Kris Mares

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

After a Bad Day May 16, 2016

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 9:48 am
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They happen don’t they? Bad days happen. Whether it is work, home or just the weather, bad days happen.

Yesterday was one of those days. Racer had a bad day at the office and I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I was sad for him too. I was frustrated for him too. He couldn’t fix it and I couldn’t fix it. And to top it off at home, the garbage disposal stopped working and our toilet is leaking. The kids didn’t nap and I was tired and short fused.

So what happens next?

Too often, I think we married folks take out our bad days on our spouse. We yell at him, ignore her, demand this, whine about that and overall just act unpleasant and un-graced-filled.

I can think of lots of times I’ve done that. The toilet and garbage disposal had nothing to do with Racer. The kids not napping wasn’t his fault. I wasn’t even at the track, so couldn’t have caused the wreck. Neither of us caused or influenced the frustrating events of the day.

So we both had a choice.

We could take it out on eachother. We’ve done it before.

But this time… This time we didn’t.

Instead, as we were texting back and forth before Racer’s plane brought him home, he says “Nah that’s ok. I can leave it all in Dover.”

I appreciate that Racer can do that.

So I asked “Tell me one good thing about your day so far.”

Instead of taking our frustrations of the day out on each other, last night, we paused, and turned it around. We looked for the bright spot in the day and made home a place of peace.

When Racer got home, I didn’t ask him to fix anything and he didn’t talk about work.

Instead, we talked about the good.

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.          1Thessalonians 5:15-24

It was no good for either of us to belabor the frustrations of the day. Instead, we can give thanks for work that provides, homes that shelter, running water and each other. We can hold fast to that which is good in our day and in the larger picture of life. Bad races will go away. Toilets and garbage disposals can be fixed. Kids will eventually go to sleep.

So today, the frustrations can be considered anew. Things still need fixed, but our relationship which is WAY more important than the other stuff, our relationship is okay. It wasn’t damaged in the aftermath of a bad day.

So today, we again give thanks.

Perhaps you can too. Perhaps, one day at a time, you can leave the bad day at the office. You can pause the barrage of vocalizing the frustrations. Perhaps you can flip the day and find the things for which you and your spouse can give thanks. Perhaps you can hold fast to that which is good.

Perhaps when you do, when we do,we can tackle the frustrations of the day before with a new perspective and fresh approach. It ain’t easy some days, but rest assured that when we try, the God of Peace will help us and slowly, thankfulness and grace will be our default setting. Even after a bad day.

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A Digging Place May 4, 2016

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 7:19 am
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There is this little spot on the church grounds that I love. It is right next to the entrance to the Fellowship Hall. It’s a little space, where at the end of winter, signs of new life begin to emerge. Daffodils begin to poke through the ground, reminding me that New Life always comes. A couple of years ago, a kind person took the time to make that area lovely for the summer. Weed tarp went down, mulch went down, stepping-stones and new plants went in. The daffodils were covered and while I was grateful for the kind-hearted generosity, I was sad about the daffodils.

Next spring though, the daffodils came back up! I was so happy and it was a small grace of God, a reminder that sometimes people try to cover over signs of New Life, but New Life always wins!

After a couple of years though, the work of the kind person and the tenacious daffodils have continued to battle and we had to change the area. It just didn’t look good and so it was time to dig.

The space is now a real mess and the work was sweaty. I used a good shovel, dug deep and salvaged the bulbs. The weed tarp was pulled up and the space will be ready for something new. We’ll be transforming that little space into the entrance of a small prayer garden.

You see, sometimes, in order to make room for the new thing God is doing, we have to dig deep. We have to dig deep into what we thought we knew about God. We have to dig deep into what we think we see in scripture. We have to dig deep into the traditions we hold so dearly close. We have to dig up what seems good in order to make room for God.

But that doesn’t mean the good has to go. Sometimes, it just needs worked over and replanted in a new place at the right time. Those daffodils will still be a sign of new life each spring. In the fall (at the right time) they will be replanted in the prayer garden as a reminder of the deep traditions of the congregation. Each year, as they break forth from the cold winter soil, the daffodils will remind those that come to pray that New Life does indeed break forth from the long, cold, dark nights of the soul.

“I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

Sing to the Lord a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands, and those who dwell on them. -Isaiah 42:8-10 (NASB)

Sometimes, the work of ministry is allowing the Holy Spirit to do some digging up. Digging up unhealthy notions of self. Digging up judgemental attitudes about others. Digging up ungraceful images of God. Digging up the “former things” to make room for the “new things” that are to come.
Maybe you are in a digging place right now. If so, I know the digging part is really hard. It hurts. It seems lonely. It leaves you all a mess, not sure if anything good will actually come and frustrated that nothing looks like it’s supposed to.
Take comfort friend. Even though you are in a digging place, New Life will spring forth.
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” -Revelation 21:5 (NASB)
It may be sometime before it happens. That New Thing has to be planted in the right place at the right time. And even then, there may be a wait before the promise comes. But it will come. Until then, perhaps a small comfort can be found in the strength you are gaining through the digging.
If you are in a digging place and would like prayer, please comment below. It would be my honor to pray for you.
 

