Monday, March 21, 2011

The Battle

The luncheon just ended. I came directly from the gathering to my desk to recap all that I just heard...I wanted to relay the information for those of you who couldn't join us from a fresh mind! Three women with three very different stories shared with us how they are living out biblical womanhood in their lives today and the battle they face day in and day out. And although each woman was unique and had a very specific message on what God is showing her today, they did have one common thread: living as God's woman isn't easy. We all face the ups and downs of living a life with a biblical perspective. To be honest, we really aren't that good at it! If we were, we wouldn't depend on Jesus as much as we need to. But with the difficulty of living a godly life, striving to be a biblical woman in every aspect, we are met with God's unending, never-ceasing, always enough, grace. Each of the women today expressed their awareness of God's grace and goodness in their life, even when it was undeserved and unappreciated.

Meet Natalie Worley:
Natalie literally grew up in the church. With her parents both serving in ministry her entire life (her dad was the Executive Pastor at TMC for many years) she is no stranger to watching those around her live out Christianity. From early on, she began serving at the church as well and used her gifts to impact others. Just recently, she graduated from nursing school and began working full time as an RN. It was this transition, Natalie explained, that tested her like nothing she had ever experienced. She felt "ready" to begin working as a nurse full time, but what she wasn't ready for, she said, was the firsthand witness to the deep depravity of the human soul. She knew that her job was to extend the best care to her patients, but she quickly learned the depth of people's needs extended beyond what she could give them. So Natalie explained that she was faced with reality like never before. She was exposed to the darkness of the world and was discouraged by all she saw. She admits that she was overwhelmed by circumstances and began to forget the foundations of her faith that she had been taught her whole life.

Thankfully, with time, Natalie was able to refocus and remember her first Love. But she explained that the Gospel has a new meaning to her -- that without Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you truly are lost and hopeless. She shared Psalm 32:1-2 with us as a reminder for those who do know Jesus as Savior, "Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit."

Natalie, I want to personally say to you that the radiance of Christ is all around you! When you shared your story, your vulnerability and honesty about your tough times encouraged every woman there. Mary said it best when she said, "Tough places in life is where God grows you up." I believe fully that God is using you in the lives and souls of those you serve both at work and in life. I pray you continue to pursue your quest to be an authentic Godly woman with your entire self, as you showed today. Thank you.

Next meet Jocelyn Carter:
I was ready to jump up and high five Jocelyn when she finished her story. Jocelyn spoke on a topic that is (1) difficult to talk about and (2) not always easily understood. She tackled submission. As a self-proclaimed high-achieving, self-made, go-getter, perfectionist, Jocelyn was influenced to believe that headship and submission was...ridiculous. Based on several circumstances in her life growing up, she was determined to rely only on herself to get things done. Then, she meets Les (her now husband.) Les had an entirely different background than Jocelyn and she said the two of them could not have been any more opposite! So when they fell in love and began to prepare for marriage, they had to work through the concept of submission. It was Jocelyn's first and foremost submission to the Lord that helped her begin to understand this tricky and misunderstood (but very biblical) concept. She explained that submission isn't about power but love. It isn't about losing yourself to someone else, but willingly giving of yourself to someone. She described it as an "exercise of faith." She began to see that she could trust Les as someone God would use as a leader in their family and that it didn't mean she would no longer have a voice. She described their marriage as a partnership that doesn't place value on roles or expectations (for example, she does most of the cooking and Les does most of the cleaning...this is just they way it works for them!), but instead, they commit to each other to always work at placing the needs of the other before themselves. That, ladies, is no easy task.

She reminded us of the Proverbs 31 woman and how "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." (Prov. 31:11-12)

Jocelyn, I already told you this, but I am so thankful that you were bold enough to talk about such a touchy subject. Many women, myself included, have struggled with the calling of submission and I know that many of us were encouraged to hear about your journey through it. Thanks for your honestly and obedience (can I say submission!?) to God's leading you to share this today. Praise be to God!

Finally, meet Joyce Lowman:
Joyce is the type of woman that when she speaks, you want to listen. There is a certain tone in her voice, twinkle in her eye, and love in her spirit that you are just drawn in to her! She was just as delightful when she shared how she battles with being a biblical woman and I found incredible comfort in her story.  Joyce said she knew from her early days that all she wanted to do was grow up and be a mom. She remembers loving children from early on and always being a part of children's ministry. So when the day came she and her husband were ready to begin their own family, Joyce was blindsided when they were unable to get pregnant. Years went by and still no children. Finally, when Joyce was in her 40s, she said she realized that she would never experience this dream of being a mom. Understandably, Joyce said she questioned God and didn't understand why He wouldn't bless her with a family. The questioning led to pity for herself. Then finally, Joyce began to question her significance. If she couldn't be a mom, what could she offer the world? It was in this state of brokenness that God began to show Himself to Joyce in new ways. Her mind shifted to believe that she is priceless because she is a daughter of the King. Things, relationships, children, careers -- they don't define us. But a true woman of God will search out her calling that God has for her, even if it is different then what we desire. Joyce began serving the church with a fresh heart. She has served as a mentor in our Shepherding Program for years and has impacted countless women with her story. And now she and her husband are facing another difficult phase in life -- how, when, and what will retirement look like for them? But this time around, she is facing adversity with a different approach. Joyce is facing it head on because her theology is grounded: God is Sovereign.

Joyce reminds me of verse 30 in Proverbs 31, "...a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised." 

Joyce, you are an example to us all on how to humble yourself before the Lord and trust Him in all circumstances. Thank you for your openness and courage to share the ups and downs of your walk with Jesus over the years.

That ladies, just about sums it up! It was a fantastic time together and I'm continually encouraged by the women at TMC who are seeking after the Lord to honor and glorify Him in all they do. Have I mentioned before that you are not alone on this journey? Remember that when tempted to think otherwise. The battle can be won because our Redeemer has paved the way.

Much love, sisters!


  1. Simone, I am really enjoying the blog & the encouragement I receive each time I read a new entry. Miss all of you guys at Moody & love to hear how the Lord is working & moving in the hearts of TMC women! Keep up the great work!

  2. Melanie! You're sweet to comment, thanks for your encouragement! Moody misses you as well...but believe me, your legacy lives on :) xo!

  3. Thanks for sharing these stories. I was unable to attend the luncheon, but I wanted to hear what these women had to say. What an encouragement! Thanks for sharing with us, ladies!

  4. Good entry. . .unlike Joyce Lowman, I'm the opposite as I don't want children. But I often feel that I've been led to give encouragement to kids who perhaps aren't getting it elsewhere, like at home, for example.