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My Women of Faith Experience

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen to review the February 18th screening of Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey, and I can’t wait. I went to a conference with friends from Mothers of Preschoolers, MOPS, and I invited some MOPS moms who could use some laughs to come with  me. I can’t wait to go, and of course, to share my thoughts here with you.

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Check out the Women of Faith: An Amazing Joyful Journey Movie Event

Before I do, I thought I’d talk about that experience. It was probably eight years ago, but I can recall it like it was yesterday morning. Beth Moore was announced as the pre conference speaker and I was determined to go. Her study, BELIEVING GOD, had transformed my life. The conference was in Cleveland, about an hour away, and MOPS moms thought the entire event would be a great experience as a local chapter.

Seeing Beth Moore in person was breathtaking. I do not worship her, don’t get me wrong, but I watched her worship. I was in the fifth row and I could see clearly.

Should I have been paying attention to my own worship?

Yep.

But I learned something by watching Beth Moore.

She was in a cute little business outfit and we were inside the Q, where the Cavs play. The floor was cement. And that little lady went face down in front of 5,000 women and gave her complete focus to Jesus as her worship leader, Travis, played. I was in awe and it struck me how hungry she was. And that I want to be all in for Him.

I have far to go, but I keep in mind I’m not Beth Moore and because the Lord looks at the heart, He sees beyond my worries that my pants would split or my knee would dislocate. We’ve had great conversations where I ask about why certain things happen with others and not with me and I loved his intimate answer. But I’ll always remember that worship. It was amazing.

The main conference made me laugh and I felt especially blessed as I realized it was the best of both worlds. The original group was starting to retire, but I believe it was Marilyn Meberg and Lucy Swindoll had me in stiches. I remember being mesmerized that when I closed my eyes, Lucy sounds exactly like her brother, Chuck.  From the younger crowd I could relate to Sheila Walsh. She was so transparent and uplifting. Her accent was beautiful.

I went home feeling energized, uplifted and refreshed. It was during a season where I was still trying to process the upheaveal my life took a couple years before through grief and change. The Beth Moore pre conference and the Women of Faith event were a prescription for mental and emotional healing. I am grateful for events like these that can touch and change women like me.

Have you ever been to a Women of Faith conference? I’d love for you to tell me about it.

 

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Saturday Confession: Sometimes I Cry Myself to Sleep

I’ve blogged for the better part of seven years. In the ever-changing cyberworld that’s like 100 years. For the most part when I communicate with a reader two things stand out when they summarize me.

I love chocolate.

I’m transparent.

That’s success to me because it’s the brand I’ve quietly built over the years. You might not remember my name but you recall that author that loves chocolate. The one who writes about surrender. And those things circle back to me.

Lately I’ve been going through a growth spurt with the Lord, a season and as I feel I’m supposed to, I share certain aspects of the journey. Today is a hard one because it is transparent. Not only are men not encouraged to admit their feelings,

And I am.

But there are times I cry myself to sleep.

Why?

Most of the time because I’m bone tired.

This particular season my husband is on a project that has him on call every weekend and many evenings. If he gets home at a reasonable time he’s tethered to the laptop. I don’t say it often because it comes across harsh and I believe it looks like an appeal for pity.

But for those that really know me, it’s no secret. I’m married but often a single mom. It’s not what either of us want but it’s our reality. Our oldest drives now so that helps with a lot of the shuttling that falls on my shoulders. Yet I still get tired. Juggling school schedules, all of our times in ministry and the logistics involved, medical appointments and the aftermath, keeping up with the house. I recently had to take our two senior dogs to the vet to put them down. Cry? That was a day I spelled it out. I needed my family to be present and encouraging. And they were. But lately I’ve been so tired the only way to let that out has been through tears.

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I also cry out of anger. There are times, rare, but moments when I’m at such a loss for words I can only cry. Most of the time it’s out of love for someone else and desire to protect them. The hardest lately has been people demanding things from my husband he doesn’t have. If he had time, I’d like some of it yet many hands are grabbing for him wanting their (in my tired opinion) minor needs yet. Without knowing our full story they offer their commentary and it wounds to the point of hot tears I save for night. I cry for my kids. When they are frustrated and they have to do the right thing knowing they will probably be the only one that will. When they are picked on. And another biggie for me—when I want justice and I don’t see it. Oh, I cry and shake my fist on that!

And then there’s the loneliness. I’m an introvert’s introvert with a call to write. That alone is a life of solitude. Add the above and sometimes the isolation threatens to choke the very life out of me. It’s complex because it’s a time God uses to train me. But I hate it. It’s so hard. And it seems with each growing season my circle is pruned. There are fewer people I’m able to relate to and trust. And the cycle is vicious.

