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.

People keep saying God doesn’t lead today.

Maybe the reason so many people say God doesn’t lead them today is because people keep saying, “He can’t.”

Think about it.

If someone kept saying (or believing) that He doesn’t or won’t or can’t do something today in 2016, then why would He?

He has nothing to prove to anyone.

God says

 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  – John 10:27

My prayer is that God moves in people’s lives so big that they cannot help but see Him work in their lives (and then share it.)

I get it.

I was 40 something before I ever “felt called” by God to do something. I remember vaguely what life was like before that but life is WAY more satisfying after finally beginning to walk in faith.

The truth is that I have heard about Jesus my whole life but I never realized I wasn’t giving Him my time (which is something I believe He wants from everyone.)

My time was my god and God wants NO OTHER gods before Him.

You know how I know this?

Because He says

You shall have no other gods before Me. – Exodus 20:3

I mostly lived every day -for years- without a thought or prayer asking God what He may want me to do with the time He gifted to me.

 

It’s funny when you tell people you feel God tugging on your heart to do something.

Many will probably tell you it’s not true or it can’t be done.

The thing I can’t figure out is…

Do Christians really not believe God -The Creator of everything- is big enough to put a dream in someone’s heart?

Or is it that He just wouldn’t choose a certain person to give a God-sized dream to?

WE (humans) mostly decide stuff by how someone looks or their credentials or status or bank account or whatever. (By the way, I can’t find it in The Bible where God is actually impressed by all that.)

Something I do read about God says this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Over the past couple years I’ve learned that when you share that you feel called by God to do something, lots of people are quick to tell you how wrong you’re doing it.

Or they’ll tell you how they would do it.

Or they’ll even be upset that you’re not doing it how they SEE you should be doing it.

Some people tell us “THIS is how it works” and continue on to tell us how they would be doing it. “Do this thing. Then this. Then this. And there you go. That’s gotta work.”

Okay.

Thank you. (Sincerely.)

But

Then

Where is faith in that?

Where does faith come in?

How would faith work into this if I try to accomplish this on my own?

God says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

 

I’ve heard of people who kick the doors down and don’t wait for God to open them and I’m CERTAIN I do NOT want to do it that way though I’ve tried my way and my timing for many other things in the past. (And it didn’t work out well then, either.)

It’s no secret that I feel April 1st is a very important date and I had felt like God may be moving us April 1, 2014, but maybe the April 1st thing is truly God letting me know He’s calling us to live out our faith even when it looks foolish to others. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to do this work.

Someone came to tell me (a couple years ago) that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that “God doesn’t work that way anymore.”

But

Hebrews 13:8 says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m glad that happened (though I wasn’t at the moment) because I realized something important. God didn’t put a year on my heart.

There are a lot of Aprils in the world.

There’s an April every year.

And we can look back more than 15 years ago to see how God was already doing this work in us. (We just didn’t know how or when or where or that it was for homeless people at that time. We did know it was a church camp kinda place and it was for teenagers.)

What I do know is that after God put it on my heart and began opening doors to this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place, I was pacing, excitedly, back and forth one day in our house in Texas, “God, Okay. Got it! Alaska Homeless Teen Center! Now how can I make this happen? HOW do I do this?”

That’s the day He put it on my heart that HE is the ONE DOING this and our family is just to be obedient to what we feel He’s calling us to do.

Whew! Okay. That sounds a lot easier than me trying to figure all this out!

God says

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So if God tells us to help orphans and we feel He’s literally calling us to go do that, don’t you think He’s big enough to provide the way?

People tell us to use our best logic. (Logic is not found in The Bible, by the way. I checked recently.)

But God says

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

So we’re going to choose to believe Him.

God is The Author of time and if He’s put a dream in your heart, He will be faithful to complete it. He knows what we need to do the work and He is not limited to a budget of people or supplies or money. (Thankfully!)

People may begin to tell you that it’s not possible or other silly things. (The truth is that if we were ALL doing what God is calling us to do then there wouldn’t be time left for people to critique what He’s calling YOU to do.)

 

We don’t have to grow up, get a degree, have a billion in savings, gather a committee, find supporters, or anything like that. If we follow Him, He’s got the rest.

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

 

When you share a dream He’s given you, it may really take you by surprise who is not supportive.

God may ALSO surprise you by giving you peace and confirming that support will come from where HE wants it to come from (and that’s pretty cool.)

All I can figure about that is that He will provide how HE wants to provide. (Perhaps He’s not wanting a certain person’s name or church’s name on it “so that none can boast.”)

Pray for peace confirmation when someone is not supportive. He’s got this. And He’s bigger than people realize.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

People may tell you that you’re not doing it fast enough. (For who? For them?)

So many people want everything faster in 2016.

But what about waiting on The Lord?

Waiting on God in 2016 looks… well, foolish. (April 1st kinda foolish, maybe.)

Some people tell us our family is not doing enough because we’re waiting on Him. Some people think we should be doing MORE as we wait on Him. More what? Planning my way? Saving my way? I couldn’t make this happen His way if I’d known about it my whole life.

Waiting on God is a form of worship in itself.

(God says you’ll be persecuted for your faith so I’m not surprised to be persecuted. It was just a little surprising that it comes mostly from other Christians.)

But

We’re doing what we feel we’re supposed to be doing as we wait on Him, which actually is enough.

We’re not going back and we’re not giving up as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to this work.

We’re asking, seeking, and knocking, and He WILL open doors in His timing and in His ways.

I can’t find it in The Bible that we’re to figure it out on our own and gather the resources on our own.

Besides, if we did this ourselves, then how would that be giving glory to Him? How would that show His Power and not mine?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

He’s got this.

 

[More about this Alaska homeless teen place here.  Prayers are always welcome here.]

 

And some day, when a homeless teenager looks into my eyes

Yesterday I stood on the edge of the Washington pier just looking at the water.

A big boat that said “Alaska Ferry” was just a few feet in front of me.

Every once in a while,

like for one moment every few months,

I experience an “I may throw up now because this is so much bigger than my whole life and what in the world am I doing?” moment.

Yesterday was one of those.

(I’m good now.)

About 7 years ago, God placed these words in my head, “YOU ARE MOVING.”

I’d love to tell you that I listened and obeyed that day…

but… not so much.

The thing is… I think we all have a bigger Calling than we realize and many times we miss it because we’re doing stuff WE want to do instead of waiting on The Lord and asking Him what HIS plans are for our lives.

It’s not that He can’t eventually help His plans work out for His Glory but choosing to really follow Him is a choice we each have to make for ourselves. The whole “die to ourselves thing” and “follow Him” are real, every day choices.

And that includes giving Him our time.

And I’m not talkin’ about just going around doing good things for people. That’s cool and there are many benefits to that but I’m talking about ASKING God to guide us.

If a coach stands on the sidelines and we don’t constantly ask for his help or listen to His coaching… what’s THAT about?!

Pray without ceasing.  Try this.  Pray to God all through the day and at night any time you wake up.  Prayer unlocks things that no other key can open.  (I know this because there were many weeks and years of my life that I didn’t pray much at ALL.)

The Alaska Ferry is HUGE.

I don’t even know what is across that water waiting for me.

But God put this fire in my heart and the pull is so strong that I am lookin’ like a fool, following Him – a thousand miles away from my comfort zone.

As I stood there, I wondered about people talked about in The Bible and when God showed them something bigger than themselves.

I thought about how a person felt when nobody else knew yet what God’s plan was.

I thought about the people watching Noah build that ark.

I thought about Mary who knew Jesus was in her belly but how silly did she sound when she told anyone else?

I thought about Joseph and that he didn’t believe her.  He didn’t believe so much that he was going to quietly divorce her.

Can you IMAGINE the loneliness Mary must have felt just then?

I thought about David going to face Goliath.

Was he afraid?

The very Power of God was in those rocks as David took down Goliath.

And THAT Power is with us today.

Jesus said The Holy Spirit is with us to guide us.

What does that look like today in 2016?  How does God “Call” us?

When someone tells you he or she feels called by God, who is to say it’s not truth?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

I know that until God did this work in me, while I did believe He COULD do this kind of thing, I had never experienced it for myself before.

So I can understand why some people would wonder if He really does still work in our lives like that.

He does.

Following Him is lonely.  But it’s worth it.

