Tag Archives: stringing pearls ministries

I’m Stuffocating. (a First Tuesday* post!)

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I used to love email.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Those days when you’d open your inbox and it would have super fun and entertaining notes from people you actually knew

These days, though, opening my inbox feels a lot like going to the real, physical mailbox at the end of my driveway:  just one more “box” filled with junk.  Advertisements, bills, political circulars, coupons, and catalogs from stores I’ve never heard of clutter to the point of “stuff-o-cation”.  I almost hate to open it!  Ninety percent of the messages in that box are from people/companies I don’t even know.  Sometimes I delete 100 emails a day.  It all just feels so…impersonal.

stuffocating

Letters, postcards, and once treasured emails from my beloveds have been replaced by text messages and snapchats and social media posts that can be seen by hundreds (if not thousands) of others. Don’t get me wrong, I love scrolling through Facebook and Instagram as much as the average person, but my heart aches a bit for that special feeling I used to get when a letter or email would arrive JUST for me.  That excitement of knowing someone intentionally wanted to get MY attention and share a little love with me made my heart super happy. It was personal, in a good way.

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about Jesus and the way He communicates. I’m learning that He personally seeks us out and actually cherishes time spent in our presence.  Interestingly (and quite counter-culturally), He’s not in the business of mass mailing His agenda and platform out to the myriad of mailboxes (and inboxes) around the globe, and He isn’t sitting at His laptop waiting for Likes and Loves on social media, YouTube, and blogs.  He’s in the business of dwelling with His people.

pitch that tent

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

John 1:14

I absolutely love the usage here of that word: dwell.  Translated from its original language, it means “pitches a tent”.  Can you even imagine?! JESUS came to camp out with us.

YOU and ME.

Camp out! As in, “Let’s do this together – in person. Face to face.  Life on life.  I’m intentionally pitching my tent with yours.  You’re that special to me.”

We don’t need a mailbox, an inbox, a social media account, or television to connect with Him. But what we DO need is space for His tent and His Word in our heart so we can DO life alongside Him.

“Watch how I do it and learn my methods (…because you seem to make it all so complicated when you try to do it on your own).”  Matthew 11:29 (my personal interpretation in parentheses!)

His Word is alive and well and begging for us to watch how He did it so we can replicate that love, that grace, that MERCY all around us. The problem comes when we stop looking to Him and instead clutter things up with all our own stuff.

This spring, in order to get serious about pursuing an intentional life of dwelling and camping out with Jesus, I’ve made it my mission to quiet down a bit and start the process of decluttering my own “space”, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It’s an ongoing process, sister friends, and often feels a bit slow-going!  But one thing God has got very serious with me on is the fact that I have become laden down with “stuff”.  On every level.  And in order for Jesus to comfortably pitch that tent with mine, I need to clear Him room.

Maybe you do, too?

create space for Jesus

Take a minute and answer this question for yourself: what’s stuff-o-cating you?  Is it physical clutter that needs clearing?  A preoccupation with emails and social media accounts that needs to be curbed? A habit or way of doing things that just doesn’t serve you anymore?  Is it a relationship that drains you more than energizes? Your physical being that could use to be cleaned up and cleared out a bit?  Start with one thing, just one thing, that you can begin to clear a little space within to make Him a little more room.  If there’s one thing you can be certain of, His deepest desire is to hang out with you.

“Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”  John 14:23

Home sweet (uncluttered) home.  Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Practical Application:

  • Pick one area (body, physical space, mind, spirit) where you feel stuff-o-cated right now.
  • Pray this prayer (or one of your own): “Lord, I want nothing more than for you to come and pitch your tent next to mine! Right now, though, I’m feeling really overwhelmed and cluttered in the area of _________. I want to relinquish control of this area in my life to you. I want to clear it in such a way that makes more room for YOU! Jesus, help me to clean it up and let go of what doesn’t need to be there. Help me to use what You intended me to have in this area in the ways in which You have always planned. Show me Your way because I know it is better than mine. Forgive me for letting things get out of Your control. Thank you that You love me so much that You get personal! Help me not to feel guilt or condemnation over this clearing out, but instead to deeply know Your delight in my obedience to listening to this call from You. Lord, I am so looking forward to all our camp outs to come! In Your mighty name, Amen!”
  • Get quiet and let God guide your next step. Accept that it’s always one step at a time, girls. And remember that sometimes things gets messy before they can be completely cleaned up. 😉
  • Consider these scriptures as you start to “un-stuff yo-self” (pray them out loud, write them down, read them when you get up and before you go to sleep) to keep your mind focused: John 1:14; Luke 12:16-19; Luke 12:29-31; John 14:23.

