Tag: women’s ministries

It’s Time to Stand Up In Your Boat | Stop Swimming and Rest

You’ve heard that famous line Dory sang in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Is that how you’re feeling? Like you just need to push through the exhaustion, fight through that burned-out feeling, or just tuck your feelings away and go through the motions one more second?

You ‘just keep swimming’ no matter how hard it is because you know when you finally stop, you’ll have to deal with all the thoughts in your mind and the emotions in your heart, and one day you won’t be able to just shove the problems under the rug because the rug is running out of space.

During these times, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Does that sound a little cliché or too simplistic, or much easier-said-than-done? The translation from The Message really brings this instruction to life:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Notice in the beginning, “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.” To actually stop and rest in the presence of God is life-giving. If you want to understand God’s plans for you more clearly, and understand how He’s working in your life, you have to slow your life down to take notice.

Make space in your day to notice what God is doing, to receive His love, to allow Him to point you in the direction of healing. God wants to “show you how to take a real rest.”

It’s time to stand up in your boat of circumstances, stop swimming away, and recognize God is trying to speak to you. It’s time to move forward by resting.

Reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

It’s Time To Stand Up In Your Boat

I see you struggling to take that first step toward making an improvement, reaching a goal, or trying something new, completely unsure if you are making the right move or walking in the right direction.

I see you doubting that God could possibly be speaking to you and questioning why He would even want to. You know deep inside that you could make changes, but that familiar boat of your circumstances seems to be stuck or holding you back in some way.

Maybe you’re holding yourself back?

Let me share with you Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Not only does God care about you and want to speak to you, He created you for a purpose. Even on the days you feel uncertain, uninspired, or “less than” in any way, there is an invisible road in front of you mapped out with goals that only you can achieve, people that you are supposed to meet, lessons that you are supposed to learn, and a life adventure that only you can live.

One way to get clearer on God’s plan for you is to recognize that He speaks through His word. I love how Psalm 119:30 points this out: “the unfolding of Your words give light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

And who or what is ‘the simple’? The simple is you and me.

The translation of this verse found in The Message Bible puts it another way: “Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.”

That’s you, that me, that’s us: the simple…the ordinary…the worn-out questioners in need of a well-lit path.

Romans 15:4 states, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

By spending time with God and digging into His Word for you, you can make improvements, you can reach goals, you can experience beauty out of ashes, and receive strength to get through dark moments.

You can stand up in your boat.

God is speaking to YOU!

Reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. It’s a joy to be part of your faith journey!

Seeing The Beauty In Your Storm

We often associate storms with destruction, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, a rainstorm passes through and leaves behind lush green grass, well-watered plants, and fresher air. Often, the darkness clears to reveal a beautiful rainbow…a sign of hope and a reminder of God’s covenant with us (Genesis 9:16).

Let’s look at John 15:2, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Just as the gardener prunes his fruit tree, God will prune us through various circumstances and storms. This changing, molding, shaping and refining of ourselves can be painful and life-changing, but if we trust in God’s work, then we will grow more deeply in our faith and relationship with Him, and increase our capacity to bear more fruit.

Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Notice where the scripture reads, “…I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

In the middle of our dark moments, we are often so focused on our struggle that we can miss the beauty of the ‘new thing’ — the new work — God is bringing about or calling us toward. Like a new sprout that unfolds in the garden after the rain passes, God is constantly at work creating beauty out of what appears to be ashes, making a way where there appears to be no way.

What storm are you experiencing right now?

Can you see God doing a new work in your life?

Please reach out if you would like to learn more about the step forward process, spiritual disciplines, or the benefits of personal coaching. Thank you for sharing your faith journey with us!

Standing Inside the Storm

Just over two weeks ago, I fell silent as the days became a blur of room-spinning nausea, head pressure and sinus unhappiness. This vertigo storm was one I had never experienced before. After one trip to the ER, lots of medication, the power of prayer, and days of healing, I’m on the mend.

