A Letter to Pastors: From a Frustrated Young Lady

Dear Pastors,

To those of you who have spoken out boldly and brazenly about the men in your churches, to those of you have given admonition, correction, and called men to a higher standard in encouragement, thank you for caring about the soul status of our brothers in Christ. Thank you for pointing them to scripture and leading them in it. But in all honesty, I am frustrated. I am frustrated that you do not care that much about the spiritual state of the women under your care. I am frustrated that you do not treat them with the same uncompromising love. I have been under your teaching in presence, on YouTube, and through books and I have sat there hearing you rail on men while doing nothing of the sort to women. Instead you praise us. You tickle our ears with lies about how perfect we are. How we serve and love God. How most of us are spiritually stronger than the men (1 Peter 3:7). You call men out on indulging in pornography, yet you ignore that the women in your church flaunt in their immodesty (Matthew 18:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9). You call men out for neglecting their families because of their work, yet you ignore that many women are also spending too much time at work and neglecting the home (Titus 2:4-5). You call men out on not being loving to their wives, yet you ignore that many women are not submitting to their husbands (Ephesians 5:24-25). You call out men for spending too much time playing video games, yet you ignore that many women waste equal amount of hours upon the internet (Ephesians 5:16). You call men lazy, passive, inattentive, and immature, yet ignore that many women are selfish, controlling, boastful, and busybodies (1 Timothy 5:13). I do not deny that much of what you say to the men is truth, and they need to hear it. You love them by telling them the truth. But likewise, we women need to hear it just as much as the men. And you do not love us by ignoring the truth. You are compromising that truth by listening to the lies of the world. A world that pushes women to be the equal of men in all things. Or, in many cases, the superior to them. I beg of you to stop falling prey to such deception. Men have their roles (of which you speak freely) and women have theirs. Call us to it! Call us to the standard and truth of scripture as you call the men. Admonish, correct, and encourage us in the same way you do the men. Do not tickle our ears, but give us the truth boldly and brazenly as you do the men. For once in my life I want to hear a pastor give me the what for… I need it.

Sincerely, a sister in Christ

Weeds are Flowers Too

I like to breathe in this air deep and beautiful. Like the inhale of a fresh start. This air that’s warm because the sun tosses kisses into the atmosphere, but is cold because the wind whispers with this gentle lullaby that’s sweet and tender. I walk outside and I don’t know whether I should wear a jacket or not. But, I’ll wear a sweater. It’s sweater weather. 

I walk this milage going in and out of buildings, and my favorite part is coming out of the shops and stores because I find this gorgeous blue sky waving me a friendly hello with the whispping clouds overhead. The wind fights for my attention. It grabs and pulls at me and sneaks inside my jacket and pulls at my sweater sleeves. My hair thrashes around me and I regret not putting it up… But it feels nice and it is joyful in the freedom. 

As always nature captures my attention. I count the variety of wildflowers I see. Some people call them weeds, but I’m reminded of a quote that was once declared in The Hundred Acre Wood, and I echo it hundreds of acres away from Pooh Bear and his friends. 

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”

Isn’t that something…

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Don’t we all have weeds in our lives? These prickly stalks of substance that when rubbed against the skin of our souls make us wince. These troubles and anxieties that sprout their heads up into every aspect of our already aching lives. They come up, invited or not, and choke the life right out of our spirits.

Don’t you just wish you could pull them out? Or mow them over?

Sometimes it just isn’t that easy. We can’t always take a weed hacker to the trials of life, especially when they involve the nitty-gritty of souls. And I have a feeling God did that for a reason.

Did you ever stop to consider that God may have a reason for allowing weeds in your life?

Or that weeds can be a good thing?

If no, then I would suggest that it’s not your life that needs to change but your perspective.

This is the radical truth of a radical gospel. Weeds in our life are good and often beautiful in their own right. So much so, that God encourages us to rejoice because of them.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

Some weeds, though they prick and sting, often boast a beautiful blossom when all is said and done. And so even they can be a flower… once you get to know them.

And so it is when I go outside and see these weeds bountiful in our yard and I declare to my mom how wonderful they are. But my brother comes out with the mower and prepares to cut them down. I beg my mom to stop him.

