Coming To Terms With The Impossible

(I feel prompted by the Lord to send this out again so I am doing just that! 🙂

We hear it, declare it, and believe it. Sometimes we doubt it, or react against it in anger when things simply don’t go the way we want. Nevertheless, it is clear in Scripture.

But He said, “ The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
(Luke 18:27 NKJVS)

Today, I sat on the couch, upset by something I read on Facebook. All I could do was close my eyes for the umpteenth time in years and shake my head. I said to the Lord, “Lord, this is impossible unless you change this situation. It is impossible for women to lead in the Body of Christ in any capacity unless You make a way. Men don’t see it, won’t see it.” You may think this is a generalization, but it is not. It is truth. And, the sad fact is that so many women also put other women down in this regard, spouting off that women need male covering or any number of religious platitudes. So, as a woman in leadership, you can get this from both sides. Today is my day simply to be me and to express my heart.

With Brave Wings, She FliesUnless God changes this situation , (and I believe He is) the condition of women in the Body of Christ will only be seen on the peripherals. Yes, I know there are women leaders in the Body of Christ but they are few and far between. It is impossible to move out as a women apart from God Himself making the way. Please don’t get so spiritual on me that I hear “But God always has to make a way.” Yes, He does but He also uses people in the process. We are in this together but upon closer inspection, looking at the round of conferences, churches, meetings, etc. one could only see that the vast majority are men in positions of leadership. This is simply wrong and is not the heart of God. Let me say again, with all the kindness and grace I can possibly pull together. Women are in every sense equal in the Kingdom of God, able to hold any leadership, walking alongside men in every capacity, leading men and women, serving in any way God has called them to serve.

Will this every change? In and of itself?  No, not if women still believe they are little girls, always waiting for affirmation, covering, and someone to give them the go-ahead. That is not necessary and in no way am I justifying rebellion or independence, trying to push your way ahead or making a way for yourself. This is a multifaceted problem existing in Christianity on many levels and I am but one voice. Something deep is changing in me.

Today, I closed my eyes and just sat on the couch, trying to ignore it and be the better for it but inside I always get angry. I am so tired of feeling restricted and held back by man when God says I can BE in Christ and do anything He calls me to do. I am a strong women and feel this way. How do women feel that perhaps aren’t strong but have been beaten down years after year, being put in a place that is less then their God affirmed destiny.

I know I know. God is in control and he makes a way where there is no way and we should rest in his timing and his ways and nothing is impossible with God. I Know all the right things to say and how to appear graceful when I say it to avoid being called angry or some such things.

But today, I am tired. Christian platitudes won’t solve this problem. Neither will anger. But neither will staying silent on it either as if it is a point that has been rehashed so many times, it does not gain attention. Women are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom.

I got angry this morning. Now, please hear me. I am no longer an angry person flying off the handle. I am passionate about what I believe. And it is good to get angry but not to run with it causing damage to yourself or others. Big difference.

My own personal experience – I have been passed over for years, rejected and tossed aside because I don’t fit the mold. (Now to be honest, I was an angry women for some years ago but that is healed and I have made amends with people and asked forgiveness of them and of God.) So what is this rising up in me? It is an anger that is just grieved at being 60 years old and still seeing this same stuff in the Body of Christ.

God will make a way for the sake of unity and freedom in His body. I believe He longs for this reality of equality to be revealed in us and through us, our hearts totally transformed that in Christ there is no male or female……

Though she be littleWhat equally disturbs me is that women are not even considered as if they did not even come to mind as being qualified or able. Once I asked a leader why there were not more women to be considered for conference positions or church positions and instead of responding to me in grace, his answer was so condescending with a clear purpose to avoid answering the question. Then my husband asked and he acted the same way toward him, perhaps feeling sorry for the poor guy that has to live with me. (Sigh!)

Yes there are token women out there leading in the Body of Christ, and more added daily but it is a wearying fight in many ways and they are few and far between, at least for now. 🙂

God we need your help. Our hearts need to be transformed and changed. The Body of Christ is functioning at half its capability without women.

How does this affect me? I simply can’t make things happen in my life. I never really thought I could but perhaps there is a small seed in me that says, Be nice, be graceful, be a good girl. Don’t rock the boat. And this blog is talking to me more than you. I can’t do anything to help you to see or believe this but I know I can do a lot about me.

