Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2018 - Looking Back

Looking Back at 2018


Knowing who we are in Christ,
 being all God has created us to be,
walking in our purpose all takes one thing:
Surrender.

Each  Girlfriend on the team began 2018 with a 21 day fast
and a walk through Rick Warren's book,
What On Earth Am I Here For?
It was a call to surrender to our calling.

The Grand Ballroom of the Historic Hotel Settles in Big Spring, Texas
 was the setting for our first Purposed Conference.
It was only fitting that we begin our event with a tea party,
complete with decadent desserts, and elegant hats.
It was two days of heartfelt worship, inspiring speakers, delicious food,
connecting with friends, and a little shopping in the GG Boutique.
Fun! Fellowship! Freedom!
And
Surrender.





In May, we surrendered to the call to help a girlfriend in need.
Tammy is a faithful team member and her little nail salon is her sole means of support.
 We hosted a paint party to help with supplies
and Tammy was an unsuspecting giver in her own fundraiser.
We donned our paint clothes,
brought hammers, scrapers,  paint brushes, rubber gloves,
and a few husbands,
 and  put the love back into Tammy's salon.





The last event of the year was in Hartville, Ohio.
Months ahead, we began putting a team together, making reservations,
 and having a giant fundraising garage sale,
because each team member provides her own travel expenses for Ohio.
The GG team is from several different areas, so the airwaves were crackling with energy as we connected, texted, emailed, and planned on social media.

Then the day finally arrived when 25 pink shirted warrior chicks
stepped off the plane in Ohio to begin the next big adventure.



Our Ohio team welcomed and entertained us grandly for a day before the conference. We toured, and shopped, and toured, and shopped. But the highlight of the day was lunch provided by some lovely Amish women at their home. Our lunch was homemade bread, lunch meat, and cheese sandwiches, put together with the most yummy peanut butter spread we could imagine.
We topped the meal off with amazing pie and coffee.
The meal was typical of meals served after Amish Sunday church, which meets in homes.




This team also partners with
Love Is A Verb - a homeless ministry in Ohio.
We shopped for blankets in the night hours.
.We surrendered sleep to make biscuits, sausage gravy and coffee for 100.
 Then at 6 am
 we went to a little park in Akron
 to give breakfast, blankets, coats, socks, and hygiene items to some cold grateful homeless folks.



The Ohio Purposed Conference couldn't have happened without those amazing Ohio GG's coming along side us. They advertised, invited, prayed, decorated, spoke, and cooked.





But the one thing that inspired us, wrecked us, and called us to total complete surrender was a girl named Cheryl who attended the conference with her mom. As the first strains of the last song began, Cheryl made her way to the front - totally unplanned, totally unrehearsed,
totally surrendered.



Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Surrender All

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Save the Date!

Mark you calendar!

Save the Date!

The next Godly Girlfriends Conference will be in a new venue!

Please join us at the Historic Hotel Settles in downtown Big Spring, Texas February 23-24, 2018.  The hotel refers to itself as the crown-jewel of West Texas and we agree. The conference will begin Friday evening at six with a tea party fit for queens in the Pavillion. This is your opportunity to dust off that outrageously elegant wide brimmed hat for a lovely evening out with the girls. Of course, hats are optional, so dress up or down as you wish, but don't miss it.

The conference continues on Saturday the 24th in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel from 9-5. A delicious lunch will be catered by the hotel and is included in your registration fee. The featured speaker is the beautiful and inspiring Cindy Hall, wife and mother of five, who does it all from a wheelchair and without legs. You will not want to miss her story of victory.

The cost of the conference is $100. You may register and pay online or print a form and mail it with your check. Get your registration in soon! Space is limited.

To book a room, call the Settles at 432-267-7500 and ask for the Godly Girlfriend discount. Rooms are subject to availability.

If you are receiving this message because you have subscribed to the posts, you may click here to register online.

To see more of the Settles, click here.

For questions, please call 325-207-0173.

See you soon for two days of fun, fellowship, and freedom!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Love Is A Verb

What started as family Christmas morning project has turned into a regular ministry for Lisa Rowland, a Godly Girlfriend in Ohio. That cold morning in Akron, she drove around looking for the best place to park and hand out simple breakfasts and steaming hot cups of coffee. She settled on a park across the street from a closed homeless shelter nestled among giant trees. She asked one passerby if he would like some breakfast. After she opened the trunk of her car and handed out that first warm sausage biscuit, they started coming. She fed a hundred or so that first morning and now goes back every other Sunday with breakfast for about 150. She chooses Sundays because there are no meals provided by homeless organizations on Sunday.

