The Donut Shop Sign

The world will tell you that you must do things a certain way because “That’s just how it works.” The world teaches stuff like if you want a car you go to a car dealer, get a loan, and you make monthly payments.

But the truth is the world doesn’t factor in prayer and faith.

Today a lady went to a donut shop and is getting a car. She’s just living her life day to day in prayer and did not even know that getting a donut for breakfast would lead to an answer to a prayer.

 

Six months ago in March we left a sign at a donut shop advertising that we have a car to sell.

Then – the car broke. Someone from church let us tow it to his auto shop. I’ve been praying for God to show us what to do with this car.

Just before the head gasket broke my husband had done a few repairs for a few hundred dollars. I asked him if we should take the air conditioner parts back off to take them back to the store and he said, “We can’t.”

I said, “Maybe this will be a blessing to someone because we’ve done this work. I know more is broken now but that’s okay.”

 

This morning a lady I’ve never met calls and says she is waiting at a donut shop while her granddaughter went to an art class. She tells me something like, “This sign may be old and may have been here for a long time but if you still have the car I’d like to know.”

She’s been praying for a car. She asked the Lord specifically to please let the car have a working air conditioner.

I just went with her (in her daughter’s car) to see if she wanted the car from the donut shop ad. She loves it and is praying for money to get it fixed. I don’t know where the money will come from to get it repaired and she doesn’t either – but we both know The Guy who does.  (She’s got a job but will need more money than she currently has.  She needs a car to get to work to make more money.  It’s a circle.  And prayer opens up a very real way to get very real answers.)

 

God hears your prayers.

DO NOT DOUBT.

Today a woman went to the donut shop and that’s where her prayers for a car were answered.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There may be a sign left for you that you’re not seeing yet for some reason.

Trust Him. He knows what you’re waiting for and He’s listening and knows what you need before you even ask. Pray to Him and ask him what the next step is. He will show you.

Power

Sometimes God is leading and directing us and we’re not even aware of it. When we ASK Him to make us aware of what He’s doing in the valley times, He does this.

Sometimes I think also that satan sees our power – like what God will be doing with us – and he trembles in fear. It’s like he tries to knock our feet out from under us.  (Maybe that’s a good time to kneel.)

Many times he succeeds.

All the time we spend NOT doing the most important things God’s calling us to do is just THAT, in my opinion. It’s just satan playing games with our time and lives.

(And I don’t mean the “spiritual whitespace” or the “down time” to be alone with God or with our spouse, kids, friends… that is necessary and I do believe it’s part of what we need to be doing but the world has taught us to kinda believe that if we’re “still” then we’re doing “nothing.” Sometimes we NEED to be doing “nothing.”)

I know He has a plan for each person and when Jesus shines so brightly through some people, sometimes others are; dare I say it? Yes, I will. Afraid. Afraid because they know somewhere in their souls that Jesus is very real so the power they see and the way we look different makes them step back. That’s okay. It’s a seed planted just when it needed to be. God will nurture it and it will grow how He plans for it to grow.

Those Jesus Freaks. They’re just freaky. Yep. And unashamed of Him.

Just maybe

My prayer tonight is for the grade school kids and middle school kids to be included in service for the community and church because when they are told they’re “too young” for so long; too young to help, too young to serve, only ages 15 and up can help with cleaning up someone’s yard etc. maybe we’re missing something.

I believe it’s damaging to young spirits to keep hearing they are too young to DO SOMETHING great.

When they are young and want to serve but are not given jobs (and I’m talking about jobs they are very able to do; like pick up in the auditorium, pick up someone’s yard, maybe lead a Sunday morning class FOR 3rd graders BY 3rd graders…) by the time they are “old enough” by church or community standards, they are many times not even interested anymore.

Then we’ve heard churches ask, “What happened to the 19 to 30 year olds? Where are they?”

They were given a Senior graduation celebration, moved away from their parents and everything they knew, went out into the world (many times to college) came back to visit their “home” church congregation only to find they are no longer welcome in their own youth group because they are now “too old” for the “youth group” and don’t feel there is a welcoming place they fit anymore. “Yay! You’re a Senior! Feel loved? Good because when you come back there is another surprise!”

We have an idea.

What if we include them when they’re young and WANT to help and maybe when they’re older they’ll STILL want to help?

What if we create a class where college age kids (and older) are welcome to come and go as they grow up? What if it was a place they knew they were welcome ANY time they were in town? What if they KNEW when they came “home” they’d have a welcoming place instead of feeling “out of place?!” What if that place was a place they could unload all their worries and concerns they’re having out in the world instead of it only being a class where they don’t feel welcome to speak what’s really on their minds?

I don’t begin to know all the answers but I know some.

And when I’m married to a guy
who is a preacher’s kid (just like the kids sitting in Bible class)
who messed up,
who went to prison,
who served God and asked God to grow his faith WHILE he was in prison,
who now lives a life of faith,
and has been equipped with eyes and a heart for the kid who feels alone and may be heading down the same kind of path,
and knows how to help teens be included,
but yet he’s shut out because he has a criminal record but did NOTHING against a child…
I can’t help but think MAYBE he’s part of the solution but nobody opens their eyes to see the treasure God has placed right in front of them.

Maybe…

JUST MAYBE he’s the VERY RIGHT person the teens and parents should hear from.

Shine

Stuff I think about…

Sometimes it seems to me that churches and businesses and just so many people get caught up in the “numbers.”

For example with some churches and mission work, “Well, how MANY are you baptizing?!”

 

I am not going to PUSH anyone into baptism to satisfy someone’s spreadsheet.

 

From what I read in the Bible Jesus is concerned with every ONE and every ONE matters.

Plant a seed.

Lift someone with your words every day.

Help the one you can help today and do not worry if it is impressive to someone around you.  It is impressive to Jesus.  This is what matters.

Grace

Please stop being so offended when someone thinks differently than you do?

God makes things good.

The enemy tries to take good things and make them bad and destroy them.

God made us each different.

On purpose.

And this is how He decided to create us. He could have done things ANY way He wanted to, right? And He did it this way. So being different is okay. Having different opinions is okay.

It’s just one more thing satan tries to use to separate us from each other; to make us huff and puff and “unfriend” each other in person and online. The very differences we should appreciate about each other are the very things satan is using to create havoc.

Opinion.

Belief.

Choice.

Individuality.

Differences.

God made you different from anyone else in the world for a reason and His plans for your life don’t exactly match anyone else’s purpose.

AND THAT’S OKAY.

Yet as is his nature, satan sees something good and does anything he can to make it bad. In this case he has grabbed onto the fact that we are each made different on purpose and given it a name. The name that fits right now is “Offended.” Oh my word are people offended!! SO easily! It makes me sad!

“I like cheese. So therefore YOU need to like cheese or else I won’t be friends with you. There! I’m not going to play with you anymore.”

Stop it!

Please stop it?!

Don’t you see what’s happening? That old devil is up to his tricks just like he always does trying to destroy sex, family, marriage, service, and just everything!

The world is in chaos and confusion. Literally.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He didn’t say there is some way or find the way.

He said HE IS THE WAY.

Keep your eyes on Him and don’t look away.

