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The Real Housewives: Suzanne Niles

“He is the only one who can rescue us from our sinful self and fulfill us with love that no one else can.  I could be in a room filled with people I love, but if I didn’t have Christ I would be lost and empty.  He is truly everything to me.  I can’t say that I came to this overnight, but I will say that over the years, God has continued to be faithful to transform me into who He wants me to be for Him”- Suzanne Niles

Let me introduce you to my friend Suzanne Niles. Suzanne has been married to an awesome man named Bob for 36 years. High school sweethearts, still in love, and by the grace of God they have 3 spirit filled children, a daughter in law that shines for Jesus and a grand baby on the way. I have thanked God so many times for this amazing women. If I had to choose one person that has affected my life the most, it would be her.

Suzanne studied at Moody Bible Institute and Fullerton College. She also has one amazing sold out life for the Lord. God has used her in media in so many ways for His kingdom. She was a mom first, but as her kids became more Suzanne Headshotindependent, Suzanne said her husband asked, “If you could do anything what would that be?”  She replied, “Hum… I would like to do Public Relations”.

Suzanne told me that it could only have been the leading of God because she had never thought that or desired it nor did she have any experience in that area whatsoever!  “Who in their right mind would hire someone with no PR skills to do PR?  Little did I know the great plans God had” said Suzanne.

When God decides to call someone into something nothing can stop Him. Before long, she was getting asked to promote local businesses and artists. What she saw as a hobby became the training for what God had planned for the future. Never underestimate what God has planned for you. The Billy Graham Association needed someone to handle Communications and Media in her hometown for a Franklin Graham Crusade and God knew Suzanne was ready for that. She says, “I had ten wonderful ‘volunteer’ months where I truly grew in my knowledge of this area”.  That was the open door to an amazing line up of jobs that God has used for His kingdom.

Here are just a few of the other things she has done in media. World Compassion/Terry Law Ministries used her talents for a local event.  She has been asked to book a famous actor (a believer) into speaking engagements, done some casting, written articles for an online magazine and she has been asked to speak at various events. Along the way, ~9350897 (2)she has met some of the most amazing Christians.  Suzanne also did her share of acting over the years.  Here she is in a show I am guessing many are familiar with.

Today, Suzanne working for The Salvation Army Vision Network and God continues to use her.  She has covered not only PR and promotions, but Suzanne was an associate producer on a soon to be released documentary titled “Hard Corps”.

Suzanne is also a member of the Christian Women in Media Association which is an organization made up of women who “impact our culture in media”.

Suzanne faced the hard job of balancing a family and a carrier that came as her kids got older. I asked her if she had any advice for women who find themselves trying to balance the two.

  • “Be certain of what God has called you to”.  Really seek God in prayer for direction.
  • “While your children are young, they are your mission field.  The time you have with your children will fly by quicker than you could ever imagine and if you are anything like me, you will wish you could go back in time and do it all over again!  As they grow, they will need you to pray and help them stay on the narrow path in a world that begs them to follow a wide and dangerous road.

I ask every woman in this series to give me her favorite verse. Suzanne gave me 2 verses and the first one is why I am able to say she is the person who has affected my life the most.

 Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”.

“What an invitation.  I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t RSVP for this immediately, going to God in prayer and hearing amazing things from the heart of the Lord” is what Suzanne says in regards to this verse. It was her boldness in the Lord that led me to RSVP to this invitation.  God used Suzanne to bring me to a new life.  Her second verse is Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed

Suzanne is just one more amazing real housewife of God’s kingdom. She may be working in the social media world, her job may have her in the Hollywood scene from time to time but she keeps her feet firmly planted in Lord and not in the world. She is the reality of the women in my world. She is not what the networks try to push on us as the reality in their real housewives of some city series that they are running.

For more information on the Salvation Army and the work they do in the name of Jesus Christ log on to www.savn.tv. You can find out how you can help and even volunteer to work alongside them to bring the gospel to a world that so desperately needs Jesus.

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“Women In Worship” part 2 (Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom)

Welcome back to “Women In Worship”

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 11.33.35 AMToday I want to share with you another amazing woman of God. This post is going to be different from my others and soon you will see what I mean. Meet Kari who along with Whitney from yesterday’s post is on worship team at my church. She got her bachelor’s degree from Chapman University in Orange, CA, majoring in Music Therapy, with a minor in psychology and she has been married to her husband for 7 years. She says that her husband is, and I quote, “One of God’s very obvious demonstrations of extravagant love for me in this life”

Since returning to her walk with Christ 7 years ago, Kari has had the chance to serve in the worship ministry at Living Faith in La Mirada, CA. and she found time to serve at an outreach ministry to battered, abused, and homeless women and children at the Women’s Transitional Living Center in Orange County.  Now Kari serves on the worship team at City Life Church in Spokane, WA along with her husband Mark.

For now, her most important ministry is her children and you can really tell that her heart for worship is pouring into the lives of her kids. Just recently when Kari was leading worship my mom got my attention to look across the church. There in his aunt’s arms was Kari’s oldest who is almost going to turn 3 singing all the words to “Forever Reign” and he was not just singing the words you could tell he understood what he was singing. Kari by putting her family first she is serving God in the most powerful way and I think there may be a future ministry leader in her little boy. Kari shared with me that some day when her children are older and in God’s perfect timing she hopes to start an outreach for abused/homeless/mentally ill women and children, much like the one she served in during her time in CA.

This past Christmas our church had its first children’s program thanks to Kari. It is just one more way God has her serving his kingdom.Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 12.03.29 PM

As I wrote at the beginning of this, I am writing about Kari differently than normal. That is because Kari gave me such powerful words about the importance of worship that I don’t want to change a thing. She has a wonderful teaching that everyone can learn from so without further ado I am turning this over to Kari, my first guest writer within in a post I am writing. May her words write a new song upon your heart and give you a new perspective on the importance of worship.

Why is worship important to me by Kari Villarreal.

“We all know there are many ways to worship God. We worship Him with our lives, our work, our finances, our devotion, our time, our relationships…we can commit anything we do unto Him as worship! The value and importance of worship through music has several facets. My pastor in California always reminded us as we would begin corporate worship that God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3, KJV). What an amazing thing!

The definition of ‘inhabit’ is, “to occupy as a place of settled residence or habitat; to be present in or occupy in any manner or form”. So when we praise Him, His very Presence actually takes up residence in those praises! Worship through music is one way we welcome His Presence into our places of worship…and there is nothing greater in this life than being in the very Presence of Almighty God! I love to imagine, as I look out over a body of believers united in praising God as they sing worship unto Him, seeing His Presence dwelling there in the room as the words and music are lifted up to Him. Jesus actually “hangin’ out” in the words that leave His people’s mouths and float just above them…maybe it sounds kind of strange to some, but that’s just a way that I visualize this very cool truth.

