God

If God Wasn’t in Charge…

Fact: If God wasn’t in charge of this world, we would be in a whole heap of trouble.

Heck. God IS in charge of this world and it still seems like nothing but pain and sorrow.

Specifically on days like Monday when the news broke of the shooting in the Washington Naval Yard. My feelings were all over the place, both questioning and affirming my faith (at the same time if that’s possible.)

My first reaction upon hearing the news? Terror! Fear flooded my heart as well as about a million what ifs… What if something like that happened to my family? What if my loved ones are taken away? What if...

Then I remembered. God was in charge. And while it sure wasn’t his initial plan for terrible things like this to happen, it sadly is the nature of the world we live in. I guarantee that God knew it was going to happen, and was there with everyone involved in the tragedy.  Plus, if that DID happen to my family or my loved ones were called home sooner than expected… I know exactly where they are going.  If God wasn’t in charge, I’d be scared.

After the fear subsided, my heart and flesh flowed with rage/anger. How DARE another human decide to take the life of others? What gives Him the right? Oh, I oughta… Then again, I remembered that God was in charge. The individual that completed this heinous crime has already faced his judgement at the throne of God. It’s not my place to give him a sentence… Because if God wasn’t in charge, I would be furious.

As my anger evaporated at this realization, my heart was overcome with sorrow that can’t be described in words on a blog. I ached for the victims and their families. I ached for our nation. I ached for our terribly sinful, fallen world. Then I was reminded that God was in charge. This overwhelming sorrow made me yearn for heaven, where there will be no more pain or tragedy or sin. Instead, there will be everlasting joy. Yep, if God wasn’t in charge, I would be ever-sorrowful.

I’m not trying to make light of this event. Not at all. It was indeed terrible, and seeing the sorrow surrounding events from this past year (Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Boston Marathon bombing, etc) simply breaks my heart. Painful things big and small happen every day. And it straight up sucks.

But this event also reminds me of the loving, powerful, ever-present God we worship. God never, ever intended for us to experience or feel this kind of pain, but when sin entered the picture, things went downhill quickly.

That is, until Jesus entered the scene. Because of His sacrifice on the cross, we can cling to the hope that we don’t have to live in this world forever. (Amen to that.)

If God wasn’t in charge, I’d be scared. But He is. So I’m not.

If God wasn’t in charge, I’d be angry. But He is. So I’m not.

If God wasn’t in charge, I’d be ever-sorrowful. But He is. So I’m not.

So thankful that God is in charge.

He is, I’m not,
SGK

“Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.” ~Psalm 68:20

red cross

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Our Heart and Macaroni Art (In case you forgot…)

On a scale of one to ten… where is your heart with God today? I ran across the post below as I was walking down bloggy memory lane– I remember a brief season when I was disconnected to Him– and how He brought me back around. 

If you find yourself in the same boat (or anywhere near the boat… on the shore, in the lighthouse, whatever) check out this reminder post below… and grab ahold of the love God is offering to you! Oh, and as usual– feel free to comment. 🙂 

Loving Him,
SGK 

****

I saw him from a distance. My heart started to pound. I smoothed my hair and gave myself a mental brownie point for wearing my favorite shirt. I considered moving closer to him… but he turned and started walking toward me. My breathing sped up. He was coming. He was beautiful. And I knew I belonged to him.

Pretty romantic huh? Probably sounds like every chick flick ever produced. But I am not talking about anyone tall, dark and handsome (or blonde with blue eyes in my case.) I am talking about God. Our Father. The One.

Perhaps I should back up a little bit. God (obviously) loves us and woos us. Last week, I had a dream where God told me to fall back in love with Him. A few days later, I awoke in a panic, realizing that I hadn’t had my official CRAVE time (quiet meditation) with Him at church in over a month (maybe even two!) I had been doing my daily Bible study during our leave holiday vacation, but my heart wasn’t really focused. My mind was all over the place, and I bet if you pick a page on my journal from the last two weeks, it would be pointless gibberish.

So I needed to fall back in love with God and CRAVE Him. I was still working on my 1000 gift list, but He told me it wasn’t enough. I prayed about it for the next few days and when we arrived back in Georgia, one of our first things to do (after unloading the car and sleeping) was to head to church. Confession: I was tired. Really didn’t want to go.

But I am sure glad I did.

