“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world can come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind.. it will be a force such as the world has never known.” Matthew Arnold, British Poet & Philosopher.
(Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.)
I included that little bit of basic info on Matthew Arnold to make the point that I think he was in a very good position to have made the above statement. And it quite frankly blows me away to think that he made that comment well over 150yrs ago. I must say that I do tend to think that we’re predominantly in the mess we’re in since the 1960 or 70’s, as I use the rationale that when my parents grew up, there was far more respect shown to adults/elders/those in authority than there is now. There was more modest dress, stronger family bonds & commitments, and just more consideration shown for others across the board. So, with this in mind, it’s interesting to read his statement and note how long ago he would have made it. Clearly, a very intuitive man. G. W. E. Russell wrote of Arnold, “He is a man of the world entirely free from worldliness.”
This statement by Matthew Arnold has been quoted by Lisa Bevere at the beginning of her messages since beginning her ‘Lioness Arising’ teachings in 2009.
I went through the Lioness Arising teaching series in January 2012 with the lovely ladies from LifeHouse church. I found it to be such an informative and enlightening teaching, but it’s very interesting to reflect on how I’ve continued to learn from it in these 4yrs between, and I imagine I will continue to learn from it going forward also.
The cover of the book says ‘Lioness Arising… Wake up and change your world”. Well, wake up I certainly did that year and I’ve never looked back.
Chapter one of the Safari guide (the workbook that goes alongside the book & message series) begins with these words, “Welcome to the pride, my lovely Lioness sister.” Now, this right here was an eye-opener for me in that lounge room that night in Jan 2012, surrounded by 12-14 relatively new friends as I’d only joined the church the previous October. Those beautiful women became my pride for the next 3yrs and I learnt so much with and from them. God had further plans for our family, leading us away from LIfeHouse and to the church family we now call HOME! As a result, I have a different ‘pride’ now. The eye-opening point though had little to do with the small group that is your pride, but realising that we, as women of God, are all in the one pride. We support each other in our day to day within our smaller ‘prides’, but as a whole, we support the entire pride in prayer also.
My pride today is stunning… stunning and dangerously wide awake !! To say I love them and are grateful to do life with them is a huge understatement. What’s fascinating about our pride is that all five of us have known each other for years… approx 13yrs is the longest I’ve known one of my Lioness sisters, but some are a little longer, and some a little shorter. We haven’t always been this pride…. it’s actually come together in solidarity just this year. In these many years leading up, there’s been weddings (actually, just one, mine. LOL), pregnancies, miscarriages, births, dedications, relationship tensions, job changes, many a school activity or awards night, family tragedy, mind-blowing blessings, and so so much more. It continues to amaze me that God’s timing is ALWAYS spot on ! We’ve all known each other for a good amount of years, and have always gotten along, but God has seen fit to bring us together as a pride for THIS time in our lives. All of us are riding through something at present, whether it be health, relationship, parenting, or something else.. and we’re all there for each other and in most cases can well relate to our Lioness sister’s struggles.
Another thing the 5 of us have in common… we all have a Lioness cub that has been entrusted to our care.
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return, and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48 NLt
Our ‘cubs’ range from 10yrs up to nearly 16 (so yes, we need prayer right now peeps.. ha ha). There is so so much to be aware of when parenting a daughter and I know it’s been said time and time again, but seriously, the biggest keys are being in a Godly marriage (don’t worry if you’re a single Mum, or your husband isn’t walking with The Lord as in those situations, The Lord is the other parent when needed) The Word of God, and having open communication with your daughter. The next biggest asset after those is being in a Pride of fellow Lionesses also mothering a cub.
It’s so important to instil into our girls that while they have no choice but to be IN the world, they most certainly don’t need to be OF the world. This can be crazy hard with the influence of tv, movies, magazines, books, music lyrics & videos etc etc. To give an example, my daughter is 15, is homeschooled, goes to dance once a week, attends a life-group with girls her age at our church, and attends youth group and church on the weekends. She also works part-time at a coffee shop twice a week. Now, while she is free from a huge amount of negative influences that she used to be greatly effected by when she was in mainstream school, she still comes in contact with those of different beliefs, moral standards etc etc and needs to know how to respond in those situations. Recently there was a situation at her workplace where someone was upset and resigned. What followed was very adult conversation topics, bad language and a lack of consideration shown by some in the situation. I need to know that I am doing the absolute best job to equip Miss 15 to best handle herself in these situations. I’m pleased to say that she did very well, recognising where it would have been easy to slip into the gossiping with others, but refrained from it. #proudmummamoment . We can tend to think that if we just have our girls in youth group/life group at our church, all will be fine, or at least better than ‘out there in the world’. This quite often isn’t the place. Probably better, yes, but not smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination. Youth group and life group usually involves community kids, so therefore worldly issues, swearing, lower moral standards etc etc. While we would love to just keep our daughters from these, they need to experience them in these years in order to learn and effectively navigate the big world when they in fact delve into it themselves, whether that be via University, the workplace, or social settings. Not to mention… how are we to save the lost if we don’t interact with those not walking with The Lord.
