HELP GOD!

In my young adult Sunday school class we have been studying about the life of David. What an extraordinary young man; a man truly after God’s own heart. But, as we study we are finding that David was a man not much more different than you and me.  He had many faults, he made many bad decisions and many times he cried out to God for help.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

The one thing we can learn from David is that there is help! There is a refuge that we can find and when we find it we gain strength for whatever battle we are facing.  By definition a refuge is:  a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. This is truly what God offers to each and every one of us.

Recently my heart has been troubled, as a pastor’s wife, at how satisfied we have become with the lives we live. I’m concerned that if Jesus were to come back that he would find many of us sleeping, rather than watching and waiting. This troubled me so much and I was feeling despondent. I needed answers and I needed direction.  Now this may seem simple or even silly to many but our time is so very short. We don’t have long to make a difference and we really do desperately need help! There is a storm that is raging; this storm is not in nature but in the spiritual realm. We need to take refuge in God for strength and answers.

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3

I don’t want to be counted in those that are “falling away”. I want to gain the strength I need for all the days to come. No matter what those days may bring into my life; joy or sadness, I know that I can find the sweet place of refuge that will bring peace and strength to my soul.

I want to encourage the women of God to not fall into the snare of sleep, but be motivated to do more, give more, encourage more, praise more and witness more. There are so many people that are looking for the answer and we have to be ready and willing to share that answer with them. Jesus Christ!

If your heart is troubled, if you are scared, lonely, facing financial ruin, God cares and He is the ever present help in time of trouble. Reach up and take His hand and let Him encourage you. But never, and I say it again, never give up!

 Lord, today we come to you with hearts that have been crying out to you for more of what you want in our lives.  Help us to follow your lead each and every day as we set out to do your will in our everyday moments.  We place our trust, our lives, our hearts in your hands, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Glennette Christian

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life.  He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people.  While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives.  She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them.  Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life. He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people. While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives. She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

 

REST

After a busy two weeks as a wife, mother, grandmother and pastor’s wife I felt the real need for rest. But more than just a rest such as in sleep, but I needed a deep spiritual rest from my Heavenly Father. So I was drawn to my road map from God once again, as I so often am when searching for what I need; The Bible.  And here is the verse that God gave me, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

How do I live in the shelter of the Most High? So I started digging and here are a few things that God impressed on my heart:

  • I have to choose God as my protector and when I make Him my choice I will find in Him all that I need or can desire.
  • When I choose God He protects me by divine grace and shields me from all temptations of Satan, which are the snare of the fowler.
  • Great security is promised to me as a believer in the midst of danger. Wisdom will keep me from being afraid without cause, and faith will keep me from being unduly afraid.

Then I found that I need to have my thoughts always on God, and then I am truly dwelling in Him. I am making Him my abode.  I found that “loving faith on man’s part shall be met by faithful love on God’s part.” Wow!

Then I will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty:

That secret place (shadow) is God’s heart, His bosom, this is where Jesus is; and this is where He takes His people. We can enjoy intimate communion with Him there. I John 4:13-16 says this:

13-16 “This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.”

God is our “Shaddai”, all sufficient. He provides for us, gives us power and protection, guidance and forever love.

To those of us that dwell continually in the presence of God the veil is rent that separated us from Him, the mercy-seat is revealed, the covering cherubs are manifested to us. The awesome glory of the Most High is revealed to us.

We can be sure that our wonderful Lord will shield all of us who dwell with Him. When we commune with God we get rest and safety. This protection is constant, it is all-sufficient. There is no shelter that could ever be compared to the protection of Jehovah’s own shadow. Because in this shadow is where the Almighty is. What a refuge! What a place of rest! The more closely we cling to our Almighty Father, the more confident we should be.

Rest in the shadow of the Almighty today. Lord, this rest is only found in You. I pray that every lady who reads this will find Your rest.  I pray for an overflowing of Your Spirit upon her life right now and a surrounding of Your joy!  In Jesus blessed name, amen.

