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live out

YOUR influence Spring + Summer 2013

Courage


Dear ACSI early education members,

It is a joy and privilege to welcome you to ACSI! We are excited to bring FullFill to your inbox! This leadership magazine for Christian women will inspire you to lead courageously through this worldly life for God’s eternal purposes. As early educators, we are responsible for comforting the children we care for when they feel vulnerable and afraid. This can be a difficult task when we may not be at peace with the happenings of our own lives. However, we can take refuge in remembering the promises that God has made us and know that our God is bigger! Ask the Lord to show you how He wants you to grow in being courageous. He may lay a situation on your heart that needs help, an obstacle to overcome or challenge you to face an old fear that needs resolution. As the inspirational Evangelist Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Courage is contagious and it will be seen in who you lead, how you do it and where you draw strength from—God’s truth. We have been charged to be brave in leading future generations to be courageous warriors for Him. Is this resonating in your own life? Allow your spiritual coping skill of bravery to inspire family, friends, children, parents and peers when they are greeted with challenges in their own lives. Then, they will see how God has equipped you for His battle of truth. After all, you have nothing to lose when God is championing you!

Sara Jo Sara Jo Dillard ACSI DIRECTOR OF EARLY EDUCATION RESOURCES earlyeducation.org

ACSI

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editor’s letter

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You Never Know {PUBLISHER} Elisa Morgan, M.Div. {MANAGING EDITOR} Mary Byers, B.A., CAE {ART DIRECTOR + GRAPHIC DESIGNER}

I was an emerging professional speaker in my mid-twenties when I had the privilege of hearing Michael Schwass speak. Crippled at age 16 in a hockey game, he was a quadriplegic that had done the impossible: walk again. There was only one problem. The surgeons who repaired the damage to his spine assumed he would never walk again and hadn’t repaired it for use, only paralysis. The stress was too much and he was paralyzed a second time. I couldn’t imagine how heartbreakingly crushing that must have been. But Mike found a way to look for the good in even the worst of circumstances. He showed rare courage. After his presentation, I approached him and told him I admired that courage. “I don’t know that I would have been able to do what you’ve done,” I said. His response? “You never know what you really have inside until it’s tested.” I have never forgotten those words. What tests have you faced? What tests are you facing? We discover things about ourselves in the crucible of trying times. In this issue, you’ll discover what courage looks like for many different women. Our interview with Lauren Scruggs addresses the unthinkable. You may have read about her or seen her interviewed on The Today Show. While deplaning from a private plane on a rainy winter evening, Lauren walked into a spinning propeller that was invisible to her in the dark. She lost her left eye and her left hand. She’s learned the meaning of the word courage in her own life as a result.

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You’ll also hear from women who have faced unwanted divorce, who are raising foster children, and who are obedient to God’s call on their lives even when they feel overwhelmed or ill-equipped. I suspect you’ll be able to see some of yourself in them, even though your circumstances are different. To balance the topic of bravery, we asked Margaret Feinberg to address “awe.” She writes, “God delights for us to cup our hands in prayer and scrunch our faces against the vault of heaven in holy expectation that he will meet us in beautiful, mysterious ways.” Oh, I long for that! Beauty. Mystery. I pray that I’ll be able to experience awe in the midst of laundry and lists. I pray that I’ll learn to recognize God when he meets me. And I pray that I’ll notice these gifts even in the midst of the daunting trials. Courageous. Awe-filled. Hardly words I’d use to describe myself but now that I’ve read what’s inside this issue of FullFill I’d like to be more of both. And I’m going start by challenging myself to do what makes me fearful and to trust God to reveal himself when I do. You never know what you have inside until it’s tested. Sincerely,

Mary Byers

Cynthia Young, B.A. {ADVISORS}

Tracey Bianchi, M.Div. SPEAKER AND AUTHOR

Jonalyn Fincher, M.A. AUTHOR, SPEAKER, APOLOGIST

Beth Flambures, C.P.A. CFO, ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS

Carla Foote, M.A. SENIOR DIRECTOR COMMUNITY & RESOURCES, MOPS INTERNATIONAL

Phyllis H. Hendry PRESIDENT, LEAD LIKE JESUS

Bev Hislop, D.Min. ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, WESTERN SEMINARY

Carolyn Custis James, M.A. PRESIDENT, WHITBYFORUM FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, SYNERGY FOR WOMEN

Laurie McIntyre, M.A.C.E. PASTOR OF WOMEN2DAY, ELMBROOK CHURCH

Patricia Raybon, M.A. RETIRED, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM

Constance Rhodes AUTHOR, SPEAKER, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF FINDINGBALANCE

Halee Gray Scott, M.A. Ph.D. FACULTY, A.W. TOZER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY & WESLEY SEMINARY AT INDIANA WESLEY SEMINARY

Liz Selzer, M.A. M.Div., Ph.D. PRESIDENT, CEO, MENTOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

FullFill P.O. Box 461546, Aurora, CO 80046 Join FullFill at FullFill.org. Contact us at info@FullFill.org For advertising contact alliances@FullFill.org Faith position statement and writer’s guidelines available at FullFill.org. FullFill is a ministry of Mission: Momentum. The purpose of FullFill magazine is to equip women to recognize, utilize and maximize their influence in all the spheres of their lives. All opinions expressed are those of the writers and are not necessarily those of FullFill™ magazine or Mission: Momentum. The magazine promotes thoughtful dialogue and appropriate action as women use their gifts and abilities for kingdom purposes.

MANAGING EDITOR, FullFill writer@FullFill.org

Copyright 2013 Mission: Momentum.

FRONT COVER © ANDY ROBERTS/OJO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES SPRING/SUMMER 2013


Visit the

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Courage:

A By-Product of Faith

FullFill Store

by Beth Guckenberger

with products especially chosen for you!

