Thursday, March 26, 2009

Real Moms, Real Jesus

Today I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Jill Savage. Jill’s recent book Real Moms…Real Jesus, just released, and I wanted to ask her about her real mom moments..

Jill, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Mark and I have been married 25 years and we have five children. Anne is 24 and married to our wonderful son-in-love, Matt. Evan is 21 and married to our beautiful daughter-in-love, Julie. Erica is 18 and a college student at Heartland Community College. Kolya is 15 and in the 8th grade. We adopted Kolya at the age of 9 from Russia---the God story about his adoption is included in the Real Moms…Real Jesus book. And Austin is 12 and in the 7th grade.

Tell us about your newest book Real Moms...Real Jesus?
Real Moms…Real Jesus is a book designed to help moms understand that when Jesus lived on this earth he was fully God, yet fully man. We don’t often think about the fact that he was a human being and he lived the full human experience: pain, hunger, fatigue, frustration, betrayal, disappointment. He experienced it all!

There’s one verse in the Bible about Jesus that simply says “large crowds followed him everywhere he went.” Well, isn’t that the life of a mom? Large crowds follow her to the bathroom. They follow her to the kitchen. To the grocery store. She’s in high demand! And when Jesus lived on this earth, He was in high demand, too.

Why did you want to write this book?
Most of us long for a friend who understands. Yes, we need girlfriends who understand what our life is like. But we also need to understand that we have a friend who understands in Jesus. Too many of us think of God as being distant and unable to relate to our daily struggles. But nothing could be further from the truth! He understands and he wants us to build our friendship with Him. He wants to not only be our Savior, but also our Friend.

What do you hope your readers will gain from this book?
I hope that readers will gain a new perspective about their relationship with Jesus. I also hope to weave God’s truth into the daily life of a mom.

What unique elements will the reader find in Real Moms…Real Jesus?
Each chapter looks at some character trait in Jesus’ life that can help us in our life as a mom. In between the chapters are interactive vignettes that provide brief, refreshing glimpses into our real, messy, busy lives.

There are also questions at the end of the chapter for further consideration and suggested Bible reading in the book of Matthew. If the reader chooses to pursue the suggested reading, she will have read the book of Matthew completely by the end of the book!

There is also a leader’s guide in the back of the book so it can be used in a group setting.

This is a Hearts at Home book. What is Hearts at Home?
Hearts at Home is an organization that encourages, educates, and equips women in the profession of motherhood. Hearts at Home encourages moms through annual conferences, our extensive website (, a free bi-weekly electronic newsletter, a radio program, and an entire line of books designed to meet the needs of moms all over the world!

Any closing thoughts?
I am very excited about this book! I believe that if a mom can strengthen her relationship with Jesus Christ, she will feel more equipped to be the mom she wants to be. I’m also offering an online book discussion on my blog beginning Tuesday, April 7. If you’d like to join us, you can subscribe to my blog at

I’d love to hear a reader’s thoughts after they read the book, too! You can connect to me through my blog at

Thanks, Jill, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your real mom, real Jesus moments with us.

You can purchase your own copy of Real Moms…Real Jesus by clicking here.

And be sure to check out Hearts at Home, their conferences for moms, and all their online resources

Mark your calendar

It is official, I along with 4 other women are following God into the land of the unknown and organizing a women's conference. Here are a few details, with more to come!

Rise and Shine Women's Ministries (Women from Northeast Iowa churches) presents:
Rise and Shine Women's Retreat
Be Encouraged...Refreshed...Renewed

The Rise and Shine Women's Retreat is designed to:
Encourage you to "rise" up to who God created you to be
Refresh you on your walk of faith
Renew your strength to "shine" His light.

Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1 (NIV)

Proverbs 31 Team Speaker, Renee Swope will be our keynote speaker...speaking twice at the retreat. There will also be a time of reflection ...a time set apart for reflecting, sharing, connecting and applying. We'll also enjoy worship time, friends and fellowship.

When: Saturday, October 31, 2009
Time: 9 AM to 3 PM
Where: Orchard Hill Church
Cedar Falls, Iowa

We pray you will be able to join us as we all come together to "Rise and Shine!"
Stop back again for more details and post any questions as they arise!

Monday, March 23, 2009


"You must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don't be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Then the Lord touched my mouth and said, "See, I have put My words in your mouth!" Jeremiah 1:7b-9

Nearly two and a half years ago, I opened my prayer journal and the above verse was at the top of the page. The words struck me and have continued to be powerful since that September night in 2006.

You see, at the time God had put a book on my heart, but my doubts led me to believe it wasn't possible and maybe I had gotten the wrong message. After sharing my first 20 pages with a close friend, she encouraged me in my work and advised that I keep seeking God's direction.

I did just that and like I said, He led me to the words above. And though I doubted my ability to write a book, the words in Jeremiah reminded me though my fingers would strike the keys, it was God who would supply the words.

And that He did! At times I'm excited, but most of the time I'm a bit scared, you see my walk of faith will be available for the world to read in two months. Letters from Leanne - The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship has just moved past the final editing deadline.

As this process comes to completion, I know God isn't finished. He hasn't just asked me to write a book, now He is showing me I will have to speak about this. Which is scary - writing alone in my basement is one thing, speaking in front of others is another. But if it's God's will, I know He will make it happen. And in a way, He has as I've shared my story with our MOPS group, in my women's Sunday School class and on my blog. But each time I finish, I have the feeling that I could have done better...

