Sunday, March 31, 2013

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your Reach

This post is dedicated to my beautiful friend, Elayne C.  who changed the course of my destiny forever. I love you Elayne and I will never forget your extraordinary gift to reach. To God be the glory.

I love to sit in the back row in a church service.

Anytime I have a choice in the matter, I will always choose the back row and the very last seat in that row.

The front row is just too presumptuous. I mean, who on earth goes anywhere and just plops right down on the front row? 

I tried it - once. 

And I told the ladies sitting around me how excited I was because this was just so not me and I just couldn't believe that I had the courage to walk all the way up to the very front and pick that end seat and just sit right there on THE front row. Gracious alive. Wouldn't you know it though, the guest speaker came in and after introducing herself she announced that everyone needed to get up and choose a different seat!

I just died laughing and hurried my happy self back to the back row where I belong. Hello.

The middle rows make me a nervous wreck. There are folks everywhere. And I love folks. But they are just all down the front and then folks all behind you and beside you. 

It makes me sweat.

And I don't have very good skin. Seriously. And all of those folks sitting around that middle row make me worry that they can see my adult acne. And they may notice that my hair is about three shades too blonde but I like it and it's a train I don't know how to stop. I just keep going back for more. Well that and the Pro -Active vending machine down at the mall. 

So now you know my beauty secrets.

But I've just never been a middle row kind of person.

But the back row. Oh it's just you and Jesus. It is all kinds of wonderful.

I love it.

I want to share with you today my favorite "back row" story of all time.

And it isn't so much a story as it was and still is, a life changing event that absolutely wrecked me.

It was a special Sunday morning service for Father's Day a good nine and half years ago.  I didn't want to go to church on Father's Day other than to honor my sweet Husband.

There wasn't anything in me that wanted to hear about how wonderful Father's are.

If you've heard my story ~ you know why.

But God has a way of getting to the bottom of things and that is exactly what He did some nine years ago that special Sunday morning.

I was seated on the back row inside our church and our sweet baby was asleep in her car seat carrier at my feet.

Our Pastor was sharing all about how important fathers are ~ especially to little girls. He went on to break down the identity factor as it relates to fathers and daughters.

And with each word the Pastor spoke, the tears started to fall, as I listened to things I had never heard before and so much of my life began to make sense.

I literally felt sick.

I sat down on the floor in that back row and just hovered over our sweet baby girl and wiped away the tears and tried to get through the service.

And then I felt someone reach down for me.

It was our Pastor's wife, Elayne.

She hugged me and said these words...

"Sibi, God wants you to know that He went out of His way to pursue you this morning."

My brain couldn't keep up with my heart. All I could think was, what? Why? He did? Me?

It broke me.

And it broke that thing in me that wouldn't allow me to get close to the Father's heart.

What was so life changing for me in that moment was this....

She reached for me. 

She left her title and her position and her family and her duties and anything and everything all right there on the front row right in the middle of a church service as she heard the Father whisper something special to her for someone else and she went searching the back rows to deliver.

And because she was willing and obedient and because she had a heart of humility, a heart of servitude and wasn't really concerned with keeping with what is usual and customary for a Pastor's wife in the middle of a church service...she demonstrated to me in action and in word this very truth....

God reached for me.

He reached for me right there in the middle of my mess. He knew exactly what was going on with my heart and with my hangups and with my issues and with everything. All of it.

He reached for me through another person.

And it changed my life.

It was one of the very important pieces that changed everything for me. Forever.

But she didn't stop with just reaching once. And this wasn't the first time God had reached out to me through her. And I know that we can't always do this in life, but I wanted to share how overwhelmed I was by God's love for me through this precious woman.

We had a lot of trouble trying to grow our family. We lost a baby just five months after our wedding day in October of 2000.  And then it took a year and a half to get those two gorgeous pink lines again. Only to lose that sweet life again. And it wouldn't be our last time to lose a pregnancy either. But during that season we were just devastated. And the first Sunday we could attend church again after our loss just so happened to be baby dedication Sunday and we had no idea.

