Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tranquility Now!

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
Proverbs 14:30

It's been months since I have sat on the other side of this screen to write from my heart.  Not that I haven't been writing, oh no!  I am a student. A full-time Psychology student.  Writing takes up half of my life right now.  Since the fall of last year, however, finding the time to sink into what God places on my heart has been a fleeting desire and not a pressing need.  Today is sunny out; I can feel the warm rays on my arm as I sit comfortably in my arm chair.  Homework is absolutely NOT the activity I most want to pursue.  So here I sit, with a small word to share with you, my friends.

Today in my reading in the Book of Proverbs, I came across this tiny little verse nestled among the rest, "A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot."  Something about those words fell into my soul in a strange way.  On one hand they were refreshing and cool like a drink of water on a summer day.  On the other hand, they were bitter and scary.  Do I have a tranquil heart?  Am I at peace with everything that God has brought to me in this season of life?  Or am I envious of the season of life of others?  As a mom of three rowdy little boys (can you say "Calgon?"), a student in an intense program of study, a wife, sister, daughter, and friend (and I use that term cautiously, because I am not really sure how to bend the definition to the MIA person that I am lately!), sometimes I feel as though the responsibilities which tug at my attention wear me down to a place of begging for someone else's life...ANY TAKERS?!

A couple of months ago, my husband suffered a severe broken leg and dislocated ankle.  His surgery was invasive and painful.  His recovery has been difficult and straining.  Although we are definitely on the other side of crazy now, we have had to make some major adjustments to compensate for the extra time and effort that it takes to get everyone ready and out the door every day, when a huge half of the team is very limited in his ability to contribute!  For a while, I would cry to myself at night wondering the ubiquitous, "Why me?"  I couldn't understand why, even though this is really not such a major setback, that this had to happen now?  Why not winter when we didn't care if we were stuck indoors? Why not summer when my teacher/coach husband and kids didn't have to be shuffled to and from school? Better yet, why not NEVER!  I mean, come on, is there really a good time for this? And it's bad enough that for the past few months before this, I had quietly been jealous of the social life of my friends.  While they were celebrating birthdays and having girls' nights, I have been writing papers and celebrating good marks.  While they were studying great women's Bible studies, I was studying personality theory.  Now, on top of our already hectic life and sorely neglected house, my husband has been involuntarily relegated to chief couch warmer and pillow fluffer. Poor. Pitiful. Me.

Who am I kidding?  Poor pitiful me?  I would say that of the two of us, I got the better end of the broken-foot deal by a mile.  And my busy-ness is the bustling of a growing family and the joy of finishing my degree.  There's some perspective for ya, Julie!  The reality is that while I am busy throwing my pity party of one, God is busy. Period.  He is working.  He is doing things.  He wants me to join in with Him.  He wants me to experience peace. He wants me to have joy in the journey, no matter the circumstances.  He wants me to have health, life, and tranquility that comes from laboring with Him on my lumpy, patchy, un-kept, pasture-in-progress-of-a-life.  Instead, I have been rotting my soul longing for the "someday" of basking in the lush, beautifully tended meadows of the greener field next door.  I forget that those beautiful, bountiful fields take the time of the seasons, effort, and WORK.  It isn't easy.  In fact, farmers call it back-breaking work for a reason. 

What I need now more than ever is life in my flesh, not rot in my bones.  Fullness of life within us is what thrusts us forward toward purposefulness and usefulness.  That tranquility that is SO longed for cannot be achieved by jealousy and envy of anything or anyone around us.  A tranquil heart is working and resting with Him, whatever the season of life he brings us through.  A tranquil heart finds Him as the Breath of Life in our tired bodies when we feel we just cannot go any further and realize we are not alone.  

What about you?  Could you use the cool refreshment of tranquility?  Here is the prayer of my heart today:
"Lord have mercy on me.  You are Good.  You are faithful.  Nothing surprises You.  Forgive me for feeling self-pity when I should see blessings.  Forgive me for the envy of my heart.  Breathe Your breath of tranquility deep within my soul and let me move forward in Your purposes and according to Your will.  I desire to find favor only in You.  In Your Son, Jesus', name."

