HE Speaks at She Speaks… Serving Jesus isn’t That Glamourous—A Call to Bust Down Rank

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Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

We She Speaks girls all wanna make God’s name famous. We really, really do.

But if you are like me, we might also want to be the girl on the other side of the booming blog with an enormous platform, or ON the platform at the mic.

Be so very, very careful sisters…if you listen closely as you say the phrase “Make God’s name famous,” we can caught up in the subtleties of US.

First of all, God’s name has already stood the test of time without our influence. He’s totally got His own fame amongst the nations under control. That was His plan all along.

And us? As long as we are human, we aren’t immune from corruption. We have to fight to be centered on God’s plans instead of our own. The second we let our guard down, our flesh will be up to something.

Wave the White Flag

And thankfully, God was up to something in me at She Speaks. No matter what message or teaching I heard, God delivered a personal message tailor made just for me. It was simply, “SURRENDER.”

There are so many applications of how this can look in my life and I am sorting through it all. But when I considered my reasons for attending this conference, I had to sit up and take notice. When looked around the room, I saw literally hundreds of beautiful women with whom I shared the same goal:

To do something BIG for God.

Thinking that concept over caused something to hit me. And I’ve gotta share it! I’m not gonna lie, God busted my thinking down a few ranks.

I had to ask myself,

What is it exactly to do something BIG for God Almighty who does EVERYTHING for me?

Okay, confession time. I walked into that conference thinking I was going to meet the right people that would usher in some “break” for me to get speaking engagements and writing opportunities. So far, that hasn’t happened. I thought I might get a book deal. Negative on that one too. I thought I would learn that one break through piece of info that would send my platform from belly up to soaring. Wrong again.

The same word comes through every thought again and again…SURRENDER.

And that was it. I knew it at the first session I had with Whitney Capps. I had to surrender my desires. That meant I had to overhaul what it means for me to serve in the kingdom of God in a “BIG” way.

And it ain’t a glamourous picture either. At least, not what I envisioned my dream to be.

Not everyone can work for Proverbs 31 ministries and be on the speaker team. Not everyone can lead women in droves. Not everyone can be the one speaking from the stage or writing to the masses.

But.

Everyone with the God of Everything living in them can do Anything for Him.

Even scrub toilets and wipe snot off of tiny cheeks in the nursery.

MY “Best Yes”

The “sticky statement” that stuck with me from the conference was this:

“Would you do it for one?”

We need people in the trenches doing hand to hand combat for Jesus—opening our mouths for the audience of one. Would I be willing to serve God if that is all it ever turned out to be?

My answer had to be “yes”—it was my very best yes. And I knew it. I knew it had to be because Christ went back for the one sheep. Once upon a time I was “the one,” and praise God that someone didn’t find it menial to come for me in Jesus name. If he hadn’t shared the gospel with me I don’t know where I would be today. Probably not darkening a door at She Speaks.

You see, I didn’t get saved at a women’s conference or retreat. I got saved when one person took me aside and shared the gospel with me. This memory and the thought of so many who remain incognito to the world made me realize that I had to lay down the gauntlet of sparkling dreams. It may not be in God’s plan for me to have opportunities like Lysa or Whitney.

I just need to share the hope within me with those in need whenever and wherever the Spirit leads.

I had to stop trying to glamourize what it means to serve God. I mean, it’s only reasonable to go hard for Him after all He’s done for me, right?

But most of all:

I’ve gotta be willing to be the one who will go for the one.

All on the altar. All hopes and dreams laid aside…

Complete surrender.

Now is the time

The breath that’s in us is for the right now moments—not the pie in the sky moments that may or may not ever arrive. The gospel is what people need now. Not later if I get the opportunity to share it from behind a microphone with an audience with many who are likely saved anyway.

Those of us who are waiting for the “right time” to move forward in ministry need not wait any longer:

“As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

I take comfort in knowing that every detail has already been ordained in God’s plans for us.

Just keep walking and seeking Him.

He promised He will direct our paths. Whether those paths lead to the masses,

or to the one…

Steps of Faith — Guest Post By Carolyn Dale Newell

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Happy Monday friends!

On occasion, I will be featuring one of you on Faith Like Dirty Diapers!

If you know anyone or you would like to submit a guest post, bring it on! I’d LOVE to feature YOU!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Carolyn. She is a blessing to me and I know her words will bless you, too! Here she is…

STEPS OF FAITH
By Carolyn Dale Newell

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Phil. 4:13 (NKJV)

I have always been visually impaired, but several years ago, I noticed a rapid decline in my vision. I was sad at the thought of not seeing the beauty of God’s creation. I wondered how I could identify the color of my clothes. How could I cook? I knew that God had allowed this for His purpose, and although fearful, I prayed for His will, not mine, to be done.

