Come to the Table // October 20, 2018.

It has been an extremely long time since Woven Together has published a blog!

Back in August, our team was preparing for a new season. We stepped back from blog writing to focus solely on our first conference. We’ve been silent on social media for quite a while now, but only so that we could work on what God is preparing for our team currently! So here’s a little recap of our first conference, and be on the lookout for an update on everything else we’ve been working on!

Come to the Table was hosted at West End Church of Christ in Gretna, VA on October 20, 2018. We spent the day with some of the sweetest teenage girls from the area! It was seriously a blast! We started the day sharing testimonies, worshipping God, and hearing from our first speaker of the day, one of our team members Michaela Williams.

Michaela Williams, session 1.

Worship lead by team member Mack Winkel

After our first session, we then broke off into small group discussion lead by our different team members! After small groups we also had a delicious lunch of pizza and cookies provided by Mama Rosa’s in Gretna- check them out if ya want some yummy local food!

Small group discussion lead by Megan and Connie.
Small group discussion with Faith!
Best part of the day… pizza time.. am I right?

After lunch, we did a raffle giveaway (shoutout to Main Street Shoppes, The General Store, and my (Haley’s) cousin Jonathan for providing some pretty awesome giveaways- including a For King & Country record! We also had a fun time in some dancing games before we started off the second part of the day!

Dance break led by our dancing queen, Abby Tilford.

Next was our panel discussion time! Our panel answered questions from the girls attending the conference who had written down questions anonymously for us to answer.

Left to right: Haley Martin, Connie Parker, Olivia Wagner, Valerie Parker, Abby Tilford, Brittany Howle, Holly Mummert, Ellie Jewett.

The panel was such a great part of the conference as it really shows how so many of us struggle and deal with the same time of issues whether we are open about it or not. I personally loved getting to hear from everyone on the panel as we were all from different walks of life. Super fun time! After the panel we split off into teams and went into journey rooms!

Journey rooms are a way for the girls at the conference to get to hang with one another and just embrace community with one another! The two journey rooms we provided were a prayer journaling room and watercoloring. Each of these rooms tied back to the theme of the conference and showed the girls how to practically grow closer to Jesus.

Prayer journaling led by Holly Mummert.
Water coloring led by Ellie Jewett.

We ended the day with more worship, more time sharing testimonies, and our last session led by Lauren VonCannon. Overall this first conference was a huge success and God worked above and beyond our expectations as He always proves to do.

The theme of Come to the Table was based off of a devotional written by our team member, Holly. She based it off of scripture in John 14:1-4, stating

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

We wanted to remind each girl in a world full of comparison that there is still room for you at the table and Jesus is inviting you to sit right beside Him. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to bring anything with you, He just wants you. You’re enough, you don’t have to pull up a seat, it’s already waiting for you.

Holly sharing her testimony.
Worship
Lauren VonCannon, session 2.
The Woven Together team!

A HUGE thank you to Gabriella Naine for the beautiful photos! She is truly incredible! Also, a huge thank you to everyone who helped contribute to the conference whether it was through your prayers, your financial support, helping lead the day of the conference, setting up or tearing down, your help is the reason this conference ran so smoothly!

And of course, praise be to Jesus that His message was shared and that lives were changed for the better. All glory to Him!

If you’re interested in us putting on a similar conference for your church or small group, please feel free to reach out to us!

-Haley Martin

A Playlist For Grace

With just three of us writing this month and we still want to talk about grace, I decided to share bible verses and songs with you! Just a few things that you can come back to and read/listen!

  1. Open Up the Heavens by Meredith Andrews.

This is one of my favorite worship songs, it is one of those that I turn the volume all the way up and sing out loud! To me that is the best kind. It talks about asking God to show us His power, light, love and we want His glory on our face! So good.

2. The Garden by Kari Jobe

I was looking for something new and came across this song. She sings about Gods beauty and how His love comes to life by picturing a garden. He created this garden and through it His grace heals our soul

3. Living Hope by Shane and Shane.

They sing, “Praise the one who has set me free. Hallelujah death has lost its grip on me…”

It is true! Thank God for His grace that death has no power over us anymore!

