Fabulous Friday Find – The Rest of the Gospel

This book was introduced to me by a friend.


I love the subtitle: When the partial gospel has worn you out.

It is so important for us to understand the whole counsel of God.

I believe this book is critical to understanding who we are “in Christ”.

Here is a quote from the book…

“When you are perfectly prepared, Jesus whispers the old news, which is still the good news:  “I am the life. You take Me into you, and you have the life. I live the life as you, just as the Father revealed His life as Me.” Dan Stone and David Gregory.

If you get a chance to pick it up, please let me know what you think.


Kitchen Table Impact

We would sit for hours, Doris and I.  Hands wrapped around coffee cups.  I could be anywhere at this moment, but here is where I WANT to be.

A high school girl who longed to be accepted, to be invited in to any group, I felt most at home at Doris’s kitchen table.  I was only there initially to ride to school with her son.  They lived two doors down.  He wasn’t quite ready sometimes when I arrived, which meant I got to know his mother.  A tiny little lady with the energy of a roadrunner, I would watch her bounce back and forth between the table and the kitchen sink and then out to the patio to nurture the beautiful greenery she had planted in pots, and then back to the table again.

She shared stories that fascinated me.  I was always anxious to hear more.  Doris had grown up working the tobacco fields of North Carolina.  She loved her roots.  She valued family deeply because of her roots.  I could listen to her stories for hours.  Stories of her love for her Daddy.  Her lessons learned from hours in the kitchen with Mama.  But the school rang a late bell we needed to beat, so it meant I had to come back for more.  Some nights I would go back over and sit late into the night just asking questions and listening to more stories.

I’m not sure when it happened or if it was woven into every conversation and I didn’t consciously make note of it, but as I look back I can plainly see that her stories always came back to Jesus.

I wonder if I had ever heard His name before she spoke it?

I wasn’t aware that Jesus in her was what drew me.  It took me many years before I would uncover such a precious secret.

But today, thirty some years later, her relationship, her very personal relationship with Christ is among the few of the women who by the way they lived, first made Christ attractive to me.  The first few years of my marriage I would go back to visit her just to learn more about how to apply the Word and my relationship with Christ to my marriage relationship.

I treasure these memories as seeds sown into my life by the hand of God.

The Lord saw my unformed substance; each of my days were written before one of them came to be.  (Psalm 149:16).  He was the One who formed me.  It was no surprise to God that my path would cross this path of this woman of God.  I am thankful today for the ability to trace the hand of God over my life.

Dear Heart to Heart Reader,

Have you ever taken the time to consider who God wrote into the story of Your life to draw you to Himself?

I would love to hear.

To read the first story of Impact for the Journey click here.

This post originally posted on february 27, 2012

Stories – Mentors Matter

photoI wonder if we realize just how much they matter.

Stories paint pictures for us. They draw us in to see through the eyes of the teller.

Each story unique, like the teller.

Each voice unique, resounding the heart and personality of the one telling.

Details inviting us to memories built, impact deep.


What you leave behind when you are gone…it matters.

Do you know who has sown seeds of a legacy into your life?

Can you see it in story form? Do you have chapters yet to be written?

Have you told the story before?

Do you know that others may be inspired, encouraged and possibly even moved to action because your story has been put to words?

I would love to hear your story. The story of how someone has poured into your life. And how it made a difference for you.

Will you share with me? Will you share with others? I would be honored.

Send me an email to indicate your interest and I will contact you.

Your story matters to those looking on. It really does.

With gratitude…



Rise & Shine – Mentors Matter Monday

Every  day I long to hear stories of women whose lives have been changed or are being changed because someone takes the time to invest in them.pitchers.jpg

I look for these stories because I want to share them with you in hopes that you will see the very real impact mentoring and discipleship can make in the lives of those hungering and thirsting for more of Jesus.

Lean in today and give God the glory as you hear from Laurel.


The word might conjure up images of an elderly woman sharing all of her wisdom with a member of a younger generation.

As for me, I have had mentors of all ages. (Hey, I am even learning a lot from the Godly, hip teen who lives down the road from me!) But, today, I want to share about a mentor that has been in my life since I was 13 years old.

“Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory, Glory!”

This is the first line to the song she would sing bright and early as she awakened the gang of girls every time we had a sleep-over event as a youth group.

Boy, was it obnoxious.

Yet, this morning, as I was getting ready for church at the age of 31…I started singing this song. Writing about it brings tears to my eyes. Why? Because I learned and continue to learn so much about being a Christian from this awesome, Christ-centered woman.

I am reminded of Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your hear, as working for the Lord.” That is my mentor. Whether it’s preparing to lead a choir, finding furniture for the elderly in need, or mentoring an assertive (ahem) young woman. It was and is all for the Lord. Always with a smile on her face. Even in moments of frustration, she does not complain. She does not grow weary. She just. keeps. going.

