Category Archives: Sin Issues

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God’s Best vs. Your Plans

“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.” Ephesians 6:1

By: Jennifer Mullen

Lately I have felt like a broken record.  The two things I hear myself saying over and over to my kids are “Obey right away” and “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”  (I know…I know “get” and “fit” don’t rhyme…unless you live in the South!)

As I was saying, I catch myself saying these two phrases over and over!  In a moment of frustration I angrily poured out my heart to the Father. “Why don’t they get it?  Why don’t they ever pay attention to me?  Why are they so ungrateful?”  And then the still, small voice began to whisper His truths to me. Continue reading

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Accepting Help from Others:Roadblocks of the Prideful

A couple week ago we posted this article about how YOU can be a champion for Grace. Today our post gives a first hand account from a graduate from the Saving Grace program. God is doing amazing things in the hearts of these young women!

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“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope”                                                                                                            Jeremiah 29:11

By: Kimberley A. Lane- Graduate of the Saving Grace program.

735210_487450104650921_421711586_nSaving Grace is a transitional home in Rogers, Arkansas for women between the ages of eighteen to twenty-four who have phased out of foster care or simply it is a safe place for women who are currently in an unsafe environment.  I applied to Saving Grace in September of 2010 because my aunt had just kicked me out of her house and none of my friends or other family members had room for me. A pamphlet at a local church led me to Saving Grace. After I applied and interviewed, I was immediately accepted.

My first year in Saving Grace was a difficult one.  Anger was all I felt for everyone around me. The staff, my mentors, and my RA’s were all my enemies. I felt as if no one in this world loved or cared for me because no one was able to take me in. I blamed the staff of Saving Grace for the pain I was feeling.  Not only did I maintain a negative attitude, but I led several of the girls I lived with astray with me. We rebelled against the program and spoke openly about how horrible we were being treated. We lied to every person we came in contact with who asked about Saving Grace. Because of this behavior, the staff of Saving Grace wanted to ask me to leave. Several members of the board thought it was in the best interest of everyone if I were to no longer live there. However, Becky Shaffer, the founder of Saving Grace, saw something inside of me and refused to let me leave.

“God is keeping you here,” Becky had said to me, “I don’t know why, but you are still here because he wants you here.”

Soon after that, I decided to let God into my heart and to forgive all of the people who have caused me pain throughout the years. I started attending counseling regularly and participated fully in the program. My leadership skills were then used to help the girls in the house find out their own self-worth and to help them realize the value of Saving Grace.  I then found a full time position at a retail store and have since then moved up to management.  In February of 2013, I transitioned out of Saving Grace and now live in my own apartment. I still visit Saving Grace once a week to be involved with the girls and show them that I still love and care for them even though I no longer live with them.

Kimberley and two of her mentors

Kimberley and two of her mentors

This program introduced me to a side of God I had never seen before. For the first time, I felt I was worthy of love. I lived in Saving Grace for two and a half years and was able to meet some amazing people. I have met women who walk into a room and God’s love radiates out of them. I have met others who have been through horrific events and yet hold their head high because they stopped their past from determining their future. I have met men who would die for their families and are determined every day to study God’s word and lead their families down the right path. No matter where God takes me in life, Saving Grace will always be my home. I know the women there will always be there for me. I have established friendships that will last a lifetime. Saving Grace helped me to trust God and to let him decide my future.  Without Saving Grace helping me, I would be lost, hurt, and angry. I will forever be grateful to all those who support Saving Grace. May God bless your lives the way you have all blessed mine.

250537_170378343024767_211715_nIf you are in Northwest Arkansas and would like to learn more about Saving Grace, you can attend a fund raising event with us.  Please contact comment below or Jennifer via our Facebook page for more information.  If you simply want to donate to Saving Grace to help more girls like Kimberley, click here.