Glennette Christian

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life.  He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people.  While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives.  She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them.  Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Glennette Christian, the mother to three grown children, knows that God has had a constant leading in her life. He has taken her to many places throughout the United States in ministry and currently has been led to Metlakatla, Alaska with her husband, Michael where they love the land and people. While also raising her family, Glennette and Mike took in several other children along the way that needed a loving reminder of what it meant to have a caring parent present in their lives. She is the grandmother to ten beautiful children and loves every minute she gets with them. Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

The Futile Chase

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)

What a dreary verse huh? Ecclesiastes is kind of a “Debbie Downer” book. King Solomon is reflecting back on his life and all the things he thought would bring him joy and pleasure only to find them empty and meaningless. But the verses packed inside these twelve chapters are meant to help us, the readers, avoid the despair that he had experienced. The message of this book is; nothing apart from God has any meaning. But I want to imagine what this looks like for the Christian who does have Christ as part of their everyday life but still struggles with feeling of disillusionment.

Have you ever looked up to a person and thought, man if I could have that job I would be so happy. Guess what?  In a surprising turn of events you get that job and find that while it’s okay, it didn’t live up to the hype you had made for it. Maybe it’s your church; if we could just reach this attendance number, teach this series, hire this new pastor. If only our church was like that one, then things would be better. Maybe it’s your job; if I could have a higher salary, work better hours, get that promotion. Maybe for you it is possessions; that house, that new car or boat. Sound familiar? I think we all struggle with this. Once we achieve what we think looks to be our final goal we get there and it’s empty. Like the end of a rainbow; there’s no end in sight. Even Christians face this temptation. I know I have. While we dedicate things to God we still have this empty feeling of not living up. There’s got to be more than this.

I remember listening to an interview with Super Bowl champion Tom Brady where he states that after having won THREE Super Bowls people would think he had arrived but all he could think is, there has to be more than this; This guy who makes more money and has more fame than most of us will ever see. Sound familiar (King Solomon)? J

So what’s the cure??

I have found the answer to lie in the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:12. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” No matter what Paul faced, he found a way to be content. I think the days I am most happy aren’t when I get the most done or make the most money, but when I spend time soaking in my children, watching them play in the sand by the river or playing a game of cards; the days holding hands with my husband watching a sunset, that’s life. That’s contentment. Not matter what we face we need to be content and find joy in our here and now.  Somebody once said, “Don’t wait for everything to be perfect to enjoy life.” I know this is a lesson I’m still learning. We have to stop the rapid pace we run chasing things that won’t ever measure up. At the end of it all, it boils down to loving God and loving people.  I have to stop myself from chasing programs and focus on getting to know people. Sitting down face to face and connecting with them. I have to quit chasing my dreams of the perfect house and perfect wife and be present with my husband and kids in the here and now. I want to heed the advice Solomon offers in Ecclesiastes and take time to Love God and Love People.

Lord, help us to live in the here and now. While we want to be pursuing your goals and dreams we can’t forget to be content with where we are and enjoy the life you’ve given us. Help us to know the fine line of contentment and complacency. May our lives bring glory to you by first loving you and then loving people. 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

He is My Guy

Ephesians 5:22-33

I married my biggest crush when I was twenty-four. Individually, we are unique, and together we are best described as quirky. He is mechanically and technically inclined – a mechanical engineer and software developer. I am more bent toward the arts. I am an introvert who has learned to behave as an extrovert. Chris is a balanced combination of introvert and extrovert.

Lorinda Chris Wedding

I can get up in front of large groups and speak semi-fluidly, but I feel quite awkward when I meet people face to face. He prefers to be in the media booth behind the scenes, and he is so much better with people face to face. He has never lived outside of Minnesota, and I have moved sixteen times over the course of my life. He and I both like to travel. He studies maps and interesting historical facts for fun, and he probably knows more about most of the many places I have had to live than I do. I fill in the human side of those places for him with stories and memories. He is my absent-minded professor and has taught me a great deal about flexibility and doing things on a whim. I have taught him how to use a calendar and a clock.

We are an odd combination, but it has worked for over seventeen years. He is my guy. He is the one person, other than Jesus, to whom I can completely speak my mind and know he will love and support me, but tell me when I am wrong. We are best friends with a common passion for Jesus Christ and we have been given spiritual gifts which complement one another. We are called to serve in completely different areas of the church because God has prepared us with different disciplines, talents, and gifting. Yet, we share a passion which helps us support one another, assist even, in the ministries we have been called to.

