Dear Lonely Woman,

Dear Lonely Woman,

I see you.

I have some idea why you’re sorrow runs so deep.

Your sadness and your pain matter.

How you feel about what has happened in your life matters.

What you do and what you think matter too.

The things and people you try to grasp and hold onto are never going to fill that empty longing in your soul.
But I know a Guy who can.

Stop trying to get something from things or people who are NOT EVEN EQUIPPED to give it.
But I know a Guy who is.

You think nobody can possibly know the battles you’ve been faced with.
But I know a Guy who does.

So you can exhale.

Because He KNOWS you

AND

He ADORES you.

Only ONE promises AND can give you the Real fulfillment you’re dying to know.

He wants to spend every day with you.
He will never say you’re too clingy. He says, “Cling to ME!”

He will never say you are not enough to hold his attention. He says, “I laid down My life for you BECAUSE you matter more than anything.”

He will never say, “Go away,” with his words or his actions.
But instead He only says, “Come to ME.”

He wants to get one on One quality time with YOU.

Why do you think the circumstances of your life leave you feeling so lonely?

He is confident that HE is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN fulfill your most intimate need to be wanted and to be loved.

HE will NEVER leave you.

Talk with Him.

And keep talking.

I’ll help you start.

“Dear God, thank You. Thank you for the emptiness so that I can find You.
You are MORE than enough for me.
Show me my value that is in You alone and please reveal my purpose ONLY You can give me. Please heal me because of what has happened in my life and remind me that my true value is found ONLY in You. Please forgive me for searching in a hundred other places for the True Love that ONLY You are capable of giving me. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I ask _______________…”

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

Homeless IMG_3059

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Homeless IMG_3261

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

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

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

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

Think God is up to something?

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 Homeless IMG_3257.jpg
#Faith
#Purpose
#Serve
#Homeless
#itisallaboutfaithblog
Read more about our walk in faith to move from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place here.

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.)

We don’t worship a Golden Calf because that would be silly.

Instead

We worship status and careers and college degrees and perfect grammar and exercise and shopping and sex and sports teams.

We worship political correctness and politeness.

We worship the art of being offended and even will be offended for someone else who finds something offensive.

We worship sharing our views and opinions on everything but refuse to listen to the way other people think.

We worship test scores (even way more than education.)

We worship technology and hobbies and schedules and money.

We worship stuff and spend millions of dollars collecting and guarding our (earthly) treasures.

We worship credit and making our houses as comfortable and perfect for us as possible.

We worship ourselves in a billion selfie pictures! Me. Me. Me! Look at me!

We worship youth and plastic surgery.

We worship “how is used to be” and “can’t wait for tomorrow” wasting today.

We worship image and doing good, Christian-looking things instead of truly living as Jesus followers.

We worship “worship” arguing with each other how a church service should look.

 

We worship pretending that everything is okay when inside we’re falling apart.

 

I wonder if we pretend so much because we worship pretenders.

We worship actors who pretend to be someone they are not and then we worship criticizing them or making fun of them when we don’t like the way they played a role.

We treat actors like Court Jesters. “Make me laugh, funny man!”

We worship collecting every movie, memorize the lines, and plaster their pictures all over our walls, but aren’t there for them when they need someone to care.

[THEN we hold candlelight services for suicides. (That’s too late.)]

Instead of acting like lunatic fans what if we treated actors like people instead of gods? “How are you, really? I just wanted you to know somebody cares.”

We worship musicians and get mad when bands break up as if they are ours to control …but what if God has another plan for their lives? We don’t even know the details but we’re unkind about them when they begin to pursue another career.

 

We worship video games and grown up toys and brand names.

And WHAT amazing marketing! Have you ever thought about this?

Companies have somehow tricked people into paying MORE for their brands AND bragging about paying more (Huh?!) People worship by advertising FOR them for FREE by wearing their logos, and even worship arguing with other people to the point of divorcing friendships simply because someone likes pears instead of doors or this instead of that.

[We look like a bunch of characters in that Dr. Seuss’s Stars Upon Thars story!]

We worship magazines that tell people what to wear, when to wear it, what is sexy, what is out, and what is in (whatever THAT means.) What nonsense! And people are actually mean to each other because of it.

I know I’m not the only one who realizes this is so messed up.

We worship debate, cut-downs, and scripted “reality” shows.

We act like gods who can vote someone in or out of Heaven.

 

And also, we worship sarcasm.

But at least we don’t worship a Golden Calf like the Bible talks about because THAT would be silly.

 

 

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

 

 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40

 

 

It’s hard to stay OUT of anyone else’s bed.

Marriage should be honored by ALL, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4

Movies, TV, magazines, advertisements, and the internet make it hard to stay OUT of anyone else’s bed.

 

If marriage and the marriage bed are to be honored by ALL and kept pure, then maybe we need to alert all the media because I don’t think they know.

Or if they know, I don’t think they care.

 

But I care.

 

If it’s not MY marriage bed, I do not belong in it, watching it, or participating via the internet.

If it’s not MY husband and if it’s not MY bed, then it’s not MY marriage bed. Am I wrong?

 

The more I pray about this the more God moves my heart to say something and to do something.

I get that we like entertainment. But we can enjoy clean entertainment. God says marriage is to be honored by ALL and the marriage bed be kept pure. The movie and TV show producers and pornography films have included scenes that don’t even leave anything to the imagination.

And the scenes that DO leave something up to our imaginations, they still have hints and that’s not even something we are to be part of.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Ephesians 5:3

There’s usually WAY more than a hint.

And we cannot UNsee what we see (even for a second of time.)

Some people argue that it’s okay to watch married people together because they’re married.

But, still, that’s not YOUR marriage bed so it’s not FOR you, is it?

 

Imagine for a moment being Adam seeing Eve for the first time.

Imagine being Eve seeing Adam for the first time.

 

Can you imagine Adam seeing Eve and never having seen pornography, or advertisements selling with sex, or movies even with images of other women that pulled his mind away from her?

Can you imagine how beautiful she must have felt to him? She hadn’t ever thought to compare her body to another woman’s body. There was no competition for his attention or affection. ALL his desire was for HER! ALL her desire was for him!

 

Whatever the world has taught you about comparing yourself or comparing someone else, the world is wrong.

 

You are worth more.

 

And the people in the pictures and videos are worth more, too.

 

Purity is beautiful. Purity doesn’t even necessarily mean that before now, life has been perfect, but from now ON, we CAN look away and choose not to be part of someone else’s bed. We can choose not to see a movie or watch a show. We can even write to companies to tell them it’s not stuff we want to see.

 

I get that it’s unpopular to talk about this stuff. It’s just something God’s been stirring in my heart. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or solutions but I can be a little part of some kind of difference because my life probably would have looked different if I’d heard this and maybe it can help someone else today.

To the person who keeps searching for love, YOU MATTER.

Warning: Not a pretty story. MANY ministries are not created out of pretty stories. God takes the ashes and MAKES something beautiful from them.

 

I am writing this for you, Very Important Person, because you don’t yet know your worth. You are worth SO MUCH MORE than you can imagine.

You matter green marker and pencil

I think I always knew one day I’d be moved to write this.

This is that day.

I recently heard someone in church mention a girl he knew from childhood who many called Slut.

Immediately I hurt for her, “She’s broken.”

My heart sank hearing grown up people quietly snicker at this mention of a girl who was trapped in this kind of prison.

DON’T THEY KNOW she was held captive there?

DIDN’T THEY KNOW that laughing about her is part of the problem?

DON’T THEY KNOW their gossip etches their own names on the links in the chains that keep her locked up?

I know this prison.

I lived there.

I remember when I was a little girl and I loved life. I climbed way up in the apple trees in my front yard and ate apples right off the trees.

