Thursday, April 24, 2014

Light Switch Moment

As I teacher, I used to love those "light switch moments" when I could see one of my students "get it" as we discussed a new topic or introduced a new concept.  I loved helping them make connections and understand how what we were learning in the classroom applied to their every day lives at home.

Now, as a stay at home mom, I love having those "light switch moments" with my children.

AND, as an entrepreneur, I love when people have that "light switch moment" and realize they don't have to work 9-5, they don't have to work overtime, they don't have to sit in rush hour traffic two times a day going to and from a job they don't even like.  I love when they recognize there is a different way, a much better way, a more life-GIVING way.

Sadly, far too many people are living in the dark.  They have yet to experience a "light switch moment."  They continue to believe what they have accepted at truth, simply because it is the "normal" all around them.  They grew up with parents going to work every day.  They grew up watching Dad and/or Mom put in long hours to have enough money to pay the bills or get special presents for birthdays or Christmas.  They watch their friends do the same thing today.  And so they do it too.  BUT, what if....what if there is another way?

On Tuesday, my husband and I went to our Financial Peace University class with Dave Ramsey.  He shared a story about a couple who saw a woman, a single mom, sitting in a church pew crying.  The couple went over to the woman to see what was wrong and if they could pray with her.  The single mom explained how she was asking God to provide for her, seeing as how she wasn't even going to be able to pay the electricity bill that month.  The couple listened and did indeed pray with her and assured her God would take care of her, as He always does.  Everyone then went on their way.  The single mom went home with her kids, wondering how in the world her prayer would be answered.  The couple went to the electric company and paid the single mom's electricity bill FOR A YEAR IN ADVANCE.   Without letting the single mom know, the couple knew THEY were the answer to her prayers!

You see, the couple had paid off all their debt and put aside money in savings and accumulated quite a bit of wealth.  They were able to help this single mom without any hesitation.  And because of their willingness to "live like no one else" for a short time while they saved and paid off debt and didn't make unnecessary purchases and followed Dave Ramsey's plan, they were soon able to "live like no one else" for a LONG time.  They were able to help this single mom pay her electric bill for an entire year!!!    They didn't get rich just to have a lot of money in their bank account.   Oh no, they saw money as a TOOL FROM GOD.  They knew they were BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING.  They took what God had given them and used it to share His love, to show His faithfulness and goodness, to pass on His blessings to others all around them.

Talk about a "light switch moment!"

THAT is what I dream of being able to do with the money we make through It Works.  Yes, we want to pay off our house (our only remaining debt).  Yes, we want to put money aside for our girls to go to college and graduate debt free (so that they can have the freedom to go and do and GIVE more as well).  Yes, we want to go on some family vacations.  BUT, more than anything, we want to be able to BLESS others without having to give it a second thought.  We don't want to have to look at our bills and wonder if we will have anything "leftover" to give to others.  We want to be able to give FREELY and GENEROUSLY.

I dream of being able to go to the grocery store and loading up a cart full of fruits and veggies and everything else a family would need for a MONTH.  Then, take all those bags of goodies to someone's door, ring the bell, and drive away.

I dream of being able to pay for someone's medical bills.

I dream of being able to help a family get presents for their children for Christmas.

I dream of being able to send a family on a vacation (or inviting them to come along with us on one).

I dream of being able to pay for a single mom's electric bill for a year in advance.

As Dave Ramsey says, "Imagine how much more effective the kingdom of God could be if the people of God were debt free!"

What about you?  What would you do for others if you were debt free and had the opportunity to bless others without a second thought?

If you think I am on a quest to be rich or wonder if I have fallen in love with money, please know that I DO want to make money -- a LOT of it -- but NOT to keep it for myself.  I feel as though God has placed BIG dreams and desires and passions on my heart.  These ministries are not free, sadly.  In fact, they require money.  Quite a bit of it.  As my friends Mitch and Melissa shared their desire to fund 2 homes for those escaping the human-trafficking industry, they explained how that would take A LOT of money.  So, when they earned a $50,000 bonus last month, I was elated for them!!!  I didn't for a second think they were rich, selfish snobs or that they would squander their wealth on buying "stuff."  I knew God has blessed them so they in turn can bless others.

I feel as though He is doing this in my life too and that He will continue to do in even bigger ways in the near future as He blesses my business.

I would LOVE for you to join me on this journey.  Be it as a customer (using the products to invest in your own health so you can get the most out of life every day) or be it as a distributor (sharing the products with others and making money as you help people change their lives).

I hope this blog will lead you to have a "light switch moment" of your own.  I pray you will realize there is a different approach to work, to making money, to doing life.  I pray you understand my heart.  I pray you will have the faith and courage to live out the dreams God has placed within you, whatever they may be.  I pray you will join me in this mission to BLESS OTHERS!