I began a rehab program which taught me to live as a blind person. The very first day, I received answers to all my troubling questions. I finally had some peace, but I knew I had a rough road ahead of me.

There was so much to learn. I learned to cross streets by listening for traffic. This allowed me to enjoy walking again – alone, but not alone. God is with me every time, and every walk begins with prayer and it ends with praise to God for His protective guiding hand.

I was not a technological person, but it opens many doors for the blind. I learned to use a computer with speech software. That is when I began writing Christian devotions to encourage others to trust God while journeying these rough roads of life.

The hardest thing was learning braille. I wanted to quit many times. God helped me immensely. When I struggled with it, I asked God for grace. I could feel it immediately. I could have never done it without Him.

I consider it a privilege to have this disability which keeps me so close to God. I depend on Him for so much – even when I drop something on the floor, I ask for His help. It is such a sweet walk with God because every step is one of faith, and with every step, He is holding my hand.

Your needs may be different, but God is the same. Trust in His strength to do all things.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for loving me and saving me. Please help me through this time. I cannot do it on my own. Thank You for being my Help. In Jesus name, amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Ps. 46:1 and 2 Cor. 12:9-10.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Are you living with a disability or a severe illness? Ask God to strengthen you and give you the grace to overcome each obstacle you face today. Trust Him to do it.

Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.

Thanks Carolyn for sharing your words with us today! If this encouraged you or strengthened you, be sure to leave a comment below or look Carolyn up and connect with her through the links below.

About Today’s Author:

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Carolyn Dale Newell is a Christian wife, mom and passionate writer. After losing most of her vision, she began writing devotions about God’s grace and strength to encourage people as they go through life’s struggles. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) became her life verse as she struggled to learn to live as a blind person. Carolyn writes for Encouragement Café Ministries, and she is a featured columnist for Garlands of Grace Ministries e-magazine. She has published a devotional e-book, “In The Storm”, which is available for free download on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FOAAIIA

and wherever ebooks are sold. She lifts up the hearts of readers on her blog at http://amountainoffaith.wordpress.com/

To be encouraged connect with Carolyn below:

Devotions for You https://www.facebook.com/devotionsforyou

Twitter https://twitter.com/amountainofaith

Linked-In www.linkedin.com/in/carolyndnewell/en

Broken Bedroom Friday – What if Your Spouse Becomes the Object of Your Faith?

kiss

“…And the two shall become one flesh.” Mark 10:8

There is a deep unity intended for marriage, but the two that have become one still have individuality with God the Father. See how i struggled with this at the beginning of my marriage in this post as first seen over at Ask God Today Ministries:

Trust the God of Your Every Breath

Twenty-one years ago I met a young man who took my breath away.

I fell head over heels for this guy. The sun rose and set with him. Jimmy was the love of my life. And he introduced me to the Savior of my life.

Though I came to faith in Christ, I had a lot to learn about God and the Bible. Before I met Jimmy, my spiritual awareness was nothing more than a sterile religious experience. Jimmy helped flesh out my faith—so much so that he became the object of my faith early on in our relationship, and that continued in the first few years of our marriage.

After All, He’s Just a Man

I stood by my man and looked to him for guidance. As Jimmy’s wife, I saw an example of servanthood in him that I claimed as my own. Jimmy went into full-time service as a ministry leader (Assistant Pastor to start). I was slapped into an unwritten role of “Pastor’s Wife,” yet I was still a baby Christian in many ways.

As the wife of a ministry leader, I was expected to warm a pew in church, get involved in women’s ministries, and work with children.

We invited people over for games or dinner. Sundays, Wednesdays, and other days we attended events faithfully. During this time in my life, I often felt like I didn’t really want to be at church all the time. I went because he wanted me there—“he” meaning my husband, not God.

I wasn’t really following my husband in obedience to God as the scriptures states. I was following Jimmy because it was the “right thing” to do. If my husband wanted it, then I should do it.

Somehow my faith rested entirely with my husband, though at the time I had no awareness of it.

Want to see the rest of this?

Hop on over to “Ask God Today” for the rest of this post! 

Trust the God of Your Every Breath

She Saw Jesus in Me

emsThis was written as a part of Suzanne Eller’s #livefreethursday at http://tsuzanneeller.com/ and linked with Warm Hearted Wednesday over at http://askgodtoday.com/

Well, she must have seen something in me.

