Pearls of Promise | Helping Women Overcome Life's Trials
Pearls of Promise Ministries was founded in 2009 by Lisa Burkhardt Worley. Pearls of Promise helps women overcome life's trials through sharing the strength and love of God. Our books, Bible studies, podcasts, blog, and speaking engagements are developed with the purpose of guiding women to healing, security and peace through a genuine relationship with Christ.
About six months ago we took a leap of faith and planned a conference in my hometown, San Antonio, a city I don’t live in anymore. One-by-one, the speakers came to me so I asked the Lord, “Is this something you want me to do?” I felt like God gave me a green light.
So our Pearls of Promise team started planning the Level-Up San Antonio Conference, open to both men and women, not knowing where it would go or how many it would attract.
It wasn’t always easy. I often felt out-out-of-control because I did not live near the event city, and couldn’t knock on doors myself to tell people about the conference. I almost cancelled it several times. I’d never called off a conference before—there’s shame in that— but I give my husband, Jeff, credit for steering me back to the path. He’d ask, “Do you feel called to do this event?” I’d tell him yes. Then he’d say, “What are you worried about?”
So if he wasn’t concerned about the red in the ledger, then I would try to keep my eye on the goal, not the obstacles. Have you ever had to do that?
There are so many benefits of taking a leap of faith. Here are a few:
It draws you closer to God. It makes you depend even more on God because you know you cannot do it on your own. We did everything in our own strength to get people there. Our Social Media expert, Aurora Ortega Geis, created compelling posts to catch people’s attention. We also sent emails, landed some radio interviews, and visited leaders of San Antonio-based ministries, but ultimately, it’s God who draws the hearts of men and women.
It brings you closer to people. I’ve made some new friends through this process, like speakers Bella Cruz and Ruben Torres, both from San Antonio. This week, our Pearls of Promise team got together and put the conference folders together. There is nothing quite like serving together in this way. We were chatting about life, the conference, and laughing, I love our Pearls girls! I also reconnected with San Antonio ministry friends like Duke Jonietz, who I used to work with in marketplace ministry. He’s now the co-owner of a San Antonio-based Christian magazine called The Beacon. Duke was so kind to us, placing our event on the back cover of The Beacon, and running an article I wrote on fatherlessness.
It is an opportunity to be used by God in other lives. Ultimately, this is why we go through all the hoops of putting a conference on like this. We want to see God heal people from past wounds. We want to be used as conduits to give attendees some tools to be stronger in their daily journey. We desire to facilitate a closer relationship between them and our heavenly Father.
We don’t have hundreds attending like we envisioned, but we do have the amount of people God foresaw when He planted the idea in my brain. He knows that this type of conference must be intimate in order for Him to work powerfully in the lives of those who attend.
I am glad I didn’t give up. The enemy of our souls will do everything to discourage us when we move forward in a calling of God. Stand firm in the call. Don’t waver despite how it looks on the outside. These calls sometimes require walking on the water as we move forward in faith.
Today, I am expectant that we will experience the glory of the Lord at Oak Hills Church-Alamo Ranch. I know this conference will exceed expectations because it’s been prayed over for months. More of you, Lord. Less of me. I hand the reins of the Level-Up San Antonio Conference over to you—and thanks for asking me to serve you in this way. It has been an honor and a privilege.
When my mother couldn’t help me heal from abuse, she sought help. She looked for a woman who could see my pain and reach into my heart and help me heal. For the love of her child, my mother humbled herself and let another mother, mother me. This woman became my Godmother. That’s the name I gave her because I knew God sent her to help save me. She poured out her patience, her talents, and her love and continues to this day.
God sends us women to love on us in remarkable ways. Sometimes these women are our own mothers, aunts, or grandmothers; yet, other times these women are sisters, friends, mentors, or women of wisdom. Whatever their title is in your life, they are God-sent. “What was your mother? A lioness! Among lions she couched, among young lions she reared her cubs.” Ezekiel 19:2
True motherhood requires strength beyond what we think possible, patience beyond what we have, and love beyond measure. Sometimes this mothering comes from our own moms, and other times from those the Lord sends; regardless, know that loving on one another is what Jesus calls us to do. I have had the honor of having many moms. Each one bringing knowledge, wisdom, and love so unique that my life couldn’t be as blessed as it is without each and every one of them. As I reflect on this past Mother’s Day I want to thank all those women who mothered this mother until I became the mom I am today.