Why do I share such a vulnerable place? Because I vowed I would always write what God asked when He did.

. I’m confident I’m not the only person crying themselves to sleep. My hope is that by sharing that person or people feel less alone and reach out to their Heavenly Father so that they can learn and prosper from the experience.

And may your sleep be full of His peace.

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Mother of Pearl: Rhonda Shrock’s What I Didn’t Know

Posted by Julie on May 13, 2012 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!


What I Didn’t Know by Rhonda Shrock

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  As a girl, I played house with my dollies, shushing them when they cried and kissing their plastic heads.

Looking back at that girl, I realize now that there was a lot she didn’t know.  This morning over my fresh-ground coffee, this mother of 22-1/2 years scratched out a list of 10 things she didn’t know then that she knows now.

1.  I didn’t know – how could I? – just how completely a tiny, helpless scrap of humanity can capture the heart and hold it forever.  From that first whooshing heartbeat and the first butterfly brushes, a mother’s heart is never again her own.  For all eternity, it enlarges, walking and pulsing and moving outside of her body; in my case, in the shape of a blue-eyed boy with rooster tails.  Times four.

2.  I didn’t know that the size of a mother’s heart is always changing, stretching to embrace each new baby that comes, then growing again to love their friends and then their own families.

3.  I never knew, as I changed my dolly’s dress, how many reasons there are to worry when you’re a mama.   Didn’t know about the nighttime vigils.  Didn’t know the anxiety of separation, the terror that floods when you turn around in the grocery store and they’re gone.  Didn’t know about the fear of the pond next door or the concern that pays for swimming lessons.  Didn’t know the thousand-and-one reasons that keep a mother awake, whispering prayers on her pillow in the dark.

4.  No one told me that loving so much means that you will hurt hard and keen;  that what pains your child hurts you even worse.  I didn’t know then that a playground taunt travels through that smaller heart and lands square in yours, stinging and burning like fire.  I didn’t know that motherhood makes lionesses of us all and that there’d be days I’d have to bite my tongue and pray to not sin.

5.  I didn’t know how exhausting it is, being a mother.  I didn’t know that it takes everything you’ve got and then some.  Didn’t know the bone-deep exhaustion; how it strips you bare and shows how selfish you can be, but, too, that you have more strength than you know.

6.  I didn’t know, playing house, how much joy mothers feel; joy so big that it makes up for the pain.  Just looking at those eyes and the curve of the cheek can make you so happy it hurts.  Watching them grow and find their talent and win at something…all the money in the world can never buy that kind of happiness.

7.  I didn’t know how making babies and raising them, how it binds you to their father.  I didn’t know the intimacy you feel when your eyes meet above those tousled heads, and your smiles say, “Just look at what we’ve done.”

8.  That girl in the homemade dress, she didn’t know that letting go is one of the hardest things a grown-up mama will ever do.  Rocking those babies in that small rocking chair, she didn’t really know that babies grow up and walk away and there goes your heart, out into the big, wide world.  No one told her that part.

9.  I had no idea how rewarding it is, being a mother.  How the happiness that comes from boy kisses and awkward hugs can’t be bought or sold.  How proud you feel when you see what they’re growing up to be and that all the planting and pruning and watering and feeding is finally making fruit!

10.  I didn’t know how much my babies would enrich my spiritual life or how they would change the way I pray.  I didn’t realize they would lead me to a deeper dependence on the Heavenly Father or how I much I would need His wisdom to raise them aright.

These are things I didn’t know before I was a mother.  But I know them now.  Oh, how I know them now!  And I’d do it all again.

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Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News.  She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, “Cooking & Such:  Adventures in Plain Living.”  She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.  

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

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Hope for Children Who Seethe on Mother’s Day

Posted by Julie on May 12, 2012 in encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each year I try to blog on an aspect of motherhood that isn’t a traditional Mother’s Day message. Although I’ve lost a lot of content and could revisit these, I’ve blogged on single moms and women with infertility who struggle so much on Mother’s Day. Today I want to hold the hands and hug the children who don’t have good images when it comes to Mother’s Day because whether literally or figuratively, to these children, the moms weren’t there for them.

This isn’t pointing fingers because mine are busy pointing back at me. I wonder what damage my oldest might have incurred at the expense our youngest’s health issues and my having to take care of her had on him. So many doctors appointments, therapies, trips to stores to buy something that would help her in some way. He, the healthy one where academics were a natural, on the backburner. Oh, how I need to surrender the fears of that reality.

