Vitamins… For Your Soul :)

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Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 10.14.14 AMVitamins. I’ve been a regular vitamin taker since 2011. I take a good quality, effective vitamin pack that includes a multi-vitamin with maximum mineral absorption (so much better than over-the-counter brands – and no this isn’t a commercial 😉 ), antioxidant support to fight off free-radicals, probiotic with 10 billion colonies of flora to fight off the bad bacteria and enhance overall digestive health and Omega 3 fish oils to support cardiovascular health and decrease inflammation. The great thing about these vitamins, is when I’m consistent with taking them daily, I. Do. Not. Get. Sick. I really don’t. I have energy. I feel GOOD! However when I don’t take them, I can feel myself start to get run down (life is busy!), start the beginnings of a cold or sore throat, and feel really tired (and with tired comes cranky, moody, irritable – you get the point). When that happens I get back on track and take my vitamins. I try to encourage my family to take them… but they don’t… and they get sick. I try to get my friends to take them but they insist on the over-the-counter stuff or other natural remedies… and still get sick.

This is the same thing that happens in my spiritual life, my relationship with God. To be healthy spiritually there’s things we can do – draw near to Him and He draws near to you (us) James 4:8. Just like my vitamins, it’s the basics… spend time in the Word (sword of the Spirit Eph. 6:17), pray and talk with (and listen to) my Savior (fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power James 5:16), fellowship with other believers (not staying away from worship meetings... Heb. 10:25) and pray for faith (take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one Eph. 6:16). And just like when I don’t take my physical vitamins, when I don’t take my spiritual vitamins I get grouchy, edgy and irritable. I may have a lack of faith or be anxious. Again, I try to encourage family and friends (and you reading this) to take their spiritual vitamins as well – so they won’t get sick. Taking these spiritual vitamins make us better equipped to fight off the bad bacteria, attack the free radicals that invade our lives, reduce the inflammations that rise up and encourage overall spiritual health.

Are you off track like I’ve been before in both my physical and spiritual vitamin routine? Are you worn down, on the verge or within the throws of sickness and germs? Start today. Take those vitamins. Not only will you be healthier spiritually, but the goal is to know Him (God)… (Phil 3:10) and glorify Him. These vitamins get you on that right track to know Him, for your spiritual health, for your relationship with God and equip you to walk in the purposes He has for your life.

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“In-Between” Cookie Palooza


Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 9.16.43 AMOh! Life of the “in-between”… Keeping up with Grubbie Christmas traditions is proving to be somewhat challenging, because we’re half living in a temporary house, half living out of storage. We have to plan timing, location, vehicles etc. to get stuff out of storage (ie. Christmas Decorations). We finally jollied things up around here, but some things are still in storage (wrapping paper, cookie cutters).   So my PLAN was to KISS (keep it simple stu… uh, er, silly). I was going to make MOST of our regular cookies/treats for Christmas but I was going to skip the cut-outs. When I made this grand announcement, to my surprise I was greeted with disappointment. And shouts of protest! And eye-darts that made me feel like the GRINCH! Really? Because on a normal year I say, “it’s cookie night,” and I RELUCTANTLY got some helpers. But cancel one aspect of the “cookie-palooza” and we’re suddenly scarring one’s childhood ;). Ha! That tells me that yes, even though they’re getting older, and they have to put the device down to mix, roll, cut, bake and frost – they still enjoy it. And for me, the best part of “Cookie-Palooza” is doing it together. Family Time.  Oh, and my sugar-cookie-that-melts-in-your-mouth recipe is to. die. for.

Just another reminder that little things do matter. Home is wherever we all are together. Life may be in the “in-between” but family is forever (and apparently so are cookie traditions 🙂 ).

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The Truth Is…

People are sometimes shocked at honesty.   For example, on my recent trip to Haiti, it was a medical trip and um, I’m not medical. Sure, I’ve worked several medical mission clinics over the years and am willing to do whatever, however my main job was keeping the (people) traffic moving, praying with people and sharing the gospel. But on Thursday, I was needed to be the “p-p nurse.” What is a p-p nurse, you ask? Well, it is the person who takes the PP, ahem urine, from the patients, dips the diagnostic stick into said PP and then reads and records the results. Let me reiterate, I will do anything that needed done, but I do not like PP. I was sure I would spill someone’s urine all.over.me. Yuck!   So when the actual nurse stopped by to see how it was going and asked, “Do you like being the ‘p-p nurse?’” I exclaimed, “NO!” Ha ha. No, I did not like being the p-p nurse. I think she was a little shocked that I was so honest. She quickly replied that she would find me a replacement which I told her wasn’t necessary. I would be the p-p nurse and I was fine with it, but it never was going to be my favorite thing to do. 😉

