How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

Well, if we have hit upon a universal fear, this has got to be it.  There are not many of us who say, “I just can’t wait to fail.”  The truth is, for most, success is how we measure ourselves.  Angie Smith in her chapter, “Midian’s Hand,” sure turns that widely held value on its head!!! 

After telling us about her father who is reading all kinds of books on painting and has all the supplies but won’t paint a stroke, because he is afraid it won’t be what he envisions it to be, Angie makes this highlighter worthy statement:

“To me, failure means it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.  To God, it means I didn’t pick up the brush.”


Whoa!  Then she goes on to say this REALLY crazy thought…many times God uses our failures for a “greater cause.”  Our failures???

Years ago when my son Peter was a young, he decided he wanted to play basketball in the city leagues.  My husband and I, neither of us had ever played much basketball, and Peter was not the tallest kid out there, but we decided that it would be a good idea for Peter to play an organized sport. 

Let’s just say the season was less than stellar for Peter.  He didn’t make a basket until the very last game and that one was for the opposing team.  To tell you the truth, I wanted to pull him out half way through the season.  Not only was it difficult to watch your child fail, the parents were pretty insensitive and down right cruel at times.  I had really had enough.  My husband, however, would not allow Peter to quit. 

When the season FINALLY ended, I 
was relieved and never wanted to darken the doorstep of a basketball court again. I truly thought Peter would feel the same, but he had other ideas.  He actually wanted us to buy him a basketball.  So we did and a friend gave him a Larry Bird videotape (some of you youngsters are asking yourselves right now WHO is Larry Bird and WHAT is a video tape…but you will Google it and find out:). spent a year wearing the tread off of numerous basketballs practicing the drills on that video. He bounced that basketball all over the mobile home and jumped EVERYWHERE until my nerves were on edge! By the time city leagues came around, a basketball was just another body part to Peter.  He could spin it not only on his finger for infinity, he could spin it, bounce it off his knee, his head or YOUR head and back to his finger not wavering once. 

Time for city league basketball came once again, but this time by the end of the season, Peter was the highest scoring player.  He went on to be the point guard for his high school team, winning awards and in his adult years, coached a high school team to a league championship and to the quarterfinals in California’s Southern Section play-offs. 

I wanted Peter to quit.  I had not a clue that in that season of failure, was a life lesson that would teach far more than had he been successful right off the bat.  My fear of failure could have cost Peter all the good in store for him.

-->Failure is not the opposite of success it is PART of success! 

It is a “win-win” for us because we serve THE Redeemer!  The Lord has good works for us to accomplish…kingdom work to be done!  We can’t allow our fear of failure to rob us of great things He has in store for our future!  Even if we hear Him wrong, or we try the first time and our best effort crumbles to dust in our hands, the Lord redeems even this! 

I went to a You Lead Conference recently and listened as one of our speakers encouraged us to NOT allow failure to make us give up.  She gave us story after story of how her own first attempts had mediocre and sometimes even disastrous results, but she learned and tried again.  Eventually, it led to a thriving and ever growing women’s ministry that reaches thousands!


How does the fear of failure impact your life?  What are you afraid to try because you think you are not “good enough” or that old two word “what if” enemy keeps putting an end to some good thing in your life you haven’t even begun?? 

My friend Melinda Byers is an extremely talented artists.  She kindly sent me pictures for this blog:  the empty canvas at the beginning...everything ready, but not a stroke taken.  And these that show the progression of what can happen when you DO pick up the brush!!! 

Pick up the brush, girls!!!!  And see what the Lord would paint on the canvas of your life!   

You are dearly loved and prayed for, girls!!


Check out my sweet friend, Melinda Byers website.  You will LOVE her artwork!  Thank you, Melinda!!  You are the best!!! Click here:  Melinda Byers Artwork

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Fear of Being Found Out

The Fear of Being Found Out

What keeps us in hiding?  What keeps us from showing we really don’t have it together… life isn’t that “rosy” at the moment…we aren’t “fine” or “okay” at all?  

One of the reasons can be the fear of judgment and being “hammered” with Bible verses that apply to our particular brokenness. 
Angie mentions this in the chapter “Chasing His Hem:”   “I can think of several times that I really opened up about something I was struggling with and it was met by a posture and spirit of judgment coupled with Bible verses.  I wanted the Bible verses, but in the spirit of love and grace.”

