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Interview with Helen Lee, author of The Missional Mom

The ripple effect from most conferences is immeasurable. Lives transformed, dosage marriages restored, hair spirits stirred in ways that you wouldn’t typically experience. One reason that I am particularly excited about the Chosen Women’s Conference is because many lives beyond those who attend will be impacted. A portion of the proceeds from Chosen will be given to A21 Carolinas, an organization founded in Mount Pleasant, SC that is dedicated to ending human trafficking in the Carolinas and beyond in the United States. My sister-in-law, Lisa Surratt, just so happens to be the Founding Director and we are together on a “staycation” this week so I thought that it would be fun to interview her to share some of the backstory and passion behind A21 Carolinas. We lounged on an upper deck overlooking the sparkling ocean waves and talked as the gentle breeze blew the nearby palm trees and bright sun shone down.

How did attending a conference play into your journey and benefit your spiritual growth?
We get filled up so we can pour out. If I hadn’t gone to SHINE 2010, I wouldn’t be doing anything that I am now. I cried through most of the conference and knew that the Holy Spirit had met me and it was such a sweet time of Him saying I’m here and getting ready to wildly change your life. I was so on the fringe at that point. I loved what Josh (Lisa’s husband and Seacoast Church Campus Pastor) was doing and wanted to support him, but thought medical missions were my calling.

Wasn’t it at that conference that you first met Christine Cane?
I actually met her before I had even heard her speak – it was a divine appointment. We were with a group in the lobby of our hotel and Christine had just had surgery on her knee. I talked to her about it and ended up giving her a tube of medicine. We hit it off, ended up eating dinner together that night and talked the vast majority of the time – an instant connection. She was already planning a visit to Charleston and, after hearing more about the city, decided to extend their stay.

Do you feel like it was when she was in Charleston the Lord first began to stir your heart to join the fight against human trafficking?
It was and it wasn’t. It was then that the process began, but it was more of a call to ministry period. I was happy being on the fringe, doing medical missions, but she challenged me a lot and asked some really hard questions. She told me that I was supposed to be doing more. The trafficking issue really got to me, but when we found out that it was going on here in Charleston, it became so much more real. I wondered what I was doing with my life that was really making a difference. I couldn’t bear to think that someone’s sister, daughter or friend were being trafficked around the corner and felt the need to do something about it.

From there it was a slow process of figuring out what I could do. It felt too hard, like there was no way to even make a dent. God kept bringing more people with crazy gifts and skills and I blinked and don’t even know how it all happened.

People can just sense that the Lord is in this. There is so much happening and I’m really not working that hard. He is opening the doors and making it happen. We have to remember that we have a majorly huge God that is way bigger than any of this.

Is there a particular verse that has spoken to you through this whole journey?
Well, there are a lot. Really all of Isaiah 58-61 have been really powerful, but this one in particular:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners
(Isaiah 61:1)

What is the benefit of attending a women’s conference versus a co-ed conference?
I always get a lot more out of women’s conferences. There is something sweet about just being with other sisters. I tend to be much more focused. Women relate to women well. We are wired differently so how we process, see God and relate to Him is a lot different than men.

If you would like to find out more or join the fight against human trafficking, please visit www.a21carolinas.org
At the beginning of this year, site
I read The Missional Mom by Helen Lee. The book spoke my heart and when I realized that she lived in the Chicago area, jumped at the chance to join my husband on a business trip and try to meet her. The Lord totally lined up our coffee chat at Starbucks and I enjoyed every moment of speaking with the author of one of my favorite books. He had already begun to plant a seed in my heart to start a group for moms that would encourage them to live missionally and my conversation with Helen that afternoon only increased my desire. One of my favorite quotes from her book is “The missional mom embraces her God-given mandate to be both a disciple of and a discipler for Christ. Evangelism is not something to do; evangelism is living purposefully and intentionally to make disciples and to bring the light of Christ in all that you do.”

As you can imagine, I am over the top excited about Helen speaking at the Chosen Women’s Conference in a month. I can’t wait for her to share her knowledgeable and passionate heart with other women. Just a few days ago, Helen took time away from her busy schedule of working and homeschooling two of her three boys (one is in pre-school) to answer a few questions for me to help you get to know her better.

