Cheri Gregory – Be Longing



Be Longing by Cheri Gregory

I hate her.

As I stare at the boxes of belongings going to the Goodwill, I hate the woman who bought all this stuff in the first place.

My past self.

What were you thinking?!?  I demand.

This, of course, is the heart of the problem.

I wasn’t thinking when I bought all this stuff.

I was longing.

Longing to be.

I felt an endless ache for be-longing.

So I bought easily into the lie: You can buy in order to become!

Belonging vs Be Longings IMAGE

Buying to Become

Through the years, I’ve purchased dozens (perhaps hundreds!) of versions of myself.

My boxes of belongings are like the Barbie isle at Toys R Us:

The piles of card stock, drawers of punches, and boxes of photo albums still in shrinkwrap?

Scrapping Cheri.

The mandoline with fifteen attachments, the ice cream cookie sandwich maker, and that 20-year-old stack of brand-new cookbooks?

Cooking Cheri.

Yoga mat, Denise Austin DVDs, and NIB cross-training shoes?

Fit-n-Fabulous Cheri.

You won’t find evidence of Awful Evil Cheri in any of these boxes.

No, the problem is far more subtle.

The problem is that I’ve bought so many versions of myself, I haven’t been able to find my self.

My one self.

The woman God created me to be.

I’ve tried on so many different lives that I’ve failed to live my own.

Trapped by Belongings

I tried to satisfy my be-longings with belongings.

But my excess belongings ended up owning me.

My excess belongings have taken

  • my money.
  • my space.
  • my time.
  • my energy.
  • my peace.

My excess belongings have stolen everything I need to discover who I truly am.

Free to Be

But here’s the good news:

As I surrender excess external belongings, internal transformation is occurring.

I’m noticing two things in particular:

1) I’m admitting who I am not.

I’m not a scrapper or gourmet cook or athlete.

Or any of the other versions of me represented by the stuff in my boxes of belongings.

I didn’t really long to be any of them

My longing went far deeper.

I longed to belong.

2) I’m finding space to be me.

I’m finding where I belong.

And to Whom I belong.

“Quite simply, every piece of clutter I give away gets me closer to the life I’m designed to live. One of peace. One of freedom.” (Pg. 35)

The more clutter you release, the better you can hear God’s call on your heart.

You’ll find that he’s not a cruel circus master, demanding that you live dozens (or hundreds!) of lives.

He’s a loving, rescuing shepherd.

Who will lead you into a spacious place.

Where you belong. With Him.

And where you can live your one life well.



Are you ready to be Clutter Free? Start the 21-Day Clutter Free challenge! Sign up now!

#126 The Restless Moments in your Life — When God Burdens your Soul

ListenNowWhat is born from the restless moments in your life?

Jennie Allen, the author of Restless and Anything and the founder of IF Gathering, believes that God burdens our souls with the people who he wants us to reach. Listen in as she gives you simple tools and ideas to:

• Be faithful where God puts you, regardless of how big, how small or how chaotic your dream is.
• Move in obedience when God gives you a burden in your heart.
• How to help raise up a generation of people that love Jesus with our entire hearts so that we can be unleashed to move in big ways for His kingdom.

Listen as Jennie Allen shares her heart behind the IF Gathering and get some ideas on how you can become part of it. Plus, head to IF: Table to sign up to host your IF: Table.

What is IF: Table? A place to gather women and share a simple meal and dive deep with people over real stories and Christ centered conversations. A time for a whole lot of laughter — and maybe a few tears — but time spent that leaves us with glad hearts. Full hearts. Grateful hearts.



#125 Wanting God More Than Anything Else

ListenNowDo you want God more than anything else?

