Monday

Why I don't blog way more than I do blog.

Ya'll. I have issues. I really do. I've been praying a lot lately about why I blog, and why I don't. I don't way more than I do. And I've been asking myself and God why. Here's what I've come up with.

It's not because I don't have stuff to say. I do. I really, really do. God is always abundantly faithful to regally convict me when I need material. You see I promised Him I would only teach what He's taught me. He never fails. Conviction is consistent. Material is bountiful.

It's not because I don't like it. I love reading comments. I am a "words of affirmation" gal. Satan tells me all the time that nobody cares about what I write. That it is a waste of time. Your words help me combat that deceptive whisper.

It not because I don't have time. It really doesn't take that long. It takes longer in my head than it does in reality. Do you do that? Dread doing something because you tell yourself you don't have time. It will take too long you say; only to discover it probably takes less time than the eight other things you did while putting it off?

So if those aren't the reasons. What are the reasons?

It's a little bit because this process feels a little self-absorbed. When I write I think about you. And what you'll think about me and what I write. Will it sound haughty, smart, witty, wrong? I should write just for Jesus. I know. But you are there looking back at me from the screen. Out there. In cyber space and in reality-simultaneously intimidating. And I'm stuck thinking about you, me and if you'll like me or not. It's silly but true.

There are more reasons I'll share later. Again, material abounds.

But can I ask you a question? What aren't you doing that you really want to do? Lose weight? Read to your kids? Love on your husband? Start a bible study? Clean out your refrigerator? Stop watching T.V.?

We all have "those" things. You know them. The thing that eats at you partly from misplaced guilt partly from neglected conviction.

It will fall into one of two categories. There are things we wish we would do that God never called us to. Then there are the things we don't do that we know God is calling us to. The critical issue is knowing which we are struggling with. I know God has confirmed that blogging is one of the things He IS calling me to. So I am looking at the excuses that I use to avoid it in hopes of being more obedient. But that's step two.

Here's my challenge after walking through this process. Do step one. Think about what you're not doing. Don't start with "why don't I..." or "why can't I...". Instead ask, "Does God want me to...". Answer that question first. This is really hard to do. You will be hounded by all the reasons and ways you are inadequate. I've been wading through my list for weeks now. It ain't fun. Don't get stuck. First answer the main question. Where is the source of my guilt-condemnation or conviction; self or Spirit? I have some thoughts on the difference. I'll share more later this week.

Meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I promise to let them nourish my heart not enlarge my head.

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Lessons from BSF

I know it seems a little odd to just pop back on here after so long. I have a "hey I've missed you video" scheduled but technical difficulties interfered. I'll try again tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a quick update of one major thing God is teaching me these days.

Are you dense? I know that's rude to ask, but I think I must be dense; and I'm wondering if I'm the only one. Lately everywhere I turn God seems to be trying to get my attention about the same thing. It's a recurring message that has bled into Dad's sermons on Sunday morning, our Wednesday night Bible Study, my personal quiet times and passages I'm studying for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship.) It will take me some time to unpack this, but for now let me just summarize. God wants me to distance myself from this world. He is offering stark and strong reminders of what a desolate yet seductive place I live in. He is asking me to turn from sins that I have become far too comfortable with. I think I look a little too at "home" here. I'm not 100% sure what He wants me to do about it, but I think He's getting ready to ask me to move into a new realm of faith and discipline.

Here's a passage from my BSF lesson this week. It's from the book of Isaiah 1:5-

"Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart is afflicted."

While studying this passage I felt the Spirit say some sobering things to me. I have become a part of a rebellious nation. I don't want to offer a dissertation on the state of America. God is displeased I think, but rather than having me shake my head or wag my finger, the Lord of Hosts is asking me to see my personal rebellion. I am responsible. America is made up of millions of evangelicals who like the American dream more than we like our Heavenly mandate. I have become complacent and lukewarm.

Like verse 5 says, my rebellion has perverted Truth. My head is injured. I allow sin to be overlooked or ignored. My heart is afflicted with hardness and excuses.

God is speaking to me. I am seeking desperately to listen. I only know the diagnosis right now. I am awaiting the prescription. I am on my way to getting well.

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Wednesday

She Speaks Scholarship

Yeah, I thought that might get your attention. If you're dancing in your chair, then you've probably heard about the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference. If you're a little confused but intrigued by the idea of winning something worth hundreds of dollars, go here. No really. Go there. Go there now. I'll wait.

