Proverbs 31

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Glorious Impossible 2012

Published December 10, 2012 by joypatton

I write about this every year because it is such a good reminder to me of God’s faithfulness to me.  The “Glorious Impossible” comes from a worship song by Carl Cartee we sing at church during the season.  It causes me reflect on all the “impossible” things that God made possible for His glory in the Christmas story.  How impossible it was for a virgin to get pregnant!  How impossible it was that Joseph decided to marry her anyway.  How impossible that Elizabeth, who was past childbearing years, would get pregnant.  How God moved a couple from Nazareth to Bethlehem to birth a child in the city of David from the “house of Bread.”  How impossible for shepherds to see a choir of angels singing or  for Mary to have an angel speak to her or for Joseph to have an angel in a dream… twice!  How impossible is it to get a man or woman to act in obedience based on a dream?  How impossible to find three kings willing to travel and bring gifts based on what they saw in the stars!  How impossible to move this couple from Bethlehem to Egypt to again fulfill a promise!  How impossible for God to become man and yet remain fully God!

So that brings me to think about this past year and the “impossible” things God has done.  This year there is one event that was full of impossibilites.  At the beginning of the year one of my goals (yes, I’m a nerd and and I write them down) was to attend She Speaks! presented by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  But finding the money to go simply seemed impossible.  My sweet husband knew what I wanted for my birthday before he asked me.  He had worked behind the scenes with my friends to put together the money to go.  However when I went to register a few days after my birthday, the conference was full.  By faith, I put my name on a waiting list.  LeAnn and her team at Proverbs 31 were so great about keeping me updated on where I was in the list.  I kept praying and praying that God had a spot for me.

In the mean time, my two friends were getting a small group of women together to go through From Ice Queen to Princess over the summer.  Each woman paid $10 to participate in the study.  When I got home after the first night, I received an email that my number was up and a spot was available for me if I wanted it.  That night I went to register.  As I was getting ready to pay for it, I chuckled at God’s timing.  The money from my birthday hadn’t quite been enough to cover all the costs, but because of the money from the small group study, I had enough to go.

When I went to register for the breakout sessions, the writer and speaker peer critiques were full.  But there was an option to put your name on a waiting list, so I did.  Sure enough…a couple weeks later I was told there was a spot in a writer’s group for me.  I printed out the copies of what I needed to bring with me and left for the conference.  While I was sitting in the first session, I heard them say that if you wanted a spot in a speaker group, there might be some openings and to ask at the registration desk.  So I did.

Sure enough…There was a spot in a group.  But it would mean giving up my spot in the writer’s group, and I had nothing prepared for the speaker’s group.  I called Andrew for some advice, and he said that he could tell that I wanted to do the speaker’s group.  So I took the opening and between sessions wrote an outline for a 5-minute talk of my testimony to deliver to my peer critique group after the last session.  That night it went really well, and I knew that I was in the right spot.  I loved meeting the women in my group.


The next morning at breakfast I sat with some of the girls from my group.  They had heard me say I wrote a book and asked me if I was meeting with any publishers while I was at the conference.  “Oh, no,” I said.  “I signed up too late and I’m sure there aren’t any spots open.  Besides no one wants to hear about this book anyway.  It’s already been turned down by several publishers.”  I was immediately convicted about my Orphan mentality and felt like I should go ask if there were any spots open.  After all, you never know unless you ask.

After the session, I found the woman who made the appointments with publishers and asked if there were any appointments available.  “Who do you want to meet with?” she asked.  “Oh, I’ll take whatever you got.”  Sure enough…she had an appointment open with a publisher I hadn’t yet talked to.  I chuckled at God as I walked down the stairs.  He had all these appointments planned for me all along.  He just hadn’t let me in on it.  He was asking me to trust him with every step on this journey.

I wish I could say that the meeting with the publisher led to a book deal and that the Proverbs 31 ministries representative was so impressed with my speaking that they invited me to be on their team.  In any movie or novel, that would make a really great end to the story, but the publisher rejected my proposal like everyone else and Proverbs 31 never called.

But I got something even better out of that weekend.  I felt like God put together that speaking group just for me, and they ministered such healing to my soul through their kind comments and encouraging words.   I remembered how much I loved speaking.  But the highlight of the whole weekend was spending some quiet time in my empty hotel room with the Lord on Sunday morning.  He gave guidance I had been looking for and affirmation for where I had been.  He also told me that I do have a partner in what I’m doing…God.  And for right now, he wants to be the only partner.  He reminded me that weekend that even if I never write another blog or publish a book or speak ever again, that my identity in Him is secure.  I have been set apart and called by grace, and nothing will ever change that.

