Steward Well

(Honestly) part of the blessing in being a stay at home mom, for me, is that I am not a morning person (soooo it’s rare we go anywhere very early.) This morning, however, I filled in as the mops coordinator at our church. My husband got the boys ready and brought them to the church when he came to work and they went to their mops class. 
As I was backing out of the drive way, Drake stood in the front windows to wave and mimicked every kiss blow and wave I gave to him. He looked like an 18 month version of himself. Passionately saying bye to me and throwing out some sad faces bc this isn’t our norm. My memories on Facebook today showed me his first steps 5 years ago. 
How is the human heart capable of sadness over our children growing AND AT THE SAME TIME pride and joy over our children growing!?!? I totally know that’s only a mix of emotions God sets within our hearts in order to appreciate His complex way of loving us with grace and mercy. 
I’m so sick and really exhausted but we managed to grab lunch at Cracker Barrel bc dad usually has lunch meetings and didn’t today. I will say, my heart pounds equally big time as I watch my husband raise and lead our boys. It was hot and I was tired and they asked to play and I plopped down in a rocking chair and my husband squatted right there and taught them how to play. 
Feeling the weight of expectations I put myself is deceptive and unworthy of sharing space in my heart with the grace of Christ. Walking in freedom that He guides and provides what we need to parent these children brings a new measure of the gospel and love each day to lavish on them and one another. 
Let go of the confusion (He doesn’t author confusion) and the overwhelmed feelings (because He is sufficient), and do whatever comes next in the day to be a good steward of His blessings:: relationships, possessions, and responsibilities. 

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How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

the hard decision

The hardest decision is to let someone else decide, sometimes.

I’m so thankful my husband makes decisions.


We both make decisions all day. Some big. Some small. Some important. Some just preference. Some of our decisions effect each other and our family. Some don’t.

It is a great responsibility & accountability to defer to my husband.

 It is responsible for me because scripture calls me to acknowledge and respond to him as the head of our family. It is responsible & accountable for me to defer to him because I am called to teach and exemplify what it means to be a biblical woman in my marriage. Scripture calls me in Titus to show younger women. I’m also responsible & accountable to defer to my husband so that my children grow up with a discerned view and understanding of their role in marriage…and life.

There is great unity in trusting my husband. 

Trusting my husband draws me closer to The Lord because I’m ultimately trusting The Lord IN my husband. There is great unity in trusting my husband because this shows him, above all the voices and chatter of the world and my deceitful heart, I choose to believe & follow him. There brings great confidence for his present decisions and whatever may come in our future. I intentionally married a man with whom I agreed with in the realm of money, sex, theology, and calling. Within those realms are vast degrees of opinions and preferences. Where we don’t agree or even know if we agree, we talk, pray, think, and talk some more. Of course we have intense moments in our marriage. We have moments of frustration and confusion. Then, like all other areas of my life, I’m convicted and humbled. We come together and talk again. After the strife. After the rebellion of my heart.

Other times-it’s easy to defer to my husband. There are just some decisions that I’m glad I don’t have to make. My role as the female in our marriage bears great responsibility.

 I don’t have to assert myself and take control in places where I’m not called to in order to be important and necessary in our marriage. I am already necessary.

 I am already valued and worthy and needed. For the places I don’t have to or need to be responsible and the decision maker, I will gladly turn to my husband.

For all the ways this culture and world speak up about how men are not men and they are boys and they aren’t stepping up, I question whether they’re being asked or allowed to? We judge them for not being leaders. Yet we aren’t acknowledging the training and support it takes to be a leader. Anyone can be a bulldozer & tell others what to do. It takes a servant with humility and grace to lead well. Those are not qualities that come naturally, nor are they attained by a “just be it” attitude. It is a difficult, weighty opportunity to lead…peers, employees, a family.

So for all the ways women wrestle with their biblical role of what a wife is called to be and do, the men in our life have an equally valuable and difficult calling on their lives and responsibility. 

Our journeys and calling as women and men are very different and vary individually, but are deeply necessary.