Some Verses

  1. Proverbs 22:11 “One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the King for a friend.”

I’m going to be honest I do not know that I have read this verse before, it really shows how much it means to God! That we should work really hard to show His grace and love to others all the time and He the King will be our friend. So cool!

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:15 “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” 

Just like Proverbs those who love and show grace to others get the Lord as a friend. But on a bigger note we want God’s grace to EXTEND. We are talking about touching nonbelievers and believers lives with something none of us deserve in the first place! God gives it to us as a gift to show His people just how much He loves us and when we extend it, God gets the glory and beautiful things happen. Our lives our changed and we have a forever home with Jesus!

It is hard! So hard to do those things… I understand and get it! We are all human and sometimes just do not care, but I ask that you work on this with me. That you practice grace where you do not think it is deserved.

I know this was something very different for you all to read but hope you enjoyed it.

 

Much love,

Olivia

When We Fall Short

Most people like to have their quiet time with the Lord in the morning, but I always do it at night.  I am a night owl, so I usually have more energy at the end of the day. Plus, I have had trouble sleeping for years and spending time with God before bed helps to ease my mind and comfort me so that I can fall asleep.

Yesterday, I had a huge to-do list and I was still running around until right before I started my quiet time. My mind was buzzing with all the things I am working on and the thing I have yet to do, and as I prayed, I found my mind wandering.

Each time I noticed it, I fussed at myself to focus. I was getting frustrated with myself. I found myself thinking “Why can’t I just focus on spending time with God? No wonder I can’t get anything done. What’s wrong with me?“

I finished praying and started reading my bible. Gently, sweetly, the Lord told me what was wrong with me: I am not perfect.

Well, duh! I know I am not perfect! You don’t have to remind me of that, God!

But last night, I did need the reminder. You see, the reason I was getting frustrated with myself was because I was trying so hard to be a good Christian girl who does meaningful work and volunteers and wears cute but modest clothes and has the deepest, most intimate times of fellowship with God.  I want to do it all, and then I get mad at myself for falling short of perfection.

The truth is that we all “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Here is the good news: we do not have to be perfect. We are going to fall short. God uses those imperfections for his glory.

I know we have all heard 2 Corinthians 2:9, but it’s worth repeating: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Grace covers our biggest regrets, our worst secrets, and the darkest parts of our pasts. But grace also covers our everyday shortcomings. Grace covers the little things that we beat ourselves up over. Grace covers us when we fall short.

So next time you feel yourself getting frustrated and disappointed in your shortcomings, remember that God’s grace covers you, and that maybe, you should give yourself a little grace too.

As always, feel free to message us with prayer requests or if you just want to chat!

With love,
Faith

Where Grace Abounds

One of my favorite Bible verses, and one that has helped me during my dark days is 1 Corinthians 12:9, which states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me”(ESV). Grace was and is given through the love of Jesus. Grace is there to help us and strengthen us in days where we feel hopeless and helpless. Grace is free we just need to have faith and believe in God.

The above verse has spoken to me immensely throughout my life. As I have mentioned before, I struggle with depression and anxiety. This leads me to have some very dark days where I feel hopeless and helpless. A lot of these feelings manifest from my past and what has happened in my life and the mistakes that I have made. Some of the mistakes that I continuously make on a day to day bases. These mistakes fill me with a lot of guilt and shame – both of which make me want to run and hide.

These are a few of the reasons why this verse is so important to me.  I have to keep close to me at all times, I even have it written on a notecard in my car so I can see it every time I drive. This verse helps remind me of a few very important things. It reminds me of God’s grace and how important it is. It also reminds me that there is a reason for my weaknesses and mistakes. It reminds me that God has a plan and He will use what we have done and what we have gone through in order to show the rest of the world of His love and His grace.

The last couple months I have been going through another one of my dark times. I have made more mistakes. I frequently feel an overwhelming weight on my shoulders. I struggle with too many thoughts and I often wonder what the point is to life. But during my darkest days and during my darkest thoughts God is always there even when we do not believe He is or feel His presence.

He is always there to remind me of His love and His grace. He reminds me that He is bigger then the biggest mistake. He forgives and has forgiven. He loves us unconditionally no matter what. Christine Caine, one of my favorite motivational speakers and authors stated that, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted”. In our darkest times, in our most stressful times, during our biggest mistakes God is planting us so that we can grow into something far greater then we can even imagine. We just have to be patient and trust in Him.

