Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Finding Your Niche


The last guest blogger for October is my dear friend, Lynn Cowell. Lynn has actually lived this message in her own ministry as well as teaching it in a breakout for She Speaks.

Lynn is actually in the process of transition in her ministry niche. She was primarily speaking to teens and moms of teens, but as an empty nester, she’s feeling called to speak more to women. Her post today is great for those of you who are just starting out but also for those who find yourselves in transition.

Identifying your niche is ground zero for any ministry, so soak deeply in Lynn’s wise words. Welcome, Lynn!


You feel this nudge; this prompting to invest in the lives of others. The question is where do you begin?

Finding your particular niche begins with identify your core message and comprehensive mission. But if you already knew that, you wouldn’t be reading this post would you?

A wise place to start with some pondering and praying.

When you begin to think about what you want to share, initially, this may be very topic may be very broad. You want to help women find Christ. You have a passion to empower women. When our comprehensive mission is this broad, it can make it hard for others to connect with us. They may feel that when they come to hear you speak, they are not quite sure what to expect.

Begin with asking yourself some key questions.

Grab a blank sheet of paper or your journal. Start a fresh page by writing each of these questions at the top each page; one question per page. This isn’t a once a done thing. Think of these pages as an ongoing conversation you will be having with yourself.

As you fill in these blanks, see if you find yourself moving toward something they have in common.

Questions to ponder:

Page 1: What do I love?

What are the things you cannot help but talk about? When you are in a conversation with others, where does that conversation gravitate?

Seeing new believers learn their new identity in Christ? Prayer? Wellness? The next generation?

Become a detective of yourself and write the things you see that you love.

Page 2: What do I loathe?

When this particular subject gets brought up, your passion gets revved up.  You just have to be a part of the change. Sex trafficking? Teen issues? Racial prejudge? Social injustice?

These topics might be part of your particular niche in speaking and being a part of bringing change through your words. 

Page 3: What are my life experiences? 

You have gone through some things in your life that are unique to you. Along the way, you have learned what to do and what not to do. You have experienced God’s faithfulness in ways others can learn from. How might God want to use these life experiences in the lives of others?

Be sure that you have experienced healing enough if the experience is painful that you can speak from a place of moving toward wholeness. 

Page 4: In a sea of vanilla, what makes me different? 

There are so very many voices out there, all with a message to bring. You are a unique person God made. How can that difference come out in your messages and delivery?

Part 5: Where do I see a need in the lives of others that I can speak to? 

In your community, what do you witness in the day to day living that others need God’s wisdom and the knowledge you have?

Moms of young children? Women in the workplace? Teen girls trying to find their place in this world?

You have your own set of gifts and talents the Lord can use to help bring guidance, hope and encouragement to others.

Give yourself grace as you work through this process. And remember, it is not a once-and-done. Just as we are changing and growing, so will be the messages we are bringing.


Visit Lynn’s blog today to see how she’s defined her ministry niche on her beautiful website.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When Life Gets Hard We Can Either Give Up or God-Up


Two of my friends from the Proverbs 31 speaker team graciously said “yes” when I asked them to share a little piece of their breakout from She Speaks last summer. Our guest writer today is my dear friend Tracie Miles sharing some wisdom about what to do when ministry seems too difficult. Welcome, Tracie!


When I said yes to God’s call on my life eleven years ago to become a speaker and a writer, I didn’t even know what those things looked like exactly, much less what God had in mind. I knew it would require a lot of changes and be a lot of hard work and , but I assumed it would ultimately be rewarding, awesome and trouble free. Like a carefree frolic in a beautiful meadow where I just smelled the roses all day long. After all, when we say yes to God, life should get easier, right?

Ummmmmm. Not.

Although I had left some stressors behind by virtue of leaving my corporate job to pursue ministry, I soon noticed there were new stressors raging into my life –  parenting challenges, new financial constraints, trying to figure out who I was, loneliness due to being at home all the time, unexpected marriage issues, extended family member illnesses and problems, and so on.  In fact, it actually seemed like life got harder instead of easier. It was not only upsetting and disappointing but also kind of shocking.

After a while, I found myself grappling with a lot of internal questions, and maybe you have found yourself secretly entertaining these thoughts as well. Questions like:

If I’m following God’s plan and the leading of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t He be protecting me and my family from trouble?

