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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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7 Ways to Pray for Your Husband

By: Paige Smith It didn’t take long into marriage for me to realize how vital prayer was to our union. To be honest early on I viewed prayer as something good, but not essential–similar to eating my greens or taking a multivitamin. Now three years into this beautiful and unexpected journey I now know  prayer […]

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours!  We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season.  We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence!  Don't let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

7 Ways to Find and Keep Your Joy this Holiday Season!

With Thanksgiving just ending and Christmas and Hanukkah just weeks away we are fully in the Holiday Season.

I remember being a little girl bursting with excitement this time of year. I loved everything about the holidays and especially everything about Christmas. I loved getting in the car with my grandmother and driving through neighborhoods full of ornate Christmas light displays. I loved adorning our Christmas tree with lights and colorful ornaments and waiting with expectation for the shining presents underneath to be opened.

The holidays can either be a time of excitement and joy as it was for me as a little girl or for others a time when joy is harder to find and keep. The National Institute of Health even found that “Christmas is a time of year people report high incidences of depression” (psychologytoday.com). For some this is undoubtedly the most exciting time of year and for others it couldn’t be a more painful reminder of the difficult relationships or lost loved ones in their lives.

For whichever scenario relates more to your holiday experience I want to encourage you it is possible to find and keep your joy in every season, even difficulty or in times when it seems we may be lacking or are waiting for the answers to our prayers.

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours!  We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season.  We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence!  Don't let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

Happy Holidays from our Family to yours! We pray the prayer of peace, joy and contentment in this season. We pray for GOD to surround you with loved ones, family and friends that will provide you the gift of their presence! Don’t let anybody or anything take your joy hunny :-)

Here are 7 tips for Finding and Keeping Your Joy this Holiday Season:

1. Make a Joy List
This can be one of the most fun and therapeutic activities when the “holiday blues” attempt to bring you down. I took the advice of JLO founder Mrs. Lee and in a moment of discouragement took out a pen and paper and wrote on one side everything that brought me joy and on the following side the situations that were troubling me. By the end of the exercise I was filled with newfound encouragement over every blessing I had previously overlooked in that moment. I’m sure you’ll discover as I did that your joy list will likely far outnumbered the list of things that are bothering you.

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2. Make time for Loved Ones
Its easy to get busy in the holiday season with finals, cooking, shopping, or simply the day to day grind of life. However, studies have shown that social isolation, even for individuals who naturally consider themselves introverts, quickly leads to depression during the holidays. Spend time with those loved ones that make you smile just thinking of them. Solomon wrote about the value of relationships saying that “two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
3. Focus on what brings you Joy and Peace
There are times when it seems like everything going wrong is demanding our attention. In those moments a sea of emotions can seem to well up around us threatening to take us under with them. Those are the times that when focusing on something, even if it one thing in our life, that brings us joy and peace is so vital. For me sometimes just taking a few minutes to stop and thank God for just one small area in the midst of negative circumstances in my life will shift my emotions entirely.

Sharing the Gospel and Encouraging Others to Press into His Promises Brings me Joy!

Sharing the Gospel and Encouraging Others to Press into His Promises Brings me Joy!

4. Ignore the little things that steal your Joy
As I found in the activity where I wrote my joy list and a list of things bothering me, the things that were stealing my joy were much more trivial than they originally seemed. Still tend to things that need to be taken care of, but while doing it remember the bigger picture and the fact that even the things that bother us today are only temporary.
5. Take time to rest
While for some isolation can bring depression, for others the sheer business of life can bring stress and anxiety. Allow yourself time to rest and rejuvenate. Whether it’s taking a long hot bath, drinking a cup of tea with a favorite book, or simply closing your eyes and soaking in your most loved worship songs, taking time out to rest is needed to keep our joy and peace in the midst of busy lives and schedules.

6. Soak in the Sun
That’s right, soak up the sun! One of the major causes of increased depression in winter months is simply a lack of sunlight exposure. Exposure to the sun helps our bodies release a hormone called serotonin which helps boost our mood (“What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?” Nall). Try to take a quick walk in the morning or if weather permits, eat your lunch outside during 10 am-4 pm when the sun shines at its strongest (sunsafetyalliance.org). My son and I take daily visits to the local playground to get much needed outside time for both of us. 
7. Know that God rejoices over You!
There is nothing more encouraging than knowing our Heavenly Father takes delight and rejoices over us! Zephaniah 3:17 tells us God is literally in our midst, rejoicing and singing over us! When we wake up He is right there celebrating another day He is able to spend with us, singing joyful songs we might not hear but that He sings enthusiastically to express just how much He loves us. I pray this truth penetrates our hearts and fills you with unspeakable joy this holiday season!

