Precious Time

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Not long ago my kids were still wearing diapers and toddling around the house. My greatest concern was making sure they were developing right and had all they needed to succeed as a growing, learning and thriving child. When they were little, it felt like they would never grow up. It felt like time was slow and I was tired all the time. I couldn’t get enough rest, didn’t have enough energy, and couldn’t keep up.

Truth is, time went so fast. Looking back, I now see how very precious each moment was when they were little stinkers crawling and scooting across the floor; lifting their chubby little hands toward me to pick them up and carry them or just hold them in my arms. Time was not going slow. It was, in actuality, slipping through the hourglass like sand. It was quick.

My first baby, who was so determined to stay inside my womb, came into a world of people who were immediately in love with her. They surrounded her on all sides and made sure she was safe, happy and comfortable. I didn’t know a thing about being a mother to this bright eyes, bouncing baby girl. I just knew that I loved her so much it hurt. When she become a toddler we were about to welcome another baby. She was becoming the big sister who would set the bar and teach and guide the younger one. She had no idea what was going to happen to mommy’s time or her toys, but she slid into the role with ease and immediately became the helper that I needed her to be.

Kindness came from that toddler toward her baby sister. She ooed and awed over her. When baby cried, big sister ran to her to see if she wanted her binkie or blanky. When she was in the swing, her favorite resting place, big sister would watch her to make sure she was happy. She would often try to make her smile and laugh at her. Big sis had crazy curls all over her little head and she would shake them back and forth to try to get a rouse out of the littlest blessing in the home.

These memories visit me often. I cherish them all because now that beautiful bouncing baby that become so loving is a teenager who will soon enough enter the world on her own two feet and make her own decisions regarding her life. I won’t be by her side to guide her steps and help her make the right choice. She grew up and blossomed into a young lady that is taller than her mother, slender, and has curls that frizz when not cared for properly. She loves basketball instead of dolls or dressing up. She has a huge heart for her friends and is compassionate for others. She loves to spend any time she gets with her dad and being part of any team. At times, when I look at her I still see this chubby faced little girl who could light up the whole room with her smile. Her laughter was infectious. I still see a precious little thing that had more energy than a pack of puppies.

There are so many of you who have little ones. There are so many of you whose children are now grown and completely self-sufficient. Each stage has such wonders. Each day we need to cherish. Time doesn’t stand still for anyone. It keeps ticking and turning.

I say all this to bring you to the timing that God has set for us all. I was always in such a rush to live life. I wanted to grow up fast so I could live how I wanted to live and be the person I wanted to be, but God already knew all that and wanted me to slow down. He put people and things in my path to show me how precious my life is to them and to Him. He knew who I wanted to be and yet had this amazing plan for my life that I never knew I would want.

Ladies, slow down with this precious life. Kids or no kids, career or just starting out, married for years or engaged; enjoy the moment you are in right now, today, this very minute. They all count and they all work toward a future that God has ready for you. I am still walking toward that future and unlike my earlier years where I wanted to rush and run faster, I want to slow it down, take it in, and breathe it all fresh every single second of my day. I want to bask in the presence of God in my every moment. Join with me.

Let’s read these words and hide them in our hearts with each moment we live:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.  What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 (NIV)

Lord, help us to slow our days and remember You have set before us a time for this very moment. Help us to see You and enjoy our days right where we are. I ask that You bless the lives of the women who are reading this and just need to hear and see You in their day right now. 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.

Speaking Life

The sun is shining, you wake up to birds chirping, you have a great family and the morning seems to be going amazing.  You do your devotions before heading to work and feel like you can do anything because God is on your side. Recently, God has been reminding me to be careful on how I respond to those I love.

The words I say will either build them up or tear them down.  How do you respond to your husbands?  If we respond with love and respect no matter what the situation the result will be that they respond lovingly.  Ladies, your husband is your teammate for life, God put him in your life to do life and ministry with whatever that may look like.

