Overwhelmed? Run to Christ!

Normal 

Something we long for these days.

Our lives have been flipped upside-down.

Emotions are in a vortex.

Frustration

Fear

Discouragement

Anger

Helplessness 

We want things to stop changing.

How do we cope? 

In Christ, our hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

In the midst of the storm, let’s calm our overwhelmed hearts in the unchanging One! 

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever” – Hebrews 13:8

In the time of restlessness, let’s claim the rest Jesus offers!

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” – Matthew 11:29-30

When uncertain days make us weary, let’s find our strength in God!

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

When we are lonely because we are distanced from our friends and family, let’s find comfort in our God! 

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” – John 14:16-18|KJV

When we are afraid, let us run to Christ and find peace!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

While it is natural for us to want comfort, security and normality in our circumstances, let us anchor our hearts and minds in the solid truths of Christ!

In Christ alone my hope is found,

He is my light, my strength, my song

This Cornerstone, this solid Ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when striving cease

My Comforter, my All in All

Here in the love of Christ I stand

(In Christ Alone by Stuart Townsend)

*All verse taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise marked

To Learn From A Child

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my two-and-a-half year old daughter.

She wakes up in the morning and snuggles up with me on the couch, happy to be sitting on my lap.

She doesn’t ever wonder about where her next meal is coming from.

She plays with her toys, taking joy in the moment.

She trails behind her Papa as he works outside, delighted just to be with him.

She lays her head down at night, closing her eyes and sleeping soundly until morning comes.

As a young child, she is a stranger to my tendency to lie awake at night, worrying about endless ‘what-ifs”, whether or not I cleaned the germs off the door knobs well enough, or the serious-toned conversation that happened at the dinner table.

The Bible calls adults to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven; their complete and simple trust in the Father for salvation reveals to us what it means to trust the Father. To take our need to become like children a step further, I would say that children often help us better understand to trust God in other areas as well.

My daughter begins and ends each day with such a carefree spirit because she trusts us, her parents, to take care of her. We’ve cared for her in the past, so why should she fear that we won’t continue to do so tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? As imperfect and fallible as we are, she still trusts us to take care of her.

My daughter has learned that if she needs something, all she needs to do is ask and we will take care of that need. If I, as a frail and limited human parent, desire to care for my daughter’s needs and delight in doing so, how much more should we trust our heavenly Father who is divinely capable of meeting our needs?

Why can we not be more like a child, especially when we have our heavenly Father caring for us?

With COVID-19 at the forefront of our lives these days, it is so easy to allow our fears to overwhelm our hearts and fill our minds with worry and anxiety. However, God has been faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful in the days to come, no matter what they may bring. Can we not trust Him?

Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us that He takes care of the common sparrow and keeps count of the hairs of our head. If He manages such small and insignificant details, how much more will He take care of us, the ones who are made in His image, the ones He gave His only Son for?

Oh to learn what it means to lean completely on the Father’s good and perfect care for His children.

5 Easter Activities for Kids

Although we will all be celebrating Resurrection Weekend very differently this year than we have in past years, we can still celebrate what Christ did for us in His death and resurrection! Here are some ideas of activities to do with our children to help remind them of what Christ did for us.

1. Bake Resurrection Rolls

Making resurrection rolls is a fun, delicious and memorable way to share the Easter story with your kids. These are super easy to make if you choose to use croissant dough from the grocery store (see first link below). However, if you don’t have access to croissant dough you can also make the rolls from scratch (see second link).


2. Print Free Coloring Pages

Google has a ton of Resurrection pictures you can print for free if you simply do a search


3. Create a Playlist 

Gather songs and create a playlist of music themed around Christ’s Death and Resurrection.


4. Make a Shoe Box Tomb

Decorate an empty shoe box to represent the tomb – use construction paper to create stones, grass and flowers. Allow your child to scrounge outside for a special rock. Make a pipe cleaner stick figure to represent Jesus. Put Jesus inside the tomb and have your child place the rock on top. On Easter morning let them come downstairs to find the lid off and the “tomb” empty with the rock set to the side. 


5. Create an Easter Tree of Promises

Find a large branch to represent your Easter Tree. Search the Scriptures for promises of God. Cut out Easter egg shapes to write down the promises and then hang them on the tree. See how many you can hang by Easter Sunday. 


Out of the Mouths of Babes

Laughter is good medicine for the soul. And recently a lot of the laughter in my life has come as a result of the funny things my young children are saying. I love seeing life through their eyes! While I could share many hilarious quotes I’ll stick to sharing just a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

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Scene: Mommy is diving/maneuvering in order to get away from a bee, while a neighbor works in the yard.

Mommy: Agh! There’s a bee chasing me!

