The Story Behind Women Living Well & A Vlog

Some of you may remember when my header looked like this!  If you do – then you have been following Women Living Well for a REALLY long time!!!  I’m still not sure how people found me that first year…my link was SO long – www.WomenLivingWell-Courtney.blogspot.com That “dash Courtney” part – who does that? lol!  What was I thinking when I typed that in?  Obviously I had not read ProBlogger yet! :)     But that was my web address when the Rachael Ray Show found me - clearly God’s hand was in that – because they found a needle in a haystack! 

So I’m all grown up now with a more mature header and a simple dot org name but the same mission and purpose for writing.

Last week I made a 5 minute video of The Story Behind Women Living Well and I’d like to share it with you!  So here it is:

 

In the video, I shared that as a teenager my dream was to become a missionary and take God’s word to the world!!!  I had read many missionary stories and I was ready to get my jungle gear and head off to far lands to do something great for God!  And I failed.  After graduating from Bible school with my 4 year degree, I married my high school sweet heart, got comfy in America and never went.  This is something that has haunted me for over a decade.  The tears sting even as I type this right now – the sting of failure…the sting of guilt - knowing my life is so cushy while many of my college friends are on the mission field now – right this very minute –  facing hardships that I will never know. 

At one time, I thought, well maybe it’s God’s will we just financially and prayfully support a lot of missionaries since my husband has been blessed with a good career.  Maybe that’s why God gave me this burden…so we sought out missionaries to be committed to…but it didn’t scratch the itch of my teenage dream.  I shoved this dream deep down inside and pressed on in life with women’s ministry in my church, evangelism in my sphere of influence and having babies!

Then one day – I started this blog thing…you know – the one with the dash and the bubble bath logo lol!  Expectations were low – it was more of an outlet than a ministry…but then something happened…people started reading…more and more people…and emails started coming in from Australia, Scotland, Brazil, Japan, Egypt, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Argentina, Croatia, Hungary…

One day as I looked at the part of my site meter that shows a map where my readers are located…I had a full circle moment and a rush of tears!  God had done something beyond my dreams…something unimaginable to me – he had allowed me to “go into all the world” from my kitchen computer!  My teenage dreams were coming true – but in a way I could not image as a teenager (peeps – I’m so old they didn’t even have cell phones back then – much less the world wide web!). 

So I’m living an Ephesians 3:20&21!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Never stop dreaming great things for God! 

Every woman has a dream – from the young girl waitressing in the corner diner, to the mom with 5 kids just trying to survive the day, to the woman with the corner office.  God has placed those dreams in his children’s hearts for his glory and though our dreams may not play out as we have planned in our minds – God will use those to guide us to his will for our lives. Be patient, pray and be in God’s word daily and go forward in peace “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)

Walk with the King!

Courtney

Comments

  1. I remember that heading! I think you had 150 followers when I found you :-) Praise God for His sovereignty, you are where He wants you. However, keep fighting that “American Dream” and always remember that everything we have, every drop of clean water, every bite of food, every item of clothing, every bit of comfort, security and abundance comes from Him. “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48 There is SO much need in this world, both spiritually and materially, investing financially in the kingdom of God is so needed.

    • Oh Ingrid – yes you have been there!!! And YOU were my first Good Morning Girls Group to be born – after mine :) !! I remember you emailing – “I started my own”! Look what God started through your initiative! Just amazing!

      Keep serving him – you are doing amazing kingdom work and I’m humbled by your passion and sacrifice!
      Love you,
      Courtney

  2. Thanks for the reminder to pay attention to what we’re aiming at. Sometimes I get distracted!

  3. Oh Courtney, I love this. Praise God!

    You know I’ve been with you from the beginning and I just love you and who you are and all God is carving you to be. Grateful to be a missionary with you!

    • :) Oh girl – seriously could we have imagined…back when we dreamed on the phone – maybe someday we’ll write a book lol!!! Now look at you multiple book deals later!!! That’s God! He is so gracious to use us for his glory!!! It’s been a joy to watch God’s plans for you unfold!!! Do not grow weary in doing good!! (Gal. 6:9)

      Pressing on sista till he comes again or takes us home!
      Courtney

  4. As a missionary wife in Australia, I’ve read you’re blog while on deputation and it has been an encouragement to me. Missions was never in my heart until I was in Bible college, where I felt the Lord impress on my heart that I was going to be a missionary. A few months later I met my husband whom the Lord had called at the age of 6 to work with the Australian Aboriginals. 26 years later his dreams came true, and we’re in the Northern Territory of Australia!

