Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I Hope for 29

In a week and a half I'll be turning 29, and honestly, it's a birthday that I've been thinking about a lot because of what it means. It means I'll be in the last year of my 20s, a time of life that I have loved. It means that my next birthday after it is 30, and I don't know how to be a 30-year-old. It means that, like it or not, time is marching on and I can't stop it.

I knew I wanted to write about this birthday, but I couldn't decide quite what to say. I had some different ideas for ways to mark this transition, but they all seemed too self-serving. So I started thinking about what I really wanted to accomplish this year, so that when 30 arrives, I can look back and know that 29 was great.

My little ideas for how to celebrate this last remnant of youth started to dissolve away as I realized they really weren't important at all. What was important, however, started rising to the top and I knew that's what I needed to write about, and hopefully encourage you with. Even if you're long past 29, or not yet in your 20s, I believe this is can be important for every age.

What I Hope for 29

I hope that next year, when 29 ends, I will look back and say it was the best year ever. Not because I did a million fun things, or because I achieved a new goal, but because I became more like Jesus. At the root of everything, that's all I want for this year: to change more and more into who God wants me to be.

I've been a follower of Jesus for over two decades. When I look back over my life, I see lots of different seasons. Some seasons were easy, self-centered times when all I worried about was my life and what I wanted to happen. Other seasons were excruciating, times of loss and brokenness when all I had to hold on to was God and His promise to never leave me. There were seasons of walking closely with God and times where I went off on my own path only to get lost along the way.

I feel like now God is calling me into a season of preparing myself for whatever He may have for me next, whether in the immediate future or later down the road. To me that looks like spending time reading the Bible, engaging in Christian community, looking for opportunities to serve, and not discounting or wishing away this stage of life, but taking advantage of it. It's about making myself available to whatever He may have, even if it seems insignificant.

I've spent a lot of my life wishing for other things. As a child I wanted a bigger family with lots of siblings. As a teenager I just wanted to get out of high school and on to college. In college all I wanted was to be in a relationship and get married. After college I wanted to see all my hopes and dreams materialized at any cost and I wasted a lot of time fruitlessly chasing them. I don't want that to be true for this season. I want to live in this season, to be present, and to make the most of it.

One of my pastors recently said, "Contentment is a bi-product of a pursuit of godliness." Oh how true that is. Focusing on God gets our eyes off of ourselves, off of whatever selfish thing we want now, off of whatever we think is wrong in our lives. Focusing on God helps us to see His plan, to trust Him, and to move toward whatever He is calling us to with obedience and faith. We can be content knowing Whom we serve and that He is in control of everything.

Throughout every season of life, God has never failed me. He led me through the challenging times, provided for me in times of need, even gave me above and beyond what I deserved. He was faithful even when I was not. Because of this, I know I can trust Him with 29, and whatever may lay beyond. I don't have to worry about achieving goals or growing older because He will always be there giving me purpose and hope.

What I Hope for You

My hope for you is the same. I hope that wherever you are in your life, whatever season you are in, that you will move toward Jesus. He is the best thing for you, the best investment of your time, the best at loving you. He is the best.

Life can be discouraging. Circumstances can feel overwhelming. Problems can lead to hopelessness. There is always trouble. But in the midst of all that is wrong and bad, Jesus is there, holding out His hand, wanting you just as you are. He wants you to lean on Him through everything because He can handle anything. He tells us, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Maybe you already have a relationship with Jesus and you need to remember this truth and pursue Him this year. Or maybe you're not really sure what He's all about and you have questions. Wherever you may be, I want you to know that I would love to talk to you about it. If you need encouragement, if you have questions, if you need truth, I am always here to talk and to share. I certainly don't have everything figured out, but the great thing is, we can learn and grow together.

I hope this year is great, and I can't wait to see what God will do in each of us!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

#FightBodyShaming: A Man's Perspective

Guest Blogger: Nick Mance
 [The background: This is the fourth post in my series, #FightBodyShaming, and also a guest post from my husband and fellow blogger, Nick Mance. I wanted to include the perspective of a man on this issue because it truly affects us all.]

Wow, what an honor to be asked to be a contributor on Elise's blog. I have been keeping up with her campaign to reshape how we view body image and I am all about fighting body shaming. But I need to be honest, I was a little wary about what to write about.

