Summer Shore

Summer Shore is co-founder of Revive Ministries, a writer, speaker, and co-host of the Experience Revival podcast. She has been an on-air personality in Christian radio for the past 6 years and has been speaking and teaching for 18 years, using humor and real-life experiences to connect with women, speak to their hearts and draw them closer to God. She also enjoys singing and leading worship whenever she can. Summer and her husband, Jake, have been married for almost 20 years and have 3 boys that keep her on her toes! Summer loves spending time traveling and going on adventures with her family, especially if it involves going to her favorite Cuban restaurant. When she’s not on the air or working with Revive, you’ll find her curled up in a fuzzy blanket with a mug of chai tea and, you guessed it, a Hallmark movie. You can connect with her on Instagram @summer_shore.

  • Overflowing With Thankfulness

    Do you ever find it hard to be grateful this time of year? Not that you aren’t sincerely thankful deep down, but experiencing the emotion of gratitude in a real way can be challenging during this busy season. Especially when the pressure is on to do all of the holiday things, while keeping your sanity and trying to live #blessed.

    “There is so much to be grateful for” echoes in my mind as I engineer the schedule to fit school conferences, work meetings and planning sessions. At the last minute I might throw caution to the wind and schedule a coffee date because miraculously, I still have friends who get me and my weird life.

    I am sincerely, truly grateful, but I’m also kinda tired. When the day to day wears me out, it is all too easy to drift into self-preservation mode. It’s hard to be thankful, because my blessings also make me want to take a nap.

    I was recently reading in Matthew 14:13-21 about the miracle of Jesus feeding a crowd of five thousand people. While many may be familiar with this story, something I hadn’t noticed is what happens right before it. Jesus gets word that his cousin, John the Baptist, was dead, cruelly executed by King Herod. Jesus slips away to a solitary place, no doubt to pray and grieve and regroup, but before His boat even lands at his destination, the crowds that had been following Him, caught up and were pressing in on all sides, desperate for Jesus to speak to them and heal them.

    As the day turns to evening, the crowd grows hungry. The disciples’ resources are few and their inclination is, understandably, to send the people away. After all, they only have five loaves of bread and two fish, there’s not a lot of daylight left, and they are out in the middle of nowhere.

    And then there’s Jesus.

    When He sees all the people before Him, He has compassion. He sees past the inconvenience and the overwhelming logistics, straight to their hearts. In the middle of His own grief and fatigue, Jesus loves them and heals them.

    It would have been understandable if He didn’t feel up to the task, but Jesus saw things from an eternal perspective. He regularly spent time alone with God the Father and knew the Source of His strength and perseverance. Because of this, instead of being overwhelmed, burned out and ineffective, Jesus had the strength and power He needed in that very moment.

    While the disciples fret about what they lack, Jesus prepares to do miraculous work and invites the disciples to be a part of it. Jesus asks them what they do have and instructs them to bring it to Him. He takes their meager offering, looks up toward heaven and gives thanks to God. Then Jesus multiplies their resources to bless and sustain the people in the crowd: physically by feeding all of them (with leftovers to spare) and spiritually, by building up their faith in God and all that He is capable of doing.

    Sometimes, when we feel like we’re a few loaves and fishes short of a miracle, it’s easy to start thinking that what we have isn’t enough for God to do anything meaningful with. But what if instead of stressing about what we lack, we brought what we do have to the One who is infinitely more creative and resourceful? I can imagine Jesus looking toward heaven, thanking God for our meager offering and then using it to do exponentially more than we could ever have imagined.

    And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

    Colossians 2:6-8 NLT

    Just like the disciples who followed Jesus, we cannot multiply loaves and fishes on our own. But we can stay close to the One who can. Jesus continued to spend time regularly with the Father, being filled and replenished so that He could continue His work on earth. We too must spend time regularly with the Father and continue to follow Jesus so that our roots can grow deep and we can be filled. We can build our lives on Christ and in doing so, our faith is built up as we witness God at work (even in our craziness of life). We will then overflow with thankfulness out of the fullness of our hearts. What a thought to be overwhelmed not by life’s pressures and stress, but with genuine gratitude as Jesus works in us and through us!

    So as the calendar fills up and you feel spread thin, my question to you is this: What do you have? What can you bring to Jesus? Bring Him whatever you got! When you follow close to Him, and build your life on the unwavering foundation of Christ, He can use even the most unlikely of things to do amazing miracles!

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  • Shame Part 4: Mistakes, Forgiveness & Redemption

    The past several weeks we have been taking a bit of a deep dive into the topic of shame, and how it can alter our perception of who we are and how we walk around in the world. There is so much more to talk about than what we can cover in a few short articles, but hopefully we can at least begin a journey together of leaving shame behind. 

    We’ve discussed some of the things that can bring on shame: comparing ourselves to others to determine our worth, or letting insecurities go unchecked until they hold us captive. Sometimes it is the actions or words of others that cause shame, making us feel small and unworthy of love. 

    Today, we are going to talk about the source of shame that could possibly be the hardest to let go of, the shame of our own mistakes and bad choices. We can be our own worst critics to begin with, but throw in an actual, real-life-consequences-type of mistake, and we can get sucked down into shame before we even realize it. 

    In our first article we drew the distinction between guilt and shame, and I think it’s important to visit that again in this context.

    Guilt is a healthy emotion that serves to show us where we are wrong and prompt us to take steps to fix the problem. Shame works in a loop, where we relive our mistakes over and over with no hope of ever fixing it. Shame redefines our identity by those mistakes, whereas guilt can spur us on to overcome them, without changing our overall value as a person.

    If we want to truly experience the love of God, we have to look at how our own “shame-filter” clouds how we see God, ourselves and others. 

