When To Stand Up For Yourself…And When To Be Silent

Jen CudmoreTrials0 Comments

Last week someone really hurt my heart. I requested one thing and I got the exact opposite. My concerns were completely ignored and determined to be invalid. In a situation where I should have felt secure and protected, I was cast aside and trampled. When I tried to question how it was handled, all I got was rationalization in return. I was basically informed that my opinion didn’t matter and I needed to get over it.Sometimes it’s hard to know how to respond when we’re mistreated. Our old nature wants to stamp it’s feet and demand justice. I planned out in my head how to approach this person who offended me, to stand up for myself and plead my case with scriptures. But God told me to be silent.  He reminded me that He is my Defender. It is His job to avenge (Rom12:19), and He brings about justice in due time (Psalm 94). I don’t always have to stand up for my rights, because He’s got my back (Luke 18). It may sometimes feel like they are ‘getting away’ with mistreating me, but God will bring me vindication, if I am willing to trust Him and wait (Psalm 7:8). Jesus … Read More

Praying unceasingly

Guest BloggerPrayer & Fasting0 Comments

I’ve heard it SO many times as I’m sure you all have as well- “never underestimate the power of prayer”. I have seen this come to pass in so many ways. God providing His healing, His provisions and His blessings in many circumstances, not only in my life and the life of my family, but in friends, extended family, church family, etc. When I was young, I was taught how to pray and the importance of prayer. As I’ve grown I have learned even more about it’s importance. I have also realized that prayers can be in many different forms. A short sentence, an entire long process, a song, a poem, pretty much anything you can imagine! I find it very easy to pray. It’s probably the easiest thing in my Christian life. I do it in the shower, in the car, with my kids, with my husband, even in the grocery store. I love being a part of prayer chains and reading prayer requests from friends on Facebook even! It’s been a blessing to be a part of the prayer text group for the upcoming Vicki Courtney retreat. Twice a day I get to read and recite a prayer that I know … Read More

Little Lessons

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

Sometimes God shows us big truths in little ways. He reminded me of this last week while our family was at a Christian camp. I almost hesitate to share it, because it was such a simple lesson. Our family was asked to provide a little sing-along music for the camp kids each night. The only stipulations were that it be music kids would enjoy and that it be different than the CEF songs they sang in the morning. We planned for my husband to play bass, for the girls to sing along, and for me to sing and lead from the keyboard. All went pretty well the first night, even though a minor cold had made me a little hoarse. (I’m not a soloist, so singing is a bit scary for me.) As soon the first night of music was done, my singing voice was shot. Done. Gone. As in, singing made me squeak like a junior high boy! I asked God to make my voice come back by the next evening. It didn’t.  However, two other camp staff COULD sing. They teamed up with our girls and sang with us the next three nights. I was able to sing just … Read More

Seek Him First

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

But Abram said to the king of Sodom,”I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God most High, Possesor of heaven and earth Genesis 14:22 God is the Possessor of heaven. He controls every resource in this world. He is Jehovah Jireh. I remember when I was getting ready to quit my job at Guardian in 2013. I was scared and not sure of what the future held. I had heard God tell me that I needed to be home with my 5 daughters, that I needed to be the one who was home showing them how to be women who loved God. Corey and I were at Baxter Road Bible Church at that time, and we were going in to the young adult study Refocus that we led. Our friend Jeanette had brought her missionary friends from Kentucky to visit the group and share testimonies of what God had done in their lives. After we met and prayed as a group and I shared what God had been doing in my life, Judy pulled me aside. She told me that I would never look back, that God would provide more than I could ever hope and imagine. She was … Read More

Why Are Some Marriages Harder Than Others?

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

Do you ever feel like nobody gets you? There were times over the past year where I would look around my church and just shake my head, because no one was talking about trouble in marriage. I felt very alone. It appeared (on the surface) that everyone had a stable marriage. Except me. During those chaotic months I sometimes felt dysfunctional and misunderstood. Over time I discovered that I’m not the only woman who has felt like a loser because I couldn’t seem to get it together. Some people look at us in troubled partnerships and wonder what could possibly be so hard about being married. They get along pretty well with their spouse; loving and serving each other comes rather naturally. Not only can these picture-perfect couples leave us wondering what’s wrong with us, but we often walk away feeling pretty lonely. I’ve had sweet, well-meaning people try to give me marriage advice. And while I knew they were just trying to help, it was hard not to take offense. Because their simple solution would have in no way fixed my problem. There were issues so dark and so deep that a communication formula or personality test could not … Read More

