Seven Days of Hope and Healing
A Devotional for Women Seeking God’s Purpose in Their Lives
Dedicated to my Daughter Erin
and all Women Seeking
the Peace of Christ
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he created them. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:27 and 31 KJV)
You may have read this passage of scripture describing the creation of men and women many times and thought little about what it means to you as a woman. But if you examine closely there is much to understand about God?s last day of creation.
When God created mankind he had a very specific purpose in mind. This scripture tells us that he created us (human beings) in his own image. How extraordinary! It means he created humans to be like him. He created us to bear his image here on earth. This is quite humbling and yet bestows great value and purpose to our lives. He created us male and female. It does not say that one gender is more important than the other or carries more of his image than the other. I believe he is saying that males and females both have equal responsibility in bearing his image. Our responsibilities are equally important in what God expects from us here on earth.
After the creation of human beings we read that God said it was very good. This is the only time in the creation story that God deems his work to be very good and not just good. Women were the last thing that God created, and with that creation God was finished and God was obviously very pleased with the outcome. Woman was the crowning moment of God’s creation. Until woman was created things were not complete. Remember-you complete God’s creation!
And the Lord God said “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet (help mate) for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NLV)
This passage has not been a very popular one for women over the centuries. Some have interpreted it to mean that a woman’s role is subservient to a man’s; that she is more like a maid servant. But if we study the true meaning of the words help meet then we learn that the Hebrew meaning is the same word that the Bible uses for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words women provide a very special role as it relates to men. Women provide a kind of spiritual and emotional support for men just as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit provide. Wow, now that is a sobering responsibility!
Maybe Rocky Balboa said it best in one of the Rocky movies. When asked about his girl friend Adrian, he said, “I got gaps and Adrian, she fills my gaps.” I knew I liked Rocky for a reason. Yes gals, you carry within you God’s imprint. He has given you the opportunity to participate in his creation. He wants to partner with you to accomplish his will here on earth.
As you search for your purpose my prayer for you is that you seek what is already inside of you. What has God given you a passion for? Take some time to meditate and perhaps write down about a time when you have been excited or passionate about something you have accomplished, whether it was for someone else or for yourself.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (Psalm 139: 13-16 NLT)
If you pick up the average grammar school science book in most of our public schools today you will read that you are the result of some kind of freak happenstance. Some believe you climbed out of primordial ooze as an adapted creature from the depths of the sea. Others are still searching for the missing link that will explain how apes finally evolved into human beings.
Believing either scenario does not lead to the conclusion that you have a specific value or purpose. After all, if these theories are true then you are really no different than a one celled organism or possess little more intellect than that of a chimpanzee. We live, we die and that must be the end of the story.
God tells us a different story. He tells us a love story. You see, he had you and me in his mind all along. He carefully planned for us and like a master craftsman he attends to every detail of his creation. Science has now revealed that a single strand of DNA is so complex that the chances of even a small part of it becoming a building block of our human body through random chance are statistically impossible! Modern science has already disproved any theory of evolution and proved the truth of Psalm 139. We are wonderfully complex; a masterpiece of the creator’s hand. Each of us was carefully molded to bear the image of God and he had a plan laid out for us before we were ever born.
Romans 8:29-30 (NLT) confirms the words of the Psalmist. Paul writes, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the first born, with many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And he gave them right standing with himself, and he promised them his glory.”
Over the next few days I hope you begin to soak in the truth of God?s great love for you and the unique creation he made you to be.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love, death can’t, and life can’t, the angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)
Many times in my life I have believed that I had messed up so much that God had probably given up on me completely. Paul’s words to the new believers in Rome were written to give them hope in the midst of their trials. They were suffering under the oppression of Roman rule, as well as dealing with a culture that was not accepting of their new religion. There were many obstacles for them to overcome.
Perhaps you feel that there are too many obstacles for you to overcome in order to be acceptable to God. Has your life been a long road full of potholes, wrong turns and even some head-on crashes? If so, God wants you to know that nothing you have done can separate you from him. How is that possible? It is possible because God had a plan for us from the very beginning to make a way for all of our failures and mistakes to be paid for. The last line of Romans 8:39 tells us how God did it. It says “He revealed his love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He sent his Son in order to show himself to us in human form. God then displayed his great love for us through the sacrifice of his son Jesus who paid the penalty on the cross for all of our failures, mistakes and outright rebellion.
As humans we cannot even comprehend this kind of love. Not one of us would be willing to sacrifice our own children for anyone, and yet this is what God did for you and for me. When we accept Christ’s sacrificial death for our mistakes (sins) then we have become completely acceptable to him. The Bible also says that we are a “new person, created in God’s likeness-righteous, holy, and true.” (Epsh.4:24 NLT)
So if the road you have taken has left you full of dents, scratches, or even completely totaled; the good news is that you can drive out of the body shop as a bright, shiny, brand spanking new model! God will never even see that you were once scratched, dented and headed for the junk yard.
Take some time to meditate on God’s great love for you. What does the reality of Christ’s sacrificial death mean for you? Have you accepted that God has made a way for you to become a brand new model through Jesus Christ?
For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
This verse of scripture has become my favorite and my life verse. As I counsel and speak to women. I love to create the imagery that this verse brings to mind. What do you think of when you hear the word “masterpiece?”? Does it conjure up visions of a beautiful sculpture or painting? Perhaps you think of a piece of literature, a poem or a story. Or you may begin to hum the notes from an opera or other piece of inspired music. Wherever your mind goes, the truth for all masterpieces is that they are unique creations of art. Not one is like another. Each is special and has its own beauty.