The other important aspect of worship through music that I want to address here is related to the first. So, God inhabits the praises of His people…and where His light is, darkness is driven out. I was in a season for several years of battling depression and anxiety. Part of this is biological/hormonal, but it is certainly spiritual as well; ‘darkness’ is how I have described it (and I’m sure anyone else who has walked through it could say something similar). During this season, God has shown me in many times and in many ways how worship to Him is a weapon against the darkness that fights to consume me. Most days, in order to keep my heart focused on Him as I go about taking care of my husband, my 3 ½ year old, my 1-year-old, and my home, I keep worship music playing and am singing along with it. I have found it keeps my mouth and mind busy at the same time I offer praise and indeed, my God inhabits that praise, driving away the darkness that pales in comparison to His glorious light.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 11.51.40 AM

Photo credit to Tricia Marker, City Life women’s retreat

It is difficult to give any kind of abbreviated writing about worship for me. Worship through music (one of the many ways, of course, to worship God) has been such a hugely important element in my walk with Christ and is so multi-faceted. In my short life I feel like I could already write a book on worship—not of all that I know, but of all that He has done through it and in me. One of my pastors used to say, “Worship is a response.” A response to Jesus who He is, what He has done, His love for us…(the list goes on and on). When our lives are personally touched by the Creator and Savior of mankind, there is a response that comes genuinely; that response, in whatever form it takes, is worship. The challenge for some Christians (myself absolutely included) is to always be in that state of awe over who Christ is, so that our lives become a response—worship. He has done for us, we respond in worship. We love because He first loved us!

The bible talks so much about praising the Lord with song and instruments, singing and shouting, crying and bowing, dancing and kneeling. I think this ties right in to worship being a response. As God has created us each so uniquely, He has opened the door for our worshipful responses to be unique, genuine, and true to how He has created us to worship Him.

There’s a trap we as believers can fall into, that says worship should look a certain way. That certain way varies from church to church and denomination to denomination. We’ve all been in different types of worship services. Maybe it was a little too conservative for your taste. Maybe to the contrary, you thought people were too “free” in their expressions. Maybe it was a simple acoustic service with only a guitar, a singer, and a djembe. Maybe it was a full on 15-piece rock band. I’ve been there too. You’re out of your comfort zone or preference for worship music. The amazing thing is that when His people are gathered in spirit and truth to lift up and exalt the same God that dwells in each of them, His very Presence is there! When He is present, not much else matters. Not that when we worship Him, it is at all about us, but in His fullness, as we pour out and offer sacrifices of praise and adoration, we can fully expect to receive because that is the heart of God. Our hearts have to remain humble, open, and in awe of our God in order to genuinely worship and to receive.

This is a lesson that I am continually learning—letting go of my comfortable worship and seeking to exalt Him above ALL, regardless of the song, the surroundings, the volume, or the instrumentation. From the little progress I have made, I encourage you to step out on a limb and offer your life as a response—the response that He is desiring from you!

I came across a quote the other day that said, “When we worship the Lord, we release the emotional or mental burden that weighs us down. It is swallowed up in the awesomeness of God.” Yes! I thought. This is exactly one of the many reasons that worship is important. When I go before the Lord God Almighty to exalt Him to His rightful place, my burdens become so small in the view of His glory and majesty! –Kari.

I hope you take these powerful words of Kari’s to heart and worship God without holding back. “Step out on a limb” as Kari said.

Until next time on “The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom”, may you be blessed by the Love of Christ.

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Women In Worship – “The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom” series

Welcome back to the real housewives of God’s Kingdom Today I want to introduce you to a couple of women who have a talent that I have do not possess, Whitney and Kari. Just ask anyone who has sat by me in worship, they will tell you I cannot sing but these two ladies can.

 “Women In Worship” is the theme of this 2-part episode.

Meet Whitney. This newly married young women went to Southwestern Assemblies of God University where she got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Church Ministries, an Associate of Arts degree in Bible, and an emphasis in World Missions. She is a blog writer and has blessed my page with a guest post and I have to say for someone so young she is full of some great wisdom.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 8.44.47 AMWhitney has been blessed with the gift of singing and she makes a beautiful noise to the Lord unlike myself. I think I sound more like an animal in pain when I open my mouth but that has not stopped me from worshiping as Whitney and the rest of my church’s worship team leads us.   I asked Whitney to share with me something God has shown her during her time on the worship team and I love what she shared with me,

“Something God has shown me during a worship time and continues to show me, something that I am learning to make a habit to be joyful. God shows me that joy is dependent on what happens inside of our heart, not our lives. This is huge. Everyone faces tough times, sometimes-tough days, sometimes-tough weeks, and sometimes-tough years… God asks us to leave all of those burdens and hardships at the altar and, depend on Him, and trust Him fully to take care of those burdens. He asks us to not worship with our mouths, but with our hearts. Everyone can read lyrics up on a screen, anyone can stand in front of a congregation and sing words but it takes a true follower of Christ to worship the King of Kings with all of our heart, and to lead others to do the same. The joy of the Lord really is my (our) strength and he daily reminds me (us) of this, but only when I (we) TRUST Him and LET Him!”

This is so true. We are all going to face some hard times but when we can worship God with our whole heart not just following along with the words on the screen God comes rushing into fill us with His joy. In the middle of our pain a tear cried in worship, a raised hand to the Lord when that is all the strength we can muster up is the most beautiful gift of surrender to Him. He is not listening to the notes we are singing he can only hear the cry of our heart in our worship to him.

When Whitney is not leading us in worship or at home with her new husband of less than a year she can be found serving as a Nurse’s Aide for Horizon Hospice where she helps with the terminally ill. Whitney says that for some clients she is just a hand to hold in a very difficult time, both for the patient, and for their family. For others, she helps them with all of their activities for daily living. Something she said has really got my attention and I am going to back the bus up for a moment. She said for some I am “just” a hand to hold.  “JUST” a hand to hold?  Whitney’s hand is not just a hand to hold. It is in those moments that I believe God is using her to be a reflection of the love, peace, comfort and strength to someone who may not know the love of Christ. Have you heard the expression, “Christ with skin on”? That to me is exactly what she is. In her flesh, her skin, she is the extending the hand of Christ Himself.

Whitney also helps with the Youth in the church and when you look at all her ways of serving The Lord they line up perfectly with her favorite verse. Colossians 3:23 ” Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”

She says, – I’m not doing “this” for me, whatever “this” may be, whether it’s leading worship, or anything for Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 9.06.20 AMthat matter, this verse always brings me back, it always points me to God, and is a wonderful reminder that everything I do is unto Him, is to glorify His name, is to make Him known, it has nothing to do with me!”

