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Woman/Girl Boss

Urban dictionary describes a woman boss as a woman who can accomplish all tasks while remaining beautiful; a good-looking woman in an authoritative position in a business (non-sexual); a woman who is successful without the aid of others (although others may help to make things more convenient). I also like the term boss girl. Once again, the urban dictionary fails not to provide an accurate cultural description of a boss girl. That being, a woman who is self-made, running their own business, and acting as their own boss.

While I do not claim or fully support the cultural feminist movement, being a female, I do see the importance of uplifting those who are of similar biological makeup as myself. Men and women are completely different. Besides our biological makeup, our history has shaped a lot of what we do and how we have been able to step up and step out. The idea of a woman/girl boss would be rejected a century ago. Over the past century, opportunities for women grew significantly because of women who were bold, not afraid, and filled with a gumption for change. I applaud these women. I salute these women. Women who are full-time moms. Women who are part-time moms. Women who are working. Women who are grinding a side hustle. Women who are walking in their god-given divine calling. Women who have shut out the noise and stood up against the naysayers. Women who are conquering a disease. Women who are bold enough to be women. You. I applaud you for being the woman/girl boss that you are. 

There is a man who studied women well. He “knew” (insert wink) plenty of women. He wrote an entire chapter on women that we now refer to as the pinnacle for the righteous and perfect women/wives; Proverbs 31. 

According to King Solomon, here are the characteristics of a woman/wife of noble character: 

  1. Protective, brings life and passion (vs.10)
  2. Trustworthy (vs.11)
  3. Brings good (vs.12)
  4. Works with her hands (vs.13)
  5. Labors even if she needs to travel far (vs.14)
  6. Early riser and host to those in her home (vs.15)
  7. Makes strategic business decisions and investments (vs.16)
  8. Prioritizes her personal health and wellbeing (vs.17)
  9. Knows her calling and finds passion in what she’s doing (vs.18)
  10. Meticulous and discerning (vs.19)
  11. Compassionate and merciful to the poor and needy (vs.20)
  12. Has faith in her Savior even in trying times (vs.21)
  13. Is a woman of dignity who protects her marriage bed (vs.22)
  14. Lays a foundation of respect for her husband (vs.23)
  15. Knows her craft and thrives in doing this (vs.24)
  16. Shows strength in stature and models dignity in her clothing (vs.25)
  17. Speaks with wisdom and her tongue is filled with faith (vs.26)
  18. Manages her home and rejects idleness (vs.27)
  19. Praised and valued by her home (vs.28)
  20. Fears the Lord and trusts in His will (vs.29)
  21. Honored for her work (vs.30)
  22. Praised by those who surround her (vs.31)

I will admit, reading that list is intimating. Who can possibly live up to that standard? In many ways, you are living up to that standard. You may not have a spouse telling you so or children praising you in awe, but the God who created you sees your worth and the nobility you carry because you fear him. Too often, we have characterized Proverbs 31 woman as a woman who has it all. In essence, we’ve deemed that she is perfect and has no faults. If she is perfect then there would be no need for a savior. King Solomon ends the chapter with a statement we’ve overlooked time and time again. This statement summarizes the entire chapter:

“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (vs.29-30)

The common title for a Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of Noble Character. Notice in verse 29 Solomon mentions that many women do noble things. In other words, many women do what he mentions in verses 10-31. This is referred to as charm and beauty. This nobility can be at times deceptive and fleeting (fades over time). The women that surpass them (the women who are of noble character alone) are those who fear the Lord.

HOLD UP! Does that mean we should not strive to be a woman/girl boss of noble character? NO! What this does mean, is that too often we are blinded by the culture of perfectionism as females that we fail to see that being a woman that severs the Lord and fears His ways is what surpasses the woman that strives to be perfect and do life without God in the equation. Being a woman who talks to Jesus and functions in the will of God surpasses all who reject God. These noble things will be a part of your story as a God lover. They can also be a part of your story if you reject God, but I promise you they will become your demise and fleet in worth. 

Before you strive to be the “list” of things, first make your priority to fear the Lord. That list will become a part of your character when you begin to fear the Lord. My challenge to you is, to quit being hard on yourself. Quit shaming and defaming your worth. You’re a woman/girl boss. You’re killing it! Be the God-lover woman of noble character.


