No More

A wife is not meant to have to compete against everything she’s been competing against to win her own husband’s affections and attention day after day.

I am sick of worshiping other gods. And the sneaky trick of the enemy was that I didn’t even know I was doing it.

Some of these other gods I think we all have been worshiping. We don’t mean to. We have probably created and worshiped more of them than any of us can count.

Divorce is not the biggest most evil issue in the Bible but in this culture we’ve made the Marriage Certificate a god we worship with more reverence than almost anything else.

If someone is to cherish his wife “as Jesus loves the Church,” then how would that be measured? The wife would have some sort of feeling of being cherished, would she not?

Also a husband is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Many don’t. The secret will be discovered. The wife ends up eventually finding out she’s been the other woman; probably in many ways.

Check out MomPro to read full article.

 

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That’s really why I’m here.

I was sitting in a dining room when I (thought it was safe and) told a man who had taught Bible class that I felt I’d be speaking on stage.

He tilted his head and patted me on the shoulder, “Yeah… but if He’s not….”

I was only asking for prayers. That’s the only reason I told him. It was a small group meeting and – prayer is part of it, right?

But when he didn’t believe me, I was faced with another situation entirely: A test of faith.

Did I actually believe what I was saying I know? Or did I not?

I looked at him (not aware back then of his condescending tone) and after deep thought a minute, I said again, “But… He is.” I just …knew.

And again, this faith-lacking, prideful, young Bible class teacher looked into my eyes, shook his head and said with a smirk (clearly now I realize it was proof he didn’t believe me) and patted me again on the shoulder, “Yeahh….but if He’s NOT….”

What I read from Genesis to Revelation is that God has always used lesser known messy people with messy lives to carry out His Divine purpose.

I’ve had something like 7 years to think about that moment. He didn’t seem to believe God would choose someone like me (clearly nobody in this man’s eyes) to share God’s Word, my faith, and my story.

 

It’s funny how some moments seem to last so much longer than others.

 

I believe God allows and purposely tests our faith with moments like these.

People everywhere are constantly demanding field- and factory-tested products but they are the same people who tend to shake their fist in defiant anger when anyone tests or challenges their beliefs.

That’s a bit of a double standard.

God humbles and tests us, refines us, and He says He will finish what He starts.

And it turns out it doesn’t matter who else believes what He’s doing with you but you.

If someone isn’t tested then how will he or she stand when things seem unfair?

What about when things seem to take a long time? (“Too long” according to people watching your life. Too long? Oh my word! What does that even MEAN when The One we serve is The Author of time, itself?)

What about when other people mock your faith?

What about when it’s people closest to you who mock your faith?

People don’t like flimsy products.

Oh! How much MORE does God not want a luke-warm follower?!

Two things just happened.

This past month AS the final legal procedures of my second divorce happen, the doors have been opened for more platforms to share my faith – and my story.

Share my story — every messy broken part of it.

Yes, you read that right… second: one marriage was 7 years and one has been almost 19 by the time divorce is final… though possibly both were broken from the start. But I’ve learned a lot. And forget divorce! What about the hundred other ways God has had to be sad about me? There are so many other things! But God!

Imagine a redeeming God who uses messy people’s messy lives to share in HIS purpose?!

The thing is I knew you’d be reading this. It’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. But I knew somehow in my spirit a few years ago that I’d be here writing about this someday.

I had told my kids I felt someone would come ask me to write with a group of other Christian writers.

This just happened.

Jennie Louwes, who felt God lead her to start MomPro – Teach The Way, contacted me to join her along with several other writers.

I also knew I’d be speaking on stage at some point. This also isn’t good or bad. It just is.

I was actually afraid to ever speak back then.

Mostly I was afraid because someone too close to me kept telling me in so many ways that I was never going to be enough.

The beautiful Truth is that God takes what little I have to offer and HE makes it – and He makes me – enough.

But what ever would I speak about exactly? That part wasn’t clear at that time, which again is why I had been asking for prayers already all those years ago in that small group meeting.

This just happened too.

Last week I was asked to speak at an event. I believe this is the first of many.

And guess what? I’m not afraid anymore.

In the mess…in the questions…in the middle, God gives a firm place to stand in Him.

That’s really why I’m here today: to ask you.

What do you do when your faith is tested?

Do you recognize when it happens?

When people tell you something isn’t… but God shows you it very much IS, perhaps that’s a test of your faith.

What you DO with each test of faith is up to you.

God likes to know what you’ll do and He tests you and allows you to be tested. Because… well, maybe He also wants YOU to know what you’ll do.

 

Do you complain?

Do you immediately go to Him in prayer for answers and to praise Him out loud?

Do you get mad and let pride grab a place in your spirit?

 

I believe what you do in that moment IS a part of the test.

It doesn’t matter what someone else believes. It matters what YOU believe.

Want to have some fun? Just watch God use something that someone meant to harm you, instead for HIS good. He is a good God! NOTHING is wasted. HE makes beauty from ashes. I believe in you, you believe, and God believes. THAT is already a cord of THREE!

