What to Do After You Hear God

Doing what you canI’m sitting here in awe today. Awe of what God has already done, but is still doing. I should never be so surprised when He has made something so amazing come to light, but in my human nature, I am! I am amazed every single time.

I was searching google for a picture for an article that I recently wrote and typed in a very specific topic. Titus II Woman and How to be a Titus II Woman. Do you know what came up on my screen? US! Bio pictures of me and a few of my other writers, our very first logo design (made by me with my limited skills), headline graphics that I made, and some of our pictures that we have shared with our articles and under each of these pictures was our blog link.

That is no accident ladies. That is God’s hand at work spreading the word.

I never would have thought of using google and all our graphics as a way to reach more people, but God did. He is so clever. My heart is so full and my mind is racing. We can reach a countless amount of people by just being willing to be used however possible.

When Titus II Woman began I reached out to women that I have known for years to be partners with me in this ministry, not just in writing, but prayer and editing and design. So much goes into all of this that never really gets recognized. We have teams of ladies doing a lot to make this all happen. Many of these ladies didn’t think they were worthy of working with such a ministry or even able to be of good use, but God has used every single hand in a mighty way. They all said yes, even in their fear or worry, to be used however possible. They made themselves available.

God never asks you to do something that He doesn’t think you are more than capable of doing. He never asks you to do something that He would not do himself.

So, I want to ask you, what is God asking you to do? Have you been hearing God’s voice call to you and been too afraid to act? Today is the day that you can say yes; to whatever it is He is leading you to. Write that letter, forgive that person, join the worship team, teach those little hearts, or go back to school. There are endless possibilities to be used by God in this world. You may even feel called to write for Him and can I just say that if that is the case then you should be sending you sample to us right now.

Here’s the thing. I ran away from what God was calling me to for more than six years. There were really hard years. I didn’t feel qualified, equipped, ready or even a very good person as a woman to lead other women. So, how did I get here today then? I debated with myself over and over, finished school, and cried out for more from God until He made me realize that He already showed me what I was supposed to do. I then woke up and said yes to what He was asking. Titus II Woman was born and we are where we are. God is still growing us and teaching us along the way, but we have been able to lead and guide many of you walking the same path as us by sharing our life and lessons with you.

Being the Titus II Woman isn’t just about the few of us working to keep this ministry going or how many people we reach each week through the blog.  It’s about being the best woman we can be each and every day right where we live and walk and work; in our homes and churches and community. Our goal is guide you while we are being lead.

How can you be that for another woman?

Lord, there is a calling deep within each of us. Remind us of that which we hope for and long to be part of. Help us to use what You have given us to glorify Your name and lead others to You. Bless the lives of those You want us to touch with Your Word and form a genuine bond between the few so that we can become the many. Amen.

Tara DeMaris

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."

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.”

A Testimony of Love

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” — Revelation 3:19

“When we walk alone,” I tell my children both at home and in my ministries, “When we choose not to obey God’s commands or listen to those He places in authority, we are walking outside the boundaries of His protection.” I have the kids sit in a circle during group discussions and prayer time. “Within this circle,” I then explain to them, “We are in obedience and therefore under an ‘umbrella’ of God’s protection and joy.”

I have found that in ministries serving children, there is no telling what combination of personalities and discipline a group of friends will bring with them. Quite often children join us who do not know what self-control is. Some question all authority and balk at it. I’ve even met some sweet children who’ve been taught the world revolves around them. Many children have a great deal of skill in being obstinate and very little practice with submission, obedience, humility, honor, respect for others, or even love.

From their response to discipline and boundaries, I know which children have experience with consistency and healthy discipline and which children definitely have not. You know what, I believe I am growing past being frustrated or deterred by their behaviors. I actually feel encouraged to apply discipline lovingly. I love them too much not to teach them right from wrong, and I tell them this. After all, God loves me enough to discipline me, and He has prepared me and called me to share this love with His children.

