Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

Being Me in Proverbs 31 May 26, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:48 am
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For Christian women, there is a lot of conversation that happens around being a “Proverbs 31 woman.” There is even a whole ministry dedicated to being a Godly woman of noble character. Let me just say, I find it incredibly hard to live up to that standard.

Proverbs 31 – Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

That’s a LOT to do!! I suppose if I’m going to do all of that, I should get up earlier huh? I’ve been struggling with that lately. I really do get more accomplished when I get up about 5 or 5:30. In order to do that, it means I need to go to bed earlier. Racer, however, is a night person and often works late. So I struggle with my natural rhythms and the desire to spend time with my hubby. Aside from that, however, I also want to be spending more time with God and I do that better in the morning.

As women from all over strive to be a “Proverbs 31 woman,” we should encourage and affirm them when we see qualities that are in line with the scripture. We ladies have to be careful, however, that we don’t compare ourselves to other women, judge women to harshly and in the end, tear ourselves and others down. Unfortunately, at least for me, I think we have a tendency to do that sometimes.

So today, I’m going to affirm and encourage at least one woman in my life using scriptural qualities from Proverbs 31. Will you help me? Let’s start a revolution and try to “honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”


Marriage and Money January 24, 2011

Those are two words that often start a fight. Most marriage fights are over money. I’ve experienced that kind of fight plenty of times. I used to be a spender. Big time spender. Even when I was a kid. My mom and dad like to tell a funny story about when I went shopping for pom pon camp and wanted to buy something like 20 pair of underwear for a 5 day camp. So yeah, I was a spender.

Back in early 2007, though, Racer and I went through a small group curriculum at our church. The Biblical Financial Study from Crown Financial Ministries was exactly what we needed to start thinking about money in the same way. We learned what the Bible said about money and how to use it to bring glory to God. As a married couple, we were faithful in tithing, but not in how we used the rest of our money.

Part of the reason Racer and I argue about money is because we grew up so differently in our families. Our parents were and still are very different in how they view and handle finances. Different upbringing and life learning led us to very different ways of wanting to handle finances. Going through the Crown Financial study allowed us to finally have the same foundation from which to work. We were finally on the same page and ready to move forward. The arguments lessened.

While we are grateful for that foundational knowledge, Racer and I needed some more practical financial information to use that still had a biblical basis. Dave Ramsey had what we were looking for. As a Christian, we know that he holds a Biblical view of money management and use. He also had the practical “how to” kinds of information that we needed. Dave’s 7 Baby Steps helped us get a plan together. We kind of had it and knew what to do, but having someone else lay that out affirmed what direction to go. It also helps eliminate the argument because we have both agreed to “work the plan” so to speak. The arguments lessened.

We also realize that it’s not really our money. It’s given to us to use and get what we need for our family. In those discussions of need, Racer and I have had to come to terms with what our “wants” versus our “needs” are. Most things are wants. Sure we need transportation, but the kind is mostly a want. (BTW, I will disagree with DR here and say that sometimes, it is necessary to get a loan to purchase a vehicle. In an ideal situation, people would have enough saved up to pay cash for what they need/want. For most people, the situation is not ideal. Because of family situations, we have to have at least one vehicle that is very reliable. Thus a loan on a “new to us” car was born.) Sure we need clothes, but where they come from and how many is a want. Sure we need food, but steak is a want. I think you get the picture. The arguments lessened.

Sure we’ve had setbacks. Lots of them. Bouts of unemployment are no fun. Roofing repairs, hitting a “cy-hoe-ty,” ice storms, babies… all these and more put a hit in the budget and set back financial plans. The good thing is, we know what to do. Go back to step one and start all over. The arguments lessened.

Racer and I still argue. We even still argue about money. It’s a LOT less than it used to be though. We both have a better understanding of where WE want to be – not where I want to be, or where he wants to be, but where WE want to be. Not all of our decisions are right. Looking back we’ve made plenty of bad ones that we are still paying for. Not every future decision will be right either, but what is important is that we are learning. We are learning together. Working through money issues has made our marriage better. So many divorces happen over money. For us though, money (or lack thereof) has made us stronger. And really, it’s not the money, it’s God’s work in us through the use of money. For God’s work, I am eternally grateful.

As the first month of a new year, and new budgets, comes to a close, I for one am looking forward. I’m excited to see our debt go down and our giving go up. I’m excited to see how “God Math” will work in our lives this year.


