Outreach

How to Have a Drama-free Thanksgiving // Accepting Others As They Are

Picture this scene.

It's Thanksgiving Day.

The table has been set with grandma's fine china. It's pretty and white detailed with a gold trim and tiny blue flowers.

The turkey has been carved.

The family members pose just before the blessing is said for a Norman Rockwell portrait.

The blessing is prayed.

The partaking of the Thanksgiving meal begins.

And then it happens–Uncle Obnoxious begins his usual antics of getting securely under your skin with his big mouth. His opinionated views on politics, religion, today's youth, the preacher, and even how the turkey was carved flow out of his mouth as freely as water coming out of the kitchen faucet. It goes on and on and doesn't stop until someone turns him off. His very presence begins to gnaw at you, and you pray under your breath, "Lord, why did I ever decide to come to this family gathering!"

Sound familiar to you? Suffice it to say, most of us have an Uncle Obnoxious or someone in our family who just sort of rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of ways to respectfully decline this year's Thanksgiving invitation, knowing he/she will be there.

Wait! Before you decline, may I offer you a ray of hope from my own experience? You see, people like Uncle Obnoxious used to make me cringe. In fact, I thought that I was called into the world to give "Help Tips" to my closest relatives and friends that would assist them in seeing things more positively. And Lord knows those legalistic people who only see things as either black or white definitely needed my assistance in helping them balance the truth. 

Hogwash. The real truth of the matter was I was trying to mold them into what I wanted them to be, especially if I were going to have to deal with them on a regular basis. The bottom line was, instead of my help tips helping them, I was causing division.

The spiritual light bulb revelation that "changed me" instead of me trying to change others came as I listened to my mentor, the late Melba Bekeheimer, teach from Romans 15:7.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (NIV)

My spiritual light bulbs really went off when Melba asked, "Did God say if you get rid of all the moles, then I will accept you? Did God wait for you to get perfect before accepting you?" (Ugh!)

She continued by explaining that there is a big difference in accepting and approving. We sometimes think that we have to approve someone in order to accept him/her, and that's not true. We have to accept a lot of things in life, but we don't have to approve them. We are all going to have different opinions, temperaments, and personalities. These different types of people don't have to be our bosom buddies (even relatives), but we do have to accept them.

This new concept and revelation, not only brought emotional and spiritual healing to my heart, but paved the way for me to deal with all the, shall we respectfully call them "sandpaper," people in my life.

And so it was. I sat down with a pen and paper and begin to write out all those things that had gotten under my skin about a few people. I then decided that it was time to throw the list in the garbage can. I made a conscientious decision that I would now accept them just the way they are and allow their creator to make the necessary changes in their lives if need be. 

Believe me, I am no longer stressed out around those people who used to make me cringe just to be in the same room with them. Well, not much anyway. A healing came into my life when I accepted them, as well as when I forgave them for times that their words had hurt me. And yes, some of them I had to ask to forgive me for trying to mold them into my image. Why did I even think that was okay?

It is a good feeling knowing I don't have to straighten people out for their journey through life anymore. I also walk with a confidence knowing who I am in Christ and prayerfully function as an ambassador for Him.

And with that, I encourage you to start preparing your heart this Thanksgiving to meet up with Uncle Obnoxious. Make a decision to love him unconditionally, warts, moles, and all–just like Christ loves and accepts you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us at Created Woman!

Will the Real You Please Take a Bow?

The real me. That’s tricky. Sure, I see the real me in all of its glory when I rise at 6:25 a.m. to start the day. The bed-head hair, the mascara smudged ½ inch around my eyes, the slightly vacant look on my face that signifies I wasn’t quite ready to wake up and desperately need coffee - yes, that’s definitely the real me…but that’s just the physical, and I can change a lot of that. Give me a little bit of time with the shower, some great hair and face products, and I can give you an entirely different version of what I just described. (And we’re not even talking photo filter apps yet, that just adds a whole new level of change, doesn’t it?)

How about the real me? The one on the inside that many of you don’t see or even hear me talk about. You know, those words we use to describe ourselves. The inside me has core values, a heart with dreams and desires, a soul that might have been broken or faced disappointment. I am a girl with a story – a past and a very real present – that I’m navigating every minute of every day. I love sushi but cannot tolerate a Sloppy Joe anything. I’m a sucker for a good sunset but will admit, if you run into a wall, I will laugh uncontrollably I might wet my pants. I like fashion and style but can’t ever seem to put it all the way together. I cry at the National Anthem yet know every word to a Bieber song. I. am. Me.

Today we live in an alarming time where individuality is stifled. Our current culture shouts that conformity is safe. If you stand for one thing, you are automatically opposed to its counterpart. We are two generations into never experiencing true lack yet we view acceptance as something that should be rationed.