It is our responsibility as parents and leaders to teach right ways of living. God has given us these proper ways through His word. Let’s skip what he tells us not to be and look at what He has told us to be in Titus 1:8,9:

“Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

How can our children oppose those who refute sound doctrine and hold firmly to the trustworthy message; how can our children be hospitable; love what is good; and be self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined if they are not taught this? How can they one day teach generations after them, if they were never truly led by the generation before them? How can they know they are loved if they were never loved enough to be taught right from wrong? We have been commanded as God’s people to bring His commands to the children in our care:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Some day we will all be faced by the consequences of our actions. We will either face pleasant consequences or condemnation – children need to know this at an early age because they are eternal beings with eternal consequences like the rest of us. Remember: “When we are judged by the LORD, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” –I Corinthians 11:32

I have found that children thrive in an environment of loving, consistent, healthy discipline. The most difficult behaviors have been broken within the boundaries of Christ’s love.

LORD, I am so grateful for your discipline. Thank you for preparing me and using me to teach your children who You are and your good plans for them. I love them, LORD. Each of them is so lovably unique, and I am excited to watch them grow in the protection of your doctrine and will. Bless them please, and grant me the patience to continue to grow with them as their leader. I pray that these future leaders will stay true and obedient to You, and that we as parents and leaders will one day celebrate with them in your glory knowing that we all continued to teach your discipline and truth in love to future generations until the day You return. 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.

 

What’s in Your Hand?

But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’?” Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:1-2) NLT

Have you ever felt like God was asking you to do something, talk to someone or be part of a ministry, but you couldn’t see how that could be possible? Maybe you feel inadequate, maybe it just seems out of the box or just straight up weird. Maybe you are worried about how other people might respond to your idea or what you have to say. That’s where we find Moses in this chapter.

whats in your hand

He had just seen and heard the Lord, very clearly, I might add. The Lord lays out his great plan to lead the people out of Egypt. He even tells Moses that the king is going to fight against him, but He will make a way. Not only that, but God tells them that the Egyptians will load them down with gifts and they will walk away with gold, silver and fine clothing. Sounds like a plan! Let’s do this thing. Enter self-doubt.

Chapter four starts with the what if’s of Moses. Then in verse two we see a powerful question. What’s in your hand? What was in Moses’ hand? A simple shepherds staff. It was just a stick; plain and ordinary. Something amazing happens when we place what’s in our hand at the Lord’s feet. What power this simple staff would have when it became the staff of God, not only in this chapter, but throughout Israelite history.  It produced water from a rock, was transformed into a snake and back, and was used at the parting of the Red Sea to name a few. Was it because of the power of that staff or its owner? Not at all. The powerful connection happens when we offer what’s in our hand to an Almighty God.

God takes joy in using the ordinary for the extraordinary! That’s good news for me and you! I’m pretty ordinary, but God doesn’t ask me to have it all together, he wants to know what’s in my hand. What will I offer him?

What about you? What’s in your hand? Maybe it’s a broom, dirty diapers or a baby in each arm. Maybe it’s just pieces of a broken life. Whatever it is, I know that if placed at Jesus’s feet he can and will do great things. Moses had a terrible time believing that God would really have called him to such a thing. Verse after verse we see excuses and what ifs. He even begs God to send someone else. Ever been there? This is the same man that is considered one of the greatest leaders in the Bible.  If we will just take that first step, make that first call, visit that neighbor or put our name on the ministry list, he will use it.

Lord, I pray for those that are in the middle of self-doubt. I pray you would renew the calling that you have for them. Reassure them and help them to feel your presence. May we take comfort in the story of Moses and give you what’s in our hands. 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 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 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

 

 How To Be the Light

You know when you are in a place in life and you just don’t understand why God has allowed this place to be? I know so many of you have been in these places and, if you are like me, you have experienced them more than once. Well, as you can tell from recent articles I have written, I have been in one of these places for the last few months. I am working a full-time job to help my family financially in a place where there are little to no Christians. I kept thinking to myself why am I here right now? Seriously, God, this can’t be where you want me to be. I was going strong with Titus II Woman and now I feel like I can’t keep going with any of it.

how to be

Well, God always has a plan and this time he spoke very plain to me… “I’m not just teaching you what it means to be a Titus II Woman. I am showing you.” There’s nothing like getting a little kick in the pants after complaining about circumstances to God. Have you had the privilege of experiencing this kind of boost?

