Glad you are here because today’s guest blogger is someone I’ve been dying to introduce you to. Fawn (don’t you just love that name) is a proud wife. And if you doubt it, you only have to take a look at the back of her car to be jolted out of your disbelief. She’s got “K. Weaver’s wife” inscribed on her license plate frame. Boom!
Tired of hearing folks malign the beauty of marriage and downplay the joys of choosing to say “I Do”, she decided to travel the world (I’m serious, she literally traveled all over the globe) to interview women in happy marriages and ask them what they love most about their relationships. Then, (and this is just pure genius) she started The Happy Wives Club – an online group that has been joined by hundreds and hundreds of women who want to put a stop to the terrible images of doomed and unhappy marriages that are more prominent now then ever before.
So, listen, you need to join the club sister! Join it today by clicking here and start making your way to happy (if you aren’t already there). Today’s blog post will be the kick in the pants you need . . .cause let’s face it, some of us literally need to be kicked or slapped or put in a headlock or. . .
. . .err. . .umm. . .excuse me. .
*clearing my throat
Fawn’s book is releasing nationwide and, listen to me now, it’s a gem of a book. I got my hands on it several months ago and have already read it. Couldn’t put it down. It is worth your time and energy (even if you are a single gal).
So, enjoy today’s post by Fawn Weaver then hop online and pre-order your copy of her book today!
When my husband and I married ten years ago, I was head over heels in love. With every year that passed, I expected that love might diminish. This expectation was not based on what we felt but rather the endless amount of poor advice we received that usually began with, “Oh, hold on to that love you feel because once you get passed your newlywed years, it’ll change”.
For years, I kept waiting for the bottom to fall out. Surely, the rug would be pulled from under us at any time. And then I had the mother of all aha moments.
Just as life is what you make of it, so is the case with marriage. My marriage was all I ever dreamed (and more) because we were intentional about creating it. Our days together got better and our love strengthened over time because that was our determination.
The love I shared with my husband on the first day we said ‘I do’ has only gotten better over time and ten years later, our friendship is stronger than ever.
You might be reading this and think what my husband and I share is rare. I want to assure you it is not. I spend my days speaking with happily married couples and last year I traveled to a countless number of cities in 12 countries on 6 continents interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more.
I journeyed around the world in search of the common denominator between those happily married. I wanted to discover what they all had in common regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status, culture or upbringing.
What I discovered surprised me. In spite of its knack for eluding the masses, the fundamentals of a happy marriage are incredibly simple. From Los Angeles to London, Cape Town to Sydney, the Philippines to Auckland, what made a marriage great was identical around the world.
In all, I discovered 12 secrets to a happy marriage, all of which are shared in my book, Happy Wives Club. But I also wanted to share three of them with you today:
1. Choose your friends wisely: Surrounding yourself with others who build up marriage rather than attempt to tear it down is a must. People who believe in the power of love and the ability for a marriage to last a lifetime, these are the ones allowed into the inner circle of those happily married.
2. Laugh your buttocks off! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Those happily married can joke about each other’s shortcomings, quirks and idiosyncrasies without getting offended.
3. Have no plan B. Have no plan B; it distracts from plan A. Removing divorce from the marital equation removes the pressure to come to a resolution on a disagreement immediately. It lets you agree to disagree and helps you ease into discussions rather than crashing into arguments. Having no plan B allows love to prevail above all failures, mistakes, and doubts.
A bunch of my girlfriends are going to be joining me for one of my favorite gatherings of the entire year!
Have you heard about it yet? Are you coming?
This event is so near to my heart because we dreamed it up specifically for the women of my hometown – Dallas Ft. Worth and surrounding areas. Now, we’ve got sisters who drive in from all over to join us and, listen, if that’s your plan you come right ahead. You are so welcome and we’ll be praying traveling graces over you while you journey.
But, will you excuse us if we mention a few things that are “DFW specific”?
