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

Better than a Fairy Godmother

Carol DunfeeFaith4 Comments

Princess Bride is one of the most quotable movies of all time. I think I have watched it more than any other single movie. In college, my friends and I didn’t have TV’s in our dorm rooms, so one friend made an audio recording of Princess Bride. We must have listened to it at least thirty times. We memorized whole sections of it and entertained our sleep-deprived minds by quoting the best dialogues. One of my favorites was when Vizzini kept using the word “inconceivable”. Inigo Montoya informed him, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Recently, I stumbled upon a favorite Bible verse from those college days…a verse with a word that doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. I claimed it as a promise from God that if I lived for Him, then He would fulfill the desires of my heart. I wanted to get married, teach piano, and have children. I understood this verse to mean that he would give me the things I wanted, the things my heart desired. Does this sound anything like a fairy godmother granting a wish in a fairy tale? Only now, I realize that … Read More

A Shield of Childlike Faith

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

She is at such a sweet stage in life. She is trusting, yet spunky. She loves made-up bedtime stories. She is captivated by hero stories, of good overcoming evil. Inside her lies the heart of a warrior. Recently she memorized Ephesians 6:10-18. I loved listening to her recite these verses with gusto. She believes every. single. word. There is no doubt in her mind that she has a shield of faith, or that the Bible verses in her head are swords for fighting spiritual battles. She simply believes. A few days ago, she told me about some troublesome thoughts. I asked her where the thoughts came from. She said they were from Satan. Instantly her eyes lit up. She knew that she had a faith shield, and she was happy to use it. Tonight at bedtime, she told me about a recurring nightmare that has plagued her. I reminded her of Ephesians 6. She smiled a sleepy smile as the fear left her face. I could almost hear her armor clanking as she put it on. What about me? Do I really believe that the doubts in my head can be quenched with a shield of childlike faith? Lately, I’ve been on the … Read More

God-Sized Dreams

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Like many Proverbs, I never understood this one. What could the plans of my heart have to do with my answers belonging to God? It was like a riddle that eluded my grasp. The New Living Translation states it like this: “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.” Two years ago, the founder of Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry and I were in a planning meeting together. She suddenly announced that she needed more bloggers to write for ACWM’s new website. She asked if any of us liked to write. Without a hesitation, my mouth opened and said, “Yes!” Then my brain kicked in: “Wait! I don’t write for people. I used to journal, but no one ever read an of it. And that was years ago! What did you just say, Carol?? I honestly believe God opened my mouth before my rational mind could object. Writing for ACWM has been a blessing both unexpected and profound. Blogging helped heal my heart from our family’s bout with a brain tumor. It has redeemed the pain and agony of that year, while revealing God to me in ways I never expected. Could this be an application … Read More

Asked About A Dream

Jewel ZymurgyFaith6 Comments

As a small group we were asked the question what is our dream? If money, time, and fear were no object…what would that dream be? As soon as I heard the question and realized that we were working around the group of people I pretty much panicked inside. I wanted to abandon the call…I wanted to walk away. Immediately, my heart started pounding, blood rushed to my face and my mouth went so dry it felt like I hadn’t had a drink of water in days. For so many years of my life there are memories, one after another, of time that has been devoted to whatever it took to ensure my survival for the moment. As a result I often find myself in an outright struggle with fear and my first instinct is to react in the manner that I have been trained to think. I can usually recognize that my intuition leads me to start looking at and assessing a situation with the intent on preserving myself. Constantly figuring out the ways that I can accomplish a said task by keeping as many people content as possible and with the ultimate and primary outcome being such that I … Read More

The Gift of Being Seen

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

Seems pretty intriguing that I have spent most of my life trying to be as inconspicuous as possible-trying to fly under the radar-keeping those around me as content as possible so that no attention is drawn to me…and now I am here declaring that I was given the intensely edifying gift of being seen. I grew up in a household where all types of abuse were not only acceptable but practiced and because of those circumstances I learned and embraced the ability to be invisible. Thankfully, a few years ago I had one lady in my life who was willing to lift the glasses of survival and lies and help me to see and accept the reality of what I was living in and accepting as normal. She will always be who I see in my own head as the beautiful beginning of my journey- In this past year, I had been feeling God’s lead to step into more relationships that were authentic and honorable. Relationships that were genuine and where I could show up with myself-relationships that would allow me to be whom God made me to be-relationships that I didn’t have to be a chameleon to fit in … Read More