I have this new perspective. It goes a little something like this…I may be the only salt and light of God that my (mostly female) coworkers will ever see and I want to be the brightest I can for God. They may never hear the name of God in any other place, but they can hear it from me (although in a little different way since I can’t just speak God’s Word while at work). Many of them know that I am the president of Titus II Woman and some have started to read our blog. Others just know that I have good morals and care about people very much and for that fact they have started to come to me with their troubles and worries and sometimes their joys.

See, being a Titus II Woman is more than just saying you will be there to guide and train. It’s actually following up and following through with your word.  Be the woman that they need you to be to them…friend, sister, mother, leader.

God has given us all a charge to be this kind of woman. It can be in the subtlest of ways, but in any event, you are the woman to the lost and hurting that can guide them to the only One who can make their life better.

Take a minute and think of just one woman that you could reach out to today. Coworker, sister, auntie, in-law, friend, daughter, or maybe a friend of a friend.  There are so many ways that you can be a light to them. Just providing them with an outpouring of prayer, a nice thinking of you card, friend basket, or a ladies’ dinner. When you have the light of God shining through you, it will come out of you to shine upon all those who are around you. Use that light that you have been given.

Lord, today we come and ask that You will show each of us who we can be a light to. Guide us to the divine encounter You desire for us to have and help us to be the best Titus II Woman to them that we can be. May Your Word ever be on our lips as we search and love the women around us. Thank you for being the best example for us and giving us amazing women to learn from in our lives. Amen.

Tara DeMaris

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."

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.”

Knock, Knock

“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach…No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” Deuteronomy 30:11, 14

My husband and I were awakened early this morning by a constant knocking at our bedroom window. Over and over again a robin flew at our window using his feet and beak to knock against the surface of the glass. Outside of this particular window is a very old crabapple tree, and we assumed the robin was claiming this tree as a site to nest and mate. We assumed he was telling the robin reflected in the window that this area was his.

As the sun progressed across the sky, and the window transitioned from a reflection of the world the robin lives in to the world I live in inside my house, I assumed his fight would end. I assumed his purpose would change from claiming territory to moving on and building a place to call his own. It didn’t, however. Six hours after he’d started, he was still swooping in and knocking on our window, and I was growing quite concerned that he would kill himself by over-exertion. So, I opened the window to speak some sense into him.

I suppose many of you are shaking your heads at me now. Maybe you’re saying, “Okay, Lorinda, it’s one thing to rescue young hummingbirds and enjoy them flitting about you with gratitude the rest of the day, but talking with birds you’ve just met? I think you go too far.”

Maybe I do. I once made the acquaintance of a robin that would join me out in the garden each day to sing “Animal Crackers” with me while I gardened. I introduced him to my husband and he introduced me to his mate, and we were all such merry neighbors that summer. Alas, his mate flew into this very same bedroom window and killed herself one day. I felt so sad. I dug a small grave for her and buried her near the tree they favored. He watched from the branches and sang a sad single-note song. This new song lasted quite awhile and made my heart ache. When I walked out to garden weeks later, however, he sang “Animal Crackers” to me again as soon as he saw me. I sang it back and saw him fly to the old tree so I could see him. He had a new mate standing on the branch next to him. He fluffed up quite proud as I congratulated him, then they flew off to the trees across the road from our house. I didn’t see him as much after that, but I have always been quite happy for him that he had found another mate to share his life with, and I think of him quite often for the experience I enjoyed with him.

So, having told you the story of my dear robin friend from quite some years ago, I must tell you more about my new friend because, truthfully, I wondered for a moment this afternoon if this was my friend returned to pay me a visit. I don’t believe it could be, because I’m not sure robins live to be as old as seven or more years, but this little man bobbing at my window and knocking to get my attention certainly has me just as entertained and enraptured. I opened the window and told him to stop knocking so hard, because I was worried he would kill himself. Well, the little fellow flew to a nearby branch and sang to me.  It was not “Animal Crackers” mind you, but he certainly has a very nice song of his own.

