How I Defeated Fear with Cherry Pie

cherry-pieAs a kid, one of my most favorite places to be was in the kitchen. Standing next to my mom and watching her maneuver her way through the kitchen was incredible to me! I wanted her to teach me everything she knew about cooking. I wanted to become a great cook, and not only feed my family, but anyone else who walked into my home. To this day, I get so much joy from being in my kitchen and cooking food for people.

My sister-in-law recently got married and she asked me if I could make a few pies for her wedding. I was honored to be able to help contribute to her special day and immediately said yes. I opened our family’s cookbook and browsed around, and finally decided I wanted to make a cherry pie! But I wondered if it would be “good enough” for the wedding? The thought crossed my mind to make a homemade pie crust, but I was a little unsure about that because I had never made one before.

That’s when the fear, negative thoughts, and doubt started rising up in me. I told myself that I just simply couldn’t do it, that it was going to be way too hard, and if I tried it and failed, then I would be letting my sister-in-law down. After believing all those lies, I made the decision to just go with the good ‘ole store-bought crust.

A few days passed and I started thinking about the decision I had made, and I didn’t like it. Why was I so fearful? I walked into the kitchen and noticed the verse written on our chalkboard: 2 Timothy 1:7 –

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

That was just what I needed to hear! God reminded me just then that He did not design my spirit to be fearful and timid. He designed my spirt to be full of power, love, and self-discipline!

Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

God gives all of us the ability to control our feelings and overcome our weaknesses. The power to do that lives in us and it cannot be taken away!

I want to encourage you to do whatever it is that has been holding you back lately. Whether it is an art project on Pinterest; trying a new recipe for supper; implementing new changes at work; standing up for someone or something you believe in; trusting your children to make the right choices; submitting to your husband, or letting unhealthy relationships go.

Everyone has fears; that’s part of life. But at what point are we going to stop letting fear control us? You have to stand up to that fear, look it in the eye, and tell it, “You have no stronghold over me!” If you don’t, then the enemy has won, because fear is not from God.

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

Psalms 16:8

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Incredible Pie Crust

2 1/2 C. Flour
1 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 Sticks cold butter, cut into 1/4in pieces
1/2 C. Cold shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 C. Cold water

Combine 1 1/2 Cups flour, salt, and sugar then mix together. Cut in butter and shortening with a pasty cutter until its all mixed together and resembles cottage cheese. Add remaining flour and mix. Sprinkle water on top of dough and with a rubber spatula, mix dough and liquid with a folding motion, pressing on dough. It will be very tacky. Divide dough into 2 balls. Place each ball onto a large square plastic wrap and flatten into a 4 inch disk. Wrap plastic around dough. Refrigerate 1 hour. May keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days. If not using right away you can put dough into the freezer. When ready to use let it defrost in refrigerator and then roll out for your incredible pie crust. Makes 2 pie crusts.

This recipe was given to me by my cousin Chana Miller Van Houten.

This post was written by Rae Leach. To read more about her, click here

 

 

 

Making a Home: Words for a Care-Giver

My perceived golden years were supposed to be the time when ingathering was finished and I could enjoy the fruits of my many years of labor. The time when most of my bucket list could start happening and I could do the things I had put on the back-burner and told myself I’d do when I got old and gray. Then life got in the way and things didn’t go as I dreamed. My Little Mama’s golden years became tarnished by the patina of Alzheimer’s and she needed a care-giver. My golden years had changed into something totally different than I expected.

In seeking God‘s perspective for this season in my life He reminded me of this promise in 2 John 1,3:

To the elect lady and her children (family)… Grace, mercy and peace WILL be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ…

He reminded me that these words were much more than a salutation. They were HIS words of LIFE to me and that if I received each one and laid claim to them for my own as a daily blessing from Him then I could be who He wanted me to be for my family in this season.

GRACE. MERCY. PEACE. These words have nothing to do with what I do to make my home comfortable for my family….they have everything to do with who I am in my home with my family.