Even when nobody else can see what He’s doing, He STILL does it. And THAT is some Good News.

Nothing is Wasted

Sometimes people like to hear a testimony AFTER all the trials are over, but the truth is there’s something intimate and beautiful about the way God brings support DURING the trials and testing. Enter with thanksgiving and praise with your mouth.

Before I go on, please know that if you feel you must go, then no one can stop you. It’s probably better that way and my kids and I won’t hold it against you.

And I think I’ve learned I’d rather find out people’s true colors than to have fake friends. Though it hurts my feelings for a minute, when I lay all my concerns at the feet of Jesus in prayer, HE REALLY DOES deliver healing and draws close to the broken-hearted. The faster I remember to pray the faster He takes the sting out of the actions and words from others and brings peace and healing.

I’m not afraid of my testimony. In fact, God is already using my (our) current situation to help other people. Nothing is wasted.

Over the past year since we got out of an unhealthy situation, God’s been absolutely pouring His blessings all over us. We’ve seen provision like never before.

I often hear people talk about this. Would you rather suffer physical abuse or emotional abuse? (Ummmm…neither one!)

Which is worse?

What kind of question is that?

Both. Both are worse. BOTH are awful!

Instead, what if we ask, “Why don’t more people hold people accountable for how we treat each other?” People don’t want to “intrude” or “it’s none of our business.” Nonsense. That isolation is a trick from the enemy as old as The Garden of Eden. We ARE to be in each others’ business. We are MADE for relationship.

And people all around you are silently screaming to be seen. I pray more have ears to hear the broken-hearted, because I promise they are sitting beside you in church, live next door to you, work beside you, and are in line in front of you (and behind you) as you wait to order coffee.

God increases faith. It’s BEYOND amazing to me every time He does it and in how many ways He does.

I don’t really have words to describe it. He does it in small and big and just… everyday ways. His promises are never empty. The more we trust in HIM and not in a place, what other people say, what seems logical, or my own understanding, the more He gently pries my fingers off control.

We have received prayers, well wishes, counseling, legal help, monetary donations, jobs, and other physical needs met all over the place since we started praying daily, “Lord, what do You want us to do today?” When we gave up “our” plans and stayed in prayer (I think it’s been about 7 years now) every day there is a contentment and fulfillment we can’t explain in words. If you think God is in a hurry to do stuff, look at Noah and the ark and other situations from Bible times. He has nothing to prove to anyone. I can put my trust in a God like that.

We know a lot of people have been praying for us. Many people are not aware but divorce is almost final. Five marriage counselors and almost 18 ½ years… feels like a few lifetimes….

In our culture we worship a marriage certificate more than we care about the health of the marriage, itself. (We probably worship a marriage certificate almost even more than we worship a GPA.)

This idolatry is a scary and not-so-easy-to-detect-sometimes thing.

And also if marriage was “The-End-All-Above-All-Most-Important-Thing-Ever” then why would God have turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt when she turned back? Just something I’ve been thinking about… He went on without her because she turned back when God said not to. The Bible is called The LIVING Word and He still leads us when we pray to Him (no matter what anyone else tells you.)


Our culture only says it’s a broken marriage if people SEE divorce happen.

But, Beautiful Precious You, you may already be all too aware that a marriage is broken SUCH a very, very, very long time before a divorce ever happens. God gave information about divorce to PROTECT women; not to imprison them. God hates divorce because …it’s purely awful and horrible and tears apart something that should have been together …but as we can see in The Bible He NEVER hates divorced people.

We (people) like to judge by if something looks like a “success” to us. But I believe MANY things we don’t call success are actually very successful in the view of eternity.

Going through this heartache, several people (mostly from church if you’d like to know the sad truth about it – but praise God my faith is in HIM and NOT in people) have shown that when we finally tell and they SEE something’s been going on, they will turn their backs on us. But the thing is that it was an extremely emotionally unhealthy atmosphere and we HAD to get out. Our bodies were screaming, telling us to get out long before we did. (We’ve been out just over a year now and my hair is even growing back! I wasn’t aware that the stress of it all had been taking such a toll on my physical health and my daughters’ too. Marriage should not ever be a Death Sentence. I have so much more to say. Maybe someday I’ll write a book. Pray about that with me.)

(A side note because it needs to be said: I hear you. Don’t worry, Modern-Day-Pharisee-Bible-Thumpers, I see you wagging your finger at me. And I’m still glad you’re here even with the log in your eye. If you’re trying to keep some kind of score because you feel the need to focus on sin in my life instead of what needs to be done in your life, then yes, I’ll let you know there was sexual sin on both sides, so maybe you can somehow rest a little more knowing that…? But, Beautiful You, there is so much more sin I committed before I was married and didn’t “honor the marriage bed and keep it holy.”  I might write a book on that some day. If it’s not my marriage bed, I didn’t/don’t belong in it, watching it, hearing about it, or reading about it. Neither do you…. Okay, now back to the article.)

