Important Invitations

I’m an introvert. Like a lot.

When I receive a party invite for the kids - immediately following comes a big sigh. Another one? Do we need to go to this? What other kids are going to be there? Any parents I know? What is my day going to look like? Will I have the energy and people reserve to do this? In fact, selfishly and unashamedly admit that whether the kids want to go is at the bottom of my list.

As Christians, we use the terminology of calling. God calls me into this - God leads me into this. That’s fine.

However, in the last several years there has been a new phrase in my Spirit, and it’s “God invites me”. It gives me the reminder that He is hosting the party, and it’s happening whether I come or not. Yet, I have the privilege of being invited. 

What I do with that invitation is up to me. I want to be at His party. Who wouldn’t? Yet, I size it up just like those birthday invites. What will it be like? Will I be accepted? Will it be comfortable? Do I have what it takes? Who will come? 

Which makes sense in our humanity that so desires to resist unknown and uncertainty. We like control. We want to know what to expect.

More often than not, God extends an invitation but gives us very little more - He asks us to step forward in faith. And, as we take each step forward, He will lead us to the next.

Unfortunately, that is NOT our preferred method - at least not mine.

The problem arises because what I want and how I want it often rages against His way, His purpose, His process. There may be similarities and then it just detours from a certain point. I can stand at the place of the detour, cross my arms, and say nope I want to do it my way. OR, I surrender - breathe deeply and trust that His path is better and right. God’s purposes will be prevail, and I want to be a part of them.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps - Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

God promises to give me courage to accept these invitations in His purposes that seem more than I can handle.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

He assures me that His strength will empower me, and I can walk in that strength bravely even in the midst of a little fear or uncertainty. That eventually, fear will give way to a courage that comes from the power of Christ within me.

There are little invitations God gives us every day. What are we going to do with them? And are we too busy and scheduled to even see and hear the invite? Are we wrapped up in our own efforts and systems to hear and receive the invitation? Can we receive the courage He offers and accept that invitation into His work and plan even when we are walking into the unknown?


The Destination is Worth the Journey

No one’s journey in life looks like another’s - this can become a source for an overwhelming sense of loneliness for some, yet it can also be the catalyst for a deeply personal relationship to form...With God!

Great Rock Bight Beach, Martha's Vineyard - Red Algae clinging to a Rock

Great Rock Bight Beach, Martha's Vineyard - Red Algae clinging to a Rock

Here on Martha’s Vineyard, a world-renowned vacation destination, there’s always more to explore somehow, an island of only 100 square miles holds limitless natural treasures - all God’s astounding creation. From the first moment I understood my family and I might suddenly & soon come to live here year-round, God began to use the island as an object lesson - that with GOD, ALL things are POSSIBLE!

Leading up to the development of this opportunity, over a span of almost four years, God taught our family how to endure a steep, rocky, tiring journey - one that involved only pain after pain, yet in time, victory upon victory. He taught us that a Christ-following Christianity WILL involve discomfort, loss, even seasons of chronic trauma.

We were blessed - even then...We’re blessed now. God’s love for us and His care and faithfulness did not change, but instead, our understanding of His character changed. We LEARNED, and we learned that the God of our hearts could be trusted! And isn’t that all that matters?

 And now, WE can be a source of comfort and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ and their families when they are blindsided by pain and dilemmas that threaten their emotional and spiritual strength (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We tell them, “If God could see us safely through our horrific trials, He can and will do the same for you, for His love for you is eternal & unconditional. Nothing separates you from His love! Hold onto His promises and stay the course.”

This earth, and what we experience here, my friends, is not the destination- it’s never THE destination. Our true home, our heavenly one, is every believer’s journey’s END. How we live the journey will determine the sweetness of our destination experience. 

