Dear People Who Feel God Stirring Your Heart to Some Kind of Ministry,

Where do you put your hope?

ONLY YOU know when God whispers to your soul.

It’s something you’ll not soon forget.

Please pray continually about the ministry He’s nudging you to. Every step needs to be saturated in prayer.

When God puts a dream in your heart HE can be trusted to lead you to everything you will need to do the work.

We’ve listened to many, many people tell us that we need to “do things this way” or “that way” because “that’s just the way ministry works.” There is some good advice out there.

But also I’ve heard of brand new ministries that were born into people’s hearts but were aborted because they gave up when a few said, “That’s not possible” or “No. We won’t fund that.” Some give up when faced with churches who want a “5 Year Plan” and won’t even pray with them toward this work.

I just CAN’T find it in the Bible where Jesus said follow committees, preachers, or churches, family, friends, or other leaders, and when they say “No” then give up.

Where is your Hope? In people? In circumstances? In other Christians? Or in God?

I have read that Jesus says “Follow ME.”

God is the God of the impossible. He’s great at making impossible things possible.

The Holy Spirit is here to lead us.

This stuff is real.

What God has put on my heart is that when people and churches and organizations that do NOT donate, whether prayers or money or other kinds of support, that does NOT mean it’s time to give up!

Perhaps God wasn’t using them for this particular ministry.

And that’s okay!

 

There are many people God does bring you in contact with who believe with you

…BEFORE the physical buildings can be seen,

…BEFORE it “looks official,”

…when it’s still ONLY BY FAITH that you feel compelled to take another step.

We felt God planting in our hearts that He was moving our family from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. Currently we’re waiting on Him in Washington. He’s training us more every day.

And I still can’t give anyone a 5 year plan. (…probably never will be able to.)

And the funny thing is I can’t find it in The Bible where God says I have to.

As we have stayed in prayer, walking in faith, over the past 4 years, God has led us to people:

with hearts for ministry and specifically for this ministry we feel moved to,

who are counselors,

people on Boards of Directors who are already working with the homeless,

people who have started organizations that help rescue sex-trafficked girls,

maternity ministries,

CEOs with the same hearts for this kind of ministry,

people who know about nonprofits like 501c3,

architects,

builders,

teachers,

camp directors,

musicians,

worship leaders,

preachers,

prayer warriors,

singers,

gardeners,

landscapers,

hunters,

chefs,

janitors,

AND

people who have donated financially (some once, and some a few times) over the past 4 years

EVEN THOUGH

they know we’re not even “there” yet. (Yes, we’re keeping the list for later tax purposes.)

God has sent people to believe with us, in spirit and in action.

And THAT is the most amazing thing.

For God to send support like that is just reassurance time after time that HE’s got this and HE IS listening and leading and providing.

After all, He IS our Provider, so… I’m not surprised but ALWAYS constantly in awe every single step of the way.

If we’d TRIED to plan all this, things couldn’t have ever gone better.

When you see God giving you the next step and the next, you can’t help but want more!

My question is that if we’d “planned” it all on paper (to get a church or organization to donate) then where does being open to the Holy Spirit daily fit in?

I actually don’t even think that’s how it’s supposed to be done “Biblically.” I think that’s taking a dream God gives and trying to make it fit our way.

Perhaps “planning” how we want it to look isn’t such a perfect way after all.

That “plan” would have changed so many times by now already.

My faith and my hope is NOT in an organization

or in a preacher

or in a committee who may pull funding

if we’re not fast enough for them,

or if we don’t baptize enough people in their given amount of time,

or for whatever results they want to see on a graph chart or powerpoint.

My hope is in HIM.

And HE is faithful to complete work He started.

 

SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU.

And God, ALONE, is MORE THAN ENOUGH to lead you to this work He’s prepared in advance for you to do. (You’ll know it when it happens because it’ll include your passion and talents He gave you.)

I can’t tell you it will be easy but it’s very worth it even when others think it’s silly. (And they will. So what? Let them think it’s silly. Perhaps, when they’re ready to surrender to Him, God will move them, too. Your job isn’t to convince them. It’s to follow in faith.)

There are doors that God unlocks through prayer, singing praises to Him, and reading Scripture out loud, that we could never have unlocked ourselves.

God opens doors that NO enemy can shut.

And He closes doors that NO friend can open.

HE IS ABLE.

 

A few years ago when we told someone about this God-sized dream He’s placed in our hearts, they asked skeptically, “You and whose army?! Who is going to do this work with you?!” I said, “Me and whatever army God calls together.”

Watch Him do it.

 

Hear This Truth:

Proverbs 3:5-6

TRUST in THE LORD with ALL your heart

and lean NOT on your OWN understanding;

in ALL your ways SUBMIT TO HIM,

AND HE WILL make your paths straight.

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If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

Trust in The LORD with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your OWN understanding; in ALL your ways submit to HIM, and He WILL make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

To the person who keeps searching for love, YOU MATTER.

Warning: Not a pretty story. MANY ministries are not created out of pretty stories. God takes the ashes and MAKES something beautiful from them.

 

I am writing this for you, Very Important Person, because you don’t yet know your worth. You are worth SO MUCH MORE than you can imagine.

You matter green marker and pencil

I think I always knew one day I’d be moved to write this.

This is that day.

I recently heard someone in church mention a girl he knew from childhood who many called Slut.

Immediately I hurt for her, “She’s broken.”

My heart sank hearing grown up people quietly snicker at this mention of a girl who was trapped in this kind of prison.

DON’T THEY KNOW she was held captive there?

DIDN’T THEY KNOW that laughing about her is part of the problem?

DON’T THEY KNOW their gossip etches their own names on the links in the chains that keep her locked up?

I know this prison.

I lived there.

I remember when I was a little girl and I loved life. I climbed way up in the apple trees in my front yard and ate apples right off the trees.

Honeysuckle grew on a nearby fence. I loved that!

I liked playing, and school, and family, and life was fun.

Then it wasn’t.

When I was nine years old I was sexually molested by someone.

I will write more as God leads me to write. This is its own story and would take too many words for today.

This happened from age 9 to age 15.

At age 15 I was raped at church camp.

I didn’t DARE tell ANYbody for years!

After all, I had snuck out to meet this boy at night (but I had NO intentions of more than kissing.)

And I liked him and I thought he liked me and the thought that he wanted to talk to me and maybe kiss a while made my heart beat a little quicker!

Little did I know that this was part of satan’s plan to take me down.

I did not understand at the time that the enemy was afraid of what I could become in Jesus Christ and I did not understand yet that God’s plan of redemption would use this part of my story years later for His Glory.

I did not tell.

I did not even cry.

Who would care about me?

Who would believe me anyway?

Why did I even think he’d want to meet me to talk a while? Silly girl.

Scarlet A? The letter A may as well have been tattooed all over my body.

When I was 15 a boy older than I was invited me to his house for lunch.

Only …his intentions were NOT to have lunch at all.

Also when I was 15 the town pedophile (or rather, one of them) found me.

I must have had a magnet or target or something.

With the enemy searching for someone to devour, it is very likely truth that there was some kind of invisible target on me for me to have found all the trouble I did

or, rather,

for it to have found me.

Then…

Someone at school told me that my name was written on the boys’ bathroom wall.

I was 16.

The shock and shame that came with this discovery was something that I did not know how to process.

I guess I could have looked at the bright side; that it said I was GOOD at something. At least the writing was positive in SOME way.

My name was written on the boys bathroom wall

The affection and acceptance I was desperately searching for had me tangled in depravity of sin for years because the enemy’s OH, SO carefully crafted trick to strip my belief that I was ANYthing worthwhile was working.

That enemy is clever.

 

I kept searching for “love.”

Boys were generous to offer lots of “comfort.”

After all,

the world, tv and movies, commercials, books, and most of life taught me that it wasn’t really a big deal to kiss or fool around before marriage as long as you don’t have “sex” sex.

Right?

The world is WRONG.

Keeping the marriage bed pure means EVEN BEFORE marriage to keep the marriage bed pure. I cannot IMAGINE what a blessing I would have received if I’d saved all my kisses and all my desire for my husband. And if someone stole something or if we mess up that does NOT mean to KEEP messing up.

 

OH, if I’d only known my value!

But I did not.

I was the butt of satan’s cruel joke.

And people laughed.

 

A friend told me about my name on the boys’ bathroom wall.

Jeff Fisher was my hero that day and I will always remember.

He did what nobody else would do.

He opened the bathroom door

And he let me witness as he ERASED MY NAME off that wall.

 

In that moment

even though he wasn’t aware of how my life had headed this way,

and of course neither of us could know what would happen in the years to come,

he showed me I was worth something.

 

In THAT moment

And

ONLY

for

a

moment

I

believed

I

could

be

worth

something.

 

Years after that I was raped 3 more times while attending a Christian college. (Quick note: Christian colleges are great! People are the people no matter where we go. Jesus is perfect. People are not.)

 

That Last Time.

One boy I’d been out with before called me and asked if I’d like to go see a movie.

I smiled! Aww! That’s so sweet.

“Sure! I’d love to go see a movie.”

He likes me?! I’m so excited!

 

The thing is…

he had NO intention of ever taking me to a movie.

 

As he raped me in his car,

I didn’t scream.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything.

Rivers of tears silently poured down my cheeks.

And I believed

Finally

Without a doubt

That I was

absolutely nothing.

 

I clearly remember lying there in that moment thinking through these words.

 

“This… is all I’m good for?”

.

“…Oh…”

.

“…Okay.”

.

I breathed out as the tears kept falling.

.

“I’m …Nothing.”

 

Definition of nothing

  1. Not anything : no thing
  2. Someone or something of no interest, value, or importance
  3. Me

 

 

I’m certain that if anyone could see that moment in time, they would witness satan dancing on my broken spirit, certain that he’d won, and confident in the belief that his work to bury me forever was complete.

But God says,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:3

 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10a

But that old devil forgot the next part of this verse!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b

My God is bigger.

My God is stronger.

My God picked me up and gave me a firm place to stand.

He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, Psalm 40:1b-3a

 

Just over 2 years ago God gave me the gift of my confidence back.

I did not even know it was missing.

But the very moment He gave it back I realized it had been stolen with my innocence when I was a little girl of 9 years old.

I did not know to pray for it to be restored because I did not know it had been missing.

I didn’t even know a person could live without something like that.

God restores what has been stolen.

 

I didn’t know I mattered.

And now, I know the truth.

I don’t have to search anymore for affection or acceptance here in this broken world.

(And neither do YOU.)

My GOD IS ENOUGH.

 

And THAT’S why I’m here.

That’s why I’m online.

That’s why you’re reading this.

It’s my purpose.

I will spend the rest of my life telling people they matter.

 

You matter letter beads

 

When satan tries to tell you that you’re nothing…

Remember that Jesus did not defeat death for Nothing!

Jesus defeated death for YOU and YOU are VERY SOMETHING.

You matter post it note

 

Think about it this way.

If you didn’t matter so much, WHY would the enemy work so hard to try to keep you down?

You matter blue chalk

 

My life’s verse

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

You matter. 2

My whole purpose in life breaks down into two words.

You matter.

You matter stamp letters

All the years searching in a thousand ways to find what ONLY God can provide for me has brought me to these two words.

You matter.

You matter small letters

ONLY God can fulfil the emptiness in our broken hearts.

You matter purple crayon

ONLY God can give love like we all desperately crave.

You matter curly pink

How ever I finally learned this and if my life’s story even only helps ONE person begin to heal and to realize his or her worth, it was worth it to help set another free (even when others don’t get it or laugh.)

