A Heart Without A Home

Lately I have been discouraged. Many of my frustrations have revolved around Facebook. The online thought board is reflection of deeper issues. I have no home. Two things happened to me this week. First, there was a single event with a popular news personality. Yes, I got into a debate with someone that has the masses behind them, and they insulted me, repeatedly. That was fun. Secondly, there have been a series of events running through my newsfeed about racism. The anger and hatred have finally pierced my normally thick, peach skin.

a heart without a home

I Don’t Fit

As I look on the posts and news articles that flow over the ocean via the internet into my computer from my home country, I feel lost. My argument with the news personality really highlighted this, because normally I can somewhat relate to Christian culture in the US. But this news personality went on a sensationalist rant about an article that a university student had written. He called her article stupid, over and over. I rarely follow his links, but I thought I should read the original article to see what could possibly warrant that kind of attack on such a young person. I didn’t agree with the proposition of her article, which was that the government should pay for feminine products in pursuit of gender equality. However, in the article she raised an interesting point about homeless women not being able to afford tampons and pads, and I thought, that is interesting. Something that is interesting should not be called stupid, no matter how much you disagree with the rest of it. My comment said as much, and that the blogger had become a sensationalist after signing on with a popular news network. His response was dismissive and sensational (which is ironic) and his fans attacked me and called me stupid and unintelligent. They called me a hater. Normally I wouldn’t care. It wouldn’t bother me. But most of these people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. Christians should not gather so quickly on a bandwagon in the name of politics to publicly shame a college girl, or a random online commenter (me in this case). Because I refuse to polarize people, there is no place for me in supposed Christian communities like these. I’m a misfit.

I Must Be A Liar

Then there is the issue of race. I’m white. Apparently that means I am racist. I did not have any control over where my ancestors were born, just like you did not. The amount of hatred aimed at white people by others is not helping the racist situation in the United States. It is only making it worse. Trying to shame people for being white is just as racist as trying to shame them for being any other race. This approach will never have a positive outcome. It was Martin Luther Kind Jr. that said, “Darkness can never drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It is so true, but I’m not allowed to quote a black preacher because I’m white. However, it is also a principle that we see repeated in the Bible.

“If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” -1 John 4:20

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” -Proverbs 10:12

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a hard word stirs up anger.” -Proverbs 15:1

So what do I suggest as an alternative to shaming every white person in the United States as a racist? I would say that we should follow the example of Jesus Christ. We love, and pray for those, yes even those that despise and hate us.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35

I am an immigrant living in another country and culture where I have no advantages and I struggle to communicate in a language that is not my own. I don’t consider myself to be racist, but that doesn’t matter. My children are white, and that does not inherently make them racist. But maybe they will be counted as the rare exception because they have not grown up in the US. Regardless of if they are considered racist or not, I teach them to love others and that other cultures are not wrong because their choices differ from ours. When they are mean or hateful to anyone, I teach them it is wrong, and there are consequences.

You may be a cynic and assume I am a liar. Or perhaps you and optimist and think that I deceive my own heart. In this situation even the optimist must condemn me of racism simply because I was born a white person in the United States. Either way I am an enigma that cannot exist.

Then there is the issue of nationalistic pride that exists in every other country, but let’s pretend that the United States is the only country that exists, just like we always do.

A Heart Without A Home

It has become clear to me over the lasts few years that I no longer have any place in the States, where I was born. I’m too defensive of other cultures for the nominal Christians, and too Christian and white for everyone else. Well, you may say, at least you have Europe, where you live. But I don’t fit here either. The truth is that I will never fit anywhere on this planet again.

Heaven is the only home I claim, and one day my heart will be home there as well, when I am gone from this world.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin Spencer

The Basics: I’m a Selfish Sociopath that needs Self-Control

sociopath: noun 1. a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense or moral responsibility or social conscience.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

I hope that you are starting to notice a pattern emerging from this series. I talk about the gifts of the Holy Spirit an awful lot, and there is a good reason for that. A few months ago I wrote a post about love, the most important fruit we have, but today I want to focus on the key to being able to use the gifts of the Spirit at all times, even when we don’t feel like it. Today we are going to talk about self-control.

