There’s only room for one of us

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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, Trials0 Comments

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

When the Dragon Fights Back

Carol DunfeeFaith, Trials0 Comments

This particular sin-dragon is stubborn. It doesn’t want to die. Maybe part of me is holding on to it, feeding it in the shadows of my heart. Maybe it’s bigger and stronger than the others. Just when I think this dragon is nearly dead, it opens its yellow eyes and gives yet another fiery blast. In shame, I look upon the damage I have caused. I am embarrassed that it happened…again. Why won’t the victory come quickly? Why does it have to be so drawn out? Some sin-dragons die quickly when we lay them down in repentance at Jesus’ feet. Sometimes we get complete and instantaneous victory. Other times it’s a long series of battles…over and over and over. The bad news: The battle is exhausting. It can take every ounce of our strength. The good news: The battle has already been won. Jesus has already conquered sin and death. We just might have to wait awhile to see it with our own eyes. The Apostle Paul had these same struggles… “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in … Read More

Slaying Your Dragons

Carol DunfeeFaith, Trials0 Comments

In Frank Peretti’s book The Oath, an entire town is under the curse of a terrifying, beautiful, fire-breathing dragon that is mysteriously connected to the sins of its residents. The dragon lures his victims one at a time with temptation. Once they no longer care about their sin-guilt, he consumes them. The hero attempts a quest to kill the dragon and free the town. But when he finally has his chance to slay the town’s dragon, he finds that he doesn’t really want it dead. “…Against all logic, all common sense, he couldn’t kill it. “He couldn’t explain it, and he couldn’t shake it, but as he looked at that long, serpentine body spread out before him, he felt he was looking at part of his own body, no different from his arm, his leg, his hand. “Yes. That was it. As strange as it seemed, he felt like he’d be killing himself. “I can’t kill it. It’s mine. It’s me…. “And he could sense it so clearly now as he touched it: It was a part of him; he was a part of it. He owned it. It was all his…. “He loved this beast!” –from The Oath, page 499 … Read More

When You are Bone TIRED

Carol DunfeeFaith, Motherhood, Trials0 Comments

I’m tired. A new school year has brought a new routine, challenges, and many adjustments. I feel so inadequate for all the responsibilities laid before me. I see needs, but feel incompetent to meet them. I have tried to cut back on unnecessary demands, but so many others creep in. I don’t have enough of my own strength to be a good wife. I do not have the wisdom to meet my children’s needs. I lack the energy to manage homework, chores, AND bonding time with the kids. Frankly, there is not enough of me to go around. Finally, I am where God wants me. The apostle Paul experienced weakness, exhaustion, and inadequacy, too. He had a physical ailment that plagued him day after day. He begged God to remove it. God did not answer quite as he expected… “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, … Read More

Why Bother

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

I’ve had a bit of a bad attitude lately. It’s hard to admit that, but it’s true. I’ve felt defeated, discouraged, and simply like “why do I even bother?!” (I’ve even said that outloud.) I’ve attempted kindness and grace only to have it discarded. I’ve attempted courtesy and just had it overlooked. I’ve attempted to try harder, do more than what was asked if me, but it was only to have my efforts completely dismissed. It’s hard to have a good attitude when that happens.  Have you felt that way lately? Have you felt like you’re doing the best you can, really giving it all you have and either no one notices, no one cares, or it doesn’t change the circumstances one bit?  Do you have the “why bother” attitude like me?  While in the midst of my pity party and bad attitude, God reminded me of why I need to bother, and why I need to do my best to have a good attitude while doing it.  But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take … Read More

The Lie of Easy Grace

Carol DunfeeFaith, Trials0 Comments

Four cabins’ worth of kids and counselors. Four compasses. Four different sets of instructions. One destination. We were given brief instructions on reading our compasses before we were given our first clue. “And you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” 45 degrees. 20 paces.” We figured out that our starting place was at the electrical box. The compass was hard to read. It took a long time to find North. It wobbled like crazy. From the electrical box, we made an educated guess on our direction and tried to imitate a grown man’s steps to find our 20 paces. From that point, we found another clue. At one stop, we inadvertently found another cabin’s clue instead of our own. We were only off by a few points on the compass and a few paces, but it led us into a circle instead of to our final destination. If we hadn’t gotten off track, we could have won the challenge! Many Christians are following a defective compass. After years of hearing Gospel presentations that tell them to just “ask Jesus into your heart,” they are wandering in circles. They have no victory over sin. They don’t know how … Read More

My Chaos and Awe

Jewel ZymurgyFaith, Trials0 Comments

It’s amazing the conflict inside me— Two days ago my day ended with sweetness, understanding clarity and joy. I gained tremendously in stepping into a sweeter place with my heart; knowing and seeing Jesus better! I got to a place where I could take an honest look at the impact of my own actions and be in a sincere place of asking, “Where was I really in this situation?”—“where was my heart in all this?”—“ where was my sin?”—“what do I need to do differently?” I started to see that with the understanding of what I did wrong (or where Susie says I have an opportunity to learn) I can ask for God to meet me in that place of sincerely wanting to change…and I fully expected there to be change. Before that though my general condition of my mind was thinking fairly negative thoughts and it was a struggle every hour and sometimes many minutes in that hour to repeat good and true things. I was fighting against this tainted thinking as if I was truly physically fighting. My body, mind, emotions and spirit were just being drained of the will to keep fighting…God help me…it’s been too long … Read More

Did you bring the Band-Aids

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials0 Comments

Every week as I sit down to compose my blog contribution, I pray. I’ve prayed for the message that would be typed with my name signed at the bottom but I’ve said “Lord, use me! Give me your words, help me say what you want to be said” and every time I feel like He takes my hand, squeezes it a little and says to me “I don’t want you to write to speak, I want you to listen. I want you to listen hard because you need this as much as everyone else.” As I write, and as His presence dwells here in written word, I pray that I will hear Him as much, if not more than the rest of you.    I want to start this message with just a little question: “Did you bring the Band-Aids?” Even though I don’t really want to admit it, I’m pretty sure I did.    Seems like a strange question right?! Band-Aids? What do Band-Aids have to do with anything? Some of you might think “hey, she’s a mom, of course she’s got bandaids.” Some of you might be thinking “hey I have some too, you never know when you … Read More

Loving, Leaving & Letting Go

Jen CudmoreFaith, Trials0 Comments

I had to say goodbye. The boys had been in my Sunday School class for a year, and it was time to move on. They were grown up now. Bigger. Wiser. So I told them I loved them and sent them on their way. I left the church, locked myself in my bathroom, and cried. Sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Like when my mom died, when dad moved several states away, when we lost our dog. I think about how some people are only meant to be in our lives for a certain span of time. Life is all about seasons. People come and go; that’s just the normal flow. I think about my brother and his family, who must move to different military bases every few years. Friends who send their children off to college or boot-camp. Relatives who put loved ones in special living facilities and can’t visit often.  All around, I see goodbyes taking place. And I think about how the end of a season can be so painful. And I grieve the loss. I think back to all the children I’ve loved over the years, and how I wish I could do more. Many of … Read More