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

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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 we are.

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.

 

 

Dear child we haven’t met yet,

Dear child we haven’t met yet,

I am so sorry we weren’t there faster than this. We are packing. We are trusting. We are waiting on God. We are praying and He knows the time frame for when we will meet. He is moving mountains for us to get to you. We love you and we are here for you. Please don’t give up. You matter.

Love, Kerri, Chloe, and Chelsea Valor

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.

To Move A Mountain

Prayers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it’s not bigger than God.

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

He knows how and we will trust Him.

God is bigger.

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

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

We’re asking Him to move a mountain.

Thank you for your prayers.

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

Period.

This is ALL about God’s Power.

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

The Ultimate Thrill in Life

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

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

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

This is it.

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

Try this.

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

He SO does this.

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

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

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

It doesn’t really matter who else believes in you. HE does.

Just try it.

What do you have to lose?

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

OH, YES!  Put him to work!  Right?!

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

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

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

Time to get to work… and LOVE it.

It’s Not About Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

My youngest daughter was bullied in 5th grade.

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

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

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

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

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

Because

it’s just not about me.

That’s what talents are.

I don’t know math. I don’t know geography or enough about politics to argue or lie my way into office. (And not every politician lies.)

I don’t know how to save the animals from extinction or how to stop child molesters (though I intend to do my very best at putting an end to it and at helping people heal from that kind of hurt.)

I don’t know about how to build a car or the best way to create a generator. I don’t know the best way to grow a tomato and I’m not sure how to tell schools that good grades in school are NOT the most urgent thing in life.

Those things are all very important.

But I wasn’t given the talents to take care of all those things.

I DO know about relationships, people, words, and faith. So I speak about what I know.

That’s what talents are.

Talents are the things that come more naturally to each of us. Use them. Ask God HOW He wants YOU to use them. Life is so much better this way. You don’t have to believe me. Believe the creator of YOU. Ask Him what you’re supposed to be doing.

Sometimes we are not even aware of all our talents. It’s always okay to ask God to make us aware of the talents He’s given us.  He does this.

If you judge a fish on how well he climbs a tree, he will always fail (unless he is a tree climbing fish and climbs trees. We all know there are phenomenons so I don’t want to say always in case there is that amazing tree climbing fish somewhere out there that we haven’t heard of yet. Yay for the amazing tree climbing fishies. You guys rock!)

I don’t know who to give credit to for this tree fish saying but I’ve seen it online a few times and there is SUCH great truth to it.

Do what God’s called YOU to do. And don’t stress about everything else.

I sometimes think about what this world would look like if we each did the jobs we were called by Him to do.

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

YOU MATTER.

Ask God what He wants YOU to do today.

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

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

And the enemy is also very real.

The enemy is JUST THAT.  THE ENEMY.

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

And he’s good at it, too.

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

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

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

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

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

Get up beautiful YOU.

Please get up.

Just ONE step today.  Just ONE TINY something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe in you.

What are you looking for?

I went to a Christian college.  That does not mean I’m perfect.  That does not mean I’m good or bad.  That means my parents wanted me to have the opportunity to get to have teachers and friends with hopefully a strong moral compass that would help lead my life toward Heaven.

We’re all sinners.  ALL of us.

If I looked for the kids who were more like me (the “black sheep” of the family) I found them.  If I wanted to find people with stronger character who were not afraid to show their faith, I found them.  I loved all of the people I met.  Some hurt me.  Some did not.  I wouldn’t go back and change anything because God has used each situation in my life and created something altogether good out of it.

Whatever you are looking for in any situation you will find.  You want to find the problems, they’re there.  You want to find the blessings, they’re there, too.  The very same situation can provide both.  Want something to complain about?  You’ll certainly find it.  Want something to praise God about?  It is there.  Always.

What are you looking for?

The world lies. Forties are sexy and fun! There’s no “over the hill” about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entertainment? (Celebrities and Fame)

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

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

Think about how a kid answers questions…

“Want your own show?”  “Sure!”

“Want a puppy?”  “Sure!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe…

Maybe…

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

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

Pretty Ministry

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

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

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

And it was FREE to anyone who asked for it.

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

That’s not how it works.

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

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

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

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

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

You are VERY something.

How much is it? What does that cost? How valuable is this?

