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

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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!

Fixer-Upper

Is it the clumpy way he walks?

Or the grumpy way he talks?

Or the pear-shaped, square-shaped weirdness of his feet?

 

And though we know he washes well – he always ends up sort of smelly.

But you’ll never meet a fellow who’s as

Sensitive and sweet!

So he’s a bit of a fixer-upper,So he’s got a few flaws…

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Are you singing yet? If you’re not, then you obviously haven’t seen “Frozen” yet. And my goodness, why in the world NOT? 🙂 If you have kiddos under 18 (or maybe even if you don’t), you may be like me and have seen it more times than you have fingers – in which case as a blogger, it’s bound to end up in a post. Here we go!

Believe it or not, this is a marriage post. I know, I know – I told you back in March that we were going to share a few things on the subject. And it’s still coming (starting now) ~ it’s been a bit of whirlwind around here.

Back in March my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and last month in April, my in-laws celebrated their 51st! WOW! It’s almost unheard of to see a couple make it to that milestone, and we are blessed that BOTH of our parents have made it and crossed over it!  The premise of these marriage posts is the anticipation of Kevin and my 20th anniversary THIS MONTH! Now, if I tell you it’s been all rainbows and butterflies and unicorns I’d be straying from the truth. None of the three of us couples may be writing the “Stellar Marriage Book” anytime soon – and largely because we are married to a “fixer upper”. 😉

Is it the way that he runs scared?

Or that he’s socially impaired?

Or that he only likes to tinkle in the woods?

 frozenannasparkle

He he! I’m sure we could all write some verses about our spouse. I’ll spare you mine – ha! It’s no doubt that you’re married to a “fixer upper” too. How do I know that? Well, Jesus was the ONLY ONE who walked this earth and was perfect.

So what do you do if your guy’s got a couple of bugs or your gal’s brain’s a bit betwixt? 

frozenkristofanna

Keep listening…

You can fix this fixer-upper up with a little bit of love!

We’re not sayin’ you can change him,‘cause people don’t really change*.We’re only saying that love’s a force that’s powerful and strange.

People make bad choices if they’re mad,or scared, or stressed.

Throw a little love their way.

Throw a little love their way.

And you’ll bring out their best.

The thing is, we look at our fixer-upper and think – there’s nothing that can fix that fixer-upper.   We think the grass is greener…. When the truth is:

grassgreener

I have been there. And to fix a fixer-upper one way to start is to:

LOVE – If she’s grouchy in the morning, love her anyway. If the honey-do list gets ignored – love him anyway. If you can’t decide on what movie to watch, what color to paint the kitchen or where to take vacation – love ‘em anyway. If they work too many hours, or if they don’t work enough hours, love ‘em anyway. Love covers a multitude of sins (offenses, shortcomings, failures…). 1 Pet. 4:8

PRAY – if you think you can’t make it another day, pray. If you think you don’t even love them anymore, pray. If he’s disinterested or she’s distracted, pray. If life is busy with the kids, school, work, church, activities… pray. If he’s annoying or she’s a-naggin’, pray. (Real talk.)

SEEK – if it’s that bad – seek help (especially if any sort of abuse is involved). In other situations, seek counsel – your pastor, a counselor, a godly older couple. MARRIAGE IS HARD. You are NOT ALONE! Seek the help you need, it is worth it. God CAN heal, save and restore.

When all these things happen to you—the blessings and curses I have set before you—and you come to your senses while you are in all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul by doingeverything I am giving you today, then He will restore your fortunes,have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.Even if your exiles are at the ends of the earth, He will gather you and bring you back from there. Deut. 30:1-4

So he’s a bit of a fixer-upper,but this we’re certain of
: you can fix this fixer-upper up with a little bit of love!

kristofanna

 

PS – *People can and do change, especially when God is the One doing the changing :).

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

50years

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

LOVE

You’ve heard it read at weddings.  You gloss over it when reading in the New Testament because of its blaring familiarity.  The LOOOOOVVVEEEE chapter.  In fact, you may stop reading now, because you know it.   1 Cor. 13.love

All that aside, let’s take a fresh look at these verses.  Forget about romantic love.  Forget (for the time being) about marital love.  Forget about parental love or amicable love.   Read these verses, look deep inside yourself and examine your own heart, and I will mine.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you fall on the “love-ometer.”  I fall short.  Too short.  So I pray as I study these verses that they will touch me anew.  And help me LOVE well.  And I’m praying for you as you read this. I’d love to hear what sticks out to you as you read this with expectancy.

If I speak human or angelic languages

but do not have love,

I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy

and understand all mysteries

and all knowledge,

and if I have all faith

so that I can move mountains

but do not have love, I am nothing.

And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,

and if I give my body in order to boast

but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.

Love does not envy,

is not boastful, is not conceited,

does not act improperly,

is not selfish, is not provoked,

and does not keep a record of wrongs.

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness

but rejoices in the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends..

Now these three remain:

faith, hope, and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1 Cor. 13:1-8a, 13

Feel free to share your thoughts as you read this in the comments section.  What sticks out to you?   ❤ K

 

15 Week Update

Has it really been 15 weeks?   It has.  15 weeks since our journey with LifePoint Community Church came to an end.  In some ways it seems SO long ago.  In some ways it was just yesterday.   Let me start this update with this.  We loved LifePoint Community Church – not the building – the wonderful people God allowed us to love and serve, and to serve with.  Not loved, love.  And we miss them (you).  And we miss that mission – reaching a demographic that is still unreached in this area.  We trust God will reach this community – He is still at work, even though our doors are closed.  His mission continues and was never dependent on us – He will call and equip others for this task.  Thankful for His sovereignty in all of this.

