THE BIG QUESTION: Q: Did you ever have a crisis of faith?

by CYNTHIA L. SIMMONS| WWW.CLSIMMONS.COM in Leading Hearts Magazine

Q: Did you ever have a crisis of faith? How did you resolve it?

YES, AND I GREW UP IN A CHRISTIAN HOME. We attended church regularly, including special services several times a year with visiting ministers. At six, I realized my sin and confessed faith in Christ. When I entered ninth grade, my parents enrolled me in church school where I learned creationism.

However, during my teen years, misgivings clouded my mind. Guest pastors told the exact illustration as if it happened to them, and I labeled them dishonest. Plus, church leaders didn’t live up to their own standards.

Well-versed in Genesis, I longed to hear from evolutionists so I could compare the reasoning. While these thoughts churned, my cousin shared his own doubts.

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My Mentor Loved the Word Impossible

By LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD in Leading Hearts Magazine

I FOUND MY MENTOR IN A DARK COLOSSEUM when a young woman sat on a stool, inside a bright spotlight. In a voice that sounded like a child in song she said, “Hi, I’m Ann. I am one simple woman in the world. I have never shaken hands with the president. I cry. Sometimes I am insecure. I am only one, but I have come tonight to tell you I am one … and Jesus and I and love are out to change the world.”

In those days, I was a young college student, totally in love with Jesus, and I had never heard anyone articulate my heart the way Ann Kiemel (Anderson) did. She spoke of love and simple acts of kindness, and how she and our big God could change the world. I followed her example with my own acts of love and kindness.

I learned that everything Ann said about living life sold out to the Lord was true. It was true for me. Through Christ, nothing was impossible.

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LH Heart to Heart with Michelle Medlock Adams & Bethany Jett

Christmas 2019 issue Cover Girls Michelle Medlock Adams and Bethany Jett talk about their collaboration over 2 recent book releases: Platinum Faith and They Call Me Mom. What is the secret to synergizing your co-writing skills? Bethany and Michelle (bethanyandmichelle.com) give us that insider perspective and more.

Get this issue of Leading Hearts free delivered straight to your mobile device by texting LEADINGHEARTS to 64600. Visit Leadinghearts.com for more info.

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Rekindling the Joy of Christmas Past

By Penelope Carlevato in Leading Hearts magazine

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.—Colossians 3:16

CAROLING ON CHRISTMAS EVE, TRIMMING THE TREE AND LISTENING TO CHRISTMAS SONGS ARE PART OF MY FAMILY’S TRADITIONS. We also make a gingerbread house, buy an Advent calendar, and celebrate Boxing Day! We read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, watch quintessential Christmas movies on television and hide Elf on the Shelf.

Like many families, these traditions are passed on from one generation to the next, and we occasionally add new ones. But the custom of singing the familiar carols is my favorite.

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When God Calls the Heart: The Christmas Present that Never Disappoints

by MICHELLE S. COX | WHENGODCALLSTHEHEART.COM in Leading Hearts Magazine

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. —James 1:17

FOR THOSE OF US WHO ARE FANS OF HALLMARK’S WHEN CALLS THE HEART TELEVISION SERIES, the characters of the show seem like family. Yes, they’re fictional characters from the fictional town of Hope Valley, but we can learn some valuable lessons from them — at Christmas and throughout the year.

For example, from the beloved characters of Lee and Rosemary Coulter…Lee Coulter wanted to do something special for his wife, Rosemary, for their first Christmas as husband and wife. Knowing of her love for baubles, he bought her a unique brooch for her Christmas gift — one he thought would tickle her fancy.

Lee also knew of her penchant for snooping, so he hid the gift in a place she’d never look. But ever-vigilant Rosemary spied it out anyway — and let’s just say she wasn’t excited about her new accessory. “Horrified” might be a better word.

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Christmas 2019 issue: Rise Up! It’s Your Time to Shine

“Those who are wise will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousnesslike the stars forever and ever.” —–Daniel 12:3

You may think of a million people more equipped than you to accomplish the call God has on your life, but God is calling you to RISE UP because It is Your Time to Shine!


Christmas Cover Girls Bethany Jett and Michelle Medlock Adams (bethanyandmichelle.com) give us Platinum Faith perspective
.

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Christmas Issue Sneak Peek: God’s Unexplainable Provision for Your Position

by Erica Wiggenhorn in Leading Hearts Magazine

Leadership can feel isolating at times. Sometimes God issues a call upon our lives that no one else quite gets. It’s unique to us and doesn’t seem like a natural fit to our skill set, experience or gifting. And that’s because our God works in the supernatural and does the unexplainable.

This is why I love the friendship of Elizabeth and Mary. It’s the story of God’s unexplainable provision for their unique positions.

Seclusion, Isolation and Intersection

When Elizabeth discovered she was pregnant, she remained in seclusion. After years of barrenness, it’s no wonder. It doesn’t take too much imagination to piece together the speculation of her fellow villagers regarding her inability to have children. Infertility was thought to be a curse of God in those days.

At the opposite end of Israel, all the way to the north, another miraculous pregnancy is announced to young Mary by the angel Gabriel. She would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God. Talk about a call of isolation! Who on earth is going to understand this?

God in His great mercy, mentions Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy to Mary, giving her direction to process this news.

Luke’s gospel tells us Mary traveled with haste down south to Judea to Elizabeth’s home. Mary must have been terrified. Who would believe her? Would Joseph divorce her? She could be killed for presumed adultery against him.

