Lainey Snider | Excelling in Womanhood

I have had this stir in my heart for the last three years to reach out to our young woman ages 18-25. I knew if I waited patiently and not try to create this ministry myself God would not only give us the design for it, He would also give us the right person to lead it. 

I was invited to speak at one of our churches for a mothers day brunch. This is where my desire collided with God’s plan. It was here that I met Ms. Lainey Sneider.  Lainey was so full of life and shared with me her desire to step into woman’s ministry. Of course my heart leaped because she was talking about my passion as well. We chatted for a few and set a time to talk in the near future. I began to pray and ask God is Lainey was the woman He had picked for this ministry. It soon became clear that He had. Lainey and I met again at our Stepping Into Speaking conference (an arm of our Stepping Into Leadership) and I asked her then if she was interested. She jumped with joy when I spoke these words. I have to say, that is the kind of reaction I LOVE to see in people. 

After praying, counseling with her parents and mentors, and counting the cost, Lainey said Yes!! And we cannot be more excited to have her. Lainey has been working with me and Sarah (my new admin) for a few weeks now, creating and dreaming and we are now ready to kick off this ministry.

I’d like to invite you to SC WM’s newest ministry “Excelling In Womanhood”  and would like to introduce you to Lainey. 

Cherie

 

What is Excellence?lainey

One of the highest goals in this country for many people is to excel in life. People want to excel in moneymaking, business, talent, looks, parenting, and so many other areas of life, yet it is rare to come across someone who wishes to excel in their walk with Christ.

I just recently heard in a sermon of a man who would read the New Testament weekly, and immersed himself in prayer on a daily basis. At first, I didn’t think too much of this man’s actions and I decided to take the challenge on myself.  259 chapters of the New Testament, and 37 chapters a day to be able to read the whole New Testament in a week. So I began to read more than I ever had before. Day one, I read twenty chapters. Day two, I read thirteen. And so, by day three, I decided to shoot for a two week reading of the New Testament. By the time week one was over with, and I was only in Acts, I decided that this man I’d heard about was a bit more devoted than I first gave him credit for.

One of the things that is truly admirable about this man is the excellence and devotion that he portrays on a daily basis. How many people do you know that immerse themselves in Christ like that daily? If you know any, they are rare.

On the opposite hand, I also know many Christians who deem it worthy to read a couple verses before they go to bed, and say a quick “Lord bless me” prayer as they drift off to sleep.

Excellence is shown when we, as an individual, go the extra mile in becoming, accomplishing, and overcoming the average expectations on a daily basis. People who are excelling in their life don’t do it by sleeping on their couch all day. Excelling individuals work hard in their practice. Excelling money makers work hard, invest well, and study up on their subject. Excelling athletes train more than most athletes do. They watch videos of others who play the same sport, study, and they eat right to make sure that their bodies are in the perfect shape. In the same way, excelling in Christ involves us studying up on our subject, working until we transform in the likeness of Christ, and working hard to do the will of our Father.

But why is it important to excel? Is there a point to excelling? Or is it just what we, as Christians, should do as our civil duty?

Well, as a Christian, it is our job to excel above the normal and to stand out among other people. If we don’t stand out among non-Christians, then what is the point in being a Christian? I talked with a restaurant manager some time ago, and he told me that he, as well as many other managers, hire Christians over non-Christians simply because of the work ethics that are present in the Christian’s life. This would not happen if we didn’t excel in our efforts for Christ. Excelling isn’t just for the glory of God, but it is also for our own good.

As women for Christ, it is our job to excel, stand out, and make an amazing impression for Christ. We are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, and we represent the man that died on the cross for our sins. Don’t take your ability to make a difference for granted. Welcome to Excelling In Womanhood.

“Many Daughters do well, but you excel them all.”  -Proverbs 31:29

Are you between the age 18-25? Join me on our Facebook group here : Excelling In Womanhood Maybe you have a daughter or daughters this age or know someone that would benefit from joining us. Please share this post with them and encourage them to join us.

I look forward to serving you and growing together,

Lainey

 

Lainey Sneider: I was called into the ministry at age ten and have been involved with ministry work since I was thirteen years old till the present. Currently I’m involved in women’s ministry in South Carolina, but I am also heavily involved in college ministry as an ambassador for my school, and I am currently youth leader and speaker at my Assembly of God church in Sumter. I am eighteen years old, and I love to tell people that 1 Timothy 4:12 is completely true. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” As woman of God, whether you are older or younger, we all must seek to excel in all areas of our lives. Don’t let anyone look down on you. Most of my life I’ve been told that I can’t do what I want to do in ministry, but let me tell you if you are facing that, that you can. If I believed those lies, I wouldn’t be here right now, so I know you can too.” 