More of Mondays Gone By…

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

“Oh Lord, my God – how grateful is this servant that comes boldly before your throne of grace.  That in your mercy You would seek one such as I to save me from that which had disguised itself as my friend.  Wrapped in unfeeling darkness, sinking ever deeper into despair – You Oh, Lord rescued me! You alone conquered all that would have certainly destroyed me – and You pursued me until You could make me see.  Thank you Jesus for your persistence, patience, faithfulness, kindness, love.  I am so ever grateful.  I love, you. Amen.”“Thomas said, ‘…how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:5,6)There were many days I knew not the way to go. Thrust into darkness and trapped in circumstances beyond my control – I all but suffocated in the well of despair.  I DO know what darkness looks like, feels like, sounds like – how thick, menacing, depraved, calculating, heavy, and tense it is.  I have looked evil in the eye as it has whispered its filthy lies; cackling, plotting, mocking life. I have curled up  and … Read More

My Ways are Your Ways Jesus!

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

Nine years ago we were faced with a decision that I never saw coming.  Both my husband and I had lost our jobs, our home, our dignity, and for a while our hope.  We were living hotel to hotel and trying to stay positive for our three children.  During this time, I did not recognize that Jesus was stripping off all of our dead branches and planting fruitful ones.  This was such a hard time for us.  At the time, we did not see all that Jesus was doing for us.  We were still stuck in our mindset of how did we end up like this, why us? What we did not realize is that Jesus was growing something fresh in us.  He began to place people in our lives to help us grow in our faith, in our love, and in our hope in Him.  Looking back, I can now see all the angels He had placed surrounding us.  “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows you need these things. But seek the … Read More

Are You Living as a Beggar or as a Daughter?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

For thousands of years, scientists have observed the world we live in. They have gazed at the stars and tried to learn their mysteries. Even now, with our powerful telescopes and computer modeling, we are just scratching the surface of what lies beyond our world. Scientists can’t even fathom the depths of what is out there. Here we are on a tiny planet called Earth…one planet among thousands. Yet the Creator loved His puny little creations called man so much that He sent part of Himself to suffer and die for us so that we could know Him.  He knows our flaws. He is fully aware of every sin we have committed against Him. He created a perfect world for us, but we rejected Him and chose to go our own way. Still He loves us.  We deserve none of His blessings, but He gives them anyways…not based on our own merits, but on what His Son did for us on the cross. All we have to do is accept it. When we recognize the depths of our sin, we can the appreciate the greatness of His gift.  His gift is Himself. Not only is He our Creator, but now … Read More

When We Watch Others Suffer

Jen CudmoreMotherhood, Trials0 Comments

Watching someone suffer is a life-changing experience. Especially when they are dear to us.  After nearly 4 decades on this earth, I’ve seen plenty of suffering.  Like when Mama endured a year of cancer treatment, and she finally passed peacefully in her sleep while hooked to an oxygen machine.  Or when a close friend worked consistently at a new job where she was persecuted not because of her dark skin, but because of her love for Jesus.  Or when my prayer partner was ditched by her husband and had to persevere through years of loneliness and financial hardship. Heartache is part of life in this fallen world, and it’s tough to see others endure hardship. But when a mom has to watch her child suffer, that is the most heart-wrenching pain of all. We want to swoop in and save the day, but there are times when we just can’t fix it for them.  I have heard many stories of children who fought illnesses, and I have to say, those are some pretty amazing parents. Watching a child suffer and knowing there isn’t much that can be done is absolutely agonizing. I’ve never had to watch my child suffer physical … Read More

Culture Wars: A New/Old Response

Carol DunfeeCurrent Events0 Comments

The culture wars have broken out on social media. Between American flags, confederate flags, rainbow flags, and Christian flags, it seems that everyone is offended. Everyone is clamoring to be heard. Some say the church has behaved badly. Others claim the LGBT groups are trying to destroy religious freedom. Some fear persecution. Others have tasted discrimination. Stop. Just stop. Step away from the issues for a bit. Set aside your well-studied opinions long enough to reflect on another culture war. In Jesus’ day, the Romans and the Jews often clashed in matters of politics and culture. As usual, Jesus had some revolutionary ideas about how His disciples should behave… “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who … Read More

