Because Of God I Can

Tonight after chugging the last of the Theraflu I started making kids lunches and out of nowhere I just started crying. Even as I’m crying I said out loud, “Dina! What in the world are you crying for?! Pull it together!” And not some cute cry, I’m talking Maybelline mascara all over ugly cry! LOL Seriously it came out of nowhere! I really had to think on why, yet it was so simple. Satan really has been feeding me and feeding me and feeding me last few weeks and I’m over here sucking it all in like Lady and the Tramp with their plate of spaghetti in front of them. Just slurping in the lies. Sometimes I knew I was taking it in other times I actually didn’t. He really was making me feel I wasn’t good for nothing. And like a sponge there I was soaking it in. Tonight that sponge couldn’t hold it in and there over the bread and mayo I’m a blubbering mess. I stood there looking down at the counter and asked God one little question,” how God?” That question may not make sense to you yet in a way it just might. Maybe your “how God” question is different than mine like “how God can I forgive?” “How God can I take another step?” “How God can I help my children?…..” Tonight I asked my “how God” question and then stood there for a bit. After a bit I gained composure turned to walk to my garbage can and written right there on my chalkboard I had a wonderful reminder. It says, “Because of God I can……” Well slap me on the back and call me Martha! HELLO PEOPLE! What a fantastic reminder written in my handwriting yet the words of God! Oh how soon I forget. BECAUSE OF GOD you can take that next step, forgive, give grace, love others etc…..Because of God YOU CAN fight and win any battle!! Don’t listen to the lies, because you’re worth far more than that! Whatever you are going through, because of God, ALL is going to be okay.

Lord, we come to you with arms open wide and humbly ask that you take the lead here. I can nothing without you. I am nothing without you. I need you now and I need you tomorrow. Lord, take this circumstance and use it for your glory. Amen.

Dina Kiser

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

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

I Really Have a Teen?

And so it was that day when I never dreamed we could co-exist in the same house with a calm about us.  Really, I thought that the days of having a daughter who loved me, a daughter that I could teach, were gone.  The beautiful big eyes that would stare as I made dinner and ask me all sorts of questions; the little hands that were always trying to do what I was doing, well, they were not there anymore.  The eyes were exploring the world and watching everything instead of just me and the hands were learning more trades than just what I could do.

This is always part of growing up and becoming the person God has meant you to be, but for a momma heart this is hard to watch.  We always want to keep our children close to us, not just to protect them, but to guide them as God had asked when He blessed them to us.

My oldest is now fourteen. It is still completely surreal that I have a daughter in high school now.  I know that I am not the first parent to ever think or say that.  There was a switch from childhood to teenage hood in our home.  It was as if I, the momma, had no clue any longer but the people all around us had it right.  They knew more than me and loved more than me and they were fairer than me.  This is normal in a lot of homes, I know, but I was not okay with this.

I gave my daughter to God as soon as she was born and I trusted Him to always guide her on the road that was right.  Not always has she made wise choices, but she has learned and turned to the right path. I am so proud of her for that.  It shows great integrity and maturity in her young heart.

Recently I had an epiphany, if you will.  We were in the car watching all the people on the street as we passed slowly by and my girls wondered what makes them want to dress and act the way they do.  This was a learning moment for us and I was really jumping with glee because it has been a while since I have been able to have one of these moments with just my big girls. “Eeep! It’s time for mom to do her thing.”

“Girl’s, while you have had a childhood of growing up in church and knowing God’s love for you, not all these people here have had the opportunity to know that love.  You all know that no matter what you do or what you say your dad and I will never love you any less.  You are our daughters and we love you more than words can say.  You know you will always have that love with Christ as well.  These people, these women you see, they do not know that.  They do not see what they are worth in the sight of God.”

“What do they see, mom?”

My heart aches for the women here. “They see pain, suffering, no way out of a life that has no good end. Girls, their world is rocked by hurt. They have probably known this their whole life.  This is why your dad and I care about the friends you keep, what you wear, what you listen to, what you read, and what you say.”  My girls were staring out the window still.  It was quiet so I went on a bit.  The more I can get in the better, right!

“You know, girls, what goes in is what ultimately comes out.  What’s in your heart is what you serve.  So, if you are constantly listening to country music love songs or rock or heavy metal, what do you think is going to come out of your mouths?  Though you don’t think the words mean a whole lot – they have more meaning than a full book and you put that into your hearts.  When you dress without thinking modestly, well, it shows in your heart.  Most importantly you are giving eyes of the opposite sex the opportunity to see parts of you that are only meant for your future husbands to see.  We stress modesty in our home, but these ladies you see may have never had anyone teach them to respect themselves enough to do so.  And when you hang around with other kids who curse repeatedly, drink a little, smoke or may even do drugs, that all goes in and while you think you are a strong Christian and can handle it, you may find out a little differently when push comes to shove.”

My girls had no questions after that. They were pretty happy to be at the ice cream shop actually.  But it made me think of this verse, “Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires” Romans 13:14 (NIV).  Needless to say we will be working through many areas of the righteousness of God this school year during our Bible time.

