Free to Be You

Twenty years ago I was a young mother with two small children and a new home business that we depended on to make ends meet. As a result, I was under a lot of stress. At times my two-year-old daughter could be quite the handful. Not only was she competing for my attention with a baby brother, but also my fledgling business that was taking 40-50 hours per week of my time.

This child, who had once received the undivided attention of her non-working mother, didn’t know what to do. So, she acted out to get my attention. Who could blame her? The flowing water faucet of attention she once received was now reduced to a trickle. This “bad behavior” was something new to me, so I turned to my own mother for advice.

My mother, a kind yet authoritative presence recommended stern punishment for this misbehavior. It wasn’t what I was used to doing, but I didn’t know what else to do. After all, my mother was the ultimate in motherhood. Shouldn’t I follow her advice? I began disciplining my daughter the way I thought my mother would have disciplined us if we’d acted that way.

Frankly, for me it didn’t work like it did for my mom. This only exacerbated my frustration. Yet, I kept on trying to be my mother — except my mother never resorted to yelling, screaming or losing control. She didn’t have to. She was the ultimate in self-control. She could give us a look and we’d behave. Why couldn’t I be like her? Why didn’t my children obey when I tried to be authoritative?

I look back on those years and sincerely regret my actions toward my eldest daughter. I was way too hard on her. All she really needed was some of my love and attention.

Back in those overwhelming days I often lamented, “I used to be a good person until I had children.” I realize now that trying to be someone I wasn’t only amplified an already stressful situation.

I have six children – girl, boy, boy, a 5-year break and another girl, boy, boy. I believe God gave me a do-over with these younger ones. He’s given me a second chance to learn to be me.

While my mother was very successful with her authoritative style, I’m not believable as an authoritative personality. It’s not me. I’m laid-back, inconsistent and affectionate by nature. For me to morph myself into an authoritative style added more stress and frustration to my already overloaded plate. The anger, yelling, and inevitable guilt that resulted in those early years all occurred because I wasn’t being true to myself. I was trying to be someone I’m not.

Somewhere along the way, I learned to be me. My younger children have quite the different mother than my older ones did. I’m not saying I’m perfect or that I don’t ever “lose it,” but the stress of trying to be someone I’m not isn’t there anymore. I’m free to be me and as a result, my children are much more well-behaved, adjusted and loved.

Most of us grow up trying to model someone else – a parent, a teacher, or a mentor. We think because the way they do things works for them, that they should work for us. What we don’t see is that at a core level we can be very different personalities. What works for me might not work for you. Not only that, but in trying to make ourselves fit someone else’s mold, we can become our worst selves.

I no longer look at myself and think having children made me my worst self. It may have for a time, but in the end, being a mom has made me my best self.

My friend Lisa Rae Preston has developed an enlightening system for living as your true self. It’s called STEP Into Destiny. The first step is to understand yourself – what your core passion is – what makes you the happiest by God’s design. The next step is to start operating more from your core. The result will be less stress, more joy, and more success in life.

Take the STEP into Destiny Passion Test today. You may find that some of the stress and challenges you face in life are because you’re trying to operate from someone else’s core and not your own. Don’t make my mistake and live with years of regret. Don’t let those around you suffer the ramifications of you trying to be someone you aren’t. You owe it to those you love to be the “you” God created you to be!

You Call Me Yours

I’ve spent the last couple weeks with my good friend Lisa Rae Preston, the creator of the STEP Into Destiny quiz and author of the soon-to-be-released book with the same name. I think of all the wonderful things I’ve learned from my friend over the years, but the one that stands out to me is that Lisa highlights the beauty of God’s heart. She helps me know and feel how much my Father not only loves, but also delights in me.

Today, she introduced me to a song that I instantly fell in love with and I had to share it here with you! It’s called “You Call Me Yours” performed by Prelude.

Songwriters: Reginald Timothy Stone and Christy Sutherland

I hear You calling out my name as only You can do
Your voice it covers all my shame, the old You turned to new
No matter how things look to me
You see a destiny, a perfect promise.

You call me beautiful. You call me righteous.
You call me worthy of Your Son’s own precious blood.
You call me holy. You call me strong at my weakest.
Forgiven and pure, You call me Yours.

It’s hard for me to understand exactly what You see.
I slip and stumble everyday but still You say believe.
You say you finish what you start.
You’ve seen me from my heart and not the bruises.

You call me beautiful. You call me righteous.
You call me worthy of Your Son’s own precious blood.
You call me holy. You call me strong at my weakest.
Forgiven and pure, You call me Yours.

