By Paige Eavenson

 

 

At the beginning of the year I like to pick a word to define my year and focus on. I didn’t have anything major or profound word that the Lord was giving me only the word NEW kept coming to mind. I did a quick search to find out where the word “NEW” was in Scripture and one of the first verses that stuck out to me was the verse in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a NEW thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19 NIV

 

 

Back in November, 2015, God led us to a NEW state. We moved from Florida to South Carolina. There were lots of reasons we moved but mostly there was this deep knowing of God wanting to do something NEW in our life and with our family.

 

So, we moved to a NEW town in a NEW state and you could definitely say that we are experiencing many NEW things. We are getting to make NEW friends, find a NEW church, move to a NEW to us home, find a NEW grocery store.

 

You get the point and see the pattern, much of my life is filled with change and NEW things. Even with all the “newness” however, there has still been this question in my spirit of “Lord, what is it that you are calling me to do in this NEW town? What is my assignment here?”

 

Rewind back to the Fearless conference in January and Lisa Bevere said something like this, “You don’t know what you are called to do because you were called to do something that has never been done before.” I felt like the Lord was saying don’t look at what everyone else is doing with their life, I have called you to do something NEW. Something that has not been done before. So, don’t look to the left or to the right and compare yourself with everyone else’s life, just look to Me, let Me lead your life and direct your steps. I want to do something NEW in and through you.

 

In the Message version of this scripture it says, “Forget about what happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the Badlands.”


It reminds me of the quote by Steven Furtick, “ Don’t let what’s behind you make you miss what’s before you.” I can definitely find myself wanting to live in the past and be afraid to keep stepping out in faith in this NEW season. However, I’ve come to learn faith doesn’t look or act like that.

 

Faith is taking the steps, being alert, being present to what God is doing right now. He’s bursting with new ideas, seasons and plans for our lives. We only need to look for them and see the NEW things He is doing. Then step out in faith and go after the NEW. What is the thing God is speaking to you to go do? Don’t delay, but start taking those steps today.

 

By Ashley Kuczynski

 

 

This past January I attended the first Beautiful Women’s Conference, Fearless! I played a part in planning prior to the event, a role in entertaining during the conference, and attended with an expectant heart ready to receive a memorable and impactful word from the Lord. I also thought I may leave with something that the Lord would ask me to do. I did not anticipate the bold marching orders I got!

 

At the age of 13, before God, my church, and parents, I made a commitment to remain sexually pure until marriage. While I am now 32 and have fully and wholly honored that commitment, it is one that, until now, I have deigned to speak about to others. At the conference, the Lord made it very clear that I have withheld discussing this piece of my relationship with Him with others for so long and it is now something that I am to passionately and publicly profess and proclaim.

 

Today’s society esteems promiscuity and shames modesty… and it’s EVERYWHERE. It’s no wonder that giving a shout out to sexual purity hasn’t been compelling. Recently, on a pop culture morning show, I heard a panel of co-hosts shame a fellow co-host for remaining a virgin until the age of 27. If 27 is “old” in the world of virginity then surely I am a senior citizen. Sadly, this is the common.

 

Another popular opinion is that I am still single because I have chosen purity. Love, honor, commitment, trust, security,… (and I could go on) are the components of a healthy relationship and are believed by today’s society to come after or as a result of physical intimacy. God’s design is that those things exist first and physical intimacy follows a marriage commitment.  The belief today is that what God preserved for marriage is what I must do to even obtain it. Occasionally the lies of living in a world that blatantly praises what is contrary to my commitment creep in. If I ever do start to believe them, instead, as “Sunday School” as it sounds, I choose to believe God more.

 

I’m certain that my commitment to purity is the right, best, wisest, and God-honoring choice. But, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that at times I feel alone or even weird for making this choice that is misunderstood and even ostracized in today’s world. I definitely have the desire to be married one day and to be physically intimate with my husband! However, I want to follow the wisdom God’s Word gives on the best way to enter into a marriage relationship.