Can I offer up some advice? The world needs us, as in, the world needs you. There has never been a greater time than right now this moment where people need to see you, for who you are and not some watered down, stay low and stick-with-the-masses self. Your uniqueness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires and specifically, the way YOU – there is only one of YOU – were created is needed for such a time as this. It is by no accident you were born into this generation and it’s because you have something to contribute. Don’t try to deny it, run away from it, reason with it or hide behind someone else with a similar purpose. It’s you. This place is for you.

For the real you who is created for a purpose must first stand up before she can take a bow. Maybe that doesn’t look like conquering the world, maybe it just looks like spending some time thinking about who you really are. Maybe standing up is deciding what you’re not about, or maybe it’s realigning your commitments to things you are truly passionate about.

No matter what, today is your day. Showing up and being present is your greatest strength. You. Be. You. 

How does this message resonate with you? Have you found yourself trying to blend in? Maybe you just recently decided to throw your hat in the ring and get out there!  Tell us where you are in your journey with finding the real you.

[title subtitle="Guest Author: Erin Turnley"][/title]

Turnley blogs at truegrace.life where she believes stories can change the world.

Stories can break down walls and dive right through pretenses. I believe we were all created by God with a unique path and purpose. I desperately want to take this message to the world and encourage girls and women to “shake off the beige” and be the color of light they were meant to shine! I write real. I write like you are on the sofa with me in my living room and we are either talking over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine…without edits which means a word may slip out every now and then. I believe we all have a story to share. This is simply mine.

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Respect Does Not Equal Fear

There is something absolutely terrifying yet empowering and marvelous about sliding your foot in the stirrup, grabbing onto the saddle horn, pulling yourself up and swinging your legs around a 2,000 pound horse. You go from being on the solid ground with complete control to several feet up with little control. I don’t like to think of riding as “controlling” my horse. I have determined that having built an established relationship with this animal, I can trust him to take care of me.  

I hear people comment all the time that they are frightened of horses. It’s wise to have a healthy “respect” for these amazing animals, but respect does not equal fear.

When you look at the Hebrew word for fear – Yirah – you see that it has both positive and negative implications. This word “Yirah” is used for both. The Hebrew definition for “Yirah” uses words such as “to be afraid or dread and morally revere.” When we read in scripture, “Fear the Lord,” let’s not be confused with frightened versus reverence in these passages.

Fear drives away.

Reverence drives near.

I love the definition of the word reverence. On good ole dictionary.com, it says “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.” I want to have that type of fear for the Lord. I want it to have “deep respect tinged with awe.”

When we view our Savior through eyes of awe and wonder, it draws us closer to Him as we unlock the mysteries of who He is and what He has done for us.

I have a respect for my horse, Bert. And he has a respect for me. This mutual respect has developed over time. It has come from spending more and more time together. It has come at a cost. Many hours of working together. Many hours of us both sweating in this Texas heat till we worked through our issues, in turn, forming a closer bond.  Sacrifices were made – time, money, and pride.

This past weekend, Bert and I, spent several hours together. I settled on the idea I was going to go ride him on the trail by myself – something we hadn’t done in years. In the past we had let fear drive us away from doing the things we enjoyed doing together, but I knew today was going to be different. That today there was a change. Today we had crossed over from fear to reverence. I walked out to the opening of the trail and told Bert that we were going to go for a ride, just the two of us and that I would never ask him to do something that would hurt him. I hopped back in that saddle and we rode around. We rode with no fear. We rode calmly through the fields watching the cows move from one side to the other while they grazed.  

I hear God saying those same words to us – “No need to fear child, I will not lead you to harm. Trust me as I lead!” The more time we spend with God, the more we will be able to let go and trust Him to lead us. Don’t let fear drive you away from Him but let the wonder and awe draw you in to know more of Him today.  

"So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today—live a good life.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13 MSG)

Let’s learn to revere Him today, as we do, it will create a longing to draw near, being obedient and walking in His ways!

 

Gather Her Journal entry #13

 

Originally posted 4.20/16. Tomorrow night we gather for our very first CW: Gather Her! With all the excitement, I thought it would be best to share why once again we are gathering.

(Journal)

“Lord, you woke me up with three distinct things to do that were very clear. I’m thankful you speak to me and I’m thankful for coffee and a time to rest today.”

Have you ever been woken in the middle of the night while sleeping so peacefully and really hard? Maybe by a loud sound, your child coming in needing mama or maybe you just had to go to the potty! Whatever the reason, you couldn’t go back to sleep and the only thing you could do was get up, make coffee, and pray you’ll find time later in the day to rest.

That’s what happened to me early Sunday morning when the sun was not even close to waking up. I woke up from a deep slumber with three very clear thoughts. As I ran over them in my mind, I thought, “Okay Lord, help me to capture these thoughts so that when I get up I can remember and do all three.” I pray this often when I have what I think is a great thought but don’t have a piece of paper around practicing the scripture 2 Corinthians 10:5.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

(Side Note: This scripture is often used in reference to negative thoughts, but God showed me a few years ago that thoughts don’t have to be negative to capture them and give them to God. They can be God-ideas that you want to capture and make it obedient to Christ.)