You call me beautiful. You call me righteous.
You call me worthy of Your Son’s own precious blood.
You call me holy. You call me strong at my weakest.
Forgiven and pure. You call me Yours.

When I’m Like Niagara . . .

A few years ago, we stopped at Niagara Falls on a family road trip. Having never seen anything like it, we stood there amazed by its majestic grandeur and awesome power. We felt inexplicably joyous, as if a healing strength emanated from the rushing waters and sprayed on our faces with the windy mist.

I could have stayed there for hours basking in the comforting strength of it, filled with reverent wonder at one of God’s most incredible creations. How could anyone be near Niagara and not know that God exists in a living, tangible way?

Yet, I hadn’t thought about Niagara in some time… until today.

Every once in a while I wonder if I’m making the impact I could be making in the world. I often feel as if I’m on the verge of something big, but can’t quite step into it. Everything I do feels like tiny little steps that aren’t going anywhere fast enough.

This morning I prayed about why I keep having this gnawing feeling that I’m coming up short, never doing enough, never being fully who I can be – or perhaps who I already am. I feel like a glowing ball of light crammed into a two-inch box. As silly as it sounds, I can’t seem to find my way out of it. When will I learn that the box has absolutely no power to contain me other than the fact that I think it can?

I have come to understand that God created me to be a fountain putting forth the good things He gives me. I’m to become a conduit of His love, light and truth to others. I’m to share what He’s giving me and never selfishly try to contain it for myself. Because of this, I’m periodically drawn back to Jesus’ words to the woman at the well:

“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14

As best I can, I’ve tried to stay connected to Christ and allow His living water to spring forth within me, out to bless others. But no matter what I do, it never seems to be enough. The box always seems to be getting in the way.

This morning as I was praying I felt as if God asked me, “When will it be enough, Marnie?”

Immediately Niagara Falls flashed into my mind, and I answered, “When I’m like Niagara!”

  • When I’m a rushing waterfall of Living Water that showers and mists the world for good;
  • When people know Jesus Christ because they know me;
  • When people around me hear God’s voice like the rushing of great waters;
  • When anyone who comes within my sphere of influence feels an inexpressible love, joy, and peace;
  • When my life has become a masterpiece of God’s creations – testifying of His majestic power, strength and love to others . . .

Then it will be enough.

But how can I ever be like Niagara? Is it even possible? I believe my ability to be Niagara comes down to …

  • The strength of my connection to Jesus Christ.
  • Opening myself up completely to Him – letting His love and glory hollow out my soul and kick off the sides of that box.
  • Letting Christ wash me clean of any and all obstructions.
  • Being willing to fall and know that it’s all part of His plan.
  • Letting go and allowing His abundance to rush straight through me and out to others.

Yes, when I am like Niagara, it will be enough.

What Is Your Why?

In this footage from the Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat I talk about discovering your Wny and how to know what you control and what God controls in the story of your life.

Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith story. In the who, what, why, when, where and how questions of life, which ones do you control and which ones does God control? Knowing the difference could make a huge impact on your life, AND have a rippling effect on others.

If you can’t see the video above, you may view it here.

Can you think of more examples where people tried to control God’s part of the situation? There are lots of Biblical examples of people doing it the wrong way and the right. Can you think of some? Or perhaps you have a personal example to share?

You’ve Got to Fish in Your Own Pond

Our greatest resource in life is relationships. We need other people to make big dreams come true. If the adversary can drive a wedge between you and other people, he can keep you from accomplishing what you’re here to do. Some of the typical wedges he drives include feelings of judgement, jealousy, competition, anger, resentment, self-doubt and insecurity.

When we find our own purpose, we realize that God has placed each of us within a sphere of influence to do something no one else can do. This appreciation for our own mission and for that of others enables us to work together to do great things. But one of the first lessons we need to learn is to fish in our own pond.

This video clip is from the Light the World Birthing Your Destiny Retreat we held in Zion National Park in April 2010. In it I talk about how I overcame my own insecurities and learned the importance of fishing in my own pond.

If the video doesn’t show up for you, you can view it here.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13: 34-35)

Who’s Your Creator? Letting Go of False Beliefs

So many of us let other people define who we are. We come into this world as babies; then the people around us start telling us who we are. They may tell us we’re smart, pretty, talented or funny. Others may tell us we’re dumb, fat, lazy or boring. For years, I let others define me as the “smart, well-behaved, shy girl.” When I went off to college, I decided I could be anybody I wanted to be. The people I grew up with weren’t there and I could choose to define myself however I wished.

