Freedom to Steward Wealth

Noelle Schwantes

Today is the day.  I’ve been spending a lot of time with God lately in preparation for this weekend.  On some level it feels like a turning point.  A start of something new and at the same time a continuation of things that have been growing since I was a child. This morning God woke me up earlier than I wanted but what He put on my heart was worth it.  There is a strong peace and a sense that this weekend will be powerful in ways we can’t foresee ahead of time.  I feel His gentle confirmation that He will show up in powerful ways.

I’m not writing this blog to urge everyone to come, but I am urging those of you who have felt a tug on your heart to come. If He’s asking you to come it is because He has something for you and this weekend is a part of His calling on your life.  We believe you will get amazing things from Him.  If you make sacrifices to come He will bless and make it worth it.  I’m not asking you to take my word for it, but to seek Him and feel the confirmation of this.  If He wants you there, we want you there.

I feel yielded to Him in ways I have not experienced before and I want you to be a part of it.  This issue has a history of causing agony in my life and I took it for granted that it was just how things were.  Most everyone struggled the ways I did. I believe with every fiber in me that our struggle is because we have not fully believed in the promises of God.  We are provided for elaborately when we believe.

If He’s tugging on your heart, please come.  We want you to experience what He has for you. He is so amazingly good.

Some final details.  Registration is from 4:00-4:30 today at Embassy Suites in the Hamilton Mall area. We felt impressed to prepare for more than are registered so there is plenty of space for you.  If you decide to come at the last minute you are welcome and there is a space for you.  Our preparation has been directed by God and has defied logic and any sort of marketing or business plan so we’re quite curious to see what He has in store!  You can click here to register online and get details of the weekend, or you can register onsite. We can’t wait to see you and we are waiting with breathless expectancy to hear and see what God does in your life. Until then…

Location for Workshop!!

Today we just wanted to update you about the upcoming workshop.  When we originally began posting and marketing this workshop we didn’t have a location yet!  We were so committed to making it happen though we went forward with faith and boldness. :)  We are happy to announce this week that the Financial Freedom Workshop will be held at  Embassy Suites in the Hamilton Mall area of Chattanooga.  This is a beautiful new hotel and those of you who attend the workshop will hear about the amazing way God brought this about.  So for this week, we simply ask you to click here for updated details about the workshop.  You can register online and reserve your seat now.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Financial Freedom: Workshop Opportunity

-Noelle Schwantes, LPC,MHSP,NCC

Financial Freedom

Heart Racing                                                      Sweat

Choking Fear                                                          Head in a Vise


     Gut clenched                                                                                                      Envy

Blinding Panic                               Pride



These are some of the words people have used to describe their feelings around money.  You might be surprised to know that these words are used by people who have a lot of money as well as those who have very little of it.

Often, while we may come to freedom in our physical, emotional, and Spiritual health, this is an area that many still struggle with.  There are thousands of books on how to manage it and many people have read them and aren’t able to follow through.  They now know what to do with their money and the shame deepens as they make another poor investment or go back into debt…again.  What is the missing link?

Wouldn’t you like to have peace around your money situation regardless of the circumstances and get rid of the blocks that keep you from having more of it?

String of Pearls is pleased to announce our Financial Freedom workshop tentatively scheduled for late January, 2014. 

This experiential workshop is designed to measure your beliefs around money, give you a Biblical perspective of what God meant it to be, and clear away the issues that hold you in bondage in this area.  You should be warned though that the workshop is designed to access deeply held beliefs that may be hard to face.  It will be life changing, but the String of Pearls team is interested in attracting participants who are ready to dig in deep and allow God to change hearts and wallets!

In celebration of the first String of Pearls manuscript based on these concepts, String of Pearls is offering the workshop for only $99.00 per person and $150.00 per couple. Please contact Noelle if you are interested in attending and she will put you on a contact list.  You can reach her at  We’ll look forward to hearing from you!


Emotional Freedom: The Bundle Baby Lie

Emotional Freedom
-Angela McPherson

I couldn’t have been more than 7 years old, and my mom and I were shopping at the thrift store. My mother was something of a thrift store connoisseur. She was rifling through racks of women’s clothing, but I was confined to the “play area,” to wait it out.

What I had to wait out was this: the agony of not having it. The My Bundle Baby that I had seen behind the glass counter as we had walked in.

I don’t know whether or not you remember Mattel’s My Bundle Baby, but if not–let me bring you back to the 90s.

Click Here to Watch the Advertisement

My Bundle Baby came in a a back-pack (which you wore on your front–a ‘front-pack’, perhaps, to simulate the big belly of a pregnant Mommy) containing a baby you care for. You didn’t know whether it was a girl or a boy. You just bought the my-bundle-baby and thought to yourself, “Whatever it is, I’ll love it.”

It had been the object of my whole and complete desire since I had first seen the commercial months before.

My family, however, was not the type to run out and get the latest thing–especially not a doll from Mattel. So I just memorized the jingle and dreamed of the day when I would have a bundle baby of my own.

But finally, in this dark and stale thrift-shop, the day had come. Some child had gotten a bundle baby for Christmas and decided not to play with it, perhaps. Some mother, somewhere in Indiana, had decided to give it away–to this very thrift shop. It was here. It was mine. I could FEEL it.

And as soon as I saw it, the antsy ‘must have now’ juices started flowing. I saw the baby and I almost had a conniption.