Okay. Now if you're sold on She Speaks, or if you're even slightly curious check this out. Hey check this out even if you're neither. You may know someone who could be...

video

I am so sorry about the weird thing my earrings were doing, but I did that off the cuff, and so there was NO WAY I could do it twice.

And on another note. We are regular gals. We aren't perfect. We are flawed, and so I wanted you to know that we don't have it all figured out. But we aren't getting hammered daily regarding our interpretation of Scripture or how we apply it to our lives because that's something we take ridiculously seriously. We do our homework. We study. We prepare. We pursue excellence. We are prayed up, but it happens. It's probably not "regularly." The gals I'm on the team with are some amazing sisters, and that needs to be said. After watching the video I wanted to clarify that point. Oh, and I totally put on makeup at 11:28 pm because I'm just that insecure. I currently have on a tshirt with spit up on the shoulder. What can I say I needed to feel kind of put together. Please don't judge me.

Okay, here are the contest rules:

This contest is for women who have never attended She Speaks. And it is for women who would otherwise not be able to attend. If you can afford the conference-please do not enter to win a scholarship. Comments should briefly tell us what winning would mean to you in answering God's call to speak. We will be taking comments until midnight on Friday, April 23rd. A winner will be randomly chosen from all the comments and announced Monday, April 26th on the Proverbs 31 website. Here's the even better news. You can enter multiple times by leaving a comment on each of our blogs. And to make it easy there's a list on my sidebar of the other P31 gals in on the contest. You can also enter through our She Reads, She Seeks and Rad Revolution sites. Happy commenting.

Can't wait to hear from you!!!

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Free to Be Me.

Hey guys. Yesterday's carnival was fantastic. You new friends are so fun. Thanks for taking the time to leave your "what I like about me" comments. I was astonished at how many Jesus-girls still struggle with being ourselves. "The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"-or wrinkled or dimply or freckled or saggy or flabby. Well you get the picture.

I hope we can endeavor together to give up on ourselves, and find Jesus-yes, more and more and more of Jesus.

The winner of the $30 gift card from Francesca's is Lisa Smith from lifeoflisasmith dot blogspot dot com. This sweet sister is beginning a fierce fight against cancer. Lisa, email me at wpcapps@me.com with your address, and I'll get the certificate out to you. Find you something special and girly. Know when you wear it that this little community of the blogosphere will be praying for you.

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Tuesday

The Proverbs 31 Blog Carnival

Hey friends. It's a party, and it's a big one!!! Nearly the entire Proverbs 31 team is celebrating today with giveaways, encouragement and fellowship. We are group of women as diverse as you can imagine held together by a passion for women and for the Word of God. Because we are all different, if you take the time to look around our blogs you'll find us all celebrating various things-things we've overcome, things we've endured, things we've experienced, things we've learned, things we've been changed by.

Today, I am celebrating me. Oh, please, please, please keep reading. I'm not egomaniacal. I'm not supremely arrogant. I'm just a girl who is FINALLY good with just being me. I am FINALLY comfortable in my own skin.

Have you ever felt like a human being trapped in a chameleon's body? I spent years feeling like I didn't really know who I was or maybe who I wanted to be. There's not time to deconstruct the whole saga so let me paint you a picture. In high school I endured several extreme makeovers.

I spent middle school working my way through the store 5.7.9. At some point that deteriorated because it's 5.7.9 not 13.15.17. So, I went through a grunge phase. That was easy because I was not affluent and the idea is to try to look poor, but it was too dark for me. Then I tried the Abercrombie phase-not so easy on a tight budget. It didn't last long. Oh, and I had a muffin top when I was thirteen. Abercrombie is not made for girls with muffin tops. So then I tried pulling off an athletic look. I'm too round for that. It was fashion, and it was fiction. Athletic I am not. I eventually settled on preppy. It was the best fit-part lazy, part chic.

Each phase represented a new effort to feel good about me. I tried relentlessly to figure out who I was. I knew God had made me me. I knew deep in my soul that I was uniquely Whitney, I just didn't know what that would look like. Please know, this wasn't just about fashion. It wasn't just about materialism. It was about a young girl wanting to feel good about who and how God had made her.

Eventually a young woman gave up. I just got tired. I stopped wanting to figure it out. I decided to just enjoy being me-today. Thinking about my public persona was too exhausting, and really too selfish. I stopped trying to find myself, and devoted myself to finding God.

