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I wish I had more of a penchant for organization. I love it. I'm just not that good at it. Or maybe, like anything else in life, I could be good at it if I just practiced - disciplined myself to stick to a system and rhythm. Took time to think through things up front instead of tackling them as they come.
Gosh, I'm such an admirer of people whose homes and lives and offices and calendars are planned and ordered into lists and beautifully crafted schedules. My heart seems to take a deep breath when everything is in it's place.
Shoot, The Container Store makes my heart skip a beat as I walk up and down their symmetric aisle-ways wishing that my actual home could fall in line with one of their staged sets.
But my kitchen never looks like that.
My closets never looks like that.
My kids' rooms certainly never look like that.
But they could.
I'm convinced that they could.
This weekend, I was at my friend Kerri's house. First time I've ever been into her home in Jacksonville. I wasn't surprised to find her surroundings clean and simple and organized to a "T". That's just the kind of woman she is. Without ever stepping foot into her personal space, you can just tell by her calm spirit and clean, simple fashion sense that this woman believes in order. . . and she does. In fact, organization and systems are a creed she lives by.
A creed that she teaches younger women in her church who have the good sense to lean in and learn.
I asked her about it while I stuffed my mouth with the meal she'd prepared - using kitchen utensils that were ORGANIZED. . . meticulously placed with care inside her kitchen drawer . . .
. . . .instead of piled on top of each other in a huge heap like the one I have to dig through to find "that spatula that I know is in here somewhere".
I sat with my mouth ajar and eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights as she explained some of the systems she has put in place to make her life operate as smoothly as possible.
And, man oh man, does she need every single one of them.
She's a pastor's wife who runs the women's ministry at her church, manages a large staff, writes for her own vibrant blog, authors books and Bible study curriculum, mothers three children and takes care of her pastor husband. (I just got exhausted writing that sentence.) Her life is full and without her meticulous systems she's the first to admit she'd never be able to manage her life and full schedule. She doesn't teach perfectionism. She's a proponent of organization and there's a difference.
So, she walked me over to her "planning station" - just a simple counter top in her living room on which she has a small box filled with several files - one for each member of her family with important health care and school documents. And a binder, organized with a monthly calendar, chore chart, weekly meal plans and details on each child's activities. Every evening she takes 10 minutes before bed to update her binder so that any member of her family can look into it and know what they need to tackle the next day. So even when she isn't around, her system makes certain that life continues to run.
Then she said this and I knew she was talking directly to my heart, "If I spend the best of my emotional and mental energy trying to figure out the predictable, daily details of life I won't have any energy left to move my life forward. My best energy shouldn't be spent trying to urgently figure out dinner each day or determine which kid needs to do which chore. I need to save the best of myself for higher level things - for moving toward the future vision in store for my family and ministry. I don't want to expend and exhaust myself on things that a simple organized plan can take care of in advance.
I was caught - like another one of those deer in headlights.
I put down my fork, titled my head to the side and said, HELP ME!
She's a gracious woman so she didn't roll her eyes, laugh and walk away to leave me wallowing in my unorganized misery. She offered to help me get my life together.
I'm so grateful.
So, I think I'm going to start small - meal planning. If I can sit down and map out a dinner plan for the week and make one trip to the grocery store (instead of three times a week every time I discover at the last minute that I'm out of that one ingredient I need to complete a meal) - I'll save loads of time and energy each day trying to figure it out.
Yup, I'm going to start here - organizing my family's meals.
Want to join me?
If you are already doing this please tell what your method is. Also, I'd love to know what your organization tricks of the trade are for other areas of your life? What are some systems you've put in place that help your life run in a sane and sensible way?
LET'S HELP EACH OTHER!
P.S. For tips on organizing and other bits of wisdom on life visit Kerri's blog at www.kerriweems.com
The past few weeks, my Bible reading has been in 2 Chronicles. It's crazy to see generation after generation of David's descendants fall so headlong into evil. They didn't want the peace and favor of a God who they'd have to submit to. They wanted to do their own thing. They had hearts of rebellion. And their rebellion pulled down an entire nation in it's wide berth. As I've been reading, I just keep thinking, "This is me. I am rebellious like this."
Needless to say, God's been convicting me of these threads of rebellion deeply-rooted in my heart this week...and as He has I've started to notice some patterns of behavior that SEEM to be godly and wise, but are actually quite the opposite: deadly and life-altering. And the one that He pointed out THIS week? I am careful.
It sounds healthy and good, right? How could being careful be wrong?
