A Leader Who Serves? OR… A Servant Who Leads?

Posted by Jen

Written By my friend, housemate &  guest blogger: Cynthia Omega

Often times as believer/Christian we look at our lives and contemplate in what ways and areas we can have more influence. Whether with our families, friends at church, coworkers or even neighbors, we wonder what we can do to become better leaders in God’s Kingdom wherever we are. Though striving to lead well in these areas is a valid pursuit, I believe that we often mistake the true meaning of leadership. If we look at Jesus’ life, He most certainly led with strength, wisdom, and love, but not in the ways that often envision Him leading. As the King of Kings, Son of God, and Great High Priest, one would not expect to find Jesus kneeling on the dirty floor with a towel around His waist washing the feet of His disciples, and yet that is exactly where we found Him. Jesus chose to lead in this way not because he lacked the right to lead in a more prominent position, but rather because He knew that His identity was a servant who led, rather than a leader that happened to serve when it was convenient. How about you, where does your identity lie? Do you find yourself passionately doing the Lord’s work as long as you are given the position and recognition you deserve, or do you choose to humble yourself as a servant in all ways knowing that “ your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matt 6:4)? Though in choosing this lifestyle we will surely be treated as servants, we will also surely receive a servant’s just reward, eternal glory!

Sharing the Good Stuff: On Being a Woman

Our Monday night women’s bible study has been reading a book called: “Fight Like a Girl” by Lisa Bevere.  While the book has stirred up some good conversation in our group (because not everyone agrees with the premise of the book), Lisa has some great nuggets of “womanly wisdom” that she shares.  Heres a tidbit from our last study:

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31: 26 NKJV

“There is more to this verse than might initially be perceived.  First, wisdom should be what beckons us to speak.  Women are endowed with both intuition and insight, which give us awareness of something on a perceptive, intuitive level…no one can see the potential in a man’s life like a woman.  There is no one better postitioned than a mother to speak constant life and nourishment into her sons and daughters, just as there is nothing more healing than to feel simply understood by another woman who knows your weaknesses but encourages your strengths.

But our power to influence has the potential to reach even further.  Wise women are a gift to our culture.  When a woman fosters beauty in and through her life and home, practices discretion, heeds godly instruction, and bestows inspiration, there is no greater source of inspiration.”  p.115

I personally love the encouragement in these words.  Sometimes being a woman, with our ever-faithful hormones by our side, our emotions, and our “baggage” is challenging. But as Lisa says, we carry inside us great power to “speak life” into others, if we use words of encouragment and kindness.  We must speak with wisdom, the bible says.  And it is available to all who ask for it. 

More thoughts on “wisdom” to come!

Have a blessed day today!

Stirrings : Unashamed


Today I had one of those experiences where time seems to stop and the word “priceless” is the only way to describe the moment.  I was at my daughter, Hannah’s, middle school awards ceremony.  Hannah had consistently been on the honor roll at her school until last trimester, when she didn’t make it.  At the time, she sat in the stands with her 7th grade class and watched as (in her words), “all of my friends get called up to receive an award except me.”  She was a bit embarrassed and as a result quite motivated to make sure that situation didn’t happen again.  Talk about incentive!

So today, after working extremely hard, she was invited to receive an award for a 4.0 GPA this trimester.  I sat proudly in the parent section, watching the kids squirm in their seat, hoping their name would be called.    Hannah’s was, and she shyly walked down the stands toward the podium. It was a priceless moment…and so was the one I was about to experience.

As the students were called down, they were asked to form a line where they would be handed their certificate. The principal would then come by and shake their hand in congratulations.  The 7th graders  in line awkwardly shuffled their feet, giggled nervously, and many could barley squeak out a handshake, let alone look an adult in the eye.  I am sure they were beaming with pride on the inside, but kept their emotions quietly packaged behind their downward gaze. 

