by Melissa Gross on May 19th, 2017



​When I married in 2001, I moved 5½ hours away from my family & friends to a town where I literally knew no one except Robbie, my new hubby! We immediately found a church home, and a few months later a tall, slightly-stooped elegant woman approached me and introduced herself as Faye Holt. Ms. Faye, along with her friend Ms. Ruthie, had recently begun a new small group that met in their homes once a week. The group was called M&Ms – Mentors & Moms – and Ms. Faye’s desire was to mentor and encourage younger women. She was 72-years-old, a widow with grown children heeding God’s call to begin a new ministry. She invited me to attend because she had learned that my family was hours away and she wanted to mother and encourage me.
 
Thus began a relationship that would have a profound impact on my life (and eventually my own ministry) as Ms. Faye became my mentor and friend.
 
A mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, someone who will invest in your life in a personal relationship. A mentor is not someone who is going to tell you what to do. Not only did Ms. Faye open her home and offer a safe place for young women to find encouragement and love and advice, she shared God’s Word every week and took time EVERY DAY to pray for each of the ladies she came to know through these times together. Even when Robbie and I moved out of the area, she continued to call regularly to check on us and ask how she could pray for us in her daily time with the Lord.
 
Mentoring is a powerful and personal way to walk in relationship with other women. M&Ms was a group of women walking together, with Ms. Faye & Ms. Ruthie helping and guiding each of us as we grew in our relationship with the Lord and learned to deal with life’s ups and downs as godly women.
 
Mentoring is also scriptural: Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV) says,
"​and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled"
​Many of us are familiar with these verses, but I was privileged to see this scripture lived out!

 
As time went by and Ms. Faye could no longer drive, I stopped by occasionally to take her out to lunch, hoping to be a blessing and encouragement to her. Every time I drove away after one of these outings, I felt renewed and refreshed and blessed because she was a natural encourager and never failed to ask about all that was going on in our lives, to compliment any achievement no matter how large or small, and to say a prayer asking God’s blessings on our endeavors.
 
​After a year of declining health and memory, Ms. Faye went to be with the Lord last fall. I remember the last time I talked with her on the phone – I knew she couldn’t truly identify who I was . . . but it didn’t matter! True to her mentoring nature, she asked how things were going in my life and ended the call with a prayer asking the Lord to continue to bless me and guide me as I continued my own quest to encourage other women to serve Him in their everyday lives.

​Maya Angelou once said, "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

It’s true! I will never forget the feelings of love and acceptance and confidence and blessing that came from spending time with Ms. Faye, my inspiring mentor and friend!


Blessings Soul Friends,
Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired series Inspiring Women.
​And we have a special FREE printable to use for Bible Journaling or creative crafting.
​Just click on the link below - download - print - and journal!
​[ I printed my copy on clear label (sticker) paper and card stock. ]

DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE

 
   
​Melissa Gross feels the Lord calling her to lead and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. She is a teacher by passion and by training and has taught everything from Children’s Church to Ladies’ Bible Studies to the Young-at-Heart (elderly) Sunday School, from middle school technology classes to university level business courses. She is also an avid scrapbooker and has taught and coached in online and in-person scrapbooking, cardmaking, photo organization, mixed media, and illustrated Bible journaling classes. When she’s not teaching Bible Journaling workshops or gluing pretty pieces of paper together in her craft room, Melissa enjoys reading, cooking, blogging, and traveling. She lives in Texas with her best friend/husband, Robbie, and shares their everyday adventures and her latest scrapbooking and Bible Journaling projects on her blog: Daily Life – Bits & Pieces (www.melissagross.blogspot.com).

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on May 18th, 2017

"​So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”  John 4:28-29
 

​Can I share a little truth with you? I have always tensed up a little bit when someone has asked me to share my testimony. And then I feel guilty. I’m a Christian, so sharing one’s testimony is standard practice, right?
 
I mean, talk about the latest episode of Fixer Upper, no problem! Send a friend a text about the great steal I just found at the craft store, of course. But sit down with someone and share about the Gospel, paralyzed.
 
Maybe you feel the same?
 
But God help me to see that I had a perception problem.
 
​Let’s read Psalm 78:1-4 MSG, especially taking note of the tone of the speaker,
​ “Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth, bend your ears to what I tell you. I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb; I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, Stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee. We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation— God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done.”
 
​Did you notice that excitement? That “I’ve got something to share and I can’t wait to tell you!”?
 
So why is the Psalmist so excited and I’m so nervous?
 