I am careful in relationships,
in decisions on food and living and clothes and my budget
and on running in the right neighborhoods or locking all the doors
or triple-checking that I've turned off the curling iron before I leave the house.
I am careful. And some would say I am being a good steward. I have told myself that with a faint aroma of pride a time or two. So how could being "careful" be wrong?
God created us to live in a perfect world where we would never be hurt by ourselves, much less the rest of the broken world. He created us to live these fantastically wildly joyful lives, loving Him with all the exuberance of a First-Love, being loved in return as if we are the most precious creature He ever created. And in so many ways He is actively working that out in your life and my life even now. But we don't see it. His glory is in the shadows, not of this world. And my careful-ness takes away His opportunity to lavishly bless me or take care of me or to give me great love. My carefulness is an equation for safety without God.
I'm not saying that we're supposed to go running in the dark at 10pm or leave our doors unlocked or fall in love with the cute party guy with bad character. Nope. These are things that are common sense that we should be led by The Holy Spirit on, in line with God's Word...but we also have to follow other leading of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we are called to do something out of the ordinary...to fall in love with a godly man who is chasing us. Yes, he might hurt you. But if your heart is entrusted to God, then you just keep getting out there, following where The Holy Spirit is leading!
Some people are careful because it is wise. But, I was being careful because a part of me doesn't trust that God will do it like I want Him to. My "careful-ness" was just as bad as the evil kings in 2 Chronicles. It was rooted in a distrust of God's plan being best...and thinking I could somehow control bad things from happening to me if I was careful. Ah...it often does come down to "control" with us ladies, doesn't it?
Do you have small things in your character that are part-good, part-bad? What do you think about all this I'm learning? Praying for each of you today...that you may sense His Presence evermore in your life. He is the God Who Moves!
You are loved,
PS. AWAKEN VIPS!
We are stoked y'all will be joining us for Awaken friends! We would have made EVERY person who entered a VIP if we could...so without further adieu: The winners of the VIP access at next week's Awaken are:
Y'all take a minute to send an email to email@example.com! We want to connect with you and give you details on the evening!
I know. We aren't exactly sweating bullets yet and kids are doing the last of their tests and programs still, but they say that planning is the key to success! So, I'm just planning away for a summer of fun...I've been trying to think of things I really really want to do this summer.
1. Tube the Guadalupe. I haven't done it in YEARS and am stoked about jumpin in again!
2. Watch fireworks over a waterfront for the 4th of July...plans are in the works!
3. NOT get burned a million times...spray spf 40 every hour on the hour and I will be a lovely gold.
4. A road trip to "nowhere"...I want to get in a car with a frew friends and a few days...and just DRIVE...no plans, just wherever the road may take us!
5. Read a good novel or 2...or 3!
I have a few here...do you have any other "MUST DO's" from your summer bucket list?
Oh and I will launch my summer by attending Awaken next week. Are you joining me? Have you gotten a chance to enlist to be a VIP as Priscilla's guest at the event? NO? Click HERE to do so! We are picking the winners Thursday eve and will post them Friday!
See you soon...with a tan and a beach hat of course,
This topic has been spinning in my mind a lot lately. It seems like a lot of us are finding ourselves in a season of transition. Honestly, many conversations I have these days are about people moving homes or cities, changing jobs, starting new relationships, going back to school.. the list goes on and on.
When you find yourself having to make some bigger life decision, how do you get to a place of being confident of your decision?
My friend and I went walking yesterday and we got on this subject of decision making. She asked me the question, "Linnae, have you really ever been 100% sure about any decision you have ever made?"
It's really a valid question to ask. How do we, as believers, make decisions? We talk about wanting God's "best" and wanting to make the right decision, but a lot of times we can get caught with not knowing which way we should go.
Sometimes it seems like God speaks really loudly and clearly, and other times it seems like He is silent. But a lot of times we have to move forward with decisions and trust that He is leading and guiding us as we take steps of faith. It's really a journey that we all have to learn as we grow and walk with God.
So what about you? How do you make those bigger life decisions? If you are in a season of transition, I'm praying for you today, trusting that God IS leading and guiding you and that as you seek Him, His Word will light and illumine those next steps for you.
If you've paid any attention to our blog or homepage in the last few months, you'd have seen a neat little event pop on the radar: AWAKEN. It all started a few years ago...Priscilla was desperate to offer a free event to women in her hometown. She prayed about it, thought on it and prayed some more...and the results have quite simply rocked us off our hubris shelves and onto our knees.
We believe that AWAKEN was made to be more than an event.
It was made to be an experience. A family. A community.