God says He is our Deliverer. And even today God is STILL our Deliverer and He helped us WHEN my kids and I finally fasted and prayed for the mountain in front of us to be moved. That mountain moved.

He says faith moves mountains and the wonderful Truth is our faith STILL moves mountains.

He’s brought so many new friends and also support from many friends we’ve known a long time and many we met only online. The more we follow, the more He brings laughter, healing, and ….Deep calls to deep is the best way I can describe it.

A person we met online has believed in what God is doing in our lives about this Alaska homeless place I believe will be for sex-trafficked girl survivors. This place has not yet in existence outside my visions and dreams yet this person has donated an amount every month for over a year now.

In fact it started one month after my kids and I got out. Talk about giving me confirmation that God sees it all!

It may seem like a small thing. It’s not.

This consistent act of faith on this person’s part God has been using to make my faith even stronger. He is more than able to open and close doors to guide us. God has used this one person to be a constant reminder that He is faithful, He still leads, provides, guides, and to remind me that He sees everything and He is more than able no matter what anyone else says.

Please never think that you doing something for someone is not enough. It IS enough. And ONE person CAN make a difference.

Also after many prayers of where to work a couple years ago, my oldest was led to a job where she’s been able to learn more than any other classroom could teach her. She’s found her voice, learned how to deal with unkind customers and others, and found balance of when and how to ask for help when she needs it. This adult life is a constant place of learning more and of deciding to put everything in God’s hands or not. I’ve seen a shy, little girl grow into a bold, God-loving young woman who shares Him in every interaction as she works and serves.

And a few months ago after weeks and weeks of fervent prayer about my youngest, for God to reveal more how to use her talents He gave her, she was led to archery. She’s got a natural talent. The team qualified for Nationals and we received some financial help and we also used all we had to be able to go to Nationals.

Her archery team has now qualified for the World Championship.

A friend just donated toward this, and again, I have to give glory to God as my faith gets stronger. Of course it’s not always through money but He definitely has the ability to open and close doors financially as He guides us. (If you are moved to give to something, then give, and if you aren’t, then don’t. It’s just always that simple.)

Our prayer is if we’re supposed to go, God will provide the way and if we’re not, that’s okay too and we pray for peace either way. It seems most of the team has given up on going because the cost financially looks too high.

But it’s more than that. We are supposed to stay in constant prayer about everything and money is not my god. God is my God. We’re asking for prayers. If we’re not supposed to go, then so be it and if we are then He will provide the way; the hotel, the airfare, food, transportation when we get there, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention. We’ve been told this would be about $1,000 each person.

That maybe sounds kind of silly to go shoot a few arrows.

But it’s SO MUCH more than that. It’s courage, confidence, life-skills, and more.

Whether we go to the archery World Championship or not, only God knows. We’re just asking for peace and His direction.

ALL of this has to do with my testimony.

And all I’ve shared here about my life leads me to this. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

What about YOU?

Whatever you’ve been praying about or worried about or talking about or thinking about, if you’re reading this, you’ve been lifted up to Him in prayer too.

Our God STILL hears, and He STILL answers. He STILL opens and closes doors. The winds and the waves STILL know HIS NAME.

He STILL restores what’s been stolen;

Your faith? He is able.

Your joy? He is able.

Peace? HE IS ABLE.

I pray He increases your faith as you put trust in HIM and not what the world says and I pray He helps you to submit all things to Him through prayer asking Him to lead you every day.

He’s got you.

HE IS ABLE.

And NOTHING is wasted.

 

For Somebody Who Needs To Hear.

Beautiful You, please don’t take things so personally. People just don’t know what they don’t know. People sometimes turn their backs on you WHILE you’re going though all the stuff that makes a powerful testimony and that is unfortunate.

But that same testimony you have from it all will someday silence a room and is the very key that will help unlock other people’s prison doors.

Jesus did everything without sin and people still walk away from Him. How much more will it happen to us if it happens to Him?

Lay it down at His feet in prayer (every day if you keep picking it back up.) He sees it all and He understands and He loves you fiercely.

NOTHING is wasted.

There’s More To It

It’s okay if you don’t read this.

I didn’t even know I was writing this out loud until my fingers started typing.

If you’re going to read it, read all of it and don’t just decide you know what I’m saying by skimming or stopping.


I never cared about Alaska until God did this thing in me. When anyone would ask me where I wanted to go if I could go anywhere in the world, I never had an answer.

Now, my heart has been transplanted into Alaska for the past 7 years already.

This is not actually a blog post about divorce but I’m going to say a minute about it so hang on.

If you came here to argue, Beautiful You, there’s just no room for that today. Maybe we can talk about that another time. I’m glad you’re passionate. What you think is important to me but I’m not here to debate. Lord knows, that’s what my marriage was; a debate.

And I’m quite tired of that, to be honest. God surely has bigger things for you to do with your life than to spend it in debate. I believe this with all my heart.


