Praying for Assessment

Written by: Anita Carman

Usually when people start assessing each other it has a tendency to go one of two ways: the person was unfair in their assessment or they might have given too much credit. But when Jesus assess us, he is never wrong. He is a perfect discerner of who we are on the inside, no matter how we appear on the outside.
Now, imagine you are face to face with Jesus, what would his assessment be? For myself, I fear God would say, “Great heart, great commitment, but needs to rely on me more for her emotional support.” I know I need a lot of growth before my review can sound better, but I pray that one day I will be at that place where God can say, “Great heart. Great commitment. Great emotional fortitude.” What assessment do you need to start praying for today?

Question of the Month

What tools do you use to engage in deeper faith and identity in Christ?

Anita Carman: In addition to having a confidence in their genealogy, some people view themselves as “belonging to God” through their religious activities. But when God looks at our outward appearances or the activities of our lives, he is not impressed when our heart is disconnected from Him! I used to be in awe of those whose parents had religious credentials. I saw them as being spiritually superior to me. But godliness is not transferred by birth, it is an individual choice. I can’t borrow my parent’s spiritual life. Are you living off a pastor’s or a parent’s relationship with God? Are you going through a checklist of religious activities? When was the last time you and God shared a one on one heart to heart conversation?

Journey with God’s Word

Written by: Anita Carman

In my life as I encounter new opportunities I find there is never a shortage of people who want to weigh in on my decisions. As I ponder how to deal with certain opportunities I am forced to ask myself, “What voice should I follow?”
The Bible tells us Jesus is described as the “Word”. More than that, He was the “Word” who was with God at the beginning. The more I ponder Jesus being the “Word”, I am able to realize every word out of Jesus’s mouth is connected to God the Father. Therefore, I can trust it for direction as I make decisions. I can also trust that if Jesus’s voice was present at the beginning of time as we know it, I can ask him to be the voice at the beginning of all my journeys. When you make decisions, what voice do you follow? Are you choosing to take advice from people who are solely speaking out of their own wisdom? Perhaps there is a divine friendship in your midst or Scriptures God is impressing on your heart. Choose to use the sources God has given you to have his “Word” guide you as you journey forward!

Freedom in Obedience

Written by: Anita Carman

Someone asked me this question and I am still pondering it. What would you do if you were truly free? A question like this helps me to identify what I have allowed to become my limitations. Is it a resource? Is it staff? Is it needing someone to support what I am doing? But why would I allow my freedom to be controlled by someone or something else? Am I not truly free when I am doing what God asked me to do? No matter what might change around me my freedom is in my choice to obey God. And as long as I am living in obedience, I am pleasing to Him. In fact, obeying Him in the midst of changes or limited resources is my way to honor God. He is worthy of my obedience in both good times and bad times. What would you do if you were truly free?

Secured in Jesus

Written by: Anita Carman

When I was a child, I relied heavily on the promises of my mother. I believed her more than anyone else on earth. She represented God to me. She made promises to always be there for me and I took it as the truth. No matter how challenging life was, I held on to my mother’s promises as my security. One day when I woke up to find my mother had taken her own life, I was devastated and in shock. I felt betrayed and upset that she had lied to me. She had given me false security. As I continued to grow up I found that, like my mother, other people lied to me by breaking promises they made. The absence of true security in someone left deep scars in my spirit and a longing for something permanent.
I continued to search for something to fill the void. Until one day I realized the Bible tells us Jesus fills the voids of insecurity. Anytime I feel myself falling into the pits of insecurity, I remember that Jesus is true security I can cling to.

Align Your Heart with God’s to Bring Him Glory

Written by: Anita Carman

As we serve together, I always try to remind my staff that more than anything God wants our heart. As we produce events, especially the ones that target large audiences, we often feel the pressure to recruit attendees. After all the hours, time and effort we expend prepping the event, we long for an event full of people. However, event attendance is an aspect of our planning that can be influenced but not controlled. One year, a national tragedy had occurred just as invitations for a large conference went in the mail. It was no coincidence that the response to the mailing was poor. We recognized that people were in shock and needed reassurance. So we gave out guest passes to the women we serve and ultimately decided to waive the conference fee. We knew more than anything we needed to trust in God’s provision. God, in turn, packed the conference.