    Just as a side note, you’re never to old for missions! I have some good friends who are in their mid-thirties on their way to Indonesia! God is calls those who are willing.

  5. I love this and have been following your for a long time I love love love your love and encouragement for other sister’s in the Lord also for your realness and allowing of us to come into your daily life May God continue to bless this ministry as it has blessed so many of us women. May God continue to use you as His vessel and bless your family abundantly.

    In His Grace,
    Cindy

  6. I remember that header! :) It is amazing to reflect on our dreams and how the closer we become to God, the more our dreams become HIS dreams. Blessings!

  7. Thank you Courtney for your ministry here at Women Living Well. Like I told you on your Facebook page, I’m not sure exactly HOW I stumbled across your blog sometime last summer but I KNOW divine intervention was involved. You have inspired me to get closer to God and that’s enabled me to get through these last few months of my life, where I received a blow that I NEVER thought would ever happen to me. My faith in God has brought me through it and I believe YOU brought me to it! I pray for you and your family daily as I know you pray for all of us! Love and hugs to you and yours!

  8. Oh my goodness, Courtney! Thank you for this. I have goosebumps right now and tears in my eyes. I graduated from Moody in ’05 and have almost the exact same story. I began as a missions major with plans to do Bible translation in Africa and ended up marrying a guy I went to high school with. (And do not regret that decision for a minute!) We are living in the US and have no plans to leave any time soon. I too went through the guilt, worked full time in children’s ministry, figured we were just supposed to give to all my Moody friend who are on the field (and thankfully do get to do that!) had kids of my own and stayed home. Last year the Lord convicted me to embrace the season of life I am in and pour my effort into expanding His Kingdom within the four walls of our home and my community instead of mourning the fact that I wasn’t overseas. I began a blog back in September intended to encourage parents in their journey of parenthood and offer ideas of fun ways to teach the Bible. It has grown more than I ever could have imagined in such a short time and in turn has grown me so much. But never, until reading this, did I think of it as possibly being a way that God would use to help me fulfill my dream of missions. I just checked my stats and we have readers from Spain, Russia, Croatia, Brazil, and all over the world. Thank you so much for sharing your story and encouraging my heart! Seriously, thank you.

  9. Ooooo Courtney!!! I remember you speaking about this at the church- I was so inspired! I was amazed when you put up a map of the world and showed the places people lived who were reading- a missionary in deed! Little did I know at the time that I would have anything to do with blogging ;) Love it and love you!!! Nelle

  10. You have such an awseome ministry and a great heart. I really appreciate you willingness to teach us and touch lives through sharing your heart.

  11. Talk about encouraging and inspiring! THANK YOU!!

  12. Courtney,

    Yes, I do remember that header!! And I sure enjoyed meeting you in Dallas at the mom heart conference. You have been an encouragement to me for many years now. Thank you for your “missionary” ministry on the world wide web!! I for one have been blessed!
    Keep walking with the King!
    from Peculiar :)

  13. Amanda Cross says:

    Courtney,
    I can so relate to your story. That is exactly what I felt like God had called me to be when I was a teenager. I went on several short-term mission trips to Mexico. It was in my heart so strong. After graduating high school, I struggled with where I should go to college and what I should major in. I ended up going to the local community college which has turned into a 4-yr university now. My heart was not in it though. I believed that some of the classes I was taking was exposing me to things that were ungodly especially Sociology and a History class that taught us about the history of man and intertwined some Mormon ideas into it. I walked out the first day of that class. I found myself skipping other classes alot and ended up having to drop them which put me on probation for future semesters. I was working and believed I needed to get myself a vehicle. This time of my life was so difficult. I allowed some things in my life that I never should have and was more and more influenced by the world. I was still faithful to church and was there everytime the door was open, but my heart was being divided. Even now, I can see where I have faced consequences for bad decisions and for allowing sin into my life during those years. I have been married now for almost 7 years and have a 2 year old. I am a stay at home mom. I haven’t graduated from college and that is ok for me right now. I am going through the Steps to Freedom in Christ by Neil T. Anderson with a woman from my church and also studing Ephesians with Good Morning Girls. I have been dealing with things, confessing and repenting about things that I never dealt with before coming to Christ and since coming to Christ. I know he forgave my sins when I came to him in faith, but I never went to some people in my life to make amends. I have struggled the last several years with panic attacks and had become homebound because of it. I have tried just about every medication on the market. I started the Steps to Freedom on February 7. I haven’t taken anymore medicine and have not had a panic attack since. I have had a few moments of feeling anxiety that I’ve had to go to the Lord about, but that is exactly what he wanted me to do in the first place. I’ve realized that I was listening to ideas and suggestions from Satan and believed they were my thoughts. I made excuses why I couldn’t go somewhere and blamed it on anxiety. I’m still a work in progress and am learning to replace lies with truth from God’s Word. I am hopeful that God will use all that I’ve been through and the process he is taking me through now to help others.