To everyone reading this, just remember that no matter what you are feeling, no matter what you are going through, no matter what you have done in your past or present God’s grace is there waiting for you. His grace is sufficient for you. Have faith and accept the grace that is freely given to us through Jesus’ love. We love you all and are praying for you!

“Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More then that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”. 

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)

Grace is…

A free gift given by God that we do not deserve, Christian or not. Whether that is showing it to your brother or sister in Christ or someone you encounter at the store.

If we sit and really think about it, we are given grace all the time. When we wake up in the morning God has already given us grace! Um wow! I am not going to lie here. I was never that kid growing up that was in trouble all the time. I did not sneak out of the house, talk back to my parents, I did what I was told and did not ask questions. But I am for sure not perfect!

I mess up all the time, I say the wrong things, but as a believer God says, “I’ve taken care of you already with my Son.” That does not mean we run wild and do whatever we want to all day. We must recognize where we are wrong and God’s grace comes flying in! How cool is that? As a mom to be, I think about how much grace I will have to show this girl. Even when I do not feel like it, even when she gets on my last nerve, I must remember just how much Christ shows grace to me every day!

I’m reading through a book called “You and Me Forever” by Francis and Lisa Chan. In one section he talks about loving our kids how Christ loves us. It says, “ As God has shown unconditional love, we must sacrifice for our children regardless of their actions. They must see the gospel brought to life when they observe our parenting.” Now I totally understand not everyone reading is a parent! But I think we can apply this to our everyday. We want others to see Christ in our daily life! I want my life to show the joy I have in God’s grace that others says, “I want what she has.” I think that is something we can all agree on!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:19-23

I love the end of this passage. Our hearts are sprinkled clean (by His grace) and what He promised He is faithful to do. The never ending reckless love of God!

So grace is… Showing love and forgiveness when the other does not deserve it at all. Because that is what God does for us every day and we want to live a life of joy so others see it shine through! The cool thing is, you may not even have to say much because God’s grace is better than a thousand words!

 

Much love, Olivia

Courage for the Uncomfortable

Traveling alone to a foreign country.

Quitting your job and starting something new.

Talking to the stranger sitting next to you on the bus about Jesus.

Leaving your comfort zone is a lot of things.  It is scary.  It is hard.  At times, it is discouraging – But often, leaving our comfort zones is what we are called to do.

God does not just call us to sit in our instagrammable homes posting carefully curated pictures of our quiet times for our (for the most part) bible-believing followers to see. Primarily, God wants us to be out in the world meeting the needs of the least of these, showing love to the hurting, and reaching the lost.

Only you and God know what it looks like for you to step out of your comfort zone.  You are probably already thinking of something that God has put on your heart.

It can be hard to step out of the proverbial boat.  So, if you are trying to work up your courage or just trying to stay faithful through the journey, here is a bit of encouragement.

Biblical Encouragement

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” -2 Timothy 1:6-7

“…When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” –Esther 4:16  (Esther’s story is a great read if you’re looking for an example of courage!)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –Colossians 3:17

Power Playlist

“Oceans” by Hillsong United

“Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli

“More of You” by Colton Dixon

“Thrive” by Casting Crowns

“More Than Anything” by Natalie Grant

“Grace Got You” by MercyMe

“Fear Is a Liar” by Zach Williams

“My Feet Are on the Rock” by I AM THEY

If you are mustering up the courage to step out of your comfort zone, are searching for your calling, or just need some encourage you, we at Woven Together would love to pray for you!  We are available to talk anytime!

With love,

Faith

Comfort zones

Comfort zones

We all know what that they are and we all like to stay there. If we stay in our comfort zones then we feel a sense of ease and freedom. Who wants to leave that feeling?

It is funny because when you delve into a relationship with God He will prompt us to leave that comfort zone frequently. That prompt does not have to be a missions trip either. It can be as small as going up to a stranger and telling them that you are praying for them.

A lot of things have taken me out of my comfort zone. If anyone knows me then they know I am a nervous wreck over some of the littlest things. I love being in my comfort zone and staying there but that is not where I am called to be. It is not where anyone is called to be.

