Standing Tall with Purpose

Standing Tall with Purpose

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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My daughter and I were recently reading The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen. In this story a scarecrow gets blown off his post and in his happiness of freedom he takes off dancing from the cornfields. He comes to a window at the farm house, where he looks in on a little boy saying his prayers.

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“And bless tonight
Our old scarecrow
Who guards the fields
And each corn row
So that tomorrow,
When we reap,
There will be lots of corn to keep.”

 

Touched by hearing his purpose he danced all the way back to those fields, and feeling proud of his duty to defend the corn leaped back on to his post.

Everyone needs encouragement to stand tall with purpose

From a mother’s perspective I held back tears. For how many times does the job of a mom feel thankless and trapping? I’m so thankful for the times my family have let me known why I’m important to them. Knowing what we mean to our family will give us purpose and joy as we fulfill our maternal duties.

 

But it’s not just moms. Everyone needs words of encouragement and life spoken to them! All of us long for purpose. The single woman who lives away from her family, the widower or the retired couple, the teenager, the parents of the teenager, the young couple couple without children. All of us!
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24 

 

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Preparing for Thanksgiving

As we are preparing to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving might I offer a suggestion? Let’s use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to let those we love know why we value them. It doesn’t have to be a formal ceremony! You might make a comment to them about how they are making a difference, or perhaps a short handwritten note to them as they leave. You could publicly share your thoughts at the Thanksgiving table, everyone taking turns to talk about someone.
However it’s done, let’s fill our Thanksgiving guests not only with food but also with purpose so that when the weekend is over and they return to normal life they will know that they matter. If you are the host or not, I encourage you to find a way to speak words of purpose to those you are celebrating Thanksgiving with. Would’t it be wonderful to know they might stand tall like the proud scarecrow on his post, filled with honor for the duties they hold? What do you say? Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving by honoring the precious people God has put in our lives!
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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

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

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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My Fast Against Laziness

My Fast Against Laziness

Laura P

Laura P

Hello. I grew up traveling the world as a military brat. I ultimately felt God's pull to Oklahoma Christian University where I met my husband. We now have 3 beautiful children and have settled in Mustang, Oklahoma.I am a homeschooling mom and with 3 kiddos it is a full time job! I am daily encouraged by God's great patience and grace in my life. In my free time I enjoy reading and crafting.
Laura P

Occasionally I find myself in a rut of general laziness.  Do you ever get to that place?  As a homeschooling mom of four little ones I often tell myself that I deserve a much-needed break.  Sometimes I say to myself that I’ve earned this time to read for five hours a little while.  If I’m being honest, there are days my break times are exceptionally long and my work times exceptionally short.  I can easily fall into this trap of allowing myself time to “rest” or telling myself that I’m relaxing, when in reality I’m just wasting time.

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Wow! There’s a lot of depth in this proverb.  Let’s consider for a moment that we’re looking beyond the obvious overgrowth of thorns and disorder that encompass my home when I’m in my “resting” time.  I’d even like to look past the deeper implications this has on my relationship with my husband and my children.  Let’s look past my husband’s dissatisfaction when he finds himself scrambling for work clothes through days-old stacks of laundry. Look past the broken hearts of young children whose favorite things have been trod on and broken by scurrying feet that are undisciplined by the keeper of the home.  I’d like to look all the way inside my spirit as it sits unattended and unfulfilled during my laziness.

And there it lies, the very scene this proverb spoke of.  I see the thorns sprouting and covering over any beauty that once was.  I see the weeds poking through, disrupting the order that could still be.  The stone wall that Jesus so carefully guided me in erecting around my soul as a veritable fortress is crumbling.  Little bits of mortar have flaked off and lie sprinkled across the ground as stones begin to sag in defeat.  When this fortress of diligence was left unattended it began to break down.  And each day I choose to neglect it in favor of laziness, it crumbles a little more.

Building Back Up

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We are so very blessed to serve a forgiving Savior.  Just as a parent continues to guide their child after making the same mistake over again, so the Lord guides us back to Him.  The beauty of my relationship with Jesus is that I can repent and be set right immediately.

My dear friend challenged herself, and I challenged myself to use August as a fast against laziness.  The premise was simple: As we looked through our days and saw ourselves doing something lazy in place of something useful, we would work to choose the useful thing instead.  The very first day that I woke up twenty minutes early and opened my Bible to spend some time with Him, my Savior began to trim back the thorns.  Throughout the day as I chose to be diligent in teaching my children the word and how to apply it, He began to pull the weeds.  As I went about my work within my home with a happy heart and a soul contented, He gently pushed back the sagging stones and patched up the holes.

The glory of my Savior can radiate through me when I have a firm foundation of discipline and diligence.  When I choose the next right thing to do at each turn of the day, I am blessed by my work and by His work through me.

