Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

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

With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

Will You Take the One Word Challenge This Year?

Will You Take the One Word Challenge This Year?

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

Have you heard of the “One Word Challenge?” It’s not really a challenge so much as a focus. You choose one word to be your focus for the year. As a Christian, this word is so special when it comes after much prayer and with a focus on spiritual things.

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. ~ Colossians 3:2

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This is my fifth year to do this challenge. Each year, God has revealed the perfect word for me.

There are many ways to approach your word for the year. You can use your word to inspire different goals. You could do a word study through the Bible on your word, or even find different books and podcasts for more inspiration. Over these last few years I’ve discovered my favorite approach:

Give God the ropes. 

Once I determine my word I like to let God take it from there. It is amazing how he orchestrates my situations so that I can learn more. For example, one year my word was grace. Our ladies’ bible class topic turned out to be on the book of James, which is laced in a message of grace. I spent my summer doing a personal study on James, and then we moved to a different church. Guess what their ladies’ bible class was studying? You guessed it–James. It was as if God knew how badly I needed the message.

The year I chose joy for my word still gives me chills. It was that August we discovered my husband had testicular cancer. We had several months of surgery, recovery, and many tests. I’d been praying about joy all year though. When I was anxious I would listen to songs like Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear,” and I found joy–true joy. Thankfully the surgery removed the cancer, and my husband has remained cancer-free! But experiencing joy amidst scary and unknown circumstances is tough, and I’m so thankful for the way God helped me grow that year.

This past year has been the most exciting! Out of pure faith, I chose the word hope. Believe me, I did not want this word. For some reason, the Lord put it on my heart. God showed me much about hope, but the greatest excitement was finding out just days before Christmas that I was pregnant after dealing with minor infertility issues for most of the year. God is good, and year after year God has shown me his faithfulness through my word challenges.

I enjoy giving God control and seeing where he’ll take me, but I do seek out inspiration along the way as well. Apart from prayer here are some other ways I’ve focused on my one word:

  • At the beginning of the year I look for a few key verses to meditate on which relate to my word.
  • Find a special way to keep the word nearby. This past year, I found a tea bag rest that had my word–hope–on it. Seeing that nearly every day was a gentle reminder.
  • Make a Pinterest board! Fill it with quotes, verses, articles, and pictures that will fill you with inspiration. Don’t forget to check in and browse your board every now and then.
  • Be on the lookout for books, Bible stories, and Bible studies that relate to your word. (This is something I pray about, asking God to put the right material in my hands.)
  • Make a playlist of Christian songs that remind you of your word.

The One Word Challenge has truly been a blessing for my soul. I grow in new ways each year and I’m so excited to see what God will show me this year!

You might be thinking, “This all sounds great but New Year’s Day has passed and it’s too late to start this challenge.” No way! Last year it was almost the end of January before I committed to my word. (Remember when I said I didn’t want the word hope? I spent a few weeks wrestling with God over that one!) So if you’d like to shift your goals to something simple but very meaningful, I encourage you to pray about it and see what God has in store for you!

Have you ever done the One Word Challenge? How has God revealed himself to you through it? I’d love to hear your testimonies in our comments!

What is your word for this year?

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“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.

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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?

 

 

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To Do: A Sacred Home

To Do: A Sacred Home

McKenzie R

McKenzie R

Hello all!I am an Oklahoma girl, through and through!I was born here and after 5 years in Texas for college, I missed Oklahoma too much and just had to come back home with my Oklahoma husband to raise our Oklahoma babies! I met my husband in high school and fell we in love in college.We have 2 beautiful kids that are full of life and make me such a proud momma.I love to craft, journal, paint furniture, and decorate our Edmond home!See some of my creations at The Lettered Light www.etsy.com/shop/theletteredlight and IG:theletteredlight
McKenzie R

Latest posts by McKenzie R (see all)

I have recently finished Jen Hatmaker’s book, For the Love.  Ladies, I am a changed woman!  I am so thankful I was able to start and finish this entire book, because I rarely see the last chapter of books of my choice these days.  It is funny and honest and authentic and AMAZING.

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I can really see that the Lord is going to do some big things in the people who read Jen’s words.  Please move it to the top of your reading list.  You won’t regret it!

