Posts by traceymetzger

As a follow up to yesterday’s blog I thought I share with you a little nugget I got from reading Esther’s story this past week. Esther is an incredible example of a woman who knew who she was and used every bit of it to fulfill God’s purpose in her life.

King Xerxes was looking for a new queen.  Esther was chosen along with many others to be pampered and beautified for a whole year and then presented to the king one by one for him to choose his new bride from the group of beautiful women.

So there is this group of women of which Esther was one, all vying for the same position of queen. And here’s how it went…

Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace.15 Now when the turn came for Esther to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. Esther 4:17 (edited)

I bolded and underlined the part that leapt off the page when I was reading this the other day. Esther knew something that each of us need to know. SHE WAS ENOUGH.

She didn’t need to load herself up with things to make her feel better about herself. She didn’t need to add to what she already had.  She operated from a quiet confidence that she was enough and as you will see in the next verse it won her favor and she was crowned queen.

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen… Esther 4:17

The book of Esther is all about God’s providence although interestingly God’s name is not even mentioned in it.  However, it is clear that God called Esther to a position of power so that she could influence the king and save her people from genocide.

God positioned her to fulfill His purpose through her.

Here’s what I tend to do when God calls me to do something – see if you can relate.

First, I look at what I think it requires.  Then, I look at myself, my capabilities and I immediately conclude that I need to add something in order to fulfill the task….maybe I should go to school because I don’t have enough education. I think to myself…if only I had certain connections or more money I could get started.  If only I was more talented… and then I have to stop and realize what Esther realized.

If God has called me to a position then He knows that I am capable. All I need to bring is myself and He will equip me to fulfill His purpose for my life. What a relief! I can stop spinning myself in circles trying to measure up!

Of course we can always learn more and hone our skills and make new connections and find new ways of doing things but we must operate from the core knowledge that we alone are enough.

What have you been waiting to start because you thought you needed something more?  You already have what you need – YOU!

And you are enough! Walk boldly and confidently towards your destiny.

esther

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What makes a woman beautiful?enough

There is certainly no quick answer to that question.  It’s very easy to pinpoint some of the things that do not help us to appreciate our own beauty.  Everywhere we turn we are fed images of what beauty is supposed to look like and when don’t look like those images we can easily assume that we are not beautiful.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  

When we operate from a position of knowing who we are at our core – a child of God – loved beyond measure- it bursts from inside of us causing us to shine on the outside. Here’s what 1 Peter 3:3-4 says:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Note that the verse doesn’t say we shouldn’t wear jewelry or care about our outer appearance but that our beauty should not COME from those things. I often think about Mother Theresa when I think of the quiet confidence that is referred to in this verse.  What a beautiful woman she was! Her beauty came from within herself.  She knew who she was and what she had to offer and she gently and quietly went about her business changing lives and bringing love and hope to thousands.

When we are unhappy with ourself our spirit is not quiet.  It is warring inside of us and it ends up showing on the outside. When our confidence and self esteem are low, our spirit is not at rest and it speaks loudly and clearly to those around us.

So how do we begin to get back to a place where our spirit is at rest inside of us?

It starts with 3 words.  I AM ENOUGH.

You, just the way you are with your scars and your weaknesses are worthy of the love of the Creator of the universe. God knows every hair on your head and his thoughts of you are so many that they can’t be counted. He has a purpose for you in this season of your life and He wants your spirit to be at rest so that His love can shine through you.

Take a deep breath right where you are and say these words… I AM ENOUGH.

Stop trying so hard. There is nothing you could do today that could make Him love you more than He already does!

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Everyone should learn to do one thing supremely well because he likes it, and one thing supremely well because he detests it.

Brigham Young

Every summer we come here to this beautiful sleepy little town called Jefferson on Damariscotta Lake in Mid Coast Maine.  We have been blessed to take many vacations of all different sorts…fancy cruises, lovely resorts, city hotels but our vacation in Maine is my favorite for lots of reasons. Here are three of them.