Today as you serve, how are you serving? Are you forcing results you cannot control? Instead of forcing a certain outcome, align your heart with God’s for results that will bring him the most glory!

God as Your Safety Net

Written by: Anita Carman

I once worked for a boss who didn’t care about me as a person. All he cared about was whether I made the goal. If I did, I had his approval. If I missed it, I felt his wrath. I felt I could never soar because I was too afraid to fail. I was on a performance treadmill that kept me nailed to the ground and unable to reach new heights. Then I served under a boss who encouraged me to excel while providing a safety net in case I fell short of the goal. I found freedom in trying new ideas and reaching new goals. As you function in the purpose God has given you, he is the kind of boss who provides a safety net of grace and truth allowing us to reach new heights! Have you taken advantage of working with God as your safety net? As a daughter of the King embrace the challenge to conquer the world with your Heavenly Father’s commitment to cover our imperfections with his grace!

Acceptance Speech for Daughters of the American Revolution Americanism Medal

By Anita Grace Lie Carman
 
I wish I could bring you back to where the story began. If you could see my humble beginnings, you would stand amazed at how great God is.  Thank you for honoring me this evening and for giving me this prestigious award from the Daughters of the American Revolution for leadership and community impact.  This medal belongs to the great God we serve and the great country of America which He breathed into existence!
From as early as I can remember, my family dreamed of coming to this free land.  We had to wait ten years before our first interview with U.S. Immigration.  At the age of 17, I finally came to this country on a student visa with all my worldly possessions jammed in two suitcases. I did not have the funds to call home or to fly home during holidays.
Sadly, my parent’s petition to come to this country had been denied. My mother became very depressed. Six months before I left my country, she had taken her own life.
What a contrast my leaving for college was in comparison to my two sons, ages 20 and 18 who are with me this evening. One is at Cornell  University and the other is at Texas A & M. When they left for college, I told them they were evidence of God’s goodness. They left with a car full of belongings, their computer games, their cell phone, their tuition paid for with the funds to return home during their school breaks.  One of my sons had a suitcase full of games and his father had to say, “Son, where are your clothes?” and he went to his room to throw in his clothes with the idea that if he forgets anything he can always return home.  I left knowing I could not return home if I forgot anything. What a contrast but also, what a testimony of the great country of America  and the opportunities it offers to change the future for the next generations.   Opportunity  is a gift and my prayer is that my children will celebrate it.
A few years after I arrived in this country on a student visa, I returned to my country for an interview with U.S.  immigration to hopefully have my student visa changed to that of US resident, which would lead to my becoming a US citizen.
I walked into the interview knowing that my relationship with my brother who had become a US citizen was my only grounds to have my status changed to that of US  permanent resident. The problem was, he was born in China during the war and my mother did not have a birth certificate for him. US immigration said they would settle for a blood test from my mother. The problem was, my mother had died. So here I was going into an interview where my grounds for immigration was my relationship with a brother who I could not prove was my brother. But GOD can work through any circumstance.  At the time of the interview I was in college in Mississippi  and I am the kind of person who absorbs her environment.  As I was speaking and explaining to the immigration officer why I wanted to be in this country, he began to laugh. He said, “I have not been in my country for years and I never imagined I would hear a Mississippi accent out of the mouth of a Chinese woman. You want to live in our country? Fine.” He stamped the papers “Approved”. When I left his office, the thought hit me, “God must want me in America . When God has a plan for your life, He will open the doors.”
… I grew up in a country where I was always saying goodbye to my friends…I don’t know if you have ever been in a place where you had to say goodbye to friends, to family, to the structure that has been so much a part of your life.  Fortunately, I came out of a mission school in my city where I learned about the God who created humankind by breathing His very breath of life into us.  I became aware that God’s eternal breath is connected with God’s eternal purpose. Over time, I learned that unless my life is about using God’s breath in me to express His purpose, no matter how successful I am, I will feel displaced, disconnected and restless wherever I am in my life.