Awaken is designed to do . . .well. . it’s designed to do just that, awaken local women to the things and people that are in our city - other women in Christ, their churches & their needs and then give us all an opportunity to pray for them and get involved in blessing them. I figured that since we are all driving down the same freeways, working in the same office buildings, sending our kids to the same schools, attending the same churches and running errands at the same grocery stores, we could pray that God would blanket all of us – all of us – with His protection and care.
And. . .we want to bless you! We want you to leave Awaken refreshed and renewed in your relationship with God.
Along with the encouragement that we pray you’ll personally receive, we are hoping that you’ll come with an open heart and open hands ready to reach out to others in your area. At each of our events, we choose a different outreach project for the Awaken sisters to get involved in. This time, I’m so excited to introduce you to “Jesus Said Love” - a ministry that bravely reaches out to women who work as dancers in local clubs and bars.
I want to talk to you about it personally so watch this short video and then meet me back here, ok?
Well shoot, please ignore my "nearing-forty-brain". I must have said "Jesus Loves Dallas" 800 times in that video. But, it is, indeed, “Jesus Said Love”! I guess the main part was right - LOVE! That's what they do and that's what we get the honor to do with them as well. So, thank you for joining with me and choosing to replace judgment with love. Together, our generosity will help the wonderful people at “Jesus Said Love” to establish a relationship with these women that will lead each of them to experience wholeness in every area of their lives.
So, when you come to Awaken please bring one or more of the following things:
1. A $10 gift to Target or Walmart.
2. A Bath and Body Works product. (8oz body lotion, 8oz bodyspray &/or 7.5oz hand sanitizer)
3. A $20 gift card to a local restaurant.
I’m so excited that I think I’m going to bring all three of these options! I want to do as much as I can to show these women, who very often feel marginalized and judged, the love and care of Christ. And I’m sure you want to as well. So, if you’re coming to Awaken on the 24th, tell me which of these options you think you’ll be able to bring.
If you aren’t coming to Awaken can I still encourage you to get involved with this ministry? Look them up on line here then send your gift directly to their ministry. No offering is too small.
Thank you guys for serving the Lord with me. It’s an honor to partner with you.
You are fiercely loved,
Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Phil 4:6 MSG
Although I have heard this verse countless times before, it came alive to me this week when reading it.
So much of my time is spent fretting and worrying. Some current obstacles are the future, a friendship, a medical condition… the list goes on. All of these things cause me to worry. And that worry turns into anxiety, and for me anxiety is something that can take over many areas of my life that it does not belong.
Why do I spend my time fretting and worrying when my first response should be prayer? My reflection on my current situation does not do anything to change it. Only God has the ability to move and like our friend Priscilla has been reminding us, He is Able. I need to praise him for the good works he is doing in my life and for what he will continue to do, despite my current situation.
What are you facing this week? What is keeping you up at night? Let me remind you, Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying pray. Let petitions and praise shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. He is able.
Those two words string together to make one of the most recognizable names in Christian music today. Natalie is not only talented and gifted, she is also authentic and genuine in her ministry. These characteristics makes this mother, wife and "real" woman so appealing to thousands of men and women the world over.
I've watched her from afar as she has balanced her full personal life and ministry with grace and dignity and couldn't wait to read what she'd share as a guest blogger today. And, of course, she didn't disappoint. Her words are vulnerable and captivating. . . just like her music.
Just like her.
You'll want to read with a latte in one hand. . and a tissue in the other. Then, mark your calendar to download her newest CD that releases October 15th. The title cut called "Hurricane" is amazing!
After being told we would never conceive a child naturally, my husband and I began the long, hard road of fertility treatments. By the grace of God, we were blessed with a two-for-one miracle, and gave birth to twin daughters in 2007. So imagine our shock and awe, when 3 years later, after no medical treatments, we were pregnant again!
I still feel so ashamed to admit that this time I was not celebrating. This was the miracle I never asked for and I felt ill-equipped and not up to the task. Throw in the shame and guilt I was experiencing, knowing that my friends always said when they had a baby there was an instant “how-could-I-have-ever-thought-I-was-complete-without-you” love-connection that I wasn’t feeling. Instead, I felt the dark storm-clouds of depression closing in.
