Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Watering Camels

This last year of my life has flown by! From graduating college and getting married, to going to Israel and settling in Sioux Falls with a new job, new apartment, new church, etc...Life has been full of surprises to say the least.

Have you ever had a certain picture of exactly the way your life is to be? And then it seems as though God is not holding up His end of the "bargain?" I've been wrestling through this very thing in the last month or so, but God continues to remind me that He is faithful. Through this struggle, I need to choose daily to live in God's promise of faithfulness. 
Part of this choice, is to seek Him no matter what circumstance I find myself in. Similar to when I disagree with my earthly dad, I try not to "fake it" with God. I need to continue talking with God about my issues and seek Him in my frustration. For awhile, I let my frustration with current circumstances pull me away from Him, until one day a friend reminded me it's okay to tell God I'm frustrated. So, I turned back to God and began asking, "Why? Where are you working in this? What does the next step look like?  What is the Big Picture?" It was then that God took a huge weight off my shoulders and suddenly I saw a billion blessings all around me.

What does this have to do with watering camels you ask? Well....As I have been reading in Genesis, I came to the story of Isaac and Rebekah. The beginning of this story just boggles my mind.

Genesis 24:15-27

"Before he (Abraham's servant) had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.
The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”
“Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.
After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.
When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels. Then he asked, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night? 
She answered him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor. ”And she added, “We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.”
Then the man bowed down and worshiped the Lordsaying, “Praise be to the Lordthe God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.”"

While Tyler and I were in Israel, we learned that a camel can drink up to 40-45 gallons in one sitting!! And Abraham's servant had 10 camels with him! Can you imagine getting water for 10 camels that had just finished a long journey (until they have had enough to drink)?! 

Rebecca didn't know what was about to happen in her life. She didn't know God was bringing her a husband. She didn't know that this husband was in the line that Jesus would come from. She didn't know of the covenant God had made to bless her soon to be husband.  But because she was okay serving in the little ways, she became an answer to Abraham's servant's prayer. As I place myself in the story, I can easily see myself grabbing my own water and giving Abraham's servant the minimum of water he asked for. But Rebekah's heart was ready to give and give and give in any way she could. And God is faithful - He's always faithful.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

CinnaTwist Protein Bars

I love to have an on-the-go snack ready for those crazy days when there's no time to prepare food. I have made Loaded Chocolate Protein bars from Elise's blog MANY times as a sweet treat for breakfast, lunch, or supper. You can find that recipe here. The best part is that they have no sugar and are filled with lots of good protein and fat that keeps you full. Unlike most protein bars in the store, they have natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners that are toxic to the body. 
The other day I decided to experiment with one of my favorite spices: CINNAMON. :-) The bars turned out better than I thought. Enjoy!

CinnaTwist Protein Bars
Makes 24 Bars

¾ cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp organic butter
1 cup raw cashew butter
2 cups raw almond flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw nuts of your choice
3 scoops vanilla protein powder (chocolate Nature Pro or Vega both taste great!)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp spoonable stevia
1/4 tsp sea salt

Melt the coconut oil, butter, and cashew butter over low heat, stirring until smooth. Meanwhile, pulse all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Next, mix in the melted sauce. If the mixture is too runny or oily, add in more almond flour and coconut flakes until proper consistency is achieved (Taste test for sweetness required at this point, add more stevia if you like). Spread mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish lined with natural waxed paper.  Freeze for 20 minutes until set.  Remove from freezer.  Holding the ends of the bottom sheet of waxed paper, pull straight up and the bars will come out of the pan.  Cut into uniform strips or squares using a pizza cutter.  I store them in the freezer in baggies to grab on the go.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Greatest of These

John 13:35 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other."

Have you ever been in a relationship where God's call to love them became very difficult? I can practically hear you all saying, "YES!" Every relationship that's worth it becomes difficult at times. Through this past year of marriage, I have been experiencing this tension in a whole new way....Funny thing though, it's not because my husband is so extremely hard to love but because for the first time in my life I can't simply "just run away" from a conflict...

Interesting, because as I try and fail over and over again to love fully when it's hard, I now have new eyes for the God who loves me when time and time again I fail Him. I run from Him, fake it with Him, twist His truth. But God continuously brings me back saying, "Kristin, I love you. I will always love you."

I made the painting above thinking about the simplicity of God's Word. The background is full of hymns and responsive readings representing God's truth expressed in the world.  These things are good, but not the most important thing. According to John's Gospel, LOVE is the most important thing. You can't miss Jesus' command to love one another in John's Gospel nor in this painting. Our lives should be the same. No matter the words or actions of our day, the most important thing our lives speak to the world is our love for one another, made possible only because He first loved us. 

Praise the Lord for tough relationships and imperfect people to remind us of the only perfect Man and His deep love for us!