I guess I want to encourage you to talk to your teenagers.  If you don’t tell them what you expect and what God expects there may never be anyone to do so.  Help them to surround themselves with good influences in friends, teachers, mentors and find an awesome youth group or church that would help to fill  in the gaps where their ears may not be listening so much to you as mom during this time of growing up.  You get to have a say in this.  God blessed you as their mother to do such things and He expects it of you.

Lord, I pray that for all of us who have teenagers in our homes that you would provide the wisdom we need to guide them as they go through a difficult time of discovering who they want to be and who you want them to be.  Help us to guide our children as you would have us lead them and always point them back to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

Tara, graduate of Crown College, is the mother to four beautiful children.  Together, Tara and her husband, David, and their family make their home in 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.

“What’s In Your Truck?” Part 1

My husband sold his car last year because he wanted to buy a pick up truck to work on. I set a budget for him. He had to stay within the amount he’d gotten for the car he sold. We weren’t talking thousands of dollars; I was telling him he had to find a new-to-him truck for well under a thousand dollars. He eagerly began looking for options and a short time later decided to buy a 1980 Chevy flatbed truck a friend of ours had sitting out at his farm. This truck came with a second cab and front clip from a 1973 Chevy truck, because the original was in such bad shape. My husband was excited because he wasn’t just buying a truck he’d eventually be able to drive, he was investing in a project he could teach our kids with. He ended up using a bit more than his budget on a truck he couldn’t legally drive home, but he was happy. The kids named it Roadkill, and they all began going out to the farm to work on it with him; I believed that was the end of it.

A few weeks later, I realized that wasn’t the end of it. The project was going full swing, but my husband didn’t have a vehicle he could drive yet. He was no longer talking about his project truck as his own, but as something he would be giving to our boys who are now driving age. My husband wanted us to drive an hour and a half away from home to buy another truck that would cost over twice the budget he had already spent. I had to say no, and I did say no, all the way to Wisconsin, but he drove home a 1981 crew cab, long box Chevy truck anyway. He wore a big smile on his face, and I followed him in the family minivan mentally trying to juggle items in our budget to make room for this impromptu purchase.

We had two trucks. My husband was driving back and forth in this second truck between our house and our friend’s farm working on the first truck during every open moment he had. I wasn’t too happy, but he was focused happily in his zone with his new collection of eclectic Chevy trucks. He talked about it with anyone who would ask, and this led to my husband’s next purchase – yet another Chevy truck! He paid $50 to a friend for a non-running 1988 truck they thought he could use for parts, but after he got it home, my husband decided he could get this truck running again. All he could say for a week was, “What a deal!”

I was now at a loss. What was he going to do with three trucks? Why did he need to have three trucks?! His answer: The first one was for fun, the second one was because it fit the family and came equipped with an old Bible, and the third truck was because he was under the influence of God.

Under the influence of God?

It wasn’t long before he proved this. He had the 1988 truck running just in time. A young man from our church posted that he was in desperate need of a vehicle, and now we had one we could offer him immediately. My husband was vindicated. He believed God influenced him to buy this truck to provide for this young man, and I couldn’t argue with that!

I’m not saying that I am happy about his disregard for the budget I gave him. It was uncomfortable at times trying to make ends meet, but I do have to admit I admire him. He has all three trucks running and in different stages of repair. His truck of choice is the 1981 truck that came already-equipped with a Bible. This Bible is very prominently displayed in a compartment near his right hand whenever and wherever he goes. The truck has affectionately been named Dreamsicle, because this old crew-cab truck came painted in orange and cream like the frozen treat. It’s a monster size-wise, but I’ve finally driven it, and I will admit driving this truck feels like a time of fellowship with a dear old friend.

What is truly at the heart of this? Well, I had to learn how to look at it all. I’m not going to lie and say that everything is perfect; he and I are still discussing what the purpose of a budget is. Did my husband need three trucks? No. Did he buy three trucks? Yes. He bought three trucks in need of repair and re-purpose. The first truck he bought as a project he has used to spend more time with our kids. He is teaching them skills that will bring them understanding about the vehicle they will be driving. This could be more valuable than I even recognize right now, in ways I cannot see. The second truck he bought because it felt like an old friend he could ride with to work that would carry all of us together when we tow the boat or carry large loads. The third truck was a gift for blessing others with, and in blessing others we’ve found we are often blessed with opportunities to heal or strengthen relationships.

My husband saw that no truck is the same and each truck has a purpose, and he has given these three new life to fulfill their own unique purpose. This is not unlike people. We, each one of us, are unique and created for a purpose, to glorify and worship God with the unique gifts and talents He has equipped us with. We are born into sin, and we must come to Him broken, and our Lord and Savior is waiting, excited to breathe new life into us and shepherd us through all He has for us.

The Lord gave the following promise through Jeremiah:

“’Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’”(Jeremiah 33:6-9)

This is, of course, a promise given to the people in the Old Testament, but it was prophetic then and is just as true for those He chooses today.

Lord Jesus, You are the healer and the cleanser. May we bring you renown, joy, praise and honor in all we do and share. You provide much to be shared. I am ever in awe and love with You. I know You provide me with the peace to regard my husband’s actions with patience and respect. I ask You to be a buffer between us in the times that I struggle with this. Help me to be righteous in my reactions and actions that I may shine for You. Lord, I give You this now through your precious 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.