self control

The Makings of a Selfish Sociopath

If selfish ambitions have been the prison in my life, self-control has been the key that opened the door for my release. What does that mean? Well, if you look at the works of the flesh (found in Galatians 5:19-21), you will notice that self ambition is on the list. Self ambition, which means that you care more about yourself and your desires than others, will cause us to fail at every single one of the fruits of the spirit. But why? Well in our flesh, we are selfish. That means that we are capable of doing whatever it takes to get whatever we want. It means that I am capable of becoming a sociopath. That is in direct contrast with loving, being peaceful, being kind, being gentle, and so on and so forth — you get the idea. Apart from the Holy Spirit, every single one of us is capable of murder, molestation, rape, and adultery, just to name a few. This may shock you. If you believe that you are above committing any of these sins, you are being deceived. According to the Bible, our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and the works of the flesh are evident. Look at these two verses with me:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” -Jeremiah 17:9

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” -Galatians 5:19-21 Read more

The Basics: To Hear God’s Voice

This post is part of “The Basics” series, a series all about the basics of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

The last post in this series was about praying. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. But what comes next? Well if you want to get to know God better, and start trusting Him, you need to give Him opportunities to talk to you, to teach you, to love you. This starts with the regular intake of God’s word, but we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand what God is trying to tell us.  We need to hear God’s still, small voice.

We need to hear God's voice

Nothing At All

One of the things that alluded me most when I was a baby Christian was hearing from God. I remember that I wanted to hear from Him so badly, but days would go by without anything. Not a verse, not a word, not an answered prayer. I read my bible every day, but some days I didn’t understand the connection between the words on paper, and my life.

Looking back on those times has made me think about you, dear reader. I have spent a lot of time praying about this specific topic, asking God to show me what He would have me say to you about it.

The Practicing Stage

When I was praying about it God reminded of a common scene that took place in my life at that time. I can still see myself, sitting at my desk (under my lofted bed), resting my feet on the ledge while I reclined in my office chair, quiet. Not saying anything. Trying not to think. Practicing. Listening.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they know Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27-28

I don’t mind being the dumb sheep in this equation as long as the brave, strong shepherd is Jesus Christ. Sheep know the specific voice of their shepherd, but why? Because they hear it over and over again. They spend time with the shepherd until one day they would be able to tell his voice apart from any other voice. That is the same thing we need to do when we are getting to know Jesus. We need to spend time listening to Him. That doesn’t always mean we will hear Him, but we need to practice so that day can come when we can tell His voice apart from all of the others. We need to invest time in trying to understand our Father in heaven. Do you ever pray and then just sit there waiting for an answer? I used to do just that. I would sit there and try to focus on hearing from God. Many times nothing would happen, but it was good practice, and these days I do hear from God a lot more often.

Sitting Still

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

I could take this verse very literally and say, “Sit still!” when you want to hear from God. But I don’t think that is what this verse means. On one level, sure, but there is so much more to it than that. For men maybe this verse means, “Stop trying to fix this!” For women I feel like this verse means, “Stop worrying and overthinking everything. Relax and trust me. I’m God. Stop letting your mind run scenarios like a hamster on a wheel, going nowhere. I’ve got this.” Notice that God has to use a few more words to get through to us women 😉 I don’t know about you, but I am very tempted not to sit still. I want to do something when I have a problem or something comes up. I always want to go talk to someone about everything. In fact I want to go talk to many someones. I think talking over everything in detail will make me feel better. Over the years, however, God has shown me that I need to take my worries and hurts to Him first. First of all, I may be overreacting, which He lovingly reminds me of once I calm down if that is the case. Secondly, I don’t want to involve anyone else in gossip, if the thing that is upsetting me has to do with someone else. Sometimes the best way for me to tell God about what is really bothering me is to think about what I would say to a close friend, and then say it to God instead. Being still means that you don’t react based on your emotions, but take a moment, talk to God, and try to deal with the situation based on God’s Word and God’s desires for your life. As a parent, I am constantly being tested in this area.

Am I Really Saying That God Speaks

I know that everyone has different experiences when it comes to hearing from God. I think we all know when He is speaking to us through a verse in the bible, when we hear the same phrase from several different people within a few days, or when someone prays for us about something that we never told them about. These are generally accepted ways of hearing from God in the Christian community. But then there are arguments about whether people actually hear from God individually. I can tell you that in my own life, I also experience God as a type of consciousness.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Sometimes I hear a voice in my head telling me to do something, or responding to a question during prayer. It sounds a lot like my inner voice (like when you read) but it is a lot quieter, gentler, and doesn’t get angry like I do. This voice also says things that are far too wise to come from myself. If you think I’m being crazy, I don’t care, that’s ok. But if you relate to what I am saying, then I wrote this for you.

