My Struggle Saw Joy: Talking About God

My Struggle Saw Joy: Talking About God

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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This post was written in the midst of my husband being unemployed for a year and a half, so that we could help take care of his grandparents. I stumbled upon it in my drafts folder and as I read over it, I am once again in awe of how God works. During the most difficult struggle of my life so far, I was able to use our struggle to bring God glory. Our struggle saw joy every time we shared how He was working and moving in our lives and I am praising the Lord for it! Here is just one brief glance of what this looked like.

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Previously, I mentioned how I felt the Holy Spirit was calling me to something I did not want to do.

Ok, so maybe I’ve mentioned that a lot! 

Thankfully, I obeyed, even though I initially fought it, because within the past two weeks I have already seen the blessings and part of the reason why I was supposed to obey.

I started working part-time as a cashier at an establishment not too far from my home.  Initially, I was resistant for two main reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to leave my kids.  They’ve been through a lot lately and have been clingy.
  2. I didn’t feel I had the time. I was already working one part time job and homeschooling and didn’t feel like I could do more.

But God just kept pressing it upon my heart. And you know what He has done? He has taken away the excuses.

  1. The kids beg to go to their Mima’s where they can swim and play freely.  They beg!  Yes, they miss me, but they are well taken care of by someone who loves them very much too.
  2. God provided help for me so that what needed to be accomplished could be accomplished and nothing would be left behind.

What has amazed me during these past two weeks is how God is working even from day one.  I knew from prayer that I was supposed to reach out to someone, although I didn’t and don’t know exactly who. So what else can I do but reach out to everyone around me?  I’m working as if I’m working for the Lord and in that I am sharing how amazing He is in my life with others.  Yes, even at my part-time job!

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The opportunities that have been presented are amazing!

1. On the first day, I was just making small talk with a fellow co-worker.

We were talking about our kids and she mentioned that one of her kids had gone off the deep end.  I asked for that child’s name, wrote it down, and told her I would pray for him.  In that moment, the biggest smile I had seen all day flashed across her face. She became excited to know that I was willing to pray for her son and that I was a Christian.  We don’t work in the same department, but we do see each other from time to time. When our paths cross, there is instant camaraderie between sisters in Christ and we can encourage each other with just a wave.

2. I was checking a lady out and talking with her.

She was wearing a purple shirt with the word “relax” on it.  As we ended our conversation,

I said, “I hope you get the chance to relax today.”

She replied, “I’m sure I will. I was laid off on Friday.”

I couldn’t help but take the next 45 seconds to share with her how God has taken care of our family while my husband has been without work.

She said, “Yes, you’re right.  He was not at all surprised by this.”

“No, he wasn’t. And he won’t be surprised when you get the call for your next job, because he already knows where it will be and when that call will come.  Until then, he will faithfully take care of you.”

With teary eyes, we both praised God and said good-bye.

3. While checking another family out, we chatted about where we used to grocery shop.

Turns out we both shopped in a city thirty minutes away.  We laughed at the fact that we had a similar pattern.  She would attend the local university and then grocery shop after class.  I told her that we attended a congregation down the road and would grocery shop after Bible class on Wednesday nights. She then asked what time we had Bible class and if it was open to others.  Within the next minute, she and her family were invited to come have dinner with us and enjoy Bible study with us on Wednesday evenings.  They were so excited and I truly hope we get to see them again.

4.  During my break, I walked into the break room where a fellow coworker was taking her break.

I thought she was talking on her phone but it turned out she was reading aloud.  As my ears acclimated to what I was hearing, I exclaimed, “I just read that same passage this morning.  What is it–Romans 11?”

“No, it’s Romans 12,” she replied.  For the next ten minutes we talked about how amazing God is and how he leads us to places we never would have dreamed.  It’s truly wonderful to be able to be encouraged by another believer in the middle of a work day.

I never would have dreamed I would be working here, but where God plants us, we can thrive.

I’m sure Joseph never saw himself landing in prison, but he leaned into God and he thrived.