    When shame takes hold, we wind up placing our identity, our value, our worth in our mistakes and failings. It slowly erodes the truth that we are first and foremost, God’s beloved daughters. 

    The unclouded truth is that we are His handiwork, a masterpiece, created by God to be in relationship with Him. He is proud to be seen with you. He delights in showing mercy. He pursues you, calling you by name. 

    And while we might be able to acknowledge in our minds that these things are true, it all feels like a platitude if we don’t also acknowledge that we cannot simply banish shame on our own. We cannot move forward just because we “ought to”. Growth does not come from heaping shame upon shame. It comes from compassion. We need Jesus and we need each other. 

    Look at how Jesus treats the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. The Bible says she was caught in the act (yikes!) and dragged before the church leaders to be publicly shamed. Because of the law at the time, her punishment would almost certainly be death.

    The religious leaders at the time were threatened by Jesus’ teachings and growing popularity. They asked him what they should do, with the intention of trying to trap him in the “wrong” answer.  Jesus instead starts to write something in the dirt in front of them. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus wrote, much to my dismay. 

    The justice warrior in me loves to imagine that it was the hypocritical leaders’ own dirty little secrets. Maybe it was a powerful scripture that convicted their hearts or confounded them in such a way that they relinquished claim over this woman’s life, and walked away. They all just left. 

    Pretty soon it was just Jesus and the woman. He tells her that he will not condemn her to death, but tells her with loving authority, to leave her life of sin. He grants mercy and calls her to a better life. He commands her to leave the identity of sin and shame behind, and step into a brand new identity. 

    Our theme verse for this series has been Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

    As much as I want to know what Jesus wrote in the dirt that day, I want even more to see the look on this woman’s face after being in the presence of Jesus.

    Jesus held her accountable for her actions, he didn’t let her off the hook, but neither did he define her by it. She was first and foremost a human, created in God’s image and made for so much more. 

    I can picture her transformation from fear and shame to pure radiance the moment she looked into the face of Jesus and was forgiven. No longer was she defined by her past. She wasn’t “that girl” anymore. She was given a clean slate and a new beginning by the One whose opinion ultimately mattered the most. 

    My sweet friend, we are given the very same forgiveness and redemption. Even if you haven’t been dragged into the public square with all your bad choices on display, chances are there are things you wish you could undo.  Maybe you’ve said or done things that you wish you could go back and erase. Maybe you feel like your whole life has just been one big mistake.

    Please hear me in the depths of your soul and let this truth settle into every corner of your heart: 

    In Jesus’ eyes, you are not a mistake, you are a masterpiece.

    Even in the middle of your mess, Jesus sees you as beautiful.

    Just like a beautiful work of art, your worth is determined by the artist who created you and the price willing to be paid for you. When Jesus went to the cross, he paid the ultimate price. He didn’t just take our mistakes and bad choices, he also took our shame. When Jesus died and rose again, He not only conquered sin, he defeated shame too. 

    This business of kicking shame to the curb is not just a one time deal. It is a wash-rinse-repeat kind of thing. As human beings, we will continue to make mistakes. We must continue to look into the face of Jesus and remember His unconditional redemption, mercy and love.

    The woman in the story would likely struggle with the old identity of shame trying to creep back in and take over. Maybe other people in her life made it hard to forget, while others helped her remember the truth of God’s love. She would have to be intentional about going back to that moment when she was face to face with Jesus, so that God could continually renew her strength and remind her of who she really was.  

    Time spent with Jesus, in community, in God’s Word, and in prayer & worship builds a foundation for an identity in Christ that is unshakable and grounded in truth. It sustains us and encourages us until we can see Him face-to-face again. It reminds us of who we truly are: daughters of the King, radiant and unashamed.

    Lift up your head, step out into the light and feel the sunshine on your face. You are loved, you are forgiven and you are free. 

    “The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
    The King of Kings calls me His own
    Beautiful Savior, I’m yours forever
    Jesus Christ, my living Hope”
    -Phil Wickham, Living Hope

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  • Shame Part 3: When The Shame is Not Our Own

    These past couple of weeks we have been talking about shame. Particularly the different sources of shame and how to see God working in the middle of our shame. While dealing with shame isn’t always easy or fun, it is hard and holy work that bears talking about. Especially because shame is a force that strives to isolate us and make us feel powerless and stuck in the dark. Just the simple act of shedding light on the topic, frees us to take steps toward healing.

    Shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” It is a feeling that may be obvious when we initially experience it, but if we are not careful, shame can make itself at home in our hearts, blending into the background of our daily thoughts. Before we know it, we are carrying our shame around with us everywhere without even realizing how it is changing us.

    Shame is more than second-hand embarrassment when you watch someone deliver a clumsy presentation at work. Shame changes how you esteem yourself. It makes you feel small, less valuable than others, like you just want to shrink away and crawl under the table, or simply run and hide.

    We talked last week about how insecurities, if left unchecked, can morph into shame. For example, always comparing ourselves to others can trigger deep insecurities, altering how we see ourselves and others. Living a life of comparison buys into the lie that others are victorious while we are alone in our struggles, and therefore unworthy of love, connection, and community. We can combat this lie by looking to God, shifting our focus to a more eternal perspective. This renewing of our minds helps us to experience true and lasting security in God’s love as His precious daughters.

    The question today is, what do we do when we experience shame because of someone else’s words or actions? When that painful feeling of humiliation or distress is caused by someone or something else?

    Nothing can cut you down faster than a harsh word that reduces your worth down to one trivial thing. Even well intentioned comments can wound deeply. It’s the family member who comments on your weight, again. It’s the coworker that whispers the inappropriate comment that makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, or the friend that betrays your trust and lays your dirty laundry bare before the world.