Honeysuckle grew on a nearby fence. I loved that!

I liked playing, and school, and family, and life was fun.

Then it wasn’t.

When I was nine years old I was sexually molested by someone.

I will write more as God leads me to write. This is its own story and would take too many words for today.

This happened from age 9 to age 15.

At age 15 I was raped at church camp.

I didn’t DARE tell ANYbody for years!

After all, I had snuck out to meet this boy at night (but I had NO intentions of more than kissing.)

And I liked him and I thought he liked me and the thought that he wanted to talk to me and maybe kiss a while made my heart beat a little quicker!

Little did I know that this was part of satan’s plan to take me down.

I did not understand at the time that the enemy was afraid of what I could become in Jesus Christ and I did not understand yet that God’s plan of redemption would use this part of my story years later for His Glory.

I did not tell.

I did not even cry.

Who would care about me?

Who would believe me anyway?

Why did I even think he’d want to meet me to talk a while? Silly girl.

Scarlet A? The letter A may as well have been tattooed all over my body.

When I was 15 a boy older than I was invited me to his house for lunch.

Only …his intentions were NOT to have lunch at all.

Also when I was 15 the town pedophile (or rather, one of them) found me.

I must have had a magnet or target or something.

With the enemy searching for someone to devour, it is very likely truth that there was some kind of invisible target on me for me to have found all the trouble I did

or, rather,

for it to have found me.

Then…

Someone at school told me that my name was written on the boys’ bathroom wall.

I was 16.

The shock and shame that came with this discovery was something that I did not know how to process.

I guess I could have looked at the bright side; that it said I was GOOD at something. At least the writing was positive in SOME way.

My name was written on the boys bathroom wall

The affection and acceptance I was desperately searching for had me tangled in depravity of sin for years because the enemy’s OH, SO carefully crafted trick to strip my belief that I was ANYthing worthwhile was working.

That enemy is clever.

 

I kept searching for “love.”

Boys were generous to offer lots of “comfort.”

After all,

the world, tv and movies, commercials, books, and most of life taught me that it wasn’t really a big deal to kiss or fool around before marriage as long as you don’t have “sex” sex.

Right?

The world is WRONG.

Keeping the marriage bed pure means EVEN BEFORE marriage to keep the marriage bed pure. I cannot IMAGINE what a blessing I would have received if I’d saved all my kisses and all my desire for my husband. And if someone stole something or if we mess up that does NOT mean to KEEP messing up.

 

OH, if I’d only known my value!

But I did not.

I was the butt of satan’s cruel joke.

And people laughed.

 

A friend told me about my name on the boys’ bathroom wall.

Jeff Fisher was my hero that day and I will always remember.

He did what nobody else would do.

He opened the bathroom door

And he let me witness as he ERASED MY NAME off that wall.

 

In that moment

even though he wasn’t aware of how my life had headed this way,

and of course neither of us could know what would happen in the years to come,

he showed me I was worth something.

 

In THAT moment

And

ONLY

for

a

moment

I

believed

I

could

be

worth

something.

 

Years after that I was raped 3 more times while attending a Christian college. (Quick note: Christian colleges are great! People are the people no matter where we go. Jesus is perfect. People are not.)

 

That Last Time.

One boy I’d been out with before called me and asked if I’d like to go see a movie.

I smiled! Aww! That’s so sweet.

“Sure! I’d love to go see a movie.”

He likes me?! I’m so excited!

 

The thing is…

he had NO intention of ever taking me to a movie.

 

As he raped me in his car,

I didn’t scream.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything.

Rivers of tears silently poured down my cheeks.

And I believed

Finally

Without a doubt

That I was

absolutely nothing.

 

I clearly remember lying there in that moment thinking through these words.

 

“This… is all I’m good for?”

.

“…Oh…”

.

“…Okay.”

.

I breathed out as the tears kept falling.

.

“I’m …Nothing.”

 

Definition of nothing

  1. Not anything : no thing
  2. Someone or something of no interest, value, or importance
  3. Me

 

 

I’m certain that if anyone could see that moment in time, they would witness satan dancing on my broken spirit, certain that he’d won, and confident in the belief that his work to bury me forever was complete.

But God says,

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

 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10a

But that old devil forgot the next part of this verse!

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10b

My God is bigger.

My God is stronger.

My God picked me up and gave me a firm place to stand.

He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, Psalm 40:1b-3a

 

Just over 2 years ago God gave me the gift of my confidence back.

I did not even know it was missing.

But the very moment He gave it back I realized it had been stolen with my innocence when I was a little girl of 9 years old.

I did not know to pray for it to be restored because I did not know it had been missing.

I didn’t even know a person could live without something like that.

God restores what has been stolen.

 

I didn’t know I mattered.

And now, I know the truth.

I don’t have to search anymore for affection or acceptance here in this broken world.

(And neither do YOU.)

My GOD IS ENOUGH.

 

And THAT’S why I’m here.

That’s why I’m online.

That’s why you’re reading this.

It’s my purpose.

I will spend the rest of my life telling people they matter.

 

You matter letter beads

 

When satan tries to tell you that you’re nothing…

Remember that Jesus did not defeat death for Nothing!

Jesus defeated death for YOU and YOU are VERY SOMETHING.

You matter post it note

 

Think about it this way.

If you didn’t matter so much, WHY would the enemy work so hard to try to keep you down?

You matter blue chalk

 

My life’s verse

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

You matter. 2

My whole purpose in life breaks down into two words.

You matter.

You matter stamp letters

All the years searching in a thousand ways to find what ONLY God can provide for me has brought me to these two words.

You matter.

You matter small letters

ONLY God can fulfil the emptiness in our broken hearts.

You matter purple crayon

ONLY God can give love like we all desperately crave.

You matter curly pink

How ever I finally learned this and if my life’s story even only helps ONE person begin to heal and to realize his or her worth, it was worth it to help set another free (even when others don’t get it or laugh.)

For YOU, it’s worth it.

Because you matter.

You matter steampunk 2

 

[Of course there are a hundred other moments that taught me I was nothing and I didn’t mention them all here. That would take WAY too many words.

Each one alone may not have been so devastating.

But all together,

They buried me for about 35 years.

While you may THINK whatever you say or do in a moment won’t hurt someone…

I am living proof that all the moments add up and it IS VERY MUCH a big deal. It was enough to keep me hidden for years. And that’s what the enemy wants; to shut us up.

YOU may not realize it but YOU may be the ONLY person who speaks life into someone all year.

YOUR WORDS MATTER.

GOD SPOKE and created everything. (He could have done this any way He wanted to but He spoke and things happened. That is pretty interesting.)

Your words have power to tear down or to heal.

You can either be part of the problem and keep someone locked in the chains or you can help heal and tell her she matters.

Can’t tell her in person for whatever reason?

That’s okay. Pray for her. GOD is ultimately The One she needs the most anyway; not you (or me) and not boys. Pray for God to reveal His purpose for her and His love for her.

This broken world could use a whole lot more praying and praises

And a WHOLE lot less gossip.]

You matter phone calendar reminder

 

 

[Parent Note:

If you’re not talking with your kids, age appropriately and as-a-matter-of-fact-ly and without sounding embarrassed (much like you’re teaching them how to cook or how to do math or read) SOMEONE ELSE WILL. And they may not teach the beautiful truth about how God made sex to be very good.

Let them know it’s okay to ask questions about ANYTHING.

PLEASE be a safe place for healthy answers with no sarcasm.

Please?]

 

YOU MATTER big letters Jo Ann Fabrics

 

[Note to people who say pornography is okay:

Lots of people don’t know their value.

If you’re viewing pornography then you clearly do not value people in the pictures as God intended.

And very likely you do not know your own worth, either.