It is nearly evening now. When I walked away to attend to other activities that need doing, he begins his knocking once more. I have slid the screen over to cover the window he was flying at; this opened up a wider space in the window frame for him to perch in. Even now as I type, he is vigilantly watching me from his perch and every so often tapping at my window as if waiting for my full attention.

My little friend’s timely knocking this morning reminded me of the Scripture verse to misdirected Christians in Revelation 3:19-21, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So, be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

Lately, I have been discouraged, I’ve even shed a few tears, because I expect more — more of myself, more of others, more of situations. I have been grumbling because new circumstances are adding themselves to my schedule, to my list of things that need attention, to the mass of consumers eating away at my precious resources – namely patience, time, and passion. It has, at times, become quite personal as I have blamed others for this happening.

Last night, as I went to bed, I was dwelling on deadlines, schedules, and trying to balance them with what I really wanted to be doing. I woke when my little friend came to call, thought about those verses in Revelation, and I walked through my Bible to James 5:7-9, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Then I began to reflect on my bad attitude and what I needed to do.

Little robin, as I watch you tap on my window even now, I think of my Lord and repent of my attitude. It is with great eagerness that I renew my patience and wait on Him.

Lord Jesus, Your voice is what I long to hear. Your face I long to see. Your touch I long to feel. But it is the robin You chose to use as your voice for me today. The word truly is very close to me today, and it is in my mouth and in my heart so I can obey it. How happy I am to be reminded of how near You truly are. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit in me and the living strength and direction You give through your Word. Thank you for your rebuke and your discipline. I love you too! 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.

 

LOVE AMONG THE ‘SPARAGRAS

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Walking in the woods behind our house was a daily Mother-son bonding time.  Some days we picked up garbage, other days we told stories about the animals we saw “hiding” in the forest, but one spring day we set out on a new adventure, an asparagus hunt!  My youngest son, Ben, was about 3 years old and had no idea that asparagus was a vegetable that he didn’t actually like to eat.  All that mattered was that we were on the move and it took a great hunter to find the tender shoots of green among the rest of the new vegetation coming up.  We took our time, searching in the places I had found the wild vegetable in past years. To each new area we ran expectantly, sure that this would be “the place!”

asaparagus_edited-1

Each time we were disappointed, and as our walk progressed Ben’s small shoulders slumped, his feet dragged, and finally he stopped altogether, and with a pout, said, “God doesn’t love me.”  I didn’t see the connection, but obviously he did.  Without trying to counter his silly, childish thought, I asked him to explain what he meant.  He sat down in the dirt and started crying.  Not big sobs, just quiet sniffling, but the tears dropped into the dirt nonetheless.  I sat next to him and waited expectantly.  After a few minutes I asked tenuously, “So buddy, why doesn’t God love you?”  Ben was, and is, the child that doesn’t want to talk until he is ready.  Through his sniffles he explained that he had prayed that God would help us “have a good hunt” and find the “spargaz” and since we hadn’t found any, it was obvious that God didn’t hear him pray and didn’t love him “for real.”

Out of the mouth of babes…I can’t be the only one that feels this way, can I?  The rational me knows that God loves me unconditionally.  That He sent his “one and only son” to die for me (and all humanity), because I can never be “good enough” to meet God’s requirements.  But because He is full of mercy and grace, I don’t have to be or do anything in order for him to love me.  But sometimes I feel just like Ben did that Spring day.  I drag my feet, slump my shoulders, and feel like there’s no way God could really love me because of the circumstances I’m facing, because I don’t have what I want, or because it feels like God hasn’t heard my prayers.

Satan, the devil, the enemy of our souls, works hard to get those “God doesn’t love me” thoughts into our heads because when we doubt God’s love, we doubt ourselves, we doubt our abilities and our power in Christ to do the improbable and the impossible.  Chalk one up for the bad guys.  We cave so easily.  We sit down in the dirt, hang our head and cry.  We give up, and that’s just what the devil wants, because he knows we are dangerous when we trust God’s unconditional love completely – we take risks,  We ask, “What next?” and then we go!

