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letter from the editor


Cindy Young,



Balance. At some point I bought into the idea that I could have it all, do it all, be it all. Then, I became an adult. Suddenly having, doing, and being got all mashed together and in the rush to meet work demands, family needs, community commitments, and squeeze in a little time for myself, I realized something important: the idea of a “balanced life” is a dangerous myth. It keeps women striving for a nirvana that doesn’t exist. A quote on my page-a-day calendar from a woman named Julia Klein has shifted my thinking. She says, “Forget the idea of ‘balancing’ work and family. Think of ‘integrating’ instead, making everything and everyone an important part of a holistic life.” Integrating requires a necessary juggling. This seems to be a more apt description of the lives women lead today—regardless of their circumstances or season—than does the concept of balance. Thanks to Julia, I no longer think about “balance.” Instead, I think about integrating and juggling. After a busy period, how can I build in some slow time to enjoy my family? After being away for work, how can I reenter my household in a way that’s not disruptive? After a period of required discipline for my children, how can I show that my love for them is not based on their behavior? These questions have challenged my thinking and helped move me from trying to “achieve balance” (as if it’s a once-and-for-all thing) to seeing that it is possible to knit together the various aspects of my life, but only if I take the time to carefully consider how best to do so. The struggle hasn’t always been pretty. In fact, my book How to Say No… And Live to Tell About It, was the direct result

of how poorly I was balancing everything. Writing it helped me realize that sometimes I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to life management. I often let the urgent overshadow the important and my desire to participate and be involved would trump common sense and I’d give in to the “yes-aholism” that’s driven much of my life. Shifting my focus from achieving balance (finite, static) to successfully juggling (boundless, fluid)—all while clearly knowing my priorities—has made it easier for me to make peace with the pace of modern day life. Though I’m not living it perfectly, I’ve let go of the guilt that often accompanies not being able to do it all, be it all, and have it all. In this issue, you’ll see how other woman have wrestled with the “B” word as well. Nancy Ortberg questions whether or not the concept of balance is biblical. Keri Wyatt Kent identifies the principles of balance. In our interview with speaker Priscilla Shirer, she addresses the practical way she handles juggling her family’s needs with the travel required for her ministry. And Patricia Raybon encourages us to take our prayer life to a deeper level—perhaps one of the best antidotes for an unbalanced life. As you move into this issue of FullFill, we invite you to let go of the notion of “balance” and instead contemplate what your life would look like if you embraced the concept of “necessary juggling” instead. Recasting the concept of “balance” may allow you to discover a reserve of strength you don’t even know you have. And, honestly, you might also find that it’s okay, and even necessary, to drop a plate now and then rather than trying to keep them all in the air! Sincerely, Mary Byers

Tracey Bianchi, M.Div. SPEAKER AND WRITER

Jonalyn Fincher,



Beth Flambures,



Carla Foote,





Carolyn Custis James,






Halee Gray Scott,

M.A. Ph.D. (ABD)


Liz Selzer,

M.A. M.Div., Ph.D.


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Balance gives the illusion of control. The comfort of order. By Nancy Ortberg

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Fall 2010

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Ministry as Life A Conversation with Priscilla Shirer by Jane Rubietta

No Child Born with HIV by 2015 By Shayne Moore

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in focus

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had heard rumblings about a balanced life, but I really didn’t know how to achieve it. I had heard people talking about how it changed their lives and how pleased it made God, but I didn’t completely understand it. Then, I went to a conference and heard a speaker. He drew the pie chart and I was hooked.

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I wondered why it had

taken me so long to find it. This was my answer, and I scribbled furiously into each of the evenly divided compartments in the circle. There were titles and Bible verses for each of the areas. When he finished speaking, there it was. My beautiful circle, my balanced life. There was a section for God, and naturally he was the first section we all filled in. We needed to understand that to make this balanced life work, God had to be the first slice. Then came family and work and exercise and friendships, and then a host of optional ones (such as school) depending on your season of life. There was such hope and promise in that circle. The answer to what ailed me. I embarked on my new life with an eagerness akin to being born again. There was just one problem. Actually, there were three … It didn’t work. It wasn’t theologically correct. And, it wasn’t much fun.


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It was so simple and neat,

Let’s take the second one first. You’d be hard pressed to find a person in the Bible who was noted for their “balanced life.” Peter, quite to the contrary, was one of the first to leave his chosen career to follow Jesus, just dropped his nets and signed on for life. Paul — you know where I’m going with this — opened his BlackBerry™ calendar for the Corinthian church to show them his schedule, which included prison time, floggings, lashings, shipwrecks and starvation. Paul was in serious need of a circle. And Jesus, please… frequently he had to move away from the crowds because they had kept him all day. He ended up sleeping on a boat through part of a storm because he was so tired. Talked about having no place to lay his head at night. Not a poster boy for balance. Wait a minute, you say! There was Mary (of Mary and Martha fame). What about Mary? Now SHE was balanced. Except for the part where she wasn’t. When Jesus spoke to Martha and told her that Mary had chosen “the one thing” that cannot be taken away…well, at first glance that might appear to be moving in the direction of balance. Actually it was quite the opposite. Pretty much what Jesus was saying to Martha was, “Mary is doing the right thing. She is rejecting the current social role for women, and rather than being in the kitchen, following her prescribed slices of life, she is sitting at the feet of the rabbi, learning like a disciple.” That was a role exclusively for men in that day. Mary wasn’t even in her own circle. You can build a case for a lot of things from the Bible — picking up your cross, denying yourself, abandoning yourself to a good God, the cost of discipleship — but there aren’t a lot of case studies on balance. The theology just isn’t there. A number of years ago, my husband went with a group from our church to Ethiopia. At that time we had two children, ages three and eighteen months. I am sure those two little girls were on John’s mind when he was serving in that greatly underresourced country. I’ll never forget his greeting when he got off the plane after being gone for two weeks. He grabbed me and the girls like he would never let us go. Then, when we got in the car, as he was processing and sharing the experiences in Ethiopia, he reflected, “I don’t think an Ethiopian mother’s greatest hope for us as American Christians is that we lead balanced lives.” Beyond not being theologically correct, I’m not sure balance works. Balance is an interesting word. I won’t make the argument that because the word isn’t in the Bible, it isn’t, well, biblical. The word “car” isn’t in the Bible, but I don’t think cars aren’t biblical. Anyway, “balance” is a word that conjures up the word “precarious,” and the image of a gymnast, with determined concentration, using all her effort to stay on that beam. Points are deducted for wobbles and missteps. And no matter how dogged her determination, there is no way she can last indefinitely. Even at her best, it is only temporary.

I think what God wants for us, to grow in us over time, is a well-ordered heart. Not a circle with lines, but a heart that is full of his love, spilling over into the lives of others.

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Balance gives the illusion of control. The comfort of order. The draw of balance may be that it promises to relieve the stress of our world, with its competing priorities, clapping to get our attention. And our heads snap around, hurriedly trying to attend to all of the demands, exhausting ourselves in the process, leaving undone the things that are most important to us, and leaving us feeling unfulfilled, unfocused, tired and confused by a God who seems to want us to do so much. So we draw our circles. And for a while, we are at peace. Then life accelerates, we try to squeeze a couple more sections in our circle, and once again, balance slips away. Our circle with its dividing lines has predetermined who and what will get our attention, leaving us unable to respond in the moment, needing rather to maintain our precarious balance.

