1400x1400

What to Say to Your Baby in the Womb

1400x1400Preparing to meet your baby is an experience like no other so I wanted to write about it while it was happening to me.  You know how quickly we can forget the details of what it felt like and how we responded to it years later.  But one of the most powerful experiences I have had it bonding with my little princess while she was still in the womb.

I want to share with you what I have been doing and helping others do before getting pregnant myself.  If you want to hear my story I believe it will really bring hope to those waiting on God for a miracle.  And if you know someone trying to get pregnant or get a breakthrough in another area of life this may be a good podcast or video to watch.

Here’s the video & I will add a blog later with more Scriptures for you to declare:

The results of making priorities right is that now I'm living the dream!  It can happen for anybody who believes and focuses.

How to Flourish in Life

Madeto Flourish

Recently I was given the opportunity to speak at a conference in TX about how to flourish in every area of life, even when it does not feel like you are flourishing at all. This topic was really real to me after coming out of a 12 year battle with infertility. I really had to learn how to do this well to keep my peace through those years.

Maybe you’re not in a dry place where you feel like giving up or want to quit or don’t know which way to turn.  Maybe you are happily living your life and seeing answers to prayer everywhere.  Either way, these principles are the ones I turn to when I’m feeling great or feeling low because they keep me stable no matter what is going on around me.

Here’s what I told the ladies at the conference, and they were an assorted bunch with all types of stories we could probably write books about so I thought it may be relevant to share what I said with you too!

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Preaching in TX was so much fun and a dream come true, can’t wait to share another moment like this with more women! They were a beautiful group of women and it was such an honor.

My life goal is to Inspire, Encourage and Transform other’s lives.  So that’s what this message is all about.  It’s about helping us find the inspiration to have greater life purpose, to hear words that lift us up and to find the answers that get us unstuck in the stuck places of life.

If you want more inspiration or to hear my backstory you can read it in my previous blog on how I got pregnant after 12 years of trying.  I think that will be great to read as an extra boost before digging into this post but either way let’s get into it…

The first thing I want you to know is that flourishing has not been easy for me, it’s been a super hard battle.  I’m not one of those people who is naturally a non-worrier or gifted in being positive all the time.  This takes a consistent and focused effort for me to find that happy place.

So if you don’t always feel like you are on top of the world, I get it.  It’s a discipline that comes easier for some of us than others.

made to flourish

This is us, the Lees, before we got pregnant. We were still Waiting on God and He was teaching me how to Flourish.

I remember a time when I was sitting in our living room parsonage (house attached to our church) next to a newly pregnant girl, wanting to relate to her so badly.  But feelings of inadequacy began to battle my confidence, Can i do this?  What do I really know about pregnancy?  I haven’t been able to get pregnant for years.  Will she trust me as her pastor’s wife or spiritual leader?

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This is the parsonage I lived in while helping people downtown. It is still one of my favorite places in the world!

The war was intense.

Anything but being in this situation, a doula role, would have seemed like a better pick for me!

But this is where God had me, serving in the place of my greatest pain and need.

As we began to talk it didn’t get better, in fact, she confirmed her distrust in me with an awkward response to my question, “So how is the pregnancy going?”

Heart drop!

Ok, so next topic.  I moved on quickly to other areas of life after seeing how guarded she was in this area, changing to subject to something else.  This was not easy.

This was 9 or 10 years in and inside, I was a wreck.  Behind the scenes…I had multiple surgeries, challenging diet changes and frustrating doctor visits I sure couldn’t afford.

In the forefront, I had to remain “strong” for the congregation, though my health took second place, and my heart was desperately burnt out.  

The Good News is…

In this hard, dry place I learned to be content, to be happy, to see the good, to look for any glimmer of hope and to FOCUS on what was going right.

The Good News is…

This was not the End!

A few years before the end something happened.  And it happened inside of me.  I began to realize that I wasn’t called to suffer this way.  I was called to Love God and Love Others as I Love Myself.  I was missing one piece.  I was not loving myself well!  I was not flourishing.  I was giving myself away on the altar of sacrifice while my own family and health was on the back burner.

Sometimes, being at our end is a hint to the need for major life changes.  I needed to put my health at the forefront.  I needed to create more income.  Get insurance.  Move to a safer area.  Set boundaries with church member’s access to me.  

But people would think I was selfish, no longer in ministry, no longer serving them.  They didn’t know what I was going through behind the scenes and I was doing stuff GOD didn’t call me to do in the first place.

At the end of the day was I going to please people OR GOD?  I chose GOD!

As I chose Him my life began to change and I began to THRIVE.

I don’t want you to think everything is perfect now because then I’d be leading you into chasing impossibility or looking for perfection.

I’m still in the process of change, but my life is much more balanced and God keeps showing me when I’m doing too much for others to care for myself or family.

As all this got back into place, I got pregnant and am now 6 months full of a bundle of joy!  That flourishing came because I chose to Love God and Love Others as I Love Myself!

The results of making priorities right is that now I'm living the dream! It can happen for anybody who believes and focuses.

Here’s me a few months and five months preggo.  The results of making priorities right is that now I’m living the dream! It can happen for you too as you make a few adjustments.  It might seem really hard at the time but after away it will seem natural and the pay off is worth it!

The secret is, you and I, we were Made to Flourish.  So if we aren’t we ask the question, “What do I need to change God?”  “What in my mindset can adjust?”  “What in my relationships could be more balanced?”

Am I trying to please everyone else so much that I can’t meet my basic needs?

Then we Let Go.  Of the past.  Of people’s opinions.  Of potentially disappointing others.  And we run toward to new us that He shows us.

We were Made to Flourish so if we aren’t all we have to do is adjust a few things, sometimes a lot of things (let’s be real) and then we’re back into a great place again.

Ps 92:12 says The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

There’s a lot I could teach on about this whole palm tree example and being a cedar and flourishing and Lebanon and being righteous…you get the point.  But I’m not going to do all that right now because it’s just too much.

I’ll just leave you with 3 Mental Focal Points from this Scripture, to keep your mind on when you are trying to flourish: 

  1. You are Righteous.  Righteous means you are free from guilt or sin (in the Webster’s Dictionary).  This means you are right with God.  But how could you say that Jade, if only you knew what I did today, yesterday, last year.  I get it.  I feel the same way about myself.  Ultimately we are right with God because of His Son, Jesus Christ, not because of our own actions good or bad.  We can’t make ourself right with Him by doing a lot of good for other people even though I’m sure He appreciates it.  And we can’t make ourself right with Him by feeling guilty or beating ourselves up.  We are right because He says we are right and that’s it!
  2. I know I said it before but You are Made to Flourish.  Flourish means to bud, sprout, shoot, bloom, blossom, spread, break out, break forth, spring abundantly.  This is one of my favorite quotes.  I saw it again right before I went to share this in Texas, on an outdoor garden sign right outside of my hotel.  Isn’t that crazy!  There it was, the word BLOOM. BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. bloom_where_you_are_planted

Wherever He has placed you, the family you are in, the marriage you’re in, the children you have, the money you have, the home you live in, what you’re good at, BLOOM RIGHT THERE with what you have.  That’s one of the major keys to flourishing, when we have this in focus.

