Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts

December is an exciting time of year. The anticipation of Christmas morning: opening gifts, fellowship with family, singing carols…When I was a little girl, I knew Christmas was coming soon the day that the Sears catalog arrived in the mail! I would sit for hours checking the items that I wanted to add to my Christmas wish list:

  • A new baby doll ✅
  • A new pair of skates ✅
  • A new bicycle ✅
  • A new pair of pajamas ✅

Spiritual Gifts

Fast forward many years later and my wishes have changed. 

What I’ve been thinking about lately are spiritual gifts. I find myself “checking off” my wish list in the Bible just like I did as a little girl with the Sears catalog:

  • The gift of wisdom  ✅
  • The gift of prophesy ✅
  • The gift of healing ✅
  • The gift of tongues ✅

Lessons learned

To begin with, all gifts that I check are not gifts that I receive. As a little girl, I had a long list of wishes, but didn’t always get what I had on my list. My parents loved me so much and wanted to give me good gifts. My parents would’ve never given me a gift that I wasn’t ready to receive. For example, they would’ve never given me a bicycle if I hadn’t learned to ride a tricycle. Or they would not give me a new car until I was responsible enough to use it correctly.

Each child in my family received different gifts. My parents didn’t give me the same gifts as they gave to my brother and sister. They were older than me and had different desires than me. My parents knew that I didn’t want a football and they knew my brother wouldn’t appreciate a Barbie. They were good, good parents and gave us appropriate gifts because they loved us. They got to decide what was best for each of their children!

Just like my parents, God loves me and wants to give me good gifts. He knows when I’m ready to receive certain gifts and even though I have them “checked”, He decides when I am ready to receive them. Maybe I’m ready to receive the gift of wisdom, but maybe I’m not ready to receive the gift of prophecy. Does He love me any less because He doesn’t give me the gift of prophecy? Absolutely not! I have a friend who has received the gift of tongues. Does he love her more? Is she a “better Christian” than me because she received that gift and I didn’t? NO! God is a good, good Father who knows what gifts we need in order to grow His kingdom.

1 Corinthians 12:11 says that “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.” God gets to decide when I’m ready to receive an extra gift!

Be content in all things

As a little girl, I don’t remember a time when I woke up on Christmas morning and was disappointed because I didn’t receive a certain gift that I had checked off in the catalog. I was content with the gifts that I was blessed with.

I am content with the gifts that God has given me through the Holy Spirit. Do I want more? YES! However, I trust Him to give me the gifts when He says I’m ready for them!  Psalm 37:3-4 says to “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Using my gifts for others

I remember one particular Christmas, I received an Easy-Bake Oven. I was so excited to use that gift to “bless” others. My dad ate lots of tiny brownies that I made using this amazing Christmas gift! It was a gift that kept on giving!

God gives us spiritual gifts, but they are not meant to be consumed on ourselves. As we receive, we give it away and then more is given to us. When I feel like I’m not doing enough with my gift, I need to step back and reflect on how God is using my gifts to grow His kingdom.

Trusting that your gifts are good

I never doubted that my parents would give me good gifts! Although they threatened telling Santa to put coal in my stocking when I misbehaved, deep down I knew that I would get good gifts for Christmas. You can trust God to give you good gifts as well!

Luke 11:11-13 says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Merry CHRISTmas!

You can trust God, our good, good Father, to give you gifts that you need to receive in His time. I pray that during this holiday season, you unwrap your gifts and receive your spiritual blessings with the same kind of excitement as receiving the Sears Christmas catalog in the mail!

Be Blessed.

We would like to thank Vickie Young for writing this post!

This is War

My husband and I were intentional in teaching our children the importance of spiritual warfare as they were growing up.

When our son was in middle school, he worked to purchase an expensive pair of tennis shoes. They were promptly stolen from his locker, and it devastated him. I introduced him to spiritual warfare, and told him to expect the shoes to be returned. I could hear him from the bottom of the stairs as he yelled at the enemy from behind his closed bedroom door. I was both proud and panicked! What if he didn’t get them back? Would my actions and words destroy his faith? And what did that say about my faith?

