31 Days of Finding God – FIRST

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday! First

Today’s prompt is First!

Do you lead with love first?

This was a question that Jeremy from the Preemptive Love Coalition asked us at Allume.

He captured my attention because he spent time talking about his life in Iraq, what it has been like for their family, whey they felt called there and how they are responding with true hospitality now.

It isn’t always easy to lead with love first.

We get defensive, maybe feel like we are right…we have to change the world and bring people to Christ so we must do that with all the Bible knowledge we have because that is the only way we will win the argument.

Jeremy talked about he would go and spend all day in this coffee shop in Turkey with his Bible and the Quran and a dictionary. Partly he wanted to learn the language and engage with others, but when he was approached he said he went into the conversation with his fists up.

The kind of attitude that says “I know my Bible and I am going to prove you and yours wrong.” {Bam}

But when we approach people fists up, we aren’t showing them an attitude of Christ’s love! (<====Click to Tweet)

If we want to draw people in, we must do it through relationship. Just like Jesus, he entered this world with arms open. Ready to serve, to dine with strangers, to share water with prostitutes, to heal the sick and wounded.

If we have a heart to teach others about the love of Christ so that they desire to seek Him themselves, we have to lead with love first.

There just was so much of this goodness this weekend. I don’t want to forget. I can get so caught up in life and get frustrated and selfish and I forget how much easier it would all be if I would lead with love first.

It is a journey isn’t it?! These revealings can be tough to walk through but hopefully they bring us closer to who God has called us to be!

I hope to share more about  Preemptive Love Coalition in the future but for now wanted to share one special project we were allowed the opportunity to participate in. As an organization they are partnering with doctors and hospitals to give life saving operations to children with heart defects.

For a small $25 donation you can partner with them to make a much bigger impact than we could do here with $25 alone. Would you consider helping?  Find the link here Pure Charity – Patch a Child’s Heart Fund.

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – UNITE

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

UniteToday’s prompt is Unite!

As women we can be quick to judge.

We judge others, we judge ourselves. We set the measuring stick so high that there is no way we could measure up. We fight against our differences and don’t embrace them in unity.

I see you and all of the ways that you are doing things better than I am, and I want to give up. And if I am honest some days I want to push to be better. So that I get the praise…sigh.

This past weekend I was reminded that as women we need to be each others cheerleaders. We need to fight the good fight for one another. We need to be brave and encourage, we need to unite together as a body of Christian women and be a light for this world.

We have a voice. We all do!

My voice is different than yours, yes. But united we are louder, stronger…and we can make an impact!

It was a reminder to me that when I read a post that is amazing, I need to push back any feelings of inadequacy at not thinking/writing it first and share it.

Friends let’s champion for one another. (<====Click to Tweet)

In those moments when we are feeling less than, let’s stamp out the lies and stand firm on the truth. We are each unique and necessary to God’s master plan for the world.

My audience is different than yours and if we cheer one another on in this battle who knows where our reach will extend to?!

On our God-sized Dreams website we have women that have written in with prayer requests from England and Mexico!

Can you believe that? That little thing that was started as a place to encourage has reached outside of American borders and offered hope to women we may never meet in person in this lifetime.

That is deeply humbling isn’t it?!

It wouldn’t be possible though if we didn’t work together. Let us continue to link arms together, support and challenge one another to be better because of His grace.

God has given us a great responsibility to reach out to our families, our communities and the lost and be a light. But for me to be effective – I need you.

I need to read your stories, they give me hope. Keep writing friends, keeping being Jesus with skin on in your communities and let’s overwhelm the darkness with a force of light the world has not ever seen before.

Standing firm, united with you all! It is an honor, a true honor to walk this journey with you!!

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – WAKE

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

WakeToday’s prompt is Wake!

