Gifts and Limitations: Weighty Wings Let You Fly

I had a dear friend over yesterday evening for dinner and some sweet time together. While chatting we grabbed a book from my shelf that I gave her a copy of for her wedding. She leafed through Elisabeth Elliott’s “Let Me Be a Woman” and read aloud to me an impactful part she had just been thinking about recently concerning insecurities:

“The elephant and the mouse might each complain about his size, the turtle about his shell, the bird about the weight of his wings. But elephants are not called upon to run behind wainscots, mice will not be found ‘pacing along as though they have an appointment at the end of the world’, turtles have no need to fly nor birds to creep. The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

Hmm…Let’s read that again. “The special gift and ability of each creature defines its special limitations. And as the bird easily comes to terms with the necessity of bearing wings when it finds that it is, in fact, the wings that bear the bird.”

After reading that, (this is one of the reasons why I am so blessed by our friendship!) it only seemed natural to take the next few minutes identifying gifts that we see in one another and it’s corresponding limitations. What are the “wings” in our lives that we think weigh us down-but really are what allow us to fly? God is a brilliant designer…how might we praise him instead of complaining about the weight of our wings?

I’ll give just one example. My dear friend is a woman of grace. I look up to her in so many ways, and I am so blessed by her example of having a “gentle and quiet spirit”. When I am worked up, disheartened, disheveled, and dramatic-she is peaceful, soothing, calm, soft, kind, and loving. I see her soft demeanor as a huge blessing. But she can sometimes be tempted to see it as a limitation. Within a group of people, she sometimes cannot be heard. She is not the “life of the party” or the bombastic teacher that she thinks she’d like to be sometimes. It is seen as a limitation, but really the limitation is a rare and lovely gift from God for her to best accomplish his purposes through her life. What she (sometimes) finds most frustrating about herself, is actually one of the very things that is most lovely, and most impactful about her!

We each thought of 2 things (gifts that we often see as limitations) in one another’s life and it was a very encouraging time! So I want to encourage you to 1.) think of “limitations” you perceive in yourself, and how they might actually be gifts to praise God for and serve God with 2.) think of someone in your life that views one of their gifts as a limitation and call/text/facebook message/skype/snapchat/snail mail/etc. them to encourage them with the gift God has given them, OR 3.) comment below with any thoughts pertaining to gifts and limitations! 😀

As always, thanks so much for reading! I pray through this blog you grow to love and know God more! Enjoy some Elisabeth Elliot quotes below!

Valentine’s Day Thoughts!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! And this is what it made me think about today:

Imagine the joy you would have if, come February 14th, outside your door is delivered a huge package! In this package are flowers, candies, your favorite (fill in the blank), and a brand new (fill in the blank)! Woo hoo! You love it! You look for a card, but it is nowhere to be found. You have no idea who it is from, who to thank, or therefore who loves you so much to shower you with such affection!

Imagine if instead, you receive that package, and know exactly who it is from! They’ve inserted a card expressing (as they do often) how much they love you, how much they love knowing you and being known by you, and how much joy you bring them.

Which recipient is happier? The one with the anonymous gift, or the one who can thank the one from whom the loving gifts came? I say, the one who can thank the giver-the one who knows what deep love is associated with this present! There is such joy in knowing the thoughts of intentionality and care behind gifts given!

In this same manner, we as believers are able to KNOW the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Though the rest of the world can still experience laughter, Moose Tracks ice cream, sunsets, sleeping in on a rainy day, the smells of Christmas, and putting on clothes straight from the dryer-WE not only RECEIVE those gifts, but we also have “a card” (the Bible) telling us WHO gave us such amazing things and why! We can know that these gifts are given out of a deep love, joy, graciousness, and desire for intimacy. We can be thankful not just for the gifts, but for the Giver.

All that to say, take advantage of the fact that we can be more joyful and thankful for the pleasures of this life than people who do not know God. Whether you have a Valentine or not-you have been given a LOT! Maybe take some time and stop complaining about the ho-hums of life, and be thankful for the extravagant gifts we’ve been given. Focus on the love of Christ. Be amazed at the sacrifice and the care. Be enthralled with His desire to know you completely, and for you to know Him. Be thankful to the Giver.

Studying the Holy Spirit-Part One

I don’t know how most 20-30 year olds feel about their “head pastor” but we at Grace Baptist Church of Millersville adore ours. Last night he started a 6 part series (meeting every other week) on the Holy Spirit and around 20 of us crammed into a room to learn under him. I was so encouraged by those who came, their overt desire to learn and understand, and their deep appreciation for the intellect that God has given to Joel. I heard several people comment on the depth and  variety of his tangential thoughts, and express gratitude for the way he develops and cultivates his mind.