After a quick trip down memory lane (does anyone else still use Elizabeth Arden Sunflower perfume like Kathi does?), this week’s guest, Lisa Whittle, author of I Want God, shows us how to find spiritual revival in the midst of our crazy, scary lives. She helps us see that a close, deep, deconstructed relationship with God is not only possible, but is actually simple to get. She tells us how:

• We can get over our fear of revival and get started on a journey to go deeper with God in a real way.
• The disconnect between our desire for God to deconstruct us and the fear that he will can stand in the way of our  spiritual growth.
• To allow yourself to fully feel the God hunger within you and then to do something about it.
• Christians can hop off the roller coaster of passion with God for a truly, deep relationship with our God.

Download Lisa’s free 7-day Wanting God devotional to start your own soul revival. Plus, tell us in what area of your life your heart is crying for God most and you will be entered to win a free copy of Lisa’s book I Want God.

Nicaragua with Compassion International

Compassion2014When my agent asked me if I wanted to speak on behalf of Compassion International two years ago, I was intrigued. I’ve always loved their work, and our church has a project in Nicaragua.

But you know how these things go – we had a couple of conversations, but it never really went anywhere. Yes, we sponsored a child, but I didn’t really have a story that was compelling for audiences about Compassion and the idea of supporting kids.

About six months ago, I hired a new booking agent, Julie. Julie has a huge heart, is super talented, and oh – she used to work for Compassion with their Artist Program (working with speakers and musicians.)

So I told Julie about my desire to work with Compassion – and she set up the call. The call that changed it all…

When we talked with Nate with Compassion, he said yes, we’d love for you to speak on behalf of Compassion. Then he asked, “Do you already have a Compassion child?” When I told him that yes, we sponsored Roger in Nicaragua, Nate suddenly got very quiet. Finally he asked, “What are you doing November third through seventh?”


That’s when Nate invited me to go to Nicaragua to meet Roger and see the work that Compassion was doing there. Then Nate asked, “Do you want to go?”

And my first thought was “Um – NO!”

I’m not ready.

I need to speak Spanish first.

I need to lose more weight first.

I need to be in better shape.

I need to write more letters to Roger.

I’m not ready.

But good thing I didn’t say that out loud.

What I did say was, “Let me talk to my husband and pray about it.”

In other words, I did the Jesus-y stall tactic.

As much as I feared going. (“What if I held other people back? What if I got sick from bug bites like in Japan and had to be hospitalized again? What if…”) What I realized I feared more was not going.

Not doing what so clearly felt like a divine God-only opportunity.

Not doing what I knew I wanted to do, but feared.

So we said yes.

My Roger (my husband) is also going. We are taking the typhoid meds, we are learning very bad Spanish, and we are shopping for shoes and T-shirts for little Roger, who we get to meet in just over a week.

Fear almost kept me from the God-adventure of a lifetime. But I refuse to let fear have a foothold in my life. Fear is the one thing that will keep me from saying yes to God. I want fear to have no room to get comfortable in my life.




What Happens When There is No Snap

snapI was 33 years old when I came to the very logical conclusion that the only way to stop the hurting was to kill myself.

I was in the depths of a very painful marriage where I never felt like I could do anything right. I was a mess. I knew I wasn’t a good wife, a good mother, or a good friend. All I could see around me were the people I was disappointing. I didn’t just feel helpless. Worse. I felt hopeless.

So I thought about how I would kill myself.

I didn’t want to hang myself – what if one of my kids found me?

Then I remembered that a radio personality I listened to on a regular basis in the Bay Area, Duane Garrett, had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. But I was afraid I would not be able to go through it.

I considered all the possibilities, very rationally, very thoughtfully. As if I were trying to decide between chicken and beef for dinner that night.

I felt sure I would go through with my plan, until I thought about what would happen to my kids. I didn’t think my kids would miss me, but I was concerned that they would be raised without me. So, continuing in what I thought was totally logical thinking, that if we all died, that would solve all of the problems.

And that’s when I felt the snap.

There was something inside my soul that just broke. I remember feeling like I was splitting down the middle of a foggy lane, and I thought to myself, “What the HELL are you thinking? What mother ever thinks of hurting herself, much less her kids.”

That snap got me to run to my therapist, where I admitted for the first time that I thought about killing myself.

