Waiting on the Lord

Waiting on the Lord

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Vivid memories still linger from my childhood of those aching days before something exciting was going to take place. Perhaps it was spring break or a birthday. In my teen years it was summer camps.

Countless times I’d count down the days. Those periods of waiting might have felt unbearable at the time, but they were also exciting because I knew it would come to an end. The activity was marked on the calendar and I knew how long I’d have to wait.

Waiting on the Lord without a Set Date

Oh, but there are many times when what we desire isn’t marked on a schedule or calendar. Recently our 4 year old cashed in $5 worth of allowance quarters for a small Minnie Mouse doll- an item she’d spent months longing for.

Every time we went to the store she’d ask us if she had enough. We counted her money over and over, but without a clear concept of the value of money, she didn’t really understand. To her it felt endless. We were all weary from her waiting and it was a time of rejoicing when the wait came to an end.

Why Is It Taking So Long?

We can so relate to our children in their times of waiting, can’t we? Waiting is a life long experience in one way or another. Sadly, even as adults we don’t always handle it well.

I’ve had a particular request that I’ve been lifting to the Lord for years. At times I’ve been in such distress over it that I’ve found myself in doubt and anger.

“Where are you God? Why is this taking so long?”

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The Opportunity in Waiting on the Lord

In the last year I’ve been challenged to consider my desires a little more closely. Could it be that God has withheld this good thing from me because he wanted me to draw closer to Him?

While I can’t know for certain the reasons for my situation, I can (and should) analyze the status of my heart. In the past, I’ve held this request as something that is of the upmost importance for my happiness and worthiness on this earth.

Through this time of waiting, I’ve grown closer to the Lord and found more of the happiness and worth that comes through Jesus. He’s given me comforts and answers in other areas. He has blessed me with the assurance of his presence in my daily life. In this time of waiting I have been able to more fully know the joy that comes from God alone.

God’s Faithfulness While We are Waiting

“Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, ‘The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the person who seeks him. It is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” –Lamentations 3:22-26 (CSB)

I’ve always loved this passage from Lamentations 3. It was written in the context of waiting for an earthly deliverance, but it is a reminder for all of us that God is merciful to us and that He is enough. Our joy today is that He offers us salvation through Jesus. We have an eternal deliverance from our sin, and the gift of His Spirit.

My Heart While I’m Waiting on the Lord

I will continue to offer up my request to the Lord. He knows my heart and He tells me I can bring my burdens to Him. I will not complain to Him though, as if he hasn’t already filled me with the greatest joy I could ever know. My happiness and worth do not depend on my unmet desires, my happiness and worth is set in Christ alone. “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam. 3:24 KJV)

Encouragement for Your Heart

Are you waiting on the Lord in an area of your life?

Sweet one, I know that it is not easy. Waiting never is. I encourage you to draw yourself closer to the Lord when you are tempted to back away and doubt. Open your Bible and read it’s accounts. Start a prayer journal. Fill your soul with songs of praise. Feel His gentle whispers on the other pages of your heart.

What we long for we may never receive. May our true joy come not from our earthly circumstances but from our eternal destination. Praise Him, we are rescued!



Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

How often do you find yourself feeling angry toward your children? This is hard question to ask myself. I make significant effort to be gentle, but truthfully, it is quite often that I notice myself raging inside as my eldest, almost 4 years old, is becoming more familiar with right and wrong.

My moment of internal strife might play out in this way:

Why won’t she just listen and obey? What if someone gets hurt? What if she behaves like this in Bible Class? 

I can’t let her act like this! I have to show her who’s boss! 

In my anger, I lash out. The power struggle begins.

I make irrational statements in awful tones. I give ineffective punishments.

I feel horrible. She feels horrible.

Later on I hear her talking in the same ugly tone. Hmm… where did she learn to speak in that way?

Why is it that anger is the first instinct for so many of us, especially in regards to parenting? I believe most parents have good intentions. We want our children to act respectfully and we burn inside when we can’t convince them to cooperate. We are desperate. I believe that James, the brother of Jesus, and servant of God, speaks to the heart of this issue.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Anger Won’t Bring about Righteousness Living

In our Bible Class we recently studied this passage, and though James doesn’t specifically mention parenting, my heart couldn’t help but hear these words from a parent’s perspective. How often am I angry with my daughter because I want her to live righteously. Yet anger won’t bring about this righteousness- in myself or in my daughter. It is my experience that hasty anger often only brings about shame.