“Those are just weeds”, she replies.

I don’t let her harsh words effect me. I rush outside and reap the blossoms. I gather them together into bouquets, and put them in glass vessels filled with water.

And no longer do you have to look for the beauty in them, it is evident and even my mom acknowledges how wonderful they look. She asks me to fill some jars for the kitchen.

Apparently, she has forgotten that they were weeds.

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Temple of Prayers

I call it my Narnia wardrobe… This makeshift closet.

I half expect Mr. Tumnus to walk out of it one of these days to offer me a cup of tea… And surely fairies would rejoice to dance in its shadows, and perhaps its wood came from a forest where a unicorn delighted to dwell.

I love it, this makeshift closet. We got it because this Rainier house didn’t have one for me, my bedroom being this great room off to the side. But because of this closetless room we found this piece of majestic furniture on Craigslist and we hauled it here.

It reminds me of mythical things now, and my soul delights in it because of that… Because my imagination runs wild in it.

But this wardrobe holds more precious things within its weathered wood, more precious even than a 17 year olds childlike wonderings.

This wardrobe holds a battlefield… A war ground… A throne room…

Because this wardrobe has become the temple of my prayers.

In the old house, back in California, I had put up this prayer wall next to my door. There upon sticky notes were the names of all whom I held dear. Every time I walked in and out of my bedroom I was reminded to lift them up before the Father.

Now in this Idaho house, this Rainier house that I have dubbed the House of Prayer, it only seems fitting that a wall goes up here as well, and in a special place too. And so it has.

 

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In the morning, when the sunshine filters through my curtains I put my feet upon the floor and pull a chair next to my wardrobe. I open the door and rub the precious wood. It’s smooth, but not too smooth. I like the feel of it between my fingers.

There are notes scattered upon the door’s inside half. Some sticky notes cling to the wood with various papers and pages tacked up with the help of scotch tape. The assortment of names, requests, verses, and praises are written in different fonts, different colors, different formats…

Yes, even my prayers I like to have only orderly enough for a creative mind to follow.

There is this Psalm written boldly and it’s the first thing I reflect upon when I sit in my chair.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” – Psalm 62:5-8

I close my eyes and let the truth soak into my needing soul. I sit for a few moments in silence then I put my blanket over my head and bury my face in it. In this posture I bring my praises, confessions, and requests before the throne of God.

For an hour I wait upon the Lord, seeking His face before I start my day.

The sun rises behind me and it becomes brighter through the curtains. It reminds me that my night is over with the warmth of its light. It has gone out before me to lighten this day. It is strong and unfailing, bold and beautiful.

My hour is over and I must rise from my seat. I go over to the window and part the curtains. The sun comes in unfiltered and free… But it was always free, always there. It was just waiting for me to let it in unhindered.

With that I turn to face the day before me, and am reminded that God… He compares Himself to the sun.

 

In Christ Alone ~EleyanaFaith

 

Perfect Love

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” – 1 John 4:18

There is a certain fear in imperfect love. Fear that it will run out. Fear that it will not be enough. Fear that when someone says, “I love you” it is conditional. Immediately we will contradict their statement in our heads with a myriad of “if only”s.

If only they knew about my past…

If only they saw my bad side…

If only they knew about this habit…

Or, one of my personal oppositions to such declarations: “Yeah you say that now, but what happens when you meet someone ‘better’ than me.”

Our tendency to reject unconditional love is strong, because the reasons behind them hold weight. A weight we sometimes put upon our own shoulders and bare unnecessarily… Sometimes, for our whole lives. There are two chief reasons: 1) We cannot love unconditionally, and 2) others cannot love us unconditionally. Some of the biggest insecurities we have find their beginning here, in the lack of unconditional love.

If the lack of unconditional love is the stem of insecurities, then sin is the root.

The truth is: SIN. IS UGLY. Nobody enjoys confronting sin, but it’s something we have to do daily… hourly. Some have the strength to face this sin with patience and grace. But, that is a selective minority. For the most of us, sin makes us cringe. We hate it, and we hate it most when we see it in ourselves and in others.

