Kris Mares

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

When Did She Grow Up? February 21, 2011

Filed under: Girlie — Kris @ 8:04 pm
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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.

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Remembering the Ice Storm January 11, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 10:45 am
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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.

 

Fasting December 15, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 2:01 pm
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Today, some friends and I are fasting.  While some are doing a full fast (water only), some are doing a juice only fast and some, because of medical reasons, are giving up other loved activities instead of food.  Because I am nursing the baby, I have given up all “fun food” today – sweets, snacks, hot chocolate, coffee and other stuff I love to eat.  Just basic meals so that I can continue to feed my baby well.

Why are we fasting?  During this 24 hours, we are focusing in prayer for our spouses, our children, our homes,  our finances.  We are petitioning God, asking for direction, wisdom, courage, strength, peace, resolution and any number of needs.  What am I finding?  Peace.

As I’m going about my day – changing diapers, fixing lunch, vacuuming, mopping, getting the mail – I am thanking God for the ability to do these things and the ways that He has provided for my family and my friends’ families.  As I know of specific areas of need, I share those with God as well.  He already knows what I’m talking about; I’m simply giving God my heart’s hurts, joys and desires.  I’m having an intimate conversation with my Creator.

But why fast in it all?  Why give something up?  We certainly don’t have to fast in order to pray.  Fasting is simply a type of spiritual discipline.  It is a sacrifice that we are giving – sort of like the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  It is a sacrifice that often helps us remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus at the Cross.  And each time we would normally “partake” in the food/activity/offering, we instead are to spend that time in prayer.  So each time today I think about going to grab a chocolate chip cookie ( or 2 or 3 or…) from the batch I made yesterday, I then should take a moment to instead, talk with and listen to God.

So what am I hearing today?  For me, this is the important question.  I have been struggling to hear God for sometime.  There is a lesson about submission I’m learning in that, but today, I am hearing clearly that God’s got it.  That job situation a friend is worried about?  God’s got it.  The house stuff Racer and I are dealing with?  God’s got it?  The spouse issues another friend struggles with?  God’s got it.  The kid worries?  God’s got it.

But in that promise, has been a condition.  First comes our trust and obedience.  We have to TRUST that God’s got it.  And then, we have to be obedient to His life for us.  When we trust in obedience is when we see the beauty of how God works it all out.  When we aren’t obedient, we see the mess of when we try to work it out.  Trust and obedience are key. 

That’s pretty major.  It’s like a promise with a condition:  “IF you clean your room, THEN you can go to your friend’s house.”  IF we trust and obey, THEN God will work it all out in His beautiful, perfect way.  No pressure huh?  Good news is, God won’t ask us to do anything He’s not gonna equip us to do.  It’s like giving a kid time, the vacuum, the spray, the paper towels, the clothes basket, the toy bins – all she needs to clean and organize the room.  Instead, the kids uses all that to make a robot that will hopefully do the cleaning.

So today, as I continue to pray, I’ll be asking God to reveal to me what I’m doing with the tools He’s giving me.  (I’m asking the same for my friends too.)  Am I being obedient?  Or am I making a robot?

How about you?  How is your trust and obedience?  What have you been making with His tools lately?

Edited to Add:  Right at 7pm, when we were ending our time of fasting, a friend got a positive call regarding a housing issue we were praying about.  God’s timing is perfect!

 

Prayer for my Baby November 23, 2010

Heavenly Father-

Today is the day, you have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!  Today is the day, you have chosen for my baby to join the world!  And even though we will meet this baby for the first time, you already know the number of hairs on his head today and 57 years from now.  You know if this baby is a girl or boy.  You know how well she will sleep at night.  You know the grade he’ll get in middle school science.  You know what her first job will be.  You know who he will marry.  You know the number of days she will have.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this child’s journey.

So today, father, as I become a mother again, guide all that is done to bring this baby safely into this world.  Keep the doctors and staff alert, guide their hands as they cut, deliver and repair.  Give them a supernatural energy, wisdom and kindness.  Calm any nerves or concerns they may have – about this delivery or about things in their own lives.  While they are with me and baby, help them focus solely on the task at hand.

Protect my baby and I from any complications that may be possible.  Keep away any sense of infection or sickness that could come.  Keep us safe and comfortable.

And father, prepare my other children for the changes that this baby will bring to our family.  Give grandparents words of comfort, excitement and wisdom to help ease this transition.  Help them find joy, peace and love for this new sibling.

Thank you for all you have done for the family you have created for me.  Thank you for what you will do today.  Thank you for all you continue to do.  I don’t always understand it, but I know that you have personally knit together a beautiful, mixed up, perfect family for me to care for.  In all that I do for them, guide me to be the wife and mother You need me to be.  And in the end, remind me that YOU did it – not me.  YOU are the I AM.  I am the I am not. 

I love you Jesus.  Amen.

 

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.

 

Praying for Others September 23, 2010

Recently, an acquaintance spoke of praying for others.  The gist of the comment was that she no longer believe God hears her when she prays for herself, but that He hears when she prays for others.  My response was this:

And this is precisely why we all pray for others. Sometimes when we are removed from a situation – just a bit – there is some breathing room to listen and pray for the “right” things, not just what is so desperately wanted. When we are not in a fight to breath, it is easier to slow ourselves down and listen for our prayers to be directed and then hear the peace that comes from knowing they will be answered.