If I heard God correctly about His plan for my life, shouldn’t pursuing my God-inspired dreams be pretty easy? Shouldn’t He be opening doors for me at every turn?

I made sacrifices, gave up my career, took a huge pay cut, and devoted myself to my family and ministry – shouldn’t God reward me with a perfect carefree life now?

God is surely so proud of me for trusting Him and taking a leap of faith into ministry – ahem – and for all the hours and expense I’m putting into trying to build a website, market myself, get a book published, serve at my church, etc., shouldn’t life be easier?

I eventually realized that life getting harder when we choose to serve God is the norm, not the exception. The reality of that hit hard, and I felt frustrated and spent. It was in that moment I knew I was faced with a hard choice. I could give up, or I could God-up.

You’ve heard the term “Man-Up” before, right? It simply means:

  • be brave or tough enough to deal with an unpleasant situation.
  • to fulfill your responsibilities as a man, despite your insecurities and constant ability to place yourself in embarrassing or awkward scenarios.
  • to start being brave and dealing with a difficult situation with courage.

This sounds like a great way to be – being brave and tough and just dealing with difficulties in stride and not letting any problem trip us up. But kind of unrealistic. The good news is that God doesn’t expect us to just “man-up” (aka, “woman-up”) when life gets hard, while pushing through our hard times in our own strength. He doesn’t expect us to put our heads in the sand and ignore our problems and emotions, while keeping a fake smile on our faces. He doesn’t require, much less expect, that we try to keep going like normal and never struggle with doubts, discouragement, burnout or frustration – in life, or in ministry. He knows at some point, we’re all going to feel like giving up, for one reason or another.

But He also knows that we each have the power within us to God-up because of who He is, not because of who we are. What God wants is for us to refuse to give in the enemy’s tactics, no matter what they are, and not let them keep us from pursuing our faith inspired dreams. He wants us to God-up –  to rely on holy strength and power to be brave enough to deal with unpleasant situations, push past our insecurities, and start facing difficulties with courage and faith – so that frustration and discouragement don’t cause us to give up.

You see, whenever life gets hard, we can either give-up or God-up. The choice is always ours.

It is awesome and rewarding to serve God with our lives, but on friend, it will certainly never be trouble free. Yet, what an unmatched privilege it is for God to call us to serve at all, in the unique ways He gifts us each to do so.

No calling from God will ever be easy, nor will life. But every time we choose to God-up instead of give up, God will always show up. And that my friend, makes it all worthwhile.



Tracie Miles is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and author who helps women grow stronger in their faith, learn to love who they are in Christ, and pursue the life of purpose God designed them for. Visit Tracie’s blog by clicking here.


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Friday, October 7, 2016

Waiting Misconceptions & a Giveaway


This month I have the pleasure of introducing some new voices to the blog. I can’t wait for you to meet my wise friends!

I’m leading off with a message from my friend Wendy Pope that I know all of us in ministry need. Almost without fail, God uses a wait to develop the character of His speaking and writing girls. You’re in one of two categories today. Either you’re in the midst of a wait (and it seems like ministry doors are never going to swing open!) or you remember the pain of the wait you’ve already lived.

Either way, Wendy has perspective-changing words for us today, so please welcome her and leave a comment for the amazing giveaway at the end. Take it away, Wendy!


When times get hard and the wait seems too long, we begin to doubt God as well as the unlimited and mind-blowing future He has planned for us. We begin to question God: Did I hear You correctly? Do You see what I am going through? Why does this have to be so hard? We blame God because our circumstances seem more difficult than before we invited Him into our wait. It is during these times that we have to fight to maintain our focus on the Person of our faith rather than the object of wait or distracting circumstances that surround us. One way to do this is through prayer.

The Lord longs for us to reach out to Him and ask for help, clarity, and direction. See what James 1:5–8 says: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open” (THE MESSAGE). In this verse, James clearly tells us we are to ask our Father for what we need. James says God loves to help. I certainly like the sound of that—how about you?

Wait and See identifies common misconceptions “waiters” encounter. Recognizing these misconceptions will empower us to wait well, stay present in the present, and experience God in our delay.

Misconception #1: If I am waiting, I must not have heard God correctly.

Meet Ashley: Ashley learned that waiting doesn’t necessarily mean you heard God incorrectly. Ashley says, “We give up too easily because we don’t see what we want to see when we want to see it.”

Misconception #2: If I am waiting, I must desire something not in God’s will for my life.