Another example is in our LifeGroup. At the first LG of the year, we were filling out informational forms (name/address…) and apparently while I was engrossed in filling out my papers, we were given instructions for the next “get to know you” activity. The leader asked, “What would you like to get out of this group?” What I didn’t know was the instructions were to write down your answers. However since I missed the initial instructions, I blurted out, “Ok, I’ll start. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m looking to make new friendships. More than just LG, I’d love new friends to be social with. I looking for a group where we can grow together, be there for each other, rejoice together, bear each other’s burdens…” At the end of my needy dissertation, I felt like I was receiving a bunch of blank stares… The silence was broken when the leader thanked me for sharing, and that we were supposed to write down our answers 🙂. But people nodded in agreement. I think there was some shock at my honesty and transparency. But I wasn’t alone. Others were looking for the same thing. I broke the ice, with a jack-hammer, HA!

It’s weird when I meet people now for the first time and they just know the “Kendra of now”. However the “Kendra of now” has dealt with and experienced a lot, especially over the past three years. The negative things, the hard things are part of my story… part of who I am. And throughout it all, when “stuff” comes up, I pray I am communicating God’s faithfulness throughout it all. However, I can’t help but notice the awkwardness or surprise when I answer honestly simple questions about what I “do” for a living, or where we live, or future plans. Because our story is complicated it doesn’t take too long into the story that some of the back-story comes into play. Nobody wants to hear your non-warm-fuzzy-peach-keen stuff.   Somewhere along the line, it’s become awkward and unexpected to be real, authentic or honest.

My friends, it shouldn’t be this way. No, we don’t have to unload all of life’s baggage into one introductory conversation, but life is hard. And God is faithful. We don’t have to gloss over the hard stuff.  2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all of our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves received from God.” If we never honestly share some of the hard stuff, then we won’t have the opportunity to share how God was faithful and got us through the hard stuff.   God works all things for GOOD, so even in the hard stuff, God can be glorified. Our rough patches are not for nothing. God desires us to rely on Him, depend on Him and know that He is faithful in good and bad times.

Instead of honesty, authenticity or transparency, we throw out, “Oh, I’m fine” – in a martyr-like sigh.   Why do we do that? When our two-year-olds are having a tantrum, we talk to them gently and tell them to “use your words.” Why? Because it is important to communicate what is bothering you, what you want, what you’re feeling. Let’s take a step towards honesty, authenticity and transparency – even in the hard times. Use your words:

I’m struggling with anger lately.

My debt is strangling me.

I’ve been having impure thoughts.

I’m really missing my mom.

I’m not bonding with my baby.

My marriage is not what it should be.

I feel stuck in my job.

My teenager hates me.

I feel like a failure.

Life feels unfair.

Honesty opens the door for others to bear your burdens and bridges your heart to others where you find out you’re not alone. Honesty brings LIGHT to stuff the enemy would rather you stew on in the dark. Honesty brings glory to God when we can say, “This is hard. God is faithful.”

Next time a fork in the road comes up in a conversation where you have to choose, do I want to get into this or not, trust God and be honest. He is faithful and may just use what you’ve been through to encourage someone else.

Broken Surrender

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:19-20

Have you ever faced any resistance when taking a step to do something in obedience to the Lord? Maybe when you committed to be baptized, to join a Bible study group to grow in your relationship with Christ, or even to begin tithing? Ever experience any opposition when you are preparing to take a mission trip/planning an outreach event/or committing to disciple someone?

Any time we step out in faith to do what God has called us to, there is sacrifice. There is inconvenience. There is opposition. There is heartache, pain, blood/sweat/tears. Anytime you invest in the kingdom, there is a juxtaposition (one comes with the other) of Gal. 2:19-20 in our lives. Anything we surrender comes at a cost ~ just like Christ’s sacrifice for our redemption came at a cost. He was crucified so we could live, so we could have a bridge to the Father, so we could be saved. So we would have hope.

And it is worth it.

Something beautiful is born because of something being broken.

In Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Interrupted,” she put it this way: “Mercy has a cost: someone must be broken for someone else to be fed. The sermon that changed your life? That messenger was poured out so you could hear it. The friends who stood in the gap during your crisis? They embraced some sacrifice of brokenness for your healing. Anytime you say, “That fed me, that nourished me,” someone was the broken bread for your fulfillment.”

