Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Love Offering

A Mother's Day love offering of words from my heart to yours.

To every woman waiting. Hoping. Praying. Searching. Longing. Yearning. Wishing. For pink lines and signed papers. For tiny feet and bonnets with ribbons. For baby showers and nursery decorating. For the sounds of heaven to keep you up at night.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

To every woman who misses and grieves and wishes for just one more day with Mama. Who would give anything to have one more moment. One more chance. One more opportunity.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

To every woman who is raising her children alone. For the heavy load. For the burden you carry. For the pain that cuts like a knife. For the weight that keeps you on bended knees, praying for every need to be met in the lives of your children. For the times that you have been dismissed or rejected or judged or overlooked. For the Mother's Day that lacks in acknowledgment and gifts and flowers and cards and special photographs.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

To every woman who has been undone beyond anything a human heart can comprehend. Unraveled at the very core of her being. Who has carried life in her womb only to lose that precious life in the end.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

To every woman who has carried life and sacrificed through circumstances beyond any understanding and who chose the selfless act of placing their life gift, their love offering, into the arms of another woman and whose gift made someone else a Mother.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

For every woman who cannot do today. Who just cannot. 
Who cannot bear to even blink or breathe or gasp for air because of the pain of all that this day doesn't represent for your heart. For all that never happened. And never will. For all of the love that was withheld. For all of the wrong that was done. For all of the good that was never shown. For all of the places and spaces inside that lack and ache and will not surrender you peace. 

For all of the Mother Daughter dreams that never came to pass. For the prodigal Mother who will not relent. For the prodigal daughter who will not come home. For the wedge of hopelessness and despair between you. For the weeping and the wailing. For the midnight hour that holds your heart hostage. For all of the love that was never offered or given or spoken or felt. For all that never was and never will be. For all of your golden childhood that was stolen from you. For every bow that was never placed. For every strand of pearls you were never given. For every day you were never celebrated. Photographed. Blessed. Loved. Cherished. Adored...

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

And He is a God who will restore. He will redeem. He will renew. He will repair. He will offer you a recompense and restitution and reconciliation above anything that you can think, hope or imagine. He is a Father who loves you and sees you and He knows it all, beautiful friend. He is well able. He is more than enough. He can fill every crack and broken place. He can can heal every crevice of injustice. He can give you something to hope for. To believe in. He can heal your heart to trust again. To breathe again. To love again. He is the One who reveals things so that He can heal things. He holds you in the palm of His hand and He has such extraordinary purpose and plans for you, His beloved Daughter.

He sees you. He loves you. He knows.

"You are the God who sees me." Genesis 16:13

Monday, March 30, 2015

You Are God's Magnum Opus

You know the feeling well. 

The one where hurtful words by another have overwhelmed you and you've allowed those words to carry your heart to a place where it does not belong. 

And with all of those hurtful words hovering over you and with all of life's demands and with all of the many ways in which you are needed and hurried and overwhelmed every day, you have forgotten one small thing.

You are God's Magnum Opus.

His masterpiece.

Which is no small thing beautiful friend.

There will be people who will want to convince you otherwise.

But His voice has to be the loudest in our lives.

Louder than any well meaning family or friends. 

Louder than the critics. 

Louder than a hundred people combined.

If we do not know the truth that is God's word and who He says we are, we will be tempted to believe the words of other people.

Their voices will be the loudest.

And we cannot allow the brokenness in other people to reduce us, intimidate us or confine us.

You are not the sum total of someone else's definition of you.

And you cannot spend your beautiful, amazing, incredible gift of a life operating out of hurtful words that someone else has spoken over you.

We have to know the truth about who we are in order to come against anything that doesn't line up with His word.

And His word is overflowing with truth about who we really are.

Read this...

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He has planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

This is truth.

You are God's masterpiece.

You are His magnum opus.

His beautiful daughter. His beloved child. You are His heart song. You are His gift. You are His crown jewel. His indescribable gift.

You are regarded as His most important work.

Please do not allow anyone, ever, for any reason, under any circumstance, to convince you otherwise. 

Not ever.

Write these words down and read them every, single day as a reminder.

And when the enemy comes in like a flood to try and tear you down and tell you otherwise.

Remember this 

You are God's masterpiece. His magnum opus. His most important work.

If you are surrounded by people who may be telling you otherwise...

You may need to kindly remove yourself from those people and get alone with God and His beautiful and life-giving words and allow Him to teach you the truth about who you really are.