Storytime September 2, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:28 pm
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I love storytime.  I’m a reader – always have been – and I especially love to hear a story told or read out loud.  That’s one of the reasons that I love storytime at libraries.  The children’s librarians are usually sooo good at reading the stories in an engaging way – capturing your attention with different voices, practiced rhythm and engaging questions.  I think kids gain so much from storytime at the library.  I’m glad that our new library has a story time that will work for both Girlie and Gorilla.  Mr. Robert, the librarian, is a great story reader and is not afraid to get silly with the kids.  When the kids are shy (Girlie was – can you believe it?), he knew just what to do to get them engaged.

I get just as engaged in the story as the kids do too.  Remember the Big Night with History?  I know I enjoyed the storyteller just as much, if not more, than the kids.  Trick is, it has to be a GOOD storyteller.  Someone who just reads, or weaves the story, with no changes in voice for characters, dramatic emphasis/pauses, or change in volume is just a reader.  You gotta have the rhythm of the story right too.  (The english major in me could start talking about iambic pentameter, or any of the other meters, but I won’t).  Telling stories – whether reading from a book, or just telling them – is an important part of passing knowledge, wisdom, values, morals, traditions and history down to other generations.

I sometimes wonder if we Christians tell our stories enough and in an engaging way.  Imagine if every sermon, Sunday school lesson, mid-week Bible study, kids club and children’s time was as engaging as a good storyteller is?  We’d have kids and adults wanting to come back every week!  We’d remember so much more of what we learned.  We’d be excited to invite people to come hear with us.

Imagine if we told our God stories like a good storyteller.  Our stories would dance with the rhythm of God’s grace and mercy.  There’d be morals and Truth passed on so that the hearer doesn’t even realize they’re being “preached at.”  People would want to come back and hear us “tell another story.”  I know we all have one too.  Several if we think about it.  We just need to tell them more often.

God’s writing a great chapter in the story of my life right now.  It’s one that I can’t wait to see finished.  I don’t know how this chapter will end, but I know that it will ultimately be just one part of an entire novel.  A novel that points to the TRUTH of a Sovereign God full of love, grace and mercy.  I can’t wait to share this chapter, but I’m waiting until God finishes it.

Until then, visit a children’s storytime and recapture the beauty of hearing stories told aloud.  Then, go tell yours.


Friendship July 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kris @ 8:13 am
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Recently, Blue reminded me of this funny little poem by Shel Silverstein call Friendship:

I’ve discovered a way to stay friends forever —
There’s really nothing to it.
I simply tell you what to do
And you do it!

For a “bossy northerner” like me (a loving title bestowed upon my by my southern friends), this poem made me LAUGH!!  I can’t count how many times I’ve said to my husband and kids “Well, we wouldn’t argue so much if you’d just do what I tell you too!”  Yes, I realize how absurd that sounds.  If the people around us would just follow our directions, life would be soooo much easier wouldn’t it?

I for one, am glad I have a husband and friends who will stand up to me.  I’m glad that I have friends that will tell me what they really think about some of the crazy plans I cook up.  I’m glad that I have friends that are strong, opinionated and don’t let me walk all over them.  And this is why – if you let me, I will. 

I learned several year ago, something shocking about my “kind and loving” nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I can be kind and loving.  I can also walk all over you on the way to where I’m going.  The bad thing is, I don’t always realize it.  What I do realize, however, is that I need strong personalities around me to balance out my strong personality.  Yes, that means interesting discussions and “arguments,” but it also means that we have an understanding that it’s not personal and there is no love lost.  As hard as I can push, I need people to push back so that I don’t fall. 

So, to my “girls” who love my strength, my personality and the heart of who I am and who I hope to be – THANK YOU!  You have made me kinder, more loving and more beautiful.  My life will never be the same since you have been a part of it.  And while miles will soon separate our homes, know that our hearts are forever bound together in Christ.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Two are better than one,
       because they have a good return for their work:

 If one falls down,
       his friend can help him up.
       But pity the man who falls
       and has no one to help him up!

  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
       But how can one keep warm alone?

