Holly Furtick

Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman part 5

Today is the last of this 5 part blog series.  We have been discussing 5 characteristics of an uncomplicated woman. Over the past four weeks, we have learned that an uncomplicated woman is complex, not complicatedpoised, not perfect, calm in the midst of chaos,and in a high stress situation but she is not a high drama woman.  Today I want to give you the 5th and final characteristic, I’m in a fight but I am fortified.

Before we get into this point, I want to make sure I clarify that an uncomplicated woman is not unemotional.  Experiencing emotions is one of the most beautiful characteristics of womanhood.  We love deeply, we hurt deeply, we feel deeply.  So while an uncomplicated woman is emotional, she is not controlled by her emotions.  She knows when to have a conversation and who to have it with.  A woman who is constantly controlled by her emotions eventually cannot be trusted.

That being said, we are all in a fight.  The battles may come and go, the enemy may shift his strategy, but we are always fighting.  Fighting for our marriages to stay strong, fighting to raise godly children, fighting for our health, fighting for our own spiritual growth.

A woman who is in a fight must be fortified.  She must be ready for the fight.  When I think of the word, fortified, I don’t think of military strategy.  I think of breast milk.  Sorry to any male readers out there.  Fortified breast milk is breast milk that has had formula added to it in order to increase the amount of calories your baby receives.  Have you fortified yourself with the Word of God?

Look again at Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water
 that sends out its roots by the stream.
 It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
 It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

If you want to be that oak tree and not that orchid (see part 1), you have to have roots that go deep and wide.  Did you notice how Jeremiah said the tree sent out its roots?  I have to be honest here.  Some days, I am more concerned with spreading my branches than I am about spreading my roots.

I did a little research on roots.  Did you know that in most cases, a tree’s branches can only be as wide as its roots are underground?  And in some instances a tree’s roots can extend 10x the length of its branches.  I can only be as strong as my roots are underneath me.  When the fight comes, when the storm comes, if I am fortified, I will still be standing.  Focus on your roots, not your branches! When you focus on the parts of you that no one sees, the parts of you that every sees will bear so much fruit!

When you are fortified, you are better under pressure because you get to prove how wide and how deep your roots are in Christ.  I must learn to fortify myself with the Word of God.  I cannot depend on the my pastor or my husband or my friends to strengthen me, they can encourage me but they cannot strengthen me.  I have to strengthen myself consistently.  I cannot stop growing.  To stop growing is to start dying.

So to put some practical feet to this, here are 5 ways you can fortify your faith…

  1. I keep my perspective straight.  Yes, my children have a stomach bug and they are puking everywhere, but they are not terminally ill.  We will get over this.
  2. I remain grateful.  Psalm 103, Praise the Lord oh my soul and forget not all His benefits! When I start to feel my mood spiral out of control, I stop and focus on the things I am grateful for.
  3. I regard others as more important than myself.  Philippians 2:3.  I will respond like Jesus, even if the other person is not.
  4. I make my requests to God.  A woman who is uncomplicated is most effective when she keeps her request before God.  This does not mean I do not seek counsel from the wise people in my life who know me.  I simply make my requests to God first.  Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  If I would just bring my request to God – think of the peace it could bring to my life!
  5. I play my part.  I am wife to Steven Furtick, mom to Elijah, Graham and Abbey, pastor’s wife of Elevation Church.  I cannot go around comparing my children to yours, my husband to yours, my calling to yours.  I will embrace the season I am in right now and I will enjoy it.

I hope this series has been helpful for you.  My goal in writing these posts was not to overwhelm you or make you feel bad about all the times you have been that complicated woman.  I want to encourage you that awareness is the first step to change.  Sometimes just realizing that I am being complicated in the moment helps me to not repeat my mistake the next time.

My prayer is that we would be a generation of strong, godly women.  That we would grow to become pillars of strength for our children, our friends, our husbands.  That we would be examples of faith that works when the storms come.  Oaks of righteousness.

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Monday Morning Commentary

We continued our series, How to be Brave, this week.  This series is not about huge acts of courage, but everyday, ordinary courage.  The title of this weekend’s message was, “To have and to hold,” and the message was based on these two verses…

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

My husband taught us that heroic faith comes from habitual thought.  He told us that fear and faith are both a product of focus and they are both empowered by focus.

We learned that although we cannot choose the thoughts we HAVE, we can choose the thoughts that we HOLD.  HOLD THAT THOUGHT!  Faith doesn’t’ fall from the sky, it rises from within you!

