The Gift of Trials

The Gift of Trials

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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“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”

 

Job 42:5

The Gift of Trials

The heartache that accompanies trials is not something we look forward to, but there is a blessed gift that occurs in the midst of trials – a knowing that we’ve never experienced before. Take Job for example. He was the most righteous man on Earth at the time. Satan wanted to destroy Job’s relationship with God, and this is exactly what Satan tries to do with all who believe Christ is the son of God and follow him. Job endured physical and emotional devastation in hopes of bringing Job to spiritual ruin. Instead of losing his faith, Job held onto the Lord tightly. And there, in reflecting on all of his trials, Job saw the most amazing gift of all that comes through trials–the gift of a deeper relationship with the Lord!

Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Did you catch that? The most righteous man on earth at the time, who wholeheartedly believed in God and His holy nature, felt like he had only heard of God. Through his trial period, he truly saw God in action. It is not that he didn’t have a relationship with God before. It is simply that the depth of that relationship grew.

When you are in the midst of a trial it can be difficult to see past it. You must remind yourself to stay focused on the Lord and remember that He will bring you through it in His miraculous ways. His ways may not look like how you predetermined, but they will bring immeasurable blessings and solidify your faith all the more. You will be given the gift of seeing the Lord too! This is the ultimate gift of persevering through the trials of life.

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Dear Father, You are holy and mighty and love us beyond measure. You bring comfort and blessings when we are going through the most difficult of situations and gift us with a seeing you. Thank you for building our courage when Satan tries to attack it. In the One who is our defender – Amen!

The Gift of Waiting

The Gift of Waiting

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.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”

Psalm 27:14

The Gift of Waiting

Waiting seems more of an inconvenience than a gift. With a little shift of perspective and opening our hearts to letting God really work in our lives, we can see waiting as the gift it truly is.

In waiting, we see the glory of God move to work things out. From the beginning of time, God has set a plan in place. You are a part of that plan. Although waiting may seem like years, in the overall scheme of eternity, it is nothing more than a blink of time. By choosing to patiently wait on God and his timing now, you will positively impact generations. You are made for just a time like this and when it is your time to wait, choose to glorify Him in the process.

In waiting, we learn about patience and trust. Our patience gets tried and tested and we begin to see where we truly place our trust. Is our trust in God? In a friend? In a system or in money? Is our trust in what we perceive as security? In waiting, our faith is grown and we become more like Jesus. Jesus patiently waited in heaven for God to say, “Today is the day you will make your entrance on earth. Today is the day you will sacrifice yourself for the world.” AndJesus is still patiently waiting for God to send Him back to gather us home!

In waiting, God uses those moments to chip away at what is holding us back from fully relying on Him. Maybe it’s our pride, our need for “control,” our misuse of time, or our focus on things other than Him.

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you are holy and beyond our comprehension. You waited for just the right time for your son to come to Earth and free us from our sins and give us an eternal relationship with you. When you call us to be still and wait on you, let us take courage in you. In the One who is our help and our shield – Amen!

Embracing His Love

Embracing His Love

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. :)
Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Last Thanksgiving my husband’s parents generously hosted Thanksgiving at a condo in Branson so that we could enjoy the holiday festivities at Silver Dollar City. It was truly a wonderful idea! We were very excited about taking our then two-year-old daughter to experience such a fun place!

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It just so happened that Silver Dollar City’s holiday hours were a tad bit inconvenient for our daughter’s nap schedule and so we went in the evening, a time that is usually not her happiest. In addition the crowds were heavy, which meant we couldn’t let her toddle around very much, and it was so, so cold. As you can imagine, she wasn’t very happy. She cried and cried. My husband’s sweet parents soon took her back to the condo where she could play in a more comfortable setting.

Of course, we were not angry with her for causing stress on our delightful plans. We could see her tiredness and frustration. Understanding her limits as a toddler, we had compassion for her. (As a side note, we really had a great trip and thankfully everyone was able to have a fun time. We just had to work around the limitations of our young daughter!)

The Lord’s Compassion

Psalm 103:8-14 says:

“The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens of the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.”

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Do you ever feel distraught over your mistakes? Perhaps you were given a wonderful opportunity to do something marvelous but ended up making a mess of everything. In these times it can be easy to let fear and embarrassment keep us from approaching our Heavenly Father. We might even back away from our church family. It is so easy to be overcome by our pride and insecurity. How easy it is to forget that God loves us as a father does his children, that he understands our limits and frailties.