Beware-Cranky Mommy Lives Here

“A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.” Proverbs 15:18

By: Gretchen Speer

A few weeks ago we moved into a new house.  Along with a play room and a man cave, we now have an intercom system.  How to work this intercom system is still a bit of a mystery to me.  We looked up the manual online, but I’m not much for reading manuals.  I’m more of a mess with it until you figure it out kind of person.  About a week after we moved in I decided to break it in; I mean, really-I broke it in.  My kids were upstairs fighting.  My littles were screaming every two minutes.  I could hear them running all over the place up there-which is a big no-no at our house.  I intervened several times, but the chaos continued.  The more they screamed and tattled, the more frustrated I got that they were screaming and tattling.  So, I got up and stomped over to the intercom and pushed the talk button.  Only, I didn’t start talking.  I think barking and growling would be more accurate descriptions of what I did.  I went on and on…and on.  There was some laying down of laws, some threatening of coming punishments, and plenty expressing of frustrations.  When I was done, there was silence for a whole two minutes, and I reveled in it.

Later that day I was upstairs putting away laundry in my older DS’s room.  I needed my younger DD to come up stairs so I hopped on my trusty intercom and called her up.  My DS giggled to himself.  “What are you laughing at?” I asked him.  “You know that’s really loud outside don’t you?” he says.  As all the things I said earlier are running though my mind. I called for my husband to go outside and listen as I said something over the intercom.  Sure enough, it was fog horn loud.  It was also beautiful outside, and many of my neighbors were in their back yards grilling and such.  Ugghh.

In that moment my puffed up pride and self-indignation just deflated.  Knowing that many of my brand new neighbors likely heard my rant certainly brought some perspective.  I think this is why accountability is so important, because without it I find that I get caught feeling I own the right to be angry sometimes.  I had quite a bit of accountability that day, and it brought me a much needed check!

I find it no coincidence that in the two weeks following this instance I have heard both my Pastor and Michelle Duggar talk about anger.  It was also covered in the bible study that I’m going though right now.(Beth Moore’s James study).  Each of their messages came from different perspectives, but carried similar themes.  Here are a few things that stuck out to me:

  • Anger clouds your judgement. (Proverbs 16:32)
  • Anger is a secondary emotion.  When you find you are feeling angry a lot, ask God to reveal to you what is at the core of the problem. (ex: guilt, lust, jealousy, pride…)
  • Anger-An inward alarm system revealing personal rights which we have either not given to God or have taken back from Him. (See Ephesians 4:26,31.) *This definition was offered by Michelle Duggar.

What I’m finding more and more in conversations with other moms is that anger is a pretty common struggle, yet we don’t talk about it.  It’s shameful to admit that we yell at our kids.  I was more than a little embarrassed when I realized that my neighbors most likely heard me, but I was also thankful that I could tell several moms about this and not be judged.  They met me with grace and understanding…and a little laughter:)

My prayer for you today is that God will bring someone into your life whom you can be open with about the things that you struggle with.  A person who offers you grace and accountability and not judgement.  And as always, we would love to pray for you!  Leave us a message if you wish for your prayer request to be left private, or a comment if you want it to be public.

Blessings,

Gretchen

 

 

 

 

 

Even Though

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

By: Jennifer Mullen

Have you ever felt as though you have had a calling on your life, but not sure how to execute it? 

Have you been standing still because you cannot fathom how it will all work out? 

Do the questions of the unknown paralyze you?

I think about Abram (a.k.a. Abraham).  He too must have felt that desperation when God called him to “go”.  (Genesis 12)

The conversation may have went something like this:

God: Go.

Abram: Go where?

God: Away from everything you have ever known to a new land I will give you.

Abram: I have no idea how to get there.

God: I will show you.

 So Abram had a choice: To walk in obedience or to stand in disobedience.

Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter.  In it we gain a deeper understanding for what Abram did as he took the first step. It says that he:

obeyed…

went…

lived in tents as a stranger in a foreign land…

trusted in God to fulfill what He had called him to do….

EVEN THOUGH!

Even though he did not know where he was going.

Even though it did not make sense.

Even though he would never see the full picture.

Even though he “did not receive the things promised; (he) only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” (Hebrews 11:13)

So what has God called you to do? How have you responded?

Are you willing to take that first step of obedience…even though?

