This week's team journal is written by our Team Lead, and beloved sister, Natalie Herr.
I'm writing this blog post on the heels of the DiscipleHER Conference: a weekend where women from all over Dayton, OH and beyond got together in the name of the Lord Jesus. Women came to hear God's Word, to connect with Him and one another and to be sent back out to apply his Word to their lives. The Lord worked in ways that I could never have imagined and hardly have space to list here.
The DWITW Team poured hours and hours of effort into the planning and preparation of DiscipleHER. And now, just a few days later, I'm attempting to get quiet so I can hear what God wants me to learn from the whole thing.
You know what I keep hearing? "Love the sisterhood."
Well, what does that mean, God? Didn't I just spend months loving the sisterhood by planning this conference for them? Haven't I loved the sisterhood by preparing for them? Praying for them? Isn't the whole ministry of Dayton Women in the Word about loving the sisterhood?
And then, I heard, "STOP. Stop right there, Natalie. That whole line of thinking is all about you."
And so it is. The sneaky sin of pride can corrupt even the most beautiful, God-honoring pursuits. Pride convinces me that I am obedient. That I've achieved something. That I've done what was asked of me and deserve some kind of applause for it. Pride doesn't like it when someone else gets the applause instead. Pride doesn't like to hear that I still have growing and learning and obeying to do.
I'm confessing before you today that I felt the weight of comparison this weekend. I caught myself measuring my own work and gifts against those of my sisters. I wanted to hear "Well, done!" from man just as much as I wanted to hear it from God. I felt deserving of a compliment every time I heard one given to someone else. But you know what, gals? I received plenty of encouragement and compliments and kind words this weekend, and it never satisfied in a lasting way. It never can, and it isn't meant to.
I've been reading a lot about pride recently in the book of Isaiah. (I asked the Lord a few weeks ago to reveal my sin as I read Isaiah and he has been faithful to do it). In Isaiah's day, Judah and the surrounding nations were full of pride and self-sufficiency. They trusted in the work of their hands and not in the faithful God of their fathers (Isaiah 2:8). Isaiah describes them as a great forest that will be cut down, with so few trees left that a child could count them (Isaiah 10:19). And apart from Jesus, that would be my fate! A proud tree cut down, with no hope of regrowth.
But, Jesus. Jesus is the tiny, vibrant, life-giving shoot coming up in that forest of death; coming up from that burned-up old stump of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). Jesus makes it possible for life and love to come from pride and death. He's the reason I can obey the call of 1 Peter to honor everyone and love the brotherhood (or the sisterhood). He's the one I can learn humility and servant leadership from. He's the one I must point to as the source of all the good I've ever done and ever will do. He's the one who went to the cross for my pride and defeated death forever.
So, Lord, I will love the sisterhood fiercely. I will cheer on my sisters in their gifts, even when (especially when!) it feels like they are competing with mine. I will encourage them until I'm blue in the face. I will call them up and send them out. I will honor them publicly and privately. I will lay down my own agenda in favor of yours. I will pursue humility instead of affirmation. I will fight the vicious lies of pride. And sometimes, I will fail. And I will ask you again to kill that pride and grow me in humility and help me to fight for unity with my sisters. And you will answer, as you always do. You are faithful to finish the work you've started in me AND in my sisters (Phil. 1:6). And one day, as promised, despite our faults and failures, we will hear the only "Well, done!" that really matters.
Natalie Herr is the founder and team leader of Dayton Women in the Word. She is a servant of God, a wife, and a mom of four. She loves teaching and equipping women with God's Word.