The world has made it a profession to take what God made to be good and mess it up and then pass it off as no big deal to anyone who will buy into the lies.

The world has taken sex which God made to be beautiful and VERY good and twisted it and corrupted it into pornography.

And pornography has NO place in anyone’s world.

Ever.

NOTHING you can say will change my mind.

Pornography is NOT love.

Pornography is slavery.

From the “actors” to the producers to the consumers, PORNOGRAPHY is a VERY REAL HELL on Earth and EVERY view supports this prison, whether in print, video, or any other way.

Be careful, little eyes, what you see, for The Father up above is looking down IN LOVE.

TALK to HIM. He’s listening and He breaks chains that keep us from really living.

OH how God LOVES YOU!]

You matter pink and brown

 

 

[Note to Dads:

OH, DADS!

PLEASE hear me.

What you say matters SO much.

What you DON’T say matters SO much.

If you are not giving your daughter healthy, good kind of love that God intended for a father to bless a daughter with, there are LOTS OF BOYS who are GLAD to offer her anything in the name of affection.

If she already knows her worth in God and with you, Dad, she won’t have any need to accept this from the boys.]

You matter.

 

[Note:

-I wrote this from my life’s view. I do know that guys are molested and raped also and I pray God gives them courage to speak out and to heal also.

-Some people told me that I SHOULD hate sex now because of what has happened in my life. What kind of messed up thinking is THAT?!  WHY in the world would I want to give the enemy ANY more moments of my time by hating something that God designed to be VERY good? Sex is fun and wonderful when experienced the way God designed it.

-I also know some families do not include Dad for many different reasons. While that is unfortunate in my opinion, there are many father figures who are God-fearing, God-loving men who (may not ever fill Dad’s shoes but) can help heal a girl’s heart.

-And I also know that some dads are not healthy and cannot seem to give love the way God intended. This is most unfortunate. I pray for you now and some day I pray you know how much you matter.

-If you’re mad that I believe dads have so much influence, that’s okay. It’s okay for people to have different opinions. God made man the head of the house. It’s HIS design. Not mine. And He’s big enough for you to question Him about it. Lots of things God designed get messed up when we try to change what He made and make it how we think we want it to be. God made us for different purposes but our souls are equally valuable. Just ask Jesus.

-And YES it’s also VERY important what moms say AND what they don’t say.

-People who are looking for an argument and want to hate on me for writing, God has such a bigger purpose in this life for you. I pray He leads you to find it. And also, you matter.]

 

You matter etched

 

[MOST IMPORTANT NOTE:

If you have been molested or raped,

IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.]

 

You matter brown cream

 

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

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

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

Every once in a while,

like for one moment every few months,

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

Yesterday was one of those.

(I’m good now.)

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

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

but… not so much.

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

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

And that includes giving Him our time.

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

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

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

The Alaska Ferry is HUGE.

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

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

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

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

I thought about the people watching Noah build that ark.

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

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

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

I thought about David going to face Goliath.

Was he afraid?

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

And THAT Power is with us today.

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

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

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

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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

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

He does.

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

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

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

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

I cannot limit Him.

And it’s not even that.

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

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

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

I don’t know HOW He’s doing this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

If anyone treated us like we sometimes treat God we’d want a restraining order.

(Original title: I love you more than anyone else in the whole world.)

Imagine for a moment…

 

We don’t talk much but…you mean everything to me.

I talk about you all the time.

I know everything about you.

Like, I know where you went and what you did and who you were with.

I talk about your friends.

I quote stuff you said.

I made a shrine to you.

I even tattooed your child’s name on my body.

Isn’t it sweet?

(Stay with me here. God has this stirring in my heart and it’s been tough to think about.)

Your son died and

I even wear the emblem of how he died as a symbol of my devotion to you.

It’s cool with you that we never really talk, right?

(Creeped out yet?)

Not sure about how you’d feel but all that would make me want to get a restraining order.

If any person treated us like we sometimes treat God, we’d probably be calling the police.

 

Talk with God. He’s listening. He loves you. (And He does NOT want a restraining order.)

 

 

 

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

The camp showers were 3 minutes for 25 cents.

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

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

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

The Holy Spirit overwhelmed my heart.

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

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

But it is.

It is enough.

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

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

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

SUCH a cutie boy, right?!

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

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

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

When did the world turn into such an

I-need-to-be-entertained,

everything’s-a-competition,

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

it’s-all-about-me-selfish

kinda place?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Believe in you.

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

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

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

[More:

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

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

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

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

The one day a year the neighborhood comes TO your door is not the time to keep it shut.

It’s Halloween.

Open your door.

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Toss some Jesus candy to people.

Start a conversation.

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Bless them.

Invite them to church.

Pray over the candy before you hand it out.

For real.  Not even joking.

Like a prayer walk

only pray blessings for the people

who will blow bubbles with the bubble gum you give out.

Print a scripture and tape it

to each piece of candy.

We are to go all over the world

to make disciples

and that is hard to do

when the door is locked.

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People know that many Christians are famous for

sharing everything we’re AGAINST

but we’re not as famous for sharing Jesus the way we should.

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It’s like this.

Sometimes we throw stones

at the adulteress

instead of being aware of

our own secret sin.

If we show her love, REAL TRUE love,

the kind of love she’s longing for

with all her heart,

then maybe,

just maybe she’ll want more of that

instead of the counterfeit romance that people offer her.

There is ONE night out

of the whole entire long year

that people flood the streets,

MAKE EYE CONTACT,

and say “Hello”

without thinking it’s awkward.

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THIS evening is NOT the time to close the door.

The neighbors you pray about knowing Christ

all year long

God is bringing TO you

but the opportunity to invite them to know

more about Jesus

is missed because you don’t want

anyone to think you’re “celebrating” Halloween.

Opening your door and handing out candy on Halloween

does not mean you’re celebrating evil spirits

any more than going to a funeral

at a graveside service does.

This year my Mad Hattress, my Dear Fawn, my husband and I

will be loving on people however God leads us,

with lights on, doors open,

and some Jesus candy to share.

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Be “that guy” and hand out Bibles if you want to

because you never know who needs one

but please don’t miss this opportunity

to love on and bless your neighbors.

Start a conversation.

Share Jesus with people

especially on Halloween

when sidewalks are covered with people

who are dying to know Him.

Be safe. Be blessed and Happy Halloween.

[Note: Do not send me hate mail

because I see a great outreach opportunity

and feel led to share about it.

I get it.

Some will be upset.

Some are always upset.

But someone may get to know Christ

because of open doors on Halloween

and I don’t want anyone

to miss any opportunity to share Him.]

Laundry Mat Ministry (Journey from Texas to Alaska)

I’m about 2 weeks away from not owning a washer or dryer or a dishwasher…

And I am SO excited about it.

Our family is moving out of a 2,100 square foot house into a 33×8 foot camper (and truck.)

God has called us to move to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.) Our prayers are to drive away from the house we live in on June 1st (Of course everything is in His timing and all that.) Prayers are always welcome and needed here.

Sometimes when we have jobs to do we focus more on the actual job and forget that there’s a bigger picture and God is in all the details of all our lives and the people you see through your days may not ever be the same people I see. We are Called to make a difference for Christ in the lives of others. Please do this. People NEED YOU.  You are the very right person for this job.

Doing laundry may not seem like much fun, but many things can be turned into ministries and I think unfortunately we miss moments to share our faith every day with people who cross our path.

If someone would have told me that I’d be excited about NOT having a washer and dryer I’m not sure I’d have believed.

We are going to have a Laundry Mat Ministry (a mini ministry along with the Alaska Homeless Teen Center ministry God has shown us.)