GOD enjoys your life, your ministry to Him and to others.  He rejoices over you with singing, as we believe this we are more at peace and rest in Him.  We have more confidence and our joy becomes more stable.

GOD enjoys your life, your ministry to Him and to others. He rejoices over you with singing, as we believe this we are more at peace and rest in Him. We have more confidence and our joy becomes more stable.

What brings you the most joy in your life? What tips will you be trying out this holiday? Feel free to share in the comments below we love hearing from you!

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The Single and Happy Life

by Edleea Brewster

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

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Healing Journaling to Find Your Voice

by Jade Lee

I vividly remember a few moments in my dorm room (years ago) when I needed to get all my thoughts out, one was to write a joy list in overcoming the blues, but the other was reading the Psalms.   I wasn’t on the path I should have been but hearing David’s vulnerability and authenticity in the Psalms was really comforting to me in my time of weakness, I was experiencing what I have now termed Biblical Healing Journaling.  If he could do it, then surely I could freely share what was on my heart, it was like his feelings were equivalent to mine, all I needed was love undeserved, beyond performance.

I have come to find that, like David, we need a way to express our inner lives.  Sometimes, this comes out with whoever we can trust, usually our nearest loved ones or friends.  But it doesn’t always get expressed in positive ways.  I sure have had my moments of trying to express in a healthy way then in quickly goes down hill with a blow up because we are talking about a sensitive topic.

Writing and reading are both very instrumental in creating a stronger self awareness in our lives.  And writing can be a way to ease the raw emotions before they are shared with others in anger or the fullness of frustration the shock causes us to feel.

My Story

I have always loved writing.  It is like second nature to me and was many times much easier than sharing with someone verbally.  I wrote short love stories, poems, journal entries and research papers.  But all of it was from my deepest place of self.  And that’s what I want to help you do, find your deepest sense of who you are then express it in a wholesome way.

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When you write you can safely express whatever is on your heart.  Over the years as you mature in your voice, you will find that this can become an intricate language depending on who you are, or it may remain profoundly simple.

But combined with Scriptural truth, writing can be used very powerfully to heal our hearts and bring deep joy.

One day I began to realize how to write in a different way.  This was the day my writing became my prayer.  I noticed that I was going on a passage from deep heart stings, pressures and emotional duress to release, forgiveness and liberation.  

As I walked many women through mentorship and intimacy therapy I realized that this could be a great tool to help them accomplish a new state of being, they could live with all the windows on their emotional computer closed and their minds could be free of overload.

I started that day by writing everything that was on my mind when I first woke up, for many people that is when the wrestling match begins…words that you have processed from the day before come back up and you begin to wonder “why did they say that like that?”

For some simply casting down thoughts in general and moving on may work.  But I tend to be much more complex.  I need to literally see my thoughts in front of me then deal with them one by one.  (I can think a lot of thoughts at a time so I need a way to get it all out.)

I noticed that once it was all out on that sweet paper in my journal a sense of peace came over me.  And I felt healed!

I wrote vulnerably, free flowing, intricately from the deepest place of self awareness and pain.  And my pain became an electrifying tool to release strong emotions, questions, fears, challenges…without being hurtful to the hearer.  It became a filter guarding my loved ones from the worlds that only God could handle.

Because rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

Rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

The Shift

Once all of our words are out, our heart is empty and we sense “the release.”  At this point we go through the needed passage from pain to an elevated perspective.  We see through the eyes of God- that person, that situation, the words that hurt us.  

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You can do it, just keep going, keep writing and be consistent! Let’s hold one another up in prayer.

Suddenly, it’s as if light begins to break through our darkness.  We are at the end of a gloomy tunnel.

This is what the Psalmist David, experienced in the lament psalms like Psalm 3:

“A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

  1. O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me;
  2. many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.  Selah
  3. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  4. I cried aloud to the lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Selah

In this passage David is running away from his son Absalom.  If you want to read the story read 2 Samuel 15:13-23.  But you may want to read 2 Samuel 14-18 if you want the entire narrative.  It is definitely a tear jerker.

