Friday, December 12, 2014

The Holiday Ho-Hums


Today I am Charlie Brown. Today I am gloomy.  Today I am Bah-Humbug.  I don't know what my problem is this Christmas season.  I just can't seem to get into the Holiday mood.  I've done all the things.  I've attended Christmas events that usually have me leaving ready to go out and decorate the world.  I've played Christmas music (some playing in my office right now as I type) which usually really gets me in the spirit.  I've gone Christmas shopping and even decorated my little rental house, but still there is no spark.  There's something different this year, I haven't been able to put my finger on it, but it's different.  Last year was a weird Christmas, as we were still trying to survive having an infant and a 2 year old and life was just not normal.  This year though, I have all the reasons to be prancing around proclaiming the name of Jesus, singing Joy to the World and decorating anything that will stand still, yet there's been a silence in my heart.  Today, I think I've got it figured out.  Honestly ya'll I am just heartbroken this year.  The Lord has given me a year full of seeing the heart break in this world.  Not by my own life's happenings but in the world around me.  This year I have had the opportunity to actually complete reading 2 books (this is a big deal in this mommies world).  Both were written by Jen Hatmaker, both books turned my world upside down.  Hatmaker's recently revised book Interrupted shook me to my core.  I read the following information from that book on an airplane flying home from Texas this November:
Facts:
* Of the six billion people on Earth, about 1.2 billion live in 23 cents a day.
* Half of the world lives on less than $2.50 a day
* The wealthiest one billion people average $70 a day
* If you make $35,000 annually, you are in the top 4%
* Someone dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds
*27 million children and adults are trapped in slavery (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves) because of economic crisis. More slaves exist today than EVER before in human history.
* In the last hour: Over 1,625 children were forced to the streets by death or abuse of an adult, over 115 children became prostitutes

This information I read over and over again.  I sobbed sitting in the middle seat in between two people I didn't know (awkward for all i'm sure).  The heart break is real.  So, here is my problem; I am caught between my Jesus complex (i have a strong irrational desire to save everyone of these impoverished, hurting people listed above today this very hour) and the reality of my life here in Kearney, MO.  My poor husband has to deal with a wife that reads this and literally wants to give the contents of our home away immediately, ya'lll bless him just bless him.  So my depressed Eyore like state comes from the knowledge of the poverty and depravity and the state of the world today and feeling hopeless to not be able to do anything.  I have sat in that depressed state all week.  Feeling helpless and unhelpful. 
God gave me this to lift me up today:

Isaiah 58:10

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

All I can do is act.  Act on their behalf. Respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I cannot change the world as Gandhi did, or Mother Theresa or even Jen Hatmaker.  I can only do what I am called to do, I cannot dwell on what I cannot change but I can "Be the Change I Wish to See in the World" (Gandhi).  This year you will see me stopping on the side of the road to hand a homeless person socks and a bag of food that will be kept in my car. This year I will give more and buy less. This year I will invest myself in a ministry that is involved with sex trafficking and prostitution rehab.  This year I will pray for the least of these, I will pray for those around me afflicted by addictions of all kinds, I will pray, I will pray hard.  This year I will not just holiday give out of guilt, but I will GIVE out of LOVE all year round.  I will fill my news feed with ways you can help those in poverty and I will shop in ways that benefit the needy worldwide.  

I am so in love with the Lord. This season of my life should be filled with the joy of the celebration of the King. The King who came down to earth to hang out with the spiritually, financially, and emotionally impoverished.  He walked among the least of these and died for us all to save of us from an eternity separated from him.  This Christmas I will sing the songs with joy, I will praise the Savior and I will give to those around me.  After Christmas I will sing the songs with joy, I will praise the Savior and I will give LOVE and of myself ALL YEAR ROUND. 

Let us meet the King with Joy in our hearts knowing that as we pour ourselves out for the afflicted our light with rise so there will be no more darkness!

Don't be a bench warmer or a pew-sitter this year.  Here are ways and places to give of yourself, your resources and shop for those in great need:

Helps get women in India a second chance at life after being sold into prostitution.

Using fashion and design to create and economic opportunity for the vulnerable

Make blessing bags for the homeless, keep them in your car and hand them out every chance you get.

Aggressively fights human sex trafficking through raising awareness, advocating for and rehabbing those who have been saved.  You can buy products here for gifts to help raise funding for this program based here in Kansas City.

