Sharing Stories Brings Meaning from Tragedy

last legal hanging in GeorgiaI just realized something important last night. Everything I do is about lighting the world by helping others share their stories. People teach what they’ve learned through articles on IdeaMarketers; they share their stories and poetry on SheLovesGod. I help them build platforms from which they can light the world and share their impactful “stories.”

With my latest historical fiction novel, An Uncertain Justice, finally making its way to print after 2 years of research, writing and editing, I only realized last night how it fits into the grand scheme of things! I know, I can be incredibly slow sometimes!

My great-great aunt watched her father die in her arms. My grandfather lost his mentor in a senseless murder. The trauma they went through and the death my 2nd great grandfather suffered suddenly holds meaning with the release of An Uncertain Justice. Their story of forgiveness, healing, mercy and justice is finally being told after 87 years. All the wonderful themes woven throughout this novel will not only entertain, but also help people explore important concepts and deal with their own life’s challenges.

So, yet again, I am taking someone’s story and putting it out there for others to benefit. It’s so wonderful to feel that heavenly assurance that yes, I am on purpose, and this novel is significant. I have felt in my heart for some time that my ancestors want their story told. Now I understand why . . . it gives meaning to all they suffered.

Suddenly, all the delays and strange computer viruses and crashes that ate manuscripts make sense. Heaven wanted me to get so clear on my mission and message that nothing would stop me – that I would be fearless in doing justice to “An Uncertain Justice!”

5 Steps to Lighting the World

The SheLovesGod.com Virtual Women’s Conference starts today. This is our 10th year holding it online. There’s no need to travel, it’s all online or by phone. This video introduces our theme of “Light the World” and discusses 5 steps for letting Christ’s light shine through you so you can bless others.

I’m also giving a telecall today on the Light the World subject. To receive details on the call, please register for the conference at www.SheLovesGod.com/conference .

Imagine there were no limits

Imagine that there were no limits on what you could do with your life. Imagine that money was no object. Background, education (or lack thereof) were not a concern. What would you be? How would you impact the world for good if you could be the ultimate you?

That’s what Light the World Now is all about! It’s about letting go of limiting beliefs that keep you from shining brightly so you can reach your full potential. It’s about finding joy in what you were born to do. You’re here for a reason. Are you living up to that reason?

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  There are so many people in this world that cannot see Christ. But they can see you. And you can be that introduction.

As one of his disciples, it is your responsibility … no your PRIVELEDGE . . . to be a light to the world. As you live true to who you are and tap into the grace that Jesus Christ offers you, you can accomplish amazing things. You will be a light, a “city set on a hill” that acts as a beacon drawing others to you.

A friend sent me this quote today. I’m not sure who originally said it, but it is appropriate for this site:

“Live in such a way that people who know you but don’t know Christ will want to know Christ because they know you.”

The more you are distinct and different in happy ways from others, the more people will be drawn to you and want to know how you do the things you do. At that moment, you have an opportunity to share Jesus Christ with them and the amazing impact He’s had on your life. It’s time more Christians tapped into His amazing grace on a day-to-day basis so they stand out, accomplishing great things.

The objective of this site is to be a support and a resource to help you do this. I want to hear from you! What is your big dream? What’s standing in your way? What subjects would you like to see addressed on this site and in upcoming podcast shows? Talk back! Please either leave a note below or email me privately at marnie@marniepehrson.com .

Remember: With God, all things are possible! There are no limits He cannot help you overcome.

You Don’t Need It Until You Need It

I was talking to a friend about the big vision she has for her “life purpose project.” It’s one of those grand ideas that come through inspiration . . . the kind you know God wants you to pursue and which ties in masterfully with your life purpose. The challenge is that it’s so big it feels daunting and she knows there’s no way she can possibly achieve it on her own. Perhaps you know the feeling?

Dozens of questions run through my friend’s mind… “What if I don’t get this item or that resource? How will I support myself if I’m giving all my time and energy to this project? What if someone steals my idea?”

I’ve spoken to her for almost a year about this and encouraged her to go ahead and get some people together and take some initial steps, but it’s never happened. Then, in a moment of epiphany, she realized that God was just waiting on her to walk forward. She realized that she needs to take what action she knows to take and trust God to bring her the pieces she needs when she needs them. I chuckled when she told me this and she noted, “You’re laughing at me… why are you laughing?”

My response was, “By George, I think she’s got it!”

I’m sure she doesn’t remember the dozens of times I tried to tell her this very thing. Funny how you can’t convey this to people… they just have to “get it” in their own way in their own time. Isn’t Heavenly Father amazingly patient?!

I know He’s been ever-patient with me over the last few years as I’ve been learning this very same lesson. He’s been tutoring me in how to have faith, step into the darkness, and trust that what I need will be brought to me when I really need it.  I’ve learned that what you “need” is rarely brought to you before the very last moment.

