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October 26, 2011

Beloved and Armed...

HousethroughtherocksHappy Wednesday, Friends! Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks giftcard to someone who posts on my blog. So share an insight, leave a comment, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and a friend.

Now on to my topic...

Recently I gathered together with a couple of my mentors and a close girlfriend (who also receives great input from these older, wiser women). We had a special time of prayer and ministry and it was life-changing for me. With grace and humility, these women came alongside me and helped unearth old fears that had suddenly surfaced to trip me up in a whole new way. 

God is so good. And so kind. He - in His gentle and loving way - pointed to painful past memories that provided the enemy ample opportunity to sow a few lying seeds without my knowledge. Seeds that would later produce the bad fruit of fear, doubt, and worry.

Together with my golden girls, we asked the Lord to bring truth where I had believed a lie. And He did. The Scripture promises, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32). I love this passage from Psalm 51:6 ~ "You desire truth in my inmost being, and the hidden places, You'll make me know wisdom."

If a lie remains in those 'hidden places' it'll produce rotten fruit and dysfunction, and will compel us to live in perpetual reaction to our fears. But when the light of God's Word shines in those hidden places, and when we give Him access to our souls to uproot the lie and replace it with truth, well then we suddenly have wisdom where their once was foolishness, clarity where there once was confusion, healthy function where there once was dysfunction. And that's one of the amazing things about the power of the Gospel. Jesus came to set captives free! There's no memory or experience out of God's reach. He is the Redeemer, Restorer, Healer, and one who establishes us beyond our wildest dreams.

Too often we feel at the mercy of our fears and our circumstances but we really aren't. We possess all in Christ. But we so easily forget who we are and what we possess because our circumstances and fears scream loud and they connect with lies buried with in us. Those buried lies compel us to agree with our present fears. That's why it's important to pay attention to over reactions and perpetual fears. Like my pastor said to me years ago, "Don't be afraid when the enemy stirs up your fears. Jesus is using that moment to reach into your soul, grab hold of that fear so you can see it and then He says to you, "You see this thing? I'm about to deliver you!" If we push it down, medicate, or plug our ears and run away, we miss a perfect opportunity to finally be set free.

At the end of our beautiful prayer time, one of my golden girls asked the Lord, "Jesus, show Susie how you see her." And wouldn't you know, I instantly had a picture in my mind of a Beloved Bride with a BIG sword. Ha ha. That made me laugh and rejoice all at once. 

I took that picture with me into my prayer time the next morning and I have to say, this picture is for all of us. Men typically don't identify with the 'Beloved' part of our identity but they must. We belong to God and are deeply cherished by Him. And to know this truth, changes everything. And women don't typically identify with the fact that as followers of Christ, we are armed and dangerous! But we are! You don't have to be mighty in stature to be mighty in battle. You can be four feet tall and send that enemy packing if you intimately know the greatness of God within you.

Know this today. You are unfathomly loved by your Creator. You are the object of His affection. And you are equipped for every battle. Get to know the armor that God has provided you (found in Ephesians). No weapon formed against us will prosper. Every battle the Lord leads us into is a winnable one. And nothing can separate us from His love. 

Wow. We're covered in every way. Have a great day.

~Until next week

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Comments

Thanks very much,I learn a lot from your information...

Sheila,

You don't at all sound like a downer. You are right. We need more women pouring into the lives of younger women. May God hear your heart cry and stir in the hearts of mature Christian women everywhere! We need each other desperately to finish this race strong. God bless you, my sister. And may He grant the desire of your heart!

Hi Kathy,

I love the Body of Christ too! Amen! You know, I didn't get to hear Debbie's story but I got to share lunch with her between sessions. I think we were speaking at the same time. Anyway, where would we be without the gift of community? Lord, make us one! Bless you, my dear!

Dear Tikva,

Was the "Match' idea yours or Sheila's? I'm not sure but I think it's a great idea! Maybe you two should get together and start a mentoring webpage. I think it's a fabulous idea. We need to be gleaning from those who've gone before us and we need to be pouring into those who are coming up after us. Lord, bring those divine relationships into every Christ-follower's life! Bless you.

Rebecca,

So glad! Bless you, my dear! Hope you are well!

Brenda,

Thanks for your post. So true. We have to be careful about what we 'let in.' Scripture is clear about the importance of guarding our hearts, because what goes in directly affects how we live! One of my favorite verses in this regard is Psalm 26:3 - For Your love is ever before me and I walk continually in your truth.

