Genesis 17:5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations."
Genesis 17:15 "And God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name."
Genesis 32:28 "Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for ye have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."
We also know in Acts 9 on the road to Damascus we know God changed the apostles name from Saul to Paul.
I bring up these verses to share a simple point. God changed their names. Why didn't they just go and change their names at the courthouse or take things into their own hands? Because God is in charge of everything when it comes to change, even down to something small as changing a name. I am blessed beyond blessed to be in a healthy, balanced church. I'm even more blessed it is the only church I have known because I got saved in that church.
I remember my first Sunday in church I was in high stilettos and a short short skirt. I was heading to a bar after because I was a beer girl so I thought hey I'm in a skirt, that is church attire, I will just wear it to service then go to work after. (I wasn't a Christian yet) One Sunday a lady in the church pulled me aside to correct me in what I was wearing. I remember that made it worse, it made me just add way more eyeliner, higher heels, and brighter lipstick the next time I came. That was out of a rebellious heart and not something I am boastful of. My point is that it caused me to start questioning this whole church routine I was trying. I began to wonder if God was really unhappy with my dress or if the woman trying to critique me was just a distraction the enemy placed to try to throw me off course.
I started being untrue to myself and trying to conform to church members and their standards, it hindered my relationship strengthening with Jesus because I was becoming religious. Now I know we all have convictions, but let me tell you unless those convictions are CLEARLY covered in the Bible than it is simple YOUR conviction. I would encourage us as women to let God do the changing and convicting in people. Don't be a Christian who feels it is always your job to change others.
I remember only being saved 90 days when my pastor and his wife moved to California to take over our church. I took his wife out to Starbucks a week later and point blank said to her face..... "Listen sometimes I wear short skirts, and I'm still working on cussing and not using Gods name in vain so if you don't want me to do anything in your church until those issues are fixed than just let me know now." I remember her face of shock just staring at me for a few seconds as she gathered what just happened, me being blunt and kind of rude on our first meeting. Then she kindly said "Ranae it is not my job to be your Holy Spirit. It also is NOT my church, we won't be doing religion here. You do what you feel you need to between you and the Lord because you have to answer to him alone one day and I won't be there. That is between you and him. If you pray and ask him to show you he will but don't be so hard on yourself, give yourself time to grow. Just keep coming to church and growing and the rest will follow."
I remember I was now in shock. Not saying a pastors wife can change your life because she is a human like us all but that nugget of wisdom from her I credit to one of the reasons I am still in church today. And I use her advice on young women who come to me with the same questions. A few years later before I was getting married my pastors wife who was now one of my bridesmaids came with me to pick out my dress. I remember my dress was a halter top, showed my shoulders and I paid extra to have a push up bra in it. Again I turned to her and said "is this modest enough?" She said "I don't know, is it? That's between you and God but it looks fine to me. But please remember it doesn't matter what I think because I'm not the standard, let God show you." And I will be honest at that point I was annoyed, I was like why does she just keep pushing this off on God, why can't she tell me yes or no. But now looking back I am so thankful for her answers, because her simple, yet loving response allowed me to grow in ways I never would have. She taught me to depend on Jesus not a human (which was her) and to fully trust him in changing and molding me how he needs to.
Daily tip: "It is not your job to grow or change people. Don't be someone else's Holy Spirit. Always lead ladies to the truth of the word of God and a personal relationship with Christ and then sit back and enjoy watching him perform miracles in their lives as they grow in grace with him."