Women World Changers Conference

I was thankful to have the opportunity to attend the Women World Changers Conference in May.  It was actually a two day conference but I was blessed attending the one day.

I found out about the conference by searching the internet.  I was craving this type of gathering, God knew that and provided.  It's amazing how He connects us to just what we need at the right time.

Women World Changers was started by a few women who wanted to fund various projects around the world in the name of our Lord.  They thought pooling monies together, through fundraising, they could do the unimaginable.  Since they started they've indeed done that.  Check out their website to read more about them.

When You Fail Miserably

September 12, 2013

Do you often fail miserably? Say the wrong thing?  Think wrong thoughts?  React loudly when you ought to respond quietly?    

And then you're wrought with tears over your failure, bringing you to gut wrenching prayers like   

          "God, I'm so sorry.  Please change me.  Please forgive me.  I need you. I don't know what to do."

 

For the next time (and there will be a next time), may I offer you some advice?

Next time, instead of beating yourself up.  Pleading with God to change you.  Shedding a million tears for the millionth time...

Will you please take a step back.  Take a breather.  And remember that you have a God who knows you.  Understands you.  He knows you fail.  He knows you will continue to fail.  He knows you are emotional.  Irrational.  Reactive.  Explosive.  And downright evil at times.  He knows all of this.

And even so, He still loves you.

God knows your heart and knows your desire to live the way He desires.  He knows you want to change.  And He knows you love Him.  

So the next time you fail, step into His love and grace like you step into a warm shower, and let it pour over you.  And enjoy it fully like you would a warm shower.  And let that--the fact that He knows you,  understands you, and still loves you-- be the thing that brings tears to your eyes. 


How to Have Joy in the Midst of Chaos

August 2, 2013

  

Sometimes my son is like having three kids.  He's loud.  Really, really active.  And can be defiant.  But don't get me wrong he's adorable and wonderful and all of that too.  But the truth is the truth.  And the first three are the truth too.

On top of that, my husband and I have differing parenting styles.  We're working on merging the two to become more effective but that's still a work in progress.

Needless to say, sometimes, no a lot of the time, there's chaos at home. (And I conveniently forgot to mention the chaos added by my own chaotic reaction to the aforementioned chaos.)

Oh, and on top of that as I think I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm an introvert so the least bit of noise sometimes makes me want to close myself in a room (or my car) for an hour just to breath in the enjoyment of silence.

Ok, with all that said, how do you have joy in the midst of chaos?

                                  I don't know.

Not yet anyway.  Or at least right now I don't know.

There's the answers I'm supposed to give if I'm to be respected as a Christian woman:  1) Focus on the Lord.  2) Sing praise and worship songs (ok, yes just begin belting out "Just as I Am" in the midst of the noise.  That would be interesting.).   3) Focus on how much a blessing children are.  4) Think of how wonderful my husband is.

As I write this I can't even remember what was going on during the chaos earlier today, but I just remember thinking  "How can I have joy in the midst of chaos?"   That question turned into this blog post.

Maybe the answer is simple, like don't have expectations that our home will be quiet.   Just stop having expectations.  Is that the answer?  Maybe.

I still don't know, but sometimes it's okay to not know because before you know anything you have to first know nothing.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.

Have a wonderful weekend.  Enjoy the noise.  Be thankful you can hear.  Be thankful that there are people around you to love even though they are loud and noisy.  Hey... I think I just discovered the answer! 

     "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
     1 Thessalonians 5:18

Enjoy your weekend.


 

 

Three Great Books

March 13, 2013

In the past ten years plus of my life, there are three books that stand out as having an impact on me as I sought God's specific calling for my life (based on Ephesians 2:10).  Here they are.     

 

Let Your Life Speak, Parker J. Palmer
This is the book that prompted me to go on a self discovery years ago.  I had been in my relationship with Christ about eight years, serving in some awesome ways at church, but I sensed something was missing.  The Bible was speaking to me in new ways about God and my life, and I felt the need to seek out God's specific plans for my life.      