When we are obedient to Scripture’s defintion, we are satisfied.

sphere of existence

today i saw a plea from a few different people on facebook. it was a request for prayer for a mutual friend who was having a brain tumor removed today. and i’m upset my flat iron bit the dust. i mean really.

i went on with my day. my husband took the boys to my parents, where they go every tuesday morning. around lunch my mother in law picks them up and they spend the day with my in laws. after they take the boys to dinner, they bring the boys home. it’s my day “off”.

i take a LONG time to get ready and enjoy no interruptions. today was a day i realized in this process i was out of a LOT of toiletries, make-up, beauty items, etc. i started pondering how and if i would be able to replace those with where we are in our budget.

i have no idea why or how the Lord pricked my heart, but He did.

she’s having a brain tumor removed. i was brushing my hair and looked in the mirror as to ask myself, “who? what are you thinking about?!”

then i remembered the few posts i saw about this woman. so i stopped and prayed.

i prayed. intentionally. fervently. for her, her husband, if she had children…healing, recovery.

not only did i want to pray for her. but i wanted to honor her testimony. she and her family are going through something so hard. if and when i go through hard things i ABSOLUTELY want others to be encouraged. i want the gospel to be very present. i want the gospel spoken and experienced.

we are humbled and faithful when we LET others impact us. when we open our hearts and let someone’s story speak to us. everyone’s sphere of existence is useful. it is meant to be used. there is purpose to my sphere of existence. if i desperately want others to benefit from my story, i most definitely want to be accountable to let their story and journey speak to me and stir my affections for Christ.

so i’m still praying for her. i don’t know her or her family. but we have mutual friends on facebook. i just saw an update that she is doing well. praise the Lord.

don’t worry about being involved, even if it’s just through proximity, in someone’s life. don’t worry that it will be messy. relationships are messy. walking with Jesus and seeking to be like Him is messy. that’s where the joy comes from, He chooses us.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 7 preview “on becoming whole.”

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

Melissa Sharp

10.17.13

on becoming whole.

1 corinthians 1:26-31

Glory Only in the Lord

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[c]

We cannot seek relationship and maintain relationship the way the world does relationships. We have to be different. We have to care about others. We have security in the Lord so our security doesn’t come from a person here on earth. The world doesn’t understand how we do relationships. They don’t understand how we can love because He loves us. We must process through the sin and hurt in our own lives on a regular basis in order to love others.

There are no shortcuts to personal growth & wholeness. But there are a few suggestions & steps we can take in order to voluntarily walk the road with the Lord of discovering who we are in this life & who we are in Christ.

As we read excerpts from “relationships” by Dr. Les & Leslie Parrott, we’ll discuss what it means to become whole. We’ll walk through 4 steps: heal your hurts, remove your masks, sit in the driver’s seat, rely on God.

There is a process to walk and it’s a life-long process. We’ll discuss biblical and practical direction for these 4 steps and prayerfully consider how we can each gracefully maneuver our self and relationships with regard to becoming and being whole.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart preview week 5

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“Marriage teaches us that even the most intimate human companionship cannot satisfy the deepest places of the heart. Our hearts are lonely ‘til they rest in Him” –Elisabeth Elliot in Lonliness

Tonight we will discuss the alabaster box that contains all of our hopes, dreams, & priorities and challenge ourselves to fill it with the desires of our heart and recklessly abandon our box before Jesus. We will recall much of Ruth’s journey (our study of Ruth here) as we discuss what it looks like to completely surrender.

offerings::what do you need to walk away from? Why do you need to walk away? You will need help. How will you get help walking away? How will you stick with your abandonment?

rememberance::what Truth do you need to tuck deep inside of your heart? What did you hear tonight that resonates with you but is difficult for you to believe? How will you remind yourself of these Truths? Will you choose to believe God?

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 4 review

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such a time as this.

Esther’s parents die & she is raised by her cousin, Mordecai. God ordains her protection.

God ordains her favor. 2:9

Mordecai gives her directions & walks with her through this. 2:10 We must all have spiritual mentors & sensitivity to submit.

God allows for her increased favor 2:15 and she continues follows direction.

Her submission & boldness lead to a throne & she is favored more than any others. 2:17-18

The more she obeys, the more she is favored. The more she is favored, the more her borders for trust & influence are enlarged.

As she gains more influence, more challenges come her way. With more challenges, come more opportunities for faith. 2:21-23

Near genocide of the Jews Esther 3

What is Esther’s heritage? Mordecai?

