Crystal Hatcher

May 112015
 

I got to see a miracle on Sunday.

I saw Jesus turn water into wine.

water into wine


While only metaphorically, it was still awesome! It was aged “wine”, at least 2 years in the making … though looking back probably more.

Chris, my husband, and I both began feeling that the Lord was calling us to ministry after Naomi was born. For me, it began with a calling to blog/speak and encourage women in this digital age. Chris wasn’t sure, but we both felt the very strong calling to ministry.

We were very fortunate to have some good friends who offered to do some life coaching with us. They sat down with us and asked us some pivotal questions. One of which was where our ministry was going to be … not just in a vocational sense, as everyone is called to minister in some way. It began our journey in asking God where and how He wanted us to serve.

We both felt a strong call to vocational ministry. Chris was feeling very dry in his day job, and always had been. He was so to speak, out of wine, as the hosts of the wedding that Jesus attended at the very beginning of His public ministry (see John 2:1-3). Maybe you know the feeling?

We spent a few months really praying and seeking what God wanted from us. The idea of becoming full-time ministers, or even missionaries, was discussed with both hesitation and excitement. We prayed, sought counsel, and prayed some more.

In August Chris began researching schools in order to receive formal education to become a pastor. This was the direction that we both felt God was leading us.

It was scary to think about, but not doing what God wanted and missing out on His best was even scarier!

Chris researched, investigated, and prayed over schools for about a month. He finally enrolled in a program after weighing all the options and talking to the Masters program recruiter. By the end of August, everything was settled and classes were set to begin October 30.

And then the battles came.

The doubts and fears. The questions of ability. Financial means. And so many more.

Twice, Chris emailed the recruiter and withdrew his application. He hemmed and hawed, whether he should start the program later, or even start at all. He questioned if this was the right school. He questioned how we could ever afford this education. And he questioned if he was really hearing what God told him to do. I questioned too.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how the servants reacted to Jesus telling them to fill up the jars with water, other than to tell us that they obeyed. I can imagine it was a pretty intense situation for them though! They were out of wine to serve the guests in the middle of this seven-day feast. The family’s reputation and credit rating was on the line – and possibly the servants own necks!

What we do know is that in spite of whatever the servants were feeling, they were obedient.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon on October 29, in the middle of Wal-Mart, I received a text message from Chris to call the recruiter to see if he could still start classes the next day.

When I told her, she laughed! She had sensed the battle going on and had been praying for Chris, and was happy to hear of his decision to follow God! It was a beautiful moment. He started his Master’s program the next day.

It hasn’t been an easy journey these last 18 months. This was just the first of many decisions that we had to make to choose to follow God. Often what He asked us to do didn’t make much sense to us – especially in the financial arena. But we chose to continue on and obey.

There have been a many life transitions that have come on this journey. Some I have shared here, but many that I have not. Honestly, as I wrote in my last post, I have just been weary and worn out.

Faith and obedience often don’t come easily.

And it wasn’t any easier in Jesus’s day. I’m guessing it was quite exhausting, both physically and emotionally, for the servants to fill up those large heavy jars with water.

It was probably even more emotionally taxing to obey Jesus’s command to serve the Host this water turned wine. The Bible doesn’t tell us if the servants got to taste the wine first, or if they had to blindly trust that it would be a good wine. It really was a test of the servants obedience here.

We did get many opportunities to taste God’s goodness during this time period. He blessed us with our son Caleb, physical provisions, financial peace despite our low-income, and in many other ways.

But I’ll be completely honest, I was afraid of what the “wine” would taste like once Chris graduated. I was dealing with my own lack of trust in God, and it was exhausting.

Chris graduated last weekend. And if Masters earned honors (they do not, much to my surprise!) – Chris would have gotten the highest possible honors! He carried a 97% or above average in all of his classes – to God be the glory!! I share this not to boast, but to show God’s faithfulness.

However, my fear still persisted.

Saturday night, God asked me if I believed He could still turn water into wine? Could He still work a miracle in our lives the way He did for this family?

I had never heard my husband speak publicly. I knew he isn’t a huge fan of crowds, and that he really wasn’t thrilled with the idea of preaching. Yet God told him to become a Pastor – and he was obedient.

