I Got My Laugh Back!

I Got My Laugh Back!

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

I have a very unique laugh.  I claim it and am proud of it.  It’s loud and distinct. In a crowd, I can be found within minutes.  Growing up, I would have people wait for me in the hallways of the movie theater after the movie was over because they heard me laughing during the movie.

It’s always been my trademark.  My first reaction to everything was laughter. Whether I was hurting, sad, angry, or truly joyful, I laughed.

how-i-got-my-laugh-back

My junior year in high school, we had a bit of a morbid writing assignment, so of course, I took it on wholeheartedly.  We were asked to write our epitaph and without even batting an eyelash, I knew what mine would be.  And still to this day, it is what I have determined will be on my headstone.

She laughed at death

because God was in her heart

and she was in His hands.

Laughter…it’s always been coursing through my veins until one day it wasn’t.

I am not sure what happened, or the exact time my laughter faded, but it did.  Maybe it was a mix of sleepless nights and changes in life and my abrupt understanding of how evil people can be…I really can’t remember.  I just remember one day looking at my friend and saying, “I don’t laugh like I used to.”

This scared me.  I wanted my old carefree, joyful self back, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there.  I prayed, studied God’s precious word, and wrapped myself in his faithfulness and goodness.  In the end, I realized fear–something I never knew I possessed–was squelching my joy and laughter.

Over the years, the fears I have held onto have slowly melted away.  By the grace of God’s patience, he let me wrangle through the core issues In the process, I learned to truly trust Him no matter what the day brings. Only then did my laughter start to return.

Not only do I not hold onto those fears anymore, but I am also no longer ensnared by the stress that accompanied those fears.

The devil is soooooo sneaky.  He averted my attention and my joy from my God, the God who created the world and everything in it and the God who is faithful to everything He created.  (Psalm 145)

Oh, you devil, how did I let you do that?  Slowly….soooo tricky.  So slowly you turned my head and my heart and before I realized it, my eyes were not always on the Lord. but focused on my fear and how to avoid it.  Tricky, tricky, tricky.

Well, dear Satan, I have since learned this wonderful truth and have tucked it into my heart so that my joy can no longer be squelched. My joy can no longer be deterred.  I will continue to laugh at death and all your lies, because I do have God in my heart and He does hold me in His hands.  It is a promise he has made. I trust his promises and will no longer trust your lies.

I keep my eyes ALWAYS on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken!   Psalm 16:8

psalm-16-8

Today, after helping with an event, a lady walked up to me and said, “I love your laugh.  It’s sincere and unique.”  (She might have used slightly different words but the same sentiment was there.)  When I heard her say that, I felt the seal of joy on my heart and honestly got a little emotional on the inside.  Never again will I allow Satan to steal my joy.

I’ve got my laugh back!  The laugh that signifies a complete trust in God no matter what the day brings.   And just a little reminder for you, Satan, next time you try to steal my joy, you will not win because Christ has already defeated you!

Giggles & Laughs

Laughing and being silly with my kids is such a blessing!

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Difference between my plans & God's vision Relinquishing Control to God We all struggle Refuge of Hope

Just Slow Down

Just Slow Down

Today I’m reminded to just slow down.

Maybe it’s the beautiful warm sunshine on my skin. Or perhaps it’s the chill music as I’m exiting Panera after enjoying my favorite spinach artichoke quiche. Maybe it’s because my husband is out rock-climbing with the guys for the first time since his knee injuries, and I’ve got free time.

Whatever the reason, I know the quiet voice of God is saying, “Be still.” So, I put the weight of all my stuff in the car and meandered back to the vacant outdoor patio. Feet up on chair, with only a iced green tea and phone in hand.

Wow. I feel so light! And then I think, “WHY is this not my regular pastime?” Why am I always rushing through parking lots? Getting meals to go? Running through checklists? Always on the go. Go, go, go.

I need to Just.Slow.Down.

