Sunday, August 13, 2017

Roller Coaster Journey


But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17.7-8


I’m right smack dab in the middle of fundraising so I can travel the world and share the love of Jesus with women from all different walks of life and empower them with the gospel.

It has been one of the hardest and most rewarding seasons of my life!

I have never felt more like I’m on a rollercoaster ride than now (and that’s saying something since we had four teenagers!). One day I’m UP because I have had a friend I haven’t seen in a long time commit to partnering with me and the next I’m DOWN in the dumps because another friend who I’ve poured my life into has opted out. One minute, I’ve experienced God throwing open wide the doors and the next minute it seems like they’re all closed.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m just going AROUND and AROUND– trying to set up appointments and rescheduling cancelations. UP and DOWN, AROUND and AROUND, never knowing what might happen next. I’ve seen huge answers to prayer and then experienced the silence of God. I have wrestled with disappointment and been amazed by His works! It’s exciting and yet completely terrifying!
But in the middle of it all, I can feel God deepening my faith like never before.  I can feel my roots growing deep into the water, finding life and love and joy! I’m discovering He is ALL I need. I find my heart rejoicing in the middle of my struggle. Words like fortitude, tenaciousness and strength have become my prayer as I ask God to do His work in me. I feel Him preparing me for what is to come.  Chiseling me into His masterpiece.  I’m realizing I need Him like I need air to breathe.   I’m learning what it means to place my complete trust in God and I want Him to be my hope and confidence! He is who I look to, He is who I depend on and He is where I put my hope – a hope that, Paul says in Romans, DOESN’T DISAPPOINT! (Romans 5.5 NLT)

I want to be this tree, Jeremiah speaks of . . . to be planted by the river of LIFE, so my roots will grow down deep into the water.  I long to be healthy and fruit producing regardless of my rollercoaster journey.

This is what I want! 

So when someone sees my life, they don’t say, “Wow, look at Kristi.” They say, “Wow, look at her God and what He can do with a life!”

May it be so.
Spilling His Grace,

kristi


If you want to see learn more about my journey, go to Grace Spilled Over


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Difficult Road


“The person who expects nothing will never be disappointed.” (Alexander Pope)

This new journey of faith walking feels more like a narrow winding up and down, black diamond hike than a meandering smooth easy path.  One day I’m ecstatic over the answers to prayer I’m witnessing and the next I’m in the depths of despair, disappointed and discouraged.  It’s why I resonated so deeply with this quote when I saw it.  I’m expecting God to move in big and small ways to make this ministry happen.  But “His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts,” (Isaiah 55.8) and I might add, His timing is not my timing.  I expect great things from God and He doesn’t let me down, He just doesn’t do things in the way I think He should or in the time I think they should be done!

The other day I wrote in my journal, “I feel discouragement knocking at my door.  BUT I refuse to open it!  I REFUSE TO BE DISCOURAGED.  I REFUSE TO BACK DOWN.  I REFUSE TO QUIT.”

Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate.  The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult and only a few ever find it.”

As I tread this difficult road I feel it making me stronger.  Deepening my faith.  Teaching me dependence.  Stripping away the peripheral.  Narrowing my focus.  Grounding me in truth. Forging a stalwart heart.
So today, once again, I choose the difficult road.  I choose to follow His way.  I choose to put my hand in the Hand of the one who laid down His life for me.  I choose to follow wherever this difficult road takes me.

I know I’m not the only one choosing the difficult road.  My road may look different from yours but our roads are difficult just the same.  Hang in there.  Never give up and don’t back down.  Refuse to open the door to discouragement.  Turn to your Savior, He gave His life so you might have LIFE, true and abundant life!

Remember, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.  You won’t struggle with disappointment but you won’t accomplish anything of value either.
Spilling His Grace,



Kristi

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One Boot at a Time



". . . Jesus told them.  I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible.  Matthew 17.20-21
What’s your mountain?  You know, the thing that’s standing in your path that feels insurmountable! 
A Master’s Program you need to begin?  Finding a new job in a new town?  A pregnancy?  Writing a book?  Caring for a needy loved one?  An autistic child?  A financial crisis?  A health issue?  Forgiveness?  Drug addicted teen?  Loving unconditionally.  Giving up control?