It was that verse that also carried her though the most physically intense time of her life, riding 450 miles in 5 days on a bicycle to raise money and awareness for the organization Blood Water Mission and people in Africa who are in desperate need of clean drinking water wells. She apparently is not overly fond of bike riding but did this anyways to raise awareness and her story about this can be found on her blog post “Bike for Life”

This amazing “Real housewife of God’s Kingdom” plans on continuing her education and would like to be an Elementary teacher someday which will be yet one more way for her to shine the light of Christ. Until it is time for her to head back to school she will continue to bless many with her gift of worship. Those hands that she raises to Christ as she sings will also continue to be the same hands that she extends to those who are terminally ill.

Thank you Whitney for your amazing service in the kingdom and the worship you lead others in. You are truly one amazing “Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom”.

Just click here to read Whitney’s guest post about being “Picture Perfect” and I’ll see you back tomorrow where we will get to know Kari, another woman in worship.

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Act 2 “Preachin’it and Teachin’ it”, Episode 6

59020_4508193394536_906363613_nToday we finish episode 6 with Act 2 of Teachin’ and Preachin’.  If you did not get yesterdays post you can use this link to Act 1.

Pastor Karli’s story about listening to God is a beautiful testimony but, before we get to that let me first set the stage and get you acquainted with our next Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom. She is a mother of 3. She has 2 boys; one who is graduating from College and another who is a junior in College. The youngest is her daughter, a senior in High School. This June she will celebrate 25 years of marriage to her wonderful husband.

Karli spends many hours each week as the Kitchen Coordinator at her daughter’s high school and after that job is done, she puts her dual degree from Eastern Washington University in Microbiology and Medical Technology to use as biology and chemistry tutor

Both Karli and Dawn (see Act 1) have very powerful testimonies and I wish I had more time to tell them. Sadly, you get the summarized version of both these incredible ladies.

Karli was involved with a local deaf church where she taught, and preached to the deaf. She has participated in a mission trip to Dominican Republic to assist in the establishing of a deaf school and a new deaf church there. At her present church she was a Missionette leader, worship team member, and currently an adult Sunday school teacher.

I asked her when she knew that she was to become a pastor and Karli shared with me that is has been a journey to this place…

“A journey of many ups and downs, many experiences. Questioning and lots of time before God in prayer brought me to the place to answer this call. A pastor, whom I respect as a friend, mentor, as well as a spiritual father, saw something and encouraged me to continue throughout the years.  While my children were in high school, a stirring began in my heart that told me that it was time to pursue the answering of the call. I attended our church bible institute and completed it in 2 1/2 years. Recently, I have completed the credentialing process and am now a licensed minister through the Assemblies of God.”

Karli is not the head pastor at her church but she is in a supportive role to her pastor. She told me that she would step in and assist him in whatever needed to be done as The Lord leads and she currently teaching the adults Sunday class and occasionally Wednesday Night as needed. On Monday nights this real housewife of God’s Kingdom blesses our bible study with her love for the Lord.

Besides being a Pastor, Mom, Wife, Tutor, and running the kitchen at the school, Karli finds time to read, decorate cakes, do some one on one mentoring and she loves sports. Sounds like a lot of moms’ right? Things are not always what they appear to be however, Karli also has a 75% hearing loss in left ear and 80% loss in right ear. It was caused by rubella in her mother’s first trimester of her pregnancy. This was discovered after her family moved back to the states from Chile. Karli would then attended an oral deaf school where she received daily intense speech therapy. “Lip reading came naturally to me during this time” she said.  In 1973, Karli was mainstreamed into the public school system where her speech improved so much that people couldn’t tell that she is hearing impaired.  I can attest to that. I was blown away when I realized this. I still have to remember to look at Karli when we talk because she can so easily appear to have no hearing issues and I am gently reminded when she give me the signal to look at her.

Today I am going to wrap this up differently than I have done my other episodes. Today I want Karli’s powerful words to be the last thing you read. I hope to see you back next month on the Real housewives of God’s Kingdom and I leave you with this…..

I asked Karli to give me her favorite verse and she could not nail it down to just one. She says, “There are many favorite verses that I have and each one applied to each season or time in my life”.  For this however she choose Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn, to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”

“You see, I have been deaf since birth.  God has blessed me with residual hearing that with hearing aids, I 4561_1068094313910_7828890_nam able to hear most of everything.  My eyes do most of the listening for me through lip-reading”.

A young man once asked me, “If you’re deaf, how can you hear God’s voice?”

“I told him that there are no barriers when it comes to hearing His voice.  God speaks to us through the ears of our heart.  His voice is gentle, compassionate, loving.  He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.  He will speak to us when we come to Him anytime, anywhere. Just come as a child.  He will not force His way to get you to hear Him. He patiently and eagerly waits for us to come to Him.  It is when we listen closely to His voice and obey Him; we grow in our relationship with Him.  I may have a physical hearing loss; I can hear Him by His Spirit within me.  As we listen more and more, his voice becomes unmistakably clear and able to resist the enemy. Let nothing stop you from spending time in His presence and listening to Him.  He wants this so desperately. He is waiting.  Won’t you go and ask Him to speak to you and help you to hear for Him at all times. A treasure is waiting to be opened.”  Pursue Him! Hear Him! He loves you!

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Episode 6, Act 1 “Preachin’ it and Teachin’ it”

Welcome back to the Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom.  In our last episode we met two women who literally gave of themselves for the goodness of another.  They both gave a kidney to a total stranger and gave them the gift of life.

In keeping with the idea of giving oneself to another I want to introduce you to Pastor Dawn  and Pastor Karli. Dawn is not a stranger to my Heartfelt Ramblings page.  She was my first guest writer when I kicked my page off in the fall of 2013.

Now let me start by saying I know these women personally and God has used them in very big ways in my life. So may I have your undivided attention, insert drum roll… Welcome to Episode 6 “Preachin’ it and Teachin’ it”

Did you catch what I said at the beginning?  They are PASTORS. These two women have been called to give of themselves to serve others. Now we are all called to give of ourselves yes however, some people are called to be pastors. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Cor 12:4-6

579189_438861032830506_512536406_nDim the lights and ready on set….Enter Pastor Dawn.

Those of you that know Dawn, will agree with me, dynamite comes in small packages.  I have been blessed to listen to Dawn speak and she may not be much taller than the pulpit but when she speaks you know that God is using her in a mighty way.

Dawn told me that she knew she wanted to be a pastor from the age of 8 but that in His timing He would grow her with marriage and motherhood first.  Along the way God would also walk with Dawn as she faced some tragedies.  It was not until she was in her mid-30’s that she would get to start her studies.  I met Dawn, as she was finishing up her schooling in 2002.  Dawn was one of the women that God used over weekend retreat where I would give my life to Him.

As I type this I can’t help but smile when I read Dawn’s favorite verse. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  I am smiling because thankfully God had some big plans for me the weekend I meet Dawn.  His plans for me have truly given me hope for my future and Dawn says that the verse 
reminds her, “He is always with me and it is my go to verse”.

