Category Archives: leadership
Guest Blog Series: Kelly Balarie
She looked at me and said, “Kelly, I have A LOT of weight to lose. Can you really help me?”
On day 1: We hit the pavement with sit-ups, squats and pushups. Leaning in and cheering her on, she smiled – we both were confident she was going to move from point A to point B. She did great. I could almost envision her new confidence, faith in God as her helper and perseverance. Until something happened – after a month of working out – my hopes got smashed.
Day 30: Her body moved like a snail, it dropped on the mat like dead weight and her arms couldn’t seem to move her. I hid inner-bother under the outer cover of wild cheerleader. I couldn’t let her give up. I couldn’t let her believe in defeat.
I prayed with her, “God, please encourage my friend. She has a dream of being healthy. We know where we feel weak, you are strong. Please come in and equip her to do what she feels you are calling her to do.” We locked eyes and believed God.
Day 33: She called to say work was too busy to workout.
I texted back and forth with scriptures and encouragement.
Day 34: She called again to say family was coming and she had to get ready for them.
I wrote her a long email reminding her of the power of God.
Day 35: She said she gave up the new eating plan.
I called her and told her that is not the way to go. I told her she won’t see her dream come through if she doesn’t put in the hard work.
Exasperated and exhausted, I crashed on the couch and told my husband, “I can see this for her. I believe in what God can do. I know she can do this. Why can’t she see it?”
Something in me, wanted to grab her by both arms and shake truth, hope and life into her. I wanted her to see what God had before her.
Day 36: She didn’t return my calls.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps. 103:8)
God is compassionate. Yet, with her unwilling-to-change-heart, I felt condemning.
God is gracious. I was ungrateful for the time she and I had together.
God is slow to anger. I was angry God didn’t answer my prayers.
God is abounding in love. I didn’t much follow up with her in love.
Day 365+, I realized: I am not the controller of God’s conversions, I am not the maker of his movement, I don’t hold the stopwatch to his life-change but I am equipped with the transformational key of love.
It is love that doesn’t give up, it doesn’t count days, it doesn’t rely on words, it doesn’t demand results. It sits with those in needs. It listens where they are at. It expects that God’s timing is and will be perfect. It works – always and forever.
God’s Power, working through love, is the only power that changes people.
What I acknowledge today, new friends is – I am impatient with the process, because I love progress. I love seeing lives changed, hearts freed, and people alive. I get wild and crazy when this happens. I long to see it. Maybe you do too.
What I am coming to learn, however, is – the seeds God plants are, quite often, not Insta-grow trees. They are far greater. They are trees of beauty – tall and sturdy trees, deep-rooted trees – that often take time to water and nurture. They are trees that need love and tender care. They are trees that come alive in such a way that they teach too. They teach wise lessons about the power of shade, rest and grace.
And when these trees are left to grow, in God’s timing, somehow they work out glory, brilliance and something incredible – they work out the muscles of your own faith in such a way, you really start to resemble Jesus.
Kelly Balarie, blogger, speaker and author of Fear Fighting (Baker Books), helps women glow in the dark places of their lives. Through scripture, encouragement and heart-felt prayer, she joins hands with other women who want God’s transformational love to deliver them to new lands of purpose, passion and courage. Kelly is a contributing blogger at Crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Girlfriends in God. She lives with her husband and two toddlers near the sun-soaked shores of the East Coast. Get to know Kelly a little bit more at Purposeful Faith or about Fighting fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.
Guest Blog Series: Betty Predmore
I love my life of ministry! I love the fact that I can make a difference in the lives of others, and call it my job. Earlier in life, I never imagined God would have this plan for my life, or that I could be a vessel for His mighty works. Most days, it is an amazing honor and privilege to lead the ministry He has given me. But then there are those days…
Even if you have been in ministry leadership for just a short time, you will know what I mean when I say “those days.” Those days when nothing you say or do seems to make a difference, when you can’t even seem to manage pouring your coffee without making a mess, much less soothing the hearts of the hurting or leading people to Christ. Those days when your feelings of inadequacy far outweigh your confidence, and you wonder if God was having an off day when He chose you.
And what about the times when you just get angry? Yes, I said angry! You see someone who is taking their life, and possibly the lives of others, in a very wrong direction. You do all you can to help them see that they need to make a change, but they don’t seem to grasp the severity of the issue. You take them to God’s word, and they either “don’t get it,” or chose to go in the wrong direction even if they do “get it.” It can become so frustrating at times. I don’t know about you, but when I get frustrated, I can tend to let my self-confidence drop. Then, of course, come the thoughts that “I can’t help anyone”, “I am not fit for this job”, “my faith just isn’t strong enough to help these troubled souls”, and the list goes on. Oh, how the enemy can lie to us if we let him!