“You weren’t even supposed to be able to have children”, the voices would whisper.
“You are selfish and ungrateful”, the voices continued.
“Do you know how many women are begging for this kind-of miracle? You are a disgrace as a mother”, the voices kept on.
I listened to those voices, and struggled with post-partum depression for 18 months. Worsened by the fact that I was a Christian artist and had this idea I was supposed to have my life together, I struggled quietly and privately, believing the lie that if I gave voice to my pain, I would bring shame on my faith.
The storms continued. I found out my nephew was struggling with heroine addiction.
Heroine? Yes, heroine. My family was heart-broken, struggling, wrestling with tough questions and begging God for a miracle. A month after this discovery, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Yes, I was feeling pounded by the storms of life.
One morning I found myself in Matthew 14, reading a story I’ve known since childhood, but the Lord was so sweet to me that day as He allowed me to see it with different eyes. Jesus went to the hills to pray, but he insisted the disciples went ahead of him in a boat, and Jesus being Jesus, and knowing all, he knew a storm would come and the winds would beat against that boat the disciples were in, but he sent them anyway.
I imagine the disciples were afraid, as they were far out at sea and the storm continued to rage. Then they look up and there is a guy standing on the water. What? I would’ve hit the floor of that boat so fast. The Bible tells us that the disciples were terrified. Peter, doubting that it was in fact Jesus, asked the Lord to make him walk on the water.
Then Peter steps out of the boat. In verse 30, as Peter takes his eyes off of the Lord and begins to focus on the strong winds, he began to sink. Then the Bible says, “instantly, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” (verse 31) Notice that it doesn’t say instantly the storm stopped. No, the storm was still raging. But it says that Jesus didn’t hesitate to reach out his hand.
I had been so busy looking out at the crashing waves of my circumstances, consumed with looking out at my sea of difficulties. But Jesus was saying, “just look up. I’m reaching out my hand.” Reading this story from Matthew 14 reminded me that just because Jesus showed up at the boat, the storm didn’t stop. I had been begging God to calm the storms in my life, but He was trying to teach me that he would find me in the middle of them.
I love this quote from Gideon, by our friend Priscilla:
“God is more interested in changing your heart than He is your circumstances.”
God began to do a healing work in my heart that day. The depression didn’t immediately lift. The problems didn’t disappear. But I became more aware of the presence of the Almighty God, who wasn’t outside of my storm waiting for me to come to Him, but he was in the eye of the hurricane with me, carrying me as we walked through the storm together.
I wrote a song that day which simply says:
“Step out on the edge, Don’t be afraid of it And when you feel the rain, call His name He’ll find you in the hurricane.”
No matter what seemingly insurmountable difficulties you are facing, stop looking out, and just look up. He’s reaching for you.
"Now. . .
"unto Him . . .
"who is able to do . . .
"exceeding abundantly beyond . . .
". . . all . . ."
God helps me find things.
If it had just happened just once or twice, maybe I could explain it away as good fortune. (And of course I suppose it could have been avoided altogether if I wasn’t in such a steady habit of losing stuff.) But God knows this trait of mine and is patiently working on it in me. In the meanwhile, He understands who I am—and where I am in life—and so this has become like a standing joke between us.
My keys. My phone charger. Important papers.
He finds them for me.
One time I was dealing with a particularly maddening loss: a missing keepsake book where I’d been housing a bunch of photos from my children’s first months of life. This was before the days of Iphone photos, so these were real photographs—irreplaceable image. I kept it in my purse, whipping it out at a moment’s notice, holding unsuspecting strangers hostage to my family photos.
Somewhere, I had lost that thing.
I called every airline I’d flown, hotels I’d stayed in and churches where I’d been. It was nowhere to be found.
