Sunday, December 29, 2013

From Needy to "Asky"

By Elisa Morgan, Publisher, FullFill

Needy. I'm not crazy about this word. Oh, let's be honest: I don't like it at all. I prefer independent. Self-sufficient. Autonomous.

Needy isn't safe because when we're needy and our needs aren't met, we hurt. When we are needy, our yearning leans us onto the edge of pain. For food. For drink.
Donate today-  click here!
For friendship. For help. For hope. Our needy makes us greedy for release. In the face of needy, we often choose numbness, denial or distraction as our method of


Yet there's a refreshing honesty - and fulfillment - in experiencing our needy. When
we accept our needy, then we can move toward our needs being met in real relationships with God and with others.

Hmmmm. Is the solution to being needy to learn to be asky? If so... I'm stepping off.
Have you given to FullFill to fill others?

I'm needy. So now, I'm asky.

December is "Give Back Month" at FullFill. And we're
nearly at the end of December. In order to meet our budget of $25,000 - that's all it costs for us to provide FullFill
FREE to all women everywhere! - we need you to prayerfully consider giving.

In order to be the best version of themselves and to live out their influence, women need encouragement. Women need inspiration. Women need empowerment and training and perspective. And here at FullFill we believe women need what we offer.

Name your number? $500 underwrites 500 women. $50 provides for 50 women. Will you meet the need? Will you give back
Elisa Video
Watch Elisa's Video to learn how you can help!

FullFill is dependent on your help. In this way, we are needy. And so now we're asky. Could you maybe be givey?

"And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mary: From Ordinary to Extraordinary

By Alexandra Kuykendall

We know her simply as Mary. Mother of Jesus.

She was an unlikely world changer. A girl by our standards, hardly influential in her culture’s power


Then heaven cracked open and the divine intervened. This miracle that would not only change her life, it

would change the world until the end of time.


It certainly wasn’t a calling she’d asked for, at least as far as we know. I’m guessing, if and when she

innocently prayed “Lord use me” and maybe even, “in any way you choose” she couldn’t have dreamed

how that would manifest itself. How HE would manifest HIMSELF in her.


How her body would be used to co-knit together the muscle fiber and bone marrow of the Savior.


How her blood would spill all over the barn floor as his would years later on the cross.


How in the years that followed she would cook for, wash clothes for, worry after her boy, like all

mothers do. She would go on, doing the ordinary, everyday tasks that women today carry on doing.

She fetched water, prayed, tickled her kids. She went to market, greeted neighbors, and loved her

devoted husband. By the external indicators, most would have said an everyday woman. Yet in the

midst of her ordinary life, there was a simply extraordinary reality … she was serving God in unnoticed



I don’t understand why God chose to enter the world in flesh and blood in this simple way, through one

woman. When he could have come in a way that was noticed by all. And as is true with so much of my

faith, what I don’t understand at the same time makes perfect sense.


Why wouldn’t God want us women to have a special spot in the process? To bring a holy calling on what

others see as the ordinary? Mary’s most sacred spot in humanity’s history is due to her special closeness

to Jesus. Her relationship with the one who saved her.


Can’t we all claim that? That which moves us from ordinary to extraordinary has nothing to do with our

to-do lists or our titles and has everything to do with our relationship with the one who saved us. Carry

on friends serving God in unnoticed ways. It’s through the humblest of ways that we change the world.


Alexandra Kuykendall is the author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir. She is a speaker, writer and editor for MOPS International. But don’t be fooled by titles, most of her days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. You can connect with her at

Monday, December 9, 2013

Getting on God's "Nice List"

By Jessica Fick

In Mark 7, religious teachers called Pharisees were giving Jesus a hard time about his disciples and how they didn’t follow certain rules — rules that the Pharisees had turned into a way of trying to get on God’s nice list.  A list they thought would make their lives perfect, ideal, worshipful to God.