-julie

Friday, September 21, 2012

True Woman '12 w/Dannah Gresh

Okay, never done this before, but I am going to attempt to blog live from a True Woman break out session with Dannah Gresh.  What that means is that this blog will keep changing before your eyes! :) This session is called "What Children Need to Become Pure Holy Adults."  Join with me, comment, and when it is done, I am going to give away a set of Dannah Gresh books....Six Ways to Keep the Good in Your Boy and Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl.  Here we go!

Here is the link to Dannah Gresh's website, for those of you interested in her ministry.  Awesome resource for parents!

Did you know that Dannah has a church curriculum for group study of And the Bride Wore White?  Please check that out if you work with teens.

"Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other VERY much, they hold each other really, really tight." And so begins this session with Dannah.  That was her answer when her daughter came to her years ago and asked how her eggs in her belly knew to turn into babies!  Wow, what a great answer!  Any of you have a "First Conversation" story to share? :)

 As Dannah begins, I am struck with her passion for being a mommy mentor.  She has walked there before us and is has raised three Godly and pure children.  May she be one of our wise guides as we journey through motherhood.


The  I am overwhelmed with the culture that we live in and how it is assaulting our children and families.  There is an erosion of the fabric of Truth and and an all-out war on the Gospel.  As moms, we have to rise up and build up our homes and protect our children's purity.  

Six Strategies To Live Above The Culture:

1. Enter into God's healing for you.  II Cor. 1:3,4

To get to the heart of protecting our children's purity, we have to have to be healed ourselves.  Dannah says, "You cannot raise sexually pure kids until your heart is whole."  Has the sin of your past hindered you from feeling whole and pure?  

2. Become a connected mom.  Proverbs 22:6

I cannot say enough about this.  In her two books, Dannah details this more, but as I am thinking about this now, I think, in our technology-rich world, how are we unplugging from all of those distractions and plugging into our children?  I can think of a time recently when I was on my computer doing homework, my husband was watching TV, my middle guy was playing WII, my oldest was playing DS...and our evening passed with very little interaction.  Dannah tells us about the abundance of research on family connectedness and the importance it plays in our children's development.  Don't underestimate how vitally important face-to-face connectedness is for our children.  Make time to have meaningful, connected moments with them.  Can you share some of your strategies for connecting? What is something you are doing with your family to be connected?

3. Encourage creative role play. 3 John 1:1

TURN OFF THE TV.  TURN OFF VIDEO GAMES.  And as Dannah says, "LET THEM BE BORED!"  That's all I will say on the subject.  Anybody else want to chime in here?

4. Celebrate their physical maturity.  Psalm 139:13,14

Moms, it is paramount that we, our children's parents, are the source of knowledge as our children grow and their bodies change.  

5. Build a vision of their spouse.  II Timothy 3:1-5

Dannah made an outstanding and passionate plea to us that we stop focusing more on our children's future careers than we do their future mates.  Are you talking about their future oneness with a spouse?  "Positive messages are far more potent than negative ones."  

6. Become a praying mom.  Deuteronomy 9:1-5

"If you do not have an ongoing conversation with the Holy Spirit about raising your children to be set apart in this corrupt culture, you will become a paranoid mother whose legalism does not allow her children to face the giants God means for them to face." -Dannah Gresh

Done...Comment below some way this has blessed you.  If you have read the Six ways books, tell us how they have blessed you.  If you are familiar with Dannah's ministry, tell us a way that she and her ministry have blessed you.  If this is the first time that you have ever even heard the name, Dannah Gresh...then HALLEUJAH! This has served it's purpose.  She is THE BEST purity resource I have ever come across and whether she knows it or not, a great mentor of mine.  I am so very thankful that I can share her with you! :) 

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine!!  Anyone but me remember mom, grandma, dad...someone who had gotten up before the chickens and had their coffee, come in to wake them up with that annoying mantra?  For me it was my Memaw.  She and my Grandaddy were up at like 5 am EVERY DAY (even Saturdays!) drinking coffee as black as night, and then in she would come....RISE AND SHINE, JULIE BUG!  Can anyone say "Fingernails down a chalkboard?!"  Covers would come up tightly over my head and I would snarl and hiss till she would go away. 