All your besties that you've never met, gathered together to wholeheartedly praise Him in worship, to plead in prayer and to listen intently as God speaks through His Word through our sister Priscilla.
So without further ado, at this upcoming AWAKEN event, we'd love to highlight 5 of our blog readers! Our VIP winners will have reserved front row seating, receive a package of autographed books by Priscilla and have a small reception with her and members of the GB staff after the event (let's just say that wherever Priscilla is concerned that chocolate and cupcakes are generally involved:)).
If you are coming and want to be one of our 5 VIPs for the evening, you must do 2 things to enter:
1. Tweet, Instagram or Facebook about this post.
2. Leave a comment below telling us your name and where you'll be coming from to attend the event.
We will pick the winner on Thursday evening, May 16th.
Also, if you haven't registered yet (IT'S FREE!!!) take a second to go HERE and let us know you're coming! Bring your girlfriends, your nosy neighbor and that co-worker who has been asking questions about God. Gosh, bring the whole block! We want a rowdy bunch of women ready to storm the throneroom, praying for our city!
Ok. Thoughts? Ready, set GO!
annetta and The GB Team
If you were a part of our Simulcast event April 27 you will be familiar with the organization that we are currently partnering with, Voice of the Martyrs. It is Priscilla's heart to not only be able to gather with women from different parts of the world and different backgrounds to study the Word of God but also for our cities and world to be impacted because of our gathering together.
For the simulcast, we partnered with VOM to assist in freeing Christians currently being persecuted for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and also raising funds for their families. There are numerous beleivers all over the world who are currently in prison because of their faith. One of the beautiful things about VOM is that they create a way for you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and write a letter to encourage our friends who are in prison. Our desire is for these prisoners to get flooded with thousands of letters, so much so that they are FREED due to the overwhelming amount of mail coming through the prison!
Whether you were part of the event on April 27 or just joining us in learning about VOM for the first time, we encourage you to do the following:
1. Write a letter to one of the believers currently in prison
2. Donate money that will go directly to these prisoners families and their needs
**You can find out how to do both of those here **
We are going to be posting weekly updates on our website so that you can keep track of the letters being sent and how much money is raised.
Thank you for your help! We can't wait to see what God will do!
It’s a bright and sunny Monday morning in Texas. . . not that I’m in Texas right now. Jerry and I are many thousands of feet in the air somewhere in between the USA and the Ukraine. It’s our first time to this particular part of the world so we are looking so forward to it. Where it’ll be a bright, balmy 70 degrees for the entire week. Yippee! And, maybe just maybe, I’ll return from Kiev with that stoic and gorgeous Russian accent that has always sounded so exotic to me.
Hopefully, wherever you are it’s bright and sunny – or gloomy and rainy (which can be equally beautiful and refreshing).
But, no matter where I was this morning, I couldn’t wait to write this post and thank you for participating in our Gideon Giveaway. Seriously, I was so blessed to read about how you were impacted by the Countdown to Gideon posts we’ve given you over the past six weeks. I was also enthralled by the details some of you shared about your simulcast experience. It’s cool to hear about the dynamics of your group as you engaged in the PSL simulcast with us on April 27 or even how some of you did it all by yourself from the kitchen table. Can I be honest? Sometimes, it can be a bit “lonely” for me and the girls in the office. Of course, we have each other so I don’t mean we are literally lonely. . .but when we write blog posts, spend months and months writing a study or host a simulcast event, we often don’t get a chance to hear what is happening on the other side of that camera or how hearts are being affected by the blog posts . . .or the studies . . . or the books. We’re just doing it. . . hoping that someone, somewhere is being blessed a bit by it. So, our eyes light up with pleasure when we get to “meet” a woman – online or in person – who shares with us what the ministry means to them. It’s encouraging. So, thanks for sharing. It’s a pleasure for me to “picture” you in your setting.
From the over one hundred comments you left this past week, we had the hard task of choosing some winners. Shoot, you have no idea how much we would have loved to just mail all of you a copy of the Gideon study and be done with it. Alas, we had to grit our teeth and choose.The first two winners were selected from the entire group of entrees, including those who watched the simulcast. The third one was selected only from the simulcast group.
(drum roll please)
1. Jennifer Harris in Jacksonville, FL
2. Wendy Edwards in Allentown, PA
3. Melissa in North Carolina
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can get your information and send your Gideon leader’s kit and workbooks!
Bless you richly and I’ll look forward to hearing from ALL OF YOU as you dive into Gideon with me!