I talk a good talk, but in all honesty there are days I believe the lies.  Times when I feel alone and afraid to take the next step, goodness, to take any step!  Moments where I seriously doubt God loves me or hears my voice.  In reality, those are the times when I am not listening to His voice… usually because I’m too busy with my own agenda, my own “spargaz” hunt.  Often the blessing of His love is right in front of me and I don’t see it because of the ever-present worries around me and my own self-centeredness.

That day long ago I asked Ben if we should pray again and ask God to help us find some asparagus?  He nodded and took my hand and closed his eyes.  Out loud I asked God to help us with the asparagus, but in my head I begged God to show my little boy that He was real and that He really did love Ben and that He cared about the little things that Ben asked of Him, so that Ben would know that God really, truly loved him.  We stood up after that prayer and right behind Ben’s seat in the dirt, there was an asparagus shoot.  Just the right size.  I squeezed Ben’s hand and pointed.  I will NEVER forget the look on Ben’s face.  The dirty streaks of tears on his cheeks couldn’t cover the look of incredulous joy on his sweet face.  I cried silently as he bent over the shoot and touched it gently.  “Can I take it Mom?”

Take it, hold it, never let it go.  God’s unconditional love is forever and ever.  Nothing you do or don’t do can ever change that.  He is bigger than any failure or fear or disappointment.  We won’t always find our “spargraz” when we look for it.  But that only means that He has a different plan, a way to grow us, stretch us, and mold us into just who we are meant to be, and on the way, we need never doubt His love for us.

Father please forgive us for our doubts and fears and empower us, through your Holy Spirit, to grasp how deep and wide and high your love for us truly is.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

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!”

Unfulfilled Promises

“The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.” Psalm 145:13b

I recently read a blog about King David and his journey from being anointed to when he became king. It really made me stop and ponder the Christian journey, specifically in our society today. In our microwave generation where we better have it our way, the right way and in under five minutes or the horn is honked; I fear that waiting on God and being patient for his promises to be fulfilled is becoming a lost concept.

Think about David. He was anointed but it took 20 years for that to be completely fulfilled. As we look through scriptures we read all the low valleys David went through, many times his life being threatened before he was appointed King. But it was fulfilled.

What about Joseph? From the time he dreamed his dreams and proclaimed his visions to his family to the time he became ruler in Egypt was at least 13 years. Sitting in the prison did Joseph ever think, man I must have missed God, how can I ever get there from here. We don’t know but we do see him proclaiming God right where he was.

Moses. Forty years of desert walking, putting up with complainers, having people question his leadership at every turn. God protected them and provided for them and yet they fought Moses with every decision. Sound familiar?

Pages and pages fill our bibles of leaders that were called by God and were given promises of things to come but had to wait. Many times the waiting was painful and not in a pretty, rosy spot. God was refining them, making them into who they needed to be to become all that He had for them. How would Joseph have ruled differently if God had immediately placed him in charge the minute he had his dream. Maybe a nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I told you? When we first see Joseph his attitude hadn’t matured yet. He wasn’t ready. Does that mean God hadn’t called him, or that the dreams he saw weren’t real? Absolutely not! The Messiah was promised thousands of years before he came. Did that mean God wasn’t going to come through? No!

So what dream, what plan, what promise has God given you? What has he placed in your heart? Are you discouraged because weeks, months, years or decades have gone by and you haven’t seen anything come to pass? Do you think, how could I ever get there from here? Take heart, you are not alone. To borrow the phrase from the mentioned blog, have you been anointed but not appointed yet? Hang onto the promises of this Psalm. The Lord always keeps his promises. It may not be your way, right away in under 5 minutes, but the Lord is faithful!

Father keep us close to you. Help us to cling to your Word when we can’t see the way ourselves; when what you placed in our hearts looks so far away. You see the whole picture and we just need to play our part. Help us as we walk with you and guide our steps I pray. Lift our heads and hearts when we feel discouraged. We are never alone. 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 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 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

Happiness for Today

The roles have been switched…for a while at least.

happiness for today

 

I had no idea this is what God had in mind when he set in motion the move to Idaho. I honestly thought that I would still get to keep on with what I was doing. You know, homeschooling the kids, working on Titus II Woman, and writing more on the book.