I don’t think balance works. One of the dangers of Christianity can be that we often follow a concept as though it is “gospel” without considering the foundational truth. I remember one day when I was driving and the thought popped into my head that Jesus never journaled. Are you kidding me? I had to pull the car over to the side of the road, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I just sat there for the longest time, shaking my head from side to side, wondering how I had missed this. Practically every talk or book about spiritual transformation presented journaling, not as an option, not as one of many ways that might help you connect to God, but as the primary and required method of devotional life… amen, selah, thus said the Lord. Balance may be a myth. A unicorn. A pleasant story, a beautiful creature, still, a myth. Children that wake up crying in the middle of the night with a 103 degree fever and a strangling cough, aren’t looking for a balanced mom. They are looking for some medicine, a cool wash cloth and a song, all delivered by a mother with the time to hold them chest-to-chest in the rocking chair, until they are asleep again.

Work and leadership require many times of full involvement, marching past meeting end times, or requiring additional input that smudges the lines in our circles. Jobs that we are passionate about will require passion from us that is not neatly contained in any circle. The people that I admire most are those who live in full abandon to their God, to the gifts he has blessed them with, to the goal of making a difference in this broken world. I watch them not only with admiration, but with a deep stirring inside, drawn to live like that. I think what God wants for us, to grow in us over time, is a well-ordered heart. Not a circle with lines, but a heart that is full of his love, spilling over into the lives of others. A life that is loving God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind and all of our strength. And as a result, loves other people like we love ourselves. A rhythm of life that renews the life of God in us, that allows for mistakes and messes, joys and impact. A life no circle can contain. One final thought. I do think that part of the draw we feel toward balance is God’s fault. Such a marvelous world he created. The thought that I can grow roses, and lead a meeting where great ideas and strategies emerge, and study the history of Europe, and ride a horse, and get lost in the words and melody of a poem, and seriously consider the economic forces of poverty and try to help change them, and bake a banana cream pie and relish every bite… there are too many wonderful things, so much I do not want to miss. One life is not enough.

■ Nancy Ortberg is a founding partner of Teamworx2 (, a consulting firm that works with organizations, helping leaders overcome the team dysfunctions that are obstacles to high performance and work enjoyment. She has extensive experience in ministry leadership and was a Teaching Pastor for 8 years at Willow Creek Community Church.

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The “B” Word


Elisa Morgan interviews Nancy Ortberg and Patricia Raybon

A surprise from comedienne Kerri Pomarolli FORWARD TO A FRIEND


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voices ) )

Finding, understanding and using your unique voice is a lifelong

: e c sion s a n P o t a n l o i Ba Tip from Moderat

nthaler By Sally Morge

t to good living.” cre se e th is ing th ery ev in n tio era I grew up with the phrase, “Mod


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much they can manage. In his interactions with both men and women, Jesus presses first and foremost to know the passions that drive them. Because, for better or worse, passion organizes our lives. It’s what gets us out of bed and how we set priorities. Second, Jesus directs people to steward the gifts they’ve been given. Because, where there is ownership of gifts, there is confidence and affirmation of purpose. And where there is confidence and purpose, there is energy. Conversely, where there is a denial of gifts there is lethargy. Disintegration. Death. You can try to balance a passionless, undeveloped, disintegrating life all you want. In the end, it’s just a well-arranged, pivoting void. Perhaps we would do better to engage in dialogue inspired by the One we say we worship. Where are our passions? Did we leave them behind? And where are our gifts? Afraid we’d be too good at something? Did we bury them somewhere, afraid we’d be too much? I’m thinking about running a marathon, and my daughter wants to join me. Let’s see, where did I put my fourth-grade running shoes…?

■ Sally Morgenthaler has been a major influence in the worship world for fifteen years. Known best for her book, Worship Evangelism, her current work focuses on the challenges and opportunities of postchurched America. Morgenthaler is adjunct professor at Fuller and George Fox seminaries, teaching on leadership and culture.


There were three girls in our family of four children, and ironically, the moderation motto seemed to be applied more than moderately to us females. Don’t be too “anything” was the unspoken but unavoidable code…too independent, curious, smart, pretty, confident, talented, athletic, outspoken or religious. And whatever you do, don’t ever be better than a boy. If you are, make sure you don’t advertise the fact. Practically speaking, that meant never competing directly with boys after a certain age. I’d won the blue ribbon for the all-school fifty-yard dash in third and fourth grades. By fifth grade, I was on the sidelines. My sisters and I were expected to go to college, meet promising young men, get married, raise families, and help make our husbands’ dreams come true. As for our dreams, well, there were no dreams besides that. Whatever had put fire in our hearts on the high school debate team, in chemistry

class, or during the college philosophy interim — all that was to be left behind. It was Mona Lisa Smile, 1970’s-style. Times have changed. For this generation, the scenario described above might seem laughable, as women combine educational and career aspirations with family life. But change the word “moderation” to “balance” and the new world begins to look strangely like the old. For married females (and especially those who are Christian), the holy grail of magazines, talk-shows, howto articles and self-help books is domestic equilibrium. Definition: that mystical, magical state where one can actually pivot potty-training, MarthaStewart-esque decorating, dinner prep, spiritual development, homework miracles, pilates class, car-pooling, birthday sleepovers, blogging, small group night, organic baby food-processing, lawn mowing, grocery shopping, furnace repairs, bill paying, friendships (huh?), JOBS, soccer games, volunteering, beauty regimens and a vibrant marital relationship on an axis the size of a pin-head. Of course, if we’re good women, dedicated women, savvy women, we should be able to manage this. Get just the right mix of it all. Right? Makes me wonder if our working definition of “balanced” is doing life so well that others don’t have to do it for themselves. Sounds a lot like codependency to me. However we define balance in our lives as women, we cannot avoid this truth: Jesus engages people primarily on the level of what manages them, not what or how

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

My Unbalanced Life By Laurie McIntyre


Like you, I live in a world that clamors for my time, energy and attention. My world includes a hard-working HarleyDavidson employed husband, a full-throttle 7th grade boy magnet and a winsome 4th grade cross country enthusiast, and a

demanding job as the Pastor of Women’s Ministries at a large church. Everything and everyone, it seems, requires a piece of me. Even at the end of the day, when I finally collapse onto the couch, our gentle golden lab seizes the moment and presses his 100 pound frame against my

legs and with his soulful eyes beckons me to remember that it’s his turn. How do I find balance? I don’t. I’ve stopped believing the alluring ad campaign that sells balance as the antidote to chaos. Balance is not a prescription. It’s the new wave of entitlement, the suggestion that a balanced life is my personal right and that a balanced life will never capsize. Yet experience and a healthy theological filter inform me that I most often find God at the tipping points of life. When balance becomes my highest priority, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for calm sailing waters and miss lifechanging waves and storms. The church has been a major victim of this seemingly healthy, yet faulty approach. In a day when women pursue balance as rigorously as they work out, God and his work are relegated to a percentage of time. A culture of volunteerism has emerged, but a heart for ministry has been lost. Ministry is messy, never ending, thankless, uncontrollable at times and spills into other percentages of life. Volunteerism is tidy, manageable, praiseworthy and provides a sense of accomplishment. I need something other than the balanced life approach. For

me, living is more about rhythm and pace. Life is like waves— sometimes a gentle ebb and flow, sometimes a crashing surf. There is a greater force at work—a Creator. Instead of frantically managing my world, I endeavor to resist comparing myself with others; remain confident in his unique call on my life to be a wife, mother and minister all at the same time; respond to opportunities and responsibilities with prayer and wisdom rather than fear and control; recognize that limiting the girls’ activities will not ruin their lives; regard technology as a tool not a taskmaster; relinquish false guilt; remember the discipline of Sabbath; and rest in a sovereign God whose divine rhythm is always out of this world. Since 1990, Laurie McIntyre has served as Pastor of Women2Day at Elmbrook Church, a dynamic women’s ministry drawing over 1,200 women weekly. Laurie co-authored Designing Effective Women’s Ministries with Jill Briscoe and is a contributing author of Mothers Have Angel Wings by Carol Kent. She is a graduate of Biola University and Dallas Theological Seminary. Laurie and her husband, Bob, reside in Brookfield, WI with their two daughters. ■

I’ve stopped believing the alluring ad campaign that sells balance as the antidote to chaos. FA L L 2 0 1 0

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I’ve been taking life one-day-at-a-time for several years now.