Lisa is the most quiet, humble servant you will ever find. She comes from a family that loves, gives, and helps. Her parents took in foster children and adopted two special needs daughters. She will tell you, "This is just what we do - we take care of people". Lisa does not need to know why anyone is homeless, or why someone needs a toothbrush every time she comes, or why a man has no shoes. She simply says, "It's not my business." And she gives - even the shoes off her own feet.

Since that first cold Christmas morning in 2008, coffee urns, warming boxes, coats, hats, blankets, toiletries, a van and trailer have been donated. If Lisa asks for anything - she asks for items she can hand to those in need.  She has named her ministry (of which she will quickly tell you is not her ministry) Love Is A Verb.

The Godly Girlfriends organization contributes regularly to Love Is A Verb. During our October trip to Ohio, some of the girlfriends cooked and prepared all night with Lisa. Then the whole group went along to the park to serve food and hand out coats and socks and hats and gloves. And really, to hand out some love.

Lisa spoke at the October ladies conference about God's abundant blessings and provision in her life. But the back story was that she had been planning the Ohio side of this conference, shuttling us from the airport to the hotel to the conference center, baking for us, shopping for the Sunday breakfast in the park, caring for her elderly mother, and trying not to worry about her husband who was hospitalized to heal from an infection. Lisa was weary beyond exhaustion. Lisa is a hero.


Lisa's picture should be beside the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible because she truly, "opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." (Proverbs 31:20)

To find a little more about  Love Is A Verb  - click here to visit the Facebook page.

I you would like to donate to Love Is A Verb - mail your check to:

Evermore Community Church
1470 Smith-Kramer
Hartville, Ohio 44632

In the memo area of your check, please write: LIAV/Homeless

Thank you, Lisa, for showing us what love looks like.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How To BE A Godly Girlfriend

We've heard you. 
"How can I be a Godly Girlfriend?" 
"I want what you have."
"I need girlfriends."


So, Here it is. 

How to be a Godly Girlfriend:
      1. Go to a Retreat
     2. Wear Matching T-Shirts
     

NOT. NOT. NOT. 
Because you cannot fill out an application,
or pay annual dues,
or join a club.
You have to BE.
You have to BE a godly girlfriend.

The first time I heard anyone use the term, godly girlfriend, was years ago in a message during a retreat. The speaker talked about the importance and yes, even necessity of having godly girlfriends. Even though, I had known her for years and we had been in the same church and taught Sunday School together, I did not consider myself worthy of being considered one of her godly girlfriends. When she asked for her godly girlfriends to please stand, girlfriends all over the room jumped to their feet, but I remained sadly super glued to my chair. I did not see myself as her friend at all.

Today, I can truthfully say that she is one of my closest godly girlfriends. In fact, not too long ago the two of us had a discussion with another girlfriend about how blessed we are that the others even like us, especially when most of the time we don't even like ourselves. Does anybody relate?

So, here are a few thoughts on what it takes to truly be a godly girlfriend:

TIME
Friendships just take time. Time spent together, time doing what you enjoy together, time to grow, time for road trips, time for shopping, time for lunch, or just time to call to check on her. A lot of girlfriends in this ministry have been friends for years and years and a whole lot more are just acquaintances with growing friendships. And truthfully - some of us are probably just starting to like each other. 

TRUST
Seriously - will you want to be friends with me if  you can't trust me because I share your secrets? If I tell another girlfriend's secrets to you, I WILL tell your secrets to someone else. And write this down - gossip disguised as a prayer request is still gossip. Even if you "love her to death" and "bless her heart" when you finish your sweet revelation about her shortcomings, it is still oh so wrong! You know what I mean - it sounds something like this: "That Renee - I love her to death, but she is such an old goofball and she thinks she can write, bless her heart." Don't even go there. Be a friend who can be trusted. 

Truth
Not "What in the world did you do to your HAY-er (southern for hair)?" kind of truth or, "that outfit is so tacky", kind of honesty (although some long time girlfriends can get away with it). Be tackful and kind. A good way to get to know a new girlfriend is to ask her to tell you her story. Everyone has a story and will usually tell it truthfully. The truth that makes for great girlfriends is the one that is transparent with no secrets, no pretense, and no phoniness allowed.

Grace
Have a little grace, because grace is pretty and undeserved. Have some grace and forgive me when something totally stupid and inappropriate slithers out of my mouth before I can catch it. Have a little grace when I disappoint you, or let you down, or offend you. Have a little grace when my bad day spills my attitude all over you. Just have a little grace. And have a little grace with all your girlfriends.

