Friday, December 19

Let’s Travel Together!

Just a quick little hello to give you an update on the intensive study trip I’m leading to The Holy Land next year.

First of all, I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. And I’ll probably wear this plum hat at some point on the trip because, well, who doesn’t want to wear a plum hat in the Holy Land. Right?

Second of all, I’ve decided after just getting back from Israel and looking at several of the sites I want us to go to, that I need the group to be smaller than I originally thought. As a result there are now…

ONLY 25 SPOTS LEFT!

So, time is of the essence, as these spots will fill up fast. And I really want you to experience this with me!

My prayer for this trip is that during our time together the Holy Spirit will stir your heart and invigorate your mind with a fresh passion for God’s Word.

The lessons I’ll be teaching will help you make connections like never before between the Old and New Testament. We will go to some places that most tours go… however, we’ll also explore others that are less common but so full of rich meaning they’ve become some of my favorite spots.

Israel_images_spread

We will pull out our Bibles and study on location! And you’ll forever have pictures in your mind of what the settings look like when reading about Biblical events that took place in the Holy Land thousands of years ago.

It will be amazing. If you’re interested, click here.

And for those of you unable to go, I’m praying about how to bring this teaching alive in future conference settings. Will you pray for me to have clarity on this and that God will direct me to the right people to help make this happen?

This is a big assignment for a simple girl who occasionally wears a plum colored hat.

Thank you for your prayers. And thank you for all the many ways you encourage me as we do a little bit of life together here on the blog.

Friday, December 12

I Want to Quit Ministry

Do you ever wish God would appear in the flesh and tell you exactly what He wants you to do in a situation? I do.

Sometimes I wish He’d hand me a piece of paper with clear, step-by-step instructions written out and personalized for my specific circumstance. And then He’d stay for a little Q&A session where He’d tenderly answer all my questions with deep reassurances.

I guess some people would say that demonstrates my lack of faith. And maybe it does. Or maybe my heart just feels incredibly vulnerable with some decisions I have to make, and I desperately want to get it right.

I love the Lord so much.

I want to honor Him with my life.

But sometimes I feel Him stirring me to do something that’s terrifyingly opposite of what I want to do. Left to my own choosing, I want to take the safe, certain and comfortable route. And then Scriptures march right up to my limited perspective and challenge me to walk a path I’d never choose on my own.

This question forces my eyes to glance toward that path: More than anything else, do you want to follow God and live His message?

Or even more deeply: Do you love Jesus and want Him more than anything else?

It’s this question the resurrected Jesus asked Peter at a crucial crossroads in Peter’s life. And gracious, do I ever relate to Peter.

He’d been following Jesus for years.

Then things got hard, just like Jesus told the disciples they would. Jesus gave them the clear hope to hold onto:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, NIV). But isn’t it hard when what you see with your physical eyes seems contrary to what you believe in your heart?

Problems beg us to forget God’s promises.

Peter denied Jesus because he feared the cost of following Him.

Then circumstances got really hard. Jesus was crucified and Peter took his eyes off that hard path of continuing in ministry. He went back to what felt safe, certain and comfortable … fishing.

Then Peter got one of those visits from Jesus I wish I could have. Resurrected Jesus appeared in the flesh and could not have made it any clearer what He wanted Peter to ponder. With one question, He ruined Peter’s justifications to stay safe.

“… Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’” (John 21:15).

Do you love me more than these?

We’ve all got our own “these.”

They are anything that make us look away from the less chosen path of following God with everything we’ve got.

So, back to my decision.

Last year, I wanted to quit ministry. Proverbs 31 Ministries had experienced tremendous growth and suddenly I felt enormous pressure that I wasn’t smart enough, capable enough or resourced enough to lead this ministry.

Everything was bigger, which made me feel like everything was scarier.

The staffing needs.

The budget.

The worries.

Gathering up my fears, I presented a strong case to the Lord to give this assignment to someone else and let me quietly slip away. I set my sights on what felt more comfortable and safe and certain.

