Kris Mares

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

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…

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Dear Birth Mother, September 27, 2010

Dear Birth Mother,

Our daughter recently celebrated a birthday.  As we celebrated, I wonder if you remember her and think about the day she was born?  Do you remember holding her as a newborn, smelling her head, counting her fingers and toes?  As  I think about our daughter now, I so wonder what that moment must’ve been like.  I wonder what her infant cry sounded like.  I wonder if she liked to nuzzle in the crook of your arm or the space between your chin and your neck.  What did she feel like in your arms?

As I feel my own child growing inside of me, I wonder if our daughter was a kicker too.  Did she like to hang off  your rib cage?  Did she spread out wide so you could feel her everywhere, or did she like to ball up and just PRESS into one area?  What sounds did our daughter like to hear as she grew inside of you?

As I watch my smaller children play and grow, and I think about the stories our daughter tells of growing up as a smaller child, I wonder what your memories are of those same moments.  Did you smile when you saw her laughing and jumping in the surf?  Did you curse the sand that ended up throughout the house after a day at the beach?  What memory still makes you smile?  Which one makes you cry?  And now, do you wonder where she is?

Our daughter is safe, loved and part of a beautiful family.  A family that God knitted together just for her.  She has siblings again.  She’s learning a new definition of family.  She’s learning a new definition of mom, too.  Sometimes, as we struggle to define this relationship, I’ll be honest, I get mad.  I get mad that I didn’t get to help define it from the beginning.  I get mad that it even has to be redefined.  I get mad that there is this other image of mom that I compete with.  And then I have to remember, if it wasn’t for you, our daughter would never be a part of my life.  So as much as I get mad, I try to be grateful for the life you gave and the experiences you shared with each other.  Good and bad, those experiences have shaped who our daughter is today.

Our daughter is really great.  I don’t take much credit for that because so much of who she is doesn’t even come from me.  It comes from you, from early family, from foster parents, friends and people in her life today.  But mostly who she is comes from an amazing something that God placed on her while she was still growing inside of you.  From the moment our daughter was created, well really, long before that, God knew who she is and who she will be.  God has protected our daughter from the time in your womb through today.  What’s great is that she sees it and knows it too.  As we look back at her life, we both see so many times that circumstances might have been different, but God intervened and protected her from those life circumstances.

I don’t know where you are today or what you are doing.  I don’t know where your choices have taken you.  I do know that I love your daughter.  She may have been placed in your womb, but I know she was placed in my heart long ago.  I love her like I gave birth to her.  I hope you can understand that.  I want to think that I love her more than you do, but I know that there is a special love of a mom and her child.  Even though our daughter is no longer in your life, I hope that thoughts of her somehow bring a smile to your face and a hope that our daughter walks a better path in life.

Our daughter is loved.  Our daughter is strong.  Our daughter is full of dreams and visions for the future.  She is full of hope of better things yet to come.  Our daughter is beautiful – and you had a part in that.  For that I thank you.  I forgive you.  And maybe someday, we’ll be able to share special memories of her.  But for now, know that our daughter is so much more than I ever could have asked for.

 

Dear Celebrate Recovery family, September 26, 2010

Dear Celebrate Recovery family,

Today, you celebrate your one-year anniversary of ministry in the community. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for all you have, and will continue to mean to me. While I realize that I’m no longer an active part of worship and ministry with you, Celebrate Recovery will ALWAYS hold a very special place in my heart.

No, I don’t suffer from what the world thinks of as a typical “addiction.” I’ve never done drugs, I no longer drink alcohol, nor was I ever an alcoholic. I’ve tried a cigarette or two and felt like my lungs were going to explode, so that wasn’t something I struggled with either. I don’t have a close family member that is entrenched in an addiction that adversely affects my life. I struggle with a sin that is much more insidious – and common place – that many realize. My addiction is my pride.

When I began in the Celebrate Recovery ministry, I was hurting more than many of you will know. I worked in ministry at the church. I stood up in front of two worship services every Sunday and helped “guide” worship, share announcements and even taught kids. I taught 3-4 lessons a week and I was hurting. I didn’t trust people around me. I was burnt out. I was struggling to hear God. I was yelling at my kids, my family. I was not the model of Christianity that I “should have been.” And my pride kept me continuing in that charade. Sunday morning worship was work and no longer a place to connect with and love on God.

And there I was, beginning a process to put me in leadership for a ministry that was supposed to help hurting people.
As I began to work the 12 steps, God began His work in me. Slowly, I was able to let go of the hurt that people had caused within me. I was able to forgive and let go. I was able to see that, flawed as I am, God loves me and can use me still. I don’t have to be perfect to be liked, loved and used by God. I am not God – He is the I AM – and my prideful perfection only serves to push others away from a God that loves and finds us beautiful messes.

