Girlfriends & Bookends ~ What It Is

Happy Thursday Girlfriends! If you are reading Legacy from the Leather for the first time, we are reading from Becoming A True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb.

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Today we have a picture of Laura curling up in Hawaii, where she lives. Funny thing is, she didn’t show us her face. Maybe later? ANyway, I am hoping she will be able to jump on here at some point and share what the chapters are speaking to her.

The chapter opens with the first line capturing my attention. “The church is a community of people on a journey to God.” I love it. And Larry says a bit later, speaking of intentional time spent with loved ones, “Like manna, our time spent together was food that nourished us…stirred a hunger for more.”

We are inclined to help answer one another’s problems. It is what comes naturally to us. When we love someone, we want to be able to offer something, anything, to help.

I love how Larry encourages us to really learn to listen to one another. To really hear. To pay attention to where God is leading. Not just leading the other, but first, leading me. When I take the time to prepare my heart before God to enter my relationships and be led by him, only then can I be sensitive to where God is moving.

I will be challenged by his quote of CS Lewis – “Put first things first and second things are thrown in.” If I make hearing God and being led by him and my worship of him my first thing then I will be able to approach the second things, the harder more complex things knowing it is the “first thing” that will carry me through. And it will carry those I do life with and love as well.

He closes the chapter with a question. Asking why this type of community is so rare. He says “I suspect it has to do with the requirement of brokenness. We’d much rather be impressively intact than broken. But only broken people share spiritual community.”

Plain and simple. That’s the kind of community Karen Trigg longs for. A community that is NOT perfect. A place where we accept one another’s brokenness and invite one another to walk toward God together.

How about you?

What spoke to you this week?

 

 

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IS / Is NOT

I recently posted a simple definition of “mentor” from Dictionary.com

The definition paints a picture of the mentor being someone who has gone before, gained wisdom in a particular area, and has then shared with those who have yet to gain wisdom in a particular area.

  • Does the definition draw a clear picture for you?

 

  • What questions does this definition leave you asking?

 

For a bit more clarity, let me share my simple understanding of what a mentor IS and what a mentor is NOT.

 

I was talking with a friend recently and shared my heart on the matter. I shared with her from my perspective:

What a mentor is NOT:IMG_1148

Someone who has all the answers

Someone who stands over you waiting for you to fail again

Someone who agrees with the lies of the enemy

Someone who walks away when things get tough

 

What is mentor IS:napkin talk pic

A friend

Someone who has walked the road a little ahead of you

Someone who cares

Someone who speaks truth

Someone who sits with you in darkness and shines the light in

Someone who loves deeply because she has been loved deeply by God – it’s all she has

Someone who believes in you when you cannot see to believe in yourself

Someone who challenges you

 

A friend

 

That’s all…just a friend.

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Fabulous Friday Find ~ Sole Hope

imageI knew the moment I heard about this “find” I wanted to share it with you.

Do you want to help me put shoes on Ugandan children?

Sole Hope is putting close toed shoes on African children, one pair at a time.

We can be part of the shoe making crew!image

it’s easy.

It’s fun.

The cost?

Your time with friends, an old pair of jeans

&

a heart to make a difference

in the lives of African children.

Go to Solehope.com to watch video &  learn more.

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Girlfriends & Bookends – It’s Worth It

Hello Girlfriends!

We read this week about developing community not being so easy to do. But we’re also encouraged though it’s not easy, it’s worth it.

If you didn’t get a chance to comment on last weeks post, please feel free to go back and share.

Feel free to “reply” to comments others have posted as well.

Kristy took time to stop in to Dunkin Donuts to grab a cup of coffee and a donut while she turned the pages this week.image

Larry opens the chapter with the comment “We need each other, never more than when we are most broken.” He goes on to say “A central task of community is to create a place that is safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough enough for each of us to own and reveal our brokenness. Only then can the power of connecting do its job. Only then can community be used of God to restore souls.”

Isn’t that what God is all about? Restoration. And as much as was written referring to one another in the bible, seems to me God wanted to use us in relationship to help facilitate the process of restoration.

