Thankful in Trouble

Carol DunfeeFaith, Trials, Uncategorized3 Comments

Since last fall, my husband and I have stepped up to new and bigger ministry responsibilities. And God has blessed us with prosperity and success. After all, that’s what happens, right? Well, no, not really. Rather than sunshine and roses, we seem to have gotten rainclouds and sniffles…and bills. First, we each got a nasty chest virus that lasted for about six weeks. Then I got a stomach virus. Then we had to replace a huge chunk of our roof. Cha-ching!! Out went a ton of money. Then one child was diagnosed with asthma. Enter twice daily inhalers. Then the next child got strep throat. Three days later, she began getting hives with certain foods. A month later, she was diagnosed with serious allergies that included food. Now we carry epi-pens. (Our kids had NEVER had food allergies before!) Then the same child got strep TWO more times in the next two months. Then our three-year-old freezer died. Completely. No warning. Is this what’s supposed to happen when you serve God? Well, yes. When God is doing something in you that is a threat to the enemy, the enemy doesn’t take it lying down. He attacks. Hard. But what Satan means … Read More

My Daughters Ring

Jewel ZymurgyMotherhood, Redemption1 Comment

purity ring

  I bought my daughter a purity ring… At first, I considered getting her one because of the stories and reasons that my mentor and her family had given.   I wanted to encourage my daughter. Help her to find out who she is and whose she is. Inspire her to practice abstinence. Challenge her to focus on maturing in responsibility and relationships. Encourage her to stand on biblical principles…   “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality” 1 Thessalonians 4:3   “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8   Then I realized…that’s me wanting to look good and sound right…   When I really look deeply at some of the reasons why I want her to wear a purity ring, it comes down to the fact that I’m afraid.   She is loyal and trusts so easily—will she trust that easily with her body?   She wants acceptance from her friends—who will she chose to fill that yearning to belong?   She opens her heart and loves deeply—will she fall hard for someone and then give herself to a person who offers her … Read More

Give it to God

Guest BloggerFaith1 Comment

Seek God

Another week has gone by and my long to-do list isn’t any shorter! In fact, it’s a little longer. Only a couple things crossed off, but I am sure proud of those couple tasks! I’m sure I am not the only one with this issue. Often times when I look at all that things I want to accomplish over the course of the day, week, month, even year I experience a multitude of feelings. First, I get excited at the idea of accomplishing it all! Second, I usually feel motivated, often times I even create my game plan on paper. At that point, I’m ready to get things going! Then all of sudden, reality hits! My everyday life continues on, despite all these other plans I have made- all my other tasks do not stop just because I add new ones. Recently, I have been pondering how many things would get crossed off that list or how many things wouldn’t even make it to the list if I prayed and asked God for guidance? Would God help me determine what tasks are necessary for me to accomplish? Would God help me utilize my time better? The answer is YES! The bible says … Read More

What Does ‘Let Go’ Really Mean?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

“Let go and let God.” Such a cute little cliche. While it’s good advice, it’s also over-simplified. Because typically, letting go isn’t as simple as it sounds. I’ve asked God so many questions over the years. How do I let go of this issue that’s bothering me? How do I know when I have truly let go? Why is it so hard to let this go? While each issue we face is unique, the concept behind letting go is the same. Whether it’s a step of faith, a financial struggle, a strained relationship, the loss of a loved one, or a stressful schedule, at some point we have to learn to be okay in our junk. Letting go is not plastering a smile on our face and pretending we are fine – its actually getting to the point where we are fine, no matter how life pans out. And many times after we think we’ve let go, we find that we’re stewing over the issue again, and we have to do the process all over. The more we want our way, the stronger our desire to be right and be in control, the harder it is to let go of … Read More

Why is Prayer so Important in Marriage?

Heather GillisFaith, Marriage, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

Marriage is one of the biggest blessings in life, yet 40%-50% of marriages end up in divorce.  If marriage is such a blessing, then why do so many marriages fail?  I think there are many factors at play–a person’s background and upbringing, parents who had a loving successful marriage, children, poor role models, trials, dysfunctional habits.  But I think one of the most important factors that help couples STAY together is PRAYER. A study written by the National Association of Marriage Enhancement stated out of 1156 couples, those who prayed together on a daily basis less than 1% ended in divorce.  The study went even further to analyze what the couples did at home together.   Were they apart of the same denomination?  Did they attend church together?  Did they share the same beliefs and values?  Did they do any worship activities at home? The study found there was a higher level of marital satisfaction when the couples shared the same religious practices at home which included reading the Bible together.  Unfortunately despite knowing this information, only 4% of Christian couples pray together on a daily basis.  The important message from the study was if you want a strong marriage that … Read More

But it’s not RIGHT!