Courage is not the opposite of fear. Courage is the by-product of faith. It’s surrender and forward motion.

voices 10

Who? Me? by Christie Love

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Redefining Bravery by Michele Cushatt

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Courage in Weakness by Brittany Scruggs Morgan

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Damaged Goods by Rita Carver

contents

Spring + Summer

2013 columns 26 Think Add Women, Change Everything! by Carolyn Custis James

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Spiritual Formation

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Woman of Influence

30 Worldly Women Refuse to Do Nothing: On Becoming an Abolitionist by Shayne Moore

Awestruck: Foster Wonder in Your Spiritual Life by Margaret Feinberg

34 Male Box Hopeless Places by Joshua Straub, Ph.D. 35 My Fill Girls with Guts by Elisa Morgan

regulars 24 Resting Place 28 Overflow Surprised by Statues by Lori Rhoades The Devotion of Hearing by Oswald Chambers

What Courage Looks Like An Interview with Lauren Scruggs by Mary Byers

32 Quick Fill 33 Four-Letter Word Debt SPRING/SUMMER 2013

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Before turning the page, stop and think, what does courage look

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rage Is courage an active, fighting thing? Leaping from great heights? Or is a quiet, waiting thing?

like?

Does it only show itself during life-or-death moments, or can it be found on ordinary streets lived out by ordinary people?

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Are you a woman of courage?

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Courage: A By-Product of

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faith


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in focus }

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have lost a parent to cancer, faced a difficult diagnosis for a child, and have lived a decade and a half in a foreign country. Within those storylines, there have been plenty of opportunities to demonstrate courage (or not.) But nothing has required more courage than loving a wayward child. I met Carolina and her sister when they were three and one. They were living in an orphanage in Mexico, where my husband and I were serving. We tried to adopt them back then, but never could get the process completed. The girls were taken out of the orphanage and moved to another one against our wishes. We lost track of them for years and that season was difficult, not knowing if they were safe and where they were sleeping. Eventually, we reconnected, finding them at another orphanage in our city. Elated, I was sure God was orchestrating events so we could finally be a family. Yet governments, a difficult aunt, and factors I couldn’t put my finger on derailed my plan again, even as next steps were being written by Someone other than me. Enter courage. Courage is not the opposite of fear. Courage is the by-product of faith. It’s surrender and forward motion. It’s a release of control and a holy confidence in a plan bigger than the page you are on. It announces to those paying attention that you are a citizen of another place. The girls eventually came to my home full-time almost ten years after I had originally hoped. Their journey under my roof has been an adventurous one, with high highs and low lows. It has asked more of me than I am capable of giving on my own. I had

CASARSA/ISTOCKPHOTO

By Beth Guckenberger

about one tenth of the wisdom needed to raise two young women from hurt backgrounds. I ran out of patience year one. The Holy Spirit, a listening heart and small steps forward kept us another day in the story.

For me, courage started to look like a dip into a holy cup; an answer to my sometimes well-timed-quiet time, or a response to a desperate hailMary-prayer. It was a filling-in where I was lacking and then a faith I hoped would be there when I needed it most. Finally, a couple of years ago, these young women prayed to receive Christ. I was sure the rapture was imminent (it is finished!).

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summer later, a man named Mark came to visit me. He was the adult son of a woman named Barbara Shaw. He asked me if I knew her. Though I hadn’t ever met her I knew her by reputation. She was an intercessor, the kind of woman people passed their prayer requests to. She had passed away that spring and right before she died had asked him if he would pick up praying for two children whose names she didn’t know, but whose faces were depicted in a painting someone had gifted her. Years prior a young, talented artist had asked me for pictures of children from our ministry to translate them onto canvas. I sent her a stack and knew

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they had been auctioned off to raise money for Back2Back Ministries but I never got to see the final products. Mark shared he had been struggling since his mother’s death with his prayers, feeling like he didn’t share her gifts. He brought a photo of the painting to show me, hoping I could shed light on some specific needs he could pray for. As soon as Mark handed the photo to my family, we looked at each other and gasped. My 15- and 17-year-old foster daughters and I all started talking at once. We recognized it as a picture of them! “I have a whole list of things you can pray for!” I started. “Do you realize that your mama, whom I never met, and who never set foot on foreign soil, co-labored with me in the salvation of these lost sheep?” We went on that afternoon to discuss the timing of this woman’s prayers and the correspondence to my most difficult seasons. God knew my courage had worn out. He knew my prayers were weak. He knew I needed what Barbara Shaw had in spades… faith. For a season, he used hers to build mine and now he’s building it again through her son, Mark. It takes a special kind of focus to let go of our own agenda. Fear can easily set in when we perceive a loss of control or when we can’t manage our expectations. “But Lord, I thought it was going to look like this… I thought you were going to allow that…” Those conversations left to run rampant in our thought life can snuff out the courage that wants to say, “I don’t know how or when or where or really I don’t know any answer to any question, but still I will step forward. I believe the sea will split, I believe the lion won’t bite, I believe the water will hold me, I believe…” …

I will believe with a reckless kind of faith that the limb I am metaphorically crawling out on won’t break, because it’s attached to a tree that has never fallen.

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y girls’ story on earth continues to be messy. I still struggle through all the natural questions parents have when earthly dreams shatter, but I am a citizen of another place. I have courage today’s page isn’t the end of the story. I draw from the Source of love, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.. Yesterday I took the oldest shopping for her 19th birthday. I whispered into her ear as we hugged afterwards, “If the seven billion people in the planet lined up in order of how much they loved you, I would be the line leader.” Courage makes love come easy—even when love is hard. And so I hold on, and I trust. Then listen and step. I cry when I run out of what I need and ask for more from him. I feel him respond (often giving me more than I need) and I know again I am not alone in this pursuit-oflost-lambs. All of that connecting between me and my Creator translates into a relationship with a holy God who meets me when and where I need it most. It’s a beautiful invitation into a wildly chaotic world on the arm of the Prince of Peace. There, in that posture, I feel courage well up in me for this adventure—and a thousand more. ■

Beth Guckenberger

Get More!

Don’t stop here. Click on the “Get ett More” M button to link to resources to help you think deeper and take the next step.

is a mother to nine children (biological, foster and adopted). She is the author

For this article, you’ll find:

of Reckless Faith,

Ì Think it Through: discussion questions

Relentless Hope, Tales

Ì Play it Out: watch the 60 Minutes interview with Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg Ì FullFill Store: read an excerpt of Beth’s book Relentless Hope. Purchase the book through our store and support FullFill.

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of the Not Forgotten and Tales of the Defended Ones. She and her husband are the Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries, an international orphan care ministry, and make their home full-time in Mexico. 


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voices

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Finding, understanding and using your unique voice is a lifelong process.

Who? Me?