Slowing Down with Purpose

Then I realize, it’s not just about slowing down. It’s about slowing down with IMG_6625purpose. Enjoying God’s beauty and bounty. So I watch the tiniest baby bird as it perches on the chair next to mine, inquisitively peering my direction. I share a laugh with a young boy as he captures a picture of our little feathered friend. Two strangers who bond over the magnificence of God’s creation as we watch a little bird’s intrigued expression before taking flight. I watch someone talking animatedly on the phone with a friend. I’m so proud of myself in this moment, for both slowing down and taking time to take in everything and everyone around me.

And as I’m watching people…it hits me.

People-watching used to be an art. A fun way to pass time. Is it just me, or does it seem a little creepy in our modern era? Is it because we are so disconnected with the world around us? Too engrossed in our smartphones and tablets? Our own busyness? Are we so focused on ourselves or our own small circles that we forget to look outward? So on-the-go, we forget this part of slowing down – the being watchful part?

What If We Slowed Down?

What if we slowed our pace, sat outside, watched a bird watching people, listened to traffic and conversations…real people and real conversations, acknowledged strangers passing by, what then? Maybe we would bring back another “lost art.” And maybe, we’d glean–and give–something of value.

If I hadn’t needed to run errands today, I might not have left the house. It might have been a different kind of “slow down” day. I might have spent the day in front of Netflix, playing games on my phone, wishing I had something better to do. And calling it “slow…”

And I would have missed all this meaningful, valuable, slow down, people-watching, bird-watching, God-tugging-on-my-heart fun.

What do you need to do (or not do), to ‘Just Slow Down’ today?

I love the way Isaiah 30:18 reads in the Amplified version:

And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!

[John 14:3, 27; 2 Cor. 12:9; Heb. 12:2; 1 John 3:16; Rev. 3:5]

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

james-1-2-4

2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

lessons-learned-from-my-husbands-porn-addiction

Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

eveningskies

Making the Impossible Possible

Making the Impossible Possible

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

There have been so many times in my life God has shown me that the impossible is possible. And yet, there are times when I still have not even thought about God making something possible.  Has that happened to you?  For example, I don’t even pray about it because I just never expected it to be possible.  It has happened to me recently and I can’t wait to share the details with you!

But first, I’m going to share a moment that opened my eyes to how God still works today.

For the longest time, I had God in a box.  I believed he worked amazing miracles in the Bible. I had even witnessed his protection in my own life through situations when I should have otherwise been hurt or potentially dead.  But the fact of the matter was that I was still growing in my understanding of who God was and how he could still magnificently work in our lives even today.  He was not–and is not–just a God of the Bible but the God of our lives! He was unpacking himself and his amazing ways before my very eyes.

god-was-not-and-is-not-just-a-god-of-the-bible-but-the-god-of-our-lives

The Problem

After I graduated from college, I moved to Madrid, Spain.  It had always been a dream to work internationally and everything came together in that way.  I worked for a technology company part-time as an intern and life was great!  Then, several months into my Spanish stay, something changed that I didn’t expect.

Four of us had been renting an apartment from a lady who lived in southern Spain at the time, but then she decided to move back into the apartment.  It wasn’t bad at first, but over time the living situation became difficult. Without going into details, I knew I needed to find another place to live.  However, by this time I was engaged and only planned to stay for about two more months.  I knew that it would be difficult to find a place to rent for that short amount of time.

The Answer Came in the Most Unexpected Way

I started praying and asked my family to pray as well.  I asked those I knew in Spain if they knew of anything that was available, figuring this would be how I would find the perfect spot.  But nothing panned out through anyone I knew.  God brought it to light in a way that I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that He and He alone had set things in motion for a move to a place that would benefit the owner and myself. 

As I mentioned before, I worked part-time.  My normal working hours were 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. One day I was notified that I needed to stay until the end of the work day for an important company meeting, so I did.  After the meeting ended, I hopped on the Metro with everyone else getting off work at 8 p.m. I pulled out my Spanish newspaper and began to look through the “For Rent” section.  My stop was the last stop on the line so I had a good while to look.  About 3-4 stops along, a lady sitting close to me asked me in English if I was looking for a place to live.