The Alaska Ferry costs $8,000 to $9,000 for our family of 4, the truck, and our camper trailer to go from Washington to Alaska.

God does not need money to accomplish what He wants to do.

WE may feel limited by money or other resources but God is not limited.

I cannot limit Him.

And it’s not even that.

I mean, it’s not even just the ferry getting us TO Alaska.  It’s after we’re there, then what?  God is MORE than capable of leading and providing land, help, money, people, and everything needed to do this work He’s put on our hearts.

The actual homeless camp or whatever it will be probably will cost millions of dollars.

And THAT reality makes the ferry tickets seem insignificant in comparison.

I don’t know HOW He’s doing this.

If I could SEE how, would that be called faith?

I cannot SEE how this homeless teen place can happen but He’s given me assurance that He’s doing this work with our family so we will keep praying and keep walking in faith as He leads.

And some day, when a homeless teenager looks into my eyes asking for some reason to live, and wondering if anyone loves her, I will read this blog post to her and tell her God put her in my heart before I ever met her.  And somehow He will make it all enough.

And I will tell her I almost threw up yesterday standing by the water wondering how God will finish this work He’s started in me.

I will tell her how God moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just to move our family to celebrate her life.

I will tell her I’m sorry I wasted time not understanding that SHE was why God’s message of “YOU ARE MOVING” was so important to listen to.

She needed a safe place to stay and people who would care what happens to her.

I will pray with her and hold her hand while we ask for God to lead her life and show her His plans for her.

And I will praise Him there, living more than a thousand miles away from my comfort zone (maybe almost throwing up.)

 

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.

 

 

 

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?

miracle truck

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

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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.

 

Missed Birthdays and Broken Holidays (Faith)

Some kids don’t get birthday parties.  Some kids get forgotten.

Some families don’t feel the “Holiday Spirit” and don’t have hope that anything will ever get any better than it looks right now.

Our family is going to go bring hope and Light to some kids and families.

We know this isn’t just with our power (and we also know God is calling more people to do this work with us.)  God renews us every day.  We trust that He will keep doing this so that we can help others and then they can help others, too (and so on.)

When God first put it on my heart that He was using our family in this way, of course I wanted to know more.  Who wouldn’t?!  This is the most amazing experience of my life; knowing He’s working in us and through us.

God has always led people and since He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can know He still leads people today.

Think about this.  How do you “know” something?  I mean, some women “know” they’ll have 2 kids.  Some “know” they’ll have 10.  Some people “know” they’ll never be married and some “know” they will be.  I’ve heard some people, after a young person died, say, “He always ‘knew’ he was going to die young.”  How did he “know?”

Sometimes we take our knowledge, gifts, and talents for granted.  We just “know” how to draw or how to invent things.  Sometimes we don’t even give credit to God because we have the ability to easily remember things or to do math in our heads, and we forget or don’t think about where this comes from.

Sometimes you just “know” stuff.  God put that in us.

We “know” He’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.)

~~~~>  The funny thing is that when we started packing boxes last year, waiting on His timing to move, the very first box I packed was full of mismatched tea party pieces.

I was blessed to have a roommate from college helping me pack.  I asked out loud, “WHY am I packing a tea set to move to Alaska?!  What a SILLY thing to pack!”

She looked right into my eyes and smiled, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”  <~~

Some kids are forgotten and some never had a birthday party.  Some got a black eye instead of a present.

Since that time after packing the tea party stuff, we’ve collected many sewing patterns (new and on sale.)  I wondered “WHY?”  “WHY am I collecting this many patterns and different kinds, too?  I mean, I do like to sew but haven’t really taken the time to so why would I be gathering this many patterns?”

Then God put this on my heart.

Some kids are homeless and have only the clothes they are wearing.

Oh, wow.  I hadn’t thought of that.  Not only will WE sew, but we will teach teens how to sew their own clothes and teach them job skills and share Jesus’ Love with them.

Then there’s this:  20 years ago I started collecting art supplies.  WHY?  I never really got time to paint, stamp, sew, or create like I wanted to so WHY have I had these supplies?

WHY did we pack decorations, hair cutting supplies, make up, and photography equipment?

It’s simple.

Homeless people aren’t trying to decorate for parties (or even go to any,) or visit the salon, or get family portraits done.

We are going to do this for them.

We believe God is moving us to Alaska to bring hope and Light and to celebrate missed birthdays and broken holidays with teens and families who haven’t had much light or hope in their lives.

We’re going to paint fingernails, cut hair, and donate our photography skills to people who otherwise would not have these luxuries.

At first I was like, “God, this may sound kinda silly to people.”

So I didn’t tell anyone that I believed He was doing this with us.

But it’s really not so silly when you think about it.

Celebrating someone’s birth and existence is a pretty routine thing for many people.  I know I was blessed to celebrate many birthdays with parties and friends.  You probably were, too.  Getting hair cuts, nails painted, family pictures, and going to the salon are things many people take for granted.

But when you have been neglected or overlooked or forgotten, moving our family to give hope and just to love on people is actually not such a silly mission at all.

So…  I said it.  Finally.  We’re going to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been celebrated much in their lives and who haven’t seen reasons to celebrate.

Prayers, donations, and support are always welcome here.

It’s all about God’s Power.

It’s up to us to obey His Calling (even if it looks silly to some.)

Cool fact to think about:  We don’t have to have all the answers right now or know how God’s doing this with us.  We will just have faith that He can and He is.

God opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.  We have faith and will keep asking, seeking, and knocking since He’s put this dream in our hearts.  Your prayers, good thoughts, well wishes, support, and donations are welcome as we step out in faith to do this work in His Name.

 

[Note:  There are many stories about how God led people – and it looked kinda silly to others when you think about it.

– There was a guy, Naaman, and God showed him he was to go dip in the Jordan river 7 times and his leprosy would be healed.  Silly?  He was even mad that there wasn’t some amazing, grand thing that would cure his skin.

But it was simple.

Obedience.

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.  2 Kings 5:10-14

– And what about that whole “March around Jericho and the walls will fall down” thing?!  Um, okay.  That would have been something to see!  (And God spared a prostitute and her family.)  What?!  But it happened.  Joshua 6:3-17

– And Noah?!  Are you kidding?  There had never been rain and He built a what?  A boat?  Um… yeah… right.  Can you imagine the jokes he endured?  What did the neighbors say?  Certainly he was mocked for his faith.  Genesis 6:9-22

We know.  We know.  It may sound silly to some.  Take this mismatched tea party set and have parties with people.  We are okay if it sounds silly.  We will still follow as God opens doors.

We expect that some people will mock us for believing God is doing this but the thing I didn’t expect was for so many who call themselves Christians to be among the ones laughing.

Maybe if we all focused on the jobs God’s planned for each of us we wouldn’t have time to make fun of each other.

~~>  Got courage?  Aren’t you a little bit curious to know God’s amazing plan for your life?  He has one.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And KEEP doing this every day.  Follow the tugs on your heart and He will reveal to you what it is that He wants for your life.  <~~

By faith…  Check out Hebrews 11.

Check out the last 2 verses in Hebrews 11.  (I’ve thought about this verse and how it may relate to my life, too. ~~>)  39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So….. IF I get to the end of my life on Earth and the Alaska homeless teen center does not exist yet, then He can STILL bring it to happen and I will STILL know and have peace that my life meant something as I walked in faith, trusting Him to lead my family.

I will share my faith in God and I will share what He’s doing in us and through us.

By faith, I will follow Him.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15]

The Right Way To Eat Pizza (not just about pizza)

Everybody knows the right way to eat pizza.

pizza

Pepperoni with parmesan.

The first bite is out of the side by the crust, right?

No.  The first bite is the pointed part, of course.

Why do we think this?  Because it’s how it’s “supposed” to look?

Or is it better as a supreme pizza with meats and vegetables?

Extra cheese.

Only cheese.

Two pieces together.

Or just folded in half.

With ranch dressing?

Or pizza with ham and pineapple.

Or what about an all vegetable pizza?

What about 3 day old pizza on the desk in your dorm room?  Perfect!  Right?

Pizza is a serious thing and people get kinda passionate about the right way to enjoy it.

Maybe NOT having pizza is the right answer.

The thing is – none of these are wrong and none are right.

They are just different.

Mission work is the same way.

When we do work for the Lord, haters, skeptics, and critics come out of nowhere.

When we start telling people we feel God is calling us to do a specific work, we hear more, “You’re doing it wrong,” than anything else.

Maybe it’s not wrong at all.  Maybe just different than someone else thinks it “should” look.

When we ask God what HE wants us to do instead of doing what WE would like to do every day, life begins to look different, WE begin to live differently, and spiritual warfare happens more than usual yet peace is more apparent at the same time.

When you stop looking around at other people, and you start looking UP to God and asking His direction, that’s when most amazing things start happening.

I pray for peace for people reading this and for all people to find God’s plan for their lives because He has one for each of us.

