I Am Woman Hear Me Preach

rise up holy yoga

 

This article inspired me today.  Check it out. http://sarahbessey.com/why-not-have-a-woman-preach/

In this article Sarah Bessey is asking the question, “Why not have a woman preach?”

I remember when I was younger my mom read me a book.  It was one of those golden books and it had a sweet girl on the front I think.  I can’t remember the details but I remember there were characters in the book doing different jobs.  There was a mailman, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, etc.  The doctor was a woman. That must have been pretty radical for the 70’s but it wasn’t radical for me. It wasn’t radical for my mom.  My mom told me I could do anything. My mom preached.

My dad preached too.  With his kindness and his belief in me.  I saw no difference in the amount of love that could be given from a man or a woman.  There was no difference.  They loved equally and powerfully.

My mom told me about Jesus and His plans for me.  She taught me right from wrong.  She modeled kindness.  She hugged and laughed a lot too. She welcomed people in to our home. Make no mistake, she preached.

As I got older, I had teachers that told me I could do anything, be anything, achieve anything.  They encouraged me.  They were men and women. They preached. They preached about opportunity and possibility and hard work and dedication and taking risks and trying my best and believing in myself. Men and women, they preached.

These people did not need permission.  They did not need a degree in encouragement.  They did not need a board of directors or a council of decorated clergymen to tell them they were good enough.  They knew it.  God approved them. God. Not man. And He gave them an assignment.  He said, “Go love the people in front of you”.  AND THEN HE PUT THE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF THEM! They heard His voice saying, “Encourage that child”, “show up”, “be an example”.  They did not wait.  They could not wait. It was time.

All we have is this moment. Are you going to wait? For permission to preach? From whom?

In college, I knew a sorority sister that preached. She talked about Jesus, she shared His Word and His promises. She encouraged us to know Him. It was the early 90’s. She was 19 or 20 and did not yet have a college degree. Age and education have nothing to do with preaching.

My kids preach to me!  The other day my oldest daughter laughed at me when I said I’m not a hypocrite.  She laughed.  I asked her why she was laughing and she said, “Mom, did you not hear what the preacher said?  We are all hypocrites!” BOOM.

That’s my girl.  Preach!

As an adult, there have been so many! There are women pastors who have made an impact on my life.  There are writers and speakers and organizers and women fighting for the victims of sex trafficking.  Women are on the front lines wiping tears and fighting for justice.  Some are in the court room and some are in the church.  Together we preach.

I have been abundantly blessed by everyone in Holy Yoga. That is some serious preaching. Mind, Body, Soul preaching! All the women who have been set free by Jesus and know His love and grace can’t help but preach!

There are too many to name here.  Think about the women that have helped you.  Think about the moments of grace.  Consider the examples in your life and thank them for their obedience.  Because when they were called to be an example, they answered that call.  Many of them did it afraid.

I would not be who I am today without these preachers. Whether they ever stand behind a pulpit or speak on a large stage or publish their writings…it does not matter.  God gave them gifts and opportunities and they answered with a GREAT BIG YES! Yes I will love that person.  Yes I will listen. Yes I will tell them about Jesus.  Yes I will encourage them. Yes I will be kind. Yes I will forgive.  Yes I will repent.  Yes I will pray. Yes I will read Scripture. Yes I will spend time alone with God. Yes I will listen for His voice. Yes I will live in joy.  Yes I will be grateful.  Yes I will open my home and my heart and my life. Yes.

And if you call me to it Lord, I will preach with words on a blog and on a stage and from a yoga mat.  I will get to know you so I can hear your voice.  I will not shrink back.  I will not be afraid. You go before me and show me the way. Yes, Lord, I will follow you.

See, God does not speak only in the church. He does not only use priests as conduits for sharing the faith. He does not speak differently to men and women. He is speaking to you and me right now.

Our humanness makes us look to the center stage waiting for direction from someone who is “smarter” or “more important” or “ordained” or “better than us”.  But God is standing there, in the margins, in the hallway, by the bathroom door, beckoning us.

Preaching looks like helping with homework and making dinner and loving your spouse.  Preaching is a hug before school or a ride in the rain.  It’s a phone call and a text and a Facebook post.  It’s cheering from the stands and standing at the gravesite and bringing flowers to a friend.  Preaching is sharing coffee or wine or chocolate.  Preaching is putting down the phone and listening with your eyes.  Preaching is holding your tongue and choosing kindness.  Preaching is staying home and staying out of trouble.  Preaching is standing in the gap for your friend who no longer believes  and reaching out to God on her behalf.  Preaching is choosing to be different so others see that they can be too.  Preaching is honoring commitments for the long haul.  Preaching is seeing the good in others and pointing it out to them and everyone else.  Preaching is not competition.  Preaching is love.

So in answer to the question, “Why can’t women preach?”  I say, they can and they do and they will.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 (ESV) it says, “Do not quench the spirit.”

I was in a Beth Moore study and she always has a great way of explaining things. She was talking about what happens when someone is on fire with the Holy Spirit and the people around them (or maybe one, big, powerful person) come in like the fireman with the hose and just start spraying to put out that fire!! What a shame! People…that is not our job! Let the Holy Spirit work through all people as God sees fit.  Guess what? Man does not decide who is promoted to speak God’s Word and encourage others. GOD DECIDES.

Now go. Preach.