  14. We’re so happy you decided to start blogging (btw–I love that bubble bath picture, too!). At this point in my life, I’ve been so comforted to understand that God gives us all different gifts to plug in different ways. We can’t all be missionaries overseas, but we can be missionaries in our own circle of influence, wherever God has placed us. For me, it’s writing…trying to reach people through books (that will someday hopefully be published!). It’s such a peaceful feeling, knowing you’re doing what God created you to do.

    BTW–your blog has reached my daughters, as well! They LOVED the one on how to make an easy bun with your hair, and how your friend from Comfy in the Kitchen sets her hair on hot rollers! When it said “Walk with the King” at the end, they were asking me about it. So you see, you’ve reached that younger audience as well!

    All the best to you!

  15. Let’s see.. I remember WAAAAY back when you brought up the idea of “this blog thing” while we were working out at Malone. (I remember exactly where we were standing. The Lat Pull Down Machine. LOL!) It was all so new, yet exciting as you shared your dreams and goals. I was thankful to be a part of it back then, and am thankful to still be ministering alongside you now!
    Love you!!
    Clare

  16. This post touched my heart this morning. I have been struggling with my desires and God’s desires for my life. As I have prayed for guidance, God has given me clear signs that I need to continue teaching. Life certainly has many twists and turns, but God is always with us.
    Dawn T.

  17. Nicki Peoples says:

    Truly do love you, Courtney. Thanking God for your faithful obedience and sweet, spunky (that’s how old I am – to use a word like that) spirit!
    ~ Nicki

  18. I stumbled across your website 2 weeks ago and though I’m old enough to be your Mother, I love the freshness of the site and the encoruaging words! I never wanted to go be a missionary, but I work at a grocery store and that is my ministry! I am able to pray with people I don’t know or know, give encouraging words to young moms(yes, this just a season and enjoy it), or cry with the grandparents over tough decisions they’ve had to make, the lonely newly widows or widowers. Thank you for putting this into presceptive for me! You rock! Blessings and hugs, Earlene

  19. Courtney, I found you through that Rachel Ray video in 2010 at a time when I needed so much encouragement and God led me to you. I was blown away by a whole new world that I never knew existed. It is because of you that I began my own blog in January last year and it was through you that I met so many other wonderful Christian women.

    Thank you for being such a great inspiration and for all that you do in the name of Jesus. May He continue to bless and guide you.

    Love & Hugs

  20. Courtney,
    This gives me such encouragement. My blog started out of the leading of the Holy Spirit. Whether it becomes big and famous or not, doesn’t matter. You have reminded me that it is God’s and He will do with it as He see’s fit. You are a blessing to myself and so many others. Thank you for all you do!
    Blessings,
    Tirzah

  21. Courtney, I want to encourage you…it is just as important to have “senders” as it is to have “goers”. Without the “senders” we couldn’t have people to GO.
    Someone needs to support them!

    My husband and I thought of overseas missions work as well, but there were some realities we were faced with, and one is the sheer cost for someone not native to the land to go–it is less expensive and more effective for the native people of the land to go and share the Good News.

    So sending money is just as important and there aren’t enough people to help fund missionaries as it is.
    Love. xo

  22. i just wanted to say that that is awesome….what a amazing full circle moment.

