Can you hear God? He’s saying, “Stop complaining and just trust Me.”

Homeless IMG_3059

It’s been one year since the road broke under the tires of our RV and our family became homeless for a month after a towing company totaled our camper.

 

Somewhere in the middle of my prayers last year in August I felt we were to go to Bellingham for a while and not to go through Canada   …but we were trying to head through anyway (3 times, you know, because… I don’t even know why…)
Homeless IMG_3267

(Ever feel called to do something but don’t do it? I’ve read these kinda stories in The Bible and have heard a few in my lifetime, too.)

I didn’t understand why I felt we were supposed to go to Bellingham at that time (and there are probably a hundred more reasons we won’t even understand til Heaven) but we can see many wonderful and interesting things God’s been teaching our family over the past year.

I love this lesson because even when we are heading the wrong way God can always redirect us – and He does this amazing work where He makes something good come out of something that we don’t think is good.

(I mean, get this. We were going the way I didn’t believe we were to go and the road literally broke under the tires. How’s THAT for an answer to prayers asking Him to lead?!)

We have learned so much through experiencing homelessness for ourselves that we could never have learned in any other classroom.

We can see that God took care of us even through homelessness and now we can better serve some other people who also know this kind of life but who don’t want to stay there.

 

Homeless IMG_3261

God is the greatest Teacher and when we commit our lives to Him He will teach us what He knows we need to learn to fulfill His purpose for us.

People are constantly trying to test the limits of these physical bodies God gave us – but when God tests our faith or we have to grow spiritually, so many times it’s Whine Time.

If a soldier in training for any other battle whined like we do about this, we’d probably lose a little respect.

Like it or not, we are each a soldier in training.
 
I have learned this. Since we felt called and shared this with several people over the past three years, we’ve met many others who also feel called to move, too, and some, also to Alaska like we do.

Think God is up to something?

Perhaps… He’s working on a little something called The Great Commission?
 
He knows what He’s doing. And no powers of hell can stop Him.
 
Mark 16:15-16 The Great Commission –  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach The Gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

 

A few weeks ago we told a girl we met that ever since we’ve shared that we feel called, several Christians have told us that God doesn’t lead people anymore.

She gave the best answer we’ve heard, “When did He stop?”

 

Prayer unlocks doors that nothing else in this world can unlock.

 

When we stop fussing about changes that happen and just ask God to reveal why and lead us through each thing, He does it.

He’s not in a hurry like we are most of the time. This is a lifelong obstacle course and each experience we live through has important stuff to teach us.

People spend billions of dollars on obstacle courses and creating manmade adventure in this world but God already wrote it into our being. When we open our eyes, hearts, ears, and focus on Him leading through prayer, we find adventure and clues all over the place.

I wonder if God’s sometimes thinking, “Don’t you understand I’m training you for your purpose? Stop complaining so much and start trusting Me!”

 

 Homeless IMG_3257.jpg
#Faith
#Purpose
#Serve
#Homeless
#itisallaboutfaithblog
Read more about our walk in faith to move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place here.
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She looked like life had been pretty rough.

She looked like life had been pretty rough and that drugs had her locked in a prison she probably didn’t build by herself.

She was standing by the gas station and I was still sitting in the truck.  I just looked at her for a moment and saw a hurting soul and wanted her to know her worth because somehow I could tell she wasn’t aware that she mattered.  Maybe nobody had told her or treated her as if she meant something.

She didn’t ask me for any money or anything.  I felt a tug on my heart and reached into my purse.  There were 5 Canadian coins and I felt compelled to give them to her, of course, not even certain if she’d be offended that I offered them.

She took them and thanked me.

All I said was, “You’re so welcome.”  Immediately as I took a step I wished I’d told her it wasn’t really me who moved my heart, but Jesus.  I regretted that the second I had I didn’t say this in words to her because He’s the One she needed to hear from; not me.

Within about 3 minutes she walked through the aisles to me and thanked me again.  I was so grateful to get to say, “Jesus is the One who moved me.  It’s not actually from me.  He loves you.”

She thanked me again and smiled.

Then a few minutes later, she walked back over where I was filling coffee cups for my now not homeless anymore family.  She said beautiful, real words that are worth MUCH more than 5 dollars (loonies, as Canadians call them.)

She said, “I’ve been struggling with my faith.”

I said something like, “Prayer is where doors open that no other key can unlock.  Please start praying and God will move in ways you know He’s there.”