Back to my story.

As I laid there, I started to toss and turn finally arguing a little bit with God that I wasn’t a morning person and I really wanted to go back to sleep. Even though he was silent, I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep. Begrudged but obediently, I got up, brushed my teeth and went straight to the coffee pot.

While the coffee brewed, I wrote down the three things that had woke me up:

  1. Update the mission statement
  2. Write your message for the first CW: Gather Her using the write your purpose principles
  3. Write a journal entry telling HER about it

Well, the third you are reading now. So let’s start with #1.

Since our very first CW Family retreat the last week of March, the Lord has had me write everything down based on Habukkuk 2:2-3.

“Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation

and make it plain on tablets

so that a herald[a] may run with it.

3

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;

it speaks of the end

and will not prove false.

Though it linger, wait for it;

it[b] will certainly come

and will not delay.”

Since the end of 2014, I have been continuously praying for clarity. God has answered my prayer with so much clarity that I can hardly contain it all! So, I’m writing it down and have come to understand that this year, 2016, we are laying the ground work to build this organization, Created Woman, into what God has always intended it to be. After years of good things like social events, and many pilot programs like as design labs He has sharpened us, trained us, and now He’s ready to release us. The vision has just been pouring out from pen to paper so clearly!

Just this past week, I re-wrote with much more clarity the mission statement for Created Woman. Apparently, though, I left out a thought that must be included at the end of the final paragraph  (You can read Mission Statement at end of blog).

Okay, #1 check.

Now to #2.

During our retreat, one of the many things that was revealed was understanding and learning more about HER, aka, you. As a team, we dissected her, wrote down who she is, what her dreams are, what her needs are and how we can reach her. It was beautiful to see the heart that every team member had for you!

It became very clear that when we talked about HER, about you, that the idea the Lord had sparked in my heart just a few weeks earlier, the time had come to bring it to life. That God-idea was to just simply Gather Her.

Gather HER for dinner. Talk to HER. Share with HER. Equip HER. Position HER. Release HER. Spend time with HER.

My friend Natalya who is a beautiful writer for CW and is the very one who edited this post you are reading now, often writes and talks about gathering around the table and the special moments that happen while enjoying food and fellowship. Its special moments in time that create memories that are often remembered with a smile.

So the plan was set in motion. With the goal to gather Her, we found the perfect little slice of heaven in Austin where we could gather for dinner, brush off the day, enjoy moments with old and new friends and be empowered through a message catered to give you the tools to embrace your purpose, run your race with endurance, and show up well as an ambassador of Christ.

With a clear goal, that of course has already been written down, the third reason I was awaken in the wee hours of the morning was to write the message down that I was to share for the very first CW: Gather Her. It wasn’t to be an inspiration rah-rah message that left you feeling glad you came. But one that would practically help His girls move forward into who they are created to be.

He brought me back to that scripture in Habakkuk; write it down. So I’ve written it down and just to share a secret, when we gather, you will write it down too! You will have the tools to write down:

  • Who you are
  • What you are suppose to do for such a time as this
  • Who you are to do it for
  • How to move forward in your purpose

You see, a beautiful thing happens when God-girls gather around a dinner table under twinkle lights (Eak! The girly-girl in me is so excited about the twinkle lights). He never designed us to live life alone, but to live life with a purpose and on purpose along side a community of others who share your passion. To run your race well. To know and understand that we are His ambassador and we are to show up well!

As I finish writing this journal entry sipping my second cup of coffee, I have to confess: I’m tired! I know the day that lays ahead of me, the schedule and the kids that will be in tow, but I’m refreshed. I’m excited to continue to write it down. I’m even more excited to gather with women who are just like me. Who want to embrace who they are created to be, run their race and do it all in their own unique style. (Classic: Jeans and t-shirt)

What about you? What is the Lord telling you to capture and write down?

Maybe it all starts by coming to our first gathering. So take this as your official invitation to share an evening with women who are just like you at CW: Gather Her.

CW: Gather Her is an evening of fashion and faith meant to refresh her through power messages, food, pampering and a time to share, create and grow with other dreamers and women of purpose.

Click Here for tickets

Facebook Invite and details

I can wait to meet you but until then, I’m going back to bed! Good night!

Gather Her || 10.20.16

 

gather-her

..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Enjoy an evening with women just like you who want to explore their faith and love all things fashion:

10.20.16
6:30 – 8:30 pm

SpaSocial
720 O'Connor Dr., Round Rock, TX 78689
FREE for all women!
RSVP on facebook

If you believe in the mission, we do accept donations! Click Here to donate.

At Gather Her, you will:
~ Find refuge in a lovely environment.
~ Create authentic, pure relationships through girl talk time after each message.
~ Hear truth through our monthly guest speakers.
~ Meet women who are real, fun and authentic who love to laugh during our mix & mingle time!
~ Learn how to take care of yourself as an Ambassador of Christ through our monthly fashion partner.