Exciting News

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I just got a call from Brenda Barnson. We have 33 rooms booked at the Holiday Inn and Suits Conference Center. We are so excited!! Today is the last day to reserve your rooms at our conference price. They have another group coming in on the same days that just called today to reserve a block of rooms. We want to make sure you DON’T miss out on this great savings!! You can still reserve rooms after today, just not at the same price. Make your calls, ladies!! 🙂

Holiday Inn & Suits Phone # 843-379-3100 code is WMC

Cherie 🙂

He Shall Direct Your Paths

         Luke 11:1 “Lord, teach us to pray”

Are you praying for direction in an area of your life right now? There are many times in our lives when we don’t see a way to victory. We cannot rely on our own insight or understanding. Neither can we count on our own strength or resources. What we need is beyond our own reach. In times like these, the word of God instructs us to trust the Lord, rather than our own abilities, and acknowledge Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”

To trust God is to rely on Him. Webster’s definition of trust is a resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, and sound principles of another person.” Surely, we can put our confidence in the person of Jesus Christ. Most certainly, He is worthy of our trust.

Trusting is also defined as “committing something to a person’s care, use or management.” Isn’t that what we are really doing when we pray? The word trust in this scripture is the Hebrew word “batach” and while it simply means to rely upon and have confidence in the Lord, it also translates; to feel safe. Dear sister in Christ, does your heart feel safe today? If not, the answer is found in “acknowledging” Him in all your ways.

The word acknowledge is the Hebrew word “yada” and it is important to note because it literally translates; to discover and know personally. It refers to life-giving intimacy. It suggests direct intimate contact with God along with prayer that conceives and births blessings and victories!

Ladies, it is all about your relationship with God. We must learn to acknowledge (yada) Him in all our ways, on every road and every course we are traveling and with every mode of action. If we will maintain yada, that intimate relationship with God, He will direct, make straight and prosper our paths. He will make the way plain. He will even cut a path for us where there seems to be no way.

The Message reads like this: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.” (Prov. 3:5-10)

My prayer for you is that you would truly experience a resting of your mind as you commit that situation to the Lord. There is no safer place than in His care. Submit to His Lordship. Make Him Master and manager of your life today and every day. Maintain your personal and intimate relationship with Him. Lord, direct, make straight and prosper our paths!

Jennifer Rash, Intercessory Prayer Director, Women Praying for Women

When You Don’t Know What to Do

Luke 11:1 “Lord, teach us to pray”

Recently, I was wrestling with a decision that I needed to make concerning one of my children. It was so important that I make the right decision. Honestly, I only saw three options before me and I didn’t feel good about any of those options. I was desperately trying to figure it all out and I kept coming to the same conclusion; I didn’t have a clue what to do! I did, however, continue to seek the Lord. I prayed throughout each day admitting, “Lord, I don’t have the answer.” I fell asleep at night whispering, “Lord, I don’t know what to do.” I woke up in the morning asking, “Lord, show me.” Interestingly enough, after two months of continually seeking God, the answer came literally overnight! Another door opened up that was not in my previous thoughts or view. It was unmistakably the right path.

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Prayer, many times is a calling out; a cry for help. It is to summons and even invite an All Knowing, All Powerful God into our hearts, lives and situations. When we call to Him, He hears us and He answers. In the original Hebrew, the word for answer translates; to respond, to begin to speak to and it also means to dwell. Amazing! Not only will God hear us and answer, not only will He begin to speak to us concerning that which we are calling to Him about, but He dwells with us. Right there in the midst of our circumstances, situations and uncertainty, He comes, sits down, abides and remains with us.

God promised Jeremiah that if he would call to Him, not only would He answer, but He would reveal to him great and mighty things that could not otherwise be known. When you call out to the Lord, He absolutely responds. He answers. He begins speaking to you. He is right there with you and He makes known to you great and “mighty” things. What are these mighty things? These mighty things are things that have been inaccessible to you before you prayed and invited Him into your situation! The word mighty is the Hebrew word batsar. These mighty things that Jeremiah 33 is referring to are the things that have been isolated and inaccessible to you, until now. These mighty things have seemed to be withheld or restrained before now. They were fenced in until you prayed. They were secrets and mysteries until you called out to Him. But when you prayed, God made these things known to you. The way was plainly exposed. The answer you were seeking was made manifest!