When I was a little girl and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I said “a wife and mommy.” I’ve been a wife, twice. And I’m wondering if perhaps single is more of a blessing than I could have ever understood before. I believe people who have been divorced can speak on divorce, just as people who have been through other things can better speak on what experiences they have known. While God says He hates divorce, God does NOT hate divorced people, and when people go through stuff, whatever it is, you WILL find who cares for you and who actually does not. There’s blessing in that.

Anyway, when I answered the grown ups, they always, without fail, would tilt their heads, look at me and say, “NO. What do you want to BE?”

As if…. being a mom is not enough?… I didn’t understand it. Being a mom IS a calling and being a mom IS enough.

After many years I realized they were asking what paying job I wanted.

But even beyond being a mom to my 2 strong, warrior girls, I feel God is going to give me a place where I’m a mom figure to many who need one in this Alaska homeless place He’s had my heart already living at for the past 7 years.

When kids tell us what they want to be when they grow up maybe, just maybe, they actually KNOW more than the grown ups around them are able to hear.

I can’t help but wonder if we listened better to them, and prayed more constantly over them as they grow, and if we focus on their God-given talents and strengths (instead of hiding the talents and focusing on weaknesses by trying to keep a grade point average of above a C, which is for another blog post another day. Don’t get lost being mad at me for saying so because there’s so much more to talk about and discover.) …HOW INCREDIBLE this place would look if people all lived out their calling and not what others said they “should” be doing?

(Hiding talents. I’ve read about that somewhere.)

This is what I’m saying.

Some people who have read this blog a while and who have been praying for my family and ministry don’t know my current situation. Some know a little.

I’m not hiding. In fact, I know He is using it all. For sure God keeps helping me find more healthy boundaries. I believe Him when He says He uses ALL things for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

My favorite Verse growing up was Romans 8:28 And we know that God works ALL THINGS together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. (emphasis, mine.)

 

When I started writing today this is where I was.

 

I feel like I have received a Master’s Degree in deciphering messages. I know that may sound silly – but it’s not. When you go through stuff you learn; not just in a school classroom setting.

And sometimes what looks like a fail isn’t a fail at all. In the world view, lots of things LOOK like a fail but in the view of Eternity you maybe learned exactly what you needed to learn to fulfill what you were created for.

Just for a second think about this.

Sometimes a job, even if you were there for about a minute or for 20 years, teaches you how to deal with co-workers or supervisors in a better way.

But if the job ends, people tell you “too bad that didn’t work out.”

Who said so?

Maybe it worked out very well and just how it needed to and you learned just exactly what you were supposed to learn.

People get mad when “the band breaks up.” But what if the band was for a season? What if the band wasn’t even supposed to be together in the first place? What if God actually hadn’t brought them together? Or what if the band WAS supposed to be together and then it was truly time to do the next thing? (I’m literally talking about bands here and not marriage so do not crucify for what you THINK I may be saying. I have lots more to say about divorce and remarriage but that will be another day.)

People are constantly – and loudly – upset about things that other people do that don’t even really affect their lives anyway.

Stop persecuting people for trying to figure out this thing called life.

If only God would use messed up people in messy situations…. oh wait, He does.

It’s time to shut out all the noise and stay in prayer. God’s got this and He has a reason in every lesson.

Here it is.

For the past 18 years… or rather, for the past lot longer than that actually, I’m learning to listen better with ears to hear. (I may be slower than some but am finding I’m finally learning to listen better to what is actually being said; for example, if someone says “I love you” with words but “Get away from me” with actions. I do not feel like I’ve missed out on anything but I get that this also sounds silly because it was 18 years of Groundhog Day and 50 First Dates of nonsense, truly.) I was an easy target.

In a few weeks, I will be divorced. Again.

(Guys, by the time someone is divorcing, you can stop yelling at them telling them they’re “doing it all wrong!” A wife is to submit to her husband and to God but the husband’s moods should not BE her God. AND the husband is to submit to God and also cherish and love his wife AS Christ loves the church. People often, way way – way – too often, hold the wife accountable and the husband – not so much. Another day I’ll be glad to listen to you talk about this if you get stuck here. But not today.)

I feel like if anything, God is making it clear that I’M NOT the one doing the work He’s put on my heart and that by the time He brings me there, that place where visions catch up to real time, it will be clear to anyone watching my life that I’ve been discredited more than enough and yet all of it will be for God’s glory, and not happening by my appearances and CERTAINLY NOT by my ability.

When I’m weak, He is strong.

I read that somewhere.

I’ve been married for 7 years, a single mom for a year. Now married for over 18 years and a single mom again for the past year (as we’ve been separated by my request and need for healthy space.)

The first divorce there was loneliness and sorrow like I can’t explain.

But this (marriage and) divorce has been loneliness, fear, and hopelessness and begging God to find mercy on me.

And He surely has.

I haven’t ever told anyone yet but now at this time I am.

In FOUR of the recurring dreams and visions (I can think of right now) my almost former husband was not in any of them. I didn’t think much of this a few years ago but now it makes more sense to me. I’m not saying God caused or didn’t cause things to happen or not happen but that He is MORE than able to give us insight any time He chooses to.

