I will never forget the year I turned 40 because everything changed in my life. As a family we sold up all of our belongings and left family, friends and people we had done life with for a decade, to follow the call of God to plant a church in Montreal, Quebec (the centre of French-speaking Canada). Not only was our circumstance changing, but I was evolving. For the decade of my 30s I think I had been in ‘survival mode’. I had three kids under three years old, lost a fourth baby half way through our pregnancy and then had another baby so that we had them all under 6. That decade felt like a blur. I felt the weight of motherhood and ministry in ways I never could have imagined. There was blessing in ministry, but there was many challenges that go with it as well for a leader navigating all those relational, spiritual, natural and emotional dynamics.
Romans 12:10 NIV
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
If I could summarize my 30s and I am honest, I do feel like it was all about ‘me’. Because when you are in survival mode that is often what happens. And when you have been hurt by people, the ‘love’ piece does not flow as freely. I do not know if I really understood the concept of coming alongside others with all the love in my heart and championing them to become greater than myself. Often I would make it more about me and how people could help me survive. Not always. But often. Even the concept of leadership, serving and honoring etc. could often feel like it was encouraged to honor ‘up’ but we often left out the context of honoring others… and the ‘above yourself’ part of this scripture… well I honestly am not sure I did that well in my survival years. Thank Jesus for His grace and kindness, forgiveness and mercy… and people’s too!
Fast forward a few years. I have now come to see my primary role as wife, mother, leader, friend to champion the greatness in others. To value and highly esteem others. And when I do lift others up, somehow we all rise. I love the thought that our ceilings can become other people’s floors, that our shoulders can be strong enough to let others stand upon them and be seen in the crowd. Our role in that moment is to carry them strong. Right now we sense such a strong mandate on our life to raise and release a generation to their wildest dreams and most faith-filled opportunities to rise and shine for Jesus.
We are better together. I am better when I see what is within another person’s gift, grace and genius. I define ‘devotion’ as a “loyalty to that which is sacred’. So I am committed to being loyal to what is sacred in another person’s life, measure and calling. I will be loyal to it even when it takes you further than me. I love Jesus more when I see Him in another person. I grow by raising others up. My flesh will wrestle this out when I see people get the opportunities I desire, yes! But I am growing to recognize that the Kingdom is not a pie and God does not favour one person over another. We are all His favorites, and I actually feel my breakthroughs are inextricably linked to my ability to be able to genuinely say ‘YAY’ when I watch someone else flourish and win. Let’s do this together. For real. Messy and not always perfectly. Jealous sometimes, envious, insecure but overcoming. I will not let my own smallness shrink another person. I will grow bigger by growing big people.
And there ends my honest thoughts as a woman walking this out
Devoted Devotional By Vanessa Hoyes