He returned from school the next afternoon, with excitement. “Look, Mom! I have my shoe!” and held one shoe aloft.

“Where’s the other one?” I asked. 

“I don’t know, but I have this one!”

Now, it’s really funny, but back then, it meant another spiritual battle. The enemy was testing us, seeing if we were serious. I sent him upstairs to demand the return of the other shoe. It was returned the next day.

Years later, our grown daughter’s boxer was stolen. This was also devastating. We loved Samson as family, and her young daughter didn’t understand his absence. My daughter and I had done spiritual warfare together in the past, so we joined together to get Samson back. He was returned a couple of weeks later.

These are examples of “things” being returned. Shoes can be replaced. Dogs, though we love them, are still dogs. How much more does God desire for our families to be restored? What is our role in the fight for family?

Consider Proverbs 31 and “the wife of noble character”. Her description and assignment to care for her household, is found there. It is our responsibility to care for our households, so if we had the power to take our family out of the hands of an enemy, would we use it?

Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” 

And God has. We were given a protectedGod-given power and authority over the enemy (Luke 10-19), who roams the earth seeking whom he can destroy, and we are to stand firm against him (1 Peter 5:8-9).

He is seeking to destroy our households, our families, and it is our responsibility to stand firm against the enemy trying to destroy it. James 4:7-8 commands, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he must flee. Draw near to God and purify your heart.” (paraphrased)

Priscilla Shirer said that we shouldn’t spend more time talking to humans about our problems than we spend talking to God about them. It hit home with me that I need to submit my tongue and thoughts to God, spending more time thanking Him for His promises, His faithfulness, and His provision; and less time allowing my mouth to run off in complaint, or my mind to dwell on the what-ifs.

We have been given His Word as a weapon. By verbally speaking the Word, we both renew our faith (Romans 10:17) and resist the enemy.  For example (though in your fight, be specific):

 “Devouring Spirit, you have no rights within my family. By the power God has given me, you must take your lies, your accusations, your schemes, and your cronies, away from us. Be gone and stay gone. Because of God’s covenant with me, His righteousness and blessing are to my children and my children’s children from now to forever… (Psalm 103:17-18, 112:1-4, Isaiah 59:21, 61:9). By God’s word, you mustflee. Holy Spirit, thank You. Inhabit the land that the enemy has left. Fill it with Your fruit and bounty. Cleanse it with Your breath.”

That leaves us to draw near to God and have Him purify the heart, or as Lincoln indicates, test our character.

My children are now grown with families of their own. With the death of my mother, I became the matriarch of my family line. By definition, I am “the older woman who is powerful within the family”. Interesting. There again is that word “power”. As matriarch, the borders of my family have extended to include in-laws and grandchildren. It is not my job to run their households. But by definition, I am powerful within the family, whether I feel it or not. Let the enemy tremble as I use my God-given power against him, for I have an even stronger desire to leave my inherited blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9) to my family!

Each of us has been called and empowered to perform spiritual warfare; to take back what the enemy has taken from us. Nothing is too small or too big to reclaim. It seems easier to reclaim “things” because our emotions are not as involved. Sometimes with family, we hide our head in the sand because it hurts so very much, and we forget to fight. But isn’t family far worth fighting for? Since you have the power to take your family out of the hands of the enemy, will you use it? Will I? We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phillipians 4:13).

Come, let’s fight together.

We would like to thank Darla Carthel for writing this blog post!

Hunting & Husbands

My husband asked me to go hunting with him a few months ago and I said, “Sure, sounds like an adventure.”

Ladies, be sure you get all details before you agree to go on a hunting trip. 