Seth: That wasn’t a bee! That was just the neighbor weed whacking!

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I’m always telling the kids that they need to stay little forever. One night Seth was taking too long to eat his supper so Daddy took it away to save for later. Seth came over and said to me “That’s how I can stay little for forever! When you make recipes I don’t like and Daddy has to take my food away, that will make me stay little forever!”

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Grandma was stopping in to take the kids to the park so I told the kids they needed to clean up the toys first. They weren’t quite done when Grandma got there so Seth ran to the door and told her “You can’t come in! We’re not done cleaning up yet and Mommy doesn’t want you to see it!”

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One day Seth was”reading” bible stories to Kate. When he reached the story of Jairus and his sick daughter he told her “He ran very quickly! They didn’t have police cars back then.” 

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Daddy: Seth, do you see that bird up there?

Seth: Uh-huh. Is that an eagle or an ostrich?

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Grandma was over to help Mommy out one day. Mommy went to put Seth down for his nap and he wanted to know if Grandma was still going to be there when he woke up. When Mommy told him “No,” he responded “Well, we could lock that door so she can’t get out!”

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Scene: Seth and Kate are snuggling in bed with Daddy and Mommy early one morning. 

Kate: Daddy! Mommy! (And points to the wedding picture on the wall as she recognizes their faces.) 

Mommy: Yes, Kate. That’s a picture from when Daddy and Mommy got married.” 

Seth: What DID you guys do before you had kids?!

Mommy: We slept, my child. We slept. 

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Seth: I can’t find my shoes. They’re hibernating!

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Seth: When I get big like Daddy my cheeks won’t be as kissable!

(It’s true. We don’t call him our muffin for no reason!)

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One day I was feeling extra creative and made the kids bear shaped pancakes. Seth informed me “Daddy is really good at making circle pancakes!”

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Seth: Some people call you Mommy and some people call you Chrystal. When they call you Chrystal it sounds like you stole something so maybe they should just call you Mommy. Or they could call you Stauffer instead of ChrySTOLE. 

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Scene: Discussing possible baby names for a future baby. 

Mommy: How about Ted?

Seth: (laughing) That’s like Teddy the Bear!

Mommy: Ok, what about Joel?

Seth: I don’t think so, because that sounds like he’s going to drool!

(And name picking just got ten times harder! 😉)

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Mommy: Seth, what’s Daddy’s job?

Seth: To put the paci in baby’s mouth.

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Mommy: Kate, can you use your nice words?

Kate: No thank-you.

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For All The Extroverts

What have you been up to lately? This extroverted girl has been learning just how hard it is to get along without her routine people around. And I think I’m pretty normal for struggling through this.

God has designed us to need community. If you were to look in scripture you would see over and over that He has not designed us to do life alone. He has created marriage, the family, the church; all different forms of community. And yet, because God has temporarily removed the broader community from my life, I am becoming increasingly convinced of an even deeper truth: He has designed us to need Him more than community. In fact, often the very point of community (marriage, the family and the church) is given to direct us and others back to Him. Any time these relationships take a higher priority than God Himself they are being taken out of context. 

I didn’t realize just how greatly I can depend on these relationships, looking to them for my source of fulfillment instead of God. Can you relate? Have you felt discouraged because you haven’t had a fellow sister to pour your heart out to in person? Have you felt depressed because you haven’t had anyone to do a game night with in order to take your mind off of a stressful life situation? Have you found yourself wishing desperately for a coffee date with your spouse just to get a break from the mundane tasks of daily life? Me too! 

Honestly, as an extrovert, I kind of found myself believing the lie that I can’t/won’t survive this quarantine well, because… I need my people! God has graciously shown me some good news though! People, while good gifts in and of themselves, aren’t my source of satisfaction in life; God is. 

Psalm 107 is just full of all the beautiful things God has done, but one thing in particular that we read is he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (vrs.9)

What? You mean, it’s not my friends, a good book, projects, Facebook or Netflix? 

Nope. 

And there’s more… 

Let’s keep going.

Psalm 16:11 says “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

What good news for extroverts! Even in the absence of friends there is joy for us to find; in God’s presence!

Psalm 62:5-8 says “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”

These truths do not change, my friends. So, let’s trust Him. When our souls feel empty and we are tempted to look around for something to fill it, let’s run to Him instead.

During this time of social isolation, let’s continue to pursue relationships with people to the best of our ability. Let’s send texts/emails of encouragement. Let’s create unique opportunities to interact with loved ones from afar. God has called us to love, support and serve others and it is a good, good gift. But…at the end of the day, let’s not forget that HE is the best gift of all. And He isn’t going anywhere “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

(“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Charles Wesley)