A Letter to My Daughters

Carol DunfeeMotherhood1 Comment

Next week, several of us from ACWM will be teaching break-out sessions at the Fusion Alaska youth conference. One of my sessions will be about friendships…   In the past month, both of my daughters have invited their friends over for birthday parties. In the craziness of sugar, presents, and lots of girls, I enjoyed watching their friends. I observed how they treated each other, how they dealt with the less social girls, how they welcomed strangers, how they responded to adults. It reminded me of the friends I had when I was their age. There were the cool kids who I admired and tried so hard to please…only to be heartbroken when I just wasn’t cool enough. Then there were the down-to-earth kids. They were the ones who kept my secrets, who taught me how to apologize when I was wrong, who helped me stretch my wings. What do I want my daughters to know about THEIR friends? ————– Dear daughters, I love you with all my heart. I want you to have a rewarding, fruitful life. From the moment you were born, you have been slowly walking away from dependence on your parents and towards dependence on God. … Read More

It’s love—

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

I want to be in love. More specifically—I want to have the relationship with God, in a deeper capacity than the way that I feel when I intensely and genuinely love another.I know what its like to deeply desire to be in connection with someone. I love to be with and around people who look like Jesus to me, so I search for and intentionally look for time with them. In regard to those beautiful souls—I know what its like to go to great lengths to be with the one my heart longs for…I have gotten weird looks and rolled eyes as I drive long distances to be with someone just to spend a shorter time together than the time it took me to get there. I look forward to the times that I get to stay up late to talk. I look forward to the times I get to spend any time—while they are shopping, while they’re walking their dog, while they prep dinner…in the sunshine, in the rain, in the coldness of the winter day, in the warmth of their home or a coffee shop. I love and look forward to our time together. I have incredible friends around me … Read More

A Battle and A Blessing

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

One aspect of the beauty of the people that God has blessed me with in my life is that they are so incredibly loving and so very willing to press into the thorny issues in my life that help me to grow. The amazing thing is that as they pursue me into those tough places-they journey with me through them-what an exceptional gift. This last week I was talking to one of those beautifully challenging, oh-so-unbelievably loving friends and she touched on one of those areas that was tainted by the wounding in my past. She noticed my verbal flinch at the topic and because God made her observant and has healed her so much in her journey that she is willing to walk in the uncomfortable-she pressed into that tender topic. So, I whispered “God help me” and opened my mouth to share a pain-filled memory that was in that “do not disturb” area in my mind and memories. As I spoke I remembered and felt all the emotions that was tied to that situation and realized as I finished sharing the incident-I recognized in my own mind, the beauty of the woman who sat so near to me-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

Helping Me See My God

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

I had a wonderfully affirming conversation with a incredibly dear friend of mine and it both encouraged and surprised me as I shared a bone deep appreciation for her and felt the godly support from her as she has been praying for and encouraging me. Out of that conversation I felt like her words were a hand up from my Father God and I felt as if through her words God gave me the courage I needed in order to stand tall again. The last few years have been nothing short of amazing. I have had the distinct privilege of getting to be able to learn about and really just begin to step into relationship with a loving Father who really wants to know me… The time has been incredibly chaotic and at the same time wonderfully remarkable. I get to learn and grow and walk continually toward this beautiful relationship that I never even fathomed could happen. During this time, the people that I had around me  have been pressed into in many ways. Sometimes I inquired with questions. Sometimes I pressed in by challenging (though truth be told, I am still learning how to challenge lovingly-the manner in … Read More

Beautiful Weekend

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

It was a beautiful weekend— The sun shined radiantly on the mountains each day and even when the rain came down it was warm and refreshing on my skin. Psalm 104:24 “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all: the earth is full of your riches.” I was invited to a retreat for women by my Besty and without knowing any other person who was going to be there, who the speaker was going to be, nor really any detail at all—I accepted…purely because of her. These last couple of months have been pretty rough for me personally. Different situations going on were just crazy-making. I felt like so much time had been spent asking God for clarity, guidance and strength…asking for understanding, wisdom and to help me get out of the way…and yet I was so tired. In my prayer time I kept giving these things over to God, though daily or maybe even multiple times daily, I found myself taking back these situations that I had given to God, trying to manage them myself. These things weighed heavy on my heart, mind and emotions so the prospect of spending a couple of … Read More

