Embracing His Love

Embracing His Love

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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Last Thanksgiving my husband’s parents generously hosted Thanksgiving at a condo in Branson so that we could enjoy the holiday festivities at Silver Dollar City. It was truly a wonderful idea! We were very excited about taking our then two-year-old daughter to experience such a fun place!

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It just so happened that Silver Dollar City’s holiday hours were a tad bit inconvenient for our daughter’s nap schedule and so we went in the evening, a time that is usually not her happiest. In addition the crowds were heavy, which meant we couldn’t let her toddle around very much, and it was so, so cold. As you can imagine, she wasn’t very happy. She cried and cried. My husband’s sweet parents soon took her back to the condo where she could play in a more comfortable setting.

Of course, we were not angry with her for causing stress on our delightful plans. We could see her tiredness and frustration. Understanding her limits as a toddler, we had compassion for her. (As a side note, we really had a great trip and thankfully everyone was able to have a fun time. We just had to work around the limitations of our young daughter!)

The Lord’s Compassion

Psalm 103:8-14 says:

“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens of the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.”

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Do you ever feel distraught over your mistakes? Perhaps you were given a wonderful opportunity to do something marvelous but ended up making a mess of everything. In these times it can be easy to let fear and embarrassment keep us from approaching our Heavenly Father. We might even back away from our church family. It is so easy to be overcome by our pride and insecurity. How easy it is to forget that God loves us as a father does his children, that he understands our limits and frailties.

I’m reminded of the prodigal son. He begged for his inheritance money and foolishly blew it all on worthless things while living a lazy lifestyle. When he humbly returned home with the plan to work as a servant, his father RAN to him and threw him a large party. His son’s return filled him with joy! Christ explained that God’s enthusiasm is the same when one of his precious children returns to him.

Embracing God’s Love and Presence

Our Father God is rich in love for us. We must be kind to ourselves when we mess up. We should humbly seek him at even our most shameful times. He understands. He will welcome us! When we rest in His love for us, we will be able to move past our mistakes and shortcomings. We can dare to do great things for Him without worry and doubt in our way!

So be encouraged, sweet friend! How freeing it feels to know the pressure to be perfect can dissipate when we truly embrace that we are His child, whom he dearly loves.

I love the music video for Andrew Peterson’s song “Be Kind To Yourself.”.” Two of his children are featured in the video with him, and the affirming words of his unconditional love for them are a gentle reflection of God’s love for us. I hope it will encourage you today if you are struggling with insecurity or past mistakes. God loves you so deeply! Embrace his presence today!

Click HERE to watch “Be Kind to Yourself”.

*A discussion topic found in The Lifegiving Table Experience by Sally Clarkson inspired this post.

 

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Put down the Rope and Stretch out Your Hand

Put down the Rope and Stretch out Your Hand

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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Have you ever been lassoed?

I have and let me tell you it was not a fun ordeal. Even though the person intended it as a joke, it got out of hand. The rope burn around my neck lasted for weeks. This experience left me with a memory that brought about a spiritual revelation decades later.

When I first became a Christian, I was super excited to share Christ with others–and I still am. Where I look back now with a sad heart is how I felt I needed to “rope” someone around their spiritual neck and drag them Where I look back now with a sad heart is how I felt I needed to -rope- someone around their spiritual neck and drag them up to my current spiritual understanding.up to my current spiritual understanding. I was young and immature in my understanding. I wish I could apologize to all those I left with rope burn.

So if you are reading this today–I’m sorry on behalf of myself and anyone else who has done this to you. They might have had the best of intentions but presented their care for you very poorly.

Thankfully, a wonderful Christ-filled couple willingly mentored my husband and me over the years.  Through them, we realized that our initial way of doing things was not the way Jesus handled things. They held out their hand, walked with us, studied scripture with us, and by grace, patience, and love helped us along our spiritual journey.

