November 2017 Newsletter
In this newsletter consider how God might be inviting you to be more fully present this holiday season; hear testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of staff and alumni who are choosing to be present to God's heart for their lives; and celebrate with us as we approach the end of another year!
In American culture the season that stretches from mid-November through the end of December can seem a bit like a runaway freight train. High speed. High energy. And, if not carefully controlled, highly destructive in its intensity.
 
There is so much to do – celebrations with friends and families, the giving of expressions of love to those we care for, reflecting on God’s goodness. Good things. Things that touch our deep desires to love and be loved, for relationship and connection.
 
But one of the biggest challenges of the holiday season can be being present enough to enjoy it.
 
Being fully present may be the biggest gift you have to offer yourself and others these next few weeks. Being fully present creates space for relationships to grow and deepen. Being fully present leaves room for life-giving connections that energize, encourage and leave a sense of peace and rest rather than frustrated exertion.
 
Being present requires intentionality. It’s not something you’re likely to stumble into. To really be present for another we must be in touch with our own heart, aware of our own feelings before a conversation begins. Presence is the capacity to show up, and be there for someone without invoking an off the cuff response in the midst of another person’s story. Bring present means truly listening and staying with another person’s story.  
 
One way to know you are not present for another is if find yourself silently recalling details – or planning shopping lists, eek! - and ruminating on your own similar experience before the person even stops speaking.
 
Presence allows space for silence. 
 
Warm, open presence plays a key factor in providing emotional support to another. Staying present also requires quieting our sometimes habitual, often verbal reactions to problems, including our desire to avoid our own feelings or attempt to “fix” the feelings of others. 
 
As you begin to ramp up with holiday activities these next few weeks, consider taking a few minutes to ask the Lord what He would have you do to create space for being more fully present to Him, to yourself and to others this season.
 
Check out our latest blog on Presence...
  " Looking back over my life, I can’t think of one regret when I let things go and decided to stay present in a moment, savoring this season of my girls playing in the backyard, our neighbors sharing their stories, or sitting with my family as we reminisce on our own childhood moments. On the contrary, some of my biggest regret is related to my fear of presence… more-so the avoidance of pain.

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Stories have the power to transform lives. They stick with us in ways that no recitation of facts alone can do. Perhaps that's why Jesus chose parables as a primary method of teaching.

But it's not just hearing stories that has the power to change us. Many of the men and women who go through Wellspring Group's Speaker Equipping Track have found that digging deeper into their own stories, being fully present to what God has and is doing in them, and seeing the thread of God's redemption and restoration woven through the weeks, months, and years that make up their memories has been one of the most powerful parts of their Battle experience.

For Debi Giocondo, Butler First United Methodist Church, her recent experience preparing to teach at the Pennsylvania Battle for Women's Hearts event involved being present to what God was saying in her story even when it was uncomfortable.
This was a meaningful process for me because it took several steps of obedience to get to the end. These steps included listening to God as he called me to tell my story, remaining on the path when I wanted to back out, following through with telling this particular story when I wanted to change the story, facing my fear of not being accepted, and making time to listen to what God wanted to speak to me before I could speak it to those ladies. There was so much healing that occurred through the process of preparing, experiencing the coaching calls, and then giving the practice talk. Then hearing well done at the retreat made every struggle, every tear, and every doubt SO worth it. It touched my deep desires to have impact, to be valued, and to hear well done.”
If you would like more information on how you can become involved in Wellspring Group's Leadership Equipping Track as a speaker or facilitator please contact Anisa Sumlar.
2017 has been filled with celebrations for us individually and as a ministry. Some are celebrations of joyful experiences but others come out of choosing to celebrate growth that has come through pain and challenge. We celebrate his continued faithfulness to work in and through us.
 We celebrate:
  • Over 300 people experiencing Battle retreats including 29 couples in the Battle for Your Marriage
  • Larry Bolden working on a book - with an anticipated release in 2018
  • Over 12,000 people viewing/sharing the Meet Mark video!
  • Men and women experiencing the heart of God in their equipping team in new ways
  • Partners joining the vision and mission of Wellspring Group through financial partnership
  • Our board seeking the Lord for his ongoing strategic direction

You have been an important part in His story and ours.
 As you look at the closing chapter of 2017, will you prayerfully consider partnering with us financially as we seek to finish well and step into what God wants to do in and through Wellspring Group in 2018?
 
We are grateful to share in this heart journey with you!

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