Wednesday, April 23, 2014

If You Remain Silent

If we were to sit and have coffee together, I would listen. 

I would listen for ways to encourage you.

I would listen for giftings. Wisdom. Talent. Hidden treasure.

And I would do my best to encourage you not to remain silent any longer.

I would do my best to help support you and figure out a way to help you out of the 
silent, fear, frozen, denial, pick somebody else, mindset.

I would tell you this.

God didn't create you so that you would remain silent.

He created you with incredible creativity and wisdom and ideas and gifts and talent and abilities.

To speak.

As women, we can speak any number of ways.

For years, I thought I was supposed to be silent. The voice that God had given me was buried under years of pain and abuse and worthlessness.

And so I spoke through creativity without even realizing I was using my God given voice.

Through flowers and styling and event planning and photography and then through words... I spoke with exclamation marks by using beauty and making people feel loved.

Doubting every bit of it the entire time.

Even when my favorite magazine called to feature my work.

I still doubted.

And wanted to remain silent.

And so I gave those things to Him and focused on speaking through motherhood.

Learning years later, that we don't always have to choose. 

Sometimes, He gives us more than one way to speak. More than one voice. More than one platform.

You may have read the book of Esther. If you haven't. You must. You must. You must.

Esther will rock your world. 

There are at least 50 sermons in that book of the bible.

One of my favorite pieces of scripture of all time is found in the book of Esther, Chapter 4:14

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"

Did you know that God will speak through you? Through your words? Your art? Your parenting?

Your marriage?  Your music? Your landscaping business? Your catering business? 

Your platform and ministry? Your books? Your photography? 

He uses vessels to speak and teach and minister to the hearts of His people.

In my years of listening to the hearts of women, I've found the following to be true.

We remain silent because of guilt.

We remain silent because of fear.

We remain silent because of our own insecurities.

We remain silent because of an abusive or controlling person.

We remain silent because of self doubt and worthlessness.

We remain silent because of spiritual abuse.

We remain silent because of fear of failure.

We remain silent because of fear of rejection.

We remain silent because of limited resources.

We remain silent because of past criticism.

We remain silent because we are waiting on perfection.

We remain silent because we are waiting for permission.

Just to name a few.

So today I wanted to leave you with something to encourage you.

I wanted to leave you with a pretty, pink permission slip from your heavenly Father.

"Who knows but that you have come to your royal position but for such a time as this?"

God did not create you to remain silent beautiful friend.

He created you for such a time as this.....

If you are waiting on Him or waiting on perfect or waiting on everyone to cheer you on first....

You don't have to remain silent any longer.

Step out in faith today. Ask Him for courage.  He is faithful to send the confirmation.

Peoples lives will be changed and blessed and transformed because you chose to walk in your called, chosen, anointed and appointed royal position and speak....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love and Splendor

...and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. ~ Isaiah 61:3 

We can spend much of our life creating our own plans and dreams and goals and many, many times, the Father simply has another way. He has a better way.

It doesn't always turn out like we thought or hoped or asked or prayed.

Sometimes there are years of pain and suffering and sorrow involved.

But He is purposeful. Intentional. Careful with His people and in the end He is faithful to display His love and splendor in the most beautiful ways.

One of the areas that I struggled with for many years was trying to grow my family.

We have three babies in heaven.

There was a season that I thought- it would never happen. 

My dream of a house full of baby boys and girls.

I wanted to wake up every day with a bed full of scrumptious babies and step on hot wheel cars and barbie shoes on my way to get my morning coffee.

I longed for tea parties and dance parties and bed time stories and flash light tag and apple bobbing and too many pictures to even mention.

I dreamed about finding R2D2 in my coffee cup and scooting dinosaurs and naked barbies out of the way in the shower.

I couldn't wait to carry and labor and deliver and nurse a precious life.

I wasn't sure what He would give us or how He would bless us or even if He would, I just knew that we wanted more children and a big family and our pastor prayed for that very thing during our wedding ceremony.

Motherhood had stolen my heart and captivated me at the tender age of 18 years old.

It was my calling.

Certainly not perfection.

Certainly not without falling short and plenty of mistakes and some really hard days.