What to do? I can’t make doors open for me. I truly believe it is God that will do this for me and is already doing that for me. (I will be preaching in Oakdale CA in May, Oklahoma in May and also Kenya in August/September.) I will not wait, sitting around, looking for someone to affirm in me what God has already affirmed and called forth. It is a good place to be because my deep trust is in the Lord alone to take me where only He can take me. My eyes are focused on Him alone.

Today, I hit the wall when I saw this conference with no women. It is not the first conference that I have seen like that and I am sure it won’t be the last but something in me just exploded at the sight of it. I was volcanic in a good way. My own husband affirmed me as the lava flowed.

Coming to terms with the impossible? Look to God and Him alone. Move out, in confidence and assurance of Holy Spirit in me. Enough is enough. No qualifications, no justifications, no affirmations, no networking in the flesh trying to change things that will not change. Move out going where God says to go and do what God says to do with grace in humility. That’s the key isn’t it?

DebraIn Christ,

Debra……………………….

I will be sending this out immediately and again on Monday. Just to let you know. Just something I have to do.

Coming To Terms With The Impossible

We hear it, declare it, and believe it. Sometimes we doubt it, or react against it in anger when things simply don’t go the way we want. Nevertheless, it is clear in Scripture.

But He said, “ The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
(Luke 18:27 NKJVS)

Today, I sat on the couch, upset by something I read on Facebook. All I could do was close my eyes for the umpteenth time in years and shake my head. I said to the Lord, “Lord, this is impossible unless you change this situation. It is impossible for women to lead in the Body of Christ in any capacity unless You make a way. Men don’t see it, won’t see it.” You may think this is a generalization, but it is not. It is truth. And, the sad fact is that so many women also put other women down in this regard, spouting off that women need male covering or any number of religious platitudes. So, as a woman in leadership, you can get this from both sides. Today is my day simply to be me and to express my heart.

With Brave Wings, She FliesUnless God changes this situation , (and I believe He is) the condition of women in the Body of Christ will only be seen on the peripherals. Yes, I know there are women leaders in the Body of Christ but they are few and far between. It is impossible to move out as a women apart from God Himself making the way. Please don’t get so spiritual on me that I hear “But God always has to make a way.” Yes, He does but He also uses people in the process. We are in this together but upon closer inspection, looking at the round of conferences, churches, meetings, etc. one could only see that the vast majority are men in positions of leadership. This is simply wrong and is not the heart of God. Let me say again, with all the kindness and grace I can possibly pull together. Women are in every sense equal in the Kingdom of God, able to hold any leadership, walking alongside men in every capacity, leading men and women, serving in any way God has called them to serve.

Will this every change? In and of itself?  No, not if women still believe they are little girls, always waiting for affirmation, covering, and someone to give them the go-ahead. That is not necessary and in no way am I justifying rebellion or independence, trying to push your way ahead or making a way for yourself. This is a multifaceted problem existing in Christianity on many levels and I am but one voice. Something deep is changing in me.

Today, I closed my eyes and just sat on the couch, trying to ignore it and be the better for it but inside I always get angry. I am so tired of feeling restricted and held back by man when God says I can BE in Christ and do anything He calls me to do. I am a strong women and feel this way. How do women feel that perhaps aren’t strong but have been beaten down years after year, being put in a place that is less then their God affirmed destiny.

I know I know. God is in control and he makes a way where there is no way and we should rest in his timing and his ways and nothing is impossible with God. I Know all the right things to say and how to appear graceful when I say it to avoid being called angry or some such things.

But today, I am tired. Christian platitudes won’t solve this problem. Neither will anger. But neither will staying silent on it either as if it is a point that has been rehashed so many times, it does not gain attention. Women are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom.

I got angry this morning. Now, please hear me. I am no longer an angry person flying off the handle. I am passionate about what I believe. And it is good to get angry but not to run with it causing damage to yourself or others. Big difference.

My own personal experience – I have been passed over for years, rejected and tossed aside because I don’t fit the mold. (Now to be honest, I was an angry women for some years ago but that is healed and I have made amends with people and asked forgiveness of them and of God.) So what is this rising up in me? It is an anger that is just grieved at being 60 years old and still seeing this same stuff in the Body of Christ.