God is Faithful August 5, 2015

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 7:01 pm
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Have you ever been driving down the road, with your jams going, thinking you’re obeying the laws of the land and then seen those flashing lights and hear a “whoop whoop” behind you? When the officer approaches the car, you’re baffled! You thought you were going the speed limit (ok, actually had your cruise set just a couple of miles over), only to find out the speed limit was 45 and not 55? And then, when you find out what the law was, you’re hoping, praying, for no ticket? When you got off with a warning, you are grateful for the grace shown by the officer. Grateful for the opportunity to correct your ways and obey the law. Grateful that a punishment wasn’t served.

In that moment, you didn’t even know you needed grace. Before you knew you needed saved from the consequences of transgressing the law, you had to know that you had transgressed the law. You had to be convicted of your transgression.

It’s that way with sin too.

Many understand grace as God’s assistance or comfort in times of trial or need. But salvation requires more than a warm smile from the Divine. A basic prerequisite is the necessity for a person to realize that one stands in need as a sinner before God. Unless a person recognizes that condition, there is no real hope for salvation. When we don’t recognize sin as a basic reality in our lives, the message of God’s salvation falls on deaf ears. (NRSV Wesley Study Bible, notes on Lamentations 3, “Wesleyan Core Term: Convincing Grace,” pg. 978)

It was that way for the ancient Jewish people. God’s message through the prophets had fallen on deaf ears. They were reminded of their covenant as God’s people. They were reminded of God’s ways of living. They were boldly told to stop committing spiritual adultery and to admit their guilt and to return to faithful worship of the one true God. (Read Jeremiah sometime.) The speed limit signs were up, they flashing electronic sign was put up that showed their actual speed but they still didn’t heed the call.

It wasn’t until they were conquered and destroyed that the ancient Jewish people really realized their need for repentance. Their need to turn from their own way of doing things to God’s way of doing things. Lamentations is an emotional record of the crying out after the destruction. It’s a poem. In Lamentations 3, the writer has been totally devastated and blames God for the destruction. He was warned. His people were warned. But God still got the blame.

And yet, in the deep of the destruction, in the length of the lament, the writer remembers.

My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; (Lamentations 3:20-21, NRSV)

Perhaps he learned it as a young boy in temple school. Perhaps he remembered a conversation with a friend. Perhaps he recalled the words of the nagging preacher.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24, NRSV)

I wonder if too often we’re like the early Jewish people. We see and hear warning signs all around us. We hear the Word of the Lord and brush it off if it doesn’t fit into what we think is a good way of doing things. We don’t take heed and instead, we ask God to bless us and our way of doing things and to change other people. What might happen though, if we allowed the work of the Holy Spirit to really open us up to the power of the Word of the Lord? Maybe we’ve heard those words from a Sunday School class. Maybe we’ve heard those words from a friend. Maybe we’ve heard those words from a nagging preacher.

I wonder sometimes, if we’re more like the person who goes to the doctor for a check up and hears “eat healthy, get some exercise and lose some weight.” We say “I know doctor, I know. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll do better.” But it’s not until we have a health crisis that we get scared straight right? And even then, we pray and want God to make it immediately better without the dedication and faithfulness to healthy eating and regular exercise that must also come with good health. Yep, sounds a little like the early Jewish people. I wonder how much that sounds like us? We hear the words, we brush them off and then when destruction comes we cry out “Why God?” and get angry and blame God for whatever has come.

Instead of needing a great event to shake us into faithfulness to God, what if we allowed the Holy Spirit to show us on a daily basis our need for God? What if we went to be each night, asking to be shown our sin and then resting in God’s faithfulness to us, despite that sin? What if we woke up each morning, asking for God to help us remember that we – and every person around us – is created in the image of God and then live accordingly?

What if we remembered that God will have compassion according to the abundance of God’s steadfast love? (v. 32)

What if we remembered that God does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone? (v. 33)

What if we remembered to examine our ways and return to the Lord? (v. 40)

What if we remembered to lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God in heaven? (v. 41)

What if we remembered that God comes near when we call on God, telling us “Do not fear?” (v. 57)

It took the depth of destruction for the writer of Lamentations to be convinced of God’s faithfulness.

How will you be convinced of God’s faithfulness?

 

On Solid Rock August 24, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 6:51 am
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Did you hear? There was an earthquake on the east coast. Apparently it was felt all the way into the midwest. My house, didn’t feel it. Racer felt it at work, but I did not feel it.