The more isolated and lonely you feel the more alone time you can have with Him. There’s SUCH blessing in that.

There was the one recurring dream with the many, many white doors, which is where the girls and I stayed for a few days in August 2017 when we took some space away for 3 weeks (then we were back for 6 months; it did not get better but worse and we fasted and prayed to get out. God still is our Deliverer.) I walked through that place almost throwing up because the confirmation was so loud.

Then there was a recurring dream with a specific thing about the windows… which is where we are now. And when I was awake I knew it wasn’t Alaska yet but I just knew it felt good to be there. I kept calling this one “the feel good place.” I kind of brushed it off because I knew it wasn’t Alaska yet. But here we are waiting.

Then there was the dream about the white posts and a yellow tent which I am wondering if it’s the ferry but haven’t seen that one yet in awake life. I’ll get back to you on this when it happens if you care to hear.

And then there is the one where I’m standing in the campsite of the Alaska homeless place God’s put on my heart and I believe where He’s leading us in the future.

I didn’t think anything about my almost former husband not being in any of those dreams and visions until last year.

And though I’ve grieved a thousand tears a thousand times over it’s not because I felt loved and lost a love. It’s because I (my kids along with me) was stuck in a bad place (putting it gently) and was trying to make it work the best I ever could because some day I will have to stand alone and face my God with my choices; all of them, and I can, knowing I truly feel I gave all I had to this marriage except my last breath.

A relationship should not be a battlefield but mine was; all the way back to the beginning… we’ve had too many fights and some should have been a wake up call to me but I knew many people would turn their backs on me if I divorced. Until I could bear the weight of all the judgment and it was lighter than the weight of the daily atmosphere of hostility, I couldn’t go. But it was either my body is going to shut off permanently or I must get out.

But over the years I just kept thinking “well it’s marriage so it’s supposed to work.”

But sometimes… it just doesn’t.

And you know what? God STILL shows up. He STILL uses things that appear to be broken.

But maybe it’s not so broken after all. He is THE Author of time. And He still restores what’s been stolen. My kids and I have seen Him show up day after day after day in such amazing ways since we no longer put a person’s moods first and we are not fighting a daily constant fight in our own home living out our faith about Alaska.

People may think what they want to but our faith is as strong as ever and God is with us. This, we know. And, OH, my kids! My kids have learned SO much about relationships and what healthy things to look for. If I’d known what they know at 16 and 21, WOW! (But I maybe would be writing a very different article. Only God knows that.)

Anyway, just saying there’s blessing in what looks like a mess.

When I first started telling people about Alaska (November 2013) and this vision God revealed to me, people came out of – everywhere – for over a week (maybe longer) saying the same thing:

“It’s not going to happen like you think it will.”

I’ve never heard that so much before (or after) in my whole life.

People I didn’t even talk with before would just walk up to me and within a minute said those words.

I was like, “What in the world?!” “I don’t even have an idea of how this homeless place will look, Lord, so why are all these people bringing this to me? Even so, I’m listening.”

And NOW I can’t count the number of people I’ve met and I have the phone numbers of police, domestic violence counselors, mediators, attorneys, house inspectors, architects, mental health counselors, teachers, construction guys, financial girls, and the list goes on.

When people asked me demanding an answer, “You …and what army? You and what army are going to do this work in Alaska?!”

All I know is that we see God providing all we need to do this work.

And though I may not have known He was doing this before 7 years ago, I believe it’s actually purpose He wrote into me when He knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

My answer is simple. Me and His army, I guess. He’s got my attention and I have to follow Him.

I counted the cost and the cost was high.

If I was leaning on my own understanding I could buy a ticket and go straight to Alaska this week, but I feel that we’re still supposed to wait on Him in the Bellingham area for now (like I felt we were supposed to wait in Texas a while after we had packed the boxes.)

So, we will wait.

.Lookin’ like a fool like the date He put on my heart, April 1st.

And when He says go – 

we will go.

 

And I say all this because I can’t help but wonder this one more thing…

What did He knit into you?

I pray you share about all the trials and all the things that people think were bumps in the road but that were actually moments God was bringing you closer to the purpose He created you for.

And don’t worry if some will judge you. Give yourself permission to let that go now. Because there will ALWAYS be some who waste their precious time doing that. But, Beautiful You, you have (SO much) more important things to do than to get distracted about that.

He will test you.

He will stretch you.

Make no mistake, He already believes in you. I believe with you, and you can believe in what He’s calling you to. (THAT already is a cord of three!)

EVERY DAY

ALL THE TIME

He wants you to know where you put your hope; in a place, person, business, school, health, church, money, hoping others will finally notice what you’re capable of?

Or is your hope in HIM?

Sparkles

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

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

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

This whole thing is about God answering my prayers.

-Chelsea

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

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

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

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

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

-Chloe

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Sometimes answers to prayers come in unexpected ways and times.

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

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

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

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

God answers prayers.

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

-Kerri

It is all about faith

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

Automatically we were signed up for war.

