Inadequate? But God!

Emily Hill is a licensed minister in the Assemblies of God.  She lives in Lacey, WA, and is currently embarking on an exciting new journey into ministry.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak in all four of our weekend services with two other church leaders.  I put my heart fully into what I had prepared because I know that opportunities for me to speak are few and far between, even though this is the call that God has placed on my life.

I was nervous at our Saturday night service, but I had fun.  I told my and God’s stories and shared with the world that my faith looks a little crazy sometimes.  I was the only one of the three of us who came up with five pages of notes.  In Sunday’s three services, I did my best to share this faith story, page after organized page.  The other two speakers shared from their hearts as well, but their stories changed each service.  In one service they would mention something, and then not bring it up in the next.  I wondered…  “Am I boring?  Do I really belong up here?  Are they allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them more than I?”

I felt confident in the words that I spoke, in how I delivered them, and in the consistency of my message.  And yet… those questions nagged at the back of my mind.  Secretly, I wondered if I was inadequate.

A few days later, I got a note in the mail from my pastor.  “Thank you,” it read, “for your consistency.”  He thanked me for doing what I had allowed myself to question.  It was noticed.  It was appreciated.  I was following what God wanted me to do.

When I was a kid, I was that kid who always tweaked the teacher’s projects—instead of making a turkey out of my cut out hand, I made a dog.  I bought the book the teacher was reading to the class so I could read ahead, just to know when the sad parts were coming.  I was different.  I was the teacher’s pet.  The loud mouth.  And yet I often wondered if I was inadequate.  If, perhaps, I acted like another kid, I might get further, be more successful, not be such a nerd.

But God.  That’s my response now.  But God intervened.  I often feel inadequate, but God created me to share His light in a way that is different than everyone else.  I’ll be confronted with the feeling that I’m supposed to follow the crowd, but God says “I have created YOU for a specific purpose.”  I, in my inadequacies, shout out, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor… To proclaim freedom for the captives!”  (Isaiah 61:1)

The next time you feel different, inadequate, not enough…  Remember the strength of the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord upon you.  You have been called to proclaim His good news—HE has anointed you.  Seek hard after God, Sisters.  We may be different or separate, but God!

written by Emily Hill

Emily Hill Photo

 


Pedestals, Ditches, and Scared Little Girls

Amy Van Pay is an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God.  She and her husband are AGUSM Missionaries serving as Chaplains to Triathletes in the area of Boulder, CO.  They have 3 children: Camden-8, Cale-5, and Ainsley-2 months.

Recently, I had a conversation with my mother about my mother-in-law.  She said,  “Every time I see her, her make-up and hair look like it was professionally done.  She always dresses so nicely.  And to be honest, I feel really self-conscious around her.”  Then I began to inform her of why she looks that way; how she is so concerned about her self-image, she can’t help but spend all that time and effort on her appearance.

Isn’t that silly?  Here are two terrific women around the age of 60, longing to be acceptable to the other, oblivious to the fact that they’re not only accepted, they’re put on some kind of pedestal by the other.

Aren’t we all that way a little?  I know in my own life I’ve struggled with this.  I meet someone, make an assessment, and either place them up on a pedestal or throw them in a ditch.  Either they’re a person I feel I have to earn acceptance from, or someone that, well, they’re just a step or two down from me.  It’s not that I don’t like those I put in a ditch.  I just somehow reason that I’ve got this relationship in the bag–nothing to be earned here.  I know.  I’m a jerk.  Maybe you’re one too?

It’s times like these we need to take a few steps back and see ourselves for who we really are much of the time: scared little girls.  Beneath our big deal lives and responsibilities of womanhood, lies a bright-eyed young lady so unsure how she should behave.  By the time she’s put so many on those pedestals, it feels good to put a few in the ditch.  It’s only natural.

Here’s what I’ve observed: it isn’t humility that causes us to hoist others up.  And it isn’t arrogance that makes us put someone down.  In my estimation, there’s one just one little thing in us that’s producing both behaviors: pride.  It’s gotta be.  What else would make us so entirely concerned with ourselves?  When we’re caught up in these so-called assessments, do we ever take the time to consider what we’re doing to that other person?  I’ve been held up high, longing for someone to quit assuming I had all the friends in the world and just care about me for a minute.  I’ve also been thrown to the side, feeling like their relationship with me is some kind of obligation to them.