As you stand at its base and gaze upward, its presence is overwhelming and you wonder, “How will I ever get over this monstrosity?  Do I have the energy and the fortitude to even try?  What if I fail?  What if it’s too difficult?  What if . . .

I have a mountain!  Some days (very few I must admit), my mountain seems “manageable” but most days it is my “impossible prayer”.  I have observed something . . . when I focus on the mountain I’m easily overwhelmed by the enormity of it. 

One weekend, I stood gazing at this gargantuan thing  standing in my way and thought, I can’t do this.  What was I thinking?  This is insanity!  I was in the “depths of despair” as Anne of Green Gables would say and I just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the pit.

A few days later, I was having a conversation with my sister and she shared with me what her son told her while he’s been climbing his own mountain – Army Basic Training. 

“Most people are just hanging on until this is over.  But I’m not looking at it that way.  I ask myself, can I just get through this one hour?  If I can’t get through this one hour than can I just get through this one minute and if I can’t get through this one minute, can I get through this one boot?”


How do you climb a mountain? 

One. Boot. At. A. Time. 

So, simple, yet so profound.

This resonated with me.  I had been doing it all wrong.  I was focused on my mountain, instead of focusing on my God.  I had been thinking I could climb this mountain in one gigantic impossible leap, instead of one boot at a time. 

I don’t have to worry about failing, falling, or fainting because God is with me.  He’s got this mountain!  I still must climb it but my perspective has changed.  I see God, not my mountain and I walk one boot at a time.

Mark Batterson asks (Circle Maker), “Is your dream too big for you?  Well it better be!   Because that’s when you will pray circles around it.  And when you pray circles around it that’s when you begin to see your impossible prayer is nothing for an Almighty God!” 

What’s your mountain?

Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Pray circles around your “mountain”.  And climb one boot at a time.

Kristi

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Witholding Nothing


http://www.freeimages.com/photo/studying-ahead-1421056
How do you feel about tests?  I know there's a few people out there who like tests but I'm not one of them. My palms get sweaty; my heart races a mile a minute and then the panic sets in. Have I studied enough?  Did I study the right stuff?  Will I remember what I studied?
Life often can be a series of tests, written and otherwise:  driver's tests, college exams, medical tests, aptitude tests and even God tests us.
Abraham was one of many that God would put to the test. 
Abraham had a dream.  A promise from God that He would make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the stars in the heaven.  Abraham waited and waited for this dream to be fulfilled.  Days and years and decades passed but it wasn’t until his old age that God finally satisfied this dream in the gift of Isaac, his son. And then one day God asked Abraham to give up the very thing he loved most in this world.
It was a test.  This test wasn’t in written form but it was a test all the same. 
When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it.  Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice.  At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”
“Yes,”  Abraham replied.  “Here I am!”
“Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said.  “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God.  You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22.9-12)
God is a jealous God.  He desires full, complete, and total surrender from those who follow Him.  Each of us who claim to follow will have an “Abraham moment” at some point in our life.  Where God will ask us to lay on the altar the thing we hold most dear. God wants to see if what we say, is what we really believe. Are we true followers or just fans. Do we love Him more than anything else?
God created an Abraham moment for me with a dream I had held close to my heart for years. One day He asked me, “Kristi, will you follow me if I never let you go to the mission field?”
There was no middle ground with God. He is an all or nothing God and He wanted all of me. 
His way seemed so hard and my dream felt honorable and right.  How could He ask me to give it up?   But I felt much like Peter did when Jesus asked him if he would leave like all the others, “Lord, to whom would I go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6.68) How could I do anything less than surrender my dream to Him.
What happens so often, with these tests, is that often God is just waiting for us to surrender it.  And then He returns our dreams and hopes back to us in ways we never would have imagined or even hoped.  These new dreams are bigger, brighter and more beautiful.
There is fear in letting go, giving up, and surrendering to God’s ways but that didn’t stop Abraham from being obedient and neither should it stop us!
Are you a true follower or just a fan?  If you claim to follow Him, God will someday put you to the test.  What will your answer be?

Kristi