The answer is in their words... “sweet old truths” ... “stories we heard” ... “we’re passing it along”.

To them, they were simply passing along family stories of how God was present in the lives of their families. Just like when we get together with our families and share the fun and wonderful memories we share with each other. One generation telling the next generation about the past generations.
 
Ok I can do this. I can tell others about what God has done in my life, in my family’s life and even in the lives of others.
 
My perception about sharing my “testimony” was all wrong. I thought it had to be some profound scripture quoting monologue at the end of which the person I was speaking with should fall on their knees confessing their sin. I thought my words should transform someone’s life. And that was (is) a tremendous amount of pressure.
 
It is also not true.
 
Transforming someone’s life is not our job. That’s God’s job. He is the transformer. He’s the life changer. I’m just the story teller. I’m the seed planter.
 
Is there someone in your circle that needs to hear about what God has done in your life?
 
​Pray and ask God to reveal a name. Then ask God to create the circumstances so you can share with this person. It’s a bold prayer, I know. Ask Him also for courage, and remember the seeds planted in your life by those inspiring women who gave testimony about what God had done in their lives.
 
Be Bold. Be a seed planter. Be Inspiring.
 
​Blessings Soul Friends
Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired series Inspiring Women.
 

by Mitzi Neely on May 12th, 2017



I’ve always wondered how I could be so blessed to have not one, but two women in my life who nurtured me, encouraged me, and inspired me to be all I can be.

Each of them represents differences, but they also share similarities. One I’ve had for 56 years. The other for 37 years. My mom and my mother-in-law are the best of both worlds.

Both women endured challenges and hardships in their lives.

One was born during the Great Depression. The other experienced the Great Depression. Each lost an adult child, suffered the loss of a spouse, and were blessed to remarry and enjoy happy lives.

One was an educator. The other, a businesswoman. And they shared similar skill sets that include detailed, organized, well-informed, astute, and savvy. They enjoyed their careers and performed to the highest level.

I have learned so much from them over the years. They taught me that loving God was first, and that family was the heartbeat of your existence. While each differed in their talents and abilities, they both loved people, and treasured their children and grandchildren.

 
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Proverbs 31:25-30

They each possessed the kind of strength, character, integrity, and morals that were non-negotiables. Each of them showed me it would be difficult to survive the daily doses of life without the Fruit of the Spirit. Their shining examples are forever etched in my soul.

 
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23

My two mothers were poster girls for confidence, and their courage and perseverance carried them through the tough times. They encountered setbacks, endured tragedies, and picked themselves up more times then they cared to count, but it’s who they are. Their kindness and graciousness extended beyond their families to friends and acquaintances alike. In the years since becoming a wife and mother, I have witnessed countless times how important it is to be gracious, kind, thoughtful, forgiving, courageous, and respectful of others. I try to model those same attributes daily.
 

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Proverbs 31:26

Their teachings equipped me with confidence, passion, godly thinking, and spiritual awareness, so I can face the circumstances and challenges of this life.

As I reflect on, and treasure what I’ve learned from these two beautiful women over the years, it comes down to a simple, but powerful list.
  • Seek God First
  • Encourage and love one another
  • Never lower your standards or expectations
  • Be a role model, for you never know who is watching, and
  • Share a mixture of grace, love, and laughter everywhere you go.

I am who I am today because of my two mothers. They loved me, instructed me, counseled me, advised me, and modeled for me. I am forever grateful for their selflessness, their joy filled hearts, and for wanting me to be all that God intended.
             
Blessings Soul Friends,

*I recently lost my mother-in-law, Lalon Neely Pirkey (left), in December, 2016, at the age of 97. She was the true matriarch and I am thankful for our time together. And while my mother has experienced recent health issues that come with her being in her 80s, I am making the most of every moment we have together.

 
Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired series Inspiring Women

 
​Mitzi Neely is an inspiring motivational speaker who encourages women of all ages through her experiences and shortcomings. She has been blessed with a passion and love for people that stretches across the generations. Her heart is to lighten your load, while conveying her message that nobody’s perfect. Whatever your struggle or need, you will find encouragement through her words as she refreshes your heart and renews your joy. Follow Mitzi at www.peacefullyimperfect.net

by Carmen Horne on May 5th, 2017

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,”
Philippians 2:3-5, ESV

 
Her station wagon was filled with children and camping gear. Not tents and sleeping bags, but the stuff we would need to live a week at church camp.
 
