In this Issue

Hello %$firstname$%!

Feature Article: How to Run the Race of Life to Win

Suzanne Recommends:

Inspirational Women's Garden Club, Wednesday, September 24, 7 pm EST

  • How to Run the Race of Life to Win
    Wed, Sept 24 at 7 pm EST

How to Run the Race of Life to Win

As I talked with friends and looked at my own life recently, it seemed that everyone was so busy with their lives. None could believe how fast the summer, or even the year, had flown by. Our son, Carter, is about to turn 1 year old, and it seems amazing to me - it seems he was just born.

As I contemplated the speed of our lives, it seemed important to address the keys to leading a life that you want and running your race of life to win, rather than just watching it speed by you. Here are just a few inspirational thoughts for you that have been helpful to me over the years:

  1. Setting realistic expectations and being gentle and patient with yourself as you strive to reach your goals

    Many of you, and I'd include myself in this group, are high-achievers - those who have set goals for yourselves, whether those be in taking care of your family a certain way, educational goals, vocational and career goals, or relationship goals. It's easy when you're a goal-oriented person to begin to let the "tail wag the dog" and become driven by your goals and your plans.

    Over the years, I've pursued educational goals as a furtherance of my capacity to minister to people, and because it's a high value to me. Yet at some points in my life, I was working two jobs, going to school, and also trying to take care of those around me who were important in my life. Clearly, I survived it all, but those seasons were ones in which I was working so hard to reach my goals and doing so, yet not being as gentle and patient with myself as I could have been. Over time, if you keep up this pace, you become worn down and exhausted, not taking care of the "temple of God" that you are.

    My best friend would often say to me during these times, when I would feel stress at all I'd taken on, "Why should you or anyone be able to accomplish all of that?" She didn't say this to express a lack of confidence in my abilities, as much as to say, "Suzanne, you're expecting an awful lot of yourself, and it would be okay to throttle back a little bit, and give yourself a break." It's important for you and me to recognize this and to pace ourselves accordingly, to ensure that you'll be winning the race of your life.
  1. Stay connected to Jesus, and operate in the power of God's Spirit, not our own strength

    Jesus reminded us in the beautiful passage of John 15 that He is the vine and we, as God's children, are the branches. As the branches would die and be fruitless without the sustenance of the vine, so you and I will be able to accomplish little of spiritual value when disconnected from our "vine." In the previous chapter, John 14, Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit, as the One who would help us and comfort first the disciples, and later us, after Jesus' physical departure and ascension to heaven. Like the disciples needed the Holy Spirit to help them take Jesus' message into the world, you and I need the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill God's special purposes for us. Relying on the Spirit's strength and grace will take you and me through the most challenging of times and circumstances.
  1. Trust God with your life's circumstances completely, especially being sensitive to when your plans and goals are not in alignment with the Lord's will for you.

    I've always been fascinated with the passage in Acts 16:6-7. It goes like this from the NIV: "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to." It's even stronger in another version: "They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia."

    You see in this situation that Paul and Barnabas wanted with all of their hearts to do God's work and to preach the gospel in these particular regions. Yet Scripture is clear in telling us that the Holy Spirit forbade them to do so. You may wonder why....

    Mrs. Charles Cowman in her January 10 devotional, Streams in the Desert, Volume 1, quotes the following from an author about this passage:

    It is interesting to study the methods of His guidance as it was extended toward these early heralds of the cross. It consisted largely of prohibitions, when they attempted to take another course than the right. When they would turn to the left, to Asia, He stayed them. When they sought to turn to the right, to Bithynia, again He stayed them. In after years Paul would do some of the greatest work of his life in that very region; but just now the door was closed against him by the Holy Spirit. The time was not yet ripe for the attack on these apparently impregnable bastions of the kingdom of Satan. Apollos must come there for pioneer work. Paul and Barnabas are needed yet more urgently elsewhere, and must receive further training before undertaking this responsible task.

    Beloved, whenever you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one... (From Paul by Meyer).

    The September 24 entry adds the following in explanation:

    But I came to remember that the Spirit has not only a service of work, but a service of waiting. I came to see that in the kingdom of Christ there are not only times for action, but times in which to forbear acting. I came to learn that the desert place apart is often the most useful spot in the varied life of man - more rich in harvest than the seasons in which the corn and wine abounded. I have been taught to thank the blessed Spirit that many a darling Bithynia had to be left unvisited by me...

    ...Teach me to see another door in the very inaction of the hour. Help me to find in the very prohibition thus to serve Thee, a new opening into Thy service. Inspire me with the knowledge that a man may at times be called to do his duty by doing nothing, to work by keeping still, to serve by waiting. When I remember the power of the "still small voice," I shall not murmur that sometimes the Spirit suffers me not to go.