All, except one.  A Down’s Syndrome boy named David who stood out from every other child there.  In line, next to 30 of his peers, in front of his entire 7th grade class and hundreds of parents, he raised both of his arms in a football touchdown cheer when he was handed his certificate. Shaking his fists above a beaming smile, he held his certificate PROUDLY above his head for all to see and for his mom to clearly capture in a picture.  He waved his award with one hand and pointed to it with the other, “Mom, look!'”  He could hardly contain his personal joy of accomplishment!  He was so proud of himself and did not care what anyone thought about it, except his mom.  He looked at her, way up high in the stands, the entire time. I couldn’t help but smile! 
It was a gift, to see such freedom, such unrestrained joy in a teenager.  I thought about how much he stood out, not because of his Downs, but because of his lack of self-consciousness.  That self-consciousness that somehow seeps into our children as they grow into adolescents and then to varying degrees never seems to leave, even into adulthood.  David had no “self”- consciousness…he was Mom-conscious.  His display was entirely for her.  It was almost as if it was just the two of them in the auditorium.  At the end of the ceremony, David’s mom raced down the bleachers to give him a HUGE hug.  He has been a friend of our kids, so I went over to congratulate him.  With a bit of embarrassment, and no eye-contact, he said shyly, “Thank you Mrs. Hayes.”
I clearly was not his mom. 🙂
What a picture of how I believe God wants us to live for Him; without embarrassment, with pure joy of pleasing him, being SO proud of who we are and what we can do with the gifts He has given us…all for HIS glory.  If only our eyes could be just for Jesus.   Unashamed, unhindered, smiling eyes. What if we could be God-conscious? What if we truly trusted that God was our number one cheerleader so much so that no one’s opinion or judgement mattered at all?  What if we pictured Him in the stands of our life, as we accept awards (cheering), or even fall and scrape a knee because we were riding too fast and without a helmet (hugging).
When I was going through a difficult season of my life several years ago, God spoke to my heart, and said, “Amy, just have eyes for me.  When the road gets tough, or when its time to celebrate, look to me first, and I will clap, or wrap my arms around you, and walk through it with you.”
When you think of your relationship with God, maybe remember this sweet moment that I experienced today;  David, his freedom, his eyes JUST for his mom in the stands.  It is, I believe, the picture of our God and the relationship he yearns to have with us.

Stirrings : I AM for You

Needing some fun lunch ideas?  Making lunches is well, boring!  To me it is.  If it were delicious soups or exotic salads, gourmet pizza that would sound fun, but the same old lunch for kids who don’t eat it any way sounds mundane at best.  I am thankful we have food for them and we are able to provide a lunch!  I focus on that. 

Well I was walking with my daughter to school one morning.  I was tired, we slept in which made our morning routine full of statements that included “hurry up” “now” “if you don’t… you are going to…” returned with “I don’t feel well” “if you would have… then I would have…”.  Fun huh?  Basically saturated with blame, pushing words, demanding statements.  However, it went that morning Mailee had reached tears at some point.  I felt like God opened my eyes to something as we were walking in.  I felt I was in the middle of a swarm of bees and my girl was just another bee in the swarm making it’s way into its pattern for the day.  Just one little bee in a huge swarm.  I rarely consider an individual bee when I am thinking about a swarm.  As she was swept up in the swarm and moved into school a little more beaten down than the morning before a scripture filled my mind.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
It was a good reminder to me.  One, I want that scripture to rush to her mind in confidence.  Two, Jen she is in a swarm and it needs to be clear that you are for her.  That will take many forms as she grows both positive and firm; taping into her love languages, building trust with her and discipline, intentional parenting and love is hard work!!!  
This eventually comes around to a few things we do in our house to make lunches more fun.  This may mean a lot to me because every day all the way through high school on each of my sack lunches my mom wrote “Jen 🙂 XOXO Mom”.  I remember it and I liked it.  It’s a little thing that was there every day reminding me of her love for me.

One fun Lunch idea is Surprise Sandwiches:  I cut the sandwiches into shapes or a message or word spelled out over the week.  One week I did a letter in her name each day.  I made the I heart U sandwhich the day after God reminded me of the “If God is for you who can be against you?” scripture which was seared again fresh into my heart.  I have done the word “cool” over a week.  At the very least it makes packing lunches more fun.  The fact that I can do something small in my kids lunch to remind them of my love for them and God’s love for them that’s worth whatever the cost.  Even the boring parts.

Another idea is to write a note.  It’s even better if it’s from dad.   We often write them a note and stick it in their lunch.  I don’t know about you but I would have cherished every love letter however small from my dad .  I remember the notes from my mom on my lunch bag with joy.  In my kitchen I keep a secret stash of stickers and I tag a few on the small note.  To me it’s the best part of lunches.  As I write my notes I am reminded “If God is for you who can be against you?”  The funny thing about God’s word is if you let it into your heart it changes you.  It keeps on changing me. 

Romans 8:31-39 NIV
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:   “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here is Romans 8:39  in the Bible Version of the Message.  I love the words “Jesus our Master has embraced us”.
“None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—
nothing living or dead,
angelic or demonic,
today or tomorrow,
high or low,
thinkable or unthinkable—
absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

I am able to LOVE my children because of God’s LOVE for me so lets do lunch.

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