Do you find your diligence slipping in your time with the Lord like I do?  Don’t despair!  It only takes one right choice to get back on track.

Can we pray for you today?

From Disaster to Delicious!

From Disaster to Delicious!

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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I now have a new favorite soup and it happened completely by accident. My dinner was nearly a disaster!

I had prepped all the veggies to make a chicken roast only to realize that I had waited too long to use the chicken…stinky!!  Truly stinky!!  So I thought I would salvage the rest and make a veggie broth and add a box of orzo for dinner.

Well, it sounded like a good plan until I tasted my creation and realized I had added WAY TOO MUCH PEPPER!

After I posted a “Save Dinner SOS” on Facebook, I headed over to Google to see what others had found.

I’m so thankful I asked my cooking friends for help on Facebook first, because they came back with the answers that saved my dinner and brought about this new favorite soup recipe.

Are you ready for this? The answer to too much pepper is

Lemon and Cream!Dinner SOS

 In case you’re curious, the recipe, which I’ll call Creamy Vegetable Orzo Soup, is super easy. Cut all the following into bite-size pieces:

  • 1 sweet potato or white potato
  • 2 onions
  • 4 ribs of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 6-8 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 Tbsp Herbamare
  • Add all this to a large pot and saute everything above in coconut oil for several minutes to your liking.  (I typically saute them for 5-8 minutes so they are still a bit crunchy.)
  • Add water to almost full and then let simmer for 30 minutes.  (The longer the better flavor, but this night, we were hungry and needed to eat soon.)
  • Right before you are ready to serve add 2-4 drops of lemon oil or 1/2-1 full lemon juiced and 1 cup cream.  (I would recommend starting with a little of each and then add more as desired.)
  • Cook the orzo in a separate pot and add it to the big pot when the soup is ready to serve.

This dinner which was almost a debacle really got me thinking about our lives.

We start out with high hopes, but sometimes we get sidetracked by something that was not part of God’s plan for our lives.  Maybe we get too focused on money, our looks, or our job titles. Maybe we just leave God out altogether because we like our plan better than His.

Usually, veering off track brings heartache. Sometimes we feel like there is no way God could use us again.  We’ve made a mess of our lives that can’t be corrected.  That is an outright lie brought to you by the king of lies and destruction.

Don’t believe the lie! Just like my damaged soup, Jesus can take you right where you are and bring about such a new creation that the world will only be able to stand in awe of His handiwork.

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We see this story over and over again in the restoration powers of Jesus’ healing hands.  Whether it was healing the demon-possessed man who lived in the graveyard or raising Lazarus from the dead, it’s the hope of a resurrected heart and a new life that has Him living at the middle of it instead of ourselves.

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Right now, hand over to Jesus whatever horrible thing you think God can’t clean you of. The truth is HE CAN and HE WILL!  All you have to do is believe the truth.  Jesus came to cleanse you of all your sins–not just a few, but ALL of them!  Now, that’s a recipe for hope and eternal life!

Embrace it and savor it.

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Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Julie W

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

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Crowding Out

In Health Coaching School, I learned an interesting concept called crowding out. In terms of nutrition, it means to stop focusing on the laundry list of foods that you can’t or shouldn’t eat. Instead, one should focus on the single goal of just adding more good things in. It’s not necessarily beginning by removing the bad things, but simply trying to fit in all the healthy foods you need every day.

Here is where it gets interesting. After a few months of applying this technique there seems to be a unanimous “Aha!” moment when people say:

You know what? I was so busy trying to get all the good stuff in. I just didn’t have the time, or frankly, the room in my tummy for the bad stuff.

There you have it!  This secret applies not only to weight management but almost every aspect of our lives.

A Biblical Concept as well as a Practical One

This concept is a very biblical one. Its principles are not so new where the word of God is concerned. In Luke 11 Jesus is driving out many demons and having some rather harsh discussions. (This parable often confused me until I learned the principles of crowding out.) In verse twenty-four, an impure spirit is cast out of a person. The spirit goes on a journey seeking a new residence, but it cannot find a place to rest. The spirit then decides it will return to its former home. When it arrives, it finds the place swept clean and put in order. The spirit then finds seven other demons more evil than itself to move in also. And the person is in much worse shape than before.

Just before telling this particular parable, Jesus says:

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

Jesus is talking in verbs here–action words–and this passage of scripture is a call to action!

Jesus calls us to a positive response, and this requires movement on our part. It is not enough for us to rid ourselves of the dust, clutter, and garbage. We must replace and fill in those gaping holes with the good. This principle applies whether it be food, vices, negative selftalk, anger, etc.

Christ is calling us to the principle of crowding out.