Esther’s Dilemma Esther 4

She hedges because she knows the ways of the king. But Mordecai speaks truth.

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

She responds with a willingness to walk the path Mordecai has directed, but asks for fasting.

everyone in Susa—-herself & her attendants—–3 days & nights

Her request reveals she has come into her own dependence on God & own understanding of His direction. It also reveals her need for a direction & peace higher than Mordecai.

Esther’s Approach Esther 5

The first step in her process requires the King extending the gold scepter

Next, she threw a party

Then, she keeps the king in suspense

She throws another party

Haman loves the attention & isolation of being chosen by the king. But he can’t get over his hatred of Mordecai.

His friend and wife help him plan Mordecai’s demise.

The end for Haman Esther 6

He neglected humility, so his thoughts were skewed. His answer lacked thought & wisdom.

Esther’s boldness Esther 7

She answers the king. She cannot handle her distress anymore.

Haman dies on his own pole for impalement.

The Jews, Esther, & Mordecai Esther 8-10

Esther receives Haman’s estate

God honored Mordecai’s steadfastness.

The Jews have all right to assemble & defend themselves.

How can we enter the turf of our own enemies, eat with them & encounter the beginnings of understanding?

How is Esther, a young Jewish woman displaced from Jerusalem, having eyes for her people an example to us?

God had her in a place of a foreign king at a time when high ranking officials turned on her people-the Jews.

She made a bold appeal to the king. She approached the king in a very unorthodox manner, one which would bring death to anyone (wife included) unless the king gave clearance. This is a great attachment to Hebrews 4:14-16 and of the fact that she wasn’t even approaching the king for herself. She risked her life to save her people.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 4 preview:: Esther

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God had her in a place of a foreign king at a time when high ranking officials turned on her people-the Jews.

She made a bold appeal to the king. She approached the king in a very unorthodox manner, one which would bring death to anyone (wife included) unless the king gave clearance. This is a great attachment to Hebrews 4:14-16 and of the fact that she wasn’t even approaching the king for herself. She risked her life to save her people.

How can we enter the turf of our own enemies, eat with them & encounter the beginnings of understanding?

How is Esther, a young Jewish woman displaced from Jerusalem, having eyes for her people an example to us?

See you tomorrow night!!!!1

a match made in Heaven…Ruth & Boaz

 

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

 

Melissa Sharp

 

September 19, 2013

 

 

 

A Match Made in Heaven

The main characters::

 Ruth is a short version of ‘retut’, ‘lovely friend’.
Naomi means ‘pleasant’, but the name she called herself later was Mara, meaning ‘bitter’.
Boaz means ‘powerful’ or ‘strong’.
Mahlon and Chilion mean ‘sickness’ and ‘used up’.
Orpah means ‘back of the neck’; she turned her back on Naomi.
Elimelech means ‘my God is king’.  

 Importance:: Matthew 1 Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus lists four women, & Ruth is one of them.

Map::

 Ruth is loyal to her mother-in-law.  Ruth 1:15-18

 She follows a God she meets through obedience. v.16-17

 Background of Moabites

 She asks to glean what is dropped. There is provision in Mosaic Law for this opportunity. Lev. 19:9, 10; 23:22; Deut. 24:19

 She works hard and without fear. She isn’t looking for a husband.

 Ruth 2:3 says that  ‘as it happened’  Ruth went to the field of Naomi’s rich relative, Boaz.

 She finds favor with Boaz because she chose the Lord.

 The Lord protected her and showed favor on her, through Boaz. HOW? He praises the way in which she presents herself.

She is noble.

 It was called the law of the “levirate” marriage, from the Hebrew word for “brother.” If no brother was available, a more distant relative might be asked to fulfill this duty. But the widow would have to let him know that he was acceptable to be her “goel,” as they called it, her kinsman-redeemer and provider.

 In English, the word go’el is often translated as ‘nearest kin’, but in ancient Judah it meant much more than that.

 

 Ruth 3

 

 She takes action. Lying beside Boaz, Ruth suggested that he, as the go-el of Naomi’s family, should ‘cover her with his blanket’, a euphemism for marriage.

  Spreading his cloak over her would signify his willingness to become her protector and provider. His response was immediate.

