Today I’m at She Speaks (wild whoop of joy!!), but I wanted to leave you with some encouragement for the week.
God has been so good to open some doors with friends old and new to share our movement’s message with others. I’m guest blogging in several places this week, so click on the links below to get a taste of some blogs that may be new to you and to share the love!
One of the treats of traveling to India was that I got to spend time with two of my sweet friends from the Proverbs 31 team, Lynn Cowell and Suzie Eller. While there, Suzie delivered a message from her new book Come with Me that is sticking around in my heart and messing with me in the most beautiful way.
Today, Suzie is my guest blogger, and she’s sharing the same message with you. Please soak up, be challenged, and leave your comment at the end to enter to win a copy of her fabulous book.
I had my Bible in my hand. My purse nearby. A car would soon take me to the airport.
It was time to go, except I knew the Lord wanted me to share one more thing.
People were still sitting in their seats and talking. The Holy Spirit had sweetly swept over the meetings and people lingered. I walked to the microphone, knowing the words I would say before I spoke them.
I had read them in the book of Luke earlier that week.
One more time.
Those were the words.
Throw out your nets one more time.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” Luke 5:4-5 (NIV)
Simon was exhausted. Casting the heavy nets into the water, and lugging them back in over and over was a chore. When the nets came back empty every time, it was disappointing.
But he did it.
He took the clean nets and pushed out into the deep and he let them down. Fish scrambled into the nets so quickly that it nearly capsized his boat.
I love that story, but as I stood in front of those women I understood what “one more time” might mean to them.
Pray one more time over that hurting marriage or relationship.
Believe one more time for that prodigal child.
Take one more step even though it seems to lead to nowhere.
Plant one more seed in that dream that seems futile.
flesh rebelled against asking women – women of faith who had been casting their nets over and over again – to try one more time when so far, they had little to show for it.
But God said it. . . and He knew them far better than I did.
I whispered yes where no wanted to take root.
I asked them for a few moments and I told them the story of Simon Peter. I shared how weary he was and how all that he wanted to do was to climb into his comfortable bed and forget about the night behind him.
I told them Jesus understood that Simon was tired. That the nets were heavy. That it was discouraging.
I told them that Jesus saw under the water line.
He saw what Simon Peter couldn’t, and it wasn’t just fish.
It was the deep.
Let’s go back to that verse in Luke 5:4-5.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Jesus could have performed the same miracle in the shallow. He could have asked them to lay their nets on the shore and invite the fish to swim into the nets.
Instead the invitation was to push into the deep.
In the deep it’s a partnership. We put our hands on the rugged boat and push out.
We take a step out and God takes a step in as He meets us.
For Simon, the miracle wasn’t the catch of fish but that he became a “catcher of men.
That’s the transformation that takes place inside of us as we push into the deep.
One more time.
We are asked to push out into the deep one more time in our calling or ministries.
We may want to throw our hands up and give up. But let’s throw our hands up in surrender instead. If our ministry is about Him, it’s not about how much we “catch” or how long it takes, but “one more time” is watching God work in the thousands — or the one.
We are asked to push out into the deep in personal issues that seem like they’ll never change.
It’s scary when the past or an addiction or temptation or feelings bullies us.
It’s in the deep that we realize that he’s not going to let us sink. “One more time” means that He’ll pull us up, over and over again until we no longer feel that the deep is over our head.
And this is the miracle. We turn around and start pulling others up with His help, because we get it. We know how hard it is, but we also know what it is to be free.
We are asked to push out into the deep one more time in our faith.
There’s not one believer that hasn’t experienced a time when it felt like God was a million miles away, or when they had doubts or hard questions.
You may think you are the only one, but we’ve all been there.
It’s in the deep that we discover that he’s not angry at our doubts or questions. He’s not mad at us because we are in a low season of our faith.
“One more time” is a reminder that He knows exactly who He is. We’ve somehow been led to believe that faith is never wavering, never doubting, or never hitting a low season, when instead the fact that you reach for God in the midst of that describes faith beautifully.
Our doubts or anger or questions are welcomed as He reveals his Character in that low season. He walks with us until we reach the other side.
One more time.
That’s our invitation.
Will you say yes?
Let’s accept the invitation from our Savior to discover what’s waiting under the water line, just for us.
Whether you’re coming from today’s devotion or a regular subscriber, I value the support our little community gives to each other. If you’d like to join my friends and me, please subscribe to my weekly blog post by entering your email in the box to the right and joining me via your favorite social network–Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Even though God made us for community instead of doing life alone, it’s difficult to connect in today’s world. Busy schedules, living far from family, and daily distractions are just a few of the reasons we might fail to reach out for the deep relationships we crave.
But more than anything else, there’s one thing that I believe keeps us far distant from each other– a lack of authenticity. I have a confession to make along those lines. For decades, I was reluctant to let others know my struggles. The perfectionist in me wanted to at least look like I was holding it together even when I was falling apart.
The period of time that I wrote about today, when my son was struggling with his fears, was one of the hardest mama seasons of all. I was definitely falling apart. You know how it is. Your kids’ hurts hurt even more than your own. On top of the hurt, there was some embarrassment. My husband and I were both teachers, so we thought we should know what to do and how to handle our son’s anxiety.