Proverbs agrees…wisdom absolutely should be given, but tempered with kindness:   

I have been guilty of “holy spiriting” people, especially my family members and MOST especially, my husband:/.  It took a dear friend to speak some honest truth to me:  I make a “lousy” Holy Spirit.  I have found throughout the years the ones who have had the biggest impact on my life are those who have spoken to me honestly, with Godly wisdom, humility, kindness and my best interest at heart. 

Another reason we want to hide…or at least I want to hide as Angie writes is the fear “… we will let people down and not meet their expectations.  I think many of us feel the real ‘us’ will be exposed when we don’t rise up to what someone else thinks we should be.  So many of us feel burdened by our perceptions of the expectations of others.  We often live our lives trying to avoid letting people down.”  I know this one well…I lived it. 

I love that Angie entitled this chapter “Chasing His Hem” after the woman who reached out to touch his hem with a mustard seed faith and found herself healed of an embarrassing, ostracizing; and, I am sure, debilitating bleeding problem she had suffered with for years.

I reached for His hem one Sunday morning in church after listening to my pastor, David Parker, give a message the Holy Spirit spoke straight into my broken heart.  I was desperate for the Lord’s touch.  I knew nothing else would do.  Only Jesus could heal the deep wounds that I had covered for years.  

Reaching for Him, I began to cry, first silent, streaming tears, but then a deep grief welled up in my heart.  The “old” Cherri had just died a very ugly death…and I knew it.  There was no going back now…It was blatantly obvious I was NOT “okay.”  EVERYBODY knew that I was not the strong, resilient, always joyful, completely together “woman of God” that had been on display for all.  What they saw now, was the “real” me…a puddle on the sanctuary floor as they filed out quietly around me, and Peter, always Peter, my earthly rock, by my side rubbing my back and letting me know that all will be well.

Here is what I learned from that very vulnerable and humbling experience:

I survived!  It did not KILL me to let others know that I am broken too. 

I found compassion, understanding and unconditional love from the people around me!  The fear I had of judgment was a false perception that kept me in my own private prison.

I found freedom!  This is the MOST glorious part of the whole thing…that very painful moment freed me from caring about putting up fronts anymore. 

He truly can redeem anything!  I can see that the Lord had plans for all my “ugly” brokenness.  He knew taking me through that time of anxiety, depression and breaking, would lead me to, not only freedom, but the ability to empathize and point other sweet, suffering women toward His beautiful healing as well.
And sometimes, being “found out” can be one of the best things that ever happens to you!!!  I am so grateful that the Lord led me through a valley I never thought I would survive, to the place where I realize the truth:  Angie’s beautiful words say it like this:

You are the one I stop for.
You are the one I long to heal.
I know your name.  I know your heart.
I know everything about you, including that we would meet here today.
You are the one who sought me and
I delighted in knowing your hand would reach for My hem in faith. 
What you saw an act of desperation,
I saw as an act of love. 
How many never reach out to Me at all because they don’t think it would make a difference? 
Now go in peace and newness of life.

Dear sisters, have no fear!  Peace and newness of life are within your grasp…just reach for His hem!

Love you dearly!


  Do you struggle with this "fear of being found out"?  Why do your think you hide the "real" you?  You can answer here on the blog, but you can also answer on the DV Women's Ministry Facebook page.  Many have found that easier.  Just ask to join!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Breaking The Social Anxiety Chains That Bind!

“Come join! Come join!”  they call to me.
I stretch my hand, but I can’t break free.
A thought inside my head revolving,
It’s not to you they’re calling.
Pull back your hand, buffoon,
Before they see You
And wryly sing a different tune.

Travel back with me to my awkward junior high years, where everyone has braces, pimples flourish, notes are passed, and there’s an overwhelming aroma of Bath and Body lotion, cologne and BO. I walked into this foreign world and saw a sea of faces I didn’t know, but I was fortunate to find two kindred spirits. We were inseparable, we played sports together, shared happy and sad days, vented to each other, and had ridiculous inside jokes.
Fast forward four years…  

We were now upperclassmen. The teachers liked us. We were pretty good at sports and were elected class officials. As the year progressed, I was given special attention and recognition in front of my friends, by teaches, coaches and some peers in our school. My successes were noticed, even my mediocrity was praised. For some inexplicable reason, this strange halo of favor hung over me throughout the year. Initially, I enjoyed the attention, but my friends became increasingly hurt and offended, and shared their feelings openly with me.  As the year progressed, this cycle continued and recognition in front of my friends stung them deeper and made me want to shrink ever smaller.

The night of the school awards show came, a friend spoke of an award she hoped to receive. But when the winner was announced, they called MY name. My face burned. My muscles tightened. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and I wanted to disappear. I walked on stage to accept the award in front of the entire school. The teacher asked me to say something. I went blank. What do I say? I anxiously blurted out an ill-conceived, but quick reply. “I just want to thank all the little people who helped me get here,” and quickly exited stage left. Let me invite you into my mind immediately after, “Ugh!  Little people? Why did I say that? What do I do with this plaque? I can’t bring it back to my seat.” I found a dark place under the bleachers to hide it before walking back to my friends. Once I got to my seat, my friends were missing. 

From that point on, I became the “inside joke." They whispered and laughed as they peered at me and hurriedly walked several steps ahead. We were no longer, “kindred spirits;" our friendship was undone.  By the end of the school year I felt despised by the people who knew me best, and I just wanted to disappear. I transferred schools my senior year and sunk deeper into the fog of social anxiety.  Now, I was the new girl, but at least if people didn’t like me, I could say it’s because they didn’t really know me.

I understood where my friends were coming from. We saw ourselves as equals. How could anyone elevate one of us over the others and do it so publicly? My friends certainly had reason to feel frustrated.  Haven’t we all experienced some degree of that? You want a promotion, someone else gets it, then you think of a million reasons why it should have been you. 

Social anxiety is an unreasonable fear of social situations, based on the belief that people will judge you. The physical feelings and reactions I had the night I received the award are duplicated whenever I feel I’m at the center of attention. Sometimes just speaking to someone I view as important or intelligent will illicit this reaction.  

Here are four ways that social anxiety plays out in my life:

Lethargic Living. I recently attended a conference and the speaker was Lisa Bevere. She spoke about “living fully awake.” I love this! We cannot live fully awake if we let our anxiety suffocate us. I am guilty of giving in to that struggle at times. I have lethargically moved my children through their days and stealthily avoided peer conversation. Adding children to our family multiplied my anxiety. I felt the magnifying glass grow larger as my adorable goobers got older and started acting like children.

I notice when people give disapproving glances, my body reacts.  As a result, when an opportunity arises to be a part of social events my choice is often to stay home. Then, what do I do at home with my kids? The same “stuff” we did the last couple of weeks. If your days gray together and you can’t remember what you did on Monday, because it was so similar to Tuesday, Wednesday, etc… then you are living a life of lethargy.

A motivating factor to change lately; however, has in fact, been my kids. I don’t want to perpetuate anxiety in their lives and I want them to have friends. I’ve come to realize it’s hard for them to have friends if I choose not to interact and build relationship with their friend’s Moms.

A False Sense of Control. One day, at work, I was asked to speak to a teenager, we’ll call her Eve, who had been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was nine. She started hiding her medications instead of taking them and as a result landed back in the hospital. Initially, Eve denied knowing why she was hospitalized, denied having symptoms of Crohn’s, and even denied being diagnosed with Crohn’s. Eve’s illness was taking over her body, because she made a choice to ignore her illness, and in doing so she gave her illness control. 

It’s easy to look at Eve and think, “What in the world, kid! This is your body! Take care of it.” The truth is that anyone who feels like they are incomplete or broken will try to pretend like they’re not. I try my hardest to avoid anxiety-inducing situations, so I can feel like nothing’s wrong with me. 


By doing so I continually make my world smaller. My anxiety is running the show. Let’s stop pretending. We are all broken, but that’s why there’s Jesus.