Those days…

Jewel ZymurgyFaithLeave a Comment

Those days… You know the ones—when it feels like situation after situation it feels like you get pounded by the onslaught of living life in a fallen world. Maybe I just didn’t get enough sleep…maybe it was just my perspective…maybe it was a bit of both—I just felt worn out. It was an early morning and already I felt as I was trying to stand under a massive waterfall. Constant pressure was pounding on my back and it was difficult to breathe. I felt alone and as I struggled to stand—I was unsure of my footing. I was exhausted by the effort of trying to fight what felt like a losing battle. Slowly, the realization came that it was too overwhelming and should I keep trying to do this on my own I’m going to be crushed. Ok, God, I’m at the end of me—Dear God, why does it take me so long to give up my own will—my own desire to fight on my own? As I took a step back, somewhat in shock of just the sheer volume of the goings on around me, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was going to be thrown off … Read More

To My Youngest on his 5th Birthday

Jennifer BullardMotherhoodLeave a Comment

  It is a well known fact that I am going to cry on each and every one of my children’s birthdays.  So much so, that they begin to taunt me about it weeks before the actual date!  (Rotten children)  When my oldest son turned five, I cried off and on all day.  Five is something of a milestone.  You are no longer a baby, you are ready for school, ready to have a taste (!) of independence.  So as my youngest approaches his fifth birthday, I find myself saddened by how fast he is growing up and thoughtful about his future.  I thought that I should put down these thoughts for him.  Dear Oliver,As your fifth birthday is approaching, I wanted to share some things with you.  My memories, my hopes, and my prayers for you.  Someday you may need these words and someday I may need to remember saying them.  Your Father and I prayed for you.  As a family of three, we were happy, but we knew we needed you.  Your brother needed a sibling, and we needed someone for him to play with!  For nearly two years, we prayed for God to bless us with another baby.  … Read More

Sometimes I’m a bad friend

Rosalynn LasleyRedemptionLeave a Comment

My heart broke a little bit…ok actually a lot, when her text came across my screen. She told me I was a bad friend. Maybe those weren’t her exact words, but she said it in many other ways.  It hurt my feelings so bad, I cried.  She reminded me of the times I’ve cancelled plans. She reminded me of the times I’ve been distant. She reminded me of my over commitments. She reminded me of the needs of my family, and my job. She reminded me of what I was doing in ministry. She reminded me of the times I’ve let her down.  She said I was a bad friend.  That wasn’t the first time, nor the last time someone has said that to me.  At first I was heartbroken. I love my friend dearly! The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt her. Then I was angry.  Doesn’t she see how hard I’m trying?  I told her of all I’ve had on my plate, and how sorry I was for disappointing her. I attempted to explain that I was overwhelmed with all that I had in my life and was doing the best I knew how. … Read More

When It’s Time To Walk Away From A Friend

Jen CudmoreTrialsLeave a Comment

Sometimes we have to leave behind things that aren’t good for us. And sometimes what’s not good for us is a person we thought was a friend. For many years I believed that severing friendship was wrong. I didn’t want the other person to feel abandoned or rejected, and I definitely didn’t want anyone looking down on me for being callous. I mean, what kind of person turns their back on another – isn’t that just plain rude? Yet sometimes space is necessary. This concept was first introduced to me by a mentor, Pastor Gary, when I was in college. He explained to me that a person very close to him turned away from his faith and became very spiteful. Because the conflict was so stressful, Pastor Gary began to limit contact with this man and for years barely spoke to him. I’m not sure if this relationship was ever restored, but unfortunately there are times when restoration is not possible. Successful leaders teach that we have to leave behind some ‘toxic’ people in order to flourish in life.  And the Bible tells us that sometimes people’s hearts are so hard that we have to give them space (1 Corinthians … Read More