May I share with you what came to bring us the truest and deepest help & comfort in our season of prolonged distress? It was learning that:

WHEN you face a long road ahead without the promise and hope of change - Remain Honest with God - Yet Yielded (Psalm 51:6). [See next photo]

The Great Rock Bight Trail, West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard

The Great Rock Bight Trail, West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard

WHEN you face the daunting task of climbing - when all you feel you can do is crawl, lean on God and cast every care at His feet so that you’re relieved of your heavy burdens (Isaiah 58:6b). [See next photo]

One of the many sets of stairs on this trail - at the top, my husband Matt

One of the many sets of stairs on this trail - at the top, my husband Matt

WHEN you face your worst nightmare in your circumstances, take shelter in the shadow of God’s wings through prayer and private & public worship, even when it seems futile (Psalm 36:7). [See next photo]

A capture of my husband in prayer as he rests on the trail...

A capture of my husband in prayer as he rests on the trail...

WHEN you face fears and accusations that come directly from the Kingdom of Satan - rest in the loving arms of Jesus for a time & seek a word of comfort from Him (John 15:9). [See next photo]

At the Beach - Our daughter Madelyn, 10 years old, with her Dad

At the Beach - Our daughter Madelyn, 10 years old, with her Dad

WHEN you face an abyss of worries and doubts, look to God to show you how to walk on firm ground - which is the constancy of His devotion & of His sovereignty (YOU are not alone)! (Isaiah 41:10) [See next photo]

A small bridge built over a gully crossing the Great Rock Bight Trail

A small bridge built over a gully crossing the Great Rock Bight Trail

You may have noticed my repeated use of the phrase: “WHEN you face...” It is for this purpose -

One of the critical principles Jesus taught me as His daughter was that: in order to thrive and not just survive my Job-like troubles, I had to FACE them - I had to push through the pain to the other side no matter what. Did I come away without scars? No, much like a grim heavy-weight boxer after his bloodying fight, I had wounds needing care and healing. And those needs, God was gracious and careful to provide through the love and support of a life coach, the few friends who remained constant, and through divine revelations & ongoing restorations.

Our journeys may be different, yours and mine, but our God loves us the same - and if we remain faithful to Him, He promises to give us the destination we yearn for deep in our spirits! Allow God to grow you in the journey so that your destination experience might become the very cry of your heart and the sweetest of experiences. God desires our love to be tested and proven - even Jesus endured this... He obediently let Himself be our salvation and only hope of true life even unto His physical death! My friends, true life can be yours only through trust in Jesus Christ.




Joshua 1:9 - “This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." For with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)!

God Bless you~

Liz Splittgerber 

 All Photos by Liz Splittgerber



 Liz works alongside her husband, Rev. Matt Splittgerber, Senior Pastor of Vineyard Assembly of God church on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  She is a devoted Mom of 3 school-age children, she leads the church's Teen Ministry, and teaches English & piano.   

Liz Splittgerber is a published poet.  She currently has a book of her poetry & photography exclusively showcasing the beauty and allure of Martha's Vineyard waiting to be published & another book project fully underway.  She loves to teach, write & song write.  And she is a nature and photography enthusiast - living near the ocean again as an adult is a dream fulfilled.  

Liz battles with multiple chronic Auto-immune diseases daily, yet her greatest desire is to glorify God with her life and to be a blessing to others - young and old.  And the promise she holds on to like the hem of Jesus' garment is God's promise of her physical healing.  Her heart is happiest when she sees God at work drawing people to Himself~ 


Memorializing Life-Giving Moments

There are moments in our lives, a day or week or even month, that are memory markers. Marks in our memory that speak of God's grace and presence in a way that should and hopefully does allow for change. They become memorialized in our story. And, yet, the moment is over-that moment that took your breath away in a really good way. It was a moment where the heart of God was so near, and His voice as clear and soft as though it was a whisper directly into your ear. The same moment that takes our breath away can become in the next breath the moment that drifts slowly away. If we are not careful... If we are not diligent, we can experience and encounter our Creator and Redeemer, and yet walk away with nothing.

I believe these life changing moments require us to take inventory, to reflect, and to record. And, then they call for celebration, for deep heartfelt gratitude for all that God has done in our regard.