Donate your clothes, bedding and toiletries to a local non-profit. Here in KC we have a great program for women and children fleeing domestic violence. They leave with nothing and have nothing. Donating here helps someone who literally has nothing.

You can do so much through Compassion.  Sponsor a child, sponsor and mother & baby, shop to give through Amazon, pray, attend an event, raise awareness through participating in 

Be made aware of what's going on in this world. Above is a link regarding human trafficking awareness day coming January 11th.  Find things around you that stir you up and get involved in making a change.

This is not your normal Christmas post full of Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays.  This is a call to celebrate the love of the King ALL YEAR ROUND!  Do it, I DARE You!  Imagine what a change we would see if we started loving and stopped judging.  We are ALL Beautifully, Wonderfully and Fearfully Made in HIS amazing image.  Sending all my love and prayers this Christmas.  May you feel immeasurably blessed!

Much Love,
Chrystan
Here's Jen talking about being Interrupted


Buy Jen Hatmaker's book Interrupted HERE

Monday, November 17, 2014

Filler' Up: Why We Go to Church


This friends is how I slept last night.  2 babies and a husband in my queen bed with me.  Needless to say I was not a chipper chicken pealing myself out of bed to head to praise team at 8:15am on this cold, snowy Sunday morning. Sunday…sigh…the Lord’s day.
This Sunday, the Lord’s day, I blew through the doors of my church with a bad attitude and a heavy heart.  My heart has been aching for the people number of people that I fiercely love that are struggling.  I have looked at those in my life that are on the struggle bus right now and have been overwhelmed with love and empathy for them. I went in to church to find peace in this but found great conviction written in the words that we sang in this hymn today.

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

When am I flowing with endless praise in my life?  Do I actually give over my moments and my days to the Lord?  When I do what does that look like in my life?

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

What do I do with my hands and my feet that show God’s love?  Do I hesitate when he calls me to go, or do I respond in immediate obedience?

Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Now I LOVE to sing.  LOVE IT!  God has blessed me with the ability to carry a tune.  But do I give him my voice outside of the walls of the church and the occasional karaoke night?  Do my words hurt my family? Am I singing his praises to those around me?  Is my voice a sweet sound to my Savior’s ears, or does he grimace at the sounds and words that escape my mouth?

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Oh this one was painful when we got here.  I truly had to hold it together here.  As I got to these words I was overcome with the idea that if he took it all away.  The clothes, the jewelry, the new house, the cars, the boots…all of it. If my way of life was taken, if we became truly poor and lost it all what would that look like on me.  Would I praise him through that?  My fear is, I would cling so tightly to the life I had and the life I wanted that my voice would not shout one praise, that my prayers would be begging for the return of my things.  Conviction and heart break overwhelmed me.

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Yes Lord, I thought, not my will but yours.  (as long as it’s not too radical).  Literally, these were my thoughts.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

This friends is why we go to Church.  Not to check it off of our to do list.  Not to hang out with our besties.  We go to be led back to the cross.  All week we battle and rage against this world.  We fall short and run out.  We run out of steam.  And so we come back to the cross on Sunday and lay at his feet.  We recharge, fill up and go pour into those we encounter in the week.  He speaks through his music, he speaks through his words, his people and leads us to where we need to be.  He fills us up so we can pour out.  This week, he showed me, he will speak to me in anyway he chooses.  He showed me the things I needed to work on and he recharged me to GO.  This Sunday, the Lord’s day, he spent pouring into to me. He heard my song of praise, he saw my heart and despite it all he filled my voice with JOY and my heart and soul with Thanksgiving.

I am beautifully and wonderfully made in his amazing image.  He reminded me of that today in his house on his day.  Take my life, take my hands, take my voice, take it all. It is yours Father and I lay it all back at your feet.

You too are beautifully made by the redeemer who loves you so much and is calling you to fall into stride with him in his amazing plan for your life.  Please let me know if I can help you to choose to walk with our Savior.  It is a life that is more fulfilling than you can imagine.  For now I send with you prayers for our week, that we would let go of the things and let God fill our hands and hearts.
Much Love,


Chrystan

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Just Say No!

NO.  What a powerful little 2 letter word.  NO.  I say NO often in my days.  You see I have 3 boys 9, 3, and 1.  NO, is a part of our daily routine. “Mom can I have another cupcake- NO” Cole grabs for his brothers hair- NO!!! Cole grabs my earring, hair, necklace- NO!!!  Dylan pulls up my dress in public- NO!!!!  NO, NO, NO everyday.  Sometimes, I just want to say YES all day and see what in the world happens. I think it would look something like: sugar strung out kids, a partially bald 3 year old, a one year old eating my earring and maybe a few visits to the ER.