    George Matheson

Keys to Victory along the Journey

  • Setting realistic expectations and being gentle and patient with yourself as you strive to reach your goals

  • Stay connected to Jesus, and operate in the power of God's Spirit, not our own strength

  • Trust God with your life's circumstances completely, especially being sensitive to when your plans and goals are not in alignment with the Lord's will for you, and the Lord leads you a different route.

If you would like to hear more topics like these, please join us for the September "Inspirational Women's Garden Club" event on Wednesday, September 24, at 7 p.m. EST. For more information, contact Suzanne at We'd love to have you join us and bring a friend, too!

September Coaching Special

With enrollment this month in the Inspirational Women's Garden Club, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult. Just contact my office at I'd love to help you.

Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in the next newsletter. I'll do my best to address your concerns! I look forward to speaking with you all next month.

Many prayers and blessings to you all,

Leadership Tips and Relationship Tips are monthly e-zines written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

Suzanne Martinez
SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 9172
Reston, VA 20195-9172

Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2008.

Would you forward this e-zine to others who would benefit from it? For a complimentary subscription, they can sign up at Please help us get the word out by forwarding this issue to others. Thank you!


Leadership & Relationship Tips
September 2008
Vol. I, Issue 31

Leadership & Relationship Tips is published once monthly. You're on our recipients' listing because you indicated an interest in this ministry & e-zine.

To manage your subscription, see link at the end of this email.

Privacy Policy: We promise never to rent, sell or disclose your email address.

Please add my email address - to your whitelist of address book in your email program, so you won't miss future issues!

Would you Like to Have Your Own CD copy of Recent Garden Club Messages?

It's easy. Just click on the links below, and your CD copies will be shipped out to you ~

Developing Patience through Your Difficulties (April 2007)

Celebrating the Goodness of God in your Life (May 2007)

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety (June 2007)

Finding Rest for Your Soul (July 2007)

Conquering Bitterness through the Power of Forgiveness (August 2007)

Resolving Conflict and Healing Patterns from the Past (September 2007)

Pink & Blue: Secrets to Translating Male/Female Communication to Achieve Meaningful Love and Work

Depending on God to Live Victoriously Despite our Circumstances (November 2007)

Persevering Prayer that Leads to Hope and a Victorious Life (December 2007)

Mastering and Sustaining Personal Change (January 2008)

Servant Leadership Lessons Jesus Modeled for Our Leadership and Our Lives (Feb 2008)

How to Choose and Be a True Friend for Life (March 2008)

How to Find a Healthy Balance between Your Work, Ministry and Personal Life (April 2008)

Leading and Managing through Change with Grace (May 2008)

Dealing with Anger, Hurt and Resentment in a Healthy Way (June 2008)

Changing Your Perspective on Your Possessions to Experience Great Gain (July 2008)

Becoming a Leader Others Can't Help But Follow (August 2008)

If you'd like to purchase the package of Garden Club CDs for yourself or as a gift for a friend, you may do so by clicking on the following link - Garden Club Album. I hope you'll be inspired by these!

Upcoming Garden Club Teleseminars

Interested in joining the Inspirational Women's Garden Club?

It's a monthly get-together via telephone of women to network, build relationships with one another, and to discuss the Relationship Tips monthly topic.

Our next Inspirational Women's Garden Club event is:

Wed, September 24, 2008,
7 pm EST

How to Run the Race of Life to Win

Just email me at Suzanne's office for more information and for the information needed to participate!

If you'd like more information about the Garden Club or to enroll, please go to Inspirational Women's Garden Club. You may hear a sample audio class at FREE Gift and FREE Handout. Hope you'll join us on Wed, September 24 at 7 pm EST!

Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

Our words reflect our hearts and character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character," Suzanne provides answers to common questions women ask and encourages you in your walk with Christ.

She'll also teach you qualities of a godly woman and the process whereby God changes you throughout your life to make you more like Christ.

Click here to order your copy...

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

In this four-week study guide, Suzanne leads you to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform your relationships in amazing ways.

As you learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into your relationships, you'll find you rediscover joy and fulfillment in your relationships in a new and fresh way.

Click here to order your copy!

Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

Inspiring Devotionals

Has your relationship with Christ lost its fervor? Have you gotten caught up in the stresses of life? Is your time with the Lord placed on the back burner?

These two devotionals will help renew your focus on Christ, gain strength for the trials you face, and enable you to give praise to God amidst whatever difficulties you encounter.


Shop here to obtain your copy.

About Suzanne

Suzanne France Martinez
Founder & Principal

During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting.

Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership and healthy relationships - cultures that promote growth and maximize personal and organizational performance.

Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

Copyright © 2006-2008 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC.