Don’t hide Him

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

As I crumpled to the bathroom floor, my first thought was “don’t let them see you cry.” I wanted to protect their hearts at all costs, even if that meant hiding my own. The tears quickly turned into sobs I could not control and I knew I needed to tell them the truth somehow. I was losing the baby our family dreamed of, and I was utterly shattered. As a parent, one of my greatest desires is to protect my children. I want to shield them from every heartache I can, both theirs and mine, because sometimes the ugliness in life is hard to explain. How do you tell them the devastating things you can’t fathom yourself? How do you pick up the pieces of their hearts when you don’t even know where to look for the pieces of yours? What do you say when there truly are no words? I know that I’m doing the greatest disservice to my children, and those around me when I hide heartache from them, because when I hide what hurts, I’m hiding the Healer. I don’t remember what I said, or how I said it. I don’t fully remember how they reacted right … Read More

Christmas for the Lowly

Madison RosserFaith, HolidayLeave a Comment

Christmas. Much like Buddy the Elf, I have very positive feelings about the holiday. I love the glitz and glitter of this season— magic fills the air and our hearts. The fireplace roars while Bing Crosby serenades us with hopes of a white Christmas. Snow piles high on fences, matched by the whipped cream atop mugs of hot cocoa. As the old carol expresses, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.” Except, judging from my own very small world of past experience, I know that it is neither calm nor bright for many people during the holiday season. The truth is, some homes will wake up Christmas morning to family members wracked by addictions. Refugees will wake up in camps with little hope in their hearts of ever returning to their own hearth-side chairs. Some people will wake up and wish for the day to pass as quickly as possible, aching for loved ones lost. In many countries people will go to work as usual without the slightest notion that much of the world has pressed pause. No western, romanticized notion of Christmas morning will bring any real hope for these circumstances. In fact, for much of … Read More

God’s Friendship

Madison RosserFaithLeave a Comment

Any given day brings me about eight million opportunities to completely lose my mind. I am not what people would call a“chill” person. I like to be in control. You know, have my day go exactly according to my plans. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, it is. Not a day goes by that goes exactly as planned. If only I had learned to loosen my grasp by now. I am so thankful for God’s patience with me and my control issues. I believe God can work with me, at least that’s what He says. Lately, I’ve felt him chiseling away, molding me into a person with open hands, ready to receive what He has for me. (Keep in my mind, only this past Thursday did I break down in tears after a day gone wrong.) My pastor preached a sermon several weeks ago, focusing on Psalm 25. I’ll include some of the highlights, mashed together, below. But seriously, you should read the whole Psalm. Definitely worth your time. 1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust    let me not be put to shame;    let not my … Read More

Radical Obedience: When Loving God Is Hard

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Is ‘disappointed’ the right word for how I feel? I stand still in the shower, water as hot as I can handle, and let my tears mingle with the spray. Leaning my head against the tile, I try to keep quiet so my family won’t notice. Because they couldn’t possibly understand how alone I am. I try to pray and let You hold me. You see my struggle to put feelings into words and You wait patiently as  my jumbled thoughts come out in spurts. I just don’t understand. You’ve asked me to do some pretty radical things, and yet so far, nothing good seems to come of it. Why have You challenged me with these things? What is the purpose of my looking so foolish in front of others? This year You’ve put me in some very uncomfortable situations, prodding me out of my comfort zone and calling me to be courageous. But I don’t feel any closer to You. I don’t see the beauty in it. I don’t feel anything special. Right now I don’t get how these things achieve anything for the Kingdom. You’re so patient as I speak my concerns. It’s not that I’m resentful, or … 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

Voice of God: Was That Really Him Talking?

Jen CudmoreFaithLeave a Comment

Have you ever felt confused or unsure when you thought God might be speaking to you? This happens to us all! Was it really God speaking? Did I really hear Him correctly? Last week we covered some tips for how to hear God speak.  Yet, even when we do all those things right,  it can be tough at times to really know for sure if the impression we feel is truly from the Holy Spirit, and if we understood it right. Some people can pick it up quickly, while others may be less confident. I believe it just takes a little practice! Over time as we learn to tune into the Holy Spirit, our faith is increased, we become less nervous and more excited. Our confidence grows and we recognize His voice more often. When you’re not sure if God was really speaking to you, ask these questions: Does it contradict anything in the Bible? This should always be our first question, because the enemy will do all he can to confuse us or make us quit trying to understand. God will never tell us to lie, steal or kill someone. He will never tell us to say something disrespectful … Read More

This is really hard!

Rosalynn LasleyTrialsLeave a Comment

As we rounded the corner on that quiet little street downtown, my heart started to beat out of my chest, and I thought I might be sick. I’ve only been to a funeral twice before, but never like this, this was different. This one hurt the most of them all. I didn’t know what to think, how to feel, what to say. I wanted to be strong and brave, I wanted to smile and comfort others, but I truly didn’t know if I had it in me. That day we were going to honor my grandfathers life, now that all we have left are our memories of what life was like with him.   I took a few deep breaths, said a quick prayer, and put some gum in my mouth to try to calm my stomach. Then I slowly got out of the car and made my way into the funeral home. Time went a million miles a minute and in slow motion all at the same time. Grief is strange like that sometimes. As I walked inside, holding tightly to my husband’s arm, I scanned the quiet crowd of familiar faces. Of all of the people that were there, … Read More