While reading through it recently, one tiny little phrase left a longing mark on my heart.  She casually mentions “a Sacred Home.”  She doesn’t even go into any detail on what that means to her. The context was a just a brief mention of the phrase.  But when I read those words, my heart leaped!  I took the words from their context and put them right into the context of my life. And I believe that my home will be forever changed.  What a perfect goal, right?  To have a Sacred Home!

@theLetteredLight (1)

I did a little bible journaling on my Sacred Home discovery!

I began to write down all the things that came to my mind when I pictured a Sacred Home. Immediately, I thought of dear friends of mine who have that aura, that beautiful spirit when I am in their home.

What does it look like, feel like?  My list began to look something like this: peaceful, calm, forgiving, love, gentle, God…  As I stared at my list a lightbulb went off in my head almost immediately–THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT! A Sacred Home is a home where I, my family, and any guests can see and feel the fruit!

Can it be that simple, Lord?  “Yes, simple–but not easy” was His answer!  Of course, I already try and make my house these things but until now I never made the connection to the fruit.  So of course it isn’t easy. If it were easy then everyone would love and never want to leave their peaceful home!

By definition the word sacred means “devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated; pertaining to or connected with religion.”  I love this.  Literally, having a sacred home means living in a place that is dedicated to our purpose as Christians!  Oh my stars…what a dream, right!

My dear friend Jillian says this about her home:

It is so important for me to have scripture–whether quickly jotted down on an index card or a beautiful piece of art–everywhere.  They are constant reminders to me to get my attitude in check.  Since sitting down and reading scripture is so difficult to do sometimes, I make it to where I can meditate on it while doing dishes, washing my hands, folding laundry, walking in and out of the house, etc.

My prayer for us, dear reader, is that we can find the fruit in our day.  The Lord has given us all the fruit of the spirit.  We ALREADY HAVE love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control inside us. But we must remember to access it.  We don’t need to pray for patience, we already possess it.  We don’t need to pray for gentleness, it’s already running through our veins.  I usually forget that, right?  So on days when it seems like you don’t have any goodness left, remember that the Lord has already supplied you with enough.

So, a Sacred Home…a home dedicated to my amazing Lord in Heaven, where living out the Fruit makes my days a little lighter, and a little deeper, and a whole lot more like Christ.

As a gift, I created a bit of scripture art for your home to get you going!  Enjoy!

Galations 5 Bible Art

If you have any ideas that help you center your home around Christ, please share them with us!

 

The Tradition of the Silver Box

The Tradition of the Silver Box

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

One of the most sentimental memories from my childhood is Christmastime. The glow of the Christmas tree on the night of Christmas Eve. Candles lit throughout the house, special trinkets on display, festive music filling the air. The glowing fireplace filling the room with warm air, stockings hung on the mantel. Such beautiful traditions took place in this setting. Under the tree were beautifully wrapped packages–our family gifts, of course, as Santa had not yet visited. The sweetest gift we had to offer each other, however, could not be wrapped, but was symbolized by a small silver box that hung on our tree.

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Proverbs 16:24 tells us that kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Words of affirmation and life are something we all need from others and something we should be able to sincerely express to those around us.
kind-words-are-like-honey-sweet-to-the-soul-and-healthy-for-the-body
Family so often gets our worst. They are the ones on the front lines when life is stressful or frustrating. How beautiful it is to take a moment to say something lovely and life-giving to each other.
Our family had a special tradition of passing a silver box around on Christmas Eve, and with it, saying something kind to each other. We each took a turn to speak about every person. While it’s important to speak encouragement all through the year, there was something extra special about doing it at Christmastime. Our remarks to each other required time and forethought. Our kind words truly were a gift to each other. A sweet and precious gift.
Our silver box tradition was based upon the book Silver Boxes by Florence Littauer. In this book is a special poem that we read each year before we exchanged our kind words.