Happy De-Stuffocation, sweet friends! I’m praying for you!!!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

*PS – Today is the launch of a series I’m calling “First Tuesday”! It’s my intention to post here on the FIRST TUESDAY of each month with a fresh look at scripture alongside some practical life applications to make it relevant to YOUR life!  The First Tuesday of the month is a special day around here because our local “emergency sirens” are tested at 10am!  Our Tuesday Bible Babes have come to LOVE those sirens because whenever we are in session, we stop what we are doing and offer prayers of gratitude to God for the privilege and freedom to be worshipping together!  It’s become our habit that (even when we aren’t in Bible study session) as soon as we hear those First Tuesday sirens, we drop to our knees and pray for one another! Check back here on Tuesday, June 6th for a lively post about How to Have a Good Summer, Spiritually Speaking!  You won’t want to miss it!  😉

That Time God Told Me to PIPE DOWN, ALREADY!

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just-be-quiet

Oh, good Lord.  Did He really just say that?

(Yes, He DID. I can’t EVEN.)

He can’t possibly be talking to me.

(Spoiler Alert: Yep.  He IS.)

Because I’ve foolishly been thinking it’s all about me and my big ideas. (*Ahem*)

Because, you see, without big ideas, I can’t make a plan to execute. (*Sigh*)

I’m a person who loves to execute plans.  Like, LOVES to.  It’s hard for me to “stop”.  Do you know what I mean? I like BIG ideas, BOLD plans, and BEAUTIFUL executions of them!   And God has been SO, SO good in blessing me with a great season of DOING all these things!

But the fact that He and I don’t seem to be “doing” anything like that in my life right now has me like:

what-you-talkin-about-willis

(photo: Pinterest)

(Did you just do the Scooby Doo “huhhhhh?” voice in your head?!  Me too! Me too!)

I’m the girl  (and maybe you are, too?) who likes to immediately take matters into my own hands when I don’t think I’m getting my way. So, in the absence of visions and plans coming my way, I have been a bit busy to try to kick start the process.  And every time I come up with a brilliant idea, it energizes me for about a day or two.

BUT THEN.

THEN  it’s like the fire under the boiling  “BIG IDEA” pot gets turned down to a low simmer and moved to the back burner, clearing lots of space once again on a big ol’ empty stove.

Every. Single. Front. Burner.

Wide. Open.

Like God is saying, “Well.  That looks delicious and all.  But let’s save it for another time, okay?  No need to be cooking up a storm right now. I’ve got reservations for us elsewhere.”

Kind of like a frying pan to the face – in a really good Godly way, I mean.  😉

God isn’t looking for me to DO anything right now except be obedient to the “season of rest” to which He called me last fall.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been so great at being restful.  I love-love-love being an ACTION VERB kind of girl – a doer, a creator, a teacher, a writer, a speaker.  But instead, I think I need to learn how to be a BEING VERB kind of girl (as in – be still, be quiet, be kind, be with others, be with myself, be with GOD…).

I need to pipe down, already.

And I need to be o-BE-dient.  

ecc-4-6
As I let that verse right there weave together with the original message I got from God, a more gentle wording came out:

Dear Wendie,

Will you please just be with Me for a bit instead of trying to DO things I haven’t even asked of you yet?  How about we start by taking care of you and your own four walls (literally and figuratively)?  I’ll be right with you every step of the way, but – for the moment – you need to STOP IT with all this other stuff. It’s going to be worth it, trust Me. 

And since you are wondering, YES – I see you. I hear you. I know you.  I adore you. I love you. You matter more than you can fathom.  And you’re Mine -always and forever.

Thanks, sweet one. Carry on being you by being with Me.

Xoxo,

God

Geez.  He writes really good letters, doesn’t He?!

