by Larincia Hambrick
A few years ago, we were house shopping and in the market to purchase a new home. We were so excited! Although my husband and I had been married awhile and started our family, this was the first time we had been house shopping together. As Realtor.com and Zillow junkies, we knew if we saw a house on the market that we liked, we had better move quickly, or it would be gone. We had just relocated to St. Louis and lived in my childhood home. That was a blessing, because we were able to save money for a down payment; however, it was not in the best neighborhood, so our goal was to find something quickly. On Sundays after church, we would load up the kids, pack their snacks, and tour as many open houses as we could.
The moment came when we thought we’d found the one. The house was absolutely stunning! It had recently been updated, and the smell of fresh paint filled every room. The kitchen had large cabinets and a center island. Each room on the first floor from the dining area to the living room, kitchen, and family room were encapsulated all around with big, beautiful windows where natural light filled the rooms to create an open and airy ambiance.
We decided to put an offer on the home and to get an inspection.
As a woman, I could already visualize where our furniture would be placed and the family meals we’d be eating together, but as the inspector looked closely at the house, he noted several major things wrong that a person with an untrained eye could not see or know to look for at first glance.
The house had evidence of untreated termite damage. The chimney needed to be repaired and the bricks needed to be tuck-pointed, and most of the beautiful windows were missing the springs made to hold them in place when you raised them. The basement was not waterproof, had cracks in the walls, and leaked water in from three sides of the house, which would cause the basement to flood. The inspector also found black mold behind bathroom walls...and the list goes on.
The laundry list of issues with this house was unbelievable, because it was aesthetically beautiful. The necessary repairs would be thousands of dollars, and we didn’t have thousands of dollars to sink into a house, so we backed out of the contract.
Often, it is the same with us. We look absolutely stunning on the outside, yet on the inside, we have cracks in our soul and are wreaking of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness.
During the inspection, the inspector called me into the master bathroom. He pushed the bathtub stopper down, turned the water on, and filled the bathtub with water. He then pulled the stopper back up to see how quickly the water would drain to empty the bathtub. He discovered something was clogging the drain because the water drained very slowly. This is exactly what happens in the spirit realm when we harbor unforgiveness; our hearts get clogged. It’s hard to hear from God, experience His presence, have viable relationships with others, or even love ourselves properly when we fail to forgive.
There’s no doubt about it, ministry is messy. Our hearts get clogged, and sometimes our experience with just a handful of people can taint our relationships with others we need to let in. As women in ministry, we should be compelled to extend grace, because God has graciously extended it to us. In Matthew 18:22 ESV, Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive his brother. He wanted to know a specific number, so Peter inquired further and said, "Should I just forgive him seven times?” Jesus responded and said, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” The Lord was trying to show Peter that forgiveness is limitless; it knows no bounds. If you can count the number of times you have forgiven someone, then you haven’t forgiven enough.
We all have moments we struggle with forgiveness. That’s the reason Jesus talked about it so much in the gospels. The Lord never made forgiveness a conditional act. He doesn’t tell us to forgive if this or if that. The Word declares we must forgive others for their trespasses against us. Forgiveness should be granted without condition and limitation. We constantly need to be forgiven, and we constantly need to extend forgiveness to others. Luke 6:37 ESV says, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
Lord, I choose to forgive and release
I forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made.
I receive your grace and forgiveness.
In Jesus Name. Amen.
Larincia holds a B.A. from Kentucky State University, an M.B.A from Indiana Wesleyan University, an A.A. from Valor Christian College and is an ordained minister of the Southern Missouri Ministry Network. She serves as the CFO of WEMA Logistics and is passionate about impacting her community. Larincia is a dynamic speaker, and is the founder of Destined to Reign Ministries, I Am Destined to Reign Boutique, the author of I Am Destined to Reign: Ditch the Baggage, Discover Your Identity & Walk in Royalty and a new devotional book entitled Gratitude in the Journey. Larincia is the proud wife to Hervera Hambrick, Life Groups Pastor at Twin Rivers Church in St. Louis, MO, and is the mom of two amazing boys--Josiah & Gabriel. When she isn't working, you can find her decorating, inviting people over for dinner, reading, or traveling.
by Julie Davenport
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
I have lived in Missouri for almost all my life. They say if you don’t like the weather in Missouri, just wait until the next day, and it will change. I love that we have four seasons. I love the new life in spring, the sun in the summer, the beautiful leaves in the fall, and I even like to watch the falling snow with my red birds at the bird feeder in the winter.
