Faith, Random

Exploring the plans…

Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

When I read on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog about the SheSpeaks scholarship contest, in which three scholarships to the 2010 conference are going to be awarded, my interest was piqued.

You see, as a young girl, I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up.  Or a cake decorator. Anyway, throughout school, my favorite subjects revolved around reading and writing.  I helped start a school newspaper in sixth grade and was part of the yearbook staff throughout much of high school.  I have a passion for reading, and I drove drive my friends and family crazy with my tendency to “red-pen” much of what they write.  My husband gets the brunt of this (sorry sweetheart!).  So as I read about this contest, I began to consider entering.  I prayed about it, I asked my two best friends, my husband and my mom, what they thought, I argued with myself about why I should and then I argued about why I shouldn’t.  The list of “shouldn’ts” grew long, as I focused on everything from doubts about my ability to win to what would happen if I did win.  Like leaving my toddler and baby overnight for the first time (especially since I am nursing my three-month old and plan to be at the time of the conference), or going to the conference and realizing I don’t belong or that I simply mistook my passion for writing to be more than just a periodic post on my blog.

Yet here I am writing this blog post, which is, in essence, my entry.

She Speaks is a conference conducted by Proverbs 31 ministries, a group of women who share the love of Christ and Word of God with others through speaking, writing, and women’s ministry leadership.  The conference serves as a powerful way to equip other women in this process as well.  And this is why I am scared.

You see, there is a definite part of me that is apprehensive about taking a step like this.  I tend to like to coast under the radar.  I don’t like public speaking and I don’t even really like to be in a leadership position.  These things intimidate me.  Yet earlier I referenced Jeremiah 29:11, and the reason I did so is that there is another definite part of me that feels that those scary things may be part of the future plans God has for me.  I may just be called into doing these very intimidating things by my Lord, and I certainly wouldn’t be the first person God pulled out of her comfort zone!  I don’t want to pull a Jonah and skip out on this calling if that is the case, and I feel that giving this contest a go is one way to explore this calling.  Writing isn’t so scary to me, and when I first made the decision to enter this contest, I was hoping to attend the writing track if I won.  But the fact is, over the past few days, I have been subject to a nagging suspicion that I am supposed to explore leadership in women’s ministry.  And that is both parts exciting and terrifying!

All of this is coming at an interesting time for me.  I began a career as a stay-at-home mom this past December, allowing me the privilege of being with both my little girl and my newborn son on a full-time basis.  This change meant leaving behind a job I loved for eight years as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at a Christian non-profit residential treatment and foster care/adoption program called the Yahweh Center Children’s Village.  This ministry works with children that are abused and/or neglected or are at-risk for abuse, ranging in age from 5-12.  I plan to hold on to my LCSW status so that I can return someday into the field if so called.  In the meantime, I am in that place of trying to figure out what God has for me (behind my first calling as wife and mother) since leaving my job and adjusting to life at home.  My husband, a pastor and former church planter (likely a future one as well) and I were recently asked to consider starting a small group for the young couples in our church in hopes of growing this ministry.  I have a growing desire to start a book club as a way to fellowship with and develop women–and myself!– not only in my church, but also in the community.  Lately I have been thinking about how to help revive the ladies ministry at our church.  As for writing, well, I don’t know if I will ever write a book, but I do love to share my heart and experiences with others.  I am already seeing the amazing way God can use writing to not only reach out to women, but to allow growth in the writer as a woman and as a Christian.  I imagine this is also the case with women’s ministry!

All that to say, this time of waiting on God is an interesting one for me, and whatever He has called me to do, I am already praying now I will be ready!  So whether or not SheSpeaks ends up being part of those plans He has chosen for me, I look forward to the future He has planned.  Even if I do get scared.


11 thoughts on “Exploring the plans…”

  1. Hi Olivia (I only know your name from a comment left on your other blog). 🙂 Thank you for your sweet comment that you left on my She Speaks entry. I just read yours too, and oh the things we have in common. For one, I was also yearbook editor for a few years when I was in school. But I didn’t like writing. I just liked getting invited to events to take pictures. Writing was never in the radar for me as something I’d ever do but stumbled into it accidentally (rather, someone stumbled into it).

    Another thing we have in common is our two young children. I have a four-year-old son and a 10-month-old daughter, so I can completely relate to the thoughts that come to mind about leaving them for a weekend.
    As I think about the She Speaks opportunity, God brought me to Philippians 4:6-7

    “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

    I will add you to my prayers, my dear friend.