The problem is, most of us have a problem separating sin from the person. We see the person with the disease, and we think the person is the disease. This makes as much sense as someone saying, “She is cancer” instead of “She has cancer”. 

That’s when we make the mistake of fighting not the sin, but the person.

In my personal life I experience this most vividly in the way I handle my own sin. Instead of battling my sin – making charges against my sin, I fight myself – punishing myself… Most commonly through insults:

I’m so stupid.

I’m so horrible.

I’m such a mess.

There is a saying, “Every lie begins with a grain of truth”. Well, there is a grain of truth in this lie.

Yeah, my life is a disaster. And yes, sometimes I am an idiot. But the problem starts when I take that upon myself and Eleyana becomes a synonym for sin. That’s when hating sin becomes hating myself.

And that’s the lie. 

For the most of us, this doesn’t stop with ourselves. We carry it onto the way we view others, too. Because the reality is: The way we view ourselves profoundly affects the way we view others. If we cannot accept unconditional love, we cannot give unconditional love. Instead, we show conditional love. Likewise, others show us conditional love. And together we create this environment of imperfect love that breads insecurity, hatred, and fear… The blossom of this sin root. 

But God – God turns this all around.

He makes a statement profound to our sin-blossomed souls… His love is perfect. There is no fear, there is no hate, there is no insecurity.

In the love of God we are made sure, perfected, whole. God pours out His unconditional, perfect love on us… And all we have to do is open up our hearts to it.

Let it wash over your broken soul. Let it cleanse you and make you whole. It will, and when it does it empowers you. It empowers you to love others with perfect, unconditional love. 

 

~EleyanaFaith

 

 

If I Say Thou Art Mine

If I say Thou art mine

Let my life prove it true

By the words that I say

By the things that I do

 

If I say Thou art mine

Let my heart agree

Trusting your words

And just decrees

 

If I say Thou art mine

Let me live by faith

Believing in You

Seeking Your face

 

If I say Thou art mine

Let me count the cost

Following You

Till worldly desire is lost

 

If I say Thou art mine

Let me not be afraid

To go where You lead

On the path You have made

 

If I say Thou art mine

Let me ever be true

To giving my all

Living for You

 

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

One in a Million

A spoken word poem I wrote many months ago. I found it while going through some old documents. Enjoy!

A One in a Million Man

I sit and observe, watch the man with the strawberry ­blond and his beard spread wide across his face, his smile shining through. He laughs and it is strong and full of life. He talks and it is humble, yet sure. He works and it is efficient and worthy. He does not complain, but accepts everything with grace.

Sixteen years is the gap between us, but I still watch him and observe. I watch to learn from him.

Perhaps some think this watching is absurd. Old fashioned, some might say. But it is the second biggest soul decision you will make. And I don’t believe in redos for this one. Don’t believe in scratch over the old and bring in the new. Don’t believe in adultery. Don’t believe in divorce. This is a soul decision. A bind yourself to another forever ­ death the only separator.

No. I won’t play the dating game. Love is not a toy you play with, toss in the air and watch as hearts fall split at your whims. Souls are too precious, too one of a kind to be flippant with.

No. This is a once in a lifetime decision and I want to make it perfect. So I watch and observe and try to find the best qualifiers: potentials who, like me, are also searching and seeking a spouse for this wondrous life call of marriage.

But the pickings are few, for the idea of marriage has been skewed by the present age.

Media tells us marriage is for everyone and anyone. Like a Hollywood film with Prince Charming and his fair maiden. That it is all about how you feel. So date as many people as you want. When you finally find “the one”, get married. And if the heart poundings you once had for your spouse fade, then that’s okay – just get a new one.

Yeah, it has been badly defined.

Marriage is not for the hopeless romantics who spend all their time sailing dreamboats in the sky, with their heads whisking the clouds.

Marriage is holy ground.

It is a life call. A mission field. Soul labor, where every moment is in service to another, and selfishness is nonexistent or the ultimate enemy that will make you poisoned and venomous.

I’ve watched too many marriages die defeated by spouses that don’t live selfless to pretend otherwise.

Marriage is not a dreamboat it’s a death-machine. A daily living death to self, and that’s why it’s a battle.