The Bible is filled with stories where people were called to do things by God that made them go out of their comfort zones. For example, in Exodus 8:1, God prompted Moses to speak to Pharaoh in order to let His people go and Moses did. God had a plan and used Moses to complete the plan but first Moses had to step out of his comfort zone and speak up. It is the same for us. God has a plan for each one of us and in order to walk through that plan we will sometimes have to walk out of our comfort zones.

Work has been a big place where God has continuously called me out of my comfort zone, and not just spiritually either. There are several people at work who know God but there are several others who do not. One day, while I was sitting in the break room, a lady came in and sat down. I knew her name but I had never taken the time to talk with her. Today she came in and I could see she had been crying. I felt that nudge to go talk with her and at first I ignored it and continued just looking through my phone until my break was done. That feeling just kept getting stronger but I was nervous to say anything.

I finally got up, went to talk to her and found out a family member had just passed away. My heart ached for her. I talked to her for a bit then left her with ‘I’m praying for you’ and I did pray. The thing is we never know what other people are really feeling or going through but God does. He uses us who know Him to be His disciples, to show people that He is real, He is there and He loves us. We do not have to do something big in order to do something extravagant for God or for others.

One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9, which states, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (ESV). I encourage you to hold on to this verse whenever you feel God promoting you to leave your comfort zone. Whatever leaving your comfort zone entails God is with you through it all. He loves you and wants to use you. Let Him.

I love you all and I’m praying for you today and everyday. Trust God, always


 

Step out of your comfort boat

Let me start with this, I am not a writer by any means… I was homeschooled K-12.  If you had asked me back in high school if I would ever consider homeschooling my own kids I would probably have said no. I am now married and have one on the way! Ask me that same question now and I say, “Absolutely, I am.”

I was the kid that would throw my books across the room and slammed my door because I was so mad when I couldn’t understand something. Especially math, you can ask my mother! For these reasons growing up and getting married scared me. All I told myself was, “You’re not good at math, you’re not good at reading and you can barely spell. Why would someone want you?” Come to find out later in high school my brother and I where tested for Dyslexia. Sure enough we both had it. Which explained the whole “I hate math and reading and I can’t spell” thing. My brain tends to move faster then my eyes and hands, so I very often miss words when typing my blogs and hand writing. I can see one word but say another and I switch letters around on the page all the time!

Yes it scares me to death the thought of being the one to teach my kids right from wrong, math, reading, how to respect their elders and ones over them, how to love others and most important Jesus Christ! But all that comes with leaving your comfort zone. Because if we never did, we would get no where!

Story time… Haley asked me if I would be apart of the Woven together team back when we first started, so going on 2 years. The thought of being apart of a ministry made me really excited because at the time I was praying for something to be apart of. But what made me the most nervous was the fact that I would have to spell all these words, send off my blog to Gaby (our wonderful editor) and hopefully she would be able to read  and understand what I was saying!!

After much prayer I told Haley yes and I have never looked back because no matter how many people read my blog (or even understand it), I left my comfort zone with writing and God continues to surprise me every time.

Now I try to look at this new stage of life saying, “ Who cares if I mess up and fall? I didn’t come into this world knowing everything.” Thank you Lord for grace and second chances!

Back to the top… As I have my own baby on the way, I tell myself that we will learn together, forgive, have patience and through a lot of prayer this baby will be just fine and learn a lot from its crazy Mom and Dad. 😉

Matthew 14:25-33  

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

God reaches out to save us even if we are afraid of the wind and rain.

Much love,

Olivia

You can even

“I can’t even deal.”

I have said this so many times over the past several years. It is a saying that gets labeled as a basic white girl quote, so when I have said “I can’t even” I probably had a Starbucks in my hand and was trying to get the perfect angle on Instagram. I never realized the impact this statement had on my life until I started to believe it.

There was a time that I believed I could not even handle what the next day would bring, I could not handle the way I looked and how I am not a size 0. I could not handle the fact that I went through hard things and I started to place my identity in the fact that I could not handle what life was throwing at me.