That Other Voice

If you already thought I was being crazy when I talked about hearing a conscious form of God speaking to me, you are not going to like this next part. There have been a few times in my life when I have experienced hearing another voice, kind of like the voice I described earlier. However it actually sounded and felt different— it wasn’t wise, at all. It was condemning and challenged me to do stupid things that would put my family and I in danger in a quest for self righteousness. God would never do that. I don’t want to scare you, I just want you to know to be careful. We do know this about satan:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10a

This is Jesus talking about satan… whom he calls, “the thief.” If you don’t think that satan will try to imitate God’s methods of communications to make you an ineffective Christian, you are wrong. Use discretion and listen for the Holy Spirit warning you, telling you not to listen to this destructive force that seeks to manipulate, steal, kill, and destroy.

That is all I have for this week about hearing God’s voice. If you have any questions about this topic, please send them in and I would love to do my best to answer them.

Next time, I will be talking about my new book, “The Truth About Godly Confidence,” that will hit online retailers next week. I hope you will join me for that.

Let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this time. Lord, I pray that You would please help my sisters to know how to hear from you. I know that there is a specific way that you desire to speak to each one of them. I pray that they would learn to be still so that they can hear Your voice, which we all need so desperately. Thank You that You actually want to communicate with us, and that You love us so much that you sent Your Son to die on the cross so that we can be with You in heaven for all eternity. We love you Lord.

In Your Son’s precious name,

Amen

I hope you tune in next week!

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin

In My Living Room

Hi friend! Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. I was writing a book (more news about that later), and having many wonderful guests that blessed me beyond anything I could put into words.

in my living room

“But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.” -Psalm 40:17

In My Living Room

Today I want to talk about my living room. I’m sitting here right now, and I spend a lot of time here. As far as ministry goes, I am behind the scenes. When my husband is out caring about others and spending time with them, I am sitting here. I could also be cooking, cleaning, helping one of my kids with homework, walking them to or from school, or changing a diaper. But I’m still here, and I’m praying. I pray for my husband and the guys he is discipling. I pray for people to realize that Jesus loves them and accept His free gift of Salvation. I pray for the other saints spread all of the place that mention they need prayer. Once my children go to sleep, there are many things I do, but the most important thing I do is spend time with my Lord. We talk, or He talks and I listen, or I talk and He listens. I’m at home while my husband is out being about God’s business and sometimes I get lonely.

From the Outside

The other day a friend said to me, “I really feel sorry for you. All you do is clean, do laundry, cook, take care of the kids, and deal with drama.” They were not trying to be condescending at all, and I was not offended, but after a few hours I thought, “I don’t feel sorry for me.” Listen, I understand that from the outside it may look like I’m a lonely wife and my husband doesn’t help me as much as he should. That’s just not true, though. Sometimes I do get lonely, and I always miss my husband, but he is a great help when he is home, and I am honored and privileged that I am able to take care of our home and children to make my husband more available to others. Maybe my ministry looks sad or depressing to others, but it isn’t depressing to me. I know that this is what God asked me to do. He didn’t force me; He asked me and I said yes. I am raising three children to know and love God, not just in the happy moments, but in the rough ones too. My kids understand that it is a privilege to have this opportunity to live our lives for Jesus. I am also being watched by everyone around me as Jesus guides me through this. “Why are you here?” is a question I hear every time I meet someone new. As for the drama aspect, what ministry is drama free? Jesus’ wasn’t.

From the Inside

I may spend a lot of time in my living room, seemingly alone, but I’m not alone. God is with me, and when I am in my living room, and my children are peacefully and adorably sleeping, I hang out with God. I hear from Him so clearly in these moments. I’m not saying that my life is easy; it is not. If we are completely honest with ourselves we will admit that no life worth living is easy. For me, a life worth living means that I obey and follow God. I know a lot of people think that being in ministry means that you have to be busy all of the time, but that simply is not true. Being successful in ministry means that you obey God’s instructions; for me right now that means being at home, guarding our children as they sleep, while my husband is out sharing the love of Christ with others through his actions.

So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22

God gives me opportunities to show others His love as well, but my main responsibility is to show His love to three little people that He entrusted to my husband and I.