(add video of me opening my new book or holding it in my hand, blooming where I am planted)

3. Your Mistakes are Stepping Stones to Your Destiny.  As you are blooming you will make mistakes, we all do and it’s okay.  As long as we don’t get stuck on the mistakes we make and let others keep us there.  We have to move on at some point and learn from the past in life, ministry, marriage, being parents, sometimes we feel guilt or shame or unworthy but this does not disqualify us.  It just adds to why we are so relatable to others that God wants us to talk to.  If I can write words of hope anyone can.  I’ve messed up a lot which means I’ve learned a lot but I don’t share because I’m perfect, I share because I’m His and I’m called.

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I was always called to preach, to inspire people, to get up in front of audiences but noticed a battle trying to stop me every time I was put in front of a group of people, even as a young age.  Inside I was bold, expressive and loved attention but outside it was so hard to get that to the world.  Usually we get signs of our callings early on and may be hindered, but in the end, we win and we will blossom right where we are.

Ok so that’s all I’m going to share from what I told my new friends in TX but I’ll leave you with 7 more thoughts that are really practical and hopefully you can try one or two of them to help you BLOOM:

  1. Compassion Over Comparison.  It’s easy to start comparing your impact, how good of a mom you’re being, your marriage and personality to other women.  Geesh, we get caught up in comparing ourself to other people’s LIFE and this trap brings us down quick!  But when we live in vulnerable community it’s easier to see that all women have life challenges behind the scene.
  2. Count Your Blessings: Thank God for what you have with a joy list.  I started doing this in college and it only takes 2 minutes to write down everything you’re happy for, but I always run out of time because that list is usually way longer than what’s bothering me.
  3. Work with What You have: When’s the last time you’ve done a Gift Inventory?  What is your gift?  What resources do you already have?  Crafting, Writing, Speaking, Social Media, Fashion, A Camera, Churches in your Care, A team of Women?  Remember, your impact doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.  Let’s make the most of what we have.
  4. Find a Strong Support System: Pray for a mentor or a friend that understands you, women that won’t add to your burden but will “get you” without judging your situation.
  5. Set Healthy Boundaries: What areas do you need to say not to, write a list of what you spend your time doing in ministry and ask God if that call has expired or if there’s things He never wanted you to do.  I had to realize I can’t step in proxy of God for every need.  Some of it He’ll meet directly or send someone else to meet.
  6. Do Fun Stuff: When I share this with women they start shouting lol.  But for real, go shopping, try new recipes, watch a movie, get your nails done with a friend, get a massage.  Your entire life should not just be work, work, work.  Let’s add some play!
  7. Take Vacations and Weekend Getaways: For Marriage, Family, Girlfriend Trips.  It takes some planning and maybe a few less trips to fast food restaurants but girl you’ll be happy with drink in your hand, the sun shining on your new bathing suit and a shore line as far as your eye can see!

And there you have it, my story plus some really practical ways to Bloom right where you are, even if that is was a wilderness!

Hugs, Sweetness and Lots of Love,

Your Friend~Jade

By the way…I have a new book coming out in September called The Ferguson Dilemma.  It will be available on this website, www.JadeLee.org and it’s own website (coming soon).  I can’t wait to share this with you all it has so much information on how to heal, especially in the area of understanding people who are different than you ethnically!  

Here’s a pic of it!

made to flourish3

Also, my husband Corey and I will be speaking at Imagine 2017 in September.  If you’re in ministry this is a conference that you don’t want to miss!  This is where I’ll be releasing my book for the first time too, so exciting!  It’s in Chattanooga, TN and it’s $75 to register but worth every penny.

imagine 2017

Here's a great website that helped in my journey to holistic health.  And the link to the testimonial that made me cry

How I Got Pregnant After 12 Years Plus Diet Tips

If you are trying to get pregnant, fighting infertility, or to keep hope in regaining your health, you can win the battle.  The good news is that today I sit here 4 months pregnant and happily in love with my sweet baby girl already!  And I want to share with you how.

Here's a great website that helped in my journey to holistic health. And the link to the testimonial that made me cry

Here’s a great website that helped in my journey to holistic health. And the link to the testimonial that made me cry when I read it.  It’s called: Success Story: After 12 Years of Trying, Jade Conceives!  Ok let me stop here come the tears again!

To regain your health there is no one stop shop, magic pill or one size fits all charming solution that works for everyone.  But there are principles that can work for us all.  Then we begin to pray and hope for specific instructions that work for our particular situation.

I really believe in a holistic approach to health if you want to get better.  And not just because of what well documented scholarly books say either.  (although that’s completely necessary).  

I believe it because it’s the only thing that finally worked for me.  So today I’m going to share how I found a real, practical game plan to getting back my life and wellness.

It’s not always easy, happy and may not always seem attainable.  Some days will be good, others full of hopeful expectation and others flat out borderline despairing.  But if you keep going, stay determined, and take control of your health you will accomplish your goal.

Here we are at our gender reveal party! Corey has been an amazing support this entire time💞💗❤️

Here we are at our gender reveal party! Corey has been an amazing support this entire time💞💗❤️

(And here’s the Final Reveal: IMG_3049)

The good news is you don’t have to be perfect to do this!

This is what I did: Changed My Diet by Monitoring my Vitamin Levels, Found an Excellent Doctor that I felt 100% Confidence in, Developed a Relaxation and Mental Strength Plan, Removed all Toxins (physical, emotional and even negative, doubtful people from my life), Monitored my Exercise Program and Included a Prayer/Fasting Journey to Keep My Faith High!

Many of these same principles can work if you are trying to lose weight, have a healthy full term pregnancy, avoid a health crisis, develop consistent spiritual health or overcome bad habits.  

No matter what you are facing there is hope by 1.  Gaining Control of Your Diet, 2. Developing Spiritual Wellness,  and 3. Finding a Healthy Relaxation/Mental Strength Balance.

1. Lets talk first about what we eat.  We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat!”  Well, guess what, it’s really true.  We will get out what we put in.  But let’s be real.  This is not going to happen over night.

 It is a consistent, practical focused effort that makes this work.  And you don’t have to be perfect either, just do your best to stay on target.  If you go astray, dust yourself off and go at it again.  

Sometimes it can be tempting to just say, “This isn’t working.  I don’t even see a difference.  Why keep trying?”  But changing your diet will restart your body and you can train your palette to like foods you didn’t like before.  

You can find creative ways to cook what you do like and get better at it; this is hard work but you are definitely worth it!

One great way to get in needed vitamins- a dark leafy diet, was to drink my veggies. Juicing became a great way to consume a whole bag of lettuce in once cup. There are great tasting juices you can try at home!

One great way to get in needed vitamins- a dark leafy diet, was to drink my veggies. Juicing became a great way to consume a whole bag of lettuce in once cup. There are great tasting juices you can try at home!

Keep your eyes on the finish line so you motivate yourself to keep going.  Eating includes what you drink.  Drinking water is good for us all.  