    What about broken brides whose marriages crumble despite their best efforts and fervent prayers? Or those who suffer abuse and trauma at the hands of another? Unfortunately, sometimes shame is brought on by the people who are supposed to love and care for us most.

    I’ve heard from women who have felt stuck in abusive relationships. Shame paralyzed them and distorted reality, keeping them feeling alone and unworthy of love and stability. Shame whispers “you can’t do any better” or “you’re just as bad”. And even after walking out of that darkness, many carried shame from that experience with them. They felt like they should have recognized the warning signs, or seen it sooner. They felt embarrassed and foolish for staying as long as they did. They felt like they should have known.

    It can feel almost impossible to not let these things define you and allow shame to distort your own sense of worth. It can creep in and make you feel stupid, like something must be wrong with you for these things to happen. It can make you feel like damaged goods.

    Before we go any further, it is so important to know that these feelings of shame were put on you. You did not cause them, it’s not due to a lack of faith. It is a natural human response to feel shame when something terrible happens to you. The last thing I want to do is heap shame upon shame by saying you shouldn’t feel that way. What I want more than anything, is for you to see beyond shame, to the truth of who God is and how He loves you. I want that truth to blast a hole into your darkness like a brilliant light, pointing you toward healing and a beautiful future. I want that love and that light to be the influencing factor in what shapes you, not the actions of others or the shame that can cause.

    Because the truth is, God sees you not as damaged goods but as the masterpiece He created you to be. He understands first hand what it feels like to suffer the actions of someone else. Throughout His life, Jesus was mocked, up until the point of his death on the cross. He was shamed and humiliated, insulted and abused. And not for anything He himself had done. He knows the hurt of not deserving what is happening. He knows the physical and emotional pain of being betrayed, abandoned and left all alone. He knows what it’s like to stand there with His heart in his hands, only to have it broken.

    Jesus chose to go through it all, so that He could take your shame and redeem it. He has felt the way you feel and can put the pieces of your heart back together into something beautiful. He can carry the pain of what you’ve been through and help you do more than just survive, he can revive you. He will breathe life into you, make you new and clean and strong and whole again. He sees your true worth, and esteems you as precious and irreplaceable. There is only one you, and the God of the entire universe loves you so very, very much. You are not alone. He is here, right now, working on your behalf.

    Psalm 34:5 reminds us, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

    Lift your eyes and look for Jesus. Lock your gaze on His face and let the noise and the lies, and the hurt and the pain fade to the background for the moment. You are worthy of His love simply because He created you. You are a daughter of the King. Bring your whole heart, scars and all to Jesus. Take His scarred hand and let Him lead you out of the muck on to solid ground.

    There may be work to do, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are people everywhere who will link arms with you in Jesus’ name and walk alongside you to wholeness and healing. You may feel weak, but Jesus is strong. In the light of His love you are free from shame. You are treasured. You are enough.

    Next week, we will be talking about one last source of shame and how we can bring our hurt and our shame to Jesus. The goal is that by the end of this series, you will begin to recognize any shame you might be carrying and know how to give it to the One who can truly set you free. Our prayer is that in every circumstance, you will be able to lift your eyes and look to Him, so that you can be radiant and unashamed.



    Author’s Note:
    God is already at work in some of the amazing resources around us. If you feel trapped in abuse, or need someone to talk to as you work through this, there are many wonderful people and organizations ready to help. Please don’t wait to take steps today to be safe and healthy and whole. There are advocates and counselors that God has gifted and equipped to help you this very moment.

    Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741 and connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

    National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE

    National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK

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  • Kicking Shame to the Curb (Part 2)

    Over the next few weeks we are diving into a topic that is subtle enough to go unnoticed and unrecognized, but dangerous enough to throw off how we see ourselves and others, even altering our perception of reality. My friend, I’m talking about shame.

    In last week’s article, we were reminded of the important distinction between healthy guilt that serves to point us toward constructive solutions to fix a problem, and toxic shame whose only motivation is to keep us stuck in the muck of our problems and failings.

    Today I want to begin a conversation about some potential sources of our shame. One of the most common sources of shame is comparison. When we measure our self-worth against our impression (accurate or not) of someone else, it changes how we see ourselves and we can get stuck in a cycle of shame.

    Shame redefines our identity by what we do or don’t do, instead of who God says we are – His beloved daughters. 

    We’ve all experienced shame brought on by comparison in some form or another. It’s hard not to, in a world where curated segments of everyone’s lives are on display on social media #livingmybestlife.

    A recent article by the Wall Street Journal, reported that using Instagram “makes body image issues worse for 1 in 3 teen girls.” They went on to report that young women are experiencing tremendous pressure to conform to social stereotypes, to match the money and body shapes of influencers, as well as the need for validation through views, likes and follows. About a quarter of the teens who reported feeling “not good enough” said the feeling started on Instagram. 

    Now, I’m not here to knock social media or influencers, I know a lot of people doing a lot of good on their platforms. But what social media has done is streamline how we compare ourselves to others. We can get on our phones and see the flawless highlight reels of a hundred people in less than 20 minutes. It’s hard to feel confident and content when it seems like everyone has it together, but you. 

    Comparison doesn’t have to be digital to be dangerous. Maybe you feel “less than” when the house is messy, or the kids had hot dogs for lunch again instead of a pinterest worthy charcuterie board luncheon. It’s possible that you’ve felt the sting of seeing a picture on social media of friends hanging out together, when you had really hoped you’d be invited. Or maybe you just find yourself wishing you had it together more, the way you feel like you “should”. All the areas we fall short can make us feel exposed and chip away at our worth, if we are not careful what we are measuring against. 

    As a mom, I used to live under a constant cloud of guilt that threatened to knock my self-worth flat. When my first two boys were little, I had to go back to work part-time. I love being a mom and it broke my heart to be away from them. While I was so thankful to have amazing childcare, I still felt like I was failing my children by not being home full-time. 

