Category Archives: BigSister Milestones

Dreams of the Heart

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When I was little, I thought about being a teacher some day. I liked the idea of helping others learn about subjects important to them.

Then I read some non-fiction books that helped me better understand God and His plan for me, and I thought how amazing it would be to write books that helped others.

Later, when I heard a speaker at my high school, I wondered if I could ever impact the lives of others through speaking.

I didn’t know anything about these careers or how to begin, so it’s no wonder that my college studies took me in a different (and more safe) direction of risk management. Sure, I could teach, speak, and write about my knowledge of business, insurance, and risk, but I gave up the idea of turning these childish fantasies into careers.

Boy was I wrong!

I had no idea that those fantasies were actually part of a bigger dream—a dream that God placed in my heart. That’s how He works, you know:

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NAS).

This Scripture is two-fold. It means that God puts the desires in our heart and then He fulfills them.

Unbelievable Dreams

At first, I didn’t think my dreams held any meaning. That’s because of two issues.

1. I didn’t fully understand my dreams. They seemed distinct and disconnected; how could I have three different careers? But I’ve learned over the past few years in the writing world that speaking and teaching are integral parts of writing non-fiction. If I didn’t have a desire to do all three, then I wouldn’t be as successful as God apparently wants me to be.

2. I didn’t understand God’s long-term vision. I was looking for short-term wins, but God was focused on the long-term goal. It wasn’t His will for me to get published in my twenties, but maybe my books will come out in my thirties. Even if it takes longer, I am now content that God’s will is perfected on His time and in His way. All I can do is work diligently; He’ll handle the rest.

Celebrating Wins

Nowadays, I rejoice in the place God has me, and I celebrate every little win. This month, I have several things to be grateful for.

1. A Win for Writing – A few weeks ago, I shared with you that one of my articles was included in the anthology Faith and Freedom, which makes me a “published author.” As if that weren’t cool enough, I now have my own author page on Amazon, which includes my bio, links to my blog posts, and a list of upcoming events. Folks can even follow me on Amazon to know when my next book comes out.

2. A Win for Teaching – In July, I’ll be teaching a five-week class at the Tallahassee Christian College and Training Center called “Begin with Blogging.” I look forward to helping others start their blogs from scratch so they can get their message out there. I was recently interviewed on Wave94 about this upcoming class. If you’re interested, click below to hear the recording. You can also learn more and register at www.TCCTC.org.

3. A Win for Speaking – This year, I got serious about making my dream of speaking a reality. I’ve been working with a coach to solidify my messages and learn how to reach out to churches and conference hosts. Take a look at my Speaking Topics here and let me know if you’re interested in booking me for your next event.

4. An Awesome Opportunity – Next week, I’ll be joining my mentor Michelle Medlock Adams in New York, NY! We’re going to the Book Expo of America, the largest book expo in the US. Not only does this make the book nerd in me very, very happy, but it will be a great time to meet with publishers and this year’s hottest authors. I certainly didn’t expect God’s path to take me in this direction, which makes me all the more excited to see where it leads!

Your Dreams

What’s your dream? I know you have one because God puts desires in each of us. Perhaps you’ve forgotten what that dream was…or maybe you’ve been waiting so long that you think God has forgotten you.

Earlier, we looked at Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Do you know what the next verse says?

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:5 NAS).

This week, I encourage you to write down what’s in your heart, even if it seems like a “childish fantasy” at first. Ask God for clarity and guidance, and then write down whatever He gives you. The more you seek God’s will for your life, the clearer it will be. And the more willing you are to take a leap of faith in God’s direction, the stronger your faith will become. Commit your way to God, and He will bring about the dreams of your heart in ways you never imagined.


Need prayer? Leave a comment below with your dream list, and I’ll agree with you in prayer this week that God will give you the knowledge, favor, and wisdom to move forward. God bless you as you live (and dream) for Him!

Faith, Finances, & Freedom – Spring Publications!

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I’m so pleased to share the following two publications with you—each of which include one of my articles!

 

Girlz 4 Christ

This beautiful faith-based magazine is read by girls around the world! Here’s an excerpt of my article, “Faith in Finances,” which appears in the Spring edition:

I couldn’t wait to start my first job! At just eight years old, I started pulling my little red wagon around the block collecting old bottles to recycle. I only made a few cents per pound, but I learned the importance of hard work and the value of money.
Years later, I found myself in a successful career in the business world. By the world’s standards, I was climbing the corporate ladder! Unfortunately, I was also becoming increasingly stressed, which was taking a toll on my health.