The moment we start to realize thriving isn’t a physical attribute but a spiritual one, our attitudes can drastically change. We will live in gratitude to be serving our Savior in whatever way is put before us, whether it’s a carpenter, a tent maker, a lawyer, a mother, a friend, a blogger, or in this instance, a cashier.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your position, but look up at the One who put you there and praise Him for the opportunity to serve Him wholeheartedly.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

They Will Be Done When I'm Comfortable Praying the Psalms Sharing Christ with Others in Simple Ways Fast Against Laziness

A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

A Refuge of Hope for the Struggling Soul

Melissa W

Melissa W

Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of three - two boys and a girl (the girl being squished right in the middle). After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home homeschool mom living life on her little 1 1/2 acre homestead raising chickens, two goats and a small garden. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
Melissa W

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To understand Him is to understand hope. To understand His gift of mercy is to understand His gift of grace. To understand our continued state of rescue is to understand our place of refuge. 

Abide.

Lately, nothing soothes my heart and mind more than the moments where I find myself sitting still and abiding with my Lord. There, I draw comfort and strength. I focus on Him and who He is as Father, Son, and Spirit. In the place of full abiding is where I can breathe Him in, refreshing and perfectly good.

Abide in His refuge.

Who He is completely captures me. Though I should want to recoil in shame, I am nonetheless drawn into His presence fully aware of the grace and mercy covering me. The very essence of my continued rescue is found in those moments when I rest in Him, and the exceptional standard of hope that is found in Him is given during these moments. Words from the Psalmist come to mind as I recall the image of refuge, a refuge found in those moments of abiding.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

Abide in His Dwelling Place

The Throne Room of Heaven, the Holy of Holies. It is a place to where I move beyond seeking escape. It is a place where I can come to Him and it is intimate, beautiful, and holy. Holding fast to Jesus, I can enter His presence with reverence and with rest. This combination of feelings produces an attitude which depicts the place of His dwelling. Here grace envelops me all the more, so wherever sin has tempted and tried…sin finds full defeat.

Abide in the Rescuer

Through the God-Son, there is no manner of sin that was not defeated through His perfection, through His death, and through His resurrection. So, in all the ways fleshly desires hound us and in all the way sin’s aroma seeks to draw us in, we can hold fast to the knowledge of a Rescuer who felt the same temptations and conquered them.  His accomplishments over–not just the very nature of sin, but as well as its enticing, tempting ways–are a victory we can claim. This continued state of rescue is what heals, strengthens, humbles, and produces an immense sense of awe.

“Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:14-16

 

Abide in Jesus

Maybe, like me, you sometimes feel the heaviness of struggle. Perhaps you empathize with Paul when he said, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” There is hope. For the believer, hold firmly to Him. Approach the throne of grace with the confidence you have as one who has been redeemed by, and through, Jesus Christ. He is our help and our refuge in time of need, in time of temptation and struggle. His grace binds us to Him completely. Hold on to that and find rest in Him. While on this side of heaven we are not free from temptation, but we are free from its chains–through Christ alone. Abide in Him, for in Christ our holiness is found.

 Teach my song to rise to YouWhen temptation comes my wayAnd when I cannot stand I'll fall on YouJesus, You're my hope and stay.Lord I Need You (Matt Maher)
*If you would like to know more or have any questions, please feel free to contact us
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The Wise Woman Builds Her Worth Upon the Rock

The Wise Woman Builds Her Worth Upon the Rock

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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If you grew up in the church at all, or even if you didn’t, you have probably heard the song, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock.” The song is based on Jesus’ words right after he gives his famous Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7:24-27, he says this about what two people do with what he has just taught:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Untitled design
That paragraph boils down to this: Life is hard. Bad things happen in this imperfect world. Choose to build your life on things you can never lose. If your life centers on things you can lose like money, or your job, or praise and affection from people, when the going gets tough it’s gonna be a rough ride.

Building Our Daughters’ Self-Worth

I’ve seen a trend rising that says we shouldn’t tell our daughters they are beautiful. If we do, we are damaging their self-worth. For example, see this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/10083124/Dont-tell-your-daughter-she-is-beautiful-parents-told.html

On the surface, I think this is a good thing. Women and girls absolutely should be praised for more than their looks. They are worth way more than what the eye reveals. However, the author suggests that we replace our praise about beauty with praise for skill. As I thought about it and compared this idea to what Jesus says, I realized that both of these forms of praise are sandy ground.