Then unremarkably it happened. I just became myself. And now at 31, I kind of like just enjoying God. Unexplainably, as a result I enjoy me. I am the most transparent person you will likely ever meet. I am ridiculously flawed. I make the same stupid mistakes. My prayers aren't, but could easily be scripted. I'm on my face about the same sins over. and over. and over. I'm not proud of it, but I am me. And I am growing. I'm not so worried about how God wants me to appear as much as who God wants me to be. It's incredibly freeing.

So today I'm celebrating the journey of finding myself. It's a journey that I completed when I gave up. I gave up on myself. I'm a quitter, and I like it.

Now, I am a girl who still loves fashion, and I have found my "me" store. If you don't have a Francesca's Collections near you, find one. If you can't find one go online and enjoy a little fashion heaven on a mama's budget. I can't pull off everything on the site. But ya'll part of enjoying me is knowing I have one dimple in the right place, and a host of others in the wrong places. I have unruly eyebrows. I have enormous hips and tiny, um, let's just say that A-line is my friend. But I have a nice neck and really great earlobes. Play to your strengths girls. I love me some big earrings, a cute necklace and a nice tunic.

So leave me a comment about what you like about you. I'll pick a winner and send you a $30 gift card from my favorite little fashion joint.

Now go celebrate with some of the best gals in the world: (You'll find their links on my sidebar, so click away. They've got good stuff for you, and I don't mean the give-aways!!)

Wendy Blight www.WendyBlight.com Wendy is giving away a copy of the One Year Chronological Bible and her book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story.

Shari Braendel www.ShariBraendel.blogspot.com Shari is givng away 3 beautiful jewelry pieces to begin a spring wardrobe with! One for a Glamour Girl, one for a Movie Star and one for a Rock Star!

Micca Campbell www.miccacampbell.com Micca is giving away her book An Untroubled Heart, and a cute clutch purse for those fun summer evenings!

Melanie Chitwood www.melaniechitwood.com/ Melanie is giving away One marriage conference call (see her blog for details) and her new book What a Wife Needs from Her Husband.

Lynn Cowell www.LynnCowell.com Lynn is giving away a prize for mom and a prize for a teen girl in her life – the 3 book series B.A.B.E. series by Andrea Stephens (Beautiful, Accepted, Blessed, Eternally Significant) for the teen and for Mom a $10 gift card to Starbucks along with Lynn’s CD “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart”.

Karen Ehman
www.KarenEhman.com Karen is giving away a Winter White Basket centered on Psalm 51:7 "Wash me and I will be whiter than snow" that includes Skin Milk body wash, a white loofah, Winter White Citrus Bath & Body Works products, white lily linen and room sprays, white hot cocoa, a white mug and white-chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Along with it, a copy of her book on celebrations entitled Homespun Memories for the Heart: More Than 200 Ideas to Make Unforgettable Moments.

Suzie Eller
www.SuzieEller.com Suzie is giving away a webcam!

Zoe Elmore www.zoeelmore@blogspot.com Zoe is giving away a journal, a copy of My Heart's Cry by Anne Graham Lotz and a piece of jewelry Zoe style!

Charlene Kidd www.CharleneKidd.blogspot.com Charlene is giving away a $20.00 Starbucks Gift Card and a copy of Karen Ehman’s book: A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others.

Tracie Miles www.TracieMiles.com Tracie is giving away her CD "Overcoming Stress with Extraordinary Faith" and a Soulmates Slipper with Christian Notepad and Pen.

Rachel Olsen www.RachelOlsen.com Rachel is giving away Bread for Life": a hardback copy of The Daily Message: Through the Bible in One Year by Eugene Peterson (which you can read this along with her this year) and the Williams-Sonoma Muffins cookbook.

Wendy Pope www.wendypope.org Wendy is giving away a copy of her book Out of the Mouths of Babes and her CD Yes, No, and Maybe of a Balanced Life

Luann Prater www.LuannPrater.com & www.EncouragementCafe.com Luann is giving away an Encouragement Cafe mug and t-shirt for both sites!

LeAnn Rice www.LeAnnRice.com LeAnn is giving away a copy of her cookbook Sharing Grace: Recipes- Family Traditions-Gift ideas and a Starbucks gift card.

Susanne Scheppmann www.susannescheppmann.blogspot.com Susanne is giving away her Birds in My Mustard Tree Bible Study with an I-tunes gift card.

Renee Swope www.ReneeSwope.com Renee is giving away Lysa TerKeurst’s Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl DVD Set and her CD message, Living Beyond the Shadow of Doubt on DVD.

