You may be the only representation of Christ someone sees all day

When people are lost, they’re usually not very cheerful.

When we’re hungry, we can be grouchy.

People who don’t know Jesus yet are lost AND hungry

–only they may not even realize it.

 

When we see someone who is physically lost, we don’t need to say the words, “Hey, you are lost.”

(They already probably noticed that. aaand… it wouldn’t help the situation much either.)

Probably it’s not the best way to help someone who doesn’t know Jesus yet, either (of course, it actually may work well in some situations.)

 

When I’m hungry, I don’t need someone to tell me, “You’re hungry.”

I can already FEEL it.

 

Some people are STARVING –but they don’t know WHY they’re so hungry.

People try to fill this void with stuff the world offers.

But it won’t work.

Ever.

 

On the inside they may feel empty, used, frustrated, or grouchy

–and on the outside — IT SHOWS.

(OH, how it shows!)

 

Why show kindness to people who are being mean?

— You may be the only representation of Christ that someone sees all day. —

 

Sometimes when somebody is physically (or spiritually) lost and you show him the right road, he may be grateful.

But sometimes, he’s embarrassed that he didn’t figure it out by himself and that embarrassment shows on the outside.

Be kind anyway.

 

If it’s a Christian who is being mean, maybe there is sin that has caused some infection and when we’re dealing with an infection, we don’t feel well all over. (The Holy Spirit helps heal this.)

(…Quite possibly, it’s sin of unforgiveness, whether toward another person or self.)

Everybody understands that a wound needs to be cleaned out well, even though it hurts, so that it can heal properly.

(The same is to be said with emotional wounds.

No wonder there are so many grouchy people in the world.

They -whether Christians or not- may be carrying around hazardous material inside their heart and head.

We’re not supposed to carry that stuff.

And it’s heavy.)

 

We can be kind on purpose, and remember that everybody falls down sometimes.

Also, the enemy is pretty skilled at shooting poisonous darts of confusion into an otherwise peaceful day.

Sometimes the enemy we’re fighting is not the person standing in front of us.

And it’s no wonder. It’s not even a physical fight we’re fighting most of the time -but sometimes it’s hard to see it.

 

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness. THE ENEMY IS AFRAID OF what YOU can truly become. (from the movie King’s Faith)

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

 

 

The cool thing is that this being kind thing doesn’t even have to happen with your own power; but God is right there, just a breath away, with Power we can’t even comprehend and HE will stand us back up. HE gives us the grace to show other people love even when we don’t know how or don’t feel like it.

When I am weak, HE is strong.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9b-10  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6

 

 

Dear Mean People, Jesus loves you! Just sayin’… It’s not fun to be around you. But we (I – and other people who notice you’re grouchy) want you to know Jesus loves you because when you really know this, you won’t be able to stay mean. Then you will be much more fun to be around. Love, Somebody who cares about you.

 

(I can’t leave this without saying that prayer is where I find The Best Help.)

Only God knows the inside of each marriage.

We saw a couple in a store one time. The wife started speaking louder and sounded pretty upset.

To my husband it seemed that she was upset without much reason. He didn’t see or hear anything before that so she probably was overreacting.

To me, it was obvious that she was exhausted from the broken communication between the two of them.

We neither one ever found out what was the reason for their argument that day several years ago.

But marriage has been under attack since Adam and Eve.

We want to blame.

That woman…

That snake…

Whatever has happened (and it looks different in each situation) HOW do you find the way to truly forgive and still live with someone who caused such damage?

The enemy wants to separate and isolate each of us and he does this in about a billion custom-designed, clever ways (including all those things we run to for imitation comfort.)

Here’s the best answer I can find.

 

“You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood.

But it’s not.

It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become.”

-the movie King’s Faith

 

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

 

Prayer. And The Incredible Power of The God behind the prayer!

 

God, ONLY YOU KNOW the inside of each marriage. Please heal broken lives and hearts. Please revive and make stronger what has been under attack for so very long.  Please let Your words be spoken and let us see each other with Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, please God, Amen.

 

[P.S. I’ve found this helps with more than marriage. I try to remember this now when I’m upset with anyone or any situation. There’s probably ALWAYS more than we can see with our eyes.]

[Note:  Forgiveness and staying daily in a dangerous situation are NOT the same things (though there are those who disagree.) God gave us wisdom and I believe we should use it. I do not EVER hope for divorce though I’ve been through it and through abusive situations and I do and will ALWAYS pray for safety for everyone.]

 

 

So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

Tony wrote:

I have not really wanted to ask for money because I guess I have not seen myself as being on a mission but just moving.

At first I guess I thought I could do this (well, the move part) with my little, tiny job, but God has shown me that none of this is me.

So I am letting go of my pride and asking for help.

I have come to the realization I am on a mission.

This whole trip has been a mission and I can’t do this on my own.

Kerri has asked for and gotten support from a few people and my brother-in-law set up a GoFundMe account and donations were brought that way.

We are very thankful for all the support we have received including prayer support because that’s where my help comes from.

I am not sure why but it seems God does not want us driving through Canada. We have been in three times, and each time we have been stopped for different reasons. It seems we are supposed to take a ferry or ship everything.

Any way I look at it it’s going to cost between 8 and 9 thousand dollars. I have spent every dime I had saved, every dime we made selling our stuff, and all the donations to get us to this point.

We are fine with the everyday living expenses because this great job God blessed me with where I can work from home (wherever home may be at the moment) takes care of that. And we can save some money, but it would take me a long time to save 8 to 9 thousand dollars.

The homeless place itself will cost way more than that but one step at a time is good.

I think my pride is the reason we have not made it there so far.

The more people we talk to from that area the more confirmation that there is a big need for what we are going to do. We are moving there to set up a shelter for homeless teens.

So I’m begging for help.

Please share this with your church and friends.

People can donate on this blog if they would like. (PayPal only takes a 3% fee but it looks like the GoFundMe people take out a fee closer to 10%.)

