Dear People Who Feel God Stirring Your Heart to Some Kind of Ministry,

Where do you put your hope?

ONLY YOU know when God whispers to your soul.

It’s something you’ll not soon forget.

Please pray continually about the ministry He’s nudging you to. Every step needs to be saturated in prayer.

When God puts a dream in your heart HE can be trusted to lead you to everything you will need to do the work.

We’ve listened to many, many people tell us that we need to “do things this way” or “that way” because “that’s just the way ministry works.” There is some good advice out there.

But also I’ve heard of brand new ministries that were born into people’s hearts but were aborted because they gave up when a few said, “That’s not possible” or “No. We won’t fund that.” Some give up when faced with churches who want a “5 Year Plan” and won’t even pray with them toward this work.

I just CAN’T find it in the Bible where Jesus said follow committees, preachers, or churches, family, friends, or other leaders, and when they say “No” then give up.

Where is your Hope? In people? In circumstances? In other Christians? Or in God?

I have read that Jesus says “Follow ME.”

God is the God of the impossible. He’s great at making impossible things possible.

The Holy Spirit is here to lead us.

This stuff is real.

What God has put on my heart is that when people and churches and organizations that do NOT donate, whether prayers or money or other kinds of support, that does NOT mean it’s time to give up!

Perhaps God wasn’t using them for this particular ministry.

And that’s okay!

 

There are many people God does bring you in contact with who believe with you

…BEFORE the physical buildings can be seen,

…BEFORE it “looks official,”

…when it’s still ONLY BY FAITH that you feel compelled to take another step.

We felt God planting in our hearts that He was moving our family from Texas to Alaska to open a homeless teen place. Currently we’re waiting on Him in Washington. He’s training us more every day.

And I still can’t give anyone a 5 year plan. (…probably never will be able to.)

And the funny thing is I can’t find it in The Bible where God says I have to.

As we have stayed in prayer, walking in faith, over the past 4 years, God has led us to people:

with hearts for ministry and specifically for this ministry we feel moved to,

who are counselors,

people on Boards of Directors who are already working with the homeless,

people who have started organizations that help rescue sex-trafficked girls,

maternity ministries,

CEOs with the same hearts for this kind of ministry,

people who know about nonprofits like 501c3,

architects,

builders,

teachers,

camp directors,

musicians,

worship leaders,

preachers,

prayer warriors,

singers,

gardeners,

landscapers,

hunters,

chefs,

janitors,

AND

people who have donated financially (some once, and some a few times) over the past 4 years

EVEN THOUGH

they know we’re not even “there” yet. (Yes, we’re keeping the list for later tax purposes.)

God has sent people to believe with us, in spirit and in action.

And THAT is the most amazing thing.

For God to send support like that is just reassurance time after time that HE’s got this and HE IS listening and leading and providing.

After all, He IS our Provider, so… I’m not surprised but ALWAYS constantly in awe every single step of the way.

If we’d TRIED to plan all this, things couldn’t have ever gone better.

When you see God giving you the next step and the next, you can’t help but want more!

My question is that if we’d “planned” it all on paper (to get a church or organization to donate) then where does being open to the Holy Spirit daily fit in?

I actually don’t even think that’s how it’s supposed to be done “Biblically.” I think that’s taking a dream God gives and trying to make it fit our way.

Perhaps “planning” how we want it to look isn’t such a perfect way after all.

That “plan” would have changed so many times by now already.

My faith and my hope is NOT in an organization

or in a preacher

or in a committee who may pull funding

if we’re not fast enough for them,

or if we don’t baptize enough people in their given amount of time,

or for whatever results they want to see on a graph chart or powerpoint.

My hope is in HIM.

And HE is faithful to complete work He started.

 

SOMEBODY NEEDS YOU.

And God, ALONE, is MORE THAN ENOUGH to lead you to this work He’s prepared in advance for you to do. (You’ll know it when it happens because it’ll include your passion and talents He gave you.)

I can’t tell you it will be easy but it’s very worth it even when others think it’s silly. (And they will. So what? Let them think it’s silly. Perhaps, when they’re ready to surrender to Him, God will move them, too. Your job isn’t to convince them. It’s to follow in faith.)

There are doors that God unlocks through prayer, singing praises to Him, and reading Scripture out loud, that we could never have unlocked ourselves.

God opens doors that NO enemy can shut.

And He closes doors that NO friend can open.

HE IS ABLE.

 

A few years ago when we told someone about this God-sized dream He’s placed in our hearts, they asked skeptically, “You and whose army?! Who is going to do this work with you?!” I said, “Me and whatever army God calls together.”

Watch Him do it.

 

Hear This Truth:

Proverbs 3:5-6

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.

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 _______________…”

Dear Christian Husband who is looking at pornography,

Your wife is lonely.  And I don’t just mean physically. She’s emotionally drained.

Your sin and secrecy are sucking the life out of her.

I see her grief and emptiness and while it’s true that Jesus is the only One who can truly fill her heart, if you’re not going to be there to serve her and really share your life with her, then why are you there?

The sin you’re hiding is killing your ability to love your bride like Jesus loves The Church, His bride.

She is worth more than the leftover attention and affection you give her.

Jesus is the only One who can break the chains of addiction that threaten to bury you in this grave forever.

The shame and guilt you carry are very, very heavy and you’re not meant to carry this alone.

When you give your life to Christ in baptism you die to sin just as He died and was raised and you are raised a new man in Him walking in HIS power.

You cannot keep looking at pornography while serving as a husband, (or future husband, or Christian man in any leadership role for that matter.)

God called you to stand taller, be the head of your home, and lead gently, following Him.

Other men are looking to YOU to lead also.

You CAN be free and you can also help free others from this hell on earth.

Jesus already took your sin and nailed it on the Cross.

Stop taking it back.

The stench is overwhelming and everyone smells it. Sin of any kind makes you grouchy and it affects everyone you are in contact with even for a moment.

GIVE THIS TO HIM IN PRAYER.

For the love of your wife, for the salvation of your soul, for the benefit of your children, for the man I know God called you to be, please give this to Him.

You are worth more. The people in the images are worth more. And your wife is worth more.

You can be the man you and I both know God created you to be.

I believe in you.

Sincerely, Brokenhearted For Your Marriage

 

 

Dear Christian Wife who is looking at pornography,

Your husband is lonely.  And I don’t just mean physically. He’s emotionally drained.

Your sin and secrecy are sucking the life out of him.

I see his grief and emptiness and while it’s true that Jesus is the only One who can truly fill his heart, if you’re not going to be there to serve him and really share your life with him, then why are you there?

The sin you’re hiding is killing your ability to love your husband like Jesus loves.

He is worth more than the leftover attention and affection you give him.

Jesus is the only One who can break the chains of addiction that threaten to bury you in this grave forever.

The shame and guilt you carry are very, very heavy and you’re not meant to carry this alone.

When you give your life to Christ in baptism you die to sin just as He died and was raised and you are raised a new woman in Him walking in HIS power.

You cannot keep looking at pornography while serving as a wife, (or future wife, or Christian woman in any leadership role for that matter.)

God called you to stand taller, be the heart of your home, bravely, following Him.

Other women are looking to YOU to lead also.

You CAN be free and you can also help free others from this hell on earth.

Jesus already took your sin and nailed it on the Cross.

Stop taking it back.

The stench is overwhelming and everyone smells it. Sin of any kind makes you grouchy and it affects everyone you are in contact with even for a moment.

GIVE THIS TO HIM IN PRAYER.

For the love of your husband, for the salvation of your soul, for the benefit of your children, for the woman I know God called you to be, please give this to Him.

You are worth more. The people in the images are worth more. And your husband is worth more.

You can be the woman you and I both know God created you to be.

I believe in you.

Sincerely, Brokenhearted For Your Marriage

 

Wake up! God has important plans for you.

It’s like we’re in a world-wide game of freeze tag and the devil is “it” and keeps freezing people in time, using anything and anyone he can, keeping us stuck in yesterday, or focused on tomorrow, wasting today.

We got busy with so much stuff the world says is important.

We’re numb and unforgiving and offended because of everything and nothing.

 

People forgot who God is.

We spend too many days high on other stuff besides Him.

And we’ve been missing His will for us today, right now.

 

What if you are created to be one of the UNfreezers?

We can be people God uses to go around and help wake up other sleep-walking zombies to live the life He planned for them.

MUCH to the devil’s surprise, the moment we’re unfrozen, God can ignite us on fire for HIS purpose!

 

Wake up, Beautiful You. Please wake up.

God has important plans for you.

He wrote specific purpose into your future even while you were still in your mother’s womb.

ASK HIM what that looks like in your life.

It is SO time for you to wake up!

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.)

People keep saying God doesn’t lead today.

Maybe the reason so many people say God doesn’t lead them today is because people keep saying, “He can’t.”

Think about it.

If someone kept saying (or believing) that He doesn’t or won’t or can’t do something today in 2016, then why would He?

He has nothing to prove to anyone.

God says

 My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:  – John 10:27

My prayer is that God moves in people’s lives so big that they cannot help but see Him work in their lives (and then share it.)

I get it.

I was 40 something before I ever “felt called” by God to do something. I remember vaguely what life was like before that but life is WAY more satisfying after finally beginning to walk in faith.

The truth is that I have heard about Jesus my whole life but I never realized I wasn’t giving Him my time (which is something I believe He wants from everyone.)

My time was my god and God wants NO OTHER gods before Him.

You know how I know this?

Because He says

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

I mostly lived every day -for years- without a thought or prayer asking God what He may want me to do with the time He gifted to me.

 

It’s funny when you tell people you feel God tugging on your heart to do something.

Many will probably tell you it’s not true or it can’t be done.

The thing I can’t figure out is…

Do Christians really not believe God -The Creator of everything- is big enough to put a dream in someone’s heart?

Or is it that He just wouldn’t choose a certain person to give a God-sized dream to?

WE (humans) mostly decide stuff by how someone looks or their credentials or status or bank account or whatever. (By the way, I can’t find it in The Bible where God is actually impressed by all that.)

Something I do read about God says this:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

 

Over the past couple years I’ve learned that when you share that you feel called by God to do something, lots of people are quick to tell you how wrong you’re doing it.

Or they’ll tell you how they would do it.

Or they’ll even be upset that you’re not doing it how they SEE you should be doing it.

Some people tell us “THIS is how it works” and continue on to tell us how they would be doing it. “Do this thing. Then this. Then this. And there you go. That’s gotta work.”

Okay.

Thank you. (Sincerely.)

But

Then

Where is faith in that?

Where does faith come in?

How would faith work into this if I try to accomplish this on my own?

God says

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

 

I’ve heard of people who kick the doors down and don’t wait for God to open them and I’m CERTAIN I do NOT want to do it that way though I’ve tried my way and my timing for many other things in the past. (And it didn’t work out well then, either.)

It’s no secret that I feel April 1st is a very important date and I had felt like God may be moving us April 1, 2014, but maybe the April 1st thing is truly God letting me know He’s calling us to live out our faith even when it looks foolish to others. And we’ll keep on doing it as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to do this work.

