Kris Mares

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

Orientation August 19, 2011

Filed under: Me,Ministry — Kris @ 10:07 pm
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Tonight I attended the first part of the orientation process for seminary. There were two parts of the evening that were very lovely. The rest was a little overwhelming. I’ll start with the good stuff.

We began with a song. A lovely hymn that so many know and love – “Blessed Assurance.” The great part was that everyone sang. And sang loudly. So many times during Sunday morning worship, it seems like the only people singing are those leading the music. Sometimes there are individuals that can be heard and sometimes the congregation is audible, but not at the volume level one would expect for the number of people present. Tonight, it seemed as if 45 people sounded like 100. It was a lovely, joyful sound. It made me smile from deep within.

The second great part was the dinner meal. It was good food (extra good because I didn’t have to cook it), but the food was not the great part. I had good conversation. The best part of the conversation was learning that one of the faculty members I will have, grew up in my former state of residence and even has friends in the small county I lived in!! That is no coincidence. That is one small way that God continues to confirm for me that I am correctly taking this step of obedience.

You see, as the first day of seminary has loomed closer and closer, fear and anxiety and uncertainty and doubt are creeping in. I’m wondering if I discerned the prompting of the Holy Spirit correctly. I’m wondering if I’ve made a wise decision. I’m anxious about how I’m going to pay for this venture. I’m anxious about how life balance will work out. I’m doubting and second guessing and… basically I’m letting Satan get the best of me.

As the evening continued, I felt overwhelmed. Then I left and a situation I thought was taken care of fell through and I continue to wonder how this mommy/student/wife/self life balance thing is going to work. What happens when the kids get sick? What happens when the babysitter gets sick? What happens when schedules collide? What happens when I put wife and mommy duties first (as I think I’m supposed to) and my student responsibilities don’t get done? What if…

It all sounds crazy doesn’t it? So tonight, as I set my alarm to get up early so that I can have everything for the babysitter ready when she comes at 7:45am so that I can go finish “orientating,” I will lay my head on the pillow and give all those “what ifs” to God. Because I don’t know the answers. I can’t handle the madness of it all. But He can. I will remember that it is in my weaknesses that His strength is shown.

I will be still and know.

 

Emergency Preparedness August 18, 2011

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 2:01 pm
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Lately, I’ve been coming across more and more information about preparing for emergencies. I’ve been in a couple of situations where having a good plan and supply store would’ve been very useful. We were minimally prepared, but very minimally. So I’ve been thinking more and more about creating a plan and having necessary supplies in one location, packed together and easy to grab as needed.

I’m kind of struggling with the planning and prepping though. My struggle with the planning is basically two-fold.

One – I don’t want to be preparing out of a place of fear or mass panic. There seems to be more “chatter” lately about “being prepared.” Prepared for emergency. Prepared for civil disobedience. Prepared for economic meltdown. Prepared for collapse of society as we know it. I don’t want to buy into all that. As a Christian, my first priority is to make sure my heart and the hearts of my family are prepared. Feel how you want about that, but it is my first goal. After that, I want to be able to take care of my family should a disaster strike (like an ice storm that we experienced) that may last for an extended period of time.

Two – For how long should I prepare? I can be prepared for a week at least (would’ve been helpful on a few occasions I can think of in my adult life). But how much further should I go? A month? 3 months? 6 months? A year? Some people are really prepared to be self-sufficient for a long period of time. And how much should I plan to be able to help my neighbors who may not be prepared? Again, as a Christian, I feel like it is my place to care for family AND neighbor. Again, I don’t want to come from a place of fear, but I do want to be able to take care of and protect my family should a need arise. What that means, I haven’t decided yet.

So, I’m starting with water. Each time I empty a bleach container, soda or juice bottle, I’m filling it up, putting a date on it and storing it away. My goal is 50 gallons (we are a family of seven remember?) That’s just over 1 gallon a day for 7 days for 7 people. The next goal will be putting together a specific kit for personal/medical needs as well as emergency lighting. Most of the stuff I have around, I just need to have an intentional “kit” put-together specifically for emergency situations; a kit that I could grab and go with if needed.