Spiritually speaking, lately I feel like I am living with the covers up over my head snarling and hissing at the world to go away.  My life has been so purposefully consumed by all of my comings and goings that I have been resisted opening up to the newness of the day.  All the while, that Voice inside is nudging, "Rise and shine, sleepy head."

Well, it's Friday morning, way too early to shine, but nevertheless, time to head back to the conference center for True Woman '12.  I was thinking a lot last night about this idea of personal revival.  Elyse Fitzpatrick and Nancy Leigh DeMoss both talked yesterday about those things which keep us from what God wants for us.  And both spoke about substitutes, idols, functional gods.  I could easily say that God is my all, but what if I asked myself, Where are my competing desires, passions, appetites? What are the things I long for more than I long for Him? What is it in my life that means more than God?  Or how about this one, What am I willing to sin to get? Yikes...that one stings a little. For me, though, it came down to What am I clinging to more than I am clinging to God?  Because lately my snarling and hissing has been all about self-protection.  I have been like a wounded animal, not willing to let anyone, especially God, tend to my wounds. For months I have been shielding my wounds afraid to let God open and dress them...afraid it would hurt too much. I have been clinging to my wounded heart more than the Savior that can heal it.  My pain has been my God.

Let me ask you, friend.  Is there something or someone that you are clinging to more than your Savior?  Is there a competing desire of your heart?  Is there a greater passion?  Is there something you are willing to sin for?  Claim it.  Deal with it.  He won't change you if He doesn't have all of you.  That is the prayer of my heart today, that I give Him all of me.  Could you pray the same?

Up for this morning is Janet Parshall, Andrea Griffith, and.....drum roll please.....MARY KASSIAN!  {crowd goes wild!}  I hope that you will live stream with us if you can.  Don't forget that I am giving away a great True Woman conference tote filled with awesome resources including three books from the leadership pre-conference!  Comment below or tweet @JewelsChohan with hashtag #TW12 to be entered to win!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Live Stream, Comment, and WIN!


The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
(Proverbs 20:5 ESV)
I am already SO encouraged by what I am hearing and experiencing here at True Woman '12.  I just finished up the Women's Leadership Pre-Conference with Elyse Fitzpatrick and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  What a word from the Lord.  Check out my Twitter feed for just a taste of the many feast-worthy moments from that event.  I will blog more in-depth about that later!  Come back!

For now, I want to make sure each and every one of you who aren't here with me don't miss a minute.  I am sitting here in the conference hall listening to and watching the speakers' sound checks and I am struck with the thought that lives can and will be changed here this weekend.  Some will hear a Word from the Lord that will totally revolutionize their lives. Some will be encouraged in a weary journey.  Some will get the refreshing water for which their soul so desperately longs.  And some will come to know the Lord.  With that being said, I want to make sure that if there is anyone who is still on the fence about tuning in tonight or the rest of this weekend, I have a word for you.  Fall in.  Take a few moments to yourself and join me here tonight.  You don't have to be here to be here

To offer a little incentive to get online and live stream with us, I am going to be giving away a bag of goodies!  When I say goodies, I mean GOODIES!! I have received some awesome resources at the pre-conference that I am going to be giving away! This giveaway includes the following books: True Woman 101: Divine by Design by Mary Kassian & Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Voices of the True Woman Movement by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Mary Kassian and others, and Mended by Angie Smith.   I also have a True Woman Conference Tote full of resources to go with it!  You won't need this prize to be blessed tonight by joining in, but who doesn't love FREE STUFF?!

So here's the deal: to enter to win, you need to go RIGHT NOW and register to stream live with us.  The link is on my sidebar or you can click HERE.  If you haven't been able to stream, check out the @truewoman twitter feed for some highlights. Then you need to comment here below something that you are hearing that is encouraging you.  Alternatively, you can mention me in a Tweet @JewelsChohan and use hashtag #TW12.  That's it!  Comment or Tweet about the conference and you can win a pre-conference prize bag!  YAY FREE STUFF!! 

