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I cannot stop listening to this song. It's from Hillsong's newest album and I've made Annetta put it on repeat here at the office. Soooooo good. So beautiful. I had to share. Hope you enjoy! Happy Wednesday!
It's spring break! I'm not sure but it's possible that I am more excited than my children.
Since January, I've been awaiting this week long opportunity to have my babies at home with me. Seems like school days are so rushed . . .and intense . . . and full. Sure, those days are full of good things but those "things" seem to be never ending, don't they? I'm always amazed at how quickly bedtime seems to sneak up on us. The kids come home from school, we play for a bit, do a few chores, do homework, eat dinner, head to a baseball practice (depending on the day). . . and then it's bedtime.
Just like that. . . the day is over.
So, I've been looking forward to having a few mornings that are a bit more leisurely, some afternoons that are a bit less rushed and some bedtimes that don't have to be as clearly targeted.
We've already kicked off the festivities. Friday night we all cuddled up on the sofa and watched "Home Alone 3" (Remember that?). Then, Saturday we sat around in our pajamas all day long enjoying the beautiful boredom of doing absolutely nothing and today, we went a little old school. . .
Nothing like heading to the 1980s decorated skating rink for some good ole' spring break fun! This rink - Red Bird Skateland - is the same one I visited as a child and judging by the look of the skates my boys wore - some of them are the same age as me.
No matter - stinky skates and all - we had a blast!
I'm looking forward to the week ahead. What are your plans?
In July, I wrote a blog about my friend's mom who had cancer and was battling it courageously (See "But Even If He Doesn't"). She had been fighting cancer for quite some time and all around her knew one thing for certain: Her hope, her trust, her faith were steadfastedly bedrocked in God's love for her. It was (and still is) a beautiful story that spurred all of our faith in the Lord to press in just a little closer, believe just a little more deeply and love just a little bit more passionately.
Well, my friend's fight came to an earthly close last week as she went to see Jesus face-to-face. From her daughter (Ann's) perspective, she met Jesus in a etherally beautiful way...just gliding into the Kingdom of God in peacefulness. And she left children and grandchildren and husband of more than 5 decades to mourn her passing with a bittersweet sorrow...grateful she was with her Beloved, wishing they could have her with them.
As I was praying for my friend today, I kept thinking of you. You so courageously and generously meet with us on the blog here, day-after-day-after-day. You tell us things that God is teaching you, soak in His Word and then walk out your faith in a stunning way in this world. We constantly remark on how much we are blessed and encouraged by y'all...and how overwhelmingly grateful we are for you!
So, as you spent Wednesday praying for the women of the latest Priscilla Shirer Live, we GB girls thought it only fitting that we spend this day praying for YOU. Would you take a minute and write down where you need God to most comethrough for a breakthrough? A healing? An answer to a problem? Money for a house payment? Would you be authentic and vulnerable so we can pray specifically for you and your heart as you continue to fight for the Kingdom in this world?
We are nuts about you here...and still sad for my friend...so as I continue to lift her and her family up, would you join me? And toss me YOUR request so I can add you to my list?
You are FIERCELY loved,
As you all probably know, a bunch of gals gathered in Kansas City (First Baptist Church in Raytown to be exact) for the first Priscilla Shirer Live event this year. If you've not been able to join Priscilla in person to hear her teach the Word you've really got to do yourself a favor and get to the closest event near you this year. I'm telling you - it will be MORE than worth your time. If you need a babysitter - call me! I'm coming over so you can get there =)
I do believe that Priscilla would say that one of her favorite parts of these events is the prayer time that happens on Saturday morning. There is just something really sweet and powerful about those 45 minutes that we all take to pray for each other; I just can't quite explain it. I believe God is quite fond of it as well because we have been privileged to hear from you all after the fact about your prayers being answered and it.is.AWESOME.
marriages restored . . .
new believers coming into the Kingdom . . .
impossibilities made possible . . .
I know sometimes it's hard to relate to you if you weren't actually at the event. Which is exactly why I'm chatting with you today; because I want to ask you to hop on over here today and pick one of these prayer requests that we received from this weekend and pray for that particular request this week. You could be a HUGE part of one of these women's lives in a very practical way by just a few minutes of prayer each day!
We'd so appreciate your help. And I know the woman behind that request would be extremely grateful. I'm excited to see what God does!
So pick one of the requests, let us know in the comment section below which one you are praying for so we can be sure not to double up, and let's believe God for our friends in Kansas City!
Thankful for YOU, our sweet blog community! Blessings to you today,
It's the beginning of the month...one of our favorite times at the GB offices. Why? Because we get a new Jewelry Box from our favorite author! Grab your snuggie, a quiet comfy corner and a cuppa' joe and just breathe in this month's JB and then meet us back here....
Here we are, centered around a subject we are all quite familiar with: Pain. If you don't have pain in your life, you know someone who has pain or you WILL have pain in your life. It's inevitable. One of those "consequences of the fall" things. Do you remember that verse in James that is just annoying at times? You know the one, "Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds..." Ug. Consider trials, pain, to be JOY? It's annoying until you look at the story Priscilla shared in the Jewelry Box. At that point, you realize, the boundaries that pain indicates are beautiful. For your good. And even keep us alert to how to avoid future pain.
