“The Body”

I have recently faced times of both trial and victory.  I have been blessed beyond words to have benefited from the “Body of Christ” in ways that I struggle greatly to even put to words. 

In the midst of this time I visited a friend who probably has no idea what she offered to me in terms of God’s love.  She allowed me to be right where I was in the moment and tenderly offered me the touch of God.  She required nothing of me…but gave without reserve.  How is it that she could know?  Not sure that she really did…but God did …and I believe that He used her for me to show me that He knew me and that He was not far from me.  I was not alone.

I am longing for the words to describe the impact that the love I have received from those who represent the “Body of Christ “ in my life has had in these past few weeks.

I choose to share this with you because this is what I feel so convinced that the Lord would have us to do with one another in order to see His glory!

Have you ever felt dry and lifeless in your relationship with the Living God? 

Have you wanted so much to touch HIS robe? 

To taste and see what you have tasted and seen before…yet you cannot seem to “get there”?

I have felt each of these and more.

For those of you who have know this desert…I feel so deeply for you at this very moment!!!  It is such a lonely place.

Not lonely in terms of wanting people around me – no – on the contrary.  Lonely in terms of knowing the intimacy of a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Father God and feeling far from Him.

As it came my turn after listening to the prayer requests of those I have been meeting with now for over a year for prayer ~ I suddenly felt all of the emotion come welling up in me without warning.  Before I knew it, I was laying it all out there to be heard in the raw emotion of it all.  Most of the women who were here for prayer that day were young ladies ~ “20 something women” who I have been blessed to be sharing prayer with for some time now. The prayer time may be different every week with who joins us, but this particular week it was the original ladies that have been a part of the group since the beginning.

There was a part of me that felt like I was crazy to not be censoring my emotions and my words as they flowed out ~ after all I am the older woman.  But it was the most real part of me that won out ~ the authentic part that asks and encourages the same from them each week.  I have come to know this place of prayer with them as a place where I am free to be part of the group ~ a participant with them ~ and not “the older woman” when it comes to sharing and lifting one another in prayer.  For this ~ I am grateful!  I think that it pleases the LORD:-)

What I found that day as I chose to continue to let them see me “struggles and all” was that I truly experienced the “Body of Christ”.  My friends gathered around me and began to speak words of truth and share scripture spontaneously as led by God.  How do I know it was led by God?  Because that day ~ in all my dryness and weariness ~ I was lifted before the throne of God with each word of encouragement ~ truth spoken ~ scripture read ~ and precious prayers breathed aloud for me.  I cannot tell you the life that it breathed into me.  I am thankful beyond words.

It has breathed life into me ~ this “Body of Christ” ~ letting me know that I am not alone in my pursuit ~ that there are those who care deeply to lift me before the throne of God.

Since this time ~ and letting a couple of other friends know just how much I was struggling, I have received so much from them.  They have no idea that the text messages and emails that they have sent have been at just the perfect moment and offer just what I need to hear from God.  He knows it, and He cares to use His Body to speak it!

I hope that if there is one person who comes across this who needs to hear it to know that they are not alone in thier desert place ~ that they will read this and be encouraged to be authentic with at least one other person about it.

Please share your desert experience with me so that I may pray with you.

Let me encourage you with the encouragement that has been given to me.

There is so much that I believe that God wants to do through His “Body”.  Will we be found willing?

Originally posted Monday September 15, 2008

by // 0 comment

Mentors Matter Monday – Immediate Connection

pitchers.jpgMentors Matter Monday is a post that means the world to me. It tells the stories of women whose lives have been changed because someone saw them worthy to be loved. To be invested in. To walk alongside.

Lean in today as Kerry Lyn shares her heart.

I met my mentor approximately ten years ago through a mutual friend at a ministry where we were both involved. The connection between us was immediate. She was able to break through a barrier with me from the beginning. Struggling with depression since the age of seventeen, I had let very few people in to my life. I found trusting others was a difficult task, at best; however, she understood the inner-battle I was fighting and challenged me to go deeper in my relationship with Christ to find comfort.

As my mentor and friend, she has always made it a point to ask the hard questions. Never being forceful or intrusive when asking questions, she has always kept my relationship with God at the forefront of any and all discussions between the two of us. By her intentional leading our conversations are always committed to the Lord. In this way, her influence has taught me how to truly be aware of things I say and think about whether they are pleasing to God.