Rethinking My Days By Carol Kuykendall

I confidently announced to my husband on my birthday one year. It was a big birthday that ended in a zero, so I had reasons to set some high expectations. Our three children were grown and married and happily having children. In my job at MOPS International, I was stepping into a new position with more flexibility, focusing on projects that triggered my passions. So I looked forward to a season of good health, productive busyness and better balance. Three months later, my husband Lynn was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Six weeks after that, I faced emergency surgery which revealed that I have Stage 4 ovarian cancer. Whamo! My unexpected circumstances suddenly shattered my carefully constructed expectations. I felt confused and overwhelmed. How would we find our way through this


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season of crisis with so many unknowns in our future? I had no answers, except to trust God and take life one single day at a time. In a crisis, that’s easier than it sounds, because a crisis quickly shrinks our world. It also gives us permission to erase all the extraneous obligations off our day-timer. It clearly identifies what matters most in our lives. A crisis can also reveal something about our expectations. I expected to live at least as long as my parents—or as long as the current projected life expectancy. So I always assumed I had plenty of time left to do what I wanted in life. I expected to sit in the front row at my grandchildrens’ weddings. Which meant I would have plenty of time with them. When I was less busy. I expected to grow old with my husband which meant I had plenty of time to perk

Carol Kuykendall recently helped launch Stories, a ministry for women in her community. Her passion is to train women to recognize, organize and tell their own stories. She is also author and co-author of nine books and former Director of Leadership Development at MOPS International where she still serves as a consulting editor. Carol is a Stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor and one of her favorite activities is jumping on the trampoline with her many grandchildren (seven—with an eighth on the way.) She and her husband live in Boulder, CO. ■


“This will be the beginning of the best season of our lives!”

up our relationship. To listen better. To criticize less. To be more vulnerable. I expected to have more time with close friends in some future season when I worked less. This crisis reminded me that I might not have plenty of time. So I better spend time with the people I love most. Today. Having a tea party with a four-year-old. Dressing up like “Cinda-wella” with a two-year-old. Going on a walk on a moonlit night with my husband. And putting more dates with friends into my day-timer. I’ve been taking life one-day-at-a-time for several years now. Some days I struggle to accept a different measurement of my own sense of value. It’s no longer based on what I accomplish at my job, or what I contribute to the conversation at the decision-making table. But I know that kingdom value is not confined to nor defined by a job. And there are parts of this challenging season that I wouldn’t give back. Though our future is still filled with unknowns, the present is richer because I’m spending more time in the relationships that matter most. Who knew that a balanced life could be revealed most clearly through a season of crisis? It can—because balance means knowing and doing what matters most. One day at a time.

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spiritual for mation


This article is about prayer. But first it’s about Janet. No, that isn’t her real name. But this is a real story. You may recognize it, in fact, because this story is all too common for many of us.

By Patricia Raybon


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That’s because Janet is someone I thought was my friend until I realized she calls only when she wants me to do something for her. In fact, when I see her name on my Caller ID, I know she is hoping to get something out of me. I regret saying it like that. But in truth, she doesn’t call to see how I’m doing. Or to share or listen. Or to laugh or cry. Or just to commune —simply because she enjoys spending time with me. In fact, I recognize myself in Janet because she is like so many aspiring women, in our ways with other people—but especially in our way with prayer. Too often, indeed, women leaders reach out to people only if they can help us. Prayer can become a time just to plead our needs—to beg God to do something for us. To bless some project we’ve started. To fix some program gone wrong. To turn some bad plan into a good one. Rarely is prayer a time just to commune with God, to worship him or even just to rest in him. Instead, our prayers are often selfish, desperate and noisy —a long laundry list of hurried, self-focused petitions —with us doing all of the talking! Thus, as theologian Martin Laird says, prayer time for many “renders us like the proverbial deep-sea fisherman, who spends his life fishing for minnows while standing on a whale.” God is big and wide ground, to be sure. But using prayer only to ask from him dishonors our time and his. So I could chastise Janet here. Then I could turn this article into a list of what’s wrong with her style of connection, especially as it relates to prayer. But I’m compelled more by what we miss when we see people —but also God—only as personal benefactors, and not as gracious friends. Thus our relationships are one-sided. Likewise, our prayers are all about getting, not about becoming. Women in leadership, certainly, need God’s gracious help in all situations of life— with family, work and ministry. But consider the amazing privileges we miss when we neglect to seek God for his beautiful friendship—which may be the kind of foundational relationship that women in charge need most of all.

I am often asked to speak about prayer— about its importance in shaping and molding us as women of faith and leadership. But when the lights go down and I step to the microphone, I find myself describing the amazing beauty and benefits of enjoying friendship with God. It’s an intimacy that transforms prayer into a life-changing time of empowerment, not just another chance to air our laundry lists. Just as well, intimate prayer with God elevates how we relate to everyone else. To be sure, as we cultivate close intimacy with God—setting our pace to his, becoming respectful listeners and hearers, not just talkers—we become women who God can use well in the practical world. In addition to our need to connect with God, I am also reminded of God’s great longing just to spend time with us, his beloved creation. As Richard Foster, in his book called Prayer, so eloquently writes: “Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.” Despite everything, it seems that God actually enjoys us! One might even say that besides loving us, God likes us! So while he is more than willing to hear our problems, and answer them, he also longs just to be with us. He wants us to slow down, get quiet with him and enjoy him as well. As we spend more time with him, listening and learning of him, we become more like him and also more open to those in our spheres of influence. “I love that you listen to me more now,” my husband said recently. I smiled. Yes, another good benefit of daily, intentional prayer.

To be sure, with prayer we become women who value the strength and beauty in others because we’ve learned, by spending time with God, how to love ourselves. Such women imbue confidence, vision, hope, enthusiasm and feelings of good will in those around them—at home, work and in ministry—even as God conveys the same rich gifts on us when we spend time with him. But there’s more. Such prayer intimacy finally does teach us how to ask God for what we need. “I need help,” the Canaanite woman said to Jesus, praying so simply yet so perfectly. As I prepared to write this column, I believe I tried to pray just that way. I need help, Lord. I don’t want to write the same old thing. I want to challenge myself, even as I challenge the woman reading through these words. Thus as I prayed, I remembered Janet— how just a week ago she called yet again, asking not of me but from me. My old resentment bubbled up. But I tried to listen. I said yes to her request for help with a women’s group she chairs. Then this week I was led to call her—not to complain, but to see how she was getting along. “I’m feeling afraid, to tell the truth,” she said. “Afraid”? I was surprised. “I’ve got too much to do,” she said. “I don’t even know where to begin.” I listened. Then it came to me: “Coffee break!” I said. It seemed the respite we both needed. “Oh, that sounds wonderful!” she said. “How about this afternoon”? So we took a break together. We just communed. She didn’t ask for anything. I didn’t either. Maybe we were showing what God must want all women in leadership to learn most about prayer: To pray is to love. ■ More with Patricia

Patricia Raybon, award-winning author of I Told the Mountain to Move, writes books that challenge believers to move higher, go farther and draw closer to God. Her memoir on racial forgiveness, My First White Friend, is a winner of the Christopher Award. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, USA Weekend, Chicago Tribune, Charles Stanley Ministries’ In Touch Magazine and also aired on National Public Radio. Patricia taught print journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder and now writes and speaks full-time on matters of faith.