One of the Lonelies

Last night was one of the lonely ones. I haven’t gotten to spend my time with my best friend lately (aka my hubby), and I was missing him. I cried and I thought about how the ache in my heart wouldn’t go away. Tonight, however, I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt overwhelmed by God’s presence. I thought, “Where were You last night, God?” and the reply came instantly, “I was right here.” No matter how I feel, God is with me; whether I am overwhelmed by His presence or not.

So if you are thinking about how I am sitting in my living room alone, night after night, I hope you won’t feel sorry me. I’m not sorry for me. I’m with God, I’m obeying His will for my life, and He is faithful to meet me in this place. I’m never alone.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin

Do Not Grow Weary…

Dear Friend,

Today I am struggling. There are so many distractions and temptations in my heart that I feel like I’ve been plunged deep into the ocean. I feel weighed down and alone. Have you ever felt that way? All morning I have been battling these thoughts that I know are not from the Lord. I have been praying for those that hate and despise me. I have been fighting against negative thoughts, attempting to bring my mind under control. I want to live Philippians 4:8 in my life every moment, but sometimes I fail.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are our, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

Instead of taking this biblical wisdom and applying it to my situation, all morning I have been wavering between feeling like God doesn’t see the suffering I am enduring, and knowing that He is refining me by the fire. I have had moments when I wanted to yell, “God, this isn’t fair,” and throw a proper toddler tantrum. I have also had thoughts like this, “Lord, I know You won’t force people to do the right thing, and I wouldn’t want You to do that, but have you forgotten about me?”

do not grow weary galatians 6

When I go through these seasons I think of the song, “Ba55” by Switchfoot. The chorus is, “I believe You’re the fire that could burn me clean.” It sounds painful, doesn’t it? No one likes getting burned. But through the burning away of our old man (Colossians 3:9-10), we are made clean. It is such an excruciating process. We also see this in the Bible (which is where I’m sure Switchfoot got the idea).

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.” -Malachi 3:2

This verse is talking about Jesus’ coming in the future, when He sits on His throne in Jerusalem and judges the people on the Earth as our righteous King.

Going through the process of being refined is painful, but that is the only way to get the gross stuff out. And being refined doesn’t always mean that you sin and are going through some type of discipline. Sometimes it is an obstacle that God sets before us. One of my favorite authors and past missionaries put it this way.

“If this obstacle is from Thee, Lord, I accept it; but if it is from Satan, I refuse him and all his works in the name of Calvary.” -Isobel Kuhn

Then other times this purification process means being unjustly accused, reviled, and persecuted, just like Jesus was. I can’t imagine a more powerful process to help us conform more to the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

There are also satanic forces, as Isobel mentioned. Something that keeps happening to me recently is Satan attacking me about my physical appearance. I’m currently writing a book about godly confidence where I dispel common psychological ideas that Christians have wrongfully adopted, so this makes perfect sense. I’ve painted a target on my back. The other day I was getting ready and when I looked in the mirror I heard, “Look at you (insert tones of disgust), can you really say you are confident in the way God made you?” It was so demonic!! Thankfully, I have been hiding verses about this topic in my heart and was quickly able to argue against this satanic insinuation. “Yes, I am.” I thought, “God cannot lie. God does not make mistakes. I am not a mistake. The Lord rebuke you.” (Jude 1:9)

I hope my openness encourages you that we all struggle at different points in our lives. We are all going through a refining process in Christ Jesus. We all experience spiritual warfare. With that in mind let me share these verses with you,

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” -Galatians 6:8-9

Doing good, sowing to the Spirit, is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to quit. I want to give into my flesh and throw myself a pity party. I’m tempted to write a nasty letter to the person that has been persecuting me. I’m tempted to yell at my kids and husband and crawl into some cave into the distance. I’m tempted to complain against God and give up. But I can’t afford to grow weary in doing good. That isn’t God’s will for me, and I know that He alone will help me persevere. I want to reap!! I want to reap so badly, because my Heavenly Father first loved me, and I want to do everything I can to be close to Him and please Him. I pray that your loving relationship with God would also keep you pressing toward the goal (Philippians 3:14), determined not to grow weary in doing good.

