What would you ask Ann Voskamp, Christy Nockels or Rebekah Lyons if you could sit across from them and ask a question?
I decided that I wanted to get an encouraging word from these women to share with my fellow Christian blogger friends and ministry partners. God has called us to an amazing journey but it has its own set of challenges that these women are all too familiar with!
I have been following and Ann Voskamp’s blog for many years and her book 1000 Gifts was life-changing for me! I was reading it during my pregnancy with my baby Liam who had trisomy 18. Ann’s wisdom helped me take the most excruciatingly painful experiences and pour it out in an offering of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord and to others. If you’ve never had the chance to read 1000 gifts or her nearest book The Broken Way, I would highly recommend them!
You can not feel fear & gratitude at the same time.-Ann Voskamp
Christy Nockels and her husband Nathan started off in Houston many years ago. I had the opportunity to see them when they came to Champion Forest Baptist Church in the 1990’s and have loved them ever since. Christy’s music has always taken me into the presence of the Lord during some of my most difficult times and some of my sweetest memories of worship.
This was my first opportunity to meet Rebecca Lyons. I loved her message of freedom and feel like we are probably somewhat kindred spirits since we both know the joy and the pain of raising a special needs son.
My one question for them was this: looking back over the course of your ministry, what one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
The wisdom these ladies shared did not disappoint.
Ann Voskamp took her cue from Beth Moore and said if you are writing a Bible Study to teach it to the ladies God puts in front of you. She said to teach it to the people right in front of you, get feedback, and do business with the Lord there working that thing out. She concluded by saying to pour your life out as an offering and let the Lord use you right where you are, and Rebekah Lyons shared a similar sentiment about ministering to those God puts right in front of you.
I love the wisdom Christy Nockels shared about ministering from a place of rest! It is easy to get caught up on a hamster wheel of life, and ministry is no exception. Christy’s message was similar to a word that I received last year from Beth Moore, which was “enjoy the process.” The video below is Christy’s response to me, I hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me.
Broken things can become new! – Ann Voskamp
Shauna Groves was our host for the evening, and one of the highlights of the evening was when Compassion International signed people up to sponsor children. Compassion is helping release people from poverty all around the world.
Jesus Christ came to heal our brokenness and set the captives free! Are you walking in freedom today my friend? Do you know the lover of your soul? Do you have an intimate relationship with him? He loves you, and He came to save you! As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus during Easter this year, I challenge you to go deeper in your relationship with Him!
Seek Jesus, Study the Word, and Grow in Grace
Please drop me a note if you are in need of prayer today. I would love to pray for you!
Life can be so complicated and unpredictable. Today has been one of those days for me. My day started off with three MRIs: one for my brain, one for my neck and one for my back. My dear sweet husband took the morning off from work to hold my hand, comfort me, and pray for me because he knows that I am claustrophobic and that MRIs cause me great anxiety! Today was one of those days when I just needed my husband’s presence. As I went further into the MRI tube, he held my leg, and just knowing he was there brought me tremendous comfort. While sitting in the waiting room before my MRI and filling out my paperwork, I realized that today is February 13, my mom’s birthday. If my mom were still alive today, she would have turned 77!
We think we have to do something, but presence is a powerful action of its own. – Sarah Beckman
I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately. She died a few years ago after she was taken off of life support just days after Christmas. Family relations and emotions were all running high. Many friends called, texted and offered support. Whenever anyone offered to help I would simply ask for prayer. I would say that I was alright when in reality I wasn’t.
In trying times, people tend to say they are okay and don’t need anything, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I will never forget the loving kindness of a friend who offered to stop by the hospital to bring food, and she would not take no for an answer. Not only did she bring me food, but she also took the time to listen to me. We prayed, we sang, and she sat with me as the Lord called my mom home. Her presence at that moment in my life was powerful and it is a gift that I will forever cherish.
How do we walk alongside someone in the midst of trying circumstances?
There’s a unique opportunity to love our neighbor when they experience a time of trial in their life. – Sarah Beckman
We all experience difficult trials in life, and we know people close to us that suffer hardships. How do we love and care for others well in their crisis? The answer to this question is the purpose of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. This must-read book is an invaluable resource for walking alongside those in need.
This book is filled with questions to consider. It offers practical ways to love people through the storms of life and will help you figure out the best way to respond to the individual’s needs. You will learn to know your place in relationship to the person in need, and what you should do accordingly. It will also give a good understanding of possible needs and how people may be feeling, including general guidelines to consider and questions to help prepare for the journey ahead.