~~~>  When people are focused on what God’s planned for their own lives, there won’t be time to be upset about the jobs God’s got others doing or upset about the way He’s showing them to do the jobs.  <~~~

Some people believe you must do mighty things to actually get visible results. But God’s got this. He once had people march around a city and the walls fell down. Can you imagine the things that were said to them and about them and the way people mocked their faith? March around a city? Blow horns? What?! Such nonsense, right?

But the walls fell all the same.

Obedience matters.

~~~>  Sometimes God said things that really seem strange. “Cast your nets on the other side.”

What??

Does God not realize how completely silly that sounds to human ears? (I’m sure He does.)

I mean, when you think about it, the water underneath the boat was all the same water, right?  <~~~

But He said to obey and when they did, the nets were full of fish.

It is about obedience to His Calling even when it looks silly to other people.

For our family, we believe God is calling our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.  Unless you have walked in our shoes, you wouldn’t understand how this fits every experience and test God’s put us through.

Some say, “God doesn’t lead us like that today.”

No?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, right?
So since He’s the same…
He led people before the Bible was written, right?
And we know He led people during Bible times.
And He leads us now.

And how does that look for each of us?  I believe it may look just as different as each example in the Bible.  It looks as different as each “right” way to eat pizza.  What if all the ways are right enough?  When we look at the Bible examples, there are so many ways God led and so many different jobs He gave people.

God leads our steps when we ask Him to – and I’ve noticed over time that He was leading me EVEN when I wasn’t paying as much attention to my life. That’s pretty cool to think about.  My past is messy (just like many others’ lives are messy.)  And IF my life and past did nothing but bring me to spend the rest of it speaking blessings over people and telling you that YOU MATTER, all the junk I’ve been through was worth it to get to this place.

You are SO valuable. And if you forget, ask me and I will remind you a thousand more times. You are worth something. Maybe someone didn’t notice this about you. That’s unfortunate. Your life matters and your story matters.

It is so great that we each have different ways of learning, living, speaking, listening, different talents, and different ideas. What a boring world it could be if we were all exactly the same.

Sometimes when we do work for God, I have to wonder if He sees it as we do when our children do jobs we ask them to do.

Example:  Your young child washes a window.  She’s proud of the work she did.  You see the effort and also the places of the window she missed.  You’re still proud of her for trying.  You (hopefully) do not tell her what an awful job she did but instead, praise her and also help teach her gently how to do a better job as she tries next time and the next.

When we do work for God, we are proud of the work we did (sometimes a bit TOO proud and forget to thank and honor Him for the talents to do the jobs in the first place) and I’m sure God sees all the spots we missed.

He’s STILL proud of us for trying.

Ask God what HE wants you to do.  Try this for a month.  Follow the tugs on your heart and see how He will show you His plan for you.

[Note:  Our family would love to hear how God’s using your life and story.]

[Another Important note:  We would love to hear about the right way to order and eat pizza, too.]

 

 

 

 

What Does it Mean to Walk by Faith? ~Guest Post by Dena Johnson

[This article first appeared on crosswalk.com here: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-it-mean-to-walk-by-faith.html August 14, 2014. Guest Post by Dena Johnson.]
 –

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Those words seem simple enough.

However, I am learning that fleshing out those words, that simple concept, can be a much tougher assignment. It requires tremendous courage and strength. You must be willing to be misunderstood and even abandoned. You must be willing to give up any semblance of control of your life that you thought you might have. You must be willing to look like a complete fool.

But, it is a journey of tremendous blessing and reward. It is a journey that is exciting, life-altering, and mind-boggling. It is a journey that will allow you to see and experience God as he was meant to be: in all his fullness and grace.

Walking by faith and not by sight requires you to go to a place you do not know, one that God will reveal as you walk in obedience. Just look to Abraham as an example (Genesis 12:1).

Walking by faith means that you continue to cling to the dreams God has planted in your heart, even when you’ve been thrown away, taken to prison for crimes you didn’t commit. Just look at all Joseph endured (Genesis 37-50).

Walking by faith requires a strong determination to follow God’s plan regardless what life throws your way. Look to Daniel to discover how to have the resolve not to sin (Daniel 1:8).

Walking by faith means you have the courage to stand up for the hurting, broken, and down-trodden, to face death yourself for the good of others. Look at Esther and how she risked the death penalty to save the Jews (Esther).

You just may have to play the part of a fool. Think about Noah building an ark for a flood when it had never even rained on earth. Think about Abraham clinging to the promise that he would be the father of many nations even though he was childless at the age of 100. Think about Moses standing before the Israelites in the wilderness telling them they would eat meat until it disgusted them but having no idea where that meat would come from. Think about Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho as God had told him to and wondering what good it was going to do.

If you choose this path, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, to run from the Americanized brand of Christianity that so many of us have known our entire lives. You must be willing to let God take your world and turn it upside down, shake it up, and start all over again. You must be willing to let God out of the neat little box that you have put him in, to let him show up as he sees fit.

Maybe it will be a calling to do something you never dreamed before: foster or adopt children, leave your job and become a missionary, trade in the worldly comforts for heavenly treasures.

Maybe it won’t be that clean and neat and socially acceptable. Maybe, like me, your world will be turned upside down by the pain of adultery and divorce. Or, maybe you will be faced with infertility or addiction. Maybe you will have a prodigal child that completely changes the direction of your life. Or, maybe you’ve experienced the loss of a child—a hurt like no other.

I don’t know what your shake up might look like, but I know that if you will give it to God—throw up your arms in surrender and ask him to use it to change your life—he will honor your request. He will take you on a journey, teach you to walk by faith, entrust you with some of life’s most treasured moments.

He will build a faith in you—faith that moves mountains and moves God’s hands. He will teach you to live this life with abandonment, giving you a freedom to walk in all his fullness and grace. He will prepare you to be used mightily in this life for his glory.

Perhaps you’ve already experienced your life being turned upside down, toppled without any control. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found yourself wandering in the wilderness, watching his fire direct your every step by night, a cloud lead you by day. Perhaps you sense you are on the edge of the Promised Land, just waiting for him to give the command to take possession.

And yet, you are tired and weary. You’ve lost friends who don’t understand how you can continue to cling to a promise that is so obviously dead and gone. You are so close and yet feel so far away. You are struggling with temptations to just settle, even though you know it is less than God’s best. You simply don’t know how much longer you can stand.

You are not alone. I see God raising up a remnant of believers, those he knows will be obedient. He is looking for those with clean hands and a pure heart, those who will choose obedience even if it costs them everything this world has to offer. He is looking for those who will throw caution to the wind, believe that he has an abundant life (John 10:10) waiting if we will follow his ways. He is looking for those whose hearts have been purified, whose faith has been strengthened by the trials of this life (James 1:2). He is looking for those who will cling to his promises even when it seems there is no hope.

Be strong and courageous, my friends!

God has specifically chosen you to be a part of this remnant, those who will allow him to take their lives and mold them into what he wants. He has chosen you to have your faith tested and tried, and he promises that the fire will only purify you—not burn you. He has promised that he will be with you every single step, walking with you, carrying you, supporting you. He promises that he is still in control even when life seems to be spiraling wildly out of control.

He is teaching you to trust him so he can do something bigger and better than you ever dreamed possible (Ephesians 3:20-22). He is teaching you to let go and trust him with your heart, your soul, your life (Proverbs 3:5-6). He is teaching you to walk every single day in the spirit so that he can do even greater works in you and through you (John 14:12). He is preparing you to be a beacon of light and hope to a world which desperately needs to see Jesus.

I don’t know where you are on this journey of walking by faith, but I encourage you—beg you, plead with you—to wave the white flag of surrender. Let God take your life, your pain, your loss and use it for his glory. Ask him to do an amazing work in you so he can do an amazing work through you.

Get out of that boat and step onto the water…and never take your eyes off him. It is a decision you will never regret!

Thank you, Dena Johnson, for these incredible and powerful words.  Thank you for your permission to share this encouragement.  You know I needed it.  May this bless thousands of lives!

When God Puts A Fire In Your Heart

I’m 45 years old and was never online before just over a year ago. I didn’t want people who hurt me to be able to find me. Yep. I was a coward. My life has been threatened. My body’s been used.

You know how it is when someone hurts you; sometimes fear chokes out good things.

I was afraid.  For YEARS, I was afraid. But God repeats so many times, “Do not be afraid.”  But I did not know HOW to NOT be afraid.

[This is about an Alaska Homeless Teen Center not yet in existence. God’s put this fire in our hearts and we can’t (and don’t want to) ignore it.]

About 5 years ago my kids were at school and my husband was at work and I was putting laundry away, minding my own business, and loving being a mommy and a wife.

That’s when this thought hits my head so strong and I couldn’t ignore it (but I kinda wanted to at the time.) “YOU ARE MOVING.” No.  No. I didn’t hear that. I don’t want to move. Nope. LaLaLaLa. Can’t hear You. Don’t wanna hear that.

[You know? Sometimes I think about this moment and that if God had shown us THEN that this was to help homeless kids, we’d have been packing that day – but in my experience He doesn’t reveal everything all at once.

My guess is that He wants to know if we’ll follow Him and obey.  Also it would probably be too overwhelming for us and our little human emotions to know everything at once.  AND then there is the fact that… well… He’s GOD and doesn’t HAVE to do anything to let us understand stuff.]

