Featured Contributor: Crisie Hutchings
Today, I am so excited to share someone really special to me. Crisie Hutchings. She lives a life that represents worship like none I have ever seen. Through her, I have learned not just to sing to God, but to worship Him. And that worship was not just Sunday, but a lifestyle... Her wisdom speaks life into my heart. My prayer is that this will also be the case for you....
I remember being in 10th grade in Air Force ROTC. Now as a young woman, in the 70’s there was still a lot of discrimination against women so for a woman to be in a man’s world in the military was severely frowned upon. I was encouraged and nurtured by the male teachers I had, but the young men in the class ripped me to shreds! It was a daily struggle to come to class and then on the days I had to wear my uniform, they were merciless! When we did drills and marched there were jeers and laughs. It was intimidating to say the least and I wanted to quit more times than I could count.
I doubted myself all the time in that class, mostly during the times that I was being tortured by the boys. I got good grades in the class and loved learning about aircraft and the history of the armed forces. I was thriving but dreaded dealing with them every day but I was so determined to stick with it because my personal convictions drove me. “A woman can do anything a man can do! I am just as good as you! And I want this for myself and my own life!” These are the things that kept me going. Not to mention the reaming that I would have gotten if I quit, proving to them that women were inferior and I could NEVER let that happen! I would die before I would send that message to them!
I do recall noticing one day that their taunting began to subside and a sort of respect or more like resignation came to them and they accepted that I was there and I wasn’t going to leave. At the time I was too young to really understand what had happened then, but now when I look back on it, it makes me feel proud of myself and I realize what an amazing victory it was for those times. And more, what a glorious personal victory it was for me. I realized what I was made of and I held my head a little higher.
Since then, I have come through many other fights in my life. And some, much more intense than that. And on the other side of every obstacle, I wonder how I ever did it. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I understand how, now, but even in that, I am still amazed!
Life is a wonder and a precious gift and every little detail in it, is so vital to our growth and an intentional piece of the puzzle of our purpose and the plan of God for our lives. Ultimately, His plan is to conform us into the image of Christ. Before we are anything, we are His! And after all things, we are still His! And in Him, all things find their purpose: Co. 1: 15-18
“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.”
If I don’t understand anything in this life, I understand that without Him, I am nothing but with Him I can do all things. I don’t say that so much to work myself into believing it, as much as it is a declaration of what I have found to be true in my life because He is so faithful!
This is our starting point in pursuit of any kind in this life. This is the origin of our success, our joy, our impact; being in Him. And this is our consolation in the dark times, when we grieve and are in despair! Without relationship and communion with the One who is Life, we can forget it on every level!
I’ve had the privilege of many opportunities in my life and in ministry. And still one thing remains the principal thing: God’s love for people. This is and always will be His purpose in ministry and all forms of service in the Kingdom of God. We are co-laborers with Him not for Him. Sadly, I have lived most of my life in ministry with a “for” Him mentality, burning myself out and becoming disillusioned with God and my purpose in His Kingdom. The problem; I was so busy doing the work of God, that I had no energy for relationship with God. This, my dears, is the recipe for disaster in life and ministry. And to try to do relationship to succeed in ministry is just as disastrous. God doesn’t want a prostitute, He wants a bride.
Our pursuit has got to be communion with our God at the release of all else, yes, including ministry! The release of purpose, the release of striving, of religion and trying to do and be all things to all people. Whatever our motivations, which are mostly selfish, we have got to let go of everything so that God becomes everything to us. This does not happen with ease but will much intention and struggle. But it can be done. And our model is Christ.
Whenever, I can’t figure this thing out, I study Christ. How did He accomplish His mission? Through relationship with His Father. Relationship with the Father was primary to Christ. It was His life and breath; His reason for living and ultimately His reason for dying. Yes, He came to set us free and loved us, but His obedience to the cross, was a demonstration of His love for the Father. Our mission and our motivation has got to become fueled by our love relationship with the Father. Nothing more and nothing less.
My hope in pouring my life out, is that many will not make the same mistakes as I have and will come to know their true purpose: to be in Christ and live life from that glorious place.
May Christ be glorified in all!
*You can follow Crisie on instagram (@crisiehutchings)
**as well as on her blog at: www.theworshiplifeblog.com
***Crisie will also be leading worship at the (FREE) Face To Face Regional Women's Conference at Covenant Love Church in Fayetteville, NC. (www.f2fwc.com)