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Mentored instead of Roped

Instead of roping us around the neck and dragging us up to their level of spiritual understanding, they were patient with us, and allowed us time to grow and mature.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

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It’s important to realize that we are all on our own personal walk with our Lord and Savior. He has patience and grace as each person is walking and growing in their faith. We need to do so as well.  This definitely goes for those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior yet too!  Yes, we want them to have the same hope we do. But trying to drag them into it will not make it happen.

If we feel we are ahead of a friend, we don’t need to rope them and drag them to our level. No! If we try that, then they miss the wonderful opportunity to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Instead, we need to reach out our hand and encourage them along the journey. That way, when we stumble and fall, we also have a friend holding our hand and helping us along.

So, if the rope is still in your hand, will you agree to put down the rope and reach out your hand?

Have you ever roped someone or has someone roped you?

How did that affect your relationship with that person and the Lord?

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Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

Candace B

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am currently a stay-at-home-mom and I help my husband in every way in his position as a youth minister (It's a true labor of love and we wouldn't be anywhere else!). I am also working on my teacher certification so when both my kids get into school I will have a job that I am passionate about, get to see my kids all the time, and will be out when they are out. I am most importantly a Christian and strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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Does this sound familiar?

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.”

Yes, that is a part from the well-known song “Let It Go.”  If you have small children, you have heard this more times than you would like to admit. But have you ever really listened to the lyrics?  These are some beautiful words of truth to live by in everyday life!  I would like to focus on one topic that plagues me on a daily basis: control.

Yes, I said it, control.  I feel that as parents, it is hard not to control everything.  Things would be better, run more smoothly, and you would get things done a LOT faster if you did things rather than the little people.  I would like to point out–I do not have all this figured out, hence the reason why I am writing this post!  But I hope this may be a source of encouragement for all the parents out there who want to “help,” “guide,” etc. your kids in all they do.

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Here are some points to consider:

1. Give them space.

Kids need space to do what they need to do. If you are over their shoulders they do not have the capacity to express what they would like to do.  You will realize your kids are capable of SO much more than you think.

2. Let them make mistakes. 

Instead of calling them “mistakes,” let’s say learning by trial and error.  They will make mistakes, but this is how they will learn, grow, and understand what they could do to make it better next time.  You want them to understand that there will be tough times, but they need to learn to work through it on their own.

3. Be present.

Be there, love them, lend them a hand when they need it.  It is always important that you are still there with them so they know you are available when they need you.  There is a fine line between hovering and hanging back to let them figure things out. Make sure your kids know that when things get tough, you will be there to assist in any way possible.

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I wanted to write this post because every day I try and want to do EVERYTHING for my kids.  I tend to assist, hold their hand, insist that I do it for them.  But what I have learned is that when you let go, you let your kids show you just how much they can amaze you.  Recently, I wanted to do a painting craft with my daughter.  I knew that my instincts to not let her would creep in. So I decided to embrace what she could do.  The time we spent together painting blessed me tremendously because I learned what an encourager she is!

“Mommy, you do a really good job!”

“That is beautiful!”

“You are the best Mommy ever.”

It brought tears to my eyes because just letting her paint by herself showed me one of many talents God gave her!  We serve an awesome God!

Make no mistake, God works in all of us when we let him and he works in your children as well.  He blesses, he cares, and when you let go…you let God take control.  What a beautiful sight it would be if we let go and have full faith and trust in God!

How do you “let it go?

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Slowing Down the Hurried Heart

Slowing Down the Hurried Heart

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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Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14

My son is always begging me to take him to the Science Museum. For months he has been asking if we could go to the science museum. Month after month, he pleaded his case.

The morning finally arrived. As he headed to his room to dress for the day, I casually said over my shoulder, “Oh, by the way, we are going to the science museum today.”

My announcement thrilled him. I could see the excitement and anticipation in his eyes throughout the morning and on the drive to the museum. His heart, I imagine, was racing with expectancy the whole way.

His fun-filled, delightful day at the museum was everything he hoped it would be and more. He explored and soaked in everything he possibly could.