Dawn is a commissioned pastor and she did her studying through the Christian Church/DOC through their Licensing/Commissioning Committee in the Northwest Region. That process took her 3 years before she was granted a license. On top of that there were readings and reports to do. Dawn currently lives in the Midwest and in the Midwest Area/Mid America Region she has monthly mentor meetings. Currently Dawn is enrolled in classes through Grand Canyon University and through Mid America School of Religion.

If I were to pick a song to describe Dawn it would be

“Hands and Feet” by Audio Adrenaline

I want to be your hands

I want to be your feet

I’ll go where you send me

After being commissioned she was an Associate Pastor at Kennewick First Christian for 2 years, then moved to Ephrata, Washington to Memorial Christian Church for 7 years as solo pastor/youth pastor/secretary and then moved to Missouri to pastor 2 yoked congregations. Dawn is now the solo pastor with a staff of a secretary and janitors

I asked her what she has learned as a pastor and challenged her to sum it up in 1 paragraph and we can all learn from what she said.

“He never gives up on us no matter where we are in our lives. Don’t fear to share your story and be transparent. Through tragedy, death, fear and triumph, joy and hope, He is my all in all, my Abba.”

Dawn’s sence of humor can been seen when she talks about her family. She calls them the “mix n match crew” She has a 
38-year-old stepdaughter in Nampa, ID
 and 27-year-old son who is a Staff Sgt in the Army National Guard and has seen 3 tours. He just recently transferred as a guard to the Airway Heights Prison in Spokane. 
Next in line from oldest to youngest is her 26-year-old son who works in Calgary as a project manner for an oil company
 and her 23-year-old foster daughter who lives in Everett, Washington. 
We are only getting started here folks.  Her mix and match crew also consists of a 22-year-old foster son in MO (He is not living in their home now) a 12-year-old adopted son and a 
9-year-old, soon to be adopted girl.  Dawn’s heart for children is over flowing with love and because of that her and her husband have also opened there home to a 13-year-old foster daughter and a 
4-year-old foster son.  In the last 4 years they have had 15 kids come and go through their home.

At the young age of 48 Dawn is also a grandma of seven foster, step and biological grandchildren ages: 19, 17, 16, 13, 11, 4 and 2. This midlife domestic goddess is exhausted just typing that.  Now just imagine if you had to balance your job, and a huge family like the mix and match crew but you had to do it with a body that had it’s own challenges.  This amazing housewife of God’s Kingdom is faced daily with that issue. Dawn wakes up each day with a body that has lots of healing to do after experiencing two strokes to the brain stem.

She says she feels blessed to have survived and to be whom and what she is today. The strokes have made her a different person. Just getting dressed can be a challenge and there are struggles to walk and use her left side and arm. “God does have a sense of humor as he has left me with the gift of speech. I think my husband might have enjoyed a few more months of quiet” says Dawn.

We all have many identities we go by. Many titles we answer too. The titles I carry are wife, mother, 972755_10151769818418992_2021631322_ndaughter, sister, pastor, child of God and the latest title stroke survivor. Some I enjoy, some I am called to be, and others carry a weight. Taken from Dawn’s Guest post, “My Identity, His Glory”

As I said earlier, Dynamite comes in small packages and Dawn if one powerful explosion of God’s strength within someone. As we bring Act 1, “Pastor Dawn” to an end I want to leave you with this quote from her.

“I am just me. I was chosen by God to speak His word. It is scary and terrifying at times. I am disliked by some, judged, ridiculed to be a woman in ministry. I have received hate mail. I don’t argue with those who disagree with that viewpoint, as they don’t want their viewpoint changed. I just love God, love people and try to show the Christ in me.”

Dawn is just one more amazing “Real housewife of God’s Kingdom” to learn more about her and her inspiring story as a two-time stroke survivor, check out her guest post “My identity, His glory”

I hope to see you back tomorrow for Act 2 with Pastor Karli 🙂

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Part 2: Living Kidney donors, 2 ladies each rocking 1 kidney to save a life of another. (The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom,Episode #5)

Today I want to introduce you to Teresa.  This amazing women choose to give her kidney to a total stranger.  She is a wife and a mother of two (8 and 11 years old).  Teresa is also a high school principal and a former teacher which means, beside making a huge impact on the life of the person she gave her kidney for she is making a huge impact on the lives of the high school kids that attend her school.

It was at University High School (Spokane) in 2012/13 that Teresa heard Doni share her story. Teresa was at University High school because she had been hired as a one-year replacement, for a health teacher (prior to becoming a principal).  Little did she know God would have a very powerful calling on her life that she would learn about when Doni came to speak for the organization called “Donate for Life.”  Doni was encouraging the students to sign up to become an organ donor upon their death. Teresa shared with me that Doni spoke briefly and humbly about giving one of her two kidneys to a stranger and how she wanted to be alive to see the difference she could make. Because God is God, Teresa went from thinking that the idea of giving a kidney, although admirable, was something she could not do herself, to actually doing it.   “I could never do that”  would become a thing of the past just a couple of months later.   During the second semester Teresa had the same group, but a different speaker come to speak to her health class.  This time this living kidney donor named Keith jokingly said, “I kinda feel like God gave us two kidneys, one so we could give away”.  This is a perfect example of God wanting us to do something and getting his point across. Teresa went from “Not me to YES GOD”

photo[1]“Although he was joking I knew that message was for me.  It was a God moment, forever stuck in my mind. God was nudging me that He wanted me to do this.  Within minutes of him making this comment, I called Spokane Kidney transplant and asked about becoming an “alturistic donor” (giving to a stranger).  I never hesitated, never felt scared, fully believed this was something God not only wanted me to do but I felt excited to do it.  They sent me the paperwork that day and my journey began” said, Teresa. (Photo: Teresa and her beautiful family just before surgery)

Teresa wanted to make a difference in someone’s life, in this capacity, while she was living.  She is a person who gets life by giving life and the opportunity she was given to be a living donor was one she fully embraced.

She had a lot of support from friends and some criticism from one particular family member but the criticism she received never was a showstopper for her.  Knowledge is power and Theresa found out in doing research that people live just fine on one kidney.  If she could live just fine with one kidney, then why wouldn’t she be willing to give her other kidney so someone could live?

Teresa used a different program to give her kidney than Doni because Spokane did not have program in place when Doni was a donor.  Teresa went through Sacred Heart Kidney Transplant Center with the help Joanne McCleary.

As with Doni, my mind was blown once again with Teresa’s take on this whole thing.  I told her I could not wrap my mind around it and I did not think I had it in me.  She responded to me with a question. She asked me if I had to bungee jump in order to save someone’s life would I be able to?  I have told my husband more than once no way, not a chance would I ever bungee-jump but when she said that I could save I life I said “Yes” without hesitating…She said, “Well, I couldn’t.”  I sat there for a moment trying to let what she said sink in.  After a moment of silence she said to me God made each of us different, each of us has a specific purpose, a specific calling, we are not all called to do the same thing.  You could do that and I couldn’t.  I gave a kidney and you are not called to do that.  Wow!  Let me say it again, WOW!  That simple question made it seem so much easier to understand.

