Kris Mares

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

Letting Go October 17, 2020

Filed under: faith,Me — Kris @ 3:40 pm
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Recently I spent a few days at The Quiet Place NC. While I was there, I was sitting, quietly listening for God to speak to me. I wrote these words, documenting what I felt God was saying to me.

There is beauty in letting go. Just as you delight in watching trees drop their leaves, I delight in watching you let go of that which is no longer in season. As the sun illuminates and makes the light on the falling leaves dance, the Son of Man gives light to the things you let go of. The Son brings forth the dance, the gracefulness, the delight in the letting go. The Holy Spirit blows, you let go, and Jesus gives you joy.

Like the tree, you must be willing to sway and bend. To move. Like the tree, you must be willing to let go. Like the tree, you must be bare for a season, for a time of rest and of soaking in. A time when the work cannot be seen.

And like the tree, new growth will come. It will be beautiful and welcomed. It will bring hope and delight to those who watch the process.

My view as I wrote this message from God.

How I Messed Up Mother’s Day May 10, 2016

FullSizeRender (8)I got breakfast in bed (and it was good). My coffee was made for me. The church pews were full (my heart feels really happy about that). Lunch was prepared. They gave me space for a nap. I was given a gift certificate for time at a local spa.

So why in the world was I such a crab about it all?

Seriously, I messed up Mother’s Day. I ranted. I railed. I cried. I was sad. I was mad.

And I didn’t want it to be like that.

Saturday night, I had even prayed about Mother’s Day. I had asked God to help me be grateful. To help me be kind. To help me not mess it up.

And then I went and did the thing I did not want to do.

As Paul puts it in his letter to the Romans (and maybe also to me?):

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. (Romans 7:19-21, NASB)

Or as Eugene Peterson translates it:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’treally do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. (Romans 7:17-23, The Message)

I wanted to be a grateful mother. I wanted to be an appreciative wife. I wanted to be good and do good. I even asked God for help. And then, I went and screwed it all up.

Or did I?

Perhaps it was the sin that is within me that screwed it up. Perhaps the force of evil at work in the world tried to win.

Perhaps you’ve been there. Maybe it wasn’t Mother’s Day you messed up. Maybe it was Christmas or your birthday or a kid’s birthday or just a special family day. You wanted to make it special. You wanted to feel loved. You wanted to receive the gestures of love and appreciation those around you shared.

But somehow, even though your desire was there, sin crept in. Sin took over. Sin seemed to win.

But shhh… I want to let you in on a little something.

Sin doesn’t win.

Jesus already did.

Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and Jesus still reigns on the throne, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, redeeming those moments, those days, those times when you know what you ought to do. Redeeming those moments, those days, those times when you want to do good. Redeeming those moments, those days those times when sin seems to win.

Jesus wins.

So as I curled under the covers in my bed, crying and pleading and confessing to God (and let’s be real, texting my best friend about it all), I knew what I had to do. I had to apologize.

I hate it when that happens.

So just before Racer put the younger boys to bed, I called them all in and I apologized. I said I was sorry for being unappreciative, for being grouchy and for not being loving.

You know what happened.

Jesus’ victory came.

I got hugs and kisses. One child said “You know, we should have a Mother’s Day do over.”

Yes, baby, we should.

Today, one child said it was his Mother’s Day do over and he was going to be nice to me.

Yes, baby, I’ll be nice too.


Jesus wins.

Love wins.


Today we pray April 27, 2016

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 8:19 am
Tags: , ,

Sometimes, conversation goes nowhere. Sometimes, the listening stops. Sometimes, the political wrangling goes too far. Conversation is good. Listening is vital. Wrangling is questionable.

I am already tired of the conversation surrounding my chosen denomination’s major quadrennial gathering for budget setting and decision-making. I am already tired of the typed shouting declaring which side is right. I am already tired of the variable guessing of what will happen if…

So today, today we pray. Will you join me?

Gracious, holy, loving God. You are giver of all good things. You built the church on the one true Cornerstone. We, as a Body, are the bride of Christ, waiting in anticipation until you come once again to bring us into the fullness of restored creation, restored relationship. We wait, Lord. We wait for you.

