My Valentine’s Day Confession

My Valentine’s Day Confession

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)

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year. I perceive it differently.This perception has inspired me in how I love.

As a child we had fun with it. Getting to choose, who got which valentine’s card and what treat went with it.Taking the time to make cards that weren’t perfect but heartfelt.

My Valentine’s Day Confession

As I grew, my fondness for Valentine’s day wore off. My girlfriends and I would gather together to have anti-Valentine’s Day parties. We would make cookies with black frosting and celebrate our friendship even if we were dating someone at the time. We were determined not to let one day determine whether or not love was in the air.

That has seemed to carry on into my marriage as well. I no longer make cookies and frost them with black icing but my husband knows that gifting me something on the day doesn’t thrill me. That sounds kinda rude or mean, but the truth of the matter is because this day seems commercially forced upon us, it feels more like a day of obligation than of love.

I’d rather have a year full of small expressions of love than a day of forced love. If this day was not called Valentine’s Day would there still be a compulsive out flowing of love? 

What does our “love” look like to God?

I wonder how often God looks down on our time of worship and pines for our love to flow throughout the week instead of just seeing it expressed for a couple of hours. Do we pray, read our Bibles, sing songs, or even worship with the church out of obligation and compulsion or because we can’t help but express our love that way?

That has to be part of the reason why God gave us the choice to love Him. Forced love is no love at all but simply submission to what has to be.

Real love is willing to sacrifice itself and die to self for the sake of another.

“I will find you!”

My husband and I have a running joke. Sometimes, when we say good-bye or don’t know when we will see each other again because of hectic schedules, we will say in a husky voice, “I will find you!” (Think Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans, my favorite movie.)

This simple phrase when said, not only makes us laugh, but conveys the thought that no matter what  is going on, we will be there for each other. We will go after and sacrifice ourselves for each other, if need be.

Jesus came from heaven to earth to find us! He came to save us long before we ever realized we need saving. He knocks on our door and we get to choose whether or not we open our hearts to receive his love and love Him back.

A Valentine’s Day Question

As you ponder what love is on this day, will you ask yourself this question:

Are you loving God and willing to sacrifice your life for Him, or are you just going through the motions because you feel this is something you need to do?

The Real Love Game

The Real Love Game

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)

What is love?

In our house, we decided to turn learning about love into what I call “The Real Love Game.”

So many movies, books, magazines, songs, and TV shows have attempted to answer this question. Although some of the answers (like Saturday Night Live’s skit versions) are obviously not the right answer, there are many others that have added confusion to an already confused world.

The Real Definition of Love

That is why 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite passages.  In black and white, it explains what love – real love – looks like.

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hope,
always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

1-corinthians-13_4-7

Every year when February rolls around and LOVE starts to fill the air and the store shelves, we try to instill God’s meaning of love in our hearts as well as our children’s hearts. We do this so that as they grow and are introduced to the things of this world, they will know the difference between real love and fake love.  

The Real LOVE Game & Different Ways of Teaching our Kids about Real Love

Now, stop for a second.  Did you notice anything really interesting?  If you’re a numbers person, you might…within verses 4-7 there are fourteen different descriptions of love.  One for every day from February 1-Valentines Day! A few years ago, when I noticed this, we made a point to make sure every morning when our children woke up a heart with one of these descriptions was hanging somewhere in the house.

There are so many different ways to play with these hearts:

  • For several years, we hung them on a Valentine wreath in the living room.
  • We’ve even given them to our children like Valentines from God, one a day from February 1st-14th.
  • Last year we hung them on our kitchen window, where we do our school work during the day.
  • This year, I decided we are going to play a game with it.  Every morning when our children wake up, they will go searching for love!  Because isn’t that what most of us have done in life? As we are growing up, aren’t we always on the look out for true love? Once they find the heart, we will sit and talk about what it means and memorize it.  Then we can add it to our memory verse wall so we can add to it daily and by day 14 we will have these three verses memorized.
  • I actually plan on having two sets of these hearts.  One set to hide and hang up and the other set to use as a memory verse scramble.  Every time we add another heart the kids will mix up the hearts and then put them in the correct order.
  • What immediately pops into your mind?

 

Let Us Know How Your Family Plays the Real Love Game!

If you would like to play this game with us or your own version, here are the fourteen hearts. We would love to see how you use them.  Share your ideas with us by posting to social media and using #CaGDRealLove

Real Love Heart Game

Real Love Game Printable

Not only do we want our kids to know what love is, but we want them to know where it is found: in Christ Jesus.  If we are letting Jesus fill our hearts with His love, then we will not be easily swayed by the world.  And we want them to know how to share his love too.

Craving God’s Love

There is a song by For King and Country called “The Proof of Your Love” that recites parts of 1 Corinthians 13.  So many people who have only heard this song and have never read the Bible have come up to them and said how amazing and beautiful those words are and how that idea of love just captivates them. You see, the world is craving God’s love and they don’t even know it yet!

As we play this game with our kids, maybe we could also sprinkle some of these hearts around our neighborhoods too.  Share God’s amazing love with our neighbors, with store clerks and with whomever we run into during the day.  Just for fun one day maybe you could go love on some cars by putting these hearts under windshield wipers in a parking lot.  You never know how that little heart just might open someone’s heart to God’s word now or later.

Lord, we thank you for loving us like you do.  We absolutely do not deserve it and yet you give it freely and without reserve.  Your mercy and grace are showered upon us daily.  Our hearts sing songs of thanksgiving and praise for all the love you have bestowed upon us.  Give us courage to freely share this amazing love with others. In the One who did not hesitate to show what true love is all about – Amen!

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Unified Church Living Out Love on Valentines Day Family Prayer Wall Building Up Your Leaders

so-let-my-life-be-the-proof

The Gift Jesus Refused: The Epiphany from Día de los Reyes

The Gift Jesus Refused: The Epiphany from Día de los Reyes

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)

Day of Epiphany

Because of my adorable Puerto Rican mother, I grew up celebrating this wonderful day called Día de los Reyes (Three Kings’ Day). This day is also known as the day of Epiphany to some. We didn’t go all out in our household like some do.  In some countries, this is the culmination of the Christmas season and much bigger than Christmas.  In our household, we simply enjoyed the fun of remembering that Jesus was given gifts by men who traveled from afar, trusting God to lead them by a star.

The night before Día de los Reyes, we would fill a shoe box with food and water for the wise men’s camels so they could rest and be fed along their journey to see baby Jesus.  Let me tell you, the camels are messy eaters…they always leave a mess behind! But as a thank you for taking care of their animals, the wise men would leave a gift that we would find in the morning.   This is how I grew up celebrating Día de los Reyes and so we’ve carried on this tradition in our household as well.

A New Connection to the Story of the Wise Men

However, I made a special connection that I have never made before.  Let’s call it the “Epiphany from Día de los Reyes.”

We all know about the three gifts Jesus was gifted by the wise men:

  • Gold
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh

Many consider these gifts to be the typical gifts gifted to kings, so in gifting this specific combination, the wise men were showing their belief that this child was indeed a king.

An Epiphany

My epiphany revolves around the third gift–myrrh.  This is not the only time myrrh is offered to Jesus.  This just happens to be the only time the gift is accepted. (I am not counting when the women embalmed his body with myrrh.)

Many say the wise men’s gifts were symbolic and that myrrh represented Jesus’ mortality.  If that is the case, then his refusal of the gift is even more interesting.  Now, what I am about to say are totally my thoughts. Study for yourself, but this leaped off the pages of the Bible the other day and I can’t help but share them.

So what is myrrh?

Did you catch that last one? It is also an anesthetic.

He Refused the Gift

Now with that in mind, let’s read Mark 15:23-24:

Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

He REFUSED to take the anesthetic!  He chose to be fully aware and conscious of all that was happening to him.  Would any of us think any less of him for taking the anesthetic?  No!  We would say it’s the most loving and humane thing one could do for someone hanging from a cross.  Yet, he did not take it!

This just makes me take a step back in awe while my eyes fill with tears and my heart realizes what he really did for us.  HE truly took it ALL!  He not only took our sins but he took all the pain willingly!

So when the author of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:15-16:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need.

Refusing the Gift to Give Us a Better One

He refused a gift so we could have a better one–a Savior who truly understands all our pain and wants to help us in our time of need.  In dying this way, he even builds courage in us and those who are willingly taking a stand to the point of losing their life for him.  Christ did it…so can we!

In refusing, he also fulfilled a prophecy stated in Psalm 69:21:

They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.

Again, it’s a reminder that Jesus is our living example and a perfect offering.  He did not sin and found a way to fulfill everything that was foretold about himself.  In this, he encourages us to follow God’s word too.

A Prayer over Our Hearts

Oh Lord, what can we even say?  You love us so much that you were willing to do all this just to reconcile us to you and to let us know how much we are truly loved! Your love is an overwhelming blessing. We pray we will allow our hearts to overflow with your love and share this immense joy with others.  In the One who refused to be numb to the pain of this world – Amen.