Guest BloggerFaith, Motherhood1 Comment

I burned the first batch of bacon. The kids were playing outside after school. While I was trying to have a slightly-tense conversation via text with my husband, watch the bacon on the stove, crack eggs, add spices, and dip the French Toast, all the while washing my hands like a brain surgeon in between touching everything so as not to cross-contaminate – the bacon was burned. I marched downstairs to call the kids in for dinner, and no one came. As I angrily marched back upstairs, I saw my daughter, and sharply called to her. I went upstairs and waited. No one came. I was reeling. I opened the door, and right at the bottom of the stairs, my kids are just talking with the neighbor kids. I yelled at my daughter again, and she, baffled at my demeanor, comes in. (Neither of my sons, mind you; just my daughter.) I was steaming! I proceeded to unleash a boatload of mama drama onto my daughter for not coming when she was called. She said she didn’t know I was calling her. She said she saw me at the bottom on the stairs, but didn’t know why I was there. … Read More

The Myth of SuperWoman

Carol DunfeeFaith, Motherhood, Trials, Womanhood2 Comments

A close friend recently told me that she thought I was a SuperWoman. I laughed. I told her that she was a SuperWoman. Guess what. She laughed, too. We can all look at the highlights of other women’s lives and think that they are SuperWomen. It’s easy compare what we KNOW about our imperfect lives to what we SEE on the surface of another’s life. But our comparisons are so inaccurate. It’s like comparing apples to bananas. Or comparing a raw, unedited image of a model to a retouched image of the same model in a magazine. Even the model doesn’t resemble her own appearance in the picture. Because I live with myself, I KNOW that I struggle. I struggle with self-doubt, disorganization, cluttered closets, too-little-faith, and a lack of discipline in spending time with God. Not to mention the times I over-schedule and force my children to pay the consequences. Or how about when I gain confidence and boldness, only to over-extend myself and revert to doubt and fear. No one else sees when I cry because I can’t keep up with the kids’ health issues or even my own. I don’t often share the fear I feel every time … Read More

Family Resemblance

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

The other day when my daughter and I were shopping at Costco, I was energetically stopped by a coworker of mine. Her first comment was literally of jaw dropping amazement how similar my daughter and I look…we look like sisters! She directed her attention toward my daughter and I allowed my mind to wander. I was grinning ear to ear because I was holding back laughter thinking about her comment. I thought about the silver in my hair becoming so much more prominent these last few years. The aching that I sometimes feel in my body and the slower healing when I put it to the test reminds me of the years that have gone by and how hard they have been on my body. I smile to myself and thought, when I was younger I really did think I was pretty much invincible. I was convinced that broken bones and damaged ligaments and joints would never bother me–and the thought of how I feel now made me long to have a candid conversation with my daughter about being more mindful of the way she treats her body. Pushing to her limits is a general rule for her. I laughed … Read More

Tell me about your daddy

Rosalynn LasleyPrayer & Fasting, Redemption, Trials1 Comment

Jesus Love

I have been avoiding writing this post for a very long time.  The title alone is one that can elicit a wide variety of responses.  For some people the thought of their dad will cause a visible smile to spread across their face, thinking of all of the lovely things that make their dad who he is.  For others it may cause their eyes to well up with tears because their dad is no longer on earth.  There are others who may get a sinking feeling in their stomach because their relationship with their dad isn’t a good one.  There are some who may not know their dad at all.  There are some who think of a stepdad or foster dad when thinking of their dad.  There may even be some who won’t read this post at all because it has to do with dads.  That’s why it has been so hard for me to write this, it’s hard for me to talk about my dad. When people talk about God as The Father, its is often hard for me to comprehend that.  I don’t have a good relationship with my dad so my view of what a father looks like is cloudy.  I … Read More

When Moms Get It Right

Jen CudmoreMotherhood3 Comments

She complimented my son. She said he packed the Operation Christmas Child boxes well, didn’t get sidetracked by friends, worked hard at making it all fit nicely together. And my mama heart swelled. That’s what we want to hear, right moms? That when our children are away from us, they behave with honor and integrity. That somewhere along the line, we did something right. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 3:13 to ‘encourage one another daily’ so we don’t become hardened by sins deceit. A kind word can make all the difference. Like when I assured a friend of mine that she was doing a good job raising her daughter, even though all she could see were her failures. Tears burst from her eyes as she struggled to accept my compliment. I had no idea she needed the encouragement until I saw her reaction. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 The other day, I witnessed a mom failure. And while I tried to help, all I succeeded in doing was drawing attention to her mistake and telling her how to do it better next time. That would have been the perfect … Read More