These questions have different answers depending on what you’re talking about, which person you ask, and what someone is most in need of at the time. If you’re hungry, then food is pretty valuable and you’d maybe pay more than if you’ve been able to eat today. If your child is in the hospital, you’d be willing to pay the finest doctors for an answer and cure. If you don’t have shoes and you have a long way to walk, shoes may be the most valuable thing on your mind.

I was nothing. I mean I was “something” but I FELT like nothing because my whole life that’s how many people treated me. I was invisible mostly and when I wasn’t, people used me.

And I let them.

I guess I let them because I didn’t see any value in me either. Mostly nobody else saw value in me so I wasn’t able to see it in myself. I’ve been told I’m ugly. It only takes once to plant that idea in a person’s head and I’ve been told I’m ugly more than a few times. So, sadly, it may take hundreds of times to ever hear otherwise before I’d believe anything different. If I was as pretty on the outside as I am on the inside you’d have to look away because my beauty would overwhelm you. And I’m not being conceited or funny. I’m telling you that I KNOW I’m valuable now and my heart is pure and because of this, I can tell you these things.

Satan wasted my time for 40 years. I believed his lies and I hid. He laughed as I wasted my time being afraid and feeling like nothing. I didn’t do the job I was supposed to be doing, which is encouraging YOU, because I didn’t see my value so I wasted hundreds of times I could have been telling you how valuable you are. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for being a coward. I was afraid and believed the enemy’s lies. But not anymore. God lifted me out of my “nothing” because I could not do this for myself.

I’m here now and I’m telling you YOU are NOT nothing. You are something. You are VERY something.

When those “nothing moments” hit you and you hear the enemy whispering, “You are nothing,” you need to remember Jesus didn’t die for nothing. He died for YOU.

What are you worth? Jesus.

YOU ARE VERY SOMETHING.

Coffee, Donuts, and Carnations

When I was a little girl in elementary school my dad would take me to have coffee and donuts sometimes early in the morning before school. I loved it. We’d sit together sipping coffee.  He’d read the newspaper and I got a daddy daughter date.

I remember sitting there with all the business men and thinking how cool that was and what a lucky girl I was to get to do this with my dad.

We weren’t in a hurry.

And I got to get glazed donuts from my favorite donut place.  It didn’t cost much money.   Just a little of his time.  These memories are some of my favorite times I ever had with just me and my dad.

Then when I was in high school my dad would send me a carnation flower for Valentine’s Day and that meant so much to me. It made me feel important.  This was back when the school office would deliver all the flowers to the classrooms.  Many girls would get many flowers and I really appreciate that he took a few minutes to order that one flower just for me.  (Between you and me, I’m pretty sure my mom encouraged dad to do these things and that’s okay.  They created special memories.)

The important thing is that it really doesn’t take big gestures and whole days to make these memories with our kids.  Little girls need their daddies and good, healthy relationships with them.   If there is a healthy, close relationship between a girl and her daddy, then when a boy offers his “love” a daughter makes wiser choices and won’t fall for every boy who shows her attention.

Listen to your daughters speak.  Let them talk about whatever is important to them and engage in the conversation.  Take your daughters on dates to show them how they should be treated.

It just matters.

[Note:  I am a girl so I am writing from a girl’s perspective about her dad.  There are maybe other writers who write from a son’s perspective with mom or dad.  All I know is that a few minutes of real genuine, involved conversation between parents and kids matters.]

Rotten Apple Peels

I love how God gives each one of us a different purpose. Like what if we were all created to peel apples?  Then there would be nobody to make the crust or the sugar or the pie pans or the oven in which to bake the pies.

He’s God and has given us all these different jobs so we’re not all slipping on rotten apple peels. That leads me to think of trash guys and composting and planting the apple trees to begin with…. See what I’m saying?

How do you care for the stuff and the jobs God’s placed in your care?  How do you care for the people around you every day?

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

If our kids believe 2 + 2 = 7

We’re just gonna let our kids make up their own minds about math. We don’t want to force math on them. My parents and teachers forced math on me and I resent them for it. We don’t want to make the same mistake with our kids.

If they believe 2 + 2 = 7 maybe that is okay with us. We think every kid should have the freedom to choose how they feel about math and make up their own belief system.

NO. No. No. No.

You don’t leave deciding about math up to your kids. That would be silly. You teach them 2 + 2 = 4. Period.

I am not a Bible scholar. I will always be learning more as God teaches me more.