It’s important to reflect on the fact that finding favor with God doesn’t always equate to the absence of fear. It usually means He’s calling us to the unexplainable, to something impossible apart from His power. To something beyond anything we could think, ask, imagine or hope for in our lives — and that means it’s going to be a little scary, and definitely outside our comfort zone or current skill set.

I’d say a virgin birth falls into those categories, wouldn’t you? Who could she go to talk to about this? Well, God in His great mercy answers Mary’s question. Go to your cousin Elizabeth. Talk to her. She will believe you. And when you begin to doubt yourself, Mary, the baby inside Elizabeth’s womb will remind you what I have told you.

And God brings the wondering woman in a call of isolation to the shamed woman in seclusion. And what we behold in their intersection is the beauty of God’s unexplainable provision: they danced around the room in joy!

Wisdom and Wonder

The older and wiser Elizabeth immediately speaks words of affirmation over young Mary. As one who had experienced years of reproach from the women in her village, she knew firsthand the shame and judgment Mary would face by those who doubted her call. In her experience of barrenness, she knew the pain and isolation that others’ rejection would bring. Mary, on the other hand, renewed Elizabeth’s wonder. She sang out a song of praise and prophesied regarding God’s faithfulness and future goodness in store for them. And together, in one another’s presence, fear faded and God’s praises were proclaimed.

God sent Mary to Elizabeth to share in the joy of her past-child-bearing-years pregnancy and also to glean from her wisdom. And Mary needed to know she wasn’t alone in this, humanly speaking. She had Elizabeth, who believed in her, accepted her and rejoiced with her at the work of God in her life.

Oh, how greatly we all need an Elizabeth, don’t we?

A mentor.

A confidante.

A co-laborer in ministry, whether it is in our homes or elsewhere.

Someone who believes in us when we stop believing in ourselves.

Someone who can remind us what God promised in our darkest hours.

Renewed Joy

For those of us who have been wounded by the seclusion and isolation of leadership- how our joy becomes renewed when we pour into young women full of wonder at the unexplainable ways of God! Our past pain and hard lessons become fortresses of safety, affirmation and wisdom to those who have miraculous calls before them. We can take them by the hand, speak words of affirmation and watch fear fade. We can learn to dance again.

Who is your Elizabeth?

Who is your Mary?

Ask God for His unexplainable provision for your position- whether it’s wisdom or renewed wonder.

The world needs more Elizabeths willing to share their wisdom.

The world needs more Marys walking in wonder at the goodness and mystery of God.

And heaven knows the world needs to a see a whole lot more women dancing with joy at the gift of one another’s greeting

My dear sisters, let’s listen to the song of the Spirit in our heart and go find our Mary and our Elizabeth.

From Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew by Erica Wiggenhorn- an 8 Week Bible Study covering the Gospel of Luke from Moody Publishers.

COMING DECEMBER 20TH! GET THIS FREE ISSUE FIRST
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Giving Up My Buts

by Amber Weigand-Buckley in Leading Hearts magazine

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to believing God for the Impossible, I have two big BUT problems.

The first is the big BUT of DOUBT. It diminishes God’s ability within the framework of God’s request. It can keep you from moving in any direction. 

The worst, though, is the BUT of “I’VE GOTTA FIGURE THIS OUT.”

That can really get me butting heads with God. Why? Because I’m always trying to help God out.

“I can take the guesswork out of your miracle, God, by troubleshooting the solution.” 

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#LeadingLady Life Hacks with Sharon Oliver

MEET SHARON OLIVER

SHARON a highly sought-after inspirational speaker. And her goal is to let her love for Christ shine through everything she does in the mainstream. She is known for her candid and humorous personality that gives personification to her stories and conferences.

Since 2014, Sharon has been the publisher of Richmond, Virginia’s popular lifestyle publication, CEO Magazine. CEO Magazine features articles of women from various backgrounds and demographics that are leading in their communities and in the business sector. Through unprecedented support of CEO Magazine, it has also given birth to various subsidiaries; CEO Network: Club CEO & CEO Studios, Chicks with Brands and CEO Publishing.

Sharon, who is an ordained minister, is anticipating the release of her first book Dear, Stupid.me is set to release in Winter 2020.

Sharon says, “Being the Chief Executive of your life takes work. Taking care of yourself is priceless.” Besides coffee and a whole lotta Jesus, here are some of her fave leading lady life hacks

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Got a Doubt? Get a Clue

by Rhonda Rhea in Leading Hearts magazine

I REMEMBER PLAYING THE “WE’VE GOT-FIVE-KIDS” VERSION OF THE GAME “CLUE.” Who did it? Never just a whole lot of doubt there: It was the toddler—in the family room—with a permanent marker.

We held our things and furniture and carpets and walls all pretty loosely in the days of raising kids, though it was still tough not to get just a little bent out of shape when yet another lamp would bite the dust. It still amazes me that no one knew who broke it or how it happened. Except that I do doubt.

And it wasn’t just the kids doing the demolition. One time a kitten clawed his way from floor to ceiling on my newly painted wall. He was halfway down again before I pulled him off. I’m pretty sure I saw his life flash before my eyes. Is that a thing that can happen? Because I might’ve seen it nine times.

On the spiritual side of life, I have room for even fewer doubts.

Believe it or not, doubt is much more destructive than five kids and a cat. It has a way of grabbing onto our joy and fruitfulness and sort of clawing it up from floor to ceiling.

The enemy wields doubt.

He’s been effectively using it as a weapon since the fall of man. As a matter of fact, it was his weapon of choice in the initiation of the fall in the first place.

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