From there I’ll work more on a specific emergency food supply, clothing grab and go bag, equipment (like a can opener) and extra copies of important documentation. I have no idea how long this will take me. I hope I never need any of it. Sometimes I feel silly even thinking about it, but then again, the old “Be Prepared” is nagging at my brain.

So I guess I want to know what you think. What have you done to be prepared in case of emergencies of various types? How long have you prepared for? Tell me, cause I need some help in fleshing this all out…

 

God is Good October 26, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 5:52 am
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I am not usually at a loss for words.  If you know me in person, you know that.  I have a thought/comment/idea/opinion about EVERYTHING!!  In social situations, this skill comes in handy; I can have a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere.  I fully recognize that it can also be an annoying trait of mine.  I’m learning when to just close my mouth and listen too.  Anyway, twice yesterday, I found myself at a loss for words.

Twice in one day. 

And really, when I think about it, in the last 10 months, I have been at a loss for words several times.  At a loss because I don’t know how to accurately describe God’s goodness.  I could search scripture and find plenty of verses of praise, but sometimes, we just have to stand in awe.

That’s been my life lately.  Standing in awe. 

You see, last week, I posted about fear I was having and the lesson I had to teach about that.  This week, the pastor’s message was about… you got it – fear.  That fear is a natural human emotion.  We shouldn’t be ruled by our fear, or make decisions out of it.  Instead, we should totally trust God through our fear.  When we do – when we trust through and in spite of our fears – we are showing faith and honoring God.

I continue to have great hope in that.  My spirit is filled with hope of what is to come.  Then yesterday, twice in one day, I learned that people who are total strangers to me, want to do something that is an incredible blessing for my family – my children.  I’m in awe.  I don’t deserve it.  I didn’t ask for it.  I don’t know how to respond to it except to say Thank You God! 

If I told you all the ways that I’d be speechless in the last 10 months, it would take up a whole book.  Someday, maybe I’ll just write that book.  There is an incredible God Story being written through my family.  I can’t wait to get on the other side and see how all these “random” pieces fit together.

Until then, I want to hear your stories.  Tell me what God has done to make you simply stand in awe.

ETA:  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the church my family has recently started to attend wants to throw us a baby shower!  Again, unexpected “God winks” (as a friend says) that just make me stand in awe…

 

Where to start… October 18, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 1:12 pm
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I didn’t blog at all last week.  A family member reminded me of that last night – and I did have a goal of blogging at least 3 times a week right?  So, here I am sitting down, deciding where to start…  I have about 3-4 blogs rolling around in my head – great ideas that I just need to get onto “paper.”  I’m sure you’ll see them soon.  What I really want to write about, feel like I’m supposed to write about, I have fear about.  Fear because it’s out there, for everyone to see.  Fear because I don’t want to reveal too much about my life and deal with the repercussions.  Fear because I don’t know what will happen, how people will react, if I’m totally transparent and intimate about my life.  Fear because it’s not just my life, but I want to protect my husband and children too.  I don’t ever want what I say to reflect negatively on who they are.  If it reflects negatively on me – that’s fine, because you really do get the real me on here.  I may be reserved for privacy reasons, but for the most part, you get my voice and who I am.  When it comes to family though, the mama bear in me comes out and I can be fiercely defensive – realistic, but defensive.

So today, as I write and think and pray, I continue to reflect on the Sunday School lesson from yesterday – Psalm 46.  I got the privilege of teaching this lesson and in God’s great way of teaching me, I needed it more than anyone else I think.  Sometimes I need reminding that God is God and I am not.  When something is going on that needs “fixed,” I tend to be the one creating the plan and moving forward with the fixing.  Racer is the let’s wait and it’ll fix itself kind of guy.  I want to go in and solve the problem with my big ideas.  Racer waits to see and takes it as it comes.  I want to know what is going to happen and when.  Racer takes each step as it comes, not worrying about the next.

In all reality, God is the only one in control.  His timing is perfect and I don’t understand it and that creates fear in me.  (I know a counselor that would say I am choosing to fear, but I like to think that I would never “choose” fear.)  Yet, Psalm 46 reminds me that God is my ever-present help.  He is within me and He will be exalted.  This takes on even more meaning when I learned that Psalm 46 was written in response to a “last-minute miracle.”