For YOU, it’s worth it.

Because you matter.

You matter steampunk 2

 

[Of course there are a hundred other moments that taught me I was nothing and I didn’t mention them all here. That would take WAY too many words.

Each one alone may not have been so devastating.

But all together,

They buried me for about 35 years.

While you may THINK whatever you say or do in a moment won’t hurt someone…

I am living proof that all the moments add up and it IS VERY MUCH a big deal. It was enough to keep me hidden for years. And that’s what the enemy wants; to shut us up.

YOU may not realize it but YOU may be the ONLY person who speaks life into someone all year.

YOUR WORDS MATTER.

GOD SPOKE and created everything. (He could have done this any way He wanted to but He spoke and things happened. That is pretty interesting.)

Your words have power to tear down or to heal.

You can either be part of the problem and keep someone locked in the chains or you can help heal and tell her she matters.

Can’t tell her in person for whatever reason?

That’s okay. Pray for her. GOD is ultimately The One she needs the most anyway; not you (or me) and not boys. Pray for God to reveal His purpose for her and His love for her.

This broken world could use a whole lot more praying and praises

And a WHOLE lot less gossip.]

You matter phone calendar reminder

 

 

[Parent Note:

If you’re not talking with your kids, age appropriately and as-a-matter-of-fact-ly and without sounding embarrassed (much like you’re teaching them how to cook or how to do math or read) SOMEONE ELSE WILL. And they may not teach the beautiful truth about how God made sex to be very good.

Let them know it’s okay to ask questions about ANYTHING.

PLEASE be a safe place for healthy answers with no sarcasm.

Please?]

 

YOU MATTER big letters Jo Ann Fabrics

 

[Note to people who say pornography is okay:

Lots of people don’t know their value.

If you’re viewing pornography then you clearly do not value people in the pictures as God intended.

And very likely you do not know your own worth, either.

The world has made it a profession to take what God made to be good and mess it up and then pass it off as no big deal to anyone who will buy into the lies.

The world has taken sex which God made to be beautiful and VERY good and twisted it and corrupted it into pornography.

And pornography has NO place in anyone’s world.

Ever.

NOTHING you can say will change my mind.

Pornography is NOT love.

Pornography is slavery.

From the “actors” to the producers to the consumers, PORNOGRAPHY is a VERY REAL HELL on Earth and EVERY view supports this prison, whether in print, video, or any other way.

Be careful, little eyes, what you see, for The Father up above is looking down IN LOVE.

TALK to HIM. He’s listening and He breaks chains that keep us from really living.

OH how God LOVES YOU!]

You matter pink and brown

 

 

[Note to Dads:

OH, DADS!

PLEASE hear me.

What you say matters SO much.

What you DON’T say matters SO much.

If you are not giving your daughter healthy, good kind of love that God intended for a father to bless a daughter with, there are LOTS OF BOYS who are GLAD to offer her anything in the name of affection.

If she already knows her worth in God and with you, Dad, she won’t have any need to accept this from the boys.]

You matter.

 

[Note:

-I wrote this from my life’s view. I do know that guys are molested and raped also and I pray God gives them courage to speak out and to heal also.

-Some people told me that I SHOULD hate sex now because of what has happened in my life. What kind of messed up thinking is THAT?!  WHY in the world would I want to give the enemy ANY more moments of my time by hating something that God designed to be VERY good? Sex is fun and wonderful when experienced the way God designed it.

-I also know some families do not include Dad for many different reasons. While that is unfortunate in my opinion, there are many father figures who are God-fearing, God-loving men who (may not ever fill Dad’s shoes but) can help heal a girl’s heart.

-And I also know that some dads are not healthy and cannot seem to give love the way God intended. This is most unfortunate. I pray for you now and some day I pray you know how much you matter.

-If you’re mad that I believe dads have so much influence, that’s okay. It’s okay for people to have different opinions. God made man the head of the house. It’s HIS design. Not mine. And He’s big enough for you to question Him about it. Lots of things God designed get messed up when we try to change what He made and make it how we think we want it to be. God made us for different purposes but our souls are equally valuable. Just ask Jesus.

-And YES it’s also VERY important what moms say AND what they don’t say.

-People who are looking for an argument and want to hate on me for writing, God has such a bigger purpose in this life for you. I pray He leads you to find it. And also, you matter.]

 

You matter etched

 

[MOST IMPORTANT NOTE:

If you have been molested or raped,

IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.]

 

You matter brown cream

 

Homelessness is really REALLY not fun.

It’s a whole bunch of loss.

Homelessness is lost shoes, lost computer cords, misplaced kitchen bowls, ruined papers, and broken pieces all over the place.

For a moment I missed the regular life I’d known where I (thought I) knew what tomorrow would look like but…

The thing is that we often fool ourselves into thinking we know and have some kind of security or some kind of “familiar” because it feels good to think this but the truth is that nobody knows what tomorrow holds.

Even when we try to plan our days and months, it’s a façade and we spend energy where really we have very little control.

Following Jesus means me giving up control.

I had a moment a few weeks ago where I broke down and let go of all the tears that needed to be set free.

When I pack to move, I pack as efficiently as possible and mark the boxes so that people who may help carry boxes later when moving in can easily take them to the closest room. It only took several years of moving before I started doing this but it helps so much and I’m glad to have finally learned this moving tip.

When I was a little girl, my room was clean. I like it clean. I like things in the best places they go and to be organized.

For the past 3 months (2 years, rather, since we began praying for God to take control and show us His Plans for us) our world has been rocked and we’ve been led through tests (some we pass easily and some not so much) and loss of friendships, found out that support isn’t always in the places we’d think it would be, and that homelessness is REALLY not fun.

It feels like my life is upside down and yet we all have peace.

As a mom and wife I want to make my space “home” for my family but it’s hard to do that when our belongings are scattered for so long.

Today I’m asking for prayers. We have a few more boxes to go through to get moved into this 3rd RV. The rest of our things are in a tent beside us and the weather guys say it’s going to storm this weekend. (It’s been about 3 months since the trailer tires were in a ditch and a towing company pulled us out.)

The first RV was totaled by that towing company. (Let that sink in.)

Then we were homeless for a month.

A friend I met online , Kathy Thompson Ellis, wrote, “Looking at your situation from the outside, from the planning and work involved in just leaving and getting on the road to having faith that God is leading you to this ministry for the homeless, to you and your family becoming homeless… I am thinking Wow! and… almost Why didn’t you expect this? Jesus became human and experienced existing on this earth as a human before He could become the perfect savior. He said, leave it all to follow Me. My heart is breaking for you all but also rejoicing because if God is allowing this in your journey, He must have some incredible and wonderful mighty plans for you. Your current circumstance is no surprise to Him. It is part of His plan. He is holding you and will never let go. What an adventure! I don’t mean to sound condescending. In a way, I am almost envious because it is so obvious that God is doing a great work in you and through you. Keep on trusting. Keeping you in my prayers. He does His best work when we come to the end of our own strength and resources and have no one and nothing to rely on but Him.” (Check out Kathy’s blogs here and here .)

 

It was a comfort she said this and she’s right. Doesn’t it make sense that God would lead us this way so that we can be better equipped to help and love on people He’s leading us to serve?

When any good father gives his child a job he will provide what is needed to do the job (or help him find out how.) How much MORE will God equip us to do the jobs He’s planned for us when we ask for His help?

We stayed in hotels about 10 days with insurance money then I prayed, “God, if there’s a family we can stay with please let us know. Please provide?”

Of course I prayed this while standing safely in a hotel room and felt like a fool asking God to provide when He was CLEARLY ALREADY providing (including the first RV and truck to pull it.)

He protected us from a storm during those days that, if we’d been driving, could have blown us off the road.

That storm had knocked down trees and taken electricity from houses miles around for several days.

We had not even heard the storm because we were safely in a hotel room away from the danger.

And I was asking God to provide.

I can just imagine the way He was probably looking at me. “My sweet child… you’re so cute.”

I went on, “Thank You for providing. I do see that You’re providing. I’m just asking because we had stayed in many parking lots for free and then several times for less than $30 a night and now every night is about $130. So if there’s a family who needs a house sitter or has room for us please show us.” (Currently, He’s led us to a place for $16 a night and a neighbor who doesn’t want to talk about Jesus. That’s okay. God’s got us right where He wants us and saying nothing is an option sometimes. He still works through us even by just using our presence – and even sometimes, our absence – for Him.)

It was that moment God put it on my heart and reminded me that He is God and He does not need money to get things done. And that He’s leading us to people and the relationships are what it’s all about.

The next day was Sunday and we’ve prayed about where to go to church since way before we began this move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place.

He led us to a Chinese church.

There are a lot of things people say to each other at church.

“Want some gum?” “How’s life?” “Do you guys want to go to lunch?”

We’d shared a tiny bit with a few people about the towing company and the RV tires had been stuck in a ditch but had not shared at all what I’d prayed in the hotel.

A sweet Chinese man walked out of a sea of people and suddenly was right in front of my face. “Do you need a place to stay?”

(In my head I was like, “Yes, Jesus, thank You for answering. That was cool.”)

But out loud I said, “Yes, please. We do.”

We stayed with this wonderful family for 3 weeks.

[ Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. ]

 

We’d been homeless for 2 weeks before we knew for certain that the RV camper trailer was a “total loss.” The auto repair shop was busy and finally looked at it with us.

The insurance woman said, “We’ll just write this off and you can go home.”

“We don’t have home. This was our home.”

“What now, God?”

We hadn’t had credit for about 12 years but before we left Texas a banker had gone through months of our bills and we had been pre-approved for a house loan in Alaska. We called several places and prayed for days and then called this banker again and said something like, “I’m not even sure if you guys give loans for RVs but we’re just asking, seeking, and knocking, and wanted to know if this is an option.”

He told us to call a woman and when she pulled our credit she said, “I’ve never seen someone approved so quickly!”

We went from zero credit to perfect credit in about 5 months. In today’s world and how credit works that’s a miracle.

(The first RV loan was from a dealership in Texas who gives loans on campers from their lot only so when this was written off we were without a loan and without a place to stay. While there were 5 months of truck payments, the first RV loan had never been turned into the credit place because their office had been flooded so it didn’t count as far as credit bureaus go.)

We moved into the 2nd RV for 2 weeks. The shower was never hooked up underneath and I felt like my stomach was inside out and that was another loss.

I prayed for 3 days. “God, please give me words. Please help me face this giant. They are a big company and I am just me. Please move this mountain.”

He did.

I talked again with the people who had sold us the 2nd trailer. They said they wanted to fix it but the more I’d prayed the more I knew it wasn’t something that can be fixed. It had to be replaced. Water damage is serious and there was no easy way to fix it.

They replaced the whole thing.

Another miracle. (We pray God helps us write the details down some time because God’s Hand has been in this in a billion different ways.)

We get that some choose homelessness for many different reasons I cannot even know, but many do not.

A sweet new friend and I were talking. She felt moved to donate to this mission and during our conversation (while we were homeless) she told me how she’s struggling with, “Homeless people should get a job.”

I smiled at her.

She knew that my husband’s job of almost 18 years is traveling with us because he works from home (wherever home may be at the moment.) She realized it’s not always so simple and the conversation was a good thing for both of us.

I like to be organized. Not only were pairs of shoes in different boxes but they were in different countries!

When we ask God to reveal His Plans for our lives He (I can pretty much guarantee it) will lead us through test after test and chisel away the parts of our lives that are offensive to Him.

It’s actually quite painful but somehow VERY worth it at the same time.