Someone came to tell me (a couple years ago) that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that “God doesn’t work that way anymore.”

But

Hebrews 13:8 says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m glad that happened (though I wasn’t at the moment) because I realized something important. God didn’t put a year on my heart.

There are a lot of Aprils in the world.

There’s an April every year.

And we can look back more than 15 years ago to see how God was already doing this work in us. (We just didn’t know how or when or where or that it was for homeless people at that time. We did know it was a church camp kinda place and it was for teenagers.)

What I do know is that after God put it on my heart and began opening doors to this move to Alaska to open a homeless teen place, I was pacing, excitedly, back and forth one day in our house in Texas, “God, Okay. Got it! Alaska Homeless Teen Center! Now how can I make this happen? HOW do I do this?”

That’s the day He put it on my heart that HE is the ONE DOING this and our family is just to be obedient to what we feel He’s calling us to do.

Whew! Okay. That sounds a lot easier than me trying to figure all this out!

God says

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

So if God tells us to help orphans and we feel He’s literally calling us to go do that, don’t you think He’s big enough to provide the way?

People tell us to use our best logic. (Logic is not found in The Bible, by the way. I checked recently.)

But God says

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

So we’re going to choose to believe Him.

God is The Author of time and if He’s put a dream in your heart, He will be faithful to complete it. He knows what we need to do the work and He is not limited to a budget of people or supplies or money. (Thankfully!)

People may begin to tell you that it’s not possible or other silly things. (The truth is that if we were ALL doing what God is calling us to do then there wouldn’t be time left for people to critique what He’s calling YOU to do.)

 

We don’t have to grow up, get a degree, have a billion in savings, gather a committee, find supporters, or anything like that. If we follow Him, He’s got the rest.

Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I WILL MAKE YOU fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

 

When you share a dream He’s given you, it may really take you by surprise who is not supportive.

God may ALSO surprise you by giving you peace and confirming that support will come from where HE wants it to come from (and that’s pretty cool.)

All I can figure about that is that He will provide how HE wants to provide. (Perhaps He’s not wanting a certain person’s name or church’s name on it “so that none can boast.”)

Pray for peace confirmation when someone is not supportive. He’s got this. And He’s bigger than people realize.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9

People may tell you that you’re not doing it fast enough. (For who? For them?)

So many people want everything faster in 2016.

But what about waiting on The Lord?

Waiting on God in 2016 looks… well, foolish. (April 1st kinda foolish, maybe.)

Some people tell us our family is not doing enough because we’re waiting on Him. Some people think we should be doing MORE as we wait on Him. More what? Planning my way? Saving my way? I couldn’t make this happen His way if I’d known about it my whole life.

Waiting on God is a form of worship in itself.

(God says you’ll be persecuted for your faith so I’m not surprised to be persecuted. It was just a little surprising that it comes mostly from other Christians.)

But

We’re doing what we feel we’re supposed to be doing as we wait on Him, which actually is enough.

We’re not going back and we’re not giving up as long as He keeps opening doors and leading us to this work.

We’re asking, seeking, and knocking, and He WILL open doors in His timing and in His ways.

I can’t find it in The Bible that we’re to figure it out on our own and gather the resources on our own.

Besides, if we did this ourselves, then how would that be giving glory to Him? How would that show His Power and not mine?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

He’s got this.

 

[More about this Alaska homeless teen place here.  Prayers are always welcome here.]

 

Hey, Kids, Let’s Hang Out At The Tire Store

A couple weeks ago I noticed the truck tire was low. A neighbor also noticed and pointed it out to me the next day. By then it was even lower.

A few years ago I would have felt like this – and anything like it – was an inconvenience in MY day.

I mean, it’s not like any regular day I’m going to say, “Hey, family, let’s go to the tire store and just hang out there for a couple hours.”

But what if –?

What if we treated most things WE call interruptions as God redirecting us?

 

Think about this.

How many times (and in how many ways) do we as parents help redirect our children?

How much MORE would God want to redirect HIS children to something He sees that’s better for us or toward someone He wants us to talk to?

 

When God gets my attention by a flat tire (and I’m not saying He MAKES flat tires happen but He IS God and He surely could do anything to redirect me in “MY day” toward HIS Will) then what if I change my perspective to see this as a possible Divine Appointment?

Sometimes we’re so upset about that silly flat tire and we totally miss the new contact God just put right in front of us.

“Okay, God, lead us. Please guide conversations and show us who are we supposed to talk with at the tire store.”

Jesus said He leaves His Spirit, The Holy Spirit, with us. How does He guide us?

What does that look like in 2016?

Maybe, possibly, it COULD be that it looks a whole lot like a screw in the tire and a few hours at a tire store.

It’s not really MY day anyway.  ALL the days are HIS days.  And we belong to Him.

When we start to play OUR part in HIS Design, amazing things begin to happen.

How is He trying to get your attention?

 

God, please guide me today and show me what YOU want for me today.  Please take “my schedule” to show me what YOU want for me.  Please show me who to talk to and who not to talk to and what to say and what not to say and please even show me how to say it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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

 

What many SAY vs. What many actually seem to believe about God.

Many in Church: Lord, lead us.

Many Preachers: Go where God calls you.

Many Pastors: Walk in faith. Die to self. LIVE for Him.

Many Teachers: The Bible says to go into all the world and make disciples. Care for the orphans and widows.

Many Song Leaders: Lord, let us hear Your Voice. Speak to us.

 

Our Family: Hey, the coolest thing happened! We started praying a couple years ago and asking God where He wants to use us and He’s revealed something to us. We feel called to Alaska to open a homeless teen place! Isn’t that amazing that He really leads like we talk about and sing about and read about in The Bible?!

 

Church: I’m not sure about that.

Many Preachers: My advice is that you go check Alaska out first to be sure you like it. (Me: I’m VERY sure that is NOT how God calls anyone.)

Many Pastors: God doesn’t do that anymore.

Many Teachers: No He didn’t.

Many Song Leaders: We don’t really think we’ll “hear” His Voice. We just sing that.

Parents/Family: That’s nice.

Many Acquaintances: That’s weird.

Many Friends: That’s interesting.

 

Many Atheists and Agnostics:

THAT’S the coolest thing I’ve EVER heard! Tell me more.

 

Make no mistake.

God is alive and well.

He uses people and stories to touch hearts and lives all the time. And He does this in a billion different ways and it doesn’t matter what our past looks like.

He’s using this story He’s writing with us to restore people’s faith in Him.

We are going in faith that God is leading and is providing and He will go before us and make a way where we can’t SEE a way just like The Bible says He does. We’re going to make disciples and care for orphans. This is a dream He’s put on our hearts and it aligns very much with Scripture. We’ve witnessed miracles along this journey already; stuff beyond our power or income or capability or explanation.

It’s called living out our faith.

We’re laying down our lives and what WE want to do (dying to self like The Bible says to do) and asking God what HE wants us to do. We’re LIVING for HIM.

If we could SEE how He’s doing this homeless teen place thing in Alaska or if WE could do it on our own with our own resources that wouldn’t be called faith. It’s all about His Power and our obedience to what He’s put on our hearts. It’s way bigger than we are and our income and God knows this. If we worshiped money or put our faith in money instead of God we’d have quit before we started. And if we’d known our whole lives that this was His plan for us or saved our whole lives for this we STILL couldn’t make it happen at all like He can.

And we pray everyone chooses to experience this real life most fulfilling way to live.

Some doors can ONLY be unlocked with prayer.

God doesn’t say use good judgment without ceasing.

Or make intelligent choices without ceasing.

Or use wisdom without ceasing. (He does say to pray for wisdom and He will give it.)

He doesn’t say to read The Bible without ceasing.

 

He says to PRAY without ceasing. Try this.

 

He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He led before The Bible was written or else The Bible couldn’t be God-led (which it is,) and He led during Bible times, and He still leads and works in our lives every day still now even in 2015.

Immanuel = God with us. He means it. He REALLY is with us and provides and leads.

Pray without ceasing. Try it. Give Him your TIME and just watch what He can do!

All eyes are on You, Lord.  Do what only You can do.

[Note: A common daily prayer in our home goes something like this. (Try it.)

God, please lead us today. Please show us who You want us to talk to and what to say and who not to talk to and what not to say. Please guide our day and let us not take control back. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.]

 

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.

3T7B7619 1.jpg

 

Toss some Jesus candy to people.

Start a conversation.

3T7B7646 (1) 1.jpg

 

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.

3T7B7660 1.jpg

 

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.

3t7b7617-1

 

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.

3t7b7675-1

 

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.

3t7b7664-1-1

 

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.]

People tell us, “It doesn’t work that way!”

God put on our hearts to build a homeless teen place in Alaska and we’re just going in faith that He’s really doing this.

People have told us, “It doesn’t work that way!”  (And more stuff like that.)

Us: In what way does “it” work?

Skeptics: “Well you have to have a church supporting you.”

Us: Who told you that?

The world says you have to have a church backing you or a committee or a degree in ministry or this or that to get ministry work done.

The world lies about LOTS of things.

Us to the Skeptics: So you’re limiting God?

God is NOT limited.

God is not limited to what a church or committee can do. God is not limited to what we think. And He certainly is not limited by the world’s understanding.

Look at what He did with some fishermen in The Bible.

In fact, time after time in The Bible God didn’t choose the wealthiest or most educated or famous or “most likely” people to do His important work.

Don’t you think He is MORE than capable of providing and leading today just like He did then?

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He still leads today. The problem is that we’ve listened and believed what the world says for so very long that it drowned out His Voice.

He promises He will take care of us and provide and He does.

When our family stopped asking other church leaders and preachers and pastors about how we can serve, and started asking God instead through prayer, He began opening doors that ONLY God can unlock.

We knew we were supposed to be serving somehow but time after time we were invited to just sit in the pew.

We were ALL made for more than that and when we don’t get the opportunity to serve somehow, a part of us begins to die.

In my opinion, churches (actually more groups and people and leaders, but ESPECIALLY churches) should be doing MORE praying over people to find their unique talents and gifts and LESS stopping people from serving but maybe that’s just me. (It’s not. But to prevent arguments, let’s say maybe it is.)

Prayer is where this happened for us and we pray the whole world starts to pray without ceasing and everyone gets to serve in the ways He’s planned for them since before they were born. He will show you. This, I know.

People know WE don’t have enough money or people or land or buildings to build this homeless place in Alaska.

But GOD’S resources are unlimited.

This is about HIS Power and our obedience to what we feel called to do.

It’s called walking by faith.

We are not walking by what money or provision we can SEE because if we did, we’d have given up WAY before we ever started.

God made us. When He knitted us together He knitted within us what our purpose is but we got so lost in the world that we lost focus of what He Calls us to do.

People listen to the world say, “That dream is too big!” or “That’s too impossible.” Or, “It has to look THIS way.” “That won’t work.”

With this Calling we feel, people have said, “Have you done your research?” “How many homeless teens are there?” Our answer, “If God’s Calling us there like we believe He is, we’re sure there is at least one and isn’t one enough?”