Think before you speak, guard your hearts, and respond with the unconditional love of Jesus. This is something that God is dealing with me at the moment.  God is helping me to see people and situations through His eyes and not just my own.

Ladies you are not alone in this, let God stretch you and mold you into the disciple of Him that He wants you to be, the wife that He wants you to be, the mom, in every area or role of your life.  I am finding that as I surrender my attitude to God and ask Him to change me, which slowly yet sometimes painfully He shows me the things that need to change to grow as a follower of Him.  Although it is not always comfortable I want to be different and to speak life those around me especially those I love and care about.

James 1:19, “Know this my beloved brothers, Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  We need to be slow to speak and to think before we speak.  The question I want to ask myself more is, “Are the words I am speaking to those around me building them up and speaking life or are they speaking hurt and tearing them down?”

Jesus, I pray that you will continue to help me speak life to those around me!  Help all of us to speak life and respond with the love of Christ to our husbands, our children and everyone around us!  Thank you God for your grace and for helping us to be the women of God that you want us to be! Continue to stretch and mold us and show us what you want to work on in our lives!

In Jesus Name,  Amen.

Mikayla Winafeld

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

Mikayla has a heart for student ministries and seeing lives transformed as well as a passion for worship ministry. Mikayla and her family make their home in Ohio. Mikayla is a graduate of Central Bible College with a bachelor’s in Children’s Ministry and a minor in Music. Her favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6 and says, “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

What Easter Means to Me

“Here comes Peter Cottontail hoppin’ down the bunny trail…”

easter1Remember that song? Yeah, me too. I think of it when I see all the “Easter” décor at the stores. It’s everywhere and my kids, along with so many others, ooo and aww over it thinking how awesome it would be to get a big ‘ol basket filled with candy and cheap toys on that Sunday morning.

When the kids were younger we did the whole baskets and egg hunts and fun childish things, but as they got older and I grew a little wiser, I realized that, while this was fun and harmless in the sight of so many, I needed my children to know that Easter is not about the baskets, plastic eggs, or the candy. There is so much more to it and without this day our world would be completely lost.

Matthew 16:21-22, “Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!” (MSG)

Do you realize what we are celebrating? The prophesy of the resurrection and the truth that we know. It all came to be and that fulfillment is what saves us today. Christ dies on the cross and just three days later he rose from that grave. No one thought it would be possible. His own disciples doubted.

The two Mary’s went to the tomb on that third day and it was empty. He was gone! What He had told them came to be and He was among them. Can you just feel the excitement? What if you were one of the women who went to the tomb? What would you have done at the sight?

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Seriously, ponder that for a moment because it is very real. You could have very easily been one of those women. Picture it. Mourn has captured the hearts of many who followed and dearly loved Jesus. You were there when He took his last breath. You saw Him bleed. You saw the sword go into His side and you saw the great pain that He endured. It was a sight that you will never be able to rid yourself of. It is burnt in your mind and soul.

There were proper burial procedures. Bodies needed to be wrapped and sprinkled with oils. By the third day the body would have started the decomposition stage and the smell would be nearly unbearable. The women would share the oils through the tomb to combat the smell and to say one last goodbye, but when you got there the guards assigned to Jesus’ tomb, to make sure his body was not stolen, were gone.

The stone that took several soldiers to roll in front of the tomb was now rolled away and within that tomb were the very cloths that wrapped your beloved Jesus after His death. The seals were broken and the stone was rolled away! That alone is worth shouts of praise, but here you sit confused and almost broken because you have no idea where Jesus has gone.

Then your head clears enough that you remember what he had said just days prior. He was going to come back. The body is gone. The stone pushed aside. Jesus no longer wrapped in cloth. He is alive!