 Boaz is honest. He seems to have been at pains to do everything correctly, so that there could be no question about the legality of the marriage. 

 Ruth and Boaz were married, and she had a son, Obed. Eventually, Ruth would be the great-grandmother of King David.

 

 SOME OF OUR DISCUSSION:::

Ruth left everything she knew to go with Naomi. She knew Naomi was older in age and now a widow. Ruth DID THE RIGHT THING. In doing so, she utimately chose God. Moabites were Israelite enemies due to their history and some stereotyping. She walked in faith that all she heard of God from her husband and his family was true and that He would care for her and her mother-in-law. She was virtuous. One of the many reasons Boaz is drawn to her is that she didn’t have affairs with men, rich or poor. She DID THE RIGHT THING. She followed all of the directions and wisdom from Naomi. She walked through this entire journey with faith and integrity.

 

Loyalty. Who is loyal here & why is that important for us?

 

 

 

Submission: Who is submissive here? To whom? Why is that a lesson for us?

 

 

 

Love: In what ways could you give of yourself more sacrificially to improve your relationships?

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what we learned from a prophet & an adulterer

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If you missed Thursday, or just want a review, here are the notes! I was so blessed by your stories of redemption and the positives ways you encouraged one another with what you learned from our time together. Looking forward to this coming Thursday!

Melissa Sharp

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

September 11, 2013

the pursuit of happiness. lies.

the pursuit of obedience. truth.

When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

  1. Gomer is promiscuous.

It is evident that Gomer was a woman who had been exposed and addicted to the moral decay of her society, and God intended to use Hosea’s relationship with her as an object lesson of His own relationship with His unfaithful people, Israel.

  1. Israel is unfaithful.

What God says is wrong with Israel:

God said there was no faithfulness, or kindness, or knowledge of him (4:1); there was swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and sexual vice (4:2); the prophets and priest were corrupt (4:4); the priests no longer taught the knowledge of God (4:6); the religious leaders had become merely opportunists, in their greed profiting from the sins of the people (4:7); there was harlotry, and drunkenness (4:11); the people had become idol worshipers (4:12), and we know from 2 Kings 17 that there were human sacrifices.

  1. God is intentional.

The naming of the children from God’s perspective:

The first child was named, Jezreel.  Jezreel was both a city and a territory located in the heart of Israel, and it was from the heartland of Jezreel that much of the wickedness associated with Israel’s history originated.

The second child was named Lo-ruhamah.  This name comes from two Hebrew words: lo in Hebrew is a negative, and means “no,” or “not,” and ruhamah means, “to have pity.”  So the name “Lo-ruhamah” means, “to have no pity.”

The third child was named Lo-ammi, meaning “not mine.”

  1. God is redemptive.

The story of the book is about how God, who found Israel to be stubbornly faithless and spiritually rebellious, had to allow them to experience the consequences of their waywardness.

God’s purpose for Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was to confront Israel with their sin of unfaithfulness.

Hosea 2

Gomer leaves and is unfaithful in her lifestyle.

At some point Hosea came to the realization that providing for Gomer’s needs wasn’t going to help unless her heart changed; in fact, it would only enable her to continue her wayward lifestyle, so he made the very difficult decision to cut off her support. In time the consequences she had been protected from began to roll in. Eventually Gomer’s lover sold her into slavery, and she discovered the sad truth that so many others have discovered: that often what presents itself as an opportunity for self-fulfillment, ends in bondage and despair.

Hosea 3:1-5

We notice that Gomer, though purchased, was not immediately restored to her former status as a wife, and things would remain that way until her heart changed. The same is true with God and Israel. God allowed Israel to experience the consequences of their unfaithfulness.

He’s waiting for a change of heart, and it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s going to happen. Did you notice when? Verse 5 says, “in the last days.”

Common Themes:

Unfailing love. Who freely gives? Who receives?

Acts of love vs. feeling.  Compare your reactions to the reality of Hosea’s response. What is the difference between reacting & responding?

Redemption. God & Hosea confront & love through rebelliousness & disobedience. How can you follow that lead in your relationships?

Idolatry. How are you idolatrous? How does it affect your relationships?

***If you would like my personal teaching notes with extra information, please contact me at sharp.mrs@gmail.com