This is what I experienced as I stopped leaning on my own understanding, trusted the Lord and continued to call to Him in prayer. He answered me by showing me the great and mighty things that could not otherwise be known. He showed me what I had not been able to see. Today, I encourage you to continue steadfast in prayer. Rest in the place of knowing He dwells with you. May His presence bring you overwhelming peace and assurance. May the Lord show you and open up to you great and mighty things.

Jennifer Rash, Intercessory Prayer Director, Women Praying for Women

status quo

It has been almost twenty months.  Twenty months. 

Oh my soul, I lose my breath just thinking about it.  It was hard.  The transition.  The grieving.  The learning curve.  Who am I kidding?  There are times when it is still hard.  But today …  today we have caught our breath.  Our oldest son knows his momma and daddy adore him.  He knows that we are here to stay. 

This daddy always comes back.  

Mommy will never leave you.


My heart is thick inside my chest with the memories.  Memories of a terrified little boy lashing out at the strange world and people around him.  The terror.  The confusion.  The exhaustion. 

Just four weeks home, and a darling little sister is born.  A sweet balm for us all in a painful season.   

Twenty months have flown by.  Twenty months have crept by. 

Sin, grief and pain – they have been laid bare in our house.  And our forever faithful Father has met us with forgiveness, healing and hope. 

We are a family.  We even feel like a family.  Our children are well, we are well, and our family works.  It just works, and that is a huge deal when you step out and piece together a family.  Led by two perfectly imperfect people, both screwed up in our own way, with our own hang-ups, expected to love, nurture and cherish one freaked out little boy who thinks he might lose his parents, one hurt little boy who did lose his parents, and one sassy-pants sister.  Oh, and a dog, who according to our social worker, has “grief issues” of his own.  Fantastic. 

But we’ve made it!  All of us.  Together.  We don’t cry in the middle of the night anymore because of the over-whelming grief and pain that pulled at our boy.  God has brought healing where there was once hurt and panic.  Our boys don’t fight like cats and dogs 23 hours a day anymore.  God has brought relationship and love.  My blood pressure doesn’t shoot through the roof everytime I wake up anymore.   God has brought joy and peace.

Why start over?

Why risk … well, anything?

Because He said so.

Because it’s worth it.


Because it’s not just an idea.  It’s a child.  A hurting child who needssomeone to enter into their pain with them and walk them through it.  To help them carry it.  To cry with them, pray over them, and rejoice in them. 

Because love works, people.  We’ve seen it with our very own eyes these past twenty months.

Because God did it for us, and He promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  He has started a work in our family, and we intend to walk obediently beside Him until it’s completion.  And we pray to God that He has taught us how to enter into that pain with more grace and compassion than we had twenty months ago.  We pray  that the Lord continues to show Himself faithful in placing the lonely in families …. not creating disfunctional chaos where a family once stood. 

So, we are stepping out again.  Trusting Him.  Knowing that we are not the same people — not the same family — that we were twenty months ago.  Thank you, Lord.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope… when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13

