Planting Seeds of Patience

Late last winter my husband and I learned of a job in a perfect location that we believed would be perfect for our family.

We fasted and we prayed about whether we should step out of our comfort zone and apply for this job or not. It was so scary for us. The idea of starting over again terrified us, so we prayed again and again. With humble hearts we asked the Lord “Is this for us? Is this how we can be an instrument of the Lord? Is this the path you want us to walk? Are we supposed to move our children away from their home? Away from their friends? Are we supposed to embark on something that is unfamiliar to us?” The answer we both got was “We shall see”. We felt that was such a weird answer, but in our hearts we felt that we should go ahead and apply for the job. So we did and then we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. The more we waited the more we hungered for the job; the job we would be perfect for. We made dreams about what we would do when we got this new position; in this new place that is perfect. And then we waited more. I began to get nervous about this decision. Fear and doubt began to sink in. I began to get upset and question our prayers and our intent. I began to feel as though our decision to try something new and reach out of our comfort zone and apply for something newer and bigger was just a mistake and a pipe dream that was contrived of man and not based on Godly principles. And so we decided to move on.  Well my husband moved on anyways. Me? Not so much. I was hurt for no reason, but still I felt betrayed by my heart and my prayers. I turned in prayer again to my Father in Heaven. I asked for Forgiveness. I had let my desires guide my thoughts. It’s a natural, human thing to do. It happens. We all ask for things we really desire. But somehow I really thought that this New Job and New Home and New Life was exactly was God wanted for me and my family. I got my hopes and heart up about it and I needed to ask forgiveness for putting my wants and my desires before those of others and really trying to decide what God wanted most for me. And so like I always do after my prayers, I read my Scriptures.  There was my answer.  Romans 8:24-25,(24) for we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (25) But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Was I just not patient? Could it be something as simple as that? Never once did I think about waiting with patience. We had prayed about the job and felt peace and decided to go full force ahead and because of that I assumed that everything would just be so fast and swift. You know… because when God decides to do something, he does it, right? After all, He made the universe in SIX days, right? Boy was I wrong. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance. We are supposed to cultivate these qualities in our hearts and minds and actions. In case you didn’t already know, long suffering and patience go hand in hand.  And this is a quality that I really do not have even a pinch of. So I tried the whole patience thing. I had decided that with faith I would have patience and if it were the right time for us to move on and start another adventure it would happen-eventually. I am not a patient person! It is a quality that I struggle with every day with my children, and the laundry, and the mail man and everything, but every day I prayed for the strength to wait with patience about this job.  My husband, on the other hand, was calm and cool and collected;he waited patiently. THREE months later, after we had submitted the application, we received a phone call. They wanted to interview my husband.  It went really well. And then-we waited! And So I continued with patience. I prayed daily for patience. And months later we were called for a second interview. As I prayed daily for patience my daily scripture reading became about patience and cultivating this lovely Christ-like quality. I learned that it is a quality that you need to care for and nurture like it is a precious seed. It needs to be watered and weeded every day or it will be taken over by the weeds of doubt and fear and every single bad character quality that you could think of.

We are still waiting to hear if we have a New Job in a New Place, but I have since learned through this journey, what My Heavenly Father wanted most for me was to learn Patience. Patience in all things is a quality that is hard to come by. This whole process started nearly eight months ago and throughout most of it I have been a scared, impatient worrywart.  Now, I am transforming into a patient and graceful worrywort. Through praying daily for patience and guidance through the Scriptures I have come to understand the words of Romans 8:24-25 to mean that hoping for something that is not of the world will gain you not only a mansion in Heaven but a legacy here on earth that can only be obtained with grace and patience, and that hoping for something earthly will leave you doing just that… hoping.

I would like to share with you a few of the verses that have brought me great comfort in hopes that it will help you to cultivate patience and longsuffering in your own life.

Hebrews 6:12 “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Colossians 1:11 “ Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”

Romans 5:3 “ And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

Romans 5:4 “And patience, experience; and experience, hope:”

Luke 21:19 “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

James 1:4 “ But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Hebrews 10:36 “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope”

Father in Heaven, please help each of these sweet sisters to develop Christ like qualities. Help them to see through the weeds of fear and doubt and help them to plant seeds of patience and love and kindness and every other Christ like quality. Bless them with the strength to carry through each day with grace and your love. And I say this humbly in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Alethea Gaukel

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck.  Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri.  She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health.  She loves the Lord and wants to share His message.  Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families  and grown foster children find places to live.  James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Alethea, Ally for short, has three wonderful children, whom she homeschools, and a fine husband, Chuck. Ally grew up in northern California before making here home in rural northwest Missouri. She loves helping others by being a friend, inspiring them to take action in their own lives financially, spiritually and in health. She loves the Lord and wants to share His message. Her family supports Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri as well as ReStart, an interfaith shelter system to help families and grown foster children find places to live. James 1:8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him as of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)

Can We Get a Redo?

Ezekiel 23:49, “You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

We had a huge  child tantrum this morning. By the age of nearly ten you would think that we would be beyond these tirades, but can I tell you that even as they get older there are still moments that every mom hates to have happen in her home.  I love my children beyond measure or words and even as this fit continues and screams are still shrill in my ears I love this child of mine.  What do we do when the inevitable Satan worms him way into a morning in your home that started out so beautiful?

That’s all it is, folks.  It’s Satan taking advantage of a child who is normally happy go lucky in the morning and doesn’t care all that much what her breakfast will be, but this morning it was breakfast that was the undoing of our morning and Satan nearly won the fight as my patience and temper could have taken a moment of complete and utter disappointment and made it so much worse.

Eggs or cereal? That was the option for breakfast. The choice was made and eggs it was! Okay, no problem, but she wanted to make her own eggs (all by herself). I had not yet taught her to make them on her own without any help from me or her older sisters.  This by yourself thing was not an option.  I offered to show her and supervise – declined.  I offered to have one of her sisters assist or make them for her – epic refusal.  I went ahead and had a sister make the eggs and buttered toast at which we went into full on “I am NOT going to eat those eggs.” I felt any patience I once had leave at that very moment.

We simply do not act this way over food offered, especially when there was a choice.  Lord, how do I handle this larger-than-life meltdown is what I was silently praying as she continued her rant on the floor.  Fifteen minutes passes as she sat at the table with food in front of her refusing to eat.  That is out time allowed at the table and then they go without; perfectly acceptable timeframe for a ten year old to eat two eggs and one piece of toast.

After sending the said child to her room to clean it and get dressed it began.  Yelling. Stomping feet. Slamming doors. Shrilled screams. And the sounds you never want to come from your precious child, sounds that are not from her nature, but from Satan himself.  I am not saying she is possessed. I’m saying that Satan used my child to get to me and it nearly worked.

After slammed doors and screaming at me to “leave me alone” I quietly walked to her room and let myself in and shut the door behind me.  I explained how this was not acceptable behavior and would never be accepted in our home.  I told her was respect and character were showing through her, or the lack there of really.  She continued to scream at me and then I walked away and shut the door, after telling her that she would not come out unless I otherwise said so.

Screaming. Tears. Sobbing. A completely messed up room from anger. But then she broke and started to say over and over how sorry she was.  It wasn’t the genuine apology. It was because she knew she was wrong, but still wanted what she wanted and thought the quick bandaid apology would be enough this time.  It wasn’t. “But I promise I won’t do it again!” Sorry, hun, but you have to learn that your actions have consequences.

I tell you all this to remind you that even in a home of a Christian family and a woman who runs a women’s ministry to encourage other women, we have really bad days and bad moments.  Those moments do not define us and we can be forgiven. Christ offered that for us as he paid the ultimate price for all sins with his death.

As mother it is my responsibility to teach my children that God has told us how we are to act and present ourselves (as said in Ezekiel) and that we have a choice in what we say and do, but if we choose wrong there will always be a consequence.  Do we want good consequence or a bad?  My child chose bad this time, but she learned an important lesson and so did I.  I am not immune to the attacks of Satan on my family in my home and I must always be prepared.  Even I need to be encouraged and reminded of what God has for me as a wife, mother, sister, friend and child.

Lord, these days shall pass and we will move along, but help me to learn from you what you have in these moments of truth.  May I always remember that I go first to you before I deal with a potential heartbreaking moment with my children.  I want my children to know how much I love them, even when they must deal with punishment from a poor choice.  Bless my children and take captive their hearts for you. In Your 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 North Pole, Alaska.  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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  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 North Pole, Alaska. 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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

A Gentle Tongue

A mother of three was a couple places ahead of me in the check out line at the grocery store. I remembered those days as the two little ones kept grabbing the items off of the shelves around the line, and the older one was crying for a treat.  I smiled and said “this shall pass”, but I don’t think the mom heard me.

The lady behind me said she missed those days.  I replied that I was enjoying the stage I was in now where I could leave my kids home and go shopping alone. We laughed about the different stages in life.  Then we heard something that made us both look on in shock.  The mother started swearing at her oldest child telling her to stop crying and calling “mom”.  I was stunned as was the lady behind me and the man in between the mom and myself started to say something to the mom, but then she swore at him.

I thought about the whole situation on my way home and kept thinking those poor kids, they need love and nurturing and to feel safe with there mom. I then heard God in the background saying, “don’t judge.” I haven’t walked in her shoes.  I also heard him ask “are all your words to your kids nice?”

Ouch! I pondered this question on the way home.  Yes, there are times when I yell at my children, when I am upset about something else. I do apologize to them when I realize what I’m doing. Then I thought about how I treat my husband when I’m upset. Yep, I will take things out on him as well.  I’m not sure why I do this to those I hold most close to my heart. I think I may do it because I’m comfortable with them and I know they will forgive me. I can’t blow up at some stranger on the road, or in the grocery line, or even a co-worker. I’m in my safe zone at home where I can let things out. Whatever the reason, it isn’t fair to my family.

I went to God’s word knowing there are many verses on our tongues.  This tells me that our tongue get us into trouble a lot or God wouldn’t have so much to say on the subject. The one that stood out to me was Proverbs 15:1-4 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but a mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. A gentle tongue is the tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”  The last thing as a mom that I want to do is crush my children’s spirits.

My dearest Father in Heaven, please hear my cry. I pray for the mom in line at the supermarket. I don’t know her situation but you do.  Lord, I ask you to forgive me for those times that my tongue has crushed spirits. I pray that she gets what she needs and that she comes to know you, Lord. Please help me have a gentle tongue; a tongue that is uplifting, comforting and loving to my family and those around me.  Lord, help me listen before I speak.  I also pray this for all those reading this. I thank you, Lord, that you know all and that your grace is new each day.  Amen.

Shannon Smith

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years.  Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm.  They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow.  Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading.  One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book.  Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him.  Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Shannon is the mother to three wonderful children and wife to Scott for almost sixteen years. Together their family makes their home in northern Minnesota on a 40 acre farm. They love all things outdoors including hunting and fishing and taking care of their chickens and cow. Shannon’s passion lies in teaching her students, writing and reading. One day, it is her dream to write a children’s book. Shannon’s heart is to love the Lord and be used of Him. Shannon has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Bemidji State University.

Our 100th Article

If you would have asked me where I thought Titus II Woman Ministry would be about a year ago I would not have answered in this way.  God has amazed me in ways that I never thought possible.  Titus II was a dream that I never thought doable alone, but when God says to do something you don’t want to say no.  You would miss so many blessings that He has prepared.

Titus II launched in September of 2014 and in less than a year we are already at the publishing of our 100th article.  That is no small feat.  It has taken many hours of writing, editing, praying, crying, encouraging and writer’s block to get to where we are today.  I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined having a team of twenty six writers to start this out.  The commitment and dedication that these writers have shown has been beyond measure and hearts have been spoken to in the quiet of their home, office, or study.