I had an interesting run in with the word NO this week.  I am working on my YES.  I say YES to many activities in my life. Activities that over work me, leave me stressed, leave me spending less time at home and more time serving others in many different capacities.  Another YES we say in this house is to sports.  Football is a big YES during this season of our life.  3 hours 3 times a week we say YES to practice.  3 hours at least are committed to games on Saturdays.  Plus, I’ve got a husband on the youth football board and coaching the team.  There’s A LOT of YES wrapped up in football this year.  After a long season of running around like a crazy football mom, chasing toddlers at the games and being a Football season widow, it came to an end last weekend.  Sadly we did not advance to the next round of playoffs.  So this was our first week of NO football, accept Cohen was asked to play all week with the older team to help them prepare for their big final game this weekend.  WHAT!  I thought it was over!!!! I was planning out my nice peaceful week, now we are running again!  WAHHHHH!!!!  So, like any good football Mom I went along with the YES.
Thursday all I wanted to do was take my boys to the pumpkin patch. With all the busyness of the season we had not had a chance to do this once a year activity that I love!  Determined to make it work, I hustled home from working, changed my clothes, grabbed the kids from all their locations and headed to the patch.  We had 1 hour to get to everything.  Only 1 hour!  I was focused we were gonna get in and get out and get Cohen to football practice.  While I herded the boys from one activity to the other like cattle on crack I saw my craziness.  In our YES to football we had said NO to living life.  In my YES to everything else these last few months, I had been saying NO to what was really important.  Spending time with my family.  So, I picked up my phone and let the coach know Cohen was not going to be at practice. We had an amazing time yesterday at the pumpkin patch.  We had no time limit, no agenda, nothing to run off to. We stayed till it was dark and cold.  As I drove home I prayed that I would make it a priority to pray over my yeses in life.  To think more about what my personal call is and what that means for the activities I say YES to; for my marriage, my kids and my self.  

Even Jesus took time away from his very important tasks to have rest and quiet and time with his disciples:
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mk. 6:30-32).

As we enter the craziest season of the year, we may need to plan to say no.  Let’s all take out our calendars and figure out what our YES will look like and what we need to make our NO’s.  Let us spend beautiful time with no agenda, in quiet places, preparing our mind, bodies and souls for the demanding world out there.  Lets play in corn, pick pumpkins, feed bunnies and ride on hay bales in restful thankfulness this Thanksgiving season!


Much Love to my Beautifully, Wonderfully Made Friends!

~Chrystan

Sunday, September 7, 2014

By Our Love



There’s an old song , maybe it’s considered a Hymn, but it goes like this:

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

It continues on to say how those around us will know we are Christians, by our love.  By our love…that just echoes in my mind.  It seems to be more common that they know we are Christians by our words, or by our judgment, maybe even by our refusal to associate with them.  Sometimes the world knows we are Christians by our hatred or lack in love.  They know we are Christians by the way we turn our nose up at them, or walk by them as if they didn’t exist.  I love the line, we pray that all unity may one day be restored.  Do we pray for that?  What would true unity look like in the body of Christ?  Does society know we are Christians by our love?  The song goes on to say:

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

By our love, by our love

And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love


I’ve been replaying this song in my head over the last few months.  It came to mind multiple times in dealing with questions from non-believers.  Questions about horrible things that have been said and done to them by Christians.  One of my friends said, “is this really what you believe in?  This kind of thing, these harsh words about the trial that I’m going through because if this is it I’m not interested in this”.  This caused great pause in my life.  Do they know we are Christians by our love?  Or do they know we are Christians because we combat their problems  by blaming it on Satan’s work in their life.  Do they know we are Christian’s because we talk and talk about grace and love but never show it?  Did you take them a meal to love on them or did you tell them they needed to pull themselves up by their boot straps and jump in to this hole they dug themselves.  Come on ya’ll where’s the love, where’s the unity, where’s the Jesus in us? 