His day of fun and goodness was largely connected to his obedience and patience.

I did not unleash him into the museum to explore everything on his own. I set parameters for him. As I gained trust in his obedience, his parameters grew. When he was ready to explore beyond his parameters, (usually after some reminders) he was patient to wait until we could move there together. He was able to see and do so much more, because he chose to trust me and my plans for him.

A heart of hurriedness and disobedience would have resulted in a much different experience for him. It might have left him leaving the museum earlier or not being able to see as many exhibits. It would have probably robbed him of the joy that was to be found in all the discoveries.  A heart bent to his own will and desires would have been disastrous and left him disappointed and wanting.

Here is where I would like to draw the parallel.

Sometimes, God opens doors for us. In his infinite goodness and wisdom, He leads us on various roads and to various places. The problem lies when our hurried, impatient hearts drift away from Him and to our own desires the moment those doors open. We begin to step out of the parameters He has set before us. Beginning to explore and make decisions on our own, we unleash ourselves from His divine plan. Somewhere along the way, we forget to trust in our good Father. We forget that He works everything for our good and His glory.

Think of the story of Saul.

His hurried heart led to his disobedience. It led to him losing his place as king. God wanted a king whose heart delighted in Him and sought His own to reign over His people. He needed a heart that was patient, a heart that would obey.

I want to experience everything God has perfectly planned for me. I have often been the one whose heart was hurried. And somewhere along the way, I stop seeking guidance from the One who lays my path. I have lived the disappointments that come when I step out of His parameters and do things on my own. My heart is prone to wander and needs rescuing every day.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Robert Robinson (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

Prayer for an Unhurried Heart

I pray for a heart of obedience. I also pray for an unhurried heart…a heart in tune with His. In every place He takes me, I want to walk there with Him. I want to enjoy the fullness of the life He has called me to, and I want to wait for Him in those moments where He asks me to wait. I pray that the worldly things which push me to hurry will not blind me to His sovereign plans.

May we all earnestly seek His direction and wait patiently for His leading. In all the places we are led to, may we always stay vigilant in keeping our heart’s desire after His. In the pursuit of kingdom work, let us not forget to seek and wait for the direction of the King.

A man must not stop listening any more than praying when he rises from his knees. No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice.

 Charles H. Brent

They Who are Fresh from God

They Who are Fresh from God

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

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Have you ever heard the phrase “in the trenches of motherhood?” Perhaps because I’m raising a little one, I’ve used this phrase to describe the phase of motherhood where you are up to your elbows in snot, diapers, and toddler tantrums. Truly, I think this phrase can apply to most stages of motherhood though.

Whether you’re up in the wee hours of the nights making bottles, potty training, helping your kids through mountains of home work, shuffling them to and from activities, confronting teen attitudes, scraping every last penny so they can go to college and eat too, helping them when they become parents…do we ever really climb out of the trenches of motherhood? I’m not so sure we ever do. It seems to me that there is work to be done in every season.

I say this not to complain, however! 

For surely we know that every season has its joys and burdens. It is much more lovely to think about the joys. Sweet cuddles with babies, the excitement in the eyes of discovering tots and preschoolers, the enjoyment that comes from family game nights or summer days at the pool when the kids get older, and the exciting adventures you can take as kids enter the young adult years. Yes, these are times of life worth remembering.

But perhaps today was hard. Perhaps the burdens are screaming much more loudly than the soft and gentle joys. What then? I’m actually asking myself this question right now as my two-and-a-half year old is in the other room resisting bedtime. As often as we hear that we should be focusing on the good, sometimes it’s just really hard.

I came across a beautiful quote the other day from Charles Dickens:

“I love these little people and it is not a slight thing when they who are fresh from God love us.”

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Our children love us and need us–and oh, how significant that is! Jesus thought children were pretty special too. You might recall Matthew 18:1-5:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child over and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth , unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” 

To welcome a child is to welcome Christ. 