If you have questions or want more information, please feel free to message me or even call me!  I would love to talk with you more or pray for you as you follow God's plans and fulfill His purposes for you.

If you are on Facebook, I welcome you to "come" to a Virtual Party I am doing tonight (4/24) at 9 pm CST.   I'll be sharing more about the It Works natural health and wellness products, as well as the business side of things!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

For Such a Time as This

If you have small children, you may have seen the Veggie Tales rendition of the Biblical story of Esther.  

I love how on the bottom of the DVD case it highlights that the story is a "lesson in COURAGE."  I'm not sure how well Veggie Tales did in staying true to the actual Biblical account, BUT it's a great story and an EXCELLENT lesson for ALL of us, not just our small children.

If you're not familiar with Esther and her incredible testimony, you should check it out!!!  Long story short is that Esther was picked from all the girls in the land as the most beautiful and pleasing to the king.  She became the new queen and was immediately faced with a life-threatening situation.  Either she needed to risk her life and go before the king uninvited (something that could have gotten her head chopped off, depending on the king's mood at that particular moment) or stand aside and let all her fellow Jews be slaughtered.  She chose the UNSAFE route and ended up saving the Jewish people.  One of the famous quotes from Esther's story comes when her cousin Mordecai flat out tells her she NEEDS to do something whether it is safe or not, "Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?

Mordecai was right.  God could have used someone else to save His people.  BUT He had sovereignly placed Esther in a position where SHE could make a difference.  The choice was hers.  She could play it safe and hope she would be spared since she was the queen, but in so doing she would watch all her Jewish friends and family perish.  Her other choice required COURAGE, a lot of it.  She had to go before the king, not knowing if he would gladly welcome her or angrily send her to the chopping block, but in so doing she could potentially save an entire nation.  

Thankfully, Esther made the courageous choice.  Maybe as she thought about Mordecai's question, "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" she recalled the story of Joshua as he led the Israelites into battle.  Maybe she could relate to him since he too was young when God called him up to carry out some BIG plans.  Perhaps she remembered what God told Joshua, "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Whatever the case may be, Esther chose to be strong and COURAGEOUS.  She chose not to let fear or worry or doubt or uncertainty or anything else keep her from doing what God was calling her to do.  She chose to accept the challenge before her, finding strength in God and His presence.  She realized God indeed had placed her in her position as queen for this very moment, and she rose to the occasion.  

And now, thousands of years later, we are still reading about her courage.  Heck, we are watching cartoon movies about her as a green onion (I think that's what vegetable she is)!

What about YOU?  
Has God called you to something bigger than yourself?  
Has God asked you to do something scary or difficult or even humanly impossible?  
Has God put you in a certain position for a specific reason?

No matter who you are or where you are at in life, I want to assure you that God has indeed done all those things.  
He HAS called you to something bigger than yourself.
He HAS asked you to do something scary or difficult or even humanly impossible.
He HAS put you exactly where you are at this very moment for a very specific reason (though I may not know exactly what that reason is...yet).

And, just like Esther, YOU have a CHOICE to make.
Will you decide to play it safe OR will you decide to "be strong and courageous?"
Will you hope someone else steps up OR will you realize God has you where you are "for such a time as this?"

I feel as though I am living out the story of Esther in my own life, right now.  

NO, I am not risking my life to save an entire nation, BUT I do feel as though I am responding to God's leading and doing what He has called me to do.  It is a little scary and difficult.  It is certainly bigger than myself.  And beyond a shadow of a doubt it is even humanly impossible!  YET, I know in my heart of hearts God has created me for SUCH A TIME AS THIS.

You see, when I became an It Works distributor it was never really about the wrap (or even the greens, which is the product that got me hooked).  It has always been so much more than that.  It's ALWAYS been about changing lives.  Be it that I am helping people invest in their health -- via the wrap or greens or other supplements or skin care or whatever -- and get the most out of life or be it that I am helping people invest in their finances so they can be debt free and have the freedom to go and do more and live more and GIVE more!  Even more so, I see It Works as a platform for God to use me to impact COUNTLESS LIVES ALL OVER THE WORLD.  (I told you this is scary and difficult and bigger than myself and humanly impossible.)  This is about empowering people, especially other moms to be the women God has created them to be.  This is about sharing the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone, showing them how He is at work in my life, how He is blessing me, and how He longs to have a personal relationship with anyone and everyone who will let Him into their hearts and lives.  This is about bringing massive amounts of glory and honor and praise to God's marvelous and majestic name -- sharing stories of His faithful provision, relating testimonies of how our natural (God-made) products are helping people get their health and thus their lives back, and using the resources He has so graciously given us to bless others in "big" and "small" ways.   