Wallace Wattles said it this way, “by faith the thing you want is brought to you and by action you receive it.” Action is necessary, crucial and utterly irreplaceable. In God’s eyes, you don’t need it until you need it. Furthermore, if you aren’t moving your feet as far as you can move them, He won’t give you what you think you need. Frankly, you don’t need it yet!

Think about it from Heavenly Father’s perspective. He’s given you a big vision. He’s prompted you with an action to take. If you don’t take that action because you’re afraid of what will or won’t come next, then what does that say about your faith in Him? If you don’t have faith to do the little things, what makes you think you have sufficient faith to do something miraculous? Inaction on spiritual promptings is a sign that you need to build some faith muscles. He’ll help you build those muscles by

  1. making you wait until the very last possible second so you recognize His hand and learn by experience that He won’t drop you; and
  2. not giving you the very thing you think you need until you learn to listen to Him and do what He tells you to do . . . one step at a time.

This is why God rarely gives you tomorrow’s solutions today. Jesus taught it this way, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” Matthew 6:34.  Today holds within it today’s solutions. It seldom holds tomorrow’s because God is trying to teach you to walk by faith. He wants you to do everything within your power — everything you know to do to take action toward your goals. Then He will step in and bring you what you need when you need it.

Set your intention, pray for a confirmation from the Lord that you’re on the right path and then walk forward in faith, trusting that the next thing you need will be brought to you. It will be, if the course you are pursuing is in alignment with God’s will for you (if you’ve gotten the confirmation, then you’ll know this)!

When Jesus sent forth his disciples to preach, to teach and to heal, He sent them without purse or scrip. Just before his crucifixion when He had his disciples gathered around Him He said, “When I sent you without purse and scrip and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing” (Luke 22:35).

Neither will you lack anything if you walk forward in faith on the path God has shown you. Doubt not, fear not, be believing, and act now on the circumstances, people, and things in your current environment. Do your part, and trust God to deliver what you need next . . . no sooner . . . and no later than you absolutely need it.  It actually becomes fun to watch Him pull through in miraculous times and ways. I challenge you to stop fretting and enjoy the journey!

Remember Who You Are

Imagine that you are standing on a white platform high above the earth. You look down at the swirling marble planet beneath you, and a wave of anticipation courses through your soul. You consider the journey upon which you are about to embark. You are only aware of the basics . . . the type of family into which you will be born, a few challenges you selected with your mentors for your optimal development. The main thing you know is that you won’t remember your life here, won’t remember your friends, your family.

You look up. There surrounding you are hundreds of others standing on their own platforms, forming a circle above the opening into space. Some look down with excited smiles, others with creases of worry upon their brows.

Each person, just like you, has a guide dressed in a flowing white robe standing beside them. You watch your best friend at the platform to your left. Her guide whispers something into her ear. She nods her head, offers you one last wave, and jumps. Down she floats, her arms spread wide, her white robe billowing as she descends toward the earth and disappears into the clouds.

You gulp, knowing your turn is coming soon. You look to your guide. “It’s almost time,” he says. His blue eyes stare deeply into yours. “Remember, remember what you decided upon. What is your mission?”

The familiar refrain runs through your mind as it has millions of times before. You know it well — what you are being sent forth to do. While everyone who descends knows they are going to obtain their body, learn to live by faith, and follow the light home, each individual also has a unique mission, a unique message they hope will guide their lives.

Some will discover it and follow it with intention. Others will stumble upon it, living it without conscious awareness. Still others will become lost in the things of the world and completely forget their message and their promise to magnify it. This is the danger of the journey.

You concentrate, repeating your one-sentence mission twice to your guide. He nods his head vigorously, “Good, good, you’ll do fine. Just remember . . . ” He repeats your mission back to you.

“But how will I remember it when I’m going to forget everything?” you ask for what feels like the hundredth time.

“There will be reminders, indicators, signs. Look for them. But most of all,” he taps you where your heart will one day beat. “Most of all, if it’s in here deep enough, it will guide you like a homing signal. Follow it. Live it. Look for the light and it will guide you home.”

Your head bobs up and down and you put your hand over your chest, repeating your mission one more time for good measure. You understand now why your mentors insisted you keep it short . . . simple . . . powerful.

“It’s time,” he says.

You close your eyes and take your very first leap of faith . . .

Learn more about your mission and your message in “You’re Here for a Reason: Discover & Live Your Mission

Show Up and Be Yourself

beeI have a friend (we’ll call her Jane) who is one of the most loving, kind-hearted and happy people I know. She has a gift for making those around her feel loved and appreciated. Lately my friend has suffered from some health concerns, and doctors have put her on medicines that are making her feel depressed. One Sunday when she was feeling particularly down, she had no desire to go to church, but “out of obedience” she went.