She kept walking back to me several times to talk more about Jesus before I left and I thought to myself, “If I hadn’t paid attention to God nudging my heart to give and had only looked at her with my own human eyes and judged that she may spend the money on more drugs, I’d have missed the moment to share Jesus with her but because I listened and obeyed better I did not miss the moment.  (I did a little happy dance prayer in my head right then; just me and God.)

I did see that she used the money to buy breakfast but even if I hadn’t, it’s okay.

I am responsible for how God shows me to give and she is responsible for how she uses the money; for how she receives.

It’s that simple.

When we feel moved to give, give.  When we don’t, don’t.

But please always ALWAYS treat someone as if she matters because she does and you may be the first or only person she’s heard that from in a very long time.

In those moments a quick prayer can open a closed or hurting heart and invite communication to restore faith in The One who loves us most.

Mommy bk k blog 5 coins with blog

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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You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

What if, instead of a one night stand, we call it what it really is?

Instead of a pick up line what if someone had to ask the “real” questions to the person he was hoping to hook up with?

Would this change anything?

“Hey, you’re cute. I’m feeling selfish. I know God gave you a beautiful gift and it’s not really for me but I’d like to take some of what He wants you to save for your husband (or wife, if a girl is asking a guy.)

Would you please lower your standards and let me tear off a piece of your beautiful wrapping paper? You could just lie to your future husband or act like nothing ever happened with me.

I’m lonely tonight and you don’t even know your husband yet so how about you give some of HIS treasure to ME?”

OR maybe it goes like this:

“Heeyy. What’s up? I’d like to give you some of what is supposed to be my wife’s some day.

I know you’re not my wife but since she’s not here yet, she probably won’t care. I’ll tell her she’s so special later, “blah blah blah…” but I’ll make it sound more meaningful than that, of course. (Honestly, you don’t mean enough to me to mention you to my future wife anyway.)

Right now, today, you’re the only one I want. But tomorrow, who knows?!

I’d like to steal from your husband and one day you’ll wish we didn’t do this (and I will too.)  So whatdaya think? Want to?!”

There is not enough cologne or make-up to make this be anything other than what it is.

What if we did think about this for what it really is?

I did NOT know I had value. I honestly did not understand that even though my innocence was stolen when I was 9, I STILL had value. Throughout my life, some stole from me and some I gave away; truly not having any understanding that I mattered. That old devil is clever and designs custom-made traps for each of us.

