It’s Never Too Late!

Guest BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

Photo by Erin during her prayer hike with Jesus and some friends!Symphony Lakes We face so many obstacles in our lives.  We never know what we are going to face sometimes.  One thing is for sure; it’s never too late to seek Jesus.  He is our guide, our strong one, our healer, our comforter, our deliverer, and our Almighty God. Trust in Jesus there is so much power in His name.  I know when I began to say his name, I was embarrassed.  I didn’t know how to ask for help.  In fact, I felt bad for asking for His help.  When I began to witness other people saying His name with such confidence and such admiration, I began to try out saying His name.  I never grew up in a family that would say His name on a daily basis or in general.  I did grow up in a family that believed that Jesus is the Son of God, but prayer consisted of saying grace or repeating memorized prayers.   Let me be clearer, I never had a conversation with Jesus.  I didn’t know how to.  Overtime, He began to break the walls around me and show me just how … Read More

When Plan B is Better

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

I am a planner. I like my life to work according to my well-laid plans. However, God has a sense of humor and loves to “mess up” my neat plans.  I pictured myself marrying a guy from my “safe” Christian college. God surprised me by taking me through 7 years of college and grad school with no husband. Instead, he had something better. He led me to Alaska where I met a funny, genuine, adventurous guy who was far better than any guy I ever met in college.  I always thought we would homeschool our kids. After all, I am a teacher by profession!! When our oldest was in preschool and our second was a newborn, I joined an online homeschool group. What I intended as a resource for homeschooling turned into a long-term friendship instead. One day, I saw a request for playdates from another mom of preschoolers. We met at a park near my house. Several months later, we invited her whole family over for dinner. Seven years later, this family represents some of our best friends on earth. All because God used my desire to homeschool for something different than I intended.  I could go on and … Read More

Bring on the Faith

Guest BloggerFaithLeave a Comment

Show me how to navigate Jesus.  How do I reach the impossible?  How do I conquer and divide the many detours or distractions along the way?  No matter what I face You are always there, even when there seems no way out or a plan in place. Through prayer and ongoing daily conversations with You, Your Comfort and Peace replace any fears or doubts I may have.  I know we will face many trials, and the Faith that is established through these trials brings the Truth that You are Our Savior.  “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Eph. 6:16 8 years ago, my husband and I lost everything, our house, our jobs, our dignity, and at times our hope.  I will never forget the day my husband arrived at my work and said our landlord is evicting us. I was in complete shock.  When we arrived at our house, all of our household items where being placed in the field across the street.  I was beyond devastated, but then the Holy Spirit arrived and a great strength came over me that would last … Read More

6 Lessons I Learned About Moving

Carol DunfeeFaithLeave a Comment

We moved back to Alaska three years ago after being “outside” for ten years. During those ten years, my husband finished college, all three kids were born, and we defined who we were and what we believed. The newlyweds who left Alaska were quite different from the parents who returned with their three kids after ten years away.  Moving back to Alaska meant leaving family. It meant leaving the only home our kids remembered. It meant leaving dear friends whose kids had been growing up with our kids. It was hard, but we knew God was directing our steps. We knew He had everything under control.  Here are some things I learned about making big transitions.  1. You will be lonely. Very lonely at first. BUT you can choose to get out and make new friends. Over time, the loneliness will fade if you seek out others who need a friend as much as you do.  2. Your life will be different. Your new friends will have different personalities. Your church will have different needs. Your kids will be at a different school. You may work at a different job. It won’t be the same, but you CAN be happy … Read More

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

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

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

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

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

Tell Me About You Daddy: Forgiveness

Rosalynn LasleyPrayer & Fasting, RedemptionLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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