Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged challenge
By Faith, I Must

fireflies This past week I was fortunate enough to hear Beth Guckenberger, and a few other incredible people of faith share about their faith. I’ll be honest, I battled and am still battling this conference. The timing of it with personal things and work things, the title claiming it was for children’s pastors (hey, I’m not one of them), and just an overall bad attitude.  I am one gajillion percent certain that the evil one is celebrating my bad attitude while everyone around me has quickly tired of it. I’m even tired of it. Therefore, to fight the enemy, I need to share some of the nuggets I heard over the week that are taking root in my heart and ripping apart the bad attitude (trying to anyway).

Beth Guckenberger is one of my heroes, one of those real, down to earth women you want to be around because she is so in tune with the Lord that you want to be in their presence. She started our conference with this question: “What is it YOU want me to hear from YOU?” Y’all, I KNOW I heard birds chirping, maybe it was locusts or crickets, but it was static and nothing decipherable was coming out. She led us through a prayer experience-where I stewed in my bitterness instead of opening my heart to hear what God wanted me to hear. But I’m home now and I’m upset with myself over a wasted opportunity to fully worship; to express my love and adoration to the One who made me and to beg for His forgiveness for my bitterness.

Beth talked about how God’s people had light amongst them… I imagine a warm summer evening with fireflies in abundance. Isaiah 58:8-14 says,

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

I desperately want to be the person who calls out to the Lord at all times, being sure He is with me. I don’t want to be the bitter person who is unsure of life or of God’s presence. I want to be a firefly, to be the light of Christ to those around me. Not in competition with those other fireflies, but in unity.

So how, how do I release the bad attitude and fully submit to the Lord’s purpose for me? I must acknowledge my need for Him. I must submit to His sovereignty, not being dependent on what I bring to the table. I must humble myself and ask for forgiveness from those forced to be in my world lately. I must remember to give myself as much or more grace than I would others. I must remember to follow Colossians 3:12-14 (oddly enough it was these verses Jim and I selected for our wedding):

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

That’s a lot of “musts” but they are necessary; you know what’s even better? It’s all fully possible when I focus on the Lord and release everything over to Him. Will you join me in praying for me to be able to do all these musts? And to humbly seek out help when I’m struggling to be who He created me to be? Is there something God is calling you to do that must be done? Don’t you want to be firefly, full of light for Him?

Shea Rocheleau

 

 

You, Yes You, Are Invited To Come

1IF It’s a new year!  It’s the last year of this decade.  It’s the start of something new.  And wow, did we start off with a bang at SMC at our SMC Women’s event last Thursday night at our first 2019 Thursday night events!

If you weren’t there, I wish you were.  If you were there, I’m glad you were!  It was a powerful night as Julie Gurley shared her story and then was followed by many other women transparently sharing some of their stories with women around their tables.

And all of that twas a huge preview of what it will be like in ONE month as IF:Alamance joins with IF:Gathering 2019 in the SMC Student Center.

Like many of you, I’ve watched and participated in the IF:Alamance Gatherings that have been hosted here in town, and each time I’m amazed how God moved through that event around the world, and in our community.  Each time I was part of it, messages taught seemed to be just what I needed to hear, worship was authentic, and I was given a challenge I needed to do to glorify and thank God for what He’s done for me along with strengthening my faith and trust in the Lord.

And speaking of trusting God, that’s the theme February 8 -9, 2019.  Speakers will be sharing the importance of seeking wisdom through His word and being in His presence on a daily basis in our crazy busy lives.  If you’re like me, so often I try to fix myself, by myself without going to the Word and prayer to gain wisdom from God.

I’ve come to learn a little bit how experiences in life help increase your wisdom.  I’ve also been learning that even when I feel like I’m not wise on a specific task or experience,  I’ll back out of an assignment God gracefully gives me with hope and love.  One of the biggest things God wants us to do for Him is to tell others about Jesus and how He’s changed our lives.  He had 12 disciples and told 11 of them before He ascended into heaven to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19) for His sake.  To make someone a disciple, we must be an example of how to be one.  Or at least try our best to.  That takes time, which means developing a relationship with someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to have one with Jesus.  For three years, Jesus discipled the men who were curious and chose to learn more about Him.

Unfortunately, I’m guilty of coming up with excuses of why I’m not qualified, or the person God wants to use to be a disciple for Himself.  Have you ever felt that way?  We use the excuse that we aren’t wise enough to disciple someone.  We haven’t been a believer long enough, I don’t understand everything in the Bible, my “gift” isn’t teaching, I’m not good enough, I’m too much a sinner, even though I try to follow Christ.  I don’t have time to do a Bible study.  I have toddlers, I work full time, I’m too old, I’m too young, I get too nervous, no one will want to meet with me, I’m not wise enough.  I don’t think any of my friends or co-workers would be interested.  I don’t know where to start.  I don’t want to commit to anything because something might happen down the road and I’d have to stop and I don’t want to let anyone down.  What if we meet and I let her down? (again I’m not good enough).  I battle depression and anxiety.  I have a bad history.  I’m fighting cancer or a disease. And there’s even more excuses, I’m sure.