We also learned that when we have those crazy thoughts, we don’t let them go, we take them captive.  2 Corinthians 10:5 is literally saying to take those thoughts as prisoner of war. This means we take the crazy thought, we find out who it is coming from and what it is trying to stop God from doing in my life.  We cannot deal with the things that are holding us back until we deal with the thoughts that are holding us back.

This message had so many practical things that I can apply all week long.  I just loved it.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.  And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

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Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman part 4

In this 5 part blog series, we are discussing 5 characteristics of an uncomplicated woman. Over the past three weeks, we have learned that an uncomplicated woman is complex, not complicatedpoised, not perfect, and calm in the midst of chaos. Today I want to give you the 4th characteristic, I may be in a high stress situation, but I am not a high drama woman.  

Last week we talked about knowing yourself and your family so that you can avoid chaotic situations.  But what about situations that are unavoidable but still stressful?  Part of becoming an uncomplicated woman is learning how to identify when a high stress situation is coming your way so that you can be prepared for it.  Moving, a death in the family, caring for a chronically ill family member, caring for a special needs child, being pregnant or having a new baby, are all super high stress situations that we may face.

Can I handle these situations?  Or will I cry and complain to everyone in my life about them. I have a friend who has a child with special needs and a child with a severe illness.  She never complains.  She never even talks about her kids issues unless you ask her about them.  She is such a beautiful picture of a strength and dignity to me.

What about a stressful day?  Can I rise to the challenge of motherhood (a task that I prayed for to begin with!)?  Can I laugh at a tough day?  Can I throw a birthday party or have people over for dinner without making my family miserable all day long as I prepare for guests?  I am cringing as I write this because I have done this so many times.

I may be overloaded, but I am not going to let myself become overwhelmed. Here’s what I try and do (obviously not right every time) when I find myself in a high stress situation…

  1. Anticipate a high stress situation.  Ex: We are having a dinner party and invited 2 families over.
  2. Mentally prepare myself… “I am going to straighten the house but it is going to get messy.  The kids are going to mess up the play room.  My floors are going to get dirty.  This is ok.  We will have a good time.”
  3. I have the freak out moments in my head.  I just don’t let them come out of my mouth, or in my attitude.
  4. I ask for help.  Whether it is getting my kids to help clean up before company comes over, or asking a friend to help me throw a baby shower instead of doing it all by myself.
I want to be like that Proverbs 31 woman, “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (31:25)
Next week is the last point and it is my favorite… I am in a fight but I am fortified.

 

 

 

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Monday Morning Commentary

Yesterday we kicked off our new series, How to be Brave.  The sermon was on battling anxiety.  It was called Brave the Waves!

We started out in Philippians 4:6-7 where Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing.  My husband taught us that the greek word for anxiety used in this verse is merimnate.  This is the same word used in Philippians 2:20 where Paul says he has genuine concern.  He told us, the way we deal with something determines whether or not we will have a genuine concern or a needless anxiety.  He gave us 5 ways to know we have crossed over from concerned and into anxious…

  1. My words
  2. My approach
  3. The voices I allow
  4. My expectations
  5. The shame I feel
He then took us to Mark 4, the story where Jesus calms the storm.  We learned that storms are inevitable, but the atmosphere of my heart is what I can control.  It is not the circumstances that make me anxious, it is my response to the circumstances.  He gave us 5 ways to still the storm in our hearts…
  1. Breathe
  2. Remember
  3. Ask
  4. Visualize
  5. Elevate

The message was so challenging and practical.  There is a bigger reveal but I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who will go and watch it.  You can watch it today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.  And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

 

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Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman part 3

In this blog we are discussing 5 characteristics of an uncomplicated woman.  Over the past two weeks, we have learned that an uncomplicated woman is complex, not complicated, and poised, not perfect.  Today I want to give you the 3rd characteristic, I am calm in the midst of chaos.

An uncomplicated woman knows that when chaos arrives, she can either add to the chaos and prolong it or she can remain calm and keep the situation from blowing out of proportion. I have a goal to become calm when I see my husband or children getting upset. I am still working on this and certainly do not get it right every time (or very often for that matter).  But I know that I have the power to deescalate a situation and I am trying to learn how to put this power into practice.