You are amazing and incredible and brilliant and creative and beautiful and inspiring.
You are unique and full of wisdom and hope and faith and goodness and kindness and gentleness.
You are an extraordinary gift of love to this world and please, don't ever forget this.

Know that you were created on purpose FOR purpose- no matter how you came into this world.

You are a beautiful and extraordinary masterpiece knit together by the Master Himself.

Walk in this truth today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Other Slipper

I took my daughters to experience the new Cinderella movie this weekend and I cannot even begin to communicate how powerful this movie is and how much we all loved it!  It is so beautifully told and was filled with so many biblical undertones that we can hardly wait to see it again.

This is truly the remarkable story of Esther.

Their stories mirror one another again and again throughout this movie.

Esther was originally Hadassah.

Cinderella was originally Ella.

Name changes are very significant in the bible. They are marked moments.

They were both orphans too.

Cinderella's voice was the key to her destiny.

She didn't need a man to save her.

She saved herself.

No one knew who she was. She was a nobody.

Just like Esther.

God always uses those whom others would consider a "nobody" in a tremendous way.

There will be obstacles.

There will be pain and suffering and hardship.

There will be some who will be jealous and envious of your calling and your anointing and your gifting. There will even be some who will want to try and keep you hidden away and excluded and locked up in some type of attic, thinking that by using their power they can stop the call of God on your life.

But they can't.

Absolutely nothing can stop God's plan for your life. 

Everyone has "a person" in life. Some of us will even be blessed with more than one person.

Cinderella had a Fairy Godmother in this fairytale.

Esther had her uncle, Mordecai.

This person is appointed to partner, help, assist, give, sow, connect you, etc.

You will see this theme all throughout the bible. And in everyday life too.

Talk to anyone who is successful and fulfilling purpose.

Someone helped them. 

Someone with a great platform and tremendous influence gave them an opportunity, made a connection for them, called in favors, opened up doors for them, etc.

You cannot open the first few pages of a single book without reading countless acknowledgments of people who helped the author in some capacity.

If you haven't met your person yet- you will. We all will.

Everyone has a significant person who is ordained by God to help usher us into our destiny by orchestrating things that we couldn't make happen if we tried.

The longer the delay- the bigger the blessing. 

The greater the suffering- the bigger your person and your purpose will be.

The most powerful part of the movie for me was the scene when The Grand Duke brought the palace guards and the slipper to the home of Cinderella and the Step-Mother had her locked up in the attic.

After everyone tried on the shoe and they started to leave the house...

They heard Cinderella's voice.

They heard her singing from the attic because even in the midst of great suffering she refused to remain silent.

Just like Esther.

"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?" Esther 4:14

When the captain questions both The Grand Duke and the Step-Mother and realizes that they are lying and clearly hiding the chosen one from the King...

The King (Kit) actually jumps off of his horse and orders the captain to seek out the voice.

He knew that he could not be trusted and so he stayed behind pretending to be one of the guards.

The Kinsmen Redeemer appeared just in time. 

As Cinderella makes her way down the stairs to Kit, she begins to doubt herself. Her identity, her status and everything she feels she is lacking.

She has no idea if he will accept her for who she really is or not.

But she is full of great courage and presses on- even in the midst of fear.

"Will you take me as I am?" she asks him.

And of course He does. He loves her for who she really is.

Your commoner/nobody status given to you by the world does not matter to the King of Kings!

He loves us just as we are and He has great purpose for every one of us.

Kit offers her the other slipper because it belongs to her and it belonged to her all along.

When something belongs to you- every person in the world can try it on and attempt to make it fit their life- but it will not fit.

They can try and talk like you and write like you and create like you- but it will not fit.

Because it is yours.

It belongs to you.

It is your voice and your were not created to remain silent. 

Walking in who you were made to be will unlock your destiny.

Even a voice locked up in the attic can be heard when purpose is attached to it. 

Your voice is the key that will unlock greatness. Have courage and use it.

Painting, dancing, singing, drawing, cooking, building, writing...whatever it is.

But do not remain silent!

If we focus on overcoming our circumstances and refusing to be defined by them- and focus on allowing God to shape our character- "have courage and be kind," then when it is time, everything else will be added to us.

I thought about the years of suffering Cinderella endured.

And there was absolutely no one who helped her for many years.

How many of us have experienced this same story?

But God. Genesis 50:20

At the appointed time, a person was prepared to help her.

And all of those years of suffering and all of those years of harm and hard things and unfair things that the enemy meant to use to destroy her, were used for her good in the end.

Additionally, the glass slippers are so significant for me.