God talks about helping the orphans and widows.

God puts dreams in our hearts all the time.

The world is the place we hear something “can’t” happen or it’s a dumb idea.

Sweet Friend, the world is WRONG.

And if someone tells you about a dream on his or her heart, the answer is, “Let’s pray for more confirmation.”

God opens doors that no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.

You’ll know because He’ll show you.

Don’t worry about opposition or people who can’t see your vision.

That’s okay.

If they were doing the work God has prepared for them to do then they wouldn’t have time to critique His work with you.

And do not even tell me that you’re too old or it’s too late to begin a ministry. God had work for people when they were 500 years old and now, in 2015, when we’re 60, we’re whining for retirement.

We are made to serve and work and why do we hear so many people who “retire” wanting more and going back to some kind of work?

We’re unfulfilled when we don’t have a purpose or work to do.

Your ministry could be right in your neighborhood or home or job.

The work for pay that you’re doing right now may not have been God-led. If you’re miserable at your job this may be the case because even during tough times, He gives peace when we’re doing the work He has for us.  If your job IS God-led and you’re miserable, maybe He’s used you there as long as He needed to and now is wanting to move you.  Ask Him.

He may Call you across the world.

Ask Him to lead and let Him show you His plans for you. To wake up every day and know your purpose is a most wonderful way to live.

God will ALWAYS have work for us to be doing and we can ALWAYS make a difference in this world for Him.

You have to believe.

“Here am I, Lord. Send me.”

Today is moving day and I am not afraid.

(Check out what we’ve shared since June here

https://www.facebook.com/itisallaboutfaithblog )

 

Today (tonight) we begin a drive from Texas to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center.

God is not in a hurry and He’s been patient with me as I finally accepted what He’s doing with our family.  I will praise Him.

HE has made me brave.

For probably 35 years I was afraid and hid my talents because of childhood sexual abuse and being raped 4 times later in life.

Ministry is NOT a pretty thing because it involves real life and in real life we have been given free will and when we have free will, we make a lot of not so great choices and the choices we make every day affect others around us.  I forgive the people who have hurt me and God is using that pain and turning it into something altogether beautiful and has given me a passion for people and to be able to see deeper than the surface.

Genesis 50:20 is my life verse.  It says, “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.

Period.

Just because God made you, you matter.

 

Tonight we move out of a house we’ve lived in for eight years ~ and I am not afraid.

THIS is God working in me and not me by myself.  There is a peace covering my family that can ONLY come from Him.

We don’t know what The Home Place looks like yet (or if that’s the name for certain) but we DO know that God is doing this and so far it’s like He’s shown us that no church or organization will have its name on this work.  It’s God’s work and His Name is to be praised for all of it.

At first we were a little sad when church after church turned us down saying they want no part of this but very soon God showed me that it is okay and He will keep providing through individuals He calls to give.

For The Home Place we are praying God provides jobs for each person He leads to us so that people may earn money to make a living while God reveals each person’s talents He’s given.  We will love on people and celebrate people who may not have felt much like celebrating lately.  We will be Jesus’ Hands and Feet to hurting people.  We will give people a safe place to stay for a while, teach interview and job skills, and just live life with them, reminding them Jesus is very real and God moved mountains to move our family from Texas to Alaska in 2015.

I didn’t choose this ministry.  God revealed this to us over time.  When you follow Him, He directs your steps.  This stuff is real.  And hard.  And fun.  And exciting.  And exhausting.  And He provides all the tools needed to do the job He’s prepared in advance for us to do.

First, I needed my confidence back because mine had been stolen along with my innocence when I was a little girl.

I did not know to even ASK Him to restore what had been stolen because I did not know it was missing.   I just lived life without my confidence.

ONLY God can give the gift of confidence.

Then, He pushed me online.

Online is a strange place where people seem to think that they can hide behind a screen and mock and be unkind in more ways than imaginable.  But it’s a lie.  We have ONE life and we are to find this life in Jesus Christ.  The things people do and say to others and about others matters.  Always.

I can’t even begin to list the ways spiritual warfare happens when we follow Jesus.  It’s exhausting and the Bible talks about Christians being persecuted.  It’s been interesting to see that many other Christians have been the ones doing the persecuting.  I would never have believed it if you’d have told me this would happen.

When you tell someone you’re feeling called by God to do a job, MANY begin to tell you how “You’re doing it wrong.”

But the truth God revealed to me is that if we were ALL doing the jobs He’s planned in advance for us to do, then there would be NO time to hate on each other.  (Heaven is gonna be so wonderful!)

We didn’t know for a year and a half if He was moving us by airplane or ground and this past April He provided a truck (which made us know He would provide a camper to pull behind it.)

The very day after He provided this truck, my pinky toe went numb, my ear started to have trouble hearing and both eyes began to have more vision trouble.

God sent a prayer warrior to my house to pray with me.  She said something that blew my mind and I had not thought of yet, “No, satan, will NOT stop this woman’s steps!”

It had not occurred to me that the spiritual warfare was beginning to take on a physical form.

After she prayed over me I could see, hear, and walk easier again.  Then God sent another friend to pray the very next day.

He is just so good.

We will keep walking in faith as God keeps opening doors.

He will keep providing all the tools we need to do the job He’s calling us to do and right now the main tool needed is money.  We know He will provide through His people.

If you feel called to help with this ministry He’s doing with our family, please check out this donation site.  Contact email for donations is itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

What little we offer to God matters. He can do MORE than enough with our little offering. We just have to bring it to Him and ask Him to bless it.

Not sure how much is enough to give?  Check out John 6:5-13 and see what He did with a few loaves of bread and fish.

Donate Button

 

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

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.

 

Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money.

Instead of stressing out about whatever I’m working on, I’ve learned to give it to God. (Well, most of the time I do that. I’m still trying to remember to do this more often.) THAT (only) took just over 40 years to learn…

When I send a note, write on the blog, write to a company, or answer an email, with my hands on the keyboard I say, “God, please let this be whatever You will make of it.”

If I’m building something, I can put my hands on the shelves or whatever I’m building and say a prayer over all the people who will use the shelves.

Parenting is a most important job!  Our kids are placed in our care by God and they are His. He’s given us the honor of parenting. (Some people desire to be parents with all their hearts and never get the opportunity. Please let your parenting honor God.)

When we pray over our children, we often place our hands on their head or shoulders and say something like, “God, please send the Holy Spirit with our children today and let them shine for You. Please send Your Angels to protect them and give them the strength to be the people You are calling them to be.” (Our kids have told us the days we do this are more peaceful and powerful than the days we don’t.)

Here are some other practical ways to do this every day:

If you work in a store, pray over the merchandise before you open that day, for God to bless the lives of people buying the products.

If your work honors God, then you’re on the right track.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

~~> Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money. <~~

If you mostly do phone work, you can pray over your phone before work or all through the day just asking God to send healing to the customers you’ll connect with that day.

You get the idea. It may sound simple. (And it is.) But when you put this into action, amazing things begin to happen.

The truth is: We don’t have to work SO hard to make something look how WE think it “should” look or to make it “successful.” WE can do our best and leave the results up to God without so much stress we sometimes put on ourselves.

What I mean is that we sometimes let stress take over something that could be a fun or great thing (like opening a new business) and not all stress is bad. Even good stress is still stressful.

It’s the same thing with whatever you do, whether it’s school, home, or wherever you are. And it doesn’t have to be some big spectacle! You can say a silent prayer in your head as you walk.

At the store you can pray over the people who drive the cars as you walk past them in the parking lot.

Or if you’re jogging you can pray over the people who live in the houses as you run past them.

The people you see or talk with every day are not the same people I see every day. They are crossing your path for a reason and you may be the ONLY Light for Jesus they see all year. Let them see Him in you.

Recently I shared that we were praying about moving to Alaska to open the homeless teen place God’s put on our hearts.

A teenage employee looked right into my eyes as if asking for something but not exactly sure WHAT that is, “I’m still learning HOW to pray.”

I said, “Just talk to Him.”

~> “THAT” moment mattered. If I’d said nothing then I’d have missed an important minute to share Jesus with someone who may be looking for Him. <~

I am confident that when God hears someone pray for the first time, He listens and is pleased no matter how we think it sounds.

 

More Than Bathroom Signs

Just because something feels right or good doesn’t always mean we should follow it or do it. It may be good to ask for more direction or read the signs before moving forward.

For example:

When you walk down the hallway where the bathrooms are at the nearest Chili’s, which I’ve done a hundred times over the years, the women’s restroom is on the left and the men’s is straight ahead.

But when you walk down the hallway marked “Restrooms” at Jason’s Deli, the one on the left is NOT – I repeat – NOT where they keep the women’s restroom.

It may be best not to ask me how I know this. Let’s just say I pay more attention to signs than I used to. (I may – or may not – have been in the restroom when I witnessed, through the crack in the stall door, a man washing his hands in what I thought was the women’s bathroom.)

If you’ve read this blog before then you know I’m talking about more than bathroom signs.

One time, about 3 or so years ago, I sat in my house and shared a fear with a teacher from church that I felt God was leading me to speak on stage one day and I was kind of afraid and didn’t really want to do this. (Give me a room full of 2 or 3 year olds and SURE I’m great and love teaching but a room full of adults; Yikes!)

Without hesitation he said, “Yeeaahh, but if He’s not…”

And I quietly repeated that I really feel He’s showing me (and He has been tugging on my heart for some time) this is something He’s doing with my life.  “But I think God’s doing this with me.”

Again, ALL he said was, “Yeahh, but if He’s not…”

That doesn’t seem like a very wise response when someone tells you that she feels God is leading her to something (whether she’s afraid or not.)

You’re probably already thinking there are at least 20 better pieces of advice or responses that could follow that.

~~> I believe the very best advice may be this encouragement when people open up and share with you what they believe God is doing in their lives; “That sounds amazing. Ask for more confirmation. I’ll be praying, too.” <~~

The problem I had with this experience was that I listened to a man (and someone I respected at the time) over what I kinda already knew to be true. And I believed that I probably “heard” God wrong for a few more years.

The only reason I can see to tell people they’re wrong about God Calling them is jealousy or maybe ignorance about the truth that the Holy Spirit actually does what God says He does in the Bible and that He actually DOES live in us and He actually DOES guide us every day. He actually interprets for us when we talk to God and aren’t even sure what to pray.

If you feel God is leading you to something, please pray for more confirmation and ask other believers to pray with you, too. I believe many of us miss out on Supernatural and Divine work that God’s got for us simply because we are listening to other people tell us it’s not possible that God actually works in ways He says He does.

God can take things we think are impossible and make them completely 100% possible and real. And He does this with everyday people like you and me. Believe His Promises.

Think about this:

If people tell you God only uses teachers, preachers, and Bible scholars, then maybe they’re missing the fact that Jesus chose regular people to walk with Him and perform miracles. He could have chosen anyone, right?

God’s got a plan for your life no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

Ask Him for more confirmation. And I’ll be praying, too.