Gear Up: FAITH

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

We are in active spiritual warfare. The attacks come from media, culture, and history revisionists…not to mention our own temptations, desires, and lusts. Knowing this, I pray through Ephesians 6, carefully mentioning each part of my spiritual armor as though I can manufacture them by my words. I am slowly learning that, while this is a good place to start, our armor goes much deeper than that. It is NOT something we can instantly produce. Rather, it is something God produces for us as He helps us walk in a life of obedience. The next part of our armor is the shield of FAITH. The modern church seems to struggle with this one. In the days of the early church, Christians saw miracles left and right. The blind received their sight. The dead were brought back to life. The lame received strength to walk. Few of us see those faith-building miracles today. They seem to be relegated to the missionaries who spend their lives in the deep jungles of foreign continents. But whose fault is that? Did God stop delivering? Or did we stop asking? We must ask for faith. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, people flocked to Him for healing … Read More

Be My Vision

Madison RosserFaithLeave a Comment

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

Life through a child’s eyes

Rosalynn LasleyFaithLeave a Comment

I think that some of the greatest, and most pure forms of joy come from seeing life through the eyes of a child.  When I decided to have children, I had no idea that seeing life through their eyes was one of the biggest perks. You don’t have to be a parent at all to experience the joy and wonderment that comes from such tiny little people.  If you spend much time around small children (preferably the well rested, and recently fed kind) you will most likely be blessed with an experience that helps you see not only the world, and life in a different way, but also God. Both of my daughters have taught me to find joy in the every day things that I’ve taken for granted.  For example, the way the moon rises and disappears regularly, as well as how much we can see of it on any given day. A few years ago, on one evening in particular, as we were walking into church my oldest daughter said “a piece fell off…” I replied “what?!” (Completely clueless to what piece fell off of where.) She said again “A piece fell off…the moon!!!” So I looked up. I’m honestly not sure of … Read More

The Hazard of People-Pleasing

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

All my life I have craved approval. In elementary school, I wanted my friends to like me. In high school, I wanted the popular kids to accept me. In college, I wanted to be respected and liked. I was terrified that someone would think I was “strange”, so I kept my little quirks to myself. As an adult, I have grown more independent, but I still crave approval. I want people to think positive thoughts about me. I can express some pretty strong opinions when I know I’m in the company of like-minded friends, but I clam up in embarrassment as soon as a dissenting opinion is expressed. Blogging has added a whole new dynamic to this fear of displeasing people. It’s fine and dandy to write strongly and boldly in front of my computer. It’s a completely different thing to put that writing out on the internet for all to see. When God has shown me something revolutionary, I am still tempted to keep it hidden so that no one thinks I’m “strange”. A friend of mine posted a sermon from Francis Chan recently. Chan mentioned how he has often been tempted to water down a message from God … 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

When You’re Terrified By God’s Plan

Jen CudmoreFaith, Womanhood1 Comment

I never wanted to be a manager. Managers have a lot of responsibility. They deal with many conflicts. They put in long hours and get interrupted on their free time. I never thought the extra money and authority worth all the trouble. Since I never had intentions to pursue management, when a position at the office opened up a few weeks back and I felt God nudge me to apply, I was less than thrilled. This was not the direction my life was supposed to go. I had other plans, and they didn’t include a day job. I’m a writer and a teacher. That’s always been God’s call on my life. Why would He now take me a totally different direction? Although confused, I mustered up some excitement for this new venture and submitted my resume. As I waited for a response, I struggled to understand God’s intentions. Until now, I had a clear path and purpose. How could going into management possibly fit into the future He’d already shown me? How could I serve and teach if I was caught up at the office all week long? How could I work all day and still follow the passion He … Read More

Where Do Unanswered Prayers Go?

Heather GillisFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

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 RosserFaithLeave a Comment

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

Stand Firm: Maintain Proper Focus

Jen CudmoreFaith1 Comment

“In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.” Francis Chan, Crazy Love In our series on Standing Firm, we’ve covered the armor of God, the power of prayer, and surrendering to the Lord. Another way to stand firm is to stay positive and keep focused on God’s truth. Too often we’re sidetracked by how we feel, both physically and mentally. If we live life based on how we feel, then we won’t succeed at much of anything. And our selfish hearts keep our focus on our own needs and wants. The Bible says to capture our thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.  I’ve heard it said this way: we must think about what we’re thinking about. The battle truly is in the mind. We need to learn to sort though our thoughts, clear out the junk, and grab onto what we know to be good, true and healthy. (Phil 4:8) Most of the time we’ll discover that our minds are focused on ourselves. To stand firm, we must intentionally direct our thoughts to other things. Count your blessings (focus on goodness). Unfortunately this task has become … Read More

7 Things The Enemy Can Never Change

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

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

Stand Firm: Total Surrender

Jen CudmoreFaith1 Comment

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s a silly saying, and yet very true. When a woman doesn’t get her way, she often makes herself and those around her miserable. Yet the trouble is, we forget that life isn’t about having everything fall perfectly into place. Life is messy. Complicated. Hard. So far in our series on standing firm against the enemy and the pressures of this world, we’ve talked about the armor of God and power in prayer. Today, the challenge is all about complete submission to our Lord and Savior. Our emotions, insecurities, and selfish hearts get us into trouble when we let them take over. Which is why, in order to stand firm in our faith and remain steady in a crazy world, we need to surrender each day, each moment, to God and let Him take care of everything. We need to be okay, when life is not okay. We can’t let ourselves get uptight, stressed out, and tossed about when there is chaos all around us. 3 Ways to Surrender: 1. Accept God’s sovereignty. He created the universe – He gets to decide how He runs it. He sits on a Heavenly throne, and … 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