But Jesus’ question ruined all my quitting plans: “Do you love me more than these … more than your fears … more than your desire to do something easier and less scary?”

So, here I stand, a girl with trembling hands wearing boots dusty from that uncommon path. I stand and proclaim, “Yes, Jesus, I love You more than these. I will live out the charge presented in Your Holy Word to, “Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching,” (2 Timothy 4:2, HCSB).

I realize your struggles and decisions might not look like mine, but whatever they are, my team at Proverbs 31 Ministries and I are committed to meeting you at your point of need with the Truth that points you to God’s best pathway for you.

I’m determined to persevere. But I’m also determined to recognize I can’t do this alone. Will you join us with your prayers and financial support? All donations go right back into the everyday operations and expansion efforts of the ministry.

It’s not easy to ask my friends for financial support but if each of my blog readers gave only $15 we’d meet our year-end goals and be able to do some exciting projects to reach the younger generation through technology next year. Certainly, if you’d like to participate in a bigger way, we’d so appreciate that as well.

I realized if I don’t ask, you won’t know Proverbs 31 Ministries depends on donations to do what we do each day, like:

  • Online Bible Studies
  • Encouragement for Today Devotions
  • Daily Radio Shows
  • Compel Training and She Speaks Conference to equip women in their calling
  • Resources (books, DVDs and audio teachings, etc.)
  • Speaker Team
  • And more!

I need your help and I thank you for letting me ask. Oh, how I wish we could have this conversation over coffee … maybe one day. I would love that. But for now, if you can join us, please click here for more information.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, December 10

I Found What I Want to Do the Rest of My Life

As a mom, I’ve always wanted to teach my kids how to embrace Biblical characteristics like generosity, loving others, etc. Maybe you can relate and you’re wondering, like I did, how to do it.

My friend Courtney DeFeo has done an amazing job of not just telling her kids about these things, but showing them.

I think you’ll love her guest post today. And be sure to take a few minutes to watch the video. I promise, it will make you smile and tear up all at the same time. Excuse me while I go get a tissue. Here’s Courtney…

I am 38 and I have just discovered what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It’s to show heartfelt appreciation for others in a way that shows them the love of God.

And for the next 10-12 years of my life, I intend to show my two girls how to do this while they are under my roof.

I believe our kids learn more through laughter, not lectures. They want to experience WHO we know not just WHAT we know.

This is exactly how my mom taught me about virtues. She showed us. She wasn’t perfect – and I am so thankful for her authenticity and mistakes. Those very moments taught me forgiveness and unconditional love and gave me the freedom to be the same imperfect person covered in God’s grace.

Just the other night, our family had a chance to go surprise Miss Curlie at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. She’s one special cast member who has been working there 41 years with 25 years of perfect attendance.

She had no idea that her love to my kids left a mark on ME! I was simply trying to SHOW my kids what gratitude felt like, and I was in turn blessed by this woman. She has cleaned the bathroom on Main Street for all these years and I didn’t want to assume someone else was thanking her.

As God’s children, I want our family to be courageous and generous with our kindness. The first to step up and out of our comfort zone.

When we do that, we just never know what hangs in the balance of our obedience.

Watch this video below and read the full story here – you’ll see. Of all the thousands of employees, God knew Miss Curlie needed a simple “Thank You.”


(If you’re viewing this post in an email, click here to watch the video.)

My girls respond so much better to my virtuous parenting attempts when I am not lecturing them on how to shape up or ship out. Instead, I am inspiring them to be more like Jesus. Because it actually feels good to serve! It feels great to give!

And when I invite them into these opportunities, I see their hearts swell. Everyone likes to be involved with something bigger than themselves.

I am taking an army of moms through 2015, one virtue at a time, with my new book, In This House, We Will Giggle. It’s got 12 virtues and 12 family fun activities. We will go slow and focus on one virtue each month. We will never be perfect but we will giggle.

Today, I’m giving away 10 copies of my book to randomly chosen commenters! Just leave a comment telling me one thing you’ve been teaching your kids lately to be entered to win.