Pressure

We bought an old mirror for about 8 dollars at a thrift store. I securely attached it to the wall, adjusted the placement (twice actually) and a few nights later we had heard a noise but didn’t realize what it was.

The pipes in the walls shake a bit as evident by some sounds, and perhaps also I installed it with some uneven pressure.

Maybe it was both. Don’t know.

Either way the next morning this is what we found.

It was broken.
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This broken mirror happened during some of the most intense pressure in our lives EVER. We have been walking through fire.

There has been judgment without conversation, hate without understanding, gossip without much thought of damage, and yet in the middle of it all God has been providing blessing after blessing in ways we can’t even explain (we pray to some day share in writing.) We will choose to praise Him.

Sometimes it’s not about what happened or an event in life that is the actual heaviest part that threatens to break you.

But the weight of the heavy judgment

from almost everyone –

or sometimes even from just one person – can be SO heavy.

Lay it down. You don’t have to carry this weight.

It’s sad that this is even a thing because the truth is people don’t have to be mad or mean to each other because I will stand before God for my choices and you will stand before Him for yours. This includes the way we treat ourselves and others. Perhaps life is a lot about learning to become more healthy and help other people heal too.

 

AS IF my kids and I had needed a visual aid, this cracked mirror happened right on cue.

Sometimes pressures ON you

(possibly some self-inflicted pressures – in the view of eternity,)

IN you

(stuff you don’t take captive and make obedient to Christ,)

and AROUND you

(happen to you and some have nothing to do with your choices but rather choices that have been made for you,)

in life will either break you and produce curses from your mouth

or refine you and produce praises from your mouth.

It’s so cool (and by Design) that nobody or no thing that happens has the power to take this away from you.

The choice

has always been

and

will always be

only

yours.

 

Sparkles

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I have a bed. I have a mattress a church helped us buy, and a castle-sized frame a new friend built for us. I am glad.

At first I thought it would be too high and I would be scared to sleep so I thought I was going to put my mattress on the floor and sleep in a cute cave (dungeon) but instead I have a tiny dungeon library/prayer closet underneath and I sleep in the keep of my castle.

I have been praying about bed frames that would make cozy places for me and my mom and sister to just be.

This whole thing is about God answering my prayers.

-Chelsea

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I’ve kind of always seen my bed as my safe place. It’s my own space where I can read, pray, cry, and my mom can kiss me goodnight.

I have my own castle now. I have a prayer “closet” underneath and I can rest in the castle bed above.

Several months ago a grouchy customer ordered a double 8 ounce extra hot latte. I was glad when he left the store. As a barista part of my job is to learn names of customers to write on their cups. One time he told me his name but I had forgotten it and he wouldn’t tell me again so I told him with a smile that his name would from then on be Sparkle because of his (not so) sparkly attitude.

This grouchy customer, acquaintance, now friend just built me and my mom and sister bed frames.

I have been praying about our own safe place for longer than I can remember. Sparkle has been an unexpected blessing and I still make him his double 8 ounce extra hot latte with a smile and deep appreciation.

-Chloe

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Sometimes answers to prayers come in unexpected ways and times.

I have been praying about furniture many other needs and our own space for a long while now. God has opened doors to the impossible: the miracle of a safe, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving, precious, generous family to stay with for several weeks as we waited in prayer expecting more miracles but not even having answers yet, an apartment with a washer and dryer from the previous tenant, three bikes to get around town, a microwave from someone, toilet paper and paper towels as we moved in, a few donations, advice and help from kind, gentle counselors and low income offices designed to help lift people out of situations they’ve found themselves in, a church helped us buy mattresses, and now a carpenter with hidden kindness built us bed frames with prayer closets underneath. I slept there the first night and felt like a kid in a treehouse.

I remember my daughter talking about this customer who was grouchy and not so fun to be around. The thing is … his heart is actually bigger than anyone knows and I’m not supposed to tell anyone but can’t help it because his kindness has been more proof again to us that God answers prayers when we ask, seek, wait, and keep placing our trust in Him no matter what anyone else says.

I thanked him several times for being such a blessing to me and my girls.

Then – he thanked US for being an answer to HIS prayers as a way he could serve his Lord.