I arrived at CCC and was blown away. The worship song line up was incredible. (Good thing they didn’t play Amazing Grace, or I would have been sobbing face down in the aisle.) I felt myself falling… back in love with God. Then the message sealed the deal. Why? Because for the first time in my experience at Christ Community during Sunday worship, we actually had a mini CRAVE time.

I realized that God wasn’t asking me to do anything but receive His love. That in itself allowed me to fall back in love with Him. He met me there and swept me off my feet. Again. But we have to be attentive to Him and show Him that we care. All of the things we DO for our amazing God like prayer, petitioning, quiet time, worship etc seem so small compared to the beauty and glory that is our Bridegroom Jesus.

But God is our father. And He adores our acts of love, as small as they might seem in our eyes. We are like the child, coming home from school and giving Dad a picture with dried out noodles glued on it. Our small actions are simply love in the form of macaroni art. He doesn’t throw it out. He appreciates it and puts it on the fridge.

How are you going to fall deeper in love with God? What kind of macaroni art are you going to make for Him today?

Receive Him. Fall deeply in love with Him. Give Him your heart and some “macaroni art.”

So in love,
SGK

“Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover—come to me!” Song of Solomon 2:10 (MSG)

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Embrace the Suck

Sometimes, life sucks.

Yeah, I said it. And yeah, I said it on a Jesus-loving Christian blog.

But its the truth. Sometimes life sucks.

We live in a world of pain. Of hurt. Of disease. Of evil. Of hard circumstances. Of moments where we wonder how the heck we are supposed to continue to function.

“Sucky” things in life range from the seemingly small and trivial (I lost my stupid wallet– again!) to the painfully large and unexplainable (Sandy Hook school shooting. Boston bombing. Explosion in Texas.)

So yeah, it’s the truth. Sometimes life really just kinda sucks.

Which might be why this world is not our home. (THANK YOU JESUS! Can I get an AMEN?!?!)

For those of you who have been around 7 Days Time for a hot minute, you know it’s my policy not to leave things on a negative note. So if life sucks… What are we supposed to do about it?

Embrace the suck.

image

Now, I don’t mean we have to welcome it. Or enjoy it. Or even ask for the hard times to come our way. But we all know that hard times, aka the sucky stuff, is inevitable in this life. We live in a fallen world and really there’s no getting around it.

But instead of wallowing in the suck and turning our eyes inward… We can embrace it knowing that we have a Lord and Savior that has been there, done that.

And no matter what suck you are going through right now, we can take solace in the fact that this world isn’t our home and we have the promise of heaven closer than we can imagine.

“Well, Sharita, this ’embrace the suck’ idea is all fine and dandy… In theory. But seriously. What can we do about it?”

Great question. Glad you asked. 🙂  Here’s a few tangible thoughts…

*Pray. A lot. God doesn’t care if it’s a huge suck like battling cancer or a seemingly minor suck like a newborn baby who has gotten her days and nights mixed up and refuses to sleep. (Not that I would know that one from experience or anything.) Remember, if it matters to you, it matters to God. He will hear your plea for help. He might not fix your suck, but I promise He WILL be with you through it!

*Rejoice. I know it’s hard in the moment… But 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to rejoice IN (not necessarily FOR) all circumstances. That’s where making a list of your blessings and small God gifts in life come into play.  Be thankful.

*Share. Find another Christian or person you trust and share the “suck” in your life.  God made us to live in community and bear one another’s burdens.

*Keep perspective. This one is also easier said than done, but sometimes taking a quick step back and trying to look at things from God’s perspective can be a huge help. It might require extra meditation, prayers, quiet time, a mini-sabbatical, rest or a variety of things. Ask yourself not WHY… But WHAT God is doing in your suck situation.

*Embrace Jesus. This is something we can (and should) do whether or not we find ourselves in a “suck” part of life or not. Again, he’s been there, done that– a thousand times worse than we could ever imagine. He understands. He is always with you. Yep, even in the midst of the suck of life.

Be encouraged today, sweet reader. If you are in a suck season and desire prayer, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below, sending me a message on Facebook or holler at me via email at sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.

Take heart, friends. Embrace the suck by embracing Jesus. He’s got your back– always.

Embracing Him Wholeheartedly,
SGK

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG

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My Kind of GPS (Recalculating…)

I’m taking a New-Mama day today…so that being said, I wanted to share with you a post that was written a while back- but is still very pertinent to our everyday walks with Christ.