The Wholehearted Conference was one of those moments for myself and for many others. The level of let down I feel right combined with being so incredibly tired has made me vulnerable. I must stop and consider before I lose the impact of that weekend. And you must too. 

The verse, "Behold I am doing a new thing"...comes to mind. He is making, always, all things new. And, when a person chooses to take 2 days out of their week to center their soul and spirit on Him and to join in life-giving community, well there is just something powerful that always occurs. God does a new thing in each heart that offer Him the invitation. And this new thing becomes the mark of grace upon our life in that very moment. And the hope is that it truly changes our life, wholly as He would desire.

Yet, if you have experienced these moments-whether at a conference or through any other circumstance or time-you know as I do that there is a let down that occurs when you exit the movement of the moment, and then continue forward.

If we do not pause in this let down, and reflect and respond, we may lose the moment or at the very least dim the impact of the moment. We must have a moment of rest and reflection (which is so apropos since this was one of the themes).

Intentionally carve out a time where we worship and share gratitude to our Father, reflect, take inventory, and then respond.

It's possible we might become distracted by the let down itself. The let down that is represented by heading full force into our current reality. Our next steps, the responsibilities calling to us, and the regular difficulties we were facing come crashing back into view. We take a deep breath and plunge forward. Alright, let's go, back to the daily grind.

For some of us that will be more painful, and for others more distracting and challenging. Some will get caught in the let down itself and enter depression.

And, really, all of this quite normal. However, it can quickly take all of the good received until our "new thing" in Christ and the "making all new" in our heart fades completely.

So, let's not let that happen. What are those moments for you? What have those moments been for you in the past?

In the past, I know there are revelations and life-changing truths that faded more than I care to admit or accept simply because I didn't pause and allow it to penetrate.

Here's to intentionally not allowing the light to dim.

Even now as I pen this to share and encourage, I challenge myself and process the experiences, emotions, and revelations that have occurred over this last weekend.

I am already feeling the let down, or the push to dive back into the responsibilities in front of me. Yet I won't allow it to trap me, distract me, or negate what God has shared and done in me.

As I reflect, I will recount all of His good ways- the beautiful places He brought me in His Word and in communion with Him. I will allow the revelation of His truth, the awareness cultivated in my soul to take root - do its work.

And, then, I will ask how should I respond? What places of surrender should I tread? What roots need to be dug up and what roots need to be planted?

I will remember and respect that through the last few weeks and even days there were painful moments of confusion, uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. Moments when I tried to understand what He was doing or when the very thing He was doing brought grief and pain - the moments when I desired the completed end and yet he wasn't finished. It arose out of great need to know that He was with me, and what I was sensing, experiencing, and hearing was truly and completely from Him alone. Those times are painful. BUT-it will lead me to my knees in acknowledgment of His faithfulness and care for me.

And, I will worship. I will adore my good, good Father who sees me, knows me, and walked with me. The only One who always knows exactly what I need, when I need it, and how I need to receive it. He is perfect, loving in all of His ways. And I REST in amazement of what the Lord has given and what He has done in me.

As we make the necessary pause to reflect and respond, we can be confident that these marks of grace - these life changing encounters-will become deeply rooted into the fabric of who we are. We will look back in gratitude as we remember the time that one more piece of our heart was made new through Christ.


By Christan Causey

Let's Play Pretend - Part II

A little while back, I wrote the first part to this article of Let’s Play Pretend. In this particular article, I want to take a closer look at how we prevent living divided lives as leaders. Revisit Let’s Play Pretend - Part I.

It’s never our desire to harm others. Rarely does a leader intentionally hurt or offend. It can often be attributed to any of the following:

  1. Overworked schedules, and striving for success.

  2. Unending conflict within the church.

  3. Over-identifying with the needs of those they lead.

  4. Lack of accountability or unwillingness to admit failure.

  5. Pride and an unwillingness to submit to regular self-examination led by the Spirit.

  6. Unawareness of the impact of family of origin.

  7. Lack of boundaries and healthy stewardship of power.

  8. Doing more for God than being with God.

  9. Self-protection in the form of severely private lives and lack of close community.

  10. Need to please others, unwilling to deal with conflict, etc.

  11. Misunderstanding of temperament and self-care accordingly.

This list is truly not exhaustive. It’s symptoms I have seen in my own life, in others, and in research as I have studied what it means to lead wholeheartedly.