We tried everything we knew, but finally, we got to the end of our rope and realized that we needed help. We needed community. We needed support.
Are you there today either for your child or for yourself? I want to share a resource that was a lifeline for us. Focus on the Family has a counseling hotline that helped us through the crisis of the moment and also referred us to a licensed Christian counselor. They were wonderful, so click here if you’d like more information about counselors in your area or if you’d like to talk to one of the Focus counselors on the phone.
I’m also a huge reader, so we read lots of books as a family to address fears generally and also the specific fear. I’d love to offer you two books as a GIVEAWAY today— one for the little girls and one for the big girls! Leave your own comment or just say “Perfect love casts out fear!” to enter to win:
Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of leading a retreat for the women of First Baptist Church Simpsonville in Charleston, SC. The group was fantastic, the weather was dreamy, and Charleston always exceeds expectations. It was an amazing weekend! But my biggest joy that weekend was listening to and watching women’s stories of…
Overcoming infertility with fostering and adoption.
Battling addiction, winning, and helping others toward healing.
Finding wholeness from abuse through Jesus and passing it on to other hurting women.
Facing an unexpected pregnancy with joy and receiving the gift of a “late blessing”. 🙂
Recognizing disrespect toward a husband and returning home to encourage him.
Leading worship with both humor and tears.
Being called to deeper time with Jesus and responding with a committed daily time.
The list could go on and on. The stories were ones of obedience both big and small which was a confirmation of something God has been whispering in my ear over and over.
We’re so apt to look at the woman on a stage in front of thousands and whisper, “Wow. She has a high calling.” Or to pick up the latest book by a New York Times best selling author and marvel at her high calling. Or to think of the missionary on a far away field and to imagine that we could never follow her high calling. But when we think that way, we’re missing the point and buying into our culture’s cult of celebrity.
His calling isn’t measured by the world’s standards of success– beauty, dollars, numbers, social status, professional titles. When we take daily or even moment-by-moment steps of obedience, we have stepped into His highest calling.
Daily obedience isn’t easy, and it requires the kind of intention that Jesus reflects when He said, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” (John 8:28b-29) The fact that Jesus followed His Father here on earth in every word and deed is the example for us.
Obedience is following our Father in everything that we say and do. That kind of obedience requires rest and listening. Studying and applying. Resisting and acting. Jesus lived the Principle of Intention by practicing these disciplines, so we need to do the same.
Your daily obedience might look like giving up free time to attend a soccer game or being honest at work when your boss is lying or staying celibate as a single when so many others are not. These are high callings, and I stand with you, desiring to live each day following God in obedience in the big and small.
One of my greatest joys in life is speaking at events where I get to encourage women to follow God in daily obedience. I’d love to be considered for your next women’s event! Please watch the video below and/or click here to watch a sample video and look at a list of topics. To book me for your event, click here to connect with our Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker coordinator.
The reaction to last week’s devotion and blog post was both a blessing–we all want to know we’re not alone– and a heart break for me. Even though the numbers got too overwhelming to respond to each one, I want you to know that I read every word of every comment, and I’ve prayed all week as you left them.
Prayer is such a mystery. It’s hard to understand how something that scripture tells us is so powerful sometimes has results that are completely unseen. Years ago I read a quote that has helped me when God seems silent or my circumstances don’t change: “Prayer doesn’t always change things for me, but it always changes me for things.”
So I want to pray a prayer for each of you who left a comment from a shattered place– a place of betrayal, or hurt, or loneliness…
Lord, I come to You holding the hearts of my hurting friends up to You. God, You are the creator of each one, so You know them to their very core.
You know the pain.
You know the betrayal.
You know the deep, searing loneliness.
And, Lord, I know you care. You see every tear that’s dropped from downcast eyes. You feel every crack of a shattered heart. You hear every prayer whispered through a lump in our throats.
Jesus, we trust You. You experienced betrayal. You felt the hurt of being misunderstood. You walked through the pain of loneliness as You fulfilled a mission no one around You comprehended.
And so I ask you to bring this promise to pass , “Those who sow with tearswill reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 124:5)
Flood rooms once overtaken by loneliness with Your Presence.
Mend hearts that seem irreparable.
Comfort the abandoned.
Soothe the wounds with the balm of Your Spirit.
I pray that You would show Your love to be enough and that we Your children would fully embrace this truth, letting You fill every gap with Your love, grace and compassion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It’s amazing how prayer connects my heart to each one of yours. I love you, and I mean it!
Congratulations to Lara Polk (2/8/16 7:30 pm), the winner of last week’s giveaway. Lara, I’ve sent an email to you, and I’ll send the package on it’s way when I have your mailing address. I hope you enjoy it!!
The Leader’s Guide for Breaking Up with Perfectis temporarily unavailable, but it will go up for sale in March with the links to these tips included. The tips will disappear from the website when the guide goes up for sale, so I hope you enjoy them now!