And as we wait, we admit that we get so much wrong. We talk when we should listen. We do nothing when we should act. We busy ourselves with playing church when we should be sitting with those who you call “blessed” and “the least of these.” Forgive us. Forgive us for doing things our way and failing to “seek ye first.” Forgive us for creating a structure of church that resembles the ways of the world. Forgive us for assuming to know what your will is without first seeking You. And yet, in the midst of our lacking, you are enough. You are faithful. You will not leave us as orphans. Thank you God, for loving us enough to listen to our cries, to listen to our laughter, to listen to our wrangling, to listen to our silence.

Hear us God as we lift up those who will gather in Oregon. Hear us as we lift our clergy and laity leaders to you. We thank you Faithful Father for their “yes” to serving you, the church and others in this way. We thank you Wise Mother for the ways they have sought and continue to seek you. We ask you now to change them. Change their hearts from what is impure to what is noble and right and good. Change their minds to be as the mind of Christ. Change them from who they were and who they are into who you are calling them to be. Keep these servants and their families safe as they prepare to travel and gather and serve. Give them a supernatural covering of protection and good health.

Hear us God as we lift up those who live and work in Portland. Give them patience for travelers, servants hearts and open hearts to hear the Gospel proclaimed through the lives of those they meet. We ask that travel systems run smoothly, infrastructures remain sound, and computers don’t have glitches during hotel check-ins.  We ask that you keep waterworks flowing, power running safely and give first-responders a supernaturally easy week, with way fewer emergency calls than anticipated. And we pray God, that those human traffickers who may try to take advantage of a large gathering of people instead find their efforts frustrated and their “workers” freed from the bondage of their circumstances. 

Hear us God as we lift up those of us who remain behind, who remain in the pulpits, in the pews, in church offices, in the workplace, in our homes. Nudge us continually to pray. Remind us over and over again to intercede on behalf of this gathering. Speak to us as we too listen for your call, for your wisdom, for your direction, for your comfort. 

We trust that you hear us. We trust that you answer us. We trust… In Jesus Name, Amen.


Doing Something Right September 15, 2015

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 8:23 am
Tags: ,

Tonight I was frustrated. I didn’t feel well and I was short with my children. I put them to bed and let them pray on their own. Later, both the young boys came out to go to the bathroom again. This was the conversation with one of them.

Climber: “Mom I haven’t pwayed yet. Will you pway wif me?”

Me: “Yep, climb up here.” (After getting snuggled up) “Go ahead.”

Climber: “God is great, God is good. Dear God, fank you for today. Pwease help mommy feel better. Pwease help tomorrow be another good day. And help daddy get home safe from the racetrack when he comes home. And fank you for friendship. In Jesus name we pway, Amen.”

Yep. Sometimes God gives us just what we need to remind us that we’re doing something right.


A Prayer for Me September 11, 2015

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 7:00 am

Gracious and Holy One,

Some days it’s easy to come to you. Some days it’s easy to approach the throne. And some days it’s not. Receive me today. Hear my heart today. Look upon my life with love, even though there are days that it’s hard to see it at work.

Some days, God, I’m just tired. Tired of doing what is right. Tired of serving. Tired of biting my tongue. Tired of picking up socks for the millionth time. Tired of praying for others. Tired of not feeling like I have enough. Tired of not feeling like I am enough.

And in those moments, God, I know I need you. I know I need a fresh wind. I know I need the breeze of the Holy Spirit to remind me that I am loved and I am called and I am chosen and I am yours.

What I don’t understand, God, is why in those moments, when I know I need you most, that it seems hardest to come to you? Why does my pride continue to get in my way and prevent me from totally seeking you? Why God? Why do you allow me to get in the way of my relationship with you?

And in the quiet of listening for your voice I hear “Because I love you. Because I want you to allow me to be fully at work in all areas of your life. Because I want you to totally surrender yourself to me. If you don’t do it, it’s not love if I make you do it.”

