Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Story Behind The Picture

This photo has been shared thousands of times last week when it was posted on social media, but there's quite a story behind the picture many don't know.

Almost 2 years ago, I received an email from Shirley Walker. Shirley told me how her best friend, Kim Stribling, was a big fan, had been diagnosed with cancer and was going to have to fight for her life. It was stage 4. Shirley thought it would be encouraging for her to read one of my books and she wanted to know where to purchase one.

Purchase one? I thought. Why not just give her one, in person? I arranged with Shirley a time when I could surprise Kim in the hospital. Gently knocking on the door, I walked in and said "I heard someone needed some sunshine today!" The expression on Kim's face was priceless and worth the secret Shirley had kept to arrange this meeting. I gave Kim a signed copy of my devotional and we became fast friends and even discovered that our children shared the same names.

Over the year, I'd visit with Kim and her husband in the hospital. I anoint her with oil many times and prayed for healing, grace and mercy. We prayed for wisdom for the doctors treating her and ministering angels for her family which included her 4 children. We laughed, we cried, and we talked a LOT about faith and God's goodness. When you find yourself wanting so bad to live on Earth, but yet knowing you may not and the questions surrounding those you'll leave behind, reality sets in.

With every good report, Kim would feel a glimmer of hope. And with each negative report, she prepared a bit more for eternity, looking forward to what was to come.

When Kim received her eternal healing, it was clear I needed to grow and donate my hair once more. I had spear headed the Great Lengths program at WLBT for almost 10 years, encouraging viewers to grow and donate their hair with me every 2 years. Our hair donations are sent to Pantene which makes the human hair wigs and sends them back here to Mississippi. Those wigs are placed in a wig room at St. Dominic hospital and are given to women for free. We also work with the American Cancer Society in Jackson to provide the same for those women not being treated at St. Dominic. No matter where the patient is being treated in Mississippi, the human hair wig is free for her.

Just last week, the Great Lengths event took place in Clinton at our host location, the Mississippi Institute of Aesthetics, Nails and Cosmetology. Our 2 daughters, Gracie and Lilly Faith, grew their hair with me and donated as well. But it was only fitting that I ask Kim's 2 younger daughters to cut my hair in memory of their mother.

The time I spent with their mother was sweet, but the minutes spent with them was even sweeter. They may not fully understand right now what it all means, but as they get older, they'll understand Who their mother served.

Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." We rejoice in Kim's ultimate healing, but we stay patient with this current life God has given us. We stay in constant prayer for discernment in what the Holy Spirit wants us to do next. This, after all, is what thanks living is all about.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Perspective

I've always been a bit hesitant with letting my children "help" with decorating the Christmas tree. While my method of decorating is like that of a Type A personality in that I want structure and perfection, my children's' method of decorating the tree is most like a throw-it-up-there-and-let's-see-where-it-lands method.

It wasn't until one morning when I noticed one of the glass balls had fallen on the floor and shattered into pieces. I grabbed a broom and dust pan, got on the floor, and commenced to cleaning up the shards, hoping to get every sliver. While on the floor, I found myself eye level with the bottom of the tree. What did I find but a plethora of Christmas balls hanging on the lower limbs of the tree, all in a row. From my height location, I had not seen where our youngest Lilly Faith had put many of her decorations.

Everyone's perspective is different. Our perspective on our life is often different than God's. Romans 11:33 says, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" The fundamental difference between someone who has faith in God and the unbeliever is revealed by the way they judge things. The unbeliever judges things by worldly standards, by his senses, and by time. The person learning to think like God brings God into everything, viewing things from His perspective, by His values. He seriously meditates on God's sovereignty over all things. Faith holds a person steady.

Because we often do not think like God, and because we do not have His perfect perspective, we often do not exactly know what God is doing. Only in hindsight do we understand what God is allowing in our life.

When I stood up from cleaning the floor, I took a step back to look at the tree once more. My perspective had changed. No longer was I on the floor staring at the imperfections of Lilly Faith's placement of ornaments, but I was seeing the beauty of the tree in all of its glittering glory. That's exactly the way God sees you. While you have some scattered parts of your life that can be chaotic, He sees your full potential and your purpose.