Whatever the cause, the result remains in a harm that is extended to self and others.

Behavior modification would never be enough - simply because we are powerless to lead with integrity and wholeness on our own. We must have the Spirit of God within that leads us to inward transformation - the overflow of life that truly bears lasting fruit. The fullness of the Spirit in the life of a believer calls for regular self-examination as the Psalmist cried - Search me Oh God, and see if there be any anxious way in me. It calls for transformation from the inside out, a willingness to consistently allow Christ all the way in and invite the Spirit of God into the deepest recesses of our soul.

For example, take the spiritual and religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Divided lives were the way of the Pharisee’s, the religious leaders in Christ’s day. And the harm they did to those around them in their communities was devastating. Christ never held back from calling them out. In one common occurrence when Jesus is teaching to the crowds, - Jesus states directly to the religious leaders and those speaking out against him:

“Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”” John 7:21-24 NLT

In essence, Jesus is saying “check your own actions, motives, and heart”. You look good on the outside but it’s not lining up with what’s beneath the surface on the inside”. 

As leaders, we often spend more time dealing with the external rather than the internal. We deal with others behavior, we call out others motives, and we fix systems and activities. Rarely taking the extended time to examine, call out and hear from God for ourselves.

“Do right” all you want, but if your motives and heart is not pure or in alignment-it falls flat and harms.

We see this again in Matthew 23:25-27 - Jesus is rebuking the spiritual leaders for the divided lives the lead. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”

Dr. Alicia Britt Chole posted this thought just a few days ago, and it speaks so much to the harm of a divided leader.

“Positional authority without personal integrity will inevitably become abusive.”

In Part I of this post, we used Peter Scazzero’s definition of integrity…“Integrity is when who I am on-stage is the same as who I am backstage. It is when there is no separation between what is going on inside of me and what I am expressing outside of me. There is no separation of my inner and outer life.”

This includes hidden and secret sin, but it goes much deeper than that. It’s becoming aware of who we are in Christ, and allowing ourselves to express that fully. It’s realizing that it’s okay not to be okay, and we surround ourselves with a community that we can be vulnerable and transparent with in the ups and downs of this life. We reach beyond ourselves to counselors, coaches, mentors, and pastors. We allow those that we lead to see that we are not perfect, and that we are just as human and in need of grace as they are.
We seek to discover the impact of our family origin, and the ways we self-protect to keep people out.

There is no true perfect solution to this - but there is grace-filled surrender. As we surrender wholeheartedly to Christ, we invite Him all the way in to full transform us from the inside out.

Here are a few simple steps to begin giving space to this transformation: 

1. Lead self-aware. You gain self awareness by hearing the voice of the Spirit through intentional times of self examination and repentance. Here are just a few ways to practice this regularly: receive insight from assessments, invite in a counselor to help you unpack your past and family of origin, learn from skilled authors and teachers that can guide you, find a coach or spiritual director, etc.

2. Establishing regular spiritual practices of silence, solitude, and slowing down to be with Jesus so that you can discern His voice in the midst of daily life. 

3. Invite accountability and a close community that you will allow to know you inside and out-failures, temptations, and all. Make an intentional choice to be vulnerable.  

4. Invite Jesus beyond the surface and into the depths. Challenge your own perceptions of Scripture and the world around you - and then invite the Spirit to speak.  

5. Journal the process.

These are just a few steps! I am learning regularly that this process is an ongoing journey of transformation that we must acknowledge and intentionally invite into our lives as people, but especially as leaders. If we want to love and live wholeheartedly - loving God and others with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind - we must make intentional effort to seek after integrity and wholeness. The Spirit of God will empower the transformation if we give the invitation!