Wooooohooooo! The day is finally here to roll out a few of the goodies I’ve been working on for you! First I’ll tell you about some FREEBIES, a fun event, and then there’s the chance for the cutest giveaway you’ve seen. 🙂
Today’s devotion gave you a glimpse into what’s been a life long struggle for me–my struggle with perfectionism.
Breaking Up with Perfectis chock full of lessons about freeing ourselves from the exhausting, defeating pursuit of perfection. The official release date is July 7th, but I’ve put together some materials for pre-orders that I hope are a huge blessing to you and/or a group you lead. Here’s how it works:
Take a picture of your receipt, and depending on how many you purchase, follow these directions:
1. With the purchase of 1 book, you will receive a free PDF, “Day One of Breaking Up with Perfect”. Please submit your receipt to email@example.com.
2. With the purchase of 5+ books, you will receive a free PDF, “Day One of Breaking Up with Perfect”, and a free downloadable Participant’s Guide and Leader’s Guide. Please email your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. With the purchase of 15+ books, you will receive a free PDF, “Day One of Breaking Up with Perfect”, and a free downloadable Participant’s Guide and Leader’s Guide. The first 10 people to order 15+ books will also receive a 15 minute FaceTime/Skype call with Amy. Please submit your receipt to email@example.com.
Thanks for visiting from the Encouragement for Today devotion today. If you’ve come, I have a feeling you’re tired. Maybe scared. Definitely aware of your weakness.
I’d like to pray for you the same kind of prayers I prayed for myself when I was writing my first book, a project that made me realize my complete dependency on God’s grace and equipping.
Lord, I pray for my sisters and brothers who are pursuing Your call but feel unable to fulfill it. You see them. You know their fatigue and discouragement. I pray that You’d be everything they need today. Fill them with peace and strength. Pour refreshment and power into them. Help them to fully trust in You for the wisdom, strategy, and plans that they need.
Jesus, we thank You that You don’t observe us from afar and pity us. You are Emmanuel, the Lord who came to be with us. You are a High Priest that experienced every pain and temptation that we face, so we lean entirely on You. Father, we praise You that you are gracious and kind, full of compassion and love. We ask that Your vine-Life would flow into us. Spirit, we ask you to help us in our weakness even when all we have left are groans.
Lord, I pray that you would surround your children with people who can help. Send them encouragers. Provide them wise counselors. Give them people who help care for them. I ask these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen.
I’ve put together some scriptures to strengthen you (you’ll probably recognize a lot of them in my prayer!), and you can download a PDF of them if you click here to print. Put these scriptures somewhere you’ll see them daily, and write or say some prayers of your own. You’ll be encouraged!
Also, if you’d like some weekly encouragement from me in your email box, you can subscribe by entering your email in the sidebar to the right. I’d be honored to be part of your journey! (You’ll also be the first group to know about my release of Breaking Up with Perfect coming this summer.)
Also, there’s a giveaway there for Lysa TerKeurst’s new children’s book It Will Be Ok. It would be a wonderful Christmas present for any child on your list! Click here to leave a comment at Missional Motherhood and enter.
My awesome nephew Jake has been working on some updates on the website, and I don’t want you to miss out on some the resources we’ve included. Today I’ve set up a pre-Thanksgiving “buffet” for you so you can pick and choose what you think you’d like or need. I hope you enjoy the change of pace. (And, oh my goodness, I wish we could line up at this dessert buffet together!)
If you need an encouraging voice in your ear, click here to listen to a podcast about joy or investing your gifts while you clean up from dinner or put on your makeup.
If you’re feeling tired and unloved today, click here to learn how to recharge.
If you’ve got a difficult friendship that’s weighing on your mind, click here to read about how to find some peace in the struggle.
If you’d like to receive a free devotion written by women for women in your email box every morning, click here.
If you’re a speaker or have dreams of being a speaker, click here for some fabulous free resources.
If you’re wanting to connect with other Proverbs 31 Ministries writers or to read other fantastic writers at blogs I contribute to, click here and look in the sidebar.
I hope you find something “yummy” on the buffet today! I’d love to hear from you if there’s anything you’d like to see added to my website. You’re always on my mind and in my heart as we work on it.
Several years ago, I had a coaching client finally erupt with the question she had been holding in. “When do I get to talk about Jesus?!” she asked.
If you’ve been wondering the same thing, here’s the chance! Today is the day!
Telling our story is just a way to start connecting personally with people by being vulnerable ourselves. Connecting our story is a means to get others to start feeling their need for Jesus. Now we need a hero because every great story has one.
If we tell it right, Jesus is always the hero of our story. (Click here to Tweet)
If we believe that Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1: 3a) AND
If we believe that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16)…
Then all we really have to offer people in our world is Jesus, the pinnacle of what humanity was created to be, and His Word, the solution for every one of our problems.
Now is the time in the story to tell what Jesus did, and how He helped you. Ask yourself:
• How did I see God at work in my situation? • How did prayer begin to change me or change the circumstances? • What good did God bring about even in hard places? • How did God mold me in this story?
Next week I’m going to give you the last step, and I’m also going to include a video so you can see how all this fits together. Hang tight! We’re almost there, and I hope you’ll be with us to the end.