I see your pain

Rosalynn LasleyRedemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

I was only 6 years old at the time but the memory is just as fresh, as if it happened yesterday. I was a little girl in your class with big glasses and wiggly teeth, when I saw you for the last time.  I never even got to say goodbye.  I remember you running out of the school building, as I stood there waiting for my bus. A fellow teacher was trying their best to comfort you. They had their arms wrapped tightly around your shoulder, as they ushered you to the parking lot. Your face was buried in your hands as you sobbed uncontrollably. You never looked up. You never returned to school, and I don’t mean just that year, I mean ever. You never came back.  But how could you?  Your baby died.  My mom told me what happened, as gently as you tell a 6 year old girl, and we went to the store to pick out a small glass figurine of a little boy. My mom thought it might remind you of him. I don’t remember his name.  I wish I did. I spent all night last night trying to remember, but all I could remember is that … Read More

Beautiful Reminders

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, RedemptionLeave a Comment

Sitting with Gwen, I was reminded of a time when I got to see where Jesus was in my past–when I hadn’t believed that God was with me at all. One of those incredible moments was a time when Sue walked with me into the darkness of my past– she loving helped me enter into a painful time that had a warped and drastically shaped me; a time that had plagued my dreams and left me feeling broken and abandoned. A time when hope was ripped away from me so completely that I felt like the only good response was too shut myself away… a time when the most logical thing to do was to close my heart to trusting people and to shut myself off to believing there was anything good to live for. I was already too tired, enduring day to day, to keep on fighting and hoping in something that I didn’t live. The circumstances in my life felt like they were crushing me and I fought to breathe in anything that seemed good. There was no hope for joy – there was only existence. As I began believing that I was too broken to fix I … Read More

Overwhelmed By Acceptance

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Redemption, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

Just a couple of days ago I was listening to someone read and unpack a few verses and my heart and mind were just overwhelmed to the point of tears. I’ve heard the story before… It’s just that the words didn’t seem to come alive in my mind the way that it did with me this time. …the Word shared was so incredibly personal to me… We read about the Luke 7 woman— Luke 7:36-50 “When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them off with her feet, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, … Read More

Their Loyalty Struck Me

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, RedemptionLeave a Comment

I sat in the movie theater this last week with my daughter. It was one of our “Weekly Date” times. We watched a movie based on a tale told for hundreds of years as we sat in the comfort of our plush seats. A warrior king…chivalry…nobility…bravery. The soundtrack was spot on and very shortly after falling into the theater seats I felt the music resonate somehow deeply in my bones. It matched beautifully with how I think emotions of passion mixed with fear, courage and intentionality would sound like. And within a few moments, I was hooked. I watched as the actors on the screen spoke to what I see personally as the struggle of the human condition. Witnessing not only an initially self-serving and selfish individual but the fight to change perceptions, learn, grow and ultimately claim victory. I mean, that’s what it’s about isn’t it? In the middle of temptation, sin and lust of all kinds it seems that somewhere in the core of us screams for protection, provision, unity and love…or is that just me. In any case, it wasn’t just the strength and justice that had me in tears. It was the love, loyalty and honor … Read More

When You’ve Fallen Out Of Love

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

No one ever plans to fall out of love. It’s just one of those things that happen gradually, over the course of time. Maybe you stop putting in the effort you used to, or have been hurt along the way, and by the time you realize that things have changed it, it seems impossible to get things back to the way they used to be. Realizing you’ve fallen out of love can be a painful, and sobering realization, but it’s not to late to turn things around.   When love is new, you don’t care who’s watching your interactions. Your admiration for one another is obvious to everyone around you. The sound of your loved ones name, is on your lips as often as you exhale, and spending time together is something you just can’t do often enough. Every waking moment, of every single day, doesn’t feel like enough time with one another, and late nights followed by early mornings become a part of your new routine. Every midday yawn is worth being with the one you love.   When you’re newly in love, you willingly and eagerly go out of your way to show you care for each other. … 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

Messy Moments

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, RedemptionLeave a Comment

I love the perfect way that God meets me. This last weekend was a Redemption Immersion (a beautiful and intense healing conference based on the book of Exodus) and it was hands down amazing how God moved in my heart and mind. I went into the weekend knowing I was desperate to hear the heart and love of God and waited in expectation of what He had in store for me— I went into the weekend with tremendous pain and truth be told; a heart of willful unforgiveness. I left being utterly in awe of how God moves through those who love Him in my life. I hold dearly in this moment the tangible gifts of intimacy, acceptance and connection that opened the door for me to want to sit in a place of forgiving others in my life. Not because of guilt or sheer will or even because I wanted to appear good to the other ladies that I shared the small group with…but because of God’s love and truth that persistently pursued me in my stubbornness and woefully disheartened and shame-filled state. I was so afraid to show up and be real and admit that I harbored a … Read More

Hoarding Grace

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Redemption2 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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

“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, Redemption4 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