My plan had been to write about body shaming from a guy's perspective but I wasn't sure how that would be received. I know body image isn't something that guys embrace, but I know it is something we all struggle with internally. So I want to write a bit about my own experience with body shaming from a guy's perspective, and hopefully offer some advice for what we can do to defeat this in our culture.

My body shaming issues began when I was younger, between the ages of 8 and 10. I had grown up hearing that I was ugly or that no one thought I was attractive. When we hear that as guys, we tend to internalize it and pretend it doesn't hurt us. The truth is that internalizing things just means we don't deal with them until later in life and then we wrestle with deep internal wounds.

Fast forward to high school and I began to wrestle and started to get into the best shape I had ever been in. I lost a ton of weight and began to build muscle, but as a wrestler we always heard "cut weight" or "get bigger" or "don't eat if you don't make weight" and so much more. We knew it was all for the benefit of the team but what we really heard was "you aren't good enough" and "your body is wrong."

Fast forward a few more years--you know college and stuff--and after a few failed relationships and seeing my former girlfriends go with guys who were more physically fit and athletic, I just knew something was wrong. Couple this with all the advertisements that you see in media, in stores, and how everything went to slim fits, I began to hate my body.

I eventually entered into various weight loss programs that, until this point, I have never really shared. In high school and college I would run in the summer with a trash bag on underneath my clothing and then dress in full winter gear to shed what I thought were unneeded pounds. During and after college I began taking supplements to lose weight, I skipped meals, I used fasting as a means of losing weight rather than growing closer to God, and eventually got to the point where I just wouldn't eat or would eat only once a day.

Wow! That actually felt really freeing to let go of all that and put it out there, but at the same time it makes me want to weep. I know that there are plenty of guys out there struggling with these emotions and that guys today struggle with image more than we let on. So many guys decide to join a gym, so many guys tease each other about being overweight or by making fat jokes, or they make sure you aren't on their team.

I know this sounds like it shouldn't matter and that this is just boys teasing boys, but in reality, it does matter. Body image is something that affects both women and men, but men just allow for it to be untreated and don't talk about it. We push it down and down and down until later in life, and I am proof of that. I constantly look in the mirror and doubt my image. I look at myself and realize I am not the guy on TV that all the women swoon over. I battle doubts about whether or not Elise will stay in love with a guy who isn't the ideal image of a man. I struggle with losing weight and maintaining what I do lose. I want to be more athletic. I envy the guys who have a great metabolism. I am constantly ashamed of how I look.

But even as I write this post I am reminded that these things don't matter. My identity isn't in how I look, or even in what others think of me and my body. My identity is rooted in Christ, and because of that I know ideal body image isn't what I should be striving for. But honestly, that doesn't always help me because I want more practical steps to go forward. I know and believe that Christ is my strength, but I also know that I need to know how to put these truths into action!

The key is more than knowing the truth within Scripture, it is also in applying it in the right way. The Bible says that many people will cry out "Lord, Lord," but that He will reply, "I never knew you". These men knew what the Bible said but what they did, they did for themselves! They wanted to receive the glory and fame because their identity was in what they did. And that is how it is for us as men! Our identity is rooted in our looks and physique--what we do with our bodies--and we need to realize that isn't the truth. So what can we do to embrace the truth?
  1. Don't trust what the media shows you. That isn't reality. Just like girls need to realize thigh gap isn't what makes you pretty, we need to realize that chiseled abs and muscles that have muscles aren't what make us attractive.

  2. Look to what the Bible says. You will never find a verse in the Bible that says you must look a certain way to be attractive. In fact the Bible says that beauty or attractiveness has nothing to do with your your body, but everything to do with your heart.

  3. Be honest! If you are married share your insecurities with your spouse! In fact one of the best things I ever did was share with my wife my insecurities because she began to tell me just how attractive I am. (That's a win for us guys!) It boosted my confidence and helped me realize I am attractive and that she sees it. If you aren't married share your insecurities with those closest to you (see below) or with your significant other. The point is that honesty within a relationship is paramount especially when it comes to insecurities so you can support one another.

  4. Share this with your buddies. Chances are they are feeling this too! It is time we as men embraced our vulnerabilities and relied on help from others! Don't laugh at your friends and their struggle, instead support one another and build each other up.