In the bible days people gave a shoe to signify that they were keeping a promise. To confirm that their word was good and true.

"Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. " Ruth 4:7

During my very first speaking engagement in July 2004, I shared my testimony and taught out of the book of Ruth and gave my shoe as a sign to a woman in the audience that God is a promise keeper and that His word is true. 

He is.

When Cinderella's step-mother smashes her glass slipper, she is devastated.

But she has no idea that the King has the other slipper.

Our King has the other slipper beautiful friends.  His word is good and true.

He is a promise keeper.

There is greatness on the inside of you.

He has a purpose and destiny for each one of you that is a perfect fit for you.

His promises are "Yes and Amen."

He will restore the unfair things. The painful things. The wrong things.

He will redeem and renew.

He offers recompense and restitution.

He is a restorer and a repairer.

He is the Kinsman Redeemer and He has the other slipper...the one with tremendous purpose and destiny attached to it. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Pearl Event IV 2015 ~ Speaker Bios

Good Morning Glories,

We are so looking forward to seeing you all in April!  

Thank you to all of you who have already purchased your ticket! 

Our hearts are so expectant with what He is planning to do for each one of us! 

Here are the hashtags to use for TPE.

#thepearlevent   #thepearlevent2015  #hispearl   #butgod

Here is the link to purchase your ticket.

We have added lots of answers to FAQ's as well as pictures from a previous event and links to wonderful hotels and restaurants, etc. ! 

I wanted to share about the speakers today and link to their blogs and social media platforms, so that you can connect with them before the big day.

I am overjoyed to introduce these amazing women to you... 

Lissa Whitlock

Speaker, Blogger and Photographer

My name is Lissa Whitlock, I've been married for 18 years and have two beautiful daughters.  My oldest is a teenager this year, she is such a JOY.  My youngest one is our tiny 11 year old that we refer to as our little peanut who is full of energy and keeps us laughing.  I met my husband at church, I sang in the choir and he played in the orchestra.  He often told everyone around him, including his mother, that he was going to marry me and I didn't even know his name yet!  It turns out he was right, and 18 years ago I became Mrs. Whitlock.  I would love to say that our life together has been all flowers and rainbows, but unfortunately we've known some tough times.  I remember 6 years ago sitting in my brother's house as a lost woman.  I had been a stay at home mom for so long, that I had lost who I was called to be and had no idea what my interests even were.  He and his wife encouraged me to just start trying new things; I tried making jewelry, took a part time job, and other things that didn't take.  One day, I found myself back in school in my 40s pursuing the art of photography.  I took every class offered on the subject thinking that I would go into food photography.  When I graduated I started getting requests to take photos of families and children around me without having ever dreamed of starting this type of business.  I always say that this work belongs to the Lord because I didn't start it; He did, and he continues to bless me through it!  Some days have brought tremendous stress because there is much to learn when doing something for the very first time.  It has however also brought great moments of triumph!  This is most certainly the hardest thing I've ever done, but God is teaching me who he's made me to be through it all.  I could not do this without my husband, he's my dream maker, my right hand man and best friend!  He pushes me to continue on every time I get discouraged and want to give up!  

When I'm not working on my business, my favorite ways to decompress are cooking, nesting around the house, going to coffee, taking long walks, and opening my home to encourage moms around me.  My heart constantly years to travel all around Europe!  I love the sunshine and always prefer to be outdoors!  

Walking through some hard years have taught me total dependence on the Lord.  I've finally learned what it means to live as His daughter and every day He teaches me more and more about grace!  I lived a long time trying desperately to do everything "right," checking boxes and living to please those around me.  I thought I had it all together until one day my life crashed around me and I realized that all of those rules and checked boxes didn't save me from anything. In the deepest pit of my life I met Jesus and he's the one who changed my life and I love to encourage others around me with my story!

My husband is my very best friend and we've grown together over the last 18 years!  I could not do this life without God first and then Neal right by my side!  I'm so blessed to be able to share a little bit of my heart with you and I hope you'll find yourself encouraged!  

Stephanie Holden

Speaker and Blogger


Stephanie is a southern girl through and through whose been married nearly 26 years to her high school sweetheart, Nick whose also her pastor. They have raised three incredible daughters who are now all married to some pretty cool guys and she has three cute grandchildren who call her "Honey". After the dust settled on all the DIY wedding projects that kept her busy for the past five years, she learned to not merely endure the dreaded empty nest season but to actually embrace it. You can often find her enjoying Sunday naps with her man, group texting her daughters and driving across the country to hang out with her grandkids. She has learned the importance of being intentional when it comes to family, keeping everyone as close as ever even though they are all miles a part. She shares about these things on her blog, The Honey Pot, sprinkled with her love for fashion and her recent journey to a healthy lifestyle. Whatever adventure you may find her up to, her aim in all she does is to share the love of Jesus and the hope she has found in Him.