…written by Christan Causey

…written by Christan Causey

Let’s Play Pretend - Part I

As a child, I loved to create stories in my mind. I was typically the main character running the plot, the story always ending on my side as the heroine. 

They say pretend play is one of the best ways a child can learn. After having three children go through different preschool environments, I would have to say that the play-based classroom had the most long-term impact.

My children create the most elaborate pretend games and stories. Anything from superheroes, puppies, family, cops and robbers, “city” (not sure what that is), and more. In fact, they pretend play more than they ever play with actual “hands-on” toys.

As a child, it is cute, a sign of intelligence and creativity. There is a point, though, when pretend play is no longer cute and it’s time to grow up.

We live in a world of pretenders. We all can find ourselves at fault of pretending. In a world where social media has become a prominent way of communicating and connecting, editing out what we would rather not others see - it seems to make a bit of sense that we would become so good at pretending.

The truth is, we can blame social media, but the desire to wear a mask, live a divided life of pretense started at the fall when this broken world was created. We have been battling the lure of division since the beginning of time.

As leaders, we are terribly susceptible. I believe the enemy specializes in the deceptive nature of pretense and divided leaders. For it is in the division of a leaders life that integrity is most at stake and usually broken.

We talk a lot about integrity in leadership. I often hear it referenced or defined in relation to external behavior or honorable actions. Making good behavioral choices, avoiding temptation, and making effort to live honest lives are all incredibly important to our integrity as a leader. And, yet, I think we are still missing it when we talk integrity as a leader.

I have adopted and began studying this concept of integrity defined by Peter Scazzero- “Integrity is when who I am on-stage is the same as who I am backstage. It is when there is no separation between what is going on inside of me and what I am expressing outside of me. There is no separation of my inner and outer life.”

Ouch. That is much easier said than done. And we have to truly reflect on what that really means. I think it means that it goes much farther than behavior modification or external action. It goes farther than simply how we act or perform on stage, in relationships with others, and in ministry.

You and I both know that there can be a war going on in our soul, a fight for survival - and we will continue along with a smile on our face - preaching joy all the while. And, if that is the case, is what’s happening on the outside congruent with what’s inside?

Parker Palmer says it like this: “As we become more obsessed with succeeding, or at least surviving, in that world, we lose touch with our souls and disappear into our roles.”

We focus our efforts on the external both personally and in leadership activity so much that we ignore we might be losing our souls in the process. If we are burnt out, harboring unforgiveness and resentment, if we are angry and scared, wrestling with doubt and confusion...if we pretend to go along to get along...if we keep believing the end justifies the means...if we harm and hurt others through manipulation and passive aggression because we don’t want to face what’s hard and uncomfortable...if we avoid and ignore...if we talk about Jesus and never spend time with Jesus...when we preach things that don’t even align with our own beliefs or expression of faith...the list goes on.

The greatest ways we pretend can often be found in our temperament. I remember in my early years as a young leader. I thought my introverted and melancholy ways would be unacceptable, so I insisted on creating an extroverted self which would please others. Unfortunately, this created more anxiety within me. Something as simple as a church potluck could set me on edge and leave me feeling shame if I spoke with just a few people rather than hopping around the crowd - connecting with every individual. That anxiety and shame would then turn to resentment or even anger towards those under my leadership. It was misdirected and misguided and yet, it influenced my attitude and decisions as a leader. It took multiple years of counseling and self-discovery to learn who I was - was not only acceptable but purposeful in how God called me. It was necessary that I no longer pretend for God to use me the way He desired.

It’s not simply temperament or personality, though. We can be experiencing struggles in mental or physical health, grief, loss, pain of any kind and when we refuse to share even a bit of that vulnerability - we lose a beautiful moment where our community sees us as human and in need of grace and love just as they are. And, when that occurs, Jesus moves beautifully to bind community together.

We are living divided lives. Our efforts to pretend, whether intentional or unintentional, not only disrupts Christ work in us - we inevitably harm others in our leadership.