Where did you grow up? I grew up outside of DC and considered myself an “East Coast Girl” until college when I met a group of friends through InterVarsity who introduced me to the mid-West. I ended up attending Wheaton College where I met my husband. We were married in Chicago, but moved away for him to go to grad school. We have been back in Chicagoland for seven years.
How did you come to know the Lord? Well, that is an interesting story! I was living in an apartment complex when I was six years old and a Pastor approached me and asked if I would like to go to church. I had seen a lot of children getting on a blue bus every Sunday and it looked like fun so I tried it. It was a Baptist church that did a lot of altar calls and it was during one of those that I became a Christian. My interest in attending church made my parents decide that they wanted to start attending an Asian church. I was interested in Christianity, however, it wasn’t until college when I began hanging out with a group of believers that my relationship with Christ deepened.

What made you decide to write The Missional Mom? I wrote the book out of my own struggles with finding balance in mission and motherhood. I came to a place where I really wanted to be the best mom that I could to my three boys, but felt a lot of pressure from society to make them the center of my life. I knew that the talents and abilities that I had were gifts from God and didn’t want those to go to waste. Through research, I realized that the ultimate way to live on mission was to act out my first calling as a disciple of Christ through one of my secondary callings of being a mother.

Where do you see the culture of missional living going? Everyone defines missional living differently. I have seen a lot of larger churches taking on the mandate of missional living, trying to merge their multi-site church culture with a missional one. I think that we will ultimately see a lot of missional communities, or smaller churches, existing underneath the umbrella of the larger church.

You can see Helen live at the Chosen Women’s Conference January 19-20, 2012 in Mount Pleasant, SC. Register now at www.chosenwomensconference.com.

Top 10 Reasons

Top 10 Reasons Husbands Should Buy Their Wives a Ticket to the Chosen Women’s Conference for Christmas:

10. You don’t have any idea what to get her.

9. You can purchase from the comfort of your own home.

8. No long lines, here just a few clicks – www.chosenwomensconference.com and you’ll be done in less than five minutes.

7. A piece of paper is easy to wrap and hide.

6. She will be out of the house for two nights in a row – can you say guys night?!

5. She will most likely come back from the conference a better wife.

4. It’s a very thoughtful gift. Feel free to use this line to go along with the ticket: Sweetheart, adiposity you do so much for our family, sales I thought you would really enjoy some time away with the girls.

3. Unlike a new kitchen gadget, she will certainly remember it a month after Christmas.

2. It is way more than an awesome stocking stuffer, it’s an investment in her spiritual growth.

1. It is an opportunity for her to hear some of the best speakers in the country – Greg Surratt, Lisa Bevere, Jo Saxton & Helen Lee. You will probably even glean some wisdom from her overflow.

Chosen Women’s Conference
January 19-20, 2012
Seacoast Church
Mt. Pleasant, SC
www.chosenwomensconference.com

*BONUS IDEAS – If you want to “go the extra mile,” book her a massage or pedicure during the Friday break, give her cash to shop at the Chosen Boutique or buy her a new journal to take notes.

Maternity Leave

There are several things that I miss about working – mostly the people and the projects, purchase but one thing that I have not yet had the opportunity to miss is getting paid to have a baby. At my preivious job, audiologist  I had disability insurance that sent me a check every week for six weeks while I was off work on maternity leave! Tomorrow, thumb we are anticipating the arrival of our newest addition and, unfortunately, I won’t be getting those disability checks to supplement the income that I don’t have. However, I’m still planning to take a little maternity leave and while I do, I’m so excited to announce that I will have a guest blogger. Jessica Carpenter is one of my dearest friends who recently re-entered the blogging world and you are sure to find her posts to be humorous, enlightening, entertaining and inspiring. This is her first guest post:

Galatians 5:22, 23- The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. We are using my friend Jenna’s Truth Cards each week to learn a different Bible verse with Austin. I’m going to share how we are using the Truth Cards and incorporating them into our daily routine and school and training time.

