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

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

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

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

Clouds of Discouragement

Jewel ZymurgyTrials0 Comments

Work was pretty normal and went by rather quickly as Fridays are concerned. I was on my way to an afternoon meeting with a beautiful friend of mine, looking to share some insight on questions that had to do with learning how to recognize a healthier way to respond and engage in relationship. When I become conscious for the umpteenth time in the last week or so that I had this rather obstinate and in general irritable non-cooperative disposition rising inside of me. Once again I found myself pushing it away thinking that later I needed to look at what in the world that was…that feeling of…well…I think it was discouragement. Trying to will myself to focus instead on the upcoming time with my dear friend, time which has always been bathed in the scriptures. Her insight has and I believe always will, include the beautiful way she weaves the loving word of God into whatever topic we discuss. I look forward to our times together with childlike excitement because I know that God’s Presence saturates that time and in it I will receive a treasure from Him, a gift to unwrap, meant just for me. That time to me … 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

A Holy Love At The Cross

Heather GillisFaith, Trials0 Comments

I hope you enjoyed the love poem and prayer of God’s agapé love for us from last week. God’s love is a holy love. One that forgives and selflessly gives eternally forevermore. There is never an end or amount of God’s love. But sometimes God’s love doesn’t feel very loving does it? Let me explain. Six years ago my husband and I endured the biggest tragedy parent’s could ever go through—the loss of our son. He was born with an undetected kidney disease that was incompatible with life. He lived only two short weeks on this earth before he went to heaven. When he died I couldn’t believe God didn’t heal our son. We prayed so hard for him to be healed, didn’t God hear our prayers? If God loved us then why didn’t He heal our son? As time went by, I went before God with this very question and His response was “I did heal your son just not in the way you asked me to. He indeed is healed and living a life that is free from disease, pain or sorrow, he is no longer suffering.” Wow, God was right, He answered every single one of my … Read More

Choose to Bring Life

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Trials0 Comments

A tremendous life lesson that I have learned this year is the impact and responsibility that I have in the words that I say. It is and always will be my decision whether or not my words bring life or death. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” I have been the one who has given way to both death and life. Though for a long time I allowed the sickness of my past and the pain of my hurts to taint the way I spoke to others. I rationalized in my own head that such negative speak was tolerable from me because I have been hurt deeply. A hypocrite, I judged harshly those who would speak to me in the same manner, caustically labeling those who looked just like me. Matthew 15:18 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” I knew what it was to hurt others with my words; it was one way that I kept others away. My verbal lashes kept people away from my heart, away from the things that I truly thought … Read More

Giving God Access

Jewel ZymurgyTrials0 Comments

I have shared before how the last few years of my life has been radically different from the majority of the life that I have lived prior. This last week though, God gave me a glimpse into a different plan for me than the one I had (which was to compartmentalize and keep my “following Jesus” life and my life prior to that separate). There was no miraculous booming voice nor did the waters of the Cook Inlet part to show me the way…however, the miracle that happened in my heart may just have been that big…or at least it was to me. Almost the entire time that I have been on this crazy adventure with Jesus, I have been told over and over that I need to forgive those people in my past that had hurt me so deeply; which is perfectly true and in fact biblical. Though…how do you convince someone who has been living in a world of pain and survival that the ones who hurt you the worst are in most need of forgiveness, “not for them, but for you…” The more that I was willing to know and learn and seek who God is…the more … Read More

When Mercy Meets You In Your Mess

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

This weekend I was blessed by a friend with a ticket to the Vicki Courtney retreat and REALLY enjoyed all that she shared with us.  One thing that really stuck with me was when she talked about when life gets messy.  It wasn’t necessarily just what she said that stuck with me, but also the reactions of the women who were attending.  The conference was filled with many different women, many different age groups, many different churches and denominations, many different seasons of life and heritages.  There was a wide variety of women present but based on the tears and the tissues one could gather that there are many who are dealing with hard things in life, a life that is messy. As I looked around from time to time I found myself wondering what could be causing so many women to weep? So many walked in with bright, shining, smiling faces and now those faces are streaming with tears. What does their mess look like? Each of us either have a mess of our own, or have just recently gone through the process of cleaning up a mess. Some of the messes may seem “small” in comparison to other messes but … Read More

At A Loss For Words

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

This week is one of the many times lately I have found myself at a loss for words.  I’m generally a pretty chatty person, so when I’m left with nothing to say it’s hard to know what to do with it. Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words? I mean REALLY at a loss for words? I’ve found myself at such a loss for words at times that I didn’t even know what to pray.  I couldn’t offer up not one sound to the Lord, not one.  My prayers came instead via cheeks that were wet in silence.  All I could even think was “Lord, hear my heart.” Maybe you’ve found yourself at a loss for a words in your own circumstances. Maybe you don’t even have the words to pray.  Maybe a friend has come to you and shared something leaving you nothing to offer in return, no advice, no encouragement, just silence.  Sometimes the best things we can offer in times like these come in silence.  Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they … Read More