Never A Nobody

Thanksgiving weekend, three years ago, after a month spent on daily reflections of gratitude, I asked the Lord what I could do to glorify Him for all that He has given. With a heart filled with gratefulness and a spirit ready to serve, I kept hearing that still small voice say, as if on instant replay, “Toy Drive”. I laughed the idea off as if it must be my own thoughts and I even tried to ignore it hoping I would hear something different. Surely God wasn’t asking Me, a stay at home Mom, who was very new to my community, who didn’t even know anyone outside of the school office gals and my Husbands co-worker’s wife. I hadn’t even found a church home yet, not to mention I didn’t own any business- like attire to wear to approach someone about this thought. Yes, those were just some of the many excuses I tried to use as to why I couldn’t possibly begin to organize a Toy Drive in my community. I sat down and said, “God, but I can’t and I don’t even know how to begin”, in which He replied, “But, I can and I do.”

There is was. God’s reply. No matter how many excuses I could come up with as to why I was not suitable for this task, He wanted me to set aside my own insecurities and fears and trust in Him and His abilities; while relying on His strength rather than my own. So, that’s exactly what I did.

With my nicest pair of Abercrombie sweat pants, a zip of fleece jacket and my hair complete in a pony-tail, ( I told you I didn’t own any dress clothes), and I walked myself into the only familiar place I had been to, outside of my new home, which happened to be the School where my three eldest children attended. I ever so nervously approached the School Superintendent and Principal about this thought that was placed on my heart. Within minutes the thought was accepted as “wonderful” and I had their full support and assistance. That day, with the Lord holding my hand and guiding my words, the first ever Toy Drive in my community was born.

At this point in my life I was not financially able to give a money donation or gifts, but I certainly was able to give my time and effort. There are so many ways to serve the Lord regardless of our financial situation or talents.

Of the four women in Christ’s genealogy, Ruth, the Gentile; Tamar, a harlot; the wife of Uriah, an adulteress, and Rahab, the harlot, all are proof that God can and will use anyone, regardless of their past, their status within their community or their occupation. I’m certain they, at times, felt more than able. Like, the town “nobody”.

God delights in using those who feel they are unable, or “a nobody”. 1 Corinthians 1, verse 29 says; “no flesh should glory in His presence.” When we arrive one day in our eternal home, not one of us can claim that it was on our own merit. We are saved by the grace of God. The One who gave us all, the day He was crucified on the cross. Verse 31 will tell us, “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” We must be low enough and weak enough for God to use us. Because, it is then, we operate using His strength and ability rather than our own. God wants to bring us to a place where we examine the depth of ourselves and our faith to teach us that there is power in the name of Jesus. There is power when we follow Him and His ways, when we fully submit ourselves to be used for His glory.

God’s not looking for the highest standing member in a community to use, He is looking for those who have a heart that will say, “thank you Lord for all you have given Me, I would have nothing if it weren’t for You. Won’t you use Me to serve You and Your kingdom.”

When God finds such a heart, something extraordinary begins to occur. That nobody advances within the Kingdom into the ranks of God’s nobility.

Scripture to reflect on: 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; Jeremiah 9:24

“I am only one, but I am one! I can’t do everything, but I can do something. That which I can do, I ought to do and that which I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do!” ~ Grant Teaff

Melissa Donnelly

Melissa has a growing passion for encouraging others through the wisdom and words that Christ gives her.  She is the mother to five awesome children, the youngest two being twins, and the helpmate to her husband, Travis.  Melissa grew up in Upstate New York near Lake Ontario and, after many moves with the army, now makes her home with her family in Stromsburg, Nebraska.  She is a volunteering mom at her children's schools and the founder of Community Toy Drive and also has started a library ministry in her home church.  Next to loving her family, Melissa's Italian core kicks in and she loves to feed people until they could burst.  Jeremiah 29:11. "'For I know the plan I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (NIV)

Melissa has a growing passion for encouraging others through the wisdom and words that Christ gives her. She is the mother to five awesome children, the youngest two being twins, and the helpmate to her husband, Travis. Melissa grew up in Upstate New York near Lake Ontario and, after many moves with the army, now makes her home with her family in Stromsburg, Nebraska. She is a volunteering mom at her children’s schools and the founder of Community Toy Drive and also has started a library ministry in her home church. Next to loving her family, Melissa’s Italian core kicks in and she loves to feed people until they could burst. Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plan I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (NIV)

 

A New Year

Key Verse: Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Every time a year has come to an end, without fail, I hear and see so many comments of, “I can’t wait till this year is over.  It’s been a bad one and I know that next year will be much more kind to me.”
Ladies, I wish we had a glimpse of our future and what it holds.   I wish I could tell you that it will be the best one yet! But truth be told; we don’t. We don’t know what a new year will bring upon us. Maybe it will be a fantastic year or it could be the complete opposite.
The best advice I could give is to step into the New Year with God. As we end 2014 and cross on into 2015, head into it with the One who holds your future. Tell God your resolutions and what you would love to see, do, and how He would like to use you in the coming year to get His name out and to grow the Kingdom of God.

After the New Year as a family we get together before bed and pray to God to just thank Him for helping us through another year and for the many blessings He’s given us. No matter how horrible our year could have been, we are alive.  We are here and He’s still entrusting us on this earth to help spread His love.

Ladies, I pray God blesses you and your loved ones in 2015. No matter what lies ahead, you are wrapped in the arms of the almighty God. Let Him guide your every step and lead the way.

Lord, thank You for 2014; the ups and downs, the trials and triumphs. Jesus, because of You we made it through, even when at times we didn’t think we could. Lord, as we close out on another year and another chapter of our lives I pray we walk out holding Your hand and I pray we go into 2015 the same exact way. You hold our future and we are so thankful for that.
Such an honor, Lord, to be loved and protected by You.
We love You!
Amen

Dina Kiser

Dina loves her family with all her heart.  So much so that she documents every waking moment through taking pictures.  Along with this picture taking is a pumpkin spice latte addiction that fuels her clicking finger.  She is the mother of two beautiful children and the helpmate to her husband, Pat, who serves in the United States Army.  Dina and her family currently make their home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but she grew up in the big sky of Billings, Montana.  Dina loves Jesus with everything she has and knows there is nothing He can not do. Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (NIV)

Dina loves her family with all her heart. So much so that she documents every waking moment through taking pictures. Along with this picture taking is a pumpkin spice latte addiction that fuels her clicking finger. She is the mother of two beautiful children and the helpmate to her husband, Pat, who serves in the United States Army. Dina and her family currently make their home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but she grew up in the big sky of Billings, Montana. Dina loves Jesus with everything she has and knows there is nothing He can not do. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

My Peace I Give You

Key Verse: John 14:27

Have you found yourself frazzled the past few weeks?  Stretched absolutely to the breaking point?  Credit cards maxed out buying those “perfect gifts” for everyone on your list?  I pray that each and every one of you finds absolute peace tonight.  Christmas Eve; the night when we anticipate the celebration of the birth of JesusPeace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27, NIV

Let that verse speak to you along with this one:  “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, ESV).  Christmas can be such a trying time.  We can get so caught up in the commercialism and “keeping up with the Joneses” that we lose sight of why we’re doing it at all.  Then we are so exhausted and spent that Christmas itself is a letdown.  I just wanted to remind you to slow down in these last few hours and take the time with your family to reflect on the reason for our celebrations, and be at peace.

Thank you, God, for sending Your only Son to serve as a sacrifice for us.  We honor and praise Your Holy Name, AMEN.

And now, who better to tell the Christmas Story than Luke?  The Birth of Jesus.

Luke Chapter 2: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

A Sister in Christ,

Kim McDowell

Kim is a facilitator for financial peace university.  It brings her great joy to help people overcome their finances to glorify God.  She supports Faith Rocks in their mission to hep kids and horses.  Born and raised in Abilene, Kansas, Kim and her husband, Kelly, still make their home there where she coordinates a group of greeter for their home church.  Kim will leave a memorable impression with her fierce, but gentle hugs as she welcomes you into her life.  Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (NIV) - http://www.myfaithrocks.com/

Kim is a facilitator for financial peace university. It brings her great joy to help people overcome their finances to glorify God. She supports Faith Rocks in their mission to hep kids and horses. Born and raised in Abilene, Kansas, Kim and her husband, Kelly, still make their home there where she coordinates a group of greeter for their home church. Kim will leave a memorable impression with her fierce, but gentle hugs as she welcomes you into her life. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV) – http://www.myfaithrocks.com/

 

 

 

So…I’m A Poop Scooper

Key Verse: I Peter 4:10, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

There is nothing quite as, shall we say, humbling as taking a job that is not so pleasing. I walked the yard scouring for, well…poop. I know that God has called me to encourage women in any way possible, but I failed to see how this, however meager, job as a poop scooper was part of that calling.

This small occupation is not for the faint of heart, or should I say smell of heart, but while I was walking the pretty large yard for the client the other day, I was asking God why this business and not my true calling. I realized I was smack dab in the middle of my calling. The client I was cleaning the yard for is a woman who is single and because of ailments it is not easy for her to do this herself. My heart knew then that I was placed in this trade to serve this woman and show her love however possible.

While this job is not ideal for many, I was humbled to see how God is using this very gross work to train me. Service to others is not always pretty, clean or rewarding. It can be messy, gross and most often unnoticed by many, but God sees your service and is pleased.

My heart and soul rejoice in knowing that for this time I am in training of serving others with a happy heart and mind. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

When is the last time you served another person just because? We serve our families and churches, but often out of obligation. Take a moment and think about someone you can serve or pray for God to send someone in your path that you can serve in a way that may not be exactly clean or pleasing for you, but that would bless their life. A name may already come to mind. Awesome! I am praying with you as well.

Lord, bring to mind a name or face of someone whom I may serve for Your glory and not mine. I want to be a woman who blesses others however possible, even if it goes unnoticed by those around me. In Your name, amen.

(P.S. I opted for a more pleasant feature image than the one I had in mind of a pooper scooper! Welcome! 😉  )

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Camo and Lace

Key Verse: Psalm 45:10-11, “Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”

I am coming out of the season of in depth study of the book Esther. This study was so rich and juicy, I just love when God takes me on the adventure where I think I know it all and He surprises me. God’s name was not mentioned once in the entire story line, but He is so active on every page! Some of us may feel the same about our lives, take heart, sister, He is working things out.

When Esther enters the scene in the book she finds herself in the midst of the drama, in the story she did not choose to write, in the bed she did not chose to sleep, cleaning up a mess she did not make.  You and Esther have a lot more in common than you think. You too have a King who greatly desires you, but He is nothing like Esther’s king. You have a King who would lay His life down for you; in fact, He already did on the cross. You have a King who doesn’t view you as an object, who doesn’t think you are disposable. You are beautiful to Him!

Psalm 45:10-11 says “the King is enthralled by your beauty” and Song of Songs 2:4 says “He brings me to the banquet hall, and everyone can see how much he loves me”. Zephaniah 3:17 says that He sings over you.

While people disappoint us, Jesus never does. Esther was a Bride preparing to see her king. The Bible teaches that those who call Jesus their Lord and Savior are His Bride and we too need to prepare ourselves for our King!

  1. She could no longer be dressed in the same outfits she wore before. When we become Christians we can no longer wear the same old clothes of lust, greed, unforgiveness, and negativity. We need to be willing to change our wardrobe.
  2. Bathing in the essential oils till they saturated her whole being (pretty much until she sweats cinnamon and lavender). When you read about oil in the Bible it represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Walking in the anointing daily means to have a teachable heart. The Holy Spirit is faithful to guide you and lead you.
  3. Perfume/fragrance treatment speaks God’s presence, prayer and worship. Esther had to be treated with perfumes daily. You and I need to spend time in His presence with prayer and worship if we want to be a prepared Bride of Christ. II Corinthians 4:15 – we are the aroma of Christ!
  4. Special food eunuch gave her represents the Word of God that we feed our souls and hearts on. How is your diet lately? Have you been feeding your heart with the Word or junk food (TV, media, ungodly entertainment)?

In the Kingdom of God, the spiritual spa, spiritual treatment works from the inside out! God is working on your heart and on your mind and it transforms the way you look. Have you ever met a Godly woman who looks ordinary, but there is something magnetic and radiant about her that you just can’t stop admiring her? She is a Bride who is preparing herself for her King.

Esther’s honeymoon was short and she had to switch the crystal slippers into army boots. Haman had an agenda; he had a hatred passed from generation to generation towards the Jews. Now Esther is not only a Bride, she is now a target. The moment you make the choice to follow Christ- you become a target as well. You are in the battle field and the choice is now yours- you either be a victim or be a hero. Esther chose to be a hero. She chose to fight back.

Hear me clear, sister, THE ENEMY DOES NOT ATTACK WHAT HE IS NOT THREATENED BY.  Your God is an amazing Warrior; He will fight for you, with you and beside you.

And YOU ARE HIS WARRIOR BRIDE! You are not a soldier (soldiers get paid, warriors are made. Warrior is a calling, soldiers are for hire).

Listen to me, darling, you might be just like Esther today, you can’t choose your circumstances, you can’t choose the picture you are in, but you can choose to fight back with everything you’ve got. You are not a victim, you have the victory. You get those combat boots on, get the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, equip yourself with prayer and spiritual discipline and you go, girl, and fight back the enemy. You have got to stand up and fight for your family, for your marriage, for your kids. The choice is yours- a victim or a hero. Don’t give your sword a chance to get rusty and dull. Read that Word daily, pray daily, stay connected with the church. Become dangerous.

The outcome of the story is in Esther chapter 9. The Jews not only stood up for their nation, they fought back and overthrew the enemy and God turned the tables around.  Some of you, just like Esther, find yourself thrown in the situation you did not choose to be in, it was someone else’s choice and here you are….but God can turn this around as well if you surround yourself completely with Him.

Yet there are some of you who can honestly say “I wrote my own disaster story. I didn’t hope to end up here, but know exactly how I ended up here. I decided to write my own story and I hate it”…….

Wherever you are today, I want you to hear Psalm 18 in The Message translation, “GOD made my life compete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Jesus, we thank You for being our loving King who values us, who died for us to make us pure and holy. Lord, as we prepare to see You, help to fix our eyes on You. Help us also to be Equipped Warrior Brides who will be heroes of faith. We open our hearts before You and we ask You to rewrite the story of our life; a story where we present ourselves beautiful and holy to You, a story where victory is ours, and a story where our hearts are healed and restored. Amen.

Lenna Rivera

Lenna was born and raised in Volgograd , Russia.  She grew up in the family that did not know Christ and at the age of ten she and her brother found a Gospel preaching church and became first generation of Christ followers in their family .  At the age of eighteen Lenna felt a strong calling for missions and the Lord opened doors for her to become a missionary to the state of Georgia.  Today Lenna and her husband, Zach, reside in Nebraska,. They have 2 sons together. Lenna enjoys cooking, spending time with the family and a good harty in-depth Bible study.  Her husband leads worship at their local church. Lenna enjoys writing about the things God reveals to her through the reading of the Word.

Lenna was born and raised in Volgograd , Russia. She grew up in the family that did not know Christ and at the age of ten she and her brother found a Gospel preaching church and became first generation of Christ followers in their family . At the age of eighteen Lenna felt a strong calling for missions and the Lord opened doors for her to become a missionary to the state of Georgia. Today Lenna and her husband, Zach, reside in Nebraska,. They have 2 sons together. Lenna enjoys cooking, spending time with the family and a good harty in-depth Bible study. Her husband leads worship at their local church. Lenna enjoys writing about the things God reveals to her through the reading of the Word.

Smells Like Family

Key Verse: Deuteronomy 6:7

A few weeks ago our eleven year old daughter brought a couple friends to church with her. Usually, we are so busy on Sunday mornings that we don’t have time to waste, but even with commitments to different ministries, God knew why these girls were there that day with us. These precious girls do not go to a church or have a youth group of their own and are easily persuaded by peers at the middle school. I am so blessed to have a daughter with such a big heart for her friends and their relationship with God.

We did our Sunday morning routine as usual; worship practice, prayer, greeting and on this particular Sunday, we were also part of the team who feeds the college students lunch. As we went through each stage of the day, these two girls were watching how we talked and reacted, not knowing how to act in church, they tried to mimic what we did. They asked our daughter questions through songs, sermon, and communion and seemed to understand her explanations.

It was while I was driving them home that afternoon that I received the greatest compliment of my life since becoming a parent. I was turning on to Main Street when one of the girls said, “I like the smell of your van.” I laughed a little at her comment. We have four children, none like to keep anything clean, and two dogs who like to ride places with us. Our van does not smell good and most of the time I worry that when we open the door a passerby will smell something rotting, of course we do not have rotting food or anything in the van, but you moms know what I mean. Then she said in a sweet hushed voice, “It smells like family.” Heart melt.

Wow! I never stopped to think of how our vehicle looked or smelled to others. This beautiful girl comes from a broken home where compliments and love are scarce. Even though we are far from perfect as a family, this young lady saw something that morning that she liked and wanted.

What a blessing and huge compliment. The girls have decided that our house is the sleepover house from now on. This makes my heart happy and our home filled with even more laughter and smiles. This is the way God designed it. Complete.

Our Bible instructs us to, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at HOME and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” This scripture is talking about the commands, decrees and laws that were set for God’s people and taught by Moses. They are still for His children today, but many Christians have forgotten that we are still to teach our children what it means to be a follower of Christ and how we should act as such. I am guilty of forgetting to continue to teach my children every day, but today is a new day and on this day I have decided to make it my top priority to share with my children what it means to be a Christian and love God. This way, my children can take with them this life teaching, into the world, where they must grow up. And hopefully along the way their hearts make a huge difference in other lives.

Lord, we are so blessed to be Your children and have all we need to know in one amazing book. Help us to teach our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and close ones what it means to be Your chosen people and give us a desire to keep Your Word in our hearts. Bless each life who gets to read this today and show Yourself to them in a new way. Amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

The Story

Key Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

I love a good story. Not just any story, but the ones filled with all the action, adventure, romance, and comedy; every aspect all rolled into one storyline. I love reading these stories to our girls and watch their faces as I turn the pages. There is a sense of amazement as they watch and listen to each of these stories unfold; even if they have heard the story a million times. Just like these stories that we read or watch in movies, each one of us has a story to tell with our lives. My story has been one that has had unexpected changes in it the last year or so. To get through these things, we have not only been learning to trust Jesus even more, but my husband and I also decided to make an encouragement jar. My husband sprayed painted the jar and for nearly the past year we have been writing down anything in our story that has been encouraging and uplifting happening in our lives, no matter what. We may not always enjoy what chapter in our lives we are in, but there has to be at least some part of it that we can be thankful for. What chapter are you at in your story? Even if it’s not the place that we want to be at in our lives we can’t skip ahead because we might miss what God has for us just a few pages ahead. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” This means that we need to trust that our Father God knows our needs, wants, desires and that He will never fail us. God knows our whole story before we do. He is the best editor in the world; editing out parts of our story that we try to write without His help and putting in surprises just to have that sense of amazement and wonder at everything that He is about.

Enjoy every part of part of your life. No matter what chapter you may be in, look for the positive in each part of your story; good or bad. My husband, Joey, said, “Ministry is a journey, not a destination.” I think the same can be said about our lives. I challenge each of you not to focus too much on what the next chapter of your life or destination might be, but focus on every part of the journey on the way to what God has for your life every day. Love God, live life, and enjoy the adventurous journey God has for you! Jesus, I pray for each person that reads this blog that they may be encouraged. Jesus, help each person to think about what their story is and how their story is making an impact in other people’s lives! Jesus, help each of one enjoy every part of their journey and trust You to direct their paths. In Jesus name, Amen.

Mikayla Winafeld

Mikayla has a heart for student ministries and seeing lives transformed as well as a passion for worship ministry.  Mikayla and her family make their home in northwest Missouri where she grew up.  As a couple, Mikayla and Joey, volunteer at their church in student ministries and Mikayla is also a member of the worship team.  Her heart shows through in all she does and that is how she is seen; with a huge heart for people.  Mikayla is a graduate of Central Bible College with a bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry and a minor in Music.  Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and says, “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Mikayla has a heart for student ministries and seeing lives transformed as well as a passion for worship ministry. Mikayla and her family make their home in northwest Missouri where she grew up. As a couple, Mikayla and Joey, volunteer at their church in student ministries and Mikayla is also a member of the worship team. Her heart shows through in all she does and that is how she is seen; with a huge heart for people. Mikayla is a graduate of Central Bible College with a bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry and a minor in Music. Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and says, “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Powerful Words

Key Verse: Proverbs 18:4, “Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs.” (The Message)

This week has been oh so trying. Colds have plagued our family, headaches have stricken me down, exhausted minds and bodies have needed more rest. God sees even all this and still knows what we need deep inside the soul.

I was preparing to rest my body for the night when I felt a gentle nudging. This is the only nudging that can be known as God. I felt that I was to open my Bible and read. No specific verse was given or brought to mind and no more whisper heard. Just read.

There it sat on my nightstand. Brown. Faux leather. Almost pocket size. It was staring me down. Open. Read. I opened to Proverbs 18. Why? Because that is where it opened to when I gently thumbed the pages. I did not have to read far before my heart knew exactly what I was to read and learn. Verse four says, “Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs” (The message). The NLT version says it this way, “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.”

So I started thinking about all the words I have spoken in the past few days. If I had recorded my words spoken would I really want to play it back? In other words, am I speaking wisely, kindly, encouragingly, lovingly or even with truth? Honestly, I spoke kinder to strangers than to my own family. Admitting that to myself was like taking a knife to the heart. It hurt deep.

Ann VosKamp wrote, “Only speak words that make souls stronger. For once words are spoken they may be forgiven, but may be not forgotten.” As even I ask myself, I also ask you; would you be pleased with the words you have spoken in the last week or even just the last twenty-four hours? Titus II Woman was developed to encourage women, but we have to start at home in ourselves and work our way globally. If I encourage others, but not my husband and children, well then, I feel that I have failed at what my purpose is.

My encouragement to you and also to myself is to start with new words in your home no matter how hard the circumstance or situation. Journal your journey for just a week and see how your words can change everything.

Lord, my words are not always kind or encouraging. I pray that You guide all my words and show me how they make a difference in every area of my life. In Jesus Name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Blessings and Gifts

Titus II Woman Ministries has been going strong for three months now. In some ways it feels like longer and in other ways it feels as if we have just begun, which really we have. Already in these past three months I have wondered what I was doing and questioned whether I was really capable of doing this. In the past couple of weeks, however, God has sent me a few reminders of why I do this and LOVE to encourage and lead women in their search for more God in their everyday life. First, He has called me to do this not because I am qualified, but because He wants to make me qualified through Him. Second, Psalm 37:5&6 say, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” He wants to use this ministry for more than I can imagine or see. Third, there are more women that I have no clue about who just need to know they are not alone in this thing called life, motherhood, letting go, new stages, and even loving being single. I guess in some way God thinks that I can help encourage women and I pray that those reading have been.

It was about nine years ago, according to my journals, that I felt the tug to women’s ministries. I had no idea what to do to get into this field of ministry and pretty much ran away feeling completely incapable and not worthy of such a task. Yet, here I am; finally, ready to take on whatever call God shares. Instead of running away, I am running toward this call. Each day I ask that God interrupt my day with what He has instead of what I have planned. Some days I am good at accepting these interruptions and other days I fail, but thank goodness for grace, right!

I want to encourage you to walk into your calling with a heart knowing that God has got this for you. When your eyes are focused on Him, there is no failing. Commit your ways and all you do to God today and see how many blessings He will bestow. It has already been an amazing three months with so many great stories, lessons, encouragement and love shared on our Facebook page and the blog. I am excited to see where God will lead this. In everything I hope that you know I am praying with and for you. Titus II Woman Ministries would not be here without all the readers and team members we have.