Lysa TerKeurst www.LysaTerKeurst.com Lysa’s give away is a Mom's Book Club gift pack including 4 copies of Lysa's book, Am I Messing Up My Kids?and a 30-minute Q&A conference call with Lysa.

Van Walton www.vanwalton.blogspot.com Van is giving away her DVD for children - From the Pound to the Palace

Glynnis Whitwer www.GlynnisWhitwer.com Glynnis is giving away her book work@home: A Practical Guide for Woman Who Want to Work from Home and a French Country Wire Silverware Basket

She Reads www.shereads.org She Reads is giving away two novels, Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish and Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll, and chocolate, courtesy of the authors. They will tell the story of how their writing brought them together - a love story, quite literally, fit for a novel!

RadRevolution www.RadRevolution.org Our ministry to teen girls is giving away a copy of Do the Hard Thing along with a RadRev t-shirt! /div>

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Wednesday

Work It Out Wednesday-2.10.10

Okay so this just barely counts as Work it Out Wednesday. My apologies. No real reason. No life shattering drama, just a rough day in the life of this Mom. My world isn't so different from yours. It's not more difficult. It's not busier. It's just life, and life today was hard.

I was not a great Mom today, and it was one of those tough days where I didn't care-at the time. Now, while my sweet boys quietly sleep, I feel the pangs of guilt, the sting of my tone, the hope of short memories. So I am sorry for them and to you. But there it is.

So for Work it Out Wednesday, let me just ask you this. Are you friends with those in your own home? Are you friends with your family?

Today I would have to say "no".

I have a bad habit of being too real with the sweet people who share my immediate space. On more than one occasion my beloved has said, "you would never talk to somebody at church this way." He is right. I am not confrontational. I am regretfully, perpetually happy. I am not easily angered. I don't get my feelings hurt very often. I love my friends, and I want them to love me.

At home, I am different. Maybe more real, but certainly less long-suffering.

So for today, and tomorrow let's befriend our family. Extend the grace we would to our best friend. Hold our tongues because we would never say those words to a friend. Soften our tone. Drop what we are doing.

Come back Friday and let us know how it goes. Oh, and we'll pick back up with David and Jonathan next week.

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Monday

Meditate on It Monday-2.8.10

Friends and fans,

Here we are for the second installment of Meditate on It Monday. We had some great discussion last week about what friendships mean to us. You all had some great ideas about how (and why) we should nurture those.

I asked a question last week, that I'd like us to ponder a little more deeply today. I was curious if your friendships benefit you, your friend or both. Remember? Here's why I asked. I operate off a general friendship principle that this is a give-and-take kind of set-up. I have told you guys that I don't think I'm a good friend. I don't typically handle high maintenance relationships very well. I always feel like I drop the ball. Ugh. I don't like that about myself. (I'm working on it. Really I am.)

Alright, more confessions. I am also, unfortunately, coming to the realization that I am kind of a selfish friend. I like to feel valued, and needed, and to the degree I feel these things, I invest in my friends likewise. In short, relationships that thrive are ones where I both give and receive. I assumed this was a basic and universal tenet for friendship.

It is not.

Look with me at 1 Samuel 14:6. Here is a quick introduction to Jonathan, son of Saul. He is royalty's next in line. His father is King. In this passage we discover that Jonathan is a man of character, confidence and integrity. I like this kid.

So it's no surprise that when he is introduced to David in 1 Samuel 18 that the two would hit it off. David has just slain the giant. He is a veritable hero. Scripture tell us that the "soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." (1 Samuel 18:1)

Well sure. They have a lot in common, don't they? Character. Confidence. Integrity. The list, well, kind of ends there. Think about it. David would never have run in the same circles as Jonathan. David would have never been afforded the company of the King. He's not royalty. He's not even wealthy. He's a shepherd. Under normal circumstances these two would not have been friends.

Did they have the same background? Hardly. Did they share similar interests? Unlikely. Did they have similar expectations for the future? Doubtful. I always thought these fellas were fast friends because of all they had in common. Now I think they were best friends in spite of it.

Look at the next few verses:

"And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David and his armor and even his sword and his bow and his belt." (vs. 2-4)

Jonathan does something remarkable. He gives David his most cherished and valued possessions. For Jonathan to shed his own clothing was not just sacrificial, it was monumentally significant. Jonathan was a soldier. His armor served to protect and project. It reveals that he is highly capable and highly valued. Without it he is vulnerable-in more ways than one. He literally gave David a piece of himself.