~God is God. Period. If you have ears to hear I pray you hear. Accept Jesus as the Lord of your life, be baptized under water for the forgiveness of your sins and say with your mouth that you believe Jesus is the Son of God.

~Give. Ask God where He wants you to give. Start with 10% and go up from there. It’s not an option. That is just something God says to do. Where do you think your money comes from? Where do you think your job comes from? Where do you think your talent to DO your job comes from? You give because God said to give. So do it. He doesn’t say when you feel like you have extra, then give. He says GIVE your FIRST gifts.

~Then, as you learn more, you live it. It’s not complicated.

And after you do this it does not mean your life will be easy. The enemy doesn’t go after people he’s already got. The enemy goes after people trying to obey God. But you have the Armor of Christ and that is everything you need to fight the battles that will come. Many times in our family we ask the Holy Spirit to go with our children when they leave the house. The Power they feel with them on these days is not of this world.  #notw

~
One day you will die. That’s not a question. That’s not a sad or happy thing. It’s just true.

I know there are exceptions and that’s up to Almighty God whatever exceptions He makes. Enoch and Elijah, for example, did not die but were taken directly to Heaven.

Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

2 Kings 2:11
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

~This is THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT decision of your entire life.

God does not force you to choose. You have choice. You have the choice to love him. If He MADE you choose Him that would not be love.

You can be mad all day long and argue how it’s not FAIR that God gives you the choice to love Him then if you don’t you go to Hell. Go ahead and waste your time fussing over that. He’s not going to give you more time just because you’re throwing a tantrum.

I am not going to argue the details and rules with you but there are many other people who are happy to do that. Just START by loving Jesus.

I do know that if you lead someone AWAY from Christ, good luck with telling God you did that, when you stand all alone with no one to hold your hand in front of the One and Only King of Heaven…. . . Let me know how that works for you.

I love you with a vengeance. I believe Jesus does too.

I pray you choose Him before it’s too late. Because some day it will be one day too late.

It doesn’t offend me if you don’t say Merry Christmas

Some families are buying their kids every piece of plastic or metal or electronics they ask for this Christmas. That’s great if they want to do this, especially if they don’t go into debt doing it because debt is slavery.

BUT are they giving their kids THE BEST gift? Are they teaching their kids that Jesus is THE way? The Bible doesn’t say Jesus will tell you the way. It says He IS the WAY.

It doesn’t offend me if you don’t say Merry Christmas. I don’t care if you hate Christmas. I’m not going to get in your face and yell at you. It doesn’t offend me if you say Happy Holidays or Merry X-Mas, UNMerry Christmas or anything else. I do not care. Wish me Happy Hanukah, Blessed Mary Day, Sparkly Kwanzaa, Snowy Frosty Day, or you can say nothing at all.

I do not care.

No matter what someone says or doesn’t say does not change this fact. Jesus is the reason for the season. And do you know what else? Jesus is the reason for EVERY season.

What you decide about God is up to you and it’s YOUR soul you’re bargaining with if you don’t believe. Not mine. He ACHES for you to know Him.

It’s really your choice.  And He loves you VERY much (even if you’re not aware of who He is to you yet.)

 

 

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

I know you are sick and tired of hearing how awesome you are.

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

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

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

You think you’re ALL THAT?!

Trust me.

YOU ARE.

You ARE “ALL THAT” and God gave you breath for a reason.

The world tells you you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, ENOUGH. ENOUGH. ENOUGH!

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

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

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

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

In case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

We’re Married. Friends or Enemies?

[Important Note: Some marriages are broken from the beginning. Please don’t bully people into staying in abusive situations. You also don’t have to hate divorced people. God hates divorce, but He never, ever said He hates divorced people.]

What I believe happens is that satan throws stones at us. He throws one at my husband and whispers to him that I did it and throws one at me and tells me that my husband threw it. Then he sits back and watches, hoping what he’s done will cause damage and confusion.

We have power over this. We are given power by God. If we claim God as our Savior we have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid.

I tried to figure out WHY marriage would be this hard. How come we argued so much and so often? I’ve had other relationships and they weren’t this difficult at all.

That’s when it hit me. Through my tears I realized that satan has done this. Somehow we allowed the enemy to get a foothold and a stronghold.

Here’s what God showed me:

We’re sitting. I’m reading a book and he’s watching T.V. and I feel a hard hit to my head. I spin around in anger and say, “Why did you throw that at me?!”

