Only God knows the inside of each marriage.

We saw a couple in a store one time. The wife started speaking louder and sounded pretty upset.

To my husband it seemed that she was upset without much reason. He didn’t see or hear anything before that so she probably was overreacting.

To me, it was obvious that she was exhausted from the broken communication between the two of them.

We neither one ever found out what was the reason for their argument that day several years ago.

But marriage has been under attack since Adam and Eve.

We want to blame.

That woman…

That snake…

Whatever has happened (and it looks different in each situation) HOW do you find the way to truly forgive and still live with someone who caused such damage?

The enemy wants to separate and isolate each of us and he does this in about a billion custom-designed, clever ways (including all those things we run to for imitation comfort.)

Here’s the best answer I can find.

 

“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

 

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. -Ephesians 6:12

 

Prayer. And The Incredible Power of The God behind the prayer.

 

God, ONLY YOU KNOW the inside of each marriage. Please heal broken lives and hearts. Please revive and make stronger what has been under attack for so very long.  Please let Your words be spoken and let us see each other with Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, please God, Amen.

 

[P.S. I’ve found this helps with more than marriage. I try to remember this now when I’m upset with anyone or any situation. There’s probably ALWAYS more than we can see with our eyes.]

[Note:  Forgiveness and staying daily in a dangerous situation are NOT the same things (though there are those who disagree.) God gave us wisdom and I believe we should use it. I do not EVER hope for divorce though I’ve been through it and through abusive situations and I do and will ALWAYS pray for safety for everyone.]

 

 

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We Are Homeless

Walking through the store I couldn’t help but wonder, “Can they tell we’re homeless?”

“If they knew would they treat us differently?”

“Somehow I feel like I look dirtier but I know it’s not true.”

“I don’t really have a home.”

I can’t describe all the different emotions going through our family’s minds right now.

We are homeless.

We are homeless now and are on a mission to go help other homeless people in Alaska.

How that is going to work is completely in God’s Hands.

We knew when we accepted this Call that we are out of our comfort zones and in way over our heads.

In our weakness He is strong.

He’s our Provider and He makes a way where we can’t see a way.

And I gotta tell ya, I can’t see a way just now.

We found out yesterday that an accident the camper trailer was in 2 weeks ago has left us without a home.

We gave and sold most of our things, the rest was packed for a year as we were waiting on God’s timing.  We feel His Calling to move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place and we got to Canada. We missed the road we needed and the driveway we were turning around in kinda crumbled under the RV tires and we were leaning against a tree.  It looked still drivable until the towing company got us out of the ditch.  It’s been shaken and broken and totaled. (We feel kinda similar to that.)

We are homeless.

But we are not hopeless.

We’re okay.  And we know God will make a way when we cannot see a way.

I don’t have to have all the answers but we know The Guy who does and we’ll keep asking Him to lead.

Prayers are always welcome here.

There are probably as many different reasons people become homeless as there are people in the world.  We’ve heard people say, “All homeless people are drug users and liars.”  But that’s as silly as saying, “Everyone with a house is honest and clean.”  Neither is truth.