We are going to paint faces, speak life, and share Jesus with people He leads us to along this journey from Texas to Alaska. We will give the girls crowns of flowers because they are princesses of The King and we will give the boys necklaces with “EPH 6:16” on them and teach them about having a shield of faith and that we are all warriors for Christ.

Ephesians 6:16 says  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And we also are praying to have extra money with us at each laundry mat we visit for when we feel God moving us to give to people who may need a little financial help.

We are going to celebrate people who may not have felt much reason to celebrate lately.

A friend I met online said it well when she said this. Stephanie said, “What if changing the world was as easy as loving somebody that has never been loved before?!?”

It IS this easy.

My oldest daughter was giggling and said we should make t-shirts that say “Jesus Makes You Clean” on them. (We may just do that.)

~

If you feel called to give to any of this mission, please do. Your support of any kind is very appreciated. May God take your donations, break them and multiply them just like He did with the fish and the loaves. May He make the donations more than enough for this ministry.

May He use each of our lives in such a way that everyone watching cannot help but see Him!

Donations are accepted via PayPal and more of our story is found here.

https://itisallaboutfaithblog.wordpress.com/alaska-homeless-teen-center-stuff/

Laundry Mat Ministry

 

Automatically we were signed up for war.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God did not expect perfection from us.

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

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

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

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

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

God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

This stuff is real.

Very recently I yelled at God. It was something like, “God, YOU are the One who gave me this dream! Show me how and when! We are willing to follow You and obey. You know this. Please just show us HOW!” The ache to help people who need love is so great and we are so ready to go serve how God has called us to serve.

About 5 years ago God put a thought into my head, “YOU ARE MOVING.”

I didn’t want to hear that. So I didn’t listen.

Instead I told an elder at church that, “I could never move because I love this church too much.” I believe God took that church (building) out of our path because I was disobedient.  (And I lived to tell about it. God does not stop loving us or using us when we’re disobedient contrary to what so many people tell you. God uses ALL of your story for His Glory.)

But this was so strong that I could not ignore it.

It’s April. God put it on my heart that April 1st would be the time He moved us to Alaska to begin work on the homeless teen center dream. I was like, “God, You KNOW what April 1st is.  I don’t want to tell people that!”

Many people know that we thought it was last April. The thing is; there are a lot of Aprils in our lifetime. There is one every year.

If God’s shown you a time or season for something just keep trusting Him no matter what other people tell you because He knows what He’s doing.

We’ve looked like fools for Him kinda “building an ark” in our yard for the past year and a half since we started telling people about what He’s doing in our lives.

And we’ll KEEP ON looking like fools for Him until the day He takes our breath away.

My God is real. My God can do more than you ever ask or imagine. Follow Him. Talk to Him. (You can talk to Him right now. This story isn’t going anywhere. I’ll wait right here.)

Before He gave me this dream:

1. I never dreamed of going to live in Alaska. But apparently it’s been something my husband wanted to do since he was a little boy. (I didn’t know that til last year.)

2. I didn’t even LIKE teenagers until one of my own kids was a teenager.  My favorite ages have always been the 2s and 3s.  I love to listen to the stuff they talk about!

The world tells you that teenagers are… well, the world says lots of negative things about teenagers.  The truth about teenagers is that teenagers need respect just like adults and younger kids do and when we show them respect, they are quick to give respect back. Listen to their crazy dreams and stuff they think about, pray over them, and help them find their talents and what God wants to do with them. And how God uses them may or may not look like we think it “should” look regarding culture and school, career, and life. And that’s OKAY!

Even when nobody really (other than my 2 daughters who have always believed in me) believed what God had shown me, I still knew He was doing this work in my life and what He’s calling us to go do.

~~>  Walking by faith is SO very LONELY but SO very worth it.  <~~

Okay so check this out.

April 1st.  I yelled at God to show me HOW.

April 2nd.  We were led to a car dealership.

Wait. First we were led to a camper/RV place.

Wait. First before that my husband’s friend asked him to hang out for the day and they drove by the camper dealership so later he asked me to go see them with him.

But before that my husband worked over 50 hours in 3 days.

Okay. There’s not even a way to begin this story and explain how we got here unless God shows me how to share the details.

When you follow Jesus, be ready to let go of stuff you keep trying to control.

This is a God thing. If you’ve read this blog much it’s not new to hear that we have been waiting on God’s timing and a miracle. We are in the middle of another one right now.

God can do anything with anybody.

This truck thing happened with no credit for several years, a payment that meets our income, all the details we prayed about, strong enough to pull a trailer, and it was at the dealership for just a week (not even put in the front to sell yet.)  The guy said they rarely have this kind of truck for this price and right now they had TWO.

After we were home for the night, we all went to bed praying if this is God’s provision then great and if not, that’s great too. We asked Him to show us the next steps and to give us peace either way.

God showed me one time last year in a dream that we had a big white vehicle. When I woke up, I knew it wasn’t a bus or a van. At that time it didn’t occur to me that it could be a camper.

We revisited a used camper lot and the woman asked what we were looking for. All the campers there had only 1 bed in them. (All except one.) We need 3 or 4 beds for our family.  She showed us a camper with SEVEN beds and now we have a truck to pull it and to carry the art supplies, photography equipment, decorations, sewing patterns, hair and make-up supplies, and most importantly those mismatched tea party pieces.

~~>  You read that right.  We are moving to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been very celebrated.  <~~

The story God’s leading us through has touched so many lives already and we haven’t even begun the actual work IN Alaska yet.  Praise Him!  (When God shows you WHY you’re here it will blow your mind! Ask Him to show you. There’s nothing like this in the whole world.)

The other 2 pieces that go with the truck are the camper and an enclosed truck bed cover to store boxes in for the drive to Alaska (as tall as possible and we’re looking at junk yards to find one in case anyone knows of any good places.)

We need $20,000 more to pay for the camper and for gas to move there. And I hear there’s a ferry we need to pay for to move the truck and camper across water so probably more than this and I KNOW God will provide this somehow.

If a father asks his son to mow the yard, he’ll give him (or show him how to get) a lawn mower, gas (or an extension cord and electricity,) and a lawn to mow.  How much MORE will God supply for His children when we listen and follow what He’s calling us to do?!  He will supply everything ~ INCLUDING leading us to the very people He’s calling us to help!

If you know anyone with a heart for this ministry or who just wants to help this mission get started, please share our story.

We have hearts for homeless people and we are able to physically go there to serve them.  We know there are many more people who ALSO have hearts for this ministry and who cannot go physically but DO have resources to help do this work for Him.

We are going to give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, budgeting, celebrate people who maybe haven’t felt a reason to celebrate lately, and MOST importantly lead people to a closer relationship with Jesus.

When you feel called to give, then give.  When you don’t, then don’t.   It’s really that simple.

I’ll say it again.

Can you even IMAGINE the love kids will know when we finally are able to look into their eyes and tell them God has moved mountains and turned our lives upside down just for us to get to them?

miracle truck

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

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Dear Daughters, I’ve noticed.

An Open Letter to My Daughters.

I hear the way you pray over your days, friends, enemies, and choices. I see how you love others and want good things for them. I see when someone hurts your feelings and hear you pray for blessings for them and for God to heal you and use your pain.

I just want you to know that I’ve noticed.

You know where your strength comes from and you keep sharing that it’s from Jesus when anyone asks what is different about you and sometimes even when they don’t ask. You are warriors for Christ and with the Holy Spirit’s Power, you are doing great things every day.

I’ve noticed.

It’s absolutely beautiful to see how you face trials and adversity and you don’t retaliate. You could be angry. You could try to get even. You could wish bad things on people who have hurt you.

But you just don’t.

You can know for certain that I notice.

I see you forgive but not necessarily forget because as God uses experiences He’s brought you through, He reminds you of the passion behind your drive to love others.  You have understanding beyond your years.