    As much as I hated being away from them, I simultaneously longed to have a foot back in the professional world. I enjoyed my job and I got a lot of affirmation and praise there, something I wasn’t getting a lot of while changing diapers and wiping noses. Working outside the home gave me a sense of identity beyond motherhood that I missed desperately. 

    I felt guilty at work and guilty at home, and no one was getting my best. I saw other moms rocking the mom life and crushing career goals and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just get it together. The guilt loop quickly spiraled into shame that made me feel like an inferior mom, wife, and overall human. 

    The problem was that I was measuring my worth by what I thought I “should be doing”, instead of looking to God to measure by His standard.

    Our theme verse during this series is Psalm 34:5, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

    Comparison distracts our gaze, and keeps us looking to our left and to our right, measuring our behind the scenes footage with someone else’s highlight reel. Our focus is not on God, but on others, as we desperately try to keep up. It’s an exercise in frustration that is based on appearances instead of reality, and we can quickly lose ourselves comparing the details of our story with someone else’s. 

    But when we look to God, Scripture says we are radiant and our faces will never be covered with shame! That simple shift in focus changes our perspective and allows us to see things more clearly. Something in us comes back to life as we start to measure ourselves against God’s unconditional love for us, instead of the impossible and ever changing expectations of the world. We learn to value the unique personality traits, gifts and talents that God created in us, instead of trying to squeeze ourselves into a man-made mold. 

    When I shifted my focus back to God, I started to understand that my identity first and foremost was not as a mama, or a career woman, but as His beloved daughter. The nagging voice in my head saying “I’m not good enough” began to fade, as God’s love drowned out the noise of the world.

    After that, when I was home with the kiddos, changing diapers became an opportunity to sing over my children and teach them about God’s love. The tasks that once felt mundane became a divine invitation to join God in the work He was doing in my home and in my children. 

    Working outside the home became a chance to share the love of Jesus in how I treated my coworkers and people I encountered. I could rejoice in my work and know that God was using my gifts to help people. I didn’t need to feel guilty about time away from my kids because by focusing on God, I was more present both at work and at home. I was more aware of God at work and how I could join Him, and that was life-giving. 

    I’m not saying that every diaper change or shift at work was instantly and completely fulfilling. The deeper transformation came with believing that my worth was based on who God says I am, not on my performance or how I measured up compared to other people. God didn’t see me as “less than” if I wasn’t perfect and made a mistake. I could just be myself and rest in the knowledge that my identity and worth were secure, as God’s beloved daughter. 

    Ephesians 2:10 says “…we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

    As I looked to God, I began to see myself the way He does, and it changed how I saw others as well. We are all God’s masterpiece! I no longer felt the need to compete or keep up. I knew that God had created me for a purpose, and that my story, with all its messiness, would point to His greater story of love, redemption and grace. 

    So, my friend, where are you looking? Take a moment and review the tapes that play in your head. By what standard are you measuring your worth? Are you looking all around you to see how you compare, or are you allowing the truth of God’s love to shape your perspective?

    Next, take a moment and appreciate the beautiful qualities God has created in you. You are a masterpiece–even the messy bits. You are valuable, loved and significant, and as a daughter of the King, your identity and worth are secure.

    Look to God and keep your focus firmly on Him, because when we do, there is no room for shame. His love washes it clean away, leaving us radiant and confident in our unshakable identity in Him.

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  • Kicking Shame to the Curb (Part 1)

    “Are the kids getting too much screen time?” 

    “Am I spending enough quality time with them?” 

    “Ugh! I’m late to the pickup line again! They’ll be the last ones there! Their teacher must think I’m a hot mess.”

    If you’ve been an adult for more than five minutes, chances are you’ve experienced guilt over whether or not you are “doing life right.” And it’s not just limited to moms. No way, sis! There’s plenty of guilt to go around. Maybe you’ve found yourself thinking these things: 

    “It’s been a week since I texted back! I’m a terrible friend!” 

    “I should be working out more (or at all).” 

    “Did they misunderstand that awkward thing I just said?” 

    We can go through a whole list of guilt-inducing scenarios in our minds in a flash, and end up feeling like we’re a total mess. But here’s the thing about guilt. Processed through the lens of God’s love and grace, guilt can actually be a healthy thing. 

    Healthy guilt tells us there is something wrong with our actions, but not something inherently wrong with who we are. 

    It’s the feeling that nags us when we’ve said something hurtful to a loved one. It spurs us on to say I’m sorry, and to seek forgiveness. Healthy guilt drives us to reevaluate how we spend our time, nudging us to get off our phones and spend more quality time with our family, or finally call that friend back and schedule a coffee date. 

    Healthy guilt prompts our behavior to change, but our identity stands secure. We are still loved despite our flaws, and we know it, or we wouldn’t be motivated to do better. We can give and receive forgiveness, because God loved and forgave us first. 

    Guilt can positively shape our character, and is productive in the same way that pain is helpful in diagnosing injury or illness. It’s not pleasant, but it points us toward what can be fixed and made whole again. 

    But just like a serious injury can get worse without intervention, if no action is taken to handle guilt in healthy, constructive ways, it can very quickly turn into unhealthy shame. 

    Shame is neither good nor productive, and has the power to make us feel bad about who we are at our very core. It traps us in a guilt-loop, replaying our mistakes and failings over and over again. It redefines our identity by what we do or don’t do, instead of who God says we are. 

    Shame tells us when we say something hurtful to a loved one, that we are a terrible person, and not worthy of forgiveness. It makes us think that we don’t deserve grace from our family and friends because we haven’t earned it. Shame makes us feel small, unworthy, unloved and insecure. It causes us to believe that any moment even God’s grace for us will surely run out. 

    Over time, shame can change how we see ourselves and keep us from living the lives of freedom and joy that God has called us to. Think about the tapes that run through your head. Shame often manifests in our thoughts. You may find yourself thinking things like: I’m stupid. I’m unattractive. I’m a failure or a screw-up. I’m a bad person. I’m a fraud or a phony. I’m selfish. I’m not enough. I hate myself. I don’t matter. I’m defective or inadequate. I wish I had never been born. I’m unlovable.

    All of these things are the exact opposite of what God says about us. God tells us in His Word that we are His children and cannot be separated from His love (John 1:12, Romans 8:35-39). We are Christ’s friend (John 15:15). We have been redeemed and forgiven of all our sins, and that God is not done with us yet. (Colossians 1:14, Philippians 1:6). He tells us that we are His masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10).

    I want us to get back to seeing ourselves the way God does, not as a mess, but as a masterpiece.

    So my friend, today kicks off a 3-week blog series about shame! My goal over the next few weeks is that we can learn to differentiate between guilt that makes us better and the shame that weighs us down. We will take a closer look at more potential sources of shame, and begin to realign our perspective with our Heavenly Father’s perspective through scripture. 

    Psalm 34:5 says “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

    This will be our theme verse and it’s also my prayer for you. As you look to Jesus, I pray that your perspective will begin to shift. I pray that a spark of hope will light up in your heart as you start the journey of kicking shame to the curb. As you experience God’s love, I pray that you are able to take one step closer to living the life of freedom and joy He invites all of us to. As you turn your face toward the very One who created you, may you be truly radiant and unashamed, always knowing and believing how very much you are loved.

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  • Fixing Our Minds On Truth

    My mom loves to tell stories about my brother and I growing up. One of her favorites, was from when I was about 3 or 4 years old. We were living in Washington D.C. back in the 80’s. One night on my way to bed, I paused on my way up the stairs to my bedroom, and gave her a pensive look. I shifted my weight to one side and put one hand on my hip and said with my very best “old sage” voice, “You know Mom, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I had heard this quote often on a commercial for the United Negro College Fund, emphasizing the importance of education. I was apparently, deeply impacted by it and in my pre-school wisdom, felt the urgent need to impress it upon all the important people in my life. My mom just smiled with a twinkle in her eye and said, “Yes, that’s true, honey. Now go to bed.”

    Although very young at the time, I was beginning to grasp that the mind is a mighty tool–worthy of strengthening, enriching and using. What I couldn’t yet know is how the thoughts in our minds have the power to shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. When focused on the right thing, our minds can be sharp and clear. But if we are bound up in deception and lies, we become captives by the enemy’s greatest tool. Because of this, it is paramount that our thoughts be firmly established in truth.

    As an adult I struggled at different times with this idea of grounding my thoughts in truth. Out in the real world, life had its ups and downs as responsibilities and stresses began to stack up. Anxiety and self-doubt would creep in from time to time. For a season, a relationship left me riddled with insecurities, shattering my confidence. The problem I had, was that I was relying on my own mind and it’s interpretation of what is true about me and about my life. I saw things through the filter of self-preservation and protection, where the path of least resistance was valued over what God was calling me to do, and who God was calling me to be.

    I felt like a prisoner to the choices I had made and stuck on a path that was leading to nowhere. It wasn’t until I read the book “Loving God With All of Your Mind” by Elizabeth George that I was challenged to change my thinking, not out of sheer self-discipline, but in response to the loving Savior who wanted to set me free from the mundane and meaningless.

    It began with an exercise of obedience, first my obedience to God, and then making my thoughts obedient to Christ. Paul gives us some great imagery of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.

    We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    2 Corinthians 10:5

    In every situation, we have a chance to stop right in our tracks and choose which way we will allow our thoughts to take us. Will we see everything that is going wrong and let our minds wander to the worst case scenario? Or will we zoom out to an eternal perspective and trust that God has our very best at heart and will never forsake us? Will we allow our thoughts control us, forcing us into a defensive and reactive posture? Or will we capture our thoughts and measure them against what Jesus says is true about who He is and who we are?

    It is in the light of His truth that we can turn our minds away from the tape playing over and over in our heads and focus on Jesus instead. It takes practice and we have to work hard at it, but the reward is unrivaled peace and incomparable joy.

    Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” The first word in the list of things to focus on, is whatever is true. When we hold firmly to the truth about who God is and who we are in Christ, we have freedom and joy. We are shaped to be more like Christ and we are no longer bound by insecurity or fear. We are free to love ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. We are free to step into our calling when God says go, and free to say no to the things that are not in step with the Holy Spirit’s lead. We are free to live life abundantly. Jesus even promises that when we remain faithful to follow Him, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free! (John 8:32) 

    In what area of your life could you use a little more truthful perspective? What wrong thinking is playing on loop in your mind and needs to be taken captive and made obedient to Christ? Take some time to pray this week about it. Ask God to help you seek the truth about who He is, who you are, and who you can be, in Him. We’d love to pray for you too! Feel free to drop us a line at info@experiencerevival.com and our prayer team will hold you close in prayer. Together, let’s tune our hearts to hear His voice above the noise, inviting us to a life lived in freedom and truth.

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  • To The Woman Who Feels She Has To Do It All:

    We are honored to have as a guest blogger today, our good friend Jasmine Womack. Jasmine is an amazing wife and mom who has a passion for learning about God and sharing with others. She is a go-getter with an indomitable spirit and a heart that loves others deeply. Since we have been focusing on living intentionally and creating margin, we just knew you had to hear her story her unique insights. We hope that you will be as blessed by her words as we have been.