I think the thing that spoke most to me from this chapter is that we as Christians aren’t comfortable with the struggle. Our own or others. For ourselves we think we need to get it right and not show it if we don’t. For others, we think we need to fix them or lead them to the answer, because we are the ones who have a list of answers. When really, we could be just be sitting with them and listening. Or walking with them and asking questions instead of trying to have or be the answer. I’ve been the one who thinks I need to have an answer. Why is that? When I know what I really need in community is someone who will really see me. Really hear me. And in order for them to do that I need them sometimes just to “be with” me. The simplicity of letting me be where I am and caring enough to just recognize where I am struggling. That somehow gives me permission to begin to work through the struggle. For me to begin to ask the questions.

This chapter, for me, reminds me that our job is not to be a community of fixers, but challenges me that the real and critical thing we all need is more people who are willing to walk with us toward our true source of hope. God. Not our own answers. Our own ideas of what it might take to fix the problem.

Sometimes we just need someone to sit with us. Just sit.

We think its most important to have the answers when really what we all need most is the discernment of the Holy Spirit rather than moving and thinking and speaking on our own. I personally am desperate to be led by this discernment. It only comes when I take the time to allow my thinking to be changed (transformed) by being in God’s word and prayer. {Romans 12:2}. I want to be led from this place rather than what seems “right” to me.

We agreed in our Gathering Place Group that it’s healthy that we don’t necessarily stand in agreement with some points that were made in the chapter. We talked about those points. Feel free to do so here as well. Let’s always turn it away from pointing fingers at others and instead turn back toward ourselves and ask what am I learning from this.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Grateful you are here.

HIS,

karen

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Mentors Matter Monday ~ The Pointer

imageI am pleased to introduce you to Holly. I met her through a friend. We attended an event Holly planned. My friend and Holly were both speakers at this event. It became clear to me as I listened that her desire to mentor is lived out in everything she does.

Lean in as Holly shares her heart to invest in the generation that comes after her.

A few years ago my entire family decided to go on a family vacation. The destination? None other than Walt Disney World. There were 18 of us! Lots of chaos, laughter and a ton of bathroom stops but in the end it turned out to be an incredible trip.  A few weeks prior to the trip my daughter’s school held their book fair and I bough a pointer. I had no idea how much that purchase would benefit our trip. I literally would hold the pointer high in the sky and say in a loud voice “if you can’t see the pointer than you are lost”.

We would all laugh but it did keep everyone from getting lost and most importantly it kept us all together.

This is a beautiful picture of what mentoring looks like.

I spent many years in youth ministry without anyone pouring into me. That led me into a season of burnout and loneliness. Unlike the pointer that was leading my family through major theme parks full of people, rides and chaos, there was no one I could visibly see leading me through the ups and downs of ministry. I felt like I was lost in a season of ministry that should have been rewarding. Instead I was on complete empty.

The church is made up of all different types of people, each with different type of gifts, all for the purpose of growing the body and bringing hope to a world that has none.  The exchange of our gifts wrapped in encouragement, lifting one another up and cheering each other on is what strengthens the body. It’s so important to pour out the truth of God’s word and to share struggles in my life that have shaped me into I am. It’s that transparency that pushes those younger to live out their faith real and unmasked to the generation below them. I currently mentor 4 ladies and our time together consists of me listening, loving them no matter where they are spiritually, spending time with and pointing them to God’s truth as I walk beside them to the cross.

The pointer at Disney kept us together and without it we could have really been scattered. Mentoring keeps the body together locking arms and truly enjoying all that God has for us within ministry and just living life.  The ladies I pour into are all in their 20’s. They also pour into teen girls.  I love watching those girls bloom and grasp at such young ages the importance of discipleship and kingdom building.

I started pouring into Brittany when she was only 13 and I watched her go through some very hard seasons of her life.  A lot of adults talked about her clothing, who she was dating and how she conducted herself all the while never reaching out to her. I was drawn to her mess and her sweet hidden spirit. I couldn’t stay away. What started as me just loving her like Christ led to not only her clothing changing, but it led to her surrendering her life to Christ. She stands beside me today in ministry.