Light Bites & Wine provided + Photo Booth

October Guest Speaker: CW’s own, Lynn Marie Cherry, Author.

Lynn has just published her first book and will share her personal journey of walking through betrayal and how we, too, can get to other side our hurts and hangups we may have experience in our lives. It’s real #GirlTalk

#IamCreatedWoman
#Purpose
#LegacyBuilder

pool-lounge
SpaSocial

Created Woman: Equip & empower women to be who they are created to be inside & out.

 

CW: Mission Statement

[title subtitle="A little something extra"][/title]

Notice in Habbukkuk, there’s a foot note next to the word herald. During our retreat, I read the footnote for the first time and it reads, “or whoever reads it.”  So re-read the scripture and insert that phrase in place of herald. It will look different.

What I got: It means that what God is showing me I need to write it down. Because what He’s showing you to write down, is not just for you, it’s also for whoever reads it. Our words are our legacy and the only thing that will last. So what are you writing down? Are you writing it in a way that whoever reads it, can run with what you say? Whether it be a business plan, an organization like CW, a family mission statement, your life’s purpose, or just simply a grocery list for your hubby, are you writing it down plain and simple so that whoever reads it knows how to follow it?

Make it plain. Make the God-idea in your heart plain on paper so that you can run your race well and whoever is running beside you, knows exactly where you are going.

PREVIOUS JOURNAL ENTRIES

The Big Surprise Shocker: Journal #19

Journal entry: “Lord, thank you for the many blessings of yesterday.”

Simple. That’s all I wrote at the beginning of my journal entry when I opened it up this week. I knew I had a great week and made so many strides towards many projects we are working on at CW. But until I started writing it down, I had only felt joy and a sense of accomplishment.

Then, the big surprise shocker happened.

Okay, here’s where I need to back up a bit.

This past year, I’ve been sharing how I’ve sort of gone back to school to learn how to properly run a foundation; launch a ministry that is more effective and intentional. Through coaching with a non-profit coach, taking classes, and the prayer of mighty friends, the fear of failure over time has slowly subsided. Especially over finances. In the past, one of the thoughts that continuously ran rapid in my mind was, “why would anyone want to give?” Then I got the slap in the face that it wasn’t about the money, it was about the women we are helping. Oh yeah, that’s right!

The thoughts then turned to why wouldn’t people want to give? That was hurdle #1.

Hurdle #2 came when I finally said out loud at our team retreat this summer that we were headed somewhere bigger. And that bigger meant physically bigger – a building bigger. A big building where women can come to find refuge in a lovely environment to meet with their dream launcher friends, where we would gather for our monthly Gather Her, hosts other non-profits or churches for their events and team meetings, a place where God-ideas can came true and women everyone walk out knowing who they are created to be! Much. Bigger.

….Gulp!

Maybe it’s time to pause, because I sure had to pause after I heard the idea. I mean, who am I?

But then, who am I not? I am a child of God, a daughter of the King, chosen, loved and more than a conqueror just like you!

Okay, back to the big surprise.

Last week while I was on the phone with my coach talking through our financials as we enter into fundraising season – of course, we are not ready to break ground, buy a building or start looking at decorations – she said what we can do and should do is hire an architectural designer to draw the building. With that said, the action step would be to include the action of creating a design plan as part of our fundraising package. “That’s a great idea,” I thought! But then the fear said, ‘Where in the world do I find a designer?”

So here’s the timeline:

  • Tuesday: I pulled out our budget for 2017 and added line item “Architectural Designer” and then stared at it. For a really long time. What dollar amount do I put on that big blank staring back to me?

 

  • Wednesday: You could say it was a random act or maybe it wasn’t, but I stopped in “randomly” at a local co-working place and as I was getting the tour, I commented how I loved the design asking who their designer was because I, too, was looking for one. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the kind lady who was giving me the tour walked me straight over to a woman sitting in the corner who was working on her designs. She was an architectural designer! Okay, so that may not be a big deal to you, but it is to me! I mean its not in my daily routine that I meet architectural designers!

After our introduction I explained the vision of the building – a place for everyday women just like me and you who have found themselves sitting on the sidelines of life and are ready to dive back into life, a place of healing and where dreams are birthed, a place where women can become the leaders they were always meant to be and learn how to make a difference in their community, church, and family. The much bigger.

So here’s the BIG SURPISE!

As I was journaling my simple, “Thank you,” the Lord gently and quietly spoke to my heart that the “chance meeting” with the architectural designer that I don’t meet everyday didn’t happen until I took even the small step of faith to write it down (Habakkuk 2:3). Just by writing it down it was as if I recognized the need and planted a seed of faith that this is true.

An idea that seemed bigger than me, God showed me He’s bigger than any idea!

What’s bigger than you?