 

When God Puts A Fire In Your Heart

I’m 45 years old and was never online before just over a year ago. I didn’t want people who hurt me to be able to find me. Yep. I was a coward. My life has been threatened. My body’s been used.

You know how it is when someone hurts you; sometimes fear chokes out good things.

I was afraid.  For YEARS, I was afraid. But God repeats so many times, “Do not be afraid.”  But I did not know HOW to NOT be afraid.

[This is about an Alaska Homeless Teen Center not yet in existence. God’s put this fire in our hearts and we can’t (and don’t want to) ignore it.]

About 5 years ago my kids were at school and my husband was at work and I was putting laundry away, minding my own business, and loving being a mommy and a wife.

That’s when this thought hits my head so strong and I couldn’t ignore it (but I kinda wanted to at the time.) “YOU ARE MOVING.” No.  No. I didn’t hear that. I don’t want to move. Nope. LaLaLaLa. Can’t hear You. Don’t wanna hear that.

[You know? Sometimes I think about this moment and that if God had shown us THEN that this was to help homeless kids, we’d have been packing that day – but in my experience He doesn’t reveal everything all at once.

My guess is that He wants to know if we’ll follow Him and obey.  Also it would probably be too overwhelming for us and our little human emotions to know everything at once.  AND then there is the fact that… well… He’s GOD and doesn’t HAVE to do anything to let us understand stuff.]

Ummmm… yeah that happened. I knew God was tugging on my heart and did not want to hear it. So I told God, The Creator of the Universe and you and me, “No, thanks.”

Right. I know. Dumb thing to do.

I even told one of the elders at church that I didn’t want to move because I loved that church so much and there’s not another one like it so I could never move.

Boy, did that ever change! Some people who had heard about us asking for prayers for things (about 9 years before this) started spreading rumors about our family.  (Why they waited til this time – Dunno.)  The rumors got so bad that people we’d talked with many times literally turned their backs on us as we walked down the halls at church. My children eventually were not comfortable at youth activities and we weren’t able to worship there in peace any longer.

[To the gossipers, you’re welcome that I didn’t include your names.  There wasn’t a reason to do this.  You know what you did.  We know it.  And God knows it.  We forgive you.  This story isn’t so much about you if you notice; it’s about my lack of obedience to God’s Calling.  But your part in it IS important.  I even thought about writing you a Thank You note but wasn’t sure it would be received well.  Anyway, for what it’s worth, Thanks for helping me see that I wasn’t where God was leading me. (But it may not be the best idea to treat people this way in the future.)]

God let me know we’re going to move. I said, “Nope. No, thanks. And one reason why is –> this church is too great!”

He removed that out of my path.

We’re not mad at the people who spread untruths about us.  We know they must hurt pretty badly inside and feel insecure to spread rumors and hurt others the way they do.

A most important part to notice is that I loved a place too much and God redirected me.  [I’ve read that we shouldn’t have any idol that comes before God and –> the very thing I said I couldn’t leave <– was the very thing God took away.]

Since then we’ve been led to different churches and heard the very perfect words at the perfect times for the Walk of Faith we’re on. We’ve met people we may not have otherwise met and heard others who have similar experiences with God moving in their lives. One Sunday it was about stepping out of the boat and trusting God. We are. One was about faith to move mountains. Yep. One time it was about how God can use us to do amazing work and moves us out of our comfort zones and interrupts our lives to do His Work instead of stuff I think I want to do every day.

We know God’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center. The thing is; I did not even LIKE teenagers until my kids reached the teen ages. I never dreamed of going to Alaska when I was younger. It’s not like I know exactly how to do this work or HOW God’s going to provide (although we can look back through our lives and see that He’s been training us for this very work for over 35 years -even way before my husband and I were married He has been training us for this.)

I don’t know all the answers.

But I’m not afraid.

I’m not sure where we’ll live.

But I’m not afraid.

I don’t know how He’s moving us there.

But I’m not afraid.

~~> I did not make myself not afraid. God did this. <~~

He gave me my confidence back.  This is my miracle.  Who is able to give the gift of confidence? I only know of One.  (Mine had been stolen when I was a little girl along with my innocence when I was 9 years old.)  God gave me my confidence back and then showed me He has a job for me to do. It involves stepping out of my comfort zone and lookin’ like a fool to some people – but I’d MUCH rather be looking like a fool to people instead of looking like a fool to Him.

We don’t know how God’s doing this work but we know He is. It’s too big for just the 4 of us to do. This involves land, buildings, money, paid employees, volunteers, police, counselors, lawyers, desks, beds, supplies to teach job skills, and so much more.

Think about all of it.

Really.

I couldn’t do this by myself even if I’d known the moment I was born that this was my Calling in life.

The cool part is that we don’t HAVE to know all the details.

He’s got this.

It’s about our family being obedient to His Calling.

And when people doubt He’s doing this work in us and with us, that just doesn’t make sense. WHY WOULD I (a scared girl who has never been online on social media or had my pictures online) all of a sudden choose to go online on social media sites, share my life, story, pictures, faith, and all that we believe God’s doing in our lives?

I can think of about 2 billion other things that sound more fun than having our faith mocked and being laughed at (but Jesus said we’ll be mocked for our faith and ridiculed for following Him. So we’re on the right track.)

What if I didn’t go online to share this story even though I feel with every part of me that I’m supposed to? (If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17)

I already told God I didn’t want to move and He removed something (a church) that was in my way of fully trusting Him. I’m not really wanting to test Him again (though I didn’t realize I was testing Him then.)

It’s funny when people talk about their “own plans” because it makes me think of this verse:

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. -James 4:13-17

People often talk about what THEY are going to do (i.e. college, marry someone, job, move…) and never mention if they’ve prayed about it or asked God if this was even His Will for them. (I’m not saying people haven’t prayed but I am saying most of the time people don’t SAY they have and many times we all tend to do our OWN things and forget that God is alive and working in our lives ALL the time.)

We have enough courage to share what we feel God is doing in our lives and some are supportive and are praying and waiting on His timing with us. THANK YOU for prayers and words of support and financial support. We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

In all your ways submit to Him,
    and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6

~~> To those who doubt God’s doing this, I pray He moves in such mighty ways in this ministry that everyone watching cannot help but see Him. <~~

I can think of a lot of things I could have done instead of being here telling you all this and being mocked for my faith …but when God puts a fire in your heart, it’s not easy to ignore. God’s just done something in me and there’s no going back.

I was blind and now I see. (It’s real stuff. Ask around. The more people we talk with about our Walk of Faith, the more we hear others saying they’ll never go back to another way of living either.)

Prayers, good thoughts, and support are always welcome here.

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 3:6

 

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…”

 

Please Stop Shaming People and Start Helping People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The world is crying out for help.

Please, PLEASE stop shaming people and start helping.

Please stop gossiping and start loving.

EVERYBODY sins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

With childlike faith, I believe He will. (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. Too bad for you.” Love, God.

No. It 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’s not in a hurry. He 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. I believe this. 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 this. Yes, YOU. 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!

A Different Kind Of Prison (Abortion)

When I was a kid we didn’t talk about abortion or what that really was. People didn’t talk about smoking or drugs or drinking or sex before marriage or lots of other things very much either.

I know I’m a little naïve and I know that many would call me a “late bloomer” because I matured slower than some other people. But I know that if I didn’t understand what abortion meant and the full weight of the sin that it is, then others probably didn’t either.

I praise God that I was never faced with this decision and I think it’s probably a true Hell on Earth.

I’m very sorry if you’re living in this Hell and I want you to know I love you and that you’re not alone even though you have probably felt alone for a while.

This Hell is not just for girls. (Other than Mary, Jesus’ Mother, there are not girls who experienced immaculate conception.) There is always a guy involved. I know there are guys who have helped decide abortion was an “answer” and who carry this guilt and live in this Hell also.

I believe this kind of “solution” left you trapped and not quite as free as it seemed like you’d be.

There are things people may not want to think about (even if you’re the only one who knows your secret sin.) Just as you wouldn’t want someone who sexually used a child to hold your child, there are people who wouldn’t want someone who killed a child to hold theirs. I know this is understandable and I believe it should be honored. That being said, please read to the end. There is healing and hope.

Well-meaning Christians may tell you that you’re going to Hell – BUT the Bible says a sin is a sin. There are not big and small sins.

{He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8}

And as far as I understand, there’s only ONE sin the Bible says is not forgivable; Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

