Posts Tagged With: prayer

How to Deal: “Rug Rippers” (Repost)

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance…

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

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Everyday Jesus: A Comfort Zone Emergency…

I love hanging out/talking to/learning from authentic folks who have eyes (and a heart!) for Christ. My dear friend Meghan is one of those awesome folks– and she sure has a great and powerful story to share with you via today’s edition of Everyday Jesus. Hope you are ready for this, because it sure moved me in more ways than one! 

Moved by His Majestic Love, 
SGK

PS: Be sure to share the love with Meghan by leaving your feedback and comments below.

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Have you noticed that God is never really too concerned with leaving us where we feel comfortable? Nope. He’s just not concerned about that at all.

Throughout the Bible, God is shown stretching His people, calling them out of their places of comfort, calling them to be bold and to walk out into the unknown for His purposes. Our God called Abraham away from his home, asked Moses (a man with a speech impediment) to be a very vocal leader, and had the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. He called shepherds to be kings, called men to walk on water, and still calls his followers to trust in Him daily.

I don’t know about you, but I really like to be comfortable. Especially when it comes to sharing my faith. Maybe there’s something in the water, but I’ve noticed that even the boldest Christians will often grow timid when it comes to sharing their faith with strangers.

And God is not satisfied with that. He recently helped me to tackle my fear of getting out of my comfort zone in a place where I least expected Him to show up.

emergency entrance

My husband and I were leaning against the wall in the emergency entrance of a local hospital one late and rainy Georgia night, waiting to pick up two friends who were rushed to the ER after their car accident. Honestly, by that point in the evening, I felt pretty burnt out and tired. I found that the only way to keep my mind from going to negative places (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was actually trying to not linger on thinking about how few people in the ER had insurance and how much that would cost the government…I know, not nice…) was to zone out completely and turn numb to the many people in pain before me.

All of a sudden, my husband asked me if I was praying for Jesus to come into that place. Um… no, far from it!

I was sadly in a place where I didn’t even feel capable (or worthy) of approaching the throne of grace and getting into a spirit of prayer. But his sweet words convicted me, and, at a loss for words, started to pray, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” – there truly is power in His name.

Suddenly, I felt convicted to put my prayer into action. This is NOT the kind of thing that I would normally do. Like I said, I’m often quite timid about approaching strangers and sharing my faith, but God called me to be bold for Him, and then He even revealed exactly who He wanted me to pray with. Not for, but with.

I think that I actually started shaking as I realized that I had to go and actually talk with someone!

I noticed a girl who was writhing in pain in the entrance to the ER. Her mother had come inside to beg the receptionist to let her daughter be seen urgently because she was in much pain, but there was nothing that the receptionist could do. I saw both daughters of Christ, one in excruciating pain, the other burdened with anxiety, fear, and frustration.

Oh God, how many times have I been burdened by the enemy? And how many times have you sent people alongside me to lift me up? In this moment, I realized the human neediness for God’s gracious provision. How could I turn down my role in this?

So I made a choice and let God lead me out of the glass sliding doors towards the two. I simply asked the mother if I could pray with them, and to my surprise she reacted with excitement! I asked the girl her name, but she couldn’t look up into my face. As I sat down next to her and wrapped my arms around her, placing my hand where she was feeling pain her mother and I launched into prayer for her, asking God for His healing presence.

I don’t know that God’s intention was to totally heal the girl physically as much as it was to bring His light and warmth into that place where so many were numb from pain or apathy. After we finished, the girl was able to look up, and she was no longer moaning or writhing in pain. I was able to see her face and affirm her beauty to her. Her mother was so full of thanks and joy after our short time together, and I truly believe that God was able to change the trajectory of her night.

But lo and behold, God changed me in that instance, too. He changed my heart and my thoughts and my will. He allowed me to be sensitive to His voice, to follow His commands, and to be a part of what He’s doing in my city, even if it was on a small-scale. God cares not about the quantity of what we do, but with what quality our heart goes forth where He calls.