I hadn’t ever flown on Southwest Airlines before this past weekend. So for those of you who are also new to this, the idea is that you are assigned a boarding section A, B or C…and depending on that number you are allowed to get in line and pick your seat. They do not assign seats, so you want to be in the first boarding section if an aisle or window seat appeals most to you.

I decided to pay the extra $25 roundtrip and did early bird check in so I was able to get in the A section both times. I love the window, being able to see what is happening so far below, and not being in the middle row for 4 flights was worth the $$!!

As people continued to board after me there was a woman who came to the seat in the aisle in front of me. Apparently a gentleman, who had already boarded, had left his jacket on the seat and was back using the restroom. His brother was seated across the aisle.

The woman saw the jacket and demanded to know who’s it was. The man across the aisle said “that is my brother’s jacket, he is back in the bathroom”….so the woman starts asking people in the back (in a very loud and sarcastic voice) to check to see if there really is a man in the bathroom.

Now from my perspective initially, I wondered what this guy would need to lie about? But the woman wasn’t convinced. She picked up the jacket and moved it to the aisle seat in my row. Loudly stating something about her brother who was also on the plane and must be in the bathroom as well.

I was stunned.

Do people actually act like this in public? The man, frustrated and openly irritated, grabbed the jacket and headed further back in the plane.

Now maybe the brother was in a different boarding section and he really was saving a seat for him…but I am the type that likes to believe the best about people…I wanted to believe he was in the bathroom.

We have the ability to create waves don’t we?

Sometimes the wake from our waves is small, maybe we are short with our kids and the wake is felt, but doesn’t pull us or others down.

And then other times our actions and behaviors cause bigger wakes. Ones that roll and swirl and threaten to sweep us off our feet. Negativity can sure infect a space can’t it?!

Maybe when we are all fighting for the “best seat” we will do anything we can to get it? I don’t know…

That morning I felt like we needed to have some Allume on the plane. I spent the weekend talking and learning about hospitality. Discovering what it means to open our hearts and lives to others. Offering grace and being kind.

It is a message that we all need. Even the lady in 17A. I don’t want to judge her because I have acted the same in my own situations. Maybe not on a plane, but it happens when I get angry and yell at my kids, or fight with my husband over something silly.

So I am taking that experience as a lesson to me. To be more gracious, to give up my seat if necessary. To believe the best in others and love well even when others aren’t able to be kind and loving themselves.

Is this hard for you as well?

It is easy to judge, to believe a lie, be disrespectful and unkind. I think it can be hard work to be intentional about loving well. But I want it to be the posture of my heart, every day.

Now that I have written it out I guarantee that God will allow me many opportunities to practice this kind of love and grace. My prayer is that I will be a good and faithful servant, and that the wake that I create by my actions will be one of beauty and peace, so that I can continue to be a light in this dark world!

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In Him, Kristin

Photo Credit: Vince Alongi

31 Days of Finding God – FREE {An Amazing Giveaway Day}

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Giveaway graphicToday’s prompt is Free!

I have been excited about today’s post for awhile now, and it just so happens that the prompt fits perfectly with the special giveaway that is planned!!

My god-sized dreamer friend Kayse contacted several of us a few weeks ago asking if we were interested in participating in a Everything Favorites giveaway. I love giveaways and have won several fun things from different sites in the past so it is awesome to be able to partner with some other bloggers to give away a stellar prize pack!! See all the wonderful women and their site links below and the prizes they have donated {{for free}}!

  • Kayse is giving away a collection of Martha Stewart Office items!
  • Britta is giving away a ConAir Power Facial Cleanser!
  • Jennifer is giving away a “Be Still” print!
  • Monica is giving away a Let It Go (by Karen Ehman) Study Pack!
  • Erika is giving away a super cute coffee cozy of your choice!
  • Carey is giving away Cravings, a daily devotional for moms!
  • Kristin (that’s me!) is giving away 2 books by Angie Smith – For Such A Time As This & Audrey Bunny!
  • Anna is giving away a candle, tea, and chocolate!
  • Bethany is giving away a Ginger & Lime Sugar Scrub & a 5ml bottle of Wild Orange Essential Oil!
  • Jamie is giving away a Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook!
  • Amanda is giving away a framed print and a $10 gift card to Starbucks!
  • Leeann is giving away a set of linen notecards!

