A Holy Love At The Cross

Heather GillisFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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 ZymurgyTrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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, TrialsLeave a Comment

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

There’s only room for one of us

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

I think it’s a little bit funny how God works sometimes.  Well maybe not FUNNY funny, but it’s late and a better word escapes me right now.  Last week my Wednesday blog contribution talked about how I often try to carry more than I should, and how my burdens often get VERY heavy before I hand them back to Him. Wednesday was a good day for me.  When I got home from work I told my husband how well I felt for the first time in a really long time, and so I got started on some small chores before we left for church.  That might not seem very significant to you, but it was a big deal for me. What some of you may not know is that in December I was in a sledding accident that resulted in 19 different fractures in my body (4 vertebrae, 14 rib fractures, and a broken shoulder blade) once I was a few months into healing from my accident, the Lord blessed us with a baby who is expected to arrive later this fall.  Combine injury and first trimester and I haven’t felt so great in quite sometime. I’m not complaining, I promise I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that Wednesday … Read More

When Christmastime Is Difficult

Rosalynn LasleyHoliday, Trials1 Comment

Christmastime is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, but there are times when Christmastime is the most difficult time of the year too. Most of us try to muster up all the jolly we can, and force a smile to carry us through this time of year, but truly, the most wonderful time of the year can sometimes be a difficult time of year too. Maybe your Christmastime comes with an ugly diagnosis, or bills you can’t pay. How are you supposed to afford gifts when you’re not sure how to put food on the table? Maybe the cupboards are bare and the lines at the food bank are long.  This isn’t how you imagined life would be right now.  Maybe there has been a recent job loss or lay-off. Maybe this means there are very few gifts under the tree this year, or no gifts or tree at all. How can you afford to light up a tree, when you’re not sure how you’re going to pay the electric bill?  Maybe your Christmastime is spent in a hospital room, or visiting a loved one in jail. That’s not an ideal way to spend Christmastime. There’s no … Read More

…it’s still raining

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

Text after text flooded my inbox, and it wasn’t until I was just about to go to sleep for the night, I realized it wasn’t coincidental.  Early in the morning, a close friend talked about her newest baby, and how greatly she misses the one she lost. It’s been four years, but it still hurts just the same. Evening came, and my sister sent me a picture of the scenery over my nephews soccer game. There was no rhyme or reason for the picture, she just thought it was pretty so she shared it with me.   It wasn’t until a really dear friend asked me an innocent question, that I realized that maybe God was trying to get my attention. After all,  I have been asking Him what I should write about, for over two weeks now.  The question was:  “I was wondering how you are, with life with your rainbow?” When she said rainbow, she was talking about my baby, my rainbow baby.If you were to google “what is a rainbow baby?” the response you would get is this: A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows … Read More

A season of wait

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials2 Comments

We are a part of a generation that is used to instant satisfaction. With modern technology we have a multitude of things instantly at our fingertips. The only waiting we really do, depends on our internet connection or wi-fi speed. I haven’t really existed too long in an era where people had to be more patient. We’ve always had an electric washer and dryer (although my mom did use a clothes line every once in a while.) We had a telephone, and sometimes cable TV. We had polaroid’s and one hour photo.  We had processed foods, TV dinners, microwaveable everything, so waiting is something that has had to be extra learned, and is something I’m not necessarily good at. God doesn’t care how far technology has come. God doesn’t care that we’ve become a society focused on instant satisfaction. God allows seasons of wait in our lives to teach us to depend on Him and not ourselves. We are refined during our wait. Sometimes waiting brings out the worst in people. Think of long post-office lines at Christmas-time, or a more than 10 minute wait at your favorite restaurant during the dinner rush. Many people would rather leave, drive across town, and … Read More

Sometimes It’s Hard For Me To Love You

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

Sometimes it’s hard for me to love you. I know that sounds ugly, but it’s true. I know it’s wrong, and I’m sorry. I promise I’m trying to be better about that.  I know what the Bible says. I’ve read it many times before.  “Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 NKJV The Bible tells me to love my neighbors (which means coworkers, siblings, parents, customers from work, actual neighbors, church members, inlaws, distant friends, my spouse, my children, my boss, the people in line at the grocery store, our police, our political leaders, ex boyfriends… The list goes on and on.) but  sometimes it’s … Read More

How Do We Fight Our Adversary?

Jen CudmoreFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

Have you ever wanted to be a hero? Most little girls dream of being a princess who lives happily ever after. We dream of our white knight rescuing us from the evil dragon and whisking us away to utopia. But sometimes, we dream of being the hero. Beating the odds. Saving the day. And ladies, God is giving us that opportunity. We can be a hero for His Kingdom! We can break chains and free captives. We can go and make disciples. We can pursue unity and forgiveness in our relationships. We can love, unconditionally and with abandon. Yet, we have enemies. As mentioned in a previous post about fearing opposition, we have to be wary of the world, our flesh, and the devil. Which means we are opposed, and we must stand strong if we want to be a hero. To be a hero, it’s essential that we fight to keep satan from infiltrating our space, the territory God has given to us as wives, moms, teachers, employees – all of it. He will try to meddle anywhere he can. He initiates division in relationships. He appeals to our flesh. He targets weaknesses and tempts us. He convinces us … Read More