Finally, I want to thank the two amazing women, my daughters, who have loved me each and every day. All the blue days, exhausted days, and overwhelmed days were made bearable because of your smiles and hugs. Thank you for loving on me. MacKenzie and Alexandra you two are my heart, my blessing, and my greatest gifts from God. I LOVE being YOUR mom!
Have you had “other mothers?” Have you been the “other mother” to someone who needed your help and love?
God’s hand created our children inside our bodies.
When I look at my two 6’5” boys, now adults, I think It’s hard to believe God formed them in my
womb. At one time their home was inside of my belly and during their nine-month
lease, God was crafting their DNA, features and appearance—so miraculous when
you think about it. We often speak about ourselves
being made in the image of God, but do we ever meditate on the thought that we
mothers were used as the potter’s wheel while the Almighty shaped our children
inside of us?
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
2. Being a mom is a God-Given responsibility.
My role as a mother has been one of the greatest honors and responsibility that I have ever experienced. I was not the perfect mother and didn’t give up my career to be a stay-at-home mom. I worked full-time through most of my oldest son’s childhood and continued working a full schedule until my youngest son was in third grade. I didn’t do well with plopping on the floor to play games because no one ever did that with me.
However, I spent long hours with the boys and was good at taking the kids to activities like playdates, the zoo, to movies or to places like “Chuck-E-Cheese.” I have a friend who said she always had a Chuck-E-Cheese headache after spending over an hour chasing kids and listening to all the dings and pings of the games!
As moms we also have a responsibility to teach our children about God.
Because of my schedule, it was difficult to be a room mother or volunteer for class parties. I did more of that with my second child. However, I thought it was important to teach the boys about the ways of God, and because I was off most Sunday mornings, I faithfully volunteered to lead and provide lessons for both of their Sunday school classes for many years. I remember another mom complaining that so few mothers volunteer to help at school. I was wondering if that was directed at me so I said, “Before you judge them, make sure they’re not the ones who tirelessly volunteer and prepare lessons on Sunday’s to teach your children about the Bible and faith.”
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
3. Mothers are a conduit for God’s unconditional love.
The most important thing I learned from mothering was about unconditional
love. From the moment both Kyle and Bret entered this world, my heart poured
out to them. I didn’t realize I could love like that. That’s why we mothers
make the sacrifices we make, out of our love for our children.
God uses mothers to provide a glimpse of how much He loves us. We forgive our children for disobeying our rules, we love them even when they don’t return our love as we’d like, and we still deeply care for them even when talk back to us on occasion. Does this sound a bit like our relationship with God? We probably can’t imagine a greater love than a love of a mother for her children, and the Bible actually says that God loves His people like this.
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).
But God’s love for us goes beyond even that. Take a mother’s love and multiply it by infinity. That’s how much God loves us. In fact, Ephesians 3:17, the apostle Paul said we need power to understand how “wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
So as you reflect on your own motherhood this Mother’s Day, ponder the fact that we are being used by God in our roles as mothers. Mothers are important to God because He desires a relationship with our children, just as He pursued a relationship with us. God calls on us as mothers to make Him known to our sons and daughters.
Many years ago, a dear friend of mine was working on his doctorate degree in Theology. Unexpectedly, he was let go of his job and wasn’t able to finish his dissertation. He got a job to support his family at Walmart and struggled emotionally with what happened. He had such great plans—plans to build the church he worked for, to reach out into the community more, and to bring a new energy into a small town church.
At the time, he was angry. Why would they just let him go? Why didn’t they see his plans were for good? Why did they want to remain stagnant? So much happened to that little church in the next two years. There were so many changes that people left the church and new faces came. My friend and I talked about why they let him go, because they were afraid of change, and then they were forced to change anyway.
God loves to force change.
He loves to direct us into His lighted path for us. A divine interruption, I have heard it called. An interruption to our plans allows for His plans for us to become clear. He lights our path toward Him and toward our divine destiny.
At times we are baffled, angry, or sad about the change but as time passes and our focus is cleared, we see His divine work in our lives. What a blessing it was for my friend! He was taken to a new state and new church to guide a small, college community. He works with those who have been coming to the church for decades and then welcomes the college community each fall. I just talked to him the other week and he was laughing at me—telling me now it was my turn to feel the divine interruption of seminary school. When God has a plan for you, He opens every door and lights your path.
As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path.” God knows where we are going and He promises to be with us and light the way. Always.
When you dine out, how do you
interact with your servers?