[title subtitle="Vision Statement for CW Building"][/title]

The Created Woman building is a place where God-ideas are created and brought to life! It's where dream launcher friends gather to launch dreams that impact communities. It’s where women can grow in their faith in a lovely environment that feels safe and warm while equipping themselves and each other on how to walk out their purpose!

[title subtitle="We need your ideas!"][/title]

Tell us below what you think this building – a meeting place, a place of gather – should be called? Give us your God idea in the comments below.

A Shiny New Life

 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:8 {NKJV}

   When I read God’s Word, I normally reach for my two favorite Bibles at home, my tiffany blue colored Bible that my sweet husband gave me and my ginormous (is that a word?) study Bible. This week, I was prompted to change up my routine and search for another Bible in the house to use. I knew that God was calling me to locate my pink one, my very first Bible from almost 15 years ago. Embarrassingly, I found it collecting dust in my closet. I didn’t know why I needed to grab that specific one since I had two other perfectly good Bibles at reach on my nightstand, but it all made sense to me once I had that book back in my hands.

   Holding that pink Bible again was like holding a pink newborn baby in my arms. I instantly began to feel all the good feels from that time when I was young and passionately in love with the new life in front of me! I was never going to be the same, in a good way, after experiencing Christ’s love for me.

   After those reminiscing thoughts, a verse from my pink Bible caught my attention as I opened it.  How appropriate this verse was at that moment.  

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Corinthians 4:6

   Yes, life was shiny and new for me when I first became a Christian.   My quiet time with God was turning out to be a special reminder of his love for me!  Before I began to think that morning was all about me, the Holy Spirit led me to a sobering thought that there are other hearts in the world that God wants to be shiny and new, too.   Instantly, certain people came to mind for me to pray for at that moment.  With 2 Corinthians 4:6 on my mind, I prayed Jesus light over their hearts.  Only the light of Jesus has the power to save hearts!

   The Book of Acts has one of the most remarkable heart conversion stories. Saul (popularly known as Paul in the New Testament) was an enemy of the Lord when he was stopped on his journey to Damascus.

“As he (Saul) neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” Acts 9:3 {NKJV}

   The Bible goes on to add that Saul was blinded for three days upon experiencing this light, which was identified as Christ through the conversation shared between Saul and this light. Once Jesus had Saul’s sight restored, Saul’s heart and life changed forever. Saul was no longer persecuting Christians, but leading them in the movement to preach the Gospel to the nations.

   Saul’s story is just one of a million stories of heart restorations that happened over time. Every human heart needs Jesus today as it did over 2000 years ago.  I want to share the following song that I think sweetly encapsulates today's message.  Yes, it is widely known as a children's song, but it really speaks to every heart of a believer, including mine.  Would you sing this with me today?

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Father, thank you for sending your light to this world, your Son, Jesus.  Our hearts were once dark, but now they are shiny and new!  Thank you for your rescue!  May Christ shine bright through us so that others, who do not know you, will take notice and desire you, too.  Save those hearts that do.  We love you, Father.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

  • Has the light of Christ rescued your heart?  If so, meditate on that memory of when and how that happened.  If not, you can invite Jesus to become Lord and Savior over your heart right now!
  • Who needs Jesus' light over their heart right now?  If anyone comes to mind, this is the time to stop and pray for that person(s).  
  • If a believer, does life still feel shiny for you?  If not, invite Jesus to operate on any hurt that your heart has received lately.  

 "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."   Genesis 1:3, NIV

 “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”   John 8:12, The Message Bible 

The Perfect Mistake & Girl Tribes

Have you ever roamed the aisles of Target on a lazy Saturday afternoon to look up from admiring an overpriced throw pillow and see a woman with tired eyes searching for the perfect picture frame or hear a couple fighting about dirty dishes an aisle over and wonder what their story is about? What are they going through today? You’d like to go over to the woman and put your arm around her. She looked like she could use a hug – but you know, that would be weird, right? Because who does that. But you have the same tired eyes and could use a hug too.

You were up all night with a teething baby, a deadline, and a snoring husband. Picture frame girl just broke off her engagement leading to a sleepless night of Ben & Jerry's and two bags of Cheetos. She was searching for a gift for her best friend's upcoming wedding that she's contemplating even attending. It'd be too hard. While you stared at the throw pillow deciding whether or not to splurge because, heck, you birthed a little human and you deserve something nice and are there other first-time mamas who understand the feeling, picture frame girl glanced in your direction with a big thought bubble over her head:

I need someone to talk to who has been where I am. I need someone to understand. My friends are living blissful perfect lives and I'm a wreck. Well, at least it seems that way. That lady looks tired too. What's her story?

She has a story. You have a story. Stories are meant to be shared. Especially the hard and messy ones.  

