Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When You're In The Pit

Two weekends ago, I was part of an amazing, life-changing event called the What's Your Story? Women's Conference. I stood alongside 8 other ladies who shared their stories with an audience of over 100 women. It was moving, to say the least. 

As we listened, laughed, and-at times-wiped away tears, we were changed. Our hearts were softened, and the Holy Spirit moved in that sanctuary. 

One theme (of many) that stood out was that many of the speakers and attendees suffered from depression. As I listened to women bare their hearts about their experience with being in the pit, I remembered my own. I recalled lying on the floor, sobbing, unable to "pull it together" and not even being able to name what exactly was breaking me. 

I remember the helpless and hopeless feeling--the utter despair.

Today, I am over at sharing about that despair and the hope that God is there and He will see you through. I hope you will join me there by clicking HERE.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Mixed Up, Turned Upside Down

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Have you experiences this? I have and it's very unsettling. To think something is good--of God even--only to realize that it's all a facade, evil dressed up as something good.

I don't know why I so often think bad or evil will jump out wearing a neon sign, alerting me in no uncertain terms that I should run the other direction.

But it doesn't.

In fact, it usually creeps in so innocently that I don't even notice

People don't always enter into an affair on a whim, whether physical or emotional. It often begins with a friendship, with sharing things in common, with enjoying one another's company.

People don't always begin a drug addiction with the intention of being an addict. It often begins with pain medicine for a medically valid condition.

Churches don't always divide in a day. It often begins with a group moving away from the Truth of the Bible with the intention of being more culturally relevant.

Leaders don't always go into leadership with the intention of having their subordinates worship them. It often progresses from admiration to idolatry.

What is good can so easily be warped and perverted into something evil.

It actually makes me angry. I've seen this happen. I've experienced this in different ways.

It's bad enough to launch into a sin or a sinful lifestyle when you know that's what you're doing. But to be engaged in something that's sinful without fully realizing that's what it is enrages me.

Too often I've seen relationships begin as something so good--even God ordained-- only to morph into something outside of God's will. It's so gradual, so insidious, that you almost don't see it coming. Almost.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

This scripture very clearly tells us that God will always provide a way out for us. We always have the option of recognizing and fleeing from what isn't good.

The Holy Spirit--some call it your conscience--is very good at raising a red flag when something is outside of God's will. If we listen and pay attention, we will sense the warnings.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
The Holy Spirit will sense when something is out of line and will ring a little bell (figuratively speaking). If we are focused and in God's Word daily, we will learn to recognize that bell. If we are seeking His wisdom and guidance, what starts out as a small dinner bell will turn into a resounding gong that we can't miss.

We will see what is happening and be able to turn from it.

Let's not let Satan take something intended for good, something meant to be healthy and right and good and turn it into something perverse and wrong.

Run hard after the Father. Run away from the one who would deceive you.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
Submitting to God is always the goal, but sometimes it's hard. It's especially hard when what you're entrenched in feels good. Sometimes, even after we've discovered that we are involved in or heading toward sin, we don't want to turn away. Or, at least, it's very difficult.

That's when we fall on our knees and beg for the strength to do so.

And once we allow God to take over and turn away from the relationship or activity that is ensnaring us, we will be blessed and more fulfilled than we ever would have been had we continued down the path we were on.

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known" (Deuteronomy 11:27)

Let's be attentive to His prompting. Let's not ignore when we hear the dinner bell so that we won't miss the opportunity to be obedient and faithful. 

I pray today that we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and watchful of the red flags raised. Guard every word, every thought and every relationship to make sure Christ truly is at the center of it and that we aren't unwittingly veering off track. 

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's Your Story? Women's Conference

Every step you take in life, every experience - good or bad - it all tells your story. More importantly…it tells the story of Jesus and His redeeming grace. Everyone has a story. What’s your story?

Through struggles and failures, successes and triumphs, every bit of your life makes up who you are. And every bit of who you are tells the story of how God is working in your life.

Everyone’s story is different. Whether yours is quiet and uneventful or tumultuous and bumpy, God is in every part of it. Every struggle you’ve had was an opportunity for God to show His strength.

All of us have the opportunity to minister to others by sharing our stories. Ministry doesn’t always include a pulpit and seminary. Sometimes, meeting someone’s need and offering encouragement is as simple as sharing our story. It’s simple, but it isn’t always easy.

October 10th & 11th in Belle Vernon, PA (just South of Pittsburgh) women will gather to listen to 7 amazing women share their stories. We will listen, worship, pray, and enjoy one another’s company.

Natalie Snapp (Author of Heart Sisters, due out February 2015, and owner of is the keynote speaker. She will be sharing how to find glory in your own story and discussing some of the reasons we choose not to share.

Mia Koehne (of Mia Koehne Music) is a recording artist and speaker who has opened for Casting Crowns and toured with Francesca Battistelli, Lindsay McCaul, and MIKESCHAIR. Mia’s story is touching and presents God’s glory in such a way that it’s evident how God can work all things together for good.

5 other women will also share their stories. Some struggle with addiction, depression and thoughts of suicide, while others have lived a relatively quiet life with few hurdles. All have a heart for Jesus and have seen God work through them and their stories.

Registration for this conference includes entrance to both days, light refreshments on Friday and Saturday and a boxed lunch on Saturday.