A month ago, I was having
dinner with two Christian sisters, Rosemary and Bella, when a sweet waitress
took our order. I recognized her from another time that I was at the restaurant
so I started a conversation by telling her I remembered her and asked, “Where
are you from?” “Costa Rica,” she replied. I complimented the energetic, petite
woman on her upbeat personality, then she left to take care of another table.
The three of us wondered, Is this a divine appointment? When she came back with our glasses of water, Rosemary didn’t waste any time and asked, “Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ She answered, “I pray a lot” then hurried off. We were worried that we scared her away with our boldness.
It was at that moment we
prayed, Lord, if we are supposed to pray
with this woman to receive Jesus, will you provide an opening for us?
Our waitress returned and showed us a card that a man gave her. She said, “It’s written in Hebrew and says that I am going to see Jesus soon.” The door was wide open. The three of us looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Bella asked her if she wanted to know Jesus personally before she saw Him, and she said yes, so Bella grabbed her hand and the three of us led her to Christ with a prayer.
The waitress was joyous and was giddy with excitement after receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. We all took a photo with her and gave her copies of our books to start her on her journey.
Meanwhile, last night I was praying with people at the altar after our Shabbat Service at church. A woman approached me who I knew I’d met before. As it turned out, it was a waitress from a nearby restaurant, someone who had waited on me numerous times and who I knew was a Christian. Because of that, she came to me for prayer during a difficult season of her life. What an honor. This happened because I was willing to allow a divine interruption at a restaurant, and break away from my conversation to show kindness to a sister.
I always pray to recognize divine interruptions, or God appointments, each day. Whether it’s just a word of encouragement I’m supposed to give, or an invitation to receive Christ, I want to be aware of the holy promptings,. I’m doing some evangelism training at church under Dr. Rice Broocks, the author of God’s Not Dead, and he has a simple formula for leading someone to Christ. S.A.L.T.S: Start a conversation. A: Ask questions. L: Listen and T: Tell your story.
The world needs to hear the
good news about Jesus Christ. Are you willing to make a connection with another
believer or to be divinely interrupted to share the gospel of hope? A
restaurant is a good place to start.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…(1 Peter 3:15).
Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, simply pray: “I know that I’ve fallen short of your perfect standards, O God, and I repent of my wrongdoing over the years. I believe that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to this Earth to sacrifice His life for my sins and to bridge the gap between you and me so that I can be in right relationship with you, a holy and righteous God. I now invite Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and I commit my life to Him. AMEN”
My husband just told me: “You’re an expert in being a mile wide with busyness.”
This was my weekend…
Friday morning I went to the gym, worked on homework, met with a printing company for work, drove my daughter to a doctor appointment for a college physical, then I was finally home for dinner so I could pack. Saturday I ran a 5k race, waited on the AC repair guys to fix our system, and then drove five hours to a conference with my husband. What was supposed to be a weekend away turned into a visit with my college-attending daughter, scouring to find a new apartment for her, and meeting with speakers for an upcoming conference. At the same time I was working out the loan paperwork for a new house, organizing movers, cleaners, painters, and running to the bank for the closing. And last but not least, having to ask the Lord to speak through me as I write this blog. Phew!
This seems to be my life right now—there are so many people needing so many things. I’m in the season of having one college daughter and one high school senior daughter. Add on a move and work and you have a recipe for an overwhelmed lady. It’s important for people, both men and women, to realize that life come at us in seasons that have a natural cycle. For me, the cycle is filled with change.
But what is a blessing during this season is to center myself every day with moments where I stop to talk with my heavenly Father. I ask Him to give us clarity for my college daughter and to reassure her that we are here to come alongside her as she struggles with what is next. I ask for the Lord to watch over my high school daughter as she navigates her first solo drive. I thank Jesus for my sister who is staying with my daughter while I’m away and for also managing a walk-through of the new home. I thanks God for my husband and his patience with me as I try to juggle everything on my plate.
When we take time to give thanks to the Lord and ask Him to reassure us, for patience, for clarity and to watch over us, He creates a calm that allows us to get done what needs to be done that day. One disclaimer. It’s not always what I want to get done, but I know what is done in the day is His plan and not mine. I am also encouraged that this overloaded schedule shall pass. Nothing in this temporary world lasts, so kids will finish school, moves will be done, each task for work or home will be completed. This allows me to take a deep breath and know that God has all my days planned. His plans are for my good.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In the days, weeks, or years when life is near or beyond chaos, look to the Lord and breathe. He will give you peace in the midst of the busyness.
When someone asks me how I’m doing, I often say, “I’m really busy.”
is that good?