How To Be Perfect—-ly Content

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

Every day, we hear subliminal messages about how we fall short. Everyone has a list of all the things we must do to succeed in life. If we don’t do all those things, we must be failing, right??? The internet is full of articles written by “experts” who claim to have more ways for you to strive to be perfect… 10 Things You Must Do with Your Child Today (Tomorrow Is Too Late!) 5 Things Healthy Couples Must Do (Those Who Only Do 4 Are Doomed for Misery) 54 Books Your Child Must Read (Or You Will Ruin Them Forever) 93 Foods That Are Killing You (Stop Eating Them or You Will Die Next Week) The “experts” are full of new information to save you from yourself. With each new article we read, we feel more like failures. Today, I was reading through a study guide for Vicki Courtney’s book, Move On. Vicki was talking about the pressure our culture places on us to appear perfect and flawless. We must have a perfectly decorated and organized home…just ask Pinterest. We must have beautiful children who pose for perfect pictures on dream vacations…just ask Facebook. In the middle of maintaining a … Read More

Something Has To Give In This Marriage! Maybe It’s Me…

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

“Husbands need to change, and their wives know it.” This statement, spoken by a pastor I really admire, took me off guard when I first heard it. Because the truth is, from the day the vows are said, wives dream of the day when their husband will become his absolute best. They assume their husband will spend his life working toward that goal of being the best husband (and father) he can possibly be. Yet husbands don’t typically change as fast as we want, or in the areas we want.  Here’s the trouble with marriage: First, many husbands get comfortable with their life and don’t want to be refined by God. They are happy to stay right where they are and not put any work into becoming more like Christ. Many times they make excuses and rationalize, ignoring that their complacency is the opposite of what God desires from them.  Second, many wives feel it’s their job, and their right, to convince their husband to submit to God. They say and do whatever they can to motivate their man to change when they ought to leave him alone and focus on their own spiritual journey. They forget that God said … Read More

Monday I am a Sinner

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

“For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken, grieved in spirit, and heartsore—even a wife [wooed and won] in youth, when she is [later] refused and scorned, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion and mercy I will gather you [to Me] again.  In a little burst of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment, but with age-enduring love and kindness I will have compassion and mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:6-8 Wooed and won in youth – and then later scorned. Yes. Oh, Lord, why did you forsake me, why were you so angry that you would hide your face from me? What did I do to deserve this abandonment?  Oh, Lord, why? Am I so horrible, am I so unworthy?  Did you not know the pain I have suffered? The abuse and humiliation? The rejection? Oh, God, how could you have been angry with me? Your wrath is more than I can bear…my tears soak my bed and I am broken… Yes, Patti, you are horrible. Completely unworthy. Do you know the pain I suffered because of you?  Do you even care about the abuse and humiliation you … Read More

When “Worse” Comes True

Carol DunfeeTrials0 Comments

“For better or for worse…” When we said those words as part of our wedding vows fifteen years ago, we really didn’t think that “worse” would come. We pictured a blissful life filled with happy birthdays, peace, and prosperity. We looked into the future and imagined mountain peak after mountain peak. What we couldn’t see was the valleys…those dark places that would bring us to the end of ourselves. However, even the valleys bring life and growth. They carry their own unusual set of blessings that we can only recognize much later. The darkest valley of our marriage started on February 14, 2014, when my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Within a week and a half, he went under the knife to remove the tumor. The road to recovery was hard and exhausting. I failed in many parts of this dark valley…but God never failed. He brought peace into the most frightening moments of our lives. I wrote the following on my iPhone in a hospital room. Bryan had just had his surgery the day before. It was a dark, sleepless night full of nurse visits, the beeps of monitors, and the dim lights of medical equipment. I … Read More

Tell Me About You Daddy: Forgiveness

Rosalynn LasleyPrayer & Fasting, Redemption0 Comments

Forgiveness is something that has always been hard for me to understand, especially when it involves my dad.  God laid it on my heart about two weeks ago that I was supposed to write about forgiveness but I struggled because I didn’t want to write as a hypocrite. How can I write about forgiving someone when I’m not sure I truly have? Once again a blog topic had me on my knees before the cross.  God is good like that. I’ve been praying more about this topic than I have probably any of the others and it was in prayer one morning a few days ago as I was driving to work when I had one of those “Ah-Ha” moments.  I love it when God does that.  I love that He’s using this ministry to show me where I need to grow.  One of the concepts I have struggled so much with when it comes to forgiveness really boils down to trying to forgive in my own strength.  There are times when people hurt us along the way and forgiveness seems literally impossible.  I know what the bible commands me to do.  I’m commanded to forgive, but how in the world … Read More