 Though one may be overpowered,
       two can defend themselves.
       A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

1 Samuel 20:42

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’ “


Empty Wallets and the Empty Tomb April 4, 2010

Filed under: Money — Kris @ 4:51 pm
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I have some “friends” right now that are in dire straights.  I say “friends” because I don’t know them in real life.  I only know them online.  I’ve never seen their faces, I know them by screen name (usually I can connect a real name) and I don’t even really know where they live.  Yet, we know some very personal things about each other.  We are all struggling financially in one way or another.  Most have experienced job loss due to economy, some are without employment for 2 years.  Some have made bad decisions in the past, have been paying “stupid tax,” were tight before the job loss and now with job loss are in a total bind.  Some have better perspectives, some don’t, most waver depending on that day’s circumstances.  What we all have in common are empty wallets. 

Most of my “friends” struggle with paying bills – credit cards they’ve lived off of when first unemployed, medical bills after having lost insurance from being unemployed.  Being creative with a food budget is a necessity and often selling household items brings needed gas money.  What I love about this particular group of women is that there is love, support and no judgement.  As different as this group of women is, we have one thing in common – we all have empty wallets.

Since today is Easter, I have of course been thinking about the empty tomb.  Without the empty tomb, there would be no hope.  Without our Risen Lord, there would be no redemption through the cross and eternal life through the conquering of death.  The empty tomb we celebrate on Easter Sunday is a symbol of hope – hope that our trials here on Earth are simply temporary struggles that will one day be gone.

I think an empty wallet can be the same thing.  I’m not talking about an empty wallet that needs refilling by a trip to the ATM.  I’m talking about wallets that are truly empty, along with the bank accounts that fill them.  I’m talking about wallets that are negative because the next $xxx going in are already allotted to bills that are past due.  When wallets are that empty, we can no longer live on our own accord.  There is no longer security in knowing that we can work hard enough to buy the things we need, think we “need” and want.  We can no longer live in a false sense of pride that we are somehow faster, smarter, stronger than the next and we are “blessed” more than others.  Being blessed is such a relative term.  When our wallets are echoing empty, we have nothing left but hope that our Father will provide for us. 

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”’  (Luke 12:22-31, NIV)

Let us rest in the hope of the promise through scripture that God knows what we need and will provide for exactly that.  Let us find the hope of our Savior in the echo of our empty wallets.


Family Night February 28, 2010

Filed under: Marriage,Motherhood — Kris @ 1:57 pm
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Lately, we’ve been trying to enjoy family nights when we can.  Doing something TOGETHER, as a family, when we all can be doing the same thing.  So many nights it seems that we are fractured – little kids playing, someone on the computer, another on the phone, another watching tv, someone else doing chores…  we’re all in the same house yet not interacting.  We’re all busy doing our own thing.

So Friday night, we watched Evan Almighty and ate popcorn.  And yes, we all watched it.  Gorilla did go to be 1/2 way through, but sat through part of the movie.  Blue and Professor watched the whole thing.  Girlie sat with Racer and vacillated between watching and playing a Bible character card game.  The movie was such a good choice for our family right now (good pick Racer).  In Evan Almighty, the main family just moved and ask God for some powerful things.  Then, God asks Evan to do something radical.  God asks Evan to build an ark.

The kids don’t understand.  The wife doesn’t understand.  What does building an ark have to do with anything of importance in today’s world?  How does that make sense with family?  Really, the main point is one of obedience.  Will Evan obey even when he looks totally crazy to his family and the rest of the world.  Even when the odds seem to be against him, will he obey?  When he obeys, what will happen?

Don’t we all have those same kind of questions?  You want me to do what God?  How’s that gonna work?  What about my family?  What will others think?  So how is that really gonna work?  We question and question, but do we obey?  We ask God for something, but will we obey when He gives us the route to get there?

In a scene in Evan Almighty, the character of God is speaking to Evan’s wife.  The character of God asks “If someone asks for patience, do they get patience or the opportunity to be patient?  If someone asks for a close-knit family, do they get that or do they get the opportunity to grow close together?”  Interesting point.  We ask God for so many things in life but do we see and obey when He is giving us the chance to grow and shift and change into what we asked for?

So at the end of the movie is my favorite scene ever – Evan and the character of God dancing together.  When we obey, we can enjoy the fellowship and joy that is found in a relationship with God.  When we obey, we find ourselves on the other side of the trials, recognizing God’s love and grace and dancing in the delight of our Father.

So what did our family do?  We danced.  You heard me (well I guess read…), we danced.  Right there in the living room with no curtains at night so anyone looking into our window could see us dancing like no one was watching.  Blue danced.  Professor danced.  Girlie danced.  Racer danced.  I danced.  Together, as a family, we delighted in the gift of family and love that God has given us.  We needed that.

