Two years ago this month, a dear friend of mine sat at my kitchen table and filled out a lengthy, tedious application to commit herself to an out-of-state residential treatment center called Vision of Hope.

As I paged through the application with her, my eyebrows were permanently raised. I knew I could never make such a commitment myself. The requirements and limitations set on the residents were lofty and strenuous.

But my friend, trapped in bondage at the time, signed on the dotted line.

With God’s help, she has remained in the program for two whole years, and is still a part of it.

She is a walking testimony to the grace of God.

She has changed from the inside out. And it’s nothing short of a glorious sight to behold.

Today, I’ve invited her to share a snippet of her story. For privacy reasons, I’ve decided not to share her name.

Here’s my friend’s story: 

On July 23, 2015, my whole world changed. I walked into a place that demanded full surrender. But I was still clamoring for control. My view of my life was futile and small. My view of myself was broken and consuming.

I had no hope.

I was just done trying. But there I was, at a residential treatment center called Vision of Hope. That word mocked me.

How did I even get there in the first place?

People in my life had prayed and urged and prayed some more. They were so confident that I could find healing in this place. They were so confident that things could change. I was riding on their hopes. I had none of my own. And I had already determined exactly how long I was going to give this program before I gave up completely on life.

You see up until that point, I had done everything in my power to control how I wanted my life to go. The ironic thing about that was, in clamoring for my own control, I actually lost more and more of it…until, my life was literally chaos, and I was chained to addictive patterns of “escaping” that chaos.

Fast-forward almost two years now and I can’t even describe to you all the areas of my heart that the Lord has totally overhauled. Things I never expected, like pride and selfishness, were exposed as the Vision of Hope staff pushed me deeper into God’s Word and deeper into the roots of my addiction.

My idolatry was explained as we faced the ways I was chasing my kingdom, instead of loving God with my whole heart. It has been a crazy journey full of very hard choices. Choices to surrender. And I am still learning and growing in my fight to surrender to My Shepherd instead of my sin.

I haven’t graduated from this program yet, because Vision of Hope has an open-ended time commitment. They know that bringing about lasting change takes a unique amount of time and diligence in God’s Word for each individual. But I am so thankful for what God has already done!

 

race for hope

Race for Hope

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about this ministry because we are coming up on one of our biggest annual fundraisers, called Race for Hope.

Something that makes Vision of Hope unique is that it keeps the cost for residents incredibly low. They only ask for $400 dollars a month! That hardly covers room and board and doesn’t even touch all of the certified Biblical counseling, training, and classes that the residents go through as the Staff strives to lead each of them to the Savior.

How can they do that? They rely on support from the body of Christ to give and relieve the financial burden of these girls that come in already carrying enough heavy burdens. Burdens like addictions to drugs and alcohol, patterns of self-harm, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, scars from being sexually trafficked, and more.

I’m writing this to ask you to be a part of lifting that burden.

Race for Hope is happening on June 10th this year. Vision of Hope has a fundraising goal of $50,000 total.

Are you ready to hear how you can get involved?

To donate, follow this link, and choose to either support one of our teams/runners, or just donate to the ministry as a whole. If you choose to support one of our teams, all funds go to the same total and it gives that extra boost to the girls who are working hard to raise support.

This is also a joint fundraising event for Faith Bible Seminary, so you will see those teams on the list as well.

You can also learn more about Vision of Hope and what they do by clicking here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and consider getting involved!

Welcome to another round of Five Minute Friday!

If it’s your first time, an extra special welcome to you! We always love meeting new friends.

To learn more about FMF, click here

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

mom

 

 

I didn’t expect to make this word the prompt this week, but I received two requests from people regarding projects that both related to the same thing: motherhood. Interestingly, both projects are reflecting on the issue of the identity of a mother. And of course, with Mother’s Day happening this weekend, I figured I might as well tie it all together in a pretty bow.

Since I love supporting fellow writers and artists, I’m thrilled to be able to share links to these two projects with you:

MomThe first is a brand new book by Five Minute Friday community member Shauna Blaak.

It’s called, Identity: Finding the Proverbs 31 Woman in the Middle of Kid Chaos.

On her website, Shauna writes, “Are you stuck in kid chaos? Do you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and ask yourself, ‘Who is that person?’

Are you wading through mountains of laundry and diapers and realizing that somewhere, somehow, you’ve gotten lost in the mess?