Ummmm… yeah that happened. I knew God was tugging on my heart and did not want to hear it. So I told God, The Creator of the Universe and you and me, “No, thanks.”

Right. I know. Dumb thing to do.

I even told one of the elders at church that I didn’t want to move because I loved that church so much and there’s not another one like it so I could never move.

Boy, did that ever change! Some people who had heard about us asking for prayers for things (about 9 years before this) started spreading rumors about our family.  (Why they waited til this time – Dunno.)  The rumors got so bad that people we’d talked with many times literally turned their backs on us as we walked down the halls at church. My children eventually were not comfortable at youth activities and we weren’t able to worship there in peace any longer.

[To the gossipers, you’re welcome that I didn’t include your names.  There wasn’t a reason to do this.  You know what you did.  We know it.  And God knows it.  We forgive you.  This story isn’t so much about you if you notice; it’s about my lack of obedience to God’s Calling.  But your part in it IS important.  I even thought about writing you a Thank You note but wasn’t sure it would be received well.  Anyway, for what it’s worth, Thanks for helping me see that I wasn’t where God was leading me. (But it may not be the best idea to treat people this way in the future.)]

God let me know we’re going to move. I said, “Nope. No, thanks. And one reason why is –> this church is too great!”

He removed that out of my path.

We’re not mad at the people who spread untruths about us.  We know they must hurt pretty badly inside and feel insecure to spread rumors and hurt others the way they do.

A most important part to notice is that I loved a place too much and God redirected me.  [I’ve read that we shouldn’t have any idol that comes before God and –> the very thing I said I couldn’t leave <– was the very thing God took away.]

Since then we’ve been led to different churches and heard the very perfect words at the perfect times for the Walk of Faith we’re on. We’ve met people we may not have otherwise met and heard others who have similar experiences with God moving in their lives. One Sunday it was about stepping out of the boat and trusting God. We are. One was about faith to move mountains. Yep. One time it was about how God can use us to do amazing work and moves us out of our comfort zones and interrupts our lives to do His Work instead of stuff I think I want to do every day.

We know God’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center. The thing is; I did not even LIKE teenagers until my kids reached the teen ages. I never dreamed of going to Alaska when I was younger. It’s not like I know exactly how to do this work or HOW God’s going to provide (although we can look back through our lives and see that He’s been training us for this very work for over 35 years -even way before my husband and I were married He has been training us for this.)

I don’t know all the answers.

But I’m not afraid.

I’m not sure where we’ll live.

But I’m not afraid.

I don’t know how He’s moving us there.

But I’m not afraid.

~~> I did not make myself not afraid. God did this. <~~

He gave me my confidence back.  This is my miracle.  Who is able to give the gift of confidence? I only know of One.  (Mine had been stolen when I was a little girl along with my innocence when I was 9 years old.)  God gave me my confidence back and then showed me He has a job for me to do. It involves stepping out of my comfort zone and lookin’ like a fool to some people – but I’d MUCH rather be looking like a fool to people instead of looking like a fool to Him.

We don’t know how God’s doing this work but we know He is. It’s too big for just the 4 of us to do. This involves land, buildings, money, paid employees, volunteers, police, counselors, lawyers, desks, beds, supplies to teach job skills, and so much more.

Think about all of it.

Really.

I couldn’t do this by myself even if I’d known the moment I was born that this was my Calling in life.

The cool part is that we don’t HAVE to know all the details.

He’s got this.

It’s about our family being obedient to His Calling.

And when people doubt He’s doing this work in us and with us, that just doesn’t make sense. WHY WOULD I (a scared girl who has never been online on social media or had my pictures online) all of a sudden choose to go online on social media sites, share my life, story, pictures, faith, and all that we believe God’s doing in our lives?

I can think of about 2 billion other things that sound more fun than having our faith mocked and being laughed at (but Jesus said we’ll be mocked for our faith and ridiculed for following Him. So we’re on the right track.)

What if I didn’t go online to share this story even though I feel with every part of me that I’m supposed to? (If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17)

I already told God I didn’t want to move and He removed something (a church) that was in my way of fully trusting Him. I’m not really wanting to test Him again (though I didn’t realize I was testing Him then.)

It’s funny when people talk about their “own plans” because it makes me think of this verse:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. -James 4:13-17

People often talk about what THEY are going to do (i.e. college, marry someone, job, move…) and never mention if they’ve prayed about it or asked God if this was even His Will for them. (I’m not saying people haven’t prayed but I am saying most of the time people don’t SAY they have and many times we all tend to do our OWN things and forget that God is alive and working in our lives ALL the time.)

We have enough courage to share what we feel God is doing in our lives and some are supportive and are praying and waiting on His timing with us. THANK YOU for prayers and words of support and financial support. We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

In all your ways submit to Him,
    and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

~~> To those who doubt God’s doing this, I pray He moves in such mighty ways in this ministry that everyone watching cannot help but see Him. <~~

I can think of a lot of things I could have done instead of being here telling you all this and being mocked for my faith …but when God puts a fire in your heart, it’s not easy to ignore. God’s just done something in me and there’s no going back.

I was blind and now I see. (It’s real stuff. Ask around. The more people we talk with about our Walk of Faith, the more we hear others saying they’ll never go back to another way of living either.)

Prayers, good thoughts, and support are always welcome here.

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 3:6

 

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

Heroes don’t always wear capes.

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

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

Why?

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

~

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does lead.

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

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

God’s timing is amazing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had no idea what was going to happen next.

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

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

God’s timing is perfect.

I do not have to be able to explain it.

I do not have to defend it.

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

That’s not my job.

It’s my job to ASK Him.

It’s my job to believe that He will.

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

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

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

 

She said, “You mean today?”

She said her family may as well be as far away as Mars. I asked what she was doing for Christmas dinner. If she didn’t have any plans she could hang out with us, play board games, eat dinner, and watch a movie.

We saw her a couple more times before Christmas.

We asked her once more and gave her our phone number. We didn’t want her to feel like she HAD to come to dinner so we didn’t bug her about it again.

~
Dinner was almost done and it was around 5pm. We hadn’t heard from her yet. I whispered something like, “Okay, God, I’m not sure what to do. If You want her here, please show us. If not, then okay.”

I called her number. No answer. I left a quick message; something like, “Hey, we’d love for you to still come to dinner if you want to. It’s almost ready to eat. Please let us know. We can come pick you up if you need a ride.”

Within minutes she called saying she was at a nearby store (which was closed for Christmas) and would love to hang out.

She was only a few minutes away from our house. After she was in the car, I told her I could have driven to her house to pick her up. I didn’t mind at all. “Where do you live?”

She said, “You mean today?”

~
Our family has known for a long time that we are to help take care of homeless people.

Knowing this, we’ve tried to get involved in local homeless shelters and every year we’re told they have enough help.

~~> What we’ve learned is that people don’t have to ask other people how they can help. Ask God how He wants you to help. He’ll show the way. <~~

He brought a homeless woman to our door for Christmas dinner.

God will make a way when there looks like there is none.

That tug on your heart is there for a reason. Ask God what He wants you to do. He’ll lead you – even in the little things.

~
He also leads in the bigger God-sized things.

God put it on our hearts (about one year ago) that He’s moving us to Alaska to open and care for homeless teen center. He makes a way where we cannot see a way.

Prayers always welcome here.

We don’t know everything about how to do this God-sized job but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.  We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

This is all about God and His Power. We are just His hands and feet.

Train Wreck (aka Me)

When I see the pain in the world and the choices people make heading in the wrong direction it’s just too much for my human heart to handle. I’m so glad I don’t have God’s job because there’s no way I could do it.

I remember a sweet friend, years after we’d met, describing to me the way she used to see my life back then. She exhaled, “It was like watching a train wreck.”

She just lived life with me and she didn’t hate me. She loved me and was my friend when I needed her most.

I had no idea she saw my life and the things I was doing as a train wreck. I just knew she called me her friend.

People are hurting. Everywhere. Every day. People are hurting at work, school, maybe in your own home, in your neighborhood, church, and think about all the people we sometimes overlook like when you’re just out running errands; at the bank, checking out at the grocery store, getting coffee or lunch, or maybe in the car beside you at the stop sign.

What if you prayed over each person connected to your life every day?

What if you did?

In the morning say a prayer over your day asking God to touch and bless the lives of all the people you see, talk to on the phone, and even your online acquaintances (and don’t forget your enemies.)

They just need you to be kind and pray for them and ask God to lead them out of the dark tunnel (and everyone has dark tunnel times.)  They don’t need you to hit them over the head with a Bible. They need to know what love looks like in every day life.

Just call or text. Send an email when they come to your mind. Just tell them you were thinking of them. Take them coffee or chocolate. Just say, “I love you; but not in a creepy way. I love you with a Jesus kind of love.” Or you could say, “I love you more than cheese.” (Because that’s A LOT!)

It’s not like people go around with a sign saying, “Hey, I’m missing something and you know what that is. I need Jesus but I don’t really know Him and because of whatever reasons you aren’t sharing Him with me so I’m still stumbling all over myself and crashing into everything. Please stop staring at me and talking about me and start lifting me up when you pray. I need help.”