And if you think about it, I humbly ask you to please say a prayer for me. I need prayer right now in all the different refining processes I’m going through.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin Spencer

Women2Women – Cheryl Brodersen

women teaching from calvary chapel

If you go to a Calvary Chapel, it is likely that you have heard about Cheryl Brodersen, wife of Brian Brodersen (the Head Pastor of CCCM), and the head of the Women’s Ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. She is one of my personal heroes, and she is one of the most humble women I have had the pleasure to know. I am so excited that there is finally a website, Women2Women, where you can find hundreds of different teachings from women (for women) from Calvary Chapels all over. One of the most amazing things I found is a large collection of Cheryl’s various teachings and series. If you need encouragement and teaching (who doesn’t?), head on over to Women 2 Women – Cheryl Brodersen (hosted by Calvary Chapel Arroyo Grande). Thank you CCAG for this amazing resource!

Sincerely Adorned,

Kristin Spencer

Unrealistic Expectations And Your Husband

This post is part of the “Becoming A Better Wife” series.

One of the most fundamental problems in any marriage today is the problem of unrealistic expectations. We have unrealistic expectations for our husbands. Women all over the world are battling with the same problem, they desire to feel loved. When I first got married, I thought that I would finally feel loved and desired. I thought that all the issues from my past would melt away. Daddy problems, bam, gone. Insecurities, boom, permanently dissolved. Low self-esteem, p’wned (that is a gaming term for owned, or defeated). Loneliness, forget about it, I would never feel lonely again. But I was very wrong, and these insane expectations I thought my husband should meet put horrible stress on our marriage.

Jesus Understands

Sinful People Cannot Be Perfect

I am not saying that your husband shouldn’t cherish you, or love you the way that Christ loves the church. What I am saying is that your husband is not Jesus. Your husband could never take the place of Jesus in your heart. Not only that, but your husband is a human, made up of sinful flesh, just like you and I. That means that you cannot expect him to be perfect. Husbands make mistakes. Wives make mistakes. Jesus does not make any mistakes. Some of the most lonely moments in my life have been right next to my husband. I was lonely because I turned to my husband to help me through a situation where he did not understand how I was feeling. He could not understand. But the reason I was really lonely is because I wasn’t taking my problems to Jesus, the only One that truly understands every situation I go through. He is the only One that can love me the way I need to be loved.

My Husband Failed, Let’s Have Some Kids

A lot of times, women realize that their husband will not be able to fill this void in their life, so they decide to take the next step. Surely, having children will fill that void. It will give my life purpose and guarantee that there will be someone that loves me unconditionally. First of all, this is a huge mistake, because you are going from placing unrealistic expectations on your husband to placing them on your unborn child. Secondly, your quest to fill the void in your life will fail again and you will start to become bitter. Children of parents that expect them to be their, “everything,” will always tell you that they felt trapped and unequipped to meet the demands of this emotionally dependent parent.

The Return Of Mrs. Thirsty

Remember Mrs. Thirsty from John chapter 4? We talked about her in this post from the self-esteem series. She was looking to be satisfied, to have that same void filled in her life, but a string of unsuccessful marriages and living with her most recent boyfriend did not even come close to filling that void. She needed Jesus. He told her that if she drank the water He had, she would never thirst again. She would never feel that void again.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14

Not only would she never thirst again, but she also would have eternal life. That is an awesome deal, if you ask me.

Changing The Pattern

So how can we free ourselves, our marriages, and our children from the heavy unrealistic expectations that we place on people to give our lives meaning and make us feel loved? The short answer is, we can’t. Only Jesus can. But we have to allow Him to do this work. We need to accept that Jesus is the only One that will be able to understand everything we go through. We need to find our worth in His love for us as individuals. We need to believe God when He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We need to acknowledge that we have made our husband and children into idols, and put their acceptance and understanding of us above God’s acceptance and understanding of us. We need to repent, and apologize to our family members. Only when we see our pattern of sin and repent, can we have victory in our walk with God.

A Place To Start

If you are experiencing the unnecessary stress and pressure of placing unrealistic expectations on your spouse the first thing you need to do is acknowledge this pattern of behavior. The second thing to do is start a new pattern of behavior, and look to Jesus to fill this void in your life. He is the only one that can truly make you feel loved. He is the only one in your life that can heal the hurts that are still buried deep down inside of your heart. He is the only one that can satisfy the longings you have been passing onto to your husband. This is something that I had to start doing in my own, every day life. Whenever something upsetting happens, or I remember a past hurt that threatens to fill my heart with bitterness, I pray. I tell Jesus what is bothering me. I ask Him to help me see my sin, if there are any specific sins that need to be addressed regarding this issue. I ask Him to help me through this, to comfort me, and to give me His overwhelming sense of peace.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

See, it says right there, let your requests be made known to God, not to anyone else. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other people, like your husband, about things that are bothering you. In fact, you should frequently share with your husband, because that creates intimacy, which is God’s desire for your marriage. But you should go to God first. Your husband cannot give you that sense of peace that God can, no matter how hard he tries.

