The Danger Of Isolation

Rosalynn LasleyFaith1 Comment

As I have gotten older, I have learned that I’m more of an introvert, especially when trying to cope with stress.  When my heart and mind are overwhelmed, I like to be alone to sort through whatever chaos is going on inside of me.  Trying to make sense of my own messy little brain makes it difficult to deal with much of anything else.  When my mind is tired and my heart is heavy, it’s too much energy to be around many people. I can’t seem to fake a very good smile when I’m overwhelmed, and I don’t want to be greeted with one more shallow “how are you doing…” knowing telling the truth would be just too much.  So instead I retreat, and try to deal with things alone.  I find the strength to emerge, only once I feel like I can breathe again.   It wasn’t until recently that I realized, that sometimes, alone is a dangerous place to be.   Lately I’ve felt that I can’t talk to anyone about the nonsense inside of my head. My husband has been sick, and I’m afraid he’ll just get sicker because he loves me so incredibly, he always puts my needs before his own. I … Read More

Conferences, Prayer, & Talking with Strangers: Fusion 2017

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Every time I am involved in Fusion Alaska, the statewide youth conference, I see God do amazing things. I’m a firm believer that we can learn something from any environment, and though this is an event for students, I always come away with something valuable. Last year at Fusion, I learned some lessons in humility. The year before, I was blessed by the generous, giving hearts of all the volunteers. My first year being involved, I learned how to be brave, since it was my first experience teaching breakout classes! This past week God didn’t really do anything major in my life.  My heart is full of many small, treasured moments, from seeing kids saved and healed, to witnessing personal messages from God being delivered, to watching my friends do something brave, to teaching and chatting with students in my classes. I was terribly disappointed that I couldn’t participate on the last day due to schedule conflicts, but being absent didn’t diminish my experience. For me, the blessings came in the reminder of some things I already knew, and that for me was s a big deal. Little things like: Prayer really is timeless. Some of the items I prayed … Read More

Glue and Paper: Lessons in Purity

Carol DunfeeFaith, Marriage0 Comments

Glue can be a great thing when you need something to stick. It holds precious pictures in a scrapbook. It reattaches the corner our kids knocked off our dining room chair. Glue can also be destructive…like when my kiddo smeared glue in her math book. Or when my favorite picture was glued into a child’s art project. No amount of careful manipulation could prevent the inevitable tears. Try gluing two pieces of paper together. The glue makes them stronger and sturdier together. Then try tearing them apart. The glue will shred the two papers as they rip apart. Like glue, sex can strengthen a marriage bond, carry a married couple through hard times, and of course, produce beautiful, sweet babies. Misused sex, however, becomes terribly destructive.  God designed sex as a gift to marriage. It is wonderful and beautiful. Satan wants to manipulate God’s gifts until they become perverted, twisted, and destructive. The same glue that made the two papers stronger can also cause the papers’ destruction. Satan doesn’t want us to be whole. He wants us to be torn and wounded by casual sex, sexual abuse, pornography, and sex outside of marriage. The more we misuse sex, the more … Read More

Leaving What I Knew

Jewel ZymurgyFaith1 Comment

So many times I read and the words in the Bible and as I read my vivid imagination unfolds a story that touches my heart and emotions. The words speak to me in such a vibrant way that I know my heart is being pursued by the heart of my God—it becomes unquestionable. For just one moment as I read about Abram my mind and perspective flooded with the understanding that I connected with the unspoken details of the story of Abram. Genesis 12:1 “The LORD said to Abram: Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.” Isn’t it true—? When God wraps his heart around ours and we are wooed by the beauty of His incredible and unmatched love—we find ourselves wanting what God wants for the sheer hope that we get to have more of the glimpse of that unfathomable magnificence. Or…at least that’s my own personal hope and desire. What I do know is that as God whispered his love for me and his desire to be with me it went against everything that I knew was true—against everything that I knew life to be. As time … Read More

Life through a child’s eyes

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

I think that some of the greatest, and most pure forms of joy come from seeing life through the eyes of a child.  When I decided to have children, I had no idea that seeing life through their eyes was one of the biggest perks. You don’t have to be a parent at all to experience the joy and wonderment that comes from such tiny little people.  If you spend much time around small children (preferably the well rested, and recently fed kind) you will most likely be blessed with an experience that helps you see not only the world, and life in a different way, but also God. Both of my daughters have taught me to find joy in the every day things that I’ve taken for granted.  For example, the way the moon rises and disappears regularly, as well as how much we can see of it on any given day. A few years ago, on one evening in particular, as we were walking into church my oldest daughter said “a piece fell off…” I replied “what?!” (Completely clueless to what piece fell off of where.) She said again “A piece fell off…the moon!!!” So I looked up. I’m honestly not sure of … Read More

How Does A Moment Last Forever?