But I wouldn’t change my past because everything in my life has brought me to this place where I will spend the rest of my time telling you that YOU MATTER.

~~~> If people stole some of your beautiful gift OR even if you voluntarily gave it away, you are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile! <~~~

Check this out.

Recently we replaced the broken face on my husband’s phone. About 2 weeks later we noticed it was cracked again! We took it and paid for a new protective cover for the broken phone.

When the guy walked to the counter with the phone, it went like this, “We have never put a cover on an already cracked phone before.”

Just because the phone has a broken part does not mean we want to trash the rest of it.

~~> We want to cover it with protection so that it does not get more broken. <~~

Just like when we mess up, we don’t want to keep messing up and making bad choices.  We want to “cover” our lives in prayer and protection.

When we are in a car wreck and the bumper is crushed and the tire busted, we don’t smash out the windows and slash the other tires.

We don’t hope for another wreck.

We try to avoid more damage to the car.

Purity is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. All of your story matters. And God will take all the broken pieces and make them into something worth sharing. It’s called your testimony. And it’s important.

When you see people giving themselves away, it’s very possible they do not know their worth in Christ yet. Saying a prayer for God to show them their worth in Him can help change the world.

[Note: I wrote this as if a guy is speaking to a girl (or a girl to a guy) but if you’re having a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender, I’m here to tell you that you matter and you STILL are giving away (or people are stealing) something that does NOT belong to them. You don’t have to prove something.

Please don’t let people treat you as if you are less than the beautiful person you are.]

[Note 2: This story can be read as a woman speaking or a man speaking pick up lines.

The value is the same. It does not change. We ALL matter. And we are not supposed to be using each other because God has a better plan.

When we understand the reasons WHY to (or not to) do something, it makes a whole lot more sense than just telling someone to (or not to) do it.]

[Important: THIS is not FOR or AGAINST political stuff.

A sin is a sin. I’m not going to argue with people about what sin is. Our conscience shows us that. Usually when we are healthy we realize something is a sin and we hide it (like Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden) or we may even become belligerent about it, trying to justify it to people. The Holy Spirit will convict our hearts to show us what is better for us and when He does this, we want Him to lead us more. When we know better, we do better.

God made sex. And He made it to be a beautiful part of a relationship. We messed it up.

But just because it’s been messed up, doesn’t mean to KEEP messing it up.

Purity is beautiful.]

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

Fun ways we give hints for Christmas presents:

(Just something fun we do at our house.)

Let’s say I bought a new sweater as a Christmas present for my daughter.

My daughter, who really wants to know what the present is – and a little bit kinda enjoys NOT knowing what it is – asks for hints as the days go by, trying to guess what is in the box.

Our hints go like this:

You could use it as an umbrella, but I wouldn’t.

You may like to take it for a walk on a leash, but I wouldn’t.

You can paint with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could wear it on your head, but I wouldn’t.

You could eat it, but I wouldn’t.

You can tell time with it, but I wouldn’t.

You could try to read it, but I wouldn’t.

You could heat it in the microwave, but I wouldn’t.

You can wear it on your feet, but I wouldn’t.

You may put icing on it, but I wouldn’t.

Maybe you could use it to start a fire… but I wouldn’t.

(Eventually the questions stop.)

It’s a fun way to give hints without telling someone what the present actually is.

 

 

Stuff God’s Been Teaching Our Family (Without A Car) In 2014

We lived without a working car for 6 months (on purpose.) God has taught us A LOT. This is some of what we learned.

~

My kids learned:

-We don’t need a car to live.

-Fast food is NOT what people want when they are walking everywhere.

-When I give food to homeless people it will be something healthy.

-People feel like they have an obligation to offer a ride if you’re walking. It’s a pity thing. (It shouldn’t be.)

-The way people look at you when you’re walking is pretty rude.

-Homeless people are probably stronger than anybody thinks they are.

-Employers are unsure if they should hire you when you don’t have a working car. They wonder if you’ll get to work.

-I learned we can do stuff even without a car.

-We can walk farther than we think we can.

-Any place is in walking distance if you take the time.

-You buy less things ’cause you have to carry stuff home.

-People eat a lot more than they need to.

-Walking is a work-out and it builds muscle.

-You feel better when you walk.

-We were blessed with 2 legs and 2 feet to be able to walk places. Some people aren’t.

-If you’re willing to help someone there needs to be a genuine love. Don’t just do it to check off the service hours on your list. Attitude matters.

~

What my husband learned:

I don’t NEED a car.

God provides what we need.

A car can add stress. (Also not having a car can add stress.)

~

Stuff God has been teaching me:

-When you’re walking places there is less of a hurry. It may take 30 minutes to walk some place when it takes 5 minutes in a car. (I love NOT being in a hurry!!)

-We are too busy …and we’re kinda selfish.

-Most people don’t really want to be bothered by other people’s needs. I was doing that, too. I liked MY schedule. I liked MY life. MY day. MY hours. MY time. MY whatever. But that’s not how we’re called to live.

