Kris Mares

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

Without a doubt… August 15, 2011

Filed under: Ministry — Kris @ 10:26 pm
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I know I am supposed to be in ministry. Tonight was the first night of my church’s Vacation Bible School. VBS is a big undertaking for most churches. There is a lot of planning, prepping and praying that goes into it. It’s hard work. It’s necessary work. It’s important work. It’s tiring work.

This year, I’m helping lead opening and closing worship time. I get to get the kids excited about the night and then send them home with even more excitement. I get to help them learn to love Jesus out loud and I love it. I feel with purpose and with meaning and with energy that is not normal for me. I feel alive and energized and right.

I know that full-time ministry is my calling. I’m gifted in teaching and I love to challenge people in how they think about their faith. I love that God can use my flawed self – full of all the mistakes I’ve made and will continue to make – to somehow help usher in His Kingdom here on earth. Not just that He can, but that he wants to. He wants to use me.

I’m in awe of it, grateful for it and yet not understanding of it all at the same time. But yet I know it, in the depth of who I am, I know that this is my purpose. I feel most alive when I’m fulfilling my purpose. Yeah I mess up. I’ve done it plenty of times. I’ve asked forgiveness from God and many of the people I messed up with. That’s not easy. But I’m learning. I’m learning more about who I am and how to best use my spiritual gifts to glorify my Creator.

As I type, I’m feeding the baby and I also remember that my first place of ministry is at home. I’ll be honest. I struggle with that. In the daily grind of running a family of seven, do I really live out Jesus to my husband and my kids? Do I really show who God is through my actions? Sometimes I don’t think I do a great job there, but in the end, I hope that our family is about love and grace and giving and gratitude. And if that’s the best Racer and I can do, that’s not too bad.

As I get ready to start my seminary career, I’m excited to grow and go deeper in this journey of faith. I look forward to better understanding the nature and nurture of God. The academic nerd in me is excited just to be in a classroom again. (I’ll admit, I love school.) In the end, though, it’s not really about all that. It’s not about the church I hope to have, the understanding I hope to share, the baptisms I hope to perform, the lives I hope to see changed. It’s not about all that and it’s certainly NOT about me.

It’s only about one thing.

It’s about a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want that more each day.

Without a doubt.


A post from my Big Boy… June 29, 2009

Filed under: Professor — Kris @ 7:50 pm
Tags: ,

Today we are sitting on the computer reading what Mom wrote.  And I came across this really funny one about Father’s Day.  And I smiled when the VBS one came up.  That was a really really funny time.  And I have this box turtle named Mr. Claws.  I can’t settle on a name and now I just chose Mr. Claws.  You know where we found him?  On the edge of the trail right in the middle.  He is a good box turtle.  And that’s the end of my story.  I wanna say my dads (I have 2) are good and funny.  Good bye!


VBS is over…until next year! June 5, 2009

My feet hurt, my head aches, my ears are ringing and I have a smile on my face.  Vacation Bible School has just finished.  Two of my kids are in bed, the other is in bed reading his Bible (seriously, by no prompting from me).  I feel the need to celebrate and sit quietly and just thank God for His love and grace during this week. 

I also must say that I am proud of Cokesbury.  We did the Camp E.D.G.E. VBS from them and they did a great job!  The kids were engaged, the theme and stories were great (not a total stretch like some VBS curriculum) and the music was a mix of the VBS specific stuff as well as regular praise music.  The kids had so much fun!!!

The best part of it all was Thursday night.  We provided an opportunity for kids to respond to what God was saying to them.  One boy said God was telling him to stop stealing from the store.  One girl said that God was telling her how much He loved her.  Three children made a decision to accept Christ as their Savior.  Praise God!!  All week long, we had children actually worshipping – I could see it in their faces.  They were beautifully reflecting their Creator.

I know that God answered my prayers for VBS.  I was not praying for the campers.  I was praying for the staff.  Between kitchen staff and activity leaders and youth help and cabin counselors, we had about a 1 adult to 1 child ratio.  We didn’t have the number of kids we were hoping for, but that isn’t important.  I saw adults loving Jesus and loving kids.  THAT is what is important.  I prayed that God would reveal himself in a new way to the staff.  I prayed that God would provide them with energy.  I prayed that God would give them patience.  God provided.  The VBS staff was INCREDIBLE!!!  Everyone fulfilled their assignments joyfully.  The most beautiful thing for me to watch was one of the staff members during worship music.  I saw joy, energy and just a whole different, relaxed demeanor that was different than what I usually see on Sunday mornings.  I thank God for His love and grace and mercy poured out on the staff. 

I know to many, VBS seems like such a hassle.  It costs a lot of money and there are a lot of details.  I’ll admit – I wasn’t looking forward to it this year.  I didn’t feel prepared.  I was last minute on many things.  I even secretly hoped that school would still be in session and we’d just cancel it this year.  God had something WAY BETTER in store!  He used my lack of preparation to create a more intimate setting where the adults and kids could just have fun and love each other.  Where husbands and wives could serve together.  Where families could learn together.  Where kids could hear God’s voice. 

So now it’s time to clean up, follow-up and make notes for next year.  I don’t know what God will have in store for next year.  Thankfully, I’m not God and I don’t have to worry about it.  I’ll just clean-up, follow-up and collect notes.  I do know, however, that God has already been working on it.  He knows who will be here.  He knows the crafts we will do.  He knows the hearts that will be reached. 

Are you ready to be a part of what God has in store for VBS 2010???


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