Let’s read on to hear the solutions that James offers.

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:21-22

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27

Righteous living is something that our children will learn through a lifetime of observation and loving instruction. James makes it very clear that being religious is about guarding our hearts and humble service.

Do our children see that in us?

Do our children see that we are humble and compassionate, ready to listen, and slow to become angry?

Do we have a tight rein on our tongue when we speak to our children?

There are many different styles of parenting, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. Often parenting requires direct and assertive responses, but I believe this can be done gently and in love. It is my conviction that the instruction to be slow to anger also applies to our interactions with our children. Does this mean that we will never be angry? No, of course not!

It means that our instinct will be patience,  kindness, and gentleness rather than anger.

We will have open arms and listening ears.

When it is time to be direct, we will try to stay calm. We will be our children’s “safe space.”

This type of parenting does not come naturally for me. I pray multiple times each day for the Lord to help me. I boldly pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed as I interact with my daughters. This passage in James was a strong reminder that I need to make a conscious effort to tame my tongue and be slow to anger in my responses to my children. I absolutely can’t do this on my own. I need Jesus to work through me as I train up my children in the way they should go. We all need him to!

Praying Over Our Hearts

I’d like to end this thought with a prayer.

Father God,

You are our Heavenly Father and we praise you and thank you for wonderfully making our children. Work through us as we train them in the way they should go. In us, express your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Help us to be slow to anger, with tongues that are tamed through faithful dependence on you. May our children see glimpses of you in our interactions with them. Forgive us for our selfish ways and for the times we respond poorly to our children. Give us strength and help when we need it. Soften our hearts and help us to find your joy every day. 

In the name of Jesus, Amen 

 

 

Without Grumbling

Without Grumbling

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.” 

Philippians 2:14-16 

An Invitation to Go Without Complaining

I invite you to take a moment to meditate on Philippians 2:14-16. Do you feel you are following this instruction in your day to day life? Would others describe you as blameless and pure? Does your life stand out in this sinful generation we find ourselves in? Are you holding firm to God’s word?

A few weeks ago we read this scripture in our bible class and I could feel my heart freeze. I immediately remembered the way I huffed out of frustration when my daughter wouldn’t leave my feet. I thought about how I often lamented over the stress of motherhood and the envy I’ve often felt in my heart toward my husband who goes off to work around other adults, and finds himself with 60 minutes of commute time each day to listen to whatever he wants.

As I thought about my tendency to grumble, my chest grew tighter as the Sprit continued to convict my heart.

I love staying home with my young children. It is my first choice, but I admit, the enemy has still found footholds through the challenges that come with my day to day life.  The temptation to grumble is not reserved for stay-at-home moms. The enemy hits us all with deceptive ways, no matter our age or circumstance.

And oh, do we grumble.

Scripture gives us a different way to live.

Scripture tells us to live without grumbling. Why? So that we might shine like stars in the world for the purpose of bringing God glory. 

Do you know anyone who is always able to find joy no matter the circumstance? A couple of different people come to my mind. These sweet friends of mine are the brightest lights. They radiate God’s love. I’m always so refreshed after spending time with them. It is not that their life is easy, without any strife.

To live without grumbling is more than just ignoring one’s burdens, it is living with the joy of the Lord inside their heart. Philippians 2:16 says this happens by holding firm to the word of life. We must know God’s word, believe it, and put it into action in our lives. In God’s word, we will find two beautiful characteristics to lace our hearts with.

A Heart of Service 

Matthew 20:28 says “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”  Grumbles often stem from entitlement. Christ, on the other hand, displayed a very sacrificial way of living. We must reflect on our life circumstances and look for the opportunities to serve and bring God glory.

A Heart of Gratitude

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Embracing a heart of gratitude and continually looking for the blessings in life will not only help us to live more joyfully, but will also align our lives to God’s will.

As I’ve reflected on my tendencies to grumble these last couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded to embrace the season I find myself in, and to serve my family patiently and joyfully. I know that I will continue to grumble from time to time, but I pray that God often leads me to this passage in Philippians. In a world that feasts on entitlement and selfishness we will surly shine like stars from the joy of the Lord, if we serve and love those around us without grumbling.

