Sparkles

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I have a bed. I have a mattress a church helped us buy, and a castle-sized frame a new friend built for us. I am glad.

At first I thought it would be too high and I would be scared to sleep so I thought I was going to put my mattress on the floor and sleep in a cute cave (dungeon) but instead I have a tiny dungeon library/prayer closet underneath and I sleep in the keep of my castle.

I have been praying about bed frames that would make cozy places for me and my mom and sister to just be.

This whole thing is about God answering my prayers.

-Chelsea

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I’ve kind of always seen my bed as my safe place. It’s my own space where I can read, pray, cry, and my mom can kiss me goodnight.

I have my own castle now. I have a prayer “closet” underneath and I can rest in the castle bed above.

Several months ago a grouchy customer ordered a double 8 ounce extra hot latte. I was glad when he left the store. As a barista part of my job is to learn names of customers to write on their cups. One time he told me his name but I had forgotten it and he wouldn’t tell me again so I told him with a smile that his name would from then on be Sparkle because of his (not so) sparkly attitude.

This grouchy customer, acquaintance, now friend just built me and my mom and sister bed frames.

I have been praying about our own safe place for longer than I can remember. Sparkle has been an unexpected blessing and I still make him his double 8 ounce extra hot latte with a smile and deep appreciation.

-Chloe

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Sometimes answers to prayers come in unexpected ways and times.

I have been praying about furniture many other needs and our own space for a long while now. God has opened doors to the impossible: the miracle of a safe, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving, precious, generous family to stay with for several weeks as we waited in prayer expecting more miracles but not even having answers yet, an apartment with a washer and dryer from the previous tenant, three bikes to get around town, a microwave from someone, toilet paper and paper towels as we moved in, a few donations, advice and help from kind, gentle counselors and low income offices designed to help lift people out of situations they’ve found themselves in, a church helped us buy mattresses, and now a carpenter with hidden kindness built us bed frames with prayer closets underneath. I slept there the first night and felt like a kid in a treehouse.

I remember my daughter talking about this customer who was grouchy and not so fun to be around. The thing is … his heart is actually bigger than anyone knows and I’m not supposed to tell anyone but can’t help it because his kindness has been more proof again to us that God answers prayers when we ask, seek, wait, and keep placing our trust in Him no matter what anyone else says.

I thanked him several times for being such a blessing to me and my girls.

Then – he thanked US for being an answer to HIS prayers as a way he could serve his Lord.

God answers prayers.

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I may not know exactly what prayer answers you’re waiting for – but I have to tell you that God does answer and He does provide in very real ways. He can be trusted and He is faithful. He delivers, answers, heals, redeems, restores, and He cares. I’m agreeing in prayer with you right now for answers to the questions you have. May God bless you and lead you to people who reflect the love of God and add a little sparkle to your life.

-Kerri

It is all about faith

We will (sometimes not so patiently but mostly patiently yet always expectantly) wait on the Lord here in Washington for the Alaska homeless place (we believe will be for sex-trafficked survivor girls) we every day constantly feel Him teaching and preparing us for in the future whatever His timing is. We know He’s got this. He is faithful and He rewards those who wait on Him and keep putting their trust in Him.

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You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

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

Instead of a pick up line what if someone had to ask the “real” underlying questions?

Would this change anything?

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

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

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

OR maybe it goes like this:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Check this out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We don’t hope for another wreck.

We try to avoid more damage to the car.

Purity is beautiful. YOU are beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purity is beautiful.]

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

You are NOT damaged goods! YOU are worthwhile!

With childlike faith, I believe He will. (It is The Living Word)

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Sometimes people say, “No. That was God talking to Solomon. It’s not relevant now.”

It IS very much relevant now.

It shows us who God is and how He loves us and hears our prayers.

The Bible does NOT say, “Sorry, kids… Since I did that thing for Solomon, you guys are out of luck in 2014. That is all used up ….so it’s too bad for you.”

No. The Living Word gives us hope ~ even now in December, 2014.

I wrote letters to my children before they were born. When they read the letters now, they KNOW this is STILL how I love them. They don’t say, “Well it’s not relevant NOW because it was written so many years ago.” They KNOW my love for them is still very real and strong.

My letters to my children show them my heart and the truth is my love for them has grown as they have grown.

I believe God’s love for us has grown as we have grown (EVEN THOUGH we ALL mess up.) He knew each one of us before we were born.

He ALREADY loved us.

He ALREADY knew all the ways we’d love, serve, and worship Him.

And He ALSO already knew ALL the mistakes we’d make.

And EVEN THOUGH He already knew that, He STILL wants us and He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we can live with Him forever in Heaven.

Do not tell me the Bible is not relevant TODAY. It absolutely IS. God’s Word is a LIVING Word. God is alive and He works in our lives every day and every night.

I will keep praying for God to hear us and heal our land. Always.

And I believe He will. With childlike faith, I believe He will.

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15

Again here:

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17

There are people who say these are the end of times. If they are, then they are. Jesus, please come quickly! I’ve read about Heaven. I am SO excited for Heaven. That will be SO wonderful! But God wants everyone to choose Him.

When it is all said and done, EVERY KNEE will bow before the Lord.

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” Romans 14:11

UNTIL then I will always, ALWAYS pray for God to heal this sick, broken place.

Yes. I know we’ve been told Christians will suffer for Him. We do suffer for Him and it’ll get much worse.

And WHILE we suffer, I will STILL pray for Him to turn the hearts of every person in this broken world toward Him.

People are trying to kick God out. Check out these verses. (They sound familiar.)

All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’ ” 2 Chronicles 7:21b-22

Then I read this again.

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

So I’m asking you to please pray, too. More than you think about the mess the world is in, and more than you complain about it, more than you write to political leaders about it, please actually PRAY about it. God IS listening!

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?

 

Everybody is kind of broken.

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

They don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Hey teenagers and pre-teens, we are proud of you.

Teens, and pre-teens, since I know there are a few of you guys here online, I just wanted to tell you I am SO proud of how you stand up and share your faith!  This is a REALLY tough time to be a kid. I am proud of your modesty and how you stand up and speak out when friends are talking you into and making not great choices. It’s really tough. You have GREAT courage!! I just wanted to be a voice thanking you for standing out instead of trying to fit in. You guys are making a difference.

That being said, PLEASE Please talk to us (parents and grown ups) when you do mess up. We will love you through mistakes. Yes, we may be sad and a little disappointed just as you may be when we mess up as grown ups, but we ARE here for you and we DO get that life is really tough as a teenager in 2014. We do not expect you to be perfect and I apologize to anyone who feels like you are held to a “perfect” standard. We mess up as parents and we know you guys mess up as kids, too. I love you. And I just wanted to tell you that you DO have people to talk to when life gets you down.

When I Forget Stuff I Wanted to Remember

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

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

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

How?

Like this.

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

And then I go on with my day.

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

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

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.