Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged retreat
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

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What Are Women Really Craving?

20160116_161848824_iOS I don’t have a word of the year.  Even though I’ve thought and prayed about it, I continue to wonder  what my  2016 word should be.  Nothing.

Well, that’s not my word but nothing has risen above the rest.   In the past some of my words have been Reach and Define, and I’ve read other’s strong words like Still and Bold.  This year though, there have personally been some words that catch my attention I’ve been seeing quite frequently -  pray, empower and equip. Those words often seem to appear when I read news feeds, blog posts, and hear messages lately.  Those are action words - words that provide us with what we need in order to do something. 

Maybe they keep showing up because those are words and actions God is impressing on my heart and mind for a reason.  God wants His people – including you and me – to feel empowered and equipped to spread the love and Truth of God in what is becoming a Godless culture.

This past weekend, over 150 women came together at SMC at the Empowered To Be event.  After enjoying a delicious brunch and good conversations, all together we entered into the holy space where we invited the Holy Spirit to meet us there.

With no doubt, He was there.  He was worshipped as women shared the gifts of music, acting, writing, storytelling, painting, speaking and praying to glorify God.  The women were reminded how necessary it is for us as Christ-followers to be prayerful, available and responsive to the callings God gives each one of us.  We learned how Naomi, Rahab and Priscilla, strong women of faith in Scripture, did it.  Along with them, Jesus gave us the example when he walked on this earth: prayer was his #1 priority, he always made himself available to help and hear others’ stories and then responded to the opportunity he had to glorify God in each situation that faced him.

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It was a powerful morning as the Holy Spirit empowered us to be prayerful, available and responsive.

I think God is trying to get his point across these days.  In less than three weeks, there will be another opportunity to join together with women to become more equipped to live like Jesus.  IF:Gathering 2016 is the moment where genuine life change happens, where we’ll see God for who He is and respond to be more like Him. 

Last February, several women from SMC gathered with women from other local churches in Alamance County to fellowship, worship and become unleashed to be bold and courageous as we live out our callings.  This February 5-6, again we are invited and encouraged to gather as we become more equipped to love like Jesus loved, serve like Jesus served, pray like Jesus prayed, and pursue holiness like Jesus pursued it.

The other day I heard a friend who attended IF:Gathering last year, telling her friend, “After having gone to IF:Gathering last year, I know IF:2016 is going to rock your world!  It rocked mine last year.”

I have to agree with her!  There were so many genuine life changes that took place and I anticipate the same will happen again.

Women are craving something.  Do you feel it too?

Women are craving to discover and know their purpose in God’s Story.

Women are craving to do something that brings joy, hope and impacts the lives of others to further God’s kingdom.

Women see the need for Jesus in this community (and this world) - now more than ever in our lifetime.

People are craving Jesus whether they know it or not.

I’m reminded of Paul writing to encourage the people in Thessalonica. He was amazed and humbled how this group of new believers were tirelessly and devotionally sharing the Good News of Jesus' salvation to their people in their community.

“What you experienced in the good news we brought you was more than words channeling down your ears; it came to you as a life-empowering, Spirit-infused message that offers complete hope and assurance! We lived transparently before you so that you would know what sort of people we truly are. We did it for your sake."  1 Thes 1:5  (Voice)

Are we willing to live transparently so that others will know the women we truly are – imperfect people in the arms of our perfect, grace-filled God, who created us with purpose in His Story?  We are the daughters of the King; He is the lover of our souls and wants us to help Him tell and show others that they truly matter to Him, too.

Now is the time.  And God has been and will continue to press on our hearts this responsibility he’s given us.  He seems to be equipping us, especially at the start of 2016, for a reason.  He’s providing through the local church many opportunities like Empowered to Be, IF:Gathering, Abundance, Bible studies, and teachings to prepare us for what he’s called each one of us to do for His glory.

So let’s be praying!  Because when we pray, God equips and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to live like Jesus.

You can go here to learn more about these great opportunities for you to be part of.

 

Beth

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Sigh

IMG_2421 Sometimes I just need to sigh.  Bob says I sigh a whole lot, and asks me “why do you sigh?” and I don’t ever have a ready answer.

It feels like I have something inside me that needs to be exhaled.

Webster’s defines a sigh: emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling.

It is that “similar feeling” that I need to exhale.  My soul needs to breathe and to make room for that breath I need to exhale.

In a study done at University of Leuven, it was suggested that, indeed, sighing acts as a physical—and mental—reset. When breathing in one state for too long, … the lungs become stiffer and less efficient in gas exchange. Intermittently adding a sigh to the normal pattern, then, stretches the lung’s air sacs (alveoli). This feeling may give one a sense of relief.

That’s it!  A sense of relief, as I am resetting my breath.  When life begins crowding in and there seems not a moment to stop and just “be”, I sigh.  I reset not only my breath, but I reset my ordinary daily life and I make room in my soul.

I have been immersed in a Emily Freeman book, Simply Tuesday, where she talks about the need to create space for our souls to breathe.

My sighing is that relief that comes from creating space in my soul to breathe, allowing my soul to see into the ordinary.

In a culture that preaches hurry, importance, comparison, Emily has been inviting me to slow down, become aware, notice the importance of smallness, and to take the time to fill my soul in the stillness.

Sitting in stillness reminds me to release the temptation to control outcomes and to be loved in the presence of God and to breathe in His goodness.

It reminds me to weave in the practice of paying attention, to orient my mind to things that are, instead of only moving towards things that should be.

Sighing creates room for my soul to breathe, to reset my thoughts, to remind me to invite Jesus into the ordinary and into the moments.

Most of life happens not in the brightness nor the darkness, but in the medium light of an ordinary day.

Embracing the ordinary is what makes a faithful life.  Sighing creates space in my soul to breathe in the ordinary.  Christ said that the kingdom of God is already here, we simply don’t see it most of the time.  Paying attention is hard when we fall prey to the world’s tempting “more, better, faster, greater” culture.

So I sigh.  A sigh that opens my soul to take the deep breath of love found in the normal, a deep breath of grace found in the ordinary and a breath of mercy found in stillness.

*Sigh*

Susan

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