wisdom

It Is Well With My Soul

I heard that hymn as a girl growing up in church but never did it really mean anything to me until the last few years.

My soul is that part of me that stays still and at peace when everything else around me is in chaos, or out of my control or just plain busy with life. But in the midst of the busyness, is it well with my soul?

Yes, it is. Today it is. Yesterday it was. Tomorrow it will be.

But it hasn’t always been that way. You see, I like things now. Do it on my timeline. Fast like a drive through and pick it up at the window for immediate satisfaction. And for the most part, things have happened like that for me. I’ve had lots of favor. Not by chance so much but because honestly I’ve prayed for favor over myself speaking Luke 2:52:.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

I mean, if Jesus had to grow in favor with God and man and didn’t automatically have it, why should I automatically have it? So I prayed for it. All the time.

But to be honest, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much favor the past few years. Maybe I’m being selfish but if I made the promise to be transparent by opening up in my journals, then that means I have to let you see my selfishness and all the ugliness that penetrate my thoughts. I just have to believe I’m not alone in this big online world…so maybe let me know. Okay?

Nothing can explain it better than a quote I read this past week in Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge: “Too often we pray ASAP prayers – as soon as possible. We need to start praying ALAT prayer – as long as it takes. “

When I read that I couldn’t help but to think, “Yes, I do want ASAP.” I don’t want to pray ALAT because it’s already taken too long! How much longer can it take? If I have favor, pray for favor, seek wisdom and counsel, shouldn’t my prayers be ASAP?

I’ve looked for that scripture…it doesn’t exist (Frown face, violins playing).

So why do we get such big visions for our lives if they don’t happen right now? Our vision not just for ourselves but for those around us as well (if not, they should be just FYI). If you’re reading this blog which is hosted on our Created Woman website, then you probably know who we are as a foundation, an organization and ministry. You’ve met me, the team, come to one of our events or have just hung out with us online. So you know, at least a little bit, of the vision of CW. And I have to tell you, as passionate as I am about CW there are those moments when I’m just as frustrated.

Working – believing – breaking through – taking steps back – moving forward – resting – wondering.

The seasons rotate almost every day. It’s been five years of wonder, bliss, heartbreak and rejoicing hearing your stories, praying for and with you, and laughing a whole lot over our fashion faux pas.

So when the New Year rolled around, like most of you, I sat down to ask, “What’s this year?” It’s my 40th year on earth – yep, I told you my age – and I am super excited about this decade. I felt like the 30’s were my building decade – marriage, having babies, transitioning jobs and trying to figure out who we were as a family of four (that’s ongoing). So this decade, I would love those ALAT prayers to now become ASAP prayers.

But this is the revelation I got. “What’s in your hand?” What that meant was, “What gifts have I given you and are you using them?” So I opened my journal and wrote out the gifts God has given me based on a test I took this year, Spiritual Gift Test. My top three gifts are as follows in this order:

  • Leadership – Discernment – Faith

Paired with the one of the two words God has given me for the year, intentional, this is what I came up with.

  • Leadership:
    • Be intentional about leading the CW Family. This is an area I was challenged on at the end of last year. As the leader, I’m responsible to share the vision, empower them, and lead them in a deeper relationship with The Lord (as per definition below).
      • Definition of Leadership: Care for God’s people and lead them into deeper relationship with Christ and each other.
  • Discernment:
    • Be intentional about stopping and listening. I can’t discern if I don’t stop, watch, and listen. Ask and discern where God is leading me personally, with my family, and within our organization.
      • Definition of Discernment: to clearly recognize and distinguish between what is God and not of Him.
  •  Faith:
    • Be intentional about believing that if God said “Go” that it will happen in His perfect timing. Trust Him in all things; not just when things look good, I have favor, or happen on my timeline. But in all things.
    • Be intentional about building others up in their faith through my words, actions, and what I speak.
      • Definition of faith: build up the church in her confidence in God.

