We're so excited to have Shandice from Dear Purposeful Woman sharing her heart with us today! We know that her words will encourage you!
One Saturday morning about a month ago, I woke up around 7 am, got dressed and decided to go to the library to prepare some articles for my Dear Purposeful Woman website. As I got ready to leave, silence consumed my being. A moment filled with quiet and stillness; a moment I should have appreciated quickly turned into a mutter underneath my breath,
"I feel so alone."
I was referring to the late nights and the early mornings of building a God-vision from the ground up and diligently watering the seeds of that vision through all stages of it's "pregnancy." I silently said to myself, "I crave community." I felt alone in the sense of not having any women around me (physically) that I could go to the library, brainstorm and write with. Hundreds of miles separate me from the ones I love most. But as I left the house and walked towards my car, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace consume me in an instance, with two words that led me to read LUKE.
Those two words were: seclusion and community.
The Gospel of Luke speaks of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. But for the purpose of this article, I will be focusing solely on chapter one.
In the time of Herod king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Luke 1:5
[Note: Aaron was Moses' older brother; together they helped lead the Israelites out of Egypt from under pharaohs harsh ruling- read Exodus for the full story].
Elizabeth along with her husband Zechariah was righteous in the sight of God, with a great desire to conceive a child, but Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both old in age. After many failed attempts an angel of the Lord (Angel Gabriel) appeared to Zechariah while he was in the temple, and said,
"do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John." Luke 1:13
Elizabeth indeed become pregnant!
And guess what? She spent the first five months of her pregnancy in seclusion. Meanwhile, the same Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce she would be the mother to bear Jesus. Terrified and confused Mary couldn't comprehend why or how she would bear the son of God. In the midst of Mary's disbelief, Angel Gabriel went on to tell Mary,
"even, Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail." Luke 1:36
So Mary decided to visit Elizabeth, and this happened:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy Luke 1:41-44
Two pregnant women, preparing to birth a vision of God.
After reading chapter one I was amazed by the fact once Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and she was instantly filled with the holy spirit. Mary stayed three months with Elizabeth; I can only imagine how encouraging and impacting the time they spent together must have been. However much Elizabeth desired to carry and birth a child in her old age, I'm sure it wasn't an easy ride, especially with not having her youth on her side. And just imagine how Mary must have felt carrying Jesus! But regardless of the ups and down's they both probably faced, they didn't have to go it alone; they had each other.
But, even with the power and beauty of Community, you will still need seclusion.
Seclusion is defined as:
the state of being private and away from other people.
a sheltered or private place.
You will experience seasons of seclusion and it's important you become comfortable with that concept. However frightening it may be. God will need time with you alone, time uninterrupted, time to nurture, refine and mold you. Time to prepare you to carry the vision he has placed within you. And though that time may feel lonely, you are never truly alone. Though each and every season won't always make sense at the time, at the appointed time each and every piece will make sense. It is not until we learn how to rely solely on God will the vision he gives you become unshakable and completely reliant on him. Though he will place nurturers in our life to help the vision manifest, we cannot put God's power in their hands.
Community is defined as:
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
God has placed a vision within each and every one of us which like Elizabeth will require us to spend some time in seclusion, but will also require us to spend time in fellowship with others who possess similar attitudes, interests, and goals. You will need to surround yourself with women and men who recognize the importance of the visions you've been entrusted with. Women and men who believe in uplifting and supporting one another through the carrying and birthing process. Those who speak life into you and will cause the vision within you to leap! And never die.
Carrying the weight of your vision.
Sometimes the weight of your vision will be overwhelming. So often we battle with the how's and the why's and the finer details which have yet to be revealed to us. We struggle with our desire to know more before having completed the missions presented to us in our current season. You may even be asking God,
“When will you send people to help and support me along this process? You have given me a clear vision of where you want to go, but right now it feels like a one-woman show.”
Right now you may feel incapable of producing what you envision. And though you know you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you, you are also aware of the importance of two or more coming together in agreement, the people of God rising together to impact the world greatly.
Your birthing place.
It's important that you have the right people around you when getting ready to birth a vision of God. You must identify your midwives, your nurses, and your doctors in the season leading up to your birthing place. Pray for discernment, understanding, and the strength to detach yourself from those who mean you no good, as well as the vulnerability and faith to trust those who are attached to your calling. Those who will hold your hand through the screams, the pain, and the struggles. Those who will celebrate each victory and speak life into you as you take hold of your purpose with both hands.
Whatever stage of your purposeful journey, I want you to know that every season is purposefully preparing you for what you are about to birth. Through your seasons of seclusions and your seasons of community, I pray you are forever filled with the Holy Spirit and peace that surpasses all understanding. May you be surrounded by those who cause your vision to leap! May you hear the gentle whispers of God's unconditional love for you in your heart. You don't have to carry the weight of your vision alone, for what you are carrying is so much bigger than you.
Elizabeth birthed John (John the Baptist) who baptized and prepared the way for Jesus. Mary birthed Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. Both women were called to release a vision of God, visions that were interconnected. Mary visited Elizabeth just on time to aid her through the final three months of her pregnancy. So best believe your help is coming!
I hope you find freedom in knowing God has already gone ahead of you and made provisions for the birth of your purpose. Carry it with confidence, carry it with joy and get ready for the best that is yet to come!
Shandice Stallworth is the founder and content creator for Dear Purposeful Woman (DPW), a community for purposeful women to be encouraged and flourish with purpose. She creates and shares Christian-based content and lifestyle tips, on a variety of platforms and loves encouraging women to break through the walls of their past, pain, and insecurities. Born and raised in London, England now living in the US, Shandice believes in shaking the norm and living a life that radiates her God-given purpose with courage, while encouraging women to do the same.
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