We can do a similar thing this time of year — try to do Christmas “right” — bake cookies for exchanges, host amazing parties, pick out (and ship on time) gifts to loved ones, sing carols with heartfelt adoration of baby Jesus. We may do all of these things because they are on our mental list of what a proper Christmas is supposed to be. God is never impressed by our lists of what we think is right.

In response to the Pharisees Jesus said — “What comes out of you is what defiles you, not what goes into you. For from within, out of your hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile you.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

My heart often has less fa-la-la-la-la and more folly during the month of December.

You know how folly is defined? A lack of good sense. Stupidity. Thoughtlessness. I chase folly this time of year when I overcommit myself, set a “pinteresting” standard for what my Christmas should be like, and then feel sad or guilty when my kids and I end up crying with a strand of burned out Christmas lights at our feet. 

There are so many good parts of the holidays but there are also really difficult emotions and experiences. A lot of things that go unseen but linger and fester in our hearts. They come out in ugly ways like snapping at our kids, gorging on Christmas cookies because we feel alone, insecure or depressed. Overspending because we want our families to know they’re loved. 

Out of the heart come things that defile us. 

Just as he entered the mess of the world, Jesus is able to come into our broken, frantic hearts and make something new.  In our hearts he settles down when we invite him in to show us a different way. Instead of broken relationships with God and others, we can be connected to God, the source of love. Instead of greed he makes us thankful for all that he’s given us. Instead of folly he gives us wisdom to care for ourselves, our relationships and our world.  Jesus is able to lead us. But we need to invite him to do so.

 Put that on your Christmas list.

Jessica lives with her husband and two sons in Cleveland, OH and works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship teaching college students how to talk about Jesus without sounding like creepy robotic salespeople. Follow her blog about evangelism, culture, motherhood and thrift-store adventures at or on twitter @JessicaLeepFick.

Monday, December 2, 2013


A Special Message from Elisa Morgan, Publisher

Donate Today!She was exhausted. On "empty." Dry.
As she pulled her car into a parking slot, she actually wondered if she had the energy to drag her overnight bag - and her body - into the lobby of the retreat center. Three days and two nights. Would it be enough? Would she be "refilled" enough to cope with the drain of her life?
After checking in at the counter, she was pointed to the director's office - one necessary stop before she hit the carpet of her private room and the waiting bed. She knocked. A voice beckoned her and she entered.
Warm, crinkly eyes welcomed her to sit in the soft upholstered chair. Water was poured from a crystal pitcher into a clean, clear glass. Water. Her throat tightened against the parch.
"What do you hope to gain from your time here?" The question was simple, coming to her across the short space between her and the director. She swallowed and croaked a response, "I'm so dry. I'm praying that God will refill me - that he will pour water back into the well of my life."
"Oh friend," came the reply, "It doesn't work that way. A dry well can't be refilled by water being poured into it. The only way to access new water for a dry well is to dig deeper."
To another woman much in need of water, Jesus said: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14
The meaning our name - FullFill - is represented in this story of a dry woman and an invitation to dig deeper to discover springs of eternal provision. We are empty. We are thirsty. We can't give to others what we don't have ourselves. We, women whom God has called to live out our influence, are invited to Jesus first to be filled to full before we pour ourselves out into the lives of those around us. We are called to dig deeper. FullFill helps us to do just that.
How are you? Thirsty? Full? Somewhere in between? Where is God inviting you to "dig deeper" that you might discover a new source of moisture? And where might he be nudging you to pour from your resources back into FullFill so that others might be replenished?
Once each year, I ask FullFill women to give back to FullFill so that it might continue to fill other women to full. FullFill is FREE. The digizine library of twelve issues with their rich media applications - which garner some 400,000 impressions each year - are sent to women for FREE. The 52 Weekly ReFills arriving like a sip of refreshment each Monday morning to the 10,000 who have registered to receive them - for FREE.
Our tiny budget of $25,000 underwrites the cost of maintaining our online platforms and producing two beautiful and challenging digizines and 52 inspiring Weekly ReFills each year - with no salaries paid. Did you get that? No one at FullFill takes a salary. Not even me.
And once a year, I ask you to give back so that other women can be replenished with the resources you've come to depend on. Pick your number? $1 covers one woman for one year. $50 underwrites 50 women. $100 replenishes 100 women. $500 fills 500 women.
Every gift is tax deductible as FullFill is a ministry of Mission: Momentum, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Will you give back to keep FullFill FREE to fill others?
-Take a look at the video in the side bar and on our website if you'd like to know more.
-Send your gift by mail to
PO Box 461546
Aurora, CO 80046
-Give electronically at by clicking here!
Dig deeper so that women can continue to be replenished - to live out their influence.
Living full-filled,

