Resilience: Spaces and Pauses

Pauses in life give us perspective.  When we fill our life pages to the point of no margins, we have no space to just be in the moment. A fire burns when there is just the right amount of logs, fuel, and space.

FIRE ~ Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.

A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

I believe that the space or the pause in life produces resilience and a growth mindset. Most of our fears and worries stem from reality on steroids. For example, we may procrastinate on something challenging because we view the task or change as insurmountable. However, when we view life challenges as an opportunity for growth and manageable we can gain a more healthy perspective of the situation. So many times in my life, I’ve prepared for a challenge or task only to be overwhelmed with “in the moment outcomes”. We prepare for the things we can control, but we accept the things we can’t control. Within this acceptance, growth occurs which embraces resilience.


The American Psychological Association

The Road to Resilience

Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”

Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, a greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.

Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.

The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.


Last night in Woman of Worth, we discussed friendship. As an activity, we made friendship soup!wowgamepicture

We discussed the importance of choosing friends wisely, forgiveness, and the number one friendship killer–gossip. Someone asked Jesus how many times do we forgive a friend?

Jesus says to him, “I say to you not up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven! Matthew 18:22

Meaning…..we know up front we will hurt others, and they will hurt us, so get your forgiveness game on. Recognizing that consistent, harmful relationships should end. We challenged ourselves to remember this guideline:

Image result for If it's true kind necessary

The best way to handle conflict in a relationship is to go to the person and talk it out.  If you need guidance on the matter go to a trusted adult, not another friend and gossip about that person.

As we went through the lesson, we wrote characteristics and qualities of a good friend and made friendship soup:


Our Ingredients:

  • Affectionate
    Able to be trusted
    Good Listener
    Would never harm you
  • Has your back
  • Sense of humor
  • Cheerful
  • Encourages you
  • Caring
  • Influences you in the right way
  • Kind
  • Similar values and grow together
  • Sympathy
  • Not ashamed to be with you
  • Compassion
  • To be loyal, faithful
  • Selflessness
  • Happy
  • Common goals
  • Good listener; Someone who won’t judge
  • Take the time to help you
  • Forgiving
  • Keeps your secrets
  • Someone who thinks of others
  • Godly influence
  • Companionship
  • Attentiveness
  • Thoughtful
  • Someone who will hold you accountable to the Lord
  • Can act like “the bigger man”
  • Competitive to challenge me
  • Unstoppable
  • Consistent
  • Doesn’t gossip a lot
  • Comforter
  • Doesn’t tear you down
  • Not afraid to say it if they think you did something wrong
  • Helps in your time of despair; talks to you
  • undramatic: who brings happiness and no guilt

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

WOW!  What a great reminder of friendship.  We began and closed the lesson reminding each other that God is our first and perfect friend who can help us be a true friend to those He puts in our lives.

Image result for God is our friend


Modesty, Daddies, and Freedom: It’s not a burden

Last night at the Women of Worth Rally in Colonial Heights the theme was “modesty”. From scripture, to video, to Bible study, to speaker, we learned the importance of modesty in the eyes of God. (I Timothy 2:9)

Girl Defined is a great resource for teenage girls and women on how to stay pure in the counter-culture that opposes God’s truth.

Here is a great video on how to wear fashion and still be modest:

The girls in my group are in 6th grade and some of the topics discussed in Bible study are not head on struggles for them. They are influenced, but it seems they are preparing and making sure they know truth for the potential battle to come.

We discussed how the women we see portrayed as “objects” of unrealistic beauty in magazines, movies, and music videos create feelings of anger, disappointment, sadness that someone would think that’s okay, and conviction.  We know the truth and stand against the image, but we also realize we are human and wonder, “Why don’t I look like that?”  Even though we discussed how most models in print are drastically altered using technology to make them smaller, taller, or more alluring to the world standards, we admitted we still feel “inadequate” at times.

Mrs. Becton of Precious to God ministries spoke on human trafficking, and how the ministry seeks to help restore oppressed and exploited women by inviting others to share their pain through prayer, awareness, mentoring, and networking.  Within her talk she made it crystal clear the differences between the goodness of God, and the lies of the enemy. God is for us, and He is faithful.  He keeps no record of wrongs, and He wants to redeem us.  The enemy is darkness, confusion, and is against us.