 I have no words for the pain that I felt that day.

But Monday morning there was a delivery at my front door. A beautiful flower arrangement and the sweetest card that I still have and will keep forever.

It was from Elayne.

And she didn't stop reaching then.

She invited us to a bible study group in their home where we surrounded by other ministry leaders.

We so did not belong in that group. We barely knew anything.

But God knew.

And Elayne and that incredible group of people just loved on us week after week.

And she didn't stop reaching then.

Later on in the summer of 2004, Elayne invited me to speak and share my testimony on a women's retreat.

I almost fainted.

I had no experience. I had zero credentials. I had never even spoken in public before. Ever.

But she and the Father were up to something and I accepted the request with fear and trembling and did my best to honor God.

During the weekend before my turn to speak, Elayne asked me if it would be okay if she sat in and listened to the session.

I almost fainted.

And I replied with something along the lines of this...there is no way that you can be in there.

She was, to put it lightly, a powerhouse. I had never met a woman so full of God's love and truth and revelation and power.  And the thought of her listening to me stumble through my little testimony that could was enough to make me want to run and hide in my hotel room.

And so that weekend I shared my testimony for the first time ever and at the end of my session, I felt someone reach for me and turn me around to hug me.

It was Elayne.

She had honored my request by simply hiding behind a table and sitting on the floor of the ballroom so that I wouldn't see her. Everyone knew she was in there except me.

And she took the microphone and honored me in front of a room full of women with beautiful words and a life-giving prayer.

And the rest, as they say, is history. I owe much of my walk with the Lord to this precious woman who used her ability to reach, to change a life forever.

You have no idea how powerful your ability to reach others really is. God just needs a willing vessel.

And I'm not talking about just handing out bible tracts, or quoting a scripture or forwarding an email with a nice story. As wonderful as all of that may be at the right time and such.

I'm talking about your reach. 

Your ability to connect with another person- heart to heart. Spirit to spirit. 

What I'm really talking about is reaching for the lady ringing up your Tide and Charmin at Target.

Or the family walking through sorrow right now.

Or the family who may be walking through the pain of separation or divorce this week.

Or the bus driver. Or the school teacher.

Or the couple seated next to you this upcoming Sunday morning~ Easter Sunday.

And it isn't that we need to quote a hundred scriptures. Because honestly if Elayne had done that to me, it would have fallen on deaf ears. I didn't want to hear any scriptures at that time in my life. I was just too broken to be able to receive them.

I needed to feel His love for me. I needed to experience Him reaching for me. 

I needed to experience the God of the universe pursuing me. In all of my brokenness and shortcomings and flaws and desperate need of healing and I needed to know that He could pursue me and find me and reach for me- all the way to the very back row.

I needed to experience the same God who loves all of the people on the front row who had titles and positions and degrees and years of experience and influence- was and is the same God who would prompt a pastor's wife to get up out of her seat in the middle of a service and send her searching the back rows for a very broken and hurting girl without any titles or degrees or influence and who was convinced that God loved everyone else more.

He uses people to do this very thing.

And I love the word of God.  I love the word. But I think, when people are really broken we also want to connect. We don't want to leave that part out. We want to meet a need. We want to demonstrate who God is before they will listen to anything He has to say. We want to be willing to reach out and demonstrate His heart for them, before they will listen to a sermon on the mount- so to speak.

We want to show a vested interest. 

Otherwise we may come off sounding like a clanging symbol. Words without any love- so to speak.

For years people told me this. "Sibi, you need Jesus."  The problem was, for a very long time, no one really showed me who He was- and I really didn't need any more disappointment in my life.

Each and every one of us have what I love to call "a reach."

If God has placed you on the front row in life then I believe and feel that your reach is most likely, the many rows behind you, like Elayne.

If God has placed you in a position of authority or title or stature- then your reach is everyone who looks to you as their employer or their boss. It is also your vendors or clients or customers as well.

If God has given you a position in a family as a Mama-  then your reach is your household and your children and your extended family members and the churches, schools and neighbors and people that you could extend God's love to in your areas of raising a family.