Elisa Morgan

Monday, November 25, 2013


By Caryn Rivadeneira
Two Thanksgivings ago, I was in a panic. We were out of money. And by "out" I mean dead broke: run through the savings we had relied on while my husband shuttered his business and looked for employment. The money I'd received from book advances had carried us for a while, but since mortgage companies and utilities still come looking for money every month and since kids need food and clothes and shots without regard to income, that money evaporated quickly too.
Though I had some freelance gigs, I had no idea how the main expenses of our life would get covered. I was terrified. And hardly in the mood to be thankful.
Of course, I knew I should be "counting my blessings," tallying up the many good things that were present in my life, but it felt fake. Forced and untrue. My desperation was such that every thing I'd thank God for - clothes, heat, food - only fed my worry over how much longer those "blessings" would last.
So when I opened my Bible that morning two Thanksgivings ago, I resisted the typical psalms of thanksgiving and went straight to the laments. One of my favorites - Psalm 69, in which David is once again stuck in the mire, crying out for rescue, as he chokes and gasps on the floodwaters ready to engulf him.
In that Psalm, David was panicked, terrified, desperate. Like me.
And yet, unlike me, David was thankful.
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving," David writes. He does this because, "The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people."
Then, in Psalm 70, while still desperate for rescue, David says this: "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, 'The Lord is great!'"
David thanks God simply because God hears his cries and loves his hurting people.
Reading that - on my unthankful Thanksgiving - caught something deep in me and turned my mood, and the day, around.
I never did count up my blessings that day - because it still felt trite and untrue - but I did join David in his ancient song of thanksgiving toward The Blessing. Toward the One who from generation to generation, from beginning to end has heard and will hear, who has known and will know, who has loved and will love me. And all of us. Whether we're in a place of abundance or in a place of desperation or anywhere in between. Whether we're in the "mood" to give
thanks or need to lament. We've got a God who hears, who knows, who loves. And for that, I'll always be thankful.
Caryn Rivadeneira is the author of Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, 2013) as well as the forthcoming Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed about God's Abundance (IVP, 2014). Caryn lives outside Chicago with her family. Connect with her at

Monday, November 18, 2013

Great News for Women!

By Carolyn Custic James

Nancy Beach’s book Gifted to Lead opens with the story of a Q&A session where she was handed a scribbled note that read, “Help! I am a leader trapped inside a woman’s body.” 

Not to minimize in any way the frustration expressed on that note, but the problem extends to every other segment of the female population.  It gets worse. Being “trapped in a woman’s body” involves vastly greater numbers and more sinister outcomes, sweeping through every culture globally resulting in unspeakable atrocities and flagrant injustices that violate the human-rights sensibilities of the civilized world. 

Today there is a growing consensus worldwide that the three deadliest words spoken are “It’s a girl.” 

So as leaders, there’s too much at stake for us to be content with looking for answers only for ourselves. We need to know if the Bible’s message for women speaks with meaning and purpose into the lives of every woman and girl—those who have broken through glass ceilings as heads of state and corporate CEOs, those who have been trafficked and trampled, and everyone in between? Does that message affirm women in leadership roles and also dismantle the value system that results in atrocities against women? Is it indestructible and does it encompass all the days of our lives? 