-When I help someone, take time for them. People are worth taking the time to get to know. They will bless your life or you will bless theirs somehow. (I mean, besides the transportation factor.)

-When I do feel called to give someone a ride I will NEVER, EVER (EVER) have a look on my face like, “OH OKAY. I GUESS I can put myself out to give you a ride!”  Just… NO.

-Wait on God and His timing. Ask Him to be involved in EVERY part of life and trust Him (even when buying – or not buying a car.)

[VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Please DO NOT pick up someone if you feel you shouldn’t. It’s okay to pass by if you feel worried or have that feeling in your gut that it’s not a good idea. God gave us that feeling for a reason. Listen to your body and trust yourself.]

 

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

“How did you spend the time on vacation?” “How much time did it take to finish that project?” “The time you took to repair that issue was time well spent.”

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

We each have a specific number of minutes, hours, and days.
When our time is up, where have we spent it?

We CANNOT get more time.

What is wasting your time? Did you hear how we say that?
“YOUR” time? Like it’s just a casual thing…
but
Where did your time come from?

“Spend” some of “your” time, the time that God has gifted to you, talking to Him. Just stop a minute now to speak to Him. Your conversation is something He wants very much. He is jealous for YOU.

One Dollar and Fifteen Cents

An amazing 12 year old friend named Madison came to our house the other day.  She said she has money to give toward the homeless teen place we are to open in Alaska.

Madison handed me coins equaling one dollar and fifteen cents.

 

I have read a story about a little boy who shared his five loaves and two fish.

 

We pray to the same living God Who broke the fish and loaves and fed thousands of people.

God, please take this offering and make it more than enough.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

John 6:1-15

Just For A Minute

Everyday schedules.

I have to get this done.

The kids need that.

My husband wants me to remember to…

Oh, I need to stop by the store.

Then maybe we can have lunch together.

Wait.

The car needs gas.

Okay time for that appointment we keep putting off.

I wish we could hurry up and get these other things done

so we can get to what we want to do;

So we can get to the “important stuff!”

 

At the optometrist’s office the other day,

it seemed like just one of those errands that needed done

but

if we open our eyes (and hearts) God uses SO many opportunities we sometimes don’t even notice

that we could,

JUST FOR A MINUTE,

plant a seed,

share our faith,

or speak life into someone’s day.

 

We almost overlooked an opportunity placed right in front of us at the eye doctor appointment.

 

We mentioned we are moving to Alaska and why.

“Oh, you kinda feel called?”

“Yes we do.”

“Yeah, the universe does that.”

“God does that. It’s pretty amazing what He’s doing.”

 

Everywhere we go there is a minute to minister to someone.

The way we speak to people matters.

…the check-out guy at the grocery store,

the server at a restaurant,

when we check in at a hotel,

to the new employee trying her best to learn how to do her first job,

to the office staff at the eye doctor.

 

It doesn’t take an hour long “Bible study” to plant a seed.

Sometimes it can lift and change a person’s day if we’re watching for those times God places a perfect opportunity right in front of us in our everyday lives JUST FOR A MINUTE.

 

Important Stuff

I’ve been thinking a lot about “education,” intelligence, experience, and even God-given talents and how sometimes we seem to feel like someone is “smarter” than someone else… when maybe our view cannot see the big picture.

When we get to Heaven, God may not be all that impressed with how many diplomas we have, how much is in our 401k, where we went to college, or if our kids went to public school, private school, homeschool, or whatever.

I do know God is going to ask each of us what we did with the talents He gave us. I hope we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

And I know some people aren’t sure God is real or if Heaven or Hell is real. I hope we don’t wait and find out it’s too late to ask Him. If you’re not sure, ask God to show you who He is. He does this. He’s okay with us asking Him questions.

Has anyone told you today that you are important?

Has anyone told you today that you are important?


You are important.

 

YOU MATTER.

 

You should get to hear it.

 

And if you forget,

or if you keep forgetting,

I’m here to keep reminding you that YOU ROCK.

 

 

Today I Remember My Husband ~Guest Post by Stephanie Wagoner Cravens

When I was younger,

Memorial Day used to incite feelings of excitement and adventure.

When we were younger it meant the end of the school year,

the public pool opening for business

and the freedom of summer peeking its head around the corner.

Although, today I know and value the true meaning of this day of remembrance,

I secretly miss the innocence of Memorial Days past when all it meant was being one day closer in our chase for summer.

Enjoy the day off with your friends and family,

chase summer with your arms wide open

and make a million memories as you go.

But also take a moment to reflect and remember those who lost their chase for summer

and their freedom to make memories so you could.

Today I remember my husband.

A son,

a father,

a best friend,

and a Marine who loved his country fiercely.

In Honor of Jarod Cravens

Dallas Homies (Funny Story)

Dallas Homies.

That’s what we call them. They are people who are overlooked and forgotten.

They are some awesome people we’ve met – and they are homeless.

Jeans, shoes, socks, hats, shampoo, soap, backpacks, and pre-packaged foods are some of the things collected and given. (Yes, pre-packaged foods because the rule enforcers and the law stops “the love” when we bring healthy, fresh foods.)