If God has given you a blogging platform of any capacity, then your reach is unlimited in so many ways. With the click of a button, people can feel God reaching for them through the power of His love through the words you type on a single post, or an email response or a even in person through a coffee or lunch date.

People are hurting. They are hungry. There are families in our neighborhoods who have no idea what they are going to do- about any number of things. Or whose marriages are hurting so badly because they have no one they can trust to confide in or who cannot afford counseling.  Or people who are wondering if God cares about them at all, sitting in the church pews beside us, just going through the motions of playing church and never connecting with the God who loves them so much. They have no idea how much they are loved.

No one has ever reached for them.

We have to be willing to get over ourselves.

May we never get to a place where we think He is done reaching for us or that our reach has no affect on anyone else. 

May we be mindful this week as we head into the glory that is Easter weekend, to be intentional to reach for God's people in any way possible.

You have no idea the power you have within you to change hearts and lives in the most amazing ways. Just something so small and simple can turn a heart to Him today. Truly...

Beautiful Easter blessings to each one of you sweet friends.

I hope you know that He sees you no matter where you are seated in this gift called life today.



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

He Knows

It was the early fall of 2009 and I had just moved across the country with all of my babies and a heart overflowing with gratitude.  A good nine years after our wedding day and the raising of our Macey Girl
in the Northeast. I had waited for this, this answering of many, many prayers for years. 

I was finally going to move home. My babies were finally going to have their Nana.  Just a mere 30 minute drive from door to door. 

For years before this I had prayed and worked on myself. My angry heart. My broken self.

My heart that wanted to undo so much of what had been my childhood and my life as a whole.

I threw myself at the mercy seat daily for the Father to teach me how to forgive and how to love, the way that He loves. I honestly did not have any idea.  It was beyond my human comprehension.

He is so faithful.

He taught me how to forgive on such a level that I experienced a joy I had never known.

Because He knows. 

And that is why He commands it of us. To forgive one another.

And with that forgiveness...

He taught me how to honor. How to serve. How to be a daughter. How to accept the things I could not change. How to walk in love. How to stop wanting to change people and just love them. How to give and prefer others over myself. How to forgive down to the deepest places in my soul.  How to let go of so much that I had spent most of my life holding on to.

And joy came like I had never known.

And with it, more blessing. More creative ways to honor my Mother and bless her and do for her and just love her. He gave me compassion for her. He gave me understanding. He also gave me a love for her and a desire to honor her in ways that I had never known.

I gave her grandchildren. And a relationship with a daughter who truly only wanted to love her in grace, love, forgiveness, understanding and a new beginning.

I spoke only life and blessing to my children about their Nana.

I taught them how to honor her. They taught me what love looks like unfiltered.

Because He knows. 

He knows that children hold the answer to so much in life. He even tells us that to enter in to the kingdom of Heaven we must become like a little child.

And during these years of healing and clinging close to the Father, I saw so many of my own mistakes in clear 20/20 vision.  I saw so much of my parenting and living and learning was doing the very best that I could with what I had. And many years I did not have Him. An automatic deficit.

I was also feasting daily on the truckloads of God's grace offered to me by my oldest daughter Macey who was born into the arms of her 18 year old unwed Mother who loved her greatly but was by no means well equipped.

And I would weep. Because she loved me so much. And she didn't have to.

And I would weep at the years my prideful heart assumed that Macey loved me and we had a special relationship because like so many of us, I believed I was a better mother than my mother had been.

Generally speaking and not including the exceptions where there are horrific things, there aren't any better mothers. There is only a bigger God who offers more grace than we deserve.

And mothers who know this truth and who cling to Him daily for wisdom and guidance.

We all fall short in one way or another. 

God set it up that way.... so that we would need Him.

The grace and kindness and unconditional love Macey offered me daily would break me and humble me and mold me and shape me and keep me so close to the Father that it changed me forever.

Because He knows. 

He knows that when we extend true grace and forgiveness to people that it is a tool that He uses to draw them unto Himself.