Funny, the same day our fam read/studied Galatians 2, I read this section from Jen’s book… and this quote from my YouVersion devotional plan, “My Utmost For His Highest” based on Gal. 2:19-20: “If you are faced with the question of whether or not to surrender, make a determination to go on through the crisis, surrendering all that you have and all that you are to Him. And God will then equip you to do all that He requires of you.

Surrender. Be broken. See Christ alive and working (in you, in others, for His kingdom, for His glory).

I can honestly tell you that over the 13 years of full-time ministry, I have repeatedly cried out to the Lord and asked if it was worth it.   And every time, in His precious mercy, He faithfully showed me how He was working ~ through the brokenness, through the heartache, through the difficulties, through the inconveniences, through the impossibilities.  That somehow through surrender and brokenness, Christ’s mission is accomplished. Someone comes to know Him. Someone is encouraged and strengthened by His word. Someone moves from darkness into the light. Someone is physically helped or blessed. Someone surrenders his or her life to Him.  Someone has hope. 

And that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what keeps us going.   And that’s what makes it worth it.

Crucified with Christ, so that I no longer live, but Christ lives in/through me. Christ’s sacrifice/brokenness for my redemption. My surrender for Christ’s purpose/mission.   God will equip. He gives the strength. He will bless.

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:19-20

Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Knees and Toes.  And ankles and wrists and fingers and back!  Wait… That’s not how the song goes?  Well, that’s how my song goes this week as the Caribbean’s latest victim of the notorious Chikungunya.

Oh. My. Land.  Thursday night as I went to bed, I mentioned to Kevin that my middle finger hurt (no middle finger jokes… 🙂 ).  Then, I woke up about 2am and my ankles and knees were a little achy.  I was trying to talk myself out of the fact that I may have the Chik, thinking I worked with a group this week, was on the go a lot, my old body is probably just tired from the long week.  But no, as the night went on it started to become clear that I did, in fact, have the beginnings of Chikungunya.  Blerg.

So, Friday I began the ritual of alternating Tylonel and Ibuprofen throughout the day.  I was achy and had a mild fever, but it was manageable.  I thought, “Hmmmm, I don’t seem to have it as bad as some of the others that have had it.”  Then Saturday came.  Saturday I couldn’t get my fever below 101, even with the alternating pain-killers/fever-reducers.  And the pain… YIKES.  My knees felt like they were going to buckle and my ankles ~ oooo-eeeee.  You never realize how much you use different body parts until they are unusable.  Like the middle finger.  Try opening a water bottle without touching the middle finger or any of its tendons etc.  Who knew I took “tall man” (middle finger) for granted?

anklepain2And it got me thinking.  The Bible actually talks about this.  Like we may think the middle finger is just another one of the fingers, or the ankles, they’re a nice bodily feature to connect the feet to the legs.  Check out this passage from 1 Cor. 12:12-31.  “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.”  One body part can’t say to the other, “I don’t need you”.  God places us in “bodies”, whether in our churches, communities, ministries and maybe even businesses. And each person in the “body” plays a role.  And that role is a vital part of the operation of the whole body.  Whether you take out the garbage or make a multi-million business deal ~ your role is important.  In ministry, maybe you’re not the “one out front” but the stuff you do in the background helps the body function as a whole.  The body is not one person, but a group of people that God brings together, with different gifts and abilities, different interests and desires, different ways to add value and productivity to the body.  If the middle finger is out of commission it affects the hand and the arm and the whole body.  If the ankle is stricken with pain, the body walks with a limp, is slower, less effective.

Two things we can pull from this:

1) Do not think what you do or can contribute doesn’t matter to the body.  “God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.” “…those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary.”  You matter.  God has gifted you in a very specific way for you to serve at your church/ministry, in your community and maybe even at your job. You are valued and needed.

2) Do not think that you don’t need the rest of the body. “And if they were all the same part, where would the body be?” If we were a bunch of elbows walking around, all that would get accomplished is a bunch of rib nudging. “If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”  Work together, with all the parts of the body, to function (in the case of ministry) for God’s glory.