We might not always know where we are headed– but He does. And His plan can sure be trusted. (I promise.) Let me know what kind of surprise turns your life has taken and how God helped you through it by leaving a comment below. 

Blessings to you my darling readers!
SGK 

****

The tires are humming on the highway. The radio on just loud enough to provide some background noise but soft enough to avoid drowning out the conversation going on between the driver and passenger.

“When do I turn?”

“Um, let me look. I feel like it is coming up.”

“Come ON, babe, its rush hour… I need to know if I need to exit anytime soon. Can I get over?”

“NO, don’t merge you are blocked in… This paper map is terrible. Our GPS says it is coming up soon.  What exit number is this?”

“122B.”

“TURN NOW!!!”

The next thing you hear in the car is the driver shouting words not appropriate for a Christian blog, which barely masks the dreaded sound of the GPS uttering the words “Recalculating… recalculating… please make a legal U-turn at the next available intersection.”

Aren’t you glad we aren’t supposed to create (and drive) our own path in life alone? I know that if I were driving the “bus” that is my life, I would be shouting at the GPS constantly, lost in a shady part of town, bumping into other vehicles and maybe even broken down on the side of the road. So glad that God isMY GPS.

GPS

The kind of GPS I’m talking about is a “Godly Path-directing Service.” God has it figured out. Thankfully. And while his GPS methods don’t always seem the most “direct” route or even the smoothest, He always, always, ALWAYS gets us to where we need to be… usually in better condition than when we left.

I was having a conversation with the Agricultural Education teacher/FFA Advisor at my old High School the other day. As we were chatting about our backgrounds, we couldn’t help but stand there in that ag class and essentially revel at the craziness that has been our path to where we are now. But now, where we are… it ALL… MAKES… SENSE. Good work, Lord.

My “GPS” experience has been what I like to call “squiggly.” I had all of these grand plans of driving my own “bus” in life…Graduate high school, get bachelor’s degree at K-state,  go to vet school, work with people, work for a corporation, retire there and make lots of money, work for a non-profit organization, stay single for as long as possible while enjoying dating around, meet future husband upon college graduation, dominate the world by doing my own thing, become an army wife, remain satisfied with bachelor’s degree, go back to school to get master’s degree, live in a foreign country, move to Georgia, work on post at Fort Benning full time, be called into ministry… Arrived. Current Destination.

Confused? Probably. Now do you understand what I mean by a “squiggly” path. I personally think it is almost FUNNY how ridiculous I was thinking I had a plan figured out. Apparently, I didn’t check my map or refer to the correct GPS. And it is AWESOME that God scratched through my plans, threw in a few U-turns, breakdowns, and speed bumps all the while directing a new path and creating the perfect map for my life. I have learned that I don’t have to fear the word “recalculating” because God IS my map. He never let’s me miss my exit or turn. Rejoice that we have our own “Godly Path-Directing Service.”  He is MY kind of GPS!

Stopping for Directions isn’t a bad thing,
SGK

“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths…” –Psalm 25:4

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The Exception

What is your first thought when you think of the word “exception?”

Do you think it is something special? Something unattainable? A person, place or thing that is out of the ordinary?

If so, then you would be right. Sorta. Ish.

Webster defines exception as “an instance or case not conforming to the general rule.” That makes sense, right?

But what about being an exception in the world? Or even more so… In our walk with Christ??

As I was strategerizing (man I love that word!) about this post, a quote from the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” came to mind . It’s been forever since I watched that movie and it sure as heck isn’t Christian-based them. (Few chick-flicky romances are, let’s be honest.) But this is what came to mind…

In short, the whole movie is about a girl (Gigi) who is trying to find “the one.” She’s desperate and clingy and starts getting relationship advice from a dude acquaintance. (If you’ve ever seen any kind of chick flick, you already know where this is going.) Her dude friend Alex tells her that if a guy is into her, he will make it happen. He says that she needs to essentially stop living in pretendland, thinking that every guy who blows her off is going to miraculously change her mind and spontaneously propose just because her cousin’s friend’s neighbor did that and they lived happily ever after. Bottom line: She is the RULE… NOT the exception.

