#PreApproved Writer of the Week: Patricia Hunter
#PreApproved Sisterhood Series
Welcome to a new series, hosted here on the blog. Every Tuesday night, one of our PreApproved sisters will share her story on letting go of a love idol.
Together, we’re giving up our love idols, and we’re not taking them back.
We are already approved; we have nothing to prove. In Christ, we are #preapproved.
He Calls Me His Beloved Child
When we met for lunch at the tea room downtown – an early 20th century bungalow and remodeled café offering “English Tea with a Southern Flair” – and Carol asked me to lead the women’s study at our church in the fall, I told her I’d prayerfully consider it, but I knew God was handing me a gift.
As a professional nurse, I’d flourished in leadership opportunities in the past. With experience and growth in confidence and skills, I grew to love speaking in church, at retreats and to groups of women, but when I assumed my mother’s full-time care, I began turning down opportunities. A few years after mother died and my health declined, I rarely accepted the invitation to speak.
By the time Carol offered me this new opportunity, my leadership and speaking skills needed brushing off, and the systemic effects of chronic rheumatoid disease continued to slow my pace, but six months past my last total knee replacement, my mobility was better than it has been in years. More importantly, I’d been anticipating the hole that my son’s family’s impending move – far from our home on Pollywog Creek – would leave in my heart and awareness of purpose. The opportunity to lead the fall study, to be able to do what I love, to experience a renewed sense of purpose, and to have a focus for my time and energy seemed perfect – until I began to compare myself with Lisa.
Contentment with and gratitude for my rural stay-at-home lifestyle was tested when I held it up to Lisa’s panache. Glamorous, articulate and gifted, Lisa led the women’s study at our church with poise, confidence and grace for years. Intimidated by our obvious disparity in style, the opportunity looked more like a challenge to prove myself than a gift.
My confidence meter reflected a need for approval in my appearance more than it did my trust in God’s favor and equipping.
I considered buying a new wardrobe, but knew down deep that new clothes would create a pseudo-stylish façade that I would have neither the money, energy or fashion sense to maintain.
If I was to receive this opportunity as a gift, then I had to believe that I’m not a less-than replacement for Lisa, but equally called with the same purpose to glorify God, but with the gifts, abilities, personality and style God created for me.
More importantly, I had to believe that I’ve been called to imitate Jesus, not Lisa.
It’s early October, and we are four weeks into the eleven-week study. The first week I talked about friendship and described myself to be a combination of the good-natured hairdresser Truvy and the naïve and awkward Annelle in the movie Steel Magnolias. I’ve unintentionally demonstrated that characterization nearly every week – from my awkward attempts to hold a microphone and a book, while turning the pages of my notes (which I dare not try to speak without) to standing before them with a dryer sheet dangling out the hem of my jeans. I’m a good-natured, sometimes awkward mess, but I know I’m called to follow Jesus with the gifts and opportunities He gives me – learning to be content with His provisions, confident in His strength, grateful for His grace, and secure in His love – for He calls me His Beloved child.
And I am Pre-Approved.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Ephesians 5:1 ESV
Patricia Hunter is a freelance writer and “wannabe psalmist with a camera.” A contributing writer and ghostwriter for several subscription magazines, she recently collaborated with Robbi Cary to produce the award-winning book, No Matter What, It’s a God Day When – Finding Blessings in Difficult Days – offering stunning photographs of God’s creation alongside a heartwarming message of truth. Patricia and her husband Louis have been married for 38 years and have 4 grown children and 8 grandchildren. You can follow Patricia at her blog Pollywog Creek, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.
THE LOVE IDOL MOVEMENT
Click here to find out more about the Love Idol movement.
Click here to purchase the book that inspired the movement.
Click here to join us on Facebook as we lay down our Love Idols and declare our #preapproved status in Christ.
Click here to print the black and white preapproved cutouts.
Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A pink PreApproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend.
Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!
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Beautiful, Patricia. But then, SO ARE YOU. Comparison is the killer, isn’t it? So glad you released it and lived more fully into who YOU are. And that is more than enough. Love you!
Thank you so much, Diana. Comparison is a tortuous killer! You are so very sweet to me. I love you dearly, my friend.
Oh, Patricia. How much I relate. It really is a serious weapon of the enemy, isn’t it, this game of comparing ourselves to others? And, I think it works particularly well with we women. Our culture emphasizes outward appearances, and flash and panache seem to win the day.
But our Lord loves the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, yielded to His purposes, and obedient to His will.
Shine, dearest Patricia. Shine for the Audience of One!!
Thank you, Sharon. Those are words for my heart. Over 15 years ago, after I’d given a message one evening at a church service, my husband said to me, “you just shine up there.” I’ve spoken those words to myself before every other opportunity I’ve been given, and one day during the 11 weeks of the study I wrote about here (which ended last month) one of the ladies said the same thing to me. It’s sweet affirmation. God bless you, sweet lady.
Pat, I replied to this Blog. Thought I had posted it, but cannot find it. Did you receive it????
Thank you, Joyce. I saw your comment on Facebook. You are a dear. xoxox