If it’s so hard, then why bother?

Because if you are victorious it is the most beautiful masterpiece you can accomplish on earth.

Marriage is service, service to your spouse and service to your King. It is a gift that two souls bound together can offer to the master of them both. It is a lifelong giving; a soul, heart, mind, and strength gift, every day for the rest of your life.

And this is why I am so cautious. This is why I spend so much time watching and observing and adding to a mental mindset of what it is I’m looking for . . .

A man, not a boy. A man who knows how to act properly. Who knows love is not about the first kiss, the honeymoon romance, or the precious moments leading up to that. Who knows love is deeper and dirtier and it takes mind muscle more than heart feeling. That love is saying “I’m sorry” on the bad times, and apologizing after getting angry and laughing away the heartache of the difficult days. That love is gracious and forgiving to the wife when she screws up and makes mistakes. That love is leading and preaching and pointing to a King. That love is always praying and worshiping through every day. That love is always knowing that being humble is better than having muscle and appearing strong. That love is sticking through and digging through the soul messes when two disagreeing opinions collide and years seem to be lost on an ongoing fight that’s most likely pointless.

Love is the tough stuff, the glue that holds the souls together and makes the two hearts one.

I want a man who knows what love is and knows how to put it into action. Not only with me, but with everyone.

Love is Christ and all that He stands for. I want a husband who imitates that, who walks in a manner worthy of the gospel, worthy of the calling, worthy of carrying a cross. A man who pleases God, and who can help me do the same.

Such a man is one in a million. Solomon said that in Ecclesiastes, said that such a man is hard to find. Such a man is even more difficult to get . . . to earn.

So that is why I search and seek and try my best to be worth it.

The man with the strawberry blond, he is such a man. One day, perhaps, he will make a woman happy. But I have more waiting to do. And more searching. Then, maybe one day, I’ll find the hidden treasure of a one in a million man … But, it’s gonna take some time.

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

Jesus in the Room

Sunday brought a cold and overcast morning, with it – sickness. I woke up to find I was inflicted by not only sniffles, but a bit of a sore throat as well. For this reason, I made the choice to stay home from church. It was a blessed time of relaxing in an empty house, while having the beloved view of a rainy day outside the windows.

I had something of a thought to listen to a favorite song of mine on YouTube, but got distracted by a short video of advice from an awesome Spoken Word preacher (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0p6lVdtGKI). This particular teaching had to do with not settling for a life of sin. He brought up a picture that stuck with me for the rest of the morning. When you are in the midst of sin, he said, just realize that Jesus is in the room with you; watching not out of judgment, but with eyes of grace and love and mercy.

After the video, I simply relaxed on the couch, listening to my personal Pandora station playing in the background. I cuddled up in a ball and reflected on the words of familiar Christian artists. Then, the picture returned to me… “Jesus is here in the room with me.”

No. I wasn’t dealing with any sin at the moment. I’m not even struggling with major sin issues during this season of my life. But, I’m still human. I am struggling and flailing in little ways.

I had this picture of Jesus standing above the couch, watching me with those eyes full of love and promise. I opened my eyes with the wishful hope that I could see him. No. His bodily form was not there, but I certainly knew His presence was in the room, whether or not I could feel or see it.

Another picture came to mind.

In Romans 8, Paul states that Jesus has gone to heaven to sit at God’s right hand and there he prays for us. Jesus Christ is interceding on our behalf.

I pictured Him coming up behind me and laying hands on my back, head bent in earnest prayer for me.

There is a jewel in Philippians 4 after Paul has stated that beloved verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He closes the passage by saying, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

God meets our needs, not according to our wishes or desires, but according to His riches in glory… His heavenly desires for us. We are caught up in worldly things within our short-term mindsets. God, however, has a mindset of eternity and He regards us in this light. He prays for us in this way… not the prayers we have for ourselves, but prayers from everlasting to everlasting.

Christ Jesus prays over us with an infinite love for infinite purposes.

We have the upward call of glory in our Lord Jesus Christ, and He is making petition for our knowledge in such things. That our mindset would be transformed into the likeness of the Son. That instead of praying for this thing and that thing we pray, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

 

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith