generations

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.

 

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

 

 

 

Mentors Matter Monday – As If In a Mirror

Taking time to invest in the generations that come after us…it’s what really matters. Can you remember a time in your life you needed encouragement and perhaps even accountability as you stretched and grew? Maybe you still do. Whether we are 18 or 88 or somewhere in between, there is another woman who has gone before us who can speak truth into our lives.pitchers.jpg

Lean in as Courtney shares about the impact it has had on her as a few of those women have realized that sharing what they have learned in life sows seeds of hope into another.

Reflecting on the impact mentoring has in my life, at the very least, it gives  me the opportunity to evaluate how I am doing life. The mentoring relationship offers me the opportunity to evaluate, by voicing to another, how I have been living life.

The mentoring relationship has done many things to encourage my growth, but the most valuable has been having someone with whom to share my thoughts and actions.  Being intentional in doing this with another person provides the safety to think through those actions and thoughts. It’s also helpful to be able to receive feedback; to hear what my thoughts sound like to another person. I see, as if in a mirror another perspective, and that is invaluable.

I have had several women invest in me at one time or another. One shared with me about ten date nights she had done with her husband, and she told me which ones failed and which strengthened the relationship. Another told me about how her mentors helped her grow to be who she was.  Another gave me an established consistent time to leave my kids with my husband and “vent” while working through challenging situations.

Over the years, I have asked women to mentor me and I have been turned down. It took me awhile to ask again after hearing “no”. The shock and shame cut deep.

During this “mentor-less” time I experienced desperately slow growth as a woman. I had young kids and I knew I was not the mother I wanted to be but could not single-handedly pull out of my unhealthy patterns.

Perspective can only be found outside of ourselves.

The beauty of the mentoring relationship is that we work with another person to form unfinished ideas, identify patterns and evaluate what is best moving forward. I would not have experienced the same growth had I not been involved with mentors during the last thirteen years.

 

It has been well worth the journey.

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Courtney is a daughter, wife, missionary, mother, teacher and artist. Daughter of two parents and a Father, wife of one husband, missionary to Latin America, mother of three children. Courtney is a teacher of many and artist to herself. She loves to sit with a cup of tea and listen to others stories as they grow and stretch. Sometimes she choses to sit and listen to herself as she grows and stretches and is thankful for those who have poured into her life.

 

Please share what part of Courtney’s story YOU can relate to.

Have you been mentor-less?

Have you been on a journey that you would say is “well worth it”?

I would love to hear.

Karen

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.

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Distant Hunger

“I don’t have what it takes…”?

In an earlier post we looked at the necessary first steps to refute the voices that tell us we don’t have what it takes to pour into young women.

We see young women hungry to know how to navigate life.

We (older women) keep our distance thinking we don’t have anything to offer them.

They keep their distance assuming we have no interest.

Wondering if they are worth our time? If we care about the things that matter to them. If we want to know them.

All the while, we, as older women feel insufficient to offer anything of value. Or, decide we don’t have the time. Maybe it’s someone else’s responsibility. We have worked hard to have our freedom in this season of our lives…right?

When The Apostles had pulled away to a desolate place as Jesus had instructed, many saw them going and recognized them and ran on foot. They were so hungry they actually got there ahead of the Apostles. When it grew late they came to Jesus to request that He send them away to the surrounding countryside and villages so that they might eat. (Mark 4)

What was Jesus answer?

YOU give them something to eat”.

Not understanding where the food supply would come from, they began to question Jesus about how He intended for them to be fed with the little they had to offer.

How many loves do you have, He asked. Go and see.

When they reported having only five loaves and two fish, He instructed them to sit in groups on the grass.

What happened next is key to understanding what we have to offer.

Jesus took what they had – the five loaves and two fish – offered them heavenward and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. The scriptures tell us the food was divided among them all, and all were satisfied.

I used to struggle with believing I had anything of value to offer to the next generation. God has taught and continues to teach me that anything we have of value to offer comes from lifting it first to Him. Lifting it heavenward. Just as He was the One who provided food for the crowds sitting in groups on the grass, He will provide for those we invest in.

It’s not up to us to provide. It’s up to us to be willing. To be available.

To allow God to provide through us.

Andy Stanley said recently “We think our responsibility is to fill their cups, but in reality all that’s required is to pour out what we have”. We are to pour out what God has poured into us.

As I surrender my life daily to God He uses all He has done and is doing in my life as bread for others.

The good, the bad, and yes – the ugly.

God uses His willing vessel, cracks, rough edges and flaws to love those He loves through a willingness to do life together running hard after Him – the Bread of Life.

Where has God impacted your life? Your circumstances? Your hurts? Your struggles?

Are you willing to bridge the distance between the generations and allow God to provide?

They need to know we are interested.

Top 10 Reasons To Pour Into The Generations That Come After Us

I’ve been asking myself lately – why bother? Not because I ponder whether or not it’s a question worth considering. Rather, in all honesty, I believe it’s a question we ask ourselves when we don’t understand the need.

I started with the same thought over a decade ago, only it looked and sounded different. Mine sounded like this: I don’t have anything to offer. Anyone else could do it better. Why me?

In a world where causes are championed every day with further reach than ever before due to increased social media, I want to hoist the biggest megaphone over my shoulder, climb every single rung on the tallest ladder, and share what I’ve learned along the way as I’ve been blessed to do life with those generations that come after me.

Instead, I’ll just whisper it from here and invite you to listen in, to hear what has helped me to see why I should bother pouring my time into them.

1 – They are asking.
It would be one thing I were to walk up to a younger person and tell them, hey, I have something
you need. Do you want to come and spend time with me? Instead, have witnessed an
increase in the younger generations seeking out those who have gone before them. They are
speaking up and advocating for themselves, asking for what they know they need.