    Grace & Peace,
    Summer & Melissa


    To The Woman Who Feels She Has To Do It All…

    For much of my adult life I have been obsessed with being the “Proverbs 31 Woman” described in Proverbs 31:10-31. She is a woman who can do it all. She manages her household, has a career, knows her place in the world and is loved and respected by her family and the people she meets/works with.

    A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night, she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.

    In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

    Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

    My journey toward being the ultimate Proverbs 31 Woman began as I looked for a role model and example of who I wanted to be. Growing up without any positive female role models in my life, I didn’t really know how to be an adult. I didn’t know how to buy toilet paper, let alone understand God’s expectations of me as a woman, a servant and a follower. What I did know was that the Bible has answers. So I started reading and looking for a plan, and the Proverbs 31 Woman seemed like the perfect blueprint for a plan. She was exactly who I thought God wanted all women to be like. 

    I felt like God had given me a distinct and clearly laid-out plan and true to form, I was eager to get started and determined I could do it all in one day.  For someone who has always felt insecure, unsure and unimportant, this plan was everything I was looking for. It made so much sense, until the plan changed. 

    At just 24 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer. At the prime of my life, when everything seemed to be going well and I felt unstoppable, I had cancer. I didn’t know what to do. This was not in the blueprint. The Proverbs 31 Woman didn’t have cancer, she didn’t have surgery 2 months before her wedding or radiation right after her honeymoon.  She didn’t have to give up on her dreams of being a first generation college graduate and have a scar in all her wedding pictures to remind her of some of the most challenging times of her life. Most of all, I thought if I couldn’t be like this woman I had been reading and studying about, then I was failing God, myself and my family.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    Cancer was a short term difficulty and a long term blessing to my life. It was life-interrupting enough that all I could do was hold on to the hope that God gives us. I learned that I couldn’t do all the things on my own, I had to rely on Jesus and the joy that He gives in all circumstances. 

    When you get to a place where all you have are Jesus and hope, it allows you to put the lens of Christ over everything you say, do, and care about. You can love people through pain, anger, and fear, and you see things in a new way.  It is freeing and gives you perspective. I realized that God loved me for me, at my weakest when I couldn’t do anything on my own. When I was tired and fatigued from treatment and frail during recovery, God loved me, exactly as I was, not for what I was or wasn’t doing.  

    Today, I am 10 years cancer free, still married to my wonderful husband whom I was engaged to when I was diagnosed, and I have a 9 year old son. I finished my degree and go to the same church. Overall life has been  pretty even keel. I was working full time, had an internship, was running my household and helping with a few ministries at church. I felt like I had regained the rhythm of being the Proverbs 31 woman again. But before I knew it, circumstances took a turn and I was falling apart, overcommitted and stretched thin, trying to function on my own strength and stamina. Extended family members encountered some serious issues, a beloved family member passed away, and another one had a mental breakdown, and I was called upon to take care of things because I was the one who could do anything. (Note my sarcasm here). 

    I broke down under the pressure and was devastated. I somehow managed to see my commitments through and then backed away from everything completely. I was disappointed in myself and upset that I had allowed myself to get back into thinking that being the perfect Proverbs 31 woman was the blueprint for what God wanted and expected. 

    I took a few months to cool off, focus back on Jesus and pray prayers of gratitude. I then noticed something about the “Woman of Noble Character” that I have read 1000 times and had never seen before. In verse 15, it reads, “She gets up before dark and provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.”

    She had help! She didn’t do everything on her own! This one verse has changed everything about how I see myself. All this time I was operating under the understanding that the Proverbs 31 Woman could do it all herself. I thought I had to be the evangelist, homemaker, wife, mother, business woman, volunteer, caretaker and whatever else popped up. For years I had been running from work to home to make dinner, wash dishes, run to soccer practice and church, serve on every committee, thinking I had to do it all on my own. Then I read that she had help.

    Since this realization I have been trying to be more intentional about my commitments and how I spend my time and energy. I am careful not to fall into the trap of believing I have to do it all to honor God and my family. 

    This allows me to focus on the things I am good at, and bless people with those things, which is a better stewardship of the gifts God has given me. And it allows others to do the same. I don’t have to be the one to do it all! I have help! 

    I prayed for God to show me what my ministry was going to be. After being faithful to the stillness and prayer, God started opening ministry doors in a couple ways by people approaching me asking for prayer. 

    As I would pray in my regular prayer time, I would get frustrated because people would pop into my head. Didn’t my mind know that I was praying? After a couple times I reached out to people and said “you have been on my mind lately. What can I pray about for you?” 

    You know what? Those small seemingly inconsequential little moments have led to some of the most enriching conversations and moments of my life. It opened my eyes to how often people don’t feel connected to church, friends, and family. This prayer time kept leading me to people who I thought were already a part of my community but were actually in need of meaningful relationship within that community. 

    It has been my greatest honor to pray for my community. It has provided me with consistent focus. It sometimes doesn’t feel like I am doing enough, but then God says to me during a prayer time to be still and pray.  And sure enough, another person pops into my head so I pray for them. Turns out, I’m not the only one who needs help and can’t do it all on her own. We are all in this together!

    If you are like me, and tempted to try to do all the things all on your own, know that God never intended for us to run ourselves ragged, mustering that last bit of strength only to run out completely. He is listening to our hearts, knows what we need and provides it when we need it most. He gives us community and friends and family, to walk alongside us and be comforters, and helpers. Ask God to show you where you need people to help you and where you can help others. Maybe it’s carpooling so you don’t have to drive your kids to school everyday, or letting a friend cook for you or fold your laundry when you are sick. Perhaps it is empowering your own kids to help out more at home or letting a family member or friend sit with you while you grieve. It does not make you “less than” to accept help or to have someone share the load. On the contrary, knowing when to ask for help, and how to lead and delegate responsibly, is noble. Having this margin built in to your everyday life will free you to focus on the priorities that God has given you. It will allow you to be “clothed with strength and dignity; and can laugh at the days to come” because your energy is spread evenly and your strength supplied by God.