Or perhaps your kids are older now, a little more independent and a whole lot more opinionated, and you ask yourself, “Who am I now?”

My friend, this book is for you!

The Proverbs 31 Woman… You don’t have to hate her anymore. You don’t even have to compete with her. This creative and interactive study into IDENTITY and finding out WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE will have you breathing a sigh of relief.

Join us on an exciting journey of making friends with the Proverbs 31 Woman and find yourself in the unconditional love of a Good Father!

You’ll love this book on your own, but you’ll love it even more when you do it together with friends. Perfect for Mommy groups and Ladies Bible Studies.” 

Sounds like a good one, hey? Congratulations, Shauna!

 

***

 

The second project is called Define: Mother. And yes, if you click through, you’ll notice that most of the text is in German; just click on a specific blog post and scroll down for English. Sophie Kroher is a storytelling photographer and good friend of FMF community member Katha Von Dessien (who just signed a book contract, by the way!).

Here’s more about Sophie and Define: Mother … 

In 2014 our first son was stillborn. The most hurtful thing I’ve ever heard in my life, shortly after that, was: “You will be a mama one day, too.” Well, I wasn’t one?

What makes a woman a mother? To raise a child? To hold a child? To give birth to a child? To grow a child? To conceive a child? To hope for a child? To love a child? Define: mother.

Define: mother” is a project that asks those questions without expecting the one answer. It is a forum for women who are wondering about their own motherhood and tell us about their wanderings on this path.

And here’s a snippet of one moving post

“In 2014 our first son was born way too early, completely unexpected and unaccountable. He could not survive. I believe that everything inside of me was torn apart in this moment. In the first weeks after his birth I didn’t leave the house. Now I know that the reason for this was fear and shame. Fear and shame to meet people I know and needing to explain something to them, explain myself, explain my “failure”. Fear and shame that people I did not know wouldn’t see me – couldn’t see me – the way I saw myself, as a mother. The most hurtful thing someone said to me during those weeks was “You will be a mama someday!” I’m glad I don’t remember who said that. But it affected me deeply and it was wrong. I was a mama!

A mother is a woman who allows her identity to be inexplicably molded by the love of a child. Allowing this always inherits a deep pain – when this child is not, is not anymore. When you have to let go. Every mother has to let go, sooner or later, again and again. Like a butterfly.

A mother also is a woman in a constant process of becoming, of finding this identity, her identity, all over again. And again. Yes, like a butterfly.” 

Click through to read more and to view the beautiful photographs in Define: Mother.

***

And now, we write.

Setting my timer for five minutes, and let’s …

GO.

For the past six years, inevitably somewhere around mid- to late-April, I cringe at least once a day when I check my email or walk into a store. I can’t escape it.

Mother’s Day

It comes at me from the unlikeliest of places — oil change specials, pizza deals, insurance plans. Everybody has to mention it.

I avert my eyes, scroll past the subject line, walk faster past that display.

I click delete, but it’s not enough to delete the pain.

This will be the sixth Mother’s Day without my mom.

For perhaps the first time, I’m finally at a place where I’m learning to peak through the closed curtains of my heart. It’s time to stop dwelling inwardly and start looking out.

I lift my chin and tilt my head, and I see others whose wounds are fresher than mine. I see those whose scars have a slightly different shape.

I see that I’m not the only one.

 

STOP.

 

To all the women out there who are aching this weekend, may you sense the Lord’s nearness and peace. 

***

 

Don’t forget!

The deadline to register for the

Five Minute Friday Retreat

is June 1st!

Only 10 spots left!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

 

It’s your turn! Share your own five minute free write below, then visit your link-up neighbor and leave a comment!

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. 

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It’s Five Minute Friday time!

If you’re new, welcome! Learn more about us right over here.

And if you haven’t heard, the deadline for the 2017 Five Minute Friday Retreat is less than one month away!

I’m so excited be able to share more info about the weekend, including the schedule, our speakers, and our sponsor!

 

 

July 21-23, 2017

Kansas City, MO

20 minutes from Kansas City airport

Ticket Price: $185

** ONLY 10 SPOTS LEFT **

Deadline to Register: June 1st, 2017

Check-in time: 4pm CST Friday

Check-out time: 10am CST Sunday

Ticket price includes two nights of hotel-style accommodation plus all meals except Saturday dinner.

We’ll be going out for dinner on Saturday evening and you will pay for your own meal choice.

