Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Experiencing God in the Midst of Loss, Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black,
KGM Team Member

Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 

My family recently experienced the loss of my father-in-law.    Although, the eternal kingdom gained an amazing man, this has not made the grieving process any easier for our family.  But the Lord has been so gentle and almost tangibly real as He is carrying us through this extremely difficult time.    

On a day when I was raw and emotionally spent, the tears fell uncontrollably.  I prayed as I cried.  And through the tears, the words I had memorized from Matthew 5:4 seemed to say to me:

“I alone am your comfort”

He alone is my Comforter.  I did not need anyone else to share my tears.  He was with me, wrapping me in His arms.  I only needed Him to be a witness to my sorrow because ultimately, the Lord was the only one that could give me true reassurance.

The definition of comfort is a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.  

Because of Jesus dying on the cross for MY sin, and YOURS, we have been given freedom in Christ.  On this side of Heaven it does not necessarily mean we will have no pain, but it does mean that I have an Advocate, a Mediator, between myself and God, allowing me to draw near to the Lord.  And that brings me immeasurable COMFORT.

“I Am Jehovah Jir-ah” - The God of Provision - He is my sole provider

Where does my Help come from?
My Help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.  (Psalm 121:1-2)

As my thoughts turned towards the grieving heart of my sweet little 6 year old girl, I couldn’t help but praise the Lord for providing her with a school that was helping her through her grieving process in a way the Lord could have foreseen.   The Lord positioned her to be at a school that would provide so genuinely the love, support and COMFORT she would be need as she processed the sadness of loosing her beloved Granddaddy. 

He Brings Peace. 
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.  Psalm 29:11

As I tears that had built up over the past months seemed to release like a dam being opened, I cried out to the Lord and praised him.  
  • I showered Him with thanksgiving for holding me and my family through.  
  • For His mercies.  
  • For His full and total understanding in all.  
And, for allowing me His insight in a time when sadness seemed to be taking over.  He pulled me up and reminded me of His promises and His Hope.   

Psalm 30:11-12
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

We serve a God who loves us and wants to be a part of EVERY aspect of our lives.  He wants us to cry out to Him in our sorrows.   He wants us to praise Him in our victories.   He is with us ALWAYS to comfort, provide, listen and guide.  

Cling to Him today in whatever situation you may be facing.  He's waiting for you with arms wide open.

Are you coming to the:
Breaking up with Perfect Party?!
Tuesday, Jul;y 7th
Apex Baptist Church, Apex, NC

Join Amy Carroll and Friends for the release of her new book, Breaking up with Perfect.    It will be a great evening of fun, fellowship, sweets and shopping!  

Click here for more details!
Below is a taste of what you'll read in the book!

  • “Relationships shatter when we value perfection over people.” (Quote from Chapter 3 of Breaking Up with Perfect)
  • How has perfection ruined relationships in your life? How has God’s work restored relationships in your life (including the one with Himself)?
Don't miss it!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

When it’s a Fatherless Father’s Day

This morning was full of excitement as my children and I prepared gifts for Father’s Day. We enjoyed looking through photos from the past year and laughed hysterically as we reminisced over the stories that went along with the candid moments. But, I can remember not too long ago when Father’s Day was a day I dreaded. For some, Father’s Day is a reminder of an empty place in their life. A gaping hole left by death, divorce, deployment…

After my divorce, I was the only mom sitting at the table of men when my son’s preschool had “Donuts with Dad.” I went as far as letting my daughter skip school when they had events that revolved around dads to avoid the inevitable awkwardness and emotional rollercoaster that would ensue. I would fight back tears as I snuggled my children to sleep and struggled to answer their questions about why their dad can’t be there. The emotions are still so fresh and raw, I can barely stand to recall them.

What are we supposed to do with a void that has us questioning our very existence? Such things have caused great people to fall, never to rise again. How do we handle the depth of this sorrow? 

Perhaps you are someone whose earthly father fell short of your expectations; first and foremost, you need to recognize that you are not to blame. You are not responsible for someone else’s actions; however, you are responsible for your response to their actions. Forgiveness is one of the toughest things to tackle, but the most healing for you. Holding onto anger is like drinking poison, hoping the other person will suffer the effects. If your children’s father falls in the same category, this applies as well. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is forgiving their father. 

If your children are facing a fatherless Father’s Day, I want to encourage you to not give up! The days are long and hard when you are trying to fill a void you weren’t meant to fill. Reach out to people around you and don’t let pride get in the way of asking for help. I spent years trying to fix everyone else when I finally realized I had to deal with my own issues from divorce before I could help my children. There are so many people out there willing to help, but they just don’t know how. Let them make your family dinner, or take your kids to the park—we were meant to live in community.  

If your family is intact this Father’s Day, I encourage you to look around and find someone in need. Your family can adopt a widow, take her to dinner, or help do chores around the house that are too difficult for her to do on her own. If she has children, she would probably enjoy a distraction from the holiday, so invite them all over, or give them a gift card to the movie theater. Maybe they will find a new tradition through your generosity. I was recently speaking to a widow who has two teenage children and I said, “All you have to do is ask and I will do what I can.” She responded, “I know, but sometimes I don’t want to ask.” She wants nothing more than to have people come alongside her kids and mentor them and be a father figure, but how do you ask for something like that?!

This Father’s Day, we all need to take a moment to look up and remember that we have a perfect, heavenly father who gave his one and only son so we could spend eternity with Him. He is a Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows. No matter where you have been or what you have done, God is reaching out his arms to you and saying, “Come to me my beautiful darling, there is no flaw in you.”

Psalm 68:5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

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

Matthew 19:14
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 11:28
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Songs of Solomon 4:7
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.

I am often accused of not having a filter…I call it being real. I hope that my transparency of life and all of its challenges will help others see that we are not the only ones fighting the fight and we don’t have to do it alone. I am lucky to be married to my best friend and the mother to four rambunctious children. I am trying my hand at being a stay-at-home mom for the first time ever…it is scary, to say the least! I am always up for an adventure and am most comfortable flying by the seat of my pants!

I enjoy empowering women to take a leap of faith…or giving them a little push!
Melissa, Co-creator/ Owner of my life.altered

Monday, June 8, 2015

When Your Husband has No Interest in your Jesus

1 Peter 3:1 (Amplified) Notice the action verbs
"When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes:
to respect,
defer to,
revere him - to honor,
and in the human sense to adore him, that is to admire, praise,
be devoted to,
deeply love and
enjoy your husband."  

What do you do when your husband doesn't want your Jesus?
When he won't go to church?
When he doesn't want to pray with you?
When he's intentionally walking in contradiction to what the Word says?
When he's plain unlovable?

Do you preach to him or force him to do what you want him to do?
Do you guilt him when walking in the door from church?
Do you divorce him?
Absolutely not!

Your job is to:
  1. Live the Biblical model for wives - which include submission, helping, companionship and sex without saying a word.  Preach to him by loving him through your actions.  (Not words)
  2. Pray for him and watch God move in your circumstances!
That's it!

God's responsibility is heart CHANGE.  Heart change does not fall in our job description.  Nor does anywhere in the Bible does it say wives be submissive to only believing husbands.   When unbelieving men watch their wife's behavior, this often causes them to have a change of heart and want YOUR Jesus.  Preaching to him or guilting him is not helpful.

Do not "preach" to him by sending him your favorite online devotions.
Do not mother him by forcing him to go to church with you.
Do not make him feel guilty when he doesn't go to church with you.
Do not force him to pray with you. 
Your responsibility, is to live the Biblical model and pray. That's it!
The Bible tells us our men will see the purity and reverence of your lives. 

Fewer things are more painful than your man wanting nothing to do with your Jesus.  I understand. Watch my story here.

In the Prayer Journal, Growing Stronger Roots, there is a prayer prompt section helping you to know how to pray.  Click here.
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Our 4th Annual Golf Tournament is only 6 days away!


THANK YOU to those who have already contributed door prizes, hole sponsorships and individual sponsorships.  We are acknowledging you on our website as we are grateful for your help.  Couldn't do this without you.  So thank you!

As we look 10 days out, there are a few practical things we need.  

Will you help?
  • Individual sponsorships: $25 - We need 19 people who could donate $25
  • Drinks -  Water / sodas   
  • Door Prizes - Gift Certificates to restaurants, stores, gas cards, other golf courses, Oil Changes, Car wash, ANYTHING
  • Potato Chips or Planters Peanuts - Individually wrapped packages     
  • Hole Sponsorship: $100  - We need 2.  Great way to advertise your business or organization.
  • 2 More Golf Teams - We realize this may be a stretch for some of you, just thought we'd throw it out there!  It's a need.

