Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who am I? - "Not who I was."

Welcome back for the "Who am I?" series, today we're going to take a look at one of the possible answers for those who have accepted Christ as our Savior. Have you ever asked yourself the question and found yourself answering, "I'm not who I was."

I hadn't thought too much about this in a real personal away until nearly a year ago after a conversation with a friend/neighbor. Teresa, our MOPS mentor, was talking about her friendship with me and how it's been neat to see me grow and become a leader myself. Then she went on to share how she knew me when I was a "little Biwer girl."

In the days following this conversation, I really thought about what she had said and realized all too often I still see myself as one of the little Biwer girls. You see growing up I had two younger sisters and the three of us were known as you guessed it, the little Biwer girls, who were sometimes mistaken as triplets (not cool when your 12 and baby sis is 8!). The word little really stuck out - physically I was on the small side, but in my mind little meant more than size. No I related it to ability, appearance and in a way even used that to define my worth. Honestly I was surprised when I thought about this; it was hard for me to believe words from my childhood were still impacting me as I neared my mid-30's.

As I reflected more on these thoughts, I realized there were other labels I'd worn; sometimes they were given by others, but quite often by myself. Thru the years I was quite often the quiet kid - not because there weren't thoughts or ideas I wanted to share; no usually I was quiet because I was intimidated or feared saying the wrong thing or being misunderstood. And during high school, I was a good girl - no drinking, a respectful student, driven athlete - a real people pleaser! Though I was a "good girl" I still often felt like I was never good enough. In those same years I was also a lonely child - I had a family who loved me and supported me, but yet something was missing (thankfully I now know what that was!)

How about you? Take a minute and adjust the question a bit, "Who have you been?" Perhaps you can relate to the labels I've mentioned or maybe yours are entirely different. Really it doesn't matter! As I've thought and prayed more about this whole identity issue God has brought His word to mind "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" Isaiah 43:18,19a

Friend regardless of what your past holds, brokenness, pain, hurt, loss, mistakes, shame, guilt or regret, trust what God has to say to you, "“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am no longer a little Biwer girl and you are not who you were! God can and will use who you have been, but He knows who you are and who you are becoming! Join me again next week as we look at who that is!!

Remember I'd love to hear your thoughts, just click on the comment button and share what God puts on your heart!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Just say..."

If you had to complete this statement, "Just say...." what word would you choose? My mind instantly goes back to elementary school and the drug prevention program. Every week the police officer would visit our class and in one way or another tell us, "Just say no!!"

Now when it comes to drugs, peer pressure, any temptation this is exactly the response that we all need!! But lately I've been reminded that when it's God speaking to me, I must be ready to say just the opposite. Whether it's when He's calling or leading or even coaxing or convincing I need a heart that says, "YES!!"

As I sit and put these words on paper I realize this is a task that is easy to talk about, but a bit of a challenge to consistently live!! Back in the day I never struggled to "just say no" to drugs or alcohol, but I'd be lying if I said I never gave into temptation. I fell short during my school days, in college, as a teacher and today in my life as a wife and mom. I'm human; I mess up, I sin. There are things I should say no to, but I do them anyway. There are thoughts and doubts that are wrong, but rather than saying no, I open the door of my mind and let them in. Saying "no" can be hard.

And saying "yes" can be just as challenging. Over two years ago, God put it on my heart to organize a women's event in our area - initially this seemed crazy and impossible, but thankfully over time He convinced my heart to just say yes. Two years later, myself and many others have been blessed by the Rise and Shine Women's Retreat! I am truly amazed at all He's done!! One little, hesitant, scared yes led to results beyond anything I ever imagined!!

Over the last two months He's been asking me to say "yes" once again and just like before this seems crazy. You see He's been asking me to step away from the Rise and Shine leadership team and though the selfish side of me wants to regress to the phrase from my elementary days and just say "no," He has impressed it on my heart to do exactly what He's calling me to do and again just say "yes" without fully understanding why.

As I've wrestled with all of this, God has brought a verse to mind. One many of us know well and have heard often - Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Honestly I don't understand what He is doing, but experience has taught me to trust in HIM!! Friend, perhaps you can relate, I encourage you to listen for His voice and when you hear it, "just say yes!!!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Necessary Question

Last week I shared a post titled, "Who am I?" and after more reflecting I believe this is a necessary question. Would you agree? I'd love to hear your thoughts!! As I wait to read yours, I will attempt to share mine...

First of all after the comments from last week, I think many of us would agree that this is a common question. At one time or another, we've all had some one ask us this question and many times we've probably formulated it in our own minds as well. So I believe we could say the question is being asked, but is it necessary??