Today I'm working on considering pain to be pure joy...for it develops me into a more Christ-like woman...if I but let it do it's job.
Grateful for you...what are YOUR thoughts on the Jewelry Box?
You are LOVED!
For the GB Team, most of our days seem to speed by in a blur...one to-do item being checked off after another. Creative hats are traded for problem-solving hats...which in turn are traded in for brainstorming-new-projects hats. We go from the office to the home to the conference. There is a non-stop whirlwind!
Ok. So you get the drift: Our lives look a lot like yours.
Last weekend I went on my first vacation in...maybe EVER. I don't take vacations. If I have time to take off I'll go to a friend's wedding or to my parents house to reorganize the garage or to watch my sisters kids or to visit a friend who just had kids. But last weekend, I went on a good, ol'-fashioned, honest-to-goodness vacation. Complete with sand between my toes, no agenda and a flight required to get there. And it was...pure magic.
Our balcony overlooked the ocean...we would leave the a/c off and the sliding glass doors wide open...and just breahte in the fresh air. The waves lulled us into this place of relaxation...and we just breathed. Deep.
(View from the back door)
I walked away with a few thoughts.
1. Vacations are EVERYTHING everyone has been cracking them up to be! I've been missing out!
2. I need to spend 15 minutes in the outdoors everyday. EVERY. DAY. Eating lunch...or just walking to get mail...my soul comes alive in the outdoors.
3. My feet appear to have had a professional manicure. In reality, I just took a few walks on the beach...turns out, sand is a fantastic exfoliator!
4. Meditation is good for the skin. I would sit in the sun and just think of God and His Word for about 15 minutes at a time each day...I came back simply glowing (or so the friends tell me!).
5. Never take a full suitcase of clothes to the beach...you only need an extra set of clothes. The rest of the clothes will sit in that case, collecting sand.
6. Candles, friends and laughter make everything better.
On our last night there, we sat around laughing and reminiscing. We went around the circle answering 2 questions...
1. When were you most happy?
2. What goal do you want to accomplish in this year?
I said, "1. Right now. I like myself more than I ever have...I know Jesus better than I ever have...I enjoy the community and church He has led me to. 2. I want to finish writing that book I always talk about writing."
Ok. So what about YOU? When were YOU most happy? What goal do YOU want to accomplish this year? Lemme know! And then we can check back in with you to see how you're doing with it in a few months!
Love y'all...find a way to breathe today...sit outside...call a friend...meditate on Jesus.
.... seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.... Put on then, as chosen ones, holy and beloved,
bearing with one another
forgiving one another
.. and above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.....
These verses from Colossians 3 are being cemented into my head these past few weeks and I have loved sitting with them and thinking about them over and over again. There is so much truth and power that lies in these few words. Oh how I desire to be a person of all these characteristics. I want to constantly be putting on all of these things and letting go of anything that does not resemble them.
I'm asking God to show me how to walk this out today. If anyone has any ideas, please do share.
If not, I encourage you to sit with these words today. There is life and perfect harmony in store by putting others above yourself. Feeling upset? There is forgiveness in store. Feeling impatient? There is patience waiting for you to take on. Does that feel impossible? It's ok. Take a breath, read Colossians 3, and perhaps God will give you a new perspective that you need to make it through this day and this day alone.
Love you all dearly,
We had a good and full weekend here at Going Beyond Ministries. Friday and Saturday we were with about one thousand moms along with the Lifeway team and others for the dotMom Conference in Frisco. Let's just say we had a good time. I've never seen so many happy moms in one place before. You could tell it was just what they needed - to get away for a few days with their friends and hear amazing teaching and eat lots of food. From Travis Cottrell to Angie Smith to Vicki Courtney to John Croyle, and of course our very own Priscilla closing the event on Saturday... it was some gooooooooood teaching and such good worship! We even got Jerry on a men's panel! Needless to say, it was a whole lotta fun.
Priscilla was a champ and after being at the conference for two days, she spoke at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill yesterday for their church services. We've got to get that message out to you all because it.was.awesome! We'll get to workin' on that =)
After weekends like this I'm so grateful for the opportunities that God gives us - to be around such amazing people and serve the body of Christ. It's quite humbling to think about and I don't want to ever take it for granted. Sure it can be tiring and not easy at times, but it sure is fun and such a privilege.
Wondering about you all and what your weekends looked like? Was it hard? Was it fun? Is there something that you can look back on and be thankful for as you look at the week ahead?
Would love to hear how YOUR weekends were.
just a few of my phone snapshots from the weekend.....
Priscilla and I with our friend Michelle
worship team doing a sound check before the event
a few of our extremely cute interns helping out at the resource table at Trinity Church
Glad you are back today sisters. As promised, I'm so excited to share Shannon's CD with you! More importantly, I want to share SHANNON with you! She is a delight to know. Her love for the Lord and His people is effervescent! She graciously wrote a note to you today!