All other ground is shifting sand-2

 Consider this scenario:

Let’s pretend I have praised my daughter for how quickly she completes puzzles, or how beautifully she paints, or how accurate she is in her math work. Let’s imagine that her self-worth, in part, is built on this praise.

The rains are about to come down.

Another day she is putting together a puzzle and is having great difficulty, or she can’t get her painting to look the way she wants, or she is learning a new, challenging math concept and receives a poor grade on a test. Where does this leave her self-worth if it was built on this praise?

The floods are coming up.

The winds of her heart are blowing and that part of her self-worth on which this skill was built is torn down.

So, should we praise our daughters (and sons) for how kind they are rather than appearance or ability? For praising them for things of the heart, so to speak? Wouldn’t that be better?

Let’s say I have praised my daughter for having a kind heart. I see her being tender with a friend in need, or I see her showing compassion and empathy toward a sibling.  I praise her for it, and in part, she builds her self-worth and identity on being a kind and compassionate person.

Another day there is someone for whom she feels no empathy or love. Her feelings are mostly annoyance and she acts rudely. Or perhaps she snaps at her siblings and despite her efforts, she cannot regain her composure and yells at them. Again, the floods are coming up and the winds are starting to blow.

If you stop reading here, you might think I am saying that we should not praise our children for these things laid out above.

I am not.

We need to and ought to praise our daughters (and sons) for their accomplishments and for their kind, compassionate, and beautiful hearts. I praise my children every day for these things. I even praise them for their physical beauty and handsomeness, because my goodness, they are so cute!

What I am saying is that all of this is not enough.
This praise is not worthy to build self-worth on.
All of these are sandy ground.
There must be something else in addition to all of this.

We need to build on the rock.

So what is the rock?

 

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress,
I will not be shaken.
 God is the Rock.

 

He is the only one worthy of supporting and carrying our self-worth. Why is He worthy? Unlike beauty trends, human ideas, affection from people, and our emotions, He does not change like the shifting shadows (James 1:17) or move around like the sandy ground on the beach. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our appearance, our skills, and our emotions change too frequently and are too unstable to support something as valuable as our self-worth.

 

What He says doesn’t change either. Here is what God, our Rock, says in His Word about your daughter’s worth and yours too.

 

You are created in the image of the almighty, all-powerful, and all-loving God of the universe.

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

 

So I will teach our daughter this truth: God is unfathomably amazing. To be created in His image is astounding.

You are perfectly and wonderfully made by His own hand.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

 

So I will tell our daughter how beautiful she is. And in the very next sentence, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock by reminding her that God knitted every single part of her body together. He likes her just the way she is because He made her that way and all His works are wonderful. I pray she knows that full well.

 

He has a plan just for you with jobs He created for only you to do and that only you can do.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

 

 

I will praise our girl for her hard work and her talents and her kind, loving heart. Then, with God’s help, I’ll set her worth on the Rock as I also tell her God knows her inside and out. He has planned certain tasks just for her, and He created characteristics in her to accomplish those tasks. The Creator knows she is the right one for these jobs.

 

He loves you with a beautifully fierce and unconditional affection that movies, books, songs, and other people can never replicate.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:37

With God’s help, I’ll place her worth on the Rock by reminding her of His unfailing love for her. I’ll do this by reading to her His words. I’ll point out His acts and displays of love in the little and big things that happen in her life. I’ll remind her that God’s love for her doesn’t change whether she fails or whether she succeeds. And when her heart is broken, while she may be sad, her worth will not be shaken because it was never wrapped up in human affection.

 

You are worth dying for.

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I’ll be sure to tell her the Creator of the universe deems her worth dying for. That Jesus paid the price for all of the wrong she has done and will do. He paid it because He thinks she is that worthy and that valuable. He longs to spend eternity with her and have her make His home in heaven her home too. So when she messes up, like we all do, her worth won’t slide because it was not built upon being a “good person.”