God has taught me a lot through allowing me to be your mom. Being a kid in 2015 is tough (probably way tougher than when I was a kid.) You are learning to walk in grace and beauty that can only come from Jesus. I see His peace covering you.

You are world changers.

I’ve prayed over your whole lives, marriage, school, work, friends, enemies, and faith. I don’t have all the answers (and that’s okay.) Together we will always ask the Guy who does. Please come talk to me and Daddy when you make mistakes. (We were kids too and we made plenty of mistakes too.)  It’s okay to cry. God made tears and crying helps people heal.

I just wanted to be sure you hear that I notice you girls developing your own faith in Jesus and it’s beautiful to have a front row seat to this work He’s doing in your lives.

You are surely storing up treasures in Heaven and THAT means everything. These are the treasures that will last forever.

I love you.  Love, Mommy

~

Here is a prayer I wrote when you were little. I think it was around 2a.m. once as you slept while I was unpacking at a new house. I wrote it under your art desk. Whether the desk stays with you or not, the prayer and blessings will follow you no matter what.

Dear God,
Bless my children this night and from now on as they sit at this desk and help me always see their individual talents and encourage them for You. This night as I carefully set up all their art things in our new house keep them safe always.

Let me always remember the goal is Heaven no matter what comes in their lives and use me to help them see You. Through friendships and boyfriends and broken hearts let them look to You.

Let them have peace that You have a plan for each of their lives and not get sidetracked by the world.

Protect their minds and eyes and ears and bodies. Please keep them from harm.

Let me listen to them and remember that this time is for a season and not a lifetime. The dishes can always be done later. Lord, help me just learn to enjoy play time with my children and not organize anything. Just play!

I pray again this night for their husbands and their Christianity that they always look to You and are gentlemen to my girls You gave me. I cannot imagine anyone ever loving them like You and I do. Will they wipe their tears? Will they listen when my babies speak?

Oh, God, take care of my precious children in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

He’s not mad at you.

People know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God led people before the Bible was written to write the Bible (which is actually proof that He led people before the Bible was written because how can we believe that the Bible is God-led unless God led them to write it?)

He led people during Bible times which is clear in the Bible.

And since His Word is a Living Word and He is a Living God, He still leads people today.

The same people who profess that God is the same yesterday, today and forever are some of the same people who will adamantly tell you that God does not really lead us today in 2015.

How can that be?  If He is the same always and He led yesterday, then it is obvious that He still leads today.

The Bible is not just a history book. It is a book showing us God’s Love, Redemption, and Grace for mankind. And just because we can read how God saved (or wiped out) people in the Bible does not mean He could only do that work ONE time. He can and DOES STILL save (and wipe out people.)

People will argue.  And the sad thing is that so much of the church seems to be so busy arguing like Pharisees that people who don’t know Jesus yet may wonder if He’s a good thing or not.

He is.  He is good.  Jesus is The ONLY Way to Heaven.  And I apologize for how we Christians sometimes mess things up by making stuff sound too complicated.  Because it’s really not.

~~>  Jesus loves you.  <~~

You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

But God is a jealous God and we’ve made idols that come before Him, we’ve turned the beautiful sex that He made into pornography under the disguise of “entertainment,” put sports games before worshipping Him, plastered our walls with posters of movie stars and musicians, and pretend that WE are to be praised for how well our career is going instead of praising Him for the job AND for the talents to do the jobs.

Praise Him – in good AND bad times.  Amazing things happen when we do this.  It’s not about me or you.  Life is about God.  We are made by Him and to bring Him glory.  He created us with the very talents needed to do the jobs He’s planned for us since before we were born.

Have you heard the Good News?

Jesus is not still on the cross. He is RISEN!

Let’s celebrate that He is risen when we share communion.