When It’s Not Your Turn

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

The story of Joseph has always been one of my favorites, because it spans so many years. He ultimately became a great leader, but he had to endure much hardship and preparation before he arrived at that place of blessing and prominence. I can relate. Can you? I’ve shared a little of my experience at Proverbs 31 SheSpeaks conference, about the cancer of comparison and how we should cheer each other on instead, and my mishap when I fell in front of Lysa TerKeurst. There is so much more I could share, but I’ll finish my recap with one more lesson learned. I so appreciate that last post from Madison about changing seasons, because that’s what life is all about. Seasons of sorrow and seasons of joy. Seasons of simplicity and seasons of growth. Seasons of preparation and seasons of blessing. And there are seasons where God asks us to sit back so others can take the lead. Suzie Eller gave an inspiring message to close out the conference. She said that sometimes, we need to gracefully step aside. Choked with emotion, she shared how last spring, God asked her to step away from Proverbs 31 to pursue other tasks … Read More

Bicycles, Oak Trees, and Patience

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

It wasn’t fair. My older brother and sister got to attend camp, but I was too little. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to do all the fun things my older siblings got to do. As an adult, I see the same thing in our youngest child. At age two, he was riding a two-wheeled scooter with all the neighbor kids. At age four, he took a whole thirty minutes to transition from tricycle to two-wheeled bike…with no training wheels!! Sometimes I still feel like that little girl longing to be bigger so I can do the fun stuff. I identify with my son who sees no reason why he can’t keep up with kids twice his size. He resents being called little and longs to be a real big kid. Even as I’m an adult, I still have big dreams that I haven’t grown into yet. I still get impatient that they haven’t materialized. In our youth-adoring society, we seem to think that if our dream hasn’t materialized by the time we are twenty-five, then we have missed our chance.  Sometimes it is good to stretch for that thing just beyond our reach. Other times, we just have … Read More

When Dreams Have To Wait

Jen CudmoreFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

They say if you love something, you must set it free…  I pause, and I feel the breeze flutter about me, cooling my skin from the summer heat, loosening my hair from its clip. I stare at the plastic bottle of juice beside me, not really seeing the condensation pool on the table, for my mind is removed from this place. Music flowing through my earbuds inspires the words I need. All else is muted. The page before me fills, words collecting together as my fingers move over the keyboard in a rhythm. They pace, like the steady beating of a drum, slowing only when my brain searches for the right combination, then quickening again. Seeking to match the swift marching of the story in my mind. I can never seem to type fast enough. And then, I reach the end of the scene, and I breathe. The clock on my phone shows I have been sitting for over two hours. I must rise, collect my thoughts, get something to drink, plan where to go next in the story. Sadness pricks at me, and I wish I could do this more often. Tears sting the back of my eyes. I … Read More

I want to be faithful

Rosalynn LasleyFaithLeave a Comment

I’ve felt an uneasiness in my soul lately that I’ve had a hard time shaking. I’ve found myself craving more, yet feeling discouraged and overwhelmed all at the same time.  I’ve found myself wanting to spend more quality time with my kids. I’ve found myself wanting to go on more dates with my husband. I’ve found myself wanting to keep a cleaner house. I’ve found myself wanting to be a more involved friend. I’ve found myself wanting to craft more, and clean up my office. I’ve found myself wanting to be a more efficient employee. I’ve found myself wanting to be more invested in my own small business. I’ve found myself wanting to get more involved in student ministry. I’ve found myself wanting to join more ministries, maybe even join the church choir. I’ve found myself wanting to write better blogs. I’ve found myself wanting to finish the stack of books on my night stand, some have been there for a year or more. I’ve found myself wanting to take time to read my bible each day. I’ve found myself wanting to prepare better meals for my family. I’ve found myself wanting to teach my children how to cook too. I’ve … Read More

Reaching Your Goal: Part 4, Stay Positive

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Goal: something you’re trying to do or achieve; the end toward which effort is directed So far we’ve discussed staying organized, staying inspired, and staying focused. Today, let’s chat about… Staying Positive: The power of encouraging thoughts/words.  The power of faith has been proven time and again. Believing in yourself is an important tool in reaching any goal or dream. The truth is, we can do just about anything if we try hard enough. My Mama always told me ‘you create your world with your words’. It’s our choice: be positive and see good happen, or be negative and live in defeat. Never say: I’ll never make it, this is too hard, it’s too much work, I don’t have a way to pay for it, I’m too stupid or dumb, I don’t have the right tools, no one will help me, there are too many complications, there is too much stacked against me, etc. Instead, say things like: Reaching a dream takes hard work and perseverance, anything is possible if I just believe, I am smart and dedicated, I’ve totally got this, look at how far I’ve come, I can do this, it will be worth it in the end, … Read More

Reaching Your Goal: Part 3, Stay Focused

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Goal: Something you’re trying to do or achieve; the end toward which effort is directed.  This month we’ve been exploring ways to stay motivated when trying to achieve a specific goal. We must be intentional and refuse to quit. But how do we do that? First, we talked about staying organized.Then we discussed staying inspired.Today, we’ll cover how to… Stay Focused: Keep a log of accomplishments along the way. Keep track of how far you’ve come. When you’re feeling discouraged, reminding yourself of where you used to be can help revive your determination. Mark each step off your list, one at a time. Thank goodness you’re not back at the beginning! You don’t have as much to overcome now. Remember often what you’ve accomplished so far! Jot notes in a personal journal. Many successful professionals keep a journal. I started journaling in high school and have found it very helpful. Every now and then I skim through it, remembering the struggles I went through and how I overcame them. The pride that comes from overcoming the past can fuel your efforts for the future. Carry a list where ever you go so you can easily reference it. This is only … Read More

Reaching Your Goals: Part 2, Stay Inspired

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Goal: something that you are trying to do or achieve; the end toward which effort is directed Reaching a goal takes perseverance, and staying motivated can be tricky. We must be intentional if we want to succeed. Last week I shared some tips on staying organized. This week, I want to share tips for finding inspiration. Stay Inspired: Keep Your Passion Alive! + Go outdoors; get some fresh air and exercise to clear your head. The cumulative pressures of life make it hard to think straight at times. Being physically active, surrounding ourselves with nature, and breathing fresh air can give us a better perspective on reaching our goals. Sometimes when I need some inspiration on a project, I take a long walk outdoors. + Find music, movies, or books that motivate and then focus on them often.Some forms of entertainment are meant to raise our spirits while others can cause us to feel down. If we’re getting discouraged, we can choose to listen to uplifting music, songs about achieving our dreams or something fun. We can watch a movie or read a book about someone who overcame the odds. If we focus on entertainment that brings us down, we’ll … Read More

Dreams And Goals: Are You Up For The Challenge?

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

I’ve got some big things I hope to accomplish this year.  At a meeting over the weekend, I was reminded that God doesn’t call us to do as many things as we can. Our purpose is not busyness. He calls us to excellence.  That concept has helped me to narrow down exactly where to go; whatever He wants from me this year, I plan to not only do it, but do it well.  And I was reminded of a lesson God taught me a couple years ago. It’s good to have dreams and goals, but we can’t let them consume us. Several years ago I had the privilege of meeting Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, and hearing him speak at a writers conference. I purchased his new book, Me, Myself & Bob and took it home to read. It took me nearly a year to get the courage to read the book. Because honestly, I realized that weekend that I was quite similar to Phil in a lot of ways.  I knew God wanted me to learn from Phil’s mistakes. The book is about how Big Idea Productions, the producers of VeggieTales, grew into a huge company, and then … Read More