Can you imagine running from your own son who wants to kill you?  There had to be some serious identity, soul searching emotions happening here.  Questions like, What did I did wrong?  Why does my own flesh and blood want me dead?  must have been combatting David’s warrior heart.

This was not your son or daughter sitting in a counseling office, it was them growing up to want to come after your life.  

But notice how David handled it, he wrote down his complaints to God.  He shared from the deepest places of his soul, “O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”

His reputation was being mocked, he was being chased, his life was on the line and he felt severe levels of rejection.  He expressed it freely to God, in a healthy dosage of desperation.

Release the Sting on Paper, Not on a Person

David’s situation was enough to make any marriage fall apart, friendships deteriorate and arguments to spring forth with children.  He had a lot to manage and his heart was full of disappointment.  

I’ve noticed that when I am in that position I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions I may live to regret.  

When my heart aches because someone gave me harsh criticisms like, “You’re not doing this right.”  “I don’t like what you are doing here, the way you minister, how you carry yourself.”  Or, “You need to do this…”  The sting of those words can pierce my tender heart.

I have also learned that if I don’t deal with the sting, try to keep it moving and forget about it, it will come up later because it is still buried deep without.  This can come out in many ways, but we don’t have time to address that in this article.

Journaling is a way to deal with the sting.  This is so helpful for anger management.  

It has helped me to release the sting on paper instead of on a loved one.

Then I can process the pain.  Many times when we feel pain the only words we have to express it are “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt”…”I can’t believe she had the nerve to say that,” “I don’t really feel anything.  I could care less.  They can’t bother me.”

But if we are going to heal, plus have healthy relationships, we need a more expansive vocabulary to communicate in a way that others can receive.

This is called Finding Your Voice and I will help you do that in our next article.

This is really all about self awareness.  Self Awareness is about being in tune with your feelings so that you can express those feelings appropriately to others including challenging upwards, sharing your preferences with peers and lovingly talking to those in your care.

Here are a list of emotions you can bring with you as you do healing journaling:

emotions_Plutchik-wheel

emotions2Using this list of emotions can be very helpful to articulate and even discover for yourself how you really feel about a comment, an action or a behavior of another.  It can also help you sort through how you feel about God in a situation or what you are in need of emotionally.

Not having a voice for your feelings oftentimes leads to one emotion: Anger.  That can then become passive aggressive (shut down) or aggressive (blow up).   Neither are healthy.

When We Hear God’s Voice

After the release in journaling you will being to see the light.  This is where it all makes sense.  God begins to speak to you.  Write down what you hear from Him.

If you need help in hearing His voice asking questions may be a great starting point:

Ask the Question- God is there anything you want me to know?  

  • How is God using this situation to heal me?
  • How is God using this situation to bring something to my attention?
  • How is God using this situation to help me grow?

Journal your thoughts and search the Bible for truth.  

Through this writing process you will find yourself seeing from a perspective beyond your own thoughts.  Maybe you write the psalmist key word, “But”…that is a sign of Transition.

“But God will use this to help others.”  “But I can handle this and that’s why I’ve been chosen for this challenge.”  “But I know these thoughts aren’t true.”  “But I am forgiven.”

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In transition you may feel small but are able to realize you are really at the top of the world, while seeming insignificant.

When you have all your thoughts on paper you can in a way see yourself as if you are looking from the outside in.  You can then medicate your pains with the Word of God.  Some phrases may have been initially expressed in your journaling session that you want to revisit:

“I feel like a failure.  I’m such a loser.  I always mess up.  I’m never going to get this right.”

These are trigger phrases to a negative thought pattern, they are signs towards why you may feel sad, depressed or angry.

This is empowering you to get the knowledge and understanding needed to identify the faulty thought processes you are encountering regularly.  You can now see the enemy’s lists and course correct these ideas with truth.

God’s Word is the truth we need:

For example if you wrote the thought, “I feel so ashamed.”

The Course Correction is Isaiah 61:7 For my shame I will have double and for confusion I will rejoice or 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Finally, like David, you are able to get your Confidence back in the midst of a Really hard, seemingly impossible situation.

And that is the Healing Journaling process.