For accommodation, you will have your own double bed and will share a room with one other retreat attendee.

While we love and appreciate the men who participate in Five Minute Friday,

the retreat is open to women only. Sorry, guys!

***

THE SCHEDULE

Friday:

4:00pm Arrival and Registration
5:00pm Ice Breakers / Introductions 
6:00pm Dinner at retreat center
7:30pm Official welcome and devotional / Structured discussion
8:00pm Five minute free write and/or Open mic opportunity?
9:00pm Day visitors leave

Saturday:


8:00am Breakfast and cleanup
9:00am Morning devotional/Structured discussion
11:00am TBA
12:00 pm Lunch at Retreat Center
1:30pm Video call with Craving Connection contributors
2:30pm Short break / Snack / Tea and coffee time
3:30pm Fistbump Media video call
5:00pm Day visitors leave
5:30pm Dinner at Spin Pizza
7:30pm Craft/Games/Activity/Dance party/Chill/Chat

Sunday:

7:00am Breakfast
8:00am Worship & prayer
9:00am Pack & clean
10:00am Depart

SPEAKERS

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to video chat

with two Craving Connection contributors!

Craving Connection

On Saturday afternoon, we’re so excited to chat with

Kris Camealy & Denise Hughes!

 

As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mother of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people, words, and food. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate.

Kris is the author of Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight of Waiting and Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and the follow up Companion Workbook. She has contributed to numerous other books, is the host of Refine {the retreat} and the founder and Executive editor of GraceTable.org. In her free time, she writes at kriscamealy.com.

 

 

 

As an English professor, Denise loves the world of words, where life and literature connect, but she’s most passionate about the one Book with living words—the Word of God. She’s the author of the Word Writers Bible study series and also the Editorial Coordinator for (in)courage by DaySpring.

Denise lives with her husband and three kids in Southern California, where she reads three things every day—the Bible, NFL.COM, and PACKERS.COMsometimes, in that order. You can connect with her at www.denisejhughes.com and on Instagram: @DeniseJHughes.

 

 

RETREAT SPONSOR

Shout-out to Dan King at Fistbump Media for sponsoring the FMF Retreat!

Fistbump Media offers amazing services to writers and bloggers, including:

Website hosting and maintenance

Blog design

Self-publishing support

E-courses

… and more!

Dan will be video chatting with us at the retreat, AND …

Every attendee will get a FREE one-on-one consultation with Dan to discuss whatever you want to talk about relating to your own blog design, self-publishing goals, etc.!

Thanks, Fistbump Media!

fistbump media

PLANNING COMMITTEE

We have a fabulous Retreat Planning Committee once again! 

Special thanks to Holly Barrett, Mary Geisen, Jen Lamos, and Christina Hubbard

This retreat would not happen without their time and input!

So … what are you waiting for?? 

Click here to fill out a registration form, then come back to submit your payment

via the “Pay Now” button at the bottom of the page.

Confirm your registration by clicking “Pay Now” to submit your ticket payment of $185. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at kate<at>katemotaung<dot>com.

 

***

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: 

 

should

 

Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO. 

 

It hit me as soon as I thought, “I should post on Instagram more often.”

Then a second thought, close on its tail: “Says who?”

I haven’t always stayed perfect with this one, but I’ve tried to keep it my online motto as much as possible:

My blog is not the boss of me. 

There’s no shortage of tips and advice about what we should be doing if we want this or that, if we want to achieve this goal or hit that target or gain those followers. But, really — says who?

I get so easily entangled by what other people think that suddenly I’m all tied up in self-made rules and self-imposed standards and I can’t even figure out where the ropes came from or why my hands are behind my back.

So now, when I find myself using the “should” word, I try to hold out my hands, palms up, and ask if this “should” is from above, or somewhere else. And then I decide if it’s really a genuine should or a lookalike.

 

STOP.

 

 

Join the link-up below! 

 

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Happy weekend! Anybody else letting out a big ol’ sigh of relief that you made it through another week?

Welcome to Five Minute Friday, the link-up where you don’t have to worry about overthinking, backtracking, or perfection. Come as you are, make new friends, and write your heart out!

Learn all about the FMF community here.

This week’s writing prompt is: 

 

more

 

 

GO.

 

It saddens me that the words, ‘satisfaction’ and ‘contentment’ seem so hard to come by these days.