Well…. there were other plans in the making. The first was that I would be the one to work full time and be the provider for a while. My husband is actively looking and has had several interviews, but none of them were right for our family and what we want for our future.

When I am not at work I try to get schooling in with the kids, work on the little hobby farm, write, and run Titus II Woman. There has been little time for me, but I am getting through this with the help of my family and close friends. It doesn’t hurt that we have found a small church that cares either.

Ladies, my life has not been what I thought. I had an idea of what it would be like here and not one thing is how I pictured it. I wish I could say that I am traveling across the United State and speaking at different women’s events and having a blast with all you beautiful women, but the fact is that we are in a season of life where I need to be doing more for my family. I anxiously await the day when I can return to the sole focus of running Tii and developing a speaking schedule. I long for days of getting up before the rest of the house to enjoy coffee while I sit and study and write, but for now I will continue basking in a little extra sleep and slipping in study time on breaks at work or before I hit the hay when I return home before midnight.

We are all going to experience times in life where God will stretch us more that we are comfortable with. It’s called growth and gaining wisdom. It is during those times that we have to really press in to our trust and faith in Christ.  There is something really special here for me and I trying to learn it. There will be a day when I won’t need to be the provider in such a way and I can return to the little farm and run the zoo we add to near daily, grow the fresh produce to sell, and collect the beautifully colored and delicious eggs.  Today is not that day and I am finding happiness in what I must do right now.

How are you finding your happiness in the hard places?

Job 36:11 says this, “If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” I will obey, serve and trust Him because that is where I am going to find contentment for today and where what I do in this moment will bring prosperity for tomorrow.

Lord, I have this daily struggle with being happy right where I am. I have so many things that I want to do for you, but it seems that you want me to do other things right now. Help me to see your hand in this all. I want to be happy where I am planted and glorify your name while I live through this all. Bless the ladies who are walking this path with me. In your name, amen.

Tara DeMaris

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."

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.”

Superhero Mom

Before I get started I want to share a little about myself. I want to give you all a glimpse of what Mother’s Day has meant to me throughout my life. For me, Mother’s Day was just another day that I hated so very much. It ranked up there with all the other days of the year I hated such as Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, my sporting events, and any other special event for the simple reason that everyone else around me was celebrating with their mothers and fathers.

I think that nowadays it is unfortunately more and more common for children to grow up not having a mother or father in their lives for one reason or another; however, when I was growing up I felt like I was the only kid in the universe without parents. I still to this day at times have some of these same feelings, but I have learned to work through them without the hate and anger. My mom passed away when I was almost two and I have never known my father. My grandmother was an amazing woman who raised me, however, she could never fill that void I had from growing up without parents. I grew up being angry with God.  I struggled through life without parents. Over the last few years I have come to an understanding that God has been parenting me my whole life and it was through those struggles that he was teaching me to become the man I am today.

You may be asking yourself why someone who grew up without a mother would be writing about motherhood. Well, that is a good question.  Even though I grew up without a mother or father of my own, I have, over the years, been blessed with some amazing mother figures that have helped shape me into the man I am today. I am now a father of five amazing children and over the last twelve years I have had the honor and privilege of living with one of the greatest mothers I know, my wife, Melissa.mel artilce

I am still no expert on the topic of motherhood nor am I a writer, but I will do my best to put pen to paper and hopefully my words make sense. I have been praying about this article for a few months now and I will allow the spirit to lead me in what he would like me to say. I pray that this article will give God all the glory, honor, and praise.

Mother’s Day is the one day of the year where people from all walks of life join in celebrating and showing appreciation to the woman that brought them into the world. On this special day in May, sons and daughters everywhere say thank you to this truly amazing lady that is caring, nurturing, protecting, loving, and supporting. Proverbs 31 talks about mothers, (Wives) of noble character and verses 29-30 lays it out beautifully, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” To all the moms out there, I salute you.