And more about what God’s been doing with our family is on this blog on the Alaska Homeless Teen Center Stuff page here.

Thank you. Tony Stites

And more of our walk of faith is here.

Donate via PayPal here.

We Are Homeless

Walking through the store I couldn’t help but wonder, “Can they tell we’re homeless?”

“If they knew would they treat us differently?”

“Somehow I feel like I look dirtier but I know it’s not true.”

“I don’t really have a home.”

I can’t describe all the different emotions going through our family’s minds right now.

We are homeless.

We are homeless now and are on a mission to go help other homeless people in Alaska.

How that is going to work is completely in God’s Hands.

We knew when we accepted this Call that we are out of our comfort zones and in way over our heads.

In our weakness He is strong.

He’s our Provider and He makes a way where we can’t see a way.

And I gotta tell ya, I can’t see a way just now.

We found out yesterday that an accident the camper trailer was in 2 weeks ago has left us without a home.

We gave and sold most of our things, the rest was packed for a year as we were waiting on God’s timing.  We feel His Calling to move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place and we got to Canada. We missed the road we needed and the driveway we were turning around in kinda crumbled under the RV tires and we were leaning against a tree.  It looked still drivable until the towing company got us out of the ditch.  It’s been shaken and broken and totaled. (We feel kinda similar to that.)

We are homeless.

But we are not hopeless.

We’re okay.  And we know God will make a way when we cannot see a way.

I don’t have to have all the answers but we know The Guy who does and we’ll keep asking Him to lead.

Prayers are always welcome here.

There are probably as many different reasons people become homeless as there are people in the world.  We’ve heard people say, “All homeless people are drug users and liars.”  But that’s as silly as saying, “Everyone with a house is honest and clean.”  Neither is truth.

I was moved to write this letter.

~~~
Dear Homeless Person,

YOU are braver than probably anyone I’ve ever met.

The stamina it must take for you to live through each day is something that most people cannot begin to comprehend.  The not knowing is more than exhausting.  The courage it takes to be homeless is beyond my ability to describe in words.

When people look at you as if you are “less than” I know you already understand that people just do not know what they do not know.

If there is anything I can say it is  please  do  not  give  up.

You matter.

Prayer is where The Best help is available.

I get that some would say that’s too cliché.

But it’s the truth.

No matter what anyone takes from you or happens to you, God really is with you and He really does care.

If you could tell the world 2 things we’d like to know so that people become more aware of how you feel.  (My 2 things are: You do not know what you do not know.  And: Please be kind.)

And if you could ask for 2 things what would they be?  (Mine would be: a shower and: a safe place to sleep.)

I don’t know how to get a home for anyone and we are going through only a little of the life you know well.  But we care and just wanted to write you a letter to let you know it.

In Him,
Kerri Stites
It is all about faith.
Check out what we have shared from June to September here:

Donate to this mission here:

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]

“One thing I like about you is…”

Relationships are important.

A marriage relationship is important and tough (probably tougher than any other relationship ever in the whole world, in my opinion) and totally worth the work.

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

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

Every morning we have decided to say (out loud to each other) something good we have noticed or something good that we like about each other.

“One thing I like about you is _____________.”

We get too busy in life sometimes, ya know?  With work, school, church, kids, housework, bills, finances, volunteering, rough times, health problems, and a billion more things we can forget to nurture important foundations and critical relationships.  It’s not that we mean to; but it’s just that life happens and sometimes we let moments go by that need attention.

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

This is proving to be a great idea.

One thing it does is it helps us THINK about the positive things during each day (and night) because we know we need to tell each other something we like about each other every day.

(And the negative stuff seems to constantly already be lurking around and threatens to remind us of things we DON’T like about each other… Not sure about you but we’ve had ENOUGH of that!)

Another important result of this experiment is that we’re BOTH getting to HEAR some positive words in the morning.  (Yes, it must be genuine and yes it can be something from the past or present.  Actually, it could even be something positive we see in the future.  Getting to hear blessings spoken over you is powerful.)

Our kids just told us they’d like to be included in this in the evenings.  Good stuff can be contagious!

We ALL probably hear WAY too much negative stuff about ourselves (even from our own thoughts) and this is damaging to our brains, hearts, self esteem, and probably in a hundred other ways I’m not thinking to mention.

If you have a great marriage, that’s wonderful!  Maybe this can just be icing.  (And maybe you’re already doing this.)  But many of us have a tougher time in marriage and my husband and I know this can help lots of people so we wanted to share this idea.

I believe absolutely EVERY person could benefit from hearing something good every day that someone notices about him or her.

Here’s one from me to you today:  One thing I like about you (yes, you) is that you’re beginning to realize your value; you’re a very worthwhile person and you matter.

Sometimes I feel like…

Not every hand that reaches for you is there to help you up or cheer for your successes. Praise God for those who are there to help.

Some hands push you down and clap when you fall. Those who are glad when you are hurting are also hurting very much inside. They are the ones who may need more love and God says to pray for our enemies. (I’ve tried it. It’s good therapy.)

When someone is happy when you fail, it’s probably not about you at all. When you realize someone else’s brokenness is what makes them jealous of you, it’s easier to see that it’s not about you. I believe if people really knew you, they’d like you.

There is something beautiful about letting our masks fall off. Nobody’s perfect. And those who claim they are – are kidding themselves.

2015 may be a good time to get real (and this includes being real with yourself.)

God made you beautiful. Sometimes the beauty gets covered in ashes but the good news is God can take those ashes and He can make all things new.

The thing about those skeletons in our closets…

We can leave them there, stinking, rotting, weighing on our hearts, and eating up our stomachs (and at our relationships)

OR

We can give them to God and ask Him to help us. He can take those events (i.e. skeletons) and make something very beautiful out of them.

Many times these are the very things God uses to make a new ministry. He makes all things new. He will do a new thing in you.

Cast your burdens (those weights that we carry for years and years and years) on Jesus, because He cares for you.

Here’s a way to start, “God, Please take this. I’ve been carrying it a long time and sometimes I feel like…”

 

I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

Please Stop Shaming People and Start Helping People

It’s a trap. Sin is a trap. Make no mistake; the enemy is very clever. The sins that trap you are tailored just for you. It’s what satan does.

We get it. We know you didn’t realize what you were getting into when you started down this road. If you had known how it would bury you like this, you wouldn’t have chosen it. I believe that’s the truth.

Now, you may have “felt” like you were not worth enough NOT to head down this path.

THAT couldn’t be further from the truth. You are VERY worthwhile.

That’s another way that satan tricks people. That old devil tricks people into believing they don’t deserve to enjoy this life in healthy ways. Some people have told me they went back to something that wasn’t good for them BECAUSE they felt they deserved less. That breaks my heart.

YOU ARE VERY WORTHWHILE. (You don’t have to take my word for it. Jesus says so. He died FOR YOU.)

Pornography, for example, is a trap and the very nature of its design is to hook you and hold you, deaden your senses to beautiful sex the way God designed it, and keep you afraid to speak.

It is OKAY to ask for help. It is NOT weak. It actually takes courage to ask for help. <~~~ Think about that.

It may take talking with several people about a problem before you find someone who realizes we are not strong enough on our own to help others. We can help others BECAUSE of Jesus.

Personal story: When I was a little girl, someone molested me for years. Why didn’t I tell? I think I felt special. But he was treating me anything BUT special. It was ugly. And wrong. Now, some would argue that it’s not “fair” or “Christian” that I won’t let my children be around this person because we are called to forgive. I do forgive. But to let my children be around him would be unwise and would not be using the sense God gave me.  Because this was a crime against a child, I believe it would be bad idea.

I tell you a moment of my story to include that there ARE consequences to sin and that’s life in this broken world. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean being unwise. God gives us senses for a reason.

I’m frustrated when well-meaning Christians shame someone by saying, “Well you should have known better. Too bad you messed up so badly. You’re going to hell.”

No. That’s NOT okay. And if you’re wondering if I’m talking to Christians, I am. I am especially talking to Christians. The world is looking to US to make a difference and to give them hope. Please do it. Speak life; not death.

What if, instead of shaming, we said, “Yes. That was wrong. I’m very sorry that happened in your life but God uses EVERYTHING. This time was NOT wasted. I expect more from you now. I know you can overcome this because Jesus is real and prayer works.  I will be praying over your life. You pray about it, too. God will use this part of your life to help someone else.”

It’s time to help pick each other up and stop shaming each other when we mess up.

We KNOW what we’re doing is wrong or else we wouldn’t feel the desire to HIDE it. Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, they knew something they did was wrong and they hid.

God knows what you did. AND HE STILL LOVES YOU.

This is where repentance comes in and it very much matters.

The world is crying out for help.

Please, PLEASE stop shaming people and start helping.

Please stop gossiping and start loving.

EVERYBODY sins.

I am NO more perfect than YOU are. Zero percent more perfect.

~~~> YOU are zero percent more perfect that someone with different sins than yours. <~~~

EVERYBODY needs Jesus. When we ACT like we can “do” this life on our own we are not giving thanks or recognizing what Jesus’ sacrifice was even for; to redeem us.

He doesn’t call us to fight these battles on our own. We do NOT have to fight alone.

You don’t have to wonder if someone is already praying over you. I am.

God, please touch the life of this reader in ways he or she sees is You and Your Love. Please give the Peace that ONLY You can give. Please send very real help in times of trouble when satan is up to his old – or new – tricks. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

 

Everybody is broken.

Some people want you to believe that they are totally okay; that they have it all together.

(They don’t.)

Being broken isn’t a bad thing. God says He can use you when you’re broken.

EVERYBODY is broken in some way. God is the ONLY One who can repair the brokenness.

It would take a long time to understand why people react to stuff in life the way they do since each of us is broken in a different way.

Think about it.  If we were whole, with nothing at all ever wrong in our lives, we could always 100% of the time react in a healthy way.  But we’re just not always okay.  And so stress (even good stress) can affect our responses (even when we don’t really want it to.)

If you take time to look around you’ll see some of what it may look like in everyday life and a way you can help because you CAN help (whether you realize it or not.)

You can have a plan already in mind to be kind ~ ANYWAY.  Watch for moments because they’re sure to show themselves.

When your boss is moody – show a little more kindness and enthusiasm at work.

When your teacher is upset – turn in your assignment early if possible.

If mom is feeling overwhelmed – do a job or 2 that she didn’t even ask you to do.

If dad seems angry – take a few minutes to remind him how much you appreciate him.

When a student comes to school late or is disrupting class – use gentle, encouraging words (and remember she may not have heard any recently.)

If the checkout guy is slower than you’d like remember it may his first job (just like once upon a time it was your first job) – be more understanding and speak softer.

When your wife meets you with an icy look – be a little more gentle and help melt it.

When your husband grumbles – make him a snack and remind him of a specific thing you admire about him.

If your employee is having an off day – tell him you’re glad he’s there and he’s valuable (which may be perfect words to lift his energy.)

Even though God is the only One who can do the repairs, WE can STILL be people who help (INSTEAD of rolling eyes, stomping off, making a smartalecky comment, or all the other ways that are NOT helpful…)

Just because someone’s outsides look okay doesn’t mean the insides are okay.

If we’d quit trying to hide all the broken pieces, we’d begin to heal a lot quicker.  Jesus is The Answer. And everybody needs more kindness and love.

 

If It Wasn’t For The X-Rays

A long time ago I was broken; on the inside. A teen driver accidentally drove through a stoplight and hit the side of the car crushing my side.

I remember thinking, “If I could just get this seatbelt off then I could get out of the car and I’ll be okay.”

