Nothing is Wasted

Sometimes people like to hear a testimony AFTER all the trials are over, but the truth is there’s something intimate and beautiful about the way God brings support DURING the trials and testing. Enter with thanksgiving and praise with your mouth.

Before I go on, please know that if you feel you must go, then no one can stop you. It’s probably better that way and my kids and I won’t hold it against you.

And I think I’ve learned I’d rather find out people’s true colors than to have fake friends. Though it hurts my feelings for a minute, when I lay all my concerns at the feet of Jesus in prayer, HE REALLY DOES deliver healing and draws close to the broken-hearted. The faster I remember to pray the faster He takes the sting out of the actions and words from others and brings peace and healing.

I’m not afraid of my testimony. In fact, God is already using my (our) current situation to help other people. Nothing is wasted.

Over the past year since we got out of an unhealthy situation, God’s been absolutely pouring His blessings all over us. We’ve seen provision like never before.

I often hear people talk about this. Would you rather suffer physical abuse or emotional abuse? (Ummmm…neither one!)

Which is worse?

What kind of question is that?

Both. Both are worse. BOTH are awful!

Instead, what if we ask, “Why don’t more people hold people accountable for how we treat each other?” People don’t want to “intrude” or “it’s none of our business.” Nonsense. That isolation is a trick from the enemy as old as The Garden of Eden. We ARE to be in each others’ business. We are MADE for relationship.

And people all around you are silently screaming to be seen. I pray more have ears to hear the broken-hearted, because I promise they are sitting beside you in church, live next door to you, work beside you, and are in line in front of you (and behind you) as you wait to order coffee.

God increases faith. It’s BEYOND amazing to me every time He does it and in how many ways He does.

I don’t really have words to describe it. He does it in small and big and just… everyday ways. His promises are never empty. The more we trust in HIM and not in a place, what other people say, what seems logical, or my own understanding, the more He gently pries my fingers off control.

We have received prayers, well wishes, counseling, legal help, monetary donations, jobs, and other physical needs met all over the place since we started praying daily, “Lord, what do You want us to do today?” When we gave up “our” plans and stayed in prayer (I think it’s been about 7 years now) every day there is a contentment and fulfillment we can’t explain in words. If you think God is in a hurry to do stuff, look at Noah and the ark and other situations from Bible times. He has nothing to prove to anyone. I can put my trust in a God like that.

We know a lot of people have been praying for us. Many people are not aware but divorce is almost final. Five marriage counselors and almost 18 ½ years… feels like a few lifetimes….

In our culture we worship a marriage certificate more than we care about the health of the marriage, itself. (We probably worship a marriage certificate almost even more than we worship a GPA.)

This idolatry is a scary and not-so-easy-to-detect-sometimes thing.

And also if marriage was “The-End-All-Above-All-Most-Important-Thing-Ever” then why would God have turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt when she turned back? Just something I’ve been thinking about… He went on without her because she turned back when God said not to. The Bible is called The LIVING Word and He still leads us when we pray to Him (no matter what anyone else tells you.)


Our culture only says it’s a broken marriage if people SEE divorce happen.

But, Beautiful Precious You, you may already be all too aware that a marriage is broken SUCH a very, very, very long time before a divorce ever happens. God gave information about divorce to PROTECT women; not to imprison them. God hates divorce because …it’s purely awful and horrible and tears apart something that should have been together …but as we can see in The Bible He NEVER hates divorced people.

We (people) like to judge by if something looks like a “success” to us. But I believe MANY things we don’t call success are actually very successful in the view of eternity.

Going through this heartache, several people (mostly from church if you’d like to know the sad truth about it – but praise God my faith is in HIM and NOT in people) have shown that when we finally tell and they SEE something’s been going on, they will turn their backs on us. But the thing is that it was an extremely emotionally unhealthy atmosphere and we HAD to get out. Our bodies were screaming, telling us to get out long before we did. (We’ve been out just over a year now and my hair is even growing back! I wasn’t aware that the stress of it all had been taking such a toll on my physical health and my daughters’ too. Marriage should not ever be a Death Sentence. I have so much more to say. Maybe someday I’ll write a book. Pray about that with me.)