I’m sure you’ve had the feeling. You look through the same closets you’ve already torn out twice before. You run your fingers along the same stacks and piles where you know it can’t be, but maybe you overlooked it last time (although you know you couldn’t, but . . . )—maybe it’ll jog a new lead in your mind you haven’t thought of yet.
You’ve looked everywhere. “Please, God, where is it?”
Then, months into my search for the missing book, I happened upon Job 28:24 - “He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens”.
My heart skipped a beat.
Of course! Why should it surprise me that my Father, who “counts the number of the stars” and “gives names to all of them” (Ps. 147:4)— also owns the GPS coordinates to “everything under the heavens”? Everything. Even things that might be completely insignificant to someone else but mean a whole lot to me. Even things lost because of my own mistake. Even my boys’ little keepsake book.
And since you know where it is, Lord, would you be willing to show me?
That was my prayer.
I went to the grocery store around 10 a.m., then came back home and put everything away in the kitchen. When I walked back into our bedroom . . .there it was. (I’m not making this up.) That missing book—the one I’d thought, for all I knew, might have been left lying at Gate 31B in the Sydney, Australia, airport— was sitting on my pillow.
Sitting. On. My. Pillow.
Like a little gift straight from glory.
A golden spotlight was resting on it, with little sparkles of dust twinkling in the glow. (Well, maybe that part was probably just in my mind), But the physical book itself . . . there it was!
After I’d gone to the store, Jerry was moving a big piece of furniture to retrieve something that had fallen underneath, and he saw my book, picked it up, and flipped it casually on the bed.
Not knowing it was a gift from God.
I must say, with the track record the Lord had already been building up with me over the years, I don’t know why I’d taken so long before going to Him for help. He has proven to me time and time again that He cares about the little things. My little things. Your little things. Things that others might find ridiculous but are very important to you.
For you, His personalized ministry may take another shape entirely, but the principle is still the same: He cares about the big things, the small things, and everything in between.
All of it.
Is there any “little thing” you’ve considered too insignificant to bring to God?
It’s October! That’s makes me happy for many reasons – several of which are quite trite and superficial (think tall boots, comfy sweaters and cute scarves).
Others are a bit more substantial – like walks with my boys in cooler temperatures and an excuse to drive through Starbucks for a piping hot cup of the latest flavor of goodness they have dreamed up.
(Not sure that this counts as “substantial” but whatever.)
One of the reasons I’m MOST thrilled that October has arrived is that Awaken is on the 24th. Just a couple weeks away! There are already more than 1000 of us registered and making plans to come together for an evening that I hope will refresh your soul, connect you with others and inspire you to awaken to the things of the Lord in a brand new way.
Each time our ministry hosts an Awaken event, we like to treat several of you to a little VIP treatment. Honesty, in our book all of you are actually quite special and endearing to us. This is actually the reason we decided to start the Awaken gatherings in the first place – to see you face to face, bless you as much as we can and encourage you in the Lord and in life. But, FIVE OF YOU will be chosen to receive reserved seating, a special gift bag of books and resources from our ministry and (best of all for me) I’ll get the privilege of hugging your neck and sharing some food and fellowship with you before the event begins.
We just want to spoil as many of you as we can! It’s our gift to you.
So, if you are planning to come to the Awaken event on October 24th at Fellowship Dallas, then please enter to be our VIP by doing the following things:
- Click HERE : http://www.goingbeyond.com/events/2013-10-24/awakenan-evening-priscilla-shirer . Send it to at least one or more of your friends to invite them to gather with us on October 24th.
- Follow @AwakenDFW on twitter (if you are a twitter kind of gal).
- Leave a comment to this post telling us three things:
- Will this be your first Awaken event or have come before? If this is not your first time, what has impacted you the most at previous gatherings?
- What is the name of the friend(s) you’ve sent the link to and invited to Awaken?
- What is your email address so we can contact you if you’ve won?
Thanks for playing along. We'll choose our winners on 10/18/13. I can’t wait to see ALL of you on the 24th. We are praying, planning and preparing for it to be an amazing time together.