Our house is near a rock quarry and much of the area around us is very solid rock. Houses around us have huge boulders in their yards. So, I figure that our house must sit on some pretty solid rock.

Then I though about THE Solid Rock that Racer and I try to build our home upon. No matter what happens in our life (and we’ve had some stuff happen), our foundation, Jesus Christ, is something that will not shake. Natural disasters may come, life mistakes may happen, circumstances may seem all wrong, unexpected winds of change blow, but still our Foundation stands firm.

Makes me think about the children’s song…

Makes me think about the hymn…

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24,25 NIV

 

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.”

 

I Have a Friend Who… May 20, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:44 pm
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How many times have you heard someone start a story and you think “yeah, right.” Well in this case it’s true.

This is not my story.

The story you are about to read is from a dear friend of mine. She tells it (and has given me permission to share it) so that God’s love and His plans for her life can be glorified. She tells it to encourage life.

It was 1967 and two people who had been in love since childhood made a decision to have unprotected sex. Why? They were 17 and 18 and put themselves in a compromising situation where they were…alone. Their parents trusted them but they did not give them the boundaries they desperately needed!

Some say, the girl was being rebellious toward her father because he had made it clear that her boyfriend was not accepted.

It was the 60’s and free sex was “in.” However, these two people were charismatic christians! The girl played the piano in her church youth group, was a straight A student, and had scores of friends and a very bright future ahead of her. The boy was athletic, strong, very intelligent and loved the Lord! He had big goals for his future. In fact he had already made money at a number of childhood “jobs.”

Everything was about to change at a rapid pace. You know that feeling you have when something is about to happen? Well, this couple’s world came to a crashing halt with the discovery that she was pregnant!

At the time, this thing called abortion was explained as simply another form of birth control. No.big.deal. The procedure could be done in one day and you could go back to the life you once knew. So, naturally, several people encouraged this girl to choose abortion. NO WAY! Because in this girl’s heart was the absolute truth. That a loving Father God in heaven chooses to give life and only HE can take it away. She knew in her gut that this was a life that needed to be nurtured and loved and she knew who she would parent this child with. Her sweet-loving boyfriend.

Due to extreme morning sickness, she had to finish school at an alternative place and graduate with a G.E.D. instead.

And, at about 6-7 wks. pregnant, she got married with just a few people as witnesses.

I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS AT THE WEDDING!  The little baby growing inside this girl, was me! I was a little person with a heart and soul developing into what I would become today, praise God…

SHE CHOSE LIFE!

By, a Wife of 25 yrs. and homeschooling mom, blessed friend, sister, daughter and child of God.

 

And Now I See May 7, 2011

I FINALLY went to the eye doctor this week. I’ve needed to go for a long time now, but no vision coverage and being broke means that mom takes a back seat to the kids’ needs. When we moved, I had a couple of contacts left. I was on my last pair and then got an eye infection. That meant that the glasses went on.

I never, well hardly ever, wear my glasses. I just don’t like wearing them. I much prefer contacts. Well, after my eye cleared up, I didn’t have any contacts left, so I had to keep my glasses on. I could see, but not nearly as well. When I would go to the eye doctor and my prescription changed, I would just get new contacts, knowing that my glasses were always “just a back up.”

So three months have gone by and I was finally able to get myself into an eye doctor. Wrestling three small children into an eye exam room is no fun. Add trying to see an eye chart into that mix… let’s just say I’m amazed that we even got the exam done.

So now I have my complementary pair of contacts from the doc. Man I can see so much better. I knew my glasses were several “upgrades” old, but I didn’t realize HOW bad my vision was. I’m so glad that I can now see.

It struck me that my eye experience resembles pieces of a Christian faith walk too. We worship regularly, have God moments in which our spiritual sight is fine-tuned and clarified. We’re doing well.

But then something happens – a hurt, an illness, a sin, a doubt – and our vision is blurred. We may not fully realize how weak our faith has become. How blurry the line between holiness and sinfulness has become. We think we can see just fine.

Then the Holy Spirit intervenes. We get a “check-up” and the scales are removed from our eyes. The Spirit reveals how cloudy our vision has become. We rejoice over our renewed God-sight and repent of the blurred vision we lived in.

As I have enjoyed a day of clear, crisp sight, I fully long for clear God-vision where I can fully see myself and this life as He does. And I rejoice for each time that the Holy Spirit has revealed to me just how bad my vision was (even if those appointments were difficult to get through).

(By the way, I got a great deal on my contacts through Coastal Contacts. Just under $20 a box and that included shipping! “Like” their Facebook page and get a code for 20% off your first order. Use the link above and I’ll get bonus credit too!)

 

 
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