Rebecca Lyons

Speaker and Author

She is a mother of three, wife of one and dog walker of two living in Nashville. She’s an old soul with a contemporary, honest voice who puts a new face on the struggles women face as they seek to live a life of meaning. Through emotive writing and speaking, Rebekah reveals her own battles to overcome anxiety, depression, and consumer impulses—challenging women to discover and boldly pursue the calling God has for them. As a self-confessed mess, Rebekah wears her heart on her sleeve, a benefit to friends and readers alike.

Tiffini Kilgore

Speaker, Blogger and Shop Owner


Tiffini Kilgore wants you to know that you are not alone in your mess! 

 After growing up in a broken home, she married at the tender age of sixteen. 
Divorced and with three small children, she married again. The years that 
followed held two more children, another broken marriage, chronic disease, 
major surgeries and living in cycles of abuse. Life's pain drove her to Jesus 
and her journals. Together, she and God began transforming her pain into 
passion by writing a new story for her life -- one of healing, forgiveness,
and new beginnings.

 Today, Tiffini is a mom to five -- four grown children and one teenager still 
at home -- and a grandma to five. She and her husband will joyfully celebrate
their 20th anniversary this year. An entrepreneur by trade and an encourager 
at heart, she is reaching out to share her story in hopes that the faith and hard 
work that rescued her will encourage and inspire others to embrace the art of 
living courageously.

Cherish Pinson

Speaker and Blogger

Speaker from The Pearl Event III


Cherish Pinson is the author of Southern Soul Mates blog, where she shares her faith, love for all things Southern and coastal, and all things creative. Cherish is from Georgia where she graduated from UGA in 2009 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. She is the owner of The Pink Flamingo, a Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store in Macon. Cherish also loves decorating, designing, gardening, cooking, the beach, traveling and her Pug baby, Pearl. She considers herself an old soul, yet a modern day belle who believes in hospitality, manners, pearls and monograms.  Cherish is passionate about encouraging women and shares the Word of God and her testimony at women’s events. Her story is adorned with mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love from the Lord. It’s a story of true redemption. Her message is one that is a source of tremendous encouragement to women. “I am broken yet God is relentless in mending me. My past and my brokenness do not define me, my salvation does. He is my Father, and proves daily that He is the only constant I will ever have, and really and truly, He is all I will ever need.”

Cherish is the wife of a veterinarian and practice owner, Brandon, whom she absolutely adores. They own Animal Medical Clinic of Forsyth in Forsyth, Georgia. 
Together they share a passion and life mission of serving Christ through business ownership and veterinary medicine. They have been married almost 9 years and have 4 dogs and 3 cats. 

Sarah Cantrell

Speaker and Advocate

Speaker from The Pearl Event II


Sarah is the mother of two precious babies on this side of Heaven and two babies on the other. 
She is the wife of a wonderful man and an absolute lover of Jesus and His people. Sarah's testimony of faith in the tragic loss of her twin boys has allowed her the opportunity to communicate the love of Jesus through her story. The story of His unfailing, lavishing love, comfort and redemption. In her spare time she is actively involved in her church and community and enjoys planning parties and spending time with family and friends.

Jennie Hundley

Speaker and President of Three Strands


I had not planned on placing my son for adoption.  I could not imagine leaving the hospital without MY baby! I already had a 2 year old son and could not imagine telling him I “gave away” his brother.  But my reality was that I was in a very physically and emotionally abusive relationship.  I realized I could not bring another precious baby into this life I was living.  When I was about 5 weeks away from giving birth, I met with Sarah Jensen, the director of Adoption Center of San Diego.  She listened to my story, and my fears.  She told me about open adoption.  I had never even heard of it.  I realized in speaking and crying with her, that it was time for me to start making positive choices in my life!  It was the hardest and most gut wrenching decision I have ever made, but the best decision I could have made for everyone involved.  My Grandma wrote a quote on a notecard for me during that time in my life:  “A life can only be truly changed when courage becomes more important than convenience”.  Placing Liam did take great courage!  That decision gave me the strength I needed to leave the abusive relationship, to realize I needed to be the best mom I could be for my 2 year old, Brian.  That decision started me on a path of making selfless choices.  I now am married with 3 sons.  I have helped launch a nonprofit to serve BirthMoms called Three Strands.  I am so thankful that I now have the opportunity to share my story of hope and redemption with other BirthMoms.  I want to help them realize that they are heroes.  They do not need to live in shame!  I am so thankful for all God has done, and is continuing to do in my life!