It is God’s grace that helps me when I have to parent my parent to make sure she remains safe and healthy. It is His grace that helps me in the times buttons from childhood get pushed and I want to respond in a defensive, emotional, or hateful way. It is His grace that helps me to be able to walk away from the physical clutter and chaos that this disease brings into a home.

It is His mercy flowing through me that gives me compassion for the times Little Mama comes to me scared because she doesn’t know where her parents or her husband or her puppy is. Mercy for when she doesn’t know where she is or why she is living with me so that I can comfort her and make her feel safe. It is His mercy that lets me know it is okay to be messed up emotionally at times when I get frustrated or when I see the confusion and pain in Little Mama’s eyes.

Most of all I find I can have inner peace because I know I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in this season. Honoring my Little Mama and knowing this pleases my DAD. And if I continue to press in to receive and live in these blessings from Him, my home will flow in abundance of what He wants it to be….maybe not Better Homes and Gardens perfect, but God-Perfect….a life-giving, loving, warm, comfortable and safe haven for my family’s spirits.

This post was written by Kitty Shipman. To read more about her, click here

Balance: A New Perspective

fulcrum - balanceBalance. It’s a word that used to make me picture a woman struggling to hold about 14 different teetering plates, and trying not to let any of them crash to the floor in a huge mess.   I’ve lived that way, trying to balance so many areas of my life based on who I thought I should be, and who I thought others wanted me to be.

We can live this way with the best of intentions. It seems Godly to want to do well at taking care of ourselves, our families, our jobs, our friends, our responsibilities. But I can so easily get overwhelmed and run out of energy with all of the things that I feel need my attention in life. Amazingly, I have learned a way of living that brings me peace and confidence. “Having it all” is a lie.   Having balance for this moment, this day, or this season of my life is very possible.

fulcrum lesson 2fulcrum lessonI am learning to live by the Principle of the Fulcrum.   Imagine a yardstick with a fulcrum right in the middle. The stick is your life, and you balance the stick with the fulcrum. It would seem that to balance the stick, you would need to have the fulcrum in the middle and keep equal weight on either side.   But the truth is, when weight is applied to an area, moving the fulcrum closer that that area brings balance. When the Holy Spirit puts “weight” on a certain area of your life, you get a sense in your heart where you need to move your time, energy, or attention. Just move your fulcrum to where He is. When I live this way, I no longer need to judge myself, because I know that in this moment, I am doing the most important thing. I don’t have to fear that other areas of my life will be lacking if I move my attention to one area for a day, a month, a season…or however long I sense God has me there.

Lately my heart has been drawn to my family, and the Spirit is saying to me, “Pay attention to them. You are in a stage of your marriage where distance can form between you if you don’t intentionally choose to notice Gabe, be available to him, be interested in him, and enjoy him.” He’s saying, “Pay attention to Avery. If you allow your cell phone and TV to eat up your time, you will miss out on your chance to know and shape your daughter.” I’m working on moving my fulcrum, my heart, toward my family.   It takes being intentional because I can so easily move other directions.

Understanding the principle of the fulcrum is understanding what it is to be led by the Spirit.
You may sense that you need to:

  • Get help to resolve an issue that keeps coming up in your marriage
  • Invest in taking care of yourself by exercising, eating better, or getting more rest
  • Initiate a friendship
  • Admit you have an addiction and get help
  • Say no to a “ministry” for a season to focus on your toddlers
  • Learn how to keep an organized and welcoming home
  • Ask someone who is good at finances to help you get out of debt
  • Seek counseling for a relational issue that keeps causing you pain
  • Put your cell phone away and really listen to your kids

Don’t resist the Spirit and go the opposite direction because the pressure is uncomfortable. Be brave and move your fulcrum—your heart—where He is putting pressure. It will actually move you to a place of balance.   The Holy Spirit is so kind that He sees down the road and gently alerts us to what’s coming so that we can avoid disasters that may come if we don’t pay attention. He’ll lead you, teach you and instruct you in the way that you should go.

Where is God pressing right now? Where is your heart leading you? Would you be brave enough to move towards that thing and let God bring the balance you need?