People want to be with likeminded humans. Not perfect people. Someone they can relate to. Having a "perfect" life only pushes people farther and farther away because they can't relate to someone who talks like they have it all together. They want to know you're struggling too. And lets be real, we all are. We need our people, our girl tribe, connecting face to face and lots and lots of Jesus to even make it through dry seasons, joyful seasons, and seasons where we don't even know what's going on. Creating an unapproachable barrier around your struggles, pain, disappointments or pretending that life is peachy and will forever stay that way will only bear surfaced relationships or even no relationships at all. I have the perfect angel who doesn't cry and enjoys teething and has been sleeping through the night since the day we brought her home and I lost all my baby weight two weeks postpartum said no mama ever. And if you have, you can't be in my girl tribe.  

Our people, the ones we call true and dear friends, want to know that they can come to you knowing that if you've been through it, there is a chance they can come through it as well. Even the people we are just starting to build a relationship with or the mama you happen to strike up a conversation about the best baby products and how much you need grace and Jesus, say, in a Target aisle, want to know you're heart isn't made of porcelain but has weathered a few storms.

Don't hide behind the fear that your crap moments will scare people away – those moments are the ones that build the most vulnerable and fun girl tribes. Those are the moments that in turn bring you closer. Let your guard down. You have stretch marks covering your entire stomach. Me too. You wanted to divorce your husband after a couple months of "I do" because marriage is so darn hard. Me too. You had a miscarriage. Me too, a couple actually. 

Being perfect is overrated.

Picture frame girl wouldn't be spending the last of her allotted grocery money on another carton of ice cream if she knew her friend Jana went through a similar life event but was too embarrassed and insecure to share her story.  

Love and share without an agenda, love your people, be the church because every mistake is beautiful. You might even call it a perfect mistake. So ladies, serve your girl tribe with your stories. The big and small ones, the funny ones, the I'm-going-to-cry-again ones, and the ones logged deep, deep, deep in your soul.
 
If you're looking for a girl tribe, Created Woman wants to serve you by inviting you to our first CW: Gather Her event. It is an evening of fashion and faith meant to refresh her (you) through power messages, food, pampering and a time to share, create, and grow with other dreamers and women of purpose. Real women sharing real stories around the table. 
 
Click here for tickets! And here for Facebook invite and details. 
 
YOU’RE INVITED
final
 
 
 
TOPIC: “WHEN WOMEN MOVE FORWARD THE WORLD MOVES WITH THEM”

kirsten-profile-bwSpeaker:

Kirsten Dickerson, CEO and Founder of Raven + Lily, is a leader in the social business and ethical fashion industry. Motivated by a belief that each person is valuable and uniquely created, Kirsten is dedicated to empowering women to discover their full potential. She is passionate about promoting social business models as a means of providing a dignified way to alleviate poverty, especially among at-risk women.
Kirsten and her filmmaker husband live in a “tiny house” in the country outside of Austin, Texas on Green Acres, a boutique retreat for artists, families and sojourners. They have a minimalist lifestyle, and are enthusiasts of slow food and slow fashion, and the positive impact they have on people and the planet.
CW: GATHER HER 

An evening of fashion and faith meant to refresh her through power messages, dinner, pampering and a time to share, create and grow with other dreamers and women of purpose.

There’s something special that happens when women who live on purpose gather around a dinner table. The conversations are life changing causing a shift in momentum in where we are going.

~ A movement ~ An awakening ~

That’s why Created Woman has designed a monthly gathering called CW: Gather Her for women who desire to and are living on purpose and for a purpose on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Arthouse Austin.

You’re invited to be refreshed, renewed and sharpened so that you can continue to be and become who you are created to be, run your race with endurance and show up well!

Click Here for tickets

Facebook Invite and details

logo

IMG_4963-1030x579

LeandraBleiPhotography_Arthouse-5

Pictures courtesy of Austin Art House and Leandra Blei Photography

 

Fancy Writing & Gold Letters

Last week, I took a brave, crazy step and opened up my journals exposing all I've been thinking about and what I feel God is doing in my life in my post What Was It All For? This week, I'm picking up where we left off with the Why. Why am I opening up my private thoughts and sharing them with you and why you should, too. I'd love to know your thoughts as we go along.....ready, set go!

(Story originally published 1.20.16)

[title subtitle="The Why"][/title]

The big overall reason of why I truly believe God put me on a pause last year is to learn to live intentionally and totally abandoned to the call God has on my life.

To help keep those two words in front of my mind and heart daily, I’ve decided to take my private journals of my struggles and triumphs public to give you a peak into my secret places. I hope that's okay!

Today, as we journey through proactively living an intentional lifestyle, listen to what God is telling you through this process. I will be recording it all for myself so that I can tangibly see the hand of God moving throughout the year. And you can do the same!

The Bible says in Habakkuk 2:2 to write down the vision and keep it in front of you. Pull out a journal you have lying around or make a run to Barnes & Nobles and get a shiny new one with fancy writing. My favorite trend right now is the beautiful gold letters that are on everything! Makes me feel fancy and special.