Prior to launching Three Strands, I devoted my time to caring for my family.  I also spent some time caring for young children as a preschool teacher.

Stacy Coleman 

Founder and Director of Three Strands


Out of great pain, an even greater passion was born!

During our 7 year journey to become parents, we had the unfortunate experience of coming very close to adopting a baby boy after bonding with him, feeding him and loving him for two days.  Unfortunately, we did not leave the hospital with that precious baby boy due to Social Service intervention beyond our control and beyond the control of the BirthMom who desperately wanted us to care for her baby boy.  The pain was so great in my darkest moment and yet, I felt the strongest connection I’ve ever felt with this BirthMom.  For it was in that very moment, my indescribable pain turned into an even greater passion for his BirthMom.  My focus shifted from my great pain and loss to hers.  She was also leaving without a baby, but her story was one of going back into the same environment with no support and no family to love her through her time of grief and loss.  She would still experience all of the physical changes and emotions of having a baby and yet somehow go right back to bartending and taking care of the 5-year-old she had at home, while alone and with no other options to make better choices for her life and that of her son.

In that dark moment, in a hotel room in Oklahoma City, flat on my face through the tears, it all came together like a movie being played out in my mind.  My previous work and relationships with Dave Ramsey (Financial principals), John C. Maxwell (Leadership principals), Florence Littauer (Personality Profile training) and my knowledge of the Strengths Finders testing was ALL FOR BIRTHMOMS!  THAT was my defining moment!  I could choose to wallow in the greatest pain of my life OR choose to walk into an even greater passion that was birthed inside of me!  I was simply to be a conduit to bring these amazing life skills and opportunities to BirthMoms to make better choices; to provide them with the option to choose a different path.  Why was I given these opportunities in my life?  Why was I working with these leaders in their areas of expertise?  Why was I provided with an amazing foundation, loving parents and life skills to pursue my sweet spot in this short time I have on earth? I believe it was so that Three Strands would be birthed in order to see BirthMoms served, loved and honored for choosing life and making the brave, selfless choice of providing the best for their child when they were in a place in life that they could not.

We serve BirthMoms as they realize their value in the Three Strand cord of BirthMom | Child | Adoptive Mom.  Without two very brave amazing women who are the BirthMoms of my two boys, I would not be given the incredible gift of being a Mom today!  We will turn the light shone us, the Adoptive Moms, to the real heroine in the Three Strand cord – the BirthMom!

Prior to founding Three Strands, I was Vice President of Conexus Group, a company my husband and I ran for 8 years and worked for Dave Ramsey and John C. Maxwell.

Becki DeVries 

 Worship Leader 

Becki is originally from Seattle, WA where she grew up and polished her singing at a young age.  After graduating high school in the Pacific NW she moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music as well as a degree in voice from Belmont University.  Before graduating she was already super busy singing writer demos  and Background vocals on Amy Grant’s record.  About two weeks after graduation she moved to LA where she was playing clubs, writing songs and becoming a highly sought after session singer working with Producers such as Dennis Matkosky, Guy Roche, David Frank, Desmond Child, Darrell Brown and Cliff Magness.  Her Major Label record vocal credits include Hilary Duff, Clay Aiken, Delta Goodrem, Amy Grant, Meredith Andrews, All Sons and Daughters, Desperation Band, Lulu, Holly Valance, Capitol Records Kids Country Hits 1,2,3 (leads and backgrounds) and several others.  Her national TV exposure includes the Emmy Nominated NBC Today show theme “It’s a New Day” (Lead and backgrounds)  as well as American Idol and All American Girl.  Feature film credits include the song “Alive” (lead and backgrounds) in the film Flicka (20th Century Fox) and the soundtrack. Her National commercial singing credits include Tresemme, KFC, Atlantis Resorts Bahamas and many more.  Her vocal arrangement credits include Jump 5’s “Beauty and the Beast” Disney release as well as the A-Teens (UK).  In addition to her session singing/songwriting career Becki has also found herself leading worship all over the US, Europe and Uganda.  She has released an independent worship record called Make a Way and most recently a Worship EP called Pictures and Frames. Currently she is a signed songwriter to Watsky Music Publishing,  develops artists, is a mother of two and lives in Nashville.