Tag Archives: experience

Podcast with Rachel Phillips – she shares her story of living with anxiety

Friends, this podcast is powerful! My friend Rachel Phillips is brave and beautiful and amazing! She shares her story on the podcast of the anxiety that has been gripping her since she was a young girl.  This is a story many of us can relate to and yet, sometimes we don’t talk about it.  My hope is that in hearing Rachel’s story, those who suffer can know that they are not alone.  There is help and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We touch on marriage, kids, parents, moms, and how anxiety can affect the entire family.  We talk about the isolation and shame that can accompany anxiety.  We even talk about the church and what role the church can play when it comes to suffering.  Rachel courageously lets us in on all of it and we are better for it.  If you have anxiety or if you love someone who does, you won’t want to miss this! This is a triumphant story filled with truth and hope, redemption and joy!

An exciting and fun part of her story is that Rachel’s husband, Josh Phillips, is an American Ninja Warrior! He is called the Family Ninja and can be found on Facebook at @familyninja.

Here is a beautiful, inspiring video they made for American Ninja Warrior: https://vimeo.com/198150018

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

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

 

Mountain Climbing

Many paths lead from the foot of the mountain, but at the peak we all gaze at the single bright moon.

Ikkyu – Zen-monk poet, 1394-1481

Isn’t amazing how BIG our universe is?  Isn’t amazing how BIG God is?   As I get older, I realize He is so much bigger than my previous narrow understanding of Him.  I remember hearing Father Barron, say, “If you think you know everything about God, then that’s not God.”  It’s difficult to even try to use words to explain a God that is so infinite, so present, so EVERYWHERE…He is amazing and I stand in awe.  Our words are inadequate.

I was thinking of this when I was talking to my friend who climbed Mt. Rainier.  He showed me pictures and they are stunning.  They are unbelievable really.  I kept wondering, if I was up there, would I be paying enough attention?  Would I be able to remember?

Since mountain climbing is not my thing, I asked him why he is drawn to it.  What makes him want to climb?  He said that when he got to the top and he saw the sun rising through the clouds, it was a “spiritual experience”.

When I saw the pictures, I can see that it must have been awe inspiring.

What this makes me realize is that we are all seeking in different ways.  We are all “climbing” in a sense.  I love that God is so infinite and so present that we can find Him anywhere.

This same friend doesn’t believe in God.  He has concerns about organized religion and has decided it’s not for him.  Yet, when he was up there in the clouds, he felt something.

Now, he didn’t see God with a white beard and a white robe.  He didn’t see legions of angels and saints.  Mary wasn’t there welcoming him encouraging him to say the rosary.  He didn’t decide to start going to church every week.

But he felt something.  I tried to put it in my language and said, “Oh that’s great, you recognized there is something bigger than yourself.”  And he said, “No”.  (As in, don’t put it in your words Sue.)

And I don’t have to.  He can keep it in his words.  He said, “It was a spiritual experience”.  And that’s enough.

When before the beauty of a sunset or a mountain, you pause and exclaim, “Ah,” you are participating in divinity.

-Joseph Campbell

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved