Women Worth Looking Up To

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

The phone in my office rang, and there was a voice on the other end I didn’t recognize.  She stated she had my daughter in her office, and in that instant, my heart skipped a beat.   My daughter’s voice trembled as she explained the details to me, and when I asked her if she was ok, she broke down in tears.   My momma heart ached, and I felt so helpless. I’M HER MOM! I SHOULD BE THERE FOR HER…but I was all the way across town at work. I had already missed a lot of time recently because I was in Nashville for the women’s leadership forum, so in that moment my heart was torn. My baby girl needed me NOW, but even if I left work immediately, I couldn’t get to her soon enough.   I’ve been in her shoes before, and I could totally understand why she was crying.  I’ve cried for the same reason once upon a time, and I wanted nothing more than to drop everything to help dry her tears, but I was at work, and I needed to be there too.   Thoughts ran through my mind a million miles a minute, as … Read More

When God Defines Leadership

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

She said we had ‘ridiculous potential’. Looking down at us from where she stood on the church stage, Beth shook her head in that delightful, spunky way. Her eyes were wide with determination that we accept how much God believes in us – every woman who attended the Lifeway conference. How He has a great plan for each of us. How He intends to use us to accomplish great things in His name. Her message about being effective and productive in our calling was inspiring, and I came away determined to be steadfast in the tasks that God has assigned me. Even if it means I have to work a full time job at the office. Sometimes our idea of what our calling should look like isn’t the same as God’s plan. Sometimes normal daily routine feels less important than ministry service such as leading a Bible study, going on a mission trip, playing piano in church, or being a pastor’s wife. But we need to be careful not to underestimate our impact, no matter our circumstances. God’s been showing me over the past year or so that He has a heart for nations. He doesn’t just reside (or move!) … Read More

5 Reasons to Attend a Women’s Conference

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

Several of us on the ACWM team just returned from the LifeWay Women’s Leadership Forum in Nashville, and we all had an amazing time! As I meditate on all I learned last week, I feel overwhelmed with joy over the experience. We each encountered God in a fresh, meaningful way. How I wish all women could attend such a conference! So this morning, let me encourage you to consider the benefits of attending a retreat or conference – aside from the fact that it’s just plain fun! While I have heard a few women indicate that such a thing is not for them (because they are not a leader, because its not their personality, because they can’t afford it, etc.), I believe every woman who loves the Lord would benefit from attending, and here is why. 1. Comfort Zones: New experiences make us braver. As believers, getting uncomfortable stretches us and makes us better people. Every Bible character we read about had to do something that required courage in order to build their faith. Leaving home for a new adventure, sleeping in a new place, driving in a strange town, talking with multiple strangers – it pushes us to be … Read More

Overwhelmed By Acceptance

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Redemption, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

Just a couple of days ago I was listening to someone read and unpack a few verses and my heart and mind were just overwhelmed to the point of tears. I’ve heard the story before… It’s just that the words didn’t seem to come alive in my mind the way that it did with me this time. …the Word shared was so incredibly personal to me… We read about the Luke 7 woman— Luke 7:36-50 “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them off with her feet, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, … Read More

5 Time Management Tips for Busy Women

Jen CudmoreWomanhood1 Comment

I’ve always been a busy person, juggling my family, day job, church commitments, and writing goals. But I recently reached a place where the pressure was unbearable. Below is what I learned from my recent struggles with time management. These items are essential to surviving those busier seasons of life.   5 Time Management Tips for Busy Women 1) Quality time with God every morning: I was shocked when I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to get up a half hour earlier every day. I was barely surviving on 6-7 hours of sleep each night – how could I possibly get up earlier than 6am? It wasn’t as hard as I anticipated. It didn’t take long for me to see that spending 15 minutes in a half-asleep stupor wasn’t good enough; I needed more. Focusing on my Creator first thing each morning helped set a positive attitude and made my days more productive. God is an energizer! 2) Day of rest once a week: My family has always tried to observe Sunday as a time of rest. God is clear that we need to observe the Sabbath, and while this may be a different day for each person/family, it must be a priority. … Read More

Maybe Not For Me

Jewel ZymurgyWomanhoodLeave a Comment

Over the last few days with a couple of different people, God has revealed a pretty interesting theme that kept coming up in conversation. Initially, it began with a statement that came from the lips of my daughter and it just caught me off guard enough to have me really pressing into her observations. Then I had the privilege of being in the company of some friends that love me so much that they inquire about my thoughts and let me know when it looks like I am spinning my wheels on anything. As I am in the wake of one of those moments…I am deeply thankful that those around me lovingly ask me why… I had been asked and then decided to volunteer to help out as a buffet server at a function. I thought that it was no big deal—it wasn’t the funnest thing that I could think of doing, but it was certainly not something I couldn’t do so I agreed and just moved on. I knew that God had been moving so mightily in my life that it seemed almost irresponsible to me not to give back…if that makes any sense. Unsure how to go about … Read More

Marveling at Martha

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

The other night I stood in the kitchen with a fussy baby in one arm, while cooking dinner with the other. As I stood there I felt a temptation creep in. At that moment I felt tempted to take a picture of myself, then post it on social media as a way to toot my own horn so to speak. “Look at me, rocking this mom thing! I’m handling it all! Long day at work followed by making dinner for the family while holding a baby in one arm! I’ve got it all together. I’m rockin this mom thing!”    Some might think that it was silly that it was tempting for me to take a picture.  Some might not see anything wrong with posting something like that. Some post things like that on a regular basis for the world to see and admire (or envy) but the ironic thing is that I didn’t actually feel like I was “rockin this mom thing” at all. Truth be told, I felt like I was failing…big time!    That day I had overslept quite a bit, and was 15 minutes late to work. I went to work in the clothes I slept … Read More

BFFs or Mean Girls?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

The topic of friendship has come up quite often lately. My friend Rosalynn wrote about it here. Lisa TerKeurst wrote an entire study on it. Mom’s Night Out shows how moms need time-out for deeper friendships. Even the movie Mean Girls shows the dark side of so-called friendship. Having lived in six different states, I have had to develop my circle of kindred spirits multiple times. I have learned the hard way that some people have room in their lives for you and others don’t. Sometimes people are in a stage of life where they just can’t juggle one more relationship. Others were lonely like me, and we bonded instantly. Other people have no concept that they could even benefit from friendships outside their 20-year BFF’s. I really wish that I could have grown up near my grandparents and have nearby friends whom I have known since babyhood. It sounds so Norman-Rockwell-ish, but that’s not the life God gave me. Apparently He had something else for me to learn. I have spent enough time as the “new girl” to value the priceless friendships that come from my circle of kindred spirits. I have also experienced the discomfort of being on the … Read More

Because I Am His

Beau HagertyWomanhoodLeave a Comment

I was sitting in church in Phoenix, Arizona in August of 2015, and I felt more out of place than ever. It was an odd feeling for me as I had grown up a pastors daughter. In my child hood I slept between the pews as often as I slept in my own bed. So it was a foreign concept that I should feel out of place in church. I had just graduated high school and was attending my first year of college. I had been asked to help with the worship department of a new church plant in the city. I had met with the pastors and enthusiastically agreed to help but in my head I was groaning due to the suffocating obligation I felt to be a part of church ministry. The spring before I had just confided to my parents that I had been sexually abused, raped, by a family friend of ours for almost my entire time in high school. And I had just started my journey to healing. Looking back now I had no idea how in over my head I was about to be as I worked through the pain and hardship of overcoming … Read More

Finding Simplicity

Carol DunfeeMotherhood, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

Simplicity. We long for it. Bloggers make a living writing about it. Authors sell thousands of books teaching us how to achieve it. I don’t know how it is in other cultures, but the life of an American woman is busy. There is never enough time to take care of the house, keep the children fed and educated, earn money, be a fantastic wife, and have personal space. I can keep the house somewhat presentable OR work on a project. I cannot do both. I can either earn the extra money to ease our budget OR I can be available on evenings and weekends for my husband and kids. I cannot do both of those, either. It’s easy to see why those simple living blogs are so popular! However, I don’t think I crave simplicity as much as I crave a haven for my soul–a knowledge that everything is under control. I long for a freedom to do what needs to be done, without leaving 100 other things undone. I hunger for the peace that beckons me from the other side of my unending to-do list…the list that is so long that three things get added for every single item … Read More

When You’re Terrified By God’s Plan

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

I never wanted to be a manager. Managers have a lot of responsibility. They deal with many conflicts. They put in long hours and get interrupted on their free time. I never thought the extra money and authority worth all the trouble. Since I never had intentions to pursue management, when a position at the office opened up a few weeks back and I felt God nudge me to apply, I was less than thrilled. This was not the direction my life was supposed to go. I had other plans, and they didn’t include a day job. I’m a writer and a teacher. That’s always been God’s call on my life. Why would He now take me a totally different direction? Although confused, I mustered up some excitement for this new venture and submitted my resume. As I waited for a response, I struggled to understand God’s intentions. Until now, I had a clear path and purpose. How could going into management possibly fit into the future He’d already shown me? How could I serve and teach if I was caught up at the office all week long? How could I work all day and still follow the passion He … Read More

The Challenge of Motherhood, Part 1

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, Motherhood, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

Motherhood is complicated. It is the hardest job. It is the most rewarding job. Too often, we make this tough job even harder. We sabotage ourselves by falling into age-old traps common to every mother in history. Have you ever noticed that every single child was born AFTER Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden? The consequences of their sin has affected every mother in history! Not a single mother gave birth before the curse of sin. Pain. And more pain. The King James Version of the Bible translates the word “pain” as “sorrow”. The first use of the word “sorrow” in this verse is the Hebrew word, itstsabown. It means labor, toil, and suffering. Those who have experienced or witnessed childbirth can definitely attest to the intense pain involved! Even pregnancy is filled with pain and discomfort. According to Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, this word indicates bodily or mental pain. Curiously, the Lexicon’s first definition is “an idol”. The second use of “sorrow” in this verse is from the Hebrew word, etseb. It also carries the meaning of pain, sorrow, and hardship related to an “earthen vessel”. Interestingly enough, this word can also be translated as “idol”. (Jeremiah 22:28.) God used two … Read More

When Gratitude Unlocked a Miracle

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials, Womanhood1 Comment

Last week, I wrote about giving thanks in the middle of trouble. Little did I know just how much I would need that message on the very day the blog published. A few months ago, several of us at Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry began praying about having a vendor table at a local homeschool convention. The topics of womanhood and women’s discipleship had been forefront in our minds. We were approved to teach a class about those topics at the convention. I cannot tell you how much prayer went into the preparation. I can only tell you that it was a LOT!! We prayed for the women who would attend our class. We asked God to use our class to set women free from false beliefs, to open their eyes to life-giving truth, and to release God’s favor over their lives. Our goals were big and we believed them to be God-given. The day of that class was the same day that I published the blog about gratitude. I planned to attend our middle child’s school concert that morning before heading to the convention at 10:00. As my husband and kids were about ready to head out the door for work and … Read More

What Does ‘Let Go’ Really Mean?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

“Let go and let God.” Such a cute little cliche. While it’s good advice, it’s also over-simplified. Because typically, letting go isn’t as simple as it sounds. I’ve asked God so many questions over the years. How do I let go of this issue that’s bothering me? How do I know when I have truly let go? Why is it so hard to let this go? While each issue we face is unique, the concept behind letting go is the same. Whether it’s a step of faith, a financial struggle, a strained relationship, the loss of a loved one, or a stressful schedule, at some point we have to learn to be okay in our junk. Letting go is not plastering a smile on our face and pretending we are fine – its actually getting to the point where we are fine, no matter how life pans out. And many times after we think we’ve let go, we find that we’re stewing over the issue again, and we have to do the process all over. The more we want our way, the stronger our desire to be right and be in control, the harder it is to let go of … Read More

The Myth of SuperWoman

Carol DunfeeFaith, Motherhood, Trials, Womanhood2 Comments

A close friend recently told me that she thought I was a SuperWoman. I laughed. I told her that she was a SuperWoman. Guess what. She laughed, too. We can all look at the highlights of other women’s lives and think that they are SuperWomen. It’s easy compare what we KNOW about our imperfect lives to what we SEE on the surface of another’s life. But our comparisons are so inaccurate. It’s like comparing apples to bananas. Or comparing a raw, unedited image of a model to a retouched image of the same model in a magazine. Even the model doesn’t resemble her own appearance in the picture. Because I live with myself, I KNOW that I struggle. I struggle with self-doubt, disorganization, cluttered closets, too-little-faith, and a lack of discipline in spending time with God. Not to mention the times I over-schedule and force my children to pay the consequences. Or how about when I gain confidence and boldness, only to over-extend myself and revert to doubt and fear. No one else sees when I cry because I can’t keep up with the kids’ health issues or even my own. I don’t often share the fear I feel every time … Read More

There Is No Box

Carol DunfeeFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Womanhood1 Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how we try to squeeze God into a box. Because we cannot grasp His vastness, we build boxes and try to make God fit into them. We have denominational boxes: Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Presbyterian. Then there are those who want to force God into the theological boxes of Arminiansim and Calvinism, which try to define the balance between God’s will and man’s choice. And of course, we have boxes for God’s definition of women which range from women submitting to all men to women submitting to no one. Seriously. We have a God who created the universe. Not only does He fully understand the composition and workings of this universe, but He created it all. He holds it in His hand. The earth is where he rests His feet. By comparison, we are like tiny, insignificant ants scurrying around at His feet. All we can see is the smallest part of His little toe, yet we arrogantly try to box God into the limits of our own understanding. The Jews in Jesus’ day had the same problem. They thought that the Messiah was going to come to save them from Roman oppression and set up … Read More

Who Am I?

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Womanhood3 Comments

I am a parent and a spouse. I am a writer, a teacher, and a photographer wannabe. I am a woman. Depending on your beliefs, the last statement could either boost my credibility or diminish it. If you secretly believe that women are better than men, you will listen to what I have to say. If you secretly believe that men are superior, then you will dismiss my thoughts and opinions because I am “just a woman”. I was fortunate to be raised by parents who didn’t think my female gender made me less than or better than anyone else. My dad was raised by a mother who engaged him at an intellectual level. My mom was raised by a father who valued her and her mind. In turn, they both taught me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, as long as I was following God’s leading. What about those who were taught that men are superior? Will they have the boldness to pursue their dreams, their God-given potential? Will they melt away into the shadows of empty submission to boastful men? What about those who were taught that they were superior to men? Will they have … Read More

Portrait of a Beautiful Woman

Carol DunfeeFaith, Womanhood2 Comments

Yesterday, my cousin posted a memory of our Gramma on Facebook. It was a sweet prayer that Gramma had tucked into her favorite Bible. Throughout the comments, some of her other grandchildren had posted memories of her lovable traits. I found myself choking back tears as I remembered how much I loved her. She died 15 years ago this month after a long battle with dementia caused by multiple strokes. Somehow, it seems like yesterday. I didn’t get to go to her funeral. The pain of that bothers me even now. The night before she died, my husband and I went into the church auditorium where he worked. He hooked up the sound system and we recorded music for her funeral. I played the sleek, black concert grand, while my husband accompanied me on a song or two at the keyboard. It was some of the hardest music-making I’ve ever done, but for a few seconds, I felt one last, brief connection with her. My Gramma. My role model. She loved. She loved with quiet intensity. Her love was tangible. She loved our Grandpa so much that she put aside her favorite colors to wear what he thought made her look beautiful. She loved her … Read More