After helping me to understand, Teresa told me about her interview with Nadine Woodward when she used the same analogy. I did not want to get it wrong I asked her to write it down for me.

“I remember in the initial interview with Nadine Woodward her asking me what it felt like to be a hero.  I laughed and told her that I don’t think I’m a hero because we all do things that we believe we are called to do.  AND…when we do what we are called to do….. we are in our wheelhouse.  It isn’t laborious.  It is purposeful and meaningful.  What one person is called to do isn’t necessary what another is called to do.  For example, if I was asked to bungee jump to save someone’s life I don’t think I could do it. Yet, for someone else, they probably could and would.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t.  But for me…I would much rather go through major surgery to save a life.  AND..I did”. 

This “Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom” may not see herself as a hero but I sure do.  I think both her and Doni are heroes.  Her favorite scripture is Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) and I have to say it one of my favorite parts of this series.  I love to see how God’s word speaks to each lady.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s own handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew) that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.)

Talk about living out your favorite scripture! “That we may do those good works that God predestined for us, that we should walk in them” Nailed it!!

Teresa says she doesn’t have any regrets about doing this and she shared her thoughts with me in such a beautiful way I thought it would be best said in her words not mine.

“I would do it again if I had another kidney to give. This whole process has been extremely amazing and rewarding for me.  I feel like God gave me a beautiful gift.  I would never thought that by giving a kidney, I would be the one to be blessed but it is true.  I have a richer life through this “good work” that God prepared before the foundation of the world for me to do.  I do believe that I’m the lucky one.  So I thank God for the opportunity I was given to “get life – by giving life”. 

As I said before, Teresa is now a High School principal and I have to say I think those kids are lucky to photohave such a wonderful woman over seeing their school.  God is really using her for His Kingdom and that is why I wanted her to be a part of this series.  This woman of God has not only made an impact in the school, in the life of her children, her husband and her church; she made a huge impact in the life of a man named Albert when she gave her kidney to save his life on May 24, 2013.  Take a moment to really read what the card says that Albert gave to Teresa.  “From the person who you gave back their life”  Talk about being the “Hands, Feet and for this post the Kidney of Christ”

Recently Teresa was able to speak to a women’s auxiliary group and said It was sooo rewarding to see how a simple act of surgery could impact so many lives! Simple? I think choosing rather to eat the chocolate or not eat the chocolate is SIMPLE.  Choosing to give up a kidney would not be simple for me.  Again, I am humbled by her story.

Albert and Teresa stay in touch just like Doni and Teri do.  They will share a very special connection that most of us will never understand.  There lives are forever intwined by two of the most selfless acts of photo[2]kindness I have ever witnessed.  This photo shows how God uses all of us in his incredible plan.  Doni on the end in the pink was inspired after reading an article to give her kidney, she then speaks at a school where Teresa (in the green) hears her and something starts to happen in her heart.  God would then use Keith (with the glasses)  to speak the words, “I kinda feel like God gave us two kidneys so we can give one away” to move Teresa’s heart to say, “Yes”.  Albert (on the end) is now living a happy and blessed life with the help of Teresa’s kidney. Jeremiah 29:1, “For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope for the future.”  seems like the perfect verse to wrap up this latest episode of the real housewives out God’s kingdom.

I hope you have been inspired to see how God wants to use you and please, if you have not signed up to be a donor on your driver’s license please do so.  You could be saving the life of someone else.  To see more of Teresa’s story you can watch her interview with Nadine Woodward at Kxly.com

Until next time on the Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom when we meet two women in ministry, blessings and may  you be filled to overflowing with the love of God.

-The Midlife Domestic Goddess.

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Living Kidney donors, 2 ladies each rocking 1 kidney to save a life of another. (The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom,Episode #5)

Our next two “Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom” both took the idea of giving ones self to the service of another literally.  Both of these women felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give a kidney away to a total stranger to save their life.

1888610_601121329965191_516321340_nI am honored to have crossed paths with these ladies.  I met Doni (on the right) our first of these two amazing women while standing in line at the bookstore.  My kids have rolled their eyes more than once when I have struck up a conversation with a total stranger but, I feel we are missing a lot when we don’t reach out and talk to others.  My theory was proven correct the moment I spoke my first words to Doni.  Standing in line with me was one of the most amazing women ever and I would have missed the blessing of her story and the story of her friend had I not spoken to her.

She told me she was buying the gift for a friend (Teresa on the left above) who had signed up to give her kidney away to a total stranger because she felt led by the spirit.  I remember saying something along the lines of, “That is amazing and I don’t think I have that in me”.  As the conversation unfolded I would learn that Doni had also given her kidney in the same way.  I stood there in that line, humbled by the love of the Lord that these two women had in them that would lead them to be willing to give up a piece of themselves to give life to another.

I shared John 15:13; Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends in my last episode about Toni, a women in the military who was willing to put her life on the line for her country in her service and it seems like the perfect scripture to carry on to this 2 part episode.

There is no way to tell the story of these two women in one post.  Today I will start with Doni since I met her first.  Doni is one amazing “Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom”. Her journey began in June of 2001 when she read an article in Parade magazine. It was in that article that she first learned of Altruistic Kidney Donation.

“I read an article in the Parade Magazine about a man named Harold who had given one of his kidneys to a total stranger.  As I read the article I realized that the story was no longer about Harold but about me.  I too was going to do this.  At that time in my life, this feeling was one of the most overwhelming experiences I had ever had.  It was almost as if I had heard God’s voice saying, “Doni you too are going to do this.”

Once Doni is on a mission she doesn’t stop.  She began calling the numbers on the list for those interested.  In 2001 Spokane (her home town) did not have a kidney transplant center for altruistic donors so she found herself at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Today Spokane is fortunate to have Sacred Heart Medical Center to do the procedure for people in her hometown.

In order to do this Doni would quickly learn that there was a different protocol to giving a kidney from a donor that is not deceased. She began working with the University of Washington Medical Center and going through the process of various requirements and medical testing.

Since the day I met her I have tried to roll this around in my head many times wondering, how do people do that?  As I read what she said I still find myself saying, “Could I really do this Lord?” Her words are so powerful.

