Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest Blogger: Sonia Heming! - Silence & Solitude Experience

I am SO excited to have 9th grader, Sonia Heming as this week's Guest Blogger! Sonia took advantage of our High School Girls Silence & Solitude opportunity last weekend and was so sweet and willing to share her experience here with you! I honestly couldn't have expressed the day better! Thank you, Sonia!! :)
"Whenever I first heard about Silence & Solitude, I already knew I didn’t, and probably wasn’t going to go to it. It didn’t seem like my cup of tea. I’m glad Ms. Suzanne asked me to sign up or else I would’ve missed out on a life changing experience. At first I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. My first thought about it was kinda terrifying for me. For some reason I thought we would have to be praying in front of the group of girls. Which I get really nervous praying in front of people, and it is not my strong point…at all. I eventually got over that fear because I knew that my friend, Sara Riggle, was going with me and she was nervous as well.
            Right off the bat, we discussed what we were going to be doing. We were not going to be praying in front of each other! The first thing we did was get our feet washed by all of the leaders, which was VERY humbling. The next thing on the To Do list was for each of us to find a quiet room by ourselves so we could talk out loud to the Lord. In those rooms we read the verse: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out of religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to love freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30). That was probably my favorite part of the day. After that we basically had 5 rooms we had to go in based on sight, smell, salt & light, and missions. Those rooms were really, really cool. I really felt closer to God. In the 5th room there were many things to look at and read. In their, there were many things to think about, pray about, and ask God to reveal to you. One of the things that I read that stood out to me was: “How are you being an example of Christ to your siblings & schoolmates? Are there ways you can change? Ask God to reveal these to you. (Titus 2:7)
            If I ever got another opportunity to do that again, I would most definitely go! I would invite lots of people to come with me as well. It would be very selfish of me to not share the experience I had at Silence & Solitude with my friends. Everybody should have a chance to go to something like that and just have time to be alone with God in quietness. God deserves that from you."

See more pictures from this day on our FBC Girls Ministry Facebook Page!
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Silence & Solitude

Prayer is a spiritual discipline we all know is important, I mean, it’s our time to talk to God! However, often times our prayer life is reduced to the 60 seconds before a meal, a couple minutes before bed or after a quiet time…and of course, surrounding a time of need whether it be for someone that is sick or before you take a calculus test! Rarely would I say that we take hours to pray and commune with God.  In fact, for me, the very first time I ever spent more than an hour in prayer was during one of my first classes in Seminary. We were instructed to spend half a day alone with God, in silence and solitude. That meant at least six hours! I will admit, I was terrified about this time. What was I going to do? Where would I go? How was I going to literally spend SIX hours with God?

I tell you, it was the sweetest time ever. To be real, there were times throughout the six hours that I did struggle, I did get antsy, I did lose focus. But then I also would have times where I was literally lost in the comfort of His presence, captivated by thought of how awesome my Lord was, and deep in written conversation with Him over the most personal things. Indeed it was so sweet. Since then, I have tried to carve out a least a few consecutive hours a couple times a year to just stop and enjoy time with my Father.

This past October, I attended the LifeWay Girls Ministers Retreat. I went fully expecting a time full of laughter, tears, and most of all idea sharing! However, when I got there, I quickly found that wasn’t the plan…instead a guided prayer retreat had been set up for us. I was so tired, weary, and overwhelmed with the constant go, go, go of ministry that I realized I hadn’t stopped like this in a long while. I found myself terrified again about this lengthy time alone. 

I’m sure you can guess, the Lord did what only He does best…He was faithful. What a fruitful, refreshing, sweet time. We all needed it. How had we let ourselves go so long without it?

I did come away with a new idea though! If my heart needed this, how much more do my girls need this? The their intense schedules and demands, how could I, their Girls Minister, deprive them of learning about and experiencing one of our most important spiritual disciplines? I was burdened for my girls and the closeness with the Lord that was so readily available. I began immediately to pray about what this would look like for us. I decided to offer this only to High School girls. I didn’t see this as an “event” but more as an opportunity. This is for girls that want and crave to go deeper. With that said, it couldn’t be about numbers. I will be perfectly happy if only five girls show up or 30 girls show up because again, this is not an event, it’s a designated time set aside to meet with God.