    Warm blessings,

    1. We do seem to have a lot in common! I look forward to getting to know you better through your blog, and maybe we will get to meet at a SheSpeaks sometime in the future!
      Blessings to you and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Wow, what an inspirational entry. It’s touching that you’d be willing to step out of your comfort zone to go where God may be calling you into. And to sacrifice by leaving your young children… That takes courage. I appreciate your blog, I’ve been reading it since Rachel Olsen’s devotional carnival 🙂

  3. Olivia, you said…”I have a nagging suspicion I am supposed to explore leadership in women’s ministry.”

    Funny because I have that nagging suspicion about you as well, I was just thinking about that last week…Those things that God has called you to may be outside of your comfort zone, but God has certainly blessed you with so many gifts as well; compassion, generosity, you are a great encourager, and are a great listener…all very important in ministry, and those are just a few of the gifts I’ve picked up on. The greatest gift I believe you have is a heart for our Lord, and to bring others closer to Him, and to make Him known. Keep seeking, and praying. I will be doing the same for you…Blessings.

    1. Uh oh, now my suspicion is out in the open with someone I know (aside from family). That can turn into accountability 🙂 Especially with someone I know that will likely hold me accountable. I am so thankful for your comment- it really served as wonderful encouragement for me. Please keep praying for me in this- and thanks for your friendship!

  4. Thank you for reading my entry, May God bless you richly as you pursue this calling on your life. I know He is relentless when HE desires for you to take a step of faith. I’ll be looking for you in July!

    For the Praise of His Glory!

    Susan Silva

  5. It is funny, because when I read that in your blog, I just grinned, because I literally had the thought last week, “I love what God is doing in Olivia’s life right now.” God is working, in both yours and Will’s life, and it shows. At least to me. I actually mentioned it to another acquaintance we have in common last night. I will certainly be praying for you, and looking forward to what God is going to continue to do in your life. Take care Liv, see you soon!

  6. Thanks for letting me know you signed up! I am so excited that you entered. God’s has amazing plans for you and I just love your faithfulness to step out and trust HIM way outside your comfort zone. Sweet blessings and prayers as your entry is considered. I hope to meet you at She Speaks!

    1. Thank you for reading, for the encouragement, and especially for your prayers! And thank you for your blog- I enjoy it very much and am regularly blessed by it!

  7. I know it has taken me a while to get to responding to this post. I apologize and am sorry it has taken so long. I wasn’t sure how to say all I wanted to say.

    First, I am proud of you and this post.

    I love how you start your post with God’s word and end with the affirmation that “I look forward to the future He has planned.” I am overjoyed when I see some of the changes that God is making in your life. I can’t help but wonder too what plans God has for you. When you started blogging I really loved it because it gave me another window in to your thoughts, dreams, and ideas.

    I love it even more now that your writing is becoming a reflection of who you are. When we talked about you possibly submitting for Shespeaks I told you to go for it. I said it not because I wanted you to just win a contest, to build your self-esteem, or for you to lay out a proverbial fleece before God. I said it because I believed that God wanted you to write for this contest as a act of obedience regardless if you won or lost. You speak from your heart and you speak of what God is doing in your life. When people read this blog be it many or a few they are seeing God at work in one of his daughter’s lives. This is the heart of women’s ministry or any other ministry for that matter. It is all about what God is doing. Wonderfully being your husband I get to see what he is doing in you when you write on your blog and in your everyday life.

    I think of you whenever I hear the name Shespeaks and not of the ministry with that name. Elvis Costello in his song She has the following lines.

    “She may be my treasure or the price I have to pay
    She May be the song that summer sings
    May be the chill that autumn brings
    May be a hundred different things
    Within the measure of a day.”

    Of all the shes on this planet you are the one I want to hear from. You are the one I want to listen to. The one I want to read about. You are a hundred different things within the measure of a day. We have moments where you are my summer and other moments my autumn. When you write I get to see where you are in your thinking, dreams, fears, and aspirations. It is beautiful.

    When you write on your blog especially for the world to see it is sometimes hard because as your husband I want you all to myself. When you write on your blog you are the she that speaks the most to me. What you write it is a treasure to me because it is part of you. Sharing your thoughts online is a ministry to me. Sharing even a part with you is the price I have to pay and it is worth it.

    He who began a good work in you will finish it. I love the brush strokes of his pen when I read what he is doing in you and in your writing.

    Lastly, I am proud of this post and you.


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