Praise and glory to our good Father who is able to heal the sick, cover over a multitude of sins, and redirect an independent soul like me towards His Kingdom’s purposes!

****

meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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You just gotta ask yourself…

Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself: “How can I BEST represent Jesus in this situation?”

Kinda sounds like the old WWJD trend, right? (Who has a bracelet? You know what I’m talking about.)

But seriously– we sometimes find ourselves in super sticky situations that really seems to have no productive solution. I found myself in that very place a couple of weeks ago. I was genuinely stumped and my heart was torn.

Fortunately for me, it was prayer week at church.

See, three times a year, our Church Body puts the whoa on evening activities and invites everyone to come to church to pray. No, it isn’t a time for us to gather and pray for each other’s needs (although sometimes the Holy Spirit works that in.) But instead we worship for a little while, then we sit and listen to what the Lord is saying to us via a theme or prompt or Scripture set… then we come back together at the end and listen to whomever has something to share.

Sometimes God speaks very powerfully to me. Other times, He gives me answers I’ve been needing or leads me to some pretty cool Scripture. Or sometimes He just wants me to CHILL OUT and rest in His presence. (Yes, resting and napping is permitted if that is what your heart/spirit/body needs and the Holy Spirit  leads you to it!)

Anywho, I was wrapped up in a sticky, messy situation with no brilliant ideas on how to fix it. Our theme for the year at Christ Community is “His Work, Our Peace.” Honestly, peace was the LAST trait you could have used to describe me at that point. So I headed to church, hoping for answers– or at least a little sliver of His Peace.

The theme for the night was the first work of Christ– His incarnation. After I had a good (and much-needed!) cry by myself in the back row of chairs, I sat… and captured this message directly in my journal.

So today, I just wanted to share what God revealed to me in the midst of my yuck.

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“Jesus became a man. He understands our struggles and has been slandered and persecuted. Yet even on the cross, He forgave those who hurt Him and He never stopped loving.  He didn’t care about people’s’ approval– He only cared about His Father’s heart and approval. 

So as I face this hurtful situation, I must be like Christ. It’s kind of like bringing back WWJD. He wasn’t just a man of theory, but of action. Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself “How can I best represent Christ in this situation?” Philippians 2:5 says “In your relationships, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” In the study section of my Bible, it says this about the verse: “Christians are to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others.” 

It’s scary. It’s hard. But I must remember the words of the song we sang during worship… 

‘No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck me from His hand.’

I embrace the truth that My Beloved is Mine and I am His. 

I am safe and protected. He is the ONE I answer to. So as I reflect on the person in flesh of Jesus, He is… 

HOLY. FULLY LIGHT. UNCOMPROMISING. PURE. GOOD. MERCIFUL. COMPASSIONATE. AWARE. ATTENTIVE. RIGHTEOUS. SERVING. GIVING. POWERFUL. MIGHTY. GLORIOUS. AWESOME. AUTHORITATIVE. WARRIOR. JOYFUL. SENSE OF HUMOR. FORGIVING. LOVING. SACRIFICIAL. LOVE PERSONIFIED. PROVIDER. CARES FOR US. RESTORER. REDEEMER. VICTORIOUS. LIFE GIVER. 

So Jesus came to us in flesh. He understands. He lives in us. We CAN be all these things by clinging to the one truth that He loves us unconditionally. Always. This is done not in our power–but in His power and grace.” 

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So yeah… Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself– how can you BEST represent Christ in your situation?

What’s YOUR answer?

Grateful for His Grace,
SGK

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” ~Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG) 

jesus was journal

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Open for business 24/7

Sometimes you just can’t help but appreciate the businesses that are open 24/7.