Marriage Neglect

This time last year Jarrod and I were prepping for the biggest and best day of our lives. It was wedding month which meant lots of last-minute finalizing. I don’t remember the month of April being particularly crazy. We were more excited than anything else. The day before the wedding, however, is when everything hit me like a train. I got to the rehearsal dinner super late with traffic jams and lack of gas. The reality of showing up someplace late and the pressure I felt overwhelmed me that I had a breakdown for the century. I may be exaggerating a tad, but the Type A in me just could not come to terms with the fact that I had people waiting on me for over an hour. But we made it. We got through that hump and my heart eventually settled. I believe my emotions hit me like a storm because I knew my life was drastically going to change. While I was excited and sure about this change, I never took the moment to cry and embrace the change. My stubborn, got-to-be-strong personality couldn’t hold out any longer and the night before my wedding day is when my emotions got the best of me. I cried and let myself cry. I cried with excitement for what was to come, I cried overwhelmed by how far God had brought me and I cried with assurance trusting an unknown future to a known God. This is just one of the few stories I will share this month as Jarrod and I celebrate our one-year anniversary on April 29th. This month’s blog will be particularly fun sharing the things I’ve learned coupled with things Jarrod has learned in our one year of marriage. Now, the first thing I learned is that in the first three months of marriage I neglected God.

Marriage has been the sweetest. It has its moments but on a whole, I’ve loved everything about it. I didn’t know I could fall in love with someone so deeply. It’s crazy how you think you love someone until you both give each other everything and you fall deeper in love with one another. I’ve come to learn that all true love relationships become both harder and richer the more they grow. This year of marriage was one of growth for both Jarrod and me, and my relationship with Christ. Every year is a year of growth, but this particular year proved the rotten nature to neglect God when life is sweet.

G. Michael Hopf, an author of a post-apocalyptic novel is quoted saying,

Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

G. Michael Hopf

This is said to sum up a stunningly pervasive cyclical vision of history. I’d also say this sums up day-to-day humans and their relationship with Christ. When life is difficult, it’s easy to depend on God. It’s fairly easy to pray and seek God’s truth. In hard times we depend on and lean on Him as our last hope. In these hard times, we often become a lot stronger and in our dependence on Christ, we see the fruit of devotion to Him. We call these the good/sweet times. In the good and sweet times, we often become weak in our walk. Because life is so sweet we don’t pray as often, read God’s word as often, praise as often, or remain quiet as often. The first few months of marriage are when I realized I was so focused on the sweet times of marriage that I lacked my intense devotion to Christ. While I still attended church I was not daily praying, daily reading, daily worshiping, or daily in stillness. I simply got around to spending time with God whenever I had time and I became quite okay with it. It wasn’t until Jarrod and I signed up for a course at our church did I realize that I had neglected God. No, Jarrod isn’t to blame because he was still devout to Christ and daily seeking. The only person to blame is me. I was entirely wrapped up with the good that I failed to nurture the fire of growth.

On our wedding day, I made a covenant with God, Jarrod and I. Often I believe we view the marriage day as a covenant between man and woman. We fail to factor Christ in the equation. If you are a young couple or you are going through a season of sweet/good times, I urge you to fight the urge of neglecting Christ. It’s easy to neglect God in the good times and it is easy to depend on God in the bad times. Seek Christ in all times and in all things. While I am thankful I bounced back fairly quickly and my marriage neglect of Christ didn’t drag on too long, it doesn’t remove the fact that I did neglect. Don’t let the history of the Old Testament repeat in your hearts.

In Deuteronomy 32, Moses exhorts the new generation of Israelites to live as God’s obedient people in the promised land and to neglect not. We learn that faith is not automatic nor is it mechanical. Faith is personal and active and can only spring from a living relationship with God. Our faith walk becomes personal when we devout ourselves to God in the good and not-so-great times. My challenge to you is the same as Moses’ challenge to the Israelites. He challenged the people to faithfully obey the Lord and reject all forms of idolatry. He called on the new generation to formally renew the earlier covenant with God that their parents had broken. He challenged you and I to, love the Lord your God with all your hearts and with all your souls and all your strength.

