Anita Carman's Blog
March 3, 2014
Reflections on Relationship
“Unity in Relationship”
Written by: Anita Carman
It wasn’t until God had brought my spiritual mentor to be with him in heaven that I realized why God had placed her in my life.
Before her friendship, the only significant female character I had in my life was a mother who had been overcome by the hardships of her life. I was hiding deep inside me the history of a mother who had taken her own life and given up on God’s dreams for our future. Deep within, I knew my insecurities from my relationship with my mother. I wavered between confidence and doubt and I desperately wanted to break free from those emotional chains. God, in his wisdom and mercy, gave me a spiritual mentor who demonstrated resolve to serve God’s purpose no matter the cost. In spite of her physical limitations, she was determined to reach the world and inspire women towards their purpose. She developed in me the character to keep going. She taught me that in God’s plans there was nothing we should withhold, and together we served with radical joy.
We are united in how God uses each of us to accomplish his greater purpose.
In building the Inspire Women ministry, my spiritual mentor and I were able to help each other for years! She was my sounding board, my accountability partner, my witness and my prayer warrior. After my spiritual mentor went home to be with God, her passing caused me to reminisce on all the times we leaned on each other as we chased after God’s plans. The more I thought about our relationship the more I realized God’s amazing ingenuity. From the beginning God created us to be people who crave relationship and when we create unity, not just with each other, but with God as well, we are able to use that unity for his purpose.
Unity can be a lofty idea, but it is the evangelism strategy to continue showing the world who Jesus is.
Although we would hope to maintain healthy relationships free of struggle or differences, our imperfect nature guarantees that sometimes disharmony will arise. Even still, we are called by God to “love one another as he has loved us”. We have been forgiven over and over again, and we get to forgive over and over again. We are the ones who get to release grudges. We are the ones who should let offenses go, and give someone the benefit of the doubt. We have to choose not to be offended and submit our differences to the greater mission of sharing God’s message of forgiveness and love in the world.
After I was informed of my spiritual mentor’s passing, the daunting reality of never being able to consult her again descended on me like an avalanche.
I had fallen into an emotional pit recycling over the loss of one of my dearest friends. I thought that I would never recover, and then in my heart I realized the gift of our relationship. Instead of regretting that my spiritual mentor was no longer here on earth, I knew God wanted me to celebrate the gift of our friendship. And not just celebrate that gift, but honor it through continuing our mission. My human tendency is to insist on the past or to have an emotional fit when relationships don’t go according to my plans. However, God has taught me that my spirit-controlled response should be to trust in the people he has placed around me, and to continue to create oneness in the body of Christ through those relationships.
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February 24, 2014
Reflections on Relationship
“Knowing Who You Are”
Written by: Anita Carman
When I no longer know who I am, I am forced to rethink my life. I consider my past, present and future.
Going through this, I feel like I am drowning in a sea of possibilities. My tendency is to revisit every crossroad of my past. I agonize over every choice I made, tirelessly wondering whether or not I made a wrong choice somewhere along the way. After I have exhausted every memory, I go down every rabbit trail into the future. As I travel through the continuum of possibilities, I find I am also reducing myself to an emotional pulp.
As if the possibilities of my past and future are not enough, I find myself contemplating my purpose in the present.
When we are at the crossroads of life our decisions seem to become all-consuming. We start to feel the panic and anxiety of making long term decisions. You may find yourself asking questions like, “Am I really at a crossroad?” “Is God testing me?” or “How do I interpret the events that come my way?” We also consider the added complications of time and financial commitments and uncertainty begins to heavily set in.
If we are opening ourselves up to uncertainty we are leaving the door open for Satan to cause more doubt.
Do you ever find yourself looking at others? Maybe you say to yourself, “I wish I were like her.” When I compare my success to the success of others there is this small nagging voice telling me, “You didn’t do good enough.” That is usually the voice that pulls me into the depths of despair and inadequacy. When I compare my life to the lives of others, I find myself looking at my to-do list & thinking “Who cares anyway?” With that thought, I know Satan is trying to rob me of my joy. Satan tries to trick us into believing that we are nameless and insignificant in the Kingdom of God.