 


1 Corinthians 6:18-20 and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 encourage us to abstain from sexual immorality, honor God with our bodies, and remind us that our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit and were purchased at the very highest price. I want to honor God in all I do and while I don’t get it right in every area every day, purity is a part of striving to honor Him with all of me.

 

Purity is possible… it’s possible for those who are single, it’s possible for those in dating or engaged relationships, it’s possible for those who have not chosen purity in the past, and it’s possible for the futures of growing children. I could not and would not have honored this commitment if it were not for God’s help. His presence, conviction, guidance, and love are the only things that have generated both the desire and follow through.

 

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord”. Lamentations 3:25-26

By Stacy Heckman

 

 

I’ve been a believer as long as I can remember. I grew up attending church every week with my family, went to youth group on Sunday nights. I’ll admit sometimes my motives were more about seeing a boy that I liked than growing my spirituality, but hey… I was a teenager! I had my prodigal years in college, but I never strayed too far. Fast forward into “adult life” and my husband and I have been faithfully involved in our church for more than a decade.

 

So why in the world, when it came to inviting people to church, or talking about my faith to non-believers did it evoke such fear in me? What exactly was I afraid of? After some self-searching, I discovered that my biggest reason was: Rejection.

 

Here’s an example of a fictional conversation I would have with myself:

“What would Suzy-Q think of me if I asked her to come to church this weekend?”

“She would probably say, “No.” Or she would say, ‘Thanks, let me think about it’ – when I know what she really means is ‘I don’t attend church, so don’t ask me, weirdo!’”

“And then my friend will feel awkward every time we’re together, and she probably won’t want to hang out with me anymore, and then we won’t be friends, and then she’ll tell all my other friends, and then I won’t have ANY friends!!!!”

Pretty irrational, don’t ya think? And certainly that fear of rejection was coming from one place: Satan.

 

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

 

The enemy loves to stir up some good old fashioned fear in us. Keep us from inviting our friends to Bible study. Keep up from handing out the church invites. He wants to keep our mouths shut. After attending the Fearless conference, I decided I needed to make a change. I need to stop letting Satan win by keeping me in bondage of fear.

 

In the weeks leading up to Easter, Pastor Craig asked us to write in chalk on the walls of the church the names of people we would be praying for the next 21 days. I got up and wrote the names of six friends who do not attend church. And I prayed for them all month. And then I did something a bit uncomfortable… I invited every single one of them to Easter service. And you know what?? Four of those six families came to church! And one of them had their child baptized on Easter!

 

My friends didn’t think I was weird for inviting them. And the ones who decided not to come didn’t toss our friendship aside. Instead, it opened doors to some amazing conversations! I will not allow the enemy to make me fearful. Instead, I am choosing to be more confident in my faith.

 

Join me in being bolder for God. Let’s not back down when we feel the Holy Spirit leading us to invite someone to church or share our faith. I invite you to pray that God will do great and impactful things through us right here in our communities because according to His word, we are gifted with the spirit of power!

By Wanda Grimsley

In January I assigned this powerful word to the new year that lay before me. Everything in my stream of consciousness seemed to shout “FEARLESS!” It was everywhere. I was hearing it, singing it, wearing it, and speaking it over myself. I felt it too, every remnant of fear falling away, like I could conquer anything. It was amazing, intense, and invigorating!

 

It was also fleeting. It didn’t last. Not for me.

 

While I don’t remember anybody saying explicitly what fearlessness was supposed to look like, I did hear the word ninja at some point, and I chuckle as I admit that set me off down a path and  put a certain image in my mind. All I saw were powerful, stealthy, uncompromising, bold, women, calling out all sorts of evil, slaying devils left and right.

 

Life starts happening again pretty quickly after a moment like the conference. Far-reaching decisions have to be made thoughtfully and executed carefully. Challenges arise and it doesn’t take long to recognize that subtle tap on the shoulder or the worrisome whispers of fear. At that time, I was facing a new invitation to fear.  It was encompassed in all the realities of aging parents who live far away.