He leads us to places and situations we’re uncomfortable and HAVE to trust Him to provide (not just physically, either.)

Even though today we may face a storm and more loss if the tent does not hold, we would not go back to life as we knew it.

This is more adventure than I’d ever asked for (and more than I ever wanted, to be honest) but following Jesus and walking in faith with The Holy Spirit with us is adventure worth living.

Today I’m asking for prayers for me and also I guess for you and that God opens eyes and ears to His Plans for your life and even when He leads you through something uncomfortable (and He will) He is Enough.

 

 

 

The one day a year the neighborhood comes TO your door is not the time to keep it shut.

It’s Halloween.

Open your door.

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Toss some Jesus candy to people.

Start a conversation.

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Bless them.

Invite them to church.

Pray over the candy before you hand it out.

For real.  Not even joking.

Like a prayer walk

only pray blessings for the people

who will blow bubbles with the bubble gum you give out.

Print a scripture and tape it

to each piece of candy.

We are to go all over the world

to make disciples

and that is hard to do

when the door is locked.

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People know that many Christians are famous for

sharing everything we’re AGAINST

but we’re not as famous for sharing Jesus the way we should.

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It’s like this.

Sometimes we throw stones

at the adulteress

instead of being aware of

our own secret sin.

If we show her love, REAL TRUE love,

the kind of love she’s longing for

with all her heart,

then maybe,

just maybe she’ll want more of that

instead of the counterfeit romance that people offer her.

There is ONE night out

of the whole entire long year

that people flood the streets,

MAKE EYE CONTACT,

and say “Hello”

without thinking it’s awkward.

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THIS evening is NOT the time to close the door.

The neighbors you pray about knowing Christ

all year long

God is bringing TO you

but the opportunity to invite them to know

more about Jesus

is missed because you don’t want

anyone to think you’re “celebrating” Halloween.

Opening your door and handing out candy on Halloween

does not mean you’re celebrating evil spirits

any more than going to a funeral

at a graveside service does.

This year my Mad Hattress, my Dear Fawn, my husband and I

will be loving on people however God leads us,

with lights on, doors open,

and some Jesus candy to share.

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Be “that guy” and hand out Bibles if you want to

because you never know who needs one

but please don’t miss this opportunity

to love on and bless your neighbors.

Start a conversation.

Share Jesus with people

especially on Halloween

when sidewalks are covered with people

who are dying to know Him.

Be safe. Be blessed and Happy Halloween.

[Note: Do not send me hate mail

because I see a great outreach opportunity

and feel led to share about it.

I get it.

Some will be upset.

Some are always upset.

But someone may get to know Christ

because of open doors on Halloween

and I don’t want anyone

to miss any opportunity to share Him.]

People tell us, “It doesn’t work that way!”

God put on our hearts to build a homeless teen place in Alaska and we’re just going in faith that He’s really doing this.

People have told us, “It doesn’t work that way!”  (And more stuff like that.)

Us: In what way does “it” work?

Skeptics: “Well you have to have a church supporting you.”

Us: Who told you that?

The world says you have to have a church backing you or a committee or a degree in ministry or this or that to get ministry work done.

The world lies about LOTS of things.

Us to the Skeptics: So you’re limiting God?

God is NOT limited.

God is not limited to what a church or committee can do. God is not limited to what we think. And He certainly is not limited by the world’s understanding.

Look at what He did with some fishermen in The Bible.

In fact, time after time in The Bible God didn’t choose the wealthiest or most educated or famous or “most likely” people to do His important work.

Don’t you think He is MORE than capable of providing and leading today just like He did then?

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He still leads today. The problem is that we’ve listened and believed what the world says for so very long that it drowned out His Voice.

He promises He will take care of us and provide and He does.

When our family stopped asking other church leaders and preachers and pastors about how we can serve, and started asking God instead through prayer, He began opening doors that ONLY God can unlock.

We knew we were supposed to be serving somehow but time after time we were invited to just sit in the pew.

We were ALL made for more than that and when we don’t get the opportunity to serve somehow, a part of us begins to die.

In my opinion, churches (actually more groups and people and leaders, but ESPECIALLY churches) should be doing MORE praying over people to find their unique talents and gifts and LESS stopping people from serving but maybe that’s just me. (It’s not. But to prevent arguments, let’s say maybe it is.)

Prayer is where this happened for us and we pray the whole world starts to pray without ceasing and everyone gets to serve in the ways He’s planned for them since before they were born. He will show you. This, I know.

People know WE don’t have enough money or people or land or buildings to build this homeless place in Alaska.

But GOD’S resources are unlimited.

This is about HIS Power and our obedience to what we feel called to do.

It’s called walking by faith.

We are not walking by what money or provision we can SEE because if we did, we’d have given up WAY before we ever started.

God made us. When He knitted us together He knitted within us what our purpose is but we got so lost in the world that we lost focus of what He Calls us to do.

People listen to the world say, “That dream is too big!” or “That’s too impossible.” Or, “It has to look THIS way.” “That won’t work.”

With this Calling we feel, people have said, “Have you done your research?” “How many homeless teens are there?” Our answer, “If God’s Calling us there like we believe He is, we’re sure there is at least one and isn’t one enough?”

God talks about helping the orphans and widows.

God puts dreams in our hearts all the time.

The world is the place we hear something “can’t” happen or it’s a dumb idea.

Sweet Friend, the world is WRONG.

And if someone tells you about a dream on his or her heart, the answer is, “Let’s pray for more confirmation.”

God opens doors that no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.

You’ll know because He’ll show you.

Don’t worry about opposition or people who can’t see your vision.

That’s okay.

If they were doing the work God has prepared for them to do then they wouldn’t have time to critique His work with you.

And do not even tell me that you’re too old or it’s too late to begin a ministry. God had work for people when they were 500 years old and now, in 2015, when we’re 60, we’re whining for retirement.

We are made to serve and work and why do we hear so many people who “retire” wanting more and going back to some kind of work?

We’re unfulfilled when we don’t have a purpose or work to do.

Your ministry could be right in your neighborhood or home or job.

The work for pay that you’re doing right now may not have been God-led. If you’re miserable at your job this may be the case because even during tough times, He gives peace when we’re doing the work He has for us.  If your job IS God-led and you’re miserable, maybe He’s used you there as long as He needed to and now is wanting to move you.  Ask Him.

He may Call you across the world.

Ask Him to lead and let Him show you His plans for you. To wake up every day and know your purpose is a most wonderful way to live.

God will ALWAYS have work for us to be doing and we can ALWAYS make a difference in this world for Him.

You have to believe.

“Here am I, Lord. Send me.”

God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

This stuff is real.

Very recently I yelled at God. It was something like, “God, YOU are the One who gave me this dream! Show me how and when! We are willing to follow You and obey. You know this. Please just show us HOW!” The ache to help people who need love is so great and we are so ready to go serve how God has called us to serve.

About 5 years ago God put a thought into my head, “YOU ARE MOVING.”

I didn’t want to hear that. So I didn’t listen.

Instead I told an elder at church that, “I could never move because I love this church too much.” I believe God took that church (building) out of our path because I was disobedient.  (And I lived to tell about it. God does not stop loving us or using us when we’re disobedient contrary to what so many people tell you. God uses ALL of your story for His Glory.)

But this was so strong that I could not ignore it.

It’s April. God put it on my heart that April 1st would be the time He moved us to Alaska to begin work on the homeless teen center dream. I was like, “God, You KNOW what April 1st is.  I don’t want to tell people that!”

Many people know that we thought it was last April. The thing is; there are a lot of Aprils in our lifetime. There is one every year.

If God’s shown you a time or season for something just keep trusting Him no matter what other people tell you because He knows what He’s doing.

We’ve looked like fools for Him kinda “building an ark” in our yard for the past year and a half since we started telling people about what He’s doing in our lives.

And we’ll KEEP ON looking like fools for Him until the day He takes our breath away.

My God is real. My God can do more than you ever ask or imagine. Follow Him. Talk to Him. (You can talk to Him right now. This story isn’t going anywhere. I’ll wait right here.)

Before He gave me this dream:

1. I never dreamed of going to live in Alaska. But apparently it’s been something my husband wanted to do since he was a little boy. (I didn’t know that til last year.)

2. I didn’t even LIKE teenagers until one of my own kids was a teenager.  My favorite ages have always been the 2s and 3s.  I love to listen to the stuff they talk about!

The world tells you that teenagers are… well, the world says lots of negative things about teenagers.  The truth about teenagers is that teenagers need respect just like adults and younger kids do and when we show them respect, they are quick to give respect back. Listen to their crazy dreams and stuff they think about, pray over them, and help them find their talents and what God wants to do with them. And how God uses them may or may not look like we think it “should” look regarding culture and school, career, and life. And that’s OKAY!

Even when nobody really (other than my 2 daughters who have always believed in me) believed what God had shown me, I still knew He was doing this work in my life and what He’s calling us to go do.

~~>  Walking by faith is SO very LONELY but SO very worth it.  <~~

Okay so check this out.

April 1st.  I yelled at God to show me HOW.

April 2nd.  We were led to a car dealership.

Wait. First we were led to a camper/RV place.

Wait. First before that my husband’s friend asked him to hang out for the day and they drove by the camper dealership so later he asked me to go see them with him.

But before that my husband worked over 50 hours in 3 days.

Okay. There’s not even a way to begin this story and explain how we got here unless God shows me how to share the details.

When you follow Jesus, be ready to let go of stuff you keep trying to control.

This is a God thing. If you’ve read this blog much it’s not new to hear that we have been waiting on God’s timing and a miracle. We are in the middle of another one right now.

God can do anything with anybody.

This truck thing happened with no credit for several years, a payment that meets our income, all the details we prayed about, strong enough to pull a trailer, and it was at the dealership for just a week (not even put in the front to sell yet.)  The guy said they rarely have this kind of truck for this price and right now they had TWO.

After we were home for the night, we all went to bed praying if this is God’s provision then great and if not, that’s great too. We asked Him to show us the next steps and to give us peace either way.

God showed me one time last year in a dream that we had a big white vehicle. When I woke up, I knew it wasn’t a bus or a van. At that time it didn’t occur to me that it could be a camper.

We revisited a used camper lot and the woman asked what we were looking for. All the campers there had only 1 bed in them. (All except one.) We need 3 or 4 beds for our family.  She showed us a camper with SEVEN beds and now we have a truck to pull it and to carry the art supplies, photography equipment, decorations, sewing patterns, hair and make-up supplies, and most importantly those mismatched tea party pieces.

~~>  You read that right.  We are moving to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been very celebrated.  <~~

The story God’s leading us through has touched so many lives already and we haven’t even begun the actual work IN Alaska yet.  Praise Him!  (When God shows you WHY you’re here it will blow your mind! Ask Him to show you. There’s nothing like this in the whole world.)

The other 2 pieces that go with the truck are the camper and an enclosed truck bed cover to store boxes in for the drive to Alaska (as tall as possible and we’re looking at junk yards to find one in case anyone knows of any good places.)

We need $20,000 more to pay for the camper and for gas to move there. And I hear there’s a ferry we need to pay for to move the truck and camper across water so probably more than this and I KNOW God will provide this somehow.

If a father asks his son to mow the yard, he’ll give him (or show him how to get) a lawn mower, gas (or an extension cord and electricity,) and a lawn to mow.  How much MORE will God supply for His children when we listen and follow what He’s calling us to do?!  He will supply everything ~ INCLUDING leading us to the very people He’s calling us to help!

If you know anyone with a heart for this ministry or who just wants to help this mission get started, please share our story.

