Renovations….

It seems there have been a lot of renovations around here. We recently had some cabinets put in under our stairs and I am well, in love. They are are great for storage and will help keep our home a bit more organized!

We have also been in the front yard planting, transplanting, and adding some new foliage to “yesterday’s” dormant spots. I absolutely love being in the garden and can’t wait for everything to bloom….in its time.


….some delicious peonies from the yard….

And then, there is another type of renovation that has taken place recently. The renovation of my heart. And if it were a Facebook status update it would sound like this, “Renovations are never easy, especially when it is your life.” Let me explain. Hubby and I took an amazing trip to Maui about a month ago. It was a much needed break, a great chance to reconnect, and it gave us the opportunity to finish the sentences we haven’t finished because of many children underfoot. Over the course of that week, we relearned some things about each other that had taken a back burner. We realized that we had in fact put the kids in the center of our relationship which was something we had never wanted. It was time to take our marriage back and pursue it with the same fervor we had committed to 10 years ago. For me, it means asking for help which is extremely hard for me to do. I am so used to being with the kids all day that I just go on autopilot and don’t ask for help. Honestly, I don’t get it all done in one day {whatever the “all” is} and then I spend my nights tying up loose ends when I could be hanging out with hubby. And so, we are adding more chores to the kids charts. I am making a list of the things I want to get done during the day, the absolutes and the maybes and then letting the maybes go. And lastly, it is putting my phone down and my computer to sleep when hubby and I have precious alone time. Wow, technology is fabulous and I love it, but it can seriously steal me away. Hubby deserves more.

Also being renovated is my mommy style. I wrote this post about narcissism recently and the topic has not left my mind yet. I suppose that means God still has work to do. I am a stay at home mom. Most days I really like my job. Occasionally, I LOVE my job and then there are the days I wish I could do something else. I know that sounds bad, but I think many of you could relate. I forget how blessed I am. I have three amazing children that have special talents and abilities. Their minds are sponges that are anxious to soak up anything they hear, both good and bad. My home is a place of refuge and safety from the cold world, but it is also a classroom and I am a teacher. No, I don’t homeschool but I am the one that spends most of day with them. I have countless opportunities to teach them. For some reason, I have lost sight of that in the last two years.  Instead of spending time investing in my kids, I feel as though I spend all day seeking a little break for me. A chance to “escape” my job and crawl into a little whole {technology makes this really easy}. Don’t get me wrong, for sanity sake we all need a break at times, but have you ever flopped into bed at night and had to ask for forgiveness because you knew that you didn’t do your job well that day? I used to ask for forgiveness a lot and then it got to the point that I stopped asking for forgiveness not because I gave up, but because I settled for it as the new normal. That is never the normal I wanted in my home. My children are only home for a little while and I want to make the most of time that I have with them. What does this look like from my perspective? More craft time even though it will more than likely destroy my newly mopped floors. Letting the kids “wash” the dishes and get water all over the place instead of turning on a show so that I can do it quickly and then go check my email for the last 11 minutes before the show is over. Include them in my daily to-dos instead of getting frustrated that they are too present and I’m not getting anything done. Spending time outside taking in God’s beauty and keeping my phone in my pocket the whole time. And lastly, taking opportunities to teach them to pray. My prayer life is lacking and this is part of my personal renovation, why not include the kids?

...a prayer book I made with the kids filled with pictures of family and friends....

On paper this seems totally overwhelming and yet I have incredible peace. There is no possible way that I can balance my marriage and my family perfectly. I couldn’t even do it well, but I have a God that has all the strength I need. He promises that He’ll never leave me nor forsake me. He delights in me and wants to spend time with me. He loves me and he loves my hubby and our kids. He has great plans for us. These are the promises I hang on to when I feel burdened by our newly renovated life. I spend time with the builder in the early morning while the house is still and quiet. I seek Him and receive the tools I need to LIVE that day! To be present in the moments. Yes, that is it, to be present in the moment and to make the most of those moments.

Renovations are never easy, but the end result is beautiful.

 :: KC ::

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There Is No Time Left

Hello again! Wow, it has been a while, huh? Our family has been traveling quite a bit in the last month not to mention that hubby and I also got to sneak away for our 10 year anniversary trip to Maui!