You are fiercely loved,
Today, I'm so excited to be in Atlanta with 10K plus other folks for the amazing Catalyst event led by Brad Lomenick - our guest blogger for today. Actually, he's not quite a guest anymore since he was with us last friday as well for Part 1 of his posts on leadership.
So today, sit back and soak up these powerful tidbits from Brad that I know will enrich your life. You read and I'll tell Brad that you said hello and thanks for the blog :)
Here are 12 points on the importance and practice of being Authentic as a leader. Authenticity rules. Some best practices I’ve found helpful:
1. Be real in all mediums. Digital age makes it easy to be inauthentic. Although we are always “on,” ultimately we can create a fake persona behind a profile on Facebook or a twitter account. It’s easy to live a secondary life and feel like we are someone we aren’t. Have to be authentic across the board.
2. Constantly turn the rocks over in your life and in your leadership. Uncover the areas that need to be made clean. Big things are at stake. It’s exhausting to not be the real you. It’s easier and less work to be who you really are.
3. The more successful you become, the less accessible you are. It’s reality. More people clamor for time with you, but it’s not possible to be available to everyone. Be wise and discerning, but also open to helping where you can. As Andy Stanley says “do for one what you wish you could do for many.”
4. Learn to open up. You can impress people more easily from a distance, so many leaders keep others at arms length. For example, we often prefer digital interaction to life-on-life exchanges. This insulates us and prevents others from uncovering our weaknesses and flaws. But it also reduces our ability to influence others.
5. Ask great questions. Great leaders I know solve problems and create solutions through the questions they ask. Questions many times reflect your values.
6. Invite direct reports to do a 360 degree review of you on a regular basis. It’s uncomfortable, but also helpful. As Rick Warren has said, “You can’t love people and influence them unless you are close to them. Up close means you can see my warts.”
7. Accept a better standard. The goal of every Christian is to become more like Christ, but often our standard becomes some “great” leader who we admire. When we exalt fellow influencers, we try to dress like them, talk like them, pray like them, tell jokes like them, and achieve like them, it’s dangerous. By emulating them we hope to someday become like them. This never works, and a painful side effect is that deep down we end up feeling like a cheap knock-off.
8. Be interested over interesting. Start with leaning into others and caring about them vs. only worrying about yourself.
9. Be accountable to those who know you best. Know your blind spots in your leadership. We all have areas of weakness. Know what they are and give your team, your family and your friends permission to call you on them. Are you comfortable enough in your leadership that those around you have the freedom to tell you the truth without repercussions?
10. Authentic leaders make more of those around them, and less about themselves. They are servant leaders and willing to be less in order for others to be more. Authentic leaders seek to serve and understand the power of putting others first. And great leaders attract great people to their team. Like attracts like.
11. Actively Build a Support Network- Beware of CEO disease, the temptation to surround yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life so that you can stay grounded in the reality of your experiences. Don’t ever think you’ve arrived. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re not a big deal. Seriously. I don’t care who you are. Humility is way more attractive than arrogance.
12. Be who you are. Authenticity requires true honesty, self awareness and a selfless approach to leading. One of the challenges in organizations today is actually creating space for leaders to admit and share their challenges. We need to create community where you can talk about the things you are dealing with without getting arrows in the back. Be willing to share your struggles. Create and find environments where we can deal with things and be honest and real.
Do you have any dreams or plans you once pursued but now keep safely tucked away?
Most often I get excited about the possibilities but then I start to consider my reality: all of my everyday distractions, detours and past failures…. and many times I just want to give up.
Most of our dreams are like building plans that undergo undergo several revisions: our promises gets stuck and we start to believe the lie thats says there is something wrong with it or it just won't work, it's not important, or we are incapable ... but that is exactly the time to keep pushing forward. Sometimes that frustration is just the friction we need to look from our past inconveniences to the new direction God is inspiring.
• Let yourself dream. What would you do if everything was an option? Grab a notebook and write everything down that comes to mind. Choose to eliminate negative thoughts, actions or words that might be holding you back and revisit a promise that may have fallen to the wayside.