By Christie Love

God doesn’t give us big callings because of

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MARK WRAGG/ISTOCKPHOTO

Christie Love is the Founder and Executive Director of LeadHer, an International women’s ministry founded in early 2011. LeadHer strives to encourage women to understand the influence and impact they have on the world around them and equip them to live their lives with intention. You can learn more about Christie and LeadHer at leadher.org.

our courage—he gives us big callings to develop our courage. He loves to draw us out of our comfort zones, break us out of restrictive routines, and ask us to work through our weaknesses when we would prefer to lean on our strengths. When we are willing to follow him to the place that scares us the most, he will get the greatest glory as we experience the greatest growth.  In early 2007 I began to feel a deep desire in my heart to be more connected to women of faith in my community. Over the next few years, many other women around the nation expressed to me that they too had the same desire. I began to see that there was a strong need for a ministry whose goal was to unite, encourage and equip women in communities around the world. I knew that this organization’s purpose went beyond a large event that comes once or twice a year but rather a way to keep women connected to one another and challenged in their faith on an ongoing basis. Recognizing that nothing like this existed currently, I realized that God was inviting me to join him in building a worldwide women’s ministry from the ground up. To say that I was afraid and overwhelmed would be an understatement. I offered up excuse after excuse to God why I was not the person that he should use for this task: lack of formal education, inexperience, past sin and mistakes, lack of financial resources, and even lack of connections. It was through years of prayer and bible study that God made it clear to me that he was not calling me because of I was qualified—rather he was promising to qualify me because I was

called. I studied many of the memorable callings in the bible (Moses, Joshua, Esther, Jeremiah, and the Disciples) finding that they struggled with the same feelings of inadequacy that I did. I saw through their stories that each of my weaknesses would be areas for God to show his strength. I finally said yes to God and began a new journey with him in January of 2011 with the founding of LeadHer. Since those first steps, I have discovered that courage is the willingness to give God full access to every piece of our lives: our strengths as well as our weaknesses, our joys as well as our sorrows, our triumphs as well as our failures. By courageously releasing control of the life I was pursuing I found the life that he had planned and purposed for me. ■


Read as these women share their voices and then consider your own.

Get More! Click here to link to Christie’s and Michele’s websites.

PHOTO FRAME BY TOLGA TEZCAN/ISTOCKPHOTO

Redefining Bravery Raising three boys required no small amount of courage. Few things spark terror like running carpool for your sweaty teenagers and friends after practice. But if I thought I was brave before, any illusion evaporated when a single phone call changed our family—and my day-to-day life—forever. A relative told us about a mom, struggling to raise her three small children. Twin four-yearolds and a five-year-old. She could no longer care for them, couldn’t even care for herself. Will you take them? Weary from a long wilderness of parenting adolescents, we stood on the brink of empty nest, the Promised Land. So close we could taste it. Will you take them?

By Michele Cushatt

I wanted to scream, “No!” I wanted to run like Jonah, far from my Nineveh. But then I remembered my childhood prayers, little-girl promises to follow the God I adored anywhere. I remembered his chasing love that found me when I felt lost, his grace that rescued me when I fell. We are now a family of eight, six children between 6 and 21. In the end, it wasn’t any nobleness or goodness that gave us courage to do this hard thing. It was simply the faithfulness of a God who’d done the same for us, time and again. Every morning I wake up, still tired. Every day courage wanes and fear grows in the face of impossible circumstances. I am not brave. But he is. And in his presence, I am—we are—saved. ■

Pulling from a unique set of life experiences, Michele Cushatt speaks and writes articles, stories and devotional meditations for numerous print and online publications including MOPS International, Today’s Christian Woman, FaithLife Women, and Upper Room. Michele, her husband Troy, and their six children make their home in Colorado.

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Courage in Weakness By Brittany Scruggs Morgan

To read Lauren Scruggs’ story, see our interview on page 16 of this issue of FullFill.

I have seen courage up close and very personally as a result of my twin sister Lauren’s accident in December 2011 in which she lost her left hand and left eye. Nothing prepares you for that kind of tragedy. I think the hardest part for me was watching her in immense pain and not being able to help with the pain. It was such a joy when Lo knew my voice and would want me to sit with her and hold her hand. As twins, we have a unique and special bond and I think through this bond God allowed me to give her peace and comfort, even when I didn’t know what else to do. Rather than being self-sufficient, I’ve seen that courage can be admitting weakness, asking for assistance, and depending on the Lord

for strength. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” As Lo has grieved the loss of her hand and eye, I have seen her gain strength in who the Lord has created her to be. When we believe God is the author of our circumstances, we can trust him for purpose and direction—even when it is not what we want for ourselves. ■

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PHOTO FRAME BY TOLGA TEZCAN/ISTOCKPHOTO

Brittany Scruggs Morgan is a licensing and agency coordinator for a commercial insurance company. She lives with her husband, Shaun, in Texas.


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Damaged Goods

VICTOR ZASTOL`SKIY/ISTOCKPHOTO

As I came home from work, my husband met me at the door. “We’ve got to go someplace and talk.” “Okay,” I responded curiously. In twenty-five years of marriage, this was a first. He drove us to a nearby park, turned off the car and began, “I filed for divorce today.” “What?” I shrieked. “You’ve never told me you are unhappy! We don’t fight. I don’t understand!” “I want out,” he stated. “I will fight you,” I shot back. Then the feelings came—shock, disbelief and fiery rage. Family was everything to me. Ultimately, God chose not to answer my prayers, and our marriage ended. Unfortunately, in the church I had attended, divorce was not only difficult; it was a condemning sin labeling me unfit to serve God. I felt marked as damaged goods—almost as if I had to wear

By Rita Carver

an imaginary letter “D” from a chain displaying for all to see I had failed. But that was not God’s way. In John 4, I met another woman who, like me, had lost a relationship with her husband— actually five husbands, and yet Jesus sought her. He speaks to her, accepts her as she is, and then empowers her to make a difference in her world. Was God still willing to use me? Courageously I brought my brokenness to God and said, “Here I am if you want me.” Through the next days, weeks, months and years, I experienced hell on earth, but God was with me . . . opening doors so I could start my own consulting business, meet the man I would later marry, and begin my lifelong dream of graduate school. Today, God is allowing me to help other women discover the freedom we have in Christ simply to be who we are. ■

Rita Carver, PhD, has served with nonprofit ministries for thirty years helping them generate over $100 million dollars. Today she is passionate about helping women discover their freedom in Christ to lead. Rita and her husband have three grown children and five grandchildren.