I have taught time and time again that we must find our significance not in what we do, but in who we are because of Jesus’s sacrifice on Calvary. And yet, when we consider the people around us who have their significance through their position, we get this worrying feeling that our significance has yet to be determined. So we feel overwhelmed. We want to throw in the towel because no matter how much we do, the results are not tangible enough.
Today whether you are serving in your home, your work, in your neighborhood your identity and purpose remains the same. We were all created to be a force for good, a voice for righteousness and an expression of our heavenly Father. You can relax in your identity. You can relax, because God wants to weave the story and events of your life into purpose for him. How strange it seems to those of us who try to make life perfect out of our own strength, to find only God can weave together perfection from our life story. I want you to know today that Satan wants to strip you of God’s perfect plans and identity for you. Satan wants you to feel nameless, lost and insignificant. It delights him to see you unsure of God’s power to make imperfections perfect. Before you go another day suppressing your inadequacies and uncertainty, I want you to know that the Word of God will set you free. Through the noise that Satan tries to confuse you with, I want you to hear God. When you hear His voice speaking to you, I pray that it would be the life raft saving you from the depths.
When I realize that Jesus Christ made me as his workmanship to do good works, everything else disappears.
Inadequacies, uncertainty and insignificance fall away. Make your testimony about a God who made you, delighted in you, and proclaimed with satisfaction, “It is good, it is good, it is good.” God looked at everything he made, including you, and it was very good.
Share your thoughts on this weeks Online Bible Study material by COMMENTING BELOW!!!
February 17, 2014
Written by: Anita Carman
I recently went to visit someone who lived in a house without heat. When she opened the door I saw she was wheeling herself around the place with one of those double handed walkers that looked like a shopping cart. When she saw me her eyes lit up and she displayed a toothless smile. Her entire top front row teeth were missing. The first thought that hit me was, “What a contrast in friends I have! Would one crowd want to be seen with the other?” Then God whispered this truth to my heart: “Jesus came to die for her too!” Even though we may be impressed with ourselves, God sees all of humanity as wretchedly poor. So the next time I start to think too highly of myself I remind myself of the friend with the toothless smile. And I say, “Thank you God for dying for everyone one of us! Not one of us deserved to be saved but you saw past our wretchedness to the identity you gave us as sons and daughters of the King! Thank you for seeing us as royal and deciding we were worth saving!”
February 12, 2014
Written by: Anita Carman
When two people share a meal without saying a word I used to think they have grown bored with each other. Today, I see something different. There is beauty in shared silence. True love that has endured over the years is depicted by two people in their eighties who know everything about each other and still cling to each other as a confidante, best friend and lifetime companion.
When I think of Valentine’s, I ask God to help me be a friend who can stand the test of time. Is there someone I can love unconditionally through every season? Is there someone who needs me to believe in them no matter what? Is there someone I want the privilege to be the one to say, “Of all the millions of people in the world, there is no one who will love you more than me. I want to be the one to lessen the burden. Oh let me be the one to love you because no one can love you more! Let me be the one who loves you best!”
February 3, 2014
Written by: Anita Carman
What is your definition of love? How do you show it?
Love is when we desire to be what someone needs us to be. It is when we are willing to say, “You matter to me and I want to be the one to love you the way you need to be loved.” It takes a real dying to self to love someone that way. I don’t think we can love that way in our own strength. It takes God to give us what we need so we in turn can pour into someone else what they need.
January 29, 2014
Written by: Anita Carman
I hear the term servant leadership tossed around a lot but I find that it takes a lifetime to really understand how to serve as a servant. Even during times when I think I’m a servant, I find myself with an attitude where I am patting myself on the back for being a servant. Without meaning to, I have committed the sin of pride. I think true servant leadership is when we choose to humble ourselves to show grace the way God showed grace. He could have demanded payment. Instead, He paid the cost of our sins and showed us favor. I serve as a servant leader when I am willing to carry someone else’s load and pay for someone else’s mistake without complaining. I serve as a servant leader when I give up my rights and invest in the potential of those around me.
January 20, 2014
Written By: Anita Carman
How does Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspire you?