(A side note because it needs to be said: I hear you. Don’t worry, Modern-Day-Pharisee-Bible-Thumpers, I see you wagging your finger at me. And I’m still glad you’re here even with the log in your eye. If you’re trying to keep some kind of score because you feel the need to focus on sin in my life instead of what needs to be done in your life, then yes, I’ll let you know there was sexual sin on both sides, so maybe you can somehow rest a little more knowing that…? But, Beautiful You, there is so much more sin I committed before I was married and didn’t “honor the marriage bed and keep it holy.”  I might write a book on that some day. If it’s not my marriage bed, I didn’t/don’t belong in it, watching it, hearing about it, or reading about it. Neither do you…. Okay, now back to the article.)

God says He is our Deliverer. And even today God is STILL our Deliverer and He helped us WHEN my kids and I finally fasted and prayed for the mountain in front of us to be moved. That mountain moved.

He says faith moves mountains and the wonderful Truth is our faith STILL moves mountains.

He’s brought so many new friends and also support from many friends we’ve known a long time and many we met only online. The more we follow, the more He brings laughter, healing, and ….Deep calls to deep is the best way I can describe it.

A person we met online has believed in what God is doing in our lives about this Alaska homeless place I believe will be for sex-trafficked girl survivors. This place has not yet in existence outside my visions and dreams yet this person has donated an amount every month for over a year now.

In fact it started one month after my kids and I got out. Talk about giving me confirmation that God sees it all!

It may seem like a small thing. It’s not.

This consistent act of faith on this person’s part God has been using to make my faith even stronger. He is more than able to open and close doors to guide us. God has used this one person to be a constant reminder that He is faithful, He still leads, provides, guides, and to remind me that He sees everything and He is more than able no matter what anyone else says.

Please never think that you doing something for someone is not enough. It IS enough. And ONE person CAN make a difference.

Also after many prayers of where to work a couple years ago, my oldest was led to a job where she’s been able to learn more than any other classroom could teach her. She’s found her voice, learned how to deal with unkind customers and others, and found balance of when and how to ask for help when she needs it. This adult life is a constant place of learning more and of deciding to put everything in God’s hands or not. I’ve seen a shy, little girl grow into a bold, God-loving young woman who shares Him in every interaction as she works and serves.

And a few months ago after weeks and weeks of fervent prayer about my youngest, for God to reveal more how to use her talents He gave her, she was led to archery. She’s got a natural talent. The team qualified for Nationals and we received some financial help and we also used all we had to be able to go to Nationals.

Her archery team has now qualified for the World Championship.

A friend just donated toward this, and again, I have to give glory to God as my faith gets stronger. Of course it’s not always through money but He definitely has the ability to open and close doors financially as He guides us. (If you are moved to give to something, then give, and if you aren’t, then don’t. It’s just always that simple.)

Our prayer is if we’re supposed to go, God will provide the way and if we’re not, that’s okay too and we pray for peace either way. It seems most of the team has given up on going because the cost financially looks too high.

But it’s more than that. We are supposed to stay in constant prayer about everything and money is not my god. God is my God. We’re asking for prayers. If we’re not supposed to go, then so be it and if we are then He will provide the way; the hotel, the airfare, food, transportation when we get there, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention. We’ve been told this would be about $1,000 each person.

That maybe sounds kind of silly to go shoot a few arrows.

But it’s SO MUCH more than that. It’s courage, confidence, life-skills, and more.

Whether we go to the archery World Championship or not, only God knows. We’re just asking for peace and His direction.

ALL of this has to do with my testimony.

And all I’ve shared here about my life leads me to this. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

What about YOU?

Whatever you’ve been praying about or worried about or talking about or thinking about, if you’re reading this, you’ve been lifted up to Him in prayer too.

Our God STILL hears, and He STILL answers. He STILL opens and closes doors. The winds and the waves STILL know HIS NAME.

He STILL restores what’s been stolen;

Your faith? He is able.

Your joy? He is able.

Peace? HE IS ABLE.

I pray He increases your faith as you put trust in HIM and not what the world says and I pray He helps you to submit all things to Him through prayer asking Him to lead you every day.

He’s got you.

HE IS ABLE.

And NOTHING is wasted.

 

For Somebody Who Needs To Hear.

Beautiful You, please don’t take things so personally. People just don’t know what they don’t know. People sometimes turn their backs on you WHILE you’re going though all the stuff that makes a powerful testimony and that is unfortunate.