I really did not realize this was a problem until I heard a talk Jordan Lee Dooley did on Proverbs 31 and how the model woman in Proverbs 31 was a woman who can even. As she kept reading the verses in Proverbs 31, I realized this woman in the passage handled herself with a confidence which showed she was more than capable to do the things God had placed for her to do not because of her own strength but because she was finding her identity in God.

In scripture, the psalmist David compares himself to being a flourishing tree when he is near the Lord. In Psalms 52:8-9 it states, “But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name for it is good.”

After I read this verse, I took a step back and God put my life in perspective. He reminded me that in a world that “can’t even” that He has called His children to “can even”. He has called us to strength and grace, confidence and beauty. He has called us to not just survive but to thrive. We are not called to do these things because of our own strength but to glorify Him even more.

I think some of the most inspiring things I have seen is when older people who have lived through so much are still pursuing the Lord and flourishing in Him. They did not give up when it was hard but they kept going. I believe we are called to be children of God that keep pushing and leaning into Him even when we feel like we “can’t even”.

He has called us each to live on purpose and on mission for Him and there is no way we will be able to fulfill that if we get stuck on the things we cannot do. When we get stuck in the comparison trap, the defeated mindset, we stop flourishing and will feel stuck and confused.

We have to be aware that when we are living a life surrendered in obedience to Jesus that we automatically gain an enemy, but that enemy has no power over us. John 14:27 states, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” Jesus will give us peace to each day live in the confidence of who we are in Him. He will give us the strength to live in victory over the things that the enemy tries to get us to stumble on.

Sister, lift up your head and remember you were called to flourish. You are called to thrive every single day even when it seems like you have lost all hope. Where you are right now is not your final destination so keep walking. You are here on purpose and God wants to use you specifically- it might not look like the other girls around you but it does not mean it’s any less of a purpose than anyone else.

You can even – not because of girl power but because of the gospel power living inside of you. We can live for Jesus and thrive in this generation because He is willing to give us the strength to do so each day. Isn’t that amazing?

-Haley

Hello My Name Is…

Hi! My name is Faith. What’s yours?

Names are important.  Usually, the first question we ask someone is “what’s your name?”

They are on our bank statements, our driver’s licenses, and our passports. Parents pick names for their children based on emotional or familial significance.  We call our friends by special nicknames that remind us of good times or inside jokes.  We give names to pets, boats, and cars.  Sometimes, people call us mean names that hurt our feelings or challenge our confidence.

We define ourselves and the things around us by what they are called, by their names.  Names identify us; they set us apart from others.

If you do not know someone’s name, then you probably do not know them very well.

God knows your name.  In Isaiah 49:16, we are told that our names are written on the palms of his hands.

But God does not just know our names. He calls us by special names that show the depth of our relationship, like when your mom calls you “pumpkin” or when your best friend keeps using that really embarrassing nickname from high school.

He calls us chosen.

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Do you remember a time when you felt rejected?  A boy that you liked did not like you back?  A time you tried to help someone and they did not appreciate or want your help?  A time that you were metaphorically (or maybe literally) picked last for the team?  You probably felt like you were not smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, or simply good enough.

God does not reject us.  He accepts us; He wants us.  He chooses us.

He calls us free.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36).

God says we do not have to be weighed down or trapped by guilt, shame, worry, fear, or any other shackle of this world.  He set us free from all of that when Jesus died for our sins.

He calls us masterpieces.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

My mom recently went to an art museum and she came back with tons of pictures of the work on her phone.  She was so excited to show me, talking about how the piece was created and awe-inspiring the works were to see in person.  She would say “the colors were so beautiful,” or “it must’ve taken the artist ages to finish!”

Like my mom got excited over the works of art she saw, God gets excited about us.  He’s the artist that created us, and He looked at His work and called it good.  Just like an artist uses certain colors or techniques to create a meaning or mood in his work, God created in us special talents and traits that help us accomplish “the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10).

He calls us beloved.

You could say that love is a key theme of the Bible.  God is love (1 John 4:16).  He calls us to love one another (Mark 12:31).  He calls us to love Him (Mark 12:30).  But above all, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

That  is the crux of the Gospel: that God loves us so much that He sent His blameless son to die so we do not have to.

We are the recipients of God’s perfect love.  We are His beloved.

That is a name that is more important than the ones on our birth certificates, because His love brings life.

With love,

Faith