If you can help, please email:  


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Decisions Today Impact our Children's Tomorrow

Melody Merritt
“A wise woman builds her house, but a foolish woman tears her house down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

Fourteen years ago, my husband left our home and moved to Canada to live with another woman, leaving me alone to raise our two daughters.  Without any money, this stay-at-home wife had to pick up the pieces of life and find a job.

I was devastated and angry.  I wanted to lash out and hurt this man.  I wanted to get even.  But God’s Word said to let go of the anger, the resentment, the bitterness, and all the negative emotions that were piling up. 

I tried, but it was not easy.  I found I couldn’t do it in my strength.  As I began to pray and dig deeper into His Word, He met me.   His Truth helped me trust Him and to release the anger and bitterness to Jesus.

While trudging through that season of life, I realized my young daughters were watching me.  I instinctively knew my decisions each day would impact their tomorrows.  

I became determined I was going to trust God and live my life according to His Word. 

There were days that I didn’t feel like it.

Slowly as time went on, His Word penetrated my heart and saturated my mind.   He changed my life. He gave me hope when life seemed hopeless.  He gave me joy again.  God's Words found in the Bible became my lifeline.

Then came the day my oldest daughter asked, “Who is right, you or Dad?   Dad says it's okay to live with someone outside of marriage, but you've said it's wrong. Who do I listen to?”

I wanted to say something ugly and sarcastic about her Dad, the situation, and tell her never to listen to him again.  But I knew this would just pit us against each other leaving my daughters to choose sides.  

As I shot up arrow prayers about how to answer the question, God showed me that His Word is unchanging.  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.   I wanted to be a mom who taught my children God’s Truth and lived out this Truth daily in my life.  My thinking can change from time to time, but God’s doesn’t. 

So my answer to my daughter’s question, I said, “Let’s go to God’s Word and see what He says.”

God’s Word is Truth that never changes.   There are answers in God’s Word for every situation that arises in our lives, the big issues and the little ones.

Every woman has influence in someone else’s life.    Are you going to be a woman who lives her life according to God’s Truth?  Or the world’s ever changing ideas? 

Decide today.  Then teach this to the children in your life.  

“These are not just idle words for you, they are your life.” 
Deuteronomy 32:47

Monday, June 1, 2015

Submission: A Gift for the Strong Woman

1 Peter 3:1-2
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, 
if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 
when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

Submission:  a repugnant, repulsive word to most women ...  Yet totally misunderstood by a culture that's sadly Biblically illiterate.   When understood in Biblical context, submission is empowering. Submission is a gift.

I personally have found, it takes STRENGTH to submit.  It's far easier to insist on having the last word or having my way.  But when we insist on our way, the gift goes away.

Two ways submission is a gift:

1.  A woman no longer takes the consequences of decisions made in the household on herself.  She allows her man to lead and the consequences fall on him.

The consequences of a bad decision (YOU insisted upon) doesn't have to fall on you.   On multiple occasions, I have found safety and protection by not insisting on having my way.

Years ago before learning the power available to me through the gift of submission, I used to insist on things being done MY WAY...  (Still battle at times.)

But when a decision you insist upon goes bad, the responsibility falls on you. Let's face it, when you're married, whether you like it or not, we have to answer to our spouses.

My husband almost always asks my opinion prior to making big decisions.  The majority of the time, he goes with my thoughts.  He values what I think.  But when he doesn't take my advice, I humbly accept and MOVE ON! 

Just last week I was tested in this area.  He didn't ask my opinion about a major purchase.   Deep down, I was a little irritated.   But instead of being making a big deal out of the "surprise,"  I chose to encourage him by thanking him and telling him I trust his decision making abilities for our family.

We as women have to choose our battles.  If we battle EVERYTHING, our opinions become less respected and honored.

2.  The power to win our husband to the Lord.

"so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."  (1 Peter 3:1-2... bold and italics mine)

Are you a believer, but your husband is not?  SUBMISSION IS YOUR TICKET to winning his heart to Jesus.   God proved faithful to me in this principle as this has been the case in my life and many others I know.

Submission is a gift to the woman who is strong.   Let's face it.  It takes strength to:
  • Keep our mouths closed when we want to let him have it!
  • To be gracious when he makes a bad decision.
  • To not manipulate with the silent treatment, head games or sex in order to get our way.
  • To not pout  or sulk when not getting our way.
  • To not undermine his authority in front of the children when disagreement arises.
Submission is strength and power under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Submission, when understood in the context God intended - is an empowering gift to the family unit.