It’s okay to need help.

Jesus never, EVER said to live this life on your own. He says to lean on Him, follow Him, speak His name and He will be near you, fix your eyes on Him, and that He loves you no matter what.

Praise God He’s bigger than problems, broken relationships, the world, and life, itself.

1 Peter 5:7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

Is He Calling You?

Instead of waiting around for some church leader or group or anybody to notice what you are capable of take it to the ONE who made you this way in the beginning. Take it to the one who gave you the talents you have. Ask Him what plans He has for your life; because He absolutely DOES have a plan for you. He’s the one who can show you what your life’s purpose is.

God is the one who does the “calling.”

Be sure your line isn’t busy.

 

 

Questions I have when living by faith

(Our personal situation and the Alaska homeless teen place)

It’s frustrating to know something but to be waiting and not know when or how God is doing something. I am learning that HOW we wait -while we wait- is very important. He’s teaching and leading us every day which is something I wasn’t as aware of in the past.

When our car broke down I thought, “Oh well. Since we’ll be moving soon maybe we won’t need another car for now.” (That’s been about two -update- five months which has been okay, really.)

We’d like to ask for prayers about the car situation.
And also prayers for when and how for the Alaska homeless teen place.

As for the car, we’re asking God if we’re to buy (used of course) or lease or wait… We have been okay for a couple months without one because we’ve walked many places and also a sweet friend has loaned us her van for grocery store visits etc. If we bought one, would we sell it when we move?

All these questions! It can be frustrating living by faith!

About 14 years ago, my husband and I talked about knowing we would help teens at some place like a camp type of place. I said it seems to have a game room and shade and rocks or benches (or both.) And kids can learn skills there and study Bible lessons they are interested in and maybe they can earn a way to paint a brick or something like that if their homework is done… and now 14 years later we know it’s Alaska and that it looks like it’s a homeless teen place.

We tried to get involved at the different churches we’ve been over the past years but it’s only been minimal that we’ve been able to help and we know there is more we are supposed to do.

To know it ~but to be waiting~ is a tough place to be.

Some people have known us for years and know we’re for real. Some have just met us and still know this is really happening. Some think we’re silly and don’t know what we’re talking about. That’s okay. Some people secretly hope God moves in big ways because they know there is something bigger to believe in but would like to see some kind of proof or something. The people who doubt will see sooner or later whenever God moves in the God-sized ways. As for now, we wait. I hope it’s not another 14 years before He shows us the next part.

It took about five months for me to be tired of living out of boxes and the inconvenience of not knowing what’s next – but the thing is… we will wait – and do the next thing in front of us each day.  (At this point I’m not sad or caring about the few skeptics asking why we’re not in Alaska YET.)

The truth is we are going to obey Him. And if that looks weird to people, that’s okay. We’ve looked weird before and we’re used to being different. God calls us to be different. I never thought I’d be living out my faith in front of so many people but that’s okay also. (Writing the blog -or writing a book- is not something I ever thought I’d be doing.)

I read something once that said when a toddler learns to walk, we don’t tell him go away and be ashamed until he can learn to walk (or even run) and then he can be seen again. No. That would not be helpful. We encourage him until he learns to walk. We help him up. We don’t laugh at him. “What a silly baby! What does he think he’s doing; trying to walk?! Sit down and stay there, baby! You should be embarrassed.”

If you have room on your prayer list, I am asking for prayers specifically about the car situation. If we bought one, then would we sell it? What if we’re to fly to Alaska? What if we’re driving an RV like we think it may be and we pull a trailer behind it so we’d have no room for a car?

We’ve met some other people who ask God what He wants them to do every day and they also say the same thing; they will never go back to another way of living.

Deciding “my own schedule” gets some things done but I think I missed a million moments of what God had in mind for me because I wasn’t looking for that.

Just thinking out loud.

Prayers appreciated.

YOU don’t HAVE to be perfect.

People tell you… culture tells you… you have to be good enough; great enough; perfect enough; BEST enough.

But why?

Jesus says lean on Him and HE will make you enough.

I don’t HAVE to be strong enough.

And I cannot be.

If I could be all that is needed, then WHY would He have DIED for me?  It’s not just all about having fun and happy times.  It’s about serving others and about doing the jobs we were created to do.

If I had to be broken so that Jesus could shine through me to show His Glory, I think I’m okay with that.  ❤
~
Check it out.  Jesus heals a blind guy.
John 9:1-5

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

If I were doing things MY way…

I would NOT be online. Period.

I was afraid. It’s as simple as that. I was afraid because now the rapists, molester, and others who have hurt me can now find me easier.

It was not a mistake that I wasn’t online. It wasn’t like I didn’t know HOW to use the internet or computer.

Of course I knew how.

I didn’t want to be online with pictures, video, writing, on social media, or anything else.

EVER.

If I were doing things MY way I would not have put myself “out there” in the great, wide space of the internet suddenly deciding at age 44 to be ridiculed and mocked for my faith in doing what we know God is calling us to do; opening and caring for a homeless teen center in Alaska.

I certainly wouldn’t have intentionally invited hate mail or wanted to hear the poisonous passive aggressive voices from people who do not see why we are doing what we are doing and at the same time do not have courage to ask us “Why?” personally.

If I were doing things MY way, I wouldn’t advertise that we were selling, giving, packing, and now waiting on the Lord to provide what He’s shown us He will provide if we do this work He’s given us to do.

No. I could have been a little more secretive about it… IF I were doing things MY way.

But I’m not. I am listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads our family to do amazing things.

I could have said, “No, God, that’s too uncomfortable. You KNOW me. And I just CAN’T be online. I love You but that is just too far out of my comfort zone. Maybe You have the wrong person for this job.”

RIGHT. I COULD have said that.

UMMM, NO.

One day I will be face to face with God and I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So… we will do what He’s calling us to do ~ EVEN though we face people laughing at our faith in Him.

God says He has a job for us and has given me the main tool I need to do this job.

Confidence.

Not just confidence in myself but confidence in Him AND that He’s got this and will show His Power through our work if we obey this calling and follow Him.

The Holy Spirit leads.

Have YOU been called?

Are you listening to what He’s called you to do?

Somebody needs YOU and YOUR life’s story. Have courage and do not be afraid.

Will some laugh? Probably.

Will some support? Hopefully.

Will some walk away from your life. Yes.

But with God’s Power and Support you cannot go wrong.

Step up into your position God’s calling you to.

I believe in you.

Listen to Him.

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘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!’

Was God not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

We have a mission.

We are a family of 4 and God’s pulling us to Alaska. The pull is so strong and we are living day to day asking Him what He wants us to do today. We’ve lived this way almost 7 months now. We know what we are going to do and can look back over our whole lives to see how God’s been preparing us for this very thing.

We are moving to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen place. We don’t know everything about how to do this but He does and we will keep following.  We know He’s preparing the way even when we can’t see all of it yet. We are excited to see who else He’s calling to this mission work.

We have sold almost all our things and have a small room full of things to move. The funny thing is that it’s not regular stuff people would usually move. We don’t have dressers, washer and dryer, car, (selling all those things) or even beds (just have mattresses that roll up.) We have art supplies, tools to build with, hair and nail stuff and photography equipment to move.

We know we are going to open and care for a homeless teen place and we knew we would be working with teens for many years now but have been turned away by every church we’ve gone to because of our past.

My husband is a preacher’s kid and was helping everyone in his younger years. Then the enemy worked on his heart and it made him wonder why nobody was ever there for him when he needed help. And he committed armed robbery and went to prison for about 8 years.

When we tell churches about this they are interested at first then turn us away. We understand that. And they don’t know him.

Tony has the eye and heart for the kid who isolates himself and isn’t involved. His story can reach lives that many cannot reach BEFORE it’s too late and kids make some of the same not so wise choices he made.

He’s also shared his struggle with pornography and has been porn free (yes, even soft porn) for about 4 years now. But when he speaks about this, churches and many people are not comfortable with the conversation (as can be expected.) This conversation makes people uncomfortable.

Honestly, the world has become WAY TOO comfortable with all the pornography everywhere.

So… we asked God if we were hearing wrong. Was He not showing us He has this plan for our lives?

Actually He does have this plan for us. And we are willing to do it but this is SO much bigger than our family and even if we had known when we were first born that THIS would be our calling we could not have done it all ourselves. We couldn’t have gotten the buildings, people, resources, and everything together even if we’d worked at this our whole lives.

But we serve and worship The God of The Impossible.

So we are packing and waiting on the Lord to give us the right timing to go. We are here, waiting (sometimes patiently and sometimes not so much…)

We know we are going to use our photography company called PhotoSentimental to honor people in need who cannot afford pictures of themselves. They get to see how beautiful they are and we’ll give them the pictures to keep.

Like the Help-Portrait thing that Jeremy Cowart is doing; Founded by Jeremy in 2008, Help-Portrait is a global community of photographers coming together across the world to use photography to give back to people in need.

Please share our story.

If you don’t feel led to give to this ministry, please still share? What we have found is that the very next person you share this with may have the same strong pull on his or her heart as we do on ours. This will take teachers, chefs, coaches, counselors, leaders, helpers, prayers, money, and more.

WE are just 4 of the people to help with this. We’d love to hear from you if you feel this same tug at your heart. It will be exciting to get to meet everyone God’s calling to this mission. Thank you and God bless.