One thing she said that stood out to me was the following:

“Sexuality should not be a burden.”

God created sexuality and is the authority on it.  Everything He made, He stood back and said, “This is good!”

When we step into a place as a young lady, or seasoned married woman of our sexuality being a burden, we need to seek God’s truth.  If we feel inadequate, abused, oppressed, frustrated, worried, unattractive, not good enough, fearful, apathetic, angry, or confused something good has become a burden and that is not what God desires for us.

Single women and teenage girls embrace God’s truth and know you are precious in His sight.  Get to know Him as your perfect heavenly Father who is for you. (Psalm 139)

Married women, no matter your age, size, or season in marriage celebrate the beautiful union between a man and woman –one flesh, created by God, and His gift for marriage.


Your role is of utmost importance in the development of your daughter’s sexuality. When Mrs. Becton works with women who have been exploited and oppressed, many of them talk openly about their relationship with men as little girls, and especially their father, or lack of father. You are the first male role model they witness loving the females in their lives. How you show affection to your wife and to them is their example of how they should be treated by a man.

Fathers who intentionally show affection, love, and engage in the molding of their daughter’s self-worth will reap a harvest of confident and courageous daughters.

If I have a daddy telling me I’m beautiful and worthy, why would I seek that elsewhere? I am satisfied and filled.

The simplest of actions such as love notes, date nights, small gifts just because, taking interest in their hobbies, and leading them in prayer and Bible study will speak volumes to their worth! Time tells them “I must be valuable!” The time you invest says to them “You matter to me!”  Research says that most little girls grow up to marry someone that is like their father–the role model they’ve come accustomed to.

Sometimes showing affection is easier when they are smaller and more difficult when they become teenagers.  Don’t stop.  Don’t pull away.  They need you more than ever to guide them, laugh with them, and spend time with them.  It may mean a sacrifice of your time, your comfort, or personality, but it’s your God give responsibility to connect and protect.

  • Engage
  • Pray
  • Lead


Ask: How will I engage with my daughter in a positive way, and what does she need from me?

Pray: Be on your knees and in God’s Word praying for her.

Lead: Seek to be the visionary for your family, and lead your family in the way of God’s truth.  Do not leave this job/role solely to your wife.  As a father, God has equipped you to lead and love:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

The greatest love gift you can give your family is to learn to lead and love like Christ loved the church.  His Word will guide you.

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do. – John Mayer


In My Daughter’s Eyes


Looking into the manger of baby Jesus, It makes me wonder about Mary as a mother. When Jesus searched His earthly mother’s eyes for the first time, did Mary weep? Did she, like all mothers in that bonding moment, cry tears of joy?

Gertrude Käsebier, The Manger, 1899; Gift of the Holladay Foundation – See more at:

Mothers, go back in your mind to that moment in the hospital when all the labor was done.  Your little girl was whisked away to be cleaned up.  You laid there in awe and exhaustion.  When all the guests have gone, and it’s just you and your baby girl you looked deep into her eyes, and you see her searching your eyes with such intention.  Her little mouth puckering and forming what will soon be her way to eat and talk to you. If I close my eyes, I can go there in a minute and weep. Maybe you are a grandmother and you are remembering your grandchildren and that moment.  Maybe some of you are thinking about your mother who has gone on to be with Jesus.  This Christmas is filled with a longing to look into her eyes again.



Mom, I don’t remember that moment, but because you loved me so much and cared for me, it began a journey of attachment to someone who loved me beyond my comprehension.  As I grew, I realized that In my mother’s eyes I could see acceptance, concern for me, love, a sense of belonging, joy, tears when I hurt, anticipation, pride, expectation, and, yes, the occasional: “You are in trouble young lady!”


My eyes have changed over the years.  My eyes have seen much, experienced much, and there is a depth found in my soul work with Jesus that altered my “20 something eyes”.