 

It was built upon the rock.
And the wise woman builds her worth upon the Rock.
What other ways can we teach our daughters to build their self-worth on the Rock?
Feeding the Flame: Is Your Faith a Blaze or a Flicker?

Feeding the Flame: Is Your Faith a Blaze or a Flicker?

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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“Can you come pick me up? I had to take the truck to the shop.”

I did not want to hear those words right as I was putting my daughter down for her nap! Apparently, my poor husband had been taking care of car troubles all morning. I thought it was a normal day, with my husband at work, I hadn’t been looking at my phone.

Feeding the Flame of Doubt

Driving to pick him up, I felt my mood on the decrease as I thought about what these truck problems might cost. We’ve got enough, but money is still tight right now. The last thing we needed was to spend our financial cushion. I felt like crying. Later that day I did.

My insecurities set in.

“You are such a loser…if you had taken a real job after college you wouldn’t be in this mess.”

“You aren’t smart enough to have a real job. You don’t have enough talent.”

Naturally, like any good wife, I texted my wallowings to my husband. To which he replied, “It’ll be okay…we have God.”

Hmmm…I know, I know. We have God. Why don’t I feel okay though? Why isn’t that enough for me right now?

God had an answer for me.

 

Feeding the Flame of the Lord’s Altar

While my daughter was napping, I opened up my Leviticus study and the highlighted verse for the day was Leviticus 6:12:

“The fire on the altar must burn continually; it must not be allowed to go out. The priests are to feed wood to the fire every morning…”

feeding the flame

The altar was holy. It was a direct path to the presence of God and communication with him. The aromas burnt on this altar were for God and pleasing to him. I find it so fascinating that God instructed the fire to burn continually. God was the one who started the fire to begin with. Leviticus 9:4 says,

“Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.”

God’s instructions were that the fire on the altar be only the fire from God. The altar offerings were important–they were a means to salvation–and they could only be made with God’s help. This fire on the altar was a symbol of God’s power and presence in the lives of the Israelites and a reminder of their constant need for Him.

This fire didn’t stay burning on its own though. The priests had to feed it each morning with wood so that it would not go out.

 

Feeding the Flame of Faith

That morning when everything seemed to be going wrong for me I had not fed my fire. That whole week, actually, I had not fed my fire. I don’t mean the literal fire on the altar mentioned in Leviticus, but you know what fire I’m talking about. The Spirit and the passion that lives inside of us when we accept Christ. The Spirit of Christ which cleanses us and makes us holy. Yes, that fire. Perhaps that fire needs to be fed often too. Perhaps that is a flame that should not burn out.

When I feed my flame, I’m reminded of God’s power and of his loving grace. I remember that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Then, when troubles come my way I don’t have to listen to the devil whisper insecurities in my ear. I won’t be overcome with worry and frustration. Because I have God. 

If you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior then you have God, too. Having God means that we see the big picture. We see that we’ve overcome all obstacles already through the blood of Christ. Christ has prepared a way for us to eternal life with God, and that, my sweet friend, is what matters most in this life.

Once I fed my fire that day and was reminded of God’s power and grace, my attitude changed. I began to see all the ways God had provided for us. I was grateful we had the money to pay the car shop and our bills! We had good cars to drive, and all of our needs were met. Things were going to be just fine. (And they were!)

Feeding the Flame

A Flickering Flame or a Roaring Fire?

When we forget to feed our flame, we’ll hold only a small flicker and we’ll forget the power we have in Christ. We must feed our fire daily, every morning, so that it will not run out! 

When you wake up each morning, acknowledge our God! Make time to study His word so that you can learn more about Him. Feed your flame! Let God set your heart on fire and may it burn brighter and brighter over time.

Feeding the flame pinterest
Why God Told Us to Stop Going to Church

Why God Told Us to Stop Going to Church

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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Now, some of you may be saying I’m blaspheming and others may be excitedly cheering. However, before you come to any quick conclusions, listen to my story. Then tell me if you believe we heard God correctly or not.

A No-Brainer Decision

After getting married and settling back into our hometown, my husband and I automatically started attending the congregation we grew up attending.  Why wouldn’t we?  It seemed perfectly natural and logical.  This congregation had a lot of things going for it:

  • It was the closest location to our residence.
  • We grew up in that congregation.
  • My mom and dad attended that congregation.
  • Since we grew up there, they were our spiritual family.