So what have we been up to?

There’s some things that haven’t changed – busy schedule with work, job searches, school, kids’ activities.  Initially we pulled back a bit socially, and have slowly and steadily been increasing in that arena.  We are so thankful for the wonderful family and friends that God has used to minister TO us over these past 15 weeks.  Every phone call, text, message, visit, coffee date, prayer lifted, joke told, hug has been life-giving to us. We are truly blessed.

The first few weeks we attended church online at Lifechurch.tv and loved it!  Julia loves Pastor Craig’s pipes…. And Joey and Emma think he is hilarious.  Seriously though, I hold LifeChurch.tv in such high regard and have continued to attend church online and/or listen to the sermon podcasts.  His messages are biblical, challenging and applicable.  The leadership at Gateway Church (practically in our backyard) reached out to Kevin very shortly after closing LP to provide encouragement, pastor to pastor.  That encouragement was a blessing.   They and some others have been very gracious.  We have attended there most Sundays.  I have been attending Bible Study there and last night, Kevin and I tried out a LifeGroup.

Kevin has been in counseling (*gasp)!  I include this for a couple of reasons… We have always been HUGE advocates of counseling.   In ministry, we (Kevin and I) can encourage people in the word – but there’s something about meeting with a counselor that is so beneficial.  I also share it because we are human.  We stepped out in faith to plant LP 5 years ago, and because of that had targets on our backs – just like ANYONE that steps out in FAITH to do ANYTHING in Jesus’ Name.  Do we and did we have faith? Yes – sustaining faith and God has continually shown us resilient grace.  Yet we are still human, and sometimes we too need to reach out for help to process hurts and disappointments and soak up some wisdom and direction.  The person God lead us to has been the perfect fit for Kev and we are so blessed that he has had this opportunity.

I started a new job in October and it is going great. I have a wonderful boss and great co-workers and so far am enjoying the work.  I work mostly from home, but also go to our office in Toledo about once a week.  Thankful for God’s provision for this job and (drumroll please….) BENEFITS starting December 1st.  Praise the LORD!

How are we, you ask?

We are doing well.  We really are.  The Lord has been gracious.  We have the joy of the Lord and even happiness.  Our marriage is strong, our kids are amazing and life is going on.  We are not sitting the greatest financially, but God has provided and is our Provider.  From the day LP closed, God brought us the message, “I’m not finished with you yet,” from a plethora of people/situations.  We were thankful for the encouragement, but were looking forward to a break, an indefinite sabbatical from ministry…  A secular job for Kevin.  Make some money, pay off some debt, breathe… But we have not stumbled upon such a job for Kevin.  He did have an offer for a ministry position that was very difficult to turn down.   God hasn’t taken us from this world and still has purpose for our lives.  He has a great plan and has used the past several years to prepare us for what’s next.  He’s always a step ahead, laying the groundwork and He doesn’t make mistakes.

So what’s next?  Be back soon with that answer. 🙂

Beauty from Ashes

It’s a phone call no parent, friend, family member or pastor wants to get.  “There’s been an accident.”  Or in the case of my sweet friend, Tiffany, the announcement didn’t come via Verizon.  It came with two police officers visiting her at work to escort her to the hospital.  “There’s been an accident.”

Her husband, two children and niece had been in a horrible accident.  Deep in the pit of her soul, Tiffany knew the outcome as the officers answered questions about her kids and her niece, but not her husband.  Her 32 year old husband.  The love of her life – just a couple weeks before what would’ve been their 10th anniversary.nickkerfoot

We didn’t know Tiffany and Nick well when the accident happened.  They had just been coming to our church for about 3 weeks, although I knew Tiffany from work.  In fact, Tiffany didn’t even have our number yet.  A mutual friend that was there with her at the hospital knew us and knew how to get Kevin’s number. And card playing with friends came to an abrupt halt.Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.23.54 PM

In the three years since that fateful day in July, Tiffany and I have become very good friends.  We have laughed together.  We have met for many a tearful coffee date.  Not only have I been there for her, but she has been there for me.  She is a treasured friend of mine. We have laughed at the ridiculousness of dating (that maybe wasn’t so funny at the time).  We chuckle at the sweetness of her kiddos.   In the bleakest moments we have held on to a miniscule shred of hope together.  Because – somewhere in the crevasses of our soul we hold on to a HOPE.  A hope that heals.  A hope that restores.  A hope that brings beauty from ashes.Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.25.33 PM

This Saturday, Tiffany is marrying again.  A wonderful man that God has brought into her life that loves her and her kiddos.  A man that has stolen her heart like she never thought could fully happen again.   My eyes have welled with tears many times in recent weeks in anticipation of this new beginning for her.  My heart swells in thankfulness to our gracious God for this answer to prayer.  And my mouth will bear a smile on Saturday reflecting the joyous hope we have in a Savior who never leaves us.  Never forsakes us.tiffandbrad

Let this be a reminder, a stone of remembrance if you will (Josh. 4:20-24), if you too are in the bleakest of days – that God’s specialty is taking beauty from ashes, remembering what has been taken yet redeeming what is to come.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

A joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! 

For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation

And draped me in a robe of righteousness.

I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit

Or a bride with her jewels.  Isa. 61:3,10

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