Instead of focusing on the areas of your life that aren't perfect, remember how God sees you--perfectly put together for a mission that He has created you for and only He can direct.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Retreat In Order To Advance

It was an opportunity to speak to a group of women who GET me.

When my publicist told me that a representative from the Mississippi Baptist Convention contacted her about my being the guest speaker at the Ministers Wives Conference at the Convention, I was elated. While I am not the daughter or the wife of a pastor, I've watched closely those who are over the years and witnessed the hurt many church going folk have lobbed at the preacher's wife. When parishioners are mad, they have a tendency to complain to the wife of the pastor. Not only does she hurt for her husband, but in some cases, she protects his feelings and keeps the critical comments to herself.

Being in the media is similar. The forecast isn't the target. The target is everything superficial. And everyone has an opinion, including the well intentioned viewers, I'm sure. In sharing some of the emails and anonymous letters I've received recently with the group, they GET why I have taken a step back from the camera lights for a while so that I can focus on more important aspects of my life. With each one I read, you could see it on their faces: they had heard similar criticisms from their church members.

While sharing with the wives, I encouraged them not to focus on the "constructive criticism" they don't solicit, but to shut the door on the negativity shown to them. For some this means shutting the door on the negative people who feel the need to share their opinion. Retreating and taking a step back is the first movement forward in walking in your anointing. You must retreat in order to advance.

Isaiah 30:15 says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." Silence away from the nay-sayers is the place where God does the greatest works in your life and in your walk of faith. But faith isn't faith until you DO something. I've discovered finding those quiet seasons when you can concentrate on what God has called you to do opens up a wellspring of God-ordained appointments.

When I returned, I received numerous messages including this email from one of the ladies in the audience:

"Thank you for your words of encouragement today at the Minister's Wives gathering. Having been in this role now for 35 years, I resonated with many of your emails from "sisters in Christ." I appreciated your willingness to be personal. My husband and I are currently in a time of "retreat" and had to "shut the door" in order to regain our perspective. Today was a light rain on my parched heart, and I thank God for using you in my life today."

Perhaps God is calling you to take a step back and to walk by faith in a certain area so that He can pull up alongside of you and show you what He has next for you. Your trust in God is your strength.

(Barbie will be speaking in Columbus, Ohio next week and will be the guest speaker at the Mississippi Conference of Medial Assistants the following week.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Redefine Your Future Article

A special thank you to those who have commented, sent me texts and emails about the "Redefine Your Future" blog story released this week. I truly appreciate your posts over the last few days on my Facebook pages.

In case you didn't see it, here it is:

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Doing Things That Matter

A question I'm bombarded with lately is: "Where are you? Are you still on tv?"

For some time I've felt called away, if you will, to concentrate on things much bigger than myself. I've spent time in the paradise-filled island of Bora Bora with Rodan + Fields Dermatologists, spent valuable time with my children and have been more inclined to hone my heart at being a better wife and help mate to my husband. While away from my television career that I've enjoyed for some 18 years, I've also spent more time fasting and writing on my next book. There's been lots of fun along the way over the last 2 months, but some of the most rewarding moments have included visiting with strangers-turned-friends battling cancer, teaching my children the importance of giving, and living my faith in a more intense fashion.

My children enjoy making things for the homeless at the local Stewpot Community Services.  They mold and make things with their hands under the direction of their babysitter. Each holiday, they like to make something unique for the homeless and for the 4th of July, they gave over 150 sunglasses with red, white and blue lanyards attached to each pair. My son Will said, "They thanked ME!" and that was all he needed to feel like he had given his best.
Kids with their sunglasses individually wrapped to give to the homeless.

While in Bora Bora, I had the opportunity to talk and visit with one of the locals. While their culture is quite interesting, they all have the same hopes and dreams for the future. In fact, they are a very loving people.
Talking with one of the Bora Bora locals as he explains what his tattoos mean.