I clung to God’s promises in the Bible. He told me in the Bible that when human kind fell into sin, our sin nature separated us from Him. He told me a loving God sent His son to earth to offer me the way back to the Father and to be a forever friend who would walk with me into the rest of my life.
Because my whole life consisted of saying goodbye to family and friends, I was grateful to receive a forever friend who would guide me in my life.
Eighteen months after my mother’s death, my father re-petitioned and was granted papers to this country. He is a US citizen and lives with my stepmother in Houston , Texas .
Today I am able to give my mother all that she ever dreamed of having but she is not here to receive the blessing.  God had such wonderful dreams for her but she lost hope too soon.  God transformed my personal loss into a passion to help thousands of women to guard God’s dream for their lives.  Inspire Women produces citywide events to inspire women to connect their lives with God’s purpose, we discover and mentor women with leadership potential and we fund scholarships to train women in the best programs in town that will prepare them for their calling.
The heart of America is all about freedom to develop one’s potential. Many immigrants’ first glimpse of America after the Revolution was the Statue of Liberty in New York  harbor.  When I came to America , I was touched by the poem written by Emma Lazarus for dedicating the Statue of Liberty, which she calls the “Mother of Exiles”.  The ending words to her poem were these:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The very heart of America  was meant to express God’s purpose of love and mercy and God’s belief in the potential of all people to represent Him.
President Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
President John F. Kennedy said, “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
As a citizen of this great country which God breathed into existence to represent His heart to the oppressed, as one with God as my forever friend to walk with me into His purpose, I am grateful to God for entrusting me to express His life on this earth.
I thank God for using my insignificant life to establish Inspire Women which God birthed in Houston Texas but which He will carry to inspire leaders in major cities across the country to empower thousands of women to serve others.
As Founder and President of Inspire Women, my prayer is that every woman in our city, and every man married to a great woman, and everyone who ever had a great mother, grandmother or female teacher in their lives will one day say, “I am proud to know of the Inspire Women organization. Who would not want to be part of a work that releases the potential of women of all ethnic backgrounds to fulfill their God appointed assignments to bless the world?”
But more than that, I pray that every American citizen will be proud of the awesome privilege to be citizen of a country that so many in the world look to as a beacon of hope.
I was that tired, poor 17 year old yearning to breathe free, tempest-tossed through the loss of my mother and best friend and today I am privileged to lift my lamp (my witness of GOD’s blessing) beside a golden door of grace and freedom in America .  God remembered my mother’s prayers to protect her children in America .  America is the land of promise, and it represents for me a God who keeps His promises.  Thank you for this award and may God bless America !

Divine Heritage Week 3

“Allowing God to Keep the Score” 

Written by: Anita Carman

 

Over the years, I have found we seldom meet God’s goals for us through focusing on the goal itself. God wants us to focus on traveling the road he mapped out for us to reach the goal. He is the one who should remain in charge of the results. Unfortunately, there are times when we lose heart along the way because we are consumed with our “scoreboard”…

 

 

One summer, I was sitting at the breakfast table sipping my coffee and staring blankly through the patio doors into the backyard. Outside were two Briards (French Sheepdogs) our family had recently acquired. I found myself absorbed by the two plump twenty-five pound pups who were clumsily chasing each other around my backyard. As they continued playing they ran and pounced at each other, they were having a blast.
Suddenly, the pups noticed my neighbor casually walking in his yard and they immediately stopped in their tracks. Their ears went up like antennas and within seconds they had stopped their play and went into “guard dog” mode.

As I watched those pups I heard the voice of my Father teaching me, “Look at how my creation responds to life. Look at how these pups naturally enjoy the warm sunshine. They frolic and play without a care in the world. Then, when they feel the instinct in them, they go into action and arm up for battle.”

