Spirituality Speaker and Christian Women’s Retreat Leader

Female Role Overload and the Quest for Balance

Even women of faith know the feeling—too much to do and too little time or energy to do it all well. Juggling family, work, and/or volunteer commitments can lead to toxic role overload and spiritual imbalance. Like the Biblical Martha, many overwrought Christian women lament, “Lord, do you not care?” Drawing from her own life experience with stress and over-commitment, Dr. Neifert shares the reassuring message that God cares deeply about the predicament of female role overload. Feeling chronically stressed and over-extended is not God’s will for our lives, and incessant “doing” conflicts with the Biblical message of an alternating rhythm of serving and being filled. As women of faith, we earnestly seek partnership between doing and being, between joyful service and authentic, renewing encounters with God. This retreat is for women in every season of life who want to exercise greater spiritual discernment in choosing when to “go and do” and when to “sit and be filled.” In our world characterized by expending energy in getting things done, “resting and receiving” feels akin to idleness. Yet, it is by being still and basking in God’s love and healing presence that our hearts and minds are transformed, we receive divine insight about how to spend our finite time and energy, and we are infused with a reservoir of love that overflows to others. Discover how intimate daily encounters with our Lord—the source of all life and ministry–serve to refresh our spirits and replace our cares and worries with the reassuring peace, presence and power of God.

Happiness and the Abundant Life
In John 10:10, Jesus proclaims, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” So why don’t more Christians experience genuine and lasting peace, love, joy, and contentment? Why are so many people of faith afflicted with anxiety, worry, fear, depression, conflict, and feelings of inadequacy? This program will explore the Biblical basis for the contemporary principles of positive psychology that promote authentic happiness and the abundant life.

Learn how happiness involves:

  1. using our signature strengths and spiritual gifts in as many life arenas as possible
  2. experiencing positive emotions about our past, claiming hope and a vision for the future, and living intentionally in the present moment
  3. practicing gratitude and savoring God’s abundant blessings
  4. experiencing a sense of God’s purpose and will that gives our life greater meaning

Discover simple, life-changing insights, attitudes, and practices that create more positive energy and enable us to live at the upper end of our inborn level of happiness–recognizing and celebrating the fundamental goodness of life.

Healing and Wholeness: Transformative Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels
Do you long for a closer relationship with God and the possibility of a fuller life of discipleship and service? Have you ever felt stuck in the comforting familiarity of your own spiritual or emotional dysfunction/discomfort? Do you yearn to know God’s unconditional love and acceptance and hear God calling to you? This program/retreat is for every woman who desires a closer relationship with God, longs to experience God’s unconditional love, and seeks to be called to new life in Christ. Participants will explore Jesus’ encounters with diverse Gospel women in need of healing and wholeness to reveal the immeasurable depth of God’s unconditional love and transformative power. Whether you are burdened by role overload, often feel devalued by others, wrestle with self-defeating behaviors, or simply long to fulfill the potential God sees in you, this message will convey Jesus’ boundless compassion and respect for all humanity, and prepare you to respond to God’s inspiring call to renewed service and discipleship. Re-discover Jesus as a living, transformative presence…to meet and journey with every day.

Faithful Aging: A Christian Perspective on Growing Older
Scripture contains many truths about aging, including the certainties that God’s love and faithfulness toward us never wane; longevity is both a blessing and a responsibility; we can still serve God at every stage of life; and we are called to model and share our faith with our children and grandchildren. In just three years of ministry, Jesus proved that no time is too short for the purposes of God and that we never know when the most significant events of our lives will occur. Although aging involves relinquishing former identities, roles, and possessions, this “emptying out” makes room for God’s call to new life. Growth at every stage of life involves loss and gain, letting go and claiming new possibilities, relinquishing former identities and being created anew. In this program, Dr. Mom will explore how faithful aging enables us to embrace new endeavors, experience a rebirth of wonder, find greater peace, expand our circle of love, rewrite our past through the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, and embrace each season of life with confidence and hope.

