Intentional Impact

6 Tips for Finishing 2016 Well

Out with the Old I say.

The old has gone, the new is here!

I remember being a new Christian and feeling like the years before I knew Christ were a waste. I was ashamed and certain that my previous living didn’t count for anything positive and life giving. I tend to think in terms of what I have to show for where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.

I am tempted to have the same attitude as I prepare to say goodbye to 2016. But then these words come to mind:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the old has gone, the new is here {2 Corinthians 5:17}.

Christ came to offer me new life. And it was new! New perspective. New thoughts. New questions. This new perspective was calling me to leave the old behind and embrace the new. It took time to learn how to graciously accept the invitation. As I did, I also began to see that the old that brings us, you and I, into the new. It’s all a part of THE JOURNEY. Everything i have walked through in 2016 has brought me to the moment I am living right now.

So, rather than crossing the old off as useless, I choose to believe there is value in it.

Maybe you’ve had a hard time looking back on this past year and seeing any value. Perhaps you’ve struggled to get your head above water again. Maybe you set goals for yourself and then didn’t meet them.

Let’s look back over 2016 together and set our hearts and minds on these thoughts:

1}Give thanks for the circumstances that brought you to today.

      I give thanks that after a rough two years I was able to begin slowly engaging again in      the things I love.

Writing a blog post here and there is a far cry from not being able to find the words.

2}Believe that what you’ve learned through the ups & downs adds value to the journey.

      I have to believe it. I am a processor. Everything counts.

What I am learning today

will make me better for tomorrow.

3}Note how your perspective has changed through the circumstances of 2016.

     I’ve gained much more hope in this past 364 days. Gaining hope changes vision.

Gaining hope brings peace. Experiencing peace makes room for vision.

4}Celebrate what you’ve gained along the road winding to the end of this year.

      There were times in my period of darkness that I wondered if the light would ever shine again. I wondered, after trying so hard to draw back the curtains & pull the up the shades, if maybe this would forever be my new normal.

The winding road of 2016 took me to the places where the sun shined beautifully through the dense fog and danced through the tree branches inviting me to come and bask.

5}Choose what you wish to carry over to 2017 & continue to focus forward on.

I choose to keep walking, remembering to bask in the Son who has given me the NEW.

I choose to continue following what I believe He has put in my heart to do – to accept the invitation to have a part in – Cultivating Real Relationship with God and with one another.  

6}GO! Focus forward – not backward as you set your sights to what is possible in 2017!

Retreats! Mentor Coaching. Gospel Conversation Coaching. Real Relationship Workshops!

W R I T I N G.

Just to name a few thoughts.

If you share how you’re choosing to finish well I’ll cheer you on from where I sit. Won’t you please take a few minutes to think through and share your thoughts?

Win a PRIZE! 1} Share your response. 2} Share this post on your facebook page.

The 1st person to do both will win this green crossbody clutch. 

The 6th person to do both will win this grey felt reversible shoulder bag. 

I can’t wait to hear how you will choose to finish well!

What’s in a Name?

whats-in-a-name-1It happens most every Wednesday. I climb the steps. Four of them. To find her on the other side of the counter. Only I’ve made the climb so often that she grabs the cup and pen. She know’s my name. Many of them actually.

She puts on her imagination cap when she sees me coming. I never know what it will be. It always ends in ia. Sometimes sounding adventurous, other times nostalgic. But every time creative and thoughtful. Personal.

catherineShe knows my real name. My given name. She values me as I step into her presence. Maybe as a customer. maybe as a human being. Today, she didn’t even ask what I wanted to drink. She, Catherine with a C & an ine, grabbed a cup and pen and made me what she knows I’ve ordered every week since March. It allowed more time for conversation with her, which I love and look forward to. Today as she chose to give me the name Iridia, she explained something having to do with the periodic elements chart. It didn’t have to make sense. I enjoyed every moment. Our conversation turned to the European’s tradition of naming of children. Before we knew it we were in Ireland. The land of both our ancestors. I love getting to know her. 

Does it matter if anyone knows your name?

Does it matter if you take time to know theirs?

I deeply value interaction with other human beings. I think it comes from being known and deeply valued by God. It changed the course of my life. Words of life freely given back and forth between us — they matter. They can kindle a fire within us. To keep going. To not give up. We never know.

When was the last time you noticed your waitress as a person, not just in her role serving you?

When did you ask the cashier at the grocery store her name, which stopped her in her tracks and brought a smile to the middle of her shift?

When was the last time someone noticed you and valued you when you least expected it?

Will you share? I ‘d love to hear.

HIS,  karen

Love Well. Two Words…Simple

img_5024Two words. It should be simple, right?

Love well. Now, go and do it!

A friend presented me with this beautifully framed gift. With it she gifted me her words; you do this well. Gifts like these keep me humble. I don’t always do this well. And to be completely see-through, God is continually showing me where I fail to love well. Impatience. Self-righteousness. Needing to be heard or understood. Did she see some of this too? I believe she has seen glimpses for sure, yet she still values the relationship. And my heart says thank you.