David gave nothing. What could he give to the son of a king?

Was their relationship mutually beneficial? Hardly. And Scripture records this relationship for all of human history as a hallmark of fidelity and friendship. I'd say that's worth pondering.

Meditate on that today. I'll be back on Wednesday with a way we can see this reality lived out in our own lives.

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Wednesday

Work It Out Wednesday 2.3.10

Hello Friendship Project participants!

(Don't know what the Friendship Project is? Join up! Read this and this, to be part of our 2010 campaign! It's not too late.)

For today's "work it out" assignment I'd like to challenge you to look at your list from Monday. Consider sending a note or email to someone on your list with whom you have a valued friendship. Make it personal. Make it real. Make it special.

Friendship is an investment. It takes time, energy and sacrifice. Thank those individuals in your life who have made an impact. Shouldn't they know that we appreciate their efforts?

Alright, go forth and thank friends. And remember to come back here for Feedback Friday. You don't have to wait until then to share your experience, but I'll be back with my update then. Can't wait to hear what you do, and how God ministers to your friends (and to each of us) through these efforts!

Hugs!!!

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Monday

Meditate On It Monday-2.1.10

Friends and Friendship Project Participants,

Happy Monday morning, well almost afternoon. I am sorry to be posting this later in the day that I would like. The dreaded sinus infection hit our house. I was sleepy, medicated and stuffed up last night. I was in the bed early though not sleeping as soundly as I would have liked.

At any rate, here is our topic for the day: Think about the relationships in your life. I'd like for you to consider how many valuable friendships you have in your life right now. Think about it, and maybe list them. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about these relationships:

-Why do I consider this relationship to be valuable?
-Is it valuable to me, to my friend or to both of us?
-What would be lacking in my life if this relationship were not present?
-Am I cultivating this relationship, or has it become stagnant?

Think about these things. As we move through this campaign, let's take a serious look at the friendship vacancies and friendship values that are present in our lives.

Proverbs 18:24 NIV

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

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Thursday

Friendship Project Update 1.27.10

Fans and friends,


I've started a movement. Just writing that makes me feel all Joan of Arc-ish. It's not quite so severe, but I do think it is just as significant. I'm hoping banded together we can be liberated from the tyranny of busy-ness and isolation. I am hoping we find fellowship with friends. And so I've set up a little Facebook group dedicated to the Friendship Project. If you are on Facebook, consider joining us. If not, you can follow along right here as we kick off the campaign. The goal is to see what happens when women stop being busy and start being friends.


Today I'm announcing the the first organized initiative of the Friendship Project. Beginning next week I will be posting a series of weekly updates that invite your participation. Ready?


Join me for:

"Meditate On It" Monday

"Work it Out" Wednesday

"Feedback" Friday


No need to stress about where we go from here. Don't obsess about how this works. This isn't a big picture obligation. It isn't intended to be overwhelming. It's not just one more thing on an already-packed to-do list. Let's just do what we can to open our hearts, and perhaps more challenging our schedules to see, really see each other. Relationships aren't meant to exist just on screen or paper, but in flesh and blood.


Join me. Let's make some friends.


And now just for old time's sake:


Do you like me?

Circle "Yes" or "No"


Or-

Check out the Proverbs 31 Website to learn more about me and the ministry changing my life and the lives of women all across the world.


Your new friend,

Whitney

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Tuesday

Friends,

My sweet friends Luann Prater and Carol Davis are doing an amazing conference in Charlotte in just a few short weeks. It will be phenomenal!!! I wish I could be there, but I can't. Just wanted to pass along the details in case anyone can go, be blessed, and come back to share how fantastic it was?!!

Check out this video for a word from Luann:

This event is ONLY $119! THIS INCLUDES OVER-NIGHT STAY, ENTRANCE TO ALL CONFERENCE SESSIONS/ALL CONFERENCE MATERIAL, BREAKFAST & LUNCH ON SATURDAY!!!
The bad news is...space is limited, so don't wait, register today.

From Luann:
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”—E.M. Forester

This team of women at Encouragement Cafe' are charged up and ready to "let go" and we want desperately for you to come along with us!

God scoops up all of our pieces and parts and makes it whole. Watch how He takes our little and magnifies it into something so incredible that we will NEVER be the same!