I mean, something other than all the nasty rotten things that make up “me.”

I don’t pretend that I am holier than she is. In fact, my 11 year old daughter Emily knows I am anything but holy. So, she had to see something much better than me to want to “be like me.”

You see, this week my soon to be 6th grade girl approached me and said “I want a blog.”

Emily has lots of interests. She loves Cute Girls Hair Styles, and is always trying something new with her hair.

She loves to bake. She watches “Cake Boss” on Netflix and wants to work for Carlo’s Bakery one day.

Emily crochets, knits, loves science projects and crafts. So naturally, when I asked her what she wanted to blog about I expected her to pull something out of the “favorite hobby” hat.

But she didn’t.

She said, “I want the blog to be about Jesus.”

I was pleasantly surprised and so excited that God is working in my girl–HIS girl.

But what she said when I asked “Why do you want a blog?” is what really got me.

She said, “I want to be like you, Mommy.”

I couldn’t help but think “NO. Don’t be like me honey. Be better than me–be like Jesus.”

But that is just it.

She sees me valuing Him enough to write about Him. And that is “not of myself.” By His grace He gives me words to share that honor Him, and the fact that I would even turn my attention to Him at all, let alone write about His glories is 100% NOT me. It is Jesus.

So, despite all my failings, He managed to shine through all the muck that is “me” right in Emily’s direction. Now, my little girl is starting on a journey of writing to share Jesus.

PRAISE GOD through whom all blessings flow!

So, I now present to you “Little Miss” (a nick-name given to Emily by my sister), and her new blog home

Little Miss Perfect-ed.”

https://littlemissperfected.wordpress.com/

And she has already inspired so many by this step. She has had over 200 visitors in the first 24 hours. She has also had over 100 Facebook shares! (That is more than Momma has had her entire bloggin’ life!!)

Would you consider sharing her blog with young people?

Emily understands and believes the gospel, and she is growing in her communication of it.

I pray that her obedience will inspire both young and old to share the Jesus in them with others!

Just like somehow, Emily’s Momma inspired her!

You might find me linking with these lovlies:

Testimony Tuesday with Holly

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly http://purposefulfaith.com/

Woman 2 Woman with Meredith

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/

#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

#LiveFreeThurdsay with Suzanne Eller, http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Coffee for Your Heart with Holly

http://arabahjoy.com/ — Grace and Truth

#DancewithJesusLinkup, http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/

Fellowship Fridays, http://equippinggodlywomen.com/

TGA Writes

http://wp.me/p5NQtb-6Z

Photo Credit: Amanda McKim Photography

The “Buts” of Comparison – #LiveFreeThursday with Suzanne Eller

HeartonComparisonCrack kills—everyone knows that. And most people know they shouldn’t do drugs. But in our blogging/writer community, drugs are not our greatest enemy. Instead, it is the dark horse lurking about seeking to devour anyone who will turn their attention his way.

His name?

Comparison.

And left unrestrained, I submit to you: COMPARISON KILLS.

Comparison shows up at our doors on those dull days when we decide to peek around the sides of our Savior to see how everyone else is doing.

Suddenly, our minds begin bubbling over with envy as we unwisely compare ourselves with others, then the “but” darts begin to fly…

But she’s got 2300 followers. I have 30.

But this chick gets to speak to large arenas of people. And I haven’t spoken since…when was that, actually??

But nobody reads my stuff. So, why even bother?

I am constantly intertwined with my flesh. The sinful beast that is me is continually whispering lies into my ear… If you’re like me, I would venture your beast whispers to you too…

Why keep going? It is such a sacrifice to write and all of 20 people read it? Maybe?

You don’t really have anything to say anyway. Besides, she says it better and has a lot more readers. Just let HER carry the torch.

You aren’t even that great of a writer. There are others who ‘nail’ it. You aren’t one of them.

Maybe some of it is true, and maybe not.

The thing is that the word of truth is in me. These words that burn with the passion of gospel have to come out.

True Story: I never wanted to be a writer, I just AM one.

It is something God put within me and no amount of lies or excuses release me from His plans for my life.

A Screeching Halt

The lies and “buts” of comparison must come to a STOP. Insert squealing tire sound here.

The problem boils down to two basic things:
1. I want to be recognized.
2. My definition of S-U-C-C-E-S-S is faulty. (And I am not “successful”)

I totally HATE that it always comes back to this: I want to have a “name” with lots of people who listen to me. Just when I convince myself recognition doesn’t matter to me, the comparison monster shows up at my door with nasty drool stringing from his jaws.