This post was written by Jill Moudy. To read more about her, click here

 

The Truth About Worship

The Truth About Worship

When I was asked to write this post on worship, my first thoughts were, “I’m not a worship leader! I can think of many women more qualified to write this post than me.” Then came the gentle voice of Truth—a voice that told me that I did have something to say on worship. This patient Holy Spirit voice reminded me of my identity in Christ.

My worship comes from knowing the truth of who I am in Christ, and who God is in me. I am chosen by God (as are you) to declare the praises of him who called me out of darkness (1 Peter 2:9). Although I’ll probably never lead worship from behind a microphone and guitar, I have been called to worship in my everyday life, just by walking in who He create me to be.

I can clearly remember the season of my life where this revelation became cemented in my spirit. Very soon after Kirby and I married, he was diagnosed with stage 3B cancer. In that season, I ran headlong into this tension between the facts in our life and the truth of the Word of God in our life. Let me explain: the fact was that my husband had life-threatening cancer, but the Truth of the Word says that by his stripes, Kirby is healed. The fact was that I was a scared young bride who had no idea how to care for a husband with cancer. The Truth says that I have been given everything I need for life and godliness. I found that as I chose to embrace the facts—but believe the truth in my life—I began to position myself to follow the Holy Spirit guiding me through my everyday. And out of that place, worship began to flow naturally.

When worship flows out of the truth of who we are in Christ, it goes way beyond Sunday morning. True worship evolves into serving our life groups, loving our husbands, discipling our kids, being excellent in our careers, and so much more. When we choose to say yes to our identity in Christ, we can begin to truly engage in worship in our everyday.

I love the way the Message Bible puts it:
“Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:24

Here’s what is at stake: If I allow my circumstance (facts) to determine whether or not I worship, then I won’t worship. My decisions will sway in whatever direction the wind blows. So let’s allow the Truth to win the day in our hearts, sister. Let’s choose to worship in Spirit and Truth – the truth of who God is and who we are through Christ. Let’s choose to engage.

This post was written by Catherine Dunn. To read more about her, click here

Creativity

Creativity

creativity 2Immediately after being asked to share on creativity, I started thinking on what to write. Weeks later I found myself still thinking…and thinking…and thinking, but nothing was coming to mind. Just as I started to panic, a memory bubbled up in my heart. Growing up, my mother and I loved sitting together snuggled up on the couch watching our favorite decorating shows. I distinctly remember an episode where the host explained how decorating isn’t done through thinking out the design; it’s through seeing the design in your heart and letting it come to life. I then realized why I couldn’t think of anything to write. Creativity isn’t done through thinking; it’s done through living from one’s heart.

A recent sermon series at our church explained this concept incredibly well. We are to live from our hearts—ultimately letting the dreams God has placed in us come to life. God is the supreme example of creativity; after all, he did create you and all that encompasses this life and the next. If we truly believe that God is in us, then we have an endless reservoir of creativity waiting to be tapped into. We only need to live from our heart and let creativity have room to grow and breath.

It saddens me to hear people express that they don’t have a single creative bone in their body. Or even worse, compare their creative abilities to others around them, saying they aren’t as creative as Mrs. Crafty Glue Gun. To say that creativity can only look one way is actually the complete opposite of creativity. All of us are handmade with unique ways to creatively express God’s love and bring his kingdom to those we encounter. Take the tools God has equipped you with and see how many different ways you can use that to bring his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy to your piece of earth. Simply put: How can I take what I have, and transform it into something meaningful?

Some of my favorite memories are when someone chose to dare greatly, live from their heart, and express a message that I was wanted, thought of, and cared for deeply. Hopefully by sharing some of these moments with you, you will begin recognizing all the different ways God can use you to love on his people:

– Handwritten notes my mom would tuck away in my sack lunch.
– My husband pulling to the side of the road so we could dance to a song playing on the radio.
– Sitting on our pillows to watch Kung Fu Panda while eating Chinese noodles.
– Having a date in the dining room section of JC Penny’s.