If there is one of those four seasons that I look forward to being over the most, it would have to be winter! Even as I type this and look out my window, it is sunny. Looks can be deceiving, though, because it is actually cold! I am ready for warm!
Have you ever been in a season of life that you are ready for it to be over? I remember when I went through many years of infertility, I was so anxious to someday have babies. When I finally had my two miracle babies, I was looking forward to the day when they would be out of diapers. When they were in all kinds of activities and I was chauffeuring them around, I was looking forward to the day they would drive. Now, looking back, it all went by so fast.
Although I miss those days of my girls being little, I am enjoying this season of having them as my adult friends. Now is a season of grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, and I am loving every minute. So many times, we end up wasting our time of enjoying the season we are in by always looking to the next season.
I remember a particularly hard season in my life several years ago about this time of year. I gained a bonus son in my second marriage, and he was going through a very low point in his life. We were desperate over his situation. At the same time, our youngest daughter had travelled to India for an extended stay to work as a missionary associate. I was concerned about her being so far away from home and the conditions she would be staying in.
On the spring morning after she left, both of these situations were heavily on my mind and in my prayers. I looked outside. In the little tree in my front yard were two dove eggs. I became fascinated with watching them hatch. In just a few days, they did! I watched them learn to fly and leave the nest in the days ahead. Amazingly, every day for a few weeks, they would both come and sit on the rail of my back deck. I named them after our son, Donnie, and my daughter, Chelsea. You may think I am a little crazy, but it was a reassurance to me every day that I saw them that Donnie and Chelsea were in the Lord’s hands. One day I only saw one of them! I was like, “Is that Donnie or Chelsea!”
Thankfully, Chelsea made it home safely from India and is now married and a mother. Donnie came through his crisis, miraculously, and came back to the Lord. After that, there would be more hard seasons to come. We have all gone through many seasons of sadness and sorrow. However, the Lord is always faithful. He always brings us through.
I want to encourage you today if you are in a hard season, know that “this too shall pass.” God will carry you through, and when you look back you will be stronger and more ready to face the days ahead.
Even if like me, you are older and have been through many seasons, you can look forward to the days ahead. I love this scripture in Proverbs 31:25 NIV:
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
I encourage you to embrace the season you are in today. God will not fail you. He never has and He never will. He has promised to clothe us with strength and dignity and that we can even face the days ahead with joy and laughter.
One more scripture from Psalm 126:2 KJV to put some spring in your step:
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing:
then said they among the heathen,
The Lord hath done great things for them.
My prayer for you dear ladies is for you to have a spring and summer filled with laughter, singing, and joy. No matter the season you are in, you can always find something to be thankful for and little things to celebrate.
I know that looking back at raising my children and the many seasons we have been through, I can say with confidence that the Lord has done great things, even in the midst of some of the hardest seasons. There have been treasures in the darkness. I am praying the same for you! Happy Spring and Summer!
If one word could depict a life, Julie Davenport’s would be “redemption.” As a child, Julie’s character was forged within a legacy of faith, godliness, and ministry, so when she married a charismatic young pastor on the fast-track to prominence, life was everything she’d dreamed it would be...on the outside. But inside, alone and hidden from view, Julie endured abuse, betrayal, and infidelities that spiraled to include miscarriage, cancer, divorce, mental illness, and eventually suicide. Julie is now an ordained AG minister who through speaking engagements and two daughters continues the legacy of ministry, God is using Julie’s life-story to validate His immeasurable grace and prove His power to redeem what Satan tried so hard to destroy.
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