 

 

Through that experience I felt God nudging me to consider how comfortable both pups were, in and out of action. They didn’t feel the pressure to go hunt down every possible threat. They acted according to their situation.

We will have times in our lives when God seems distant. We will have times when God’s plans seem uncertain. We will have times when we are ready to move, and God asks us to stay. During those times, our flesh wants to decide what our life should look like. However, when we find ourselves in this dilemma, we need to remember we are invited by God to be a part of his plans, but this is not an invitation to dictate them.

As you continue in the roles and plans God has called you to, how do you perceive your situation?

Do you feel as though you are forcing a role not meant for you? Have you placed yourself on a performance treadmill? Are you anxious to bring in a certain result? Does the weight of your responsibility weigh heavily on you?

Look at your life in light of Matthew 11:29-30, which says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

When we focus on ourselves and meeting earthly goals, we are allowing ourselves to get sucked into a downward spiral of self sufficiency. God never designed us to live a self sufficient life. In this verse, God asks us to exchange our burden with his. By choosing to make this exchange, we focus on what God cares about and He in turn will give us what we need. This may sound like backwards thinking: How can not focusing on my problems solve my problems? Yet, God tells us that when we focus on what He cares about he will take care of the problem. Could it be that we are focusing on the wrong problem? Could it be that when we focus on what burdens God’s heart he is the one carrying the world on his shoulders and we get to be part of his solutions? When we focus on God’s plans, we can sail above the turbulence and live in the confidence that God’s stories always end well. We no longer have to make anything happen. We step into being part of God’s victorious story on earth. No matter how many detours in the road, we are on a path to the winner’s circle. This week I pray you will let God exchange your earthly burden for a heavenly one. Allow yourself to serve in the role God has given you while he keeps the score!

Divine Heritage – Week 2

“Understanding the Worth Christ Gave Us”

Written by: Anita Carman

 

When we accept and understand our identity and source of strength is in our heavenly Father, a shift in perspective happens. However, there are times when our eyes are opened to how unworthy we are of this identity. We become haunted by our past stories or actions and tell ourselves “what if” over and over again and become paralyzed in God’s plans for us…

 

The day before my mother died, I was in my room doing my homework. As I worked I felt a presence and looked around to find my mother standing in the doorway of my bedroom. Just by standing there wordlessly she had interrupted my studies and I became irritated. I waited until she finally spoke. She said, “Just tell me that you don’t need me anymore.”
I didn’t understand where this question was coming from or what it meant. It hit me from left field. Without thinking much about my answer, I told her, “I don’t need you anymore.”

The next morning I woke up to the sound of my father’s panicked voice. My eyes opened and I didn’t want to get out of my bed. Something was terribly wrong, but I didn’t know what. When I got up to find my mother had taken her own life, my mind went back to our conversation the day before.
I was her youngest, her baby. When she had asked me that question, it was her way of telling me, “I just need to know my baby will be alright.” With my thoughtless answer I had given her permission to take her own life. I felt sick to my stomach and I wanted to rewind time. If only I could have given a different answer.

 

Living in the bondage of our past is one of the most deceitful tricks Satan can use to stop us in our tracks. As we contemplate our unworthiness we think to ourselves, “God can’t appoint me” “I don’t deserve his love” or “I can never have a position of significance in his Kingdom” Satan’s lie will cripple us in furthering God’s plans for the future, but God’s truth will encourage us to release the chains of our broken past and celebrate new life.
As you think about your past what emotions do you feel?
Do you feel ashamed by a certain situation? Are you angry with yourself for words you said? Does sadness weigh heavily on your heart as you think about your story?
Listen to the words Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

According to Paul, when Jesus gave his life on Calvary, his blood paid for the penalty of every sin you will ever commit. When God looked down on that sacrifice he was satisfied and the power of living abundantly was made available to everyone who accepts the gift of Jesus. Please don’t live in the prison of your yesterdays. Instead, allow God to transform your history! I hope you accept God’s invitation to leave the chains of your past behind and walk in the freedom of the future God wants for you.