Turns out, we hunted for 5 days. Like hardcore hunting in the MOUTAINS. Hello! Of course you are going to have to hike, JuLea!!! We woke up at 4:15 and didn’t return back to the cabin until after dark. It was COLD…16 degrees cold and snowing. I opted out one morning when it was 2 degrees… did you get that???!!! 2 DEGREES!! I told them to come back for me when it was at least double digits. I bought a cute backpack before we went, not knowing that by the time I had packed all of my necessities for the day would weigh over 40 pounds. It consisted of: water, Gatorade, sandwich, chips, granola bar and bullets (that I never even used). In addition, I carried a 12-pound rifle, 3-pound binoculars, and a blanket strapped to the top of my pack. I was a sight to be seen!  

What had I gotten myself into??? 

One evening, I became quite nervous. We had hunted all day. I was tired, and it was quitting time. We had just hiked to the top of a double black diamond. If you are skier, you know what that means. We were 2.5 miles away from our pickup, and the sun was setting. So, down the black diamond we went. After about 20 minutes, I knew we still had at least about 1.5 miles to go and it was completely dark. Everything looked the same. I couldn’t have retraced my steps if my life depended on it.

Every step into the dark was unknown. Luckily, we had a guide who knew those mountains like the back of his hand. 

And it reminded me, sometimes we are in uncharted territory in life, or so it seems, but our Father knows exactly where we’re at. He knows our next step. He’s the one who created the mountains! And with confidence He leads us through the mountains to our destination – just like our guide. 

Things may feel way off. You may be nervous. You may feel like you’re on the wrong path. But take heart, He has overcome the world! Scripture says in many places that He is guiding your every step. Proverbs 16:9 – The Lord will establish your steps. Isaiah 58:11 – The Lord will guide you always. Friend, He knows what He is doing! He knows exactly where that dark trail leads to.  Choose to be brave in those moments of uncertainty. He will always get you to the other side if you keep walking. He cares about you. We are of such high value to Him! 

Back to the hunting trip…my husband was so excited that I said “yes.” He was proud that I was hunting with him. And you know what? Every cold moment was worth it to see him happy. Once we were at the top of the double black diamond mountain, it was amazing to watch the beauty of creation from a couple thousand yards away. Hours of peaceful sitting became filled with prayer and quiet time. But the greatest reward was the time I got to invest with my husband. 

Flowers won’t grow if you don’t water them.

Your relationship with your spouse won’t grow if you don’t water it either. 

 Figure out things you and your spouse like to do together and do those things! Make time. Do the things you don’t like to do that your husband does and see what happens. A couple of years ago I stumbled across the “30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.” Every day you encourage your husband in a different way. Some days the encouragement was subtle and went unnoticed, other days it was apparent. Some days I would forget and so will you. But, it will become part of who you if you stick it out. Eventually Brent caught on and he started returning the encouragement!

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Be intentional about showing him physically, emotionally and spiritually that you care about him. I would encourage you to do your own 30-Day Husband Challenge and keep track of what God does in your marriage. Here are some examples straight from the challenge of what you can and can’t do for 30 days:

  • You can’t say anything negative about your husband… to your husband… or to anyone else, about your husband.
  • Say something you admire to your husband or to anyone else, about your husband.
  • Let him know you appreciate him and his hard work every day. Tell him you respect him. 
  • Praise your husband for a character quality that you see in him. Build up that man of yours!
  • Appreciate your husband’s faithfulness to you.
  • Praise your husband’s faithfulness to God.
  • Ask your husband questions – hear the heart of your husband. Get to know him. LISTEN, women! Quit talking.
  • Tell your husband how handsome he is.
  • Submit to his authority. God’s perfect design. 
  • Let your husband know when he pleases you and help him navigate through those unknowns.
  • Encourage his love making and masculinity.
  • Verbally let him know you are proud of him.
  • Don’t focus on his faults. Make a list and focus on his strengths. Draw those out in him. 

I leave you with the most important thing you can do for your husband: Pray for him. Pray for him. Pray for him. Have fun encouraging him and in return, enjoy the intimacy this will bring to your relationship!

Oh, I almost forgot. My husband got a nice muley buck on the last hour of the last morning of the hunt. BAM! 