Yeah, I have learned a lot from her. Grace. Humility. Patience.  At least, I see those things in her and want to emulate her because I know that her fruit overflows because of her focus on the Lord. She does nothing out of vanity, and she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own (Phil 2:3-4).

Over our 18 year relationship, I can only recall one time where we slightly disagreed. The gist of it was that she wanted to be more loving towards someone than I wanted to be. Wow. What a lesson in all those awesome qualities I’ve already mentioned.

Yeah, I want to be her when I grow up. I want others to see in me just a fraction of what I see in her.

I have been blessed with a number of awesome mentors. Without their guidance and discipleship, I don’t believe I would be who I am today. A sinner saved by grace trying to live a life pleasing to my Savior.

Dear Heart to Heart Reader,

What have you learned from someone who has taken the time to walk through life with you?

Who do YOU want to be when YOU grow up?



Laurel Shaler is a licensed social worker and counseling faculty member. Additionally, Laurel strives to help women anchor their emotions to God, improve their relationships, and develop an abundant life in Christ. Laurel can be found blogging at http://www.drlaurelshaler.com. You can also follow her on Twitter  or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drlaurelshaler. 

Fabulous Friday Find

If you really get to know me, you will begin to understand that music runs through my veins. Not just any music, but worship music. Music that leads me to a right posture before God.

Today’s Fabulous Friday Find is one of my latest music finds.

The Ineloquent


They are called The Ineloquent.

Take a peek. Let me know what you think.



Clay on the Wheel Woman

photoSeveral years ago I went through the process of being coached by an amazing life coach. I really just thought I was going to go through the process to determine if it was something i wanted to use in my daily ministry. I hoped to determine if the coaching tools would be something that would make me better at the ministry God had entrusted to me. Would it be helpful in the mentor/discipleship relationships I spent my days humbly invited into?

The answer to my question has changed my life and stretched me beyond what I could have imagined.

A few of the words I wrote on that day…“The Clay on the Wheel Woman says – I believe that He has been asking me to be open to more depth of clarity and transition…she needs spiritual mentors to speak truth into her life…she has recently begun to walk in courage and to step out…she is willing to be refined in areas that need sharpening.”

Little did I know of the journey ahead of me. If I had known, I might have asked to be removed from the wheel. It’s been a stretching beyond what I would have imagined. At times to the point of feeling I might break into a million pieces. Then finding I could endure much more than I knew.

When I wrote those words I thought they related only to the reason I had signed up for the coaching process. What I find as I reflect on the title today is – God wants me to stay on the wheel. I think I have spent much of my life thinking once I master a lesson being taught to me, I can climb down off that particular wheel and wait for an invitation to the next one…sometimes with teeth gritted…but waiting no less.

I wonder if, like  me, you’ve had times of wanting off the wheel. Time to rest. A break from being reshaped and reworked. Time to catch your breath before the next lesson.

God must have known  we would struggle with being stretched and reshaped as we attempt to face our daily circumstances.

Jeremiah 18:4  And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter‘s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

God’s word tells us we can trust the Potter {Him} to rework His vessel {us}. He wants us to learn to trust the process. He wants us to learn to trust His Word over the overwhelming emotion we face in the midst of the seemingly endless journey. He wants us to learn to trust HIM! His Word always leads us to more of Him. Though the spoiling leaves us feeling isolated and alone, far from His reach, Jeremiah tells us the vessel He was making was spoiled in HIs hands – the hands of the Potter. His hands are to be trusted. The wheel is a safe place, even when it seems to spin out of control.

We can learn to rest in the center of that wheel, you and I. The spoiling is not too far from His reach.It is completely in HIs hands.

I wonder if there is something that anchors the potters clay to the wheel? I envision something holding it in place even as it is taken from one shape to another. I think I need to visit a potters studio to see for myself.

Dear Heart to Heart Reader,

Are you on the wheel today? Do you feel weary on the wheel?

How can I pray for you as you are being held in the hands of the Potter?




In the corner – like a wallflower – Mentors Matter Monday

pitchers.jpgWhat does it take to pour into the life of another? The mention of it overwhelms us. We think we have to have it all figured out before we dare to think we have anything to offer. All the while, there are women who hunger  for the mentor/discipleship friendships that offer a safe space to grow.

Lean in as Tina shares her thoughts about mentoring.

At first mention of “finding a mentor”, the thought left me feeling like I was in middle school again without a date to the dance.

How would I FIND someone who could help me in all areas of my life? I started paying more attention to who I was hanging out with.

Maybe I would just ask one someone who was already close to me…seemed like a good safe plan that required little to no vulnerability on my part.

The only issue was, everyone around me was at the same place in life I was.