Oh, how I would have loved to be one of the women who got to go back to the disciples and share the news! Imagine telling their families; the kids.  Guess what, we do get to be one of those women. We get to go and share this awesome news with everyone. Jesus really is alive! He is among us! He walks with us. He eats with us. He prays with us. He sees us! He never left us, but gave a gift so valuable that there can be no price put on it. His death brought the Holy Spirit to live in us and guide us.

This Easter share the amazing news that Jesus is alive and walking with us with your children and families. The bunny has no such story. He has soft fur and does not give you eggs – at least no bunny that I have ever seen does. In all seriousness though, we have such an amazing truth to share and it’s so much better than a bunny hopping around. Share the true Easter story with your kids. Start in Matthew 16 and go as far as you would like.

Lord, this day that we celebrate your resurrection, may I be more clear than ever. Your life was given for us and we live because you gave it all willingly. We have the Holy Spirit because you were selfless. Please help us all to remember what you gave and why we celebrate Easter. It’s not a bunny that saved us, but you. Thank you for your sacrifice to save so many more! 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 is the founder and president of Titus II Woman Ministries and the wife to David, her high school sweetheart, as well as the mother to their four children. They all make their home in Southeast Idaho. She graduated from Crown College. Tara is passionate about reaching the hearts of women and young ladies. She loves to write and teach God’s Word. “Make history with God and He will make history through you.”

Traditions Good or Bad

Traditions, we all have them. On Christmas Eve we have oyster stew. Growing up my family always hung Christmas decoration the day after Thanksgiving. These are just a few. But lately I have been feeling like we as God’s children are missing out on what God wants to do because we hold so tightly to “traditions.”

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Don’t get me wrong, these may be very well and good, but if we put traditions before what God wants to do then they are to our detriment.  I see this in our churches and in our lives as a general rule any more.

The word of God tells us that we should not look so hard at the traditions or things in our past that we can’t see the present. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3:12-13.

We, women of God, many times want “the good ol’ days”. I have always believed I was born in the wrong time frame. I love the “Old West”, the fancy dresses, the horses and buggies and the slower pace of life. But God did not choose that for me, and He knows far better than I do what is best for me.

We can all learn from Queen Esther. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” She could have lost her life by approaching the king without being summoned, but she knew God had placed her where she was for “just this time.”

So, we are not placed here for the past but for the present. Is the past keeping us from moving forward to the present? This is something that I am asking myself as I search my heart. I don’t want to live in the past and just remember the blessings of the past, I want to move into the future and experience what God has for me now and to come.

Ladies, don’t get hung up on your traditions. God should be the only tradition that matters to us. You are here now for “Just a time as this.”

Lord, help us to remember that you have placed here in this time for a reason. Guide our steps as we follow You and find our reason in each day. Make clear our paths with You and bless each step we take. 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)

Lessons From the Vine

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

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Yesterday I spent the whole day working in our yard. We bought a house six months ago and it was finally warm enough to look at the work we needed to accomplish outside. Living in the heart of oil country, yards and fencing are often neglected as people come and go so often. Needless to say ours needed A LOT of TLC. One of the things that we took out was a vine that intertwined over and under about 100 feet of fence on the one side of our yard. I can imagine back in its prime it was a beautiful vine and produced great fruit, but because it was neglected for so long it was overgrown, full of dog hair and trash. What was once meant to be beautiful was now the very thing that made our fence look trashy and run down.

As I pulled and struggled to get this vine free from the fence, the Lord reminded me of the scripture above. When I snipped the single branches away they fell loose and were easily moved to the trash pile. The closer I got to the fence the more I found vines intertwined together and then it became harder to snip them apart and pull up the roots.

It was an arduous process and took most of the day. I spent a good share of that time pondering the scripture God had reminded me of and the ways my vine lesson applied to my life and Christian life as a whole.

The constant theme of the day was how we all need each other. Much like the vines that were intertwined couldn’t easily be pulled apart, when we bind ourselves together with other believers we are stronger. The enemy is going to have a harder time breaking us down and pulling us away when we are rooted together in God.