My most recent stop included visiting with Kim Stribling. Kim is fighting breast cancer and her friend, Shirley Walker, emailed me a few months ago to ask if I would come for a surprise visit because Kim was a big fan of mine. It was one of the most inspiring visits I had made recently and I've been following her progress ever since. This last visit, I anointed Kim and her hospital room and even gave her a black pearl from my trip to Bora Bora. Kim lights up the room and lights up my heart. The "spiritual advancement" she's gone through recently has made her a beacon of light for so many in Vicksburg.
Visiting with Kim in her hospital room waiting on round #6 of chemo.
All of these events remind me why I've taken a break from my television career. For so long, I've reached my goals only to have them superseded by the next goal conjured in my mind.  But now I've stopped setting "getting goals" and started setting "giving goals". Through the blessings I've had with my business, my goals are now giving goals because that is my focus now. My motivation for making more is giving more time, more resources, more encouragement. After all, you make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.

I'm reminded of my visit with Robert as I talk about in this video.

So, yes, I'm still here. I'm still at WLBT. But right now, I'm doing things that matter.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Chapel Window

So many of you have asked if I'd share our last day in Bora Bora. 

We started the day with Doctors Rodan and Fields and they shared some staggering comments with us. While I won't share it all here, one comment really stood out to me.

Dr. Rodan said, "We WILL be a global skincare giant and YOU will have the ability to influence and affect thousands for the greater good."


Have you ever thought about what that looks like for influence and affect thousands for the greater good? For me personally, it's to be a Kingdom builder for the Lord and to share the love of Christ.

On the way back from breakfast, I made a stop at the chapel there at the Four Seasons resort. When I walked in and looked straight ahead, I saw this view. It was the mountain again that I had blogged about earlier. It was another moment in time to sit, reflect and yes, pray. What a responsibility to be called to.

 There are going to be some mountains you're going to have to go around: negative people, difficult situations, and friends who look at you like you're crazy because of your commitment to the Lord. You're going to have to keep the mountain into perspective and remember there's another side you haven't seen yet. But you won't get won't "influence and affect thousands for the greater good" if you waste your time staying at the bottom of the mountain and giving every excuse as to why living the Christ-centered life is so hard and so tiresome.

I was reminded of Proverbs 16:20, "Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be joyful."

Listen to the Lord's instruction and live in joy knowing you're being obedient!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Mountain in Bora Bora

When we arrived in Bora Bora, I was fascinated with this mountain. It's just an incredible site to see and is actually the side crater of the volcano that lies beneath the water. Who would've thought lava could pile high enough to create this peak? Every time I go outside, I look at that mountain and  wondered "What's on the other side?" 

We took a jeep tour on that island--yes, where that mountain is. I wasn't too thrilled with this climb in an old vehicle that looked like it hadn't had a brake inspection in 20 years. I don't care for heights, especially when rocks are sliding under our tires and we are inches away from death over a cliff.

When we got to the other side of this mountain and stepped out of the jeep, the view took my breath away. My eyes couldn't take it all in and were in overload. Now I knew why I've been so mesmerized by this mountain and why I needed to get to the other side!

Your spiritual walk of faith can often look like an incredible mountain to you.You watch others have faith and walk through the storms in life and come out victorious on the other side. You wonder if or when you'll get to that point of being able to place your problems and issues into the hands of the Father. But it's so easy to get comfortable on your side of the mountain because of the fear of the steep climb and the falling rocks that may come down in front of you, not to mention the dramatic drop off the mountain just inches away. Because of fear of failure, you're simply stuck with admiring the mountain but never going to the other side.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "We live by faith, not by sight." 1 Corinthians 2:5 says, " that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom but on God's power."

So my question to the guide on our tour was: Has anyone ever climbed this mountain? The answer is no. It's too steep so the people just go around it by going on the other side. Interesting....

If you knew what's on the other side of your spiritual mountain, you'd go around it. There's no need to climb it when you can go around it. Move forward, in faith, and get to the other side so you can see what's ahead in your growing relationship with the Lord.