“Mom, you have to go get it. Mom, you have to go ask the lady to take it out from behind the counter. Mom, it’s a Bundle Baby! Let’s put it in the cart. Let’s PUT IT IN THE CART RIGHT NOW!”

My Mother, however, was not having an attack of the must-haves. She was shopping, like a normal mom, and keeping her cool. She was also slightly unimpressed by the contorted ‘I could WET MY PANTS!’ panic and dramatics caused by a little girl who had idolized a doll for months previous and was about to convulse on the floor from sheer anxiety or anticipation.

“Just wait here in the play area, and when I’m done shopping we’ll check on it. If it’s not too expensive we can get it.”

I was being told to stand still.

And with that, she confined me to the play area.

I would have confined me, too, undoubtedly. I was doing an interpretive-dance freak-out that probably had to be contained. However, all I remember of that long, 3andahalfmillionbazillion-hour visit to the thrift shop was trying to keep an eye on that counter–watching it like a hawk, hit man, sniper, or forlorn-lover-watching-his-love-being-flirted-with by every oncoming available person. My eyes did not divert. Because I was sure–just SURE–that if we didn’t get that thing in the cart, I would lose my bundle baby forever. 

This was no light shopping trip: this was a matter of life and death of a bundle baby dream.

And then, from my vantage point at the play-pen–I saw it. ANOTHER mom. Another mom eyeing my bundle baby with the eye of an educated commercial-watcher. She knew what it was. She took another lap around the glass case.

My anxiety grew.

Then, she began speaking words which I couldn’t decipher to the shop-lady at the thrift-store. I started trying to flag down my mother with a spastic full-bodied amendment to American Sign Language.

MOM! MOOOOM! She’s gonna get the bundle BABY! (I said with my whole body).

My Mom wasn’t looking. She was looking at sweaters. Seafoam green sweaters.

Finally the other mom walked away from the case. My relief was immense. My mom came over only to hear another impassioned plea to hurry up and get that bundle baby! and gave me her own impassioned plea to calm down.

I tried. I tried to calm down and divert my attention. Finally I distracted myself with something–some other toy, something–and finally my mother was done perusing. She came to my pen and told me she would go and check on the bundle baby.

The next thing I remember is the form of my mother coming back to the pen to tell me that the bundle baby wasn’t there. The other woman had purchased it.

The bundle baby was gone.

I don’t think I could adequately describe the cataclysm of the emotional onslaught which engulfed me as I imagined the shop-lady unseating the bundle baby from her glass-encased-tower-of-safety and giving her to the other mom.

The other mom, purchasing the bundle baby for another little girl who was not me.

My Mom said that she was sorry. I know that she was sorry. She apologized profusely–and I know she felt bad, especially because I cried about it all the way home.

If only she had listened to me! I thought. If only she had gotten the bundle baby when I told her to!


This week I have been encouraged to take a look back in my life and ferret out the deepest lies that I believe.

One of the lies that has been brought to my attention is this: Get the things you want for yourself now–or else. Or else they disappear and you can’t have them anymore.

The Bundle Baby lie.


I see this lie manifested all over my life.

This lie flies in the face of God telling me that He is my provider–that He will give me above that which I could ask or think–that He supplies all of my needs and knows my wants before I can even ask.

But somehow, in the rubber-road moments or even in the mundane, I dance with my distrust of Him. I dance with the bundle baby lie.

Because if I don’t get the bundle baby for myself, You won’t get it for me.


I’ve been grappling with my need to contain and possess and acquire for awhile now.

It goes like this:

I see/hear/feel something beautiful and I immediately want to capture it for myself: lest it vanish into non-existence, or, realistically, non-accessibility. It kind of works out like a hoarders episode (at the age of 15, I had multiple copies of each Hanson album. I mean, what would happen if one of them got SCRATCHED?!) but even cognitively, my cling-to reflex shows up in clingy relationships or financial anxiety or …well, everywhere.

Into this dark little hovel of reactionary instinct, Jesus Christ has spoken. He started by calling me a cat-lady (see previous blog) and He has moved on to reminding me of the bundle baby.

Walking with Me isn’t like waiting for a bundle baby at a thrift store, He is saying.

What is it like?!

Like experiencing someone who knows more about you and your own heart than you do–and has more willingness to give you the desires of your heart than you have to get them for yourself.

This leaves me flabbergasted.

Then He gently looks me in my eye–my fists still grasping and pawing at the air–and He says:

Do you see? The quest to keep and to contain will become the living death of you: longing but never satisfied, thirsty but never quenched, aching but never held, chasing, striving, but never in possession of. 

It will leave you sad, lonely, frightened, exhausted, and thoroughly distrusting.

Stop believing the lies. He says. Stop believing the lies. 

This is not the life I have in mind for My little girl.  


After hearing Jesus speak to me in such an intimate way, I have been more eager to get rid of these lies than I was to acquire the bundle baby in the first place. I want to trust Jesus. Deeply. Firmly. Entirely.

I started a list of “claimers” that I have been saying out loud–that I will continue to say out loud until they sink down deep into every corner of my yet-to-be-transformed-heart and heal it. I have started with these ones:

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.–Phillippeans 4:19

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.–Ephesians 3:20

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.–John 8:32

If you have any to add I would welcome them–because I am trying to grow in my trust and outgrow my hurt.

I may still be 7 years old on the inside, but Jesus is in there with me. And I am learning.