I was moved to write this letter.

~~~
Dear Homeless Person,

YOU are braver than probably anyone I’ve ever met.

The stamina it must take for you to live through each day is something that most people cannot begin to comprehend.  The not knowing is more than exhausting.  The courage it takes to be homeless is beyond my ability to describe in words.

When people look at you as if you are “less than” I know you already understand that people just do not know what they do not know.

If there is anything I can say it is  please  do  not  give  up.

You matter.

Prayer is where The Best help is available.

I get that some would say that’s too cliché.

But it’s the truth.

No matter what anyone takes from you or happens to you, God really is with you and He really does care.

If you could tell the world 2 things we’d like to know so that people become more aware of how you feel.  (My 2 things are: You do not know what you do not know.  And: Please be kind.)

And if you could ask for 2 things what would they be?  (Mine would be: a shower and: a safe place to sleep.)

I don’t know how to get a home for anyone and we are going through only a little of the life you know well.  But we care and just wanted to write you a letter to let you know it.

In Him,
Kerri Stites
It is all about faith.
Check out what we have shared from June to September here:

Donate to this mission here:

Dear Daughters, I’ve noticed.

An Open Letter to My Daughters.

I hear the way you pray over your days, friends, enemies, and choices. I see how you love others and want good things for them. I see when someone hurts your feelings and hear you pray for blessings for them and for God to heal you and use your pain.

I just want you to know that I’ve noticed.

You know where your strength comes from and you keep sharing that it’s from Jesus when anyone asks what is different about you and sometimes even when they don’t ask. You are warriors for Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s Power, you are doing great things every day.

I’ve noticed.

It’s absolutely beautiful to see how you face trials and adversity and you don’t retaliate. You could be angry. You could try to get even. You could wish bad things on people who have hurt you.

But you just don’t.

You can know for certain that I notice.

I see you forgive but not necessarily forget because as God uses experiences He’s brought you through, He reminds you of the passion behind your drive to love others.  You have understanding beyond your years.

God has taught me a lot through allowing me to be your mom. Being a kid in 2015 is tough (probably way tougher than when I was a kid.) You are learning to walk in grace and beauty that can only come from Jesus. I see His peace covering you.

You are world changers.

I’ve prayed over your whole lives, marriage, school, work, friends, enemies, and faith. I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay.) Together we will always ask the Guy who does. Please come talk to me and Daddy when you make mistakes. (We were kids too and we made plenty of mistakes too.)  It’s okay to cry. God made tears and crying helps people heal.

I just wanted to be sure you hear that I notice you girls developing your own faith in Jesus and it’s beautiful to have a front row seat to this work He’s doing in your lives.

You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven and THAT means everything. These are the treasures that will last forever.

I love you.  Love, Mommy

~

Here is a prayer I wrote when you were little. I think it was around 2a.m. once as you slept while I was unpacking at a new house. I wrote it under your art desk. Whether the desk stays with you or not, the prayer and blessings will follow you no matter what.

Dear God,
Bless my children this night and from now on as they sit at this desk and help me always see their individual talents and encourage them for You. This night as I carefully set up all their art things in our new house keep them safe always.

Let me always remember the goal is Heaven no matter what comes in their lives and use me to help them see You. Through friendships and boyfriends and broken hearts let them look to You.

Let them have peace that You have a plan for each of their lives and not get sidetracked by the world.

Protect their minds and eyes and ears and bodies. Please keep them from harm.

Let me listen to them and remember that this time is for a season and not a lifetime. The dishes can always be done later. Lord, help me just learn to enjoy play time with my children and not organize anything. Just play!

I pray again this night for their husbands and their Christianity that they always look to You and are gentlemen to my girls You gave me. I cannot imagine anyone ever loving them like You and I do. Will they wipe their tears? Will they listen when my babies speak?

Oh, God, take care of my precious children in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

Heroes don’t always wear capes.

Sometimes heroes look like everyday people; just like you and me.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

Why?

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

~

About 6 months ago our car broke (It’s an older car. Head gasket broke. Too costly to repair everything.)

We’ve been walking almost everywhere we need to go. A few friends have taken us places when we asked and sometimes have let us use their cars when we asked.   (And sometimes people just offered.)

But most of the time over the past 6 months we’ve been walking.

We always wanted to walk more but much of the time we just didn’t. Not living with a car has been a blessing in several ways. We’re getting in better shape, eating less, eating at home more, feel better, we’re NOT in a hurry, and we spend many hours just walking and talking as a family.

Don’t get me wrong. We could have chosen to buy a car on our own timing and our own terms but instead we chose to ask God to show us the right one and the right timing.

Many choices in life we’ve made on our own. We’re tired of that. Now we try to include God and ask Him to lead our schedule and our choices every day.

He does lead.

We just missed hearing about 2 vehicles in the past few months by about ONE day each time. Both vehicles sold for only $500 each.

I could have been upset. But the thing is that we’re praying and we know that God answers prayers. So since both vehicles passed us by we knew neither was the right one for us or the right timing for whatever reasons.

God’s timing is amazing.

When we wait on Him, trusting Him, and following Him, life is just better.

2 days ago (JUST before Thanksgiving) our daughter wasn’t feeling well. We ended up going to the Emergency Room, being transported by ambulance, and surgery done – all within about 7 hours.

