For Mothers and Daughters

We have a Mother’s Day gift for you!

It’s a “reading,” created for all you moms and daughters out there. It’s sole purpose is to get you two alone together for a few moments, unplugged and undistracted, as you read God’s truth to affirm, cherish, and remind each other that you are in this thing together. There’s something very special about the relationship between mothers and daughters, and our prayer is that through this reading, relationships will be strengthened, hearts will be mended, and faith will rise as you speak these words of life over one another.

It was initially written for a Mother/Daughter retreat my sister and I were speaking for the weekend. But seeing the response it had on the moms and daughters, we knew we needed to share it with others!

So I called on my good friend Logan Pyle. He loves Jesus and uses his talents and giftings to point the world to Him. (He and his wife, Karissa, are a breath of fresh air. Their family couldn’t be more precious!) I told him of my idea and he was as excited as I was! He brought the beauty of this piece to life… real life.

THEN… who would be the mother-daughter duo?!?! Actually, I couldn’t wait to beg my friend Lori and her daughter Blake to be a part of this project. Lori’s got this parenting thing down-ha! Okay, who really does? She’s a mess… a beautiful, humble, God-fearing, light bearing, masterpiece of motherhood mess! She knows this life is about clinging to her God as she leads her children to do the same. She and her husband, Scott, are the BEST! I know it’s been a teary season as they are days away from watching their sweet girl graduate from high school! This project was special on many levels as they end one era to lean on their God as they begin another.

Again, Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s the printable version for YOU! Seriously, click on this link, it’s for YOU: mother daughter reading

{p.s. Daughters, you will totally surprise your momma if you print out the reading before she does. She’ll probably fall out of her chair! Print out one for her and one for you. This is waaaay better than picking out some hallmark card at Wallyworld! Bring some tissues and some chocolate for extra bonus points.}

{p.p.s. Moms, you can leave hints, you can tag your daughters in this video, but they still may not pick up what you’re putting down, so don’t wait for your daughters to stumble upon this video and print out the reading like good children, download the pdf and tell your daughter(s) you know what you want for Mother’s Day! Boom! Girl time!}

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The video was filmed and edited by: Logan Pyle
The adorable Mother/Daughter Duo in this project: Lori & Blake O’Dell

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 If you are new to Dancing On My Ashes… WELCOME!

To learn more about Dancing On My Ashes,
you can watch Heather & Holly’s 3 minute video: go here

To check out their book, Dancing On My Ashes: go here

If you are interested in learning more about God: go here

In other BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC NEWS:

The Take Me Away! Women’s Retreat Cruise with us is March 2-6, 2017.

We’d LOVE for you to join the fun.

It is a short cruise so families could manage without ‘mom’ and she would come back rejuvenated, tan, with her soul refreshed! This is a perfect retreat for women’s groups or individuals. If you organize a group for the cruise you can earn your trip!

It may be just the perfect getaway what you moms and daughters need! *wink wink*

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{Story3} Suicide Interrupted

In our November {Thankfulness} series we are having a blast sharing YOUR incredible, redemptive God-stories! This one is a doozy! I (Heather) can’t wait for you to hear from Amy Fritz. If you were to meet Amy you might quickly assess she has a rare beauty that she possesses. Sure, she is outwardly stunning, but there’s a beauty that radiates from her soul. Looking in on her life, you could quickly assume, she’s got it all: she’s a newlywed, she’s a tennis all-star, she’s got hair that should be on commercials, and she has the sweetest little giggle when you talk to her. She’s adorbs! I worshiped in the same room with her for years before I learned her story. Can I just say, I LOVE when people share their God-stories because we see His love abound through one another. Watch this beautiful love story unfold… I introduce you to Amy.


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by Amy Fritz

There is not a second of your life where God is not present. Even in the days where He seems far away. Even in your darkest hours. He is there.

If you have doubts, if you’re struggling to hold on, if you’re overwhelmed by fear, or burdened by guilt and shame, this one’s for you.

I didn’t grow up “in Church”…I occasionally went to church, but not very often. I owned a Bible, but other than my name being written on it, I couldn’t identify with it. I knew of a man named Jesus, but I did not know Him. I always saw God as this faraway being that wanted nothing to do with me or my life.

Let me start from the beginning.

I grew up with a single mom and was the youngest of three kids. My mom did everything in her power to give us a good life, and she always put us before herself. During my childhood she decided we would pack our bags and move to southwest Florida to get a fresh start. Things seemed really good for us. I went to a great school, was a competitive tennis player, and even lived on a beautiful, tropical island.