So I thought it would be beneficial to type up some of my notes for those who miss the study, and for those who want to learn along with us via the world wide web. Realize that the study is about two hours long, and I’m just giving you the “bones” of it.Snails

We started the night brainstorming facts we knew about snails, verses our actual experiences with snails and used that to segue into and a discussion about the difference between knowing and experiencing. What does it feel like to know the Holy Spirit? To experience Him? Should I be able to speak in tongues? Should I be expecting God to speak to me in dreams? Am I missing out if that doesn’t happen?

Before I go on, let me insert that our Pastor is very secure in his cessationalistic thinking. He will be teaching from this view found and supported by the Scriptures. Though he verbally and humbly recognized that there are good, godly, brothers and sister of the faith who disagree with him…and he added, “and the Apostle Paul”. 🙂 He’s a funny one that Joel.

We went on to discuss the Theology Pie (see my messy notes below!) (also I spelled Pneumatology wrong!)  and pointed out that out of this pie, and the utensil we use to partake of it (Holy Spirit) spiritual gifts is a very small part! We went on to discuss why we make such a big deal about such a “small thing”. After we made some observations here, Pastor Joel carefully articulated this truth:

PieDuring this study, as we discover the purpose of the Holy Spirit and the direction it takes us, we will also seek to discover the purpose and direction of the gifts of the spirits. If the gifts of the spirit ever take us in a different direction than the one the Spirit is taking us-there is something very wrong.

After this we then discussed reasons why the Holy Spirit himself (not itself-we get fined for calling him an “it”!) is so neglected.  He is ambiguous; there are evidences for the life of Jesus, philosophical truths to reason for God, but what about the Holy Spirit?

Next was a dip in systematic theology as we looked at the following passages asking “Who He is”, “How He Comes” and “What He does”:

  • John 14:16-17
  • John 14:25-26
  • John 15:26-27
  • John 16:7-11
  • John 16:12-15

Who He is– The Spirit of Truth, Another Advocate, Helper, the Holy Spirit, Counselor, Partner

(one of many wonderful side notes that Pastor Joel made was about the difference between the Old Testament language and the New Testament language and why in the Old Testament “the Spirit of God” is used instead of “the Holy Spirit”)

How He Comes-Through the Father, Through the Father via the request of the Son, From the Son

What He Does– Helps, advocates, teaches, reminds the apostles, testifies, bears witness of Christ, convicts concerning guilt, righteousness, and judgment, guides to truth, declares things to come, glorifies Jesus.

We spoke of the roles of the trinity, who though are completely equal, have clearly defined roles. The Spirit’s role and delight is to do the will of the Father and of the Son. We don’t need to sing songs all about the Spirit and worship the Holy Spirit because the Spirit wants us to worship the Son. Imagine a late night visit to the Washington Monument. Is the purpose of the light being shone on it to say “wow, look at these lights!”? No! Of course not! Be grateful for them, because it’s only through them that you can see the monument, but it’s purpose is for you to relish in the splendor of the monument’s architectural magnitude. In that same manner, the Holy Spirit is a flood light whose greatest joy is for you to behold the glory and majesty and dominion of Jesus. If you adore Jesus Christ, then you are in step with the Holy Spirit!

Mission Statement

I love mission statements! I think everyone should have one! They are always being tweaked as you travel though different stages of life, but here is mine for now:

MISSION: Guiding young women into holiness, and promoting the importance of biblical higher education.

PHILOSOPHY: The first part of my mission is to be constantly involved in mentoring women younger than me, encouraging the pursuit of a holy lifestyle and a pure consecrated mind. The second, I feel passionately about educating young men and women to think through the lens of Scripture. Before sending them in into their vocations, there needs to be a focus of preparing them to articulate the gospel in word and deed to all they come in contact with.


Joy-I truly believe my positive disposition is a gift from the Lord. I think He has given me the ability to see all silver linings, and have true joy even in the midst of heart ache. No matter how many things are going wrong, there are still things that are going or can go right. I pray this joy is contagious and reflects the joy of the Father.

Speaking-I love being in front of people. Whether that is class presentation, talent show, or missions trip summary, I receive energy from a crowd listening to me. And with the privilege to talk to teenagers about the blessing of a biblical higher education, I feel very fulfilled.

Encouragement– I think it I very easy to see good in people. Even in unbelievers I can see how they are made in the image and likeness of God. It is a privilege in my life to be able to call out those positive things I see in people and encourage them.

Serving/Hosting-Joy floods me when I can make someone feel at home. Brew them a cup of joe, or serve them hot dinner-I take delight in the gift of hospitality.


I think it is of great benefit to evaluate your mission, philosophy, and spirit gifting every once in a while! I hope you are able to take some time to do this for yourself, you job, or maybe your family! Blessings on you! 🙂