Think about that for a moment. Does it change anything to think that as you:

wipe your little one’s nose for the 20th time,

patiently respond to your child’s whining,

venture to the park together in the hot summer sun,

or really listen to your teenager’s thoughts….

you might be welcoming Christ? 

As we do our best to love and raise our children might we be welcoming Christ? Yes, I believe so, IF we do as scripture says and welcome them in HIS name. So, sweet momma, keep it up! Keep on loving and serving your kiddos in the name of Jesus. This work we do is not in vain.

Remember, it is not a slight thing when those little hearts love us so.

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Embracing Your Season: Every Moment Lived Fully

Embracing Your Season: Every Moment Lived Fully

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

Latest posts by Melissa W (see all)

“Is it almost spring?” was my six-year-old son’s constant question, every single day since February. Each day, he marked his Star Wars calendar with the appropriate number of X’s for the day, and then he began the countdown. I watched as his little finger tapped each box until he found the one marking the first day of spring. As he announced the new number of days until spring, he smiled excitedly, thrilled for the arrival of this new season. He literally prayed anxiously for its quick arrival.

Are You Embracing Your Season?

But within a month of spring’s arrival, I heard the words, “Is it almost summer yet?”  I looked at him and said, “Enjoy the season you are in right now, today.” Those words stung. I thought about my words to my son, and in that moment, it hit me. Those words were intended for me. What about you? Are you embracing your season?

It happens. Many times I find myself sometimes wanting to hurry through certain seasons in my life to get to the “next best” season. Somewhere in my mind, I can easily begin to create a feeling that where I am right now is not enough. Discontentment cultivates a lie which stems from something deeper. Just as my son ached for the arrival of spring, all to discard the much-anticipated season for the coming summer moment, so do I ache for a certain season, so I can then quickly wish it away for something yet unattainable, something perceivably better. This cycle of brokenness robs us from enjoying all that God has for us in our “right now” moment. Instead, we wait to experience Him and everything else better and fuller in a moment built on tomorrow.

I set a challenge for myself: Enjoy the season you are in right now.  My own words echoed over and over in my head. If I embrace this season and this moment completely, then my heart and mind should be fully abiding in Him and resting in the work He is doing in my life right now. What good would it be for the coming season to arrive, if I have not yet learned to abide in Him in this very moment? Waste upon waste. We bear today’s burdens here on earth for tomorrow’s joy of heaven.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15-5

The Blooms Produce the Fruit

The season of life I am in may not seem to be one that feels like a vineyard full and lush. My branch may not feel like it is producing the choicest fruits or is the most treasured of all the branches in the vineyard. But I rest in this: If I rush through the season of spring, I miss the beauty of a bloom in growth. How marvelous is the bloom! Yet how also marvelous is it to be from where the bloom grows. If I constantly rush through every season, I do not allow the Vine to do His work of producing the bloom. Without the beautiful bloom, the fruit never grows.

If not acknowledged and surrendered, my discontented spirit can be my undoing. However, if I let the words found in John saturate to my roots and I learn to abide in Him, the hope of fruit can then grow. I should not look around and decide how to hurry through the seasonal moments. Rather, I need to embrace my season and ask God where I can best serve Him.

What Season are You In?

Maybe, like me, that moment for you is at home with young children, or maybe it is in the workplace. Or perhaps you are in the season of a single person. Maybe it is in the life of the world traveler, or maybe your “right now” moment is you searching for your place in the world. We are all experiencing a season. Will we abide in Him and use every moment for His glory? Or will we begrudge our season and let our branches wither and dry?

When we abide in Him, our hearts beat with His, our minds center on Him, and we live fully for His glory. The soul who abides finds something better than contentment; it finds fulfillment. This soul moves forward with the hope of the gospel growing from every empty space on the branch.  This soul clings to the Vine, and by His grace, produces much fruit. It might be difficult to see, but He is nodding you on and excitedly leading you in your kingdom work. No matter what season you are in, embrace your season and use it for His glory.

“Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle.” C.T. Studd

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