Let’s Learn to Zip It, Shall We?

My mouth gets me into trouble. Anyone else?

A lot. Tell me I’m not alone, here!

Really, though, it’s a head problem. Can I get an amen?

And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s a heart problem. Oh, yes indeedy.

I’ve always longed to be one of those wise women who say very little. You know the ones… they don’t often speak their mind, but when they do, WHOA NELLY, it’s important! Alas, God apparently thought better of that idea. In fact, I often wonder why He allows me to speak at all!

But, He does. In His completely unfathomable infinite wisdom, He gives me the freedom to speak the words in my head.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true: if I don’t check those words against His Word, what tumbles from my mouth can be a) too much, b) too loud, c) too soon, or d) all of the above.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that the next book that Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Studies is going to work through has to do with exactly this issue!

Hallay-glorious-lou-ya!

And, sweet Moses, do I ever need it!

On January 26th, over here, we will begin a study of Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The author provides phenomenal insight into “What to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all”. (I believe I especially need help with that last one. Also, Sweetman seems a bit too happy that we are studying this particular book.)

I’ve had the privilege of reading Keep It Shut over the last month. There are far too many gems, throughout, to pick just one. (Or, ten!) In fact, there is so much wisdom packed into this book, that I would like to heartily encourage you to pick up a copy and join the study.

You can do that here.

You can buy the book here.

And, if you do decide to join the 20,000 plus people who’ve signed up already, you may just see me hanging around on the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies blog.

Yes, you might just.

And we can learn to zip it together.

What do you say to that?

(Psst… say yes.)

I hope to see you there!

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inRL 2014 Conference Wrap Up

The pace of life can be so frenetic, at times, that I find it downright impossible to form connections in real life. I look for opportunities to meet others who share a desire to live life without just going through the motions.  I need flesh and blood people to come alongside and shoulder the burdens of life, with me.  I’m guessing you do too?

I’ll spare you the boring details of our whirlwind life over these past weeks, but suffice it to say that I am thrilled to be able to quietly sit down in front of my computer today and finally get to the important business of sharing about my inRL Conference meetup at the end of April.

The ladies of (in)courage deliver a constant stream of encouragement through that computer screen. To be able to share that with others is a gift.

We had another small gathering of five women, but make no mistake. Each one of these women were handpicked; by a God, who knows and sees.

Some arrived the night before to work together to get my home ready, to eat chocolates as we wrapped tissue paper around pretty little welcome gifts, and to laugh and cry as we watched the opening Friday night Keynotes. We sat around in our pajamas, quiet and comfortable, and listened as women opened up their hearts on the other side of the screen.

Saturday dawned beautiful. The rain that was predicted, wasn’t. There were calls made and emails sent, telling us that some couldn’t make it.  But, our spirits weren’t dampened a bit.  It’s almost as if with each new cancellation, our spirits were able to instantly see that this, this is exactly as it was supposed to be. The sun was streaming through the windows as we welcomed in two more brave souls.

We settled in to watch the Saturday Keynotes and it was obvious that heart connections were being made.  Community, the trials of living in one and the necessity of having one, was on full display.  Both in my living room and on that screen.

There were some priceless conversations about hurt.  And joy. Deeper bonds were forged. Friendships blossomed. As we stood around the table, eating and chatting together, I remember thinking that this is community. Right here, right now.

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Once again, I am so thankful for the vision that (in)courage had to provide this opportunity.  It helps me see, each time, how beautiful is the real life connecting to each of our sometimes web-weary souls.

And to the women who came… thank you.  Thank you for sharing yourselves.

Let’s do it again next year, okay?

 

 

In Just Two Weeks

inRL_Conference_InviteThere is a longing in the hearts of so many women that I meet. My own, included.  It’s that deep desire to meet others whom you can ultimately call Your People.  To connect with others, even just a precious one or two, who get who you are at your core.

And when you do, it’s joy unbounded!

The (in)courage community provides that, in spades!

Community is vital to our thriving, as women. From college campuses to nursing home halls, we are wired to seek out others. We often hold broken things inside and pray for other flesh-and-blood friends to come alongside and hold the pieces gently with us. This world that we live in doesn’t always make that easy, does it?

You will find that at (in)courage!

You will find that at the (in)courage in Real Life Conference!

My relationships with this community began online.  I found my head nodding as I read blog posts as women shared deeply of what it means to actually do life, praying that you are being salt and light as you go along. These relationships developed further as I bravely joined a small group community of other Special Needs Mamas – again, through (in)courage.

In April of last year, I bravely stepped out, holding loosely to expectations, and hosted one of these conference meetups at my home.

And it was incredible!Hugging necks and looking into the eyes of so many people I’d only been able to interact with on the other side of the screen? Life fortifying!  You can read all about last year’s meetup here.

Do you long for these sorts of connections in your own life?

In just two weeks, I’ll get to meet a whole new slew of women through (in)courage’s inRL Conference. Each woman who joins a meetup is bravely venturing out into community for deeper conversations and connections.  I. Can’t. Wait!

If you’ve gotten to this point and feel a stirring in your own heart, click here.  You can join an (in)courage meetup in hundreds of different locations around the world! It’s free! It’s local! It’s community!

Do it. I want to see you be brave!

God Is Bigger

Today, I ended an eight year love affair.

With 65 women.

I’ve had the privilege of leading these women in Bible study, every Thursday morning, for four of these last eight years.

And today, we closed that chapter of my life, together, amidst much hooting and howling, coffee and Quiche, tears and hugs.

As Sweetman and I prepare to move our family on to a church that is closer to where we live, I’ve been focused on closing out my time with these women.

These are truly my peeps. They are the girls who, from 25 to 85, totally get me. And love me anyway.  They not only love on me, but on each other, and on their community.  We dig into God’s Word like starving children, each week, and pray with a love so fierce that it can bring us to tears.  We also drink coffee (or tea).  A lot.  And laugh… even more!

They made me wear this this morning, for crying out loud:

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Y’all, it was H.A.R.D. to give a heartfelt goodbye talk in this!

It could have been an incredibly stressful week, but it wasn’t.

I’ve been focusing on the fact that God is bigger. He is bigger than a sad goodbye or a new Hello.  He’s bigger than any unsteady emotions or uncertain futures.  He’s bigger than a depression that threatens to creep in and steal joy.

God. Is. Bigger.

And I am resting in that today.

Yes, indeedy.