I mean seriously– just think about it… The places that are open round-the-clock are usually those businesses that are most important or that we have to use in emergencies. Hospitals, fire stations, police/law enforcement, some gas stations, some pharmacies (like Walgreens) and even Wal-Mart and Waffle House. (Granted, Wal-Mart and Waffle House might not be needed in emergency situations– but it’s still super convenient!)

I can’t help but be thankful not only for these modern-day services and conveniences– but also am so grateful that our God is a 24/7 kind of dude.

open sign

He’s always there. Always accessible. Never closed, never out of reach. Always ready to help.

Which is great for the nights when I can’t sleep– and those nights seem to come more frequently the more pregnant I become. (Plus I heard some nasty rumor about parenthood taking away your regular sleep patterns… so apparently this non-sleeping-during-nighttime-hours is supposed to get more intense once baby arrives. 😉 )

This middle of the night can’t sleep issue happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I awoke right on schedule for my regular 3am preggo bathroom break. (Sorry if that’s TMI…) But as I headed to back bed, I had a realization that made my heart sink– my brain had woken up. It was in high gear.

Crap. (Pardon my language.)

Granted, I DID have a lot on my mind- and heart. Just a few hours before, I was in my first ever car accident and was still pretty wound up from that. Now I was faced with the prospect that this new little one was going to show up in our lives in a matter of weeks– and we probably needed to purchase a new car before that point. Oh, and did I mention we are planning to move 2800 miles to a new duty station within the first few months of this baby’s birth? No pressure.

But yes, my woman brain kicked into alert state. Which woke up this growing baby-child in my belly. I sighed heavily and took my sore hips and racing mind downstairs.

I grabbed a light snack since my stomach was growling, then laid down on the couch, hoping that things would settle down. After a few minutes, I knew I was going to have to call for help.

I was desperate. So I called in reinforcements. I started to pray.

It wasn’t prayers of just “Jesus, PLEASE help me go to sleep.” But I started running through all of the stuff in my life that was on my heart. I prayed for a preggo pal who although we were due within days of each other, had already given birth to her baby prematurely a couple of weeks prior. I prayed for a friend who was facing having a tough conversation with her parents about faith. I prayed for our family mission statement. I prayed for God to take my tension away and replace it with peace. I prayed… and prayed… and…

Next thing I know– it was no longer 3:47am. But I awoke that Thursday morning semi-ready to face the day– during “normal” business hours.

I’m so thankful that God is always open for business and ready to listen, save and help.

Have you every had trouble sleeping? What is your remedy? How does God being available 24/7 change your relationship with Him? Better yet… how can it improve or encourage your relationship with Him? Don’t be shy… leave a comment below!

When the weight of this world is pulling you down– or keeping you from peace– or disrupting your sleep pattern– remember, dear friends… that God is always accessible. Always ready. Always here to help.

Now THAT’S what I call being open for business 24/7.

Finding peace in His presence– at all hours of the day,
SGK

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” ~Psalm 46:7 NIV

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The Power of One Word: 2013

Believe it or not, one word can make quite a difference in a conversation, in a blog post, and yes, even in a life.

I participated in the “One Word” challenge for the first time in 2012. For the entire 12 months, God helped me to learn, grow and be shaped around the word “Dependence.”

Now that 2013 is upon us (Happy New Year, by the way!) it is time for a new challenge.

I’ve been praying for the last month or so for my new word… And today is the big reveal… READY?

Drum roll please…

(Insert sound of envelope being opened by shaky, excited hands…)

My word for 2013 is…

STAND.

As it was with 2012, I am not sure what all the word “STAND” entails for my walk throughout 2013… But I trust God knows what He is doing– and I am SO EXCITED to see how this shakes down.

