Friday, December 18, 2009

An Increasingly Biblically Feminine Reaction to Matt Chandler

Posted on my D-Team blog:

Many leaders at Summitview have been keeping up with the health of Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village. Yesterday Mitch posted this on Twitter: Matt Chandler has a malignant tumor in his brain. He will consult with his doctors about treatment.

True to Katie fashion, I cried. True to my new identity in Christ, I praised God because He is good and He will take care of the family no matter what. I could cry for them, but I did not despair completely. I wondered how Mrs. Chandler and the children were doing, but I didn’t say: ”Now where is God, why did He allow this for this family? What will Mrs. Chandler & children do if Matt dies?”

This reaction is definitely fruit of God’s progressive sanctification. Even a month ago, I couldn’t have taken the news that way. If this had happened earlier, I probably would’ve cried, been angry at God, and filled my prayers and mind with doubts about God and His goodness. Yet this is not so.

Today I was listening to Natalie Grant’s song “I will not be moved.” The second verse of this song captures where I have been previous to this: Bitterness has plagued my heart / Many times before / My life has been like broken glass / And I have kept the score / Of all my shattered dreams and though it seemed / That I was far too gone My brokenness helped me to see / It’s grace I’m standing on In my head, I have a record of where I thought God had withheld His goodness or had given me cause not to trust Him. In this mindset, I would have added Chandler’s health situation to that tally of keeping score of reasons why God can’t be trusted. His situation reminds me of the time when my uncle got cancer. I was alone in that struggle because I was helping Mom, and I watched as my aunt went from caregiver to widow. This reopened these wounds, and I could nurse bitterness toward God in this situation.

However, I latched onto the truth repeated in the chorus of the song: I will stumble / I will fall down / But I will not be moved / I will make mistakes / I will face heartaches / But I will not be moved / On Christ the Solid Rock I stand / All other ground is sinking sand / I will not be moved [emphasis mine on both parts of the song]. The basis for my trust in God through all this is His character: As Savior, as Lord, as Holy, Good, True, Faithful, Just, Powerful, Provider, etc. The more I learn about and meditate on God’s character, the more I realize I can trust Him. As I choose to replace lies about security from the world with Truth, I more readily default to seeing things in view of who God is. I am not perfect in this, but God is bearing fruit in my faith.

How is this reaction Biblically feminine as the title states? Well, Mitch pulled what Biblical Femininity was from the Bible which is an ever-increasing trust in and submission to God in all areas of our lives. Trusting God with Chandler’s health, Mrs. Chandler and their children’s provision instead of worrying about them is a way I can honor God and see Him as their ultimate Husband / Father. This is something God wants out of all His daughters.

In sum, I still shed tears over hard circumstances in my or others’ lives. I still ache for women that loose husbands and children that loose fathers. However, God is changing my worry over the situation to worship of Him because He can be trusted. Though I will not achieve perfection in this area while on earth, I am reacting less like the world and more like a woman who knows her eternal Father and Husband can be trusted through anything.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Understanding Faith & Fear and then Walking in Truth

Thanks to Mitch Majeski's "What Biblical Femininity is Not" talk, I am renewed in thinking about whether I do things out of fear or faith. So often, I have done things out of fear: If I don't do this, such-and-such will happen or If I do this, it will keep such and such from happening. This mindset came from the notions I had grown up seeing modeled and thus picked up into my own world-view that God is there but He is not really close, He sporadically gives good things and often with-holds without reason. I grew up thinking God could not be depended upon for practicals in life. I also grew up with a parent that struggled with insecurity and anxiety, thus that has manifested itself in worry and underlying anxiety. I had thought this was a normal way to live for a long time.
All that changed after I accepted Christ and began (and continue) learning about His character. Now I have the Word to listen to, His promises off of which to base decisions. I can choose to be anxious or trust God. As I learn more about my Creator who is my good Father and perfect Husband, I begin to trust Him more.

This is a good start to walking in faith, however, I can listen to my old worries / fears while simultaneously listening to Truth. This pulls me to a standstill. Both mindsets can't be right; they in fact contradict each other. Trust God or not believe He is good?Rely on myself first or rely on my sovereign Father? Believe what God has called me to do and walk in it or forsake that and do the most practical thing for myself instead?

This conflict came to a head when God wanted me to make some phone calls regarding jobs. I had to make one particular call about a job I had applied to quite a few months ago which I haven't heard back from. Would I live in fear and assume the job had been taken and not call, or would I make the call and trust that God will have the job for me if it is His will? Was I making the job an idol? If so, would God withhold it because I had? Had God abandoned me, or does He have something for me that I have yet to see? I put all these questions to rest by re-reading Philippians 4:6-7 and praying about all these things. In the peace of Christ, I made the call. I chose to put my faith in God instead of let fear take over. I had to leave a message, but I indicated my interest in the position and for someone to let me know if it was filled or not.

Whether I get the position or not is honestly secondary when I think of this phone call. This call stands as God's victory over my fears, and I know that will resonate into eternity. That is what ultimately matters.