Mother's Day

If you ask me, all moms are superheroes with amazing powers. She may not wear the cape and leap over tall buildings, but she will destroy any monster in the closet or evildoer that tries to hurt her babies. She has this amazing ability to never be wrong, Ever. She is a human lie detector and always knows when you are trying to pull a fast one. Super mom has x-ray vision and always knows when you are hiding something. She can sense germs from a mile away and knows you’re going to be sick a week in advance. She has supper speed, because how else could you explain the fact that she can clean the entire house, do 20 loads of laundry, go to 10 stores, (Buying only one thing), do a Pinterest project for little Susie’s upcoming play, and bake 5 dozen cupcakes for little Johnny’s class party all in one afternoon and still have time for coffee with her girlfriends. Moms are without a doubt superheroes because they always have the ability to rescue you when you need rescuing, be there to put you back together when you fall, and set you straight when you went the wrong way.

We all know what amazing women mothers can be. My examples above may be a bit exaggerated, but the point is true. Some of you moms out there are saying, “NO” that all sounded pretty accurate. God designed woman for motherhood and did an amazing job if I do say so myself. Speaking from experience as Mr. Mom, I am in awe of what my wife can do on a daily basis just to do it all again the next day.

With all this superhero and greatness talk I should probably balance it out a little here. I wish it was a perfect world and could say all mothers are perfect all of the time, but we all know that this is not true. Nobody is perfect, Lord knows I am far from it.

A mother is not just a mother. They are wives, daughters, employees, bosses, friends, and so much more. Now I am just a guy, “A mans man”, and I will not even try to pretend I understand women, but from my point of view a mother is breakable. I know women are strong, resilient, and resourceful, but they are also flesh, full of emotion, and human just like everyone else. They put their heart, tears, and strength into their children and into everything they do and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. They don’t always get a thank you or that longed for hug and kiss. They get attitude when they tell their kids to clean their rooms and then they get the same attitude when they ask their husbands to change a light bulb or take out the trash. Mothers spend their entire day doing everything for everyone with nothing in return and it wears on their spirit.

Some of you have faced depression, thoughts of suicide, and even contemplated running away. You have probably not always felt like #1 MOM. You have most likely at some point ended the day wondering have I just messed my kid up for life? Is he or she going to need counseling? Am I going to need counseling? Just know that God sees you. God loves you and He is forever grateful of you for taking care of His little children that He has entrusted in your hands. I truly believe God will have a special place in heaven for all you mothers; a mother’s heavenly coffee shop where you can all go and tell your war stories of motherhood. Don’t allow the devil to distract and discourage you from the joy and honor of being a God designed superhero-mom.

The next time you get discouraged and want to give up remember this: mothers are truly some of the greatest warriors. Whether you feel like it or not there is a mighty warrior tucked away deep down inside that primped and polished feminine exterior. It is not just the men that hold the title of strong warrior. Every day moms everywhere enter the battleground. Mothers are the front line defense for their children, their husband, and their household. One of my favorite Bible verses holds true to a mother just as much as it does to the fathers. Ephesians 6: 10-20 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Mothers, you have to put on your full armor of God on daily just as much as the men do and defend your family from the devil. Go into your war room and pray. I know you are good with all that makeup stuff so, put on some war paint, hold your ground, and claim your household, your children, and your lives in the name of Jesus. Take courage, this Mother’s Day, that God is with you and He has given you His spirit to help you through this journey called motherhood.

I would like to close by addressing all those non-mothers out there that may be reading this. Yes, that means all you fathers, daughters, and sons. Make mom feel special. Not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Say thank you for all she does. Do something nice for her every now and again. Talk to her without it being a conversation where you are asking something from her. And for peat’s sake, clean your room, change the light bulb, and take out the garbage without the usual attitude that goes along with it. Treat mom on this day and everyday like the superhero-mom, warrior, and friend she works so hard to be for you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Travis Donnelly

Travis is a father of five wild and crazy children and a husband to his amazing wife, Melissa, of almost twelve years. Travis and his family make their home in small town Nebraska where he works as a police officer. He is an army veteran and has served in Iraq for one combat tour. Travis has a passion for ministry, however, not in the traditional way one would think of ministry. He is a firearms instructor and has a vision and desire to combine presenting the gospel message with firearms training. 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

Travis is a father of five wild and crazy children and a husband to his amazing wife, Melissa, of almost twelve years. Travis and his family make their home in small town Nebraska where he works as a police officer. He is an army veteran and has served in Iraq for one combat tour. Travis has a passion for ministry, however, not in the traditional way one would think of ministry. He is a firearms instructor and has a vision and desire to combine presenting the gospel message with firearms training. 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”

Am I Content?