God will make a way for the sake of unity and freedom in His body. I believe He longs for this reality of equality to be revealed in us and through us, our hearts totally transformed that in Christ there is no male or female……

Though she be littleWhat equally disturbs me is that women are not even considered as if they did not even come to mind as being qualified or able. Once I asked a leader why there were not more women to be considered for conference positions or church positions and instead of responding to me in grace, his answer was so condescending with a clear purpose to avoid answering the question. Then my husband asked and he acted the same way toward him, perhaps feeling sorry for the poor guy that has to live with me. (Sigh!)

Yes there are token women out there leading in the Body of Christ, and more added daily but it is a wearying fight in many ways and they are few and far between, at least for now. 🙂

God we need your help. Our hearts need to be transformed and changed. The Body of Christ is functioning at half its capability without women.

How does this affect me? I simply can’t make things happen in my life. I never really thought I could but perhaps there is a small seed in me that says, Be nice, be graceful, be a good girl. Don’t rock the boat. And this blog is talking to me more than you. I can’t do anything to help you to see or believe this but I know I can do a lot about me.

What to do? I can’t make doors open for me. I truly believe it is God that will do this for me and is already doing that for me. (I will be preaching in Oakdale CA in May, Oklahoma in May and also Kenya in August/September.) I will not wait, sitting around, looking for someone to affirm in me what God has already affirmed and called forth. It is a good place to be because my deep trust is in the Lord alone to take me where only He can take me. My eyes are focused on Him alone.

Today, I hit the wall when I saw this conference with no women. It is not the first conference that I have seen like that and I am sure it won’t be the last but something in me just exploded at the sight of it. I was volcanic in a good way. My own husband affirmed me as the lava flowed.

Coming to terms with the impossible? Look to God and Him alone. Move out, in confidence and assurance of Holy Spirit in me. Enough is enough. No qualifications, no justifications, no affirmations, no networking in the flesh trying to change things that will not change. Move out going where God says to go and do what God says to do with grace in humility. That’s the key isn’t it?

DebraIn Christ,

Debra……………………….

I will be sending this out immediately and again on Monday. Just to let you know. Just something I have to do.

Creative Expression – Invisible No More!

KiteI really enjoyed writing my last post on Invisible Women. Don’t you know that when we write with authenticity, we write from the depths of our heart, without pretense. Without trying to be anyone other than ourselves, we write with clarity and hope.

I can try to force myself into situations to be seen, and yet, still not be seen. I can talk and talk and talk and yet still not be heard. The problem is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here’. In me lies the problem and the solution. That is very good indeed. When I always put myself at the mercy of people’s opinions who are ‘out there’, I lose my focus and can get bogged down in the muck and mire of life, losing my way. I am then subject to a permeating lie.

This lie spoke to me consistently in times past. It said that people will hinder my destiny in Christ through their opinions about me. It said that others, by their actions, can prevent me from walking in the fullness of my identity. This lie consistently reminded me that I  lived in the now, constantly carrying baggage from my past, hindering me from walking in the fullness that awaited me in the future. What a lie! I came out from under that lie and I can breathe again.

I faded into nothingness over these past few years. I fought to be seen. Perhaps people saw my own deep insecurities and hopelessness and perhaps they did not. I saw it. I knew it. But, I was fearful of missing out, being disqualified in Christ. What a horrible feeling it was.

How often I would cry out to God that it would be better to strip me of any call, or destiny or purpose in Christ than to walk in the reality of always waiting or losing hope. It got that bad and the pain was deep. But, I don’t feel that way today. Supernaturally touched by God healed a season of deep disillusionment and fear. When God touches a heart, He can heal in a moment what one would think would take years of therapy.

My life is built in rest, moving in rest and trusting in Christ. How often I preached it but deep inside I did not always see it or believe it. Hope deferred in my life hindered my faith. I simply did not hope so I could not see my future. I saw only the grim reality of my present which seemed like I was going nowhere. When God healed, He touched my life. What does that mean? Well, I guess you can put it this way. Once I was blind, and now I see.

What do I see? Jesus Christ. When I gaze upon His beauty, I reflect and walk in His glory. I am renewed and refreshed again.