“Silver Boxes,” by Michael Bright

My words were harsh and hasty and they came without a thought.
Then I saw the pain and anguish that my bitter words had brought.
Bitter words that I had spoken made me think back through the past;
Of how many times I’d uttered biting words whose pain would last.
Then I wondered of the people I had hurt by things I’d said;
all the ones I had discouraged when I didn’t use my head.
Then I thought about my own life. Of painful words I’ve heard;
and of the times I’d been discouraged by a sharp and cruel word.
And now clearly I remember all the things I might have done;
but, by a word I was discouraged and they never were begun.
Lord, help my words be silver boxes.
Neatly wrapped up with a bow; that I give to all so freely, as through each day I gladly go.
Silver boxes full of treasure, precious gifts from God above;
that all the people I encounter might have a box of God’s own love.

On a night where God’s love is at the forefront of our minds as we are thinking about the babe Jesus, it is a beautiful thing to share God’s love in the words we say to each other. Oh, that our words might be silver boxes!

As we are mindfully preparing for our Christmas this year, let’s look for ways to speak life to each other, and to encourage each other with words as sweet as honey. The best part about this tradition is that is costs nothing, yet it is truly meaningful!

Merry Christmas, friends!

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Tips for a Stress-Free Advent All I Want for Christmas Spiritual Discernment When You Have Nothing Left to Give

What Happened When I Deleted Facebook

What Happened When I Deleted Facebook

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

Social Media is Good…Except When It’s Not

This is not your typical talk of social media cleanse. You see, I’m on social media all the time–undoubtedly more than I should be, but nevertheless I usually feel no guilt. I enjoy keeping up with my friends and family. Those crazy articles keep me entertained with the comment section. I love reading blogs and encouraging posts from some of my favorite Christian authors. Those tasty cooking videos inspire me to cook dinner. I enjoy Facebook and other social media throughout the day and I feel no shame!

Except for when I’m on it too much. When I can’t even hear God’s voice because I’m so tuned in to the voice of everyone else. I knew I needed a break, so I planned a trip to my in-laws. It was the perfect set up. They would play with my toddler and I could dive into the Bible and spend some much needed time in prayer. The part I felt most convicted about? A break from social media. Five days!

This wasn’t coming from a negative perspective, as I really do enjoy social media. One of our awesome contributors Megan, wrote about how social media can be a tool and I love, love, love her perspective on that! And earlier I wrote about how I was trying to achieve balance with my phone time. I knew I was starting to get consumed again and I was running out of steam. I needed to go offline. No big fuss. Just a quiet break.

Deleting Facebook

To prove my commitment to myself I deleted the Facebook app from my phone! About five minutes later I started to feel the weight of what I was doing. I picked up my phone out of habit and went for Facebook, but of course, it wasn’t there. “This might be harder than I thought,” I said to myself. Suddenly I felt a little bit of freedom. This was going to be a personal retreat–a time to leave all of my distractions behind and embrace God’s presence.

I could tell that Facebook was desperate for my return–not my friends–actual Facebook. My email inbox started filling with e-mails about the notifications I had piling up and posts my friends were making. I felt tempted to log on, but I didn’t! I made it through the five days without Facebook and I was so proud of myself for sticking to it!

So other than an exercise in self-control, what did I gain from this experience?

Time to think. The first day I had some quiet moments and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle them. But I learned to spend those moments in God’s Word. I worked my way through more of the Bible in those five days than I have in a very long time. All that reading gave me more dialogue with the Lord, and God revealed so much to me. I realized that I’m probably missing out on a lot of what God wants to show me when I’m overly consumed with social media.

When my five days were up I excitedly downloaded the app again, and enjoyed updating myself on everyone’s happenings. I saw two pregnancy announcements, one engagement, and another had their baby. As excited as I was to be back in the loop, I had a new excitement–the excitement that comes from turning off social media so that I can hear the Lord.

Hosea 6:3 says,

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
    Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
    or the coming of rains in early spring. (NLT)

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I’ve seen this to be true in my own life. When I take the time to seek God, he is always there to show me more. We can’t always get away for five days (wouldn’t that be nice!) but we can still find time to hear God. We just have to look for the spaces in our day that we are filling mindlessly. There is something to be said for putting our time with God first. I don’t want to discredit that! If you are searching for more time with him though, this might be your answer! If you can, take a personal retreat sometime, even if only for a day. Turn off your social media apps, take a little time for yourself, and a lot of time for meeting with God. He will respond! 

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