#anchoredinGod Blog Series: Jenni Catron

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? I am a self-proclaimed “leadership junkie” who believes deeply that leadership begins with influence and that each one of us has God-given influence that we are entrusted to steward faithfully. I also believe that those in positions of leadership have the sacred responsibility of leading well. I spend my days working with leaders and organizations to help them live and lead from their God-given best.

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? My husband and I currently live in the San Francisco Bay area. We have been here for 3 years and lived in Nashville, TN for 18 years prior to that. I was born and raised in Wisconsin. My husband was born and raised in Georgia. North meets the South and we’re conquering the Wild West.

How do you carve out time with God everyday? Because I travel often for work, this can look very different from day to day. When I am at home, I get up early, make a cup of tea and spend an hour reading, journaling and praying. When I’m traveling, it all depends on the schedule for the day… sometimes my best time with God is on a plane.

What is your best organizational/planning tip? Create simple systems to manage your life. Make the routine things very simple. For example, I rarely misplace my keys because they clip onto my wallet. My wallet and keys are always together. That sounds really trivial but if I counted the minutes I save because I’m never hunting for my keys, it would significantly add up. Another really important thing is that rather than creating ‘to do’ lists, I schedule things that I need to do on my calendar. That way I know when it’s going to get done and it helps me commit to only the things that I really have time for.

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? I know Debbie Eaton said this already, but ours is tacos as well. My husband loves tacos and never tires of them. Easy win for me!

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? This one is very recent for me . . . as I mentioned, my husband and I moved to California three years ago because we sensed that God was leading us there. When we got there it was nothing like I expected and I really questioned whether I had misheard God. I became very angry with God and frustrated with our circumstances. For two years I kept begging God for answers and he just seemed silent. I found myself really wrestling with my faith and with my ability to trust God. Several months ago some circumstances transpired that made it very clear that when God moved us away from Nashville it was a blessing that we could not have anticipated. I was reminded of how small my view is and how God truly is working all things together for my good, even when it doesn’t always feel like it.

What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader’s Day by John C. Maxwell, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, and Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

What is your favorite Bible Verse? Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message) “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

We are dying to know . . . in your opinion, what makes a great leader? A great leader knows that leadership is not about them or for them. Leadership is all about others. Extraordinary leaders recognize that every day they have the power to change or affect the lives of the people around them and they truly see their leadership as sacred work. My personal definition of extraordinary leadership is: “a leader who has searched to discover his or her authentic self and from that place influences others to accomplish great dreams through: intentional relationships (heart), spiritual awareness (soul), wise counsel (mind), and relentless vision (strength)”. I believe great leaders emerge from an overflow of loving God and serving others well.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:4-5 MSG

 

#AnchoredinGod Blog Series: The heart of Debbie Eaton

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? I am passionate about leadership development and building bridges between generations because both create and cultivate influential moments of connection. I love sunrises, sunsets, wildflowers, mocha’s over deep conversation, walks, reading, laughter, the smell of pine trees, rolling ocean waves, and dark chocolate.

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? I live in sunny Southern California with my husband and son. I grew up in Ohio and moved to California two days after my wedding. It was the greatest adventure. If you would have asked me 30 years ago if I would still live in California I would have told you “no way”.

How do you carve out time with God everyday? As I have grown older I have realized more tangibly that God is with me always. I start the day in my journal and God’s Word, I see Him with the people that cross my path, I lean into the quiet whispers of silence and see Him in the beauty of nature. God is everywhere.

What is your best organizational/planning tip? I am laughing because I am the last person you would want advice or tips on organization. I am grateful for my apple watch and smartphone and I love spontaneity.

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? Tacos!

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? One of my favorites is when I was in a coffee shop and a young man was ahead of me in line. He looked a bit lost and disoriented. In that moment I had that sense I was suppose to tell him God saw him and loved him. My first reaction was no. So instead I told the woman behind the counter I would buy his coffee. It took a bit of convincing but he accepted my offer. As we waited for our drink the sense to tell him he is seen and loved by God became so strong I could not ignore it. I thought buying coffee was good enough however God had a reciprocal lesson for both of us in that moment. In a shaking and courageous voice I told him “God sees you and loves you.” He broke into tears and said, “How did you know I was asking God if He saw me and loved me.” We sat down for 30 minutes as I heard his story of being kicked out of his house, living on the streets or a friend’s couch while looking for a job. He told me he was lost. I could offer him nothing more then encouragement, grace and truth. I prayed for him and we both went our separate ways. In that ordinary moment of time in a coffee shop God became so tangible to both of us. We left with our faith bucket filled to the brim.

What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? Artist Way by Julia Cameron, Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus and any book by Henri Nouwen.

What is your favorite Bible Verse? Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT

What is your best piece of advice for women wanting to transition out of full-time church ministry and choosing to do ministry on their own? This is such a personal journey for anyone wrestling with this question. So here are my thoughts and a series of questions I challenge anyone to work through in the decision making process.

The creator of the universe has specifically designed each of us to make a difference with our passions, gifts, abilities, and experiences. For some it is working in the organization of church. Like any workplace there are times that we outgrow our position, struggle with burnout or desire a change because our heart passion will not be accepted, aligned or accomplished under the current structure.

