I’m thrilled to tell you that my first ever bible study is here! Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women finding Real Faith arrived at my door yesterday! I was so thrilled I gave my UPS driver two copies for his wife and daughter! The guy brings me a package a day… well, not quite, but close. I do love the online shopping world!
I opened the boxes, grabbed a handful of books and my phone and snapped a few pictures. I had to put it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I had to shout it from the rooftops — and I did. I posted, tweeted and created the perfect vignette so my Instagram friends would see my excitement. And I am excited, honored and humbled that the God of the universe allowed me to write such a study.
I began planning my tweets, posts and pictures. I wanted the perfect Pinterest worthy phrases and tweetable quotes. I’ve watched other authors (with bestselling books) create amazing launch parties — I’ve even been involved in a few. I loved every minute of it. I began planning out who I would ask and how I would ask. I might be a bit late to the book launching party but I was ready to come on full force until….
I opened the pages of Authentic Girlfriends -and read:
God showed me that I was replacing my ministry and my relationship with Jesus with marketing. I had put book sales and number of speaking engagements ahead of time with my Lord. I made fame and success my benchmark for faithfulness.
WHOA! That’s me. I wrote that about my last book. I wrote this in the introduction and I remembered why I walked away from writing. It wasn’t the writing — I love that part and I fell head over heels in love with writing a Bible study. Bible studies are how I grew in my faith. Studying God’s Word changed me. God used women’s Bible studies to change my heart and mature me as a believer. And while I LOVE Bible studies and writing them, I do not love marketing. I get so caught up in the numbers and the success that I lose sight of why I do what I do — for God alone.
So the Bible study is out! My sweet is doing a fun little contest to win books and necklaces (I LOVE this necklace) and it’s on my facebook. I would LOVE everyone to win. I may even tweet a few quotes and make something for pinterest, but I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus and not the numbers. I’ll trust His hand to place this before those who need to hear these words. Oh, and I’ll share a sample of the first chapter too! (another sweet offering from my publisher). I hope you enjoy it.
I will do my best to keep my focus on Jesus — my Savior and Redeemer — and off the sales and speaking engagements. I’m trusting that the God of the Universe will do with this work what He sees fit. I’ll just follow where HE leads. But I have to say this…
I LOVE the cover! And I’m crazy about what’s inside. I hope you like it too!
I wrote the following blog post four years ago today. Four years ago I had no idea about a Bible study title Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women Finding Real Faith. Four years ago I didn’t know that today I’d need to hear this message again.
Four years ago I wrote about being authentic and today I’m one month away from the release of my first Bible study — which would not have happened without two amazing women Melinda Garman and Karen barrows.
(original post 7/3/2010)
I’ve tossed around the word authentic a lot lately — I want to be authentic. I want authenticity in my friendships. I want an authentic ministry.
It hit me last night…. what do I mean? What am I saying? Am I just tossing around a word that sounds good. And yes, I’ve done a lot of that in my past.
Authentic means real, true, not a fake. But truly, what does that mean?
How do I live authentic?
Does it mean I have to tell you ALL about me? Oh, for your sake, I hope not. It’s 65 parts boring and the rest you don’t want to know about.
To be authentic, I have to trust that God is God and He alone rules my heart and my life. I have to keep my eyes on Him, the author and finisher of my faith.
To be authentic, I have to live life daily in the way the Lord has laid out for me. This means I don’t manipulate situations to my benefit or enjoyment. This means that some days are just stinking HARD. It also means God has a plan for my life each and EVERY day of it.
To be authentic, I have to trust God’s plan for my life and accept the sins of my past. I have to look to God to use all things (even the yucky, icky stuff) for His great GLORY.
To be authentic, I CANNOT look to people to increase my position, my standing, my popularity — as an authentic girl I will trust God to bring the right people into my life and I will trust God’s plan for my life.
To live an authentic life, I have to grasp that God’s plan for my life is much greater than my plan and I have to walk in that plan even when it is FAR different than what I’d thought.
To live an authentic life, I will serve where God places my feet and I will rejoice in the knowledge that He is God
What do you believe it means to be authentic?
I do a bit of celebrity wrangling. It is a part of my job. Recently I was at a big event with red carpet and all…it was a snazzy affair. I stood to the side of that red carpet and just watched while I waited to bring a celebrity out. It was fascinating and overwhelming.
As I walked with this person and her manager, she was bombarded with “can you sign this?” “I want a picture with you.” “What was it like …” Her name was shouted…. And she withstood it all with great grace. I wanted to scream. And then we stepped onto the carpet and it increased tenfold. The shouts grew louder, people pressed in, requests hit rapid fire, but she kept her eyes on her manager. She looked to him for direction and protection. I watched her navigate the red carpet, pose for pictures, and talk with interviewers. I cringed at the onslaught of shouts, flashes and camera snaps. She handled it all with grace.
When it was time for us to leave she grabbed onto her managers hand and put her head down, tucked in close to him and followed. She would lift her head and smile and nod, but she never broke from his grip. She never stopped following him. She never pulled away. She followed him, closely. He led her with authority. He didn’t stop. He knew the right path and it wasn’t the easiest way, but it was the best for her. She trusted him.
