About

Mary CaldwellWelcome to my blog! My name is Mary Caldwell. I am a speaker, writer, and life coach that empowers women to reclaim influence, realize their true value, and live in the beauty of Christ daily.

This blog is dedicated to you, fellow sister. Like you, I’ve struggled with isolation. I know what it means to feel inadequate, completely overwhelmed, and yes – even far from God. But I’ve also experienced how taking just a few courageous steps can set your life on a course for God-given influence, authenticity, and fulfillment.

That’s why I started this blog. As women, so much of our lives are spent being told what we should think, do, or say. While I am all for being gracious and ladylike (I am from the South, after all!) every wife and mother needs a safe place to voice her thoughts, struggles, and even triumphs.

Too often, we live as if peace will come through passivity and quietism. Like any mom knows, “peace” must often be voiced to be maintained! You have a voice, and my hope is that this blog will help you find it.

I write twice a month on topics at the intersection of faith and womanhood. You are personally invited to subscribe via RSS or email so we can keep in touch. Let’s go on this journey – together. You are not alone!

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I know how important it is to have a close confidant that both listens and speaks; that sister whose open ear and well-timed words strengthen you to lean into God’s best for your life. Though we may not have met in person yet, I hope to be a life-giving part of your journey.

 

My Story.

I was born in Surgoinsville, TN to a large, Bible-based family. Fun fact:  the 1984 film The River, starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek (who won an Oscar for her role) was partially filmed in my hometown. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can imagine what life in a small town like Surgoinsville might be like.

Mary Caldwell 1991Dad worked full-time as a quality control supervisor at a glass plant, and was also a tobacco farmer. My early years were spent doing seasonal work alongside my four sisters and two brothers pulling plants, harvesting, and grading tobacco leaves. I learned early on that life has a rhythm, and that it’s vital to be aware of the season you are in.

Mom had her hands full raising seven kids, and she taught me to desperately love God. Being a mom myself, I can see why she sensed such a need to cry out to the Lord!

No matter how busy life became, Mom found time to dream big. She was always reading books on success, attending conferences, and even delved into multi-level marketing from time to time. Pretty cool, right? My passion for personal development and coaching stems from her, and it’s something that I try to encourage other moms to be active in. You never know how big an impact a small seed can make, no matter how busy life gets.

 

My Seven Year Crisis of Faith.

Have you ever felt so embarrassed about a struggle that you never told anyone about it? Well, that was me.

Though God had always been the center of my family’s life, I struggled during my teens about my salvation. I couldn’t tell you how many times I got baptized during those seven years!

It wasn’t that I was living wild or anything; looking back my worries could have been put to rest had I just spoken up. But it seemed so basic that I was scared to tell anyone. Instead, I kept silent.

That all changed when Dad passed away.

I was sixteen years old, and by this time Dad had quit his job and was volunteering with Rock of Ages prison ministry. Unexpectedly, he had a heart attack. It was absolutely devastating. Anyone that has lost a loved one knows that words can’t describe the depths of pain and hopelessness. Read More

 

This time, I didn’t keep silent.

I remember literally crying out to God, “I can’t do this anymore!” I broke down in tears. It was as if the weight of losing my father, having a crisis of faith, and wrestling with my salvation hit me all at once.

I finally understood the Scripture that says, “deep calls unto deep.” Though I couldn’t verbalize my pain, the Lord graced me in that moment. For the first time, I quit leaning on my own strength and trusted Christ … alone. My faith was truly becoming my own.

Now, I wish I could tell you it all got better from there, but we both know that’s not how life works.

Mom was now the poor widow in town with several children to care for. She did what a momma had to do – she worked hard and reached out to people she knew, even when it was hard to ask for help. The struggle was real, but God supplied every day.

Maybe you’re in the same place today, raising a family by yourself and feeling at a loss for what to do. I tell you, sister – you are a hero, and there’s a special place in my heart for moms like you. I think there’s a special place in God’s heart, too.

 

Growing Up Fast … Like Getting Married Fast!

As for the rest of us kids, we had to grow up – fast. Dad instilled a strong work ethic in all of us, and we needed it now more than ever. It was a tough season, and I carried more responsibilities than any girl that age should have in order to make life work. Eventually, I did my part by getting out of everyone’s way by marrying young!

Stephen Caldwell was one of the locals who was conned into helping the “widow with a bunch of kids.” Well, he soon realized that not all the kids (especially one of the girls) were so little!

Stephen was installing floors at the time; he had just finished serving in the army, gotten out of drinking, and come back to the Lord. We dated for a year, got married, and started our life together.

Throughout the years, Stephen sensed a stronger desire to know God and serve Him more. He preached when our pastor was away, and also spoke every other Wednesday night. After seven years, our pastor left and the church felt Stephen was the natural choice to step in, and he accepted.

We’ve now been married thirteen years, and Stephen’s strong character and leadership continues to uphold and encourage my heart. We have four wild-at-heart sons and one beautiful, strong daughter. She’s a ray of light in our home. Thank God, because us girls have to stick together with all these wild boys around! My kids are growing into the fine adults I know the Lord is shaping them to be.Family

 

You Are The Glue That Keeps It All Together.

I’ve learned a lot about life from Stephen’s flooring work because there are a lot of parallels to our lives as women. Whenever new flooring is prepped, it is vital that the material has time to acclimate to its new environment before it is laid down. If it doesn’t, the material shrinks back and the glue will not hold.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like us?

A woman’s life is marked by significant seasons:  adolescence, marriage, and motherhood. We need God and one another to acclimate to these changes. Otherwise our lives become like flooring that hasn’t yet been prepped.

They say us girls are the glue that keep our families together. But too often, we shrink back from speaking up, or give at the complete expense of our own needs. Before long, we’re resigned to watching our dreams slip through the cracks of a busy life.

No matter how hard we try to “keep it together” we become unglued, and those we love suffer because we aren’t living from from a place of joy, strength, and health. It’s a vicious cycle.

My journey has led me to devote myself to learning about personal, mental, and spiritual growth. I speak, coach, and teach because I want to help you break this cycle. When we’re healthy, we’re like the world’s best glue:  resilient, able to resist heat, and influential in every season and circumstance. No wonder they say we’re the glue that holds everything together!

Together we’ll overcome embarrassment, stir up the courage to speak out, win those internal battles, and step into the fullness of living in Christ – daily. You have a story, you have a voice, and you are beautiful!