The last sentence of this song simply says:

The evidence of Christ in us

I failed at this last year.  I had the opportunity to show someone a love that passes all understanding and I blew it.  I failed them and now I may have lost the opportunity to show someone real love.  A love where you don’t earn it but it is just freely given.  A love that doesn’t count for wrongs but shows immense grace.  I let an opportunity to overflow the fountain of love poured out on me by my Savior on to some else because I was scared and uncomfortable.  Now I may never get that chance and they may never know the love of Jesus and that’s on me.  I don’t want people around me to know that I’m a Christian because I judge them or look down on them. I want them to know because I am radiating JOY and LOVE so brightly and so uncontainable that they can’t help but want to know more.  I want to feed them and clothe them and give them what I have to show them the love that I feel bursting out of me.  When I talk and sing about the man that lifted my head and said Go and Sin no more, when any other person would have left me to rot.  People, they will never get it if it comes out of hate, disgust, blame and self righteousness.  They will only get it if it is an overflowing extension of the love poured out in blood dripping off of the Cross.

They will know we are Christians by our love.


Go.  Love. Unify. Overflow. Pour out and Pour into. 

Because we are beautifully, fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of all of those things and He loves us immensely! Let us go and Love others.

Praying for you this week as you show God’s love in you to everyone you see!  Friends, If you do not know the love that I speak of please reach out to me so that I can tell you more about it.

Much love,

Chrystan

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vending Machine

There has been discouragement painted all over me the last few weeks.  I have been discouraged in my walk with Christ, in my daily life, my business and just overall blah.  I have had conversations with friends that should have lifted me up but they didn’t, I have met with my amazing Pastor to talk through these things and yet still I am discouraged.  I couldn’t have told you exactly why and when I tried to describe it all, it came out jumbled making no sense to the listener.  It’s been so often lately that hard work and dedication in most of the areas of my life have not shown fruit.  That going the extra mile, working harder, doing more than the average bear has not paid off as I thought it should.  Trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus to everyone around, to share boldly what I know as truth has blossomed not one life tree. Discouragement comes from the deceiver.  So the last few weeks I have been all kinds of like this:


Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, Psalm 55:2


And God has been all kinds of like this:

 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31


My discouragement has mainly been a lack of trust and God in my life.  I need to wait on him, not expect him to meet me where I want him to be.  Life in Christ is not a vending machine.  I'm a whole lot of “I want I want, I need, I need, I gotta have” and God is a whole lot of “Be patient my child, wait on my plan it’s so much better than yours”.  My discouragement came from my lack in faith, trust and vision.  I cannot see what God has in store for Providence Baptist Church, Missions in my life, The Language Project (my company) or the many other “grievances” that I have brought to him in the last few weeks.  I have come to God as if he were a vending machine trying to put my prayer in and immediately receive my desire.  “Lord, please save this person in my life because I want you to” “Lord please don’t take my best friend and send her to the other side of the country, because I can’t live without her”  “Lord light a fire in my church, because I’m tired of looking like the radical crazy lady”  “Lord, make my company profitable so that I’m not stressed out about money anymore”  There is SO much “I” in those prayers it’s painful to read, but these have been my prayers.  Here is my prayer now:


“Father, forgive me for my lack in patience and trust.  Lord, lead my feet where you would have them go.  Give me the words you would have me speak.  Send me where you would have me and may my refuge only ever be you.” 


You see in that prayer there is no I.  In that prayer and in that attitude God can grow me and refine me. I am open to his leading and his will.  God is not a vending machine spitting out exactly what we order each time.  He is an overflowing fountain of grace, mercy and love providing us with what we need to live a life that is pleasing and glorifying to him. 


This week with a change in my attitude I was renewed and I got to see his great work in my life and in the lives of others.  Our church started a new ministry this week and gave me a shot of electricity that was greatly needed.  Though my friend is still moving, my business still takes hard work and my life still has unmet desires I am reminded that his plan is perfect and I am only  to seek him first to have all else added unto me. 


What do you need to pray this week? Do you need to pray for patience in his plan? Do you need to pray for peace regarding the loss of a friend, loved one, or the end of a relationship?  What changes do you need to make in your life to create freedom in the plan that God has?  There is so much beauty to truly letting go of what you are holding tightly in your hand, because when you do that your palms are open and ready to receive.  God loves you and desires for you to know him.  You are FEARFULLY WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY MADE in his image.  Let’s all go and proclaim that in our lives each day.