How do I bring calm to a chaotic situation?  Well, first is there a way I can avoid it altogether? I have know myself and my children and what my family can handle.  I must learn how to think ahead and think through situations realistically so that possibly, I can avoid a chaotic situation.  This means I understand and accept what stage of life I am in.  If I have young (napping age) children, I am not going to attend a birthday lunch that starts at 1pm.  If I am an 8 hours of sleep a night kind of woman, I know that I cannot stay up past midnight if I want to be effective at my job the next day.  Learning how to subvert chaos means saying learning how no to something that sounds like fun but will have me in a heap that evening or the next day.

But when I do find myself in a chaotic situation, I have to keep my head.  I have to rise above and coach myself…

This situation is really not that bad.
I will not feel like this forever.
I can handle this.
I am a strong woman.
I am bigger than this.
I do not have to win this argument.

And most importantly, I am not alone!  Isaiah 43:2 says

When you pass through the waters, 
I will be with you; 
and when you pass through the rivers,
 they will not sweep over you.
 When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; 
the flames will not set you ablaze.

I can be calm in the midst of chaos because I know that no matter how difficult my situation may seem, I am promised that I do not have to handle it alone.

Next week, part 4… I may be in a high stress situation but I am not a high drama woman!

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Books I love… read alouds for kids

I love to read to my kids.  Chapter books mainly.  My boys and I have enjoyed so many great titles together.

Did you know that reading aloud to your children has huge benefits?  Research has proven that reading aloud to children increases their vocabulary, their listening skills and their attention span which helps them perform better in school.  For more information check out this article and this great book by Jim at Trelease.

So today I thought I would share a few of our favorites.

Now I will say, we have a rule that we do not watch a movie before we have read the book. If I know there is a movie of a great book we haven’t read, I won’t let my kids watch it.  I had an argument with Elijah about this one time because he wanted to watch the movie, Holes, but we had not read the book yet (we were waiting for Graham to get a little bit older).  I told him we couldn’t watch the movie because it would ruin the book.  My little lawyer replied, “Yeah but if we read the book, it will ruin the movie.”  What do you say to that? “Well, then, because I said so.”

I find my kids can hang with a chapter book starting around the summer before kindergarten.

Two of our favorites for younger kids (5-6) age are…

 

Charlottes Web by EB White.  Charlotte’s web is a classic tale of a spider and a pig.  The book also has some great illustrations.

 

 

 

 

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  Ramona the Pest is about Ramona going to kindergarten.  I have read this book to each of my boys the summer before the go into kindergarten,  They always love hearing about the trouble Ramona seems to get herself into.

 

 

 

Great holiday books
(actually book, I only have one)

 

The Best Christmas Pagent Ever by Barbara Park.  We have a tradition of reading this book every holiday season.  It is short enough to get through in a few weeks and teaches a great message about the true meaning of Christmas.

 

 

 

Award winning books.

 

Holes by Louis Sachar.  This is my all time favorite kids book (and probably in my top all time favorite books).  It is a clever story of a boy who finds himself  falsely accused.  I wish I could read it again for the first time.

 

 

 

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  This is the story of a dog and a preacher’s daughter and all the lives they are able to touch in their small Florida town.

 

 

 

 

The One and Only Ivan by.  Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a small habitat in a mall.  This is loosely based on a true story. If you like books where animals talk and feel, you will love this one.

 

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Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman part 2

In this blog we are discussing 5 characteristics of an uncomplicated woman.  Last week we said, I am complex, not complicated.  Today I want to give you the 2nd characteristic, I am poised, not perfect.

We all know that drama works great in movies and books, but in real life, it simply exhausts the people around you.  A poised woman learns how to push past her emotions in the heat of the moment.  And she knows when and where it is appropriate to release them.  It is not that a poised woman doesn’t have emotions, she is simply in control of them.  When a complicated situation occurs, a poised woman goes first to God, then to the appropriate people.

A good question to ask yourself is, can I deal with a little tiff without telling everyone in my life?  I do not want my spouse or my friends to dread picking up the phone when they see my name on their caller id.  I do not want the people in my life (my boss, my husband, my coworkers, my friends) to be afraid to give me bad news or ask me to change something in my life.

I love this verse, Proverbs 31:11-12, Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  I want my husband, my children, my friends to trust me.  I want to enrich the lives of everyone around me, not drain them.

This is not to say that I don’t have bad days, or difficult seasons, but I am like that tree in Jeremiah 17:8, “It does not fear when heat comes; 
its leaves are always green.
 It has no worries in a year of drought 
and never fails to bear fruit.”  It is not that heat and drought and storms don’t happen to the tree, they just don’t have any long term effects on the tree’s ability to bear fruit.