In the recent past, I have had the opportunity to take a lot of the lessons I have learned in this relationship and utilize them in my relationships with others. Because of The influence of my mentor, I have learned what it means to pour into the lives of other women who are struggling with some of the same issues I have dealt with in my life. I know what authenticity she brings to her ministry because she has lived what she speaks. She is an example to me, and many others, of what living the life of Christ is all about.

Throughout our relationship, I have grown closer not only to this woman, but to her family as well. They have opened not only their home to me, but also their hearts. This relationship has influenced me as I have shared life with her the last ten years, but equally important, the relationship has prepared me for my future as a wife and mother.  Putting God above all else and her family next, she encourages many women around her to live much the same way.

I thank God that He brought an older woman into my life. He has used her to draw me closer to Him and to know what a real and genuine relationship with Him looks like. Through her mentoring, she has made a huge impact on me and the Kingdom.

Two Questions

1 – Are you seeking to find a mentor?

2 – Are you open to investing in another?

Please share with us how Kerry Lyn’s story has spoken to you!

Kerry Lyn resides in Galax, Virginia. She is in her final semester of school at Radford University where she is earning her second undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She also has a degree in Theatre from RU. She has a passion for helping women who struggle with depression and who are processing through traumatic relationships. She wants God to use every situation in her life to teach her valuable lessons. Her heart’s desire is that He will use her to help others see those very things in their lives as well. Kerry Lyn is helplessly addicted to Diet Coke. Feel free to contact her at khazelwo@gmail.com.

KL Pic

Fabulous Friday Find – Inside Chatter

InsideChatter_webcast-larg

Just had to share this with you! It’s on my calendar.Why – you ask?

Because I NEED it.

Lysa TerKeurst and Sheila Walsh will be doing a Live Webcast January 29th @ 9pm EST

They will be discussing “Negative inside chatter can quickly turn from misguided perceptions into dangerous reality. Sign up for this free webcast and find victory in this battle against negative inside chatter.”

And did I mention – It’s FREE!

What woman does not struggle with the voices we hear in our heads? I’m coming with open ears and pen in hand.

http://www.womenoffaith.com/2013/01/next-tuesday-inside-chatter-with-lysa-terkeurst-sheila-walsh/

Click on the link to see more and to register for an email reminder

 

 

by // 0 comment

What fills?

Will I ever measure up?

portion pic

In one way or another I have struggled with this question most of my life.

Because I couldn’t really answer the question, my natural response was to overcompensate.  It became a habit I enlisted often in order to survive.

Beginning this new year I’ve been challenged to let God be my portion.

My portion when I feel insufficient for a task before me.

My portion when I am consumed with how others perceive me.

My portion when I attempt to fill myself with all with all I think is right.

My portion when I am tempted to cover up my inadequacies.

Psalm 73:26 is my anchor.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

I’ve been trying to be own strength. It’s not as God intended it. He wants to be my strength.

I am excited about this journey. When I am tempted to use all the tools that seem right to me for measuring…I will choose to acknowledge – God is my PORTION.

And even when my flesh fails…He is my PORTION. And even when my heart is weary…He is my portion.

What is your anchor as you look toward the coming year?

 

 

Mentors Matter Monday – A Step Ahead

pitchers1.jpg

“A Step Ahead”

She graduated in 19-something and I was born the same year.

She’s a Grandma and my baby hasn’t left the crib.

Simply put, Leanne’s a step ahead!

As I walk the road of life, she gives me steps to follow.  I don’t actually see them, but she is willing to share what’s brought her to where she’s at.  This guidance and advice point me in the right direction as I build my marriage, raise my children and walk in faith.

It’s not just her wisdom that guides me down the path; her perspective helps keep me out of the ditch.  At times the daily tasks and stress of raising a family can be overwhelming.  Occasionally they even leave me off balance.  As Leanne looks back and sees me standing in her old shoes, she reminds me these days won’t last forever and assures me the work is worth it in the end.

On the days when it seems I’m walking uphill, she encourages me to take the next step.  Leanne shares her journey with me in a way that is real.  Her admitted mistakes remind me I’m not alone and convince me to stand up after a fall.

Then in the moments when the walk gets dark and times are tough, she shines His light and helps me through.  Whether it’s death, miscarriage or everyday struggles Leanne’s experience has taught me much and strengthened me as well.

As I travel there are moments of success and times of sadness.  She is there to share the joy and one of the first to listen and dry the tears.

Titus 2 is true, “the older women shall train the younger” and when the one who is a step ahead reaches out to the one following behind both women are blessed.  Why? Because it is a command and when we obey, God will bless.

This training includes the daily tasks of life, but it’s more than laundry, meals and money.