“I didn’t tell many people what I was doing.  I was afraid that if I told people then I would really have to do it.  I wouldn’t be able to back out.  I began to question my motives and reasons.  Spending hours talking to God.  My mantra became – God if you want me to walk down this path then just keep the doors open.  I wanted to be obedient to what I felt I was being called to do.  My husband and I met with our pastor.  I spent hours trying to figure out how to do this as a stay at home mom in a blended family of 5 kids ages 8 –18”

God was going to have to work all this out is what Doni decided. When she began to settle into the idea that this was actually going to happen, the unexpected happened.  Three days before Doni was to fly to Seattle for additional testing everything came to a halt.  It was the day we will never forget in this country, 9/11/2001. After the shock of what had happened to our country, the holidays came and went.  Doni was asked to train for a marathon to raise money for diabetes. Her friend was rounding up six women to go to Dublin, Ireland and run with her in a marathon for diabetes.  Since Doni’s sister was an insulin dependent diabetic she said. “Yes” to the opportunity to make a difference for such an important cause. She called Seattle and put the donation on hold so she could run the marathon in October of 2002.  That would lead to a half marathon in Kona, Hawaii in June of 2003 with her husband.  Now that she had her fill of running she called the University of Washington Medical Center and said “OK, I am ready to do this now.”  Sadly, too much time had passed and she would have to start the medical testing all over again.

“Ok God, here we go again.  Was this a door closing, was this God telling me that it was too much to do.  My faith was tested so many times in the coming months”.

In April of 2004, Doni and her husband took all 5 kids to Seattle.  Doni had to have some medical tests ran and we wanted to show the kids where mom would be if this all continued to move forward.  Though all this time had passed she continued to tell very few people.  “I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  I just wanted to focus on God’s calling,”  Doni said.  In May of 2004 she got the final word that she had qualified to donate and now just needed to pick a date that worked for her.

Insert the sound effect of screeching tires after the brakes are slammed on as I stop this story for a moment….I have to be honest. I don’t’ think I have it in me to do what Doni did. I don’t think I could pick a day that would work for me to just give my kidney to a total stranger.  My kids yes, my sibling yes, but a stranger is so hard for me to wrap my mind around.  I am guessing there may be many of you reading this that are in the same boat I am.  That being said, let’s get back to the story.

Things seemed to be moving along smoothly and then there was a bit of a speed bump.  Doni called her sister (the one who is an insulin dependent diabetic). She figured because her sister was such a huge supporter that she would be thrilled.  Instead she was met with, “How could you do this to me?  Don’t you know I have diabetes and could possibly need a kidney someday?”  Doni couldn’t believe her ears.  What was she talking about?  Things like: We had been down this path. Why now?  Was the door closing?  Began to fill her mind.

Doni shared with me that she called the University of Washington Medical Center and that they arranged for her sister and her to see a Nephrologist in Spokane.  One that didn’t know either her or her sister and that could be an unbiased third party.  After the doctor met with them he praised Doni’s sister on how well she has managed her diabetes.  He strongly felt that the chances of her ever needing a kidney were so small that by the time that would ever happen that Doni would be too old to donate to her.  No one had ever told Doni that she would be too old to do something.

I think the next part of this story would be best be told in Doni’s own words:

“Hurdles passed, faith still strong.  Continuing my mantra – God if you want me to walk down this path then just keep the doors open.  Surgery was scheduled for the middle of June 2004.  In the last rounds of blood work and a small abnormality was detected.

Seems my thyroid was off a bit.  Sure I was always tired and didn’t sleep well.  I was in my mid 40’s and had 5 kids.  I was busy with women’s ministry, school volunteer, scouting volunteer, band mom, wife, and CEO – of our home.  Of course I was exhausted.  Only that wasn’t the case.  I had hypothyroidism.  Really God?  Not funny.  The one thing I must say is that when a person decides to give away an organ they certainly get wonderful medical care.  The best specialist in town immediately saw me.  Once my thyroid was under control, I was able to pick a new date to donate.  Now my last hurdle would be to explain to my now 11-21 year old children that my biggest risk would be, being put under for the surgery.  Laying it all out on the table my children never wavered.  While explaining to them that this could possibly be the day that mommy goes to meet Jesus, my youngest said, “It will be ok mommy, Jesus will be with you.”  To witness their faith and trust was an overwhelming gift.  As I said goodbye to them when I left for Seattle, they were so strong and brave.  I will never forget the smiles on their faces as tears clouded my eyes and God assured me that they were in his hands.  The best gift of all!

I was blessed to finally donate a kidney on August 18, 2004 to a total stranger. (Doni is on the left in this and the recipient Teri is on the right) I spent 2 weeks IMG_0926in Seattle and then was home just before school started.  I was back at my job of making school lunches and driving kids here and there. Life was back to normal.  16 weeks post op we went back to Seattle where I ran – very slowly – the Seattle half marathon with Team Transplant.  It was at this time that arrangements were made for Teri and I to finally meet.  Donation is always confidential unless both parties want to meet.  Three months post op the hospital had heard back from both of us that we wanted to meet and so it was arranged.

I continued to not share my story much.  It was our pastor who first asked me to share with our church.  A story of faith and giving was what I had.  It was shortly after that, that once again God came knocking.  Now God wanted me to step out and share my story with people and continue to be able to help save lives by doing so.  Just like Harold and how he had shared his story.  Harold was God’s angel that day and encouraged me to follow.  So nowadays I work as a volunteer with Life Center Northwest, and I go into the schools and speak primarily to freshman classes about the importance of understanding the choice to mark their drivers license to register or not to register to be an organ donor.

The Life Center Northwest program that Doni volunteers for is a totally different that the DOL program.  Doni said if anyone would like to know more information about what she does please contact her at doniguyer@gmail.com.  Also she would like everyone to know they can go on line to the DOL at donate life today to register their driver’s license as a organ donor…..When a life is ended, another life can be saved by simply marking yes to organ donation.

I ask every one of these amazing Real housewives of God’s kingdom to share their favorite verse with me. Doni has many that she loves but this one sets on her desk and she focus on it everyday is Matthew 16:26 – With God all things are possible.

One of the questions I had for Doni was, “What did you learn from this?” Her answer was,  “There have been many but, the biggest is that God is always with us, he is in charge, we just need to listen and allow him to do his work.  Easier said then done.  In today’s world we often don’t slow down enough to listen, we don’t like what we hear and we want things done NOW.  It is no fun to wait.  But waiting on God, in his time, being patient, following His ways, and trusting Him and walking is faith is so sweet.”

Doni and Teri (the recipient of the kidney) continue to be wonderful friends.  They talk and email, exchange cards and see each other about once a year. She has now begun the mentoring process for another lady who is hoping to donate a kidney to her brother.  This lady lost her husband to kidney failure and now her brother is in kidney failure.  She is a believing woman but she is very fearful at this time.  Doni has only spoken to her by phone but looks forward to meeting her.  She was able to pray with the lady and hopes she give her some help to start this journey.  One of the last things Doni said was “I just love how God opens doors for us”.  I have to say I love it too.  I am humbled that he opened a door for me to meet this amazing women and to be able to share her story with you and to see how God used her to open the door for the next women in our series Teresa who was moved to give her kidney after hearing Doni and another volunteer speak.  God is good and I thank him for blessing all of us with this story.