The daily recommended intake is eight, 8 ounces glasses of water a day.  If you are like me and trying to balance your hormones it’s really important to avoid plastic bottles water (due to estrogen like properties that can filter into water from plastic) and tap water that can include pesticide chemicals.  

It’s debatable what’s the best water (I’m even guilty of drinking from bottles) but distilled and reverse osmosis water has been highly recommended by major fertility natural health leaders.  I drank water like crazy and still do now that I’m pregnant.  

At first it felt like a lot but eventually my body actually craved it when I didn’t get enough.   One time after surgery to adjust vital reproductive organs, I gained a really bad sinus infection trying everything you could think of, including the Neti Pot Nasal Rinse (which works great and is all natural!).

It may sound extreme but there were times the Neti Pot kept my sanity lol. Try it out if you're experiencing congestion or want to clean out your passages. You can even use it while pregnant avoiding decongestant medications!

It may sound extreme but there were times the Neti Pot kept my sanity lol. Try it out if you’re experiencing congestion or want to clean out your passages. You can even use it while pregnant avoiding decongestant medications!

But months went by and my breathing wasn’t getting better!😩  You know what finally worked?  Plain old WATER!  Who what have thought Water could be so powerful?  

So no matter your condition, keep in mind with me the natural healing properties of water.  Harvard University even did a study on the importance of water finding that it effects the vitality of every organ in the human body:

“Water keeps every system in the body functioning properly. The Harvard Medical School Special Health Report 6-Week Plan for Health Eating notes that water has many important jobs, such as:carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
flushing bacteria from your bladder
aiding digestion
preventing constipation
normalizing blood pressure
stabilizing the heartbeat
cushioning joints
protecting organs and tissues
regulating body temperature
maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.”

The moral of the story is we all need water to function properly, have energy and keep this amazing system working.  Once I got that down I also avoided harmful levels of sugar, processed or artificial sugars.  

I replaced them with stevia (in my warm Maca drinks, a powerful fertility herb), honey and maple syrup.  (Caution when you get pregnant, stevia has not been proven as safe for pregnant women by the FDA).  

If you every look on the back of a fruit juice container you’ll notice it has A LOT of sugar so I even cut those to boost my immune system.  I also avoided soy, which has estrogen like propeties that throw off our bodies balance as women.

And one of the most important diet changes that I made was only eating grass fed or organic meats.  Be careful because the food industry has learned how to creatively say there are no antibiotics fed to their animals but these animals have not been raised in a way that avoids chemicals completely or live in really tight environments that are stress producing.  

Hormones fed to animals can also create too much estrogen in a woman trying to conceive also hindering needed balance.  

Going on dates and doing fun things with your husband is so important even when there are a lot of emotions. Remembering we are always on the same team was so helpful for us when in such a trying time.

Going on dates and doing fun things with your husband is so important even when there are a lot of emotions. Remembering we are always on the same team was so helpful for us when in such a trying time.

Remember, the goal is to find balance in your hormonal system.   I have been told by my massage therapist to be careful of too much cheese or milk products which can cause congestion stimulating conditions like PCOS or Endometriosis more so if you have one of these conditions please be careful.

Milk can be replaced with almond milk (check to see if it’s organic) or hemp milk.  It’s also important to keep in mind that fat is not bad, it’s getting good healthy fat through (fish like wild, not farm raised Alaskan salmon, cod, and Alaskan halibut).  

Also you can get good essential fatty acids from coconut oil (replace cooking oil with it), nuts and seeds. The last tip is that you can remove processed white grains (white rice, pasta and white bread) in exchange for healthier whole grains (whole wheat pasta, quinoa and brown rice).  

All of these tips can be used even before you plan to get pregnant to ensure your body is balanced and ready!  Even now that I’m pregnant I eat this way with a few modifications to the teas that I consume.  

Recommended water filters:

Berkey (as low as $258)

Berkey Water Filter $258

Berkey Water Filter $258

Glass water bottles ($10) Glass Water Bottles

Extra Perk: It’s really important not to skip meals during childbearing years to remain a healthy balance.  What helped me most was bringing snacks with me as I went on errands and about my day like: organic granola bars (low in sugar), fruit I could quickly grab (antioxidant fruits are really good for you like strawberries and blueberries), water bottles (always have them with you, you can keep a cooler in the car), your own trail mix (you can make at home), a smoothie or homemade juice, or homemade chips (sweet potato, tortilla, potatoes with skin on).  You can use these snack ideas when pregnant as well!

2. Now let’s think about our Spiritual Wellness.  I knew the importance of prayer and fasting (it even has medical benefits) but this journey has brought my faith to another level!  Faith is the key to getting a breakthrough in any area, including our health.  

If I didn’t have a relationship with Christ I don’t know where I would be because it’s so mentally demanding trying to balance all the factors we’re talking about plus real life- work, marriage, volunteering, and family life.  It gets real!  

I say that to say I can relate to that need for balance. Every woman is different.  Some don’t want to pray because it’s hard to talk to God when you know He can change your health but He doesn’t seem to be moving in that way.  It can be upsetting.   It can be hard to talk to God because of guilt.  

Is He punishing me?  Is He angry at me?  Why is He blessing others but I still haven’t seen my breakthrough?  

There were moments I never thought I'd see this day. Fighting to believe was sometimes daily. But that's a normal part of our faith journey. You're going to get there💞 And it pains me to know you're in pain. Keep going sister!

There were moments I never thought I’d see this day. Fighting to believe was sometimes daily. But that’s a normal part of our faith journey. You’re going to get there💞 And it pains me to know you’re in pain. Keep going sister!

I get it!  I’ve had these gut wrenching, honest conversations with God too.  And anyone going rough this that says they’ve never been discouraged may be embellishing their story a bit.  

But I’ve also learned that reading my Bible, especially the psalms where David discussed how he felt, even if I wasn’t feeling it in the moment increased my hope level.  And I learned many lessons including the importance of giving over this need to have children in order to feel complete to God (easier said than done).  

I learned to serve others in many ways while I was waiting on my own dreams to come to fruition.  I learned to trust Him when He kept giving me promises I just wasn’t seeing and when I had No Idea if it would be another 6 months, year or 3 years (try to avoid thinking about how long it could be, really try).  

Praying is all about sharing your real feelings, verbalizing the truth of God’s Promises in the Bible and believing that His Words won’t come back empty.  He will do what He said He would do.  

My faith was elevated by going on multiple Daniels Fasts where I did not only remove certain foods from my diet which was by the way the first time I saw my hormones really begin to balance and my menstrual cycle come back to normality) but by refocusing on The Truth.  It was a fast from doubt, comparison and thinking from the place of lack.  I had to believe and only have faith surrounding me.  

So I found Scriptures like these to help me:  

Isaiah 53:5 – But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  

Psalm 103:2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.  

Proverbs 23:7
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.When I was started to slip back into that place of “what if” this never changes, I’m one of the ones that God doesn’t heal, I’m going to be stuck forever.  

What if I become like so and so that never had kids.  

The reality is that my truth was not based on someone else’s story. So much could be different in their life than mine and just because it happened to them didn’t mean it was going to happen to me.

Every year we start it out with a Daniels Fast. Sometimes the best way to get your breakthrough is to help others get theirs at the same time!