  23. Courtney,
    Jesus put you in my path about 1yr ago and you have helped me grow spiritually for my King!
    By studying the living words with you and all the advice on how to be a virtuous wife, my husband & kids have noticed a big difference in the way I walk for Jesus and how i enjoy more than ever being a wife and mom! You’ve been a blessing in my life and are continuing to be everyday! I am many,many miles from you so I would definately call that Missionary! Thank You & Love you sister :)

  24. Tracey Hooks says:

    So glad I also found your site! I have had a childhood dream that I know has come full circle! God is so full of grace and is such a giving God! He ida leading me…right ti that do dream of mine, that now I realize is actually my “purpose” in and for him! Praise God! I would like ti know what you advise as the first important step I should take while creating my first blog? Help needed!

  25. My family and I are missionaries overseas. We are exactly where we are supposed to be and are following God wherever He leads. There’s peace in that, but it’s still so tough for me to be 8000 miles from the rest of my family! Sure, I do spend hours at a time on the phone with my sister a couple times a month, but it’s nothing like being able to pick up the phone several times a day like I want to. I have no really close friends here. But, I really feel like God has lead me to this internet community where I can get encouragement and hope! Sometimes I feel like I’m stalking you all because it seems like I know you but you don’t know that I know you. LOL! Anyway, I truly appreciate your ministry and your willingness to be used right where you are…for being so open and personal. It’s exactly the friendship that I need right now. God bless you and your family!

  26. Courtney,
    I enjoy your blog very much, and I am so thankful you take the time to encourage women in their roles!
    Thank you for all you do!
    p.s. my blog address is waayyy too long as well, and I’m trying to figure out a way to change mine too without losing all my content. Thanks for the link to problogger!

  27. I remember that heading! I have been drawn to you ever since! God is doing amazing things through you Courtney thank you for seeking Him and encouraging us to do the same! I went to the Casting Crowns, Matthew West concert last night and I SO thought of your site and the name of it, the name of his tour was Come to the well…and when I heard that song (which was the first time for me) and the lyrics were on the screen, about the well, it hit me…about HIM being the well. I have to listen to that song many many more times until it all sinks in because the lyrics are amazing. But you came to mind because of your name on the site :) Here is the song if anyone wants to listen…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW5unzXXC0k

    Love to you!
    Kim
    http://www.myheartandyours.org

  28. I am on that journey in my walk with God as you said to be satisfied in Him…thankful to have your words to learn how to walk that out in my life as a wife and mom!!
    (Sorry I put the last comment before I had finished listening to your vlog) ;)
    Kim

  29. I am one that just found you more recently. And I’m glad I did!!!

    Have you ever thought of short missions. And getting your family involved?

  30. Courtney,
    I have just recently found your website and I am truly blessed each time I read your blog. I really needed to read today’s; I have been feeling like such a failure in many areas of my life, maybe it’s because I just turned the big 50! LOL
    I enjoy your encouraging words and admire your ministry for our Lord, Jesus!! I am still waiting on my dreams to come true; I want to work with special needs children and use my horses as tools.
    I thank you for your time you put into reaching out and sharing the word to others!

  31. One thing you said stood out to me was that we need to be drinking from the Living Well. I will always think that when I read your blog. I feel like my life has been improved greatly by your ministry. You are a missionary!!

  32. I found your blog about 9 months ago and has inspired me to make some major changes in my life. Thank you for your work Courtney! What an amazing gift you have for sharing God’s Word and inspiring women to become what God made them to be. You have helped to show me that God’s Word is not outdated and all of His principles still apply today.

  33. Thank you for sharing this. I haven’t been blogging or following your blog very long, but I really enjoy visiting Women Living Well. Thank you for sharing your heart and reaching out to a lost and dying world!! May God continue to work through you and your blog to change hearts and lives!!! Keep walking with the KING!!!

  34. I for one am so thankful for the ministry God has given you (without you even realizing it at the time). ;) He has blessed, encouraged, mentored and challenged countless women to grow closer to Him through the words written at WLW. I am one of them. I found WLW shortly after feeling God tug at my heart to begin writing for His glory. Thank you for all you do!! One question: How did you change your blog address and have your readers follow you? (I’m the other person still using the – in my address…lol).

  35. Oh sweet Courtney!!!! Thank you a million times over for these powerful words. God has spoken directly to my heart through you today. I’ve been a stay at home mom for a little over 2 years and had the desire to do so much more with my time, in helping teen moms, they hold a special place in my heart. However, with 3 boys I haven’t quite been able to launch my ministry. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, but had begun to doubt my own dream ever becoming reality….thank you for reigniting the hope within. May God continue to bless you so you can continue to be a blessing to women all around the world.

  36. I love your blog!

    How lovely it must be to have such a wonderful ministry!