This book is about the author's own journey.  As he tells his story it organically challenges you to take a look at your own life.  Overall, this book is about the desire to live an authentic life, more congruent with how God specifically created you.   

The author has a Quaker background, so if you're offended by someone not believing exactly as you do you may not like it.  But it isn't a book about his religion.  It is a small book (just a little over 100 pages) but has great depth.  It wasn't a book I rushed through and is also one I've gone back and read a few times over.

                                                                              --- 

Your Own Worst Enemy, Breaking the Habit of Adult Under-Achievement, Kenneth W. Christian, PH.D 
I had never called myself an underachiever.  That wasn't even a word in my vocabulary.  But neither was the word achiever.  The truth is, I was an underachiever with great potential.  This book helped me face my own demons - procrastination and fear, and got me on the right track. 

I highly recommend this book if you are someone who starts projects but doesn't finish them.  Or if you have things you want to do but never step out and start.

                                                                              ---

Courage and Calling, Embracing Your God-Given Potential, Gordon T. Smith
This book is packed with depth and goes into the meaning of calling and the courage it takes to live it out.As the author mentions, we have three callings:  1) The general call which is the invitation to follow Jesus Christ.  2) The specific call which is a vocation (calling) that is unique to each person, an individual mission in the world.  3) The immediate call which are the tasks and duties which God calls each person at the present time.

The focus of this book is the specific call God has in the believer's life, how to discover yours and how to live it out.


The Impact of an Imperfect Christian Woman

January 8, 2013

 

I love hot tea.  And hot tea always reminds me of Betty.

About sixteen years ago, I think it was on Tuesday evenings, five of us young women would sit around Betty's oval shaped kitchen table for Bible study.   Warm tea was always waiting for us, in a lovely porcelain teapot, sometimes adorned by a knitted tea cozy.  Our small teacups sat before us ready for tea.     

Betty's house was quiet except for us in the kitchen.  Her husband was usually either still out at the office or someplace else in the house.  Their two adult children had long left home.   

I was fortunate to find Betty's Bible study.  My church was big, and at the time Bible Studies and Small Groups were organized based on your lifestyle.  Whatever group you fit into based on your age, marital status and such, pretty much determined much of what you were involved in at the church.  If you were single, you went to the Singles Bible study, if you were married with young kids, you attended the Married with Kids Bible study and so on.

Feeling limited in the Singles group, I eventually ventured outside that group to find something more compatible with what God was doing in me and my life at the time.   I discovered a Sunday morning Bible Study at the church, with adults of varying ages and marital statuses.  Someone there told me about Betty's Bible study. 

One of the things I most cherished about Betty was her authenticity.  She and I met for breakfast a few times outside of the study.  I remember her sharing with me that when she no longer had the energy to keep up with her husband, she made the decision to no longer accompany him when he traveled on short term mission trips with the church.   For her to say, "Honey, I can't" was a courageous thing. 

Christian women think they must do and be everything, especially when it comes to church ministry and even more when it's something their husband is a part of.       

Not only was it courageous but when she shared it, I remember thinking how unusual it was for her, a seasoned Christian mentor and leader,  to share a personal side of herself that way.  I admired her for doing so.  

Betty also shared that growing up in the church had not been easy for her, and that the church could be downright cruel at times.   As an adult she had to work through her relationship with God and learn to see him as a loving God, not the punisher she'd learned to believe He was. 

Betty was the first "open" Imperfect Christian Woman that I had met.  Imperfect in the sense that she was not afraid to be real and reveal her flaws.   All the other women leaders I'd seen or met had never done that.  I got the impression that they were nearly perfect.  Betty had no idea how her authenticity made an impact on me. 

Like Betty, I also grew up seeing God as a punisher rather than a loving Father.  Because of Betty I realized I needed to begin to understand God in the right way.  And much later as a wife, I remembered Betty when I had to tell my husband, "Honey, I can't" when he wanted us to be in a ministry together that God had not called me to.    

