By April Sliwak | Founder of Her Life Speaks
Happy New Year! My prayer is that you will move forward in 2024 with a new perspective and vision of what you want your health, family, relationships and devotion to the Lord will look like. Turning the calendar to a new year can mean a fresh start, a move, courage to change, self-care, hobbies and so much more. For me, it’s all of the above.
During my sabbatical, the Lord gave me the gift of reflecting on where I am in this season of my life without any distractions or responsibilities and to accomplish some things that lead me to what’s next:
The numerous sentiments she received dating back to 1959 in her recovered Thank You letters, were evidence of my mother’s legacy. My mom was an incredibly faithful prayer warrior, she was loyal and loving to her family and church, a gracious leader, and certainly forgiving. My sabbatical gave me sweet uninterrupted time to reflect on who she was as a young woman, wife, Human Resource Director, church leader, mom, friend, sister, aunt and a Yaya. I thought about her time here on earth, and how she influenced and changed the lives of so many people.
I thought about her story and started to evaluate my own. God showed me in real time how He’s positioned us here for a short season of history, and the opportunities to love God and others through forgiveness, kindness and being intentional as my mom did.
CS Lewis’ story also reveals how a committed circle of loyal friends is crucial to navigating life. God doesn’t want us to be isolated. He commands us to the “one anothers” written in the Bible:
What are the One Anothers?
The Lord showed me again about how the calling on a person’s life, while here on earth, can be powerful and change lives.
Basically, did I love the Lord with all my heart, soul and strength, and did I love others and myself? Luke 10:27
What did I do with my life?!!
What will our legacy look like? This, in my opinion, IS the question to contemplate and seek out everyday because each moment becomes a lifetime, (until God takes it), and that, my friends, will be our legacy. I saw that clearly in my sabbatical.
Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b
Let’s not miss our opportunity to make a difference wherever God has placed us. Let’s be that light to others. Let’s not say no, someone else will do it, or watch from our couches, or just complain. Let’s take action, show God’s love and leave legacy as so many did before us in the Bible, like Jesus.
Please don’t misunderstand me, legacy doesn’t mean it has to look like a famous author and scholar, no. It can look like writing notes of encouragement, picking up the Bibles around the pews, praying, offering a friend a space to be heard, attending a Bible study, reading a daily devotional, or attending a worship service, shoveling someone’s snow, giving someone a ride, standing up for justice, offering grace, going to jury duty, forgiveness, or giving, (sacrificially), from your means. Loving yourself is taking good care of yourself by setting boundaries, seeking counsel, forgiving yourself or someone else, asking for help, resting or not comparing.
Legacy is leaning into your gifts and talents to serve others while glorifying the Lord, to be Christlike.
Legacy is seen when we love the Lord, others and yourself. That’s what I know for sure through my experiences and people's stories while in my sabbatical.
Legacy will be the stories others share about you, read about you or mimic.
Legacy can be found in your recipes, menus, pay stubs and venmo account. It can be seen through your (grand)children, Bible study attendees, and as a result of your devoted prayers.
Legacy is how we live our life today.
In my season of restoring the soul, contemplation, and gratitude, the Lord has led me into retirement as Executive Director of Her Life Speaks.
It’s been an honor to serve the Lord through Her Life Speaks, (formally Oasis Ministries), for 15 years. I loved it. I believe the Lord used the ministry to touch the lives of thousands of families across the country.
The mission for Her Life Speaks is for women and girls to hear and know that Jesus loves them by sharing our faith stories and testimonies.
We hosted annual retreats, The Beauty Project for girls, Bible Studies, Leadership Training Workshops, Getaways, Afternoon Tea, Lent studies, Prayer meetings, Small Groups for women and girls, National Day of Prayer events, and so much more. It was an amazing time that the Lord gave me to serve and I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life.
Thank you to my leadership team and all the volunteers past and present who poured their time into blessing women because they wanted to give back to others what the Lord had done for them.
“He loved us before we knew him” 1 John 1:19
You used your gifts to make everything possible. Your prayers, wisdom, and obedience to serve and encourage women’s lives was gracious and done with integrity; to glorify the Lord. This is your legacy. I’ll never forget it and learned so much from you all.
Thank you to all the churches and Pastors who supported HLS and believed in my vision. Your “yes” was a great encouragement to me.
I’m thankful for my friends and mentors who held a space for me to be heard, to pray for me, and who gave support for my vision for the last 15 years. You were a comfort and were always there for me.
A very special thank you to my daughters, Christina, Erika and Rebecca, who have literally supported me any time I needed it and even when I didn’t know I needed it. Thank you for all their wisdom, truths in love, prayers and help with the ministry. You’re incredible women of faith and devotion and I love you.
For my husband, Dan, who always supported me, thank you. You are gracious, patient, and generous. I couldn’t have done this without your blessing and being in my corner through it all. I love you.
I am thankful for each of you who have responded and supported the ministry in countless different ways. You’re great and please continue to seek the Lord and in your story. He loves, sees and knows you right where you are. El Roi, You-are-the-God-Who-Sees Genesis 16:13
Finally, thank you, faithful and gracious, loving and merciful, Lord, for using someone like me to make my vision a reality. I thank you for all that you’ve done here and may You abundantly bless, more than we can imagine or hope for, all that You accomplished through HLS. I pray that every seed planted will become a harvest that will reach more women and girls.
In Jesus name, Amen
My last day of service for Her Life Speaks will be January 31, 2024. The ministry will be on a pause unless the Lord raises up a new Executive Director. Please keep this in your prayers so the mission can go on to reach the next generation of women leaders.
If you have a story or something to offer that you’d like to share about HLS or anything that touched your heart, kindly send it firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail:
Her Life Speaks PO Box 8160 Glen Ridge, NJ 07028.
God bless you and thank you again. I’ll never forget all that we did and the beautiful, amazing women I met along the way. God is good!
It was fun!
Love in Christ,
Founder and Executive Director
Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.