God answers prayers.

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I may not know exactly what prayer answers you’re waiting for – but I have to tell you that God does answer and He does provide in very real ways. He can be trusted and He is faithful. He delivers, answers, heals, redeems, restores, and He cares. I’m agreeing in prayer with you right now for answers to the questions you have. May God bless you and lead you to people who reflect the love of God and add a little sparkle to your life.

-Kerri

It is all about faith

We will (sometimes not so patiently but mostly patiently yet always expectantly) wait on the Lord here in Washington for the Alaska homeless place (we believe will be for sex-trafficked survivor girls) we every day constantly feel Him teaching and preparing us for in the future whatever His timing is. We know He’s got this. He is faithful and He rewards those who wait on Him and keep putting their trust in Him.

“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion.)

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be healthier.  My husband and I have started saying this one sentence and I noticed this could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is an experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago.

Every morning we say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

This one sentence thing is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but I’ve had ENOUGH of that.

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re both getting to hear some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.)  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is such a powerful thing.

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious.

We all probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)

But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and I know this can help lots of people and wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (the person reading this) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a worthwhile person and you matter.

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.

One Dollar and Fifteen Cents

An amazing 12 year old friend named Madison 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.

Madison 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 living 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 are you looking for?

I went to a Christian college.  That does not mean I’m perfect.  That does not mean I’m good or bad.  That means my parents wanted me to have the opportunity to get to have teachers and friends with hopefully a strong moral compass that would help lead my life toward Heaven.

We’re all sinners.  ALL of us.

If I looked for the kids who were more like me (the “black sheep” of the family) I found them.  If I wanted to find people with stronger character who were not afraid to show their faith, I found them.  I loved all of the people I met.  Some hurt me.  Some did not.  I wouldn’t go back and change anything because God has used each situation in my life and created something altogether good out of it.

Whatever you are looking for in any situation you will find.  You want to find the problems, they’re there.  You want to find the blessings, they’re there, too.  The very same situation can provide both.  Want something to complain about?  You’ll certainly find it.  Want something to praise God about?  It is there.  Always.

What are you looking for?

Prayers are always welcome here (We feel God is calling our family to Alaska to open & care for a homeless teen center.)

You know when someone says they feel called to adopt a child and so people pray for the adoption but sometimes forget to pray for life AFTER the adoption. Then you hear people whisper, “Well, what’d they THINK was gonna happen?!”

Do not think for a second that the adoption wasn’t God-led. It very likely was but satan didn’t like it one bit. Sooo… there’s drama sometimes.

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You know we pray all the time for our kids to finish high school and college but sometimes we forget to pray for AFTER high school and college. “Well just look at the crowd they fell in with.”

Well from our experience with most churches, a kid leaves for college only to return to their home congregation to find they’re suddenly not welcome in the high school group anymore.

Then churches cry and say, “Where have we gone wrong with the 19 to 30 year olds?”

I have an idea…

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You know how we prepare for the wedding but sometimes don’t spend as much time praying over the marriage. You sometimes even hear of people placing bets on marriages to see how long they’ll last.

Really? Please don’t be that guy. PRAY over their marriage. Please don’t bet it won’t work.

~
We are moving to Alaska. We get crazy looks all the time. All we know is God is moving us there to love on people who are hurting and we’re a pretty good choice for this so I can’t figure why anyone would doubt it but that’s beside the point.

I came personally online (blog, Facebook, Twitter) to share my faith and to find prayer warriors, connections, financial, and any other support we can find for this move.

If you pray, please start praying for our lives AFTER the move (and still for the move, itself) because honestly it’s a little scary. We’ve never been there.

It’s not like we’ve been saying, “Oh, look. Easy life in Alaska.”

We’ve just shared our faith and that we know God’s moving us.

What should we say? “No, God, that just won’t do.”

Um… not gonna to do that.

We’re moving in faith. That IS the plan. Prayer.

So if you’re skeptical, that’s cool. You can still be skeptical AND please pray for us as we take this step of faith.

Moving my kids to new friends and schools and all that goes with a big move is more than a little intimidating.

Thank you and may God bless you even more than you pray He blesses us.