Rom 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)

“To HIM be glory forever.”

I am a proverbial glory stealer. All glory and honor and power belong to God and God alone (Rev. 4:11). Why am I trying to get my hooks into any of it? Ridiculous. Even if it ever felt like “mine” it would never truly be mine. Plus everything is all about Jesus. Why make it about me? I’m nothing without Him.

The only “name” I really need is the “Name above all names.”

De-bunking Our Definition of Success

Success has become a farce in many ways for the believer. The “if you build it they will come” philosophy is sinking its sharp talons into our minds. Success is frequently reduced to a game of numbers, programs, bells and whistles.

“BUNK,” as my Grandmamma used to say. Those things don’t define real success. Success isn’t limited to an outward flourishing of “stuff.”

Can success include these things?

Sure.

But is true success in ministry more than all these things?

YES.

Jesus didn’t build programs, write books or have a booming blog.

Jesus told people the truth.

And if anyone evaluated the ministry of Jesus based solely upon our common definition of success, He would be considered a failure.

But Jesus’ focus was single:

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)

How often do we look around and think we have to do what everyone else is doing?

How often does that result in doing our own will as opposed to God’s?

Bottom line? True success is knowing and doing the will of God out of a heart of love for Him, then sharing His truth with others. If it results in zero, one or 20 people that come to Him (not US), we can always rest in the fact that it is God and God alone who gives the increase. We need only be faithful with His words.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

And the best advice I can give to you (and myself) is this:

You do what you do. God equipped you uniquely to serve Him and to minister to particular people in a particular way. Your equipping is not mine, and vice versa.

And.

Extinguish the “but” darts of comparison before they extinguish you.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

You might find me linking with these lovlies:

Testimony Tuesday with Holly

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly http://purposefulfaith.com/

Woman 2 Woman with Meredith

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/

#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

#LiveFreeThurdsay with Suzanne Eller, http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Coffee for Your Heart with Holly

http://arabahjoy.com/ — Grace and Truth

#DancewithJesusLinkup, http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/

Fellowship Fridays, http://equippinggodlywomen.com/

TGA Writes

http://wp.me/p5NQtb-6Z

And.Extinguish the “but” darts of comparison before they extinguish you.

Cast Away Control – Trust the God in Control

castaway“I had power over nothing. “

These angst laden words fell from the lips of “Chuck,” a fictitious character played by Tom Hanks in the movie “Cast Away.”

So even though he was being “real’ it wasn’t actually real—but none-the-less—what a realization.
Imagine coming to the end of yourself with nothing on the other side except a will to live—to simply exist. And as the last bit of air drained from your resolve to survive, you decide to end it all, but you can’t even seal the deal.

Chuck’s hope was left shriveled and he tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Continue reading

Shining the Light in the Face of Change #LiveFreeThursday

lightIt takes courage to change—real God-centered change where growth happens requires being stripped naked to the core of our very being.

Spiritual change evolves from vulnerability. And for some, vulnerability can show up in the simplest of tasks. Even sex, a task meant for expressing love in its deepest form.

I’d rather be buried alive than to have sex in the middle of the day with my husband.

Beams of yellow cascade all around me and spotlight my very soul. It is terrifying to me. Nothing is hidden in this moment.

The closest I can get to returning to the protection of my safe envelope of night is closing my eyes. But he sees that.

In fact there is nothing he doesn’t see.

And oddly enough, in the intensity of this intimate moment with my husband, new life is suddenly breathed into a familiar truth about God.

In the same way I want to run and hide from my husband, I sometimes try running from God. We all run from God in some way. I wish I could say my running only takes place in the bedroom, but it doesn’t.

I run from God in so, so many ways…

With my children,

With my time/energy,

With the deepest parts of me—the raw thoughts and feelings that I don’t want anyone to know about.

Whom Shall I Fear

To be brutally honest, we run from intimate moments in the light because of one simple thing.
Fear.

We have to dig deep and ask God to reveal what is at the root of our fears. And exposing those roots must be done through the lens of the word of truth.

God wants what’s best for His children, yet I find myself questioning the “How?” How will He bring what’s best about? Sometimes God’s “best” leaves me feeling open and naked just like an afternoon “frolic” in the bedroom.

Maybe you get caught in this trap—you think about how you would like God to act in a certain situation. You settle the plans within yourself, “I can be okay with that.”

We send those concoctions up to Him in prayer faster than a ladies’ group gets a hot meal to a new momma’s door.
And then we wait and hope…hoping God will put His stamp of approval on the path we laid out before Him rather than submitting to His plans.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

The LORD is my stronghold of life.

