Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thankful Thursday- It's a choice

My heart is still so tender from the recent tragedy.
The tears just keep falling.

I am slow to speak in times like these because I know so little,
but I have been praying praying and praying some more.
Comfort. Peace. Hope. 
Jesus, be made known.

As I read chapter 7 of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts I cried and cried and cried.

I am in awe of how beautiful it was and how beautiful the Lord is with teaching me so perfectly and at the perfect time. 

The Lord has been laying on my heart so heavily lately how to honor Him in the midst of conflict.

Conflict scares me more than anything.

Being in the ministry though, there will always be people who will disagree, instigate, and cause us to lean into Jesus even more.
 

As I read through One Thousand Gifts, I'm also reading through Lysa Terkeurst's book Unglued as well as doing the study for it and am challenged there too with how I will act when faced with confrontation. Will I let my emotions get the best of me? Will I choose joy?

Lord, give me the grace to live our what You're teaching me.

 This week Ann so beautifully took us through an argument between her two sons, and how the Lord has taught her that in the midst of the what appears "ugly", we should THANK the Lord.

Though we could so quickly and easily choose anger, she urges us to thank the Lord, and in doing so, choose joy.

She says, 
"Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan's way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus' way?...When I choose- and it's a choice- to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness?" (page 126)

I was so moved by the thought that the Lord is in the midst even when conflict rises.

We see in Ann's situation that God was there the WHOLE time, but His presence was made heavily known when she chose to give Thanks.

She says this post argument, when she is calming the son who instigated the fight,
"My son is crying and he's letting me in, sharing what it's like to be behind his eyes. Eucharisteo gave me this...It was just toast. Ugly toast. And He showed me how to give thanks for it. And then the miracle-a soft heart. To let me hold his heart." (page 134)

Had Ann chosen anger and frustration over giving thanks and joy, she wouldn't have had such a deep and precious moment with her son where she was able to enter his world, and share beautiful things with him.

Ann says, " The only way to fight a feeling is with a feeling...Feel thanks and it's absolutely impossible to feel angry. We can only experience one emotion at a time. And we get to choose- which emotion do we want to feel?" (page 136)

 So though I know this, I don't expect perfection, thankfully the Lord doesn't either.

I do however expect discipline. 

"The discipline of thanks only comes with practice." (page 135)

And in the days ahead I am going to hang on to Ann's secret to joy...

"But the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is."

I doubt that God is in my arguments, in my frustrations and in my failures.

But didn't we see that when Ann chose to give thanks, God himself showed up and gave her joy within a precious moment with her son?

I am challenged people! Challenged!!!

Today, I am thankful for:
1) My in laws arriving tomorrow with my precious sister in law in tow.
2) Our Christmas party tonight for the kids!
3) Our Ladies fellowship brunch on Saturday
4) The Lord being so near
5) The river being frozen so we can drive across to Moosonee
6) Free prints on pinterest and blogs that are making my home even more homey.
7) Sweet members of the church who pray for us
8) A homemade card, candle and Lindt chocolates from a friend.
9) An unexpected Christmas Card from a friend back home.
10) The Lord giving me enough patience to finish a craft that took me 8 hours.
 11) Prayer and the power it has.


 

 Check out these other awesome ladies:

Tara 

"YET this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."
Lamentations 3:21-22

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Thankful Thursday ::: Show me Your glory

Hey there!

Today I am stressed.

I have kinda forgotten what stress is.

There isn't much stress to be found on a little 3 mile long island in the Tundra. (this used to be an exaggeration, but after -17 degree weather, I changed my mind, I'm not exaggerating :))

I found it today though, and am reminded why I'm not a big fan of it.

I'm overwhelmed with projects around the house, my in laws coming next week, Christmas party for our Youth Group, Christmas Brunch for the women's ministry.

Well the Lord is perfect, along with his timing.

Today, in the midst of all my stress, I realize I need to reread this weeks chapter for this post.

After the first page I was grateful that I didn't remember until the second that I did.

Oh how I can resonate with Ann's words,
"My gratitude journal is buried under a mess of papers over the sink's sill with yesterday's snippets of the list that never ends- but nothing counted today." (page 103)

I think stress found me when I stopped finding my blessings and being grateful for them.

 This week I've allowed my gratitude to get buried under my to do list.

What a shame.

I'm grateful for this pause.

Selah.

I want to learn how to handle my stress in a way that honors God.

"I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep...Beauty is all that is glory and God is Beauty embodied, glory manifested." (pg. 109)

I want to see the glory of God in the midst of my to do list.

He needs to be the very essence of my life.

I'm so humbled by this chapter.

I'm humbled by J.I. Packers words,
" The life of true holiness is rooted in the soul of awed adoration. It does not grow elsewhere."

I want to be in AWE of our precious Lord.

So today, 

in the midst of things that do need to be done,

I'm going to pay attention to God.

I'm going to thank Him.

I'm going to step back and ask Him to show me Himself.

To show me Your glory.

& I'm going to be thankful for:

1) the blessing of having a beautiful home & family that would make the forever long trek to come visit us, and that will still love us if everything isn't perfect.
2) talking to 2 of my 3 siblings on the phone today. I haven't talked to my brother in Florida for months and months so it was great to hear his and his wife's voice.
3) the ability to bake and sell baked goods.
4) My crock pot and the time it saves me.
5) The opportunity I have to not only be a part of the lives of the youth, but also the lives of the women. 
6) Stress that reminds me how desperate I am for my Savior.
7) Jillian Michaels and how good she is at killing my body in just 20 minutes.
8) Our Ladies bible study and the sweet community that the Lord is allowing it to become.
9) Finding hundreds of songs in my iTunes on my old laptop that I forgot about and transferring them to my phone.
10) the Christmas season and the beautiful reminder of the GORGEOUS birth of Jesus. He came to earth in human form, went through so much pain, on our behalf, and rose again. I am so grateful for these Truths. 