As an It Works distributor I am doing something a bit different.  Not everyone is on board.  Not everyone understands.  Not everyone believes in the product or the business.  And that's okay.  I can't let that stop me or keep me from doing what I truly believe God has called me to do and be.  Instead, I chose to be "strong and courageous."  I chose to believe I am here, right now, doing this crazy wrap thing (that's so much more) "for such a time as this."

This morning, I read a testimony from a fellow distributor and thought it went along perfectly with what God is doing in my own heart.  Here's what Melody MacFarlene had to say about her role in It Works:

In June 2005 I was living in "my own little world". I knew that God had a plan for my life, but I just didn't know what it was. I was a good daughter, good sister, good wife, good mother, good friend, but there just had to be more. I got into It Works because that Crazy Wrap Thing worked. I got excited and started making money right away. After 15 years in network marketing, I finally found a business that was working. For the first time I was seeing the fruits of my labor. I could see that this business was going to be the answer to our prayers for financial freedom. We were going to be able to retire Blair and do some things for us. It was all about what it was going to do for the McFarlane family.

But something happened along the way. I began to see a deeper purpose. People's lives were being impacted because I opened the door of this amazing opportunity for them. It wasn't about me any more. That point was driven into my spirit by my sister, Kimberly. You see, she was diagnosed with lung cancer in Jan. 2007. According to her doctors, she did not have long to live. I wanted to put my business on the back burner and spend the time she had left with her. When I told her my plans, she was adamant that I could not do that. Her words pierced deep into my spirit,"You were born for this purpose! You are walking in your destiny, the very reason that God put you on this earth!! You can't stay here with me, it's not about you and it's not about me…it's about the people that God is putting in your path. This is bigger than both of us!"

At that moment it was if my eyes were opened really wide and I saw the much bigger picture. I put my agenda aside and picked up God's agenda and started building like never before. I became the company's first Triple Diamond on March 31, 2007. Kimberly was the first person I called to share the news. She was ecstatic! She said "This is only the beginning my dear sister, you ain't seen nothing yet!" I can hear her voice like it was yesterday. My amazing sister passed away a little over a week later on April 9th. I am thankful that she was the one who helped me to fully understand my purpose. Her fiery spirit lives on in her daughter, Kristen Anderson, Triple Diamond.

I don't know what it will take for you to see the "bigger" picture. I pray that you will hang in there long enough with It Works to do whatever it takes to fulfill your God-given destiny. I want you to take some time and get alone with God. Ask Him to show you the plans He has for you. Put your business into His hands and don't worry about anything. You do the work and God will bless it. We all want it to happen now, but it will happen when it's supposed to. In the meantime it's so important to work on developing the best "you" you can be. Read books or listen to books on cd to build your confidence and your belief. Go to Success on Demand in your esuite and dig into that awesome resource. Make the quality decision to never quit and then go to work. Blitz, blitz, blitz…you only need a few good ones to change your life. They are out there, I promise. Your "own little world" will begin to grow from you to thousands!! God bless!!

I LOVE that so many top leaders in this company continually bring us back to God and to live out HIS purpose for our lives.  I LOVE that they remind us to get out of comfort zone, to push ourselves, to "be strong and courageous" so that God can do BIG things through us.  

Know what's kind of funny too?  Well, maybe not funny, but totally GOD...  The It Works boxes actually have this verse printed on each and every one of them!!!  

Coincidence?  I don't think so!!!  

Again, I want to ask you if God is calling you to do something bigger than yourself. 
Is he wanting you to do something scary or difficult or even humanly impossible?
Does He have you where you are at right now "for such a time as this?"

Don't let fear or worry or doubt or uncertainy or anything else stand in your way.  Don't let anything or anyone from doing what God has called you to do, what He has CREATED you to do!!!

For we are God’s masterpiece. 
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Step out and be an Esther with me.   Whatever your "such a time as this" may be.  

As we chose COURAGE together, I will be praying these words from the apostle Paul for you:

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. 
We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will 
and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, 
and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. 
All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power 
so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. 
May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. 
He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, 
who live in the light. 
For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness 
and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 
who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

I'll also be praying these verses from Paul as well:

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. 
May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 
Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, 
and you will be honored along with him. 
This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

If you've decided to be an Esther today, I would love to know!!!  Feel free to message me or even call me so we can pray together for strength and courage as we do whatever God is calling us to do for the sake of His glorious name!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Winning at Losing

Even if you're not competitive or don't participate in athletic events or take part in recitals or whatever, you are most likely playing a game every single day, and LOSING.  Every single day.