Well, here’s how things end up. (FYI spoiler alert to follow.) At the very end of the movie, Alex and Gigi have a final scene where she realizes that he is into her. He plants a kiss on her and ends with saying “You are MY exception.” (Then you hear my beloved husband making his gagging/retching/vomit noise in the background.)

So what in the heck does being the exception mean for us as Christians?

You, Beloved One, are the exception... Not the rule!

You, Beloved One, are the exception… Not the rule!

If we were all perfectly honest with ourselves, we might admit that we are completely ok with simply being THE RULE. Not coloring out of the lines, not drawing attention to ourselves. Flying under the Jesus radar. Going to church (if we are motivated) and not doing much else.

But God has called us (yes, as in you, me, your family, and your Christian neighbor) to be the exception for Him.

And before you freak out… it’s a good thing. Kind of a difficult thing sometimes, but a good thing. I promise. (And so does He!)

Being the exception for Christ can be found throughout Scripture. It can be present in the big and the little things in life, from loving our enemies to having child-like trust. It can be a boldness found in praying for the cashier or buying a stranger’s lunch just because Jesus nudged you to do it.

Oh, and don’t let the enemy convince you that being the exception is a bad thing. Sure, it is a fine line between embracing your God-given gifts and talents while remaining humble, resisting the urge to be prideful. As long as we know that God gave us this privilege, chose us for this calling to be His and the glory is all for Him… THEN we can be the exception.

In what ways you do feel God has called YOU to be the exception? Is it in your home and family? Or community or workplace? Does being the exception intimidate you or excite you? Be the exception to the rule– and leave a comment below.

I would like to challenge you to do something “exceptional” for Christ in the next 7 days. And it doesn’t have to be “exceptional” by the world’s standards as in big, profound and/or expensive. But exceptional in the love for Christ.

After all… He has called YOU (yes, you!) to be the exception. Let’s make it happen!

Exceptionally blessed,
SGK

“And these God-chosen lives all around— what splendid friends they make!” ~Psalm 16:3 (MSG) 

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Holiday Year in Review: 2012

Rumor has it… 2012 is coming to an end. (And by rumor, I really mean my iCalendar told me so.)

This has been quite a year~ In one word? Educational. Well, and encouraging. (Ok, I know that’s two words– but hey, that’s the awesome power of the keyboard. I do what I want. Well, within reason. Ish.)

We here in the Knobloch Family are mixing things up a bit this year. Instead of sending out hard copies of printed letters, in envelopes with pictures with full postage, we are going digital. Don’t worry, we are still sending out picture postcards– but we wanted to save on postage and labor, so are trying something a lil new. (Plus it was a compromise of my desire to update our dear friends and family on our lives via full printed letter/picture and my sweet husbands theory of “Can’t we just send out a text message?”)

So, dear friends and readers… Here are some of the educational and encouraging lessons that we have learned (or have been continually reaffirmed) in 2012.

Holiday pic 2012

1. God is faithful… all the time. I know it sounds cliché, but it has been a year of ups, downs and all arounds. We’ve experienced some of our lowest lows (we had a miscarriage in March) and our highest highs (we are now expecting our Little Patriot to arrive February 26th-ish! As if you couldn’t figure that out per the picture above.) Brandon is still a drill sergeant (t-minus six months ’til he hangs up his hat! But who’s counting…) I have really been dedicating my life to this ministry here at 7 Days Time, while also fulfilling my role as volunteer ministry apprentice at Christ Community Church and pursuing my spiritual leadership coaching certification. Oh. And being Family Readiness Group Leader for our army company. And growing a baby. WHEW.

Through all of these experiences, God has proven so incredibly faithful!! We’ve cried and laughed over the last year. With each experience, our marriage has grown stronger, as has our relationship with God. It is almost hard to put into words how grateful we are for God’s continual grace, patience, love and faithfulness. It’s overwhelming.

You didn’t think this was gonna be all gushy, did you? My bad. Please excuse me while I grab a tissue… AHEM.

2. God is dependable… in all circumstances. My word for 2012 was “Dependence.” Whoo-ee, lemme tell ya, folks– has God really put that word front and center in our lives!  He REQUIRED us to depend on Him numerous times throughout this year including more separated-by-call-of-duty-seasons, life challenges/circumstances, moments of victory and also as we faced some big fat question marks pertaining to our future. Through it all– He has never left us, never forsaken us.

We have seen incredible, remarkable, unexplainable growth in our ministry. I started blogging back in August 2011 and have since written 300+ blog posts at the time of this update. (That’s over 175,000 words!! Go Jesus, go!) We felt a stirring early in 2012, so we revamped and launched 7 Days Time back in February. With that, God told us He didn’t just want it to be a blog, but rather faith in action… which started our Factor of 7 movement where each month we do a random act of kindness for a group of people or strangers. Even though we are living on one income and I am working for “Jesus Dollars,” He has continued to provide for us financially in creative ways– which encourages our heart to keep giving it away for His glory. It’s an awesome process to be a part of– and such a blessing for us.  (We encourage you to check out our many Factor of 7 stories– and join in the movement. You won’t regret it. Seriously.)

3. God is loving… eternally. God has shown His love to us in some awesome ways this year both big and small. Our pup Sweet Justus is still a great at-home-cuddly-writing companion for me, and a perfect chase-around-the-living-room-please-don’t-break-the-lamp playing partner for Barn. He’s the best. And still hilarious. We have also been blessed with great people in our lives within our church family that have come alongside us this past year. (My boss/mentor Kelli and her family are a huge blessing in our lives! Plus they are wonderful puppy sitters whenever we travel.)

Our families have also been a huge blessing as they continually showcase God’s love in our lives. They have been so supportive and encouraging as we run after Jesus (and try to continually play nice with the army 😉 ) Lex & Dietrich (Brandon’s awesome parents)  are doing great… In fact, Lex and I are BFF’s… we text back and forth all day, talking about life and lifting each other up as we walk with Christ. My parents CJ and Gail are also doing well– although they are about a thousand miles away, Mom is always there ready for a phone conversation to remind me that everything can be fixed with prayer and a hot bath. (And chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate.) My younger sister Kathleen and her hubby Chris are trucking along in SE KS a few miles from my parents, still working on the farm and adopting calves, kittens, puppies and other random creatures whenever they can. My “little” brother Dal isn’t so little anymore. He’s ginormous. He’s 14. Driving. A freshman in high school. Awesome– yet it makes me a bit sick to my stomach. Weren’t we just bringing him home from the hospital after he was born like 20 minutes ago?? So yes– we are very blessed. And God’s love has been showered on us in so many ways in 2012!

4. God has a plan… for all of us. So what’s next? Great question. When we know, we will post it on Facebook. The end.

Just kidding.

Seriously, we know God has an awesome plan for us in 2013 (and beyond).  As of right now, we know that includes becoming parents for the first time (yay-yikes!) and potentially moving to a new duty station. (No, we do not know to WHERE yet– He is stretching and growing us– teaching us to wait– which we know is one of the hardest yet most important things we will ever do as Christians!) He has opened the door for me to preach a couple of messages over the last few months, so we are excited to see where that takes us as well.

We don’t really know what He has in store for us next– but we are determined to walk by faith, whatever time zone it takes us to and whatever new experiences life brings. Today, we encourage you to do the same. Please know that this holiday season is not a great excuse to eat sweet treats and buy cool presents… but it signifies the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the continual, constant and never-changing reminder that God is faithful… dependable…loving… and has a plan for each and every one of us.

May the love of Christ fill your heart not only during this holiday season– but each day that you are walking with Him.

Our love, prayers, and blessings,

Sharita, Brandon, Sweet Justus and Little Patriot

PS: Please let us know how we can pray for you by leaving a comment below…or following on Twitter @sharitaknobloch… or liking our Facebook page… Or subscribing to receive these post updates by email… Or emailing me via sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com. Blessings to all of you, sweet readers, friends and family!!

Categories: 2012, Christmas, God | Tags: , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Planned with Purpose (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk #8)

I am not a huge fan of cleaning.

I mean, I try to keep our house in decent-ish order, as in keeping the dishes contained to their sink/cabinet areas and preventing any accidental science experiments from growing in the back of the fridge.

However, as much as I loathe the day-to-day cleaning experiences, I do occasionally get in a mood to sort, organize and purge. In those moments, nothing can stop me from tearing apart the nearest coat closet or office desk drawer.

As an army family, we move a lot– and when we move, that is the ideal time to clean. And purge.

It’s funny because each time we go through this, I ALWAYS find several items that are just lying around which make me think: “Now WHY do we even OWN that?!?” (Fact of the matter is, we have probably held onto to said item and actually moved it from a previous house, yet never used it.)