Part 2 of the book is dedicated to taking action. Know when to go, and when to pray. When I went to the hospital to give birth to my son whose heart had stopped beating in my womb, my sweet friends wanted to come to the hospital. While having my friends at the hospital that day was a kind gesture, what I needed most was time to grieve alone with my family. There is a chapter dedicated to respecting the person’s journey and includes information on privacy and dignity, and other chapters offer specific help, including being present, showing love through food, listening well and much more.
Finally, the book concludes with chapters on special circumstances, including: messy situations, when faith isn’t shared, when you’ve been there, when someone is aging, and terminal illness. In the appendix, there are scriptures for loving your neighbor which are divided into categories and a list of websites, books, and other helpful resources like meal coordination and online fundraising.
A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.
I have one autographed copy of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial to give away!
From now until February 28th, leave a comment below with either a way that you have come alongside someone in need or how someone has blessed you in a difficult time, to be eligible to win. Also, if you enjoyed reading this blog post please share with a friend.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a fantastic week!
I had a blast at the She Laughs Conference this past weekend in Henderson, TX and can’t wait to tell you all about it! The She laughs Conference I attended was hosted at First Baptist Church Henderson. I went to the conference with my friend and co-laborer, Missy Millspaugh. When we arrived we were instantly greeted by Pastor David Higgs and his beautiful wife, Kim. Kim has an amazing smile and her countenance radiates Jesus! If you are in the area be sure to visit First Baptist Church Henderson.
Katy McCown is the founder of the She Laughs Conference. Katy and I have something in common as we both left our corporate jobs to raise and homeschool our children. Katy is a retired television news reporter and her husband, Luke, plays football for the NFL New Orleans Saints, and they have six children. In her spare time, she writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries and hosts She Laughs.
She Laughs is based on the scripture in Proverbs 31:25.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
Katy is passionate about Jesus and seeing women walk in strength and dignity, and desires women to live a laugh characterized by laughter, without fear of the future. Her opening message entitled, The Path to a Passionate Life, discussed our preparation, position, and pursuit. My favorite quote from that session:
God is far less interested in our motions, then in our motives.
Next, we heard from Lisa Allen, founder of L.J. Allen consulting and coaching, and Executive Director of Ministry Training at Proverbs 31 Ministries. We laughed as we evaluated our personalities in the session, What Shoe Are You?, where I discovered that I am a combination of a Work Boot and a Stiletto—what a combination! I also discovered that God gifted me with a special combination of strengths in order for me to fulfill my calling.
We laughed for the rest of the evening as Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith and author of Help me Jesus, I have Nothing to Wear inspired us to look our best for the King. In her session, Hairspray & High Heels, she reminded us that the King is enthralled with our beauty, and what we think about ourselves matters! Missy and I were both even brave enough to get up on stage in front of the women of Henderson and participate.
Speaking of brave, the ultimate bravery award goes to the men in the camera crew that came all the way from South Carolina from Meade Agency to film a congregation full of estrogen-filled women!!
Saturday morning, we learned ways to avoid burnout in our calling, igniting our passions to fuel our calling, and we were reminded why we need to laugh. The content of the topics discussed at She Laughs was relevant for women of all ages to help them pursue the good works of their calling.
The picture above was the grand finale. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so if you want to know more about the picture above, then you will have to visit a She Laughs Conference for yourself! She Laughs Conference
Today on the blog, I am talking about the importance of the family table, and sharing a few pictures from our Thanksgiving table 2013. Earlier this week, we heard from Michelle S Laurek on practical ways to love our neighbors, and I told you about her new book, An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality. If you missed that post, be sure to check it out here Love Your Neighbor!
I love this description of An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality from Amazon.
Jesus spent a chunk of his ministry eating and drinking with the “”sinners and tax collectors”” of the world. If we strive to be more like Jesus, shouldn’t we do more of what he did?
Hospitality involves more than the domesticated event we have grown accustomed to practicing. It is an embodiment of all the Christian life stands for: a gesture of love, opening up our hearts and lives, and sacrificing luxury and security for the chance to display Gods glory. To receive hospitality from others is an invitation to receive Gods transformative power to work in their lives.