So God, help me. Transform me into the image of Christ. But it’s gonna hurt isn’t it? Not hurt painful, but heart hurt. I have this feeling that the more I carry the aroma of Christ, the more my heart will break. The more the tears will fall. The more my anger will be replaced by compassion.

So God, as I pray for others, hear this prayer for me. Hear my heart. Heal my heart. Change my heart. And hold me tight when it hurts.

Holy Spirit come…


That’s Why God is Good August 3, 2015

Filed under: Marriage — Kris @ 7:34 am
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Marriage is hard.  God is good.

This year, Racer and I celebrated 10 years of marriage and hard work. It’s been a lot of hard work. We both brought luggage into our relationship. His parents divorced when he was young. I had been married and divorced. He had expectations. I had expectation. Our premarital counseling was minimal. We did read a great book together (and I highly recommend it to anyone considering a second marriage), but we were pretty ill-equipped for this journey together.

That’s why God is good.

I have not always been a good wife. I still have bad days when I rant and rave and want my way. But over the last 10 years I’ve learned that God brought me a good life partner. Racer is a good match for me. Even though we are very different (in a LOT of ways), he balances me and challenges me and loves me when I act unlovable.

That’s why God is good.

Over the years, I’ve prayed for my husband a lot. Friends have prayed for my husband. I’ve prayed for him to change, to be different, to do things different, to have a different vocation – basically I’ve prayed for God to change him into something he’s not. In the process, God changed me. That’s the funny thing about prayer. If we are really listening for God’s direction, it’s often us that gets changed in the process. I’m a much better wife now than I was in the earlier years of our marriage.

That’s why God is good.

The main thing we have going for us, is that we are trying to keep the main thing the main thing. For Racer and I, keeping God in the center of our marriage and family life is the main thing. God, marriage, family, vocation. Those are our priorities and in that order. We have to have an ear to God’s calling for us. We have to have a solid relationship to stand as a solid foundation for our family and vocations. In this season of life, we are busy with kids and work and stuff. But we have committed to having a date night – out of the house and it can’t include groceries or Wal-Mart – once a month. Sometimes it’s late at night, but we need that time together. Being intentional about our committment to each other is keeping us strong together.

That’s why God is good.


Sometimes… July 20, 2015

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 1:09 pm
Tags: , ,

Sometimes, I don’t want to talk with people. Sometimes, I just want to study, plan and write without interruption or conversation or distraction. Sometimes, I just want to NOT be bothered.

Today, that didn’t happen.

Today, I met a friend for coffee and conversation. I always enjoy our conversations (and actually wanted to have this one). But then, when my friend left, I just wanted to sit outside in the shade and read/write/dream/plan/pray… Normally I can do that without too much of an issue. So I went outside and began to sit down.

And then I did it. I casually commented to the woman sitting at another table that it was a good place to sit and do some work. She had a laptop and coffee and it looked like she was engrossed in her work.

Well, it turned into a full hour of conversation and I didn’t get any of “my work” done. Thing is, I have a sneaking suspicion I got God’s work done. I have a sneaking suspicion that the “appointment” with my friend for coffee was just a ploy to get me in God’s place at God’s time for God’s intended encounter.

Funny how that happens if we listen to the Spirit isn’t it?

I hadn’t planned on having any more conversation. I had an entire bag of things to do. Really, I did! Instead, I met a woman with a story that I needed to hear. And in the process, I had my own prayer from this morning answered.


Sometimes, God answers our prayers in the most unexpected of ways. My unexpected (and undesired) conversation this morning was all about healing. It was all about the healing we find through faith in Jesus Christ – mind, body and spirit. It was about loving God, loving others and loving ourselves. Sure, the woman and I see some things in this world VERY differently. We fall on different sides of many issues. But we both agree on faith in Jesus Christ and the need to be that love in the world around us.

I know it was a God-appointed conversation. Sometimes we wonder how people “know” God is in something. This is how I know God appointed this conversation: 1) As we were talking, I though of a specific story in the Bible and at the moment that story popped into my head, my conversation partner made verbal reference to that exact same story. 2) As I began to share an online resource so we could together look at the greek (I simply said “Can we look up something on your computer?”), my conversation partner asked “Is it Blue Letter Bible?” – the EXACT resource I was going to mention. Yes, we were two gathered together and God was with us.