I hope to see you back tomorrow when we pick up this story with Teresa who also gave her kidney to save a life.

Blessings, The midlife domestic goddess.

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The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom, episode 4

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends John 15:13.  To lay down your life for another is the most selfless act there is.  Our next women in our Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom served her our country in the military.  Those who serve in the military are willing to give up their lives for the country they serve.  They miss their children growing up at times, they give up the comfort of their homes and the brave men and women of our military face things that most of us will never really understand.

Our next Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom is Toni. This amazing women served in the Air Force for 24 years.  During her time of service she served mainly in Europe (Italy and England) but she also spent some short periods of time in the middle east (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Oman).  Not only did she serve in the Air Force, Toni was asked to be 1 of 10 people chosen from the Air Force to be a trainer in Navel Intelligence and she worked for the NSA (the national security agency that works hand in had with the FBI and the CIA) Toni has a list of other jobs she did during her time in the service.Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 5.07.47 PM

“My first job was enciphered communications analyst. Basically I was an Russian Analyst and when the cold war ended and was retrained as Operations Resource Manager. I was in charge of pilot training flying and flight pay. I deployed under this job for Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Operation enduring Freedom”.

Toni told me that she did not choose to go in the military.  She had a full ride scholarship to USC to major in journalism but when her mother got sick the money that was put away for her college was used for the care of her mother. Having to give up her college money made Toni angry so she joined the military. I appreciate her honesty.  She told me her love for the military did not happen until 8 years after joining.

“When you deploy and see the devastation of other countries no matter what the American consensus is you realize you are doing the right thing. For others to have freedom”.

All of Toni’s children were born while she was serving.  She had a child born in Naples, one in Washington DC while working for the NSA, another in England and her last was born in Washington state. Moving was hard  for her kids but they were fortunate to see other countries and experience things that other children only got to dream of. Toni says that now two of her children are home bodies and refuse to move. Her third child who is a daughter joined the military because she missed the traveling, stability and sense of duty the army provides.

1058693_10153766929890296_1360305468_nOne of my favorite things about this series is seeing what the favorite scripture or passage is for each of the different women. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the lord always. I will say it again REJOICE is the favorite scripture of this Real housewife of God’s Kingdom. Toni shared with me that this scripture says it all and she feels that God has taken her, a broken-down woman who felt like her life was completely over and turned her into someone who rejoices in His love daily. She says, “He doesn’t care where or what I have done in the past he still loves me and I am beautiful”.

Toni prays daily for all Christian men and woman to feel the redemption that she rejoices in everyday and her love for others can be seen in the different ministries she is involved in.  She is a active part of Women Strengthening Women which is a bi fold ministry based out of CA serving woman in a outreach program/prison ministries for the families left behind during incarceration. Toni is also working on her own ministry, A Woman’s Heart, which will be registered as a full ministry in late 2014 or early 2015.  This ministry is based redemption and focus on woman’s restoration to God’s intended purpose.

I am thankful for women like Toni who sacrifice so much for the safety of the rest of us.  Please do not forget to be giving thanks for those who serve in our military.  Because of the brave men and women like Toni, we can sleep soundly at night.

Please don’t forget to give thanks for all the brave men and WOMEN who have served our country.  To those who gave there lives so we could be safe, Thank you is not enough.  To see a little history on women in our military watch this video.

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The Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom (Ep #3 part 2)

 Ep #3 Part 2 “I will go where you send me”

As in part 1 of “I will go where you send me” our next three Real Housewives of God’s kingdom also said, “YES” to God and packed up their families in obedience to go where He was sending them.  What is different about these 3 is that they have a special ministry.  They are standing in the gap for the children in some amazing ways.

1503673_10202823782096873_695972845_nCourtney moved with her family five years ago as part of a new church plant.  She is a mom of 3 and a wife of 11 years.  I am blown away by her boldness in the Lord and her willingness to put her safety in the hands of God.  At the age of 15 she taped bibles to her body and snuck them into China because she wanted to share the love of God.  Courtney fell in love with China and recently she was able to return there to help equip the church in starting pregnancy help networks.  Courtney is a communications coordinator for life services of Spokane (A pregnancy help center dedicated to supporting and empowering women before, during and after an unplanned pregnancy).  She is truly a woman with a heart for children. She has been a youth leader and she fights for the lives of unborn children in her work at Life Services and in her own family Courtney has become very powerful advocate for her child who has Asperger’s Syndrome.  This young mom is making a huge impact on the kingdom both in her home and out of her home. I asked her what her favorite bible verse or chapter was and I have to say I love her response,

“My favorite Bible passage is from John 8:1-11, The Woman Caught in Adultery, because we’ve all been the woman, we’ve all been the crowd, and we all need to learn how Jesus loved people.”

Courtney told me when she is not busy “wife-ing, mothering, churching, working, or cleaning” she loves to write and her share her heart.  You can find her writing at the Passionate Pen.  She says no subject is off limits on her blog and she is a writer who likes to push people into doing some deep thinking about topics we sometimes like to push under the rug.   Courtney and her husband would someday like to plant a church in Utah but they are waiting on God’s timing and until than they are enjoying their life where God has them now.

 

Monique moved her family five years ago as part as the same church plant as Courtney.  She is 1503644_10202601487779093_117191504_nmother of 4 and has been married for 15 years.  She told me she went to college for two years and she said, “I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up”.  She jokes about that but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Monique is one very wise and mature woman of God.  I have found myself picking up the phone to ask for her wisdom and she much younger than me.  Her and her husband are elders in their church and she has a way of making people feel welcome.  That makes her very approachable and she has become the adult that is there for many of the youth around our church.  There is not an age of kids Monique has not worked with.  From the littlest in the children’s church up to the college age, Monique makes an impact in the lives of many.   It could be as simple as running to the store and taking a youth with her so that she can connect.  Monique is there if they need her, she is safe and trustworthy.  God has also opened a door for High school and College age ministry for her and her husband.  Weekly they hold the high school/college group in there home.  Monique also has a very gentle spirit and always seems very calm which is something I admire because I am bit of a picnicker.  As with each of the women in this series I have asked Monique to share her favorite verse or chapter with me.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Peter 4:8. “I’ve learned that only by the grace of God I’m here walking on this earth…Contentment in anything and everything!! I also pray, Father give me quick loving words, I want to be able to confront confrontation without anxiety and with words filled with kindness and genuine love”.

Monique is standing in the gap for children of all ages, lifting them up in prayer, listening to them, and being a safe and trustworthy person they can go to when they are in need of wisdom.

