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

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

Are You Caught in the Comparison Trap?

Jen CudmoreTrials0 Comments

Comparison Trap

Do you measure up? The best advice I received at my bridal shower many years ago came from one of the pastors’ wives. She told me “Never ever compare yourself to other women.” The comparison trap is a snare all women must watch out for. We tempted way too often to worry if we’re a good mom, wife, employee, blogger, Sunday School teacher.  Are we thin enough, fit enough, strong enough? Trendy and fashionable? Wise and knowledgeable? Skilled with hobbies like decorating, photography, crafting, scrapbooking? Got the right amount of wealth and education? And we measure ourselves against other women to see if we meet “the standard.” It’s not always directly related to us, but also our homes, families, possessions, and jobs. Are our children as smart or athletic enough? Is our husband high enough on the corporate ladder, or even the spiritual ladder? Should we be pursuing a better job, like the business women who recently became a CEO of a large firm? Or should we be a stay-at-home mom like the other ladies at church? Should we purchase expensive furniture and décor for our run-down trailer or stay within our means and stick with Wal-Mart? I wasted too many years wondering if I … 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

I think I tripped you…

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

There’s a really good chance we’ve all done it. Sometimes we’ve done it on purpose, sometimes we’ve done it without knowing, but there’s a really good chance we’ve all done it. There’s a chance it happens more often these days, than it ever has before. There’s a chance I’ve done it to you. There’s a chance you’ve done it to me. And can I just say, I’m really sorry for it?! I might have done it to you when I talked about how amazing my husband is, or when I talked about the baby sleeping through the night. I might have done it to you when I talked about being able to bring the baby to work with me, or when I posted about my children’s grades. I might have done it to you when I posted about what we’re having for dinner, or when I shared pictures from vacations we’ve had. I might have done it when I posted projects I’ve completed, or pictures of my home. I might have done it when I posted pictures of my post baby figure, or when I shared publicly that I was pregnant. I might have done it when I posted about where … Read More

Marveling at Martha

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials, Womanhood0 Comments

The other night I stood in the kitchen with a fussy baby in one arm, while cooking dinner with the other. As I stood there I felt a temptation creep in. At that moment I felt tempted to take a picture of myself, then post it on social media as a way to toot my own horn so to speak. “Look at me, rocking this mom thing! I’m handling it all! Long day at work followed by making dinner for the family while holding a baby in one arm! I’ve got it all together. I’m rockin this mom thing!”    Some might think that it was silly that it was tempting for me to take a picture.  Some might not see anything wrong with posting something like that. Some post things like that on a regular basis for the world to see and admire (or envy) but the ironic thing is that I didn’t actually feel like I was “rockin this mom thing” at all. Truth be told, I felt like I was failing…big time!    That day I had overslept quite a bit, and was 15 minutes late to work. I went to work in the clothes I slept … Read More

A Time of Testing

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Trials1 Comment

For a time, I had been feeling as if life itself had knocked me down…brought me to my knees…and I didn’t know how to get up again. I didn’t gracefully fall and look around to see the people around me for the ones who would help me get back up again…I didn’t see the good things that were in store and trust that God had a plan for it all… I tripped and I fell hard. My arms were flailing and before I knew it, I was catching the pavement with my face. I thought things were going so well, my healing journey was steadily going upward and my relationships were becoming deeper. I was looking forward to what God had in store for my life…and then the winds of change began to blow me in a different direction than what I was ready for. Taking me to a place I wasn’t ready to travel and in my own fear and rage—I tried to halt the forward movement in that direction. I effectively exhausted myself making every effort to go my own direction and used up all my resources to try and make my life and my path look good … Read More

The Message and The Miracle

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Trials0 Comments

Have you ever gone through a hard time in your life and questioned is God even there? Or does he even care? Sometimes I’ve caught myself questioning God and His motives when I’m going through hard times. I question God ‘Why is this happening to me? Don’t you even care?’ Then He so tenderly reminds me, yes He does care more than I’ll ever know. In my struggle I realize I’m not the one waiting on God, He’s the one waiting on me. If I just opened my eyes to see what God is trying to show me, His creations are all around me. He has made the heavens, the earth and everything in it. He has already sent Jesus to die for us. Do I really need him to show me another sign of what He is capable of doing? My unbelief and doubt isn’t so far off from the Pharisees and the crowd Jesus fed. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, capture the life of Jesus, His ministry, His death and resurrection. Each gospel captures Jesus’ messages and miracles he performed. Jesus didn’t perform a miracle without there being a deeper message at hand. When a … Read More