We started with the goal of putting out two articles a week and we have not missed a single one. In fact, several weeks we have posted three or more articles.  Soon the dream of writing led into speaking.  Several writers felt that God was asking more of them, including me, and soon we had a team of eight women who formed the speaking team and it didn’t take God long to open doors for travel to places for these women to share their hearts and encourage women in the United States.  Our first big event is this August in Southeast Alaska on the only reservation in the state.  Three of Titus II’s speakers will be traveling to this small island and speaking at a three day event and then ministering to a congregation that Sunday with music and Word.  Ya’all, that is just like God! I had no hand in setting in motion all that has happened for Titus II Woman this past year.  I just prayed that God would move hearts and send us exactly what we needed when we needed it.

So, here we are at our 100th article and I want to share with you some things that have been shared with us through our web site, email and Facebook page.  This is proof that even if you don’t feel like you are doing anything, God is doing something.  He moves!

“This article was written for my poor overwhelmed heart. I sat and cried as I read the words. It is so nice to know that I am not alone.”

“This touched me so much today. It’s a daily struggle for me, to not only forgive others, but to forgive myself. Thank you for this! You are such a blessing to so many!!!!!!!”

“i was seriously just asking the Lord how I can honor a family member. Thank you!”

“Sometimes it’s the hard things worked through that make the peace so much more enjoyable.” Love it! So true. Thank you Tara. :)”

And there are so many more comments on the blog page.

I received an email from a follower of the blog stating how encouraged she had been by all the writers.  She had been praying for help in parenting, following God’s lead, and being a better person as not only a wife and mother, but as a friend.  She found it in our writing.  She also hopes that Tii will have our very own conference one day soon so she can attend.

Titus II Woman gets likes and reposts and comments every single day on the Facebook page.  It has been one of the biggest ways to share the articles and reach women.  Our hearts have been overwhelmed with the love and support that Tii has been shown by all the writers, speakers and followers.

I had gotten to a point where I, as the founder and leader, wasn’t feeling like I was even making a difference and questioned if I should even keep going with Tii.  That very same day one of my writers sent me a message to encourage me because she felt God telling her to do so.  Her words reassured me that I was in the will of God and doing exactly what I was meant to do at this time in life.  She shared with me that her massage therapist had been reading the blog postings and was greatly encouraged. My heart was uplifted and I felt renewed again.  God is working and has great plans.

Coming up with Titus II Woman will be many new adventures.  We are starting to develop a quarterly newsletter that can be sent out by email and will also be posted to the web site and FB page.  We have some speaking engagements in the works here in the United States and we are looking to add more writers and expand the blog to at least three articles a week this next year.  We are currently opening the search for new writers at various commitment levels and booking speaking engagements all over the U.S. where our speakers can be used even more by God.  This has been a great first year full of blessings and adventures and we are all looking forward to next year and seeing what God has in store.

Please continue to pray with us for the ministry of Titus II Woman and THANK YOU for supporting us this first year.  We love and appreciate every single one of you!

Tara DeMaris

(Founder, Speaker, Writer)

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 North Pole, Alaska.  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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  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 North Pole, Alaska. 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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

My Journey of Renewal

The words out of The Living Bible translation of Romans 12:1-2 sum up the mindset I adopted over a year ago: “And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.”

May 18, 2014 I was broken. I was failing to thrive. I faced an excessive list of diagnoses that came with injections, medications, and then more medications to counteract the side effects of the medications. After surviving a horrible asthma attack that night, I realized I no longer had the ability to serve the LORD whenever He called upon me; however He called upon me, because I was focused on my health instead of Him. I was obese, and I finally had to admit I needed a divine intervention.

May 27, 2014 I fully submitted my body and mind to the LORD for renewal and retraining. I gave Him all of the aches and pains due to early arthritis pain, the asthma attacks, and the numerous diagnoses and medications that stacked up with every tick up the scale. I gave my body to God and I allowed Him to satisfy me and sculpt me with a fresh newness in all I do and think. I began by admitting that food was my idol, my god, and I gave my habits and menu to Him to master for me.