Titus 2:4-5 states, “Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (NIV)

Consider where you are on your walk along life’s path – there is someone who is a step ahead.  One who’s done the things you have yet to do, she’s answered the questions you’re beginning to ask and she’s passed the test you are preparing for.  Look to her, talk with her, learn from her.

At the same, take a minute and look where you have been, someone is following in your steps.  You’ve walked the road she is on, your example can show her how to live and your advice is guidance for her day.  Share with her, spend time with her, teach her.

My guest today on Mentors Matter Monday Is Jill Beran. I am grateful to her for taking the time to share her story with us. Please feel free to share your take-away after reading her story. Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of her book.

 

~ Jill Beran is an Iowa farmer’s wife, homeschooling Mom and child of God. She has a passion to connect women with God and one another. She is blessed to be a part of the ReNEWed Life ministry team. Jill is the co-author of Letters from Leanne – The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship and blogs at Titus24U.blogspot.com.

jill headshot

Mentors Matter Monday – Peggy – A Sweet Fragrance

pitchers1.jpgMonday Mentor’s Matter will be a weekly opportunity to share how a more seasoned woman who is further down the road of life has influenced you. How she has poured into you.

~ Has there been a woman in your life who has made an impact worth writing about?

~ Has she gone before you on the road called life?

~ Has she knowingly, or perhaps without any knowledge, influenced the way you think,  the words you speak or the choices you make ?

Too often we think we have nothing to offer another woman in terms of encouragement. We think anyone else could do it better. As we see the stories unfold on this page we will glean insight from real women living real life day to day. We will see how hope is poured from one generation to another. A lifeline of sorts to a generation looking on and hoping to learn from those who have gone before them. To benefit from the lessons learned.

Please use the Contact Tab on the Website to indicate an interest in sharing your story.

Lean  in now to hear MaryAnn’s story

 Peggy – A Sweet Fragrance

Titus 2:3,5

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, . . .  

so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

It never occurred to me, as I read Titus, that it would be good to have an older woman in my life like Paul talked about in Chapter 2.  Paul knew he would not be forever in the position that God had given him.  So he set out to equip and make ready for the transition that surely would come.  He wrote to tell Timothy how the church should be structured for leaders and older men and older women; thus the whole church.

Paul’s teaching can be called discipleship, passing the baton, mentoring … how about mothering or fathering.

“Mothering” is such an endearing term.  My mom was just the best.  So it is so interesting to me that about the time that I became a caregiver for my mom, I was also Nursery Coordinator at church and entering empty nest.  Just as my mom was going “absent,” God put in my life some “mothers” who were older women and some who were younger women, but spiritual giants in their season of life.  They held my hand, they put my face in their hands and dried my tears, they prayed with me and for me.  They spoke Truth into my life and circumstances as they demonstrated the love and compassion of Christ.  They sent timely and beautiful cards.  We did not have coffee meetings nor structured studies; these encouragements often came in brief moments in the hall at church.

One particular lady stands out these days.  Maybe it’s because I find myself standing beside women who too are needy in this season of their life.  Peggy was the one who would take my face in her hand and then the one who would co-lead a spiritual mothering class in our church with me.  As I read Susan Hunt’s book, “Spiritual Mothering,” I sorta wanted to experience spiritual mothering with this dear saint.  As it turned out, the class was so big that we each had younger women that we would get to know and love and encourage during the class.  I gleaned from her as she stood before the class.  I watched her interact with the younger women.

I was privileged to share tea with her in her home after the classes were over.  I’ll never forget.  She had a teacup shelf her guests would stand before and pick the perfect cup for the day or event.  Then she would pick a cup as well.  Another sweet memory was to learn of her love for lilacs.  She didn’t have a lilac bush and I did.  Springs after that, I was delighted to bless her with a fresh bouquet of lilacs.  It’s hard to look at my bush as it blooms every year and not think of Peggy, who has moved away.  Lilacs have a house permeating fragrance.  Peggy has a lingering heartwarming fragrance of Christ.

I, like Paul, will not forever be in this position, maybe not this geographical location that God has given me today.  As I give thanks to God for Peggy and those many others who have “mothered” and still “mother” me, may I be as a fragrance of Christ to young women.

~ MaryAnn has been married to her high school sweetheart for 47 years! Their two sons and their brides have gifted them six grandchildren. Brought up in church, she came to know Jesus as Savior at age 48. Those first few years as a new believer she calls times of feeding. Through the years, through tears, and through continuing to search the Scripture, she has found God to be Faithful and True. One of her favorite things to do is to journal to her grand babies.

maryann pic

Napkin Talk

napkin talk pic

Let me first say beginning this hopeful year of 2013, I am grateful for your eyes upon my words each time you slow down enough to read about something that matters greatly.