The message that God is relaying to us is that each of are a masterpiece of his own hands. We are wonderfully unique, beautiful and God was inspired when he created each one of us. He took great care in his creation of us and because of Christ he has great plans for us. Now that inspires me! When we see ourselves as masterpieces, we can start to comprehend our value to God and to others.
This verse is in direct contradiction to what we have been taught. Our world tells us that we are not good enough if we do not fit in with a group or look like others. Women are especially vulnerable to the pressure of fashion, body image, skin color and other cultural norms. If you read the gossip or fashion magazines or watch any television at all you cannot miss the message that you are a loser if you do not look like, act like or dress like the celebrities and models of our day. Women today go to the extremes of unhealthy diets, exercise regimes, surgeries, and the like in order to fit in with what the culture says is appropriate. Christ brings us freedom from the stress and pressures of our culture. In fact we are not to be like anyone else. Romans 12:2 (NLT) reads: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” A masterpiece stands alone on its own merit!
However we must be sure to understand the second part of the verse. We are created anew, but it is because of Christ Jesus that this is possible. I recently heard this explained by our pastor, Jeff Mullen in a new way. He said that when we ask Christ to lead our lives then we are no longer a part of our old bloodline. We now belong in the bloodline of Christ. We are a child of God. We no longer have to cling to our old, unhealthy patterns taught to us by our family, friends, teachers and the like. So if you come from a family or situation that was not healthy or where you were not loved and treated as valuable; you do not have to be part of that bloodline any longer! Because of this you can carry out God?s purpose in your life. We’ll read more about this tomorrow.
God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God?s generosity can flow through you. (1 Peter 4: 10 NLT)
This verse is just one of many that teach us about the spiritual gifts God has given to each of us. Now all of us have to make a choice. We have to choose what we are going to believe. Are we going to believe what others say about us, what the media says we should become, or are we going to believe what we have been learning this past week concerning God’s plan for our lives? I am challenging you today to take this question seriously. If you choose to believe that God’s word (the Bible) is true then you must believe this verse is true also. We can not just pick some verses to believe and not others.
Maybe it has been a long time since you have been excited about anything in your life but I am guessing that at one time you had dreams and ideas that excited you. Ask God to help you remember what those things were. Did you once like to draw or paint? Maybe you loved to read or pretend you were the teacher at school. Do you love to care for people? Maybe the outdoors is your haven or perhaps you are an animal lover. Are you the one that keeps everyone organized or does a great job planning the vacations every year? You may be who people look to for decisions. These are the skills and gifts God has put within you. Take some time in the next few days to write down what your passions and gifts are and how you might be able to use them to serve others. You may have to think back to a time when you were a young child. Many times the world has knocked us down so far that we are not able to feel any passion or excitement about anything.
Ask those closest to you what they see as your strengths. Go try some things that you think you would enjoy. Volunteer at your child’s school or scout group or church group. Join a service project in your community or church. Experiment with new things and rule out what does not seem like a fit. Also there are several assessments that can help guide you in finding your spiritual gifts. Check with your pastor to find out if your church offers this type of assessment. If not you can find them through other resources such as Christian book stores or online sites. There are hundreds of possibilities, but God wants us to narrow it down to a few. I hope you will trust me when I tell you that you will know it when you seek it out. You will feel something tug at your spirit and energize you when you are doing what you are created to do. It may take some time to figure it out, but the rewards of living out your life purpose is worth all the time and energy it takes.
Make a goal today to take one of the above steps to seek out the direction God wants you to take in finding your unique giftedness.
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 4:14-19 NLT)
Let us summarize the lessons we have learned this week:
1. You were created in the beginning as a woman who is an image bearer of God. Your role as a woman was carefully planned by God to bring a special part of God’s character to this world.
2. As a woman you provide a special kind of support for men; the same kind of support that he receives from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. You were carefully planned for and watched over even before you were born. God’s purpose for your life was decided before the beginning of time.
4. God made a way for us never to be separated from him through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ.
5. If you receive the gift God gave us in Christ you are now in the bloodline of Christ.
6. You are uniquely designed by the master craftsman God himself. Like a beautiful snowflake there is no other like you, nor will there ever be. God has gifted you specifically with the ability to serve others and live out your purpose on earth and in eternity.
On this last day of the week I pray that you will meditate on this wonderful verse from the Book of Ephesians. I have a friend who mentored me when I first became a Christian. This is the scripture that she prays for each of her four children and her grandchildren. It touched me deeply when I first learned it and it still does today. I have four adult children and one in high school and recently became a grandmother. As women I believe most of us have a deep longing for our children to experience true love, peace and happiness in their lives. If we could take that same longing and multiply it a hundred times we might begin to comprehend the desire God has for us as to trust his loving care for each of us. The love we have for our children, husbands and parents pales in comparison to the love God has for us. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT)
My prayer for you is that you will take the time to continue to study God’s word and that you would come to believe as I have that it is the complete truth. If this is the first time you have read or heard this kind of devotional then I want you to know there is so much more! Get help from your local church, Christian book store, pastor, trusted Christian counselor or mentor. As you continue to study and learn then you will develop those deep roots that this verse speaks of. Nothing will be able to tear you away from the love and power God has given you through Christ Jesus!