I lost just moments ago.  And it wasn't the first time today, either.

You see, I saw this picture of my friend Paula on facebook.  I played the game.  And lost.

She's a published author (check out her great book Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl) and works with Nancy Leigh DeMoss at Revive Our Hearts.  Today, she's recording programs at FamilyLife Today.  LOVE what God is doing in and through my friend from college.

BUT, at the same time, I had that nasty feeling of jealousy sneak into my heart.  I have dreams of being a published author.  I would love to write a book and minister to women (especially my fellow mamas) in that way.  I would love to impact their lives and their families.  Like Paula is with her book and radio broadcasts and speaking engagements and such.

And so I start thinking and asking questions: Why can't I be like Paula?  Why does she get to do all these amazing things while I'm at home with my girls cleaning up messes and changing diapers?  

I get frustrated and begin to complain: It's not fair!!!  I'm just as talented as she is.  What makes her so special to get all the breaks...

See how quickly that happened.  I played the comparison game.  And lost.  BIG TIME.

The only person happy about this is my sneaky opponent whose sole purpose is to defeat me.  Satan's goal is to get me to play a game I can't ever win.  He tricks me into playing time and time again, day in and day out, without ever realizing I am playing.  And losing.

He cheers when I lose.

God, on the other hand, does not like when I play this silly game.  It saddens Him.   Breaks is heart, actually.

He has already given us victory over sin and Satan, so when we let him defeat us, God must be devastated.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, 
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 
having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, 
which stood against us and condemned us; 
he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, 
he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Sadly, I play this stupid comparison game far too often.  Satan has come up with so many variations of the game and made it seem like a normal part of my daily life that I don't even realize I am playing most of the time.  Thankfully, God helped me realize my mistake as I saw Paula's picture in my newsfeed.

I know Satan won't give up today though, or any day for that matter.  

He'll try to get me to play when I see another mom post a picture of some creative project she did with her kids.  He'll want me to feel bad that I didn't do the same thing.  He'll want me to think I'm not the best mom. 

He'll try to get me to play when I see someone post a picture of a delicious meal they made for supper.  He'll want me to believe I should have spent more time preparing a tasty dish for my family too.

He'll try to get me to play when I see someone post a picture of the outfit they're wearing for Easter. He'll want to me feel guilty for not getting my girls new dresses or a new dress for myself.  He'll want me to feel fat and ugly because I wouldn't be able to fit into that dress and look as good as she does anyway.  

He'll try to get to me to play when someone posts pictures of the fun they are having on vacation.  He'll want me to be jealous that I'm not on vacation too.  

I could go on and on and on.  For every interaction I have with someone, Satan presents the opportunity for me to play his silly game.  The game I can never win.

For even when I compare myself to others and wrongly think I am better than them, I have lost.  

I don't know about you, but I am tried of winning at losing.  

I am tired of falling prey to Satan's tricks.  I am tired of playing his stupid game.

And so I quit.  But, I'll have to quit again in 5 minutes.  And again in 10 minutes.   And again and again and again and again all day long.  

Wanna quit with me?
Let's be quitters together!
I don't usually suggest quitting or giving up, but in this case, it's the best possible option.

As we quit, may we remember we're already winners in God's eyes (and HIS opinion is the only one that matters anyway):

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Instead of comparing ourselves to others, and always losing at that game, let's instead focus on the TRUTH that God created us just the way He wanted, with unique gifts and abilities and talents.  As we seek His will and delight ourselves in Him, as we live out the plans and purposes God has for us, we will be satisfied and fulfilled and build each other up and help each other become the men and women God intended us to be in the first place.  

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, 
but the same Spirit is the source of them all.
There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.
God works in different ways, 
but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 
so it is with Christ’s body. 
We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. 
So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, 
speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
If your gift is serving others, serve them well. 
If you are a teacher, teach well.
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. 
If it is giving, give generously. 
If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. 
And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. 
Use them well to serve one another.
Do you have the gift of speaking? 
Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. 
Do you have the gift of helping others? 
Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. 
Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. 
All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Instead of winning at losing, let's quit playing Satan's awful game.  Let's come together, be on the same team, and work towards a common goal -- bringing massive amounts of glory to God's awesome name!

When we do that, we'll all be winners!!! 

*Funny side note: as I was typing out this blog post about my dreams of being a published author, I got a phone call from Author House about publishing 2 children's books I wrote and submitted years ago!!!  This is a self-publishing company, not like Zondervan or something like that, and so I would pay all the upfront costs and other expenses as the book was published.  I had to laugh and smile as the lady explained all this to me.  I asked her to send me an email with all the information so I could SEE it and talk with Lawrence about this opportunity.  We'll see what happens....