Every year we start it out with a Daniels Fast. Sometimes the best way to get your breakthrough is to help others get theirs at the same time!

I declared the truth over and over out loud so I could hear it.  And I could feel the atmosphere changing around me, I was changing inside.  

I could see myself pregnant, whole and happy.  It was amazing!  We have to remember that we are in a spiritual war but can beat the odds through the power of Gods presence, worship, His Scriptures.

3. And that brings us to having a Life Full of Relaxation/Mental Joy!  Being a type A, really driven, motivated personality this was not my top gift.  But I had to do this for myself.

Priorities.  

God first.  Personal Health.  Then everything else.  

This requires a Huge Lifestyle Change for Me.  And as change goes, a lot of Letting Go.  You’ll notice that in order to change, sometimes you even have to let go of good stuff, good people to accomplish your goals.  

I had a lot of good, well meaning people in my life but some of them just weren’t meant to go on this part of the journey with me.  It became clear.  I had to give my Best Yes.  Here’s a great book that helped me to do that: The Best Yes

 

 

At the time I’m writing this it’s about $10 on Amazon and worth the investment!  Every penny.  

You will learn how to say no to people to say yes to Gods best for you, even if you can’t please them or disappoint them.  Then you’ll be freed up emotionally to focus on the most important goal in your life right now: Your Health.  

Girl, get an Amazon Prime membership (free trial) and go get it now you won’t regret it!  I prayed a prayer and finally started listening to my gut.  Some of the most important people in my life at the time were just not healthy.  

And so I allowed God to create the space needed for me to get into my little faith bubble.  Gossip, Jealousy, Distractions and People that pull on you constantly without Gratitude or the Ability to Visualize the future you God has shown you can Drag you Down and keep you in a pit of doubt.  

People that blame you for your condition and don’t have grace can cause you to be thrown into condemnation.  Fight girl!  This is your life, your health, your destiny, your future and You Are Worth saying yes to what’s best even if it means not being able to please everyone around you.  

Follow the signs He gives you without shame or apology.  This is not bitterness or unforgiveness it is a wise guarding of your precious soul!  

(Disclaimer: If you are married go get counseling and professional help, you’re in a covenant meant to last and divorce is not God’s first best.  He can change the situation).  

Once these toxic relationships were removed I had to Do Some Things Different.  My plan included all natural Epsom Salt baths, listening to faith filled worship music like Hillsong or Bethel, writing out my feelings in a journal, getting weekly massages for a season (I did fertility massages and it helped realign my uterus), resting when my body told me to (I would literally take naps whenever, trying my best to avoid the faulty mindset that I was being lazy) and finding out what I enjoyed to do (spending time with my hubby, having long girl talks with positive trusted friends that wouldn’t judge me, walking around a shopping mall).  

I fully believe that all of this made me healthy.  Mind, Body and Soul.  I could feel the tensions around me being removed as I made decisions that led me one step closer to freedom.  

It was worth all the challenging situations, hurtful separations and learning to cook everything from scratch!  And I know you can do it too!  I believe in you!  Now go get out there and chase your dream; its God that gets your pregnant and gives you health💞  Every step you take is one step closer to the other side😊😭🎀

I want to say thank you if you were one of those people who secretly pushed prayers through for me or cried for me or encouraged me…even if you had a moment of good wishes for me. You’re the people I’m forever grateful for; it’s been a journey, The journey of a lifetime.

JLOclassyweb

How to Dress Cute, Modest and Classy

 

JLOclassywebWhat immediately pops up in your mind when you think of the word modesty?  An outdated outfit and frumpy clothes?  Or a sober heart, not too proud or overly excessive? 

Do you think balance or restriction from being who you really are?  Maybe some of us think, “That’s not for me.  I’m just not there yet.”  And that’s okay that we know how we feel and where we are…we are all entitled to start where we are judgment free!

GOD knows and He will take us in our current state, gradually adding His own convictions for each one of us.

God will take us in our current state, gradually adding His own convictions for each one of us.

For example, when I was in my early twenties my modesty journey began.  I was so excited to follow the Lord in every area of my life, that when He began to convict me about certain pieces of clothing in my wardrobe, I said, “Lord, this is so hard, but okay.”

Jade Speaks

In this look I took a dress and put a sheer top under it to make it more suitable for a church environment. It fit my classic modest style type.

Clothes that were a bit too tight here or there began to escape my wardrobe.

Clothes that weren’t reflective of what I wanted to represent began to be filtered.

And then I came across a woman of God teaching on Deuteronomy 22:5.  I read the Scripture.  I studied it.  I thought about it deeply.  Today it’s fully how this one Scripture on, you guessed it, the clothes we wear has become one of the most controversial Scriptures for Christian women. 

But I was convinced God was convicting me to wear only skirts.  The key words here are, “Convicting me.”  This was a personal conviction God gave to me.

And I saw the benefit of it in my life.  I dressed up a lot more, explored more feminine options and no longer was attracting the type of attention I didn’t want from guys.

For a season, this was also very helpful for me to overcome superficiality, finding my beauty in my inward man, not the outward.  But over time I felt the Lord begin to release me from that conviction.

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And here’s another dress I adapted into a top with skinny jeans to add a modest approach…

What I did wrong was place too much of my zeal and excitement about this life change on others.  It was important not to place my conviction on others or teach it as if it was a law of God.  It was also important not to make this conviction a source of “holiness” or “arriving in God.” 

What I did wrong was place too much of my zeal and excitement about this life change on others.  It was important not to place my conviction on others or teach it as if it was a law of God.

But on the other hand, I know what it’s like to be persecuted for my personal convictions, even by those I never mentioned skirts to!  Please don’t do this to your friends or loved ones.  It has developed a great deal of compassion in my heart towards those who God leads to break cultural norms.

Placing our convictions on others is a danger many new believers experience as the excitement of hearing God’s voice can cause us to miscalculate the purpose of that experience–forcing it on our friends and family–not just in how we dress, but in what we watch, where we go, and what we eat.  This creates a haughty attitude and a “better than thou” demeanor that repels others from us.  Learn from my experience, this is not a healthy way to go and it stifles our relationships.

But on the flip side, if someone you know develops a new conviction, please do your best to respectfully support what God has told them to do–Remember, this is the same God that told Samson to wear his hair in locks and never cut his hair on a Nazarite vow.  The vows people make with God should be respected and honored.  For me, I see my period of wearing skirts as a personal vow between me and the Lord. 

If someone you know develops a new conviction, please do your best to respectfully support what God has told them to do

An outward expression of obeying what He asked me to do.  And I am grateful to say God led me through a 13 year season of embracing this conviction, whether others were pleased or not.  I was content to please God.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

At the end of those 13 years the Lord gave me a sense of peace about wearing pants again (which was not new to me, it’s the way I grew up for many years).  It was the time and He confirmed why to me through various means. 

I was reminded of Peter, who’s conviction as a Jew was to not eat meat.  Then, after living out this lifelong conviction, God gave him a vision of eating “all” of His creation.  Was Peter wrong to be on a mainly plant based diet before this “discovery”?  No way!  He was following God’s law.