I thank my mom and dad so much for holding down the fort while we were gone! Now that we are getting settled back into normal life, I am returning to the blog with a renewed spirit; it is amazing what some sunshine will do {said from a native Arizonan living in the northwest in April}.

I have a lot to say. I find that many times throughout my day I have a thought or an experience that I want to share on my blog. Some are funny and light, some are heavy and deep. Recently, however, I have had the same message playing loud and clear in so many different areas of my life. Has this ever happened to you? It seems that everywhere you turn God is pursuing you to consider His ways, His plan or His purposes. Well, this is me right now. I am not sure I’ll be able to dictate it perfectly, but I’m going to try as it has been over the course of the last few months that this message has been playing very loud in my head and in my heart.

Being apart from the kids certainly gives me perspective. I come home with new, innovative ideas for encouraging strong work ethic. Great ideas for tackling whining. Super methods for keeping the house organized and of course, fabulous ways to maintain the entire household without feeling exhausted {chuckle, chuckle}. Yes, I feel energized and refreshed by these new visions and even keep them for a while {at least that is what history has shown}.  But the reality is that they begin to slip away. And for one reason or another they energy gets depleted and I find myself back at the starting place frustrated and well, exhausted.  Right before I left for Maui I was finishing up week 5 of Beth Moore’s study on the book of James. She spoke only a few words, but it left a lasting impression. Let’s just say that it was almost like I was being branded by one of those irons used on a cow! She said, “Narcissism. If you aren’t fighting it, you are living it.” OUCH! What does narcissism have to do with new routines? Follow me, I think up all these great ways to run our family, run our life, run our marriage, run our kids’ lives, run our budget, run our …. , run our ….. , run our …. But what I fail to realize is that it all takes time. And if I were being honest, I am too narcissistic to want to give up so much of my time. Whether it is because I want to work out, finish a conversation with a friend, not be late to church, or read a Facebook status update {embarrassing, I know}, I don’t like to be interrupted. I don’t want to always give up MY time.

narcissism :: A consuming self-absorption or self-love; a type of egotism. Narcissists constantly assess their appearance, desires, feelings, and abilities.

With that in my head, this trip’s “reassessment period” looked a little different. Instead of drafting new ways to enforce desired behaviors, I was humbled in asking God how my pride has gotten in the way of the change and growth He wants for me and for our family. The time that I have wasted because I cared more about me than about the things He has called me to {my children, my husband, my neighbors, etc}.

And then I heard this song while out for an early run one morning.

I cracked. I was humbled. And while I listened to the words, my feet picked up pace while the tears fell from my eyes. “To tell the world there is no time left.” Do I live as if there is no time left? Easter week seems to stir my passions and remind me of what it is that I truly want to live for. Jesus. I stand in church with my eyes closed as I sing about my Savior that suffered for me and then rose from the dead so that I might have life.

Today I write this ashamed that I don’t live as if there is no time left. I want to. There will be a day when this world will come to an end. Take heart, there are greater things promised for those who believe in Him. But there are many who don’t believe. It is a message that needs to be shared with the very broken world we live in. Such sorrow and emptiness fills this earth and in it people find no peace. But, there is peace. There is hope. There is a love that covers all.

So I ask myself these questions. What am I giving my time to? Who am I giving my time to? At the end of the day, am I proud of the time I spent …. ?

selflessness :: the quality of not putting yourself first but being willing to give your time or money or effort etc. for others

Live as if there is no time left.

Romans 12:10 – Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle {MSG}.

~ KC

 

 

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The black heels …

I have never considered myself to be a graceful gal. I was a cheerleader in high school. I ran track. I buy flats, not heels. On a rare occasion I will wear heels but after Friday’s nights fiasco I am not in a big hurry.

I was delighted to have a date with hubby. Dinner at a great restaurant followed by tickets to the theater {not just the movies here folks}. I primped at home and did my best to get ready while 3 munchkins played around my legs and feet. I actually curled my hair, made my eyes a little smokier than usual, got dressed and slipped on my black heels.

My prince came home from work and we rode off into the sunset ….

Dinner was fantastic. We sat together and talked. It was amazing how we were able to complete a conversation start to finish! Don’t get me wrong, we adore our children but getting a few moments alone together really is heavenly. We wined, dined and desserted {cinnamon ice cream = deliciousness}. It was about four bites into our dessert when we realized we had 11 minutes to get to the show before the curtain call! Manners out the window as I slammed down the rest of my ice cream, ran out to the car and took off to find a parking spot before the show started {don’t worry, we did pay the bill}.

Our tickets were at Will Call so hubby dropped me off and would meet me inside. “I’m sorry ma’am, your show is at the theater 1/2 block up the road” the Will Call lady said as she smiled. Ah, there are TWO theaters in this town! I quickly dialed hubby and realized he hadn’t even moved from the spot where he dropped me off. I high tailed it back to the car; my heels clicking and clacking all the way. I flung open the car door and C R A C K. Something hit me. I nearly fell over. I regained my balance, held my head and slowly climbed into the car. I was dizzy. Hubby said something like….”theater …. road …. tickets …. blah …. blah.” I kind of cried. “KC, are you okay?” Turns out my darling black heels make me a bit taller than usual and the corner of our car door is at perfect striking distance with my forehead. Thankfully there was no blood, but I have a huge bruise in the middle of my head {and it is still puffy}. Cringe!

The show was great amidst my pulsing forehead. My dr. hubby took really good care of me and well, I’ll remember that if I am wearing my black heels I need to lean back a bit when opening my car door.

This is a funny story that will always make me laugh I am sure. I am pleased to share that while still sore and bruised, I have learned something profound from the night I wore my heels. I have learned that God made me me unique. No, I am not graceful. I don’t have good depth perception apparently. I don’t always know the ins and outs of things. But I have a God that loves me. I am His and He has plans for my life just as He promises. And, He has plans for you. Did you know that? He made you unique because He has a great purpose for you, too. Rest in that today. Instead of asking Him, “Why did you make me this way?” Say, “How will you use me today?”

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”  Philippians 2:13

Happy Monday,

KC

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Criticism is not a gift …

Love, obviously the most important key to living the life Christ has called me to. I can’t begin to understand the scope of His love and the love we are to have for others. But, I’ll save that for another post. And yes, we all know the golden rule. It is pretty obvious that treating someone the way we want to be treated is better than the alternative. But then, there is this one … Romans 12:16

“Agree with each other. Don’t be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren’t considered important. Don’t think that you are better than others.”

I think this is so fresh in my mind and so obvious to me right now because just this morning while N and M were coloring, N leaned over to her brother and said, “That is not coloring, that is scribbling.” I quickly squashed her criticism and reminded her that he is 2 years younger and that he is learning. And, she must encourage him rather than criticize.

How easy it is for me to point out her {N’s} critical spirit. But, do I notice mine?  I am plagued with a critical spirit. I’d like to blame it on insecurity and the feeling of being less qualified or important, but really, when it comes down to it, it is pride. Nothing more, nothing less. And, pride is ugly.

Pride, to me, is the very essence of wanting to keep control of all aspects of life so that one appears to “have it all together”.  Criticizing others helps maintain and upper hand, if you will. An edge. A “well at least I don’t…” excuse.

Isn’t that ugly? So this was my spanking. I don’t desire a critical spirit.  Someone once said “Criticism is not a spiritual gift.” I am going to take it a step further and say it is not a fruit of the Spirit either.  It is hurtful, it divides friends and it creates a chasm between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

Instead of accepting this as a personality trait that will not change. I choose to replace it with the R E A L fruit of the Spirit {Gal 5:22}.

L O V E

a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person

J O Y

the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying

P E A C E

a state of mutual harmony between people or groups

P A T I E N C E

quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence

K I N D N E S S

quality of being kind

G O O D N E S S

moral excellence; virtue

G E N T L E N E S S

considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender

S E L F – C O N T R O L

control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings

Just writing this out is a good reminder to me that I have a long way to go. But, I serve a God who has power and can change anything or anyone.

I leave you with this, “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22 {MSG}

Have a grace-filled week!

KC

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Share the LOVE …

The other day the kids and I were running errands which means a lot of time in the car. My son M was particularly chatty. Taking full advantage of this I began to ask him questions. Our conversation went up and down and all around {as do most conversations with a four year old}. But we landed on something that for about 3.5 minutes was astounding.

Talking about how we treat other people I loosely quoted the the verse in Luke 6. “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks”. And then added that our actions are very much the same. What is in our hearts will come out in how we treat people. For example, when we say mean things and don’t help others we are being … “Mean, mommy.” We then talked about the flip side of that … love. I was pretty sure our conversation was over when out of the back seat I heard, “It is kind of like Valentines Day and Halloween Day.” I didn’t quite understand so I asked him to explain what he meant. “Well, Halloween day can be scary and sometimes people are mean. But everyone loves Valentine’s Day because it is full of love.” Don’t think I could have said it better myself.