But that same testimony you have from it all will someday silence a room and is the very key that will help unlock other people’s prison doors.

Jesus did everything without sin and people still walk away from Him. How much more will it happen to us if it happens to Him?

Lay it down at His feet in prayer (every day if you keep picking it back up.) He sees it all and He understands and He loves you fiercely.

NOTHING is wasted.

Question Of Your Faith

When someone tells you he feels God told him something, put a specific ministry on his heart, revealed something to him, led him… or whatever words you can let your mind wrap around, why do you think people are often so quick to tell him it isn’t true?

And why do people say, when he talks about feeling called to a specific place by God to help homeless people, “Well …there are homeless people everywhere.”

Well, yes, there are. And even still God calls people to specific places sometimes.


That’s like when you hear a guy is going to get married, telling him, “Well there are women everywhere.”

Well …yes. But that would be kind of silly and kind of decreases how special this specific bride is to him.

Many people (who say they’re Christians with their voices) have also said that God doesn’t lead people anymore.

He does still lead.

He still answers prayers, He still parts the waters, calms the storms, helps us walk through fires, closes the mouths of lions, and faith still moves mountains.

It’s a LIVING Word; active and still alive.

 

This is not a question of the person’s faith who shares what he believes God is doing with him – but a question of theirs.

 

The God Who made every detail

of every detail

of every little detail

of the whole universe is SURELY able to guide people and speak and pour out His plans however He chooses into anyone He decides to.

Do you REALLY not know He is able to do this even now in 2018? The Truth is that you don’t even breathe air without His provision.

Maybe this is why the word believe happens so often through Scripture. You actually have to believe.

 

So the 2 questions are:

Do you not believe He can still call people?

Or do you not believe He’d call someone because YOU don’t see that someone as qualified?

 

From what The Bible says God has often called the least likely to do some pretty incredible work.

Perhaps this is why He says it’s so important to keep meeting with other believers.

Some just don’t, or won’t, or can’t believe.

But some do.

And make no mistake that when someone hears and stays focused in prayer, praise, fasting, and serving toward God’s purpose in him, this STILL opens doors to make something impossible become possible.

 What would your day look like if you really believe?

 

If God planted a ministry in your heart…

God can move the mountains that are in the way.

There are so many ministries that God planted in people – but that haven’t begun – because we (members of church) put our faith for financing, encouragement, prayers, and other support in leaders of a church.

Please read that again.

If God has laid a ministry on your heart and you don’t find the leaders of a certain congregation to be in prayer with you, encouraging your God-given talents, believing with you that God is calling you and that He calls each of us in His timing to do work He’s prepared in advance for each of us to do,

I pray you prayerfully consider that it’s (probably way past) time to look  UP  instead of looking for support all around.

 

Sometimes leaders of a church or organization will not share (and I cannot understand why) the dream God’s given you with the rest of the congregation and a reason I think this is sad is because God only knows who else shares your passion but since the elders, preachers, pastors, teachers, deacons, or select committees won’t share what you’re feeling God doing in you with the rest of the church, others with the same message on their hearts are not even aware of the ministry God’s growing inside your spirit.

 Please don’t let that steal your joy or your faith. You know the opposition wants to kill ministries before they’re even born. What a horrible trick to use churches to extinguish God-ignited passion! We’ve all been tricked.

(Maybe your hope has been in the wrong place.) Stay in prayer.

If God has given you the dream of a ministry, you KNOW that He is MORE than capable to provide everything that is needed to carry that job out; including bringing you to the very contacts He knows you need, providing the money you need, and the land, buildings, and supplies. HE is The God of the impossible and all HIS resources are overflowing! You can have a body of believers praying for you from all over the world!

You can trust God to lead and provide better than anyone else.

Trust HIS timing even when (you or) others seem to think something is not happening fast enough. Trust Him to align your steps, asking Him to guide you every day.

If church leaders tell you that the money is already budgeted for the next year – or ten years… maybe their faith isn’t what it needs to be. It’s possible that the leaders’ lack of faith that God will provide for ANY ministry He plants in someone is something He will make them aware of eventually. Maybe right now they aren’t able to see beyond what they can see. (It is also possible that God is not using a certain group to provide financial support  – but even if they truly believe the money donated at that location is to be used in other ways, the leaders can STILL provide much support including sharing what the ministry is about and actively praying with you and for you.)