With a new year coming upon us, I want to pray with you for a new year in your life and with Titus II. Lord, this ministry was founded because of a desire to encourage women in Your name. I pray that you will bless each team member who have made a commitment to write, pray and speak and I also pray that with each set of eyes who will read the blog and Facebook You will be present in that moment, revealing yourself to them. We ask for an awesome year in Your name with many opportunities to enlarge Titus II Woman Ministries territory for You. Thank You, Lord, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri.  Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies.  She loves to write and teach God's Word.  God put a desire in Tara's heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women.  Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children. Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in Northwest Missouri. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. God put a desire in Tara’s heart over six years ago to start a ministry that reached women. Today Tara has founded Titus II Woman Ministries and God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

For the Good of Those

Key Verse: Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Many of you reading this today may have dealt with the pain of a heartbreaking relationship. Perhaps, like me, you found yourself bound to a man full of addictions; to alcohol, to drugs, to pornography. I was only fifteen years old when I fell for a man who was five years older than me. He was a lost and broken soul to whom I could relate. I knew he was not living a godly life and was drinking and using recreational drugs, but I chose to overlook all those things in exchange for a shot at love. I desperately wanted to love and be loved. I made my decision and settled for an ungodly relationship, one that took me down a path of alcohol and recreational drug use myself.

Two years into our relationship, just three months before my eighteenth birthday, I delivered my first beautiful baby boy. I vowed to be a good mom, to love and cherish, and give him a good life. After his birth I began to notice how bad my boyfriend’s addictions had spiraled out of control with my two month old baby and me now living with him. There were nights he would be so out of it he would attack me verbally, threatening me out of drug induced illusions. He would disappear and I would not know where to or if he would come back. The verbal abuse began to shatter my self-confidence and worth, which were already low. I walked on eggshells trying not to set him off for any reason. Marijuana became my happy place and drug of choice. It numbed the pain and was the only time I felt happy with life.

Things went from bad to worse when my boyfriend had decided to try his hand at selling meth. Detectives were starting to knock on our door and even though I felt torn down and worthless, I knew that none of this was good for my son. I wanted a better life for him, but I couldn’t seem to let go of what was familiar to me. I was afraid of the unknown. I thought about what life would be like for my son without his father and I decided to try and work it out.

To get a “clean slate” we decided to move out of state, but it wasn’t long before my boyfriend fell back into old habits; binge drinking, using and selling drugs. It was all there again, but this time I vowed to rid my life of the alcohol and drugs because I loved my son and wanted the best for him. It took me a total of eight years in the relationship to get up the courage to say, “Enough is enough. I am not going to tolerate the abuse. No more drugs in the house!” I wasn’t putting up with it anymore and I wanted out. I walked away with my son and never looked back. Within the year after leaving my boyfriend I met a wonderful man who, I am proud to say, I have been married to for the past fourteen years. Early in our marriage we started to go to church and I began deepening my relationship with God. We have been blessed with a son together who is now seven.

You see, God had better plans for my life and He has a better plan for your life too. Even though I was not walking in obedience with God in those very dark years, He surrounded me with His love and grace, tugging at me to just surrender and come home to Him. I want to encourage you, no matter where you have been; He wants to surround you with His love and grace. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Let Him make beauty from your ashes. More words to ponder and study are found in Isaiah 61:2-3 and Jeremiah 29:11.

Lord, You know the path we have walked and will walk. I pray that You will be the light unto my path and guide each step that I take. Make those steps according to Your plan for my life and help me to remember that You are never going to leave me alone, no matter how dark the day. In Your name, amen.

Clarissa Puckett

Clarissa has a deep yearning to know God more intimately.  She makes it a point to routinely get alone with God in worship and prayer so she can hear his voice.  God instilled a passion for fashion, all things creative, décor, the arts, and repurposing the old into new.  Clarissa and her family make their home in northeast Missouri.  Isaiah 61:2-3 has been laid on Clarissa’s heart, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his Glory (NIV).

Clarissa has a deep yearning to know God more intimately. She makes it a point to routinely get alone with God in worship and prayer so she can hear his voice. God instilled a passion for fashion, all things creative, décor, the arts, and repurposing the old into new. Clarissa and her family make their home in northeast Missouri. Isaiah 61:2-3 has been laid on Clarissa’s heart, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his Glory (NIV).