women of influence

Important Invitations

I’m an introvert. Like a lot.

When I receive a party invite for the kids - immediately following comes a big sigh. Another one? Do we need to go to this? What other kids are going to be there? Any parents I know? What is my day going to look like? Will I have the energy and people reserve to do this? In fact, selfishly and unashamedly admit that whether the kids want to go is at the bottom of my list.

As Christians, we use the terminology of calling. God calls me into this - God leads me into this. That’s fine.

However, in the last several years there has been a new phrase in my Spirit, and it’s “God invites me”. It gives me the reminder that He is hosting the party, and it’s happening whether I come or not. Yet, I have the privilege of being invited. 

What I do with that invitation is up to me. I want to be at His party. Who wouldn’t? Yet, I size it up just like those birthday invites. What will it be like? Will I be accepted? Will it be comfortable? Do I have what it takes? Who will come? 

Which makes sense in our humanity that so desires to resist unknown and uncertainty. We like control. We want to know what to expect.

More often than not, God extends an invitation but gives us very little more - He asks us to step forward in faith. And, as we take each step forward, He will lead us to the next.

Unfortunately, that is NOT our preferred method - at least not mine.

The problem arises because what I want and how I want it often rages against His way, His purpose, His process. There may be similarities and then it just detours from a certain point. I can stand at the place of the detour, cross my arms, and say nope I want to do it my way. OR, I surrender - breathe deeply and trust that His path is better and right. God’s purposes will be prevail, and I want to be a part of them.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps - Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

God promises to give me courage to accept these invitations in His purposes that seem more than I can handle.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

He assures me that His strength will empower me, and I can walk in that strength bravely even in the midst of a little fear or uncertainty. That eventually, fear will give way to a courage that comes from the power of Christ within me.

There are little invitations God gives us every day. What are we going to do with them? And are we too busy and scheduled to even see and hear the invite? Are we wrapped up in our own efforts and systems to hear and receive the invitation? Can we receive the courage He offers and accept that invitation into His work and plan even when we are walking into the unknown?

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Darkness into Light - Conference Thoughts

The leaves are falling, there is a slight chill in the air, and we are right about ONE MONTH away from our annual Women's Conference. I can hardly believe how this year has flown by.

In one month, we will have the opportunity to gather together in sisterhood from all over Southern New England even reaching into Northern New England.

Can you imagine hundreds of New England women gathered together in community under one name, Jesus Christ? It will be powerful. I have this growing anticipation. God has incredible plans. I know it deep down in my heart.

The fight has been real, though. Ironically enough, I have had identity battles this year like I haven't in a long time. I have been hit on every side of my insecurities and my weaknesses. The word "unraveled" runs through my mind like a bad song on repeat. 

God is unraveling me this year. String by string, I am coming undone. And it hurts. At times, it feels like my insides are being torn and stretched. I feel as though I have been shoved onto a stage - completely laid bare for all to see. It's uncomfortable, to say the least.

I have had to ask myself the question, "Who Am I?" and "Whose Am I?" over and over again. As I have prepared for the conference message, despite every obstacle that tries to detour, God is speaking powerfully.

Here is one thing I am sure of at this point. The Bible reminds us we have an enemy that has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Our Father came that we may have life and have it abundantly. The life abundantly part happens when our identity is founded and rooted in truth. Many of us know this. And, yet, we don't live like it. Or we strive for it in all the wrong ways, through all the wrong things.

I know, within my Spirit, God desires to break these walls of false identity, misconceptions, and broken truth. Lies and patterns of thought that have defined our identities for years. The confusion that colors our ability to declare confidently of who we are. Or, maybe, it's our own accomplishments and pride that better characterize our identity than Christ who graciously empowered us.

Whatever it is that confuses and discolors our identity and the roots of that identity, God longs to tenderly cut through the noise, tear down the walls, and lovingly unravel us so that we stand free and confident in Christ. Do you sense it? Do you believe it?

Oh, I do, there is a rising faith in my soul - a stirring in my Spirit. He is saying, I will do great things for you and among you.

It's essential that who we are - who God says we are - aligns with who we believe we are. If the enemy can destroy this truth - he can tear away the freedom and abundant life that is promised in Christ. 

In 1 Peter 2:9, it states that we are chosen. We are special. And we are His. That He so graciously pulled us from the pit of darkness into a marvelous light.

And, yet, it's not enough to simply declare positive statements of belief: I am Strong, I am Brave, I am Hopeful, etc. It requires a lifelong deep inner work of transformation where we allow Christ to reach into the darkness of our existence and shed light on mistruths, lies, pain, mistakes, and more. Often we desire to leave the light off. No one WANTS to face their own darkness - their pain. And, yet, we cannot value the light without the darkness. 

But why not? Why not stare our darkness in the face and allow the light of Jesus Christ to come flooding in. By the act of one man - freedom has been offered - grace has been offered. By the act of Jesus Christ - righteousness no longer has to be earned. We accept our imperfections knowing that we don't earn anything, but that we are justified by faith and by grace. And we can come out of hiding-come out of darkness into glorious light. If we live our lives through Christ, it is Christ living in us that gives us the strength and courage to live outside of the darkness and in the light. To live free, to transform, to grow, to bear fruit and impact a world for Him.

I can't wait to continue to explore these themes of identity with you. The Women of Influence team and the network leadership team is praying for you. And we hope you will come. I pray God will remove all obstacles for you to be there the weekend of the conference. We all need a good, strong reminder of WHO we are and WHOSE we are. I hope to see you there!

You can register here: snemnwomenofinfluence/events

...by Christan Causey

...by Christan Causey