1. I am reminded of the importance of LEGACY.

The modest little cottage that we stay in was owned by my grandparents when they were alive here on earth and left to their children collectively for the family to enjoy. I have taken over the management of the cottage this year and in doing so I have had more interaction with the people in the town. I have always known that my grandfather had an incredible reputation, but it has really hit home this year.  As I meet people and tell them my family name the response is always the same if they knew my grandfather.  The three words that come up consistently when people recall their dealings with him are integrity, honesty and generosity. It makes me proud to be his granddaughter but it also makes me wonder about how I will be described when I am gone.  What will people say about me?  Will it be consistent?

I love to be reminded to live my life with intention, conscious of the legacy I am creating.

2. I am reminded of how little I really need to be HAPPY.

I have a beautiful 3 bedroom 4 bathroom home in Florida with all the modern conveniences and a list of even more that I want if I am completely honest. I can easily get caught up in the more, more, more mind-set. For example, I couldn’t wait to replace my stained carpet in my living areas with wood floor but then once that was done it made me notice how shabby the bedroom carpets are looking.  Before I know it I can become dissatisfied and buy into the idea that I will be happier if I just have this or if I just have that.

In our little cottage in Maine we have a floor made of painted plywood and some scattered area rugs.  The furniture is older than my oldest child and none of the doors close properly.  There is no dishwasher or clothes washer or dryer. And yet I am as happy as can be there because I am with my family and there are no distractions or pressures. Instead of watching TV or working on our computers each night (with the exception of the occasional blog!) we play games and laugh with each other. Our meals are simple and made with limited pots and pans that we improvise with, but they taste better for some reason than those made at home with all the proper cookware.

I love being reminded that sometimes less really is more.

3. I am reminded that there is FREEDOM in not caring so much about how I look!

While we are here I never blow dry my hair. I hardly ever wear make-up but if I do it is very little- just enough to ensure that I don’t frighten poor unsuspecting strangers. I don’t look in the mirror much and I don’t think much at all about what I look like. And I love it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a slave to fashion and probably always will be but being free of caring for a little while is really refreshing.  And it makes you realize how silly it is to get too caught up in all of that superficial stuff.

I’ve always joked that I subscribe to Billy Crystal’s credo in the old SNL skit…”it’s better to look good than to feel good” but as I sit here in my ripped jeans and comfy old t-shirt with my frizzy hair I am reminded that that it is not always true!

Greetings from the shores of Damariscotta Lake xo

IMG_1354

P.S. This blog was written while the gang was out tubing on the lake so it was allowed 😉

speaking

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

 

Schedule

March 4, 2014 – Trinity, Florida

April 16, 2014 – Tampa, Florida

This is a little bit long but it is my 1st blog ever…telling the story of the beginning of FTGI written June 12, 2008 two days after we incorporated. It’s fun to look back and see where we have come from.

retrospect, looking back

To truly chronicle the beginnings of For the Girls International I would need to write a book but below you will find a synopsis of the events of my personal journey this year 2008.

When 2008 began I knew that this was the year. I just felt it in the core of my being. I didn’t know how or exactly when but I knew that I must start moving on this vision that has been in my heart for several years now. I made a commitment to myself and God that I would start moving forward even if it was the smallest of steps. That was January 1st 2008.

Fourteen days later at 2 o’clock in the morning I received a phone call that would change my life and the landscape of my extended family forever. My beautiful, adorable, bubbly, carefree and fearless cousin, Alex, died that night in a car accident. She was only eighteen. It is really impossible to describe how that news impacted me. It felt so final even though I knew that she was immediately with Jesus and that I would see her again. I felt so helpless. Shock and grief is so difficult to put into words. There is an overwhelming feeling of wanting to turn back the hands of time and do something to prevent it. How can you describe the emptiness and hopelessness you feel when you lose someone you love so dearly? There are no words.

In the months that have followed it has became evident to me that time is short. That NOW is when you have to step out and follow the dreams that God has placed in your heart. No one knows the day or the hour that God will call us to be with Him, and so we must live fully engaged in today, fulfilling our calling and purpose here on earth. I knew that I couldn’t wait much longer to begin this new journey called For the Girls International.