I started looking outside of my circles and found myself so incredibly fearful of asking someone to “mentor me / aka..go to the middle school dance”

because…hello!….. the thoughts of rejection were crippling. Seriously, the people who I would have loved to ask to mentor me were so busy in life already,

why would they make time for me? And that horrible what if, what if, what if….game always locked me down.

So I sat. I watched.

waited in the corner like a wallflower, hoping someone would come

my way and ask me to dance. Surely the look on my face read “hungry for more”. Yeah. No.

Just as I was ready to move on in life and just “be happy with the card I was dealt” and “do the best I could with what information I had”, I heard a message about mentoring…(wish I could remember who the speaker was) what they spoke opened my eyes and exponential possibilities. They said (paraphrased), “to assume one person is smart enough to mentor you in all areas of your life is to say that he is next to Jesus in perfection..there is no ONE person who could possibly speak into every area of your life.

Look for people who are at the place you want to be in EACH area of life and ask them questions about that one place.

Okay. That’s how to take a bite, I thought.

So I did. I got myself in the room with people who were stronger in a few areas of life and just listened to them talk to one another. It awakened my spirit to new possibilities and allowed me to see new things and experience one ah-ha moment after another…for example…This group of ladies seemed to have strong marriages and the more I listened to them…wow…they are actually speaking highly of their spouse when he’s not even in the room! Who does that!?

It set a standard of respect for me that had never been modeled to me before.

The more I learned, the more I craved. I started noticing changes in my attitude. The way I viewed my marriage, my kids, my career, my choices. The greatest thing about all of this? Every time I felt a need to change, it caused me to lean in to the Lord and get in His word to search for my why. That made my relationship stronger with Him and now in life I see THAT = my relationship with the Lord…is the root from which everything grows. It’s expanding.

He constantly leads people in and out of my life to teach, speak into and “mentor” me.

Gratefully, He has sent me tremendous women of God who have turned into the best friends I could ever ask for.

  • I have a few ladies who model true submission in their marriage without feeling like they are being railroaded.
  • I have a a few ladies who model Christ-like business practices and can help me understand why it’s okay not to always win or come out on top.
  • I have a few ladies that model what being a model parent looks like and that sometimes means denying myself and my own desires.
  • I have ladies who model what it looks like to be a servant of the Lord, because giving sacrificially is not how I naturally respond to giving up time and resources I feel like I’ve earned.
  • I have women who model discipline in their eating and exercise habits because as I was growing up, a healthy lifestyle was not ingrained in me.

Nothing replaces a great example. I’m so simple minded, I need someone to show me HOW to walk it out and even better, someone who is willing to walk with me until I figure it out. I wouldn’t call these people mentors necessarily…I much prefer to call them friends. I believe we become like who we surround ourselves with.

Growing up, I’ve always heard the expression, “you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”. The people who I allow to influence my life, walk their talk…their actions speak so much more loudly than their words. Those are the people I want to be on the dance floor with.

They really know how to boogie!

Dear Heart to Heart Reader,

Who has influenced your life? Who has God sent into your life to model that HE is the root from which everything grows? Please share with us.

tina 2

Tina Wilson is a wife to one man, mom to a boy and a girl, photographer for people who believe that images allow them to taste life twice. She describes herself as a wife, believer, children’s photographer, go-getter, cry baby and interior designer wanna-be. You can enjoy her breathtaking work at TinaWilsonPhotoBlog.com or follow her on Twitter @tinawilsonphoto.

Fabulous Friday FInd

Straight from my bookshelf … mended: pieces of a life made whole, by Angie Smith

This is a find you will be refreshed and encouraged by. Angie Smith is a writer who draws you in to glimpse her growing relationship with God through a very vulnerable lens. I was captivated by how she allows God to teach her in the everyday seemingly mundane things of life to see through HIS eyes.


Go…NOW…get your copy! And add it to your reading list. I still hear her voice in some of the most everyday life tasks, challenging me see it as more than everyday life.

And let me know how you liked it after you read it!




The Storm Within

Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 – From My Utmost For His Highest

The Storm Within
The Storm Within

It came out of nowhere. I felt it coming. Even shared with a friend in hopes it would diminish. In hopes I could conquer the emotion washing over me as I readied myself to walk into a group of women I did not know.  I’m a grown woman who God has re-purposed. What is my problem? Why can’t I get it together? If I know it’s coming, creeping up into the quiet places of my heart and mind to stir up a storm within – surely I should be able to stop it…right?

In the cold of the gray day I somehow remembered what it took to fight the battle within.

If this is your battle too I want to ask you to take this cold gray walk with me.