But I was not okay.

I kept losing consciousness. I could barely breathe. The paramedics had to cut the car and lift me out.

The x-rays showed that my shoulder was crushed, collar bone had been broken, lung had collapsed, and liver was split open.

There was not one scratch on the outside of me.

If it wasn’t for the x-rays showing the truth then nobody would have been able to see the brokenness inside my body.

~
If we could see inside someone’s heart or life we’d see the broken pieces desperately needing to heal.

Stuff happened. Life has taught us to be a little less trusting, a little more defensive, and a little skeptical about others’ intentions.

Sometimes we’ve lost consciousness – and we don’t even know it. We THINK we’re okay – but we’re really not.

It’s okay to NOT be okay for a while. Life can sometimes pull the rug out from underneath our feet, leaving us in a pile of brokenness on the ground just struggling for the next breath.

We talk about stuff. We complain about stuff. We think about stuff. MORE THAN THIS we need to take it to God and PRAY about stuff.

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. It’s what he does. And he’s good at it. That old devil wants to crush you until you forget what breathing is.

God restores what was stolen and broken. It’s what He does. ASK Him.

When it’s hard to breathe, remember God is the One Who gave you breath. He has x-ray vision and He can see everything that’s broken.

I heard a well-meaning Christian man say we need to clean ourselves up before we come before God in prayer. But God says otherwise. He says to bring Him all your broken pieces just as you are. He is The Healer. He is always there just waiting for you to ask for His help.

Some kids consider suicide because of low grades

You do NOT have to be good at everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are not less than ANYthing.

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

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

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

Seven Million Tears (Divorce)

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

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

Sobbing uncontrollably in public isn’t fun.

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

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

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

WHAT?!

I mean, WHAT?!

I couldn’t believe I said that.

Those words just left my mouth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll know.

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

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

 

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

Recently I visited a church and…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

“It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!

We hear people say, “Well, it’s the thought that counts.”

Um… What?

Maybe those are not the best words to live out.

For example:

I saw her drowning and I THOUGHT about helping but I don’t run very fast and by the time I got there it’d probably be too late sooo…

“Yes it’s our anniversary and I THOUGHT about saying something or getting flowers but you know, Honey, it’s the thought that counts!” (Yeah. How did that work out?)

I heard you were grieving the loss of your child and THOUGHT about checking on you but it’s probably not my business.

The teacher said this homework was due today but I’m sure she knows it’s the THOUGHT that counts so it’s an easy “A.”

I thought about Jesus and I think He is real and I THOUGHT about Heaven and Hell, THOUGHT about accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior and THOUGHT about being baptized under water… but my friends may laugh at me so…  (By the way, He is real and we only have so much time to accept Him.  We each have an earthly expiration date.)

Perhaps “It’s the thought that counts” is MESSED UP!!  It is nothing more than a sad attempt at an apology, in my opinion.

Please do not misunderstand.

EVERY thought counts, for sure. The Bible says so. But action NEEDS to be taken.

DO something to help someone.

Listen for that tug at your heart to call or write to somebody.

Sometimes sitting quietly with someone who is hurting is enough. Sometimes there are NO words that will help a situation. And that’s okay.  Sometimes just being there says more than words ever could.

 

Maybe the very thing that is taking up all your mind and energy today is actually the very thing you need to be focused on and it isn’t a distraction.

It’s what matters most today.

 

It’s what you do today that counts.  Maybe you need healing.  Then please do keep working on healing.  This is okay and necessary for you and for people around you.

All I’m asking is that when the Holy Spirit nudges you and puts someone on your heart, please listen and do something.

In case nobody told you today, YOU MATTER.  (I thought about telling you that today and now I did.)

 

When I Forget Stuff I Wanted to Remember

It used to make me pretty sad and actually kinda mad when I’d forget something important.

Sometimes I have 116 things going on in my brain at the same time so I write things down SO THAT I won’t forget. But if I forget the list when I leave the house then what? If the paper gets lost then what do I do? What if it accidentally gets thrown away because someone helps clean up? Or what if I use a voice recorder like I did a couple days ago but it didn’t record it somehow. User error? Maybe so.

Something I’ve learned in the past couple years is to give that to God.

How?

Like this.

“God, You know that really amazing stuff that was on my mind? Well I can’t seem to remember what it was but I know it was pretty great. If You want me to remember it please bring it back to my mind and help it stay there. I give this to You. If You would have me do something with that thought, please show me what that looks like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

And then I go on with my day.

If He helps me remember, then I will remember. If not, then I let it go and I can know I’ve asked the Master of my life, The Creator of my brain and talents, and He chose not to bring it back to the front of my mind for whatever reason I don’t even need to understand.

Give yourself room to make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up when you forget stuff. He’s got you. Every day and all day. You cannot do this life on your own and He doesn’t expect you to. Trust Him. Talk with Him. He is a very real help even when we are forgetful.

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.

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.

If you didn’t matter and if you were not THIS important why would the enemy take this much time and effort trying to keep you down?

God is very real.  Not sure yet?  ASK Him to show you His perfect love and power.

And the enemy is also very real.

The enemy is JUST THAT.  THE ENEMY.

You’ve never known an enemy like satan.  That little old devil has studied you to know your very weakest weakness and he will use whatever it takes to knock your feet from under you and steal your breath from your soul.  ALL he wants from you is your TIME.  THAT is ALL he wants from you.  He is stealing your time from you.  He wants to suck away your life from you.

And he’s good at it, too.

The enemy uses ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that will keep you from doing the stuff God is wanting you to do.  Any circumstance and any situation and any person who has hurt you is EXACTLY just the VERY thing that satan will use to try to hold you down so that you cannot physically, emotionally, or spiritually do the very important things God is calling you to do.

There is not an “Oh just get past it already” or a “moving on” or a “let it go” for many circumstances in life.

But there IS an “Okay this is part of my life now so how can God use me and my life to help someone else?”