When I looked at all the doors that seemed impossible to open on this trip, I’m  amazed at all that He made possible.  This trip reminded me that He is big enough to orchestrate even the smallest details.  I remembered that He saw me, He cared about me, and He loved me so much that he made a way for me to go to the conference.  But the even bigger glorious impossible is that he has made a way for a sinner, unrighteous, unholy person like me who gets it wrong, messes it up and hurts other people to be in relationship with Him, the Creator of all who is righteous, holy, perfect, loving and sovereign.  He sent His Son to earth in an impossible set of circumstances to live a perfect life and die on the cross, so that I didn’t have to.

He doesn’t need me or any talent I have to offer to accomplish His perfect plan.  And yet He continues to invite me to join him in his work.  How impossible it seems to take a loud, selfish, bossy, arrogant person like me and use her in women’s ministry!  How impossible it is to take someone who has been rejected and disqualified and make her feel accepted and qualified!  God delights in making the impossible possible.  When he does, he alone gets the glory.  Glory to God in highest!

So what was your Glorious Impossible in 2012?  What’s the Glorious Impossible you are trusting him for in 2013?

Video of Glorious Impossible by Carl Cartee

If you want to see what my Glorious Impossible was for 2011, click here.


Online Bible Study

Published August 27, 2012 by joypatton

I’m so excited to offer From Ice Queen to Princess as an online Bible study this fall! For the past two years I have been writing a study of the book of Galatians that looks at how the gospel transforms us from Ice Queens and Orphans into Princesses. I’ve found that as women we often know that we are God’s Princesses, his beloved adopted daughters. However this knowledge doesn’t seem to affect our everyday lives. We are stuck relating to God and to each other as Ice Queens, powerful, perfectionist women who love to be in control, and Orphans, poor wandering souls who don’t feel worthy and try to please others. These personas are two sides of the same coin, two extremes focused on self. Sometimes the church and our society reinforce the strong, powerful woman or the Christian nice girl that makes everyone happy. However neither one is pleasing to God. In this study we look at what God’s Princess looks like in contrast to Ice Queens and Orphans. It’s a study that reads more like a nonfiction book than a textbook. It’s a study that goes through the right side of your brain to get to the heart. It’s a study that will help you get “unstuck.”

How It Works
You register for the class online using the link below. We will use a variety of online tools. Use whatever you are comfortable with.
Email – Each Sunday I will send you a PDF file of the chapters. These can be uploaded into most eReaders or printed off.
Facebook– When you register, you will be invited to join a private Facebook group only for women currently in the study. Each day I will post one of the discussion questions. You can share your answer by commenting on the post.
Blog – I will be using this blog each week. Mondays will be the usual post about where God has me each week. Wednesdays will be a video blog about current thoughts or stories about the chapter for the week. “Free Advice Fridays” are when you can ask me anything about anything. Make sure you “follow” to this blog via email so you don’t miss the good stuff. Click the button under my picture to get started.
Pinterest – I have a board on my account (JoyPatton) that is called “Ice Queens, Orphans and Princesses.” When you find something that reminds you of the three personas, you can send me pictures to post on this board. Each chapter also has a “Royal Fun” activity. You may want to post those on Pinterest or on the private Facebook page.
Twitter – It’s a great place to talk about the study using the hash tag #IQ2P. Post quotes or share a “Princess moment.” I may Tweet a verse for the day…maybe.

The Details
The study starts the week of September 9 and will end the week of November 11. Ten weeks to become a Princess…or at least get started!
The cost is $10 plus Paypal fees. You can register by clicking here.

I’m giving away THREE tote bags with goodies, including a copy of my book The Myth of Enuff. Register for the study before September 1st, and you will be entered in a drawing to win. I hope to see you online and don’t forget to invite a friend! You can read below what women who have gone through the study have said.

From Ice Queen to Princess has helped me understand God more than any other Bible study. Being reminded that He sees perfection in me, because He sees Jesus in me is like a weight lifted!” – Amanda Juillard

“I have been through a lot of studies before, but this one is different! Joy Patton takes the book of Galatians and speaks directly to the hearts of her readers. Many times my relationship with the Lord was based on a set of rules, and other times I never felt good enough for Him. The book, From Ice Queen to Princess, has shown me, God views me as His Princess even in my mess. I really enjoyed how Joy used everyday situations and asked her readers how they respond to those situations. Speaking directly to women’s hearts, this study will forever change them from being Ice Queens to His Princesses.” – Jennifer Thieman

“I loved the personal stories infused in the Biblical application. It was an intimate study that could be experienced by one person on their own or large groups of women. The references to various characters in films help you visualize the Orphan, Ice Queen and Princess. The chapter challenges that incorporate art, nature and self reflection allow the reader to truly become part of Joy’s work.” – Amy Bryan

“This study was wonderful. It taught me to really look at how I can act like a Princess with our amazing Father to help me through.” – Michelle A.

