Monday, August 22, 2016

Thinking about royalty...

Awhile back I was reminded of a crown I once wore...it wasn't a crown I wanted and it's not one others were striving for either. I never thought much about crowns...the tomboy in me didn't want one and my insecure self knew I didn't deserve one. 

So...it was kind of funny and awkward when the Howard County Pork Council called as my senior year came to a close and asked if I'd be the county "Pork Queen". I'll wait while you laugh...this is a reality in Iowa. The lucky girl gets to hand out ribbons at the fair, ride in parades thru the summer and promote "The Other White Meat." If $100 hadn't been involved, I'm pretty sure I would have said, "No." 

That simple "Yes" opened the door for jokes, new names and crazy gifts. I was called, "Miss Piggy" and given a new nose. It was a job I did, but a crown I didn't want. 

This all took place during a time of struggle...I was a very insecure 18 year old who deeply struggled with my looks. My tender heart took words very seriously and personally. The doubts I already had were confirmed with the crazy crown put on my head. 

I never longed for a homecoming title or crown of my own and once I received one it seemed to solidify the thoughts and lies I believed. The girl associated with pigs...an animal that stinks and squeals and is rarely one others want to be around, felt the title fit. The one who struggled with looks, not being good enough and not feeling loved had a crown that fit. One nobody else wanted, but was given to me. 

Eventually, most forgot the role I'd played, but the struggles continued. I battled doubts and lies as life went on and eventually found myself in the pit of depression. For a few years my world grew darker, but I played the "I'm fine" game and walked thru life trying to hide the pain and pretend all was well. 

God intervened and saved me from a suicide attempt. He drew me to Himself and I eventually started a personal relationship with Him. In the last 16+ years, He has done a mighty work - replacing lies with Truth, pouring out His love and making me into who He created me to be. 

This last weekend I was blessed to help with the ReNEWed Life Women's Event for the 5th time. The day was AMAZING (I'm sure I'll say more in the days to come) - God said and did much. He touched hearts and transformed lives. He reminded me of Truth, His faithfulness and my role.

Our speaker, Micca Campbell, made a statement as she shared her testimony that I continue thinking about - "This is not who you are." These were words God impressed on her heart years ago and ones He used to speak to me today. And friend, I pray they speak to you as well.

How do you define yourself? Do you see yourself as "Miss Piggy"? Define yourself with labels others give? Is your identity rooted in lies? Are you wearing a "crown" you don't need to wear? Perhaps you find yourself thinking - 'I don't deserve a title. I'm not worthy of a crown.'

A couple of years ago, God used this royalty idea to speak to my heart as I spoke with a friend, who I felt I didn't deserve. I remember thinking, "She was a Baylor Beauty when the only title I could have won was 'Riceville Reject.'" If you want to read that lesson about our worth you can find it HERE.

Friend, I don't know your struggle with worth and identity, but I've visited with enough women to guess you've probably had one. I've also walked this road long enough to know God is constantly teaching me more and continuously helping me become who He created me to be. I trust He is, and will do, the same for you.

The other day as I sat and watched God work at our women's event a verse came to mind. Isaiah 62:3 - "You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God." I'm not Miss Piggy, Miss Doubtful, Miss Worthless, Miss I'm Not Good Enough and you're not "Miss fill in the blank" either.

Friend, we don't have to wait for the world to give us a crown, if we've accepted Jesus as Savior and confessed Him as Lord, we are covered in His righteousness. We are a crown in God's hand. We are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) He wants us to shine for Him. (Matthew 5:16) He has plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) He created us for His glory. 

But, in order for that to happen we must be who He created us to be...we must quit living up to the titles the world gives or the labels Satan whispers with his lies. So to get you started, here's a few verses about who you are my royal friend -

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

"You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." (John 15:16)

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations..." (Deuteronomy 7:6-9)

We must not only accept our role as royalty, but then work to encourage others to embrace their crown as well. These words from Isaiah 61:1-3 offer some instruction about the work we are called to do as royalty in the kingdom of God. 

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor." 

Friend, I'll leave you with this...

Heavenly Father, 
Lord you are king. You are the royal, worthy One. I love you and am grateful you chose me as your own. Help me become who you made me to be...when I'm not living as You created me to live, help me see that. When I'm believing lies about who I am, I ask You to quickly replace them with Truth. When I cling to the labels the world gives and doubt my ability, remind me your grace is sufficient. When Satan throws lies that make me feel less than, may you help me remember that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Father, don't just let me accept this position as royalty, but instead use it for your kingdom. May I shine your light and live for your glory. Use me to help the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom and comfort the hurting. I want to be who you made me to be so that I can help others become who you created them to be. So Lord, I ask You to fill me with 
your Holy Spirit and then give me a heart sensitive to your Spirit. In Jesus' precious and powerful name I pray...Amen

6 comments:

  1. Jill, this is BEAUTIFUL.....just like YOU! Thanks for being so transparent and for sharing your heart! You are a joyful blessing!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Joyce and for your encouraging words!

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  2. This is a beautiful post, Jill. And the verse that spoke most to be was Isaiah 62:3. THAT is all we need to know, truly!! We are made in His image. Loved abundantly and eternally. Gifted. Called. Perfected. Protected. Thank you for sharing from your heart. And Amen to your prayer!!

    Love,
    Wendy

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    1. Yes, it's what we need...not to simply know, but to remember and never forget!Blessings to you!

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  3. You are beautiful inside and out Jill, you have already made and will continue to make an incredible difference in the lives of others. You are amazingly brave to share your own struggles in order to reach out and help others. Thank you.

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    1. Kat, thanks for stopping by. I pray God spoke to your heart as you read about my struggles...it's all for His glory! Blessings to you!

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