More Than Anything

We designed and bought magnets for gifts. And we also took the time to get a new little picture of the 3 of us and have it printed.

We sent a picture and a magnet and a note last Christmas to people we thought would appreciate them.

I knew the note and the picture were paper and may not last a long time.

But the magnet, I thought would last a really long time.

I was wrong.

It was the first time I’ve sent out Christmas cards in years because of some personal reasons.

This is what it looked like on our small budget.

Pray magnet before

After a short while I noticed the magnets hanging on our fridge, if they were moved much or touched much or fell on the floor or got water on the edges they soon looked more like this.

Pray magnet after

I will confess. At first we were sad about the company that told us they were “stick on car” and “all weather” quality magnets because it turns out they’re not such long-lasting magnets after all.

Also when I buy something (no matter the price or what it is) I kind of expect it to last forever. (It doesn’t.)

At first I felt embarrassed that the magnets aren’t the quality we were told… but after thinking and praying a little while, I realized that they are kind of like prayer.

We need to pray.

Then we need to pray again.

Then more.

Since Jesus is part of a trinity with God and The Holy Spirit (like you may be one person and also many; a mom, wife, sister, cousin, aunt, daughter, niece, friend, etc.) and Jesus needed to pray so much then how much MORE do we need to stay in constant prayer?

Have you ever loved someone and they never acknowledged you or talked to you or looked at you? It really hurts.

God loves us and wants to be close to us more than anything.

He watches us sleep while we’re breathing the air He provided with the lungs He created and He longs to have more conversation with us.

He is jealous for you. It’s why He sent Jesus to pay our debt. Why He did things this way… I don’t have to understand the whole thing. My job is to believe and share Him.

Some people study The Bible like all the time but don’t talk TO God.
Someone can learn all ABOUT God and yet still not really intimately KNOW Him.

These sad looking Pray magnets ended up being a good reminder to me that this prayer thing is an hourly thing, moment by moment, and though one prayer can change a life, constant and often prayer is what we are called to for this intimate relationship with our Father.

He loves you.

Pray note Christmas Valor 2018

[Note from Kerri Valor:

Some don’t know and some do know that divorce happened. The only thing he could not step on was my faith. There is a lot to talk about with the emotional abuse that had been going on for years and I have a lot to say about it but that’s not for this article.

Our God still is our Deliverer and He still delivers us out of unhealthy situations when we put our hope in HIM. My kids and I prayed for what to fast from and fasted from specific things for three months. The doors opened. God brings provision in all kinds of ways and from all over the place and this includes laughter and friends, legal help, He provides physical places to live, jobs, cars, and more.

The Bible says God hates divorce. I do too. It’s purely awful. It’s heartache like no other. But God does not hate divorced people.

A marriage is broken for many years before a legal divorce happens.

God sees every moment and He wastes nothing. He uses everything and He’s already been using this part of my story to reach people who need to have space from a husband who pushes them away in 100 different ways all the time. That’s not cherishing a wife and loving her as Jesus loves the church.

I’m not talking about a bad day. I’m talking about a toxic relationship.

While divorce is a very sad thing in some ways, no matter what the circumstances, this was another confirmation that when we fall back, trusting Him to catch us, He still does.]

Valor 3 picture Christmas 2018

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

 

An Open Letter to Divorced Parents at Christmas,

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

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

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

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

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

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

My feelings matter.

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

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

I dreaded time with people who made me feel unwanted.

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

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

You “get” chicken pox.

You “have” a rash.

You “have” to “go.”

You “got” a broken arm.

“I have my son for the holidays.”

What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m stuck between two homes.

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

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

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

Just talk to me.

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

I get it. You’re grieving.

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

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

I will be okay and you will be okay.

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

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

A Note from Chloe’s Mom.

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

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

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

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

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

We will be okay and you will be okay.

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

Love, Kerri and Chloe

 

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

 

Everybody is kind of broken.

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

They don’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

To Move A Mountain

Prayers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it’s not bigger than God.

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

He knows how and we will trust Him.

God is bigger.

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

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

We’re asking Him to move a mountain.

Thank you for your prayers.

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

Period.

This is ALL about God’s Power.

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

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