I should have been the happiest girl in the world, right?

But I had my share of failures, secrets, and insecurities.

As I got older I was constantly putting a great deal of pressure on myself. Pressure to fit in, to look a certain way, to get better grades, to please others, to be a better tennis player, and the list goes on and on. I was constantly searching for approval. I thought that if I did all of the “right” things I would have more control over my life, and then nothing bad would ever happen to me

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Well, that wasn’t the case, at all. Because sometimes, you have absolutely no control over anything, and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

I was only fourteen years old when I was raped.

I didn’t tell anyone. I couldn’t tell anyone. I was too ashamed. Was I pregnant? Did I have an STD? No one could ever know about this! I thought that if I just ignored what happened, that it would eventually go away. Of course, I tried, but it never goes away.

My life was a living nightmare. I closed my eyes and it was there. I opened my eyes and it was there. It haunted me. I was broken. I was afraid. I was so alone. The self-blame was eating me alive. I lost all control of everything I ever knew. This girl who used to have it all together, who was happy, was now a complete mess. My world was crashing down on me, and it was happening quickly.

During this season I was running down a dark and dangerous path. No substance could fill the emptiness I felt inside. I was numb. Pills, drinking, cutting, partying, boys—I tried it all, and nothing worked. Maybe it helped me forget for a brief moment, but every morning I would wake up lower than where I started the night before. I was overcome with depression. I was filled with fear, and I was ready to end it all…

One night, on August 23rd 2007, I was five minutes away from doing just that. Ending it all seemed like the only road to freedom.

I remember crying so hard I couldn’t breathe, and being so afraid that I was shaking. I had everything I needed to end my life, the only thing left to do was commit. There was so much tension between my head and my heart. I didn’t want to do it, but I felt like I had no other choice. Out of anger and frustration I began throwing things around my room. In a rage I began shoving a bunch of stuff off a bookshelf. Books fell on the floor, but only one book fell on the floor and opened—my very dusty Bible.

Startled, I caught my breath, knelt down, and began to read.

It was opened to Isaiah 43, which says,

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called you by name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.”

God does not call us by our shame; He calls us by our name.

I read those Words over, and over, and over. I couldn’t get enough of them. The fear began to vanish as God’s grace drew near.

His presence was so real. Those Words were so real. His undeniable love was so real.

The truth is, never once was He far from me. He was there the day I took my first breath. He was there when I was packing my bags for our “fresh start.” He was there… when I was raped. As hard as that reality is, I was never alone. And here He was, in the moment I was about to take my own life, desperate for me to hear that He was near and that He loved me.

That night changed my life forever. I cried out to God for the first time. I was vulnerable with Him. I begged for His mercy. I knew that I could no longer live on my own. I was aware of my humanity, as I was face to face with His otherness. He was greater than anything I had ever imagined or believed. I decided from that moment forward to give everything I had to Him. My past, my present, and my future. Jesus forgave me! He restored my purity, He adopted me as His own, and He filled my life with new hopes and dreams. He set me FREE!

Today, I can say that was over seven years ago. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of God. He saved my life, and I am forever thankful.

I think what amazes me the most, is that God—this awesome, majestic, powerful creator—chose to meet me in such an intimate way to deal with my intimate wounds. In that moment of desperation, He met me right where I was. He knows us. He knows exactly what we need.

It has not been an easy journey, but it has been a remarkable one. God has saved my family and has filled my life with so much love. He has brought so many other godly people into my life through the years that have stood by my side and fought with me. They have prayed with me, shed tears with me, and given me wise counsel. God is continually healing and sanctifying me by His grace alone. I am so undeserving, yet He is still so good to me. His Church is full of broken sinners in need of grace, and I am one of them.

This handsome guy is one of the main characters God has placed in my redeeming love story. This is my husband, Caleb, who pursued me with absolute patience and grace. He is the kindest, most respectful, caring man that I know, and his gospel saturated heart brings me closer to Christ and His love every day.

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Maybe you’re like me or have faced a similar situation and you’re too afraid to tell someone. Let me just say, fear not. It’s not your fault that something like this happened to you. Don’t let shame hinder the healing process. Jesus is able.

And ladies, guard your purity. Guard it with all of your heart. Wait for a man who will do the same. Don’t take purity for granted. Parents, guard your daughters. Husbands, guard your wives. Educate yourselves well, and be aware: 1 in 6 girls are sexually abused, and 60% of those incidents will go unreported. If someone is sexually abused, they are 26 times more likely to abuse substances and are 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Please, don’t take that lightly.

