Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Find Your Tribe

This past week I celebrated 35 years of life.  My people rallied and gave me a great week with cards, gifts, notes and acts of kindness.  My husband sent me out of town with my some dear friends and we had a weekend away that included a lot of laughter, a Branson Christmas Variety show, shopping, Christmas lights, chips and queso and lots of girl talk.  It made me so thankful for my TRIBE. Let me tell you about my people.


Years ago I prayed.  I prayed for God to send me authentic women.  I longed for deep friendships in my local community.  I have lots of friends spread out all over the country (and world) and I cherish them dearly.  What I was longing for was people here where I live, to do life together.  A connection deeper than the glaze over of "how are you" "I'm fine".  Though I was surrounded by people all the time, I still felt lonely. So I prayed.

Then came one friend. Then came two. Then three. Today I can say I have a tribe of women who are fierce for me.

Through what I will call tribal living I have seen change in my life.  I have been and am being refined. I have been cared for and comforted. I have learned more, I have lingered longer.  My walk with God has been so sweet and so good. I have leaned in to prayer and study more than ever.  These women, this tribe, they have set me free from perfection and performance. They meet me where I am and lift me up when I need lifted.  God has used these authentic relationships to reveal pieces of me that need mending, shaping and refinement.  God has shown me his grace, love and provision through these women.  He has taught me how to love outside my comfort zone and how to say I'm sorry even when it was really hard to do.

My willingness to open myself up to authenticity has allowed for some of the best years in my life.  Not because they have been free from hurts, difficulties and trials.  Definitely not!  These last few years have been trial, after trial, after trial.  God provided helpmates for me, to be real with, to hold fast to truth with, to hold me accountable and encourage me to seek first the kingdom for all things.  Not to seek them, but to seek the kingdom.

Tribal living has become life for us.  We do life together.  We feed each other when life gets crazy. We unpack boxes for each other. We take each others kids when we need date nights.  We break bread and drink wine around tables in our homes.  We hug and we cry.  We worship and we pray.  We are fierce for each other and do life together in abundant grace not in judgment.

We also open ourselves up to be the tribe for others.  Beth Moore reminded us in one of her studies that you can't be turned inward with your people all the time, we must not be shut off to the other people out there.  So, we turn outward, we care for others, we bring others in and teach them how to be authentic.  We cannot be an elite club of women, we have to be inclusive, as women we should always be working on this.

This weekend and recently, my eyes have been opened to see that this is the exception not the rule. It seems that women think that they have to have it all together. It seems that we have a hard time being friends with each other. It seems to be that we would rather compete than cheer-lead.  Ladies, there is enough for everyone. There is also enough competition out there in the world, let's not compete with each other.  Let's hold each other up to success.  Let's choose authenticity over fake. Living authentically with each other, doing life together, cheering each other on and offering one another all the grace. This is where it's at girls.  I promise once you break down those walls you will never want to build them up again, not ever.

May I encourage you right where you are to begin praying for authentic relationships with other women. To break down walls with each other and do life together.  It may hurt sometimes. It may not be easy.  You may not always agree.  But if you fight for it it will become some of the most beautiful things about your life here on earth.  Community, unity and tribal living has offered some of the best moments of my life.  I pray that you will find the same.  I have so much more to say on this topic, maybe a study of community will be in order here. Until then, who can you build an authentic relationship with in the new year. How can you break down the walls and reveal true pieces of yourself to help another woman struggling? Maybe it's as simple as asking someone to coffee and truly getting to know here or maybe it's taking a leap of faith and starting a prayer group. I can't wait to hear how this changes your life!  Keep me updated!!!!

You are worthy of really good people in your life, who see you as a woman who is fearfully and wonderfully made in His beautiful image.

Much Love,
Chrystan

PS- Pray hard ladies, you will have to fight for this at every turn because UNITY in women is so very glorifying to God and feels impossible at times!  Pray harder, fight for each other it is worth it! I promise...
PPS- please share this, like this, subscribe and let's be in a tribe together!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rescued



When I was a little girl, well maybe not really little, but as I am about to begin year 35, the younger me looks younger and younger.  When I was younger, I was on vacation with my parents. We were in a hotel pool outside in whatever state we were visiting (I'm so old I can't remember).  I was playing with my brothers and turned around to see a little girl, maybe two or three, drowning in the pool.  I swam over to her and simply stood her up, as she was just on the steps of the pool, all she had to do was stand up and she was ok.  She was still chocking on the water as her mom rushed over. They didn't speak English so I couldn't understand her mom at the time, but I believe she was thanking me.  I was reminded of this today as I was recalling a recent message my friend Andrew gave at church. I don't remember all the details of his message, I mean I'm a mom of three I barely remember my own name, but one word keeps coming back into my brain: RESCUED.

Did you know that you need to be Rescued? Did you know there's a rescue plan for you already played out and in place?

Some of us don't realize it but we are drowning and all we need to do is stand up.  It seems like we like to have the feeling of drowning sometimes.  As I looked at my December calendar this week I paused.  I have something every night, every weekend, everyday has a commitment.  So much for a season of peace.  Maybe I like to be drowning in a sea of busy, maybe it's hard for me to have silence.

For you it may be something else.  Maybe you're drowning in a sea of bad relationships, ones in which you give pieces of yourself away, so much so that you feel there is nothing left. Maybe you are drowning because there is nothing left anymore to hold you up.

Or others it may be work and accomplishments.  You work all day and all night to build up an empire because that, that is what will show that you have great worth. Your net value.  You are drowning in a sea of accomplishments that when they are the only thing left could never withstand the weight you carry.  Pieces of paper can never pull us up out of the water.

And today one of you is reading this and you are drowning in life.  All you do is give yourself away over and over and over again. To your spouse, your kids, your church, the PTA, nonprofit work, fundraising, book writing, blog posts, praise team, ministries, caring for the needy, caring for the not needy, that ailing parent who takes it all out of you, your child who has cancer...and so on.  Today you are siting here with your head under water, chocking on just regular life and it overcomes you completely.  Nothing is holding you up anymore, only weighing you down to sink further.

To all of you I say, stand up and be rescued.  God has put it within you already.  Once you lay down your life to him, the Holy Spirit dwells within you and that is your rescue dear friend.  This season of Christmas is celebrating the middle of the rescue plan which began in Genesis, was predicted in Isaiah and came to fruition in Matthew-Mark-Luke and John.  Jesus is your rescuer.  He swam over because he saw you gasping with your head under water.  He has his hand under your arm holding you, now you need to stand up.

You are his rescue plan, stop drowning in life and let him lead you up out of the water, dry you off and set you back on solid ground. Life will still fill up, calendars and work and family will still be vying for our attention, but your focus will change.  Serving will become a call, loving will be challenging but worth it, work will be to glorify God and relationships will be tricky but beautiful in his presence.

Stop drowning, stand up, and be rescued.

Your rescuer came here with you in mind to fulfill a prophecy of life, death and resurrection; so that you could spend eternity with him because he loves you. You dear friend, are his daughter (son), beautifully made in his image and fully worth the RESCUE.

Much Love,
Chrystan

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