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because I’m wondering if maybe He’s writing a similar love letter to you, asking you to let Him into your “four walls” for a bit.

With Lent starting on Wednesday, I’m asking you to join me in committing these 40 days to honest-to-goodness o-BE-dience to His voice and will.

After all, isn’t that the point of the season?!?

To be, rather than do.  To pray, rather than produce and plan.  To listen, rather than think/talk so much.  To let it “be what it is supposed to be”, rather than expect so much or try so hard to change it. To let “it” change us.

So what is this going to look like?  I’m not sure; it’s going to look different for each of us. We’ll just have to let each other know how it all shakes out in 40-some days.   All I know for now is that I’ve got my own four walls to focus on:  a guest room to clean out (long story…), a body to care for, some great people to love on (including YOU!), and an amazing God to hang out with all the while.

Not too shabby of a season centered on living in o-BE-dience, right?

My yoga teacher ends every class instructing us to take a deep inhale, and then exhale everything out that won’t serve us. I’m taking that seriously this Lent.  I’m breathing in the good stuff He has for me, and letting the rest go. Well, that and being a little more quiet, too! 😉

Love you and miss you girls so, so much.  Smoochies all around!

Peace, love and JESUS-LEVEL JOY!

Wendie

PS: (If you are looking for something different and meaningful  – and QUIET –  to try this Lent, join me in participating in this fantastic idea on praying for others! http://catholickatie.com/writing/my-favorite-thing-to-do-for-lent.html )

PPS: If you like awesome Christian music, click here to take a look at my current playlist!  It’s soooooooo good!  😉

simpl.if.I – Always Pray! (Summer Series Week 2!)

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You’re Abe Froman – The ‘Sausage King of Chicago’?”

Sound familiar?! (I’m SO giggling right now!)

It’s actually a line from one of my favorite movies called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!  But if it isn’t one of yours,  I’ll spare you from having to sit there reading all my favorite one-liners (sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the Abe Froman thing…)!

If you’ve seen it, though, I think you’ll agree that the line and scene that is probably the most memorable (and most often quoted!) is the one where a teacher is standing in front of the classroom taking attendance. In that monotone voice that we all think our teachers had, he just keeps repeating, “Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?” with no idea that no one is listening to him, and oblivious to what he’s even saying anymore.

(C’mon – are you giggling yet? Please say yes!) 😉

I was just thinking about that goofy movie this morning as I spent some time in prayer.  And  – much to my chagrin – I realized that sometimes I act just like that tuned-out teacher when it comes to talking with God.

Because if I’m not careful, I begin to think that movie scene is an accurate representation of God’s attention to me.   I talk and talk and talk to God and mistakenly feel like He isn’t listening because I’m not getting the attention or reaction I “expect”.  So eventually, I just stop paying attention to what I’m saying and praying.  Ugh…

I can be a little self-centered that way.  How about you?

But scripture (Truth) tells us something different.  Truth knows better than to believe prayer is just a bunch of words that evaporate into thin air once spoken.

Truth reminds us that prayer is conversation with God, and has supernatural power and implications!  That’s why our beloved Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing:

Always Pray 1 Thess 5-17

When we earnestly pray to God, we grow in our relationship with Him. We spend time talking with Him, learning about Him, sharing our life with Him.  That’s the miracle of the vertical growth of prayer.

When we honestly pray with others, we grow with them, learn about them, share our life AND OUR GOD with them.  That’s the  miracle that comes from the horizontal growth of prayer.

The more we pray, the more in tune we become to God’s beautiful voice and His sovereign and holy will for this earth.

The more we pray, the more in tune we become to the needs of those around us.

The more we pray, the more joyful we can be in celebration and praise when those needs have been beautifully and perfectly met by God.

Here’s the bottom line on prayer, sweet things:  Every word we speak (aloud, in our heads, subconsciously, even as yet unformed…) is heard by our Father.  He listens.  And He speaks back.  Maybe not audibly, but through so many different ways – He speaks.  So when we choose to keep praying, even when we don’t see evidence of being heard, we’ve basically chosen to be in constant contact with the One who loves us most!

 

Psalm 116-2

 

Oh please, please, please don’t give up praying, my dears!  Always pray!  He is bending down, always, to hear you.  He cares for whatever is on your mind.  He IS paying attention and He loves you enough to answer.