Husbands Like To Fix Things

If you do take all of your problems to your husband first, without taking them to God, you are putting your husband in a horrible position. Men like to fix things, and when their wives expect them to fix problems they are not capable of fixing, they end up in this infinite loop of frustration. This is not an equation for a happy, God-centered marriage.

How Your Husband Can Help

One of the best ways to allow God to do a work of healing from past hurts is to talk about them with and pray about them with someone you love and trust. This is a great opportunity for your husband to co-labor with you towards you being fulfilled and healed in Jesus Christ. Some husbands are great at listening and offering loving and biblical advice, but not all men are created the same (which is a good thing if you ask me). Your husband may not know how to navigate through these types of hurts, so if you need to, ask your husband to attend counseling with you. This way he can be there for you, but the pressure is off of him if he does not know how to respond, or what questions to ask you in order to move your healing process in the best direction.

Let’s Pray

Dear Jesus,

Help us to be the wives that You want us to be. Help us to find our complete fulfillment in You. Help us not to thirst ever again. Help us to take these impossible burdens off of our husband’s shoulders and give them to You. You are more than capable of carrying them, and helping us get rid of them forever. Heal our broken hearts the way only You can. Help us to know that You love us, and that really is enough.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

There is a lot more I could say about accepting God’s love for you and understanding you are a beautiful creation, but I think we have covered enough for today. Please feel free to write any questions or concerns you have about this post below, or email me at kristin.n.spencer [at] gmail.com.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin Spencer

The Basics: Prayer 101

This post is part of “The Basics” series, a series all about the basics of being a follower of Jesus Christ.

We talked about the word of God (at length) in the last post. Today I want to talk about the other half of the conversation. In “Trusting God” I introduced the idea of an ongoing conversation with God, the goal being a more intimate relationship with our Creator. Now that we know that God speaks through His word, we also need to consider how we can talk to Him.

Before I get started, I know this is Prayer 101, so I will not go into prayer too much as a spiritual weapon (that  will be for another post), but I do want to say that prayer is the #1 most underrated weapon in our arsenal against ungodly influences. Now back to prayer basics.

prayer 101

When People in the Bible Prayed

“Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.” –2 Kings 20:5

This is an interesting read in the bible. Hezekiah is sick, really sick. He is dying. Isaiah the prophet comes to him and tells him that God says to put his house in order, because he is going to die. Hezekiah is heartbroken. We don’t know all the details, but for some compelling reason, Hezekiah wants to live longer. So he prays and begs for God to remember how he has served God in truth with a loyal heart. God’s response is that he will add fifteen years to his life and deliver the city from the king of Assyria. All good news, right? But what I want to point out in this scripture (one that is not often quoted in a lesson about prayer 101), is the intimacy that prayer displays and creates. There is no way you can read this verse without recognizing the relationship between God and Hezekiah. It was a relationship that went both ways. You can see that they care about each other. That is the same relationship God desires with you and I. He wants to have this same closeness with us.

“But certainly God has heard me;

He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

Psalm 66:19

We also see throughout the book of Psalms how close David is to God through his repeatedly mentioned prayer life. David was serious about prayer, and through these prayers and psalms, we can see how this one aspect of David’s life created a friendship with and dependency on his Lord.

“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit in Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” –Philippians 1:19-20

The Apostle Paul knew how vital prayer is, and he literally looked at the prayers of others for him as a life line, spiritually speaking. Read more

Saying, “I Love You.”