When Our Storm was Brought to His Peaceful Surface

Guest BloggerFaith, Trials0 Comments

Thank you Jesus for drawing us out of the darkness, for You have loved us since before time began.  He called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  1 Peter 2: 9 Photo by Bauer Hall Before we moved our family to Alaska, my husband and I were headed down a dangerous path of self-righteousness and self-perseverance.  We were living for ourselves and drifting more and more a part.  Life got in the way.  We began to seek what was important to our own desires, whether that was through creating a name for ourselves through work, through the community, or through our friends, but never once did we ask Jesus what He had in store for us.  Through this drifting, we lost touch with each other, with Jesus, and our children were suffering.  I was a schoolteacher and I was not happy with my income or my husband’s income, that I began looking at home businesses to help supplement our income.  My husband felt diminished by this.  He felt he wasn’t good enough because I was never happy with what the house looked like.  I wanted an immaculate home with beautiful furnishings. I wanted to impress people with my … Read More

Mercy In. Mercy Out

Carol DunfeeRedemption, Trials0 Comments

This week, one of our children was struggling to follow directions. I had given this child an age-appropriate, every-day task that should have been done by lunch. The kiddo had other plans. By DAY TWO of this task, I was getting fed up. My own to-do list was a mile long. Instead of making progress, I had to keep stopping to check on this kiddo’s progress (which was practically nothing). I was angry. I said harsh words. I was at a loss to know how to get this task done without doing it myself. Suddenly, I felt a gentle Whisper inside… “Carol, remember all those times when you have failed? Remember when you were so stuck in your mess that you couldn’t move? Did I lecture you about what you should be doing? Or did I reach down to do what you couldn’t do yourself? Go do for that child what I have done for you.” Ouch! I went to my sweet and naughty little one. I didn’t do the task myself, but I had the kiddo race against the clock to see how fast it could be done. In about ten minutes, the task that should have been finished … Read More

Tell Me About Your Daddy: Part Three

Rosalynn LasleyRedemption, Trials0 Comments

When I started this series, I was dreading it. It sounds crazy to say I was writing about something I didn’t want to, especially when I have a lot of creative freedom on this blog, but when I ask God what He wants me to write about, I do it sincerely. Sometimes that means His answer is uncomfortable for me. I knew that talking about my dad would be painful. I’ve tried to keep most of that to myself because I don’t want the point of each message to be about him. I wanted to keep pointing myself, and my readers to the Daddy, with a capital “D”. What I didn’t realize is that I would find a lot of joy in writing this as well. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it much more than I’ve hurt, and that has surprised me a lot. I’ve found a lot of joy by seeking the truth in who God is as my Daddy, and it’s really helped me refocus on what matters. Being purposeful and seeking out who He is, and how He loves me has been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. This week I want to talk about … Read More

3 Lies Women Believe About Marriage

Jen CudmoreMarriage0 Comments

Does your perspective of marriage align with God’s plan?  As I was working on a project over the weekend, I pondered the misconceptions I once had about marriage and how they lead to the unraveling of relationship. I realized these were misunderstandings that many women believe. Lie # 1: Many Christian couples believe that being ‘saved’ automatically guarantees marital success. They think that if God brought them together, they love each other, and they serve God, they will have a happy marriage, true relational fulfillment, and few problems. All they need is God and each other! The truth: We are all sinners, and while we may be saved by grace, we also have wounds (past and present) that will tear us apart if they are not healed. The more baggage we carry, the more complicated marriage tends to be – and we all have baggage. We must gain a proper understanding of our mate, learn positive ways of relating with each other, and deal with our brokenness.   Lie # 2: The picture of marriage typically portrayed in the local church is that men and women complete each other. When they marry and become one flesh, they make a proper … Read More

Married on Monday!!

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

“…for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.”  Isaiah 54:4b-6For years I had a bittersweet relationship with Sundays.  Church day.  Until I was saved at 22 years old, church meant nothing and I had no desire EVER to go to church.  Salvation changed that, and I love my church.  Going, however, I was reminded every weekend and on Wednesdays that I had an unsaved husband.  There were often times when going to church was my sanctuary from the difficulties at home. And yet, walking through the doors into the church foyer, there was ALWAYS the awareness that I was a woman without a saved husband.  I reeked with aloneness.  Every conversation with the “church people” had a measure of emptiness as there was no one at my side, no one pulling the car up to the curb to pick me up so I did not have to … Read More