 

 I long to look on the face of the One that I love. Long to stay in Your presence it's where I belong.


 
Check out the other girls:
Tara 


Xo Kristen

"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
1 John 1:5b

Friday, 7 December 2012

Consider it pure joy; One Thousand Gifts

***I'm so sorry this is SO late!!! I'm JUST NOW realizing this didn't publish yesterday!!!!***


 Hey y’all!
Week 5 here going through Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts.
 
This week is about something I haven’t experienced much of in my life…
Suffering.

The Lord has certainly taken me through things that at the time were very rough, but he so sweetly grew me immensely through them.

Sweet grace.

This chapter brings me directly to James 1: 2-3
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Living in Moose Factory I see suffering on a daily basis.
I don’t know why these things happen.

I was pleading to tears with the women at bible study who struggle to forgive God for some of the trials and suffering they have faced.

I said please, please, don’t blame God.

Don’t you understand, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

It hurts so badly when we face trials.
& the trials that these women have faced are AWFUL things.

But I can’t help but find thanksgiving in Isaiah 55!
I can’t help but be grateful that GOD knows, and I don’t.

I pray the Lord would give me the grace to remember these truths when I do face true tragedy.
I pray that they would seep out of my heart into my entire being.
I trust him, and I am thankful that though suffering is inevitable, his ways are infinitely right.

{Unspoken, In your Hands}

I am thankful for…
1)   We had one child at youth group tonight, and that young 12 year old girl gave her life to the LORD!!!!!!!  By far, what I’m most grateful for!!!
2)      A mom who teaches me to make homemade turkey soup via skype, of course.
   3)      The Lord taking my prayers seriously and answering them with trials, though it’s frustrating at times, I’m grateful to be stretched.
4)      A fresh covering of snow, it’s so beautiful!
5)      Blogs and how much encouragement I gain from them.
6)      The Lord sweetly encouraging me this week to be the best homemaker that I can be.
7)      A two hour long conversation with my best friend today.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

latest happenings

Hey y'all!

A day rarely goes by without people here making fun of me for saying y'all!
"Ever American you", they say!
Then I just say, "Ever me!"
I whip out my Moose Factory lingo, redeeming myself.
 Then that's done.

Us O's have been a busy pair lately!
I was just telling Joshua that I struggle with thinking that a busy life is one fulfilled, and that checking off my to do list is the only way to be productive.
The Lord has taught me a lot these past couple of weeks, and is helping me to find what my role is as a homemaker in the ministry!
I'm so grateful the Lord is answering my prayers through teaching me what I am to do in this special role!
What a blessing!

Here are some pics from what we've been up to:

 
 I was just telling my best friend how grateful I am to live in Moose Factory and learn so many things that I may not have learned otherwise. Things like making homemade bread, and cooking so many things from scratch. My latest endeavor has been making infinity scarves! I'm so thankful for this tool and feel super blessed that I know I can always provide for my family with cooking and knitting! So if nothing else they'll be fed and warm, and of course ridiculously loved too.



Life has been cold lately. Really cold. I have never experienced weather this cold in my whole life, so it's been pretty shocking!!! Do you know what -18 degrees feels like? It is BRUTAL!!! Thank you infinity scarf! (and gloves, 2 coats, long johns, etc...)



Crazy girls!! These are two of my grade 8 girls!!! WILD I tell ya! The Lord is really answering my prayers as far as the grade 6 through grade 8 girls go! When we first arrived they were ROUGH. I mean, very disrespectful and unpleasant to spend time with. Now, after months and months of investing in them, they are SOOO pleasant to be around and so much more respectful. I truly love all my girls soooooo much and am so thankful the Lord is allowing me to make any impact in their lives. 


I am currently going through this study with the women at our church! My mom got it for me and I originally planned to do the study by myself, but when I had the women from church over and they saw it, they decided they wanted to do it too. I have been really nervous and just having to trust the Lord because this study is VERY different from the last one we did. I say it's "fancy". The video's take place in Italy and some of the situations and stories she uses are irrelevant and un-relatable for our ladies. I know God can use ANYTHING and I know our ladies really desire to figure out how to deal with their emotions in a biblical, God honoring way, so LORD, USE THIS!!!




This past weekend I had a table at a community wide (indoor) yard sale!!! I sold all sorts of yummy baked goods like chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cake balls! God is so good and provided more funds for us to be able to go home for a visit in March!!! Now I only need to do about 10 more of these! :)



 
Pretty important news: Netflix and Disney have made a deal and CURRENTLY Pocahontas is playing on Netflix. This makes me EXTREMELY happy. I told Josh I was going to watch it soon and he said, "wait till I'm done studying so I can watch it with you!!!" What a cutie!


That's what we've been up to!

Today Josh was called and asked if he would speak at a Pathway's to Healing conference in January!!! This is such a blessing because so many of the speakers are Medicine Men and people into Native Spirituality! I pray that Moose Factory would be drawn to the truths that Josh will share!!

Have a good day peeps!!!

<3 Kristen

"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
1 Peter 2:11-12