Real women. Doing real life. Seeking a very real God.

I had lunch with a friend recently who shared the impact of friendship on her. I went one step further and asked what she feels her greatest needs are in friendships with other women.

Of course because we were on a lunch date, that meant as any right-minded friend would do when they knew they are getting ready to hear something profound, I grabbed a napkin and a pen.

What she shared is something think many of us can relate to.

The simplicity of the words written on the brown paper napkin, when applied to relationships between women become a gift of indescribable value.

Speaking truth in love

Prayer / Intercession

Encouragement consisting of:

  • Building one another up
  • Helping one another to see strengths when we cannot see them
  • Helping one another to see progress when we cannot see it ourselves
  • Conversation leading back to scripture

In a recent service at my church, one of my Pastor’s spoke on proclaiming Christ to all peoples. “That’s our purpose” he said. He went on to share three ways we proclaim Christ.

Beautifully Simple

Life Giving

1 ~ Our Words

2 ~ Our Works

3 ~ Community

Community is what we are talking about when we are sharing life together in friendship. Life-giving. The way we choose to live in relationship together. The way we choose to love one another. The way we choose to care for one another. The way we choose to speak life into one another’s lives. How do we choose our words? Our works? Or what we choose to do to serve one another?

Simply and beautifully stated…our purpose is to proclaim Christ. For everything we say and do to point to Him. None of us is perfect, but even in our weakness and shortcomings,the way we choose to respond, even to them, can point to Him.

When Jesus had finished washing the disciples feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)

Jesus Himself has given us the greatest example of how to love one another. And He calls us to do just that. To love as He loved.

2 Questions:

What do you need in friendships with women?

What gifts can you give in friendships with women?

I would love to hear from you.

GHH PPL Flowers

I’ll be giving away 4 copies of Max Lucado’s Grace Happens Here. Leave a comment to be entered for the drawing to win a copy!

by // 0 comment

Nothing More Confusing – Guest Post

Tracey is a young 20 something wife and mother who is full of life and loves her family. She is passionate about her growing relationship with Christ and how to live in such a way that the Word of God is evidenced in her daily moments. She shares today in a very straightforward manner her longing for older women to understand what she and her peers need.  

You have often heard me speak of the value of investing in the generations that come after us.

Young woman have great need for older women to pour wisdom into them – to be available to “do life” with them.

At age 22, my friend Tracey responded to an email I sent her.

Would you mind putting into words your heart about older women investing in younger women.

Share please what you wish that our generation would understand about your needs & desires to be mentored / invested in / discipled.

She shared…

“There is nothing more confusing than being a young woman living in today’s society. This world offers a very twisted view of what a woman is supposed to be like.

I believe that because of the media and a lack of discipleship, many young women, including myself, have either strayed from the truth or have a total misconception of its value. I know that as a young and relatively new believer in Christ, I have had numerous conversations with my friends about the desire for a more authentic relationship with the Lord. However, we all have found that we are not sure what that looks like because we aren’t around it enough to receive the wisdom, discernment, and accountability necessary to become whom both we and the Lord desire for us to be.

Today, most women my age are finding their identities through success in the labor force, their bodies, and how many men find them attractive. It may be slightly unbelievable to consider this true- but trust me it is. We no longer look for respect because we either stopped receiving it long ago or we never even knew what it felt like to begin with.

In this, it is my desire to plead for myself and so many others whom have no idea what it is like to be a Godly woman through both the peaks and the valleys in life.

If I could share one truth with an older woman that was interested in investing in a lost generation, it would simply be that we NEED your commitment.

We need someone to stand by us like Jesus stood by his disciples. We need older women to be honest with us and not feel inferior of the so-called “age gap”.

Every woman alike faces the same temptations, same battles, and same triumphs; a woman, whether 18 or 82, is still a woman. We need advice on everything! Since older women have experienced much more in life, younger women look to them as examples.

I beg the older generations to please be the disciples that you are called to be, take up your cross and invest in the future. It takes commitment, patience, and perseverance; sounds like something we all have in common- Christianity. You never know, the women you invest in today may turn around and invest in tomorrow’s generation.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to be my followers you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24”

Yours in Christ –

Tracey

Can we take her words to heart and see what value we have to offer the generations coming after us? We don’t have to have the answers. We have to be willing to walk with them toward Christ in a very real way as we share in very natural relationship.