My husband, who has also received a rock to the head, fights back, saying, “Me? You threw this at me!”

So satan stands back and keeps whispering to us all the negative things about each other and enjoys the confusion he’s created. Then we realize in a sudden moment of clarity what has happened. We drop the rocks, drop to our knees, and pray together. Then is satan ever mad!  But we push him out the door together and he shrinks into a tiny puff of nothing.

Think about this.  The enemy doesn’t have a need to go after people he’s already got.

If you’re having a tough time it may be because you’re doing something right.

Single? That’s cool. Window shopping? Probably always. What’s on “The List?”

[Note: This is written EXPECTING that the man is a man of good character and not abusing his daughters in any way. And, yes, I do need to mention this. Also I am a mom of two girls so realize this is written from a mom of two girls. I don’t have sons so I’m not writing from that perspective.]

Our oldest daughter was talking about a boy she thought was cute. I asked her what she liked about him. My husband started asking questions too.

I stopped and listened. I just froze. That was so cool. I wondered what that feeling was. What WAS that? It was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, it’s called LOVE. Our girls FEEL valued because daddy CARES who they hang out with.

Dads SHOULD be involved. Dads need to SAY to a boy, “My daughter is so valuable and I am trusting you. I expect you to treat her like you want your mom or sister to be treated.”

Make that list. If you choose to be married what would you want in a husband? I mean the stuff that really matters.

Here’s a start of a list to inspire you. And you are never too young to make “The List.” (not in any particular order)

1. Honesty and integrity in ALL things.

2. Loves Jesus and is a spiritual leader for your home.

3. Faithful to you and only you as his wife. No pornography. Period.

4. He will have a healthy relationship with your kids.

5. Learns what makes you feel loved on and acts on it.

6. Listens to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

7. Supports you in things you know God is leading you to do.

8. OUR money is just that. OUR money. Not yours and mine. Make the budget together.

9. Wait. Wait for God to show you who your husband is. Don’t just marry anyone you think may work. What God brings together let nobody separate.

10. He does not use credit cards. Period. Stuff is not so urgent that you must buy it now and pay it off for years. You want to live debt free. Debt is slavery. Nobody wants to be a slave.

11. You’re worth waiting for.

12. (Keep thinking. Keep praying. I’ll be praying, too.)

___
My daughters gave their list about dating. (This stuff should continue after the wedding.)
~

1. Treat me with respect. I am a person and I have feelings.

2. Open the door for me sometimes.

3. Be a gentleman.

4. Listen to me and really hear what I have to say.

5. Do not act like I’m not there when your friends are around.

6. Don’t cheat on me.

7. Be nice to my friends.

8. Be nice to me.

9. Call me every once in a while.

10. Tell me (sweetly) when I’m annoying you.

___
I asked my husband for his input when it comes to boys who want to date our daughters.
~
Advice to the boys who consider dating my daughters:

1. Get out of your car and ring the doorbell. She is worth it. If you can’t get out of your car to get my daughter and to bring her back and make sure she gets in the house okay then you cannot date my daughter.

2. Before you leave with my daughter and when you bring her home, you will shake my hand and look me in the eyes.

3. Before you can have a relationship with my daughter you have to have a relationship with God.

4. You need a strong work ethic.

5. I want to see how you interact with your mom. Because if you don’t have respect for your mom then you’re not going to have respect for my daughter or me or my wife.

6. Bring her home on time. ALWAYS.

7. Our daughters are valuable and you will treat them as the treasures they are.

8. Whatever you do with my daughter imagine me doing that with you.

Where can we let off steam?

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

Where can we let off steam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just One More

Just one more hug. Just one more book tonight. Just one more kiss. Just one more.

Why not? We are not promised tomorrow and if time on earth was up, as a human mommy, I’d sure want that one more hug from my daughters right now.

We try not to get upset when the kids come downstairs, after bedtime, to talk to us at night. (When it happens more often, of course, we’re not so happy about it. We’re human.)

But, isn’t it nice that when we want to talk to God just one more time today, He doesn’t ground us. He doesn’t say, “I’ve had a rough day, Kerri, and I’m done for today. Maybe we can talk about it tomorrow.” He doesn’t say to me, “Go to bed. Daddy needs a break. I love you, and I need time to myself.” He JUST loves me. He JUST listens to me.

Just WHO AM I to be able to have just one more talk with Him?