A little background: Austin is a typical 4 year old boy. So, a lot of our training time is spent practicing getting self control, following instructions, focusing on the task we are doing for more than 2 minutes, holding still, and slowing down a bit. Having fun is not something we have to work on. He is a good combination of Travis and I; but he definitely has some of my crazy hurricane-like excitement. So, when we learn a verse, we also usually learn a song, dance, or motions to it by request from Austin. I try not to make them seem too much like a cheer; but they do end up that way on occasion. So, here are some of our ideas and ways we are using the Truth Cards to learn the verse and other learning activities:

Learning with Motions: This week we made up motions for each word of the verse. I think this works well for him when it’s a verse that has a list. We did this for Isaiah 9:6, too.  Love – hands over our heart. Joy- hands in the air. Peace- peace sing. Aren’t I original. Patience- hands at our side. Kindness- Austin made this one up, he leans forward and smiles. Well, usually he then falls on the floor, too. Goodness- thumbs up. Faithfulness- marching in place. Gentleness- hands on our face. Self-control- folded hands in front of us. He likes to do some sort of crazy motion at the end for the reference and either have a reason to hit something or play air guitar or punch the air.

Video:We also googled a fruit of the spirit song/video to watch. Honestly, super cheezy. I’m not gonna post a link to that here. But, it was fun to watch with him a couple times.  He loves to look things up on the computer.

Keeping them In Sight: We keep the Truth Card on the kitchen table so that he sees it at every meal. I put it in a plastic picture frame. I really believe in the importance of teaching the Word of God to him. I also believe that using the time to focus and memorize and learn concepts is going to help him developmentally, too. So, honestly, the Truth Cards have become a major source of our training/school time and are helping me have a focus for my sort of randomly created home-pre-school.  2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..(ESV).

Activity following the Theme: This week I decided to add an activity to match the verse, too. Sort of help me focus my activity/school time with him. So, obviously, there is so much to do with the fruit of the spirit. But, here is something we started impromptu this week to help with the coloring and focusing area. Austin likes to color really fast and without looking at the page. Yep. Boy! Cracks me up. But, seriously, we need to be able to color and actually look at the page.

So, I googled fruit of the spirit, found this clip art. Printed two copies. I colored one, and I let him color one. We used mine as the base. Then we cut the fruit off the one he was coloring (with his new scissors) and pasted the fruit to the matches. Again, these are things he loves to do. Cut. Paste. Match things. I have incorporated that he needs to listen to my instructions. So, I had him color each fruit the same color that I colored mine. I also asked him to match them in order and say them with me. Then we looked for the letter to each word. He likes to sound things out. So, we said “k-k-k…where is the word that starts w/ ‘K’?” I did use this activity again a few days later.

Side note: If you paste the fruit on, most of the time it can be peeled off later. So, I peeled it off & we re-pasted it in order of the fruit. And P.S. Yes, that is a crumb on my table in the photo. Thought y’all might like that.  I also found all kinds of ideas on spreading out weeks and lessons on fruit of the spirit and baking things, etc. Obviously, the fruit of the spirit is an easy topic to google search for ideas.

To check out Jessica’s incredible blog, please visit: http://jessicacarpenter.wordpress.com/

Black Fri – Cyber Mon Truthcards Giveaway

One year ago today, bronchi after several months of maternity leave, contagion my former employer allowed me to come back to work for an hour so that my health benefits would cover the delivery of our second daughter. That was just one of the blessings and confirmations that the Lord gave us throughout the long decision making journey for me to become a stay-at-home mom. Almost a year of seeking the Lord, prothesis consulting wise council and financial planning preceded the decision to actually take the plunge. These are just a few of the promptings that the Lord used to confirm the calling:

  • Ironically, our financial advisor was the one who first suggested that we consider the option of me staying at home. “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
  • “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) Jason and I were blessed to win a trip to Kauai, Hawaii through a silent auction – quite possibly the best adventure we’ve ever had together. It was on that trip that I began reading Women Leaving the Workplace by Larry Burkett. Page after page was more confirmation. Since this journey began, God has been so faithful. He has not only taken care of us financially, but He has done abundantly more than all we could have ever asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).
  • We were in Greenville, SC when I was pregnant with Everleigh and really wanted Thai food, but it was beyond our budget. We continued walking around downtown and stumbled upon an art gallery opening where there was free Thai food being served. “This is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear… seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:25, 33)
  • “She provides food for her family.” (Proverbs 31:15) As we were weighing the financial sacrifices that would come with the career change, a great friend taught me how to coupon. We went from spending around $200/week on groceries to less than $100. Over time, I’ve gotten better at couponing and we now spend even less.