Sometimes everyone seems to struggle with having little faith. (God’s been reminding me to be kind about this always no matter who I’m talking with because some days the struggle of little faith is within me.)

God works with us all at different times and in different ways.

 

If God is calling you to begin a certain ministry, keep trusting God, asking Him for confirmation, provision, wisdom, and guidance.

Maybe God wants you looking to HIM for support that ONLY HE can give.

It’s just a thought – and it’s one He’s brought me to after seeking, asking, and knocking for answers.

This letter is to encourage you to look beyond what you can see (and who you can see) and to keep praying for God to lead in ways and open doors that ONLY He can open anyway.

Your friends cannot open doors God has closed and your enemies cannot close doors that God opens for you.

You can know that I’m already praying about the ministry He’s planted in your heart (maybe it was planted a long, long time ago) and it will be exciting to hear what He does in your life! It’s not too late.

It doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. A tiny, baby step of faith is a great beginning.

 

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

[Very Important Note:  Years since this was written, Tony said he now wants “NOTHING to do with THAT blog or any of the money” from it. However, my two daughters and I believe about this Alaska homeless place and until and unless God shows us differently, the money raised will go to help support us as we wait in faith on The Lord’s timing. He’s teaching us more every day. I am letting this blog post remain because the emotional and verbal abuse we have dealt with over the years as he has relentlessly persecuted me and the kids for our faith has almost taken my life and greatly caused heartache in both girls and he admits here that his pride was the thing in the way and I cannot say I disagree. May God bless you as you wait on God to do what ONLY He can do with you and in you.]

Tony wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I’m begging for help.

Please share this with your church and friends.

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

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

Thank you. Tony

And more of our walk of faith is here.

Donate via PayPal here.

Missed Birthdays and Broken Holidays (Faith)

Some kids don’t get birthday parties.  Some kids get forgotten.

Some families don’t feel the “Holiday Spirit” and don’t have hope that anything will ever get any better than it looks right now.

Our family is going to go bring hope and Light to some kids and families.

We know this isn’t just with our power (and we also know God is calling more people to do this work with us.)  God renews us every day.  We trust that He will keep doing this so that we can help others and then they can help others, too (and so on.)

When God first put it on my heart that He was using our family in this way, of course I wanted to know more.  Who wouldn’t?!  This is the most amazing experience of my life; knowing He’s working in us and through us.

God has always led people and since He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can know He still leads people today.

Think about this.  How do you “know” something?  I mean, some women “know” they’ll have 2 kids.  Some “know” they’ll have 10.  Some people “know” they’ll never be married and some “know” they will be.  I’ve heard some people, after a young person died, say, “He always ‘knew’ he was going to die young.”  How did he “know?”

Sometimes we take our knowledge, gifts, and talents for granted.  We just “know” how to draw or how to invent things.  Sometimes we don’t even give credit to God because we have the ability to easily remember things or to do math in our heads, and we forget or don’t think about where this comes from.

Sometimes you just “know” stuff.  God put that in us.