Many times the atmosphere during communion (at least in most church buildings where I’ve attended) feels much more like a funeral than a celebration.

~~~>  REJOICE! HE IS RISEN!  <~~~

Ask God what He wants you to do today and follow the tugs on your heart.  Then ask Him again tomorrow what He wants you to do tomorrow.  He wants to hear from you every day.  He will lead you.  This, I know.

Don’t know if God can use you or your story?  He can.  He will.  And many times I’ve witnessed the very things that threaten to hold us down are the very things God uses to lift us up to help and save others through and from the same experiences.

God knows we mess up.  He knew our best and our not so wise choices BEFORE we were made.

We hide sin from other people and from Him because deep down we know it’s sin;  just like Adam and Eve knew and hid in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing new and nothing you do or think will surprise Him.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take YOUR sins with Him SO THAT you can receive the gift of Heaven for all eternity after this life.  You can’t be “good” enough for Heaven or “bad” enough for Hell.  You are forgiven enough when you receive Him and are baptized under water.

Heaven is a GIFT.  You are redeemed!  Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners.  Hell will be filled with people who denied Christ as their Savior and who walked away from God.  God doesn’t leave you.  You have to leave Him if you don’t want Him.

~~>  And in case nobody has ever told you,

THIS is THE most important decision of your whole life.  <~~

He sent the Holy Spirit here to live INSIDE you and guide you.  This stuff is real and Heaven and Hell are real.

The greatest words ever will be to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

He’s not mad at you.

He’s madly IN LOVE WITH YOU and He has a great plan for your life.

How will you know what that looks like unless you keep asking Him to keep leading you?

 

God, teach Your people to stop the fighting and start uniting.  P.S. And please could You teach us what that looks like because as soon as we try, we start arguing (like the children we are.)  Just please keep leading us.  Please forgive us when we mess up and always remind us how much You love us.  Thank You for never giving up on us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

“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.

Her Dreams

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

When I was a little girl the only 2 things I knew in my heart I wanted to be were a mommy and a wife.  (I’ve been a wife twice.  I guess I was an overachiever with that dream.)

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

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

What if there’s a child who needs a mother’s love and care in Alaska and God knew this was His plan for my life a long time ago?  Maybe the reason I didn’t know yet was because I wasn’t asking Him what HIS plans are for my life.  I was just doing what I wanted to do.  Maybe also it’s that He just reveals each next step to us in His timing whether we ask or not.  My husband and I can look back over 35 years and see how God’s been preparing us both for this very thing.

What if there are a hundred kids who need care?

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

 

When someone tells you her dreams in life, although they may seem smaller than others’ dreams, her dreams may just prove to be bigger than they looked at that time.  (Being a mommy and wife are AMAZING things to be even if some don’t realize this.  Being one or the other is amazing, too.  And no, I’m not saying to purposefully be a single mom.  I’ve been there (though not purposefully) and it’s TOUGH!  My heart goes out to single moms and dads.  You guys are doing a very important job.)

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

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

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

 

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

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

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…”

 

An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

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

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

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

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

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

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

My feelings matter.

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

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

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

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

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

I “get” chicken pox.

I “have” a rash.

I “have” to “go.”

I “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m stuck between two homes.

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

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

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

Just talk to me.

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

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

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

I will be okay and you will be okay.

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

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

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

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

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

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

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

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

We will be okay and you will be okay.

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

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

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

 

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.]

 

Those Hypocrites At Church

Church people mess up. Christians mess up. We mess up JUST LIKE anyone else. Being a Christian does not make someone perfect.

I’m not even sure why anyone ever started thinking that way.

If we were perfect, then there wouldn’t be any need for Jesus’ Blood to cover us or for Him to have died for us.

Jesus is The One who is perfect; not Christians.

People are people.

People sometimes say, “Well, I don’t go to church because there are hypocrites at church.”

Yes. There are.

AND there are hypocrites at the grocery store, school, the gym, the office, the bar, and everywhere else you go.

The enemy WANTS you to give up on church and the whole idea of “church.”

You still go to these other places even though there are hypocrites there.

So please, please don’t let a church building be THE one place you stop going because of this.

YOU may have something to share with people that nobody else has shared.

YOUR presence in a church building could be the VERY thing in which satan is MOST afraid! He’s the great deceiver. If you don’t think this could be true, then why would he work so hard to keep you out?

 

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

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

~

My kids learned:

-We don’t need a car to live.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-We can walk farther than we think we can.

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

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

-People eat a lot more than they need to.

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

-You feel better when you walk.

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

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

~

What my husband learned:

I don’t NEED a car.

God provides what we need.

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

~

Stuff God has been teaching me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“Daddy? Please help?”

As parents, we think it’s cute when our 2 year old wants to help sweep the floor.

What about when our 10 year old helps fold clothes? We’re proud (even if he doesn’t do it the way WE would do it.)

When our 15 year old does the dishes we still like the help (most of the time.) Sometimes teenagers show a little attitude and decide they know best. They’re still learning – and learn quicker if we let the consequences do the teaching. (Of course – there are times to remove the phone, computer, music, or activities. We give and sometimes we take away.)

It’s pretty amazing when our kids ask us what job they can do and ALSO listen to how to do a job (though there is still some very important learning that takes place when they don’t ask for our guidance.)

Honestly, we CAN do all these jobs on our own AND we actually would do a more careful and more thorough job on each one of them.

~
The thing is when we ask God what job He wants us to do, incredible things happen. He’s not going to make us ask Him. We just (hopefully) eventually get around to realizing this is the best idea.

God does not NEED us to help. He WANTS us to help Him. He ALLOWS us to help Him. He LOVES for us to help Him.

But God is God and He does not NEED us to take care of stuff.

He is MORE than capable of doing everything on His own. He created the whole universe and everything in it WITHOUT our help. (It’s a bit egotistic to think He NEEDS us to do anything, isn’t it?)

When He calls us to do a job, He doesn’t expect us to then go off and try to do it on our own. He expects us to keep asking for His guidance.

Sometimes we (grown ups) decide we know best and we learn from consequences, too. We give God a little attitude sometimes, don’t we? (And He gives and sometimes He takes away.) Yet, He’s still in our corner, cheering us on, always hoping we’ll turn to Him for help.

Sometimes I envision Him looking at me while I try to do a job without Him (which has happened plenty over my lifetime.)

He’s smiling while shaking His head and just waiting for me to ask, “Daddy? Please help?” EVERY time I ask He is there and He is always more than capable.

When We Were Young We Believed

When we were young we believed we could do so many things; crazy, amazing, big, world changing things!

Then life happened.

We started to believe we had such limitations and we were beaten down by other people’s words and ideas.

Why did they say what they said? I don’t know. Maybe they were jealous. Maybe they were broken inside. Maybe they truly believed this world is all there is and there’s not any point in trying anymore.

They were wrong.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

You CAN make a difference.

Here’s an even better reminder than that! God can make a God-sized difference through your life.

Yes. You. YOUR life.

YOUR story matters.

ALL the details of your life matter.

How you feel about it matters.

God can do something that no man can do. He can turn the very worst and darkest part of your story into something amazing that glorifies Him.

And THAT is a beautiful thing!

Think you’re too old? No. You’re just right.

Think you’re too young? No. You’re just right.

Too tired? God gives new energy.

Think it’s too late? Remember. God is the Author of time. He is not in a hurry.

Ask God what He wants you to do today ~ every day. He will show you.

God and I believe in you.

Now it’s time that YOU believe in you (again or maybe for the first time.)

YOU can make SUCH a difference in this dark world.

When you believe in you – and in God – with childlike faith like you used to, the possibilities for what God will do in your life are limitless.

The world told you that you can’t. The world is wrong. You CAN.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

 

I’ve fallen in love

I just can’t explain it! I’ve fallen in love!

You know when you feel warm and secure all inside and out?

You know what I’m talking about!

He’s all you can think about and he takes up all the places in your mind.

You spend all day long daydreaming about him.

People almost get tired of hearing you talk about how great he is.

I’m telling you ~ when you fall in love with Jesus you just cannot shut up about Him!

I’ve heard other Jesus Freaks talking about this kind of life. I’m SO glad I listened now!

I have to be honest. I didn’t understand for many years what they were talking about but now I get it. You’ve heard all that stuff about, “I was blind but now I see.”

It’s real.

He just does something to you and you cannot get enough of this amazing relationship!

Sometimes I wonder what our lives would look like if we STARTED with Jesus instead of searching through everything else under the sun first… because there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