Now, I do believe that God is hearing her prayers for herself and her own family.  I believe God hears EACH and EVERY prayer that we utter – even the ones that we don’t utter and can only feel.  But sometimes, we are so entrenched in our own life situations, that we are not able to clearly hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit when we pray.  Sometimes, we are so caught up in the emotions of our lives, that we are unable to sense the peace and the comfort that God is trying to give us.  Sometimes, we are so caught up in our misguided attempts to “solve” our own problems, that we don’t hear God whispering “Just trust me, I’ve got it.”

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:16 (NIV)

Part of having others pray for us is confessing.  We have to be honest about our struggles, temptations and sins.  That means being honest with ourselves too.  And then, we have to trust that those praying will do as they say they will do.  There is something powerful and humbling about asking others to pray for our struggles.  There is a power that is released when we pray in the Spirit for the needs of others.

And God does answer.  Maybe not how we want (which is often why we don’t hear the  answer), but He does answer.  I know that when other people have prayed for things that I can’t seem to pray about – or if I do I hear nothing, silence – that my prayer partners have been overwhelmed with a sense of God’s Will, peace and love that will reign.  I can’t see the clearing – I’m still lost in the woods.  Those that are not in the woods with me are much better able to get God’s picture of where and am, the path out, and the clearing to which I am being led.  It’s a beautiful thing.

So, for those that are struggling, or have ever struggled with prayer – I UNDERSTAND.  I’ve been there.  In some ways I still am.  Yet I trust that even though I may not see the clearing, that God has it all planned.  I supposed that’s what faith is; “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

When life situations seem impossible, unbearable, without hope, we must cry out.  Even though we don’t feel like we’re being heard, we must continue to cry out.  God hears.  God knows.  God understands.  God’s got it under control.   

 

New Goals for Fall September 20, 2010

A lot is changing in my life right now.  We’ve moved to a whole new place, we have a new baby coming, I’m currently a stay-at-home mom again, and God is knitting our family together in ways  that I’m watching in awe and disbelief and wonder.  And, it’s beginning to look a lot like Fall out!  I LOVE fall – it’s probably my most favorite of all the seasons.  The temperatures are PERFECT, it brings back great memories of marching band, the windows in the house can be open, the leaves turn beautiful colors, bonfires are perfect… and it means that winter is coming (that means Christmas and snow!).  Fall always seems so crisp and fresh to me.

So, in honor of Fall and all the changes happening around me, I decided to make some new goals for myself.  Some goals are longer term, some shorter, but none the less, they are still goals that I have right now in my life.  And, I thought I’d share them with you.

#1 – Get the baby room set up and determine what, if anything, I will need.  We have most everything saved from Girlie and Gorilla.  This baby will be a “surprise,” and thankfully we have neutral, pink and blue waiting in the wings.  Because of the move, all the baby equipment is taken apart.  So, it needs to be put together, placed in its place and I get to start washing and organizing (one of my favorite things to do)!  I can’t wait to see all the little clothes hanging out on the line.  And I think, most of what we’ll need for the baby is consumables – diapers, wipes, washes, lotions, etc.  I am toying with the idea of cloth diapering some though…

#2 – Get into a better household management schedule so that I’m using what we have – money, time, other resources – the best I can.  I’ve tried FlyLady before and dabble on and off with her “system.  I just don’t stick with it well.  I grocery/meal plan fairly well, but I can always do better.  I just need a better routine of keeping up with household maintenance, cleaning and organizing so I don’t go on “binges” and drive everyone CRAZY!

#3 – Start thinking about Christmas, how we can better budget for it and what we can do for others (creative crafty things that are low-cost) to help share the reason that our family celebrates.  Work with Racer to plan ways for our family to keep Jesus Christ at the forefront of Christmas.

#4 – Bake from scratch more. It’s healthier and cheaper.  Frugal Girl has inspired me in this endeavor.  I just need to incorporate baking into the family routine more.

#5 – Keep a daily date with God.  This one should actually be first.  I REALLY want to figure out how to read the Bible/do a Bible study/spend time in Prayer daily.  And I don’t mean doing it in a dash.  I mean time that I can actually spend LISTENING to God.  Racer’s mom is really great at doing this.  The woman gets up at an hour of the morning that I don’t even recognize and spends time with God.  She’s done it forever.  She does it on vacation.  She does it when she’s visiting our crazy family and helping unpack/watch little kids/cook/etc.  So I can’t use my busy family as an excuse.  This dedication is one thing that I admire about her.  I have plenty of books, studies, devotions to use.  I have many that are half done.  I do great for a week or two and then…  I lose focus, interest, “time.”  Somethings gotta give.

#6 – Be more encouraging and less critical.  I tend to “encourage” by pointing out what people are doing or did wrong and then tell them that they can do better.  Not really encouraging.  I want to be the biggest cheerleader there is for my husband and children.  I want/need to be a better positive encourager.

So those are my goals for right now.  Some are big, some are not.  Some I’ll reach and complete.  Some will take a lifetime to reach.  Help me with them will you?  Pray that God gives me what I need to accomplish them.  Ask me how I’m doing with them.  Hold me accountable – as Christians, we’re supposed to do that for each other.

And tell me, what goals have you set for yourself?  I’d like to help you along in your journey too.

 

 
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