My favorite things were two books written by Angie Smith. “For Such a Time As This” is her newest book for girls and it is so beautiful. The pictures are stunning and the stories look at women in the Bible and re-tell them so that our girls can understand and relate to them. And “Audrey Bunny” is a story about a bunny who feels she won’t ever belong, but learns an important lesson about being wonderfully made.

I am saying a little prayer that one of my readers wins this pack – so please enter below and good luck! :)

This giveaway runs all week and the winner will be drawn on October 31st!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – VISIT

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Welcome

Today’s prompt is Visit!

As many of you know I have spent the last several days in South Carolina at the Allume conference. The entire theme this year surrounded the idea of hospitality.

I would like to think that I have the gift of hospitality…but I have been thinking about it this weekend and while I do think I have that gift, it is conditional.

If my house is clean enough or I can present you with the perfect meal then you are more than welcome to come and visit me.

But what would I do if someone just showed up? Even more would I ever be willing to invite a stranger in?

I don’t know why I have to associate good hospitality with having it all together?!

A few months ago we were approached by a friend from church asking if we would be willing to host a small group each week in our home. This is the first time since we moved here that this was a opportunity for us and I was excited. We have been blessed with the perfect home for entertaining, with plenty of places for people to sit/gather. Dominic and I both agree that God gave us such a gift with our home and we should share it with others.

But the Sunday afternoon before the first meeting I was running around like a crazy person. Vacuuming (which is truly a MUST with 4 children and a dog), dusting, cleaning toilets in the bathrooms that people may use, washing all the mirrors and appliances down.

Oh and then about 2 hours before everyone showed up I thought that spot cleaning the rug in the family room was something that HAD to be done, so I cleaned about 6-7 bad spots….and realized about 20 minuted before everyone came that the spots had not dried. So when everyone walked in the room there was the risk that they would step in the spot and wonder if they had stepped in dog pee.

Ah yes, the life of a crazy women with the gift of hospitality.

I had lost focus on the real reason that I wanted people to come into our home. The heart connections that were possible when they all came to visit. We sat around the table, a mix of ages and backgrounds and talked over tough issues and laughed over good treats.

The spots on my carpet didn’t matter. I don’t believe they matter to them…why did they have to matter so much to me?

I want my home to be a welcoming place for people to come and visit. I want to always be open to swing wide the door and offering an invitation to life with someone else.

If other people can look past the dust and the stains, the handprints on the wall, why can’t I?

If we want to build community, be hospitable, we have to be willing to let people see the imperfect parts as well as the clean. This is easy to write and more difficult to implement for me but I am willing to try.

So you are all invited, I don’t need advance warning. I may have dishes in the sink and dog hair on my floor….but if you come and visit, I promise that I will spend my time cherishing the guest and not stressing about the mess.

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In Him, Kristin

Photo Credit: WaywardShinobi

31 Days of Finding God – ENJOY

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Allume 2014 3

Today’s prompt is Enjoy!

I haven’t taken for granted a single second this weekend and I have enjoyed every moment.

From the divine appointments with women who are chasing their God-sized dreams to hearing Annie Downs talk about pouring into our youth, I have scribbled notes feverishly so that I don’t miss a thing and prayed bold prayers with strangers.

Each moment is one that I want to capture like a picture in my mind. Each laughter-filled conversation and God-inspired message is something that I don’t want to forget.

These moments are gifts. 

I have been blessed with a tribe of women that pour into my life. Spending time with some of them for a few days is truly life-giving.

Allume 2014 4

But it is easy to love well and celebrate when laughter surrounds you, isn’t it?