We’re always craving more this or more that, and then when we get it, it still isn’t enough. We want bigger, better, newer, grander.

Last night at church the speaker reminded us of the way the Israelites moaned and grumbled through the Old Testament, even in spite of the Lord’s tremendous kindness and mercy to them — and how we are exactly the same.

How often to I simply stand in awe of the abundant goodness of God in my life? Not often enough.

He has given me exceedingly, abundantly more than all I could ever ask for or imagine.

When I catch myself whining for more this or more that, really I should be raising the bar for more gratitude.

More grace.

More kindness.

More joy.

More laughter.

More hope.

More trust.

More faith.

More compassion.

More love.

More patience.

More Jesus. 

More of Him, less of me.

 

STOP.

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

***

On another note, if you guys have been around for a while, you should know by now that I’m a sucker for a good deal. And of course, if I find an amazing deal, I want to make sure you know about it, too!

This year’s edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site!

 

 

The resources I’m most excited about? 

Included in the bundle, you get a FREE 3-month trial to My One Thing Alone ($36 value), a membership site with Asheritah Ciuciu designed for women who feel too busy or unmotivated to find time with Jesus.

AND … Lisa-Jo Baker’s Temper Toolkit ($29 value), a resource I told you about back in February is included, too! The Temper Toolkit is no longer available, except in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to make homemaking and mothering feel less stressful… quick & healthy recipes, homemaking printables, cleaning tips, date night ideas, parenting helps, and so much more.

 

For less than the cost of a meal out, you’ll get a complete library to help you:

  • Cook up wholesome recipes for your family
  • Build stronger relationships with your kids (even your teens)
  • Discover speedy cleaning routines for the toughest messes
  • Rekindle the romance in your marriage
  • Put self-care back into your life
  • and finally enjoy homemaking.

Plus, it comes with over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love:

  • $15 store credit from Cultivate What Matters (international shipping available)
  • Free 1 month subscription from Kiwi Crate, $20 value ($15 off $50 shop purchase for existing customers, shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
  • Free 1 month MightyFix shipment from Mighty Nest, $17 value ($15 store credit toward next add-on order for existing MightyFix subscribers, international shipping available)
  • One project box from Detox Project Box, $25 value (shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
  • Free 1 month subscription from Bookroo, $18 value (box of past favorites for existing customers, international shipping available)
  • $15 store credit from Orglamix (international shipping available)
  • $15 store credit from Strawesome (international shipping available)
  • Digital download of the 2017 Hope Ink Calendar, $20+ value -or- $15 credit + 3 art prints from Hope Ink, $99 value (international shipping available)
  • Homeowner Lifetime Membership from HomeBinder, $120 value (digital)
  • Free 1 year annual membership from MollyGreen.com, $29 value (digital)

 

The whole package includes 106 digital products and it’s worth over $1980!

This bundle is available for just a few days! After Monday night, May 1st, the sale ends.

motionmailapp.com

 

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

 

***

Link up with Five Minute Friday here:

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Welcome to Five Minute Friday!

What a delight to have you here this week. If you don’t know, we gather every week with a brand new word prompt, then write like crazy for five minutes flat. 🙂

Sound like fun? Join us!

You can learn all about it over here.

This week’s word is:

sing

 

 

Yes, I was inspired by the fact that I attended my kids’ spring concert this evening. 🙂

Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.

 

“I got the solo,” she announced nonchalantly after school last week.

Tonight she stood front and center on the stage in front of the microphone, her petite frame exuding confidence and poise.

And she nailed it.

How is she nearly 12 years old? How is she slipping into womanhood, right between my fingers?

She and a friend went babysitting yesterday. Babysitting. This afternoon we drove out of the grocery store parking lot and I saw kiddie pools for sale outside.

We’re never going to need those again.

After the concert she went out for ice cream with friends. She’s becoming her own person. She’s finding her voice in the world.

It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and amazing to watch, all at the same time.

But she still comes home and can’t wait to tell me everything, and every once in a while I still catch her looking at me like she really cares what I have to say.

I turn off her bedroom light, say goodnight, and just like every other night when my hand reaches the doorknob, she says,

“Will you sing?”

 

STOP.

 

The grand finale in the concert this evening was this song, Stand Together, by Jim Papoulis. I actually teared up as I watched the whole school, Grades K-7 standing together and singing these moving words: 

 

 

Join the link-up, and be sure to leave a comment for your link-up neighbor!

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