    Dear friend, be still and lean into God. He is with us always, in the silence, chaos, tears and laughter. He will help you to discern where you need help, and how you can help others in turn. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

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  • What Does Your Life Reflect?

    My check engine light has been on for a little over a week now. It totally stresses me out because I commute an hour to work and the last thing I want is to break down on the side of the freeway. Not because of the scary being-stuck part, but because I don’t have time for that. My days are so jammed packed there is not a second more for anything unexpected. I know I need to take care of the car, but I just can’t seem to find the time to take it into the shop. I know that if I stop long enough to look under the hood, I might find that it is going to take more time than I have to spare to fix it and it may cost me.

    Sometimes my mind wanders to the blissful thought, “What if I could clone myself and there’d be two of me to get all the things done?! That’d solve everything!” But who am I kidding? I’d run her into the ground too.

    No, the problem isn’t solved by simply changing my schedule. It’s deeper than that–it’s a matter of the heart and my priorities. Right now, my life isn’t reflecting either one. I know that if I don’t make the time to take care of myself, and take time to really take a look at things, I may end up breaking down myself. But just like my car, it’s going to take some work to fix and it might cost me.

    I started the year with prayerfully adopting the word “intentional” as my word for 2019. I wanted (and still want) to be intentional about my priorities and my time. But slowly, my resolve has faded as each day the urgent things have pressed in. One thing after another has taken over–they aren’t all bad things or even things I can control. But because I haven’t left any wiggle room for the unexpected, I now find myself spread thin and worn out with my own mental “check engine” light flashing.

    Proverbs 27:19 says “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”

    I know the priorities that God has laid on my heart. I’m in a rare and blessed season of knowing what I’m supposed to be doing and what God has called me to. I also know that I’ve let busyness become my master, and it’s reflected in my life. The space that had one been reserved for the important things, has been taken over by the urgent things. I spend a lot of time dealing with what’s right in front of me, instead of planning ahead and having the peace that comes from being intentional with how I use my time.

    And yes, there are times that we just have to get the things done. Busy seasons come and go. But when the busy never lets up so that you can no longer give your best, it’s time to re-evaluate how you are spending your time, as well as your physical and mental energy. There is always something that can be put down. Maybe it’s a volunteer opportunity, or an extra project. Perhaps it is working just an hour less per day, and trusting that God will help make up that little bit of income. Maybe it is asking for help catching up on housework or having someone watch your kiddos so you can take a nap. For me it’s crossing out a whole Saturday so that I can just rest and spend time with my family.

    If you are not sure where to even begin, start by bringing your schedule and your day before the Lord. Ask Him to reveal to you what He would like you to focus on and accomplish that day. Pray and ask for discernment to see the things that might be good but not best–those things that take away time from doing what is most important. He will give you the strength to lay those down.

    It’s not just the to-do list or the schedule that sometimes needs pruning. Our minds are powerful machines that can threaten our peace and rest if we do not learn to shut them off when its time. Think about what thought or worry might be consuming more of your brain space than is good for you. Pray about it. Imagine wrapping it up neatly and placing it in God’s capable hands so that He can carry it for a bit. He promises when we come to Him for rest, we will find it (Matthew 11:28). Sometimes I even need to ask myself, “Does the fate of the free world rest on this?” If the answer is no, then I let it go.

    I want my life to reflect my heart and the priorities that God has laid out for me. I want to be able to have the awareness to see where He is at work, and the time to join Him in it. I want my family to feel seen, heard and loved. I’m not always great at keeping that balance, but there is grace for that. Please know that we don’t have to fix it all on our own. Our gentle Heavenly Father is waiting to renew and restore our strength. He will grant the clarity and wisdom we need to know where to press on and where to let go.

    Dear friend, if you are feeling overwhelmed and frazzled, spread too thin with your “check engine” light flashing, it’s time to pause and pray. Pick one thing that you can do today to take care of yourself. With God’s guidance, start working toward a life that reflects your heart and the God-given priorities you have in this season. Breathe in and feel your shoulders relax as you exhale. Lean into the strong arms of our Lord and see what He can carry for you. He will not drop you or leave you, and His strength, endurance, love and grace are inexhaustible.

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  • Freedom In Truth

    The mind is a powerful thing. It controls every life-giving function in our bodies, processes complex emotions, and is constantly learning and adapting. Our very thoughts have the ability to shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. Because of this, it is paramount that those thoughts be firmly established in truth.

    And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

    Philippians 4:8

    The first word in the list of things to focus on, is whatever is true. When we hold firmly to the truth about who God is, and who we are in Christ, we have freedom and joy. We are shaped to be more like Christ and we are no longer bound by insecurity or fear. We are free to love ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. We are free to step into our calling when God says go, and free to say no to the things that are not in step with the Holy Spirit’s lead. We are free to live life abundantly. Jesus even promises that when we remain faithful to follow Him, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free! (John 8:32) 

    In what area of your life could you use a little more truth that sets you free? Take some time to pray this week about it. Ask God to help you seek the truth about who He is, and who you are, and can be in Him.

    We’d love to pray for you too! Feel free to drop us a line at info@experiencerevival.com and our prayer team will pray for you.

    The truth of God’s love is freeing and it’s real. Let’s fix our minds on that truth, and live in freedom. 

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  • Redefining Your Identity After Betrayal

    “…the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” Isaiah 61:1

    At the very heart of Revive Ministries is the Scripture Isaiah 61:1-3. Each verse captures what we pray women will experience as they seek their identity in Christ. All this month we have been talking about freedom, so today we wanted to focus on “binding up the brokenhearted and proclaiming freedom”. Today’s post is a little different from our usual weekly bit o’ encouragement, but we felt that it was important and relevant for so many of the women we encounter every day. 