Much Love,


Chrystan

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Great Water Source





The season of weddings is upon us.  I love weddings, LOVE THEM!  In my life I have had the great opportunity to be in many weddings.  My life is at an interesting place right now, as my younger siblings are beginning to get married and on the flip side I have people in my life now getting divorced.  So I see two ends of the spectrum.  And here I stand, 4 years into my own marriage thinking how do we go from Hero to Zero so quickly?  How do we go from marital bliss, honeymoon love to hate, resentment and the breaking of the vows we said with so much passion and love.  What will set my marriage apart, what advice can I give these people that mean so much to me as some begin their marriage and others begin to end theirs?  You see a marriage relationship is at times the hardest relationship we have.  It's almost unnatural to be selfless like that, to give without receiving, to love unconditionally, to fill someone up when you have nothing left.  What is the answer here? 


There is no surprise to my regular readers when I say Jesus.  Jesus is the answer.  You see when you put Jesus as the head of your life.  When you exalt him above all else, he then gets to pour over into.  Jesus is the great water source.  When he is above he then pours into us and it is so abundant that it overflows into those around us. So, when we run out of love, and grace and hope and forgiveness he is there, pouring into us.  Filling us up with those things that we lack.  Our relationship with Christ is the greatest marriage, we are his beautiful Bride. As we walk down the aisle to him he is sobbing at our beauty because he's never seen anything more amazing then when we choose to walk with him.  There is nothing that we can bring here, there's no way to earn his love, because he has already earned it for us.  The ultimate love story is the story of the walk up a hill to the cross where the greatest sacrifice was paid.  Where we were redeemed.  When I run out of hope, grace, love, and forgiveness in my marriage all I need to do is go to the source of all these things and all I need will be added.  That is how relationships survive and flourish abundantly.  You may be reading this at the beginning of this journey and so to you I say take the step down the aisle knowing that this covenant is unbreakable.  That the covenant you are making before God, each other and your family is forever. Not forever until you run out of love, hope, grace and forgiveness but forever until you die.  Know that when you are human, when you make mistakes and when you fall short that you will go to the source of great love and he will fill you up. So that then you can overflow to your partner and those around you.  If you are reading this and you are at the end of your marriage, where you have run out of hope, grace, love and forgiveness. When you can no longer trust, know this; there is healing in Jesus.  Just as he can save you he can save your marriage too.  It doesn't matter how far gone you or your spouse are.  Put him above all and all else will be added, he says that to us here in:






Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.






To those of us who are married, have kids and are in the daily cycle of life continue to remember your vows.  Continue to look to the Lord to fill you up so that you can overflow that to your spouse and your family.  Let us be the generation that ends the cycle of divorce.  How can we support each other in this?  I have a group of ladies that hold me accountable for my marriage. We check in with each other weekly to make sure that we are overflowing to our husbands what they need and that we are being poured into.  Please find some accountability in your circle of friends, or let me know this is a need for you and I would be happy to serve in this capacity.


If are not married, continue to put the Lord above all else. He is refining you for the plans he has in you, he is pouring into you what you need.  Seek solace in his embrace and he will fill you up with his everlasting love.






Friends, there is no perfection in my words. I fail epically in many avenues of what I just mentioned. We not perfect alone, I need this grace, hope, love and forgiveness just as you do.  Let's commit together to hold each other accountable for these things. If you have not made the decision to follow the Lord, it will be the best and most important decision you can make. Go to the water source and you will never thirst again. You are FEARFULLY BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE by a creator who loves you more than a groom loves his bride.




This song says it all:
The Well




Much Love,
Chrystan

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Comfortable

My house was plagued last Friday by the infamous tummy bug. It seems to be spreading like wild-fire across the nation, unfortunately it made it's way through my house painfully.  I spent 2 days completely uncomfortable and BLAH, no thank you to whoever let that ugly bug into our house.  I happily sent it on it's way.  Being sick is awful, but being sick at the same time as your husband- unbearable (that's a whole other blog that leads to repentance for the not nice thoughts I have).  Anyways, I hate being uncomfortable.  I was just laying in my bed, which is supposed to be comfy and snuggly, writhing and moaning in pain.  My stomach hurts just thinking about it.  So imagine my surprise today sitting in my COMFY pew, in my cute little COMFY church, with all my COMFY friendly faces when I found myself complete, UNCOMFORTABLE.  Now before you start thinking I had another bought of the you know what's and had to RUN out of the sanctuary, let's not get ahead of ourselves.  You see we had a substitute preacher, which in Baptist world is a SCARY thing.  We are COMFORTABLE with our Pastor thank you, no desire for a stand in.  We are used to the rhythm and methodology of Pastor Michael, no need to throw something new at us thanks!  As luck would have it Pastor was out of town so stand in Pastor was at the pulpit this lovely May morning.  He covered a verse I was COMFORTABLE with. John 3:16.  Yep, all us Christians we are already reciting that in our heads aren't we.