2 – They need to see life modeled.
Part of what is needed is to see the more seasoned generations (seasoned with life experience)
model a life lived with values, integrity and authenticity. Lived out in real life situations and
circumstances.

3 – They need hope to see they can make it to the other side of hard stuff.
In todays culture the norm is anything goes, and when the going gets hard the committment is
thrown out the window. Today’s younger generations need help to see there is another way.
They can make it through hard stuff life deals in their direction. We can help to meet that need
as we live through what life has dealt us and we learn from it.

4 – They want to be heard yet not judged.
These relationships are the perfect place for us to sharpen our listening skills.
They long to be accepted in order to open up and share life with us. We can create a safe space
for them to share in a transparent way that helps them to grow as we decide to not judge their
current circumstances.

5 – They want to be seen for who they are, yet challenged to be more.
When we offer a safe space and accept them, we somehow earn the right to speak
truth. In fact – I have found – they ask for it.

6 – They need us to believe in them.
We have all needed someone to believe in us when we don’t quite have it in us to believe
in ourselves. As we believe in another we offer hope.

7 – They trust us to help them see all they can be when they cannot.
Do you remember a time someone who cared for you saw further than you? Saw more in you
than you saw in yourself? Those who come after us want to know they can trust us to help
them see.

8 – They want us to walk with them. Plain and simple.
They want us to ‘do life’ with them. They don’t want programs, but they DO want relationships.

9 – They want to have fun with us in our homes, kitchens and families.
They want to see how the generations that came before them navigate home life. Families
around dinner tables. Playing board games or cards together. Cooking. Baking. Organizing.
Life on life.

10 – We are challenged by them and learn with them in a way that grows us too!
Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is to find, as we do life with the generations that come
after us, we too, learn and grow and even find great reward in the relationship!

We cannot go back to yesterday where maybe we wished we had invested more into the younger generations, but we can take these Top Ten Reasons To Pour Into the Generations That Come After Us and move forward paying attention to what they need.

What need did YOU identify with that you have not considered before today?

Legacy Sown – Legacy Returned

Our conversation led us to the round four seater table placed a the edge of the kitchen. Our husbands were in the next room having their equally important conversation. Quality time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law is hard to come by, so we hung on each others words. When we are blessed to share time, we speak of things that matter, and we laugh a little too.

On this day our conversation led to the topic of legacy. An explanation of legacy I read recently defined it as “making a difference today with tomorrow in mind” (Inside Track).  And I love to hear stories of those who are making THIS kind of difference!

Joyce knows my heart for pouring into the generations that come after us. It’s not about a program, but about intentional authentic relationship that makes a difference.

She shared about a woman who made a huge impact on her life throughout her years serving as a teacher in the public school system. With Joyce newly retired, she has made a decision to continue to give of herself, and I find it so beautiful to see her give back to one who poured into her.  Pearl left a built a legacy while she lived that will be touching others even after she is gone.

Joyce’s story:
As I retired from 25 years of teaching this past December, I was praying that God would lead me in a direction to be able to give and share with others. Teaching was definitely my “calling” in life and it pretty much consumed my every waking minute. The joy I received from interacting with my students and watching them learn was such a blessing to me.
In January I decided to visit some of our widows that are in nursing homes. One in particular, Pearl, had touched my family’s life for many years. She was a  nursery worker in our church, and she helped many children grow in the Lord. She, also, would call church members on their birthdays and whenever she knew someone was sick. She would always let us know that she was praying for us. Through God’s grace she was able to carry out these ministries through many illnesses, the death of a son, and a husband with Alzheimer’s.
The first time I visited Pearl I suggested that I could read to her whenever I came to visit. She resisted at first because she said she could still read her large print Bible. But, the next afternoon I received a phone call from Pearl and she asked if I could read her Sunday School lessons with her. I procured two lesson booklets the following Sunday. Her class’s curriculum is different from mine, so I am blessed with two lessons of Bible study each week. I read the lesson and highlight key points, then I read it with her and we discuss the Bible truths. It is amazing how much more you receive when you discuss with others.
Whenever we are finished I try to engage her in conversation about her past and her family. I see the joy in her face as she shares. I want to be an encourager for her,because the realization that she will never go home again can be daunting to anyone, especially if you are still “as sharp as a tack” at 88.
God is truly blessing me each week as I try to give back to those who have left a legacy of sharing God’s love with others. Pearl is truly a Pray-er Warrior.

Investment JOY

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A friend sent me this picture from Lowes today. Amazing what we can do with phones today. I felt like I was standing there with her. Thank you Debbie for making my day!

She knows what these pitchers signify for me. The JOY of pouring our lives into another.

Gods Word tells us time and again to tell the generations to come what we have seen, what we have learned, that they too might know that He is God. And might praise Him.

One woman who is in her sixties pouring the truth of who God is in her life into a woman in her twenties and a woman in her fifties, who pours into women in their twenties and thirties and maybe even forties.

Titus 2 gives us a clear directive for the older woman to teach the younger woman. The older woman (I like to refer to her as the more seasoned woman – in terms of years lived) does this best by simply living life with the younger woman in such a way that the values and character are lived out pointing to the very character of Christ Himself. This is NOT teaching from a podium. It’s life on life. The gospel meeting life circumstances. Changing us both along the way.

Is someone pouring into your life in this way?

Are you pouring into someone else’s life this way?

I’d love to hear about it.

Leave a comment here but share more of your story with me by email –
RuthsHope@gmail.com

Day 37 of 365 Days of JOY