Women in the Easter Story

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday1 Comment

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Easter is one of my most favorite times of the year to celebrate everything Jesus did for us.  Did you know that women were present at the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus and were mentioned by name?  Women played an integral role in the Easter story.  They were vital in sending the first message of the gospel, the ones to first utter the good news, “He is risen!” The Death In John 19:25-27, at the cross stood Jesus’ sweet mother Mary who was weeping for Him.  Alongside her stood Mary’s sister, Mary wife of Clops and Mary Magdalene.  Next to Mary stood the disciple whom he loved, whom we know as John but his actual name is not mentioned.  Mark 15:40-41 mentions the women Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome by name who were also present at the crucifixion of Jesus.  In all the gospels the only other person mentioned by name at the death of Jesus is the centurion. The Burial Mark 15:47 again mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses witnessed where Jesus was laid into the tomb. The Resurrection In Matthew 27:65-66, Pilate had ordered Jesus’ … Read More

There Is No Box

Carol DunfeeFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Womanhood1 Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how we try to squeeze God into a box. Because we cannot grasp His vastness, we build boxes and try to make God fit into them. We have denominational boxes: Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic, Presbyterian. Then there are those who want to force God into the theological boxes of Arminiansim and Calvinism, which try to define the balance between God’s will and man’s choice. And of course, we have boxes for God’s definition of women which range from women submitting to all men to women submitting to no one. Seriously. We have a God who created the universe. Not only does He fully understand the composition and workings of this universe, but He created it all. He holds it in His hand. The earth is where he rests His feet. By comparison, we are like tiny, insignificant ants scurrying around at His feet. All we can see is the smallest part of His little toe, yet we arrogantly try to box God into the limits of our own understanding. The Jews in Jesus’ day had the same problem. They thought that the Messiah was going to come to save them from Roman oppression and set up … Read More

Pouty and Still Blessed

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

Restoration

I have so much to be thankful for right in this minute.  I forget that all too often.  I forget that my circumstances don’t define me. I sure find myself at times forgetting to take my eyes off of what is going on around and/or in me. I forget to look to the only one that will heal me, grant me peace and love me unconditionally. Earlier in the week I found myself seeing only the chaos around me and I was feeling super overwhelmed. I was ready to “take a knee” not out of reverence and prayer but out of a mindset of defeat and giving up. At this time, I had a friend who helped me to correct that perspective. She reminded me of all the changes going on in my life. It seemed like all of the sudden I realized there was so much more that impacted my emotions than the hard conversations with my teen that I was focusing on at that moment. As a result of being able to see the broader picture, my mental posture got a little taller, through my growing awareness of the truth in her words. Today however, I didn’t have … Read More

Whom do you serve?

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

Worship Lord Serve Him

Do you ever feel like your hard work goes unnoticed or unappreciated? Do you feel like you don’t have much to offer no matter how hard you try? Do you feel burnt out or like you just can’t quite juggle it all? Do you feel like you’re the only one trying or contributing? I know there are many times that I do. There have been many different situations lately that have left me discouraged because I feel like in my current circumstances, I don’t have much to offer. There have been many different things that have left me feeling like the effort I do have to give goes unnoticed and it sort of leaves me with the “why bother” attitude at times. (Not the best attitude to have, I’ll admit that.) I was talking with a good friend a little while back and she was sharing that she felt burnt out, over worked, taken advantaged of, and sometimes resentful because of her circumstances and what was asked of her at times. It was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way, but I knew that we both needed to put things into a better perspective in … Read More

Grace: A Proper Response To Sin

Jen CudmoreFaith, Redemption3 Comments

He’s doing it again. Irritating and embarrassing me. That’s not what I wanted him to say. That’s not how I wanted him to behave. That’s not the place I wanted him to go. He knows what he ought to do, the right way to handle these situations, and yet he refuses to meet my expectations. He doesn’t see the harm in going his own way. God’s standard was broken, blessings are withheld, consequences ensue. Because, after all, we reap what we sow. My response is strong. I’m disgusted and disappointed. Righteous anger is justified, and I hold tightly to mine, because I know I am right. I know I am right. And then my pondering turns to God’s response. How does He look at this disobedient and disrespectful child? Like me, He must be so tired of all this! I picture Him wincing or shaking His head. That’s when God simply tells me He’s not mad. What? Not mad? But He’s been wronged! Shamed by this person who is not living up to His standards. How can He be so calm and quiet about it? Because I’m making enough noise for the both of us. And then He gently reminds … Read More