I was also able to begin to find contentment in a life that I thought I deserved more of. I began to trust that even though I, the one who loves to make masterful plans, do not see what the future holds, the Master Planner sees, designs, plans and understands so that I don’t have to. When I realized that, the weight that was lifted off my shoulders and spirit was huge. I don’t have to have it all under control. God’s got it all.

At this point in my life, I’ve dealt with more uncertainty in the last 10 months, than I think I have in my whole life. And while I’ve had moments where I have held on tight to my way, for the most part, I have found an inner peace and contentment that I know is only from God’s Spirit at work in my heart. It comes from the love and acceptance that you all have shown me as I allowed my life to unravel in front of you. As I removed my masks of pride and perfection, you became the hands, feet and heart of Jesus to me.

Most of all, you have helped me to get back to the heart of worship. As the song goes:

               I’m coming back to the heart of worship
               And it’s all about You,
               It’s all about You, Jesus
               I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
               When it’s all about You,
               It’s all about You, Jesus

Through Celebrate Recovery, worship once again became about loving on God – not “performing” well so that others could “have good worship.” It’s your raw, open, eager, loving spirits that helped me get back to that. Seeing people awash in the Holy Spirit, simply because they love Jesus, has been so healing for my heart. I longed for what I saw in so many of your faces. Yes me, the one who “worked in ministry” was envious of you.

So, on today, when you all Celebrate Recovery, know that I celebrate with you. I also thank you. Thank you for helping me heal. Thank you for bringing me hope. Thank you for welcoming me into a family of Jesus lovers that could accept that I was not good at everything. Thank you for allowing me to not be perfect. And yet I know, that as much as I thank you, what is beautiful is that you don’t even keep the thanks. You are in turn, thanking and praising God for the work that He is doing.

Praise God for this Celebrate Recovery ministry, the leaders He raises up, the lives He changes and the hearts that are forever different because of Jesus Christ. May you continue to head God’s call, submit to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be the hands and feet of the Jesus we love so much.

Blessings,
Kris

 

A Day in the Life September 1, 2010

Filed under: Motherhood — Kris @ 8:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

My days right now, look nothing like I thought they might when I was growing up.  My days are full, yet I often feel like I don’t get much accomplished.  Raising 4 kids while pregnant is hard.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to pieces, but it’s hard work.  So, in an effort to help myself see that I really DO get something done each day, I thought I’d list out what my day is like.  And, if you get a better glimpse into me, my life, my family and how we roll (some days), that’s good too.  So, here is what we’ve done today.

Shortly before 5:30am – Professor is up and in the bathroom

5:30am – Alarm goes off, get up, wake up Blue, pop in to make sure Professor is getting ready.  He’s already dressed and has made his bed.  Remind him to get the dirty clothes in the basket.  Warm up the 2 day old coffee (I’m the only one who drinks it – 1 mug a morning – and I just can’t let a pot go to waste)

5:45am – Make pancakes for breakfast.  I made a double batch hoping for a few leftovers.  Put plates, butter and syrup on the counter for people to get what they need and eat.  Packed lunch for Racer, Blue and Professor as I was too tired to do it last night.

6:05am – Remind Professor to do “hair, teeth and deodorant” and get his school stuff together.  Ask him to feed the dogs.

6:15am – Pour Blue a glass of milk and get Professor out the door for the bus.  It came early yesterday and we didn’t want to miss it again today.

6:25am – Come inside with Girlie (she woke up and joined us waiting for the bus and looking at a HUGE spider) and watch Racer shove 3 pancakes down followed by a glass of milk.

6:30am – Tell Racer and Blue goodbye for the day, help Girlie get her breakfast, change Gorilla’s diaper and get his breakfast

6:45am – Start breakfast cleanup

7:00am – Breakfast is done, start boiling eggs for lunch, turn on cartoons for the little kids

7:15am – Sit down and check computer stuff (Facebook, email, blogs I follow, get my morning Swagbucks)

7:40am – Realize that the eggs are still on the stove!  Go in and see the pan boiled dry; turn off the burner and put cool water in the pan

7:45am – Little kids brush teeth while I get dressed (no shower today), put a load of laundry in, then get little kids dressed.

8:00-10:00am – Homeschooling; This week we are on the letter A for apple, alligator and astronaut.  We read, practiced writing Aa, did apple addition, made alligator paper bag puppets, reviewed our Adam and Eve story w/coloring pages and wrote a letter to an “A” friend.