Our pastor often reminds our congregation that Satan wants us to feel like our problems are unique to us and no one will understand what we are going through. If he can isolate us from others, it will be easier to destroy us.

The other thought I had was the way this vine had become so far from what it once was intended to be; that now it was accomplishing the opposite of its original intent. Sometimes we start out in a group and bind ourselves together in God, but along the way become distracted and become a cliquey, gossiping, complaining group instead of the encouraging prayer and support group we set out to be. If we neglect our upkeep, we can become the opposite of what we were designed to be. What is our upkeep? Prayer, accountability, reading the Word and following Jesus’ example.

Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. If we intertwine together and stay rooted in him, we can accomplish so much more then we can on our own, but we must beware of the distraction of the enemy and be sure that we stay rooted in the right thing.

Lord, I pray that you would guide us to a group of believers that would strengthen and encourage our walk with you. May we stay rooted in you and guard against the schemes of the devil. We want to be used of you to glorify your name and become all we were created to be. 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

 

No Complaints

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”  Acts 16:25

no complaints

I’m reading through the Book of Acts and it’s taking me forever.  Because there is so much good stuff in that thing!  I’ve read it before.  Listened to messages in church and on the radio about the first “church” after Jesus was crucified.  But goodness gracious sakes alive, its chock full of amazing insights and every morning I read a verse and go nuts thinking about its application in my life.  That’s what we miss out on when we’re only listening to other people’s perspectives and insights on the Word of God.  When we read it for ourselves and ask God to show us what it means for us…He does!  And it can really rock your world.

So in Acts 16:16-25 Paul and Silas are in Phillipi, not really minding their own business, but that’s beside the point.  Their job is to share the good news about Jesus, so they’re just doing their job.  And this demon-influenced servant girl starts stalking them, telling people who they are, and basically drawing a lot of unwanted attention to them.  Paul finally gets irritated and, in the Name of Jesus, commands this demon to come out of the girl.  All good, right?  Not really because this demon has been feeding the servant girl information on people so she can tell their fortunes, and her owners are getting rich off of her.  So now they’re mad and they take Paul and Silas to the Roman big-wigs, who strip them down and have them flogged, beaten, and shackled in jail.  All for doing something kind for a servant girl.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m nice, when I do something kind for someone, I expect to be treated kindly in return.  Or at the very least to get a thank you.  Paul and Silas are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and yet God doesn’t reward them with praise, thanks, or converts to The Way.  He allows them to suffer pain and humiliation and loss of freedom.  Not what I’d call a good day at the office!

I would definitely be complaining; whining about injustice, the power corrupt bureaucracy, and grumbling about how unfair God is!  But Paul and Silas pray and sing.  Maybe that’s why they’re main characters in the Bible and I’m not?  They’ve just been beaten, they’ve got to be hurting.  They’re shackled in a cold, damp, rat-invested, smelly, disgusting jail cell.  They’re bloody messes, uncomfortable, and totally justified in feeling sorry for themselves.  But they are praying and singing.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Quite often I think about my suffering, the injustices I deal with, the pain I’m going through and I feel pretty justified in my grumblings.  I can rationalize my bad attitude because who could be expected to have a good attitude with all the garbage I’ve got in my life, right?

Wrong.

I know that when I “pray and sing” in my pain and suffering, during injustice and attack, my attitude is changed because I put my focus not on myself, but on Jesus.  The frown isn’t always turned upside down…but if I follow the lead of Paul and Silas, my happiness isn’t my focus, and my joy is the result.  Ultimately I always learn, always grow, and God is glorified in my life, and that rocks my world!

Father, this is such a simple, powerful truth, yet I fight against it.  I grumble and complain, feel sorry for myself, despondent at times.  Please forgive me.  I am incapable of this simple act of faith on my own.  But with you and through you Jesus, I choose to pray and sing in my pain and trust you with it all.

Stacey Ray

Stacey is the mother to four sons ages 15 to 21, and the wife to Rex, one very understanding husband.  Stacey has a passion to help people become the best that they can be and she currently does that as a community college instructor in psychology and human development.  With this same passion in mind, her family supports many other outreaches including Children’s Vision in Bogota, Columbia (an orphanage and school) and She is Safe, India (a ministry empowering women and children to avoid human trafficking by giving them value and worth in their communities). Originally from California, Stacey and her family currently make their home in northern Minnesota where they are actively involved in their church’s mission of seeing real people make real change. Stacey’s favorite quote is by Chip Ingram:  “I am nothing without Jesus. But in Him and through Him I can do great things!”

Stacey is the mother to four sons ages 15 to 21, and the wife to Rex, one very understanding husband. Stacey has a passion to help people become the best that they can be and she currently does that as a community college instructor in psychology and human development. With this same passion in mind, her family supports many other outreaches including Children’s Vision in Bogota, Columbia (an orphanage and school) and She is Safe, India (a ministry empowering women and children to avoid human trafficking by giving them value and worth in their communities). Originally from California, Stacey and her family currently make their home in northern Minnesota where they are actively involved in their church’s mission of seeing real people make real change. Stacey’s favorite quote is by Chip Ingram: “I am nothing without Jesus. But in Him and through Him I can do great things!”

Come Out!

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43b-44 NIV

come out

I relate very deeply with the story of Lazarus. He was described as someone Jesus loved (John 11:3, 5), but Jesus waited until Lazarus was truly dead from his illness before coming to restore him. In God’s timing, and to His glory, we are given to Christ as His own. I would love to meet each of you and know your story of illness, death, and resurrection. I love to celebrate through all of the emotions every testimony of God’s goodness, power, and love delivers.

My own illness seemed to come on so gradually. It began when I was just a child though. I believed in God, I believed in Jesus, and I believed He died for us, but I was an outsider. I saw and experienced things that ripped me from the church and left me bitter, without trust, and fearful. I read through the Bible a few times on my own and gathered facts, but those facts were lifeless for me. I grew listless and apathetic with malnourishment. I grew violently ill as a young adult, but I did eventually rally out of it – I quit drinking, fell in love, married, and settled down. My illness returned in the form of depression and anger after my babies were born, however. I was chronically ill and being drawn deep into darkness and death, until one day I realized I was dead. I had a clear plan for carrying out my suicide.

Jesus called out, “Lorinda, come out!” The dead woman came out, her hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around her face.

I fell to my knees right away. I remember weeping a lot during those first years as bitter memories clung to me and threatened to bind my hands and feet from fully following and serving my LORD, but I was alive for the first time. I now hungered and thirsted for God and for understanding, and He fed me in His Word. I entered a church despite my fears, and I felt Jesus tell members of His body to, “Take off the grave clothes and let [me] go.”

I was set free!

Jesus died and rose from the grave himself. He lives, and He continues to call the dead to rise and live in Him. He has promised: All whom My Father gives (entrusts) to Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to me]. John 6:37 AMP

I pray Psalm 56:12-13 NIV: I am under vows to You, my God; I will present my thank offerings to You. For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. LORD, I pray those who are still dead, maybe someone reading this now, will know they are dead and hear your sweet voice call to them loudly, “Dear one, come out!” 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.

Saint Patrick’s Day

st pats day

When I was a child I really hated March 17th.  Not because my birthday was over, that was on the 16th, but because I got pinched all day long.  Many of you may identify with me, for I lived in a home where this pagan holiday was not celebrated. I had godly parents that did not approve of what took place on this holiday.  For those that practice lent, it has been recorded that this is one day that they can have alcohol to drink because it is forgiven on that day.

I would get ready for school, no green on me and every time I was on the playground or walking between classes, or even if the teacher’s back was to us, I would get pinched over and over again.

Now as an adult, I still do not wear green on St Patrick’s Day. I choose to wear red instead. I believe that while Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. It matters not to me, I wear red to represent the blood that was shed for me on the cross so many years ago.

