Dear Sisters

typewriterRecently I performed three pieces at Dwelling Place, a weekly women’s Bible study  at Southwest Church. This letter was among the three, and it was an honor to read it  to the ladies…

Dear Sisters,

A note of thanks.

To those whose hands are held together with arthritic knuckles and tissue-thin skin.  Thank you. Thank you because you remind me of my own grandmother. In the  wrinkles and crow’s feet, I see only laughter and wisdom’s wings. You have taught  me about hard work, dedication, patriotism, and a faith that rests on hymns, and  Christ’s feet. You may not feel as strong as you once did, but you have moved  mountains.

To the women whose youth was marked by an assassinated president and freedom fighters. My mother’s generation. The women who put the first cracks in the glass ceiling, but never forgot that Jesus is King. You watched a nation march for peace, and you wanted to shout from the hills that in the corn fields and the jungles, Christ was the answer. You helped raise an entire generation of women who are proud to be daughters of the King, and moms and employed – all at the same time – if we so choose. You paved the way for that. You raised up game changers in the Church. Not women who seek to rock the boat, but women faithful enough to step out of it. Those women you raised, many of them are my friends.

To those women. Thank you. For your stories and your experiences and all the things you bring to the table. For your passionate pursuit of God’s presence and the way you seek after Jesus with wild abandon. I see you. I see you fighting to tear down walls, yours and mine. I see you juggling responsibilities and spinning plates and wearing hats. I’ve seen you at your best and you’ve seen me at my worst. I watch you with your own daughters. Together we worry about our girls’ hearts and their futures, because we are a generation of mothers who drop our children off at school and pray they stay safe. Thank you for your examples of faith and joy. Thank you for the laughter.

My prayer for 2015 for all of us – from the ladies with great grandbabies to the ladies who are practically still babies – is that we keep our masks off, and our hearts open. That we are vulnerable, where His strength is perfected. That we let His light shine through the broken places. That we are so focused on our Father’s business, our lives can’t possibly be about show business. I want this to be the year that we unpack our baggage and stop trying to become what we think we should be, rather than becoming, simply and boldly, more like Jesus. I think, when we get to that place, we won’t care what people say about us, whether they like us or not. We’ll be so focused on Christ that our approval rating won’t matter.

My prayer is that we rend our hearts. That we act as a connector between the hurting world and the healing love of Christ, always keeping our lamps lit and our feet firmly planted. But never motivated by recognition.

I’m asking God that we not let our jobs define us. All the quarterly reports, commissions, paychecks, accolades — it can all become the rat race very quickly, and it can make it difficult to run the race. May we all be filled with the knowledge that we are His daughters, first. We are not what we do for a living.

In 2015, I pray that we stop comparing ourselves to one another. When we were created by our Father, He put so much thought into our giftings. It’s our uniqueness that makes us beautiful. How it must grieve His heart when His daughters miss how stunning they are because they’re so focused on how He created someone else.

This year, dear sisters, let’s not gossip. Hold me accountable, and I will return the favor, if you want me to. Our daughters, and sons, are watching.

And, let’s smile more. There is much to be joyful about. Because no matter what we do, how bad we mess up, or how difficult things seem, Jesus loves us huge. Let us all, humbly thank Him for what we have, and gently remind each other of those blessings when our complaining drowns out our worship.

What if the next 12 months were about stepping outside of our comfort zones, and thinking outside of the box? What if we do the thing God has been whispering to us, but we’ve been ignoring? What if, by doing that one thing, generations from now, someone will be saying that we moved mountains? Not for applause or promotion, but for His glory. Be brave, and do not conform.

Let’s vow, that this year, we become audacious in our faith. That we turn to the Word, talk to God, lift our hands, open our hearts, put on His armor and get radical. Because if every woman in the Church were to do all that, what else could it be but radical?

It will be a year of planted seeds and lives saved.

Finally, again, thank you. All of you. For teaching me and putting up with me, laughing at my jokes and overlooking my myriad faults. For taking my calls, holding my hand and encouraging me – with your words, your faith, and your example.

Sisters, may 2015 be the year everything becomes new again.

In Christ’s love,

Amelia

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Truth Reflected (a spoken word poem presented at Southwest Church, Nov., 2013)

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I am a five-letter word.