John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


We know it by heart don't we.  If you've been in church as much as I have you know that verse like you know your own name.  So you are wondering how could that ever make you uncomfortable.  Well, here's how.  I basically had a Jesus panic attack all over my COMFORTABLE Christian life.  If this verse is true, if what Pastor Alan said is true,  then I've got some work to do. And that my friends is the TRUTH.  Pastor Alan said God Loved the whole world, Pastor Alan said he gave it ALL, Pastor Alan said that if someone doesn't believe in him they have a fiery eternity ahead of them. WAIT what???  I held my breath and my tears and Pastor Alan recounted 2 dark days in our history where the fire was so bad in a building people where jumping (yes jumping willingly) to their deaths to escape it.  There's fire that bad, that hot that you would rather knowingly jump to your death??? Scary.  I'm not into fire and brimstone, but I am into truth.  The truth is, I'm not doing my job. I'm in my COMFY pew, in my COMFY church, with all my COMFY faces around me I am not doing my job.  Jesus told me to GO, he told me to STEP OUT, to outreach not in reach, to spread the good news to EVERYONE.  Guess what, He meant you, to tell you that He loves you.  To tell you that He meets you where you are, like He did for me. That He doesn't intend for you to live like this, to feel like this, to cry like that, to hurt like you are hurting. He means for you to be free from these chains in his LOVE (Love from Greek translation meaning agapÄ“ ‘selfless love.)  The kind of LOVE that sends it's one and only son to be a blameless sacrifice for you, to wash you as white as snow and invite you into the gates of Heaven to be with God for eternity.  It's real ya'll and I'm not even drinking kool-aid over here.  I have anxiety for you, a can't breathe kind of panic at the thought of not spending eternity with you and so I will boldly go there with you.  We need Jesus.  You need Jesus.  You can not explain this away, you cannot do it yourself.  And if you are a COMFY Christian, get UNCOMFY because we have some rollin' up your sleeves, getting serious kind of work to do around here.  We must be BRAVE and share the gospel, because we are dying and if we don't die first Jesus is coming. I cannot stay COMFY any longer, I don't want you to miss out on Heaven just because I wanted to sit back and be COMFORTABLE.


Friends, Jesus loves you.  He died for YOU.  You need only choose to follow his ways instead of your ways.  It's better to be UNCOMFORTABLE battling through this life TOGETHER with the FINISH LINE being the pearly gates with ALL of my family and friends there to welcome me home.  I Pray this moment that you'll be there with me and I won't stop praying and talking about it to you and hopefully all those who I get to come into contact with everyday.


We are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY MADE in HIS IMAGE and he loves (agape) us an amazing amount.
Hosanna


Much Love,
Chrystan




Ps- please let me know if you have any questions or if you need prayer, I would love to pray for you.
chrystan.ferrell@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teenage Girls Waging Wars, What We Can Learn From Them


I was thrilled this weekend to be able to spend some time with the youth in our church at their DNOW weekend.  The Lord has truly called me to work with teenage girls and women as a form of ministry, so I love every minute I get to spend with these lovelies.  Since having baby boy #3, I get to spend less and less time pouring into this group of girls but I treasure these moments more now than I ever have.  These girls are precious and I learn so much from them.  I see someone I used to be.  Someone trying to find their identity, to stand up for what is right in a world where that is seen as un-cool and unpopular.  They are doing such a better job at all this than I did at their age.  They are truly in an epic battle in their schools.  Teenagers now are treated like and walk around as if they are adults.  They are making and living out some very adult decisions that I’m positive they aren’t ready or equipped for. 