So there it is. I have to run the race set before me with the gifts God has specifically given me, not what He’s given to others. Because, like I’ve confessed before, I’m good at getting things done. Administration was not too far behind faith and when I get to check something off my to-do list it makes me wave my arms wide open and sing the Frozen song. But did I lead anyone by doing that? Maybe. Maybe not.

So whether my prayers this year happen ASAP or ALAT, I’m determined that I will be intentional about pursuing the gifts that I’ve been given and that is Well With My Soul.

Journal Entry #3√

XO,

Heather

P.S. Take the test and if you dare, share with us in the comments below how you will use them this year. Let’s be intentional about 2016 to use what we’ve been given.

Spiritual Gift Test Adults

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

#1 What Was It All For?

#2 Fancy Writing & Gold Letters

 

 

Please Can I Have It?

     Do you have prayers that have been unanswered; requests you’re certain, God has ignored? Perhaps the answer is in your immediate surroundings and you just don’t see it. The Jews of Nazareth were waiting for the Messiah and yet, when He walked in their midst they couldn’t see Him because their eyes were “wide shut.” Hence, their prayers went unanswered and their needs unmet.

            The same woman that desperately prays for a friend complains to God that her marriage isn’t satisfying. Could her ‘BFF’ be her husband? Is it possible the friendship is waiting to be cultivated?

The single woman who’s stressed because her salary doesn’t cover her monthly bills might be the same woman who crafts one of kind purses for her friends. The purses don’t bring her any income because she’s too timid to try to sell them.

 We can stop the pacing and the mindless eating that results from worry. God knows about our problems and He is already at tomorrow with the solution, waiting for us to catch up to Him. Our task is to move from eyes “wide shut” to “wide open” and see where He is.

 

Prayer: Lord, sometimes I let my worries look bigger than my God. I want to open my heart and mind and see you as you are; greater than any challenge I could face.

Life’s speed bumps and collisions form who we are. We can be left with tire tracks on our back, run over by life or let God leave a distinct Fingerprint on our heart. Yielding prepares us to love and empathize with others.

The Shark Tank

“In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first one, the other two will kill you.”   - Warren Buffet Last week as I stood in line at Target I chatted with a woman who was shopping with a daughter the same age as mine.  After a few minutes she asked where I worked and without thinking I answered, “A Shark Tank.”  We laughed and continued our conversation about snacks, short shorts and the long lines that seem to plague all California retailers.

I’ve only been in my new job for 6 months and while I’m enjoying the change of scenery, the change of pace and the new challenges my job has presented; this office has already left a bad taste in my mouth.  One of my first observations when I got here was that everyone was smart and ambitious, just like me.  However, there is a trait missing amongst some of my colleagues – integrity.

Trust and integrity take years to build; projects completed on time, fair prices and billing, promotions for those that work for you.  All it takes is one lie, one bad choice to destroy it all.  Having an “end justifies the means” mentality may get you the result you need in the moment but it could also be beginning of the end.

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9 (English Standard Version)

I see some of these people rewarded and I know who they have stepped on and over to get their results.  As much as I would love my share of the limelight I know that it’s a path I cannot choose.  When I first decided to take this job I’ll admit I was enticed by possibilities of promotions, new titles and more money.  I will always strive for more, to be better, to grow – it’s who I am, but it’s the path we choose that sets us apart.

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”  Proverbs 28:6 (English Standard Version)

It may take me longer to get where I want to be, but I have faith that things will happen as they should; and I can’t put a price tag on the example I set for my daughter.  At the young age of five, she sees, hears and absorbs everything.  When she is an adult I hope she can be proud of the decisions I’ve made and understand why I made them.

“The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!”  Proverbs 20.7 (English Standard Version)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, Thank you for making me who I am and giving me direction and correction.  Help me to be a woman of integrity, a woman who lives her life in private the way she lives in public.

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!