  5. Find your identity in Christ. On those days when you can't fit the slim fit shirts, when you feel gross, or every other guy around you seems to be more attractive and fit, realize that God loves you for you! He has made you perfect and knows and loves you for you! You are His and He loves you for that. Seek to find your identity in Him and Him alone and watch how radically your life changes.
Guys, let's fight this body shaming culture and seek to be a culture that encourages men and women to find their identity in Christ, and realize that in His eyes we are all beautiful images of Him! Let's change the world's understanding of body image.

You can read more of Nick's writings on his blog, You can also find him on Twitter and Instagram @Nick_Mance.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#FightBodyShaming: Words Can Hurt Me

[The background: This is the third post in my series, #FightBodyShaming. Check out the first and second posts if you missed them. I so appreciate the feedback and support I've gotten for this series. Together we can help each other combat body shaming.]

I don't care what anyone says, this much I know: words can hurt. Badly. I also know and believe that it matters what we say about ourselves and about others. So in this post, I'm challenging you to speak and think well of yourself and of others, even when no one else is around. Maybe you already do, and that is awesome! Keep up the good work! But if you don't, this post is for you.

Why It Matters

I once heard that if you keep listening to what someone says about you, eventually you'll believe it. The person was talking about listening to what God says about you, but it also applies to what you say about yourself. And it applies to what you say about people, even if they aren't around. Why? Because someone else is, someone else is hearing what you say or reading what you write, and they'll start believing it if they're around it enough.

It's like brainwashing: if you're exposed to the same message over and over, you eventually begin to believe it. If every time you look in the mirror, you tell yourself you're ugly, eventually you're going to believe it. If every time you see that one person and you made a snide comment to your bestie, eventually she's going to start viewing that person the same way. And she may even apply it to herself, because who says you don't make a snide comment about her when she's not around?

Words matter because they affect how we view ourselves, how we view others, and how others view themselves and us. It can be a brutal cycle, full of hurt, lowered self-esteem, depression, anger, and self-harm. Who wants to contribute to that kind of cycle? I'd rather break it and start a new cycle.

It Starts With You

Sometimes the hardest place to change things is inside us. We get used to doing things a certain way, even detrimental things. We get used to being critical of the things we don't like about ourselves and thinking harmful thoughts. We're always our own biggest critic. But this is where we have to start if we want to break the cycle. We have to start inside.

So I'm first challenging you to force yourself to only say or think positive things about yourself. (Use this post for some sources of truth to replace the negativity.) Yeah, I know, it feels prideful and can be really hard. Trust me, I fail at this all the time. But, I want to master it if I ever have kids because I do not want to set an example of self-degradation for my children.

Plus, I know I can accomplish more when I take the focus off myself, and this is a way to start. Fostering self confidence helps you get over what's "wrong" with you so you can focus on helping and building up others. You won't have to go through life seeking praise from people because you know the truth about yourself. This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself or others.

When you're done reading this post, I want you to write out a list of at least 10 things you like about yourself. I don't care about your excuses, just do it. I don't care if it feels self-centered or awkward, you need to do this. You are a wonderful, amazing person, full of talents and gifts, who bears the image of God. So get listing and look back at it any time you're tempted to say something harmful about yourself.

It Ends With You

I heard another great quote the other day: "Gossip stops with me." A-freaking-men. I want to challenge each of you to make this your personal goal: the gossip stops with you. Today. Now. Period. Why? Because it matters what we say about each other, whether it's related to body shaming or not.

For this post, I'm defining gossip as anything negative, personal, unkind, private, or hurtful said about someone, whether they're absent or present. Basically anything you wouldn't want spread around about you, or anything you're not sure someone would want you repeating. And if you're not sure, then just don't say it.

Gossip doesn't do anything good for anyone, not the person being talked about, the person doing the talking, or the person listening. Trust me, I've been involved in all sides of gossip. I've been on the victim side and seen firsthand how words can tear down people and families. It can cause severe and sometimes irreparable damage to people. If you want more details, I'd rather talk about this in person than on the Internet, because there is grace and there is forgiveness.