If you are like me at all, you read between the lines written. You read all this and see theconflicts that must arise through every difference there is between Chris and I. There is always conflict in life because we all have free will. At the risk of giving you a full testimony where I don’t believe it would be edifying to you, I will say that when we were first married I was a believer, and I knew I was a sinner and needed to do something about it, but I hadn’t submitted to receive what Christ was offering, and I certainly hadn’t submitted myself to Chris in such a way as God has called a woman to do. I made my husband my all in all in the beginning and acted more like a leech than a woman of love, and this became so much of a burden for him that it threw our marriage into a lot of trouble. Throw on top of the leeching the sense of control I wanted to keep, and I have to admit there was a lot of pressure on us to break. I even contemplated suicide in the face of all I had done wrong in our marriage. I am blessed to say I was called out of the fire into the family of Christ over ten years ago now, and hubby and I have learned to grow together through our differences. To God be the glory! “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:24)  It is through these difficulties we have come through that I have come to recognize God is everything. He is the perfect formula of character and truth and marvel that holds a person together, and some people He unites with a partner to complete them further for his purposes.

Marriage is not for the faint of heart; it is not for everyone. It is a holy covenant not just between a man and a woman, but with God. Submitting was so tough in the beginning because it required so much trust and faith. Every marriage has it’s own unique formula arranged by God, and the couple has the free will to work with it or destroy it.

The Bible is the most perfect place to go for all the answers, and I had to be introduced to this passage in Ephesians 5 quite a few times before I could understand and accept it. Chris is the head of the family, and I have come under him happily now. This is good, and the marriage formula of Ephesians 5:22-33 really is a blessing for me now that I understand the joy of submitting.

As I mature in this life and run the race beside my husband, I am better able to see my place in Christ’s church, in the family of God. When I get to Ephesians 5:30 in my reading and see “for we are members of his body” to describe the relationship of husband and wife, I see that I am no longer Lorinda, I am Lorinda and Chris in Christ. The Lord – his very essence, strength, love, and Holy Spirit – is the pulse of this body He has called together. He flows through every fiber of who a person of Christ is, right down to their most intimate relationship. “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31).

I married Chris because I felt like no other man could make me feel more complete. Then I found out this could only be true through Christ. Now, in Christ, we do complete one another. In this I am confident. This is where I go when Chris is on the road for work and we are both too busy to connect for more than a moment to say ‘hi’ and ‘I love you.’ Physically, I may miss him, but spiritually I still feel whole because we are one.

Lorinda Chris Now

Dearest Lord, I love you! You are the perfect husband, and you have blessed me with a man who compliments my relationship with you. Thank you for joining us together in this race we run for You. Please help us to keep our heads up and our feet steady on your path. Bless my husband in his role as head of our household. Help him to see your example and understand it so that he may live it out for our family and to your glory. 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.

Practically Speaking

Over the last year you have seen my name and picture on this site quite often.  I have written forty-four of the articles published and I am not done yet.  You get used to reading my writing and how I relate, but I thought you would like to know a few gems about me.

I am the mother to four children (Emalee, McAyla, Candice and Tristen) and they range in age from fourteen (yep, they were right when they said that the teen years are hard for mommas) to eight.  My youngest  is our only boy and God knew that I needed him.  He has so far been the easiest of my children to raise.  He is the only one that from infancy slept through the night and only cried when he wanted to be fed or changed.  The girls all doted over him and, I must admit, I have as well.  Seriously, he has just been what this family needed.

my kids

I homeschool all four of these crazy kids (my husband calls them the silly willies).  From ninth grade down to third grade,  I love homeschooling even on days that are super hard and no kid wants to do their scheduled day’s work, but it is worth it because I get to teach them the Word of God and show them love all day.  We have a routine that works for us because we are a very schedule driven family.  We like to know what we are doing and when so that we can get things accomplished.  This started in me and was passed to each kid.  Sometimes I feel a little sorry for it, but mostly I am glad they got it from me because it will help them later in life when they have to an adult even when they don’t want to.