If you’re not sure how to find Him, ASK Him how to do this. “Jesus, how do I find You?” Just say it! Read the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, buy one. If you can’t afford one, ask a friend to borrow his until you can get one. Ask church for one. If the church you ask says, “No,” then ask another church!

And it is okay with me if you don’t like cheese. I will still love you. I will still talk to you. I will still care about you.

Please, PLEASE find some grace and love for the people in your life!

The reason is…

The reason is…

The reason I tell you that you matter so much is because most things in the world tell you all day long that you don’t.

I did not know I mattered. Truly I didn’t. And in case you feel this way also, I want to be a voice shouting above the noise that you are a masterpiece and really worth something! Please hear that! I’m not the only one who says so. Jesus says so, too.

If you look through the news, tv shows, movies, commercials, advertisements, social sites, there is one thing after another telling you:

-You’re not the best at whatever and you MUST be the best “or else.” (What does that even mean?!)

-You need to look “this” way or you’re not “beautiful.” (Says who? Some magazine or advertising executive? Do they even know you?! You’re amazing!)

-You need to buy this or you’re “behind.” (Behind WHAT? Life is just NOT a competition!)

-The world teaches that if you don’t have name brand clothes you’re “less than.” (I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven God’s not gonna be like, “Heeey! You rocked that $200 outfit!” Seriously?! – And please do not send me hate mail saying I said it’s not okay to have “nice” things. It is. But people who don’t spend more because of a brand are not “less than” anything.)

-If you don’t “do life” like most people then something’s wrong with you. (Something may be wrong with you. Something’s probably wrong with all of us! But Jesus calls us to stand out so if someone says you’re different, that may be a great compliment!)

You matter and you’re absolutely beautiful and I will tell you this until you believe it; until God takes my breath. You are so much more than you may realize. Everyone has something beautiful but it’s just that sometimes it’s buried way, way, waaaay under a bunch of ashes covering the true beautiful you that God intended you to be.

The world is wrong. You really are something.

Marriage is probably the toughest job ever.

There are a lot of tough jobs in the world but marriage… just wow!  I know we’re not alone when we say this.

Many people share great ideas and it’s always fun to learn new things that work for other couples.

I’m always trying to figure out how to make our marriage better and help others at the same time.  My husband is a praying man and asks God how to be a better husband to me and better daddy to our kids.  And I ask God to show me how to be a better wife and mommy.

Here is something we started about a year ago. It’s helped us sometimes when we argue.  God put this idea on my heart and I shared it with my husband.  We didn’t waste time getting to the store.

We bought a ball (A 12 to 15 inch ball is best. And NO. Not a baseball or bowling ball even though it’s something that some people may think they’d like to do sometimes – Just don’t.) and when we’d argue, we’d pass the ball back and forth.

It is harder to stay angry when we are playing catch.

We both take turns talking (Toss it.  Don’t hold it.  That’s the point.  It’s easier to talk this way sometimes.) and maybe a few times we threw it rougher than we should have but it really helps during fights.

You could try it and see if it helps for your marriage. If someone can learn anything from our mess we’re glad to share.

We really do like each other.  It’s just that sometimes we forget.

 

Note: If you play ball in the store, they may -or may not- appreciate it so very much. You probably don’t need to ask us how we know this.

 

 

You Are a Beautiful Design

There are specific talents and gifts God has gifted to you. There is a specific purpose for your life that matches YOUR gifts and you are the ONLY one who can do these great things God has for you.

I cannot do that job. Your friend or your mom can’t do that job. It’s your job.

How are you going to know what that purpose is if the days are filled with all the things YOU want to do? It’s not that your To-Do List is not important but His plans for you are so much more fulfilling than the plans you can even dream of for yourself.

He wants to connect certain people with you for a reason. It happens every day. Are you aware of it? Ask Him to make you aware of it.

You are the ONLY one designed the way you are and some moments are Divine Appointments. Ask Him to show you what those look like in your life.

Ask God what HE wants you to do.

He gave you your time. He gave you your talents. Aren’t you curious to know why you are made the way you are?

I love learning about you and why you’re you.

God had something very important in mind when He made you.

What if you’re just one question away from realizing your bigger purpose?

Please ask Him what He wants you to do today. Every day. He will show you.

Just stuff I like to think about.

A question that has been following me lately…

Would you rather

A) hear all the good things everyone thinks about you?
B) hear all the negative things everyone thinks about you?
C) hear both the positive and negative stuff people think about you?
D) not hear anything people think about you?

You know, I used to feel strongly that I’d want B- hear all the negative things everyone thinks about me because then I could decide where to spend my time trying to clear up misunderstandings. That would take a long time. And the truth is that nobody is going to like me all the time or even understand where I’m coming from because nobody has walked the life I’m walking.

Then later in life I decided that C- hear both positive and negative stuff would be best because some negative (spoken in love) would be good to help me know what I needed to change about me – and there are certainly things I work on every day to be a better mommy, wife, friend, and leader. And I’d also get to hear the positive things because sadly most of the time we ALL (and I rarely use the word ALL but in this case I believe it fits) don’t speak blessings over each other often enough.

For a little while I thought strongly about A- hear all the good things everyone thinks because possibly that would help with how I think of myself. – Or would it make me conceited? Don’t know but I don’t think so.

Someone shared a story about being deaf and not hearing what people say about you and that maybe not knowing would be best because you don’t hear the “noise” and the haters. – I believe deaf people do hear clearly some things that “hearing” people do not.

I think I will choose D and not hear what people (who do not know me) think of me. I will concentrate on what my Jesus thinks of me above anything else.

Just stuff I like to think about.

-

And I haven’t told you today that I’m glad you’re here in this place with me so I will now. I’m glad you’re here. You matter. I pray blessings over your life so big that you can’t help but see Him.

I keep trying to think of a title for this.

“Cookie Cutter People”

or maybe

“After God Created You He Broke the Mold”

But I’m not sure He made a “mold” for you. He formed you with His Hands. There is not another you anywhere in the world so… why would He need a mold or a cookie cutter when you’re the only you?

You are unique. You matter. He planned you. ON PURPOSE.

You are not a mistake. You are not an accident.

~~> You liked you until someone told you not to like you. <~~

When you look in the mirror and say, "I don't like my nose."

Talk about insulting an artist!!!

God, please forgive us when we complain about Your masterpieces.

Hey YOU, God is not finished with you yet
but I think He did a great job creating you and
I look forward to the rest of your life
and how He'll shine through you even for the rest of today.

(Note: Please do not send me hate mail about cosmetic surgery etc. I think you are beautiful and I'm not just talking about the outside of you.)

Something Important

I guess I silently (and without even being aware of it) was dreading the phone call. It was about one of our monthly bills and I’d probably rather do many other things instead although I don’t mind this part of my job too much.

It’s funny to me how God works and when God works – like even in the littlest things – and in times we’re not actively looking.

The call ended with a sweet voice on the other end of the phone telling me some about her life and she’d like to connect online. I spoke about how it’s a little uncomfortable not making my own plans daily while walking in faith.

We agreed the five minute (regular, mundane, common, ordinary) phone call turned out to be a blessing for both of us.