A critical eye

Rosalynn LasleyTrials0 Comments

This week I was reminded again, that I have a lot of work to do. The reminder came on Monday afternoon while I was waiting to check-in for an appointment at the pediatricians office. The office we visit has a check-in counter right inside the front door. As I walked in there was a woman at the counter being checked in, so I stood back in my best effort to give her some privacy while I waited my turn. The receptionists verify information during check-in such as your name, your relationship to the child, your current mailing address, phone number, and type of insurance. While the other woman was checking in I admired her appearance. She was wearing adorable designer jeans that happened to be my favorite brand. She had on nice shoes (also my favorite brand) and a beautiful handbag. I noticed the nice way she wore her hair.  She looked well kept and so did the child that was with her. Although I stood as far back as I could in an effort to give them privacy, I couldn’t help but overhear when the receptionist asked about her insurance. At that moment I went from admiring her to … 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

Common Thread of Loss

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Trials0 Comments

Grief

Life in this world has a common thread of loss. Some loss is spread out through our lifetime while others seem to take place one instance after another. In the last few weeks, it has felt like loss after loss, heartache after heartache, broken relationships, illness, difficulties, conflicts, emotional struggle, rejection…pain…it all seems to be dangerously close to burying the hope I desperately cling to. There were days, I found myself walking around in a stupor of murky confusion, allowing the ache of what I was feeling around me to encircle me like a heavy fog. In those moments, I was easily forgetting that my Savior was called a man of sorrows. Loss and grief made him weep. I am reminded that my King allowed tears to fall. John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” For one reason or another, I find myself trying to be strong or longing to numb myself from the tenderness my heart feels from the loss. In anger, I want to shield myself from my soul’s anguish of betrayal. And it seems unacceptable that people around me see tears fall. I see what bottling up that emotion does…it will come out one way or another. I can choose … Read More

God, Help Me Bring Her Through​​

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials0 Comments

Help me God

As I am writing this moment tears well up in my eyes. I grew up in a manner that did not allow me to learn how to express my sadness or loss. Now as my child is hurting deeply from the death of a friend I feel like I finally have the room and the desire to open that door to letting God into that walled off place in my heart. Just thinking about the pain that I see my daughter experience brings tears to my eyes readily and in the span of a moment my heart feels like it is one beat away from breaking. This may be a naïve comment to make, but I never saw it coming. It took me by surprise. The loss that was so sudden and the way that it happened…took my breath away and sometimes I catch myself getting lost in the heartache of it all. There are so many times when I have felt overwhelmed and scared and unsure of what to do. This is where I find myself again…though this time with a feeling of complete powerlessness as I see my daughter grieving daily the loss of her friend. Instead of … 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

When Gratitude Unlocked a Miracle

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, Trials, Womanhood1 Comment

Last week, I wrote about giving thanks in the middle of trouble. Little did I know just how much I would need that message on the very day the blog published. A few months ago, several of us at Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry began praying about having a vendor table at a local homeschool convention. The topics of womanhood and women’s discipleship had been forefront in our minds. We were approved to teach a class about those topics at the convention. I cannot tell you how much prayer went into the preparation. I can only tell you that it was a LOT!! We prayed for the women who would attend our class. We asked God to use our class to set women free from false beliefs, to open their eyes to life-giving truth, and to release God’s favor over their lives. Our goals were big and we believed them to be God-given. The day of that class was the same day that I published the blog about gratitude. I planned to attend our middle child’s school concert that morning before heading to the convention at 10:00. As my husband and kids were about ready to head out the door for work and … Read More

Deep Tears

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

BrokenHearted

It was a tough, tough week. I was group leading for Beauty for Ashes, and it was day 2. It is a faith-based healing conference that looks at the harm that is caused in our past, to see how it affects our now, and make plans for a better tomorrow. My heart was tender with the sadness of the brokenness of the stories that I was already hearing in our small group. I was incredibly aware of the rising anger growing inside me at the mistreatment of these ladies as they were young. The desire inside me, to fight for them grew. I wanted to be the one who would stand against those who in their own woundedness or selfishness caused these ladies so much pain. I cried tears of deep sadness knowing that there was no one to stand in the place of protection and instead I can only say those things that I wish they would have gotten to hear or see…I felt so heartbroken. With surprising curiousness, I looked at my sensitive heart. The passion that I felt in my core that was willing to fight for people that I had just met was foreign to me. … Read More

How to deal with Loss

Guest BloggerTrials0 Comments

How to Deal with Loss

When the unexpected happens and we are faced with death, how do we deal with that? The past couple of days, I have witnessed a family member die from illness, and a tragic accident that killed a young teenager in our community. Life can be brutal sometimes.  How do we explain things like this?  How do we function? When things like this happen, it is hard not to look at our own life and make sense of these unfortunate circumstances.  For me, I have reflected on my past of when I lost my mother at a young age due to a car accident. Growing up without my biological mom, life was hard.  I do not wish that on anyone.  To this day after 31 years of not talking to her, hearing her voice, hugging her, or seeing her, makes me sad.  I do long for her and I always will.   However, I have comfort in knowing that she is alive in her new home called HEAVEN! With death there is sadness, pain, suffering, grieving, unfairness, and much more.  However,  knowing JESUS is the answer to finding COMFORT, JOY, LOVE, and getting through this ultimate LONG SUFFERING. “But the fruit of … Read More

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

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

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