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Foster wonder in Your Spiritual Life

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ARILDHEITMANN/ISTOCKPHOTO


spiritual formation

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he announcement of a promotion for my husband, Leif, had required a move, and we had spent every waking hour boxing up all we owned and saying good-bye to loved ones. We weren’t moving far: ninety-two miles to be exact. But in southeast Alaska, where the only way to travel between islands is by air, boat, or a long frigid swim, miles multiply in people’s hearts. Rumors circled of the inefficiency and unreliability of the ferry system connecting the regional ports, but remained the only practical option for the move. We soon fell asleep in our seats. When I awoke, something compelled me to look up, and a scene unfolded that I suspect caused at least one angel to gasp: the expanse of the sky transformed from inky blackness into an infinite canvas on which brushstrokes of apricot, sapphire, and emerald painted themselves into the night sky. Like an oil painting in progress, the colors refused to stand still. The hues danced as if listening to jazz. Iridescent shades sharpened then faded with wild fervor. Even though I lived in Alaska for five years and witnessed the northern lights more than a hundred times, none compared to that night. I still savor the encounter and live in hopeful anticipation of

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By Margaret Feinberg

another. Though we now live at a lower latitude on the outskirts of a major city notorious for its light pollution, on many nights you’ll still find me scouting the sky in hope of catching another glimpse of the wonder. It occurred to me that this is the posture we’re supposed to take in our spiritual journeys. God delights for us to cup our hands in prayer and scrunch our faces against the vault of heaven in holy expectation that he will meet us in beautiful, mysterious ways. The Creator desires to captivate us not just with his handiwork but with himself— displaying facets of his character, igniting us with his fiery love, awakening us to the intensity of his holiness. Often such incidents occur when we least anticipate, leaving us wonderstruck much like my encounter with the northern lights. But the insistent invitation of the Spirit is to stay alert! Eyes wide open. Hands pressed against the glass. We never know when or how God, like the aurora borealis, will appear. But we can live each day trusting that the God who met us in the past will once again greet us with arms wide open in the future. What are the wonders of God in your own life that you fail to marvel over or even sleep straight through? How often do you pass by God’s presence and handiwork unaware?

TURN THE PAGE FOR MARGARET’S ACTIVITIES TO AWAKEN WONDER

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Margaret Feinberg is author of Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God book and Bible study (Worthy Publishing/Lifeway Publishing). You can learn more at margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck. Follow Margaret on Pinterest or Twitter (twitter.com/mafeinberg) or become a Fan on Facebook. SPRING/SUMMER 2013

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Three Activities to awaken the wonder in your life:

1

The Wonder of Freedom. We all have a tendency to carry excess stuff wherever we go. Need proof? Look inside your wallet, purse, or computer bag. We carry a lot of “just-in-case” things as well as items that settle into our lives we didn’t even realize we were still carrying. Take a few moments to reflect on three things in your life that you can’t control, but you’re still trying to hang onto. Past mistakes. Shame from long ago. Uncertainty for the future. Consider your past and your present, your personal and professional life. Now write down those three things on a sheet of paper. When you’re ready, lift the paper to God. Hand it to him. Then crumple that paper and throw it away. You don’t need to hold on to those things any more. Savor the peace the follows and drink in the wonder of freedom.

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The Wonder of God’s Strength. Most of us try to outrun or hide from our weaknesses. Facing our weaknesses means we can’t do things on our own. We need other people. Exposing our weaknesses reminds us of our flaws, making us vulnerable to rejection. Yet when we choose to operate out of weakness rather than strength, we get a glimpse of what God can do through us. When Jesus sent the 70 disciples out in teams of two, he sent them empty-handed, armed only with vulnerability (Luke 10:1-12). What is the weakness that you fear exposure for the most? Spend some time prayerfully talking to God about that weakness with honest language. Ask God to reveal his strength, power, and glory through that area of your life in a tangible way. Prepare to live wonderstruck by God’s strength.

3

The Wonder of Creation. God’s creation invites us to open our eyes to ten thousand wonders. Take twenty minutes to carve out time to watch the sunset and admire God’s handiwork. Consider setting an alarm so you don’t miss it, and invite a friend. You can check online to find out what time the sun will dip below the horizon where you live. Depending on your location, you may want to travel to a hill or tall building nearby to catch a better view. Observe the sky and the shape of the clouds. Watch how the light shifts and changes ever so slowly. Look for colors and hues, even if it’s a cloudy day. Spend a few moments thanking God for his wondrous goodness and gifts—which he shares with all of humanity day in and day out. Upload a photo of the sunset and use the hashtag #live wonderstruck.

I double dog dare you to pray for wonder and live expectant for how God may choose to answer. ■

Get More!

Don’t stop here. Click on the “Get More” button to link to resources to help you think deeper and take the next step. For this article, you’ll find: Ì Play it Out: watch Margaret’s videos about Wonderstruck. Ì FullFill Store: read an excerpt of Margaret’s book Wonderstruck. Purchase the book through our store and support FullFill.

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Webinars Enroll in FullFill webinars to hear experts speak to the practical needs of women in ministry.

May 15

June 12

Shepherding Raising Women in ‘Un-entitled’ Pain Kids It’s not just that you see the pressures, frustrations, and trauma women face—you want to know how to help. — with Dr. Bev Hislop, Professor, Executive Director of Women’s Center for Ministry and Associate Professor of Pastoral Care to Women, Western Seminary, Author, Shepherding Women in Pain

In this webinar you will learn practical ways you can erase entitlement from your home. — with Kay Wyma, Author Cleaning House, Blogger: The MOAT

August 21

September 18

Speaking Essentials

Refuse to Do Nothing

How do you craft a fresh message? How do you communicate so that your audience remembers it the next day or even the next week? How do you meet real needs when all you can think about is your nerves and knocking knees?

How to be an Every Day Advocate for Social Justice. This webinar will help you do your part to end modern day slavery in every day efforts.