These moments have reminded me of my righteousness, brought peace to my heart and have filled me with joy. Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.” I am so thankful for all the creative ways God shares his love with me, and for those courageous enough to be used by him.

This post was written by Abbie Kellum. To read more about her, click here

The Heart of Giving

give love liveOver a year ago, God placed some specific financial goals on the hearts of both Derek and I, so that we could ultimately give to others. Since the very get-go of this journey, I hunkered down and decided to give my very best.

Recently, God revealed to me the true motivation of my heart in deciding to give my best. It came about when Derek decided that we needed to wait on purchasing something I’ve wanted for a while. We had the ability to walk out of the store with my “toy” in hand, but all I walked out with was a crummy attitude.

I knew the reaction in my heart wasn’t due to just being told “No.” There was a deeper reason for why I truly believed I needed that item. Not even just needed, but deserved it. God showed me that deep down the true reason of why I worked so hard in meeting our goals wasn’t the freedom to give to others, but the freedom to consume things on myself. Instantly my heart turned to repentance and an honest prayer came out: “God, I want to have the heart of a true giver.”

The next morning, God took me to 2 Corinthians 9:6-9, 11:
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work…He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.”

God showed me that the theme of this passage isn’t finances, but it’s the heart of giving. Realizing this, I read it again. This time, the words grace, sufficiency and righteousness stood out. Understanding that my righteousness in Christ means I’m complete, whole and lacking nothing, and that grace (God’s ability or power) reigns through righteousness, the passage came alive. God says that when we give from a heart that believes in its true state of righteousness, he will make all grace abound so we can ultimately give to others.

If I give from a heart of lack, then I will be reluctant to give. I will want to keep my resources for myself so as to meet my own needs. If in that attitude I choose to not give at all, I’m saying no to more than just the giving of my resources. I’m saying no to grace abounding in my life and an increase to the harvest of my righteousness.

Whether it’s giving time to a friend in need, genuine love to those in our family, or full surrender to God in our moments of pain, we all have something to give.

This post was written by Abbie Kellum. To read more about her, click here. 

Agelessness in the Kingdom

agelessness graphic (mother teresa)God is not confined to time or space, nor are those who dwell in His kingdom here on earth.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, was between twelve and fourteen when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.  John, the beloved disciple, was only fourteen or fifteen when called to follow Jesus.  Abraham was ninety-nine when he was told he would become the father of nations. Moses, Joshua and Caleb were in their eighties when called to serve our God.  John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary entered the room, expectant with Jesus. King David was still in his teens when God chose him as a future king of Israel.  Billy Graham is ninety-four.  Beth Moore is fifty-six.  I turned seventy last Sunday (September 8, 2013).

OUR NUMBERED DAYS
I was surprised to learn that it was Robert Louis Stevenson in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who first coined the phrase “my days are numbered,” and not God. I searched for that phrase in four different translations and could not find it.  What I did find was that God knows the number of hairs on my head.  Also, I discovered where the psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NIV).

KINGDOM FAMILIES
I am fortunate to be part of a church that teaches God’s kingdom on earth is multi-generational, and trains its members that not just men, or women, but families are being called to rise up and become Kingdom Families to reach the lost and dying in our community.  I am blessed that I am, at present, being taught that age is no excuse to “retire” in the kingdom of God.

MUCH TO BE DONE YET
One of my dearest and closest friends recently remarked, “There is much to be done, but little time left for us who are beginning the eighth decade of our life.” I knew how she was feeling and shared a similar battle in my mind. “Sweet friend, only God knows when that day will be for us.  In the meantime, let us be on with it.” She unreservedly agreed.

This post was written by Linda Hutcherson. To read more about her, click here.

**In this post, Linda mentions HCF’s Kingdom Families, which teaches parents how to raise kids and teenagers who follow after God with all their hearts. We will be having two Kingdom Families conferences soon, one at the Plainview campus for those raising children, and one at the Amarillo campus for those raising teens. Click on these links for more information and to register.**