{“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. [The Unpardonable Sin] Matthew 12:31-32}

~~~~~~> To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone who has had an abortion, (or for whatever sin)

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

They did not. <~~~~~~

~
Dear mom and dad who have been grieving over your child and this sin that maybe nobody else knows about,

I know you’ve been thinking about it probably every day since “that” day.

Your child has a NEW body now. Your child is in Heaven. I believe this 100%.

Write a letter to your child. Writing can bring healing sometimes even when you cannot deliver the letter.

God’s got work for you to do. Ask Him how to honor your baby here and now in ways that may help others.

DO something to honor your child. This could be a scholarship in his or her name or if you never named your baby, choose a name for the scholarship in his or her honor.

What satan wants you to do is to keep your secret buried forever and he wants to keep you down SO THAT you cannot do good in this life for others. It’s what he does.

The truth is that you’ve been carrying this heavy weight around with you all this time. No wonder you’re grouchy. If I was keeping a secret sin like this I’d probably feel the same way.

God says to cast your burdens on Him because He cares for you. The Bible does NOT say cast your burdens on Him – unless your sins include abortion – for He cares for you.

I was led to write this because I recently watched a movie about abortion and I realize that people need to talk about this secret and know they have a safe place to pour out their hearts and that there is this MOST WONDERFUL and AMAZING GOD Who loves and forgives them when they repent. Repenting is not something everyone else can judge about you. Only God and you know if you’ve truly repented. If you haven’t, here’s a way to start. “Dear God, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t even know what to say…”

{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. Romans 8:26}

God forgives you.  Now, YOU forgive you.
~
I have met some who chose abortion and seem like they are not sorry for it. That’s unfortunate because you have to answer to God for the sin and for the nonchalant attitude about it. I believe deep inside your soul, though, there is a place you’re grieving even if you never tell anyone else. God knows about that place. Talk to Him. Not sure He’s real? Talk to Him about that, too. He’s big enough to hear your worries and He loves you.

~
[NOTE: Do not send me hate mail. I do NOT believe abortion is okay in any circumstance. Abortion is NOT about a mom’s body. It is a child’s body inside the mom’s body that we’re talking about. I am PRO life and also PRO forgiveness.

If someone DOES have encouraging words to share, I know for a fact that there are many people who would heal a little bit from them.]

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.]

 

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

Heroes don’t always wear capes.

Sometimes heroes look like everyday people; just like you and me.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

Why?

God did this! Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.

~

About 6 months ago our car broke (It’s an older car. Head gasket broke. Too costly to repair everything.)

We’ve been walking almost everywhere we need to go. A few friends have taken us places when we asked and sometimes have let us use their cars when we asked.   (And sometimes people just offered.)

But most of the time over the past 6 months we’ve been walking.

We always wanted to walk more but much of the time we just didn’t. Not living with a car has been a blessing in several ways. We’re getting in better shape, eating less, eating at home more, feel better, we’re NOT in a hurry, and we spend many hours just walking and talking as a family.

Don’t get me wrong. We could have chosen to buy a car on our own timing and our own terms but instead we chose to ask God to show us the right one and the right timing.

Many choices in life we’ve made on our own. We’re tired of that. Now we try to include God and ask Him to lead our schedule and our choices every day.

He does lead.

We just missed hearing about 2 vehicles in the past few months by about ONE day each time. Both vehicles sold for only $500 each.

I could have been upset. But the thing is that we’re praying and we know that God answers prayers. So since both vehicles passed us by we knew neither was the right one for us or the right timing for whatever reasons.

God’s timing is amazing.

When we wait on Him, trusting Him, and following Him, life is just better.

2 days ago (JUST before Thanksgiving) our daughter wasn’t feeling well. We ended up going to the Emergency Room, being transported by ambulance, and surgery done – all within about 7 hours.

It was unexpected and a pretty crazy week. It was appendicitis.

Friends gave us a ride to the hospital. Usually they don’t hear the phone but did this time and were at our door in less than 10 minutes. Thank you, Danny and Meredith.

Another friend brought my husband and oldest daughter to the hospital and stayed with us during the surgery. He wasn’t in a rush. God sent him to help us and just to love on us right when we needed a friend. Thank you, Mike.

Two of our daughter’s Bible class teachers came to visit her the next morning.  This was pretty cool because about 24 hours earlier they’d been in Israel.  They took the time after their long trip to visit her after surgery.  Thank you, David and Kari.  This was very sweet of you.

A friend and her mom also showed up at the hospital and were there just in time to hang out for a while in the hospital room and give our daughter someone to spend time with which put a much needed smile on her face. Then we were released (earlier than expected) to go home and they were able to drive us home. No hurry. No pressure. Just love. Thank you, (you know who you are.)

After we got home another friend and her dad came by our house. We talked while the girls played. We told him about the calling we feel to move to Alaska to open and take care of a homeless teen center and we talked about our car situation.

We had no idea what was going to happen next.

He made a phone call to his mom who is not needing to use her truck and he took us to get the truck right then. No strings attached. Thank you, Elizabeth, and Leland, and Rachel.

It may be a little while before our daughter can walk like she used to. Receiving a vehicle right now is quite amazing timing. It’s not coincidence.

God’s timing is perfect.

I do not have to be able to explain it.

I do not have to defend it.

I do not have to know HOW God is going to do something.

That’s not my job.

It’s my job to ASK Him.

It’s my job to believe that He will.

It’s my job to tell others about everything God has done in my life.

Yesterday a woman and her son (people we barely know) loaned us a vehicle for an indefinite amount of time.

God did this! (Even if this part is all you read, that’s enough.)

 

He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

During my college years I was visiting a church and they asked if anyone had any prayer requests. I raised my hand and said something like, “I need it to not rain on Tuesday because I’m moving.”

And then the teacher said something I won’t forget, “God doesn’t listen to the little things like that.”

I told him it was a pretty big deal to me. It’s my life and it’s where I live so it wasn’t a little request to me.

He told me not to bother God with stuff like that.

It had been raining and raining for weeks (which I LOVE) but I really needed a day without rain to move because my lease was up and the new apartment was ready.

When we were back in class the next Sunday he asked about prayer requests again. I said I have a praise. “God answered my prayer. Not only did He give me ONE day – He gave me TWO days without rain to move.”

And after I moved – it rained AGAIN for a few weeks.

I’m sure some would say it was coincidence.

Some could say the rain was already going to do that on those days and prayer had nothing to do with it.

So… it just happened that my lease ended, the new apartment was ready, my boxes were packed, and everything else just happened to be the same day (two days) as no rain… and it just happened that I prayed about the specific day and all that?

Maybe…

(And it even could be that I wasn’t the only one praying for no rain on Tuesday.)

What I know is that my God is very big and He absolutely DOES care about every detail of our lives. He listens to our prayers and He is a detail God.

If we don’t believe God hears us and will answer when we pray… then why pray?

[Note: EVEN IF I had not received a day (or two) without rain, I’d STILL praise God and would have moved (with soggy boxes) but I may not have felt moved to write about it. There are many prayers God answers in ways only He understands. I will trust Him no matter what.]

If It Wasn’t For The X-Rays

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

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

But I was not okay.

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

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

There was not one scratch on the outside of me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She said, “You mean today?”

She said her family may as well be as far away as Mars. I asked what she was doing for Christmas dinner. If she didn’t have any plans she could hang out with us, play board games, eat dinner, and watch a movie.

We saw her a couple more times before Christmas.

We asked her once more and gave her our phone number. We didn’t want her to feel like she HAD to come to dinner so we didn’t bug her about it again.

~
Dinner was almost done and it was around 5pm. We hadn’t heard from her yet. I whispered something like, “Okay, God, I’m not sure what to do. If You want her here, please show us. If not, then okay.”

I called her number. No answer. I left a quick message; something like, “Hey, we’d love for you to still come to dinner if you want to. It’s almost ready to eat. Please let us know. We can come pick you up if you need a ride.”

Within minutes she called saying she was at a nearby store (which was closed for Christmas) and would love to hang out.

She was only a few minutes away from our house. After she was in the car, I told her I could have driven to her house to pick her up. I didn’t mind at all. “Where do you live?”

She said, “You mean today?”

~
Our family has known for a long time that we are to help take care of homeless people.

Knowing this, we’ve tried to get involved in local homeless shelters and every year we’re told they have enough help.

~~> What we’ve learned is that people don’t have to ask other people how they can help. Ask God how He wants you to help. He’ll show the way. <~~

He brought a homeless woman to our door for Christmas dinner.

God will make a way when there looks like there is none.

That tug on your heart is there for a reason. Ask God what He wants you to do. He’ll lead you – even in the little things.

~
He also leads in the bigger God-sized things.

God put it on our hearts (about one year ago) that He’s moving us to Alaska to open and care for homeless teen center. He makes a way where we cannot see a way.

Prayers always welcome here.

We don’t know everything about how to do this God-sized job but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.  We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

This is all about God and His Power. We are just His hands and feet.

Live, breathe, & enjoy today like it’s NOT about you. But IF it IS… (Gossip)

Hey. It’s probably not about you.

But what if it really IS about you?

Why would she say that about you?

She doesn’t even know you. How can she affect you?

But it does affect you.

It’s hurtful.

You know those times when you read (or hear) something and it cuts; like it’s directed at you?  You can hear something and it SEEMS to be directed at you.

Maybe it is personal but maybe not.

We’ve got to give ourselves permission NOT to listen to (or read) vague, passive aggressive comments carelessly tossed AT us or hatefully said ABOUT us.

It REALLY may NOT be about you. Live, breathe, and enjoy today like it’s NOT about you.

But IF it IS:

If someone truly does have an issue with us we need to rest in the prayer that he or she can find maturity, confidence, and grace to come speak with us about it. And we need to give people permission allowing them to be upset if it’s a problem that is upsetting.

Being upset about something doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. The very fact that it bothers you is proof that you DO care.

We cannot assume that someone has wrong intentions toward us. Sometimes people do have bad intentions and during those times it’s important to talk if possible and try to work things out. But even then; working things out does not always mean someone who has hurt you will view things the same way as you see them. And that’s okay.

Nobody in the whole world was created to think the exact way you think. It’s okay (and sometimes necessary) if we agree to disagree.

Sometimes people are just angry at life and you are the closest target. For whatever reason they may feel safer taking out their frustration on you rather than the true issue. They may be afraid to confront or discover the core of the pain because it seems unbearable.

[This being said; if it’s abuse, it’s abuse and that’s NOT okay. You may need to talk to a counselor or someone. That’s healthy. That’s not weak. In my opinion finding a counselor (and yes, I will always advise to find a counselor who is a Christian) works best when I pray over everything first. Prayer first is ALWAYS best.]

We can be a safe place for others to vent and we can do this without taking things personally. We can just listen. Just be there. Just hear someone who is hurting.

…Because sometimes it’s really NOT about you.

When you hear someone say something or read a post online that “feels” personal, try this; “God, this has hurt my feelings. Please let this fall away from me if it’s not intended toward me. If it actually is intended toward me and this person actually does have ill feelings please give me courage to speak with them peacefully and give my words grace so that we may both heal. Please prepare my heart and hers (or his) and please stop words from coming out of my mouth that need to not be said. God, please help me be genuine. Please use my life and words to bless others and bring healing and not pain. Thank You for Your constant love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 

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.

 

She bought an extra ticket on faith that God would show her who to take to the next conference.

He led her to me.

Her name is Jennifer Drake Johnston.

We met because a mutual friend, Dalana Squires, invited me to join Ten For Him. I’ve just got to tell you about this real quick. Ten women get together 10 times; once a month over a period of 10 months. We each bring $10 each time and we draw a name of someone in the group. This person takes the $100 and gives it as God leads her for that month. Then we meet again and she gives her testimony about how God led her to give. Check out Ten For Him here. http://tenforhim.com/about/ [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]  Praise God for Sara Atchley Wierman, the Founder of Ten for Him! God is working in powerful ways with this great ministry.