It breaks my heart that people have to find a reason to go out and party, when Jesus died to set us free from a life of addiction.  I live on an Indian Reservation in Alaska and I see so many hurts that are brought to children and adults because of the need to have another drink.

As a godly mother, I encourage you to send your children to school wearing red with a heart on their shirt placed over the child’s heart.  Tell them when someone asks why they are wearing this, they can answer, because out of love Jesus died for me on Calvary, I choose to celebrate Saint Jesus today.

The world has taken away our sense of Christianity in holidays, even with Christmas and Easter. We need to protect our children from the lack of Christianity in any way we can. So I choose to take a stand and celebrate Jesus.

Have a blessed Saint Jesus Day!

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)

Something Beautiful

We have been studying the book of James at our church on Wednesday evenings for the last several weeks. Something that really struck me was James chapter 5, verses 10 through 11, “Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

We all have faced trials and suffering, but we tend to get impatient to see God work in those times. We like to take matter’s into our own hands; filling those voids in our lives with other things, rather than patiently waiting on God’s provisions. We get antsy trying to figure out what’s next for us, instead of seeing where God is taking us.

Too many times in our lives our impatience in suffering leads to greater loss, to deeper heartache, and further suffering.

In 2013, I became pregnant for the very first time after many years of infertility. My due date was December 29th, 2013. Doctors told me that I would likely never get pregnant. And then I did. It was the most exciting, nerve-wrecking time. We waited twelve weeks to make our news public. I created the sweetest video to share with our church, and on Father’s Day, as part of his sermon, John, my husband, shared the video. I then posted the video on Facebook that afternoon. Friends and family from all over the world rejoiced with us. It was truly a high point for us.

Two days later, on June 18th, at our scheduled OB appointment, we were informed that our baby had died. It was likely her heart stopped beating two weeks earlier, but my body showed no signs of miscarriage. I felt as if everything came crashing down around me. It was truly a low point for us. That afternoon, as John called our families to let them know, I just cried and sang the words, “Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful…and when I walk through the wilderness…he gives and takes away…”

I couldn’t even wrap my mind around what was happening. I underwent a D&C that day and the next morning my very first thought went to my empty womb. I sat in the bathroom floor and wept. I was suffering. I couldn’t understand why I was allowed to become pregnant only to have that baby taken from me. I was so content with our little family: John, myself, and our two sweet five-year-old adopted sons. And now I knew the worst kind of pain.

Several days later, I was informed that our baby was a girl. We named her Hope Shalome. I was also told that she died of tiny blood clots that course through my veins undetected due to a blood clotting disorder called MTHFR.

I wanted so badly to do something to feel better. To ease my pain. I created a scrapbook in her memory. And I cried. But I didn’t feel better.

I decided that in the midst of my suffering there was an undeniable peace that I couldn’t understand. Deep down I had this remarkable sense of stability.

Several months later, without trying, and much to our surprise, I became pregnant again. Because of my miscarriage and diagnosis, my doctor was able to give me a very simple course of treatment for the blood clotting that saved our baby. His due date was June 18th, 2014: exactly one year to the day that we lost baby Hope.

I persevered. I didn’t turn my back on God. I didn’t take matters into my own hands. I waited on God. And look what he brought about! He is full of compassion and mercy!

He saw me and knew my hurt, but used that loss for something good. Because He is good.

I would implore you, as you consider your own sufferings, to be patient. Wait on God. Seek his face. Draw near to him. And see what he brings about!