Let’s listen together and respond to the needs of Tracey and her peers.

HIS,

karen

Legacy Matters

Legacy Matters Live On Purpose – Pass It On

Did you know YOUR LEGACY matters?

IT DOES!

What IS a legacy?

Anything handed down from the past ~

Inheritance, Heritage, Endowment

The legacy my grandmother left to me was not the check presented to me by her estate, rather, the gift of love and joy she sowed into my life during the time she lived.  From as early as I can remember, in a time when much was uncertain and chaotic in the home of an elementary aged girl she made me feel special when no one else did. When everything and everyone in my life said I was not worthy – she dug into the soil of my heart and taught me otherwise.

Because of her love for me and intentional effort to bring laughter and joy to my life, I continue to press on in the battle to believe in myself. My success in overcoming can, in part, be traced back to the gifts she gave me as she loved me.

This is a LEGACY!

In Christ we have obtained an inheritance.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life. (Ephesians 1:11-14 – The Message)

 

As one generation takes time to invest in the next, women of all ages find hope as they learn to trust in authentic relationship to be the catalyst that fosters growth. Younger women learn to navigate through life’s circumstances in healthy, vibrant ways. In the process the more seasoned women learn too. Though we have navigated life and are familiar with the journey, we learn just as much by doing life with the younger generations.

Young woman have great need for older women to pour wisdom into them – to be available to “do life” with them.

If you are reading these words, regardless of your age there are women who are younger than you and women who are older than you.

What is YOUR need?

Have you invested in another woman’s life?

Has another woman invested in yours?

Do you currently have need of someone to invest in you?

I would love to hear about it.

My next post will highlight a letter written to me by a young woman who communicated what she needs from the more seasoned – older women. My generation.

As you share Thanksgiving dinner with those who are important to you, please know I am full of gratitude for you taking the time to read the words that flow from the keys at the desk of Ruth’s Hope.

Grateful you care what God has written on my heart.

HIS,

karen

 

Quick! Help me think!

In a crowd of college students she walked up to me, a matter of fact look on her face, and asked if she could talk with me.

I leaned in. “Sure.”

“I wanted to ask you if you would consider mentoring me.”

I thought I would fall over, but quickly struggled to present the right answer.

In my personal prayer time I had been asking the Lord to direct me to what was next. Not knowing what direction to move in seeking work, I waited. My desire – to be where God wanted me. To be still enough to hear His voice guide me. Although I had been in the classroom of lessons on being still, it was not easy to wait. It never really is.

As the weeks and months passed He began to whisper to my heart. The work He had for me was work I had already been doing. I thought it was something I was good at. He began to show me that encouragement and nurturing were not things I had learned to excel in, rather, gifts to be used for building up. God equips … for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood {womanhood}… Ephesians 4.

Yet as I stood before Liz I felt totally unqualified to say yes to mentor her.

How would someone else answer this question? Quick! Help me think! 

I know – “Would you be willing to pray about it?”

Why did I think I needed to measure up to someone else’s standards and approval? I was so afraid I would not have anything to offer her.

As we began discussion about it she shared, “I would love to be able to get coffee and share some things that have been on my heart. To be able to read the word together and pray together.”

Simple. Right?

Why did I complicate things? It’s just what I do if left to my human nature.

As Liz and I began to meet and have coffee, we got to know one another. We set a weekly time to meet for coffee and found a little corner table at or favorite “girly” restaurant. Baskets hanging, artsy painting on the walls and fun designs dropped from the stroke of a paintbrush to the floor. The more comfortable we became in the friendship, the more natural it was to share heart to heart.

Mentor – such an intimidating word.

A mentor is a preceptor. Really just a person who has gone before another.  One who is willing to share from where they have already been. To offer hope. To come alongside.

Having had great need for God in my life – I can relate to the need for God in others.

If I can let others see where God has impacted my life, it becomes an opportunity use all things for His good. His work in my life and circumstances becomes a testimony to others. Not a testimony of my goodness or success, but of the work of God in the lives of those He loves.

As it turned out, Liz had already been praying for a woman who would take the time to invest in her. And what she did not know was I had been praying for her over the summer while she was in the mission field. God himself had drawn our hearts to one another. Although I was more worried about what I would look and sound like as I asked her to pray about it, God showed us both, as we put our hope in Him to guide and direct us where He wanted us. What we had both been asking for.

Thank you Lord!

What do your prayers for direction sound like?

What do you need to trust Him with instead of being concerned about how you will be perceived (as I was)?

His,

karen