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Embezzled Laughter By Susanne Scheppmann


The sign reads: Embezzled Laughter. Reward. Family misses laughter. Is this sign standing in front of your home? When was last time you had a side-splitting belly laugh? Does your family want to offer a reward for the laughter stolen by the demands of leadership? When we entered into leadership, we never intended to lose the laughter in our lives. Nevertheless, sometimes the tasks of managing people and supervising assignments sneak joy from our lives. Not a one-time full-blown burglary, but an embezzlement of laughter over an extended period. This can happen as we launch into leadership with enthusiasm and an earnest desire to get the job done. Soon we discover the demands of our obligations outmatch our physical energy. Difficult people exhaust our emotional resources as we attempt to make everyone happy. We struggle with guilt when someone complains. The fun recedes with each problem. Laughter seeps from our lives without our awareness. The Bible states there is “a time to weep and a time laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Do we take time to chuckle every now and then? Gaggles of Giggles The first time I realized my laughter had dwindled, my assistant and I were sorting through event evaluations.

Weary from reading the criticisms, she interjected a juvenile joke, “Hey what do you put on a sore pig? Oinkment!” I quickly volleyed back, “Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and married. The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent.” “What do you call a mother cow after she has her baby? De-calf-inated!” We doubled over in a fit of giggles. Of course the jokes were lame, but we needed laughter so badly that even silly jokes offered a respite from our serious work. Family Fun A few years ago, I directed the Women’s Ministries at my church. My time was crunched between my family and ministry demands. I figured, “Why not combine the two? It will save time and be good for my family to recognize the needs of people.” So on the way to taking my family out for dinner, I delivered soup to a family of a terminally ill child. At the restaurant, I ordered extra food to drop off for a widow who was fighting cancer. After dinner as I pulled into her driveway, my son remarked, “Mom, do you know that all of your friends have issues?” No doubt, an accurate observation of a mom in leadership! Has leadership embezzled the laughter from your life? Ask yourself, “Do I allow leadership requirements to drain the fun from

an evening with my family”? Guard your families from the crime of embezzled fun. Make a vow to enjoy life and leadership. With your family, invent ways to laugh, to relax and enjoy your precious time away from the needs of ministry. Feast on the fun in life. Recognizing the Ridiculous A few years ago, I was placed in charge of hosting a large tea. All the details came together except one. I still needed a dress. The day before the tea, I trudged to the mall in search of “tea attire.” Tired and stressed about the event, I grumpily began modeling outfits. Suddenly, I spotted a little humor in the contrast between my attitude and the event. “I was hosting a tea!” My attitude reversed. I began an earnest search for the perfect garb, and my lighter outlook helped me see humor in dresses that just didn’t work. A dress with lace that covered my entire neck (almost my ears) spawned a grin. I resembled a turtle wearing a doily. Another outfit rattled as I pirouetted in the mirror — too many beads! Howls of laughter followed the stiffly starched skirt showing my chubby knees —“Swing your partner, do-sido.” Finally, I purchased a lime green floral ensemble that made me smile and helped me enjoy the event. Choosing to Chuckle So, examine your front yard. Do you see a sign requesting the return of laughter? If so, determine to recover the joy. Try to glimpse the humor in leadership situations. Decide to reclaim your embezzled laughter. Then claim the reward — a tickled family, reenergized leadership and a few new laugh lines. ■ Susanne Scheppmann serves with Proverbs 31 Ministries, a national women’s ministry. Their goal is to “Bring God’s Peace, Purpose, and Perspective to Today’s Busy Woman.” Her newest book is Embraced by the Father, written in a dance metaphor and released in March of this year.

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Ministry is not our job; it’s our life.

A Conversation with Priscilla Shirer by


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a woman of influence

Jane Rubietta

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On or off stage, Priscilla Shirer rings true.

What about vision for women’s ministry? We must certainly trust Him for direction in our ministries as well. We have a vision of what we think ministry and our role in it should be. So often we don’t notice where God’s plan is because we are glued to our perspective of what we thought His plan would look like. We have to remember that it is His ministry not ours. We are just called to be stewards of it. Our prayer should be, “Lord, I present the gifts and ministry that you’ve given me back to you. Equip me with spiritual vision to see clearly the opportunities you put before me to use them for your glory.” Then we must be yielded to what He shows us. For instance, you may desire to lead women’s ministry—but no opportunities seem to come. Meanwhile, your daughter keeps bringing her inquisitive friends over. One day the Lord may open your spiritual eyes to see that these girls are the ministry opportunity you’ve been praying about. Looks different than what you intended but it’s God’s design for you. How have you been intentional about focusing your speaking and writing? God focuses it for me. Psalm 34:14 says that if we delight in God, he does his part to give us the desires of our hearts. In other words, he directs our desires to match up with his. If he is my focus, not my ministry, then as my desires turn, I assume they are being turned in his direction. Plus, making the time to keep my small children, myself and my home in order helps me focus. I can’t do everything right now so I have to choose wisely. I factor in all these things and pray, “God, streamline my vision into your vision.” Then I consider what themes have been consistent and reoccurring in my life. If a specific theme keeps coming up, I believe that is what God is intending for the next phase of ministry.


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She and Jerry, her husband of eleven years, co-lead Going Beyond Ministries from their home in Texas. She is mother to Jackson (7) and Jerry Jr. (6) and Jude (2). We catch up between flights near the end of a hectic season. Priscilla is warm, inviting, laughs easily, and wants women to experience God’s direct, divine intervention in their lives.

Where do you see God leading you to invest your gifts and abilities for the kingdom? Primarily with my family. I’m certain that the best use of my time is when I spend it sewing good seed into the lives of my husband and the three sons God has given to us. Secondly, with our ministry. “Going Beyond” is specifically directed to help women come to a knowledge of the truth of Scripture, and to experience it in a very tangible way in our daily life. God wants to take us beyond our current experience of His abilities, capabilities, love for us; beyond denominational rules, family traditions.

Growing up, what role models helped you to use your gifting for kingdom purposes? My parents. My father [Tony Evans] is the most gifted communicator I know. I’m sure that any raw communication skills I may have come from him. My mother [Lois] began speaking and writing only after my siblings and I were in college. She has always made her primary priorities clear. She has spoken with Women of Faith, and has written a couple books. I believe that I learned how to address an audience from watching them on platforms but my heart for ministry and love for God’s Word came from watching them when no one was around. They taught me what the word “integrity” means. I have a precious Godly legacy. How do you integrate family and ministry? Ministry is not our job; it’s our life. Ministry is the one so-called career that should be different from every other career. Speaking is an overflow of a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week lifestyle. When my father was once asked how he prepares for his messages, he said, “I study to live and my preaching comes from my living.” That sums it up. We involve our children in ministry as much as we can. We learn Scripture together and try to pray with the boys regularly. The way I pray onstage is the way I pray at the dining room table. The book I’m reading from onstage is the book I’m reading to them at bedtime so it doesn’t seem strange to them. When we travel, if we’re gone more than two days, the children travel with us. Even at 7, 6 and 2 years of age they can be very helpful behind a book table! You are in ministry partnership with your husband. How does the blending of your gifts, opinions and personalities shape your choices and ministry? I thank God for this daily. Jerry and I are so different and this is precisely what makes us perfect for one another. His gifts are so much different than mine: he is administrative and organized with a very astute business mindset. Jerry has given leadership, focus and covering to our ministry by bringing symmetry to our events and publishing. My gift to speak and lead a group through a passage of Scripture is