Driving in the DR

IMG_3313Many of you have been to the DR so you know what I’m talking about when I say the driving down here is a bit “loco” (crazy!!). I must admit, things have greatly improved since we were here last in that (most) people now actually follow the traffic lights (actually stopping if the light is red), yield to other traffic and drive in the correct direction. Like I said, most. The unwritten rule of thumb is “the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the right of way.”  Especially in the capital, There are traffic jams like nobody’s business and if you want out of it, you have to be bold and maneuver your way through it around semi trucks, buses and the motorcycle! Oh, the motorcycles!
I actually prefer to drive in the DR than be a passenger. When I’m driving I feel some semblance of control. I can scan the crossroads for motos, navigate around trucks and buses and wiggle my way into parking spaces… like a boss :). Ha!
Maybe part of liking to drive in the DR has more to do with just being “in control” while driving. Maybe I would like to be in control over a LOT of things in my life right now that are not in control…
Like our house.  It has sold (well it is under contract), but there are a few things the buyers want done before we close. Those things were supposed to be done by the appraisal (today) but weren’t. We lined up someone to do it, but that fell through.  In that moment there is absolutely nothing we could do to “control” the situation. The work wasn’t done.  The appraisal was today.
And, with the house being sold(ish), we need to secure housing for when we return to Findlay (two weeks from MONDAY!). As of today, we have no idea where we will be living.  We will not be homeless as we have friends who have offered us to stay, but for the long term, we don’t know of we’ll rent a house/apartment, buy a camper :))), or stay at the city mission. (Hey, it’s a nice place!).
And schooling ~ this fall and when we get to the DR. And where we’ll live when we get here. And when we’ll get here. And when we’ll have our support. And when we’ll have our debt paid off. And what exactly will be be doing when we DO get here.  And what that all looks like. And…
Completely out of our control in this moment.
But, like a passenger in a Dominican guagua (bus), we are not in control. The Driver sees in front and behind. He scans the next corner before we can even see it. He knows the bumps and potholes of the road and navigates them perfectly. He rides out the traffic jams and the narrow stretches of road in the remotest of places. We just have to trust. Go along for the ride in anticipation of each next destination and the view of the journey.  Just like we have to trust our loving and sovereign God ~ who is already around whatever corners/potholes/traffic jams are in our near (and distant) future.
Well known verses, but full of powerful truths that I am holding on today.  Maybe they will be an encouragement to you also!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ HCSB)
“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ HCSB)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33‬ HCSB)
Do you feel like some things are out of your control in your life?
Trust. Believe. Seek.  God is in control. 

Twenty

Well, if we’re friends on Facebook or follow each other on Instagram, you may be tiring of all of the #TBT Throwback Thursdays or #FF Flackback Friday pictures of me and Kevin.  But they’ve all been leading up to this one day. Our TWENTIETH anniversary.  I am not even old enough to have been married twenty years.  But, alas.  It is so.

Here are the pic and their captions if you have missed them along the way.  I can’t help but have a cheesy grin on my face as the memories of each of these eras in our lifetime swirl in my mind.  God is so good.

#tbt to high school with @kevingrub. 20-some years ago… Hard to believe we will have been married 20 years next Wednesday!! #Grubinski20 #highschoolsweetheartsIMG_1468

I know it’s not #tbt day but with all this prom nostalgia, I thought if post mine and @kevingrub prom pix!! #younglove ❤️❤️❤️IMG_1434 High school graduation. #grubinski20 #highschoolsweethearts #wednesdayisour20thanniversaryScreen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.11.28 PM
May 21, 1994.  The start of our new life together.  Look at these KIDS!IMG_1583 From engagement to vows to a kiss to a honeymoon.  May or may not post the “funny honeymoon story” later this week…
IMG_1585 Three highlights of our 20 years of marriage are each time God blessed us with a new addition to our family.#thankful #grubinski20 @joey_grubinski is top left.@grubinski30 is bottom left and @emma_grubinski11 is bottom right. #blessed #anniversaryweekIMG_1581Another highlight of our 20 years of marriage has been 17 of those following Christ and 13 of those in “full-time ministry.” Ministry is not without its challenges, but it is a JOY to serve The Lord alongside this guy! Thankful for the years of ministry we’ve had so far and am looking forward to MANY MANY more! #blessed #grubinski20 #20yearstomorrow #ministry #pastorswife #missionary #missionsIMG_1609

 

Thankful for the Grace of God on our lives.  In case you missed it yesterday, here are 10 IMG_1565Scriptures to Strengthen your Marriage.  Putting and keeping God first has been saving
grace for our marriage.  Thankful for the work He does in us.  Looking forward to the next twenty.

Still dancing,

Kevin & Kendra