Sometimes you simply cannot “get over it.”  It’s just not possible.  And if someone told you to “get over it” I’m so very sorry.  That was more than a little insensitive.  It is okay to grieve.  It’s healthy to grieve and there is no time limit or right or wrong way to grieve.

But I have to tell you something.  Do you want to know what I know?  YOU possess WAY more strength inside you than you are even aware of.

Get up beautiful YOU.

Please get up.

Just ONE step today.  Just ONE TINY something.

Just ONE tiny BELIEF toward what God is leading you to do.  He’s got you.  He sees your pain.  He sees your heartache (even the heartache that nobody knows about.)  He understands and if you’ll just trust Him and ASK Him to lead you, your life will make more sense, be more livable, you’ll stand taller, and you will be able to breathe easier.  I know it’s hard.

I know there is even a little comfort in your grief, too, because what is on the other side is the unknown and that can be scary.  There is not a disrespect in letting that grief, with God’s help, lift you to HONOR the person you’re grieving in some way (even if the person you’re grieving is you, yourself.)  God is in the business of turning those very ashes into the most beautiful thing you’ve ever known.

Somebody needs you and the VERY circumstances you have lived through.

You matter SO much.  If you didn’t matter and if you were not THIS important why would the enemy take this much time and effort trying to keep you down?  You have great things to accomplish.  Just ASK God to show you what those things are.  He will show you.

Please, please get up?  Reach up?  Look up?  God’s got you.  This I know to be truth.

Take a breath.
Say a prayer.
Recalculate.
Take a step.

I believe in you.

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

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

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

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

It did not.  It made them prisoners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No chemicals.

No willpower.

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

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

I know I was a slave to smoking.

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

It is not your fault.

They were DESIGNED to hold you for a life sentence.

YOU CAN BE FREE.

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

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

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

And you can know

without a doubt

that I am YOUR cheerleader!

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

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

Pick each other up IN LOVE and WITH LOVE

When a baby has a poopy diaper, we change it.

What if we left the baby in the poopy diaper because he’s comfortable and we don’t want to upset him because cleaning him up and helping him get out of the poop is a process and he’s tired and the wipes are cold and he’s pretty content the way he is.

No.

That would be neglect.

We change the diaper because we love him SO much. It’s called caring for him. We will change the diaper EVERY time it’s poopy. That’s how it should be.

We need to care enough for each other that we help each other out of the poop our lives are in. That is not wrong to do.

We need to matter SO much to each other that we notice and take the time IN LOVE and WITH LOVE to help lift each other out of the poop.

And it MUST be IN LOVE and WITH LOVE. It takes time and kindness. Sometimes after I know you love me, I will be able to listen to you and let you care for me.

That’s how it should be. We should matter.

Entertainment? (Celebrities and Fame)

When we celebrate when celebrities fail or fall, WE are part of the problem.  When we mock, tease, spread gossip, and laugh when celebrities mess up (or when anyone messes up, for that matter) we are hurting them; not helping them.

If we were 15 (or whatever age) and we had no privacy because of fame (which we may or may not have wanted) all our lives are on display; mistakes included.

Think about how a kid answers questions…

“Want your own show?”  “Sure!”

“Want a puppy?”  “Sure!”

I’m certain that most kids who get into show business do not understand the world they’re now part of and how damaging it can be.

And if we had Hollywood with its lack of any moral compass telling us that this really NOT good stuff IS “right” or “fun” or that we “should” or whatever… how would WE react?