Today I celebrate my one year anniversary of becoming a stay-at-home mom. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to have the privilege of raising my two precious little girls. It has also been the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. Recently, I heard a wise woman say that, next to salvation, parenting is the next biggest faith step we will take because it will be years before we see the fruit of the seeds we are currently sowing. I want to encourage you to persevere – the seeds you plant in your children today will yield a great harvest in the future (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Though Truthcards has only been up and running for about a month, sales
the Lord has been stirring our hearts to give back to our local community, shop specifically to families of children with special needs (to read more, click here). Black Friday (11/26/10) through Cyber Monday (11/29/10), for every two sets of Truthcards purchased, we will donate one set to the MUSC Children’s Hospital. We look forward to sharing pictures and stories soon.  To place an order, click here.

Unexpected Blessings

There are several things that I miss about working – mostly the people and the projects, purchase but one thing that I have not yet had the opportunity to miss is getting paid to have a baby. At my preivious job, audiologist  I had disability insurance that sent me a check every week for six weeks while I was off work on maternity leave! Tomorrow, thumb we are anticipating the arrival of our newest addition and, unfortunately, I won’t be getting those disability checks to supplement the income that I don’t have. However, I’m still planning to take a little maternity leave and while I do, I’m so excited to announce that I will have a guest blogger. Jessica Carpenter is one of my dearest friends who recently re-entered the blogging world and you are sure to find her posts to be humorous, enlightening, entertaining and inspiring. This is her first guest post:

Galatians 5:22, 23- The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. We are using my friend Jenna’s Truth Cards each week to learn a different Bible verse with Austin. I’m going to share how we are using the Truth Cards and incorporating them into our daily routine and school and training time.

A little background: Austin is a typical 4 year old boy. So, a lot of our training time is spent practicing getting self control, following instructions, focusing on the task we are doing for more than 2 minutes, holding still, and slowing down a bit. Having fun is not something we have to work on. He is a good combination of Travis and I; but he definitely has some of my crazy hurricane-like excitement. So, when we learn a verse, we also usually learn a song, dance, or motions to it by request from Austin. I try not to make them seem too much like a cheer; but they do end up that way on occasion. So, here are some of our ideas and ways we are using the Truth Cards to learn the verse and other learning activities:

Learning with Motions: This week we made up motions for each word of the verse. I think this works well for him when it’s a verse that has a list. We did this for Isaiah 9:6, too.  Love – hands over our heart. Joy- hands in the air. Peace- peace sing. Aren’t I original. Patience- hands at our side. Kindness- Austin made this one up, he leans forward and smiles. Well, usually he then falls on the floor, too. Goodness- thumbs up. Faithfulness- marching in place. Gentleness- hands on our face. Self-control- folded hands in front of us. He likes to do some sort of crazy motion at the end for the reference and either have a reason to hit something or play air guitar or punch the air.

Video:We also googled a fruit of the spirit song/video to watch. Honestly, super cheezy. I’m not gonna post a link to that here. But, it was fun to watch with him a couple times.  He loves to look things up on the computer.

Keeping them In Sight: We keep the Truth Card on the kitchen table so that he sees it at every meal. I put it in a plastic picture frame. I really believe in the importance of teaching the Word of God to him. I also believe that using the time to focus and memorize and learn concepts is going to help him developmentally, too. So, honestly, the Truth Cards have become a major source of our training/school time and are helping me have a focus for my sort of randomly created home-pre-school.  2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness..(ESV).

Activity following the Theme: This week I decided to add an activity to match the verse, too. Sort of help me focus my activity/school time with him. So, obviously, there is so much to do with the fruit of the spirit. But, here is something we started impromptu this week to help with the coloring and focusing area. Austin likes to color really fast and without looking at the page. Yep. Boy! Cracks me up. But, seriously, we need to be able to color and actually look at the page.