Are you will to feel out-of-place in uncharted territory…even though?

Are you willing to trust God to fulfill His purpose in you…even though?

Your obedience sets into motion the fulfillment. But, like the heroes of faith, you may not see the fulfillment. “…none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)

So…EVEN THOUGH…are you going to step out in faith? Your work is a part of a grand scheme. Are you going to join in the effort? It is, after all, your purpose. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) He created you with a specific plan. 

His plan is not that you experience a life of great adventure for your own enjoyment. It is that you experience a life in His hand for His glorification.  Whether it be seasons of mundane routine (diaper after diaper) or it be a whirlwind adventure of worldwide travel or both, your obedience to do what He called you to do is about so much more than you!  It is

…. so that God be glorified.

…so that you can reflect on the path and testify to His sustaining power.

…so that others can peer into your life and KNOW that God is!

…so that those around you will see Christ through you and be redeemed.

I love you, dear sister.  Do not be afraid of the journey.  He is just waiting for you to help show the world His love. Take the first step. The journey is the thing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mirror, Mirror

by: Kerri Young

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

I’m going to be really honest with you because I had an incredibly crushing and humbling experience the other day and I like to believe the Lord wants to use our mess-ups and life experiences to help others not do the same silly things we do.

Even though it is no excuse, my life is incredibly insane right now. Between my husband’s full-time job recruiting, my should be part-time but feels at least like ¾ time job coaching, the full-time job of partner raising for our upcoming adventure across the world, preparing to take on another full-time job of homeschooling, and the more than full-time job of parenting three young children, my husband and I are stretched thin some days. Okay, many days.

Lately our conversations revolve around romantic things like who’s writing what thank you and would you please pick up a package for me from my office? Most days we take it all in stride, but every now and then I get impatient and I start to get flustered that my husband doesn’t necessarily operate on the same time table as me. Things get done; however, they don’t always get done when I want them to get done.

If there is one thing the Lord keeps trying to teach me over and over again it’s that I need to let go of wanting things accomplished on my schedule. But, I guess I haven’t learned it yet; and I’ve been getting frustrated. Last week the Lord used my daughter to show me that not only have I been impatient, but I’ve also been terribly disrespectful to my husband in the process.

One night when the kids were watching the Olympics with my husband I was in the other room when I heard my girl tell her daddy that he needed to put his cell phone down and stop playing solitaire. I wish I could say she asked him in a sweet, loving tone, but it was nothing but sass and exasperation. Then she followed up her command by coming into the bedroom and tattling on her daddy for “playing on his phone.” I lovingly corrected my daughter and explained to her that she didn’t need to be telling daddy what to do, but didn’t think much else about it until….

The next evening we were preparing to go somewhere fun. As we were getting ready to go my daughter asked my husband to do something for her. When he didn’t respond immediately she took that as her signal to let him know he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing.  As I watched her innocent disapproval and disrespect for her daddy yet again my heart broke because I knew she was only emulating behavior she had seen from me. Mirror, mirror. Ouch!

It’s so easy for our frustrations to sneak into our verbal and non-verbal communication and turn our interaction into nagging or even belittling. Even though the disrespect might be subtle or even unintentional, it’s still there and my girl proved to me last week that she is picking up on it all and thinks if Mommy does it, it must be okay.  So, coming to you from a heart that desires to love and respect my husband and teach my children to do the same, will you please pray for me to make a concerted effort this week to speak words of truth and encouragement to my husband so that our kids will know how important it is to honor one another with our actions and our words? If you would like me to pray for you to do the same, please let me know in the comments below and join me in this prayer:

“Father God, thank you for the gift of my husband. Please help me to love him well, not only with my actions but with my words. Help me to honor and encourage, instead of disrespect or tear down. When I get frustrated, please help me to speak the truth in love and in constructive ways rather than nag or belittle. Help me teach my children how to honor and love their father as well. Thank You for Your grace, Your mercy, and the help you provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

 Related Articles:

Lessons Learned From My Daughter: Prayer

Lessons Learned From My Daughter: The Mirror