We “know” He’s moving our family to Alaska to open and care for a homeless teen center (not yet in existence.)

~~~~>  The funny thing is that when we started packing boxes last year, waiting on His timing to move, the very first box I packed was full of mismatched tea party pieces.

I was blessed to have a roommate from college helping me pack.  I asked out loud, “WHY am I packing a tea set to move to Alaska?!  What a SILLY thing to pack!”

She looked right into my eyes and smiled, “I can’t WAIT to see how God manifests this tea set!”  <~~

Some kids are forgotten and some never had a birthday party.  Some got a black eye instead of a present.

Since that time after packing the tea party stuff, we’ve collected many sewing patterns (new and on sale.)  I wondered “WHY?”  “WHY am I collecting this many patterns and different kinds, too?  I mean, I do like to sew but haven’t really taken the time to so why would I be gathering this many patterns?”

Then God put this on my heart.

Some kids are homeless and have only the clothes they are wearing.

Oh, wow.  I hadn’t thought of that.  Not only will WE sew, but we will teach teens how to sew their own clothes and teach them job skills and share Jesus’ Love with them.

Then there’s this:  20 years ago I started collecting art supplies.  WHY?  I never really got time to paint, stamp, sew, or create like I wanted to so WHY have I had these supplies?

WHY did we pack decorations, hair cutting supplies, make up, and photography equipment?

It’s simple.

Homeless people aren’t trying to decorate for parties (or even go to any,) or visit the salon, or get family portraits done.

We are going to do this for them.

We believe God is moving us to Alaska to bring hope and Light and to celebrate missed birthdays and broken holidays with teens and families who haven’t had much light or hope in their lives.

We’re going to paint fingernails, cut hair, and donate our photography skills to people who otherwise would not have these luxuries.

At first I was like, “God, this may sound kinda silly to people.”

So I didn’t tell anyone that I believed He was doing this with us.

But it’s really not so silly when you think about it.

Celebrating someone’s birth and existence is a pretty routine thing for many people.  I know I was blessed to celebrate many birthdays with parties and friends.  You probably were, too.  Getting hair cuts, nails painted, family pictures, and going to the salon are things many people take for granted.

But when you have been neglected or overlooked or forgotten, moving our family to give hope and just to love on people is actually not such a silly mission at all.

So…  I said it.  Finally.  We’re going to Alaska to celebrate people who haven’t been celebrated much in their lives and who haven’t seen reasons to celebrate.

Prayers, donations, and support are always welcome here.

It’s all about God’s Power.

It’s up to us to obey His Calling (even if it looks silly to some.)

Cool fact to think about:  We don’t have to have all the answers right now or know how God’s doing this with us.  We will just have faith that He can and He is.

God opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.  We have faith and will keep asking, seeking, and knocking since He’s put this dream in our hearts.  Your prayers, good thoughts, well wishes, support, and donations are welcome as we step out in faith to do this work in His Name.

 

[Note:  There are many stories about how God led people – and it looked kinda silly to others when you think about it.

– There was a guy, Naaman, and God showed him he was to go dip in the Jordan river 7 times and his leprosy would be healed.  Silly?  He was even mad that there wasn’t some amazing, grand thing that would cure his skin.

But it was simple.

Obedience.

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.  2 Kings 5:10-14

– And what about that whole “March around Jericho and the walls will fall down” thing?!  Um, okay.  That would have been something to see!  (And God spared a prostitute and her family.)  What?!  But it happened.  Joshua 6:3-17

– And Noah?!  Are you kidding?  There had never been rain and He built a what?  A boat?  Um… yeah… right.  Can you imagine the jokes he endured?  What did the neighbors say?  Certainly he was mocked for his faith.  Genesis 6:9-22

We know.  We know.  It may sound silly to some.  Take this mismatched tea party set and have parties with people.  We are okay if it sounds silly.  We will still follow as God opens doors.

We expect that some people will mock us for believing God is doing this but the thing I didn’t expect was for so many who call themselves Christians to be among the ones laughing.

Maybe if we all focused on the jobs God’s planned for each of us we wouldn’t have time to make fun of each other.

~~>  Got courage?  Aren’t you a little bit curious to know God’s amazing plan for your life?  He has one.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  And KEEP doing this every day.  Follow the tugs on your heart and He will reveal to you what it is that He wants for your life.  <~~

By faith…  Check out Hebrews 11.

Check out the last 2 verses in Hebrews 11.  (I’ve thought about this verse and how it may relate to my life, too. ~~>)  39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

So….. IF I get to the end of my life on Earth and the Alaska homeless teen center does not exist yet, then He can STILL bring it to happen and I will STILL know and have peace that my life meant something as I walked in faith, trusting Him to lead my family.

I will share my faith in God and I will share what He’s doing in us and through us.

By faith, I will follow Him.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:15]

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

 

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is.

Nobody but God can qualify you for the work He has for your life.

Nobody can take away your job but God. If you turn your back on Him He may let you have your way though. But remember His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. So what I know for certain is that if you walk away from your calling, you’re missing out on what you were created for which leaves you feeling pretty empty.