To keep His love before us as a banner and a filter - through which other thoughts have to pass before we let them in - is a wise way to guard ourselves from the lies the enemy tries to toss our way. And the second part of the verse talks about keeping ourselves grounded in the truth. So much insight packed into that little verse. I love it. :) Bless you and thanks for posting!

Sheila,

Ask questions any time! We have some wise women who frequent this blog. I love the sense of community here. :) Ask away! Bless you!

Hi Debra,

Thanks for your post. Aren't we all so quick to forget where our true Source of life comes from? He's the only One who can satisfy our deepest soul needs, heal our wounds, revive our spirits, and make us mighty warriors for His Name's sake. I'm so grateful He's given us access to His presence and His promises. We're blessed, indeed. :) Bless you!

Helen,

Thanks so much for chiming in and sharing with Sheila. I love that you did that. You're a precious heart, my dear! Blessings to you.

Dear Natalie,

I do remember you! And thanks so much for sharing you heart with me! I'm a little behind on my blog replies but I wanted to say that I pray God overwhelms you in the coming days with a strong sense of His great love for you! May He show you just how dear you are to Him! And I just love that your hubby sent you to the conference. What a great guy! Maybe one day the Lord will change the seasons for you and move you to a new place, but it sounds like He's training you and growing you in the place for now. Blessings in Christ to you, my sister! So nice meeting you.

Sheila,

Hey, maybe you're the one to start up that 'Match' idea. It's a great one! And I love the way you and Helen connected here. Love the encouragement in the Body of Christ! Bless you, dear!

Helen, thank you so much. Those are wise words. I'm praying that God guides me along this path, understanding what He is calling to me to do. If you think of me, please pray. I really just want to do what He wants me to.

Somebody! Put together this mentoring match up thing! Not sure how personally we can get to know each other on-line, but who knows.? :) I have prayed for this for years (a local physical one). And for my husband too.

Thanks ladies. God bless each of you.

Susie,

Thank you for this blog and your insight. I love the Tikva's idea of a match.com to find Christian friends. How cool would that be. I live in a small town in Iowa. My friends are sometimes friends due to logistics not so much because they are a good fit for me. I will tell you though, that just like in my career, God wants to use me where I am at. This is sometimes difficult as I would like to be plucked from my surroundings and dropped into a town and career where I am certain to be amongst people that inspire, motivate, love and encourage me. I then realize though, that God puts us with people and situations that often times are not Godly and here he uses us to be His light onto the world. (Still think the match.com for Christian friends is a great idea) :)

Susie, I saw you speak just this last Saturday at Orchard Hill in Cedar Falls. You might remember me, I met you in the hall and told you my husband is the one who sent me to your conference. He listens to you everyday on the radio. He often calls me and tells me what you are talking about, and when I can, I tune in on my computer at work. I purchased your book The Uncommon Woman, although only a quarter through your book your words are speaking right to me. You see, my husband understands me like no one else... he knew I would connect with you.

I am looking forward to finishing your book. I get up everyday around 4am. It's not always easy but it is my only quiet time and I cherish the solitude during these early morning hours. (It also gives me time to talk myself into exercising as I can't seem to jump out of bed to do that.) Today I jumped out of bed because I knew your book was waiting for me. Thank you for your encouraging, motivating and loving words.

I have struggled my entire life with my identity. I dealt with my insecurity in many ways... anorexia, approval from men and partying in my younger days and today I still struggle with dipping into old habits when I feel empty. I loved your woman at the well story. I sat in the audience Saturday and felt like I was the only one in that room that could identify with her, however, I am sure many woman did. I often stand at the well of approval from others, the well of success, the well of pride, and many other wells but I very seldom stand by the well of the living water.

When I arrived at the conference on Saturday, I looked around and thought... "What do these Godly women have to be ashamed of? Certainly, no one in here has done what I have done. Certainly, I am the worst." I even caught myself wondering why half of them would be crying at times and I would think... if they only knew who I was and what I have done they wouldn't feel so bad about who they were. You see, I can see my own faults so clearly and rarely feel like I deserve God's mercy and grace.

Thank you so much for being who you are, for encouraging women like me, for embracing the Kingdom of God and reaching out to women. I am looking forward to reading your blogs and books. Keep being exactly who you are. Until next time...
Natalie

Sheila, I'm not Susie, but here's my two-cents...