But Peter was about to reach the Gentiles.  And he was experiencing the freedom to obey God’s voice, which is what Christianity is all about!

So with all these thoughts on real life lessons about convictions, let’s talk about what modesty really is.  First, it will help to understand that modesty is not our own idea.  It comes from the Bible.  And though it may look different for each lady, it is important for it to be a part of our lifestyle.

This word appears in 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Timothy 3:2.  It’s the word kosmios meaning well arranged, seemly, modest.

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes  1 Timothy 2:9

In the dictionary, it means

“placing a moderate estimate on one’s abilities or worth;  neither bold nor self-assertive :  tending toward diffidence” or “limited in size, amount, or scope a family of modest meansb :  unpretentious a modest home”

So modesty is about being self controlled in our attitude, not putting on an act for someone else (pretentiousness) or going over the top with something.  We can be modest in our thoughts, in our speech, in our actions, and in how we dress. 

Modesty is about being self controlled in our attitude, not putting on an act for someone else or going over the top with something.

Modesty is not just about how we dress.  It comes from the realization that we are where God chooses to reside and because of that we want to walk in the Spirit.  We want to respect His presence.  We want to be humble in all that we do.  This comes from the heart.

1 Corinthians 6:19 says Our body is a temple of God. We want to represent Him well. 

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own  1 Corinthians 6:19

Let’s keep in mind that, as Christians, what is in the heart is what is most important, not the outward appearance.  And we don’t win God’s approval by how we dress.  We are justified by Jesus Christ alone!

1 Timothy 2:8-10 give us the principle behind an inward focus, not an outward one alone.  If we begin to put how we look on the outside (whether modest or inmodest) before God who is in our temple, we’ll probably find ourselves in bondage.

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Modest doesn’t have to be frumpy or colorless it can be stylish and fun!

Is what I’m wearing reflecting Godliness?  Am I wearing this to attract the right attention or to get a lustful stare, the attention of some guy I don’t even know?  Am I wearing this to help heal insecurities?

As we know our heart, we focus on ways we need healing we will realize why we do what what do.  We will discover our motives.  God can help us see this and this is the Holy Spirit’s role to personally convict us.  If He convicts you it will lead to freedom,  not a sense of negativity or bondage.

Another principle that I like to apply is knowing my “areas”:

Is my chest showing, cleavage becoming a distraction?  This is not a hard and fast rule, but we want to keep our private parts discreet for our current or future hubby if possible.  Pray about this and ask the Lord how He feels.  He will show you where He wants you to draw the line.

Am I depending on the praise of people to give me identity?  If I wear something cute, I get a bunch of compliments and I feel better.  There’s nothing wrong with that but the core of who we are comes from who Jesus says we are in the Bible…fearfully and wonderfully made.

Many times we are told as women in the church that we have to dress more modest to protect our brothers and although this does have a role of putting our brother before ourselves, this can also be abused.  Men also have to carry their own spiritual responsibility in how they keep their eyes, but are we at least concerned about helping a brother out from stumbling?

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.  Romans 12:10

By the way, even when we are modest it’s really important that beneath the surface we love ourselves, care for our bodies, try our best–this is not an excuse to go to the other extreme of not putting forth effort to look our best.

Well those are my words on modesty plus here’s a few fashion tips:

There’s a few ways you can “work your own look”:

  1. Know Your Body Type (Are you an apple, pear, hourglass or banana)?body-shape
  2. Know Your Style (Are you classic, trendy, bohemian, or dramatic?) style types
  3. Learn to Love Yourself!  Who you are in essence rarely changes.
  4. Learn your Undertone (color) and Color Wheel, are you a winter, spring, summer or fall?
  5. Explore a Few Trends- Certain cuts, looks and even colors could be on trend from year to year.  Don’t try to wear all of them lol figure out which ones look best on you  Here’s a few for 2017:neonruffleskhaki

I’m a classic but I do trends and chic looks as well.  Classic tops, bottoms and earrings never go out of style!  You can still have fun by mixing colors and trends.

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Here I’m wearing a classic white collard skirt and pencil skirt but mixed up with a trendy fur vest!

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Here I’m wearing a classic outfit with bell sleeves, a current trend. You can google trends for 2017 to see the last ones!

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And here I am wearing a classic a line cut dress with a pop of color. All classic though- straight lines etc. I like skirts and dresses that flare on me since I’m a pencil/banana and don’t have many curves lol

And here’s a link to natural makeup options that don’t have any preservatives or chemicals that will seep into your pores.

Well, I hope this helped you understand a little bit more about modesty and I know you will be well on your way to hear from God for your own modesty journey.  But let’s keep in mind that it’s what is in our hearts that matters most!

Love you!

Jade Lee

 

 

This year we can transform our hopes and dreams into realities and unify our families at the same time!

10 Potential Family Goals for 2017

By: Paige Smith

Our families are one of God’s greatest gifts to us! Through life’s winding ups and downs we always remain permanently connected to them. They can be our greatest supports and biggest fans!

Our families can be our greatest supports in life!

Our families can be our greatest supports in life!

Our spouses and children become wonderful extensions of ourselves and vice versa as we grow in love and community with them!

Almost every decision we make affects our family members and in turn their decisions– as well as their thoughts and emotions– can significantly affect us.

This is why our unity as a family can impact our lives nearly more than anything else.

So what helps to unify a family?

There are many factors, but according to Marriage and Relational Life Experts Dr. David and Theresa Ferguson, setting goals as a family is one of the most effective ways to establish family unity.

“Perhaps today, more than ever,” they write, “we, as individuals and families, need a sense of direction and destiny…which we can stretch with all our strength and passions” (Intimacy Encounters 184).

Goal setting empowers a family to see themselves as one mighty force and be a powerful unified front!

Rather than every individual member simply going through life doing what seems best to them, setting goals as a family centers every person around a common sense of purpose and direction.

Family members become infinitely closer as they open up and share the inner desires of their hearts and pray together about God’s unique vision for their family as a whole!

Are you ready to begin the journey of unifying your family more than ever before?

It may seem like a daunting task so here is a list of ten goals in common life categories that you can tailor to fit your family.

10 Potential Family Goals:

1. Go on a Family Goal Setting Retreat with just you and your spouse.

Dr. David and Theresa Ferguson, counselors and authors who have created countless resources for marriages and families highly recommend spouses to get away for a weekend for the sole purpose of creating goals for their family.

If traveling out of town isn’t practical, simply arrange for babysitters for the kids and have a staycation version at the house.

It will take some planning and effort, but it will be well worth it in the end!

Their marriage resource, Intimacy Encounters, includes a full step by step outline for how to go about your own family goal setting retreat.

2. Spiritual: Have a daily couples devotional with your spouse before heading off to work.

This is a great way to start off your day with your spouse! It can be as simple as reading a scripture and praying for one another or going through a marriage devotional. Many can be found for free online and on Bible Apps.

3. Marriage: Go on a marriage retreat and an anniversary get away.

A sunny weekend get away with our spouses can be a great way to refresh ourselves and pour into eachother!

A sunny weekend get away with our spouses can be a great way to refresh ourselves and pour into eachother!