 

1533149_10202993612391263_338678461_n“Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities. Isaiah 54:2-3 Though this verse was aimed towards the women who could not have children it is a verse I have held on to for years for myself and I it the first verse that came to my mind for our next Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom. Kim Has been married for 16 years and during that time she says they have had the pleasure of serving all over the world in mostly Ministry to the Military. In 2008 they retired from the military and moved from Fort Hood Texas to Spokane WA. Kim says,

“This transition from military life, to civilian life in the natural has paralleled my Christian walk. Everything I thought I knew as a speaker, Women’s Ministry leader, mother and a Pastor’s wife has shifted. The only thing I know now is that God is faithful to work out His perfect plan in my life in spite of me”.

Kim is a powerful prayer warrior and to be in her presence as she prays is amazing.  I have had her pray for me and been in a group as she prayed for the “Whatever Girls” ministry.  I get what I like to call God bumps when she throws down a prayer.  The women in my bible study want her to come back and pray for us again because of the impact she made on us.  This Real Housewife of God’s Kingdom has found a new ministry since leaving the Military and she is truly standing in the gaps for children. Kim’s new mission is Foster Care/Foster families. Currently she has 4 biological children, 2 adopted children, and 3 Foster children.

“Nothing has brought me to my knees faster and longer than becoming an advocate for the Fatherless” says, Kim.

Her favorite scripture Psalms 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The verse Kim shared is powerful and something every one of our real housewives of God’s Kingdom do daily. The women I am writing about in this series look to the Lord for help and guidance in their life.  It is with God’s help that they are making an impact not just in the world around them but in the Kingdom of God also.  I hope you have enjoyed reading this 2 part post about 6 women who were willing to leave all behind and go to wherever God wanted to send them.  Until next time on the Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom, may God fill you with joy and peace as you live your life for His glory. Blessings

P.S. All mom’s should check out Courtney’s hysterical not just another mom blog post for a good laugh.   I laugh out loud every time I read it.

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Real Housewives of God’s Kingdom (Episode #3)

In our last episode “Two are better than one” I focused on the gift of friendship and today I continue on that theme with a story of three friends who said yes to God.

Episode #3- “I WILL GO WHERE YOU SEND ME” (Part 1)

Once upon a time there were three real housewives of God’s Kingdom. They were all serving at one church (City Harvest Church), raising their families and enjoying the goodness of the Lord. What is amazing about these three is that in order to be God’s hands and feet they were willing to go where God sent them. Now this was not an easy thing to do. They had to give up their homes, take their children away from what they had always known, and go to a new city.

God also did not plan on sending these three friends to the same city either. One by one they left behind what they knew and followed God to where He had called them.  They have stood in faith beside their husbands as they have planted churches and as they saying goes, “behind every great man is an even stronger woman”. So without any further ado lets meet these three REAL HOUSEWIVES OF GOD’S KINGDOM.

Lori:

Not only is Lori a friend of mine, her and her husband are my Pastors at City Life Church .  Lori has a gentle spirit and 1466118_10202308521695094_1280063267_nis filled with so much wisdom.  She is a mother of 3 and has been married 25 years. She graduated with a degree in Organizational Mass Communications, and is a very affective leader.  When she is not serving on the worship team, leading the women in our church, being a mom and a wife, she works full time as the Volunteer Coordinator for Horizon Hospice.    She also has a passion for writing, preaching, and teaching along side her husband.  A servant’s heart is a perfect description for her.  Deuteronomy Chapter 8 is the passage for the season of her life. When I asked Lori to share something she learned from God she responded with this:

“His life poured out for my sin on the cross, and that alone is worthy of every moment of my life in service to my King.  The cross is the measure of Gods love for me. Sometimes circumstances are difficult and in those seasons, it can be hard to believe the goodness of God.  But the measure of his Love for us was proven when God’s wrath and mercy met at the cross. He took the wrath and gave mercy instead.  Proof enough.  I remind myself of that when my selfish heart thinks I somehow deserve to be free of testing and sorrows that life on this earth can bring.”

I have to say I am very thankful for Lori’s obedience to the Lord.  Because she was willing to go where God sent her, I am blessed to call her and her husband, Van, not just my Pastors but my friends also.

Raydeane:

Raydeane and has been married for 23 years which is the same number of years she has been in ministry. When God put his calling on the lives of her and her husband to plant a church they IMG_1021moved their family to Idaho to plant Heart of the City Church.  She attended University of Idaho & Lewis Clark State College and has a background in retail management.  At the age of twenty-one Raydeane gave her heart to the Lord and  began youth pastoring at 23. Both her and her husband have also served as Evangelism and discipleship pastors.  Currently she serves with children’s ministry, women’s ministry and she administrates large women’s events. Periodically, Raydeane writes articles for the Coeur d’ Alene Press and she writes/records one-minute devotionals for her local radio station. When given the opportunity she loves to minister at women’s conferences, retreats and prophetic presbyteries. Some how in the middle of all that Raydeane finds time to co-lead a city business women’s group each Friday.  She loves being in God’s Word and her favorite book is Isaiah Chapter 49.  Raydeane is one of several real housewives of God’s Kingdom that has faced cancer.  She has had cancer three times and says, “I have experienced the love and power of God. It has sustained me and brought me back to health”.   Besides all the ministry and health issues Raydeane has balanced her time at home so that her first ministry, her 2 children could be a priority.  Just recently both her children were engaged and she will be busy helping to plan their summer weddings.

I have said that I am writing this series because the real housewives of God’s kingdom are not in this for fame.  All they do they do for the glory of God and this quote by Raydeane sums things up perfectly,

                                  “My passion is to make Jesus famous!”

 

Lisa:

Psalms 27 is a favorite of our next real housewife of God’s kingdom.  

 The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple. verse 4.

Lisa has been married 22 years and has served as a youth pastor, pastor over women’s ministry, 1419999_10200963698199062_1859228563_npreaching at times, and emceeing services. Lisa’s most important ministry however is her 3 kids and she says she is her kid’s biggest fan.  Lisa and her husband Matt helped to start City Harvest church in 1997 and after 13 years of service they listened to the call of God.  Just like her friends Lori and Raydeane, Lisa was willing to go where God wanted to send her. She packed up her family and they moved to the Tri-Cities to plant New Vintage Church.  Lisa is a graduate of Portland Bible College, she is passionate about what she does and she has a great sense of humor.  Put all that together and you have the perfect mix to make a strong and effective in servant/leader in women’s ministries. I was blessed to listen to some of her teachings last year at our women’s retreat and I must say she is a truly gifted speaker and teacher.   Lisa (along with her husband) has a passion to make the Gospel relevant and practical, touching all parts of life, and every type of person – a “do-able Christianity”.

It is women like these three amazing women that are a reality to me and I hope it is women like them that are part of your life too.  They are just a few of the real housewives of God’s kingdom who live their lives for His glory. They do not care about fame or that Hollywood may find their lives unworthy of TV time, they live to serve God and to share his love with others.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “I will go where you send me.”

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