not his gifting. He rather sit behind a desk any day than speak in front of a group! He’s very thorough at making decisions. He takes his time and it aggravates me sometimes because I’m a very spontaneous person. I have to just submit to him and trust that God is going to give him direction for leading our family and ministry. And he always does. For instance, Jerry had a burden for revivals in cities. In faith he left our ministry calendar clear for 2008 believing that was God’s direction for us. Within months of that decision, we got several calls from ministries in different cities wanting to partner with us to bring revival to their area. During that same time, LifeWay Christian resources inquired about starting a partnership with us to do citywide events for women—the Going Beyond Women’s Conferences are in their fourth year now. So God honors both your faith in him and in your husband. That requires listening to his voice. How do you make time for personal spiritual disciplines, “Creating space for God to act,” as Henri Nouwen said? Romans 1 says that nature speaks of God’s glory, so I talk and listen to the Lord even when I jog through my neighborhood. Honestly, sometimes that morning exercise is the only quiet time I may get all day. I have also found it very helpful to tape a verse on the bathroom mirror, over the sink where I’ll do dishes or in the place where I’ll fold laundry. I’ll see it and meditate on it all week. I spend each day being deliberate about listening to how the Holy Spirit will apply that verse throughout the week. This week, Ephesians 6:10-11. I have been meditating on it while cleaning the kitchen, playing with the boys and standing in the line at the grocery store. I pray, “Lord show me how this is applicable to what will come into my life today.” By the end of the week, I have many illustrations about how the Lord used that verse practically in my life. I also try to spend focused portions of time in the presence of God. A couple days a week, I have a few morning hours’ alone at home. I worship, meditate on Scripture and journal on what God says in those verses. Have there been areas of work, ministry or family where you failed? Are you kidding? I fail all the time. My home

is not as much of sanctuary as I would like. With three small children, a hectic travel schedule and the demands of life, I’m feel like I’m running on a treadmill headed nowhere lots of the time. I’m trying to learn that it is ok not to be superwoman. Paul in Philippians 4 says to only think about good, lovely, noble things. I have to ask the Lord to assist me in focusing my thinking on these things and to take away the spirit of fear and intimidation that often plagues me not only in regards to my home but also with ministry. The idea of speaking to 15–20,000 women at a time is extremely intimidating if I’m not praying continuously and depending completely on him. In order to keep from being overwhelmed by fear and intimidation about the all-consuming nature of all of our lives, we have to prayerfully stay connected to God as our One true Source. Fear doesn’t come from God. The enemy often introduces that fear to scare you away from God’s divine destiny for you. It’s amazing how many decisions we make based on fear. How do you respond to people who might react negatively to your work? Such as, “You are a woman teaching, you are too young, you are just Tony Evans’ daughte r…” Jerry tries to shield me from those calls and emails but if a mentor addresses a concern and it’s constructive criticism, I listen carefully and take it to prayer. If someone just has something negative to say and it is clear that the person does not have my best interest in mind, I don’t entertain it. I know who and what God has called me to be and do. He alone directs my path. ■ Copyright, Jane Rubietta.

Priscilla’s most recent book is One In A Million (Broadman and Holman, 2010). Her 7-week, video-driven Bible study, One In A Million, is available from Lifeway. For more information, visit Jane Rubietta, an award-winning author, speaks internationally. She is the mother of three really tall children, and she and her husband, Rich, co-lead Abounding Ministries. Her latest books are critically acclaimed Come Closer: A Call to Life, Love, and Breakfast on the Beach, and Come Along: Journey to a More Intimate Faith. See for more information and a free downloadable discussion guide.

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

”Let’s play follow the leader! Who wants to be second?”The energetic voice calling out in the court-

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Deborah is important—not simply for a few, but as a role model for all women. But Deborah alone doesn’t give us the full picture of what it means to be a leader in God’s eyes. Other unheralded women join her in the Bible’s lineup of outstanding female leaders to expand our definition of who God is calling to leadership. Abigail comes out of nowhere to launch a brave but risky solo initiative to stop a bloodbath. She comes between two powerful and increasingly hostile men [King David and her husband Nabal] and becomes God’s peacemaking messenger. The Egyptian slave girl Hagar— the first trafficked person mentioned in the Bible—is the unlikely prophetic voice who reveals God as El Roi— “the God who sees me.” Ruth the Moabitess is a childless, foreign widow, who by the culture’s standards is good for nothing. Yet she is God’s point person to lead the rescue of a dying family and advance God’s purpose for the world by preserving the line of Christ. The placard on the office door of leaders in God’s kingdom reads “Image Bearer.” Anyone who fits that description was born to lead. Image bearer leadership is much more than heading up an organization or acquiring followers. True leadership centers instead on deeper kingdom issues. As God’s representative, every image bearer is commissioned to look after things in the world on his behalf—to speak and act for him. There’s no getting around the fact that this is an implicit call to leadership that includes every one of God’s daughters, whether we are Deborah leaders with a following or leaders like Abigail, Hagar, and Ruth who must step out all alone. “Let’s play follow the leader! Who wants to be second?” may work in children’s games. But in God’s Kingdom, leaders will be calling others to be leaders too, for all of God’s daughters were born to lead. Carolyn Custis James is involved in mobilizing women through WhitbyForum and Synergy. She is the author of several books, including The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules (Zondervan, 2008).




yard below our third floor Oxford flat was familiar. My daughter was organizing her little playmates into yet another game. She was a born leader and never questioned her ability (or right) to lead. Neither did her childhood friends. In fact, they counted on her to make their play time creative and interesting, and she happily fulfilled their expectations. Questions of leadership hover perpetually around Christian women. Who are the leaders and who are the followers? Where do women fit into the leadership equation? Women from biblical history, like Deborah, Miriam, Huldah, and Priscilla open the way, at least for women and girls who were born to lead—who possess natural leadership gifts, an instinctive sense of calling to leadership, and a gravity defying ability to rise to the top. But what about the others? Every year Forbes reinforces the Deborah definition of leadership when they unveil their list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World. These women are heads of state, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, executives of major philanthropic and humanitarian foundations. The list goes on. Studying their bios should make any female stand a little taller. But by defining leadership—for male or female—in terms of gifts, title, organization, accomplishments, and a following, we create a gulf between leaders and followers that is impossible to bridge. It puts some women on the path to frustration because opportunities for that kind of leadership are lamentably few and simply being a woman can count you out. They become like the woman in Nancy Beach’s book Gifted to Lead who described herself as “a leader trapped inside a woman’s body.” A problem less obvious but more widespread is how that definition lets other women off the hook. They don’t think of themselves as Deborahs, so whenever the subject of leadership comes up, they tune out. They are like passengers boarding an airplane—passing silently through first class to find their seats in coach with no ability or inclination to picture themselves occupying one of those more privileged seats up front. They couldn’t be more mistaken about themselves.




These eight poverty-fighting and life-saving goals were agreed upon by 180 nations and they set 2015 as a benchmark, a deadline, to make a difference with these crucial issues. As of today, the world is sorely behind in meeting these goals. These nations committed money to fully fund the MDG’s. Over the years, many of the wealthiest countries have not kept their promises while millions of people in the world’s poorest countries continue to struggle with crippling poverty, disease and inequality. This autumn is crucial for the future of the MDG’s. Leaders from around the world will gather in New York City for a UN Summit We can live in a world where no child on the Millennium Development Goals. They will discuss is born with HIV by 2015. Treatment exists progress made, lessons learned and critical next steps. to eliminate a mother giving this deadly virus to her child. But let’s back up. I’m not a world leader or a member of Transmission of HIV from mother to child has been nearly the United Nations. I’m a Christian mother of three who eliminated in Europe, America and other industrialized parts drives carpool and does mountains of laundry. I live in of the world. In developing countries, 430,000 children are Middle America and I spend my time making sure the family born with HIV every year—over 1,000 babies born every day is fed, homework is completed, and that everyone is where are HIV positive.1 they need to be and when. I’m not a big player on the global In 2000 world leaders made a commitment to the world’s international policy level. poorest people. The world embraced a vision and the most Or am I? powerful nations on earth came together to create the Over the years, through organizations like ONE (, Millennium Development Goals. The MDG’s, as they are I have come to believe that my “ordinary” voice makes a difmost often called, are eight goals set by the United Nations to ference. I can join others who care about these issues for our address issues of global need. world, and all our voices add up for real change and real lives saved. Together we can become informed, educate our friends and fami1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger … over lies, and ask our local and international 2. Achieve universal primary education leaders to keep their promises to the 3. Promote gender equality and empower women world’s poorest people. 4. Reduce child mortality babies born How will we achieve this goal of no 5. Improve maternal health every day are child being born with HIV by 2015? 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases HIV positive. We will achieve it together—ordinary 7. Ensure environmental sustainability citizens putting pressure on leaders to 8. Develop a global partnership for development2 —