Sarah OlsonFaith0 Comments

I just watched  Beauty and the Beast the live action version, and I was moved to tears. A certain song named How Does A Moment Last Forever? really struck my heart.  Why this song, you ask?  It is sung in several different key emotional moments of the movie – each time, stirring up a different emotion with the same element wrapped throughout – undying love. At first, it is that of a father’s love for his family, next, it is a daughter’s memory of her father’s love for his family –willing to sacrifice for the sake of the family. Before I get too deep into my thoughts, let me share the lyrics of the full song. How does a moment last forever? How can a story never die? It is love we must hold onto. Never easy, but we try. Sometimes our happiness is captured. Somehow, our time and place stands still. Love lives inside our hearts and always will. Minutes turn to hours, days to years then gone. But when all else has been forgotten. Still our song lives on. Maybe some moments weren’t so perfect. Maybe some memories not so sweet. But we have to know some bad times. Or our … Read More

Going Back To The Place That Broke Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith2 Comments

This picture may be of little importance to anyone other than me. After all, it’s just a picture of part of my family, wearing frumpy clothes, walking up a hill.   But this hill…it broke me…and I’ll never be who I was before then. It was just 2 days after Christmas. Wrapping paper, and packaging from eagerly opened gifts was still strewn about our home, as we headed out the door for a busy day of celebrating. I had just opened a Cricut my husband gave me for Christmas, and I spent all morning playing with it.  I was using the machine to cut pieces of paper to make birthday cards for the parties we were about to attend, and I made a HUGE mess with my creativity.  I cut and glued until time ran out, and I never did clean up my mess. “I’ll get to it when we get home.” I said, and off we went, on our merry way. The first birthday party we attended was for a precious friend’s 60th birthday. I couldn’t think of a more amazing person to spend all morning making a mess—I mean card for. She’s so special to me, and spending the afternoon celebrating her birthday was … Read More

Seeing Shadows

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

I walk around seeing the living dead. I see people all around me, people who do the same things I do and I wonder what’s going on inside them. I see the vacant eyes of a child. A quiet child and I wonder what makes the child subdued. I wonder what secrets he keeps and the reasons why he keeps silent. I remember the things that kept me quiet. The things that kept me silent…and tears flood my eyes. No one sees my tears. No one knows that my heart breaks for the child who is the secret keeper… I get up to leave and see the girl in the corner. The one that everyone says is different. The one that everyone makes fun of…the one that is desperate to have just one person see into her life. The one that feels pain differently than those around her…the one who will do anything to end the pain that she suffers alone…I am suffocated by her agony. I see the gulf of loneliness that is around her and the anguish of a heart that screams to be seen. Right next to her…actually, right in front of that girl who is painfully … Read More

Falling Down In Front Of Someone Famous

Jen CudmoreFaith0 Comments

Have you ever made a fool of yourself in front of a group of people you admire? How about someone famous who writes a lot of bible studies and speaks at tons of meetings for women? I could use a good laugh today, so I figured I’d pull this post out of the archives – just want to make sure you’re all ready for when it’s your turn! Over this past weekend, many of my new friends returned to the SheSpeaks Proverbs 31 conference on the East Coast, and I’m a bit sad I couldn’t go this year. Thinking back to last year and all that I experienced there, my biggest memory by far was meeting Lysa Terkeurst. And of course, my most embarrassing moment, tripping in front of her and her staff. Let me explain how you can have that experience, too! I learned a little bit about humility the day I met Lysa Terkeurst. As I walked beside her toward the back hallway, I tripped and fell, landing on my hands and knees. That’s about as low as it gets, ladies. I mean, seriously, how do you recover from something like that? All I can say is that … Read More

Handling Church-Hurt

Carol DunfeeFaith0 Comments

I didn’t know it, but I had an idol…something I worshiped more than Jesus. It was something Jesus created to represent himself, but I elevated it too much. I only discovered this idol when it came crashing down, revealing its ugly underbelly. This idol was church. Some of you are appalled that I called Christ’s body an idol. Others are nodding their heads in agreement. Still others have been so wounded by the church that you never want to go back. I get it. All of it. I thought that serving the church was equal to serving God. (And it can be.) But I substituted service for time at Jesus’ feet. I thought that pastors and church volunteers were ALL earnestly trying to please Jesus. Unfortunately, there are a few who seek nothing but personal kingdom-building. This handful tends to be the most visible, ruining it for the rest who genuinely want to serve. And then we were hurt at the hands of three different churches in three different states. When we didn’t fit a tradition of theirs, we felt their wrath as though we had violated a command of God himself. The traditions ranged from clothing and personality type … Read More

