A Place of Belonging

Carol DunfeeBible Study, HolidayLeave a Comment

There is something about Christmas that gives us a glimpse of how things are supposed to be. We picture loving families opening gifts by the fireside as the falling snow outside insulates them from the cares of life. We dream of a peaceful Christmas at a large family table covered with delicious ham, prime rib, mashed potatoes, and homemade desserts. The pain of Christmas is that these ideals are ridiculously unattainable for so many. Maybe a loved one is absent because of death or estrangement. Perhaps tragedy has left hearts raw and bleeding. But still that desire remains for a peaceful sense of belonging. A place where all are loving and loved. The Creator put that desire in our hearts in the garden of Eden. He created mankind to thrive in a close friendship with Him. Into each heart, He formed a void that longs for oneness with the Father. Sin may have given Adam and Eve the knowledge they desired, but it also ripped them away from their place of happiness and peace. No, that place was not the garden…their place of happiness was the Father Himself. That is why Christmas is such a nostalgic time. Our collective souls … Read More

What My Husband Has Taught Me About A Father’s Love

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, TrialsLeave a Comment

I love you, far more than I have ever loved anyone in all my life, and even after all these years, there are times that still terrifies me.  You know me better than I know myself.  You care for me more passionately than anyone ever has.  You put me first in every part of your existence, but there’s still that little place inside of me; way deep down in the ugliest and most insecure parts of my heart, that’s afraid someday I won’t be enough for you. I’m afraid that I’m just one mistake away from ruining everything. I’m afraid that someday you’ll leave me too, because at some point along the way everyone else has.   If I was a better daughter, maybe my dad would have stayed. Maybe if my grades were better, he would follow though with his promises. Maybe if I was more gifted he would have reasons to show up for the things that were important to me. Maybe if I was more obedient he would have been proud of the way I turned out, and decided that he did want to be a part of my life after all. But I wasn’t, and he left, … Read More

When Knowledge is Divine Power

Carol DunfeeBible Study, Faith, HolidayLeave a Comment

In a room filled with 1700 women, Bible teacher Beth Moore gave an assignment. As a college student, I might have groaned at the thought of a research assignment, but my current self was filled with excitement. First, Beth explained that we have everything we need for life and godliness through Jesus, according to 2 Peter 1:3. His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Anything we could possibly need to live a fruitful life is found in Jesus. Every tool to keep us from falling into sin is found in God’s Son. What an amazing concept!! It seems too good to be true. But how do we actually access this “everything”? We access it by gaining knowledge of Jesus. Read the verse again. Through knowledge of Jesus, God can give us this “everything”. The more we learn about Jesus, the more we have access to this divine power that provides all the things we need for life and godliness. We cannot claim this power until we actively search the Bible to learn all we can about Jesus. Next, Beth explained that … Read More

Women Worth Looking Up To

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

The phone in my office rang, and there was a voice on the other end I didn’t recognize.  She stated she had my daughter in her office, and in that instant, my heart skipped a beat.   My daughter’s voice trembled as she explained the details to me, and when I asked her if she was ok, she broke down in tears.   My momma heart ached, and I felt so helpless. I’M HER MOM! I SHOULD BE THERE FOR HER…but I was all the way across town at work. I had already missed a lot of time recently because I was in Nashville for the women’s leadership forum, so in that moment my heart was torn. My baby girl needed me NOW, but even if I left work immediately, I couldn’t get to her soon enough.   I’ve been in her shoes before, and I could totally understand why she was crying.  I’ve cried for the same reason once upon a time, and I wanted nothing more than to drop everything to help dry her tears, but I was at work, and I needed to be there too.   Thoughts ran through my mind a million miles a minute, as … Read More

The Importance Of Sharing Your Story

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Trials, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

