My Total Woman U ladies! I’ve been part of this ministry since 2009, and if you’ve heard my story in the last few years, you know these women have been an essential part of my life and have literally changed my life. And I’ll get to that in a minute, but first a little about the organization. It’s a non-profit organization that exists to “equip and empower women of all ages to be the TOTAL woman God created each of us to be.” Our message is and has always been, “you are a unique creation with a God-given identity and purpose.” In addition to helping plan and put on events, occasionally teaching at events, and planning for the organization as a whole, I also get to run their social media, blog, and write for the blog (though I’ve been slacking in all of those duties lately!). It’s an amazing organization created by an amazing lady where I get to serve with more amazing ladies (that you’re about to read about!).
Before I tell you about my amazing friends on this team, I want to go back to when TWU entered my life and the changes it brought about in me. The organization is based out of Slidell, which is where I lived for two years and went to church for four years. While I was in seminary in New Orleans, I was HEAVILY involved in my church in Slidell. I taught children’s church every Sunday, I was a volunteer for the youth group on Wednesday nights, I was in a small group on some other night, I volunteered some with the women’s ministry leadership team and went to all of their event, and I helped start a group for post-college singles adults. Some rough things happened in my life (I’m going to vaguely talk about them in one of these posts where I talk about my counselor) which lead to me quitting seminary. As a result of feeling like a failure from quitting and all the other things going on (depression, anxiety, etc), I wholeheartedly believed I could never be used in ministry again and withdrew from everything I was formerly involved in. I still went to church and still had some amazing people loving on me, investing in me, and praying me through (they’ll be getting posts soon too), but I went as a much quieter and more reserved version of myself that wanted to hide.
When I was attending seminary, I was aiming to get a degree in Women’s Ministry. Doing life with women young and old was and has always been my heart. This super out-going, energetic, cute as a button lady started coming to our church and wanted to put on a women’s ministry workshop that was right up my alley. My heart leapt a little. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be invisibly there, but I wanted to be there! I timidly told Jenny (the out-going, energetic, cute lady) that I would be willing to help with background stuff. A week or so later she asked me if I’d be willing to teach a low-key session on home decorating that she would write form me. On a whim I said yes and them panicked a little. I texted Molly and told her about it. “I’m not ready to teach again, I don’t know if I can do that anymore,” I said. Molly – always the voice of reason and wisdom pushing me further than I think I can go – said, “God doesn’t need you to be ready, just willing.” I clutched my notes tight that first time and probably read every word straight from the paper, but something in me started to come alive again. A week or so later Jenny invited me to a meeting to be on faculty and I never looked back.
God completely used TWU and the ladies involved in the ministry to draw me back to Him and to allow me to believe I could serve Him and be used by Him again. If it wasn’t for TWU, I would have never looked for another job to escape my “people are just pieces of paper” social work job that I had while living in Louisiana. (Note: Note all social work jobs are bad!) And I would have never applied to work at Mississippi College and believed I could fill a position that involved daily doing ministry with college girls (obviously you’re going to get a post about those people(s) too). So without further adieu, let me tell you a little about these amazing, beautiful, Gospel-living ladies!
Jenny (bottom row right) is our fearless leader, the president and founder of Total Woman U! Obviously she sees the potential in people even when they don’t see it themselves and has a way of pulling the very best out of everyone. She’s a natural born leader, so full of life, an amazing mom and wife, so inflectional, a gifted speaker, a beautiful singer, and SUCH a visionary. She has the biggest heart and is so sacrificially giving.
Amy (bottom row middle, next to Jenny) is the most creative person I’ve ever met! She does all of our set designs, makes jewelry, makes pottery, paints, and is a creative genius. She’s is such a loving wife, caring mom, go-getter to the max, and has a beautiful, tender heart. Amy’s story is incredible and one that changed my life personally. She’s a prayer warrior and an amazing encourager.
Steph (bottom row left, next to Amy) is truly a servant. She quietly works like a beat behind the scenes and we’d never be able to put on any event if it wasn’t for her. She’s HILARIOUS, has the best giggle, is stylish and trendy, is an AMAZING teacher to kids with special needs, a terrific mom, and a thoughtful (and funny) wife. She embodies gentleness to me has a beautifully tender heart.
Bronie (middle row left, above and to the left of Steph) is ridiculously funny and witty and an INCREDIBLE writer. Reading her former blog is one of the reasons I wanted to start a blog, and obviously that worked out pretty well. She was one of the first people I met at our church in Slidell, even before TWU days, and I loved her instantly. She’s an amazing (and candid) mom, homemaker, and wife, she sings beautiful, she’s sees stories, lessons, and wisdom in everything, and is a fiercely loyal.
Stef (middle row, between me and Bronie) is the queen of DIY, another amazing homemaker/mom/wife, so full of wisdom, a strong leader, and ridiculously hospitable. She sent her eldest daughter to come to school in my town at MY school (my college girls are getting a post soon too!)! I get to see her more often these days because of Abbie’s presence here and I LOVE that. She gives the best hugs, has a great laugh, and sees the beauty in everything.
Jenn (middle row right, next to me, above Jenny) aka Doc Holliday is a sassy little fireball. She’s an eye doctor, crazy smart, so funny, not afraid to be on a stage and act silly (which is super beneficial since many of us – me included – are at times), fun, and energetic. She’s a strategic thinker and we NEED that. She’s so genuine, makes her care known for all of us often, and is a beautiful mom and wife.
Suzanne (back row right, above me and Jenn) was another one of the first people I met at church even before TWU and someone I connected with instantly. We used to teach together at events when I lived there and I LOVED it. We both share a heart for broken and wounded people and bond over that a lot. She’s amazingly hope filled no matter what hardships she faced, she has an incredible heart for kids and is a fantastic teachers, she’s a gifted speaker, a beautiful dancer, and another incredible mom and wife.
Claire (back row middle, above me and Stef) is another strategic thinker that we wouldn’t survive without. She too is an amazing mom and wife, she’s a vulnerable and transparent speaker, and so hard working! Claire has experienced so much loss and grief in her life and beautifully lets Jesus shine through it all. Her story is impactful and influential to SO many people.
I could go on and on and on and on! I LOVE every one of these ladies more than words on the page of a blog post can express. They have changed my life. They believe in me fiercely. They support one another in such incredible ways. I am a different and better person because I know them, love them, and because of their love for me. Their love for Jesus is SO real, encouraging, and challenging and I adore them.
This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.