This is the last post of three of my coffee with Cristie. It has been an amazing journey to glean from her. Over the last couple of weeks I have read her book, typed up almost an hours worth of video footage, and let the Lord do a beautiful work in my heart.
In the first post I said that I was having a hard time with the message, and came out with the gentle nudging of the Lord. After the last post entitled, What is an evangelical feminist?: Coffee with Cristie Penn part 2, there were interesting responses. I’m not here to cause waves and strife…I’m just here as a vessel, and not from Cristie…but God.
There is a beauty in knowing who we are, whose we are, our position, and then taking it and seeing what God can do. When we get out of His order and take things into our own hands….things get messy. I know from experience. I WAS AN EVANGELICAL FEMINIST. Yup. I said it. Not proud of it, but that is what I was. I nagged, judged, mothered, emasculated, and criticized my husband. Before Cristie even set pen to paper for this book the Lord had already started to do a work in my heart on this, and to start treating my husband like the King he is….before he was walking as one. I then swung to the other side (as I was walking in a spirit of religion) and almost became a door mat and would even say, “Yes, sir” when we would have a disagreement. I would never let my voice be heard. The Lord, directed me back to the middle with Him. I was to listen to the Lord, pray, and speak when He said speak. I would voice my concerns if we were going in a direction that didn’t seem right, but then chose to not nag him afterwards.
Then…about two years after I decided to start walking in my position (It was clumsy I admit)…our house shifted. The Lord asked my husband to make a huge step of faith that was critical to our family and could potentially hurt many other people in the process…including me. He stepped out in faith, and I followed. A small portion of what The Lord revealed to Kyle is that he needed to “leave and cleave”. He was to leave the life he had known for 38 years…a life of evangelical comfort and particularly in the church he grew up in and NEVER thought he would leave. The Lord told him to go, and leave the familiar….so he did…immediately. We left, and started getting healing as a couple and family. Were people hurt? Yes. Was I hurt? Yes. Was it scary? Yes. But my husband was starting to step into his position….and it was amazing to see. Cristie says it later in this gleaning and it is the reason for the title, but God was saying to me, “I’m here, I’m here…I’ve got you through this.” Kyle would not have been able to make that decision if he wasn’t already beginning to see and realize his role in our marriage, the kingdom, and as a family.
Today, we are still both learning how to walk in the God-given roles we have in our marriage. Kyle and I are this united force that compliment one another, and in the presence of the Father.
So…all that to say…this gleaning has dug down deep. It has been painful at times and has even caused me some angst and anger; however, in the end my heart is brimming with joy. I will always be munching on these gleanings from this point forward.
Cristie, thank you. Thank you for being obedient to write this and labor over this word from the Lord. It will go out and it will change lives. The Keys of Truth are…true….risky…beautiful…gentle…yet bold and when a word comes from the throne room it can’t be stopped. It will land on soil, and create life.
Our last Coffee Talk
Me: This is a huge message. How do we get that out? One person at a time? How has the response been? I want to go with a banner and just tell everyone. How is the Lord wanting you to…besides the book?
Cristie: You know…I am in the place of waiting. We were paying somebody to do social media…they’ve told me as in publishers….because we self-published because our pastor recommended it. I’ve had publishers and people say….okay…now the baby’s been born it’s crying and you need to get it attention. That’s been the hard thing. What part of that is mine, and what part of that is God? At what point are you self-promoting? I hate that part. Right now…we are waiting on God to move. We have had two conferences, but they are extremely expensive, and right now it’s just me. The topic, if we can get it out, I think there is a great interest and desire for it. Right now…we are just praying that churches will grab onto it…that churches will have conferences…or that we don’t have to do that on our own and that people will invite me to come and talk about it. We just need to let Him do what He will do but we need to make sure that we are doing our part, so this is a good opportunity so…thank you.
Me: Well thank you for being obedient to write it, and exposing yourself. God is so good. That’s the last thing I want to ask you….Can you tell me about Jesus?
Cristie: Oh my goodness….well I grew up in a church where it was liturgical…
Me: Me too.
Cristie: I remember going to a play at Easter and I had a horrible attitude…and truly it took me….I began to see Jesus when I was pregnant with my son. I was an interior designer…had my own business…and three months before my due date I went into full blown labor and was on my back until he was born. Both pregnancies were like that but the second one was a breeze because I knew Jesus was there. I did not know who He was, and now that I look back I truly see the Lord Jesus. I was on the sofa at my parents house He had his knee on my chest His hands on my shoulders and His forehead on my forehead saying, “We have got some work to do before I give you this baby.” No bible. Nobody around me telling me the gospel….but the Holy Spirit began to hover and speak just like He did over the water you know? I began to listen. I ended up having him a week early…c-section…had never had surgery in my life…thirty years old…brand new baby.