Countless individuals are harmed and even abused by leaders who live divided lives. The reality is all that lies within us that doesn’t align with what’s on the outside, in whatever way it exposes itself, it will push through our carefully planned portrayal of something else. What lies beneath will lurk around, leak out and potentially - at any point - completely boil over.

Another complexity and severely harmful occurrence that is prevalent today is a lack of vulnerability and transparency as a leader and it not only disrupts accountability. It sets leaders up as heroes, saviors of the world. Inadvertently, a hero complex is developed and we have somehow found ourselves first when we're meant to be second.

Leaders (pastors included) were never meant to be the total authority in a person’s life and we were never meant to save. When we don’t allow others to see our humanity, we set up an environment of pretense for the communities we lead in.

Living with intentional Christ-like vulnerability becomes so important as a leader and in community. Yes, it takes risk and intentionality, but it is vital for healthy leadership and communities.

Living a whole life, undivided, real and authentic is countercultural in many ways due to the risks present. I believe this is what Jesus calls us to as leaders and this is what creates a healthy and safe community. 

Living an undivided life as a leader creates accountability. It tells others this is a safe place, one where you can true to who you are and I will true to who I am and we will experience Christ’s transformation together. It encourages truth and honesty. It builds true community. It is one of the best representations and expressions of Christ’s vulnerable and sacrificial love.

It takes work, risk, effort, and sacrifice. Are we willing as leaders? And, if so, what steps will we take to intentionally seek an undivided life?

...written by Christan Causey

...written by Christan Causey

Rest and Vision

Rest and Vision

These are two words that are so very important in any community, organization, or ministry. And, yet, seeing those two words may give us pause - even feels slightly awkward. Often strong vision correlates with busyness, lots of activity, and great big plans. Rarely, do I think, we consider rest and vision to go hand in hand.

And, yet, here we are. Since the beginning of the year, as director of Women of Influence - I sensed God telling me to tread carefully and sensitively through this year. Efforts for solitude, reflection, prayer, and studying beckoned me. God had more clarity and wisdom to offer related to vision and mission.

In some ways, although we knew God had called Women of Influence to have an online community across the region - we felt divided. It is not our desire to replace or be another “women’s ministry” for those in the Southern New England region or Assemblies of God ministry network. We are called to encourage, empower, and equip - not for the purpose of a region-wide women’s ministry - but for the purpose of caring for women who lead - and women’s leaders in the local church. This is our desire as Women of Influence, and the desire of the ministry network we are a part of - Southern New England Ministry Network. To do that, we needed to narrow our focus and content.

He called me to a season of rest both personally and in ministry. Out of this season, God has begun to speak, lead, and teach. The leadership training I had personally longed for came directly from the heart of God, then leading me to discover other resources and study regarding leadership.

So, as you may have noticed, Women of Influence has taken a bit of hiatus in our social media community. In the meantime, we have taken the effort to give attention specifically to the women’s leaders of local church women’s ministries through the Assemblies of God.

As we move out of this contemplative and restful season of seeking God’s heart, I believe wholeheartedly that He clearly laid out vision and purpose for the next season of Women of Influence.

The vision is simply this: In everything we do as “Women of Influence”, we will pour resource and care into the women’s leaders of this region. Many of our efforts will focus on women’s ministry leaders, and yet we do believe there is a wider call of encouraging those of you leading in your homes, communities, and workplaces - not just church ministry. We also believe God has led us to champion women in their leadership and vocational callings - whatever that looks like. Whether it be in the home, the church, the workplace, and personally.

Therefore, most of the content and community will be centered on what it means to be a woman who leads and influences others in a challenging culture. Part of this vision is to equip women to lead in a way that is wholehearted. (we have a whole conference coming in November specifically focused on what it means to be and live wholehearted). Soul, gut-level leading of others.