10:00am – Outside play time!  While Girlie and Gorilla play, I hang the load of laundry on the line, try to have them “beat a rug,” load the recycling in the car, sweep out the entryway, vacuum the vent/windows in the entryway.

11:20am – Come inside and make lunch, eat clean up

11:55am – Change Gorilla’s diaper and put him down for a nap

12:00pm – Send Girlie up for “quiet time” and talk to Racer during his lunch break

12:15pm – Sit down to computer to check message boards and begin blogging

12:50pm – Go outside to get mail

12:55pm – Come inside and sit down to read the mail (I got a magazine)

1:10pm – Lay down “for a few minutes to put my feet up”

1:43pm – Wake up, realizing it’s been longer than a few minutes and I need to use the bathroom

1:44pm – Watch the clock change and think “I really need to get up,” close my eyes again

1:48pm – I REALLY need to use the bathroom!

1:55pm – Take a pack of toilet paper to the kids bathroom on my way to the kitchen to unload/load the dishwasher

2:10pm – Realize I need to change the printer ink so I can print out the recipe for tonight’s dinner

2:15pm – Sit down to print out the recipe and check FB, email while the page is loading – Hillbilly Housewife is doing maintenance and the page is going slow, update blog post

2:25pm – Gorilla is awake and Girlie is now downstairs, get off computer and get them something for a snack

2:35pm – Prep the Hamburger Pinwheels for dinner tonight and clean-up mess; mental note – next time, double the dough recipe

2:55pm – Go upstairs to check on Girlie and Gorilla playing.  She has created a “party” which means many of her toys are piled on the floor between her bed and window wall.  Mental note – when she is a teenager, NEVER let her host a party.  A mess is sure to be left.  Pick up many toys and get room slightly back in order.

3:10pm – Go outside to bring in laundry and wait for Professor to get off the bus.

3:20pm – Professor is home.  Go inside, put laundry on the bed (it’s Racer’s stuff so he’ll put it away), clean out lunchbox, sit down to update blog post (otherwise I’ll forget what I’ve done)

3:27pm – Listen to Girlie and Gorilla chase each other, talk to Professor about a carrot top he’s trying to sprout, snack he wants and homework to be done

3:29pm – BIG SIGH!  Close eyes for just a moment, deep breath and remember that one day, I’ll miss this crazy, loud chaotic after-school time

3:30pm – Go get a snack ready for Professor

3:35pm – Blue gets home from school a bit early, play tooth fairy and nurse w/Girlie while wrestling/playing jungle gym with Gorilla, remind Blue to take out the dogs

3:50pm – Check Professors homework

3:55pm – Head outside to push Gorilla in the swing, point out spiders and webs, lay in the hammock!, play friends, referee disagreements and watch the dogs so they don’t break out of the fence

4:55pm – Head inside

5:00pm – Start dinner

5:05pm – Call Racer to see if he made it to a friend’s house to help with a project

5:10pm – While listening to kids argue, decide to turn on K-LOVE for some refreshing Christian music, continue with dinner as Gorilla tries to hang from my shirt wanting “up,” Girlie wants a drink and Professor reads a Pokemon book

5:20pm – Set the table

5:30pm – Calm a crying baby and call kids to the table, pray and begin eating

5:48pm – Blue is done and leaves the table

5:49pm – Racer gets home and sits down to eat, the rest of the kids leave the table as they finish

5:56pm – I leave the table and go start bath water

6:00pm – Gorilla gets in the tub, remind Professor to go load/unload dishwasher

6:10pm – Girlie gets in the tub

6:15pm – Get Gorilla out and get his pj’s on, paged by Girlie from the tub 3 times

6:16pm – Notice the dishwasher hasnt’ been touched and track down Professor to do his chore

6:17pm – Blue asks to go to Wal-Mart for graph paper, told her no (we were just there yesterday and she knew she needed it then), gave her some small sheets that happened to be around

6:20pm – Sit down to update blog post

6:26pm – Remind Blue to feed the dogs

6:30pm – Hear Blue yelling about Gorilla throwing all the dog food she just put into the bowls out onto the floor as Professor laughs, go referee

6:33pm – Finish updating blog post as I hear Racer getting Girlie washed up in the tub, check Facebook

6:38pm – Girlie come streaking in after bath, Professor comes in to tell me his chore is done, he gets sent into the tub, continue my “computer time”

6:48pm – Ask Racer to take his turn refereeing, help Blue locate a stapler

6:54pm – Get bathroom cleaned up after Professor’s bath, give Gorilla a good night kiss and hug, check on Blue doing homework and have a discussion about algebra

7:05pm – Girlie and I clean up play/family room then read books while listening to Racer try to put Gorilla to bed (much crying is involved)

7:18pm – Racer “tags out” and I go in; Gorilla is putting up a MAJOR fight!  I sing, pat, hug, he screams, cries, kicks, fights.  He calms down.