I have prayed over this word and done some initial research. Here’s some fun facts about my “word” for 2013:

  • “Stand” is used over 438 different times in the NIV. (Granted, some of those examples are nouns and I am thinking that God is wanting me to focus on verb usage… but we shall see!)
  • In modern-day language, “Stand” can also mean attitude, belief, position, rise, remain, rest, abide, Hmmm….)
  • “Stand” is used  22 different ways in the original Greek and Hebrew translations of Scripture.
  • Of those 22 original interpretations, 13 directly apply to what I currently interpret/expect as “Stand” meaning in my life.
  • One Greek word for stand is “paristano,” which means to “become.” Another word, “eis” means to “move toward.”
  • Other ancient translations can mean rise up, stand firm, be steadfast, come back to life, come to pass, establish, to be present, heal, restore, strengthen, come near, remain, assign, confirm, dwell, witness, hold each other up and comfort. (Very interesting!)
  • Oh. And there are lots of great Jesus-y songs that include the word “Stand” in their lyrics. (On Christ the Solid Rock I stand… I stand amazed in His presence… etc)

Cool stuff, huh? I’m pumped to see how this year shapes up.

There are also a lot of great Scriptures that encompass the verb “stand.” In my prayer and research, I have found that many reference “standing firm in the faith” which encourages (and challenges!) my heart. So something new that I am hoping to do for 2013 is to memorize one verse per week that has the word “stand” in it. (Pray for me in this– I have a feeling with a new baby this could be challenging– but if God wants me to do it, He will make it happen!)

So. Stinkin. Excited.

Does this inspire you to ask the Lord if He has a word for you in 2013? Or perhaps you already have one? What is it? Leave a comment below and let’s get a conversation started! 🙂

I can’t say enough how living out the “One Word” challenge has literally changed my life. It gives me something to focus on daily, in all circumstances. It opens my eyes to see how God is moving. I totally believe that He gave me this word and He is going to move mightily and powerfully through it in the coming months.

Again, I am praying that in 2013 God continues to strengthen and encourage our hearts… So that we can ultimately STAND up for Him.

Standing for Him, in Him, because of Him,
SGK

“… If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” ~Isaiah 7:9 NIV

 

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Ideas Wanted: Factor of 7

Readers… we need your help.

Remember the acts of kindness movement we do here at 7 Days Time called Factor of 7? You know, the whole thing about us randomly sharing Jesus’ love in unique and unexpected ways? Well, 2012 has been an awesome year of giving, loving and praying… but 2013 is sneaking up on us! We would love your ideas and input for any creative ideas for 2013 Factor of 7 movements.

Heaven is the limit. (Literally.) Anything goes. Maybe it’s something you’ve heard of, thought about, dreamt of, or experienced yourself.  Get creative. Leave your suggestions by commenting below.

Seriously. We want to pick your brains. Help us come up with more great ways to do some Jesus Sneak Attacks on folks! (In a loving and non-scary way of course.)

$7 because we all have 7 days time to live each week... and $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine! How can we pray for you?

$7 because we all have 7 days time to live each week… and $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine!
How can we pray for you?

Just as a refresher, here is a brief recap of some of the Factor of 7’s we did for 2012…

Joy for Joyce— we took $107 in an envelope and went to a local grocery story. After walking around and praying for a few minutes, we gave our envelope of cash to a woman, telling her we wanted to help pay for her groceries.

Chill with Jesus-– My beloved husband and I went to our local frozen yogurt shop and paid for 35 unsuspecting customer’s fro-yo (approximately $107) asking nothing more than how we could pray for them.

A Latte Love-– Just like our fro-yo experience, we did the same thing at Fort Benning’s Starbucks for 22 customers. Oh, and we made the Fort Benning Bayonet… we were able to reach so many people to tell them about Jesus’ love!

Thirst No More-– We walked 7.17 miles on a local trail handing out 35 water bottles and taking down 22 prayer requests. It was awesome. (This Factor of 7 provided a great/hilarious VLOG opportunity as Real Warriors for Christ!)

Bravocado, Jesus! In this Factor of 7 experience, God took a moment of potential pity and grumpiness, and allowed us to bless our waitress at Chili’s with a pretty hefty tip. Way to show up, Lord!