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UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

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

meet the goals set forth by the MDG’s and by asking world leaders to fully fund organizations like the Global Fund ( the world’s largest health financier. The Global Fund is unique because it receives funding from governments, civil society and individuals to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. Since the Global Fund started in 2002 it has helped save 5.7 million lives. Our generation is the first generation in the world with the ability to share information quickly and meaningfully. As ordinary women we can join ONE, receive action alerts over the internet, call and email our leaders and have our voices heard. These simple actions make a difference. As a Christian, my faith compels me to care for the poor in my world. As a mother, my heart yearns and hopes for something we can achieve—no child born with HIV. ■ Shayne Moore is an author, blogger, speaker, mom of three, and outspoken advocate in the fight against extreme poverty and Global AIDS. Shayne is one of the original members of ONE and sits on the executive board of directors for Upendo Village, an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kenya.

Dig Deeper with FullFill™ Rich Media: I want to explore justice. I use this word as shorthand for the intention of God, expressed from Genesis to Revelation, to set the whole world right—a plan gloriously fulfilled in Jesus Christ, supremely in his resurrection, and now to be implemented in the world. We cannot get off the hook of present responsibility by declaring that the world is currently in such a mess and there’s nothing that can be done about it until the Lord returns. —N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church


How would you define justice? How do you work toward it?


ONE is fighting for an HIV-free generation. Add your voice to the movement.

Watch a video: NO CHILD BORN WITH HIV BY 2015 produced by 

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resting space

It is notable how cool mothers can be when they have to be. Just as mother rats are braver than other rats, and mother bears are more dangerous than others of their species, human mothers too will fearlessly put their own lives at risk in defense of their children. It makes one suspect that the Department of Homeland Security would best be run by an alert mother. In any event, I hear story after story of mothers handling crises at work with absolute sangfroid. And why not? After all, they have faced worse disasters at home!

—ANN CRITTENDEN If You’ve Raised Kids, You can Manage Anything: Leadership Begins at Home


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Only a Few

Karen Foster loves to study and share God’s word with women inmates. She has been a volunteer jail chaplain since 2005. Her other interests include freelance writing, cooking meals for the homeless via the Grass Valley Hospitality House, and coaching Jr. High students in chapel skits. She lives in Auburn, California with her husband. They are the parents of three children.


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muscular tattooed arms. I abandoned my agenda and spent the next hour listening to her concerns. Then I prayed with her. Afterwards, the head chaplain did a double take when I filled out my paperwork. I cringed. Meeting with one person didn’t look impressive. But the following week, that same woman turned off the television and yelled, “Chapel time, ladies!” Gaining her trust opened doors for the gospel. Women who wouldn’t give me the time of day came to listen. She is just one example of inmates who told me, “I wasn’t interested in the Bible, but you took the time to speak with me. I knew that you cared.” Discipleship opportunities. I couldn’t wait to share my Bible passage, but the place was dead. The inmates were at court or napping. Only two women attended chapel, but one of them had given her life to Christ. In previous chapels, she kept silent. Alone with me and one other woman, she freely asked questions. During the next few weeks, the lack of attendance allowed one-onone discipleship. This timid woman began to reach out to the other inmates. Her love for Jesus became

infectious. They began to attend chapel. What if she had gotten lost in the crowd, too intimidated to ask questions? Nothing is wasted. Fifteen inmates gathered around me with open Bibles. We sang, discussed scripture, and prayed. Our meetings were Spirit filled and I was elated. But those women left jail. The new inmates were unreceptive, some even glared at me. As the numbers dwindled, I became disheartened. Broken, I searched for God’s will and saw that he was using the ministry to teach me. I was reminded to rely on his sovereign power alone to change hearts. And using a headcount to judge success invites pride or defeat. The number of inmates attending chapel fluctuates like the moods in that jail. I never know what I’ll encounter when I enter that cement room. But I know I’m called to that ministry; even if some days I’m the only one. ■


My husband and I were in church when my adolescent son squeezed past the row of knees and plopped down beside me. “There were only three teens so the youth pastor told us to join our parents.” “Only? Are you kidding?” This wasn’t the first time the pastor had canceled the junior high class due to a lack of warm bodies. My temper flared, wondering why he didn’t see the value of three people. As a volunteer jail chaplain, I meet with women inmates at our county jail. I rarely average more than three or four women, out of twenty, willing to give up their Monopoly game or nap to attend Bible study. Serving in jail has shown me three reasons why there’s no such thing as “only.” Small Beginnings. Women inmates were watching a soap opera when I walked into their recreation room. It’s my prerogative to turn off the television during chapel, but their faces warned, “Don’t even think about it.” Smiling, I held up my Bible and invited them to join me at a nearby table. Only one black woman, with a shaved head, sauntered over. She sat opposite me, leaning on her

By Karen Foster

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CLASSIC THOUGHT By Oswald Chambers

Do You Really Love Him?

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“She has done a good work for Me.” ( Mark 14:6)

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning. This may describe affection and it may bring us a warm feeling, but it is not a true and accurate description of love. Have you ever been driven to do something for God not because you felt that it was useful or your duty to do so, or that there was anything in it for you, but simply because you love him? Have you ever realized that you can give things to God that are of value to him? Or are you just sitting around daydreaming about the greatness of his redemption, while neglecting all the things you could be doing for him? I’m not referring to works which could be regarded as divine and miraculous, but ordinary, simple human things— things which would be evidence to God that you are totally surrendered to him. Have you ever created what Mary of Bethany created in the heart of Jesus? “She has done a good work for Me.” There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give him even small gifts of surrender, just to show how genuine our love is for him. To be surrendered to God is of more value than our personal holiness. Concern over our personal holiness causes us to focus our eyes on ourselves, and we become overly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, out of fear of offending God. “…But perfect love casts out fear…” once we are surrendered to God. (1 John 4:18) We should quit asking ourselves, “Am I of any use”? and accept the truth that we really are not of much use to him. The issue is never of being of use, but of being of value to God himself. Once we are totally surrendered to God, he will work through us all the time. ■ Note: The works of Oswald Chambers were compiled by his wife, Biddy, after his death in 1917. Taken from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, edited by James Reimann, © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd. Used by permission Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids MI. All rights reserved. Order My Utmost for His Highest at 800-653-8333 or

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{ overflow } Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and

it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same


way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. MATTHEW 5:15-16


Refusing to Be Silent The sound of The Old Rugged Cross caused a lump to rise in my throat as I listened in wonder to my father’s velvet tenor solo. I felt the music hug me tightly; his passion for Jesus was almost a physical presence. Everyone sitting on folding chairs in the small sanctuary seemed suspended in time. I remember thinking what a magnificent gift this music was to all who heard him. A few years later, in this same small wooden church, my father was told in hushed, condescending whispers that his singing was not appropriate for singing hymns in worship any more. Two women from the church had decided that his voice was really too loud. It covered up the voices of the others in the undersized congregation and made the hymns sound musically uneven. My father never sang in public again.

