By Mikayla Blease
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the name, “Marilyn? ”Okay GO! Who just popped into your head? Someone came to mind when you read this name. When you heard this title, maybe the famous Marilyn Monroe popped into your head. I know when I hear that name I think of Marilyn Monroe, the sex symbol, the world’s most beautiful woman. I think of the bleach blonde hair and her fabulous mole that I use to draw on my face with brown eyeliner before school, kiss pout in the mirror, and then wipe off. I think of her incredible physique and all the titles she wears that the world placed on her.
Unlike me, you may have thought of your next-door neighbor (my next-door neighbor’s name was Marilyn) you may think of your mother, your sister, your friend, a girl you may have known in school. Maybe your name is Marilyn? I don't know. But what I do know is that every time we hear a name we associate something or someone with it. We think of our opinion of them, our personal perception of who they might be, or the label they may wear.
Many of us ladies share the same name and many of us share similar labels and titles. Some of these similarities are; female, daughter, sister, maybe wife, mother, friend, and the glue that holds are commonalties together...Christian. When you hear the word “Christian”, what do you think? As a Christian I think; kindness, I think honesty, I think love, acceptance, encouragement, and grace. Unfortunately, many people hear the word “Christian,” and shutter as negative associations begin to engulf their mind. They think, two faced, hypocrite, quick to judge, and holier than though. Of course I am not speaking for everyone, but sadly this understanding of Christianity has so cunningly crept into our society and blurred our heart and good intentions.
As Christians we hate the labels given to us and slapped on our clean white shirts. Yet we are some of the very first people to willingly write and label other people’s nametags. What do we think of the woman who walks into church, drop dead gorgeous accompanied with her long legs, barley there skirt, heels you couldn’t dream of walking in, and a shirt that leaves nothing to the imagination. What thoughts rush to mind? Are they judgments? Do we stop to think that maybe this person does not know any better? Do we stop and think that the church is the exact place she should be and praise the Lord for giving her the courage to come? Do we offer to sit with her; do we make her feel welcome? I am reminded of a girl I knew who at the age of 17 became pregnant. After my husband spoke with her, guess which place she was most afraid to go to. The Church is supposed to be the place that is the most accepting of others. As Christians it is truly our heart that the church would be the most loving place we know, yet so many people are still afraid to come.
When we see someone else fall short of our standard of perfection, we often have a mini mental praise dance. We think, “Look they are real” or “Wow, I’m glad that's not me.” But when we mess up we hope people will at least consider all the odds, factors, and circumstances. The late night I had studying for that test, my husband worked late and I helped the kids (did the kids project) until 4:00am this morning. Can we cut people the slack we so desperately wish to receive? We hope and pray when we run through the church doors late with sweat pouring down our face that no one will see us. We hope that when we show up to an important business meeting with mixed matching socks and a stain on our shirt, that people will understand and try to imagine the night we had.
The similarity is that, WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE. Can we extend the slack, can we understand, can we love without limits, can we extend grace upon grace. Let’s celebrate and support each other in our commonalities and our labels. Some of those labels may be: late, exhausted, happy, proud, and accomplished. We are human, we are real, we are messy, we are normal, and we are Christians. We all have our cloud nine days and we all have the days that we wish to never recall again as long as we wake up each morning. We as women share the female anatomy, we share similar roles, and we share certain goals. Let us celebrate the passions we share rather than storing up bitterness because they are doing what we have always dreamed of. Let’s share our genuine excitement for each other’s victories. Let us share advice with each other that will withstand the trials we all face. Let us disarm ourselves and rip off the labels we put on one another including ourselves. Let us drop our desire to reach perfection. I know us ladies are strong and could muscle our way to almost perfect; but lets just open our hands and let perfection slip through our fingertips. With our walls down and perfection levels at zero we can raise our desire for excellence to a 10. We can love one another without fear of judgment, and we can support each other with out the fear of looking like a failure in comparison. We can do this because it is NOT a competition. It is a race to out do each other in compassion.
Before every miracle Jesus did, He was overcome with compassion. We all know the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and multiplying the five loaves of bread and two fish. However, what we often over look are the events that happened prior to the miracle. In Mathew 14:13-14 it says “When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with compassion and healed their sick.” Later that evening Jesus preformed the unimaginable and everyone was fed. Before the miraculous there was first compassion.
When Jesus spoke with the woman caught in adultery and the Pharisees tried to trick Him into condemning the woman in John 8:7 Jesus said to them, “But let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” After all the men had left one by one in verse 10-1, Jesus says to her “Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you? She answered and said, “ No Lord.” And Jesus replied, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
The most attractive thing to me about the woman caught in adultery is that she knew who Jesus was because of what he did for her. We can all relate to this woman in this scripture not because she was perfect and had it all together but because she was quite the opposite. We are drawn to the realism of her story because we have all sat before Jesus caught in our sin. Rather than judged we stand saved, set free, redeemed, righteous, and forgiven.
A heart of compassion always comes before the miracle because it demonstrates and reflects the heart of God. If we want to witness the miracles done in those around us then we must first be like Jesus and be overcome with compassion. The only way to extend compassion is to realize that we need endless amounts of it.
Let us rip off the labels put on us, and rip off the ones on our friends. We are no longer slaves to sin or in bondage to these labels, yet we wear what Jesus died to remove from us. Let us together hold up our hands in order to unite what the enemy so desperately tries to distort. Together let’s throw down our desire for competition and let Jesus unite our passion. We are not two faced, hypocritical, quick to judge, and holier than though. We are the women caught in adultery completely overcome by what Jesus has done for us, full of love, united in compassion.
Meet Mikayla Blease
I want you to introduce you to Mikayla Blease. Mikayla is married to David and they live in the North Dallas area. She is a full time student studying Biblical Counseling but spends a lot of her day investing into teen. She is a pastor's wife and her and her husband may be some of the coolest people you can meet. She fell in love with the Lord from a young age and met her husband in high school. Mikayla radiates the Lord's gentleness and beauty. Mikayla and her husband are the new proud parents of their first furry baby, Champ. They are passionate about equipping people to experience the blessings of a fun-filled authentic Christian life. You can follow Mikayla and her husband digitally at their newly launched blog here.