Instead of looking at stuff we have to get done as just another thing, what if we each looked at it as an opportunity for God to shine through us? Sometimes I forget to keep that mindset about every day stuff.

Every encounter can be something important. Keep your eyes (and ears) open.

Thank You, God, for reminding me when I forget. Thank You for faithfully reminding me what this life is all about.

BE THE LIGHT.

Somebody needs you today.

Be the light even in traffic.
Be the light even in line at the grocery store.
Be the light even when someone cuts you off.
Be the light even if someone gives you an unwanted hand gesture.
Be the light even when talking to your ex.
Be the light even at home.
Be the light during school and in between classes.
Be the light even when your parents aren’t around.
Be the light especially at work.
Be the light even if you don’t feel like it.

Somebody is watching you and somebody needs to see a kinder, more loving way to respond especially in tough situations.

You CAN. I know you can. Maybe not on your own. The Holy Spirit helps us in these very times. Ask Him to help.

Be the light.

100 Good Things About You

We went to a funeral today. It is always a beautiful thing to hear about someone’s life.

Consistent with the nature of all funerals I’ve attended, it made me think about when I die.

If God calls me to Heaven before you go, do something for me? In my honor, please say OUT LOUD to 100 different people something great that you like about yourself. It can be 100 different things you like about yourself and it can be to 100 different people at different times or all at the same time like in an auditorium or something. But this is my wish in case you outlive me. Deal?

If you will do this please leave your name or a note here as your agreement. (You could even include some of the good things about you now. You don’t have to wait until whenever I’m gone. I’d love to hear about you.) This blog post is just the official way to let you know I’m counting on you to speak life into you and good things about you – OUT LOUD.

I know there are a thousand great things about you. I’m just asking for you to speak 100 of them about yourself to others. They’ll hear it and you’ll hear it also.

You’re worth so much more than you may realize.

Believe it and speak it OUT LOUD.

Here’s a sample to start this conversation: (And you should totally start now and not wait til later because you deserve to hear yourself think and speak -out loud- good things about you already.) “Hey, I’m Kerri and I’m fulfilling a wish for a girl I read about on a blog. I said I would say 100 good things about me to 100 people. Something I like about me is …”

Private vs Public vs Home School for us

School officially starts tomorrow (August 1st) at our house.

I think there is A LOT of great stuff about public, private, AND home school. Each kind of school has some good and some not so good.

I can say that this is the first time (possibly EVER) since my kids started preschool that we’ve snuggled more, had less stress, looked forward to learning and to the start of school.

I have spent days and weeks frustrated about getting to school on time for so many years. I was a grouchy mommy some mornings because we had to be somewhere or else tardies made life not fun and sometimes my kids had one speed and sometimes that speed did not match public (or private) school standards.

Schedule for many school years so far:
Hurry and get up.
Hurry and eat breakfast.
Hurry and brush teeth.
Hurry and get dressed.
Hurry and get your shoes on.
Hurry to the car to get to school.
Hurry and get out of the car or the drop off line is not moving fast enough.
Hurry to the car after school or the car pick up line is too slow.
After school snack – not hurried.
Hurry and get your homework done.
Hurry to spend quality time with mommy and daddy.
Hurry and eat dinner.
Hurry and get your teeth brushed and a shower and get to bed so we can hurry again tomorrow.

I think we are done with the “hurry” schedule. I’m not sure it is good for any of us to fill our days with stuff that makes us hurry all the time.

We actually talked about homeschooling a couple of times in past years. The answer was clearly a big “NO!” This time it’s right. This time it’s different. This is something we’ve prayed about and know that is right for our family AT THIS TIME. We are all glad about it.

(NOTE: This does NOT mean we believe homeschooling is right for every family at this time. Please do not send hate letters. I am certain you are making and will keep making the best choices for your family.)

First school assignment: My kids are writing about the pros and cons to each school type because I’ve asked them to and we’d like to know what they think because we enjoy their input about most things in life.

From a 7th grader:
Private school Good:
-Get to see some friends every day.
-Less stress.
-Easier to learn there than in public school.
-Less bullies.
-Study the Bible at school.

Private school Not so good:
-It costs a lot.
-Less family time.

Public school Good:
-I get to see some friends every day.

Public school Not so good:
-Not very many friends every day because I didn’t have many good friends.
-Less family time.
-Bullies.
-Harder to learn there.
-Too many people.
-Don’t get to study the Bible at school.

Homeschool Good:
-Easier to learn.
-Less people.
-More family time.
-Less stress.
-I get to learn more things that I WANT to learn about.
-No bullies.
-I get to study the Bible at school.

Homeschool Not so good:
-I don’t get to see my public or private school friends as much.

From a Junior in high school:
Private school (Preschool) Good:
-I don’t remember much good (or bad) about preschool.

Private school Not so good:
-Cried a couple days every week because I didn’t want to go to school very much.

Public school Good:
-A lot of teachers.
-Different levels of classes.
-A lot of room for creativity like for clothes and dress code.

Public school Not so good:
-Some teachers feel they’re not paid enough to care.
-The classes are too simple or too demanding. There is no in-between.
-Some teachers don’t really care if you can keep up ’cause if you can’t it’s a personal problem.

Homeschool Good:
-Most of the time not far from my mommy.
-The rest: To be determined.

Homeschool Not so good:
-Most of the time not far from my mommy.
-The rest: To be determined.

Questions I have when living by faith

(Our personal situation and the Alaska homeless teen place)

It’s frustrating to know something but to be waiting and not know when or how God is doing something. I am learning that HOW we wait -while we wait- is very important. He’s teaching and leading us every day which is something I wasn’t as aware of in the past.

When our car broke down I thought, “Oh well. Since we’ll be moving soon maybe we won’t need another car for now.” (That’s been almost two months which has been okay, really.)

We’d like to ask for prayers about the car situation.
And also prayers for when and how for the Alaska homeless teen place.

As for the car, we’re asking God if we’re to buy (used of course) or lease or wait… We have been okay for a couple months without one because we’ve walked many places and also a sweet friend has loaned us her van for grocery store visits etc. If we bought one, would we sell it when we move?

All these questions! It can be frustrating living by faith!

About 14 years ago, my husband and I talked about knowing we would help teens at some place like a camp type of place. I said it seems to have a game room and shade and rocks or benches (or both.) And kids can learn skills there and study Bible lessons they are interested in and maybe they can earn a way to paint a brick or something like that if their homework is done… and now 14 years later we know it’s Alaska and that it looks like it’s a homeless teen place.

We tried to get involved at the different churches we’ve been over the past years but it’s only been minimal that we’ve been able to help and we know there is more we are supposed to do.

To know it ~but to be waiting~ is a tough place to be.

Some people have known us for years and know we’re for real. Some have just met us and still know this is really happening. Some think we’re silly and don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s okay. Some people secretly hope God moves in big ways because they know there is something bigger to believe in but would like to see some kind of proof or something. The people who doubt will see sooner or later whenever God moves in the God-sized ways. As for now, we wait. I hope it’s not another 14 years before He shows us the next part.

It took about five months for me to be tired of living out of boxes and the inconvenience of not knowing what’s next – but the thing is… we will wait – and do the next thing in front of us each day.