**UPDATE!  Just had an encouraging and humbling conversation with Mary Kassian.  I can't believe I am typing this.  If you know me, you know what a hero she is to me.  I am SO blessed.  And as a bonus, Mary Kassian has signed her two books from my giveaway!  I have to admit, it will be difficult to give those up; but nevertheless, I will :) 



Talk to you soon! -jewels



Leadership Pre Conference-True Woman '12

I'm Here!!  Leadership Pre-Conference is about to begin!   Eight hundred women from all over the country have registered and checked in for an interactive workshop specifically designed for women in women's ministry.  I am so humbled to be here and be a part.  This year's focus is on Women Helping Women.  It's amazing to me that these opportunities exist to deepen my love of the Lord and passion for ministering to women.

As I type Nancy Leigh DeMoss has stepped onto the stage to welcome this delegate...and would you believe there are women here from as far away as SWITZERLAND!  WOAH!

Okay, as excited as I am to share, I am more thrilled to participate!  So, if you haven't registered to LIVE STREAM, the click on my link in the sidebar and jump on here later to comment with me!

-jewels
Hello, Nancy!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Would You Join Me?

Hello Friends,
Wow...how life gets ahead of us sometimes!  I cannot believe that I haven't found the time to sit and share in  so many months.  I have worked on so much writing, but never finished to completion anything to share.  So, I would love to share something with you that is enriching me daily at the moment.  

As many of you have heard me say before, my life was set into a more focused and purposed motion after attending a True Woman conference in 2008.  Wow!  What a journey I have been on!  The transcripts from that conference can be purchased in book form called Voices from the True Woman Movement or read and listened to straight from the website here.  I HIGHLY recommend the sessions from John Piper and Mary Kassian.  All of the others are AMAZING as well, but those are really the two speakers that spoke to me most greatly at that point in my journey.

In 2010, I attended the conference again.  I said before, this is not your ordinary women's conference.  It is so theologically sound and encouraging to the heart of a woman.  You can check out the sessions for that conference here.  I recommend Janet Parshall's: Mary's Secret to Embracing Life-Shaking Circumstances, Nancy Leigh DeMoss's: What is a True Woman, and a break-out session by Mary Kassian: The Genesis of Gender.  There isn't a sour note there, but that's where I would start.

Now, here it is, two years later, and True Woman '12 is just around the corner, 13 days away to be exact.  I have planned to attend this conference since early this year.  I wouldn't miss it.  Unfortunately, but maybe perfectly for me, I will be attending alone this year.  In the past, I have gone with a group of women from my church, but this year, other obligations have kept me from promoting or organizing it (hello new baby and full-time course load).  I am really trying to see this as a great opportunity to quiet my heart and focus without my usual distractions.  But, I have been a bit saddened that I haven't had the ability to get more women to this great conference with me.  

To my surprise, this morning, I received a message that this year's conference is going to be available via LIVE STREAM!  That's right, the entire conference will be available from wherever you are, assuming you have an internet connection!  YAY!! So I am wondering...WHO WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND TRUE WOMAN '12 WITH ME?!  The conference is September 20-21.  Would you commit to "attend" some or all of this year's conference with me by streaming online?  I would love to chat with you all about the conference and what God is doing through this great event after it is over.  What a great way for those of us who live in different parts of the country to share in this together and encourage one another from afar!  Share this blog with a friend and invite her to join us as well.  I believe God is going to do mighty things!  I am SO excited!

So, if you are willing to participate in this way, please leave a comment below.  Also, the True Woman conference has been sending a daily Heart Prep devotional leading up to the conference.  We are on day 9 today which I am posting below.  Days 1-8 are also linked if you would like to read those as well.

Commit today, and lets do this together!   I will post the Daily Heart Prep on here every day leading up and we can pray for one another as well.  Check back for the link to the live stream in my sidebar, and while you are preparing, check out the True Woman event page with the schedule and speakers info.  What a different experience doing this both solo and as a group!  I wonder how God will use this solitude/distance approach to this whole experience?  Again, don't forget to comment below that you are joining me!

Here is today's Heart Preparation...

True Woman 2012 Conference

Day 9: Pride on Your Side?

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. ~James 4:10
A missionary to a certain region in Africa—a man who had been greatly used by God as an instrument of revival—recalled that when he would mention (even as a passing reference) the name of another Christian to any of the national believers, they would often ask, “Is he a broken Christian?” Not, “Is he committed?” or “knowledgeable?” or “hardworking?”

“Is he broken . . . ?”

How can you tell if you’re a broken Christian? One way is to consider the difference between a broken person and a proud person:

Proud people desire to be known as a success. Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others successful.