What if we started our kids on this path when they are young instead of the fickle, wobbly, unsafe, insecure, flimsy path many of us walked on through the years?

I’m not just saying to learn ABOUT Jesus. I’m talking about KNOWING Jesus.

When God gives a gift He really gives a gift! His Son is a gift. You cannot earn Him. You cannot buy Him. You just accept Him. That’s what a gift is. A gift is freely given. You can reject Him because you think He’s not the right whatever but I can honestly say you are missing out on some Heaven on Earth if you choose “Return to Sender” on this gift.  For certain you would be missing out after this life is over and getting to spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.  Can you imagine it?!  Forever with the One you love?!

Instead of looking to a teacher, pastor, preacher, a church, state leader, national leader, or even our mentors, what if WE search for Jesus? We have access to Jesus. God gave this to us.

Just talk to Him. Ask Him to be with you.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

OH what a difference, God, You have made in me! Holy Spirit, stay with me and guide me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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.

 

Train Wreck (aka Me)

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if you did?

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

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

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

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

It’s okay to need help.

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

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

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

 

People who told you that you didn’t matter were wrong.

Maybe they didn’t say it with words. Maybe it was an attitude or the way they treated you when nobody else was around.

Maybe it was how you trusted someone with all your heart only to have it stomped all over because your lover had an affair and turned your world upside down.

Maybe a friend lied to you and you are having trouble continuing the friendship even though you know you’d like to remain friends.

Maybe your dad or Father-in-Law spoke damaging words over you – or didn’t even speak at all – when you desperately needed to hear confirmation that you are good at something.

Maybe your Mother-in-Law or even your own mom, while to your face is kind, behind your back speaks and does things that are not in your favor.

Maybe your own child feels some hatred toward you and you’re not even sure why. (Many gentle conversations with an open mind and ears may need to happen.  And many prayers, of course.)

Maybe it was someone at church or work who meant well but couldn’t have been more harmful with what they did or said.

Maybe somebody told you that you’re not worth it.

But the truth is that you actually are quite important.

You matter.

Every day.

All the time.

You are very worth it.

 

Wednesday Letters

Wow! I am this week’s recipient of my youngest daughter’s Wednesday Letter! She brought tears to my eyes. It is a very sweet letter.

It’s due Wednesday morning but she turned it in early. I was surprised to see “Mommy” written on the envelope today.

My oldest daughter is a few letters ahead (but that isn’t a free ticket to miss next week’s letter.)  I still would like them both to turn in a Wednesday Letter every week. Extra letters are always okay.

“Wednesday Letters” is something I prayed about when we began homeschooling and feel God led us to start.

My oldest had had an assignment when she was in public high school where each student was required to write a note to each person in class each week.  This was something I was reminded of when deciding how our homeschool would look.

My kids pray over who they should write letters to and a letter is due every Wednesday morning from each of them.

The letters need to be uplifting, thanking someone for somehow touching their lives, maybe speaking life, or just, “Hey, I noticed when you….”

The reason they are due Wednesday mornings is because if they need to be mailed, the letters may have time to get to the recipients by the weekend (but even if they get there Monday, it’s a pretty cool way to start the week.)

The letters may be emailed, texted, mailed, but written is important. (IF for some reason they cannot be written though, then speaking them to someone on the phone or in person is still a great idea. We don’t want anything to get in the way of getting an encouraging message to anyone.)

This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things (and it’s not just for homeschoolers.)

I am praying this becomes something very big because we ALL could use more encouragement and more noticers in the world.

Being the recipient of this today has made me realize Wednesday Letters may become much more than it seemed at first. It’s truly touched my heart and made my week better knowing my daughter prayed and God put my name on her heart.

I pray this spreads like wildfire. The world is starving for all the blessings that have been left unspoken.

If you decide to write some Wednesday Letters we’d love to hear from you.

Everyone is invited.

 

Today my husband painted my toenails.

Our marriage has been under attack for years. We have been through so much with each other. There is one thing we can agree on 100%. God holds us together.

God has put a love in my heart for this stubborn man and He’s put a love in my husband’s heart for this impossible woman! If it wasn’t for God doing work in our lives, I wouldn’t even be writing here at all.

I shouted, “Let me in!” I cried, “Why do you have these walls built so high?” I tried to tell my husband for years what I needed.

I felt as if he never heard me.

My husband only was able to hear me when my spirit was finally quiet.

The problem with my spirit getting quieter was that part of me was giving up on believing we’d ever have a real, honest, deep relationship with each other.

Probably my favorite thing about my husband is that he asks God how to be the husband God wants him to be and that I need him to be. He prays about being the best daddy God would have him be for our kids’ individual needs. He’s always searching after what God would want.

And THAT is beautiful!

Today my husband painted my toenails.

This takes me being quiet and letting him love on me.

This takes me not correcting him when he’d miss the nail.

This takes me letting go of control and letting him brush side to side instead of how I’d do it.

This takes him listening to me when I tell him water on a paper towel may not take the paint off my skin as well and that a cotton ball and polish remover will work better.

This takes us both letting go of something and listening to each other to get somewhere better.

And I like it. I’d rather have this intimate time with him than perfectly painted toenails.  (And when I look at my toes, I smile about him.)

daddy-loves-mommy

I’m praying over your marriage today, also.

God, please touch marriages everywhere and make them into the healthy, beautiful relationships You intended them to be. Please help us let hurts go and be trustworthy for each other. Please help us be transparent; not hiding anything from each other. Please remind us how to show respect to each other and speak softer when we feel upset. God, I pray now for marriages that have yet to happen. Please guide us to be the best husbands and wives we can be. Please give us more moments of husbands painting toenails. Thank You for marriage. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Please Stand Up.

Praise God there is not a score card or report card saying how we’re doing spiritually based on our age! (In fact, I’m not sure why life should be a race academically either – but that’s for another day.)

I can’t imagine someone saying these things to others yet sometimes even when we don’t say them we kinda act this way.

 

“You’re 25! How come your faith isn’t up to par yet? Why are you still struggling?   We are going to hold you back a year so you can catch up!”  (That would be quite damaging.)

And anyway, what?! Catch up to what?  Your race is just you.  There is nobody to your right or left, in front or behind.  It’s just you – and God sure is patient.

~

“You’re 60! How come you don’t have more grace for others?!” (There’s no “grace” in that at all…)

I know many girls would ask, “What does that even mean?” SO many have not been taught what this looks like.

Ladies, please stand up and teach our younger girls how to be women of Christ! Please stop the gossip and please start teaching girls how to be beautiful from the inside out! Take a look at what the world is teaching them. They NEED you to speak life and love over them!

~

“You have a grown up man’s body! You need to act more like a ‘man’ now!”

HOW? He hasn’t been taught how to do this.

Please, men, stand up and teach our younger boys how to be gentlemen of God! The world truly needs you! Teach them how to stand tall in a world full of hatred and racism.

And boys (and men) desperately need to learn how to treat a woman in the way God says to treat a woman. Love her. Love her as Christ loves the Church.

~

There is honor in helping each other; not in stomping each other into the ground.

Life is NOT a competition!

Please stop arguing who is “righter” and start caring for each other “right where we are” in faith, grace, honor, life, (and academically.)

 

This Little Light of Yours

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushell? NO. I’m gonna let it shine.

Wait. What’s a bushel? (I think it’s a basket.)

 

Okay – now –  let’s try this in more modern words.

This little light of mine.  I’m gonna let it shine.

Hide it at my kid’s ball game?

Hide it at the board meetings?

Hide it in P.T.A. meetings?

Hide it when I’m at the gym?

Hide it when that girl walks by?

Hide it when I disagree?

Hide it when they cut in line?

Hide it when my wife’s upset?

Hide it when my husband’s angry?

Hide it when no one’s watching me?

Hide it when my kids mess up?

Hide it when a wrong number calls?

Hide it when I go to school?

Hide it ’cause I just feel grouchy?

Hide it when the world’s on fire?

 

NO!!

 

–>This little light of yours. NOW is time to let it shine.<–

Let it shine ALL the time.   ALL THE TIME.

Grace

Please stop being so offended when someone thinks differently than you do?

God makes things good.

The enemy tries to take good things and make them bad and destroy them.

God made us each different.

On purpose.

And this is how He decided to create us. He could have done things ANY way He wanted to, right? And He did it this way. So being different is okay. Having different opinions is okay.

It’s just one more thing satan tries to use to separate us from each other; to make us huff and puff and “unfriend” each other in person and online. The very differences we should appreciate about each other are the very things satan is using to create havoc.

Opinion.

Belief.

Choice.

Individuality.

Differences.

God made you different from anyone else in the world for a reason and His plans for your life don’t exactly match anyone else’s purpose.

AND THAT’S OKAY.

Yet as is his nature, satan sees something good and does anything he can to make it bad. In this case he has grabbed onto the fact that we are each made different on purpose and given it a name. The name that fits right now is “Offended.” Oh my word are people offended!! SO easily! It makes me sad!

“I like cheese. So therefore YOU need to like cheese or else I won’t be friends with you. There! I’m not going to play with you anymore.”

Stop it!

Please stop it?!

Don’t you see what’s happening? That old devil is up to his tricks just like he always does trying to destroy sex, family, marriage, service, and just everything!

The world is in chaos and confusion. Literally.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He didn’t say there is some way or find the way.

He said HE IS THE WAY.

Keep your eyes on Him and don’t look away.

If you’re not sure how to find Him, ASK Him how to do this. “Jesus, how do I find You?” Just say it! Read the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible, buy one. If you can’t afford one, ask a friend to borrow his until you can get one. Ask church for one. If the church you ask says, “No,” then ask another church!

And it is okay with me if you don’t like cheese. I will still love you. I will still talk to you. I will still care about you.

Please, PLEASE find some grace and love for the people in your life!

100 Good Things About You

We went to a funeral today. It is always a beautiful thing to hear about someone’s life.

Consistent with the nature of all funerals I’ve attended, it made me think about when I die.