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/itisallaboutfaithblog-alaska/x/7009583
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Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

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Please share?

This is bigger than just our family.  This is more than 4 people moving to Alaska.

This is huge!  This will take much more than money.  This will need volunteers, paid employees, land, buildings, donations, beds, food, chairs, computers, desks, clothing, sewing machines, counselors, police, lawyers, cooks, janitors, financial guys, etc.

Prayers please?

The same God Who gave Power to David’s sling and stones is able to lift us to do His Work when we obey & look to Him & give Him the Glory.

 

 

Mustard Seeds, His Money, and a Question

A church we went to for a short time taught me a couple things that other churches my whole life had never taught me but should have.

And I made ONE simple life change.

HIS MONEY.

Give. Start with 10% and also go up from there any time God moves your heart to give. NOT just when you feel like it as many churches excuse. NOT from your leftovers IF you have some after all the bills and going out to eat.

GIVE. Period.

You give simply because God says to.

It is all about being obedient to God.

God spoke and created the entire world. He does not need YOUR money to do anything. You give because He said to give. You give out of your first money.

WHERE do you think the money came from?
WHERE do you think your job came from?
WHERE do you think the talents to DO your job came from?

God.

MUSTARD SEEDS.

The other thing this church did that we’d never seen before was something they called a Mustard Seed Offering. In this service they handed out an envelope with several mustard seeds in them.

The front of the envelope had this on it:

{SEEDS OF FAITH

Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

THESE SEEDS REPRESENT MY FAITH FOR A MIRACLE.

“For whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7}

And on the back we were told to write everything we are asking of God.

We did. I filled up the entire back of that envelope! I have lots of prayers and some are small and some are big. Some are so big that ONLY God could bless it or give it.

And I believed it right then (almost 1 year ago) and I still believe it now because this is still happening every day.

A QUESTION.

The ONE simple life change I made is every morning before I get out of bed I ask God, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

See? Simple.

Think about this. It’s not like God’s going to FORCE you to ask him. He’s not going to FORCE you to do what He wants. We have free choice.

If you liked a person and decided to marry him or her, you wouldn’t just one day suddenly be married, right? You ASK for that person to marry you.

If your child finally comes to you and says, “Hey, Dad, what do YOU want me to do today?” The possibilities are endless. Am I right?

This sounds simple. And it is. And the giant ways God will move and work in your life is something amazing! The ways He’s been working in mine sometimes leaves me speechless and in awe of His power and how true it is that He keeps His promises. He just never gives up on me.

I challenge you to do this.

GIVE.
Give 10% of your FIRST money (and also any time God leads you to give.

How can you receive MORE money and blessings
if you’re fists are so tightly holding on to the little bit of money you have now?
Open your hands.)

ASK.

Ask God every day,

“God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

To Move A Mountain

Prayers?

If we’re not on your prayer list and you have room for us, please add us to your list?

The reality of HOW extremely big this Alaska homeless teen place is can be kinda overwhelming.

We’re asking the same God who spoke and created the world to move us to Alaska, provide the money, show us where, and help us physically prepare the building and licenses for residential and non profit and to help us with everything else we don’t know how to do.

We’re asking Him to make sure we have all we need to care for the kids He is planning to bring our way.

We’re asking Him to help us teach these kids the skills they need to survive and to teach them faith and that Jesus is real and loves them very much.

We’re asking for Him to provide money to pay all the people needed to serve in this place.

If we had known about this and had tried our WHOLE lives to get all this stuff in order and take care of it all, I don’t think we could do it on our own ever.

This is bigger than my family, bigger than maybe 10 families… maybe even 20 families and several churches.

But it’s not bigger than God.

We don’t know exactly how to do what God is calling us to do but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.

He knows how and we will trust Him.

God is bigger.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We’re asking Him to move a mountain.

Thank you for your prayers.

The only part we are playing in this homeless teen center
is obedience to do what He’s calling us to do.

Period.

This is ALL about God’s Power.

I can’t wait to see what He does next.

Get HIGHer!

When God shows you what HE wants you to do and HIS plan for your life, it’s exhausting.

And exciting, and fun, and scary.  I think it’s probably the ultimate thrill!

People are searching for a high and for something to fill the voids in their lives.

This is it.

I know the secret to make your life happy and whole.  His name is Jesus.  I’m not saying everything is happy all the time.  In fact, the Bible says it won’t be.  But the peace that covers us is divine and supernatural even in times when life is tough.

Try this.

Every morning before you get out of bed, ask God, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?  Please show me.”

He SO does this!

You will be happier and filled with passion because the VERY things HE wants for your life are aligned with YOUR talents that He’s given you.

What’s close to your heart?  Working with special needs kids?  Helping at nursing homes?  Building houses?  Caring for animals?  What about food passions?

There are so many great passions we have that we let rest because we don’t simply ASK GOD to show us what He wants us to do.

Just try it.

What do you have to lose?

You may very well be exhausted while doing it though because think about this:  When a child fiiinally asks his mom, “Hey, mom, what do YOU want me to do today instead of the stuff I want to do?”

OH, YES!!  Put him to work!  Am I right?!

When we give up our “To Do” lists (and our lists ARE important) of what WE want to do every day, God blesses it so big that we are finally getting to use the talents He gave us in the ways He knows will be most fulfilling to us.

Right now, whatever time it is, even if it’s just in your own head, say, “God, please show me what YOU want me to do today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”  (And then do it again tomorrow.  It’s amazing!)

Your life matters.  Are you living out your passion?  Or is something missing?

Time to get to work… and LOVE it.

It’s Not About Me

God’s led me back to a book I’ve been reading for a while.

The book is called It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado and it’s great.

It’s just NOT about me.  It’s about God and I need to never step in the way.  I even hate the way the blog and Twitter say “Follow” because do not follow me.  Follow Him.  He does NOT NEED me to help Him.  He allows me to help.

And so He’s worked on my attitude and reminded me who I am to Him.  I’ll do the job He’s leading me to do…  Alaska homeless teen place and writing online (NOT comfortable in ANY way) and encouraging people daily while also challenging them to ask WHY they do the stuff and believe the stuff they believe.

Know how I know it’s God?  Over 2,000 people have been to the blog.  I could not make 2,000 people do anything.  That’s how I know Who’s in charge.  And I can rest and have comfort in that.  He’s led an Australian newspaper to find the blog and they’re sharing some stories.  That is how I know He’s got this.  I just need to be His hands and feet and ask Him what He wants me to do every day. http://www.informedchristiannewspaper.com./

Sometimes I don’t feel like doing what He’s putting on my heart to do that day.

My youngest daughter was bullied in 5th grade.

I just found out yesterday how bad the bullying got in 5th grade and some teachers added to the problem.  (NOT all the teachers.)  And three boys and one girl specifically bullied my daughter to the point of her wanting to leave this world.  I did not know it got that bad.

I don’t wish for them to NOT find Jesus but I just don’t care to be the one God may use to show Himself through.  Ya know?

I’m human.  I have regular feelings and all that.

I live “real.”  My family lives “real.”  And we like it that way.  We will keep asking God what He wants us to do every day and for Him to use us to show His Light.

~Even on days we don’t really feel like it.~

Because

it’s just not about me.

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.

Yes. We are praying for and expecting a miracle.

Please share this story.

I didn’t even have my pictures online.

That was not by accident.  I was hiding.

That story is for another time although there is a letter ABOUT and TO a child molester somewhere in my blog called “You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid.” (December 2, 2013)

That was just the beginning of me believing satan’s lies that I was worth nothing and pretty much only good for sex.

(More of that story later.)

We’re living by faith right now.

Every day I ask God what He wants me to do “today.”

He has moved me way out of my comfort zone by being online on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, and a Facebook page for the blog.  Anyone who knew me before God moved me online knows that I was the biggest NOT fan of social media.  God moved me online to find support (prayer warriors, financial, connections, etc.) for this move to Alaska.

God was tugging at my heart just about 3 years ago telling me we were going to be moving.  I was totally NOT wanting to hear that because I loved the church we were going to.  I even told one of the elders there that I could never move because I loved that church too much.

Some people who are VERY gossipy started talking about our family and about stuff they wouldn’t even know at all if we hadn’t been open and honest about our lives and asked for prayers about it in the first place.

The rumors got so bad we were not able to worship there anymore.  We had to find another church.

God’s been leading us and I know (NOW) that I HAD to give up THAT church because it was a reason I did not want to listen to God telling us we were going to move.  (So you know that verse 1st Thessalonians 5:18?  Well God’s teaching me that one REALLY well.)

So over the past 2 years we’ve been on a journey of giving up and not even really on purpose.

We gave up TV (no more satellite or anything and our kids are totally in agreement with this),

my husband and I both stopped smoking (I read a book.  Allen Carr The Easy Way To Stop Smoking.  One of THE best books EVER),

I cut my hair (an ex boyfriend used to tell me how ugly I was when my hair was short or in a ponytail so this was a really big deal to me.  Turns out I’ve gotten MORE compliments on my short hair than I ever did when it was long),

my favorite car EVER was totaled when it was barely bumped in a parking lot by a guy who was texting and not watching where he was going (I cried over metal. That one’s frustrating. It’s just a car. But I’ll admit I cried over it.  Silly beat up old 1996 Nissan.  I miss that car),

and I let go of my worry over money and we started giving our first of paychecks (and also whenever and wherever God leads us to give more).