I am so excited about this day! Will you pray for our ministry and that girls will rise up and take advantage of this opportunity to retreat away from their crazy busy schedules and see their need for time like this. Will you pray that God blesses it immensely? That girls will hear from God. That they will feel His presence and they will see His hand at work in their lives. I pray that this shakes up our entire ministry for the glory of God!

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30, MSG

There's still time to sign-up! Deadline is March 14th

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Blogger! "Are You Toooo Needy?"

This week, I am honored to have Mrs. Amy Pierce as a Guest Blogger on Girls for HIS Glory!  Amy and her husband, Blake, head-up our Wednesday Night check-in and first-time guest experience. They do an awesome job of engaging with students and helping them get plugged it. Amy led our Middle School Girls 411 in January on the topic of "Neediness" as we have continued to work through Mary Kassian's book, "Girls Gone Wise - in a World Gone Wild". Amy did such an awesome job, I asked her to recap her lesson here. Enjoy!

"When you hear the word neediness what do you think about?  Does it remind you of your friend who constantly wants all the attention, or maybe your sister who can’t stop texting long enough to listen to you?  What about the girl down the street who’s always changing her hairstyle?  Let’s face it. We are all needy for someone or something.

     Where does this neediness come from? It comes from a desire to be satisfied.  The Lord put this longing in us so that we would come to Him to be satisfied.  If we are not spending time with the Lord we will look to other people or other things to fill us up.  Galatians 1:10 states, "Am I trying to please people or God? If I were still trying to please people I would not be a servant of Christ." Let’s ask ourselves this question. Who’s approval am I looking for?

     C.S. Lewis wrote, “What does not satisfy when we find it was not the thing we were desiring.”   Suppose you have two water fountains in your school.  One is brand new with crystal clear water flowing from it. The other fountain is old, rusted and as the water flows out it touches the dirty end of the spout.  Which do you prefer to drink from, the new clean fountain or the dirty rusted one? The Lord is like the new fountain. He knows what is best for you and He wants to give you the desires of your heart.  Our friends and all the things of this world are like the old fountain. They have been used over and over again. They have the same problems you have. They will never be able to fill your desires or satisfy your longings. Drink from the new fountain, the living water, our Precious Lord! He will fill you every time!

     Sure Mrs. Amy, easier said than done, right.  You‘re right! Easier said than done.  However, it’s just like a bad habit.  Replace it with a good habit and before you know it easier done than said. 

Here are a few practical ways you can be satisfied by the Lord:
  •       Spend time alone with God.  Open your bibles. Pick out some scripture and talk to Him about it.
  •       Pray. Tell the Lord about the things that are painful, or hurtful. Tell Him what you are excited about or what confuses you.
  •       Guard your time. Don’t hand your precious time over to worldliness.  Make sure you pay attention to the time you spend getting ready, talking and texting, sharing on the computer, athletics, or just staying busy.
  •       Find an accountability partner.  Someone several years older than you who you can trust. Someone who you know walks with the Lord. Someone who has already been through the things you are going through.  Most importantly someone who tells you the truth and asks you the hard questions.  Not someone who tells you what you want to hear.  
Remember you are a child of God; drink from the New Fountain, the Living Water, our Precious, Precious Lord!"

Thanks Amy! Be sure to check out our FBC Girls Ministry Facebook Page for more pictures from this awesome 411 night!
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not Just Moved...but CHANGED for His Glory!

This past weekend was our now annual LifeWay Girls Leadership Conference. Such an amazing time of growth and concentration on seeking Christ and His righteousness with 41 of our FBC girls and leaders! LifeWay really does SUCH a great job on this Christ-centered, exalting event. My absolute favorite time of each Girls Ministry Retreat that we do is the "share time" towards the end of the trip. We did this last year after this conference and the testimonies confirmed two major facts for me. 1) This conference was worth it and we will do it again. And most importantly this share times reaffirmed yet again that 2) Girls Ministry is essential. Girls act differently, focus differently, listen differently, share/open up differently, and are ultimately more receptive when it's just the girls. It was encouragement that those in ministry need to see from time to time and I am so thankful for yet another glimpse at this. 

