“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.
“The quality of our lives,” stated my pastor during a recent sermon, “is determined by the quality of our relationships.” Nothing could be truer. Good friends and loving family are like islands in the fast-moving streams of life. They provide a place where we can temporarily dock from our duties, shuck off our shoes, and wiggle our toes in the warm sand of companionship. I call them “featherbed friends,” because they provide us with a soft place to land. How restoring it can be when we make room in our lives for those who support, encourage, and lift our spirits!
Unfortunately, not every relationship will be as restful. We all know those as well who, whether consciously or unconsciously, drain us dry if we let them. Somehow in our search for more respites during the daily rigors, we must learn to differentiate between the two, inviting more time in the first even as we learn to limit or, in some cases eliminate the latter.
The reality is that there will be only a few choice comrades throughout a lifetime who truly care and understand unconditionally enough to stay the course. I can tell you from experience that you can be the most popular person on the block—one with a Facebook full of friends—but very few real and restful ones. Likewise, you can spend your life constantly surrounded...continue
These days Judi is a busy author and motivational speaker for retreats, seminars and workshops. She has published numerous other articles, poems and essays, both religious and secular. Her six books are all non-fiction works. Prodigal In The Parsonage: Encouragement for Ministry Leaders Whose Child Rejects Faith is written from personal experience and provides hopeful, helpful and heartwarming insights for parents, especially those in ministry, who are walking the prodigal pathway. Simple Seasons: Little Lessons for Large Living, is a devotional featuring a compilation of her articles from Woman's Touch Magazine. It All Comes Out In The Wash: Sorting Through Priorities When Your Load Is Out of Balance, weaves a wash-day theme that helps women Gain the knowledge to help turn the Tide in bringing their spiritual lives and relationships back into balance. True North: Staying on Course Through Life's Changing Circumstances, employs her experiences living in a remote Alaskan village to create an enjoyable journey, helping the reader find faith and footing whatever direction life takes. Camp Gramma: Putting Down Spiritual Stakes for Your Grandchildren combines personal examples with practical helps to impart insight, wisdom and the tools for embracing modern-day grandparenthood. Everyday Sabbath: The Art of Real Life Rest explores the foundational principles God used in establishing Sabbath rest and illustrates practical ways to insert Sabbath rest into your daily routine. Judi and her husband Jim are recently retired district superintendents of the Northern California-Nevada District.
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.
In a discussion based on her book, For the Love, Jen Hatmaker describes how women can find freedom from unrealistic standards of perfection and embrace God's grace in their lives, marriages, parenting and communities.
Mrs. Jen Hatmaker: Pretty much every day I wake up and I think, "I'm gonna make a short list of who I am prepared to disappoint today. Someone's gonna be on it." And so, I have made my peace with never, on (any) given day (be) able to meet every demand in front of me or please everybody that wants something from me...so, in some regards it's a pressure I took off of myself.
Listen now to the broadcast: "Letting Go of Perfection and Accepting God's Grace".
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
As I read Isaiah 40, I’m preparing to finish one of the biggest projects of my life. This season has been hard, and the work has come about with great sacrifice, determination, and if I’m honest . . . assistance from others.
I’m not sure why, but the older I get, the harder it is to ask for help.
Why is that?
As women we need help, but often fail to reach out and get the support we need. When times get tough, our instinct is to hunker down and weather the storm, rather than making ourselves vulnerable by asking for help. As I reflect upon my journey, here are a few common themes I’ve noticed...read more
I never thought I had an issue with forgiveness. I mean, in my sheltered life, I've never been abused or victimized. My husband has always been faithful to me. In general, I hadn't suffered grave offenses warranting major forgiveness.
However, the small things have tripped me up the most. A harsh tone. An unkind word. An unappreciative action. I've realized I can easily be hurt by those closest to me. And when left unchecked, this hurt can lead to bitterness and anger and a downward spiral and...well...I think you get the picture.
So, apparently, I DO have a forgiveness issue. I really thought I...(continue)
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
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April 30, 2017