God created women as influencers - as leaders. He is calling us forward and giving us a voice. God believes in and delights in the women He creates. There is a level of brokenness and burden that women in leadership have had to carry. I truly believe God is calling us to shed that brokenness and burden - to release the yoke and weight of others and to take on His yoke which is light and restful. He calls us to freedom - a leadership without fight, competition, or need for recognition. God is calling us to lead in the full uniqueness of how He created us, the ways He has gifted us, and full of the Spirit inside of us.

There are always obstacles, hindrances, and more. For generations, it has not been entirely simple for women both within and outside of the church. But that has been slowly changing for some time, and God continues to bring freedom. For example, the #metoo and #churchtoo movement and conversations are a moment that Christian leadership author and speaker, Ruth Hailey Barton, stated: “we must pay attention to what is a “burning bush moment” for all of us. God is doing something, speaking something the midst - we are to learn from and in many of these public conversations regarding women and women in leadership. Healing and restoration are on the horizon, but we must be willing to participate in the conversation. Accept the challenge and even tension - learning to be who God has called us to be - both men and women. The current public conversations regarding women are just one reason why we believe God is calling us to encourage, empower, equip - to “shore” up each other as women and women who lead.

And, yet, that speaks to the necessity of community. Building one another up, championing each other to be ALL that God has made them to be.

We want to invite all of you to continue and engage in this community of women who lead.

With all of that said, we are excited and will continue to be led by the Spirit of God! You will see content and resource coming from our online forums - but we hope to hear from you as well and the struggles you may face in leading in your community. We also want to invite you to share your own stories through our blog and social media outlets. Email me, the current Women of Influence director, at

And don’t forget to sign up for the conference coming in November!

Christan Causey
Women of Influence Director
Southern New England Ministry Network - Women's Ministries


Finding Quiet

Ahh...Spring. We thought you were here. But, alas, not quite yet. 

Can you believe this weather we are experiencing in New England? This Oklahoma girl certainly cannot, and as anxious as I am to get into the beautiful spring and summer days - I remember something.

The sleepy days of winter often turn into crazy, busy days of Spring. Finishing the school year, starting spring sports, running errands, fun activities, church calendar amps up, and things can quickly turn very hectic.

Take a moment and prepare yourself. If we work preventably, maybe it won't catch us by surprise and run us down. 

Learning the art of regular silence and solitude can help us regulate our schedules, move towards wholeness and peace. 

So try this. Close your eyes. Turn off all noise and set the phone aside. Be alone. Then make a guess how long you sat there. 2 minutes, 5 minutes? I can guarantee you it was more like 30 seconds that felt like 2 minutes.

Silence and solitude are two spiritual disciplines that bring vitality and life to our relationship with God. Much fruit can be born from these disciplines, yet they are probably some of the most neglected in Christian faith.

Our spirits are suffering from too much noise and not enough rest, moreover, our souls are literally crushed under the weight of our inability to stop and be silent.

We don’t like to be still and what do they say about silence? Right, it’s deafening.

There is a definition of silence and solitude found in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero that fits the context of these two things as spiritual disciplines.

Solitude is the practice of being absent from people and things to attend to God.

Silence is the practice of quieting every inner and outer voice to attend to God.

I began awhile back  incorporating these disciplines into my week and schedule, and I am still working to incorporate them regularly into each of days. I am getting better. However, it is super hard. I sat at the park this morning and had such a difficulty focusing. My thoughts kept leading me astray. I finally turned my music off, closed my eyes, and finally a few minutes later I  was able to shut everything out. And I began to find my way. The way to Him - my God who offers sweet peace to our frazzled minds.

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, Is. 30:15

I know there have been many times I was simply unwillingly. And it wasn't too long ago that I could barely stand to sit still or quiet unless I was sleeping or reading. To sit completely still with nothing in my hands, it's difficult. To turn off all noise until the "silence is deafening" is not a simple task. Yet, I don't want to miss out on the salvation and strength of my God.

There are a great many benefits in these disciplines of silence and solitude.