I never would have thought I would have married a military man, but God knew what he was doing.  Fifteen years ago this past July I married my best friend.  He has been the practical to my impractical.  He keeps me grounded when needed and helps me fly when the time is right.  He is pretty amazing.  He was already a reservist when we met and then went active duty after his first deployment with the army.  That is a long story, but if you know military at all you will understand.  We moved a lot with the army (also not with the army-long story), but we were able to find family wherever we went within the churches that God clearly wanted us to be part of.  They will all forever be our family.  David, the number one silly willy, was medically discharged from the army in 2013 and we had no clue what God wanted next.

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Turns out it was a time of rest for two years in Missouri.  Not exactly where we wanted to be, but we did whatever we could for the church we were at and rested until God showed a way to go back to Alaska.  We seriously love this state.  You should all come for a visit – I promise you will not regret it in the least.  We are in North Pole, Alaska and I NEVER thought possible either, but we are here and guess what?  Santa goes to our church! No, truly! He is an awesome God-fearing man who loves every single kid in the church and supports the town greatly.  My kids absolutely love him!

We are in this period of searching.  We aren’t sure what God has in store here, but I know that Titus II is part of it and I know that God has work for our family here.  So, I continue to pray for guidance as we go about our very normal days and worship God in all we do.  See, I am a pretty normal mom; cooking, cleaning, taking care of the home front while my husband goes to work.  My life is just like yours.  Feel like you may want to write for my team?  If you are normal, you can write!

Lord, I just want to ask that each person who reads this is blessed.  Being normal isn’t always easy because we tend to want to do big things.  Sometimes you just want us to do what we are doing because it leads to something bigger.  Keep our eyes and hearts focused on you while we walk our normal days. 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 homeschooling 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.

Winter’s Rebirth

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Last winter while playing outside, my 3 year old son, Isaac, discovered a fuzzy black and brown worm curled up into a ball among the leaves. He wondered why it wasn’t moving and I told him that it must be dead.  He looked down at it for just a second, then back up at me. “Plug it in,” he said confidently.  I laughed out loud at the way his little mind was working, as he compared it to the only other thing he knew died and came back to life again by plugging it in – my phone. So I explained to him that we couldn’t do that with worms and people and other living things, only to non-living things like computers and phones. He pondered my words and looked down at it once more, curled unmoving in his little hand.  “Come on!!!” he said to it. Then matter-of-factly to me, “It’s loading.” Of course I laughed again at his simple logic and he asked if he could bring it inside.  I knew nothing about worms in the winter, and wasn’t expecting anything to happen, but I should have known better! After only a few minutes of being inside, it thawed and started crawling in Isaac’s hand! At that, my brave bug-loving boy freaked out and threw it on my lap in shock. I just couldn’t believe it! Apparently Isaac was right – it was truly “loading” the whole time!

It was such a truly “LOL” happening, and yet as it crawled across my leg, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there may be a God lesson hiding in it all. Curious, I googled these “wooly” worms, and it turns out that they hibernate during the winter and – get this – actually NEED the cold to be able to turn into a moth in the spring! If they are exposed to warmth continually before the appointed time, they will simply die a wooly worm and will never become the beautiful moth they were intended to be by their Creator all along!

Wow. I knew then that God was trying to say something to me. Often in life we find ourselves amid difficult circumstances, hardships and trials that leave us cold and nearly dead. All hope appears gone, dreams shattered and plans foiled. Curled up and unable to move, the death of our souls seems inevitable. Of course most of us naturally despise such a place of hardship.  We long to be free from it. We strain and fight to be somewhere – anywhere – but where we are, and yet…could that be just the place God wants us so He can be about HIS work of changing us into what He wants us to be? Could it be that, just as the worm needs the cold in order to one day fly in the sun, we actually NEED those trials in order to become just like Him?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Oh, the richness of these words, and the truths they contain! Proving once again that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts not like ours. We would try to avoid the cold, the suffering, and the trials; yet without them, how would we attain that exceeding and eternal glory? How would we mature into faithful servants of Christ to be entrusted with His work? How would we ever be able to soar above the temporal things of this world?