And definitely not without clinging to Him on a daily basis for wisdom and guidance.

But motherhood....

With all of its love and splendor is what makes me weak in the knees and keeps me close to Him.

Our dream has never been to have a big and fancy life.

We dream in children and family and lots of tiny feet running through the house and sleepless nights.

By His grace, I am overjoyed and humbled and honored to share our news. 

We have been sweetly blessed again....

Our children are just a tiny bit excited.....

A blue million pictures and gender reveal coming soon!

All photography by my dear friend Meredith Teasley of Teasley Photography.

And Peter ~ A Repost

Morning Glories,

I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend.  For those of you who didn't and who may be struggling with the whole Easter celebration, this post is for you. 

Because I know you are many....

I felt it was worthy of a repost.

And because there are so many thoughts published about Easter on actual Easter...and the days following this major holiday can be somewhat of a let down...

I felt it was important to post it after Easter.

Because Easter isn't just a day. 

It is a gift. 

And one that is available to each one of us, every, single day.

There are so many important pieces about that Easter morning many years ago, but nothing strikes at my heart and speaks to me with such volume as this piece of the scriptures.

After everything. The betrayal. The denials. Three times Peter denied Jesus. After all the wrong doing and after all of the falling short and all of the everything that just wasn't right at all...

Jesus knew that Peter would be feeling less than. And that He would be feeling really worthless.

I mean. Here the stone has rolled away. The resurrection has happened. Jesus is alive.

And Peter is going to miss the miracle because of the shame of his past mistakes.

But God wanted to make sure He didn't miss it.

He made sure by actually calling for Peter by name....

The scriptures tell us in Mark 16:7 these words...

But go, tell His disciples- and Peter.

I know many of you are preparing to celebrate the gift that is Resurrection Sunday this morning...

But there are some of you who have no desire to celebrate Easter today.

Or maybe you would like to celebrate this glorious day, but you feel too far gone. The space between you and Jesus is as vast as the sea. Too much sorrow. Too much heartache. Too much sin.

Or maybe there are some of you who just feel that there is no way that a Holy God could love a girl like me.....

This post is for you beautiful friend.

Read this...

"But He said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples- and Peter- that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you." - Mark 16:6-7

There are two words here for you this morning.

And Peter.

After everything. The betrayal. The denials. Three times Peter denied Jesus. After all the wrong doing and after all of the falling short and all of the everything that just wasn't right at all...

Jesus knew that Peter would be feeling less than. And that He would be feeling really worthless.

I mean. Here the stone has rolled away. The resurrection has happened. Jesus is alive.

And Peter is going to miss the miracle because of the shame of his past mistakes.

But God wanted to make sure He didn't miss it.

He made sure by actually calling for Peter by name....

The scriptures tell us in Mark 16:7 these words...

But go, tell His disciples- and Peter.

This is one of the many miracles that happened on Easter Sunday so many years ago.

The stone was rolled away.

He is risen.

The guards never heard a thing. 

The angels appeared. 

The women arrived first.

The angel spoke and gave directions.

A request was made for Peter, whom they specifically called by name, to hear the news about the miracles.

The one who had denied Jesus. The one who had betrayed Him.

Jesus wanted Him to know about all of this right away.


Because He loved Peter. Because He was forgiven. Because He wanted Him to know these things. Because He wanted to reassure him and reach out to Him and let Peter know that despite all of it....

Jesus still loved Peter.

And He still loves you.

He walked through that first Easter Sunday for all of us. Not just for the ones who claim to be perfect.
Or the ones who have been raised up in the church all of their life or whatever it may be...

Sweet friend, the work of the cross, the suffering and the glory of it all- is for every, single one of us.

Today, while you are trying to decide if this post may be the Father gently wooing you unto Himself, I want to ask you if you would just repeat these two little words over and over again to yourself today.

And Peter.

And Peter.

And Peter.

He didn't leave Peter out of the miracle.

He doesn't want to leave you out either. There are miracles He wants to do in your life.

And sometimes we know this truth but we just need to be reminded...

I want to encourage you to change Peter's name to your own and repeat this to yourself today over and over again. Anytime any negative thoughts try to fill your heart, just crush those thoughts by saying these two little words...