This was the starting point of my journey back to good health physically and spiritually. In this journey, I began by prayerfully creating a plan for when, what, and how I ate. I kept myself accountable by keeping a food journal. I set short term goals and long term goals for both weight and exercise, and I marked them in a journal as they were met. Within weeks, I no longer had food cravings, I wasn’t looking forward to my next meal or snack, I was excited to get dressed in the morning because my clothes were fitting better, the aches in my joints decreased to nearly nonexistent, and I had so much energy I couldn’t sit still.

I started exercising by dedicating thirty minutes of my day to walking, the amount of time slowly increased as the amount of energy I had also increased. Then I began challenging myself in miles instead of time. I can still remember the first time I could walk a mile without pain or trouble breathing. Then it was two miles, then three. Eventually I was challenging myself by how many miles I could walk within an hour. The weight was peeling off me faster than I had thought it could, and I was able to put away my inhaler without anxiety.

By the end of June I was measuring inches off of my waistline and how many sizes of clothes I was down besides how much weight I’d lost. I was no longer giving myself injections. I was able to discontinue taking the medications I’d been taking. I was absorbing the vitamins and minerals my body had been starved of through the whole foods I was eating. More importantly, I was able to run the race the LORD had placed before me again. I needed to prove, however, that I was not on this journey to fail, but to glorify the Father and conquer the disabilities I had placed on myself.

The last Sunday in June, just a month after beginning this journey back to health, I decided to walk my way home from the lake where our church’s picnic was held that day. The total distance was just less than 9 miles. The sun was strong, and I had not decided on this goal until after we were already at the picnic. I wasn’t really prepared for the challenge, but I felt a keen desire to do it. I started out strong. I was alone; so, I spent the time communing with God and celebrating my new energy and the pounds I’d already lost. I ignored the few people who drove by and made fun of the overweight girl with the red face pushing herself to keep going. I kept walking despite the uncomfortable heat and the growing sunburn. I felt so sure of myself until I got to the top of the rise just half a mile from home. Suddenly I was too tired to go on, and my feet were so swollen they felt numb. I was ready to quit! I really just wanted to be finished, and for a moment I couldn’t fathom where I was going to get the strength to finish. Fortunately, I wasn’t really alone in this walk. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

I sought the LORD with what little was left in me that day, and gave it all to Him. That is where I realized He was ready to give me his all, and how much more his all was. He did not let me down. His renewal coursed through my very being, my feet kept moving, and I made it home. That was the day the walls of doubt came down. From that point my strength was set in the LORD to accomplish my goals and more. Whenever I hit a bump in my journey back to health, whenever I feel troubled or weary, I think on this moment when my feet became like lead and tried to ground me to a halt. That was the day I was lifted as on wings, I was taken through the weariness, and I was no longer faint.

June 28, 2015 I plan to walk the distance from that same lake to my home again, God willing. This year two of my sons want to walk beside me. They want to help me celebrate my first year of good health. I have lost a total of 95 pounds and I have gone from a size 20 to a size 4 in pants. I often walk between 6 and 8 miles without even thinking about fatigue. I am free of the injections and medications, the pain and the wheezing, and the misery of being focused on me. I am a living sacrifice, and I am wholly aware of how much his ways really do satisfy me.

Father, you are my mighty savior in so many ways. You are the breath I take in and the power I give out. You are greater than anything I can imagine and more. You are never weary, and You won’t grow faint. I am confident in You. Thank you LORD. Thank you for the life You have given me, for the fresh start You have given me, and for the strength You have given me to accomplish much. I love you so much. Be blessed now. I pray this through your son’s holy name. Amen.

Lorinda Freeman

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God.  She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them.  Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.  As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.  You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.  For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God. She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them. Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

To the Mom…

I needed some encouragement recently in the mom field.  I was just at my wits end trying to parent a teenager, a tween, a near tween and a boy still in boyhood.  I was just done in one day and tired of trying to fight for what I knew was right.  This is for the moms who just need a little encouragement.

To the mom who has been brought to tears by the words that your teenager has spoken to you.  I know that this is the hard part of parenting your child.  We thought that it was hard when they were strong willed toddlers, but this is so much harder.  The pain that words can cause is so real because you have cried yourself to sleep over them without anyone ever knowing the full pain of your heart.  May I just say that there will come a day when that teenager will grab hold of you and realize that you love them more than any voiced words.  They will understand that being their mother was no easy task.  This will not be tomorrow, but in time.  Until that day comes rest in the fact that God has his hands over your teenager and keep on praying for their heart during this time of their life.

To the mom of that tween who thinks they know absolutely everything about everything.  The days that the attitude doesn’t exist is far and few between and soon you won’t be able to see past the teenager that is just trying to understand their body and emotions.  Love them even more during this time of questions and crazy adolescent hormonal change.  Be their guide as they walk this new path of finding themselves and always be there for them even if they try to push you away.  Have peace in the fact that God has a perfect design for your tween and he can and will use your child for great things in this world.

To the mom of the -wanna- be- tween, but still stuck in the nine zone.  Well, if they have older siblings they learn pretty fast how to take hold of an attitude that is totally not becoming of a not so far off tween, but with your help the coming years can be much less dramatic.  Start now in preparing this child for what is going to come in forms of body, emotions, and understanding.  As mom you have been given the awesome role to shape and guide this child into a future of knowing and loving God and that also means teaching them what the Bible says about why they are facing today and tomorrow.  Take heart! God has your child in the palm of his hand and what great plans he has in store.

To the mom with the screaming toddler who only wants that snack at that very second in that very long check-out line at none other than Wal-Mart.  I know that in this moment it is really hard to see that a future without this screaming fit will actually be missed.  This one moment does not define you as a mommy.  What you do with this moment does and trust me there will be many more like this, but you -will –miss- it. I promise you, you will! The long nights and tired days will fade into praying all night and all day for that same screaming toddler as they become older and form even more opinions and start to make decisions for themselves. Mom, start praying now.  Cherish this stage and even this one bad moment because it will be a highlight later on.  And always remember that even on the most tired of your days, you were called for this by God with a great plan to raise your child in the will of God.  He has got your back, momma!

To the sleep deprived and nutrient lacked mom of the precious baby.  This phase is the fastest of all child rearing phases.  There are days when it seems like they will never grow or sleep all night, but then one day you will look at this baby and they will be graduating high school and going off on their own.  It happens that fast.  Even when it is so desperately hard soak in the moments and breathe deep the aroma of this baby because tomorrow comes quick.  Cherish what you have been blessed with and treasure that God has called you to this gift.  Not everyone gets to be a momma to a precious little baby like you are holding in your arms.  This baby is a gift from heaven only on loan.  During those few times of slumber, take all relax in knowing that this baby is with you because God let it be and it would not be if he didn’t have a great plan in this journey for you and this child.

Some scriptures that comfort me when I am dealing with any stage of motherhood are:

Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘declares the Lord,’ plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of you heart.”

Job 12:12, “Is not wisdom found among the ages? Does not long life bring understanding?” (Talk to someone who has already been through this stage.)

Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I still have these on index cards in various places in my home to reflect upon them.  I also want to encourage you to keep a journal of your day and what happens, because you will forget and it’s amazing to be able to go back and read just what has ensued during these stages of being mom.

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 North Pole, Alaska.  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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  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 North Pole, Alaska. 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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.

6 WAYS TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO VALUE LIFE

Have you noticed how the world around us is devaluing life more and more? It is so important that we create an environment for our children that teaches them that every life is valuable. I thought it would be helpful to share with you six ways to teach our children to value life .

