Are You Damaged Goods?

depressiongirlchristianphotosI’ve learned a lot during my years of writing and speaking. And some things have surprised me. But nothing has surprised me more than this: we Christians have a hard time letting go of our guilt. Even if we’ve accepted God’s gift of grace and forgiveness, many of us still have a hard time believing He forgets our past. We still hear Satan’s condemnation as he whispers in our ears.

Christ followers voice their struggles everywhere I go. And it doesn’t matter whether the words roll out in a slow southern drawl or escape at a clipped staccato pace, the heartfelt cry is the same. It’s the painful reality that we’ve failed. That we haven’t measured up. That we’ve let God down. The names change and the circumstances vary, but the sad truth is, we still feel dirty, we still feel ashamed, and we think we’re too damaged for ministry.

It’s a another lie of Satan. The truth is, God doesn’t see us as we see ourselves. Our past failures don’t have to affect our future calling. And whether you’re a single woman, a father of three kids, or a grandparent trying to make up for lost time, God can still use you.

In his book, God: As He Longs for You to See Him, Chip Ingram says, “. . . what you believe God thinks about you determines how close you grow toward him.” Want to grow closer to God? It begins by realizing how God feels about you.

Our Father truly has a personal, specific plan for your life, and He’s ready for you to grab hold of the vision. He’s ready for you to answer His call, regardless of where you are at the moment or where you’ve been in the past.

“It’s comforting to realize that God calls us from who and what we are,” says Nancie Carmichael, in her book, Selah. “You hear the call and present who you are–not who you wish you were–to see what he will make of you.”

The Lord wants to make much of you. He wants to give you the opportunity to write and speak for Him. And He can, if you’re willing to start where you are today and look forward to becoming what He wants you to be.

Ashamed of your past? Join the crowd. Join the crowd of sinners at the foot of a bloody cross. Paul, David, and Moses were murderers. David added adultery to his list. Ruth was an idol worshiper. Peter denied Christ. Now if God was able to forgive and use these people for His glory, don’t you think He can forgive and use you?

The truth is, God doesn’t waste any scars. Whatever we’ve done, whatever we’ve gone through, He can use those very things to bring glory to Himself, if we let him.

So…are you willing to share your story through the written or spoken word? It may require a transparency that hurts, but in doing so, it can release the power that heals.

I praise God that when He looks at me, He doesn’t see me as damaged goods. He sees me as His precious, forgiven child, called to follow and proclaim His Name. Called to be a writer and a speaker.

Is He calling you?

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Is God Calling You to be a Christian Speaker?

ccclogosmallDo you have a story to tell? Would your testimony encourage and challenge others? Are you ready to take the next step in your speaking ministry, but don’t know where to begin? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

Last year God brought another ministry opportunity into my life. I won’t go into allcccgroupfunny1small the details here of what He did, but the result is that the second Christian Communicators Conference will be held October 26-30, 2011, in a beautiful waterfront home on Lake Keowee, SC! The first conference was held in January, and my partner, Carolyn Knefely, and I were blown away by His presence and the women’s response. And we’re thrilled to bring this opportunity to you. 🙂

Registration is limited to 20 participants. If you feel God is calling you to speak to women, please don’t miss this opportunity.  Check out the Christian Communicators Conference information and endorsements here. We’d love to partner with you to bring Him glory!

Got questions? Feel free to contact me!

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maloneylakehouse1It’s Time to Register for the NCompassWriting Retreat!

Edie Melson and I are thrilled to announce that our annual writing retreat has a new name…new place…and new date! Last year we had more people on the WAITING LIST than we were even able to take with us, but this year, the new NCompass Writing Retreat has moved to a larger facility…allowing us to take twice as many writers!

Check out all the details at the NCompass website and then mark you calendars for September 29-October 2, 2011.

Want a glimpse of the writing retreat experience? Check out this video of our 2008 NCompass Writing Retreat, created by Kimberli Buffaloe!

Edie is out of town for several weeks on a mission trip, but feel free to contact me with any questions, then plan to join us for a time of learning, writing, and hearing from the Lord!

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Ladies, Want to Cruise Away Next Winter’s Blues? $25 Saves Your Spot!clean_beach6085_small

I’m thrilled to announce that The Story of a Woman’s Life: Reading Between the WhinesTM is taking a cruise! That’s right, girls! Deborah Dunn and I will be leaving Charleston, SC and taking Diapers2Diapers–and more!–onboard a Carnival Cruise ship to the Bahamas February 15-20, 2012! And we want you to join us! Come laugh with us as we share our Diapers2Diapers presentation, as well as some brand new material. What better way to beat the mid-winter cold than to laugh til we cry while celebrating the joy of being a woman! Check out The Story of a Woman’s Life Cruise flyer, then contact Diane Bean at CruiseOne today for complete details. Only $25 reserves your spot until October!

