I Called to the Lord

Psalm 120:1 says, “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me.”

In the scary moments after our split second accident, last July, Emma and I could not get out of the car at first. She said “I’m OK. I’m OK”, I said, “I’m OK,” and I grabbed her hand and cried out, “Jesus, help us.”  JESUS HELP US!

This was not a flowery prayer or a long, drawn out prayer exercise following an acronym for proper prayers to be lifted up. This was not a perfectly written quote with a comma before the One we were addressing… This was –  in our distress we called out to God – and He answered us. 

I tried my door again and could open it.  Miracle? I don’t know, but we did just call out to God.  I’ll leave that up to you to decide. 

That prayer has sustained us throughout these past four months as we deal with the emotional and physical aspects of being in a traumatic car accident.  JESUS HELP US. And He is near.  

I don’t know where you’re at in life, but I do know whatever you’re facing you too can cry out – Jesus, help me – in your distress and He will answer you.   What you need help with may not disappear in a split second (in this world you will have troubles…) – or it may – but He will be near in the process, faithful to use it in your life and give strength for the journey.   

I cannot sing this song @ church (by Bethel Music) without crying as I reflect on God’s goodness, nearness and faithfulness. 

I will sing of all you’ve done

I’ll remember how far you carried me

From beginning until the end

You are faithful, faithful to the end.” 

And if that doesn’t get me – which it does, then we get to this part…

THERE WASN’T A DAY

THAT YOU WEREN’T BY MY SIDE

There wasn’t a day

That You let me fall

All of my life

Your love has been true

All of my life

I will worship you. 

THIS is why I’m passionate about sharing Christ.   It’s not about rules or what we believe or don’t believe as Christians, but it is about a relationship with a LOVING Father who cares, who is compassionate, who is GOOD.  It’s about His Son who took my place on a brutal cross so we could have forgiveness for our wretched ways and access to this loving Father.  It’s about a Holy Spirit who guides but also provides supernatural comfort and strength.  Life is hard, y’all. You don’t have to have a car accident to make that statement.   I could write 1000 pages of the faithfulness of Christ in my life through hard things (many written in this blog).  Don’t go it alone when the One who created you longs to be there for you.  

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Tear That Baby Down!

God is gracious to reveal idols to us. What is any idol?  “A picture or object that is worshipped as a god,” anything that takes priority before God.  It can be anything from food to work, your kids, entertainment, your hobbies (music, sports, hunting, fitness…), your new puppy (wait what?), politics, even serving, status or recognition.  Maybe for you it’s money, success, things?  Or contrarily it could be our struggles?  Maybe it’s social media, electronics, gadgets, gizmos and more? Could it even be your friends?

For me, God shows me when something is creeping into idolatry when:

  • It gets me all worked up
  • It is my main topic of conversation
  • It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up or keeps me up at night
  • It lures me from my quiet time with the Lord
  • I get all obsessed with it
When God shows us idols in our lives, our response should be:
Thankfulness – that He cares enough to show us when/if we have something that comes before Him because He desires an intimate, personal relationship with us – let that sink in… the Creator of the Universe wants a personal relationship with us! Wow.
Repentance – an urgency to tear down any idols and turn to God.  Confess what has been taking His place and ask for forgiveness and for Him to work in your life and heart to tear that baby down.
Renewal – that He will again be your first love. Spend time in worship and adoration of our loving Father and His Precious Son. Hold that idol in the light of a Holy God and focus on what really matters in this life. Place your attention and your energy into your relationship with the Lord, replacing the energy and attention that was put on the idol.
Nothing on that list above is bad in and of itself, but only one thing can have first place. What (or who) do you want to have first place in your life?
Nothing satisfies like a personal relationship with God.
For further study:
1 John 5:20-21
2 Kings 17:15
Isaiah 45:5
Matt. 6:33
Deut. 12:32-13:18

Photocred: klove

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.

Happy SWEET 16 ~ JULIA!!

10:45pm – just chilling on the couch, watching “Dateline”. It had been a long day. My grandpa’s funeral was that morning, followed by the lunch… you know the drill. Emotionally draining. It was a full circle-of-life day knowing that my baby girl was due to arrive in just over 3 weeks. After the funeral, I spent some time snuggling my 2 1/2 year old niece, Lauren. It was precious, snuggling Lauren and feeling little Julia in my belly. But now we were back in Findlay, the day was wrapping up and I was relaxing before getting back at it at school the next day. I had told my students on Monday, “Guys, I’m NOT having the baby. My Grandpa passed away and tomorrow (that Tuesday) is the funeral. I WILL BE BACK WEDNESDAY.”