Me: I was thirty as well.
Cristie: Awesome…in a lot of ways it’s awesome. I was like a ship without a compass…still at that church…way too entangled with my family…way unhealthy….in every way…dependent on them…performing for them. But God…that’s what I mean…He’s so gracious. When our son was 2 there was a widow that we would save up all week to let her watch him on the weekend so we could go to a movie and she invited me to her church to watch an Easter play. I told my husband that I would take one for the team…they are going to do that alter call thing…it’s going to be awful. So I went. This guy came out…obviously anointed to play the part…300 people are singing…and there’s chickens and goats on the stage, and he starts walking through the people and I start crying. I don’t know that Jesus. I cried all the way through. I cried for hours when I got home….did not know what happened to me. I didn’t tell anybody. My husband would have thought I was crazy. My family would have thought I was crazy, so I just carried it, pondered it, and labored over it. The next Easter came around and I took about 20 people with me. And for three years a friend of mine kept inviting me to a non-denominational Bible study, and one day she said I am going to ask you again. I said if I go you promise that you will never ask me again. I got in. I went and bought a Bible. I started going and every week. I would move forward and forward every week just when the teacher prayed. When she prayed I took more notes than when she taught. I couldn’t believe that she could speak to the almighty like that. After one semester I got a phone call about praying to be in leadership, and you have to ask your husband. I went in to ask him and he laughed because…we don’t pray…I don’t pray…whatever. I went through that. Learned how to pray…was forced to learn how to pray. The last day of my bible study was my mother’s funeral. I found myself missing the last day of class and sitting in the church I grew up in. It was so amazing to see how God prepared me and positioned me…made my faith real…revealed Himself to me through His word. My first year of Bible study was the life and letters of Paul and I remember sitting there thinking….I’m Paul. I think I am a Pharisee. I am churched and religious but I have not a clue who Jesus is. That is how I fell in love with Jesus and when I fell, I fell head over heals in love. The amazing thing is that growing up in that denomination I heard all the time…well it’s Trinity…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…you’ll never understand it so receive it and go on, and just keep doing what you are doing. I look back now and I see all three parts of the Trinity in my life and it didn’t all come together until I saw who Jesus was because it is only through the blood of Jesus and that He died for me that I am going to get it. I was afraid of God…He was judgmental and up there. Then up through Bible Study Fellowship I met Jesus….
Me: And then the Holy Spirit is just the weird one that nobody talks about.
Cristie: Yes….it’s true. And really it’s been since going to Gateway that I understand all of those parts, and thank God for pastor Robert. It’s been a true journey, and I can’t imagine my life without Him. The crazy thing is that before I even knew Who the Holy Spirit was and what His personality was like…He would whisper to me back in the beginning. I would say that I am scared to death…I am going to have to choose between my family and you. I would hear Him say…you’ll make the right decision. I can’t even let myself go there…I can’t even imagine myself not being so entangled…I didn’t know it was a bad thing….with my family. I really thought this would kill me…but it didn’t. If anything it was a rescue so that I could stand up in my identity and understand who Cristie Penn really is because I didn’t know. There are so many stories with my family that could be another book…I shutter to even think about that process again…but even things like when they named me Cristie when I was born. They had been married ten years before they had me. They had prayed to God for 8 years to have a baby and then they had me and my dad said…”It is not Christie…it is Cristie. It won’t have an ‘h’ in it.” Sitting at a Gateway teaching hearing pastor Robert say…it was Abram and Abraham….Sarai to Sarah….and it was the H of the Holy Spirit that breathes life, and I am sitting in that room going…It’s not Christe…it’s Cristie….He tried to take the “h” out of my name at the hospital when I was born. The bottom line is that God named me and He will have that “h”. He will have it. For a while I signed everything with it, and one day God said, “Now that you know, it doesn’t matter.” Isn’t that amazing? Through the whole thing it is like…I’m here, I’m here…I’ve got you through this…you may think it is going to kill you but it is not going to kill you because I’m here.
I will make this brief but my gleaning from this part of our coffee was at the very end where Cristie discussed the “h” missing from her name, and how the “h” is the Holy Spirit breathing life. Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah was God renaming them. He was there in the details even from her birth, even though the enemy wanted the breath of God out of her.
What about me? What has God named me? Where has He been in all the details of my life?
What is your name? What about the details of your life?