One cool thing that’s happened is that a boy our daughter met is now asking to court her. If we’d been able to leave when I thought we were leaving they would not know each other more than to say, “Hi.” And IF he’s her future husband then it’s a pretty big deal that we stayed to get to know him. And if he’s not, then I’m still glad we are waiting because we haven’t been released yet to go (and at this point I’m not sad or caring about the few skeptics asking why we’re still not in Alaska.)

The truth is we are going to obey Him. And if that looks weird to people, that’s okay. We’ve looked weird before and we’re used to being different. God calls us to be different. I never thought I’d be living out my faith in front of so many people but that’s okay also. (Writing the blog -or writing a book- is not something I ever thought I’d be doing.)

I read something once that said when a toddler learns to walk, we don’t tell him go away and be ashamed until he can learn to walk (or even run) and then he can be seen again. No. That would not be helpful. We encourage him until he learns to walk. We help him up. We don’t laugh at him. “What a silly baby! What does he think he’s doing; trying to walk?! Sit down and stay there, baby! You should be embarrassed!”

If you have room on your prayer list, I am asking for prayers specifically about the car situation. If we bought one, then would we sell it? What if we’re to fly to Alaska? What if we’re driving an RV like we think it may be and we pull a trailer behind it so we’d have no room for a car?

We’ve met some other people who ask God what He wants them to do every day and they also say the same thing; they will never go back to another way of living.

Deciding “my own schedule” gets some things done but I think I missed a million moments of what God had in mind for me because I wasn’t looking for that.

Just thinking out loud.

Prayers appreciated.

It Is OKAY To Like YOU

Remember that time when you did that thing you thought you couldn’t do? And remember how you were a little amazed by that? And if you’re honest with yourself, maybe you did it better than you thought you could?

When you think about YOU do you think more about that stuff or the “other” stuff… you know… the times you messed up… again?

The way we think about us in our own heads, about how we messed up, about how often we mess up, is just too much for our spirits sometimes. Be kinder to you.

Would you let someone else talk to you the way YOU talk to you? Would you let someone else talk to your husband, wife, kids, or parents the way you talk to you? Is it kind of… possibly… bullying yourself?

Stop.

Please?

Take a breath and think something nice about you.

It is OKAY and (dare I say) “healthy” to speak and think good things about yourself and your abilities!

Somehow the world has taught us that we can’t be glad about something we’re good at or have learned to do because if we say we’re proud of it, people may think we’re bragging or conceited or whatever.

What if we make it a “good” whatever!

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Philippians 4:8

YOU are amazing. Take some time to THINK ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. You know why I know you’re so great? Because Jesus didn’t die for “nobody.” He died for YOU. And if HE thinks you’re worth dying for, then maybe it’s time for you to see that in yourself also.

You have permission to like you!

Your Life Matters

If God’s Power is shown brightly through our weakness
but we keep living life with a fake smile
and ACTING as if we’re strong enough on our own
then when exactly is God able to use our lives to shine through us?

Where does the Bible say to pretend we have it all “together?”
When did Jesus say, “Do this on your own”?
He didn’t.
He says to lean on Him. He will walk WITH us.

Somebody needs your story.
Somebody needs to know you are in her corner; that you are on her side; that you understand.
Someone needs to know you have been through the same stuff that he has been through.

The stuff you are going through matters.
Your life matters.
Ask Jesus to walk with you. He does this.
Ask Him to send someone to talk with. He does this.
Ask Him to give you strength for your storms. He does this.

Then ask Him for courage to share your story because somebody needs you.

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

“How did you spend the time on vacation?” “How much time did it take to finish that project?” “The time you took to repair that issue was time well spent.”

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

We each have a specific number of minutes, hours, and days.
When our time is up, where have we spent it?

We CANNOT get more time.

What is wasting your time? Did you hear how we say that?
“YOUR” time? Like it’s just a casual thing…
but
Where did your time come from?

“Spend” some of “your” time, the time that God has gifted to you, talking to Him. Just stop a minute now to speak to Him. Your conversation is something He wants very much. He is jealous for YOU.

Peace.

I don’t think people are born being offended.

I think we were taught that by the world around us.

Maybe being offended by so very many different things isn’t such a great way to live.

It’s almost as if some have made it a profession.

“What do you do?”

“I’m offended. That’s what I do. I get offended”

“Ohh.”

Peace, even in daily life, even in the middle of this messed up world, is a good thing to work toward.

I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

One Dollar and Fifteen Cents

An amazing 12 year old friend came to our house the other day.  She said she has money to give toward the homeless teen place we are to open in Alaska.

She handed me coins equaling one dollar and fifteen cents.

 

I have read a story about a little boy who shared his five loaves and two fish.

 

We pray to the same God Who broke the fish and loaves and fed thousands of people.

God, please take this offering and make it more than enough.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

John 6:1-15

What if you matter?

 

What if God has positioned you

in just the right way,

and just the right circumstances,

and brought you through just the right storms

for just the right timing

to do God-sized work through your life?

 

What if you ask Him what He wants you to do today ~ every day?

 

Give thanks in ALL circumstances

because

ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

 

Worst Times For Sneezes

 

Sometimes we need to talk about the important stuff…

like when the worst times to sneeze are.

Putting on mascara

Kissing

Eating

Cooking

Public speaking

Blowing a bubble with bubble gum

Hunting

Fishing

Playing Hide and Seek

Drinking milk

Shaving

Playing a video game that requires concentration

Yoga

Hiding from bad guys

Piercing someone’s ears

Getting a tattoo

During the Quiet Game

Painting fingernails

Performing surgery

There probably are 10 more I forgot to mention.

I’m posting this anywah ah ah CHOO

 

One of “those” jobs

Some people who do good jobs may never hear a “Thank you.”

Some people hear complaints and listen to our problems all day long.

Write a quick note to people who do a good job. (And maybe even to their employers also.) It may be the very thing that lifts them to do even better at their jobs.  For sure it will give positive energy!

 

Here are a few:

U. S. Armed Forces

Marriage Counselor

Online Support

Car Mechanic

Bus Driver

Server

Trucker

Farmer

Trash Service

Teacher

Mail Carrier

Doctor

A/C Repair

Dad

Mom

Jesus

 

I can’t possibly think of all the thankless jobs people do.  I’m certain I’ve missed a million and 12 jobs that definitely belong on this list.

Thank you for doing your jobs and especially the jobs where you hear complaints and face giants all day long.  We appreciate you and you should get to hear it.

On Purpose.

It’s offensive when people are so easily offended.

Am I living for praise from people?

Am I living for praise from God?

Sometimes they overlap and it’s great when this happens.
Sometimes not so much and that comes down to the true character in each of us.

It’s hard to lose friends when we stand up for something ~ but it happens.

Maybe the word “friend” is a little overused?

We CANNOT please everyone.  Why do people try to please everyone?

Not even everyone loves Jesus.  Think about this.  If every person does not want Jesus, then why in the world would we even begin to think that everyone should love everything about each other?  How much MORE are people not going to love us for standing up and sharing our opinions or even bigger and more importantly; our faith?