Sometimes we can get too busy and that results in less than perfect results.
In my hurriedness over the past few weeks, I’ve lost a golf club, broken a bottle of nice perfume, and unbeknownst to me, dropped my cell phone between the seats in the back of the car and was late to an appointment because of it. Yesterday, on a work day in Dallas, I left my computer at home and had to travel back to my house forty minutes to get it. Round trip, that is an hour-and-a-half mistake.
What do you do when the busyness is out of control?
How do you put out the flames when you’re running on fire?
As a child in school I remember learning an easy strategy if I ever actually caught on fire. Maybe you will recall this simple instruction: “Stop, Drop and Roll.” I think the same directive applies when we are running on fire, so busy that we can’t do anything right.
Stop: Stop all activity; put the “to do” list away and take a Sabbatical. I wrote this blog three days ago because I’m currently on a break from work with two other discerning and praying Christian sisters in Florida.
The beach is my favorite place of retreat and when my schedule overtakes me, it’s where I long to go. There’s something about the waves crashing against the shoreline and sea gulls chirping that relax me—it’s a natural sedative.
Drop: Drop to your knees and ask the Lord to show you what to release from your schedule. Refuel and spend time with him. When Martha was scurrying around while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Psalm 46:10 says. “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Over these four days in Destin, my friends and I will spend much time doing what is “better,” sitting at Jesus’s feet in prayer because we understand the importance of lifting up every aspect of our lives to the Lord.
Roll: After you’ve ceased all busyness, and have a handle on what to keep and what to let go, then roll. Move forward with a new plan of action. The plan should include plenty of time in God’s presence, and adequate margin so you have the time to accomplish your tasks with excellence. You may also choose to delegate some of your “to do” list that has a hold on you. I am an early morning person, so before my friends are awake here at the beach, I will be seeking God’s direction for my life. Psalm 27: 8 says, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” God wants to be our organizer and daily planner. He’s a God of detail and he would love to map out our lives, if we’ll surrender the schedule to Him.
Lord, please forgive me for making busyness an idol in my
life. I ask that you show me how to have balance and help me to discern what to
release and what to keep during this season of my life. AMEN.
It was thirteen years ago that a beautiful, loving, and effervescent seven-year-old daughter asked her mother to go to church. She had mentioned going to church before, but this time she really wanted to go. Little did I know that what she wanted was going to change all of our lives, especially mine. Passover, Good Friday, and Easter were holidays that I thought I knew about. As we walked into the little Black Forest Chapel church on Palm Sunday, which I didn’t even know was a sacred day, I was introduced to Jesus in a way that shattered me to my core. I was introduced to the Lamb that would take all my sins to the cross for me.
Jesus didn’t take His sacrifice lightly, and I was just learning how enormous the sacrifice was. Forgiven. I was completely forgiven because of His sacrifice. All I had to do was ask for it, and seven months later, I did. I walked down the aisle of church, into the arms of my pastor and his wife, and there they prayed with me as I accepted Jesus’s sacrifice and asked for forgiveness. I then went to my knees and confessed all my sins. That was it. Then the vail was lifted and my life began to change.
The next few months was all about me. My salvation. My therapy. My relationship with Christ. I was building a foundation that strengthened me for what I had to do next. Forgive. You see, my favorite verse was 2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” But what I learned as I sat in church that Easter Sunday, was that as Jesus had forgiven me, I was to forgive others. 2 Cor 5:18-20 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he was committing to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”
Understanding Jesus’s sacrifices for us is paramount to our salvation and righteousness, but we must remember what is asked of us in His name, to forgive others. To share the blessing of forgiveness with each other. Now that Easter has passed and we have the glorious day of His resurrection fresh in our minds, we must not forget why He died for us. To forgive us of our sins, so that we can have a relationship with our Father God. We must move forward with His mission of forgiveness and reconciliation within ourselves, within our families, within our network of friends, and within our communities.
Begin the process of forgiving by just telling the Lord you forgive. It may seem too hard to forgive someone, but let the Lord begin the process. If you can, reach out and let someone know that they are forgiven and loved.
I know how hard it is to forgive. I know that some wounds take years to heal. The Lord will be with you as you walk each day in healing and forgiveness. It took me nearly thirty years to find the joy in forgiveness, but I got there. Day by day, I worked on my healing. Day by day, my grace and compassion grew, until one day the pain was replaced by joy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did not forget the hurt, and I did set boundaries. However, as I began to forgive others, I became stronger in who God made me to be.
