When Jesus Finally Made Sense To Me

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Trials1 Comment

Months of planning had gone into one little camping trip with friends.  It seems so silly to plan months in advance to sleep outside on the dirt, but Alaskan summers are something we long for, and time off from work is much desired during the season where the sun doesn’t set.  If you want to take a day off in the summer time, you must ask long ahead of time, otherwise you’ll blink and it will be dark and snowy again.  A two hour drive, deep into the woods was on our agenda, and I looked forward to nothing more than a raging bonfire, and s’mores shared with some of the best people I have ever know. There’s just something about quality time spent with incredible people around a fire, that renews my soul.   It was the weekend before our big camping trip when I started to miscarry. Suddenly this trip we had planned so far ahead of time, seemed a little less ideal for me.  I didn’t want to deal with that out in the middle of the woods. I didn’t want to be a mess physically or emotionally in front of anyone. I didn’t want to be away from home.  My home is my … Read More

Nothing Can Separate You from His Love

Madison RosserFaith1 Comment

Do you ever feel like obstacle after obstacle arises when you are trying to accomplish a goal? Maybe your goal is something as big as landing a new job or as “small” as getting dinner on the table before 9 p.m., but for whatever reason, life seems to be working against you. We’ve all been there. Obstacles, however, are so beautifully incapable of thwarting God’s love towards us. His love is relentless, sure, steady, and constant. I was reminded of this truth as I read through the following passage in a Bible study last week. Romans 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it … Read More

The Value Of Encouragement

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, Uncategorized0 Comments

Encouragement

I was having one of “those” days, where everything felt like a giant “mom-fail.”   I had made plans to help a friend fix her hair for her family portraits, but I also needed to run to Costco which made me late for my visit with my friend.   I went to Costco hungry (mistake number 1) so not only was I late to help my friend, I blew the budget too.  -FAIL   My friend was willing to come over a little later than we discussed originally, which gave me just enough time to get in the door with the groceries before she arrived.  My house was a disaster already, and then the explosion of my hungry Costco loot only added to the chaos.  There were boxes, and food items all over the place, and as I struggled to hurry up and put things away, I heard her voice from downstairs.  Welcome to my mess sweet friend, welcome to my mess.   As she made her way up the stairs, my toddler met her at the gate.  My friend said hello, and my toddler growled in return.  I was embarrassed to say the least.  What kind of mom has a toddler … Read More

Love Is In The Little Things

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Uncategorized0 Comments

The garage door closed behind our vehicle, signaling my husbands departure for the day, but no more than 30 seconds later, my cellphone started to ring.   It was him.   He’s always my favorite phone call. I answered the call immediately, thinking he may have forgotten something (since he had just left) but it wasn’t him that had forgotten something…it was me.  His call was just to ask me, if I remembered to take my medicine for the day. UGH!!! Of course I didn’t…why can’t I remember that one simple thing?  I’m supposed to take it every morning, but mornings are hard, and often I forget.  Many days he will bring me my medicine, and my favorite jug of water, since I’m so forgetful, but he doesn’t just hand me the pills to take, he extends the straw in my direction, then drops the pills into my mouth. That day he didn’t bring me my medicine, so he called, because he loves me, and wants me to be taken care of.   His one little phone call, and his almost daily distribution of thyroid medicine remind me, that love is in the little things.   A different day, I stood barefoot on … Read More

Balancing Rest and Rigor

Madison RosserFaith0 Comments

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23. Balance has never been my thing. Whether it’s a yoga pose or balancing my schedule, I always seem to topple over. At the same time, I love to work hard, to take risks, and to try new things, even if it means exhaustion, and if I choose to commit to something new, I’m all in. Do you see where “balance” gets lost in all of this? These past three weeks of starting school, coaching athletes, preparing for teaching in my classroom and the church, and loving family has left me sleep deprived and a bit stressed. When I committed to some new roles this year, I knew what I was stepping into; however, I have had my moments of doubt as I’ve let morning runs escape me, drank way too much coffee, and seen my husband for fewer moments than I’ve seen the mounds of paper chaotically spread across my classroom. The good news is: I know this season is brief while I adjust to a new schedule and finish out some short (but time-consuming) commitments. I know I am not the only one who … Read More

When You’ve Fallen Out Of Love

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Redemption, Trials0 Comments