I’m not sure WE even love everything about OURSELVES.   So WHY do we think if we disagree on something, it’s a magnificent tragedy?  It seems being offended because someone views stuff differently goes against the very fact that God made us each different ON PURPOSE.  He did not HAVE to make us all different.  He chose to.

If you’re looking for someone who likes, agrees, loves, hates, and is impressed or not impressed with exactly the very same everything as you are you’re not going to find it.  Just love people where they are.  It’s really not so difficult to do this.

 

At the end of my life it may not matter as much if a person is impressed by how I lived but I absolutely, for sure, with every part of me, want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Just For A Minute

Everyday schedules.

I have to get this done.

The kids need that.

My husband wants me to remember to…

Oh, I need to stop by the store.

Then maybe we can have lunch together.

Wait.

The car needs gas.

Okay time for that appointment we keep putting off.

I wish we could hurry up and get these other things done

so we can get to what we want to do;

So we can get to the “important stuff!”

 

At the optometrist’s office the other day,

it seemed like just one of those errands that needed done

but

if we open our eyes (and hearts) God uses SO many opportunities we sometimes don’t even notice

that we could,

JUST FOR A MINUTE,

plant a seed,

share our faith,

or speak life into someone’s day.

 

We almost overlooked an opportunity placed right in front of us at the eye doctor appointment.

 

We mentioned we are moving to Alaska and why.

“Oh, you kinda feel called?”

“Yes we do.”

“Yeah, the universe does that.”

“God does that. It’s pretty amazing what He’s doing.”

 

Everywhere we go there is a minute to minister to someone.

The way we speak to people matters.

…the check-out guy at the grocery store,

the server at a restaurant,

when we check in at a hotel,

to the new employee trying her best to learn how to do her first job,

to the office staff at the eye doctor.

 

It doesn’t take an hour long “Bible study” to plant a seed.

Sometimes it can lift and change a person’s day if we’re watching for those times God places a perfect opportunity right in front of us in our everyday lives JUST FOR A MINUTE.

 

When a Marriage is Broken

Know what satan wants to destroy?  I mean, besides EVERYTHING.

Marriages.  Because when marriage is great, we can serve others in such a big way.  When marriage is broken, we spend so much time trying to fix it.

Give your marriage to God.  HE is enough.  He has worked miracles in our marriage.  When we can go from not liking each other and wanting to not be together so much to a place of healing and smiling and actually liking each other again within a matter of a day, I believe that is God’s hand in our marriage.

Sometimes it’s easier to “love” and serve someone than it is to “like” him or her and want to spend time together.

Trust Him.

God is in the business of restoring people, hearts, marriages, and a lot more!

ASK God to mend your marriage.  And I’ll be praying over this for you, too.

Here.  Start with this:

“Dear God, I don’t even like my husband/wife very much.  You’ve seen the hurt and pain in our marriage.  I am giving my marriage to You.  Please bless it and show us how to love each other again because we don’t even know how.  I want to ask that You give us eyes to see each other the way You see each of us.  And I want to thank you for the work you are doing even as I ask this.  Please make me into the husband/wife You want me to be.  Specifically please help me forgive him/her for ______________”

Somebody Needs You

Sometimes it’s hard to tell your story.

(But when you do, you’ll find you’re not as alone as you think.)

Will some laugh?  Possibly.  You have a bigger purpose than to let this stop you.

(Some people laugh out of nervousness but secretly they will admire your courage to speak.)

Will some gossip? Most likely. It’s sad but true.

(This makes me think of the story in the Bible about “casting pearls before swine.”)

Will some heal?  ABSOLUTELY.  We are here to help each other with life.  And life is messy.

(NOBODY can do this life on his own – no matter how big he brags about himself.)

 

Do not be afraid to tell your story because people need YOU and your very experiences so that they can begin to heal from stuff in their own lives. Your story matters. You have a testimony to share.

You can do this.  I believe in you.

My prayers are for you.

Cheese is GREAT!

WHAT?! You disagree with me?!

WHY do so many people think we have to agree on everything with co-workers, church members, or online “friends” and if they don’t like exactly all the same stuff we like we have to make rude comments about them or “unfriend” them?!

When someone doesn’t share the same view as you do and decides to “unfriend” or “unfollow” you based only on the fact that you don’t like a certain sports team as much, that’s just too sad.

The God of the Universe Who created EVERYTHING, including you, decided to make each person unique.

EVERY person will like or dislike different things.

ALWAYS.

That’s a God thing.

If HE decided to make us this way then WHY do we spend so much time being hurt over the fact that “She doesn’t agree that saving butterflies in Africa should be THE most important thing in the world. I’m going to take my ball and go home.”

Seriously?!

Stop it!

If God chose to make us EACH different ON PURPOSE, maybe that’s a good thing!

If everyone felt the need to protect the endangered fish then we wouldn’t have electricity or even bicycles! We wouldn’t have shampoo! Or cheese. Cheese is GREAT! Thank you to the cheese makers.

It is OKAY and necessary for us to have our own opinions and interests. It’s something God put in us.

Try something new. Try to encourage someone’s talents or interests instead of being offended that she doesn’t like cats as much as you do.

YOU ARE AMAZING.

God MADE you this way.

Be amazing AND a little more encouraging to all the other amazing people in your life.

The people who cross your path are not the same people who will cross my path.

They need your encouragement and support!

Believe it or not people look up to you and they care what you think of them.

Proverbs 27:17

 

Answers to Prayers or Just Coincidences?

There are so many times the very answer to a question I’m asking God about only in my head “happens” to show up in my life, whether online, from a stranger at a store, a Bible verse shared somewhere, etc.

I love when that happens. Always!

People could argue that they are coincidences… but I have a hard time believing that.

At what point would they NOT be called “coincidences” and start being called “answers to prayers” or “confirmations?”  Because this happens often after I’ve asked for answers or more confirmation about a specific something.

After 25?

50?

100 times?

Or 200?

One time after my divorce I was walking in a parking lot with my baby daughter walking beside me. I was praying and deep in thought and my stomach was twisted in knots.

I didn’t speak a word.

A man walked straight up to me and answered the very questions I was asking God. There’s no way anyone could have answered the very words that my heart was asking God about, right? I didn’t know that man and I never saw him before or after that. It was a very cool experience.

I mean that man could have said, “Hi.” He could have said, “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” People speak to each other often as they pass.

But this guy wasn’t passing me. He walked straight to me, said whatever exact answer I was wrestling with in my heart, and walked away.

For a long time I remembered what the words were and I should have written them to keep. Now I can’t remember them but every once in a while I ask God to bring those words to my mind if He will so that I can write them down.

It’s funny now that I think of it from that man’s perspective. Like God was urging him to walk over to me, say these words and walk away. I wonder if he was like, “Um, God, what if she thinks I’m crazy?” Or if he simply said, “Okay, God.”

Many times when stuff like this happens, it’s not like I’ve said anything to anyone but God and only in prayers to Him.

And I just love it ~ every time!

 

Do you have an answered prayer story to share?  I’d love to hear it.

 

The devil is afraid of YOU!

This is SO on my mind. It helps me remember where the battle really is.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. -the movie King’s Faith

Check that out!