We have hearts for homeless people and we are able to physically go there to serve them.  We know there are many more people who ALSO have hearts for this ministry and who cannot go physically but DO have resources to help do this work for Him.

We are going to give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, budgeting, celebrate people who maybe haven’t felt a reason to celebrate lately, and MOST importantly lead people to a closer relationship with Jesus.

When you feel called to give, then give.  When you don’t, then don’t.   It’s really that simple.

I’ll say it again.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

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All eyes are on You, Lord.  We give all the glory to You.

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Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money.

Instead of stressing out about whatever I’m working on, I’ve learned to give it to God. (Well, most of the time I do that. I’m still trying to remember to do this more often.) THAT (only) took just over 40 years to learn…

When I send a note, write on the blog, write to a company, or answer an email, with my hands on the keyboard I say, “God, please let this be whatever You will make of it.”

If I’m building something, I can put my hands on the shelves or whatever I’m building and say a prayer over all the people who will use the shelves.

Parenting is a most important job!  Our kids are placed in our care by God and they are His. He’s given us the honor of parenting. (Some people desire to be parents with all their hearts and never get the opportunity. Please let your parenting honor God.)

When we pray over our children, we often place our hands on their head or shoulders and say something like, “God, please send the Holy Spirit with our children today and let them shine for You. Please send Your Angels to protect them and give them the strength to be the people You are calling them to be.” (Our kids have told us the days we do this are more peaceful and powerful than the days we don’t.)

Here are some other practical ways to do this every day:

If you work in a store, pray over the merchandise before you open that day, for God to bless the lives of people buying the products.

If your work honors God, then you’re on the right track.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

~~> Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money. <~~

If you mostly do phone work, you can pray over your phone before work or all through the day just asking God to send healing to the customers you’ll connect with that day.

You get the idea. It may sound simple. (And it is.) But when you put this into action, amazing things begin to happen.

The truth is: We don’t have to work SO hard to make something look how WE think it “should” look or to make it “successful.” WE can do our best and leave the results up to God without so much stress we sometimes put on ourselves.

What I mean is that we sometimes let stress take over something that could be a fun or great thing (like opening a new business) and not all stress is bad. Even good stress is still stressful.

It’s the same thing with whatever you do, whether it’s school, home, or wherever you are. And it doesn’t have to be some big spectacle! You can say a silent prayer in your head as you walk.

At the store you can pray over the people who drive the cars as you walk past them in the parking lot.

Or if you’re jogging you can pray over the people who live in the houses as you run past them.

The people you see or talk with every day are not the same people I see every day. They are crossing your path for a reason and you may be the ONLY Light for Jesus they see all year. Let them see Him in you.

Recently I shared that we were praying about moving to Alaska to open the homeless teen place God’s put on our hearts.

A teenage employee looked right into my eyes as if asking for something but not exactly sure WHAT that is, “I’m still learning HOW to pray.”

I said, “Just talk to Him.”

~> “THAT” moment mattered. If I’d said nothing then I’d have missed an important minute to share Jesus with someone who may be looking for Him. <~

I am confident that when God hears someone pray for the first time, He listens and is pleased no matter how we think it sounds.

 

He’s not mad at you.

People know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God led people before the Bible was written to write the Bible (which is actually proof that He led people before the Bible was written because how can we believe that the Bible is God-led unless God led them to write it?)

He led people during Bible times which is clear in the Bible.

And since His Word is a Living Word and He is a Living God, He still leads people today.

The same people who profess that God is the same yesterday, today and forever are some of the same people who will adamantly tell you that God does not really lead us today in 2015.

How can that be?  If He is the same always and He led yesterday, then it is obvious that He still leads today.

The Bible is not just a history book. It is a book showing us God’s Love, Redemption, and Grace for mankind. And just because we can read how God saved (or wiped out) people in the Bible does not mean He could only do that work ONE time. He can and DOES STILL save (and wipe out people.)

People will argue.  And the sad thing is that so much of the church seems to be so busy arguing like Pharisees that people who don’t know Jesus yet may wonder if He’s a good thing or not.

He is.  He is good.  Jesus is The ONLY Way to Heaven.  And I apologize for how we Christians sometimes mess things up by making stuff sound too complicated.  Because it’s really not.

~~>  Jesus loves you.  <~~

You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

But God is a jealous God and we’ve made idols that come before Him, we’ve turned the beautiful sex that He made into pornography under the disguise of “entertainment,” put sports games before worshipping Him, plastered our walls with posters of movie stars and musicians, and pretend that WE are to be praised for how well our career is going instead of praising Him for the job AND for the talents to do the jobs.

Praise Him – in good AND bad times.  Amazing things happen when we do this.  It’s not about me or you.  Life is about God.  We are made by Him and to bring Him glory.  He created us with the very talents needed to do the jobs He’s planned for us since before we were born.

Have you heard the Good News?

Jesus is not still on the cross. He is RISEN!

Let’s celebrate that He is risen when we share communion.

Many times the atmosphere during communion (at least in most church buildings where I’ve attended) feels much more like a funeral than a celebration.

~~~>  REJOICE! HE IS RISEN!  <~~~

Ask God what He wants you to do today and follow the tugs on your heart.  Then ask Him again tomorrow what He wants you to do tomorrow.  He wants to hear from you every day.  He will lead you.  This, I know.

Don’t know if God can use you or your story?  He can.  He will.  And many times I’ve witnessed the very things that threaten to hold us down are the very things God uses to lift us up to help and save others through and from the same experiences.

God knows we mess up.  He knew our best and our not so wise choices BEFORE we were made.

We hide sin from other people and from Him because deep down we know it’s sin;  just like Adam and Eve knew and hid in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing new and nothing you do or think will surprise Him.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take YOUR sins with Him SO THAT you can receive the gift of Heaven for all eternity after this life.  You can’t be “good” enough for Heaven or “bad” enough for Hell.  You are forgiven enough when you receive Him and are baptized under water.

Heaven is a GIFT.  You are redeemed!  Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners.  Hell will be filled with people who denied Christ as their Savior and who walked away from God.  God doesn’t leave you.  You have to leave Him if you don’t want Him.

~~>  And in case nobody has ever told you,

THIS is THE most important decision of your whole life.  <~~

He sent the Holy Spirit here to live INSIDE you and guide you.  This stuff is real and Heaven and Hell are real.

The greatest words ever will be to hear, “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!” Matthew 25:21

He’s not mad at you.

He’s madly IN LOVE WITH YOU and He has a great plan for your life.

How will you know what that looks like unless you keep asking Him to keep leading you?

 

God, teach Your people to stop the fighting and start uniting.  P.S. And please could You teach us what that looks like because as soon as we try, we start arguing (like the children we are.)  Just please keep leading us.  Please forgive us when we mess up and always remind us how much You love us.  Thank You for never giving up on us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

“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) and totally worth the work.

I’m always looking for simple ways to help relationships be as close and as healthy as they can be.  My husband and I have just started doing a few new things for our marriage and we’re noticing this one could be helpful in possibly any relationship.

Here is one experiment we’ve just started a couple weeks ago (and we’re both loving it!)

Every morning we have decided to 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.

(Sweet note: The look on my husband’s face as he speaks is so beautiful and something that’s been hiding for a little while.  It’s really nice to see the thought behind his words as he says something kind about me and to me.  Sometimes he’s just remembering good things from the past and those are good to hear also.  I can’t help but think he may be feeling the same way as he hears me speak good things about him, too.  It’s heart-healing.)

This 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 we’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 powerful.)

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 my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we 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 (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

More Than Bathroom Signs

Just because something feels right or good doesn’t always mean we should follow it or do it. It may be good to ask for more direction or read the signs before moving forward.

For example:

When you walk down the hallway where the bathrooms are at the nearest Chili’s, which I’ve done a hundred times over the years, the women’s restroom is on the left and the men’s is straight ahead.

But when you walk down the hallway marked “Restrooms” at Jason’s Deli, the one on the left is NOT – I repeat – NOT where they keep the women’s restroom.

It may be best not to ask me how I know this. Let’s just say I pay more attention to signs than I used to. (I may – or may not – have been in the restroom when I witnessed, through the crack in the stall door, a man washing his hands in what I thought was the women’s bathroom.)

If you’ve read this blog before then you know I’m talking about more than bathroom signs.

One time, about 3 or so years ago, I sat in my house and shared a fear with a teacher from church that I felt God was leading me to speak on stage one day and I was kind of afraid and didn’t really want to do this. (Give me a room full of 2 or 3 year olds and SURE I’m great and love teaching but a room full of adults; Yikes!)

Without hesitation he said, “Yeeaahh, but if He’s not…”

And I quietly repeated that I really feel He’s showing me (and He has been tugging on my heart for some time) this is something He’s doing with my life.  “But I think God’s doing this with me.”

Again, ALL he said was, “Yeahh, but if He’s not…”

That doesn’t seem like a very wise response when someone tells you that she feels God is leading her to something (whether she’s afraid or not.)

You’re probably already thinking there are at least 20 better pieces of advice or responses that could follow that.

~~> I believe the very best advice may be this encouragement when people open up and share with you what they believe God is doing in their lives; “That sounds amazing. Ask for more confirmation. I’ll be praying, too.” <~~

The problem I had with this experience was that I listened to a man (and someone I respected at the time) over what I kinda already knew to be true. And I believed that I probably “heard” God wrong for a few more years.

The only reason I can see to tell people they’re wrong about God Calling them is jealousy or maybe ignorance about the truth that the Holy Spirit actually does what God says He does in the Bible and that He actually DOES live in us and He actually DOES guide us every day. He actually interprets for us when we talk to God and aren’t even sure what to pray.

If you feel God is leading you to something, please pray for more confirmation and ask other believers to pray with you, too. I believe many of us miss out on Supernatural and Divine work that God’s got for us simply because we are listening to other people tell us it’s not possible that God actually works in ways He says He does.

God can take things we think are impossible and make them completely 100% possible and real. And He does this with everyday people like you and me. Believe His Promises.

Think about this:

If people tell you God only uses teachers, preachers, and Bible scholars, then maybe they’re missing the fact that Jesus chose regular people to walk with Him and perform miracles. He could have chosen anyone, right?

God’s got a plan for your life no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

Ask Him for more confirmation. And I’ll be praying, too.

 

Those Hypocrites At Church

Church people mess up. Christians mess up. We mess up JUST LIKE anyone else. Being a Christian does not make someone perfect.

I’m not even sure why anyone ever started thinking that way.

If we were perfect, then there wouldn’t be any need for Jesus’ Blood to cover us or for Him to have died for us.

Jesus is The One who is perfect; not Christians.

People are people.

People sometimes say, “Well, I don’t go to church because there are hypocrites at church.”

Yes. There are.

AND there are hypocrites at the grocery store, school, the gym, the office, the bar, and everywhere else you go.

The enemy WANTS you to give up on church and the whole idea of “church.”

You still go to these other places even though there are hypocrites there.

So please, please don’t let a church building be THE one place you stop going because of this.

YOU may have something to share with people that nobody else has shared.

YOUR presence in a church building could be the VERY thing in which satan is MOST afraid! He’s the great deceiver. If you don’t think this could be true, then why would he work so hard to keep you out?

 

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.]

Some kids consider suicide because of low grades

You do NOT have to be good at everything.

The older I get the more I notice how so many people think they have to be the best at everything. I’m not sure where this came from or when it started – but it’s been this way a long time.

God could have made us any way He wanted to and He purposely made each of us with different strengths and talents so when did we decide that we need to try to be equal?

If schools (and not just schools but school is the main place that was on my mind) want to help kids be the best they can be why don’t we work more on the natural God-given talents instead of trying to make people be equally good at every subject?

Some kids (and parents and teachers) make this into SUCH a big deal that kids actually consider suicide because of low grades. Unfortunately some go through with it.

~~> When kids commit suicide over low grades… we’re focused on the wrong things. <~~

I'm not the only person who can see that this pressure is too much and this way of thinking is messed up!

WHY? Why has school become this? (Maybe it's not this way in every school but low grades are THE thing teachers have focused on all OUR lives so that's why I'm writing this.)

Almost NOBODY is going to be equally good at every subject. And THAT'S OKAY!

WHAT IF when we look at report cards, instead of working on the worst grade, we focus on the best grade?

Because if we help each other find and sharpen our God-given skills to the very best of our abilities, then it would change the world. We would all be doing what we are designed to be doing.

Kids are stressed out about how to correctly use adverbs and prepositions instead of being able to enjoy the confidence knowing they are strong in math.

Yes. We need to know how to write to get our point across but bad grammar and spelling will NOT keep you out of Heaven.

(Personally, I'd rather do just about anything than work on math because I'm just not good at math.)

And wanna know something? It's OKAY to NOT be good at everything!

If someone is stronger in math, then maybe we should feed that area of interest instead of being so wrapped up in their weakest subject.

Report cards do NOT measure your worth.
Report cards do NOT measure your value.

But many kids (AND many grown ups) go through life feeling like "less than" because a 2.0 grade average TOLD them to BELIEVE they are less than.

You are not less than ANYthing.

You are great! You have many amazing God-given gifts and if you're not sure what they are yet, ask God to show you. He will. They'll match your interests and usually they're the things you're good at without trying much. Your talents are directly in line with why God made you and what you were made to do in life.

Sure. Keep studying math because we need math in life but stop stressing out about a lower grade in math and focus more energy on your strongest subjects. God MADE you this way. It's OKAY to be better at spelling than math or vice versa.

In case nobody ever told you… you do NOT have to be the greatest at everything. You are very talented.

I’ve fallen in love

I just can’t explain it! I’ve fallen in love!

You know when you feel warm and secure all inside and out?

You know what I’m talking about!

He’s all you can think about and he takes up all the places in your mind.

You spend all day long daydreaming about him.

People almost get tired of hearing you talk about how great he is.

I’m telling you ~ when you fall in love with Jesus you just cannot shut up about Him!

I’ve heard other Jesus Freaks talking about this kind of life. I’m SO glad I listened now!

I have to be honest. I didn’t understand for many years what they were talking about but now I get it. You’ve heard all that stuff about, “I was blind but now I see.”

It’s real.

He just does something to you and you cannot get enough of this amazing relationship!

Sometimes I wonder what our lives would look like if we STARTED with Jesus instead of searching through everything else under the sun first… because there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

What if we started our kids on this path when they are young instead of the fickle, wobbly, unsafe, insecure, flimsy path many of us walked on through the years?

I’m not just saying to learn ABOUT Jesus. I’m talking about KNOWING Jesus.

When God gives a gift He really gives a gift! His Son is a gift. You cannot earn Him. You cannot buy Him. You just accept Him. That’s what a gift is. A gift is freely given. You can reject Him because you think He’s not the right whatever but I can honestly say you are missing out on some Heaven on Earth if you choose “Return to Sender” on this gift.  For certain you would be missing out after this life is over and getting to spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.  Can you imagine it?!  Forever with the One you love?!

Instead of looking to a teacher, pastor, preacher, a church, state leader, national leader, or even our mentors, what if WE search for Jesus? We have access to Jesus. God gave this to us.

Just talk to Him. Ask Him to be with you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

OH what a difference, God, You have made in me! Holy Spirit, stay with me and guide me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Hurting from the Inside Out (Quantity vs. Quality -especially in churches)

Recently I visited a church and…

There is nothing wrong with wanting a church, business, school, family, or club to grow.

There IS a problem when the focus is mainly on “the numbers” if the group’s members are hurting from the inside out and they are not being cared for in a healthy way.

Especially talking about churches; If the members are starving for healing, purpose, and love yet the focus is on growing the numbers, there is a problem.

It does NOT matter if you rave about having 300 or 3,000 attendees when so many of the current members are poor in spirit and are not being fed.  Where are the leaders when the people who attend there every week are feeling left empty?

That being said; If the members go to church on Sunday or whenever and then don’t live like Jesus the rest of the week; helping and loving on people God leads them to help and love on, there is something missing. [And of course many people DO help. You know that I know this.]

If we were all doing our jobs then how can there be members in any congregation who have everyday needs not met when they are the very SAME needs they’ve had for years?

And I’m not talking about people who take advantage of others and expect others to take care of their lives for them.

I’m talking about yards needing raked or fences falling down when the family is busy just trying to survive. Physical needs are everywhere. Please help meet them.

I’m talking about people who cannot leave their houses and this may be for physical reasons or emotional ones. Both are valid and people just need to know they matter and that someone misses them.

Yes. Members need to take responsibility to let a true need be known and then we need to help where we are called to help.

And we need to realize there are some people who just cannot ask for help for whatever reasons. We should be looking for those who need help ~ and ask them how we can help.

We don’t need a committee meeting. We need to listen. We need action. God will lead us to the very people He wants us to serve. That tug on your heart is there for a reason.

WHAT IF instead of displaying on the overhead screen how many “bodies” are present, the leadership ministered to the current hurting members in SUCH a healthy way that more and more Christians could keep reaching out to the cities around them?

And I’m not saying preachers, pastors, elders, deacons, or teachers can meet every need. They cannot. But I’ve just about never been part of a church where the elder assigned to us actually takes the time to get to know me and my family; not even over one meal.

HOW can they be shepherds if they don’t know their sheep?

Stop. PLEASE stop counting the bodies and help speak life into the people who are already there!

There is not just ONE group where this fault lies. Members need to be living the way Christ called us to live and help serve when the Holy Spirit moves us to and so do the leaders of the church.

The leaders need to do more than just wear the title. Serve the members so that the members can serve others.

What if we all helped each other find the talents and gifts God has gifted to each of us?

Sometimes stuff in the Bible seems to be far away or not very relevant but the truth is; it IS relevant and it IS a Living Word.

I may not know how to help all churches, clubs, or whatever to be the best they can be but what I DO know (because I have been in this place before) and find comfort in ~ is this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

 