Betty was in her 60's at the time.  She grew up in an era where women did not share their flaws or even admit having them.   It wasn't the proper (or pretty) thing to do.  

It was an honor to be in Betty's company.  Through her, God was implanting in me the need to be my real, Imperfect self I had spent practically my entire life in a tug of war between my Imperfect self and the Perfect outward facade that started when I was a young girl.  I continued to spend many more years in that tug-of-war, but Betty watered the  Imperfect seed that I am now attempting to live out.    

I knew that Betty was quietly unique and outside the box.  Her husband had a prominent career and was one of the church founders.   I'd never seen her on the church stage.  But I know she made an impact on all of the women who came across her path and sat at her kitchen table.

The wonderful thing about the Bible study was that even though Betty was our mentor, she valued our voices and what we had to say.  It wasn't a robotic study where we simply went around the table answering question #1, #2, #3 and #4.  Nor was it a one-woman monologue while we sat as passive listeners.   

Sometimes we got off the study a bit and would ask Betty about other Christian related matters.  We once had questions about women's roles in the church, and Scriptures that we didn't understand.  One of those Scriptures being "a woman must be silent in the church."

"But I don't want to be quiet,"  one woman blurted.   

As we all laughed there was comfort in knowing we were in a safe place where we could share, be open with one another and learn from someone who had gone before us. 

I share this story to say that when we are transparent and share our Imperfect selves, we let others know that it's okay for them to be real too.  We let them know that a relationship with Christ is not about perfection.  When we are openly Imperfect, God can do His best work in us.  We need more leaders like Betty in the church...Unafraid of being Imperfect...Passing on the stamp of approval to be real.

 

 


Quieting your Voice To Hear God's

September 22, 2012

Take the time to hear His voice.
He speaks to us all the time.

A woman told me that she's tried to hear God's voice but can't.
She shows me what that looks like. 
She sits, closes her eyes and strains her ears. 
She looks constipated.  And to some degree she is, spiritually.
"Ok God I'm listening" she says.  Still nothing.
She gets frustrated.

Even in her attempt to hear Him her own mind is still churning, hoping to "produce" something.
We can not produce God's voice.  It's already there.

She attends Bible studies regularly.  Reads the Scriptures all the time.
And that is well and good.  But to do that and miss out on His voice, what a shame.
God's Word is His voice, you say, and yes that is true. 
But God's voice is more than reading the Words in the Bible.
God has a voice.  A real voice and it is within us. 

God's Spirit lives within us and there lies His voice. 
If we can't hear His Spirit we miss out. 

To hear God's voice, your own inner noise must cease.
If you haven't learned to quiet your own noise, it's one of the most important things you can do.
It's when your own noise ceases that you begin to hear God.

Take the time to listen to God's voice by first learning to quiet your own.

people watching--the perfect quiet time for an Introvert

August 13, 2012

(I wrote this blog post eight weeks ago, but never posted it.  I was too busy wondering if I should post it or not.)

School’s out.  Today is the first day of The Husband’s Summer vacation from teaching.    

I got a chance to get out this morning for a Quiet Time while he stayed home with our son.  After leaving McDonald's drive-through to get a cup of coffee to go, I headed to the park.  Being an introvert, a Quiet Time is vital.  It consists of me and silence, except for the thoughts in my head. 

why i am not signing up as a Sunday School volunteer

June 16, 2012



I see in the church bulletin there’s a need for volunteers in the Children’s Ministry.

When I see the ad I get a little twinge that tugs at me. 

But it is not the Holy Spirit. 

It’s that little thing called guilt that whispers to me.

“Your son goes to children’s ministry.  Every weekend.  The least you could do is sign up.”
                               

The Bigger Voice says, "No, you're not supposed to do that.  Stay focused.  Listen to God."