I have witnessed this and experienced this in my own life on both sides of relationships again and again.

I have also witnessed how we have to continue to work for the ground we've gained in relationships because the enemy despises unity and relationships where God is the center of it all. 

Especially when that relationship is a Mother- Daughter one filled with mercy and grace and hearts filled with forgiveness and honor.

And I would experience the losing of all gained ground as heartbreak entered into my world that early fall of 2009 and knocked the breath out of me and left me feeling raw and angry and hurt and all of those feelings would come flooding back inside my soul.

Because we are human. We fall short. We make mistakes. We need healing. We need Him.

Just two weeks after moving to my dream place. My answered prayer place. And new dream schools. And new dream everything with the exception of my sweet husband still living and working in another state.  And my babies finally having their Nana...a dream come true for me.

I received a call. A message left on my answering machine from Mom that basically said this.

I'm done. 

And I would shake my fists at the God I loved and I would grip the steering wheel while the tears flowed after dropping my kids off at school and I would weep on the kitchen floor over the top of crushed goldfish and cheerios and babies in my lap asking me why I was crying. 

And I couldn't answer them the truth because I was in so much pain from the heartbreak.

I would hold them and kiss them and rock them and tell them that I loved them and that God did too.

And I would try and sleep at night alone with a husband working in another state and weep from the physical pain that my heart was causing me because life was just too overwhelming and too painful and I would whisper to Him these words..... 

God. How could you allow this.

God. What did I do wrong?

God. Why did you do this to me?

God. How could you? After all I've already walked through?

God. Why would you break my heart like this? Again.

And in the midst of my misplaced blame and overwhelmed and broken heart...

He would tell me how much He loved me and How I was His and belonged to Him and He would tell me to trust Him and stay close to Him and that He had me in the palm of His hand.

He would hover over me while this heartbreak unraveled me to the very core of my being.

Because He knows.

He knows what to allow and what to use for our good and His glory. And He knows how to take the things the enemy meant to use to destroy us and use them to break us so that He can build us back up the way He had intended all along.

Completely and totally and fully connected to Him.

Heart. Spirit. Mind and soul.

So that when people stand on the sidelines of our life and criticize and judge and gossip and whisper about whatever they know nothing about, or about how we do not even talk to our families....without having a clue the price that's been paid or the heartbreak that is going on behind their judgement....

We will not collapse.

Because we are rooted and grounded in Him.

Because when we seek to live a life free from heartbreak or difficulties or lack or loneliness or fill in the blank.....

We only seek to fill ourselves up with more of ourselves.

But when we lose those things and choose to fill ourselves up with Him....

We really gain.

Because He knows.

He knows that we have to be willing to lose our life to find it.

And so in my time of losing I chose to stay close to Him. And because He loves us too much to leave us the same. To leave us unchanged. To leave us stale and stagnant and caught up in our selfishness and He loves us too much to leave us full of hurt and pain and bitterness and resentment and unforgiveness.

He simply will not allow it when we draw near to Him.

And in keeping with that truth, earlier this year He asked me to do something that I did not want to do.

I wrestled. I argued. I stated my case. I justified. I insisted on my own way. For a while.

And then in the midnight hour earlier this year,  He poured into my heart His great love and led and prompted and gently asked me to make a call to my Mother. The first one in three and half years.

He asked me to call and offer forgiveness to her for all of it. For anything and everything.  He asked me to call and also apologize for any wrong doing on my part or any hurt or offense I may have caused over the last 41 years. He asked me to assure her that I did not want anything from her. That I did not expect anything from her and that I was not calling to re-hash anything.

It was not easy. It did not go exactly like I had hoped. 

But I was obedient.

Because He knows.

He knows the blessing is in the obedience.

And He also knows that one day, as a Mother of six precious children, I will need to hear those very words in some form or another, for one thing or another, from one child or another....

And so it went that later that very week, two very flawed people who love God very much and who have survived and overcome a world of hurt, found their way in God's great love and into each other's arms where His glory fell in the likes of mercy, grace, forgiveness, apologies and His immeasurable love.