The words that were assigned to me were “Situational Depression”. I was given counseling and medication. I was prayed for and I was loved. I went to bible study, and I found hope.

But every time I hear about a suicide, I think about that time some many years ago. What if there was no snap?

What if I’d never ran to get help because I was in such a dark place, I couldn’t imagine that help existed?

I only have two reasons for writing about this:

1. I believe the more people who talk about their own battle with depression, the more we can all talk about it.  I know for so long I felt like I had to wear a mask and keep up appearances because things would be taken away from me if I didn’t. My kids, my job, my friends. I felt like normal people didn’t go through what I was going through, and therefore, I didn’t deserve normal people things. So I kept hiding it until there was no me left.

But, if we can say that this happens to people, real people, and share our stories, we can give someone else the courage to safely share their story, their struggle. When we find out that we’re not a freak – that our struggles are real but not rare, we have a better chance of being able to connect with someone who has gone through the same thing, or who can help us get to a healthy place.

2. Each of us has a story. I wanted to cut my story short, because I couldn’t take the pain and I couldn’t see any good up ahead.

But only God can see around the corners.

I would have missed out on so much: my second husband, who is the love of my life,

my two beautiful kids, who make me laugh every day and bring good things to the world,

my bonus kids, who I can’t imagine my life without.

A job that makes me excited to get out of bed every. single. day.

And a life that God sets before me every day and and says, “I’m crazy about you. Come alongside me. We have great things to accomplish today!”

Your story is not done. God had great adventures for you. Only he can see the ending to your story.

If you’ve been in that dark place, would you do me a favor – could you share below what God had for you on the other side. Someone needs to read about it.

If you are in that dark place? Would you please, please, reach out to a safe person? A friend, a counselor, a doctor. Please. You don’t feel it now, but you are precious. You are irreplaceable. There are things that need to be done that only you can do. God says so.

And I’ve found that he turns out to be right over and over again.


When You Feel Like Calling It Quits

Calling it quits

Friends, it’s Kathi here- I’m sure most of you know my sweet friend Renee Swope from Proverbs 31 or her wonderful radio spots heard absolutely everywhere. (Sometimes I’m sitting in the passenger seat swearing to Roger that I’m hearing voices – it’s just Renee talking to me through the radio.) Make sure you read down to the end of the post where Renee has several ways for you to win some of her latest resources.)

It had been a hard day, running too many errands with two small children. My three-year-old didn’t understand why we couldn’t buy every toy his tiny hands could touch. And he kept getting in and out of the grocery cart, and whining when I tried to stop him.

I was not a happy mama and wondered how all the other moms in the store seemed to know what they were doing.

Their children listened when they told them no and they wore matching outfits, too. I wondered how in the world those women pulled it off with a smile. I could barely get a shower, get my kids dressed and get us out the door before lunch.

When we got home that afternoon, I went looking for pink construction paper so I could write “I QUIT” on it and turn in my “pink slip” to my husband J.J. when he came home from work. I was tired of feeling like such a failure as a mom.

I couldn’t find pink construction paper, so I decided to pull out my journal.  Filling blank pages with scribbled thoughts, I wrote:

I hate who I have become. I’m such a horrible mom. Why didn’t someone tell me how hard this was going to be? I’m frustrated with my kids and myself. I have no patience and I don’t know what I am doing! I feel guilty all the time. I couldn’t wait to be a mom and now I want to quit.”

Just as I finished writing that sentence, I sensed God whispering to my heart: Renee, You are so critical of yourself. You focus on your mistakes and beat yourself up with accusation and condemnation. Those are not My thoughts …”

It felt like a dam broke in my soul as I choked out the words, “God, I can’t do this. It’s just too much for me”

And in that place of surrender, Peace came over me. His gentleness calmed my nerves. It felt like God bent down before me to listen, and spoke to my heart: You are right, Renee. In your strength and through your perspective, you can’t do this. But with My promises, My presence and My power – all things are possible. I will help you.