    Over the years, we have met many women who have experienced betrayal in their marriages or relationships. It is precisely the kind of experience that turns one’s entire world upside down leaving deep questions about their own identity, and leaves wounds that are painful. The truth is, life is messy and painful and no one is exempt from brokenheartedness or disappointment. When we met our guest blogger Stephanie Broersma, and heard her story of being a broken bride made whole again through Christ, we knew we had to share it with you. Whether you yourself have been through the trauma of betrayal in your marriage, or maybe you know someone who has, you will be blessed and encouraged with Stephanie’s real-life insight, wisdom and humor. 

    Stephanie Broersma is the author of “Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” and the founder of Reclaimed Ministries. Her mission is to help others find wholeness and healing again after infidelity, through redefining their identity in Christ. 

    Below is an excerpt from her book that we are honored to share with you. Stephanie will also be our guest in a special episode of The Experience Revival Podcast, that comes out on Friday! In the podcast, you’ll hear more of Stephanie’s story and how Reclaimed Ministries came to be, learn how a traumatic relationship experience can shape your identity and how you can move past shame, anger and brokenness to gain confidence as you rebuild trust and self-worth in Christ. 

    A big thank you to Stephanie Broersma for her willingness and vulnerability to share her heart and her story with us! “Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” is available this month for purchase as an individual devotional or a group study, at reclaimedministry.com.

    Summer Shore, Stephanie Broersma, Melissa Campbell

    “Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” by Stephanie Broersma


    “It is critical to know who you are in Christ as you offer yourself to your marriage and other relationships.”

    Many women, scrambling to pick up the pieces of a broken heart after the confession or discovery of a marital affair, often state the same question: “Who am I?” 

    Everything a broken and devastated bride thought they knew about themselves suddenly becomes testimony in the courtroom of life, with their identity on the witness stand. “You’re not a good wife because your husband cheated on you and sought pleasure through a pornography addiction rather than his wife. You’re not pretty enough or skinny enough, so your husband went outside the marriage to seek beauty. How can you be a good friend or mom if you can’t keep your marriage whole?” 

    The majority of women walking through a confession have expressed how shattered their self image is after attempting to pick up the pieces of betrayal. I know this all too well. When my husband confessed to a ten year pornography addiction followed by multiple affairs, my entire being was crushed. Who I was no longer existed and everything I thought to be true was seen and felt as a lie. My complete existence was felt as a veil of ungodly beliefs and the Enemy had his firm hand on my identity, worth and my value. The command to kill my self worth was perfectly being executed by the maker of lies and his legions. The negative narrative that kept on repeating in my head was that my husband’s web of sin and consequences now defined the person I would be, if I could ever make it out alive. I felt as if the mistakes in our marriage would now identify how I approached relationships. Shame, embarrassment, filth and self disappointment weighed like a ton of bricks making it impossible to take a deep breath. 

    Your identity is not found in the sins of the past or web of consequences from the mistakes in your marriage. Your identity is found in the Risen Savior!”

    I continually wrestled with God about who I was now, and yet His gentle voice would quiet the wandering thoughts that consumed my every waking minute. What I learned in the months post confession was that if I couldn’t identify who I was in Christ, my faith would be crippled and from there every other relationship would fail. Securing my own relationship in Christ was key to healing my wounds before attempting to heal the “us” in our new marriage. 

    Knowing who you are in Christ is key to any relationship, especially your relationship with yourself. Your identity can’t walk out in confidence if you don’t understand the depth of God’s love for you. You can’t love well if you don’t experience His love first. Scripture reminds us of how much God loves us. 

    In 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) it says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 

    Our citizenship is awaiting us in Heaven. Abba, your Daddy, has given you “a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, a garment of praise and an everlasting joy.” (Isaiah 61:3,7 NIV

    The negative narrative needs to stop cycling through your head and heart, and instead be replaced with Godly beliefs that speak truth and life. It takes discipline to silence the lies that influence and persuade the course of your life. The narrative we have with ourselves will determine the decisions we make in every relationship we share, in the circle of community we live in. This has been an incredible challenge for me as I battle with self worth, questions of identity, whether I’m good enough, and knowing my value as a cherished bride. The pornography addiction stripped all ideas of beauty from my mind. How am I to compete with airbrushed images and Hollywood fantasies? God clearly did not wire me to be that sexy, mischievous or exposed. But, let me tell you this much…I’ve since learned that’s not what my husband desires for me to be. 

    Having the clarity to separate the truth from lies has greatly increased my view of who I am. Knowing that I am accepted, secure and significant as a chosen, claimed, precious daughter of Christ’s is key to any pursuit of healing and wholeness. Speaking these truths out daily over yourself, your home and family is such a powerful tool against the Enemy. 

    You are not called to be weak. You are not of lesser value or diminished by another’s sinful actions. You are not defined by sin or the mistakes of your past. You are not unworthy to someone else’s love. You are not too far lost to be rescued by the Creator of the Universe. 

    You ARE enough. You ARE worthy. You ARE chosen. You ARE bought by the blood of Christ. You ARE forgiven. You ARE beautiful. You ARE redeemed. You ARE a child of God. It should be a daily discipline to silence the lies and shame of the Enemy, who is here to “kill, steal and destroy,” (John 10:10) God wants you to share in an intimate (in-to-me-see) relationship with Him as He’s already given you a place at His table. Take a seat, rest in His truth and know that you ARE His. 

    Are you ready to embrace your eternal identity? What do you currently see your image being rooted in? What evidence is there that Christ is working in your life? 

    “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV) 

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