And Jane.

And Charity.

And Angela.

And Robin.

And Paige.

And Jill.

And Edie.

And Kim.

And Macey.

And Starr.

And Betty.

And Sheral.

And Di'Anna.

And Misty.

And Jenny.

And Sarah.

And Ashley.

And Bridgette.

And Carole.

And Katie.

And Cherish.

And Rachel.

And KK.

And Bevy.

And Nancy.

And Claritza.

And Mel.

And Lizzy.

And Jennine.

And Maria.

And Donna.

And Andrea.

And Jaimeson.

And Jacki.

And Lissa.

And Hastings.

And Jennifer.

And Jenny Beth.

And Michelle

And Sherri.

And Cara.

And JuJu.

And Maggie.

And Vickie.

And Karen.

And Lara.

And Emily.

And Julie.

And Rebecca.

And Ann.

And Amy.

And Danielle.

And Elayne.

And then call on His name....

Because the same God who rolled the stone away over 2,000 years ago is here with us now and has rolled away every sin so that we could walk in forgiveness and love and hope and joy and grace and peace and the freedom to live life and life more abundantly.

Happy Easter to you beautiful friends. 

Whether you are worshiping Him from the pew of a beautiful church or worshiping Him alone in your own home or wondering how to worship Him at all.

Please know this....

He loves you so.

"They shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares His own son who serves him." Malachi 3:17

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When God Speaks

Last year I walked through a season of overwhelming despair.

And so I took pen to paper and did the only thing that I know how to do when that feeling hits.

I wrote to Him.

I wrote and journaled and let my heart empty out the things I didn't have the courage to even so  much as whisper in a prayer.

I shared with Him what I felt like were a series of mistakes that I had made during a really painful time in my life last year, as well as some really hurtful relational things that happened at the same time and I didn't know how to overcome them. I couldn't fix them. I couldn't undo them.

I also shared how unqualified and ill equipped I felt with anything regarding writing or blogging or ministry or marriage or the raising of children or even just life in general.

I highlighted my many mistakes, just in case He had failed to take note of them.

I also told Him that I honestly had no idea what He wanted me to do with The Pearl Event, with this blog, with the piles of notebooks filled with pages that could be books, the bible studies and teachings and lessons that I had been writing for the last ten years.

I shared with Him about how He needed to give it to someone else.

Someone more capable. Someone more qualified. Someone with ten degrees hanging on the wall. Someone with a huge realm of influence and big time platforms and blogs and callings. Someone with a famous husband or famous friends or the ability to just make phone calls and create backing and support and the like.

I'm not your girl, I told Him.

It shouldn't be this hard for this many years.

This feeling that overwhelms my heart every year of having to push through a giant wall of adversity and obstacles and doing the work of ten people solo to create an event to bless His daughters.

I'm a Mama and it's all I've ever done and it's all that I know how to do and there are days where I fail miserably at just that.

Lots of days, actually.

So I felt that for now, I should just try and focus on getting that right. After 24 years of parenting, I am still trying to figure out the mystery of motherhood and the raising of beautiful children.

I flipped to the last page and wrote whatever I felt He was speaking to my heart.

"I am the only connection you need. Stay connected to the source. I can make happen for you in a  moment what it takes people years to achieve on their own." 

And while I have never been nor will I ever be, the blogger who blogs with the "what's in it for me mentality" I couldn't help but wonder about what I thought He had called me to do, especially where The Pearl Event was concerned. I have spent the last six years blogging to give, not blogging to get.
Which is the complete opposite of most of the blog world.

But I have struggled as of late with feeling like a failure and with everything feeling really, really hard and even feeling like maybe I just completely missed it. Big time.

To create something from nothing.

One hundred percent grass roots.

Without mentors or huge influence or help or financial backing and with truck loads of naysayers waiting in the wings.

It is not for the faint of heart.

And so after many years of trying and failing, in my opinion, on New Years Eve this year I gave it all to Him. 

I carried it to Him, along with mountains of what I considered to be failure of epic proportions and I placed it at His feet.

I apologized for my failure and shortcomings and mistakes and for clearly not being able to execute whatever on earth it was that He wanted me to do.