I decided “shy” wasn’t a descriptor I wanted to keep, and I stepped outside my comfort zone. I made new friends and dated more. Eventually, life brought me opportunities to interact with more people. I became a teacher and a business person, and now I thrive on standing in front of a group and delivering a message. Sure, I can still be an introvert, but I don’t define myself as the “shy girl” anymore. It doesn’t fit. More importantly, it’s not who God created me to be.

At our Light the World Retreat we created a safe space for the women who attended to be themselves. We gave them an environment where they could let go of everything that wasn’t them, and become a clear conduit of God’s love and light — so they could be who HE created them to be.

In the following video, Quincy Magalei, talks about her experience at the Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat. She shares what it’s like allowing God to dwell within you and to be your Creator instead of letting false beliefs and outside voices be your creator. What a difference this shift makes!

If the video isn’t showing up for you, watch “Allowing God to Be Your Creator” here.

Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyard

Tuesday night, Judy Hansen and I talked about “Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyard.” If you missed that call, an audio is up of this powerful 30-minute presentation where I share how I literally transformed my backyard into treasure. 🙂

This call is an itty-bitty taste of what you can expect in Zion National Park, April 20-23rd. Those who attend will come away transformed, filled with vision, purpose and the courage to live in alignment with their God-given missions.  How do I know that? Because it happens for me every time I go to Zion National Park with Judy Hansen and Lisa Rae Preston! These women are incredible! For years, I had a big dream that churned in my soul, but I never had the courage to really make it happen … to step forward into the unknown … until I spent a week with Judy Hansen in September 2009.

I came away with vision, faith, and enough fearlessness to do things I’d never done before. In December 2009, I took my good friend Lisa Rae Preston to stay a week with Judy, and the same thing happened for her!  The three of us came away with a vision of a world dotted with righteous women, standing in God’s power, in their own unique way, illuminating the path for others to follow, and inviting Christ to come light up this world!

We’ve seen it; we know it can happen!  And we’ve seen that the women who come to this event in April are pioneers of what’s to come. With all my heart, I want for you what happened for me! I want you to dust off that dream that God placed in your heart long ago. Bring it to Zion and let us help you midwife it into existence!

Please pray about whether YOU should be with us in April. There’s still time to book flights. I got a really good deal straight from Chattanooga to St. George on There’s still time to stay at Cliffrose. Or if you’re interested, a couple of the girls attending are renting a house, and it can be more economical to stay there while they still have space.

This is your chance to enjoy four days in an intimate, inspirational setting with two of the finest musicians on the planet, myself, Judy Hansen, and Lisa Rae Preston. Together we’re here to help 20-30 women birth their dreams.

If you’d like to be one of them and receive a full year of support thereafter, go to today and reserve your spot!

To listen to “Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyardgo here.

Oh, and just for reading this blog, you can save $200 off admission! Just use referral id MEPN.

You Are Amazing!

I’d like to invite you to join me in Zion’s National Park in April 2010 for the “Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat.” I’m so excited about this retreat because I’m excited about meeting you! Whether one woman attends, 10, 50 or 100, it doesn’t matter to me because I know the power of one woman. Women influence generations. Have you ever thought about that? They say statistically a women influences 4 generations.

When I think about that, I think about my own mother and grandmother. They were wonderful women who were authentic. They are and were these giving, loving, good women who influenced their children and grandchildren. I would not be who I am today without them, and if there is any influence that I make in this world, it’s greatly attributable to my mother. A good woman influences not only her own family, but also all those they go forth and influence.

So whether you come to this event just to impact your family for the better, or your friends or your community, or maybe you want to go nationwide or globally with your message, that’s what this event is about. It’s about helping you have the reach you were born to have.

I want to introduce you to my team. These women are amazing. And I would not be doing this retreat without them because each one of them has a gift and a message to share that dovetails perfectly with what I’m trying to do. I think our retreat is a microcosm of what will happen for you. I hope you will come to this event and find other women who you can work with, who you click with, who want to do what you’d like to do, and who will assist you and hold you accountable.

The video above will share more with you about our event. I hope you’ll watch it whether you plan to attend or not. You are amazing and I want you to know how much God loves you and how much He believes you can make a difference!

Do you have friends who might like to attend this event with you? If so, learn how both you and they can save when you come together! Email me at for details. If you’re thinking about coming, please do leave a comment below. We’re trying to get a feel for how many people are interested. To reserve your spot or to learn more, go here.