So go ahead, jot down Philippians 2:14-1. Put it in a place where you will see it often and be reminded of a better way to go through your days!

 

Romans 12:12 {My Favorite Verse}

Romans 12:12 {My Favorite Verse}

Candace B

I am a proud wife and Mother! My hubby, Tyler, and I both attended Oklahoma Christian where our love grew! We got married, had two beautiful kiddos, our son Gunner and daughter Brooklyn, and we are living a truly blessed life! I am a Kindergarten teacher in the great state of Texas and most importantly a Christian. I strive daily to keep God #1 because he is the reason I have all the amazing blessings, I give him all the praise!
Candace B

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My Favorite Verse

Romans 12:12 (NIV) “Rejoice in hope, [be] patient in affliction, [be] faithful in prayer.” 

I think that as I have grown there have been different verses that “speak” to me or become my favorite verse. When I first became a Christian at twelve, I loved John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

I still enjoy this verse. There is something about it that speaks to the world and most people know this verse…which is AWESOME!

I believe there are times that you read the Bible and God speaks to you. Verses that you have read before suddenly have a whole new meaning. We know that God shows us these in times of need, or to get us prepared for something, or to show us someone we can bless with God’s love.

Romans 12:12 has been my favorite verse for about six years now. It reminds me, quite simply, what to focus on and to show Christ in ALL I say and do.

Rejoice in hope:

Hope is something wonderful to have in anything you do! I have been known as the eternal optimist, and I love that. Most importantly I have hope that stems from the life I live in Christ. I have hope, no matter what the cost, no matter how good or bad the situation is. As long as I have hope and faith in God, He will take care of whatever it may be.

Patient in affliction:

I don’t know about you, but this is something I have to pray for daily because I seem to never have enough! Kids, marriage, LIFE, there are so many stresses that require a constant need of patience. This portion of the verse is very powerful, because it shows me that I can show God’s love by being patient.  By being patient, it shows others that I am different, that I am set apart. Christ is shining through me.

Faithful in Prayer:

This should bring it home for all of us. How is your prayer life? I try my best to not only pray daily but have a constant communication with God because this is how we strengthen our relationship with God. How do you strengthen any relationship you have? As a wife, mother, and friend, I make a point to be a part of their life. I have communication with them on a daily basis to show that I love and care for that person.

My husband and I encourage our kids to pray for the sick, the good and bad situations, and also to pray for things that they might be struggling with, such as talking back or throwing a fit when they don’t get their way. When we bring it before God, we are putting our full faith in him that he will help us in whatever we need.

Contributing to the Needs of the Saints

Verse thirteen concludes by adding that Christians should be “contributing to the needs of the saints, [and] practicing hospitality.” I love that this verse solidifies what we have focused on. By focusing on others’ needs and showing love and care to everyone we encounter, we are given daily opportunities to demonstrate how we rejoice in hope, have patience in trials, and are faithful in prayer.

What a wonderful world it would be if we would facilitate love, patience, and hospitality to all we know! Let’s be prayerful and focus on these words that God has gracefully given to us and simply show more of God’s love to all we see.

We want to hear from you!  Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

 

Remembering the Blessings

Remembering the Blessings

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

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It’s 2:30 PM.

My girls didn’t take a nap. My older one is being a stinker, and the baby just wants to be held. I take a selfie of my frustrated expression so I can pour it all out on social media.

As I’m writing out the text for my post I immediately delete and put down my phone.  A couple of hours later I catch my daughters sweetly looking at each other. I take a picture and post it, reflecting on how the days are long, but the years are short. I do this because I want to remember the blessings of the day more than the frustrations. 

Remembering the Blessings or the Frustrations

I can’t tell you how many days the above scenario plays out.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to share the frustrations of every day life with young children. In fact, sometimes I DO share! Here is the thing though.

Every day will have frustrations- children or not!  Years from now, I want to think of these days with my little girls as sweet. Of course I’ll remember the struggles with potty training, illness, and defiant behavior, but I hope my overall remembrance of these days will be positive.