Before placing membership, we never stopped to pray and ask with which congregation we should be involved.  Again, why would we?  All the other pieces fit.

Fast forward eight years or so into our marriage:  Our prayer life had totally changed.  Changed so much so that instead of asking God to bless our ideas or to shut a door, we were asking Him to be our guide and show us what to do in all areas of life.  He was turning everything upside-down or right-side up, depending on how we looked at it.

Stop Going to Church? What?

It was not even on our radar when God told us to leave our church family.  What?  Surely, we didn’t hear You correctly.  This is our family–physically and spiritually.  It doesn’t make any sense.  This is where we’ve grown up.  We’ve planted ourselves and our little children here.  We are active here.  Why?  How does this make sense?

Honestly, my first reaction was not one of instant submission and acceptance. Instead, I argued with God and tried to convince myself and my husband that we must have heard God wrong.  He would never want us to leave our church home, right?  Isn’t that why He created the church, so we would each be part of His church family?  Why would He now ask us to leave the church family He put us in?  My interaction with God sounded a bit like this:

God, You’re surely making a mistake.  This is one of those “test the spirit” moments that 1 John 4:1-3 talks about and since it doesn’t match up to my plan, I’m sure we are misunderstanding what You are saying.

But my tried and true, faithful husband gave me that “You’re being stubborn and digging your cute little heels in where they shouldn’t be dug” look.  Did I also mention I’d been working on submission for many years?  God was definitely using this as a time to mold and shape my heart to fit His will and not mine.

Heeding the Call to Obey

So after a year or more, I was convicted of something that I never realized played a part in our choice to stay at our home congregation. I realized I was putting my physical and spiritual family ahead of God.  Matthew 10:37-38 kept ringing through my heart:

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

How could I not be convicted?  I was putting my own comfort of being with “my family” over God!  Wow!!  That hit me like a ton of bricks. Finally, I was ready to accept that God did intend for us to leave this particular church family.  For some reason, He wanted us somewhere else.

Where Should We Go to Church?

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, (1)I’ve learned that when God asks you to trust Him, He doesn’t lay out His entire plan and then wait for your approval.  No!

Instead, He says, “Follow Me. Trust Me.  I’ll get you to where you need to go.” So without a game plan or a direction to follow, during the summer of 2012 we began visiting different congregations every other week.  We went all over the city and to small towns up to forty minutes away.  Where He would plant us, we didn’t know, but we knew we wanted to obey.

We landed in a place that neither of us had ever heard of before, a congregation born out of adversity and challenge.  When the church began, they started out meeting at a park, where every Sunday they would pray for God’s guidance and praise Him for how He was working in their lives.  Years later, when we came to them, they were located about twenty-five minutes from our house in a different city than where we lived. The first time we walked in. we knew that this might be the place for us.  Through prayer over the next month, we realized this was the congregation where God wanted us to be involved.

Why did God tell us to find a new church?

We still didn’t know.  We were still trying to obey while He revealed that plan.  In the meantime, we got to know people and became involved in the congregation’s work.

The Blessings of Obedience

We have been there a little over 3.5 years. As we look back over our time there and the friendships and family we have made, we can see why he put us there…or at least partially why so far:

  • We became adoptive parents of an awesome college student. This twenty-one-year-old student’s father tragically passed away from cancer last year.  My husband also lost his father to cancer when he was twenty-one.  We feel God put us at this congregation to be a support for this college student. Especially since my husband has been through such a similar situation, he can relate and encourage him more.
  • Some amazing friendships have blossomed, stemming from our involvement with this congregation.  Friendships that have even affected this blog.  Before attending this congregation, I didn’t know Britnie, McKenzie, or Julie, but here we are sharing our lives together publicly because God sent our family to that congregation.
  • Our children have had the opportunity to reach out and serve families in a poorer part of Oklahoma City through Cross & Crown Mission. Our family has been fortunate to meet many who are Christ’s hands and feet down there. We were even encouraged to bring our kids to serve with us instead of discouraged because of their young ages.
  • We have been blessed to be part of a congregation that rejoices in praising our Lord, is led by the Holy Spirit, and serves without hesitation.
  • My husband and I believe that God can restore any marriage if a couple is willing to let Him work.  I think our willingness to stick our necks out, to get to know people and be intentionally prayerful and encouraging in their marriages, even when they are falling apart, is part of the why too.