Maybe mom worked more than you wished, and as a child you couldn’t see the adult perspective. The water was about to be shut off. Mouths had to be fed.

Perhaps mom was a wonder woman to everyone around you, but you. A woman of faith who maybe counseled or taught children in a church background, and you were the one in the background. I’m wondering if she cried herself to sleep wondering how to balance it all, or, she was so deep into the routine she didn’t see her own child was missing her.

Let’s be real. There are moms who don’t know who Mrs. Cleaver is, and the hand they were dealt as kids wasn’t ideal. They didn’t have mentors or support to show them the ropes, so they followed the only thing they knew. And those hugs and cookies you prayed for never came your way. I know the statistics. There are women deep in the throes of alcoholism, prescription drugs, and gambling. There are relationships going on way out of bounds, and it takes two. One of those in an equation isn’t just a female, but perhaps a mom.

I honestly don’t know, but on my heart is a message to let you know, whether this was light years ago or just last week, you can’t control what your mom did or didn’t do.And it stinks. I like happy endings and white fences. But I’m in my 40’s and my mom and I are in the early stages of having those deep discussions to sort out expectations and reality, and our words are bathed in forgiveness and understanding. My mom didn’t have it easy as a child, nor as an adult. My growing up years weren’t perfect, and neither is my parenting.

I'm the Daughter and the Mom and I Must Surrender Expectations

We all have room to grow. And I’m not about to give you platitudes, true or not. But I want to give you hope.

Don’t spend Mother’s Day seething or plotting. Forget ignoring or chomping at the bit. That’s not a gift, and you’re better than giving a curse for a curse.

Let it go. For your sake. Not let her go, let the expectations go. Let go of the fact your mother did not meet your expectations. It does not excuse abuse or allow it, but it gives you the freedom to breathe in fresh, non-toxic air on Mother’s Day.

After surrendering expectations, is there a blessing you can give? Is there a kind word or deed you can give your mom that doesn’t feel like obligation? Maybe yes, maybe no. Is there a mom figure that you can thank for filling in gaps? Can you love on  mother-in-law that embraced you tighter than the one who held you in your womb?

My guess is whatever might be going through your mind, or as I call it when God has my attention, that burning in the belly, it won’t end in a day. Most likely this is a process. The good news? The One who called you to it will see you through it. My circumstances aren’t the same, but I can attest to that fact. God never gave me a mission and wished me well with it. He was with me. He went before me. He was my rear guard. He was my all.

If you are a mom, I pray you have a blessed Mother’s Day and allow yourself some grace. Ask God to give you the strength to care for the children He created for you. And if you struggle with the past and how your mom raised you, surrender those expectations.

I’m praying for you.

 

Disclaimer: Please, if you were harmed in any way during your childhood, please see a Bible believing and living counselor or pastor. You are worth the healing.

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Mother of Pearl: Bonnie St. John’s Stepping Out on Faith

Posted by Julie on May 11, 2012 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!


Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

“Darcy . . .”

“Yeah, Mom?”

I momentarily held the undivided attention of my teenage daughter. Her thumbs, free of their ubiquitous texting keypad, quietly dangled by her side. Her computer and its omnipresent Facebook page were completely out of sight. I had almost forgotten what she looked like without all these adolescent accoutrements. As we sat down together on the burgundy leather sofa in our living room, I realized this fleeting state of electronic dislocation was my chance to hatch a plan I had been formu- lating for the past several weeks. Carpe diem.

“How would you like to write a book together?”

“About what?” I asked my mom. Write a book? This was a real surprise. I felt a bit suspicious, but still curious.  I love to write, and Mom kept telling me I was really good at it. I like writing poetry, fantasy, and sci-fi, though.  The books Mom wrote were all nonfiction.  I wondered what we could possibly do together.

“Well . . .” I hesitated. If I wanted her to commit to any extra work out- side her busy schedule at school—not to mention work alongside her mother—I had to make this really great. “It would be about women as leaders,” I continued, “a mother-daughter investigation into leadership styles and structures.”

“Leadership?” I blurted. It came out as if I had a bad taste in my mouth—which I did.  I couldn’t imagine a more boring topic to write about. What is there to say about leadership anyway? When you’re in charge, you just get things done, right? Who wants to talk about that?

Her furrowed brow told me I was losing her fast. “Um . . . we could find women leaders all around the world!” I said impulsively, frantically casting the ultimate bait.

“Really? Would we get to travel a lot?”  I hadn’t thought about that. Heck, I’d write about the mating habits of tsetse flies  if I got to go to Africa to do it!

