Heart to Heart Conversations

Greetings! After a two year hiatus, I’m back! I have been diligently working on content for my new book, Heart to Heart, Encouragement, Advice and Inspiration for Teen Girls. I am excited  that the book is finally complete!

This book is a labor of love. I asked 30+ men to contribute a letter of advice  and encouragement to empower a young girl. These men are from various walks of life and these men embody the attributes of godliness. They are professors, a pilot, military personnel (active and retired), ministers and ordinary men who have one thing in common: I admire them.

I am taking orders pre-sale orders now. If you’re interested in purchasing a book, send me an email at sharon.judie@gmail.com.

Books are $12 each or until December 31, you can order two books for $20.00. All of us know a girl or a young lady who could use some encouragement. Why not give one as a gift?

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“The Underdog”

My dad used to tell me that he pulling for the underdog in politics and in sports. The underdog is the one that is expected to lose. Because of my dad’s love for boxing, I am a boxing fan. While watching boxing on t.v. my dad would read the stats of the one favored to win and it sounded impressive. In contrast, the stats for the underdog made me question my dad’s judgment, because it didn’t always seem feasible that the underdog had a chance of winning. There were many times when the underdog was victorious and that would make my dad very happy. His thinking was “it’s not over until it’s over”.

How many battles have you fought or trials have you faced where the odds were against you and you felt like you were the underdog? You’re not alone. I heard a minister say one time that we are either going into a trial or coming out of one at any moment in time. The key is to know that even though you may lose a few battles, ultimately you will WIN.

Everything around you may be crumbling. Your finances may be shaky. Your marriage may be hanging on by a thread. Your health or your parents’ health may be failing, but don’t lose hope. When you put your trust in God, be assured that He will cause you to triumph and be victorious!

Scripture for meditation: Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear (Isaiah 59:1, New International Version).

Embrace this truth: What you think is important! If you think you are a winner or if you think there’s no way you can win, you’re right.

“I Pledge Allegiance”

As a child, I really didn’t understand the significance of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and what it meant. Now when I say the familiar words of that Pledge, I also reflect onmy allegiance to God and ask “what is the evidence of my pledged allegiance to the Creator of the universe”? Some things are tangible: I attend church regularly. I pray. I study the Bible. I serve in ministry. It’s wonderful to do all those things and those things should be done from love and obedience and not to simply check the box. But the evidence of pledged allegiance is a changed heart, a changed life and a change of direction. The Apostle Paul gave us a huge clue of what our allegiance to Christ would look like in Romans 12:2: transformed by the renewing of your mind. Have a renewed mind will motivate you to do things differently and to carry yourself differently.

My pledged allegiance to God makes me accountable to be different — in a positive and good way. Standing out as opposed to fitting in and going along doing business as usual is no longer an option. The evidence of change should also be evident to others.

Scripture for meditation:  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2, New King James Version)

Embrace this truth: Change is not always easy and it may not be instantaneously, so be patient with yourself.

“Friends To the End (or maybe not…)”

There is nothing more painful than losing a friend. I’m not talking about losing a friend to death, but the death of a friendship.

Years ago my closest friend abruptly stopped speaking to me. I called and left several messages for her and she didn’t return any of my calls. I sent her emails and I finally sent her a letter. I heard crickets. I was hurt. After a while my hurt turned to anger because I knew that I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve her throwing our friendship away, without an explanation. Life went on, but I thought about her often. I would pass by her street and would wonder how she was doing. I had other friends that I spent time with, but our friendship was different. Our lives were parallel on many levels, but we were opposites: I am very outgoing and she was very quiet. We loved each other like sisters. We never fought nor had a disagreement, so it was even more disturbing why she dropped off the radar.

After a year or so I moved from the area and one day when I was in Los Angeles, I felt led to stop by and see her. I’m glad I did. I mustered up my courage and walked to her door and knocked on her screen. I then heard her repeating, ‘Oh my goodness. I don’t believe this’. And when she opened the door, no words were spoken, we simply hugged each other and cried. She later revealed that when I knocked on her door she had just prayed and asked God to send her a friend like me. He answered her prayer quickly and answered it beyond what she had asked by sending me and not someone similar to me. I learned that she had hit a rough patch in life and pulled back from me and everyone else rather than drawing closer in her time of need. We picked up that day just where we left off and our friendship has never been stronger.

Take action now: Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other” (God’s Word Translation).

Embrace this truth: Make sure your friends know they have a safe place with you and don’t be too proud to take the first step toward restoring a friendship.

“The Balancing Act”

Chasing after money at the expense of your family, your integrity or your good name can leave you poorer than you can imagine. We all need money to survive, but don’t make the mistake of pushing your love of money ahead of everything else. I have friends who have worked two full-time jobs to maintain a certain lifestyle, but their kids got involved in risky behavior because they were working long hours, and not spending time at home and giving the children the attention and guidance they needed. Marriages often get in trouble for this same reason: one spouse is steadily climbing the corporate ladder to success, but their spouse is lonely.

To be clear, I don’t believe that God wants us to walk in the Ministry of Poverty, I’m simply saying don’t chase after riches and neglect everything else. Our first ministry should be our family. Don’t allow yourself to be a wonderful provider, but a so-so spouse or parent. Balance is key. When you’re home with your family, be in the moment. Disconnect from electronic devices and tune in to your family. Beware: pre-teens/teens may not appreciate your extra effort immediately and may even be suspicious of your motives. Give them time. They’ll eventually thank you for making them your priority.

Take action now: Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction(Ephesians 6:4, Good News Translation).

Embrace this truth: Set a goal to leave a legacy of love — this type of legacy will outlast your bank accoun

“Elevate!”

My hubby and I are headed to a couples’ retreat tomorrow and I’m looking forward to connecting/reconnecting with him. The daily grind and responsibilities of life require some downtime as often as possible. This is the 6th annual conference hosted by As One Ministry (Kyle and Tranette Sanders) and this year’s theme is “Elevate”, which means: to lift (something) up, to increase the level of (something), to make (something) higher to raise (someone) to a higher rank or level.

Couples doing well in their marriage don’t often see the benefit of attending a marriage retreat, but EVERYTHING can be improved. A good marriage can be great, when the right tools are implemented. Couples struggling in their marriages may think that attending a marriage retreat would be a waste of time and energy, but I have personally witnessed couples who attended this marriage retreat declaring it as a “last ditch effort” to save their marriage and before the weekend was over, God had turned them back to one another and restored their love for one another.

Please pray for each couple attending this year’s retreat and ask God to Elevate each couple to the next level – spiritually, financially, and emotionally.

“Happy Mother’s Day”!

As we pause to honor mothers today, let us not forget to appreciate those unsung heroines who didn’t give birth to us, but mothered us as though they did. Big Mama, Grandma, Nana, Auntie and mothers and sisters in the church taught us by example and loved us even when we didn’t love ourselves. Some ruled with toughness (because we needed it) while others quietly allowed us to fall and fail and then gently guided us back to the right path.

A mother’s job is often thankless: infants throw up on you, teens are annoyed with you and young adults think they don’t need you…but life happens and we realize that there’s no love like a mother’s love. THANK YOU and Happy Mother’s Day to those who take time to mother us!

Take action now: Pray for all mothers today. Their job is not easy and many make mistakes along the way. Scripture for meditation: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her (Proverbs 31:28, ESV).

Embrace this truth:  Being a mother is not as easy as it looks!