Now this idea of identity has been on my mind quite a bit the last couple of years and even more so these last few months. As I reflect back on these thoughts and the lessons I have learned I can now say the question is not just necessary it really is vital. What makes it vital is where the answer comes from...

I have shared how I found my identity in many different things, roles and people through the years and conversations with and comments left by others prove I am not alone. All too often we look to the wrong person to answer the question or rely on a role (that's eventually going to change) to define who we are. God, the One who created me and you, is the only One who truly knows who I am (and loves me anyway!!) But more about that down the road!

For now, why is the question necessary - until I know who I am, I will never know who I was made to be. Granted I can spend years searching and struggling to find the answer, and there may be times I feel like I've found the answer, but if I rely on anyone or thing other than God to define me the answer can change. As a former math teacher, I know if the answer is correct today the problem will still be right tomorrow, next week and forever!

Friend the same is true with God's definition of who I am (and who you are!) And better news than that is even in those moments when I forget and regress to ways of old, He doesn't change and neither does His love for me!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about why this question, "Who am I?" has been necessary in your life! And I look forward to continuing this discussion next week as I look at one possible answer to the question - "Who am I?" - "Not who I was!!"

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


As a former basketball fanatic it's kind of crazy to say wrestling has been the sport of choice recently in our house! J.D., our second grader, is taking part in the practices for elementary students at our local high school. Granted he's way more aggressive when he's trying out his moves on his dad, little sisters and even myself, but he's been enjoying his time on the mat.

But the sport hasn't just entered our life because of practice one night a week, you see I've become a daily participant in the sport I never really understood! Now before you think I've lost my mind, physically I am NOT taking part, but mentally on the other hand it seems there's been a constant match going on in my head!

Have you ever been there? Please tell me your answer is yes!! Honestly, I believe that will be the case because though there are times when God's voice is loud and clear, there are situations and instances when it's a whisper and times it truly is hard to understand. I'm one who wants to do what Chris Tomlin sings about in his song, "I Will Follow." The cry of my heart is "Where you go, I'll go; Where you stay, I'll stay; When you move, I'll move; I will follow..."

Sometimes this following business is hard, especially when it seems I'm at a crossroads. How about you? What do you do when the path splits? The decision can be easy, but all too often it seems both roads lead to a good destination. I find myself wondering, "Do I continue down the path I've been on?" or "Do I walk in a different direction?"

Like I said before these thoughts have led to quite the wrestling match in my mind. And unlike my son, this doesn't cause points to pile up, instead it creates more things to think about and at times can lead to worry, doubt and even frustration. As I write that I think about my son and I know there are times on the wrestling mat when he experiences the exact same thing! And God just reminded me of the words I share with him, "Keep trying. Do what you can do. Listen to your coaches. Work at it and it will come."

So friend as we walk this walk of faith, let's commit to doing the same thing - try, listen and persevere; even during the wrestling matches we must not give up! And we need to realize the lessons He is trying to teach - I watch my son and he is learning so much during his time on the mat and the beautiful thing about it is these lessons involve so much more than the latest moves. Really he is learning about himself and I believe thru this wrestling match in my mind, God's not just helping me discern where He wants me to go, but more importantly He's reminding me of who and Whose I am!

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Who am I?"

“Who am I?” Have you ever asked yourself this question? If you’re like me, your answer would be, “yes, more than once!” So let me continue, “Where do you find your answer?” Have you looked to others or media to define who you are? Or have you found your identity in what you do or have done? The success you’ve achieved or mistakes you’ve made. Or do you find your answer in your looks, your last name or the church you belong to?

This question, “Who am I?” is not a bad one to ask; all too often the problem lies in where we try to find the answer. I truly believe we can only solve this dilemma by seeking God’s answer to the age-old question! Trust me it’s taken me years to realize this, but in the days ahead I’d love to explore the topic more. I’ll share some of my thoughts and would love to hear yours!

So let the conversation begin…

Where have you found your answer to the question, “Who am I?”

Like I said, I’ve asked the question numerous times and have attempted to find the answer in various places. In high school I found my value in playing basketball, so when I answered “athlete” I felt good about who I was. But those feelings could change quickly when I compared myself to others and my "tomboy" looks never measured up, in those moments who I was, was never good enough. Then there are the times I’ve defined myself by the things I’ve done - the mistakes made and times I’ve fallen short and the answer I give is “failure.”

Perhaps as you reflect on your life you can see a similar pattern - when we base our identity on roles, situations or comparisons it is constantly changing and when God created us that was not His intention. He knows who I am, who you are friend and He wants us to know that as well! Join me again as together we look to discover the only answer that matters, HIS!!