 

I no longer felt like an unstoppable force for God. I felt afraid.  I was tempted to believe I just don’t measure up, I must not have enough faith to live in fearlessness. What does God think about that?

 

During the next few months, God gave me his perspective on that question. I have a new appreciation for ‘fearlessness’ in my life and it started with realizing my fearlessness doesn’t have to look like yours.

 

I am not a ninja. I’m not stealth and smooth in any way. But I am learned in and steadied by the Word of God. I am not demanding and confrontational, but because God gives me unmatched power, I’m courageous and stand firm. I am not daring or audacious, but His Spirit makes me bold. My nature is quiet, but His nature in me leads me to be fervent and persistent in the things He calls me to. I don’t charge full speed ahead to conquer, but I do not back down and I refuse to give up ground to anything contrary to the Word of God.

 

Fearlessness is faith in action, whether dramatic or quietly confident in nature. I thank God for women demonstrating “Fearless” for me in many different ways.

 

  • Rahab who stood in the face of threatening authority and didn’t cower.
  • Hannah’s fervent, persistent prayers and her faith to believe. (1Samuel 1:9-28).
  • Sarah’s surrender to God’s plan, which included submission to her husband to literally pack up and follow and trust God.
  • Queen Esther’s strategic risk-taking and standing up to the King.
  • Mary’s willingness to sit at Jesus’ feet when her sister was pressuring her to be busy with other things.

 

Faithfulness equals Fearlessness

 

Fearlessness can be seen in the everyday things we do as believers, things often overlooked. It can be as simple as showing up when you’d rather not. In my case of aging parents, it has recently meant showing up at doctor’s offices, not knowing what the diagnosis will be. When fear starts whispering, I do it afraid. I show up.

 

By Nancy Strackany

I’ve always been afraid, but I didn’t know how much fear controlled me. I found it comforting when I read that one of the first emotions that Adam and Eve experienced after the fall was fear. “They were ashamed and they hid from God.” Genesis 3:10

 

I spent the earliest part of my life being afraid of everything that had risk. Later I became anxious about failure and so I avoided anything that was difficult. In marriage I hid my true self because I made my husband upset. I learned to please, I built a wall around myself and became someone else. When God found me hiding in the shame and mess I had made of my life, I was broken.

 

In 2012 my life verse was Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.” God kept the promise I claimed in that verse.

 

Over the last eight years God has shown me that He loves me, ME, with all my faults and failures. I love Him so much just because He first loved me. He has gently shown me all the things I have thought of as mistakes and imperfections, and revealed to me that the mistakes I make are lessons. When I say something I shouldn’t He does not condemn me, I need only to be sorry and show it and God will always protect me from the outcome I once feared. When I fail, or can’t live up to another’s expectations, He tells me, “that’s OK, I’m pleased with you anyway.”

 

I have learned that saying ‘no’ is all right. I laugh when I tell the story of when I was a kid, I told two families I would babysit on the same night because I couldn’t say no to either of them. I can now decline to do something and not worry if that person will still like me. God says do it for my glory, not yours.

 

I felt as though I was a bad wife and failed my children. I tried to be good all on my own and yet I always failed. I could rarely admit I was wrong, I argued my point to the death, or so it seemed to my husband. Then Jesus began to lead me, the Holy Spirit showed me what to do and what to say, how to make amends and find forgiveness with not only Him, with my family as well.

 

God showed me that I have a right to be myself, to feel what I feel and say what I need to say if it lines up with Gods truth. I don’t have to be afraid to follow my Savior. If my family doesn’t like it, that’s OK, God likes it. And guess what, they can handle it and I think they like me better.

 

I once was afraid that when I died I would have wasted my life. Now I know that God has a plan for me. I’m not afraid of eternity, or tomorrow or even today. God loves me. His perfect love casts out all fear. And it would be great if my husband and kids can stand and call me blessed, but my greatest hope is that Jesus will say “well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23