Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Church Partiality: When You Don’t Even Know You’re Doing It

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Remember Rachel and Leah? No, not the sisters from the Old Testament account, although with an extremely similar background. Our Rachel and Leah are two Christian women who both start attending a new church around the same time. They are both eager to get involved and make meaningful relationships within the church body. They are both friendly and outgoing. I’d like to say that they both found what they were looking for in terms of relationship opportunities within the church, but that’s not the way it plays out for many Rachels and Leahs.

What we actually see with Rachel and Leah is quite a different experience altogether. You see Rachel is flocked and flooded with attention, offers of fellowship and the admiration of even the leadership of the church. She and her family are talked about favorably and asked to be part of ministries not long after arriving. Rachel is a lovely person, inside and out. She is admired for her healthy lifestyle, her family’s financial situation, her many beautiful children and her sense of wholesomeness. She has a sweet countenance as well, and there’s no doubt she is a beautiful woman of God.

Leah, on the other hand, despite her efforts, has a much more difficult time making friends in the church. Sure, she is welcomed and treated kindly. She receives hugs after service and casual chit chat, but that’s where it ends. While she has tried to make deep and meaningful relationships with other women in the church, they always seem to be engaged elsewhere. They seem to have no time to fellowship with her. Just when she thinks she and another are growing close, she finds out this sister has had a birthday party and not invited her. Yet, Rachel was invited. Leah loves the Lord too. She s married but has struggled with infertility so she has no children. Her family struggles financially. They are not very health focused and Leah is overweight. She is a very sweet woman who offers kindness and grace to all. She knows the Word well and walks with the Lord steadfastly. She too is a beautiful woman of God.

Now that we’re familiarized with Rachel and Leah, let’s talk about the other people in this story. Let’s talk about the church body who welcome Rachel and Leah in with open arms, but then proceed with what can only be described as partiality. I put forth that most of these brothers and sisters in the Lord are good-hearted, honest and loving people. I assert that most of them have dedicated their lives to loving people the way Jesus did and does. You may be surprised to read this, but I honestly feel that most of the people in the church who show partiality are sincerely unaware of what they are doing. They are blind to it. They may not even recognize it when someone reveals it to them. They just don’t see what they are doing.

Even though we know we are new creatures in Christ, we also must realize and come to terms with the fact that we are still sinful human beings who are forced to struggle with the flesh until we are with Jesus and made like Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can have victory over the flesh, but there is always some of that “Adam & Eve*, fallen human flesh left in us, and there are times when we are in error, and even in sin, without being aware of it. That’s why God tells us to examine our hearts.

“Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:28-32

Partiality can be a hidden trap; a disguised snare. Why do so many fall into this trap? The reasons vary, but the most common would be that it is perfectly natural for us to be drawn to a person who shares our interests and passions, has a similar lifestyle, or has the kind of life we wish that we too possessed. It is natural for us to want to befriend someone who does well in life, who is beautiful and lovely to be around and who we admire. Isn’t that the truth? It’s natural. It’s just the way we are, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with drawing near to someone whose presence and company we enjoy so much. She needs friends too.

The problem is that sometimes we are leaving the Leahs out. We are so drawn to Rachel, that Leah is left isolated and alone, without anyone pursuing a friendship with her. We need to open our eyes and our hearts to this tragedy that is occurring so frequently within the body of Christ. It ought not to be this way. Listen, there may be many reasons you feel drawn to Rachel, and perhaps there are several reasons you find it more difficult to be close to Leah. Maybe Leah’s lifestyle isn’t as attractive. Maybe she hasn’t come from the perfect background. Maybe she doesn’t work out ten times a week. Maybe Leah is poor and will always be poor. Maybe she isn’t a fertile Myrtle like Rachel. Maybe Leah just isn’t as funny, as pretty or as cool by the world’s standards as Rachel. In the Lord’s eyes, is she any less worthy of love? Is she any less needful of true friendship, discipleship and fellowship? What do you think?

