Monday, February 27, 2012

Pass it On!!

By Suanne Camfield

Keep reading to see how you can partner with FullFill and win a copy of Elisa Morgan's book She Did What She Could.

Influence is something we pass on.

I was reminded of it clearly last weekend as I soaked up my pastor's retirement party.

Patterned after the old TV show "This is Your Life" (which I admit I had to Google!) person after person stepped from behind a darkened screen to reveal their identity to the guest of honor and emotionally share the piece of their lives that would forever be changed by knowing him. First his sister, then an old boss, his daughter, his editor, several colleagues and his longest standing friend. It was a beautiful picture of the way one life can touch so many others.

As I watched, I couldn't help but think about those who have shaped my own life, the people whose curtains I'd be honored to step out from behind. And then I wondered about the people whose lives I'm shaping right now, the people who'd step out as the result of the difference my life has made for them.

And then I got to thinking about you.

No false humility here ladies. No insecurities. No, "Who me?" You are a woman of influenceand you are using that influence right now. Recognize it. Accept it. Own it. I love the way my friend and colleague Elisa Morgan lays it out in FullFill's mission: "We are influencers, you and I. All of us. From the moment we wake to the second we slip off to slumber, we are affecting our world and the people in it. Whether we know it or not. Whether we try to or not. Whether we choose to or not. We are influencers. We can influence by accident or we can influence by effort."

It's part of who we are as followers of Jesus.

At FullFill, while we're no strangers to accidental influence, we do our best to influence by effort. And we're thrilled to see that it's working! Since its inception in September 2009, The Weekly ReFill has grown to nearly 11,000 subscribers. For that, we are grateful.

But we want to keep passing it on.

Who do you know that could use a little refilling - for FREE? Who do you know that would be encouraged by knowing that you recognize them as a woman of influence? Will you take a moment right now to forward this email and invite her (or them!) to subscribe to the Weekly ReFill? Our goal in 2012 is to reach 20,000 women to live out their influence.


weekly refill welcome

And for the woman who forwards on to the most friends, we'll send you a copy of Elisa's She Did What She Could (for doing what YOU could!)

Suanne Camfield is the Blog Manager for
FullFill and a freelance writer. She works at InterVarsity Press and is a founding member of the Redbud Writer's Guild. You can find her on facebook, follow her on twitter @suannecamfield and read her blog at

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Finding Fellowship

By Diane Paddison

God brought them into my life around the time I first moved to Dallas. First there was Savannah, then Sue, Brenda, and Claire. We were all professional women, all Christians, and all experiencing motherhood and marriage or divorce (or both). And boy did I need them! I was a single parent in a new city. I had found a good church, but as a professional woman, I sometimes felt like I wasn’t really seen or understood by the church community. Officially, my workplace was family and faith-friendly, but that didn’t always make it comfortable to be a single mom and a conservative Christian. There were so many areas of my life where I felt isolated, but with these women I was known and accepted always.

We formed a sort of informal group, meeting every-other week just to share. And over the years it’s been one of the most valuable things in my life.

To form a group like mine, just follow these guidelines:

(1) Keep it small and simple. Five people or fewer is best, aim for a group in the same stage of life and professional level. No agenda. No book to study. No pressure to maintain perfect attendance. Our group meets every other week over lunch, and at times various members have felt free to take time off from the group if they needed to.

(2) Keep it relational. This isn’t a Bible study. It’s about “us.” We talk about the things that keep us up at night. And we don’t try to solve each other’s problems. Just listen, care, and pray.

(3) Keep it confidential. Invite women with whom you’ve had some history and know you can trust. It’s best (but not strictly necessary) to recruit women outside of your company/ministry. Figuratively (or actually) vow to each other, “What’s said at this table stays at this table.” The key is to establish a safe environment where each of you can share, support, and recharge.

Whether you already have your own group or you’re starting fresh, I encourage you to be intentional about making room for some solid Christian friendships. Developing an authentic group of friends of like spirit, professional level, and stage of life will give you much-needed support as you navigate life. Rushed “catch-up” conversations in the hall after church or late-night Facebook chats from the office don’t count. Like any other relationship, true friendship requires investment of real time and energy.

Trust me, this is one investment you’ll never regret!

Diane Paddison is the President of, a speaker and the author of Work, Love, Pray. You can order her book at the FullFill Store! She is also a board member and Chief Strategy Officer for Cassidy Turley and serves on the board of The Salvation Army. In the past, she has served as COO of both Trammell Crow and ProLogis. Her blog is based on the 2/15 webinar she presented for FullFill If you missed it, join us next time! Click here to register!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Imperfect Influence

By Lisa Littlewood

I walk through the front doors into the hotel lobby and immediately notice polished, trendy, modern adornments— geometric patterns, smooth lines, squared furniture, swanky light fixtures.

I quickly feel very far from my messy and disorganized home.

I notice the women. Dozens of women. Many of them gathered in groups talking excitedly and comfortably about projects and networks, tweets and Facebook posts, handing out beautifully designed business cards with smart and quirky sayings and professionally taken photographs and scripture verses formatted in lyrical fonts.