Am I speaking to any of you right now?
Gods word tell me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) It doesn’t say “some things” or “many things,” no, it says all things. That includes sharing the gospel in the way God has purposed for me. My sweet sisters, if I can do all things, so can you! God has chosen us for ministry, even when many of us would have chosen something different for ourselves. Every single thing He has called us to do, He has equipped us to carry out. Through His strength, not our own, we can shine His light, even on our most discouraged days. We may not always get the immediate results we are looking for, but when we, in faith, plant that little seed in the heart of someone whose life is in chaos, God will use that to make a difference in their lives.
Don’t be discouraged, thinking you are not equipped to lead. Don’t convince yourself that you are not as capable of a leader as the next person. Don’t sell yourself short on the opportunities God has placed before you. You are making a difference for His kingdom. You are changing hearts and lives. You are lighting up your little piece of the world with His brilliant radiance. In those moments when you don’t trust your own abilities, trust Him. Listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit, not the shouts of the enemy.
Instead of allowing yourself to fall into that pit of self-doubt and discouragement, be confident in who you are in Christ. For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. (Proverbs 3:26) Allow yourself to have joy for the journey. Be brave, be bold, be fearless. After all, you are a mighty daughter of the King of Kings, and He has chosen you for great days of ministry and powerful moments of impact with those you encounter. Put your trust in the One who has equipped you to lead and you will make a difference for His kingdom.
Betty Predmore is a writer, blogger, speaker, and ministry leader who spends her days encouraging other women through the Word of God. She is Co-founder of the Women of Virtue Empowerment Network, which is a faith-based non profit organization created for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging women to find help and hope in Jesus Christ.
While Betty thrives on her ministry opportunities, her writing, speaking, and working in her community, her greatest blessings come from being a wife to her beloved husband and a mama to their wonderful collection of children, both biological and adopted, who bring joy, laughter, and sometimes tears to her days.
Betty can be reached by email at Betty.predmore at gmail.com. Her website is www.bettypredmore.com. She shares inspirations in her Facebook page Grace & Virtue Betty Predmore and her Facebook group Mom-Sense.
Guest Blog Series: Heather Schoeneberg
Friday was finally here, and we were on a date. My husband and I were out on the town to celebrate my birthday. Dates hardly ever happened anymore due to the demands of life and ministry. My husband had been serving as senior pastor at our church for four years, but the last few months had been difficult. Discord had plagued our church. Earlier in the week, he had challenged the leaders of the church to come forward Sunday during worship and pray with him for the unity of the body. We were already going into this date very broken. We finally had a break, but it wouldn’t take long before our momentary freedom would be interrupted.
As soon as we were ready to escape for a moment, his phone rang. All hope of having a peaceful evening together ended the second he answered the phone. The head of deacons in our church called to let my husband know they would not be joining him in the altar. We were devastated. We felt so rejected. For the rest of the evening, we went through the motions, but our hearts were absent; our minds focused on the hurt and letdown. Our one night out was a bust.
Many trials like this face us every day in ministry. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve watched your husband go through things no one should ever go through. Maybe you feel like you’ve been beaten down beyond repair. Maybe you’ve allowed the successes and failures of meetings, services, actions, and words to dictate your feelings. It’s so easy to give into those feelings: feelings of defeat, depression, and desperation. Ultimately, feelings of rejection.
Rejection. This is where we often live. This is where the enemy knows he can tear us down. Rejection causes us to see things that aren’t there, hear things that weren’t said, feel things that destroy us. Rejection makes us feel worthless and leaves us empty. Rejection can dictate feelings and even our relationship with the Lord. It makes us feel so defeated, and we forget the victory the Savior won when He surrendered to the cross. Can you feel the war raging deep inside your soul? The enemy whispers lies of rejection and unworthiness, and the Lord sings songs of hope and worth over your life. It can be a constant battle deciding who to listen to.
So how do we listen to His songs over our lives instead of the enemy’s lies of rejection? Let me share with you how He has shown me these songs throughout my struggles:
- Feelings are so unreliable- don’t trust them! Every time I’ve trusted in my feelings, I’ve been so disappointed. Psalm 119:112 tells us to lead our hearts. Our hearts can deceive us and lead us astray. They can cause us to see those things that aren’t there. We have to lead our hearts to the only One who can be trusted. Tell your heart every time you start to trust your feelings: “Heart, you are not in charge today! I’m going to trust in his promises!”