As I pondered the legacy of a great leader, three words came to my mind: Conviction, Courage and Cost. I am inspired by Dr. King because he had clear convictions. He knew what was worth fighting for and he was relentless in his purpose. What mission do you serve? Is your mission worthy of your life and the God you serve?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not choose himself to be the leader of a movement. He simply lived his convictions every day. Then when he saw the opportunity to change history, he had the courage to change the world. What can you do today that could change lives for a family, a community, or a city?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood the cost of a big dream. All great leaders do. What about you? If God has entrusted you with a big dream, have you put a limit on the cost you are willing to pay to help the dream become a reality? What dream do you have that is worth any cost?
January 7, 2014
Written by Anita Carman
When I look back at 2013, I am in awe of how God carried me through a difficult season. I struggled with losing my spiritual mentor who was also my best friend. How do you keep going without the person who was there at the beginning when God first entrusted you with a dream?
I learned that friends are a gift from God. However, in the end, the Holy Spirit is the only forever friend that will continue with us. I learned that during the times when I miss an earthly friend, I need to lean in and draw upon my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I need to trust God’s timing and continue serving where God has put me. I need to role model endurance to those serving with me and know that one day when God takes me home, they will keep serving because that was what they saw me do. I learned that we were created for service and when circumstances disorient us we will find our way when we can say, “This one thing I know. No matter what is happening, I will keep serving the Lord!” Service then becomes our “sure thing”. And when life feels confusing, we just need to know of a sure thing we can choose to do.
With the Holy Spirit as the wind beneath me, what does God have in store for me in the year 2014? I know there are people who set goals for the year and I think it’s great when you can be that structured. I find for myself that God lets me have general goals but asks me to leave room where He can change or redirect the agenda. Every year, there are doors that God opens that I could not possibly have anticipated. There are challenges that arise that had God warned me ahead of time they would have scared me. Sometimes you just need to trust the grace will be there when you need it. So as I face the year 2014, I enter it knowing that the same God who has carried me all these years will do so again. Every year offers me more evidence that God is faithful. He takes me from faith to faith. Every year I learn to trust Him more.
Anita Carman is Founder and President of Inspire Women. With a special focus on mentorship and leadership training, she leads Inspire Women to annually disciple over 800 leaders and funds more than 100 scholarships and ministry grants for a singular purpose: to invest in women who change the world. She has a heart to listen for God’s dreams through women of all ethnic groups and economic levels to inspire them to find their spark and live at their God given potential.
December 31, 2013
Written by Anita Carman
Question of the Month: What season are you in? What will you do differently in your new season?
Happy New Year!!! I often hear people talk about New Year resolutions and what they will do differently in the New Year. Over the years, I have learned that the activities that have enduring power stem from my identity rather than a to-do list. Instead of asking, “What will I do?” I would rather ask, “Who do I think I am?” Has God changed my season? Has God changed my role? Once I settle who God wants me to be I will then know what I am to do. For example, when my kids left the nest, I sensed God was sending me to make an impact for Him in the world. He had cleared my plate of other responsibilities and for the first time in my life I could throw my time into being an ambassador for Christ. In this new season as Christ’s royal ambassador, how will I serve? I serve best when I recognize my season and serve accordingly.
December 24, 2013
Written by the Inspire Staff
Question: What was your favorite Christmas memory and what did you learn?
Anita Carman (Founder/President): I remember the first Christmas I was in this country. Six months earlier, I had left my country for college in America and this was my first Christmas away from home. I felt displaced and wasn’t sure where I fit anymore, especially with the recent loss of my mother. But I remember looking forward to my Dad’s visit and feeling that as soon as we see each other, I would feel whole again. It was like he had become my compass. I learned from that experience that home is not a physical place. Home is a relationship. When we are with those we love, we are at home. This lesson taught me something about God. Christmas is God’s way of opening the way for His children to return home. But home is more than the physical place of heaven. Home is reconnecting our lives with God’s purpose and being in a relationship with God. When our heart beats as one with God’s, our spirit rests in that place called home. Merry Christmas!!
