Friday, March 6, 2015

Thank you.

For Jim.

Years ago I fell into a trap.  Somewhere, somehow, I believed the lie that if I'm strong and bold, I'll tear you down.  I had a fire in my bones and God wanted it to rage- but not too much!  Be amazing- but not too amazing!  You'll be too much.

Remember- he leads, you follow.

Speak with passion- but not too much passion!  People will think you're pushy.  It might be better to stay quiet.  You've got a bomb inside- hide it a little- or a lot.  Don't ever overpower your husband.  He leads- you follow.  Tone it down.

It was the undercurrent of countless books, some sermons, and not a few conversations with women and men who truly had my best interest at heart.  It took us years to get honest about just how much those subtle lies handicapped me, to begin pulling back the layers to uncover the truth.

No one partnered with those lies more than myself.  No one could have pulled me out like you.  The truth is, we are all meant to lead, to influence, to find what is excellent in one another and fan it into flame.  And we are all called to follow Jesus.

Strong leadership is not a dictatorship, but a partnership.  A joining together to move us all higher and deeper.  Jesus-centered leadership does not diminish the strength of others, but provides definition, refining, an environment ideal for growth.  Leaders see what others do not, and call that excellence out of hiding.

No one has imitated Christ to me like you- no human has had a greater impact on my knowing of Him than you.  Your servant heart cut me loose.  You never let me settle.  When I wanted to pull back, you stepped in to remind me there is so much here I've refused to see.

I think we've both known- always known- that a part of me was buried alive.  You knew one day I'd break out.  You never held me back, and always held me up.  When I had passion, you told me to pursue it.  When I backed off, you called me on it.  When I- a year before I'd speak of it to anyone else- said out loud that God might be calling me to be a pastor, you said, "Do it."  When I couldn't carry it on my own yet, you held it for me.

You know me; the brilliant and the ugly.  Where I saw caskets, you saw cocoons.

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