What is success?

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed early this morning, a headline caught my attention:

“How Shauna Niequist became successful by not trying to be.”

Written by Jonathan Merritt for Religion News Service, the author noted that despite being the wife of a well-known musician (Aaron Niequest) and the daughter of a well-known pastor (Bill Hybels), Shauna refuses to live in their shadow. 

Lent 2017

I have decided that, just in time for Lent, I am going to fast.

You might remember that several years ago, I accidently fasted from my iPhone after my cellular device slipped into a toilet. It was not by intention to give up anything for that Lenten period, especially my iPhone

Stolen

As a firstborn and only child, I excelled at music, grades, and leadership.  Writing, on the other hand, was not an area of strength and, in fact, got me into trouble when I was in fifth grade. I wasn’t too fond of my teacher so I wrote a little tale about her and called her Mrs. Vegeburger.

Thank you, Jamal!

I want to say thank you to my friend Jamal Jivangee for his very gracious Amazon review of my book Becoming His Beloved:Journey into the Father's Affection. I had the privilege of meeting Jamal last summer after I read his amazing book, Free to Love: How Oneness Transcends Marriage. Here is what Jamal said about my book:

Mental illness is something that I would venture to say has affected all of us in some way, shape, or form. It has me. I have people I deeply love and care about that I have watched mental illness rob them of life. When we are in the midst of a challenging relationship with someone who struggles with mental illness, we can often feel like we are the problem, and we can feel helpless in knowing what to do. Sometimes, hearing about another’s journey can greatly help us process and heal from the wounds that those with mental illness can inflict on those that are closest to them. A revelation of true love, divine love, is deeply healing. After reading Geneva’s book, I was struck with her courage and vulnerability is sharing her journey with her mother’s illness. Hearing her story brought a lot of clarity to my own experiences with loved ones dealing with mental illness. Geneva is truly a beautiful woman in every way imaginable. I have gotten the privilege of meeting her and spending a bit of time with her. Immediately upon meeting Geneva, I was very aware of this beauty and knew there was a profound story behind this woman. After reading her book about the devastating nature of being raised by someone with mental illness, and the deep healing that a Father’s love can bring, I now know why her beauty shines so bright. This book was truly a gift to me!

I am really humbled by such kind words. Thank you, Jamal!

GENEVA CHINNOCK is a writer and author of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection. Geneva has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and a Master in Business Administration. In her spare time, Geneva loves reading, eating bacon and attending live theater. She lives in Southern California with her husband and blogs about matters of faith at TreasuredbyGod.com. 

 

Daughter of the King

Our small group has just started studying C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. In Letter 2, Screwtape urges Wormwood to keep his patient distracted by the people at church. Our conversation led to what constitutes appropriate church attire.

The Bridge

For much of my life, I avoided all forms of spontaneity. It was just too dangerous. Eventually I came to realize that we all need fun and joy in our lives. So I’ve tried to loosen up. Just two months ago, I impulsively said to my hair stylist, “What about some pink and purple highlights in my hair?"

Are You a Heretic?

Recently, I posted this quote on a friend’s timeline:

If the you of five years ago doesn’t consider the you of today a heretic, you are not growing spiritually. (Thomas Merton)

Someone commented, “Really?” implying, “How can this be? This is heresy.”

Guest Blog by Aly Sousa: Idols versus Icons

My good friend, Aly Sousa, has been on a journey of discovery with God. Although it has been uncomfortable at times, she is growing in freedom and love. In fact, if I were to describe Aly to someone who doesn't know her, I would say I would say the one outstanding attribute about Aly is that she loves people. I feel privileged to call her my friend. Recently, she wrote a short paper on Idols vs Icons. I invited her to share her story here on my blog, as my first guest blogger. So without further ado, Aly Sousa!

Nourishment

I have finally accepted the fact that I am highly irregular—I don’t floss, exercise or pray consistently. Instead of condemning myself, however, I have come to realize that like many artists, creativity is more important than routine.  Nevertheless, I still try to floss and pray. (I’m still working on the exercise.) One habit I have added to my semi-regular routine is to ask God to order my steps each day. As I have done this, I have become aware of some amazing “coincidences.”