How Sweet It Is— We mixed things up a bit for this one… we baked lots of tasty goodies, then gave them to our “unsung servants” here at Fort Benning, from the housing office workers, to the garbage truck guys to the gate guards.

Planting a Few Seeds of Faith— This experience allowed us to share even more about our Factor of 7 ministry movement during a teaching workshop at Seeds of Faith Youth Group in Lester, IA… Then we were able to bless and pray for the participants.

We give God ALL of the glory for each of these experiences (as well as the undocumented ones we have done in order to protect people’s privacy.) We are so excited for all God has in store for us in 2013– and can’t wait to hear about the awesome ideas that you share below.

Thanks for your support and prayers this year… YOU have blessed us immensely.

Oh, one last thing– How can we pray for you? 😉

Beyond Blessed,
SGK (and Brandon)

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” –Luke 6:38 (MSG)

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Be “PrePRAYERed”

Life happens. (Profound statement, right? Or not.)

You know what I’m talking about. The life “stuff” that is good,  meh and “Are-you-kidding-me?!!”

It all happens. But really… our daily circumstances are neutral. Our reaction to them actually determines which category they fall into.

So today’s question: On a scale of one to ten– how much are you prepared to handle?

Believe it or not, we can all be closer to ten if we are truly prePRAYERed.

The Bible says worry about nothing and pray about everything. It doesn’t say “Pray about the “hard” stuff and just deal with the smaller stuff on your own.” Pray about everything. We’ve talked about it on here before– if it matters to you, it matters to God. So pray about it.

Let me give you a real-life example…

Our darling LadyBug. Reliable. Efficient. And in need of a check up.

Our darling LadyBug. Reliable. Efficient. And in need of a check up.

Car trouble has a tendency to stress me out. Taking my car in for anything but routine maintenance can create anxiety in my heart and worry on my brain. Getting the car fixed ranks right up with going to the dentist, adjusting our budget and unexpected trips to the doctor. (Side note: Why is being responsible so challenging? Lame. SIGH.)

Anywho, our sweet little car, Ladybug, had been making “noises” for about a month. In my automotive knowledge, I was pretty sure it wasn’t a motor thing, but more of a wheel/brake issue. Finally, it got bad enough that we were embarrassed to drive her around a corner due to the loud roaring and squealing that ensued. (Plus, we are prepping to do some cross-country road tripping for the holidays… so we really don’t want to break down in Boondock, Tennessee.)

It was time to suck it up and be responsible. I made an appointment at a local auto shop for 8am on a Saturday morning. (I was motivated when I made the appointment. Saturday morning proved differently.) Before I drove her in, I prayed.

I wasn’t overly nervous. I knew it wasn’t a transmission thing… and really, this year of living out my God-word dependence has really FORCED me to trust Him with EVERYTHING.

Even car maintenance.

But still,  I prayed… “Lord, please let this go smoothly and quickly. Let the mechanics be courteous, and I pray for good news for our car. You know the desire of my heart is for this not to be really expensive… but I trust you with whatever happens today. Amen.”

I know it sounds a little hokey, but right when I said AMEN, the anxiety left. It was go time.

Well… Three hours later, Ladybug was fixed… And our savings account was a little less full. Ouch.

As I was paying our rather large (and un-budgeted-for) bill, I remembered that just a few short seasons ago, a bill of that magnitude would have sent me into a tailspin. I would have been in tears. Sick to my stomach. My weekend ruined. Depressed that for Christmas this year that yes, our family will get to see us, but that any presents they were expecting are now in the form of new brake pads, rotors, tires, etc. (Merry Christmas, everyone!)

Instead, my heart was grateful. Can you believe it? I couldn’t. But God has prePRAYERed us for this. God reminded me that I had a reliable car to drive– and had the money in our savings account to cover it.

Praise. Jesus. I was blown away by how praying about EVERYTHING can change our perspective so quickly and drastically.