Looking back on that day, my heart can’t help but echo the words of the Psalmist: Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”  Psalm 116:2 NLT

When we acknowledge that we are a mess on our own, God rushes to our side to help us. He bends down to show us that with His help, wisdom and guidance, we can become the confident praying mama we long to be, and the confident mom HE created us to be!

When I say… I can’t do this, God says… You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Keep praying and depending on Me for help.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13


Today’s post from Renee Swope is a partial excerpt from her new A Confident Heart Devotional book. Used with permission from Revell Books.FamilyPhoto_Nov2012-300x227Renee and JJ Swope have been married for over 20 years. They have three children: Joshua (19), Andrew (16) and their sweet Ethiopian princess who they brought home in 2009, at the age of 10 months. Renee is also a best-selling author, speaker and radio co-host with Proverbs 31 Ministries. The Swope family lives in North Carolina and she blogs at Devo standing up

About Renee’s NEW Confident Heart Devotional:Does self-doubt ever make you question your ability to be a good mom? Expanding on her best-selling book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope has written a new 60-day devotional that will encourage, empower and equip you to live confidently in your God-given roles, relationships, and responsibilities! Each devotion also features a “When I Say…God Says…” statement with a Bible promise and a prayer to guide your thoughts and emotions that day. Plus you’ll LOVE an easy-reference chart that includes all sixty ”When I Say…God Says…” statements for days when you just need a promise to hold onto!



ENTER TO WIN 2 copies of Renee’s A Confident Heart Devotional book. Leave a comment below and let us know what friend you’d give it to and why, if you won 2 copies.  Contest ends on February 20, 2014. CLICK HERE to find out how you can WIN a $50 gift card, 2 additional signed copies of Renee’s A Confident Heart Devotional book, and more!

Organized People are just too lazy

Thanks Ask Anna

I’m Having Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Here’s What I Want to Tell You…

I’m Having Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Here’s What I Want to Tell You…

Tuesday morning, Roger and I will be at the hospital at 5:30 AM and I will be going in for the gastric sleeve surgery. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the Wikipedia page.)

While I’m a little nervous about the surgery, I’m mostly excited. (I liken it to when I had babies – excited about how my life is going to change, but also appreciating that I have no idea of all the ways it’s going to change.) But the thing I’ve been most nervous about? Telling people.

5422327_m(1)There is a lot of shame that comes with having a weight problem, (and for those of you who don’t have a weight issue, I know there are other areas that can land you in that shame place just as quickly) and while I’m not on the cover of People magazine, I do have a lot of friends and followers that I wanted to let know in some way. It feels a little weird putting it out on the internet for the world to see, but I would hate it even more if anyone thought I was trying to hide what I’m going through. Because for me, this weight thing is the biggest thing in my life.

I’ve always watched those shows like “Biggest Loser” or any talk show with someone who has lost weight as they’ve talked about how miserable their lives were before they lost weight, and how magical and fairy dust-covered their lives were after losing the weight, and here’s the thing: I could never relate.

Yes, I’ve had hard times in my life. I’ve gone through a painful divorce and been rejected by people I love, but one thing has remained true: I love my life. I love the God who loves me back. I have joy that not weight or circumstances can take away from me. On top of all that, I have a husband who adores me, a family that not only loves me, but likes me a whole lot of the time, friends that love and accept me, and the best dang job on planet earth.

I’m not having this surgery to change my life. I’m having this surgery so I can keep showing up for the life I already have.

Right now I’m in good health. (The intake nurse told me this morning that I was the easiest intake she’d had all month because I don’t have complications.) But I know what is shortly waiting for me around the corner: I already have high blood pressure, and I have a family history of diabetes, cancer, stroke and more. It’s possible that losing weight can help me avoid some of that. I want to have the surgery while I’m still a great candidate to do so.

This has been a lifelong struggle. When the nurses ask me when my weight problem started, I honestly can’t remember a time in my life when it hasn’t been an issue. And I’ve lost weight before. Two times I’ve lost more than 65 pounds, and 20 pounds a dozen times over. But  I’ve always put the weight back on just as soon as any other struggle has come up in my life. And after a while, I had failed so many times that it was easier to give up than it is to fight my way back.