— with Michele Cushatt, Speaker, Trainer, Dynamic Communicators

— with Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim, Advocates and Co-Authors, Refuse to Do Nothing

Enroll today at FullFill.org. Space limited to 100 women per webinar. Buy your 2013 Webinar pack with all 7 webinars for only $60! Or attend each webinar for only $10!

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What Courage Looks Like

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woman

of influence

An Interview with

Lauren Scruggs by Mary Byers

December 3, 2011. McKinney, Texas. It was a rainy night when Lauren Scruggs boarded a small private plane to view Christmas lights from the sky. The flight ended in tragedy when Lauren deplaned and walked into a spinning propeller that was invisible in the dark. She lost her left eye and left hand, but not her spirit. FullFill talks to the 24-year-old fashion blogger about how faith and family sustained her—and what she learned about courage.

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Includes excerpts from Still Lolo, her inspiring story.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SCRUGGS FAMILY

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Before the accident, you launched lolomag.com. What was the genesis of this project? I interned in NYC in 2009, and when I returned home, it was somewhat of a culture shock. In New York, I was surrounded by those highly passionate about the creative industry. I was constantly in a state of learning, and when I was back in Dallas, this was not the case. I decided to start my blog to keep myself inspired and informed of the industry that so enticed me. Tell us a little about your online magazine: how involved are you and what were your goals when you launched it? After my internships, I made a list of all of my interests: meeting new people, writing, enhancing my creativity, having a voice in the world, researching the art of business, and taking on a challenge. After this, I decided that starting a magazine was a great way to put all of these passions into play….My main goal is to have a voice that speaks about the bigger quality of life in a subtle yet obvious way, rather than making shallow subjects the pure focus of living. When you think of courage, what kinds of words come through the airplane hangar and to mind? onto the tarmac on the other side. In the inky darkness I saw the plane. When I think of courage, the The propeller still swinging. Lauren on the tarmac, lying crumpled on words “strength amidst the her face, her left arm underneath her body. I couldn’t see any of her arm storm,” “bravery,” and “servor hand….Lauren wasn’t moving. A pool of blood spread out beneath her ing others” comes to mind. like a red mud puddle. She looked lifeless. — Lauren’s Mom Surfer Bethany Hamilton is someone I view as highly courageous. After losing her arm in a shark attack at a young age she has continued to thrive in life and her relationship with Jesus. Plus, she’s still surfing! She ABOVE: Lauren (front uses the trial in her life to pour deeply into the hearts of others, left) shown with her including reaching out to me.

I sprinted outside

parents, Jeff and Cheryl, her twin sister Brittany and Brittany's husband Shaun Morgan.

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What do you know about courage now that you didn’t know prior to your accident? I believe courage solely comes from dependence on Christ through situations that are extremely difficult, unexpected, and unalterable. He will pull you through things that you could never imagine getting through. And on top of that, he turns it into something beautiful.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SCRUGGS FAMILY


I went into the bathroom by my-

self, turned on the water of the shower so there’d be cover noise, and locked the door….For the first time since the accident, with my mind more lucid than it had been in weeks, I examined the results of the accident on my body. On the top of my head, the shaved side, were two different, long scars. The propeller blades must have popped me twice before I jerked away. One scar was horseshoe shaped. It extended from the front of my head to almost behind my ear. On the upper left side of my upper forehead, my skill was dented, and the skin over that section dipped down. Titanium plates had been placed underneath the skin to stabilize my skull, since part of my skull had been removed when they did the brain surgery… One scar ran down the left half of my face—from the top of my forehead through my eyebrow, the edge of my eye socket, and part of my cheek. The scar ended just above my lip. My lip sagged slightly on one side. My left eye was entirely missing. The upper and lower lids were cut through, and the whole eye socket drooped….My left hand was missing. The wrist bones were gone, and my arm ended just below where the wrist would have been…. From deep within me a storm of mourning brewed and broke forth. A dark, dangerous funnel cloud seemed to hit the ground. As I climbed into the shower, the storm hit, and the rain fell all around me. I grabbed a shampoo bottle, just trying to move past the grief I was feeling right then, I guess. But I couldn’t open it with only one hand. The shampoo bottle fell from my grasp, and I stood for a moment, utterly ruined. Then I crumpled to the floor of the shower and sobbed. — Lauren

What advice would you give to others to help them nurture their own courage before they need it? The main way to develop courage is to pursue Christ, striving and praying to understand his character and our purpose in life according to Scripture. I think it also comes from building a solid community of people around you, being vulnerable with them, and serving those around you even when it’s difficult.

In a blog entry you wrote, “to me, beauty is natural ease and confidence, which exudes pure peace and radiance. it is elegance without trying. be relaxed, true to yourself, and driven with passion…” Many women struggle with self-image and find it hard to be true to themselves. What have you learned about beauty—both as a fashion blogger and as a result of your recovery period? I have come to realize that beauty is from your strength of character and identity in the Lord. Outward appearance is the easiest way to view beauty because we see it, but someone’s heart is where beauty lives. In that sense, we should break down our fear of being vulnerable because that hesitance seems to hide beauty.

Has your understanding of “worth” changed? The meaning of “worth” has deepened. I understood before the accident that it came from pouring your life out to love Christ and others, but now I view it to the point where I am driven to put that understanding into play. We should view ourselves as individuals that are made beautifully and purposefully in the image of Christ.

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You’ve become an inspiration to many people. How has this changed you? This has made me realize that the Lord truly controls my life. The plans I thought were ahead are different than I imagined. I want to continue to deepen my faith and fix my sight on Jesus so that I remain an inspiration because of what Christ is doing in my life. He is the one who has enabled me to have a positive attitude, intensified joy, and immense healing.   What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working? I love to work out, box with my trainer, water ski at the lake, travel with my family, write, spend time at church, shop with my mom, cook, and spend time with my family and sweet friends. 

Before the accident I’d had my share of insecurities, like we all do….After the accident, it was like my insecurities had become a magnifying glass that I turned on myself and my outward appearance, even more than before.

In one utterly traumatic and unplanned moment, my life had been forever changed by a sixteenth of an inch of steel. It was such a small catalyst that almost destroyed my life. And yet a small thing could also change it again for good. — Lauren

What’s next for you personally and professionally? I am committed to the magazine and I will be writing a children’s book next year. I may start speaking to people about my story and I look forward to praying and following the path the Lord puts before me. ■

Get More!