While we write and pray and grab hold of our purpose, you can hold me accountable and I will do the same! Call me out when I'm off track – not being intentional or keeping my eye on the cause with total abandoned or picking up anything that’s not mine. What are your top three goals for 2016? What is your why? Write them down. For this life is short. I've got to finish my race and run with endurance and so do you. If we don't then what is it all for?

I no longer want to write a good blog that makes you think or gets the most likes, shares & comments. I want to write in a way that brings about change. Real change. You might like it, you might not. My purpose in life is not to have the prettiest Instagram or the most followers on Facebook, but to empower women right where I am through writing and speaking. If social media doesn’t follow me, that’s okay because I’m still a follower of Jesus and in the end, I win the prize knowing that I took what was in my hand and gave it away. God said “Go” so I’m going.

I'm ready to be unashamed and abandoned, pausing to see the real truth and putting down things that are not my own.

I no longer want to care or worry if I'm measuring up in a certain circle or if certain people are reading. My thoughts, desires, gifts and talents are all unique. I do things differently. And so do you. Those differences that no one else can do are needed in this world. So, I'm taking my eyes off others – comparison is stealing my joy and clouding my purpose anyway – and putting my eyes and ears back to the floor on my knees so I can hear what and where God is leading me. It might look different then what I thought or what others predicted. And that's completely okay. Because that's what a life abandoned looks like.

Today, right now, I’m living on purpose, in my purpose. If I don’t, the women who were supposed to be changed, helped, or heard are not because I ignored the call.

So here I go. I’m pulling the rug out from under myself and others and not looking back.

Journal entry #2 √

Intentional – Abandoned

I’m living the dream that God has put in my heart full force because God-sized dreams are not about us but about the purpose and legacy we are building for generations to come.

XO,

Heather

 

Habakkuk 2:2-3

And then God answered: “Write this.

    Write what you see.

Write it out in big block letters

    so that it can be read on the run.

This vision-message is a witness

    pointing to what’s coming.

It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!

YOU’RE INVITED
final
 
 
 
TOPIC: "When Women Move Forward the World Moves With Them"

kirsten-profile-bwSpeaker:

Kirsten Dickerson, CEO and Founder of Raven + Lily, is a leader in the social business and ethical fashion industry. Motivated by a belief that each person is valuable and uniquely created, Kirsten is dedicated to empowering women to discover their full potential. She is passionate about promoting social business models as a means of providing a dignified way to alleviate poverty, especially among at-risk women.
Kirsten and her filmmaker husband live in a “tiny house” in the country outside of Austin, Texas on Green Acres, a boutique retreat for artists, families and sojourners. They have a minimalist lifestyle, and are enthusiasts of slow food and slow fashion, and the positive impact they have on people and the planet.

 

 

CW: GATHER HER 

An evening of fashion and faith meant to refresh her through power messages, dinner, pampering and a time to share, create and grow with other dreamers and women of purpose.

There’s something special that happens when women who live on purpose gather around a dinner table. The conversations are life changing causing a shift in momentum in where we are going.

~ A movement ~ An awakening ~

That’s why Created Woman has designed a monthly gathering called CW: Gather Her for women who desire to and are living on purpose and for a purpose on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Arthouse Austin.

You’re invited to be refreshed, renewed and sharpened so that you can continue to be and become who you are created to be, run your race with endurance and show up well!

Click Here for tickets

Facebook Invite and details

logo

IMG_4963-1030x579

LeandraBleiPhotography_Arthouse-5

Pictures courtesy of Austin Art House and Leandra Blei Photography

Not Bigger, but Better Not Successful, but Effective

Journal entry #10

(Previously Published. Updates on what's happened since this post at bottom of page)

“I just want someone to tell me what to do! I don’t know where to go and what to do it’s too much! I see the vision but I’m wildly spinning on wheels. I’m tired and exhausted! Just tell me!

I need someone to take my hand, that’s all! This thing, this vision, has so many legs and I’m trying to do it all by myself and nothing is getting accomplished. Maybe this will work. Maybe that. Ugh! Somebody…take my hand! Please, I’m desperate!”

Living abandoned, obeying my purpose and trying to live it out doesn’t mean all the answers will just be there. There are steps we have to take and to be honest there was a moment I had no idea what my next one would be or should be. Even though I’ve received ample amount of help and support through the CW Family and our coach, I could tell there was still that one thing missing. I could feel it! I just knew there was something else….

So I kept asking and praying and asking and praying.

While standing in the kitchen one evening, I was expressing to my husband Hoit how I just want someone to tell me what to do, and I’ll do it!

You see, I don’t want to just do or be a consumer. I want my daily tasks, vision, and heart to be effective to the generation I have been called to. Not great, not bigger, but better.