But whenever I would give up, sooner or later there was something that lurked inside of me that said, “Don’t give up. Keep fighting for your health.”

I’ll be honest. Ten years ago when I heard that people had weight loss surgery, I thought to myself, “Well that’s cheating. That’s not really how you’re supposed to do it.” Now ten years later, I think that people who say, “I’ve tried everything I know how to do, and now I’m trying one more thing, surgery” those are some brave people. It took me ten years to get to the point to stop giving up on myself and start speaking up and saying that I need help.

I was afraid to tell many of the people I love about the surgery, since I thought they would have a similar reaction. “That’s cheating.” or “I’m just going to pray that you don’t have to have the surgery.” I was especially afraid to tell people who I know had lost weight “The right way.” They were Weight Watcher leaders, and one friend founded an international weight loss program. And I was terrified to tell them.

Boy, did I need to have more faith in my friends.

Every person I respect, without exception, has expressed nothing but love and support for this decision. My friends who have done it “the right way” have been over the moon for me and have loved and supported me every step of the way.

This decision for surgery has come after a lot of discussion, soul-searching and support. I’ve consulted with my primary physician, a gastroenterologist, my psychologist, and a nutritionist and have even talked it over with my pastor. But most importantly, it has come after a lot of prayer. I now have the confidence that this is the right decision for me. It took me a long time to get there.

God has brought me through a huge learning curve about myself and his love for me, and people’s love for me. To those of you who’ve known and encouraged us, thank you for your unconditional love and support. I am grateful and I feel powerful because I know that I have so many people who love and are praying for me and Roger.

If this is something you are struggling with, I pray that your path would be made clear to you, whatever that might be. If you know someone who is struggling, I hope this may give you some insight into what they are going through.

Oh and one final thought: if you have some objection to the path I’m going down, please let love and support be your guide (in other words, Roger may delete any comment that isn’t helpful or constructive before it shows up on the blog!).

With great anticipation about what God is going to do,



How to Never be Criticized for the Rest of Your Life

How to Never be Criticized for the Rest of Your Life

Friday, I was standing in line waiting to have my license examined to see if I was legal to fly in to Dallas.

As the TSA agent was inspecting someone’s ID in front of me, a uniformed man walked up to the front of the line. He was obviously an employee of the airport and was able to skip the line to get to his job, but apparently, he was doing it the wrong way.

“Don’t stand over there! Stand up over here!” the TSA agent barked at the worker.

He asked a question (it was obvious that English was new to him,) and the TSA agent continued to bark at him, and then to belittle him. “Why can’t you just follow directions? It’s not that hard.” And she continued to berate him to the passengers who were standing in front of her.

Obviously, I don’t know either of the people in this situation, but it was apparent that this older gentleman was new to this job, and probably our county. and because he didn’t know the system, he was getting criticized. This man, who left his homeland, I’m guessing in pursuit of a better life for him and possibly his family. He is having to learn new customs, learn a new language, and relearn everything he thought he knew because everything in his life is new.

And this woman had no time for it.

The only way this man (and you) will stopped being criticized is if he, and you stop showing up.

The next time you’re being criticized, ask yourself –

Am I doing something new? People who are comfortable in never changing their lives are the first to criticize those who do.

Am I being brave? It takes courage to say “This is new to me – I don’t know everything, but I’m marching forward!

Right now, I’m stepping into a new world, podcasting. I don’t know a lot about it, and it’s easy for me to be embarrassed “I should know how to do this! I wish I was better at this!” But really, I can only be as good as I am today, and maybe tomorrow, by trying something new, I can be a little better. But I’m going to be a whole lotta bad before I can do anything well.

Are y0u in the midst of something new? Tell me about it. I want to cheer you on in being brave!