When my father’s gift of song was smothered, I realized that he had contributed to this tragedy as much as others. He allowed himself to be silenced. He allowed his gift of song to be hidden from those around him for the rest of his life. Years later, it is now my voice that may be heard—not to sing but to teach. As I glance through my seminar evaluations at the end of the day, sometimes a few comments cut deeply and make me feel out of tune and off tempo. But instead of following the voice that screams for me to drop back into comfortable anonymity, I remember the empty look on my father’s face as he sat silently in church, and conversely I remember the palpable wonder I felt in the early years of delighting in his music. I remind myself of the communal value of what God entrusts us with, of how God has transcendently touched this world with his music. God desires for us to continue with this song, in all its manifestations—singing, speaking, managing, leading. Regardless of how others perceive our gifts, our joy is to join with him to use the gifts he has bestowed on each of us. And I would not miss joining in that chorus for anything. ■ Dr. Liz Selzer (PhD, MA, MDiv) is the President and CEO of The Mentor Leadership Team (, and is a leadership development and events strategist for MOPS International. She has authored a number of articles, and speaks frequently on the importance of mentoring as well as other leadership development training topics. She has overseen leadership development programming and training for over 30,000 leaders in the nonprofit sector. She also teaches leadership for Denver Seminary and Colorado Christian University. FA L L 2 0 1 0

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By Marguerite Tustan

Out of

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Not long ago, I attended a retreat where I was handed a self-test called “Are You a Control Freak?” My initial reaction was to dismiss the idea. I had no issues with control. However as I tuned in to God’s Spirit that weekend, I was surprised to discover I did have an inner control freak. In fact, I had such a strong need for control it had made me physically sick.


I remember sitting in choir practice a year earlier. In the middle of practice, a wave of fear crashed over me. It was the first of many panic attacks. A month or so later, I was reading in bed when my chest tightened in pain. Was it a heart attack? Would I die? Medical tests determined the cause to be stress. In response, I learned methods of reducing stress. I limited my hectic schedule, changed my diet, and started to exercise. However, it never dawned on me that I had an underlying issue with control until I went to that women’s retreat. The truth was that my life was all about staying in control. I thought God wanted me to be a perfect Christian woman. I worked hard at controlling life to fit that role. I strived to be the perfect wife, mom, friend, church member, and so on. I thought God was pleased with my performance. I was wrong. God’s cure for my unhealthy need to control my life was to allow circumstances beyond my control (i.e. chest pains). God is the only one truly in control. I needed to learn to trust him. Trust takes time—time and relationship. I had misunderstood God’s character. I thought my worth to him was tied to my performance. The truth is, if I could never do another thing to serve my Lord, he would love me just as deeply. He loves me because of who he is. God is love. He is pursuing a love relationship with me. Those chest pains were a wake-up call from my Heavenly Father, “I love you too much to let you live a stressfilled life, Peggy. Hand over the reins to me. Allow me to guide you to the satisfying life you so desire.” Hand over the reins? It is easier said than done. I have to battle my natural tendency to control my own life. The key for me is to remember that God is after my heart, not my work. I can be so performance driven that it is difficult to spend a whole morning in fellowship with God. It can feel like I wasted time. There is so much to do. In reality, I waste time when I launch into my days without prayer. It is only when I have been with him that I can live and serve him effectively. “I am vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV). As a leader in women’s ministry, I asked God how to surrender control in ministry work. He revealed the answer in the book of

Acts. Peter portrays a leader in control by being out of control. I like Peter. He struggled (just as I have) with wanting to be in control under Jesus’ earthly ministry. However after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter hands over the reins of his life to God. Before Jesus’ ascension, he tells Peter and the disciples to wait in Jerusalem. They are not to move forward in ministry until they receive the Holy Spirit. While waiting, they pray. Peter is inspired during this season of prayer and tells the group they should choose a godly man to replace Judas. Peter does not choose the man. He allows his committee (the disciples) to propose two men for the job. Finally, lots are cast as a way of surrendering the ultimate decision to God. Then, the disciples are all filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter stands fearlessly before the crowd and preaches the truth about Jesus. Three thousand are saved in one day. (Wow! All that time in prayer resulted in incredible productivity.) To be an effective leader, Peter waited on God, prayed, and surrendered control to the Holy Spirit. Does my leadership reflect this model? As a leader, I am often inspired by God in prayer. But I tend to take that inspiration and run with it, making all the decisions along the way. I am learning to allow God to use his people, godly women around me and on my committees, to orchestrate his will. I have been teased about my quirks as a leader. Women who have served with me know I like things a certain way. Some of these quirks are good. I always begin meetings with a devotional. Most are simply personal preferences. I like the hotels for our events to have an indoor pool and hot tub. As difficult as it can be, I have to surrender my quirks to God. Is my voice the final voice on the committee? Or, do I leave the decision to God? As I reflect on Peter’s message, it calls to mind times when I have stood before a crowd as a speaker or teacher. There was a marked difference when I spoke under the control of the Spirit. Lives were impacted. Women approached me with comments like, “I feel empowered, encouraged, you said exactly what I feel, I was so convicted….” The results are humbling. It was God, not me. Unfortunately, I have also stood under my own control and watched my lame words fall flat. What made the difference? It was the time spent beforehand in prayer, allowing God to control the content of the message. I said that trust takes time and relationship. The more time I spend with Jesus, the more I know him and want to be with him. The more I know him, the more I trust him. The more I trust him, the easier it is for me to hand over the reins of my life. Some day I hope to live such a surrendered life that people will say, “That woman is out of control!” ■ As a life coach and leader in women’s ministry, Marguerite Tustan continues to encourage woman to “lose control.” She and her husband Terry reside in Northeast Ohio and they have two sons in college. Marguerite is also on staff with Moody Radio Cleveland.

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Protect doorknobs and hardware in the kitchen and bathroom when you’re painting by wrapping foil around them to catch dribbles. The foil molds to the shape of whatever it’s covering and stays firmly in place until the job is complete.

Wonderful Things about

Being a Woman

in the 21st Century

Mobile Devices Favorite TV shows on DVD or TiVo™

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Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. —ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

Internet shopping Marketers care about what women want Jesus understands women It’s ok to talk about hormones and sex

” {

Community Builders

} Lend a friend Look for ways to share resources with friends and neighbors. Communitystarters can be as simple as offering to trade DVDs rather than paying to rent them. Trade and share paperbacks and magazines.

“ 34

Think outside the pizza box Check with small, locally owned restaurants in your neighborhood for to-go suggestions, rather than always relying on chain restaurants.

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. — ROS A PARKS

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million firms in the US are at least 50% owned by women. This is nearly half of all privately-held firms in the country.




FOUR-LETTER WORDS are words constructed of four letters. They are perfectly good, usually innocent words. Some

letter word

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.

boss a noun a verb

a person

an action

a four-letter word

Boss as a noun conveys superiority, control, domina-

tion. We don’t want to sit under or beside that. Ugh. You’re not the boss of me! Resistance erupts from within us like pimples on adolescent skin. We’re fifteen again. We rebel. No way. Dream on. Get over yourself. You can’t make me. In our “me” centered culture we like to pretend that we aren’t under anyone’s authority. Or we are all about collaboration—no one is THE boss, we are a team! Except that authority does exist, rightfully, necessarily. Without it the buck has no place to stop, no accountability. What about when we’re the one in the role of boss? When the boss is a noun that points to us. Then what? A woman boss. An oxymoron? A childhood dream? Calling a meeting to order, initiating a conference call … such normal leadership activities somehow rattle our composure and accuse our capacity. Feeling uncomfortably like boss-imposters, we wonder, “Who left us in charge?” “You mean I have to decide!” We may have dreamed of being the boss, but somehow the reality is so much more convoluted than our one-dimensional, childhood fantasy.