Thank you God for helping us obey and teaching us through the times that are really hard.  As we continue to seek Your Will for our lives, help us obey in each step and dance in delight at the gifts you bring us.


God Sightings February 15, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 1:03 pm
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As part of my committment during the season of Lent, I will begin a daily Bible reading that will lead me through the entire Bible.  Through an online community, there is an opportunity for many of us to join together in this committment and discuss our progress. 
I am inviting you to join an online group, Work in Progress, at!  Join me in daily reading of Bible (using a 1 year plan) with an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm and Proverb reading daily.  You can do all the reading online if you like.  There is also an opportunity to have discussion via the online questions. 
If you are not a member of the God Sightings community yet, you can register for free at

Once you are logged in, go to The One Year Bible tab. On the upper right-hand side of that page, where it says “My Personal Reading,” click on the drop-down arrow and select Work in Progress. On the next webpage, the group page, click “Join Group” which is on the upper right-hand side of that page near the picture for Work in Progress.

You are now a member of Work in Progress and are able to view comments by other group members, add comments, and follow along with the Bible reading for that group.  Since the season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, I’d like those interested to begin together on this Wednesday February 17th (we’ll just skip to that date).

AND, if you would like to invite others to join our reading and discussion, please feel free to do so!  The more that we read God’s Word together, the closer we will be to God and to eachother!!

Follow this link to get started – God Sightings!


Heart’s Cry February 8, 2010

My heart has been crying out a lot over the past year.  It’s crying out for so many things – people, situations, my family, our life.  Sometimes I have the words, sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I laugh to share my heart with Jesus.  Sometimes I cry to share my heart with Jesus.  Sometimes I’m so far into the muck of life that I forget to share my heart with Jesus.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel the overwhelming sense that I’m on the right path.  I, along with others in my church and community, are reading the book Heart’s Cry by Jennifer Kennedy Dean.  God placed this book and I together for “such a time as this.”  As I struggle to make sense of the challenges my family faces, this book is helping me to sense the guiding and comfort of the Holy Spirit in my life. 

My go to verse lately has been Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This verse reminds me that God has good plans for my life.  He knows what He’s doing and where I’m going.  What this verse DOES NOT say is that the path will be easy.  It DOES NOT remind me that when I say Yes to God, He will make all things smooth and comfortable. 

Heart’s Cry is helping me to yield my spirit fully to the work of the Holy Spirit.  As my heart cries out to Jesus, what I really and truly want is for God’s Will to be done in my life.  I don’t say that for any other reason than this – what I want is what I want, not necessarily what God wants for me.  My heart cries out with what I want out of a situation, but really, I don’t know what is right.  I can’t see 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years down the road.  God does and has always seen that path, that future.  So as I am being transformed into a beautiful silver that conducts the love and image of Christ, I am learning to allow the Holy Spirit to match the cry of my heart to the heart that God has designed just for me.

It ain’t easy, but I know that my Creator sees a much bigger and better plan for me than I do.  And I LOVE to plan…!


Not Me! Monday Ramblings February 2, 2010

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 12:09 am
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What to write, what to write…  There are so many things swirling around in my head.  My mom called me today – “so I’ve been reading your blog…”  Yeah mom, there’s stuff in my life I haven’t told you about.  There’s a lot of stuff in my life people don’t know about.  I’m being challenged to be real – authentic.  As Christians, we’re supposed to take off the mask of propriety and allow others to see who we really are.  I’m all for it.  But dang that’s hard.  Do I really want people to see who I am inside?  Do I really want people to know what I’m thinking and feeling?  Do I really want people to know who I’ve been, what I’ve said and what I’ve done.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “bad person.”  I’ve never been in jail, I’ve never done drugs, I’ve never even been in a fist fight (although someday maybe, just to see if I could hold my own).  But I am so not proud of some things.

So on this Not Me! Monday, here are my confessions…

I did not make fun of a girl when I was in high school who had a tumor on her spine.

I did not say ugly things to my husband and mean them.

I did not hear my friend sharing difficulties about a co-worker and think that she could’ve been talking about me.

I did not hear my Gorilla crying and think “Oh will you stop already!”

I did not go just a little over-board when getting after Blue for leaving an ENTIRE pack of gum in her pocket as I washed AND dried her clothes.