M.O.M.M.Y.

I’m not sure what you thought I meant.

I as mommy look different than you as mommy,

It’s not good or bad.

It’s different.

No mother is perfect.

Walk a mile in my shoes,

I’ll drive a mile in your minivan,

and we can meet somewhere in the middle

and quickly learn

that we all birth replicas of our hearts.

They lay in our arms,

Crawl on our floors,

Run through our homes.

Yes, we birth tiny versions of love,

and that is common ground.

Over our swelling hearts we prayed.

In labor we cried out to God.

Through scrapped knees, snotty retorts and missed curfews,

we implore Jesus to help.

So when we walk the aisles of our stores,

and trek through the halls of our schools,

and sit under the roof of this Church,

let us not compare our labels to other women,

since the only thing we know

for certain

is that we serve Jesus and are called according to His purposes.

There is another word.

Not a good one like “mommy.”

It’s four letters.

It stings like the wasp that got me the day I grabbed the hose too fast.

It stings me, right here, every single time.

It’s how I introduce myself,

describe myself.

It’s the reflection I see in a sink full of dirty dish water,

how I define myself when I look into the eyes of my sons and my daughters.

It’s four letters.

J.U.S.T.

I am just a wife.

I just take care of the house.

I don’t work, I just serve at the church.

I am just a mother.

That lie digs deep.

It steals our joy,

and preys on our insecurities.

We are more than just.

So much more.

We are His workmanship.

His chosen ones.

His children.

Tiny replicas of His love.

The sheep of His pasture.

We all gather and kneel at His altars.

We are His.

He owns me and I am totally okay with that.

Also, we are broken.

Hairlines and fault lines and heartache.

Tokens of past mistakes that cause us

to pluck the strings of our hearts

like guitars

and sound a mournful tune of errors made.

So I ask:

How has evilness wrapped its hand around your throat?

What’s your label?

What do you see

as your identity

that makes it so hard to breathe?

A drunk? a user? a cheater? a liar?

A bad wife? Just an okay mother?

Too heavy? Too ugly? Too dumb?

Just so you know,

those are lies.

Every single one.

Forget just.

It’s in the past.

Our past mistakes aren’t even a part of the story reel

that plays today.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

The old has passed away.

We should count ourselves blessed to have friends

who will remind us of that everyday.

So you can stop calling to mind the former things,

or ponder things of the past.

We’re called to let it go,

lay it down.

Not lay it down while you’re wrapped up in it like a blanket.

It’s more like, burn it and run.

Christ is our defender

and tomorrow’s freedom

will only come from today’s surrender.

We are broken,

but our God, our Potter, He makes us whole.

Sometimes He takes us to a place of brokenness

to perfect His work in us.

At His wheel He shapes and creates.

In wombs He knits.

Were created in His likeness.

Oh yes, there are times we feel battered and are left bleeding,

but we are worth more than

the lies.

The lies that say we’re just….insert something here.

But now, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay and You are our Potter

and all of us are the work of Your hand.

He designed us to live wholly, without cracks that slice through and leave

pain in their wake.

In the trials that hurt, we have to see God in the mending.

But the wheels come off and

We forget

That our identity is in Christ.

We drown in the comparisons,

putting the focus on our differences

instead of seeing them for what they are.

They are God’s fingerprints.

We are all loved and pursued by Him

Equally.

A new four-letter word.

Free.

It’s on the parchment.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free

so stand firm

against the enemy’s schemes.

Do not let evilness

tell you that you are not good enough.

Do not let the world set your standard

for attractiveness.

Do. Not. Conform.

Be rebellious against the enemy.

It’s his fist that

beats us down,

but our names are inscribed on the hands

of the One who wears the crown.

And I get it.

Life can be boring.

Laundry and homework and meals and toilets.

Just hear this,

the days are long but the years are short.

Until our tiny heart replicas march off on their own adventures,

they are our adventures.

They are our tears of joy and the reason we cry,

“I love you!”

and

“Knock it off!”

in the same day.

We should see them through the eyes of that friend

who always says,

“Seriously, you have good kids.”

They’re a gift.

We are their mothers.

We should all seek to see that truth reflected

in the eyes of our sons and our daughters.