I love you Mama.

Thank you for choosing to give me life in the midst of incredibly painful circumstances. Thank you for raising me the best that you knew how to do.  Thank you for loving me the best that you could then and the best that you can now. Thank you for your humility. Thank you for your redemptive words. Thank you for trying and for giving to each one of us in special ways. Thank you for asking for forgiveness even though you were already forgiven. Thank you for trying to start again when it would have been easier just to walk away. 

I chose this picture of you Mama, because it is the only one I have of you wearing pearls. And I would be amiss to spend my life telling God's precious daughters that they are His pearl and not ever share that beautiful truth with you....

You are His Pearl Mama. He loves you and so do I.



Monday, March 25, 2013

Speakers For The Pearl Event III

I am overjoyed to share our speakers with you for The Triple Strand this year! These women are incredible and have overcome so much in life. Their God stories will fill you with immeasurable hope and with His truth. I am humbled and honored that they would partner with me and most importantly with Him to bring you The Triple Strand this year. The way the Father orchestrated every detail of this is still overwhelming to me and I am so incredibly grateful. The following women each have beautiful and deeply personal relationships with the Lord. They also have tremendous hearts to serve His daughters! They are absolutely full of the love and joy and goodness of the Lord!  You all are going to be so blessed on May 17! We can hardly wait!!

Rachel Adams is a Florida girl who is saved by grace and in awe of the 3 people who hold her heart.  She is married to the love of her life who has captured her heart and soul. Rachel graduated from Auburn University in 2003 with a degree in Collaborative Education. While education is her profession, her heart’s desire is to share her story of grace, redemption and hope with others, pointing women to true healing in Him. Rachel believes we are loved by a perfect God. She is passionate about leading a ladies bible study where she spends time encouraging others with the truth that they are made whole by finding their identity in Him and that their pieces are mended by His lavish grace. You can read more of her heart to encourage others here: Anchors of Grace.

Charity (“Cha Cha”) Jones, is drawn to all things pretty and sparkly, drinker of (too) much coffee,  lover and student of God, redeemed rebel, hair stylist, encouraging friend, comfort food maker, reluctant cleaner, homeschool teacher, Bible curriculum developer, DIYer, thrifty shopper, BIG dreamer, prayer warrior and a recovering control freak, just to name a few. Above all, she is most passionate about pursuing God. Jesus is the love of her life and her Great Sustainer. Spending far too many years broken and rebellious, she has since learned the healing freedom that comes from submitting her life to Him. God has blessed her with a burden and compassion for women in all stages of life, and she is passionate about sharing God's redeeming love with them.  

Charity has two precious daughters, Audrey and Cecelia, and has been married to Jeremy for 15 years.  She truly believes every year with him is the best yet. She is blessed to serve God and her church, First Baptist Church Woodstock as a care group leader alongside her Husband Jeremy. Charity also serves as a women’s ministry leader and an administrator and writer for a women’s ministry blog ( She invites you to pull up a chair, get comfortable, and visit her personal blog here

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 the wife of a veterinarian and practice owner whom she absolutely adores. Cherish is forced to be humbled on a daily basis through their passion for caring for animals. She also loves decorating, designing, gardening and cooking. She considers herself an old soul, yet a modern day belle who firmly believes in the wearing of pearls, monogramming anything she possibly can, manners, hospitality, country music and sharing the Gospel.  Her story is adorned with mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love from the Lord. It's a story of redemption. Her message is one that is a source of tremendous encouragement to women.  "I am broken yet He is relentless in mending me. He proves daily that He is the only constant I will ever have, and really and truly, He is all I will ever need."

Worship Leader For The Pearl Event III

Michaela grew up in a family that placed a high value on worship.  Though formally trained on the piano, she absorbed much by osmosis as she grew up surrounded by influential worship leaders and songwriters. In 2008, she enrolled in the school of ministry at Bethel Church in Redding, California, and after a year leading worship under the guidance of Brian and Jenn Johnson, Michaela returned home to begin serving as one of the worship leaders for her local church in TN.  She is a passionate and anointed worship leader having spent years in the secret place - alone with God and the piano. She has recently released her first album, The Morning Sun. Available on Itunes here.