Do these things and you will have girlfriends that stop by for a glass of sweet tea on the front porch. BE the girlfriend who gets followed down the isle at Walmart with the stinking, cute pair of leggings that you need. BE a godly girlfriend and you will hear, "I need to talk". BE a godly girlfriend and you will get an "are you awake?" text at midnight from girlfriend that needs prayer. BE a godly girlfriend and you will get a call to "be at my house in 15 minutes because girlfriend has a crisis." BE a godly girlfriend and you will have someone to call when you have a need. Just BE.

Colossians 3:12 
tells us to

PUT ON:

Compassion
Kindness 
Humility
Meekness
Patience
Forgiveness
Love
Peace
Thankfulness

Wear this outfit and you will BE a godly girlfriend.

Maybe it is about dressing alike.


Enjoy your new godly girlfriends!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Teen Girls Retreat 2016

Third Annual TEEN Godly Girlfriends Retreat
August 19-20, 2016
Ages 13-17
"Weapons of TRUTH"


Grandmas, Mamas, Sisters, and girlfriends some barely older than the teens, planned, gathered and readied for their baby birds to get there. 


Fellowship, Fun and Freedom were definitely welcome guests . They were invited, hoped and planned for and they showed up.  The Fellowship started early as the girls gathered with some leaders and got to know each other. They learned each others' names and character traits circled up in the beauty of Butman Camp, Merkel Texas. They were grouped in little nests and stayed with their designated Mama birds for the entire retreat. They were roommates and table mates and playmates. The mama's stayed with them faithfully .


 And it was Fun by way of swimming,  music, games, crafts and even a black light show complete with glow in the dark food, necklaces and nail polish. Smiles and laughter were everywhere.



The speakers were real and raw and painfully honest. More than once we heard something like, "Y'ALL. Don't do what I did. Make good choices. Make right choices. Choose Jesus."

These 13-17 year olds were fed truth and love and the Word and with it came Freedom. Freedom from the pain in their lives, freedom in their choices, freedom in the choices of others, and freedom to step into the call of God. Freedom to be the girls and women God created them to be.




Just outside the conference room was a nest of baby birds almost ready to leave their home. Had they ventured out too early they would have fallen. These baby birds were dependent on the Mama bird to bring them nourishment. They waited patiently, but goodness did they ever sing when they could see Mama on her way with a tasty morsel.






Our precious little baby birds inside were fed yummy food, encouragement, hugs, love, friendship, truth, and the WORD of God.


Our prayer is that each one went home with bellies full of food, hearts full of Jesus, and FREEDOM to leave the nest and fly successfully into the world ahead of them.

God created those sweet baby birds, but you girlfriend, 
are more valuable
 to God our Father than any bird 
in the nest, on the ground, or in the air. 
You are His precious creation. 
Fly, girlfriend.
FLY.
(Luke 12:24)




Thursday, February 25, 2016

Retreating




















Today is day three after the end of the third annual Godly Girlfriend's first retreat of the year. The weekend's music floats and dances and sways in my head. The tunes weave from song to song: "You're a good, good father...Holy Spirit you are welcome here...I am not alone...Break every chain...Worthy is the lamb. Worthy. Worthy."

This tired old historian, blogger, photographer arrived at the campground with too many rock hard cares in her chest. After a few snaps of the camera, I decided to experience the weekend in a personal way instead of through a camera lens.

Here's the story of the weekend through the lens of mostly other retreaters, with their permission to share:








































The Full Definition of retreat (from Merriam Webster)

  1. 1a (1) :  an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (2) :  the process of receding from a position or state attained <the retreat of a glacier>b (1) :  the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position(2) :  a signal for retreatingc (1) :  a signal given by bugle at the beginning of a military flag-lowering ceremony (2) :  a military flag-lowering ceremony
  2. 2:  a place of privacy or safety :  refuge
  3. 3:  a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

That is exactly what we did. We withdrew to a place of privacy and safety to a place free of the difficult, dangerous, and disagreeable.  The retreat focus was really, warfare. We learned to wear our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) with effectiveness and grace and beauty and victory. Deborah from the Book of Judges (Judges 4 and 5)  was our model. 



Once again we did what girlfriends do when we are together. We travelled together. We ate together. We shopped together. We created together. We laughed and cried and encouraged and prayed. We connected with old friends and made new ones. Our cups overflowed and we drank deeply from the well of His love.






Preparations are already in the works for the next retreats:

August 19-20, 2016 Teen Retreat at Butman Camp, in Merkel Texas

October 14-15, 2016 Ladies Retreat at Beulah Beach Camp in Vermillion, Ohio

Come and be refreshed, renewed, and rejuvenated in a place of safety.