Category: thoughts by Kristi Huseby

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One of my sons when he was little had an endearing habit of grabbing my face so that I would look at him while he was talking. I confess that as a busy mom I was often distracted and found myself half-listening to my talkative son and this was his way of grabbing my attention and ensuring that I was focused on him.

Even at such a young age, my son had a built in longing to be heard and understood, to be loved and valued for who he was.

We all have a yearning deep in our soul to be heard and understood, love and valued for who we are.
Have you ever been talking on the phone with a friend when you get a little niggling doubt that they might not really be listening to you? It can be devastating to bear your soul, only to discover later in the conversation that they haven’t even heard a word you’ve said.

Do you ever secretly wonder if God is the same way? He’s got so much on His mind, demanding His attention, how could He ever have time to listen to your concerns? Does He really have the time to stop, bend down and listen to you?

Look at what Psalm 116:1-2 says, “I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

This is God in relationship with us!

Drawing close. Bending down. Listening intently. Loving fully.

Isn’t this the kind of God we’ve been searching for?

Just as a child longs to have his parent’s undivided attention, our heart longs for God’s ever attentive love. He made us this way. He put within us this longing.

But so often we go away from Him and not towards Him. We ignore the need of our heart and turn to other things to satisfy the deep longing of our soul. Then because these things never completely satisfy us, we get disillusioned in our faith, wonder if God even cares and question whether He is really listening or not.

But amazingly He is listening and He is waiting for us to turn to Him. And when we finally do He bends down and gently takes our face in His hands, wipes the tears from our eyes and says, “I’m listening, my child, what do need to tell me?”

By Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women

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“For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains and all the animals of the field are mine.”  Psalm 50.10-11

When I pray, do I pray as if my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills?  Or more like He has a few coins in his pocket He can give me?  Do I really believe my God is resource rich or hopelessly poor?

If you were to hear my prayers you might think the latter.

I find myself praying hesitantly, crossing my fingers and hoping that God will answer.  I don’t ask for too much and I rarely step out in faith believing He will answer.  It isn’t really that I don’t believe God can do what I’m asking but more will He do it?  But, is this just an excuse so that I don’t look like a fool when God doesn’t come through for me?  I wonder . . .

How does God wish I would pray?  What is His heart’s desire?

I confess my tendency to put God in a box.  I want Him Small. Convenient. Controllable.  I want Him to wipe away my tears, love me unconditionally and soften the jagged edges of my life.  I don’t want Him to ask me to do something that makes me uncomfortable, or to go someplace I have no desire to go or put me out on a limb that might very well break!

But is that really what I want?  A God who is safe, mediocre and blasé?

I wonder . . . Would that God have even bothered to send His only Son to die for me so that I could have eternal life, true life?

It’s time to let God out of the box!

God is bigger than I will ever understand.  Greater than I can ever imagine and more powerful than a locomotive!  He’s my true Superhero!  So what is keeping me from praying Superhero prayers?

When I believe little, my prayers are little and God answers little.  When I believe BIG, my prayers are BIG and my God answers BIG.

My God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  He knows every hair on my head.  He hung the stars in space and calls them each by name.  He formed the dry land with a word.  He tells the wind where to blow.  He never slumbers or sleeps.  He dresses the flowers and knows every bird.  He is intimately acquainted with all my ways.

God is out of my box!

Lord, I’m sorry for making you small.  You are so much more! . . . I want to spend the rest of my life discovering Your greatness.  Today, I’m letting You out of the box that I placed You in.  I want to believe Big because You are Big.  Teach me. I’m Yours. Amen.

by Kristi Huseby
Used by permission

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This past Sunday, I was reminded, how easy it is to mindlessly sing songs, like I Surrender All,  (I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.  –(Judson W. Van DeVenter) in our time of worship each week,  yet never give any thought to what it means to actually live that way.

How willing I am on Sunday morning to give everything to God and how quickly I take it all back on Monday morning.  And if the song were written mirroring my life during the week it would read more like this:

I surrender a SOME, I surrender SOME
Half-heartedly to Thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender SOME.

How simple it seems to surrender when all is going well in my life but how hard it becomes when it’s falling apart.

I had a friend, Traci, who died of cancer about two years ago and I think of her often.  She was in her mid-thirties, had two wonderful little girls and a loving husband.  I watched as she struggled with her battle against cancer and witnessed her walk of faith grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.

Just months before she stepped into the presence of her Savior, she penned these words:

I am looking each day for God; around every corner, in the sunlight and in the shadows I see him. I feel his arms around me very close.  If I were given the chance to choose this course my life has taken, do you know that I would actually CHOOSE this life? I never would have had the chance to see him like this otherwise.

When Traci sang I Surrender All, she just didn’t sing it, she lived it!  She understood what it meant to follow God without reservation, with eyes wide open, ready to receive whatever God had for her.  Deep down at the core of who she was, she believed that God was GOOD no matter how things might seem.  She tasted of His goodness and knew Him in  ways I only dreamed about.

A few years ago I came across some verses tucked back in the obscure book of Habakkuk that took my breath away when I read them.  I’m reminded of them as I think about Traci and the life she led.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and cattle barns are empty, yet will I REJOICE in the Lord!  I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!  The Sovereign LORD is my strength!  He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”     Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NLT)

This was Traci’s way of life.

No matter what might be taken from her, no matter how difficult the journey; she chose to rejoice in the God of her salvation.  He was her strength and might; her strong tower.

I watched as she journeyed, as a surefooted deer, from this life into the next with God at her side!

I thank God for allowing my path to cross Traci’s and for Sundays like this that remind me that it’s not what I say (or sing) but how I live!

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior.
I surrender all.
Judson W. Van DeVenter

by Kristi Huseby
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I belong to God! 

And because I belong . . . I’m no longer under the brutal tyranny of sin and death.  What was impossible . . . friendship with God . . . is now mine!

I know this truth in my head but my heart struggles to believe its truth.

I confess I have this tendency to see God as a last resort, rather than my primary go to place.

When all else fails, then I’ll look to God.  When I’m helpless to do anything, then I’ll pray.  When I’ve attempted to satisfy my cravings with other things and find myself empty, well then, I’ll try God.  When I’ve exhausted all my other resources . . . then I’ll fall back on God.  He becomes my safety net.  My consolation prize.

Prayer becomes a last resort.  Time spent with God happens only out of sheer desperation and living a vibrant, victorious life in Christ always seems out of reach.

And then I wonder why my life with God is mediocre and mundane.

God isn’t a consolation prize.  He isn’t something to toss away, or hide in a drawer, only to pull out when things get dicey and there’s no other hope.

God is THE PRIZE!  He is our True Hope.  Our Ultimate Satisfaction.  Our Perfect Peace.

As long as we believe God is our consolation prize in life, we will never be free.  We’ll never experience true victory.  We’ll never escape the brutal tyranny of sin.  We’ll never know the power of the life-giving Spirit.  Fear will haunt us.  Doubt will plague us and His grace will escape us.

To know God.  To deny ourselves.  To take up our cross.  To follow Him.  That’s where real LIFE is found.

It’s in the suffering, in the pain, in the questioning where we find Him.  It’s the promise of a life beyond this broken one, a far better life than we have ever known that we must cling to in this uphill journey.  It’s choosing the narrow, difficult, uncomfortable path where we will find God’s grace, His peace and His unfathomable joy.

Jesus said, You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.  Matthew 7.13-14

We can travel the easy and comfortable road, the one with no obstacles or debris and meet death or we can choose the difficult way, the hidden path strewn with challenges of all sizes, the road that forces us to keep our eyes on Him and find LIFE.

By Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission


If you don’t know Jesus the way that is described here and you would like to start having Jesus as your constant friend and as your prize you can start living that way today.  Here is a sample prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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‘For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2.10 (NLT)

We are God’s masterpiece . . .

There are three determining factors that collectors use to determine whether a piece of art is truly a masterpiece or not.

1.      Who made it?
2.      How many of them are there of it?
3.      How much is someone willing to pay for it?

You are God’s Masterpiece . . .

The God of the Universe, the one who hung the stars in space and spoke the world into existence . . . created you! He formed and shaped you.  He knows everything about you . . . even how many hairs you have on your head.

He is a true Master of His artistry.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.Psalm 139.13, 15-16 (NLT)

You are one-of-a-kind.  There has never been and never will be another person on this planet exactly like you.  You are unique, special and inimitable!

Your heavenly Father loved you so very much that He sent His one and only Son to die in your place.  All the gold, silver, or precious jewels on this earth could not buy your freedom.  It was the costly price of His precious blood that ransomed you.  You didn’t deserve it, you can’t earn it . . . it was an unconditional gift of love.

A gift freely given.  It only awaits the receiver’s acceptance.

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.  And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver.  It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”  1 Peter 1.18-19 (NLT)
God thinks you are worth it!

You are His masterpiece . . . You’re one-of-a-kind, made by Him and purchased at an outrageous price.

Costly. Priceless. Unfathomable. Grace.

Amazing!

By Kristi Huseby
used by permission

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One word.  But oh the power of that word.  It sets the captive free.  Breathes life into the lifeless.  Gives hope to the hopeless.   Restores the parched and weary soul.

“In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.”
Ephesians 1.7-8

Just a tiny drop of grace can lift a soul out of the pit of despair, pull them from a wasteland of disillusionment, and set them free.

But God didn’t give us just a little bit of grace.  No.  He poured it out lavishly, carelessly, extravagantly.

He didn’t just forgive a few sins.  He forgave them all.  Past.  Present. Future.  Our slate is clean, our record pristine, our salvation secure.  Our forgiveness is directly connected to His extravagant grace.

He doesn’t dole out His grace in tiny increments.  He doesn’t demand holiness before He gives grace. God’s grace is Unconditional.  Undeserved.  Unearned.  Unmerited.

He redeemed us.  Bought us from the slave auction.  Searched for us in the garbage dump.  Found us in the rubble of our own making and chose us. The price was enormous!  The cost exorbitant but it was a plan He designed in the annals of time.

Rich.  Lavish.  Glorious.  Grace.

Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see.  Amen.

by Kristi Huseby
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“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”  Luke 4.18-19

Jesus came to set the captives free!

But most of the people Jesus came in contact with never even recognized they were in spiritual bondage.  They were so focused on their Roman captivity, they neglected to understand who their real captor was!

In Romans, Paul spells it out clearly  . . .  our captor is SIN.  Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin.   Romans 6.19

Captivity to sin is all we’d ever known.  The cage of sin was where we resided and we had made a pretty comfortable home there.  Our shackles of sin held us hostage but we didn’t feel bound, in fact it was just the opposite – we felt free.

Sin was our shackles, our bondage, our captivity.  But Jesus died to set us free!  He removed the chains that bound us and hemmed us in.  His love is our jailbreak!

It wasn’t until Jesus set us free that we realized our incarceration.  We understood our sin and invited Christ into our lives to free us from this bondage.  And He did!

So why do we keep going back to the cage?  Why do we shackle ourselves with the guilt of our sin?  Why do we wrap the chains back around us and refuse to leave the jail?

We believe the lies that our sin is too ugly for God to forgive.  We refuse to believe God has forgiven us because we can’t forgive ourselves.  This jail cell is all we’ve ever known, it’s comfortable.  It’s “safe”.

If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good?  . . .  We left the old country of sin behind . . . We entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!  Romans 6.1-2 (MSG)

God set you free!  There is no need for penance – it has already been paid in full!  Your sin is covered, washed away by the blood of God’s own Son.  There is nothing left to do but embrace this new way of living, this freedom.  Leave the cage and all its shackles behind and walk into this new land of grace and hope!

Our jailbreak is NOW!

By Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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Long ago, when I gave my heart to Christ, I jumped into the driver’s seat, thanked God for the car, asked Him for the keys and expected that He would ride shotgun.

I gratefully invited Him to sit beside me to be my copilot on my journey.  I wanted God in my life to help me do what I could not do on my own.  I expected that He would navigate around the difficulties and smooth out the road.

Isn’t that what a copilot’s supposed to do?

For much of my life, I have had this propensity to want to be in control.  It’s easier this way . . . at least that’s what I like to tell myself.   It’s just plain scary letting someone else drive my car . . . even if it is the God of the Universe, who knows me better than I know myself and loves me anyway.

For a long time, fear kept me from turning over the keys to my Savior.  Fear of what He might do . . . Fear of where He might take me . . . Fear of what He might ask me to achieve.  I was so focused on ME that I couldn’t embrace HIM.

Mathew 16.24-26 (MSG) says this,  . . .

Anyone who intends to come with me has to LET ME LEAD.  YOU’RE NOT IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT; I AM. . .   Don’t run from suffering; embrace it.  Follow me and I’ll show you how.  Self-help is no help at all.  Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.  What kind of deal is it to get everything but lose yourself?  What could you ever trade your soul for?”

Surrender is never easy.  Fear can be over powering and the way of suffering difficult. But God calls each one of us to pry our hands from the wheel, hand over the keys and leave the driving to Him.

When I finally relinquished control I was amazed at what I discovered!    There is Freedom in Following, Joy in Trusting, and Peace in Surrender.

Surrender. Embrace. Trust. Follow.

This is the WAY, His WAY . . .

Lord, teach me to TRUST You, to EMBRACE all that you have for me, SURRENDER to Your perfect Way and FOLLOW where you lead.  Amen.

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.Psalm 59:16-17

I was cleaning my house getting ready for company when the phone rang.

Ma’am your son has been arrested for shoplifting.”

My whole world came to a standstill. The pain was excruciating, the shame unbearable, the isolation overwhelming.

What do you do with a son who is 17 and arrested for shoplifting? What do you do when he comes home and wants to go to a friend’s house? What did I want to do? Ground him for the rest of his life!

I knew rationally that it wasn’t my fault he had made this choice, but my emotion-wracked heart screamed just the opposite. “You’re a FAILURE! As a mom, as a person, as a follower of Jesus. Why did you ever think you could raise a child?”

My husband and I were so empty. There’s no manual for things like this. No guide book. No answers. No place to hide.
We had nowhere else to turn but God. The emptiness drove us to our knees.

And we discovered He was there for us every step of that difficult journey. He didn’t remove the pain, but He did fill us with His peace. He didn’t take away the brokenness, but He used it to turn our hearts towards Him. He didn’t absolve the consequences of my son’s actions, but God did work everything out for good!

I’ve learned to choose Jesus no matter what. It’s the only way to truly live!

Holy Spirit, we need You. Come and fill us with Your power. Be our Comforter. You don’t promise us an easy carefree life with no troubles, no pain, no sorrow. But You do promise to be with us. Teach us to turn to You, to depend upon Your strength and power as we journey this difficult road of life. We choose You! Amen.

Thought: Maybe you can relate to feeling like you’ve failed. The Bible never says that God won’t give us more than we can handle. But He does promise us His Holy Spirit to empower us to do what we cannot. How are you trying to handle the difficult situation in your life? Write out a prayer of surrender. Give everything over to God and choose to trust Him in your trial.

By Kristi Huseby
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Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.” Psalm 73:21 (NLT)

Has your heart ever been bitter?  

It is so easy to allow bitterness to hold a death grip on our life; when our life doesn’t turn out like we think it should, when we see other people receiving accolades that we feel are due to us and not them, when we God seems distant in our greatest time of need, when friends let us down, when evil people are seemingly blessed and those whole heartedly following God are punished.

I confess I have struggled with bitterness at various times in my life.  I can recall one of those times very clearly . . .

We had a friendship but it wasn’t always easy.  She always seemed to hold something back.  We would be traveling along pretty smoothly in our relationship and then all of a sudden it was as if I ran smack into a wall – to high to climb to wide to go around.  It was disheartening and I found myself often questioning why we were friends.  Then time and differences took us a part . . .

A couple of years later God brought us back together and I wondered if the relationship would be the same.  For a while it seemed different, she was openly sharing some really difficult struggles.  These struggles were pretty huge and I began fasting and praying weekly for her.  Then slowly our relationship began to erode and we went our separate ways.

A few of years later the tables were turned and I now found myself in a series of difficult situations but she was nowhere to be seen.  I was hurt.  I had been there for her why wasn’t she there for me?  And if that weren’t enough I began to see God’s blessing poured out in her life and the hurt burrowed deep into my heart.

I drank the poison, allowing bitterness to do its insidious work in my life.  It colored everything; my circumstances, my relationship with God, my relationship with my family and other friends.  I could feel myself pulling inward in self-protection mode.  I knew it wasn’t healthy but had no power within me to stop.  I became judgmental and jaded.

But God never let go of me during this time.  He never gave up on me.

Look at what the writer of Psalm 73 says as he continues his conversation with God. . .

I was so foolish and ignorant – I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.  Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  I desire you more than anything on earth.  My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.  (Psalm 73:22-26 NLT)

Yet I still belong to You . . . even in the midst of my bitterness I still belonged to God.  He didn’t give up on me or let me go!  And He doesn’t give up on you or let you go either!  He is ours forever!

That difficult time allowed me to see God in a way I had never seen Him before and it showed me how easily I can lose my way and turn my heart away from the One who loves me the most.

That friendship has never been restored but God has taught me to pray for blessing in her life and through that He has set me free from the bitterness that so long ensnared me and kept me from truly growing in my walk with Him.  I whole heartedly echo the words of the Psalmist. . .

Whom have I in heaven but YOU?  I desire YOU more than anything on earth!  My spirit may grow weak but God remains the STRENGTH of my heart; He is mine FOREVER!  (Psalm 73:25-26 NLT)

Thank you Lord, for never letting go and never giving up on me!

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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My soul quietly waits for the True God alone; my salvation comes from Him.”  Psalm 62.1

I confess, I am rarely quiet.  It is go, go, go.  Do, do, do.  And at the end of the day, it’s difficult to turn off my brain and rest.  I find it easy to take refuge in all I’ve accomplished and ignore the unsettled, restless feelings in my heart.  Focusing on the doing, rather than the being.

Someone once told me, we aren’t human-doings, we’re human-beings.

How true this is and yet how uncomfortable we find “being” to be.

When am I ever “soul quiet”?

We’re fixers . . .

We don’t need a Savior because we are our own savior.  We need money, we take out a loan.  We no longer feel in love with our spouse so we dump them for a newer model.  Our child is struggling with a teacher, we move them to a different class.  Our in-laws are driving us crazy, we cut them out of the picture.  We read self-help books, see counselor after counselor, and take matters into our own hands.

Waiting is for those who are lazy.  Waiting wastes time.  Waiting never solves anything.

We don’t need a Rescuer because we are our own rescuer.

It’s easy to rationalize away this call for soul quiet waiting.

Soul quiet is hard.  Soul quiet takes precious time.  Soul quiet takes perseverance and intentionality.

Soul quiet causes us to let go of the list and focus on the being.  Soul quiet forces us to be still.  Soul quiet brings us face to face with who we are deep down inside.

We will never pursue this life accidentally.  The voices of this world shout loud and long and unless we choose to remove our self from their continual barrage we will never learn to listen to the whispers of our Savior.

Years ago I learned a soul quiet practice called “Contemplative Prayer”, also known as Lectio Divina (Sacred Reading).  I have found it to be a wonderful way of helping me learn to quiet my soul and wait on God.

Here’s how it works:

*Read aloud the passage of Scripture (should be only 2-3 verses).  Listen to the words and be still for 1-2 minutes.
*Read aloud again and Reflect for another 1-2 minutes:  What in this passage touches my life today?
*Read aloud again and Respond for another 1-2 minutes:  What is God inviting me to do today?
*Read aloud again and Rest for another 1-2 minutes:  Ask nothing, simply rest in the presence
of the Lord.

*Write down what God has spoken to you through His Word.

I encourage you today to take Philippians 4.6-7 and begin your soul quiet practice.

God is calling all of us to the soul quiet way of living.  Resting in His presence.  Waiting on Him to rescue us.

Quieting our hearts before Him.

It’s the way of Peace even when our worlds are turned upside down.  It’s the way of Joy even when there is tremendous pain.  It is the path of Life for those who choose to walk its way.

By Kristi Huseby

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“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.  Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15.5

In music harmony adds dimension and fullness to the melody.  The beauty of harmony is its different parts working together to enhance the song; adding flavor and depth.

The same is true of the family of God.  It is not all the individuals doing and saying the same thing but all of them working together, each using their unique gifts and abilities to bring depth and dimension to the ONE purpose.

And there’s the rub.

Working together brings friction, conflict and tension.

We all are familiar with this chafing but often we fail to see the beauty that comes from this abrasiveness.  It is in the friction where beauty is born. 

Working together with other people who are broken and imperfect like us, is God’s beautiful design.  We are like rocks in a stream; bouncing, rubbing and polishing off each other’s rough edges.

So we welcome the tension, open the door to conflict allowing it to refine and perfect us.

If you find yourself in conflict with another follower of Jesus, don’t be surprised.  Remember, we’re ALL still in the process of being perfected.  Peter tells us, And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple . . . “ 1 Peter 2.5 (NLT)

Know this; God wants to use this friction in your life to polish you into a beautiful living stone for all the world to see!

Heavenly Father, I know you designed family.  It’s part of your plan but I confess there are times when I don’t like the pain that comes with it!  I want to run and hide.  I want to escape the hurt, throw it to the winds and be done with it.  But teach me to STAY.  To embrace the pain and see the beauty.  Amen

By Kristi Huseby
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Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. . . Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?Matthew 16.24-26 (MSG)

Long ago, when I gave my heart to Christ, I jumped into the driver’s seat and expected that He would ride shotgun.

I gratefully invited God to sit beside me, to be my copilot on this journey called life. I wanted God in my life to help me do what I could not do myself, expecting that He would navigate around the difficulties and smooth out the road.

But Jesus said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let ME lead. . . “

For much of my life, I have had this propensity to want to be in control. It’s easier this way — at least that’s what I like to tell myself. It’s just plain scary letting someone else drive my car, even if it is the God of the Universe, who knows me better than I know myself.

For a long time, fear kept me from turning over the keys to my Savior. Fear of what He might do. Fear of where He might take me. Fear of what He might ask me to do. I was so focused on ME that I couldn’t embrace HIM.

God calls each one of us to pry our hands from the wheel, hand over the keys and leave the driving to Him. Surrender is never easy and the fear can seem overwhelming.

But relinquishing control, leads us to a place where there is freedom in following, joy in trusting, and peace in surrender. It is the road less traveled.

Heavenly Father, I know this journey of letting go, is the hard road to travel and will be a course that won’t be completed until I step into Your presence. Pry my hands from the wheel and teach me how to walk this pathway of Trust, this journey of Surrender, and this road of Submission. Amen.

Thought: Ask God to reveal the part of your life you’re hanging onto control of – maybe you already know what it is. Take a step of courage and hand it over to Him. (You can do it!)

By Kristi Huseby
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Aaah, the New Year.  I don’t know about you but I always seem to have mixed feelings about the year to come?

I think because it is the UNKNOWN!

What will this New Year bring?  What joys?  What sorrows?  What losses?  What gains?  How strong will my faith be in 2019, I wonder?  What resolutions will I keep and what ones will cause me to fall flat on my face?

On the one hand it’s exciting to look at a fresh clean year and wonder what it will bring but on the other hand it’s scary to think about what might happen and how my world could change.

I also have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions.  I have this love/hate relationship with them.  I LOVE New Year resolutions because I can start all over again.  The slate is wiped clean and I can begin to conquer some areas in my life that I have wanted to change for a long time. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t make it last year, what matters now is that a New Year is stretching out before me with new possibilities and new challenges.

On the other hand I HATE New Year’s resolutions.  Every time I think about something I want to do there’s this little voice inside my head that whispers, “You won’t stick with it, you’re just going to fail so why even try?”  And then I’m reminded of all the things I’ve tried and failed.  For example . . for years I was determined to read through the Bible in a year.  I would get through the book of Genesis and somehow that’s as far as I would get.  I can’t tell you how many times I read the book of Genesis!

Fear keeps us from stepping out and trying anything new.  It causes us to hold back and play it safe.

In 1 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Version) it says,

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

So this year – I’m not holding back, I refuse to play it safe.  I’m making a list and trusting in God’s power to enable me to keep them.  And if I fail – it won’t be the end of the world.  I’ll pick myself up, wipe the dust off and try again with God by my side.

What about you?  Do you have some resolutions you need to make but have been holding back because of the fear of failure?  Step out in faith, place your hand in your Heavenly Father’s hand and draw your strength from His Power.

Mark Batterson in his book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day says this:

Faith is embracing the uncertainties of life! . . .       Embrace relational uncertainty.  It’s called romance.  Embrace spiritual uncertainty.  It’s called mystery.  Embrace occupational uncertainty.  It’s called destiny.  Embrace emotional uncertainty.  It’s called joy.  Embrace intellectual uncertainty.  It’s call revelation.”

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.    –Mark Twain

by Kristi Huseby

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Did you have a treasure box growing up?  I did.  In my treasure box (I actually still have the box) I had a very old dollar coin that my Mom had given to me, some chap stick  (I pretended that it was lipstick, since I couldn’t wear any yet), and various other items that you would’ve considered junk but to me were valued possessions.

In Luke 2:19 (NLV) we get the idea that Mary had a treasure box of sorts, only her treasures were memories of Jesus and how his life intersected with hers.  Look at what it says,

“. . . But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

What were those things she stored in her “treasure box”?  Could it have been the time when the Angel came to tell her that she would bear a child even though she was a virgin?  Or what about when she visited with Elizabeth who was old, wrinkled and very pregnant?  Did she treasure watching God’s miracle growing within her.

Did she hold tightly to the feeling of having the baby move inside of her?  Was one of her treasured memories when she laid her precious baby in the manger, as she counted his fingers and toes?  Or what about the surprising visit from a group of homeless shepherds or the royal wise men who had traveled so far from a distant country to visit her son and give him precious gifts?

And as Jesus grew older, I wonder if she included in her box the time when they had to go back to Jerusalem to find Jesus.   Did she have in her box their surprise at finding him teaching the leaders of that day in the synagogue?  And what about the time when He changed the water at the wedding into wine?

I think Mary continued to store up memories of God’s amazing work and power in their lives.  And I can’t help but wonder that if in the years to come, this treasure box of memories was a comfort and joy to her as her life began to turn upside down as she watched her Son become hated and hunted by the Jewish community.

I wonder when she was discouraged or confused, if she would “pull them out” and be reminded that God was in control. Did she seek consolation in those memories, that God had a plan and He was working it out, even though she didn’t comprehend it?

Have you ever created a treasure box of answered prayers?  Have you ever taken time to reflect on God’s work in your life?  I hope that you will take time this Christmas season to reflect on God’s goodness to you and I encourage you to continue to mark those times in your life when you have seen Him and ponder often on them, just as Mary did.

By Kristi Huseby
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