If God calls me to Heaven before you go, do something for me? In my honor, please say OUT LOUD to 100 different people something great that you like about yourself. It can be 100 different things you like about yourself and it can be to 100 different people at different times or all at the same time like in an auditorium or something. But this is my wish in case you outlive me. Deal?

If you will do this please leave your name or a note here as your agreement. (You could even include some of the good things about you now. You don’t have to wait until whenever I’m gone. I’d love to hear about you.) This blog post is just the official way to let you know I’m counting on you to speak life into you and good things about you – OUT LOUD.

I know there are a thousand great things about you. I’m just asking for you to speak 100 of them about yourself to others. They’ll hear it and you’ll hear it also.

You’re worth so much more than you may realize.

Believe it and speak it OUT LOUD.

Here’s a sample to start this conversation: (And you should totally start now and not wait til later because you deserve to hear yourself think and speak -out loud- good things about you already.) “Hey, I’m Kerri and I’m fulfilling a wish for a girl I read about on a blog. I said I would say 100 good things about me to 100 people. Something I like about me is …”

It Is OKAY To Like YOU

Remember that time when you did that thing you thought you couldn’t do? And remember how you were a little amazed by that? And if you’re honest with yourself, maybe you did it better than you thought you could?

When you think about YOU do you think more about that stuff or the “other” stuff… you know… the times you messed up… again?

The way we think about us in our own heads, about how we messed up, about how often we mess up, is just too much for our spirits sometimes. Be kinder to you.

Would you let someone else talk to you the way YOU talk to you? Would you let someone else talk to your husband, wife, kids, or parents the way you talk to you? Is it kind of… possibly… bullying yourself?

Stop.

Please?

Take a breath and think something nice about you.

It is OKAY and (dare I say) “healthy” to speak and think good things about yourself and your abilities!

Somehow the world has taught us that we can’t be glad about something we’re good at or have learned to do because if we say we’re proud of it, people may think we’re bragging or conceited or whatever.

What if we make it a “good” whatever!

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Philippians 4:8

YOU are amazing. Take some time to THINK ABOUT THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOU. You know why I know you’re so great? Because Jesus didn’t die for “nobody.” He died for YOU. And if HE thinks you’re worth dying for, then maybe it’s time for you to see that in yourself also.

You have permission to like you!

This IS the time of your life.

We talk about “spending” time.

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

You can spend money
and you can get more.

But not time.

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

We CANNOT get more time.

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

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

One Dollar and Fifteen Cents

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

Madison handed me coins equaling one dollar and fifteen cents.

 

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

 

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

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

 

John 6:1-15

On Purpose.

It’s offensive when people are so easily offended.

Am I living for praise from people?

Am I living for praise from God?

Sometimes they overlap and it’s great when this happens.
Sometimes not so much and that comes down to the true character in each of us.

It’s hard to lose friends when we stand up for something ~ but it happens.

Maybe the word “friend” is a little overused?

We CANNOT please everyone.  Why do people try to please everyone?

Not even everyone loves Jesus.  Think about this.  If every person does not want Jesus, then why in the world would we even begin to think that everyone should love everything about each other?  How much MORE are people not going to love us for standing up and sharing our opinions or even bigger and more importantly; our faith?

I’m not sure WE even love everything about OURSELVES.   So WHY do we think if we disagree on something, it’s a magnificent tragedy?  It seems being offended because someone views stuff differently goes against the very fact that God made us each different ON PURPOSE.  He did not HAVE to make us all different.  He chose to.

If you’re looking for someone who likes, agrees, loves, hates, and is impressed or not impressed with exactly the very same everything as you are you’re not going to find it.  Just love people where they are.  It’s really not so difficult to do this.

 

At the end of my life it may not matter as much if a person is impressed by how I lived but I absolutely, for sure, with every part of me, want to hear from God, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Just For A Minute

Everyday schedules.

I have to get this done.

The kids need that.

My husband wants me to remember to…

Oh, I need to stop by the store.

Then maybe we can have lunch together.

Wait.

The car needs gas.

Okay time for that appointment we keep putting off.

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

so we can get to what we want to do;

So we can get to the “important stuff!”

 

At the optometrist’s office the other day,

it seemed like just one of those errands that needed done

but

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

that we could,

JUST FOR A MINUTE,

plant a seed,

share our faith,

or speak life into someone’s day.

 

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

 

We mentioned we are moving to Alaska and why.

“Oh, you kinda feel called?”

“Yes we do.”

“Yeah, the universe does that.”

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

 

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

The way we speak to people matters.

…the check-out guy at the grocery store,

the server at a restaurant,

when we check in at a hotel,

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

to the office staff at the eye doctor.

 

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

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

 

When a Marriage is Broken

Know what satan wants to destroy?  I mean, besides EVERYTHING.

Marriages.  Because when marriage is great, we can serve others in such a big way.  When marriage is broken, we spend so much time trying to fix it.

Give your marriage to God.  HE is enough.  He has worked miracles in our marriage.  When we can go from not liking each other and wanting to not be together so much to a place of healing and smiling and actually liking each other again within a matter of a day, I believe that is God’s hand in our marriage.

Sometimes it’s easier to “love” and serve someone than it is to “like” him or her and want to spend time together.

Trust Him.

God is in the business of restoring people, hearts, marriages, and a lot more!

ASK God to mend your marriage.  And I’ll be praying over this for you, too.

Here.  Start with this:

“Dear God, I don’t even like my husband/wife very much.  You’ve seen the hurt and pain in our marriage.  I am giving my marriage to You.  Please bless it and show us how to love each other again because we don’t even know how.  I want to ask that You give us eyes to see each other the way You see each of us.  And I want to thank you for the work you are doing even as I ask this.  Please make me into the husband/wife You want me to be.  Specifically please help me forgive him/her for ______________”

Are You Target Practice?

When people are unkind a lot of times it does NOT have anything at all to do with YOU.

Many times it’s unresolved stuff in someone’s life and you are the closest ~or safest~ target.

It’s hard to be happy when someone is hurting us but we CAN have some peace through the storm anyway.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.

James 1:2-4  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ummm…

Okay I will try BECAUSE God says to. I may have to look up the words “pure” and “joy” and start off with “watered-down joy.”

But revenge and thoughts about revenge – don’t even go there.

Romans 12:17-19  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

You say, “But she’s really being mean. Like, REALLY!”

I know.

Be kinder anyway.

Pray for your enemies.  (Have you tried it?  It’s cleansing.)

Matthew 5:43-45  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

I know.

It’s hard.

Ask God for help. Because ultimately, He is the ONLY One with this kind of help. He can change a heart and He can open people’s eyes to the damage they’re causing.

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

(Be genuine. Sarcasm and petty motives are beneath you.)

Good thought:  At least if they are focused on me, they are leaving someone else alone.

What am I learning?

He must be hurting very much to treat me this way. Even though the pain may not show on the outside there must be some stuff inside that is tearing up his heart.

Good news?

Yes.

All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Do you hear that? ALL things.

Here’s a good way to start.

“Dear God, I really don’t FEEL like praying for _________ but I will trust You when You say to pray for our enemies. Please touch the heart of this person because I’m not feelin’ so loving toward him today….”

Romans 8:26-27  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Hey YOU. You got this!

Important Stuff

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

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

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

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

Has anyone told you today that you are important?

Has anyone told you today that you are important?


You are important.

 

YOU MATTER.

 

You should get to hear it.

 

And if you forget,

or if you keep forgetting,

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

 

 

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

When I was younger,

Memorial Day used to incite feelings of excitement and adventure.

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

the public pool opening for business

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

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

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

Enjoy the day off with your friends and family,

chase summer with your arms wide open

and make a million memories as you go.

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

and their freedom to make memories so you could.

Today I remember my husband.

A son,

a father,

a best friend,

and a Marine who loved his country fiercely.

In Honor of Jarod Cravens

Dallas Homies (Funny Story)

Dallas Homies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She looked straight at my 13 year old.

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

Um, what?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SACKS!

Praise God she was asking for SACKS!

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

 

YOU don’t HAVE to be perfect.

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

But why?

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

I don’t HAVE to be strong enough.

And I cannot be.

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

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

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

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

YOU CAN!

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

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

Your words matter.

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

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

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

that driver who cut us off in traffic,

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

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

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

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

…take a breath.

 

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

turn it around and speak a blessing over them instead.

Speak life and love.

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

 

Alaska Homeless Teen Center Fundraiser

To donate please click the link below

Donate Button

Please share?

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

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

Prayers please?

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

 

 

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

~
“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.