A smiling girl hands me a cupcake. She has purchased spiced cupcakes to distribute as a way to say hello, a way to connect with other women.

I do not have cupcakes. My business cards are not as beautiful as I would like them to be.

All I have is a “hello”, my simple business cards, a suitcase full of (what feels like) all of the wrong things, and a smile that attempts to cover the fear of inadequacy that looms in my heart.

I was at a blogging conference for Christian women. I wanted to run to my hotel room and blog about why I should not be a blogger. About how I had deceived my readers (all two dozen of them!) into thinking I was something that I was not; I was surely not as organized, trendy, confident and pulled together as all of these wome. Those of course were the requirements for writing, for speaking, for ministering, for connecting with the hearts of others.

And then I read the words of Ann Voskamp, in a blog post highlighting her keynote speech from this very conference just one year prior, “You are brave. You didn’t know what this would be like. You didn’t know if you would belong here. Would your hair be okay, your clothes, your weight—your inside? Would anyone like you?”

Come to find out, as I mingled throughout the weekend and listened to other women, many of them sounded just as insecure and unsure as I did. They too had real fears and real questions about whether or not they were pursuing the right things, in the right way, at the right time.

And that, after all, is the point. That none of us have a ministry, a word of encouragement, a testimony or story to share without first having to work through our own struggles and feelings of inadequacy. In the process, we seek grace and wisdom, then, eventually, a filling up that cannot be found in earthly things.

Ann goes on to say, “I am a mess and I tell you my messy story—and it may be the story of the women who read your stories—real women looking for real lifelines…for that is all I have, all we have, really—the word of God making our lives into lines that we throw to each other.”

Sometimes we think that in order to have an influence on someone, we need to have it all together. God gently reminded me that it is often in our inadequacy that we learn to trust him and it is from this place we can reach the hearts of others with encouragement, hope and inspiration.

Lisa Littlewood is a freelance writer from Buffalo, N.Y. who has a heart for writing about how God uses imperfect people to accomplish his perfect will. Her articles have appeared in Buffalo Rising, Thrive Buffalo, Bay State Parent Magazine, Unite Magazine and The Buffalo News. She also blogs about faith, writing and life as a mom at

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Little Things

By Karen Schellhaas

It’s the little things.

Or so they say. But, I prefer the big things. Big trips, big revelations, big stages in front of big audiences. Big-punch moments that match my bright red lipstick.

But it’s the little things, even the mundane, repetitive things for which I wear a neutral, boring lipstick on a small stage, often with an audience of one or two, that seem to be what my children remember and cherish, and what my friends treasure most in our relationships. As much as I crave large-scale, somewhat flashy influence, God’s evidently got other ideas for me in this season of my life, ideas far superior to my own.

This has never been so clearly evidenced as in a blessing I received via email for my youngest child on his 6th birthday, a child we adopted from Ethiopia at age 2. The surprise blessing came from my Aunt Jo, a 61-year-old woman whom I adore but with whom I shared little more than genetics and warm embraces.

Here is Aunt Jo’s blessing, received in December 2011, an email that humbled and totally surprised us. I share it with you, in part, with her full permission:

Dear Bode, I must remind you of something important... something to let you know how big you are and how big you have always been! You, your family and Nanna came to Kansas City two whole years ago. I watched you and Brock for a while. Both of you were all cuddled up in your PJs. I read you a story and THEN... you and Brock sang "Jesus Loves Me This I Know" to me! I so remember the look on your sweet faces. Your eyes just shone! You were so beautiful to me! You sang and sang! I almost cried for the sweetness of it... well, ok, I did cry! Why? I used to sing that song with your Nanna when we were little girls, in our family together, sisters. But somehow when I was growing up, I forgot that Jesus loved me. I was so sad and I did not know why! But your song, your joy, your message to me as you sang, began to crack my heart open like a hard old nut. And then I remembered - Jesus loved me, too! It took a while, but then I began to BELIEVE He loved me... once you boys sang that sweet message and shined that light into my heart, I knew that God was calling me again. He had never quit calling me; I just could not hear Him anymore. So He sang out to me through your song -- He had not forgotten me! I knew I'd lost my way and that He was helping me find Him again. I took His hand and I'm not letting go. He holds my hand and He loves me. I missed Him, Bode. You reminded me of how much I missed Him.”

It wasn’t necessarily the big things that God used to romance my Aunt Jo, to woo her back with His love. Among other little things, it was an itty-bitty nighttime ritual, one that we sometimes struggle to continue with our children on those nights when we’re exhausted and genuinely wondering if all the little things eventually add up.

Turns out, they do – in ways I could’ve never imagined. But isn’t that just like God – using the seemingly insignificant or the young or the improbable to do what only he can do. Our God mysteriously weaves little things in to his bigger story, like when he fed 5000 people with a little boy’s two fish and five loaves of bread. A simple, uncomplicated offering made noteworthy through his power. Not that we can always see the bigger story in the detailed, everyday trenches of life, but I ’m asking God for new eyes to see what he sees in the everyday – to trust that he’s got an eternal vision for the few fish and several loaves he’s handed each of us, even a little 6-year-old birthday boy.