About one week into my unexpected storm, I began climbing out of the vortex and started catching up on social media. In minutes, I became aware that there was an even larger storm reaching across our entire nation, affecting hearts and lives forever.

This hurricane of racial tension, hatred, violence, and murder had been brewing for a long time, and unlike other storms, this one affects each one of us regardless of geographic location. This storm hands us a mirror to hold up so we can visually see, and both intellectually and emotionally understand where we are on the ignorance, apathy, and tolerance scales. Each one of us has an individual responsibility in this storm.

My heart is wrecked for my brothers and sisters.

God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27), and with His expression of love and creativity, every single one of us has been given special gifting and a purpose.

To my sisters across race and culture, please receive this: God loves you. God sees you. God hears you. You have a beautiful purpose.

If you’re facing a storm, need help understanding your purpose, or want to go deeper in your relationship with God, we’re here for you through conversation, coaching and prayer.

 

Step Out: Find an Accountability Partner

To step out of the boat and begin exploring what God is asking you to do is to step out in faith and trust:

  • You’re trusting that you’ve heard the voice of God.
  • You’re trusting that you’ve heard God correctly.
  • You’re trusting that you really are taking the “right” step.
  • You’re trusting this new unknown in your life.

It’s okay if you have mixed emotions…fears…doubts. You’re going to make giant leaps forward, as well as a few steps backward. Remember that God is by your side through it all — whether you do it “right”… whether you make mistakes…on the days you’re slaying it…and all the moments in between.

To help you on your journey, God will put people in your path to encourage you, educate you, and minister to you.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thess. 5:11)

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”(Hebrews 10:24)

Find an accountability partner or group who will pray with you, support you, talk straight to you, and help you stay on track.

  • Who in your life can help you fulfill God’s purpose?
  • Who can help you be accountable?
  • Who can you help?

 

Step Into Your Power Source

On this Good Friday, at noon, a few centuries ago, “there was darkness over all the land” as Jesus died on the cross. (Matt. 27:45) At the moment of His last breath, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (Matt. 27:51)

At the moment of this cataclysmic event, it appeared the power had ceased and the light of a son…teacher…master…healer…had gone out of the world. The disciples would soon learn that the Power of Jesus was just getting started.

A couple days ago, storms and a tornado ripped through our area, resulting in a power outage for around 18 hours. There was much rejoicing among our children when the power – and all electronics – were restored. I posted to my facebook status, “Electricity is back on!!” with some happy party emojis. Some of our friends were still waiting for restoration in other areas of our city and county, so it was a huge surprise that our neighborhood “beat the deadline.”

I chose my status update word carefully: Electricity. In fact, I never posted that our power had gone out, except in private text messages, or comments on various friend’s discussion threads.

Why?

It’s because I never felt that I had lost power. The loss of electricity was an inconvenience. It also caused concern and efforts were made to preserve the food in our refrigerator. The loss of electricity was also irritating and a point of contention for our kids who were trying to navigate quarantine with a sudden loss of a day’s online school and the all-important leisure-time video games and TV.

I felt I never lost power because I never lost Jesus. I know some of you might be rolling your eyes at this point, thinking that sounds a little cliché, but stay with me on this idea. This week, we’ve been exploring the concept of praying about everything. Jesus is the source of power and strength (Isaiah 40:29). I tap into that source of power anytime just by praying – and I wrote yesterday about how prayer is just a little conversation with God.

So, no matter what I’m facing, whether I understand it or not, whether I’m hunkering down in a basement with a violent storm overhead, whether I lose a job, whether I’m sick, whether I… [fill in your own blank], I know without any doubt that God will work all things out according to His plans and purposes. I know this because of the work He’s already done in my life, and because of His promises to me in His Word which are forever true and unchanging (Isaiah 40:8).

There’s a common phrase often uttered in times of distress, fear, or hopelessness, “all we can do is pray.” Instead of waiting for an emergency, I invite you to begin each day and tackle every moment by tapping into your power source through prayer.