Last week as he prepared to deliver his first sermon I tried to keep my nervousness to myself. I asked Chris often what I could do to help him. I prayed and I asked others to pray. Yet, I was worried. Not because I didn’t believe Chris was capable, or that God couldn’t work through him – but because I was dry. I had forgotten who God was and what He could do.

Chris worked on his sermon diligently and had me read over it a couple of times to edit it. It was a good sermon, which honestly didn’t surprise me in the least, as Chris was consistently praised by his professors for his writing.

I suggested a few minor tweaks here and there, and waited a bit anxiously for him to practice his delivery. This was really the crux of my worry.

You see, when Chris was younger he was in Special Education for a reading disability. He also had some speech issues he had to overcome. After we had Naomi, we discovered he had a tongue tie just like she did, that was never corrected.

Chris spent some time practicing Saturday while I ran some errands. He didn’t seem to want to practice with an audience. The differences in our personalities and how we’d approach this big moment was quite on display! I took many deep breaths on Saturday, and prayed and asked God to help Chris … and to help me to help, encourage and support Chris. You see, I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times.

After 12 years of marriage, I knew that what Chris didn’t need was my worry and lack of faith. He didn’t need my critique, and teacher-style suggestions. He needed me to trust Jesus, as Chris was, to take care of the sermon.

I was sorting through a box of hand-me-downs for Caleb after the kids were in bed when Chris came up to practice. I could tell he was nervous about my reaction and I prayed and asked God to give me wisdom to encourage my husband and not tear him down in any way. As wives, we ladies have a way of doing this when we don’t mean to.

He began reading his sermon with a precision and clarity that I wasn’t expecting. After a brief reminder that often we read much faster than we realize, he delivered a sermon my heart really needed to hear!

He reminded me that like Mary, we need to come to Jesus asking for Him to work in our lives to solve our problems. Trusting that He, the Creator, was able to deal with our them!

He reminded me that like the servants we need to be obedient to what He tells us to do – even when it’s not easy and doesn’t make any sense.

He reminded me that I needed to have faith that God will show up and deliver the best.

And show up He did!

Chris delivered his sermon Sunday by the power of the Holy Spirit in an awe-inspiring way. He taught the Word, sought to make eye contact and connect with the audience in a profound and professional way. He added revelations and parts of his story as the Holy Spirit directed in a way that lead me to tears as I saw the many miracles that God had worked in this man’s heart these past 2 years!

He was standing in that pulpit, as God has called him to do … water turned to wine!

I write this today not knowing where God is going to take our family from here.

I imagine the Disciples felt much the same as I do today after seeing Jesus perform this miracle. Excitement, mixed with anticipation, knowing that this Jesus I’m following can still turn water into wine!

Blessings,

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Photo from Lukáš Jirovský, was modified under CC License 2.0.

Where are you at today? Feeling a bit dry and in need of some water into wine miracles? Jesus is ready and able to work in your life. Seek Him, Trust Him, & Obey – He’ll take care of the rest!

Leave me a comment below and tell me how I can be praying for you in your journey.


Apr 242015
 

So much has been going on … more than I have even been able to process or even communicate to myself. And I’m weary.

We are sitting on the cusp of our next big life transition – not that we haven’t already had several major life transitions in the last 18 months, but many of those have all led up to this one – graduation and pursuing whatever ministry God will call us to.

In the last few weeks I’ve discovered that many of my friends haven’t even known that Chris is in school to become a pastor, or that I have been working while he has held down the fort at home. I was floored to discover this, as I’m usually pretty vocal in sharing what is going on in my life.

I’m only just realizing that as things have gone crazy in my world, I’ve pulled back and started shutting down. There hasn’t been time or energy to spend sharing or even processing for myself all that has gone – even for myself in the midst of this season of turbulent waters.

The first time I heard the song Oceans by Hillsong was poignant. It was a clear declaration from God that we were stepping out in faith and He would be there in the midst of all the storms that would come. At the point, I was excited for the journey and what lay ahead, even though I had no idea what that would entail.

Chris had just left his job the previous Friday, we were visiting family out-of-town and had returned to our old church. Their youth band – none of whom we knew – were leading worship, and shared this beautiful song that spoke huge volumes to us as we embarked on this journey of fully stepping out onto the waves.