We would like to thank JuLea Bouma for writing this post.

He Never Left Me

In 1993, I committed adultery with my boys’ biological father. I’m here to tell y’all ladies, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

One incident out of many, the boys’ father abused me and my oldest son, D’Angelo. He was never home. He would come home one every three days or so for a couple of hours. I had gone to the doctor for my yearly exam, and the doctor informed me that I has an STD – HPV (Human papilloma virus), which has caused and will continue to cause very bad outbreaks that I would have for the rest of my life. No cure. It would break down my immune system. And it’s the number one cause of cervical cancer. Wow. Talk about feeling ashamed and dirty. I was thinking, “how could this be?” The doctor asked me, “Have you had more than one sexual partner?” I replied, “No,” which only meant that someone else did have more than one partner. That day I had gotten a treatment in the office to get rid of the clusters of outbreaks I was having. Driving home, I was furious. When I arrived, he was home, and his mother was there. At this point D’Angelo was only 5 years old and was there too. 

I confronted him, and he said he had been working, not cheating. Nope, I wasn’t stupid. Not after my doctor visit. I continued asking him. I was doing laundry at the time, and he picked up a hanger and began to choke me. He weighed about 300 pounds.

I was losing air; I couldn’t breathe. I was trying to grasp anything I could to hit him or get him off of me.

His mother tried to intervene, and he pushed her to the side. When he did this, I had a chance to catch my breath. I got up and ran to my son who was screaming and crying at the top of the stairs. He caught me again. D’Angelo jumped on his back, trying to protect mommy, and he proceeded to throw D’Angelo off. Finally, he left and didn’t return for days. I never called the police. He told me if I did, he would kill me and that they wouldn’t believe me anyways. People were outside that day, saw what happened, and never said or did anything. I guess the people were as scared as us, or they thought it was none of their business, which made me sad.

Who really cares about women and children being abused? 

Did anyone care? 

Why didn’t I leave? 

Because I loved him and thought he could change. He would continue on abusing me and my son for a while. My life spiraled out of control, and I became addicted to drugs. Then one day, he called his mother and I and told us he was on his break and on his way home, and he was going to kill me this time. His mother and I and others at the apartment packed my car with my boys and a few necessities in record time, and I left. Eight years it took. As I was exiting Lubbock to come back home to Plainview, I passed him. He was on the service road driving fast. I was on the interstate driving faster. I never looked back. The abuse ended that day.

God was watching over me and my boys. I was supposed to die that day, but God had a better plan for me and my boys, and it wasn’t that life. 

I quit cold turkey and have been clean and free from meth since 2005. I was diagnosed with the first stages of cervical cancer caused by HPV in 2006 and had the option to do a hysterectomy. I did, and there was no cancer! 

I was raised in church, but I left God when I was 13. I was busy. Busy doing my own things, which weren’t good things. I don’t remember praying or even attending church. But God never left me. He never leaves us, ladies. We all have a story, and we are called by God to have a plan of action.

I’ve been at CVS pharmacy going on 13 years, selling legal drugs… ironic, I know. Some of my co-workers are just there for the paycheck, but I’m there for the people. That’s my ministry, that’s my way of witnessing to people on a daily basis. I’m able to serve and help others. Sick people, depressed people, recovering people. All at a place where I have been in my life. Mrs. Sherry Wall helped me in my ministry. She prints me up cards with different scriptures on them, so I can pass than out. I always write on the back, telling them that I’m praying for them or to say how awesome they are, or how much I love them. They always appreciate that word from God, plus it’s sharing the news of the gospel. 

I always do my job with a smile on my face. That smile goes a long way. God has me at CVS for a reason. I’ve been through some things in my life; we all have. I’m not perfect, but I love people. God gave me that gift from Him. I know the wait at the drive-thru gets long sometimes at CVS. Maybe people just come to see what color my hair is that month, or to see if I’ve gotten any new tattoos… either way, God gets to shine through me, and I believe that’s why people come to CVS. 

