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.

 

 

God Uses Broken Dishes

God Uses Broken Dishes

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Out with the Old

This past spring, the kids and I did some spring cleaning.  We started by cleaning out the kitchen cabinets.  After twenty-six years of marriage, it was time to start replacing things.  As I looked at my dishes, I noticed that they were old and chipped.  Several had been broken and had been thrown away.  Over time, I had bought random bowls because I was down to three in my set.  I kept looking at these old, worn out dishes and I decided it was time to get new dishes.

Broken Dishes

In with the New

I set out to find a new set of dishes.  After much searching and waiting for the right sale (I’m a bargain shopper), I found a set I could be happy with.  I bought two eight-place settings.  A few weeks later, I decided to order a third set in case some get broken in the future when I cannot replace them.

When the last set arrived and as I was unpacking them and loading them in the dishwasher, I found that one of my new bowls was broken.  I called the store and was told that I had to either send the entire set back or return the set to a store about one hour away from us.  Since I had already run half the dishes through the dishwasher, I was not very happy.  I was upset so my husband took over.  He started calling stores that were closer, and fortunately he located the same set of dishes only thirty minutes away. We loaded the broken set up and took them back.  Of course, I stood at the checkout and unpacked the entire set to make sure there was not any broken ones in that set.

Lessons Learned from Broken Dishes

Yes, my old set of dishes was still usable.  But they just did not look nice anymore and it was time for a change.  Through this experience, I realized that God uses us even when we are broken.  Sometimes, we have to be completely broken so that we can start new.  God can use that brokenness for His good purpose!  Sometimes, it is not until we are broken that we truly turn to Him.  We do not always see a need for God until then.  That is when he can use us.

New Dishes

God brings us through these times of brokenness.  Like my husband did, He intercedes for us and takes care of our problems.  We learn from it and then God can use us because of these experiences.  And much like my broken dishes, God does not “throw us away” when we are broken.  My well-loved old dishes have been boxed up and will go to one of my children when they get their first home.

Have you ever felt broken and useless?

Did you turn to God?

 

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.

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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.

 

 

 

Embracing His Love

Embracing His Love

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

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.”

psalm-103

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

 

The Vast Ocean of God’s Love

The Vast Ocean of God’s Love

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

 

Discovering the Vast Ocean

Recently, I took my almost-two-year-old to the beach for the first time. Watching her discover the vast ocean was truly a sight to behold. As we walked along the boardwalk she giggled at the bumpy logs. Then, as we moved on, she became curious about walking on the sand. It didn’t take long for her to notice the shells. She bent down and took such delight in the fact that I was encouraging her to touch them.

Then the sand began to get wet…all of a sudden she noticed the ocean. She looked out at the unending water and was amazed. She giggled and walked toward it, thrilled when the water splashed over her feet. Her eyes remained fixed on the immensity of the ocean. There was no end in sight, only water. She’d never seen something so big before. Something as big as the ocean.

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As her mom, there was so much to think about as I watched her in that moment, but there was one thought that rang over the rest:

 

“How deep the Father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure.”

As Romans 5:8 tells us,

“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

It’s a truth I so often forget to savor. That God loved me enough to let his son die for me. Honestly, it’s impossible to wrap my mind around what that even means. That sort of love is not something we know on this earth. The ocean, so vast that it’s impossible to see its entirety in one view, reminds me of God’s immeasurable love. The love God has for us is so deep, so wide, so all-encompassing that we can’t wrap our minds around it here on earth, for it’s too great. 

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is…”
 Ephesians 3:18 

Redeemed by the Son

On our own, we are full of fault–too dirty to be in God’s perfect presence. He sent his Son to this earth to redeem us. Jesus gave his life on the cross so that we could be made clean and pure before the Lord and live in his glorious presence for eternity. It’s a gift we could never earn or deserve–even the most “perfect” Christian you know is undeserving of God’s great grace. Salvation is given out of grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not sure where you are on your walk with God, but friend, God loves YOU so much! Have you discovered his love for you yet? If not, we’d love to help you find it. (Please send us a message or comment below if you’d like to know more.)

If you have discovered and accepted his love, are you remembering his love often? Are you taking time to dwell on it? I’m not sure I meditate on God’s love enough, but I’m thankful for the reminders He so gently gives me.

vast ocean

 

Message of Love

I love the worship song, “How Deep the Father’s Love.” It’s a beautiful reminder of how God demonstrated his personal love for us. I want to stand in wonder of God’s love the way my daughter stood in wonder of the water. Witnessing the amazement in my daughter’s eyes as she discovered God’s great ocean was a reminder to me of God’s vast love for us.

If you have a moment, I encourage you to listen to “How Deep the Father’s Love.” The video I’m attaching is an a capella version by Keith Lancaster and the Acapella Company. If you don’t have time to listen, you can read through the lyrics below. Even if you’ve heard the song hundreds of times, the message is a beautiful one. It’s the message of God’s great love. With a sweet message like that on your heart, you’ll be able to create a great day for sure!

How deep the Father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure.

How Deep the Father’s Love

Click HERE to hear “How Deep the Father’s Love”. 

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss–
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life–
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart–
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Famous Soup Creating a Fall to Remember We all struggle  Clean up for an emotionally healthier you

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The God Greater than Our Hearts

The God Greater than Our Hearts

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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When you’re in a dark place and it’s hard to find your way out, what do you do? You feel lost and alone, unnoticed and under the radar. You are shuffled and jostled about, people walking past you, even talking to you, but not really seeing you. Not really knowing you.

Are you there? Are you in that dark place?

Your best friend may not see your inner heart. Your preacher may not. Even your mom or your husband or your kids may not. You might be drowning and no one sends out the lifeboat.

But there is Someone who does.

He sees the struggles and the tears. He sees the heartache and the loneliness. You can’t fool him–he knows exactly how wonderful you are and how awful you can be too.

are-you-there-are-you-in-that-dark-place

But those voices whisper in your heart.

Why would He care about me?

He can’t really love me that much. After all, he knows exactly what I have done!

Why bother? I know I can’t do it.

Friend, let me whisper to your heart as well.

Psalm 9:10 says,

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Consider Romans 8:32, which says,

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

When you’re feeling low and in that dark place, read these verses from 1 John 3:

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

It’s true. We don’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness. That’s the true meaning of grace: we get what we don’t deserve. He give us forgiveness and not punishment. We get a second chance and not death. We get salvation and not condemnation.

But God is amazing like that. He is greater than us, loves us more than we could possibly imagine, and gave up his son–before I even committed to serving Him.

That thought should humble me, motivate me, and comfort me, all at the same time. It is the lifeline you can cling to when you’re in that dark place. And it can be what helps pull you back into the light.

psalm-9-10

 

the-god-greater-than-our-hearts-pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

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