The devil is AFRAID of ME!

And he’s afraid of YOU!

 

Get that through your beautiful head today. The devil is AFRAID of you!

 

WHAT would your today look like if you lived today in this confidence?

Stand up and look up.  Ask the Holy Spirit to cover you, ask God what He wants you to do today, and go do it.

I remember being a kid we had tarantulas all around our yard. Scary! But I remember hearing that they were more afraid of ME than I was of THEM. Hard to imagine!  But I kinda believe it’s the truth.

Knowing satan is AFRAID of YOU and what YOU can BECOME… just think of it!  This is why he works tirelessly year after year to keep you down.  YOU are important.

We have strength knowing that God is on our side and fighting battles for us ~ and some battles we probably don’t even know about.

We have so much power we don’t seem to use often enough.

There is power in the Word God gives us.  God SPOKE and created the world and everything in it.  SPEAK what the Bible says.

 

Check it out!

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. James 2:19

Read this – out loud – because the enemy trembles at the sound of the name of Jesus.

 

~The Armor of God~

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

~Helmet of Salvation~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Breastplate of Righteousness~

Ephesians 6:14  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

Isaiah 59:17  He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Philippians 3:9  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

~Sword of the Spirit

Word of God~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

John 6:63  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

~Shoes of the Gospel of Peace~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Isaiah 52:7  How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Galatians 5:15  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

~Belt of Truth~

Ephesians 6:17  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

John 14:8  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

~Shield of Faith~

Ephesians 6:16  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

1 John 5:4  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Are You Target Practice?

When people are unkind a lot of times it does NOT have anything at all to do with YOU.

Many times it’s unresolved stuff in someone’s life and you are the closest ~or safest~ target.

It’s hard to be happy when someone is hurting us but we CAN have some peace through the storm anyway.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ummm…

Okay I will try BECAUSE God says to. I may have to look up the words “pure” and “joy” and start off with “watered-down joy.”

But revenge and thoughts about revenge – don’t even go there.

Romans 12:17-19  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

You say, “But she’s really being mean. Like, REALLY!”

I know.

Be kinder anyway.

Pray for your enemies.  (Have you tried it?)

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I know.

It’s hard.

Ask God for help. Because ultimately, He is the ONLY One with this kind of help. He can change a heart and He can open people’s eyes to the damage they’re causing.

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

(Be genuine. Sarcasm and petty motives are beneath you.)

Good thought:  At least if they are focused on me, they are leaving someone else alone.

What am I learning?

He must be hurting very much to treat me this way. Even though the pain may not show on the outside there must be some stuff inside that is tearing up his heart.

Good news?

Yes.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Do you hear that? ALL things.

Here’s a good way to start.

“Dear God, I really don’t FEEL like praying for _________ but I will trust You when You say to pray for our enemies. Please touch the heart of this person because I’m not feelin’ so loving toward him today….”

Romans 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

~

Hey YOU. You got this!

Important Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about “education,” intelligence, experience, and even God-given talents and how sometimes we seem to feel like someone is “smarter” than someone else… when maybe our view cannot see the big picture.

When we get to Heaven, God may not be all that impressed with how many diplomas we have, how much is in our 401k, where we went to college, or if our kids went to public school, private school, home school, or whatever.

I do know God is going to ask each of us what we did with the talents He gave us. I hope we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

And I know some people aren’t sure God is real or if Heaven or Hell is real. I hope we don’t wait and find out it’s too late to ask Him. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you who He is. He does this. He’s okay with us asking Him questions.

Has anyone told you today that you are important?

Has anyone told you today that you are important?


You are important.

 

YOU MATTER.

 

You should get to hear it.

 

And if you forget,

or if you keep forgetting,

I’m here to keep reminding you that YOU ROCK.

 

 

Today I Remember My Husband ~Guest Post by Stephanie Wagoner Cravens

When I was younger,

Memorial Day used to incite feelings of excitement and adventure.

When we were younger it meant the end of the school year,

the public pool opening for business

and the freedom of summer peeking its head around the corner.

Although, today I know and value the true meaning of this day of remembrance,

I secretly miss the innocence of Memorial Days past when all it meant was being one day closer in our chase for summer.

Enjoy the day off with your friends and family,

chase summer with your arms wide open

and make a million memories as you go.

But also take a moment to reflect and remember those who lost their chase for summer

and their freedom to make memories so you could.

Today I remember my husband.

A son,

a father,

a best friend,

and a Marine who loved his country fiercely.

In Honor of Jarod Cravens

Nothing.

IMG_2798 iiaafb nothing

See this picture?

It’s a bunch of “nothing.”

It’s a bunch of dead autumn leaves soaked by rain.

They may LOOK like nothing but when the leaves break down they become part of something bigger and help other things grow.

I may have felt like “nothing” but I have a Jesus Who says I’m VERY SOMETHING

(even when I’m broken down.)

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog

Dallas Homies (Funny Story)

Dallas Homies.

That’s what we call them. They are people who are overlooked and forgotten.

They are some awesome people we’ve met – and they are homeless.

Jeans, shoes, socks, hats, shampoo, soap, backpacks, and pre-packaged foods are some of the things collected and given. (Yes, pre-packaged foods because the rule enforcers and the law stops “the love” when we bring healthy, fresh foods.)

Conversation is AS welcomed as the other stuff (including the ice-cold popsicles) on hot, Texas afternoons.

My kids were 9 and 13 and excited to give out hundreds of cold water bottles.

We saw a sweet woman who looked like she may be about 82. She looked kind and had a sweet face. The years had worn on her and her hair could use shampoo and a brush.

She was at the edge of a large crowd and she hadn’t collected anything yet.

She looked straight at my 13 year old.

In a loud voice she demanded to know, “DO YOU HAVE ANY SEX?”

Um, what?

In the big crowd of people only a couple others heard what she’d said to my child but THAT caught this momma’s attention!

The woman was still intently looking at my daughter and expecting an answer.

My 13 year old daughter smiled nervously and with wide-eyes she calmly and firmly replied, “NO.”

But the woman was persistent. She said, even louder this time, “DID YOU HAVE ANY SEX EARLIER?!”

Again my daughter, trying to be polite, looks down at the water bottles in her hands and at the people around her and shouts a little louder, “NO!”

Now, people know that sex is fun and homeless people like sex as much as anyone paying a mortgage does. But come on! THIS is my 13 year old CHILD she was talking to!

THIS time when she spoke I was watching closer and prepared to say something to her.

ARE YOU GONNA HAVE ANY SEX LATER?!” As she said this she put her hands together as if holding a bag and then pulled them apart a few inches as if OPENING A BAG.

SACKS!

Praise God she was asking for SACKS!

Relieved that she wasn’t looking for “sex” but only “sacks,” we were a little sad to have to tell her we’d run out of the bags earlier. We love hangin’ out with our Dallas Homies!

 

YOU don’t HAVE to be perfect.

People tell you… culture tells you… you have to be good enough; great enough; perfect enough; BEST enough.

But why?

Jesus says lean on Him and HE will make you enough.

I don’t HAVE to be strong enough.

And I cannot be.