The truth is partiality in the church is something that often times goes unnoticed and usually goes unaddressed. I think more often than not we just accept it as the way it is, or we don’t see it at all. Men do it too, in different ways. Men admire other men who are successful, good-looking, athletic, popular, etc. Meanwhile, there are other brothers being left out without real relationships. It’s so sad and yet so common.

I also want to be clear that the Rachels out there are not bad women. They are usually very sweet, kind and sincere sisters in the Lord. They are not usually seeking this attention, nor are they trying to take attention away from others. They are simply attractive people for a variety of reasons and therefore draw in the admiration of others. The Rachels out there can actually be quite helpful in ministering to the Leahs. If you think you might be a Rachel, pray about using your “popularity” within the church to include anyone who may be more of a Leah. Reach out to her. Don’t just sit back and receive from others. You be the one to seek out that lonely lady who, for whatever reason, has not been blessed with your ability to make friends easily. You can do this Rachels, but first you too need to recognize and acknowledge that this is really happening.

So what do we do to make people see? How do we make them understand? Here are some questions for all of us to ask ourselves. Be honest with yourself and examine your heart, as the Lord commands in scripture.

1. Who are your closest friends in the church? Take a few of your best friends and describe them. What do they look like? What are their talents and hobbies? What is their lifestyle like? etc.

2. Are there any ladies in your church who seem to not have any close friendships? This may be tricky to answer. Sometimes a person may appear to have friends, but they only have casual friendships and no close relationships. Choose one or two of these ladies and now describe them the same way you did with your friends.

3. Take those descriptions of your friends and the potential Leahs you thought of and now put them side by side. While we don’t normally want to compare people, in this case it is revealing to compare these ladies (for your own eyes only). How are they similar or different? Meditate on this for a bit.

4. Do you have close friendships within the church? Do you find it easy to make friends? Do people seem to pay you a lot of attention? Perhaps you are a Rachel. Pray about how you can use this to minister to women who are struggling in the body. Pray about how you can leave your comfort zone and reach out to someone who may desperately need a friend like you.

5. Are you lonely, even surrounded by a hundred women at a women’s retreat? Do you feel that you have been passed over for deep, meaningful relationships in the church? Do you feel like Leah? Sister, ask the Lord to fill you with hope and joy. He has not overlooked you, nor will He abandon you. Be honest with the women around you about how you feel, and perhaps you will be the brave one to break some of the chains of partiality that go on in the church. You can be the one to open their eyes. Just remember that most are good-hearted, sincere people who have no idea that you have been left out. With humility and love, share from your heart. If you still are unable to find a good friend, perhaps it’s time to pray about finding a new fellowship? Regardless, you also have a calling. You know what it feels like to be a Leah. Seek out other Leahs and minister to them. I guarantee you that you are not alone. Other sisters are suffering in silence too. Keep a watchful eye out and make an effort to reach out in friendship to others who may need a friend too.

Many people will read this and dismiss it. They will see it as irrelevant or just unfounded. They will deny that this is an area of trouble in the church and that the Leahs are just being too sensitive. They will accuse the Leahs of just not trying hard enough to make friends. Is that sometimes the case? Sure. Sometimes people have tried to reach out, but for whatever reason a sister is closed off. This happens as well. We are called to reach out in love to every sister. We do our best and leave the rest to the Lord.

However, we are also called to examine ourselves. Pray about whether or not you may be showing partiality to a brother or sister because of the way they look, the money that they have or their lifestyle that you admire. Remember that it’s natural to feel this way, but God is calling us to a higher love. He is calling us to a deeper fellowship, and He doesn’t want any of his daughters left out.

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A Family on Mission Together, Stays Together

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Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Throughout the life of any marriage, there are going to be mountain tops and valleys. Some marriages contain far more of one than the other, but both exist in some form. Today we see couples in the valley times calling it quits on the journey far too early. Many times we see Christians giving up because they’ve been in a valley for a while and haven’t been able to find the road up and out.

There are many circumstances that lead us to the valleys. It could be external issues such as financial strain (or other money concerns), health problems, child raising disagreements, a lack of respect and love in the marriage and, most of all, a lack of Jesus in the marriage. What’s interesting is that all of those issues I mentioned could be quickly and easily resolved when one fixes that last most critical point. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “religion” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “spirituality” in the marriage. Jesus in the marriage.