It's May 3 which means several things:
1. Summer is just around the corner and school is about to be out (for those of us who are in school or have our own kiddos in school)
2. I'm on a plane to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday. We are going to the cubs game on Saturday and eating delicious hot dogs and pizza all weekend long. can't.wait.
3. Hopefully vacation is on the horizon for us all
4. Priscilla has just written a new Jewelry Box!
Clearly it's going to be an awesome month! I encourage you, if you haven't already, to take some time this weekend to read the Jewelry Box article. I have a feeling it is going to encourage you.
Then, come back here and comment below and let us know if you can relate at all to Priscilla's thoughts.
Have a wonderful weekend!
I think that some of our sweetest times here together on this blog have been when we are PRAYING for each other. As you read on Monday, this past weekend was a really neat time for all who were able to join us for the Simulcast.
If you've ever been to one of our events, you'll know that Priscilla loves to spend some time praying together and for each other whenever possible. At some of our events, we are able to take the prayer requests that are texted in to us and put them on our website so that we can all have the opportunity to pray for those specific needs.
Today, I'd love to direct you to some needs that our friends have from this past weekend and ask you to join us in prayer. You can click here to see the requests. Leave a comment below letting us know which one you are praying for so that we can try and divide them up evenly.
THANK YOU for taking the time to do this. It is quite unfathomable to think about all these prayers going on today and the days to come and what God might do as a result of them. You have the opportunity to join God in moving in someone's life based on your prayers!
We are grateful. And we know these women will be as well!
P.S. Did you see that Priscilla is giving away copies of Gideon here?? Don't miss out!
(Yes, I’m a sucker for alliteration.)
I could not have asked for anything more!
I’m so serious.
For months, I’ve spent so much time thinking about, praying about and trying to decide what to wear for the Gideon simulcast event (Oh, vain woman that I am). The 1 day conference also doubled as the launch party for our soon-to-be released Gideon Bible study. For many months, it was at the forefront of my thoughts. I asked the Lord to make His presence felt and His Word alive with power and clarity to each receptive heart.
Well, He did that and so much more.
I’d barely walked into the sanctuary of the church in Richmond, VA that was serving as the hub of the “command center” for the simulcast and I could sense God’s presence in an incredibly tangible way. From the very first note of worship, the Spirit walked into our midst and did not let up for one single minute.
We were all so glad.
We sensed Him as we sang, and prayed, as we gave cheerfully to the Voice of the Martyrs ministry, then prayed some more before we cracked open the Scriptures and heard God speak to us. Christ was revealed to us and it was beautiful.
I can’t help but believe that God’s pleasure shone on us so palatably at least in part because of the widespread women’s ministry that was happening around the planet on Saturday. While thousands participated in our simulcast, Beth Moore was teaching an arena full of women in Eugene, Oregan and our mutual friends, Christine Caine and Bobbie Houston were hosting another mission oriented conference with nearly 10,000 women in London. Between those two events and the women who were simulcasting with us in from places like Cape Town, Alaska, Japan, Dubai, China and of course these United States, the enemy had to be pretty mad. . . and God amazingly pleased!
Our group had the privilege to pray for the women attending these other events and, because of the wonderful world of technology they were able to play our prayer to the women in Oregon! One of my friends there recorded a small bit of our prayer being played in that arena. Brought tears to my eyes. It’s just a brief clip but I can’t help but share it with you. . .
Only God Himself can cause thousands of hearts in hundreds of different locations across the planet to become knit together for a common purpose and intention.
It was beautiful and if you were involved, I pray that you’ll agree!
Well, sisters, the Gideon Bible study is set to release into bookstores this Wednesday! It’s an exciting day that we’ve looked forward to for nearly two years now. We are praying that this study will be a blessing to you and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
Many of you have been a part of our “Countdown to Gideon” over the past six weeks, journeying with us to the launch of Gideon. So, we thought a fun way to end our countdown would be to give away several of the Gideon leader kits ($150 value) along with 5 workbooks to go with each one! Just a little gift for you as you launch into your Bible study!
Here’s how you enter to win:
· Between now and Sunday, May 5th post a comment giving us your name and telling us one thing from the “countdown to Gideon” posts that most stood out to you and why? (Click here to see the “Countdown to Gideon” posts.)
· We have reserved one prize to be specifically given to someone who was a part of the simulcast. So, if you participated please leave your name and the state from which you viewed the simulcast. Also, tell us if you were with a group or on your own as you watched and what the experience was like for you (just cause I’m dying to know!) and what was the most impactful thing God spoke to you during the event.
· Come back to the blog on May 6th to see if you’ve won!
So, excited to get this study into your hands! Praying that it will be a blessing in your life.