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

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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.

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!

Happy 50th, Mom ~n~ Dad!!

In a couple of months, two to be exact, Kevin and I will be celebrating a milestone anniversary ~ 20 years.   That being said – I’m excited to share that we have a handful of marriage posts coming up between now and then.  And what better way to kick these off than to honor my Mom and Dad today ~ on their 50th anniversary.

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50 years ago today, a couple of 20-somethings stood before God, family and friends and pledged their love and commitment to each other.  After a courtship that included Dad taking long drives to visit Mom at OSU, double dates with friends (that are still friends today) and well – a whole lot of shenanigans that they probably never told us about (*gasp :p) they became man and wife.  First comes love, then comes marriage… then comes three (awesome… ahem) kiddos in baby carriages.

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The kid-rearing years are marked by Dad working hard and showing love to his family through his commitment to provide for us.  Mom stayed home with us kiddos while we were little, then went back to school to go back to teaching.  Those were busy years, like they are for all working families with kiddos under the roof.  I appreciate all you did to provide for us, Mom and Dad, working hard so we could have what we had and could do what we did.   I’m sure your marriage had its ebbs and flows throughout those years.  Thanks for sticking it out.

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Then, we all left.  One by one we married, moved out and moved on.   These past 20+ years you guys moved gracefully into that next chapter of your life – the empty nest, retirement and grandparenthood (which you ROCK by the way).   Life changes and some things never do.  Your marriage remains the common thread of all these years.

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One cannot reflect on these 50 years without noting the multiple couples that you all continue to do life with, many of them for most of these 50 years.   I love that about your life – the friendships that have been an integral facet of your marriage.  You are so blessed.

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So here we are reflecting on 50 years.  Wowzas!  50 years.  “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”  🙂  I’m sure anyone reading this can relate if they’ve been married for more than A DAY!  If I think of my parent’s marriage the words ooey, gooey, sickening sweet do not come to mind.  Ha!  And that’s ok.  Every marriage looks different.  For realzzzz.  What does come to mind, though are longevity, love, commitment and perseverance.   There is something to say about all of that. A picture-perfect, fairy tale love affair? No.  Not like what is pictured in the movies, but a love story speckled with fun, friends and family.  And eye-rolling, sarcasm and stiff drinks… hey – whatever works 🙂.

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Thank you, Mom and Dad for being a tremendous example of commitment, perseverance and LOVE.   Thanks for showing us, the next generation, that love is worth holding on to and that the true fairy tale story is one that can still be celebrated 50 years later.  Thanks for your commitment to God, each other and all of us.

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I don’t know of anything that will put a test to your faith like marriage does, so on your GOLD anniversary, I leave you with this verse:

Your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7

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Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.  Can’t wait to celebrate tonight!