I talked with a couple of faithful friends and shared with them that I was walking away from everything with the exception of my family.

It was time.

No more writing or speaking or blogging about Him. 

No more encouraging others through His word.

No more ministry.

No more Pearl Events or anything of the sort.

I'm leaving all of that for the perfect people and the experts and the qualified.

And so on Jan. 1 this year I told Him these things and said these words...

"Unless you tell me otherwise, I'm done." You have to do it Lord.

If you want me to do anything else ....You have to do it, so that I know it is all You. I can't do this any more."

I then wrote a blog post about editing your life and home stuff and didn't write anything else for nearly a month.

I was too busy walking through a crisis of faith.

Evaluating the last 10 years I had sown into the lives of others. The years I gathered women in my home every Wed. to love on them and share His word. The years of Pearl Events. The six years of filling the pages here with post after post all for His glory. The countless, endless things - all in His name. 

As well as rehearsing the mountain of mistakes I've made, which just so happens to be one of my spiritual gifts. 

I recounted them one by one, and tried to make some sense out of everything as well as justify it all.

And then, in spite of all of my shortcomings and mistakes and my walking away on Jan. 1 this year...

The Father came in like a flood.

He woke me up in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 29th and asked me to write a post called "The New Church Lady."

To which I immediately replied with something along the lines of "NO WAY."

There isn't anything about me that would qualify me to write something like that- I am not a good church lady when meant in a good way and I struggle and fail miserably and have made way too many mistakes and besides, those words have such a negative connotation attached to them. Those words make people cringe, Lord.

Church ladies are notorious for excluding and judging and condemning and 
running the "Holy Huddle" at their various churches.

Why would anyone want to read that? 

No way.

And He whispered and wooed and prompted and guided and led and I relented.

And together we wrote. Just like we have nearly every post here these last six years.

And then because He is God and He is looking for willing and obedient and not perfection.

He sent nearly one million people here to read and share and forward that post- all in a manner of days.

And I went into a full fledged panic attack.

People from all over the country reached out in various ways, Pastors and leaders and clergy, asking permission to share it in their pulpits, and their Sunday School classrooms and with their bible studies and women's groups and in their newsletters and church bulletins.

They wrote and shared their own experiences and some even shared their own reasons for walking away from the church and ultimately from Him.

They wrote and shared about their own church hurt and the countless ways they had been excluded and rejected from the very place that should welcome anyone with open arms.

And I wept.

Because I laid it all down and considered myself a great failure in every category and I walked away and told Him that I was done.

And He decided that wasn't enough...

I was then connected with a wonderful agent and by His unmerited grace, I am now officially with Premiere Speakers Bureau and they will be booking any future speaking engagements and Pearl Events in various churches and cities.

And I wept.

Because I saw a glimpse of what He must be doing.

Because I never imagined that through this blog or through a small piece of my own testimony, He would speak with such volume.

And then, 

Because He is God all by Himself and there is no other .....

I was connected with a literary agent in Washington, DC. and by His grace, I am humbled to share that I am currently working on my first book proposal.

The agent will then pitch the book to various publishing houses in hopes of a book deal.

And that is when I nearly collapsed.

Because it feels so undeserved and so meant for someone else and also, so unbelievable.

This certainly was not meant for someone who has my testimony and who isn't a perfect church girl.

But when God speaks.

When God opens doors.

When God moves.

When God decides and orchestrates and sets things up according to His purpose and plan, no one can deny it.

This much is true.

And so with all humility of heart and knowing full well the mountain of mistakes I have made in life, I am, by His grace, writing whatever words He asks me to, and I am praying that He would simply have His way, that He would move and speak and orchestrate in whatever ways He so chooses through the pages of this proposal and through any upcoming speaking engagements and Pearl Events.

I would like to ask you to pray, if you feel led to, that God would pour out His spirit and His great love onto the pages of this book proposal and that He would supernaturally enable me to write it.

In between kissing babies and refereeing sibling arguments and folding loads of laundry and preparing lots of meals for our family, just to name a few things....

Thank you in advance beautiful friends.

With a heart in complete awe and wonder.

"I created you with a longing in your heart that only I can fill." Psalm 90:14