Wow friends! What a couple weeks it’s been! I have really been struggling. Grief (from the loss of our fur baby) hit me way harder than I ever could’ve expected. On top of that, I’ve faced personal deep hurts, setbacks and frustrations that I never expected this month and it has affected every area of my life.
Thankfully, God in His great mercy never gives us more than we can bear (although it certainly feels that way sometimes), and so in the midst of myself, in the midst of my hurt and sorrow, God stepped in. He always seems to step in in the least expected way.
This week I’ve been in Las Vegas attending the annual conference for my health and wellness business. I almost didn’t go. With all that has been going on, and the sadness in my soul, staying home seemed much more safe and easy. But thankfully I have an incredible husband who pushed and encouraged me to go. Once I made the decision to go, I began laying out in my head who I wanted to see, what I wanted to accomplish and what my overall agenda was for the long weekend.
The first day was rough for me. While I was enjoying my time, negative thoughts and comments were popping into my mind unexpectedly and the weight of the sadness and hurt I was carrying internally was distracting me from focusing on anything but myself.
When I returned to my hotel room that night, God in his merciful grace spoke to me and said “Dezerai, this conference is not about you. Stop looking at your own agenda, stop looking at how others will fit into your plan and start serving! You are here to serve. Go down there tomorrow and serve those girls on your team. Look for where I’m working and be an encourager.”
Whoa!!! Mindset shift!!!
The grief and hurt that I was carrying into this weekend was NOT what God had planned for me. When I chose to set those things aside and focus on serving, my time became rich! My time became joyful and purposeful! I focused on speaking words of life, on being open and sincere, and on being an encourager. Do you know what the outcome was? In return I felt life, people were open with me, and I felt encouraged!!!
What an incredible God to remind me of the example He portrayed so well! A life focused on service supersedes our struggles & our expectations, and brings our focus into alignment with what our Heavenly Father sees, and where He wants His spirit to be poured out through us!
Mark 10:45 says “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus focused on serving people, encouraging them, and teaching them. He is the perfect example of how we need to set our focus.
I want to encourage you this week (especially if you’re struggling) to lift up your head and look for ways to serve those around you. Who can you encourage? Who can you speak a kind word to? Ask God to open your eyes to see where is He at work and partner with Him in that work. Then allow your spirit to experience the joy that comes from serving others in this way. YOU are faith, hope, and love.
I have some pretty strong opinions. Opinions on everything from political policy to the best place for a burrito. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone believes their opinion to be the right one. It can be easy to become lost in a world of opinions. Faced with controversy, doubt, divisiveness and mistrust on a daily basis, where do we turn? Who do we trust? What is truth and where should we stand?
In the world today there are “truths” being thrown around with great vigor. I’m not just talking about “truths” spewed by those who don’t know Christ, but more importantly the things being shared from believers. Within our own faith community opinions about where we should stand politically & socially abound. We have divided ourselves often times in very painful ways.
It’s time to shift our focus. It’s time to take our eyes off each other and turn them heavenward.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter what I think or what you think on any given issue; the only thing that matters is what the Bible says. What does God’s word say? What does Jesus say? - this is the only truth that matters. We desperately need wisdom in these days!
The Bible warns of us about seeking wisdom outside of Christ. In Colossians 2:2-3 it says “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
James paints a beautiful picture for us on what it means to have Godly wisdom in James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
WOW. What would it look like if we began viewing and approaching the issues of our time in this manner? Godly wisdom replaces hatred with peace-loving, it replaces aggressiveness with submissiveness, condemnation with mercy, and partiality with impartiality. How much could we change the tide of our neighborhoods, our cities, our countries, if we approached issues with this type of Godly wisdom!? We all think we’re the wisest when it comes to where we stand on an issue, but if where we stand is not the Word of God, we are standing in the wrong place.
We have to start turning to the Word of God for answers! We cannot seek them anywhere else. The only way that we as Christians survive & battle in this world is by knowing the word of God; by knowing it inside and out. His word is truth, it is sharper than any two-edged sword, it splits the smallest fibers of truth and lies!!
To know the Word is to know the Father & to know the Father is to know truth.
Let’s get wise. Let’s be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks (1 Peter 3:15). The only way this happens is by knowing the Word of God. Every answer we seek can found there. And every answer we give can come from there.