So what is it, Lord? How can we be more effective? Who is that person, that idea, that thing that will tell me, “Now, this is the next step.” Over and over I kept repeating the scripture in Isaiah 30:21,

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Then one day on a beautiful afternoon a few weeks ago, I sat at my desk looking out my window with my earphones on as I listened to a webinar for non-profits. My husband, who also works from home, played with the kids during the hour meeting so I could fully concentrate without distraction. During that call I received confirmation that we, the Created Woman Foundation are different; something I had been feeling for a while and even wrote about it in my journal entry #9. We are not just a non-profit, we are a ministry and we need additional tools. I totally believe it was a God moment, a God thought that came into my head that went something like this:

“If there is an organization like this for non-profits and organizations that help launch church plants, surely there are organizations that help launch ministries. Right?”

With that thought, google came to the rescue!

There it was, or should I say, there they were! Yes, places do exist! There’s help, wisdom, someone to take my hand and tell me which way to go step-by-step. Provision!

You see, when God gives you a vision, provision is right by its side like a package deal. Too often we mistake provision with being financially stable and find ourselves stuck thinking but we don’t have enough. But sometimes it comes in a way of detailed plans, a how-to if you will. Provision of the how. For me, provision came only after I confessed what the vision actually was – an actual ministry. (Journal time: Have you confessed yet what you are called to do? Release any fears or misconceptions and take the time to write out your confession. Then read it aloud. When you use your voice and speak the words, they begin to build bridges of truth in your vision and heart.)

After that, all I had to do was ask! “Lord, what’s your provision,” and He showed me.

I felt a weight being lifted; one that I didn’t even know I had.

You see, I have a vision to help women to find their “Go” and everything I do is reaction to that vision. I don’t want to react to what others are doing, how pretty they are or what others think I should be doing. I want to react to the purpose God has given me in a way that’s effective to the here and now and for the generations to come. {CLICK TO TWEET}

I want to react in a way that makes us better and build efficiently so that we can be effective. Because if we are effective, we have successfully launched.

Remind yourself.

Not bigger, but better.

Not successful, but effective.

[title subtitle="So what’s the reaction?"][/title]

Well, there’s a lot of behind the scenes going on in the CW Family which means you might not see us in front of the scenes very much in the next few months. But please don’t think that we or I am gone. Quite the contrary!

Like I mentioned, we got our building plans, if you will, and it’s time to build.

We are in a time of building structure. We are putting up walls, laying down the floors, wiring and plumbing are up next so we can open our doors like they are new. A place and environment that is safe. We are creating a structure so that we can talk, grow, and successfully launch each other into the very purpose in which we are created to be.

Sure, this is all symbolisms, but you get my point. There’s no physical building (yet!), but the structure is being built behind the scenes for our programs to flourish so we can mentor and teach women of all generations and seasons of life.

We want to help you discover your “Go” by providing you strategies and practical tools that are relevant, tangible, and life-giving.

We are being intentional.

To sum up, we are designing every detail that will soon come to light and we can’t wait to share them all with you! Little by little, each will be revealed, but in the meantime we will continue to bring you fresh and thoughtful posts each week.

Stick with us. Pray for us. And if it’s in your heart, contact us and let us know you want to be a part of the building process.

The bottom line is this: We want to be effective. And in order for us to be effective, we have to be efficient, thorough, and detailed.

Not to be bigger, but better.

Not to be successful, but effective.

Journal Time:

Have you gotten stuck in the routine of your purpose losing the effectiveness of your “Go”? Stop, confess once again who you are and ask for provision. Not to be successful, prettier, more popular or gain more followers, but to be effective and leave a legacy for the generations to come.

What’s your provision?

[title subtitle="Join the movement"][/title]

lunch and learn

Created Woman is hosting a Lunch & Learn on August 3rd at the Arthouse Austin for women who love all things fashion and faith. During our time together, I'll be sharing the vision, where we are going and then we will break into different groups as team members share on different programs and outreach opportunities with a time for Q & A.  Here's why:

CW is growing! It's an exciting time so we are inviting you to grow with us as we impact women around the world through fashion and faith. So, if you are a #LegacyBuilder and have the desire to create a movement that will last for generations to come, then mark your calendar for August 3rd.

Who are we looking for? Glad you asked!
Writers - Speakers - Stylists - Outreach - Advisory & Governance Board - Social Media - Editors - Event Coordinator - Mentors - Administration - Financial Support

~ Don't fit into anyone of those categories? ~ 
No worries, we've got you covered! Join our CW Ambassador Program where you'll get to be a part of different areas of the Created Woman Foundation. We'll help you find your niche!

Lunch & Learn
8.3.16
11:30am - 1:00pm
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Austin Arthouse
11505 Anderson Mill Rd,
Austin, Texas 78750

CW Advisory Board & Family will be on hand to present different programs and outreach opportunities and answer your questions.

Box lunch provided so be sure to reserve a box and RSVP on our fb page page or email us at heather@createdwoman.net

[title subtitle="Previous Journal Entries"][/title]