You see, Hezekiah was king.  The Assyrians were attacking.  They were camped out around the city waiting for daybreak so that they could wage war.  I’m sure the people could see them waiting.  They people knew that doom was impending.  They could hear it, feel it, see it.  What fear they must have had.  I’m sure the faithful (and even the unfaithful) were crying out to God, asking for deliverance and protection.  Some had probably started creating plans on what they would do to protect their family.  Maybe some even gave up hope, thinking that if God hadn’t intervened yet, he wasn’t going to.  Yet some still held on tight to hope – hope that the God they know, love, serve and trust would keep His promises.

What happened?  Before dawn, while the Assyrian army was sleeping, and Angel of the Lord slay 185,000 soldiers while they slept.  When dawn broke – and war should’ve begun – the army instead retreated.  God protected His people.  Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife “See, all that worrying for nothing!”

Psalm 46 is most likely a response to that miracle – a people’s praise and worship gift to their God.  To my God.  To our God.  Psalm 46 reminds me of that too.  “God is OUR refuge… WE will not fear… Almighty is with US…”  I don’t function alone.  My family doesn’t function alone.  We are a part of a community of believers, strengthened, protected and loved by a mighty God.  The God that is my God, was the God of Jacob and the God that delivered His people (over and over and over again).  God is the same today, as He was then and will be in the future.

I don’t have to deal with my fears, struggles, challenges alone.  So as Racer and I make some decisions regarding our “old house” that we thought had sold but didn’t, as well as the current home we live in, please pray with us.  Please pray that we clearly hear God’s direction to take.  Please pray that we make a wise decision as we move forward.  Please pray that we will be united in our decision.  Please pray that we are in God’s timing and Will and not our own.  Please pray that the feelings overwhelming me (I am pregnant after all and hormones are taking their toll) subside and are replaced with a peace that passes understanding.

And to quote a dear old woman at a church we love, “I covet your prayers.”  I know we’re not supposed to covet, but I love that she says that and I think when talking about prayer, it might just be okay.

So, humbly I say thank you.  Whoever “you” may be, thank you.  I know God hears you and I trust that He is already answering.  I just need to be able to see and hear those answers.  I need to be still and know that God is God of all situations.

And please, if I can pray about something for you, let me know.  I will gladly carry you to the Throne as well.

 

Victory in Jesus May 2, 2010

Tonight, in Celebrate Recovery, we learned about Victory.  We looked at steps 6 and 7.

Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. (Steps 6 and 7)

“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires”

I’ve worked these steps.  I’m not “done” working them.  I have to choose each day to submit myself to the Will of God.  God is constantly wanting to change us – to mold us – into a being more and more like Jesus.  I have to be willing to be changed.

That’s hard for a stubborn, hard-headed, prideful woman like myself.  I say that because “I’m not wrong, you are.  I don’t need to change.  You do.”  That was me.  I’m still stubborn, hard-headed and prideful.  Now I realize that those are pieces of my that God is wanting to change.  I have to be willing to give all of that to God though.  What I can’t understand is why I want to keep holding on to that?

Tonight, the praise band sang the Casting Crowns song “Voice of Truth.”  The chorus says:

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Right now, my family is getting ready to embark on a new adventure – and I’m afraid.  I don’t know what will happen, what life will be like and I have little to no control.  (Have I mentioned that I tend to be a control freak?).  And yes, I’m afraid. 

I guess that’s why I keep holding onto that other stuff.  If I let go, what’s left?  What will be left of me if I’m not all of those other things?  I suppose that’s the point isn’t it?  To have nothing of “me” left so that all there is, is Jesus.

That’s what the Victory lesson is really about.  As I think about it, our Sunday morning sermon was about the same thing really, leaving all we know behind for Jesus.  When we lose ourselves – OUR desires, OUR ways of doing things, OUR money, OUR strength, OUR… – we are open and able to fully receive what Jesus has to offer.

What Jesus has to offer is victory – a victory over life that is bigger than anything we could ever do.  And my stupid fear is standing in the way. 

So today, I choose to listen to the Voice of Truth.  I will NOT be afraid of what is to come, because I know that it is for God’s glory, so that He can do great things in my family’s life and use us to glorify Him to others.  When my Jesus was nailed to the cross, my fear was nailed to the cross with him.  And when Jesus conquered death, he gave me victory too.

 

 
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