I will be sharing and encouraging you all too, but most importantly, these incredible women will be pouring out their hearts to be used by the Father,  to bless you above all you can imagine!

We cannot wait to see you all on May 17! I posted some hotel options yesterday for those of you who have asked!

Big Hug,


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hotel Options For The Pearl Event ~ Nashville

Morning Glories!

I wanted to write a post to share some hotel options for those of you who would like to stay overnight for The Pearl Event.

There are tons of hotels in Nashville. These are just a few that I feel comfortable suggesting to you all at some various price points here from high to low.

The event is being held in downtown Nashville at The Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Staying Downtown or on West End or in the Vandy area will keep you very nearby.

The Hermitage Hotel

The Hilton Downtown 

The Loews Vanderbilt

Union Station Hotel 

The Hutton

The Hampton Inn~ Vandy/ West End

The Hampton Inn~ Elliston Place/ West End

I hope this helps in making your plans to join us on May 17. Cannot wait to see you all soon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Pearl Event III ~ Nashville

Morning Glories!

I wanted to share this exciting announcement with you all today! Finally!

We are knee deep in preparations for The Triple Strand set for Friday, May 17 in Nashville, TN.

We have a gorgeous new venue that you all are going to love!  

I may be twirling over this. 

I am just beside myself.

We have changed the day. It is now on a Friday instead of the weekend so that you all can spend the weekend enjoying Nashville! You know you cannot visit Nashville without a trip to eat at The Loveless Cafe or The Pancake Pantry!

We have added a box lunch this year and it is included in your ticket price. 

We have also changed up the structure of the event after trying it out in Atlanta last weekend!

God just blessed it in more ways than I had even prayed for Him to do!

The morning sessions will be praise and worship and our guest speakers sharing their incredible testimonies and then we will serve you all box lunches in the courtyard area. 

During the afternoon sessions I will be teaching and encouraging you all through some new worksheets that I designed with the Father called Heartwork and I will also be weaving in my personal testimony to share as well. We will end with a new video and the adorning of the pearls!

I am SO excited about all of the new and special changes and we hope it blesses you!

I want to share about our incredible worship leader for this event here today.

Her name is Michaela McLaird and she is an incredible gift and talent! 

I am just beside myself that she is leading us in worship for this event.

We will be announcing more details about the hotels and speakers bios and the flyer on Monday!

I am so excited to meet you all in Nashville in just 8 short weeks! We are already praying for you!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Pearl Event ~ Atlanta 2013

Morning Glories!

I am going to do my best to capture in words and these beautiful photographs, (all shot by the amazing Paige Knudsen) what the Lord did last weekend. But let's suffice this to say, I'm not sure I can capture in words or fully articulate everything my heart wants to write.

I will say this.

Heart explosion.

God truly poured out and blessed and did the unthinkable and unimaginable.

This weekend was a spiritual marker and milestone that is permanently carved on my heart.

It was a huge turning point for me personally and I am just so incredibly grateful.

I want to share the words and pictures here with you all today, but what I really hope to do by sharing this, is actually inspire you to pursue your hearts' desire. To encourage you to believe in yourself. And to motivate you to be courageous and to be obedient to your calling.

There is something deep inside the well within each one of you that only you can do.

It is the reason He created you.

Sometimes in life, I think we can tend to believe that if we are called to do something- it won't be hard.

And when the hard things come, we question everything, including our purpose, and we may even want to completely give up or we allow fear to take over and it just absolutely paralyzes us.

Push through.

Because what is waiting for you on the other side of all of that pain and suffering and all of those really hard things lies the very reason He created you. 


It may be really, really difficult at times.  And it will involve facing your fears and it will involve taking some risks and sometimes some really big ones. 

Be willing to be a fool for Christ.  

Be willing to lose your life to find it. 