Excellently Formed and Marvelously Functioning Women

Romans 12:5-6 “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (The Message)
I love the words “excellently formed” and “marvelously functioning”. Ladies, that is what we are to be as women of God in the body of Christ. We are eager to use our gifts in our churches and in our women’s ministry groups. The real key to “functioning marvelously” is to make sure that we are functioning AS ONE.  That place of unity is the very place where God said that He would command the blessing.
Believe it or not, we can learn some things about this idea of unity from a female lion.
A beautiful creature, the lioness, has mastered the art of team work. Every female lion on the pride has a role and contribution. She understands that no position or contribution is more significant than another. One of her many vital roles on the pride is that of hunting. This role belongs to the female in a lion’s world and it sustains the very life of every female, male and cub.
Of all the animals in the wild, it is said that the lioness is at the height of hunting prowess. The lioness’s hunting supremacy is even celebrated in some African cultures. How did the lioness arrive at such supremacy? What is it about this creature that sets it apart from all others?
Lionesses are the only large cats that hunt as one.
Tigers, leopards, panthers and cheetahs hunt alone but lionesses work together. Not only do they work together but they do it without competition and without breaking rank. Their great success is due to the fact that they function as a team. They are the glue that holds the whole pride together.
Are you a lone ranger or are you a team player? Are you the glue that holds your group together? Woman of God, it is time to make a decision; are you going to be a tiger, a leopard, a panther, a cheetah or are you going to be a lioness?
This skill of hunting together is said to be something beautiful to behold!
The female lion never rushes in. She understands that timing is everything.
She is patient.
She waits.
As she waits she is gathering strength.
Lionesses do not rush but they dance.
Yes, as they work together it looks like a beautiful dance. This “dancing” is said to be breathtaking to watch.
What if the women of God in the body of Christ were functioning in such a way that those who were watching described us as something beautiful to behold, a breathtaking site?
Women of South Carolina , let’s dance together in 2012.  May the way we move as one bring Him glory. May we be “excellently formed” and “marvelously functioning”.
Jennifer Rash
Pastor’s wife and Intercessory Prayer Director for SC WM’s.

Peace To All and All A Good Life

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

There was a poll taken a few years ago asking people what the main things they desire and the overwhelming majority said ‘peace.’  The results of this poll do not surprise me because the  definition of peace is, ‘State of calm, freedom from strife or discord:  harmony in personal relationships.’   We were made by God to experience peace.  This is evident by him sending his only son to redeem us, set us free, from the sin of the world of disharmony, strife and brokenness.

Jesus wants us to remember he is the peace we all long for.

In the Bible Jesus’ message is  filled with hope and peace.   Jesus’ ministry on earth was about the peace he offered if people would believe, trust and follow him.  What the world tries to find peace in everything but Christ.  They strive for something they cannot attain in themselves.  They give too much effort for so little, if any, gain.   Just listen to the news and read the paper and one will see a world without peace and hope.  As Christians we know we have a ‘peace like a fountain,’ if we will let Jesus take control of our life.  It is a promise given in Micah 5: 4-5. ‘He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.  And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.  And he (Jesus) will be their peace.’

Jesus loves us and wants us to experience his peace.

This is a time when many are so busy they lose focus on the true meaning on Christmas.  Many get stressed out, burned out and worn out by the hustle and bustle of finding the perfect gift.   A favorite saying I read a couple of years ago is something I remind myself of each year is,  “Christmas is not about the presents but about the presence.’  Let this Christmas time be one where Christ is the center of our attention so we can experience peace.

Jesus wants us to be peacemakers.

In America Christmas has become known for a lot of things and one in particular is that of sharing time with family.  Some have family members that may be challenging to be around.  Let us remember  the second part of 1 Corinthians  7:15 say, ‘God has called us to live in peace,’ and Matthew 5:9 , ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.’ 

Let this Christmas be one where regardless of past hurts we can do what Christ has done for us and forgive and mend broken relationships.    This is the essence of our relationship with Christ.  He is our present because of his presence.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:  and the government shall be upon his shoulder:  and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’  Isaiah 9:6

 Blessings,

Joy Davis

Photo credit: Image: suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

He Is The Christ!

It’s hard to believe we are 6 days away from Christmas.

As Christmas approaches, I cannot help but meditate on the names of God.

The meanings bring Life. Peace. Joy. Comfort. Strength. Forgiveness. Salvation.

Below is a very small portion of the names of our Savior that have stood out to me over the years and still do today.

He is our Bread Of Life ~ “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”  John 6:35

He is called Servant~ “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1

He is our Advocate~ “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

He is the Chief Cornerstone ~” having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,” Ephesians 2:20

He is our Chief Shepherd ~ “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4

He is our ROCK ~ “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4

He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith~” looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

He is the Seed Of Abraham~ “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,”who is Christ.” Galations 3:16

He is Christ~ “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.” Matthew 1:16

He is Immanuel ~ “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Is your heart stirred for more?  Below is a beautiful video sharing even more names of our God and Savior!

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Which of the names of God have impacted you the most? Share you comments with us below.

Shalom {Peace} and blessings to you and your families this Christmas season,

Cherie Zack

WM District Director/ South Carolina District of the Assemblies of God

When Relationships Wither

Lately loneliness has been a storm cloud over my life.  I feel disconnected to the people  I hold dearest to my heart.  And it is making for a very tearful Christmas season so far.