Which brings me to what this post is all about - about a year ago, I read about Proverbs31 She Speaks conference for the first time. A conference designed to encourage and educate women and teenage girls who feel called to speak, write, blog or lead ministry. When I first read about it, the thought of me attending never crossed my mind, but last July as I read posts from those who attended, God really put it on my heart.

At the time my book was being reviewed by a few publishers and I knew speaking would be part of the journey, so I began praying for God's guidance in all of this. By the end of July I was convinced to start saving money even though the thought of me, an Iowa farm wife traveling across the US was scary - it seemed this was what God wanted...

Until mid-August when we found out we were expecting our 4th child. Initially I was shocked, because this didn't line up with our plans at all, but in time I embraced the idea and looked forward to welcoming a new member of our family.

That joy didn't last long; on August 30 I had a miscarriage and had to say good-bye to a baby I would never hold. The experience was painful, but yet God was at work. I had yet to hear about any plans for my book, but prior to the miscarriage had really wrestled with the idea of publishing or not.

You see not everyone is in favor of me sharing my story because some don't understand my faith. But as God led me through the darkest days I've ever experienced my faith became stronger and so did my desire to share. Just 10 days after our loss, I was presented the opportunity to sign a contract for my book.

Now we fast forward to this past January when the editing process is in full swing and the publisher is beginning to discuss promotions of the book, the She Speaks conference comes back to mind. A dream I thought had died seemed to be resurrected.

Though it felt God was leading me there, my reasons for not attending were much greater in number. No matter what excuse I thought of, it still came back to the biggest "pro" there was - God was telling me to go.

One day I showed the website to my husband and he asked if it would be beneficial and after I answered yes, he said, "I don't know if I'd send you alone." So I approached my friend and co-author about the possibility of us going together. She was excited about the idea until she heard the dates, July 31-August 2. She will be leading a High School mission trip in Colorado at that time, so I thought the dream had died again.

Until my husband tells me you could fly and meet up with one of the blogger girls, so why don't you register. Again I was surprised, but I kept putting it in God's hands. Which is a constant necessity because it seems I'm trying to convince Him I can't do this.

So much so that in late January, I wrote this, "Lord, are you calling me to do this by myself? I don't know, please show me. Driving home I was thinking about this - why do you want me to go? Do you have plans I don't understand? I know you do, but is this part of it? I thought of Renee telling us how you give us experiences so we can share and I think of all that's happened and wonder what you will do with that. I don't know, but I let my mind go and then I thought, 'is that what I want?' Honestly I was thinking about what that meant - stepping out, change, being in the light and my answer was no, but God then you reminded me, it's not about what I want. It's all about you."

Time has continued to pass and for awhile I had myself convinced I was to attend, but I've kept those thoughts to myself for fear of others thinking I'm crazy. And events of the last week have me doubting once again and wondering how God is putting this all together - me, a shy farm girl, who's family thinks I'm too "religious" writing a book, attending a conference in North Carolina that will equip me to speak up about my faith.

Sometimes it makes no sense at all, but God keeps moving me forward. So much so that last week I read Lysa TerKeurst's blog and she shared that they were giving away a registration to She Speaks. My reaction was similar to my initial thoughts about the conference - that sounds great...for someone else. But today my husband said, "There's a reason you read that."

I know there is and I'm wondering if it's for confirmation. Obviously if I won, I'd get the message that this is part of God's plan for me, but I also know He just might work by me simply putting these thoughts out there for you to read.

I'll close with my final thoughts from my prayer journal back in September of '06 and though I worry and doubt this is still the prayer of my heart, "Lord, I want to do your will - show me and Lord, then give me the confidence, strength and ability. I know I can trust you!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pressing On

This weeks chapter in Jennifer Rothschild’s book was about Pressing On. And again the timing amazes me. Much of her talk is about pressing on when we’ve made a mistake, but right now I’m involved in pressing on when times are difficult.

I’m still not sure what all lies ahead, but daily things are happening that make me ask God, “What is going on?” I know there are times when I need to trust rather than understand and it feels like now is one of those times. As I struggle with what is taking place I know I must keep speaking truth to myself and most of the time I am, but yet there are moments that it is just hard.

Sometimes life just doesn't make sense...we wonder...God how can you use this for good? Why do I have to walk this road? What is going on?

Pressing on is never an easy thing to do, but it’s exactly what we need and God wants, so my prayer is that is what I will do. And I thank you for your prayers as well. I will be back with more details as they unfold. Blessings.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In need of rest...

It is once again Tuesday, time for Lelia's study on Jennifer Rothschild's book Self Talk, Soul Talk. This week we're looking at the idea of rest for our soul and what a timely topic that is.

It seems the last ten days have been filled with some unexpected events. Really it's not events as it's an isolated matter, but it's one that has consumed my thoughts. My mind has been taken over by the what if's, worries and fears of where this might lead.

The other night as we turned off the lights, I told my husband I wished I could turn off my mind. If it was only that easy - flip a switch and the thinking stops. But it seems to have the opposite effect, I turn the lights off and the speed of my mind only seems to pick up. So once again these Yes to God Tuesdays are just what I need.

It is obvious my soul needs to chill out!! Jennifer reminded me that I have control over this - this "kind of rest is a decision." Wow, that is big! I can't let my mind control me, I have to control it. And sometimes that means choosing to shut it off.

How can I do this? I think she answered that question with these words, "Our souls ultimately find rest in God." I have to turn to him and realize my need for the rest only he provides.

So tonight when I turn out the lights, I'll start talking to Him rather than listening to myself. I know He will provide just what I need - rest, wonderful rest...not just for the body, but more importantly for my soul.