Maybe you’re like me and want to stay in the classroom of learning to love well. If so, listen in to where my thoughts have taken me today.

See, if we are learning to love well, we are probably not even aware of it. To say I love well is itself an arrogant comment. To say I long to love well more accurately casts a humble note over both my posture and my words. It’s impossible for me to accomplish such a task without complete dependency upon and daily surrender to God. He alone enables me to carry out any good thing.

One of my favorite scriptures instructs me on the HOW.

Years ago Jen and I sat across the table from one another contemplating what God was teaching us. I remember so clearly the words she directed me to read. She wanted to learn to love well. These verses were tugging at her heart. She asked me to pray with her that might be able to love this way. The scripture admonishes us to turn from loving in a way that seems natural to us, to a deeply centered, intentional love.

We turned the pages until she showed me, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.” {Romans 12:9-10} NLT

My favorite version speaks even more pointedly, Love deeply from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. {Romans 12:9-10} MSG

A few other versions speak it this way:

Love for others must be sincere {NIV}

Love must be without hypocrisy {HCSB}

Let love be Genuine {ESV}

We tend to think loving well is something that if we try hard enough we will be able to accomplish. We are off the mark. If we are loving well in the truest sense of the phrase, most of the time it’s because we’ve done some hard work of getting ourselves out of the way.

If I say I trust in Jesus, then I am told He lives at the center of who I am. The love I have for others needs to come from the very core of who I am in Christ. For me, this only happens when I trust in His love more than I trust in myself. Jesus literally laid down His life for me. It’s the ultimate of loving me from the core of who He is.

Oh that I might really believe in my every day hours that He loves through me as I lay my life down for others. My dying moments come every day. My self screams for the attention it wants and I have to tell it the truth over and over.

Before I knew Christ, to love well meant worrying about every move I made relationally. My confidence came only from people’s response to me. God would not let it remain that way. He wanted to break old sinful habits in me in order to build new healthy life-giving habits in me. The Builder…He is still at work in me today.

Oh, Lord, how i desire to love this way. Genuine. Honoring others.

I can love you most deeply, only as I draw from the part of me that is sincere, genuine & without hypocrisy. Yet, I wake every single day with a propensity to live in complete opposition to these character traits.

Loving well according to the scriptures isn’t really about me. It’s about you. True hospitality is all about meeting needs of others. Not just those who reciprocate our love, but those who persecute us, those who don’t care for us, or maybe even those who rub us wrong.

Precious One,

Will you join me in continuing to look to these scriptures to equip us to love well? If you leave me a message to pray for you as we learn to love well together – – – I’ll stop and breathe a prayer over you.

                                Karen

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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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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 – P31 Ministries

Little Pitchers
I have had the honor of being encouraged the few years by the amazing group of women at Proverbs 31 Ministries. I’ve gained wisdom from the teaching of these women. They share n such a way that I know beyond a doubt I am not alone.
Take a peek at this Proverbs 31 Ministries link to see what I and others had the privilege to share about P31.
Whether you are a woman needing to know you are not alone, a woman serving other women, or just a woman in need of a little encouragement today, look, listen and add this page to your favorites.
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When A Woman Finds Her Voice

“I won’t tell if you don’t!”

We never really said it, but we knew we shared the common bond. The bond of silence.

The decision to swallow our words helped us through some terrifying times and erected a wall of protection around our hearts. With an unwritten allegiance, my brothers and I stood by each other within those constructed walls.

I was familiar with deferring to the voice, stifled by fear. The one that held the power. My first lesson in this subject came at the age of five. If you tell, they will not believe you. And they may never let you come back. Back to visit the pony with the silky flowing mane.  And so, the lump in my throat grew large, larger than life for a young girl barely school age. I loved the pony. I swallowed in silence. I will not tell.

It wasn’t the first time I had been rendered speechless.

These childhood classrooms provided curriculum–educating me early. The lessons learned provided a legend for the map I would navigate through life.

Until…God beckoned me to begin voice lessons. The journey to finding my voice began. One lesson at a time he began to teach me how to use the voice he gifted me. A new classroom.

In her soon to be released book When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts and Using Your Voice to Make a Difference,  Jo Ann Fore invites us to allow God to be the one who gives us a voice. The one he intended for us to use as he gifted us our first breath.

Cover When A Woman FInds Her Voice

 

“Whether you need emotional healing or are looking for tools to help others, When A Woman Finds Her Voice offers practical hope, straight talk, and insightful biblical truths that lead you to find this healing, and then helps you lead others to do the same…”

Her book is available now for pre-order. Grab yours NOW and begin the journey to finding your voice.

 

Pouring In – Pouring Out

What does it look like in real life?

yellow pitcher

Pouring into the generations that come after you.

It has as many different looks as there are people on the face of the earth. Because it is about authentic relationship. And each one of us is uniquely different.