I pray that all of you have had an amazing holiday season with loved ones. I personally was ill on Christmas and New Years (and my birthday), but it was a welcome time of rest for my body and refreshing for my spirit as well. I spent a lot of time reading. But I also spent quite a bit of time thinking about this post. It has been on my heart to write a post about this for a while, and I finally feel like I understand what God wants me to say.

saying i love you

I Just Can’t Say It

When I was a teenager, I was looking for someone to love me. I didn’t understand God’s love for me, and I felt distanced from my family due to different circumstances. The lack of love I felt finally led me to have difficulty saying, “I love you,” back when people said it to me. There was too much at risk when I said it. I became dramatically aware of this problem when one of my close friend’s mothers told me she loved me before their family was getting ready to move away. I was shocked that she said it, even though I had so desperately wanted to hear it, that I just stood there and said nothing. I remember thinking, “What is wrong with me? I’m supposed to be a Christian, an ambassador of Jesus’ love, and I can’t even tell this woman that I actually do love, that I love her too.”

The Risk

If you are self conscious, you will understand me when I say that saying, “I love you,” was a risky phrase. Every time I said it was volunteering for rejection. Thoughts like, “What if they don’t say it back?” “Will they stop being my friend if I say this?” “Why should I make myself vulnerable?” raced through my head constantly. I reserved these three words for family and a few select friends. I was not willing to risk anymore of my already dwindling confidence. No matter how much I wanted to show people the unconditional love of Christ, I wouldn’t make myself be that open.

When Things Started To Change

Over the last few years, God helped me to deal with my insecurities (read this series all about it) and to replace my deceitful pride with godly confidence. Once I realized that God’s love and acceptance for me is all that I need, I was able to sacrifice my own feelings on His altar in a very open way. I started to realize that since I don’t look at other people or myself to give my life value, that I’m not risking anything I can’t afford to risk. Do my feelings still get hurt? Of course, but now I don’t see, “I love you,” as an opening for an eternal wound.

Unconditional and Selfless Love

The purpose of love is to show someone that you care for them in such a way that nothing they do can change how you care for them. Something I tell my kids often is, “I may not always like the choices that you make, but I will always love you no matter what.” This is the love that Jesus inspired by dying on the cross for our sins. He showed us His love by sacrificing His life. I believe that Jesus was also clear when He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

We are commanded to love each other. The verse doesn’t say, “weigh out the pros and cons of loving someone and then decide if you should.” This verse specifically addresses the love between believers, but it also tells us that the testimony of loving others will identify us as followers of Jesus Christ.

What Is Love?

… baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more. Just kidding. I couldn’t help myself. But in all seriousness, what does biblical love look like? It is a choice that we make, whether or not we are going to care for someone, no matter how they treat us. Everyone will point to 1 Corinthians 13 at this point, because it is true. Not because it is some cheesy poem about love. This chunk of scripture challenges us to do the most difficult thing any person can do, choose to love in extremely difficult circumstances. Read more

Fudgy Brownies Recipe

I have been sick (again) so I haven’t really been in the state to update the podcast, but I thought it would be a shame to leave all my readers empty handed during Christmas. So today I wanted to share this brownie recipe with you. After many attempts to make a perfect fudgy brownie recipe, this is the one that finally made my husband ask me to make brownies again, and he just made them for me last night for my birthday.

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This recipe uses plenty of chocolate!
This recipe uses plenty of chocolate!

This one bowl batch of brownies is easy to prepare, transport, and delicious to eat. It makes 9 medium sized brownies, and can be easily doubled if you need more than that. If you double the recipe, make sure to use a larger pan.

60 grams milk chocolate

60 grams dark chocolate

(or you can use 120 grams of kouverta/semi-sweet chocolate)

115 (1/2 cup) grams butter

90 grams (3/4 cup) flour

200 grams (1 cup) granulated white sugar

1 tsp salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 medium eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 F (165 C) on the convection bake setting.

Cut the butter into small pieces and melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave on low, or on the stovetop on a low heat.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl including the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Stir the flour in last.

To prepare your 8×8 inch pan, rub butter or oil on every inch of the pan with a paper towel, put a few teaspoons of flour into the pan and shake the pan around to distribute the flour as a thin layer all over the pan. Or you could use parchment paper to line the pan, or a teflon non stick oven liner (they are black and can be found at any Lidl during the month of November or you can purchase one on Amazon here).

You will bake them for 15 minutes on convection to get the top crispy and then switch it to normal bake for 15 minutes so the brownies don’t get over baked. Bake for 20 minutes on convection and 17 on normal if you double the recipe.

This recipe is perfect for having a few ladies or gents over for fellowship. Make sure you allow it to cool completely before you eat it, the longer you wait the better it will taste.

Sincerely adorned,

Kristin