I’m reminded of the prodigal son. He begged for his inheritance money and foolishly blew it all on worthless things while living a lazy lifestyle. When he humbly returned home with the plan to work as a servant, his father RAN to him and threw him a large party. His son’s return filled him with joy! Christ explained that God’s enthusiasm is the same when one of his precious children returns to him.

Embracing God’s Love and Presence

Our Father God is rich in love for us. We must be kind to ourselves when we mess up. We should humbly seek him at even our most shameful times. He understands. He will welcome us! When we rest in His love for us, we will be able to move past our mistakes and shortcomings. We can dare to do great things for Him without worry and doubt in our way!

So be encouraged, sweet friend! How freeing it feels to know the pressure to be perfect can dissipate when we truly embrace that we are His child, whom he dearly loves.

I love the music video for Andrew Peterson’s song “Be Kind To Yourself.”.” Two of his children are featured in the video with him, and the affirming words of his unconditional love for them are a gentle reflection of God’s love for us. I hope it will encourage you today if you are struggling with insecurity or past mistakes. God loves you so deeply! Embrace his presence today!

Click HERE to watch “Be Kind to Yourself”.

*A discussion topic found in The Lifegiving Table Experience by Sally Clarkson inspired this post.

 

you-belong-to-me

 

Put down the Rope and Stretch out Your Hand

Put down the Rope and Stretch out Your Hand

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.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Have you ever been lassoed?

I have and let me tell you it was not a fun ordeal. Even though the person intended it as a joke, it got out of hand. The rope burn around my neck lasted for weeks. This experience left me with a memory that brought about a spiritual revelation decades later.

When I first became a Christian, I was super excited to share Christ with others–and I still am. Where I look back now with a sad heart is how I felt I needed to “rope” someone around their spiritual neck and drag them Where I look back now with a sad heart is how I felt I needed to -rope- someone around their spiritual neck and drag them up to my current spiritual understanding.up to my current spiritual understanding. I was young and immature in my understanding. I wish I could apologize to all those I left with rope burn.

So if you are reading this today–I’m sorry on behalf of myself and anyone else who has done this to you. They might have had the best of intentions but presented their care for you very poorly.

Thankfully, a wonderful Christ-filled couple willingly mentored my husband and me over the years.  Through them, we realized that our initial way of doing things was not the way Jesus handled things. They held out their hand, walked with us, studied scripture with us, and by grace, patience, and love helped us along our spiritual journey.

put-the-rope-down-reach-out-your-hand-pin

Mentored instead of Roped

Instead of roping us around the neck and dragging us up to their level of spiritual understanding, they were patient with us, and allowed us time to grow and mature.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

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It’s important to realize that we are all on our own personal walk with our Lord and Savior. He has patience and grace as each person is walking and growing in their faith. We need to do so as well.  This definitely goes for those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior yet too!  Yes, we want them to have the same hope we do. But trying to drag them into it will not make it happen.

If we feel we are ahead of a friend, we don’t need to rope them and drag them to our level. No! If we try that, then they miss the wonderful opportunity to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Instead, we need to reach out our hand and encourage them along the journey. That way, when we stumble and fall, we also have a friend holding our hand and helping us along.

So, if the rope is still in your hand, will you agree to put down the rope and reach out your hand?

Have you ever roped someone or has someone roped you?

How did that affect your relationship with that person and the Lord?

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Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

Let It Go! A Lesson in Control

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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Does this sound familiar?

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.”

Yes, that is a part from the well-known song “Let It Go.”  If you have small children, you have heard this more times than you would like to admit. But have you ever really listened to the lyrics?  These are some beautiful words of truth to live by in everyday life!  I would like to focus on one topic that plagues me on a daily basis: control.

Yes, I said it, control.  I feel that as parents, it is hard not to control everything.  Things would be better, run more smoothly, and you would get things done a LOT faster if you did things rather than the little people.  I would like to point out–I do not have all this figured out, hence the reason why I am writing this post!  But I hope this may be a source of encouragement for all the parents out there who want to “help,” “guide,” etc. your kids in all they do.

let-go-of-control-let-your-childs-talents-shine

Here are some points to consider:

1. Give them space.

Kids need space to do what they need to do. If you are over their shoulders they do not have the capacity to express what they would like to do.  You will realize your kids are capable of SO much more than you think.