And as for people who do evil saying it’s in God’s name – all I can say is I’d hate to be standing in your place after this earthly life ends. I’m glad I won’t have to see what happens to you for claiming to be a Christian or using God’s name to steal, kill, and destroy.

Contrary to the way the world has taught us to believe, you do not need a thousand hours of college or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to do the job God’s got for your life.

A degree does not make you more valuable in God’s eyes.

You are valuable just because He created you.

I’m writing this because I know many people who feel held back and for many it’s because they didn’t finish college so their lives are passing them by because culture told them they were “less than” and they are believing that lie.

Believe it no more.

I’m not saying college isn’t important for some things. It is. Surely there are some good things about college but many times we’re just aimless young people who haven’t had people in our lives helping us discover our talents and guiding us in the path God has for us. (I do know many people who spend college years studying the art of partying more than other subjects. You can find anything you’re looking for in just about any situation whether it is sex, drugs, stuff, pain, or wonderful friendships and other healthy things.)

Do not write me a hundred pages saying I’m a college hater. I’m not.

I went to college.

I went to a Christian college.

That does not make me a Christian.

It does not make me better than someone.

It does not make me smarter than someone who did not go to college.

That means I can pay money to sit in classes and listen to teachers for many hours.

 

What I AM saying is that college did NOT qualify me for the calling God has put on my heart.

 

Your mom doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Your dad doesn’t qualify you for your calling.

Of course they can encourage you (or, unfortunately, hold you back) but God qualifies you.

Teachers don’t qualify you.

Your best friend doesn’t qualify you.

Many times preachers or elders at church aren’t even realizing (or supporting) the talents you have or the calling God’s laid on your heart.

Your husband or wife can’t even qualify you but you can be supportive of each other as you serve God in the way He’s planned for both your lives.

Time and time again all through the Bible God does not call the “qualified” but He qualifies the called.

Are you living every day feeling like something is missing? Maybe it is. Ask God what’s missing. He is THE ONE to ask.

He restores what was stolen. In my life it was my innocence and my confidence one evening while playing hide and seek when I was 9 years old.

I did not even know my confidence had been stolen until He gave it back to me about one year ago. I lived about 35 years without my confidence. I know we can go through life missing stuff and not realize it. I’m living proof of this.

Ask God to restore what was taken from you. You may not even realize what is missing yet. He and only He can restore this for you.

There’s a great big world who needs you to do the job God created you to do. He will pick you up and give you a firm place to stand. He will give you all that is needed to do the job He’s called you to do and He opens doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open.

Is He calling you? You don’t have to wait for anyone else to validate you. Ask God what He wants you to do today. And keep asking every day. He will lead you.

 

 

When Life Is Just Not Fair

You like sports? There are many great things about watching, playing, cheering on, training for, and enjoying sports.

These words came to me when I watched The Death Crawl scene from Facing The Giants movie again recently.

Many times people talk about the coach in a physical team sport and even ADMIRE how he pushes the players to their limits.

If the players whine in a physical sport, people seem to have less respect for them somehow (or at least I’ve seen that happen.)

“But, Coach, it was MY turn to catch the ball! How come HE gets to?! It’s just not fair!” Hmmmm… so many thoughts come to my mind about how people would ridicule an athlete if they fussed like this on the field (probably even off the field.)

You are an athlete. Your life is the event.

The Coach is giving you the training you need to get through the battles you face. He is on your side.

What if we realized God may work in this same way and what if we didn’t whine, “It’s just not fair!” What if we realized He’s training us to be stronger just like any good coach does?

 

PLEASE NOTE: Whining is NOT the same as talking or crying about the battles you face. Crying is sometimes VERY necessary and helps cleanse you. There are fans and cheerleaders in sports for a purpose and if you are silent about the personal battles you are facing then how can someone know you need support? And we ALL need support. It is OKAY and it is NOT weak to need and want support. If you feel alone, ASK God to send support. He does this.

 

And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

ALL THINGS. Even the bad or hard stuff we live through.

Ask Him to empower you with the very right qualities and character to do the job He has for you. He does this.

And while you’re praying about these things and living your every day life, you can know I am cheering you on from the sidelines while you fight every day battles in front of you.

You CAN! You can do this! I believe in you! Just do not give up.

 

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

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

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

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

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

You think you’re ALL THAT?!

Trust me.

YOU ARE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

Where can we let off steam?

I’m a mom. And a wife and a leader and a servant and a taxi driver and a counselor and a nurse and a peacemaker and a teacher and a volunteer…

Where can we let off steam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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