Can’t wait to be with you
in the Bahamas! (Hey guys, this would make a great Christmas/birthday/Valentine’s Day/Mother’s Day gift! Hint…hint…hint…)

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May MoGo Results are IN…mogo

Congratulations to these three Christian Writer’s Den readers who reached their MoGo7000 goals for the month of May and made a lot of progress on their books!

26. Judy Parker  7,322 words

27. Cindy Patterson  11,470 words

28. Eddie Snipes  23,997 words

With these new additions, Christian Writer’s Den readers have written over a quarter of a million words on their books! Wow, I’m so proud of all of you!

And Judy, Cindy, and Eddie, you each have ANOTHER entry into the drawing for $100.

Hey readers, want to get your own entries for a chance at $100 in cold, hard cash? It’s easy to join the challenge. Check out the MoGo7000 guidelines here.

And don’t forget, we start over every month with a clean slate, so come on and join us!

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brmcwc11Christian Writer’s Den Readers Win at Blue Ridge

These friends responded to my request to report their awards at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference:

  • Kimberli Buffaloe won two awards: Eternal Weight of Glory won 1st place in the novella category and Saints and Sinners took 2nd in short story/flash fiction.
  • Dee Dee Parker won two awards: Beautiful Feet won 3rd place in the devotion category and Gnarly Knotts won 3rd place in the short story/flash fiction category.
  • Darlo Gemeinhardt won two awards: Abra-Cadaver Dog won 1st place in the children’s books category and The Heart of Dixie won 3rd place in young adult category.
  • Cathy Baker‘s poem, Soft Clover, won 3rd place in the poetry category.

Congratulations, Kimberli, Dee Dee, Darlo, and Cathy! You represented us well! For a complete list of the winners, check out the 5-18-11 blog post at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference website.

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Parting Words from The Word…biblewomanistockdec10

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance God has called you to write and speak in order to proclaim His message of mercy, grace, and love. Get ready.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

Posted in categories: Christian Communicators | Christian Living | Jesus | Kudos | MoGo7000 | NCompass Writing Retreat | Women's Ministry | Writer's Conferences

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  • Elaine Carr

    Thank you, Vonda, for your column today. I have noticed that as people grow old, they tend to remember — and too often dwell upon — with guilty feelings regarding the sins/offenses/mistakes/unkindnesses of which they were guilty in the past. Now that I am growing old, I sometimes look back with sorrow and shame for things I have said/ done/failed to do, etc. At a recent prayer meeting, a lady commented, God forgives and forgets, but Satan remembers and reminds. It helps me to consider WHO is presenting me with guilty feelings, and WHO has graciously forgotten my failures and wiped them from the record.
    Blessings.

  • Cathy

    Hi Vonda,
    Loved your blog today. I am preparing for evening devotions at the St. David’s Christian Writer’s Conference. The scriptures I have chosen include Acts 4:23-31 and Philippians 1:12-14. My story to go with these scriptures will include:
    -How the Holy Spirit asked me, When I was going to take the weapon out of the Devil’s hand?
    -And than how God had me write my story in a Passion for Purity tract.
    It’s not an easy testimony to give, but God has used it and will continue to.
    For me this is a timely encouragement that I am on the right road with my devotions. I have been debating if my Damaged Goods story would be too much for the setting.
    So Thank You & God Bless, Cathy

  • Vonda,
    God’s timing is perfect. Just last night at our Living in Christ Retreat meeting, we had a discussion on how Satan steals our joy with his lies. Several ladies had really been struggling with this. Thanks for the reminder that God wants us to overcome and use our past pain for His glory!
    Blessings,
    Ann

  • Ashley

    Thanks! I always need to remember this!
    God bless you.

  • Vonda Skelton

    Thank you, friends, for your kind comments. God is so good to bless me with encouragers like YOU!Blessings,Vonda

  • God sure hit the Jackpot when He chose you!!
    You’re such a blessing!
    Love and hugs!

  • Powerful words of truth, Vonda.
    Write and speak on to the glory of God.

  • Vonda, I really needed to be reminded of this fact. Like I’ve heard you say before, Once you’re saved, you’re no longer a woman God can’t use. I feel that God has called me to write for Him and I want to do all that I can to bring Him glory. Yes, even though I feel like damaged goods at times, I have to remind myself that God doesn’t see me that way. He sees me as His precious daughter, He sees me as a jewel in His eyes. I just pray that other women can see the same thing about themselves. Love you sweet friend!