I was 17, walking from the girls bathroom to my Geology class during passing period.  I had an extra spring in my step that day – I looked so cute!  I’ll never forget the grey shirt with black velvety stripes, the black pleated skirt ala Britney Spears coupled with my new patterned opaque tights and Mary Jane shoes.  I spotted a couple of girls at their lockers looking as cute as me; but my boobs were bigger and my waist smaller and I thought to myself, “I look way better!” No sooner was I seated at my lab table then the Swedish exchange student walked over to me and said, “Kala…” he didn't have to finish his sentence.  I knew immediately that I had walked down the hallway with my skirt tucked into the back of my tights and I was completely mortified!  As a teenager I cringed at the event, as an adult I realize the lesson I was being taught.  I wasn't better.

“Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5:26 (New Living Translation)

More and more employers have put an emphasis on teamwork in the workplace, leaving little room for those who do not play nice with others.  I recently transferred into and new job and replaced someone who was great.  While it’s easier to find the things that he did poorly and showcase MY strengths, the real challenge is focusing on his wins and reminding myself that I am building upon that.

My way, his way… neither is better or worse.  We lead differently plain and simple, we have a different approach to business, training and communication.  I'm certain that I will be able to take my job to another level, I am also certain that a great leader can step away to let another shine; and for that I'm grateful for this chance.

“Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (New Living Translation)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for the talents you have given me.  Help me to recognize when I am being selfish and when I’m frustrated, show me the bigger picture so that I can move on.

Live, Laugh, Love...

I woke up one morning in July of 2012 and decided I was no longer happy with my job.  While I loved the people that I was working with, the tasks I was completing each day filled me with no joy.  There was no excitement; my professional life was stagnant.  It was then I realized I was much too young to be having these feelings.  In my head I had 3 choices; stick it out and be miserable, find a new job in a new company, or relocate to our company headquarters in California.

Live

"So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.  That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)

Laugh

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  1 Peter 1:6  (New Living Translation)

Love

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  (New Living Translation)

After much prayer and discussion, my husband & I have decided to LIVE.  I was offered and accepted a job at my corporate office in California.  I've moved ahead of them which isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  A small price to pay; we'll all be together again soon and I can't wait.  Until then, I'm entertained nightly by my family via Facetime, they are a LAUGH a minute!  All of these things are made possible for me because I believe in a God who grants the desires of our hearts and because I have a husband who LOVES me enough to follow me to another new city, and be both Mother & Father to our daughter while I pursue new opportunities for my career.

STOPLIGHT PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, thank you giving me life and for guiding me through it.  Thank you for making your will for my life the desire of my heart and for guiding me through life.  Help me to listen for your voice amidst the static that tries to throw me off course.

My Family This is my beautiful family.  I love them for supporting me in everything I do and can't wait to start this new adventure with them.

Talkin' Dirty

Ooooh!  Talking dirty.  Sounds so naughty and it is!  It’s especially naughty when you’re talking dirty at the office. I’ll admit sometimes a four letter word (or two) to stress a point may seem to be an effective form of communication, but there is always an alternative to those fierce four letter words.  Not only is swearing like a sailor a poor way of showcasing God’s love, it’s also not very becoming of a lady.

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders (those not of the Christian faith), making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.  Colossians 4:5-6  (New American Standard Bible)

Have you ever seen an end of year evaluation where an employer encouraged the use of profanity?  If you have let me know, I’d love to start a Linked In thread about that one. Talkin’ dirty, in most professions, is unnecessary and unprofessional.  Do your best to bring out the best in others during a conversation, not put people down or make others feel uncomfortable.

Think before you speak and whatever you do, “No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.”  Exodus 20:7  (The Message Bible)

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in heaven, please help me to control my tongue.  Thank you giving me sense to use my wit and wisdom when speaking with other.  Help me to show your love though my words and my actions.  Amen.

Two Kinds of Wisdom

  My family tells me I was born a 30 year old woman; that I've always been wise beyond my years.  When I was in grade school, my best friend wanted to sleep over for a third night in a row.  Most kids would jump at the idea!  I, on the other hand, told her that it would be best if didn't so that we wouldn't get sick of each other.  At the ripe age of 10 I told her that it had already happened to me before and I didn't want it to happen again.  That was the beginning of me trying to make well informed and wise decisions.