 

 

Don't (1)Don’t sweep the house clean and leave it vacant. Too much empty space leaves us wide open for an attack from the enemy. Fill the house with every good and perfect thing you can get your hands on, whether that’s Christian music in your car, a scripture on your bathroom mirror, your daily devotional time, walks outside in prayer, etc.  Don’t get so bogged down in trying to change the so-called “bad” behavior/habits, which revolves around negativity.  Once we have let go of that particular struggle or sin we are left with an emotional sinkhole.

Let’s fill our minds, bodies, hearts, marriages, relationships, and work spaces with such overflowing good that after a while we all have a unanimous “Aha!” moment and say:

You know, I focused so much on filling up on God’s word, God’s love, and sharing that with the other people in my life. Before I knew what happened, I no longer had space for all the negative, destructive thoughts or behaviors. The good stuff filled me to the brim. Not only is my house swept clean, but it is bursting with life and vitality only the Lord can provide. 

What area(s) of life is Christ calling you to crowd out, sweep clean, and fill up with God?

 

We at Creating a Great Day want to hear what you have to say. In order to maintain a safe and encouraging environment, we ask that all comments be respectful.  

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What Is My Purpose?: A Question Everyone Asks

What Is My Purpose?: A Question Everyone Asks

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)

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What is My Purpose?

This life question will haunt many at one point in time or another: What is my purpose? The amount of time I have put into this thought alone accounts for over half my life. A haunting feeling always rising to the surface which begs the question of enough. Am I doing enough? Is what I am doing enough? This train of thought can suffocate and eventually destroy the drive that propels one into living out the purpose-filled life.

Over the last couple of years, I have come to a better understanding of what my purpose is and what it isn’t. Purpose has taken on a different meaning and I see life through different lenses. The process has led me away from the draining and approval-seeking path to one that is fulfilling and grace-filled.

Chasing the Wind

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere. – Ecclesiastes 2:11

If I could, I would throw out quite a few verses from the book of Ecclesiastes. I feel like I have a really good grasp on what Solomon was agonizing over in his deep contemplation of life. I too have sat back and taken assessment of my accomplishments, my possessions, and accounted for those gifts that are precious to me. People, things, decisions, awards, positions held–every moment of life–meaningless? Perhaps we search so hard for purpose, because we innately recognize the meaninglessness of everything. We were designed for purpose. Yet when that purpose is not understood–or worse, when it has been distorted–we mar and waste said purpose.

The effort and time we put into things, even good things, can all amount to wind chasing. Our work and our accomplishments are futile and they exhaust, with no hope of rejuvenation. When purpose is left out, all of the good and important things we do wash away like sand. We are left contemplating the thought of meaningless and enough.

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An Established Meaning

The first question found in the Westminster Shorter Catechisms asks: What is the chief end of man? The answer then given is: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

If we could let the knowledge of our prime purpose sink deeply, would it change us? We were created to bring Him glory and to enjoy His glory. I don’t know about you, but the knowledge of that is freeing and beautiful to me. This purpose, once known, makes all other decisions in life a little more clear–it is this ultimate purpose which drives.

“A sunset seen from the top of the I.D.S.—that’s glory. Or the I.D.S. itself almost invisible, like crystal against a grey-blue sky—that’s glory. A perfect performance on the balance beam by Nadia Comaneci—that’s glory. A perfectly executed 30-foot jump shot with one second to go—that’s glory, too…The glory of God is the beauty and excellence of his manifold perfections. It is an attempt to put into words what God is like in his magnificence and purity. It refers to his infinite and overflowing fullness of all that is good. The term might focus on his different attributes from time to time—like his power and wisdom and mercy and justice—because each one is indeed awesome and beautiful in its magnitude and quality. But in general God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.”  –John Piper, God Created Us For His Glory

A Covering of Grace

I think of the years I spent looking for purpose, I think of the years I spent hiding from purpose, and now, I think of the years to come with an understood purpose. It is a covering of grace that can take wasted years and use them for His glory. It is a covering of grace that takes the new and untouched years for His glory, too. That is the thing about our purpose…it is not separate from Him. His grace is woven deeply in a tapestry of a life lived for Him and enjoyed through Him.

Embrace Purpose

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men… – Colossians 3:23

Sometimes, the purposeful life may tempt us to feel “less than.” Often, our perspective of this life is measured by great success in the eyes of man. We might even struggle as we look to the right or to the left and see others living out their purpose-filled life…and we may feel as if ours does not measure up. We might see those who lead thousands to Christ, we might see those who are glorifying Him while the world watches, and we may see those whose lives look so much more important than our own. When this temptation of comparison befalls us, we surrender to Him and press forward, looking straight ahead. We keep our gaze on Him and we complete every task for His glory and we soak in the joy that He offers. It is then and there that we will know we are living a life of purpose, because everything we do is for Him.

“To do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us.”

-Oswald Chambers-

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What is my purpose- Social

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