This is an amazing way to invest in our marriages! Many churches have ministries that host seasonal retreats for their couples to get away and invest in their relationship away from all distractions.

Get-aways with our spouses are always a great time to reconnect, refresh and remember again just how much we love each other.

4. Family: Plan and Have a Family Vacation.

There’s nothing like building memories as a family to bring everyone together!

From theme parks to family cruises and outdoor camping adventures there are so many options for different budgets and preferences.

5. Financial: Pay off your smallest debt as a family.

This is a great financial goal to gain momentum in paying off debt! As you all celebrate the victory of paying off one debt it will bring even more motivation to continue with any larger ones.

6. Career: Support one another to each go to an industry related conference in your feilds or read 5-10 top books in your industries this year.

Conferences are a great way to invest in our personal development! This photo was taken at the 2016 JLO Women's Leadership Academy.

Conferences are a great way to invest in our personal development! This photo was taken at the 2016 JLO Women’s Leadership Academy.

This can be a great way to get in each others world and invest in what our spouses are passionate in! 

7. Personal/Social: Each member begin a hobby you’ve always wanted to do this year such as learn a new language or instrument or commit to having a ladies day or guys night out once a month to build relationship.

There's nothing like having time with your girlfriends! From meeting for lunch to hosting a game night, there are so many wonderful ways we keep our friendships vibrant!

There’s nothing like having time with your girlfriends! From meeting for lunch to hosting a game night, there are so many wonderful ways we keep our friendships vibrant!

8. Health: Do a 5K together as a family to raise money and/or awareness for a cause that is important to a member of the family.

Adding healthy green shakes to the family diet can be a great way to get in better shape together and prepare for the race!

Adding healthy green shakes to the family diet can be a great way to get in better shape together and prepare for the race!

9. Household: Gradually declutter and organize every room of the house and bring any unused clothes and items to a donation center.

Everyone can pitch in by going through their belongings and seeing what they’re ready to give away. 

10. Ministry: Every member pray and find a local ministry or outreach they are passionate about to serve into this year.

International motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Many times the only thing between us and our dreams is a clear plan to get there.

This year we can transform our hopes and dreams into realities and unify our families at the same time!

This year we can transform our hopes and dreams into realities and unify our families at the same time!

What goals are you most excited about doing with your family this year? Do you have more goals that have worked for you in the past and you think may help other families?  Or things you did in your growing up years that others might want to adopt? 

Share in the comments and we can build one another’s dreams together!

jlo blog53

How to Have a Successful First Year of Marriage!

The first year of marriage can be given a bad stigma, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it can be an amazing start! Here’s how!

Like so many other Americans, I have been inspired and challenged by War Room, the Kendrick Brother’s latest motion picture that has been blazing through the box offices as the number one hit.

War Room illustrates the story of The Jordan’s, a beautiful African-American family who seem to have no issues from the surface level. The husband, Tony Jordan, is a handsome charismatic man and is the top salesman at his company. His wife, Elizabeth Jordan is a poised and successful real estate agent, and their daughter is a beautiful sweet girl who excels in both school and athletics.

Despite this seemingly perfect appearance, their life behind closed doors is a completely different story. Tony is revealed to be an emotionally distant husband, Elizabeth as a tired and embittered wife, and their daughter as a little girl heartbroken by her parents’ constant fighting. Can you identify with this family portrait?
Unfortunately, most Americans can relate with this scenario. Like the Jordan family, they want to have a good marriage but have no idea where to begin.

Thankfully the Jordan’s discovered the power of prayer and in the end come together in love and unity. This film resonated with so many because it offered hope, hope for family and hope for marriage, an institution so many had begun to feel was archaic, or worse yet, impossible to actually enjoy.

Read on and find tips that will strengthen you whenever you choose to begin your journey into marriage to avoid making the common mistakes evidenced in The Jordan Family and in families all around the nation who see in themselves an inner exhausted, nagging wife or distanced husband.
The first year of marriage is essential because it is Foundational, the seeds that are planted in this year will inevitably grow in the years to come, either revealing a beautiful flourishing relationship or a withered, neglected marriage. Some affectionately call the first year of marriage the “honeymoon phase” but those who have been married past a year will normally recall the first year as the year of major transition, unexpected difficulties, and also marital bliss.
These seven tips will help you in Your First Year of Marriage:

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My husband is my best friend, lover and pastor. He prays with me everyday and washes me with Scripture. I’m so blessed to have a husband this loving, patient and gracious. And I wish you the same!

1. Be Patient With Yourself and Your Spouse
Be Patient with Yourself! You have never been married before and neither has your spouse, so you both will need grace. Mistakes are unavoidable and perfectly fine if you are learning from them and growing together.

Love takes a lifetime to learn, and is something we daily need to be perfected in. Submission, love, and respect are all character traits that too must be learned.

Enjoy the process of growing together and fight the urge to compare yourself to more seasoned couples who seem to have “made” it. They too were newlyweds once and grew together!

2. Continue Pursuing One Another
Dating doesn’t have to end with the first “I do.” Keep the affection and attraction you had for one another fresh by continuing to pursue each other. Go on weekly date nights and weekend getaways.

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When the fire begins to fade, make a photo book of memories, get a jar and fill it with date ideas together, take a weekend get-away. Fanning the flame is going to be necessary when “real life” starts getting in the way of love!

Do those small meaningful things that originally made both of you feel so special: the quirky love notes, sappy text messages, long conversations full of questions unfolding each other’s personal history, genuine compliments, loving stares, and affectionate exchanges.

I’m so glad older couples stressed the importance of a weekly date night early in our marriage. This small tradition has become the bedrock of keeping our marriage enjoyable and exciting. Have fun!

Pinterest has a plethora of fun and inexpensive date nights. You can even keep a mason jar full of date night ideas on popsicle sticks that you can pull out at any time.

They can be as simple as visiting a local book store together and reading a novel together or as extravagant as going on a night boat cruise through a city harbor.

3. Make Time for Rest and Fun
The importance of having rest and fun to having a healthy marriage cannot be overstated. As life responsibilities pile on from job searching, applying for schools or employment, it is so important to plan out moments daily and weekly to simply relax, unwind, and enjoy one another.

jlo Corey's back

Enjoy the little moments you have with one another, they will become memories to treasure years later!

Remove yourself from anything that would require you to produce or perform and prioritize your well-being as a family. Every conversation cannot be about finances and various life obligations, you have to have time to allow yourselves to just be with one another.

Go for a walk, read together, take a bike ride, or simply watch an old favorite film together, what ever will slow you down and bring you peace.

4. Get Into Each Other’s World
There is nothing more heart-warming than sharing a personal hobby with your spouse. It is such a great way to practically show your husband or wife your love for them.

Beyond mere words, it demonstrates that what matters to your spouse also matters to you.

Even if the activity doesn’t immediately seem enjoyable to you (watching the football game, attending a ballet, cooking), doing it with your spouse will help you understand them more and create a deeper bond between you both.

5. Esteem Each Other Higher than Anyone Else.
This tip may seem evident, but it can be very difficult to actually implement.