If we claim to follow Christ than everyday is Valentine’s Day or at least something like it. Here is a verse to encourage you.

Romans 12:9, “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good.”

… SHARE THE LOVE …

KC


 

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Keeping A Vow

It seems that I frequent the New Testament and certainly love it. But, I want to know the God of the Old Testament a lot better. I have to admit, I get “tired” of reading that So-and-so begat So-and-so but when I really start to read the lineage and put things together it is amazing. And the stories, oh the stories of old. Stories that seem unbelievable, stories that are only explained as miracles. Gruesome. Great sacrifice. Loyalty. Determination. Sacrifice.

I’ve been reading in 1 Samuel about Hannah.  Married to Elkanah, she was dearly loved by her husband and from what it seems, had a good life. Except . . . she couldn’t bear children. She was unable to provide the one thing she so desired and be a mother which was what gave women worth in that culture. To make matters worse, she had competition. In that day, men had several wives and such was true with Elkanah. He was also married to Penninah, a woman able to bear children with very little grace and understanding for the barren Hannah. Penninah taunted and teased her. She constantly reminded Hannah of her inabilities.

In deep sorrow, Hannah retreated to the one place she could bare her soul. The temple. There she pleaded with a tear streaked face that God would give her a child. Scripture says she “wept bitterly.” Her words and her actions were so emphatic that the priest Eli accused her of being drunk. With grief she explained her heart to Eli and told him of the vow she had made before God.

1 Sam 1:11 says, And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

A year later, she held in her arms a beautiful baby boy named Samuel.  She praised God and thanked Him for the gift of a son. And it says, he grew in wisdom and stature.

Wasn’t that a great story?

Oh wait, there are a few things missing. What about that vow? What about the sacrifice? What about Samuel?

Like Hannah, in our desperation, we seek to make deals with God. They may sound something like this:
God, if you would …
Next time I promise I’ll …
God please help me this time and then I’ll serve you the rest of my life.

I am guilty. I’ve done it. Here we have Hannah, having made a vow before God. She promised to give up her son for the work of the Lord.  For her only son to leave home and live at the temple. The dinner table would now have one empty seat. His bed would remain untouched. Her “mothering” wouldn’t be necessary any longer.  At this point in the story, I began to cry. My first question was, “How old was he when he left home?” The answer is 3, the typical weaning age.  I have an almost 3 year old and my heart sank. I couldn’t imagine my home without my beloved son. Oh, the thoughts of how I could retract my vow.  I wonder if Hannah felt that way?  Do I really have to God? Once push comes to shove, how many vows have we been reluctant to keep because the cost just seemed to great?

But, being the woman of God she was, Hannah kept her vow. She walked her son Samuel into the arms of Eli, the priest. She kept her promise.  Sacrificed herself.  Now in this temple again, do you think she felt sorrow of another kind? Or, do you think she was rejoicing? Believing God for the good things he had planned for Samuel. I have no idea. In my humanness, I have a hard time believing this was easy. However, God’s comfort is so great and his peace is indescribable that maybe I am unable to understand. Hannah knew this wasn’t goodbye,  scripture tells us that she visited him often and brought him linen robes each year. I am left in awe.

We read later that Samuel grew to be a prophet and a judge. A powerful man of Israel. “…The Lord was with him and people listened carefully to his advice.” God used Samuel. His mother’s sacrifice was not in vain. She kept her promise, her end of the bargain, and God was glorified.

I walk away from this story impacted by Hannah’s integrity and eternal vision. Her life was so hard and so frustrating. When in deep sorrow and need, she ran to her Heavenly Father’s arms. She prayed. She received. And she kept her vow.

A . M . A . Z . I . N . G

Be a woman {or man} of your word this week!