We were born into a battle. It’s not like we had a choice to sign up for war or anything but the moment we were conceived we were in this broken world and automatically we were signed up for war. It doesn’t matter if we consent to it or not. There is a war going on all around us every day between good and evil.

But before we were even conceived in our mothers’ wombs, God ALREADY had a plan for EACH of us. It’s like… impossible to even wrap my head around this but that doesn’t make it any less true.

When someone signs up for military in this world, we EXPECT he or she will go through tests, training, pain, and we KNOW to expect all of this. When military people complain and cry or whine, it’s kinda like people lose respect for them.

But the training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry. It’s not weak to cry. It’s healing.

In life, we sometimes have forgotten that we are automatically entered into a battle and God wants to train us, He will test our faith, and use the pain we go through for something bigger than ourselves. And OH how we do go through pain!

The training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to grieve and there is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s chaos. Know why?

There is an enemy. And this enemy is satan. Sin is real and satan designs custom-made traps for each of us. It’s not like we mean to fall into them but it’s seductive and we are human.

Traps look different for everyone. It’s nothing to laugh about and we all need help breaking the chains that hold us in prison. It could be that we fell into a sin like pornography or drugs or chasing money or even we could have faced the death of a child or a divorce and these can knock you down like for what feels like an eternity.

You matter. Your story matters. All of it. How you feel about it matters and the most important thing is what you do with it. You can hide it or let the enemy keep you down – and he’s GOOD at it because that’s what satan does – or you can stand back up and ask God to cover you and send the Holy Spirit with you everywhere you go and keep giving you His strength and leading you to know what He wants to do with your story.

We each have a choice to follow Him or not. Nobody can make this choice for you EXCEPT FOR YOU. Nobody.

And we will each stand before God on Judgment Day – by ourselves – and we are accountable for how we lived.

God did not expect perfection from us.

If He did there would have been no reason for Jesus to die taking our sins on the cross. But Jesus did die and Jesus did get down off that cross and that tomb could not hold him!  God sent Jesus to redeem us which if you think about it, if He expected us to be perfect, there would be no need for this.  We’re not perfect and that’s okay.  This is why Jesus is perfect.

I know stuff happened. I know someone has hurt you. I know people betrayed you. I know you have faced unbearable pain that nobody can fully understand because every situation is different. Get up anyway. Don’t let the enemy win. Please, please get up. God has such plans for your life and when you keep asking Him what He wants you to do every day, He will keep leading you and ALL the experiences you’ve been through in life will make more sense and all your talents and gifts will make sense and life becomes better (not necessarily easier but better.)

God loves you SO very much.  Talk with Him.  He’s listening.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.
The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. – the movie King’s Faith

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Her Dreams

Some people know what they want to be when they’re kids.

When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife.  (I’ve been a wife twice.  I guess I was an overachiever with that dream. Some won’t laugh at that. I get it. Not funny, but if I can find a reason to smile through all the heartache, I need to find it.)

As my oldest child and I were talking today we remembered all her friends who came to her big slumber party several years ago jokingly called me “Mommy” because I asked them all to use sippy cups because I didn’t have water bottles with lids for 20 kids but I had enough sippy cups.  We didn’t want to spill on the carpet.  Some of her friends still call me Mommy because of that.  (I told them their moms may not appreciate them calling someone else by the Mommy name.  It’s cute though and they were just being silly and being the awesome, cute kids that they are.)

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The thing I can’t stop thinking about is this:

What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?

Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t ASKING Him what HIS plans are for my life.  I was just doing what I wanted to do.  Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not.  I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing me for this very thing.

What if there are a hundred kids who need care?

I know there are.  And this is everywhere.  Every city.  Every place.  God leads people and uses us where He wants us.  We specifically feel called to move to Alaska for this work.

When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller to you than someone else’s dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they appear and very likely exactly what she knew as a child is exactly what God wrote into her when He knitted her together and even if she didn’t have the vocabulary or visions yet at that time to understand them or explain them, the same dreams from childhood are the same ones God will use later in life (and everything in between.)

(Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this.  Being one or the other is amazing, too.  And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom.  I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and IT’S TOUGH!  My heart goes out to single moms and dads.  You guys are doing a very important job.)

Just sayin’ when people share what is most important to them, even if you think they’re not the super most important “career” choices many others are working toward, maybe just pray with them and help them see how God will use these dreams in their lives.  Please stop telling people what’s impossible. He’s got a plan for each of us. He works well in the impossible.

The talents and dreams put in our hearts are there for a reason even if we can’t see the whole picture when we’re young.

Prayers for the Alaska homeless teen center are always welcome here.  We don’t know everything about how to do this work but can look back and see how He’s been preparing for this over 35 years.  We will keep following as He keeps leading.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet and are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

[Note:  Yes, God hates divorce.  But God does NOT hate divorced people and He does NOT disown you if you’ve been divorced.  God uses EVERY part of our story for His Glory.  You don’t have to believe me.  Ask Him to do this with your story.  He will.]