We weren’t prepared for the highs and lows that have ensued this last year and half – and I’m thankful that I was unaware of what lay ahead. But sitting on this side of things I can honestly say that what I do know is that God was with us through it all. Our finances. Our hurts. Our fears over Naomi’s health. Caleb’s birth. Spiritual battles, and so much more.

I know that as He leads us into this next phase of our life journey that He will continue to be with us through it all. Even if I’m not excited this time as we step out due to the weariness of the past several steps, I know more now than I ever could have then that He is with us and will keep our eyes above the waves of this life. He has a plan and purpose in it all.

I hope to share more soon of the lessons and insights from this season. I’m hopeful that I can continue this blog and grow it to what God wants it to be; but I will continue to seek out His will in this. I have so much I want to share, but it has to be in His timing and strength – which is one good thing about being weary – it has to be His strength as I have none left.

Please keep us in your prayers as we seek God’s will in this next stage of things – and thank you!

Blessings,

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P.S.

I decided to update this post after hitting publish, because I had to share about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale going on now through April 27 after I finally had a chance to take a look at it! I won’t promote anything unless I think it is worthwhile myself and it’s really hard to convince me to spend money.

However there are some really amazing resources available this year for only $29.97! (It’s worth over $1200!!)

One that I’m looking forward to the most is the eCourse on Natural Remedies. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to share these with you just in case you missed them somewhere else. This is my affiliate link for the bundle below – which does mean I earn a small commission off the sale of a bundle with no extra cost to you.

 

There are resources for every stage of homemaking here, so if you want to learn more click below (you can also look for their Refer-A-Friend Program as well!)

 

Thanks for checking it out!

Mar 182015
 

Trust & Obey, Lessons from Naomi Naomi’s shirt was on backwards. At 2 years old you really don’t care about such things, but since we were heading out, I did. She was raring to go, so I told her quickly that I needed to turn her shirt around. She stood still for half a second as I took her arms out of her shirt with the intent of just turning the shirt around and putting it back on.

However, the instant I didn’t do the normal thing that comes after taking her arms out of the shirt (taking it off over her head), she flipped out! She wanted to go, and she wanted to go NOW! To her having a shirt on at all or one on backwards, didn’t matter.

The wrestling match began then as she fought to get out of her shirt, not understanding my intent of just quickly turning it around. She was in a hurry and insistent on things going her way.

As I sat there frustrated as she ran away, sans shirt, I was reminded that at 2 she couldn’t understand my purpose in taking her arms out, or what I was doing with her shirt. She only knows 2 things – shirt on, shirt off.

She hasn’t figured out that Mommy can have a different purpose in mind for an action than what she thinks the purpose is.

I wondered why she couldn’t just trust that I was trying to help her and obey?

That’s when God reminded me that I often struggle to do the same with Him. I think I know what He wants me to do. I think I understand His purpose and direction. I think I know what’s best and how to get there.

But I can be wrong.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 5:8-9

I can fight to keep things the way that I understand, and the purposes that I understand and know. Or I can trust my Heavenly Father that whatever He is asking me to do is right and makes sense – even if it doesn’t to me.

I’ve fought Him many times in my life over issues that I didn’t understand.

I fought Him when I didn’t understand why my womb was closed for so long. I fought Him when my first 3 children served His purpose here quickly and were gone. I ran when He called me to lay down some major life fears and struggles and give them over to Him.

Whenever God has asked me to do something I’ve wrestled with Him trying to understand. I’ve had to look and ask for the why and purpose in His asking. Sometimes I can see it easily, or at least I think I can see it. Sometimes things don’t make much sense to me, or not at all! Then I wrestle over whether to comply or not.

Am I going to be obedient and follow God even if I can’t understand the why?

Can I trust Him enough to know that even if He doesn’t do things the way I expect or want, that He’s doing what is right and best for me?

I know what the answer should be, but following it is something totally different.

I’m sure this lesson will take a while to really sink in. Just as I know there will be many more misunderstanding battles between Naomi and I. However, I hope we  both can learn to trust and obey.

Blessings,

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What is your gut reaction when things don’t make sense to you? Do you see that reaction in your children?