I did not have a pity-party on Sunday.

I did not bawl like a baby and hope no one would notice (yeah, I’ll bet they didn’t).

I did not lie to a teenager and say I was just tired.

I’m not writing this thinking I sound like a complete mess and should just be quiet now…

So slowly, more and more of my ugliness comes out.  And this is tame.  Sometimes when I feel like this, I look around and feel so selfish.  That’s where I think the hard part comes in.  I just feel so selfish.  My life is sooooo much better than what others have.  We have a home (that is now mice free I think).  We have so many clothes that I can barely keep up with the laundry (and there’s the dryer buzzer).  We have food that we throw out because it doesn’t get eaten.  We love each other.  And yet, sometimes it just doesn’t seem good enough.

Isn’t that what our culture is trying to tell us?  That what we have isn’t good enough.  That we need this prepackaged food to make our family dinner time a beautiful bonding experience.  That we need this car to be respected by other drivers.  That we need this pill to lose weight so we can be happy.  That this one little product will make life better.  What a load of crap.  The box of pasta, the metal on wheels, the powder, the junk won’t do anything for us.  We can get so entangled in the messages of the world that we lose track of the true message of life.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life'” (John 14:6)  A different job won’t do it.  More money won’t do it.  A bigger house won’t do it.  Being debt-free won’t do it.  Understanding the chaos won’t do it.  Only total and full dependence on Jesus Christ will do it. 

And then, as we rely on Christ, we can learn as Paul did “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11).  Isn’t it really a matter of contentment?  As I take off the masks I wear and allow my vulnerability to show, I can realize that what I have does come from God.  As I journey through this life, I will not be perfect.  I don’t have to be.  My life does not have to be neatly put together with everything and everyone in it’s place.  I can also be content with what I have right now.  As Paul said though, I have to LEARN to be content. 

A close friend sent me an email today and reminded me that while sometimes life is hard, we are being refined and purified through a process.  As I rely on Christ as my stability, my strength and my anchor, I can be content in knowing that who I am is only being made better.  I can be content in knowing that I am being shaped and molded and formed into the likeness of Christ.  Whatever I have in my life right now is temporary.  I can be reasonably happy in this life and content knowing that I will be supremely happy in the next.


Change is Coming January 13, 2010

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 2:36 pm
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My family will be making some changes in the next few months.  I like change… when it is MY idea.  Otherwise, I don’t like change.  I don’t like change when it is unexpected.  I don’t like change when it disrupts my routine.  I don’t like change when I am not the one controlling it.

So soon, change will be coming.  Change I knew would probably eventually happen, I just didn’t want it to happen right now!  I’m just starting to get comfortable with my life.  I suppose that is why change is coming – I’m getting too comfortable.  You see, I don’t think God wants us to get too comfortable.  When we get comfortable, we get lazy.  When we get comfortable, we stop paying attention.  When we get comfortable, we start going through the motions because they are so routine and we begin to forget why we do the motions in the first place.

So how am I dealing with the prospect of change?  I keep reminding myself that “God is doing something.”  If I can keep my focus on what God is doing through this change, I can keep much calmer than I would have been in the past.  If I keep the focus off me and on God, I can avoid falling into the hole of anger, resentment, meanness and manipulation that I have fallen into many times before.  I am not in control of this change.  God is in control.  I am only in control of my attitude and even then, I have to ask God for help with that!

Again, if I remind myself that “God is doing something,” I keep perspective.  But, if I add just one more word to that phrase, I might just start to get excited.

God is doing something COOL.

God is doing something AWESOME.

God is doing something AMAZING.

God is doing something WONDERFUL.

God is doing something __________.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)  God has something incredible planned for my family – as individual people and as a family unit.  He would not bring about change that would harm us.  God will only bring about change that will bring us hope, prosperity and a future.  That doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult.  That doesn’t mean that it won’t have challenges.  It simply means that the long-term outcome will be good.  God is doing something _____.

So as our family goes through changes – don’t we all really – we covet your prayers.  Please pray that through these changes, we continue to witness to God’s amazing love and power.  Pray that we find peace in the chaos that can sometimes be change.  Pray that our kids adjust well.  Pray that Racer (my hubby) and I don’t hurt each other in the process (just kidding, sort of)!  Pray that, above all, God’s Will be done  in our family.

Thank you and I’ll keep you posted!


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