  1. Let your children always see you celebrating the life of a new baby!  Let them be a part of bringing a meal to a family that just had a baby, perhaps picking out a gift for a new baby.  Talk to them about babies in the womb and how they are being knit together by God Himself.  My kids LOVE babies. This blesses my heart so much as they find joy in new life.
  2. Don’t let your children hear you complaining about children and what a bother they are.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been around conversations where all I hear is how burdensome children are. Many of the times the children are listening.  It is okay to have difficult days and want to talk about it with a friend, but we need to have boundaries.  This kind of talk teaches a child that they themselves are a burden or that children are a burden.  This hurts their value.  It also shapes the way they view pregnancy. They can begin to determine that a new baby is more of a burden than a blessing.  In a world where babies are thrown away, we do not want our children’s thinking to be shaped in this way.
  3. Teach your children to honor the elderly. They should be taught to open doors, pull out chairs, give up their seat to the elderly.  In a society where older people are brushed aside, we need to be sure to teach our children about the wealth of wisdom that the older generations have to offer, and how to show them proper respect.  Visiting a nursing home, helping an older neighbor or even going out of your way to say hello speaks volumes to our children.
  4. Don’t talk badly about others in front of your children. Don’t talk badly about people ever, for that matter!  Everyone is made in the image of God, even that one person you just can’t stand.  When we talk badly about others, it teaches our children that we can determine people’s value by our thoughts and words.  This is not true, it is just a perception.  Your child’s perception of others should be shaped by learning about God’s great love for all of mankind, not shaped by our loose lips.
  5. Children need to know their own great value!  They need to know that their life has purpose and meaning.  They need to hear they are special, that God has a plan for them.  May our children never have room in their hearts for the lies of the enemy that say they are worth nothing.  We think that this isn’t possible because surely they know how valuable we think they are.  Do not assume this.  They need to hear it and feel it. Most importantly they need to know that their value comes from their creator.
  6. Leave a legacy of showing value of life!  Be aware of what your life is speaking to your children.  Live with intention and ask God for wisdom.  Maybe you struggle to know how deeply you yourself are valued.  It is so important that you ask God to show you the truth of His great love for you.  Your heart will then be able to reveal this great love and value in greater measure to others, especially your children.

Sarah Jane Roberts

Sarah Jane has a passion for children, not just her own six children, but also for orphans all over the world.  Together, Sarah Jane and her husband, Willy, have dedicated their musical lives to support orphans through their non-profit organization, Orphan’s Cry Ministries.  Sarah Jane is a woman who wants God to reveal His love through her life and hopes all who cross her path be encouraged. You can check out Sarah Jane and Willy's music and other merchandise at orphanscrymusic.com where you can also donate to help support their mission.

Sarah Jane has a passion for children, not just her own six children, but also for orphans all over the world. Together, Sarah Jane and her husband, Willy, have dedicated their musical lives to support orphans through their non-profit organization, Orphan’s Cry Ministries. Sarah Jane is a woman who wants God to reveal His love through her life and hopes all who cross her path be encouraged. You can check out Sarah Jane and Willy’s music and other merchandise at orphanscrymusic.com where you can also donate to help support their mission.

Unfulfilled Dreams

David rose to his feet and said: “My brothers and my people! It was my desire to build a Temple where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, God’s footstool, could rest permanently. I made the necessary preparations for building it, but God said to me, ‘You must not build a Temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood.” (1 Chronicles 28:2-3) NLT

Have you ever wanted something so bad you could just taste it? Have you ever thought that you so clearly heard the voice of God and then it just doesn’t turn out like you thought it would? Have you ever worked so hard on something just to have the rug pulled on from beneath you? That’s exactly where we find David. His hopes of building the temple were interrupted by God. His well thought out plans, all his preparations, done for.

Has this ever happened to you? I know it has for me. My husband and I were in senior pastoral ministry for 10 years. There were so many times that we knew God had told us to plan, or start, or prepare a certain way and then God interrupted those plans. It’s in those moments you can get bitter and complain, or we can continue on.

In this passage we see King David admit that it was his desire to do build the temple, but God said, “no, it’s not for you to do”.  What we don’t see is him moaning and complaining or asking God, “why can’t I do this for you?” Whining about how all his hard work now meaning nothing.
What does David do? He turns all his plans and preparation over the Solomon. He trusted in the part God had him play and then turned it over to the next in line. David could have plowed forward with his plan and built the temple anyway but he recognized that God wanted it done a different way and wanted to use someone else.