I don’t have all the answers but I know we all need to be part of the solution. I was moved to write this because sometimes we get sidetracked with quantity instead of working toward quality.

 

People who told you that you didn’t matter were wrong.

Maybe they didn’t say it with words. Maybe it was an attitude or the way they treated you when nobody else was around.

Maybe it was how you trusted someone with all your heart only to have it stomped all over because your lover had an affair and turned your world upside down.

Maybe a friend lied to you and you are having trouble continuing the friendship even though you know you’d like to remain friends.

Maybe your dad or Father-in-Law spoke damaging words over you – or didn’t even speak at all – when you desperately needed to hear confirmation that you are good at something.

Maybe your Mother-in-Law or even your own mom, while to your face is kind, behind your back speaks and does things that are not in your favor.

Maybe your own child feels some hatred toward you and you’re not even sure why. (Many gentle conversations with an open mind and ears may need to happen.  And many prayers, of course.)

Maybe it was someone at church or work who meant well but couldn’t have been more harmful with what they did or said.

Maybe somebody told you that you’re not worth it.

But the truth is that you actually are quite important.

You matter.

Every day.

All the time.

You are very worth it.

 

But I Don’t Have Any Tape (Provision)

I tried to open the classroom door and it was locked.

Our new class has met in 3 different rooms.

There wasn’t a sign on the door to tell us where to go but I opened a nearby door anyway just to check and it was nice to see it was the right place.  Sometimes it’s not easy to be so bold, ya know? What if class already started? We don’t want to bother anyone. What if it’s not the right room? What if they’re saying a prayer? I don’t want to interrupt. etc.

Since it’s possible more people may feel the same way I did and not want to disturb others I made a sign to put outside the old classroom door.

After scribbling a quick sign and picking up the paper I said to the few people in the room, “But I need tape and I don’t have any. Does anyone here have tape?”

Nope.

Walking to the door and not quite sure how I’d attach the paper yet, I kept thinking, “But I don’t have any tape.”

I looked at the door handle and hinges to see if I could tuck the edge of the paper there to make it stay. Not gonna work.

Then I looked down by my feet.

I didn’t even have to take a step closer to it. The tape was just right there. Right within reach was a used piece of tape; sticky side facing sticky side. I picked it up and carefully pulled on the edges wondering if it would be sticky enough to hold a sign to a door long enough to guide people to the new room.

It was.

Stepping back into the current classroom I said something like, “People can’t even say God’s not listening and He doesn’t provide because He just DOES. I was just asking about tape and there was tape. Isn’t that so crazy?!”

The teacher said, “Nope. It’s faith.”

Crazy faith! So many people look for adventure in life and spend thousands of dollars to find it. I wonder if they know that faith is such an amazing adventure every day.

Some may say it was just a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidence. God provides what we need when we need it.

 

And the thing I kept thinking about is this…

It was a piece of tape.

It wasn’t a nail or a screw or velcro or glue or a paperclip or even a rubberband.

 

It was tape – which made me think of this verse:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God just provides. He’s in the business of doing this very thing. He gives us what we need just when we need it.

God provides Tape 2

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. We love to hear when this has happened in people’s lives. Hearing how God provides never gets old!

[Please note: You are welcome in class at church even if something prevented you from getting there “on time.” We would rather you come share and hear what’s going on in Bible class even if you’re late than to not show up at all. If teachers are upset and this isn’t the case where you worship, perhaps some are focused on the wrong thing. The message IS very important but if nobody is there to hear it then what’s the point? Consider this; Maybe you’ll walk in at the very right time to hear just what God knew you needed to hear.]

 

She bought an extra ticket on faith that God would show her who to take to the next conference.

He led her to me.

Her name is Jennifer Drake Johnston.

We met because a mutual friend, Dalana Squires, invited me to join Ten For Him. I’ve just got to tell you about this real quick. Ten women get together 10 times; once a month over a period of 10 months. We each bring $10 each time and we draw a name of someone in the group. This person takes the $100 and gives it as God leads her for that month. Then we meet again and she gives her testimony about how God led her to give. Check out Ten For Him here. http://tenforhim.com/about/ [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]  Praise God for Sara Atchley Wierman, the Founder of Ten for Him! God is working in powerful ways with this great ministry.

Jennifer told me she bought an extra ticket in faith a year ago that God would show her the right person to take to a conference. She asked a few people. Then she asked me if I’d like to go with her for the weekend.  I couldn’t have known how great this pink conference would impact my life.

Prayer is powerful.

I almost never go out of town (and I’m really fine with that.) I love being home with my family. I told her I’d pray about it. I remember wondering how my kids and husband would be while I’m gone for a couple days. Would they miss me? Would they notice I was gone? Would they like a break from me? (More about this later.)

I went with her to the Pink Impact conference at a church building. WOW! The energy, smiling faces, lights, beautiful food and Frappuccinos were all wonderful. The speakers spoke God’s message to me in a way I hadn’t heard before. I’ve been raised in church and it’s been a long time since I heard scriptures in a new way.

At lunch she led me to a room that had been prepared just for her church group and I was invited since I was her guest. This was a kids’ worship area that had been transformed into a girlified, fun, ladies’ luncheon room complete with flowers, dim lighting, pretty centerpieces, gum, tissues, perfumes, chocolates, and more.

I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place – just for us – and how amazing that will be! We are ALL invited.

It was such a blessing to hear from these great speakers; Lisa Bevere, Elaine Fisher, Charlotte Gambill, Blynda Lane, Debbie Morris, Tim Ross, and Lindsay Huckins was the Emcee for the weekend.

Thank you ALL for God’s message through you guys! Please DO tell me if I’ve missed anyone because every one of you matters and I thank each of you for the messages you shared!

EVERY speaker brought the Bible scriptures to life in a way I’d never heard them. I’ve been in church for 45 years. I haven’t heard scriptures brought to life in this practical way in many years.

We got to hear a message from Christine Caine (via video.) She founded the A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe, doing amazing work rescuing girls who have been trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking. This work is especially dear to my heart for many reasons and I believe God will be using my family to help with this same type of work in Wasilla, Alaska, as God leads us to open and care for a homeless teen place. So knowing the work God is leading us to start, it was absolutely incredible to get to hear from someone God’s already put in place doing this same healing work. I needed to mention this because it reminds me how God is a detail God and this was the first time I’d ever heard about Christine Caine.

We heard from Roma Downey (via video.) We listened to Patricia Heaton (via video) and worshipped with Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe. There were many talented musicians and singers (and if I knew all the names I’d be glad to add them here.) You guys made the weekend even more powerful. Thank you so much!

We got to see performances by Dance Revolution, Founded by Michelle Brogan. (OH how I’d LOVE to dance with them some time! Probably Hip Hop would be my preference!) And we were blessed to listen to Amick and Cassie Byram and their beautifully blended voices.

~If I have left out names, please email me and I’m glad to add them. This was a life-touching, relaxing, lovely weekend and I was honored to get to be a part of it. I know there are hundreds more who invested time, money, sweat, tears, and prayers to put this weekend together. Thank you to ALL of you!~

We were lifted, empowered, prayed over, loved on, and had time to just breathe and enjoy being women.

Jennifer had reserved a room at a nearby hotel for us. Cozy beds, great food, fun conversation, and getting to learn more about each other’s pasts just added to this amazing weekend. There were many other Pink Impact ladies staying in the hotel also.

When we had checked in when we first arrived at the church building we had been given a folder with a fun ice breaker game and the instructions said to get a signature from a woman who matched the description and she was to sign next to it.  There were many hundreds of women so we had to talk and meet new people a lot to get all 50 thousand (not really) questions answered.  There would be prizes for the first several people who turned these papers in.  Fun!

The game said things like:

Find someone who has a dog with a human name. _____

You’ve attended 3 or more Pink Impact conferences. _____

You can wiggle your ears. ____

Find someone who has taken tap or ballet dance lessons. ____

(…and so on…)

On the 2nd morning of the conference one young lady and I were the only two people in the hotel elevator. The elevator conversation was quick and unusual. I broke the silence, “I can wiggle my ears. Can you tap dance?” She replied, “No.” This totally broke the never-speak-in-elevators-to-people-you-don’t-know-because-it’s-awkward rule. (It may remain my favorite elevator conversation ever.)  [I always wondered why I could wiggle my ears.  Question answered.]

At the end of the conference they announced they were giving each woman a gift. This beautiful gift was a white, soft, cozy, thick, terry cloth robe.

A detail I didn’t mention yet: My oldest daughter had been asking for a terry cloth robe for a few months. (I kept not putting this in the budget for whatever reasons so I hadn’t bought her one yet.) We don’t try to make things “even” at our house (i.e. if one child gets a gift, the other child usually does too, but we decide based upon their individual desires and not on money amounts) but I secretly and deeply wished I could get a second robe for my youngest daughter.

THIS is another way that God shows me He is a detail God.

Jennifer and I had each received a Frappuccino the night before and she really enjoyed hers. I still had mine and I didn’t want to waste it and somehow a natural conversation led to me saying I really didn’t care for Frappuccinos that much and she was delighted to take mine! She admitted while the white robe was very beautiful she probably wouldn’t wear it and she gave it to me for my youngest daughter!

Talk about God being in the details! He just IS!

 

God uses people to connect with others every day on purpose and for a purpose. Someone may be praying a prayer over you today and you may not even know it for a year.

Maybe all you need to do today is pray about life, get up, and show up.

~

Thank you, Jennifer Drake Johnston, for leading our Ten For Him group, for praying about me when you didn’t even know me yet, and thank you for the life-changing weekend at a conference I knew nothing about before I went. I pray God’s blessings follow you and that you are blessed many times more for blessing others the way you do! MUCH love in Him, Kerri

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to this:  https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9gEgyhUX2AA.oT7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTB2aXRwZjhkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE3NgRncG9zAzM-?p=pink+impact+2014+gateway+church&vid=d655647c910acc9e5d3c8e11d78b04b4&l=1%3A37&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608020644744004799%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F96726986&tit=%3Cb%3EPink+Impact+2014+%3C%2Fb%3E-+Conference+B+Highlights&c=2&sigr=10p9137pd&sigt=11hlpbrnb&age=0&fr=mcafee&tt=b [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]

~

Want to hear about the icing (as if the weekend, itself, wasn’t sweet enough already?)

When I returned home I was the blessed mom and wife of 3 love notes. SWEET!! They DID miss me! (That is, they missed me until it was back to regular life the next week. lol. Oh, well. I have some notes so I can read them again and remember they actually DO like my help as a mom and wife.) They gave me permission to share these great notes. It is easy to look past spelling errors. (I’d much rather have love notes from their hearts than for them not to want to write to me because I correct their grammar and spelling when they give me sweet notes.)  [Too sweet and amazing NOT to mention;  Today I found out the love notes were actually my husband’s idea!  How cool is that?  God is surely alive and prayer is powerful!]

Letter 1 2 Letter 3 2 Letter 2 2Letter 2 b 2 2

God bless you and thank you for reading.

 

 

[Please Note: We don’t try to make things “even” at our house when it comes to gifts (and that’s okay.  We love our girls and they both feel loved by us.)  Every family has different opinions on gift giving. Please do not send me yucky notes about it. This is how OUR family gives gifts. This doesn’t mean if you do things a different way that it’s wrong or right. I’d love to talk about it but I won’t read or respond to hate mail. I’d love to hear how your family chooses the gift giving process and what that looks like at your house.]

 

 

 

Please Stand Up.

Praise God there is not a score card or report card saying how we’re doing spiritually based on our age! (In fact, I’m not sure why life should be a race academically either – but that’s for another day.)

I can’t imagine someone saying these things to others yet sometimes even when we don’t say them we kinda act this way.

 

“You’re 25! How come your faith isn’t up to par yet? Why are you still struggling?   We are going to hold you back a year so you can catch up!”  (That would be quite damaging.)

And anyway, what?! Catch up to what?  Your race is just you.  There is nobody to your right or left, in front or behind.  It’s just you – and God sure is patient.

~

“You’re 60! How come you don’t have more grace for others?!” (There’s no “grace” in that at all…)

I know many girls would ask, “What does that even mean?” SO many have not been taught what this looks like.

Ladies, please stand up and teach our younger girls how to be women of Christ! Please stop the gossip and please start teaching girls how to be beautiful from the inside out! Take a look at what the world is teaching them. They NEED you to speak life and love over them!

~

“You have a grown up man’s body! You need to act more like a ‘man’ now!”

HOW? He hasn’t been taught how to do this.

Please, men, stand up and teach our younger boys how to be gentlemen of God! The world truly needs you! Teach them how to stand tall in a world full of hatred and racism.

And boys (and men) desperately need to learn how to treat a woman in the way God says to treat a woman. Love her. Love her as Christ loves the Church.

~

There is honor in helping each other; not in stomping each other into the ground.

Life is NOT a competition!

Please stop arguing who is “righter” and start caring for each other “right where we are” in faith, grace, honor, life, (and academically.)

 

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.

Plant a Seed

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 (or to get donations.)

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

Surely no one would want to make someone get baptized for the wrong reasons or to “look better” to elders or churches.

 

We are to plant a seed.  Let the Holy Spirit do His work.  We aren’t able to do His work.

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

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

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

Here’s the short version:

God is calling our family to move to Wasilla, Alaska.  We will be helping to take care of teens at a homeless teen center that is not even in existence yet and I need financial, prayer, and other support in completing the mission.  Please share our story.

The long and interesting version is below:

The Journey.

I started on a journey and never knew it.  If it was not for my wife I don’t know if I would have opened my eyes to see it.