Ultimately the tension intensifies and we are faced with the decision of staying or moving out.

In my journey of change these are the questions I had to ponder and get real about. I have found obedience to God is most important and it will require trust, courage, and faith in the unseen. With obedience comes freedom in doing ministry in a variety of ways.

QUESTIONS TO GET REAL ABOUT:

Are you rested? Are you able to sit silently so you can hear the quiet voice of the Lord?

Who is praying with you?

What is your passion and can it be expressed in the local church? If not, what would be required for you to live it out?

Can you map out what is at the root of discontent?

What are your motives?

Is your role at church your identity? Is your ministry your identity?

What are your fears?

What are you willing to risk?

What is God teaching you? Where is He guiding you? Will you be obedient?

I am praying for anyone that is in the middle of this decision. Lean into God’s voice and surround yourself with people who truly love you.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT

 

 

 

 

 

#anchoredinGod Blog Series: The heart of Jennifer Haynes

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what God has called you to do? I have certainly seen God at work in my life recently, as I have faced the battle of my life with brain cancer. I am not quite sure what God is calling me to do, but he has certainly provided me with a very large pedestal to share my faith and inspire others to seek him in times of trouble, times of need, and times of joy.

Where do you live and have you lived anywhere else? I am a California girl, born and raised in Yucaipa with a short 5 years living up north in El Dorado Hills as a kid. After graduating from University of Redlands, I lived in Redondo Beach for 2 years until I married the love of my life and moved to Orange County, CA. We have lived here in the OC ever since.

How do you carve out time with God everyday? Before the kids are awake and moving, I cherish a couple moments reading a few verses with my husband over a cup of coffee as we gear up and pray for the day ahead. Once everyone is out the door and off to work and school, I will spend some quiet time in a quiet house with God digging into His word.

What is your best organizational/planning tip? My best planning tip to keep my family going each day is planning out a menu for the entire week and get that grocery shopping done first thing Monday morning. I love www.emeals.com to make menu planning super easy.

What is your family’s favorite go-to easy meal? With a family always on the run, I have to plan out my week’s menu…but there are those weeks that it just doesn’t happen. In those cases, I lean on croc-pot chicken by throwing in chicken breasts and a huge jar of salsa to make some tasty tacos, burritos, tostadas, or a yummy salad.

Tell us your favorite God story (in your own life)? I have some pretty incredible God stories recently, but I have to share these two special moments that involved my kids’ faith. My husband and son, who at the time was only 12, were all set to go on their first missions trip to Mexico when we found out about my brain tumor. Fear quickly crept in, and we had so many questions about what the future held. My husband felt convinced that they needed to cancel the trip and not go. In the sweetest moment, my son said, “Dad, I know we don’t know what the future holds for Mom, but I do know that our faith is being tested and the enemy is placing that fear and doubt within us because we are about to serve our God in a big way.” He further went on to comfort his Dad and say, “We will need to depend on God more now than we ever have before, and we need to honor Him by serving Him on this missions trip.” As you can guess, they headed south and were blessed so deeply by this trip! At one point, an entire congregation at the church they were serving through gathered around and prayed for them and the journey I was about to embark on. To top it off, my daughter and I are headed to this very church for a missions trip at the end of May!

What are your 3 favorite books, other than the Bible of course? The Shack was one book I couldn’t put down. I love a good light hearted romantic comedy, so anything written by Sophie Kinsella is always a favorite. I am a fan of Max Lucado, and enjoy his devotionals and his gift for story telling. The devotional that kept me centered through my battle of brain cancer was Praying Through Cancer by Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist.

What is your favorite Bible Verse? My all time strength verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, “TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your path straight.”

We are dying to know . . . how do you look at life differently having journeyed through your season of cancer? This is such a great question. After almost 2 years on the battle field, I can honestly look back and see how far I have come, areas where I have grown, and note how God is using me…and yet still working IN me. This question allows me to do a lot of reflecting. The biggest difference in my life is I have learned to let go of control, and have put all my trust in God for not just the care of my health, but also the simple things and little moments of everyday life. I couldn’t grunt, wish, eat, or do anything differently to cure this cancer. Only God can…and He paved a healing path and placed amazing doctors in my care. I had to trust that (and them), and follow their plan of attack. Letting go has allowed me to see the beauty of God at work in the everyday. It has allowed me to remain present in these moments of life and to enjoy the simple things. So when I feel myself try to solve, change, fix, or allow in fear or frustration, I know these are just God’s simple reminders to let go of the control. I must trust that He too can handle this, and I need not depend on my own understanding. I am now at a place of “now what?” “what is next?: This is where God is still at work in me. I am learning that I have to let go of the future and let God show me what is next. I find that when I try to figure it out, try to take back the control or think how can I use this journey, I feel burdened, stressed, and overwhelmed. I am learning that I must release this too. God so graciously provided a healing path for me and covered my family with an abundant amount of peace and care during this battle. I can only trust that the future, this story, this experience, He will also put to use. I continue to pray that I may be simply a vessel to shine HIS glory. The funny thing is, isn’t this how God intended us to live all along?

“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6