Marriage can easily become your idolatry that you neglect the one who got you there. As beautiful as marriage is, it can only remain beautiful and sweet if we allow the one that designed it to remain at the center. Don’t neglect Christ in your marriage. Don’t neglect your spouse. Don’t neglect yourself. The covenant you made on your wedding day was never with one, rather it’s with you, your spouse and God.

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you;
    you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Deuteronomy 32:18

Artifice Strides

You woke up this morning only to find yourself on a stage with the biggest projector screen behind you. Your life is being played on said screen. You look around to see that you’re not the only one in the room. Rather, there’s a full audience watching your biopic. Your “true” self, is being revealed. Every thought, and action both seen in public and unseen in private is being played for said audience. Would you be ashamed? Would you hide in shame seeing the inner parts of your life being exposed? Would your true self contradict what your daily strides have conveyed. I can tell you — I would be ashamed. There are parts of my heart and my character that I am not quite proud of.

We have been living in deception. We’ve chosen the route of fake it till we make it. Our Christian walk is all a hoax. We’ve been preaching a certain narrative, while living the exact opposite of what we preach. We’ve tricked those around us to believe we are the “it” Christian, when in actuality we are crumbling inside. I call this, artifice strides.

What’s “artifice”? Defined, it is a cleaver more often underhanded means to achieve an end. Simply put, it’s a gimmick or bluff. I’ve bluffed Christianity. I’ve pretended in order to convince those around me that I’ve mastered it. Have you done that before? There’s a difference between struggling with a sin and actively working towards growth versus actively living in said sin and pretending nothing is wrong. Artifice strides creatively manipulates those around you that your walk with Christ is subpar. Artifice strides are works based when the heart is quite messed up.

Paul, the writer of many of the New Testament books, writes in 1 Corinthians 13 some biblical truths on artifice strides that I believe properly illustrates how many of us have chosen to live out Christianity. He writes,

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

The idea here is that love conquers the sin nature within us. Love is found in salvation and atonement, however it doesn’t stop there. It continues after we’ve accepted Jesus in our hearts. Salvation is not a one moment experience. It’s a daily, moment by moment, spiritual growth. In Christianity, we should grow patience and kindness. Envy, boasting and pride is replaced with humility and genuine glee for the victories of others. In growth, we learn to honor those around us, and seek truth versus delighting in evil. Paul states that when love through salvation grows within us, we protect, trust, hope and persevere in our daily strides.

We’d like to believe we are not pretentious in our approach to Christianity, but the truth of the matter is, many of us are. Our intentions are not always pure. We pray with hate heavy in our hearts. We sing praises with no faith within us. We share the word of God through mere memorization and not a love for God’s word. We quote scriptures as a means to judge those whom we disagree with because of their open sin nature, yet we are no different in the secret places as we’re actively living in sin. We’ve cleverly developed a means to say we’ve done Christianity well, when in actuality it is all a hoax. We hide behind the title Christianity when it’s merely a means to gain status and liking among believers or present oneself as perfect.

Christianity is not a destination. When we view Christianity as a destination we take artifice strides. All our doing for Christ is done with the intent to “appear” as a Christian. Faith, integrity and authenticity is absent in terminal Christianity. Destination Christianity knows only to do and has not grasped onto the truth of transformation. True Christianity is perpetual. It doesn’t end with the call to salvation. It’s continuous in unwavering growth.

The question I want to propose to you is, are you taking artifice or honoring strides? Are you authentically walking? Are you living what you preach or have you bluffed the Christian walk? Is at all a hoax? If it is, here’s something you need to know, you cannot make a lie, truth. Ultimately, the lie you’re hoping to appear as truth air its’ ugly face. Until we begin to be honest with ourselves and open up about the sins we struggle with, then will we be able to find freedom. Truth sets us free and in freedom we can walk honorably. Truth is you admitting and acknowledging your sins. From that point, Gods word can transform. God cannot move unless we create space in our hearts for Him to move. Too often we’ve welcomed artifice strides in order to hide behind perfection and not admit our sin nature.

I want to challenge you to be honest about your faith walk. If you’re making artifice strides, someone will eventually call your bluff. We are not promised tomorrow to live honorably. We have a choice and ultimately it’s choosing between a lie or truth.

What are you going to do?


