Without Rival: A FirstCov’er Story

Being at the right place at the right time may happen on occasion for just about everyone. What about when the right place and time also reveals a message specifically meant for you to hear? Those rare God moments do happen and FirstCov'er Joy St. John shares her story about a recent experience where God spoke through a message right into her heart.

An Intentional God in a Disengaged World

I had the opportunity to attend the Sparkle Conference held in Minneapolis this past October. It is a weekend gathering of Women, and the keynote speakers were Lisa Bevere and Bob Goff. It is always such a joy to have the opportunity to pray and worship with thousands. The voices of so many singing praises to our King are altogether moving.

As I was sitting there listening to Lisa Bevere, I had the ethereal moment where she began talking and I “knew” the message was meant just for me. I was humbled that He could speak so intimately in such a large gathering. As we move throughout our daily lives, I wonder how many of us feel so terribly alone and forgotten. All of the research on the addictive usage of social media is confirming what we already know.

Everyone is far more disconnected and mentally disengaged than ever before, depression rates are skyrocketing, and people are definitely not socializing on social media.

This is a moratorium on the state of relationships in the world as we know it. We, as God’s children, need relationships. And, there Lisa stood talking (as if directly to me) about how we do not have to know rival in the Kingdom of God.

Of Rival and Relationships

I walked into the conference feeling so terribly betrayed by some very close relationships. I’ve been feeling it so deeply, as though a millstone around my neck.

Having children and being in the throes of raising toddlers, and needing help but not getting it often, has only amplified my loneliness. I’ve walked long enough in this upside world to know that the broken relationships do have two sides to them. I might have been abandoned early on in life by people I should have been able to trust, but I have spent years looking to other people and things to fill the void. What has entered into that sacred space along with mistrust and bitterness has been a lot of rivalry, especially with other women.

The Circle of Trust

I wonder how well you relate to the people in your circle of your own gender, even generationally. Your grandparents? Your mother and father? Your children, if you have them? What does your circle of friends look like?

I believe in Paul David Tripp’s mantra that “relationships are a mess worth making.” Even though I knew I was walking around, essentially stiff arming other women for years, I finally sat in the pain of the WHY I could not trust women very easily.

I was able to discern what new place God was and is trying to move me to now.

God does not desire for us to have rival with anyone, other than the dark principalities of this world. We are here to be a perfect complement and balance with all believers, the whole body of Christ. If we have experienced deep hurt at the hands of some person, we may walk around carrying those scars so openly it does not allow for us to have flourishing relationships with that gender anymore.

Satan’s ultimate plan for families is complete and total destruction. We KNOW the Good News though! Darkness cannot and will not prevail. We may have years of therapy and certain boundaries that we draw to protect ourselves as we heal.

But, we are not to live in rivalry.

God’s love for us and power within and grace through us cannot be matched. We can let down our guard and love. We do not have to carry these wounds into future generations. I genuinely believe that we can let the walls come down. Arms shaking and hands trembling, we can let them down. We can defeat the enemy.

Leaving a Legacy of God's Love

I realized as I left the conference that I do not want to carry hate into the next generation. Hate seems like a popularized political word. It runs much more deeply than that. Hate is ancient. But, hate is not our beginning.

We can be the people of a generation who say no more.

As we enter into the holiday season, we can look at our husbands’ mothers, our fathers, our neighbors, our children, or our cousins and speak new life. Of course we cannot control how other people treat us.

We can; however, ask God to break down the rivalries that exist. We can face them. We can go first, lead, and show a better way. Forgiveness does not excuse the wrongful actions of someone else; it frees you from the pain. And, I knew as I left the convention center, that I wanted to live in that freedom.

I want to lay down those stones like in Gilgal and say there’s going to be a better way. God is going to rewrite the story here. God’s love has absolutely no rivalry!

Don't let it end here, take it to the comments and share how God has spoken into your life, breathing new hope and freedom for your future!


2 Responses

  1. Thank you Joy for sharing your story. Its so amazing to know that God really does see us as individuals and knows just what we need when we need it. It is so hard when we're hurt by someone we're trying to develop a relationship with and women friendships can sometimes be the hardest. I've had my fair share of struggles in this area as well. What God revealed to me not all that long ago though is that we're all broken and in need of grace from those around us. If I want grace from my friends when I fall short, which I will, then I need to be prepared to give it when my friends or family members fall short. God also has been teaching me to look at the heart. We all say and do things we wish we hadn't out of anger, frustration, tiredness, jealousy, etc but is that what is truly in their hearts on a regular, normal, basis? Most likely not. I've been working on noticing that which gives me freedom to forgive quickly and talk honestly to reconcile the friendship. This has been a true blessing from God in my life.

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