My prayer today is that God would be glorified through my story. I hope this is an encouragement and reminder that He is near and His love for you is unimaginable.

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If you missed the first two posts in this November {Thankfulness} series go here:

{Story1} The 14 questions my husband asked me

{Story2} The Redeemed “Other” Woman

To learn more about Heather and Holly’s ministry, you can watch their 3 minute video: go here

To check out their book: go here

Dancing On My Ashes (in ebook form) is available through the month of November for $2!

If you are interested in learning more about God: go here

I am mad at you!

by Heather Spring

My son Noah is five and is learning so much this year! He’s been working on writing words. He’s learned how to break down sounds and write what he hears. I am a VERY proud momma! So the other day he handed me this note:

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I held it in my hand and sounded it out: ” I am mad at you!” Staring down at the penguin notebook, I immediately started praising him for writing a sentence, “Buddy, that’s GREAT! I can read this—good job!” As I began to look up, still commending him for his job well done, I was greeted with a big scowl and arms folded in disgust. “Ooooh,” I said, “I get it… you’re mad at me! I’m sorry I’ve made you mad… but, YOU ARE WRITING!”

I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days. And it’s made me think about my relationship with God. (There’s nothing like a good old fashion hate note to get you thinking, right?) When we accept Jesus as Lord, we are told that we can call Him Abba! Daddy! (Romans 8:15) He says we can speak to Him. We can crawl up in His “spiritual” lap and enjoy simply being with our Daddy. We can tell Him anything… even that we’re mad at Him. We can storm off to our room and then slip Him a note on a penguin pad that says, “I um mad at yo! (Insert mad face with VERY furious eyebrows!) We can fold our arms and give Him the best pouty face we can dare muster up.

Communicating our frustration with Him is better than the alternative… not talking to Him at all. Not trusting Him with our feelings, with our frustrations, or with our disappointments. Growing distant or giving God the silent treatment does not grow our relationship—it hinders it.

I have to admit, that’s a habit/cycle in my life that I’ve had to work really hard to break. There have been times I’ve thought I could teach my spouse a lesson by giving him the cold shoulder. I’ve grown cold to friends in hopes that they would get the message that “I am not happy with you!” I’ve even thought I could teach God a lesson, by pulling away. But lack of communication with God hurts us. Distance cannot mend. It cannot bring about healing or understanding. It is not a relationship builder—it is a relationship breaker. It thwarts growth and steals the opportunity to love despite differing opinions. And lets be honest, we have a skewed and limited perception of real love and what that looks like. Can’t we just take Him at His word that Father knows best?

I’m thankful Noah felt comfortable enough to say to me, “I am mad at you!” I want to know how he’s feeling. Maybe truth will reign as we communicate. And maybe he’ll hear my heart as I seek to show him there is love even in discipline. There’s love even in the “No’s.” That simple expression of frustration might usher in deeper intimacy and trust despite feelings. Honesty is vital! You can’t understand His love for you if you are not willing to be real before your Daddy.

Maybe there’s someone out there that needs to stop being religious and start being real. Sometimes we play the “I’m fine” card when we are anything BUT fine!

Have you had this conversation?

“What’s wrong?”
“I’m fine,” I say, purposefully not making eye contact and scrubbing the counter.
“Are you sure? You don’t seem fine.”
“I’m FINE!” I say with more force as I seek more things to clean in a rage. (Sidenote: you think you can get a lot of cleaning done when you’re mad, but you just start cleaning in circles. I don’t recommend it.)

My husband won’t let me play the “I’m fine” card. Here’s one of my favorite moments when I tried to play my card and Dallas called me out! We’d had the above conversation and at that point he had been following me around as I cleaned in huff. After tailing me from room to room with no interaction he said, “I feel like Patrick Swayze in that scene in Ghost when he’s following around Demi before he realizes he’s a ghost.” At that point I turned and made eye contact with him and began laughing so hard I seriously forgot what I had been fuming about. And after I remembered… I was mad again… just kidding! We had honest communication and the relationship was strengthened.

God’s not Patrick Swayze. He’s alive! He longs for us to be real and talk to Him… even if we need to confess, “I’m mad at You!”

Tell Him how you are feeling even if you know that you are not justified in your feelings! Honest confession is not only beneficial in this relationship, but it’s necessary. And the good news is… if He has anything to do with it, you won’t stay mad long. His kindness leads to repentance and repentance leads to our growth and growth leads us to wholeness and in our wholeness we mirror our Daddy. And there’s nothing like looking more like Him.

So what do you need to say to Him today?