Women of Influence Part II

What and who has influenced me as a woman to be a strong leader and to be where I am today (Part I here)? When I was a young woman, I remember being a bit affronted with the image of the Proverbs 31 wife - the Bible's example of the perfect woman, the almost impossible unattainable goal.  The trouble was, I saw her as someone who was just a little TOO perfect, too industrious (can anyone say "workaholic") and definitely too much like the 1950's conservative image of a homemaker.  I had a terrific example of motherhood in my own mom who cooked healthy meals for us, loved to be silly and celebrate with panache, made my dresses and gave me a wonderful childhood free of worries.  However, as a new mom, I felt very strongly about being labeled as "just a mom" - I didn't want motherhood to be what defined me.  I wanted to make my mark on the world and do Big things for God and I just didn't think that searching out the right food for mealtime or keeping a…

Women of Influence

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a woman of influence, someone whose life, words and actions influences others. Who are those people who have influenced us as women to be strong leaders, to courageously follow God's adventurous plan for us, to lean hard on Jesus and to become women of God who stand strong for His purposes?  There were women along the way in my life who were my champions, my cheerleaders-they were women who challenged me to meet my potential; they were examples of godly womanhood who were unassuming and not even intentionally mentoring me. 

I started pondering this a few months ago when I was asked who was mentoring me as part of a women's retreat conversation.  I didn't initially have a good answer to this question....But, sometimes we make mentoring and discipleship into a program that people sign up for and the truth is it's really better when it's an organic relationship and we learn from someone simply by being wit…

EVEN IF.... (Of shadows and Fiery Furnaces)

The day I found out my son broke his neck, I sent him off to a youth group activity that evening.  The students were in a gymnasium, dancing in the bleachers to a Christian rapper before they got to hear Brian Cole speak about how God rescued him from a life of drugs and destruction.  Anyways, as I dropped off my son to a pretty harmless event, I had a pang of anxiety, wishing that I could control how rowdy the kids were being in the bleachers.  What would happen if he was bumped and fell accidentally?  As I drove back home, the prayers switched over from being for his safety to being about my faith and ability to trust God through all the "what if" scenarios that kept running through my mind.

Cody's personal coach mentioned to him that he was going through a fiery furnace type of trial, referring to the story in Daniel 3.  Although we may have heard this story in childhood Sunday school classes, I would guess most of us can hardly imagine how intense this trial of fait…

My Fear Doesn't Stand a Chance....

Back in January, my 14 year old son was practicing wrestling after school with the high school students.  He was drilling and rolling around on the mats with seniors and boys who were bigger than him.  It's been that kind of year - his passion for this sport has led him to many one-on-one lessons, extra practices and hours weight training with older students and coaches.  In one of these practices he injured his neck, and came home in pain and needing to take a day off school to let it heal.

After Cody's neck injury, we gave him some time to recover, rest and recuperate and he started feeling better.  After a couple of weeks away from wrestling, he wanted to get back into it again so we slowly eased him back into it. He started off the middle school season with a few good meets, won a tournament and then it became clear this neck pain wasn't getting better, so two weeks ago we had an x-ray done. 

That's when the roller coaster ride began.  At the doctor's office …

The Fruit of our Labor

This summer has been glorious, warm, and filled with fresh produce.  Our backyard garden yielded plenty of  zucchini, yellow summer squash, carrots, green beans, broccoli, spinach and the sweetest corn.  In addition, we've filled our freezer with raspberries and strawberries.  Before I moved to the mid-west, I had never really had a garden (growing up in the arid southwest, it wasn't much of an option), so I had a lot of learning to do.  We fertilize our garden plot in the fall (and sometimes spring), prune apple trees in the fall, till up soil each spring and plant our favorite veggies in nice straight rows.  If it's a dry summer, we water the garden in the evenings and around the middle of July, we start picking, chopping and freezing the fruits of our labor.  Often, there are jars of strawberry, raspberry or grape jam made along with our traditional fall applesauce making day.  Someone peels, someone cooks up sauce, someone measures out ingredients, someone boils jars,…

Prayer for the Woman in Ministry

Dear Woman in Ministry,

 This prayer is for you. I’m praying for you today because I know how valuable you are to the kingdom of God and I know your tender heart for God’s purposes.

Lord, bless my sister with the peace that passes understanding. When things get busy and life is crazy with demands that seem unending, remind her to sit at your feet like a Mary (instead of a Martha; Luke 10:38-42). Give her the peace that passes understanding as she lays her burdens at your feet (Philippians 4:6-7). Remind her that Your burden is easy and Your yoke is light (Matthew 11:28-30) and gently guide her to the cross where she can unburden herself and trust in You.

Father of our hearts, give this woman grace. Grace to respond kindly to those who criticize or judge unfairly, because You know Lord that those people are hurting and need Your grace as much as the rest of us. Mostly, give her grace as she judges herself. Let her know the overflow of Your grace (2 Corinthians 9:8) when she make…

Happy Fourth!

I've been recounting the past week with lots of smiles, despite my soreness.

After a grueling 3 weeks, I completed 6 graduate credits and had one week off before school starts up again.  We started our holiday on Saturday with a pool party at a friend's house.  It was wrapped up with a vicious game of kickball, girls v. boys. 

Then, we spent Sunday afternoon at the lake, tubing with the kids.  Two days in a row in the water, no one turning into a prune yet.

Monday was warm, so went to a nearby beach and played in the sand and water for several hours.  Day three in the water.

Tuesday night, the 3rd, was our family get-together for fireworks on the lake.  We had a barbeque and then hopped into the pontoon for the fireworks.  After waiting for half an hour, the kids begged to hop into the lake in their clothes.  So, day 4 in the water (before it got too dark).

We had planned to go camping for the remainder of the week, but it was supposed to be near 100, so we scrapped that plan…