This is the year of the release of women. How? There will be many different ways as there are many different types of women. It is best to hold onto its reality as truth and walk where the reality of equality in the Body of Christ is not only talked but walked out in the reality of Christianity. That is why Marvin and I will not go to churches that do not believe in the equality of women. I tried that. I tried to change it. Now, I just go where I cam celebrated and not tolerated. I don’t look back. I am not angry. It opens up a wide field of possibility for my life. How about you?

In Christ, Debra Westbrook

DebraPlease pray and consider having Rivers of Eden minister in your gathering, home group, conference or church in 2014. This is our year of release wherever and whenever God opens His doors bringing His grace and His glory through us to those to whom we are called in this season. You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

Some Great Posts To Read

It’s Been A Long Time Coming!

Formed By Shame, Free in Christ

Breaking It All Down

Here She Goes Again!

not againWhen I interject thoughts of possibility into the current state of my impossible reality, I am left with overflowing hope that God works all things out for good. Let’s have a heart to heart today. The thoughts that follow did not spring forth from today but have been stirring within me this whole year. Just so you know.

Women are devalued, for the most part, in the church of Jesus Christ. Women over 55 (an arbitrary number) are the new lepers. That is a broad statement, perhaps riddled with a bit of exaggeration but that’s okay for now. The church is quite ready to accept the Mary’s but basically deny the reality of the strength and forthrightness of the Deborah’s. Both are equally to be valued as part of the Body, equally respected for their personhood and the anointing that is within them in Christ to lead with authority and power. That is interjecting thoughts of possibility into a sad reality.

Looking for a church to go to down here in SoCal, I pulled up at least 50 web sites and for the most part, leadership teams were made up of men with women either in women’s ministry, children’s ministry, worship or administration. I know I keep talking about this, but I have to, and I won’t quit because it is so evident that this is so wrong, so very wrong.

not_again_616How do I deal with this reality of being undervalued and overlooked for the most part? Well let me digress a bit. I looked at a conference today calling for revival among women, to call forth and minister in breakthrough for the next generation. It said that all ages were welcome, but by the looks of it, it catered to young hip women about 30. Where do I fit in? I am not young (but young at heart and in Spirit.) I am hip by my definition of hip. That is not negotiable. I also want breakthrough. The problem is that I fit in nowhere. That is reality for me.

So what to do? I interject thoughts of hope into reality and know that God works it for good. Yes, there are some places out there that value women as equals but for the most part, women are not valued in the church as leaders, yet. I can’t accept that reality. I won’t accept that reality. If I do, then I would be trying to fight everything on the defense or I would sink into oblivion. I know I may sound to you like I am generalizing and you may not even have experienced any of what I am talking about, but, it is real for me and many others that I talk to these days.

God will make a way because I am choosing to follow Him. I would like to think it would be different but, unfortunately, it is not. This problem continues to be the same no matter how many words come forth or books are written to set women free in Christ. I maintain my hope for it is all I have right now. I will not get bitter or angry but frustration is very tempting at times. Some days I just pace and pray intensely to God at the injustice of being a woman in the Body of Christ. (I said sometimes, okay? Please don’t read anything into that. I am only human.) This blog is about the inner things I deal with in my life.

So what do I want? I have told you enough about what I don’t want or what I see. Well, it’s like this. God woke me up one day and we had this glorious conversation. My cry to God was simple and clear, “God, you created me to be a Deborah and yet the church only wants Mary’s and Martha’s and an occasional Esther.” I can’t change who I am or who God created me to be so the problem has to be solved by the Lord.

Corporate_Failure_620x350This reality that I see in the church or the Body of Christ, however you want to see it, is a reality that I care not too look at right now anymore. But, yes I will still blog and talk about it. I am focusing on Christ and submitting to Him to make a way where there seems to be no way. I won’t go into a church that fails to see women as Jesus saw them. I can’t compromise in trying to be a good girl any more. I am a woman, not a child. I will continue to blog my feelings while I walk this out, no matter who may or may not agree with me about this. I will continue to walk and look for my expression in Christ outside the church setting and perhaps outside of a Christian setting in the world. It seems that I am more valued by non-believers than believers at times.

Now a few more things for today. This blog is allowing me to get this burden off of me right now. An example for you.

A leader once said to my husband, “You know, I am taking a risk on letting you both minister here. I really don’t know you both that well.”