Come as you are. All women are welcome. You will not be asked to speak or to share your story. We look forward to spending time with you!

Registration information is HERE.
Find us on Facebook HERE.
Email HERE for more information. 
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Introducing Overcomer Outreach

Dear friends, I would like to introduce you to a much needed blog in our community, Overcomer Outreach. You may recognize the founder, Janelle Nehrenz from Comfy in the Kitchen where she shares about meal ministry. Quite often she has been known to say that it isn't so much the delicious recipes that make her ministry special, it's the meaning behind them that matter most...well, this is the meaning. Comforting the hurting. 

I am humbled and blessed to be a part of this amazing new ministry! 

Writing Team

These beautiful women are beyond brave, and full of sincerity, God's love, grace and compassion. 
A special thank you to Mary Davis from Everyday Spirit for her beautiful and encouraging images. 
The Mission of Overcomer Outreach: 

Here you will find a group of authors with compassionate hearts seeking to encourage you through the strength of God. This amazing group of women is comprised of Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Christian Life Coaches, Business Owners, Published Authors, Professional Speakers, Professional Bloggers, Bible Study Leaders, Pastor’s Wives, Moms, and Wives…
 Many of us have been through some of the trials you may be bearing, which is why 2 Corinthians 1:4 is a verse we continue to cling to when we think of why we’re here. Don't, for one second think, "this is a group of perfect Christians", because there is no such thing. We are Christians because we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ , humbled and fully knowing we need a Savior.
Again, many of us have been right there in your shoes...believe it or not.
Yes, your shoes...
We pray to speak to the woman who has had an abortion, affairs, drug addiction (you fill in the blank) and our prayer is to use God’s word and truth to give her freedom. We pray for her to finally be released from bondage, from the lies she tells herself, and from the condemnation of the enemy that she is not worthy to go forward in her walk with the Lord and in her ministry.
We pray to speak to the oppressed, ill, victimized, tormented, abused, and bullied…we want to share God’s truth and love with you... and encourage you. We want to walk beside you to let you know...

You will get through this…

 A message from Janelle


Founder of Overcomer Outreach and Comfy in the Kitchen, Janelle is a Christian, a wife and mother of 3 children. She is currently in her second year at Malone University obtaining a M.A. in Clinical Counseling. She has a deep love for Christ, meal ministry, and for helping the hurting. 

Lord I pray that I will never become too proud to forget the pain I've felt. Use me as a means to help others and to point them to you...I fully believe that without your strength, I would be spent. Yet, you've given me a platform and a voice of compassion... and for that, I will forever praise your name.

During the most difficult time of my life, my presence met early mornings in my white rocking chair on the porch. Sipping coffee with my blanket on my lap, not meant for warmth but comfort...I would lay down my troubles, needs, and praises down on a sheet of paper. I would pray with a sincerity only deeply burdened souls understand, then read, then pray again. It was the only moment in my day, at the time, when I didn't feel weight on my chest, when my heart wouldn't race, when my hands didn't tremble, when irrational thoughts wouldn't cloud my judgement and when my thoughts were focused on just God.

Often times I would remind myself of the verse, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." {Matthew 6:23}  I would pray that God could give me this seemingly supernatural power. I feared the next hour just as much as tomorrow just as much as next year. So, I started taking life in very small increments. Just enough, for a person going through trauma would be able to swallow....

"People feel this way", I would think to myself.

"I never knew people felt this kind of pain."

God might not have taken me to that awful place, but because I was there...I'm making a promise to use that experience to help others. Some have been there and can't seem to find a healthy new way of life, while others are currently there that desolate place that my flesh would rather not recall. The thorn in my side. Do you have one? 

I'm going to change my mind from feeling broken, tormented and victimized to feeling blessed to know those feelings.

I'm going to be an Overcomer.

Not only that, I'm going to live my life encouraging others be the same.

What the enemy wanted to destroy, I will allow God to use for his good. 
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith. ~1 John 5:4

Love to you,
You can find Overcomer Outreach on the following social media channels: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest
Because we believe there is healing in the words "me too", our authors have joyfully set up Facebook forums for individual struggles, these groups are *closed, meaning people can see that you are a part of the group, however they cannot see the conversations unless they are in the group. We welcome you with open arms to the following groups.
Janelle Nehrenz will be involved in all groups, she has gratefully accepted the help of her authors to lead specific areas of compassion meaningful to them. Although she has not gone through each trial, she is empathetic to all of them. 
Overcomer Outreach on...

Adoption, Foster Care & Orphan Care Leader: Erica Elm
Infertility Leader: Shon Murray
Marriage Leader: Sonya Schroeder
Finding Joy Leader: Emanda Rosen
Fear Leader: Mandy Pagano
Homeschooling Leader: Mrs Jeanette Wood
Cancer Leader: Debby Derby
Positive Thinking and Encouragement Leader: Sarah Beals
Freedom from Bondage: Walking in Grace and Truth Leader: Gina Smith

Because of the sensitive nature of this topic, we have one *secret* group on Abortion. This means that no one can see that you are a part of this group on your FB account. To be a part of this forum, you must friend Kelly K Writes and she must add you. Overcomer Outreach is pro-life, however our prayer is to help release those having gone through with abortion from condemnation, so that they can be free again through Christ. 
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