KC

 

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Counting on God …

Saturday. Not my best day. I knew it was going to be a busy day so instead of sleeping in and taking the morning easy, I planned to “spring” out of bed and get the day rolling. By 745 a.m. I had breakfast going, coffee brewing, birthday packages wrapped and the dishwasher emptied. Felt pretty confident with the day; smooth sailing. And then, the kids came downstairs. Fighting, whining, fussing …. ugh. My house went from serenity to chaos in a matter of minutes. “Stop fighting.” Then, “No more whining, breakfast is almost ready.”  And it continued throughout breakfast until I eventually sent one to her room and the other to the hallway. And now, I was late. I had about 15 minutes to get ready, load the kids, load the gifts, and all other essentials for the day. Where did my morning go? My guess is that the minutes were lost somewhere between spilled milk and siblings pushing each other.

I huffed around the house and quickly gathered my things all while barking orders at the kids as they scrambled to get their shoes on and stay out of mommy’s way. I am sure I was not a pleasant sight. Once the kids were loaded in the car I ran back in to the house. “Remember, they learn from watching you and how you handle things”, I recalled {a recent statement made by hubby}.  While I didn’t totally appreciate the timing of this thought; it was true. They learn from watching me. And on Saturday morning, I was a poor example of handling stress and inconvenience.

As we started down the freeway my wise 6-year old asked if we could listen to some of her kids’ worship music. “Counting on God, please Mommy.” I pushed play. And then, I cried.

I’m in a fight not physical
And I’m in a war
But not with this world
You are the light that’s beautiful
And I want more
I want all that’s Yours

Joy unspeakable that won’t go away
And just enough strength
To live for today
So I never have to worry
What tomorrow will bring
‘Cause my faith is on solid rock
I am counting on God

Everyday we are in a war that is not of this world. We are in a war with the enemy. Dare I say, we are in a war with ourselves; our human nature. It is a constant battle of me {the human} verses God in me. My desire for selfish ambition is constantly fighting with my desire is to serve others and love them as I am called to love. When left to myself I will lose this battle EVERYTIME. I am not strong enough. I cannot rely on my education or even my most recent Bible study. I need new strength everyday. I lose my temper. I am impatient. I want it my way. How quickly I forget who I am in Christ. Do I really believe that I am a new creation? That I can walk in freedom from these traps that I so easily get tangled in?

That is why I was crying. I lost a battle. Instead of asking for God’s strength to help diffuse my kids , I reacted in my own strength and made a bigger mess that was followed by a lot of apologies both to God and my children. I need Him, there is no doubt about it. I ‘m counting on God to get through each day. Let’s be honest, I am counting on God to get me through my minutes!

I’m counting on God!

Happy Monday,

KC

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

 

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Love {MVM}

Valentine’s Day.  The pink and red, the hearts, the flowers and yes, the candy. I like that people take a moment to stop and say, “I love you” or “you are special to me”. My kids have finished their valentines for school, stuffed goody bags for friends and plotted their course of action when it comes to consuming the candy they will bring home. Mommy will of course sabotage this plan.

Love is an incredible thing. I have asked my kids to define it. I have tried to define it. I cannot. It is impossible to define with words. When you have it, you know it. And when you don’t have it, well, it feels like death. LOVE is hope. LOVE is freedom. LOVE is forgiveness. LOVE is life. LOVE is passion. LOVE is service. LOVE is friendship. LOVE is time.

How do we explain love? It is the ultimate gift when given freely, unconditionally, and with no strings attached. And it is available to each one of us.

I hope this year as Valentine’s Day rolls around, you are keenly aware of a God that loves YOU this way.

Happy Valentines Day!

1 John 3:18 “Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”

Many blessings,

KC

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Wisdom

This week {MVM} is going to look a little different. There are so many nuggets in Proverbs 3. Because the Bible is the living, breathing word of God it touches each one of us at different times and in different ways. Instead of memorizing a verse this week, I am going to ask you to read this each day. I am confident this will speak to your heart. Consider it soul food.

:: Proverbs 3 ::

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.[b]

13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.

32 For the LORD detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame.

Happy Monday friends. Have a great week!

KC

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Slave or free … {MVM}

It is Monday! A new week, a new day. I like to think of it as a fresh start. How many of you, by Wednesday, feel like you need another “fresh start”? Maybe you feel like that by Monday night! I know I have some days, even weeks like that. We are human. We are selfish. But I was reminded of this today …

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”  Romans 6:14

I am so thankful for grace. It is the only way I can move on. And I need it often.

As you start this week remember that Christ came so that we can be free. Yes, we will still struggle and battle with our sinful nature, but we have grace. It is never ending.

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14

Have a grace-filled week!

KC

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