Practical Application: (simpl.if.I’ed steps you can take to deepen the meaning of this lesson in your life):

1.  Find and display our second simpl.if.I mantra/scripture card:  Always Pray!  If you cannot find it or need to print one up, click here and you’ll find a link to the cards!

2.  Click here to read Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica.  The link gives you a little more context into our verse for the week!

3.  Pray!  Spend time conversing with God every day this week.  Give Him your thoughts, cares, worries, praises, and joy.  And then give Him time to speak!  Record some ways you see Him speaking to you – through friends, events, music, nature, your spirit, AND in scripture.  He’s just waiting for you to slow down enough to “hear” Him!

4.  Sit back and watch this beautiful music video!  Goodness me, you’ll be so glad you did!  😉

If you are reading before amen by Max Lucado with us, go ahead and read Chapter 1:  “The Pocket Prayer”!  It’s a quick, but powerful, take on Max’s ideas of what’s important in prayer and how to break it down to basics!  If you’re feeling really motivated (!), you can also complete the Study Guide for Chapter One at the back of the book!  It gives even more great insight into how prayer can change your life!

Thanks for following along with us this summer for simpl.if.I!  For more info on this series, click here!  We are so glad you are with us!

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week:  simpl.if.I week 3:  Pay Attention!

 

 

Simpl.if.I (…you know you want to!)

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Happy Summer 2015, Sweet Sister Friends!

Have you ever thought or said anything like this:

Life would be simple if I just:

    • would’ve said no to…
    • cleaned up “that” mess in the first place…
    • kept my mouth shut when…
    • got back to basics on…
    • focused on what really matters with…
    • stuck to my guns on…
  • knew what God wanted me to do when…

 

Yes?  Me, too 😉 !

That’s why I’m so excited to ask you to join us this summer as we learn to simplify life through scripture and prayer.  We’ll be breaking it down to what GOD says about what’s truly important when our souls yearn for simplicity.

Girls, we gotta simpl.if.I.

simplifi logo

 

Let’s invite God’s word to get inside these beautiful hearts of ours and do its work in mighty ways!  We’ll be cutting the fat (so to speak!) and learning ten, simple and important lessons:

  1. Choose God.
  2. Always Pray.
  3. Pay Attention.
  4. Believe God.
  5. Don’t Worry.
  6. Be Real.
  7. Let Go.
  8. Be Nice.
  9. Thank God.
  10. Be Happy.

These two-word, weekly mantras will be accompanied by easy-to-remember scriptures, AND fun blog posts that will tie everything together!

These mantras aren’t “recipes” for gaining God’s love – we already have that!  And they’re not “to-do list items” that make us look better in the eyes of others.  Instead, they’re simple reminders to our body, mind, and spirit to turn to God and find what’s truly important in those moments when we tend to let things get more complicated than they were ever intended to be.

We’ll also be doing some optional reading in our series!  So, for those of you craving a great book this summer, get ready to start an awesome new read a by Max Lucado called Before Amen!

AND —ooooooohhh— did we mention there’d be a dinner party?!  Like, a REALLY fun dinner party.  Because we don’t tend to do anything without a party.  😉  If you are local, mark your calendars for June 23rd and watch your email for more info on the dinner!  If you AREN’T local – we triple dog dare you to organize your OWN dinner!  Come on – you know you want to…!

Next Monday, those of you who have been in our studies before will receive your simple.if.I goodie bag on your front porch or in your mailbox!  Inside, you’ll find some super fun stuff and further explanations to get you geared up for our June 15th start date!

(If you are NOT local or haven’t been in our studies before, don’t you worry!  Everything you need will be posted right here for printing and perusing on Monday, June 8th!  Invite a friend – the more the merrier for the glory of God, girlies!)

We are so excited to simpl.if.I with you this summer, sister friends!

Peace, love, and so much joy!

 

Wendie Connors & the …stringing pearls ministries… Team*

 

 

*This ah-mazing team includes these BEYOND angelically cool peeps:

 

Carol Murray, Marcie Clark, Lyn Schmidt, Laura Ulepic, Kathy VanEk,

Lisa Mojica, Lora Bak, and Lori Gapinski