A month later, in February, while I was slowly emerging from the initial deep grief from Alex’s sudden death, I attended a conference for my husband’s business, Chick-fil-A. It’s a seminar for the Operators and their spouses to get refreshed and inspired for the coming year. It is always personally inspiring as well. Chick-fil-A is a company founded by committed Christians that live to inspire people on every level. As I sat through the sessions, I felt the fire of the vision of this ministry burning strong. On the second evening of the seminar I was having trouble sleeping. I felt compelled to write out my vision in the notebook given to us at the beginning of the week. At the top of the page I wrote… PERSONAL GOAL… and then wrote out, not very eloquently either, what was in my heart. I made it a goal to get started this year. I never intended for anyone to read it. It was for me and God – a little note to God.

The next day my husband and I went to the sessions and events, but that evening when we got back to our room I realized that at some point during the day I had lost my book. I was really bummed out and my husband didn’t understand why because he thought it was just full of notes I had taken, so I told him that I had written out my vision in it. Just as a side note… I am, and this can be confirmed by anyone who knows me well, on the spacey side of life. I lose my keys several times a week. I lock myself out of my car on a regular basis. I leave things everywhere (including my children). So this was not really out of the ordinary for me. My husband just rolled his eyes when I told him I couldn’t find my book.

The next morning as we rushed from breakfast to the general session, I checked with the lost and found desk that Chick-fil-A had set up and found several notebooks there (so I wasn’t the only airhead!) I flipped through them and found mine. I was so glad to have it back, but we were in a rush, so I just grabbed it and ran. When we settled into our seats I wanted to read my vision again so I flipped through to get to the page I had written it on. When I came to the page, I was completely taken back. There was someone else’s handwriting on the opposite page! Someone had written in my book!

Here’s what she wrote…
I found your book and was looking for a name when I saw this (arrow pointing to vision).
I’d love to help you with this.
Lysa TerKeurst and her cell phone #
Proverbs 31 Ministries proverbs31.org

I was completely freaked out! It was like God had written me a personal note to tell me that He loves me, He got my note, He knows the desires of my heart and that He was going to help make it happen. My heart was racing, my hands started to shake, and I couldn’t hear anything else that was going on in the room! I honestly just stared at it in disbelief for quite a while. What are the chances that out of 1500 women at that conference and hundreds of bathroom stalls that Lysa would follow me into the stall where I had left my book? Then, on top of that, what are the chances that she would open to the very page that I had written my vision on and read it?? Being the space cadet that I am, the chances of me losing something while I was at the conference were great, but all the rest of the “coincidences” completely defied all the odds.

I had heard of Proverbs 31 Ministries because they do radio spots on my local Christian radio station but I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that it was the same ministry that was on my radio. I was excited just at the idea that someone already involved in women’s ministry would be offering to help me. For me the big thing was the acknowledgment from God and the fact that I could also get help and direction was completely over the top. After the conference ended and I got home, I looked up Proverbs 31 and was completely blown away by the magnitude of the ministry. It is a wonderful organization and the President of the ministry wants to help me!!!! I got in touch with Lysa who was a great help and encouragement and she suggested that I attend the She Speaks conference in June. I figured that would be the start of things for FTGI but God had other plans. On the same day that Lysa found my book, my friend Cynda (co-founder of FTGI) was receiving confirmation of her own through a phone call and before we knew it, we were set up for our first ministry trip to NYC.

I love this quote from a former pastor friend of mine.

Oftentimes God takes a long time to move suddenly.

As long as this first post is (and I promise they won’t all be this long), this is only one of many, many ways that God has confirmed over and over that He wants to do something great in the lives of women in this day and age. I am thrilled and humbled at the thought of being a part of that and can’t wait for what lies ahead.

Lots of Love,

Tracey

On June 8th, twenty eight years ago Danny and I got married.

me and Danny

Our hearts made lots of plans.

We planned to have children. We had two amazing boys. And then God completely surprised us with a daughter.  A most beautiful surprise that was not in the plan.

