More Than Anything

We designed and bought magnets for gifts. And we also took the time to get a new little picture of the 3 of us and have it printed.

We sent a picture and a magnet and a note last Christmas to people we thought would appreciate them.

I knew the note and the picture were paper and may not last a long time.

But the magnet, I thought would last a really long time.

I was wrong.

It was the first time I’ve sent out Christmas cards in years because of some personal reasons.

This is what it looked like on our small budget.

Pray magnet before

After a short while I noticed the magnets hanging on our fridge, if they were moved much or touched much or fell on the floor or got water on the edges they soon looked more like this.

Pray magnet after

I will confess. At first we were sad about the company that told us they were “stick on car” and “all weather” quality magnets because it turns out they’re not such long-lasting magnets after all.

Also when I buy something (no matter the price or what it is) I kind of expect it to last forever. (It doesn’t.)

At first I felt embarrassed that the magnets aren’t the quality we were told… but after thinking and praying a little while, I realized that they are kind of like prayer.

We need to pray.

Then we need to pray again.

Then more.

Since Jesus is part of a trinity with God and The Holy Spirit (like you may be one person and also many; a mom, wife, sister, cousin, aunt, daughter, niece, friend, etc.) and Jesus needed to pray so much then how much MORE do we need to stay in constant prayer?

Have you ever loved someone and they never acknowledged you or talked to you or looked at you? It really hurts.

God loves us and wants to be close to us more than anything.

He watches us sleep while we’re breathing the air He provided with the lungs He created and He longs to have more conversation with us.

He is jealous for you. It’s why He sent Jesus to pay our debt. Why He did things this way… I don’t have to understand the whole thing. My job is to believe and share Him.

Some people study The Bible like all the time but don’t talk TO God.
Someone can learn all ABOUT God and yet still not really intimately KNOW Him.

These sad looking Pray magnets ended up being a good reminder to me that this prayer thing is an hourly thing, moment by moment, and though one prayer can change a life, constant and often prayer is what we are called to for this intimate relationship with our Father.

He loves you.

Pray note Christmas Valor 2018

[Note from Kerri Valor:

Some don’t know and some do know that divorce happened. The only thing he could not step on was my faith. There is a lot to talk about with the emotional abuse that had been going on for years and I have a lot to say about it but that’s not for this article.

Our God still is our Deliverer and He still delivers us out of unhealthy situations when we put our hope in HIM. My kids and I prayed for what to fast from and fasted from specific things for three months. The doors opened. God brings provision in all kinds of ways and from all over the place and this includes laughter and friends, legal help, He provides physical places to live, jobs, cars, and more.

The Bible says God hates divorce. I do too. It’s purely awful. It’s heartache like no other. But God does not hate divorced people.

A marriage is broken for many years before a legal divorce happens.

God sees every moment and He wastes nothing. He uses everything and He’s already been using this part of my story to reach people who need to have space from a husband who pushes them away in 100 different ways all the time. That’s not cherishing a wife and loving her as Jesus loves the church.

I’m not talking about a bad day. I’m talking about a toxic relationship.

While divorce is a very sad thing in some ways, no matter what the circumstances, this was another confirmation that when we fall back, trusting Him to catch us, He still does.]

Valor 3 picture Christmas 2018

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

Mommy bk k blog shower coins 1

My daughters were each in a shower and I would hand them shampoo, soap, or put another quarter in when the water shut off. Probably nobody likes to run out of hot water with foamy soap still all over.

Suddenly my heart completely ached for kids I don’t even know who don’t have a mother to help them through life.

I was moved to tears for them again in that moment.

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

When I was a little girl and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up all I really wanted was to be a mommy and a wife.

Most of the time when I answered that question I was met with disapproving looks as if that’s not enough of an answer.

But it is.

It is enough.

As it turns out it looks like I will be a mother figure to many homeless teens in Alaska. Who would care for them? Here I am, Lord. Send me.

THAT is pretty amazing and I’m honored that God is doing this with my life. I don’t have to know HOW He’s doing this but I will keep following this dream He’s put in my heart as He keeps opening doors. (You can read more about this in the Alaska Homeless Teen Stuff here.)

I remember a sweet teenage boy once asking me, “Are you JUST a mom or do you DO something?”

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

I smiled and gently explained that being a mommy and leading, training, and loving children is a very big job and is very something. He smiled back and I could tell he was believing this was truth (and it probably wasn’t meant in a disrespectful way at all.)

There is NO “just” in being a mommy or wife. (I believe that if it was a paid job, either of those would be on the highest scale ever. I know we’re all willing to do these jobs without pay but it’s just something I think about when it comes to the money and finance world and how it would blow the executives, presidents of companies, doctors, and lawyers away if they could all SEE a mommy or wife’s worth written in dollar amounts.)

But EVEN IF I was “just” a mommy and wife, that is absolutely “enough.” Whether people feel Called to adopt or are naturally Called to be a parent, it’s enough.

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

if-I-like-cheese-and-you-don’t-I-will-be-offended,

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

(It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.)

And life is NOT a competition. Your race is your race. Period. And wherever you are is just right for God to use you and your story.

Whatever God put in your heart to “be” when you grow up, I believe it’s enough.  And if people laugh when you tell them you want to be a dancer or singer or whatever, let them laugh.  (The way someone treats you is usually much more about his or her heart condition than it is about you.)

I believe in you and God believes in you.  He created you and knows your most intimate dreams. Sometimes we let the world tell us what we “should” be doing instead of following the dreams God wrote into us.

I heard someone say he wanted to be sure and use up all his talents and gifts so that there was nothing left by the time he meets God face to face. That’s pretty cool.

The job the world says you “should” have and the job God’s put on your heart to do may be 2 different things. (For some people it’s a blessing to have already discovered this and to shake off the world’s opinions.)

Believe in you.

People can go a long way just hearing someone believes in them. We are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (even when we’re thinking about ourselves.)

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

[Note:  I can’t leave this without adding that physical needs being met aren’t the only needs that desperately need met. Emotionally being there and believing in them, modeling integrity in all things and sharing Jesus with the kids in our care are also VERY important. Some kids have physical needs met but are starving for a deeper love that God intended for a mother to provide.]

[More:

Something we do at our house is called, “You are my favorite kid.”

I used to be a nanny and care for many kids. 2s and 3s are my favorite ages (and now, teenagers, too.) At one preschool job the most difficult child in a class of 24 3 year olds I taught was my favorite kid. Actually none of the other teachers enjoyed his company but he just had something special about him and I tried to be sure he knew I valued him.

We lived in Texas before this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. When my kids’ friends used to come over and they’d set the table or help in some way I’d say, “You’re my favorite kid.” (And it may only last 5 minutes til the next kid swept the floor or said, “I’m sorry” while looking into someone’s eyes and then that kid was the favorite kid.)

We’ve said this for years now and the other day my oldest daughter and I were talking. Everyone likes to hear that he or she is a favorite and many people never hear this in a whole lifetime. We are excited to get to take this favorite kid thing with us to the homeless teen place. Everyone there will get to hear “You’re my favorite kid.” (Sometimes my kids even say this to me. I love it!)]

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.