Yet when God called me away from that job so I could focus on my writing ministry, I freaked out! My identity had become so wrapped up in what I made, that I couldn’t see what God was calling me to be. It took a while, but God was able to break through my worries and redirect my heart toward Him.

My prayer for you is that you start out on a better foundation than I did. Whether you’re still pulling a red wagon, working a part-time job, or lining up summer internships, it’s never too early to put your paychecks into perspective.

Here are my top four lessons to help you live out your faith in your finances:

1. Love God, Not Money
Paul said, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10 NAS).

If you think this only applies to wealthy people, think again. Those who have the least amount of money are often the most fixated on it.

Fortunately, Paul told us how to avoid the love of money: “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11 NAS).

Don’t love money. Love God instead, and pursue His attributes in your life.

Finish reading this article in the Girlz 4 Christ Magazine by subscribing here for FREE.

 

Faith and Freedom

Do you remember my article “A Godly Response to the Sins of Our Fathers,” which was published on One Christian Voice last year? I’m excited to share with you that Living Parables of Central Florida selected it for inclusion in their latest anthology, Faith and Freedom. This book includes beautiful, thought-provoking articles, poems, and other musings from authors across the US, as well as Ireland and Africa.

You can now purchase Faith and Freedom on Amazon. Proceeds go to Living Parables of Central Florida.

 

I’m so thankful to share this godly resources with you! I pray they bless and inspire you to draw closer to the Lord.

Building on a Firm Foundation

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(The historical trail in Boston.)

In late February, I spent several days at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. Although the conference included familiar talks, workshops, and dinners, it felt different than the three I had previously attended.

In my first conference, I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into! Everything about the writing industry was new to me, and I felt overwhelmed by all of it. I knew that I was obeying God’s will, though, so I resolved to learn everything I could about the craft and the industry.

My first writing award!

Three years later, I finally started to see results. The industry lingo was no longer foreign but commonplace. Meeting with editors was fun and exciting, instead of scary and worrisome. I even skipped the basic classes I had taken previously and enjoyed more advanced material.

And—the cherry on top—I won my first two writing awards! One was for my children’s book Who is God?, and the second was for my article A Godly Response to the Sins of our Fathers. That article was also selected to be included in an anthology, which will make it my first article in print!

As I think about my writing ministry, I see an image of a tower with a large, firm foundation. I’ve spent three years working on that foundation, and now I’m ready to add the next level. Yes, there are writers who write better or have more of a presence on social media, but I have a solid foundation, and I’m making real progress.

What about you?

Think about where you are in your career, ministry, and relationships. Are you stressed because you don’t know everything there is to know about your job? Are you concerned that you aren’t the perfect mom you always wanted to be?

Don’t worry! No one expects you to be an expert from the start. But you can make progress.

Here are four steps to help you build a firm foundation:

A couple years ago, Robby and I visited the Constitution Museum in Boston, which celebrates the foundation of our country.

1 – Choose the right cornerstone.

Jesus is the load-bearing cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without Him, nothing can stand. Whether you’re building your career or your family, make sure Jesus is the cornerstone of your foundation. (See Isaiah 28:16.)

2 – Don’t despise small beginnings.

We serve an extravagant God, and yet He often starts small. The earth was created from a thought, the first man from grains of sand, and the Church from a handful of men who followed Jesus. No matter how small your first step is, rejoice in where it can lead you. (See Zechariah 4:10.)

3 – Learn the basics.

Too often, we want to jump ahead, to claim the prize without investing the effort required. Not only is this prideful, it sets us up to fail, because we are reaching for something we have not earned and for which are ill-prepared. Instead, invest your time and energy in learning the basics.

As Grandma used to say, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

4 – Persevere.

Perseverance means “a patient enduring.” It assumes that there will be difficulties, but it calls us to endure them, to “keep on keepin’ on.” When the grades aren’t as high as you’d like, when you can’t get your little one to fall asleep, when you’re passed over for the promotion…persevere. Then persevere some more. (See 1 Timothy 6:11.)

One day, after you’ve spent months or even years focusing on God, learning the basics, and persevering through hardships, you’ll find that your foundation is built—and it’s time to start adding to it.

 

[Click to Tweet: Make sure you’re building on a firm foundation.]

 

I’d love to hear from you! What foundations are you building in your life? Have you begun to take the next step, to build on top of that foundation?