[Another Note:  When people laugh at your God-sized dreams, be kind. Sometimes we all forget to dream big. Sometimes we forget that there is a big God over all this and it’s not actually random at all.]

An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

Hi. I’m Chloe and I’m 16. Divorce happened in my life when I was one year old.

This is the first Christmas I’m looking forward to. Any other year I couldn’t care less if tomorrow was Christmas and to be honest, I learned to dread all holidays.

Today I will be a voice for the four year old who doesn’t understand why this Christmas Mommy is not at Daddy’s house to open presents.

Little kids may not be able to speak out yet so I will for them.

I dreaded picking whose house I wanted to be at and dreaded the stress of hurting someone’s feelings that comes with it.

I also dreaded being forced to go to either house when I didn’t want to go.

My feelings matter.

Half a day here and half a day there is not fun. (And thankfully my parents did not make me do this.)

I dreaded presents I wouldn’t like but was told gift cards are tacky to ask for. They are not. Gift cards ARE okay to ask for.

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

Divorce changes a family but not many people think of how the kid was affected.

You don’t “have” me or “get” me for Christmas.

You “get” chicken pox.

You “have” a rash.

You “have” to “go.”

You “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What?

You don’t “have” him like you have a rash. You’re blessed to spend time with him this Christmas. And if you’re truly blessed to spend Christmas with him, then treat him like it.

And don’t let him feel the divorce was his fault. Don’t be fake, either. You’re the grown up and if you want your kid to be part of your family, too, then act like it and take the first step.

While I understand some kids with divorced parents act like they don’t care because they’re getting extra presents, some place underneath it all they actually do care and they’re hurting.

Most of the time I couldn’t care less about the presents because hurt and sad memories were attached to them. Because every time I see the game that was at the top of my wish list, I remember the tears of missing my mom, and of brokenness that went along with this present.

A lot of us feel hurt that Christmas isn’t “normal” (whatever normal is.) Or kids are sad that their family is broken. Or they feel like a bother because Christmas family vacations aren’t whole. Or they feel left out of family events. Being a kid is hard enough. Please don’t add stress of your divorce to my life.

The divorce was not my fault. And I should get to hear that. Often.

Contrary to what many kids from divorced parents think, I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still feel stuck in the middle – because I AM.

I’m stuck between Mom and Dad and words like “biological” and “step.”  (I’m SO done with the word “step.”)

I’m stuck between two homes.

I’m stuck between feelings of brokenness and extra love.

I already feel torn and broken that you guys aren’t married anymore so please don’t add to that by forcing me or guilting me into coming over. I didn’t ask for the divorce and I’m not the grown up.

I’m the little kid who is learning that happily ever after isn’t always true.

Just talk to me.

Even as little kids we understand a lot more than you think we do. Talk with me WITHOUT trashing the other parent. It is okay for me to love Mom and Dad and I can even love new parents and new siblings. God doesn’t limit or divide our love. He increases it.

I get it. You’re grieving.

I need time to grieve, too. Something died and it’s okay if I’m upset. Tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I lost something too. I lost Christmas the way I wanted it to be.

Just love me today and spend time with me TODAY. Pray over me. Remind me it’s okay to love Mommy AND Daddy and all the rest of this messy family – because it IS okay and I should get to hear that.

I will be okay and you will be okay.

I will love you BOTH and anyone else I choose to love – and you need to be okay with that.

I am blessed to get to spend time at Christmas with two parents, even if at separate houses, who love me and are nice to (and about) each other.

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

Sometimes there are things that we never would have thought of before divorce that are now real life for us.

Celebrating on “the actual date” doesn’t matter. You celebrate when you can and with the people who can be there.  And that’s okay.

You learn to accept that life looks different now – and that is okay. Even if other people don’t understand everything, that’s still okay.  We know that every situation is different.

You pray over your children and encourage them to enjoy time at the other parent’s house. Sure. Let them know you miss them but more people to love and care about any child in a healthy way is a good thing. It is okay for kids to enjoy Christmas at either house. I KNOW it’s rough. I spent many hours crying because holidays didn’t feel ….like holidays. In fact, I spent many hours crying over just missing regular, everyday life moments.

If you’re a single mom or dad, we know it’s tough. We’ve been there. A lot of presents aren’t necessary. Your time just hanging out and listening to your kids matters more. If the other parent can afford more presents, that’s okay. If not, that’s okay, too.

We will be okay and you will be okay.

We wish you a peaceful and stress free Christmas – however that looks at your house.

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

[Note:  Unfortunately, there are many times a child should not be in the care of someone.  Please do pay attention if something seems unsettling.  Everyone involved in a divorce can probably benefit from counseling if needed. And prayers are ALWAYS helpful.]

 

Seven Million Tears (Divorce)

I remember the waves of sadness that would crash over me. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason so I’d know when to expect the next one.

There may be a song or a moment or words spoken and the waves of sadness threatened to take me under. It was so hard to breathe. I may be in a store or in the library. I had go to my car and get out of there because I couldn’t stop the tears – or the pain.

Sobbing uncontrollably in public isn’t fun.