Jennifer told me she bought an extra ticket in faith a year ago that God would show her the right person to take to a conference. She asked a few people. Then she asked me if I’d like to go with her for the weekend.  I couldn’t have known how great this pink conference would impact my life.

Prayer is powerful.

I almost never go out of town (and I’m really fine with that.) I love being home with my family. I told her I’d pray about it. I remember wondering how my kids and husband would be while I’m gone for a couple days. Would they miss me? Would they notice I was gone? Would they like a break from me? (More about this later.)

I went with her to the Pink Impact conference at a church building. WOW! The energy, smiling faces, lights, beautiful food and Frappuccinos were all wonderful. The speakers spoke God’s message to me in a way I hadn’t heard before. I’ve been raised in church and it’s been a long time since I heard scriptures in a new way.

At lunch she led me to a room that had been prepared just for her church group and I was invited since I was her guest. This was a kids’ worship area that had been transformed into a girlified, fun, ladies’ luncheon room complete with flowers, dim lighting, pretty centerpieces, gum, tissues, perfumes, chocolates, and more.

I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus has gone to prepare a place – just for us – and how amazing that will be! We are ALL invited.

It was such a blessing to hear from these great speakers; Lisa Bevere, Elaine Fisher, Charlotte Gambill, Blynda Lane, Debbie Morris, Tim Ross, and Lindsay Huckins was the Emcee for the weekend.

Thank you ALL for God’s message through you guys! Please DO tell me if I’ve missed anyone because every one of you matters and I thank each of you for the messages you shared!

EVERY speaker brought the Bible scriptures to life in a way I’d never heard them. I’ve been in church for 45 years. I haven’t heard scriptures brought to life in this practical way in many years.

We got to hear a message from Christine Caine (via video.) She founded the A21 Campaign, an anti-human trafficking organization that fights slavery around the globe, doing amazing work rescuing girls who have been trapped in the dark world of sex trafficking. This work is especially dear to my heart for many reasons and I believe God will be using my family to help with this same type of work in Wasilla, Alaska, as God leads us to open and care for a homeless teen place. So knowing the work God is leading us to start, it was absolutely incredible to get to hear from someone God’s already put in place doing this same healing work. I needed to mention this because it reminds me how God is a detail God and this was the first time I’d ever heard about Christine Caine.

We heard from Roma Downey (via video.) We listened to Patricia Heaton (via video) and worshipped with Gateway Worship and Kari Jobe. There were many talented musicians and singers (and if I knew all the names I’d be glad to add them here.) You guys made the weekend even more powerful. Thank you so much!

We got to see performances by Dance Revolution, Founded by Michelle Brogan. (OH how I’d LOVE to dance with them some time! Probably Hip Hop would be my preference!) And we were blessed to listen to Amick and Cassie Byram and their beautifully blended voices.

~If I have left out names, please email me and I’m glad to add them. This was a life-touching, relaxing, lovely weekend and I was honored to get to be a part of it. I know there are hundreds more who invested time, money, sweat, tears, and prayers to put this weekend together. Thank you to ALL of you!~

We were lifted, empowered, prayed over, loved on, and had time to just breathe and enjoy being women.

Jennifer had reserved a room at a nearby hotel for us. Cozy beds, great food, fun conversation, and getting to learn more about each other’s pasts just added to this amazing weekend. There were many other Pink Impact ladies staying in the hotel also.

When we had checked in when we first arrived at the church building we had been given a folder with a fun ice breaker game and the instructions said to get a signature from a woman who matched the description and she was to sign next to it.  There were many hundreds of women so we had to talk and meet new people a lot to get all 50 thousand (not really) questions answered.  There would be prizes for the first several people who turned these papers in.  Fun!

The game said things like:

Find someone who has a dog with a human name. _____

You’ve attended 3 or more Pink Impact conferences. _____

You can wiggle your ears. ____

Find someone who has taken tap or ballet dance lessons. ____

(…and so on…)

On the 2nd morning of the conference one young lady and I were the only two people in the hotel elevator. The elevator conversation was quick and unusual. I broke the silence, “I can wiggle my ears. Can you tap dance?” She replied, “No.” This totally broke the never-speak-in-elevators-to-people-you-don’t-know-because-it’s-awkward rule. (It may remain my favorite elevator conversation ever.)  [I always wondered why I could wiggle my ears.  Question answered.]

At the end of the conference they announced they were giving each woman a gift. This beautiful gift was a white, soft, cozy, thick, terry cloth robe.

A detail I didn’t mention yet: My oldest daughter had been asking for a terry cloth robe for a few months. (I kept not putting this in the budget for whatever reasons so I hadn’t bought her one yet.) We don’t try to make things “even” at our house (i.e. if one child gets a gift, the other child usually does too, but we decide based upon their individual desires and not on money amounts) but I secretly and deeply wished I could get a second robe for my youngest daughter.

THIS is another way that God shows me He is a detail God.

Jennifer and I had each received a Frappuccino the night before and she really enjoyed hers. I still had mine and I didn’t want to waste it and somehow a natural conversation led to me saying I really didn’t care for Frappuccinos that much and she was delighted to take mine! She admitted while the white robe was very beautiful she probably wouldn’t wear it and she gave it to me for my youngest daughter!

Talk about God being in the details! He just IS!

 

God uses people to connect with others every day on purpose and for a purpose. Someone may be praying a prayer over you today and you may not even know it for a year.

Maybe all you need to do today is pray about life, get up, and show up.

~

Thank you, Jennifer Drake Johnston, for leading our Ten For Him group, for praying about me when you didn’t even know me yet, and thank you for the life-changing weekend at a conference I knew nothing about before I went. I pray God’s blessings follow you and that you are blessed many times more for blessing others the way you do! MUCH love in Him, Kerri

Thank you, Jennifer, for inviting me to this:  https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KIo9gEgyhUX2AA.oT7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTB2aXRwZjhkBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDVjE3NgRncG9zAzM-?p=pink+impact+2014+gateway+church&vid=d655647c910acc9e5d3c8e11d78b04b4&l=1%3A37&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608020644744004799%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvimeo.com%2F96726986&tit=%3Cb%3EPink+Impact+2014+%3C%2Fb%3E-+Conference+B+Highlights&c=2&sigr=10p9137pd&sigt=11hlpbrnb&age=0&fr=mcafee&tt=b [Note: I do not own or have rights to this video in any way.]

~

Want to hear about the icing (as if the weekend, itself, wasn’t sweet enough already?)

When I returned home I was the blessed mom and wife of 3 love notes. SWEET!! They DID miss me! (That is, they missed me until it was back to regular life the next week. lol. Oh, well. I have some notes so I can read them again and remember they actually DO like my help as a mom and wife.) They gave me permission to share these great notes. It is easy to look past spelling errors. (I’d much rather have love notes from their hearts than for them not to want to write to me because I correct their grammar and spelling when they give me sweet notes.)  [Too sweet and amazing NOT to mention;  Today I found out the love notes were actually my husband’s idea!  How cool is that?  God is surely alive and prayer is powerful!]

Letter 1 2 Letter 3 2 Letter 2 2Letter 2 b 2 2

God bless you and thank you for reading.

 

 

[Please Note: We don’t try to make things “even” at our house when it comes to gifts (and that’s okay.  We love our girls and they both feel loved by us.)  Every family has different opinions on gift giving. Please do not send me yucky notes about it. This is how OUR family gives gifts. This doesn’t mean if you do things a different way that it’s wrong or right. I’d love to talk about it but I won’t read or respond to hate mail. I’d love to hear how your family chooses the gift giving process and what that looks like at your house.]

 

 

 

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

That’s a God thing.

These things are called your talents.

Some of the most profound words my youngest child ever said was when she was about 10 years old.

“Sometimes I don’t even know I know stuff until I say it out loud.”

(When I remember her speaking about this epiphany it still makes me smile!)

I told her those are God-given gifts and to always be proud of them. He has given these to us on purpose and for a purpose. We need to ask God what He wants us to do with the talents He gave us. When we do this, it honors Him, gives our lives meaning, and helps us understand more about the reason we’re even here on this Earth.

I used to tell my husband, “I don’t like to learn.”

After years of feeling this way I realized something. I realized that actually I VERY much like to learn.

I like to learn about people and why they think the way they think. I like to learn why people react or respond the way they do to different things in certain situations. I find it fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

Honestly, if we would work more toward asking God to reveal our kids’ (and our) talents and encourage, research, pray over those more than the school subjects we’re “supposed” to learn “just because that’s how it’s done” maybe more people would be doing what God intended for them to be doing in the first place and not find themselves in dead-end jobs at age 60.

Sometimes you just know stuff – just because you do.

 

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.

 

You have influence.

What are you supposed to be doing? I don’t mean what is your job that pays the bills right now because that may or may not be part of your “calling.”

Certainly at work, or school if your job is school right now, (and it doesn’t matter what age you are) there are people you meet every day God has put in your path for a reason; customers, co-workers, teachers, and don’t overlook the person you don’t know yet standing in line at lunch or the person working behind the counter.

Some people you meet are there to teach you and sometimes you are teaching them. Sometimes you’re learning from each other.

You have influence.

What did God design you to do? You are created for a specific purpose and your talents are part of whatever your calling is.

Please don’t think you’re too old or too young or it’s too late or too early for you to ask Him what you are supposed to be doing with your life. I have heard about people doing what God wanted them to do when they were hundreds of years old and I have heard about a king who was only 7 years old.

So the age thing is not a “thing” at all.

(NOTE:  I’m not 100% sure but it doesn’t seem that the king finished college.  Do not let someone tell you that you are not “educated” enough to do what God has called you to do. In fact, there are many people in the Bible (and in your circle of influence) who have done amazing work for the Lord and I did not read that college was even invented yet in Bible times.  –  No.  Just don’t.  Do not send me hate mail saying that I said college is not important.  College is great for several reasons.  What I said is that we CAN and we WILL do great things for God – Period – no matter the level of “formal” education.)

I know there are babies who never made it out of the womb alive due to miscarriages or abortions yet are making a difference in this world even though they never took their first breaths.  EVERY soul matters and there is a purpose for EVERY soul.

YOU CAN make a difference.

I can’t know what your calling is FOR you. YOU have to ask God what He created you to do. Please ask Him? Then watch what happens in your life. I don’t know how that looks for you but if you start asking Him every day what He wants you to do today I believe He will show you.

The Bible is a “LIVING WORD” and since It’s a Living Word, God still leads us. I don’t get it when people don’t believe He still leads us today. I think many Christians are not really believing this though they speak it with their mouths. Many are not living it. How can you call the Bible a “Living Word” and call God “Alive” when you act and live as if He’s not? Our To-Do lists are not as important as His To-Do List. How do you know what His list looks like if you are not actively asking Him daily?

Please, please get up? I believe in you. I know bad stuff has happened but we need you. If you were not this important and God didn’t have a purpose for you then why would the enemy work SO hard to keep you down?

Please ask Him what He created you to do? This dark world really needs you to stand up and shine right now.

YOU CAN.

Here, I’ll start. You finish. “God, please show me what You created me for and please pick me up and give me a place to stand. I believe that You designed me on purpose and for a purpose. Please show me how to…”

 

Let Them See You In Us

God, as we do work for You every day please always remind us this is about You and not us. Please keep us humble and not try to take the spotlight off You. Please remind us that the work we are doing is to lift You and only You. If we forget and start to like attention please take the attention and turn it back to You. Please do not let us get caught up in how the world and culture think life should be but let us remember who gave us our talents to do these jobs in the first place.

You are our Father and thank you for loving us as a good Father does. Thank you for Your Son because as a parent it’s really amazing to know You gave Your only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. How could You even do that? My mind can’t comprehend this. Thank You, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit for guiding us, never giving up on us when we turn to You, and for Your perfect love for each of us.

Please give us words to witness to others in the way You would bless it and want us to witness. Please give us courage when someone stands against us and please give us words to speak and know when to be silent. Please give us wisdom to know when we are in the wrong and please lift our faces to look at You to find truth again. Please forgive us of our sins.