    I have often wondered (since I started as a blogger) what makes some blogs become so popular and gain so many followers. My blog is just a tiny one but I feel like it is right for me to keep posting and to keep striving. I would love to feel like I was really reaching people!

    Must be God working through you!

  37. Courtney,

    I’m so glad the Lord has shown you his plan to reach the world, even if it wasn’t what you thought it was gonna look like. I have been so blessed to have found your blog. I remember reading about a guy who desperately wanted to be a missionary, but whenever he went on the mission field, he wound up terribly sick and had to go back home. He was terribly discouraged, but wound up starting a church and through his love for missions, they have given so much money to missionaries that more lives have been touched by his being on his own soil than would have been possible had he been a missionary elsewhere.

  38. Courtney,

    I’ve never commented before, but I did want to finally introduce myself. I’m 23 years old and I currently run an orphan care ministry called Muzungu Mama Ministries in rural Eastern Uganda. I’m a single Mom to a precious two year old girl named Hadassah. I absolutely love your blog and it is such an encouragement to me as I learn how to be the best Mom I can be for my daughter and the other children God brings into my home. Praying for you today (well it’s night here now!). =D

  39. Courtney,
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this post! This vlog spoke to me today so much. I have a problem of looking to other things to “pacify” me when I’m stressed or depressed instead of turning to the Lord. The image of a pacifier will now be ingrained in my brain next time I am tempted to reach for that cookie or buy something that we don’t need. Thank you for your blog, I enjoy reading it and only hope that one day I can reach out and share with people as you have done.

  40. Courtney,

    Thank you so much for what you do! You have touched my life through your ministry… In a way I could not have imagined. I somehow found your blog 8 months ago and it’s one of the few I read each and everyday. As a stay-at-home Mom of 2- one of which has cerebal palsy- my ability to go out and do everything I’d love to- just can’t happen. I’m okay with that… They’re such great blessings- but being able to read your blog gives me light and encouragement in my day. Not to mention the fact that proverbs 31 and biblical submission were foreign to me… I am so grateful I found your work. Please know that you’re touching lives!

    Tina in Chicago

  41. Aye well (here’s one from Scotland!), I haven’t got on a round-the-world missions trip either. But God has given me four kids and I reckon being their mum is the mission field He wanted for me. And I wouldn’t swap being the wife and mum that I am…. not for the whole world.

    I am, though, glad that the www has been invented ;) I have met the most amazingly encouraging people through these blogs (yep, Courtney, you’re encouraging folks at the very edge of the world, here on a small Scottish island :) ). And meanwhile, we pray on for those God *has* called to the literal mission field, and pray that He would send yet more, for the harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few.
    Blessings, x

  42. Kimberly Haugaard says:

    Thanks for sharing this!!! I do remember the first logo and the long blog address. This post brought tears to my eyes too…what a blessing!!!

  43. Courtney,
    Today I was having one of those days where I was asking God if he was hearing my prayers. I was feeling so discourged and alone. Then I turn on my computer and I feel I was lead to your youtube messages. Everything I was asking God you answered in your videos. I feel so much better now. I know God is here and hasn’t given up on me. Thank you for what you do. And what you just blogged about God giving you a different path. I believe God lead me to you. Thank you.

  44. God’s plan is different for each of us. For you, it appears he had something special in mind all along…just as He does for everyone. It’s when we think we know where we should be that God shows us where he needs us. Keep moving!

  45. Hi Courtney! I’m from NC and not really sure how I found your blog about 6 months ago, but can give God all the glory for that! I am so blessed by how you share your heart and am thankful for your obedience to our Lord to give encouragement! May God continue to bless your ministry.

  46. Thank you so much for posting this! The timing is impecible as my family and I discover the plans the Lord has for us one patient step at a time. I just wanted to say thank you for your blog as it has walked me through some of the most lonely times in my life when we moved to a new city as a new mom who was staying at home and very much in need of other sisters! You were my social and spiritual inspiration while I was seperated from all family and friends and a local church family. I am inspired daily by your life and love learning wisdom from you in the areas of marraige and parenting!

  47. Congratulations Courtney on all the followers you have gained over the years! It is amazing to see your blog growing so strongly after starting out small! I also have a passion to bless women in ministry and I hope that mine will grow as yours has! You are very inspiring! Keep it up!

I love hearing what is on your heart.

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