Forgiveness and Healing
Who hasn’t been deeply wounded by another? And, who hasn’t experienced the emotional prison created by hatred, festering anger, and resentment? It has been said that refusing to forgive is like “swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” This workshop will examine God’s commandment to forgive as an act of love, gratitude, and obedience, in response to God’s gracious gift of forgiveness toward us. We will wrestle with complex dilemmas, including: Does forgiveness require that we discount the magnitude of our pain caused by an injustice? Does forgiveness require that the offender repent? Does forgiveness mean we must make ourselves vulnerable to being re-injured by the wrongdoer? We will explore why those who are willing to embark on the forgiveness process ultimately gain improved spiritual, physical, and psychological health. Participants will be challenged to relinquish their well-worn “grievance story” created around a past offense and to stop reliving the injustice and condemning their offender to others. Instead, Dr. Mom will explain how to create a positive intention for your future and move from being a victim to a hero, who has learned to find meaning in what happened. (Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”) Ultimately, we will discover how opening ourselves to forgiveness allows us to redirect our focus from the person who hurt us to the God who can heal us.

A Christian View of Suffering and Evil
The problem of evil in the world can pose a dilemma for people of faith who wonder why God—with unlimited power and infinite love—allows human suffering, or why one suffering believer receives an answer to prayer, while another does not. Seeking an explanation for human suffering is an important exercise for people of faith, and the search for an adequate answer causes us to grapple with our notions about God. In this program, Dr. Mom will explore the Christian enigma of suffering and evil in the world, probing not only why God allows human tragedy to afflict God’s people, but how and why God responds to our pain and suffering. The session will review and reject various popular—yet unsatisfying–explanations of human suffering that often undermine believers’ faith in God’s goodness and power. Together, we will arrive at a satisfying religious answer to the problem of pain that gives meaning to life’s tragedies and enables us to experience God’s compassion and care in the midst of adversity. When believers are present with and comfort one another during times of suffering and loss, and when emotional pain transforms us as part of the healing process, it is the power of the resurrection at work!

All in the Family Parenting Series
Parenting is not an ancillary role to be penciled into the available openings in our day planner. Rather, being a parent is both a divine blessing and a holy obligation. When Jesus said “Let the little children come unto me,” He was not only making a theological statement about the inclusiveness of the Kingdom of God, He was providing a powerful example about making time for children – amid our weariness, worries, and multitude of competing priorities. This program is aimed at helping parents fulfill their responsibilities and reap the abundant rewards of the important stewardship and awesome privilege of parenting. Dr. Mom will explore how responsible parenting provides a sacred opportunity to become co-creators with God in shaping the lives of the youngsters entrusted to our care. Learn to apply Biblical principles to foster your child’s self-esteem, promote desired behavior, effectively handle misbehavior, and teach responsibility.

God’s Model for Promoting Healthy Self-Esteem in Children
Of all the awesome responsibilities parents assume, few are more daunting than helping children develop healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem – a composite inner picture about one’s worth and competence – is one of the most important, and yet misunderstood, concepts in parenting. Our children’s self-evaluation will impact their happiness, academic success, relationships, creativity, ambitions, perseverance, resilience, and problem-solving. The conviction that one is both loveable and capable does not make children conceited, selfish or spoiled, or engender a sense of entitlement. Rather, when Jesus gave the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27), He was acknowledging that healthy self-love and self-care form the basis of all social responsibility and mutual concern for others. Unconditional love – with no strings attached – is the cornerstone on which self-esteem is built. God’s unmerited and boundless Grace towards humanity provides our model for unconditional parental love that is guaranteed, permanent, and never subject to cancellation. Dr. Mom will provide practical strategies for helping children feel unconditionally loved and worthy and capable of handling the choices, challenges, and changes of life.

Teaching Children about Faith
Young children, with their unbridled imagination and magical sense of wonder, have an innate desire to know God. In addition to promoting children’s intellectual, physical, and emotional development, we are called to nurture their budding spirituality and help them begin a lifelong faith journey. In addition to maintaining the continuity of our faith heritage, sharing our spiritual beliefs offers children many concrete benefits that enhance their daily lives. Spiritual education is not something to be abdicated to the leaders in your faith community. Rather, it can begin in the cradle, as babies first learn about the goodness of God from the loving model of their own mother and father. Learn how to transmit spiritual beliefs as a routine part of daily life and help children formulate a positive image of God.