Mom, maybe your eyes have more tears, more wear and tear, and unexplainable joy, but they have pointed me to Jesus who is my perfect parent.  It’s okay.  In fact, I bet Mary and Jesus often looked at each other, and Mary was overwhelmed with her “humanness”. You’ve taught me mom to look into the eyes of Jesus and for that I’m grateful.  Remember the hymn we use to sing?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus! Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace….


Mom, here I am with you, my future child’s great grandmother, aunts, and my spiritual family.  What great joy and anticipation!  Let’s celebrate Christmas with anticipation just like Mary awaiting Jesus’ birth. Let us prepare our hearts and anticipate not only the Christmas morning, but His coming again.


I love you.


Mom, I look forward to my time alone in the hospital with my child—that mother/daughter moment in the dark, and quiet of the night. I will love, remember, and just like Mary  “treasure these things in my heart”.   Just like I found in my mother’s eyes a reflection of who I am and what will be, I hope my sweet baby will find that same reflection in my eyes, and most importantly the eyes of Jesus.



Victoria and Anna singing In My Daughter’s Eyes in 2011 at a Christian Woman’s Club Meeting.  I loved closing our presentation last night with this duet.  Through the years, this song has brought new meaning and great joy!


Mother Daughter Woman of Worth Mentoring Ministries Christmas Party,  December 18, 2015

What a sweet night with Jesus and our daughters. Ladies–the night brought great joy!  This season we are encouraged to celebrate JESUS and share His love.

Don’t forget to have your mother/daughter Bible study time with yummmmmmy hot chocolate. The Bible Study is below if you need it.


Mother Daughter Christmas Memories



The Freshman 15: Time Management Lesson 2

“College is the land of opportunity” (Henderson, 2013, pg. 17).  You probably have already signed up for clubs, developed a routine, and continuously discovering that there is “oh so much to do”.

Be effective by being selective

Let’s face it most of your days will be busy with constant deadlines.  However, by being selective about new opportunities and prayerfully considering your time, God will show you when to say “no”, and when to say “yes”.  In my life experiences, there have been insane moments in which I felt strongly to say “yes” even though I knew it meant more time and effort.  I trusted God to provide the strength and provision of time.  In faith, I knew I had to say yes.  Other times, I’ve equally felt God calling me to say “no”, and I had to trust Him.  What are your spiritual gifts, and how can God use you to further His kingdom work?  When you know your gifts, you can be selective.  Never limit God’s calling you out of your comfort zone, though.  Trying something new, may open doors for growth.

Take the spiritual gifts test for FREE!


Jesus “went away to a quiet place to rest”, and God rested on the 7th day.  God created sleep to rejuvenate you, and heal your body.  Lack of sleep impacts your memory, emotional well-being, and in some cases irrational thoughts/hallucinations, and has been linked to heart disease and other health related issues.  Sleep is a time for you to store all of you’ve learned in your memory, and to heal your body.  Laying in the bed and checking your phone, and being on your computer is not resting.  The blue lights from computers and phones causes a decrease in melatonin, a natural hormone that helps you fall asleep.

Schedule your time and keep a list

List your top five priorities, and ask yourself how you will make time for these priorities. Get a good paper or computer calendar and make sure your priorities are listed–Family, School, Church, God, Job, Friends, etc…

Ask yourself honest questions.  How much time are you on social media in comparison to homework or spending time in Bible study?  Readjust and make time for your priorities.

Pursue excellence to the end

Pursuing excellence does not mean you will not make mistakes, or fall short.  It’s about attitude and action.  Colossians 3:23-25 tells us that anything we do, we do it for God, and with all of our heart–with passion. From cleaning your bedroom and bathroom to writing a paper for a class make sure you are doing it for God, not man.  Talk to Him about it. Ask Him to give you wisdom and direction.  Ask Him how the assignment or chore will help you grow.  Most importantly, be grateful and give God thanks. Research has proven that gratitude creates joy. Feeling a little down? Start listing your blessings, and practice an attitude of gratitude.

One verse in God’s Word that encourages me is “to finish what you’ve started”.  If you’ve made a commitment –finish it.  Even when you may feel disconnected from the professor, the class is boring, or you are just tired or bored, “finish what you’ve started” and trust God not your feelings.

Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray that you will give me the guidance that I need to have fun while still maintaining a schedule of proper study and needed rest.  Protect me as I seek your help in scheduling time for everything. I love you Father and pray this in Jesus name, Amen.


Keeping The Faith

In an effort to stay connected with my college Woman of Worth ladies,  I will be posting devotional thoughts and questions from our book, The Freshman 15 by Kate Henderson.

See you on October 9 (College Fall Break for CNU and Richard Bland)

See you on October 15 (College Fall Break for VT)

Please email me questions about those dates if needed.

Parents and students please read the article below by clicking on the title.  You can also see the highlights below and come back to the article later.

Dropouts and Disciples: How many students are really leaving the church?

Some highlights:

Church attendance among teens and young adults follows some important patterns. There are always some coming and some going. Yet something significant happens between the ages of 17 and 19 that accounts for the vast majority of those who leave. At age 17, the twice- monthly attendance of our study sample drops as follows:

  • 16–17, drop 10%
  • 17–18, drop 14%
  • 18–19, drop 13%

What Works?

Statistically, we found four factors that were the most predictive in determining which teenagers stayed in church:

  • I wanted the church to help guide my decisions in everyday life (prior to 18).
  • My parents were still married to each other and both attended church (prior to 18).
  • The pastor’s sermons were relevant to my life (prior to 18).
  • At least one adult from church made a significant investment in me personally and spiritually (between 15 and 18).

the freshman 15, chapter 1, Keeping the faith

Your faith will be tested, and little by little you may find yourself pulling away from a daily intimate relationship with Jesus.

How does this happen?

We often jump to answers surrounding temptation and rebellion against God’s principles and promises, but it can be summed up into one word:


College Students are usually busy with the following:

  • New friends
  • New living space
  • Job
  • School work
  • Extra curricular activities
  • Staying connected to your family
  • Relationships
  • The pressure of the Dean’s List
  • Time spent with emotional thoughts–excitement, worry, fear, confusion, questioning

Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us not to worry about our life.  If you’ve seen the movie War Room, the prayer warrior gives complete control over to Jesus in the most challenging of circumstances.  This frees you up to pray, worship, and study God’s Word.  You allow God to fight your battles, and you trust that He will provide.

The answer to busy?



In the Freshman 15 book, she gives you packing instructions for college.

  1. Must pack: SEEK GOD FIRST

What does it mean to seek God first?


What are the things keeping you from seeking Him first?

When are you going to set aside time daily to be in His Word and pray? Where (be specific)? What are you going to study? Will you keep a journal?


For example, I went to Christopher Newport’s website and found this! (click on the word “this” for a complete list)

Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM)
Baptist Campus Ministries is a student-led organization open to all denominations and anyone exploring their faith. It provides opportunities for Bible study, discipleship, fellowship, and missions. We strive to cultivate strong community and develop church leaders. Baptist Campus Ministries at CNU is a part of a nation-wide organization known as Baptist Collegiate Ministries.

When searching, you want it to be a good fit, but remember it may not be like your home church. Churches are not perfect, and you are there to worship Jesus, not to find out if they have a coffee bar, comfy seats, or a pastor that’s hip and cool.  You want teaching grounded in God’s Word and a place that emphasizes growing in the knowledge of Jesus, grace, and prayer.

I’m going to add a fourth to the suggested three in the book.


Every decision you make and action you take, originated with a thought in your mind. The Holy Spirit is your comforter and powerful tool to keep your mind SET on keeping your faith.  No one else can do this for you.  There was a time your parents encouraged you in spiritual matters, but little by little, it becomes your journey alone with Christ. In fact, this is the most important decision you will make in college. Good grades, a career, perhaps a future spouse are the practical, most evident important decisions before you. Yet, unless you seek God first and His will for your life, these crucial areas could be disastrous or confusing.  Your JOY is found in Christ alone, and He directs your path and future.  Will you be courageous?

Choose THIS DAY whom you will serve!

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15

Change the words Euphrates and Amorites to modern-day words like busy, apathy, influence of professors and friends, parties, relationships, school work, …..


Take a stand! Say, right now out loud—