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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Looking For A Change...Hoping for A Miracle

A few years ago…I was also the one who had no idea who she was underneath working a decent job, caring for my family.

A few months ago my ability to power through life came to a screeching halt when I quit my job. With no financial back-up plan to sustain the extra income I had been bringing in. It was OK at first, but then financial hardship set in, my marriage, hmmm, was strained almost to the breaking point.

Because we were now strapped financially, there was no extra money for anything. I couldn’t buy any of the things I liked for myself that I was used to buying when I was working. Months go by and a pattern began to emerge. Slowly the vibrant, active person I was disappeared. I barely got dressed (unless I absolutely had to) I had no social outlet, I didn’t go anywhere (gas was too high). I spent my days doing projects around the house. I became reclusive.  A lot of the time I didn’t feel well. I always liked to read so I read a lot. I did start a daily prayer and meditation time each morning. It helped but a dark cloud of depression was descending upon me. I didn’t THINK I was depressed, (denial) but the pressure to get a job, be productive was taking its toll on me. I just had no joy, not really anything to speak of going for me in my life. (So, is this getting older is like?) Everyday, I’d pray for a change. Change my life Lord. Help me please. Day in, day out, I was looking for a change, hoping for a miracle. Yet, things remained the same.  I knew I needed to DO something but what could I do? Then finally (and for what seemed like forever) finally the answer came (it always does) and that day everything I had been going through made sense. I found or discovered my direction.

“after a long “Dark Night of the Soul” a resourceful experience I fondly refers to as “turning water into wine” or “letting God show you how He can make something out of nothing.” I emerged from that experience transformed with a clear vision of my unique purpose”

I sat down to write in my journal and allowed the Spirit of God to speak to me. In those pages that afternoon He turned water into wine for me. So many things that I’d been questioning, trying to figure out; ALL became clear to me. Everything I had tried to do, but failed made sense to me now. I knew in that instant WHAT I had to do and what needed to be done. The change I was looking for had to come from inside of me. I had to change the way I thought. The motivation for serious self-reflection and often begins with the realizing that there needs to be a change. This often comes as a result of some kind of crisis: an illness, the loss of a job or relationship, whatever…we may not know what to do next. We may feel lost, empty, and confused. But as uncomfortable as this can be, it is actually a very important experience that we must go through to get to where we’re supposed to be. Similar to the one I experienced. It’s a Job experience…tested, tried; having hit rock bottom with nothing….But there is a promise: “That your latter days will be greater than your former days.”  Job 8:7

“You can’t enjoy the mountain top experience, without going through the valley”

With all there is out there to teach us how to have it all, how to think positively, how to live the abundant life?? With all that is available to us, why are we still in the state we’re in? So, what must I/we do to turn my life around? I’m looking for a change, but hoping for a miracle.

Your change may closer to you than you imagine. First we must be willing to be changed (that may be a miracle in and of itself). If your circumstances are difficult, your lifelong dreams have yet to materialize. Maybe you’ve lost your joy and in your heart you may feel a lack of purpose or direction. But God has not forgotten you. “For I know the plans I have for you…They are plans for good…to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Consider the story of Moses, His beginnings were humble, but he was “rescued” and spent 40 years in the palace as royalty. Then because of some poor decisions, he was reduced to a life of exile, ending up on the backside of the desert and spending the next 40 years as a sheepherder in a foreign land. (humbled again) I can imagine his feelings of depression, despair, regret, possibly hopelessness. Maybe he thought like as we do, “Is this it for me”? “Is this the best I can do”? “Is this what my life has come to”? But through it all God was in control. God had a plan…He was at work, mysteriously and with purpose. He was training Moses during those forty years in the desert for the role he would play in God’s master plan.  God was preparing him for his mountaintop experience, for greatness. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush. And Moses life would never be the same. (Talk about looking for a change, hoping for a miracle)…

You know the rest of that story; but when it comes to the story of your own life; Know that you are not alone, God is with us in all our circumstances. Regardless of how bleak they may be. Keep in mind there is a purpose for it. That things happen the way they do for a reason! He works all things after the counsel of His own will. – Eph. 1:11 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Rom. 8:28 God is always at work on our behalf, even in the tiniest details. Do you see where I’m going with this? There is a time and a season to every purpose under Heaven. Nothing in life occurs without God knowing about it and His sovereign hand orchestrating the outcome. Things may not look promising; you may be in the valley of despair, staring down the shadow of death. Everything you’ve tried had either short term results or failed. But if you recall in the story of Moses & Job, they had it all, they were living the life most of us are striving for. But then, life happened to them, and they lost everything. Like the prodigal son, they were brought to nothing, so God could do something in their lives. He had to get them to the place where they were ready, and willing to accept the change He had in mind. They had to be in a place where God didn’t have to fight their ego, or challenge their way of doing things. God had them in a lowly, humbled, broken position so He could pick them up, fix them and make them fit for the master’s use.  He had created the circumstances, designed to accomplish His will.