2. Let them make mistakes. 

Instead of calling them “mistakes,” let’s say learning by trial and error.  They will make mistakes, but this is how they will learn, grow, and understand what they could do to make it better next time.  You want them to understand that there will be tough times, but they need to learn to work through it on their own.

3. Be present.

Be there, love them, lend them a hand when they need it.  It is always important that you are still there with them so they know you are available when they need you.  There is a fine line between hovering and hanging back to let them figure things out. Make sure your kids know that when things get tough, you will be there to assist in any way possible.

letting-go-of-control-to-let-your-kids-talents-shine

I wanted to write this post because every day I try and want to do EVERYTHING for my kids.  I tend to assist, hold their hand, insist that I do it for them.  But what I have learned is that when you let go, you let your kids show you just how much they can amaze you.  Recently, I wanted to do a painting craft with my daughter.  I knew that my instincts to not let her would creep in. So I decided to embrace what she could do.  The time we spent together painting blessed me tremendously because I learned what an encourager she is!

“Mommy, you do a really good job!”

“That is beautiful!”

“You are the best Mommy ever.”

It brought tears to my eyes because just letting her paint by herself showed me one of many talents God gave her!  We serve an awesome God!

Make no mistake, God works in all of us when we let him and he works in your children as well.  He blesses, he cares, and when you let go…you let God take control.  What a beautiful sight it would be if we let go and have full faith and trust in God!

How do you “let it go?

proverbs-12-25

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Slowing Down the Hurried Heart

Slowing Down the Hurried Heart

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14

My son is always begging me to take him to the Science Museum. For months he has been asking if we could go to the science museum. Month after month, he pleaded his case.

The morning finally arrived. As he headed to his room to dress for the day, I casually said over my shoulder, “Oh, by the way, we are going to the science museum today.”

My announcement thrilled him. I could see the excitement and anticipation in his eyes throughout the morning and on the drive to the museum. His heart, I imagine, was racing with expectancy the whole way.

His fun-filled, delightful day at the museum was everything he hoped it would be and more. He explored and soaked in everything he possibly could.

His day of fun and goodness was largely connected to his obedience and patience.

I did not unleash him into the museum to explore everything on his own. I set parameters for him. As I gained trust in his obedience, his parameters grew. When he was ready to explore beyond his parameters, (usually after some reminders) he was patient to wait until we could move there together. He was able to see and do so much more, because he chose to trust me and my plans for him.

A heart of hurriedness and disobedience would have resulted in a much different experience for him. It might have left him leaving the museum earlier or not being able to see as many exhibits. It would have probably robbed him of the joy that was to be found in all the discoveries.  A heart bent to his own will and desires would have been disastrous and left him disappointed and wanting.

Here is where I would like to draw the parallel.

Sometimes, God opens doors for us. In his infinite goodness and wisdom, He leads us on various roads and to various places. The problem lies when our hurried, impatient hearts drift away from Him and to our own desires the moment those doors open. We begin to step out of the parameters He has set before us. Beginning to explore and make decisions on our own, we unleash ourselves from His divine plan. Somewhere along the way, we forget to trust in our good Father. We forget that He works everything for our good and His glory.

Think of the story of Saul.

His hurried heart led to his disobedience. It led to him losing his place as king. God wanted a king whose heart delighted in Him and sought His own to reign over His people. He needed a heart that was patient, a heart that would obey.

I want to experience everything God has perfectly planned for me. I have often been the one whose heart was hurried. And somewhere along the way, I stop seeking guidance from the One who lays my path. I have lived the disappointments that come when I step out of His parameters and do things on my own. My heart is prone to wander and needs rescuing every day.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Robert Robinson (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

Prayer for an Unhurried Heart

I pray for a heart of obedience. I also pray for an unhurried heart…a heart in tune with His. In every place He takes me, I want to walk there with Him. I want to enjoy the fullness of the life He has called me to, and I want to wait for Him in those moments where He asks me to wait. I pray that the worldly things which push me to hurry will not blind me to His sovereign plans.

May we all earnestly seek His direction and wait patiently for His leading. In all the places we are led to, may we always stay vigilant in keeping our heart’s desire after His. In the pursuit of kingdom work, let us not forget to seek and wait for the direction of the King.

A man must not stop listening any more than praying when he rises from his knees. No one questions the need of times of formal address to God, but few admit in any practical way the need of quiet waiting upon God, gazing into His face, feeling for His hand, listening for His voice.

 Charles H. Brent

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