 

 

 

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Recycling Christmas Cards for a Heavenly Purpose

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

The holidays for 2017 have come and gone. If you are like my family, you’ve already put away most of the Christmas decorations and your usual routine is beginning again. For me personally, one of the hardest parts about cleaning up the festive decorations is knowing what to do with Christmas cards from friends and family. The giver of each beautiful card put not only their money, but also their love into the card they’ve sent. I usually save pictures from a few of them, but many are doomed for the trash. It feels wrong to just throw them all away, at least so soon. Some of my friends cut pictures from them to use for future gift tags, which is a great idea. But I find myself wanting to appreciate my Christmas cards for a little bit longer.

I recently heard of a wonderful idea for recycling your Christmas cards and extending their joy throughout the year. Place them all in a special box or basket in your kitchen and every so often at dinner, take out a card, talk about the family you received it from, and pray for them. How lovely is that? Talk about how you know them, a memory you share with them, or why you are thankful for them. You might know specific issues in their life that need prayer, or you might give thanks to the Lord for putting them in your life. You could choose to pull out one card a week and pray over that family all week long or perhaps daily until you’ve gone through them all. It’s up to you!

Prayerfully remembering the ones God has placed in our life is a wonderful way to continue the spirit of the holiday season all year long! 

Father God,

We thank you for the people you put in our lives to find love, family, and community with. We praise you for those who help us know you better and encourage us in our walk with you. For those we love who do not know you, we ask that you use us to help them see you. May we see the ones who need life spoken to them and offer them your word. You are so good and we love you.

In the name of Jesus we pray,

Amen

 

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Gift of Weakness Unasked Prayers Spiritual Discernment Thanking My Husband

Angels We Have Heard on High – The Piano Guys

Angels We Have Heard on High – The Piano Guys

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)

Making the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

This creative rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High” by The Piano Guys is a wonderful way to enjoy the Christmas season! The five members of The Piano Guys take one instrument and turn it into several different sounds.

angels-we-have-heard-on-high-pin

Let this song remind you how God can take something ordinary and do extraordinary things with it!  Think back to that day when He chose an ordinary young girl to bring an extraordinary Messiah into this world. Look back at the wonder of the star the wise men followed. Picture the awe the shepherds must have felt as the angels appeared in the heavens, singing their praise to the newborn King.

Luke 2:8-14

 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!

Angels We Have Heard on High

While we don’t know exactly who wrote the song or when, it was translated into its current English form in 1862. The lyrics are simple yet profound; the melody is so full of joy. It’s easy to understand why this song has endured the test of time! When you listen to this song, can’t you just imagine the joy all creation felt as they welcomed and worshiped the newborn King?

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strain

—Chorus—:

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be?
Which inspire your heavenly songs?

Chorus

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

Chorus

See Him in a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior’s birth.
“Christmas is Here” — JJ Heller

“Christmas is Here” — JJ Heller

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Christmas is Here!

I love Christmas music! From Thanksgiving to New Year’s it’s the only kind of music I want to hear. This year I got started a little early though, thanks to JJ Heller’s new album, Unto Us. She released her lyric video for “Christmas Is Here” in October and I’ve been blaring it through our house ever since. The song itself is soft and sweet but the message of the song is so powerful.

 

Here are my favorite words:

Join in the chorus, sing to the baby

Sleeping beneath the stars that He made.

Light in the darkness, hope for the hopeless

His love will never fade away .

Heaven came down from earth

To bind our wounds and wash our sins away.

Let us adore him,

Lift up your voices.

Sing it out loud,

Sing it out clear.

Christmas is here. 

Who can resist the urge to praise God for the moment that our maker came to earth to love us in the flesh? Adoring Him. For my family, that is what Christmas is about. The gifts, Santa pictures, lights– those things are all fun–but the heart of it all is celebration for all that Christ’s birth meant. Celebration for his life here on earth.

the-word-became-flesh-and-made-his-dwelling-among-us-we-have-seen-his-glory-the-glory-of-the-one-and-only-son-who-came-from-the-father-full-of-grace-and-truth-john-1_14

 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Music is a great way to adore Jesus this Christmas season! In the car, at work, around the house–Christ-centered music can help our hearts be full of worship all the time!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

My family is loving JJ Heller’s new album, Unto Us and we think you will love it too!

What are your favorite Christmas songs?

 

 

sing-to-the-baby-sleeping-beneath-the-stars-that-he-made

 

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