I've been the person doing the gossip and it didn't turn me into a nice person. When I worked in retail, the content of most of my interactions with co-workers was gossip-based. I became an angry, irritable person, always complaining about something or someone. This spilled over into my marriage and I could see it fueling a pattern of complaining more once I got home. After I left that job, I decided that continuous gossip was a place I never wanted to go back to again.

And I've been the person listening, both intentionally and unintentionally. When I intentionally listen and partake, I know I'm encouraging a trend that isn't right and that I don't believe in. When I'm unintentionally around it and subjected to it, I know I never want to reveal anything personal or private about myself. Gossip can keep me from building friendships because I'm not interested in becoming the subject matter of someone's conversations. Offering up my life's personal details isn't worth that to me.

So I'm working on making "gossip stops with me" true of my speech. I haven't fully gotten there yet; I still make mistakes and speak out of frustration or anger, but I can already see a shift in myself, and that is what I want. I choose not to join in with certain conversations. I catch myself wanting to say negative things, and choose to stop myself then and there.

And I'm asking you, dear friends, to join me. Let's start a cycle of uplifting speech, guarding our friends and acquaintances from hurtful words, and speaking the truth in love and with grace. My hope is that through our words, we will build each other up and set an example for others.

A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. -  Proverbs 11:13

Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends. - Proverbs 17:9

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. - Proverbs 26:20

Saturday, February 14, 2015

14 Things I Love About You

Okay, y'all, you know by now that I love using social media platforms to spread goodness. I figure there's enough negativity out there, some positive stuff won't hurt. So today, since it's Valentine's Day, I decided to write a little post with some goodness for my main squeeze, Nick.

If you don't like Valentine's Day or love stuff, I won't be hurt if you totally skip this post. I don't want to rub anything in anyone's face, I just want to help by uplifting the man I married. Plus, with all this "50 Shades of Grey" crap floating around out there, why not give a look at what real love and real life is like? So, here are 14 things I love and appreciate about Nick. :)

1. I love how we communicate. Most people who know Nick know that he likes to talk. I love that about him because I'm never left wondering what he's thinking or feeling. We can talk openly and freely about anything and everything, and during hard times, it's a lot easier to work through things when we can communicate openly. I also like that he can carry a conversation with anyone, which really helps when I don't feel like trying to make small talk. ;)

2. I appreciate that I don't have to ask for help. Nick is always ready and willing to jump in and help out with everyday tasks like laundry and the dishes. He has such a servant's heart and is always looking for practical ways to do things for me. He'll fill up the car with gas, or go get coffee, or run the vacuum. It's the little things that make a big difference.

3. I love Nick's heart for young people. It is so awesome to see how Nick loves and cares for the students in our church's youth program and seeks to teach them from the Bible. He genuinely cares about their spiritual, emotional and physical well being, and if I were a parent of a student, I'd want them in any program he was running.

4. I love how we can be goofy together. I can't really go into too many details, because it's kind of embarrassing, but I love how we can just be ourselves together. Whether it's talking in random voices or acting like wackos, we have lots of fun together. After being around people who tried to change me, I appreciate that Nick loves me for exactly who I am.

5. I appreciate how Nick supports me. No matter what I'm working on, Nick supports me in whatever I do. It means so much to have someone who doesn't marginalize me because I'm a woman, or feels like we're competing against each other. We can be two strong individuals in our vocations, both supporting each other in our goals and dreams.

6. I love Nick's generous heart. Nick will help anyone and everyone he can. He loves to give of his time, abilities, and resources. This also goes with point #2, in that often he gives without me or others having to ask. Plus he's good at remembering special days and finding gifts for them. :)

7. I appreciate Nick's relationship with Jesus. I love that Nick allows Jesus to guide his heart and life. He's sensitive to where God is leading us, pursues a relationship with the Lord and wants me to do the same. He also shows me Jesus' love by caring for me selflessly and unconditionally.

8. I appreciate the example Nick sets for other men. Nick lives with integrity and character. He's an example of how to conduct oneself as a man of God. He also spends time meeting with other men, pouring into their lives and encouraging them in their faith.

9. I love Nick's positivity. Nick is definitely a "bright-side" kind of guy. He doesn't waste time on negativity or being a downer, but has an uplifting and positive spirit. He looks for the good in people and situations, and seeks to bring goodness to those around him.