 

One day, my conversation with a patient veered from her surgery to nutrition to healing to deliverance. It turns out that she is the director of the freedom ministry at her church. Her pastor’s wife was a student of Dr. Charles Kraft, whose seminar I had just attended. And God brought us together. As soon as she has recovered, we plan to have coffee together and exchange deliverance stories.

 

Another day, I took care of my husband’s colleague. He asked about my job change which I answered with uncharacteristic honesty. Having been my patient at the previous position, he was stunned to learn of the allegations made against me. He told me how loved and cared for he felt when he was my patient. I was able to joyfully share how God had moved despite the enemy’s attempt to destroy me.

 

Just recently, I met with someone who was an elder at my previous church. I asked how things were going there. As he filled me in, he noted that his daughter had been part of a church that underwent a change. They met with their pastor to tell him that they would be changing churches and “getting their nourishment” from another pastor. I was disturbed by this perspective but wisely kept quiet.

 

Afterwards, when I shared this conversation with a friend, she reminded me that people who need to be fed by another person are known as babies. In reality, we are to be fed by Jesus, not through a human on Sunday morning, solid Bible church or not. After all it was Jesus who said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”[1]

 

At some point, this man asked where I was going to church. I told him that since leaving his fellowship, my perspective had changed. Church is not a meeting but rather who we are. I meet with the church in a variety of informal settings throughout the week. Later, I ran across a quote that expresses what I was trying to say:

 

The nature of ekklisia is not about a group of people who go to a meeting together. The nature of ekklesia is a group of people who are participating in an ever expanding set of friendships, not just relationships, but growing friendships, who genuinely care about each other, genuinely enjoy being with each other, who will walk with me through the tough stuff, laugh with me through the fun stuff, and I with them. That stimulates the life of the church. That is how church is expressed.[2]

 

When Jesus led me away from this man’s church, I felt unsettled and confused. It didn’t make sense to me to leave a church. What I left, however, was not the church; I left the institution known as church. In its place, I have embraced a new reality. My experience of church has become richer as I have learned to trust Jesus and the Holy Spirit for my nourishment. Instead of being dependent on another human, I have been fed by the Shepherd Himself.  

 

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5: 13-14 NIV)

 

 

 

GENEVA CHINNOCK is a writer and author of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection and is known as Lady Arwen to her closest allies. She lives in Southern California with her husband and blogs semi-regularly about matters of faith at TreasuredbyGod.com. 

 

[1] John 6:35 NIV

[2] Source unknown. If you recognize the author, please leave a comment!

Summertime

Summer is upon us. While some people like to catch a few rays of sun, lay by the pool, or God forbid, go jogging, this time of year makes me want to crank up the A/C, close the shades and hibernate. It’s a good time for indoor activities, if you know what I mean…and what I mean is writing and editing.

The Birth of Jesus: Removing our Blinders

The Christmas season is in full swing now. Lights shimmer, bells ring and shoppers rush home with their treasures. Churches display nativity scenes, complete with Mary and Joseph in a stable. The story of the birth of Jesus is retold each Christmas in pageants and pulpits, but sometimes even the most familiar stories need to be dusted off and re-examined. 

Platform

Recently I attended my first writer’s conference. The keynote speaker was a well-known Christian writer who has authored nearly two hundred books, which might explain why many people attended. However, His Royal Celebrity-ness wasn’t why I attended; I actually wanted to learn a thing or two about writing. 

The Managers

Some time ago at church, I was asked to join the worship team so that the Worship Leader wouldn’t be so lonely. On my first week, the Sound Technician (my son) and his Assistant (my husband) decided that I needed managing so they offered me their free, unsolicited advice...

Honor

“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the inconvenience but there is a slight issue with the left engine. We will have to return to the gate so the crew can resolve the problem.“