As adults we make hundreds of choices a week.  What kind of coffee am I having today?  Will I donate gifts or money this year?  Should I tell her that her eyeliner is smudged?  Choices are part of our daily routines.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 (New International Version)

As the holiday season comes to a close, I encourage you speak in love and be humble about the choices you make. Even those of us with outgoing personalities do not need to broadcast every decision we make using every media forum available.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing me this holiday season.  Give me the opportunity to share your love and show your light through my words and daily choices.

What every single girl should know before they get married. Advice from 11 married women

  Eating, laughing, and enjoying one another’s company for some Christmas cheer, I was surrounded by eleven married women. Their ages ranged from twenty-five to fifty-six years old and the number of years married ranged from less than a month to over thirty years. It was girls’ night; yes, the beloved, girls’ night. We were celebrating Christmas. As if there needs to be an excuse for girls to get together. We love girls’ nights. They're filled with memories, famous and inappropriate quotes, and the rule is always that what happens at girls’ night, stays at girls’ night.

Our gracious and glamorous hostess posed the question, “What is the most important thing you've learned in marriage?” I grabbed my journal out of my purse and began writing frantically as the wisdom flowed. I didn’t want to miss a word of this. Each of these women is a role model to me, an incredible wife who loves and serves God, and a dear friend. Like a sponge absorbing all they had to share, I was blessed to be surrounded by them. My dream is to be married and have a family. It hasn’t happened YET, but I'm praying and believing it will happen very soon. And these women are on my side praying and believing with me. I want to grow and learn as much as possible about being an incredible wife, and what a great opportunity here before me.

As I’m reading what I wrote in my journal and typing it out, I hesitate as to what order I should write each thought in. There isn’t one that's more important than the other. Each thought has enough strength  yet vulnerability and transparency to stand on its own.

 

1. Be your husband’s friend. Be supportive, listen, and don’t interrupt when he’s sharing his heart. 2. Let your husband make decisions and be patient while he's making the decision. This will build confidence in him and he’ll feel respected by you. 3. Choose your battles. Not everything you’re thinking needs to be a discussion. 4. Have sex more times a week than you wash your hair. 5. Do the hard work even when you don’t want to. Don’t bury your head in the sand to issues. Confront them and resolve them. It’s alright to go to a counselor to get things taken care of. 6. Suck it up even when you don’t feel like it or you’re tired. If your husband wants to have fun, take advantage of it. The one to two hours of sleep you’re sacrificing is creating a memory that both of you will remember and cherish. 7. Respect your husband and have deep belly laughs with him every day. 8. Pray. Pray. Pray. 9. Forgive quickly. Support your husband no matter if you think he’s good at what he wants to do or not. You're his biggest influence. Make sure it’s a positive influence, not a negative one. 10. What you focus on will grow. Whether it’s negative or positive, it will grow. Choose to focus on the positive. 11. God put you in your husband’s life to compliment him. As a wife, you need to let him shine.

Remember,  Christ is the only one who can satisfy all your needs. Don’t look to your husband to meet all your needs or you'll end up very disappointed. Don’t forget he's your treasure too. So often we think of the woman as being the treasure, but the man is also a treasure. So the same way you expect him to treat you like a jewel, treat him like your treasure. Don’t vomit all over him about your day as soon as he walks in the door. Take some time to buff him and shine him. He’ll be more apt to hear all about it if he feels valuable to you. Marriage is doing life with your best friend in the best and worst of times. So put on your big girl panties and enjoy the ride. From the moment you say, “I do,” the enemy is working overtime to destroy your union of marriage. He hates it and will never stop trying to destroy it. Marriage is supposed to exemplify God’s relationship with His bride, us. The enemy hates successful marriages. Why do you think the divorce rates are so high? He does not want people looking in from the outside of your marriage and being pointed to a love relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I'm married and someone asks my husband what he loves about me and why he married me, I'd like his response to be this, “God made my dreams come true and gave me the treasure I was hunting for all my life.” My prayer is for God to make me that woman.