My Prayer for you: Father, I thank you for every one who reads about this tool you are giving us as Your beloved children.  I pray that you will speak to our hearts through your Scriptures when we are in need of Your help.  Please give us the boldness to face ourselves, to grace to let go our our shame and the confidence to move forward with strength.  Remind us that your mercies are new every morning and You are a very present help in the time of need.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

My Challenge: I want to challenge you to do at least one healing journaling session this week.  Start with prayer and then use the 4 C’s based on the Lament Psalm.  Focus on Psalm 3 as an example:

  • The Complaint- Write down how you feel (Psalm 3:1-2)
  • The Conjunction- Write down your “but” statement (Psalm 3:3)
  • The Clarity- Write down your newfound Biblical clarity (Psalm 3:3-4)
  • The Confidence- Write down the confidence that you now have out of that clarity (Psalm 3:5-8)

I hope you have found this helpful and can use it frequently as another way to do the needed work of inner healing.

If you have any other ideas or questions that center around this concept of healing through writing I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  They are Always Welcome!

Be Inspired.  Be Encouraged.  But Most Importantly…Be Transformed!

In His Love,

Jade Lee

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The Importance of Friendships in Every Season of Life

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Life is full of seasons and each new season is like a new adventure of unchartered territory that brings with it exciting challenges and opportunities to grow and discover new things about yourself and others.

In any new season it can be a great time of transition, we may be in a new job, new location, or starting a new relationship. Transitions can often be a time of high stress for so many of us because they involve so much that is unfamiliar to us.

I hope to bring encouragement to every single person reading this article that it is possible to navigate new seasons, but only with others by your side.

At a young age I’ve experienced a handful of new seasons, all unique and precious that each taught me something new, yet one thing that remained consistent was my need for a community that was there to support me and provide much needed friendship and fellowship.

The best way I found to make new friends in new seasons or maintain friendships I had already cultivated was to realize the season I was in and to communicate realistic expectations to my friends. Below are seven common seasons many will experience throughout their life, however each person has their unique journey and may not experience every one of these seasons or in this order.

7 Common Seasons of Life:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
3. Single and Financially Independent on Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)

5. Marriage
6. New Parents
7. Seasoned family

God is so gracious that He offers us wisdom for every season and in fact He’s the one that brings us into new seasons. Daniel tells us, “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

Our Heavenly Father is the one who is completely sovereign over our lives. He’s the one who “changes the times” of our lives and who can “give wisdom” to us in every season!

Adjusting to new seasons can be difficult, I remember feeling at one point that a new season would begin right when I was getting comfortable with the previous one. Leaning on God and reaching out for help or companionship when I needed it was my saving grace.

From the seasons listed above, here is some practical advice to help in adjusting:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
 There is not as much adjusting in this season since it is the first many of us experience, the best advice I have found is to simply enjoy this season and soak it up, building a strong relationship with each of your family members especially your parents. No matter how old we get we never outgrow our need for our parents.

2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
 For so many, college represents the first of many huge transitions in a person’s life. It can be uncomfortable for some of us, but a great way to adjust in this season is to introduce yourself to new people, and try new things. Go to events and games and fully engage your college experience.

3. Single and Financially Independent from Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)
 Creating a support network of friends, family, and older mentors is invaluable in this season. What helped me the most in this season was realizing how much help I needed and reaching out for it and asking for advice from parents and mentors in my life.

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)
 Courtship or any relationship with marriage as the end goal is such a great time to build the foundation of friendship with your future spouse and best friend for life. Guidance from older mentors and parents is also great to help adjust and prepare for the next season of engagement and marriage.

5. Marriage
 A great way to adjust in this season is to find other young couples to grow with and older couples to glean from. Read more on making and maintaining friendships in this season in the JLO article, “Why You’ll Always Need Girlfriends, even After the Wedding Day”.

6. New Parents
 This is the stage I find myself in now as the mommy to Elijah, our beautiful one and a half year old son. Being a mom has been one of the most fulfilling and also challenging experiences for me, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

More than ever it’s caused me to lean on the support of other older mothers in my life for wisdom and encouragement. I remember when I first came from the hospital, friends came over just to hold Elijah as I took a nap, or to see if I needed assistance on any miscellaneous household chores. It has only been a little over a year but the best way I’ve found to adjust in this season is to reach out to friends and family for support.

7. Seasoned Family
 This is a season I’ve never experienced myself, but have learned from others who have, that a good way to adjust is to keep God at the center of your family and relationships, and to stay connected with others.

I hope this article as helped bring more guidance on adjusting to every season in life and the importance of community and friendships in each season!

What season are you in now and what have you learned about connecting with friends and loved ones? We value your insight and experiences!