My husband said, “What risk? Did God tell you to ask us in or did He not? How is there a risk if you are obeying the Holy Spirit to do what He has called you to do?”

Silence.

Another example. My husband is the best. He supports me in all I do. Whenever we minister together, many assume that he is the head of the ministry and all decisions flow from him and through him. He always defers to me to make sure they know that I received the initial vision and direction for Rivers of Eden. I lead Rivers of Eden. I make most of the decisions and God did not choose me because a man was not available.

101887Again, please don’t blast me with spiritual talk that implies that I should not be worried about that or that I should trust the Lord. I know all that. Even when leaders have taken him aside to talk about how women can’t lead, he has stuck by me. When they implied he was an Ahab, he has stayed by my side. And, even when they try to continually ask him if he is preaching the message, he turns to them and says, “No, Debra is the preacher.”

Okay that’s all for today. Here is a qualifying statement to end with to ward off any misplaced comments. I am not an angry, bitter woman who hates men (those charges always come easily towards stronger women) but I do feel a bit displaced right now in the Body. What to do? I am looking to go outside in some way and in that, the Lord will go with me. Perhaps things will change. I don’t have time to wait at this point. And neither do you, women of God. 

A Mundane Life – That’s All It Is! Part 2 of Living in a Hut

Living in a Hut In the Shadow of the Palace Next Door

A Mundane Life – That’s All It Is!

Part 2

Mundane: humdrum; dull; boring; monotonous; tiresome; wearisome; unexciting; uneventful; repetitive; routine; ordinary; run-of-the-mill; ho-hum.

The course of the day for the woman living in a hut in the shadow of the palace next door settled into a mundane routine of tedious tasks, chores, and responsibilities. None of this routine was extraordinary or exciting to her. She cleaned her house, washed clothes, food shopped, read books, watched TV, listened to music, and took up some appropriate hobbies. Often her thoughts wandered into more questions.

“Is this the greatness of the calling on my life that has been prophesied over me for so many years? Is this all there is? Surely there has to be more. What about the prophecies? Traveling. Preaching. Prophesying. Lord, do you remember that it was YOU who gave me Rivers of Eden? Did you forget that? I did not ask for it. You gave it to me. What does a 59-year-old woman do that has tried to obey God her whole life and yet no matter what she does, nothing seems to happen? Nothing at all, Lord.”

ImageAfter the questions, the day still presented itself before her with no apparent change. So her only alternative was to return to the mundane just to keep herself busy. If she did not do something, anger and bitterness would set in along with a dose of envy and jealousy.

With tears in her eyes she tried to prove to God that she needed nothing but Him as she tended to her mundane life. With each passing day, she had to convince herself that she would be happy with whatever plans God had for her life. On the outside she tried to just make it through the day without losing hope. On the inside she felt trapped in nothingness without any means of escape. She could hide this from everyone but she could not hide the turmoil of her soul from God.

ImageEach day she looked out the window and saw the magnificence of the palace right before her. It stood as an apparent testimony to God’s favor on the palace people. The lives lived in the palace were exciting and extraordinary, filled with abundant life. Book deals, conferences, and television appearances were some of the perks of the palace. The palace people seemed to have it going on. They seemed to be so……so………so…….perfect. These thoughts were justified in her heart as she turned her gaze from looking at the palace to seeing the reality of her mundane life in the hut.

In desperation and frustration, the cry of her heart took on a different declaration. She simply found herself saying over and over “Lord give me life! I need life! I want to live!” There were days where she felt as if she could not live the life that was before her. She often cried out to God, “Lord either fulfill the promises or take them away. I can’t bear to live like this anymore. My heart hurts Lord. My faith is dwindling right before my eyes.” Only those close to her saw the extreme anguish of her soul.

When promises seem long in coming and when times goes by in repetitive wearisome beats and when each day seems to take you further and further into obscurity, one simply loses hope. The woman lost hope. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. She failed to see that there was a lesson to all this madness. Her eyes were blinded to the reality that there was a purpose to her mundane life.

ImageWhat does one do when there is really nothing much to do? The woman had waited for so long to see this vision from God come to pass. In standing in the reality of the promise, years had passed and she felt passed over and forgotten. She had kept her eyes on the promise and when nothing seemed to materialize, she felt unqualified to do anything else. She felt out of sync with her own life in time.