12.09.2018

Because of them I run faster and farther!

These past few days the Lord has been pushing me to be acutely aware of - and grateful for - the blessing of faithful, transparent, godly sisters in Christ.
It is easy to be with a group of women and talk about many things, yet speak of nothing that matters for eternity. It is easy to share the trials and hardships of life, yet fail to challenge each other to respond biblically. It is easy to talk about weaknesses and sin, yet refuse to be held accountable to turn from those sins and walk in holiness.
In short, it is easy to hide.
We hide behind words. We hide behind theology. We hide behind the chaos and distraction of conversation. We share just enough to let people know about us without letting them see the real us.

BUT GOD.
He did not create us for isolation. He created us for relationship. First, with Himself. And then, with others.
And because He created us for relationship, He designed the body of Christ and gave us - each other!

The Lord has carried me through beautiful seasons of abundance and difficult seasons of drought in terms of intimate friendships, but whether in plenty or in want, He has always been faithful to use sisters in Christ to encourage, challenge, and stir me up to love and good deeds. Some were used in one brief exchange, never to be seen again. Others were authors of books, writers of hymns, or leaders of a study. Some were older women who willingly invested in the life of a young mom. Some were acquaintances who always had a smile and a kind word when we crossed paths. And for each one - I am thankful.

But it is the faithful few, the ones who seek to know all of me, not just what is seen, the ones who rejoice with me in times of joy and weep with me in times of sorrow, the ones who see me as I really am in all my sin and still say, "You are enough", the ones who speak truth to me in love because they care about my holiness more than my happiness, and the ones who purposely pursue me for no other reason than to enjoy one another ... it is for these women I am most grateful, for they are the ones the Lord uses to refine me in ways that are unique and precious.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, ... Proverbs 27:6

This text exchange is an example of the kind of women the Lord has chosen to bless me with at this stage of my life. We (four women) are rarely together in person, we gather but a couple of times a year as a group, but we take full advantage of communicating with one another in ways that edify and exhort, for we know how much we need it - and how much we need each other.

Sister 1: Praying the Lord would continue to teach each of us how to run well!! I know the Lord is faithfully showing me where I have been blinded and where habitual sins have been hidden in my heart and they are being uprooted! I am thankful and desire to be continually transformed!! Love you all!

Sister 2: The fact that the four of us are willing to REJOICE when the Lord reveals our sin to us is absolutely amazing, beautiful, and as it should be! Maturity in Christ is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Not always easy but wonderful nonetheless!

Sister 3: Amen!!! Praying He keeps showing me my weights and sins!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Sister 4: Love what everyone said!!! AMEN!!!! I take the word “IF” out of the Bible verse "see if there is any offensive way in me," when I pray that because I know there IS offense in me!

How much they challenge me to run after Christ instead of plotting my own way!

The day after this exchange, I opened my Inbox to find the following quote waiting for me. I smiled as I read it, thinking of my sisters, because they are three women who continually model the beauty of confession, repentance, and a desire to look less like themselves and more like Christ.
And because they do, I want to follow their example.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way!" Psalm 139:23, 24
What a contrast there is between a man of this world - and a child of God! 
The one wishes to avoid the scrutiny of God - and the other desires and prays for it. 
The one loves sin, and cherishes it - the other abhors sin and desires to be delivered from it. 
The one walks hand in hand with iniquity - the other grieves that he bears with him a body of sin and death.
It is the earnest desire of all who are born of God, and made partakers of the Divine nature - to be delivered from the power of sin that dwells in them. They would have no lust spared - and no corruption unmortified. 
Chosen by the Father in eternity past, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ and justified freely by His grace - they would also be sanctified by His Spirit.
- "Every Day!" Author unknown, 1872