Our laughs and giggles hung in the air as we loaded. For those of us who had attended summer church camp in past years, we knew what fun lay ahead.
 
What makes a school teacher want to spend summers hauling children to camp? Sister Mara Larche was one of those teachers.
 
Travel time to Camp Pollock was 2+ hours. Midway was our ice cream stop. Long before Burger Barn made Olla, Louisiana famous - and became the must stop for campers - Girod’s was there. Sis. Larche always stopped to buy us an ice cream cone. Does ice cream ever taste better than summertime, no air conditioning, and friends headed to camp together?
 
It was at church camp that I first gave my life to Jesus Christ. I had been to church since birth, but I actually began a personal relationship with Him at Camp Pollock.
 
Camp changed my life. I could write forever on my fond memories. That was back in the day when we slept in open-air cabins (we sweltered at bedtime and were shivering by daylight), showered in bath houses that usually had a frog or two in the shower stall with you, attended service in an open-air sanctuary, and swam with only girls – no boys allowed.
 
Did Sis. Larche realize her impact? Did she know that one day I would honor her for her commitment to get a bunch of kids to camp? Oh, did she realize my special memories of camp would plant a seed that would make me ensure my daughter and her friends attended summer camp at Camp Pollock?
 

 
Impacting lives happens when we are willing to give without the promise of getting.
 
Sis. Larche never married and had no biological children, but she had a quiver full of spiritual kids. Her investment into us has made a difference generation after generation.
 
A hostess for countless wedding and baby showers at church (including mine), a Sunday School teacher, and helping out in Bible School is how I remember her. I once heard that she bought a sewing machine for a woman in our community because she needed it to earn an income and hers had stopped working. Sis. Larche devoted her life to people, ministry.
 
She was honored as Louisiana Teacher of the Year and was an ordained minister and pastored several churches.
 
Enjoy these dear memories of Sis. Mara Larche:
 
She headed up making a quilt for me and Jack. I still have it and use it regularly. I remember her with fondness and love. She was a woman of God.
                                                                                                    Linda L.
 
Her example, her prayers, her faithfulness, her sweet smile. She was an example for all Christians to go by.
                                                                                                    Dianne Y.
 
She was my husband’s aunt, his mother’s twin sister. She lived to serve the Lord by loving and serving others. She never married or had her own children, but always loved working with young people. She loved to teach and preach. She loved the long hours of preparation, reading, and studying her Bible and books. She was loved by many people from all walks of life. Yes, she loved to quilt and garden in her younger days. Thanks for the memories.
                                                                                                    Sarah K.
 
She was a great teacher for church and school. If a child didn’t get a gift off the Christmas tree at church, she always had one to give them.
                                                                                                    Marie W.
         
Mara Larche taught by example. Oh, she taught with books, and papers, and pencils, and chalkboards, but mostly by her life well lived.
 
 
 
Thank you Lord for Sister Larche. Thank you for godly women who make the difference in the lives of children. Help us to remember Your love for little ones when our time seems as short as our patience. Open our eyes to those around us that need our love and influence. In the name of Jesus, amen.
 
Blessings Soul Friends,
​Mara Emma Larche
July 27, 1920 – April 9, 2005

 

​Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired Series - Inspiring Women
 
​Carmen Horne serves women as a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach. She is passionate about helping women learn to change their perspective on the unexpected. She is a contributing writer for Sweet to the Soul Ministries and Life Letter Café. Carmen has been published in 101 Secrets to a Happy Marriage, Thomas Nelson Publishers, The Message magazine, Just Between Us magazine, and several online websites. She is a wife and mom who loves nibbling dark chocolate and sitting on the beach.

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on May 2nd, 2017

 
​If you’re a creative person, like me, you’re always looking for inspiration for your next project, next meal or next study. And if you’re thinking, “I’m not creative”, well, we’re all creative
really. But let me ask, do you use Pinterest? Save those recipe videos for a someday dinner?
  
Truth is we look in a wide variety of places for inspiration. But in preparing for this study, I learned that there is only one source of true inspiration ... God.
 
If you had to describe it, what would be your definition of “inspire”?
  
Inspire—
· To breathe in
· To influence or impel
· To guide by divine influence
 
Let’s take a look at how the Bible talks about our root word, inspire.

To begin, “inspiration” is the only form of the word inspire used in the KJV Bible, and it is only used twice. In 2 Timothy 3:16 and Job 32:8.
 
Let’s look first as the most recognized scripture:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness:”
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV






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