Suffering and hardship, although not caused by God, are always used by Him. They are actually blessings in disguise, for in the midst of them we are being forged into who we were created to be. As I ponder this, I am reminded of Nichole Nordeman’s song Every Season as she so beautifully pens the idea of God being in every season of our lives and working all things for our good:

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice You
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

(You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6rUjYj3x9k)

So we can be confident that even in the winters of our lives, when everything is barren and frozen through and we can’t see anything but dirt or feel anything but the bitter cold, God is at work. Behind the scenes, just beyond our view, He is breathing life into death, creating something out of nothing, making all things new. God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did, who opens rivers in the wilderness and fountains in the midst of the valleys, is at work in us always, using even our hardships and trials – to bring newness of life;  to cause us to look up to where Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand, cheering us on, interceding for us; to give us wings to fly above it all, if only we have the eyes to see.

So when all feels lost and all you see is despair-look up. Look at the unseen rather than what surrounds you. Look at the eternal instead of the temporary.  Look at Jesus and glory in His love for you. And remember that beneath hardness of the frozen ground, life is stirring. Above and beyond what you can see, His plan for you is unfolding, and He is breathing life and making all things – you – new. So rejoice! Spring is coming. You are just about to fly!

Father God, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I thank You that even though I may not see hope in my circumstances, You are the God of all hope. Through these trials, You are working in and through me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory than I could ever imagine. By faith, I choose to believe that this winter season is somehow in Your plan for me and that You are working all things for my good. I choose to look to You, Jesus, and set my eyes upon You as You change me into what You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Sharilyn Edgerle

Sharilyn is the mother to an adorable little man, Isaac, and met her husband, Enoch, through eHarmony in.  She grew up and graduated high school in Montana.  Together they make their home in Michigan. Sharilyn’s passion rests in sharing the love of Jesus with others through evangelism, music and writing.  She has recently been asked to lead worship for a local church and started writing for the Titus II Woman blog team.  Sharilyn is a graduate of Trinity Bible College with an Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance.  Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

Sharilyn is the mother to two adorable boys, and met her husband, Enoch, through eHarmony. Together they make their home in Michigan. Sharilyn’s passion rests in sharing the love of Jesus with others through evangelism, music and writing. She has recently been asked to lead worship for a local church and started writing for the Titus II Woman blog team. Sharilyn is a graduate of Trinity Bible College with an Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance. Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

Ready, Set, Go….

By the time you all will be reading this post my youngest children will be home again in my safe embrace, but as I sit here right now in this moment I am mentally preparing for them to go to their first year of kids camp.  We packed their bags together in the living room with everything they would need to include an extra pair of underwear just in case there was just too much fun going on. I had them gather their swim gear, shampoos, soaps, tooth brushes and all necessary items for them to still be clean while mom is not there to remind them (thank goodness for great staff and counselors to guide their little hearts).

I remember the first time I went to camp; it was also kid’s camp.  I had the best time of my life, but I remember being scared and excited all at the same time.  I didn’t want to leave my mom, but I knew that my dad would be there to help with the staff and I was also going with a bunch of my little friends.  I remember all the new friends I made and was able to pray for.  I still have pictures of my cabin mates from way long past.  To say that camp was a highlight of my life is an understatement.  I longed for summer camps and when they came to an end I was so utterly blue.

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(My brothers and I after the summer I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  I once was taller than both my brothers, but it was brief and they still kicked my booty!)

I can honestly say that I would not be as strong a Christian today had I not attended.  Oh, I’m not saying that you have to go to camp to be a good solid Christian, but for me camp was a way for me to learn what living the life of a Christian meant in terms I could understand.  I was raised a pastor’s daughter and my sight was always from the view of how our family was loved and not so loved by people in our churches who called themselves Christians.  It was skewed a bit, but at camp no one treated me like the pastor’s kids. I was just like every other kid there, ready to have fun and love Jesus.

Camp is where I felt called to serve Him in ministry.  Camp is where I found the Holy Spirit, or rather He found me. Camp is the place where long lasting friendships were formed and diversity meant not a thing.  I was born again at camp and was baptized in our home church not long after that.  My heart was overflowing with the love of worship from camp chapel and I knew that I would serve God through my music; and I have for many years.  My eyes and my heart were opened to a whole new world when I experienced camp.

So, as I sat and helped my kids prepare for camp I silently prayed for their little souls; that they would hear the voice of Jesus while they are gone from me for a week.  I see excitement in their eyes for this time and that excites me as well.