Maybe you've never pictured yourself as radical.
Maybe you've never thought that God would ever ask you to step into something more.
Maybe you've never really experienced ABSOLUTE, BOUNDLESS, ABANDON and quite frankly the thought of it scares you to death!

Let me whisper in your ear a little truth:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

God wants to do reconstructive surgery on the hearts of each one of us. We all live lives of quiet desperation, yet getting trapped in the mundane was never God's intention for our life! He wants us to not only LIVE victoriously, but to display that victory so others will be drawn to Him!

He has promised to show up in a unique and marvelous way. Will your 2010 look just like all the other years or are you ready to let God do something EXTREME in your life? Trust His way.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." 2 Cor 2:9

Isaiah 55:13 "This will be for the Lord's renown..."

From Carol Davis:
As we get ready for the Encouragement Extreme event in January, I can't help but think that God really means for us to go to the EXTREME in our faith. The Bible says that Jesus came to give us ABUNDANT life. Are you living an abundant life?

I have to admit that most of my days seem pretty ordinary. The laundry, the meetings, the "what's for supper?" You know the routine. But, somewhere in my heart...there is a part of me that longs for the abundant...the extreme life of faith that God has already purchased for me. If you have that longing too...then meet me in Greensboro at the Embassy Suites, January 29th and 30th....and we will lock arms and run hard after Jesus.

And when the weekend is over, the world will see a group of gals that have absolute faith in a great big God.

I look forward to the journey with you!!!


From Ramona Davis:
There are so many women God is calling to come out onto deeper water with Him. He has asked us to provide a place and environment in which His Spirit can move and take all of our hands and bring us by faith to a place of deeper commitment in our relationship to Him.

That’s what Encouragement EXTREME is all about. If you have felt His call in your heart, then this event is for you. He wants to encourage us to be EXTREME for Him and impact our little corners of the world.

Come, join us as we take each other’s hands and launch out!
I can’t wait to meet you,
Ramona Davis

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Monday

Friendship Project Update #3

Greetings friends. Hey! It's 2010!! Ain't that a kick in the head? If you've hopped here from the Encouragement for Today devotions by Proverbs 31, thanks and welcome. I hope you enjoyed today's devotion. Friendship is a topic I'd really rather not talk about. Why? Because I am a TERRIBLE friend; I mean really, really bad. Here are a few examples.

-I rarely remember birthdays.
-I never call to chat.
-I forget to ask about the thing you asked me to pray about last week.
-I take the last piece of bread.

To make matters worse, I am an introvert. I play an extrovert on t.v. and in life, but I love, need, c.r.a.v.e. mental white space. In have a few really, really close friends. And they laugh every time I tell people I'm not a good friend. They testify (to my embarrassment) that I am a really good friend. Here are a few of the examples they use:

-I have a knack for making other people feel comfortable.
-I ask good questions to get people talking.
-I am so comfortable with new people.

So I started wondering. Where is the discrepancy? I am not a good friend. I have this on good authority from a Highly reputable source. God has convicted me about my lack of commitment to real biblical friendship. He is working on me, and I am working on it. So why do my friends think I'm a good friend?

I think it's because I'm a good acquaintance. I do acquaintance-ship well. I know how to get to know you only so far. I rarely make the leap from social to spiritual. I don't make the sacrifice to invest in women. Don't get me wrong I have friendships-deeply intimate, spiritually nourishing friendships. I could. not do life without these gals. But here's the rub. There are countless women in my circle of relationship and even influence who desperately need, yet lack those same kinds of friendships.

Here's what the Spirit said to me about those gals even as He brought their faces to my mind:

"Whitney, you are waiting for someone else to do the hard, dirty work of friendship. You keep hoping they will connect with anybody but you. You've learned to be polite yet evasive. You have brushed them off as needy and "unique." You've pleaded your inadequacy as a friend as excuse not to engage. Daughter, invest. Connect. Sacrifice. Give."

Oh, friends. I did not want to hear that. And maybe more particularly I did not want to do it. But I will. I am. Friendship ISN'T always mutually beneficial, sometimes is sacrificial. It isn't always a give and take, sometimes it's just give. It isn't always easy. Often it is really, really hard.

Here's what I've learned so far. I have relationships where I experience friendship.I get the "take" as I give. But there are relationships where I demonstrate friendship. I demonstrate it in hopes that this new friend will experience the joy of biblical friendship. I won't do it perfectly, but that's not really an excuse.

I'm doing it. You?

P.S. Please join the Friendship Project fan page on Facebook. I'll be posting more details about the project there (and here.)

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