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

Be My Vision

Madison RosserFaith0 Comments

I am the queen of discontent. Perhaps you can relate. I have so much, but somehow, I always find myself wanting more. More exotic travel. More food and coffee. More clothes. More things. More adventures. More picture perfect moments that fit into a square for the world to see. Apparently this is a struggle of my generation, or perhaps all generations. This summer, I have been thinking about the things I desire and have asked myself, “What in my life promotes and shapes my desires and my vision for my life? Does this vision line up with God’s vision for my life?” The answer stands out rather clearly. Social media most often (not always, of course, especially when people are honest) paints pictures of ease or excitement. While people do use social media as a platform to celebrate the mundane, we can filter (literally) even the mundane moments to make them look magnificent, like there is always something more to be had in life that could be ours if we just took one more vacation, decorated that last corner of our house, or bought that new outfit. We can even spiritualize this prettified world by posting pictures of our peaceful devotional while sipping coffee from … Read More

Set Your Gaze

Madison RosserFaith1 Comment

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 Every morning, I have the privilege of seeing my disciplined husband seek Jesus. He sits in His spot at the table, eating his every-day breakfast, feasting on the sweet words of God. I so admire this sincere practice of his. My mornings always look a little different. Here’s a snapshot of Monday: I had just returned from a last-minute trip to see my sister. I had woken up later than I planned. I had sat and read a book. I had scrolled through facebook. I had made a to-do list. I had drank all the coffee and skipped breakfast. I had gone on a run. I had started my ab workout. I would have just continued right along in the madness when God’s Spirit spoke to mine.  Not through His word, because I did not open it. Not through church, because I didn’t make it. Not through quiet reflection, because I sure wasn’t sitting still. The Bible talks about hearing God in a still, small whisper, but His words were pretty loud and clear to me Monday morning. I … 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

Where Do Unanswered Prayers Go?

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & Fasting0 Comments

I don’t know about you but I have thought about this question many times.  There have been many prayers I have prayed my whole life, God still hasn’t answered.  Does that mean he doesn’t care?  Does it mean God isn’t listening?  I pray this post encourages you to know that God indeed is listening and he cares and loves you very much. I have heard many say ‘God didn’t answer my prayer, that must mean he doesn’t love me.’  Even though it may be true God doesn’t answer all of our prayers the way we want him to, he isn’t a genie in the bottle waiting to grant our every wish.  God doesn’t work that way.  He is our Father who loves us, who knows what is best for us, who sees the bigger picture and has the best plan ever for our lives.  To not answer our prayers may mean that God has something better waiting ahead. When our third child was born with a fatal kidney disease, my husband and I prayed for God to please heal our son and for him not to suffer anymore.   We had so many people praying for healing for him.  The day he … Read More

Perspective from the Mountains

Madison RosserFaith0 Comments

We are so lucky to be guarded by mountains of might in every direction here in Anchorage.  I have always called the ones out my East Anchorage windows “mine” as if they belonged to me. The truth is, I have climbed only a few– but this sunny week, my husband and I hiked a new-to-us trail, and I feel like the claim “mine” is a little more true. It’s fascinating to me how the view of a mountain is so different than from a mountain. Especially on new trails, the trail seems to grow longer and higher as I hike onward towards that ever-elusive summit. With each wind, turn, and new landing, I have to get my bearings again, reorienting myself. What do I see? How far to the top? Catch my breath. Convince myself not to turn my long-hibernated-winter lungs and body around before reaching the goal. I cannot be out in God’s grand creation without thinking about how He sees things. He is the Mountain Maker and Mover, after all. He sees the mountain from every angle, and all the rest of the beautiful landscapes He has created. His perspective sees the whole picture. Life is full of trails … Read More

A Love Letter to Alaska

Heather GillisFaith, Uncategorized2 Comments

It comes with mixed emotions and bittersweet feelings that my stay here in Alaska has come to an end. Oh how I have loved it here, the memories we have made will last a lifetime. But it is time for this military family to embark on our next journey. It seems we have just said hello and now it is time to say goodbye. This post will be a little different from my previous ones. I hope you have enjoyed reading the Monday messages God has placed on my heart each week. This is my love letter to Alaska—between hello and goodbye. I don’t think a person could ever really say goodbye to Alaska once they experience it. It’s a place I would like to return in one way or another. Alaska has been so good to us in every way. You can see how creative God is when he made Alaska. It is like no other place I’ve ever been.   My Love Letter to Alaska: Oh Alaska, I will never forget the first time Ilaid my eyes on you. The pictures I tried to take with my phone, never gave you justice of how mighty and great your mountains … Read More