Then I felt something. Kind of like that feeling when start your period, or pee your pants or… what was happening?!? I jolted to the bathroom (as quick as a 9 month pregnant lady can “jolt”). My. Water. Had. Broke.

What the wha??? I wasn’t due for three more weeks. I told my students I would be back on Wednesday. I told my student teacher I would be back on Wednesday! Um, I hadn’t fully prepared for maternity leave yet! Yikes!

I called the Dr. He assured me that I didn’t need to go to the hospital until the contractions started. So we waited. And at 11:15pm I called my stoic, authoritative boss (my principal ~ that was a fun call 🙂 ) and let him know I wouldn’t be in the next day. Eeeeeek! What was happening???

A little while later I had a contraction. After a few of those, I did what every new mom would do… pack up and head to the hospital! 😀 Once at the hospital, my contractions were registering irregularly on the monitor, and the precious nurse, ahem, and by precious I mean #$@#%@, told me my water hadn’t broke. (Oh really, what exactly was that liquid coming out of me few hours ago? It certainly wasn’t pee!) They sent me home. Gahhhh!

We rested a bit but at 7am my contractions did start and were regular. By 11am I called the Dr (my doctor was out of town, sadly, so I called his back-up) and since the contractors were about 7-8 minutes apart, he wanted me to come in to the office to be checked. When he checked me, he said, “Your baby has a full head of hair! Time to head over to the hospital!”

After a very manageable labor and an hour of pushing… shortly after 7pm, Julia Lee Grubinski entered the world.   3 years of trying, 6 months of infertility treatments, almost nine months of waiting, 12 hours of labor. She was here! And we became parents! A 6 lbs 9oz bundle of Grubbie love, Grubbie nose and all!

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderAnd now she’s 16. Sweet 16! 16 years of giggles and grins. Energy and exploration. Curiosity and some craziness. Maybe even a little drama…. He he! She IS a girl, after all! She has always been strong-willed, which when channeled she achieves what she puts her mind to. She sets goals and reaches them. She loves God and is passionate about serving Him.

Happy birthday, JujuBee! I cannot imagine life without you. You make me laugh. Your love of life is contagious. You’re sensitive. You’re sweet. God began a good work in you and it is our blessing to watch as He continues to complete it.

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Spanning the Globe

Well, at least the Americas ;).

Kevin, Julia and Joey have been in the Dominican Republic for a whole week now (feels longer…)  and this morning Emma boarded a bus with her classmates heading to Canada to visit Niagara Falls and Toronto. And, well, I’m here in Ohio.  And Michigan.   THIS Sunday we will all be reunited as Emma and I will make our way to the DR late Sunday night.  Can. Not. Wait.

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We had a little Passport stress as Joey’s passport hadn’t come yet as of Tuesday May 28th, so we paid to have it expedited.  It made it.  Praise the Lord. (Speaking of Passports, maybe Kevin will blog about his passport miracle… that would make a great #MissionsMonday post next week, babe 😉 )!

Anyhoo, Kevin, Julia and Joey quickly got settled in (to our 2 bedroom with 2 bunk-beds each apartment 😉 ), have been meeting people and already going out on ministry with the groups that were there or are there now.  Kevin is working closely with Frank, the Director at SCORE in the DR and learning and helping where he can.  He has also enjoyed working with Robersy who has several baseball outreaches in the DR.  Joey has been going with him and has even been playing BASEBALL ~ he hasn’t played baseball in YEARS ~ but, “when in Rome…”  Julia has been loving on kiddos ~ in the villages, missionary kiddos and kiddos from the Lily House. She is SO good with kids. IMG_2195IMG_2192IMG_2193 IMG_2194

Meanwhile in Ohio… Emma had basketball team camp for the high school team and we spent last week hanging out, getting some packing/organizing done and got to attend my niece’s high school graduation.  We have been patiently waiting for Emma’s passport as well… which finally came on Friday. #betterlatethannever  Good thing it came too, because she needed either that (her passport) or her birth certificate (which the passport agency had to have her passport done) to go on this Canada trip.  Yikes!  Nothing like cutting it close!! She gets home LATE Friday night, has basketball scrimmages on Saturday (LB Shootout) and then Sunday we leave for the Dominican.  There’s a lot in-between there… but they’re just details, details details ;). IMG_2027

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Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  These next six weeks are going to fly by.  Pray we make MUCH of Jesus! 