Ladies, keep smiling and praying and telling others you love ‘em. That’s sharing the gospel. Thank you, Abba! 

A merry heart does good like medicine. ~Proverbs 17:22

We would like to thank Leslie Wall for writing this blog post!

You Can’t Be Good At Everything

Editor’s Note: We truly are surrounded by a host of women who are living lives of faith. What’s even more amazing is that we are surrounded by Christ himself who is cheering us on to victory. Our stories are as different as the characters in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11, yet each one of us is running a race that requires faith. This semester women have read Hebrews 12:1-2 and shared what God placed on their heart. We are cheering you on in your journey of faith in Christ!


I don’t know what happened, but I’m in a season where I do not have patience to figure certain things out on my own. I think it started when I began a new job this summer and both he and I were trying to figure out our work flow dynamic.

There’s only one problem with that.

I am not great at creating work flow systems.

But, I know a brilliant gal who is. It took a little effort to get our schedules to jive, but in less than one hour of chatting, she showed me how she manages the work flow that comes across her desk. Looking over her shoulder gave me some perspective and helped me wrap my brain around what I needed to do next. #winning!

When I try to tackle something that’s completely out of my wheelhouse, it throws me into analysis paralysis. I overthink it. Decorating does this to me. It takes me a really long time to make decisions and then I’m insecure about my work. So when I was ready to tackle our living room walls, I called another friend. In just a short time she whipped out a beautiful interior design with items I already had. And to top it off, she was able to do it with a happy heart. Score!

What have you been avoiding in your home/workplace? Is it because you’re afraid to admit that you just don’t know how to do it?

Invite a friend you know who’s gifted in that area over for lunch (your treat). Ask her to teach you how/help you tackle that thing that’s been hanging over your head. You’d be surprised at who you know who’d be delighted to lend a hand.

Asking for help doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human.

Since we’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that entangles us and run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

-You may be surprised to learn that there are people who are cheering you on.

Maybe we’re so frustrated because we’re tangled in a lie that we have to run all the races instead of the one marked out for us. Remember in Disney’s Tinkerbell how she didn’t want to be a tinker fairy? She tried to be what all the other fairies were, and nothing worked. She came to peace with who she was created to be and THRIVED!

Inviting friends to help me with my stuff helped me find out that I wasn’t a complete failure – I just needed some inspiration and some new perspective. It’s okay that I’m not good at everything. I’m good at somethings, and friends have asked me to help them in those areas. Girls, can’t that be enough?

So quit beating your head against a wall and ask a friend to help! You and all those around you will be glad you did.

We would like to thank Jodi LaFrance for writing this post!

Seeking the Healer, Not Just the Healing

Editor’s Note: We truly are surrounded by a host of women who are living lives of faith. What’s even more amazing is that we are surrounded by Christ himself who is cheering us on to victory. Our stories are as different as the characters in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11, yet each one of us is running a race that requires faith. This semester women have read Hebrews 12:1-2 and shared what God placed on their heart. We are cheering you on in your journey of faith in Christ!

You know that plan for your life? The one you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl? Mine somewhat looked like: getting married to a great man, having a job so great it didn’t feel like a job, and having two, maybe three kids by the time I was thirty, three years apart max. Does that saying, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans” ring a bell?

The married a great man part, nailed it!

The having a job so great it doesn’t feel like a job, I’ve got that one in the bag.

The two, maybe three kids by the time I’m thirty, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, we have been INCREDIBLY blessed with an all boy, ornery, “just like his daddy”, fun, three year old after an incredibly traumatic miscarriage and two years of longing for that positive pregnancy test, and we are SO thankful for him.

But who knew you could still battle infertility after having a successful pregnancy? I didn’t. But, here we are again. The sting is just as fierce as the first go round, and the hurt is just as deep, but seeking God and His plan over my own has left me in a true state of peace.

We all have that one thing, or maybe more than one, that we want healing from. Whether it be a life altering disease, a broken marriage, a financial situation, the broken heart of losing a loved one, an addiction… mine is infertility.