- Rejection does not need to define who you are. Allow the cross of Christ to set you free and define you! John 8:36 tells us that He has set us free. He has set us free from the bondage of rejection. Live in His freedom!
- Speak truth to your soul. Open His Word and read His promises. Psalm 42 says that His song is with us; we shall hope and praise Him again. Promises and joy can be found in His Word! Silence the enemy’s lies by speaking His promises and truths.
Join me in doing this every day, maybe every minute if you have to! Choose to live in His love- know that you are fully loved and created for a purpose! Choose to live in His grace- know that you will make mistakes and at times fail, but He will pick you up and start again. Choose to live in His peace- that in the storms of life, His songs of hope, trust, and worth will sing over you and quiet the waves of failure, uncertainty, and most of all rejection.
Heather Lynn is a teacher, mom of two children, and pastor’s wife. She and her husband have been serving churches for the last 11 years and are currently in transition and praying about the plans God has for them with their next church. Writing, reading, blogging, and women’s ministry are just a few of her passions. She also loves studying the Word and teaching women to grow deeper in their walk with the Lord through Bible studies and conferences. You can read her personal blog at: www.hisbrokenremnant.wordpress.com
Guest Blog Series: Carrie Erikson
Written by Carrie Erikson
I am currently 20 months into co-pastoring our church plant. Most days I love this life. Most days I feel honored and blessed to lead this church and these people alongside my husband. Some days that is not the case. There are days I feel a burden that weighs me down and chokes my heart with heaviness.
The interesting thing about these feelings is they have nothing to do with my life. Marriage is great, kids are happy and healthy and our church is growing and thriving. People are coming to know Jesus and being discipled each week. No, this pain is not my own, rather it is the burden of caring for people. The burden of truly loving people. The burden of the text that reads, “my husband wants a divorce, what should I do”. The burden of the phone call from a crying mother who just lost her baby. The overwhelming burden that we carry each and every day when we choose to love people.
Loving people is hard. It would be easier to keep people at arm’s length, to never truly get up in their mess and do life together. I have tried to live that way and it is safer, but it sure is lonely. Getting to live life with people is an honor. Being with people at their best is wonderful but it is only that much sweeter when you have also walked through the deep, dark parts of life as well, side by side. Living this life is an honor, a high calling. We can’t forget that or take it for granted.
If we aren’t careful as pastors, as leaders, as those whom God has called to lead, we can assume that this burden is ours to bear. If we are honest, none of us are qualified. Even on my best day there is no way for me to solve problems or fix people’s messes.
And that’s where the self doubts come in: I am not qualified, I don’t have what it takes, there has got to be someone better to lead these people. Just that quickly it becomes about me. The burden begins to take on a life of its own. It is heavy and it weighs me down so that I am not at my best for myself, my husband, my kids or our church. When I attempt to carry this burden alone, I fail.
Take a deep breath. That’s it, go ahead. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes. It is not your burden to bear.1 Peter 5:7 encourages us “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” He knows we don’t have what it takes to carry these burdens.
So what is our job as leaders? It is our job to love. There are times people can’t get their burdens to Jesus, they aren’t strong enough. That is when we step in and help to carry those things to the feet of Jesus.
One lesson I have had to learn the hard way in this journey is that someone else’s crisis is not my crisis. It can’t be. I would live my life in crisis. In leading and serving people, someone is always in crisis. It is our job to exchange the burden for the yoke of the Holy Spirit and let him do the heavy lifting. That can only be done if we take time to lay down those burdens. To rest in the Spirit and lean into His presence. In his presence there is fullness of joy. That’s it. We can lead people into the presence of God. We can take them by the hand and lead them there.
Next time we are tempted to be the Savior, let us remember that job has already been taken.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Carrie Erikson is the co-pastor of Mercy City Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, alongside her husband Matt. Carrie has worked in the Special Education Department at public schools in Georgia and Nebraska for the past four years and has recently felt the call to go into full time ministry as Mercy City continues to grow. She has been writing her blog since 2012, and is currently working on her first book. Carrie’s heart is to see people find hope in Christ, no matter what their circumstance or situation. It is her heart’s desire that people can find freedom in God’s faithfulness. Matt and Carrie have been married for 15 years and have four children. Carrie has traveled to seven countries and all over the US bringing a message of hope to people. It is truly her heart’s desire to see every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
IG: @ carrieerikson