We live in so many roles—one minute being a boss and the next second responding to a boss. The roles can overlap, defy definition and leave us feeling uncertain of the edges of our boss role. Workplace may be more clear. But Family? Volunteering? Where are the lines and who draws them? Then suddenly we’re not just the boss, we’re seen as bossy (moving from noun and verb to vile adjective!). This usage feels like a critique of our identity. Being bossed can be uncomfortable. Turn here. Get milk on the way home. Your report is due tomorrow. You forgot to add the late charge. We don’t allow dogs in here. Bossing can be uncomfortable. You have to start meeting your deadlines or I will have to find someone else. I can’t help you with that right now. No. There are times when being bossed is better than bossing. Here take my seat. I could never do that as well as you, please continue! Mommy, uppie me! And there are times when bossing is better than being bossed. Get out of my chair please. Let me finish that, you’re messing it up. Don’t touch me right now. We can hide in bossing: Leave me alone! You don’t understand. We can

hide in being bossed: Whatever you say; you’re the boss. I’m here to please. It’s up to you. We can grow in bossing: Let’s try it a new way. Here’s how I see it. How about we take turns? We can grow in being bossed: I’m open. I’ll give it a try. Show me? We can even reverse in bossing: Then: Yes, Dad, I’ll go to that college. No I won’t feed her that junk. Now: I’ll drive you to the doctor Thursday. But Mom, you can’t afford that. Boss reversals can be difficult to process and hold graciously. Even the best boss had his challenges. God was the boss in the garden, but the residents rebelled. Moses was the boss of the Israelites in the desert, except they grumbled. Jesus was the boss with the disciples and spoke about the last being first when they jockeyed for position. Paul reminds us that there is a great responsibility in being boss and the relationships of authority are complicated at best. God is the ultimate boss, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient. Boss then becomes beauty, perfection, unconditional love, sacrifice. ■ CLICK HERE

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Dr. Dan Allender received his M. Div from Westminster Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. He serves as Professor of Counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. He travels and speaks extensively to present his unique perspective on sexual abuse recovery, love and forgiveness, leadership, marriage, and other related topics. He is the author of numerous books including The Wounded Heart, How Children Raise Parents, To Be Told, and Leading with a Limp.


Opening My Eyes By Dr. Dan Allender


MALE BOX is a regular feature in FullFill™ where we invite the opinion, perspective and insight of male leaders as they comment on women and their participation in the kingdom.


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different? I desperately needed the wisdom of a wide array of people to grow into maturity. I needed perspectives that were divergent and difficult to comprehend or I would inevitably be lost in my own idol-making bias. I needed voices, perspectives, and stories that are not my own— particularly those of women. God created two genders to not only reveal the immense variability of God’s own character, but also to confound any singular way of seeing the world. A man and a woman will bring their rich physical being to bear in their witness and engagement with reality. As obvious as it may be, men and women experience themselves and their world through a different physical presence. This became clear when I heard two women talk about being alone on an elevator when a man comes aboard. They asked me what I thought of when I was in the reverse situation. I answered, “Not much.” One of the women began to account for how she handles the awkward first glance, positions herself to retain a sense of safety without communicating disrespect or fear, and struggles with the challenge of being kind without being relationally misunderstood. I was stunned! I just get on and push a button. Even as a trained therapist I seldom see the world with such complex, relational, power dynamics. My female friends do so as a simple course of daily care for themselves and others. I need their world view. I need their exposure of my blindness. I need to see life through their eyes; lenses that take in the dynamics that I am often as dull and clumsy to address as when asked by my wife to dance. A woman is not a mere complement to a man. She is a complex counterpart that compels him to enter the stream of chaos where true creativity is birthed—together. And she can and must lead in ways that distinctly offer us the full embodiment of God’s character and presence in our midst. ■


he level of bias that can distort one’s perspective is sometimes beyond comprehension. We look back to an era that tolerated slavery and realize that many Christians supported that vile system. Women did not have the right to vote because submission presumed her opinion was represented in the man’s vote. Good-hearted people believed in the veracity of these views. We ought not to be so deluded to think that a hundred years from now we will not be the basis of future incredulity. As Calvin said, “We are idol-making factories.” We are naturally given to unsustainable personal, social and theological convictions that later are revealed as foolishness. I believe one of those areas will be our exclusion of women from leadership in some portions of the church. Irrespective of one’s views on the ordination of women, there is a prior issue: will we give voice and room for debate to different and even contrarian voices in any leadership context? Leaders tend to prize cohesiveness that limits chaos and unites the troops around a common perspective. The perspective may be faulty or foolish, but order and control always seem better than cacophony and chaos. In fact, that is often not true. There have been many moments where I have taken a path of engagement with our children that seemed right as rain. I dove in with the certainty of divine right. Soon into my self-righteous plunge I discovered I was wrong, and had done seismic harm. I learned this because my wife has the courage to speak bold, winsome, gracious and piercing truth. Without her wisdom I’d have driven the process to ruin; instead, some of our sweetest moments as a family have come through both her call for my repentance and my submission to her wisdom. When I led Mars Hill Graduate School, why would I think my need for varying perspectives would be any


my Fill




the appropriate ooohs and ah’s of appreciation. Games had been played, strings cut to approximate the new mother’s baby girth. Cake had been cut and consumed. The hostess looked up, around the room and settled her eyes on me. “Elisa, would you mind praying over Beth and her baby”?

Of course. I was the “leader” in the room. Of course I would pray. Anyone else could have prayed because everyone else in the room was also a leader, a person possessing plenty of influence in their own right. But I was the boss leader. The CEO. The Shepherd-in-Charge of the sheep. So of course, I would pray for this mother-to-be-sheep and her little-lamb-to-come. I had been invited to participate in the shower —but because I am a leader, that participation included leading. Leaders lead 24/7. They never don’t lead. Leaders are always leading. When cooking dinner and a child whines, “Not THAT again!” leaders spin a story about poor children in Africa who would LOVE to consume the meal in the making, influencing toward a more positive attitude in the kitchen. Upon entering a meeting room where SOMEONE forgot to clean up after their event, leaders grab the trash can and shovel empty pop cans and scrunched napkins away. Facing a dispute with a co-worker, leaders take the careful steps necessary for peace-making. Leaders scoot over to make room for another in a crowded pew. Leaders make phone calls when they said they’d be in touch. Leaders arrange flowers for the table. Leaders perform personnel reviews and hold others accountable for their performance. They ask questions to draw others out. They create activities to help others connect. They look ahead at their calendars to make room

for lunch with a friend who’s been too quiet for too long. They ask their husband out on a date. Leaders don’t go on vacation from leading. Even in a faraway resort, they carry an understanding that they are “someone” to others. Someone representing Jesus perhaps in word, but always in deed. Their outlook on life influences the attitudes of those around them. Leaders don’t really even get a break from leading. Sundays “off ” are still “on” for leaders because leaders “get” that their friends, their families and their community are still “on” and so still look to them to lead. A phone call comes in the middle of a favorite TV show. Okay… leaders might decide to let the voicemail get the call during those fifty minutes, but leaders still return the call. Leaders lead 24/7. It’s not that they don’t have boundaries, have Messiah complexes or want to feel needed by the universe. No, it’s more that leaders just understand that their influence covers more than what they do, it permeates who they are. Sometimes in quiet, behind-thescenes influence, and sometimes in more visible acts of leadership. Leaders are followers of Jesus, individuals called into a relationship with him to be him in a broken world by doing what he would do for others. Always.

Elisa Morgan PUBLISHER

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Balance:ReMixed — FullFill Magazine  

Fall 2010

Balance:ReMixed — FullFill Magazine  

Fall 2010

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