Are You Stressed Out?

Do you ever feel like there’s too much on your plate? The stress is getting to you and sometimes even making you snippy with others?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our propensity to judge others – to look at another person’s decisions, character traits, and even how they choose to apply inspiration – and judge them — especially when we’re stressed.

I learned a lot about not judging and about perspectives while researching an 80-year-old mystery for my novel, An Uncertain Justice, To write the book, I studied various accounts of a murder. They were from newspapers, books, family records, and personal recollections. Interestingly, most saw the event differently. In endeavoring to be as accurate as possible, I assumed that each person who gave an account was telling the truth as they remembered it.

I did not assume that one person was lying or another exaggerating, but only that they all were somehow telling the truth as they perceived it. This enabled me to put together a richer story, and I believe, solve a mystery. I began to understand that truth is a composite of perspectives.

We all look at life through our own lens of life experiences, backgrounds and beliefs. We filter everything we see and experience through those lenses. That includes how we look at other people’s actions.

jesus_mary__marthaIn Luke 10:38-42, there’s an account of Jesus visiting Martha and her sister Mary. In the account Martha is “cumbered about much serving.” In other words, Martha is stressed out with all the tasks on her plate. She’s slaving over a hot stove, trying to make the house presentable for the Master, and doing all she knows how to do to serve Him.

While she’s doing this, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach her about the gospel. This is a rare opportunity for women of the day. Women of that period were not allowed to discuss religious matters with men. 

At some point, Martha comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.”

Jesus answers her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.”

Instead of judging Martha or Mary in this incident, what if we see the truth of it as Jesus is seeing it? He knows both their hearts. Time and again, we read in the Bible where Jesus perceives people’s thoughts. He knows what both Martha and Mary are thinking. He’s seeing that Martha is going above and beyond to do everything she knows how to do. He sees that this is making her stressed and worried – “troubled.” He sees that Mary is taking advantage of a rare opportunity to sit at His feet and learn about the things of eternity. 

He brings to Martha’s attention that she has a choice. She doesn’t “have” to stress over dinner. She doesn’t “have” to make the house perfect. She’s chosen to do those things, while Mary has chosen to be at the Master’s feet. He’s pointing out that the dinner will be eaten and the house will get dirty again, but it’s not every day you can sit at the feet of the Creator of worlds and learn from Him personally. That experience can never be taken away from Mary.

It’s interesting to note that in her state of stress, Martha has shifted to judgment. We all tend to do this. How many times have you been left to clean up a mess and gotten irritated that no one is helping you? I know I have!

In her stressed state, Martha is judging Mary as lazy. She’s also putting herself on a pedestal as a hard worker, a martyr who has to do so much. Are you noticing the “do” versus “be” words in this story? Martha is convinced that she has to be doing while Mary is content in simply being at the Master’s feet.

I’ve been like Martha a good portion of my life. Oh, I’m not some dutiful immaculate housekeeper by any stretch! But I’ve been a workaholic. I’ve felt that unless I’m doing something, I’m not valuable as a person. I had to realize two things. 

  • First, I have a choice. I didn’t have to do all the things I chose to do. They didn’t make me a better person, and God didn’t require them of me.
  • Second, I had to understand that being who God created me to be is more important than doing a bunch of stuff. 

Once I really got these two things, I finally found peace and joyful abundance. Busy isn’t always better. Most of the time it’s masking the fact that we’re not being who we were born to be! We’re so busy doing things, we never take the time to step back, reflect and truly evaluate what’s going to last!

When you finally understand who you are at the core — more than your gifts and your talents – but the very essence of who God created you to be, stress melts away. Life becomes joyful, effortless and abundant!

I challenge you, to re-evaluate all the things you think you “have to do.” Do you really have to do them? How would spending more time filling your cup, feeding your spirit, and connecting with God be choosing the better part that would never be taken away from you?

If you’re interested in living with less stress and more joy, please join me April 20-23, 2010 in Zion’s National Park for one of the most life-transforming weeks of your life. Experience the essence of who you are as a daughter of God, in a place where His hand is evident in every mountain peak and canyon. Create life-long relationships with other women who will support, encourage and celebrate the beauty in you! Learn more about this Christian women’s retreat today.

Your Story Can Change Lives

I believe that you sharing your faith story can not only help other people through their darkest moments but also help prepare the world for the Lord’s second coming! Learn how you can make a positive impact on the world. This video shares my “big vision,” and I’d love for you to be a part of it!

Please post a line or two about how you hope to impact the world for good and let your light shine!