Nearly any married couple would state their family or marriage comes first, but it takes continual heart checks and deliberate actions to make sure you are truly putting your relationship with your husband or wife above anything else.

Make your husband feel like a king, and allow him to treat you like his queen. (See my recent blog on Getting Priorities in Order).

6. Seek Mentors
It takes a village to do anything, especially the things that matter most. Find a couple that are enjoying a thriving, strong, Godly marriage and who have your family’s best interest at heart and regularly seek counsel from them.

Open up fully with them help them navigate your first year of marriage. Their experience and love for you both will help enable them to see your blind-spots and offer solutions.

They will also be able to help you both see the other’s perspective more clearly and leave with more compassion for your spouse.

7. Keep God First!
This is the final and most important step to ensuring a successful first year of marriage and life in general! Marriage is a reflection of Jesus and His selfless unconditional love for the church.

We love to preach, teach and pray together. We travel all over sharing Good News with others! God is at the center of it all

We love to preach, teach and pray together. We travel all over sharing Good News with others! God is at the center of it all

Without God there will be no love in the marriage and it will be doomed to fail. Early in your marriage, make seeking God together your first priority.

Pray together, do daily couple devotionals, and worship together. Above all else maintaining a strong connection with God will solidify and strengthen your relationship with one another.

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Living in the Spirit of Expectation

By: Paige Smith

Weeks into the new year some of us are still forging full steam ahead while others of us are needing a little extra push to continue on with the same zeal and motivation we brought our 2017 in with.

The real question we all face when life circumstances, unexpected challenges, and the simple mundane ebb and flow of life come our way is How do we maintain that spirit of Expectation we first had January 1st? And Is it even possible?

We can look forward, into this New Year, full of Purpose, Hope and Expectation!

Expectation is defined as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case” (oxforddictionaries.com).

Another word for expectation is Faith, which is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

The good news is that countless men and women of faith have proven that it is possible to live in a constant state of Expectation even when inevitable life trials come!

We can find inspiration from these Biblical heroes and heroines who demonstrated that it’s truly possible to not just get excited about what God promises us, but to live in that spirit of Expectation continually.

Anna: Cultivating Intimacy in the Wait

Annna is one such woman of faith we can look to to see what it means to live in a spirit of Expectation.

Anna was a prophetess and widow who stayed in the temple day and night praying to God awaiting in joy and expectancy for when her Messiah would arrive.

At around 84 years after a life of fervent prayer and dedication to the Lord her prayers were answered and she met Jesus face to face (Luke 2:36-8)!

Anna lived in the spirit of Expectation. We know this because she prayed to God in faith every day for nearly 80 years!

This year we can stoke the fires of faith in our hearts through pressing into the secret place with our Heavenly Father!

He can revive our spirits and stir up an unexplainable joy even while we’re in the wait for our personal breakthroughs.

Habakkuk: Resolving to Catch God’s Vision

Habbakuk is yet another person we can find inspiration for how we can rise as women of faith this year!

Looking towards the vision GOD has for us in 2017!  Let's rise into faith like never before, like Habakkuk. He's about to do a new thing and we are excited!

Looking towards the vision GOD has for us in 2017!  Let’s rise into faith like never before, like Habakkuk. He’s about to do a new thing and we are excited!

Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet who lived during a time of great corruption. He was known for wrestling with God. His name means “One who Embraces, Clings to, and Relies Upon His God” (Strack, Impact Study Bible, 1026).

When others would have been tempted to give up on God or their faith, Habakkuk made a resolve to go to the high castle wall walking away from every one else to wait until God spoke to him.

It’s after this decision where we find the beloved scripture, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2).

This year we can live in the Spirit of Expectation by being like Habakkuk and resolving to wait on God, positioning ourselves away from distractions, until God responds!

Noah: Preparing for the Rain

Many of us know the story of Noah, he was a man who served God when every one around him had forsaken God.

When God spoke to Noah about the coming flood and told him to build an arc, Noah obeyed the instructions exactly as God gave him.

Noah had never seen rain before but he chose to expect it in faith by doing everything God told him to prepare for it.

Just as Noah showed his faith and expectation in God by obedience to build the arc, we can live this year in a spirit of Expectation by diligently making the necessary preparations now for what we’re believing for in the future!

So what does it mean to Live In a Spirit of Expectation?

It means having joy knowing God has good plans for our lives and that even if everything isn’t going well right now He can turn it around and work everything together for our good!

We can fill ourselves with joy knowing our God has good plans for us this year!

It means setting our minds and positioning ourselves to wait on God in prayer, knowing He will respond!  He’s a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

It means removing the distractions from our lives so we’ll be ready when He speaks to run with the vision He gives us.

It means radically obeying what God has already spoken to us concerning our futures even if we can’t fully comprehend now how He will work it out.

When it seems difficult to keep that spirit of expectation, we can encourage ourselves that God responds to faith!

There may have been a wait before the promise was fulfilled, but ALL of these men and women of faith saw their God breathed dreams realized as they lived a life of expectancy!

Let’s resolve to live in a spirit of Expectation this year knowing that God can and WILL come through in His perfect timing!

We hope this article has encouraged you to continue on in faith this year! What are you believing from God in 2017?

Feel free to share any comments, insights, or questions we love hearing from you!

All White Rising Women

How to Set Goals that Work for the New Year

“Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3)

By: Paige Smith

With 2017 quickly approaching many of us are reflecting on the past year and thinking of everything we want to accomplish in this new year.

We want to be more disciplined, have better relationships, eat healthier, travel more, pay off debt, and learn a new language, among several others.

Yet after the invigorating excitement of dreaming of the possibilities of accomplishing these goals wares off, we are usually left with feelings of defeat and discouragement.

Frustrating questions can arise such as ‘What are my goals?’, ‘How can I even accomplish them?’ Or even a defeating, I didn’t accomplish them last year why bother making them this year?

When we focus on our own shortcomings and past failures discouragement is sure to come. But we always find home when we look first to God!

When we focus on our own shortcomings and past failures discouragement is sure to come. But we always find hope when we look first to God!

If you’ve found yourself wrestling with any of these range of emotions and concerns you’re not alone.

The good news is we are not without hope! There are practical and spiritual principles we can all apply to help ensure success in our New Year goals.

I love the Proverbs mentioned above because it reminds us of the sovereignty of God in our lives and how our success ultimately comes from us trusting and following God’s guidance and leadership.

I encourage you today to give yourself a clean slate and let every old thing pass away! Leave past mistakes, regrets, and failures in the past and determine today to press into 2017, you deserve a new beginning and a fresh start.

Here are 5 practical steps for making your goals work for you.

1. Take time out to reflect on your past year and where you envision yourself going this new year. This is great to do while journaling or during a listening prayer time with peaceful music. Write everything that comes to mind and keep it in a safe place to later organize into concrete goals.

Take time out to journal what God is stirring in your heart for this year.

Take time out to journal what God is stirring in your heart for this year.

Some may have lost faith in creating New Years goals after years of seeing them go uncompleted or unfinished. However studies show even the simple act of writing a goal down significantly increases a person’s chances of accomplishing it (“Why You Should be Writing Your Goals, Forbes.com).
2. Take those journals, thoughts, and jottings and ask the Lord what His plans are.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬).