Changing Ambitions

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

A question was asked that took me off guard… It was part of the homework that I should have been doing since the last class…but I was being a delinquent pupil and hadn’t finished working through the assignment. The answer given was raw and unformed in my own heart and head and really exposed what I thought about what God has been doing in my heart in an unfiltered and authentic way. The question posed was this, “What are some specific ways you’ve noticed change in your ambitions since becoming a believer? I listened to the question and thought only for a moment before my name was called to answer. I felt my face get hot with embarrassment as I imagined that the ladies around me could see my thoughts as I recalled my job situation just a few short years ago… I hesitated for a moment giving room to the fear of being judged harshly as I considered sharing the truth…and ultimately found myself resigning to what felt like God leading me to show up authentically. Ambitions… Before I became a believer—I was a supervisor at a warehouse in a field typically dominated by men. In that warehouse I … Read More

Prepare for Impact

Rosalynn LasleyFaith0 Comments

impact

Each of us have someone in the past, as well as in the present that have made an impact in our lives.  Some have had (or are currently having) an impact in small ways, some in large ways.  Some have impacted our lives in positive ways, and some in negative.  Some have impacted our lives in ways we had never imagined, and some in ways we will never ever forget.  Chances are that as you read this you’ve started mentally recalling a list of people who have previously and are currently impacting your life. But what about you? What about the impact you have in the lives of others? When you realize that you have a sphere of influence yourself, and you are currently impacting others around you it is both a powerful, and sobering thought.    What would other folks say your impact has been in their life?  Would you be surprised? Proud? Embarrassed? Ashamed? There may be some of us who would feel proud of the times where we made a positive difference in the lives of someone else. We might recall the times where we have given our all, in hopes it would make a difference.  There … Read More

Where Are The Houses Of Prayer?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

They stood in a circle, about 40 of them, in the center of the parking lot. United, hands clasped with their neighbor and heads bowed, they prayed. No fear. No shame. No wavering. As I drove by, tears stung the back of my eyes. Emotions assailed me. I was thrilled to witness such an incredible sight, so many people openly gathering before the throne of the Most High God! And yet I felt sad that such a sight is so rare. I could not recall the last time I had been involved in a prayer circle like that! And I wondered if God’s reaction was a little like mine. I thought back to a question that’s been heavy on my heart for several months: Why don’t more churches gather for prayer and fasting? When I was young, every once in a while our little church met just to pray. As I grew older, I noticed that some churches had regular prayer meetings, and some didn’t. I never thought much about it until I came across this scripture: “And as [Jesus] taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” … Read More

Through it All 

Beau HagertyFaith, Redemption, Trials1 Comment

As I have mentioned before in a previous blog post, I grew up in the church. My parents were pastors, I was leading worship by the time I was 15, I attended every district event in my denomination, I was the perfect poster child for an “on fire for God” PK. But it didn’t mean a thing to me. There’s something about hearing the same thing over and over again that makes it lose its meaning. For me that was the gospel and the love of God. I knew all of the text book answers of how a relationship with God was supposed to look, but it didn’t mean anything. And growing up a pastors kid is difficult. Not to say that people who didn’t have that upbringing had it easy but there is a distinct difference. For some reason church members have a tendency to feel entitled to spectate the lives of their pastor’s children. And I have endured more scrutiny than I wish to recount on. I always sort of felt like I was living inside a glass box on display for everyone to see. Whether it be my haircut or my outfit or the types of movies … Read More

The Hazard of People-Pleasing

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

All my life I have craved approval. In elementary school, I wanted my friends to like me. In high school, I wanted the popular kids to accept me. In college, I wanted to be respected and liked. I was terrified that someone would think I was “strange”, so I kept my little quirks to myself. As an adult, I have grown more independent, but I still crave approval. I want people to think positive thoughts about me. I can express some pretty strong opinions when I know I’m in the company of like-minded friends, but I clam up in embarrassment as soon as a dissenting opinion is expressed. Blogging has added a whole new dynamic to this fear of displeasing people. It’s fine and dandy to write strongly and boldly in front of my computer. It’s a completely different thing to put that writing out on the internet for all to see. When God has shown me something revolutionary, I am still tempted to keep it hidden so that no one thinks I’m “strange”. A friend of mine posted a sermon from Francis Chan recently. Chan mentioned how he has often been tempted to water down a message from God … Read More