Scripture declares, that God has made us all in His image. In Jesus we see sacrifice, grace, compassion, kindness, understanding, nurturing, encouragement, forgiveness, and love, which means all of those beautiful qualities live in us too. So, as you continue your life after Easter, remember who God made you to be. His.
I’m an over-cautious driver. One lesson I learned in Driver’s Ed years ago was to leave at least two car lengths between me and the car ahead. When I see brake lights, I start slowing down. But following at a distance is not always the best practice, especially when it comes to our Christian faith.
For years, I followed Jesus at a distance, as I was too caught up with climbing the ladder in my chosen field of television. I believed in Jesus and had prayed a prayer to receive Him as Savior in high school but fell away for seventeen years once I went off to college. Bible reading, prayer and church were more the exceptions than the rule.
I was not unlike many who
scattered when Jesus was arrested, then crucified. His own disciples fled when their
Rabbi and Mentor was hauled away by authorities. During one of Jesus’ trials at
the high priest’s house, Scripture says Peter “followed at a distance” and
later denied knowing Jesus.
After he died on the cross,
Luke 23:49 says, “But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him
from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”
I’m wondering today, “Do you still stand at a distance, or are you a close follower of Jesus Christ?”
My own life transformed when I
quick lagging back in my faith, and chased after Jesus. Today, there’s nothing
I desire more than experiencing the power of the resurrection daily through a
close, intimate relationship with the Savior whose sacrifice on the cross was a
game changer for mankind.
What happens when we cut the distance between us and Jesus?
In Luke 24, Mary Magdalene,
Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and other women drew near, by going to the tomb
with spices for Jesus’ body. They encountered two angels.
When Peter quit running away
and ran back to the tomb to see for himself that Jesus’ body was no longer
there, he was later used as a mighty man of faith and was the first to deliver
the Gospel message through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When two men walking on the road
to Emmaus, drew near to Jesus in their thoughts, and contemplated the meaning
of the empty tomb, Jesus appeared to them.
Things happen when we quit following at a distance. We run head on into the Savior of the world.
Do you need more victory in
your life? Are you tired of doing things your way with subpar results?
Then move from the periphery into Jesus’ presence. Discover what others have found when they drew near to the resurrected Christ: supernatural encounters, direction, peace and fulfillment. These are fringe benefits of the resurrection, gifts from Jesus at Easter. We just have to move closer to open them.
Come near to me and he will come near to you. (James 4:8).
I heard it said, those who are
called are never uncalled. That statement really struck me because I’ve been in
a season of transition these last few years. I went from a hands-on mother and
college professor to an author and ministry volunteer. My last child will be
entering college this fall, and I have been searching for what the Lord has for
I have always felt called to help
others. Others have said, I have a nurturing heart, yet I always doubted how my
empathic nature could serve the Lord. I tried to be the kind of mother that my
daughters could always come to with anything and feel unconditional love. I
have tried to be the college professor that had high expectations for her
students yet understood the individual and cared about them. As a wife, I’ve
wanted to be good, supportive partner while pursuing life as me.
Yet it’s that “life” as just Lynnette, servant to the Lord, that I have not figured out. What do I have to offer the Lord? I weep easily. I get overwhelmed quickly. I struggle with depression and anxiety. I am insecure. I lack patience. I could go on and on. However, what I have learned in these transitional years is that the Lord wastes nothing.
He doesn’t waste one day. Constantly He gives us experiences to learn and grow. It’s in the little things like taking the trash to the curb so my husband doesn’t have to. It’s organizing my daughter’s closet so she learns how. It’s calling my college daughter and listening to her as she details every moment of the last five hours since we texted earlier. It’s taking time to share pray requests and invite others to come and fellowship together. It’s taking that late-night call from a friend whose daughter is just entering into the teenage years. It’s time to comfort my mother when she’s sick. So many moments I had thought were wasted because I was not doing something for the Lord’s kingdom. God knew who He created when He made me Lynnette. He knew the daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and servant I would become.
I now know the Lord created me with
special skills that only I can share. The Lord gave me experiences that I can
draw on to comfort, encourage, and love on others. I have learned and continue
to learn who the Lord created in me. I do not know all the Lord has for me or
where my life with Jesus will take me, but I know He does. Finally, I am secure
in who I am. I am His.
Romans 8:28-30 (NIV) says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
If you are feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing in this world, or what you’ll do next, look no further than to the one who created you. God knows the plans He has for you. Call on Him, seek Him and He promises to be there for you.