POURING IN 

Maryann sits across from me in our favorite breakfast booth. They know us when we walk through the door. If she beats me to the table, the hostess sees me come through the door and with a simple, “She’s already here”, asks me to follow her. We open our books to share our personal takeaway from our reading through the week. And we talk through what challenges I face. How I am wanting love well and fail. How I am wanting to be disciplined, yet struggle daily with follow through.

She has walked the road before me. She invites me to peek through her lens and invites me to see all she has learned along the journey.

POURING OUT

I remember my conversation with Jen like it was yesterday. We were  part of a prayer group together. It was a sweet time of coming together simply for the purpose of praying together once a week. The group could have a different number of people on any given week. But we all agreed the sweetness of coming before the Lord together was always beyond what we could have hoped for. Simple, sweet & real.

Jen and I also met one on one from time to time. The conversation would always lead to truth. Not a feel-good ruth that works for me kind of truth. No – an anchoring, challenging, sharpening kind of truth. And the sharpening – it was from a two-edged sword. It sharpened us both – never one sided.

I remember a day we sat face to face in our familiar towering booth at a local Panera. Tucked in behind those towering walls, we felt we were all alone.

Her greatest desire this particular day? To  love well. She shared the words that described how she wanted to love. She asked me to hold her accountable to love this way.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with a genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. {Romans 12:9-10 NLT}

Her words, the words from the pages of Romans, are words I carry with me daily. They remind me to love well. To love deeply. They remind me I cannot do it if left to myself. It is impossible. But, when I choose to open the book that sharpens – when I choose to live a life pouring in & pouring out with genuine affection, a legacy is being written day by day.

What is left when I am gone, you see, is really not at all about me.

It is about loving well.

When Jen left our towering booth she would go and meet with a youth she invested in. She would pour herself out.

Real relationship.

Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum this year is all about Pouring In – Pouring Out. Copy and paste this link to see more. http://www.lifeway.com/Event/Womens-Event-Womens-Leadership-Forum-2013-Nashville-TNTell us about your Pouring In & Pouring Out.

Tell us your story of Pouring In & Pouring Out! We want to hear.

HIS,

karen

 

New Life. One Generation shall commend His Works…

To another.

You might be asking where in the world I have been. Did I decide to give up blogging altogether?

Mentors still matter to me. I very much want to hear your story. Your needs to be mentored. Your recollections of those who have poured into you making a difference in your lives.

I would love to share what has captured my heart for the last couple of months.

And…time? My time? What’s time? I’ve lost track of it temporarily. And I’m okay with it.

imageI’ve never been more proud of my beautiful daughter. I watched her for nine months as she prepared for the role she has waited many years to live out. Becoming a Mama. As May 10th neared and she readied herself for the reality she would soon hold this precious baby girl in her arms, her demeanor set with laser-like focus.

Many of my friends shared how special it is to become a grandma…aka…MiMi :-).

What was unexpected was the  depth of emotion I felt for my daughter. Not because she was experiencing pain she had never felt before, but because of my respect for her. We have walked through some times of deep heartache and grief together. I believe she would agree that we share a very close relationship.

As I watched her make the decisions she needed to make with her husband I stood in awe of her respect of him and his of her. As they both presented this beautiful child proudly after sharing special bonding time privately, no words would come. None. The emotions, on the other hand, ran deep as a waterfall through my heart and soul. Becoming a mother, for her, was as natural as breathing. Watching her quiet calm confidence with her precious daughter brought a profound depth of peace to my soul. Peace that passes all understanding.

As the hours passed by that sweet day, so did my memories. Six year old Lynn on daddy’s shoes in her sock covered feet. Dancing to county music. Trusting. Drinking in the moments.

How did we get here? To this hospital room. To this new home that seems to have always smelled like a newborn baby girl. Who seems to have always been a part of our lives.  God had a plan. Plans of a future and plans of hope. For He knew the plans He had.

As I stood holding her for the first time, rocking her, all I could think was –

..and one generation shall commend His works to another. There was a time in my life I could not have told this little one of God’s mercy and His grace. As I looked upon her soft newborn skin I thanked God that my life is different because of Him. My daughters life is different because of Him and partially because of God’s impact on my life. And she {this little one} will grow day by day hearing of God’s love and mercy.

So, as you turn the future pages of Heart to Heart Journey in the weeks, months and years to come I feel certain you will see glimpses of the precious little one woven into my ponderings from time to time. Thank you in advance for taking the time to care to read my words tapped out on ivory keys.

HIS,

karen

 

 

 

Your Story – Much Needed

You have a story others need to hear. I feel certain.

I have spent the last several months posting stories from women whose lives have been influenced by someone who took the time to notice them. These stories have been called Mentors Matter Monday. Each story is unique to the women involved.

Why is it that to many women, even the word “mentor” is intimidating.

It’s really about a willingness to share a friendship.

These chairs sit in my yard,  an invitation to connect, converse, or be still.

image

Would you risk inviting a younger woman to join you in a space like this?

Face to face.

Have you already?

Please share your story with Me. I would love to post it in the Mentors Matter Monday section of the blog.