Like last year, I want to share with you some of the testimonies that were shared on the dark bus ride home on Saturday. With the whistling wind swooshing around the bus, each girls had to be so very girl in order to hear, and likewise the speak had to almost yell. But oh, was it worth it! Check out what was the Lord encouraged by this and pray with me that lives were not just moved by another conference but yet CHANGED for the glory fo God. 
  • “God showed me how to deal with drama. The past few months have been hard at school. He reminded me He is always there for me and that I am never alone.” -7th grade girl 
  • “I have been struggling for a few months. God showed me a new direction and opened my heart to missions this week.” -12th grade girl 
  • “I got lost at the conference, so I went to the closest breakout session. It was on World View. God showed me how to trust Him and His plans, despite what I was expecting.” -7th grade girl 
  • “I enjoyed the session on relationships. I learned that you should not teach the same way over and over again. Try to stick to one main thought. Try to give personal experience. The hands on exercises were powerful!” -Adult Leader  
  • “I went to the 'Modest is Hottest' session. I learned about how we are hurting our brothers in Christ by not being modest.” -7th grade girl 
  • “I loved Erin Davis’ breakout on 'how not to be a diva'.” -8th grade girl 
  • “I re-accepted God in my heart. I was touched by God during the 'Obsessions' talk.” -7th grade girl  
  • “My favorite breakout session was on social media! My second favorite was the 'Modest is Hottest' session. They both gave me lots of practical advice on keeping each other accountable.” -7th grade girl  
  • “I realized how much I need God in my life. Being with friends helps so much. It is such a blessing. God spoke to me in all sessions. I am so thankful.”  -12 grade girl 
  • “I am a senior dealing with stress about being a college freshman and being away from family. I liked the 'Essentials for Life After High School' session. God has blessed me with godly friends. If you stay true to God, you won’t lose yourself as a freshman in college.”  -12 grade girl 
  • “Life is a hard ride. Some people don’t know what to do in spiritual life and are struggling. No matter what goes on, go to the Bible, pray, and never give up. It can change your life. God really spoke to me.”  -10th grade girl 
  • “I have had a hard year. I have felt so loved at First Baptist Church. Erin Davis’ talk on 'Sisterhood' was powerful. You need girlfriends!” -8th grade girl 
  • “I liked Erin Davis’ talk on 'Sisterhood'. We all have mean friends. God told me to forgive friends and family.” -6th grade girl 
  • “I enjoyed the session on drama. I didn’t think I had drama in my life. I checked three fourths of the page and was very convicted! I want to be a follower of Christ, not a drama filled teen girl.”  -12th grade girl 
  • “I liked the 'God Goes Shopping' session. There was a girl that looked familiar at that session. When they had to choose partners, I chose her. It turned out, I had met her last year at this same conference. I feel I am not as outspoken with my testimony as she was. I learned I need to not be afraid to share my story.” -10th grade girl
  • “I have been so disobedient in not getting up early for a quiet time. I know God wants me to do it. I am starting to understand missions more. I went to the 'Sweet Sleep' session. I wanted God to show me ways to help in missions and He did. Proverbs 3:24. Sleep will be sweet.”  -Adult Leader 
  • “I loved the music and worship. I did not grow up Baptist. I grew up in a very traditional Catholic Church. Erin Davis was so easy to understand. Thanks Suzanne for taking us on this trip.” -8th grade girl 
  • “I enjoyed the 'Modest is Hottest' session. They talked about makeup and how society’s image of beauty is different from God’s. If you don’t fit it, you are not beautiful. But the King of King’s thinks you are beautiful and that is all we need.”  -7th grade girl 
  • “Share time is my favorite part of the trip. Such a blessing!”  -Adult Leader 
  • “I love hearing how God spoke to others during share time”  -10th grade girl
  • “I am new to Cleveland. I am struggling to find new friends. God showed me to trust Him and lean on Him.” -12th grade girl 
  • “I enjoyed the first workshop. We talked about being better teachers and not being so predictable because it causes disconnect. I was inspired to be more creative and make the lessons more exciting. The session on discipleship and mentoring inspired me. Maybe next year we can do discipling in the mornings. I learned that Satan wants to disqualify godly leaders. He wants to destroy faith and take a lot more with it. Never put your shield down.”   -Adult Leader 

As always, more pictures can be found on our Girls Ministry Facebook Page >>click here<

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