What are you facing today? A challenge at work? A test, final or presentation in school? Perhaps a stressful family situation? Or maybe just needing the energy to do the dishes? Again I ask… On a scale of one to ten– how much are you prePRAYERed to handle?  Comment below with your answer and what you might be facing today. (I would love to pray for you!)

Friends, whatever you are going through, big, small or in between, pray about it. If it matters to you, it matters to God. He is sovereign over all. Take it to the Lord… And Be prePRAYERed.

Prepared with Prayer,
SGK

 “Be prepared… Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long.” ~Ephesians 6:13;18 MSG

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How to Deal: “Rug Rippers”

We’ve all been there. We finally feel like we’ve gotten our balance. We are walking on solid ground. Things might not be going absolutely grandiose perfecto, but they are going. We take what we can get and relish the stability. When suddenly…

WHOMP!!!  Someone (or something) rips the rug right out from underneath us.

Yep. We all have ’em in our lives. Those dreaded people/things that knock us completely off-balance and throw things out of whack.

I “fondly” call them the “rug-ripper-outters-from-underneath-us-ow-that-hurts.” That’s kind of a long name to refer back to in a blog post, so for the purposes of this post, I will refer to those people/events/things as “Rug Rippers” aka R-squared for short.

Sometimes we go from keeping our balance-- to falling down the stairs... Or tripping when the rug is ripped right out from under us.

If only we could have as much fun as this guy when we lose our balance… 

Depending on the season of life, I seem to have a lot of rug-ripping moments. Sure, I bet some of that can be contributed to the fact that I am incredibly uncoordinated and trip UP the stairs on a regular occasion… but it also comes with the territory of being a Christian, an army wife, a minister, a friend…

Heck, just LIVING and BREATHING sometimes seems to be the ultimate set up for a rug-ripping experience.

It happened to my hubby and I last Friday night at 10pm. We were finishing up an evening of  rare together time at a holiday military function. All in all, it was a decent night and we were treasuring the time we had with one another. Things were going smoothly, we had survived another rough phase in army life over the last month or so. PRAISE. GOD.

Then a few unexpected phone calls and some changed (yet previously un-communicated) schedules later, the rug was ripped right out from underneath us. WHOMP!! 

We were faced with a decision. Do we let this unexpected circumstance derail all of the blessings that we experienced from God in the previous hours? Or do we somehow engineer a way to recover from our frustration?

We silently pondered (ok, steamed would probably be a better word for me) for a few minutes. We arrived home and I found myself in a battle– my flesh was frustrated and ticked, the Enemy was all up in my Kool-aid trying to get me to be upset at my husband even though he had about as much control over the situation as I did. All the while, God was telling me what I should do: Release it to Him.

Barn and I headed to bed shortly thereafter. We have a policy not to go to bed angry so we talked and vented for a while (fortunately, we managed not to get tick at each other– thanks, Jesus.) And then my Beloved suggested the perfect remedy to restore our balance that the R-squared event caused.

“Sharita… I know it’s really hard and we might not feel like it right now. But let’s pray about this.”

Confession: There was not a single bone in my body that desired to pray. I mean, I was MAD. Fortunately, there WAS a spot in my heart that KNEW I had to… So we prayed. Together. Out loud.

As we said amen, our balance was restored. Not even kidding. Immediate. And even with the jacked-up schedule we were facing the next day, our weekend wasn’t “ruined.”

I have continued reflect on this “rug-ripping” experience. And God gave me this vision. We live in a fallen world. Which means we are ALL going to be knocked of balance from all directions.  Picture it:

If the rug is ripped out from behind us… we end up falling forward… On our knees.

If the rug is ripped out from in front of us… We end up flat on our backs, wind knocked out of us… peering towards the heavens.

Both positions are IDEAL to pray, taking the issue or circumstance to God.

It might take a hot minute (or twelve) for us to recover from our fall. But if we go to God– He will help us back to our feet.  He WILL restore us. AND our balance.