Lessons in Love from my Mom

Madison RosserMotherhood1 Comment

Mother’s Day. It can be a sensitive day. Many women long to be a mother, but some wait in the desert of infertility wondering when life will come. Others have lost precious little ones. Some mothers are estranged from their children, and some children are disillusioned by the poor example or absence of their mother. Still others, like myself, mourn the always-too-early-loss of the woman who gave them life. I lost my mom when she was forty-four years young, but if she had been ninety-nine, I am sure my world would feel just as empty. Perhaps for you, today is sheer celebration of joy and love, as it should be. Regardless, this day spurs reflection for many. This Mother’s Day has me reflecting on what my own momma taught me in the twenty-two years I had her. My mother was a special woman, quick-tempered, but quicker to love and laugh. She taught me many things about living and loving. Three things stick out to me in particular. Love is in the details. My mom had a knack for making me and others feel special. When I was a child, it was making a favorite meal or hiding a note in … 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

Words From the Cross

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday0 Comments

How powerful are the last dying words from a person; especially when those words are from Jesus? Do you know that even in Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross he prayed for us? His last words are so telling of his undying love for us. These are the last words Jesus spoke before he died on the cross. The 7 Last Words Jesus Spoke on the Cross: 1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified he still prayed for those who were killing him. He even forgave one of the men on the cross who was sentenced with him. Even in Jesus death he prayed for us and still had the power to make people right with God and cared about their salvation. 2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV). These are the words Jesus said to one of the criminals sentenced with him after the criminal said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Can you even imagine hanging on the cross suffering and Jesus says these words … Read More

A Call to Adventure

Madison RosserFaith2 Comments

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  My mom once bought me a green, wide-brimmed hiking hat from Value Village. She gave it to me for a backpacking trip I would go on before the start of my senior year of college. I quickly deemed this hat my “adventure hat.” The summer after I graduated college, I wore it on all sorts of grand adventures, and it has been a faithful companion of mine ever since– floating through the jungles of Borneo, scaling the Great Wall of China, kayaking the coves of Kodiak, and climbing the near and dear mountains that stand guard around my beloved city. My adventure hat, and the accompanying adventures, sometimes surprise me. When I look back at my childhood self, I was shy and often scared, but somewhere along the line of life, God opened wide my heart to his grand adventure for me. I’m not really talking about the adventures listed above either, but rather the … Read More

Maranatha: He is Coming

Heather GillisFaith0 Comments

Did you know the first ever marathon ran in history was by a Greek soldier?   He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.  He ran an approximate 26 miles to deliver the good news of their victory. Who knew that one man’s race for victory over 1,500 years ago, was setting the stage for the race many would run known as a marathon. I can’t even imagine running 26 miles after fighting in a battle, probably not having that much food or water and running in sandals (I don’t think they had running shoes back then)! My body would feel tired, hungry and exhausted if I didn’t get enough food, water or sleep.  This motivated Greek soldier didn’t exactly train for those 26 miles, he just ran! Well anyone who has ran a marathon knows going out to run 26 miles the first day isn’t the best way to run this long race. There needs to be a gradual increase of miles over weeks and months. Rest periods need to be incorporated as well as adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep to be able to perform well enough … 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

And All God’s People Said…

Madison RosserFaith, Redemption4 Comments

I love to break out into song. I think it’s in my genes. Growing up, my mom made up a song for everything, and whenever I visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins, singing is a respectable, possibly preferred, way of communicating. I sing frequently to my students, and sometimes they will even sing back. When I picture heaven, I imagine song. Not somber singing. Not our modern praise- and-worship-style singing with the lights dimmed and our eyes closed. I picture a good, old-fashioned, gospel choir belting out their exuberant tune, choir robes a-swaying, hands lifted in jubilation, soulfully singing in beautiful harmonic layers. And the song I imagine is the old traditional gospel chorus of one lyric: “Amen.” Amen. The simple word to end a prayer. I remember being in Sunday School as a child and my teachers ending their prayer with a call to response, simply stated, “And all God’s people said…” Our little hearts would shout a hearty “Amen!” with glee. Amen. It is so. Let it be. Whatever we just prayed. May it be so. As a child, I somehow developed an idea of what “God’s people” looked like. I can tell you my image was pretty straight-laced. … Read More

Training For Heaven

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption1 Comment

The other day my daughter and I were on our way to a youth ski race. Kids on different ski teams compete against each other by going down the slalom course. The top 3 kids who achieve the fastest time in their age group win a medal. Usually my daughter is excited to go to ski team to have the opportunity to ski for a few hours. But this day she was having a little trouble. She groaned and complained how she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to compete, she just wanted to ski. I tried to sugar coat the situation and encourage her, she was going to have fun. She had already won three medals in the three races she competed in. In my attempt to encourage her I said, “Don’t you want to win another medal?” Her response was very convicting. She said, “I’ve already won enough medals, I don’t need another one.” She was right. Honestly, I didn’t care if she won or not. I just wanted her to to have fun and do the best she could. It was more about changing the attitude of her heart and working through it. Then I was … Read More