Not “church attendance” in the marriage. Not “charitable giving” in the marriage. Not “singing the hymns, raising the hands, thinking about what’s for lunch after church” in the marriage. It’s all about Jesus. So what was Jesus about?

Jesus was on mission. Jesus was about winning souls to the kingdom. Jesus was about sharing the gospel. Jesus was about making disciples and teaching the Word. Jesus was about praying and interceding. Jesus was about self-sacrifice and service. Jesus died so that others could live. Jesus was on mission.

A family on mission together, stays together. 

You want to combat divorce in the church? We need to get families on mission together. Does that mean they have to pack up their bags and move to the Congo or go to Iraq to share the gospel? Well, if Jesus calls them there then yes! However, being on mission doesn’t always mean going on foreign missions. It can mean that, but what it truly means is living a life of kingdom purpose. Jesus has given us all a commission to be on mission. Our life’s purpose should be to share the gospel and train our children up to do the same. That’s our purpose and our calling…..not SOME Christians, but ALL Christians.

You know what really stifles that missional life of sharing the gospel? DIVORCE!

Yes, it’s hard to be focused on sharing the gospel, ministering to people, sacrificing of your own time, resources and safety even to live out a life of service to the King when we are trying to get the divorce papers in order too. We know that God hates divorce. I tell you that those issues that bring Christian couples to the brink of divorce would be obliterated if they were to give up their lives, pick up their crosses and follow Jesus. It’s that simple.

Jesus lived a life of sacrifice and service. He was living, and dying, for others. The problem with so many marriages today is that people are living for themselves. In most cases, when divorce isn’t about abuse or adultery, it is about those valley times and people just aren’t happy. I tell you with confidence that a couple will not remain in that valley if they are living their lives on mission for Christ. If that means going on a foreign mission, go for it! The happiest marriages in the world are often those families who serve in the mission field. They could be living in a hut, surrounded by violent people and battling malaria and still be more solid in their faith, their marriages and their walk with Jesus than Mr. and Mrs. Smith over here who are getting divorced because they can’t stop bickering about money. It’s not because the missionaries are “better people” or because their lives are perfect. It’s because they have chosen a life of service and sacrifice and being on mission (where ever they are).

When we are fulfilling the calling of the Lord in our lives, the other problems seem to fade away and become manageable. A family who is on mission together, with kingdom purpose in their hearts, stay together. If they keep Christ at the center and the mission always present, they stay together. If they train up their children to follow Christ in this great commission, they stay together and the kids learn what God intended marriage and family to look like.

I want to reiterate that being on mission doesn’t mean you have to pack up and go. It could, but it doesn’t always. It means that your household has a mission-filled aroma about it. It means you work together to best serve the Lord by serving others. You go out and share. You bring people in and minster to them. You seek every opportunity to share the gospel and make disciples. You serve your brothers and sisters in the Lord whenever possible. You feed the hungry and clothe the naked. You care for the widows and orphans. That’s being on mission.

Some of you reading this may be wanting this life but are married to an unbeliever who won’t be on mission with you. Do not try and nag, manipulate or bully your husband into following the Lord…it doesn’t work that way. The best thing you can do is pray, serve the Lord, and love and respect that man of yours all the days of your life. One of those days he may just be won over by your good conduct. Never give up. He is your mission and you will win him over without words, but by being the amazing, respectful, submissive, loving and honoring wife God called you to be. That is the best witness in the world.

So come on families….let’s be on mission for Jesus! Lose your life and find that you gain new life in ways you had never imagined. Thank You Jesus!

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How Does Divorce Affect the Kids?

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There’s no one answer that will cover all situations and circumstances when it comes to how divorce affects children. There are certainly circumstances in cases of various forms of abuse when children are better off living with one single parent than in a dangerous environment with both. Having said that, I’ve spent many years studying piles of statistics and reports showing with an overwhelming certainty that children of divorce suffer. Since around half of all children will at some point in their lives see the divorce of their parents (and half of those experience multiple divorces with parents), we are literally raising a generation of young people who have far more challenges, setbacks and long-lasting emotional baggage than our grandparents did. Just think of that for a moment. Half of the children today will be suffer from the affects of divorce, which often includes relationship problems themselves. The covenant of marriage may literally be going extinct.

Before going on, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am in no way trying to bring hurt and lay guilt upon those parents who have gone through divorce. Not at all. If you are reading this and feeling judged, please understand that this is not my intention and I am not judging you. Believe me, I understand very well the horrible kinds of situations you may be living in. I understand the hurt of unloving marriages. I understand what neglect looks like. I know how hard it is when two people are unequally yoked in their faith and unevenly matched in their personalities.

To prove that I’m not judging you, I’ll confess here that my own marriage has been difficult. My husband and I got married quickly without taking time to get to know each other. While my husband is a great man, a wonderful and loving father and an attentive, affectionate husband, we have faced many challenges. We don’t match up like some couples do. We don’t think the same way. What has kept us together these years, and kept our home a place of peace, love and encouragement for our daughter, is that we love Jesus Christ, believe that He desires marriage to be for life, trust Him that He will honor our obedience and we lay aside our own issues to walk in love and unity. We may not have started out with a fiery love, but we have grown in a deep love and commitment for one another. Sure, we could have just gotten divorced when we realized we were not so well-matched, but when I look at my daughter and how she smiles at us when Mommy and Daddy cuddle on the couch, I know it’s worth it. We have been blessed and we love each other, but it’s been hard work and it has required sacrifice of what we think we deserve in marriage sometimes. God is faithful.

That being said, let’s talk about the kids of divorce. The statistics show with no uncertainty that the majority of kids coming from homes of divorce suffer emotionally, academically, financially and even physically. I won’t get into a bunch of statistics here, but if you have the time and are interested, take a look at some of the links below. The information is both alarming and disappointing. You can argue about individual circumstances, but the truth is the children suffer.

Most kids from homes of divorce suffer immediate and long-term affects. They struggle in school keeping grades up. They often drop out of sports and extra curricular activities. They tend to experience emotional problems such as with depression, guilt, confusion and instability. They often cannot comprehend why it is happening. Many times they lose a relationship with one of the parents altogether. When parents start to date other people, they suffer with bitterness, jealousy and anger. They feel replaced or rejected.

Teens of divorce tend to get into more trouble. They are more likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex early on. They may look to fill that sense of emptiness within them with unhealthy and unsatisfying substitutes. Some run away from home. Teen pregnancy is more common. Some end up in juvenile detention.

Children of divorce often grow up to be people who are insecure and anxious. They are unhappy in relationships and don’t have a sense of what family should look like. They tend to need counseling and therapy well into their adult years. They are more likely to experience divorce themselves or to never want to marry. They have essentially lost faith in the institute of marriage. Some continue the unhealthy lifestyles they may have flirted with in the teen years. The prisons are full of men and women who grew up without a father in the home. The statistics and numbers prove this.

At the end of the day, one can’t ignore the facts. In the majority of cases, divorce is not the best solution for the kids involved. In the majority of cases, parents are choosing to serve their own interests rather than those of their kids. In pursuit of their own happiness, they are failing to see what it is doing to the little ones in their care. Children need both parents. They need stability. They need to see how God’s model of family should look. Children are better when parents make it work. There used to be a saying that kids are happy when parents are happy. That’s just not the case. Kids are happy when parents love each other. They are happy when parents respect each other. They are blessed when parents follow the Word of God and what it says about marriage and family.

Today, and always, I’m praying for marriage. Praying for people to not give up so easily. Praying for people to work hard at it and to lay aside their own feelings if need be. I’m praying for Jesus to be the focus of the home and the Bible to direct the household. I’m praying for kids of divorce to be sheltered from the pain and aftermath. Praying for them to experience healing. Praying for them to break the cycles of divorce in their own lives.

This generation is different than any other. It is filled with young people who have experienced the pain of divorce. If the cycles continue, the years to come will bring even more of a breakdown in marriage and family. Yes, we are seeing the dawn of the extinction of marriage. We need to fight back. If you are reading this and you are considering divorce, please pray. Please get wise counsel from someone who believes the whole Bible. Please know that there is hope for reconciliation in Jesus. If you’d like to speak to me, feel free to contact me at chelsea_mccafferty @ yahoo.com (without spaces). God bless you!

Statistics

18 Shocking Children and Divorce Statistics

Focus on the Family – How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?

Divorce Statistics

Josh McDowell’s Blog – Broken Home, Broken Kids

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One Kind, Thoughtful Word

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“She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:26

One kind word. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Sometimes the only thing a person needs is a kind word or two to bring them back from a place of hurt and sadness. A kind word can bring healing, forgiveness and encouragement.

The Proverbs 31 Woman, known for her virtue and goodness, knew how to use her words to minister to others. Scripture tells us she had both wisdom and kindness coming forth from her mouth. I absolutely love this and absolutely confess that this is an area in which I have always struggled. My tongue has always been like a wild fire – quickly lit, difficult to put out and ever-so destructive to anything in the way. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I want so much to be like this woman who uses her tongue to offer up kind, thoughtful words to family, friends and the lost. This is the prayer of my heart.

I love that scripture says she has wisdom in her words first. I think so often we neglect to think our words through before blurting them out. Even if they are what we perceive to be kind words, we need to execute wisdom and judgement in what we say. So often the wisest people I’ve met have been the ones who are slow to speak, because they season their words with consideration and prayer. Before we speak to someone about anything of importance, we should always be in prayer. Before giving an answer, we should ask the Holy Spirit to direct our tongues. We should consider scripture and God’s character in issuing our words, and we should never, ever give counsel of any kind that contradicts His Word….no matter how we feel about it.

Kindness is such a precious attribute. Some women seem to just exude kindness by their nature. Others have to work to be kind. So much of that has been caused by our upbringing and backgrounds. While I do believe in personal responsibility, I do know that the fact that I grew up with a father who verbally abused all of us throughout my childhood has affected my own struggles with my tongue. I grew up listening to this man, who was supposed to be a spiritual leader, protector and covering, curse and scream words of hatred at my mother and occasionally us kids. If you think that doesn’t affect a person long-term, you’re wrong. It does. My default is words of anger and strife. My default is words that tear down and hurt. That’s the thorn in my flesh. Still, through the power of the Holy Spirit and a close walk with Jesus, I am able to overcome the flesh and walk in the precious newness of life. When, however, I neglect to spend time with my Lord, I am weak and tend to fall back into the struggles of the flesh.

God is so merciful. He is so kind. He loves to show us kindness and He loves when we are kind to others. God is glorified when our tongues issue wise, kind words that build up and edify His people. He is glorified when we minister to others through words of comfort, love and hope. He is glorified when our words are the gospel to the lost and new life to the dead inside. He is glorified when sisters in the Lord stop what they are doing to send a quick text message to encourage a sister who is struggling. He is glorified when a person returns a kind word for an ugly word and gives grace to an offense instead of anger.

Sometimes it’s just one kind word that makes all the difference in the world. I challenge myself and my sisters to pray for the Lord to fill our hearts and mouths with wisdom and kindness. I pray that we would be more discerning and attentive to the Spirit’s leading when it comes to reaching out with a kind word to a sister, brother, friend or family member who may need a little encouragement or a reminder of your love. I pray that we would be willing to speak with wisdom instead of allowing our words to run wild.

May our words be life-giving and hope-bearing. May they be filled with honor and glorifying the Lord at all times. May we walk closely with the Lord so that we are able to speak in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

One kind, thoughtful word….sometimes that’s all it takes.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24

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If You Don’t Have Jesus

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If you get to take your family on vacation and stay in a hotel, thank the Lord and be grateful. You probably know people who never get to go on vacation due to finances. There are people who work year round and never get a day off. There are families who have never seen the inside of a hotel or been able to enjoy a day at the beach. You are blessed indeed!