What would your day look like if you began with prayer?

Who is the source of your power?

Comment below or message us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: God Speaks through Situations and Events

Throughout the month of March, we are exploring Step #1 of the step forward lifecycle: Stand Up and recognize that God is speaking to you. One way that God speaks to us is through situations and events.

Nothing that happens in our lives is by accident. God knows every detail of every second and nothing is a surprise to him. The current Pandemic is a great example. It may have been a surprise to us, with massive changes in lifestyle, income, education and health seemingly overnight, but God already sees the whole timeline of these events.

You might be wondering: So how can God speak through a situation like this?

When we’re going through a trial in our lives or experiencing a hardship, pain or loss, it’s easy to blame God: “Why is God doing this TO me?” It makes sense that if we are feeling something or experiencing something, we feel that it’s happening TO us — but that’s not the 30,000-ft. view.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
— Isaiah 55:8-9

Everything that happens to us is part of a much larger picture and it’s one that only God can see and walk through with us.

That’s a key point: God wants to walk through each situation with us.

When difficult times come, just like this unprecedented time we’re facing now, it’s an opportunity to ask this question, “What can I learn from God?”

Whatever you are facing now…

  • What is God trying to teach you?
  • How can you make more space to spend time with Him and hear from Him?
  • What can you thank God for?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: Seek Wise, Biblical Counsel

Dear sisters, during this month of March, we are covering the first step of the step forward process: Stand Up and recognize that God is speaking to you. One way to more clearly understand how God is speaking to you is to seek wise, Biblical counsel.

We look to Jesus as our example.

Jesus always sought to do the will of His Father: “For I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38). When he had a big decision to make like selecting his twelve disciples, “…he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” (Luke 6:12-16)

It’s easy for us to discuss our plans and opinions with everyone we know, but that’s not the life Jesus modeled for us. There are no accounts of Him receiving directions from His Father and discussing them with the disciples or anyone else. Instead, He showed us the power in retreating to silence, prayer, and boldly following where the Father led.

So, what does this mean for you?

Once you realize what God is saying to you, and you have a sense of direction from Him, ask God to show you someone who will provide you with wise, Biblical counsel such as a Pastor, or a church elder, or a Godly friend with a deep faith walk. You might also consider meeting with a Spiritual Director – someone who will walk alongside you, who can help you tune into the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, and can help you discern God’s work in your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your biblical community?
  • Who in your life can you seek wise, biblical counsel from?

If you don’t have that person, how can you go about finding that person in your life?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.

Stand Up: Rest in God’s Presence

Hey Friends! Our theme for March is the first step of the step forward process: Stand Up. One way to stand up in your boat and recognize that God is speaking to you is through prayer and quiet reflection. It’s really easy to talk at God, but the main idea here is to spend time resting in His presence.

Resting is no easy task. How many times have you tried an official quiet time and were completely distracted? Or maybe you fell asleep? Some of you remember the old Energizer Bunny commercials – the idea that the battery is so good the bunny just keeps going and going and going and going…

Does that sound like you?

It’s easy to keep going, propelled forward by circumstances, goals, or one expectation after the other. In the quiet moments when you finally stop, you have to deal with all of your thoughts and emotions…the cracks and gaps you try to avoid…everything about your daily life that you shove under the rug or cover up with other things.

By resting in God’s presence, you gain clarity about how you see God in your life – and it’s in those quiet moments that you really have an opportunity to let God work and direct you. When you rest in God’s presence, He can clear your thoughts and open your heart and mind to receive His message and prepare you for the work He has for you.

Will you try to rest in God’s presence this week for as little as 5-10 minutes a day?

A great practical tool for spending time with God is journaling. You can journal your questions, things you’ve been wrestling with, your thoughts, what you’re thankful for, prayers, etc., and then look back and see how God provided an answer, opened a door, made a way, and what He taught you through the process.

What methods have you tried to draw closer to God?

Comment below or contact us if we can help you uncover God’s work in your life.