I chose a seat at the front of the room, instead of the podium that was set in place for me.  I had known about this day, months in advance, but being the center of attention makes me uncomfortable no matter the circumstances.  I chose to sit instead of stand in the presence of my peers, because it made me feel like one of the ladies, rather than the focus of the day.  Immediately upon arriving, I requested the glider rocker that was placed in the back of the room. My request was denied because although I was their guest speaker, apparently I’m not THAT important.  The rocker was reserved for nursing mothers, and nursing mother I am not.  I decided that in lieu of nursing a baby that wasn’t mine, or standing at a podium that made me feel more important than I actually am (not important enough for the comfy chair, nor important enough for the podium) I settled on the uncomfortable folding chair. That dinky chair seemed more appropriate, and less uncomfortable that the other two options.  That chair ended up being my “just right” bowl of porridge (although I actually prefer cereal.)   I grabbed a tissue from the brand new box I had placed at my … Read More

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

The Value Of Encouragement

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Motherhood, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

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

Weary

Rosalynn LasleyMotherhood, Prayer & Fasting, TrialsLeave a Comment

I’ve found myself a bit discouraged lately. Physically I’ve not been able to keep up with all that I’d like to. My house is decorated with baskets of laundry as far as the eye can see, there are half-finished projects everywhere, and yet I find myself on the couch or in bed early in the evening because my body just can’t keep up.  On top of that, the kids were sick last week (so I missed work during our busy season) and now I’m sick from taking care of them. This means more missed work, more to catch up on, and I’m weary. It’s discouraging when you can’t do it all. I’ve battled this discouragement for close to a year now. I had my accident at the end of December and that left me physically unable to do all that I wanted and needed to do. That left me relying on others to help with daily tasks (thank the Lord they were willing) and sometimes the battle of my physical capabilities and what I’d like to do leaves me discouraged. Now I’m at the tail end of my pregnancy and as much as I’m trying to push through the aches … Read More

When You’ve Fallen Out Of Love

Rosalynn LasleyFaith, Marriage, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

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

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 Message and The Miracle

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, TrialsLeave a Comment

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 & 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

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

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

Are You Willing To Go Where God Calls You?

Heather GillisFaith, Redemption, TrialsLeave a Comment

“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

The Power of God’s Word

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Marriage4 Comments

I will never forget the first time I opened my Bible to read for the first time.  I didn’t know where to start or what to read.  I felt overwhelmed and lost.  There were so many words and pages.  How did I even begin? Once I opened the Scriptures and started reading, a whole new world was open for me.  At times I put prayer and reading the Bible on the back burner.  I let life get the best of me.  I was distracted by everything the world offered me.  The truth is, I’ve been a Christian my whole life and didn’t truly see the value in opening up the Scriptures and reading them until brokenness entered my life. Nothing makes a person examine their priorities more than when tragedy enters their life (Click to Tweet).   Tragedy makes us listen and pay attention.  My brokenness exposed what was I really filling my life with?  What was the meaning and purpose of my life? The Bible took on a whole new meaning in my life once tragedy got my attention.  The Bible verses I read became living and breathing in my life.  Opening the Scriptures is where I really met Jesus.  … 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

Women in the Easter Story

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday1 Comment

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Easter is one of my most favorite times of the year to celebrate everything Jesus did for us.  Did you know that women were present at the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus and were mentioned by name?  Women played an integral role in the Easter story.  They were vital in sending the first message of the gospel, the ones to first utter the good news, “He is risen!” The Death In John 19:25-27, at the cross stood Jesus’ sweet mother Mary who was weeping for Him.  Alongside her stood Mary’s sister, Mary wife of Clops and Mary Magdalene.  Next to Mary stood the disciple whom he loved, whom we know as John but his actual name is not mentioned.  Mark 15:40-41 mentions the women Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome by name who were also present at the crucifixion of Jesus.  In all the gospels the only other person mentioned by name at the death of Jesus is the centurion. The Burial Mark 15:47 again mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses witnessed where Jesus was laid into the tomb. The Resurrection In Matthew 27:65-66, Pilate had ordered Jesus’ … 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, HolidayLeave a Comment

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