 Are you at the end of your rope? Does it seem you life fits the profile of a Moses or Job experience?  If something in your life needs to give. Are you screaming “God, I need something better than this?” “HELP me, help me please” (??) Right there is where He needs you to be. How different our perspective on things can be when everywhere we look is up cause you can’t go down any further. When you’re broken, humbled, ready and willing to accept change.  So if you are looking for a change, hoping for a miracle God wants you to know, you’re not forgotten and that He hears you and he will answer, He always does. God knows where to find you. Your answer, your breakthrough, your change, your miracle may not come the way you’re expecting it to manifest. (It never does) and you probably won’t hear Gods voice from a burning bush.  But take heart, your answer WILL manifest. Even in your darkest hour, even if that hour has dragged on for a season;   know that God’s powerful plan is unfolding and He is at work accomplishing His plan to prosper us and bring us to our future and the purpose for our lives and for His glory.

Eldridge Cole 3-16-11
This journal entry was originally written in 2007

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Celebrate Yourself!

We are all celebrities in our own rights, our talents, gifts, everything we are. We have the ability to touch the lives of others on such a deeper, lasting and more intimate level, far more than one brief shining moment and a gold statue. We SHOULD celebrate our own triumphs in Red Carpet style and honor everyday" - Eldridge Cole 3-4-11

Hello, my name is Eldridge!

Recently the 83rd Academy Awards for 2011 aired on TV.  Oscar buzz was everywhere.  It seemed like all anyone could talk about were The Awards and Oscar hopefuls, nominees, who will win and what will “She” be wearing?  My question today is:  what is all the fuss about celebrities? I don't know whether you're obsessed with celebrity lifestyle or not. But a lot of people are. They want to know pretty much all there is to know. People are interested in every move celebrities make good or bad. It's as if they aren't normal people. But they ARE just that, people, just regular people. What makes them different than us "everyday joes" is what they do for a living, (yes, it's their job that makes them a celebrity) and that they make more for doing one job, one movie, one TV episode, one appearance, etc than most of us make in a year. I'll give you that. But when all is said and done they still eat, sleep, have problems, have families, go to work,  get into trouble all on a grander scale than you and I might experience and all in the public eye. And no matter what, we just can't seem to get enough of celebrity goings on....Ok, and my point would be..... stay with me, now cause I'm going somewhere with this....Not all celebrities live in Hollywood and walk on the Red Carpet. Some of them are everyday heroes, and there are countless women out there that are doin it for themselves making it happen for themselves and their families every day and often (usually) with no recognition!!

With that said, here Wo-M-E-N (Women's Ministry Enrichment Network & Girlfriends & Sisters Social Network)  we are right on the pulse of current trends, new programs and what is happening today in women’s circles (businesses, women’s ministry & civic organizations) as a network we work to empower women with information, and by connecting you to who’s who, & what you need to know.  Here you can meet women-driven organizations, ministries, civic groups & community causes, blogs  and other like minded women. We'll introduce you to them, then celebrate & showcase some of the most creative, interesting, & amazing, women and their organizations nationwide.

We continually search the web, for new sites & links scour the magazines, Tweet, Face book, Linked in, email & network through various mediums with other women’s groups, ministries, and organizations. In other words we search high and low and are always on the hunt for women’s organizations and businesses that you need to know about.

We want to know who they are?
What’s their “story” what do they do?
Why do they exist or what purpose do they serve?
How do they operate?
Whom do they serve?
How do they serve?
What events do they hold?
How often do they meet?
Do they have memberships, publications?
What is unique, different or the same about them?
What can we learn from them that others might benefit from?

We look for any nuggets or morsels, ideas, stories, anything of interest that we can find that may uncover treasures we can offer & share with you in the form of information & terrific opportunities that can make you, your group, business or organization the kind that women love. And will want to be an active part of. It’s the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of the find and the delight of sharing it with you. That’s what Wo-M-E-N & Girlfriends & Sisters Social Network is all about.

Through this network we want women to get the most from their organizational efforts by connecting them to other women they may not otherwise come into contact with. We'll be featuring interviews of  non-profit and community cause profiles, events, networking tips and more!

 You are invited to join us on our new Face Book page “Girlfriends & Sisters Social Network” and follow us on Twitter as “Girlfrenzy”

We look forward to meeting you right here, soon. “As always, live your life deliciously, every day, boldly passionately , and on purpose and live it to the fullest.” Thank you for serving in whatever capacity you do and allowing Wo-M-E-N & Girlfriends & Sisters to serve you.