Thank You for Your Angels watching over us and thank You for making our paths straight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

The Donut Shop Sign

The world will tell you that you must do things a certain way because “That’s just how it works.” The world teaches stuff like if you want a car you go to a car dealer, get a loan, and you make monthly payments.

But the truth is the world doesn’t factor in prayer and faith.

Today a lady went to a donut shop and is getting a car. She’s just living her life day to day in prayer and did not even know that getting a donut for breakfast would lead to an answer to a prayer.

 

Six months ago in March we left a sign at a donut shop advertising that we have a car to sell.

Then – the car broke. Someone from church let us tow it to his auto shop. I’ve been praying for God to show us what to do with this car.

Just before the head gasket broke my husband had done a few repairs for a few hundred dollars. I asked him if we should take the air conditioner parts back off to take them back to the store and he said, “We can’t.”

I said, “Maybe this will be a blessing to someone because we’ve done this work. I know more is broken now but that’s okay.”

 

This morning a lady I’ve never met calls and says she is waiting at a donut shop while her granddaughter went to an art class. She tells me something like, “This sign may be old and may have been here for a long time but if you still have the car I’d like to know.”

She’s been praying for a car. She asked the Lord specifically to please let the car have a working air conditioner.

I just went with her (in her daughter’s car) to see if she wanted the car from the donut shop ad. She loves it and is praying for money to get it fixed. I don’t know where the money will come from to get it repaired and she doesn’t either – but we both know The Guy who does.  (She’s got a job but will need more money than she currently has.  She needs a car to get to work to make more money.  It’s a circle.  And prayer opens up a very real way to get very real answers.)

 

God hears your prayers.

DO NOT DOUBT.

Today a woman went to the donut shop and that’s where her prayers for a car were answered.

Keep your eyes and ears open. There may be a sign left for you that you’re not seeing yet for some reason.

Trust Him. He knows what you’re waiting for and He’s listening and knows what you need before you even ask. Pray to Him and ask him what the next step is. He will show 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.

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 ______________”

Answers to Prayers or Just Coincidences?

There are so many times the very answer to a question I’m asking God about only in my head “happens” to show up in my life, whether online, from a stranger at a store, a Bible verse shared somewhere, etc.

I love when that happens. Always!

People could argue that they are coincidences… but I have a hard time believing that.

At what point would they NOT be called “coincidences” and start being called “answers to prayers” or “confirmations?”  Because this happens often after I’ve asked for answers or more confirmation about a specific something.

After 25?

50?

100 times?

Or 200?

One time after my divorce I was walking in a parking lot with my baby daughter walking beside me. I was praying and deep in thought and my stomach was twisted in knots.

I didn’t speak a word.

A man walked straight up to me and answered the very questions I was asking God. There’s no way anyone could have answered the very words that my heart was asking God about, right? I didn’t know that man and I never saw him before or after that. It was a very cool experience.

I mean that man could have said, “Hi.” He could have said, “It’s a nice day, isn’t it?” People speak to each other often as they pass.

But this guy wasn’t passing me. He walked straight to me, said whatever exact answer I was wrestling with in my heart, and walked away.

For a long time I remembered what the words were and I should have written them to keep. Now I can’t remember them but every once in a while I ask God to bring those words to my mind if He will so that I can write them down.

It’s funny now that I think of it from that man’s perspective. Like God was urging him to walk over to me, say these words and walk away. I wonder if he was like, “Um, God, what if she thinks I’m crazy?” Or if he simply said, “Okay, God.”

Many times when stuff like this happens, it’s not like I’ve said anything to anyone but God and only in prayers to Him.

And I just love it ~ every time!

 

Do you have an answered prayer story to share?  I’d love to hear it.

 

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!

Mustard Seeds, His Money, and a Question

A church we went to for a short time taught me a couple things that other churches my whole life had never taught me but should have.

And I made ONE simple life change.

HIS MONEY.

Give. Start with 10% and also go up from there any time God moves your heart to give. NOT just when you feel like it as many churches excuse. NOT from your leftovers IF you have some after all the bills and going out to eat.

GIVE. Period.

You give simply because God says to.

It is all about being obedient to God.

God spoke and created the entire world. He does not need YOUR money to do anything. You give because He said to give. You give out of your first money.

WHERE do you think the money came from?
WHERE do you think your job came from?
WHERE do you think the talents to DO your job came from?

God.

MUSTARD SEEDS.

The other thing this church did that we’d never seen before was something they called a Mustard Seed Offering. In this service they handed out an envelope with several mustard seeds in them.

The front of the envelope had this on it:

{SEEDS OF FAITH

Jesus said, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

THESE SEEDS REPRESENT MY FAITH FOR A MIRACLE.

“For whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7}

And on the back we were told to write everything we are asking of God.

We did. I filled up the entire back of that envelope! I have lots of prayers and some are small and some are big. Some are so big that ONLY God could bless it or give it.

And I believed it right then (almost 1 year ago) and I still believe it now because this is still happening every day.

A QUESTION.

The ONE simple life change I made is every morning before I get out of bed I ask God, “God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

See? Simple.

Think about this. It’s not like God’s going to FORCE you to ask him. He’s not going to FORCE you to do what He wants. We have free choice.

If you liked a person and decided to marry him or her, you wouldn’t just one day suddenly be married, right? You ASK for that person to marry you.

If your child finally comes to you and says, “Hey, Dad, what do YOU want me to do today?” The possibilities are endless. Am I right?

This sounds simple. And it is. And the giant ways God will move and work in your life is something amazing! The ways He’s been working in mine sometimes leaves me speechless and in awe of His power and how true it is that He keeps His promises. He just never gives up on me.

I challenge you to do this.

GIVE.
Give 10% of your FIRST money (and also any time God leads you to give.

How can you receive MORE money and blessings
if you’re fists are so tightly holding on to the little bit of money you have now?
Open your hands.)

ASK.

Ask God every day,

“God, what do YOU want me to do today?”

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.

Get HIGHer!

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.

I know 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 us is divine and supernatural even in times 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?  Please show me.”

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.

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 fiiinally 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!  Am I right?!

When we give up our “To Do” lists (and 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 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 amazing!)

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

Time to get to work… and LOVE it.

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

The Ark In My Front Yard by Tony Stites

Here’s the short version:

God is calling our family to move to Wasilla, Alaska.  We will be helping to take care of teens at a homeless teen center that is not even in existence yet and I need financial, prayer, and other support in completing the mission.  Please share our story.

The long and interesting version is below:

The Journey.

I started on a journey and never knew it.  If it was not for my wife I don’t know if I would have opened my eyes to see it.

Growing up I wanted to live off the land. I saw a movie about a kid who moved out in to the wild and lived off the land with a hawk. As time went by and life wore me down, I forgot about that dream.

Prison.

I was 21. I got myself in trouble for armed robbery and spent eight years in prison in Oklahoma. Toward the end of my time there I was at a work release job. That’s where I met a man who helped change my life. He started studying the bible with me and after a while he arranged it so I could go to church with him on Sundays. Right before I was getting out they were having a youth rally close by and he asked me if I would speak.  I don’t know if the speech was any good, but it inspired me to want to keep speaking.

From that point on I knew I was to work with teens.

My Wife.

I made parole and part of my parole was to get out of Oklahoma. This is the part of my life where I met my old crush from Oklahoma and got married. Between then and now we went to church in McKinney, Texas, much of the time. Different things happened here and there that led us to different churches.

Looking back on all of it I can see God’s hand guiding us, and growing us for this specific thing.

Youth Group.

When my oldest daughter got to the age of being in the church youth group I tried to get involved.  But it seemed that my prison background and openness about struggling and overcoming pornography addiction kept me from being able to be involved.

At least that’s what I thought the problem was at the time.

There came a point I decided, “Well maybe God does not want me working with a youth group.” So I started asking God what He DOES want me to do.

Giving It All Over To God.

After praying and searching I talked to Kerri and we decided the first step was to find out if God wanted me still working where I’ve worked for over 16 years. So we prayed and then wrote a letter asking for a raise.  If the raise was this amount or higher we knew to stay and if it was this or lower, we would take this as a sign that God has something else for us to do.

Guess what? No raise.

For a while I thought this is where the journey began but I can now see that the journey started the day I saw that movie and probably even before that.

Everything in my life has directed me to this point.

I don’t know if God removed my dreams from my mind so He could take me through other things, or if it was satan trying to destroy God’s plan for my life.

Working From Home.

The company I had been working with for over 16 years had just moved to another building. Up to this point they would never let me work from home. Well I could every now and then but for a regular thing is was out of the question. There was a mess up with the ethernet connection and the PRI. We still had everything connected at the old building but we had to be out, so the company asked us to work from home for the next week or two. Well three or four weeks went by and my boss asked me when was I coming back IN to the office to work. I told him, “I’m not. Unless you make me.” From that point on I have been working from home.  That was 2 years ago.

Alaska.

I wrote to my boss and said, “Hey we are moving to Alaska. Can I work from home in Alaska?” About fifteen minutes later he calls me up and asks if we’re serious and I say yes. Then he tells me that it would be great and it would really help him out. It would leave Tech Support open for an extra three hours because of the time difference.

I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing but hey, God works His own way. So I am moving to Alaska but with the same job I thought God was moving me away from.

The Mission.

So now Kerri tells me, “Well don’t just get excited. You need to pray and ask God what he wants you to do.” So I start praying. And start looking at how much it’s going to cost to move.

A few years ago if God would have said, “Move to Alaska,” I’d have had the money. I spent our entire savings on opening our photography business, PhotoSentimental. So we cannot make this move on our own.

His Power.

We believe the timing was because God wants to show His power and show me and everyone else that it’s not up to us to do His will on our own. He is in control.

Advice About Alaska.

Kerri sent emails to several churches asking about advice on moving to Alaska. She got several emails back. One of the preachers and I talked about why I thought I was being called to move to Alaska. I told him I had been doing research and I had found that a lot of the small villages did not have churches. My idea was to pick a village and go help them with doing every day chores on the weekend and to tell them about Jesus.

The preacher explained not only had this been tried before but that they had not had success with it.

Well I believe that’s why God is sending me.

I know.

What an idiot.

Like God needs me there to do something He could have done with all the other people who tried.

The preacher told me if I was really set on doing this he could get me in contact with a pilot when I got there and it will cost us a lot of money for the pilot to fly me out and back.

God Leads.

God led us back one Sunday to a church we’ve been part of on and off for 15 years. To our surprise they were talking about having a Harvest Sunday the next week. They said this amount was how much money they needed for the ministries they already decided to support. And then they said if they go over they will just have to find new ministries to fund.

Kerri turned to me after church and said, “Follow me.”  She felt we were supposed to talk with two of the church leaders and told them that we were moving to Alaska to minister there. They told us to write up our plan and give it to them.  We said that if more money came in than their budget would they pray about our ministry we’re doing and help move our family to Alaska.

The Plan.

I did not have a plan.

We did not know what to write.

We just felt God was calling us to move to Alaska and to minister to the native Alaskans but we had no idea what the ministry looked like so I sent a message to my new preacher friend in Alaska and said I might be able to get funding for my ministry but I really don’t know what it looks like and I asked if he could help me figure it out.