Mark 5:34 says, “Jesus said to the woman, ‘You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain’ ”. This has been a comforting passage for me over and over again, but I remember a particular morning during Sunday morning worship, crying as I asked God, “Why have you not fulfilled the desires of my heart? Why have I been left unhealed? I have always had faith in you and give you the glory!” I heard Him whisper, “Seek me. Not just the healing that I can provide you.” You might as well have knocked me over physically, because I was floored! Isn’t that our human nature though?

I’ll follow God, so then I’ll be blessed.

I’ll tithe my first 10%, so I’ll reap a hundred fold.

I’ll praise His name, so that I may be healed.

And the list goes on.

But what if we stopped looking for our own benefit and just started following, praising, seeking and loving God above all else just because He is God and he is GOOD!?

Trust me, I’m preaching to the choir here, we are in the same boat ladies. I mean, of course I want God to show me His plan for my family, give me the joy of a second child, and bless my family like only He can, but my trust in Him and His perfect and detailed plan has to be based on how good He is and how he loves me, not what He can do for me, because let’s be real, He’s already given me His all.

That true state of peace I talked about earlier? It has been found during this time of my life when I have decided to quit dwelling on the things I don’t have yet, and thanking God for the things He has blessed me with. Seeking His mercy on the days that I fall into that “why me” trap, His love when I worry about what or what doesn’t lie ahead, and His goodness everyday are a few of the things that keep me longing for the Healer, not just the healing.

I wish this was one of those stories that I could tell you that my prayers have been answered because of my trust in Him. But just because that hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean He is done and that His plan is not perfect.

Keep seeking, trusting, and loving Him. Because He is GOOD.

We would like to thank Beckah Hunt for writing this post!

Am I Setting My Child Up For Success?

Editor’s Note: We truly are surrounded by a host of women who are living lives of faith. What’s even more amazing is that we are surrounded by Christ himself who is cheering us on to victory. Our stories are as different as the characters in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11, yet each one of us is running a race that requires faith. This semester women have read Hebrews 12:1-2 and shared what God placed on their heart. We are cheering you on in your journey of faith in Christ!

As mamas, it is really easy to look at other people’s children and decide that our children are not being as successful as everyone else’s kids.

Their kids always make A honor roll, have perfect manners, never throw a fit in the grocery store, do their chores without complaining, insert the thing that your child needs help in here _________________.

This comparison can very quickly lead us to put unrealistic expectations on our kids and cause unnecessary disappointment for everyone involved.

This game can even happen between our own kids if there are multiple children in the family. God has been opening my eyes to the uniqueness that He has put into each of my boys. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” If I try to force them into a certain mold that I myself have created, I could take away qualities that God is growing in them that will be important to the future men He has called them to be. Now don’t get me wrong, I have high expectations for all my kids, but I also have to be realistic of their individual abilities. I must keep their individualities in mind as I guide them through life. For example, one of my kids can be given a list of morning routines and accomplish them with minimal supervision, while another child needs one step at a time with more supervision.

I need to meet my kids where they are and help them grow to the next level in their own time. This isn’t always easy to remember, and I am constantly praying for patience in this journey as a mama.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

At school, I spend weeks training my classes on how I want things to work, and I have to do the same thing at home. If we assume our kids know how to do something or that they should be able to do something without really training them, we are setting them up for failure and ourselves up for frustration.

In our home, when I catch myself being repeatedly upset over something that I expect of my children, it is time for me to reassess my part in the process. Did I train them how I should have? Did I give them the tools that they needed to be successful in what was asked of them?

There is not a one size fits all mentality when it comes to raising kids, but there can be some things that work for someone else’s kids that does work for mine too.

Find a group of mothers that you can steal ideas from and modify them to fit your family’s needs. These mothers can also be your biggest encouragement, and you can be theirs in this difficult, but rewarding season of raising children.

Mamas, let’s have grace for our kids and ourselves as we train them to do amazing things!

We would like to thank Sara Marquez for writing this post!