Sometimes, God designs our days differently that we design them. And should we listen to the promptings of the Spirit, our day may just turn out better than we hoped.

Oh, and P.S. – she’s a freelance writer. Remember when I said I had the writing itch again…


Lately August 14, 2011

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 9:04 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Lately I’ve not been blogging.

Lately, I’ve been busy.

Lately, I’ve been trying to enjoy a summer that has slipped away all too fast.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about emergency preparedness – do you have a plan?

Lately, I haven’t been eating like I should.

Lately, I’ve started to actually enjoy going to the gym and exercising.

Lately, I’ve figured out that I might actually miss Racer when he’s at the track.

Lately, I’ve been anxious about starting seminary.

Lately, I’ve been trying to raise money for books.

Lately, I’ve spent too much time on the computer and not enough time reading books.

Lately, I’ve been teaching Gorilla how to pee in the potty.

Lately, I’ve realized that I’ve actually started to put roots down in my new community.

Lately, I’ve been taking on leadership roles.

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about writing a book.

Lately, I’ve felt like writing again.

Lately, I’ve been tired, but filled.

Lately, I’ve been sensing God and His presence through the Holy Spirit.

Lately, I’ve realized that the dents in my fender and the rips in my jeans are simply talking points in my journey of faith.

Lately, I’ve tried to figure out how to make it all work and realized that I can’t, but God can.

Lately, I’ve cut myself some slack.

Lately, I’ve tried to be a better mom, but failed and then tried again and then failed and then realized that I’ll never stop trying.

Lately, the word family is morphing again and taking on new meanings.

Lately, I’ve had to let go and pray.


What have you been doing lately?


When Did She Grow Up? February 21, 2011

Filed under: Girlie — Kris @ 8:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today is Girlie’s birthday. She’s four. I know that’s not really grown up, but man she’s growing up. I look at her and remember her swollen eye from a bug bite. I see her walking insanely early. I see her climbing on everything. She still does that. We called her monkey when she was little. I see the little baby with the red ribbon held in her hair with toothpaste when she was just hours old.

Now, she’s becoming a shadow of me. She’s right there with me in the kitchen, helping and learning. She knows what i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m spells. She wants necklaces and make up and braids and twirly dresses. She wants to be a mommy. She wants to be read to, to do “some school work,” and to climb in bed with me and Racer because she “didn’t get enough snuggles.”

Girlie is lovely and sweet and kind and brave and smart and strong and nurturing and spirited. She is all the best parts of me and Racer.

Heavenly Father, as my Girlie continues to grow up so fast before my eyes, show me how to be the mother I need to be to her. Help me encourage the good in her. Guide me in teaching and loving her. Discipline me so that she doesn’t learn the ugly parts of who I am. God, always help me to see the beauty in her. Amen.


Remembering the Ice Storm January 11, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 10:45 am
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, we had beautiful snow.  I like snow.  The kids like snow.  They played, started a snowman and made snow angels.  It was pretty.  I took pictures. 

All was good.

Last night, the freezing rain started.  Freezing rain I do not like.  School had already been cancelled, so I knew we didn’t have to go anywhere.  Travel didn’t worry me.  What worried me was the power going out.  We are all electric in our house.  We are on a well too, so no power means no water and no heat for us.  Add Racer being gone and I was really getting nervous.  Oh wait, maybe that’s because I was having flashbacks to the Ice Storm of January 2009 that hit Kentucky and Tennessee. 

During that ice storm, I lived in one of the hardest hit areas.  I remember moments of the night it hit.  You could hear the freezing rain hitting.  We were warned that ice was coming, but I don’t think anyone expected what we got.  Being from a more “wintry” state growing up, I wasn’t that concerned.  But as the storm when on, you just knew it was going to be bad.  Soon you could hear snapping, popping, crackling sounds.  Not good.  The power went out.  Our house at the time had a gas hot water heater, so at least we had hot water.  Gorilla was 1 1/2 months old and I was nursing, so we didn’t need to make bottles, we had food to eat, so we thought we’d be okay. 