 

Stacy McVane loves to share with groups of people; to Inspire you to dream big, to Empower you to become better in spirit, mind, and body; and to challenge you to Share what you've learned with others. Some of the topics she's passionate about are: health and fitness, relationships, leadership, communication, and conflict resolution within any environment. Stacy loves to mentor young women and is available for one on one mentoring or small groups. She has been on staff at her home church, Shoreline Church, in Austin Texas since 2002. She is the Event Planner. Stacy McVane in a nutshell: Challenging. Leader. Mentor. Humorous. Loyal teammate. Credible. Competent. Straightforward. Candid. Courageous. Uncompromising. Witty. Health-loving. Sparkling-water-drinking. Minister of the Gospel.  To read more material by Stacy McVane go to www.stacymcvane.com.

 

Just the Facts Ma'am

My son and I were reading over a math review on multiples of 10. The instructions seemed funny to me in that they said to, "isolate the facts and then adding the zeros". Referring to the numbers other than zero as the facts and making the zero seem like no big deal. When it's the zeros that give the value. After all the it's the zeros on the end of a check that can make all the difference. Later that day I found myself still mulling over the idea of how isolating the facts made the math quick and simple. I found myself asking, if this is true for math how could it related to problems in life? Could it work the same way?

Well life, as it often does quickly gave me the perfect chance to test it out.

I had become a bit overwhelmed while facing some choices for the salon and my thoughts were more focused on the "zeroes" of the situation. The what ifs started to get the better of me. What if I make a wrong move? What if I go in a direction that's not what God has for me? What if it's not Gods time for this?  I was reminded of the math work. The application looked something like this.

I had to first ask what are the facts here? For me it was two fold.

 

1. What is required of me?

Micah 6:8

New Living Translation (NLT)

  No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,       and this is what he requires of you:    to do what is right, to love mercy,       and to walk humbly with your God.

 

2. What is His promise for me?

Psalm 1:3 NLT

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,       bearing fruit each season.    Their leaves never wither,       and they prosper in all they do.

 

Once I had isolated my facts the answer was clear for me. The zeros are still there, but they are not the facts. The facts for me change how I feel about the truth of what is going on in my season.

Once I was looking at these things free of stress it was easy to see what was clear and simple for my business.

Like my son's math, the perspective of truth was all that it took to bring this big problem down to a scale that was truly simple to solve.

 

 

What are the zeroes and facts in the math problems of your life?

 

 

Lord,

Thank you for your love and wisdom. Help us to see what your facts are in our lives.

Give us your wisdom and courage in facing these things.

Thank you that you never leave us and always love us.

Amen

 

Do these jeans make me look fat?

 Any friendship that has lasted for longer than a season has more than likely had to deal with some kind of offense. How we handle those situations can bring out the best or the worst in us at the time. Less frequent are the friendships that have weathered the storms of life and passed the test of time bringing you to the place of being able to tell someone the truth even if it hurts. Not all friendships meet this lofty criteria but everyone should have one.

 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; But the kisses of an enemy are profuse Proverbs 27:6

Go ahead read it again.... I had to. I read it over and over and let it really sink in. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Seriously? Yes, seriously. If you have been lucky enough to have the kind of friend that will look you in the eye and say "girl I love you but you are dead wrong" or " sorry love but your husbands right" or my favorite " are you asking? because if you're asking than yes, ...those jeans are not your friend".

Sometimes we just want people on our side but most of the time we need the truth. Its a friend who is faithful to tell us the truth even if it might hurt us. And yes, like Mary Poppins said " a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down" but she still gave them the medicine.

So with this verse in mind let us be sure to be the kind of friend that can be honest in love when needed but also the kind of friend that receives a word of truth when needed.

Father, open our hearts to your wisdom about our friendships and about truth. Show us what you would have us do with both. Amen!!