What about those times when life hurts deep and the pain you feel is crushing you?

The keynote for tonight, Tim Willard, talked about discovering the hope of Glory.

One of the most profound things he shared was this….“No matter how you are being ripped apart you have the most dynamic story to tell – the Gospel.”

I was sharing with Delonna before dinner that when my husband and I went through that period of unemployment, I was lost. Like, deep dark depressive, kind of lost. I couldn’t believe that God “allowed” another black cloud in our family.

I was certain that He was punishing us for making the choice to move to Minnesota, even though the decision was made with much prayer over a long time. Somehow I must have heard Him wrong and now we had to live with the consequences.

Tim asked us that “when we are at that place where we are ripped to shreds, what do  we rely on?”

Ashamed, I come to you and admit that I wasn’t able to see the potential for blessings. I was bitter and angry and lost. I talked about this faith of mine but when the rubber hit the road, I stopped dead in my tracks.

I didn’t find ways to delight in my Savior. I didn’t enjoy what I was going through.

But you know what?

My perspective was so skewed.

My perspective wasn’t a Heavenly one…it was based on my circumstances. Today has been filled with joy and it is easy to enjoy the gifts I see around me.

Tomorrow isn’t promised though, to any of us. There WILL be troubles – we are promised that. Can I come to that place where I can celebrate with my God even when everything around me is falling apart?

It is my prayer that this will be the language of my life.

Tim said we face daily struggles that DEMAND we turn to God. May my posture be one of trust. (<==== Click to Tweet) Of a constant turning towards Him in everything. I believe that if I can do that, and not just talk about it…but truly live it every day, I will be able to fully enjoy every moment that life has to bring.

“Further up and Further In Lord….”

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – DARE {Allume Friday}

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

What is even more fun is that I am blogging with many of my FMF sisters today live from Allume! To say I feel pretty blessed is an understatement, last year was my first experience and it was a blast…see below!!

Allume Fun 2013

Today’s prompt is Dare!

I am not even sure what day it is today. It has felt like a whilrwind experience here at Allume thus far. So filled with community and laughter, I have cheeks that ache from smiling.

It is wonderful.

Tonight after the wonderful dinner and keynote speaker we went to the “after party” and they had dancing.

Normally I don’t dance. I mean really, it isn’t pretty folks.

But I am telling you that tonight the music was old 80’s/90’s style and I figured what the heck?!

So Gindi, Christine, Delonna, Elise, Kim and I threw caution to the wind and dared to dance.

I think there were pictures taken, I am pretty sure if they appear online I WILL be embarrassed. It was hot and my feet hurt now but every single moment was worth it.

So often I sit on the sidelines because I am too afraid to take that leap and just be crazy. I decided that I did not care what anyone else thought about me…even if I didn’t have the rocking dance moves.

Tonight I was reminded that the dance is beautiful. (Maybe not the reality of the actual dance) but the act of throwing caution to the wind, daring to get wild and maybe a little sweaty and have fun.

I needed this time with my tribe. Time to connect and refresh, and time to jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and get down! ;)

Have you dared to dance recently…I promise if you do you won’t regret it!

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FMF Party

In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – LOOK

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Look 3

Today’s prompt is LOOK!

Today my view is different than normal.

I started my journey early in the car headed 3 hours towards the Minneapolis airport. My destination? Greenville, South Carolina and the Allume conference.

I am so blessed to be able to travel to Allume again this year, but this time I attend with a different focus. Last year I went so that I could learn more about blogging, and to potentially grow in my understanding about how to make money from this writing gig. But the reality last year is that God grabbed ahold of my heart in a big way and showed me that all of this was so much less about me and so much more about what I can do for others.

It was and continues to be a gift.

So today as I start the trip again I am filled with anticipation about what God will do. This time around I am excited about the community. I am anxious for long talks with the women who were strangers last year and now have become close friends. Excited to pray over and encourage dreamers that come to our God-sized Dream meet-up.