He said it was so strange that I asked when I did. He had just opened an email about this year’s Alaska lectureship and it’s going to be about evangelism.

He said there are three preachers who sent this message and that I should contact them. So I sent a letter to all three.

After a few days I decided to call.

The Same Old Story.

This preacher told me the same thing the other one did. Working with the villages takes like 15 years just to gain trust.

And he told me his church was full of military families and other people who moved there to climb the corporate ladder and after they got their next promotion they would be out of there.

He told me he would love to have me at his church and that he could use someone who would help make a strong backbone for the church.

I told him that sounded great but I did not feel God was moving me there just to be a part of a local church.

The Next Guy.

The next guy I called started to give me the same story, but then he started telling me ways they were trying to get into the villages, like through prison ministry and working with an adoption agency.

He said there were more kids than families.

He then said something like, “What we really need is a homeless teen shelter.”

We’re your guys. (And now we believe God has shown us a bookkeeper, a gardener, a physical education coach, a history teacher, and a home school teacher.  All of these have been in our thoughts and prayers.  And we believe God’s shown us who they all are.  So we’ll be moving to Alaska with our army of servants ready to help.)

The Empty Church Building.

This preacher said they are trying to build a new church building but had to stop until they could sell the old building. It is a big building and is on eight acres of land.  They thought it was sold before but it fell through and maybe this is the reason why.

My Dad.

My dad’s a preacher.

I called my dad up and was telling him how building the Ark was going.

It was funny because his first words were something I had forgotten about. He said, “Wow! That is exactly what you and Kerri said you wanted to do when you first got married.”

The Ark.

This is the ark that is in my yard.

Why is the ark there?

Well I believe God put the ark there.  Not so I would have something to write about but so God can show people He does work in our lives.

Open your eyes and trust Him and he will send you on great adventures. Some will be sad, some scary, some wild and some will leave you asking “Why?” like in Habakkuk.

But one thing’s for sure. If you have faith in God and trust in Him, He will get you through all of it.

He will turn your pain in to a healing tool.

He will turn your scary moment into comforting.

And He will take your wild adventures and turn it in to an ark in your yard.

His Money.

I was not always broke financially.

I think God designed it this way for His story and to show His power.

I have no clue how any of this is going to happen. What I am doing is what I feel God leading me to do.

I hate asking for help. That is one reason I went to prison in the first place. But like with all God’s adventures, they are designed to make you grow.

Financial Help.

If you want to donate, please email itisallaboutfaithdonate@gmail.com

We are also in the process of making a donate button online and we’ll be glad to send the link when we get this part figured out.  If you know you are to be part of making this happen, email us and we’ll figure out how to get you a receipt for your donation.  The name of the teen place is in the process as is the non profit work we need to do.  He leads. It’s been a long journey. And we haven’t even really started the work yet.

Please Share Our Story.

If you do not feel called to help financially or have no idea how to help please just share this story.

I know God has other people who are supposed to be a part of this because I know nothing about building a homeless teen center and I know I am not capable of doing everything it takes to make it happen.

Why A Teen Center?

I know this has been long but for those who are interested this is why a teen center.

Back in the 1800s when people first started moving to this area, different religions decided to divide Alaska up into sections.

Instead of bringing the Native Alaskans to God they made them not trust people.

Our first goal will be to get the teens to a safe place and make sure they are healthy.

The next thing is to help educate them in skills that will help them survive on their own and make a living.

The most important thing is to let our light shine so that they can see God and are led to Jesus.

There are state run places. The state can house them and feed them, but what they are not doing is showing them God.

Where does an Alaska teen go after he is given the tools to survive and has been given the Light?

He goes where we have had no luck.

He goes where we are not trusted.

He goes back and shows his village how well he is doing, and he shows His Light.

 

~

One of the preachers in Alaska responded quickly after our Ark letter.  He has given us permission to share this.

Great story! Has the church in Texas offered any help? Even if they could do a one-time offer just to help 5you make the move to Alaska there are always employment opportunities here for those who are willing to work. So keep that option in the back of your mind. There is also a tremendous need in Alaska for foster care especially in the Anchorage area. They simply can’t find enough families who are willing to take on that responsibility. So that’s another option to consider. If our congregation were more financially stable we could consider helping families like yours who want to move here to do the Lord’s work. But we’re like so many other congregations in the area. We are plagued with what churches in Alaska typically call “transfer growth” – where families transfer in but stay briefly before leaving again. We have a very transient membership of Air Force and Army families who are here for only three years at most. They’re here just long enough for us to get to know and really love them and then they’re reassigned elsewhere. Then there are others who move to Alaska thinking this is the land of opportunity only to face a harsh winter or two before deciding they can’t handle the cold dark winters. I get really frustrated by all this but it’s just a fact of life about trying to do the Lord’s work in Alaska. But every now and then there are those who move to Alaska and never leave. But they are a rare breed. If you can find the support you need to make the move I think you would never lack for opportunities to fulfill your dreams of making your dreams a reality. Please keep me posted about your progress.

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

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

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

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

It did not.  It made them prisoners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No chemicals.

No willpower.

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

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

I know I was a slave to smoking.

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

It is not your fault.

They were DESIGNED to hold you for a life sentence.

YOU CAN BE FREE.

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

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

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

And you can know

without a doubt

that I am YOUR cheerleader!

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

The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

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.

Not right. Not wrong. Just thinking.

What if I poisoned you?

I didn’t poison you. But what if I did? You’d probably be pretty mad at me, huh?

No. Wait. What if I tricked YOU into poisoning yourself? What if I tricked you into poisoning yourself and inviting your friends to do it, too? And what if I tricked you into celebrating as you did this?

What if I made poisoning yourself legal? And what if I tricked you into paying your very own money for it that you spent so many hours working to earn? What if you worked all week hating your job and then on the weekend you were poisoned so that you could forget about the very job you’re working at to earn your money?

What if I made movies where most of the “fun” looking parties and dates had red cups full of soda or spiked with whatever poison you chose? What if, instead, I made movies and shows letting you see people enjoying life without “the cup” in their hands? What if I showed you movies about groups of friends who went around and did good stuff for their neighbors? Would you believe that’s a pretty cool way to have fun? I think you would. If you have the courage to retrain your own mind you will see this is fun.

Movie and television guys have spent hours and years and millions of dollars to trick us. Why do you think it’s called “programming?” The culture and world have programmed you to think a certain way. Think not? What about a couple on their anniversary date in a movie? What do you see? A bottle of wine in the middle of the table? What if it was a pitcher of water instead?

And before you go write 1,000 words to me about Christians and drinking, let me tell you this:

I’ve been drinking alcohol since I was 21 so do not think I don’t know what I’m speaking about. I do. (And though I really like Dr. Pepper I’m not quite sure it’s that good to drink, either.)

And I’m NOT telling you it’s right.

And I’m NOT telling you it’s wrong.

Jesus turned water to wine.  Not sure when soda was made.

I’m not going to debate this with you. And I’m not sure that I will quit either completely or if I still will occasionally. After realizing this stuff I think I’m leaning a lot more toward the not any more side.

There are MANY stages in between being a soda or alcohol prude and sodaholic or alcoholic so please remember this when speaking to someone who does drink these drinks. Are you wanting them to listen to you as you ask them if it’s poison, or are you pushing them away from you as you speak? Usually it’s our own choice to or not to poison ourselves.

And as for water connoisseurs, yeah, some water may be better than others. I’m not writing this to argue with anyone.

I’m writing this because God’s put it on my heart. But I know that if you’re in the mood, there are many other people who will enjoy debating whatever good points you have.

And you absolutely DO have good points and opinions. (I’m just not going to debate them with you.)

Have a party without soda or alcohol. Ask God to show you how to have real fun. Teenagers have fun all the time WITHOUT these things. I’ve been in groups of 15 year old kids and they talk and laugh and enjoy each others’ company for HOURS and DON’T end the evening throwing up or with a hangover the next morning.

Ask God to lead you to a job you really like where you can use the talents He’s given you. In my opinion most people in the world are not laughing enough or enjoying their jobs in life. Ask God to show you and to open doors for you. God can open a door that nobody can shut. And God can close a door that nobody can open.

All I am asking you to do is to simply think about this with every sip of your favorite soda or alcoholic drink:

What if YOU poisoned YOU?

Prayers always welcome here (We feel God’s calling our family to Alaska to open & care for a homeless teen center.)

You know when someone says they feel called to adopt a child and so people pray for the adoption but sometimes we forget to pray for life AFTER the adoption. Then you hear people whisper, “Well, what’d they THINK was gonna happen?!”

Do not think for a second that the adoption wasn’t God-led. It was. But satan didn’t like it one bit. Sooo… there’s drama sometimes.

~
You know we pray all the time for our kids to finish high school and college but sometimes we forget to pray for AFTER high school and college. “Well just look at the crowd they fell in with.” Well from our experience with most churches, a kid leaves for college only to return to their home congregation to find they’re suddenly not welcome in the high school group anymore.

Then churches cry and say, “Where have we gone wrong with the 19 to 30 year olds?”

We have an idea…

~
You know how we prepare for the wedding but sometimes don’t spend as much time praying over the actual marriage. You sometimes even hear of people placing bets on marriages to see how long they’ll last.

REALLY?

PRAY over their marriage. Please don’t bet it won’t work.

~
We are moving to Alaska. We get crazy looks all the time. All we know is God is moving us there to love on people who are hurting and we’re a pretty good choice for this so I can’t figure why anyone would doubt it but that’s beside the point.

I came personally online (blog, Facebook, Twitter) TO find prayer warriors, connections, financial, and any other support we can find for this move.

If you pray, please start praying for our lives AFTER the move (and still for the move, itself) because honestly it’s a little scary. We’ve never been there.

It’s not like we’ve been saying, “Oh, look. Easy life in Alaska.” We’ve just shared our faith and that we know God’s moving us. What should we say? “No, God, that just won’t do.”

Um… not gonna to do that.

We’re moving in faith. Period.

So if you’re skeptical, that’s cool. You can still be skeptical AND please pray for my family as we take this step of faith?

Moving my kids to new friends and schools and all that goes with a big move is more than a little intimidating.

Thanks and may God bless you even more than you pray He blesses us.

Butterfly Crusher

She would not share her crayons or glue with me. We were grown ups. We were working in a child care and every two rooms were supposed to share crayons, glue, and supplies between all the kids.

She did not want to share her crayons and glue. She talked ugly to me and about me every day.

I told my husband about it. He said I should ask her why. There was NO WAY I wanted to go up to this angry, knife throwing, butterfly crusher of a woman and ask her why she wouldn’t share her crayons.

Preparing for the battle, I prayed and put on my best armor. I knew the next time she threw darts at my head I’d speak peace to her. It seemed she’d be pretty mad if I did this but my job was important and the need for income and to care for these kids outweighed whatever she’d do to me.

Right on cue as expected she tore into me, roaring loudly and cutting me down in front of all the teachers and children.

I calmly and genuinely said something like, “I’m very sorry. Please tell me what I have done to offend you. You seem really angry at me and I’m not sure what I’ve done to you.”

She broke into a hundred tears.

She cried and said she was so sorry. She just recently moved here, was miserable and she’s been taking all her stress out on me.

I was stunned.

The next time someone won’t share her crayons and glue with you remember there’s probably not anything you did. There’s probably stuff underneath that is creating anxiety or fear and it comes out as anger. Put on your storm gear and walk softly into the storm.

Your soft words can be a welcome and unexpected surprise and let her finally talk through her pain.