So, my fellow Smoking Hot (Little Girls) of the A/G, I’d like to propose we all let each other and ourselves off the hook.  Let’s level the playing field and be authentic for a change.  After all, what are we afraid of?  She’s just a scared little girl too.

written by Amy Van Pay

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Tragedy

After hearing about the unfathomable school shooting in Connecticut, I hugged my little boy tighter than ever.

“Mom, you’re hugging me too tight!” exclaimed my three-year-old. It made me wonder if I hug him enough. I worry I’m too harsh on him. Events like those of this week remind me that every moment we get with our children is a gift from the Lord.

Inevitably, he and my five-year-old daughter will hear the news of the shooting on the radio, from friends or from adults in passing.  My husband and I decided it’s important to talk to them before they hear it from anyone else. Especially with young children, it’s a delicate matter.

How can we, as Christian parents, address tragedy with our children? Here is what has helped us.

1)    Use age appropriate words. For young children, be sure to use terms that are accurate and understandable, but that won’t unduly frighten them.  For example, we explained: “A very bad man hurt a lot of children in a school this morning. Many of them died. Their families need our prayers.”

2)    Know the right time for discussion. Find a time for discussion when your kids will be most attentive so 1) they can understand the seriousness of the topic and 2) you can have the time necessary to discuss how to view such news as Christians. Family devotional time is ideal, if you have one. Allow enough time for prayer as well. When you pray, keep the focus on God’s love for those who are hurting rather than on the evil of what happened (John 14:16).

3)    Reiterate we can trust in Jesus. We might live in a world where evil happens, but we can trust in Jesus for our hope and our salvation (1 Peter 1:3).

4)    Don’t offer false hope. Saying things like “this will never happen to you” only offers false hope and an inaccurate view of the world. As painful as it is, we can only protect our children so much. We must entrust them to the care of the Lord. What we can say is this: God is always and will always be with them.

5)    Read them a narrative story from the Bible showing God’s sovereignty. One story I am finding most appropriate during this season is Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 2:1-19). Jesus was born in very dark times, but He is the light and the hope for the world.

6)    Point them to Jesus. We often assume that because we are Christians and go to church, our children have a relationship with the Lord as well. They need to grow and cultivate their own relationship with Him, however. We can use difficult times like this to talk to our kids about the importance of having Jesus in their heart no matter what circumstances surround them.

I have found that the tighter I try to hold on to my children, the more I lose them. I am still responsible for their care, but in those times when things are out of my control, I must place my trust in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:26 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” This verse brings me comfort because “everything” includes my children.

We mourn with those who mourn, but we do not mourn without hope. We trust and believe that God will work through this senseless situation because He is sovereign, and because He is good.

How have you addressed this tragedy with your kids?


Thanksgiving Proclamation

I was first introduced to this “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” my first year of pastoring in the Grand Canyon National Park.  We had a community service where all of the churches in the park came together to celebrate.  It is unbelievable how far we as a country have come in the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I urge you to take this and read it together as a family on this day.  To remember the true reason why we as a nation take this day as a holiday every year. Continue reading


Gratitude and Generosity

I don’t know if it’s the colors, the smells, the food or the anticipation of things to come, but fall is my favorite time of year. There is something about the crunch of the amber and crimson leaves under my feet, the beautiful golden harvested fields, and the smell of pine infused bonfires that make me feel cozy. So as I snuggle up with my warm, fuzzy socks and a pumpkin spice coffee, I reflect on this season. Continue reading


Marriage 101 – Wedding Day Do-over

marriage tip: DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOUR ANNIVERSARY TO RE-LIVE YOUR SPECIAL DAY

i find it amazing how a wedding anniversary can sometimes change the atmosphere in the home – at least in ours (and i have a sneaking suspicion we are not alone). no matter what stresses are pressing down, no matter what financial worries are looming, and no matter what annoyances have been felt, an approaching anniversary seems to erase all those cares and fill the heart with “ushy – gushy butterflies” all over again. Continue reading


Diamonds are forever…or not!

My engagement ring is a channel set white gold ring with seven 10 point diamonds. It’s simple,  nothing overly fancy, but precious to me. The diamonds are big enough to sparkle beautifully in the sun. Since we got engaged in college with a very limited budget, they are definitely not flawless diamonds. The color is fairly bright, but some of the diamonds have some occlusions, including a tiny black speck.

Last month, I was sitting and talking with a friend when I glanced at my hand and noticed that something looked “off”. Continue reading