Let’s be people who can say “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor. 2:7)
Proverbs 4:7 says “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Though it cost you ALL you have – that is a pretty big statement, wisdom, the wisdom that comes from God is literally more valuable than anything else you can attain.
Prov 17:27-28 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
The Lord desires for us to operate out of deep wisdom and understanding; we must make it a priority.
I know it’s the week after Easter, but I want to talk about Mary. I want to talk about Mary because I believe she is pivotal to how the Easter story came to be; and a beautiful example of the work God does through women.
From Eve to Deborah to Esther, to Mary to Anna to Mary Magdalene to Lydia, God weaves an essential history-altering thread through his daughters. His story & purpose is not fulfilled without women.
God could have easily just dropped the Lord on earth without ever having or needing a mother, but there was something about a mother, something about Mary in particular that God viewed as essential for the growth of his Son. Surely it wasn’t just a loving, caring mother. We can assume that God would have chosen a woman who knew the scriptures as if they were tattooed on her heart. This would have been essential as she would have been the one to impart these scriptures of the Old Testament which he referred to again and again in his ministry on earth. She would be the one who taught him to pray. It’s safe to say that God decided that a woman, a mother, was essential to bringing Jesus into the knowledge he would need to fulfill his purpose on earth.
And did you know, Mary was the one who launched his public ministry? In John 2:1-11 we read that Mary is helping to host a wedding (most Bible scholars believe it would have been for a relative) so she is deeply concerned when they run out of wine. She decides to ask Jesus to fix the problem. This is his first recorded miracle in the Bible and as far as we know, he hadn’t been performing miracles prior to this point, he may have done so at home (we don’t know) but never in public; so why would Mary take this issue to Jesus? Here’s what I think is so fascinating about the people of the Bible – especially those connected to Jesus – while He was clearly the Son of God, he was still Mary’s son, and she was still just his mother. If you have children, or grandchildren, or niece & nephews, or have ever been around children in any capacity, then you know that God has given us something as women that no one else has – we call it intuition. We don’t know how we know when children are not where they’re supposed to be, or doing something they shouldn’t, we just know – it’s our God given intuition.
So back to Mary, why did she decide to bring Jesus into this issue rather than sending some of her other sons to go purchase more wine? Prior to this story taking place Jesus has just been baptized by John and has been building his disciple team. I believe Mary was seeing these things unfolding. She knew who He was, and saw His ultimate role beginning to be played out. So perhaps God whispered to Mary’s heart – “it’s time, it’s time for my son to begin revealing himself to the nations.” And Mary instantly, intuitively knew that she needed to call on her son to provide a miracle.
You would think that the son of God would know when the time was right to perform his first miracle, but Mary wasn’t afraid to speak out in faith of what she knew needed to be done. If it was me, and I knew Jesus was the son God – even as his earthly mother, I’d probably be a bit intimidated to tell him it was time for him to perform a miracle. The more I read about her, the more I begin to think that the image we paint of Mary as a gentle, serene, quiet figure, is all wrong. I think she was chosen because she was a bit of a rebel. In each of her stories, we see her being bold, counter-cultural and most importantly unafraid to act on the things God tells her, regardless of the risk.
His miracle of turning the water into wine launched Him into His ministry here on earth. As He continued His ministry, Mary traveled with Him, supporting Him & His mission. She was essential and pivotal to His story from the day of His birth to the day He died on the cross and the day He rose again.
I am by NO means taking away from the sacrifice that Jesus chose to make. And I am by no means suggesting that the sons of God play an unimportant role. But I AM adamant in the daughters of God understanding that their role is essential. I am adamant that you understand that you are deeply loved!
As I spend time in prayer specifically for the women of God, I picture in my mind our father wrapping his arms around each of you & gripping you tight as he whispers
“Daughter you are loved.”
“Daughter you are loved.”
“Daughter you are loved!”
This Easter month, live loved! Live significant! Live in purpose! You are an essential part of the tapestry He is weaving, a critical thread in the history of His story.
Hi! I'm Dezerai, a woman passionate about living in my purpose, about creating a life on purpose and about challenging you to do the same. I speak, I write, and I hang out with my husky and my handsome husband in the beautiful Napa Valley.