But y’all!  It’s not about YOU.  It’s what GOD WANS to do and CAN do through YOU when you choose to be obedient to His Word, when you choose to follow Christ, when you choose to take risks THROUGH HIM.  It’s when you choose to believe that He’ll never forsake you or abandon you and will be present with you when you encourage others.  It’s when you choose to have faith, even if it’s the size of a mustard seed, that God will provide you with the opportunity and ability to reach out to someone who needs someone to listen to her.  It’s when you CHOOSE TO TRUST GOD.  He kinda commands us to do that…in Proverbs 3:5-6, which is one of the main verses in Proverbs that IF:Gathering will be teaching from.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will keep your paths straight.”

Maybe I have been trusting him even if I wasn’t feeling like I was.

When you come to this event, you’re going to experience being in the presence of God with women around the world.  Come as you are.  Heartbroken, scarred, scared, rebellious, angry or sad.  Come if you have a deep desire to change, to experience joy, be with others who are going through something in life like you, even though you don’t know it…YET.  Come if you need wisdom, discernment and direction.  Come of you want to experience Jesus.  Come just because you’re curious and you want to check out what this gathering thing is all about. Come if you have a sweet relationship with God – this will be a blessing to you.   Come if you’re starting to realize that your excuses really aren’t good enough.  Come in you PJ pants and slippers!

There will be food, coffee, giveaway prizes and a gift bag for you.  There will be amazing worship with the IF worship leaders, teaching, laughter, prayer, tears and joy.  There will be meaningful conversations and fun fellowship. Memories will be made, and you’ll be charged, or re-ignited to make a difference in someone’s - yes, even if it’s just ONE person’s life - after it’s over.  Trust me – no – TRUST GOD – that this will be worth it because YOU are WORTH it!  JESUS is WORTH it!

Register to attend here!  (And you're welcome to forward this post to your friends!)

Beth

bh

 

 

 

Your Legacy Is As Real As You Are

Hearing the word legacy makes me think of people who have passed on before me and what I received from them. Not from their family or from their stuff, but THEM. What did they teach me? How did they help me evolve and become a better person?

As we begin to discover the effects of social media since it began in 1997, I wonder how will it impact legacies as we move forward? Will we continue to become so caught up and entrenched in our media feeds that we fail to give attention to those right beside us?

I’ve always been kind of, well… a self-determined weirdo. I had curly hair when everyone else had straight; I wore my brother’s hand-me-down t-shirts and jeans when my peers wore Izod and dresses; I was a fanatical sports fan and athlete at a time when girls weren’t that. We also moved a LOT, so I was often the new kid in school. Sadly, that automatically made me strange. While I could find myself uncomfortable socially, I came to appreciate and even like my uniqueness. But I also didn’t grow up in an era of social media which allows people to post only their best self if they so desire.

I worry so many people don’t embrace – much less like – what makes them stand out. What makes them… them.

The Bible tells us how God sees us. In Psalm 139:14 (NIV) “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful...”

So why is it so difficult for us to see ourselves how God sees us?

legacy

I think the devil, combined with our human nature, often creates an inner storm like no other. Social media provides a platform where we often can’t confirm we’re getting the whole, authentic story. Nor do we have to be accountable to do so ourselves. This can be where our mind starts playing games and self-loathing can creep in.

Fear, anxiety, insecurity, negative self-talk, doubt and comparison are all some of the ways we get caught up in the trap of living a life in the flesh instead of living in Christ.

Alice G. Walton wrote an article in Forbes Magazine June 30, 2017. In the article, titled “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health,” Walker tells us that studies have shown us that social media can be detrimental for our mental wellness. It has been shown to be addictive; a source of sadness, isolation and less life-satisfaction; the comparing that occurs from social media is unhealthy; it creates jealousy and envy which often leads to depression; we buy into the trap of believing it will help us feel better; and finally, virtual friends don’t provide the same positive results that real friends do.

We continue to have this crazy notion (and image) of perfection. Everything is flawless, especially the rich and famous. We often expect perfection of our leaders, our family, our friends and certainly from those we don’t even know. But how much easier would our lives be by just accepting that perfection is an illusion? God never intended for us to be perfect.

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God uses our flaws for His glory: “Each time He said, “my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

When will it become ok to be imperfect and just be whatever we are – imperfections and brokenness and whatever else that entails? What needs to happen so that we look at ourselves with God’s lenses and realize we can shine brightly despite (or because of) our flaws?

Matthew 5:16 (CEV) – Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

When I send my boys off in the morning, I sometimes tell them to shine brightly and make the world a better place. Funny, I worry if I say it too much it will lose its meaning. I remind them: “be you. If you keep trying to do what everyone else is doing and trying to be someone else, who will be YOU? You are the only YOU in this world.” The fact that the conversation has taken place more than once, tells me it hasn’t quite had the impact I had hoped. But one day it will stick, right?

Social media isn’t going anywhere. It seems to be here for the duration. Don’t be afraid to be you.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Shouldn’t the greatest gift we leave the world reflect God and His image of us instead of reflecting who the world wants us to be? Fully embrace who God made you to be. Don’t be afraid to show the world your true, authentic wonderful self – even on social media. Be genuine and unique. Tell YOUR story. Find what REALly helps you stand out from everyone else. Make sure your legacy is the true original – fearfully and wonderfully made.

Angela

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