Oh and I gave my kids over to God trusting Him that He will take care of them.  I’d never done that before.  Though I’ve heard of parents dedicating their children to the Lord, I was too afraid to speak that.  But now I did.

BIG 2 years.  NOW we believe WHERE we’ll be moving is Wasilla, Alaska.  (Never been to Alaska.  And don’t have a house yet.  But God is very big and I’m not worried.)

We know WHAT we’ll be doing is starting and running a teen homeless kinda place.  (Never done this before but our past sure will come in helpful and it makes sense that this would be just the thing God would lead us to do.  My husband and I talked about this before we got married.  We both knew we’d be working with teens at a teenage hang out kinda place but didn’t know how, where, or when

~until now.)

And we know WHEN looks like April 1st.  (Didn’t get to move then but we know God’s timing is the right timing for everything.  Prayers please?)

We do not know HOW He’s moving us yet because we cannot do this God-sized job on our own.  (Yes.  We are praying for and expecting a miracle.)

So we’re listening and following as the Holy Spirit leads us.

We’re on a Walk of Faith.  (Never been on one of those.  That name just fits what’s going on so now we have a name for it.)

Stick around and see what God can do with me.  I believed satan’s lies for over 35 years that I was worth nothing.  I was nobody.  That old devil was wrong.  I am somebody and God has shown me that because I was just not able to see it for myself.

Now I will spend the rest of my life as long as God gives me breath telling YOU that YOU are somebody, too (in case nobody tells you that.)  You should get to hear it.  Because it’s true.

We are a close family who works, plays, and prays together.  Whatever happens, we will praise Him.  We appreciate any prayers and support of any kind.

What YOU can do:  Please spread the word for us?  Share this?

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog

https://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/GodMakeMeEnough

Thank you and God bless your life so big that you cannot help but notice Him.

Okay back to packing.

He’s led me this far and I will keep following Him.

This is real stuff.

Jesus. Take Him or leave Him. It’s YOUR choice. It happens to be the very most important choice you can ever make.

You better choose. Because your choice will lead to either Heaven or Hell.
Can’t sugar coat that.

I am not going to be the person who didn’t tell you about Jesus and that you need to choose Him. I will tell you every day and plead with you to choose Him. It’s part of my job and I won’t be afraid to do it.

You matter WAY too much for me not to tell you.

If you want to delete me from your computer, email, Facebook, Twitter, please know that I will miss you terribly.

I’m not going to shut up and I’m going to have the courage to write what God puts on my heart even if I’m afraid sometimes that it will make somebody mad. I’d rather have a person mad at me instead of God mad at me for not doing what He’s led me to do.

I will use any platform and tools He gives me. I’ve had death threats. I’ve been used and lied to and laughed at for years. That old devil will NOT cover my mouth ever again. I won’t hide any more and I will keep having courage to write what God’s laying on my heart. I am here to stay. God has very big plans for me. He opens doors that no one can shut and He closes doors that no one can open. He’s led me this far and I will keep following Him.

In Jesus’ name, I claim that I will not be a coward any longer.

I don’t know about you but I’m NOT gonna be the person who stands in between Jesus and a soul needing Him.

Who are YOU to stop someone from accepting Jesus in baptism?

Jesus speaks to someone’s heart. She wants to be baptized and accept Jesus into her life and follow Him.

Who are you to stop her? Who are you to tell her she has to wait til she knows more. Who are you to decide when she knows “enough” to be baptized?

I would not want Jesus to ask me why I told someone “No” or “Not yet” when she said she was ready. Yikes!

Check this out. Acts 8:34-38
In the bible someone heard the Good News about Jesus and decided to follow Him. “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” He was not told to wait til he knew more.

I don’t know about you but I’m NOT gonna be the person who stands in between Jesus and a soul needing Him.

I believe God can do anything He chooses to do, of course, and MAYBE if that person died before they got to be baptized, God still knows her heart and will gift her Heaven anyway but I’m just putting this out there.

I would NOT want to be in standing in your place when God asks why you stopped someone from coming to Him.

You think you’re ALL THAT?! Trust me. YOU ARE.

I know you are sick and tired of hearing how awesome you are. People on the streets shouting all day long, “Hey, YOU! Yes, awesome, beautiful YOU! You are so great and we can’t wait to see what incredible things you’re going to do next.”

All your supporters. Crazy guys. They just follow you around and love you and serve others right along with you and support your dreams. I mean, COME ON, give you some room, am I right?!

You can’t even turn on your computer and check your email without hearing something great about you! Dude. Enough already. Try to look through your texts… Even more love pouring out of your phone! What are you to do?

You think you’re ALL THAT?! Trust me. YOU ARE. You ARE “ALL THAT” and God gave you breath for a reason. The world tells you you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, ENOUGH. ENOUGH. ENOUGH!!!!

Let me tell you who you are.
You ARE good. You ARE pretty. You ARE smart. You are JUST RIGHT.

YOU are a child of the One True King. You are not forgotten.

You ARE on purpose. You are HERE on purpose and FOR a purpose.

Get that through your head. You were created with all the details of your personality and your body and your mind JUST this way. You are amazing and never, EVER let anyone else make you believe anything less about yourself.

In case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

This is a story about faith and moving to Alaska

Later we will write about all the things we’ve given up on this journey of faith because we do not want to forget and it’s worth sharing.

~
When I was a little kid in 6th grade, I noticed the funniest, cutest, nicest crush I’d ever met in my whole, entire life!

Well he was almost as funny and could make me laugh almost as much as my friend Terry Nishimuta. Terry was the silliest, greatest friend and he could make anyone laugh! I miss Terry. I hope you’re resting in peace in Heaven, crackin’ jokes up there and I just want to say, “Thank you, Terry, for making my school life fun!”

So this crush guy was almost as funny as Terry. He was so kind and nice and he never ever said a mean word to anyone. I loved spending any minute in his presence because he just radiated “friendship.”

Until 6th grade I never knew anyone thought I was weird.

I didn’t even know he thought I was weird. But now that I’m a grown up I don’t think there’s really another way to be. What kinda life is “normal, regular, worry about what everyone else will think of me?” It’s okay (and even envied by some) that we drive a free, somewhat beat up car, with NO car payment [Scratch that. The car’s been broken for over 2 months now so, yes, we’re the weird people with no car and walking most places we need to go.  The scale says I’m 5 pounds less. That’s cool.  Walking is something I WANTED to do but wasn’t doing with a working car.  I suppose we COULD have a car payment and then pay another payment to go to a gym but why?  So we walk a few miles each week for the past couple months.]  There’s just not room for negative energy from others (and thankfully, God has blinded us to some of the unkind looks and comments people have carelessly tossed our way.)

Okay back to Cute Crush David. He could entertain and make us laugh and it felt good to be around him. I’m sure everyone thought so. In all my life I’ve never met anyone as genuinely kind as he was to me way back then. He had the cutest, crooked smile and he said in a sweetest voice that he was going to call me Hee-Hee. OH the way he smiled as he said it! I think it’s cute that people who knew me from 6th grade through high school will still refer to me as Hee-Hee.

David VanBuskirk was his name and I think he was in the 8th grade. He was the kindest, cutest, almost funniest guy I’d ever met. And I’d like to thank him for the nickname, Hee-Hee. In fact, the first time any guy ever told me I was cute was Jeff Caruthers. Our senior year in high school he told me that some of the guys were talking and they agreed, “Hee-Hee’s gettin’ good lookin’.” THOSE were the sweetest words and least expected compliment I could have ever hoped for at that time!

So now… I’m a writer, artist, photographer, a mom of the 2 greatest girls in the world, and wife of a good, Christian man.

Hello, my name is Kerri, and I’m a Child of the One True King!

(Child of the One True King. Thank you, Jordan, preacher’s kid from Kentucky, for sharing your life’s story, and thank you, Matthew West, for writing this song because now THOSE words sing through my mind throughout the days! WHAT a relief from all the lies the enemy tries to put on my name tag!)

Anyway about 3 years ago I clearly had a thought hit me. From God? I think so. I believe God puts things on our hearts every day. So this voice or thought was telling me something like, “You’re going to move.” I was like, “NO WAY! I did not want to hear that! Let’s go on putting this laundry away and not think about that anymore.”

Well… it looks like we actually are moving. I need to move with my husband, 2 girls, a rat named Lancelot, (R.I.P. Sir Lancelot. Lancelot isn’t going with us now.) and a mouse named Charming (Charming won’t be going with us either. R.I.P. sweet Prince Charming) to Alaska.

Why Alaska? We believe God’s moving us there to do ministry work; specifically, moving us there to open a homeless teen center in Wasilla, Alaska.

So as I’m praying something like, “So, God, hey, where is the money going to come from to move to Alaska?” And as the few days go by since the realization that this is actually happening, this morning it hits me, “use the weird in you.” (This of course made me go back to 6th grade and look into David VanBuskirk’s, beautiful brown.  No blue.  No. Hazel? Whatever color those eyes were, they were CaaUUTE! I went back to 6th grade and unashamedly looked deeply into David’s eyes as he sweetly named me Hee-Hee.)

This morning I thought about that guy who took a red paper clip and traded and traded til he traded for a house. That’s kinda cool. (The Internet has a few videos about Kyle MacDonald and his trade of the One Red Paper Clip. One interview was done by the TV show 20/20 if you want to check it out.)

What a great idea. So I look through my house to see what I would offer to trade like that and I was led to a book. It has a picture of snow, snow dogs, a sled, a couple of people in warm coats, an airplane, ice and mountains.

WHAT? I’ve never noticed this before.  Looks quite a lot like Alaska.

[Quick fun fact: A few years earlier I had bought several old books from a garage sale for 10 cents each.  There were two books with the same title.  Interesting:  One of them has a picture of snow etc. resembling Alaska and the other book has a cover picture resembling life in Texas -which is where we live now.  Interesting coincidence -if I believed in coincidences …which I don’t.]

And the name of the book? Roads to Everywhere. Hmmm.  Interesting name.

Okay so what if I could trade this book and a few photo shoots to make enough money to move with my husband, 2 girls, and 1 rat (again, we miss Charming and Lancelot) to Alaska?

Hey! It’s worth a shot! If we try and fail to get a house this way, at least we tried! Try and succeed, or try and fail. At least TRY! Some will cheer. Some will boo. Some will laugh. That’s totally okay. Just be determined to try with 100% as our daughter’s teacher tells the students to do.