That quest drove me back to Genesis to the creation narrative where God is vision casting for his world—a text loaded with good news for women. Statements God makes about his daughters there not only dismantle the world’s way of viewing us, they take the value and purpose of God’s daughters into the stratosphere. I’m not kidding. 

For example, right off the bat God bestows on us (along with our brothers) the exalted identity of bearing his image (Genesis 1:26-27)—a designation that comes with enormous privileges and responsibilities. This is not a static definition intended to distinguish us from plants and animals. God is assigning our mission. 

It is an open invitation into a relationship with God—the lifelong pursuit to know who we are, why we are here, and how we are to live by knowing and loving him. It is a call to flourish—to develop and use all the good gifts God entrusts to us for the good of others and his world. It is a heavy responsibility—to speak and act for God. It is a glorious venture—to be agents in the grandest enterprise imaginable, the kingdom of God. 

Abuses against women (against any human being) escalate to an affront to Almighty God whose image we all bear. 

There’s more … much, much more. This barely scratches the surface. The conversation continues in Half the Church

The good news is that a woman’s body is not a trap, but a marvelous bearer of God’s image, a builder of alliances with her brothers, and a fearsome warrior God has summoned to join the battle to crush serpentine heads (Genesis 3:15).

Carolyn Custis James is the President of, a speaker and the author of several books on the influence of women including Lost Women of the Bible, The Gospel of Ruth and Half the Church. Click here to buy now.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Language of Broken Shells

By Carla Foote

When I walk on the beach I always pick up shells. I’m not sure why I still do this, since I have hundreds of shells at home. Perhaps because I live so many miles from a beach, the shells are a tangible reminder of time spent slowing down, walking, watching and marveling at the ocean. 

My habit is to collect all types of shells and then sort at the end of my trip, saving my favorites and discarding the rest. As I sorted shells from my latest beach foray, I noticed that there are many variations on broken shells – and I wondered at the forces that caused each to break.  The complete shells are definitely a treat, but I also keep some broken reminders.

There is the shell that looks perfect nestled in the sand, but when I reach down and pick it up and turn it over in my hand, smoothing away the sand, chips become obvious on the edges.  Oh I can relate to this shell – the positioning of life at just a certain angle so that no one sees my cracks.

Then there are the shells stabbed straight through – perhaps broken in the process of becoming prey for the predator. I am always surprised that anything can penetrate the hardness, but I have evidence of shells broken in this way. This kind of brokenness reminds me of sudden grief – quickly and deeply piercing – and all the life sucked away. 

I noticed another kind of shell this trip – not broken but just worn down. Perhaps from the endless tumbling on the sand. The ridges smoothed, not by one big trauma or chip, but by the daily grind of the sand. This is the weariness of broken that didn’t just happen once, but the days, weeks, years of grit – a weary and weathered broken. A “How long, Oh Lord” wearing down. 

Maybe it is a bit strange for me to be a connoisseur of broken shells, but over the past few years I have been drawn to them as much as to the whole shells. Perhaps as I move through the years, I realize there are so many ways to be broken – the hidden chip, straight through the heart or just worn down. But somehow in the process of redemption, the “Christ in me” I have been reading about in Colossians lately, I can live as a hopeful person in the midst of brokenness. In Colossians 1:24-27, Paul is still in the midst of his suffering while he asserts, “… the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Sometimes I am quick to try to discard the broken, especially the weary, wearing down brokenness. Because I sometimes forget that I can live hopefully today, through Christ in me.

Carla Foote has written more about broken shells. Read her “Broken Shells” essay in the last section of The Beauty of Broken by Elisa Morgan. Carla is thankful when her travels take her near a beach. She is the blog manager for FullFill, does freelance editing and writing through and is also Executive Editor of MomSense magazine.