Welcome to “Life in the Zone!”

We are ALL a work-in-progress! Whether you feel like someone who is “under construction,” “being remodeled,” or “a renovation project,” each one of us is a piece of work (isn’t that the truth)! God’s workmanship, to be precise (Ephesians 2:10).

Having just spent an amazing retreat weekend with the lovely women of Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Church, perhaps a picture is actually worth a thousand words…

May your own Life in the Zone be filled with blessings this week and always!

 

Interested in bringing a Pink Shoes Ministries women’s retreat to your church? Contact Brita for details: brita@pinkshoesministries.me

 

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Gimme A BREAK!

YS Bookstore

YS Bookstore

I’ve been on a retreat this week.

Never mind that I worked as many as 13 hours a day while retreat-ing. Never mind that what occupied much of my mind-space this week had to do with counting books and counting money. Never mind that my retreat required air travel and taxi rides and coordinating a busy calendar for my family at home in my absence.

I’ve been on a retreat this week, and I NEEDED THIS BREAK!

Maybe no one has ever come right out and told YOU this, but YOU NEED A BREAK, TOO!

YOU need to schedule time to get away from the routine of life.

YOU need to step outside the boundaries of safety and predictability that you’ve created.

YOU need to be reminded that you are ALIVE (not the robot you sometimes feel like, doing the same thing day in and day out, rain or shine, like it or not).

WHY do you need a BREAK? Because it’s HEALTHY!

Stepping outside of the boxes you’ve been stored in is CRITICAL to your health! Shifting gears mentally, even for a couple of days, allows you to process your thoughts differently, often shedding light that the shadowlands of your mind are most desperate to receive. Looking at your life from any distance, even if only from across town, gives perspective to who you ARE, what you DO and the gap between your reality and the YOU that may be hiding beneath the surface, just DYING to get OUT.

Some of us are so busy LIVING on the outside that we’re DYING a slow death on the inside – going through the motions in a state of disconnect from the E-motions we are MEANT to experience as humans who were created to share in the joy of our Creator (John 15:11).

Letting go of to-do lists and the noose of schedule for a time naturally frees up space in your head, making room for the dreams you keep ‘stuffing’ and the memories you need to re-visit.

Connecting yesterday with tomorrow can only happen when you are fully present TODAY – and most of us, on a normal day, are tardy at best.

You need a BREAK because we all need to be reminded of our value as an individual.

You are wife, mother, volunteer, employee, daughter, friend, leader, boss – but first and foremost, you are YOU! Stripping away your identity-by-relationship forces a good, long look at the you in the mirror – the one person you tend to avoid, overlook and underestimate. The one person who most desperately needs to spend some quality time with you.

During Advent – the season that begins on Sunday and runs through Christmas Eve – Pink Shoes Ministries will be exploring ways to turn toward Christ while unloading some of the excess baggage we’ve accumulated as a result of living in a broken world.

Walk with me toward the manger!

Take a daily break during this busy season and consider a new wardrobe – taking off the ill-fitting shrouds and putting on a mantle of ageless beauty designed FOR YOU by God Himself!

If “Gimme a BREAK!” is the cry of your heart, you are in good company.

Trek Orientation will be posted here on Saturday.

The Journey begins on Sunday.

I hope you’ll join us! (Don’t be late!)

the Betsy Candle

I’m preparing for a women’s retreat today.

It’s a rainy, chilly autumn day and so my mind has wandered from the task at hand to a snowy, chilly winter day… years ago.

My first retreat.

The first retreat I ever planned and led was in February 2006, and it was truly a labor of LOVE.

LOVE for the God who created me with gifts and called me to share them with others.

LOVE for the mountains and quiet time and camp.

LOVE for the women of my church home, whom I desperately missed, having moved away months before.

With only weeks to go before gathering my girlfriends together at camp, one of them was taken away.

Suddenly.

Unexpectedly.

Violently.

Tragically.

Still reeling from this inconceivable death-blow, we gathered as planned. 25 women arrived with broken hearts and lots and LOTS of emotional baggage.

We were…

ANGRY at God for allowing such horrific events to take place.

SORROWFUL for the loss of one who was wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend.

CONFUSED by an entire range of never-before-experienced emotions toward the one who took her life – our friend, too – her husband.

Sitting in a circle of chairs that Friday night, our faces betrayed the true state of our hearts. One chair was empty and it should NOT HAVE BEEN.

Betsy should have been here.

In the midst of us was a candle – we called it the Betsy Candle – and we lit it up not only with flame, but with the flames of our unanswered questions and unnamed emotions. Intended to represent what her presence in our lives had meant to us, the candle burned quietly among us all weekend.

A reminder of a woman of beauty.

A reminder of the unpredictable nature of this life.

And a reminder to us that sometimes there are no words to express the brokenness we feel inside.

The Betsy Candle was unobtrusive that weekend – it didn’t demand our attention.

Instead, its sweet fragrance drifted from room to room, bringing a smile to one of us here and surprising with a happy memory another one over there.

In quiet ways, the flickering flame of the Betsy Candle brought to life the words of Lamentations 3:22, 23, 26, & 32:

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”

The Betsy Candle is long gone. I continued to burn it in my home for months after that first retreat, but the lesson is more clear today than ever before: Sometimes all we can do is to quietly wait.

Without words.

Without understanding.

Without a clue as to what to do next.

But WITH the compassionate, loving and faithful God whose presence burns steadily within us, and whose salvation is absolutely worth the wait.