• Pray about your dream. Is it God-inspired or motivated solely by you and your plans? Let God alter your dreams so He can give you His.
• Dig deeper into the presence of God. Study His word, declare it and make it yours, so you can respond when He says ‘GO.
• Be Intentional: What steps do you need to take to accomplish that thing that fires you up? Formulate a plan and stick to it.
God is able and will always provide the provision for what He has called us to, but we must practically prepare for it! Is there a dream or plan that you have laid aside but are encouraged and inspired to go after once again? Tell us about it!
I like books.
I just do. I like all kinds - fiction, non-fiction, light-hearted and funny or deep and thought-provoking. This penchant for books is kind of curious (and hard to believe) for my family because my older sister Chrystal has always been the bookworm in our clan. When we were growing up, she'd have a book in her hand no matter where we were or what we were doing. I have very clear memories of my parents forcing her to close a book "because the family is having dinner together now and it's rude to read at the table" or because "whether or not you like the minister's message you cannot read during it".
It was hysterical.
I, on the other hand, would have rather been doing something more physical - like talking. So I talked myself into trouble just as frequently as Chrystal "read" herself into it. But now, I've joined her in the love of books - writing them and reading them.
Miracles do happen, I tell ya!
Which is why I love passing on books and resources to you that I hope will be a blessing in your life.
Today I'd love to give away 10 copies of God is Able. Sound good to you?
Here's how you enter to win:
- Leave a comment telling us if you are more like my sister or me? Have always loved reading? Have had to grow into it? Or would you still prefer a book on tape any day of the week?
- Include your email address in your comment.
- Tweet or facebook a link to this giveaway so that others will be invited to enter (and to help you exercise your generosity and selflessness muscles. . he he he)
We'll email 10 winners on Monday, October 7!
Bless you today!
Have you heard of the Catalyst Movement.
No? Where have you been? :)
It is one of the fastest growing and most influential gatherings for young leaders in the world. I have so enjoyed my partnership with them and their leader Brad Lomenick. This guy is amazing. He is a passionate follower of Christ who equips, inspires, and releases the next generation of Christian leaders to serve Christ effectively.
Next week, I'll be traveling to Atlanta to speak at this year's conference and I thought this would be the perfect time for you to meet Brad and hear from him on his area of expertise: Leadership. This is Part 1 of 2. Next Friday, right here on our blog, Brad will graciously share more.
I can't wait cause this is GOOD STUFF.
And I can't wait to get to Atlanta next week. You coming? Hope so!
I'll see you there!
Margin is a powerful concept. It creates opportunities.
For businesses, margin is one of your top priorities.
Margin in business creates profits.
Margin in family creates memories.
Margin in our personal finances creates generosity.
Margin in our friendships creates significance and impact.
Margin in our lives overall creates options. Options to pursue dreams, think, pray, relax, meditate, process, grow and ultimately live life more fully.
As leaders, it is important that we create moments of margin for ourselves. Time to dream, time to laugh, time to retreat- on a regular basis, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Even if it is 5 minutes during the day to think, walk, pray, or simply relax. Margin gives us energy and renewed momentum and enthusiasm. And it is equally important to allow for margin in the culture of your team, and margin for your individual team members. Even something as simple as a funny story shared with the team, or a stop by someone else’s office to catch up and say hi, or a quick review of pictures or great memories from something earlier in the year.
Margin is one of the hardest things for most leaders I know to actually create and implement. I am no exception. I struggle with creating margin. One of those leadership attributes that you wake up wanting to pursue and always realize at the end of the day you missed it.
Lack of margin makes us tense, creates stress and pushes for quick decisions. Lack of margin leads to stale and unhealthy relationships, and drives us towards the most available options at the time, but many times not the best. Lack of margin makes for rushed projects, for forced creativity, and for strategy that only thinks of the short term gains, not the long term opportunities.
Margin is the fuel for responding to the unexpected, and the option we all need for being more focused, intentional, life-giving and less stressed.
Make Time for Margin.