Wow! Have you ever considered your family table a place of ministry? We have a huge farm table that we purchased several years ago to accommodate our growing family. The wooden sun-bleached benches on either side of our 10 foot table are flanked by several mix-and-match black chairs with rush seats. It is reminiscent of farmhouse meets french flair, and it is located in our beautiful sunroom. The sunroom is one of my favorite rooms in our house because it has 12 huge windows that look out into our back yard, and we have a gorgeous view of the sun rise.
The importance of the family table, and the top 3 reasons I love mine! And you should love yours too!
Fist, there is something special about choosing the perfect table linen, arranging your favorite dishes, and adding a seasonal centerpiece. I love to prepare a feast for friends and family. I am going to let you in on a little secret though, I have a dish problem. I love my dishes and love any excuse to use all of the dishes that I have collected over the years.
The table is another great place in our home to spruce up with the changing of the seasons. I love to search Pinterest for new and creative ideas for my tablescapes. I also love repurposing old things and using them in new or unexpected ways.
For the 2013 Thanksgiving table, I used an old wine box, that Peter brought home twenty years ago when he worked at a hotel. I darkened the box up with a little leftover stain that I had from another project. Nestled in the box is a fairytale pumpkin, some pine bundles from our trees, Mason jars with tea lights, surrounded by pinecone candle holders with cream tapers.
Depending on the formality of the holiday or occasion, I may use chargers or place cards. When my children were young, and I wanted to make our holiday tables special, I would include them in helping me make place cards. For the 2013 Thanksgiving table, I purchased these vintage goblets at an antique store for just a few dollars. This was a fun way to serve our beverages, and I didn’t have to worry about them breaking.
Second, conversations at the family table tie heartstrings to our children, family members, and friends. This is an important time of connection and communion. At the table, you can linger, talk about your day, and impart your values to your children. There is time to reflect on issues that arise in our culture, morality, religion, politics, and books. Gathered around the table is also a great place to share stories from the past, or tales of family members that have gone on to be with the Lord. This is something that Peter’s mom Gigi instilled in me early in our marriage. We spent many hours in lively conversation as a family around the table. The Thanksgiving 2013 table pictured is very special to me because this was the last meal we shared together as a family with Gigi. She was an amazing woman, who was an incredible influence on my life. Read more about this at 5 Things Gigi Taught Me.
Holiday tip when entertaining for the holidays and small children are sharing the table with us, I always put a fancy tablecloth on the table, but then cover it with clear plastic. This way the table still looks beautiful, but it is protected from the inevitable spills that are bound to happen.
Third, in this fast-paced microwave society that we live in when families are going in different directions all the time, and we eat at the drive through or on the run. To have time to sit down and eat a home-cooked meal on real plates, not paper ones, and have time to connect at the table, and enjoy a meal is priceless!
Whether you are gathered at the table for a holiday or sharing coffee with a neighbor or friend, know that your table can be a place of ministry. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.
The other day, I met a friend for lunch and as soon as she sat down and we started talking, she burst into tears. You see, my friend is a busy young mother with a new baby. She was frazzled trying to get out of the house and get everyone situated before she came to meet me. I think she was just relieved to see me knowing that we could talk and that I would understand the struggles and challenges that she is experiencing. Basically, she just needed a friend.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Girlfriends are important. We need each other. We need friends to laugh with us when we are happy and cry with us when we are sad. Friends that will pray for us and encourage us to do good. Hebrews chapter 10 tells us to consider, ponder, think about how we should stir up one another to love and good works.
The Amplified Bible says it this way, “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”
As Christian women, we should be creative in thinking about ways to meet with each other so that we can watch over one another and encourage one another to love God, love our husbands, love our children, and to love each other.
I have an amazing group of women that I meet with regularly, and I am so blessed by their friendships. Some of us have been friends for almost two decades, others have joined us along the way. We do life together. We may not see each other every day, but I know that these are the girls that have my back. We have shared both good times and bad times. We have celebrated all of the major milestones together—babies, birthdays, showers, and even funerals. These girls are a special part of my life.
I have other very close friends who are very special to me, and these ladies are the “older women” in my life who I look up to, and can call on for advice. These ladies are full of wisdom, and I consider these ladies my mentors. It is good to have women of all ages in your life!
The Lord has blessed me with a life filled with amazing women of all ages; both young and old. Some I see regularly, others I only talk to occasionally. It isn’t necessary to have a lot of friends, but what is important is having the right kind of friends. Friends that lift you up encourage you and pray for you. I hope you have a special girl or a group of girls that you can call your friends. If not, I encourage you to pray and ask God to put the right kind of girls and women in your life.