Growing up I wanted to live off the land. I saw a movie about a kid who moved out in to the wild and lived off the land with a hawk. As time went by and life wore me down, I forgot about that dream.

Prison.

I was 21. I got myself in trouble for armed robbery and spent eight years in prison in Oklahoma. Toward the end of my time there I was at a work release job. That’s where I met a man who helped change my life. He started studying the bible with me and after a while he arranged it so I could go to church with him on Sundays. Right before I was getting out they were having a youth rally close by and he asked me if I would speak.  I don’t know if the speech was any good, but it inspired me to want to keep speaking.

From that point on I knew I was to work with teens.

My Wife.

I made parole and part of my parole was to get out of Oklahoma. This is the part of my life where I met my old crush from Oklahoma and got married. Between then and now we went to church in McKinney, Texas, much of the time. Different things happened here and there that led us to different churches.

Looking back on all of it I can see God’s hand guiding us, and growing us for this specific thing.

Youth Group.

When my oldest daughter got to the age of being in the church youth group I tried to get involved.  But it seemed that my prison background and openness about struggling and overcoming pornography addiction kept me from being able to be involved.

At least that’s what I thought the problem was at the time.

There came a point I decided, “Well maybe God does not want me working with a youth group.” So I started asking God what He DOES want me to do.

Giving It All Over To God.

After praying and searching I talked to Kerri and we decided the first step was to find out if God wanted me still working where I’ve worked for over 16 years. So we prayed and then wrote a letter asking for a raise.  If the raise was this amount or higher we knew to stay and if it was this or lower, we would take this as a sign that God has something else for us to do.

Guess what? No raise.

For a while I thought this is where the journey began but I can now see that the journey started the day I saw that movie and probably even before that.

Everything in my life has directed me to this point.

I don’t know if God removed my dreams from my mind so He could take me through other things, or if it was satan trying to destroy God’s plan for my life.

Working From Home.

The company I had been working with for over 16 years had just moved to another building. Up to this point they would never let me work from home. Well I could every now and then but for a regular thing is was out of the question. There was a mess up with the ethernet connection and the PRI. We still had everything connected at the old building but we had to be out, so the company asked us to work from home for the next week or two. Well three or four weeks went by and my boss asked me when was I coming back IN to the office to work. I told him, “I’m not. Unless you make me.” From that point on I have been working from home.  That was 2 years ago.

Alaska.

I wrote to my boss and said, “Hey we are moving to Alaska. Can I work from home in Alaska?” About fifteen minutes later he calls me up and asks if we’re serious and I say yes. Then he tells me that it would be great and it would really help him out. It would leave Tech Support open for an extra three hours because of the time difference.

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing but hey, God works His own way. So I am moving to Alaska but with the same job I thought God was moving me away from.

The Mission.

So now Kerri tells me, “Well don’t just get excited. You need to pray and ask God what he wants you to do.” So I start praying. And start looking at how much it’s going to cost to move.

A few years ago if God would have said, “Move to Alaska,” I’d have had the money. I spent our entire savings on opening our photography business, PhotoSentimental. So we cannot make this move on our own.

His Power.

We believe the timing was because God wants to show His power and show me and everyone else that it’s not up to us to do His will on our own. He is in control.

Advice About Alaska.

Kerri sent emails to several churches asking about advice on moving to Alaska. She got several emails back. One of the preachers and I talked about why I thought I was being called to move to Alaska. I told him I had been doing research and I had found that a lot of the small villages did not have churches. My idea was to pick a village and go help them with doing every day chores on the weekend and to tell them about Jesus.

The preacher explained not only had this been tried before but that they had not had success with it.

Well I believe that’s why God is sending me.

I know.

What an idiot.

Like God needs me there to do something He could have done with all the other people who tried.

The preacher told me if I was really set on doing this he could get me in contact with a pilot when I got there and it will cost us a lot of money for the pilot to fly me out and back.

God Leads.

God led us back one Sunday to a church we’ve been part of on and off for 15 years. To our surprise they were talking about having a Harvest Sunday the next week. They said this amount was how much money they needed for the ministries they already decided to support. And then they said if they go over they will just have to find new ministries to fund.

Kerri turned to me after church and said, “Follow me.”  She felt we were supposed to talk with two of the church leaders and told them that we were moving to Alaska to minister there. They told us to write up our plan and give it to them.  We said that if more money came in than their budget would they pray about our ministry we’re doing and help move our family to Alaska.

The Plan.

I did not have a plan.

We did not know what to write.

We just felt God was calling us to move to Alaska and to minister to the native Alaskans but we had no idea what the ministry looked like so I sent a message to my new preacher friend in Alaska and said I might be able to get funding for my ministry but I really don’t know what it looks like and I asked if he could help me figure it out.

He said it was so strange that I asked when I did. He had just opened an email about this year’s Alaska lectureship and it’s going to be about evangelism.

He said there are three preachers who sent this message and that I should contact them. So I sent a letter to all three.

After a few days I decided to call.

The Same Old Story.

This preacher told me the same thing the other one did. Working with the villages takes like 15 years just to gain trust.

And he told me his church was full of military families and other people who moved there to climb the corporate ladder and after they got their next promotion they would be out of there.

He told me he would love to have me at his church and that he could use someone who would help make a strong backbone for the church.

I told him that sounded great but I did not feel God was moving me there just to be a part of a local church.

The Next Guy.

The next guy I called started to give me the same story, but then he started telling me ways they were trying to get into the villages, like through prison ministry and working with an adoption agency.

He said there were more kids than families.

He then said something like, “What we really need is a homeless teen shelter.”

We’re your guys. (And now we believe God has shown us a bookkeeper, a gardener, a physical education coach, a history teacher, and a home school teacher.  All of these have been in our thoughts and prayers.  And we believe God’s shown us who they all are.  So we’ll be moving to Alaska with our army of servants ready to help.)

The Empty Church Building.

This preacher said they are trying to build a new church building but had to stop until they could sell the old building. It is a big building and is on eight acres of land.  They thought it was sold before but it fell through and maybe this is the reason why.

My Dad.

My dad’s a preacher.

I called my dad up and was telling him how building the Ark was going.

It was funny because his first words were something I had forgotten about. He said, “Wow! That is exactly what you and Kerri said you wanted to do when you first got married.”

The Ark.

This is the ark that is in my yard.

Why is the ark there?

Well I believe God put the ark there.  Not so I would have something to write about but so God can show people He does work in our lives.

Open your eyes and trust Him and he will send you on great adventures. Some will be sad, some scary, some wild and some will leave you asking “Why?” like in Habakkuk.

But one thing’s for sure. If you have faith in God and trust in Him, He will get you through all of it.

He will turn your pain in to a healing tool.

He will turn your scary moment into comforting.

And He will take your wild adventures and turn it in to an ark in your yard.

His Money.

I was not always broke financially.

I think God designed it this way for His story and to show His power.

I have no clue how any of this is going to happen. What I am doing is what I feel God leading me to do.

I hate asking for help. That is one reason I went to prison in the first place. But like with all God’s adventures, they are designed to make you grow.

Financial Help.

If you want to donate, please email itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

We are also in the process of making a donate button online and we’ll be glad to send the link when we get this part figured out.  If you know you are to be part of making this happen, email us and we’ll figure out how to get you a receipt for your donation.  The name of the teen place is in the process as is the non profit work we need to do.  He leads. It’s been a long journey. And we haven’t even really started the work yet.

Please Share Our Story.

If you do not feel called to help financially or have no idea how to help please just share this story.

I know God has other people who are supposed to be a part of this because I know nothing about building a homeless teen center and I know I am not capable of doing everything it takes to make it happen.

Why A Teen Center?

I know this has been long but for those who are interested this is why a teen center.

Back in the 1800s when people first started moving to this area, different religions decided to divide Alaska up into sections.

Instead of bringing the Native Alaskans to God they made them not trust people.

Our first goal will be to get the teens to a safe place and make sure they are healthy.

The next thing is to help educate them in skills that will help them survive on their own and make a living.

The most important thing is to let our light shine so that they can see God and are led to Jesus.

There are state run places. The state can house them and feed them, but what they are not doing is showing them God.

Where does an Alaska teen go after he is given the tools to survive and has been given the Light?

He goes where we have had no luck.

He goes where we are not trusted.

He goes back and shows his village how well he is doing, and he shows His Light.

 

~

One of the preachers in Alaska responded quickly after our Ark letter.  He has given us permission to share this.

Great story! Has the church in Texas offered any help? Even if they could do a one-time offer just to help 5you make the move to Alaska there are always employment opportunities here for those who are willing to work. So keep that option in the back of your mind. There is also a tremendous need in Alaska for foster care especially in the Anchorage area. They simply can’t find enough families who are willing to take on that responsibility. So that’s another option to consider. If our congregation were more financially stable we could consider helping families like yours who want to move here to do the Lord’s work. But we’re like so many other congregations in the area. We are plagued with what churches in Alaska typically call “transfer growth” – where families transfer in but stay briefly before leaving again. We have a very transient membership of Air Force and Army families who are here for only three years at most. They’re here just long enough for us to get to know and really love them and then they’re reassigned elsewhere. Then there are others who move to Alaska thinking this is the land of opportunity only to face a harsh winter or two before deciding they can’t handle the cold dark winters. I get really frustrated by all this but it’s just a fact of life about trying to do the Lord’s work in Alaska. But every now and then there are those who move to Alaska and never leave. But they are a rare breed. If you can find the support you need to make the move I think you would never lack for opportunities to fulfill your dreams of making your dreams a reality. Please keep me posted about your progress.

She said, “Because I know how important this is.” (Addiction)

I remember that time in the alley with my friends.  They didn’t know.  I didn’t know.  They had a pack of cigarettes and offered me one.  They weren’t aware that this would change my life (or theirs) forever.

Many people talked about how smoking looked “cool.”  Most movies showed the “hero” as a smoker.  There were sexy scenes and the “lady” stood in a smoky room and you could see her curves and she was smoking.

I’ve heard stories about how the military purposefully GAVE cigarettes to soldiers because they actually thought it would make them tougher.

It did not.  It made them prisoners.

People didn’t talk so much about never try even ONE cigarette.  Honestly I didn’t think much of it when I tried it and the first time is all it takes to be hooked.  I happened to try it 3 times in 3 different years before I was hooked and would never recommend trying it to ANYONE.

If you’ve never searched your back yard for any half smoked cigarettes laying on the ground, then maybe you’re not addicted.

If you’ve never counted how many you have left and how long til you could get to the store, then maybe you’re not addicted.

If you’ve never said to yourself, “Maybe I should smoke one now, because it will be 6 hours until I can have one again,” then maybe you’re not addicted.

My husband wanted to stop.  I didn’t.  I didn’t even think it was possible.  We asked for prayers at church and this guy said his sister in law had a book she read and that she’d stopped.

It was agony.  It was misery and pain and I sobbed.  I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.  Finally, I called her.  She was SO kind and stopped her day and drove to meet me.

My tears were flooding the parking lot where we stood as I looked at her speaking words of blessing over me and that she KNEW I could stop too.

She was my hero.  I asked her “Why?”  “Why would you stop your day to meet me like this?”

She said, “Because I know how important this is.”

It was a book.  I’d never heard of anyone reading a book and being able to stop smoking.  What a concept!

This book tells you that if you still smoke to KEEP smoking while you read the book.  Crazy idea.

Allen Carr smoked 100 cigarettes a day, then he realized WHY we smoke, and stopped and wrote this book.

It’s called The Easy Way To Stop Smoking.  You just gotta read this book for yourself!

I read half way through the book and I was done smoking FOREVER.  Just like that.

No chemicals.

No willpower.

Nothing I did (besides read this book) made me stop.

I am happy.  That’s right.  I hadn’t heard much about happy ex smokers.  But I am one.

I know I was a slave to smoking.

It told me when to go outside, when to go to the store, when to be close to my family and when to avoid them.  Smoking made me stink to myself and others.

It is not your fault.

They were DESIGNED to hold you for a life sentence.

YOU CAN BE FREE.

They even said they guarantee it.  There is a class you can go to and people have quit in one day.  I believe there is a money back guarantee.  Check out allencarr.com

I will ALWAYS be grateful to this man and praise God for him.  (My family will too.)

If someone knew of a cure for a disease he should share it.  If someone knew the best recipe for the best desserts he should share it.  God led me to the key to get out of prison.  I HAVE to share it.  Check it out for yourself.

And you can know

without a doubt

that I am YOUR cheerleader!

You CAN do this.  It is easier than you think!

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

Pretty Ministry

They told her it was unsightly. I couldn’t believe my ears. The empty milk jugs were “unsightly” so they should be hidden somewhere.

These empty milk jugs were used to put laundry soap in for people who needed it but couldn’t afford it. She spent her own money and made gallons and gallons of laundry soap every week at a much lower cost than was available at the store.

She had a laundry soap ministry. All she asked for was that people bring rinsed, empty, plastic milk jugs so that they’d have enough containers for all the laundry soap.