Mentoring leads to life change which leads to world change. A willingness to share our stories, pour ourselves out and point people back to the cross.  That’s what it’s all about. Psalm 107: 2 (NLT) says this… “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.” What an incredible nugget of truth to lead you and I as we lead others.  Share your stories today. Reach out to those who surround you and pour truth into them, walk beside them and point them to the cross and leave the results to the Creator.

Are you leading someone toward the Creator?

Do you need someone to lead you?

What does Holly’s story speak to you?

photoHolly Myers is the Fields of Hope Site Manager for the Charlotte, North Carolina location. Fields of Hope is a program of  On Eagles Wings Ministries that provides paid educational fellowships to survivors of Domestic Sex Trafficking. Holly works directly with the girls in the program by teaching curriculum, mentoring, and giving oversite to the assembly of beautiful handmade products. Holly is also the president and founder of Unbound Ministry. Holly desires for girls and women of all ages to understand what true beauty really means. Connect with Holly at Unbound Ministry Revolution Church.

Fabulous Friday Find – Fabulous New Book!

I have got to share this book with you!Cover When A Woman FInds Her Voice

When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference by Jo Ann Fore.

Jo Ann is a friend of mine who has been a writer since she was about 3 feet tall, okay, I am guessing how tall she might have been in grade school, has just launched her new book and I cannot keep it a secret.

I MUST SHARE!

If you click on this link, it will even let you flip through the pages for a peek.

“Broken dreams and unmet expectations leave invisible wounds, ones that linger, confuse, and overwhelm. Our souls stained, our hearts wrecked, we tend to lose hope. Our mouths broken, we fall silent.”

In her book, Jo Ann will guide you to:

  • Learn to identify lies (false voices) and replace them with truth
  • Pull down mental traps and strip away their sense of power
  • Connect within healthy community, even when you’ve been hurt
  • Move beyond lingering hurts and reclaim your stalled dreams
  • Share the story you’ve been hesitant to share

Jo Ann Fore is a popular blogger, certified Life Coach, and Founder of the vibrant virtual community, Write Where It Hurts. She is passionate about leading women into full, free lives. Lives of purpose and joy. Jo Ann and comedy-magician husband, Matt, live in Tennessee, where she talks incessantly about her grandchildren to anyone who will listen. Connect with her at JoAnnFore.com.

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Girlfriends & Bookends ~ Don’t Expect It To Be Easy

Welcome Girlfriends!

Thank you for joining us to turn the pages of Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. We will spend the next 17 weeks or so sharing our thoughts and maybe even asking one another some questions. We will most likely give each other some things to think on. If you’ve chosen to read this book with us you I can guess you already know that finding and growing in community is not something that happens easily. Since we are all here to learn more, let’s dig in and get started.photo-3

If this is your first time reading about Girlfriends & Bookends, we would love to have you join us. You can order your book or kindle copy here and jump in with us. Comment here on the blog post and let me know you would like to get started.

Will you take time this week to get someone to take a picture of you curled up in your favorite spot read with us? Here are the Girlfriends who curled up on the worn leather sofa to turn the pages with us.

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“I ponder my experience and I recognize once more that the way for us to be in the world is  to focus on the spiritual life. – Henri Nouwen” (From Chapter 1).

Larry Crabb begins to ask questions to consider on page 191.

He says “Confusion and disappointment are inevitable on the journey toward spiritual maturity. But the up side of confusion is openness, and the upside of disappointment is that it inspires hope by making it necessary.” He goes on to ask “What disappointments have you encountered along the way, disappointments that God is undoubtedly using to grow your faith and make you mature in Christ?”

I can relate to the confusion he speaks of. I’ve had my share of disappointments and hurts over the years in my attempts toward spiritual maturity in relationship with others. The disappointments were not always by others – some were brought on by my own choices.  I’ve found that if I can be sincere in my  desire to grow and in my commitment to struggle well, that’s more than half the battle.