Leaving the weight of my shoulder bag in the hand of my friend, I made a decision to put one foot in front of the other as I sought to do business with God. One foot in front of the other as I remembered that I had the ability to conquer. Not in my own strength, but in the strength of God my Father. Though it was a brisk day I knew I had to have time alone to talk out loud to God. Not so much so that He would hear me, but more so because I needed to cry out to Him with my whole heart.

Oswald Chambers says “The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things–tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.”

Through Him – Therein lies my hope. Not in the success of never having to return to the same dreaded battle again. My mind tells me I should be able to master this. So that I will not find myself back in this position again. The last thought I have in the midst of the battle is this is going to produce super-joy in me.

Oh Lord, help me to trust that the storm – the surf – will lead me to you – the One who has conquered death. The One who reminds me that I too am a conqueror, in ALL things.

Do you need to strep out into the brisk cold and put one foot in front of the other as you cry out to God? I’ll join you. Or if you like, I’ll hold your shoulder bag.

We can both learn to trust the surf.




Drawing Water – Mentors Matter Monday

pitchers1.jpgI was MIA last week. It happens every now and again. My humanness gets the best of me sometimes.

Today I am refreshed and excited to offer to you the heart of a beautiful young women so that you might glimpse just a portion of her heart. I have known Lana since she was two years old, clinging sweetly to her mother’s leg – her safe place. She has grown into such a beautiful Daughter of the King. She encourages me on many levels as I watch her walk out her love for God with actions that  leave a fragrance of Christ Himself.

Lean in…

Since my earliest memories, I remember longing for Jesus.  I don’t know why or how, but somehow I just knew that I was for Him and He was for me.

It is one thing to long for Jesus, and another thing entirely to live for Jesus.  That was going to take more than just a feeling.  I knew I needed help in this journey to really flesh out the desires in my heart to live and breathe for Him.

For much of my life that help has come from books.  Authors, ranging from the first century to modern day, have become my in-house mentors, always there for me at a moment’s notice.  That sweet gift that has helped me through many seasons, and is one I still utilize and cherish today; however in my reading I began to long for a face-to-face person to talk to about the specific issues and questions I was facing in life.

So, somewhere in my college years, I began praying for a mentor.

For months I prayed, “Send me someone in the flesh to talk to who can help me in my walk with You.  Send me an Eli.”  Later that same year, He not only sent me one, He sent me four!  Each was sent to me for a different reason, and they all had different personalities and strengths, but they offered the same thing:  their time, their heart and their treasures of wisdom picked up along the way.  These women were further along in their walks than I; I knew they had water in their wells I could drink from.  And drink I did!

In Proverbs 20:5 it says “Counsel in a man’s heart is deep water; but a man of understanding draws it out.”

The first step to drinking that water was to recognize others had treasure to offer, even those I least suspected.  I’m not saying we should open our lives to just anybody, but we should pray and ask God to lead us to the mentors He chooses for us, then be ready for anything He brings!  In my case, He brought a medley of characters, and their input in my life in that season was invaluable.

One woman walked me through how to receive deep inner healing of past hurts through Jesus, and led me into the crucial forgiveness of those I’d been hurt by.  She taught me how to find Jesus in those places and memories that were most painful, where I had felt most abandoned.  And to my glorious delight, I discovered He really was there in all of them.  Always there.

Another woman talked and laughed with me weekly over lunch as we swapped stories of trials and triumphs.  We didn’t go into deep healing by any means, but just her presence and listening ears were so beneficial as we talked about everyday life.

Through these spiritual mothers I was encouraged, counseled, comforted, corrected and greatly helped.  The enemy wanted to isolate me, and at times I wanted to isolate myself, but these relationships protected me from that harmful temptation and kept me out of pits of despair.  Their prayers and wisdom were birthing seeds of life in me that continue to bear fruit today.

Now, a decade later, I still have these types of relationships in my life.  They are vital.  I pray when I’m 90 I will still be drawing water from others wells and drinking deeply, and in the meantime I want to readily pour out the water from my own as the Lord brings the opportunity.

LanaSUtshirtLana Shaw is co-founder of homeless ministry Speak Up Magazine of Charlotte, NC, and serves in many capacities within the organization.  With a degree in Print Media she has worked as a freelance writer, editor and researcher for organizations such as the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.  Speak Up combines her love of the written word with her passion for the disenfranchised.  While not in the office, a coffee shop or on the street, Lana can be found at home with her husband Matt and two children, Isaac (age 6) and Isabel (age 3).  Lana loves diversity, the stillness of very early morning (when she gets up for it), music, books, new food, bonfires, the outdoors, unabashed worship, and supporting local and organic efforts. She is especially excited about loving on the orphans, the trafficked, the outcast, and those who have lost hope… and she dreams of one day going to Africa.  Follow her personal blog at http://www.stepsandbits.com or Speak Up at http://www.speakupmag.org.