Proud people are elated by praise and deflated by criticism. Broken people know that any praise for their accomplishments belongs to the Lord, and that criticism can help them become more like Christ.

Proud people keep others at arm’s length. Broken people are willing to take the risk of getting close to others.

Proud people are concerned about the consequences and problems caused by their sin. Broken people are more concerned about how their sin has grieved and dishonored a holy God.

Proud people feel worthy of respect. Broken people feel a desperate need for God’s mercy.

If statements like these reveal the presence of pride in your heart, don’t despair; God has been merciful to show you your need. The first step of brokenness and humility is to get honest about these things, to acknowledge the true condition of your heart. Don’t try to cover up, justify, rationalize, compare yourself with others, or pretend you’re better off than you really are. The riches and blessings of God’s grace belong to those who recognize their spiritual poverty.
If someone were to ask your friends or family members of you, “Is she/he a broken Christian?” what would the response be?
Excerpted from Nancy’s newest book, The Quiet Place.
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Prayer Focus: Pray for protection from fear of man, pride, discouragement, and every other weapon the enemy might use against the women who attend.
There is an urgent need... and we have been called to respond



      

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Visit With My Dad

Ever feel like life is rumbling forward faster than you can keep up?  Like everything you want to do is going on without you while you drown in the the stuff you need to do?  Well, that's where I have been lately.  Sinking into Must-Do, Need-To-Do oblivion.  It's times like these that I really, honestly, more than anything, just wish I had a wise dad to go sit with on a big ol' porch, drink a huge cup of rich coffee, and have him tell me it's worth it.  He knows it's worth it, because he was there once, too.  I've been feeling like that a lot lately.  Don't mind if I say it, but it kind of sucks not having it.  And I know in my heart that my Heavenly, Father God wants that same company with me, but I like to throw myself a little pitty party once in a while and whine a little.  "I know you love me, God.  I know you're all the father I need.  But the truth is, I just want that Daddy wisdom sometimes.  And you're just not doing it for me!"  Shameful, right?!

So, as you may know, I'm in school right now.  My brain is moving ninety to nothing most of the time (and the nothing is the part I'm worried about!), but I am wrapping up my last couple of classes for the semester so I feel a little bit of rest coming on.  If you are anything like me (and women, you can probably relate best), when you're all wound up, usually you're doing just fine, but when things start to slow and settle, that's when the emotional release comes on.  You know what I mean?  You know what I mean...and the waterworks turn on! It's weird how that happens...you would expect that when stress is the highest, that's when you'd lose it.  But no, it's in that moment that you realize you've gotten to the clearing that all that pent-up emotion comes flooding out.  That's how it was for me this morning.  I have been having that little pitty party I was telling you about earlier with the Lord the last couple of weeks.  But today, oh today was that day.  I made a big cup of Starbucks Verona, sat down in my big, brown armchair, opened up the Word, and there was my my Dad.  Just when I needed Him the most, He was there.  Here's what He said:

    When I was a son with my father,
        tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
    he taught me and said to me,
    “Let your heart hold fast my words;
        keep my commandments, and live.
    Get wisdom; get insight;
        do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
    Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
        love her, and she will guard you.
    The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
        and whatever you get, get insight.
    Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
        she will honor you if you embrace her.
    She will place on your head a graceful garland;
        she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

(Proverbs 4:3-9 ESV)

My Dad's really poetic, right?!  Well, after that little chat, I had myself a good cry.  The wisdom of generations, passed down from father, to son, from father, to son, from Father, to me.  Just what I needed.  The exact Words that I was longing to hear, and my Father poured them into me as generously as I had poured that coffee!  All this hard work...all these late nights...all this wrestling with purpose, and giftedness, and calling...it's the pursuit of wisdom, and it's worthy.  I like how the NIV (1984) says verse 7, "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding."  It can't get any clearer than that! 


So what about you?  Is there something your heart is aching to hear?  Is there a moment of clarity you are seeking or a pat on the back or a cool drink of water to keep running?  When was the last time you had coffee with your Dad and let Him pass on His Wisdom?  It's great if we have an earthly dad we can call upon, but we're not alone if we don't.  Care to share a time when your Father God met with you in a special way?