Daydreaming About My King…

Guest BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

I have the kind of wiring that is like a video camera in my head.  If someone is talking to me, if I am reading, or if I am the one doing the talking (hush) – I get zillions of pictures in my head. It can come in handy when someone is giving me directions to their ponderosa. However, too much caffeine (is there such a thing..?), too late in the day – and my little video camera won’t turn off. This is a real problem at 3:00 AM. So, as it would happen – I had the former and the latter (too much – too late) and I ended up wide awake in the wee hours of the morning.  I love my bed, so unlike some of you OCDers – I DID NOT get up and clean my house.  Instead, I stayed snuggled down and started daydreaming about Jesus.  I wonder what he looks like.  Is He tall, or short, or medium height?  Is His hair still long?  What about the color of His skin, hair, and eyes?  Etc., etc., etc.  I realize these particular questions will be answered sooner or later in my eternal life. But as I thought about Him, I began to ponder where He is RIGHT NOW.  The question … Read More

Misplaced Identity, Part 2 (So Who Are You, Really?)

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

In Part 1, we talked about how the human identities we wear fall short when we look to them for  fulfillment. Our career, occupation, ethnicity, gender, orientation and relationships can provide enjoyment, but they do not satisfy our deepest needs. We need something more. Something lasting. Before our oldest daughter was born, my mom and I did an online Bible study from Beth Moore called “Believing God”. Beth had all the participants say a “Five-Statement Pledge of Faith” that we had to say regularly. The third statement applies to this discussion of identity. All these years later, it is the biggest thing I took away from that study. She made us say: “I am who God says I am.” THIS is the identity that fulfills. Let’s look at who He says I am… A creation in God’s image. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  –Genesis 1:27 Here, God states TWICE that we are created in His image. We are not random accidents of biology. He created us in His image because He longs for our companionship.  Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I … Read More

Who Can Be Against Us?

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Have you ever felt like something was out to get you? Like you were opposed in everything you do? That was me this week. God reminded me that we are at war. Many women cringe at the idea that there is a battle raging around us. We don’t like conflict and confrontation. We don’t want any part of war. But it’s there, nonetheless. We can pretend it doesn’t exist and go on with our life in hopes that it won’t reach our doorstep. But that’s not realistic – we are under attack and we need to stand strong to fight it. Before we take action, we must identify the real enemy.  We are opposed by 3 forces.  1) The Devil. The Bible is clear that Satan is real. Some Christians claim that he is not active on the earth, but Scripture says he has taken up residence for a while, and he has a certain amount of influence while he’s here (1 Pet 5:8). But we have the power to resist him and overcome (1 John 2:14, James 4:7). He is a crafty schemer.  He is a deceiver, the father of lies. He can disguise himself as something good. (John … Read More

Misplaced Identity, Part 1 (Is That Really You?)

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

As human beings, we constantly try to make sense of the world around us. From an early age, our parents give us names for important things: blanket, ball, dog, dolly. As we grow older, we learn to classify plants and animals. We learn about the different nations and cultures. We try to make sense of people by classifying them into different religions, cultures, sub-cultures, personality types, races, etc. Eventually, we give ourselves labels—or identities—to help us discover where we fit into the world around us. We identify ourselves by many different things: ·         Marital status ·         Occupation ·         Parenthood ·         Family ·         Economic status ·         Religion ·         Nationality ·         Ethnic group ·         Gender ·         Sexual orientation ·         Life experiences: tragedy, abuse, hardship Sometimes our identities were given to us at birth. I was born from a European heritage. My skin resists tanning like water repels oil. My temperament is strikingly similar to others in my family. I was born with tendencies to struggle in certain areas of sin. Some identities come to us through choices. I chose to marry my husband. We chose to have children. We choose, to some extent, where we live and what we do for a … Read More

Why Busyness Can Make Us Unattractive

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

My husband used to hate it when I had productive days. You know what I mean by productive: I got both kids home from their activities, made a fabulous dinner, cleaned the house, finished the laundry, ran errands, and kept up on my writing/blogging – all after I got home from my day job at 4pm. On those days, I felt like such a success! And my husband typically felt annoyed and unsettled. What!?!? Why wasn’t he proud of me, happy that I had accomplished so much in so little time? Being a mom is hard work. Couldn’t he be pleased with the fact that everything had gone so smoothly? Where was the support? I remember the day when God told me that busyness is unattractive. I remember the day God showed me that busyness is unattractive. During a visit to an old friend, I witnessed firsthand how a woman rushing about her home, striving to accomplish much in a small amount of time, detracted from her natural beauty. I watched her zip around her kitchen cooking a meal, complete with dessert. She multi-tasked, of course, because that’s what busy wives and moms do. We chatted about various topics, and … Read More

Don’t Miss Out

Guest BloggerMotherhoodLeave a Comment

This is a special message MOMS need to hear: I don’t want to miss out on all who they are and who they’re becoming. Finding quality time with all four of them AND getting housework done AND meals prepared AND homeschooling them, all while loving my amazing husband, seems like a daunting task. Maybe one day I’ll crawl above the mess. But maybe I shouldn’t wish for that. Maybe just maybe I just need to relax, let time be what it is, enjoy these moments, live under GRACE, and accomplish what I accomplish. I know many of us feel the same way. The amazing thing is we’ve all been given gifts. Been gifted in different ways. It may be hard to see beyond the chaos to what those gifts are. But as we live life they come out. We all may not be the best housekeepers. Or the best cooks. Or organizers. We aren’t perfect mothers. We’re not the most amazing wives. But we are gifted. We are loved. We are made to live out to who we are. We have to look no further than to the one who has and will and does accomplishes all. Who did it … Read More

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

Jen CudmoreTrialsLeave a Comment

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 & FastingLeave a Comment

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 & FastingLeave a Comment

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 BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

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 CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

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 BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

“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 BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

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 & FastingLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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 EventsLeave a Comment

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 DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

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 CudmoreMarriageLeave a Comment

“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 BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

“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