Wow.

Anything that comes to be passes through the loving hands of our God.

If He casts light on a path we wouldn’t chose or illuminates secret things, we do we fear it?

I think the answer is simple. It’s just hard.

No matter how far we come, the old man in us truly believes that we know what is best. We would rather run and hide from the truth or the hard stuff that dips us into weakness rather than experience the discomfort of not knowing fully where God will lead.

But the Lord is our strength, and with strength like that where is room for fear?

We have to cross the finish line of belief. We have to truly believe that God knows what is best in the big things and the small things–that He knows just what to do transform us into the radiant image of His Son.

Even if it means flashing His light of glory on us with everything exposed.

You might find me linking with these lovlies:

Testimony Tuesday with Holly

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly http://purposefulfaith.com/

Woman 2 Woman with Meredith

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/

#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

#LiveFreeThurdsay with Suzanne Eller, http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Coffee for Your Heart with Holly

http://arabahjoy.com/ — Grace and Truth

#DancewithJesusLinkup, http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/

Fellowship Fridays, http://equippinggodlywomen.com/

TGA Writes

http://wp.me/p5NQtb-6Z

When God’s Word is Not Enough

bible

My blood test came back, and the verdict was that there is not enough Vitamin D and B12 in my body.

My symptoms have been all over the map. I have felt like I might pass out. I have been worried that I might lose my mind. I have had odd sensations—tingling and tremor-like feelings in my body. I honestly wondered if I might have some terminal ailment.

Then I found out what those vitamin deficiencies can cause—it sounded a lot like my laundry list of health issues.

I also found that fortunately, if I can just get “enough” of those missing links in my body, I will be on the road to recovery.

And soon, I might actually be healing instead of feeling like I have one foot in the grave with the other foot on a banana peel.

Necessary Food

While I can get enough B12 and Vitamin D, one thing I can never get enough of is food. (at least not if I want to live)

You have to eat to live.

And it matters what you put into your body for fuel.

If I fill my body with trash—processed junk, sugary garbage—then I am going to feel like garbage. So much so that it may lead to vitamin deficiencies and illness.

Truth: I don’t eat like I should.

I accidentally keep eating Kit Kat bars…and cereal…and chips.

Except it isn’t accidental at all—it is intentional. I have a great love for the garbage, and despite the consequences I reap from eating it, I eat it anyway. Even when it makes me feel sick and unhealthy.

Our spiritual health is much the same.

We may have a steady diet of ‘R’ Rated movies, off-color You tube videos, trashy books and music. Or maybe we feed ourselves lies and negative thoughts.

If we do any of these, just like a crummy diet results in a myriad of problems, our mental diet affects our spiritual health on every level.

Bottom line?

We MUST have the word of God to have good spiritual health. And there will never be too much of God’s word in our hearts and minds—any amount of God’s word is not “enough.”

Job recognized that the words of God were essential to living—even more than food

We can learn a thing or two (or twenty-zillion) from Job. This man was declared by God Himself as “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” Job 1:8, (ESV)

Considering what influenced Job to be such a man of God, I think about how highly Job valued God’s words.

Then I have to ask myself,

“Do I ever think I have had “enough” of God’s word?”

NEVER Enough

I know there are moments when I feel that I have been filled to the brim with God’s word. Then there are those other moments when verses I have heard hundreds of times are blown wide-open before my eyes completely afresh.

Even if I knew the bible frontwards and backwards, I can never, ever know all there is to know about God through His word.

That is all the proof I need to know that I will never have enough of the word of God.

Mat 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

No matter what I have in this world that I think I need, whether it is a vitamin, food, air—or whatever it is—none of it will surpass the importance and life sustaining power of the Word of God.

And I hope I never get “enough” of it.

Some verses for you to tuck into your hearts:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

1Peter 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation

2Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

You might find me linking with these lovlies:
Testimony Tuesday with Holly

#RaRaLinkup with Kelly http://purposefulfaith.com/

Woman 2 Woman with Meredith

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/

#TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee http://jenniferdukeslee.com/

#LiveFreeThurdsay with Suzanne Eller, http://tsuzanneeller.com/

Coffee for Your Heart with Holly

http://arabahjoy.com/ — Grace and Truth

#DancewithJesusLinkup, http://www.susanbmead.com/blog-2/

Fellowship Fridays, http://equippinggodlywomen.com/

TGA Writes

http://wp.me/p5NQtb-6Z