Come Alongside Others

Heather GillisFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

Have you ever wondered what you can do or say to someone who has just lost a loved one? What we say and don’t say to those who grieve, can make a big difference in the lives of those who are going through hard times. Sometimes there are no words that can take away a person’s pain of their loss, but there is something you can always do. You can always love. Your Loving actions can have the most impact in the lives of those who are grieving. One of the biggest lessons we learned after our son passed away five years ago, was to share the love we have in our hearts for him with others. When we do, it helps us come alongside others who have gone through the same thing just like God has done for us. “He Comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 MSG How to Come Alongside Others who are Going through Hard Times:1. Through Prayer- … Read More

A Grief Observed

Madison RosserPrayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

It has always intimidated me to discuss grief, and by always, I mean since five years ago when I experienced it first-hand with the loss of my mother. What could I possibly tell you that would help you navigate a season that seems darker than the winters of the Northland? I feel at a loss when it comes to loss. As I was thinking about the reasons behind my lack of words for others, I thought back to the books handed to me when I lost my mom. I read a grand total of 1.75 of them; 75% of one book given to me, and the entirety of another I picked from a used book-store, pages worn from another reader, written by an author I’ll always trust. The first was a little daily devotional. I don’t even remember the name. Someone gave a copy to my Nanny, my sister, and me. Somehow, the short length of each devotional and its authors’ raw acknowledgement that grief is the worst allowed me to keep turning the pages day by day. Ironically, I never finished it, perhaps symbolic of the fact I wasn’t finished grieving in 80 days. I’m still not. Pretty sure … Read More

Lessons from Hard Times

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

Life has left me a bit weary lately. To be honest, I really didn’t feel like I had a lot to offer. Fortunately, God is never empty, dry, or uninspired. While I didn’t have a clue what to write about, the Father had other plans. As I sat down at the computer to write, I heard a song playing from my daughter’s MP3 player. It was recorded by my piano teacher, her husband who was my violin teacher, and several of their family members. It was a song that captured their journey to Jesus, their faith, and their passion. Aha!! Here is a story to be told! While I was a college sophomore, a Jewish couple from Brazil came to teach at our college under a special contract. They captured our hearts and imaginations immediately. From their melodious Brazilian accents to their mastery of instruments, these concert musicians were at once superheroes yet also irresistibly down-to-earth. I was fortunate enough to have private lessons with each of them. They each breathed life into me.From them, I learned how to persevere when times got tough. I learned that music is all about the heart you put into it. I learned that … Read More

But God, I don’t want to.

Jen CudmoreFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

Seriously, why can’t life just be easy? I’d rather live in a world where I get what I want. Fresh coffee, comfy jeans, no traffic, pedicures, sunshine, plenty of good books to read. Kids who never act up. A spouse who is majorly attentive. Lots of coconut cream pie. And every day is a good hair day!  Who’s with me, ladies?!?! Too many times, I don’t get my way. Why doesn’t God just hand us what we need? Why do we have to sow good around us to reap good in return? Honestly, I don’t mind working for it, if it doesn’t cost me too much. I want spring, summer and fall without having to experience winter. I want food that pleases my taste buds without adding extra weight or stealing energy. I want to have pets without putting any effort into taking care of them. I want to have utilities without having to pay the bills. I want fresh groceries without waiting in line. I want a house that cleans itself. Can I get an ‘Amen’? Over the past couple weeks, God has shown me some areas in my life that don’t please Him, things tucked in corners and … Read More

The Wisdom to Know the Difference

Carol DunfeeFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

I think my brain is hardwired with a crusader mentality. I have a compulsion to improve the things around me, to right wrongs, to create new paths. In high school, I put my energy into improving our cheerleading team. In college, I worked with children to teach them about God. As a teacher, I experiment with different techniques to find the best approach for each student. As a mom, I try to teach my kids to work hard and to leave things better than they found them. Here is the hard part:God doesn’t intend for me to fix everything. He didn’t plan for me to crusade against every evil. So how do I know which battles are mine? Which battles should be avoided? Which battles are for someone else to fight? I don’t know. That is why I must go to God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” –James 1:5 ESV How do I diffuse emotions so they don’t cloud my judgment? I must surrender my wants and desires to God…over and over, minute by minute. “So He said to them, … Read More

Labels. Schmabels.

Carol DunfeeFaith, TrialsLeave a Comment

What is your label? Are you Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, or Catholic?Are you Christian Right or Christian Left or somewhere in between?Are you Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent?Are you Evangelical, Fundamental, or Charismatic?Are you a homeschool mom, a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a work-from-home mom?Are you an organic-eater or a junk-food-eater? We use labels to classify people and things into easily understandable categories. We give ourselves labels to separate “us” from “them”.  Sometimes, we take pride in our labels and derive our identity from them. It seems that labels have gotten out of hand. We meet people and immediately put them in a labeled box based so that we know how to handle them. I’m sick of being labeled.  I’m tired of being put into boxes. I’m weary of seeing Christianity packaged neatly into different categories…as though we could package the Creator of the universe. I was not created to submit to the limitations of man-made labels! I do not want to be defined by a human set of traditions. The apostle Paul saw this happening in the first century church as they argued about which teacher they followed. “…Some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your arguments, … Read More