We had some phone communication, so we were in contact with others.  (Let me just put in a plug here for ALWAYS having a phone that is NOT cordless.  When the power went out and cell service was sketchy, we still had a “land line” that worked great for a while.)  Rumors were flying about water supply, so we filled up pitchers and the bathtub.  The water did indeed go out because the water company didn’t have power and the generators weren’t working properly or something.  Maybe they weren’t strong enough.  I don’t remember, but regardless, we didn’t have water.  Then it just got plain cold.  We tried going to Red Cross shelter, but I just couldn’t do it.  Too many people, so much uncertainty, so Racer and I decided that I would head out of town with the kids. 

Back home we went to pack up some stuff and head out.  We got on the road and started driving.  Thankfully I had 1/2 tank of gas in the car because when I say the power was out, I mean it was out for a HUGE area.  I think 1/2 of the state was without power.  That means no gas stations that have gas either.  So as we got going, the travel was slow.  Interstates were open 1 lane and MANY people were travelling to get gas for generators, cars, get food/water or just to head out to a safer area.  The first route I tried, I had to turn back because a major power line was across ALL lanes of the interstate and no one was passing.  So we headed another way.

As we continued (remember, I had a 7 week old, a 23 month old and a 7-year-old at the time), the traffic got heavier and the road conditions got worse.  At one point, I was blocked in with semis on all sides of me, driving in slippery, slushy mess, with 1/8 tank of gas and no open fill-ups in site.  I was praying “Jesus keep us safe,  Jesus stretch our gas” over and over and over.  Eventually the roads cleared some and we made it to a familiar town that was full of power.  It was time to fill up our car and our tummies.

We stopped at a Steak-n-shake.  We had to have looked like a mess.  No one had bathed in a couple of days (no water remember) and I’m this single woman with 3 kids – tired and flustered.  We got food and I was trying to nurse Gorilla and get the others to eat.  Girlie all of a sudden said her tummy hurts.  You guessed it – she then proceeded to throw up.  Professor is saying to the waitress “We almost ran out of gas.  We really need to get gas.”  All I can think and say is “Let’s get out of here and get to grandmas.”  As I take Girlie to the bathroom to clean up, Professor and Gorilla stay at the table being watched by a lovely couple sitting near us.  When I get back, someone hands me $10 for gas and the waitress tells me that our bill was paid.  I thanked God, left the ten for a tip and loaded the kids in the car.  We got gas and headed the rest of the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

As I was driving away, I can’t imagine what people thought we were doing.  I don’t know if they knew about the ice storm or not, but I’m grateful for the mercy and assistance they showed that day.  I’m grateful that God did indeed keep us safe and stretch our gas.

We spent the next couple of weeks at my parent’s house.  Phone contact was hard.  Racer had to go to Daytona for work for a few days.  He did join us for a little bit, bringing the pets to us since they couldn’t stay at the house.  We had an enjoyable couple of weeks (I actually got to be present when my nephew was born), but back home it was a MESS.

Professor said it looked like a winter wonderland.  I think it looked like a bunch of popsicle sticks that had been bent and broken.  Huge trees had buckled under the weight of the ice.  Houses and cars were damaged by the fallen limbs.  The National Guard came in to assist with rescue and clean-up.  Although the ice on the trees did have an eerie beauty, what was more beautiful was the way the community came together to help each other out.  Neighbors with generators took in families that needed warm shelter.  Strong bodies with chain saws went out in the cold to cut fallen trees up for those who couldn’t.  People with food and a way to cook made meals to share with those who didn’t have a way to eat.  While I fled to “safety,” many people stayed behind, toughing it out, bonding with their family and friends over board games, simple food and service to others.  That is a beautiful thing.

So as I sit here this morning, thanking God for protection last night and power this morning, I also thank God for His provision during that ice storm.  While He showed His power with the storm, God showed His grace and mercy through the hands and feet of others.  While I’m grateful for the lessons learned, I hope I never have to experience that again.


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