You know another important thing to do with your Lioness sisters….. LAUGH…. Laugh until your stomach and sides ache !! I’m pleased to say that we satisfy this unwritten pride prerequisite quite well…. especially with this one here…. Oh my goodness we laugh a LOT !! If I’m a little down, my DH will say to me.. “You need a get together with your bestie… go belly laugh together like you always do.” :0)
Through not only the benefit of laughter, but also friendship and prayer support, we are able to journey together in our walk with The Lord, becoming best equipped to help others. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
In her book ‘Lioness Arising’, Lisa Bevere writes.. We live in a world filled with ever-increasing opportunities. We are not limited like our sisters in the 1800s. We have the ability to stretch forth and reach out to others to do this well. We must look back and ahead.
In Luke 4:18-19 we read God’s Spirit is on me, he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” In my humble opinion, to most effectively do this, we women NEED to be in a fully awakened and dangerous pride.
To be able to confidently know not only that I would state the following, but my fellow Lionesses would too… So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road. Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away. I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal. Hosea 13:7-8 NLT. So, who didn’t know that stuff like that was in the bible?? ha ha !!
There is so much we need to shield and protect our daughters from in this current day, but at the same time, prepare them for when they go out into the world and encounter those same things. Matthew 10:16 says Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, un-offensive as a dove.
Take this beauty on the right here…. Doesn’t she look all gorgeous, sweet and lovely?? well, she totally is :0)… but she’s also one of the fiercest prayer warriors I know, and she can be counted on to go to war for one of her Lioness Sisters at a moments notice if needed.
There is so so much more I could include in this blog, but the best I can do is suggest that if you haven’t read Lioness arising, or done the study within a group, GET ONTO IT GIRLFRIEND !!! There’s simply too much at stake in our world right now, far too many sleeping Lionesses who need to be awakened. We need to be Proverbs 31:10-31 women, standing by our men, honouring them so they in turn can be equiped to do their part in The Kingdom. But as we all know, marriage is tough… so we need our Pride in order to stay strong, weather storms, and not buy into the ways of the world. I can personally testify to the fact that if you are surrounded by like minded, Godly women as your close friends and support system, your marriage is 1000% better.
I’ll finish with a list of Prayers Roars from the Lioness Arising Safari Guide. Why not make it a new nightly routine to declare one of these. I’ll include 7 so that you have one for each day of the week. These really will set you on a fantastic path to discovering what you actually have in your hand, and how effective you can be in & for the Kingdom.
- I realise I have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems. Lord, lead me as I embark on this journey !!
- I am ready to give expression to lovely, virtuous, capable, inoffensive, cunning, harmless, shrewd, trustworthy, faithful lioness daughters who enrich the lives of those around me and gather to strategise how to ‘do good’. I am willing to take on this challenge !!
- This day, regardless of how I look or feel, I choose to echo the declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”God’s work in me is marvellous. I am stunning; but more than just looking good, I choose to develop the strength to do good, I am ready to bear some weight and carry my load, because rather than being busy, I will build, I will shift my focus to gain strength and allow hardship to re-make me invincible in Him. I embrace my strength and choose to run to win, train hard, give it my all, stay alert and not get sloppy with the Word of God, or the seasons of my life.
- I present my strength for you service. God, I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a position of status. I choose to serve and lift others by asking “How can I help?”. I will change the way I look at my life of worship. It is a banquet of refreshing and strength, not a draining burden. Show me how to be a lioness among Lions and in the process, raise up others in their strength and encourage them to dream again. I know acts of honour are never lost in translation, so I look to my future with hope because talking less now doesn’t mean having less in my future. I am a guide, not a guard. I live to bring people in, not to keep them out, and enlarge my life.
- I pray my release means release for others. Male and female, help me to always remember that marriage is a union, not a battle. Let me recognise the gender difference as the affirmation of our need for each other. I need the men in my world to be all that you created them to be. God bless the dwellings of unity in my life. We all need redemption and you alone are worthy of my worship. I will stop being contentious and reading too much into gender differences, because you have ultimate preeminence, may you have your say in my life.
- Jesus, we are ready to do something impressive and significant. For your body, show me who I am so I know how to both greet and groom my sisters and brothers. I want to refresh and restore others.
- I am ready to be excellently formed and marvellously functioning. Teach me to hunt, I am ready to grow up, give me the energy and insight of heaven. Restore all of my healthy maternal affection that fear has twisted. I am ready to hunt with my sisters.
Many blessings my Lioness Sisters (& any dedicated blog loving Lions still reading)
Let’s stand together and be POWERFUL !! (Note I haven’t said anything today about who we’re standing against …. coz I refuse to give him more credit than is due. It’s like a mozzie to a T-Rex…. We are fully armed peeps with the Word of God.)