Poise is not perfection, it’s strength under pressure.  I want to be like that tree that is poised to stand up under what ever pressure may come my way.  Becoming an uncomplicated woman means learning to be poised in the midst of an emotional situation.

Next week I will give you part 3- I am calm in the midst of chaos.

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Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman (pt1)

This past Thursday all the female staff and spouses of Elevation gathered together.  We had a wonderful time.  We laughed together, learned together and served together.

I shared a message about Becoming an Uncomplicated Woman that has been stirring in my heart for a few months.  In a culture that puts so much emphasis on social media, appearances, and keeping up with each other, how can we fight the temptation to be needy and dramatic?

We all know a complicated woman.  You know, she is unpredictable and inconsistent.  Being in her  life means you have to have special knowledge of all her difficult ways.  But even then, you can never be sure of how she will react.  The only thing you can be sure of is that she will have a dramatic reaction.

But what about the times when I am complicated?  How does this affect those around me?  How can we become pillars of strength for the people in our lives?

Over the next few weeks I want to give you 5 characteristics of an uncomplicated woman.  Here is the first one…

I am complex, not complicated.

A complex woman has many depths.  One guy put it this way, “A complex person is like an iPod.  That is to say that they are consistent, straightforward, and user friendly while also being rather sophisticated… They are understanding, forgiving, in short, mature.”

A complex woman is like an oak tree.  A complicated woman is like an orchid.  Both are beautiful plants.  An oak tree is a picture of strength and beauty.  An orchid is a picture of fragility and beauty.  An orchid must be coddled.  It cannot be too hot or too cold.  It cannot have too much water.  Its leaves do not like to get wet. An orchid needs constant special attention.

Look at what Jeremiah 17:7-8 has to say about a tree (oak I like to think :))

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

I want my husband, my coworkers, my friends to consider me a strong woman – she can handle business, she’s not always freaking out.  She runs deep.  She has experienced some difficult situations but she seems to handle them with such grace.

Are you complex or complicated?  How do I make those closest to me feel when they see my name on their caller id?  Or maybe the better questions is, in what area of my life do I complicate things?  Because I can turn complicated really quick.

The good news is that sometimes the first step to change is simply being aware of myself.  Knowing that I complicated a situation will help me not do the same next time.

Next week I’ll share point 2: I am poised but not perfect.

*Thanks to Pastor Kevin Gerald – he preached a message several months ago that originally inspired my thoughts about this.

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Monday Morning Commentary

Well we wrapped up our relationship series yesterday.  The title of my husband’s message was taken straight from the text (1 Corinthians 7:29), “Those who have wives should live as if they do not.”

The message had 3 main points.

  1. Conflict of Interests
  2. Unnecessary Complication
  3. Undivided Devotion

In the 2nd point, Unnecessary Complication, my husband told us, “Don’t make your spouse something he was not meant to be!”  He gave us 5 ways we unnecessarily complicated relationships…

  1. Unrealistic Expectations- of ourselves, our spouse, and even of God.
  2. Imaginary Scenarios- sometimes the thing I am most afraid of will never even come to pass.
  3. Approval Addiction- if I need the approval of others, I will not be able to receive it.
  4. Regret and Resentment- what I have done or what they have done.
  5. Toxic Secrets- secrets have power until you confess them.
This has been such a powerful series for our church.  I know that so many relationships will be better off because of this teaching.  If you missed it, I hope you will go and listen.  You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast.  And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

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Monday Morning Commentary

 

This weekend I had a blast as I joined my husband on stage.  Together we discussed how marriage is a calling (based out of 1 Cor. 7:17-24).  The sermon was called “Special Assignment.”  We gave some practical steps to living out this calling in the context of our relationships.

We said I am CALLED to…

Carry your burdens- I want to help you carry you carry your burdens, not add to them.
Assume the best- I filter everything through the idea that my husband loves me and cares about me.
Live with contentment- I daily live content with who I am, who my spouse is and the blessings we have been given.
Let God be God- I focus on being the wife God has called me to be and trust that God will work on my spouse.
Encourage your strengths- I can literally pour courage into my spouse.
Do it anyway- Sometimes you don’t feel like it, but you have to do it anyway.

We seriously had such a great time.  We also talked about finger snapping, peanut butter spoons, and canoeing.  If you missed it, I hope you will go and listen. You can watch it later today on the Elevation Network, in our archive and on our podcast. And don’t forget, every sermon is also available on the Elevation App for your smart phone.

Have a great Monday!

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