (Deuteronomy 6, Titus 2:3-5, Malachi 2)
  • She does not put her children above her husband or above God. (Genesis 22, Matthew 10:37-39, Luke 14:25-34) (Respecting Our Husbands as Fathers)
  • She is affectionate (Titus 2:3-5)
  • She extends the truth, mercy, grace, love and forgiveness of Christ to her children. (I Corinthians 13:4-8)

IN HER WALK WITH CHRIST

  • She holds nothing back from Christ. She knows He gave ALL of Himself for her, and now she delights in giving ALL of herself for Him. There is nothing she wouldn’t do for Jesus. He is her LORD. He is her Master. She is willing to deny self and sacrifice anything in this world for Him. (Luke 14:25-34, Matthew 10:37-39, Genesis 22) (Dying to Self)
  • She hungers deeply for God, His Word, His presence, His Spirit, His will, His wisdom and His power in her life and the lives of those around her. She has a very healthy spiritual appetite. (Matthew 6:33, Matthew 5:6)
  • She does not merely read the Word, she listens, prays diligently to understand properly and applies it to her life – allowing  God to transform her priorities, her heart, her soul, her words, her desires, her behavior and her attitudes. (James 2)
  • She fills her mind, heart and mouth with the praises of God. (Exodus 15:2, almost the whole book of Psalm and many other places as well)
  • She desires “to live a life worthy of the calling (she has) received (and to) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-2)

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  • Her heart is soft, responsive and malleable in the hands of God, she does not have a hard heart against God and His Word or against others. (Ephesians 4:18, Hebrews 4:7)
  • She “(puts) off (her) old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of  (her) mind; and (puts) on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
  • She is open, receptive and tender hearted toward God. (Hebrews 3:15)
  • She has a sense of wonder about all that God has made and has done and will do. She is in total awe of Him. (Mark 9:15, Acts 3:10, Luke 7:16)
  • She is submissive first to Christ (James 4:7) and she practices biblical submission by honoring her husband’s God-given leadership (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18, Titus 2:5, I Corinthians 11:3-16) so that the Word of God is not maligned.

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  • She leans on God’s wisdom, truth and understanding and does not trust her own human wisdom. (Proverbs 3:5)
  • She desires to live a holy life and to bring great glory to God. (I Peter 1:16)
  • When she sees sin in her life, she does not become depressed and withdrawn and paralyzed with worldly sorrow that leads to death, but has godly sorrow over her sin, mourning over her sin, rejecting her sin and turning to Christ in true repentance, longing to walk in obedience to Him in everything. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11, I John 1:9)
  • She is not overcome by fear, worry or anxiety, but has a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • She prays fervently and continually – in a spirit of godly power, not a spirit of worry, anxiety or fear. (I Thessalonians 5:17, Philippians 4:4-7, Romans 12:12, Romans 15:30)

—–

  • She makes time daily whenever remotely possible to spend in deep prayer and study of God’s Word, asking Him to change her and make her more and more like Christ. (John 15)
  • She prays for her husband and others – not to tell God what to do or make demands – but to seek God’s will and His blessing for them and to seek God’s best for those she loves. She prays with godly motives, not selfish, greedy, condemning, self-righteous, prideful, malicious or vengeful motives – but with the love and power of Christ.  (1 Timothy 2:1-5, James 4:1-10)
  • She knows that she is more than a conqueror through Christ. (Romans 8:37)
  • She knows that nothing can separate her from the love of Christ. (Romans 8:35-39)
  • She savors and enjoys her blessings, her life and her Lord. In fact, she rejoices in Him always! (Philippians 4:4-8)
  • She is able to be at peace because she understands and trusts in the sovereignty, love and power of God to work all things for her good because she loves Him and is called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28-29)
  • She prays the promises of God into reality by her unwavering faith in Him and His Spirit working powerfully in her. (Daniel 9:4)

ENCOURAGEMENT:

God will develop these qualities more and more in us as He sanctifies us and grows Christ more and more in our hearts, minds and souls. This is a life-long process. It is not about us trying harder to be “perfect.” On our own, we are a branch that has been cut off from the Vine and we are laying on the ground. We cannot do ANYTHING unless we are attached to Jesus – the Vine – and His nourishing truth and Spirit flood our souls. THEN we will be fruitful in His kingdom. We cannot be perfect until we reach heaven. That is ok. But our God is so strong that He is able to empower us and to give us victory in sin and the power to walk in holiness as we abide in Him. This is all about us being in an intimate relationship with Christ and allowing His power to flow full blast through us and transform us according to His will for His greatest glory!

John 15:1-17

EXAMPLES OF GODLY WOMEN IN SCRIPTURE:

– Esther

– Ruth

– Rahab (a former prostitute)

– Hannah, Samuel’s mother

– Deborah

– the Proverbs 31 wife

–  Sarah, Abraham’s wife – sometimes she is an example of godliness, and sometimes ungodliness

– Mary, the mother of Jesus

– Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus

– Mary Magdalene after she came to Christ

– Priscilla, Aquilla’s wife

– Dorcas/Tabitha (whom Peter raised from the dead by Jesus’ power)

SHARE:

How is God working in your heart about the issue of godly femininity?

What is most striking to you?

How can we pray together for you?