Hoarding Grace

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Redemption0 Comments

Grace

Have you ever found yourself asking a question, knowing you didn’t want to know the answer? Asking the question was necessary, but the response had a realistic potential of being hard to hear? That was me yesterday. Yesterday wasn’t a very good day. If I could do the day over, I absolutely would, but if it hadn’t of been a bad day, I might not have learned what I needed to. Tensions have been high lately. We have a very sick kiddo (for almost 3 weeks now) who’s been missing school. I’ve missed a lot of work, money is tight, we’re not sleeping well, ministry has been frustrating, work has been stressful for both my husband and myself. Tensions have been high, and then they peaked yesterday via an argument on the way to work. I hate when days start like that. Thankfully they don’t happen often for us, but when they do it ruins the whole day. I don’t like being angry, but especially with my family, and I definitely don’t like it when someone is angry with me. After some important discussion, requests for forgiveness, and some reconciliation, I asked a hard question… “What can I do to … Read More

Response in the Struggle

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Redemption1 Comment

What is the proper response when I hear my own thoughts asking, “what am I to do if things stay the way they are today…am I always going to feel this lonely, this sad, this empty, this hopeless…what would happen if I just gave up…” I wrestle through the times that my thinking is brings me down and I am desperate to know when the struggle will end. When my emotions get the best of me and I find myself feeling as if things will never change…that I may be stuck in the sadness and tire of the fight. A significant part of me really does feel bad to entertain thoughts of giving up. I feel guilty because I know some of the verses that I needed to echo in order to repeat truth and the honest answer to that dilemma is…in and of myself, I didn’t have the strength to keep reminding myself of the truth. In my weakness and weariness I long for release from the pain…I am exhausted from the hurt that keeps me company. It feels like an unwanted guest that has overstayed its welcome. I feel irritable and impatient. I no longer looked at the … Read More

7 Things The Enemy Can Never Change

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

Lately, it seems everywhere I look I see the enemy reeking havoc in this world.  I see his relentless attacks on marriages and relationships.  There is nothing holding the enemy back from targeting our children, the helpless, the vulnerable.  The enemy has been coming on fierce and strong using all tactics to carry out his evil plan to make us believe his lies.  Sometimes I fall victim to what the enemy is trying to do.  I become weak and weary from fighting against his evil schemes. Then God reminds me, there is nothing the enemy can do to ever change what He has already done for us.  We can rest in His plan, that one day there will be no more sorrow, or pain that we can rejoice because of what He has done for us (Rev. 21:4). God reminds me in my weariness, that my fight isn’t against flesh and blood, but against all the powers of this dark world (Eph. 6:12).  He tells me to keep fighting the right fight with my prayers, not my weak self.  He tells me to keep standing firm in his truth;  it will protect and provide me with peace. No matter how bad things get in this … Read More

When there’s shame in your story…

Rosalynn LasleyRedemption, Trials1 Comment

Throughout this blog I’ve been slowly sharing parts of my story. One of the good things about telling my own story is that I’m able to share the parts of my story I want you to know. I can shine up my story really nice so it sounds awesome, but what about the parts of my story that won’t ever shine up? What about the parts that are so dark and ugly I wish they could be removed completely? What happens when there’s shame in your story?   The other day I was thinking about many different Bible stories and characters I’ve heard about through the years. I thought to myself, “How embarrassing to have some of your biggest, most shameful moments written down and passed along, all through history!!” Sure the stories are about more than just the things they’ve done wrong, more than just the things they’re ashamed of, but it’s still embarrassing sometimes when everyone knows your story.    I thought about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One of Eve’s most shameful moments changed all of mankind. Her decision to disobey God was written down for all to see, and also brought sin into … Read More

Apology from a Church Girl

Carol DunfeeFaith, Redemption1 Comment

An apology might be the last thing you expect from a church person. After all, we have a reputation for pointing fingers at others, while holding ourselves to a different standard. We have a tendency to speak first about politics and last about compassion. We cling to our comfort zones instead of Jesus. This isn’t going to be easy. I am exposing a part of me I’d rather leave hidden. This apology is for all the people I diminished when I was lost in religion. 1. I am sorry for not thinking about your feelings. How many times have I seen a life-style, a demographic, or a “sin” and immediately made a decision about you? I forget that you are a real person with feelings just like mine. I forget that you feel rejection as painfully as I do. I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to know you. My own pain has now made me more sympathetic to your pain. I hope the next time I meet you, that I will look into your eyes and see the beautiful soul God made. I hope I will see the soul that just needs a friend to listen and weep with her. 2. I … Read More

Are You Willing To Go Where God Calls You?

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called” quote by Mark Batterson.          Has God ever asked you do something that didn’t make sense? About 2,000 years ago Jesus was looking to qualify the called.  He was starting his ministry on earth calling His first disciples.  He saw some fisherman fishing alongside a lake.  He then told them to take the boat, out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Luke 5:4).   Simon, the boat owner said to  Jesus, “We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).  Then something amazing happened.  Their nets began to break and their boats began to sink because they had caught so many fish (Luke 5:6-7).   Simon and all his companions couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.  They had been fishing all night, then Jesus came along and changed everything.  Simon fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord;  I am a sinful man!”  Simon knew he had witnessed something great and felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and … 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

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

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

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

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

The Victor’s Crown

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption4 Comments

Four years ago I had the unbelievable opportunity to participate in the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was unimaginable I was there. I looked around at the sea of runners thinking, how did I even get here? I didn’t feel worthy to be there, nor did I feel qualified even though I met the requirements to enter. This race was for elite runners and I wasn’t even close to that category. However, none of that mattered once the gun went off. Everyone started running full speed ahead to achieve the same goal—crossing the finish line. This is where we were put to the test. Were all the early morning training runs and nutritional diet going to pay off to get me to the end? Marathoners are a different breed. Who in their right mind gets up at 4 a.m. and runs 20 miles? I didn’t consider myself a marathoner, just someone who needed to put the pain to the pavement. I was searching for a place to heal and God led me to running. Running is where I spent time with God.  In my training God taught me so much. He showed me my hands and feet weren’t really mine anyway, they … Read More

What If?