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….
Mother’s Day 2010

I remember my mom making sandwiches for the men who dad was working with on stormy nights at the electric company to restore electricity for the families whose houses were hit with lightning.

I remember the fun slumber parties my mom planned for my birthdays. She let me invite as many friends as I wanted to. Mom let us invite one friend our age to the other sister’s slumber parties, too. That was cool.

I remember the most beautiful birthday cakes ever made were the ones my mom made for us on our birthdays…. The kind someone would pay lots of money for, but my mom’s tasted better than ANY store could make.

I remember my mom making beautiful wedding cakes.

I remember telling lot of kids that I was going to have a party and to get off the bus at my house, and they did. My mom didn’t even get mad at me for that. I don’t remember how she got them all home.

I remember mom driving the camper and picking up ALL the friends I wanted to invite to Vacation Bible School, and never complaining about it or making me feel that it was an inconvenience.

Mom makes the very best grandma bread ever. Everyone loves her homemade bread.

My mom made sure we went to church, even on vacations, and that showed me how important church should be.

My mom chose the names for our streets on the corner where we built a house when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.

My mom makes the very best tasting food and makes it look very beautiful. Somehow my macaroni and cheese or deviled eggs just don’t measure up in taste or beauty.

I remember my mom giving up her bed to let company sleep there while mom and dad took a less comfortable place to sleep.

I remember knowing that if I told mom something, that I better expect that she’d tell dad because they had no secrets, and that felt secure.

I remember that mom let us play in the basement and color in coloring books.

My mom taught me hospitality. If someone needs a place to rest, clothes, food, my mom was there for them. I was hungry and… Matthew 25:34-36

Mother’s Day 2010
(From my sweet husband to my mom)
Why my mother-in-law is the greatest

My mother-in-law is the greatest because she is always helping others.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she makes the best bread in the whole world.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she always makes me feel welcome.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she gives the greatest Christmas gifts.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she has never judged me for my past.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she had and raised the perfect wife for me.

Be kind ON PURPOSE.

You do not know the stress someone else is under.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay THAT got me… I’ll write.

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

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

I just gotta have faith.

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

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

So

Number 1. I’m nobody.

#2. Terrified of online.

And 3. Fame. Not for me.

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

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

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

She is Somebody’s Daughter (Pornography)

My marriage was attacked by brokenness.

Women who pose in pornography films and magazines are broken inside. Period. If you could just see the pain inside the heart of the girl in the porn video or magazine, you’d ache for her with a different part of you. You’d want to help her find healing. You’d treat her like the Child of God that she really is. She just doesn’t believe it yet or know that she really is yet.

She is somebody’s daughter. She is someone’s niece, aunt, sister, mom, grandma, but most importantly she is WORTHY of so much more than the life she’s trapped in.

Pornography was holding my husband’s attention and we did not realize HOW much it was wrecking our marriage. After a few months in marriage counseling my husband and a very great marriage counselor came to the same conclusion.

Pornography was destroying our marriage.

She was so wise. She said, “There is just NO place for it anywhere.” (I pray you have wise counselors who give this advice because I’ve heard of ones who don’t and that’s very unfortunate.)

But the problem is that even soft porn is EVERYWHERE. He has to “bounce” his eyes a lot. The sad thing is you cannot UNsee what you saw. Yes God CAN take the images out of your head but sometimes our brains hold onto stuff long after we don’t even want it there anymore.

Even now, 4 years after he’s been able to break free from that trap, and it absolutely IS a TRAP, set on purpose to enslave you forever, there are many times that the residual effects crawl out of the corners of the darkness and claw at our marriage threatening to destroy it.

One thing we’ve noticed is that after we’d be together, he wouldn’t speak to me much for about 3 days. This was killing me. I felt like he didn’t care. He sure cared enough a few days ago. After I finally figured this part out he said he didn’t even realize he was doing it. We figured out together that it was from the past of seeing pornography and then the shame from it just overwhelmed him. Well, if he’s feeling that shame, he may not want to talk to me because it hurt me and he knows it.

But this was our marriage and it was OKAY for him to be together with me. God designed sex for married people. It’s fun and healthy when there is never another person or any other living, breathing anything involved in any way. As long as you both consent, and it’s ONLY you, your spouse, and God, then pretty much your imagination is the limit.