I’m sure there are some that I’m missing or things I just don’t see yet, but one thing I know for sure. Without obedience we would have missed so many blessings.

A verse from one of my favorite hymns resonates one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during this experience…

Trust and obey,

For there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus,

But to trust and obey.

Have you been trusting God in your life or have you been dismissing His calling?  

Don’t miss the blessings that obedience brings.  No matter how uncomfortable it might make you, the rewards are so much greater!

When It’s Just Too Much

When It’s Just Too Much

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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When It’s Just Too Much

The tears keep coming today and at first I couldn’t figure out why.

My heart is heavy.

 

I’m tired.

 

I’m trying not to be frustrated.

 

It’s just one of those days where I come to God and say,

 

“I can’t figure it out. I can’t think straight. My mind is going in all different directions and then it feel like I can’t think at all….”
Then my mind wanders and I can’t even seem to finish a prayer.

 

Trying to focus and get my mind to think clearly, I open my Bible.

I read varying passages from the books of the Bible that have been gaining my attention lately: James, I Samuel and Philippians.
I’ve been singing a song based on Philippians 3:10 to my children lately:
“I want to know Christ and the power of his rising.
Share in his suffering conform to his death.
When I pour out my life to be filled with his Spirit,.
Joy follows suffering and life follows death.”
As this song echoed in my mind and God’s powerful Word worked it’s way into my heavy heart, I realized I was overcome with sadness with all that is going on in the world right now.

Why? Why are people being mistreated, being killed, taken advantage of and used for the purpose of others. Between processing what’s happening in Venezuela, what happened in Charlottesville, birth and life not being valued, situations going on in my friends’ lives, and so many other things….my heart just hurts for this world. My heart hungers for God’s justice and for God to save so many from this torture and heartache.

It’s cliche but this world needs Jesus!

When I finally realized what was bothering me, all I wanted to do was run and pray.  I decided I couldn’t leave the kids home alone, so I went and let out some energy by picking the weeds that had overtaken our patio.

It was the perfect time to pick weeds because it has been raining for two days.  In an hour, thanks to the down pouring of rain, I was able to pick all the weeds that had over taken the area.

I couldn’t believe how many weeds there were and how big some had become.  It’s been almost 3 months since I’d picked any weeds so it made logical sense that they had gotten so big and unruly.  As I uprooted them, I realized something that these weeds and this world have in common.

 

What Weeds & the World Have in Common

If we, as people, nip problems in the bud when they are small, they won’t get overgrown and out of hand.  We have let many of these things happen because we haven’t taken a united stand against them.  We need to allow the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given to each one of us as followers of Christ, to work in our lives so that we can tame the weeds of this world and pull them out by their roots!
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We do this by going out to all the world (our neighbors, our coworkers, those God put’s in our paths) and disciplining them, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey Christ’s words (Matthew 28:19-20).  As they grow in their faith and obedience to the Lord, the weeds will be picked out of their lives as they are continually being picked out of ours.  Then they will continue the cycle.

Using the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

We as a body of believers (and I’m speaking to myself here) are often more content praising God from our pews and in our Bible studies than praising Him in front of others and sharing how God has changed our lives.

If your heart has been hurting because of the events going on in this world, take heart!  Jesus warned us there would be struggles but he also promised us His Spirit, which would allow us to do great things while living on this earth.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Jesus, John 16:33
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This sky was God showing off his beauty as I finished picking the last of the weeds.

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
Jesus John 14:12

It’s Time to Take a Stand

If your looking to making a difference this is the first step.  Reach out to others and share Christ.  Pray about how you can get involved in whatever is tugging at your heart the most and get involved.
Now is not the time to be afraid or to sit back and be overcome by this world. It’s time to take a stand and take action.

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