John Piper states: One benefit of silence is simply searching the depths of our own souls, asking what our blind spots have become in the rush of everyday life. In the busyness, is there anything important I’m neglecting or repressing? How am I doing in my various roles? What needs refocusing?

Yet, these are the very questions that tend to be the reason we don’t. It is quite difficult for many of us to be still, let alone be silent. If and when we finally do stop and sit still, we need music, we even need the noise of our racing thoughts.

There was a time in my life long ago (much before kids), I would turn on the TV simply for the noise of it. I think sometimes we are afraid if it is too silent then we will no longer be able to drown out our fears, disappointments, and worries. Those things we most want to avoid will become a deafening noise to our ears. Our instinctive response is to protect ourselves by shutting it out and shutting it down. And how best to do this by avoiding solitude and silence? Yet, we need to run headlong into these difficult things. Acknowledge them and bring them to Christ, because that is where healing begins.

Before I begin to implement this discipline, I was often never alone. I had three children, a husband, ministry responsibilities and more. And, although, it can be wonderful to be surrounded by people all of the time - it is not healthy and does nothing to help you grow. We all need moments, several moments, throughout our days where we - like Christ - pull away from the crowd and pray.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. Luke 5:16

Many of us are not willing to stop long enough for God to speak. He longs to cut through the noise of our lives. We need to just stop. Put the phones down, set the laptops aside, let the home projects be for a bit, walk away from the people, and STOP. Step away, be replenished and find rest.

After many years of working to implement this discipline, I suffer greatly if I neglect it. I have been in a longer season of recent months where I neglected this time, and I saw an increase in my anxiety and ongoing feelings of disconnect and chaos. I am working to get back in this rhythm. 

Most importantly, when silence and solitude are incorporated disciplines that are centered on our Father - deep intimacy is formed with Christ and our lives bear much fruit when regularly abiding in Him. We become rooted, established in Him. Which offers the sustaining grace we so desperately need to love God and others well.

We should approach the disciplines of silence and solitude as rhythms in our day, rather a specific formulaic moment we carve out. These rhythms should be a soft balance of intentionality paired with creativity. A rhythm insinuates a depth of feeling, pattern, and consistency. In the rhythms of silence and solitude, the intentionality offers consistency and discipline - while creativity allows us to approach God in regular moments throughout our day rather than “getting our fill” at one time - just hoping it will last through the day. If we are walking deeply in Christ, we have intentional and planned moments with Christ - then there are these beautiful spontaneous moments throughout the day when we stop and feel the rhythm of His heartbeat. We sense we just need a moment with our Creator. We rest and we are quiet.

The disciplines of silence and solitude cannot and should not replace our regular times of focused and centered prayer. Or the regular study and meditation of His Word. They act in supplement to these ever important disciplines that should be a regular part of our week.

May it become a natural rhythm that flows out of a deep desire to know God more, to hear more from Him, and to bare more of our soul to Him. 

It cannot be a matter of adding another item on our to do list or a ritual we factor into our schedules. The very act of solitude and silence speaks to surrender. It declares a longing to abide with the Father, to stop all actions and noise and listen and be WITH God. Therefore, it must be an overflow of the inner work of Christ in one’s life. The more He works in me, the more space he fills in my heart, and the more I want and need to be with Him.

How do we practically implement this into our day? Peter Scazzero in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality discusses these disciplines, and offers great suggestions. Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline is another good one. There are many resources out there, but ultimately you must pray and ask God to give you wisdom in how He will lead you. He made you, created you - He knows what will speak most to you, what will be the most life-giving. It will change with the seasons, it will founded in who you are and what God knows is best for you. But, He will be faithful to give you your own road map.

And remember, as Scazzero states, “The purpose of these disciplines is to remember God and commune with him all through our days.”

How can I be filled with more of God - more of His Spirit? Simple, by making more room in my heart for Him to dwell. Centering my life around Him, regularly surrendering my soul, setting my mind upon Him, inviting Him into each part of my day - this makes room for Him to dwell in me.

...written by Christan Causey

...written by Christan Causey