For the first eight years of our ministry, I didn’t have a friend to my name. In those same years, I birthed and stayed home with three children, and I remember willing myself not to get sick because I didn’t know who I would call for help if I did. Community was something I created for other people, not something I enjoyed myself. At least, that’s how I felt.
When we prepared to plant out of that church, my husband gathered prospective core team members in our living room and asked, “When you dream of what church could be, what is it that you think of?” For me, the answer was simple, and I timidly spoke out loud what I’d held inside for so long.
“I don’t want to feel as if I’m standing outside of community, helping it happen but not enjoying it myself. I want our church to be the kind where I get to enjoy the inside. I want to have friends.”
What I didn’t yet realize is that community isn’t something that comes to us; it’s something that we go toward. We make choices that either invites community or hinders the very thing we long for. The reasons I’d struggled in friendship were many—my lack of initiation, the very specific parameters I’d placed around what type of friend I wanted and how they would relate to me, time constraints that I used as an excuse, but, primary among them, is that I chose not to take the risk of vulnerability with other women.
God gave me a do-over with church planting because the difficult nature of the work made it nearly impossible to hide behind carefully maintained facades or self-sufficiency. My spiritual, physical and emotional neediness pointed like arrows toward asking wise and faithful women for help. And so, I did.
Vulnerability is the spark for us to enjoy and help cultivate true community. Only through vulnerability can we fulfill...read more
One of the best things we can do for our friendships, whether fledging or lifelong, is to become cheerleaders for other women.
Don't we all crave a cheerleader friend? Absolutely! We don't want cotton-candy flattery or even the niceties about our appearance or choice of couch pillows, nor do we want silent cheerleaders who think but don't speak words of encouragement. We want a friend of the super athletic cheerleader variety, who exerts enthusiasm and energy in exhorting us on, even as they do their own faith-thing at our side. These kind of friends are rare, and we can't guarantee we'll have a friend like that. But we certainly can be that kind of friend to others.
I tell you what: being a cheerleader for other women can be awkward. I know because I am the queen of awkwardness and, frankly, I don't care. I see too many women standing on the sidelines of life feeling like a failure when, in fact, they are walking by faith and adorning themselves with the glorious beauty of good works. They need to know that God's fingerprints are all over them! ...read more
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 (NIV)
A winter Saturday afternoon found me cleaning our basement storage room. There were boxes of papers to sort, bins of holiday decorations to shuffle and other assorted items to realign neatly on the shelves. I’d estimated it would take me an hour or so to tidy up the space. Except I hadn’t factored in one thing.
The items I straightened and stacked weren’t spectacular; they were common articles found in many basements and garages. But the fragrance of precious memories clung to them. Memories of events that changed my life. Memories of people who touched my heart. My pace slowed significantly...continued
Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and New York Times bestselling author. Described as profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real, her passion is to help women to live their priorities and love their lives as they serve God and others.
She has co-authored two books just for moms with Ruth Schwenk of The Better Mom - Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off and the newly released ECPA best-seller Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus. She is also the Speaker Track Director of Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference and a teaching staff member of their writers' training site COMPEL.
I wish I could be more confident!
So many times I’ve whispered this prayer. Sometimes God asks us to do crazy things. Following Him requires a great deal of faith, and confidence is a good thing—or is it?
Confidence: a full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
This culture heralds strong, confident women. But strength and confidence in what? In ourselves? We need to guard ourselves from this bad idea. What happens when we come to the end of our strength? Or when someone comes along who is more talented?
As a social worker, I have watched the feminist movement champion the power of femininity and self-reliance...continue reading.
Kimberly Waldie is married to an incredible man, mother of four great (sometimes challenging) kids, and pastor’s wife to an awesome church in Traverse City, MI. She has served over 20 years in ministry to children, youth, women, and alongside her husband as lead pastors. She has a passion for speaking, teaching, and mentoring women to discover their true identity in Christ and navigate the challenges of womanhood. As a social worker and adoptive mom, she has worked with families dealing with the difficult issues of foster care/adoption. She enjoys using her horses for ministry, writing, running, and spending time with her family.
First I have to ask who do you think forgets about you?