But the trap that pornography IS does THIS kinda damage and lots of it. Sometimes we’re not even aware of as the cycle keeps on going;  Together. He ignores me for 3 days. I feel like I’m invisible.  And this is only ONE example of the damage pornography does.

He said this may be a forever thing he has to work on and he actually ONLY was able to break free because of God’s help.

 

If you are upset with me for writing about this I apologize. Kids hear stuff from other kids and teachers at school, online, at work, in youth group even, and unfortunately we as parents and people at churches mostly don’t talk about healthy sexuality but we MUST talk to our kids. They WILL learn about stuff somewhere and aren’t YOU the very best person to talk to him or her about such important things? I believe you are.

So I’m just putting this in here to say I’m very sorry if it offends someone to talk about pornography. It unfortunately is a bigger problem than lots of people realize and we have to take off blinders and masks and get rid of stuff satan uses to attack our families every day. It’s not easy to talk sometimes but we just have to.

 

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

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

You

JUST

DON’T.

But I was.

I was and I could not fix it.

Do you know what? I now know a little about why God says He hates divorce. Boy, I do too!! I HATE it! It’s awful.

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

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

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

Anyway back to divorce, I’m telling you about my divorce to let you know my life is not perfection and just because NOW I can work on helping other people more, my life has not been where I felt I could do much for anyone.

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

My life is full of not wise choices. And if it was perfect then maybe nobody’d want to hear what I have to say anyway. I’ve found it’s not much fun to talk to someone who clearly can’t seem to understand the struggles I’m going through. They cannot know the pain I know so I don’t want to talk with them because they kind of just wouldn’t understand.

Anyway, there is a lot of ash God’s turning into beauty in each of us SO THAT we can help pick others up outta their trash and so on.

The thing is, God can and does use the ugly stuff in our lives to turn around and glorify Him. He takes our trash and makes it a ministry.  I guess I have a trash ministry.

And I’m proud to say it.

“What do you do?”

“Glad you asked. I have a trash ministry.”

I’m pretty sure you may just have a trash ministry too.

 

It’s sad when some people react like, “DUDE! Don’t you ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” My answer is, “DUDE, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?!” You NOT talking about it COULD be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them. Your testimony, no matter how big or small you think it is, is the key to unlock someone else’s hell.

I didn’t know I was trapped.

As he drove by he yelled out his car window to me, “How’s the stopping smoking going?”

I yelled excitedly, “I’m FREE!”

Wait.  That was a weird answer.  Free?  I didn’t know I was trapped.

When we started talking about the fact that we were struggling with smoking and my husband wanted to stop so he wanted me to stop too, people (especially at church) were uncomfortable that we asked for prayers about it. It’s just not the sort of thing church folks talk about (unfortuntately.)

I didn’t know if I COULD stop. I didn’t even know if I WANTED to stop.

(I mean, what if I couldn’t stop?

And more scary… What if I COULD??? What would life look like then?)

After we asked for prayers a guy told me his sister-in-law had a book she swears by.

 

Days later, after I finally had courage to call her, she drove to meet me within the same hour and she brought this book to me. I was so humbled and touched. I was sobbing uncontrollably as my tears flooded that parking lot and I asked her WHY she would stop her day just for me. She said because she knew how important this was.

She stood there telling me she KNEW she would never smoke again.

I just stared at her.

How could I get THERE?

How could she possibly know that she’d never smoke again?

I wanted to be THERE.

 

If you smoke, you keep smoking AS you read the book.

Crazy, right?  I know.

I read 1/2 of the book and have stopped smoking forever.

THAT is freedom and I am SO glad I said I was having trouble.

That present from a stranger is and maybe will always be the very best present anyone ever gave me.

It was a simple thing, really.

But she knew the deep hell that smoking was.

She spoke love to me that day because she stopped what she was doing which showed me I was valuable in some way and gave me the key I desperately needed even though I wasn’t sure if I believed in it yet.

I’m convinced that this is what God means when He says we are to be His hands and feet.  She was an angel sent to me that day.  This I know for sure.

This book helps people who DON’T smoke understand more about WHY people smoke.

It also helps people who do NOT smoke be able to talk with people who DO smoke in a way we may listen better.

It’s NOT fun to talk about smoking especially to a non-smoker because they just don’t get it.  You know the looks people give that they are obviously “better than you are.”  Yeah, non-smoker dudes, THAT’S NOT gonna help.  So here’s the best tool I’ve found for just this kinda conversation. [The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr.]

