She writes boldly, and she makes me laugh.
Her words feel like freedom.
And her photographs? Stunning.
Her heart beats like this:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
I’m delighted to introduce you to Darlene, who calls herself A Simple Country Girl. She’s all country, a little bit sassy, and she’s anything but simple.
We met through the High Calling Blogs network. Most days, you’ll find her over at Aspire to Lead a Quiet Life. But today, she meets us here at Getting Down With Jesus.
Please join me in welcoming Darlene.
ON BEING ME
By Darlene, A Simple Country Girl
What is a Wrangler-wearin’ country girl with a no-nonsense nature — who is also a bit sassy, goofy and bold — to do with these parts of her self once she meets the Lord?
I have struggled with that issue a lot over the last seven years. Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t transform my outward appearance and actions and attitudes to mirror those of the women in my newfound church.
I clearly remember my initial reactions the first time I stood inside sacred church walls. The first time my husband and I attended service with new friends, it was Communion Sunday.
I didn’t understand a thing about wine being blood, and bread being body. All I could think about was if I drank that little sip of wine in the cup, wouldn’t God be angry with me for breaking the vow I made with Him ten years prior? Not wanting to be a victim again, I had boldly made a promise with God in college. If my blood tests came back negative, I promised not to let another drop of alcohol pass my lips and numb my pain and alter my brain and set me up to be an easy target…
Would God strike me with lightning if I sipped from that Communion cup?
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
— Hebrews 4:15 and 16
“… do this in remembrance of Me.”
— from 1 Corinthians 11:24-26
During that first Sunday I noticed outward appearances; after all our society is eyeball-driven.
In order to look the proper part, I tried to dress the part.
If I succeeded in finding a skirt that I could tolerate, then I still managed to find ways to mess up how I looked. For instance, I would go in for a hug when the pastor was actually outstretching his hand for a mere handshake.
Great, I may be looking the part with my shaved legs and below-the-knee skirt, but what about that tackle-like hug I just used? Who else saw that post-service foul?
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
— Philippians 2:3 and 4
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
— Philippians 4:8
After adding a few skirts and sandals to my Wrangler and boot collection, I felt better about how I looked, but I started thinking: Should I really be attending church with this attitude of mine?
I wondered about the logistics of dragging my bitter brain and confused heart through those heavy wooden church doors. What if my sin seeped through my skin, and our elbows touched in the pews or our hands bumped as we reached for hymnals? Do I pull away and sit in the last row, or will they discreetly go wash once the service has concluded?
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
— Galatians 2:17-20
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
— James 5:16
Even though some of the blaring newcomer shine had begun to rub off, at times I still felt stare-worthy. Even after fumbling, I could not seem to find my way through this new Bible.
I tripped between Esther and Obadiah and James, never quite landing where I was supposed to. How can I keep them all straight when I’ve never even heard these stories? And how could they possibly say anything that matters today?
The closest I’d come to a Bible lesson was watching Charlton Heston play Moses. I did occasionally hear my grandma sing about clefts and ages, but I had no idea what she was talking about.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
— 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.
— Deuteronomy 32:4
Although I still wear Wranglers to church, and I still drag my aching heart through the front doors, and I still get lost trying to find some books of the Bible, I finally have a basic grasp on what His word says about me. And try as I may, I cannot fully alter the fabric from which He cut my pattern.
With His help, I can trim the edges a bit, snipping away ugly threads of sin and shame and bitterness. With His divine sewing machine, I can nip and tuck my pieces so that my pattern more resembles Christ’s. And in some places, now it is even sheer enough for others to see clear through to Him.
So, what is a simple country girl to do with all the sassy and goofy and bold parts of her self? Each and every morning, I just slip on all who God made me to be.
In these seven years since coming to know the Lord, I realize He already knew me! He created and designed this unique pattern and He selected this particular fabric for me, just as He did for each of you.
I leave you with a prayer that I adapted from Ephesians 3:16-19:
May God, in all of His glory, strengthen you with might by the Holy Spirit. May that strength reach into your innermost being. I pray also that Christ lives in your heart through faith – that you are rooted and grounded in love. And that you understand how all-encompassing His love is for you. May God also fill you will all grace. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
You can find more of A Simple Country Girl at Aspire to Lead a Quiet Life where she writes and posts photographs. She is also the founder of two ministries. Healing Hearts, Renewing Minds, a post-abortion ministry site and For the Least of These, an international photography ministry that financially supports orphans in Uganda. But what really floats her boat the most is being a child of God, a wife and a mother.