I watched this all unfold as I followed along behind them. It struck me how I should hold onto Jesus much the same way. I should tuck in close, follow His lead, trust that He has it all under control, and know that He has our destination mapped out. Instead of running ahead and slap into a big ol’ mess of crazy. I should act like I’m on a red carpet — answer the questions with grace, respond to the shouts with smiles and trust Jesus has a plan to move me beyond the chaos.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message
Seems like I promised to keep y’all updated on my weight loss weekly… and that was a month ago. I’m just awful at this blogging thing… but I do LOVE to stay connected. I’m much better at vlogging…. that’s video blogging and I say that like I know what I’m talking about but someone had to explain it to me. I just call it the real me — chatty, discombobulated, slightly distracted and somewhat frazzled. There’s just one HUGE probably with the video blogging…. I have to fix my hair and slap on something more than a coat of Endless Red lipstick. So, I promise a video blog …. someday soon… how’s that for vague?
I just put on some Endless Red and used my ipad as a mirror. Does anyone else do that? Open your camera option on your phone or ipad and look at yourself? Let me tell you it makes a great mirror — but I caution you from doing too much primping while in public. You can get some strange looks.
So, here I am at the 3 1/2 month mark. I never thought much beyond the surgery and the end results — but this journey is amazing. I’ve had quite a few firsts since we last spoke:
1st cruise since surgery — Hubby and I and some close friends sailed Alaska the first week of June. OH MY! Such amazing scenery. God’s handiwork is amazing everywhere, but Alaska…. oh my!! And the weather is wonderful… at least in June. don’t think I want to be there in January. We were so blessed to see Humpback whales, Harbor seals, otters, bald eagles, and dolphins. It was just amazing. I ate like any other person — I just focused on protein first, then veggies and I stayed away from the starches, for the most part. I did have a bite of this mac and cheese and bacon dish. I turned down desserts and tried to walk instead of using elevators. I made it through with flying colors.
1st new pair of skinny jeans — I walked into Marshalls looking for some low priced jeans as all mine were failing off. I picked up some skinny jeans and they fit great. I later figured out they are a size 12! I can’t believe it! Now, trust me when I say I’ve got these size 12s stretched to the limit, but I’m in them!!
Realization of clothing — my body is changing so quickly that it’s hard to buy clothes because what fits today will likely not fit next week. I’ve found that palazzo pants and skinny jeans are the way to go,
So, here’s the latest picture and weight loss update — down 46 pounds. (I have to tell you this — I’m struggling with sharing this because I don’t want to appear to be bragging. I just want to share the journey. God is doing amazing things in my life — outside of the weight loss, but I give him all the glory for this decision and my better health. I just want to encourage you and let’s just agree that I overshare. )
I like to stay current on all the latest trends… well, that’s what I tell myself, but really I just HATE being left out. I want to be in on the coolest new stuff, after all I want to be considered cool, hip and in-the-know.
I’ve read and heard all about essential oils. I even saw a few friends were hosting classes on oils. I try to avoid any items that require I take a class before use. I’m also not big on reading the instruction manuals. Personally, I LOVE those QUICK Start guides that are filled with big pictures and little words. Although I kept reading (mostly on Facebook because that seems to be my source of news lately) about the amazing qualities of these oils — stopped headaches, unstuffed stuffy noses, stopped those runny allergy eyes, and balanced the national budget — okay, not that last one, but the claims were pretty amazing. I decided I HAD to know more and since we’ve established that I don’t do classes, I just ordered some oils — Lemon and Peppermint. Seemed safe.
The oils arrived without any instruction manual and there was definitely not a quick start guide. I tried to read the TINY TINY TINY print on the bitty bottle and finally succeeded after putting on my readers and grabbing a magnifying glass — no instructions on the bottle. So I did what I do in these cases — I just made it up.
I thought I’d just add a drop or two to my ice water and VIOLA! I tried the lemon because I love lemon in my water. The first time I went overboard and put three drops in the glass. It smelled wonderful — all lemony and fresh. YUMM! I took a big swig and released that just because it smells good doesn’t mean it will taste good. Apparently three drops is about 2.5 drops too many. My water tasted like chewed up lemon rinds. I tossed out that glass and decided to try a lighter touch with the peppermint– the taste was odd… not really pleasant. I tossed that glass down the drain and went for the lighter hand with the lemon oil. I had hit on the right recipe. I sipped on that lemon water and felt like I was on the path to this new essential oil place of healthy living. After several weeks of ingesting lemon drops I happen to read (again on Facebook) that ingesting essential oils is not wise. Well, I guess that’s what happens when you don’t go to the class. I stopped drinking the oil and decided to just dab it on like perfume. I smelled lemon fresh.
Today I had a bit of a headache and remembered something about dabbing mint on your temples for a headache — honestly I think it was spearmint, but spearmint, peppermint, there almost the same right? Not really!
I grabbed my bottle and put a few drops on my temples and forehead. I don’t know if it got rid of the headache, but I didn’t think about it for some time as those drops of oil turned from slightly tingly to OH MY WORD that is stinging! It seems that peppermint has a high level of menthol in it which isn’t always pleasant on the skin unlike Spearmint which DOESN’T have a high level of menthol.
I shared all these stories to show why it’s important to read instructions, go to the classes, or just stop trying to be cool!
I’m opting for the third one.