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

10 Scriptures that will STRENGTHEN your Marriage.

Tomorrow is my and Kevin’s 20th wedding anniversary (cue FiReWoRkS). In preparation for that here’s one more Marriage Post. I actually meant for there to be a few more of these (marriage posts) before tomorrow, but life happens. In case you missed it, here is the post from my parent’s 50th anniversary and a little ditty about being and being married to a “fixer upper” :).   Today we’re going to share 10 verses that will strengthen your marriage. Here we goooooooooo.

strengthenmarriage10. Husbands, love your wivesEph. 5 Oh, come on. You knew it was coming :). But seriously, though. Why do you think this is spelled out in God’s Word? Because it’s not something that comes naturally. It’s something you have to focus on, be intentional with. Guys, we need to know you love us. Aside from God, you are our protector, the love our lives. We need you to show us. Kevin has worked at this over the past 20 years. He is intentional about showing love to me through his love language (acts of service) and mine (quality time). Paul instructs you to love her as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. He goes on to say to wash her in the word. Guys, we ladies are hungry for you to love us and lead us.

9. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. Fair play, I suppose :). As a young, independent, strong woman when we got married, this was not something I was thrilled about. However, after the Holy Spirit began showing me what this means and I saw this lived out in godly, older women, I began to understand WHY God laid this out for us ladies. It doesn’t mean you are a doormat, but the final decision (after discussions in which you both have input) rest with our guys. And with that decision lies that responsibility. The hubs is responsible for us as the leader and is responsible for us (and our kiddos if applicable). Ladies crave and need love; guys crave and need respect.   Respect your hubs as the leader of your home. God planned it this way because He knows best. Trust God and pray for Him to lead your hubs as he leads you, and submit to that leadership.

8. Pray constantly. 1 Thes 5:17 I mean seriously. Marriage is HARD. The odds are against us, people. Pray. Pray and pray and then pray some more. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy families and marriages, but WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERES, more than victorious through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:37) Pray for your own heart. Pray for your spouse’s heart. Pray for unity, for LOVE, for strength.

7. Do everything without grumbling and arguing/complaining. Phil. 2:14 I never said we had it all together ;). Ouch. But one of the main things we can do is not only not grumble/argue/complain to them, but also don’t grumble/argue/complain about them. Don’t talk bad about your spouse, friends. Especially in public. Talk candidly with a trusted friend in confidence, or discuss an issue with a pastor/leader etc. when necessary, but never in public. And for the love… not on social media.

6. On the contrary (to number 7), outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10. If you have to do something publicly, honor your spouse. (Of course, don’t honor them publicly if you’re not honoring them privately… just sayin’.) Honor them. If you have something nice to say, say it. For example: “You’re the bomb!” “No, YOU’RE the BOMB!” “No, really! YOU ARE THEEEEE BBBOOOMMMMBBBB!!!” 🙂 You get the point. Honor your spouse in your words, your actions and your with your life.

5. Do all that you can to live in peace. Rom. 12:18 Whatever you can do on your part to promote peace, do it. It may take biting your tongue or a bit of compromising, but it will be worth it. Did I mention before that MARRIAGE IS HARD? It is. We are cantankerous little human beings, aren’t we? Ask for the Holy Spirit to help in keeping the peace. He will.

4. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet. 4:8 The line right before that is show deep love for each other. What if you’re not feeling it? I’ve been there.  Pray for God to help you to love; love deeply and love consistently. The Trolls in Frozen have it right when they say, “Throw a little love their way… and you’ll bring out their best!”

3. And a close theme with #4, forgive a lot. Something about 70x7ish. Matt. 18:22 Love and forgive. Show mercy. Again, not an easy thing.   We are told to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Nobody’s perfect (duh!). I know I want to be forgiven when I’m a schmuck, so I must also forgive.

2. Love (your spouse) as yourself. Mark 12 I love the YMCA Camp Storer phase, “I’m Third.” God first. Others second. I’m third. If we would truly live this way, we would see revivals in marriages all across America. All across the WORLD! Put his/ her interests, preferences, desires before your own. Again, this is NOT natural. It’s just not. But look out for your spouse. That is counter-cultural since the world tells us to look out for #1 (AKA yourself).

1. And finally, the number one thing you can do to strengthen your marriage is keep God first, personally and as a couple. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Mark 12 Love God. Seek Him and your relationship with Him. The best thing you can do to have a better marriage is to have a relationship with Jesus. You can’t spend time with Christ and not become more like Him. More loving. More patient. More considerate. More peaceful. More kind. I cannot imagine what a wreck I would be individually and as a wife without Jesus – cuz Jesus already has His work cut out for him with me :).

I don’t do any of these near enough. I sure hope we get another 20/40/60 years together to get some of these better than we do today. God’s grace is amazing. Hope you are challenged by these verses as we have been. Feel free to share scripture below that would also help to strengthen marriages. Be blessed!