This lifestyle these kids are in just breaks my heart. I cannot IMAGINE.

~~~>  And the adults who promote it and stuff… There aren’t enough words in any vocabulary to say how angry and sad that makes me. Oh, how the adults are going to be held accountable for leading kids away from Jesus!  <~~~

I’m just REALLY not sure anyone could say that these famous kids understand all they’re doing. (Probably no kids understand all the stuff they do.)

I’m NOT saying they’re not accountable. They ARE accountable.
We ALL are accountable for stuff we do and say. (Ours is mostly not in the public eye and THAT would make a huge difference.)

I AM saying that I remember in my 20s thinking that I knew some stuff when I was younger.
That’s funny.

Then I remember in my 30s thinking I knew some stuff in my 20s. That’s even funnier.

But now in my 40s I thought I knew stuff when I was in my 30s… Just wow!

–>  What I know is that God keeps teaching me.  <–  I have gray hair and I’m still learning all the time.

I’m praying for these young “stars” who are made to dance and act and say lines from someone’s script for “entertainment purposes” because I just REALLY don’t think they understand all of it.

If we were in the same situation, I’m not sure we would either.

(Grace and forgiveness. Yes. But we are accountable for all the moments of our lives. All that being said… I’m NOT okay AT ALL with what many young “stars” are doing. I am NOT excusing it.)

I AM praying over celebrities lives instead of spreading the rumors and pictures and I’m asking YOU to do the same.

Because if people stopped calling it “entertainment” and paying for it as “entertainment” maybe stuff would change.  Please be part of the solution.

Maybe…

Maybe…

It’s not the drinking.
It’s not the cutting.
It’s not the drugs.
It’s not the bulimia.
It’s not the overeating.
It’s not the gossiping.
It’s not the stealing.
It’s not the lying.
It’s not the cheating.
It’s not the smoking.

Maybe it’s the WHY underneath it all that we need to care for first.

Pretty Ministry

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

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

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

And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.

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

That’s not how it works.

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

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

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

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

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

I Never Even Said It Out Loud

I was not mean to anyone on purpose. That’s not how my parents raised me. I do not believe it is ever okay to be mean to someone or make fun of them. It’s very hurtful. It can be life ending. (And before you write a thousand word essay about how everyone hurts people, take a breath. I said I am not mean to people on purpose. I didn’t say I’ve never hurt anyone. Everyone has hurt others.)

In high school this girl started stalking me. I don’t know why but a few others joined her in her quest to make my life miserable.  One of the girls even used to be a friend of mine.

I remember this girl wanted to fight me because her boyfriend made her THINK he liked me.  I was pretty naive.  He was just talking to me.  He leaned over me with one arm resting against the wall in the downstairs hallway at school.  I saw him look at this girl, THIS girl who I did not know yet, this girl who was about to make my life really NOT fun anymore.  I didn’t know what he was doing at that time.  He was making her THINK he liked me.  He did this on purpose.  That’s all it took.  This girl was out for blood.  My blood.

I was scared to go to school every single day. She would follow me at lunch sometimes which was off campus because we didn’t have a cafeteria.

One time the malicious vultures stopped me right in front of my dad’s office. It was on a busy street corner on the main street in town where lots of people could see what was going on. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know my dad worked there.  I did not want my dad to come out.  My world was in chaos and I was about to be killed.  He shouldn’t see that.  It would be ugly.  (Now that I’m a grown up I realize probably nobody in dad’s office even noticed the storm out front.)  She never hit me.  She just said bad words at me while her groupies cheered her on.

One morning I finally made up my mind to just fight her hoping that if I did then she’d leave me alone.

I didn’t tell anyone this.

It was only in my mind.

I never even said it out loud.

That very morning just minutes after I decided to face this fear she called me and apologized.  I didn’t know she knew our phone number.  (There were no cell phones 100 years ago when I was a teenager.)  She said she was so sorry she was acting this way and didn’t know why she was doing it.  She asked me to FORGIVE HER.

I was shocked! All I did was decide within my own heart that I would face this giant all consuming fear and God blessed me.  Just like that.  He moved the mountain.  I didn’t even know she knew my last name.

The stuff you think about?  How you feel about it?  It matters.  God is very much alive.

Where can we let off steam?

I’m not crazy. I’m a mom. And a wife and a leader and a servant and a taxi driver and a counselor and a nurse and a peacemaker and a teacher and a volunteer…

Where can we let off steam?

Where can we really say what’s bothering us? Where can we get support from someone and just be heard and not have someone call the authorities on us?
~
Church? Heavens no. Do we dare admit that we sometimes want to self medicate when they ask for prayers at church? (Or that we actually DO self medicate in whatever our favorite way is?) Oh dear. Not me! Right? I have to look like I’m on top of things. I have to look like I’ve got this all under control. My kids look perfect. My husband is presentable. My smile is on just right.

“Why, sure I can teach the 2 year olds and lead the women’s bible study and neighborhood prayer group.” “Of course I can make 300 cupcakes by Saturday and cut out 180 snowflakes this weekend.” “Yes, send me the documents so I can edit them for you by 3 o’clock today.”

Sometimes the answer needs to be “NO.” That is OKAY! When we take on so much and spread our love too thin we’re not that much help in anything we do.

~
School? Oh you must be talking about THAT mom who stood up for her kids when other students have been unkind for months and the teachers make sarcastic comments like, “Oh is she absent AGAIN? She’s sick ALL the time.” That does NOT help. That is NOT being a good teacher. I trust you daily to care for my child. Be someone I can trust who will speak to (and about) my child with respect the same way you want your kids to be treated.

THAT family where they’ve tried to help teach their child, “Ignore.” “Speak up.” “It’s better not to speak.” “Stand up.” “Be invisible.” “Stand out.” “Have courage.” “Jesus is with you.”

Then THAT family goes to the school for help and the school administration assures you, “That does NOT go on at THIS school!”

Either they are blatantly lying or are absolutely blind to the fact that it IS happening at THIS school. Kids are bullying other kids all the time. If my kid is part of the problem let’s talk about that. If not, then help me figure out a solution while she’s in your care.

Absolutely we [parents and school and church] should be teaching our kids HOW to stand up for themselves and that it is okay to fight back. Turning the other cheek does not mean let someone walk all over you and not stand up for yourself. Absolutely DO stand up for yourself and more importantly stand up for people around you who are being bullied.

What to do about it? I’m sure there is NOT just one answer for every case but maybe the first thing to do is just to admit there is a problem. Stop treating moms and dads like we do not know what is going on. Not everyone is going to try to sue the school if school admits they are not perfect.

~