Unexpected Easter Blessings

Heather GillisFaith, Holiday, Redemption, Trials4 Comments

Have you ever received a blessing from God that was beyond measure than anything you have ever received? Easter in itself is a blessing that I cherish as a day where God gave his only son for us. But there are two Easter blessings that will forever be engraved in my heart. Last Easter, it was our second year living in Alaska. Last Easter was also my husband and I wedding anniversary. The day started out like any other day for me. I got up early intending to go to the sunrise Easter service then come back and all go together as a family. This morning however everyone got up early and somehow someway we all got dressed and made it to the sunrise service at the chapel on base on time. On this particular day it also had been snowing. I had experienced white Christmases before but never a white Easter. Have you ever had one of those amazing moments orchestrated by God? Well this day was one of those moments. As the choir started to sing, they started singing a song about how much Jesus loves us and washes our sins white as snow. It was snowing outside on Easter … Read More

Who Am I?

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Womanhood3 Comments

I am a parent and a spouse. I am a writer, a teacher, and a photographer wannabe. I am a woman. Depending on your beliefs, the last statement could either boost my credibility or diminish it. If you secretly believe that women are better than men, you will listen to what I have to say. If you secretly believe that men are superior, then you will dismiss my thoughts and opinions because I am “just a woman”. I was fortunate to be raised by parents who didn’t think my female gender made me less than or better than anyone else. My dad was raised by a mother who engaged him at an intellectual level. My mom was raised by a father who valued her and her mind. In turn, they both taught me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, as long as I was following God’s leading. What about those who were taught that men are superior? Will they have the boldness to pursue their dreams, their God-given potential? Will they melt away into the shadows of empty submission to boastful men? What about those who were taught that they were superior to men? Will they have … Read More

A Great Time for Prayer

Jewel ZymurgyMotherhood3 Comments

My daughter and I sat together reading a book when a situation caught her attention and her countenance darkened. She gave a cynical snicker and kind of snarled as she said that one of the characters reminded her of me and the other character reminded her of a person who had deeply hurt her. The book described a person who was moved by conviction to correct a wrong that was committed. The character faced two people who, in my opinion, were described as polar opposites. Both were leaders in the character’s company and though the intention was to see only the president, it just so happened the two of them were in conversation and thus the audience of two. There were three people. The one who my daughter identified with was the person who was moved to the place of correcting a wrong. The character had a knot of tension in their stomach as they waited to speak to the president of the company. Humiliation and determination mixed together with fear as the implications of taking responsibility for actions previously made rolled around in their head. The second character was stern and had been described thus far as fair and … Read More

When the story is ugly, God is beautiful

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Redemption2 Comments

I recently asked the question on my Facebook page “What would be the way that you would describe a control freak?” It was really no surprise to me that most of the responses had a negative context to them.  The post kind of was a little bit of a set up.  I said “freak” when referring to control, and therefore implied a problem with just one little word.  It’s OK, I got the responses I was looking for that way.  I wanted to know the negative ways that people view control, because I was wondering if I was on the right track in my previous blog post.  Most of the things people responded with were true depictions of the control in my life, and the reasons for control.  There was only one person who said in a side conversation “why does everyone see control as a bad thing?” Ah-Ha! Two sides to the story huh? Let’s give control a fair shot, shall we? Not all control is bad or negative, and I’m not just saying that to cut myself some slack. I know that seems like quite the contrast when compared to the last two blog posts, but hear me out. Control is a necessary part … Read More

Why We Need To Get Uncomfortable

Jen CudmoreFaith2 Comments

“I just didn’t see it.” How many times have we been looking for an object that was right in front of us, but our eyes somehow missed it? Over time we can get so used to a particular environment that everything tends to blend in. When we drive the same route to work each day. When we shop at the same supermarket every week. When we sit in the same pew every Sunday. We like routine because it’s comfortable. While there is value in a certain amount of routine when it comes to efficiency or success, there is also danger. When we do the same thing over and over, it becomes a habit. We don’t have to think about anything; we act out of reflex. We don’t realize the monotony is causing us trouble. We don’t notice the details anymore. We take the familiar for granted. We skip over the little things. When we’re comfortable, when we know what to expect, when there is no challenge – that’s when we miss out on God’s blessings. A couple weeks ago, I wrote about How to be Uncomfortable. As humankind, we prefer the smooth and uncomplicated things of life, rather than discomfort … Read More