Philippians 4:11, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Let us see what the full definition of covet is: 1. to want (something that you do not have) very much 2. to wish for earnestly <covet an award> 3. to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately. Romans 13:9 says, “Do not covet.”

And the definition of envy is: 1. painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage obsolete: malice 2. the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has God asks us to be content with what we have. He gives us our daily needs. But is envy just of materialism? No! As I spend time in prayer, God spoke to me saying envy is wanting what others have, be content with what I have given you. God spoke into my husband and I in September 2011 to learn to be content with what we have. All my life I have struggled with believing lies, dealing with being bullied, which led to food addiction and to obesity. In 2009, God started me on a health journey, seeking council from doctors (gravity and I don’t agree). In 2011, God blessed me with a health challenge make over. Over the last few years we have dealt with deaths of both mothers. I offered my body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to him. I started feeling good about myself as God helped me reduce 100lbs off the body I had created.  I was even up to 2 hours of exercising, 5-6 days a week. May 2015, I was at the gym and my knee just felt different. School was coming to a break, church camp was upon us for the month of June. I took a break from intense exercise and gained 15lbs. In November, a doctor scheduled scope surgery. I had multiple tears in my meniscus, also learning of a bone spur that had to be removed, and stage 3 & 4 arthritis with no cartilage. My heart sunk being told medically I need a total knee replacement. See, my mom lived with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis for half her life. She went through 30 surgeries before going to be with The Lord, after her body fought through the disease of cancer for the last 2 years. So my thoughts started conforming to the world (my moms). Be content! My sister reminded me, I am not mom, I am healthier. I learned this morning, as God spoke to me, that I have been envying another figure (body image) than the one I have. We are to be content with what God has given us. God works for the good of those who love him, He will bring us to completion and maturity. We are to trust in the Lord with all our heart, lean not on our own understanding. God is a good father, and I have to remind myself daily to thank him that I am not who I used to be, though I am not where I want to be.  I can take refuge in knowing that He has plans to prosper me. Isn’t this the goal anyway, to strive to be better than we were yesterday, to grow closer to God? We have to find our true identity in Christ. What does it look like to be content? Being pleased or satisfied, not needing more. God is enough for each of us. Reflection: What is it in your life that you are envying or coveting? Here are some steps you can take to recognize them:

  1. Seek first his Kingdom and Righteousness
  2. Pray
  3. Fast
  4. Ask God to show you. What are some healthy goals to keep that stronghold from overcoming you again? Whom can you help share your story to so they know they are not alone and you can help them to overcome their stronghold? Think about this today as you go about your day.

Lord, today we come to you and ask that you shine a light on any area where we struggle with not being content in what you have given us. It may be with our home, car, weight, or love. I ask that you come into our hearts and replace what once was envy or covet with peace and contentment in all things. My we only strive to bring glory to your name through our faith and actions. In Your name, amen.

Michelle Casey

Michelle and her family live in York, NE where they are involved many areas of their church such as greeting, children’s church, missions teaching, youth leaders, and Michele just led her first Women’s Bible study.  Michelle and Matthew have two daughters and have been married for fifteen years. Their family supports Tiny Hands international and Verse 11. Her favorite verse is from Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Michelle and her family live in York, NE where they are involved many areas of their church such as greeting, children’s church, missions teaching, youth leaders, and Michele just led her first Women’s Bible study. Michelle and Matthew have two daughters and have been married for fifteen years. Their family supports Tiny Hands international and Verse 11. Her favorite verse is from Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”