Posted in Life, Missions, Women in Leadership

Practicing Presence: Lessons from Liberia

I’ll admit, it has taken me time and will continue to take me time, to process the things that God is teaching me as a result of my recent trip to Liberia. And it was this past week during a Live2Lead Seminar that I realized this: Liberia taught me more deeply about the need to linger in another’s presence.

In Liberia, there were times that I sat with my friend Naomi. (She’s in all the attached photos and isn’t she stunning?!) Sometimes there were very few words spoken, but there was a presence. Her presence. Her hopes and dreams. Her longings for God. Her curiosity about me. And there was God, working both in us and around us. And there was joy, the kind of joy that comes from sitting with someone you care about.

And for us there were also times of focussed concentration as together we attempted to draw botanical flowers. (I had brought a drawing book with me.) Initially I had decided to stay home on the day the team had intended to go Monrovia because I was nervous about being stuck in a car in hot (never been to a place so hot and humid!) weather. And because I had made the decision to stay home I had asked Naomi if she wanted to spend time learning together. Then the team’s plans changed, and they were going to the ocean. I wanted to go to the ocean! But I had given my word, so I stayed back.

In hindsight I realize how selfish it was to even consider rescheduling or canceling my time with Naomi and, if I had postponed or canceled,  I would have missed out on something special. I would have missed out on Naomi’s laughter when comparing our artistry. (I suck.) I would have missed out on watching her eyes light up when she beheld the flower she wanted to draw.  I would have missed out on seeing her never-give-up attitude. I would have missed out on being in the presence of someone whom God loves with an everlasting love. I would have missed a lesson that has continued to shape me since coming home.

You see I want to be more present in my own life. I want to be present with the people who are currently within reach – within my ability to embrace and look in the eye.  I’ve discovered in the weeks since being home that social media and trying to “keep up” with everyone all over the globe is more than I can do. I can’t like every post, read every update, or post on several different platforms.  So here’s my change: I am drastically reducing the time I spend on social media reading and responding. You see, I learned from Naomi that I want to look at your facial expressions, to hear your tone when you speak, and I also wish to have heart and head capacity to linger in your presence – even if for just a few minutes. I don’t want to be distracted!

So let me challenge you with a few reflection questions – they are ones I am also asking myself.  Is my energy and attention being dragged away by things that are not healthy for me? When I set up a coffee or tea time with a friend, am I attentive to the relationship or am I distracted? If I’m distracted, what’s the source of my distraction? Am I asking God how I might serve those he loves?

Action this week: Be intentional to get rid of at least one distraction so you can be more present in your life.




Posted in Christian, Egalitarian, Encouragement, Faith, Life, Women, Women in Leadership

She Believed, So She Took A Step of Faith (Announcement)

Over twenty-three years ago was the first time I went to a revival meeting and saw a woman proclaiming the Word of God with passion, boldness, and authority. It.was.awesome. As I sat glued to my seat watching her, a strange thing happened: I envisioned myself up there. But what happened next stuck, in a paralyzing kind of way. As soon as I evisioned myself up there, I said to myself, “Who do you think you are? That will never be you.”

I felt shame in that moment while also feeling a sense of something igniting in my spirit. And for the next twenty or more years, I have wrestled with the feelings of shame and the pull of calling. Thankfully, God thought better for he has brought me to a place of victory. Victory in being confident and sure of my calling.

There is room in God’s will for me to be me. (Psalm 37:4)  – B. Antle

I believe God has a calling on my life, a calling to Empower Christian women to lead with confidence. And how is that going to happen? Obedient step by obedient step. And the first step is to officially launch LEAD Women this Fall.

I cannot tell you the totality of all that God will do through LEAD Women or my own life, but I can tell you where he is beginning to work: right here in the heart of Saskatoon. As I sit across from women leaders seeking to grow in their gifts and asking hard and thoughtful questions, and as I linger over coffee (tea for me) with still more women leaders, it is evident that God is moving among us. And of this I am sure: God’s got more! So.much.more.

So today, I boldly step up and out into my calling. A calling to equip, encourage, and journey with women leaders – beginning here in my home province. Okay, there’s fear there too! But God’s call is bigger than my fear, and I know he will give me, give us, as women leaders, everything we need.

Check out the LEAD Women page for upcoming LEAD Women dates. I am so looking forward to sharing with you all the God stories and lessons along the way.

A special note of thanks:

Albert, I love you forever. Thank you for always “encouraging me to develop the gifts that God has placed within me.”

Thank you to my Horizon colleagues who have been so encouraging, teaching me many leadership lessons these last number of years with still more to come. I can’t think of a better group to be team with.

To my academic advisor and professor in my MA Leadership and Mangement journey, Paul Magnus, you are a gift from God. You make leadership and its possibilities come alive, and you made me feel welcome at the table.

To my women friends who’ve trusted me with your dreams, your questions, your brokenness, your excitement about what could be and who’ve sought my counsel or processed my own journey offering me your wisdom and counsel, you make me want to be braver than I am. So let’s be brave together! Let’s place our confidence in Jesus Christ, embrace our life, steward our gifts, and make a difference in our world – beginning right here in Saskatchewan.