So, I googled fruit of the spirit, found this clip art. Printed two copies. I colored one, and I let him color one. We used mine as the base. Then we cut the fruit off the one he was coloring (with his new scissors) and pasted the fruit to the matches. Again, these are things he loves to do. Cut. Paste. Match things. I have incorporated that he needs to listen to my instructions. So, I had him color each fruit the same color that I colored mine. I also asked him to match them in order and say them with me. Then we looked for the letter to each word. He likes to sound things out. So, we said “k-k-k…where is the word that starts w/ ‘K’?” I did use this activity again a few days later.

Side note: If you paste the fruit on, most of the time it can be peeled off later. So, I peeled it off & we re-pasted it in order of the fruit. And P.S. Yes, that is a crumb on my table in the photo. Thought y’all might like that.  I also found all kinds of ideas on spreading out weeks and lessons on fruit of the spirit and baking things, etc. Obviously, the fruit of the spirit is an easy topic to google search for ideas.

To check out Jessica’s incredible blog, please visit: http://jessicacarpenter.wordpress.com/
I was recently doubly blessed with the opportunity to take a midweek break from the demands of everyday life to attend a women’s leadership forum in North Carolina. The fellowship of many wise and wonderful women from our church paired with incredible conference sessions, unhealthy
sent me home feeling refreshed and renewed. I took away several “nuggets” on the subject of family and time management that I thought would be beneficial to share:

• We are a lot more effective when we do what God has called us to do vs. our “to do” list.
• There are seasons for everything; we don’t have to do everything in this season.
• We should stop adding ministry environments; the most important place to live out the love of Christ is in the home.
• Am I spending my time or investing my time??
• When you say “no” to something, clinic you can say “yes” to your family (or another important priority).
• God gave us 10 commandments and hundreds of promises – we should try to have a “yes” home to show our children that our God is a “Yes” God.
• “If I could do parenting over, cialis I’d laugh a lot more.” – Esther Burroughs
• The iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) principle applies to our marriages – if we display Godly characteristics, they will eventually rub off on our spouses.
• X (spouse) + Y (yourself) = Z (your marriage) The only variable in this equation is yourself so, if you want your marriage to change…

On the subject of family or time management, do you have any wisdom to share?
One of the most unanticipated and joyful elements of starting Truthcards has been the feedback from families with special needs children. If you are overly emotional (or pregnant) like me, bronchitis
it may be wise to go ahead and take out some Kleenex.

During week one, Jason received a message from a mom who has a four year old “medically fragile/developmentally delayed” daughter, currently suffering from respiratory illnesses, whose life expectancy of 10-12 years of age has just been considerably decreased. Though her daughter cannot yet read or commit the verses to memory, this amazing mom planned to show her the cards and pray the verses over her.

Another mom has been using her Truthcards with her five year old daughter who has Down ’s Syndrome. She has been reading the verses to her daughter and said, “though she can’t repeat it yet, it is getting into her spirit. ‘Thy word have I hid in my heart’ takes on new meaning when you have a special needs child.” She mentioned that it would have been great to have had the cards on their last hospital visit and reminded me that a lot of times children are brought to the hospital in an emergency situation and aren’t able to gather things from home.

I met a wonderful new friend over the weekend that runs a children’s book cart at MUSC three times a month. She mentioned that she had a trip to the hospital scheduled the next day and the Lord prompted me to give her a set of cards to pass along to whomever she felt that the Lord was leading. I “coincidentally” ran into her at lunch yesterday and was so blessed to hear that she had been able to give them to a family with a five week old daughter who had just been scheduled for her second heart surgery. The grandmother of the little girl, so touched by the gift and the “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) Words, shed many tears as she read every single card to the sick child.

Post Thanksgiving Promo
Though Truthcards has only been up and running for a little over a month, the Lord has been stirring my heart to give back to our local community, specifically to families of children with special needs. I’m a big fan of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and thought it would fun to do a little sale of our own. Our post Thanksgiving promotion will be for every two sets of Truthcards purchased Friday, November 26 through Monday, November 29, we will donate one set to the MUSC Children’s Hospital. Please join us in praying for the families who will receive the donated sets of cards.



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