As I drove I couldn’t help but take in God’s beauty all around me.

Look 1

The clouds were pink-tipped as the sun started to rise. The outline of the tree banks glistened and it was all I could do to not stop and just take picture after picture.

My journey went quickly and I rested for a few moments in MSP before we boarded the flight. Even the view from an airport waiting room chair can be beautiful if we are able to take in the blessings all around.

Look 2

Can you see them…whatever your view today, can you count the blessings?

In the air I thanked God once again for the opportunity to travel, for my family that supports me and handle all the things while I am gone. For a safe flight, with a beautiful view.

If I look, I always find the blessings.

I can be a negative Nelly. I really struggle against it. But if I look, if I am just open to seeing with God’s eyes, the gifts abound.

I don’t know what God has in store for the next few days. I am praying once again that my agenda will be left at the door and His will come through loud and clear.

Help me to see Your will Lord. May I always be open to looking for You in each moment.

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – A GSD Post On Being Deeply Rooted

Waterfall 1

I love how nature can teach me so many lessons about my life and my faith walk.

When my family and I were vacationing this summer we took a drive through Spearfish Canyon, in Spearfish, South Dakota. It is a beautiful drive with several places to stop and explore. The canyon walls in places were very steep, and trees littered the landscape.

I started to notice that there were several places where very large trees stood standing with the majority of their roots fully exposed. Rain and washout of the canyon foundations left the roots open to the elements.

And yet the trees stood strong, seemingly unfazed.

Waterfall 2

At one point in our drive we pulled off to hike to a small waterfall. Here too I found several places where the trees foundations had been washed away, yet the roots seemed firmly planted deep in the ground.

Ephesians 3:14-19 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

I am sharing the rest of this story over at God-sized Dreams today, will you join me there?!

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In Him, Kristin

31 Days of Finding God – SECOND

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

CarToday’s prompt is Second!

I have struggled all day to come up with what to write about in regards to the word prompt for today. I had a few ideas but the felt so forced. I thought that I might have to skip a day…and then God opened my eyes once again.

Today Dominic and I went to pick up Karlena from dance. As we were leaving the parking lot Dominic told me to stop. Behind us was a women who was attempting to back up and as she started to move he noticed that she had a terribly flat tire.

He jumped out of the car and went over to her. She didn’t speak english well, but he pointed out her tire and she said she would just drive to a gas station and fill it up.  He told her that  she shouldn’t drive on it or she would risk ruining the tire completely. We have a portable compressor at home so he offered to go get it and come back to help her.

I hadn’t even noticed her there. If I had been alone at that pickup  I would have driven away, completely unaware.

How often are we given opportunities to see and yet we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we miss it?

We came back with the compressor but it became apparent that the tire wouldn’t hold air. So he offered to put on her spare tire instead.

Changing a tire isn’t an easy job, but even Karlena got in on the fun.

Car 1

Of course, as it seems with most jobs, things didn’t go as planned. One of the lug nuts was stripped so he couldn’t put them all back on.

Car 4

Once it was on as best as he could make it, he offered to follow her home so we made sure she made it there safely.

I was so proud of him.

And I don’t write this post just to brag about him. (Even though I think he is pretty awesome)

Even more than that I was so aware of how in that moment Dominic put his plans, his time, second to help someone else in need.

God gives us opportunities to do this all the time.

But how often am I too busy, too rushed, to self-consumed to notice that there might be someone in need?

Today by my husbands simple actions I was reminded once again that I need to live my life with my eyes open. Watching, seeking, and praying that God would put people in my path so that I might have a chance to be a light.

We have been given so much, and of whom much has been given, much is required.

I don’t want to miss it because I am so focused on me, me, me. Lord help me to put my needs, my wants, second and to focus on shining Your light to those around me.

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In Him, Kristin

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