Sometimes in our life this can be a hard pill to swallow! Our first reaction is to hang on with all our might, God that was my hard work, now someone else gets the glory or recognition. Or sometimes, we just hang our head and think we must have missed God. Verse 19 of this chapter says Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.” Just because David couldn’t build the temple didn’t mean he didn’t hear from God. Just because you can’t see things come to fruition doesn’t mean you missed God either.

We need to recognize that we all play a part in God’s grand design and must hold everything with an open hand, ready to release it to the next in line when God asks us to. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the unfulfilled dreams, but God has a better way, we just have to be ok with his plan, not ours.

How do you act when God interrupts your plan? Are you willing to give all your hard work over to the next in line or are you like me and struggle with not seeing it to fruition? Are you questioning if you missed God just because he’s told you that it’s now someone else’s job?

Father, I pray that you would help us to live life with open hands and open hearts, realizing that we all just play a small part in your grand design. Help us to know when it’s time to let go and help the next in line to fulfill your plan for their lives. Help us to have an empowering mindset not a competitive one. Oh God, thank you for helping us in our weak spots and not giving up on us. Amen!

Amanda Keller

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan.  While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Amanda's passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter.  Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College.  "your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise." ~Andy Stanley

Amanda is a homeschooling mother of two great children and wife to Nathan. While Amanda grew up in Jordan, Montana, their family makes their home in Bismarck, North Dakota. Amanda’s passion for leading others in worship shines through along with her love for Jesus, her family and laughter. Their family loves to support Compassion International in whatever way possible. Amanda holds associates degrees in both music performance and office administration from Trinity Bible College. “your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but something you raise.” ~Andy Stanley

Eye of the Beholder

(I wrote this in April shortly after we had arrived to Alaska….)

I know that you have heard it before; the expression that goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.  This morning I was privileged to spend some time with my four blessings in the hot tub (I normally wouldn’t tell you to be jealous, but go ahead for a second –insert winking smiley face here). While this normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, we got to relax with the beauty of Alaska surrounding us on three sides and the sight of our cute little log cabin (our temporary home while we wait for our house to open) on the fourth side.  God has created some absolutely gorgeous places on this earth, but there isn’t anything to compare to His creation of Alaska (just my biased opinion, of course).

The thaw has begun here, but up here in the Fairbanks area there are still some good patches of deep snow.  Some of these patches are surrounding our hot tub.  The kids and I were sitting, smiling and happy when my youngest (the boy child) peacefully said, “Thank you, Jesus, for blessing us with this cabin.” 

That simple phrase set all our hearts ablaze with the calmness of the Holy Spirit.   The hour we spent in the hot tub was by far our best moment since landing.  God has blessed us with wondrous beauty.  Breathtaking views all around this earth were no mistake or happenstance.  They were all designed by the hand of God – as were you.  You were perfectly designed.  God chose the color of your hair, eyes and skin.  He decided that you would be as tall (or short) as you are.  He spoke life into you when you were conceived.  He believes that you are a Be-You-tiful.  Don’t believe me?  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:7 (NLT)

Even those of us with the thinnest of hairs would not be able to count every hair on our heads.  For God to care even about how many hairs we have, well, that is love; the kind of love that even a mother does not know.  We are each so valuable and even as beautiful as this God created land is, it does not compare to how very exquisite we each are to our Heavenly Father.

Remember the next time you have a moment of low self-worth or bad reflection of who you are, that you are more valuable than the sparrows, more valuable than the mountains, more valuable that very ground you stand on.  You are loved and you are wanted.

Lord, I know that I sometimes forget that I am one of the Most High’s daughters.  My beauty through your eyes is all that matters.  I am loved and wanted by You.  Remind me of this any time that my mind strays from the truths of your love.  In Your name, amen.

Come and visit us sometime in our great state of Alaska, we have an open room for you.

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 North Pole, Alaska.  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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry.  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 North Pole, Alaska. 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 seven years ago to start a ministry that reached women and today she has founded Titus II Woman Ministry. God is showing her miracles and his hand at work every day.