She stepped into the meeting and noticed a lady who travels a lot and is rarely at church. She sat down beside her, gave her a big hug, and told her how great it was to see her. They enjoyed sitting next to each other throughout the meeting. When the meeting ended, the woman turned to my friend and said, “You know, I travel a lot and it’s hard when I’m home to go to church. I don’t know most of the people, and they don’t know me. So it’s difficult. This morning I didn’t want to come, but I thought: Jane will be there, and I know that if no one else notices or cares, Jane loves me and that’s enough.”

Isn’t it wonderful how these two women were brought into each other’s lives to help each other feel uplifted, valued and loved? But there’s more to this encounter that I’d like to explore.  I was struggling through my own issues when my friend told me this story. I was feeling exhausted, worn-down, and as if no matter what I did it was never going to be enough. I have this great desire to put good out in the world, to reach more people with positive messages about God and the joy a Christ-centered life can bring. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, or how many long hours I worked, it seemed it was never enough. Even successes felt anti-climactic because it still wasn’t enough in my mind.

I was talking to my friend about this, and she told me this story and said, “I know it relates to what you’re dealing with, you’ll just have to figure out how.”

For the next twenty-four hours, I pondered this story, and I came to realize something significant. My wonderful Christ-like friend didn’t have to do anything extraordinary to impact this woman’s life. She didn’t go to church with the mindset of “I’m going to church, and I’m going to make it a positive place where everyone feels welcomed and loved.” In fact, she had to drag herself out the door and make herself go. “Obedience” is the word she used.

When she got there, she was simply herself. She saw this woman that she knew and loved, and her natural personality and gift for making people feel loved spilled out of her and enriched both their lives. Do you see the simplicity of this formula? 

1. Be obedient.
2. Show up and be yourself.

Or as Jesus said it:

1. Seek ye first the kingdom of God,
2. And all these things shall be added unto you.

These words of Christ also came to mind, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” I went back and read the first half of Luke 12 in a new way. Jesus is talking to his disciples. Note that — he’s talking to his disciples and not the general public. These people are His followers. They know Him, and they love Him. They want to help Him build the kingdom.

I think that’s significant. These aren’t ordinary Joes and Janes. And neither is my friend. She’s a wonderful Christian woman who loves people and loves the Savior. Not everyone can “show up and be themselves” and make the world a better place! Some people have quite the opposite effect on the world around them. So I’m going to add one more underpinning piece to this formula:

1. Be a disciple of Christ.
2. Be obedient.
3. Show up and be yourself.

Then Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about food or raiment but consider the ravens that don’t sow or reap, and the lilies that don’t toil or spin, and the grass that just sits there and is a beautiful green. Aren’t you better than these? Aren’t you of more worth than birds, flowers or grass? So stop worrying over these things.

“For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:30-32).

Typically when we read these verses we think of physical things we need, and we wonder how in the world we are supposed to take care of our families if we don’t work. Should we just sit back and expect God to provide for us? I really don’t think that’s what Jesus is saying. I think he’s talking about worry. When we’re putting God first and building His kingdom, why do we need to worry that He’s going to allow us to land in the streets homeless and naked? And is it really all that important to have the best car or the biggest house if we put the kingdom of God first?

I’ve looked at this passage so many times as I’ve thought about my physical needs, and it’s given me great comfort. But I’m looking at it with fresh eyes today.  I’m looking at it from the perspective of someone who wants to be a disciple of Christ — someone whose greatest desire is to help build the kingdom of God. This disciple’s not worrying over food and raiment at the moment and isn’t worried about keeping up with the Jones’. This disciple wants to be an instrument in God’s hands to bless lives.

What is this disciples’ concern now? She wants to reach more people with God’s message. She wants to make an impact. She wants to shed His light to all the world. Why? Because she loves God, and she loves His children. This person begins to realize that the job is immense. People are overwhelmed with just keeping their heads above water and don’t always make time for what they really need. She starts to get the sense that Christ is coming soon, and we’re running out of time. She starts to think, “I’m not doing enough. I’m not making a big enough difference.” She starts burning the candle at both ends and feeling guilty over not doing enough.

Christ’s words ring just as true for this person. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God wants to help you with your purpose! He wants to help you build the kingdom. You’re not alone. You don’t have to feel guilty. He’s not grading you. He’s not telling you that you’re not doing enough. He’s saying, “Consider the lilies of the field, and the grass, and the birds. They don’t toil and spin to be who they are or to bring beauty to the world. They just are who they are, and God uses them perfectly, flawlessly.”

Do you see what I’m saying? What we, as disciples of Christ, need to focus on is our relationship with Him and being obedient to His commands. As we do that, we’ll be in the right places. We’ll show up. We’ll be ourselves, and we’ll change the world. No toil. No spin. No guilt required.