It is then that the non-purposeful item makes a trip to our local Christian thrift store or Goodwill to fulfill its purpose somewhere else instead of sitting idly on a shelf or in the bottom of my closet.

As I was reflecting on the latest chapter of our bible study in “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow, I couldn’t help but think… How many people in this world are living their lives like those “why-do-we-even-have-this” items?

We are all designed with a purpose. God has a purpose for YOU. He planned you with a purpose. Are you fulfilling it? Or simply drifting through life, waiting for the next steps to happen?

I don’t know about you, but I really want to be USEFUL to God, to be fulfilled by Him while fulfilling the purpose He has for me… I desire to be His good and faithful servant– not just watch life drift by as I figuratively collect dust and grow old.

When we float through life without a focus, contentment is impossible.

Over the last several years, God has continued to define His purpose in tangible ways. This week, we are challenged to write a purpose statement… It can be a word or a phrase or bible verse. Here are some examples taken from the chapter…

Johnathan Edwards wrote his as a list of resolutions. Better Scott Stam created her life-purpose statement in the form of a prayer. Others live by a Bible verse. Some people have a few sentences with key words in them. One of the purpose statements that really spoke to my heart was as follows: “Lord Jesus, I offer You all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, all that I suffer now and forever.”

After praying through this, I came up with a “rough draft” of my life purpose statement. (It’s still being refined and developed.)

“Father, my life is not own. I am bought with a price. I belong to you. Every day, I will love. I will grow. I will pray. I will encourage. All for You. My deepest desire is to please you and hear these words upon my arrival at heaven’s gate: ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’  I vow to live Soli Deo Gloria– to the Glory of YOU alone.”

The Knoblochs and our life purpose statements… as permanent reminders.

Do you have a life purpose or mission statement? What is it?  Let’s encourage each other on this journey– leave your comments below!

Our lives are not meant to simply drift. When we have something to live for (Christ,) contentment comes much more easily. In life, we are not to collect dust or drift aimlessly or be shoved in the bottom of a hypothetical closet. We are ALL planned with purpose. What’s yours?

Praising Him for our Purpose,
SGK

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” ~Proverbs 19:21

*******

If you are “Officially” participating in our weekly bible study, here is chapter 8’s homework in Calm My Anxious Heart! Enjoy!! 

Day 1: Study Guide~Question 1,  Memorize and meditate on 1 Peter 5: 6 -7., Question 2

Day 2: Question  3. a., b., c.

Day 3: Questions 4,5

Day 4: Questions 6, 7

Day 5: Questions 8, 9

 ***Extra***

Word Study:  1 Peter 5: 6 – 7
Exalt or lift up; Due time; Cast; Cares (He cares for you)

Word Study:  Philippians 1: 9 – 11
Love; Abound; Knowledge; Depth of insight (Judgement); Discern (approve); Best (excellent); Pure (Sincere); Blameless (without offense); Filled; Fruit of righteousness

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday, God | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Jesus, Marriage, & Hamburger Helper

Ahhh, marriage… Tis so much more than that beautiful white dress, the romance of a honeymoon and those sweet moments of snuggling on the couch.

Marriage also includes challenges, growth, conflict, and on days when all of those things are present, sometimes hamburger helper for supper.

Truth in marriage. Just kidding.
We love each other. Kind of a lot.

Before I dive into today’s blog post on marriage, I have a disclaimer: First of all, the following story is not a “wawhoo-they-have-a-great-marriage” story. It is actually a “wawhoo-we-worship-an-incredible-God-and-we-are-so-thankful-He-is-the-center-of-our-marriage-and-yes-we-still-have-a-long-way-to-go” story. Also, I am not a huge advocate of airing “dirty laundry” in public forums like a blog for all the world to see, but this was such a remarkable testimony to God’s faithfulness that I couldn’t NOT share. (Plus it’s not really that dirty of laundry anyways.)

Oh, and a bit of background for those of you who might be new to this locale: My sweet hubby Brandon is a drill sergeant with the United States Infantry. We have been married for two wonderful (and educational) years.