10. I love how we do things together. Nick and I just like to be together, and I love that. It doesn't really matter what we're doing, going out and having fun or staying in and watching a movie. We enjoy being around each other and spending quality time together. I also like how we can get into the same things, like watching reality tv, sipping lattes, playing games, and investing in high schoolers.

11. I appreciate Nick's passion for cooking. I have moments where I love cooking, but I also have moments where I kind of hate it. I love that Nick enjoys cooking and that he knows a few things I don't in the kitchen. He loves to make dinner, whip up a snack, or make something yummy on the grill. It takes some of the pressure off me to always deliver a delicious dinner. ;)

12. I love Nick's cuteness. Okay, time to get a little sappy. I love how handsome Nick is, and how he gets these cute puppy dog eyes. They're adorbs. If our kids get his eyes, I'm going to have a hard time saying no. Haha.

13. I appreciate how at the core, we're best friends. Nick and I have known each other for about 8 years, and were just friends for 6 of those years. Over that time we got to know each other really, really well. It was a perfect foundation on which to build a marriage. It taught us how to stick together and care for each other in good times and bad. Real life isn't always great and amazing, sometimes it's difficult and painful and you have to help each other through the challenges. We've done that for years and I know we will continue to do that in the years to come.

14. I love who Nick is as a person. People are so complex. Our life experiences, personalities, hobbies, and so many other things combine to make us who we are. Nick has quite a life story, many things came together to make him who he is, and I love that person. He is so special to me and I love getting to be his wife.

Happy Valentine's Day, Nick! I love you! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

#FightBodyShaming: Weights + Measures

[The background: Last month I wrote my first #FightBodyShaming post, you can check it out here. I so appreciate all the people who gave me feedback on it; I hope it encouraged each reader in some way, male or female.]

As a society, we're used to having a set system for weighing the value of something. We use weights and measures to assess what something is worth, a grading scale to give value to work, a system for evaluating cost. We're pretty used to it by now and able to throw out terms to describe just about anything. "It was 100 meters. It was cheap. It's half a carat." But how do we determine the value of people?

We've gotten pretty good at throwing out terms about humans, too. But it's not a set scale, it slides depending on who's talking. Words like fat, skinny, ugly, or pretty are used at random, and with little thought, to assess the "physical value" of a person. Our culture has gotten pretty good at making it clear what it values and what it rejects when it comes to people. And most of us have an idea of where we fall on that sliding scale.

There are so many issues here, but one of the biggest is that it improperly and inadequately places value on just one thing, appearance. Sure, there are other ways we try to "measure" people--smart, dumb, talented, deadbeat--but almost every way we measure skirts around the true weight or value of a person. Why is that? Because we as humans don't have the capacity to assess the true, real value of a person on our own. We need something unbiased, outside ourselves to determine our value.

So, if we're like this $20 bill, then our value is determined by our maker. It can't be determined by other $20 bills, or other people, but by the Creator. And if that's the case, we have to look at how He determines value for an accurate representation of what we're worth.

Someone once said, "You can tell the value of something based on what someone is willing to pay for it." If that's true, then we have to look at what our Creator is willing to pay for us. John 3:16-17 tells us just what God was willing to give for us, the life of His only Son. "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (HCSB)

God the Father gave up God the Son to save us from sin, death, and hell so that we could be with Him forever. To be honest, the life of Jesus is far more valuable than all our lives combined, and yet God loved us that much that He sent Jesus to die for us. He gave up the invaluable to give us life, and thus show us our value in His eyes. I think this should forever change our view of human value and life. It is priceless.

To fight against body shaming--both that of ourselves and of others--we need to internalize this truth and believe it. You need to know and believe that you are a priceless treasure to God, worth more than His own life. You need to know that He wants you, loves you, and thinks extremely highly of you. You also need to know that He views every other human life in this exact same way. No one is less valuable than anyone else. We are each precious, valuable, and loved.

If you want to read some more about what God says about us in the Bible, go back to my previous post in this series for some important verses.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What I Learned at IF

If you're friends with me on any of my social networking sites, you probably saw some of my posts about the IF:Gathering I attended this weekend. Before I got there, I really knew nothing about it. All I knew was that they had some great pre-conference Bible studies set up for us to do each weekday leading up to the gathering. Each study featured a video at the end, and after each video made me tear up just listening, I knew the conference would be good.