I don't think God asks us to combine all of His instructions because that would be beyond us. I think He wants us to walk closely with Him so we hear that voice behind us saying, "this is the way..." and then we can use the Scriptures to test what we heard.

When Satan tempts a Christian, all he can appeal to is our flesh, because our spirits are sealed by the Holy Spirit. And that's true when he uses a Scripture to tempt us. To give one example of many, he'd corrupt "winning without a word" into "withdrawing from your husband/giving him the silent treatment."

I suppose we need to know our Bible pretty well in order to remember that God has said both "speak" and "be silent", which you do. And we need trust, so we're steadily standing on the fact that God isn't capricious or contradictory in His commands.

We need discernment, which is something that grows in us (and I trust it's growing in you). It takes time and, for lack of a better word, practice. This is a place where prayerful hindsight is a great teacher.

Hope there is something useful in this for you.

Blessings to you.

Helen

This posting reminds me of some really good advice a dear friend gave me at church camp one summer. She told me that so many times women look for true love with all the wrong faces in all the wrong places. They want their boyfriend, or spouse to love them so completely and deeply that they miss the bigger plan... that God is the only one who can love us so deeply and so completely. And that he is teaching us about unconditional love and when we finally understand that type of love then he makes us ready for the person he has planned for us. Now that I'm nearing forty, I reflect on all those silly crushes I had and realize I was searching for something that could never be.... When you mentioned the picture of the Bride/Sword, it triggered this memory for me. Thank you for sharing and for blessing so many.

Debra Barry
Marion, Iowa

Are we allowed to ask questions here? If so, here it is...

As a wife in a difficult situation (won't go into that) how do we combine all of God's instruction and know the right thing to do? (Win without a word, if you see your brother in some sin, bear and endure all things, exhort one another, as a helpmate I should be helping, etc.) Some times I think Satan uses scripture to tempt me to do the wrong thing. Ah, he did that with Jesus now, didn't he?.
Love to hear you ladies' comments.

Thanks,
Sheila
(Susie, let me know if this isn't what you had in mind with your blog space.)

What a blessing to have women who speak life into you! If we are not careful, we find more of the same toxic friendships that planted those lies in the firstplace...Be on your guard who you allow to speak into your life. That is just as important as an adult as it was as a teen. Maybe more so because of what you started believing about yourself back then!

it's like this post was written just for me...thank you!

Dear Tikva, I think you meant Sheila's post. :) Mentoring is a blessed gift I am honored to have been given. I don't have mentors, but I do have many I glean from in my life. {Glorious grace!}

~Love, Kathy

Susie, I am with Kathy. There needs to be a mentor program set up - like "match.com" for Christian women :c) Women in the church just do not reach out to the younger or more immature women anymore. And honestly, I'm not sure I've seen many in my very small very strict country Baptist Church... I am hoping and praying that I will become strong enough in the Lord to bring some Joy of the Lord to my church.... the sooner the better!

Thank you for reaching out to us. I'll take whatever you can teach me from your blogs, and your radio program and your Facebook posts and blessings! I guess, you radio women of God are my mentors.

I love the ministry of the Body(Bride) of Christ! In the Presence of others who are in the Lord, we find grace and truth.

This reminds me of Debbie Mayer's story. Did you hear it when she gave testimony at the Set Apart conference shortly after losing her three daughters? It was so moving...What a comfort, and blessed reality our position in His love is!

I love you Susie! So happy you have golden girls! :)
Here is the story if you or any of your readers want to read it:

http://www.brt-photo.com/Mayer/deeper.pdf

Thanks so much Susie for sharing your heart. God bless your mentors!

Where can I find some Golden Girls for me? Seriously, I've been praying for them for years. No one wants to be honest with you. They either don't care, don't know the heart of God or they're afraid they will hurt your feelings.

What must we do so that He will deliver us from those fears?

It so often sounds like the answers are wrapped up in an "ah ha" moment at the end of your post and I'm left standing there saying, "Wait a minute! I need more! I don't feel strong! I'm obviously not getting it, cause I have more defeated days than victorious ones."

I'm sorry to be such a downer today. This evidently isn't one of my victorious days. I KNOW HE is the answer. I KNOW in the end, it will all be good. And it truly does help to read your posts and glean your wisdom. I'm always anxious for Wednesdays.

I'll be more cheerful next time. :)

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