Work? We go to work. We do our job. We take care of other people’s problems, possibly face a little sexual harassment, brush it off, stop by the grocery store to pick up spaghetti sauce for dinner, walk in the door to hear our kids say, “Hey, mom, I need $20 for the field trip by my first class in the morning.” “Here mom. Sign this please. The teacher said I’m going to need tutoring for a month or until I get this grade up or I’m out of sports.” And my sweet husband says, “Did you take the car to get the tires rotated today?” And I pretend NOT to notice him closing down something on the computer and wonder who he’s cheating on me with this time.

~
Home? What if we lose our temper at home? Mom’s gone crazy. She’s out of control. No. No she’s not.

Sometimes we don’t realize our kids ARE old enough to help at home (at just about every age.) Let them do dishes. Remember, if something accidentally gets dropped, to buy less fragile stuff next time. If a dish is more important than our kids learning service, responsibility and to take care of where they live (because they will ALWAYS need to take care of where they live) then maybe we should buy less breakable stuff from now on. Let them fold laundry. So what if it’s not folded the exact way we would fold it? Let them help. And praise them for it. It will build confidence.

Delegate a little of the housework to each person in the house, briefly teach them how to do it, and then LET them do it. Don’t step in. But DO tell them, “Hey I really appreciate your help. I love how you cleaned the sink.” “I’m having a tough time getting the floor clean in here. You have such great eyesight. Would you please clean to the edges when you clean the bathroom?”

~
Romance? Dates? Looking and feeling sexy as a woman? When do we have time for that?! I WANT that. I NEED that.

~
WHERE can we let off steam? Pretty much nowhere. NO WONDER we are under so much stress. I have seriously considered building a place where women can go and for a small fee they can take a baseball bat and smash stuff for 5 minutes.

On top of all that if we raise our voice to our families we feel like the biggest failure of the century.

THAT is a bad day. When I raise my voice to my family. Worst feeling EVER.

AAAUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! ENOUGH. I need a moment to breathe. I need a little silence. I need someone to realize that I am a person, too. I am very great at what I do and yes I can handle 217 thousand things at once and (yes, we all pretty much wear the title “super mom” but) just let me catch my breath.

~~> I need Jesus. He can fill me and give me energy and the strength I need to be the mom and wife I need to be. Ask God for energy and thank Him for it. He is THE answer. He doesn’t HAVE the answer. He IS the answer. <~~

~ And then we kiss the kids good night and do it all again tomorrow. ~

I want you to know that I am praying over your life. I am praying over your jobs, your marriage, your search for a husband, your decision to be single, your church, your education, your kids, your life in general, and your heart. Just know that somebody cares and in case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid (Sexual molestation)

I was 9 years old.

You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid. I believed the lies that I was nothing. I believed that this was all I was good for. You belong in prison and you know it.

You took my innocence and my confidence. You are the lowest of low people and you have NO excuses for what you did. You say it’s because someone molested you so you molested others? That’s a bunch of lies!

You molested ME and I would NEVER hurt another person this way.

There IS a choice. It can stop with YOU.

I matter. You should have seen that I matter. You should have been someone good in my life. Instead you are someone who wrecked into my life and made me feel like nothing.

If you repent and are baptized and go to Heaven, that’s great. As for this life, you belong in prison. I forgive you because my heart needs to be free to love on other people and help them heal. I forgive you because God says to. I forgive you because you are so broken that you don’t even realize what you’ve done to so many people. I feel sorry for you.

You made me afraid for so many years. I thought you would come after me. You don’t even know that part. All those years I spent afraid that you would come after me, I now realize you were thinking nothing about me AND you were still molesting other kids and sleeping with anyone of “legal” age who would have sex with you. The damage you did was still happening and you just lived care free.

You are nothing but a coward. You will answer to God FOR EVERY THOUGHT you had about me and you will also answer just the same for all the other kids you molested. Yes, you have to answer to Him. He’s my Daddy and He is NOT happy about the way you think about me and what you’ve done.

Thank you for inspiring me to write this. I know it will help so many people.

See?

That’s the thing.

God is using the very thing that you used against me to help other people heal. I am NOT afraid anymore. I am very worthwhile and I matter.

And now I will spend the rest of my life telling other people that they matter.

Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now — life for many people.  -Genesis 50:20

I forgive you and, NO, you may NEVER be around my children. I forgive you. I’m not stupid.

Sincerely, Me

~

Let me tell you something.

There is NOTHING sexy about a 9 year old little girl. There is NOTHING sexy about a 3 year old or a 15 year old for that matter. Some of those years it’s just called puberty, you piece of trash. A 15 year old child is a child. She may have a body starting to look like a woman but her mind is nowhere near ready for sex or a “relationship.”

People who molest and rape children are lower than bill collector scum. They are NOTHING. God can love them and forgive them and that’s way beyond my understanding, because I do not see HOW He can, but that’s because I’m human and I have only limited understanding.

~

POEM – or whatever you want to call it.

Please let me be a kid.

Please let me get to play hide and seek, ride my bike and play on the playground without you looking at me like that. Please let me walk with my friends without worry that you’ll take me from my family or take away my childhood.

Please see that I’m a child of God and know that He’s gonna be really, REALLY mad about what you’re thinking. Please let me be a whole, confident, safe kid and grow to be a person who can help other people in the world find their talents and meet their goals.

Please let me just be a kid.

I only get one opportunity to be a kid and you can help make it a wonderful time or make it the most horrible memory for me.

Please just let me be a kid. Please do not take my pictures. Please do not have wrong intentions toward me. Please don’t bother me.

Please know that if you do anything to me that is against God, you will answer to Him for it. You will stand in God’s presence and He will ask you, “Why?” and you, alone, must tell Him, our Daddy, why you hurt me. I don’t know if He’ll take the excuse that someone touched you so that’s why you can’t control yourself. Please don’t make excuses at all. Please don’t touch me in a way that God would be sad about. Please just let me be healthy and please don’t introduce sex to me when I’m only a child. You don’t have the right to do that. You don’t have the right to hurt me. You don’t have the right to even think the things you are thinking about me.

I can tell. I will tell. If someone isn’t smart enough to help or hear me, then I will tell another grown up and another and another until someone is smart enough to help me get away from you. You do not have the right to make me a dirty, little secret. You do not have the right to take away my innocence.

I’m bigger than you. I’m braver than you. I’m braver because I pray for you now. I pray that you feel loved on enough at home and by God to not ever bully or hurt other people.

Please, please just let me be a kid. -Kerri Stites

Be kind ON PURPOSE.

You do not know the stress someone else is under.

Be kind ON PURPOSE. Just be extra kind just in case someone needs it.