Lord, you have given us a great responsibility as parents to seek out  the hearts of our children and teach them about your love and grace and mercy.  What an awesome charge! Lord, may I be ever ready for this bond and I pray that you will quip me for this duty at every stage my children are in and will be in.  Speak to them, Lord, in ways that they will only understand and use their lives to further your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tell me about your experience at camp.  What do you remember most?  Who did you go with? What were some songs that you learned or what did God reveal to 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.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

Last fall I had the chance to stand in the headwaters of the Mississippi River, pictured above. It was amazing to me to think this tiny field and stream of water we could walk across, later downstream becomes the “Mighty Mississippi” we all learn about. It becomes one of the most powerful forces of water, supports numerous dams, and provides over 15-18 million people and 50 cities with their water supplies. It also transports tons of supplies via barge every day; all this from this tiny, seemly irrelevant, stream of water.

As I was standing there the Lord brought to mind this verse above.  In this passage many of the older Jews were disheartened because the Temple being rebuilt would not be as glorious as the one built by Solomon. But to God bigger and more beautiful is not always better.

In the Life Application Bible the commentary says “What you do for God may seem small and insignificant at the time, but God rejoices in what is right, not what is necessarily big. Be faithful in the small opportunities. Begin where you are and do what you can, and leave the results to God.”

What amazing advice. Sometimes I struggle with my “small beginnings”, but I’m realizing more every day that God often moves in little steps and reaching people one on one. Sometimes the littlest things we are doing are making the biggest difference in someone else’s life, and we don’t even know it; the encouraging word, the friendly smile, or simply being there.  Often times we get hung up with seeing results instead of being obedient and letting God take care of the results.

Who could imagine that this tiny stream would be used so mightily and who can imagine what God can do through you if you are faithful in the little things. As the song says, “little is much when God is in it.” 

Lord, thank you for using the little things we do and making them into big things. Help us to not buy into the bigger is better theory. Help us to be content with whatever you ask us to do and to do it with all our heart. Please find us faithful in the small things we pray. 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

Has It Really Been Fifteen Years?

It’s passed along so quickly.  Oh, yes, there have been many days that felt like the minutes drug on, but I blinked and fifteen years had passed.

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It really happens that quickly! A blink of an eye!  The wedding day I carefully planned for more than six months and in much anticipation arrived on July 29th, 2000.  It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but, hey, I have some memories to share with the grandkids… one day.  As soon as the nuptials were said, the cake was eaten and the car was secretly decorated with vaseline and balloons, the planning began for the eventual family we would have.

One day came eleven months later with baby number one, past due in the middle of a Nebraskan heat wave, but in God’s perfect timing.  Chubby cheeks were kissed and adored by everyone; first grandbaby on both sides.  Fear of not being a good mother, having a fevering baby and feelings of “what was I thinking?” all came with our first arrival.  I soon got the hang of being a mom and captured every moment on film, soon after digital.  We were so young and struggled a lot, but all I really remember were all those precious moments of holding hands, sweet kisses, new adventures, sleeping babies and a family that keeps on growing.

In the last fifteen years we have birthed four miraculous blessings; I can’t even count how many diaper changes that there have been, and seen them grow healthily into God-loving children.  We have endured three very long deployments from the many years in service to the United States Army, lived all over the country before finding Alaska to be our “home”, and fought to keep financial stability the whole time.

God sure has blessed us with family everywhere we have lived and our water has never run dry.  The bank may say “low funds” at times, but there is always something there and we have never felt the poverty like so many do.

I am the most incredibly blessed woman to have found a man who fears the Lord as much as he loves him; puts the needs and desires of his wife and children before his own always; is quick to praise; always finds a teachable moment; has compassion for those less fortunate.

I never would have imagined a life as this when I answered my phone at midnight seventeen years ago.  It almost feels like a dream, until the four scream “MOM!”.

Fifteen years! Wow!  Fifteen more and beyond to come!

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Lord, give me a heart of service unto you with joy and gladness. May I have noble character so that I may be my husband’s crown (Proverbs 12:4) and not be disgraceful.  Thank you for the man you have placed to be my husband.  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.