Don’t stop here. Click on the “Get More” button to link to resources to help you think deeper and take the next step. For this article, you’ll find: Ì Think it Through: discussion questions Ì Play it Out: watch The Today Show interview Lauren. Ì FullFill Store: read an excerpt of Lauren’s book Still Lolo. Purchase the book through our store and support FullFill.

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“O God, who will judge me and all people on the last day, help me to free myself from the tyranny of appointing others as judges in your place. Help me to free myself from the need for their approval, from the urge to justify myself in their eyes; and forgive me, that I have strayed so far from the truth. Without judging others, and without contempt for their just criticisms of me, let me walk humbly before you, committing all my deeds and misdeeds into your hands, and on the day of your judgment, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.” — Garret Keizer, A Dresser of Sycamore Trees: The Finding of a Ministry

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A feature inviting you to think through your theology. By Carolyn Custis James

Add Women, Change Everything!

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be her redefining security to include 51 percent of the world’s population as the most effective and efficient stealth weapon ever”—in a word, women. The high price of the missing female perspective is incalculable. Researchers and policy makers concur. Secretary Clinton tallied the benefits: “When women decision-makers are present in critical mass (around 30 percent) they build bridges across political and ethnic divides; provide fresh ideas and perspectives; add deeper understanding of ground-level reality; shift budgets away from guns to education, health, and environment; create a more civil political sphere; and govern with greater transparency and less corruption.” Such insights should not surprise Christians. God created men and women to be a “Blessed Alliance” in all aspects of life. After creating male and female, God “blessed” them and then charged them together to subdue and rule the earth on his behalf. Each brings distinctive gifts which are necessary to accomplish the goal. Today, God’s original charge still remains in effect. Borrowing from (and slightly altering) President Reagan’s famous words to Mikhail Gorbachev, I say “Christians, tear down this wall” separating men and women in the church. If males really want to do God’s will, they need to invite females to the table and then take their sisters seriously. And if females share that commitment, we must own our unique voices and step up to engage our brothers. This is not a “woman’s issue.” It is a kingdom issue. There is mystery to how this works, but even in the secular world the benefits to all are evident. In his riveting book, The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggemann echoes the words of my father to describe his interactions with female colleagues: “In many ways these sisters have permitted me to see what I otherwise might have missed. For that I am grateful—and amazed.” Let’s spread the amazement by working to build that Blessed Alliance! ■ Carolyn Custis

Get More!

James is involved men through WhitbyForum and in mobilizing women Synergy. Carolyn is the author of Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women.

OLIVER WOLFSON/ISTOCKPHOTO

“You see things I don’t see.” I could hardly believe my ears! The fact that these were the first words my father spoke to me after reading a chapter I’d written in Lost Women of the Bible profoundly impacted me. It was one of several conversations where he—a seasoned pastor and the most influential Bible teacher in my life—freely admitted that my perspective was expanding his understanding of the biblical text. I still struggle for words to capture how surprising, affirming, and penetrating his words were to me. The phenomenon my father was acknowledging—that our combined insights were yielding a fuller, richer understanding than either of us would have without the other—has entered the public sphere of economics and finance, global security, and business. It turns out that two genders are better than one. After the 2008 economic crisis NYTimes columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Banks around the world desperately want bailouts of billions of dollars, but they also have another need they’re unaware of: women, women and women.” He cited financial experts at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland who were wondering aloud if the economic collapse could have been averted if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters. Reflecting on Hillary Clinton’s legacy as Secretary of State, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria and the Eleanor Roosevelt Public Policy Lecturer at Harvard University, Swanee Hunt observed the same principle at work in the arena of global security: “A salient element of Hillary Clinton’s legacy will surely

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CONTEMPORARY REFLECTION By Lori Rhoades

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Surprised by Statues I went to Paris to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, not because of my faith, but the architecture. While planning the trip, I was most excited about seeing the flying buttresses, magnificent rose windows, and vaulted ceilings. Like any good tourist, I had studied before arrival and had my checklist in hand. But something strange happened as we approached the cathedral. My eyes were drawn to the statues built into the facade under the famous rose window. Once inside, the carvings overwhelmed me. I was floored that the cathedral was the story of Jesus. The architecture paled in comparison to the detail artisans put into the creation of the saints and scenes. I was struck with humility that the artisans knew my Jesus. They knew the significance of the Bible and went to monumental pains to tell the story. This great cathedral was their witness to the world that our God is great and worth the sacrifice of an entire lifetime investing in even the smallest detail. The Notre Dame was built as a witness and a love letter to Christ, as a living memorial and testament to the greatness and absolute significance of God. All I have been able to focus on since is my love letter to God: the building of my cathedral which is my life. I plan to spend the rest of my days building in a way that displays extravagant and overflowing proof of his greatness and goodness. ■

Lori Rhodes is the founder and CEO of Chicktime, Inc. Chicktime is a 501c3 charity committed to encouraging women to develop their passions and use their gifts to make the world a better place for the next generation. She is married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three almost-grown children.  

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CLASSIC THOUGHT By Oswald Chambers

overflow

The Devotion of Hearing “Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.’”

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(1 Samuel 3:10)

Just because I have listened carefully and intently to one thing from God does not mean that I will listen to everything he says. I show God my lack of love and respect of him by the insensitivity of my heart and mind toward what he says. If I love my friend, I will instinctively understand what he wants. And Jesus said, “You are my friends…” (John 15:14). Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not have deliberately disobeyed it. But most of us show incredible disrespect to God because we don’t even hear him. He might as well never have spoken to us. The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. God may say whatever he wants, but I just

don’t hear him. The attitude of a child of God should always be, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” If I have not developed and nurtured this devotion of hearing, I can only hear God’s voice at certain times. At other times I become deaf to him because my attention is to other things—things which I think I must do. This is not living the life of a child of God. Have you heard God’s voice today? ■ Taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, edited by James Reimann, © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd., and used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids MI 49501. All rights reserved. Order My Utmost for His Highest at 800-653-8333 or dhp.org.