Family relationships are hard because there is still so much damage from generational dysfunction.  Friendships have been God’s provision of restoration for my wounded heart.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.”   Psalm 1:3

In each season of my life (and state I have lived in!), God has connected me with precious, Jesus-loving women who became ‘companions of the heart’!  And He did it again early in my marriage & motherhood journey.  They are friends with whom I can be totally transparent and grow in the grace of God.  These relationships are life-giving and have sustained me through some very difficult trials.

But something changed.  It was slow but noticeable.  As their kids grew older and I kept having babies, our lives intersected less and less.  Phone conversations were difficult (kids always screaming in the background) and dinner with girls seemed impossible to coordinate between all of our family responsibilities.

Then I went back to work full time.  My husband and I welcomed our 4th baby. I continued to direct the Women’s Ministry at my church but they stepped down from their positions in it.  We stopped going to the same Bible Studies and started attending different services at church.  Our kids rarely celebrated birthdays together anymore.

And my heart ached as I felt the friendships wilt.

And then wither.

I don’t like the withering.  I want to get mad and say “You never call me anymore!” or “You don’t seem committed to our relationship!”

Withering occurs when the environment does not provide for growth.  

Relationships require time, attention, frequency and energy.

After many tears and much prayer, I make a painful discovery.  I am also responsible for the withering.  I have not made relationships outside of my own home a priority!

  • TIME:  family, home management, ministry, work
  • ATTENTION:  God, husband, children, news, blogging/writing, reading, Facebook & Twitter
  • FREQUENCY:  unless planned or routine, everything is sporadic & momentary
  • ENERGY:  I am tired all the time but I give energy where I want to

If I want growing relationships with the people that I love, I must do things differently!  One of my mentors reminded me recently that  “trying” doesn’t change things.  Change occurs when we DO!   So I determine my changes by writing action statements.

  1. I choose to pursue relationships instead of waiting to be pursued
  2. I shift my attention to real people insted of news or FB or Twitter
  3. I will schedule time for relationships into my weekly routine
  4. I reserve energy for relationships–mentally, emotionally & physically
  5. I become relentless in relationship rather than party in my self-pity

And I feel hope rising as I have a vision for what relationships can once again become.  And the clouds of loneliness begin to blow away!

Now let me go. . .I have a friend to call and a girl’s night out to schedule!

Angela Smith

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1803

Are You Distracted?

I love special projects.  Especially if it involves organizing details and putting  a plan together.  It is rewarding to see the product of my hard work.  And if I am honest, I really like the affirmation that comes from those that enjoy the project results!

  • Women’s ministry events.
  • My children’s birthday parties.
  • Anything Christmas!

These projects seem to refill my proverbial ‘tank’ with creativity, energy & excitement!  But sometimes that means that I make decisions that distract me from my top priorities:  God.  Family.  Work.  Time management.  Sleep!

This happened to me again.  I awoke at 3:37am developing a strategy for  PROJECT FAMILY PORTRAITS (for Christmas cards).   It has been 2-3 years since I have done Christmas cards. . . so I want this year’s to make up for my lack in the past!

In the darkness of the early hours, I determined a plan.  It seemed good to me.  It even indulged my lazy side a little bit.  But when I told my husband of my plans, well . . . let’s just say that he did NOT agree.

In fact, he said NO!  And then firmly laid out a different plan.

And if I am honest, it is a much better plan than mine.

In that moment, I had two choices.  I could honor the God-given leadership of my husband OR I could be angry that I wasn’t getting my way.

As I wiped the tears from my cheeks, I quietly thanked God for loving me  through my husband’s leadership.  Both God and my husband were protecting me from myself!  My plan would have caused a lot of unnecessary stress and hard work to “make it happen”.

Why do I get so easily distracted?  Distractions are  FUN!  And I crave ‘fun’ in the midst of the mundane routines of life.    But fun things that don’t conform to Godly priorities usually have bad outcomes.  They steal my peace. . .kill my joy. . . and destroy my family unity.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10  

A rich and satisfying life is experienced through  fun that fulfills rather than distracts.   The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth & wisdom so that there is no guilt or shame or regret.  Only joy, peace & love tooverflowing!

Are you distracted?  Will you allow God to protect you from The Thief of your soul so that you can have a full life?

Angela Smith

Photo credit: <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=851“>Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>