Feb 132015
 

As crazy busy moms (or women), Valentine’s Day can be a bit daunting. Sure there are a ton of ideas out there, but most require a good bit of money or time …. both of which I’m extremely short on right now.

So when I came up with this simple idea, I knew I had to take time to share!

Quick & Easy Valentine

Quick & Easy, Cheap, Valentine for Your Sweetheart

Think of something small your husband loves that comes in multiples (this may be the hardest part). It can be as simple as a favorite candy, or for us small bottles of pop that contain sugar instead of HFCS. (Chris loves pop, but with being pretty much Paleo, the corn syrup really is a big issue, so when I found Wild Cherry Pepsi (his favorite) with sugar, I had to get it!)

I wanted this to be a surprise from Naomi and I, so I decided to cut out hearts and put special sayings on each one. You could do this with just a simple note, or get more creative and artsy as you have time, energy or resources!

For us that meant I traced and cut out hearts, and Naomi (at 2) colored on them. I this short time to introduce her to several early craft skills (I am not a crafter, so we haven’t done many things with her yet). We then taped the hearts on the bottles.

For fun, I decided we should hide the bottles and make Daddy hunt for them. Naomi had a blast hiding them, and showing Daddy where they were too! She got bored quickly though, so he still had a couple to find on his own. It was a lot of fun for all of us.

I even saved a few (shh!), to make some from me on Valentine’s day since we did Naomi’s early.

So here’s my advice if you are looking for something quick and easy for your Valentine:

Keep it simple, keep it fun, and remember it doesn’t have to be perfect to bless your Valentine!

Blessings,

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Feb 092015
 

I’m sitting in a high school classroom as I begin to type this. Being that it is exam week, I’ve heard a lot about failing – especially as the students get up to leave after taking their exam.

“I know I failed that,”

“I’m just praying for a D!”

Or worse yet, “Yep, I failed that, oh well.”

Feeling Like a Failure

 

And I remember uttering these phrases myself amongst my peers after taking tests in high school. When anything was hard, or we felt uncertain, we were sure we failed. Rarely had we actually failed, even though we may not have done as well as we wanted to do, but we often left with the feeling as if we had.

I find myself still feeling this same way frequently. Like I’ve failed.

However, this time there is no teacher to grade my work. No chance for a do-over, and unlike a Math test in high school the stakes are much higher.

I’ve found it interesting since having my first child how much I’ve struggled with the fear that I’m failing. I certainly wasn’t expecting to struggle with feeling like a failure as a parent, since I have a background in Early Education and was a nanny for years. I “know” a lot about child development and teaching, yet I was (am) constantly fearful I was doing it all wrong, and failing.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

As I’ve talked to other moms, I’ve found this fear of failing to be pervasive. It goes hand in hand with a severe lack of confidence; not just in motherhood, but in a lot of areas of life.

I’ve thought many times that with all the hormonal changes that come with giving birth, confidence must be ones of those things we lose. But the more I sit in classrooms like today, the more I wonder if our societal’s lack of confidence has a deeper root.

The Bible tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking those he can devour, and that fear is a spirit that God has not given us (see 1 Peter 5:8 and 2 Timothy 1:7). I see this spirit of fear in so many of my sisters in Christ’s words and actions – it’s epidemic!

Fear and lack of confidence go hand-in-hand. They hold us back from trying and hold our minds, and at times even our bodies hostage from doing anything.

Worse yet, they often separate us from our loving Father God, as we struggle with fear of failing Him.

I’ve recently started reading The Wonder Weeks
book, which is the first parenting related book I’ve picked up in a while. Why? Because I hate the tone of most parenting books I’ve read that basically make it sound as if there is only one right way to do everything in parenting.

I even told Chris, my husband, that I was afraid to read this book and see how much I “failed” Naomi when she was going through the Wonder Weeks as a baby.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly how I’ve felt so far … like I failed.

However, as I stepped back from the book (which still has a ton of good information, despite my feelings), I determined to take the good information, use it to grow me and my skills moving forward, and leave my perception of failure behind me.

I also determined that I need to take a good long look at what God has to say in His Word about failure, and start living by the truth!

One of those I know off the top of my head, is that He has given me the Holy Spirit and that He can and will guide my life. If I’m following Him obediently – I can’t fail.

Even if the world, and I, think I am.

 

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