Here is where I need to stop and preface the situation:

  1. I was reading a Spanish newspaper, which had absolutely no English words in it.
  2. The whole time I lived in Madrid, I only met a handful of English-speaking people outside of language schools.
  3. I don’t look out of place…meaning my skin and features look European, so there was no reason for her to think that I wasn’t Spanish.

Needless to say, I was startled to hear someone asking me this question in English.  As it turned out, this lady’s sister was looking to rent out a room, but she had special requirements.  After a brief conversation, we agreed to meet for coffee the next day to discuss the potential opportunity more.

matthew-19-26-with-god-all-things-are-possible

God’s Solution

The conversation went well!  After talking to the woman on the Metro, I found out that her sister was wheelchair-bound.  She had a nurse to care for her during the day, but at night they wanted someone there just in case anything happened.  My role was to call for help and take care of her until someone got there.  It turned out to be the perfect situation.  The lady was beautiful inside and out.  The rent was around €300 less and the room was bigger.  The location was right in front of my Metro stop and much closer to the grocery store, which is super important when you are walking home after buying groceries!

It was evident from the first conversation on the metro to the time I returned home to America that God had orchestrated this entire encounter.  Ever since then, my eyes have been open to prayerfully seeing the opportunities he presents. 

Bringing it Back to Present Day

Currently, I am pregnant with our fifth child.  Even though I originally wanted to have a natural birth with all of our children, complications with the first meant a cesarean was necessary.  By our third child, I was willing to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) but could not find a doctor nearby who was willing.  So all four of our children up to this point were delivered via cesarean.  I didn’t think a natural birth was even an option any more. Even though I talked about wanting a natural birth from the beginning, I never even thought to pray about having one this time around.

God’s Surprise

Once again, God provided in a way I never dreamed of or foresaw. In January we moved to a new state, facilitating the need for a new doctor to deliver this child.  In researching, I learned about an OB/GYN who specializes in delivering babies vaginally even after the mother has had multiple cesareans.  A few weeks ago this doctor accepted me as his patient. Now we have the opportunity to have a natural birth we have always dreamed about.

I say an opportunity because everything will have to line up right with the baby.  This doctor will not take any unnecessary risks and a cesarean still might need to happen. BUT the point is that God has amazingly provided a doctor who is willing to wait on God’s timing. He has provided a doctor who will allow this child to be born the way God intended! I am ecstatic and prayerful over her birth. I can’t wait to tell you how the story ends! Unfortunately, I will have to because our little girl isn’t expected to greet the world until mid-June!

Until then I would love to hear how God has made the “Impossible Possible” in your life?  

 

 

 

Getting Rid of Picture Perfect

Getting Rid of Picture Perfect

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 4 crazy, homeschooling children ages 9 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Do you struggle with perfectionism?  Are you able to be transparent and share with others that your life isn’t picture perfect?

When I was in high school, I had quotes and signs all over my room.  Two signs I made said:

Nobody is perfect, but that is no excuse!

&

Practice makes improvement.

For years upon years, I lived my life trying to achieve the best. I would practice extra hours on the track.  I would redo and rewrite papers and projects as much as needed until I had my projects and papers as close to perfect as I could get.  I remember in college one of my professors commenting that I should have turned in my first draft instead of the 5th, because it would have worked too.

Part of me was doing it because I love a challenge and knew I could do better.  The other part was doing it out of fear of failure.  We need to distinguish what drives our need for perfection and take hold of it, if the root cause lies in fear and not love.

Now, I’m not saying that we should not try our best, but I’ve learned that we can waste a lot of time trying to be perfect.

What are we afraid of?

Sometimes, trying to reach perfection keeps us from taking action!  It causes us to freeze in fear of messing up. What exactly are we afraid of if we do mess up?

  • Doing it wrong?
  • Feeling like we might be ridiculed?
  • Feeling that we won’t be valuable?
  • Believing God’s grace is insufficient for us?
  • Thinking that we won’t be trusted if we can’t get it right?
  • What????