But this project wasn’t just about the influence it would have on Darcy. I wanted to do something that could have a potent impact on an alarming trend I had witnessed in workplaces across the country: far too many women appeared to be making a choice not to apply for top leadership positions when presented with the opportunities to do so.

This project, then, was a bit of a Trojan horse. On the one hand, the saga of a mother-daughter journey could seduce female readers, who might never bother to read the Harvard Business School dissertations on the subject, into a meaningful conversation about leadership. At the same time, if Darcy met a series of brilliant, accomplished women— people even a cynical teen would be in awe of—perhaps they could tell her all the things I’d like her to know—and more.

And she just might listen.

But where to start? How would we make it work? I suggested we do most of our research by phone, as I did for How Strong Women Pray. My telephone interviews with a governor, some CEOs, actors, sports figures, a college president, and others yielded great stories and information. I promised my intrepid co-author, though, that we could punctuate these conversations with a few visits in person to exciting and exotic places—all with reasonably priced airfares.

“Why don’t we follow each subject as she goes about her daily life? That way our readers get to come along with us and get a behind- the-scenes look at what happens to them. Instead of just a boring interview, we—and our readers—get to hang around with these women, see them in their natural habitat, and even see how other people treat them.”

Although I agreed it was a wonderful approach, this idea of “job- shadowing” each featured subject wasn’t going to be easy. Would these high-powered, important women deign to allow us that kind of access? Would they be able to impart the kind of wisdom that would resonate with our readers and truly make a difference in their lives?  We looked at each other, both of us hooked on a crazy idea that we weren’t sure we could pull off.

“It sounds impossible, Darcy,” I said. “We might as well get started.”

And so, we stepped out . . . on faith.

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Bonnie is a 1984 Paralympics silver medal winner in ski racing. Her education includes a degree with honors from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, and an M.Litt in Economics from Oxford.  Her career includes positions as an award-winning sales rep for IBM and a Clinton White House member of staff. She now is a much-in-demand speaker, who makes nearly 100 speeches each year to corporations and civic groups. You can visit her on the Web at www.bonniestjohn.com.

Re-printed with permission from How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane

Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

 

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Mother of Pearl: Tricia Goyer’s What I Am Not

Posted by Julie on May 11, 2012 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series – a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.

AND … do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother’s Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer

Becoming a mother is a complicated thing. Not only am I trying to negotiate a relationship with my child, I am trying to negotiate a relationship with myself as I attempt to determine how I mother, how I feel about mothering, how I want to mother and how I wish I was mothered.

— Andrea J. Buchanan, in Mother Shock3

Sometimes the easiest way to discover who we are is to know who we are not.

We are not our children. We all know mothers who go overboard trying to make themselves look good by making their children look great. I saw one woman on the Oprah television show who had bought her preschool daughter more than twelve pairs of black shoes just so the girl could have different styles to go with her numerous outfits! Just as we -don’t get report cards for mothering, we also -don’t get graded on our child’s looks or accomplishments. While you want your children to do their best and succeed in life, your self-esteem -shouldn’t be wrapped up in your child.

Life as I See It:

My individuality will never end. There will be no one exactly like me, not even my child. She will be like me in some ways, but not at all in others. I -wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Desiree, Texas

We are not our mothers. I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth. The words “because I told you so .  .  .” escaped before I had a chance to squelch them.

It’s not until we have kids that we truly understand our mothers — all their frets, their nagging, and their worries.

It’s also then that we truly understand their love.

Since you are now a mother, it’s good to think back on how you were raised. If there were traditions or habits that now seem wise and useful, incorporate them into your parenting. You also have permission to sift out things you now know -weren’t good. Just because you’re a product of your mother, that -doesn’t mean you have to turn out just like her. Repeat after me, “I am not my mother.”

We are not like any other mother out there. Sometimes you may feel like the world’s worst mother. After all, your friend never yells at her son — and sometimes you do. Then again, your friend may feel bad because you have a wonderful bedtime routine that includes stories and songs. In many cases, the moms you feel inferior to only look like they have it together. All moms feel they -don’t “measure up.” Instead of feeling unworthy, we should realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is where we place our focus.

The Bible says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without .  .  . comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we -aren’t” (Romans 12:5 – 6, MESSAGE).

The problem with comparison is, we always measure our weaknesses against the strengths of others.

Instead, we need to thank God for our strengths. We can also ask God to help us overcome our weaknesses — not because we want to compare ourselves, or look good in someone else’s eyes, but because we want to be the best mom out there.

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Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. You can find her online at www.triciagoyer.com or at her weekly radio show, Living Inspired.



Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

 



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