The purpose of iBelieve.com is to help women wrestle with the deeper issues of how their faith relates to the world around them. It seems that Christian women today are facing a set of challenges unique to their generation. With an emphasis on personal experiences, our goal is to create a team of writers and bloggers looking to share how they have seen the struggles and triumphs of life through the lens of the Christian faith. We hope to create a place where our audience can feel uplifted by authentic examination of what it means to be a Christian woman in today's culture.Read daily devotions for women, blogs by your favorite Christian female bloggers, articles on faith, relationships, health and beauty, food and home, and motherhood. iBelieve.com also provides Christian ecards and inspirations to encourage and uplift your sisters in Christ!
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“Those who go to God Most High for safety will be protected by God All-Powerful. I will say to the Lord, ‘You are my place of safety and protection. You are my God, and I trust You.’”
Psalm 91: 1, 2
The Everyday Bible
Today’s Text for Study:
“And one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’”
II Samuel 11: 3
“The Real You”
“I’m not a symbol
I’m not a statistic
I’m not the inches in somebody’s column.
I’m not admirable, but
I’m not pitiable either.
I’m simply human.
If you turned me inside out,
you’d find fury, fear, regret and sorrow
struggling with the love and the longing,
hope and wonder,
and all my neediness.
Please take these things seriously.
Don’t pietize or glamorize or
trivialize or sermonize.
They are the marks of my life,
gift and loss,
wound and offence.
Please respect them.
I am at odds with all that requires
me to be a symbol.
I insist on being real.”
Struggles to Love
How many people in my life know the “real” me?
If I were to be truly “real” what actions and reactions in my life would be different?
“Generally, by the time you are ‘Real,’ most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are ‘Real’ you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
The Velveteen Rabbit
“The Father has loved us so much! He loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.”
1 John 3: 1
The Everyday Bible
As we continue our journey through the Bible, studying in depth the lives of all of God’s daughters, the book of I Kings gives us a slight jolt for while the very first verse in I Kings begins by informing us that King David is dying, as we read on through I Kings 1: 5-53, the reappearance of a well-known figure in David’s life becomes extremely prominent. This distinguished character is none other than Bathsheba, the beautiful mistress of David, mother of a dead baby, wife of King David, friend of Nathan the prophet, and eventual queen mother to King Solomon.
While we have looked closely into the relationship between David and Bathsheba and its effect on the life of David’s family as well as the nation he ruled, it is time that we look more closely at Bathsheba, herself, for woven into the fabric of Bathsheba’s life are the threads that you and I as women carry in our own lives. And it is how these threads are blended together that weave the pattern of our lives, just as they did Bathsheba’s.
While the story of Bathsheba’s life relates directly to you and me as women, it is my prayer that those dear men who come to the Garden daily to study God’s Word with all of us, will also find a unique and helpful perspective on what we as women go through when we are either by our own choice or by cultural or religious demands or by familial pattern habits, led into a pattern of behavior which blunts the reality of not only who we are, but more sadly, who God has designed us to be.
Without thoughtful investigation into Bathsheba’s life, we can fall in the same trap as much of popular culture where Bathsheba’s entire life is summed up by a lustful affair with a king who is in “sexual overdrive” because of the enticement of a bathing beauty who parades herself in the nude for the king to gaze upon. Such a narrow viewpoint easily leads one to conclude that Bathsheba was a willing seductress for the feeble David whose moral compass was in such freefall he had no ability to turn his eyes away from the magnet that was Bathsheba’s ravenous body.
I think you’ll agree that after our recent in-depth study of David’s confession in Psalm 51 and his honest appraisal of his moral failings to his heavenly Father. David was no weak-kneed, spineless man who was completely swayed by Bathsheba. There was more to their relationship than first meets the eye. And girls, it would do us well to delve deeper because the lessons of Bathsheba’s life relate to you and me from the time we are born to the day we die.
At the core of the life of Bathsheba is this lesson – one it has taken me many years to even begin to learn and it is this – “BE REAL.”
Now before you jump to the conclusion that I’m talking about a complete and total elimination of the feelings of others as I decide to “be me,” let me assure you that no such idea is in my mind. The fact is, most women I know are experts at trying to reshape, rework and redo themselves to meet the demands or pleasures of others around them.
I believe that if there was a Professional Title called “Accommodator of Others,” many women, I know, would be masters at the job of trying to adapt to the needs of the people in their lives. And just so you know what I mean by the word “accommodate,” the definition of this word is “to adjust,” “to acclimate,” “to oblige or to service.”
Quite frankly, most women spend a lifetime adjusting, obliging or acclimating themselves like twisted pretzels into what others want. I’m not saying this is all bad or somehow wrong. What I am saying is that when the adjustments we continuously make get us out-of-line with God’s purpose for each of our lives, unhappiness and dissatisfaction are the result.
As women, it does us well to look into the life of one of our precious sisters, Bathsheba, and learn from her mistakes as well as her successes. Woven into the tapestry of her life are the threads that as I noted, you and I contain, too. This is why as we begin to look closer at Bathsheba, it becomes critical that we recognize the immense value in “getting real,” not only with each other, but most importantly with ourselves.
Many years ago I happened on a book entitled, Be Real, written by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, former pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago. This gem of a book provides an in-depth study of the book of I John, the Apostle John’s first epistle, which focuses on a very contemporary topic: living a life that is real.
I love the way the book of I John begins, especially as written in The Everyday Bible:
“We write you now about something that has always existed.
We have heard.
We have seen with our own eyes.
We have watched,
And we have touched with our hands.
We write to you about the Word that gives life. He who gives life was shown to us. We saw him, and we can give proof about it. And now we tell you that he has life that continues forever. The one who gives this life was with God the Father. God showed him to us. Now we tell you what we have seen and heard because we want you to have fellowship with us. The fellowship we share together is with God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to you so that you can be full of joy with us.”
Here we read that Jesus’ closest disciple, John the Beloved, tells his readers, “I am writing to you to tell you about the real thing – the real deal – the “real” Son of God, whom I know and have touched. I’ve seen Him. I have been in His company. And He is real.”
Don’t you just love reading these divine words – words that inspire your heart and mine. For what more can I want and can you want than to meet “Someone” who is real and in His presence, we are promised that we will become what He is – real, too!
We don’t have to adjust ourselves to what some pop star is like or what some religious person says we should be or even to the way some family member may try to remake us to fit the vision of what they think we should be like or look like or act like.
In heaven’s world, we are to be what the Apostle John told us we really are – our Father’s children. Created in His image, for a purpose uniquely and divinely bestowed upon each of us!
“I am held in the hand of your life,
and I do not know what you will make of me.
All I know is that I cannot make myself
any more than I could in my mother’s womb.
But this I can do,
this I choose,
to give myself into the hand of your continuing
My past, with its joys and triumphs, its failures and
My present, with its struggles and accomplishments, its
failures and regrets.
My future, with its fears and freedom, its pain
To loose and to bind, to stretch and to shape,
to become what I will,
trusting the hand that made the world
trusting the Spirit that breathes life
trusting the love that will not let me go
trusting the promise of the Word made flesh.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.