Shoving pictures of dead lungs in our faces just doesn’t do anything.

You don’t get it.

It’s a TRAP!

A trap VERY cleverly designed with TONS of awful media, movies, ignorance, and tobacco companies supporting the chains and locks.

Showing a squirrel who is stuck in a trap a picture of a dead squirrel won’t help it get free.

My husband was able to stop with God and willpower.  That’s awesome!

Any way out is awesome.

I read a book.

HOW many people read a book and stop smoking?!  They don’t advertise this book anywhere but word of mouth.  I am living testimony that it works.  It was the key to freedom for me. That was over 1 1/2 years ago now.  The funny thing is the book title. It’s easy to remember.

The book is called The EASY Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. This is the BEST book for stopping smoking and getting free from the stupid trap that smoking is.  Forever!

This author went from smoking 100 cigarettes a day to ZERO and then wrote this book.  He figured out the answers.  PRAISE GOD!!

 

It’s sad when some people react like, “DUDE! Don’t you ‘know better’ than to say that kinda stuff?!” My answer is, “DUDE, don’t you know YOU NEED to talk about that kinda stuff?!” You NOT talking about it COULD be stopping someone God has put in your path who needs healing, but because you are afraid to speak, you are not helping them. Your testimony, no matter how big or small you think it is, is the key to unlock someone else’s hell.

A little notice please? A little respect for the little people?

“Mom, Dad, I know I’m only two years old and if I knew the words to say I may be able to tell you why it’s frustrating when you don’t give me time to finish my work. Instead, since I don’t know the best words yet, sometimes I overreact by screaming or crying. I apologize for that. I’m still learning.”

What if someone picked YOU up right now from your computer and said, “Time to go!” No notice. No regard that you are in the middle of something very important.

How would we feel if WE were immediately removed from OUR work? A little screaming? Hmmm…

Our kids are busy, too. They may be just building with blocks. To YOU, it may seem like they’re just playing, but they’re actually doing their WORK. When we pick them up and say “Time to go!” without any warning, it can be upsetting.

I’m SURE we’d be upset, too. Think about it. You don’t get to finish your mascara so one eye has mascara and the other is naked. You don’t get to finish the email you’re working on to send to a teacher so an important conversation about a possible scholarship is not happening now. You don’t get to know how much longer til you leave so you can decide whether or not to start the next laundry load since you’ll be gone three days and if the dryer load is not dry all the way it can mildew. You don’t get to see the rest of the football game because someone just turned it off and commanded it’s time to go. Important stuff. All of it is.

And even when we tell kids they have a few minutes left, they may not grasp how long that is just yet. When my kids were little we used to measure time in “Blue’s Clues time.” (I think that was about thirty minutes for one Blue’s Clues television show.) So I’d say to my girls, “Okay, this will take three Blue’s Clues.” My kids could measure time better when I said it this way.

When they’re little they may be thinking, but don’t have the words or time to respectfully and boldly articulate, “Hey, mom and dad, what I am working on is very important to me. I was really busy with that and I wasn’t finished. Would you please give me some time to finish next time? You may be looking at the world’s next great architect.”

Also, when we do give them a five minute notice until it’s time to go, we need to remember to keep it at five minutes. If it changes, I believe we should apologize to them and say it’s a little longer than I expected.

I’ve been a nanny and child care provider for many years in the past and it makes me sad when parents tell their children they have five minutes to play while we talk then it’s turned into thirty minutes and then the parent talks to the child like it was their fault they didn’t leave when they meant to. If the child goes back to playing while they wait WHY is that not okay? Should they stand near you like a soldier awaiting commands? They are little CHILDREN. Cut them some slack.

There are LOTS of television shows and songs teaching kids how to be patient. Some teach them to make up a game of some kind when they have to wait. And let’s face it; our kids do a lot of waiting. Waiting on dinner, (they can help with making dinner or setting the table, by the way) or waiting on Mommy or Daddy to come read to them at night, waiting on the bus, waiting for their turn, waiting on the teacher to finish talking to another student when they really have to go to the bathroom but do not want to interrupt. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Maybe we need to show them a little respect by showing them that we realize their time is very important just like our time is.

It’s totally okay if you do not agree. I’m speaking what I know to be true through my experiences with very awesome kids through the years.

A voice for the awesome two year olds, Kerri.