Congratulations to those of you who won my “Take Heart” CD! And thank you to my friend Priscilla for sharing my music with you all!
As I was writing for this new project, Jesus’ words “Take Heart” found in John 16:33 echoed through the canyon of my spirit. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In my own life, all too often I have let my eyes drift from the Lord to the trouble I’m facing. I’m guessing you might have the same struggle at times! But an amazing thing happens when we choose to lift our gaze to Christ rather than fixate on our circumstances. Our perspective is radically transformed, and our vision becomes clearer. We are able to reach out and take hold of the peace Jesus extends to us as we walk through the trouble. The fact is, our troubles on this earth do not have the last word - Jesus does! If we can catch that truth, it brings such freedom!
And so my prayer for you today is that, no matter what you’re facing on your journey right now, you would lift your eyes to Him and take heart! He has already overcome.
Many blessings to you!
P.S. If you’d like to read more about the creative journey in the making of “Take Heart”, click here to read the blog I wrote about the process! http://shannonwexelberg.com/blog/general/take-heart
3. Brenda S.
5. Karen (krm_mitch)
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are going to love Shannon's CD!
Ya'll have a great weekend.
Gosh it's been a peppy kinda' week! Linnae and I completed our long-awaited marathon. Yep. Crazy, I know. We ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 16 minutes. And we (along with Jerry and Priscilla) think we are absolutely crazy for doing it!
Here is a pic BEFORE the marathon (don't judge...we were tired already and wind-blown!)....
And then RIGHT after.
It was a pretty amazing lesson for me. I tend to be an independent, "I don't need anyone's help" kinda' girl. But Linnae and I had trained together and committed to running the race together. So when we started and were going a little slower than the pace we had aimed for, I was a bit disgruntled. I would run about 5-7 feet ahead of Nae and look back as if to say, "Are you coming or what?" Linnae was undeterred. She just smiled as if to say, "Hold your horses impatient one!" Linnae is the younger of the 2 of us, but I think she has the patience of an 80 year old. I was ready to sprint the first 16 miles. She wanted to ease in, listen to her body and go.
So I had a choice. I could go at my pace and go alone. Or I could go with Linnae. Immediately the verse "2 strands are not quickly broken" popped into my head. I exhaled a frustrated breath, rolled my eyes toward the heavens and slowed to Nae's pace. I was gonna test a spiritual principle and show the Lord how He was so wrong. "Better in community Lord? Hm. Let's just SEE about that!"
We passed the 12 and 16 mile marks with no issues. We were cruising. Not really chatting it up...we were present in the moment. And since we work every day, all day together, we know each other pretty well. We knew when the other needed to stop for a restroom break, grab a gatorade...it was like samurai magic. We were in sync.
And then we hit mile 20. Mile 21 and 1/2. And mile 22. The worst hill of the race...and that is saying something as 85% of the race was uphill. They even put a super steep hill on mile 25. ("NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!", anyone seen the pep talk?!)
Let's just say at mile 22, my mom took what is undeniably the least attractive picture I will ever have taken of myself. *fingers crossed* I looked like I felt: Like I would not make it another step, much less 4 more miles. But, Linnae in her springy "listen to your body" way, gave me the head tilt and away we went. We stopped almost every 3/4 a mile to give each other (read Linnae gave ME) a pep talk.
MILE 22 (THANK YOU Alycia, my bestie!, for the photo!)
The fresh and focused Nae:
We made it. Safe and sound. I'm sore. Linnae lost a toenail. But we are faring well. And went to bed just grinning at all we conquered in that day.
While I am trying to convince Nae to train for Boston next (she ain't buyin' it...YET!), we both walked away feeling like we had accomplished something in our souls. We had set out to accomplish a tangible goal and God had helped us make it. There were tons of moments of crazy "Please Jesus! Help us get through this hill!" but moreso, it was a reminder to be in the present. To take everything as it comes. But the biggest thing we both walked away was: Community. We gotta walk in community! Our cheerleaders included: My mom and sis (Mary) and little niece cheered us on (you should have SEEN the 4 year old yelling "WIN! Aunt Netta, WIN!") and Linnae's brother and sister-in-law and their precious little ones came (Brian and Lucy are the BEST!)...and then both of our roommates and best friends (AB & SP for the WIN!) came along to make posters and even run with us for bits of it. We ran away with that lesson: To do life successfully, you gotta walk in community...because that is the ONLY way you're getting through this life alive.
So. No community? Go FIND SOME. Engage here on the blog...check out a Bible Study at your church. Believe me, community is messy. It's hard. It's scary. You WILL get hurt. You might not feel so comfortable at the pace they set at the beginning. But at the end, when the steepest hill is on your last mile, and you're exhausted and hurting...your community is what is going to get you across the finish line! "Run with endurance the race set before you" friends...and grab a few of your sisters to cheer you in the process.
You are loved more than you can imagine!
Annetta + Linnae