I was one of those scary teenagers.  I did everything you shouldn’t do, I wore my parents out.  I dated the worst guys, I snuck out, I ran away, I did drugs, I drank,  I got expelled, I embarrassed my parents in ways that I can’t even believe, I lied, I cheated, I stole, seriously you name it I did it.  The thing is, I had a good loving home environment.  Sure my parents were divorced but both of the homes I lived in were full of love and support.  I didn’t want for anything, we didn’t have a lot of money but my parents provided and sacrificed so that I could have food, clothes, a house and play sports.  It’s amazing to me that they walked out of my teenage years alive, I’m sure that it was all God.  So these girls, the girls I get to hang out with and talk to and encourage, they are doing it. They are living life to the fullest, not giving in to those demons that I did, they are fighting enormous peer pressure to join the in crowd. To walk away from their values and do what is easy. To jump on the band wagon and do what feels good.  One of them spoke of a friend who they had encouraged to come to church that had responded saying they were too far gone in their sin to ever be able to walk into a church (this is a teenager mind you).  I swelled up with pride when she told the story of how she then referred back to the testimony of a youth helper, who told her story of a life lived in sin, how she thought she was so far gone but that she came back to the face of God and was welcomed with open arms as a daughter to the King.  I mean, how great is it that these sweet little teenagers are battling and fighting to help win over their friends to the kingdom of Heaven.  They are putting themselves out there in the name of the Lord, so inspiring for me, so convicting for me.  If my sweet youthies can go out there and proclaim the name of the Lord to all, if they can stand up and walk down the hallways, in the scariest place in our society (the high school) and firmly stand on the foundation of the Lord then we adults have no excuse.  These girls are in an epic battle, they are fighting off judgment from others, no being accepted by their peers, bullying, sexual pressures, pressures to cheat and lie to get ahead, drugs are rampant and easy to get, underage and binge drinking is common and deadly but still popular, cutting, hazing, where teenage pregnancy looks cool and isn’t scary and sleeping around is fine as long as you use protection.  This is what they are greeted with each day. Yet they hold their heads high and wear their Crosses and speak of a Jesus that is a Father to them, that they are daughters to the King. 

I have no excuse today to not proclaim the name of the Lord as Alex and Courtney do.  To wear it all over me, to fight the battles and wage war against the deceiver.  I am thankful for these two girls and what they have shown me, when I was supposed to lead them they were leading me.  Girls, fight against it. Wage the war.  Walk the halls strong and secure. For your riches will be great in Heaven.  You are winning souls ladies, you just may not see it today, and for you I have these verses:


Jude 1:24-25


24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


 His power is over all. He will hold you up and you will be faultless before the throne.

 If you have a teenage girl, a daughter or know one.  Hug them, listen to them, support them and read the Bible with them.  This is the sword they need to fight this daily battle. Some days it may be all they have to cling to, some days it may mean the difference between life and death both physically and spiritually.  Speak truth and live truth for them.  They need all the help they can get.

If you are reading this and you do not have a relationship with this King I speak of but want to know more, please send me a message I would love to talk to you.  If you are in the North KC, Liberty, Kearney area and would like your child to attend a church that has a great youth program, Providence Baptist has an AMAZING youth program that is teaching student’s truth in love.  We would love to see you on Sunday!

Friends, this day in age we need to be reminding the youth of their great value, that they are FEARFULLY WONDERFULLY and BEAUTIFULLY MADE in the image of the one true King, Christ Jesus, it may mean you need to believe for yourself first...

Much Love,

Chrystan

Friday, February 28, 2014

Broken


Broken. Broken heart, broken body, break bread, broke a lamp, so many ways to be broken.  When can we be broken?  Who can we be broken with?  What does broken mean to us?  Is it bad to be broken?  If we are broken in our being, then who fixes us and how can we be fixed?  Are broken people allowed in Church?  Is church only for those who walk in perfection or are mended?  These are the questions that have plague my inner thoughts this month.  With so much talk of love in February, I can’t help but think of those of us that walk around broken hearted and just broken.  It doesn’t matter why your broken.  And aren’t we all truly broken  in some way.  Some of us hide our brokenness deep down.  We are scared to show that we do not walk in perfection on our own. We don’t want to lay out broken for all to see.  Other’s of us can’t hide our brokenness.  It may be visible on our face with marks from last nights argument. It may be a belly that has a baby forming in it, the fruit from a relationship that ended when he found out about your precious child.  Maybe brokenness comes from betrayal in your life, betrayal from someone who was supposed to be there forever.  Our brokenness looks different, and we hide it for many reasons.  What I want to expose now is the thought that we cannot be broken in church. That church is only for those that have it all together.  For the church I say loudly and boldly, STOP!  We do not sit in perfection on our own. We are so broken and should not pretend that we aren’t treading water and even drowning in our brokenness.  The truth is that Christ is the only good in us.  He has made us whole, he has washed and cleansed us and it is only through him that we have freedom from our bondage.  Church, my church, your church, the church is full of broken people.  There’s a church here locally that houses one of the most broken people I know.  She comes from a broken home, she stumbled from drunkenness, was tempted into drugs, she was plagued by promiscuity, had a child out of marriage, has hypocritical thoughts, suffers from anger and resentment, she covets what others have and she walks in the shame of a rape that she just can’t shake sometimes.  She is so broken and is so very un-perfect, how dare she sit in this pew with you so filthy and dirty.  I know it’s hard for you to sit next to such a sinful person, but thank you for allowing me to sit next to you, because all these broken pieces would shatter me without Jesus and in this house I worship him for putting me back together.  Because you see church, this broken women I speak of is me.  I have no room to judge for the sins of others, I have no room to separate myself and not make you feel welcome in this church, because it is I who lay face down at the altar of the Lord daily knowing that it is only through his blood that I am healed, that I am seen beautiful.  SO church, open your doors, open your pews, open your hearts and allow us to be broken.  To those who are broken, church is not just full of the healed and the perfected.  We are broken, come be healed with us. There is no judgment here outside of the Lord’s.  Sit next to me. Cry with me.  Heal with me.  Be broken with me.  Be in God’s amazing word with me and let’s shock this nation to its knees!
Scripture says:

Matthew 5:2-12 ESV        
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.


Psalm 34:18 ESV        
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.



Mandisa says it beautifully here in her song Broken Hallelujah:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuuJDs2X4GE#

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, he is near to you and near to me friends. If you do not know the Lord, if you want to know more please reach out to me.  If you need a church body, can I help you find one?  Friends, let's be real in our brokenness and shine the light of our healer for all to see.  You are FEARFULLY, BEAUTIFULLY and WONDERFULLY made by God, who loves you immensely.



Much Love,
Chrystan



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Freezing

I feel like I am FREEZING!  It's just so cold.  Like, seriously cold here in Kansas City. I mean when there are words out there to describe our weather that are "Polar Vortex" and "Arctic Freeze" that's just too stinkin' cold for this girl!  I truly hate being cold. I mean I despise being cold.  I was born in Arlington, TX but spent most of my life growing up in Iowa, where the cold can feel like it's freezing your inner being.  So, this cold is not my first rodeo, it's just not my favorite!  I don't do well in the Winter, I get seasonally depressed and have a hard time keeping my psyche in a good place.  I have been clinging desperately to God and the encouragement that a life lived for him brings.  Even though I have days where I literally get 3 hours of sleep, because I have a 7 month old and 2 year old that never sleep, I have been provided for.  I pray, I pray all the time now.  Lord, intercede. Lord, provide what I need today.  Lord, I pray for energy.  Lord, give me peace.  Lord, give me comfort. Father, you are so good to me, thank you for your provision.  These are my prayers, daily.  I wondered this week, who I would be if God had not worked in my heart.  So many times in the Winters past my heart would freeze. I would shut people out and be frozen until the Spring would melt away my sadness.  This Winter my heart is warm, even through the hard times His word is what I can cling to:


Matthew 13:15


For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.


AND I WOULD HEAL THEM, this is beautiful.  Is your heart freezing this Winter?  Is it calloused?  There are so many of us hurting.  Maybe you have someone you just can't forgive and that has left your heart wounded and bruised.  You may be thinking about a divorce because you just can't love him one more day, he has turned you into ice.  What about that deep secret that you hold in your heart that leaves you frozen in this stage of life.  There are so many hurts, so much coldness in this world.  How do you break through the ice?  Where can you get heat from the inside out?  I started with prayer.  Lord, please be the ruler of my life, take these burdens and heal me.  Then to the word, then to the house.  Migrate, run do not walk, seek refuge in the house of the Lord.  Plug in friends, be with the rest of us struggling to survive and live free.  There's a group of us that meet together once or twice a week.  We share burdens, we share love, we support, we pray, we praise we pray.  We meet Sunday mornings all throughout your city. 


If you're ready to heal, to be warm, to thaw out and fill up start your journey in prayer and you will be lead to your next step.  Don't have a frozen heart to go along with the polar vortex around you.  God made you beautiful, wonderful and fearful.  He is waiting to be in relationship with you. To warm you with his love and share in your journey. 


Please let me know if I can help you navigate through this. If you're close to me you are welcome to join us Sunday morning at Providence Baptist Church in KC.  We're just a bunch of wounded soldiers navigating the daily war.   Sending out to all of you warmth and love through the pages of this blog.  I pray for you daily!  Until we talk again, remember my gorgeous friends you are Beautifully, Wonderfully and Fearfully Made in his AMAZING image.


Much Love,
Chrystan

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