The other day I saw a woman be verbally and physically rude to a check out lady at the grocery store just because the equipment was not working at the self check out. There were other checkers open. There was nothing this worker could do to fix the equipment that second. She sweetly apologized to the rude lady. After the rude woman left and took her poisonous attitude with her I walked over to the check out lady and said, “Please don’t let that ruin your day.” She said, “I have a cancer screening this afternoon. There are bigger things going on in my life.”

I wish the rude person could have heard that. Maybe it would have changed the way she treated her. Don’t know. But maybe…

You do not know what someone else is going through. Just be kind.

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.

A few years ago a friend told me she knew I was supposed to write a book. I told her she had NO idea what she was talking about.  I’m nobody.  Who would ever want to hear what I have to say? I mean, I’m nobody.

She then said the words that changed my heart, “Hurting people need to hear what you have to say.”

Okay THAT got me… I’ll write.

The thing that has stopped me for a VERY long time is the fear of hate mail or people just looking down on me. And I’m TERRIFIED of being online “out there” in cyber space where people sit behind the false protection and act like it doesn’t matter what ugly stuff is typed to someone else because it doesn’t really “count” because it’s just online etc. etc. etc. It DOES count and you are affecting other people’s lives whether for good or bad by the stuff you say and even the stuff you don’t say.  Anyway the number ONE thing that has stopped me from writing is that – I’m nobody. Not true. I am a Child of the One True King. (And so are YOU. Please live like it.)

So the number TWO thing is that I’m terrified of living ONLINE. Being open and sharing life is obviously not a problem for us, but doing it publicly like this… very scary to me.

I just gotta have faith.

And number THREE, I do not want fame or anything that goes with it. I am perfectly comfortable ministering to the few people God brings across my path and feel safer hidden away in my house NOT sharing with the world.

Famous people do not have privacy anymore. Privacy is NICE. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fall all over myself if/when we run into “famous” people, I mean, until it is Jesus, because then, I Can Only Imagine how I’ll react! But just because someone knows about someone or knows their picture and people recognize them from movies or TV, most “fans” don’t actually KNOW them. Who they are. What they stand for. How they treat their family. I cannot figure out why people turn into goofballs and can’t speak correctly when meeting someone famous. Sure, it’s an honor. Absolutely. And it’s just as much an honor to get to meet the girl who is working at the grocery store to pay for college. Both are important and God planned and created them both equally valuable. One is just not “famous.”

So

Number 1. I’m nobody.

#2. Terrified of online.

And 3. Fame. Not for me.

But if that’s true; If hurting people DO need to hear what I have to say… then… I will write. I’ll write to share my faith.

My writing is not for everybody. But it’s for somebody.

And if I can help ONE person heal even just a little bit by the “stuff” in my life, then I will have the courage to write. Even when people laugh, I will write.

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

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

But I was.

I was and I could not fix it. Do you know what? I now know a little about why God says He hates divorce. Boy, I do too!! I HATE it!

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

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

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

Anyway back to divorce, I’m telling you about my divorce to let you know I’m not perfect and just because NOW I can work on helping other people more, my life has not been just cotton candy (or whatever says “yummy” to you.)

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

My life is full of not wise choices. If it was perfect then probably nobody’d want to hear what I have to say. I’ve found it’s not much fun to talk to someone who appears to have all the answers and who looks perfect. They cannot know the pain I’m going through so I don’t want to talk with them because they kinda just wouldn’t understand, ya know?

My husband and I have talked about the fact that we are able to minister to lots of people with all the “stuff” we’ve been through; prison, smoking, molestation, rape, divorce, blended family, and on the blended family note, you could pray about the book my oldest daughter and I may be writing together about divorce. We’d appreciate prayers on that.

Anyway, we a got a lotta trash God’s turning into gold SO THAT we can help pick others up outta their trash and so on.

The thing is, God can and does use the ugly stuff in our lives to turn around and glorify Him. He takes our trash and makes it a ministry. Hey! I guess I have a trash ministry. And I’m proud to say it. “What do you do?” “Glad you asked. I have a trash ministry.” (Come to think of it, I have a chapter about that in my book already mostly written. It’s not just those words but… okay, some day I really need to finish that book.)

You probably have a trash ministry too.

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

Inevitable

It is inevitable
that when I spend time alone with God in any given day, I absolutely will be a better mommy, wife, friend, and leader.

When I pray over my to do lists, I pray something like, “Okay, God, YOU know what I want to get done, have to get done and will actually get done today.

I cannot seem to prioritize it without Your help because there’s SO much to do today. Please guide my day and show me what You want me to do today.”

And EVERY single time I’ve EVER prayed this, when I look back at the day and look at my to do list for that day, I almost ALWAYS did NOT do what I THOUGHT I wanted or needed to do, BUT am somehow COMPLETELY satisfied with the day’s work.

And I know that it is BECAUSE I prayed about it first. Funny how that works. Try it. All it takes is saying, “Okay, God, please show me what YOU want me to do today.”

I guess if I think about it, when my children choose to come to me for help with their day, I can help guide them also. Our DADDY in Heaven is SO good! I’m His daughter asking for help from Him just like my kids asking for help from me. OF COURSE I’ll help them. I love them. He sure must love us a lot to help us every day like He does.

40 Thing Pick Up

Make Jobs Fun
40 Thing Pick Up

Let’s face it. We’re gonna have to clean up and do the grocery shopping and laundry, whether we like it or not. So, my idea is to make it fun. As fun as possible, if you hate those things.

When we pick up toys, I may say, “Okay, let’s pick up everything that has red on it.” And when we are doing a pick up through the house, I say, “Let’s do a 40 thing pick up.” This is when we EACH pick up 40 things in each room, making each room look nicer than it did. Sometimes we do that just in one room. So, even though I don’t particularly like math, let’s do it. Four of us picking up 40 things in any room equals a whole bunch of things in that room. Now there probably aren’t many times when 928 things are out of place in any room at one time, so we make it fun by counting each shoe as one thing. Sometimes we count a PAIR of shoes as only one thing. If I tell my kids this detail before we start there’s not arguing. (If 24 crayons need picked up that’s not 24 things. Making this clear each time you do a 40 Thing Pick Up seems to help LOTS.)

Sometimes if there is a lot to put away when you look around the room it feels kinda overwhelming and you don’t know where to start.  I have found that my kids (and husband, too) do not mind as much when I ask them to help pick up quickly this way. They concentrate more on the number of things they’ve picked up instead of the mess the room is in. (And I get sweet attitude help!) And no, I don’t give prizes for cleaning up a room. Taking care of where you live is something we all have to do. It’s part of everyone’s job no matter what. (But more about this later: getting paid money for jobs vs. doing stuff you need to do just because you live there.)

Tiny mess. 25 Thing Pick Up. Works great for younger kids, too!