And if you’re being criticized, look at the source. As Brene Brown says, “I only listen to those who are in the ring.” Listen to other brave people who are doing their own brave things, not those who are sitting comfortably in the spectator section.


Relief is in Sight: Reclaiming Our Dignity (in the Restroom…)


Peeing in peace

This is Kathi – MOMS  – this one Yes ladies, you read that title right-of all the issues to bring up on the topic of motherhood, leave it to this mom (yep, me) to chat about the potty of all things. But with three young children at home, if I know anything, it’s this

Finding time to use the restroom *alone* is virtually impossible these days.

Now I’ll be honest-I was semi-prepared for some of the rude awakenings this parenting gig would provide, but I never, and I mean* never* thought that my trips to the restroom would become chaotic at best. These days? It’s all about using the bathroom as quickly as possible-as in a mad rush-before something catches fire or someone has to go to the hospital.

Yep. It’s no secret that our kiddos tend to choose the most inconvenient times to manifest mayhem within our homes. Spilt milk, dirty dogs running amuck, Frisbees getting stuck on the roof, strangers at the door, and minor flesh wounds all tend to take place while we’re.ahem.”busy.” And as a mom, I can’t help but wonder: Should I feel fortunate that my kids want to be around me all of the time? Should I embrace my restroom visitors, even though these moments seem awkward at best (and kinda weird)? While I’m still struggling to figure out the answers to these questions, I do know one thing for sure: we may never pee in peace again.

Or can we?

I think it might be time to take some action.

WonderWomanWannabe Cover jpeg_final front-1

Are you with me, ladies?

After all, when nature calls, we had better listen because holding the contents of our bladder for long periods of time just isn’t healthy, not to mention, uncomfortable, Amen? But with a house full of youngsters, heading to the restroom can be a hard feat to that, believe it or not, may take some planning on your part to achieve. Oh my gosh, wait! Am I suggesting that we start planning our trips to the restroom?

Indeed I am.

Hey, our kids are going to need some sort of distraction in order for us moms to leave their sides and tend to our needs, correct? So, here are just a few things we can do ahead of time to ensure we get the peace we desire and the relief we need:

1.     *Games and Puzzles:* Kids love games and their quite fond of putting together puzzles too. Take out Monopoly, or better yet, bust out that 500 piece puzzle with all their favorite Disney characters on it. Talk about buying you some time. Woot!

2.     *Snack Time*: Scheduling a bathroom break around lunch or snack time is ingenious if you ask me. Fix them their food, unwrap all juice box straws, delve out some napkins, and then head off to the bathroom. Hey, five minutes of peace is five minutes of peace, right?

3.     *Scavenger Hunt*: Head to your computer and grab this indoor scavenger hunt printable (found here). Have a small prize ready to go (or pull out a few dollars from your wallet), and let your kids get to exploring all within the confines of your own home. Talk about the perfect time for a potty break? Boom!

4.     *Masterpiece Mania*: My kids love to color, use their imaginations, and create art as often as they can. Bust out the contents of that closet (housing their art supplies) and let them create away. Have older kids? How about a still life? Grab a piece of fruit, or other inanimate object and let them reproduce it. Little Picasso’s in training, eh?

So what do you think? Not so bad, right? Completely doable with minimal effort on our part, eh? Girls, it looks like we may have just reclaimed some of our dignity, discretion, and a wee bit of alone time to tend to “business.” And that’s most definitely a good thing!

OK now this is fun: for readers of this blog, Jenny Lee’s publisher is offering 30% off of Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe. Just use code KathiLipp30

And the fun continues: Purchase Confession and you can be entered into winning this 15 ebook bundle. (See page for details.) 

Bio-Pic Jenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife and mother of three who enjoys writing about anything and everything under the sun, but especially loves to instruct, motivate, and guide other moms with practical advice, tips, and a whole lot of comic relief in the process. Jenny is a contributing writer for

*The MOB Society* and *Moms Together, *and is the author of the recently released guide for all mamas titled, “*Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time.*” To find out more about Jenny or to follow her blog, visit