A couple of weeks ago was “FTX” time in my husband’s training cycle as a drill sergeant. FTX stands for “Field training Exercise” which is code for “let’s go do profound infantry things out in the bushes for a week so these boys can officially be soldiers.” As a wife, sometimes I think FTX actually stands for “Frequently a Time of Exasperation.” But I digress. So he left for FTX with the intention of coming home at least one night out of the 4 or 5 nights that he would be in the field. However, due to some new “rules,” this theory was flushed away on day one… I took it well (thanks, Jesus!) and prepared myself for a week of flying solo.

That was Monday. By Tuesday morning, his phone had died, because someone didn’t take his wife’s suggestion to make sure it was fully charged on Sunday night “just in case.” (I’m a huge advocate of communication.) So, the week wore on with no way to communicate– not a half-second “I love you” text or “Yep, still alive” text. I spent my time working and hanging out with Jesus to stave off loneliness and attacks by The Enemy.

Long story still long, my dear husband was planning on being home mid-day Thursday ish. I went to work. And came home. No sign of him. No word from him. I started on supper, confused, a wee bit frustrated (seriously, it wasn’t bad at this point.) I was making a simple, homemade version of hamburger helper (not out of the box, but very similar.) As I was working over the stove, my phone rang. It was my husband. My heart flopped with glee! Finally!

I answered and he sounded exhausted. I excitedly asked if he was en route homeward. Negative. My heart sank. My frustration with his job in the army grew. It had been a rough day (ok, week) for him. But as we talked, my womanly (pregnant) hormones took over. I could hear my voice rising as I stirred supper faster and faster. Brandon asked for me to pray for him– for patience to make it through the next several hours, with his co-workers, with the entire situation. I snapped back at him “Um, I HAVE been praying for you. ALL WEEK.” (Classy, I know. Sigh.)

His voice cracked as he said “No, seriously, Sharita. I NEED you to pray for me.”

My heart switch flipped. The tears were rolling as I dropped my spoon on the counter and headed to the living room. I knelt down on my knees, leaning on the couch. I started to pray. Out loud. On the phone.

Guess what? Jesus. Showed. Up.

I learned that it is impossible to be ticked off when you are legitimately in the presence of God. I prayed for us with my beloved on the other end of the line. By the time I got done, my heart was lighter. My tears had stopped. His voice sounded stronger.

This post is not to say that our marriage is perfect (it’s not) or that we have it all figured out (we don’t.) But it is a testimony to the power and presence of God… How do you invite Christ into your everyday life? Has He shown up and shown out lately? In what ways? I love to hear from you… Leave your comments below.

I praise God for His incredible faithfulness. What could have been a knock-down-drag-out-pouty-tearful-unChristlike moment in our marriage turned into a sweet, redeeming memory of focus on God and love for each other with a simple prayer that all started with  Jesus… And hamburger helper.

Jesus is OUR helper,
SGK

“I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.” ~1 Corinthians 7:29-31 MSG

Categories: God, marriage | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Our Own Set of Footprints

You can tell a lot about someone’s footprints.

No, I don’t mean what type of shoes they wear or what size their feet are. Footprints can often tell us where someone’s been… and perhaps where they are going.

Where do you see footprints most often? Typically for our family, sandy army boot footprints make their way across my kitchen. Sometimes its wet puppy paws. When I was growing up, it footprints were left in the snow. Or  on the back porch after doing cow chores outside. (You can imagine the “stuff” that was tracked in with THAT experience.)

As I woke up yesterday morning, I pondered this footprint concept when it comes to our walk with God. Most of us have heard the poem “Footprints” where a man dreams that he was walking with God along a beach. For most of the journey, there were two sets of prints– his and Gods. But at one point, there was only one set. Perplexed, the man questioned God. “Father, I though you said you would never leave or forsake me. But during the darkest times of my life, there’s only one set of footprints.” God’s reply? “My son, my precious child… It was then I carried you.”

Oh snap. Heard ya, Lord.

Just like our muddy/snowy/sandy/soggy footprints on the kitchen floor, we can tell a lot about our walk with God by looking at both His footprints and ours footprints on our path of life.

Picture the following images and think of examples from your own life:

One set of prints-– God carried us through the hard times. (For me, examples are induction into married army life, our miscarriage, other losses, challenges, dealing with the unknown.)

Our footprints are several steps ahead of Him– That’s when we are “helping” Him out, running before Him, not waiting on Him. (Uh, this was the majority of my early Christian walk. AKA, “I-get-what-I-want-when-I-want-it-ouch-I-tripped-and-fell-on-my-face.)