Self-fulfilling Prophecy. When we allow our anxiety to permeate our relationships, we will lose friendships and/or potential friendships. There have been times when I or my family have been asked to be a part of something. Simultaneously, I’m thinking, “Yes! … But No.”
 I truly want to, but I can feel the anxiety dancing in my chest. Even if I say yes, I’m soon looking or hoping for a reason not to go. Not because I don’t love the people who invited us, but because I have let my anxiety cripple my movements. A lot of times I talk myself out of going and eventually those friends stop inviting me. I have rejected them one too many times.

Inactive Players in God’s Plan. 


My anxiety can bind me. 
I see my weakness and I decide I’m not as capable or as needed as others. We are gifted opportunities to be a part of God’s plan. God is saying, “Come join, come join!” If we pull our hand back his plan will happen without us. What do I mean by inactive players? We have chosen God’s team, but we choose only to watch, not even from the bench because then we could be called up. No, we are nursing an old injury, watching the team play and thinking about how good it would be to be out there.

So, how do we fight? We go! We serve! We bravely allow ourselves to be awkward sometimes. I love that Angie Smith spoke of Leah. I had never noticed the part about her having “weak eyes” before. Not long ago I read through the book of Judges and what struck me was how imperfect the Judges were. The majority had something that could be perceived as a weakness or undesirable. God elevated prostitutes, foreigners, women, tax collectors, poor speakers, the list goes on. Here’s what I believe God is saying through these stories. Be willing and I will use you! Don’t let your brokenness stop you from being a part of something great. 

This post was written by guest author, Kirstin Fowler.



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Life-Changing Power of Kindness!!!

It was at a women’s Bible study leaders’ meeting that I received an up close and personal glimpse at the healing power a simple act of kindness can have.

We were introducing ourselves around the living room, giving our names and little bit of info about our involvement in women’s Bible study when we got to one sweet lady, and she said as she pointed across the room, “I wouldn’t be here tonight if not for Regina.”  She told us the very first time she came to Bible study, she looked at the large room filled with smiling women in happy conversations and thought, “There is NO WAY I can fit into this.”  She turned around and as she was walking out the door, Regina ran up behind her and asked if there was anything wrong.   As she explained that she thought it wasn’t the right Bible study group for her, Regina put a kind hand on her arm and asked if she would just stay for one evening.  She then walked with her new friend back into the room and introduced her to a group of those smiling faces, delighted to have her at their table.   

And that was the moment that changed everything!  Since that evening, she has been not only attending Women's Tuesday Night Bible Study, but helping and leading in Women’s Ministry in our church and on top of all that, has many wonderful friendships as well!  The incredibly, life-changing power of kindness can do wonders!!!

Recently, I was blessed to hear Tammy Brown, a pastor at Sandal’s Church in Riverside speak on “kindness,” and the power practicing this one attribute can have on the lives of others…even the power to heal past wounds of rejection, abandonment and betrayal.  Tammy spoke that many times a “mean girl” attitude is masking fear and insecurity that is a direct result of hurt and anger over these very issues.  Here’s a different kind of “what if”...

”What if we became curious about what is causing the unkindness rather than returning unkindness for unkindness?”  That was the question Tammy posed to those attending the “Cultivate Kindness Conference,” because her hope is that as Christian women we would reject the “mean girl” culture that has us saying cliché statements such as:  “Girls are just really mean” and “I don’t like women,” and begin to cultivate a completely different attitude.

Isn’t that an awesome thought?  That Christ can have an impact on the lives of others who are suffering the wounds of rejection, abandonment and betrayal through our kindness?!?  And the truth is the more we focus on others and their pain, the more our own pain is healed.  It is the crazy wonderful way the Lord’s Kingdom works…give and it will be given to you, forgive and you will be forgiven. 

This week we will have a guest writer for the blog…my daughter, Kirsti.  Kirsti, along with being married to Ryan and mothering three VERY busy boys, is a Child Life Specialist at Loma Linda Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department.  The reason I asked if she would write for the blog this week is because she has been battling social anxiety caused by these fears that can sometimes keep her hostage, a battle she is determined to win.  She graciously agreed to tell her story.  So her post should be up within the next couple days.  You can read a little bit more about Kirsti here:

Blessings to you, sweet sisters!!!!!  May we walk out our lives with intentional kindness!!!