Meet Samantha: Samantha desired to be married. She knew God ordained and approved marriage, but did He want her to be married? There are plenty of verses in the Bible about marriage, relationships, and how to be a loving spouse. Yet Samantha also knew the verses in which Paul clearly states that some people are called to remain single.

Misconception #3: If I am waiting, I must not be praying enough.

Meet Dianna: Day after day, Dianna prayed and sought the Lord. Many days, she ate only one meal so her family could have all the food they needed. She watched her husband take odd jobs here and there just to make ends meet. She knew in her heart God would supply their needs, but she had to keep telling her head.

Misconception #4: If I am waiting, I must not have enough faith.

Meet Scott and Wendy: This was the lie I believed as we agonized over my husband’s declining health. What was I doing wrong? Was God holding my past against me? Had I not done enough to earn His favor? Sometimes waiting has less to do with the strength of your faith and more to do the perfection of God’s timing.

Misconception #5: If I am waiting, I must not be working hard enough.

Meet David: David did not ask to be king. David did not dream of being king. He wasn’t born into a royal family line from which he would naturally be appointed king. God chose David to be king. It is possible you and I could find ourselves waiting for something we never desired but God desires for us. He knows better than we do what we need to fulfill what He’s called us to do.

We need to prepare in the pauses so we’re ready to embrace God’s plans.

WendyPope_LowResWendy is the wife of Scott, mother of Blaire and Griffin, author, speaker, and Bible study teacher. She loves lazy Sundays watching golf with her husband, thrift-store shopping with her daughter, and watching building shows with her son.

Wendy is the author of Wait and See. She is a contributing author to the Real-Life Women’s Devotional Bible, Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Daily Living, The Reason We Speak, and God’s Purpose for Every Woman. Wendy writes devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries’“Encouragement for Today” and is a content provider for the free online devotion app First 5 as well as a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team.

She leads women all over the world to life change through her in-depth online Bible studies. She has led thousands of women through her Read through the Word study of the One Chronological Bible. Down-to-earth and transparent, Wendy teaches in a way that women feel she is speaking directly to their hearts.



To enter for the fabulous giveaway below, leave a comment telling us a lesson you learned in a wait. If you’re living life on the fly today, you can simply say, “I’m preparing in the pause.”

wait-and-see-giveawayThis incredible gift pack includes: a copy of Wait and See, whimsical beaded bookmark with a butterfly charm, and hand stamped Don’t Rush the Wait aluminum cuff bangle.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Two Keys to a Powerful Event–Part 1

Last weekend, I spoke for a retreat that was one of my top five favorite events in which I’ve ever participated. From beginning to end, it was a powerful, life-transforming time.

It has become a joke with my Proverbs 31 sisters that “I wish I had women crying at the altar” at my events. We have speakers like that on our team–women with a stirring testimony and the gift of evangelism. I’m not that speaker.

I’ve mostly made peace with that fact. Just like I want you to embrace the speaker you’re created to be rather than than the speaker you wish you were, I try to extend that grace to myself too. I’m more of a teacher than an evangelist, so tears aren’t the normal response to my messages.

This event was different, though. From the opening notes of the worship team, the presence of God was evident, filling the room. And there were tears. Copious tears–even after the first session that never inspires tears.

What was happening?

By the end of the weekend, the women were actually begging me to let them stop crying. That made me laugh! (A little sick–I know.)

I know it wasn’t me, though. I didn’t rewrite the messages to be more emotional. I didn’t add stories to manipulate feelings. I didn’t work to evoke tears.

God was powerfully at work in hearts that came to the event open to Him, and it was all because of the event planners. They implemented 2 keys that created an event where the power of God was unleashed.

Key #1– Strong Vision

Before I even had the first call with the event planners, Karen and Sheryl, they sent me a copy of their vision statement for the event. It was clear and detailed. The bottom line was that they wanted a retreat where every woman who attended would personally hear the voice of God.

I don’t think I’ve ever had event planners be so intentional about their vision.

When we talked, they carefully questioned me about my messages, selected several topics, and took them back to the team to pray over before choosing. It was important to them that my messages facilitate their desired outcome. During the course of the weekend, it was obvious that every moment was planned with the end in mind. The planning team put together a weekend with both teaching and silence so that women could hear from God.

Come back for Part 2 next week when I’ll share the second key along with how we as speakers can help less experienced event planners to use these two keys to create events that change people’s lives.


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