The world needs you.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved
photograph by Stephanie Moors Photography
video by Echo Star Cinema

 

A Mother’s Prayer

 

She woke up today with a heavy heart.

Anxiety pierced her chest.

Slushing through the breakfast routine she wondered why.

Fell asleep reading a book about minors being stolen and trafficked.

Could wreak havoc on even the most hopeful mind.

Studying, learning, praying, demanding some sort of safe haven for these sweet souls bought and sold. Bought and sold. Mercy Lord. Your daughters and sons. Like property.

Her stomach hurts and she considers going back to bed. 

Nagging uncomfortable feeling persists and she remembers more.

Good people she knows looking for son. He’s lost. Find him Lord.

Other mothers that are dear mourn their lost children.

Friends struggle through teaching right and wrong. Boundaries. You are worthy. You are loved.

This too shall pass.

It will be better in the morning.

Except when it’s not.

I was told motherhood is the great equalizer and that is true. You pray for me I’ll pray for you.

It’s all we can do really.

Money, connections, family, friends, education, they don’t guarantee anything.

It’s a rocky road we travel. It’s an unsteady balance beam and we can’t strut here.

We walk tentatively. We focus our gaze.On you Lord.

Light.

Like Peter we lose focus, we look away. We fall. This reminds us to look at you again. We regain balance.

Only you know Lord. And you love us. You love our kids more than we do. Although I can’t imagine.

We read books and we share what we know and we love and we hold and we pray.

We tuck in and we snuggle and we laugh and we do homework and make sandwiches and drive and text and call and do laundry.

We cheer from the stands and we cry in cars alone. We buy things and fix things and anxiously await results.

We teach and we hug and we provide and we pray some more.

Lord, protect my baby.

Stay right there beside him even when he’s six feet tall.

Don’t ever leave her.

Remind him who he is when he forgets.

Love her when I’m not there Lord.

Have his back.

Guard her heart.

I’m sorry for complaining when I was tired or angry or hungry or lonely.

Lord, this gift. This gift.

Thank you. 

 

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©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste

Many people ask me what kind of yoga I teach. They know it’s Holy Yoga and the intention is connecting with Jesus but what about the physical part?

Isn’t that like us? I do it too…there is this, “Yah, Yah but what kind of a work out am I getting?” We are more interested in calories burned and hardened abs and HOW QUICKLY CAN I LOSE 5 POUNDS???

We are rushed in life.  Why would it be any different in our workouts?

But here’s the thing…Yoga is not just a work out.  And Holy Yoga is certainly not just a work out.

A lovely woman came to my class for the first time last week and afterward said, “That was great, I worked out and went to church.”  I feel this way too after Holy Yoga and that’s why I love it but I can’t help but wonder…Am I multitasking my faith?

Faith can’t be rushed.  It grows and builds and we mature and God does a new thing in us but it takes time. We learn patience and trust.

In Matthew 11:28 we hear this from Jesus, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?

God is not in a hurry.  But He is always right on time.

I remember reading the book, “The Hurried Child” when my kids were young and making a conscious effort to not hurry my kids, to not be in a hurry, to not rush around and panic.  Truth is, I failed miserably at times.  But there has always been an awareness in me, a longing for peace and calm.  I realized that I couldn’t get that on my own since the world was shouting, “HURRY UP YOU ARE LATE!” but I could get that peace and calm through my walk with Jesus.

When I feel anxious, I can physically feel panic and hurry in my heart and in my body and my mind now.  I recognize the signs. I feel overwhelmed and that is my cue to get with Jesus. Breathe. Move.  I can do all three of those things right here in my office or on a walk or in my living room.  My favorite way to get those three things together is to do Holy Yoga.

Not to push or force myself into a handstand or do something fancy that will look amazing on Instagram, but to get quiet and be with the Lord who is gentle and takes things slow.  The hardest part about surrendering to this gentleness is the way we treat ourselves.  We rush ourselves, pushing change and believing that transformation can and must happen overnight. We are not gentle with ourselves.  It all begins there really.

So when people ask me about the physical part of my Holy Yoga classes, I recognize they really want to know, I can’t dismiss it and say, “It’s not about that” even though it’s not.  I let them know that it’s not about performance, it’s about connecting with your body and your soul. It’s about appreciating the gift of your body.  It’s about opening your heart, accepting where you are and trusting.

Sounds a lot like our faith walk, huh?

I was inspired today by an article I read on Facebook.  In it, the author, J. Brown, says about Yoga, “Slower is Stronger” and “Gentle is the New Advanced”.  Here’s the link to the article if you are interested.  http://www.jbrownyoga.com/blog/2015/4/slow-yoga-revolution

I love this line:

People are discovering again that yoga is not necessarily something you do to yourself so much as something you do with yourself. -J. Brown

This whole thing…yoga…walking with Jesus…Life…it can seem overwhelming and we can feel behind and not enough.  We can feel like we need to hurry up or we will be left alone, we will be forgotten, we will be unhealthy and sick and weak.  Think about if a friend came to you and honestly poured out her heart and told you she feels all these things.  What would you do? You would encourage her and love her and tell her you are with her and she can do it.  Would you demand she throw away all the chocolate, run 5 miles today, mend all her relationships this hour and immediately confess all her sins?

No.  You would not.  You would be kind and understanding and compassionate toward her.  You would be gentle.

That’s a good place to start with yourself too.

©2015 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

I just found saw this and had to share. So funny. No rush. Jesus. Breathe. Move. :)

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