~~~~~ Since writing this we have made 3 trades (which is actually 4 things, total.)

We traded the book for binoculars.

Then traded the binoculars for a flowery, fruity, vintage chair.

Someone traded the chair for a Bose speaker set.  NICE!

Now we’re looking for the next trade; someone to trade the speakers for something bigger and better.  The trade can be new or old; doesn’t matter.  If you want to be part of this amazing story please send us your idea for a trade.
~~~~~
We sent Tony’s updated résumé out and we needed a new email address for his job search. We knew it was all about faith so… what to call it? As we sat together in front of the computer and talked, it came to us; itisallaboutfaith@gmail.com

Because you know what? Finding a job, enough money to move and live in Alaska comfortably (and by comfortably, I mean enough to pay all our bills and save, give, go on dates, and send our kids to college or online college, a car or 2 that will not break down with the right tires and no car payment, the right equipment and clothes to not freeze in 40-below weather,) and facing the looks and comments that people subtly (and some not so subtly) toss our way that we must be crazy, is ALL about faith.

By the way, I didn’t tell you yet that I’m TERRIFIED to be out in cyber world on the internet and put my life out there, up for criticism and hate mail, but again, this is a big step of faith. Something that millions of people do every single day without a care; put pictures of themselves and put their lives out in the wide, never-ending space of the internet; it is just something I’m NOT comfortable doing.

So… here I go, in faith.

Time to write.

Nevermind.

I can’t do this.

Yes, I can do this.

Okay, for real this time.

Here it is.

It is all about faith.

~

Thanks for all prayers, business, trades, and contributions!

Please share with other people who may support our Alaska movin’ family?