7:40pm – I leave Gorilla’s room (he’s quiet and almost asleep) just in time to give Girlie a kiss and hug for bed.

7:43pm – Send Professor up to his room to bring down all the library books due tomorrow, sit down to update blog and Facebook with one of the best nursery workers ever

7:52pm – Go upstairs with Professor to do devotions and put him to bed, had a discussion about making friends and LOVED hearing his honest, sincere prayer

8:12pm – Came downstairs and looked for Racer and Blue, passed by Gorilla’s door and heard snoring, tried opening the door to find him asleep behind it.  I used the door to push him in enough to squeeze in, then lift him up and put him back in bed.  Gorilla slept through it all.

8:15pm – Thinking Blue is in her room and Racer fell asleep with Girlie.  Sat down and read Hebrews 12 and Genesis 40.  Hebrews 12:1-13 really hit home with me.  Genesis 40, not so much.

8:25pm – It’s quiet in the house.  I should probably do something productive, but instead, I get on the computer to update this post and just surf.  Started to read the summary of a research project I contributed thoughts/ideas too…

8:43pm – Blue comes downstairs and begins a discussion about a potential college major, how I feel about it, what she really wants to do, places she wants to visit…

8:53pm – remind Blue of the time and that she needs to pack lunch and shower still, Racer comes downstairs

8:55pm – Blue brings her library books downstairs and wants them ALL renewed, I told her to pick one

Since I’m tired and have yet to have a meaningful conversation with Racer (and this post is getting rather long), I’ll just end now.  Plus, I’m sure Racer wants the computer.  Know that I usually try to pack lunches before bed, and I may just lay on the couch, talk to Racer, watch something silly on TV and fall asleep.  I really do get quite a bit accomplished in a day and I know that one day, I’ll wake up, have no one to take care of other than me, and remember these days fondly, thanking God that we all made it through in one piece.

 

Friendship July 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kris @ 8:13 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.’ “

 

The Yellow House May 10, 2010

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 3:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Last summer, Racer and I fell in love with a yellow house. We were looking for a bigger house because Blue would be joining our family. We found something we thought was perfect. It had 3 large upstairs bedrooms for kids and a great master bedroom on the mail level for us. 2 car garage, separate workspace/shed, decks, 3 acres some wooded area. We saw our family in the yellow house for a long time.

We wanted the yellow house, but we weren’t in a place at that time to officially put an offer in on it. We told our realtor that we DID indeed want it and to let us know if another offer was made.

Well, just a week later, we found out the house had been sold. We didn’t even know that an offer had been made! We were sad, upset and disappointed. We tried to look for other houses, but we just couldn’t agree on anything and thus stopped looking.

Here we are, almost a year later, thanking God we didn’t buy the yellow house. You see, God knows way better than us. He knew what this year would bring. He knew the unemployment was coming, thus we couldn’t have afforded the yellow house. He knew there were water leakage issues in the yellow house that would have been disastrous for us. He knew that our plans were not right.

Racer asked me today if we should take a picture of the yellow house as a reminder to wait for God’s plan.

Just now, I’m struck by the color of the house – yellow.

Slow. Caution. Warning.

I guess we’ve been taught a lesson. Hopefully we’ve learned it.

 

A Snowglobe Morning March 5, 2010

Filed under: Me — Kris @ 10:55 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I like snowglobes.  You shake them up and watch the “snow” fall in the village, on the family or around the world that is inside.  The snow swirls and then slowly starts to settle.  Finally, everything is still again until the next shake up.

My life was in the starting to settle point.  A recent job loss had us not knowing what our world would look like anymore.  While we still aren’t sure how everything will land, the “snow” was starting to settle just a bit.  There is peace in knowing that no matter how things fall, God is in control of it all.

This morning, the snowglobe was shaken again.  What that means, I’m not ready to say – nor do I really understand.  What I do know is that God is moving.  What I will say is that, God is doing something awesome.

So, until all the snow settles, I will enjoy the beauty of the snowfall.  I will stand in peace as my Father’s hand guides each individual snowflake to it’s destination.  I will thank Him for the beauty He allows me to see as He works out the details of my life.

 

 
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