If I could be all that is needed, then WHY would He have DIED for me?  It’s not just all about having fun and happy times.  It’s about serving others and about doing the jobs we were created to do.

If I had to be broken so that Jesus could shine through me to show His Glory, I think I’m okay with that.  <3
~
Check it out.  Jesus heals a blind guy.
John 9:1-5

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Guest Post ~ Fogdogz Christian Classic Rock Band

When people have hearts to share God’s word I hope to use any platform God gives me to lift their mission.

~

 

This is a band with a sound that many of us grew up with.

Check them out here:

https://www.facebook.com/FogDogz

http://www.reverbnation.com/fogdogz?page_view_source=facebook_app

 

About Fog Dogz

 

Hometown: Newcastle, OK

Genres: Christian Rock / Classic Rock
Members: Vic-Lead Vocals and Guitar, Walt-Drums, Travis-Guitar, Bass, and Vocals

This is a band with a heart for God and a focus on an older crowd that wants to bring a classic rock format to its church service and concert site.  A very overlooked part of the church is the 30 to 60 year old section who grew up with classic rock and have to go to clubs to listen to their style of music. Fogdogz brings it to them and allows it to minister to them with their kind of music.  You dont have to try and figure out, you just go with it.  We think that Christians can have a good time just letting go and having some fun and still maintain a worship atmosphere.  The kids dont have all the good music cos fogdogz is here for the mature crowd.  We can preach the gospel if we need to, or just work with whatever the pastor or leaders feel needs to happen.  The following we are trying to develop is getting people to follow us to heaven.  We also do events and throw in clean classic rock covers for your outing and get together needs.

For bookings or to get our full length CD for $10 call Travis 405-361-3523

If I were doing things MY way…

I would NOT be online. Period.

I was afraid. It’s as simple as that. I was afraid because now the rapists, molester, and others who have hurt me can now find me easier.

It was not a mistake that I wasn’t online. It wasn’t like I didn’t know HOW to use the internet or computer.

Of course I knew how.

I didn’t want to be online with pictures, video, writing, on social media, or anything else.

EVER.

If I were doing things MY way I would not have put myself “out there” in the great, wide space of the internet suddenly deciding at age 44 to be ridiculed and mocked for my faith in doing what we know God is calling us to do; opening and caring for a homeless teen center in Alaska.

I certainly wouldn’t have intentionally invited hate mail or wanted to hear the poisonous passive aggressive voices from people who do not see why we are doing what we are doing and at the same time do not have courage to ask us “Why?” personally.

If I were doing things MY way, I wouldn’t advertise that we were selling, giving, packing, and now waiting on the Lord to provide what He’s shown us He will provide if we do this work He’s given us to do.

No. I could have been a little more secretive about it… IF I were doing things MY way.

But I’m not. I am listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads our family to do amazing things.

I could have said, “No, God, that’s too uncomfortable. You KNOW me. And I just CAN’T be online. I love You but that is just too far out of my comfort zone. Maybe You have the wrong person for this job.”

RIGHT. I COULD have said that.

UMMM, NO.

One day I will be face to face with God and I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So… we will do what He’s calling us to do ~ EVEN though we face people laughing at our faith in Him.

God says He has a job for us and has given me the main tool I need to do this job.

Confidence.

Not just confidence in myself but confidence in Him AND that He’s got this and will show His Power through our work if we obey this calling and follow Him.

The Holy Spirit leads.

Have YOU been called?

Are you listening to what He’s called you to do?

Somebody needs YOU and YOUR life’s story. Have courage and do not be afraid.

Will some laugh? Probably.

Will some support? Hopefully.

Will some walk away from your life. Yes.

But with God’s Power and Support you cannot go wrong.

Step up into your position God’s calling you to.

I believe in you.

Listen to Him.

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Was God not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

We have a mission.

We are a family of 4 and God’s pulling us to Alaska. The pull is so strong and we are living day to day asking Him what He wants us to do today. We’ve lived this way almost 7 months now. We know what we are going to do and can look back at our whole lives to see how God’s prepared us for just this very thing.

We are moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place. We don’t know how to do this but He does and we will keep following.

We have sold almost all our things and have a small room full of things to move. The funny thing is that it’s not regular stuff people would usually move. We don’t have dressers, washer and dryer, car, (selling all those things) or even beds (just have mattresses that roll up.) We have art supplies, tools to build with, hair and nail stuff and photography equipment to move.

We know we are going to open and care for a homeless teen place and we knew we would be working with teens for many years now but have been turned away by every church we’ve gone to because of our past.

My husband is a preacher’s kid and was helping everyone in his younger years. Then the enemy worked on his heart and it made him wonder why nobody was ever there for him when he needed help. And he committed armed robbery and went to prison for about 8 years.

When we tell churches about this they are interested at first then turn us away. We understand that. And they don’t know him.

Tony has the eye and heart for the kid who isolates himself and isn’t involved. His story can reach lives that many cannot reach BEFORE it’s too late and kids make some of the same not so wise choices he made.

He’s also shared his struggle with pornography and has been porn free (yes, even soft porn) for about 4 years now. But when he speaks about this, churches and many people are not comfortable with the conversation (as can be expected.) This conversation makes people uncomfortable.

Honestly, the world has become WAY TOO comfortable with all the pornography everywhere.

So… we asked God if we were hearing wrong. Was He not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

Actually He does have this plan for us. And we are willing to do it but this is SO much bigger than our family and even if we had known when we were first born that THIS would be our calling we could not have done it all ourselves. We couldn’t have gotten the buildings, people, resources, and everything together even if we’d worked at this our whole lives.

But we serve and worship The God of The Impossible.

So we are packing and waiting on the Lord to give us the right timing to go. We are here, waiting (sometimes patiently and sometimes not so much…)

We know we are going to use our photography company (www.photosentimental.com) to honor people in need who cannot afford pictures of themselves. They get to see how beautiful they are and we’ll give them the pictures to keep.

Like the Help-Portrait thing that Jeremy Cowart is doing; Founded by Jeremy in 2008, Help-Portrait is a global community of photographers coming together across the world to use photography to give back to people in need.

Please share our story?

If you don’t feel led to give to this ministry, please still share? What we have found is that the very next person you share this with may have the same strong pull on his or her heart as we do on ours. This will take teachers, chefs, coaches, counselors, leaders, helpers, prayers, money, and more.

WE are just 4 of the people to help with this. We’d love to hear from you if you feel this same tug at your heart. It will be exciting to get to meet everyone God’s calling to this mission.Thank you and God bless.

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/itisallaboutfaithblog-alaska/x/7009583
blog
http://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/
blog on facebook
https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog
blog on twitter
https://twitter.com/GodMakeMeEnough

Live Like It.

Stuff every single day will try to make you lose faith and stop believing that God is real, that He is at work in our lives, and that there is a reason for everything.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your faith and make you doubt.

God is very real.

Your life has important purpose and everyone who crosses your path is for a reason.

Everything you go through has a purpose.

And the way you respond to it matters.

People are looking for you to be influential and to give them hope. My prayers tonight are for you. God is very much alive. Live like it.

 

YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

 https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/itisallaboutfaithblog-alaska/x/7009583

Please share?