We are called to live like we are loved not like we are perfect!

If we live in fear of messing up and not being perfect then we are like the one who was given a talent and instead of doing anything with it, hid it in the ground! He made no profit, didn’t even try.  Instead, he did absolutely nothing productive.  He froze in fear.

When the master returned to find that he didn’t even try to do anything with it, he was punished.

Matthew 25:24-30

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

We should never allow fear of imperfection keep us from working in God’s kingdom.  God has put us right where we need to be, has given us access to what we need to accomplish the goals He has set before us, and doesn’t ask us to rely on ourselves. Instead, the Lord asks us to rely on Him.  He will get us through any situation and will even use our weaknesses to bring about his glory.

Are you willing?

Are you willing to allow God to use your weakness or are you too scared to show others that you have any?

When we mask our weaknesses, we are not only being deceitful but we are hindering God from using them for his glory.  Satan then can use this to make others feel alone, like they are the only ones having to fight this battle.  Here’s the truth:  You are not going through anything that someone else has not already gone through!  You are not alone in your weakness!

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
– The Lord to Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Christ died for our imperfections.

Let’s not pretend like we don’t have any.  And let us be gracious as we see the imperfections of others.

I still believe practice makes improvement and that we are not all perfect.  But I am trying to no longer waste time in achieving absolute perfection.  Not everything needs to be 100% perfect.  Sometimes, we need to just do our best, not stress over potential failure, and trust that the Lord can use any weakness we have for his glory!

Every time I hear this song by Hawk Nelson called Live Like You’re Loved, I double check myself and see if I’m wasting time running after perfection because of fear.  Are you ready to get rid of the picture perfect life?

 

“I can’t eat that!” Refusing to Eat at God’s Table

“I can’t eat that!” Refusing to Eat at God’s Table

Falafel, known as the hamburger of the Middle East, is the most popular fast food in the region, and one fine Saturday in January, it was considered a good option for lunch…or so I thought. I attended a pan of cooking falafel while my family enjoyed some sunshine outside. My eldest daughter soon pressed her presence beside me, making the benign operation of a spatula a more challenging maneuver. She immediately spoke the mantra familiar to most mothers, “Mom, I’m hungry.”

Spatula raised as well as eyebrows, I gave a meaningful glance toward a plate which held five freshly made falafel patties directly in front of my apparently famished child. I bemoaned, “If only there were food directly in front of you.”

“Mom,” my daughter responded matter-of factly, “You know I can’t eat food like that.”

Immediately, I realized, this is how we sound to God. We play in the backyard of His world, feel a need, and then come into His presence. We begin our conversation with need and end with complaint. He has in fact been thinking of us all the while we had no thought of Him. He knew as we were playing we would become hungry, and he has prepared food for us.

How often do we complain of hunger, but refuse to eat the meal set before us? A meal full of nutrients and diversity of flavor? He sets before us self-denial. “I can’t eat that!” He sets before us forgiveness. “I can’t eat that!” He sets before us patience. “I can’t eat that!” We ask for our desires and needs to be fulfilled immediately, but with a palate that would leave us soft and weak.

how-often-do-we-complain-of-hunger-but-refuse-to-eat-the-meal-set-before-us

It is the Lord’s playground; it is the Lord’s kitchen, and we indeed are called to be a part of His beloved, cherished family. He has every thought of us and wants us to come eat with Him. I even think He delights in sometimes serving us cake and ice cream, knowing it doesn’t build strength, but enchants the soul. However, He loves us too much to allow us to live on these.

 

After my daughter rejected the food I set before her, I asked myself, “What has God provided that I am refusing to eat?” As we eat at His table, grimacing at new and unusual flavors, our tastes will begin to expand in epicurean measure. What we once could not tolerate begins to make us feel deeply nourished, and to our surprise, we even begin to crave it. The Lord has been known to me as my Creator, Redeemer, and my Great Physician, but now I know Him also as my Master Chef.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good!”I Can't Eat That! Thing I Refuse from God

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