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SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD. SHE ACTED. SHE DIDN’T JUST THINK ABOUT ACTING. SHE DIDN’T ACT OUT OF OBLIGATION. SHE DIDN’T LET OTHERS ACT FOR HER. SHE DIDN’T WAIT TO BE INVITED. — ELISA MORGAN, SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD

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An invitation to find your place in this world. By Shayne Moore

(worldly) women

Refuse to Do Nothing: On Becoming an Abolitionist Slavery did not end in 1833, when William Wilberforce’s decades-long campaign finally resulted in the Slavery Abolition Act. It didn’t end in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It didn’t end in 1994, when the United Nations declared trafficking (modern-day slavery) “incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person.” The sad truth is, slavery hasn’t ended. It is believed there are 27 million slaves in the world today. More slaves than in the entire history of the world. Slavery simply went underground, where it continues to exploit powerless men, women and children in horrific ways around the world. It was a good friend, Kimberly McOwen Yim, who first started talking to me about the problem of modern-day slavery. When my now co-author first reached out to me, I was familiar with the desperation and heartache in her voice. I had felt the same at the beginning of my journey into waking up to the global realities of oppression, poverty and disease. As with many global issues, modern-day slavery is daunting and overwhelming. When Kim and I reconnected, we commiserated and learned from one another. We connected with like-minded women who share hearts for the LEFT: Kimberly McOwen Yim and world and who are also on this journey of workShayne Moore at ing out what we can do the 2012 Global Forum on Human to make a difference.

As time went on, we knew we needed to write a book together. The question we wrestled with most was how two ordinary moms from middle America could tackle this topic and do it any justice—could we make any kind of meaningful dent? We were unsure but we knew we needed to start. Kim and I both have daughters— beautiful young women, full of life and purpose and self-esteem and presence. As we researched and wrote our book, Refuse To Do Nothing; Finding Your Power To Abolish Modern Day Slavery, we often thought of the girls Kim met in Cambodia trapped in the sex trafficking industry—and girls everywhere who are no different than Malia and Greta— beautiful feminine souls who at this moment may be hanging with friends, sipping a Coke or working in the kitchen. Lively young ladies dreaming and wanting for their lives the same things our daughters want for their lives: friends, happiness, family, an education. The reality that girls’ lives across the globe are disrupted and destroyed by the evil of human trafficking and slavery turns our stomachs and I reflect on Kim’s accounts of the eyes of the girls and women in the brothels in Cambodia— dull and expressionless, pits of pain—not portals of life and laughter. When we set out to write Refuse To Do Nothing we were looking for answers and solutions. The more we dug into the issue, the bigger the problem loomed. But we

also found hope and amazing people on the front lines of this fight. We found each other and many others who have set aside fears and inaction and simply started. We learned from the abolitionists of two hundred years ago, were deeply inspired, and we found a new abolitionist movement. We continue to take our cues from the abolitionists of two hundred years ago. Their spirit lives on in us. We can mobilize, educate, publish, boycott and most importantly we can pray. We stand on the strength of their success; we are patient, fearless and tenacious; we will not give up until slavery has been abolished in our lifetime. We need every individual to be informed and doing what he or she can in this new abolitionist movement. Each person is uniquely called to justice. Working together wherever we are, together we refuse to do nothing. We have the power to abolish slavery. ■

Get More! Shayne Moore, MA, Sh supports and works closely with World Vision, ONE, World Relief and is a member of the World Vision Speakers Bureau. She lives with her husband, John, and three children in Wheaton, IL and can be found at facebook.com/shayne.moore and on Twitter@GlobalSoccerMom.

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Conquering Clutter

Set achievable deadlines to give yourself a goal to work toward. Make a list of what stays and what could go to reduce clutter. Focus on the reason you need to reorganize, such as creating a clutter-free area for family gatherings or cleaning out a guest room so there’s space for visitors. Prioritize your tasks, starting in an area where you can quickly see progress.

by Kathy Jenkins, professional organizer

Schedule time to work on a project when you’re most energetic and least likely to be distracted.

40 Minutes a day: the average time a pet owner spends with her critter.

Set a timer and quit when the timer rings.

quickFill

The maximum number of raised dots in a single

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. —Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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cell of Braille, the system that enables the blind to read books, signs, and elevator buttons.

IMAGES BY ISTOCKPHOTO: CLUTTER BATTLE BY PAGADESIGN / / DOG BY JOVANKA NOVAKOVIC // ELEVATOR BUTTONS BY IAN HUBBALL

Examine the room you want to organize and visually break it into small areas that you can tackle in increments.


FOUR-LETTER WORDS are words constructed of four letters. They are perfectly good, usually innocent words. Some four-letter words come with baggage that weighs down their meaning. Often there is negativity, discomfort or stigma assigned to such otherwise interesting and usable words. As we reconsider these words and address them openly, perhaps we can reclaim these words for their contribution to our lives.

Owed. Obligated. Due. Past due.

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Debt What’s your debt load? We all have one. Whether it’s money, credit, or favors. We owe.

four-letter word

43% percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year. More than 70 percent of all car purchases are bought with borrowed money. In 1990, the average American household’s credit card debt was $2,966. By 2007 it was $9,840. We owe. The overall average number of credit cards per consumer is 4. Of those, 33% carry balances up to $10,000 and 13% carry balances over $10,000. Alaska has the highest state average for credit card debt; Iowa the lowest. We owe. 64% of people who carry debt admitted that it’s a cause of worry for them. Men worry less than women about debt. One more thing for women to add to the list of concerns. We owe. A neighbor carpools on our day to help us out in a pinch; we feel we owe. Friends have us over for dinner; we feel the need to “return the favor.” Your scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Give and take. Take and give. We owe. Overall, such mutuality is not a bad policy. Healthy relationships are built on give and take. When one is weak, the other can be strong. And vice versa. I share my knowledge with you and you share yours with me. You zig; I zag. We’re both better for it. We owe…and we share. As long as the give and take remains mostly in balance we’ll be okay. It’s when things become off kilter—when we owe too much—that life begins to feel overwhelming and lose its luster. But how possible is it, really, to keep things even? Your need isn’t as great as mine. Or mine isn’t as great as yours. And no amount of pay-it-forward seems to account for the errors of our pasts. In the end, we all owe. When we owe, we’re owned. And when we’re owned, we’re not free. What owns you? Is it your house? Your car? Your possessions? Your school loans? Unreturned favors? A kindness so great, so generous, so immense that it’s not possible to repay? There’s one area of life where you don’t owe. Jesus, through his death on the cross, stamped “Paid in Full” on your debt. He’s washed away sin and unrighteousness. He’s declared that you’re both free and forgiven. There’s no debt load in Christ. Nothing owed. No obligation. Nothing due. Certainly nothing past due. Are you living in this reality? Or are you living the lie that you owe him; that you have to keep things “even”? Debt. We owe. Jesus paid. Debt cancelled. ■ SPRING/SUMMER 2013

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male box

Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is a speaker, author, counselor, and professor. He is the coauthor of God Attachment: Why You Believe, Act and Feel the Way You Do About God and The Quick Reference Guide to Counseling Teenagers. Josh is married to his favorite Canadian, Christi, and together they are the proud parents of Landon Andrew.