Conversation is AS welcomed as the other stuff (including the ice-cold popsicles) on hot, Texas afternoons.

My kids were 9 and 13 and excited to give out hundreds of cold water bottles.

We saw a sweet woman who looked like she may be about 82. She looked kind and had a sweet face. The years had worn on her and her hair could use shampoo and a brush.

She was at the edge of a large crowd and she hadn’t collected anything yet.

She looked straight at my 13 year old.

In a loud voice she demanded to know, “DO YOU HAVE ANY SEX?”

Um, what?

In the big crowd of people only a couple others heard what she’d said to my child but THAT caught this momma’s attention!

The woman was still intently looking at my daughter and expecting an answer.

My 13 year old daughter smiled nervously and with wide-eyes she calmly and firmly replied, “NO.”

But the woman was persistent. She said, even louder this time, “DID YOU HAVE ANY SEX EARLIER?!”

Again my daughter, trying to be polite, looks down at the water bottles in her hands and at the people around her and shouts a little louder, “NO!”

Now, people know that sex is fun and homeless people like sex as much as anyone paying a mortgage does. But come on! THIS is my 13 year old CHILD she was talking to!

THIS time when she spoke I was watching closer and prepared to say something to her.

ARE YOU GONNA HAVE ANY SEX LATER?!” As she said this she put her hands together as if holding a bag and then pulled them apart a few inches as if OPENING A BAG.

SACKS!

Praise God she was asking for SACKS!

Relieved that she wasn’t looking for “sex” but only “sacks,” we were a little sad to have to tell her we’d run out of the bags earlier. We love hangin’ out with our Dallas Homies!

 

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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YOU CAN!

Be careful, little mouth, what you say.
How powerful are words?

I know a Guy who spoke the whole world into existence.

Your words matter.

Matthew 12
34b “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

You meet people every day someone else will never meet. Nobody has the same path you have. People God leads across your path NEED YOU to speak life about them and TO them.

When we’re tempted to grumble about people (which happens, like, every day)…

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

the person who cut in line when we only have 20 minutes for lunch,

when the kid at school makes fun of our kid and our child comes home in tears,

the mom who has a bad day and desperately wants to know all this work she’s doing matters,

the dad who works hard and knows his wife and kids want some of his time, too, so he spends the evening playing “catch” when he’s wanting time for himself,

…take a breath.

 

And maybe instead of the first (possibly crushing) words that come to mind,

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

You can do this. You got this! I believe in you.

 

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

Donate Button

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.

 

 

No Limit ~Guest Post by Tony Stites (Homeless Kids)

I once thought about becoming a youth minister, and asked my dad what he thought.

Without even taking time to think about it he said, “No.”

After a few days went by, it started eating at me as to why he said no so fast. So I called him up and asked why he’d said no.

He then told me he thought I would make a great youth minister, but if I had to ask, it was not the job for me.

My dad told me if I was going to be a preacher or missionary of any kind it has to be such a strong passion that there is no way my mind can be changed, or it will not succeed.

I have been good at lots of things.

In my younger days I never found anyone I could not beat in a mile race.

I have never found anything I can’t fix.

But those are not passions; they are just things I’m good at.

I have such a strong pull to go help people in Wasilla that even if it is just one person I reach, it is worth it.

God has put it on my heart to go.

I have talked to the girls and my wife many times about this. And I asked them the same thing Jesus asked in Luke 14:25-30.

I told them that we may be sleeping on the floor for a few months before we can get a bed. I told them it was going to be a hard road.

Everyone has agreed it does not matter. The pull is too great. Not going would just make us miserable. We would rather go sleep on the ground, sit on the floor, and eat from the pot we cook in than sit here with all our stuff.

Wasilla is just a small part in what is going on.

When Noah built, God brought the animals to the ark.

Wasilla is the location God is telling us to build a teen center, and He will bring the people we are supposed to minister to.

I know most people don’t get it. No we don’t hear voices but God keeps opening doors and I keep walking through and this is the place He has led me.

Our whole family has a peace and joy about it.  And my girls and wife are amazed at the things they are able to give up without a second thought.

It’s not about how many people we may help. It may be 100. But if it’s just ONE person it still matters 100%. This is what we know we are supposed to do.

God turned 5 loaves and 2 fish into enough to feed 5 thousand.

There’s no limit to what He can do with 20 homeless kids.

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?”

The Secret of the Enemy

The bank account is negative. For the first time in my life, I have peace anyway (both are rare; the peace I have and the negative account. Though there’s not always much in there when it’s positive…)

I used to lie in bed in the morning and worry. I’d worry over money. I’d cry over money. I’d try to figure out how we can make enough to pay everything AND stay home with our kids because for us, that’s a ministry in itself. We both knew when we got married that we’d give up some stuff and I’d stay home with our kids. For OUR family that is the way it is.