The conference was held in Austin, Texas, (I felt so at home with all the y'alls, it was perfect) and live streamed across the United States and world through what they call IF:Local. So my church, Parkview, was a host site for IF:Iowa City. The conference leaders and speakers did a great job of making us feel included as we watched remotely. I almost felt like I was there.

The local planners also did a wonderful job of setting the atmosphere for the conference with lighting, centerpieces, furniture staging, and special activities. It felt even more like we were actually there, not sitting in a church thousands of miles away.

Looking back on the weekend, I like that I came in with zero expectations. I was just hoping to hear some great speakers and bond with friends. Those things happened and more. The teaching was on point--challenging, convicting, encouraging, edifying, and uplifting. I particularly enjoyed the talks from Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, and Bianca Olthoff. There was also beautiful music and touching interviews interspersed with times of discussion amongst the local attenders. I got to know some awesome ladies, and build deeper friendships with those I already knew.

Share with Boldness

The biggest thing I felt like God was saying to me the whole weekend is something I know He's been trying to get me to pay attention to for years. But even more so lately, it's been coming up a lot. And that is sharing the truth about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and my beliefs.

I usually tend to take a step back when it comes to proselytizing or sharing about my faith. I don't want people to get the idea that I'm trying to shove religion down their throats or judge them for the things they're doing. So I slack off when I should be stepping up. Because the truth about life and death, salvation and Jesus, are far too important to leave out of the conversation. I know God is calling me to share His truth with boldness. I need to step into that.

Service is the Key to Destiny

Christine Caine's talk pretty much rocked my world in every way possible. One of her many spot-on points was that service is the key to our destiny. She verbally sucker-punched me in the face because I so often want to be recognized for my talents and abilities. I want people to see me as a great writer, someone with important ideas for the church, and someone with a lot to offer. In fact, I've really been struggling with that lately as it seems like no one wants to listen and I'm just talking to myself.

But I know God was using the talk to impress upon me the fact that "it's better to be marked by God than marketed by men." Yup, Christine said that. Immediately I knew that was for me and I needed to internalize that. While I may be tempted to show what I can do and earn recognition, all I really need to be concerned with is serving God. Not my resume, not my awards, not my gifts. Just serving.

Be Ready / Make the Move

Another point from Christine that stuck with me was when she talked about how God told Joshua to get ready to take the promised land, but the only way he could get ready was if he was already ready. If we're not already ready to do God's work, it's too easy for doubts and fears to crowd in and immobilize us. We have to be ready now, we have to move.

This challenged me because I really like comfort. I like relaxation, I like not having to do anything. But in the time that I'm relaxing and sitting still, I'm not preparing myself for the work God has for me. I'm not getting ready, I'm not moving into the next phase of life He has for me. I'm just stuck. I don't want to be unprepared, and I don't want to be stuck. I want to be ready to move into whatever God may call me to.


I want to end this post with some of the quotes that stood out to me from the conference. I know sometimes it's hard to get the full value without the context, but I hope they encourage and challenge you like they did for me.

"The Promised Land for this generation is the souls of men and that we have Jesus and can give Him away. We are at war and the prize is faith." - Jennie Allen

"[God] designed me to be who I am and gave me gifts to use for His glory, not to use them to look like everyone else." - Angie Smith

"Free people free people. Your Redeemer lives and He brings you a purpose." - Jo Saxton

"Stay [at church] and minister to everyone who asks. Pray over people until your heart bleeds dry." - Rebekah Lyons

"The enemy doesn't want us to have faith because we become too powerful with it." - Jen Hatmaker

"If all of God could fit into my brain, that would be a terrible God. Don't wait until you have full possession of God before you take full possession of faith. Faith doesn't erase doubt, insecurity and fear, it just overcomes them. It is safe to be faithful to a faithful God." - Jen Hatmaker

"Don't hang on to the past, move into the season in which God has you. You cannot live in the past and lay hold of the future." - Christine Caine

"Your serving prepares you for what the Lord has prepared for you. There is a place for you. If you embrace your place, He will find you. Service is the aide to your destiny." - Christine Caine

"The most powerful person is one who has been freed by the blood of the Lamb." - Bianca Olthoff

"As long as you have a beat in your chest, you are not done... [God] is in the business of doing the impossible." - Bianca Olthoff
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