Carol DunfeeFaith, Redemption, Trials3 Comments

The dark night of the soul. Yes, I’ve been there. In those times, I have to concentrate on each breath. Breathe in. Breath out. Put one foot in front of the other. Those moments whittle all of life down to surviving the present moment and then the next and the next. The pain is excruciating. My heart threatens to stop beating for the emotional pain, the exhaustion, wracking my body. In those dark nights, I chastise myself for not having more faith. If I were a better Christian, a better wife, a better mom, I could handle the pain better. If I were stronger, this wouldn’t be so hard. After all, my night is not a dark as hers or his. So I deny myself the luxury of pain and thus make the darkness even deeper. Looking back, I see how God brought me through these seasons of hopelessness. I can trace His hand in hindsight. So I ask, “What if?” What if our dark seasons were sent by the enemy to harm us? Maybe he sees where God is leading us and wants to stop it before we became a threat to him. Maybe he just wants to hurt God … Read More

And All God’s People Said…

Madison RosserFaith, Redemption4 Comments

I love to break out into song. I think it’s in my genes. Growing up, my mom made up a song for everything, and whenever I visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins, singing is a respectable, possibly preferred, way of communicating. I sing frequently to my students, and sometimes they will even sing back. When I picture heaven, I imagine song. Not somber singing. Not our modern praise- and-worship-style singing with the lights dimmed and our eyes closed. I picture a good, old-fashioned, gospel choir belting out their exuberant tune, choir robes a-swaying, hands lifted in jubilation, soulfully singing in beautiful harmonic layers. And the song I imagine is the old traditional gospel chorus of one lyric: “Amen.” Amen. The simple word to end a prayer. I remember being in Sunday School as a child and my teachers ending their prayer with a call to response, simply stated, “And all God’s people said…” Our little hearts would shout a hearty “Amen!” with glee. Amen. It is so. Let it be. Whatever we just prayed. May it be so. As a child, I somehow developed an idea of what “God’s people” looked like. I can tell you my image was pretty straight-laced. … Read More

Training For Heaven

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption1 Comment

The other day my daughter and I were on our way to a youth ski race. Kids on different ski teams compete against each other by going down the slalom course. The top 3 kids who achieve the fastest time in their age group win a medal. Usually my daughter is excited to go to ski team to have the opportunity to ski for a few hours. But this day she was having a little trouble. She groaned and complained how she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to compete, she just wanted to ski. I tried to sugar coat the situation and encourage her, she was going to have fun. She had already won three medals in the three races she competed in. In my attempt to encourage her I said, “Don’t you want to win another medal?” Her response was very convicting. She said, “I’ve already won enough medals, I don’t need another one.” She was right. Honestly, I didn’t care if she won or not. I just wanted her to to have fun and do the best she could. It was more about changing the attitude of her heart and working through it. Then I was … Read More

Friends That Heal

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Redemption2 Comments

Psalm 27:10 “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord cares for me.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Both the verse in the Psalms and one of the most well known bible verses in the world are tattooed on my back to help cover the markings of a past trafficker. The words of the verses echo my often unacknowledged feelings of loneliness and desertion when I reflect on what family has done and what their actions have meant to me—while at the same time it leaves exposed the only constant source of care, comfort and hope that I have so desperately needed. There were many times when the wounds of my past seemed to be so much more than I could handle. In my heart (and many times physically) the intensity of them would bring me to my knees. I didn’t know how to let go, I didn’t know how to move on—and so I sat in the truly exhaustive state of holding on to those pain-filled places in my heart and allowed them to be the ones … Read More

The Stones We Throw

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption0 Comments

On a beautiful crisp morning, our family was walking along the rocky beach of Hope, Alaska. There were mountains surrounding us, sounds of waves echoing against the bank, and eagles soaring above us. There were millions of smooth shaped rocks underneath our feet that we could see for miles. It was a cloudy, rainy day, but it didn’t take away from the beauty that surrounded us. In order to get to Hope, we took the only road that led in and out of this hidden town tucked away in the mountains. Hope is an old gold mining town with less than two hundred residents. There is only one store, one restaurant and one post office in this small town. The only way to stay there is to either know someone or camp at the local campground. Even though we call Alaska our home, there is still so much to discover in this enormous state. Everywhere we go, we always discover something new. It has been two years since our family was stationed here, but we have barely broken the surface of experiencing everything Alaska has to offer. We have learned to listen to what the locals tell us. They know … Read More

A Holy Love That Makes Us Complete

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

Happy Monday!  Last Monday I posted about how God’s holy love makes us new. God’s holy love has the power to transform our hearts and lives. Surrender is the first step to our transformation. Today we are taking a closer look at how God’s holy love makes us complete. We may not always like when tragedy or struggle enters our lives, but God is all-powerful and able to do so much more with our struggles than we ever could. In God’s holy love we are made perfect. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 God’s holy love never punishes but disciplines us.  God’s love isn’t meant to get back at us but for us to have the best life ever in Him.  God knows our needs better than us–He encourages holiness. To get where God desires us, He requires our obedience and discipline. We may not always like what God desires for us, but that’s okay, we don’t have to.  The fruit of self-discipline doesn’t come from us but from God Himself and reaps great rewards … Read More