It’s not wrong or right.

Just the way it is for us.

So I’ve worked some years by keeping other people’s kids and several years as a crossing guard for the school district and now also for our photography company God’s allowed us to start.

But every single day I’d worry over money. It never occurred to me HOW much it was a worry until we started to give 10% of our income. And we did that PURELY on faith. We do NOT have EXTRA and honestly it’s not supposed to come from EXTRA anyway. It’s supposed to be your FIRST money. We’ve made a commitment to do this now and though we mess up sometimes, we’re sticking to it for the rest of our lives. Period.

I challenge you to try it for one month. With happiness and obedience. Just TRY it. There is NOTHING like it I’ve ever known. The peace that your heart and mind have. The unexplainable peace. It’s not of this world. You may never go back. This is the beginning of the best times in my whole life, Jack! I can already tell you this and we’ve only done it for a few months.

NOW instead of lying in bed worrying about money every morning, I have changed my habit. Before my feet hit the floor I ask God to show me what He wants me to do today.

Get it? Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Ask God what He wants you to do every day -AND GO DO IT- and everything else will be taken care of.

My friend pointed out something about me not worrying over money anymore. She said that satan tries to hurt us by using stuff he knows will get to us and now he’s not happy that he can’t get to us by using money this way.

If I’m so worried over money, he’s got my attention and I’m not able to focus on the important stuff God is putting in front of me today.

The enemy wants to WASTE your TIME. Because that’s all you have. Time. And the moments of your life are numbered. If satan can waste your time, ESPECIALLY when you don’t even realize he’s stealing from you, he’s done what he set out to do today.

THAT is the secret of the enemy. Now you know. Whatever you’re worrying over today, I’m praying for peace and focus for you right now. You have really important stuff to do. Ask God what that He wants you to do today and then go and do it.

Enough

You’ve gotta be kidding!

Me?  I’m nobody.  I’m nothing.

Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?

I’m going to write a book?  Not me!!  Are you CRAZY?

I liked me. I really did. I do.

But I didn’t feel worthy of anything. My self worth was so low that I couldn’t see how God may choose ME for writing a book. Who am I? I was nothing. I am nobody.

One day a little boy asked his mom for lunch to feed 5,000 people.  His mom packed a lunch for all the people that day.  He had to use wagons to carry it all.  It’s a wonder that the fish didn’t spoil by the time he was able to serve it.  Fish should be kept at a certain temperature so he kept a close eye on it so he wouldn’t be reported like a restaurant with bad scores and a health risk.  Finally Jesus asked for his food and he said, “Here, my Mom worked for weeks to get this food ready for all these thousands of people.”

REALLY?!

Um, no.

A little boy.  Not a priest.  Not a preacher.  Not an elder.  Not a deacon.  Not even the wife of one of those.  Not the President of the United States.  Not a leader of the community.  Not a doctor.  Not someone in an elected office.  There was no board meeting.  There was no elders’ meeting asking everyone to vote on what-to-do-for-the-Jesus-is-going-to-feed-all-these-people-and-we-have-to-figure-out-how-to-do-it meeting.  It was one little boy.

Jesus used a little boy to share his food.  Jesus said to bring what little bit you have to offer and He will make it ENOUGH.

A LITTLE BOY brought his lunch and heard Jesus talking.  He offered his lunch to Jesus and surely he was just trying to help.  Surely the little boy didn’t think, “Hey, today I’m going to be part of a miracle so I should shower and put on a tie.”  I just think God uses us as we are.  If our hearts are open and we are listening, God can use us easily.

My problem was low self worth , not low self esteem.

They’re different.

Esteem

-to regard highly or favorably with respect or admiration

Worth

-usefulness or importance as to the world, a person, or for a purpose

I’ve recently met a woman who’s book inspired me to believe again.  Her name is Michelle Prince, author of ‘Winning In Life Now.’  Her book encourages people to work on what you need to work on NOW.

But still who am I to write a book?  Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?  I’m nothing.

I’ve been thinking and listening for a few years now and have realized that’s probably really a slap in the face to God. HE created ME. HE made me just this way for His purpose and I was not letting Him use me for His glory.

Write a book?  Me?  Okay, but just for the record, I think this is crazy.

Dear God, please forgive me for being stubborn and not believing that I was worth something.  Please forgive me for dragging my heels and for thinking that surely you couldn’t mean for me to write a book.  Please use this book to reach people who are hurting and help them heal.  Please help me write what You want it to say.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Some weeks and months I don’t write anything.  Sometimes because I think there’s no way I can help every person.  And that’s true.  I can’t help every person but if any one person can heal some because of me writing this book, then it’s totally worth it.  I’m gonna write it and trust God that it will get to the people it is supposed to get to.  My very favorite saying is “to the world you may be just one person but to one person you may just be the world” and to the best of my searching online for where that quote came from, it’s Brandi Snyder quotes I should give credit to.  I don’t know Brandi Snyder but the quote is absolutely too great!

Am I enough?  No I’m not.  But God can take the little offering we bring and MAKE it ENOUGH.

Bring what little you have to offer… loaves and fish… and God will make it ENOUGH.