The safe community he speaks of that offers healing power, I believe is cultivated over time. Although it takes intentional effort, it is well worth the investment. I need a safe place to be able to share that I don’t have life all figured out. A place where it’s ok to have questions that may never be answered this side of heaven. And I need to see that others struggle too. I am grateful God uses our disappointments and confusion to lead us to Himself. I’ve had to learn over time, and still need to be reminded…it’s not the answer that is most important, but that the questions might lead us to Him…that’s what really matters as we work to understand true spiritual community.

Join me in sharing your thoughts. Will you?

You may want to touch on my comment, or you may want to bring something completely different to the discussion. Please let the little keys on your keypad give us a glimpse into what has spoken to you from this chapter.

One little thought…let’s keep it to what we are learning about ourselves in the pursuit of community. I know it might be tempting to touch on where others have let us down in our pursuit.I know we all want to better understand what it takes to be healthy in community.

Please share your comments below.

As you share, your name will be entered to win a copy of this month’s Book Giveaway – God’s Dream For You: Finding Lasting Change In Jesus by Matthew Barnett from The Dream Center in Los Angeles, California.

 

Fabulous Friday Find – Book Give-away!

Have you ever wondered of change is possible? For you or for someone you know?1400320801

In his book, God’s Dream for You, pastor Matthew Barnett shares true stories and testimonies of people whose lives hit rock bottom. But through the guidance and direction at the Dream Center in Los Angeles, where they learned about the power and love of Jesus, these brave souls broke free from their bondage and now live brand-new lives. GD4Y_4

Leave a comment on any blog post for your name to entered to win a copy.

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Join us for Girlfriends & Bookends

Girlfriends & Bookends -1I am excited to invite you to turn the pages with us over the next couple of months or so.

Watch this video to hear more about a community of women gathering to read and grow together. We will begin Girlfriends & Bookends Online NEXT THURSDAY and post weekly inviting your discussion. Watch here for more detail.

Order the book – Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb

Leave a comment to let us know if you would like to join us.

Welcome Lisa, Jennifer, Kristy, Elizabeth, Lauren & Sarah!

So excited that you have already signed up to turn the pages with us. Be sure to watch the video for details.

Please contact me with any questions.

HIS,

karen

 

Mentors Matter Monday – Who ~ Me?

0064Who ~ Me?

She’s Asking Me to Mentor Her

I shared a conversation with a friend who has spent a lot of time pouring into high school girls. For her, the relationships come very naturally as she makes herself available to spend time with young people she believes in.

In this particular conversation, she shared that a young woman had specifically asked her to “mentor” her. As we thought through what a conversation between the two of them might sound like, here’s what we came up with:

Here are some questions that might be helpful in determining the direction to go:

1 – What does she feel she is wanting from a mentoring relationship?

This is a good place to start because it:

  • helps her to think the answer through
  • helps you to gain more information
  • helps in making a good decision

2 – As she answers listen well, pray through and think about it. It’s ok not to give a quick answer. She will hopefully respect that you are taking the decision seriously.

As you listen for to her answers it can help you determine some additional questions to ask along the way in natural conversation.

  • Are you seeking accountability?
  • If so – in what areas?
  • Do you want to do a book study? Study a topic? Or maybe a book of the bible?

Maybe she’s just wanting to spend time together and discuss things & that’s ok.

  • How often were you hoping to meet?
  • Are you willing to let me ask you hard questions in order to be intentional?
  • Are you willing to be upfront with me knowing I have your best interest at heart?

Just a thought as you decide if you can or want to do this. Sometimes you need to put a time frame on it (not always). Maybe we could meet for 3 months or 6 months and then reevaluate at that point.

3 – Ask yourself:

  • What time do I have to offer? What fits best in my schedule? Am willing to ask hard questions?
  • How often is best for me? Where is best for meMy home? A coffee shop or bookstore setting?

Be careful not to make meeting her needs more important than caring for yourself and your family.

I’ve done it both ways and the latter is much more rewarding and obedient. Give out of an overflow of your own relationship with the Lord and your time with Him. Otherwise it’s your own effort and it won’t hold up for long. And in the long run, will not be good for her.

John 15 – 4 & 5 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Has this been helpful?

You can find this and other helpful resources at Ruth’s Hope Resource Room

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