Is it God? He doesn’t ever forget you!
Is it the people you lead? They usually forget you!
Is it your spouse? He rarely means to forget you!
Over the past 14 years I’ve wrestled with all of these questions some more prominent at times than others. I’ve sat in church wondering if God could see me hurting, wondering if He saw I had no way to serve Him because it had all been taken away by people I saw as more capable than me, wondering if it even mattered.
The truth is...continue reading
I’m not good at being an encourager. Or, as a friend put it, “You’re not a pillow-fluffer.” And it's true; I’m not. It is a conscious effort for me to discipline myself to be an encourager. At the risk of sounding spiritually shallow, I’ve never felt I’m great at evangelism either.
You, too? I suspect this might be you since, according to a Barna Group survey, only 1% of Christians believe they are gifted at evangelism. This, however, is not a blog to debate whether evangelism is a spiritual gift or not. (That’s another blog.) But, doing the math, it’s quite clear a huge chunk of us are not participating in sharing the gospel.
The common excuse, “evangelism is not my gift,” isn't a valid reason to not share the gospel. We often justify that if it doesn’t come easy, then it isn’t for me to do. Yet, without debating, let me challenge you with this question—If I’m not good at encouragement, does that mean I’m exempt from “encouraging one another daily?”
Of course not...continue reading
My husband is currently a bi-vocational church planter. This means that he has a full time job while planting and pastoring a new church plant. In the past the balance of family and ministry has always been tricky, but now more than ever. Balancing the demands of ministry on the family can feel overwhelming and complicated. I have had two sides drilled into my head. As a result two personal rant/pep talks have emerged:
Talk number one: "Tish, put family first! If your family is in disrepair your ministry is valueless. You cannot minister to others with full gospel impact unless you are making your marriage and your home priority over all."
Talk number two: "Tish get a grip and stop being selfish! A ministry calling demands sacrifice. Your time is not your own and your home is not your own. Pour yourself out generously for the sake of the gospel and for the health of Christ’s church."
How do we reconcile these two?...continue reading
It’s not a great word. It’s not a word that I want to describe my life, or me.
It’s definitely not the way I want to live out my faith.
But sometimes this is who I am.
When that starts to happen I need to slow it down and count the cost of my ingratitude.
It damages my faith.
I start to see God as my personal genie
I get upset when He doesn’t do what I think He should do, in the timing I think He should do it. I forget that Jesus willingly suffered humiliation and pain to stand in the gap for me, and that if He never did a single thing more, He’s given me more than I ever deserve.
Lord, thank You what You did for me.
It stunts my growth...continue reading
Joanna Weaver is the author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which has sold over a million copies. Other books include Having a Mary Spirit, Lazarus Awakening, and a devotional, At the Feet of Jesus. Her books and companion DVD Bible studies have been used by hundreds of churches as well as home groups and individuals.
Doors have opened for Joanna to speak at conferences and retreats around the country and internationally as well. Her passion is to see women experience the incredible love and grace of God so that they can become all He created them to be.
Joanna’s greatest joy is found in being a wife and mother of three, as well as serving the Lord beside her husband John in full-time ministry. The Weavers reside in the beautiful “Big Sky” state of Montana.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
As I took the steps onto the stage to deliver the Word for the last time as the Women’s Ministries Director of my district, the Holy Spirit stopped me and said clearly, “Well done. You have been faithful. Now go and do what I have for you next.” As much as I long to hear those words at the end of my life, in the moment they stung. I knew those words meant it was over. Serving the leaders and ministering to women of my district had been a joy, a passion, a dream fulfilled. I loved every minute of it and in my flesh I did not want to give it up; but that would be disobedience. We were mobilizing to the foreign field in three months. I had been called to the ends of earth at a youth camp altar when I was thirteen. I had been praying for and dreaming of this for decades and now the Lord was leading our family there. Yet in order to embark on this new beginning, what I was doing for the Lord had to come to an end. It seemed as though both passions could not flourish at once. I was so expectant for this new chapter but simultaneously mourning the closing of the last. It was not the first time we had transitioned to a new ministry, and likely not the last...continue reading
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April 30, 2017