If you live in a nice home and drive a nice car, thank the Lord and be grateful. Chances are you know people who live in houses that are falling apart. You know people who drive cars that are breaking down all the time. These people look at your life and wish they could have what you have. Moreover, there are over 1.5 million homeless people in the United States at any given time.

If you have enough money to pay all of your bills every month and put food on the table, thank the Lord and be grateful. There are over 50 million Americans today living below the poverty line, and that’s just in America. At least 80% of human beings around the world live on less than $10 a day. Some 2.6 million children die every year due to hunger-related issues. If your children are adequately fed, you have much to be grateful for.

There are a lot of people out there with so much to be grateful for, and yet so many of them fail to appreciate it. Even more are happy to enjoy the pleasures of this world and yet have no idea they are on a very slippery slope indeed.

If you have received redemption and forgiveness for your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, thank the Lord and be grateful.  You have been washed clean by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. He has taken the punishment for your sins upon Himself and conquered death on your behalf. Your name has been written in the Book of Life and you will be with God forevermore. 100% of people who do not give their hearts to Jesus will go to the lake of fire, where the torment is unending. Offer up a living sacrifice of praise knowing that you have gained eternity and overcome death through Christ.

If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior and you are living comfortably, you should be thanking God every day for all that He has done for you….for Jesus first and then also for His abundant blessings. If you are a Christian, but life has been a struggle, you should still be praising the Lord and thanking Him. You have escaped hell and have an eternity with God to look forward to. This world is filled with hardship and struggle. People are sick and dying. Families are living in poverty. There is crime and violence. This world really doesn’t have all that much to offer. What makes it all worth it is knowing Jesus and holding firm to the promises of God. If we have Jesus, we have what we need. If we don’t have Him, than we could have everything and still be bankrupt and empty.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ, all of the luxuries and pleasures of this world mean nothing. The rich man without Jesus is poor. The poor man who is known by Jesus is rich indeed. The material possessions of this world will leave you empty and burn up. The Kingdom of God is forever. If you are at the end of your rope and have no hope in you, you need to call on the name of Jesus. He will not reject you. He will not turn His back. He will not withhold forgiveness from a truly repentant heart. Jesus wants to give you new life and a new hope that is more than wishful thinking. He wants to give you treasure that is worthy more than diamonds and gold. He wants to give you joy that is not shaken by the circumstance of this temporary life. He wants to know you intimately and to give you comfort, strength, hope and love.

You need Jesus. We all do. 

Don’t close your heart to what He is telling you at this very moment. Instead, pray. Ask Him to forgive you for your sins. Repent and turn from those things you know are wrong. Ask Him to come into your heart and give you new life. When you are finished praying, find a good church that teaches the Bible. Contact someone and tell them that you need discipleship and that you just became a Christian. The angels in heaven will be rejoicing! God loves you, my friend.

If you need Jesus, I’d love to talk to you. Feel free to email me at: chelsea_mccafferty @ yahoo.com (without the spaces)

“16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,fn when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfoldfn and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Matthew 19:16-30

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Update on Foster/Adoption Process

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We have been working hard at the McCafferty casa to prepare for the home study that will determine whether we are qualified for foster/adoption certification. Just to give you an update on the process, we have completed the nine-week “Pride” course, which was over 27 hours of instruction on everything related to foster care and adoption. We made some great friends in the class and learned so much about the process, the potential issues, how to care of traumatized children, how to relate to them, etc.

There is much more to the process than one might first realize, including taking the kids for parent visits sometimes up to three times a week for two or more hours at a time, the filing of their important medical information at every doctor’s visit, the specific details of the court process, and more. At the end of the course, we are ever-more determined that this is something we can and desire to do. We are willing to put the work in and willing to put our own hearts on the line to love these children who need it so badly. We will do whatever we have to do be ready for them.

We have also completed a DEI (drug exposed infant) class to learn how to care for children who have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. Now we are scheduled to complete a CPR class on June 21st, and that will be the last class on our list for foster certification. We will also need to go to an adoptions orientation once this part of the process is completed. We have done our livescan fingerprints, and soon we will be filling out a pile of forms to hand in with our formal application. Here’s where it gets hard!

Once we hand in our official application, we have 140 days to get licensed. If it doesn’t happen in that time, the county is obligated to throw out our application and start again. The problem is, we wouldn’t be able to apply again for two years. So, we need to be pretty confident that our home will pass inspection before we hand in the application. As many of you know, we live in an old house (like built in 1907 old). There has been a lot of work done on it and it’s in good shape. We do have some more work that needs to be done (several smallish jobs) and also some items to purchase to be ready. We have been blessed by a few men who have stepped forward to help with the more complicated construction work.

Below I’ll share a list of the things we need to do/buy before app day. While they are mostly small expenditures, they do add up. If you feel called to help in any way, we definitely are open to receiving as we trust the Lord to provide for these needs. If you have something on the list that you are willing to give, let me know. We already been gifted many items for our future kiddos. Also, if you are interested in donating monetarily to help with the purchase of items, we have an online fund set up at GoFundMe. Just click there to go to the site.

Thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement and support! We are so excited for what the Lord is going to do. Many nights I lay in bed and just think about the children out there who need stability, safety and love. My heart is so willing and ready. We are leaving the rest to the Lord. They are His children whom He loves.

Items Needed:

Daybed/twin bed

Window A/C for back bedroom

Glass window replace in kitchen

A/C repair in Chels’ car

Fire Extinguisher

Complete First Aid Kit

Bathtub

Tot locks

Donate Monetarily

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphansand widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

 

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The Popular Church Girl & The Other One

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photo credit: azntaiji via photopin cc

Two young, married women join a local church around the same time. While both ladies are married and have children, they are different in appearance, personality and background. One of the women (we will call her Rachel) is lovely physically. She is slender, fit and lives a healthy lifestyle. She has four beautiful children, all perfectly behaved. Her husband is charming and popular. They have a comfortable income and a beautiful home. Rachel is sweet and friendly. She loves the Lord. There is nothing at all to dislike about her.

The second young woman (Leah) is also kind and loving. She is generous with her friendship and quick to serve where needed. She is well-studied in the Word and has a burden for the lost. She also loves Jesus. Leah is in a difficult marriage. She has made mistakes and the consequences linger, but she and her husband work hard to honor the Lord in their marriage. They love their two children and are committed to their family. Leah’s family struggles financially. There is rarely enough money each month to pay all the bills. Leah also struggles with health issues. She is overweight and doesn’t feel attractive by worldly standards, but her husband loves her and says she is beautiful.

Rachel and Leah are both welcomed into their new church home with open arms. They are both treated with kindness and shown hospitality. Yet, as the weeks go on, Leah begins to wonder if any of her new friends at church will seek a deeper friendship with her. A few months later, she is at church and is talking with Rachel. Rachel shares about how she has been invited to another lady’s house for a little get together with a few of the ladies. Rachel is surprised to hear Leah wasn’t invited. Leah also notices that Rachel seems to be surrounded by ladies after service each week. She is making lots of friends. In fact, they all seem to want to be her friends. Despite Leah’s efforts, she still hasn’t managed to make one good friend. Leah is feeling the pangs of loneliness and unwanted battles with jealousy. She prays for a friend…just one person who wants a deeper friendship with her than the typical Sunday chit chat.

The months go on. Leah watches on Facebook as every post that Rachel makes ignites a long list of replies. She and her family are invited to birthday parties, bridal showers and other events. During the week she receives no calls or emails. She doesn’t get invites to lunch. She is keenly aware that, for reasons she can only assume, she has not be counted worthy of relationship. She has no one who will check on her or know if she is going through a trial. She has no one to turn to when she needs a listening ear. She has no one to call a best friend…at least not from her church family.

This “Rachel & Leah” story is nothing new in church today. It is common. It is disappointing. It often goes unnoticed. The truth is, the church is sometimes a breeding ground for being a respecter of persons. Cliques and preferential treatment is far too common. There are always Rachels, who walk into the church and are immediate hits. They are popular, loved and preferred. People flock to them and seek to have meaningful friendships with them. There are always Leahs, who are the ones that are left unchosen and unselected as a friend of importance. They may be very pleasant and loved by others in the church, but they are never the ones that people choose as close friends. It’s really quite sad.

What is this preferential treatment based on? It’s usually the same criteria that the world uses, which is extra sad. Appearance. Wealth. Popularity. I think most people don’t even recognize what they are doing. It is a subconscious working of the flesh to prefer one person over another for these reasons. They are just drawn to them.

At the end of the day, both Rachel and Leah need close friends within in the church. They both need relationships. It’s so important that every Leah who walks into the church is singled out and pursued by someone. We need to keep watch for those Leahs who are slipping through the cracks and going home hurt every week because no one is trying to get to know them.

Sure, be friends with Rachel, but don’t forget about Leah!

A few years ago my world was rocked when a woman from our small church took her life. She had relapsed into alcoholism in a moment of weakness and was overwhelmed with guilt. I remember weeping and being filled with conviction because I knew I missed so many chances to get to know her better. She needed relationships. She had some, but maybe if she had more she would have had someone she felt she could turn to. I don’t know. What I do know is that there are too many Leahs out there, of all ages and backgrounds, who are getting completely overlooked in church. It is a shame. It is wrong.

I’ve committed myself to loving Leah. I’ve committed myself to seeking out Leahs who need friendship. I am completely committed to loving all of my sisters, regardless of how the world would measure them up. They are daughters of the King and so precious to Him. Thus they are precious to us!

I am committed to Leah because I know Leah. I understand Leah. I have been Leah at times.

If you are Leah, I pray you will understand that your worth is not measured by worldly standards, but by the Creator of the Universe. He made you wonderful and well worth friendship and love. Don’t give up. Perhaps you will find another Leah who needs you as much as you need her.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture,“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said,“Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:1-13

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Real Tears with Jesus

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photo credit: honikum via photopin cc

As a writer and blogger, it is my deepest desire to be real in my writing. I have no intention what-so-ever of painting myself as a perfect Christian, woman, wife, mother or even friend. I don’t have a need for people to see me as anything more than the real me – a woman who longs deeply to be who the Lord wants me to be, but is completely and totally flawed. There’s no use in denying it. Like Paul, I consider myself to be the chief sinner. I can’t wait for that day in glory when my flesh no longer desires sin and the enemy’s lies never even come close to the ear of my heart! Oh what a glorious day that will be! Until then, you’re stuck with this mess of a friend…this flawed wife and mother…this imperfect, perfect-only-by-grace woman.

While I’m perfectly happy to be upfront and honest about my shortcomings, my pain is a different story altogether. You know, we all go through difficulties, trials and valleys. We all struggle at times in our lives. While I desire to be real with my readers, friends and family, I also know that I am prone to hide away when I’m in pain. I’m prone to hide the hurt, the struggle and the tears. My closest friends know that when I am going through hurt, I tend to isolate. I prefer to cry alone.

And yet….I’m not alone.

“You have kept count of my wanderings,
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?” Psalm 56:8

In those hurting times, when my heart is failing and the tears flow freely, while I may hide away from the world, my Jesus is there. He’s always there. He knows every tear that slips away and every broken beat of my heart. He remembers them and cares. He understands what I’m sure no one else can. He holds me, rocks me, comforts me and reminds me that I can cry real tears with my Jesus. I don’t have to be brave or put on a show. I don’t have to pretend my life is perfect and that I’m beyond the pain that we experience in this life. I can just cry. I can weep freely and allow my tears to be caught up by my Savior who loves me.

If you’re hurting today and hiding away, remember that you can cry out to Jesus. You can be real with Him. He sees your heart and He cares for you deeply and truly. He knows every tear and every heartache. He may not take away the circumstances that are bringing the pain, but He will most definitely carry you through them. He will most definitely be near you and capture your tears in a bottle. You can cry real tears with Jesus and He will turn your mourning into dancing when the time is right. Thank You Lord!

 

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