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Do you remember what happened in Kindergarten when the teacher asked for volunteers?  Every hand in the class shot up!  You didn’t even know what you were volunteering for, but you just knew you could do it, and you wanted in!  What happens now when you are asked to volunteer? Reality, right? Research shows:
  • 90% of Kindergarten students have a positive self-esteem.
  • Jr. Higher students having positive self-esteem drops to 50%.
  • Only 25% of High School students have positive self-esteem, and that percentage holds throughout adulthood.
What happened to our confidence and zest for life from age 5 to adulthood?
  • The worries and stress of parenthood happened.
  • The stranglehold of debt happened.
  • Depression happened.
  • Isolation from friends happened.
  • Death happened.
  • Naysayers and Negative Nellies happened.
  • Failures happened.
  • Basically, a HOT-MESS Happened!
Want to get back to that wide-eyed innocent enthusiasm and can-do attitude of youth? Some Tips:
  • We are created in His image!! (Genesis 1:27)  That means we are rock stars!! But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work on our rough edges.
  • Don’t Listen to the Lies of the Enemy
  • Get into your 5-year-old mind and give yourself permission to invent and re-invent your awesomeness!
  • Concentrate on what is next! Take baby steps. Don’t be discouraged by the distance to your goal. How you get from here to there can be overwhelming. Get a great support group to encourage you and just keep going!
  • Be grateful for what God has done and IS doing in your life. Read Proverbs. Visualize what your dream will look like when you get “there.”
Side Note: You are never too old!! It is not too late to make changes in your life. Many women are going back to school, exploring new career choices, starting new businesses and ministries. So, raise your hand high! God’s got this! You can do it,
We truly believe women make change happen! When women gather for the common good, amazing things begin to happen and emerge. The process of solutions begins. On a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, I (Lisa) had the privilege to meet some amazing women, standing tall and united for peace in a land riddled with conflict and tension. Most of their stories were heartbreaking but also hope giving. One evening I sat with a woman I'll call, "I" which is her blogging name. She is a part of group of bloggers who represent Israeli and Palestinian women who want to use their voice and stories to perpetuate peace. Below is a recent blog from "I". You can read more about these women and hear more of their stories at: anothervoice.info. There are many opinions floating out there right now about refugees - should we allow them in or should we shut our borders? I have found myself asking the questions many times when in difficult and dark situations, "Where is Jesus' heart in all of this?", or said another way, "Where would Jesus be in this?" Tough questions, but ones we need to be asking. The answers might surprise you. This poem is a great reminder of what love does and where the heart of Jesus would be found. Let yourself wonder . . .
Jesus as a Syrian Refugee I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew the fear of flight, plucked by his parents in a sudden need to abandon his homeland for a foreign one. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew loneliness, hunger and helplessness, that heavy weakness that taunted the mind and tempted the spirit. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who freely offered a message to the unwanted, who healed those others accused of bringing suffering on themselves. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who would escape to a boat for respite, who passed through the waters with fearful friends in a storm-tossed sea. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew what it meant to be despised and shamed. Many have no interest in this desperate, hungry, thirsty, sick stranger in need of clothing. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who said whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me, in the guise of the least of our day, a Syrian refugee. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus. Christmas is a time where we remember the incarnation, when God inserted himself into humanity’s story in an unexpected way. This was just the beginning. We are invited to partner in the message of redemption the incarnation brings by meeting the needs of those Jesus advocated for -- the desperate, hungry, thirsty, sick and stranger that are vulnerable to injustice. The generosity of the holiday season is admirable, but Jesus’ hope was never for the ‘haves’ to have more, but for the ‘have nots’ to be raised from their suffering to the human dignity with which they were created. Consider how you can love incarnationally this year, embodying the cares and concerns of Jesus for someone else.
Pleasure... We hear about it, we think about it, and we look for it. Constantly. But why do so few of us ever seem to really experience it? Is it possible to satisfy our deepest cravings for lasting satisfaction? The answer is yes! But it might surprise you as to why.   It is easy to get stuck in our thinking on certain subjects and topics without ever really questioning the “why”. I (Lisa) have been challenged a lot over the past couple of years regarding my global views and trying to see outside my cultural box. I have had to ask myself a lot of questions and turn over a few rocks of possibilities and “what ifs.”  I have been challenged, inspired, and seen God deeper and broader than ever before. The journey of discovery and rediscovery is worth taking, and one I hope will never end in my quest to draw closer to God and allow Him to transform my heart and mind. So, let’s go back to this topic of pleasure. How do we see it? How much has culture affected our thinking? Do we see what God sees? In his newest book, Redeeming Pleasure, author, Jeremy Jernigan takes readers back to the very beginning and to the root of God's intention for pleasure. Through personal stories, practical insights, and a depth of wisdom culled from thinkers both ancient and modern, Jeremy re-imagines pleasure and unmasks its deceptive allure. Jeremy Jernigan is the Executive Pastor of Creative Arts and Student Ministry at Central Christian Church AZ. He also is the author of the blog, TomorrowsReflection.com and just released his newest book, Redeeming Pleasure – How the pursuit of pleasure mirrors our hunger for God, by Worthy Publishing.  We recently had a great conversation on Girlfriendit Radio with Jeremy on this topic of pleasure.  You can listen now HERE. So, when was the last time you thought about something for the first time? Pursuing God, There is a three-week You Version Reading Plan based on Redeeming Pleasure available now!

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