Be willing to invest in what God is invested in.


I spend my spare time investing in people. Because that is all that matters to Him.

That is the heart of God.

Investing in His people is the way that I worship the Lord.

And the return on your investment is immeasurable.

Last summer someone really special invested in me. She also took a huge risk on me.

Karen Murray.

She is the director of the women's ministry for Mountain Park First Baptist Church near Atlanta, GA.

This is the first time that Karen brought in a speaker from out of town. It is also the first time another church/ministry has partnered with me and invited me to bring The Pearl Event to their church community.

I am still twirling from this weekend. My heart is still singing....

Karen and her amazing team of women did everything. They organized and decorated and planned for this day for months. They made all of the food to bless the women with on Saturday. They served and loved and prayed and gave of their time and used their many gifts and talents to make this day possible.

Thank you to every single one of you!!!

I drove in and brought the pearls! Karen and her team did the job of twenty people. Honestly.

I know how hard it is and how much work it is from experience and to have another ministry want to partner with you and take that on, just so they can invest in God's people.....

There are no words big enough.

Y'all. You don't even know.

I will never be the same again.

Beautiful Karen Murray.


You are a precious vessel of God's love and His goodness. Thank you for using your life to bring Him honor and glory. Thank you for investing in me and for believing in me. Thank you for such an incredible opportunity. Thank you for the months and months and months of planning and worrying and hoping and praying and organizing and orchestrating every, single detail for this day.
I am completely overwhelmed and awestruck by you and your beautiful heart to serve.
I am forever grateful to you beautiful friend.
There are no words big enough.....

Karen and her gorgeous daughters, Claire and Chandler.

I wish I had all the right words to describe what it feels like when someone comes alongside your
God dream. And when someone invests in you and believes in you. 

Especially when it involves taking a huge risk with that investment.

It is a gift.

Karen and Paige Knudsen are long time friends and Paige connected the two of us last summer.

I wish I could also find the words to describe what it feels like to have a special friend who believes in what you are doing for the Lord and wants to help connect you to other ministries.

That is also a gift.

I am so incredibly grateful to both Karen and Paige.

For the last 8 months or so I have been a nervous wreck worried about this past weekend.

I wanted God to just be God and do what He knows how to do best. I prayed my heart out for months for Him to do just that. I prayed that I wouldn't disappoint God and I also prayed that Karen and Paige and the precious women helping with the event and the ones in attendance wouldn't be disappointed either.

Glory to His name.

He absolutely poured out His love through so many vessels, in so many ways last Saturday.

I want to thank every single one of you who also prayed for this event. So many of you encouraged through texts and phone calls and emails and blog comments and Twitter tweets and Instagram comments!! I cannot thank you all enough.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much your encouragement has blessed me!

Thank you...

The Glorious Breakfast Buffet! Oh my word! An entire team of amazing women spent the day before and the day of preparing and serving all of the Pearl Girls! Thank you all so much for your extraordinary kindness and for all of the love and time you each spent preparing for TPE!! 

This is Bonita, who is affectionately called "Bon-Bon" by everyone:)
She is an absolute sweetheart and created the most wonderful and thoughtful
gift basket for my hotel room.  I was blown away by the generosity and kindness of the women's ministry at this church!

A huge thank you to beautiful Libbie Ballard here and to Dr. Paul Ballard, Senior Pastor of MPFBC.
I cannot thank them enough for trusting me and allowing me this opportunity.
I was blown away by the hearts of the members of your congregation and the women on
the ministry team who served and poured out God's love to so many women Saturday.

I am forever marked by this day in the most profound ways.

So grateful to the two of you!!

This is Cherish from Southern Soulmates! She is absolutely stunning in real life!!
I was so excited to finally meet her after years of connecting through the blog world.
So grateful she drove in for the event and spent the day with us! Thank you so much for your love and support and encouragement over the years Cherish! I cannot begin to properly communicate how much it has meant to me or how God has used you to encourage my heart again and again. Thank you....

Another precious woman who joined us Saturday!