Time with Him

Jewel ZymurgyFaith0 Comments

I was sitting to tea with a beautiful godly friend of mine and I gained the most loving perspective on how God views my obedience. So much so, I was completely thrown into a joy-filled outburst of laughter that overwhelmed me with amazement and tears for over 30 minutes.   Iced tea in hand, I shared a piece of my struggle in regard to a person I respect deeply. I didn’t understand how come so many of our conversations would stir up such strong emotions of inadequacy and rejection.   Not wanting this person to be seen in a poor light, I slowly began my attempt to share my heart. I began by reminding my friend of this person’s character, their integrity, their godliness and the way they are good by using deliberate and very intentional word choice—as if speaking slowly and purposefully would make my point better.    I spoke of a few times when I have felt rejected, the times when I have extended an invitation and I have been denied. I don’t often ask others to join me in life. It feels vulnerable to me to share myself with others.   That being said, for those that … Read More

But if not…

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

This topic has been on my heart since I was very first asked to contribute to this blog, but each week God has said “not yet.” I’ve sat down over and over again thinking I was going to write about this, but have ended up in another direction instead. This post may be too deep to cover all of the thoughts I’ve had all at once, but stick with me, I feel God really has a lot to say. There have been many Bible stories, especially Old Testament ones that I’ve heard over the years that I have sort of shrugged off. They are “good stories” examples of trials, faith, perseverance, promise, but there are many times I’ve thought “that’s great and all, but how is that relevant to me?” One of those stories comes from the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the … Read More

Hello Martha, Hello Mary…It’s Monday

Guest BloggerFaith0 Comments

It is always intriguing to me how God shows me myself through His Word.  Oftentimes, when I read an account of someone’s life, a parable, or ANY verse in Proverbs – I see myself – not in the heroine – but in the counterpart opposite.  Take the account of Mary and Martha. Jesus and his posse were coming to dinner!  How exciting! How nerve-racking! How fun!  Martha loved Jesus and wanted everything to be perfect for Him.  She saw the enormity of the task and she jumped right into service for Him. The busy-ness and opportunity to create an event thrilled her! She got to make lists with her favorite pen, plan, decorate, facilitate. She found herself at the helm and secretly loved being the “go-to-gal” with all the answers.  Making decisions and bossing others suited her perfectly – it was her “gifting.” Multi-tasking was her middle name – her motto:  “Get-er-done…” Check. Check. Check. Except for that LAZY sister of hers – where was she anyway?  Well, we know, don’t we?  Hanging out at the feet of Jesus – avoiding the work that needed to be done.  Hmmph! Using the manipulative skill of a true martyr – Martha felt it her duty to inform Jesus of her personal … Read More

Is Jesus REALLY Enough?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials2 Comments

We sing at the top of our lungs. We raise our hands in worship, proclaiming the greatness of our God. We join with hundreds of others in worship of Jesus, the One who died and rose again to pay our sin-debt. Yet we are a bunch of hypocrites. We proclaim the wonders of our Savior on Sunday morning and then fret about the greatness of our problems the rest of the week. Five minutes after we sing that there is no stronger power than Jesus, we revert to worry about how we are going to meet the pressures of the coming week. Hold on. It’s time we get that emotional worship experience to sink deeper. We must let those words of praise and faith penetrate our minds and hearts, too. They must change our way of thinking, so that we no longer wallow in doubt, fear, and defeat. Recently, a friend encouraged several of us bloggers to remember the omnipotent power of Jesus’ name. She had us look up John 14:12-14… I have read these verses many times over the last several months. They really became alive for me when I went through Kim Erickson’s His Last Words twice during … Read More

Writing My Psalm

Jewel ZymurgyFaith1 Comment

The psalms to me are expressions of deep emotion. Raw unfiltered words giving voice to bitter trials and broken relationships—a place of crying out in faith in the middle of suffering. They are an expression of turning to God for refuge and comfort when there is nothing but fear. They are a beautiful encouragement of what it looks like to bow my heart with life changing sorrow…they are honest conversation with God in the most difficult parts of my journey. They are an outpouring of worship in authenticity, faith and His truth. As an exercise for the Redemption Immersion, I wrote my own psalm. I was encouraged to share my deepest sentiments on suffering, sin, repentance or praise.  My aim was to be real about where I was today, where I was in this moment. Sharing the truth of the things that I was thinking and pouring over. I didn’t have an agenda—I didn’t know if it would be a reflection of His justice, His presence, His Glory or a place of worshipful response. All I knew was that it was my heartfelt response to My God. My personal perspective of God’s grace, love and kindness toward me…in the middle of … Read More