The Wall and the Window

Published July 31, 2012 by joypatton

She stands at the wall and sees no way around it, through it or over it.  The wall stretches for miles in both directions and towers above her head.  There is a small window in the wall, and when she stands on her tip toes, she can see all the way through to the other side.  It is beautiful and full of sunshine and life.  She sees it perfectly poised on the other side.  Her heart leaps with joy at the sight of it, and she knows she must have it.  She stretches her arm through the window, but alas the wall is too thick and the other side is simply out of reach.

She slumps at the base of the wall into a sobbing mess.  “Why would God let me see it and then make it so impossible to grasp?” she silently complains.  She lets out a sigh and her head drops to her knees.  God has bigger problems to solve than trying to help her get to the other side of the wall.  She should just be happy where she is and not complain.  Maybe this side of the wall is all that God has for her.  She feels guilty for even looking through the window in the first place.  She tries to list all of the good things on her side of the wall, but she can’t help but think how much better it would be on the other side.  But she can’t sit in this Orphan frame of mind any more.  She pulls herself to her feet and looks through the window again.

The other side is still just as beautiful as it was last time.  “Why would God let her see it if he didn’t want her to have it?”  She decides that she must do whatever it takes to get to the other side.  She walks for miles in both directions looking for a gate, a door, a giant crack…anything.  She finds nothing.  She contemplates building a ladder to get over the wall.  But that would take too much time.  She decides to climb over the wall and pushes her fingers into the cracks until they bleed.  But she drops to the ground and screams in frustration.  She furiously kicks and pounds the wall.  She tries to dismantle it brick by brick, but it will not budge.  Even the Ice Queen can’t find a way through the wall.

“I am here,” he whispered in her ear.  “I will be with you.”  She steps back and confesses that she has forgotten that God is present with her on this side of the wall.  “But I want to be on the other side,” she says to him.  “I know,” he says full of love and compassion.  She turns toward him and thanks him for being with her.  She thanks him for everything that she has on this side of the wall.  The two of them sit shoulder to shoulder looking at the wall and being with each other.  She remembers that she is His Princess and that she is with Him.  Her heart wants to be with Him more than anything on the other side of the wall.

This is a picture that my mentor Mary Grace Birkhead taught me a few years ago.  It has stuck with me whenever I see something I really want, but can’t get.  Sometimes it’s a perfect pair of black boots for my fall wardrobe or curtains for my bedroom.  Sometimes it’s children that actually obey the first time or something I want for our marriage.  But at this moment, the thing on the side of the wall is a publishing deal and speaking engagements.

Last weekend I went to She Speaks, a conference for Christian women speakers and writers, in Concord, NC, organized by Proverbs 31 ministries.  In January, I wrote this down as one of my goals for the year.  I saw it through the window, but standing between me and registration was money.  But God provided through generous friends who gave me the registration as a birthday present.  But then I hit another wall when I went to register.  No spots left.  Seriously, God?  I thought the wall was gone.  I signed up for the waiting list hoping against all hope that this wall would go away too.  And I waited.  I couldn’t push or make the wall move; I just had to wait and try not to let my Orphan thinking take over.

At the beginning of the year, I would have gone to the conference ready to promote myself, my book, my speaking ability, etc.  I would have shoved a business card on anyone I met hoping that it would fall in the right place.  But because of the walls and rejections that kept coming this spring, I barely believed that I could write or speak or have anything anyone would want to hear.  I wondered if I had been looking through the wrong window.  I had little self-confidence left and no desire to promote myself to anyone.  I was crumpled like an Orphan at the base of the wall.

But then the call came that there was a spot for me.  The sessions were full, and I was put on another waiting list for a writing group.  God had a spot for me there too.  As I drove all the way to North Carolina, I was thankful for the places God had given me and ready to receive whatever he had for me.  When I asked if there were openings in a speaker evaluation group, God placed for me in a perfect group.  When I asked if there were any openings to meet with publishers, God had a spot for me there too.  I had to wait and trust God with everything, every step, every meeting, every opportunity.  It was not my job to promote myself, it was my job to receive more of Him.

While I still don’t have a publishing deal or speaking engagements, I do have more of Him.  He reminded me of his great love for me and that I am still qualified, still called, still wanted, even on this side of the wall.  I don’t know whether the things I see through the window of the wall will ever come to pass.  I don’t know if he will make a way through the wall or if he will keep giving me more of himself on this side of the wall.  But I do know that he has called me to be His Princess.  At the wall, I can’t take the posture of the Orphan lost in despair or the Ice Queen full of self-determination.  As a Princess, all I can do is step back and worship Him.

Question: At this moment, what is on the other side of your wall?  What has your posture been at the wall?

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