No matter how big, unexpected or painful your rug-ripping experience is… God is sovereign over all. Nothing surprises Him. And when we are at our most unbalanced and weakest– that is when we are closest to God.

Restored Daily,
SGK

“He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 3:24 MSG

Categories: challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Planting a Few Seeds of Faith (Factor of 7)

Attention houseplants and vegetation: Enter at your own risk.

I do NOT have a green thumb. You have been warned.

My inability to grow plants and keep them alive for extended periods of time is not for lack effort. (Ok, maybe a little lack of effort- or lack of remember to water them regularly.) It is mainly a lack of knowledge. Know-how. Skill. I just don’t have “the gift.”

We currently have four plants in our kitchen… Enrique the spider plant has been with me the longest (His 4th “birthday” is coming up in a week or so. At least I think. Ish.) Chloe the peace lily has been around for about 3 years. Eleanor the aloe plant has resided in our kitchen for about a year and a half. We have a recent addition to our plant family still nameless. (Name suggestions anyone?)

Perhaps you are impressed with the longevity of my sweet plant population. Please don’t be. These are the lucky few that were the strongest… many of their counterparts have not met such a lucky fate. And honestly, these plants have had their close calls as well.

Enrique the spider plant… Still going strong (A testimony of God’s miracles. Seriously.)

Fortunately, God has not called me (or my husband for that matter) to be thriving, successful horticulturists, growing acres of healthy, attractive vegetation. (WHEW!)

However… He has called us to plant and grow seeds of a different kind– those seeds that share His never-ending and abundant love.

We do this through a movement within this ministry called “Factor of 7.” (Read all about it here.)  Our “Factor of 7” for August and September was kind of confidential, which is why you haven’t heard much about it as of late. However, God gave us a pretty sweet opportunity to re-engage Factor of 7  at a youth group gathering at Seeds of Faith church in Lester, IA on October 28th.

Here’s what went down…

You remember that I was blessed to preach at two churches that morning, Seeds of Faith being one of them. At the conclusion of the second service, a church member approached me. Sandy told us that the youth group speaker that they had scheduled for the evening had canceled… Would we be willing to help them out??

My mouth dropped open (I know this, because she laughed at my expression.) I had just got done preaching twice. We had a baby shower scheduled for that afternoon. Obviously we had nothing prepared and about 6 hrs to make it happen. I had gotten up at 2:30am CST the day before to get to the airport. Honestly, my flesh was telling me to say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

However, God told me YES. So that’s what I said. YES.

I voluntold my husband we were team teaching that night (why should HE get to miss out on the fun?) and between guests, gifts, cupcakes and snacks, we prayed and planned to share our hearts with the youth of Seeds of Faith.

Long story still long– it was AWESOME. God showed up (as He often tends to do.) Seeds were planted as we shared part of our testimonies,  told  about our ministry and our Factor of 7 movement as well as showed them our “Real Warriors of Christ” vlog. Our main point was from James 2:26: “FAITH WITHOUT ACTION IS DEAD.”

As we ended, we included them in our October Factor of 7. Although it wasn’t much, we were able to scrounge up some small candy bars/Halloween candy. We gave them each a piece and asked for their first name and how we could pray for them.

I have never heard a group of teenagers (and parents) so quiet in my life. God’s power was felt there in that sanctuary. It was incredible.

How have you shared God’s love with someone lately? Are you planting seeds or just waiting for the harvest? How can you get creative in your everyday walk and invite God to work powerfully in your life? (As usual, feel free to comment below.)

You don’t have to be a “professional” when it comes to planting seeds of God’s love. God doesn’t need your ability– just your AVAILABILITY. It only takes a little love and  faith the size of a mustard seed to get started.

The ground is ready– God is waiting for you to make the first move and start planting a few seeds of faith.

Growing in Him,
SGK

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” ~2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) 

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 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

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