LeadHER: Sustainable Greatness

Written By: Bonnie Pue

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As a young woman, I heard a wise quote: “The gifting on you will crush you if the character in you cannot sustain you.”

It could also be said this way:

“Favor will open the door for you, but integrity will keep you in the room.”

It has taken a few years for me to realize that with all of His heart, Jesus is not opposed to the idea of us being GREAT. So many of us have an ache for influence, or for dreams fulfilled. We desire greatness.

Even more than that though, Jesus desires sustained greatness for us.

There are some lessons that we can only learn through seasons of obscurity. If we will respond to that hiddenness with humility, we will develop habits of selflessness that will carry us through the waiting, and will also safeguard us in seasons of promotion.

We need not fear the dizzying heights of greatness if we follow the way of our Lord through the deepest lows and beyond.

Here are 5 habits that every great woman must hold to:

1. Worship

When the sun shines brightly, worship directs our eyes to the glory of Christ.
When the fog rolls in over the cold ground, worships directs our eyes to the glory of Christ.

We must remember why we do what we do. Is if for selfish ambition? Are we hungry to be filled by human applause? Or is it because we have caught a glimpse of the King of heaven and live so that He will be acknowledged by all? Worship is not a style of music we listen to, but a position of honor towards our Lord.

2. Vulnerability

The temptation has always been to hide our flaws and failures from each other, but imagine how much harder it would be to confess your sins and weaknesses if your influence grew? No one wants to disappoint others!

We must certainly build a habit of transparency now, because secrets will destroy the destinies of the greatest of women. The whole world doesn’t need to know your business, but at least a handful of trustworthy people do! We weren’t made to walk alone. Not now. Not ever.

3. Gratitude

Grateful women do not suppose that they are entitled to the blessings they experience. Gratitude protects us then from becoming demanding, multiplies generosity, and guides us in the way of dignity.

Complaining will only rob us of our strength, but remembering the faithfulness of God will be fuel to our days.

4. Service

No matter what stage of life we are in, we are not too good to get our hands dirty and work on behalf of others. It is our honor to be called servants of the Lord Almighty. Whether we stand on a stage in front of cheering crowds or secretly stoop to pick up the garbage off the floor in the dimly lit hallway, if we have obeyed His direction, we have found greatness.

5. Seclusion

While on earth, our Saviour routinely stole away from the crowds to pray and be filled by His Father. We must follow that same path through the woods, up the hill to the secret place where our soul can breathe in the peace of God. It is the place of friendship, where we don’t have to rush. It is the place where we cannot perform or prove anything.

When the demands of the “crowds” begin to roar around us, Christ is our hiding place where we can tuck away and find rest.

1 Peter 5 speaks of being purposeful to cast our anxieties on Christ, because He cares for us. For years, I failed to note that this verse is in the context of not worrying about our destinies and callings. The Lord is clear, “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you at the proper time.”

We can see then that the humble habits that seem to keep us low and hidden are the very things that will hold us steady as our dreams come true and influence grows. This is sustainable greatness and we were made for it.


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RelateHER: Praise Through The Darkest Hour

Written By: Brenda Drost

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When things are going good in our lives and everything seems to be in our favor it’s easy to praise God and thank him for his goodness and faithfulness towards us. But what about when we find ourselves in the middle of struggles and hardships… is praise still our first response?

Generally not… it’s not our natural reaction.

Often when we go through hard times it is much more difficult to keep our focus. We are easily distracted, and we tend to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto the chaos of the circumstances around us and emotional upheaval within us. We can quickly sink into a negative narrative in our minds that drags us deeper into despair.

We question if God knows what’s going on in our lives.

We wonder if he sees our pain and if he cares at all.
We begin to assume that he is uninterested and uninvolved.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

God’s word says that he would never leave us or forsake us. He is aware of your situation and he cares deeply. Even though you might not be able to feel him in the present moment, he is close at hand, and he is actively working on your behalf.

