Ok, y’all, I’m not generally big on social media “communities”. Frankly, I think “online community” is an contradiction of terms. However, the “For The Love” launch team may just be the exception. 496 women and 4 men (bless them). That is 500 opinions that get shared with a good dose of estrogen and even with all that is going on, no one has virtually stormed out. It’s amazing! All of that to say, today’s guest is another one of my FTL friends. I have seen in Stacey a desire to be authentic to leave her love and courage on the page. And just look at how adorable she is!
In her own words: Stacey Philpot is wife to Ryan and mother to Hayden, Julie and Avery. She is a writer, blogger, and avid reader who desires to honor the godly heritage of previous generations by passing down a brightly burning torch of faith. As a result of her passion for growing in her relationship with Jesus, Stacey has ministered for over 15 years to youth and women in her church community in order to equip them to go deeper. Stacey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston and will begin pursuing a Master’s degree in the near future.
Now it was in a church parking lot that—struggling with each painful step, grasping tightly to the arm of my husband, holding back tears of shame—I was stopped by a stranger on the way to my car and told, “Healing is in God’s hands if you want it.” Notice this individual did not stop and ask if we needed additional help, or if we wanted prayer. He simply made his assumptions about my level of faith and true desire for healing and dropped his words of wisdom accordingly. It was also at a church alter where I fell into the arms of a Pastor I did not know, sobbing, heaving, and snotting all over him as he prayed that I would be reminded of God’s love anew. That I would know in the core of my being that my becoming sick was not a result of God not loving me. And walking away that day, I did know, deeply, truly in a way that I had not in a very long time.
What if we spoke life? What if we spoke the truth in love? Realizing that truth in love means more than judgment presented in nicely spoken words. I Corinthians tells us much about love. Real love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([a]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
What if we let our words be motivated by this and this alone? Not by frustration or ignorance or opinion or hate or pity or confusion, only love.
I was at an appointment with a world renowned physician not long ago. He told me all about his research and I told him about my latest endeavors. While bent over testing my knee reflexes he said, “You are such a remarkable woman. You are going to do so many good things with your life.” And just like that I was undone. My eyes were leaking out the corners. So many days, I lay in my bed, sick and I wonder, “Does my life matter”? And I go to church and many people have opinions about my treatment choices or my level of faith but how many speak life? At 85, this man has been changing the world for longer than I was born, and yet here he is, arm in my soul, rearranging things, speaking life.
Church, this is who we are called to be. Even our discipline should be love motivated and life giving.
What if we stopped offering opinions on how people are living their lives and instead started offering life, hope and help? It’s what Jesus did. It’s who we are called to be on this earth. Don’t we all have enough people telling us what we’re doing wrong? What it we chose to be a different voice? The voice speaking life. What if instead of being the voice that says, “You really jacked up” we were the voice that said, “This is an amazing testimony in the making.”