I want to remember the giggles and snuggles. The pitter patter of small feet hopping across the house and the way she crawls backwards instead of forwards. The funny little words they say and the proud way they sing their songs. Days where we got to play, read, and relax. Days when personality popped. Days we found friendship. Days lessons were learned. Days of togetherness.

The reflection that I want to have in the future begins with the present. I have a say in how it goes! I must ensure that I’m noticing the good, and looking for perspective in moments of difficulty.

Let’s season our social media posts with gratitude. 

Yes, hard things happen, and sometimes we want to share. That’s okay. Let’s keep perspective though. 

Let’s do all we can to create great days so that when we look back, we won’t only remember the struggles of our current phase, but also our blessings.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Building Up Your LeadersThe Best Life Praying for our Children We all struggle

God Can Move Mountains of Laundry and So Much More!

God Can Move Mountains of Laundry and So Much More!

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 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & 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.
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Every moment it seems we are faced with a new challenge.

It may be as impossible as finding a matching pair of socks or as important as fighting of the lies Satan is trying to whisper in our ears. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to keep the faith when life gets hard. Whatever the challenge, I’ve learned God can move mountains, even mountains of laundry and so much more!

I sit here on my bed tonight feeling elated simply because the mountain of laundry that had overtaken our master bedroom for the past weeks (yes that long) has been moved!  Thank you, Lord, for delivering us from the laundry attack! It’s seems silly in one instance, but it is so symbolic in another.

It’s so silly because…

  • I should be thankful we have clothes, even though some of the children would prefer to run around without them!
  • I should be overjoyed that we have machines that wash them so I don’t have to do it by hand, and
  • I should be saying thanks for the fact that many of these clothes were gifted to us,. This is even a bigger blessing because others took the time to share their blessings with us.

As I type, the silly part slides away.

My heart aches for some I love dearly and I am praying over constantly.

With every piece of clothes I fold, I realize that the real life-changing challenges that face us all have to be attacked one item at a time. We may want them to be removed instantly and truly God can do that, but in any situation, God won’t go against our wishes.

Have you ever noticed that?

God Can Move Mountains, but Won’t Unless…

Even when Jesus was healing people, he ALWAYS asked if they wanted to be healed.

I have a choice in how long this pile of clothes will grow in our room. Every day since it first started growing up from the ground, I have loathed it’s presence. Why can’t it fold itself?  Didn’t I do enough by washing it? Why is putting away clean clothes so ridiculously difficult?

No. The washing is a single step in the right direction, but more steps need to be taken.

Jesus could and will heal but we have to be willingly and ready for him to. In the Bible, we never see him healing anyone who wanted to stay the way they were or do it their way instead of his. Their faith and willingness to be changed allowed the healing to happen.

The following verse always takes me aback:

And [Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
– Matthew 13:58

It hurts my heart to think that maybe I’m like that too. Maybe there have been times when I just think this is how it is going to be and don’t even give Jesus a chance to move my spirit, let alone a mountain!

Does my faith in Jesus get trumped by the mountain before my eyes?  

Oh, Lord, may it not be!  You created those mountains and can move them too!  When those moments of unbelief arise, help me in my unbelief!  Let me trust you enough so that you are able to perform the miracles you want to perform!

We each have a choice.

Whether it’s attacking the laundry pile, taking steps to overcome addiction, walking the road of extreme illness and cancer, fighting for your marriage, or whatever else, Jesus is able to move our mountains. He may not always move the mountains in the way we expect them to be moved, but trusting that with his power and might we will be freed from the big and even the small things is a step in the right direction.

It all starts with having faith as small as a mustard seed and letting our Lord and Savior know that we are ready for that change.

Whatever your struggle, God can move the mountain.

Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by the necessities of being a  parent today, or maybe you are struggling with something much bigger. Whatever your struggle is, please know that you can take it to Jesus. He wants to carry that load for you and encourage you through it.

He may very well even send someone your way to help you fold laundry, which is how my pile is finally gone.

Prayer over our hearts.

Thank you, Lord, for caring about the big and small things in our lives. Thank you for being a God who can do what seems impossible. Let us lean into your strength and not our own. When the issue at hand seems like an immovable mountain, remind our hearts that you are greater than anything we may be facing. We trust you, Lord, in whatever ways you want to work or how you choose to move mountains in our lives. In the One who spoke the mountains and ourselves into existence – Amen!

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