This is bigger than just our family.  This is more than 4 people moving to Alaska.

This is huge!  This will take much more than money.  This will need volunteers, paid employees, land, buildings, donations, beds, food, chairs, computers, desks, clothing, sewing machines, counselors, police, lawyers, cooks, janitors, financial guys, etc.

Prayers please?

The same God Who gave Power to David’s sling and stones is able to lift us to do His Work when we obey & look to Him & give Him the Glory.

 

 

Dear child we haven’t met yet,

Dear child we haven’t met yet,

I am so sorry we weren’t there faster than this. We are packing. We are praying and God knows the time frame for when we will meet. He is moving mountains for us to get to you. We love you and we are here for you. Please don’t give up. You matter.

Love, Tony, Kerri, Chloe, and Chelsea Stites

 

No Limit ~by Tony Stites

I once thought about becoming a youth minister, and asked my dad what he thought.

Without even taking time to think about it he said, “No.”

After a few days went by, it started eating at me as to why he said no so fast. So I called him up and asked why he’d said no.

He then told me he thought I would make a great youth minister, but if I had to ask, it was not the job for me.

My dad told me if I was going to be a preacher or missionary of any kind it has to be such a strong passion that there is no way my mind can be changed, or it will not succeed.

I have been good at lots of things.

In my younger days I never found anyone I could not beat in a mile race.

I have never found anything I can’t fix.

But those are not passions; they are just things I’m good at.

I have such a strong pull to go help people in Wasilla that even if it is just one person I reach, it is worth it.

God has put it on my heart to go.

I have talked to the girls and my wife many times about this. And I asked them the same thing Jesus asked in Luke 14:25-30.

I told them that we may be sleeping on the floor for a few months before we can get a bed. I told them it was going to be a hard road.

Everyone has agreed it does not matter. The pull is too great. Not going would just make us miserable. We would rather go sleep on the ground, sit on the floor, and eat from the pot we cook in than sit here with all our stuff.

Wasilla is just a small part in what is going on.

When Noah built, God brought the animals to the ark.

Wasilla is the location God is telling us to build a teen center, and He will bring the people we are supposed to minister to.

I know most people don’t get it. No we don’t hear voices but God keeps opening doors and I keep walking through and this is the place He has led me.

Our whole family has a peace and joy about it.  And my girls and wife are amazed at the things they are able to give up without a second thought.

It’s not about how many people we may help. It may be 100. But if it’s just one person it still matters 100%. This is what we know we are supposed to do.

God turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough to feed 5 thousand.

There’s no limit to what He can do with 20 homeless kids.

I’ve Been Burned

I won't hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

I won’t hide it. This will be my ministry. Genesis 50:20

When I started asking God what HE wants ME to do every day instead of showing HIM that MY stuff was so important and my “to do list” was more important than whatever He had in mind, do you know what He did?

He has been giving me everything I need to do the job He’s asking me to do. He’s been leading me and equipping me every day.

One thing He’s done is that He gave me confidence.

WHO can give the gift of confidence? I can’t. You can’t. I mean, we can help lift each other but to actually GIVE the GIFT of confidence? Who can do this?

I can only think of ONE.

I haven’t had confidence since it was stolen from me. I have not had confidence since I was 9 years old and playing Hide and Seek with my cousins then my uncle decided to lift the sleeping bag and tell me, “Hide under here!”

WHAT a great hiding place!  They’d never think to look under here!  Thanks uncle.

Or maybe not.

I didn’t move. I knew if I moved then they’d find me and then I’d lose the game of Hide and Seek.

That’s how innocent I was.

That was the beginning of many years of satan convincing me I was nothing. That little devil was busy at work to make me believe his lies. I must have been quite a threat for him to work so long on me. Maybe you are a threat to him, too?

God allows bad things to happen to people. I don’t blame God. We all have free choice to eat the fruit the same way Adam and Eve ate it.

And we all have the same free choice every day NOT to eat it.

I have even forgiven my uncle and I am still not going to have my children around him. That would not be wise. (I’m not arguing this point with anyone.) This is my choice because I am my children’s mom and God does expect us to use the discernment He gives us.

See this picture of our table? There are many names on it. (Maybe I’ll write about why we let people sign our kitchen table in another post.) This can represent my heart and people who have come and gone through my life. Some have faded and some are bold, still.

They ALL are written there for a reason.

Now let’s talk about that big, black, burn mark in the middle of the table.

That burn mark is something that everyone sees or senses… but many of us don’t speak about it in our lives.

If I don’t talk about it because that’s uncomfortable or it would make someone else feel uncomfortable (especially at church because unfortunately that’s usually frowned upon and people are often gossiped about when we DO have courage to share our stories) then quite possibly the pain, and the wisdom I’ve gained through this pain, isn’t being used to help others.

I’ve been burned, right? God takes those very ashes and makes them into something beautiful that He will turn back around to glorify Him. He will use my pain and not waste it. I have peace in this.

You can have peace in your pain, too.

What God has been leading me to do (well, part of it) is to be online (which is more than a few zip codes out of my comfort zone) and speak blessings over people, challenge them to ask themselves “WHY” they believe and do what they believe and do, and then the bigger one of moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place.

I could not do this on my own. Ever. Period.  Any of it.

For the past 6 months every morning before my feet touch the floor, I pray, (sometimes silently and sometimes out loud) “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

One day a couple days ago when I woke up, (or rather when God allowed me to wake up ~ and we may all do well to remember this about life when we open our eyes in the mornings) I thought to myself, “What if I STOPPED asking God, ‘Hey, God, what do YOU want me to do today?'”

UM, THAT’D BE A QUICK, “NOPE. I’m not going there!”  There’s no going back.

Submission to God’s will and plan for our lives can actually be a fun thing. It’s very exhausting and trying at times and sometimes it’s lonely. But this is so worth it. It’s fulfilling my soul in a way that’s never happened before.

God will use YOUR pain for His glory.  Your pain will not go to waste.

I hope you choose to try this.  It’s simple. (I didn’t say it’s easy though.)

Ask God, the Creator of YOU, the Creator of all your talents, of all your likes and dislikes, what HIS plan is for you today.  He KNOWS you.  He LOVES you.  He’s got wonderful plans for your life.  Do you have the courage to just ask Him to show you those plans?

I know you do.  He will make beauty from your ashes.

“Daddy, what do YOU want me to do today?”

What if your child woke up one day and said, “Daddy, what do YOU want me to do today?”

And then did this every day.

HOW much does that open up possibilities for a life when the child asks this one, simple question… and then obeys it?

Let that sink in to your beautiful head.

And as a parent, you would equip your child with everything needed for each specific job, right? Or at least you’d guide your child find the tools and stuff needed, correct?

I wonder how many people understand much about “dying to self and living through Christ’s death.” I’m telling you that no church I’ve gone to taught me to do what I’m doing now ~ but I believe they really all should be teaching (and living) this part of the Bible. It’s pretty important.

I’m exhausted physically and emotionally but spiritually am very much awake and alive.

Do you have the courage to ask God every morning, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

Every day?

Can you do this?

I KNOW you can.

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

~
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.