Mia Yoo (Vice President-Houston): My most vivid memory of Christmas is that I am usually sick during this holiday. I run hard, fast and healthy all year round, and when I finally get to rest for the Christmas holiday, I am sick! I am sure it’s God’s way of getting me to slow down.
My most memorable Christmas sickness was in 2008. Inspire Women moved into their first ever permanent headquarters 2 days before Christmas. My skinny little arms were moving boxes and furniture, and everyone kept telling me that I didn’t look well. Since I had given birth to my first child in April of that very same year, it never crossed my mind that I could possibly be sick because I was pregnant again! Especially since I had been told that I have infertility issues, but after weeks of medication, cancelling my New Year’s Eve party due to a” stomach virus”, I took a pregnancy test and sure enough, I was pregnant! I thought I had everything you could possibly think of in my stomach, except a baby. I am blessed with 2 beautiful kids, 16 months apart.The doctors said I had a fertility problem, but thank goodness that God decided to give me a miracle. He not only gave me His son at Christmas, but He also gave me my own son too! I thank God for His miracles at Christmas!
Tatiana Fox (Development Officer): Funny story, my favorite Christmas memory was the “torture” my parents used to put me through on Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve, my whole family would sleep downstairs by the tree, watch the lights and listen to Christmas music. I always thought that we did that so my brothers and I could get to the presents faster. But every year, as we would wake up and run toward the tree to open our presents, my parents would stop us. This happened every year, you would think we would have known better after awhile. And every year they would always say the same thing, “we can’t open presents until we have devotions and give thanks for the gift of God’s son.” Do you know what that does to a child? As I sat their looking at my presents, which were so close in reach, my parents proceeded to read the passage about Christ’s birth. No matter how antsy we got, my parents would not be rushed. They would explain why it was so important the God sent Christ as a baby in Bethlehem and why the giving of gifts and sharing time with your family is symbolic on Christmas day. Then each of us would say a prayer. My parents would always pray for people who couldn’t be with their families, or couldn’t afford gifts(and boy did their prayers seem extra long on Christmas morning). After that we would be released to tear into the presents.
In retrospect, I completely understand why they did what they did. They wanted their family to understand that Christmas was not about getting presents, but it was about God’s greatest sacrifice as He sent His only son into the world, knowing what the end result would be. Let’s just say when I have kids, they will be experiencing the same kind of “torture” I went through. Merry Christmas.
Lauren January (Leadership Intern): My immediate and extended family members (aunts, uncles, cousins, second and third cousins) make it a point to gather together on Christmas Eve every year. We spend the entire day watching football, making tamales and playing board games until midnight. At midnight we open up our gifts all at once. The piles of shredded wrapping paper, bows and ribbons are always a sight to see. Every year goes the same way and it never seems to get old. I think that is because we are a kind of a rowdy bunch and it keeps things interesting. One Christmas Eve sticks out in my memory because we opted to go out instead of staying in and passing time. My aunt decided she was going to treat all of the kids to the drive-in movie theatre. We took blankets, hot chocolate, candy and chips. Anything we thought we might need was packed tightly in my aunt’s vehicle. I sat in front, sandwiched in the bench seat with two of my other cousins. We were ecstatic to say the least. I am sure at some point during the noisy ride to the drive-in my aunt regretted volunteering herself as a chaperon. I cannot say what movie we watched, because I don’t remember. I do remember being elated by the opportunity to eat candy, drink hot chocolate and laugh alongside my cousins at that drive-in theatre.
Normally when I would return to school from the Christmas holiday my friends would be clamoring about skiing in Colorado, touring New York and things of the like. Obviously, there is no contest between touring New York and a trip to the drive-in movie theatre. Still, when I look back on that memory I think about how happy I was to be going to the drive-in. I can never recreate the memory of our spur-of-the-moment Christmas Eve trip to the drive-in and that is why it is so special to me.
Donna Wong (Volunteer Ministry Coordinator): When our boys were little, Henry and I would wait for them to go to sleep so we could find all their gifts we hid through out the house(up in the attic, etc) and get them to the tree w/out waking them up. They were always trying to find our hiding places. The look on their faces Christmas morning always warmed our hearts.
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