Coffee Strength; Milk & Steak

I got asked a question about an individual that had me stumble. Not because this person doesn’t fit positively in the question, rather the question in itself had me stumble as I applied it to myself. Here’s what I was asked:

Is _____ a strong Christian?

I knew immediately the answer to that question. What I didn’t quite know is if someone asked that question about me, what their response would be. I pondered on, Is Vashti a strong christian?

You’re probably asking yourself that question about yourself right now. I get it. It gets you thinking. Who knew such a simple question could stir so much questioning. In my pondering, I shifted from “me” to simply – What is a “strong Christian?”

In the Christian realm we use the term “strong Christian” to describe someone who is known for their strong faith in Christ. Individuals who are in the spotlight to some degree or another and makes their following of Christ known. They dress the part, look the part and act the part. They quote scriptures and seem to have the “Christian walk” pretty much solved. Is that really what a “strong Christian” is? Do we maybe have that all wrong? Did we mess up entirely by compartmentalizing Christianity into “weak, regular and strong?” As I asked myself these questions, I was appropriately sipping on coffee. The concept of levels of coffee roast came to mind as I questioned why we have placed Christianity into categories.

Driftawary Coffee has an article on the difference between Light Roast, Medium Roast & Dark Roast. The writer, Scotts describes the uniqueness between the levels. Here’s what he writes summarized for your reading:

Light Roasts 

  • Retains most of the original coffee characteristics
  • Has the highest acidity and are the brightest of the three roast levels.

Medium Roasts

  • Has a darker brown color than a light roast and will look richer
  • Coffee’s oils may be visible on the beans
  • Contains a balance between acidity and body
  • Has a brighter, fuller body in taste 

Dark Roasts

  • Has a dark brown, sometimes almost black, in color. 
  • Coffee oils can be seen on dark roasted beans.
  • In dark roast, you’re almost exclusively tasting notes from the roast
  • The brightness of light roasts is replaced with body in dark roasts
  • Bold Bodies and a Richer Taste 

So what does roast level have to do with Christianity? Well let’s take a look at it using coffee roast level analogy. 

Light (weak) Christian:

  • Has accepted Jesus and sought salvation through coming of faith
  • Has a brighter tenacity from their recent coming to Christ, however still struggling with who they were prior to salvation.

Medium (regular) Christian:

  • Seasoned Christian who spends time with in prayer, fasting and God’s word
  • They do not hide their faith walk
  • Contains a balance between faith walk and struggles
  • Has a brighter, fuller Christian walk

Dark (strong) Christian:

  • Bold in nature.
  • Christianity radiates
  • Knows God’s and makes it known
  • Richness in walk with Christ replaces struggles
  • Bold in walk and richer in character

Looking at this, I would suggest that believing doesn’t make a difference, it is doing and living. Coffee is coffee in it’s original form. It wasn’t born into a “level.” Not until it curates into different forms does it become what it is known for, light, medium and dark.

Like coffee, humans are humans. You cannot be physically born into Christianity. Not until we are curated (accept Jesus as our Christ and savior) do we then fall into the categories of light, medium and dark faith. It is not about belief alone. It is living out what we believe and why we believe it to the fullest. Faith and works work hand in hand. In the Christian faith we should continuously develop and grow. Stagnancy and compliancy is not growth.

So to my question earlier. Is compartmentalizing Christianity into “weak, regular and strong, right? Maybe not so if you’re doing it comparing others to condemn them. But I do urge you to ask that question about yourself. Are you growing in your faith walk or have you remained where you’ve always been. Are you still a newborn suckling milk are have you sifted from milk, to medium chewable to hearty food? Genuinely ask yourself that question. Not to prove yourself better than others, rather to personally perfect your faith in Christ.

I don’t know about you but I prefer a steak over milk. Milk had it’s season in my life. Today, I’d much rather a nice steak than a glass of milk. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with milk, but that was simply for a season. So, where are you? Are you still suckling on milk? Are you chewing on milk food or have you gone for the steak? While I don’t like the idea of compartmentalizing Christianity, I do want to stress the importance of growth. Don’t become comfortable in your faith. Growth, like in the physical world is greatly needed in the spiritual.

What is your christianity strength?

Bible reference: 1 Corinthians; Hebrews 5; Hebrews 6; 1 Peter 2