His steady footprints moving forward while our prints are a light, jagged, scuffed line– This could be when we are shuffling along, slower than normal, focusing on the icky-part of our journey or even being ungrateful. (Also, been there, done that– sometimes daily.)

His steady footprints are walking the path and ours are veering off, swirling around, backtracking. In this instance we are fighting for control, trying to find our own way. Or distracted. (Think: “OH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!”)

His footprints face backwards and we see two long, deep lines in the sand/snow/mud… He has got ahold of us under the arms and around our chest (lovingly but firmly) and is dragging us along the path. (This image makes me laugh. Because it’s true. When we resist what is on the path up ahead, but He loves us enough to tug us along.)

His footprints have stopped, facing backwards… and there’s our round little keister mark in the sand. This is the point where we pout. We protest briefly, throwing our little humanly hissy fit when things don’t go our way. Fortunately, He waits it out– He doesn’t keep on walking or leave us behind. He waits.

Finally, we have the two pairs of footprints, His and ours, walking side by side… This is the ideal, when we are walking close to Him, strolling hand-in-hand. It is at this moment that we are most filled with His peace and understand (or at least embrace) the purpose He has for our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve left all these prints with God at some point within my walk with Him. (Sometimes multiple ones all in a matter of days or hours!) Lately, I’ve been doing my best to reach that ideal– giving up control, completely depending on Him for EVERYTHING and walking side-by-side.

This is true in my marriage, life, motherhood-in-progress and ministry.

Which of these “prints” are you leaving with your walk with God today? Which of these images speak to you the most? Please don’t be shy– I would love to hear from your heart. Comment below if you feel so led.

God is calling us to walk with Him by His a sweet, sweet promise to NEVER leave or forsake us. Let’s walk with Him– and leave our own set of footprints.

He Walks with Me,
SGK

“I’ve followed him closely, my feet in his footprints, not once swerving from his way. I’ve obeyed every word he’s spoken, and not just obeyed his advice—I’ve treasured it.” ~Job 23:11-12 MSG

PS: Speaking of walking side-by-side with God in ministry… He is taking me on a new path. I am blessed to have the opportunity to preach at two services (Rock Valley, IA and Seeds of Faith in Lester, IA) on Sunday, October 28th. If you are in the vicinity, we would love to see you there!!

Categories: God, path | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Small Stuff

I am kind of a short gal. On a good day, I clock in at five feet, two inches. I know, I know—that’s not exceptionally short, but my height sometimes causes issues when it comes to reaching the top shelf of the pantry or trying to hang a picture that is just out of reach.

Although I might be short in stature, I sure am glad that I worship a really big God.

But even though God is big, mighty and powerful—he still cares about the “small stuff.”

Sometimes people come to me with a question or a challenge they are facing. When I ask if they have prayed about it, many times the response is something along the lines of “Oh, God doesn’t care about ____ in my life… its too small. I don’t want to bother Him with it.”

Great news, my friend. God DOES care—about the big AND the small stuff in life.

I’ve heard it said that if it matters to you, it matters to God. You are God’s child. And our Heavenly Father wants nothing more than to be involved in your life—especially by your invitation.

So today’s post is a tribute to the “small stuff” in life. You know, the stuff that in the grand scheme of things is kind of minor, but in the moment makes our heart skip a beat… and utter a quick, desperate prayer. Some of these are real life examples from yours truly…

God cares… when our pregnant brain has misplaced the car in the parking garage and we need help locating it.  (Not that I would know by personal experience or anything… ahem.)

God cares… when we realize halfway through a recipe that we might be missing a pertinent ingredient.

God cares… when our car fuel light comes on miles from the next gas station.

God cares… when we are running a few minutes late to work.

God cares… when we have generally “icky” days.

God cares…  when we realize you left something important at home when traveling.

Do you ask God for help with the big and small? Think about the “small stuff” in your life. What small stuff do you know God cares about in your life? I would love to hear all about it—leave your thoughts below in the comments!

Remember—God desires nothing more than to love you. He cares for you, and all aspects of your life… We don’t have to sweat the small stuff—but we can ask God to help us with it!

From Big to Small, God cares about it all,
SGK

“They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great.” ~Hebrews 8:12 MSG 

Categories: God | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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