And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.

Helping other people IS unsightly. It’s not pretty sometimes. Why are people embarrassed about helping other people? Do they think we should all just have pretty ministries?

That’s not how it works.

Life is messy. We need to meet people right where they are and help pick them up out of the trash their lives are in.

Jesus helped many people. And it wasn’t a pretty ministry. He spent time teaching and healing the broken, sick, prostitutes, people with leprosy, and tax collectors. Check out Matthew 9:9-13.

I want to be a part of a church that has those unsightly, empty milk jugs somewhere in the hallways so that when people ask about them we can tell them how they can help people get laundry soap. (And no, the empty milk jugs shouldn’t be out on “display” either.)

Ironic. The “unsightly” milk jugs were used for soap to wash stuff and make it clean.

Sometimes genuinely loving on people is just not a pretty ministry.

Busybodies and Nosey Gossipy Rumor Guys

You know who they are. They are the people who never talk to you then you win a lottery and suddenly they are your best friends.

They are the people who talk about you behind your back and then pretend they care about your life when they hear something they think is “worth spreading.”

They are even the women and men at church who look down on you even though they don’t know you but somehow they still feel compelled to speak about you as if they do.

You take bubble gum to school and you are suddenly the center of attention and people say, “Hey, I know him! We’re best friends!” …when they wouldn’t speak to you any other days of your life.

The next time someone says, “Is it true about such n such?”

A great response is, “Why do you ask?”

You do not owe somebody information about your life. It is okay to NOT tell somebody stuff about you when you are uncomfortable.

If people are in it for gossip, it’s hard to hide. When they are genuinely caring about you they have a genuine answer.

Prayers always welcome here (We feel God’s 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 we 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 was. But satan didn’t like it one bit. Sooo… there’s drama sometimes.

~
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?”

We have an idea…

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

REALLY?

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 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. Period.

So if you’re skeptical, that’s cool. You can still be skeptical AND please pray for my family 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.

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

She bluntly asked, “What’s WRONG with you?!” -by Guest Writer, Chloe Liv

I asked her what she meant.

She told me, “You’re different.  You don’t cuss or anything!  What’s wrong with you?”

I told her that I have Jesus. She said she wanted what I had.

She started to come to church with me and often our conversations would end in tears as she realized just how much God loves her and will love her no matter what. After a while her parents made rules. She could NOT come to church with me. Or go to “my” church. But she could go to someone else’s church and I could go with her… Rule after rule we gave up. I wanted her to be able to know more about Him and she craved it.

Finally I felt completely defeated. I felt like I failed.

And so I asked my mom if there was ANYthing ANY LITTLE thing I could do.

She told me (these are her exact words,) “Take church to her.” Me and mommy talked a little longer and then Jesus Club became an idea that would soon help tons of people.

As a freshman I was placed in a senior class on accident. I was in there a couple weeks and really connected with the teacher. I could see where his faith stands and who he is so I asked if I could “borrow” his class room. I didn’t even tell him why yet and he said “No! That’s like asking to borrow my car!!” A little shocked I was like ummmm okay then. I was about to turn around and leave and he said “Chloe, when would you need the room?” He still didn’t know why but knowing who I am and where my faith stands he opened up his class room to us.

Jesus Club.
-Chloe Liv

~
Sometimes kids tell Chloe they want to go but don’t think they should.

Some say they are atheist. Chloe says, “I don’t care. Just come anyway.”
Some kids tell her, “AWKWARD! I don’t go to church…” She says, “That’s okay. Just come anyway.”
Some kids say, “I’ve never prayed before.” She says, “Awesome. So let’s pray together.”

~
The best Christmas present EVER came from this teacher to Chloe.

Her teacher stopped her and said something like, “Chloe, I am so proud of you for starting Jesus Club. You are changing lives and I can see it. You’re planting seeds and I know it’s just going to keep on going even after you move to Alaska.”

THIS child. This VERY, VERY, VERY SHY child. This child would CRY if she had to ask for a straw at a restaurant. We had to MAKE her ask for a straw. She would beg us not to make her talk. LOOK at THIS child being used by God for His work AND loving it!

THE best Christmas present EVER is to know your child’s heart belongs to God. And on top of that leading other kids to Christ. No piece of plastic or electronics or even a house for Christmas is better than this gift.

God is very much at work. Open your eyes and watch His miracles that happen every day.

She is Somebody’s Daughter (Pornography)

My marriage was attacked by brokenness.

Women who pose in pornography films and magazines are broken inside. Period. If you could just see the pain inside the heart of the girl in the porn video or magazine, you’d ache for her with a different part of you. You’d want to help her find healing. You’d treat her like the Child of God that she really is. She just doesn’t believe it or know that she really is yet.

She is somebody’s daughter. She is someone’s niece, aunt, sister, mom, grandma, but most importantly she is WORTHY of so much more than the life she’s trapped in.

Pornography was holding my husband’s attention and we did not realize HOW much it was wrecking our marriage. After a few months in marriage counseling my husband and the best marriage counselor on the entire planet came to the same conclusion.

Pornography was the culprit and was destroying our marriage. There is just NO place for it anywhere. Anywhere.

But the problem is that even soft porn is EVERYWHERE. He has to “bounce” his eyes a lot. The sad thing is you cannot UNsee what you saw. Yes God CAN take the images out of your head but sometimes our brains hold onto stuff when we don’t even want it there anymore.

Even now, 4 years after he’s been able to break free from that trap, and it absolutely IS a TRAP, set on purpose to enslave you forever, there are many times that the residual effects crawl out of the corners of the darkness and claw at our marriage threatening to destroy it.

One thing we’ve noticed is that after we’d be together, he wouldn’t speak to me much for about 3 days. This was killing me. I felt like he didn’t care. He sure cared enough a few days ago. He didn’t even realize he was doing it. We figured out together that it was from the past of seeing pornography and then the shame from it just overwhelmed him. Well, if he’s feeling that shame, he may not want to talk to me because it hurt me and he knows it.

But this was our marriage and it was OKAY for him to be together with me. God designed sex for married people. It’s fun and healthy when there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything involved in any way. As long as you both consent, and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, then pretty much your imagination is the limit.

But the trap that pornography IS does THIS kinda damage and lots of it. Sometimes we’re not even aware of as the cycle keeps on going;  Together. He ignores me for 3 days. I feel like I’m invisible.  And this is only ONE example of the damage pornography does.

If you are upset with me for writing about this I apologize. Our kids hear WAY yucky stuff from kids at school, online, and unfortunately we as parents and people at churches mostly don’t talk about healthy sexuality but we MUST talk to our kids. They WILL learn about stuff somewhere and aren’t YOU the very best person to talk to him or her about such important things? I believe that you are.

So I’m just putting this in here to say I’m very sorry if it offends someone to talk about pornography. It unfortunately is a bigger problem than lots of people realize and we just have to take off our blinders and masks and get down to the stuff satan uses to attack our families every day. It’s not easy to talk sometimes but we just gotta.

This may be a forever thing my husband has to work on and I am willing to be here for him and with him. He’s worked very hard to walk away from that.  In fact, he actually ONLY was able to break free because of God’s help.

I’m so proud of him learning to bounce his eyes and save ALL of his desire just for me, his wife.

There’s NO better way to tell a woman she’s beautiful than this very thing.

It’s been a really tough thing to do and with God’s help he was able to get out of that hell. He’s also a great man for other men to talk to about this subject and many have asked his advice and asked about what books have helped him on this journey of freedom.

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My husband wanted to add to this story:
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Well my awesome wife posted a story about some of our journey today. After reading what she had written I thought there were a few things that needed to be added so here it goes.

I’m a preacher’s kid and have been in and around church my whole life.

As some of you know we are moving to Alaska. We feel we are being led there. I won’t go in to all the details just now but there have been a lot of things happen and it seems God wants us to go to Alaska and these days I am all about faith. I have turned into a faith-junky-God-loving-Jesus-freak and I can’t see being any other way.

I guess my story starts off around 16 when someone gave me my first pornography video. From that point on life was all about sex.

Around age 21 I went to prison for armed robbery. Why would I get in to armed robbery? Well it all falls back to me not liking me and that is a story in itself. I’ll tell you that one later.

On my way out of prison I went to a work release. It’s a place where the city gives the state a place to put prisoners and in return the prisoners work for the state. My last job working there was for the city electric company and while I really learned a lot, the problem is that’s where my pornography problem picked back up.

The guys there found out I was good at fixing things like TVs and computers so they started bringing computers for me to fix and equipment for me to build new ones. Well guess what? When I went in – no internet. Now there is internet. For those of you who don’t remember, when the internet first came out if you did a search online and you spelled the word wrong it would pull up pornography websites. People who know me know I am the worst speller ever. By the time I got out of prison and was at this job my pornography problem was bigger than ever.

To shorten the story I will jump to me and Kerri getting married. Kerri and I knew each other as teenagers in different church youth groups.  We didn’t know who we were to each other back then.  I have always loved Kerri deeply but there is no way a wife can match up to a fantasy in any way. Through our marriage I worked on beating my addiction to porn and the longer I was married the more I saw the damage it was doing. I got to the point where I only stumbled every great once in a while.

The problem was the effects after watching it were not going away. I prayed and prayed for God to take it from me and to make me see my wife in a new way.

The strangest thing happened. Kerri and I started going to a new church and they were talking about doing a “mustard seed offering.” Up until this point we had given off and on when there was extra money to be given but we had never made a commitment.

The day they took up the mustard seed offering they gave everyone a packet of mustard seeds and they told everyone to write on the packet things that wanted God to do for them. My first two things on the list were a better relationship with God and a better relationship with my wife and kids. Since then we give out of every paycheck, bonus, and gift.

Lately my wife has been asking me what has gotten into me. Why am I liking her so much? Why am I doing things I have never done? And I told her it’s all because of God and my better relationship with Him.

So if you have something you are praying about and nothing seems to be happening maybe it’s your lack of faith that is stopping things from happening. Maybe you’re not being able to move on from a sin you’re struggling with because you’re not acting on faith or maybe you’re not letting go so God can take control.

So here’s my challenge to you; If there is something in your life you have not acted on because of some reason take a leap of faith, put it in God’s hands and see how wonderfully your life changes.

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It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “Dude, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it could be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”

I didn’t know I was trapped.

As he drove by he yelled out his car window to me, “How’s the stopping smoking going?”

I yelled excitedly, “I’m FREE!”

Wait.  That was a weird answer.  Free?  I didn’t know I was trapped.

When we started talking about the fact that we were struggling with smoking and my husband wanted to stop so he wanted me to stop with him, people (especially at church) were uncomfortable that we asked for prayers about it. It’s just not the sort of thing church folks talk about (unfortuntately.)

I didn’t know if I COULD stop. I didn’t even know if I WANTED to stop.

After we asked for prayers a guy told me his sister-in-law had a book she swears by.

She drove to meet me within the same hour after I finally had courage to call her and she brought it to me. I was so humbled and touched. I was sobbing uncontrollably and asked her WHY she would stop her day just for me and bring that book to me. She said because she knew how important this was.

She stood there telling me she knew she would never smoke again.

I wanted to be THERE.

How could she possibly know that she’d never smoke again?

If you smoke, you keep smoking AS you read the book.

Crazy, right?  I read 1/2 of the book and have stopped smoking forever.

THAT is freedom and I am SO glad I said I was having trouble.

That present from a stranger is and maybe will always be the very best present anyone ever gave me.  It was a simple thing, really.  But she knew the deep hell that smoking was.  She spoke love to me that day because she stopped what she was doing which showed me I was valuable in some way and gave me the key I desperately needed even though I wasn’t sure if I believed in it yet.

I’m convinced that this is what God means when He says we are to be His hands and feet.  She was an angel sent to me that day.  This I know for sure.

This book helps people who DON’T smoke understand more about WHY people smoke.  It also helps people who do NOT smoke be able to talk with people who DO smoke in a way we may listen better.

It’s NOT fun to talk about smoking especially to a non-smoker because they just don’t get it.  You know the looks people give that they are obviously “better than you are.”  Yeah, non-smoker dudes, THAT’S NOT gonna help.  So here’s the best tool I’ve found for just this kinda conversation. [The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr.]

Shoving pictures of dead lungs in our faces just doesn’t do anything.

You don’t get it.

It’s a TRAP!

A trap VERY cleverly designed with TONS of awful media, movies, ignorance, and tobacco companies supporting the chains and locks.

Showing a squirrel who is stuck in a trap a picture of a dead squirrel won’t help it get free.

My husband was able to stop with God and willpower.  That’s awesome!

Any way out is awesome.

I read a book.

HOW many people read a book and stop smoking?!  They do not advertise this book anywhere but word of mouth.  I am living testimony that it works.  It was the key to freedom for me. That was over 1 1/2 years ago now.  The funny thing is the book title. It’s easy to remember.

The book is called The EASY Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. This is the BEST book for stopping smoking and getting free from the stupid trap that smoking is.  Forever!

This author went from smoking 100 cigarettes a day to ZERO and then wrote this book.  He figured out the answers.  PRAISE GOD!!

It’s sad when some people react to us like, “DUDE! Don’t they ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” Our reaction is, “DUDE, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?! You NOT talking about it COULD be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them.”