God, there are times that I want to give up or blame You because I don’t understand this pain and suffering that I or others must walk through. I trust You. I give you this situation and trust You to guide me through. Use this for something more amazing than I could ever imagine. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tiffany Heth

Tiffany is the mother to four amazing children, all God's miracle to their family, and she cherishes every moment given her to be with them.  John, Tiffany's husband, and their family make their home in Iowa, where they minister to a congregation of fellow believers.  Tiffany is not only a breast-feeding, cloth-diapering mother and a pastor's wife, but she takes great joy in nourishing her family with the wild game that they have been fortunate enough to harvest.  "How great is the Father's love for us that we shall be called children of God, for that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

Tiffany is the mother to four amazing children, all God’s miracle to their family, and she cherishes every moment given her to be with them. John, Tiffany’s husband, and their family make their home in Iowa, where they minister to a congregation of fellow believers. Tiffany is not only a breast-feeding, cloth-diapering mother and a pastor’s wife, but she takes great joy in nourishing her family with the wild game that they have been fortunate enough to harvest. “How great is the Father’s love for us that we shall be called children of God, for that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“Oh, Harley!”

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

My husband, I and our children just finished a 3-week sabbatical. It was a decision that we felt God was not only leading us to, but totally supported by our church and board. What a blessing! Multiple times, through different ways, God brought to our attention that the priority of this sabbatical was to be family – our kids.

We had a great three weeks of nothing overly planned, just spending time together, and investing into our kids with our time. It was great and much needed.

So this morning, my husband is getting ready to head back to the church and he was calling the dogs in from the back yard. Now I must tell you, that we just moved into this house back in September, and our little poodle has gotten out more times than I care to talk about! It didn’t take long before I could tell I needed to put a hoodie and some slippers on, and once again go on a drive to find our dog, Harley. So frustrating! Why can’t he just stay in the yard? Why does he have to pull tricks like this? Who left the gate open? We have never had this much of a problem with any dog we’ve ever had, and just in the time we’ve been at this new house it’s probably happened like eight or more times! (Does this remind you of raising kids??)

So, I’m out driving around looking for him, and I sense the Holy Spirit speak to my heart and say, “just go home and wait for him.” I’m thinking in my head and saying, “I am really freaked out about the animal control people finding him first, and I don’t want to pay them for picking up my dog!” Well, a bit later I went out with my kids in the vehicle and I again sense the Spirit say, “just go home and wait for him.”

I go home, look around, read a Bible verse, and let our other dog out of the kennel to take her with us. And as I’m opening the back of the truck, I am telling the Holy Spirit that I just want to drive around to give me something to…. and there he is! Harley! He came back home all by himself!

Have you ever had God make an application to your life from the craziest circumstances?? Well, He did for me in that moment. The dogs were walking to the back yard, and God dropped this verse into my heart; “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It totally spoke to my heart for my kids! That this is the season to be training them up, making their training and right growth the priority! This is the time to show them not just spiritual truths, but moral, physical, financial, relational truths as well! Not to despise this season of life in our kids’ life, wishing it was over and despising the repetition, but taking advantage of the times I have now to make memories and show them the way they should go. And just like Harley, the dog, I might get nervous about some of their decisions and choices, but in the end they will come back!

Lord, I ask that You would give each of us guidance on raising our children in Your ways. In our human ways, we want to steer the direction of their paths, but we put them in Your hands and leave that to You. Give us wisdom, peace, and patience so that we can be the best moms we can be to the blessings that You have given us to cherish and raise in Your name. Thank you for trusting each of us with Your children here on earth. Amen.

Karissa Nelson

Karissa has one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear, but on top of that talent and gift God has given her, she is a mother to three beautiful children and a helpmate to her husband, Shane.  Together they raise their family and minister in Milton-Freewater, Oregon where Karissa grew up.  Her passion for worship and family surround her daily.  Isaiah 30:15, "This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'Is repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'" (NIV).

Karissa has one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear, but on top of that talent and gift God has given her, she is a mother to three beautiful children and a helpmate to her husband, Shane. Together they raise their family and minister in Milton-Freewater, Oregon where Karissa grew up. Her passion for worship and family surround her daily. Isaiah 30:15, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Is repentance and rest in your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'” (NIV).