This is the awesome praise and worship team from Mountain Park First Baptist.
They blessed us so much with their incredible giftings! 
Thank you all so much for using your gift to bring glory to God!

The event was held in their beautiful fellowship hall. They fed this group breakfast and lunch and I am still just blown away by the extraordinary kindness of MPFBC!!

Y'all. Look how gorgeous these girls are!! 
Paige wore the most darling polka dot dress and cowboy boots and pearls! And look at how beautiful these college girls are!! I may have almost fainted from the prettiness factor from the four of them!   The three adorable girls in this photo with us drove from Miami and spent some time in nearby areas for their spring break and then attended TPE and then drove 9 hours home Sat. night! Blown away. We could not stop making a fuss over them. :) Thank you girls for spending the day with us!

This is Ginger! She made me laugh with real tears! She was so much fun to meet and talk to and we also discovered that we are from the same small home town! I went to high school with her brother!

Another precious woman who blessed me so much on Saturday. It is incredibly humbling when women whom you've just met, open their hearts and tell you their story. So many of us spend our lives trying to hide our past, cover up our mistakes and live a buttoned up and heart protected type of life. These women in attendance this weekend gave me so much courage. When you share your God story, you give other people permission to share theirs. Truly.

Sharing her incredible story. Courage poured out like an offering.....

This is Charity! "Cha Cha" as she is lovingly called in the blog world.  Y'all. I love this woman so much. Her heart for Jesus and for God's people is the size of Texas. She loves in action and in word. She is so genuine and so true and has been a faithful friend to me in the midst of some really difficult things in my life over the last couple of years.  She is a prayer warrior and an intercessor and a woman of her word. She drove in to spend the day with us and as soon as I saw her Saturday, my heart was filled with gratitude and peace. I love you beautiful friend!! Thank you for being you and for being such a source of His love in my life. xoxo

There are so many others I would like to acknowledge and thank too but I need your pictures! If you e-mail me your photos, etc. I would love to add and update them to this post as I receive them! 

KK and Bevy are two special bloggers who spent the day with us too. Bevy even flew in for the event!

KK attended the very first Pearl Event in 2009 in CT.  It just blew me away to have her join us again for this one and to bring Bevy along. They are precious, precious vessels of love and joy and goodness and I was overwhelmed to get the chance to see them Saturday! I love you girls!!

I need you all to email me your pictures and I will add them to this post!!

I am so incredibly grateful to you Paige.
I love you and I am so thankful for your friendship.
This weekend was such a spiritual and personal turning point for me and I am so overjoyed that you were such a huge part of this milestone. I am so grateful that we can talk about everything under the sun and never miss a beat. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for believing in me and this event. Thank you for loving me in spite of myself. Thank you for teaching me by example, what it means to love and sow and serve and give and prefer others over yourself.

I adore you.

(I wish there were more pictures of us to share!! I am sharing this one of you and Cha Cha because I love it so much!)

One of the areas that I am most passionate about ending and changing is the heartbreak that is homelessness. So many people right here in our country are faced with this crisis each and every day. The Atlanta Mission has a project called "My Sister's House" where they offer a 286 bed facility for 1 year to 18 months, a long term treatment program to women and their children and where they pour into these women and teach them the word and life skills and so much more.

I met some of the women who have benefited from My Sister's House project this weekend and
I thought my heart was going to burst wide open. Truly. God is being glorified in this place and through the many hearts who work through the Atlanta Mission. I was honored and humbled to spend the day with some of the women whose lives have been changed drastically through this program.

If you would like to find out more about how you could sow, serve or give to My Sister's House in Atlanta, Georgia, you can contact them here.  The director of the long term treatment facility is Vicki Blount. They also have a shelter side and that Director is Bob Van. You can reach them both through the website and through email or phone. I know it would bless them tremendously.

I pray that you are blessed by sharing about the outreach of The Pearl Event.

I hope it encourages you in some small way to use your life to bring glory to God by investing in His people.

The return on your investment is immeasurable and life changing, heart exploding and filled with joy unspeakable.....

Love you so,