When we lift our voices, and speak out our praise to God in the middle of our darkest hour a shift happens in the spiritual realm. Why? Because there is a supernatural principle at work here… it takes FAITH to praise God in the middle of our struggle. It takes faith to believe in God when we can’t actually see Him at work.

A few years ago, I was in what I would call a dark season. I was struggling through a strained work relationship, so I buried myself in ministry work to relieve the stress. In the middle of what was already a difficult and busy season of life, I very suddenly lost my mother to cancer. It felt like all my prayers had gone unanswered and everything I hoped for had been lost. I tried to bury my grief and press on but eventually it got the best of me. I crashed. Like completely crashed.

My husband put me on a plane and sent me away for a 4-day personal retreat. I spent most of those four days laying on a hotel room floor crying, begging God to let me quit ministry all together. It just all felt too hard. Of course, his answer was no.

So, I did the only thing I knew how to do... I plugged in my worship playlist and began to sing worship songs in my hotel room. I’m not sure what the neighbours may have thought... and frankly I didn’t care. It’s what my soul needed. Deep inside my spirit longed to connect with the Father but my mind and emotions had gotten in the way. Worship was the only way I knew to push through my mess and into the presence of God.

Songs of praise and worship keep our focus in the right place and set our hearts and minds towards the goodness of God. It helps us to lift our eyes off of the despair of our current situation and centers our hearts on our faithful Saviour and the hope he has called us into.

In the darkest moments of my life it is praise that has got me through.

When we are too broken and too confused to even know how to pray songs of worship not only lead us into his presence, but they put words of adoration and faith in our mouths. When we sing along with our favourite songs we are actually speaking out God’s word and promises over our lives and situations.

Praising God in the middle of our darkest hour is not natural... it is supernatural. And it may just be the pathway that leads to your breakthrough!


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HERstory: Making Space For Yes

Written By: Leah Austria

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A few years ago, God's whispers of calling and conviction caught my attention. Some whispers were exciting to hear: hospitality, generosity, building community and sharing my faith journey through writing. But when He also asked me to address my finances, suddenly my eager ears pretended to not hear Him. 

We had a house, two cars, vacations, and a busy, comfortable lifestyle befitting a bouncy little nuclear family. And once we settled into our new church community, our three kids were thriving and my husband and I were enjoying a marriage and family life that wove God into every moment, not just on Sunday mornings.

Mostly.

I wanted to be that good soil Jesus spoke of (Mark 4:1-20), where His good news would flourish and His glory would seep through everything I did. 

"Send me! Send me!" I hollered at God so many times. "Tell me what you want me to do!"

But it took over three years to admit I had heard His response:

"First thing's first."

While many facets of my life aligned with my desire to be the good soil, there were still thorns that had to be cleared for it to come to fruition.

My life was riddled with so many distractions that it was easy to claim I didn't hear the Holy Spirit.  And debt left no space in our budget for the generosity I so longed to practice.  

Then, just before Christmas 2016, it seemed our list of priorities turned upside down. Or, perhaps, right side up.

The months that followed saw us purge 80% of our material possessions, find a new family for our beloved dog, sell our house and downsize from 2200 square feet of living space to a 900 sq ft rental condo.  The process was physically and emotionally exhausting.  It reshaped our thoughts about stewardship and taught us to surrender to God's timing and providence.

The practical wisdom fuelling these big leaps came from popular authors on minimalism and simple living, and even pioneers of the tiny house movement. My true guidance, though, was found in Scripture, where we are instructed to "owe no one anything except to love one another" (Romans 8:13a), warned that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" ‭‭(Luke‬ ‭12:34‬), and encouraged to be faithful with what has been entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30).

There's still more work to do.  There are still lessons to learn about saying no and the concept of enough. There are still clothes, kitchenware, sentimentals to pare down.  But here I am today, debt-free, living with less stuff and less busy-ness, enjoying a stronger marriage and family dynamic (a happy by-product of doing super-hard things together), offering to God a true availability for Him to send me where His glory can be magnified, and having the freedom to say yes.


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