Hopeless Places By Joshua Straub, Ph.D.

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As the sun peered through the window of the chapel on our wedding day, my wife, Christie, vowed at the altar, “You are my teammate.” I remember it like it was yesterday. She lives it. Apparently, she remembered my vow too: “I will fight hard for you, not with you.” I think she remembered mine for not living it. In the first few years of our marriage as teammates we faced some opponents, though nothing out of the ordinary. We managed to get through it by living out our wedding vows and fighting for one another. Until August 31st, 2012. Enter baby. And I’m not talking just any baby; I’m talking high-needs baby. A baby who didn’t sleep. Always wanted to eat. Needed to be held. And bounced. And rocked while being bounced —while listening to the dryer. The first months of raising our newborn son were beyond difficult. Christi and I weren’t sleeping or eating. She was having nursing issues, infections, illnesses and exhaustion. Me? I was trying to survive.

With no immediate family nearby to help, and exhaustion, frustration and apathy setting in, the moment came when I was confronted by the vow I was not keeping. It’s not that I was fighting with Christi as much as I was not fighting for her. Nearly a month after Landon was born, Christi came to me, threw herself into my arms, and looked at me with tears streaming down her face, “Josh, I don’t feel like we’re connecting anymore. I miss us.” That moment was a game changer for me. I realized in the midst of the fog we were living in I was somehow hoping the sun would magically appear, dissipate all of the exhaustion, and I would fight for my wife again. But Christi knew better. And she had the courage to stand up and be faithful to me, our marriage and herself by bringing the sun in on the fog. Not only did she feel the loneliness of me not fighting for her heart, she also saw the hopeless reality that I was just spinning my wheels and that I had lost the energy and intention to pursue her. I was hoping against hope. She was hopeless. It wasn’t a good combination. Yet she had the courage to call it out. My wife, in her faithfulness, had the courage to let hopelessness move her to a new place. As a leader, no matter your age or stage of life, it’s essential to develop this often difficult and rarely practiced trait. Hopelessness seems like an odd leadership trait, but it’s critical for growth. In Galatians 5:22, Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit evident in us as we grow in Christ. In the middle of the passage is the word faithfulness, a word used here to describe commitment to our faith. Practically speaking, faithfulness is being true to others and doing what’s right, even if it’s not easy. When was the last time you had a hard conversation with somebody you love? What holds you back from having the courage to bring about the difficult conversation by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15)? What steps can you take today to allow the hope of the Holy Spirit in, to trust him and to remain faithful to him and those you love? Most importantly, how can you harness hopelessness to take you to a new place in your ministry? ■


my fill I was up a tree. Literally. On a two-foot square platform. Hooked to a rope above my head that extended from “my” tree out MANY feet to the next closest tree that didn’t look close at all. And I was supposed to walk across another rope to that next closest tree. Nuh uh. Taking part in an Outward Bound course as a support person for a friend had seemed like a great idea months ago. I’d prepped by jogging a few miles, purchasing essential equipment from the local REI and praying a bit. But now, up a tree, with the person I’d come to support gone off to work on her own issues, I listened as the ant-size counselor below me hollered up coaching tips in an effort to help me own my stuff. Ugh. Eventually I realized that the only way down was across. Shaking like a hairy dog coming out of a lake, I took one step and then another until I darted across the rope to safety. Toward getting down. Ta Da! For a short moment I savored my personal victory. I’m trying to figure out what moves me to courage. Why I choose courage instead of calm. Or connection. Or chaos. Or comfort. Some women choose courage as a kind of selfimprovement test. They run marathons, lose one hundred pounds, complete a graduate degree. Other women choose courage out of heroism, a call to noble action. To advocate for the sex trafficked. To adopt an HIV/AIDS positive orphan. To stand and say what needs to be said in a moment of confrontation at work: I deserve equal pay. In the neighborhood: That’s bullying. Stop it. At church: I don’t think this is where God is leading. When I examine my own “courageous” moments, rather than emerging out of a call toward something, I have to admit that they came in a reactive response to something I didn’t see coming my way. Some unwanted eventuality that required a gut-level reaction. Such courage-producing realities usually start with an “un.”

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Girls with Guts

The uncomfortable. When a seminary professor publicly teased me about hanging out with the male students (er…uh… there were very few students in those days that weren’t male— and most of them were married to boot), I stepped away from the embarrassment and into his office for a private chat. The unexpected. When my husband incurred a health problem, I stepped away from my professional and personal schedule and into a regime of doctor and hospital visits. The unimaginable. When my grandson arrived too early to survive I stepped away from the reality of him breathing, moving, living on this planet with our family and into a season of grief. No doubt, girls with guts are clearly those who respond to God’s call to whatever it takes and wherever he asks them to take it in their days. Girls with guts say yes to God’s call to risk. And maybe—like so many times in my life—girls with guts also choose a reactive kind of courage out of pure endurance. The ongoing trudge from hovel to water source and back—carrying two ten-gallon jugs—four times a day. The tenacious ever-vigilant and always-on-duty caretaking of a special needs child. The juggling of three part-time jobs just to pay rent in a hotel home and cook a can of Campbell’s Chicken NoodleO’s soup over a hot plate. The showing up at work day after day to work with a boss that’s unappreciative and coworkers who don’t care. Girls with guts take the leap from the now to the next. Girls with guts trust God to provide in the unfamiliar, the unwanted, the unchosen. Girls with guts bend toward God and his desires in such a way that obedience births action. Proactive. Reactive. Active. Like moving across a rope when up a tree.

Elisa Morgan PUBLISHER

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