It was unexpected and a pretty crazy week. It was appendicitis.

Friends gave us a ride to the hospital. Usually they don’t hear the phone but did this time and were at our door in less than 10 minutes. Thank you, Danny and Meredith.

Another friend brought my husband and oldest daughter to the hospital and stayed with us during the surgery. He wasn’t in a rush. God sent him to help us and just to love on us right when we needed a friend. Thank you, Mike.

Two of our daughter’s Bible class teachers came to visit her the next morning.  This was pretty cool because about 24 hours earlier they’d been in Israel.  They took the time after their long trip to visit her after surgery.  Thank you, David and Kari.  This was very sweet of you.

A friend and her mom also showed up at the hospital and were there just in time to hang out for a while in the hospital room and give our daughter someone to spend time with which put a much needed smile on her face. Then we were released (earlier than expected) to go home and they were able to drive us home. No hurry. No pressure. Just love. Thank you, (you know who you are.)

After we got home another friend and her dad came by our house. We talked while the girls played. We told him about the calling we feel to move to Alaska to open and take care of a homeless teen center and we talked about our car situation.

We had no idea what was going to happen next.

He made a phone call to his mom who is not needing to use her truck and he took us to get the truck right then. No strings attached. Thank you, Elizabeth, and Leland, and Rachel.

It may be a little while before our daughter can walk like she used to. Receiving a vehicle right now is quite amazing timing. It’s not coincidence.

God’s timing is perfect.

I do not have to be able to explain it.

I do not have to defend it.

I do not have to know HOW God is going to do something.

That’s not my job.

It’s my job to ASK Him.

It’s my job to believe that He will.

It’s my job to tell others about everything God has done in my life.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

God did this! (Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.)

 

He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

During my college years I was visiting a church and they asked if anyone had any prayer requests. I raised my hand and said something like, “I need it to not rain on Tuesday because I’m moving.”

And then the teacher said something I won’t forget, “God doesn’t listen to the little things like that.”

I told him it was a pretty big deal to me. It’s my life and it’s where I live so it wasn’t a little request to me.

He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

It had been raining and raining for weeks (which I LOVE) but I really needed a day without rain to move because my lease was up and the new apartment was ready.

When we were back in class the next Sunday he asked about prayer requests again. I said I have a praise. “God answered my prayer. Not only did He give me ONE day – He gave me TWO days without rain to move.”

And after I moved – it rained AGAIN for a few weeks.

I’m sure some would say it was coincidence.

Some could say the rain was already going to do that on those days and prayer had nothing to do with it.

So… it just happened that my lease ended, the new apartment was ready, my boxes were packed, and everything else just happened to be the same day (two days) as no rain… and it just happened that I prayed about the specific day and all that?

Maybe…

(And it even could be that I wasn’t the only one praying for no rain on Tuesday.)

What I know is that my God is very big and He absolutely DOES care about every detail of our lives. He listens to our prayers and He is a detail God.

If we don’t believe God hears us and will answer when we pray… then why pray?

[Note: EVEN IF I had not received a day (or two) without rain, I’d STILL praise God and would have moved (with soggy boxes) but I may not have felt moved to write about it. There are many prayers God answers in ways only He understands. I will trust Him no matter what.]

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.

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.

 

Mommy is a pole dancer for Daddy (and that is healthy)

I wanted to look sexier for myself and for my husband (even though he already likes the way I look and he’d never ask me to work out unless it was with him and for fun. He seems to have eyes that see me kinda the way God sees me. As beautiful.)

The best thing was to just tough it out and do regular work outs like regular people but working out is not one of my favorite things to do. Knowing I NEED to work out even though it’s torture

I chose to look for a more fun way to do it.

I found a pole dancing exercise place just for women. What a GREAT idea! I’d work out, feel sexier, look better, AND have a special private show for my husband.

Yes it really was a great idea but if I did this I knew I’d want to install poles in our bedroom so I could do my work outs at home for date nights also.

It may sound silly but this was heavy on my mind. I REALLY wanted to do this. But HOW could I install a pole in my bedroom when we have kids? WHAT would we tell them? Do I install two poles and say they are for support for our ceiling? Do we put a hammock hanging between them? “Oh kids, look at the metal trees.” Do we install one and say it’s a Maypole? (You know, those poles where children dance around it holding the ribbons.)

But we don’t lie to our kids. And some day they’ll eventually see a pole somewhere and they’ll know what the dancing is about and they may go into shock remembering

“that wedding anniversary when mommy and daddy installed the pole in their room.”

Lying on the counselor’s couch they’ll say, “So THAT’S what that was for! Say it isn‘t so!!”

I asked several girlfriends what they thought I should say to my kids about it. Nobody had the perfect answer that wouldn’t be dishonest. After a few months I gave up. I didn’t take the pole dancing class. I didn’t install a pole. I didn’t dance for my husband and I didn’t work out most of that year.

A while after that I was talking to my mother in law. She’s a preacher’s wife and a good, fun, God fearing mother and Grammy. She’s not afraid to give her opinion and we like that about her.

I told her it would be fun to take this class together if we lived closer to each other. I told her of the debating and agony I went through and that I’d want a pole in our bedroom if we did that exercise class.

I said THE reason I didn’t take the class is because I didn’t know what to tell her grandbabies about the pole. This sweet preacher’s wife had the best answer EVER. She said, “Well that’s easy. Tell them you had a REALLY FUN MARRIAGE!”

Time to sign up for that class!