People usually don’t know what to say when someone is going through a divorce. It’s almost as uncomfortable for them as it is for the people going through it.  (Almost.)

A few years after I’d cried the last of the seven million tears and healed from my divorce, my Uncle Dale visited me. He was going through some deep grieving over the end of his marriage.

I sat with him and we talked. We prayed together. Of course we cried together. I hugged him and THEN I said it; The words I never thought would have left my mouth (and shocked that I’d even THINK them,) “I’m so glad I’ve been divorced so I can help you through this.”

WHAT?!

I mean, WHAT?!

I couldn’t believe I said that.

Those words just left my mouth.

I HEARD what I’d said… and I MEANT it.

I was never EVER glad to be divorced in ANY way – until that moment.

Someone was hurting ~ and I understood the pain. ~ I could be there for him and help in some way that others couldn’t.

That’s what it’s all about. If we hide the stuff we’ve been through in our lives how can we help someone else?

You don’t have to wonder how you’ll know who needs your story.

God leads people to each other all the time. Ask Him who and when.

You’ll know.

Your seven million tears have a purpose even bigger than helping you heal from your pain.

Your life matters. Your story matters. How you feel about it all matters. What matters next is what you will do with it.

 

We’re Married. Friends or Enemies?

[Important Note: Some marriages are broken from the beginning. Please don’t bully people into staying in abusive situations. You also don’t have to hate divorced people. God hates divorce, but He never, ever said He hates divorced people.]

What I believe happens is that satan throws stones at us. He throws one at my husband and whispers to him that I did it and throws one at me and tells me that my husband threw it. Then he sits back and watches, hoping what he’s done will cause damage and confusion.

We have power over this. We are given power by God. If we claim God as our Savior we have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid.

I tried to figure out WHY marriage would be this hard. How come we argued so much and so often? I’ve had other relationships and they weren’t this difficult at all.

That’s when it hit me. Through my tears I realized that satan has done this. Somehow we allowed the enemy to get a foothold and a stronghold.

Here’s what God showed me:

We’re sitting. I’m reading a book and he’s watching T.V. and I feel a hard hit to my head. I spin around in anger and say, “Why did you throw that at me?!”

My husband, who has also received a rock to the head, fights back, saying, “Me? You threw this at me!”

So satan stands back and keeps whispering to us all the negative things about each other and enjoys the confusion he’s created. Then we realize in a sudden moment of clarity what has happened. We drop the rocks, drop to our knees, and pray together. Then is satan ever mad!  But we push him out the door together and he shrinks into a tiny puff of nothing.

Think about this.  The enemy doesn’t have a need to go after people he’s already got.

If you’re having a tough time it may be because you’re doing something right.

Now I Die or on second thought… maybe just have a Trash Ministry

I was married before. Yes, you’re reading this from a divorced and remarried child of The One True King. Trust me. I KNOW. You just DON’T get divorced. When I was growing up there was no, “but if you do get a divorce then this is what to do…”

You

JUST

DON’T.

But I was.

I was and I could not fix it.

Do you know what? I now know a little about why God says He hates divorce. Boy, I do too!! I HATE it! It’s awful.

God used a guy I really didn’t care for at work to get me to “wake up and live” after divorce. He said, “Well what are you going to do now?” I said, “What do you mean, ‘What am I gonna do now?’ Now I die.” He said, “No. You just turn the page.”

Isn’t it JUST like God to use someone you’re not particularly fond of to teach you a lesson He wants to teach? What a sense of humor, right?  That happens often, doesn’t it? Or maybe that’s just me.

[My oldest daughter has come home saying someone was not kind to her and it’s really not fun to be around that person. My response is usually something like, “Well looks like God may have her in your life for a reason. Maybe one of you is there to teach or learn something from the other.” (Not her favorite answer.)  But she usually responds with something like, “I know… I was afraid of that.”]

Anyway back to divorce, I’m telling you about my divorce to let you know my life is not perfection and just because NOW I can work on helping other people more, my life has not been where I felt I could do much for anyone.

Gotta lay down our pride if we’re going to love on other people and help them through stuff. And we’re layin’ it all down.

My life is full of not wise choices. And if it was perfect then maybe nobody’d want to hear what I have to say anyway. I’ve found it’s not much fun to talk to someone who clearly can’t seem to understand the struggles I’m going through. They cannot know the pain I know so I don’t want to talk with them because they kind of just wouldn’t understand.

Anyway, there is a lot of ash God’s turning into beauty in each of us SO THAT we can help pick others up outta their trash and so on.

The thing is, God can and does use the ugly stuff in our lives to turn around and glorify Him. He takes our trash and makes it a ministry.  I guess I have a trash ministry.

And I’m proud to say it.

“What do you do?”

“Glad you asked. I have a trash ministry.”

I’m pretty sure you may just have a trash ministry too.

 

It’s sad when some people react like, “DUDE! Don’t you ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” My answer 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. Your testimony, no matter how big or small you think it is, is the key to unlock someone else’s hell.