We lived on Long Island in New York.  We planned to have a nice house someday. And we do, but it is in New Port Richey, Florida.  A nice surprise since we both love the sunshine but that was not in the original plan.

We dreamed of having a business. We never imagined it would be selling (the best) chicken sandwiches and sweet tea! A great surprise but not exactly in the plan.

We planned to have Sunday dinners at my mom’s house as our children grew but sadly that ended abruptly when my boys were four and 1 year(s) old.

We planned on watching our kids grow up with their cousin Alex but she will remain forever 18 to us now that God has taken her to be with Him.

We planned on never speaking a harsh word to each other and always communicating openly and lovingly…well you know how that goes!

There is joy and heartache in every journey in every life and every married life. What has held us together and made this journey so beautiful is that even though we have made lots of plans and are still making them, we rely on the reassuring fact that God alone determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9

In his heart man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps

We still make plans. Lots of them. Exciting ones. But we hold them loosely knowing that there will be twists and turns and unexpected detours. We know that even though some of the bends in the road will be confusing, we will look back and see that they were leading us to the places that God intended for us to go.

Twenty eight years later by the grace of God, our love is sweeter, richer and deeper.

And we’re still making plans!

Last week my niece won two tickets from a radio station to a private listening party with Amy Grant for her newly released cd How Mercy Looks From Here and she invited me to go with her!

It’s no secret that I am a huge Amy Grant fan. I love her music, I love her soothing voice but more than both of those God given talents, I love her spirit. She has a beautiful, very real faith that intersects with very human experiences and raw emotions but remains strong and full of grace.

Grace, something we all need so very much.

During the listening party she chose a few songs and told the stories behind them. I loved them all but one of them caused that huge lump in my throat that develops when I am trying to hold back tears.

It was called ~ Don’t Try So Hard.

It hit home for me because I had recently gone through a period of time where I was trying so hard that I had worn myself out completely. I am not even sure how it happened or when it began because it snuck up on me. Gradually over time somehow I had developed this imaginary standard that I needed to measure up to.

The standard was perfection and although no one else expected it of me ~ I did. As the words washed over me I felt a few hot tears escape from my eyes. Not tears of painful emotion but of relief that the striving is over. It’s over in a sense but it is a battle that we all face every day as new pressures to measure up or fit in present themselves.  It is one of the greatest weapons of the enemy of our soul. Comparison.

I am glad that I was able to recognize the harmful practice of comparing myself to some made up standards that I could never achieve and just breathe and relax instead of fighting.

Here are the words to the chorus…

Don’t try so hard
God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
Don’t think that you’re not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
He gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lovely even with your scars
Don’t try so hard

My favorite line is…”You’re lovely even with your scars…”

Do you believe that today? You are lovely even with your scars…don’t try so hard!

Here…take some deep breaths as you listen.

Yesterday I turned 48. And I believe I have turned a corner.

I have always joked that I subscribe to the philosophy from the old Oil of Olay ad that said…

“I don’t intend to grow old gracefully. I’m going to fight it every step of the way.”

But I’ve changed my mind.  I don’t mean that I’m going to stop covering my gray hair or stop using $40 eye cream to diminish my “smile lines,” but I have decided to stop feeling like I am in a race against time and remind myself that every season of life has it’s own beauty.

I remember a funny conversation I had with Danny when I was pregnant with our first child. It’s even funnier now but we laughed about it then.  We were discussing his job.  He was doing route sales for a company called SafetyKleen.  He made a really good salary for being just out of college but he didn’t see a future for himself there.  During the conversation he said, “I feel like it’s time to make a change. You know, I’m not getting any younger.” It made me laugh out loud because he was only 22!

We realized how silly it sounded for a 22 year old to feel the pressure of aging but I think no matter how old we are we are always at risk of feeling like we are racing the clock.

The truth is no matter how old we are, we are not getting any younger. If I am going to allow myself to feel any urgency from that truth it is going to be the urgency to live more in the moment.  It’s the only time that we can be sure of.

I love this Message version of Matthew 6:34

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

What is God doing in your life right NOW that you can give your entire attention to?

today-moment

How about you?

 

 

 

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