Without God, we truly can’t accomplish anything of value. God often speaks to us to the desires and dreams in our hearts but He also may be speaking something we hadn’t thought of or He may have a different timing than we originally thought.

Allow God to speak to you about His plans for this year. He may choose to speak through His word, His voice, or seasoned godly leaders in your life or all of the above. God promises we will find what we seek, let’s seek His will for our lives into this New Year!
3. With your list of goals for the New Year, begin to separate them into categories. Some categories you could use are Spirituality, Health, Family, Finances, Personal Development, Career, Education, and any others that work with your life and goals.
4. Refine your goals with the tool, SMART goals. Educators and business leaders alike have attested to the effectiveness of this template and often share it with their employees and students.

For each goal make sure it fits the characteristics of a SMART goal.

A SMART goal is:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic and

Time-sensitive.

Many times it is difficult for us to see our growth or track whether we are completing our goals not because they were bad goals, but simply because they were impossible to measure the completion of them.

For example, a goal such as “get in better shape” could be hard to measure the actual completion of and lead to feelings of defeat of feeling like you’ve never reached it.

This goal would become a SMART goal by changing it to “Do 30 minutes of cardio 3 days a week, drink 8 glasses of water a day, and do 20 crunches and push-ups 4 times a week from Jan 1 2017 to March 1 2017.”

The second goal achieves the same end result of “getting in better shape” but unlike the first it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.
5. Find an accountability partner or mentor to help check in with your progress with your goals. So many modern day and biblical figures we admire can attribute much of their success to having godly mentors that walked them along their journeys.

Look over your goals and find people that already seem to be walking in victory in those areas and ask if they will help you be accountable to reaching your goals.

A mentor who you check in with weekly or biweekly is also vital to seeing your growth this year. At the beginning of the year you can give them a copy of your goals and commit to keeping them updated throughout the year.

The most encouraging thing is that God promises to have good plans for each one of us! God will fulfill the purposes He has for us (Psalm 138:8). We aren’t alone in accomplishing our goals, but He is with us every step of the way.

The plans for our life begin and end with God, who is the Author and Finisher of our fates. He lovingly penned every page of our lives before we were even conceived!

Let’s put our full trust not in our own strength to accomplish our goals, but in the power of God that can work through us! Nothing is impossible with our God.

“Now to Him that who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us” (Ephesians 3:20)

We hope this article was encouraging for you and you find fresh vision and renewed hope for the new year!

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed New Year! From our founder, Jade Lee

We invite you to share any comments and to join JLO in our annual New Year’s Daniel’s Fast, “Rising Women” where we will be praying and fasting together for vision and clarity for 2017!

 

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Rising Women Daniels Fast 2017

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Your purpose as a wife, mother, business woman or entrepreneur is right around the corner. Can you see it?

You may be wondering why we are doing the Rising Women 21 Day Daniel Fast and that is a good question. I began asking Women Everywhere to Join me in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting for the Month of January 2016 and you responded! We broke through in prayer for the entire month.

And now we are going to do it again! Many of us are coming out of a season of transition and have many questions as to what to do next, we are entering into a place we have never been, but we are assured that we are right where God wants us; that is why we are seeking Him together for clear vision and purpose. We are determined to rise into our purpose with no hindrances.

This fast has been on my heart for months but now is the time for breakthrough, the season for deliverance and for each one of us to tap into the fullness of what GOD has for us; sometimes this requires both prayer and fasting. If we want to see all that GOD has for us actualized, there are blockages that can hinder us from receiving it in completion.

This is Biblically evident when reading through many accounts with Jesus and those He ministered to throughout His ministry. As believers, we want to follow His instructions and methods of reaching deliverance.

In one specific incident Jesus after healing a young boy from being deaf and mute, His disciples inquisitively asked Him, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28-29).

You see, there are times in which we can only see breakthrough as we pray and fast.

This is also confirmed as Daniel completes three weeks (21 days) of prayer and fasting. He is visited and told, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel…for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your GOD, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for 21 days.” (Daniel 10:12-13)

Through this passage we can conclude that there are oftentimes spiritual hindrances to our prayer requests. As Jesus revealed to us, we must both pray and fast to bring down certain barriers in intercession.

Both Jesus and Daniel were men of great devotion, consecration, fasting and prayer. Jesus shares that He expects us to pray and fast.

Daniel committed in his heart to not defile his self with the king’s meat (Dan. 1:8) and that is what we will do during this fast. We will separate ourselves from any idols in our lives, knowing our GOD will reveal the deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells in Him (Daniel 2:22).

I began this fast to help me remove personal barriers such as praying for my future children and the removal of fertility blockages. It is also a way for me to detox myself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physiological as I start this New Year. Will you join me in seeing GOD move through us and in us like never before? Let’s believe together for Healing, Dreams Fulfilled and Awakened Hearts! 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, January 10-31, 2017.

Daily Prayer Schedule:

1/10-1/31, Every day on prayer line 6am, On Periscope Every Monday at 6am

 Tuesday, 1/10- The Heart Detox: Cleansing Our Hearts from Hindrances to our BreakthroughWednesday, 1/11- The Power of Yadah Praise: Entering into a Heavenly Place through Praise

Thursday, 1/12- Warfare Prayers: Awakening the Warrior in Your Heart

Friday, 1/13- Remember the Dream: Redigging What God has already Spoken

Saturday, 1/14-  Praying Through Vision: Praying through the Promises of God for your Life

Sunday, 1/15- Writing the Promise: Prophetic Writing to Seal the Word

Monday, 1/16- Hope Deferred: Dealing with the 3 D’s- Depression, Doubt and Delay

Tuesday, 1/17- Wearing the Coat of Joseph: Immersing Yourself in Vision and Favor

Wednesday, 1/18- Praying Through Dreams: When Dreams Point to Purpose

Thursday, 1/19- About the Father’s Business: Praying for Entrepreneurs and Business Women to Arise

Friday, 1/20- The Discipline to Lead: Honing the Skill of Hard Work and Discipline

Saturday, 1/21- Hard Work Ethics: When Passion Fails and Determination Wins

Sunday, 1/22- Organizing the Plan: Praying for the Gift of Administration and Keys to Order

Sunday, 1/22- Organizing the Plan: Praying for the Gift of Administration and Keys to Order

Monday, 1/23- Childhood Dreams: Discovering Purpose through Childhood Clues

Tuesday, 1/24- The Emerging Wife: Praying for Singles, Unmarried and Aspiring Wives

Wednesday, 1/25- The Companion: Embracing our Calling as Wives

Thursday, 1/26- Household Matters: What Matters First is First

Friday, 1/27- The Mother in Me: Understanding Spiritual Motherhood

Saturday, 1/28- The Mother in Me: Purpose as a Biological or Adoptive Mother

Sunday, 1/29- Your Prayers Matter: Taking Your Stance as a Praying Woman

Monday, 1/30- Making a House a Home: The Power of Hospitality

Tuesday, 1/31- Celebration/Testimony Call

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